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Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

Vale Wendy Richards

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We learned this morning of the death of Wendy Richards who finally succumbed to breast cancer after a long struggle, she was 65.

Wendy was a favourite on the small screen for in Britain for many, many years both as a ‘blonde bombshell’  Miss Brahms in the classic series “Are You Being Served”, and as the matriarch of the Fowler family in “Eastenders”.

I first heard of her ‘singing’ with Mike Sarne back in the 1960’s on his hit song “Come Outside” but that was a one-off for her and she continued with her acting career to the relief of all.

She was a lovely lady.

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Written by welshdog

February 27, 2009 at 5:44 am

Vale Tony Hart

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Sad news that Tony Hart, a gentleman and an inspiration, has died aged 83. He’d retired a few years ago after suffering a couple of strokes, and the loss of his ability to draw accurately hit him very hard. He is probably best known for his TV show HartBeat and of course that little plasticine character “Morph” and perhaps his lasting legacy will be the interest in art and the physical process of creating it that he developed in millions of developing minds. Art as entertainment has never been a hugely popular concept in the minds of the TV executives, but Tony showed that given the opportunity, demonstrating how ‘easy’ creating works of art can be is as entertaining as any format. Of course it was Tony’s extraordinary talent that made ‘easy’ look ‘easy’ – nevertheless, his demonstrations of technique inspired many a child to pick up a pencil… or a multitude of other materials… and try.

I was always utterly amazed at the way he took the simplest concepts and developed them into stunning pictures. And that smile… and his dedication to encourage children to use their talents… and the delight when they did…so genuine!! I used to love watching “The Gallery” where contributions from child viewers were displayed. I never had the nerve to even attempt to draw anything to send in… but the shows were always a pleasure to watch.

He really exemplified a bygone age when television educated as well as entertained. I doubt we’ll ever see his like again?

Written by welshdog

January 19, 2009 at 7:20 am

Posted in Entertainment

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Shouldn't humour be funny?

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For the past few days I, along with vast numbers of people in the English speaking world have been utterly bemused, mesmerised perhaps, by the recent ‘goings on’ at the BBC involving the much loved 78 year old veteran Actor, Andrew Sachs… perhaps more popularly known and loved as the inept, bumbling waiter in the John Cleese classic “Fawlty Towers… his grand-daughter and two obscenely overpaid ‘radio presenters called Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross.

Basically Brand and Ross in a pre-recorded segment, arranged to call Andrew Sachs on the telephone for an interview… lord knows why but if the rest of the story is anything to go by the ‘interview’ promised to be less than pleasant. Anyway, for some reason Andrew was unavailable and his answerphone picked up the call.

Realising he wasn’t there, the pair then began to inform Andrew that Brand had had sex with his grand-daughter.. and the dialogue involving *both* presenters, deteriorated from that point.

If this was live you’d have to wonder why the plug wasn’t pulled at that point… however it transpired that not only was it pre-recorded, it was give the thumbs up for transmission by an editor who presumably thought humiliating a totally innocent person by abusing their grand-daughter was somehow amusing.

So far nearly 30,000 people have complained directly to the BBC to make it plain they did *not* find it at all amusing and have insisted that sanctions be taken against both men for their actions.

In the immediate aftermath Russell Brand has resigned his million dollar a year contract… and Jonathan Ross who is paid the ridiculous sum of forty million dollars a year, has been suspended and is in danger of being summarily dismissed.

What people are incensed over, apart from the obvious disrespect shown to Andrew is that these people are being paid out of their licence fee to abuse ordinary people. They feel these tow saw themselves above the rules of ordinary decent behaviour to the extent they could simply flout social mores and conventions with impunity. Thankfully public opinion is being felt in the corridors of the Beeb and people are taking action.

This sort of behaviour isn’t new of course. Back in the mid 1970’s Peter Cook had a segment in his live show during which he would randomly dial a telephone number. If he was ‘lucky’ – which was never while I watched – the phone would be answered by someone who was watching the show. What would have happened had he found someone I have no idea, but if the person wasn’t watching the show… or worse was in bed asleep (it went out very late for obvious reasons) then they got a tongue lashing from Cook… live on air… much to the ‘amusement’ of the audience, assuming those embarrassed titters *were* from people who were amused rather than just being polite. I, and several audiences, sat through two of these excruciatingly embarrassing performances in stony silence and… for all his brilliance… I never watched Peter Cook live again.

Hopefully neither Russell Brand nor Jonathan Ross will be heared or seen on air again.

Whatever happened to those brilliantly funny and satirical programmes like ‘That was the Week That Was”, or the surreal ‘Monty Python’, or the gentle truly ‘British’ humour of ‘Dads Army’. Just how and why has the BBC been reduced to foisting this appalling exhibition of deliberate cruelty on a paying public as ‘humour’.

Isn’t ‘humour’ supposed to be funny??

Written by welshdog

October 30, 2008 at 3:52 pm

Hello… Ian?

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Yes it’s that time again when an ancient pagan sacrificial ritual is again resurrected, morphed into a quasi-Christian ‘festival’… only to be morphed once more by children into an excuse to get free goodies!!

Indeed… Halloween is once more upon us.

As a ‘festival’ it means little in the UK outside the religious significance, as far as I’m aware, but in the USA it is *huge* excuse to indulge in all sorts of weird and horrific displays of death and torture… all rather strange for a country that seems to see itself as a Christian enclave, but again I digress.

In Australia it’s never been much of a ‘festival, nor has it reached the proportions of ‘horror’ inflicted on the public by those same US worthies. Here, it is just an excuse for kids to dress up a little… or not… and meander around the local streets hassling people for candy, lollies and other goodies.

They turn up saying ‘trick or treat’ as the US kids do, but I’ve never heard of any of the adults ‘patronised’ by being ‘tricked’… no toilet papering houses here as far as I’m aware! However, I *do* know lots of *kids* are tricked by being given onions or tins of beans as a ‘reward’ instead of the goodies they are looking for.

That’s a bit unfair I think, but the kids seem to take it all in good part – so far. Who knows when they might start to learn the retaliatory escapades of their US counterparts!!

We’ve already prepared for Friday night… well a little anyway… by buying a couple of boxes of sweets and mixing the new ones in with some we’ve had here for two years or more. Hee hee…!!

Why (you ask) would we keep sweets that long? Simple really… the kids have birthday parties and most times we knock up more ‘party bags’ than people invited because often the guests will bring siblings along… and we’re suckers. Still, those bags left over were usually consigned to the ‘party box’ for another day… and guess who’s been tidying… and found them… and decided to put them to ‘good use’ (sorta)? Right – moi!!

Some of these kids might find their ‘goodies’ a little chewier than normal! 🙂

My kids will be out on the streets as usual – come rain or shine. This year they invited a few friends over to trawl the estates with them, tho the eldest might yet go out with the group organised for Guides – she’s not decided. Regardless how many eventually set off, I will, as usual, be sitting in the car following them at a reasonable distance to let them do their thing, under a watchful eye. After an hour or so they’ll be shattered… or possibly on a sugar high… and probably sick… and we’ll bring them home to share out the booty.

So, maybe it’ll be Hello-ian again from me again this time Saturday… if we survive tomorrow night!!

Written by welshdog

October 30, 2008 at 10:06 am

Vale Paul Newman

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Sad to hear of the death of Paul Newman who succumbed to cancer last night. Paul was 83 and apart from his roles as an actor was a recognised humanitarian and all round good guy. At last known figures, his foundation had given away $220 million – mostly earned in profits from sales of his line of salad dressings etc.

Paul married Joanne Woodward in 1958 and they remained married until his death. When asked by Playboy magazine how his ‘Hollywood marriage’ lasted so long when so many others had failed he famously replied “I have steak at home – why go out for hamburger?”.

Written by welshdog

September 28, 2008 at 8:58 am

One in four.

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In a few weeks time it’s likely that the Indonesians found guilty of the 2002 bombing at Paddy’s Bar in Kuta, Bali will be executed.

The ‘favoured’ method of execution in Indonesia is shooting. The condemned is taken at midnight to a deserted location where he (or she) is tied to a stake and blindfolded. The execution squad marches out, a priest, or other religico, offers what succour they can, the command is given, and the guns fire.

The assumption in the West at least has been that all but one of the members of the death squad are given live ammunition… so that they can never be *sure* they fired the fatal shot. In Indonesia this is not the case.

Irish born priest Father Charlie Burrows, has given a graphic version of the execution process that is at odds both with our understanding of the process, and the results. The story was published in The Daily Telegraph and makes pretty unpleasant reading.

The execution he attended was of two Nigerian drug couriers and in his account they took a full seven minutes to die moaning and writhing until they eventually bled to death. The death squad sttod by clearly unsure what they should do.

He tells us that the death squad is made up of twelve men, but only three of them carry rifles loaded with live ammunition. If the accuracy of those three is less than perfect then death is not instantaneous, and the soldiers are obviously under great stress themselves, so their accuracy is almost certain to be ‘off’.

Do these people deserve death? I’m no supporter of the death penalty even for the Bali Bombers who killed 202 people and wounded a further 209, Muslims, Christians, Indonesians and Foreigners alike… but if a death penalty *must* be invoked to satisfy whatever local laws are in place then surely the least you could ask for is a clean quick death or you reduce yourself to the level of the people you are punishing!?!

I understood the ‘rules’ of firing squads dictated that in the event of a ‘misfire’ that simply wounded the condemned the overseeing officer was duty bound to approach the wounded person and administer a coup de grace to end their suffering. In Indonesia it seems this part of the process doesn’t exist and the wounded person is simply left.

What happens if they are simply given non-life-threatening wounds I don’t know, but I’d assume they would be hauled up against the post once again and given another volley. Regardless, of the end result, it appears that at Indonesian firing squads, there is just a one in four chance of being hit let alone killed outright.

Conditions of life and death in Indonesia are worse than I’d thought.

Written by welshdog

August 25, 2008 at 2:03 pm

They *cannot* be serious?

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Seems the UK media have been whooping it up because their athletes have won more medals at the Olympics than the Australians. The Sun (see the link) have a headline reading “Brittania Rules the Games”!

Basically a country with a population of 62 million is crowing because they are beating one with a population one third their size?? If this is all they have to crow about they are in a sad, bad way.

To put it into perspective, Michael Phelps has *alone* won nearly as many Gold medals as the entire might of the UK Olympic team so far! Ok the Olympics are about competing not about winning… however… if they want to draw attention to themselves I think boasting they are beating countries smaller than themselves isn’t a particularly intelligent way to do it, especially when one man has won almost as many as their entire team!!

Now… if they were beating the USA or China… well that’d be another issue altogether! Actually, if I was them, I’d be a bit embarrassed the media is drawing any attention to it at all!

In the meantime the Aussies continue to rack up medals… and are back to third in the medal tally… not that anyone’s counting of course!! 🙂

Written by welshdog

August 18, 2008 at 4:57 pm