Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Little Green Men ... And Other Alleged Threats To Health And Safety

Brian Cox has claimed that he and his Stargazing Live crew were banned from searching for life on a newly discovered planet because BBC bosses 'feared aliens may breach editorial guidelines.' Mind you, this is according to the Daily Torygraph so, frankly, I suspect a sense of humour bypass in the area. Foxy Coxy, the people's scientist, who hosts the show with Dara Ó Briain, said that he had hoped to point the Jodrell Bank telescope at the planet Threapleton Holmes B after it was discovered live-on-air last year and listen for any signs of life. But, he claimed he was prevented from doing so because the Corporation was concerned that a discovery of aliens could 'violate BBC regulations.' And upset the Daily Scum Mail, no doubt. They're no usually keen on illegal aliens. Speaking on the Radio 6Music breakfast show on Wednesday, Coxy said: 'The BBC actually said "You can't do that. We need to go through the regulations and health and safety and everything in case we discover a signal from an alien civilisation." [I said], you mean we would discover the first hint that there is other intelligent life in the universe beyond Earth, live-on-air, and you're worried about the health and safety of it? It was incredible. They did have guidelines. Compliance!' The incident was not the only time that producers have failed to appreciate the significance of a potential discovery of alien life, Cox added. The Stargazing Live team had considered filming a feature on Mars which would ask the audience to help search for signs of geological activity which could point to past or current life on the planet. 'Someone from the BBC said to me, "Would there have to be a prize if someone discovered it?"' he said. '[I said], what do you mean? You're going to say to someone: "You discovered the first evidence for alien life beyond Earth, and here's a book voucher as well? You think that's going to make it better? Nectar points?"' A - rather weary sounding - BBC spokesman said: '"In making the series there were many light-hearted conversations, one of which was about how different organisations might react to the discovery of alien life.'
Of course, as anybody reading this nasty little excuse for a story - full of positively sick agenda - knew, it was, in fact, a load of old crap. From the Torygraph? In relation to the BBC? Never! And, sure enough, before the day was out Coxy was denying that the BBC had put an abrupt end to the search for new life. Cox tweeted: 'As Dara Ó Briain pointed out, we did the "health and safety" aliens story live-on-air last year as a joke. Not really news!' Well, that sums up just about everything which appears in the Torygraph. Ó Briain also added on Twitter: 'Funny to watch story grow about how BBC "banned" us talking to aliens, when actually we did it live on-air during Stargazing last January.'

Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch and Gemma Arterton look set to join the cast of the Monty Python's Flying Circus team's long-awaited return to cinema, Absolutely Anything, reports The Wrap. Sherlock star Cumberbatch is said to be 'in talks' about the project, which will be directed by Terry Jones from a script he co-wrote with Gavin Scott. Arterton has already signed on, with filming set to begin in the first quarter of 2013. Previously described as 'a sci-fi farce,' Absolutely Anything will feature Jones, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin and John Cleese voicing aliens who are able to give humans the power to do 'absolutely anything.' It won't, however, feature Eric Idle who's far too busy hanging out with balding ex-rock stars in Los Angeles for any of that nonsense. According to The Wrap, the film centres on a teacher who benefits from the extra terrestrials' aid. He soon discovers that he has magical powers and can make things happen with the wave of his hand (such as wiping out classrooms of badly behaving students and bringing people back to life). Yet he experiences mishap after mishap as he battles to master his new skills. The film will be the first from Jones - director of Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life, as well as co-director (with Gilliam) of Monty Python and the Holy Grail - since 1996's The Wind in the Willows. Sporadic attempts at a Python film reunion – the long-gestating Absolutely Anything will be their first movie proper since 1983's The Meaning of Life – have been made since their cinema career as a group ended. All surviving Pythons, bar Idle, participated in the recent A Liar's Autobiography, a 3D animated adaptation of the book by Graham Chapman, who died in 1989, and his long-term partner, David Sherlock. Cumberbatch is best known for his work on TV's Sherlock but is forging a place for himself in Hollywood with upcoming roles in Peter Jackson's Hobbit movies and as the villain in the new Star Trek film. Arterton rose to fame as a Bond girl in 2008's Quantum of Solace, the St Trinians movies and Tamara Drewe and stars in the upcoming Neil Jordan vampire tale Byzantium, which premiered in September at the Toronto film festival.

The latest episode of MasterChef: The Professionals saw that disturbingly odd 'nice' Monica Galetti doppelganger mentioned in yesterday's blog back for the first half of the episode, almost seeming upset when she had to send a young chap called Rob home after he had a disaster in the skills test. In her place, dear old lovely Michel Roux who, in previous years has played 'nice cop' to Monica's 'extremely nasty cop' suddenly appears to have grown horns and a tail. The emerging star of the series seems to be Northumberland chef James - whose rabbit dish var nigh had Gregg Wallace going into orgasm - and Danish Scot Morten who struggled for a couple of rounds but came good late with a proper decent looking plate of liver and onions. They were joined in the next round by Steph whilst talented but clearly very nervous Matt (who appeared to be on the verge of bursting into tears half-a-dozen times during the episode) went home.

There's a very good piece by the Indepedant's Jack Hurley on the differences between the American and British TV coverage of the US elections here. This blogger particularly enjoyed: 'It was quite sweet watching Sky's Martin Standford last night. There he was, proudly jabbing away at his brand new tablet whilst a series of graphs sprang to life on the wall of plasma screens behind him. What he hadn't banked on was Emily Maitlis' jumbo tablet. It was so big, it needed its own dedicated pedestal. Suddenly, Standford started looking less like a thrusting young buck who just gained mastery over the Smartboard and more like a slightly behind-the-times chemistry teacher who had just figured out how to use the OHP. Speaking of which, why exactly did Sky choose to eschew the traditional red, white and blue, "I'd buy that for a dollar" theme and go all emo with a backdrop of rolling autumnal clouds and indecipherable very-dark-grey-on-black graphs? The mood even extended to Sky anchor, Jeremy Thompson, who looked so knackered, so early that I thought he was in danger of falling into the Chicago River. C'mon guys, this is an election, not The Killing. Cheer the hell up!' Personally, yer actual Keith Telly Topping thinks these guys had the right idea about elections.
According to the Newsround website (admittedly in a piece somewhat simplified for their mostly young viewership) the one main aspect which gave Obama the boost to victory was a surge in women voting for him. The economy aside, it seems the fairer sex took only one lesson from the endless stream of vocal hairdos and numskulls on the Republican side - and decided not to vote for guys who wanted, it appeared, to control their wombs and/or - in one case - thought that God wanted them to be raped. Which, regardless of how small a minority of Republicans actually voiced such repellent views, proves that perception is pretty much everything.

Meanwhile, over at the Gruniad, in a piece entitled Mitt Romney lost because hardline Republicans betrayed him, Simon Tisdall considers: 'The Tea Party zealots, homophobes and misogynists hijacked Romney's campaign – and threaten the Republican party's future. Democrats of all stripes and colours rallied behind Barack Obama. Hardline Republicans betrayed Mitt Romney. And so he lost.' Pretty much. Oh dear. How sad. Never mind. Let's have a few choruses of Beck's 'Loser' in commiseration. And, now we're done.
But, not before we have some sad faces from FOX News's election night coverage.
Better luck next time, eh.

And, speaking of dodgy right-wing scumbags, the Conservative Party says that it will ensure there is a full investigation into claims that one of Margaret Thatcher's aides was involved in child abuse. A former resident has alleged that Sir Peter Morrison, who died in 1995, 'visited' the Bryn Estyn children's home on several occasions. The home is at the centre of allegations of child abuse in North Wales during the 1970s and 1980s. The home secretary has launched a new police inquiry into the allegations. The crime agency head, Keith Bristow, will look at how the historic claims were handled and at fresh allegations. He will report by April 2013, Theresa May told MPs. The Serious and Organised Crime Agency and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre will also be involved. On Tuesday, Channel Four News broadcast an allegation from an unnamed former resident of Bryn Estyn that he had seen the late Morrison - a former close aide to Thatcher - visit the care home and drive away with one of the boys living there. A spokesman for Conservative Central Office later responded by saying: 'We will do everything in our power to ensure these serious allegations are investigated fully.' Morrison, who was MP for Chester from 1974 to 1992, died in 1995. He was in charge of Thatcher's disastrously unsuccessful 1990 leadership campaign which saw her ousted by MOs. Readers of The Alan Clark Diaries will recall the image painted of Morrison by Clark therein as an incompetent drunk, sleeping in his office whilst Tories were defecting to Michael Heseltine by the dozen. (''Peter is useless,' wrote Clark. 'Far worse than I thought. When he was a pairing whip he was unpopular, but at least he was crisp. Now he's sozzled.') Whether Morrison was, also, a dirty old rotten scallywag who enjoyed fiddling with kids, the late Clark didn't say. Perhaps he didn't know. Although, Edwina Currie seemingly did. And, so did Ron Richards. Meanwhile, the children's commissioner for Wales said his office had received thirty eight calls since a victim of the abuse, Steve Messham, spoke out last week. Keith Towler said some of the calls were from people who 'wanted to make fresh allegations' of abuse. 'We're taking calls from anywhere and everywhere,' said Towler. Some of the calls were directly related either to the Waterhouse inquiry or to abuse in children's homes dating back to the 1970s and 1980s, he said. 'Other people are raising other issues related to other matters - you will appreciate I cannot go into the detail of that,' he added. The alleged abuse centring on children's homes in North Wales - and specifically the Bryn Estyn home at Wrexham - began to emerge in the 1990s. North Wales Police investigated the claims in 1991 and of eight prosecutions, seven former care workers were convicted. But it was widely believed that the abuse was on a far greater scale, prompting the setting up of a public inquiry in 1996 which was headed by Sir Ronald Waterhouse and heard evidence from six hundred and fifty people. After the report was published in 2000, there were one hundred and forty compensation claims settled on behalf of the victims, and numerous recommendations about children in care homes. The allegations were highlighted again last week when Messham told BBC's Newsnight that the inquiry in 1996 had uncovered 'only a fraction' of the abuse. It has raised concerns that the remit of the inquiry was too narrow, and that it failed to consider allegations about children being taken out of the homes to be made available to abusers.

Just when you thought the Jimmy Savile saga couldn't possibly get any more bizarre comes the following absolute gem from the Gruinad Morning Star, which - among other newspapers - alleges that Savile was questioned by police investigating the Yorkshire Ripper murders. Former West Yorkshire police detective John Stainthorpe claimed that the presenter was 'a suspect' in the notorious case more than thirty years ago. Does anybody else feel like they've woken up in the middle of a performance of the play The Cruicble at the moment? 'I saw Jimmy Savile consortin' with THE DEVIL!' Savile, who died last year aged eighty four, has also been linked to allegations of abuse at a care home in North Wales (see above), according to reports. The Sun claimed that boys were molested for the former DJ's 'entertainment' at Bryn Estyn in the 1970s. The Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, has defended Savile, whom he claims is innocent and who he says befriended him during visits to Broadmoor high-security hospital. Mind you, it has to be said, it's come to a pretty sorry state of affairs when the only person prepared to defend you is The Yorkshire Ripper. Stainthorpe, who spent forty years in the force, told ITV: 'When the Ripper was really active, one of the suspects put forward by the public was, in fact, Jimmy Savile. Obviously, it was not he.' No shit? Cos, if it had been, I think one or two of the Ripper's surviving victims might, just, have remembered that, you know? 'He was this short, cigar smoking albino with lots of jewellery. No, I hadn't been drinking, officer. Honest.' Stainthorpe said the person who gave police the anonymous tip-off was 'aiming in the right direction. Child perverts soon become child killers,' he added. What, all of them? You've got figures to back that claim up, I take it? West Yorkshire police confirmed on Wednesday that Savile 'may' have been questioned by Ripper detectives. A force spokesman said: 'As with thousands of other men in Leeds at the time, he may at some time have been approached by detectives on the investigation. What is without doubt is that Savile was clearly not the Yorkshire Ripper.' Well, glad we got that sorted out, then, cos for a moment there I thought he might have been. Was he the Boston Strangler, by any chance? Sutcliffe was convicted in 1981 of murdering thirteen women and attempting to murder eight more and was sentenced to life imprisonment. He is being held at Broadmoor and has been told he will never be freed. Sutcliffe claimed on Tuesday that Savile had visited him regularly in custody and that the pair 'became friends.' Dismissing claims that Savile abused about three hundred victims over six decades, Sutcliffe said those making allegations were 'jumping on the bandwagon.' Sutcliffe told the Sun: 'It's a load of rubbish. People are just getting carried away. He visited a lot. He'd always come and chat with me on visits and I would introduce him to my visitors. Several times he left five hundred pounds for charities I was supporting.' I'm not sure what's the most disturbing aspect of this entire sick and sorry affair, frankly. The press's seemingly insatiable thrust for ever more ludicrous angles to cover Savile from or the disclosure that Peter Sutcliffe supports charities. Do these charities know about that? Are they happy about it? The public really need to be told.

Commons speaker John Bercow battled to keep MPs quiet as Nick Clegg stood in for David Cameron at a stormy Prime Minister's Questions and was heckled by both sides. Including his own. Bercow repeatedly stopped the session to tell MPs to calm down, noting that the Lib Dem leader was being 'heckled by both sides.' Clegg - who clashed with the Labour deputy leader on cuts to child tax credits and the coalition's economic record - said he was 'used to it.' Cameron is currently visiting the Middle East to sell them some arms. The PM was among the first world leaders to congratulate US President Barack Obama on his re-election - sentiments echoed by Clegg and Mad Hattie Harman. Clegg was cheered by MPs as he told the House of Commons: 'I'm sure the House will want to join me in congratulating President Obama on his election victory last night. We look forward to continuing the government's work with him in building a more prosperous, a more free and a more stable world.' Harman told the House: 'I join the Deputy Prime Minister in offering our warmest congratulations to the President of the United States, Barack Obama. This morning he spoke of his determination to create more jobs, healthcare for all and tackling the scourge of inequality. We wish him well.' But the Labour deputy leader wasted no time in attacking Clegg over cuts to tax credits for child care, saying parents will be forced to quit work and go on benefits as a result of them and accusing the deputy PM of being 'out of touch' with their concerns. Clegg said the coalition had helped low paid families by taking many of them out of income tax and increasing the number of pre-school children in free care.
Journalists at Mirra Group Newspapers are being 'formally interviewed' by company lawyers in response to legal action launched last month over alleged phone-hacking. Several journalists working on Trinity Mirra's national titles answered questions from company lawyers on Friday last week as part of the company's internal investigation into the phone-hacking claims. Simon Fox, the Trinity Mirra chief executive, initiated an internal review after the solicitor Mark Lewis lodged civil claims on behalf of ex-England manager Sven Göran-Eriksson and three other claimants. Company insiders indicated that the review was in its infancy and that the interviews were part of a fact-finding exercise. The lawyers will report to Trinity Mirra chairman David Grigson when it is complete. The internal review is being carried out by Trinity Mirra's internal legal department and relates directly to the four civil claims brought by Eriksson, the Coronation Street actress Shobna Gulati, former footballer Garry Flitcroft and Abbie Gibson, the ex-nanny to David and Victoria Beckham's children. It is understood that the four civil claims have been filed at the high court but not yet served on Trinity Mirra. The company's Mirra Group Newspapers division owns the Daily and Sunday Mirra as well as the People. Fox told staff in an e-mail on 24 October that it would be 'irresponsible' of him not to ask company lawyers to examine the claims relating to the three newspapers. He added: 'My clear observations over my first few weeks at Trinity Mirra are that the company operates to the appropriate ethical standards and our editorial procedures and processes are robust. As we have consistently said, all our journalists work within the criminal law and the Press Complaints Commission code of practice.' Last year Trinity Mirra obtained written guarantees from several serving editorial executives that they had not engaged in phone-hacking or other illegal newsgathering methods over the past eleven years.

The BBC has announced it will review the freelance contracts of more than eight hundred on-air staff being paid through their own companies. An estimated one hundred and thirty one freelancers could be offered staff contracts as a result, following a tax review by accountants Deloitte and BBC auditors. However the BBC said there is 'no evidence' it used personal service companies to help aid tax avoidance. It commissioned the report after a government review of tax paid by staff. The Public Accounts Committee report said too many staff, in the government and the BBC, made their own arrangements to pay tax and national insurance, which could allow them to contribute less. The report found that in total some two thousand four hundred civil servants were subject to such 'off-payroll' arrangements. The review of the BBC's freelance contracting arrangements, published on Wednesday, covered all staff contracted and paid in the financial year 2011-12. Deloitte and the internal auditors identified eight hundred and four freelance talent paid more than fifty grand that year which should be the subject of the BBC's new employment test as a matter of priority. It is estimated one hundred and thirty one of these could be offered staff contracts when their current contracts expire. The BBC said this new employment test will also now be carried out on any new staff, to help move away from the practice of engaging on-air talent on long term contracts as personal service companies, when a staff contract would be appropriate. It is hoped the changes will be in place by the start of the new tax year in April 2013. The BBC admitted in the report that its current policy for contracting staff was 'inconsistent.' The corporation added that this had resulted in on-air talent doing very similar work while being classified in a variety of ways; either as staff, self-employed or contracted through a personal service company. 'Our review shows the BBC is not using personal service companies to avoid tax or help others avoid tax,' said Zarin Patel, the BBC's chief financial officer. 'Nevertheless, it shows inconsistencies in the way our policy has been applied. We are addressing this with a more objective employment test for all new contracts and by developing a new framework with HMRC for self-employed on-air presenters.' The BBC said it was making the changes to help address 'the public perception that off-payroll contracts and in particular personal service companies are used to avoid tax.' It said retaining a freelance model was 'critical' for the success of the BBC - and that staff would only be contracted via a personal service company when it was 'absolutely satisfied' that was the most suitable method of employment.

Disgusting risible greed bucket, breakfast TV flop (and drag) Adrian Chiles's finances have flourished despite being ditched in near pantomime circumstances from ITV's Daybreak, with the presenter netting more than two and a half million quid from his private company last year. The world is, simply, sick and wrong, dear blog reader, no doubt about it. Chiles, who along with the curiously orange Christine Bleakley was ousted from the ITV breakfast TV fiasco late last year, reported profits at his company Basic Broadcasting of £2.58m for the year to the end of January 2012. Basic Broadcasting, which is used to channel Chiles's earnings, had a bumper year despite the loss of his reported six million smacker deal to front Daybreak. Profits climbed more than eighty per cent year on year from the £1.4m reported in 2011, according to documents filed at Companies House and made publicly available on Wednesday. Chiles, who bought out his ex-wife Jane Garvey's share in the company for three hundred and thirty five thousand quid in 2009, is listed as the only director of Basic Broadcasting. The filing shows that Chiles took a loan of five hundred and forty two thousand two hundred and forty six knicker from the company last year, repaying just under four hundred thousand by the end of Basic Broadcasting's filing period of 31 January. Since getting the tin-tack from Daybreak Chiles's main work for ITV has been anchoring the broadcaster's thoroughly rotten football coverage including Euro 2012, the FA Cup and Champions League, and his satirical - and really not very good - programme That Sunday Night Show.

Some sage words have been provided by odious horrorshow (and drag) Ann Widdecombe to the soon to be former Conservative MP Nadine Dorries who has just accepted ITV's invitation to be the first sitting MP to take part in I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want). According to the Daily Scum Express, yer actual Doris Karloff her very self cites several reasons why Dorries should not to do it, including time away from her constituency and the possibility that her dignity 'will not survive intact' and she will be a figure of fun next time she has to deal with chief constables, ministers and media who will have a field day. Widdecombe, of course, has some experience after letting Louis Theroux into her home, and then swanning around on Strictly for several weeks making an embarrassment of herself but she does speak with some degree of authority. She reveals she has turned down all requests to appear in both I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) and Celebrity Big Brother.

Some sad news now, the former Wings guitarist Henry McCullough is reported to be critically ill following a heart attack. McCullough, from Portstewart in County Londonderry, was invited by Paul McCartney to join Wings in 1972 and spent eighteen months touring and recording with them. Despite early reports that he had died, his sister Rae Morrison said he was still battling. She said he had suffered a heart attack on Monday and the family are worried and distressed but that they had been inundated with messages of support. 'He is a very special person,' she said. 'We really are very worried for him, his sister is on her way home from Florida and his brother is coming home from Glasgow.' McCullough first came to prominence in the early 1960s as the teenage lead guitarist with The Skyrockets from Enniskillen. In 1967 Henry moved to Belfast where he joined the psychedelic band The People. Later that year the band moved to London and were signed by Chas Chandler's management team, who changed the group's name to Éire Apparent. Despite only releasing one - astonishing LP - they toured with groups such as The Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, The Move, The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Eric Burdon & The Animals. Back in Ireland Henry joined what was primarily a folk group called Sweeney's Men, in 1968. He then returned to London to work with Joe Cocker as a member of his backing group, The Grease Band. With Cocker he toured the US and performed at the Woodstock Festival. McCullough played on The Grease Band's eponymous LP after splitting with Cocker, and during his time with the band he also appeared as lead guitarist on the original 1970 recording of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar and on the progressive Spooky Tooth LP The Last Puff. Henry spent eighteen months touring and recording with Wings in the 1970s, playing on the LP Red Rose Speedway. His glorious solo makes the US number one hit 'My Love'. It was, according to McCartney, created on the stop by the guitarist. Henry later signed to the Dark Horse record label of another Beatle, George Harrison, for his solo LP Mind Your Own Business.

The actor Clive Dunn, best known for his role as Lance-Corporal Jack Jones in Dad's Army, has died aged ninety two. He had lived for most of the last thirty years in Portugal and died from complications following an operation earlier this week. Clive also became a recording star in 1971 when his single, 'Grandad', reached number one in the UK charts. Clive was born in Covent Garden in 1920 into a family of performers; his grandfather, father and mother all trod the boards and he was the cousin of the actress Gretchen Franklin. As a child, he almost died while having a supernumerary nipple removed. He was educated at Sevenoaks School in Kent. After leaving school, Clive studied at the independent Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts and had small film roles from the 1930s onwards, appearing alongside Will Hay in Boys Will Be Boys (1935) and Good Morning, Boys (1937). At the age of twenty, he was captured by the Germans while serving with the Fourth Queen's Own Hussars in Greece and spent four years in prisoner-of-war and labour camps in Austria. He ended up as a medical orderly and, with a modicum of German, became the prisoners' representative. In his autobiography, he recalls feeling that both his fellow prisoners and his German guards were victims. 'I felt sorry for them,' he said. 'They didn't really have much more than we had ourselves. Some of the nicest chaps I met were German guards.' After the war he worked for many years in music hall and theatres. In 1956 and 1957, Clive appeared in The Tony Hancock Show and the army reunion party episode of Hancock's Half Hour in 1960. In the 1960s he made many appearances with Hancock, Michael Bentine, Dora Bryan and Dick Emery, among others, before winning the role of Jones in Dad's Army in 1968. For the majority of his career his trademark was playing doddering old man. He once, for instance, played the father of Thora Hird who, in real life, was ten years older than himself. He first made an impression on TV in the sitcom Bootsie and Snudge, a spin-off from The Army Game. Clive played the old dogsbody, Johnson at a seedy gentlemen's club where the characters Bootie (Alfie Bass) and Snudge (Bill Fraser) found work after leaving the Army. In 1967 he made a guest appearance in an episode of The Avengers, playing the proprietor of a toy shop in Something Nasty in the Nursery. He was also a regular on Michael Bentine's It's a Square World and provided one of the alien voices for Cadbury's legendary 'For Mash Get S.M.A.S.H' advertisements in the 1970s, alongside his friend and Dad's Army co-star Bill Pertwee. Clive was actually one of the younger members of the Dad's Army cast when, at forty eight, he took on the role of the Octogenarian butcher Jack Jones whose military service in earlier wars made him the most experienced member of the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard, as well as one of the most decrepit. With his catchphrases of 'Don't panic!', 'They don't like it up 'em' and 'Permission to speak, sir', he became one of the series' best-loved characters. Jack Haig and David Jason - another young actor who made something of a career playing old men - had reportedly previously been considered for the role. In his memoirs, Permission to Speak, Clive described how he had briefly embraced fascism while at public school in the 1930s. Like many of his schoolmates, he joined Sir Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists because 'it seemed patriotic.' He soon rejected them once he detected their anti-Semitism. War taught him to distrust authority and to rail at injustice. He became a lifelong socialist, a political stance which, reportedly, brought him into conflict with his Dad's Army co-star Arthur Lowe one more than one occasion. After Dad's Army ended, Clive capitalised on his skill in playing elderly character roles firstly in My Old Man in which he played a pensioner uprooted from his home and moved to a council estate and then, more famously, as Charlie Quick in the slapstick children's TV series Grandad, from 1979 to 1984. He had previously had a number one hit single with the song 'Grandad' in January 1971, accompanied by a children's choir. The song was written and produced by session bassist Herbie Flowers. Following the success of the 'Grandad' record, Clive released several other singles. In 1978 Dunn made his opera début in an English National Opera production of Die Fledermaus. He also appeared in the West End, in An Italian Straw Hat. Clive was also a talented artist and several portraits of his fellow actors appeared in his autobiography. After the cancellation of the Grandad TV series in 1984, Clive effectively disappeared from the screen, retiring to the Algarve. He is survived by his wife Priscilla Pughe-Morgan (to whom he had been married for fifty three years) and their two daughters, Jessica and Polly.

I suppose, if yer actual Keith Telly Topping thought through these blogs as much as he sometimes pretends to, he'd now present Clive Dunn's 'Grandad' as today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. But, he's not going to. Because it's crap, dear blog reader. And, because he rather prefers to remember the great Clive Dunn for his brilliant acting in Dad's Army and not for a risibly sentimental novelty hit with a surprisingly decent bassline from forty years ago. So, instead, here's a bit of Henry.

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