Posted on Sunday 25th November, 2012
I’ve been even more intently glued to ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!’ than usual this year. My good friend and good Doctor, Colin Baker, did a splendid job of being his jolly, intelligent, kind and helpful self. He left, a more svelte and scruffed man, with his head held high. Now, Ashley Roberts to win!
Posted on Saturday 24th November, 2012
On the eve of its 60th anniversary, it’s a welcome trip back into the world of Agatha Christie’s ‘The Mousetrap’ at the St. Martins theatre. Dame Agatha concocted the greatest whodunnit of all and she’s still getting away with it. Here’s to the next time!
Posted on Thursday 22nd November, 2012
A heavy day of meetings is lightened by Kelly Brook guest-starring with the Parisian Crazy Horse girls in ‘Forever Crazy’. Give me a Ding! Give me a Dong! As for me, I’m off to join the Chain Gang!
Posted on Wednesday 21st November, 2012
I pushed forward with my own Unbound project, ‘Forgotten Heroes of Comedy’, with beers and banter with John Mitchinson, Justin Pollard and Terry Jones. The book is coming soon!
Posted on Thursday 15th November, 2012
Fun and frolics with Clive Doig, Bernard Holley, Toby Hadoke and the gang. The evening saw the book launch for Adrian Teal’s ‘Gin Lane Gazette’ from Unbound. Suitably enough, it was at the City of London Distillery.
Posted on Tuesday 13th November, 2012
A dead secret filming assignment for BBC television. A brilliant, closely-knit crew prove, once again, why the Beeb are the best broadcasting organization in the world. Always remember that!
Posted on Wednesday 7th November, 2012
It’s a welcome return to the Cinema Museum for the Michael Medwin interview tomorrow from 7.30pm. As an actor, Medwin starred in the first film Sid James made, ‘Black Memory’. He gave a memorable cameo as Kenneth Connor’s boxing manager in ‘Carry On Nurse’ and a wise-cracking turn in ‘Doctor at Sea’. In partnership with Albert Finney, Medwin became one of the most influential film producers of the 1960s and 1970s. Later work included the television series ‘Shoestring’ and the Mel Smith comedy ‘Colin’s Sandwich’. It promises to be a wonderful evening.
Posted on Friday 2nd November, 2012
Robert is interviewed for the thriving on-line comedy community ‘Comedy Blog’. A shameless platform to shout about the ‘Forgotten Heroes of Comedy’ it also gave him a chance to chat about his many other books, DVD projects and other comedic ventures over the years. Click here to go to the interview.
Posted on Friday 26th October, 2012
Robert has been up to his fangs in horror films (for fun) and old variety playbills (for research) as work continues on the ‘Forgotten Heroes of Comedy’ book. You can still pledge your support at the Unbound website www.unbound.co.uk. A rare Friday evening out and about, it was spent in the drinking company of Terry Jones, Michael Palin and ‘Viz’ founder Simon Donald. So *sort* of research then!
Posted on Sunday 7th October, 2012
The month long Halloween Countdown is well under way. One of the highlights looks set to be Karloff biographer Stephen Jacobs in conversation with Boris’s daughter, Sara. The event takes place at the Cinema Museum on the 10th. Beg for a ticket… http://www.cinemamuseum.org.uk/2012/boris-karloff-stephen-jacobs/
Posted on Wednesday 3rd October, 2012
A lunchtime session with Bernard Holley and Clive Doig, fueled by beers and giggles and enhanced by semi-regular Toby Hadoke and newcomer – to the pub, not the stage! – Anthony Keetch. David Boyle joined the fun later and was forced into performing the odd Anthony Newley number. Comedy with Toby and Bob Mills at the 99 Club, Leicester Square was also added to the mix. What larks.
Posted on Monday 1st October, 2012
Robert returns to the Spain-based Talk Radio Europe to chat with Selina Mackenzie about Monty Python and, of course, Terry Jones’s involvement in ‘Forgotten Heroes of Comedy’. His third appearance on the show, plans are afoot to make it a regular, monthly slot. More information when we get it.
Posted on Friday 28th September, 2012
Robert adds a little piece about the ‘Forgotten Stooge’ Shemp Howard in his Unbound author’s shed. You can take a look but you need to pledge for the book first… http://unbound.co.uk/books/forgotten-heroes-of-comedy
Posted on Tuesday 25th September, 2012
Robert records a lengthy interview with Peter Dixon at Radio Teesdale. It’s really a healthy and welcome plug for ‘Forgotten Heroes of Comedy’, but the chat covered everything from the Carry Ons to ‘Doctor Who’ via Robert’s rather candid thoughts on the publishing game.
Posted on Monday 17th September, 2012
Robert is helping the Angel Inn, Highgate add to their blue plaque celebration of Python and legendarily drinker, Graham Chapman. ‘Chapman Corner’ will be a permanent collage of images from throughout the career of the pipe-smoking comic genius. Unveiling details to follow. The Independent also published Robert’s blog on ‘Forgotten Heroes of Comedy’. You can read it here: http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2012/09/17/forgotten-heroes-of-comedy-from-the-days-when-fame-faded/
Posted on Tuesday 11th September, 2012
Robert launches his latest publishing project with Unbound. ‘Forgotten Heroes of Comedy’ will be a long over-due celebration of over 100 comedians who, for whatever reason, have been lost in the shuffle over the years. With a foreword by Terry Jones and with the support of many contemporary comedians, the book will only happen with the help of true comedy fans. Unbound is a crowd-funded publisher and you’ll only be able to read the book if it’s fully funded. Read more and pledge here: http://unbound.co.uk/books/forgotten-heroes-of-comedy
Posted on Thursday 6th September, 2012
A wonderful day in celebration of Graham Chapman. The blue plaque was erected by The British Comedy Society on the wall of the Angel Inn, Highgate. It was unveiled by Graham’s Monty Python co-stars Terry Jones, Michael Palin and Carol Cleveland, along with Barry Cryer who wrote many scripts with Graham at the pub. Friends, family and fans packed the place and the relaxed string of tributes was seamlessly hosted by Baz. The most touching was from Graham’s older brother, John, who joked that Graham was always late for everything. The only thing, sadly, he was early for was his own death. Funny. Moving. Perfect. The large Gin and Tonics, ice, no lemon went on for hours and hours. The plaque itself pays tribute to the “naughty boy” and delights in the knowledge that Graham “drank here often and copiously”.
Posted on Wednesday 5th September, 2012
The website is another year older! Tomorrow, Robert will be attending The British Comedy Society plaque unveiling to Graham Chapman at the Angel Inn, Highgate. Barry Cryer, who drank and wrote many scripts with Graham at the pub, will do the honours.
Posted on Saturday 1st September, 2012
Robert guested on the Spanish radio programme, ‘The Lifestyles Show’. This time discussing Sid James and his latest book on the actor. The evening was set in stone for a very important Doctor’s appointment: BBC1, from 7.20pm, but the best laid plans. Good food, fine wine and great company was enough to keep Robert away from the telly! ‘Asylum of the Daleks’ was watched the following morning. Excellent stuff.
Posted on Sunday 22nd April, 2012
Alas, Robert is unable to attend the ‘Living Legend’ dinner in honour of Barry Cryer OBE. Guests included Jack Dee, Harry Hill and Bernard Cribbins. The next British Comedy Society event is hoped to be a plaque in tribute to Graham Chapman to be unveiled in the Summer. The location? Why, a pub in Hampstead, of course! Cheers.
Posted on Friday 20th April, 2012
The notorious and always hugely enjoyable Best of British comedy lunch at B.A.F.T.A. in support of The Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund. Guests included Vera Day, Francoise Pascal, Bob Golding, George Layton, Liz Fraser and Barry Cryer OBE. Jason Manford compered with good humour and grace while the sainted Don Ward once again provided a top line-up of Comedy Store talent for the cabaret.
Posted on Monday 16th April, 2012
A jaunt to the Wyndham’s for ‘The King’s Speech’. Charles Edwards and Jonathan Hyde star in the stage presentation of the Oscar-winning film with notable supporting turns from Joss Ackland as the old King and ‘Doctor Who’s very own Ian McNeice as Winston Churchill. It is a flawless piece of theatre. Sadly the production has had ‘time’ called and it must close on 12th May. You are urged to see it.
Posted on Sunday 15th April, 2012
One hundred years to the day since RMS Titanic sank. The fourth and final part of Julian Fellowes’ ITV1 drama is broadcast this evening. The DVD, on which Robert worked, will be released tomorrow. Suitably, Robert joined his family in a day-trip to the SeaCity Museum in Southampton. A moving and exceptionally well put together salute to the history and legacy of the Titanic. Time for a few pints of Titanic ale as well. A tankard of Captain Smiths is in reserve for the drama this evening!
Posted on Thursday 12th April, 2012
An emotional evening ‘Remembering Marty Feldman’ at The Cinema Museum. Sincere thanks to Robert’s good friend Henry Holland for chairing the event – an epic three-hours of nostalgic chat, good laughs and invaluable clips featuring Marty in such rare productions as The Wednesday Play: ‘Double Bill’, ‘The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother’ and ‘Slapstick of Another Kind’. Robert was particularly proud to welcome special guests Terry Jones and Derek Griffiths who reflected on working with Marty on the television shows ‘The Frost Report’, ‘Marty’ and ‘Marty Back Together Again’. A wonderful evening.
Posted on Thursday 5th April, 2012
Camp laughs a-plenty with Robert remembering Frankie Howerd, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey and John Inman for a Sky Atlantic three-part documentary series celebrating sixty years of gay comedians. It is hoped that the working title, ‘God Save the Queens’, is retained when it is broadcast in the Summer!
Posted on Saturday 17th March, 2012
Undoubtedly the finest theatrical production Robert has seen this year – so far – was ‘The Recruiting Officer’ at the Donmar Warehouse. Mark Gatiss was on superbly foppish form, m’dear, and the pleasure of Anneke Wills’ company gave the whole experience that extra something. In a uniformly excellent cast, it was a delight to see vibrant veteran Gawn Grainger strut his stuff. Cut along to see it immediately. It was also a delight to see that other ‘Gentlemen’, Reece Shearsmith in Alan Ayckbourn’s ‘Absent Friends’ at the Harold Pinter theatre. A fantastic six-hander, Kara Tointon’s Evelyn had the perfect mix of ’70s chic and petulant disgust.
Posted on Thursday 15th March, 2012
A beautiful memorial service to David Croft OBE at St. Martin-in-the-Field. The Croft family and the BBC gave the perfect tribute to this hugely influential writer, director and producer – from Su Pollard’s singing to Rick Wakeman’s choral mash-up of the theme tunes to some of Croft’s best-loved comedy shows. The true greats of British comedy were out in force; including Jimmy Perry, Clive Dunn, Ian Lavender, Bill Pertwee, Paul Shane, Jeffrey Holland, Barry Cryer, Ray Galton, Frank Thornton and, particularly moving for Robert, a reunion of ‘It ‘Ain’t ‘Alf Hot, Mum’ survivors Windsor Davies, George Layton, Stuart McGugan, Michael Knowles, Mike Kinsey and la-de-da Gunner Graham himself, John Clegg! The rest of the day was spent with Mr. and Mrs. Clive Doig. The fun included fine ale and the splendid production of ‘The Ladykillers’ at the Gielgud theatre.
Posted on Sunday 11th March, 2012
Robert is delighted to be joined by Tim Brooke-Taylor in an affectionate salute to Marty Feldman. The event, part of the Aye Write! Festival at the Mitchell Library, Glasgow, will be illustrated with Marty and Tim’s work in ‘At Last the 1948 Show’ and ‘Marty’. Robert and Tim will be signing copies of the Marty Feldman biography afterwards. With thanks to Eddie Harrison for chairing the interview.
Posted on Wednesday 18th January, 2012
The hotly awaited autobiography of Francoise Pascal is being published by Pegasus on 26th January. It promises to be a riveting read and you can pre-order it here. Go! http://www.amazon.co.uk/As-I-Am-Francoise-Pascal/dp/1903490715/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1326885865&sr=1-2
Posted on Saturday 14th January, 2012
The final throw of the Christmas dice comes with Trevor Nunn’s splendid production of ‘The Lion in Winter’ at the Haymarket. James Goldman’s play always had the feel of a comic historical soap opera about it and that quality is at fever pitch here with outstanding acting across the board. Headliners were Joanna Lumley who preened and whined and schemed throughout, while the stage really belonged to the power house performance of Robert Lindsay as Henry II. It was at turns joyfully comic and coldly ruthless. It closes on 28th January. Do yourself a favour and see it.
Posted on Saturday 7th January, 2012
Robert is always reluctant to let Christmas go so he grabbed the chance of going to the Wyndham’s Theatre for ‘Christmas With the Rat Pack’. Jack Daniels, cigarettes and good-natured banter were at the forefront, naturally, and the stars stood on the shoulders of giants with perfect delicacy. The show loses the Christmas songs from 9th January and runs at the Wyndham’s until embarking on a nationwide tour.
Posted on Wednesday 4th January, 2012
Robert’s old china, Harry Fowler, dies at the age of 85. In a sixty plus year career, Harry brought a real sense of the East End to hundreds of films and television shows. Serving his apprenticeship at Ealing Studios, he starred in their first proper comedy success ‘Hue and Cry’ and notched up notable appearances in ‘Went the Day Well?’ and ‘Champagne Charlie’. On television, he brought a new catchphrase to the last years of ‘The Army Game’. His scheming Corporal “Follow Flogger!” was one of the most energetic comedy performances of early ITV programming. His later television work ranged from avoiding Dalek attack in ‘Doctor Who’ to sparring with Warren Mitchell’s aged Alf Garnett. A lifelong film buff and devoted supporter of many charity events, Harry will be greatly missed.
Posted on Sunday 1st January, 2012
A new year bristling with fun ideas. As for the seasonal television, that was as much fun as expected. From a glorious ‘Doctor Who’ on Christmas Day to the return of ‘Sherlock’ on New Year’s Day, the BBC prove themselves still expert at new drama. Mind you, ‘Downtown Abbey’ on Christmas Day over on ITV finally sucked Robert into the heightened history of Julian Fellowes, while the new ‘Poirot’ film, ‘The Clocks’, showcased David Suchet’s definitive performance once more. It also saw Anna Massey’s last screen work. A fitting and powerful farewell. Great to have the old guard Bruce Forsyth doing his thing on telly and Bernard Cribbins reading some poignant stories on radio. Mind you, it still didn’t feel like Christmas until Eric ‘n’ Ern could be enjoyed with the nation on Christmas Eve. Lovely and fitting that the boys are now as much a part of Christmas as turkey and Tiny Tim. The sad news also came through that cartoonist, wit and gentleman, Ronald Searle, had died on 30th December at the ripe old age of 91. He was best known for his barbed digs at education in both Molesworth and the girls of St. Trinian’s. One of the great Englishmen.
Posted on Friday 23rd December, 2011
A great pre-Christmas lunch with Penny Spencer. Following which, loaded down with gifts, Robert journeyed home for Christmas. Normal service will be resumed next year!
Posted on Sunday 18th December, 2011
Celebrated comedy scriptwriter Ronald Wolfe dies at the age of 89. With his writing partner, Ronald Chesney, he created some of British television’s best-loved shows including ‘The Rag Trade’, ‘Meet the Wife’ and ‘On the Buses’. He also gave Marty Feldman his first professional writing job on the radio and television ‘Educating Archie’. Ronnie and his wife Rose were extremely helpful to Robert while he researched his Marty Feldman book. Ronnie telling Robert, without irony, the best bus to get from his London home to the West End remains a treasured memory.
Posted on Friday 16th December, 2011
Robert’s annual Christmas drinks with Terry Jones. Bill Oddie joined in the fun. You really should have been there!
Posted on Wednesday 14th December, 2011
It was off to Horsham for the day for a double bill of theatrical treats at the Capitol theatre. First up was Robert’s good pal, Sarah Jane Honeywell, giving her Good Fairy in ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’. Connor Byrne brilliantly chewed up the scenery as Fleshcreep while Amanda Sim gave Jack great leg. A wonderful production. A little later it was back to the venue’s more intimate space for the ‘Steptoe and Son Christmas Special’. An excellent combination of both the 1973 and 1974 seasonal classics penned by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, the set dripped with seedy grandeur while the acting was impeccable. Mike Simmonds was a note-perfect Harold while the youthful Jack Lane got the old man mannerisms of Albert spot-on. A rollicking production from the Engine Shed Theatre Company.
Posted on Sunday 11th December, 2011
The most exciting fun of the month and, quite possibly, the year was the jaunt along to the National Film Theatre for ‘Missing Believed Wiped’. There were so many treasures unveiled for this year’s event, including rare Pete ‘n’ Dud material, David Bowie performing ‘The Jean Genie’ on ‘Top of the Pops’, footage of the Frank Mumford Puppets and The Beverley Sisters singing a hit from ‘Hair’! However, the much anticipated and very secret highlight was the recovery of two complete episodes of ‘Doctor Who’, unseen for over forty years. A brief clip of the William Hartnell episode ‘Airlock’ from the previously completely missing four part story ‘Galaxy Four’, was followed by a screening of ‘The Underwater Menace’ part two starring Patrick Troughton. Stunningly good.
Posted on Saturday 10th December, 2011
The birthday treat for Robert’s nephew Connor and it is off to the National History Museum. You can’t beat dinosaurs, particularly when they move about. The exhibit also pays tribute to cinema dinos from ‘The Lost World’ to ‘The Land Before Time’. Great fun.
Posted on Friday 9th December, 2011
A delightful Marty Feldman lunch with Robert’s publisher at Titan Books, Barry Took’s widow, Lyn Took, and Marty’s agent Jill Foster. Plans are afoot for an extended paperback edition of the book to mark the 30th anniversary of Marty’s death for Christmas 2012. The day was perfectly rounded off with dinner, drinks and delirious laughter with Francoise Pascal.
Posted on Thursday 1st December, 2011
The silly season is here and Robert will attempt to watch or listen to one comedy Christmas special a day up to and including Christmas eve. The Comedy Advent, complete with an additional classic comedy photo or film clip, will be detailed daily over on Robert’s Twitter account. He is @RobertWRossEsq
Posted on Monday 28th November, 2011
The Royal Film Performance at the Odeon, Leicester Square in aid of The Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund. This year’s film was ‘Hugo in 3D’ and, as the director said on the night, “it *is* a family film despite having the name of Martin Scorsese on it!” Many of the stars were in attendance including Sir Ben Kingsley, Richard Griffiths, Chloe Grace Moretz and the title star Asa Butterfield. Sir Christopher Lee brought a chilling calm to his supporting role as the bookseller. The film as a whole is a masterly love letter to silent cinema.
Posted on Tuesday 25th October, 2011
Robert has been merrily listening to the 6th volume of ‘The Goon Show Compendium’ from Audio Go. Completing the seventh series of the ground-breaking radio series it literally drips with brilliant lines and historical moments. Such classic episodes as ‘Wings Over Dagenham’, ‘The Mysterious Punch-up-the-Conker’ and ‘Ill Met By Goonlight’ have never sounded better, while the bonus features include the fascinating Goon Show-in-disguise ‘The Reason Why’. The collection also features Spike Milligan relentlessly trying – and succeeding – in making “He’s fallen in the water!” a new and beloved catchphrase. A totally essential purchase.
Posted on Friday 21st October, 2011
Robert was sorry to hear of the death of dancer, model and actress, Sue Lloyd. Best-remembered for her sultry turn opposite Michael Caine in ‘The Ipcress File’ and a recurring role as Barbara Hunter in ‘Crossroads’, her many comedy credits include ‘The Two Ronnies’, the Leslie Phillips vs. Terry-Thomas film ‘Spanish Fly’, a cross-dressing appearance in ‘Revenge of the Pink Panther’ and the Hammer comedy ‘That’s Your Funeral’. She was 72. In the evening, The Natural History Museum plays suitable host to the 9th and final performance of John Garden’s original score for the 1925 silent classic ‘The Lost World’. Perfectly accompanying the most complete print known to exist – at a little over 90 minutes – the dinosaur creations of Willis O’Brien were beautifully resurrected. Check in with John’s website http://johngarden.net/ in order to buy the CD soundtrack as soon as it is available.
Posted on Wednesday 19th October, 2011
Robert enjoys a few pints with Terry Jones and settles down to watch the eagerly-anticipated BBC4 biopic ‘Holy Flying Circus’ a full twenty minutes before the nation! Copious red wine and frequent guffawing from Terry made it an unforgettable experience. “That *is* Eric!” was the comment of the evening.
Posted on Saturday 15th October, 2011
West End fun at the Gielgud theatre for ‘Yes Prime Minister’. A brilliant, new piece by original writers Anthony Jay and Jonathan Lynn, Simon Williams, Richard McCabe and Chris Larkin did a wonderful job of recreating the central triumvirate while comedy lengend Michael Fenton Stevens stormed in for the second half as the BBC interviewer. Brilliant stuff.
Posted on Friday 14th October, 2011
Robert is interviewed at his cottage home in Buckinghamshire for an up-coming Channel 4 documentary on popular culture’s influence on society. The 1960s segment of the programme is dedicated to the Carry On series and Robert will feature alongside Fenella Fielding, Valerie Leon and Leslie Phillips. We will alert you of the broadcast date as soon as we know.
Posted on Saturday 8th October, 2011
Great japes at Longleat with Doctor Who friends old and new. Due to an accommodation cock-up Robert stayed with his journalist pal, Steve O’Brien and caught the end of Toby Hadoke’s comedy show in Bath. Good times.
Posted on Thursday 6th October, 2011
Robert’s good friend, James Hogg, takes to the ‘BBC Breakfast’ sofa alongside Doreen Wise to discuss the Ernie Wise biography ‘Little Ern’. The authorized biography is co-written by Robert Sellers and published today by Sidgwick and Jackson.
Posted on Wednesday 5th October, 2011
On the 42nd anniversary of the first broadcast of ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’, Unbound Books announce that the latest collection of Terry Jones short stories, ‘Evil Machines’, goes to press. Please wallow in the website and order now! http://unbound.co.uk/books/1
Posted on Tuesday 4th October, 2011
Over the last half a year a regular monthly fixture of Robert’s diary has been Mitch Benn and the Distractions residency at the Phoenix, Cavendish Square, near Oxford Circus. Silky and Vikki Stone were particularly brilliant this month with the usual stand-out solo turn from Distraction Kirsty Newton. Check out the website for news of next month’s line-up. It’s bound to be marvellous. http://distractionclub.com/
Posted on Sunday 2nd October, 2011
Robert was delighted to be interviewed by his good friend Sarah Jane Honeywell during her Celebrity gossip slot on BBC Kent. In full Marty Feldman biography plug mode the informal and fun chat covered everything from Sid James to Lionel Blair!
Posted on Saturday 1st October, 2011
Robert was back in his beloved home town of Basingstoke for a few days, primarily in order to catch Colin Baker giving his Count Fosco in a wondrous three-hour adaptation of Wilkie Collins’s ‘The Woman in White’. Neil Stacy, Glyn Grain, Thomas Brownlee, Lucy Cudden and Isla Carter gave peerless support. The tour continues at the Lyceum theatre, Crewe from 11th October, the Festival theatre, Malvern from the 18th and concludes at the Brewhouse theatre, Taunton from 26th-29th October.
Posted on Thursday 29th September, 2011
A bristling hot day and a bushel of meetings is topped off nicely by a jaunt to the Leicester Square theatre to see Michael Legge’s hilarious one-man and several framed photographs show ‘Curse Sir Walter Raleigh’; fresh from a successful stint at the Edinburgh Festival. Brilliant.
Posted on Tuesday 27th September, 2011
Robert is honoured and very excited to be involved in the brand new website BritishTheatre.com. A fabulous portal for the best in West End theatre, Robert has signed up to be the company’s head writer and is all ready hatching a top secret, extremely fun project for later in the year. Sadly, the day was marred by the news that David Croft had died at the ripe old age of 89. Director, producer and writer, he is of course best loved as the co-writer of ‘Dad’s Army’ alongside Jimmy Perry. The two men also brought warm nostalgia to the sitcom schedules with ‘Hi-De-Hi’ and, Robert’s personal favourite, ‘It ‘Ain’t ‘Alf Hot, Mum!’. David Croft also teamed up with Jeremy Lloyd to write the more innuendo-based classics ‘Are You Being Served?’ and ‘Allo, ‘Allo’. He also produced such television favourites as ‘Hugh and I’ and ‘Up Pompeii’ and directed the intricate ‘Steptoe and Son’ episode ‘Divided We Stand’. A true comedy craftsman, his legacy will never fade. You have been watching. We always will.
Posted on Saturday 24th September, 2011
The final performances of ‘Betty Blue Eyes’ at the Novello theatre. The outstanding and award-winner musical based on the classic 1980s film ‘A Private Function’ saw Reece Shearsmith and Sarah Lancaster step into and dance in the footsteps of Michael Palin and Maggie Smith to lead an outstanding cast including David Bamber, Ann Emery, Adrian Scarborough, Jack Edwards and Ian Conningham. The evening saw another book launch, this time Nicholas Pegg’s revised and up-dated ‘Complete David Bowie’ for Titan Books.
Posted on Thursday 22nd September, 2011
Fun, laughter and a few possible assignments are discussed with Bob Golding and Paul Cole. Cheers.
Posted on Thursday 15th September, 2011
Robert guests on BBC Wales to discuss the life and work of Marty Feldman. His friend, Robert Fairclough’s biography of Ian Carmichael is launched later in the day. ‘This Charming Man’ is published by Aurum Press.
Posted on Wednesday 14th September, 2011
‘Time Out’ unveil their top 100 comedy films here: http://www.timeout.com/london/feature/1529/100-best-comedy-movies. Just one Carry On (‘Carry On Screaming!’), one Keaton (‘The General’) and one Chaplin (‘The Great Dictator’). As ‘Time Out’ tweeted Robert: “There’s a definite sway towards contemporary at the expense of classic comedy. But it’s democracy, and the mob has spoken!” Well, quite! 😉 Here are 10 that Robert would certainly include: ‘The Lavender Hill Mob’, ‘It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World’, ‘Carry On Cleo’, ‘Blockheads’, ‘A Shot in the Dark’, ‘The Naked Truth’, ‘Very Important Person’, ‘Never Give A Sucker An Even Break’, ‘Ask A Policeman’ and ‘City Slickers II’ – yes, honestly! And just for the record, ‘Monty Python’s Life of Brian’ would be in pole position. Let the pub debate rage!
Posted on Tuesday 13th September, 2011
Robert chats at length with Radio Teesdale’s Peter Dixon about his career in writing and, in particular, Marty Feldman. The half hour interview is available here http://www.canstream.co.uk/radioteesdale/index.php?id=1473
Posted on Saturday 10th September, 2011
The scrumptious Kent House in Knightsbridge to celebrate the 40th anniversary of ‘The Persuaders!’. Sir Roger Moore was on hand to chat with Barry Norman about the series and other aspects of his career . He also signed copies of the Network DVD blu-ray collection. A must have, of course.
Posted on Friday 9th September, 2011
What with the last minute finishing touches to his Marty Feldman biography and the wonderfully insane Whoathon on Twitter – which entails a viewing of *every* episode of ‘Doctor Who’, the updates for the website have been very poor just recently. Suffice to say the gaps will be filled in as and when Robert remembers them (!) and lots of new content is coming very shortly. In the meantime. Robert’s latest book ‘Marty Feldman: The Biography of a Comedy Legend’ is available now. Published by Titan Books it is the first biography of the writer, actor, director and thinker. Please buy a cop.
Posted on Sunday 8th May, 2011
The legendary Des O’Connor unveils a British Comedy Society plaque to Carry On star and comedian Jack Douglas. Jack’s lady, Viv, Valerie Leon, Jacki Piper, Alan Curtis, Jess Conrad and Doreen Wise were amongst the guests. A beautiful day, marvellous food and a very friendly atmosphere combined to make a perfect tribute.
Posted on Saturday 7th May, 2011
To the Apollo to see Noel Coward’s ‘Blithe Spirt’. Alison Steadman takes on the medium Madame Arcati while Robert Bathurst and Hermione Norris make perfect leads. The cheeky sprite Ruthie Henshall steals the show though. A delight.
Posted on Thursday 5th May, 2011
A final farewell to Angie Scoular.
Posted on Tuesday 3rd May, 2011
At the 2nd meeting of Mitch Benn’s Distraction Club. A great line-up including Rich Hall, but Distraction Kirsty Newton stole the show with a brilliantly original set. Here’s to the next time… 7th June. Put it in your diary.
Posted on Monday 2nd May, 2011
Off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz… when he landed in St. Albans in his TARDIS. Honestly! Bobby Darvo and Sarah Jane Honeywell brought great fun and sauciness to the classic story. Great fun.
Posted on Saturday 23rd April, 2011
Matt Smith returns in ‘Doctor Who’. Wonderful, of course. It’s a new Golden Age… if you must call it that! 😉 for the superb ‘Psychoville’ also returns on 5th May. The best of times… The day was soured with the announcement of the death of comedy writer John Sullivan. With ‘Citizen Smith’, ‘Just Good Friends’, ‘Dear John’ and, particularly, ‘Only Fools and Horses’ John wrote some of the finest of British situation comedy.
Posted on Wednesday 20th April, 2011
Fun and childish games at the National Film Theatre for an evening in their ‘Dramarama and Beyond: Children’s TV Drama of the 80s’ season. An episode of ‘Maggie’, ‘Dodger, Bonzo and the Rest’ and the ‘Dramarama’ episode ‘Big T for Trouble’ starring Nicola Ramsey reflected the small screen’s attitude to Family Affairs.
Posted on Tuesday 19th April, 2011
Stunned to hear the news of the death of Elisabeth Sladen at the age of 65. Not only was Lis Robert’s first and favourite ‘Doctor Who Girl’ but also his first crush. Lis was a wonderful friend over the years and will remain a vibrant part of British television culture thanks to her appearances in ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’. From her first appearance in 1973’s ‘The Time Warrior’ to the, as yet unbroadcast, episodes from 2011, Lis’s performance as Sarah-Jane captured the imagination of generations. Our thoughts are with Lis’s beloved husband Brian Miller and their only child, Sadie.
Posted on Friday 15th April, 2011
A delightful lunch with Vera Day is made even more memorable by the unexpected appearance of Tom Adams. Those hands are every bit as scary as they were in ‘The House That Dripped Blood’. Very sad news to hear of the death of Trevor Bannister at his finest in comedy: ‘The Dustbinmen’, ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ and, of course, ‘Are You Being Served?’
Posted on Wednesday 13th April, 2011
To the National theatre to enjoy Rory Kinnear as ‘Hamlet’. David Calder as Polonius and the Grave-digger and Ellie Turner as Ophelia give excellent support.
Posted on Tuesday 12th April, 2011
Frantic writing with deadlines looming is interrupted by the news of another show business death and this time one very close to Robert’s heart. Actress Angela Scoular died at the age of 65 after a long illness. Thoughts are with her husband, Leslie Phillips, and her family.
Posted on Wednesday 23rd March, 2011
Farewell to Dame Elizabeth Taylor.
Posted on Thursday 17th March, 2011
Michael Gough, the most unsung of British horror legends, dies at the age of 95. His credits include ‘The Curse of the Crimson Altar’, Hammer’s ‘Dracula’, ‘The Skull’, ‘Satan’s Slave’, ‘Black Zoo’ and ‘Konga’. Not to forget the comedy chiller ‘What A Carve Up!’ and the Celestial Toymaker in ‘Doctor Who’.
Posted on Tuesday 15th March, 2011
A slap-up, champagne-fuelled dinner with Liz Fraser at the Hurlingham Club. Carry On Supping!
Posted on Thursday 10th March, 2011
Robert is delighted to start work on a major project with comedy actress extraordinaire Liz Fraser. A lovely day in Putney chatting of Hancock, Hawtrey, Howerd and Hill.
Posted on Monday 7th March, 2011
BBC4 concluded Michael Grade’s wonderful tribute to variety. Loads of Morecambe and Wise, Tommy Cooper and Ken Dodd brought sunshine to the screen.
Posted on Saturday 5th March, 2011
David Walliams takes on almost every panel game know to man on behalf of Comic Relief. ’24 Hour Panel People’ was a thrilling and exhausting 24 hour live television assault course. The highlights included Paul O’Grady hosting ‘Blankety Blank’ with guests Barbara Windsor, David Tennant and Keith Harris and Orville. Lionel Blair and Una Stubbs gamely went through another ‘Give Us A Clue’ in the wee small hours while ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’ once more proved Josie Lawrence as one of the country’s funniest and hottest talents.
Posted on Thursday 3rd March, 2011
The return of ‘The Best of British Comedy’ luncheon in aide of The Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund at BAFTA. Loads of great chums to drink and laugh with, including Barry Cryer, David Benson, Bob Golding, Andrew Sachs, Hattie Hayridge, George Layton, Francoise Pascal, Liz Fraser, George Camiller and Sheila Steafel.
Posted on Tuesday 1st March, 2011
Farewell then to the brunette bombshell Jane Russell. ‘The two and only…’ as Bob Hope called her. Her comedy work in ‘The Paleface’, ‘Son of Paleface’ and, briefly, ‘Road to Bali’ is great fun, while film noir students should wallow in ‘His Kind of Woman’ and ‘The Las Vegas Story’. Of course, ‘The Outlaw’ will always be her lasting legacy. That mean, moody and magnificent poster!
Posted on Monday 28th February, 2011
BBC Radio 4 broadcast the concluding half of Matthew Sweet’s excellent documentary on Charlie Chaplin. A joy.
Posted on Friday 25th February, 2011
Robert meets and interviews acting legend Warren Mitchell for the first time. An absolute gentleman and a fund of stories. What a treat.
Posted on Tuesday 22nd February, 2011
Very sad to report the death of actor Nicholas Courtney at the age of 81. Robert interviewed and drank with him many times and he was always a charming, kind, thoughtful and gentle man. His contribution to the work of ‘Doctor Who’ is, of course, immense. From his performance as Bret Vyon in ‘The Daleks’ Masterplan’ (1965) opposite William Hartnell to his final performance as the Brig in ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’ in 2008 he always gave a peerless performance. Appearing opposite every Doctor from the First to the Seventh on television, he also worked with Paul McGann and David Tennant on Big Finish audio dramas, making his contribution to the series a unique one. His other credits include ‘Randall and Hopkirk (deceased)’, ‘The Avengers’, ‘The Saint’, ‘Jason King’ and ‘Then Churchill Said To Me’ with Frankie Howerd, many of which were covered in Robert’s non-Who chat with the actor for Cult T.V.
Posted on Saturday 12th February, 2011
They said ‘The Rivals’ was too good to only see once and they were right! A second helping of the comedy masterclass from Penelope Keith, Peter Bowles and Tony Gardner.
Posted on Thursday 10th February, 2011
Thanks to that backstage beauty, Rachel Hewer, Robert sneaked into the local Riverside theatre to enjoy the manic fun of Roald Dahl’s ‘George’s Marvellous Medicine’. That piglet was a comic genius!
Posted on Sunday 6th February, 2011
To Swiss Cottage for the much anticipated plaque unveiling to ‘Doctor in the House’ and ‘Mind Your Language’ star Barry Evans. Stars of the popular 1970s situation comedy Francoise Pascal – who organised the event wonderfully – and George Camiller pulled the string. A tribute lunch to both Barry and the show’s writer, Vince Powell, followed where the guests were joined by Jenny Hanley, John Altman, Nina Baden-Semper and the legend that is Kenny Lynch.
Posted on Friday 4th February, 2011
A first draft of the new biography under his belt, it was time for Robert to meet up with his good pal, Bob Golding, for some beer-fueled antics in Buckinghamshire. Lock up your brandy!
Posted on Tuesday 1st February, 2011
Fun times for the new book with Ronnie and Rose Wolfe in North London. With writing credits on such comedy favourites as ‘Educating Archie’, ‘The Rag Trade’ and ‘Meet the Wife’, Ronnie’s best-loved show is undoubtedly ‘On the Buses’. Robert was delighted when Ronnie suggested the best way back to the West End was to hop on a bus. It fair made his day that did! More fun was to be had with the committee meeting for the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund lunch at BAFTA on 3rd March, while even more fun was to be had with a riotous get-together with Sarah-Jane Honeywell. Happy days.
Posted on Saturday 29th January, 2011
The Slapstick festival fun continued with Graeme Garden’s fascinating, clip-laden tribute to comedian Harry Langdon. A wonderful gallop through the legacy of an unforgettable clown.
Posted on Friday 28th January, 2011
Tim was also heavily involved in the annual Slapstick Festival down in Bristol. Alas Robert couldn’t attend Sunday’s tribute to Marty Feldman hosted by Tim but the Friday evening Gala at the Colston Hall saw a host of comedy legends introduce silent comedy favourites. Barry Cryer praised Harold Lloyd before a screening of ‘Get Out’. Neil Innes championed Charlie Chaplin’s hilarious drunk act in ‘One a.m.’ Bill Oddie presented Laurel and Hardy’s 1928 classic ‘We Faw Down’, while Ian Lavender gave an eloquent tribute to his hero Buster Keaton before screening ‘Neighbours’. Other highlights including a Barry Cryer and Neil Innes sing song, Paul McGann warbling Chaplin’s theme from ‘Limelight’: ‘Eternally’ and a laid back Chris Searle on M.C. duties. Festival director Chris Daniels is to be thanked and congratulated. Keep an eye on www.slapstick.org.uk/ for 2012 dates and an exciting touring show of silent comedy planned for this spring.
Posted on Wednesday 19th January, 2011
The fun and hectic research for Robert’s new biography continues apace with a hilarious pub lunch with Tim Brooke-Taylor.
Posted on Saturday 15th January, 2011
Another unforgettable West End experience with the penultimate performance of ‘Deathtrap’ at the Noel Coward theatre with the mercurial Simon Russell Beale as Sidney Bruhl.
Posted on Tuesday 11th January, 2011
Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s ‘The Rivals’ at the Theatre Royal Haymarket reunites Penelope Keith and Peter Bowles from the classic situation comedy ‘To the Manor Born’ and both were born to play this surprisingly saucy, robust and lively piece under the diligent eye of director Sir Peter Hall. Penny’s original malapropisms and Peter’s continued threats of “frenzy” are as impeccable as you would expect. The rest of the cast is uniformly excellent, although special mention should go to Tony Gardner who milks every laugh out of his pompous Faulkland. Eventually, there is even Eric Morecambe-like pleas and glances to the audience: a brilliant performance. Carlyss Peer as the cheeky maid Lucy is a delight, Keiron Self gives a panto-sized performance as Bob Acres while the demure Robyn Addison and Annabel Scholey bicker, console and giggle about love, lost and their silly boyfriends in 18th century Bath. The play runs until 26th February. Do not miss it.
Posted on Saturday 8th January, 2011
The Yvonne Arnaud theatre, Guildford for another production of ‘Sleeping Beauty’; this time headlining the multi-talented Sarah-Jane Honeywell. She sings, she dances, she can handle a sword! Shane Lynch turned the ladies to jelly, the wonderful Royce Mills played Nurse Nellie with saucy delight and Nichola McAuliffe gave the Wicked Fairy a knowing theatricality that ranged from chav to Joyce Grenfell. The legs of Guildford School of Acting graduate Lucy Hope-Borne were an added attraction!
Posted on Thursday 6th January, 2011
Off to the Apollo Piccadilly for the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund preview screening of ‘The King’s Speech’. An Oscar-tipped performance from Colin Firth and superb performances from Geoffrey Rush, Sir Derek Jacobi and Helena Bonham-Carter make this a classy, enthralling and enriching two-hours. And if there’s any justice Guy Pearce as King Edward will pick up a Best Supporting Actor award or two. Thanks to Johanna Crotty and the C.T.B.F. gang.
Posted on Monday 3rd January, 2011
‘The Secret Life of Bob Monkhouse’ on BBC4 is one of the best television documentaries on television that you will ever see: bursting with love and affection for Bob himself and the shows and films he made and collected. Within the 90 minutes there were ultra-rare snippets of everyone from Sid James and Graeme Garden to Vincent Price and Reece Shearsmith. A masterpiece.
Posted on Friday 31st December, 2010
Shockingly the first pantomime of the season and the year is almost over: Wendy Craig vs. a particularly impressive Abi Titmuss in ‘Sleeping Beauty’ at the Basingstoke Anvil. ‘Balamory’s Andrew Agnew kept the fun going while Nick Wilton, clearly channeling Peter Butterworth, made for an hilarious Nurse Nellie.
Posted on Thursday 30th December, 2010
It’s the final repeat in the current run of ‘The Goodies’ and they have been the ‘surprise’ ratings success of the season with an average figure of 600, 000. More are, hopefully, expected in 2011 and don’t forget the 54th series of ‘I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue’ kick starts on Radio 4 in the New Year.
Posted on Thursday 23rd December, 2010
A few T.V. comedy highlights for the Christmas period. The wonderful Two Ronnies and Eric and Ern theme nights, of course. ‘Come Fly with Me’ from Matt Lucas and David Walliams, a new batch of ‘Unforgettable…’ documentaries including Harry Secombe and Danny la Rue, and a new Christmas episode of ‘The Royale Family’. Typically, the only telly Robert will be watching on Christmas Day is the Queen and ‘Doctor Who’. Happy Christmas!
Posted on Wednesday 22nd December, 2010
The start of the eight-strong BBC2 repeat series of ‘The Goodies’. Please do watch them all!
Posted on Friday 17th December, 2010
Jolly japes at the Savile on Brook Street with friend and writer James Hogg. Several fiendish plans are being hatched for 2011…and Melvyn Bragg was there.
Posted on Wednesday 15th December, 2010
A productive and enjoyable jaunt into London saw lunch with the ever-lovely Liz Fraser, a catch-up with Robert’s favourite publisher, Marcus Hearn and the Calders bookshop launch of Sheila Steafel’s autobiography ‘When Harry Met Sheila’. It’s a fascinating read and is available from her official website: www.sheilasteafel.co.uk
Posted on Sunday 12th December, 2010
Robert finally saw the first installment of ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’. Although the first film still remains his favourite this is the best so far. The ‘Deathly Hallows’ animation is breath-taking, the three juvenile leads can really carry a film now and Toby Jones will make you weep. Always lovely to see David Ryall, as well.
Posted on Friday 10th December, 2010
A fun day broadcasting from the BBC’s Western House and pushing the Christmas comedy releases from AudioGO; including ‘Hancock’s Half Hour’, ‘Round the Horne’, ‘The Goon Show’ and a lovely set of six ‘Remembering…’ collections showcasing Kenny Everett, Spike Milligan, Bob Monkhouse, Willie Rushton, Peter Sellers and Kenneth Williams. Liquid refreshments with Paul Cole, Alan Coles and Bob Golding followed. And Robert may well have a title for his new biography!
Posted on Tuesday 7th December, 2010
A delightful evening at the National Film Theatre with Vera Day and the gang. A pristine print of ‘The Crowded Day’ played to a packed and very appreciative audience. It’s coming to BFI blu-ray and DVD next year.
Posted on Tuesday 30th November, 2010
Snow finally comes to Buckinghamshire just in time for Robert’s rustic jaunt to the BBC Written Archives in Caversham, Berkshire. One of his favourite parts of any book. Lovely people.
Posted on Monday 29th November, 2010
That wonderfully talented actress and wit Sheila Steafel has set up her own website in light of writing her new volume of autobiography ‘When Harry Met Sheila’: detailing her marriage to Harry H. Corbett. As a child, Robert’s affections were split between Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah-Jane Smith and Sheila in ‘The Ghosts of Motley Hall’. Happy memories. The site is well worth a peek.
Posted on Sunday 28th November, 2010
Wonderfully exciting news as BBC2 have announced an 8-episode repeat season of ‘The Goodies’. From 22nd to 30th December, an episode a day will be screened. It is expected that ‘The Goodies and the Beanstalk’ will be repeated on Christmas Eve thirty seven years to the day of its first broadcast.
Posted on Thursday 25th November, 2010
A wonderful time with actor, writer, producer, director and all-round good egg Paul Cole which started off at the BBC Club and ended up at the Annual General Meeting of the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society. A fun evening made even more enjoyable by bumping in to Dodie Smith’s charming heir.
Posted on Friday 19th November, 2010
Robert is knee-deep in research for his new comedy biography and has enjoyed anecdote-stuffed chats with some of his all-time favourite writing partnerships. Today is a recovery day from an evening in the Southampton Arms with Terry Jones and Michael Palin. There will also be lots of telly watching. Good times.
Posted on Saturday 13th November, 2010
The long wait for a proper repeat season of ‘The Goodies’ continues but at least BBC2 marked the 40th anniversary of the show with a second repeat of the 2005 reunion clip-fest ‘Return of the Goodies.’
Posted on Friday 12th November, 2010
Off to the very near-by Limelight theatre in Aylesbury for Robin Ince’s hilarious Bad Book Club. One of the circuits most inspired and likeable stand-ups, Robin’s nerdish devotion to the worse in literature is affectionate, funny and stimulating. Robert is now even more delighted to own a signed copy of Don Estelle’s autobiography and is on the look-out for any killer crab literature.
Posted on Monday 8th November, 2010
It was 40 years ago today that Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie presented ‘The Goodies’ for the first time. The super super chaps three helped out beef-less beef-eaters and British comedy was never quite the same again. As well as giving that first classic episode a spin on DVD, Robert also started working on his new comedy biography… nearly 2,000 words before lunch. That was a relief!
Posted on Sunday 7th November, 2010
So many places Robert had to be today: at ‘The Goodies’ 40th anniversary reunion at the Watershed theatre, Bristol. The annual Missing Belived Wiped trawl at the National Film Theatre and Valerie Leon’s resurrected performance of her one-woman show.
Posted on Thursday 4th November, 2010
A hilarious North London dinner with Terry Jones and a chance meeting with Robert Wynne-Simmons – the scriptwriter for the seminal ‘Blood on Satan’s Claw’.
Posted on Wednesday 3rd November, 2010
The first meeting for next year’s Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund comedy lunch to be held on 3rd March. The usual fun, laughter and wine flowed as regular committee members Don Ward and Gareth Owen joined Robert and the CTBF gang. Later that day Robert popped over to the Bloomsbury theatre to see Mitch Benn and the Distractions for the second time this tour. ‘I’m Proud of the BBC’ has now been available as a download for two days and the T-Shirts are selling like the proverbial hot cakes. The concert was as hilarious, thought-provoking and musically inspired as always, while the BBC song got a huge reaction and a standing ovation. Buy it immediately!
Posted on Monday 1st November, 2010
The Goodies mark their 40th anniversary this month with a swathe of events and public appearances. They enjoyed some comic banter with Alice Cooper, of all people, on Richard Bacon’s Radio 5 Live show. Network DVD are issuing a further eight-episode collection of the very best of their BBC work. Andrew Pixley’s book ‘Super Chaps Three’ is published by Kaleidoscope. On 6th November Tim Brooke-Taylor will be the guest of honour at this event in Manchester http://goodiesparty.wordpress.com/ and on Sunday 7th Tim, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie will reunite to talk to Sir Christopher Frayling at the Bristol Watershed theatre. This event has now sold out but you can join the waiting list for tickets here: http://www.watershed.co.uk/exhibits/2541/
Posted on Sunday 31st October, 2010
The month of October has been owned by the multi-talented Mark Gatiss. With his wonderfully evocative ‘History of Horror’ on BBC4: being repeated over the next three evenings on BBC2, starring in his own adaptation of H.G. Wells’s ‘The First Men in the Moon’, scripting the new ‘Poriot’ for David Suchet: ‘Hallowe’en Party’ and re-joining his fellow members of the League of Gentlemen for a Radio 4 ghost-chase. However, Hallowe’en evening was enriched by those other Gents Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith. The Hallowe’en special of ‘Psychoville’ was a masterpiece of black humour, shocks, outrageous behavior and film-heavy references. Mr Jelly stands tall as one of the best television creations of the last decade. Looking forward to series two in the Spring.
Posted on Saturday 30th October, 2010
More Hammer Films antics as Robert makes his way to Cine Lumiere in South Kensington for Donald Fearney’s celebration day. Wayne Kinsey launched his new Hammer book: ‘The Unsung Heroes’ with a foreword and signing by Barbara Shelley and Don previewed his new anthology horror film ‘Grave Tales’. Brian Murphy, as a reflective grave-digger, links the stories. The majority are written by film historian John Hamilton and the very best features Hammer alumni Damien Thomas and Edward de Souza. Worth the price of admission alone. Robert started the proceedings with a hilarious interview with Hammer babe Vera Day and enjoyed hanging out with Caroline Munro, horror director Norman J. Warren and historian par excellence Jonathan Rigby.
Posted on Thursday 28th October, 2010
To the Frame Store, Wells Street for a preview screening of the eagerly-awaited Hammer Films production of ‘Let Me In’. Many thanks to the sainted Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund for the invite. The film, a faithful yet staggeringly refreshed take on ‘Let the Right One In’ is highly recommended: haunting, beautiful, poignant and emotive. Wonderful performances from the two junior leads: Chloe G Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee, lyrical direction from Matt Reeves and a brand new Hammer logo that will have admirers of their classic film output swelling with pride! The film goes on general release on Friday the 5th November.
Posted on Friday 22nd October, 2010
Fun and games in Brighton culminate with a slap-up fish supper in Bardsleys: now delighting in a huge collection of Max Miller material including an original stage suit from the 1940s. Well worth the long jaunt up from the station. Lovely grub in the Cheeky Chippie!
Posted on Saturday 16th October, 2010
Before taking his seat in the theatre Robert was told of the death of that fine actor Simon MacCorkindale. Fondly remembered from ‘Quatermass’, ‘Death on the Nile’ and the ‘Baby’ episode of Nigel Kneale’s ‘Beasts’. It is a particular favourite of Robert’s and, poignantly, mentioned by Jeremy Dyson as one of his top ten ghost stories in the lavish programme. The episode got another airing today. Friday saw the launch of Mitch Benn’s ‘Proud of the BBC’ video on youtube. You can see it here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3q2iZuU5WM and it is attached in the links section under www.mitchbenn.com. You can spot Robert in the ‘Horrible Histories’ gear. Proud of the BBC indeed! The song will be available to down-load from iTunes from 1st November. The T-Shirt is available now from Mitch’s website. Finally, BBC2 broadcast ‘Norman Wisdom: His Story’ last night from 9pm. A fitting tribute to a much missed comedian Robert joined such luminaries as Leslie Phillips, Dame Vera Lynn, Ricky Tomlinson and the late David Lodge in filmed tribute. Fittingly, it was Norman’s children who made the most touching contribution. It’s available to watch on the BBC iplayer here: www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00vhmqq/Norman_Wisdom_His_Story/ Did we mention Robert was proud of the BBC? 😉
Posted on Friday 15th October, 2010
A fond ‘bon voyage’ to Martine Beswick, Vera Day and Caroline Munro as their departed from King’s Cross for Whitby’s Bram Stoker Festival. A sort of ‘Brief Encounter’ – with Kensington Gore! It’s not too late to join other guests such as Shane Briant, Ingrid Pitt, Hammer historian Marcus Hearn and ‘The Wicker Man’ director Robin Hardy: www.bramstokerfilmfestival.com Robert then journeyed to Turkey Street to attend the funeral service for Brenda Cowling. A brisk afternoon in the company of marvellous old pros Philip Latham, Derek Smee and Frank Williams and a fond farewell to a lovely lady. The evening was rounded off with a trip to the Duke of York’s to see Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman’s chilling ‘Ghost Stories’: an experience heightened even more for Robert by having Ant McPartlin sat directly behind!
Posted on Wednesday 13th October, 2010
A hilarious lunch with Christopher and Lesley Strauli packed with stories of Max Wall, Leonard Rossiter, Anthony Valentine and Henry McGee. A joy. Please read more about Christopher’s career at www.strauli.co.uk. A very impressive website.
Posted on Friday 8th October, 2010
A very sad week for British film and television this week: Sir Norman Wisdom, a true legend of comedy, passed away at the ripe old age of 95. Director Roy Ward Baker whose credits include the Titanic drama ‘A Night to Remember’, Hammer horror ‘Scars of Dracula’ and television episodes of ‘The Avengers’ died at 93. He had shared his vivid memories of working with a pre-comedy Sid James in ‘Paper Orchid’ for Robert’s biography of 2009. And prolific character actress Brenda Cowling – best-loved for comedy roles in Fawlty Towers: ‘The Germans’, Carry On Girls and as house-keeper Mrs. Lipton in Jimmy Perry and David Croft’s ‘You Rang, M’Lord’ died in Denville Hall at 85.
Posted on Sunday 3rd October, 2010
Talking of ‘Proud of the B.B.C.’, Robert joined Mitch, his delightful family, Bob the director and a lovely bunch of fellow Mitch-followers outside Broadcasting House to shoot a music video: guerrilla filmmaking style. Hilarious times in the rain and a real sense of – slightly nerdy – community. A wonderful experience. Look out for it on YouTube soon…and buy the single. It really is a classic.
Posted on Saturday 2nd October, 2010
Mitch Benn and the Distractions at the Central Studio, Basingstoke. Robert hadn’t been back to the venue since his days at Queen Mary’s College when he was eighteen. So, years ago! Kirsty Newton and Ivor Shepherd gave their usual consummate support throughout an epic 2-hour show. Musical genius. Check Mitch’s website: www.mitchbenn.com for further tour dates. The show mixes fantastic tracks from the latest album, ‘Where Next?’, with crowd-pleasing classics like ‘Macbeth (My Name Is)’, ‘Stinky Pants’, ‘IKEA’ and ‘Sing Like An Angel’. The new song, ‘Proud of the B.B.C.’ will make you swell with pride and wipe a tear from the eye.
Posted on Thursday 30th September, 2010
Fun social times and productive chatter with Sarah-Jane Honeywell and Toby Dale, a little bit of chat about ‘The Goodies’ at 40 at the Barbican Centre and then Sir Michael Caine interviewed at the National Film Theatre. Sir Michael was promoting his new autobiography, ‘The Elephant to Hollywood’. A true legend. Sadly, the day was marred by the death of another legend, Tony Curtis. From the spell-binding (‘The Defiant Ones’, ‘The Sweet Smell of Success’, ‘The Boston Strangler’) to the joyous (‘Some Like it Hot’, ‘Operation Petticoat’, ‘The Persuaders!’), he was a true star.
Posted on Saturday 18th September, 2010
The new series of ‘The Stanley Baxter Playhouse’ kicks off with Rona Munro’s ‘The Porter’s Story’. A clever, affectionate and hilarious take on ‘MacBeth’ with Gordon Kennedy as the would-be King, Siobham Redmond as Lady M and Stuart McQuarrie as the permanently drunk King Duncan. A civilized delight and the perfect showcase for Baxter’s laser-sharp comedy acting.
Posted on Friday 17th September, 2010
And so the end of ‘The Young Ones’ – the new reality show, not the 80s comedy series or the 60s Cliff Richard hit. One of the most moving, hilarious and life-affirming television experiences of recent years. The laughter of Dickie Bird, the tears of Lionel Blairs and Derek Jameson’s struggle with socks were highlights. Although emotions were high as Kenneth Kendall pampered dogs, Sylvia Syms bounded with children and Liz Smith picked up her paint brushes again. A treat.
Posted on Wednesday 15th September, 2010
A trip to the Richmond theatre to see the matinee performance of ‘Morecambe’ starring Robert’s good pal Bob Golding. A brilliant performance – of course – was enhanced even further by the presence of Caron Gardner who had sparred with the ‘boys’ in many of their classic 1960s ATV series ‘Two of a Kind’.
Posted on Tuesday 14th September, 2010
Catching up with the second episode of BBC3’s brilliant situation comedy ‘Him and Her’ as well as the start of the new series of E4’s ‘The Inbetweeners’. A new Golden Age of British television comedy continues.
Posted on Monday 13th September, 2010
The New theatre, Oxford for Colin Baker’s much anticipated performance as Inspector Morse in Alma Cullen’s ‘House of Ghosts’. Colin’s understanding of the character and mercurial performance was supported by thoughtful performances from Andrew Bone as Lewis and David Acton as Lawrence Baxter. Gay Soper stole countless scenes as the ponderous, pickled ex-leading lady Verity Carr. For further information, reviews and tour dates please look at http://www.freewebs.com/colinbaker/latestnews.htm.
Posted on Sunday 12th September, 2010
The ’40 Years Young’ party at the Young Vic started with a joyous on-stage celebration of the theatre’s heritage. Stand-out moments included a rolling, play-skipping salute to Shakespeare: with stand-out performances by Rudolph Walker and Christopher Timothy, an extract from Arthur Miller’s ‘Enemy of the People’ and Jim Dale reuniting with ‘Scarpino’ co-stars Nicky Henson and Sam Kelly. Founding father Frank Dunlop was suitably lauded while David Lan delivered an ode to the theatre in answer to Laurence Olivier’s address from 1970. A hilarious drinks party – with prices sometimes blissfully set at 1970 – rolled on with laughter, gossip and pared-back performance. The perfect tribute.
Posted on Saturday 11th September, 2010
An evening at the Royal Festival Hall with Leslie Phillips’s Battle of Britain concert. Jessien Buckley charmed the audience with a mixture of spirited Vera Lynn numbers and classical excursions. Chris Marques and Jaclyn Spencer dressed up a storm while the London Concert Orchestra under the direction of Jae Alexander belted out everything from Glenn Miller to Eric Coates. RAF trumpeter Paul Sutton brought extra poignancy to Leslie’s reading of the poem ‘High Flight’ while a smattering of Winston Churchill’s iconic speeches left the audience spell-bound.
Posted on Thursday 9th September, 2010
Jim Dale will be joining fellow original player Anna Carteret, theatre critic Michael Billington, Young Vic founder Frank Dunlop and the current Artistic Director, David Lan, at a 40th anniversary platform on the National theatre’s Cottesloe’s stage tomorrow from 6pm. The event is a complete sell-out but it would be well worth while waiting for returns. The Bill Paterson platform before hand is highly recommended as well. And there are still tickets available for ‘Leslie Phillips Presents the Battle of Britain’ at the Royal Festival Hall on the 11th September. It will be a stirring celebration of the war years, complete with Glenn Miller music and Winston Churchill speeches.
Posted on Wednesday 8th September, 2010
A joyous lunch with Jenny Hanley in a delightful little ‘find’ in Amersham Old Town. One of life’s pleasures.
Posted on Sunday 5th September, 2010
David Benson performed his mercurial ‘Think No Evil of Us – My Life with Kenneth Williams’ to a packed auditorium at the New Diorama theatre and was afterwards joined by the Mayor of Camden and Kenneth’s good friend Barbara Waslin-Ashbridge to unveil a blue plaque to the “comedy actor and raconteur”. David will be performing the show again on the 19th September from 3.30pm.
Posted on Friday 3rd September, 2010
A last minute reminder that The British Comedy Society are paying tribute to Kenneth Williams on Sunday 5th September. The programme includes a walking tour of Kenneth’s Camden Town and a performance of David Benson’s outstanding one-man show ‘Think No Evil of Us – My Life with Kenneth Williams’. A blue plaque will be unveiled in the foyer of the New Diorama theatre, NW1 at 5.30pm.
Posted on Wednesday 1st September, 2010
Back in good old Blighty at the perfectly civilized hour of 9am: with the dual pleasures of Johnny Depp and Gemma Arterton keeping Robert occupied on the flight.
Posted on Sunday 29th August, 2010
John Potts, diners, Daniel Boone, motels, root beer floats and Ruby Tuesday endless fries. The American experience rolls on…and a diet is calling! While back at home the very, very last of the Summer Wine is enjoyed by over five million viewers – more than a million more than the rest of this final series. Fittingly Peter Sallis, the only actor to appear in every episode, had the final line: “Did I lock the door?”
Posted on Saturday 28th August, 2010
A ‘perilous’ journey to Paterson, New Jersey to pay homage to legendarily comedian Lou Costello who was born there in 1906 and now has a memorial park and statue in his honour. ‘Lou’s on First’ pays tribute to Abbott and Costello’s best-loved routine and the chubby vaudevillian is depicted in baseball gear complete with bat. Wallow in the newly restored DVD release of the complete two-season collection of ‘The Abbott and Costello Show’ for lots of knowing references to New Jersey. These will now always make Robert smile just that little bit broader.
Posted on Friday 27th August, 2010
The shamelessly artery-hardening Carnegie Deli for a rousing Corn Beef Hash: the Woody Allen is just too big! Broadway royalty in the shape of Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch starring in the first revival of Stephen Sondheim’s ‘A Little Night Music’. A magical theatrical event. The British end was kept up with Alexander Hanson’s red-blooded performance as Fredrik Egerman and the whirlwind direction of Sir Trevor Nunn.
Posted on Thursday 26th August, 2010
The glorious New York, New York and one of the world’s most astounding hotels. Fun times with Jim Dale, the most relentlessly delicious Italian meal ever and drinks into the wee small hours in the Oak Room: a classy little establishment that has played host to Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Onassis and the Beatles.
Posted on Tuesday 24th August, 2010
Robert flew off to the land of “hamburgers and raisins that can sing” as Don McLean has it. He was a man on a mission and it had a little bit to do with baseball!
Posted on Monday 23rd August, 2010
The British Comedy Society are paying tribute to Kenneth Williams on 5th September. The Dead Comic Society unveiled a blue plaque to the beloved comedy actor in 1994 but the Marlborough House flat has seen been demolished and redeveloped.
The British Comedy Society, Quicksilver Theatre Company, Camden Council and British Land plc have organized a packed day.
At 12.30 actor and writer David Benson will lead a walkabout tour: ‘Footsteps Under the Pavement’. This is free but must be booked direct with Chris Mellor at Camden Council. To check availability please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
David will perform his celebrated one-man show ‘Think No Evil of Us – My Life with Kenneth Williams’ from 3.30pm at the New Diorama Theatre, 15-16 Triton Street, Regents Place, off Osnaburgh Street, London NW1.
The plaque unveiling, reception and refreshments will take place in the foyer of the theatre from 5.30pm.
The ticket price for the show, unveiling and reception is £30. Paid-up Friends of the B.C.S. are entitled to a discount of £3 per ticket for themselves plus a guest. Please express your interest in attending at the Society website: www.britishcomedysociety.com.
Posted on Sunday 22nd August, 2010
One of Robert’s locals, the Green Man in Aylesbury, celebrated its first anniversary under new management. The occasion called for a pint or two; particularly as a plaque on the opposite wall marks Ronnie Barker’s first professional acting engagement. Then it was off to the cinema to marvel at the ridiculous, gory and scantily-clad madness that is ‘Piranha: 3D’. Kelly Brook in and out of a bikini. Christopher Lloyd going marvellously over-the-top. Richard Dreyfuss reprising his ‘Jaws’ role. Oh, you were sold at Kelly Brook weren’t you? 😉
Posted on Friday 20th August, 2010
More laughter with Leslie Phillips before Robert donned a 1940s Lance-Corporal uniform for Bob Golding’s 40th birthday bash in St. Albans. The hall, suitably associated with Eric Morecambe, was painstakingly decked out in bunting, war-time nosh of bangers and mash in billy cans was served and live music came from the 78 rpms; as well as tributes to Flanagan and Allen and the Andrews Sisters. And, yes, that was Robert dancing alongside Roger Lloyd-Pack, Francoise Pascal, Paul Cole and ‘Mr Tumble’ – Justin Fletcher, of course.
Posted on Thursday 19th August, 2010
Giggles and gossip with Liz Fraser. A potential project is in the pipeline.
Posted on Wednesday 18th August, 2010
A fun pub crawl through Ealing with Carry On Teacher alumnus Paul Cole and David Barry and great friends Alan Coles and Henry Holland. A select few: we are looking at H and Meurig and wagging our collective finger; managed to break away from the bar long enough to visit the school location near West Ealing train station. Upon returning to the West End, a final wet of the evening was enjoyed in the Ship & Shovel where Robert bumped in to singer Tony Christie. All together now – “in the avenues and alleyways…”
Posted on Sunday 15th August, 2010
Huge congratulations to show business legend Jim Dale who turns 75 today. Happy birthday, old friend. You must have a portrait in the attic!
Posted on Saturday 14th August, 2010
Carry On fans are in for a treat tomorrow when members of The Whippit Inn forum gather at Brighton’s New Madeira Hotel on Marine Parade. Local boy and Carry On Abroad babe magnet Ray Brooks with be joined by the glamorous Vicki Woolf (Carry On…Up the Khyber) and Georgina Moon (Carry On Camping and Carry On Behind). Tickets cost a mere £25 and last minute questions can be asked at email@example.com.
Posted on Friday 13th August, 2010
Those lovely folk at The Max Miller Appreciation Society have alerted me to the lifestyle publication, ‘The Magazine People’. They are holding a poll to ascertain “The Greatest Brightonian” from a selected list of thirty people. Just over 10% of those listed were actually born in the town, including Maxie of course, so send in your vote for ‘The Cheeky Chappie to firstname.lastname@example.org, including the name MAX MILLER in the subject box. Alternatively you can send in a postal vote to: The Greatest Brightonian, The Magazine People, Head Office, Studio Six, Sussex Mews, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 5QJ.
Oh, and in the interest of fairness, here are the other hopefuls: Richard Attenborough, Zoe Ball, Raymond Briggs, Julie Burchill, Charles Busby, Edward Carpenter, Winston Churchill, Sir Edward Codrington, Steve Coogan, Norman Cook, Simon Cowell, Chris Eubank, William Friese-Grene, George IV, Graham Greene, Tony Hawks, Barbara Hulanicki, Rudyard Kipling, Sir Edward Marshall Hall, Paul McCartney, Alan Melville, Laurence Olivier, John Osbourne, Steve Ovett, Fred Perry, Anita Roddick., Robert Smith, Magnus Volk, Mark Williams.
The closing date is 10th September 2010.
Posted on Thursday 12th August, 2010
A delightful lunch with John and Sam Carson in the snug actor-friendly chow-house, Joe Allen. Conversation ranging from Oliver Reed to Max Wall, memories of stage nerves, the buzz of work and an interesting new commercial involving John and a robot that isn’t there filled up hours and hours. Thanks to the staff for their kindness and smiles despite our clearly out-staying our welcome 😉 Then off to the London Palladium for the musical comedy ‘Sister Act’. Still successfully packing them in after over a year at the theatre, the added bonus for three weeks only is the addition of Whoopi Goldberg. The original star of the 1980s film, Whoopi brings pure joy to the hard-nosed Mother Superior with a fine line in put-downs. The audience exploded on her first entrance and it was only by her fifth or sixth appearance that we had stopped clapping the mere fact she was on the stage. Comedy legend Ian Lavender, having appeared in the production from the beginning, brought energy and fleetness of foot to his supporting role of the Monsignor while Simon Webbe, formerly of boy band Blue, is a revelation as the Gangster boyfriend. The boy can obviously sing, but he has a knowing sense of comedy and the confidence of a Disco Pimp!
Posted on Wednesday 4th August, 2010
An uproarious birthday lunch with Vera Day – not at that lovely little pub in Winnerden Flats but at Browns, Covent Garden. A lovely time was had by all.
Posted on Wednesday 28th July, 2010
Safe and snug in the Redwood Studios of Andre Jacquemin to record the DVD audio commentary for the feature film version of ‘Father, Dear Father’ with Patrick Cargill’s lovely ‘daughters’ Natasha Pyne and Ann Holloway. A dream of a recording, the 90 + minute yak track was captured in one-take and was as funny, informative and relaxed as Robert had hoped. It will be released by Madman Entertainment in the autumn.
Posted on Monday 26th July, 2010
‘Carry On Jack’ leading lady Juliet Mills sees her tour of ‘Bedroom Farce’ reach Brighton’s mercurial Theatre Royal this week. Highly recommended. Radio 2’s Comedy Season continues with a tribute to Peter Sellers this evening; 30 years since his death. Shows devoted to Tommy Cooper and Dave Allen conclude the season on Tuesday and Wednesday from 10pm.
Posted on Sunday 25th July, 2010
Pivotal Sunday evening telly: the beginning of the beginning for ‘Sherlock’ and the beginning of the end for ‘Last of the Summer Wine’. Robert is up to his eyes in newspaper cuttings, letters, photographs and theatrical playbills. His cottage isn’t always this messy, it’s all book research!
Posted on Saturday 24th July, 2010
Robert took part in a quick debate with stand-up comedian Benjamin Partridge on BBC Radio Wales reflecting on Keith Chegwin’s repeating of established comedian’s jokes on twitter. In a bare five minutes Robert still managed to name-check Frankie Howerd, Tommy Cooper, Bob Monkhouse and even Milton Berle.
Posted on Thursday 22nd July, 2010
Another fun day in store with Leslie Phillips, culminating in an orchestral selection at St. Martins in the Field.
Posted on Wednesday 21st July, 2010
Radio 2’s Comedy Season continues with Sean Lock’s celebration of a comedy legend: Tommy Cooper – Just Like That, broadcast on Radio 2 from 10pm this evening. Friends and colleagues Ronnie Corbett, Barry Cryer and Michael Parkinson contribute.
Posted on Tuesday 20th July, 2010
The second part of the definitive radio documentary, ‘Carry On Forever!’, is broadcast on Radio 2 from 10pm this evening. A surprisingly riveting and enjoyable listen, the archive sound-bites from the likes of Jon Pertwee, Jack Douglas, Kenneth Connor, Peter Butterworth and Bernard Bresslaw merge seamlessly with new memories from Valerie Leon, Jacki Piper, Julian Clary and John Antrobus. You can listen to the programmes at: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00t37n4 until the start of next week.
Posted on Monday 19th July, 2010
Pinewood Studios played host to representatives from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home for the presentation of a painting left to the home by Peter Rogers. The painting, featuring six Battersea dogs, was bought in auction by Peter in the 1980s and hung in pride of place in his office until his death last year. He had requested that the painting be returned to the home and it will be on permanent display from September. Peter’s niece, Leonora Dossett, was in attendance at the handover and said: “Peter was a big dog lover and always had his German Shepherd with him, so he would be delighted to see Battersea Dogs & Cats Home here at Pinewood Studios. I know he would be thrilled that the Home is going to display the painting.” It had been commissioned to mark the 125th anniversary of the home and, in this year of the 150th anniversary, Peter is still helping the home so close to his heart. Claire Horton, Battersea’s Chief Executive Officer, reflected that: “Peter spent his life in pictures and this painting is a very fitting tribute to him and his love of animals.” You can read more about the home at: www.battersea.org.uk.
It was fitting than that Radio 2 turned a delightful shade of blue from 10 to 11pm as Leslie Phillips presented the first in a series of British Comedy documentaries: Carry On Forever! An affectionate gallop through the history of the series, interviews with surviving cast members Liz Fraser, Anita Harris, Shirley Eaton and Kenneth Cope were complimented by archive material from Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Hattie Jacques, Joan Sims, Charles Hawtrey, Gerald Thomas and Peter Rogers as well as new historical interjections from Robert. Stay tuned for a further 23 hours for the second part!
Posted on Saturday 17th July, 2010
A delightful champagne-fueled afternoon in the garden of Leslie Phillips is interrupted by a telephone interview with Richard Dinnick. Researching an epic two-volume history of Big Finish Productions, the first tome is released in the autumn and includes coverage of Robert’s first ‘Doctor Who’ play: ‘Medicinal Purposes’ starring Colin Baker, Maggie Stables, David Tennant…and Leslie Phillips. Then it was off to Hampstead’s New End theatre to attend the final performance of George Layton in Wolf Mankowitz’s ‘The Bespoke Overcoat’. A classic of Jewish community and comradeship through the veil, David Graham, James Barron and Sam Hoye completed an impeccable ensemble cast. George’s gentle observations, brandy-soaked optimist pearls of wisdom, knowing monologues and gentile warmth made for an unforgettable evening.
Posted on Friday 16th July, 2010
A Goody Goody Yum Yum Happy birthday to Tim Brooke-Taylor who turns 70 tomorrow.
Posted on Thursday 15th July, 2010
On Tuesday 20th July, The British Comedy Society is unveiling a blue commemorative plaque in memory of comedian Harry Worth. Close friend and star comedian Jimmy Cricket will do the honours at Harry’s birthplace, 47 Fitzwilliam Street, Hoyland Common. The fun begins at twelve noon and, for the cost of just £5, continues at the Hoyland Common Working Men’s Club where food will be prepared. There will be a pay bar. Please contact John Gatenby at: email@example.com. The event coincides with the DVD debut of series one of ‘Thirty Minutes Worth’, Harry’s classic I.T.V. series.
Posted on Wednesday 14th July, 2010
Robert will be attending another day of Hammer Films celebration organized by the tireless Don Fearney at Cine Lumiere, South Kensington. The event will run from 10am until 6pm on Saturday 30th October 2010. It will be a perfect pre-Halloween bash, priced at just £15 per ticket. The day will include the launch of a new book: ‘Hammer the Unsung Heroes’ which features a foreword by Barbara Shelley. Barbara will be in attendance to sign the book and other Hammer items. Other guests include Hammer Glamour favourite Vera Day, Peter Cushing’s secretary, Joyce Broughton, and Hammer leading men Damien Thomas and Edward De Souza who will be discussing and screening their new horror anthology film ‘Grave Tales’ alongside co-star Brian Murphy and members of the crew. More guests will be announced nearer the time. To book your place please call Don on 0208 806 6915 or write to him at 25 High Hill Ferry, Bakers Hill, London, E59 HG and tell him Robert sent you!
Posted on Tuesday 13th July, 2010
It is with great sadness that we hear of the death of Alan Hume, one of the true gentlemen of the British film industry.The most skilled of cinematographers, Alan worked on everything from the James Bond series to the Hammer horrors. A veteran of true class, with work alongside Alexander Korda and David Lean under his belt, he forged a fruitful relationship with director Gerald Thomas. Alan was camera operator on the very first Carry On, Carry On Sergeant, and subsequently became a regular director of photography throughout the sixties and seventies. He lit the very last, Carry On Columbus, in 1992. Robert spent many happy hours in his company and recorded the 2003 DVD audio commentary for Carry On Henry with him at Pinewood Studios. Robert’s proudest television appearance is on the 1998 documentary ‘What’s A Carry On?’. For one interview session Robert was lit by the guv’nor himself. As Babara Windsor said at the time: “We all loved Alan. Not only was he gorgeous, he made us look fantastic on camera!” Rest in Peace.
Posted on Monday 12th July, 2010
Comedy actress and campaigner Carol Hawkins has launched her official website. Pop along and read about her amazing career from Carry On to Hammer via Ray Cooney and say hello. Visit: www.carolhawkins.co.uk/
Posted on Thursday 8th July, 2010
The 60th anniversary of the foundation of the Taverners is marked with a stunning Diamond Jubilee Garden Party within the grounds of Westminster Abbey. Robert accompanies Jenny Hanley and joined other guests including Judith Chalmers, Diana Moran, Vicki Michelle and Mike Read. The day of Jenny fun had started with the Lakeland Christmas launch party
Posted on Thursday 1st July, 2010
Robert accompanies Special Guest Leslie Phillips to the central event in The Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund calendar: Carry On Up the London Party, held within the gardens of Chelsea Barracks. The Carry On themed fun and games involved multi-Cleos, a gaggle of nurses and King Henry VIII. The charity doubled its takings from last year, so many congratulations to all involved.
Posted on Tuesday 29th June, 2010
Beloved actor Leslie Phillips has been reunited with one of his favourite leading ladies. No not Julie Christie, but the four-wheeled lovely from ‘The Fast Lady’. A private collector paid £550,000 for the 1927 4.5-litre Bentley which Leslie’s caddish car dealer sells naive Stanley Baxter in the classic 1963 Ken Annakin directed comedy. Leslie, who had been offered the car by the film’s producers after filming wrapped, was delighted to pose with the car, lovingly restored and looking better than ever: “God, I SHOULD have bought it, shouldn’t I?” he said with a twinkle in his eye. The vehicle was sold by car dealership Friskens after it was displayed at The Masterpiece Fair at Chelsea Barracks.
Posted on Thursday 24th June, 2010
It’s back to Caversham for more of the same!
Posted on Thursday 17th June, 2010
Robert journeys to Reading to spent some fruitful hours in his favourite archives: the BBC Written Archives in Caversham.
Posted on Wednesday 9th June, 2010
Where does the time go? Don’t answer that. The weeks have whizzed by with Robert up to his eyes in research and writing for various projects…as well as celebrating a milestone birthday with family and friends. He has also contributed heavily to a new, two-part Radio 4 documentary provisionally entitled ‘Carry On Forever’. To be broadcast next month, Leslie Phillips presents while such great names as Liz Fraser, Anita Harris, Shirley Eaton and Kenneth Cope contribute their memories of the series.
Posted on Monday 26th April, 2010
It’s hard to believe but today is the 34th anniversary of the death of Sid James. Raise a glass to him today. Another Carry On favourite who deserves a toast is Charles Hawtrey. His roller-coaster life and career from boy soprano to drunken recluse is related by Robert’s good friend, Wes Butters. Charles Hawtrey, That Funny Fella with the Glasses can be heard on Radio 4 tomorrow from 11:30am and Wes’s long-awaited and painstakingly researched book is published to coincide with the broadcast.
Posted on Tuesday 20th April, 2010
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the first episode of ‘The Goodies’. Typically BBC Television show no signs of celebrating the event although Radio 4, the eternal home of Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden, are producing a documentary salute. For those of us craving another Goodies DVD release there is an on-line petition designed to show the B.B.C. how much the show is still revered and loved. Please show your support by adding your name to: http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?2010gds&1
Posted on Thursday 25th March, 2010
As a long-standing supporter of the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund, Robert will be involved in the up-coming London Party. Carry On Up the London Party is billed as the ‘Sauciest London Party Ever!’ and will be held at The Conservatory, Chelsea on Thursday 1st July. There are still a couple of tables available so for further information please visit: hhttp://www.ctbf.co.uk/#/236
Posted on Friday 19th February, 2010
Pinewood Studios holds a wine reception tribute to Peter Rogers; a touching tribute to the Carry On producer who would have been 96 this week. British film was all the more sadder when it was announced that Lionel Jeffries had died at the age of 83. As a writer and director he made his mark with ‘The Railway Children’ and ‘The Water Babies’ but he had already chalked up dozens of unforgettable acting credits in such films as ‘The Quatermass Xperiment’, ‘Blue Murder at St. Trinian’s’, ‘Murder Ahoy!’, ‘Stage Fright’, ‘Jumping for Joy’, ‘The Revenge of Frankenstein’, ‘Doctor At Large’, ‘Two Way Stretch’, ‘The Wrong Arm of the Law’, ‘Rocket to the Moon’ and ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’. His reading of the lolloping bear and singing of ‘P.O.S.H.’ will always bring a smile to the lips of admirers of this finest of character actors.
Posted on Wednesday 10th February, 2010
London fun with David Barry, Paul Cole, George Innes and the boys.
Posted on Tuesday 9th February, 2010
A trip to the National Film Theatre to attend a screening of ‘The Professionals’ and ‘The New Professionals’; screened in tribute to its star, Edward Woodward.
Posted on Monday 8th February, 2010
Tributes to that class act, actor Ian Carmichael, who starred in a handful of Robert’s favourite films of the 1950s and 1960s: ‘I’m Alright, Jack’, ‘Double Bunk’, Private’s Progress’, ‘Light Up the Sky!’ and ‘Heavens Above!’. Later he was the definitive Bertie Wooster and Lord Peter Wimsey, and chalked up notable film appearances in ‘From Beyond the Grave’ and Hammer’s remake of ‘The Lady Vanishes’. He died at the age of 89.
Posted on Wednesday 3rd February, 2010
A hectic month of research is happily halted with a fun and boozy lunch with good pals Alan Coles and Henry Holland and new friend George Innes. Life would be intolerable without London-based show-biz lunches, Amelia 😉
Posted on Tuesday 5th January, 2010
The New Year looks set to be a busy one with an ongoing script project with Paul Cole, two major comedy biographies and a couple of reference works in the pipeline.
Posted on Saturday 2nd January, 2010
Hanging out with Sixth Doctor, Colin Baker, during his pantomime role as Fleshcreep in ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’. All together now: “Let’s do the Time Warp again!”.
Posted on Friday 1st January, 2010
The final farewell to David Tennant’s Time Lord in ‘Doctor Who’. A touching, rollicking, heart-pounding and beautifully acted television treat. John Simm turns in a nicely controlled turn as the Master but all honours are stolen by Bernard Cribbins as Wilf. An amazing performance. Give that man a Knighthood.
Posted on Thursday 24th December, 2009
Christmas Eve kicks of superbly with a repeat of ‘The Two Ronnies Christmas Sketchbook’. Re-runs of the Rons and Eric and Ern are as much part of the seasonal tradition as ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and turkey sandwiches.
Posted on Tuesday 15th December, 2009
Another dead comedian brought beautifully back to life – Amanda Lawrence as Charles Hawtrey in ‘Jiggery Pokery’ at the Battersea Arts Centre. An amazing piece of theatre with everybody from Sid James to Barbara Windsor played by Amanda, it’s a boozey trawl through Hawtrey’s life in the theatre, in the studio and in the pub. A touching, funny and powerful salute to a true British eccentric. It runs at the BAC until 19th December.
Posted on Thursday 10th December, 2009
The opening night for ‘Morecambe’ at the Duchess theatre; a wonderful West End debut for the hit of this year’s Edinburgh Festival. Robert’s good friends, actor Bob Golding and writer Tim Whitnall, enjoyed a triumphant evening with members of Eric’s families and a gaggle of star guests: Dave Gorman, Hattie Hayridge, Kevin Day, Alistair McGowan, Reece Shearsmith and Sean Hughes. The show runs until 17th January 2010.
Posted on Wednesday 9th December, 2009
Christmas lunch in Browns with some wonderful friends culminates with an impromptu drink with actor George Innes. All together now, “well, look happy you miserable bastards. We won, didn’t we?”.
Posted on Monday 7th December, 2009
Robert’s usual festive trawl through the BBC regional radio stations starts with a day of plugging the ‘Classic Comedy’ range of CDs. ‘Unique Hancock’, Frankie Howerd in ‘Please Yourselves’, ‘Fawlty Towers’, ‘Willo the Wisp’ and ‘The Galton and Simpson Half Hour’ are all perfectly sized for the Christmas stocking of the archive comedy lover in your family.
Posted on Friday 27th November, 2009
A weekend romp down to Kent with good buddies Alan Coles and Henry Holland. A birthday pub crawl for Charles Hawtrey isn’t dampened by the pithy reaction from the Deal locals every time his name is mentioned. Then onto Dover for lunch and good times with actor John Carson.
Posted on Friday 20th November, 2009
Robert records the latest in a long-line of radio interviews promoting ‘Sid James – Cockney Rebel’. This time it is for Clare Ashford’s Afternoon Show on BBC Shropshire.
Posted on Wednesday 11th November, 2009
The opening night for the Brick Lane Gallery exhibition of Margaret Nolan’s montage art.
Posted on Saturday 31st October, 2009
Robert joins Anneke Wills and other writers for Tim Hirst’s Meet the Authors book signing at the Kennet Centre, Newbury. Robert signs copies of his latest book, ‘Sid James – Cockney Rebel’, as well as his back catalogue of Carry On titles.
Posted on Tuesday 27th October, 2009
Robert records a contribution to the Wise Buddah radio documentary on Monty Python on Record. Hosted by the Mighty Boosh and featuring interviews with the Pythons themselves, the two-hour show should be broadcast on the BBC over the Christmas fortnight. Later in the day Robert joins such luminaries of Hammer Films as Paul Cole, Vera Day, Valerie Leon, Maddy Smith and John Hough at the launch of the Idea Generation gallery exhibition. Robert will also contribute to Hammer’s Tweetensteins on Twitter. You can follow Robert @RobertWRossEsq.
Posted on Friday 23rd October, 2009
Robert was delighted to celebrate the Ruby Jubilee of Monty Python at the ‘Not the Messiah He’s a Very Naughty Boy’ performance at the Royal Albert Hall. Composed and performed by Eric Idle and John Du Prez, the Python behind the smash hit musical ‘Spamalot’ was joined on stage by fellow comedy legends Michael Palin (in drag), Terry Jones as a Welsh miner, Terry Gilliam saying ‘I’m not!’, Neil Innes as a Mexican and the ever-delectable Carol Cleveland as a three-sheep shepherd. Highlights included Mike and Eric recreating the crucifixion scene, Life of Brian producer John Goldstone taking the stage and Terry Jones shaking his maracas but the roof completely came off when Michael Palin ripped off his Toga to reveal a lumberjack shirt beneath. Carol Cleveland was his girl while surprise guests were Python engineer Andre Jacquemin and King of the Britons Sanjeev Bhaskar. All enjoyed from a front row centre seat, everything from the opening burst of Sosua’s Liberty Bell to the rousing chorus of ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ and a shower of confetti Python feet made for a heart-warming salute.
Posted on Thursday 22nd October, 2009
Robert will be signing at the ‘Meet the Authors’ event staged by Hirst Books at the Kennet Centre, Newbury on 31st October. He will be signing copies of ‘Sid James – Cockney Rebel’ and the 50th anniversary edition of ‘The Carry On Story’ as well as several other titles while stocks last. The event starts at 10am and should come to an end at 4pm. Why not come along and support this fun and unique gift idea for the book-lover in your family.
Posted on Tuesday 20th October, 2009
‘Sid James – Cockney Rebel’ is officially published today by J.R. Books, although several shops have been stocking copies for weeks. Waterstones had it as their recommendation, alongside Mike Palin’s second volume of diaries.
Posted on Sunday 18th October, 2009
A week of radio interviews promoting ‘Sid James – Cockney Rebel’ ends with Robert live on ‘The Sunday Supplement’ for BBC Kent.
Posted on Sunday 11th October, 2009
Robert attended ‘The Last Shout’ booze-up at the Bath House pub in Soho; home of many a book launch in the past. Celebrity attendees included Vera Day, Philip Madoc, Caroline Munro, Paul Cole, David Barry, Maddy Smith and many creative forces from ‘The Sweeney’ who paid fitting tribute to writer Troy Kennedy Martin.
Posted on Friday 2nd October, 2009
In celebration of Monty Python’s 40th anniversary on Monday, Robert will be chatting to BBC York just after 9am and BBC Berkshire at 11:30am. His book, The Monty Python Encyclopedia, is available from B.T. Batsford Books.
Posted on Thursday 1st October, 2009
Belated congratulations to Terry and Anna on the birth of their daughter, Siri. She comes into the world just in the nick of time to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Saturday evening sees BBC2 host a Python Night which includes a radically edited version of Bill, Ben and Alan G.Parker’s documentary Monty Python – Almost the Truth. The BBC’s Lawyers Cut features an hour-long version of the definitive tribute with new interviews with John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin as well as vintage footage of Graham Chapman. The two-hour feature film version will be in cinemas across the country and the nearly six-hour American television version will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray from 29th October. Robert should appear in one of those edits! 😉
Posted on Thursday 24th September, 2009
Robert’s latest book, Sid James – Cockney Rebel, is now available to buy here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sid-James-Authorised-Robert-Ross/dp/190677935X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1254490789&sr=8-1
This affectionate biography features contributions from Sid’s best-loved co-stars including Sally Geeson, Jim Dale, Victor Spinetti, Bernard Cribbins and the late Jack Douglas, alongside fascinating correspondence from the BBC vaults and a wealth of new information on Sid’s career highlights like the Ealing comedies, the Carry Ons and Bless This House.
Posted on Wednesday 23rd September, 2009
An epic day of research at the BBC Written Archives at Caversham for another project planned for 2010.
Posted on Friday 18th September, 2009
The Regenerations convention in Swansea with wonderful moments in the company of Philip Madoc, Sylvester McCoy, Anneke Wills and the perfect guest, Sir Derek Jacobi. Many thanks to Cary Woodward and the gang for their usual, impeccable organisation and to Abby, Steve, Tim, Ben, Charlie, Rob, Mike et al for fun and games in the bar.
Posted on Thursday 17th September, 2009
Robert conducts an interview with character actor, writer and director, Robert Gillespie, for his new biography to be published next year.
Posted on Sunday 13th September, 2009
The Carry On Writing charity event at Pinewood Studios with Guest of Honour, Norman Hudis, unveiling the British Comedy Society scroll in honour of his own contribution to the series, fellow scriptwriters Talbot Rothwell, Sid Colin and Dave Freeman and Carry On composers Bruce Montgomery, Eric Rogers, Max Harris and John Du Prez. Robert interviewed Norman as part of the day and wound down after the event with a few pints of Bonkers Conkers in the company of Paul and Christine Cole. Muck about with that then!
Posted on Saturday 12th September, 2009
Robert attends the last performance of Tom Stoppard’s Arcardia’ at the Duke of York’s theatre. Samantha Bond and Neil Pearson star.
Posted on Monday 7th September, 2009
Last minute preparations for the Carry On Writing event at Pinewood Studios where, from mid-day on Sunday 13th September, cast, crew and fans of the Carry Ons will gather at the British Comedy Society Hall of Fame. Guest of Honour Norman Hudis is flying from his Californian home especially for this tribute to the scriptwriters and composers of the world’s favourite comedy series. His wife and inspiration for Carry On Nurse, Rita, will also be in attendance and all profits from the event will be donated to the MacMillian Nurses. The on-screen Carry On Nurse, Shirley Eaton, will also be at Pinewood alongside other Carry On stars including Liz Fraser, Jacki Piper, Richard O’Callaghan, Sally Geeson, Margaret Nolan, Albert Moses and those Carry On Teacher tearaways Paul Cole and Larry Dann. Further details about the event and how to attend are at the British Comedy Society website: www.britishcomedysociety.com
Posted on Saturday 5th September, 2009
A return visit to Denis and the gang at the Vintage Magazine Shop on Brewer Street, Soho. This time with that legend of comedy acting Liz Fraser who started signing for fans a little earlier than the allotted mid-day start and carried on, quite literally, until 2pm. Liz happily signed images from Carry On Regardless, Double Bunk, Doctor in Love and other popular British films. Later Robert was enthralled by Alan Cumming’s ‘I Bought a Blue Car Today’ at the Vaudeville theatre. The show featured hilarious tales of ‘The High Life’, the Flintstones, Cabaret and James Bond interlinked with powerful songs from ‘Chess’, ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ and Victoria Wood. One of the most memorable of theatrical evenings.
Posted on Sunday 16th August, 2009
A matinee performance of ‘Helen’ at the Globe theatre, a new version of the Euripides piece adapted by Frank McGuinness. Robert’s nerdtastic cup did over-flow thanks to Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann, romping over the stage as Menelaus and a fun chat with him after the performance.
Posted on Tuesday 4th August, 2009
Off to Walton-on-Thames for Vera Day’s annual birthday celebration and dinner. This year was slightly different in that Robert and close friends Henry Holland and Alan Coles had planned a lengthy filmed interview with the actress. Robert interviewed Vera in a relaxed and hilarious chat that covered her entire career including ‘The Saint’, cabaret, Boris Karloff, Sid James, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Laurence Olivier, Carol Reed, Marilyn Monroe and that notorious Woman Eater. Good times!
Posted on Friday 24th July, 2009
Robert will be attending Don Fearnley’s latest Hammer Day at the Cine Lumiere in South Kensington tomorrow. A salute to the actor John Carson, an on-stage interview will be accompanied by screenings of his two finest performances for Hammer Films in The Plague of the Zombies and Taste the Blood of Dracula.
Posted on Thursday 23rd July, 2009
Robert attends the funeral of Vince Powell at the Guilford Crematorium. Representing the casts of two of Vince’s biggest situation comedy hits was Jack Smethurst and Nina Baden-Semper from Love Thy Neighbour and Mind Your Language stars Francoise Pascal, George Camiller, Kevork Malikyan, Jacki Harding and Pik Sen Lim. A joyful wake was held at the Running Mare in Cobham.
Posted on Tuesday 14th July, 2009
Beginning at 3.30pm on Radio 4 that loveable Leslie Phillips begins reading The Adventures of Mr Thake, hilarious snippets of inspired, colonial comedy tomfoolery from the pen of J.B. Morton. Leslie returns with more tales of silly-ass Britishness abroad at the same time on Wednesday and Thursday. Highly recommended.
Posted on Monday 13th July, 2009
Robert is saddened to received news from mutual friend Francoise Pascal that scriptwriter Vince Powell died that morning at the Royal Surrey Hospital, Guildford. His situation comedy credits are legion, including such timeless favourites as Bless This House, Love Thy Neighbour, Nearest and Dearest, Mind Your Language, Two in Clover, For the Love of Ada, The Bottle Boys and George and the Dragon. In a long and prolific career Vince’s writing ranged from Adam Adamant to Cilla Black’s Blind Date. He also proudly claimed the credit for the rushed screenplay of Carry On Emmannuelle. Vince’s autobiography, From Rays to Gags, was published to great acclaim last year.
Posted on Sunday 12th July, 2009
Ken Burns and Licence to Shoot Entertainment present their first Carry On masterclass at Pinewood Studios. Carry On Shirley Eaton saluted the series’ first leading lady and saw the actress in conversation with Robert. The relaxed and enjoyable chat ranged from her three early appearances in the celebrated Carry On series to James Bond and via Hammer comedies, Bob Hope, Agatha Christie, art, Mickey Spillane and family life. The two-hour plus conversation was warmly appreciated by the audience which included Director of Photography Alan Hume and film director John Hough.
Posted on Saturday 4th July, 2009
The alternative Independence Day celebration that is the Leslie Phillips signing at the Vintage Magazine Shop, Soho, goes brilliantly well with the packed-out two-hour session extended to nearly three hours to cope with the demand. Robert will be hosting another celebrity signing with Denis at the Vintage Magazine shop next month.
Posted on Friday 3rd July, 2009
A final reminder that Robert will be joining Leslie Phillips at the Vintage Magazine Shop, Brewer Street, Soho autograph signing session from mid-day to 2pm on Saturday 4th July. Leslie will have a wide range of photographs for sale and autographs cost £15 each. Robert will also be selling books and will be happy to sign his Doctor Who Big Finish plays ‘Medicinal Purposes’ and ‘Assassin in the Limelight’ which star Leslie as the notorious Doctor Knox.
Posted on Saturday 27th June, 2009
Back from New York City and Robert is, almost immediately, back at his desk working on his next biography. More news as and when. In the meantime, please remember that Robert and the Vintage Magazine Shop in London’s Soho are hosting a signing with Leslie Phillips from mid-day until 2pm on Saturday 4th July. Robert will hopefully be attending the plaque tribute to Wendy Richard on Sunday 5th July and the Bad Wolf Doctor Who convention at the Hilton Metropole, Birmingham on Saturday 11th July. He will be interviewing Shirley Eaton at Pinewood Studios on Sunday 12th July.
Posted on Monday 22nd June, 2009
Still somewhat hung-over from the Heritage Foundation bash Robert flew off to New York City to join Jim Dale for a very special evening of Carry On. Presented by the St. George’s Society on behalf of B.A.F.T.A. East Coast, Jim introduced the event and gave Robert a wonderful build-up before the two chatted for ninety minutes, screened choice clips from the films and took questions from a capacity audience. Robert was delighted to squeeze in lots of social time with Jim and Julie during his week in New York as well as his usual homage to John Lennon as well as a trip to see Rupert Everett and Angela Lansbury in Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit at the Shubert Theatre. During his time Robert also indulged in two comic sandwiches: a Bob Hope (a delicious mix of stacked ham and Swiss cheese!!) at Lindy’s and the classic (and impossibly huge) Woody Allen at the Carnegie Deli. Arteries hardened with every mouthful! 😉 Robert was also in New York when the shocking news of Michael Jackson’s death hit. Akin to Elvis Presley and John Lennon, the out-pouring of emotion was an experience to remember. Madame Tussard’s touchingly placed his effigy in the window and put his music videos on a loop while the entire city had an air of shocked reverence.
Posted on Wednesday 10th June, 2009
Back to the O2 for the amazing rock ‘n’ roll circus gig that was the Britney Spears concert. Forget the tall tales and counter claims of out-of-form dancing and mimed tracks, this was pure pop theatre at its very best.
Posted on Friday 5th June, 2009
Robert delivers a eulogy at the Memorial Service for Jack Douglas at St. Pauls’, the Actor’s Church, in Covent Garden. Jack’s partner, Vivien Howell, and daughter, Debbie Cartwright, both speak at the service, alongside a reading from musician and fellow Isle of Wight resident, Rick Wakeman, and entertainer Anita Harris. Fellow representatives from the world of Carry On included Barbara Windsor, Valerie Leon, Jacki Piper, Lance Percival, Lynda Baron and Susan and Valerie James. It was a beautiful and moving tribute to a fine actor and a true gentleman. The Rev. Simon Grigg presided with his usual wit and affection.
Posted on Monday 1st June, 2009
Cake and wine helped to celebrate Marilyn Monroe’s birthday in style as Creme de la Crime books launched Linda Regan’s third Paul Banham thriller ‘Dead Like Her’ at Goldsboro Books in Cecil Court. The book, a potentially lethal combination of sex, drugs and Marilyn Monroe impersonators, is priced at £7.99 and is highly recommended.
Posted on Sunday 31st May, 2009
Robert attended Lionel Blair’s 60th anniversary in show business celebration luncheon at the Dorchester. The impressive guest list included Roy Hudd, Rolf Harris, June Whitfield, Les Dennis, Vicki Michelle, Su Pollard and Sylvia Syms. Many thanks to the delectable Francoise Pascal for organising this wonderful event in aid of the Elisabeth Finn Care. Her dedication, devotion and determination shone through every second of a fantastic tribute.
Posted on Tuesday 26th May, 2009
Robert will be joining comedy favourites Brian Murphy and Linda Regan at the Max Miller Appreciation Society meeting on Friday 29th May from 7:30pm. The fun and frank chat will include everything from Carry On to Ken Russell, Doctor Who to murder mysteries and Hi-de-Hi to Old Mother Riley. Held at the Royal Albion Hotel, 35 Old Steine, Brighton, further information can be found at www.maxmiller.org. After the interview Robert will be signing copies of his Doctor Who audio play ‘Pier Pressure’, while Linda Regan will be signing her latest crime novel, ‘Dead Like Her’.
Posted on Thursday 21st May, 2009
Robert’s latest book, an affectionate biography on comedy actor Sid James, will be published in September by J.R. Books. ‘Cockney Rebel’ will relate Sid’s life and times from the day he arrived in Britain in 1946 until his death in Sunderland thirty years later. The book will include a wealth of previously unavailable material, rare photographs and interviews with Sid’s favourite co-stars such as Victor Spinetti, Vera Day, Sally Geeson, Bernard Cribbins and the late Jack Douglas.
Posted on Wednesday 20th May, 2009
A wonderful pre-birthday day in London with Francoise Pascal culminated in a visit to see ‘Calendar Girls’ at the Noel Coward theatre and a glass of champagne with one of the stars of the show, Lynda Bellingham. An outstanding cast also includes Patrica Hodge and Sian Phillips.
Posted on Tuesday 12th May, 2009
It has been mentioned that some followers of this website are missing comedy-geared events because we tend to report on them after they have happened! In an attempt to address this, Robert will be attending or involved in the following during the next few weeks: 21st May, Graham Rinaldi, author of an excellent new book on Will Hay, will be introducing a rare screening of Where’s That Fire? at 2pm in National Film Theatre 1. 29th May, Robert will be in conversation with Brian Murphy and Linda Regan at the Max Miller Appreciation Society meeting. He will also be signing copies of his Max meets Doctor Who radio play, ‘Pier Pressure’. 31st May, Lionel Blair celebrates 60 years in show-business at the Dorchester Hotel. 4th June, Mitch Benn and the Distractions play their only London gig this year at the Udderbelly, South Bank. 5th June, The Memorial Service for Jack Douglas at St. Paul’s. the Actor’s Church. 6th June, Bless This House star, Sally Geeson, will be signing at the Vintage Magazine Shop, Soho, from 12 noon until 2pm. 20th June, The Heritage Foundation Annual Awards and Ball at the Millennium Hotel. 22nd June, Robert joins Jim Dale in a celebration of the Carry Ons on behalf of BAFTA East Coast in New York. More information on these and other events as they approach and, indeed, after they happen!
Posted on Monday 11th May, 2009
A joyous celebration of the career of National treasure, Leslie Phillips, saw Carry On Teacher lads Paul Cole and Larry Dann reunited, Jacki Piper cuddle up with her Doctor in Trouble co-star and Jeremy Lloyd stage a hilarious reminiscence of their work together on film and stage. Other guests included Leslie’s delectable wife, Anglea Scoular, Ray Cooney, Harry Fowler, Hattie Hayridge, Nicholas Parsons, Barry Cryer, Mark Perry, Valerie Leon, Angela Douglas and Sheila Steafel.
Posted on Thursday 7th May, 2009
A final reminder that the Heritage Foundation will be hosting a special tribute luncheon to the national treasure that is Leslie Phillips on Sunday 10th May. Tickets are priced at £70 and include a three-course meal and wine. Further confirmed guests include Barry Cryer, Angela Douglas, Francoise Pascal and Nicholas Courtney. See you there!
Posted on Sunday 3rd May, 2009
A far from quiet Sunday; with book and charity meetings and a thrilling trip to the iMax to see You Only Live Twice. Sean Connery has never looked bigger! Robert also fitted in a tribute pint or two to Oliver Reed, who died ten years ago this weekend.
Posted on Sunday 26th April, 2009
Off to the Roundhouse to see Bob Dylan and His Band in concert. Amazing!
Posted on Saturday 25th April, 2009
A lovely service for Kathy Staff was attended by co-stars from both Crossroads: Paul Henry, Tony Adams, Jane Rossington, and Last of the Summer Wine: Peter Sallis, Frank Thornton, Burt Kwouk, Brian Murphy, June Whitfield et al. Roy Barraclough gave a moving tribute to his friend and cohort. All in all, an affectionate and touching farewell to a very special actress.
Posted on Thursday 23rd April, 2009
Robert will be attending a memorial service to Last of the Summer Wine actress, Kathy Staff, at St. Paul’s Church, Covent Garden, tomorrow.
Posted on Tuesday 14th April, 2009
Sad to announce the death of film producer Peter Rogers at the age of 95. In a sixty year career – largely spent at Pinewood Studios – Peter made a string of hit films including Time-Lock, The Vicious Circle, Raising the Wind, The Big Job, Bless This House, Assault, All Coppers Are… and, of course, all 31 hugely successful Carry On comedies. Having co-authored Peter’s official biography, Mr Carry On, for B.B.C. Books and moderated two frank and pithy D.V.D. audio commentaries for I.T.V.’s Carry On releases, Robert had much respect for Peter. In a professional and personal relationship which mixed bluntness and playfulness, the two knew each other for nearly twenty years since meeting during the making of Carry On Columbus.
Posted on Saturday 4th April, 2009
More confirmed names have been added to the guest list for the Heritage Foundation lunch in honour of Leslie Phillips on 10th May.
LIZ FRASER: Popular star of four Carry Ons and several Peter Sellers classics. Her small screen career has included ‘Hancock’s Half Hour’, ‘Rumpole of the Bailey’ and ‘The Professionals’. Acted with Leslie in Doctor in Love and Raising the Wind.
DIANE LANGTON: A cult favourite with several Carry Ons to her name, she starred in the revival of ‘The Rag Trade’ and has notched up regular roles in ‘Eastenders’ and ‘Hollyoaks’. Acted with Leslie in Don’t Just Lie There, Say Something.
VALERIE LEON: The ever-glamorous icon of Carry On, James Bond and Hammer Films, Valerie’s comedy career has seen her work with Ronnie Corbett in ‘Hark at Barker’, Frankie Howerd in ‘Up Pompeii’ and Peter Sellers in The Revenge of the Pink Panther.
Vice-Chairman Mike Reed will be hosting the event and tickets are available by calling: 01494714388.
Posted on Friday 3rd April, 2009
A wonderful night in the theatre with Michael Craig and Meghan Popiel in Joanna McClelland Glass’s ‘Trying’: an emotive, powerful two-hander mapping out the last few months of Nuremberg Trials Judge Francis Biddle. The play runs at the Finborough, 118 Finborough Road, Fulham until 11th April and is highly recommended.
Posted on Thursday 26th March, 2009
Robert will be signing copies of the new edition of ‘The Carry On Story’ at the N.E.C. Birmingham’s Memorabilia on Saturday 28th March. He’ll be joined by a host of Carry On favourites: Liz Fraser, Sally Geeson, Jacki Piper, Fenella Fielding, Amanda Barrie, Alan Curtis, Melvyn Hayes and Sandra Caron. Also present will be Robert’s good friend, Jenny Hanley, and Colin Baker. So don’t forget to bring your Big Finish plays to get signed. To repeat, Robert and the Carry On team will only be appearing on the Saturday of this two-day event. See you there!
Posted on Saturday 21st March, 2009
The Heritage Foundation will be holding a special Sunday lunch in honour of one of our best-loved actors, Leslie Phillips C.B.E.; O.B.E. The event will take place on Sunday 10th May at the Marriott Hotel, 128 King Henry’s Road, NW3.
Confirmed guests, so far, are:
LYSETTE ANTHONY whose films include Krull, Woody Allen’s Husbands and Wives and Mel Brooks’s Dracula – Dead and Loving it. She acted with Leslie in Robert’s radio play Doctor Who: ‘Assassin in the Limelight’.
PAUL COLE: actor, writer, producer and director whose work has ranged from Hammer’s Dracula to ‘The Tweenies’. Acted with Leslie in Carry On Teacher.
RAY COONEY: The undisputed King of farce with his ‘Run for Your Wife’ being the most successful of many West End comedies. Leslie starred in several of his productions and the two acted together in the films The Night we Dropped a Clanger, Not Now Comrade and Not Now Darling.
MICHAEL CRAIG: prolific Broadway and West End actor with a string of classic British films to his credit. Acted with Leslie in Doctor in Love.
LARRY DANN: actor with four Carry Ons and Ghost Story to his name. Best loved as Sergeant Alec Peters in ‘The Bill’. Acted with Leslie in Carry On Teacher.
MICHAEL MALONEY: Royal Shakespeare Company actor with appearances in Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet and ‘Bonekickers’. Acted with Leslie in Love on a Branch Line.
KATE O’MARA whose career has ranged from Hammer Horror to ‘The Two Ronnies’. She has starred in Dynasty, Triangle and as the Rani in Doctor Who and was directed by Leslie in the stage version of The Avengers.
JACKI PIPER: Popular farce and pantomime leading lady and star of four Carry On films. Acted with Leslie in Doctor in Trouble.
OWEN TEALE: Tony Award Winner whose television work has included Doctor Who, Torchwood and Ballykissangel. Acted with Leslie in The Last Detective: ‘The Dead Peasants Society’.
And, of course, Robert – who wrote the Doctor Who plays: ‘Medicinal Purposes’ and ‘Assassin in the Limelight’ for Leslie – will also be in attendance.
For further information and to book tickets for this exciting salute to Leslie’s 70+ year career please call Heritage Foundation Chairman David Graham: 01494714388.
Posted on Friday 13th March, 2009
A reminder that Robert’s good friend, Valerie Leon, is presenting her one-woman show: ‘Valerie’s Carry On’, on Thursday 19th March. The illustrated celebration of her life and work will feature clips and memories of the James Bond series, the Carry Ons, the Pink Panther, Hammer horror and so much more. It’s at the Maltings Arts Theatre, St. Albans, Hertfordshire at 8pm (box office: 01727844222). Tickets cost £10 (£8 for concessions) and there are regular train services from St. Pancras. It’s only twenty minutes away. Robert hopes to attend. Valerie will be performing the show again on Saturday 21st at the Relais Chateaux Hotel & Country Club, Gravetye Manor, East Grinstead. This will start with coffee at 10am with a three-course meal with wine following the presentation. Please call 01342810567 for further details or visit www.valerieleon.com for regular up-dates.
Posted on Thursday 12th March, 2009
Robert wishes everyone a very happy Red Nose Day for tomorrow. He’ll be wearing his nose with pride…the Charles Hawtrey version! B.B.C.’s bi-annual tele-thon promises some great highlights from Doctor Who-geared fun with David Tennant, Elisabeth Sladen and Ronnie Corbett to the Saturdays doing their thing for charity. Just remember: do something funny for money!
Posted on Sunday 8th March, 2009
Robert makes the trip in to town for the Heritage Foundation plaque unveiling to drumming icon Keith Moon. It was erected on the wall of the site of the old Marquee Club at 90 Wardour Street where the Who played many times during the 1960s. Lead singer Roger Daltry and Keith’s mum, Kit, did the honours on the string pulling. An impressive turn-out of mods and their scooters set the seal on a wonderful day of music and memories that continued over luncheon at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane.
Posted on Wednesday 4th March, 2009
To the O2 for the much-anticipated Tina Turner concert. A blast: all killer and no filler. And, at the age of 69, she was still strutting herself as powerfully as ever.
Posted on Thursday 26th February, 2009
Bill Cotton’s Memorial Service at St. Martins-in-the-Field. At turns moving and hilarious contributions from Ronnie Corbett, David Attenborough and Michael Grade, were heightened by rousing performances from the ukulele orchestra of Great Britain. It was lovely for Robert to bump in to a delayed Mr and Mrs Joe McGrath and share typical moments of Goonish humour with them. Many thanks to John Gatenby and the British Comedy Society. Sadly, as soon as Robert’s phone was turned back on, he was informed of the death of Wendy Richard. He was subsequently interviewed on B.B.C. Radio Berkshire about her work in Are You Being Served? and the Carry Ons.
Posted on Monday 23rd February, 2009
A rather raucous and joyfully elongated catch-up and drinking session with actor/producer/writer/director and all-round good egg, Paul Cole. Starting off at the Concert Artistes’ Association and ending up at the Lamb & Flag via St. Paul’s, the actors’ church, Robert and Paul must have taken all of thirty steps all day! Robert was later joined by another friend, actress Gemma Sinclair, and attended the DVD launch of Alan G. Parker’s Sid Vicious documentary Who Killed Nancy? at the Leicester Square Theatre.
Posted on Friday 20th February, 2009
Robert is interviewed for the Monty Python at 40 film documentary. A fun two-hour session in conversation with friend and director, Alan Parker, at the Arts Club on Frith Street is followed by a hasty post motem in the Spice of Life. Hasty, for Robert had to wing his way back to Buckinghamshire to join producer Ken Burns for the recording of a DVD audio commentary. Carry On Peter is the record of Carry On producer, Peter Rogers, and his 90th birthday party with Leslie Phillips, Jacki Piper, potential Carry On London cast members and loads of glamour models! Suitably the commentary was recorded on this, Peter’s 95th birthday.
Posted on Thursday 19th February, 2009
Sad to hear of the death of Dilys Laye at the age of 74. She had been ill for some time. Robert always loved to keep in touch via her jolly phone-calls and pithy e-mails having recorded DVD audio commentaries with her for three of her four Carry On films.
Posted on Sunday 15th February, 2009
To 18 Greek Street and memories of the old Establishment Club as a Westminster green plaque is unveiled to the mercurial Peter Cook. Friends and colleagues Eleanor Bron, Neil Innes, Barry Cryer, Nicholas Parsons, Anneke Wills, Francoise Pascal and Valerie Leon joined Peter’s first wife, Wendy, and his sister, Elizabeth, at the event. The plaque, inscribed to the ‘comedian and only twin’, marks the home of satire that Cook owned during the early 1960s. A slap-up luncheon at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, followed.
Posted on Wednesday 28th January, 2009
The first month of the New Year almost over and all ready we have lost some legendary figures from entertainment: Tony Hart’s death, coupled with that of Oliver Postgate late last year, has severed vital links with a lot of people’s childhood. They will remain heroes for a generation. John Mortimer brought vere, wit and passion to his television screenplays. And Patrick McGoohan, perhaps the most cherished Cult TV star of them all: from Hell Drivers and ‘Dangerman’ to those award-winning episodes of ‘Columbo’ and, naturally, ‘The Prisoner’, his body of work will stand tall for a very long time. R.I.P.
Posted on Friday 9th January, 2009
To the Novello theatre for a breathtaking performance from David Tennant in ‘Hamlet’. The evening is topped off by unexpectedly bumping in to Mr and Mrs Bernard Cribbins in the audience. David’s towering performance – ranging from Noel Coward mannerisms and outrageous mockery of Patrick Stewart to the depths of introspective bewilderment and despair – suitably won him the Critics Circle Award for Best Shakespearian performance of the year. The supporting cast, including Oliver Ford Davies as Polonius and John Woodvine as the Player King, were exemplary.
Posted on Sunday 4th January, 2009
Another pantomime – this time Comedy Legend Bernie Clifton in ‘Cinderella’ at the Aylesbury Civic Centre – ended the yule-tide break on a high.
Posted on Sunday 21st December, 2008
Pre-New Year fun at the High Wycombe pantomime with Linda Lusardi easily bagging the title of the fairest of them all…despite playing the Wicked Queen and not Snow White! Director Sam Kane also provided strong, tongue-in-cheek support to his wife while daughter, Lucy, excelled as the Forest Fairy.
Posted on Thursday 18th December, 2008
Robert is awoken to the sad news that friend and comic hero Jack Douglas has passed away at the age of 81. A unique talent and a true gentleman, Robert vows to do only one radio tribute today – for his old pal Luke Deal – and sticks to his word. Jack had been poorly for a while and, although the news was not unexpected it was still a blow. Robert’s next book will be dedicated to Jack and those special memories of a long and happy friendship – alongside those gems of comedy and serious acting from Jack preserved in the archives – will remain invaluable.
Posted on Sunday 14th December, 2008
The annual televisual feast of ‘Missing Belived Wiped’ at the National Film Theatre. Gems recovered and discussed this year included a vast array from the collection of Bob Monkhouse, Alastair Sim giving an intense address to camera, Kenneth Williams in full-on chat-show mode and ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Are You Being Served?’ clips newly treated to a revolutionary system that puts colour back in to their cheeks.
Posted on Monday 17th November, 2008
But, semi-recovered, Robert makes the rather less arduous journey into Central London for the Royal Film Performance of ‘A Bunch of Amateurs’ at the Odeon Leicester Square. Held on behalf of the Film and Television Benevolent Fund, Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness Prince Philip are in attendance, alongside with cast members Derek Jacobi, Samantha Bond and Imelda Staunton.
Posted on Saturday 15th November, 2008
Sadly Robert is forced to pull out of the Doctor Who convention, Dimensions, in Newcastle due to a back injury. He apologises and hopes to appear at another convention for Tenth Planet sometime in the New Year.
Posted on Tuesday 4th November, 2008
Front row seats for Neil Labute’s hilarious and poignant play ‘Fat Pig’ at the Comedy Theatre; starring Katie Kerr, Nick Burns, Kevin Bishop…oh, and Kelly Brook in a bikini! It proved an enjoyable break before Robert threw himself in to a week’s researching at the B.B.C. Written Archive in Caversham.
Posted on Saturday 18th October, 2008
To the Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead to catch Robert’s good pal, John Dorney, taking the challenging lead role in ‘Humble Boy’. An outstanding production, perfectly brought to life by six actors at the top of their game. You are urged to watch local papers for the tour coming to a venue near you.
Posted on Thursday 16th October, 2008
Robert was back at the National for another platform; this time on the Lyttleton stage. Sir Roger Moore was in conversation with Emma Forbes with regards his entertaining autobiography, My Word is My Bond. The event was a happy bubble in a memorable day revolving around a post-‘Mind Your Langauge’ recording session lunch with representatives from the Australian DVD company releasing the show and the talent themselves.
Posted on Tuesday 14th October, 2008
A fond farewell to Tony Hoare: the guv’nor.
Posted on Sunday 12th October, 2008
Robert was among the guests at the eager-awaited Heritage Foundation salute to the 40th birthday of Dad’s Army. Beloved surviving cast (Clive Dunn, Ian Lavender, Bill Pertwee, Pam Cundell, Frank Williams, Philip Madoc), the writers (Jimmy Perry and David Croft) and behind-the-scenes talent (Harold Snoad, Mrs Michael Mills: Valerie Leon) and wartime-flavoured auction and entertainment, proved a fitting event in aid of of the Bomber Command Appeal. Later Robert joined up with Liz Fraser (who, fittingly, had played Pike’s mum in Dad’s Army: the Movie) and Roy and Debbie Hudd for Ken Dodd’s Laughter Show at the Palladium. A copper-bottom variety production with everybody from Comedy Legend Bernie Clifton to twinkle-lipped Joan Hinde, it was staged to raise money for Brinsworth House; a place very close to Robert’s heart. Here’s to next year.
Posted on Wednesday 8th October, 2008
Robert attended the National Theatre Denis Norden platform on the Cottesloe stage to launch the writing guru’s latest collection of memoirs, Clips from a Life. The great man was interviewed by Barry Cryer and Robert enjoyed an extended audience with the great and the good in the Green Room afterwards. Thank you, Sarahs!
Posted on Friday 26th September, 2008
The fourth annual ‘Best of British Comedy’ luncheon in aid of the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund was held at B.A.F.T.A. Robert, who has served on the committee from the outset, enjoyed the company of George Layton, Liz Fraser, Valerie Leon, Barry Cryer, Amanda Barrie, Hattie Hayridge and Sanjeev Bhaskar. Rufus Hound proved a perfect master of ceremonies and the highlight of the cabaret was on-fire ventriloquist Paul Zordin. Here’s to next year!
Posted on Wednesday 24th September, 2008
The 4th birthday of Soho club Zebrandos, was celebrated with an invitation-only ‘Best of British’ party. The sweetest moment was the continual screening of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels throughout the evening with Robert’s dear friend, Vera Day, being on screen when he walked in…having just enjoyed a lengthy lunch with her!
Posted on Friday 19th September, 2008
Robert journeyed to Retford in Nottinghamshire to guest at the second Telly Nation convention. Held in the historic hotel, Ye Olde Bell, it was a fun weekend spent in the company of old friends (Valerie Leon) and new (Cheryl Hall and Phil Rose), while all being held in aid of the very worthwhile charity S.T.E.P.S.
Posted on Sunday 7th September, 2008
Robert travelled down to Brighton for the second Carry On convention at the New Madeira Hotel. Headliners were Bernard Cribbins, Kenneth Cope, Margaret Nolan and Albert Moses. Laughs, autographs and a quick gin ‘n’ tonic were fitted in before a hasty departure and further laughs with Bernard en route home to the home counties. Many thanks to Brett Trimble, Paul Stephen and the gang for splendid organisation.
Posted on Saturday 23rd August, 2008
After a long but enjoyable process of putting the production together, Robert settled down to record seven audio commentaries for the Madman DVD release of the classic 1970s situation comedy ‘Mind Your Language’. With writer Vince Powell, the ever stunning Francoise Pascal and fellow stars George Camiller, Ricardo Montez and Albert Moses it proved to be a hilarious and enlightening reunion. Thanks to engineer extraordinaire Andre Jacquemin, production assistant Henry Holland and everyone at Redwood Studios for making the day run so smoothly. The only downer on the day was that Arsenal lost to Fulham during the evenings pub-based fun!
Posted on Sunday 3rd August, 2008
The Heritage Foundation Garden Party at the home of chairman David Graham in a slightly damp but enjoyable Buckinghamshire. Familiar faces Liz Fraser, Philip Madoc, Vicki Michelle and Nina Baden-Semper mingled with friends of the foundation in an attempt to raise money and awareness for a permanent tribute to Bomber Command. A spitfire flyover bought gasps of amazement.
Posted on Saturday 19th July, 2008
A grand day at Earls Court 2’s London Film and Comic Con marred only by the absence of Graeme Garden. Sadly, Graeme was severely delayed on a flight back from Menorca and couldn’t attend the signing. But Tim and Bill enjoyed the experience, being interviewed on stage by Robert and interacting with the weird and wonderful citizens of the LFCC. As usual the most surreal moments happened in the Green Room: thanks to the likes of Claudia Black, Christopher Lloyd, Margot Kidder and Peter Davison. Here’s to the next Showmasters event.
Posted on Thursday 17th July, 2008
A reminder that Robert will be attending the London Film and Comic Con at Earls Court 2 on Saturday 19th July. An outstanding line-up of guests including David Warner, Charles Dance, John Hurt, Peter Davison, Sylvester McCoy and Christopher Lloyd, are joined by a full reunion of the Goodies. A talk with the legendary trio will be hosted by Robert from 11am while, in-between signing duties, an official photograph session will also take place.
Posted on Monday 7th July, 2008
Robert was a guest of the British Comedy Society, alongside Robert Lindsay, Zoe Wanamaker and other cast and crew, at an unveiling of a blue plaque to mark the 100th episode of popular BBC situation comedy ‘My Family’. Situated in Pinewood Studio’s Hall of Fame, the event was also attended by delightful BCS director Jenny Hanley. Hugs and laughs assured!
Posted on Monday 7th July, 2008
Robert is attending the ‘Bad Wolf’ convention in Birmingham this coming weekend; along with his Big Finish Doctor, Colin Baker, Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison, the Doctor’s daughter, Georgia Moffett, and many other great guests from Doctor Who and Torchwood. On Saturday 19th July Robert will be at the Earls Court London Film and Comic Con, representing those glorious Goodies Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie.
Posted on Saturday 5th July, 2008
It’s lovely to see BBC2 paying fitting 50th anniversary tribute to the Carry On series although rather than two factually-challenged, albeit beautifully acted, dramas wouldn’t an affectionate documentary and a screening of Carry On Sergeant been rather more apt bed-fellows for classics Carry On Camping and Carry On Matron?
Posted on Monday 30th June, 2008
Robert continued to put together two books, as well as some exciting special features for an upcoming situation comedy DVD release for Australian company Madman.
Posted on Saturday 28th June, 2008
It was a case of Carry On Camping as Robert reverted to life as a student at the Wakestock Festival at Blenheim Palace. The Happy Mondays resurrected nostalgic raving but it was a white-suited Mark Ronson and friends who stole the show.
Posted on Wednesday 25th June, 2008
A hasty return to the National Film Theatre when Robert was invited to attend a screening of recently recovered material from ‘The Complete and Utter History of Britain’ introduced by the show’s creators Michael Palin and Terry Jones. Good conversation and good wine followed in the Green Room.
Posted on Saturday 21st June, 2008
Robert enjoyed an evening of laughter at the Heritage Foundation’s annual ball and awards ceremony; hanging out with friends Valerie Leon, Juliette Kaplan and Shirley Anne Field, as well as delighting in a hilariously informal chat about ‘Doctor Who’ with Philip Madoc. Many thanks to the Foundation’s chairman David Graham for the invitation.
Posted on Tuesday 17th June, 2008
To the National Film Theatre on London’s South Bank to wallow in comedy writing greatness as Dick Clement and Ian Le Franais made a rare UK appearance. Discussing such classic programmes as ‘The Likely Lads, ‘Porridge’ and ‘Lovejoy’ with modesty and wit, this was a masterclass in intelligent writing. Thanks to Dick Fiddy for securing Robert an invite.
Posted on Monday 16th June, 2008
ITVDVD have released two more DVD projects Robert has worked on: the Special Edition of Jim Sheridan’s inspirational My Left Foot and The Margaret Lockwood Collection. This six film celebration features Bank Holiday, The Lady Vanishes, Love Story, The Wicked Lady, Give Us This Day and Highly Dangerous. 2entertain have released the second series of ‘Sorry!’ featuring Robert’s interview with star Ronnie Corbett.
Posted on Tuesday 10th June, 2008
The Royal Mail release their commemorative set of Carry On Hammer stamps: marking the 50th anniversary of Carry On Sergeant and Dracula. Fittingly the khaki comedy is featured on the 1st class stamp. The other poster designs featured are Carry On Cleo, The Curse of Frankenstein, Carry On Screaming! and The Mummy. Starting with a chat with Nicky Campbell on Five Live at 7am, Robert enjoyed a day of radio interviews pondering on these most British of popular culture classics.
Posted on Friday 30th May, 2008
Robert’s third ‘Doctor Who’ adventure for Big Finish, ‘Assassin in the Limelight’, is now available to buy or download at http://www.bigfinish.com/108-Doctor-Who-Assassin-in-the-Limelight. The play stars sixth Doctor, Colin Baker, Maggie Stables as companion Evelyn Smythe and Leslie Phillips as the notorious Doctor Knox in a tale of corrupted history in Lincoln’s Washington.
Posted on Friday 16th May, 2008
…and just to prove he has his finger on contemporary culture, Robert journeyed to the wonderful O2 Arena to see Girls Aloud do their thing. An outstanding gig…and the costume changes were fun as well!
Posted on Tuesday 13th May, 2008
A visit to Camden Town’s Etcetera theatre to see a production of ‘The Collector’ starring Robert’s good friend Rachel Hewer and directed by that splendid chap Jonathan Rigby. Fringe theatre at its very best.
Posted on Thursday 8th May, 2008
A return to Robert’s hometown of Basingstoke in Hampshire to see Tom McGrath’s classic play ‘Laurel and Hardy’ at the Haymarket. In a revived production, Ben Fox and Christian Patterson caught the mannerisms, timing and, above all, true love of the two gentlemen and gentle men. Absolutely amazing performances, not just as Stan and Ollie, but as every major player in the comic duo’s life, from producer Hal Roach to Ollie’s mother! So uplifting and emotional was the performance that Robert happily wallowed in Laurel and Hardy DVDs that evening and you can’t get a better tribute than that.
Posted on Tuesday 6th May, 2008
Robert attended this year’s first committee meeting for the, now annual, Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund Comedy lunch. Several top names are already confirmed to attend the lunch on Friday 26th September. Keep checking this website for further news.
Posted on Saturday 3rd May, 2008
A successful signing day with Leslie Phillips and June Whitfield at the Milton Keynes Collectormania 13. Loads of laughs and memories in the Green Room with national treasures Nick Courtney, Geoffrey Bayldon and Hattie Hayridge or the ‘Brig’, ‘Catweazle’ and ‘Holly Mark II’ as they are known to classic television admirers!
Posted on Wednesday 30th April, 2008
Sad to report another show business departure: the statuesque Julie Ege died today at the age of 64. One of Robert’s favourite people of 70s popular culture…and not just for the obvious reasons…she cavorted with a disinterested Leslie Phillips in The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins, got dirty with Frankie Howerd in the film version of Up Pompeii and danced the night away with Marty Feldman in Every Home Should Have One. She battled Hammer dinosaurs in Creatures the World Forgot, joined Peter Cushing for his final fight with blood-suckers in The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires and was turned in to one of The Mutations by Donald Pleasence. She was a vital part of what TV Cream would call ‘the films that criticism forgot’ and will never, herself, be forgotten.
Posted on Monday 28th April, 2008
A fond farewell to the legendary ‘Humph’: Humphrey Lyttleton, who died on 25 April at the age of 86. As a jazz musician he is suitably lauded but it is as the chairman of divine silliness on BBC Radio 4’s ‘I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue’ that he will leave a gapping hole of inspired laughter. Hazel Court, one time muse of Ken Annakin and the original Huggett daughter in Holiday Camp, died at the age of 82 on 15 April. It is for her contribution to the Hammer horror film: The Curse of Frankenstein, The Man Who Could Cheat Death, and the Roger Corman chillers: The Raven, The Masque of the Red Death, that film admirers will best remember her. And finally, two great men of character: Willoughby Goddard, memorable as the rotund and lascivious Gessler in TV’s William Tell, died on 11 March at the age of 81. He contributed portly men of the foam in Carry On Cruising and Double Bunk. As well as the voice of the polar bear in the Fox’s Glacier Mints adverts. Lloyd Lamble, who died on 10 April at the age of 94, chalked up such film appearances as No Sex Please, We’re British and Eskimo Nell, although he was at his very best in senior policeman uniform. Notably in Quatermass II, Night of the Demon, Ealing’s Barnacle Bill and, most cherished of all, as Superintendent ‘Sammy’ opposite lovelorn Joyce Grenfell in the first three St. Trinian’s films. RIP.
Posted on Tuesday 22nd April, 2008
Robert will be representing comedy royalty, Leslie Phillips and June Whitfield, at the Collectormania 13 signing event in Milton Keynes. Marking fifty years since playing a couple in Carry On Nurse, the two icons will be signing on Saturday 3rd May only. An official Showmasters photo session is also taking place. For further information and updates please visit http://www.collectormania.com/.
Posted on Sunday 20th April, 2008
Robert travels to the splendid delights of Wotton House in Buckinghamshire for an invited-guests only try-out preview of Valerie Leon’s reflections on her life and work. With hilarious and poignant anecdotes and copious clips from Carry On, James Bond, Hammer and much more, this promises to be a treat not to be missed. Keep an eye on http://www.valerieleon.com/ or this very website for further information.
Posted on Tuesday 18th March, 2008
Robert is interviewed for the Big Finish podcast with regards his forth-coming Doctor Who CD release, ‘Assassin in the Limelight’, available from May. Later, Robert joined Larry Dann and other friends and family of the treasured Paul Cole for his surprise 65th birthday party at the BBC West Club. Much white wine and happy memories were shared!
Posted on Sunday 16th March, 2008
The big day at Pinewood Studios; as a wooden bench, fireworks and a three-course meal celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Carry Ons. Robert enjoyed ‘hanging-out’ with old friends from the series including Leslie Phillips, Valerie Leon, Jack Douglas, Jacki Piper, Norman Hudis, Larry Dann, Terry Longdon, Richard O’Callaghan and Hugh Futcher. Here’s to the next 50! Robert, despite a few gin ‘n’ tonics during the day, appeared with Valerie and Norman on BBC Five Live after 11pm. And the interviews – from BBC Berkshire to the Sunday Post – continued to be requested. Listen and look-out for Robert Carrying On over the next few days.
Posted on Saturday 15th March, 2008
An early morning start for Robert as he was driven to the BBC for an appearance on the Breakfast news. Two segments; one before 9am and one before 10am covered the 50 years of Carry On with clips from favourites like Carry On Nurse and Carry On Cleo and talk of the new film, Carry On London. Then it was back in the car to spend some time (and money!) at the Westminister Film Fayre where good friend Shirley Anne Field was signing.
Posted on Friday 14th March, 2008
Several radio appearances with regards the 50th anniversary of Carry On as well as an enjoyable return to Channel 4’s Richard and Judy; this time in the company of glamour girl Valerie Leon and celebrity fan Kate Robbins.
Posted on Monday 10th March, 2008
Robert is interviewed for the BBC News website with regards the 50th anniversary of the Carry Ons. To read the article on the BBC News website click here. He is also due to feature on Luke Deal’s afternoon BBC Suffolk radio show on Friday 14th March. As well as the upcoming party at Pinewood Studios on Sunday 16th, which Robert will be attending, the discussion is certain to take in the fact that Carry On London is back in the news. Filming is due to start shortly with a possible release date late this year.
Posted on Saturday 8th March, 2008
Just recently Robert has been very hard at work putting together material and interviewing contributors for several comedy-based biographies, the subjects of which will be revealed as and when. Meanwhile, ITVDVD have released the eagerly awaited second volume of ‘The John Mills Collection’. The set features seven more classic films: Car of Dreams, Brown on Resolution, The Way to the Stars, The Long Memory, Above Us the Waves, The Vicious Circle and Tiger Bay. The remastered prints come complete with cast and crew profiles by Robert, stills galleries and an exclusive audio commentary with Sir John’s daughter, Hayley Mills and Robert, on Tiger Bay.
Posted on Sunday 2nd March, 2008
The Pinewood event in memory of James Robertson Justice with a British Comedy Society plaque being unveiled in the Hall of Fame and James Hogg’s autobiography, What’s the Bleeding Time?, launched. Muriel Pavlow, JRJ’s co-star in Doctor in the House, Doctor at Large and Murder, She Said!, was the guest of honour. Huge thanks to John and Olive Gatenby and all at Tomahawk Press for a wonderful tribute to a larger than life English eccentric.
Posted on Thursday 28th February, 2008
Robert was interviewed on BBC Radio York with regards the Radio Times list of television put-downs. Inspired by Gene Hunt’s glorious rants in Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes, the selection included lines from such classic shows as Fawlty Towers, Dad’s Army and Blackadder. Just before 8am tomorrow morning Robert will be chatting about Brighton’s unique contribution to comedy on BBC Three Counties Radio. And later that day Robert discusses the topic: ranging from Max Miller to Carry On At Your Convenience, on the BBC1 South-East show Inside Out.
Posted on Wednesday 27th February, 2008
Robert will be attending a special tribute to James Robertson Justice at Pinewood Studios on Sunday 2nd March. The studios, the home of such JRJ classics as the Doctor films and Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang, will pay host to the British Comedy Society who will unveil a blue plaque to the great actor’s memory and James Hogg who launches his much-anticipated biography, ‘What’s the Bleeding Time?’.
Posted on Thursday 21st February, 2008
The John Mills Centenary Collection is now available from ITVDVD. Featuring cast and crew profiles, stills galleries and a career celebration booklet compiled by Robert, the eight classic films featured are In Which We Serve, We Dive at Dawn, Waterloo Road, Great Expectations, The October Man, The History of Mr. Polly, Morning Departure and Flame in the Streets. A bonus disc includes Sir John’s personal home movies, ‘Moving Memories’.
Posted on Wednesday 20th February, 2008
The third Big Finish podcast goes live and features Robert picking his top 5 ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventures. The programme is introduced by Colin Baker, recorded during a break from his 6th Doctor duties on Robert’s forthcoming ‘Assassin in the Limelight’. Listen in at: www.bigfinish.com/podcast/
Posted on Sunday 10th February, 2008
Huge congratulations to Jim Dale; who picked up the Spoken Word Album for Children gong at the 50th Grammys Awards for his essential reading of ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’.
Posted on Friday 8th February, 2008
Robert managed to get along to the studio to watch a fine cast bring life to his Doctor Who play ‘Assassin in the Limelight’. It was lovely to chat to ‘his’ Doctor, Colin Baker, head of the Big Finish Doctor Who range, Nick Briggs, and the story’s director, Barnaby Edwards. Pros to a man. It’s no secret that the plot involves the assassination of President Lincoln and welcomes back the baddie from Robert’s first story, ‘Medicinal Purposes’. Once again the loveable rogue, Doctor Knox, is played by Leslie Phillips. The play will be released in May.
Posted on Thursday 7th February, 2008
The first of two recording days on Robert’s latest Doctor Who adventure for Big Finish. ‘Assassin in the Limelight’ starring sixth Doctor Colin Baker will be released in May.
Posted on Saturday 26th January, 2008
Sad to report the death of two fine character actors much attached to cult film and television. Kevin Stoney died on 20 January at the age of 86. His many television credits include The Adventures of Robin Hood, Dixon of Dock Green and Hammer House of Horror, with supporting roles in Inspector Morse and The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries before his retirement in the mid-1990s. However, he was at his best in Doctor Who: as the deliciously coy baddie, Mavin Chen, opposite William Hartnell in ‘The Dalek MasterPlan’ and the oily businessman, Tobias Vaughn, opposite Patrick Troughton in ‘The Invasion’. He appeared with the cybermen again in the Tom Baker story ‘The Revenge of the Cybermen’. Barrie Gosney, who died after a fall on 24 January at the age of 82, chalked up such classic comedy credits as Carry On Jack and Don’t Just Lie There, Say Something. He appeared in all three ‘Up’ films with Frankie Howerd. And, more recently, he was part of Harry Hill’s rep. company and the benign Uncle Barry in Al Murray’s Time Gentlemen, Please!
Posted on Wednesday 16th January, 2008
An enjoyable afternoon in the company of top friends in a box for ‘Cinderella’ at the Richmond theatre, delighting in wonderful performances from Nigel Havers, Paul Zerdin (and Sam!), Su Douglas, Simon Lipkin as a cheeky Dandini and a couple of fine uglies, Ian Good and John Barr. Later in the day Robert journeyed to Calder Books, opposite the Young Vic, to hear his friend, Robert Shearman, read ‘So Proud’ from his collection of short stories, ‘Tiny Deaths’. Well worth buying. As is Adam Marek’s collection, ‘Instruction Manual for Swallowing’, which was also featured.
Posted on Saturday 12th January, 2008
Robert reverted back to his mis-spent youth…well, his mis-spent twenties at any rate…and lapped up the perfect pop reunion of the Spice Girls at the O2; the revamped Millennium Dome. Robert hasn’t been back since Blackadder and the brain of Tommy Cooper were in residence. What a revue!
Posted on Saturday 5th January, 2008
A fairly uninspiring round-up of pantomimes this year so that and a busy work committment dictated Robert’s usual ‘panto-crawl’ be vastly reduced. However, today Brian Conley whipped up a storm as Buttons in ‘Cinderella’ at the Wycombe Swan, High Wycombe. With child-like knockabout comedy, cheeky asides to the adults, rock ‘n’ roll and even a resurrection of his hit West End performance as Al Jolson, this was a true all-round entertainer performance. Cinderella was pretty cute as well!
Posted on Wednesday 2nd January, 2008
Huge congratulations to our good friend, Leslie Phillips, on being awarded a C.B.E. Let’s make it a knighthood next time!
Posted on Monday 10th December, 2007
The West End premiere of the eagerly-awaited St. Trinian’s; the sixth film in the classic comedy series and a surprisingly spirited re-working of the original, The Belles of St. Trinian’s. Russell Brand is a revelation in the role of Flash Harry. Although a mooted George Cole cameo would have been welcome.
Posted on Wednesday 5th December, 2007
Robert is currently working on several book and script projects while keeping up his committment to 2entertain DVD, Showmasters signing conventions and ITVDVD’s classic British cinema releases. February will see the release of a special John Mills collection marking what would have been his 100th birthday. More information will be posted nearer the release date.
Posted on Friday 30th November, 2007
Robert made his way down to a wind-swept Brighton to film an interview on the Palace Pier for BBC1’s ‘Inside Out’ programme. Due to be broadcast early next year, the show takes a wry look at Brighton’s association with comedy. Seated in a deckchair, Robert chatted about Max Miller, the filming of Carry On At Your Convenience, Genevieve and Norman Wisdom’s One Good Turn, as well as such eccentric Brighton theatricals as Laurence Olivier and Douglas Byng.
Posted on Friday 23rd November, 2007
The 44th anniversary of the first broadcast of ‘Doctor Who’ is muted by the announcement of the death of pioneering producer Verity Lambert. The traditional celebration at the Fitzroy Tavern is suitably sombre. Robert also braved the screening of the Michael Caine and Jude Law remake of Slueth. Contary to almost every viewer, it was extremely good. Although not a patch on the original.
Posted on Saturday 10th November, 2007
The final ‘Doctor Who’ weekender of the year; Dimensions in Washington, Tyne & Wear, proved an enjoyable finale to the year’s committment to the nation’s favourite sci-fi show. Robert interviewed Anthony Flanagan, the guest star from the latest series episode ’42’, and enjoyed his time with classic series actors Colin Baker, Anneke Wills, Lis Sladen and Nicola Bryant. Thanks to Anneke’s publisher, Tim Hirst, for getting Robert to the very Northernly venue!
Posted on Saturday 27th October, 2007
Back in autograph mode with Leslie Phillips. This time at the Collectormania 12 event in Milton Keynes. Leslie’s wife and Bond girl, Angela Scoular, also made her convention debut under Robert’s wing. Along the way there were wonderful moments with Dr Who legends Tom Baker and Lis Sladen, Firefly’s Jewel Staite and Star Trek favourites Ethan Phillips, Robert Picardo and Marinda Sirtis.
Posted on Monday 15th October, 2007
Helping actor, writer and all-round good egg, George Layton, put together a show-reel of classic clips to illustrate his cruise lectures. An unforgettable day wallowing in everything from ‘Doctor in the House’ and ‘Dr Who’ to ‘The Sweeney’ and ‘Confessions of a Driving Instructor’.
Posted on Saturday 13th October, 2007
The Radisson Hotel, Heathrow for the signing convention, Autographica, where Robert was working with legends of acting Leslie Phillips, Bernard Cribbins and Liz Fraser. A wonderful event. The ultimate treat for Robert was to meet original Please Sir! eye-candy, Penny Spencer.
Posted on Sunday 7th October, 2007
Robert joined fellow guests Liz Fraser, Rosalind Knight and Hattie Jacques biographer Andrew Merriman, at the Calthorpe Arms, Bloomsbury, where the Carry On-Line members were holding a mini-convention.
Posted on Friday 28th September, 2007
Robert let the train take the strain as he journeyed down to Swansea for the Dr Who gathering, ‘Regenerations’. A fabulous line-up of talent included sixth Doctor Colin Baker, 60s companion Anneke Wills and the legend that is Nicholas Courtney: the Brig! Robert was interviewed as part of the Big Finish panel and discussed his writing for the Dr Who audio plays. He also caught up with old friends in his favourite place in any hotel, the bar.
Posted on Wednesday 26th September, 2007
Having worked hard as part of the committee Robert is attending the Best of British Lunch at BAFTA in aid of the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund.
Posted on Sunday 23rd September, 2007
Robert attended a performance of ‘We the People’ at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre. The cast included ‘The Living Daylights’ actor Thomas Wheatley who brilliantly played the villain of the piece.
Posted on Friday 7th September, 2007
A fond farewell to Robert’s good friend, Steve Goss. Everyone who has attended a celebrity signing event should remember Steve with affection. R.I.P. you silly sausage.
Posted on Tuesday 21st August, 2007
Michael Quinlyn-Nixon has unveiled the designs for his up-coming 2008 calendar Carry On Bear. Utilising his imaginative and charming images of teddy bears, this year’s effort is devoted to the Carry On films.
Posted on Tuesday 21st August, 2007
The start of a fun weekend in Manchester at the Fantasy Film Festival with close friends Vera Day, Caroline Munro and Martine Beswick, and new friends Edward de Sousa and Mark Redfield.
Posted on Sunday 12th August, 2007
Robert attended the second unveiling of the statue to Max Miller on New Road, Brighton, just outside the Theatre Royal. The event, attended by such luminaries as Denis Norden, Micheal Aspel and Judy Cornwell, was sub-titled a ‘Re-Dodd-ication’ because the legend that is Ken Dodd was also in attendance to say a few words about his comic hero and pull the reluctant cord. Now moved to a more central position, Max is pointing his finger at the old music hall he played on many occasions. A wonderful, sunny day of laughter, was topped by several jars in the Collanade bar: Robert’s drinking hole of choice when in Brighton!
Posted on Tuesday 7th August, 2007
Sad to hear the news that film and television director Peter Graham Scott died on Sunday at the age of 83. He helmed such classics as Hammer’s Captain Clegg, the Charlie Drake comedy The Cracksman and episodes of The Avengers, Redcap, The Prisoner and Children of the Stones. His death was even more poignant owning to the fact that Robert had only been chatting with this affable elder statesman on Saturday afternoon at the Bray Studios day.
Posted on Monday 6th August, 2007
Happy 70th birthday to Barbara Windsor. Robert had recorded a brief tribute piece with regards Barbara’s unique contribution to the Carry On series which was syndicated throughout all of the regional BBC radio stations.
Posted on Saturday 4th August, 2007
A fun open day at the historical Bray Studios celebrating the 50th anniversary of Hammer Films’ first Gothic horror, The Curse of Frankenstein. The guest list included Vera Day, Paul Cole, Caroline Munro, John Cater, Douglas Wilmer, John Hough, Madeline Smith, Valerie Leon and Damian Thomas. The weather was glorious. And the laughs went on from 10 in the morning until well after the event ended…Robert joined a few friends at the near-by Oakley Court Hotel. Here’s to next year’s salute to 50 years of Dracula!
Posted on Thursday 26th July, 2007
The final committee meeting for the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund’s ‘Best of British Comedy’ lunch. It will be held at BAFTA on 26th September. The guest list is looking very good!
Posted on Friday 20th July, 2007
Robert faced the floods to tackle an epic journey to Birmingham to attend the Dr Who and Torchwood convention, ‘Bad Wolf’. He signed a few things and interviewed the stunning Yasmin Bannerman (Jabe in ‘The End of the World’), voice of the Daleks and Big Finish boss, Nick Briggs, and Liz Fost: an Auton of no fixed abode! Much fun was had at the bar with the delightful actor Owen Teale. And all in all it was a rather pleasant way to spend the weekend.
Posted on Tuesday 10th July, 2007
Robert is still hard at work on various exciting DVD releases for ITVDVD. Infact, a bumper crop of titles have been released just recently. The Huggetts Collection includes Holiday Camp and the three Huggett family spin-offs, with a booklet and stills gallery compiled by Robert. The special editions of Terry Jones’s Personal Services and Michael Winner’s The Big Sleep are also currently available. As is the Stewart Granger Collection, the first box set in a series of classic British cinema showcase collections. The BBC’s 2entertain have released series one of Sorry! which features all six episodes, three of which also includes audio commentaries with Ronnie Corbett and Robert.
Posted on Friday 6th July, 2007
Sad to hear of the death of legendary jazz singer and historian George Melly. A lifelong fan of the ‘cheeky chappie’, Max Miller, George happily gave his services free to the statue appeal variety concert held at Brighton’s Theatre Royal. A cause very dear to Robert’s heart. And talking of Max, the statue will be returned to Brighton with a new unveiling ceremony on Sunday 12th August. To reserve your place please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on Thursday 5th July, 2007
Robert has recently taken part in a couple of online interviews, embracing this new-fangled ‘interweb’ thing. The B.O.U.N.C.E. radio station interviewed him for their ‘Breakfast with Foxxy’ slot, while a gaggle of enthused Goodies fans, the Giddies, caught up with him for a chat for their Goodies site.
Posted on Thursday 28th June, 2007
Robert was delighted to be invited to a special Hammer Horror double bill at the Reel Cinema, Elstree. Marking the 50th anniversary of the company’s first Gothic horror film, Elstree Heritage are in their second year of celebrations for locally made films. Although he had to skip the screening of The Devil Rides Out, Robert couldn’t resist a bit of Scars of Dracula, especially as his good friend and Scars leading lady, Jenny Hanley, was in attendance.
Posted on Wednesday 13th June, 2007
Robert’s social diary is usually a closed book to these pages but he wants to thank the ever gorgeous Vera Day, Alan Coles and Henry Holland for a raucous lunch cum early-evening drink cum late-night laugh in Joe Allens and various pubs in the locale. Here’s to the next time!
Posted on Tuesday 12th June, 2007
After nearly two weeks of continual writing Robert took an enjoyable ‘day off’ to conduct four DVD audio commentaries for ‘Don’t Wait Up’ with the show’s creator, George Layton.
Posted on Thursday 31st May, 2007
Back in to Soho for another two Doctor audio commentaries. Leslie Phillips was on sparkling form for Doctor in Love and Doctor in Clover. Liz Fraser joined him on the former and the stunning Shirley Anne Field on the latter.
Posted on Wednesday 30th May, 2007
Fun and games in London for Robert, with a quick meet regarding a Carry On documentary for next year’s 50th anniversary, a quick pint with beloved friend Sally Geeson and a few more, later in the evening, with Terry Jones.
Posted on Friday 25th May, 2007
The first day of recording for another pet DVD project for Robert: the definitive special edition release of the classic Doctor comedy films. Audio commentaries for Doctor in the House and Doctor at Large were put in the can; featuring sterling contributions from stars Sir Donald Sinden and Muriel Pavlow.
Posted on Thursday 24th May, 2007
Robert’s birthday resulted in a whistle-stop dash down to Brighton and fish ‘n’ chips on the Palace Pier with his mum and sister, and then a dash back to Charing Cross and the cosy confines of Alan Coles, Henry Holland and the Sherlock Holmes pub.
Posted on Tuesday 22nd May, 2007
The first committe meeting for the British Film and Television Benvelent Fund’s ‘Best of British Comedy Lunch’. Robert, having been an inaugural member of the committee in 2005, was delighted to be back. Robert’s good friend, Alan Parker, launched his latest book, Sid Vicious: No One is Innocent. An essential purchase.
Posted on Saturday 5th May, 2007
A fun few days in Milton Keynes for Robert as he acted as agent to comedy legends Bernard Cribbins and Terry Jones at the Collectormania signing convention. Much signing of Dr Who film stills and coconuts resulted!
Posted on Tuesday 10th April, 2007
Robert interviewed director and scriptwriter Michael Winner at his lavish Kensington home for a new special edition DVD release of his 1978 film The Big Sleep. Enthused chat about Robert Mitchum, Oliver Reed, James Stewart, Lew Grade and London location filming.
Posted on Thursday 29th March, 2007
A very civilised 11am start for Robert who was thrilled, delighted, amazed and all-round excited about working with one of his comic heroes, Ronnie Corbett, on a new DVD release of Sorry! Three episodes from the first series got the audio commentary treatment, while a filmed interview, for the second series disc, looked at Ronnie’s long and varied television career from Sheep’s Clothing to Extras.
Posted on Sunday 25th March, 2007
Back in to London, for the Park Lane Grovesnor Hotel Heritage Foundation luncheon in honour of Liz Fraser. A marvellous afternoon of entertainment and in the great company of such celebrated pros as Roy Hudd, Brian Murphy, Burt Kwouk, Hayley Mills, Rolf Harris and Valerie Leon. Naturally, the fun spilled out in to the nearest pub and rounded off an exhausting but totally enjoyable weekend.
Posted on Saturday 24th March, 2007
The birthday bash of Robert’s great mate Henry Holland. A fantastic, theatrical-geared pub in Marylebone and an impressive guest list of famous friends: Sally Geeson, Caroline Munro, Julie Stevens, Martine Beswick, Tony Hoare, made for an unforgettable night.
Posted on Wednesday 21st March, 2007
Thanks to Alan Coles, Robert gets a comp ticket to see Robert Lindsay in The Entertainer at the Old Vic. Although he is being unfairly compared to the original Archie Rice, Laurence Oliver, Lindsay is, in actual fact, an actor more in tune with the seedy music hall tradition the play examines. A marvellous cast; although the stand-out is John Normington as Billy Rice, the only success story of the family.
Posted on Saturday 17th March, 2007
Missed my early morning interview panel at the Doctor Who convention, Invasion, in Barking, but enjoys the company of such high profile Time Lords as Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Paul McGann, before departing for a whim-trip to Brighton for fish ‘n’ chips on the Palace Pier!
Posted on Thursday 15th March, 2007
Giggles and real ale with the national treasure that is Terry Jones. Robert moderated the audio commentary for Terry’s 1986 film, Personal Services, which will be released by ITV DVD later in the year.
Posted on Wednesday 7th March, 2007
The death of John Inman, at the age of 71, is announced. Robert has many memories of this much-loved comic actor. He always seemed to be popping in and out of some charity function or recording studio but, along with that immortal cry of ‘I’m free!’, Robert remembers Elstree Studios: when John was desperate for the ‘little boy’s room’ but still gritted his teeth and signed autographs for waiting fans. The London Palladium: bumping in to him back stage after the final night of Jim Dale’s run in Oliver! Bournemouth Pier: when, despite being on stage with the most famous bum in British comedy Robin Askwith, John still happily mooned in an enjoyable farce. RIP John. A unique talent, greatly missed.
Posted on Friday 2nd March, 2007
The start of an enjoyable weekend at the Radisson Edwardian Hotel, Heathrow for the Autographica convention. Robert was joined by a trio of favourites from British film and television: Liz Fraser, Brian Murphy and Linda Regan.
Posted on Saturday 27th January, 2007
Robert was invited to Donald Fearney’s day of Hammer at the Cine Lumiere in South Kensington, London. The event, also attended by such Hammer luminaries as Jenny Hanley, Caroline Munro, Madeleine Smith, Ingrid Pitt, Dave Prowse, John Hough, John Cater and Edward de Sousa launched the documentary film Legend of Hammer Vampires and the book Hammer Films – the Elstree Studio Years. Here’s hoping for another bash at the inviting Bray Studios.
Posted on Tuesday 23rd January, 2007
Richard Briers, Penelope Wilton and Peter Egan were reunited by BBC DVD branch, 2entertain, for six audio commentaries on the classic 1980s situation comedy, Ever Decreasing Circles. Robert happily moderated this exhaustive recording session which will see every episode released as a box set later this year.
Posted on Friday 12th January, 2007
Congratulations to Leslie Phillips who was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor BAFTA for his role in Venus. Coincidentally Robert was filming with the great man for the BBC television series The Cinema Show. Interviewed at the imposing location of St. Pancras Hospital, Robert was placed on a hospital bed and chatted about the Doctor comedies, the medical Carry Ons, Britannia Hospital and other British film classics.
Posted on Monday 1st January, 2007
A Happy New Year. Robert was still recovering from fun and games in Liverpool, Christmas excess and a very busy 2006 when the New Year was rung in with his appearance in Channel 4’s documentary What the Pythons Did Next.
Posted on Friday 8th December, 2006
Sad to report the sudden death of Anthony Jackson, at the age of 62. Perhaps best-loved as Sid James’s neighbour, Trevor, in Bless this House, he was a hero for children of all ages as the recently departed Fred Mumford in Rent-a-Ghost. Robert remembers a lovely man and a telented actor who could regale friends and fans alike with joyful stories and tots of rum. Rest in Peace, Tony.
Posted on Wednesday 29th November, 2006
At the British Independent Film Awards, the legendary Leslie Phillips picked up a well-deserved Best Supporting Actor Award for his latest film, Venus. He was particularly pleased when Damian Lewis, annoucing the winner, opened the envelope and gave a note-perfect ‘Ding Dong’ before naming Leslie. Congratulations!!
Posted on Monday 20th November, 2006
Carry On: the Ultimate Collection is released by ITVDVD today. A bumper 30 disc set featuring every classic Carry On film from Carry On Sergeant (1958) to Carry On Emmannuelle (1978) this has been a labour of love for Robert. The definitive Special Edition presentation the set includes 30 feature-length audio commentaries. Moderated by Robert, these feature Amanda Barrie, Dora Bryan, Sandra Caron, John Clive, Paul Cole, Bernard Cribbins, Jim Dale, Larry Dann, Angela Douglas, Jack Douglas, Shirley Eaton, Fenella Fielding, Liz Fraser, Sally Geeson, Carol Hawkins, David Kernan, Dilys Laye, Valerie Leon, Terence Longdon, Patrick Mower, Richard O’Callaghan, Richard O’Sullivan, Lance Percival, Leslie Phillips, Jacki Piper, Patsy Rowlands, Julie Stevens, June Whitfield, scriptwriter Dave Freeman, director of photography Alan Hume and producer Peter Rogers. Also included are original theatrical trailers, lavish stills galleries, all 13 episodes of the 1975 ATV situation comedy series, Carry On Laughing, starring Sid James, Barbara Windsor, Kenneth Connor, Peter Butterworth, Joan Sims, Jack Douglas, Bernard Bresslaw, Hattie Jacques and David Lodge. Plus there are archive interviews with Sid James, Terry Scott, Kenneth Williams and Phil Silvers, an ‘On Location’ featurette hosted by June Whitfield, the official 40th anniversary documentary, What’s A Carry On?, featuring interviews with Joan Sims, Barbara Windsor, Anita Harris, Norman Rossington and writer Norman Hudis, textless footage from Carry On Jack and Carry On Spying, an alternative, ‘director’s cut’, presentation of Carry On England and Robert’s extensive production notes for all 30 films. Priced at £199.99 this is the last word on Carry On and finally does justice to one of British cinema’s most cherished success stories.
Posted on Friday 17th November, 2006
Robert will be hanging out, chilling and signing a few things with comedy heroes Leslie Phillips, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden at Collectormania 2, the GMex centre, Manchester. Come along and say ‘hello’ and don’t forget your copies of The Carry On Story and The Goodies Rule OK.
Posted on Tuesday 14th November, 2006
Another sad loss from the world of British comedy: Ronnie Stevens has died in the actors’ home, Denville Hall, at the age of 82. On stage from 1948 and a favourite of west end revue, Ronnie’s film legacy includes Bob Monkhouse’s side-kick in both Dentist in the Chair and Dentist on the Job, the Yum Yum sweet man in I’m All Right Jack and the drunken cove in Carry On Cruising.
Posted on Saturday 11th November, 2006
Robert danced the night away with Carry On, Hammer and Bond babe Valerie Leon at the Children with Leukemia charity event at the Grovesnor hotel. An amazing night for a very special cause, it attracted some high profile attendees and Robert enjoyed chatting with the likes of Billy Murray, Jess Conrad, Sandy Lyle, Chris Tarrant, Jeremy Beadle, Burt Kwouk, Anita Harris and the ‘living legend’, Pete Murray.
Posted on Friday 10th November, 2006
Another upsetting round-up of the recently departed. Distinguished actor William Franklyn who, for a generation, was the ‘voice’ of Schweppes, died at the age of 81. He memorably sparred with Morecambe and Wise in The Intelligence Men and was unforgettable as Dick Emery’s fellow con artiste in Ooh, You Are Awful. However, perhaps his finest moment was as the cynical and ill-fated detective in Hammer’s Satantic Rites of Dracula. Another Hammer staple, writer Nigel Kneale, died at the age of 84. Immortal as the creator of Professor Bernard Quatermass, his other work included The Abominable Snowman, Beasts, Kinvig and the film adaptation of John Osborne’s The Entertainer. Robert leaves it to his pals Marcus Hearn and Mark Gatiss to write the eulogizes but, suffice to say, any one who has attempted to write science-fiction owe him a debt of gratitude. And finally, it is with great sadness that Robert has been informed of the death of Diana Coupland. Best-loved as the caring wife of Sid James in the classic 1970s situation comedy Bless This House, Diana was a lovely lady. She was a delight at Robert’s Pinewood tribute to Sid James in 2001; sharing her fond memories of the show with co-star Anthony Jackson. Her many other credits included the Reg Varney film, The Best Pair of Legs in the Business, the vocals for Ursula Andress in the first James Bond film, Dr No, and such popular fare as EastEnders, Holby City and Triangle.
Posted on Friday 27th October, 2006
Robert is off to see Joe Brown at the Wycombe Swan this evening and, seeing as the rocker channels the spirit of Max Miller as well as the spirit of Eddie Cochran, and got down with Sid James in Three Hats for Lisa, the fact is fully justified a mention here!
Posted on Thursday 26th October, 2006
Sad to report a rather large swathe of British theatrical deaths in recent days. Derek Bond, one of the true gents of British cinema, and best remembered for playing Nicholas Nickleby (1947), Oates in Scott of the Antartic (1948) and Norman Wisdom’s nemesis in Trouble in Store (1953), was 85. The stunningly attractive Sally Gray will never be forgotten thanks to a trio of tight film noirs: A Window in London (1938) with Michael Redgrave, as Robert Newton’s callous wife in Obsession (1949) and, best of all, Green for Danger (1946). She was 90. Peter Barkworth’s film career included No Love For Johnnie (1960), No, My Darling Daughter (1961) and Where Eagles Dare (1968) although it is his classic television roles in The Power Game and Telford’s Change that made his name. He died at the age of 79. And finally, Ross Davidson, whose character, Andy O’Brien, was famously knocked down and killed by a car in Eastenders. Ross also featured in Terry Gilliam’s mini-masterpiece The Crimson Permanent Insurance and played Andy Morgan in Hollyoaks. He lost his brave battle aganst cancer at the age of 57. Robert remembers with pleasure a decidedly ‘jolly’ conversation with this charming and likeable man at Pinewood Studios in 2004.
Posted on Thursday 19th October, 2006
While the saga of Carry On London continues to carry on and on, another classic comedy series is set to be resurrected. The St. Trininan’s series started with 1954’s The Belles of St. Trininan’s and was last revived with the Wildcats of St. Trinian’s in 1980. Unlike the Carry Ons, and despite the superb Alastair Sim who appeared in the first two films, the series doesn’t have the hurdle of a largely-depleted, regular star cast to recreate. As usual, the girls will be the thing: and with Keira Knightley, Billie Piper and Rachel Stevens mooted to be donning the gym-slips, Robert awaits the results with huge interest! Oh and a George Cole cameo would be lovely, for old times sake. Filming is set to start at Ealing Studios…very soon!
Posted on Tuesday 17th October, 2006
Monty Python founders Terry Jones, Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam joined Spamalot driving force Eric Idle at the West End Gala performance. Alas John Cleese was filming down under, although he did appear by proxy as he plays the voice of God in the musical. The show looks set to run and run and only a very strong-willed Python fan will be able to resist those Killer Rabbit Slippers!!
Posted on Saturday 7th October, 2006
To mark the rather tenous 38th anniversary of the start of filming on Carry On Camping, Robert guested on BBC Gloucestershire with tales of Barbara Windsor’s flying bikini top and other happy tales of the classic film series. On Thursday Robert will be plugging his new book, The Goodies Rule OK, with favourite broadcasters Judi Spiers and Luke Deal. That’s BBC Devon from mid-day and BBC Suffolk from 12:30; if you are in those areas!
Posted on Monday 2nd October, 2006
The official publication day for Robert’s latest book, The Goodies Rule OK, was spent celebrating the comic genius of Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie for various regional radio stations across the country. The book, published by Carlton Books, is priced at the Goody Goody Yum Yum sum of £16.99 and is available at all good bookshops, bad bookshops and all on-line book retailers. Fans should nip out and get a copy. Particularly if you live in Brighton; for Tim and Graeme are performing their live stage show, The Goodies Still Rule OK, this coming Wednesday and Thursday, and will be back in the town for I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue recordings on the 18th.
Posted on Saturday 30th September, 2006
Robert nipped up to Milton Keynes for the annual bean-feast of Collectormania…bumped in to Amber Benson and almost bought a quad poster for What’s Up Nurse? Life in the fast lane for this boy!
Posted on Thursday 28th September, 2006
The launch of Linda Regan’s first murder mystery, Behind You, at Robert’s club, the CCA.
Posted on Wednesday 27th September, 2006
The second Best of British Comedy lunch for the CTBF held at BAFTA; hosted by the relentless Barry Cryer.
Posted on Friday 22nd September, 2006
The start of the very long weekend which is the Doctor Who convention in Swansea, Regenerations. Laughs aplenty as usual, with Gary Russell, Nick Courtney, Sylvester McCoy, Anneke Wills and all the gang. Here’s to the next Big Finish adventure!
Posted on Sunday 17th September, 2006
What a Carry On in Brighton; as Robert joined Carry On actors Sally Geeson, Patrick Durkin, John Clive and Dora Bryan for laughs, beers and fish ‘n’ chips. Many thanks to Brett, Ray and Dean for organising such an enjoyable day.
Posted on Friday 15th September, 2006
The final recording day for the Carry On audio commentaries: Lance Percival and Dilys Laye on Carry On Cruising and Dilys Laye and Bernard Cribbins for Carry On Spying. A superb day at the Picture Production Company studio. The Carry On DVD box set is still set for a 20th November release and also features commentary contributions from Dora Bryan, Shirley Eaton, Terence Longdon, Richard O’Sullivan, Larry Dann, Paul Cole, Leslie Phillips, Liz Fraser, Amanda Barrie, Julie Stevens, Angela Douglas and Fenella Fielding.
Posted on Thursday 14th September, 2006
Robert attended a performance of The Weir at the Basingstoke Haymarket theatre.
Posted on Wednesday 13th September, 2006
Robert attended a night of comedy at the Bath House in Soho. It was hosted by Andrew O’Neill.
Posted on Tuesday 12th September, 2006
Robert has been dragged further in to the 21st century and signed up to ‘myspace’. His page, featuring different photographs from this site and the music and movies that make him tick, can be accessed at: www.myspace.com/robrosscomedyguru
Posted on Monday 11th September, 2006
David Benson recorded Robert’s linking material for the new EMI Kenneth Williams CD collection at Redwood Studios. In the producer’s chair was the legendary Andre Jacquemin. The release, featuring material from Beyond Our Ken, Round the Horne and the Noel Coward songbook, will be released in November.
Posted on Sunday 10th September, 2006
Robert is due to appear at a gathering of Carry On fans in Brighton on Sunday 17th September. He’ll be joined by Carry On players Sally Geeson, John Clive, Hugh Futcher and Patrick Durkin. Tickets for the event are £25 and details can be found on carryonline; follow the link in the links section!
Posted on Wednesday 6th September, 2006
Robert took part in a second interview for the documentary, What the Pythons Did Next, due to be broadcast on Channel 4 in October. Other interviewees will include Steve Pemberton, Andrew Sachs and Neil Innes and the show will tell the story of the Life of Python between the Holy Grail and Life of Brian.
Posted on Tuesday 5th September, 2006
Robert remorselessly plugged four new DVD releases from Prime on various BBC regional radio stations: from Coventry to Cleveland! The films, available to buy now for the very reasonable price of £9.99 each, are Moonlight Sonata starring Ignace Paderewski and Eric Portman, The Importance of Being Earnest with Edith Evans, Michael Redgrave and Margaret Rutherford, Carrington V.C. starring David Niven and the 1974 remake of Brief Encounter with Richard Burton and Sophia Loren. The major by-product of Robert’s day in the studio was meeting composer John Barry and British rock ‘n’ roll legend Tommy Steele, promoting his autobiography, Bermondsey Boy.
Posted on Sunday 3rd September, 2006
Well, we’ve been here almost a year now and it don’t seem a day to long! Robert’s launch of the Goodies Rule OK book was hugely successful with Tim, Graeme and Robert signing for an enthused and eager crowd of people. From now until the end of the year the fruits of Robert’s labour will start to be released. The Goodies book is officially published in October, by Carlton Books. Meanwhile, in November, the Ultimate Carry On Interactive DVD will hit the shops. Robert has compiled questions and advised on this release, while that flamboyant national treasure Richard O’Brien is the game’s host. Also in November, the Complete Carry On DVD Collection will be available. Featuring all 30 films from the original 21 year run of the series, the previously available films from Carlton will be joined by newly produced Special Edition releases of the first twelve films: Carry On Sergeant to Carry On Screaming! Trailers, stills galleries, production notes and audio commentaries will be recorded; the last of which is scheduled to be recorded on Thursday. Check back here for indiscreet leaks about the Carry On favourites involved, a little later!
Posted on Thursday 31st August, 2006
Arsenic and Old Lace at the Basingstoke Haymarket theatre. A fantastic production starring Louise Jameson and Sherrie Hewson as the murderous old ladies and a surprisingly outstanding Wayne Sleep as the Peter Lorre-styled Doctor.
Posted on Tuesday 8th August, 2006
Sad to hear of the death of distinguished character actor and ‘King of the voice overs’, Patrick Allen. His long connection with the Carry Ons includes the narration for Don’t Lose Your Head, Carry On Doctor and Carry On…Up the Khyber, new linking material for the ‘Comedy Club’ audio tape releases in the mid-1990s and, most recently, the stirring introduction for Ken Burns’ Carryoons. Great to see Patrick working until the very end; adding style to the ‘music telly’ links for More4 earlier this year. Admirers of his work should invest in the Tigon DVD Collection from Anchor Bay. It features his mind-blowing lead performance in The Body Stealers, along with his entertaining audio commentary moderated by Robert’s good pal, John Hamilton.
Posted on Monday 7th August, 2006
Robert has been extremely busy with a couple of ‘classic’ Carry On projects over the last few weeks. All will be revealed a little later in the year! However, for those keen to get hold of his latest book, The Goodies Rule O.K, a few weeks before the official publication date, Robert will be signing copies in Edinburgh on Saturday 19th August. He will be joined by Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden, currently selling out concerts at the Fringe Festival, from 2pm at the city’s Waterstones.
Posted on Saturday 17th June, 2006
Robert attended the Brinsworth House concert to mark the Queen’s 80th birthday. A marvellous day. Great music from Joan Regan. Fantastic company. Excellent food. And an atmosphere of a good time had by all. Congratulations to the Matron and staff who work so hard and make it look so easy.
Posted on Thursday 15th June, 2006
A fond farewell to Alec Bregonzi at the Lambeth Crematorium. The service of memories, poetry and song perfectly summed up his lifelong passion for the theatre. And the overture from ‘Mack and Mabel’ brought a sense of joy and celebration from the outset. It was marvellous for Robert to bump in to so many people from the Tony Hancock Society and the afternoon wrapped up as only these things should. A few shared laughs and a few shared pints with Ray Galton!
Posted on Sunday 4th June, 2006
Sad to hear the news that character actor Alec Bregonzi has died at the age of 75. A regular of London’s film and theatre circles, Alec will be remembered for his sterling comedy work, notably opposite Tony Hancock, the Two Ronnies and Kenneth Williams in Carry On Sergeant. Charming! Robert has many fond memories of interviewing Alec, chatting over a coffee, bumping in to him at screenings or memorial services and of his charm and generosity at the launch of The Complete Sid James last year. One of the profession’s true gentleman Alec always had time for an anecdote-fuelled reminisce. R.I.P. dear boy.
Posted on Wednesday 31st May, 2006
Hanging out with Jim Dale and enjoying his performance as Mr Peachum in the Roundabout Theatre Company Broadway production of The Threepenny Opera at Studio 54. A weird and wonderful offering, despite the shocked expression back-stage Robert REALLY did enjoy the show Jim!
Posted on Thursday 25th May, 2006
Nursing a slight hang-over from his birthday drinks the night before, Robert attended the first committee meeting of the 2006 Best of British Comedy lunch on behalf of the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund. The event takes place at BAFTA on 27 September.
Posted on Wednesday 17th May, 2006
As the filming of Carry On London is officially announced from midnight, Robert found himself chatting about the classic cast and crew and the 21st century resurrection to Paul Williams on Radio Five Live. Here’s wishing director Peter Richardson, producer Chris Chrisafis and confirmed cast Shane Richie, Victoria Silvstedt, Vinnie Jones, Rik Mayall and Harry Enfield all the success in the world.
Posted on Sunday 14th May, 2006
Sad to report the death of Val Guest at the ripe old age of 94. Whether co-scripting Will Hay’s masterpiece, Oh Mr Porter, or directing Robin Askwith’s immortal rear-end in Confessions of a Window Cleaner, Val’s contribution to British cinema and television is immense. Having had the pleasure of interviewing him several times and receiving a foreword from Val, and his actress wife Yolande Donlan, for his book, The Complete Frankie Howerd, Robert salutes a true original.
Posted on Thursday 27th April, 2006
Congrats to Mike Kenwood for rounding up Robert and eight other pals to go and see the Comedy God that is Rik Mayall in The New Statesman play at Wimbledon. A must-see, instant classic! Rik Rocks!!
Posted on Wednesday 26th April, 2006
The day started with a full-volume blast of Sid James singing The Ooter Song, for it was thirty years ago today that Robert’s ultimate comic hero died. Please raise a glass or five to the main man of British comedy…Robert certainly will! And a few more will be raised to mark the 79th birthday of Jack Douglas.
Posted on Sunday 23rd April, 2006
A trip to West Ealing for a few drinks in the company of the CarryonLine gang following their location tour. Robert joined series favourites Valerie Leon, Larry Dann and Patrick Durkin in what was a wonderfully relaxed and friendly gathering. Congrats to Ray and Brett for doing a great job.
Posted on Thursday 20th April, 2006
A couple of days in Brighton organised to enjoy a meeting with Vic Chapman from the Max Miller Appreciation Society…but any excuse for Robert to get down there! He’ll see you in the bar again soon Vic!
Posted on Sunday 9th April, 2006
Robert journeyed to Denham to see Sir Cliff Richard, aided and abetted by Sylvia Syms, Nicholas Parsons and Jess Conrad, unveil a Heritage Foundation blue plaque on the former home of legendary actor, Sir John Mills. A star-studded lunch in the West End followed; such notables as Valerie Leon, Sue Upton, John Inman, Burt Kwouk, Jean Fergusson, Nicholas Courtney and Nicholas Ball were there.
Posted on Saturday 8th April, 2006
Another book launch, this time for Robert Fairclough’s second volume of Prisoner scripts, at the Bath House pub…are you detecting a theme here!
Posted on Tuesday 4th April, 2006
Robert attended the book launch for Alan Parker and Mick O’Shea’s Monty Python DVD and CD guide, And Now For Something Completely Digital, at the Spice of Life. Carol Cleveland and Neil Innes were also in attendance. Well done lads, it’s a great book…and thanks for the mention!
Posted on Monday 3rd April, 2006
Robert began recovering from the hectic charity weekend that was the Telly Nation event at the Swindon Hilton. He interviewed comic favourites Burt Kwouk, Brian Murphy and Linda Regan. The Sunday cabaret showcased Ian Watt’s superb one-man show, John Laurie: Fraser and I. Huge congratulations to H, Paul, Les, Anne-Marie and the rest of the gang for a great event. And hope to do it all again in 2008!
Posted on Tuesday 7th March, 2006
Sad to hear that John Junkin has died at the age of 75. Very much an unsung comic hero, he penned literally hundreds of comedy scripts for the best of post-war British comics. Often working with Tim Brooke-Taylor, notably in Hello, Cheeky and the Marty Feldman shows, John was one of those great British faces that assured a good time whether it be on stage, on radio, on television or in films. His movie career ranged from Norman Rossington’s side-kick in A Hard Day’s Night when he was memorably taught how to shave by George Harrison, to the glorious sexual excess of Confessions From a Holiday Camp, making life a bleeding misery for Robin Askwith and Anthony Booth. Rest in Peace John.
Posted on Sunday 5th March, 2006
Another year and another series of Last of the Summer Wine. The first series kicked off this evening with a rather jolly episode involving the ‘lads’ chasing a message in a bottle. Good to fully welcome June Whitfield to the squad and nice to see relative ‘new boys’ Brian Murphy and Burt Kwouk injecting some new blood in to the fun.
Posted on Saturday 4th March, 2006
It was a red letter day for classic comedy lovers today as, at 7:10pm on BBC2, a complete episode of The Goodies was repeated; the first time on the BBC for 20 years, since Kitten Kong was screened to mark 50 years of the corporation in 1986. On Saturday it was the Winter Olympics episode guest starring Peter Jones and, if the ratings dictate, this will be the first of many Goodies repeats picked to reflect a current news story or cultural trend. Can’t wait!
Posted on Friday 3rd March, 2006
In a week dominated by goodbyes to comic heroes, Robert attended the grand memorial service to Ronnie Barker at Westminister Abbey. A who’s who of light entertainment attended, including Ronnie’s chief cohorts Ronnie Corbett and David Jason, as well as Kathy Staff, Terry Wogen, Graeme Garden, Leslie Phillips, Richard Briers, Josephine Tewson, Michael Palin, Barry Cryer, Peter Kay and Porridge co-stars Sam Kelly, Christopher Biggins and ‘Orrible Ives himself, Ken Jones.
Posted on Wednesday 1st March, 2006
Robert attended the joyous funeral service of Dennis Kirkland at St. James’ Church, Hampton Hill. Den’s last performance was, suitably enough, to a packed audience. It was standing room only at the church and the friends and family that attended were all invited to wear something pink in Den’s memory. Jon Jon Keefe, one of Benny Hill’s beloved stooges, provided happy memories of the Thames years, while Chas ‘n’ Dave sang Den’s favourite song, Ain’t No Pleasing You. But, it was Den’s wife, Mary, and daughter, Jo, that gave the bravest tributes. A suitably upbeat, hilarious and moving farewell to a lovely chap.
Posted on Thursday 23rd February, 2006
It’s been a very sad year for fans of The Benny Hill Show. Just weeks after the death of Henry McGee, Robert was shocked to learn of the sad passing of Benny’s close friend and favourite director/producer Dennis Kirkland at the age of 63. Robert has fond memories of many pints over many hours chatting with Dennis about working with the greats of post-war light entertainment, from Tommy Cooper and Eric Sykes to Freddie Starr and Frankie Howerd. Deeply affectionate and proud of his long association with Benny Hill, Dennis produced the show from 1979 until the end in 1989 and would happily defend the show against the backlash of political correctness. His blunt attitude could be misunderstood. For Robert, Dennis was a thoroughly likeable, dedicated chap and one of the world’s most influential comedy directors. Robert joined forces with Dennis for the radio 2 tribute There’ll Never Be Another: Benny Hill and, once again, marked the occasion with several pints over several hours! Dennis was clear, stating that: “I’ll go to my grave knowing my shows will be screened all over again…when they’re all watching The Benny Hill Show on kid’s television in 2090.”
Posted on Thursday 23rd February, 2006
Robert can be heard celebrating the ‘Golden Age’ of British film-making on the Radio 1 documentary Carry On Filming which will be broadcast from 11:30pm on Monday 27th February. Robert’s good pal David Benson does a rather excellent job of linking the interviews, playing Kenneth Williams as the doctor and Frankie Howerd as the patient: the British film industry today! Fab stuff.
Posted on Wednesday 22nd February, 2006
Robert attended the West End press night for the new play Steptoe and Son in Murder at Oil Drum Lane. Series creators Ray Galton and Alan Simpson were again in attendance, along with a starry guest list including Barbara Windsor, Paul Merton, Dudley Sutton, June Whitfield and William Gaunt. The show is running for a limited season as the Comedy Theatre, Panton Street, and is HIGHLY recommended.
Posted on Thursday 16th February, 2006
Carry On Cowboy is today’s dvd give away in The Sun. Robert had a small hand in putting this six film collection together and in yesterday’s paper producer Peter Rogers was pictured clutching an original edition of The Carry On Companion.
Posted on Wednesday 15th February, 2006
Robert was interviewed for a new Radio 1 documentary, Carry On Filming. Talking about the ‘Golden Age’ of post-war British film, including Carry On, Hammer, the Doctor comedies, the Norman Widsom romps and the Confessions series, the documentary will compare the classic days with today’s British film industry.
Posted on Friday 3rd February, 2006
Robert will be doing several local radio interviews to promote the new BBC cd of Ray Galton and Alan Simpson’s Steptoe and Son: The Very Best Episodes volume 1. The cd, containing four original radio episodes of Robert’s favourite situation comedy, is released on Monday 6 February. Robert kicks off his plugging session with a live chat on Luke Deal’s afternoon BBC Suffolk show on that same day.
Posted on Thursday 2nd February, 2006
Robert has recently been signed up to write an affectionate tribute book to his ultimate comic heroes, The Goodies. Endorsed by Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie, the book is set to be a lavish history of the team from Cambridge University to the Christmas 2005 BBC2 ratings winner, The Return of the Goodies. It is due for publication in October.
Posted on Wednesday 1st February, 2006
Sad news to hear of the death of Henry McGee. Nick named ‘SS’ or ‘Super Stooge’ by Benny Hill, Henry’s impeccable straight man performances on The Benny Hill Show over twenty years made him an international comic hero. Closer to home he will always be beloved as the pedantic Mr Pugh in the Charlie Drake situation comedy The Worker and for his Sugar Puffs adverts with the Honey Monster. Film appearances ranged from The Italian Job to Carry On Emmannuelle and, having met him several times over the years, Robert remembers a charming, totally unassuming actor. Rest in Peace.
Posted on Sunday 29th January, 2006
Robert enjoyed his Dr Who signing session at Tenth Planet…even signing a vintage copy of The Carry On Companion! As usual when ever Robert and Doug Bradley get together the actual signing took second place to a heated discussion about 1930s horror films! Robert extends his grateful thanks to Derek Hambly and the gang for a fun afternoon. The play, Pier Pressure, received a double page spread in the February edition of Doctor Who Magazine which included an extenstive interview with Robert about the writing of the play and his passion for Brighton.
Posted on Tuesday 3rd January, 2006
A Happy New Year! Rick Blackman’s excellent preview of Robert’s Dr Who adventure, Pier Pressure, has been added to the Dr Who page. The double CD is released on 20 January and Robert will be joining guest baddie, Doug Bradley, at a signing session at Tenth Planet, Barking on Saturday 28 January. Further information and up-dates can be found at http://www.tenthplanet.co.uk/.
Posted on Friday 9th December, 2005
Robert enjoyed his BBC radio-athon as usual, happily chatting to stations across the country from the several self-contained studios within BBC Broadcasting House. Briefly chatting to fellow interviewee Lance Ellington, Robert had a chance to congratulate him on his brilliant performance as his father, Ray, in The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. Lance’s album of standards, Lessons in Love, is available now on the Vocalion label and is well worth checking out.
Posted on Wednesday 7th December, 2005
Well panto season is almost upon us and, as usual, Robert is planning a bit of a panto crawl this year. He won’t make all of these but the following are the pick of the local crop: Richard O’Brien in Snow White at Milton Keynes, Richard Wilson and John Barrowman in Cinderella at Wimbledon, Colin Baker (in a dress!) in Snow White at Truro, Sylvester McCoy in Dick Whittington at the London Zoo, Lynda Baron and Geoffrey Davies in Cinderella at Reading, the legend that is Keith Harris in Goldilocks at Fareham and Christopher Beeny in Beauty and the Beast at Windsor. The tickets are all ready booked for that last one!
Posted on Friday 2nd December, 2005
On Monday 5 and Tuesday 6 December Robert will be decamped deep in Broadcasting House recording interviews and broadcasting live. It’s part of his regular committment to advertise the latest comedy releases from the BBC. This time he’ll be chatting about such classics as Fawlty Towers, Monty Python, Blackadder, Little Britain and the legacy of Ronnie Barker. So tune in to your local BBC stations, Robert may be coming in yer eyes over the next week!
Posted on Tuesday 22nd November, 2005
Robert will be signing books and joining Carry On Abroad and Bless This House movie babes Sally Geeson and Carol Hawkins at the NEC in Birmingham for Memorabilia on 26 and 27 November. Other guests close to Robert’s heart include the delectable Jenny Hanley, Mr Cool Peter Wyngarde, Pier Pressure guest star Doug Bradley, the stunning Caroline Munro, the dream maker Ray Harryhausen, Huggy Bear himself Antonio Fargas, American Werewolf David Naughton and Sid Haig, Lon Chaney Jnr’s bizarre ward in Spider Baby. Further details at http://www.memorabilia.co.uk/.
Posted on Monday 21st November, 2005
Granada Ventures release The Greatest tv Trivia Quiz dvd. Robert worked on this release specially compiled to celebrate 50 years of ITV. Neil Fox hosts the fun and clips span the entire history of commercial television with such favourites as The Adventures of Robin Hood, Rising Damp, Inspector Morse, The Prisoner and The Darling Buds of May featured. It’s the perfect family game for Christmas!
Posted on Saturday 19th November, 2005
Like most eager Dr Who fans Robert relished the early part of BBC’s Children in Need appeal with a brilliant pre-Christmas teaser from David Tennant’s new Doctor. He’s nailed it! Still, the comedy highlight was Catherine Tate and Barbara Windsor staging a verbal battle in the Queen Vic. Bothered?
Posted on Wednesday 2nd November, 2005
The Big Finish website unveil the final design for Robert’s up-coming Dr Who adventure, Pier Pressure. A link to the page, complete with down-loadable trailer and an opportunity to pre-order the January release, has been added to the ‘Doctor Who’ page here.
Posted on Tuesday 1st November, 2005
An uncredited photograph of Robert, along with the cast of his Dr Who play Medicinal Purposes, appears in a feature on Big Finish in the December issue of Dreamwatch magazine. It focuses on the star names the company attracts including Colin Baker, David Tennant and “the venerable Leslie Phillips”.
Posted on Wednesday 26th October, 2005
A journey to York to watch the world premiere of Ray Galton and John Antrobus’s long-anticipated play, Steptoe and Son in Murder at Oil Drum Lane. Harry Dickman and Jake Nightingale brilliantly recapture the rag ‘n’ boning magic of the late Wilfrid Brambell and Harry H. Corbett. A completely original play, the show runs in York until 12 November.
Posted on Sunday 23rd October, 2005
A true television event as Robert is invited to the studio recording of The Return of the Goodies; a two-hour theme night of clips, celebrity fans and linking comments from Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie. Set for broadcast over the Christmas fortnight, this will be an exciting reunion for any admirers of the best in British comedy.
Posted on Saturday 8th October, 2005
Richmond-upon-Thames recording for several dvd featurettes for A+E’s on-going release of Benny Hill programmes saw Robert ‘chatting up’ Hill’s Angels Sue Upton, Joanna Thomas, Alison Thomas, Alison Bell and Carla de Wansey. The first of these featurettes will appear on Benny Hill Set 4, due for release in January 2006.
Posted on Monday 3rd October, 2005
Posted on Thursday 29th September, 2005
I attended the first Best of British Comedy Lunch at BAFTA in support of The Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund. A star-studded turn-out included Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, Paul Merton, Neil Innes, Andrew Sachs, Victor Spinetta, Burt Kwouk and Sanjeev Bhaskar, as well as sterling cabaret from Comedy Store favourites Stephen K Amos, Rhod Gilbert, Sarah Millican and Roger Monkhouse.
Posted on Thursday 22nd September, 2005
My latest Doctor Who play for Big Finish, ‘Pier Pressure’, completed its two day recording schedule today. Roy Hudd is the Pure Gold of Music Hall, Max Miller, while Doug Bradley plays the mysterious end of pier fortune teller, ‘Professor’ Talbot. There’s also a special guest appearance from someone very familiar to the world of Doctor Who. The play will be released on compact disc in January 2006.
Posted on Thursday 8th September, 2005
A few glasses are raised to Peter Sellers who would have celebrated his 80th birthday today.
Posted on Monday 14th September, 0212
Robert chats about his new book, ‘Forgotten Heroes of Comedy’, with The British Comedy Guide. The in-depth interview can be read here: http://www.comedy.co.uk/shop/robert_ross_forgotten_heroes_book_interview/