My earliest days were in Kent and my first memories are of Broadstairs, where we lived. It was a wonderful place for a child. I have fond memories of it and regard it as home. We were not a conventional family. My mother and father were both in the theatre and were married during a run of “Joy Bells”, a highly successful musical starring George Robey, which ran for two years. The arrival of the “Talkies” and the depression meant fewer lavish musicals. Dad was forced to find other work. After various selling jobs, he found regular work at Manston airport but the money was poor. He supplemented this by playing piano in a dance band, working as a Tote clerk at dog races and extra waiting at odd functions (not to mention the occasional appearance at the Bohemia Theatre, Broadstairs). Continue Reading →
Kenneth MacLeod at his home in Surrey on August 15th 2000
I used to run a tribute website for Westward Television called “Westward Shrine”. You can see it here via the miracle of the Wayback Machine on www.archive.org. Westward Television was the ITV franchise for the Westcountry from 1961 to 1981. I used to love it as a kid, and have always been fascinated in memorabilia about it.
After some correspondence with his daughter via a chance internet search, I was extremely privileged and honoured to be invited by Kenneth MacLeod to go to his home in Surrey on August 15th 2000. I spent a wonderful two hours with Kenneth. He was on a great form and, looking back on it, I was extremely fortunate to be able to record the following transcript where he talks in depth about the old days of Westward Television. Kenneth MacLeod sadly died on January 31st 2003.
A bit of a gem this, that reminds us of John Cleese’s strength as a comedy writer and his work outside of Monty Python and Fawlty Towers. This Doctor in the House series was a fantastic success, showing at peak time on Saturday evening on ITV, via London Weekend Television. JC and GC wrote this opening episode. Bill Oddie and Graeme Garden, of “Goodies” fame, wrote most of the episodes, with Barry Cryer and Bernard McKenna also writing. A wider writing team wrote the subsequent Doctor at Large.
This is very funny, and shows the talent of Barry Evans, as Michael Upton, who was always my favourite character in the series.
I think this was all before “Swap Shop”. I think there was an Ed Stewart programme at some stage. But around 1971, the BBC1 TV staple on Saturday mornings was a combination of the “Banana Splits” and “Here come the Double Deckers” – both of which programmes had very catchy theme tunes. Happy memories!
Trump’s unapologetic embrace of racism, xenophobia and misogyny vindicates all of those ugly prejudices the world over. And millions of Americans are horrified about Trump. They deserve our solidarity and support. There is, after all, another United States, one forged by immigrants and transformed by courageous Americans who fought racism, sexism and homophobia. That is a United States millions of us believe in. And that is why we should sign this letter.
I saw Muse at the O2 on Thursday night with my good lady wife. This band are the mutt’s nuts. What a sound! I found the drumming unbelievably good. And of course Matt Bellamy is a remarkable talent with his fantastic falsetto voice and his mind-blowing guitar. Great sounds – varied instrumentation – tremendous visuals.
If there is a greater arena rock band then I’d like to know about them!
Recently on holiday in West Africa, I was somewhat torn. There was a strong temptation to leave my political conscience in a left luggage locker at Gatwick. Indeed, I think I did to an extent. I was, after all, on holiday and, being in a rural “eco lodge”, I was able to mix with ordinary Africans and provide some support to the local economy. Continue Reading →
On 5 May, the council will ask residents to vote on a new town plan, which includes a promise to restrict second home ownership.
If the vote is passed, new housing projects will get planning permission only on condition that the homes are reserved for people to live in full-time. Developers will not be allowed to sell the buildings to anyone who has a residence elsewhere.
Here’s the very booklet I received yesterday from Her Majesty’s government. It’s a rather dry looking document, but the message is clear, as it is repeated, more or less, three times on the cover of the booklet:
Why The Government believes that voting to remain in the European Union is in the best decision for the UK.
…on the front and:
The Government believes that voting to remain in the European Union is the best decision for the UK.
Things have changed since my last post on this. Last time, I thought it was relatively certain that Trump would be the Republican US Presidential nominee. I am not so sure now. First, we had Mitt Romney’s extraordinary, unprecedented excoriation of Trump. Then we had that unheard of event: the Trump gaffe machine gun finally fired a round which rebounded on him – I refer to his rapidly recounted suggestion that women who have abortions should be punished (which, lest we forget, was followed by a casual grunt to confirm that he thought it inconceivable that the men involved should even be considered for equal treatment). Continue Reading →
This clip is only 43 seconds long and the quality is a bit dodgy, but you can clearly see here why Kenneth Macleod was such a great broadcaster. His serious introduction to the “tremors in West Cornwall” is remarkably skilfull. What a TV man!