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Month: February 2010

6Music and the Asian Network must be saved

6Music and the Asian Network must be saved

I’m wondering about the source for the Times’ story on BBC cutbacks. Is it as 24 carat as Rawnsley’s source for Bruiser Brown, or are Murdoch’s henchpersons merely flying a kite? It would be a dark day for broadcasting and choice (Remember that? The thing that free markets were supposed to bring us?) if either 6Music or the Asian Network closed. Even if you listen to neither, the fact that they exist is important. If we let either go, it’s…

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Davies (Alan) at Large

Davies (Alan) at Large

Of all the celebrities on Twitter, Alan Davies (@alandavies1, should anyone be wondering) is by far the most interesting. Not because of what he himself says, which is usually something about Arsenal, but because of his modus operandi, particularly with regard to re-tweeting. For the uninitiated, this is when you take a tweet written by someone else and forward it to everybody following you. Davies has built a career from his regular guy/affable eejit persona (good luck to him –…

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Chance would be a fine thing (slight return)

Chance would be a fine thing (slight return)

Having mentioned that the untransmitted pilot of Chance in a Million was on the new DVD, I was asked elsewhere how the two versions differed. So, here goes. The first half of the pilot Plumstones and the tx version are identical. However, the second half was completely re-shot, indeed recast, and the plot differs considerably. The transmitted version is a much more interesting and satisfying experience, with the absence of the laboured food fight and the neat tying up of…

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The Wogun Inheritance

The Wogun Inheritance

While it’s splendid to have Sir Terry Wogan back on Radio 2, it’s a pity that Michael Ball’s Sunday Supplement had to go to make way for the Togmeister’s return. Couldn’t Steve Wright’s Sunday Love (the Show) Songs have been sacrificed painlessly, allowing Ball to move to the earlier slot?

Chance would be a fine thing

Chance would be a fine thing

I’ve just finished a review for the Oldie of the soon-come DVD of Chance in a Million series 1. For the uninitiated, it was a sublime yet subtle send-up of sitcom conventions, starring the splendid Simon Callow as a man plagued by coincidences and Brenda Blethyn as his loyal librarian girlfriend. Subtle? Yes, for all of its satirical intent, it could also just about be taken on face value as a pure sitcom, and probably was by many viewers when…

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Cycle path on the loose

Cycle path on the loose

Walking back from the shops along our local cycle path yesterday, I had a strange encounter. At a junction, I’d walked across and as soon as I had, I heard a bicycle moving slowly behind me. I made sure that both I and the dog were on the side of the path marked out for walkers and carried on. The cyclist moved to the half of the path marked out for bikes (the one with the big bike painted on…

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Metropolis regained

Metropolis regained

Full marks to the German/French arts channel Arte for going to town with the restored version of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. The screening of the reconstructed film was preceded by half an hour of speeches and interviews, then followed by a documentary on the restoration. I had planned to record the evening’s proceedings for later viewing, but I found myself caught up in the excitement of the occasion, unable to tear myself away, just about following the captions and commentaries with…

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Barrymore spiked

Barrymore spiked

When the Irish chap in the previous Barrymore clip mentioned a troublesome encounter with Spike Milligan, I suspected very strongly that the Cheeseford archives held a copy of it. So it proves. Interesting to see how Barrymore deals with a turbulent guest. Interesting also to see how much Spike was relying on verbatim recitations from his war memoirs by this point. Apologies for the long-play VHS recording on threadbare tape via indoor aerial-type quality of the clip.

Barrymore is less

Barrymore is less

Cards on the table: I like Michael Barrymore. I saw him live at his mid-1980s peak, and I’ve never seen anybody control an audience like him. The self-destructive urge within him prevented him from becoming one of the greats, but, on his day, he was a stunning performer. As for the Stuart Lubbock thing, the basic, horrific fact is that a man drowned in his swimming pool. However, the same happened to Art Malik, and nobody blames him for what…

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Sir John Dankworth (1927-2010)

Sir John Dankworth (1927-2010)

When I heard the news of Sir John Dankworth’s death on the radio this morning, I thought I was hallucinating. I hoped I was hallucinating. After attending the 3 Bonzos and a Piano concert at the Bloomsbury Theatre last night, I and a few friends had stayed up all night talking (mostly moaning about the non-existence of this 24-hour drinking culture that’s supposedly breaking Britain even further – try getting a glass of milk in Soho after 3am and the…

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