Friday, March 01, 2013

You Wandered Into My Dreams Last Night

The BBC have confirmed that the second half of series seven of Doctor Who will premiere on 30 March with an episode entitled The Bells of St John, written by The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) and directed by Colm McCarthy. Yer actual Moffat his very self said: 'It's the fiftieth year of Doctor Who and look what's going on. We're up in the sky and under the sea. We're running round the rings of an alien world and then a haunted house. There's new Cybermen, new Ice Warriors and a never-before-attempted journey to the centre of the TARDIS. And in the finale, the Doctor's greatest secret will at last be revealed. If this wasn't already our most exciting year it would be anyway.' Sounds intriguing. Not that this will stop The Special People from whinging, of course. They're The Special People, it's what they do. The opening episode itself is described thus: 'Set in London against the backdrop of new and old iconic landmarks, The Shard and Westminster Bridge, The Bells of St John will also establish a new nemesis, The Spoonheads, who will battle The Doctor as he discovers something sinister is lurking in the Wi-Fi.' To tie in with the series return, the BBC have also released a promotional image featuring The Doctor and Clara 'crashing' through The Shard: Both the portrait and landscape versions offer tantalising glimpses of some of the enemies the couple will face in the coming eight weeks including the new-look Ice Warriors which have been confirmed as appearing in the third episode of the latest batch. Writer Mark Gatiss said: 'I've always loved the iconic Ice Warriors and have been badgering to bring them back for ages. And now they're on a ssssssubmarine! With Russians! I'm a very happy anorak right now.' The episode features the great David Warner as guest star and resident voice actor Nicholas Briggs has confirmed that he will be bringing The Doctor's old adversary to life. Ssssexy.

For years, Doctor Who fans have believed that the design of The Daleks was inspired by the shape of an old-style pepper pot. But now it has been claimed - with very little supporting evidence - that the idea for The Doctor's nemesis came from another kind of pot – a chimney pot. The Sun alleges that the Daleks' designer Raymond Cusick, who died last week, got the idea from the hexagonal chimney on top of the High School for Girls in Gloucester. A school spokeswoman said: 'Whoever was working on Doctor Who saw it on top of the school.' And the evidence that Ray was ever within fifty miles of Gloucester High School For Girls ...? Not so much chimney pot as piss-pot, one could argue.
As filming is ready to conclude on An Adventure In Space And Time, the producer Matt Strevens has commented: 'The penultimate day and a very busy one. Lots of very exciting stuff to shoot. Been saying goodbye to our lovely cast as we wrap them out.' Strevens reported earlier in the week about new creatures, and at least one day of filming appears to centre around events during the legendary 1964 story The Web Planet, with Thom Hutchingson tweeting: 'Today I've mostly been menacing Wimbledon Studios dressed as a winged insectoid alien. My TV debut!' As a follow-up to this, Mammoth Screen apologised to actor Sam Hoare: 'So sorry if you were stalked by a giant bee creature today.' Hoare, who co-starred opposite yer actual Matt Smith in the excellent Bert and Dickie last year, has been confirmed by his agent as playing a character called Douglas. Other cast members involved this week include David William Bryan, who said: 'Ready for a long Doctor Who day!' and, afterwards, commented on his experience meeting another creature seen previously: 'Just had a fight with this little fellah. And lost' Doctor Who Monthly were also present at some of the week's filming, with editor Tom Spilsbury noting: 'Today, I had an amazing and unforgettable adventure in space and time. Thank you, Mark Gariss!' As usual, activities at the set drew attention from other parts of the studios, with Chris Presswell commenting: 'Have just had a meeting in the same studio complex as where An Adventure In Space And Time is being filmed. 1960s costumes galore. Awesome.'

Arthur Darvill has claimed that he would 'never say never' to a Doctor Who return. The actor departed the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama last year, but told the Digital Spy website that he would be open to making a cameo in a special fiftieth anniversary episode. 'I'm so busy at the moment that I don't know if I'd be able to,' said Darvill, who will appear opposite fellow Doctor Who veteran David Tennant in ITV's new - and much-anticipated - crime drama Broadchurch starting next week. 'But I'm very loyal to Doctor Who - I saw Steven Moffat recently and I think he's brilliant. He's one of those people that if he ever asked me to do anything, I'd do it.' Arty also revealed that he had watched and enjoyed Doctor Who's 2012 Christmas special - the first episode to be broadcast following his character's departure. 'Yes, I did see that - I thought it was great,' he said, diplomatically when asked an almost impossible question to answer without sounding either sycophantic or bitter! 'The show's constantly growing - it's quite nice watching it and not knowing what's going to happen!' Broadchurch begins on Monday 4 March at 9pm on ITV.

BBC Worldwide have, finally, confirmed that August's DVD release of the 1967 Doctor Who adventure The Ice Warriors will include animated versions of the missing episodes two and three, as well as the previously announced 'telesnap' version of the episodes which originally appeared on the 1998 VHS release. Unlike January's The Reign of Terror, animation for these episodes has been created by Qurios, an award-winning animation and visual effects production studio based in London and Newcastle, and who have previously worked on the range providing titles for the Who Peter features. DVD range producer Dan Hall said: 'We've been discussing the various ways Qurios could reconstruct these episodes for over three years, so it's really, really satisfying to finally see them animated. Qurios have a great track record in excellent and innovative animations. Doctor Who has had many different visual styles thanks to changing directors, designers and production methods. We wanted to mirror this in our choice of animation partners.' The DVD is currently scheduled to be released on 26 August.

Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads' hunt for Britain's best recipe, Food Glorious Food, got off to a less than three-star début on ITV with fewer than three million viewers on Wednesday, the lowest-rating launch ever for a TV show involved the odious, risible, self-important arsehole. Which was funny. The ITV show, described by Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads as 'like Antiques Roadshow combined with food,' couldn't get anywhere near to matching the audience figures for Antiques Roadshow. Which was even funnier. It began with an average of but 2.64 million viewers between 8pm and 9pm. Food Glorious Food managed to shag-up an audience inheritance of more than eight million viewers from the preceding ITV show, Coronation Street. Presented by Carol Vorderman and featuring judges including former MasterChef presenter Lloyd Grossman, Food Glorious Food was criticised by reviewers as being derivative of other cookery shows such as BBC2's The Great British Bake Off. But Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads could not come anywhere close to matching the audience for the Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood show, which finished its latest run with more than six million punters last year. Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads will be hoping the show is a grower, as both Britain's Got Toilets and The X Factor both proved after each launching with fewer than five million viewers. Alleged 'sources' allegedly close to the production company, Syco TV, said that the 2.7 million audience was 'in the ballpark' of what they were expecting in a midweek 8pm slot. 'You were never going to get The X Factor numbers with a food show,' the alleged 'source' allegedly said. BBC2's The Great British Bake Off, with which Food Glorious Food has inevitably drawn comparisons, also grew during the course of its three series on-air, the Mary Berry cookery show launching with 2.1 million viewers in August 2010. On Wednesday night Food Glorious Food was beaten by BBC1's unheralded Holiday Hit Squad, presented by Angela Rippon, which had 3.66 million viewers, between 8pm and 9pm. Which was thigh-slappingly hilarious. The latest episode of the BBC1 show found out how the British consulate in Majorca deals with everything from arrests to accidents and lost passports and lost people. Food Glorious Food was followed by ITV's haunted house mystery Lightfields, which began its own five-part run with a somewhat undercooked 3.9 million viewers between 9pm and 10pm. Lightfields was narrowly ahead of the return of BBC1 documentary Child of Our Time, which had 3.6 million viewers. Food Glorious Food, co-produced by Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads' Syco TV with Optomen Television, which has previously made cookery shows with odious, risible Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay, was also down a whopping forty six per cent on ITV's average for the Wednesday night slot over the past three months. Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads, of course, remains one of ITV's most important producers and presenters. But the last series of The X Factor failed to attract the audiences of previous series, and his Ant and/or Dec fronted game show Red Or Black? was a laughably risible flop, came in for criticism for encouraging gambling and failed to convince on its return despite a wholesale revamp for its second series. The one guarantee of success for a Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads show, it would appear, is when he actually shows up on screen himself, as he does on Britain's Got Talent and used to on The X Factor. Another ITV show, Saturday night West End talent hunt Grease Is the Word, which he executive produced but did not feature in, flopped big-style(e) back in 2007. In a food-focused evening on BBC2, The Great British Menu continued with 1.59m from 7.30pm, and one hundred and twenty thousand on BBC HD, before Hairy Bikers Everyday Gourmets appealed to 1.96m from 8pm. A MasterChef: The Professionals documentary was watched by 1.35m in the 9pm hour and one hundred and two thousand punters on BBC HD. The Culture Show then had an audience of five hundred and ninety thousand viewers from 10pm.
BBC iPlayer is closing on a staggering three hundred million programme views after a record-breaking January, when an episode of David Attenborough's Africa racked up more than two million requests. After a record-breaking Christmas period, the BBC's catch-up TV service followed that with two hundred and seventy two million requests for TV and radio programming in January 2013, the highest ever monthly figure. The first episode of David Attenborough's new series Africa led the way on TV requests, with 2.3m, and the show's second episode also pulled in 1.7m requests. Other popular TV programmes during the month included the first episode of Top Gear series nineteen, which had 1.9m requests, and two episodes from the new series of Miranda, with 1.8m and 1.79m requests. January 2013 was the first time that all top twenty most requested TV shows had over one million views, including children's show The Dumping Ground and comedy Mrs Brown's Boys also proving hugely popular. On radio, BBC Radio 4's The News Quiz led the way, with two episodes both getting one hundred and thirty thousand requests, ahead of The Unbelievable Truth and live tennis coverage on BBC Radio 5Live. The BBC said that iPlayer's massive growth in January was driven in part by more mobile and tablet use, which have both more than doubled over the past year. Smartphones and tablets now account for sixteen per cent and fifteen per cent respectively of iPlayer usage (excluding Virgin Media and Sky+), up from just six per cent for both in January 2012. This has been mirrored by a decline in use of iPlayer on computers, from sixty two per cent at the start of last year to forty six per cent in January 2013. Dave Price, the head of BBC iPlayer, said: 'BBC iPlayer had a record-breaking festive period, with performance driven by new mobiles and tablets unwrapped on Christmas Day, and it looks like these devices have yet to be put down. There were two hundred and seventy two million requests for TV and radio programmes in iPlayer throughout January, with TV requests from mobiles and tablets rocketing - and up thirty two per cent in just one month. We'll build on this in 2013, ensuring audiences continue to enjoy watching and listening to their favourite BBC programmes whenever and wherever they are.' The BBC also said that the increase in reported requests in January was down to a fix implemented for radio statistics, meaning there were no longer any 'measurement issues.'

MasterChef returns for a new series on BBC1 next month. The ninth series of the BBC cookery show will premiere on Tuesday 12 March at 9pm. Yer actual Gregg Wallace and John Torode his very self return as judges in the TV cookery contest. This year's series will feature fifty contestants battling it out for the title of Britain's best amateur cook. Former winners of the show have included Thomasina Miers, Mat Follas and Tim Anderson. The 2012 series was won by Shelina Permalloo.
BBC1 has renewed Father Brown for a second series. The daytime drama starring Mark Williams as the eponymous crime-solving Roman Catholic priest will return for ten more forty five-minute episodes later this year. Based on the stories by GK Chesterton, the series has achieved an average audience of 2.1 million, a spectacularly good figure for a daytime drama. Filming will begin in the Cotswolds for fourteen weeks from 27 May. Executive producer Will Trotter said: 'Father Brown is a successful co-production between BBC Worldwide and BBC Drama Production which has delivered compulsive viewing for BBC1 Daytime. The series features popular stories set in the Cotswolds country houses which look sensational on screen and it's great to attract actors of the calibre of Mark Williams and Sorcha Cusack back for a second series.' BBC executive Kate Harwood added: 'Will Trotter's Birmingham team created a little bit of sunlit magic during a wet English summer and we're delighted that the show had such a warm response and a swift recommission. How wonderful that the brilliant Mark Williams will get to ride his bicycle into action yet again.'

Lord Alan Sugar-Sweetie has criticised the BBC soap EastEnders, accusing the show of product placement. The businessman and star of the BBC's Apprentice spoke of his 'annoyance' concerning a long shot of a Nokia phone on Tuesday's episode. The phone was seen in a close-up shot for ten seconds while Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) lay unconscious in the car garage. The soap had several other mobile phones in the episode - including Apple's iPhone - but the brandings were not as visible as the Nokia. One of Sugar-Sweetie's Twitter follower wrote: 'Not that you would ever use product placement? Amstrad phones in Apprentice?' Sugar-Sweetie replied: 'Correct, tosser.' What a charming chap he is. A BBC spokesman denied Sugar-Sweetie's comments, telling the Sun: 'EastEnders never gives any one brand undue prominence, in line with BBC guidelines. If a product is featured there will always be a range of different brands also featured - as was the case in Tuesday's episode, when Phil, Max and Sharon's mobiles were all seen on screen.'

ITV has played down rumours of takeover interest from private equity firms as a strong performance from the broadcaster's programme-making division helped offset lacklustre X Factor ratings and produce a six per cent increase in annual profits. A resurgent performance at the UK's largest advertising-funded broadcaster, coupled with buyout speculation, has seen its share price head towards the one hundred and thirty pence per share at which a private equity consortium bid for ITV in 2006. Chief executive Adam Crozier, who is three years into a five-year transformation plan at the broadcaster, nonetheless quashed rumours of a takeover bid for a company whose shares sank as low as twenty two pence four years ago. Asked if ITV had received any approaches from private equity funds or other corporate raiders, he said: 'Absolutely none at all.' Crozier spoke as ITV announced a three per cent increase in revenues to £2.19bn in 2012, with income at ITV Studios, maker of recent hits such as Mr Selfridge and Z-List Celebrity Drowning, up one hundred million smackers to seven hundred and twelve million quid. Pre-tax profits rose by twenty one million notes. There was further cheer for investors as the broadcaster announced a full-year dividend of 2.6p and a special dividend of four pence. It is only the second year that ITV has paid a dividend since it was created by the merger of Carlton and Granada in 2004. ITV's 2012 results were slightly ahead of analysts' expectations, although the broadcaster's share price – which has doubled in the last six months on expectations of an improving advertising market and takeover speculation – closed slightly down at one hundred and nineteen pence. The company's improving 2012 performance came despite what Crozier called an 'unprecedented year for UK TV' with the London Olympics and the Queen's diamond jubilee giving the BBC a unique, probably never to be repeated ratings advantage over its commercial rivals. Long-running ITV talent shows such as The X Factor and Twatting About On Ice are not the force that they once were, but the broadcaster has seen its slate of drama productions echo the ratings and critical successes of former years, sparked by Lord Snooty's Downton Abbey. Crozier said that the revenue growth had come in the face of 'a broadly flat advertising market' with non-advertising revenues up twelve per cent year-on-year to more than one billion knicker. He added that the company had 'a positive start to 2013,' with advertising expected to be up five per cent in the first quarter. ITV said it has seen a strong performance in its production, online and its pay and interactive businesses. ITV has also launched a micropayment system allowing viewers to download programmes costing between ninety nine pence and £4.99. 'We weren't shy saying three years ago that a lot of our technology wasn't fit for purpose. We are now very well positioned to take the demand for growth,' said Crozier. Online, pay and interactive revenues rose twenty six per cent to one hundred and two million quid. When Crozier was unveiled as chief executive in 2010 a recession-scarred ITV was struggling to recover from a £2.7bn annual loss and had a one billion wonga debt and pension deficit. The former Royal Mail and Football Association boss now presides over a debt-free ITV which has about eight hundred million quid in cash. But he said that this was not a war chest and it did not have any specific acquisition plans. 'We are getting very good organic growth. We don't have to chase growth. But if the right opportunity came along and it was absolutely on strategy, we will look at acquisition,' he said. Paul Richards, media analyst at Numis Securities, said it was difficult for ITV to find the right acquisition – it has previously explored bids for production companies Endemol and All3Media – but said there was a case for putting more money on screen. 'The programme budget is the same now as it was in 2009 but advertising revenues have increased over the same period by three hundred million pounds from £1.2bn to £1.5bn. Given the challenges faced by the BBC and other commercial broadcasters, and the increased competition from Sky for talent, now would be a good time for upping the dial slightly on programme investment.' ITV reported a massive increase in its mobile business in its 2012 results, with its ITV Player app downloaded 7.1m times since its launch in 2011, and plans to target smartphone and tablet viewers this year. Free seven-day catch-ups for everything from Coronation Street to The X Factor are fuelling the growth. The micropayments service, which was launched last summer, has yet to be marketed aggressively by ITV, but it still comfortably surpassed a target of one hundred thousand registered users by Christmas. 'We had three hundred and fifty four thousand by Christmas and now have one million registered users,' said Crozier. ITV's online, pay and interactive revenues soared from eighty million smackers to one hundred and two million knicker last year, driven by a twenty two per cent year-on-year rise in long-form video requests, Crozier added, reporting that most viewers are renting entire series, the equivalent of a box set.
Oliver Kent has been announced as the new executive producer of Casualty and Holby City. BBC Drama Production announced that Kent will be taking over from Johnathan Young, following reports that the BBC was searching for a replacement earlier this month. Kent has worked for BBC Drama for seventeen years, and became Casualty's series producer in 2007. He is also currently the senior producer for Holby City. His new role will see him reporting to Clare Hudson, Head of BBC Wales Productions, and Kate Harwood, Head of BBC Drama Production in England. Kent said of his appointment: 'I am truly delighted to be taking up the position of Executive Producer on Casualty and Holby City. Over many years I have grown to love both programmes equally and am really excited at the prospect of working with the brilliant teams in Elstree and Roath Lock. I am inheriting two shows in great shape and I can't wait to get started.' Harwood added: 'With his depth of experience, his passion for Continuing Drama and his commitment to talent on-screen and off, Oliver will be a great new leader for our two flagship medical shows and I can't wait to work with him.' Kent will begin his new position on 11 March, dividing his time between Elstree and Roath Lock Studios in Cardiff.

The former BBC manager at the centre of an unfair dismissal case has denied that he discriminated against a mother who wanted to job share at the corporation or bullied an alleged whistleblower into leaving. Mark Thomas, the former two hundred thousand pounds-a-year chief executive of BBC Studios & Post Production, a commercial subsidiary of the corporation, had been accused of declaring that 'female workers of child-caring responsibilities should not hold senior management positions.' But he denied the allegation, made by Byron Myers, who is suing the BBC for unfair dismissal, breach of contract and constructive dismissal. Myers, who was a head of HR for BBC Studios & Post Production, had claimed he was put under 'intolerable' pressure after he made a confidential complaint about Thomas and his treatment of a woman who had proposed to go part-time so she could look after her two young children. Thomas told the employment tribunal in Watford on Wednesday: 'I do not discriminate against female employees or hold the view or perception that "women with child caring responsibilities should not hold senior management positions as they are less focused on the job."' Myers claimed at the hearing that Thomas had made several derogatory remarks about the mother of two, Katy Child, who had proposed a job-share arrangement two years after returning from maternity leave in 2009. He said Thomas had referred to Child as 'a bitch who had the men in the office wrapped around her finger.' Thomas categorically denied saying this at the tribunal, which is now in its fourth day, and also denied he had told another executive at BBC S&PP that it was 'a bombshell' when Child said in 2011 that she wanted to go part-time. Thomas admitted, however, that he had made it a requirement that if Child were to go part-time, she would have to nonetheless work ten weeks of the year full-time in order to cover the holiday leave of her direct boss and her job-sharing colleague. 'It was reasonable in terms of what we needed for the business,' he said. He added that it was important for continuity that Child covered her boss during all his annual leave, as she was the more senior of the two people being proposed for the job share involved and the business was doubling in size. It was these discussions in early 2011 that prompted Myers to make a 'protected disclosure' about Thomas, raising concerns of potential discrimination against Child under equality laws. It was put to Thomas by the tribunal judge that to force someone on a job share to work ten weeks full-time would by its nature be 'unattractive' to a woman who had child-caring responsibilities. 'A lot of people have said that to me, and I have questioned myself and asked "am I being naive?" I thought it was right to explore it on this basis,' said Thomas. However, he said as soon as it became clear that it was unworkable, an alternative proposal agreeable to her was worked out. 'Within days of that proposal falling over, we had an alternative proposal that worked for Katy that involved her working part-time three days a week,' he added. Thomas was investigated for potential gender discrimination, but was told by the BBC in November 2011 that no action was going to be taken as a result. During the hearing, Thomas also denied using offensive language in a conversation about the matter to Myers. Thomas, who has since left the organisation, has also denied claims that he humiliated and belittled Myers at work, because he had found out that he was the whistleblower. 'I did not bully or undermine Mr Myers, or isolate him in decision making,' Thomas said. 'I do not believe that I treated Mr Myers in a detrimental way at any time.' The hearing continues.
Serving police officers who took part in disgraceful old scallywag and rotter Jimmy Savile's 'breakfast club' meetings at his home are to be quizzed by West Yorkshire police, the force has confirmed. Police said on Thursday they had 'identified some individuals who were in the so-called Friday Morning Breakfast Club,' a weekly gathering of the late Top of the Pops host's friends at his Leeds penthouse. In October, West Yorkshire police said that they had 'no information' about officers attending the gathering but that they were free to do what they wished when off duty. However, a force spokesman said that police officers did attend, and while there was 'no evidence of any wrongdoing' by the officers – some of whom are still serving – they were being questioned to find out more about the meetings. The spokesman added: 'Local officers working in the community were invited by Savile to his home for a coffee. At that time the force was encouraging community officers to interact more with residents in their area. The officers usually visited on a Friday. It was usual for other friends of Savile to be present, drinking coffee and chatting. They have explained their attendance and we reiterate that there has been no evidence forthcoming of any wrongdoing by any West Yorkshire police employee, past or current. However we are now carrying out further inquiries to obtain a better understanding of the circumstances surrounding the contact between West Yorkshire police officers and Savile at the so-called Friday Morning Breakfast Club.' The meetings are believed to have run for around twenty years at Savile's penthouse.
The Liberal Democrats have won the Eastleigh by-election, with the UK Independence Party pushing the Conservatives into third place. A, clearly relieved, Nick Clegg said the party's candidate Mike Thornton had pulled off a 'stunning victory' which had been secured 'against the odds.' UKIP leader Nigel Farage said its best-ever performance in a Westminster poll showed it had 'connected with voters.' David Cameron said the Tories would recover from a 'disappointing' result. The by-election was called after former Lib Dem cabinet minister Chris Huhne resigned as an MP following an admission that he had perverted the course of justice over driving licence points. But the party, which has held Eastleigh since a by-election in 1994, won despite a fall in its share of the vote of more than fourteen percentage points since the 2010 general election. Conservative Maria Hutchings won ten thousand five hundred and ninety nine votes, also representing a fourteen per cent reduction compared with her share of the vote at the general election, when she came second to Huhne. Labour's John O'Farrell was fourth with four thousand and eighty eight votes. Thornton, who has been a parish and borough councillor since 2007, said: 'The people of Eastleigh recognise that the Liberal Democrats have always had a superb record of delivery, we've always listened to what people want, and we always make sure that we do a good job.' Farage said the surge in support for his party was not a 'freak result' but a continuation of a trend which had seen it rise in the national polls. 'We have really connected with voters in this constituency,' he told the BBC. 'And that is because we are talking about issues that the other parties would like to brush under the carpet.' Cameron said his party would not 'change tack' on the economy, immigration or welfare in response to the poor performance. 'This is a by-election. It's mid-term. It's a protest. That's what happens in by-elections,' he said. In a contest of fourteen candidates, one Ray Hall representing the 'Beer, Baccy and Crumpet Party' polled two hundred and thirty five votes coming a very creditable seventh and beating several 'proper' fringe political parties such as the candidates for the Christian Party, the English Democrats and the Trade Unionists and Socialists Against the Cuts (who got but sixty two votes). The official Monster Raving Loony candidate, Howling Laud Hope, polled one hundred and thirty six. Maybe they and the Beer, Baccy and Crumpets geezers should get into bed together in a sort of 'sex and drugs and rock and roll' type coalition.
Motown vocalist Richard Street, a member of the Temptations for twenty five years, has died aged seventy. Street's wife said that he died on 27 February at a hospital in Las Vegas after a short illness. He sang with Temptations members Otis Williams and Melvin Franklin in the 1950s but didn't actually join the group until 1971 spending much of the 1960s as a member of another Motown vocal group The Monitors. Richard was married to The Velvelettes' lead singer Carolyn Gill from 1969 to 1983. By the late-1960s, Richard was often called upon to travel with The Temptations and sing Paul Williams' parts from off-stage, while Williams, who suffered from both alcoholism and sickle-cell disease, danced and lip-synched onstage. Richard officially replaced Williams in the group in 1971, after both Williams and Eddie Kendricks left. A number of the Temptations' best-selling hits feature Street's lead vocals, including 'Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)', 'Papa Was a Rollin' Stone', 'Masterpiece' and his featured solo, 'Hey Girl (I Like Your Style)'. Richard, Otis Williams and Melvin Franklin endured a number of line-up changes over the subsequent two decades. In 1998, NBC aired The Temptations, a four-hour television miniseries based upon an autobiographical book by Otis Williams. Richard was portrayed by Angel actor J August Richards. Born in Detroit, Michigan, he was the first member of the band to be born in the city with which they became synonymous. His death comes only ten days after his band mate, Damon Harris, who died on 18 February aged sixty two, after a fourteen year battle with prostate cancer. Cindy Street, told CNN: 'They're dancing up there in heaven, him and Damon.' Richard performed with the band until 1993 when he left due to alleged personal tensions with Williams. Richard went to hospital five days before he died, suffering from back pain and breathing difficulties. Doctors found he had a clot in a lung. He is survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters.

Just a quick note, now, that Thursday evening's The Record Player mentioned in yesterday's blog update might just've been the best of the lot so far, dear blog reader. Two quite simply superb LPs, a decent-sized crowd including all the regulars, good beer, good company, a quiz for a couple of tacky prizes (including 'five English pounds'), a chat afterwards and still home in time for curry and chips. Many, many thanks to yer man Uncle Scunthorpe for devising this wonderful social experiment in managing to get people to sit still for an hour a week (sometimes more) and simply listen to some music. It's a revolutionary retro concept but, y'bugger, it seems to work. Here's some pictures from last night's doodah. And a splendid time was guaranteed for all.
Which brings us very nicely indeed thank y'very much to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 33 of the Day. Now, yer actual Kilimanjaro has yet to feature at The Record Player, dear blog reader. A shocking state of affairs considering we've had about fifty events so far. But yer actual Keith Telly Topping is pushin' for it, never fear. And, as Sound Affects and Unknown Pleasures proved last night, if yer actual Keith Telly Topping whinges about something for long enough, it tends to get done. Eventually. Sing your song, Mister Cope.
'You trampled all over them with stones in your shoes, and you said "Oh, I thought that you'd know"!'

No comments: