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The front page

The front page

Following the roaring success of An Evening with Barry Cryer at Arts Trinity in Leeds last October, the lovely people at RTS Yorkshire asked me back this year to have an inordinate amount of fun on stage with the Chuckle Brothers. Which I duly did. Behind the haplessness of their comic characters is a wealth of skill, knowledge and professionalism. They’re great chaps, and they know the industry backwards, so it was fabulous to get talking about their career and…

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He’s a Gover, not a fighter

He’s a Gover, not a fighter

Yesterday, the rather wonderful Tracey Macleod wrote in the Guardian about the experience of working with Michael Gove on the early 1990s Channel 4 satire show A Stab in the Dark. Understandably, it was traumatic. Hell, it was harrowing enough being a viewer, watching agog as nearly every line failed to get any sort of reaction from the audience. It was one of those shows where the best bit was the scenery. To this day, I can still whistle it….

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Meeting Stanley Baxter (The Oldie, September 2006)

Meeting Stanley Baxter (The Oldie, September 2006)

The name Stanley Baxter means different things to different generations. To younger viewers, he’s Mr Majeika. If you’re a Scot over 40, he’s the ‘Parliamo Glasgow’ man or the best panto dame who ever donned an outsize pair of bloomers. To everyone else, he was ITV’s not-so-secret weapon against Eric and Ernie in the Christmas ratings war. However, you could be forgiven for wondering if he’s still alive, because unlike many performers (Ronnie Barker being the other notable exception), he…

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Stop serving cold Porridge on television (Sunday Express, 22 November 2015)

Stop serving cold Porridge on television (Sunday Express, 22 November 2015)

LOUIS BARFE explores the preference of TV executives to commission remakes of classic series rather than invest in original storylines Viewers used to complain about repeats. Now, the tendency is to reheat, rather than repeat, with cautious commissioners keeping old favourites going long past their sell-by date and ‘rebooting’ the successes of the past. Next year, the BBC marks 60 years since Hancock’s Half Hour moved from radio to TV with its Landmark Sitcom season. The classics will be celebrated…

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Book review: Tragedy of errors (Private Eye, 20 March 2015)

Book review: Tragedy of errors (Private Eye, 20 March 2015)

Pinkoes and Traitors: The BBC and the nation 1974-1987 Jean Seaton (Profile, £30) According to this, the sixth volume of the official history of the BBC, Blue Peter celebrated its 15th anniversary in 1979 (it was the 21st anniversary), the IRA hunger strikes took place in 1982 (1981) and, in the introduction, Live Aid happened in 1984 (1985), while the controversial 1980 documentary Death of a Princess is called a “Channel 4 programme” (it was ITV – Channel 4 did…

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Wogan? Gone? Woe.

Wogan? Gone? Woe.

At this very sad time, let us lighten the mood with a Wogan-related story from ace cameraman and raconteur Roger Bunce: Long, long ago, when hand-held cameras were relatively new toys, and we were still playing with them, it was decided to brighten up (?) the opening of Wogan with a wobbly-vision tour of TV Theatre. One camera (Martin Porter?) would follow Terry as he explored the gallery. A second camera (Muggins) would meet him in the Hospitality Area aka…

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