January 2006

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Our resident comedy expert bids a merry welcome to the New Year!

January 2006

Happy New Year folks, and apologies for the tardiness of this Laughter Lines column. An ex-girlfriend once said I reminded her of Hugh Grant, which pleased me somewhat, until she said it was only because “there’s a greatness to your lateness!” Anyway, I have no excuses, simply Christmas and New Year is a very busy, social time and I’m just getting over it!

In fact, so much of a people person have I been that I only managed to see the two Christmas programmes I REALLY wanted to see go out ‘live’ as it were. There was something magical for me, sitting down at 7pm on Christmas Day night, at my sister’s place, log fire burning cheerily, a stomach full of turkey dinner, beer in hand, as the BBC continuity announcer announced “the Christmas present we’ve all been waiting for!”. Doctor Who The Christmas Invasion was all, and much more, than I hoped. Having experienced Patrick Troughton’s full debut, in The Power of the Daleks, via tele-snaps and audio recordings, one can assess David Tennant’s debut in the same way. Both hit the floor running and I feel sure that the new series in March will be a cracker. David COULD - and I don’t say this lightly - quite possibly end up the finest Doctor of them all!

The other hotly awaited show for me was The Return of the Goodies. A wonderful documentary cum reunion show cum clip fest cum rant about non-BBC repeats this was at turns a nostalgic wallow and a clear piece of evidence to up hold The Goodies’ claims that they produced some of the funniest television ever. More news on The Goodies as the year progresses!

Having planned a pantomime crawl I only ended up making it to two productions this year, Wayne Sleep, Sue Holderness and those delightful Uglies - Chris Beeny and Michael Shavell-Martin in Beauty and the Beast at Windsor; and Fairy Anna Karen and Richard Calkin hamming it up rather wonderfully as King Rat in Dick Whittington at the Basingstoke Anvil. A great time was had by all…oh no it wasn’t…oh yes it was!

January’s DVD crop is looking impressive. From the BBC’s 2entertain come series 5 of Dad’s Army and the Dr Who: the Beginning box set which presents the first three serials of William Hartnell’s TimeLord. Cinema Club offer Alexei Sayle’s Stuff series 2 and series 3 of both Chef and Are You Being Served?

Talking of DVDs. Play.com has a massive sale on at the moment. Notably, much of Network’s releases are up at crazy pieces; the complete Sweeney at just over sixty quid, the John Gregson crime show Gideon’s Way at £20, series 1 of Nearest and Dearest for £6 and loads of Gerry Anderson. The Playback BBC situation comedy range – including early Last of the Summer Wine, Solo, Sorry, Keeping Up Appearances, Citizen Smith and ‘Allo, ‘Allo – are all down from thirty pounds to seven. Bargains indeed!

It just remains for me to remind you nice chaps out there that my new Dr Who play for Big Finish, Pier Pressure, is released on 20 January. There’s a nice preview piece in the current issue of Doctor Who Magazine so I hope those of you who pick it up enjoy it.

Robert Ross

Page Last Updated Wednesday, November 01, 2006 at 17:39:27