Sunday, 31 July 2011

Newport Scenes: Riverfront and City Centre

"You Are Not Here"
"It's A Jungle Out There!"
"Where's NEWPORT?"

Take The 'A' Train
"All Aboard!"
Here's some more pics I took in and around town yesterday of Jon, Tom and Seren in between shopping trips and collecting Seren from dancing.

Those Radio Times! (BBC TV and Radio Selections for 31 July 1968)

The Apprentice - 1968 Style? - Radio Times
BBC TV highlights on Wednesday, 31 July 1968 included How To Make Your First Million at 6.40pm which told the stories of inventors and scientists who became businessmen. To be a success it may take them not only brilliance but courage too - especially if you chose a field where as the programme was titled Big Brother Is Watching You...

Featured in the programme was Ian Barron who set up his own business after his previous firm told him: "If you want to think up bright new ideas for computers, don't do it in the firms time, do it in the bath!". One wonders if this programme which asked if there was room in the world for new entrepreneurs served as an inspiration over teatime for a young Alan Sugar? 

Probably not! - He was probably very busy setting up his next task!

Dad's Army Begins on BBCTV

Dad's Army Begins... - Radio Times
Following The Virginian (BBC1, 7.6pm), a new comedy series set at the outbreak of the second world war began on BBC1.

Dad's Army (BBC1, 8.20pm) by Jimmy Perry and David Croft starred Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier and Clive Dunn and would become a regular fixture on British TV Screens for the next 9 years... This first episode entitled The Man and The Hour told of how Bank manager George Mainwaring responds to his country's call to form a platoon of Local Defence Volunteers.

Dad's Army is still rightly regarded as a comedy classic in 2011, with regular repeats on BBC2 and the shows still enjoyed by generations of new fans...

There was a choice of viewing later on on BBC1  and 2. There was a repeat of the critically acclaimed Playbill: A Breach In The Wall (BBC1, 9.5pm) by Ray Lawler starring Robert Harris, Barry Justice, John Phillips and Rosemary Leach. If that was not to your taste Rita Hayworth, Gene Kelly and Phil Silvers dished out some classic comedy in The Hollywood Musical : Cover Girl (BBC2, 9.5pm).

Radio Highlights For July 31, 1968

Sounds Of The 60s -  In The 60s! - Radio Times
Radio Highlights for Wednesday July 31st 1968 included Brian Matthew presenting The Brian Matthew Show (Radio 1,10.0am), Chris Denning with Midday Spin (Radio 1, 12.0pm), Parade of The Pops (Radio 1, 1.0pm) with Bob Miller and the Millermen and special guests The Equals (no doubt playing their current hit Baby Come Back!), The Foggy Dew-o (Radio 1, 7.45pm) welcomed listeners to My Kind Of Folk with Cy Grant with Humphrey Lyttleton  following straight after with Jazz Club (Radio 1, 8.15pm).

Woman's Hour (Radio 2, 2pm) featured Peggy Ashcroft reading part 8 of Sido by Colette. The Billy Cotton Band Show (Radio 2, 7.45pm) featured Alan Breeze, Rita Williams and The Bandits and Mr 'Wakey Wakey' himself. Desmond King Hill looked forward to 'The Year 2000' (Radio 3, 10.35pm) which featured improbable and probable scenarios of the future created by The Hudson Institute, near New York.

Movie Go-Round (Radio 4, 9.35am) was a shortened version of Sunday's Radio 2 broadcast presented by Peter Haigh. This weeks edition looked at Speedway starring Elvis Presley and Nancy Sinatra, On Location with Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, John Mills and Richard Attenborough with Oh! What a Lovely War! and a look at The Killing Of Sister George starring Beryl Reid.

Wilfred Pickles read  Part 1 of JB Priestley's The Good Companions in Story Time (Radio 4, 5.25pm) while Desert Island Discs (Radio 4, 7pm) featured Mr Grimsdale AKA Edward Chapman in conversation with Roy Plomley.

Chapman's musical choices included Now You Has Jazz by Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong and My Blue Heaven by Gracie Fields. His luxury was Cigarettes and Whisky. This was a repeat of Monday's broadcast.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Newport Scenes: Read The Smallprint!

Newport City Centre Shop Poster
Always chuckle at little posters in shops designed to catch comsumers out and I'm not really sure why this drab poster in Newport City Centre caught my eye except for the fact that everything in the shop is coming down in price except the trousers...

Surely trousers always have to come down at some point?

Saturday Superstore: P&O Liners - 1968 Style

P&O Ferry Advert - Radio Times 1968
It's holiday time! So I thought I'd dig out a trip on a liner this week!

Emigrating or going on holiday back in 1968 P&O were offering you a direct route via one of their nine P&O liners out of the UK for September that year. Brings back memories of Carry On Cruising and Doctor in Trouble!

Friday, 29 July 2011

Badge Friday: Dan Dare

Dan Dare Badge - 1980s
Dan Dare - Pilot Of The Future was a popular cartoon strip that ran weekly in the boys comic Eagle in the 1950s.

This badge however, despite its classic look was free with the revamped Eagle in the mid 1980s. I had purchased some earlier editions of this version (which also relaunched the Dan Dare strip - now featuring an offspring of the original Dare).

The Dan Dare badge came free with Eagle after I stopped buying the comic, indeed it was my brother who bought this particular edition and later gave me the badge!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Children's Activities: Captain America Mask

Tom as Captain America
Here's a picture I took in my kitchen a few weeks ago of my son, Tom as the legendary Captain America who is co-incidentally hitting cinema screens this weekend...

Tom's wearing one of two masks he and Jon made a few years ago, the mask was actually printed in the page of a comic, so I photocopied it twice and stuck them both on card (saves buying two comics) and subsequently cut them out and attaching elastic bands to attach to the ears.

Funnily these have lasted a few years with the boys playing with them from time to time - a rare thing indeed!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Anthony Hopkins In Concert

Sir Anthony Hopkins with Michael Seal,
Conductor of the CBSO - Andy Howells
This weeks Wordless Wednesday pics consist of  a collection of pictures I snapped at the special  Sir Anthony Hopkins in Concert  event at St.David's Hall, Cardiff on Sunday evening.
Members of The CBSO with conductor, Michael Seal
- Andy Howells
Apologies for the quality of the pictures as they were taken on my mobile phone,  but I hope you will still enjoy them!
Members of The CBSO with Sir Anthony Hopkins
- Andy Howells
Sir Anthony Hopkins addresses the audience
Andy Howells
Sir Anthony Hopkins is known worldwide for his award-winning roles in films such as Silence of the Lambs, Remains of the Day and Shadowlands. Perhaps a lesser known fact is that he is also an accomplished musician who also writes music.

A special concert highlighting the Oscar winning screen stars compositions as well as some of the scores from his best known films took place in his homeland of Wales at St David’s Hall Cardiff on Sunday July 24th 2011.

The concert was a climax of a week long series of festival performances by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and chorus conducted by Michael Seal. Presented by producer Tommy Pearson, the event entitled Sir Anthony Hopkins in Concert also featured Sir Anthony himself talking about his musical inspirations and his early life in Wales.

The concert featured a diverse range of moods including music that was fabulous, romantic, calm, rip-roaring eerie and downright scary. It began with a dynamic performance of Hopkins’ own composition Orpheus which was inspired by a play he saw on the BBC in the 1950s about Orpheus and Euridice. This dramatic opener utilised the Orchestra and chorus to its full potential and was only a foretaste of the marvelous evening which lay ahead for the audience.

Following the CBSO’s performance of Orpheus, Sir Anthony Hopkins, looking graceful and enigmatic, despite a recent foot injury, stepped onto the stage and was subsequently greeted by a standing ovation.

Sir Anthony revealed that it was almost 56 years to the day (July 25th 1955) that he had auditioned and was ultimately accepted to study acting at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
This was the beginning of a long and illustrious career, however; following one path also meant that he would leave another behind another and so largely forgone his passion for becoming a musician. With a Grundig Tape Recorder purchased for him by his father, young Anthony continued to write and record what he described as “Snatches of Tunes” over the years. The result: a collection of compositions which would be heard in concert for the very first time.

As Sir Anthony’s unmistakable gaze peered out across the audience of St David’s Hall it became apparent that he was clearly moved by the warm reception he received at a musical event he stated "didn't think would ever be possible".

Sir Anthony’s introduction was immediately followed by CBSO’s dramatic presentation of Howard Shore’s music from the film Silence of the Lambs. As the haunting music reached a tremendous crescendo, it felt slightly eerie sitting in the presence of the man who had so expertly brought an Oscar winning performance of the films central character, Hannibal Lecter to the cinema screen.

Further music from Sir Anthony Hopkins films were also showcased including the premiere of a specially prepared suite from Thor by composer Patrick Doyle. There was also a spine-tingling presentation of Alex Heffes music from the film The Rite which was quite a contrast to the later presentations of the gentle tones and intricate violin playing of Richard Robbins music from The Remains of the Day and George Fenton’s composition of ShadowlandsThis was indeed a unique chance to enjoy film music on its own merit.

Sir Anthony's own compositions featured in the concert were a stark contrast to the dramatic film music featured, remaining wonderfully honest and open. The music illustrated wild and free images of young boy growing up in Wales in the middle of the Twentieth Century recalling open fields and fairgrounds, while the aria: Stella was a piece of music dedicated to his wife, who was also present at the concert.

The Waltz Goes On was a composition, according to the concert notes, he “just made up” on the piano in the green room at the Playhouse Theatre, Liverpool in 1965 and was prompted to write down. It was subsequently premiered 42 years later by Andre Rieu’s Johann Strauss Orchestra at the Place Belvedere, Vienna and made its grand Welsh live premiere at this concert.

Shadowlands composer George Fenton’s name was again recalled as helping Sir Anthony compose a tribute to the Welsh town he grew up in entitled MargamAmerika reflected Sir Anthony’s own hopes and dreams as a child of visiting a vast country of rocky mountains and places like New York and Chicago which he had seen in a book.

Following the CBSO presentation of Sir Anthony Hopkins suite 1947 which featured the pieces Circus, Bracken Road and The Plaza, Sir Anthony returned to the stage and recalled to the audience: “My Life has been a dream” encouraged by his parents to do things “for fun and for free”. He concluded: “This has been a tremendous journey to come back to my homeland to be with you”.

As the screen legend left the stage to another standing ovation and rapturous applause it was clear everybody certainly agreed.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Anthony Hopkins Live In Concert Reviewed

Anthony Hopkins
Yes - you read right - the legendary Sir Anthony Hopkins was live in concert at Cardiff's St David's Hall on Sunday evening. No, the great man hasnt taken up singing but he  is a composer of several great pieces of music, some of which were played by the CBSO .

I went along to review the concert (and was on the second row from the front) - you can read my review online now: Sir Anthony Hopkins Returns To Wales' Homeland For Concert Night

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Music Finds: Imelda May, Jimi Hendrix and The Rat Pack

Bargain Prices: Jimi Hendrix
and The Rat Pack
Three bargain CD's purchased in Newport City Centre today, although one is newer than than the other two but I'll still give it a mention because of its retro sound and classy vocalist!

Imelda May's Mayhem was only released last year but includes some fabulous tunes with a jazz / rockabilly feel including a spectacular cover of Tainted Love, Psycho, Pulling the Rug and Johnny's Got a Boom Boom. Quite a bargain from HMV for £3!

I've purchased Rat Pack bargains before, for as many of you know, I enjoy the cool easy style of Messrs Sinatra, Martin and Davis Jr and The Rat Pack - Live and Cool double CD was too much of a treat to pass on from Poundland for a mere £1. 

Mayhem by Imelda May
Unlike some compilations this album features good quality recordings of the trio recorded live in the 1960s with banter  and classics such as Fly Me To The Moon, Chicago, What Kind Of Fool Am I and My Kind Of Town. A good example as to where the current Rat Pack tribute shows get their inspiration from if I'm not mistaken!

Finally, I walked into a charity shop and picked up Experience Hendrix: The Best Of Jimi Hendrix, a 20 track compilation of the guitar kings greatest hits for a mere 50p. The album includes classics like Hey Joe, All Along The Watchtower, Purple Haze and Voodoo Chile, many tracks which had been on my to get list for a while!

Saturday Superstore: Sanatogen - 1968 Style!

Sanatogen Advert - Radio Times 1968
Everyone's being trying to keep up with The Jones's for as long as I can remember but on a health and fitness note it seems The Turners were the forerunners in boundless energy and "Get-up-and-go!" as this ad promoting the use of Sanatogen back in 1968 proves!

Mr Turner seems to be getting ready to rake the garden in his sports jacket - not sure what Mrs Turner is up to...

Thank goodness for The Turners and Sanatogen!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Badge Friday: The Prisoner

The Prisoner No.2 Badge - 1990s
Here's a more recent badge in that it was acquired in the last 16 years and has a design based on a the retro TV classic series The Prisoner!

I didn't actually catch the series starring Patrick McGoohan until the 1980s when it was repeated on Channel 4.

I couldn't pretend to even understand half of what was going on within the context of the storyline but loved the series pop culture feel and surreal story lines.

My best college friend Andy Musker would make regular pilgrimages to the village where The Prisoner was filmed Portmeirion and one year sent me several bits of memorabilia from a trip - I particularly loved this badge and have treasured it since Andy gave it to me!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Mr Stink : Live On Stage Reviewed

Smelly fun with Mr Stink
Last night, the children and I went along to Cardiff New Theatre to review the stage adaptation of David Walliams book Mr Stink.

The play itself takes theatre into new realms with the provision of a Scratch and Sniff book to enable you to smell as well as see whats going on.

Here's my review of the production:

David Walliams' Mr Stink Take a hilarious children’s book about a vagabond by Little Britain comedy performer David Walliams, illustrated by the legendary Quentin Blake, adapt it for stage and throw in some catchy songs for good measure and what do you get? Mr Stink – Live on Stage!

The production has all the elements of heart-warming storytelling and a family fun orientated musical. Reminiscent of the very best stories by Roald Dahl, Mr Stink - Live On Stage cheekily enlists the help of a scratch and sniff book to pull each member of the audience further into the narrative.

Mr Stink - Live On Stage tells the story of how young Chloe Crumb befriends an old tramp and his dog in a park near her home. Chloe feels an affinity with the old tramp, known as Mr Stink as she also feels an outcast from her classroom peers and her overbearing mother who is currently running to be elected as a local MP. Chloe invites Mr Stink to stay in her parents’ garden shed with an unexpected but humorous outcome.

Children and adults alike are drawn into Mr Stink - Live On Stage from the opening moments, encouraged by Mr Stink's dog Duchess to use the scratch and sniff books to smell various scenes of the play. Indeed the Scratch and Sniff book takes theatre into new realms as the audience gets the chance to sniff (amongst other things) Mr Stinks, boots, Raj's Sweet Shop and Mr Stink taking a dip in the bird bath. The sounds of "Yeuch!" and "Poo!" emitting from the adults in the audience as much as the children, clearly having lots of fun!

The show also features the effective use of puppets including Duchess the Dog and Chloe’s brattish sister, Annabelle which cleverly keep the tale placed within the fantasy realms of a children’s storybook. This is complimented by the Quentin Blake inspired set that changes with ease from a park setting, to the Crumb's dining room, garden shed, Raj's shop and TV studio.

Mr Stink is brought to life from the printed page via Peter Edbrook’s characteristically gentlemanly portrayal of David Walliams' wondrous creation.

Complementing Edbrook’s portrayal is Lotte Gilmore’s wide-eyed endearing performance as Chloe.

Gilmore delights in several solo musical scenes particularly as she sings “Homeless in My Heart”.
The musical highlight of the production “Unimaginable Kindness” illustrates the pair at their most enthralling singing and dancing together in the rain,whilst giving a nod to Gene Kelly in Singin’ in the Rain at the same time.

Similarly, the caricatured performances of Irvine Igbal and Mark Peachey in a variety of comic roles, and Julia J Nagle as Mrs Crumb, give the production energy and thrust, driving it along effortlessly while at the same time making it thoroughly entertaining.

Nagle and ensemble’s performance of Crumb’s MP campaign singing "Wake Up and Smell the Coffee", puts Irvine Igbal to the challenge as he changes into several different characters in quick fire time.

KW & NB Ltd and Curve Leicester with Hackney Empire and Nottingham Playhouse’s production of Mr Stink –Live On Stage is certainly one of the finest family orientated musical productions touring the United Kingdom at the moment.

It continues to tour the UK until December, 2011.

  • This blog post was updated on April 20, 2013 to accommodate my original review.


Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Dalek Attack!

Doctor Jon Takes On The Resident Dalek!
Dalek Comes Face To Face With Doctor Tom
A couple of more fun pics from my birthday this week.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Sonic Screwdriver Test Phases 1-3

Sonic Phase 1

Sonic Phase 2

Sonic Phase 3
I took these pictures of the children posing with my new Sonic Screwdriver on my birthday - as you can see it's in total working order!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Today's My Birthday!

Wrapped Presents
I was born 43 years ago today and despite the fact that I'm getting older its nice that my children keep me well in touch with my youth by providing me with delightful Doctor Who related birthday presents!

Presents and cards revealed!
Goodies today included the current Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver, (to accompany the previous Doctor's, The Master's and River Song's), two Doctor Who DVD's and a Chocolate Orange. The children also made some beautiful Birthday cards as did Rachel centering on a very pop art theme!
My brother's personalised Three Doctors Card and More DVD's
Another delight was my Brother's personalised card featuring The Three Doctors (Hartnell, Troughton and Pertwee).
Testing Out My New Sonic Screwdriver!
Today's Retrospace Blog features me looking back at what was on BBC TV and Radio the day I was born. One of the first DJ's to broadcast on Radio 1 that day was Tony Blackburn - who gave my post an "Excellent" via his Twitter account!

Those Radio Times! (BBC TV and Radio Selections for 18 July 1968)

I'm taking a direct travel route back some 43 years today because July 18 1968 happens to be the day I was born! That's right!

I don't know an awful lot of about what went on in the world at large today in 1968 except that The Beatles recorded Helter Skelter for The White Album and attended The Yellow Submarine premiere while Labour narrowly held on in the Caerphilly by-election as Plaid Cymru's Phil Williams came within 2,000 votes of taking the seatbut I thought it might be good to look at some of the programmes that aired on BBC TV and Radio on this particular day of my personal history...

BBC Radio For July 18, 1968

On Radios 1 and 2 news and weather kicked off  Breakfast Special presented by Paul Hollingdale at 5.30 am. Tony Blackburn took over with a daily disc delivery on Radio 1 at 7.0am while Paul Hollingdale continued to soldier on over on Radio 2 until 9am.

Other delights on Radio 1 on July 18 1968 included Keith Fordyce presenting Family Choice at 9am (also on Radio 2), The Gay Byrne Show at 10.0am (also on Radio 2), and Midday Spin with Alan Black at 12.0pm (also on Radio 2).

Pop North was introduced by Dave Lee Travis at 1.0pm while Dave Cash presented a swinging selection of studio sounds at 2.0pm.

Radio today in 1968 also included  Carolyn Scott talking to Sir Maurice Parsons , the Deputy Governor of The Bank Of England in Five To Ten (Radio 2, 9.55am).

There was comedy with Richard Briers and Geoffrey Sumner in Richard Gordon's Doctor In The House (Radio 4, 12.25pm) adapted by Ray Cooney

Organist Reginald Dixon teamed up with balladeer Vince Hill to say Meet Us At The Tower (Radio 2, 1.0pm) at the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool. If you enjoyed organ music you could also hear an Organ Recital by Noel Rawsthorne (Radio 3, 2.23pm).

Woman's Hour introduced by Jean Metcalfe  (Radio 2, 2.0pm ) featured Anne Suter interviewing Richmal Crompton the creator of Just William.

Desmond Carrington, still entertaining us all 43 years later on Radio 2 with The Music Goes Round popped up at 3.0pm today in 1968 on Radio 4 hosting Disney Time in which some of Disney's best known films were adapted for radio, today's featured film was Alice In Wonderland.

Brian Matthew presented Album Time (Radio2, 4.35pm) while John Rye starred in part 7 of the thriller, The Hard Buy by Berkeley Mather (Radio2, 7.45pm).

John Wyndham's Day Of The Triffids reached its penultimate episode on Radio 4 at 7.0pm while Book at Bedtime (Radio 4, 11.2pm) featured The Darling Buds of May by HE Bates read by Roger Snowdon.

BBC TV Highlights From July 18, 1968

TV highlights for younger viewers today included Watch With Mother: The Herbs (BBC1, 10.45am) Noggin and The Dragon (4.40pm), Blue Peter with Valerie Singleton, John Noakes and Peter Purves (BBC1, 4.55pm) and The Magic Roundabout (BBC1, 5.40pm).

Steve Race hosted the musical contest It Strikes A Chord (BBC1, 6.40pm) featuring Jack Brymer, Ron Goodwin and Dudley Moore while Navy Lark actress Heather Chasen took on a slightly more serious role in The Newcomers (BBC1,7.5pm).

Pete Murray hosted this weeks Top Of The Pops (BBC1, 7.30pm) which featured The Equals at Number 1 with Baby Come Back.

There was a look at the Mexico Olympics in Mexico 68 (BBC2, 8.0pm) as Thora Hird, Robert Keegan, James Grout and Henry Knowles starred in The First Lady (BBC1, 8.0pm).

A new Western series Hondo (BBC2, 9.5pm) based on a character previously played by John Wayne in the 1953 film was the main attraction on the BBCTV schedules today in 1968. Broadcast in Colour, the series star Ralph Taeger also featured on the cover of this weeks Radio Times (See Above).

Who Raised A Voice Against It? (BBC1, 9.5pm) looked at The Germans who hated Hitler.  Later, viewers were treat to a repeat of the previous Saturdays first episode of Middlemarch by George Eliot (BBC2, 9.55pm) featuring Michele Dotrice, Clive Graham, Fabia Drake and Derek Francis. Who needed video recorders? Well, I missed the first showing and was too young to see the second!

Mono Mondays: Susan Maughan

Susan Maughan 
I feel some loyalty to Susan Maughan, her being a fellow Northerner (born in Consett, County Durham, 1938) and I've always loved her 1962 hit Bobby's Girl which I remember playing to death amongst all my parents  45's as a kid.

Susan's powerful vocal treatment supplemented with a powerful orchestral backing gave her a timeless hit. 

Unfortunately later releases Hand A Handkerchief to Helen and She's New To You did not achieve the same success but Susan went on to be one of the most memorable stars of the 1960s and still regularly performs today.

I caught Susan at Newport Riverfront a few years back where she featured in a show alongside Dave Dee, Dave Berry, Barry Ryan and Chip Hawkes and she can still sing brilliantly.

Amongst the songs Susan performed that evening were Petula Clark's Downtown and Lesley Gore's It's My Party, however it was Bobby's Girl that she saved till last that gave her the biggest round of applause.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Those Radio Times! (BBC Radio and TV for 17 July 1975)

Radio Times - Peter Brookes Artwork 1975
Here in 2011, its merely a week after the final phase of the current U.S. Space programme, Atlantis, entered the sky.

Atlantis' coverage here in Great Britain was confined to a bit of a whimper on the BBC News 24 channel, thanks to  the News International scandal - however such coverage of the space programmes was much greater on BBC TV and Radio back in the 60s and 70s.

For instance, today in 1975, astronauts from America and Russia were to meet in space for the first time as the Apollo / Soyuz spacecrafts would dock together following their separate launches from Baikonur launch complex in the USSR and the Kennedy Space Centre In the USA.

Both BBC Television and Radio were following this event with keen interest. Special editions of Newsround Extra fronted by John Craven (BBC1, 4.40pm) and Apollo/ Soyuz presented by James Burke (BBC1, 7.50pm) were scheduled on Television.

On radio, updates of the event even interrupted David Hamilton's afternoon show, preceeded Sam Costa's show and even  Folkweave took an inter-stellar diversion in the evening to cover the mission.

In between the Space excitement today in 1975, television viewers could catch A Question Of Sport presented by David Vine  with Henry Cooper and Cliff Morgan at 6.45pm followed by Dave Lee Travis presenting Top Of The Pops at 7.15pm.

Top Of The Pops today featured the Bay City Rollers at Number One with their final chart topper Give A little Love.

Back to radio  and the greatest comedy double act Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise fronted a repeat of The Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise Show at 12.27pm on Radio 4.

Scripted by their TV writer Eddie Braben, the format of this series was similar to the TV Version and in some cases several TV sketches were adapted for radio.

The comedy duo's singing guest today was the wonderful Anita Harris, a regular fixture of TV and radio in the early 70s. 

Anita would frequently appear on magician David Nixon's TV shows and is perhaps now best remembered for her role as a nurse in Carry On Doctor! However, she was also a successful singer scoring a hit with Just Loving You in the 1960s and usually a bright and glamourous addition to any TV entertainment show.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

New Jimi Hendrix Releases For September 2011

Live performances of the iconic Jimi Hendrix are set for release via Sony Music and Jimi Hendrix LLC from September.

Two CD Sets comprising Hendrix 1968 Winterland performances and Hendrix In The West will be released alongside two DVD releases Blue Wild Angel: Jimi Hendrix In the Isle of Wight and TV appearances on The Dick Cavett Show.

You can read my article previewing the new releases over on Suite101.com of which i am now a Feature Writer!

Read On: Experience Jimi Hendrix Live! On CD and DVD from September 2011

Saturday Superstore: Grundig Melody Boy

Grundig Melody Boy - Radio Times, July 1975
The days of whistling airwaves and your favourite radio stations fading in and out seem a distant memory in these days of digital radio but were an all to frequent occurrence back in the 1970s.

"Ask it of a Grundig and You shall recieve!" promised this advert and recieve radio stations we did!

Praise Grundig!

The Grundig Melody Boy (as featured in  Radio Times this week in 1975) promised a full and richer sound even if you were up in a mountain or deep in a concrete jungle, in fact it would more likely be the latter and Radio Luxembourg would still fade out during your favourite show on Sunday evening!
  • If anyone's Grundig Melody Boy is still operational I'd love to see some pics of this fine looking radio and maybe you have a few comments about what you listened to on it?

Friday, 15 July 2011

Badge Friday: Madonna (2)

This weeks Badge Friday is the second to feature pop queen Madonna.

Again from the mid - 1980s I remember this is from Madonna's True Blue phase with bleached blonde hair and I'm pretty certain a freebie from Smash Hits magazine.

I was pretty smitten with the queen of pop by this point and despite a low income usually bought any release be it 7 inch 12 inch or album I could lay my hands on - which living in North Yorkshire at the time, was usually confined to Woolworths in Richmond!

What I'm Listening To: "Better Day" By Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton - Better Day - Sony / LD Communications
Country legend Dolly Parton will shortly release her new album Better Day in the UK. The new album will also be accompanied by a world tour.

I've been listening Dolly's new album this week and you can read my review in full over on Suite101: Dolly Parton's "Better Day" Album Review and UK Tour Dates

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Cadfael Review gets Editors Choice Award

I'm rather chuffed this week because my Suite101 review for AudioGo's Brother Cadfael audio book Dead Man's Ransom starring my favourite Welsh actor Philip Madoc has received an editors choice award.

I'm making a bit of a big deal of it because I've been writing for Suite101 for nearly a year now, mainly to improve my writing skills and because I actually enjoy writing and reviewing. so it's quite nice when I get feedback of any sort, evermore so when its positive!

"Dead Man's Ransom" Review Gets Editors Choice Award

I'm rather chuffed this week because my Suite101 review for AudioGo's Brother Cadfael audio book Dead Man's Ransom starring my favourite Welsh actor Philip Madoc has received an editors choice award.

I'm making a bit of a big deal of it because I've been writing for Suite101 for nearly a year now, mainly to improve my writing skills and because I actually enjoy writing and reviewing. so it's quite nice when I get feedback of any sort, evermore so when its positive!

You can check out the audiobook review online now: Audiobook Review: A Brother Cadfael Mystery - Dead Man's Ransom

Monday, 11 July 2011

Mono Mondays: Emile Ford and The Checkmates

Emile Ford
Emile Ford and The Checkmates hit the top of the UK pop charts in December 1959 with their single What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For?

Emile, who is a Sound Scientist has the ability of getting the best sounds from his musical equipment, an ability that enabled him and his band, The Checkmates to win the Soho Fair talent competition in 1959 with Buena Sera.


It was Emile's interest in sound production that spurned him on to record his debut release in late 1959 for Pye records. Even though  producer Michael Barclay defined the recording as "Crap" after returning from lunch and hearing Emile's final production. The British public decided otherwise and What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For shared the top spot and ultimately toppled Adam Faith's What Do You Want? from the top of the charts in late 1959 staying there to see in 1960.

I researched Emile's story for an article last year and was shocked when conversing with Christine Jones of Emile's company Sound Revelation Services how inaccurate accounts of Emile's rise to fame have made books and the Internet over the years. Hopefully, my article redressed the balance somewhat.

You can check out my article on Emile Ford and the Checkmates  on Suite101 and read further about Emile's work at his official website.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Those Radio Times! (BBC Radio and TV for 9 July 1971)

If you liked sport you were in for a bit of a treat on BBCTV on Friday 9 July 1971 with coverage throughout the day on BBC1 and 2 of Golf and Cricket.

BBCTV Golf and Cricket Coverage on July 9, 1971

The 100th Open Golf Championship came from  Royal Birkdale Golf Club, Southport introduced by Harry Carpenter and featuring commentary from Henry Longhurst, Peter Alliss, Mark McCormack and Peter Thomson while Peter West, Jim Laker , Denis Compton and Ted Dexter brought live coverage from the Third Test Match - England V Pakistan.

The Radio Times nominated a few Britons to keep an eye on during the championship asides from Peter Alliss (who was also commentating) and Tony Jacklin including Peter Oosterhuis, Brian Huggett, Peter Townsend, Chrissy O'Connor and Neil Cotes.

Children's Television For July 9, 1971

Children's TV highlights on BBC1 today included  Richard Wattis reading Fattypuffs and Thinifers by Andre Maurois in Jackanory. I particularly remember the bespectacled Wattis starring alongside Eric Sykes and Hattie Jacques in Sykes, though its amazing how many British films he pops up in from the 50s and 60s.

At 5.20pm  Wales own answer to Morecambe and Wise, Ryan and Ronnie featured in their own comedy series. Ryan Davies and Ronnie Williams are now legendary status in their native Wales with a stage play written by Meic Povey about their partnership doing the theatrical rounds a few years ago.

Doctor Who Repeats on BBC1 in July 1971


On BBC1 at 6.20pm there was a Summer treat for Dr.Who fans with a repeat of the 1970 serial Spearhead From Space introducing Jon Pertwee as The Doctor and featuring Caroline John and Nicholas Courtney. Here, The newly regenerated Doctor finds himself pitted against the deadly Autons. A Frank Bellamy illustration accompanied the programme billing in Radio Times. Doctor Who summer repeats would be a welcome treat for fans of the series in the 70s, an age totally devoid of video recorders and at this time the first Target Book novelisations were still 2 years away.

Bernard Cribbins, The Mixtures and The Northern Dance Orchestra conducted by Bernard Hermann joined 300 children in a rousing uninhibited singing of songs in a new series of We Want To Sing on BBC1 at 6.45pm. Who needed The X Factor back in 1971? We obviously didn't!

The Movie Crazy Years Featured Errol Flynn as Robin Hood!

The Movie Crazy Years on BBC1 at 7.20pm featured Errol Flynn in 1938's The Adventures Of Robin Hood. Philip Jenkinson, the Radio Times Film columnist was obviously a fan describing it as "... the best-photographed, best-designed, best-acted and best-directed adventure film for boys and girls of all ages ever to leave Hollywood..." I really wished they still showed these movies 40 years later!

Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Spike Milligan starred in John Antrobus' An Apple A Day on BBC1 at 10.35pm, while Peter Ustinov gave an address on The Art Of Communication to The Institute of Directors at The Royal Festival Hall over on BBC2. Spoilt for choice indeed!


Radio Highlights Included a Tommy Handley Profile, Mrs Mills and Reginald Dixon

Radio Highlights today included  a look at The Man Who Was Thursday - Tommy Handley in The Entertainers on Radio 4 at 9.5am This new profile on the star of ITMA was presented by Frank Dixon.

Fyfe Robertson wandered around Orkney in a new series of Islands In July at 9.50am while on Radio 2 at 11.31am, immediately after Waggoners Walk, pianists Mrs Mills and Reginald Dixon said "I'm Glad - I'm Reg" and delighted Radio 2 listeners with keyboard sounds for 30 minutes before Sam Costa took over the airwaves at 12.2pm. If you were in the vicinity of the ABC Theatre, Great Yarmouth you could catch Mrs Mills in Holiday Startime according to a note in Radio Times!

Back on Radio 4, Richard Briers, Barbara Cooper, Zena Walker and Aubrey Woods starred in Afternoon Theatre: Gullivers Way at 3.0pm

Nicholas Parsons Said Look Who's Talking! on Radio 4

Humphrey Lyttleton joined Nicholas Parsons in the new series Look Who's Talking at 8.30pm to take a look at who's talking and the issues they're talking about in front of an invited audience. They were joined by John Wells quoted from Unusually Reliable Sources.

Towards the end of the day there was comedy on Radio 4 with The Next Programme Follows Almost Immediately featuring Denise Coffey, Jonathan Cecil, David Gooderson, David Jason and Bill Wallis. Written by Peter Spence with additional material by David Renwick  the show was produced by ISIRTA's David Hatch and featured several stars who would go on to be a pretty big deal on TV and Radio in the 1970s.

If you wanted to settle down to same late night sounds, Brian Matthew was inviting you to meet DJs from European Radio and sample songs from the Song Festival at Knokke in the first of six Knokke Nights at 12.5am. The show featured Bobby's Girl Susan Maughan, Robert Young and Bobby Sansom.

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