Antony Jay 20.4.30 – 21.8.16

August 25, 2016

Writing genius Antony Jay has died.

His name is probably not familiar, but his work included Yes Minister and its sequel Yes Prime Minister..

He penned the 1980s BBC television series, starring Paul Eddington and Sir Nigel Hawthorne, with Jonathan Lynn.

Sir Antony’s career began in the BBC’s current affairs department where he was a founding member of the Tonight team.

He later scripted the documentaries Royal Family and Elizabeth R: A Year in the Life of the Queen, after which he was appointed Commander of the Royal Victorian Order for personal services to the Royal Family.

Yes Minister, which ran for three series between 1980 and 1984, followed the travails of MP James Hacker, minister for administrative affairs, and his battles against unflappable Whitehall civil servant Sir Humphrey Appleby.

The subsequent Yes, Prime Minister, broadcast for two seasons between 1986 and 1988, portrayed Hacker’s life after he entered 10 Downing Street. Then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was known to be a great fan of the series. . . 

I don’t think they’re making documentaries comedy like this now and both politics and entertainment is the poorer for it.


366 days of gratitude

July 17, 2016

Simon Morris chatted to John Clarke on Standing Room Only today.

He’s got a gift for understatement and dry wit, which I first came across when he was being Fred Dagg and enjoy each week in Clarke and Dawe.

He’s been in Australia for a long time, but we still call him one of us and today I’m grateful for his talent, his humour and the way he uses both to make us laugh and think.

 

 

 


Chasing Great

July 7, 2016

The official trailer for Chasing Great, the story of Richie McCaw and the path to the 2015 World Cup, has been released.

IMDb has the plot summary:

All Black captain Richie McCaw has lived his dream with characteristic precision and calculated determination. He’s 34 and perhaps the best rugby player ever. But the dream is almost over. He is old by professional sport standards and everyone is asking when he’s going to retire. Before his career ends Richie McCaw sets his sights on a risk-all attempt to win the Rugby World Cup back to back. No team has won it a second time in a row. No captain has won it twice. He will either end his career on an impossibly high note or take a nation’s dreams down with him. Chasing Great follows Richie McCaw through his final season as he attempts to captain the All Blacks to the first ever-back-to back World Cup win. Until now Richie McCaw’s achievements have been well documented, but little is known about the man himself. He has never courted the media and remains intensely private. Chasing Great takes the audience inside his world for the first time and what emerges is a very personal insight into high level international sport and a revealing psychological profile of the mind of a champion. Natural strength, hard work and sacrifice only get him so far. To become the best he has to master his mind. The mental toughness and self knowledge that McCaw has honed and worked to attain over the later years of his career has elevated him from a great player into perhaps the greatest ever. . . 

This film is about more than rugby and sport.

It’s the story of a country kid who worked out what he wanted to do and what it took to not only do it but do it to the best of his ability.

It launches on September 1.

 


Alan Young 19.11.19 – 19.5.16

May 21, 2016

Alan Young, who starred as Mr Ed’s human side kick in the eponymous television programme, has died.

Alan Young, famous for his role as the human companion to a talking horse in sitcom Mister Ed, died on Thursday (local time), at the Motion Picture and Television Home in Woodland Hills, California. He was aged 96.

The UK-born, Canadian-raised actor had lived in a retirement community for four years. His children were with him when he died of natural causes.

In the series, which ran from 1961-1966 on US network CBS, Young played architect Wilbur Post, who owned the wacky talking horse with his wife, Carol.  Mr Ed would only talk for Wilbur, and could occasionally get him into trouble.

Young was also the voice of Disney character Scrooge McDuck on Duck Tales and voiced several other animated characters. He had made numerous cameos on dozens of TV shows. . . 


Quote of the day

April 19, 2016

I certainly did feel inferior. Because of class. Because of strength. Because of height. I guess if I’d been able to hit somebody in the nose, I wouldn’t have been a comic. – Dudley Moore who was born on this day in 1935.


Ronnie Corbett 4.12.30 – 31.3.16

April 1, 2016

Sadly, it’s not an April Fools Day joke, Scottish comedian Ronnie Corbett has died:

It was one of the West End’s great disasters. Lionel Bart’s Robin Hood musical Twang closed after just 43 performances but it was a stroke of good luck for a young Ronnie Corbett.

Over cucumber sandwiches at The Ritz with David Frost he had been offered a starring role in his new satirical TV programme, The Frost Report.

Suddenly freed from his duties as Will Scarlett, it was Corbett’s big break in TV and paired him up with another performer, Ronnie Barker.

And why had Frost chosen Corbett? He had seen him in a show in a London nightclub with Danny La Rue.

There, in one story, is one of the main reasons Ronnie Corbett was such a popular performer – acting, revue, the 1960s satire boom, music hall – he brought it all together at the right time and the right place in one five-foot-one performer.

The Two Ronnies survived on the BBC because it had a breadth of comedy that gave it a startling breadth of appeal. Those ’60s connections also helped – a number of those cocktail party sketches were written by Terry Jones and Michael Palin. The show’s place at the heart of the Saturday night schedule meant it attracted the best writers. . . 

Those really were the days clever, clean comedy in prime time viewing.

 


Quote of the day

November 16, 2015

We need a corrective on who is a genuine artist. I’m an opportunist. I have no talent. That’s true of 99 per cent of people in the British media. Ricky Gervais or Graham and Arthur who wrote Father Ted or Armando Iannucci are God-like as they have talent. Everyone else is a drone. Griff Rhys Jones who turns 62 today.


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