Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Travel Back To A Time Before Audiobooks In The TARDIS

Doctor Who Sound Effects - Vintage Beeb
Doctor Who fans are rather spoilt these days with multitudes of DVD and audiobook releases every month representing all eras of the classic sci-fi series.

Back in the 1970s fans weren't as well served...

Apart from the Doctor Who theme tune on a 7 inch single and an album release of an all original full cast Doctor Who story entitled Doctor Who And The Pescatons there was very little for Doctor Who fans to play on the turntable between series unless of course they recorded the soundtracks of the TV episodes.

In 1978 a new audio release from BBC Records was the unusual Doctor Who Sound Effects. Neither soundtrack or music this wonderfully weird album still succeeded in taking Doctor Who fans to other worlds courtesy of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

Fans can once again hear this album as its re-released on AudioGO's Vintage Beeb label tomorrow (complete with original sleeve artwork and misleading liner notes about story titles) on compact disc and audio download.

Read on: Audio Review: Doctor Who Sound Effects

Monday, 30 January 2012

Vintage Beeb Revisits The Two Ronnies

Two Ronnies Vol.2: Me and Him  - Vintage Beeb
Before the days of video and DVD the only way you could relive classic moments from your favourite BBC television programme was if BBC Records released a vinyl album featuring  a certain series classic moments.

Such was the case back in the 1970s of The Two Ronnies.

Some of the funniest sketches including monologues, two handers and songs performed by Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett made the cut on several volumes of BBC releases.

Wednesday will see the re-release of The Two Ronnies Vol.2: Me and Him on Compact disc and audio download from AudioGO's Vintage Beeb label. 

Originally released in 1977 on BBC Records the album features classic sketches like Your Nuts Milord, The Castaway. Minister Of Mispronunciation, Train Of Thought , Cricket Commentators and the news according to The Two Ronnies.

Regular Retrospace readers will notice the album cover artwork appeared in the Those Radio Times:12 Days Of Christmas feature recently. The photograph of Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett originates from the 1972 Christmas edition.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Sketchbook: John Le Mesurier On Desert Island Discs

John Le Mesurier on Desert Island Discs
Here's a rough illustration I'd put together for an article I'd written on the actor John Le Mesurier's appearance on Desert Island Discs for the Dad's Army Appreciation Society Newsletter several years back.

Although I finished the article I never developed the artwork beyond the sketch I put together here...

I rectified that today by scanning the sketch and including it in my Desert Island Discs at 70  tribute over on Retrospace.

More on Desert Island Discs

Illustrated Retrospace: Desert Island Discs at 70

"I do believe it's the man from
Desert Island discs"
- Roy Plomley's
Desert Island Book
- David & Charles, 1979
Today is the radio series Desert Island Discs 70th Birthday, so what better way to launch a new feature on Retrospace than with a new series of posts celebrating a variety of subjects through the medium of illustrations.

These can form the basis of pretty much any form of gathered ephemera from newspaper cuttings, programme billings, drawings, photographs, autographs. I'll be diving through my collection of material to share items in coming posts and of course if you see anything you can add to with a scan please get in touch!

So on with Desert Island Discs... I'm shipwrecked, armed with 8 gramophone records, a luxury and the complete works of Shakepeare, the Bible and a favourite book... Lets look back over a remarkable 70 years!

Comedian and entertainer Vic Oliver was
Roy Plomley's first castaway in January 1942

- Radio Times, 1983
Vic Oliver was the first Castaway on Desert Island Discs in January 1942, a documentary about him broadcast on BBC Radio 4 this week revealed how he annoyed the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and earned Adolf Hitler's enmity... Read More about Vic Oliver at BBC News
Singer Adelaide Hall is
the castaway on 2 December 1972,
she would be castaway again in 1991

- Radio Times, 1972
Singer Adelaide Hall was castaway to the mythical desert island twice. The first time on December 2, 1972 then nearly two decades later in January 1991. Read more about her choices at The Desert Island Discs website.
Dad's Army actor John Le Mesurier was a castaway
in 1973
- Andy Howells
Here's a rough illustration of castaway John Le Mesurier I drew for an article on Dad's Army's Desert Island Discs for the DAAS newsletter Permission To Speak Sir! I never finished the illustration to a satisfactory standard and so it got filed away. I thought some Desert Island Discs and Dad's Army fans might enjoy seeing it! Read more about Dad's Army's Desert Island Discs at Walmington-On-Sea 333.
Cover artwork for Roy Plomley's
Desert Island Book
- David & Charles, 1979
I love the front cover of this book compiled by Roy Plomley in 1979, totally summing up the concept of been a castaway on Desert Island Discs. The book itself is filled with a wide variety of Desert Island illustrations.
Roy Plomley - The creator and original
presenter of Desert Island Discs, 1975
A nice portrait of Desert Island Discs Roy Plomley which features on the rear of his 1975 book about the history of the programme.
Autograph of Roy Plomley from my signed copy
Plomley's Pick of Desert Island Discs - 1982
A few years ago I purchased a signed copy of Roy Plomley's Pick Of Desert Island Discs which features a selection of Plomley's favourite interviews from the programme. One wonders if he hadn't died a few years later if there would have been further volumes!

For much more on Desert Island Discs including an archive of programmes and all the castaways choices visit the official Desert Island Discs website. Also check out Andy Walmsley's Random Radio Jottings for more Desert Island Discs treats and my article on Suite101 for a brief history on the programme.

Dad's Army's Desert Island Discs

Arnold Ridley appeared on Desert Island Discs in 1973
BBC Radio's long running series Desert Island Discs celebrates it's 70th birthday today. The programme was first broadcast on the BBC Home Service on January 29,1942 in which creator Roy Plomley's guest was the comedian and actor Vic Oliver.

Desert Island Discs premise is that each guest chooses 8 records, a book, and a luxury item that they would take with them if they were stranded on a desert island.

Between 1970 and 1976, five of the seven Dad's Army regulars were cast away on the mythical desert island.  On each occasion they were interviewed by the show's creator Roy Plomley. Here are the stars complete with original broadcasting dates and links to the Desert Island Discs archives where you can find out a little more about their choices:
Further to this, Dad's Army producer David Croft was Sue Lawley's guest on Desert Island Discs in March 14, 1993, you can download a podcast of that programme from David Croft's Desert Island Discs page.

Desert Island Discs Guests Who Chose The Dad's Army Theme Song

David Croft Featured On Desert Island Discs in 1993
Interestingly several guests have chosen the Dad's Army theme Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Mr.Hitler? by Bud Flanagan as a recording they would take away on a desert island with them.
They include:
At the time of writing this article there are still a few notable Dad's Army connections that it would be interesting to see as castaways. Ian Lavender, Bill Pertwee and Jimmy Perry would all make interesting castaways - in the meantime, Happy Birthday Desert Island Discs!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Sketchbook: Ken Jones Statue Appeal

One of the best parts of my job is occasionally designing logos for various campaigns that spring from the various publications I work on. The Monmouthshire and Pontypool Free Press recently got behind an appeal to raise money for a statue to remember Welsh international rugby player of the 1960s Ken Jones.

T Shirt with Ken Jones Statue
Appeal Logo Design
I was really quite pleased with the logo and its great to see it popping up at various fund raising events. The Free Press editor, David Edler showed me a t-shirt worn at a fund-raising collection prior to the Gwent Dragons game at Rodney Parade, Newport last Saturday. Well done to all the campaigners who raised £350 towards the statue.

Fund-raisers and Free Press reporters Hayley and Katey
raising money for the Ken Jones Statue Appeal

Picture used with permission : Pontypool Free Press
If you would like to support the Ken Jones Statue Appeal, you can find more information at The Free Press Website.

On Television: Dad's Army - Shooting Pains

Private Pike (Ian Lavender) takes aim!
The Walmington-On-Sea platoon use their rifles and their wits for the honour of guarding a VIP visitor in today's episode of Dad's Army broadcast on BBC2 at 19:10hrs (check local listings for regional variations).

Shooting Pains concluded the first series of Dad's Army in 1968.

Look out for a guest appearance from Carry On actress Barbara Windsor and the appearance of series creator Jimmy Perry as comedian Charlie Cheeseman.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Badge Friday: Country Life English Butter

"You'll Never Put A Better Bit Of Butter On Your Knife!"crooned the animated butter men in their West Country farmers accents during several adverts for Country Life English Butter in the 1970s and 1980s. 

They're delightful ditties brightened up many a TV commercial break during this era and here is a badge featuring the  infamous stars.

Buttery renditions of songs such as There's A Tavern In The Town and D' Ya Ken John Peel made their way into the public consciousness making the Butter Men popular mainstays of television advertising for many years.

We don't see much of The Butter Men on TV screens anymore but rumour has it they went their separate ways after creative differences (and a lucrative recording deal with Lurpak!)

Thursday, 26 January 2012

On Radio: Vic Oliver - The First Castaway Remembered

Vic Oliver Remembered : BBC
Bill Pertwee today contributes to a programme about the comedian Vic Oliver, who coincidentally was the first ever castaway on Desert Island Discs, this week in 1942. Desert Island Discs Creator and Presenter Roy Plomley interviewed Oliver at the bomb-damaged Maida Vale studios, London, on 27 January 1942.

In the forties, as a comedian, musician, host and music hall act Oliver was a household name. He'd married Winston Churchill's daughter and found fame appearing on the wartime radio show "Hi Gang" while forging a successful stage career.

During those war years he'd also attracted the attention of the Nazi party who'd included his name on a list of people to be arrested in the event of a successful invasion of Britain, there are also false reports that his mother had perished in a concentration camp despite Oliver confirming in his 1950's autobiography that his mother was alive and well and living in London.

As David Baddiel discovers there's a series of false accounts, myths and contradictions concerning Oliver's personal life, his relationship with the Churchill family, his impact on the world of entertainment along with an untold story of how he appeared to keep his Jewish background private.

With archive of Oliver in conversation and performance, contributors include; Bill Pertwee, Writer Brad Ashton, Theatre Historian Chris Woodward and trumpeter Joan Hinde.

The programme broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 11:30am is written by Phil Collinge and produced in Salford by Stephen Garner. It will be available on the BBC "Listen Again" service for up to a week after broadcast.

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

Warden Hodges (Bill Pertwee) gets Captain Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe) just where he wants him today when the Captain is put on trial for leaving a light on in the Church Hall during a blackout.

The 8th episode of the second Dad's Army radio series, A Brush With The Law was adapted from the original television script by Michael Knowles and Harold Snoad and originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in April, 1975.

Listeners can hear A Brush With The Law on BBC Radio 4 Extra at 08:30, 12:30 and 19:30 and on the "Listen Again" service for up to a week after broadcast.

An Audience With Ian Lavender at Slapstick 2012

Also at 19:30 today, attendees of the Slapstick event in Bristol will get the chance to hear Ian Lavender AKA Private Pike reminisce about his time on Dad's Army. For further information about Slapstick 2012, visit their official website.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Sketchbook: Out Of Order Cartoon

Newport Playgoers recently staged an adaptation of Ray Cooney's political farce Out Of Order.

One of the performers in the production was my brother Paul, who played the hotel manager.

As in most farces, several characters end up losing items of their clothing, in my brother's case it was his trousers. To wish him luck, I quickly knocked up a card to enable him to "break a leg" or indeed "drop his trousers". He did both!

Read Jackie Davies' review for Out Of Order at The South Wales Argus website.

Treading The Boards: Bill Pertwee in Habeas Corpus (1988)

Production: Habeas Corpus by Alan Bennett
Venue: York Theatre Royal
Date: March 1988
Starring: Julian Glover, Jane Freeman, Mary Sheen, Adam Robinson, Su Elliott, Bill Pertwee, Madeleine Newbury, Duncan Preston, Claire Parker, David Fielder, Tom Karol

I am grateful to fellow blogger Andy Walmsley who recently sent me information on Bill Pertwee's appearance in Habeas Corpus at York Theatre Royal in 1988. 

I'm reproducing Andy's comments and memories on the production here along with scans from Andy's programme:

"Back in March 1988 at the York Theatre Royal we saw a production of Alan Bennett’s Habeas Corpus. Amongst the cast was Bill Pertwee as Sir Percy Shorter. I still recall the biggest laugh of the night came from one of Bill’s lines, but not in a way that Alan Bennett originally intended." 

Thanks to Andy's wife Val, we have the relevant part of the script that got Bill the big laugh...
Lady Rumpus: That would be the Second World War, the one to make the world safe for democracy?
Sir Percy: That was how it was advertised.
Wicksteed: When the enemy was always listening, and cigarettes were two a penny. (He lights a cigarette lighter.)
Mrs Swabb: Put that light out. (Darkness, the sounds of an air raid.)

Andy continues: "In the production we saw it was Sir Percy Shorter that took the line “Put that light out”Dad’s Army fans in the audience hooted with delight. For a moment ARP Warden Hodges was back on stage."
  • Thanks to both Andy and Val Walmsley for sharing their memories. If anyone recalls seeing any Dad's Army stars in a production or wants to share a scan, review or clipping from a theatre production, please get in touch! 

Saturday, 21 January 2012

On Television: Dad's Army - The Showing Up Of Corporal Jones

Corporal Jones (Clive Dunn)
rises to the challenge
Corporal Jones (Clive Dunn) role in the Home Guard comes into question in tonight's episode of Dad's Army.

The Showing Up Of Corporal Jones sees the old campaigner rise to the challenge of completing an assault course in 12 minutes.

The episode was originally broadcast on BBC1 in September, 1968.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Badge Friday: We Heart Our Real Coal Fire

Following on from last weeks Badge Friday featuring a Smokeless Fuel product here's a badge promoting coal fires.

Interesting that there were obviously pros and cons to going for smokeless fuel or real coal fires during the late 1970s and early 1980s. It's still a debatable point over 30 years on but as this badge proves, the Coal industry weren't taking the battle lying down using a love heart to show their loyalty to coal fires!

Note the use of a heart instead of the word love, an all too common expression used within context of badges these days.

A bit of a slow burner this one!

Happy Birthday Graham Stark - 90 Today!

Graham Stark Pictured in the 1961 film
On The Fiddle
Comedian, actor, writer and director Graham Stark celebrates his 90th birthday today.

Graham is perhaps best known for his association with Peter Sellers in The Pink Panther film series but was also made many radio appearances over the years including Ray's A Laugh, Educating Archie and The Goon Show.

Graham'a association with Dad's Army came in 1973 following Jimmy Beck's sudden illness. Graham stepped in for Jimmy in several Dad's Army radio episodes as Private Walker in the latter half of the first radio series.

Unfortunately Jimmy never returned to Dad's Army and died shortly afterwards. The role of Private Walker was later recast on radio with Larry Martyn in the role.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

A Further Selection Of Sci-Fi and Fantasy Audiobooks

I've been pretty busy reviewing more audiobooks in recent weeks and there's more to get through!

I've been particularly enjoying AudioGO's Doctor Who releases of late with particularly strong adventures featuring the Eleventh Doctor as played by Matt Smith and the Fourth Doctor as played by Tom Baker and missing episode audio dramas featuring William Hartnell  and Patrick Troughton as the first and second Doctor's.

Doctor Who: The Silent Stars Go By is read by Michael Maloney and features The Eleventh Doctor, Amy and Rory up against classic series villains The Ice Warriors. Read from Dan Abnett's novel of the same name this is one of the finer doctor Who audio titles available at the moment catching the true spirit of adventure of the series. Read The Full Review of Doctor Who: The Silent Stars Go By

There was some excitement before Christmas about the rediscovery of two early TV episodes of Doctor Who from the 1960s. As we wait for news of the release of these classic episodes I thought I'd take time to check out the audio releases of Doctor Who: Galaxy 4 starring William Hartnell and Doctor Who: The Underwater Menace featuring Patrick Troughton. Narrated by Peter Purves and Anneke Wills both stories certainly stand up well on audio and getting a glimpse of the missing episodes on film will no doubt whet appetites for fans to rediscover further missing stories. Read Download Doctor Who's Lost Episodes as Audiobooks here.

The Doctor Who: Serpent Crest series also continues with The Hexford Invasion in which Mrs Wibbsey unexpectedly finds herself face to face with two Doctor's! Joining Tom Baker as The Doctor, Richard Franklin as Mike Yates and Susan Jameson as Mrs Wibbsey is David Troughton who magically recreates his father's role as The Second Doctor for audio. Read Review: Doctor Who - Serpent Crest: The Hexford Invasion here.

Just to prove I don't just listen to Doctor Who audios I've only just posted up a review of E.J. Newman's collection of short stories From Dark Places. This is a really good collection and one listeners can dip in and out of with ease.  You can read my review of E.J. Newman's From Dark Places here and check out E.J. Newman's website here.

On Radio: Dad's Army - Uninvited Guests

A Clash for the Home Guard
Captain Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe) clashes once again with ARP Warden Hodges (Bill Pertwee) when The Home Guard and The Wardens find themselves sharing the Church Hall in today's episode of Dad's Army.

Originally broadcast in 1975, Uninvited Guests can be heard on BBC Radio 4 Extra at 08.30, 12:30 and 19:30 and there is also an additional repeat on Saturday at 14:00 Hrs.

The episode can also be heard for up to a week after broadcast on the BBC iPlayer.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

On Radio: It Sticks Out Half A Mile - The Friends Of Frambourne Pier

Pike (Ian Lavender) and Hodges (Bill Pertwee) enlist their friends in a bid to help restore Frambourne Pier in today's episode of It Sticks Out Half A Mile broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra at 17:00 Hrs.

As usual the episode is repeated for early risers tomorrow morning at 05:00 hrs and there is an additional repeat this Saturday afternoon at 14:30 hrs.

The episode is also available on the Listen Again service for up to a week after broadcast.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Newport Scenes: Ebbw Bridge Sunrise

View from Ebbw Bridge
Some scenes from Ebbw Bridge on Cardiff Road which I caught as I walked into work this morning.

Sun breaks over the river on Ebbw Bridge

Treading The Boards: Clive Dunn in Puss In Boots On Ice (1952-53)

Puss In Boots On Ice Programme - 1952
This final  Treading The Boards post looking at seasonal productions could well be named Dancing On Ice, for early in the 1950s, Clive Dunn was amongst the cast of Claude Langdon's third spectacular ice pantomime at the Empress Hall, Puss In Boots.

The cast was headed by Eric Waite who was known as The Clown Prince Of Ice and stunt-doubled for George Formby in the 1938 film I See Ice. Other stars included, Dinkie Stapleton as Puss and Diana Grafton  as Queen Festivia.
A picture detail featuring Clive Dunn (right)
in Puss in Boots On Ice
Clive had a dual role of Simple Simon and Gertie The Girl Guide in this production, he was certainly worked hard and one can only imagine the spectacle audiences saw as the production unfolded on ice!
  • Treading The Boards will continue next week with a look at Dad's Army actors appearances on stage in dramas, comedies, musicals and other productions. However, if there is a Christmas, seasonal production I've overlooked, please feel free to contact me, especially if you have a theatre programme or ephemera and I'll be more than happy to feature it in a future post!

Monday, 16 January 2012

Treading The Boards: Clive Dunn in Dick Whittington and His Cat (1980)

Souvenir Programme for
Dick Whittington and His Cat, 1980
1980 was a good year to catch Dad's Army stars in pantomime!

While Ian Lavender and Bill Pertwee were keeping audiences entertained at the Churchill Theatre in Mother Goose, Clive Dunn joined a cast of stars in Dick Whittington and His Cat at The London Palladium.

1980's funniest man on television, Jim Davidson headed the cast as Dick, while Mollie Sugden best known for her role as Mrs Slocombe on Are You Being Served? played Sarah (Mollie also played Mrs Fox in the Dad's Army radio series).

Dick Whittington featured Melvyn Hayes, Clive Dunn,
Mollie Sugden and Lionel Blair
This production was a real treat for fans of the David Croft stable as three stars from It Ain't Half Hot Mum also featured. These included Windsor Davies as Captain, Melvyn Hayes as Mate and Dino Shafeek. Clive Dunn portrayed Alderman Fitzwarren , Lionel Blair was The High Sheriff, Jacqueline Reddin was Alice and Victor Spinetti was King Rat.

Looking at the line up of this production there was certainly more stars than you could shake a stick at!

  • If you have any recollections, cuttings or ephemera from this production of Dick Whittington and His Cat, I'd be more than pleased to hear from you for inclusion on a future blog post.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Treading The Boards: Arthur Lowe and Ian Lavender in Mother Goose (1981-82)

Mother Goose Flyer - 1981
Louis Benjamin and Peter Elliott's production of Mother Goose at the Victoria Palace, London  in 1981 brought together John Inman AKA Mr Humphries from Are You Been Served? with Dad's Army's Arthur Lowe and Ian Lavender.

Although Lavender had appeared in a production of Mother Goose the year before at The Churchill Theatre, this was a different take on the story and on this occasion he portrayed Sammy, the son of Mother Goose (John Inman).

Arthur Lowe portrayed The Squire Of Sweet Content, his only pantomime role and his penultimate stage engagement before his final stage run in Home At Seven  only months later.

60s pop star Susan Maughan took on the role of Colin, The Miller's Son and ventriloquist Dawson Chance was Farmer Giles.

Support was ably provided by Jimmy & Brian Patton, Barbara Newman, Nicholas Brent, Joan Cooper (Arthur Lowe's wife), Jan Hartley, Paul & Peta Page and The Peggy O Farrell Children.

  • If you saw this production and have any memories or ephemera from it, I would love to hear from you so I could feature further information in a future blog post.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Saturday Superstore: More Pages From Ceefax

BBC Ceefax Guide - Radio Times, March 1987
Tomorrow it will be a year since I introduced the Saturday Superstore section on Retrospace. It's been an interesting year dipping into elements of advertisements from decades past, but I'll be pulling the shutters down on this feature for the moment in order to develop some new features in coming weeks.

Today's final Saturday Superstore post isn't an advert as such, but a guide to the BBC Ceefax service that fellow blogger Andy Walmsley kindly sent me in response to my post on teletext TV.

This feature ties in with when the BBC relaunched the Ceefax service in 1987, I recall frequently checking the TV and radio listings frequently on these pages while the fun and games sections it appeared were sometimes not updated in weeks.

Amongst the regular news, weather and business services there was also a Christian Comment filed under Miscellany and the latest news on the developing world of computers, particularly BBC Micro in the Telesoftware section. Sounded so marvellous back then and its like another universe now.

On Television : Dad's Army - The Enemy Within The Gates

Private Walker (James Beck) takes
advantage of a case of mistaken
There's a hilarious case of mistaken identity in todays episode of Dad's Army broadcast on BBC2 at 19:30 Hrs.

Originally broadcast in 1968, The Enemy Within The Gates also sees the platoon get to grips with the enemy when German parachutists descend on Walmington-On-Sea.

Following the broadcast of Dad's Army on BBC2 there is also a profile on former BBC Light Entertainment Producer Sir Bill Cotton.

The Man Who Made Eric And Ernie will be broadcast at 20:00 Hrs and profiles Cotton's success commissioning many programmes that made up a golden age of light entertainment including The Morecambe and Wise Show, The Two Ronnies, The Generation Game and of course Dad's Army.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Badge Friday: Homefire Hotstuff

Once upon a time it was almost impossible for one to walk down a local high street anywhere in Great Britain without some well meaning company trying to tell you about their product and foisting a badge on your child for 5 minutes of your time.

It seemed no company was devoid of producing a badge to promote its product and that included smokeless fuel manufacturer Homefire had a badge to promote their product,  this one either originates from the 1970s or 1980s.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

On Radio: Dad's Army - Branded

Today's episode of Dad's Army broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra at 08:30hrs, 12:30hrs and 19:30hrs finds Private Godfrey (Arnold Ridley) exposed as a contentious objector. As the platoon stand in judgement of Godfrey it soon becomes obvious that one should never judge a book by its cover.

This classic adaptation of a television Dad's Army episode was originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in March 1975. For more information click here.

Branded will be available to listen again on the BBC iPlayer up to a week after broadcast.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

On Radio: It Sticks Out Half A Mile - Pike In Love

Mrs Pike asks Arthur (John Le Mesurier) to talk to Frank (Ian Lavender) about the birds and the bees in todays episode of It Sticks Out Half A Mile on BBC Radio 4 Extra at 17:00 hrs and repeated at 05:00 hrs tomorrow morning.

The episode from the pen of Harold Snoad and Michael Knowles was originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in December 1983.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Treading The Boards: Ian Lavender and Bill Pertwee In Mother Goose (1980-81)

Here's the first of two productions to be featured in Walmington-On-Sea 333's feature Treading The Boards of the pantomime Mother Goose.

Both productions featured Ian Lavender and on this occasion Ian was joined by fellow Dad's Army star Bill Pertwee.

Mother Goose opened at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley on December 18, 1980 and ran until January 24, 1981.

The production featured Norman Vaughan as Mother Goose, Magpie's Tommy Boyd as Jack, Julie Dawn Cole as Jill, Bill Pertwee as Squire Bashem, It Ain't Half Hot Mum's Stuart McGugan as Bootem and Ian Lavender as Knockem.
  • Bill Pertwee also starred with Norman Vaughan in Cinderella at Brighton's Theatre Royal in 1967.
  • If anyone has any memories, newspaper cuttings or ephemera from this production I'd love to hear from you in order to feature them in a future post.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Happy Birthday Clive Dunn - 92 Today!

Meeting Clive Dunn in 1998
Dad's Army's Lance Corporal Jones Clive Dunn was born on January 9th 1920, making today his 92nd birthday.

Clive of course made a living out of playing agile old men raising many smiles for the best part of four decades in shows such as Hancock's Half Hour, Bootsie and Snudge, My Old Man and Grandad.

In 1971, Clive appeared on Desert Island Discs in which he was interviewed by Roy Plomley, you can read a transcription of some of that interview here.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Treading The Boards: Dad's Army

A 1958 York Theatre Royal
Production Of
Goldilocks and The Three Bears
Before the stars of Dad's Army became household names on television many of them spent several years up and down the United Kingdom making appearances on theatre stages.

A new series over on Walmington-On-Sea 333 last week called Treading The Boards kicked off with pantomime appearances featuring stars from Dad's Army and examples of theatre programme covers from my own collection.

Today's example  for instance features Pamela Cundell (best known for her role as Mrs Fox) in a 1968 production of The Magic Carpet which also featured future 70s pop star David Essex. (Curiously enough - I caught Mr Essex in a production of All The Fun Of The Fair at Cardiff New Theatre in November.)

I also have other examples of theatre programmes and posters which will be featured on this blog in coming weeks featuring stars from other shows. If anyone has any items that they'd like to see featured in this section in coming months feel free to contact me - I'm particularly looking for scans of vintage posters, flyers, newspaper reviews and rare photos.

For more about recent pantomimes and audio releases in the spirit of panto - visit my Online Scribblings blog!

Treading The Boards: Pamela Cundell In The Magic Carpet (1968-1969)

Pamela Cundell is better known to Dad's Army fans for her numerous appearances as Mrs Fox in the show.

However; Pamela was a very popular actress on stage and film before her appearances in Dad's Army, 1968 in particular had been a busy year for Pam having recently featured in the cinema musical Half A Sixpence which starred Tommy Steele.

Pamela rounded off 1968 at The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre's production of John Dalby's The Magic Carpet in which she featured as Fatima, Mother Of The Sultan.  The production commenced on December 23, 1968 and ran until January 18, 1969.

The production also featured John Dalby as Shimazamazam - King of The Genies, Arthur Howard was Abu Gaffer, Royce Mills was Jabberjaws, Karen St.Clare was Zaida and a young up and coming star David Essex (some five years before pop stardom) featured as Zelim, Sultan of Balsorah.
  • If anyone has any memories, newspaper clippings or ephemera of this production, I'd love to hear from you, in order to feature more information in a future post.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Saturday Superstore: Max Bygraves Album

Max Bygraves - Radio Times, 1976
Glancing through a January 1976 copy of Radio Times I was really hard pushed to find an advert that wasn't advertising a cruise or a credit card service. Then, this little nugget jumped out at me.

Max Bygraves album I Wanna Sing You a Story, his new release in January 1976 (or December 1975 as I'm assuming he was aiming for the Christmas present market for Gran).

Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody was Number One in the charts when this was released by Pye Records on album, cassette and the near enough defunct cartridge format, though this was probably a best seller in that field.

Max however doesn't bother attempting a cover of the current Number One tune (even though Bohemian Rhapsody is one hell of a story in itself) instead he plays safe with songs like Down At The Old Bull And Bush and Whispering Grass (a recent chart topper for Don Estelle and Windsor Davies). This was the 1970s!

Arnold Ridley - Born Today In 1896

Dad's Army's own Private Godfrey Arnold Ridley was born today in 1896.

Before joining the ranks of Walmington-On-Sea Home Guard Arnold lead a very active life as a stage-writer, actor, teacher and a soldier serving in both World Wars.

Arnold was probably most famous for writing The Ghost Train, a play which is still widely performed today but unfortunately a play he didn't make a lot of money from.

Arnold's son Nicolas, recently wrote a biography of Arnold's life entitled Godfrey's Ghost.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Retrospace 12 Days Of Christmas

Dad's Army Raise A Glass in 1971 - Radio Times
Retrospace's Radio Times' 12 Days Of Christmas feature ends today featuring many stars that featured in the seasonal Christmas schedules during the 1970s.

Among greats such as Morecambe and Wise, The Two Ronnies, Mike Yarwood, Cliff Richard and Petula Clark  is of course the Dad's Army cast.

View the entire Radio Times 12 Days Of Christmas selection here


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