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TV & Radio Category

Television and radio programme reviews, trailers, highlights, twilights and cinema news. Also the neglected gems from years past.

‘Jihadi’ Jack Letts misses his mum and wants to come home to the UK

Jack LEtts
Jack The Bad / Jack the Sad / Jack the Dad

White Briton, dad of one and Islam convert ‘Jihadi’ Jack Letts wants to leave the Kurdish prison he’s called home for the past two years and come home to the UK. In no particular order, he wants to see his mum, watch Dr Who and eat pasties.

Jack Letts is the the 23-year-old from Oxford accused of travelling to Syria to fight for Islamic State, the group that murders children in Manchester, rapes Christian women and chucks homosexuals from tall buildings. The YPG have charged him with being a member of ISIS.

Letts has been talking with ITV News:

“If the UK accepted me then I’d go back to the UK, it’s my home. But I don’t think that’s going to happen. I miss people mostly. I miss my mum. I know that sounds a bit toddler-ish. Even if I could just see my mum – I would just like a phone call, I don’t know if Britain can do that for me here, but I’d like just a phone call to my mum – it’s been two years.”

If not the UK, then Letts can head to Canada – he holds a Canadian passport thanks to his father’s nationality.

Back home in Oxford, mum and dad, Sally Lane and John Letts, are to be tried for sending money to their son. They deny three charges of funding terrorism. They insist their boy went to Syria to help refugees. On the FreeJackLetts blog, they write:

“…we too dream of the day when we will see him again, wrap our arms around him, and convince him that – despite his claim that ‘the world hates me without even knowing me’ – he will again be treated like a human being and not like the media-created monster he has been made out to be.”

Letts’ chat comes as the UK media form a queue to speak with Shamima Begum, the Briton who joined ISIS and has had her British citizenship revoked. You wonder who’s next in the hot seat? Do foreign journalists interview their fellow nationals held in UK prisons? And does it help to get your story widely known before any court case?

Human rights champion Nadia Murad was sold into sexual slavery by ISIS. She escaped, seeking and gayning asylum in Germany in 2015. She wants justice for Yazidi men and women. Upon becoming a Nobel laureate, she said:

“We must work together with determination — so that genocidal campaigns will not only fail, but lead to accountability for the perpetrators. Survivors deserve justice. And a safe and secure pathway home.”

Isn’t it time we heard more from the victims?

Posted: 22nd, February 2019 | In: News, TV & Radio | Comment


Gemma Collins seeks spiritual advice from Kerry Katona

kerryt katona

Who better for Gemma Collins to turn to for spiritual advice than Kerry Katona, former Queen of ITV’s I’m A Celebrity jungle and long billed in the tabloid press as “troubled”? Kerry is the women who had her cosmetic surgery televised and was once so hard up, she was forced to sell her parrot to buy Tampax.

Collins, 38, currently between injuries in ITV’s Dancing On Ice is “seeking help from crystal-loving Kerry Katona”. That’s an unfortunate or conniving play on words by the Mail, given Kerry’s battles with drugs – and crystal is a shorthand for crystal meth. The People reminds readers that Katona is an “ex-addict” whose nadir – or at least one of them – was being filmed taking coke a caper that led to her getting sacked by Iceland (the frozen food store and not the nation). In any case, Collins wants help calming down not speeding up. A source arrives to explain all:

“It sounds a bit woo and wacky, but Kerry’s obsessed with meditating and yoga and it’s helped her so much with her stress and anxiety. Kerry has been choosing crystals she thinks will help Gemma cope with the pressures of Dancing on Ice and all the diva accusations she’s had.”

Anorak advices Collins choose the homophonous Krsytle Carrington, who was always ice cool in a crisis, save for when Alexis pushed her too far and she resorted to fisticuffs.

PS: Cynics will point out that Katona and Collins have have the same agent. This in no way diminishes from the truth of this story.

Posted: 10th, February 2019 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Tabloids, TV & Radio | Comment


Love Island winner Jack Fincham: being famous gets you drugs and booze

Jack Fincham, winner of TV’s Love Island, and Mr Dani Dayer, wants to talk about “My coke shame”. But before the shame, the sympathetic back story. The Sun, which leads with the news of Fincham’s drug taking, tells us he “caved in” to the “temptation” of “regularly being offered drugs in the wake of his TV triumph”. Other reality TV shows offer less mind-blowing prizes. But that’s showbiz.

Jack, 27, tells us: “I’ve made a terrible error.” And ..? Well, why are you telling us, Jack? Are you getting in first before an expose hits the papers? Is the Sun now an extension of the therapy industries – “If you want a sympathetic ear and a chance to talk, call 0800 Snort ‘n’ Tell (You’re amongst friends!”)?

There are two more pages of Fincham to browse. And we note that he’s “dreading telling hardman Danny Dyer about his cocaine shame”. Danny is, of course, Dani’s homophonous dad, the EastEnders actor.

But surely Danny will understand how “dangerous elements of the showbiz scenes” can pull young noses towards an incidental table in an Kent hotel. Says Jack: “Since winning the show I’ve been offered cocaine a lot”, plus “free drinks” and a chance to appear in another reality TV show. Yes, that’s right, Jack’s shame trails the TV show The Full Monty, named in honour of the film in which a group of down-on-their-luck men from the impoverished provinces turn to the skin trade to earn a few quid and fame. Showbiz, eh. The top prize used to be car.

Posted: 5th, February 2019 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Tabloids, TV & Radio | Comment


Bros find success in failure – 1980s band enjoy fame after documentary ridicule

 Bros: After The Screaming Stops

The answer to the stuttering refrain “When will I, will I be famous?” was simple: when you’re shaggable, have pop star hair and write a catchy tune the promoters love. Now Bros, who asked the question in 1987, have triggered a new answer to it: when nostalgia bites and you become the nation’s pet thickos. And so it is that after a documentary brought them to back to the fore, Surrey-born Matt and Luke Goss – the other part of the original Bros band, Craig Logan, is busy – have announced they will be performing a comeback show in London.

For those of you missed the Decembeer 2017 BBC documentary Bros: After The Screaming Stops, here are a few choice cuts:

Bros quotes funny
Bros documentary quotes funny
Bros documentary quotes funny

The lovely irony is that the documentary followed twins Matt and Luke as they reunited ahead of their ill-fated 2017 tour. Showing us failure has resulted in success.

And you too can be famous – just as soon as “you’ve read Karl Marx
/ And you’ve taught yourself to dance.”

Posted: 14th, January 2019 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Music, News, TV & Radio | Comment


Jeremy Corbyn completes his EastEnders audition

Jeremy Corbyn shirty Marr

Jeremy Corbyn is on Andrew Marr’s Sunday morning politics show. If body language matters – and surely it does – the Labour leader’s habit of tilting his head and looking up does him few favours.

In 2008, actor Chris Coghill was hired to play Tony King on EastEnders. His character would become one of the most reviled in the history of British soap operas. How did he manage to look shifty and disingenuous. Coghill explained: “I’ve always been able to turn on the sinister look. Sid Owen said to me that all I had to do was tilt my head down and look up and it’s there.”

Jeremy Corbyn says vote for him and he’ll let you know what his Brexit plans are.

Posted: 13th, January 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, TV & Radio | Comment


Bob Einstein tells a funny and a revolting joke

Bob Einstein has died aged 76. Best known for playing Marty Funkhouser in Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, Einstein is seen here telling a joke at a show Q&A.

 

 

And this – which is “revolting” and is very NSFW:

 

Here he is pulling over Liberace for playing too fast. Einstein is Officer Judy, the character who made his debut by lip-syncing to a Judy Collins record.

 

 

And not forgetting Super Dave:

 

 

Bob Einstein – November 20, 1942 – January 2, 2019.

Posted: 7th, January 2019 | In: Celebrities, News, TV & Radio | Comment


The Marion Stokes Archive: 33 years of 24-hour live news TV

marion stokes

 

In 1979 Marion Stokes flipped the record button on her VCR and began recording live television. She continued to record live telly for over 33 years. She only stopped when she died. Matt Wolf wants to show us more of the Stokes Archive:

Marion Stokes was secretly recording television twenty-four hours a day for thirty years. It started in 1979 with the Iranian Hostage Crisis at the dawn of the twenty-four hour news cycle. It ended on December 14, 2012 while the Sandy Hook massacre played on television as Marion passed away. In between, Marion recorded on 70,000 VHS tapes, capturing revolutions, lies, wars, triumphs, catastrophes, bloopers, talk shows, and commercials that tell us who we were, and show how television shaped the world of today.

The whole shebang is being hosted by The Internet Archive but we can’t find any. But this Tumblr has a few stills from the Stokes tapes. 

Spotter: Kottke and Flashbak

Posted: 5th, January 2019 | In: Key Posts, TV & Radio | Comment


The Inbetweeners are back for a 10th anniversary special

the inbetweeners

 

After the yellow Fiat Cinquecento – The Yellow Peril – sank in 2010, The Inbetweeners headed off for films in Magaluf and Australia. But now the car and the foursome are back in suburbia for a tenth anniversary, two-hour TV special. Simon Bird, James Buckley, Blake Harrison and Joe Thomas are back. Let’s hope none of them are ill, and nothing’s deeper than Jay’s box of bedside tissues. At what point does teenage humiliation turn into something darker and more depressing?

 

Posted: 10th, December 2018 | In: TV & Radio | Comment


Whistle along to this clip of brilliant British TV from 1972

Here’s a lovely dash of Brilliant British TV from 1972. It’s Blue Peter. John Noakes is on the turntables. And a wonderful whistler is knocking them bandy:

 

Posted: 5th, December 2018 | In: TV & Radio | Comment


Deke Duncan: DJ who broadcast to an audience of one gets BBC radio show

deke duncan stevenage

 

“I genuinely thought this was a well-crafted parody, something that the likes of @serafinowicz & @robertpopper would conjure up, but no…it’s 100% genuine – All hail Deke Duncan from Stevenage,” tweets John Morter. A video from the BBC archives takes us back to 1974. We meet Deke Duncan, the producer, presenter and pretty much most other things at Stevenage’s Radio 77 his wife Teresa can’t or won’t do. With no licence, Radio 77, based in a shed at 57 Gonville Crescent in Stevenage, can only be beamed through a speaker in his living room, where Teresa listens. It might be the most romantic thing ever. 

 

 

This week, Deke Duncan, now 73, was invited to present a show on BBC local radio. He fulfilled his “ultimate ambition” to broadcast to the rest of Stevenage.

“We used to record all the shows and play them back and think – that’s cool – but we couldn’t afford to keep buying spools of tape so recorded over them,” he said. “That house was our ship. We took the fantasy so far we said we must not go out the front or back door because you’ll fall in the sea.” The nautical theme followed his love of pirate station Radio Caroline, which broadcast from a boat off the coast of Essex in the 1960s.

Mr Duncan, who has since moved to Stockport, Greater Manchester, still broadcasts Radio 77 to “the smallest audience in the country” – his wife.

He said he felt “emotional” when station editor Laura Moss invited him to present his own one-hour special over Christmas.

 

 

Spotter: Flashbak

Posted: 21st, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True, TV & Radio | Comment


Richard Baker: voice of BBC TV’s first news bulletin dies

Richard baker

 

Richard Baker has died. The former BBC newsreader and Proms presenter was 93. Baker introduced the corporation’s first news bulletin broadcast on 5 July 1954. To many, his was the face of TV news. He also voiced the children’s series, Mary, Mungo & Midge, first produced by the BBC in 1969. Asked why he did not smile more often on television, Baker replied: “Because there is seldom anything in the news likely to make anyone smile.”

The Times adds:

Mr Baker served on a minesweeper with the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve during World War Two, which interrupted his studies at Cambridge University.

He was born in north London [Willesden] and was the son of a plasterer, attending grammar school before reading history and modern languages at Peterhouse College.

He worked for the BBC from 1954 until 1982.

The BBC recalls his big break:

In 1950, he wrote to the BBC asking if they were recruiting actors, resulting in an offer of a job as a presenter on what was then called the Third Programme, much later to become Radio 3…

When the news department began planning bulletins, Baker and Kenneth Kendall were recruited..

Notable how chance played a key role in so many careers…

 

Posted: 17th, November 2018 | In: Celebrities, TV & Radio | Comment


BBC sign language expert nails Brexit

Are you keeping up with Brexit? Nothing’s been signed. No deal has been done. The UK remains in the EU. Millions of words have been written on the matter. But the whole thing can is best summed up by the BBC’s sign language interpreter:

 

 

Those Brexit options:

* A second referendum. Question to be asked: ‘Did you understand the 1st referendum?’
* Carry on talking to the EU forever
* Reduce number of people on benefits by giving the unemployed each two hours work as Brexit chief negotiator

Posted: 16th, November 2018 | In: Politicians, TV & Radio | Comment


I Was Big Bird: Caroll Spinney retires from Sesame Street

spinney oscar sesame street big bird

 

Oscar the Grouch and big Bird are looking for a new inside man following news that Sesame Street puppeteer Caroll Spinney has retired from the roles he’s performed since the show’s 1969 premiere.

“Big Bird brought me so many places, opened my mind and nurtured my soul,” said Spinney. “And I plan to be an ambassador for Sesame Workshop for many years to come. After all, we’re a family! But now it’s time for two performers that I have worked with and respected – and actually hand-picked for the guardianship of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch – to take my alter-egos into their hands and continue to give them life.”

After five decades as the heart and soul of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, it’s impossible to entirely separate the man from the characters he so vibrantly brought to life. Big Bird visited China with Bob Hope in 1979. He’s danced with the Rockettes, and with prima ballerina Cynthia Gregory. He’s been feted with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, celebrated with his likeness on a U.S. postage stamp, and named a “Living Legend” in 2000 by the Library of Congress. Performing Big Bird has taken Caroll to China, Japan, Australia, France, Germany, Canada, and the United Kingdom. He has performed on hundreds of episodes of television, starred as his big yellow avatar in the feature film Follow That Bird, and conducted symphony orchestras throughout the United States, Australia, and Canada. Spinney even met his wife of 45 years, Debra, on the Sesame Street set in 1973.

From now on, Matt Vogel and Eric Jacobson, will be warming Oscar and Big Bird. For an inkling of what they can expect, Spinney told Jessica Gross in 2015:

There used to be an urban tale that my right arm was twice the size of my left. Although that wasn’t true, I would say it was twice as strong. The bird’s head weighs four and a half pounds, which doesn’t sound heavy until you try to hold it over your head for fifteen minutes. A guy once said, “Well, four and a half pounds, that’s nothing. I could hold a hundred pounds over my head.” I said, “I don’t think so. I bet you can’t hold your empty hand over your head for five minutes, let alone if I put a four and a half pound head in your hand at the same time.” About two and a half minutes into it, he’s going, “Geez…” He never made it to the five minutes. He said, “This is stupid, I’m not doing this.” Well, he was stupid, anyway.

You can see Spinney at work in I Am Big Bird :

 

 

Posted: 19th, October 2018 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, TV & Radio | Comment


Steve Punt is a more convincing Eric Idle than Eric Idle is

BBC Breakfast used a photo of Steve Punt and not Eric Idle during their interview with the former Monty Python stalwart (that’s Idle not Punt):

 

eric idle steve punt

Eric Idle (left) and Steve Punt (right)

 

Punt played Eric Idle in the BBC show Holy Flying Circus, which covered the release of Monty Python’s Life of Brian. 

 

Posted: 17th, October 2018 | In: News, TV & Radio | Comment


Madeleine McCann stars in a sick Facebook quiz and audience growth campaign

Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child. The Daily Record directs our gaze towards a Facebook Post we’re pretty sure nearly everyone missed. Lots of children whose names you will be more familiar with are mentioned in a post on a page run by the “Savage Banter Casuals”. Says the Mirror:

Paige Doherty and Milly Dowler among child murder victims mocked by ‘banter’ Facebook post.

And then more savage banter:

Madeline McCann, Kriss Donald, Holly Wells, Jessica Chapman and Keith Bennett are included in the so called ‘humorous’ social media quizz.

 

madeleine mccann quiz

Best to stick with the tabloidese ‘Maddie’

 

That, of course, is Madeleine McCann and a ‘quiz’. It’s always bet to spell a missing child’s name correctly. But when you’re incandescent with rage, mistakes are easy to make. Thanks to the Record reading an obscure Facebook post, we get to know of a “sick and vile” Facebook quiz “making fun of child murder victims” that “has been revealed”. That’s “revealed” as in ‘read’. And also seen: “The face of each child was photoshopped on top of the English football team, with the caption: ‘Sunday night quiz, name the full 11’.”

The Record reproduces the photo:

 

madeleine mccann quiz

The sick quiz

 

And then the paper helps quizzers with the correct answers. Spoiler alert!

Clockwise, starting from the top left, the tragic kids being mocked in the post are: Madeleine McCann , Tia Sharp, Paige Doherty (pictured twice), Steven Lawrence, Milly Dowler, Kriss Donald, Sarah Payne, Jessica Chapman, Keith Bennett and Holly Wells.

 

maddie mccann

If you don’t want to know the answers, look away now.

 

We then get a small story of each horrific case, and hear from Disgusted of Facebook telling us it’s “disgusting using murdered children’s faces as a joke”. Adding:

The post has now been removed and page administrators have apologised for causing offence.

So the Facebook page is not all that “savage” then. It’s actually just adolescent, sad and apologetic.

In other news, the Daily Mirror’sAudience Growth Editor” hits the web with a story: “The Cry author says Madeleine McCann case DID inspire BBC drama.” 

The scene where they react to Noah no longer being in the car prompted many viewers to compare the the show to Madeleine McCann’s disappearance.

Madeleine McCann went missing from her bed in a real-life horror show. Noah was made up.

In 2007, four-year-old Maddie disappeared from a holiday apartment in Portugal sparking a huge media campaign to find her, that’s still ongoing to this day.

Not so much. It’s more of a police investigation than a media campaign. But, sure, the media did turn the single-thread story of an innocent missing child into ‘Our Maddie’, “every parent’s worst nightmare”.

 

the cry mccann

 

The Cry author told The Herald about the inspiration for her work in a story headlined “The Cry author Helen FitzGerald on how real-life heartache inspired BBC drama”:

THERE is a moment in the first episode of new Sunday night drama The Cry when Jenna Coleman’s character, a washed-out new mother weighed down with baby, buggy and bags, struggles up the steps of her tenement flat.

“I watched it thinking – my God, that was my life,” marvels Glasgow author Helen FitzGerald, upon whose novel the new series is based.

Yes, indeed – author bases work of fiction on own life’s experiences, ideas and thoughts. Who knew? But will that help “audience growth” as much as zooming in on the Maddie McCanna angle? As the Mirror works out which missing child gets the most clicks (who needs Facebook for “sick” stuff?), we learn that like The Cry, FitzGerald’s life was set in Australia, what with her having been born there.

Australian-born FitzGerald, author of a string of successful thrillers, is certain the roots of her novel – which has been adapted by screenwriter Jacqueline Perske – lie [sic] in her experience of new motherhood.

And Madeleine McCann, right? After 15 paragraphs of how her own life shaped her work, we finally reach the Mirror’s headline news:

FitzGerald, now 52, was a teenager in Australia in 1980 when Lindy Chamberlain was wrongfully convicted of murdering her nine-week-old daughter. She claimed she saw a dingo leave the tent where Azaria was sleeping, during a family camping holiday…

In 2007, four-year-old Madeleine McCann vanished from a holiday apartment in Portugal’s Praia da Luz, sparking another high profile media campaign in which accusations were levelled at Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry.

Adding:

“I saw Lindy speaking on television to the McCanns, giving them support and I thought – what a terrible community this is, what an awful thing by which to be bound together.”

She adds: “I have always believed both of them. But thinking about their cases made me wonder – what kind of couple would get away with something like this? What would have to be going on behind the scenes in that relationship?”

And on motherhood:

“Does anyone remember Mr Chamberlain’s name?” she says, wryly. “Lindy was incredibly naïve and open and just had no clue, and she got slaughtered by the media. Her case was really the first example of trial by television.

“Women are always the target, especially when babies are involved. No matter how much we talk about parental or gender equality, that’s what happens.”

Actually, no. We can’t recall his name. Maybe that can be a quiz question? But he’s called Gerry McCann. But, then, he’s not the inspiration for the book and the TV drama as such as Lindy Chamberlain’s story was.

Spoiler: Lindy Chamberlain’s husband was Michael Chamberlain.

Fact: Madeleine McCann is missing. There are no suspects. If you know what happened to her, call the police. Please don’t speculate here.

Posted: 15th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, Tabloids, TV & Radio | Comment


TV reporter Gustavo Almadovar is signing off

Gustavo Almodovar, a one-time reporter for Channel 9 eyewitness news, can’t say his last name without moving his head. “I’m not so sure it’s worthy of the attention it has received,” said Almodovar, who left the Florida station in 2008. “Aside from friends and a few co-workers teasing me about the video, life has been quite ordinary. It’s like bubble gum. People will chew it for a little while, toss it and move on.”

 

 

The Internet got to work. Here’s the disco remix:

Posted: 14th, October 2018 | In: Strange But True, TV & Radio | Comment


Boris Johnson in Kuenssberg and Rigby fake news shocker

boris johnson interview

 

Boris Johnson is back on the telly. Both the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg and Sky’s Beth Rigby have the first televised interview since Johnson resigned as Foreign Secretary. Is it a case of mistaken identity? This might be a mater for the US Supreme Court…

Posted: 28th, September 2018 | In: Politicians, TV & Radio | Comment


Cold War Steve: Steve McFadden stars in an exhibition by Twitter’s greatest artist

Cold War Steve mcfadden

 

The art of Cold War Steve is to feature in an exhibition at The Social, London. Called A Brief History of the World (1953 – 2018), the show’s running thread is the presence of British actor Steve McFadden, famed for playing tough nut Phil Mitchell on the BBBC dystopian soap opera, EastEnders. There’s fun to be had in spotting famous faces from the world stage and British telly. Personal favourites are poleaxed TalkSport DJ Alan Brazil and the late Cilla Black offering a quizzical look to us from the montage – a look that says ‘Who invited you?’ and ‘What the bloody hell am I doing here?’

Christopher Spencer, the talent behind @ColdWarSteve explains it simply: ” The more incongruous they were, the funnier.” And, boy, are they funny:

 

Cold War Steve mcfadden Cold War Steve mcfadden Cold War Steve mcfadden

 

More from @ColdWarSteve on Twitter.  A Brief History of the World (1953 – 2018) is at The Social from October 15.

Posted: 27th, September 2018 | In: Celebrities, News, The Consumer, TV & Radio | Comment


BBC reporter demands people stop using Instagram, Facebook and their phones to look at the BBC

“How do you deal with smartphone ‘zombies’?” asks the Jeremy Vine show on BBC Radio 2. You mean people like Mhairi McFarlane (@MhairiMcF), who responds: “What’s wrong with looking at your phone? I have £500 worth of computer in my pocket containing all my friends and the sum of human knowledge but I’m supposed to prefer what, small talk with random johnnies?” Not talk. Listen. Sorry. LISTEN!

The Vine show’s judgemental man at large is Tim Johns who under his @timoncheese handle tweets: “Here is how I spent my morning: using a megaphone to heckle members of the public for having their heads buried in their phones.”

To which my response is: ever been punched?

Johns is wonderfully lacking in self awareness. He says the people with their faces “buried in their phones” are “completely oblivious to the fact I’m walking around with a big microphone”. Tim, mate, they’re not. They’ve seen you. It’s not the 1950s or Wrexham, when and where you’d cause quite a stir. To wit, the first pedestrian (only three are recorded – and one of them’s a Cabbie) he gets to speak with is an Australian woman. There will be emails home.

Johns is a middle-aged man in central London looking to annoy people minding their own business. He’s more in common with a chugger than a happening. He also has a megaphone slung from his neck “to keep them safe” lest they step out into the road and be killed, or not pay him a blind bit of notice. Give it up Instagram and Snapchat – real narcissists have old media credentials. “Life is more important than Facebook,” Johns chides one stranger. But Facebook might be more important than the BBC.

 

Posted: 6th, September 2018 | In: News, Technology, TV & Radio | Comment


Jed Mercurio’s Bodyguard harks back to the Johnson Dick affair

When not giving the ‘go‘ for an innocent man to be shot dead on the London Underground, Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick is on the PR trail. Last week Dick popped up on Good Morning Britain, the televised middle-class coffee morning, to discuss, among other things, Jed Mercurio’s BBC thriller Bodyguard.

Dick mistook fiction for fact, praising the show’s “senior” females as “role models”, who are, er, actors working to a script. A woman playing a top copper with five lines on the show is not the actual superior to the lower rank plod who plays the show’s star, the actual Bodyguard.

Cressida did, however, manage to say the show was “ridiculous”, turning off as soon as sexual signals were exchanged between the protector and the protected – in the show the Home Secretary and her Bodyguard shag. But is it so far fetched? No.

 

 

In 2011, the BBC reported on a real-life matter:

A police bodyguard to former Home Secretary Alan Johnson has been sacked after an inquiry into an alleged affair with the Labour MP’s wife.

PC Paul Rice, 45, was dismissed by the Metropolitan Police, which condemned him for damaging its reputation.

Mr Johnson quit as shadow chancellor in January as allegations surrounding the affair became public.

The Dick and Johnson Affair – not as ridiculous as it sounds.

Posted: 5th, September 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, TV & Radio | Comment


 Columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown says far Right ‘Allo Allo cast pose threat to British society

Did you see the Nazis massed in Gloucester? There was Herr Flick and the rest of the Herrenvolk who used to star in he BBC’s fly on the wall documentary Allo ‘Allo!.  These recreational Nazis were at the Gloucester Goes Retro festival.

 

Gloucester Goes Retro

 

Columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown spotted them. She noted: “Too busy accusing Labour of anti-Semitism to heed the real scary threat posed posed by the hard right.” Yeah, all four of the Far Right enthusiasts surrounded by media – which is pretty much par for the course when it comes to reporting on Nazis, a minority focus group with huge reach. There the “real” threat – unlike the Jew hatred that’s rife in the Labour Party, which is presumably fakery made up by a team of scriptwriters.

 

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown allo allo nazis

 

As they used to say on the TV show, she’s the one with the ‘big boobies’.

Posted: 30th, August 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, TV & Radio | Comment


NBC announces death of Senator John McCain with mating human dolphins

 

RIP John McCain (August 29, 1936 – August 25, 2018). Victor in six elections to the US Senate, McCain was the US navy pilot who crashed twice. He was was on the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal when his A-4 Skyhawk jet caught fire. He was hit by shrapnel by the plane’s exploding bombs. The accident cost 134 men their lives. He was shot down during the Vietnam War, bayonetted, beaten badly and held for five-and-a-half years as a prisoner in inhuman conditions at the infamous Hoa Lo prison. The admiral’s son survived months in solitary confinement and torture. When he ran for Congress in Arizona, he told a journalist who accused him of not being local:

“Listen pal. I spent 22 years in the Navy. My father was in the Navy. My grandfather was in the Navy. We in the military service tend to move a lot. We have to live in all parts of the country, all parts of the world. I wish I could have had the luxury, like you, of growing up and living and spending my entire life in a nice place like the First District of Arizona, but I was doing other things… The place I lived longest in my life was Hanoi.”

And on CNN

Posted: 26th, August 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Strange But True, TV & Radio | Comment


Peter Firmin: remembering The Clangers, Bagpuss and their creator

peter-firmin bagpuss

 

Peter Firmin (1928-2018) co-created Bagpuss, The Clangers, Basil Brush, Ivor the Engine, Pogles Wood and Noggin the Nog. You might not know the man, but every Briton who grew up in the 1970s knows his work. In 1999, Bagpuss was voted the most popular BBC children’s programme ever made.

It was a family affair. Mr Firmin’s wife Joan made Bagpuss’ paws and knitted the original Clangers. Their daughter Emily played Bagpuss’ owner, who places the saggy old cloth cat in her shop window.  The shop doesn’t sell anything. Each week Emily brings Bagpuss objects to mend and repair. Bagpuss wakes up, explores the new find with his pals and then after so much talk and hard looking drifts back to sleep.

Only 13 episodes were ever made. Each one if wonderful.

 

 

The Clangers are aliens living on small blue planet. They live in caves protected by saucepan lids – the noise of the lids gives the Clangers their name.

As for Mr Firmin:

Born in Harwich in 1928, he trained at the Colchester School of Art and, after a period of National Service in the Navy, he went on to attend the Central School of Art and Design. it was while teaching there that he met Mr Postgate with whom he formed Smallfilms.

In 2016, in an interview with the BBC at the unveiling of an exhibition of his work, Mr Firmin said of his relationship with Mr Postgate: “He wrote and imagined things and I brought them to life as pictures.”

He said: “We sometimes disagreed, but generally we agreed in the end as we had the same sort of taste and, also, we both rather liked the idea of gentle stories where there was no aggression really and everyone was rather happy, gentle and content.”

Mr Firmin was no fan of computer generated imagery. “I hate CGI faces on humans because you look in the eyes and there’s nothing there. There’s no soul.”

In 1974, his knitted Clangers with their black button eyes held an election. The General Election was taking place in the UK and far, far away The Clangers were asking you to Vote Froglet.

The BFI:

On a small blue planet far away, it’s polling day for the Clangers! Coinciding with 1974’s general election, this episode sees narrator Oliver Postgate trying to persuade the ever-popular woolly creatures of the merits of party politics. But the Clangers aren’t taken with the prospect of a society ruled by one group – even though the Soup Dragon stands for election on a ‘free soup for all’ ticket.

Oliver Postgate provides the voice of the narrator who, uniquely in this episode, engages in conversation with the Clangers. Their responses were adapted from the written script and played on swannee whistles by Stephen Sylvester and Oliver Postgate, as usual, while the music was composed by Vernon Elliott. This was the final in the original series of The Clangers which ran for 27 episodes from 1969-74.

 

Posted: 2nd, July 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, TV & Radio | Comment


Shop Smart: Save Money the Hampstead and King Alfred’s School way

Fiona Phillips and Gaby Roslin are plugging a new Channel 5 TV show. Called Shop Smart: Save Money, “their new TV show that encourages savvy shopping”, says the Daily Mail. Both presenters are keen to show how they learnt the value of a coupon and special offer from periods of poverty and periods of “financial issues”. “When I was a student, I had £5 a week to live off,” says Roslin.

Even now, she says she still can’t scatter the cash. ‘I have bills to pay like everyone else. Mortgage, gas, electricity, water, car. We all do.’

Prescient stuff. Says Roslin: “My parents weren’t well off and I was brought up thriftily.”

In 2010, she told the Independent:

From the age of three, all I wanted to be was on television. My dad was a Radio 4 newsreader. He was a friend of Valerie Singleton and I used to go to Television Centre to watch Blue Peter being broadcast…

I got into King Alfred’s, a co-ed, progressive school in Hampstead.

King Alfred School is fee paying. It’s located in one of the country’s most expensive places to buy a home. The current fees t the school are:

Reception, Years 1 + 2 (4 – 6 years):  £ 5,177 per term
Years 3 – 6 (7 – 10 years): £ 5,965 per term
Upper School (11 – 18 years): £ 6,241 per term

The Sun says: “Gaby Roslin is well-placed to give advice on how to get value for money.” Here’s a bit more about King Alfred’s:

You were not told who was top or bottom and you called teachers by their first names. At first, you didn’t have marks. I wasn’t very good at maths but they didn’t say: “Let’s drop it.” You discussed it with the teachers.

Cynics would call it the kind of school wealthy kids who don’t need to write CVs go to.

Posted: 9th, June 2018 | In: Celebrities, TV & Radio | Comment


The Last Line – an outstanding bit of British TV from 1981

In 1981 ATV went to the Wolverhampton Fiesta. Jacqueline was there. She was about to do something dangerous. John Swallow reports:

 

 

Spotter: @aflashbak and @CFBClips – two Twitter accounts well worth following

Posted: 4th, June 2018 | In: TV & Radio | Comment