Thursday, 31 May 2012

Badge Friday: Rupert Bear Supports Muscular Dystrophy

Rupert the Bear
supports Muscular Dystrophy
- 1996
Here's another badge from Carl Difford's collection, this time Rupert the Bear supports Muscular Dystrophy, which was the Tesco charity of the year in 1996. 

I'm sure Rupert must have featured on many badges over the years - do you know or own any?

On Radio: Dad's Army - Round and Round Went The Big Wheel

Assisting special duties - Private Godfrey on
BBC Radio 4 Extra today
Captain Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe) and his men are relieved of special duties when a new high-explosive attack device threatens to cause havoc.

The radio adaptation of Round and Round Went The Big Wheel was originally broadcast on BBC Radio in April 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.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Download John Laurie's Desert Island Discs

Download John Laurie's Desert Island Discs
The BBC Desert Island Discs archive have made further episodes of the documentary series available for download, this time from Roy Plomley's tenure as presenter of the show.

Plomley was the creator of the series and thus far the longest presenter of the show having presented from 1942 until his death in 1985.

Between 1970 and 1976, Plomley featured five castaways from Dad's Army, of which only John Laurie's 1976 appearance is known to survive in its entirety in the BBC archive. This has now become available to download for free from the Desert Island Discs website and remains a fascinating and rare interview with the celebrated actor.

Download John Laurie's Desert Island Discs

The Christians Live at Cardiff Globe 2012 Reviewed

The Christians - Andy Howells
On Friday, as the Olympic Torch passed through Newport and subsequently Cardiff I also had further excitement as I went to review 80s pop band The Christians at The Globe in Cardiff.

I had interviewed lead singer Garry Christian the previous Friday for a feature in The South Wales Argus and had remembered enjoying The Christians' records including Forgotten Town, Hooverville and of course their version of the Isley Brothers' Harvest For The World.

Amazing to think its 25 years since those tracks were released yet they continue to endure and sound as fresh as ever.

I'll be publishing my full interview with Garry online shortly, in the meantime, you can read my review of The Christians gig at Cardiff Globe here.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

TARDIS Tuesday - The Dalek Who Told Bible Stories

Dalek Actor 'A Star' 
In Pulpit  
- Sunday People 1982
Actor John Scott-Martin was for many years known as Dalek Number One, having played the metal meanies in most of the original Dalek serials from the classic Doctor Who series.

However, as this Sunday People report from 1982 proved, John was also "a kindly churchman who tells Bible stories".

" I have conducted services and administered the wine at Holy Communion," said John, "I wear a cassock and surplice. It's quite a change from my previous life." Indeed among John's Doctor Who credits were playing nine-foot ants, giant shrimps and being turned into a maggot.

"I've been a clergyman before," recalled John, "I had to marry Tommy Cooper to Patricia Hayes in a TV comedy show. But my church work now is much more serious."

John carried on playing Daleks right up until Doctor Who's cancellation in 1989. When the series returned in 2004 his offer to reprise his role as number one Dalek was widely publicised but seemingly overlooked by the Doctor Who production team.

John died in 2009, aged 82 and survived by his wife and daughter.

Further Daleks Reading:
Audiobook Review: Doctor Who - Daleks: The Chase

On Television: Dad's Army - Put That Light Out

Chaos ensues when Captain Mainwaring assigns an observation post at the lighthouse in todays episode of Dad's Army broadcast on BBC2 Wales at 18.30Hrs. Check listings for regional variations.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Mono Monday: Engelbert Humperdinck

Admittedly even I got excited when I heard 1960s crooner Engelbert Humperdinck  was to represent the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest, but not really surprised when he didn't even come close of getting votes from most countries.

Not because of Eng's marvellous performance or song choice. No, Eurovision unfortunately still has very political inclinations and furthermore I can't remember a time when anyone who went out first in the evening got a good selection of votes.

Engelbert needn't worry though, he represented us as a true professional and it cant have done his career or album sales any harm, (a best of already cruising up the charts).

Back in the 1960s his contemporary was Tom Jones (he was also signed to Decca like Tom and managed by Gordon Mills) and had a high turn-over of hits between 1967 and 1969.

Although his recording career began in 1956 as Gerry Dorsey, it would take a name change and reinvention to shoot him to the top of the charts. His record Release Me did this in 1967, allegedly selling 85,000 copies a day at one point. The record kept The Beatles Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane off the top of the charts.

I frequently remember ploughing through my mums 45 single collection from the 60s and finding a string of Eng's releases including The Last Waltz, Winter Wonderland and The Bicyclettes De Belsize.

Great stuff!

Friday, 25 May 2012

Badge Friday: Hungry Bear Eats At The Garden Coffee Shop Allders

Another gem from Ceri Garner-Jones collection takes us back to the 1980s for this weeks Badge Friday...

Ceri Says: "I picked up this Allders badge in the early 80s when it was still open in Cardiff. I was so young at the time that I can barely remember the place, but I seem to remember it was on Queen St, maybe around the area that Queen's Arcade is now - please correct me if I'm wrong!"

Anyone who remembers Allders - please get in touch!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

On Radio: Dad's Army - Absent Friends

Captain Mainwaring faces opposition from his platoon
in today's Dad's Army
Returning from a meeting in London, Captain Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe) faces platoon insubordination and an escaped convict. The radio adaptation of Absent Friends was originally broadcast on BBC Radio in April 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.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

30 Day Drawing Challenge - Day 19: Favourite Plant

Favourite Plant - Andy Howells
This ones a bit of fabrication - I'm not really a lover of plants, so I just doodled how I envisage a Venus fly trap...

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

30 Day Drawing Challenge - Day 18: Just A Doodle

Just A Doodle - Andy Howells
Just a doodle inspired by the recent show Out Of The Box.

TARDIS Tuesday: When Koo Nearly Appeared On Dr Who

Guess Who's In Dr Who... It's Koo!
News Of The World
- 1984
Here's the first in a new series of features celebrating the worlds of Doctor Who.

As the series 50th anniversary approaches I thought it would be great to blow off the dust of old scrap-book cuttings I have acquired in my collection over the years.

With the arrival of Colin Baker as The Doctor in early 1984, the Doctor Who press office went into overdrive when it came to announcements about the 1985 series.

One such story of the time was the announcement that American actress Koo Stark (who also happened to be a former girlfriend of HRH Prince Andrew) would be appearing alongside Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant in the next series.

Koo was of great interest to the newspapers at this time and virtually any tidbit of news about her was deemed of interest by the papers, particularly her film career and her association with a mildly erotic movie (which this 1983 article goes to great pains to mention).

"A BBC spokesman" was staying tight lipped about Koo's involvement with Doctor Who telling The News Of The World, 'It is not our policy to discuss story lines prior to broadcasting. We can however confirm that Koo will be involved in some quite unexpected encounters.'

It is believed Koo should have appeared as Rost in the 1985 serial Attack Of The Cybermen , though this role eventually went to Sarah Berber and Koo's involvement with Doctor Who wasn't spoken of again.

Koo did later make memorable appearances on both The Two Ronnies and Red Dwarf.

Interestingly enough, on April 28 2012, it was confirmed Koo would be suing News International following her belief that her phone was hacked after her relationship with Prince Andrew entered the public domain.

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

Private Frazer takes more than
a passing interest in Jones' past
Lance Corporal Jones (Clive Dunn) finds himself coming face to face with the past and accusations of cowardice in this memorable episode of Dad's Army.

However, things are not as they seem as Jonesy regales an adventure he had as a young soldier in the Sudan.

Dad's Army will be broadcast at 18:30Hrs on BBC2 Wales this evening. Please check regional variations for alternative listings.

Monday, 21 May 2012

30 Day Drawing Challenge - Day 17: Inspirations

Inspiration - Andy Howells
I'm inspired by lots of things, so much so they all get in my head and make a bit of a muddle...

Mono Monday: Remembering Robin Gibb 1949-2012

Robin Gibb -
Saved By The Bell (1969)
Mono Monday returns to Retrospace with the sad news that Robin Gibb has passed away.

His death  is tinged with sadness probably more because of his widely publicised battle with cancer and  prominently the press coverage surrounding it.

I've grown up appreciating the Bee Gees music since the 1970s. However it wasn't the disco glitz of hits like Staying Alive and Tragedy that endure for me (as good as they are) but their earlier work including New York Mining Disaster (perpetuated to be The Beatles on release), Massachusetts, Words, Gotta Get A Message To You and Robin's own Saved By The Bell.

Released in 1969, Saved By The Bell reached Number 2 in the British Chart while topping the New Zealand and South African charts.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Tredegar House Folk Festival 2012

The children wait patiently for ice creams...
This afternoon we thought we'd take a stroll over to Tredegar House for a few hours to sample the 23rd Folk Festival they were staging there.

There were several examples of music and dancing, childrens activities as well as crafts and fine ales of which Rach and myself sampled !

Check out the video above for a couple of highlights from the afternoon.

30 Day Drawing Challenge- Day 16: Family Portrait

Family Portrait - Andy Howells
Day 16 of the 30 Day Drawing Challenge is a family portrait... so heres me, Rach and the children...

Saturday, 19 May 2012

On Television: An Evening Of Dad's Army Programmes on BBC2

Captain Mainwaring
gets to grips with the enemy.
There's a special treat for Dad's Army fans this evening as BBC Two Wales show two documentaries and a classic episode celebrating the series and the work of David Croft.

The evening gets off to a flying start at 17:40Hrs when there's a repeat of the Victoria Wood fronted documentary from 1998 entitled Don't Panic - The Dad's Army Story. Featuring interviews with Jimmy Perry, David Croft, Clive Dunn and Ian Lavender this programme is a must for Dad's Army fans.

At 18:30 Hrs Captain Mainwaring unexpectedly returns from London to deal with an unruly platoon and an IRA suspect in the 1970 Dad's Army episode Absent Friends.

Finally at 19:00 Hrs there's another chance to see last December's tribute to David Croft with You Have Been Watching... David Croft featuring many examples of David's shows including It Ain't Half Hot Mum, Hi-De-Hi and of course Dad's Army.

Please check local TV listings for regional variations.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Badge Friday: Greenmeadow Community Farm, Cwmbran

Greenmeadow Community Farm Badges - 1990s
Here's the first of several badges recently submitted to me by Carl Difford for inclusion on Badge Friday.

Carl says: "Three badges from Greenmeadow Community Farm, Cwmbran. It was a goodplace to take my daughter nearly 20 years ago and is still popular with the kids."

 Good to see how badges, like photographs can evoke great memories.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Remembering Donna Summer 1948-2012

Donna Summer - On The Radio
Was sorry to hear of the passing of disco queen Donna Summer today.

Donna's music was pretty much a soundtrack to the 70s and 80s, never intrusive or in your face but great to dance or sing along too. Recalling her hits this evening I was amazed by how many I knew even though I only have a small selection on my iPod.

I Feel Love, State Of Independence, Loves Unkind, Bad Girls, On The Radio and the raunchy Love To Love You are only a small selection of a fabulously large legacy.

Long may they be enjoyed!

Favourite Film Tweets - Part 1

Withnail and I
Everyone has an all-time favourite film - well nearly everyone!

Earlier this week I asked my followers on Twitter as well as several people I followed what their favourite film of all-time was. Many came back with an answer (and some) while a few found it difficult to come up with a choice at all.

I have to admit I found it difficult. I wouldn't describe myself as a movie buff as I tend to watch movies that are over 40 years old (although I do like some modern ones).

Anyhow more about my choice and other favourites in future posts - here's my first 10 responses.

Thomas Ahearn (Fellow Tweeter)
@Slughorn42: The Wrong Box.

Steve Milne (Fellow Tweeter)
@SteveGMilne: Angels With Dirty Faces

Jessica Lee Morgan (Singer/Songwriter)
@jessleemorgan: It's got to be Withnail and I. I could quote you most of it right now. "We've come on holiday by mistake"...

Tom Webb (Comedian)
@TomWebb: If it's of 'all-time', then it would have to be The Neverending Story

Elizabeth Whycer (Fellow Tweeter)
@elizabethwhycer: Hard to nail just 1 but 2 are Mary Poppins (seen about x12 since age 6) & Local Hero (stood in that phone box in the 80s!)

Alison Moyet (Singer/Songwriter)
@AlisonMoyet1: Antonia's Line is up there.

Hannah Berney  (Singer - The Voice UK)
@HannahBerney: Dumb and Dumber :) x

Jamie Lostprophets (Lostprophets)
@JayLostprophets: Weird Science.

Becky Barnbrook (Singer/Actress)
@Beckybarnbrook: It has to be The Lion King!

Paul McGarvey (Fellow Tweeter)
@itspaulmcgroovy One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest  

Follow and join in  the conversation on Twitter by either following RetrospaceAndy or searching #filmtweets

On Radio: Dad's Army - Keep Young and Beautiful

Private Frazer takes action in today's radio episode of
Dad's Army
The platoon's old guard comes under threat when War Office policy threatens to draft them into the ARP. Jones, Frazer and Godfrey take drastic action.

The radio adaptation of Keep Young and Beautiful was originally broadcast on BBC Radio in April 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.

Monday, 14 May 2012

30 Day Drawing Challenge - Day 15: Something New

Something New - Andy Howells
A sketch of the Surf Shack model Rach and I recently purchased in Amroth. We tend to like a lot of items with a seaside connection and this particularly stood out...

Sunday, 13 May 2012

30 Day Drawing Challenge - Day 14 : Favourite Fairytale

Favourite Fairytale - Andy Howells
I've always had a soft spot for the story Jack and The Beanstalk - here's a sketched cartoon interpretation...

Saturday, 12 May 2012

30 Day Drawing Challenge - Day 13: Cartoon

Cartoon: Day 13 by Andy Howells
Ironic that I stumble on the 30 Day Drawing Challenge on the very day I'm due to do something I really love. It's been years since i've even attempted to draw a cartoon strip and its something i'd love to get back into.

The above is very rough yet something I felt said a lot about the challenge... to be continued!

Friday, 11 May 2012

Music Notes: Manhattan Coast

This week was my first regular week as a designer on The South Wales Argus entertainment supplement, The Guide. One feature I contributed to was Meet The Band which hopes to profile up and coming bands in the South Wales area.

The first band to feature in Meet the Band are the Bridgend/Llantwit Major alt-rock band Manhattan Coast and I was grateful for Adam of the group to answer some questions about the band prior to their Le Pub gig in Newport next Friday.

Above is a cutting of the article from today's Argus featuring my Q&A with the band.

Manhattan Coast's new EP Never Tell Me The Odds will be released on Monday 14th May 2012.

Follow Manhattan Coast on Twitter

Badge Friday: South Wales Echo - Full Of Local Colour

South Wales Echo Badge
My good work colleague and friend Ceri Garner-Jones has a follow up badge to my recent request for local newspaper badges following recent Carl Difford's South Wales Guardian submission.

Ceri says: "Continuing the local newspapers theme, here is a badge picked up long ago advertising the South Wales Echo. I'd imagine they we're given away from a stall or something at some sort of event somewhere in Cardiff - my usually good memory has completely forgotten this one!"

Anymore local newspaper badges out there?

Thursday, 10 May 2012

On Television: Dad's Army - Boots Boots Boots (BBC Wales Only)

Tonight's episode of Dad's Army is entitled Boots Boots Boots and sees Captain Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe) instigating a series of foot hardening exercises for the platoon.

Unimpressed with endless route marches, members of the platoon take matters into their own hands...

Boots Boots Boots was originally broadcast on BBC1 in October 1970 and is repeated on BBC2 Wales tonight at 18:30Hrs.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

On Radio: Dad's Army - The Godiva Affair

The platoon's Spitfire fundraiser is put in jeopardy as Lance Corporal Jones (Clive Dunn) pines for his beloved Mrs. Fox (Mollie Sugden).

The radio adaptation of The Godiva Affair was originally broadcast on BBC Radio in March 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.

Monday, 7 May 2012

On Television: Dad's Army - Don't Forget The Diver (BBC Two Wales Only)

Originally broadcast in 1970, Don't Forget the Diver finds Captain Mainwaring and his men put to the ultimate test by outfoxing Captain Square as they undertake the art of camouflage for an underwater exercise.

This classic Dad's Army episode is broadcast tonight on BBC Two Wales at 18:30Hrs

On Radio: Dear Arthur, Love John

Dear Arthur, Love John is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 today
Dear Arthur, Love John by Roy Smiles is a comedy drama looking at the working relationship of John Le Mesurier (Anton Lesser) and Arthur Lowe (Robert Dawes) as they worked on Dad's Army.

It is broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Afternoon Theatre at 14:15 Hrs today and available to Listen Again on the BBC iPlayer for a week after broadcast.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

On Television: Dad's Army - Sergeant - Save My Boy

When Private Pike (Ian Lavender) loses his way in a minefield during an exercise, Sergeant Wilson (John Le Mesurier) comes to the rescue.

Sergeant - Save My Boy was originally broadcast in 1970.

This episode will be broadcast on BBC Two Wales this evening at 18.35Hrs, please check local listings for regional variations.

Friday, 4 May 2012

My Brief Modelling Career

The Cheltenham Independent - Circa 2000
Working in newspapers can be a precarious occupation. For when you are going about your daily chores you never quite know when a photographer is going to come along and take your picture for use in a feature.

This usually happens when
A) a model doesn't turn up
B) the budget usually doesn't stretch to a model so an employee will do instead
C) both of the above

Oh look there's me pretending to be a lecturer...
In 12 years of working in newspapers I've only been used as a model once and you can probably see why, I hardly have the flare and posture of a pin-up as I try to look convincing as a college lecturer...

Badge Friday: NSPCC Helper 1884-1984

The NSPCC began in 1884 and has endeavoured to help children affected by abuse over the decades. In recent years the NSPCC has developed its FULL STOP campaign, this badge however recalls an earlier campaign from 1984 when the charity reached its centenary.

For further information on the NSPCC and to for details on how to make a donation, visit the NSPCC website.

Robert Daws Recreates Arthur Lowe For Radio Drama

Robert Daws - IMDB
Actor Robert Daws has played many challenging roles on television over the last few decades including recurring appearances in classic series such as Jeeves & Wooster, The Royal, Casualty, Roger Roger and Outside Edge.

Yet Robert will have the task of been the first actor to recreate the persona of Dad’s Army’s Arthur Lowe when the comedy drama “Dear Arthur, Love John” by Roy Smiles is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Bank Holiday Monday.

“To tell the truth I was quite intimidated at the thought of playing the great Mr Lowe,” reveals Robert. “Fortunately I was helped by having a terrific script by Roy Smiles and a lovely cast and production team. I was a huge fan of Dad's Army and remain so to this day, tuning in to BBC2 on a Saturday.”

Dear Arthur, Love John will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4
Robert who stars opposite Anton Lesser who portrays the unflappable John Le Mesurier in the play continues: “I did some research looking at the few documentaries about Arthur Lowe, but fortunately a lot of what I needed was in the script already.”

“The play is an affectionate look at the relationship between Arthur and John Le Mesurier told through John's letters to Arthur and through the recreation of scenes from their time working together.”

“It was a huge honour to get to play Lowe/Mainwaring and I very much hope you enjoy the play.”
  • I’d like to thank Robert Daws for talking to Walmington-On-Sea 333. You can find out more about Robert and his work at his official website 

Thursday, 3 May 2012

On Radio: Dad's Army - The Honourable Man

Wilson gets a title today in Dad's Army
Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe) is more than a little upset when he discovers Wilson (John Le Mesurier) now has an honourable title and with a distinguished visitor due from the Soviet Union, plans to firmly put Wilson in his place.

The radio adaptation of The Honourable Man was originally broadcast on BBC Radio in March 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. 

In Pictures: Amroth Panoramics

Here's some more images from our recent afternoon in Amroth...

Amroth Beach
The beach was pretty quiet when we turned up that afternoon. Local children were back in School and the weatherwas been a bit up and down.

Seafront shops - Amroth
Here's a panoramic view of the shops on the seafront in Amroth, I had great fun piecing this one together...

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

In Pictures: Exploring Llansteffan Castle

Rachel, Tom and Jon exploring the castle!
Back to our recent trip to Llansteffan castle, here's Rachel, Jon and Tom otherwise occupied with exploring the grounds or taking in the view. I like this because its quite natural and seems to reflect the impending rain which was heading over to Llansteffan that day!
The castle staircase
Here's one of several staircases Jon, Tom and myself climbed to get to the top of the castle. Some of the staircases were quite dark, although the boys were quite brave and raced ahead of me. I actually thought it was quite good fun and it stirred up memories of reading adventure stories set in old castles...

At the top of the castle
Here's the boys at the top of the castle. as excited as they were the rain did start to pick and they soon left me behind as I took some images from the top.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Voice Star Lindsey Butler sings Beatles Classic

Lindsey Butler -
I'm not one for liking talent shows, in fact my family will tell you I'd rather go and do the washing while everyone else watches shows TV in the living room.

I have to say though The Voice UK is not a talent show. The judges listen to the  voices for the selection of their teams and don't treat the performers like second rate wannabes. So in our house over the last few weeks The Voice UK has become essential family viewing (yes I even put the washing up on hold till its finished).

Of course following the blind auditions the judges, Sir Tom Jones, Will I Am, Jessie J and Danny O' Donoghue from The Script have had to begin their elimination process. This must have been incredibly difficult as so many of the performers have housed more talent than I've even glimpsed on any other show of similar ilk (you know which ones I'm talking about).

I was slightly disappointed last week when one of my favourite vocalists on The Voice UK Lindsey Butler, lost out on the battle round, but I was sure it wouldn't be the last we'd hear from her. Lindsey's country rock vocals have been one of the highlights of the show so far and I thought she tackled "I Don't Want To Talk About It" and "Born To Run" brilliantly.

I was therefore pleased to find Lindsey now has a website and  three tracks up on Soundcloud including a beautiful version of George Harrison's While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

Lindsey also has a brilliant video up on YouTube called Charlie - I really love the vintage feel and look of this - check it out!

More Lindsey Butler links:
Check out Lindsey Butler's website
Check Out Lindsey Butler's Soundcloud Page
Check Out The Voice UK website


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