May 2006

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Robert shares his April adventures with us all, and we celebrate a year with Robert as our guest columnist - Long may it continue!

May 2006

Well, here we are…another month over and another Laughter Lines.

And, yes, it’s late again. Sorry girls!

But after the energy-sapping ‘good times had by all’ fun that was the Tellynation event, I think I had a decent excuse. And besides the last few weeks have been crammed with some enormously happy times mainly spent paying up-beat tribute to some of my favourite actors.

There was the Heritage Foundation salute to Sir John Mills, with a lavish luncheon and star-studded unveiling of a blue plaque upon his stunning abode in Denham. The guest list boasted such luminaries as Sir Cliff Richard, John Inman, Nicholas Parsons, Robert Lindsay, Burt Kwouk, Rick Wakeman, Valerie Leon and Nicholas Ball. Still, the most touching tribute came from Sir John’s forthright Ice Cold in Alex co-star Sylvia Syms, who effortlessly summed up his place in the heart of the nation.

A much more personal tribute was paid to the one and only Sid James. As friends of mine will testify, Sid is my favourite actor of all time. And, it was therefore fitting, to be joined by ultra-buddies Alan Coles and Henry Holland, in a beer-fuelled salute to Sid through one of his old stomping grounds, Ealing. The Studio, the locations and, most importantly, the Red Lion pub, didn’t fail to add up to a perfect way to remember Sid thirty years to the day since his death in Sunderland. For me he is still the ultimate lad.

Even more pals were thrown into the mix when, like a very rowdy school party, we ‘invaded’ Wimbledon to sit and wonder at the absolute genius of Rik Mayall. For those of you who like their satire with real teeth, The New Statesman play is the one for you. On an extensive tour until July, if the show comes to your town, or indeed within a hundred miles of it, be sure you pin your colours to his flagpole and vote for B’Stard!

A rather more sedate theatrical experience was Agatha Christie’s The Hollow, at Woking. The first production from a specially created theatre company who aim to present all of Dame Agatha’s plays; the starry cast including Tony Britton, Kate O’Mara and Tracy Childs, gave the piece a real flair. And, although I admit to finding the new Marple tellys a very guilty pleasure (how can you go wrong with both Kelly Brook and Leslie Phillips as guest stars!); purists will be pleased to know that the company don’t plan on ‘mucking about’ with the written word.

And of course April wasn’t all about galloping around the country…the television set was a rather appealing attraction as well. The second series of Doctor Who…or season 28 if you like…is a total triumph. Frankly I pity David Tennant. Not in an ironic way you understand. After all, he’s already snogged Billie Piper and Sophie Myles. But in a real way. Internet forums are packed with upbeat and downbeat comments on his performances. It’s something the finest Doctors, like Hartnell and Pertwee, didn’t have to know. For me David is fast becoming the best Doctor of all time. He is witty, heroic, passionate, vulnerable, clownish, baffling in his inhuman humanity and a knowing power of good, in dramatic terms and in the bringing back of family entertainment and family values to Saturday nights…it is the only ‘appointment’ telly worth staying in for.

And come on, admit it, who cried like a newborn babe at the end of School Reunion? I’m happy to admit I was weeping the moment Lis Sladen appeared… Bless!

Anyway, that’s your lot for this month. Be good, be careful…and if you can’t be careful, plead insanity. That joke was given to me by John Sullivan…and, boy, was he glad to get rid of it!

Robert Ross

Page Last Updated Wednesday, November 01, 2006 at 17:40:48