Terry Jones 1.2.42 – 20.1.20

January 23, 2020

Monty Python star Terry Jones has died.

… Jones was born in Colwyn Bay and went on to study at Oxford University, where he met his future Python pal Palin in the Oxford Revue – a student comedy group.

Alongside Palin, Idle and the likes of David Jason, he appeared in the BBC children’s satirical sketch show Do Not Adjust Your Set, which would set the template for their work to come with Python.

He wrote and starred in Monty Python’s Flying Circus TV show and the comedy collective’s films, as a range of much-loved characters. These included Arthur “Two Sheds” Jackson, Cardinal Biggles of the Spanish Inquisition and Mr Creosote.

He also directed their film The Holy Grail in 1975, with fellow Python Terry Gilliam, and took sole directorial charge of 1979’s Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life in 1983. . . 

 


Derek Fowlds 2.9.37 – 17.1.20

January 18, 2020

Actor Derek Fowlds has died:

Actor Derek Fowlds, known to millions for playing Bernard Woolley in Yes Minister, has died at the age of 82.

He also played sergeant-turned-publican Oscar Blaketon in ITV police drama Heartbeat for 18 years, and was “Mr Derek” on the Basil Brush show in the 70s. . .

Fowlds released his autobiography, A Part Worth Playing, in 2015 in which he recalled how he started to act “just for kicks”.

“Growing up the thought of acting as a living never crossed my mind. I wanted to be a footballer or sportsman,” he said, adding he started acting in school plays.

“I enjoyed mucking about the stage,” he wrote.

He told the tale of how in his first play a child, he got his sword stuck up another actor’s skirt and “I heard the sound of audience laughter for the first time in my life, and I was just knocked out”. . .

He brought a lot of laughter to a lot of people.

 


Grief

December 10, 2019

 


Whakaari / White Island tragedy

December 10, 2019

This picture tells only a very small part of the unfolding story on Whakaari / White Island.

 

From that distance, we can’t see the terror that must have struck, the efforts to rescue the visitors and the heroism of the rescuers.

The whole story of this eruption will add another tragic chapter to New Zealand’s history.


Clive James 7.10.39 – 24.11.19

November 28, 2019

Clive James, worsmith and broadcaster has died.

Broadcaster, critic, poet, TV presenter and prolific author – Clive James cheerfully criss-crossed the boundaries between high and lowbrow.

He was as much at home hosting a Shakespeare documentary as he was at fronting a programme showing people suffering indignities on Japanese TV.

His sardonic tones graced a host of TV documentaries in which he brought his own acute observations to bear on a wide variety of subjects.

A journalist on The Sydney Morning Herald once wrote: “His gift and lasting contribution has been to recognise that mass appeal does not translate into lack of substance.” . . 

Roger Franklin pays tribute to him at Quadrant:

. .  . As New Republic put it in 2010, attempting to explain Clive’s significance to American readers:

But try, if you will, to imagine that David Letterman also wrote long, charming critical essays for The New York Review, published more than 30 books, issued memoirs that moved readers the way Frank McCourt’s do, knew seven or eight foreign languages, and composed poems that were printed in The New Yorker, and you are getting close.

When England loses Clive James, it will be as if a plane had crashed with five or six of its best writers on board.

A devoted, dear and longtime friend of Quadrant, Clive’s wit and insight pepper our archives. Below, a sampling of the many reasons the world is today so much poorer for his passing. But first, as a reminder that five decades’ residence in England had not in the least thinned or in any way diminished the Australia that was in his blood, an expat’s memory . . 

 

 

His writing survives him at clivejames.com


Robert Ross ‘Blue Jeans’ McMillan 1929 – 2019

November 19, 2019

Naseby farmer and bush poet Ross ‘Blue Jeans’ McMillan has died.

The ODT profiled him here a couple of years ago.


Ian Cross 6.11.25 – 3.11.19

November 3, 2019

New Zealand has lost a wordsmith:

The journalist and author Ian Cross has died aged 93.

He is best known for his classic novel The God Boy but in a wide-ranging career he achieved distinction in other spheres, notably as editor of The Listener and chairman of the Broadcasting Corporation.

A journalist for many years, he began writing fiction in his spare time.

His four years as Listener editor in the 1970s helped to expand the magazine to an unprecedented mass circulation, and he then served as executive chairman of the Broadcasting Corporation before retiring in 1986. . .

You can read more at Wikipedia.

 


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