September 2006

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He's back! And it's about time!

September 2006

Where has that bloke who bangs on about old comedy and Doctor Who been for the last few months I hear you cry. No? Oh well, please yourselves. But, although it has been three months since I had the time/been bothered to (delete as you feel fit) put finger to keyboard for my Laughter Lines column, I feel myself easily slipping back in to it!

Frankly it has been a very busy, very rewarding, three months. Suffice to say the fruits of my labour will be popping out from about now until the end of the year and, in no particular order, they include:

A Carry On Interactive DVD Game. This is just the thing for your Carry On/comedy/film obsessed friend for Christmas. Iíve been hard at work trawling through hundreds of clips and photos, thinking up a host of (sometimes fiendishly difficult) questions and advising on the style and content of the game. For example, which film publicity session produced the most typical Charles Hawtrey pose for the Hall of Fame entrance hall? Actually what Iíve seen of the game so far looks great fun. And we were lucky enough to secure the tireless, outrageously engaging talents of Richard OíBrien as the gameís host. My favourite memory of that long, long day of filming links in July? The ever professional Richard keeping going despite the heat. Mopping his fevered brow during a brief break. Looking at me and shouting: “will you start the fans, please!” Classic.

The Ultimate Carry On DVD Collection. Now, this is scheduled to hit the shops on 20th November and, as the provisional title suggests, it is the ultimate collection of Carry On films on DVD. All of them, in fact, with the sad exception of Carry On Columbus. I say sad because, unlike many, I actually quite like a bit of Columbus. A rip-roaring Jim Dale. A mad as a brush Jon Pertwee. A laid back, economic turn from Keith Allen. Whatís not to like? Anyway, the DVD collection will gather together the 18 Special Edition Carry Ons (those Rank Organisation films from Donít Lose Your Head to Carry On Emmannuelle) along with newly produced Special Editions of the first 12 films (Carry On Sergeant through to the peerless Carry On Screaming!). So, you can look forward to exclusive audio commentaries, trailers, stills galleries, extensive production notes and all that sort of stuff. I am sworn to secrecy with regards who has taken part in the commentaries (apart from me of course) but I can say that, so far, my favourite ones have been Carry On Teacher, Carry On Regardless and Carry On Cleo. All will be revealed shortly.

The Goodies Rule OK. My latest book enjoyed a Ďpre-publicationí (what ever that is!) signing in Edinburgh on 19 August. It was to coincide with Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Gardenís outstanding Fringe production, The Goodies Still Rule OK, and I was delighted to be joined by that two-thirds of the wacky heroes for the signing session. The book is officially published in October by Carlton and is a colourful, fun and, hopefully, affectionate salute to one of the funniest programmes ever to hit our television screens. Please feel free to do, do, do the Funky Gibbon along to your local bookshop and buy one.

What the Pythons Did Next? This is an interesting looking documentary for Channel 4 which should be slotted in to the schedules to bask in the publicity surrounding the West End opening of Eric Idleís Spamalot at the end of the month. From Objective Productions (who put together the Return of the Goodies) this has some great interview footage (from the likes of Andrew Sachs, Neil Innes, Tim Brooke-Taylor) and fascinating insights in to the life of Python between Holy Grail and Brian. In other words, expect Fawlty Towers, the Rutles, Ripping Yarns, Jabberwocky and Out of the Trees. Oh yes! I was subjected to hours of interview so Iíll probably pop up for three seconds to say that The Odd Job is actually a rather good film!

In the interim, thereís been extreme fun at the Edinburgh Festival, hilarious committee meetings for the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fundís upcoming Comedy Lunch, firm plans for an 80th birthday CD celebration of Kenneth Williams, last minutes tweaks on my new Doctor Who adventure for Big Finish, Assassin in the Limelight, and much, much more.

Anyway, please look upon this as a very rambling excuse note for three months Ďradio silenceí and Iíll see you all in October.

“Of course, they do a tube with all black ones now, you know!”


Robert Ross


Page Last Updated Wednesday, November 01, 2006 at 17:41:38