Lindsey Davies Comedian Profile

Time now to profile a comedian who is based not far away from where I grew up – I saw an article or two about Lindsey Davies in my Mum and Dad’s local papers (incidentally I did school work experience at the Leigh Reporter back in 1997, happy days!).  One such article is here, from the Manchester Evening News of all places.  Read it here – http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/business/business-news/having-laugh-mum-who-sells-12262286

So, I thought it would be nice to interview Lindsey for the blog here…  we start by asking Lindsey more information about ‘Mr Wrong’, her first novel which was published a couple of years ago.

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Picture Courtesy of Lindsey Davies

 

Chris:

So Lindsey, how long did it take you to write your first book?

 

Lindsey:

The first book was intermittent. Started it after a break-up in 2007 and left it for five years. When I picked it up again it was written in three months.

 

Chris:

Ok… do you have any tips for budding authors?

 

Lindsey:

Tips for budding authors? Well, I’d say put it on paper and see where it takes you. All you need is an idea, characters, beginning middle and end. Of course, spell-check is essential. Oh, and patience. Definitely patience. I find a glass of wine/gin helps deal with the stress of writer’s block.

 

Chris:

Like the sound of wine to go with writing – must try that!  Next… what can readers expect to see when they are you at a stand up gig?

 

Lindsey:

My stand up gigs are definitely adult only and my set is generally based around where I live, my mother, children and my terrible dating record. It’s a mixture of gags, crass comments and observational, sometimes alternative humour.

 

Chris:

Sounds good.  Who makes you laugh?

 

Lindsey:

Ok, growing up I was heavily influenced by Rik Mayall and my favourite comedians today are Ricky Gervais and Stewart Lee. There are also acts on the circuit who make me cry with laughter, such as Steve Harris and Sam Harland. Also too many to mention.

 

Chris:

Rik Mayall was a legend – sorely missed.  Me and my family would laugh our heads off hysterically at ‘Bottom’ every single week, over and over again.  So where can people are you perform stand up over the coming weeks and months?

 

Lindsey:

I’ve got a big gig coming up at the Laurel and Hardy museum in Ulverston and hosted a comedy night in Dec at The Albion in Warrington. Just finished an amazing gig on the P&O Ferry to Amsterdam – my favourite weekend thus far.
You can see Lindsey perform live at the Hot Water Comedy Club in Liverpool on February 27th – check out here for more information, well worth a look https://www.hotwatercomedy.co.uk/event/314/#event

And, you can purchase Lindsey’s first book, ‘Mr Wrong’ right here from Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mr-Wrong-Lindsey-Davies/dp/1908586516/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1486390878&sr=8-1&keywords=lindsey+davies+mr+wrong

Chris

 

 

Morecambe and Wise – Back for Christmas!

Bringing us sunshine once again, there’s a brilliant CD to add to your list for Father Christmas this year.

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Eric and Ernie’s first Christmas Special on the BBC was in 1969 – and they continued to be a massive Christmas ratings hit on the BBC up to and including 1977 – when, they took everyone by surprise and joined Thames Television, and unfortunately their success was not quite replicated.  I’ve always been a big fan – so much that my eldest son is named after Mr Morecambe!

This new BBC Audio complation features 2 CD’s worth of some of their finest Christmas moments on the BBC between 1969 and 1975 – (over 90 minutes of entertanment), great for those journeys traveling to friends and family over the festive season.  I listened to this at the weekend, and I could easily listen to it again – one of those CD’s that you’d hear different things to amuse you each time.

Released on November 10th – guests included in this compilation are Eric Porter, Fenella Fielding, Peter Cushing and Des O’Connor.

There’s some great sketches.  There’s Ernie’s play Victoria and Albert, with guest Glenda Jackson – the chemistry between the three is just brilliant.

My favourite on the CD has to be the classic Grieg’s Piano Concerto with Eric as soloist, conducted by Mr André Previn/Preview (which is just as funny despite not having the visuals to look at from the Christmas special).  The sketch is timeless – they’ll still be laughing at it when I’m long gone!  Theres also Eric’s appearance at the flat with a giant Christmas tree taken from Trafalgar Square (‘we were very lucky, there was only one left’).

The CD also has one of my favourite Morecambe and Wise which is quite often forgotten about – ‘Following You Around’.  Everyone remembers them for singing ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ at the end of their episodes throughout their BBC run, but on the odd occasion, they sang ‘Following You Around’ – it’s a great number.

Looks like this was originally released by the BBC back in 2003 and has been repackaged – still great fun.  If you’re new to Eric and Ernie, then this is a good place to start.  Sadly you don’t see any repeats of their TV shows nowadays – DVD’s are available, but digital channels have sadly neglected them.

Discovering Tony Hancock

Last month, I started listening to BBC Radio 4 Extra’s repeats of ‘Hancock’s Half Hour’ – with episodes dating back to 1954. 102 episodes were made – and BBC Radio 4 Extra repeat these chronologically, and when they’ve finished the run of repeats – they start all over again… this is how popular the episodes still are.

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When you see the monochrome pictures of Hancock posing on set for Hancock’s Half Hour, you forget he was just 30 years of age when the show started. Ray Galton and Alan Simpson were both young writers too – make no mistake, this was groundbreaking comedy.  And Hancock had a great cast working with him on his series – Sidney James, Kenneth Williams, and later in the series Hattie Jacques joined too.

I’m really enjoying the episodes I’ve heard so far – but out of the 102 episodes, 20 no longer exist in the BBC archives. Thankfully, there’s a recent BBC Radio 4 series which may just solve that problem.  ‘The Missing Hancocks’ started in 2014, and in its first run, five episodes were re-created, using the original Galton and Simpson scripts.  For this blog review, I’ve been kindly sent over The Missing Hancocks – Series 2, which is available right here to buy – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Missing-Hancocks-recordings-classic-scripts/dp/178529251X

There are five episodes on ‘The Missing Hancocks – Series 2’ – How Hancock Won the War, The Red Planet, The Marriage Bureau, A Visit to Russia and The Trial of Father Christmas. Also included is a bonus Director’s Commentary for the Series 1 episode The Matador, in which Andy Hamilton talks to Kevin McNally and co-producer Neil Pearson about the challenges, and joys, of recreating a 1950s sitcom. All in all, just under three hours of entertainment on 3 CD’s – perfect for keeping in the car.  ‘The Marriage Bureau’ is perhaps my favourite episode off the release, but ‘How Hancock Won The War’ is also good – even if the storyline is perhaps predictable, you still enjoy it.  For me, the weakest was ‘The Trial of Father Christmas’ – but the series did try different things during the festival period throughout its run – and this was just one of them.

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Kevin McNally steps into the role made famous by Tony Hancock and does a brilliant job – you can genuinely close your eyes and picture Hancock in the scenes; McNally has taken his performance of Hancock to the Edinburgh Festival and also appeared in a televised ‘lost’ episode for BBC4 recently which was also very well made. Among the supporting cast are Simon Greenall, Kevin Eldon and Robin Sebastian.  So, 10 ‘lost’ episodes have now been made in ‘The Missing Hancocks’, and the BBC have said a third series will be made during late 2017/early 2018 which is superb news, I will have to keep an eye out for tickets to see if I can attend a recording of one of the shows!

Whilst typing up this blog – I found bits of old Hancock scripts online and filmed me and my son Eric trying to re-enact them, me and Hancock and Eric as Sid James! I’m no Olivier, my son clearly stole the show – but all good fun!  Despite being just 4, Eric was pretty good at remembering lines!

As well as the radio series, there are 37 surviving episodes of Hancock’s BBC Television series, these are available to buy on DVD… but none of Hancock’s following ITV work has been commercially released. Hancock’s final BBC series was simply titled ‘Hancock’ (Tony no longer wanted to work with Sid James and their collboration ended).

BBC4 screened three episodes of ‘Hancock’s Half Hour’ as part of Keith Richards’s Lost Weekend during September…  ‘Twelve Angry Men’, ‘The Knighthood’ and ‘Big Night Out’ – the last repeat on TV before that was in 2012, with ‘The Lift’ repeated.  I’ve never understood why channels such as GOLD won’t repeat the series – it seems monochrome series are neglected these days, instead they will repeat ‘Only Fools and Horses’ and ‘The Royle Family’ endlessly.  ‘Talking Pictures TV’ would be a great channel for Hancock – it’s a brilliant channel already, and the Lad himself would fit in perfectly to their line up.

Catch the repeats of Hancock every Thursday on BBC Radio 4 Extra – they’re up to Series 3 at the moment.

You can also become a member of the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society – to find out more visit http://www.tonyhancock.org.uk/ which has extensive information on episodes, news updates and much more.

And if you fancy a night out, James Hurn has recreated Hancock on the road, with his one-man tour.  James’s tour dates are here – http://www.tonyhancock.org.uk/news/127/74/New-James-Hurn-Shows