It takes a hell of a lot to get me wearing a tie these days. Why, then, did I wear one to sit watching archive television and drinking myself into oblivion (or Mr TSW 1982, as oblivion is known officially) with several good friends last Saturday?
This is not just any old piece of neckwear. It is the LWT staff tie I was given for use in last year’s advent calendar. It says everything about the quality of the company I was in last Saturday that I was lucky to escape with both my life and the tie when I finally made my exit. No item of clothing owned by me has ever been coveted by anyone (and, in this assessment, I am including nude tramps) before. So, what other broadcasting-related ties are out there? I know of an excellent one, owned by a friend and sometime reader of these pages. Also, which bit of broadcasting iconography would you most like to see embroidered into a bit of neckwear? I’m in the market for a cravat depicting the original Harlech ident.
Bloody hell, I knew that the Daily Mail was a stinking dross-heap of a publication, but even I was slightly taken aback to read this tale of its non-existent ethics. At the moment, the degree of blame to be shouldered by the journalist who wrote the article is unknown. A hell of a lot can happen when subs get their hands on an innocent article, with ‘improving’ it on their minds.
Right, let’s get the Les Dawson 80th birthday celebrations underway with this spiffing show opener from the first Sez Les of series 8, currently available on DVD. Script by Cryer and Nobbs, tailors to the gentry:
Les Dawson would have been 80 this coming Wednesday. As my biography of him is nearing completion, I am more aware of this than most. I’ve spoken to many of the people who worked with him, and all loved him. His spirit has been a benign presence in my house for the two and a half years since the book was commissioned, and while many biographers end each book with diminished respect for their subject, mine for Dawson, already high when I set out, has grown. I shall mark the occasion with fine Scotch whisky and a black pudding taste test. Dawson once got into a heated debate about the way this fine delicacy should be cooked. Dawson maintained that they should be boiled, but the other participant held that they should be fried. That the other participant was the Duke of Edinburgh and that Dawson was able to disagree with him good-naturedly but forcefully in the face of protocol and etiquette says much about both men and the respect they had for each other.
Meanwhile, how is this occasion being marked by broadcasters? ITV is showing a 10-year-old half-hour documentary about the great man. I’m not complaining, because my VHS recording of the original transmission is missing the first five minutes, but is that really it? The BBC, which employed him for the last 15 years of his life, and which could repeat his excellent and charming Comic Roots documentary from 1982, where he visits the Mancunian streets of his youth and the cotton mills where the prototypes for Cissie and Ada worked, isn’t bothering at all. Sadly, I can’t share that one, but expect some good clips to appear here on Wednesday.