Monday, 30 April 2012

In Pictures: Carmarthen Scenes And Memories

Carmarthen has changed quite a lot since I was a student there in the mid-90s, though some buildings have remained relatively untouched (despite the odd lick of paint or makeover). Here are some of my memories with a few new pictures:
The Angel Vaults
I only ever went into the Angel Vaults once, as pretty as it looked from the outside there was a huge danger of falling over the bar when you entered through the door. It was a very popular pub amongst many in Carmarthen, so no doubt some people had much better co-ordination than me.

The Mansel Arms
Rachel and I used to live around the corner from The Mansel Arms when we were students. The pub was literally at the end of the road and we would usually go in and order a breakfast 10 minutes before they ended. They were usually the best in Carmarthen...

Guildhall Square
As a student, I probably woalked into Guildhall Square most days, especially looking for boks at WH Smiths and Woolworths.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

In Pictures: Pint Of Guinness

A Pint of Guinness
Another image taken on our recent stay in Carmarthen. This one was a bit more up close and personal taken at the local JD Wetherspoon's.

A pint of my favourite black stuff, the drink was served ice cold and with a shamrock neatly poured into the head by the barman.

Not that you can tell in this posterised version for the blog... but hey still looks cool!

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Out Of The Box @ Newport Riverfront Reviewed

Seren thinking Out of The Box
You may remember that I posted some pictures of the boys at Run Ragged Productions' Out Of the Box Family Workshop last week.

Well here's a picture taken on the following day prior to us going in to see the show at Newport Riverfront. Seren obviously decided to create her own version of a box with the tickets - awesome!

Here's another image of Jon and Tom
building a serious structure at the workshop
Read my South Wales Argus review for Out Of The Box - Family Workshop
Read my South Wales Argus review for Out Of The Box - The Show

Visit run Ragged Productions website

On Television: Dad's Army - Boots Boots Boots

Pike And Frazer have aching feet
in tonight's Dad's Army
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 tonight at 18:30Hrs.

The episode is not broadcast in Wales, please check local listings for possible regional variations.

Arthur Lowe And John Le Mesurier Subject Of New Radio Drama

Dear Arthur, Love John will look at the working 
relationship of Arthur Lowe and John Le Mesurier
A comedy play entitled Dear Arthur, Love John has been commissioned by BBC Radio 4 and will look at the working relationship of Arthur Lowe and John Le Mesurier during the making of Dad's Army.

Written by West End playwright Roy Smiles, the comedy drama will star Robert Daws, Anton Lesser, Kenny Ireland, James Lance and Matt Addis and is produced by CPL Productions.

To quote the British Comedy Guide the synopsis is as follows:
"It is 1982 and as John writes to Arthur to say how much he misses him, the story flashes back to Dad's Army: the first read through, the reaction to getting 21 million viewers, Lowe's hatred of being recognised by the public, the rivalry between John Laurie and Arnold Ridley, Lowe's hostility to Clive Dunn and socialism; the affection Le Mesurier had for them all, particularly Jimmy Beck, and how, after initial snobbery about the show, the cast came to realise it was the best time of their lives. 
Lowe and Le Mesurier were men of wildly different temperaments, yet bonded while working together on the series over the course of its nine-year run and became fast friends. Anton Lesser will play John Le Mesurier in the drama, while Robert Daws will play Arthur Lowe."
Dear Arthur, Love John will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Monday 7th May 2012 at 14:15Hrs

Friday, 27 April 2012

Dad's Army News: John Le Mesurier - It's All Been Rather Lovely

To commemorate the recent centenary of John Le Mesurier's birth BBC2 will be celebrating the life and career of the late actor...

Read on: On Television: John Le Mesurier - It's All Been Rather Lovely

On Television: John Le Mesurier - It's All Been Rather Lovely

John Le Mesurier Remembered on BBC2
To commemorate the recent centenary of John Le Mesurier's birth BBC2 will be celebrating the life and career of the actor tonight at 21:00Hrs.

John Le Mesurier It's All Been Rather Lovely will feature reminiscences from John's friends and families and no doubt many clips from his appearances on film and television including Dad's Army.

Badge Friday: Dan Ye-Ogof Showcaves

Ski With Dinosaurs Badge - 1980s
This Week's Badge Friday is handed over to my good friend Ceri Garner-Jones who has shared another gem from her badge collection!

 "After our recent investigation into where the dinosaur badge came from, Rachel H and I now think it's the National Museum in Cardiff .

I have now found my badge from Dan Yr-Ogof Showcaves. I estimate I got this one in the late 80s. Why you'd ski with the dinosaurs I'm not entirely sure - any ideas?"

Any comments please share below or on Twitter @retrospaceandy or @mecezza

Thursday, 26 April 2012

On Radio: Dad's Army - A Man Of Action

Mainwaring takes action in today's Dad's Army
In the first episode of the third radio series of Dad's Army, the presence of a landmine in Walmington-On-Sea’s calls for Captain Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe) to declare martial law.

The radio adaptation of A Man Of Action 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.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

TV Review: They Sold A Million - Ricky Valance

Ricky Valance
Interesting to see a documentary on 1960s pop star Ricky Valance on BBC1 Wales on Tuesday evening.

Ricky, who shot to Number One in 1960 with his version of Tell Laura I Love Her has the proud accolade of been the first Welshman to get to Number One, beating Tom Jones by some 5 years.

The record did suffer a major setback. It was banned by the BBC for its subject matter of a young boy called Tommy getting killed in a stock car race while trying to win prize money to buy his beloved Laura a wedding ring. 

Unfortunately, Ricky never scored another hit after his number one chart success and has constantly been confused with the late lamented rock star Ritchie Valens.  The documentary showed how Ricky  has fought off the "One-Hit Wonder" tag and maintained a career in music for over 50 years despite suffering several setbacks.

The programme featured a few teasing glimpses of retro television including a mid 60s sequence from World in Action and footage of him near his home in Spain as well as his recent concert at Newbridge Memorial Hall.

Now in his 70s (but looking a few decades younger) Ricky still sings Tell Laura I Love Her although admits he¹d occasionally like to drop it from the set.  He also longs for greater recognition in his Welsh homeland, with the hope of playing a larger venue. Meanwhile the popularity of a Tell Laura I Love Her still endures with fans even going as far as naming their children after the girl in the song.

Nice to see that Ricky still maintains his energy and drive to sing while so many of his contemporaries have either lost their enthusiasm or their lives in the decades since the 1960s. Still popular and fondly remembered, Ricky Valance will always have the accolade of been the first Welshman to get to number one and with all those Laura's running about maybe the fictional Tommy's death wasn't in vain after all.

In Pictures: Ice Cream On Amroth Beach

Ice Cream On Amroth Beach
Here's an image I took last Thursday following our trip to Narberth. We stopped off at Amroth for a few hours which had a very quiet beach and had quite a chilled afternoon.

It wasn't exactly warm but the sun did peek out for a bit, we also visited the Pirates Ice Cream and gift shops on the sea front. As Rachel and the children enjoyed their drinks I decided to snap a couple of pictures.

I quite like this image of Rach and the children wrapped up warm eating Ice Cream with the old Wall's Ice Cream sign at the forefront promoting summer. A bit of a contradiction but a bit of a giggle.

Again I added the painted effect on my mobile phone.
Instagram image by Rachel
An addition to this post is the image of the children and I having an Ice Cream taken by Rachel - love the Instagram effect!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

In Pictures: Tenby Bus in Narberth

The 381 Bus To Tenby
While we were visiting Rachel's gran in Narberth last Thursday, I had to briefly nip into town to post some items at the post office.

It was a bit bleak, wet and miserable if I'm honest but I did get a glimmer of sunshine if only mentally when i saw a bus for Tenby pull into the nearby bus stop.

I love Tenby, but unfortunately it wasn't on our list of places to visit on that day - so this is the closest I got!

Rachel later joked that she was surprised I didn't jump on the bus... no but I took this pic then played around with the effects on my phone to get this painted look. Despite the bleakness of the day the red of the bus really comes through!


Monday, 23 April 2012

Newport Scenes: Lower Dock Street Wall

Lower Dock Street, Newport
Here's an image I took in Lower Dock Street last week and processed as a cartoon image.

I like the graffiti set upon the wall with the contrast of offices and work in progress buildings in the distance.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Music Finds: The Rat Pack and The Originals

I've been impressed with a large selection of CD's recently made available through the retail store Poundland. Usually known for their odd bargain various stores have recently been selling refurbished CD's for a pound each.

Here's two I acquired yesterday.

Eee-O Eleven - The Best Of The Rat Pack
Its nearly a decade since some bright spark at Capitol Records realised that the 50 year copyright was nearly up on early recordings by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr, so what better way to reboot the kings of cool back catalogues by bringing together a collection of songs in the form of Eee-O Eleven The Best of The Rat Pack that popularised their Rat Pack shows at the sands hotel in the early 60s?

The CD features a sticker proudly proclaiming "The First Official Collection". One wonders how many collections have been produced since?

Numerous compilations have followed, many featuring tracks of varying quality, yet this compilation featuring Me and My Shadow, Volare, Sam's Song and Eee-O Eleven is arguably the best.

Originals helms back to 1993 and is a collection of 14 super cool retro tracks that featured prominently in the Jeans commercials from the mid 80s onwards. In fact looking at this list including Sam Cooke's Wonderful World, Ben E King's Stand By Me, The Clash's Should I Stay Or Should I Go and Dinah Washington's Mad About The Boy, it's a stark reminder of how many of these songs actually achieved more popular success years after they were recorded.

In Pictures: Llansteffan Castle and Beach Panoramas

Grounds of Llansteffan Castle
It's been a good week off work and from Wednesday to Friday this week Rachel, the children and myself  went back to Carmarthen for a few days. Over the few days we visited a few places including Llansteffan Beach on Friday in which the boys excitedly lead the way up to the castle.

A view from the top of the castle
I hadn't visited the castle in some years and I don't ever recall going into the grounds (though Rachel informs me I did) anyhow I decided I'd take a few pics this time to capture some of the marvellous views.

Another view from the top of the castle
These panoramic pictures were taken on my mobile hence the dips in contrast and the ones above were taken from the very top turret of the castle (where I climbed to with the boys).

On Llansteffan Beach
There were quite a few nice views and an impending sense that it was going to rain. It did get cloudy at a few points and there were even a few rumbles of thunder but the rain did stay away (even though a few drops hit the back of our necks).

A view of Llansteffan Beach from The Castle Grounds
There were also very few people about as children had already gone back to school - this was the quietest I'd ever visited the beach in some time!

Treading The Boards: Arthur Lowe in Stop It, Whoever You Are (1961)

Arthur Lowe
Programme for Stop it,
Whoever You Are,
Production: Stop It Whoever You Are by Henry Livings
Venue: The Arts Theatre Club
Date: Wednesday 15th February 1961
Starring Wilfred Brambell, Robin Parkinson, Sydonie Platt, Rosamund Greenwood, Arthur Lowe, John Rutland, Ray Mort, Roger Kemp, Ronald Lacey, Brian Oulton, Edmond Bennett, John Saunders

Henry Livings’ Stop It Whoever You Are was the first of the scriptwriter’s plays to be staged in 1961. As a result of this he was named as Most Promising Playwright of The Year alongside Gwyn Thomas, author of The Keep.

Stop it Whoever You Are follows the escapades of a washroom attendant in a factory. This production staged in February 1961 featured Arthur Lowe as Alderman Michael Oglethorpe.

Arthur at the time had recently started playing Leonard Swindley in Coronation Street, a character he would frequently revisit on television over the next four years, that is when he wasn’t in demand in the theatre.
The cast for Stop It, Whoever You Are
Visitors to Stop It Whoever You Are of course were treat to a fabulous cast including Wilfrid Brambell (Steptoe & Son still a year away), Robin Parkinson, Ronald Lacey, Brian Oulton and Rosamund Greenwood (whose career endured for some 6 decades).

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Theatre Review: The Lady In The Van, Dolman Theatre

Floral display for Lady In The Van
I’ve always found Alan Bennett’s wry character observations interesting. Generally tinted with black humour, his stories tend to feature well observed real life scenarios.

Such is the case for the Ray Stone directed Lady in the Van acted out by the Newport Playgoers, of which I spent a few hours watching at The Dolman Theatre this afternoon. 

Alex Wilson and Kevin Myers expertly present Bennett on stage as a split metaphor, two contradictory characters that make up a personality. Bennett whose ailing mother is taking a long but steady decline into senility is giving him concern as well as subject matter for his writing.

However; his concerns are put on hold by another presence in the shape of an old woman who takes up residence in a battered old van on the road in which he lives. Ruth Ferguson gives a sympathetic and troubled portrayal of Miss Shepherd who ultimately takes up residence in Bennett’s garden for 15 years.

The play, although biographical gives self-confessed hints of embellishment in places, all cleverly written with the honest approach you would expect from Bennett. Here we find him suffering fools gladly (but not when his metaphor gets to speak) and the genuine personal suffering of Miss Shepherd.

You may not come away from the production loving any of the characters but you do certainly feel empathy for them.

A well executed production.

On Television: Dad's Army - Don't Forget The Diver

Broadcast tonight as part of BBC 2's look back at the 1970s along with programmes such as The Good Life and Some Mother's Do 'Ave 'Em the Dad's Army episode Don't Forget The Diver is also featured.

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

Dad's Army is broadcast on BBC2 at 19:30Hrs, check local press for regional variations. This episode is not broadcast on BBC Two Wales.

Doctor Who Sound Effects Revisited On Vinyl For Record Store Day

Out Of This World - reissued on vinyl for
Record Store Day

Today is Record Store Day and many record stores up and down the UK are celebrating with special events and plugging special vinyl releases.

Two releases of note are a collaboration between AudioGO and Discovery Records.

Who can forget the thrill of first hearing those ethereal Doctor Who sound effects, and the Pavlov-like response they created during each subsequent episode? 

Those evocative electronic whooshes, sinister pulses and insistent beats, created by the brilliant BBC Radiophonic Workshop, drew us into an enthralling world of time travel and fabulous alien creatures. 

Now you can relive those glory days with the reissue of two classic vinyl LPs of the 1970s, released to coincide with Record Store Day. 

Doctor Who Sound Effects iss reissued on vinyl
Radiophonic Workshop fans can enjoy these limited-edition digitally-remastered sound effects from Doctor Who and several other 1970s TV series, produced on vinyl, with original album sleeve notes. 

Out of This World, first released in 1976, includes tracks of memorable sound effects created for a wide range of BBC radio and TV programmes in three categories: Outer Space which includes elements from Doctor Who; Magic and Fantasy, and Suspense and the Supernatural, many designed to evoke supernatural soundscapes rather than specific activities or locations, with titles such as Galactic Travel, Magic Carpet Flight and Phantoms of Darkness which are guaranteed to cast their spell. 

Doctor Who Sound Effects, first released in 1978, features the ambiance of seven alien worlds as well as some extraordinary and extra-dimensional occurrences encountered on Earth. Add to these an audiogram of the Doctor¹s own mind processes, TARDIS operations, and some weapons for self-defence, and your galactic safety is ensured. Both titles are reissued with their original sleeve artwork and notes.  

Read my recent review on Doctor Who SoundEffects which is also available on CD from AudioGO.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Badge Friday: National Girobank

National Girobank - 1980s
Following a recent Badge Friday post on National Girobank here's another arty badge dating from the 1980s featuring their trademark lion.

Were there any other badges promoting National Girobank? If so, let me know!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

On Radio: Dad's Army - The Day The Balloon Went Up

Lance Corporal Jones takes to the air with Captain
Mainwaring today on BBC Radio 4 Extra
As the platoon capture a stray barrage balloon both Captain Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe) and Lance Corporal Jones (Clive Dunn) literally get swept off their feet.

This final episode from the second Dad’s Army radio series was originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on June 24, 1975.

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, 18 April 2012

John Le Mesurier TV Documentary Announced

Celebrating the centenary of John Le Mesurier, BBC2 are to broadcast "John Le Mesurier: It's All Been Rather Lovely" , a documentary celebrating the life of the much loved actor on Friday 27th April at 9pm.

"It's all been rather lovely" are the reported last words John said when reflecting on his life before slipping into a coma.  The documentary will feature contributions from Michael Palin, Ian Lavender and Clive Dunn among others.

For further information and production details visit The British Comedy Guide

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Arthur Lowe Reading Diary Of A Nobody Reviewed

Arthur Lowe  have provided a favourable (and quite rightly so) review of Arthur Lowe's reading of A Diary Of A Nobody currently been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra on Sunday's.

To quote the review:
 Lowe's performance showed the actor at his versatile best: although he spent much of his career being typecast, first as Leonard Swindley in Coronation Street and subsequently as Captain Mainwaring, he was actually very good at accents - the common London tradesperson, the insolent clerk, the supercilious mayoral aide. His performance was quite simply compelling, demonstrating to listeners why Diary of a Nobody has been so enduringly popular since it first appeared. I will certainly be tuning in to the remaining episodes of this five-part adaptation.
You can check out Arthur's reading of A Diary Of A Nobody on  BBC iPlayer

Monday, 16 April 2012

Out Of The Box Family Workshop Reviewed

Building a box sculpture
Today Jon, Tom and myself visited The Out Of The Box Workshop at Newport Riverfront. Out Of The Box is an exciting new show for all the family devised by Run Ragged Productions.

This particular workshop, devised as a prelude to the show featured elements of rhythm, creativity, cardboard box choreography, Lindy hop dancing and really pushed the boundaries of mine and the boys imagination.

Jem and Ros who held the workshop were brilliant and I'm sure will do well with the show and the workshop.
The boys with the finished sculpture
You can read my Argus review for The Out Of the Box Family Workshop here
Visit Run Ragged Productions website here

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Janis Joplin - The Pearl Sessions Reviewed

Janis Joplin: The Pearl Sessions
Some four decades on from the release of her final studio album, Janis Joplin's Pearl gets a stunning 2 CD reissue as The Pearl Sessions encompassing the original album studio out-takes and single mono masters.

I've quite got into Janis' music lately and this and The Live at the Carousel Ballroom 1968 CD have made fabulous listening.

Read here for my full review on The Pearl Sessions which is released this week.
Read here for my review of Big Brother & the Holding Company's Live at The Carousel Ballroom 1968

Remembering Arthur Lowe 1915-1982

Arthur Lowe 1915-1982

Arthur Lowe died 30 years ago today on 15 April 1982.

I  recall Arthur Lowe’s death at the age of 66 quite vividly as I saw him interviewed on the BBC1 lunchtime show Pebble Mill At One earlier that day discussing his new stage play Home at Seven which was running in Birmingham.

Jimmy Perry paid tribute to Arthur in The Guardian
-with thanks to Andy Walmsley
With hindsight it is easy to note the whole awkwardness of the interview; Arthur doesn’t appear to be focused and uncomfortable with the whole setup. Watching the interview now it is clear he is unwell, a sad moment and unfortunately the only British TV interview of him that appears to survive.

However it seemed almost ridiculous to hear of his death the following day, the actor whose clipped pompous portrayal of Captain Mainwaring was no more, but his performances would endure.

Dad's Army scriptwriter Jimmy Perry wrote of Arthur in The Guardian newspaper the following day: "Arthur Lowe was Captain Mainwaring and Captain Mainwaring was Arthur Lowe. He revelled in the part and as the years went by David and I wrote so intimately for him taking in every little quirk of his personality that the man and the character became one."

The BBC repeated the Dad’s Army episode A Man of Action in way of a tribute shortly afterwards and Dad’s Army continues to raise laughs 30 years on from his death.

Treading The Boards: Bill Pertwee in Old Tyme Music Hall (1966)

Production: Old Tyme Music Hall
Venue: West Pier, Brighton
Date: Spring 1966
Starring: Alan Gale, Bill Pertwee, Patricia Kay, Gary Webb, Wendy Fitzgerald, John Douglass, Cecil Boltz, Brownie Dene
Devised and Produced By Alan Gale

The format of music hall and variety was all becoming a faded memory in theatre by the time the West End Pier staged Alan Gale’s third consecutive year of Old Tyme Music Hall during 1966.

Younger audiences were leaving the theatres in pursuit of dance hall and concerts although older generations still had a yearning for more traditional entertainment.

Bill Pertwee, at this time still a radio regular on Round the Horne and with several TV series under his belt including Don’t Look Nowwas the Chairman of the show that proclaimed on its cover “The Good Old Days Again”.

Photo biographies for
Old Tyme Music Hall
The shows highlights according to the programme included Mr. Alan Gale’s portrayal of an old Chelsea pensioner, Miss Wendy Fitzgerald “So very very charming”, Soprano Patricia Kay’s “Melodies from the past” and The Company dressed in all their frills and finery for a stroll in the park.

More Photo Biographies for
Old Tyme Music Hall
A quick Google of many of the names featured in the production fails to bring many results although I’m assuming many continued or had great success on the stage. 

A Complete running order for Olde Tyme Music Hall
Alan Gale had some longstanding success as did Brownie Dene. If anyone knows more about the Olde Tyme Music Hall Show’s staged at Brighton in the 60s or has photographs, press reviews or even if you attended one – please get in touch!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

On Television: Dad's Army - The Big Parade

It’s War Weapons Week and a big parade is to be held throughout Walmington of all the auxiliary services.

Much to Warden Hodges (Bill Pertwee) disdain Captain Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe) and the Home Guard intend to lead the parade with their new mascot.

However, with Private Walker (James Beck) providing the mascot things don’t quite go to plan…

The Big Parade was originally broadcast in September 1970, it will be broadcast on BBC2 Wales today at 20:00 Hrs (check your local TV listings for regional variations).

Friday, 13 April 2012

Frank Williams and Bernard Holley In Z Cars Short

Frank Williams at the Dad's Army
40th anniversary celebrations in 2008
- Andy Howells
I was in contact this week with the actor Bernard Holley who has appeared in many TV drama and comedy series over the years.

As I was perusing Bernard's CV I noticed he had recently revisited his character of PC Newcombe from the TV series Z Cars in a short play by Oliver Crocker entitled A Lot of Fuss About Light and amongst the cast is none other than our favourite Dad's Army vicar Frank Williams.

The short is very enjoyable and everyone involved gives a great performance - if you love the spirit of 1960s drama and Z Cars you can see the short above.

Frank also made two other appearances in Z Cars in the episodes Teamwork (1962) and Light The Blue Paper (1963).

Frank also appeared on this weeks Aled Jones with Good Morning Sunday. You can hear the programme on BBC iPlayer until Sunday.

Badge Friday: I Heart My South Wales Guardian

South Wales Guardian Badge - 1990s
Thanks go to my line manager Carl Difford who brought this rather special badge into work today.

Carl used to be a deputy editor on the South Wales Guardian newspaper in the 1990s and is currently one of the many weekly newspapers designed by the department I work in serving the readership of the Ammanford and Towy Valley area in West Wales.

The badge itself originates from the 1990s and I'm sure many of these are languishing in and around the Ammanford area!

It struck me that other regional newspapers must have produced badges over the years - if you have one you'd like to see included in a future Badge Friday please get in touch!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Bernard Holley Remembers Heartbreak Hotel

Bernard Holley (right) pictured with Joan Sanderson
in an episode of Please Sir! (1972)
I was pleased by the responses I received on Twitter last weekend when I asked a collection of people I follow or indeed those who follow me to share what was the first record they purchased. The choices were varied from the 1950s to the 1990s and hopefully raise good memories or a smile for all that participated. 

It was particularly interesting to hear from the actor Bernard Holley (PC Newcombe from Z Cars, Axos in Doctor Who as well as recent roles in A Touch of Frost and Holby City to name a few) who shared a glimpse into his first record purchase. A record as it resulted which would change the history of music. 

Bernard takes up the story: 
"I was about 16 years old and just managing to listen to Radio Luxembourg on my parents creaking old set (probably worth a fortune now) and they played samples of the latest 'Rock n'Roll' which to my young ears was wonderful stuff but hated by the stuffy establishment. I went to school in Kilburn and in the local record shop that I frequented the owner, who I knew well, give me a record one day telling me that it was a demo disc and that it was a load of incomprehensible rubbish. 
Intrigued I took it home and was knocked out by the voice, power and the rhythm of Mr. Presley singing Heartbreak Hotel. The only problem was I couldn't understand a word he was singing! I played that record over and over and over and over again writing down the lyrics as I deciphered them. 
All this happened about two months before the record was released over here. I played the record to all my music mad friends and they all loved it too. So I reckon I was one of the first people in the UK to hear Elvis and for years I claimed I was partly responsible for his British success. 
The record shop owner sold me for the disc for one shilling (5p) and I so wish I had kept it, probably priceless now!"
One of Bernard Holley's most celebrated roles as Axos
in the 1971 Doctor Who story: The Claws of Axos
Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel entered the Billboard 100 in the US in March 1956 reaching the coveted No.1 position the following month. It was released in the UK in May that year and reached No.2 in the British chart in June, ultimately staying on the British chart for 22 weeks. Elvis had arrived!

Bernard continues: 
"I have to say that I was very surprised at the subsequent success of Elvis as I thought that me and the mates were the only fans!  When my wife was in her late teens she bought an early Elvis LP and it is the only memento of those early rock and roll years. 
It's pretty battered but you may like to look at the attached photo of the cover.  It includes all his early hits Blue Suede Shoes, Money Honey etc but sadly not Heartbreak Hotel."
The Holley's well-loved Elvis album from 1956 -
with thanks to Bernard Holley
Thanks to Bernard Holley for taking time out to share his memories about Heartbreak Hotel. You can find out more about Bernard, his career and his current work by visiting Bernard Holley's official website.


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