Sunday, July 05, 2020

"Foolery Does Walk About The Orb Like The Sun; It Shines Everywhere"

The pubs are - mostly - open again, dear blog reader. So are some - though not all - restaurants, many fast food outlets and the majority of hairdressers. And, it's July in the UK and it's raining and extremely windy. So, 'back to normal,' then?
It is 'crystal clear' that drunk people are 'unable to socially distance,' the chair of the Police Federation said as pubs reopened in England on Saturday. And, in other news, apparently, bears do defecate in the woods and the Pope is a Roman Catholic. Straight up.
Government ministers had 'urged caution' ahead of hospitality venues reopening in England after three months of lockdown. Yeah, cos that was always going to happen, wasn't it? John Apter of the Police Federation claimed that he 'dealt with naked men, happy drunks, angry drunks, fights and more angry drunks' on shift in Southampton. Definitely 'back to normal', then?
Hundreds of punters - desperate for a pint - gathered in Soho, with media images showing packed streets into the early hours of Sunday morning. Devon and Cornwall Police said that they received 'more than a thousand' reports, most of which were 'drink-related.' No shit? In North Nottinghamshire, four people were extremely arrested and banged up in The Slammer for their wild and naughty drink-related ways and several pubs decided to close early after 'incidents of alcohol-related anti-social behaviour.'
There were further lockdown restrictions relaxed in England on Saturday, including hairdressers reopening. Long queues were reportedly witnessed outside barbers shops and there were midnight hairdressing appointments as people had their locks trimmed following months of closures and significant hair-growth.
It is time, inevitably, dear blog reader, for another From The North bloggerisationisms update. And, we kick off the latest one - as usual, of late - with something of a visual representation of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's current general state of being.
Yeah, that more or less covers it.
Or, if you prefer, this. Either will do, frankly.
So, dear blog reader, here be a further medical update for those three of you that're interested in such malarkey - to follow on from the previous two medical updates (which, in case you missed them, can be found here and here): On Friday this blogger had a chat on the old blower with Doctor Rashmi (since both Doctor Chris and Doctor Patricia were off on that particular day). He was, you'll be happy to know, very nice. This blogger told him that yer actual Keith Telly Topping was - at that particular moment - God damned pissed off with life in general and the state of his back in particular; in that, he was still having a lot of pain issues, some sleeping problems - largely because of the pain issues - and, most significantly, the same mobility issues that this blogger has had for the last four weeks since 'The Incident' (to wit: hobbling around the drum using a walking stick like a flaming Raspberry). Doctor Rashmi was, as noted, great - he suggested increasing this blogger's pain medication to codeine (which, to be fair, Doctor Patricia had also said would be the next obvious step if Ibuprofen didn't do the trick last time). This blogger has used codeine before back when he had a nasty knee injury some years ago and, as far as he can recall, he was okay with it at the time (although, Keith Telly Topping does remember that codeine produces even worse constipation than all the other painkillers put together). Thus, within just a couple of short hours, the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House drew a visit from someone from the local pharmacy delivering a two months supply of the required medication (that, this blogger concedes, was jolly impressive - getting a prescription ordered, filled and delivered inside two hours. How can anyone not love the NHS?) Doctor Rashmi has also giving Keith Telly Topping another sick note for three further weeks. This blogger has to pop into the surgery next week for something completely unrelated (an annual, outstanding blood-pressure test) so he will be picking up the SSP documentation then.
The general consensus from Doctor Rashmi was that, yes, it will be - and, indeed, is - bloody painful and yes, it was a damned stupid thing to do in the first place, tripping over ones own feet like that and, therefore, it's ultimately this blogger's own daft fault. And, that it could well remain jolly painful for a good while longer yet but it will, eventually, ease up. Also, that this blogger should keep moving as much as possible to avoid the muscles seizing up completely (again, not easy but Keith Telly Topping will grit his teeth and give it a go). And that the sleep issues this blogger is having should be eased by the stronger pain medication. We did discuss whether something even stronger than codeine might be appropriate but this blogger noted that he'd used, for example, Tramadol before - during some other back-related shenanigans about a decade ago - and it, frankly, rather disagreed with this blogger's system at the time. So, we're steering clear of that unless the codeine doesn't work (and, there are other alternatives. apparently).
Doctor Rashmi, bless him, listened politely whilst this blogger whittered on and on and on about how depressing not being able to get about the house very easily was, how this blogger has only left the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House twice in four weeks (it'll be three times when he visits the surgery next week) and how this blogger has not been able to even have a bath since 'The Incident' as he might be able to get in, but getting out again could prove a touch difficult. (This blogger should note to anyone concerned - or potentially disgusted - by the hygiene implications of all this, that he is, at least, still able to wash himself. Although, admittedly, shampooing his - by this stage long and rather luscious - hair is a bit of a challenge as bending over the sink isn't quite as easy as it would normally be).
Incidentally, for anyone that doesn't believe the 'long and rather luscious hair' thing ... Oh ye of jolly little faith. Also, does anyone know if there's a barbers shop which is open within limping distance of the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House? Because, this blogger is starting to look like a member of some disgraceful 1970s hippy prog-rock combo. And that's just not on, frankly.
Doctor Rashmi was sympathetic (not about the state of this blogger's hair, but about his back injury) and, broadly, positive ('it will start to get better, just give it time'). Thus, this blogger feels a bit (and he stresses, a bit) more positive after that; it's a touch like The Rutles joke: 'Did you feel better after seeing the Queen?' 'No, you feel better after seeing the Doctor.' 'Not my Doctor you don't!' So ... long story short, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping is still bloody broken. But, hopefully, he might be fixable given time, patience, some limited exercise and some very hard drugs! You may - should you wish - express your sympathies with this blogger via a social media route of your choice or, alternatively, tell Keith Telly Topping to stop being such a big baby and just get on with it. Your choice entirely, dear blog reader.
It should be noted that, the day before all this occurred, this blogger had probably his most wretched, awful, miserable day with the back pain. This blogger just couldn't get his very self comfortable sitting, standing, lying flat or slouching .... You name it, this blogger was uncomfortable doing it. Keith Telly Topping ended up taking some painkillers and going back to bed for a few hours. As this blogger mentioned to Doctor Rashmi the following day - at some length - this really is starting to become extremely tedious.
Prior to that, on Tuesday morning, for only the second time since 'The Incident', this blogger left the safety and discomfort of the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House for the lack-of-safety and total discomfort of Byker. Because he needed to pay his rent and get in a few essential supplies from ASDA and Poundland. This blogger was regretting this course of action almost before the bus arrived. Jeez that was a real trial and this blogger does not intend doing that again in a hurry.
Mind you, it hasn't all been bad news at the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House. For instance, there was that King Prawns and Chinese Mushrooms in Oyster Sauce takeaway on Tuesday - this blogger really deserved that.
After the last few days/weeks he'd just had, this blogger also really deserved this Crispy Beef in Sweet Chilli and Garlic Sauce.
And - even with the excessive delivery charges - this King Prawn and Beef in Hoisin Sauce with Bamboo Shoots and Water Chestnuts was really deserved too.
The Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House drew a visit from the local authority electrical engineer for a five-yearly check up of the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House's wiring recently. Typically, what should have taken about an hour or so ended up taking more than twice as long since there were a couple of - very minor - faults which were (in theory) easily-fixed. But, screws which wouldn't screw out and/or back in again complicated matters considerably for the engineer. Anyway, it was all sorted out eventually. This blogger spent the majority of the time the chap was in the gaff in bed furiously apologising (from a distance) because Keith Telly Topping's back was grumbling something fierce, so it was. So, no change there, then.
This blogger's gratitude to his former boss Uncle Scunthorpe Drayton is, as always, boundless and unstinting. Especially when a package arrived via Royal Mail at the door of Stately Telly Topping Manor containing twelve inches of black plastic with a hole in the middle. It was a recorded package, obviously. Nah, lissun ... Because, let's face it dear blog reader, no record collection in the world is complete without the incidental music to Time & The Rani. Keith Telly Topping loves you the mostest, Steve, baby. And, if his back wasn't giving him serious gyp at the moment, he would be happy to prove it.
On a somewhat-related note, this blogger does, genuinely, love Doctor Who: The Discontinuity Guide, the book which he co-wrote with yer actual Paul Cornell and Martin Day his very self in 1995. But, just occasionally, this blogger will read a bit of the book being quoted somewhere online and think: 'Jesus, did one - or, indeed, all three - of us really write that?'
Case in point, for reasons far too trivial to go into, one day last week this blogger happened to be reading the Wikipedia entry on The War Games (1969), which included the following comment: 'Paul Cornell, Martin Day, and Keith Topping wrote of the serial in The Discontinuity Guide (1995), "It might be six episodes too long, but The War Games is pivotal in the history of Doctor Who. The introduction of the Time Lords ... sees the series lose some of its mystery, but gain a new focus.' We never said that, did we? Oh, apparently we did. It's remarkable the utter crap one talks when one is young, is it not dear blog reader?
It should also be noted that the Wikipedia entry on The Time Monster (1972) is factually inaccurate when it states: 'Paul Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping gave the serial an unfavourable review in The Discontinuity Guide (1995), describing it as being like "watching paint dry while being whipped with barbed wire."' No they did not, the very excellent Paul Cornell did; the other two were wholly incapable (then and still, probably) of writing anything quite that funny.
This blogger has considered, at various points in the past, using this blog to do a kind-of update on the Bottom Lines for the episodes covered in The Discontinuity Guide and, updating it to include the 1996 TV movie and the post-2005 episodes. But ... that would be such a massive undertaking and require so much rewatching of episodes that, this blogger thinks he'll leave such a massive project to other, younger, hungrier writers. With more time and energy on their hands. And, less back problems.
Meanwhile, three Doctors - Jodie Whittaker, David Tennant and Matt Smith - have come together in a historic online interview with IGN to celebrate the launch of Doctor Who on HBO MAX. The interview - which is very amusing and really good fun - can be viewed on the Doctor Who YouTube channel and is highly recommended.
And now, dear blog reader, because he had to do something to take his mind of this bad back of his ...
Quite a lot, as it goes. Actual proper live Sky Sports Football (notably this blogger's beloved - though unsellable - Magpies' giving relegation-haunted AFC Bournemouth a pants-down four-one spanking).
Actual proper live from Austria Sky Sports F1.
Sky Sports Cricket's general coverage (repeats and Vodcasts).
Ten Cloverfield Lane.
The Death Of Stalin.
It Follows (a movie which this blogger had been meaning to watch for ages but had just never gotten around to until last weekend).
Perry Mason (almost entirely due to Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo's glowing review in the final episode of Kermode & Mayo's Home Entertainment Service in which the Perry Mason remake was compared - quite accurately as it turned out - to Angel Heart).
Penny Dreadful: City Of Angels (mainly due to Naughty Natalie Dormer's truly awesome presence in the trailer).
The long-awaited return of From The North favourite Doom Patrol (and, especially, the - equally long-awaited - Doctor Tyme/Red Jack two-parter and the return of Willoughby Kipling).
Now, we just need them to - somehow - adapt The Brotherhood Of Dada/Painting That Ate Paris storyline next and this blogger will be a jolly happy little fanboy. Nine episodes of the second series of the From The North favourite were, reportedly, completed before production was suspended in March due to this coronavirus malarkey. Preview copies of the first four turned up at Stately Telly Topping Manor this week. Which was large.
Devs (two months after everyone else, admittedly, but this blogger got there in the end!)
Qi (Maisie Adam was terrific on the latest episode - as were Alan Davies and David Mitchell. But, my God, that Holly Walsh woman is about as funny as a really nasty scrotal rash in this blogger's opinion).
Talking Heads (particularly the wonderfully daft Jodie Comer episode, Her Big Chance).
The Great. ('Based on historical events ... Sort of!' Very sort-of ... But, it's really funny. This was another series that Kermode and Mayo's recommendation drew this blogger towards).
The Luminaries.
World War Weird (and, lots of other fine documentary series on Yesterday).
Arena: The Orson Welles Story.
Would I Lie To You?
More Would I Lie To You?
Even more Would I Lie To You?
Yet more Would I Lie To You?
More Would I Lie To You?
More Would I Lie To You?
More Would I Lie To You?
More Would I Lie To You?
More Would I Lie To You?
More Would I Lie To You?
More Would I Lie To You?
.... More Would I Lie To You? (Thank you, iPlayer, Dave, UKTV Play and You Tube, this blogger doesn't know what he would've done without you these last few weeks.)
There is a very fine piece on the BBC News website about Talking Pictures. The family-run Talking Pictures is, as you may already know, run out of a garden office in Hertfordshire. The TV channel - a particular From The North favourite - has, the website notes,' become a huge hit with nearly six million viewers a week during lockdown. It specialises in British-made films of years gone by.' And British-made TV too. The BBC's media and arts correspondent David Sillito went to meet the family and produced this touching report.
The same website also has an excellent feature/interview by Paul Glynn on the career of another firm From The North favourite The Goddamn Modfather his very self, yer actual Paul Weller.
And, speaking of this blogger's musical heroes, how nice it was to see Dylan (no, not the hippy rabbit off The Magic Roundaboutback at number one in the UK charts with his thirty ninth CD, Rough & Rowdy Ways. Bob became the oldest artist to reach number one with an CD of new material. At the age of seventy nine, Bob surpassed Paul Simon, who was seventy four when his Stranger To Stranger went to number one in 2016.
The Rockin' and/or Rolling Stones (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them) have reportedly warned US President Donald Rump that he could face legal action if he continues using their songs at his campaign rallies. And, one imagines Sir Mick, Keef, Charlie and Rockin' Ronnie can afford some pretty good lawyers. A statement from the band's legal team said that it was 'working with the performing rights organisation,' the BMI, to stop the unauthorised use of their music. The Rump campaign illegally used the song 'You Can't Always Get What You Want' at last week's Rump rally in Tulsa (where the cowshit lies thick). The same song was also - illegally - used by the Rump campaign during the 2016 US election. 'The Rolling Stones do not endorse Donald Rump,' the band tweeted in 2016. Which is nice to know.
The latest in From The North's semi-regular Headline Of The Week award goes to the Gruniad Morning Star for what may well be the single most atypical Middle Class hippy Communist Gruniad Morning Star headline in the history of atypical Middle Class hippy Communist Gruniad Morning Star headlines. Covid-Nineteen Sparks Exodus Of Middle-Class Londoners In Search Of The Good Life: Demand For Homes & Jobs Out Of The Capital Surges, Raising Fears Of Inequality. You couldn't make it up. Well, you could and, indeed, some atypical Middle Class hippy Communist at the Gruniad Morning Star did.
A noble second place goes to the BBC News website for their concerned piece Australia Caps Toilet Roll Sales After Panic-Buying.
Shoplifters and beggars have turned to The Sex to 'fund their lifestyles' during the pandemic, Northumberia police have claimed. Officers in the North East warned that they have also 'received increased reports' of brothels operating naughtily in Newcastle. Although, tragically, none of these appear to be within limping distance of the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House as far as this blogger is aware. Northumbria fuzz claimed there had been 'a shift into the exploitative world' of The Sex in order 'to pay rent or buy drugs.' The force added 'very vulnerable people are being targeted by predatory people.'
Sir Everton Weekes, the last survivor of the famous 'Three Ws' - the trio of West Indies batting legends whose lives and careers became irrevocably entwined, has died. Frank Worrell, Everton Weekes and Clyde Walcott were all born within eighteen months and three miles of each other in Barbados - and were even delivered by the same midwife. All three made their international debuts in early 1948 against England, were the middle-order mainstays of the great West Indies side of the 1950s - and were all subsequently knighted for services to cricket. Everton DeCourcy Weekes was born in February 1925, named after the Merseyside football team of which his father was an avid supporter. According to legend, England spinner Jim Laker once remarked to Weekes: 'It's a good job that he wasn't a fan of West Bromwich Albion.' Born in relative poverty, Weekes left school at the age of fourteen and served in the Barbados Defence Force. He appeared in ten first-class games for Barbados before being called up to the West Indies side to face England at Kensington Oval in his home town, Bridgetown, a month before his twenty third birthday. A first test century came in the final game of that series in Jamaica, the start of an unparalleled purple patch of form for Weekes, a stocky, powerful right-hander. Touring India later that year, he struck centuries in Delhi, Bombay and two in Calcutta, to complete a run of five successive test hundreds, a feat not matched before or since. He was even controversially run out for ninety in the fourth test in Madras while chasing a sixth ton. He did pass a thousand test runs though, in only his twelfth innings, another record - jointly held with Herbert Sutcliffe - which still stands. That form earned Weekes an offer to play in the Lancashire Leagues, where he was a much-loved professional for Bacup for seven seasons, averaging more than ninety. When he first arrived in Bacup, Weekes was greatly affected by the cold and took to wearing an army great coat everywhere, to the extent it became part of his image. His homesickness for Barbados was tempered by his landlady's potato pies and, also, the presence of Worrell and Walcott, who were playing for nearby League clubs Radcliffe and Enfield respectively. The three Ws would, it is said, regularly meet at Weekes's house midweek for an evening of piano playing and jazz singing. During the 1954 season he also played for neighbouring Central Lancashire League club Walsden as sub professional in the Wood Cup Final. His one hundred and fifty runs and nine wickets helped the village club to their first trophy in the seventy years. Weekes's performances were a significant contribution to League crowds, with over three hundred thousand spectators attending Lancashire League matches in 1949, a record as yet unsurpassed. He also played up for the crowds; batting in a match against Rawtenstall, Weekes waited until a ball had passed him before taking his left hand off his bat and hitting the ball around his back through square leg for four.
      Weekes' run of seven consecutive test scores of fifty or more has only been matched since by Andy Flower, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Kumar Sangakkara. The West Indies had never won a test on English soil on three previous tours before they arrived in 1950, two years after the Windrush had brought the first large wave of Caribbean migrants to the UK. But, after losing the first test in Manchester, where Worrell, Weekes and Walcott batted at three, four and five respectively for the first time, West Indies bounced back superbly to take the series three-one with three spectacular victories. The Three Ws, as they were dubbed on that tour, became household names, while Weekes also helped himself to four double centuries against county sides and a triple ton against Cambridge University. Weekes and Worrell were named among Wisden's five cricketers of the year in 1951, as were spinners Sonny Ramadhin and Alf Valentine who took fifty nine wickets between them. Weekes had a classic batting style, possessed a variety of shots on both sides of the wicket and is considered one of the hardest hitters in cricket history. The Times described him as 'lightly bow-legged, with a wonderful eye, wrists the envy of any batsman, and feet always in the right place to play a shot' and Richie Benaud stated that many Australians who saw Weekes in action said he was the closest batsman in style to Don Bradman. He was also compared to Bradman in his ability to keep the scoreboard moving and in using his feet to come down the pitch to slower bowlers. Additionally, Weekes was an excellent fielder, initially in the covers before moving into the slips and produced a training manual entitled Aspects Of Fielding. Despite injury problems for Weekes in the years that followed, he hit double centuries against India and England, both in Trinidad and three back-to-back hundreds in New Zealand in 1956. Weekes was affected by sinusitis throughout the West Indies 1957 tour of England, requiring five operations and broke a finger in late June. Reporting on the final day of the 1957 Lord's test where Weekes had made a rearguard ninety as the West Indies slumped to an innings defeat, The Times's cricket correspondent wrote 'It had been a day to quicken one's feeling for cricket, glowing with freshness and impulse and friendliness and it had belong to Weekes.'] Denis Compton said of Weekes following this innings; 'In every respect, it was the innings of a genius.' During the tour Weekes became only the fourth West Indian to pass ten thousand first-class runs. A thigh injury prompted his international retirement in 1958, aged only thirty three, just as the great all-rounder Gary Sobers was making his mark - and two years before Worrell became West Indies' first black captain.
       Although retired from tests, Weekes carried on playing for his beloved Barbados until 1964. He coached Canada at the 1979 World Cup and served on the Barbados Cricket Association board. A popular voice in the commentary box and briefly an International Cricket Council match referee, Weekes also represented Barbados at contract bridge and remained close to Worrell and Walcott, becoming the last of the trio to be knighted in 1995. A first-class cricket ground on the edge of Barbados is named The Three Ws Oval and Worrell and Walcott are both buried overlooking it, while a stand at Kensington Oval also bears their names. Worrell died aged forty two in 1967 after suffering with leukaemia, while Walcott, who later managed the West Indies team and served as ICC chairman, died in 2006. That left Weekes as the genial elder statesman of West Indies cricket, regularly attending games until well into his nineties. In 2019 he said: 'I'm ninety three and my doctor has only just told me to stop swimming in the sea every day.' He suffered a heart attack later that year. At the time of his death he was the third oldest surviving male test cricketer. Weekes published his memoirs Mastering The Craft: Ten Years Of Weekes, 1948 To 1958 in December 2007. Outside of cricket, Weekes became a Justice of the Peace and served on a number of Barbados Government bodies, including the Police Service Commission. Weekes' cousin Kenneth Weekes and son David Murray also played test cricket for the West Indies (the latter, a fine wicket-keeper playing nineteen tests and ten one day internationals between 1973 and 1982), while his grandson Ricky Hoyte played first-class cricket for Barbados and his nephew Donald Weekes played for Sussex.
Earl Cameron, one of the first black actors to forge a successful career in British film and television - and a particular favourite actor of this blogger - has died aged one hundred and two. Bermuda-born Cameron, who lived with his wife in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, reportedly died in his sleep on Friday. Cameron first appeared on-screen in Basil Dearden's 1951 movie Pool Of London, in a rare starring role for a black actor. His family said that he was 'an inspirational man who stood by his moral principles.' Cameron was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2009 New Year Honours. His family said that they had been 'overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and respect they have received. As an artist and actor he refused to accept roles that demeaned or stereotyped the character of people of colour,' they added. 'He will be very sadly missed.' Cameron's significance to the current generation of black British actors was underlined by many of the tributes paid to him on social media. David Harewood described him as 'a total legend,' while Paterson Joseph wrote: 'His generation's pioneering shoulders are what my generation of actors stand on. No shoulders were broader than this gentleman with the voice of God and the heart of a kindly prince.' TV historian David Olusoga added that Cameron was: 'A remarkable and wonderful man. Not just a brilliant actor but a link to a deeper history.'
Born in Bermuda in 1917, Earl arrived in the UK in 1939 after a spell in the British merchant navy. 'When I first came [to London], I would say clearly, I met with many slights and prejudices, but it doesn't bother me. But what did bother me was when I tried to get a job, that was an impossibility,' he told the British Film Institute in 2016. In 1941, Cameron's friend Harry Crossman gave Earl a ticket to see a revival of the musical comedy Chu Chin Chow at the Palace Theatre. Crossman and five other black actors had roles in the production's chorus line. Cameron, who was working at the kitchen of the Strand Corner House at the time, was fed up with menial jobs and asked Crossman if he could get him onto the show. Some weeks later, when one of the other actors failed to turn up to a performance, Crossman arranged a meeting for Cameron with the director, Robert Atkins, who cast Earl on the spot. According to Cameron, he had an easier time than other black actors because his Bermudian accent sounded American to many British ears. The following year, he landed a speaking role as Joseph, the chauffeur in the American play The Petrified Forest by Robert E Sherwood. Further roles followed and in 1945 he toured with the Entertainments National Service Association to play to British armed forces personnel in India. He gained more theatre work after the war as well as radio work for the BBC. Cameron was then cast in a substantial role in Pool Of London, a 1951 noir thriller set in the London docks in which he played Johnny Lambert, a merchant seaman. Cameron's character was also involved in a mixed-race relationship, generally acknowledged as the first such portrayal in a British film. In 2017 Cameron told the Gruniad Morning Star: 'I never saw myself as a pioneer. It was only later, looking back, that it occurred to me that I was.' Cameron was cast in Sapphire, another British-set thriller, in 1959; he played the brother of a woman found dead on Hampstead Heath, who is discovered to be mixed-race. Other movie roles in the 1950s included two films about the Kenyan Mau Mau uprising: Simba (1955), where he played a doctor and Safari (1957) in which he was a rebel commander. However, Cameron often found work hard to come by, telling the Gruniad: 'Unless it was specified that this was a part for a black actor, they would never consider a black actor. And they would never consider changing a white part to a black part. So that was my problem. I got mostly small parts and that was extremely frustrating - not just for me but for other black actors. We had a very hard time getting worthwhile roles.'
According to Screenonline, 'Earl Cameron brought a breath of fresh air to the British film industry's stuffy depictions of race relations. Often cast as a sensitive outsider, Cameron gave his characters a grace and moral authority that often surpassed the films' compromised liberal agendas.' Cameron appeared in the 1965 James Bond blockbuster Thunderball, as Bond's local contact in the Bahamas having previously been considered - and then passed over - for the larger role of Quarrel in the first Bond movie, Dr No (1962). He also had a significant part in the 1964 post-colonial thriller Guns Of Batasi, in which he played the wounded commander of a British army unit besieged by rebels in an un-named African state. Other film appearances included The Heart Within (1957), in which he played Victor Conway in a crime movie again set in London's docklands, Tarzan The Magnificent (1960) and its 1963 sequel Tarzan's Three Challenges, Flame In The Streets (1961), Battle Beneath The Earth (1967) and A Warm December (1973), in which he worked with Sidney Poitier and played an African ambassador to the UK. Earl was also able to secure regular work in television. In 1956 he appeared in an acclaimed BBC drama exploring racism in the workplace, A Man From The Sun alongside other trailblazing black actors like Errol John and Cy Grant. Later, he played the lead role in 1960's The Dark Man, another BBC drama about an immigrant taxi driver. He also made guest appearances in many popular series like Danger Man, The Prisoner, Dixon Of Dock Green, The Zoo Gang, Emergency - Ward Ten, Crown Court, Jackanory, Waking The Dead (a memorable performance as Spencer Jordan's father in the award-winning 2003 two-parter Final Cut), Kavanagh QC, Babyfather, EastEnders, Dalziel & Pascoe and Lovejoy. Earl appeared in the 1966 Doctor Who story The Tenth Planet, which introduced The Cybermen, as Glyn Williams, one of two astronauts on the Zeus IV a rocket conducting an orbital atmosphere survey mission. He is believed to be the first Black actor to portray an astronaut on any film or TV series in the world. (Sadly, according to at least one cast member, Cameron was the subject of some deeply unpleasant racism on the set from another actor, though Cameron himself subsequently stated that he was 'unaware' of the alleged prejudice shown towards him.)
He also appeared in many one-off TV dramas, including Television Playhouse (1957), A World Inside (1962); ITV's Play Of The Week in two plays, The Gentle Assassin (1962) and I Can Walk Where I Like Can't I? (1964), the BBC's Wind Versus Polygamy (1968), A Fear Of Strangers (1964), in which he played Ramsay, a black saxophonist and small-time criminal who is detained by the police on suspicion of murder and is racially abused by a Chief Inspector (played by Stanley Baker), the Festival adaptation of The Respectful Prostitute (1964), Theatre 625's The Minister (1965) and two episodes of Thirty-Minute Theatre (Anything You Say in 1969 and Soldier Ants in 1971). In 1996 he featured as The Abbott in Neverwhere, the acclaimed urban fantasy series written by Neil Gaiman. His CV also included roles in Maisie Raine, The Great Kardinsky, The Frighteners, Spyder's Web, Honey Lane, The Power Game, The Troubleshooters, Court Martial, Espionage, Armchair Theatre, The Andromeda Breakthrough, Paul Of Tarsus, The Killing Stones, Big City and Sailor Of Fortune. And, also, in movies as diverse as The Sandwich Man, Odongo, The Mark Of The Hawk, Killers Of Kilimanjaro, No Kidding and Scorpio.
Cameron became committed to the Baha'i faith in the early 1960s and subsequently moved to the Solomon Islands; after returning to the UK his acting career experienced a revival, with a key role in the 2005 United Nations thriller The Interpreter as an African president accused of war crimes. He also had small roles in The Queen and Christopher Nolan's Inception. Cameron's performance in The Interpreter was particularly praised. The Baltimore Sun wrote: 'Earl Cameron is magnificent as the slimy old fraud of a dictator' and Rolling Stone described his appearance as 'subtle and menacing.' Philip French in the Observer referred to 'that fine Caribbean actor Earl Cameron.' In 2013, he appeared in the short film Up On The Roof, his final screen appearance. In 2019 the Earl Cameron Award for 'a Bermudian professional who has demonstrated exceptional passion and talent in the field of theatre, cinematography, film or video production' was established in his honour by the Bermuda Arts Council. The University of Warwick awarded Cameron an honorary doctorate in January 2013. On his one hundredth birthday in 2017, he was interviewed by the Gruniad where he, memorably, declared 'I haven't retired yet!' Earl was married twice; his first wife Audrey died in 1994. He is survived by his second wife Barbara and his six children.