Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Ian Lavender Has Permission To Speak At Slapstick 2012

Ever wondered what it was like working alongside Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier, Clive Dunn, John Laurie, James Beck and Arnold Ridley? 

Well one man who is perfectly qualified to answer this is Dad’s Army’s own Private Pike, Ian Lavender!

There will be a unique chance to hear Ian discuss in his own words what it was like being in one of the UK's favourite situation comedies when he  comes to Bristol's Slapstick Festival in January 2012.

Ian will be onstage with writer/broadcaster Matthew Sweet  and relate stories of his time on the Dad's Army set, such as how he became a household name in his twenties, what it's like being famous as a 'stupid boy' Private Frank Pike and sharing his experiences working with an extraordinary group of fellow actors for almost a decade.

The evening will include favourite clips from Dad's Army, a showing of a complete episode, music - and more. Plus there is a special questions and answers session where the audience will get the chance to ask Ian a question.

For booking information on this delightful evening of family entertainment in celebration of a classic sitcom visit  the Slapstick 2012 website.

Website Of The Week: James Beck Online

James Beck Web-Card
for Dad's Army Radio Series
One of my favourite Dad's Army fan sites over the years has been Katie Ball's online tribute to James Beck AKA Private Walker.

Jimmy was a very popular member of the Dad's Army cast both on and off screen. He  had appeared in many TV shows, films, radio plays and stage shows outside of Dad's Army. His sad death in 1973 undoubtedly left a space in the show that could never be filled.

Very little has been written about Jimmy since his death except chapters in various Dad's Army books that have included nuggets of information. Thankfully Katie has rectified this on the Internet with a loving tribute to Jimmy taking in clips, cuttings and memorabilia from Jimmy's career.

You can visit James Beck Online here

Those Radio Times! (BBC Radio and TV for 30 November 1975)

This week our time machine, courtesy of the Radio Times takes us back to 1975. As it was Sunday there was a staple diet of the usual shows to expect during the mid 70s including Ed Stewart presenting Junior Choice (BBC Radio 1&2, 8.32am), Jimmy Savile with the Double Top 10 Show (BBC R1, 1pm) and Speak Easy (BBCR1, 2pm), Tom Browne with the Top 20 in stereo (BBC R1, 6.0pm) and Chris Farlowe with Sounds on Sunday (BBC R1, 7pm).

Also today…

Reginald Dixon (BBC R2, 7.3am)

Organist Reginald Dixon was a popular feature on radio by the time this new series of programmes got Sunday’s off to a bright start this day in 1975, as he sat down at the BBC Theatre Organ to play listeners requests.

Charlie Chester (BBC R2, 4.2pm)

Charlie’s Sunday Soapbox entertained listeners for many years with a variety of music old and new. This particular edition also featured popular radio and TV personality Percy Edwards, known at the time for his ability to impersonate a wide variety of animals.

Punchline (BBC R2, 7.2pm)

Terry Wogan refereed Bernard Cribbins, Dilys Laye and Bob Monkhouse in the comedy sketch show developed from sketches written by Myles Rudge. Myles also wrote several of Cribbin’s 60s recordings including Hole in the Ground, Right Said Fred and Gossip Calypso.

The Men From The Ministry (BBC R4, 7.2pm)

Deryck Guyler and Richard Murdoch created more mishaps in the corridors of Whitehall in this week's instalment of The Men From The Ministry entitled Chain Reaction

Funnily enough this episode which was originally broadcast in July 1975 is available to listen this week in 2011 on Listen Again on BBC Radio 4 Extra, be quick though as it changes on December 1st!

The Merry Widow (BBC R4, 8.0pm)

Radio 4 traced the history of the operetta The Merry Widow and the plays struggle to establish itself in the theatres of London and Vienna in the early 20th century.

The New Australian Drama (BBC R3, 10.0pm)

The featured play How Does Your Garden Grow? starred David Casey, Henry Stamper and Miriam Margolyes in a drama by Jim McNeil examining the inter relationship of three Australian Prisoners while retaining an affectionate air of optimism.

On Television...

Todays TV got off to a quiet start on BBC1 at  9.0am (these were still the days before Breakfast TV)  with Nai Zindagi Naya Jeevan, a magazine programme for Asian viewers. Children like myself would frequently sit through such programmes to catch Mary Mungo and Midge afterwards.

BBC 2 got off to an even later start at 6.50pm (not counting their brief Open University broadcast between 12.15 and 1.05pm) with News Review presented by Richard Baker.

Films today included Northwest Passage starring Robert Young and Spencer Tracy (BBC1, 1.55pm), The Battle For Anzio (BBC1, 8.15pm) and Mr Deeds Goes To Town (BBC2, 10.20pm) starring Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur, which was shown as part of Frank Capra week.

Other TV highlights...

The Legend of Robin Hood (BBC1, 5.0pm)

Martin Potter took on the role of Sherwood Forest’s green clad hero in this Sunday afternoon adventure series by Robert Banks Stewart which also featured Diane Keen as Maid Marian.

The Friendly Invasion (BBC1, 10.20pm)

The third part of an Omnibus series looked at the road to rock n roll featuring archive film of Bill Haley, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and The Beatles.

The World About Us (BBC2, 7.25pm)

Peggy Harper looked at the art of the African Mask. 

The film followed Peggy who was working with a group of dancers, actors and musicians in a Nigerian University Campus and her journey to a small Yoruba Town

It was there Peggy would participate in the year’s great festival – the festival of Ogun God of Iron.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

My Old Man Series 2 Release Announced by Network DVD

Network DVD have announced the release of Clive Dunn's second ITV series of My Old Man co-starring Edward Hardwicke and Priscilla Morgan.

Originally broadcast in 1975 the second series featuring Clive as Sam Cobbett  will be released on January 23rd 2012.


The pilot episode of My Old Man originally starred Ronnie Barker as Sam Cobbett and featured in Ronnie's 1973 series Seven of One.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Saturday Superstore: World Records Bing Crosby Collection

1977 saw the departure of perhaps the worlds most high regarded music stars within a month of each other, both Elvis Presley and the legendary Bing Crosby.

World Records were quick to capture the magical essence of Bing with a collection of 6 irreplaceable LP's or cassettes featuring 97 of Da Bingle's greatest recordings.

There was also an album of Bing's duet's with the likes of Rosemary Clooney and The Andrews Sisters included - quite a bundle for just over £14.99.

These days you can replace this irreplaceable vinyl on CD at a cost even less than the box set collection, though without the elaborate album artwork and crackle of well-played vinyl - an essential ingredient to the full Crosby experience!

On Television : Dad's Army - Number Engaged

Lance-Corporal Jones gets into  a
spot of bother in Number Engaged
On BBC Two today at 19:45 in England, Northern Ireland and Wales only you can catch the Dad’s Army episode Number Engaged.

The Walmington-On-Sea platoon are put in charge of a vital telephone line. However; things get out of control when Jones (Clive Dunn) and an unexploded bomb get tangled in the telephone wires.

Number Engaged was originally broadcast in November 1977

Friday, 25 November 2011

Jonathan Cecil 1939-2011

Jonathan Cecil with Clive Dunn
and Ian Lavender in Things That
Go Bump In The Night
I'm saddened to hear of the death of actor Jonathan Cecil at the age of 72 on September 22, 2011.

A popular actor of stage, screen and television  from the mid-1960s Jonathan Cecil was best known for playing vicars, silly ass authoritarians and army captains in various series and prominently featured opposite Peter Ustinov in three Hercule Poirot movies in the 1980s.

His one and only Dad's Army appearance was as Captain Cadbury in the TV episode Things That Go Bump In The Night. A role that he never forgot mainly due to the royalty payments for repeat fees that he later joked still popped up decades after he'd made the episode.

Co-incidentally Jonathan Cecil appeared in the very last TV episode of Dad's Army to feature James Beck as Private Walker. He would later replace Beck in the lead role of Beck's ITV sit-com Romany Jones as Jeremy Crichton-Jones.

Read On: The Guardian's Jonathan Cecil Obituary by Michael Billington

Emily Hurd's Long Lost Ghosts Album Reviewed

Emily Hurd - Used With Permission Emily Hurd
Chicago based singer-songwriter Emily Hurd will be releasing her 8th album Long Lost Ghosts on January 1st 2012. Composed entirely on the ukulele Long Lost Ghosts features what Emily herself describes as "Sweeping folk songs with such intense acoustic energy".

Emily's music is pretty new to me but the album has been on constant play on my iPod over the last few weeks.
I've just posted my review of Emily Hurd's Long Lost Ghosts on line, but be sure to check out Emily's official website as well.

I will be publishing an interview with Emily shortly - check back for more information!

Badge Friday: Geest Bananas

Rachel's badge collection turns up yet another wonderment this week from the 1980s...

Three wise monkeys were used to promote the Geest banana brand with the slogan "Approved by Experts".

Thursday, 24 November 2011

On Radio: Dad's Army - No Spring For Frazer

John Laurie as
Private Frazer
Oh dear! in today's radio instalment of Dad's Army, Private Frazer loses the butterfly spring to the Lewis gun. In order to recover it, both Frazer and Jones need to pay a visit to the home of a recently deceased customer of Jones'

No Spring For Frazer features Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier, Clive Dunn and John Laurie. It was adapted for radio by Harold Snoad and Michael Knowles from Jimmy Perry and David Croft’s original TV script.

Listeners can catch it on BBC Radio 4 Extra today at 08.30, 12.30 and 19.30. This episode was original broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 3rd June 1974

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Website Of The Week: The Dad's Army Discussion Forum

Ever had a burning question about Dad's Army?

Perhaps you wanted to enter into discussions about your favourite character, actor or TV episode.

Dad's Army aficionado Dave Homewood set up a popular forum based on the sitcom a few years ago of which many fans from around the globe now actively participate.

Check out The Dad's Army Discussion Forum here

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Jethro Tull's Aqualung - 40th Anniversary Collector's Edition Reviewed

Jethro Tull - Aqualung
40th Anniversary Special Edition
Used with Permission: Leighton Media
A few years ago I had the privilege of reviewing Jethro Tull at St David's Hall, Cardiff.

For the first time I sampled many of their fabulous songs beyond the radio airplay material I had become accustomed to (Living In The Past and The Witches Promise have always been favourites).

So I jumped at the chance earlier this month to hear the stereo special collectors edition of Aqualung, their historic album which features such classics as My God and Locomotive Breath , celebrated its 40th anniversary this year.
Jethro Tull's emergence on the British music scene in 1969 was undeniably a breath of fresh air. Their debut UK hit Living in the Past mixed front man Ian Anderson's flute playing with back to basics folk rock and heavy guitar riffs signalling the decline of a decade that went from been swinging and hopeful to weary of war and assassinations. 
Jethro Tull's fresh music style took them into the 1970s with the release of their seminal fourth album Aqualung (1971) of which they achieved success on both sides of the Atlantic. That success is celebrated to coincide with Aqualung's 40th anniversary with EMI giving the album a revamp worthy of its historic status, comprising collectors and special editions including new stereo mixes on vinyl, CD. Blu Ray and DVD. 
From hitting the play button, Steven Wilson's new mixes of classic tracks including Locomotive Breath, Hymn 43 and My God have new life breathed into them. Blues, rock, folk and psychedelic musical arrangements now burst with a rawer sounding energy than ever before, previously undetectable on the vinyl stereo segregated releases of yesteryear. 
As die-hard Jethro Tull fans will likely lap up the new stereo mixes of these cherished classics, newer listeners will be astounded to find that much of Aqualung's social comment is still as relevant in 2011 as it was in 1971. 
Recurring themes throughout the album such as global effects on the rich and poor, homelessness prostitution and religion continue to challenge the listening ear. Having just as much relevance now as they did 40 years ago, Aqualung's songs demonstrate that the album leaned more towards social comment than concept album. 
Jethro Tull at the time were unceremoniously tagged as another progressive rock band. The evidence on Aqualung is that Jethro Tull's sound was far more than heavy drum beats and guitar riffs, delivering acoustic brilliance on Cheap Day Return and Slipstream. 
There are tracks of epic proportions too, with both Aqualung and Hymn 43 still making enjoyable listening while Burton Silverman's cover art of Aqualung; the album's iconic tramp character (allegedly inspired by Ian Anderson) has gained a vintage art brilliance of its own. 
A bonus CD of additional Aqualung session recordings also features several rare tracks that didn't make the album's final cut including Lick Your Fingers Clean, an early version of My God, alternate takes of the acoustic track Wond'ring Aloud and a US Radio Spot. 
Topped off with a well researched booklet containing interviews with Ian Anderson and engineer John Burns and rare photographs Aqualung: The 40th Anniversary Edition is an essential addition for anyone looking to replace their well-played vinyl copies or discovering Jethro Tull for the first time.

Those Radio Times! (BBC Radio and TV for 22 November 1961)

Clifford Evans Featured on the Radio Times
cover this week in 1961 alongside Barbara Murray
Today Those Radio Times is taking a very special journey back half a century to the very day fellow blogger Andy Walmsley was born Wednesday 22nd November 1961!

Andy kindly sent me a few scans from that weeks Radio Times so I’m going to pick out a few items Andy and I noticed in the schedules. It’s worth remembering that TV and Radio was very different back in 1961. We only had one BBC TV channel for a start and the BBC radio service was split between The Home Service, The Light Programme and The Third Programme with very little pop music programmes on offer.

International Football (BBC TV 2.15pm; The Light Programme 3.31pm)

The major TV event of the day was undoubtedly International Football between England and Ireland from The Empire Stadium, Wembley on both The Light Programme and BBC Television. Kenneth Wolstenholme provided commentary on television while Raymond Glendenning and Ronald Rosser provided commentary for the second half on radio. The score was 1-1.

Radio For 22 November 1961

Here’s some highlights from today’s radio in 1961 of which Andy points out was orchestral music at the beginning of the day with no Breakfast programmes materialising on radio until 1965 in the form of Breakfast Special. Still, it beats Chris Moyles on Radio 1 50 years later doesn’t it?

Housewives Choice (BBC Light Programme, 9.0am)
Housewives Choice was presented today (and every day this week) by Kenneth Wolstenholme, obviously before he set out to record that day’s football commentary from The Empire Stadium in Wembley. Housewives’ Choice was followed by the daily story, hymn and prayer from Five To Ten (9.55am).

Parade Of The Pops (BBC Light Programme, 12.31pm)
A young Anita Harris (years before Just Loving You, Carry On Doctor and David Nixon) and Ken Jones featured on today’s Parade Of The Pops with Bob Miller and The Millermen and The Raindrops. Introduced by Denny Piercey the show featured the week’s popular music and predictions of hits to come, though it’s likely many of the songs would have been performed live. Does any Parade Of The Pops still survive?

Afternoon Theatre (BBC Home Service, 3.0pm)
Lady Of The Decade was today’s Afternoon Theatre. A comedy by Richard Townshend Bickers, very little information is given as to who starred in it. Does anybody know?

Once Over Lightly (BBC Light Programme, 7.31pm)
Ted Ray and Dick Bentley headed a crazy comedy programme about the week’s current events in Once Over Lightly. Ted’s long running Ray’s A Laugh having already ended the previous January.

Younger Than Springtime (BBC Light Programme 8.0pm)
Jimmy Young’s guests in Younger Than Springtime included The Springfield’s (featuring Dusty!) and pianist Johnny Pearson (who later was a musical director on Top Of The Pops and gave us the TV themes for All Creatures Great and Small and Owen MD).

A Hospital Case (The Third Programme, 8.30pm)
Nigel Davenport, The Navy Lark’s Stephen Murray and Miriam Karlin were amongst the actors who appeared in Italian writer Dino Buzzatti’s A Hospital Case. The drama also featured stage actor in the role of the patient on the third floor – Patrick Magee. Magee would later feature in Stanley Kubrick’s film A Clockwork Orange. At just over two hours it must have been an intense drama!

Jack Jackson (The Light Programme, 10.40pm)
If you had been tuned in to A Hospital Case, there was time after its conclusion to join radio favourite Jack Jackson on his Record Roundabout on The Light Programme. What a nice way to end the day with a mug of Cocoa before Late Date at 11.31pm with the BBC West Of England Players!

BBC Television For 22 November 1961

BBC Television today got started at 10.5am with a programme for Schools: People Of Many Lands. David Jacobs famed for presenting Pick Of The Pops and Juke Box Jury fronted the midweek miscellany known as Wednesday Magazine at 1.30pm which featured Mrs Hugh Gaitskell chatting to Anne Edwards.

Classic Children’s TV favourites today included The Flowerpot Men (4.45pm), Tales of the Riverbank (5.0pm) with commentary by Johnny Morris and Film Club (5.40pm) introduced by Alex Macintosh which today looked at How to Shoot Real Life. The BBC News programme Tonight (6.50pm) featured Cliff Michelmore and Alan Whicker.

A Chance Of Thunder (BBC Television – 8.45pm)

A Chance Of Thunder featured Radio Times cover star Clifford Evans, Peter Sallis (later of Last Of The Summer Wine) and Peter Vaughan (later Grouty in Porridge). Described as an Assassination Thriller by the BFI this was the first of six episodes.

Be My Guest (BBC Television 9.45pm)

Music star Joan Regan said Be My Guest on BBC Television at 9.45pm with guests
Sergio Franchi, Ingela Brander and The Polka Dots. I wonder if Joan featured her forthcoming Christmas single “It Must Be Santa”.

Points North (BBC Television 10.15pm)

Brian Redhead presented the news programme Points North. As Andy Walmsley points out, Brian later presented of Today on BBC Radio 4.

  • Thanks to Andy Walmsley for providing the information for this post and a very Happy Birthday Andy!

You can check out Andy's Random Radio Jottings Blog (which recently celebrated its 1st birthday) here!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Saturday Superstore: Terry-Thomas "Good Show Rumbelows!"

"Good Show Rumbelows!" -
  Radio Times, 1977
Here's another celebrity sanctioned product from 1977.

Good old Terry-Thomas star of countless British comedies of the 50s and 60s became the champion of rental TV company Rumbelows.

On this occasion Rumbelows were promoting two month free viewing packages.

"Good Show Rumbelows!"

No doubt with the TV programmes on the box in 1977 it was!

On Television : Dad's Army - The Misers Hoard

The Series 9 Dad's Army episode The Misers Hoard gets a repeat today on BBC Two (England, Northern Ireland and Wales) at 18.30.

In this episode Captain Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe) plots a way to get Frazer's (John Laurie) sovereigns into his bank.

More information on Dad's Army Series 9

Friday, 18 November 2011

Children In Need : Lego Pudsey

Pudsey Bear Lego Model
As soon as I got in from work tonight I was called upon by the children to help build this cute Lego Pudsey Bear model. Tom was quite please with the result!

Children In Need Is on BBC 1 tonight! To support this great cause visit the Children in Need Website

Badge Friday: Rhymney Valley

A further delve into Rachel's badge collection...

Here's a vintage 70s/80s badge promoting the Rhymney Valley in South Wales. I love the retro stylised font here! Rhymney always stirs up images of the Pete Seeger song The Bells Of Rhymney inspired from words by Welsh poet Idris Davis.

The Bells of Rhymney was later a hit for the 60s pop group The Byrds. Here are the words to the song which has more relevance to me now I live in South Wales. For many years I actually thought many of the place names were from a fairy tale!

Oh what can you give me? 
Say the sad bells of Rhymney. 
Is there hope for the future? 
Cry the brown bells of Merthyr. 
Who made the mine owner? 
Say the black bells of Rhondda. 
And who robbed the miner? 
Cry the grim bells of Blaina. 

They will plunder willy-nilly, 
Cry the bells of Caerphilly. 
They have fangs, they have teeth, 
Say the loud bells of Neathe. 
Even God is uneasy, 
Say the moist bells of Swansea. 
They will plunder willy-nilly, 
Say the bells of Caerphilly. 

Put the vandals in court, 
Say the bells of Newport. 
All would be well if, if, if, 
Cry the green bells of Cardiff. 
Why so worried, sisters, why? 
Sang the silver bells of Wye. 
And what will you give me? 
Say the sad bells of Rhymney.

Book Review: The Real Dad's Army by Norman Longmate

The Real Dad's Army by Norman Longmate
- Amberley
One wonders if it hadn’t been for the popularity of a particular wartime based sitcom, if the Home Guard would ever have been remembered to the degree they are today. 

Norman Longmate’s book on the real Home Front heroes was originally issued in the early 1970s at the height of Dad’s Army’s TV success. It has been a much sought after read in the decades since it was originally published by anyone with more than a curious interest in World War Two Home Front Defence.

Amberley have refreshed and revised the original title and produced an excellent book packed with photographs, illustrations and anecdotes from original members of the Home Guard. 

The result shows that Jimmy Perry and David Croft weren’t that far off the mark when writing about the escapades of the Walmington-On-Sea platoon.

The response in some quarters to Sir Anthony Eden’s call to take up arms in the event of an enemy invasion in 1940 is likened to events at tea parties leaving the real work to be done by vicars and bank managers. 

When Local Defence Volunteer platoons were formed the public refusal to believe these men were doing anything but playing soldiers was met with humour and disdain when curfews and blockades were implemented.

One humorous story refers to one LDV leader checking a young couple's identity cards after an imposed curfew. He asked them "Do you know you have been in a prohibited area?" "Oh no he hasn't" snapped the girl.

A recommended read and certainly a title that should be read by anyone with an interest in Home Defence.

The Real Dad's Army by Norman Longmate is published by Amberley.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

On Radio: Dad's Army - The Menace From The Deep

Radio Times Listing
for repeat of 

Menace From The Deep
February 13, 1978
The Menace from the Deep adapted by Harold Snoad and Michael Knowles from Jimmy Perry and David Croft’s original TV script gets a repeat airing on BBC Radio 4 Extra today at 08.30, 12.30 and 19.30.

In this episode, it’s the end of the pier show as The Walmington-On-Sea Platoon find themselves marooned and facing a bigger enemy than ARP Warden Hodges.

This episode was original broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 27th May 1974

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Website Of The Week: David Croft Official Website

David Croft signing my copy of
Dad's Army - The Missing Episodes in 2000
This weeks featured Dad's Army related website is the official website relating to the shows late producer David Croft.

Not only does this well designed site feature much about David's life but also his work on other TV series such as It Ain't Half Hot Mum!, Hi-De-Hi, Allo, Allo and Oh! Doctor Beeching.

It is certainly a credit to David's life and career.

You can visit David Croft's Official Website here

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Those Radio Times! (BBC Radio and TV Selections for November 15, 1977)

On my ongoing trawl through old editions of the Radio Times, I've handpicked a couple of BBC TV and Radio shows from Tuesday, November 15, 1977 which were highlighted by that weeks edition of the listings magazine or have a particular memory for me...

Paul Burnett (BBC Radio 1, 11.31am – 2.0pm)

A revamp of BBC Radio 1 in November 1977 meant that some weekday shows would now be longer than usual and that included Paul Burnett’s show.

Paul told the Radio Times
‘All these changes on Radio 1 will give us a better idea of where we are and who we are talking to, over the next few years. I think we’ll become more aggressive in the best sense of that word. After all, people shouldn’t forget we were concieved as an answer to the pirates. 
The extra half-hour won’t mean I’ll be changing my format too much. People say I should do more impersonations but I can’t just force them. Some days they come, some days I’d rather play the music.’
The Burkiss Way (BBC Radio 4, 6.30pm) 

This evening in 1977 the surreal comedy sketch show The Burkiss Way returned to the airwaves to look at the secret of dynamic living, starring Nigel Rees, Chris Emmett, Jo Kendall and Fred Harris.

The Burkiss Way’s Radio Times listings were usually as entertaining as the shows themselves playing around with the listing format and sometimes angling for more space this weeks RT been no exception. The show was repeated on Thursday at 12.27pm with the listing reflective of Radio Times no – nonsense brief approach.

Big John, Little John (BBC1, 5.10pm) 

TV today in 1977 included Big John, Little John an American comedy series about science teacher John Martin (Herb Edelman) who found himself continually reverting to a younger version of himself (Robbie Rist) following a drink from the “fountain of youth”. As entertaining as this series was no-one ever seemed to question the dissimilarities between Edelman and Rist.

It Ain't Half Hot Mum (BBC1, 8.0pm) 

Windsor Davies and Michael Bates starred in Jimmy Perry and David Croft’s war-time sit-com It Ain’t Half Hot Mum which this week featured The Concert Party contriving to organise a supply air drop and receiving two cases of Christmas Puddings.

The Goodies (BBC2, 9.10pm)

Over on BBC2 at 9.10pm (following a Party Political Broadcast from The Labour Party), Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie aka The Goodies by Royal Command staged a variety show, invaded the Palace, created a coronation and lost their infamous three-seater bike. Sounds like great fun!

The Old Grey Whistle Test (BBC2, 11.25pm)

Finally, The Old Grey Whistle Test (BBC2, 11.25pm) featured performances from Cher and Greg Allman and Bob Sidran. The show was introduced by Bob Harris.

Further Reading:

John Le Mesurier Remembered

John Le Mesurier's self-penned death notice
The Times, 16 November 1983
John Le Mesurier, Sergeant Wilson in Dad's Army died on 15 November 1983.

His self-penned death notice published in The Times the following day said stated: "John Le Mesurier Wishes it to be known that he conked out on November 15th. He sadly misses his family and friends."

John's announcement certainly raised a few smiles which is undoubtedly what he would have wanted.

John's autobiography A Jobbing Actor was published posthumously.

More on John Le Mesurier: John Le Mesurier 1912 - 1984

Monday, 14 November 2011

The Blues Band in Concert - Reviewed

The Blues Band -
Courtesy Of GTA Music
On a very wet and windy November 4th, I ventured out to Newport Riverfront to catch Paul Jones, Tom McGuinness, Dave Kelly, Gary Fletcher and Rob Townsend AKA The Blues Band.

I last caught this band a few years ago and have seen Paul, Tom and Rob also perform with The Manfreds. I have to say unlike some bands you never get the same concert twice and they are always a joy to catch live on stage.

For more news on The Blues Band and their latest album "A Few Short Lines" check out the Blues Band official website.

Calling All Cars! - Radio Classics Now Available From Radio Archives

Calling All Cars: Volume 1 - Radio Archives
I recently had the chance to review the classic radio series Calling All Cars from Radio Archives now available in audiobook format.

This police series was originally broadcast in the 1930s on radio networks across the United States and miraculously many episodes seem to have survived!

20 such examples were released in the first of five volumes of this series - check out my review on Calling All Cars: Volume 1 here!

Dad's Army - Never Too Old

The final episode of Dad's Army was broadcast on Remembrance Sunday, November 14, 1977 on BBC1 at 8.10pm.

Never Too Old not only coincided with Remembrance Sunday but also raised a toast to the brave members of the Home Guard in the closing moments of the programme.

Slightly longer than the usual Dad's Army episodes Never Too Old runs for approximately 35 minutes and was one of several episodes never to be adapted for radio (the radio series having ended in 1976).

The Radio Times also featured a photograph of Clive Dunn and Pamela Cundell to promote the episode.

Never Too Old is available on the Complete Ninth Series DVD and the Complete Collection DVD.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Remembrance Sunday 2011

Today we remember those who have bravely served their country in conflicts so that we can have the freedom to live the lives we do.

Not only have many soldiers lost their lives while serving their country but also many on the home-front while these conflicts were occurring.

Remember them by giving a donation to The British Legion.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Check Out Latest Dad's Army News On Walmington-On-Sea 333 Blog

"Walmington-On-Sea... Wilson? - Just Checking On The Number"
Today, I've launched my new blog  dedicated to the classic TV comedy series Dad's Army created by Jimmy Perry and David Croft.

The blog called Walmington-On-Sea 333 will compliment my static Dad's Army tribute site featuring news updates and items relating to the Dad's Army series,  if you are a fan of the series please remember to bookmark the name Walmington-On-Sea 333.

New Dad's Army Blog: Walmington-On-Sea 333

"Walmington-On-Sea... Wilson? - Just Checking On The Number"
Today, I've launched my new blog  dedicated to the classic TV comedy series Dad's Army created by Jimmy Perry and David Croft. The blog called Walmington-On-Sea 333 will compliment my static Dad's Army tribute site featuring news updates and items relating to the Dad's Army series, it's writers, actors, the programmes and the real life Home Guard.

I will occasionally cross link some posts to Retrospace but if you are a fan of the series please remember to bookmark the name Walmington-On-Sea 333.

Ian Lavender "Salutes You, Sir!" On Radio 4 Extra

Ian Lavender as
Private Pike
As a tie in with this weekends Armistice and remembrance tributes BBC Radio 4 Extra are rebroadcasting Ian Lavender’s homage  to BBC Radio's comedies about the Armed Forces,  the three hour special Salutes You, Sir! - Forces Fun from the BBC.

The programme includes six classic BBC programmes including:

Merry-Go-Round - originally broadcast: 14/09/1945
ITMA - originally broadcast: 29/3/1945
Merry-Go-Round - originally broadcast: 08/08/1945
The Navy Lark: 'Mysterious Radio Signals' - originally broadcast: 06/06/1971
Merry-Go-Round - originally broadcast: 11/04/1945
Dad's Army: 'Sergeant, Save My Boy' - originally broadcast: 11/03/1975

The programme will be broadcast at 09.00 and again at 19:00.

Knights Of Madness on BBC Two

Also on BBC Two today at 18:30 in England, Northern Ireland, Wales only you can catch a rerun of the Dad’s Army episode Knights of Madness in which Captain Mainwaring and the platoon stage a battle of St George versus the dragon. 

This edition of Dad’s Army will be repeated in Scotland on November 18, 2011.

More information on Dad's Army Series 9

Welcome To Walmington On Sea 333

Pay attention!

Here's another little part of the web universe dedicated to the wonderful television series Dad's Army created by the talented team of Jimmy Perry and David Croft.

Around 15 years ago Dad's Army didn't have a very large presence on the Internet, in the years that have ensued that has changed. As well as numerous websites including the online tribute there are also forums and podcasts.

In recent years I have had little time to update my regular Dad's Army website, family life, work and other interests having taken a larger priority though my love for this classic TV series has remained and endured.

I have been proud to be involved with several Dad's Army projects including advising on the 2001 BBC documentary Missing Presumed Wiped and assisting with information on the BBC DVD releases.

So, this blog will be designed to compliment The Dad's Army Retrospace site (formerly known as, featuring news on updates, useful links and information for Dad's Army fans old and new.

I will also be posting occasional articles and competitions, so please check back regular!

Fall Out!

One to Watch: George Harrison Remembered in Arena Documentary

Known as 'The Quiet Beatle', George Harrison got on with pursuing new sounds wile John, Paul and even Ringo stole the limelight. Harrison was always forthright in pushing forward - even from the beginning.

When Beatles Producer George Martin asked the boys if there was anything they didn't like , George was the first to pipe up: "For a start, I don't like your tie".

Martin Scorcese's new documentary shifts the spotlight over to George (who died ten years ago, this month) in this long awaited look at the quiet Beatle who sought creative excellence through spirituality and Indian music.

George Harrison: Living in the Material World begins on BBC2 at 9.45pm tonight and concludes tomorrow.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Badge Friday: Rheilffordd Gwili Railway

Gwili Railway Badge
- "Merlin"
Here's another badge from Rachel's vintage collection...

The Gwili Steam Railway (Welsh: Rheilffordd Ager y Gwili) is a preserved Standard Gauge Steam Railway situated just north of Carmarthen, West Wales operating a short section of the former Carmarthen to Aberystwyth railway that closed for passenger traffic in 1965, the track being lifted in 1975.

The Gwili Railway was formed in 1974 and, by 1978, had purchased and rescued about eight miles of track and was running an initial steam-hauled service on a one-mile section of it. The Gwili Railway has the distinction of becoming the first standard-gauge preserved railway to operate in Wales when it re-opened the one-mile section of the Carmarthen-Newcastle Emlyn route from its base at Bronwydd .

As a student with a cleaning job in Bronwydd in the mid-90s I’d frequently hear the whistles of the steam trains coming over from the railway.

We’ve since visited the railway on a few occasions with our children to enjoy the Thomas The Tank Engine rides.

This badge features an illustration of the Merlin engine – not sure when probably late 70s / early 80s.

For more on Gwili Railway visit their official website


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