Monday, 24 December 2012

It's Christmas - and New Doctor Who!

I've barely had chance this month to update Retrospace so apologies to any regular readers who have been checking back for new posts.

I'm hoping to pick up the mantle more in the New Year with new updates and some new exciting features!

In the meantime you can check out a preview of tomorrow's Christmas Doctor Who episode written by me over on the Argus website!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

On Television: Dad's Army - Round And Round Went The Great Big Wheel

The Platoon is chosen for special duties during the testing of a secret weapon, however when the weapon goes out of control they find themselves in a hair raising situation.

Round and Round Went The Great Big Wheel will be broadcast at 19:00 hrs on BBC2 Wales – please check listings for regional variations.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Badge Friday: HTV Cymru Wales Miri Mawr / Cantamil

This badge (from Rachel's collection) reflects two Welsh language childrens tv programmes broadcast on HTV Wales during the 1970s Miri Mawr and Cantamil.

Colourful and funky these badges are certainly reflective of the period, while the HTV Cymru Wales logo (stylised as a TV aerial) sets it off nicely.

I did a bit of a Google on the programmes themselves and one poster (who happens to share my surname) described the regional shows as a bit of a rough deal for younger viewers who didnt speak Welsh. Miri Mawr was apparently a magazine programme, while Cantamil was a game show in which kids advanced around a board by answering questions akin to Snakes and Ladders.

I'd be fascinated to hear from anyone who remembers these shows.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

CD Review: ToyPop! - Yellow Brick Road EP

Three original tracks make up a fabulous debut from Newport’s own colourful girl group ToyPOP!

Reminiscent of early 80s punky electro sound and the vintage creativity of the BBC Radiophonic workshop of the 60s and 70s the girls have produced three neat listenable numbers supplemented with melodic vocals and the strange noises emitted from children’s toys.

Delivered with punchy lyrics, songs such as Simulated Imitation and Persistent Secrecy deserve repeated listening.

Read my interview with ToyPOP! on the South Wales Argus website here: Meet The Band: ToyPop!

For more on ToyPOP! visit their official website.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

CD Review: The Beach Boys - Fifty Big Ones

Yes! The Beach Boys have reached their half century and what a way to celebrate with fifty remastered greats that make up this neat collection.

Obviously I Get Around, Sloop John B, Surfin' USA, Heroes and Villains, California Girls and Wouldn’t It Be Nice are here to represent the bands 1960s hit parade. Present also are the later hits Sail on Sailor and Kokomo.

The high points are undoubtedly saved to last with the ultimate pop single from 1966 God Only Knows featuring close harmonies and the original mono single edit of Good Vibrations. Hearing this in its original mono form allows the listener to appreciate just how great the originals were when played on radio back in the 60s and overcoming bad receptions and fading signals to still race to the top of the charts.

Extras on the Fifty Big Ones box set include individual photographs of band members and a neatly presented book detailing all you ever need to know about the songs presented on the collection.


Tuesday, 27 November 2012

TARDIS Tuesday: Doctor Who has Faith

Continuing our look at Colin Baker's tenure as The Doctor which ties in with his recent appearance as a contestant on I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, here's a press cutting from 1984 which features him alongside comedienne/actress Faith Brown who was cast as Flast in 1985's Attack Of The Cybermen.

Indeed Faith and Saturday Superstore's Sarah Greene were cast as the Cryon stylised aliens in the  story even though they were totally unrecognisable on screen!

On Television: Dad's Army - A Brush With The Law

Chief Warden Hodges (Bill Pertwee) has Captain Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe) exactly where he wants him when he has him up in court for leaving the church hall light on during a black out.

A Brush With The Law will be broadcast at 19:00 hrs on BBC2 Wales – please check listings for regional variations.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Badge Friday: Pass On Your Postcode

I recall a real big push by the Post Office in the late 1970s for people to use their postcode, from advertising campaigns to features on Blue Peter it was  a great way to get young people thinking about using it, seeing that the older generation didn't really see the need!

Obviously the postcode message went into the world of badges too, here's an example from the 1980s...

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

TARDIS Tuesday: Colin Baker Joins Doctor Who

Coinciding with Colin Baker's appearance in the jungle in I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, here's his debut appearance in 1984's press when it was announced he was taking over the role of The Doctor from Peter Davison.

Joining Colin in the photo-shoot was the recently cast new companion Nicola Bryant who would play Peri.

I recall Colin's smart pin-stripe suit from this photo session which I think is a shame he wasnt allowed to retain when playing The Doctor as it gave him a rather classy look!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

On Television: Dad's Army - Brain Versus Brawn (BBC 2 Wales)

In today's episode, the platoon disguise themselves as firemen during an exercise. However, they soon find themselves called into a real life fire fighting situation...

Brain Versus Brawn is broadcast on BBC2 Wales at 18:00 Hrs, please check listings for alternate regions.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

On Television: Dad's Army - When Did You Last See Your Money (BBC2 Wales)

Lance Corporal Jones (Clive Dunn) attempts to bank £500 worth of money raised for a canteen for airmen, however the money appears to have turned into a ration of sausages.

When Did You Last see Your Money? was broadcast on BBC2 Wales at 4pm following its broadcast on BBC2 England a week earlier. It was shown as a tribute to Clive Dunn.

A fuller tribute will be broadcast at a later date.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Badge Friday: SOS? ATS

There was a really annoying TV campaign back in the 1980s, which saw a rather upper crust but dipsy lady motorist been rescued from the roadside after her car conks out.

"SOS?" she'd cry to which a motor mechanic would suddenly reply "ATS".

Well I guess the message got through - here's the badge!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

On Radio: Parsley Sidings - The Postal Express

Dad’s Army’s Arthur Lowe and Ian Lavender star in a rediscovered Jim Eldridge’s Parsley Sidings, first broadcast on BBC Radio 2 in December, 1971.

Set on a sleepy railway station in the grand old days of traditional railways Parsley Sidings also features the vocal talents of Carry On stars Kenneth Connor and Liz Frazer.

This week’s episode sees the arrival of a new postal system in which Station Master Hepplewhite (Arthur Lowe) hopes will save the sleepy halt.

Parsley Sidings – The Postal Express will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra at 08:00 Hrs, 12:00 Hrs and again at 19:00 Hrs, it will also be available to Listen Again on the BBC iPlayer for a week after broadcast.

CD Review: Prince From Another Planet by Elvis Presley

By 1972, the King of Rock N Roll was well and truly entering the final phase of his career.

Confined to American soil, Elvis played a weekend of dates at Madison Square Garden belting out fabulous renditions of American Trilogy and Proud Mary alongside sped up renditions of Hound Dog and Don’t Be Cruel. 

This release features two concerts recorded in the same day, the second been the most superior of the two. It doesn’t capture Elvis at his rock n roll best but it still features him as the consummate performer.

Prince from another planet? Perhaps, as this album illustrates he will always be out of this world.


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

TARDIS Tuesday: Doctor Who Comic Cuts - Part 2

Continuing with a theme of Doctor Who drawings and illustrations that have appeared in a variety of publications over the last five decades here's another cartoon from the 1980s.

Again it features a Dalek, this time in a rather playful mood...something The Daleks are not usually known for, maybe this particular one has the human factor that several got contaminated with at the end of the 1967 TV story The Evil of the Daleks?

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Remembrance Sunday 2012

Today we remember those who have bravely served and continue to serve 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 Royal British Legion.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Badge Friday: Snowdonia National Park

Another submission from Rachel's badge collection this week, this time from Snowdonia National Park.

I'm suspecting 1980s?

If anyone can confirm let me know!

Andy's Retrospace: Permission To Smile Sir! - Remembering Dad's Army's Clive Dunn

Here's my personal tribute to Clive Dunn over on Retrospace:
Andy's Retrospace: Permission To Smile Sir! - Remembering Dad's Army's Clive Dunn.

Permission To Smile Sir! - Remembering Dad's Army's Clive Dunn

Pictured with Clive Dunn, 1998
My earliest memories of watching television are undoubtedly of two particular TV series, Doctor Who and Dad’s Army.

Dad’s Army particularly caught my attention as a child for some of the madcap, comic moments written for the show by Jimmy Perry and David Croft.

Of course, many of those classic comedy moments were realised on screen by Clive Dunn as Lance Corporal Jack Jones. Stranded on a tower clock, shinning up a flag pole or going underwater in a diving suit, Jones was always the first to volunteer to take part in Captain Mainwaring’s Home Guard exercises.

Clive raises a glass
with the Dad's Army crew in
the Radio Times, 1971
Watching these antics each week as a young boy I would laugh, frequently imitating Jones catchphrase “Don’t panic!” I loved watching Clive Dunn as Jonesy in Dad’s Army and his further appearances in other medium including Grandad and My Old Man. And yes I loved the record Grandad – the song he took to the top of the charts in 1970, I still have my copy in its original Columbia Records paper sleeve.

My love for Clive’s work never went away, and in 1997 I designed an interactive CD-Rom about the Dad’s Army TV series for a college project. I wrote to the surviving stars of Dad’s Army to try and get their memories of working on the show. It was with surprise a few weeks later when I got a pleasant letter from Clive Dunn residing in Portugal giving me a couple of ideas and a signed photo. I was over the moon.

Weeks later as the project drew to a close I was greeted with a pleasant surprise one morning when my letterbox went. Another signed photo from Clive, bearing the phrase Don’t Panic! – It was a good omen – I got a distinction!

As we'll remember Clive Dunn -
Lance Corporal Jones
I met Clive Dunn at a Dad’s Army event in London in 1998. It was a special moment – I thanked him for his help and the photos and shook his hand, as he signed  a copy of his autobiography for me and posed with me for a picture – taken by my wife Rachel. I always remember Rachel panicking and hoping the picture would come out!

I met Clive again briefly at the 40th anniversary Dad’s Army Appreciation Society event in 2008. He gave a memorably warm and funny tribute to the shows creators Jimmy Perry and David Croft that day.

I was sad to hear of his passing this week at the grand age of 92, I thought like many he would go on forever. In a way he will, and so will all the laughter he has created.

Clive Dunn: January 9, 1920 - November 7, 2012

Thursday, 8 November 2012

On Radio: Parsley Sidings: The Market Special

Dad’s Army’s Arthur Lowe and Ian Lavender star in the first episode of the first series Jim Eldridge’s Parsley Sidings, first broadcast on BBC Radio 2 in December, 1971.

Set on a sleepy railway station in the grand old days of traditional railways Parsley Sidings also features the vocal talents of Carry On stars Kenneth Connor and Liz Frazer.

This weeks edition sees the staff attempt to boost failing ticket sales with humorous outcomes…

Parsley Sidings – The Market Special will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra at 08:00 Hrs, 12:00 Hrs and again at 19:00 Hrs, it will also be available to Listen Again on the BBC iPlayer for a week after broadcast.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Clive Dunn 1920-2012

Meeting Clive Dunn in 1998.
It's with great sadness Walmington-On-Sea 333 has to report the passing of Clive Dunn who played Lance Corporal Jones in Dad's Army.

Clive is reported to have died after a short illness. Our sympathies go out to his close family and friends.

He will be remembered for the happiness and laughter he has brought many Dad's Army fans over the years and indeed continues to bring new generations of fans of Dad's Army.

A full tribute to Clive Dunn will appear on this site shortly.

On Television: Welsh Greats - Philip Madoc

Ironically on the day that we received news of Clive Dunn's passing, BBC1 Wales broadcast the first programme in their new series of Welsh Greats, this edition focusing on the life and career of Philip Madoc, who died earlier this year.

The programme narrated by Robert Pugh looked, featured interviews with Philip's family and clips from his television and film career including A Mind To Kill, Last Of The Mohicans, The Life and Times of David Lloyd George, Doctor Who and of course Dad's Army. The documentary featured the famous clip of Philip in The Deadly Attachment.

Welsh Greats: Philip Madoc was broadcast on BBC1 Wales at 7.30pm.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

TARDIS Tuesday: Doctor Who Comic Cuts - Part 1

As has been previously featured on TARDIS Tuesday, Doctor Who has managed to make its way into the world of cartoon and illustration on several occasions over the past half-century.

I'm pretty sure this example featuring a Dalek originates from The Sun in the 1980s, although quite possibly the cartoon would need to be in colour  to get the full impact.

Another Doctor Who cutting next week...

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Film Review: Skyfall

Bond is back in Skyfall
The James Bond film franchise is 50, and with the release of Daniel Craig’s third outing as Bond shows all the hallmarks of still been able to deliver the goods.

Skyfall reminds film-goers that 007 is just as aware of his own mortality as any enemy of the British secret service he may need to use his license to kill on, and so is M (Judi Dench) who after classified information falls into enemy hands is asked to consider taking retirement with honours.

The apparent death of 007 and a terrorist attack on MI6 add suspense into the mix in the opening moments of Skyfall and it doesn’t end there.

It soon becomes apparent Bond is fighting off more than the usual homicidal maniac. An exchange in a museum observing a painting of a battleship with the new Quartermaster of Q branch reminds Bond that times are changing and hes fighting to maintain his existence in a modern world:

Q: It always makes me feel a bit melancholy. Grand old war ship. Being ignominiously haunted away to scrap... The inevitability of time, don't you think? What do you see?
James Bond: A bloody big ship. Excuse me.
Q: 007. I'm your new Quartermaster.
James Bond: You must be joking.
Q: Why, because I'm not wearing a lab coat?
James Bond: Because you still have spots.
Q: My complexion is hardly relevant.
James Bond: Your competence is.
Q: Age is no guarantee of efficiency.
James Bond: And youth is no guarantee of innovation.

Skyfall is a good yarn taking the lead character back to his roots. Daniel Craig gives a top notch performance as Bond, displaying that this is the agent we’ve been watching all these years, defying time and still saving the world. There are also great performances from Judi Dench who adds even more depth to M, Javier Bardem as a more convincing menace Silvar, Ralph Fiennes as Mallory, Albert Finney as Kincade and Ben Whishaw as Q.

Evidently there is a feeling of a changing of the guard taking place, but it is reassuring that with Daniel Craig at the helm for a further two outings James Bond hasn’t been this good in years.

Nobody does it better? More like you’ve never had it so good!

On Television: Dad's Army - All Is Safely Gathered In

The Platoon help a widowed friend of Private Godfrey’s (Arnold Ridley) bring in the harvest.

All Is Safely Gathered In will be broadcast at 20:15 hrs on BBC2 Wales – please check listings for regional variations.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Badge Friday: Always Use The Green Cross Code

This weeks badge Friday recalls something I think many of today's children could benefit with paying attention too - and many grown ups gently reminded!

Growing up in the 1970s it was pretty standard as a child to be constantly reminded of the dangers of crossing the road.

That's why many of us learnt The Green Cross Code - so we could cross the road safely - and thanks to a successful TV campaign many paid heed to it!

Many of you are probably laughing as you read this. Probably because these days very few people actually use basic common sense when crossing the road. Raising three children myself I find it particularly hard telling them not to do what many grown ups do as well as other children when stepping into the path of an oncoming vehicle because they are in a hurry.

Where oh where is The Green Cross Man when we need him these days?

Thursday, 1 November 2012

On Radio: Parsley Sidings - The Royal Train

Dad’s Army’s Arthur Lowe and Ian Lavender star in the original pilot episode of Jim Eldridge’s Parsley Sidings, first broadcast in April, 1971 as BBC Radio 2’s Comedy Parade series.

Set on a sleepy railway station in the grand old days of traditional railways Parsley Sidings also features the vocal talents of Carry On stars Kenneth Connor and Liz Frazer.

This weeks edition sees great excitement as the staff make preparations for The Royal Train which is due to pass through the station…

Parsley Sidings – The Royal Train will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra at 08:00 Hrs, 12:00 Hrs and again at 19:00 Hrs, it will also be available to Listen Again on the BBC iPlayer for a week after broadcast.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

More Dad's Army Castaways In Desert Island Discs Archive

Great news for Dad's Army fans as two further downloads featuring interviews with Clive Dunn and Arnold Ridley are now available to download again from The Desert Island Discs archive.

Read On: 
Walmington-On-Sea 333: Clive Dunn and Arnold Ridley's Desert Island Discs

Check out further vintage Desert Island Discs as well as the most recent editions at the official archive.


Clive Dunn and Arnold Ridley's Desert Island Discs Revisited

Radio Times Listing for Arnold Ridley's
appearance on Desert Island Discs, 1973
Fans of Dad's Army will be pleased to know two further Desert Island Discs podcasts have been made available to download from the Desert Island Discs website featuring Clive Dunn (Lance-Corporal Jones) and Arnold Ridley's (Private Godfrey) appearances on the show respectively.

In both cases each are incomplete editions of the show but do appear to be rather good edits of the interviews with presenter Roy Plomley, both looking at Clive and Arnold's careers and particularly wartime experiences.

Lets hope someone out there has Arthur Lowe's appearance on the show from 1970!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Rediscovered Parsley Sidings Back On Track For BBC Radio 4 Extra

Rediscovered episodes of the classic BBC Radio 4 Sitcom Parsley Sidings will be repeated on BBC Radio 4 Extra from this Thursday.

The series which was originally broadcast on BBC Radio in the early 70s stars Dad's Army's Arthur Lowe and Ian Lavender along with Carry On stars Kenneth Connor and Liz Frazer.

Read on at Walmington-On-Sea 333: 
Walmington-On-Sea 333: Take A Trip To Rediscovered Parsley Sidings On BBC

Take A Trip To Rediscovered Parsley Sidings On BBC Radio 4 Extra

Colourised image
of Arthur Lowe from
Radio Times 1971
Several episodes of the early 70s radio sit-com Parsley Sidings written by Jim Eldridge and starring Arthur Lowe, Ian Lavender, Kenneth Connor and Liz Frazer were recently returned to the BBC archive and thanks to some technical wizardry and the help of original announcer Keith Skues will be rebroadcast on BBC radio 4 extra from this Thursday.

The series set on a sleepy railway station featured Dad's Army's Arthur Lowe as Horace Hepplewhite and Ian Lavender as his son Bertrand. They were joined in each episode by Carry On Stalwarts Kenneth Connor and Liz Frazer, plus a variety of guest stars including Bill Pertwee and Roger Delgado.

The episodes which were originally broadcast on BBC Radio 2 between 1971 and 1973 were wiped in the early 70s and only a handful remained within the BBC archive. These have been repeated several times on BBC 7 and Radio 4 Extra over the last decade, four episodes of which were released on AudioGO earlier this year.

The recordings of missing episodes were recorded off the radio at the time of broadcast although and were complete all but for the original announcements made by Keith Skues at the end of the programmes. Thankfully Keith has stepped in to rerecord his original contributions so these shows can be enjoyed in their entirety once again.

So all aboard BBC Radio 4 Extra this Thursday as the original pilot episode from 1971 can be heard once again at 08:00 Hrs, 12:00 Hrs and 19:00 Hrs...

Read more about Keith Skues role in helping bring back Parsley Sidings to the radio

TARDIS Tuesday: Adventures in Comic Strips

The final #Pertober post is from 1973 featuring a fabulous cover from the comic strip adventures of the Third Doctor on TV Action. This particular story found The Doctor helping the French resistance against a Nazi menace during World War II.

TV Action was a brief home for the Doctor Who comic strip between 1972 and 1973 having previously been featured in TV Comic and Countdown.

Despite the strong storylines and excellent artwork TV Action was shortlived and folded by September 1973. The Doctor Who Comic Strip then returned to TV Comic...

Saturday, 27 October 2012

On Television: Dad's Army - The King Was In His Counting House

When a bomb falls on the bank Captain Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe) declares an emergency situation and puts the platoon in charge of counting and guarding the money from the vault.

The King was In His Counting House was broadcast at 20:15 hrs on BBC2 Wales.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Badge Friday: Bradford and Bingley Building Society

Mr Bradford and Mr Bingley were almost the double act of television advertising in the late 70s although their act wasnt about comedy - it was more about securing your future by investing your money into buying a home.

Ah! it all seemed so straightforward back then, before the days of property booms, recessions, etc...

This badge recalls a familiar 70s TV campaign. No doubt inspired by it...

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

TARDIS Tuesday: Doctor Who's Ultimate Adventure

Continuing this months #Pertober Doctor Who posts here's a flyer from Jon Pertwee's stint as The Doctor in the stage play Doctor Who- The Ultimate Adventure in April 1989.

This particular flyer originates from when it was presented at The Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham. Jon ran with the production from March to June 1989, he was then taken over by sixth Doctor Colin Baker who ran with the rest of the tour.

A Doctor Who stage play is a neat idea, and I'm sure would still go down well now, particularly if it featured old TV Doctor's as the lead!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Newport Playgoers in pursuit of Hound of the Baskervilles

My cover for last weeks South Wales Argus
Guide promoting Hound of the Baskervilles
featuring cover photo by Phil Mansell.
I wouldn’t usually write a review of a production that featured my brother in a role. As you might imagine I’m damned if I say something either positive or negative about it; however as I am a bit of a Sherlock Holmes fan I do feel compelled to write something on Newport Playgoers presentation of Hound of The Baskervilles directed by Alex Wilson.

The Hound of the Baskervilles is undoubtedly the best known of Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes adventures, adapted for film and television many times over the years, yet I had never seen a stage version.

On sitting down to watch Newport Playgoers presentation the thought did occur to me that such a production would have a lot to live up to.

Simon Williams' stage adaptation of Conan-Doyle’s original story comes across as a homage to those wonderful Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce films from the 1940s.

There are a few jokey lines. References to Sherlock Holmes “as seen in The Strand”, the new invention of the phone, in which Holmes interjects that in a 100 years it will be technology that can be carried in a pocket and Holmes own Cocaine addiction “you shouldn’t take it on an empty stomach” scorns Dr Watson.

A simple but effective set switched the scene from Baker Street (contained within a giant book of Hound of the Baskervilles) to the moor to Baskerville Hall.

There were outstanding performances too. Steve Drowley made a great stage Holmes, reminiscent in places of Christopher Lee’s portrayal. The sequence where only Holmes voice is heard in order that Watson can independently carry on his investigations allowed him to project his characterisation with his voice only and ultimately still carried a presence.

Chris Bissex Williams was fabulously cast as Dr Watson, recalling elements of Nigel Bruce bumbling portrayal but still bringing much of his own originality to the role. James Symonds made a strong debut as Sir Henry Baskerville with a very convincing American accent.

There were also strong support from Paul Howells as Barrymore (adding a huge comedic touch with a square beard), Chloe Williams as the beautiful Beryl Stapleton and Sue Morgan as Eliza.

There was also a neat scene where Holmes pursued a suspect through London in a handsome cab this involved the cast giving chase through the theatre aisles and was good fun to witness particularly with the depiction of street urchins in Victorian London.

The Newport Playgoers presentation of Hound of the Baskervilles was a fun homage to the original story, and I sincerely hope they will return to Holmes once again at some point in the future to translate another one of his adventures on stage.

On Television: Dad's Army - If The Cap Fits

Tired of Private Frazer’s (John Laurie) constant grumbling Captain Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe) puts him in charge of the platoon.

If The Cap Fits was originally broadcast in 1971 and was broadcast today at 20:30 hrs on BBC2 Wales.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Badge Friday: Giggle With A Book

Here's another one of Rachel's badges promoting reading books, this time for students.

It says Giggle With a Book though I'm not certain what the pointy hnosed tousle haired character on the badge is supposed to be. He looks like a cross between Kenneth Williams and Ken Dodd. Strange!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

On Radio: Dad's Army - Ten Seconds From Now

In this the final radio adaptation of Dad’s Army the platoon are set to take part in a worldwide radio broadcast. Ten Seconds From Now was loosely based on the Christmas Night with the Stars special Broadcast To The Empire from 1972.

This radio adaptation of Dad's Army was originally broadcast in September 1976.

Dad’s Army is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra at 08:30 Hrs, 12:30 Hrs and 19:30 Hrs and available to listen again on the BBC iPlayer for a week after broadcast.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

TARDIS Tuesday: By Gummidge It's Jon Pertwee!

The Scarecrow and The Rook
Daily Express - 1980
Rifling through my old cuttings I've found several articles featuring the Third Doctor Jon Pertwee and as October has been christened #Pertober by an elite of Whovian's on Twitter I thought it might be nice to pay tribute to the Third Doctor myself over the coming weeks.

This interview from 1980 was conducted by Jean Rook in the Daily Express. At this time, Pertwee was playing Worzel Gummidge on television however this interview has a broad look at his career to date including his time on Doctor Who.

In the interview Pertwee compares playing Worzel to The Doctor: "I like Worzel a lot better than Dr.Who. You couldnt make love to Dr.Who could you? He was so weird, even I couldn't touch him."

However; Pertwee does talk of his stint as The Doctor with pride: " because Dr.Who was my first chance to be myself. I'd always fancied myself as one of those tall silver-haired Wilfred Hyde White types who crack American movies but I never made it.

"I was proud of my work on Who, keeping him down to earth. I made the Daleks cross Westminster Bridge. I've this theory that people get a big buzz from being frightened in their own surroundings."

Not sure where Jon got his reference from making The Daleks cross Westminster Bridge from, as that happened in the 1964 Hartnell story The Dalek Invasion Of Earth...


Monday, 15 October 2012

Mono Monday: Amen Corner - (If Paradise Is) Half As Nice

One of my earliest memories is hearing records by Amen Corner on the radio. Tunes like Bend Me, Shape Me, High in The Sky and (If Paradise is) Half as Nice, have continued to endure beyond their chart heyday of the 1960s.

Fronted by Andy Fairweather Low the band were formed in Cardiff in 1966, they debuted in the UK chart the following year with Gin House Blues.

However they really took the charts by storm in 1968 when Bend Me, Shape Me reached Number 2 in the UK chart. The Following year they bettered that with their rendition of the Italian song II Paradiso Della Vita which was originally recorded by La Ragazza 77.

Andy Fairweather Low remembers: "Amen Corner was very much a band that if we were free on a Tuesday (and for some reason a lot of Tuesdays we were free) we'd go onto the publisher and he'd go, "Have a listen to this! and we'd go "Oh yeah, I think we can do something with that!". Bend Me Shape Me was given to us when our manager said "I think you should do that".I think a friend of Allan Jones (of Amen Corner) might have brought it to our house one day and I was given a copy, it was by a band called La Ragazza 77, an Italian song  and I thought "oh I think we could do this.""

Translated to English by Jack Fishman, Amen Corner recorded the song taking it to the top of the charts on 12 February for two weeks.

Amen Corner parted company the following year with Andy Fairweather Low forming Fairweather before embarking on a solo career. Andy is currently touring the UK and you can find out more about him and his new band the Low Riders at his official website.

You can read my interview with Andy for The South Wales Argus here; Andy Fairweather Low - Playing for pleasure, not fame.

Thanks to Andy Fairweather Low for sharing his memories.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

On Television: The Desperate Drive of Corporal Jones

On exercise, Captain Mainwaring and the platoon are the prime targets for heavy artillery, only Lance Corporal Jones and Private Godfrey can save them.

Originally broadcast in 1972, Dad's Army : The Desperate Drive of Corporal Jones was repeated on BBC2 Wales at 20:15 Hrs

Friday, 12 October 2012

Badge Friday: Henry's Cat Woolwich Badge

Children were always encouraged to open savings accounts at school when I was growing up although I don't ever recall my parents ever setting one up for me (no wonder saving money has been a long hard haul for me over the years).

This badge for the Woolwich used cartoon characters to promote savings, in this case from the cartoon series Henry's Cat. 

Henry's Cat was written by Stan Hayward and produced by Bob Godfrey and featured regularly on children's TV between 1982 and 1993.


Thursday, 11 October 2012

On Radio: Dad's Army - Is There Honey Still For Tea?

As plans for a new aerodrome are announced it is up to Captain Mainwaring to break the news to Godfrey that his cottage may be demolished.

This radio adaptation of Dad's Army was originally broadcast in August 1976.

Dad’s Army is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra at 08:30Hrs, 12:30Hrs and 19:30Hrs and available to listen again on the BBC iPlayer for a week after broadcast.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

TARDIS Tuesday: Just Walking The Dog

I'm pretty certain this cartoon (which originally featured in Radio Times) was published around 1978.

Drawn by Radio Times cartoonist and satirist Marc Boxer, it captures Tom Baker at the height of his Doctor Who fame taking a stroll with none other than K9.

The caption reads Mr Tom Baker realising some secret power dogs his walk - I mean walks his dog...

I liked a lot of illustrations that appeared in Radio Times during this period but this cartoon remains one of my favourites, now yellowing in an old scrapbook I scanned it in and cleaned it up somewhat - hope you enjoy!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Mono Mondays: The Beatles - Love Me Do 50th Anniversary

1982 single reissue of
Love Me Do
Last Friday saw the 50th anniversary of the release of The Beatles first single Love Me Do released on the Parlophone label from EMI records.

The record itself now has major historical significance but back in late 1962 it made a small but significant dent on the UK music char reaching No.17 in the charts. Its release however came after a busy year for John, Paul, George and Ringo.

A failed Decca audition didn't get the year off to a good start. The Beatles then consisted of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best. The group recorded several tracks at Decca studios on New years Day 1962  but ultimately lost out to Dagenham group Brian Poole and the Tremeloes.

Dave Munden, drummer of The Tremeloes recently told me: ‘We didn't actually know they (The Beatles) were auditioning at the same time. I don’t know why we got the audition and they didn't. Maybe we were a bit well-rehearsed and perhaps they came down from Liverpool looking a bit scruffy. We looked like nice boys and all that, so I guess they must’ve liked us and we got the deal.’

The Beatles left the audition downhearted but manager Brian Epstein despite been told that guitar groups were out by Decca believed he had a hit combo on his hands and took them to George Martin of Parlophone Records at EMI.

George Martin was convinced the band had some potential but wasnt impressed with drummer Pete Best. Following the session, The Beatles sacked Pete Best in favour of Ringo Starr although  George Martin was not confident enough to let Ringo play drums on Love Me Do, so session musician Andy White was brought in to play drums while Ringo added support with a tambourine.

As first singles go however Love Me Do remains a cracking debut. Fabulous harmonies from Lennon and McCartney (not forgetting Lennon on Harmonica) and a catchy melody. Bigger and better things awaited in 1963 but it would be another 20 years before the single (re-released with the Please, Please Me album version as the A Side) impacted the charts once again, this time reaching number 4.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Badge Friday: Look At A Book

Here's another badge from Rachel's collection.

Right through education pupils and students are encouraged to look at books. Indeed this one obviously originates from one such campaign, here, aimed at students.

Like the way the o's become eyes...

Thursday, 4 October 2012

On Radio: Dad's Army - The Two And A Half Feathers

When a new recruit enlists in the ranks of the Walmington-On-Sea Platoon, there’s more than the honour of an old soldier at stake. Jones however is far from hiding the truth…

This radio adaptation of Dad's Army was originally broadcast in August 1976.

Dad’s Army is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra at 08:30Hrs, 12:30Hrs and 19:30Hrs and available to listen again on the BBC iPlayer for a week after broadcast.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

TARDIS Tuesday: K9 Exterminated!

Doggone it K9 is for the chop
-Daily Mail, 1980
A time-travel back to 1980 today when it was announced that the Doctor's faithful robotic assistant K9 was in danger of been put down.

Indeed this story which I recall extracting from my Grandad's Daily Mail announced that K9 was likely to be written out of the series along with Lala (sic) Ward, although not until after Christmas in order not to upset the nations toy shop owners who had a lot of K9 presents for sale that year.

The BBC needn't have worried. Those Talking K9 toys barely worked anyway!


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