Wednesday, 2 April 2014

A Year In Provence

Here in the UK the complete version of AYIP has now been released and is available from Amazon, I have really been enjoying this little gem, it's wonderfully written and the acting is at its best, worth having in your John Thaw collection.

I'm very sorry for not posting as much as I would like, but having only an iPad1 to use online I find it's not very useful for blogging, as I can't post photos. But I'll still keep you all posted as and when new John Thaw stuff comes to DVD.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Vote Morse

Hi everyone
The Radio Times over here is celebrating 90 years in publication and to mark the occasion they want people to vote for there favourite drama, so here is your chance to vote for Morse and John of course. See link below...

Thursday, 2 May 2013

40 Years a fan of a wonderful actor...

In 1973, I was at home, having come out of hospital where I'd been for nearly two years with Tuberculosis in my hip, which I got in 1968, and this was the second time of recovering from hospital.  As I was in such dreadful pain and couldn't walk, or go to school, my Mum would let me watch films on TV in the afternoon to try and take my mind off all the pain and discomfort I was in.

One particular afternoon in May, changed my life forever because being screened was 'The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner'. It didn't mean anything at the time to a 12 year old, but it soon would.

As I sat on a chair with my bad leg on a stool, I was transfixed by the young man I was watching, who was handcuffed to another man beside him in the back of a van. I couldn't take my eyes off him, and thought he was wonderful the way he expressed himself without words as to what he was thinking and feeling.

But then he spoke to the man he was handcuffed to, and he was a northern lad. I was so chuffed, even though he had a Liverpool accent, I had to find out more about this young man and where he came from. I asked Mum who he was, but she thought I was talking about Tom Courtney, which being his film, was understandable.

I told her when she pointed him out to me that it wasn't him, so I had to wait until the end of the film to find out his name. His character's name was Bosworth so I had to keep repeating it over and over again to myself till the film ended so I wouldn't forget. It was a good way to forget the pain I was in, as the film was rather long for a 12 year old, but I didn't mind!

There it was! His name in black and white, the name I was looking for... John Thaw! I was so pleased to now know what he was called, same first name as my Dad. When Dad got home from work I asked him if he had seen him in anything before. Dad said that he'd been in a series in the sixties about the army.

I found out many years later he was on about 'Redcap', and also to my delight that John was born here in Manchester, not far from where I live!

My next screen meeting with Mr Thaw on TV was on 1st June 1974, (seven days before my birthday) when a new TV comedy series started called 'Thick As Thieves'. John looked and sounded very different to his role in Loneliness, and in this he was funny too.

I loved it and couldn't wait for the following week for the second episode to air, as that would be on my birthday, what a lovely present! But before then I was in for another treat, because a few days later on 4th June 1974 on TV was screened 'Regan' an Armchair Theatre special. In this John played a totally different character to others I'd seen, I thought he was brilliant and couldn't wait to see what he would do next.

In 1975 John appeared in a new drama series called 'The Sweeney', which followed on from Regan, and would make him famous, but not quite the world over. That would come in 1987, but more on that later.

At first I didn't think Mum or Dad would let me stay up and watch this gritty new police drama, but Mum knew how much I loved watching anything with John in that she let me. It was brilliant, it made you feel alive watching it, as it had so much pace to it, and John though he didn't know it, had a knack of taking my mind of the pain I was suffering and would continue to for the rest of my life.

The series was like nothing seen before, the stories and the characters seemed so real, but they weren’t of course, and I didn't think the public would see John as another character after playing Regan for four years. if they were to, it would have to be extra special.

As the years rolled away I loved this actor more then ever, I loved seeing what roles he would choose next to play, it was very exciting!

My next meeting with John was in 1981, as from 1976-78 I had to have more surgery on my hip, so I missed a fair bit of TV towards the end of the seventies. In 1981 John became the subject of a wonderful TV series here in the UK called 'This Is Your Life', in which the lovely Eamon Andrews was the host who seemed to have a knack of putting everyone he met at ease.

This was 30 minutes long with one advert break! John was so handsome, and for me it was wonderful to finally see and hear him as himself. I've been lucky enough to get a copy of it on DVD, and watching now just brings back lovely memories.

Next appearance was set in Lancashire's rival, Yorkshire in the single drama and one of my all time favourites 'Killer Waiting'. John was at his most brilliant best in this drama, and if any of you have never seen it, then I thoroughly recommend you do.

I was looking forward next to seeing John in 'Mitch', but sadly in 1984 my beloved Mum had cancer and though we didn't know it she was dying, so TV wasn't much on my mind that year. In January 1985 my Mum died and took a big part of me with her, I thought I'd never get over losing her, but John even had a way to help me there.

In April 1985, a new comedy series started on TV called 'Home To Roost', now as much as I loved John I loved Mum even more obviously, and honestly didn't think I'd be able to watch a comedy when the last thing on my mind was laughing. But I did. Every week I watched all the first series and didn't laugh once, then the last episode of Series One was screened, and in it Sheila, John's wife played his characters ex-wife.

In the story Sheila throws a statue at John (which I'm so pleased to say missed him), but it made me giggle, even though straight away I felt guilty, but that series until it ended helped me more then anything else could.

Remember earlier I told you that something else later in John's career would make him world famous. Well on 6th January 1987 here in the UK, a new drama started called 'Inspector Morse'. It didn't quite catch on straight away, but I knew after the first episode that John would be forever remembered as Morse.

This drama would go on to win many awards, many of them for its leading man John Thaw and rightly so.

Later that year in December just after Christmas, John starred along side Jeremy Brett in 'Sherlock Holmes - The Sign of Four', this was wonderful, having my all time favourite book character Sherlock Holmes, (sorry Morse), and John together in one of the stories, brilliant!

I've only picked a few of John's performances that I was lucky enough to watch the first time they were screened, there was of course many, many more I could have mentioned but I'd be here till Christmas if I did, ha ha!

Even to this day, John is still there for me in his performances, for when I'm in great pain and depressed, I just put one of his shows on and in no time at all I'm swept into another world that has no pain or depression. It's just John and me, solving a murder, having a bit of fun or helping someone in court!

Here's to 40 glorious days and watching one of the greatest actors Manchester has ever had, I'm so proud to be a fan of this wonderful actor.

My 40 chosen performances to mark my 40 years a fan...

40 performances to mark my 40th anniversary of being a fan of John Thaw
From 1st May - 9th June 2013
The 60's
001.  Sergeant Musgrave's Dance
002.  Loneliness of The Long Distance Runner
003.  Redcap: The Killer
004.  Z-Cars: A La Carte
005.  Edgar Wallace Mysteries: Five To One
006.  The Avengers: Esprit De Corps
007.  Edgar Wallace Mysteries: Dead Man's Chest
008.  The Bofors Gun
009.  Strange Report: Revenge - When A Man Hates
The 70s
010.  The Last Grenade
011.  Budgie: Sunset Mansions Or Whatever Happened To Janey Baib
012.  Armchair Theatre: Competition
013.  The Onedin Line: Mutiny
014.  The Adventures Of Black Beauty: The Hostage
015.  The Rivals Of Sherlock Holmes: The Sensible Action Of Lt. Hoist
016.  The Capone Investments: A Murder Missing
017.  The Protectors: Lena
018.  Thick As Thieves: The Homecoming
019.  Regan
020.  Dinner At The Sporting Club
The 80s
021.  This Is Your Life: John Thaw
022.  The Grass Is Singing
023.  Saturday Night Thriller: Where Is Betty Buchus?
024.  Killer Waiting
025.  Mitch: Something Private
026.  Home To Roost: High Spirits
027.  We'll Support You Evermore
028.  Inspector Morse: Dead On Time
029.  Sherlock Holmes: The Sign Of Four
030.  Business As Usual
031.  Bomber Harris
The 90s
032.  Stanley And The Women
033.  A Year In Provence
034.  Kavanagh QC: Blood Money
035.  Into The Blue
036.  Goodnight Mister Tom
037.  The Waiting Time
The 00s
038.  Monsignor Renard
039.  The Glass
040.  Buried Treasure

Saturday, 27 April 2013

My email address

Sorry everyone but I've had to delete my email address from my blog, as it's been hacked, I now have a new email address but won't be adding it on here in case this is where the hacker got it from. I know it means true fans can't get in touch with me, but I'm sure we can find another way!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Lewis ratings detract from Miranda and Mrs Brown's Boys success

Glad to see Lewis beating these other shows, and getting better ratings then last year!

Viewers flocked to ITV series Lewis in their millions last night, meaning popular BBC sitcoms Miranda and Mrs Brown’s Boys looked unsteady at the top of the ratings table.

The Inspector Morse spinoff, which stars Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox, returned for its seventh series yesterday and rumours are abound that it could be the final outing for the show.

An impressive 6.24m tuned in to watch the launch episode of Lewis, representing a 24 per cent share of the viewing audience and an increase of more than 1m viewers on the last series opener.

Lewis - series seven episode one a review

Here is a review I received on Lewis today, thought you might like to read it.

The Telegraph
Daisy Bowie-Sell reviews the first episode of the final series of ITV1's spin-off from detective drama Inspector Morse.

When Lewis first aired in 2006, 11 million watched the pilot, eager to see if the series could fill the void left by the long-running Inspector Morse. Making Robbie Lewis, once Morse’s Sergeant, into an Inspector was a gamble: there was an intriguing balance met by pairing John Thaw’s curmudgeonly, borderline alcoholic Morse with Kevin Whately’s clueless, straight-down-the-line, Lewis. Laurence Fox as Sergeant Hathaway - sidekick to Lewis now Lewis was no longer sidekick to Morse - added some spice, but having Lewis in charge was never going to be as fun as when Morse was in the driving seat.

Though the programme has never quite matched the thrills of Morse, it has been a constant audience-puller over its six series – with 7-8 million regularly tuning in. But now, after playing the character since 1987, Whately has finally had enough. There have been rumours over the last year that both he and Fox were getting itchy feet, and ITV have now announced this series will be Lewis’s last.

As if preparing for a slow fade (sudden burn out would never be Lewis’s style), each two-hour storyline in the seventh series has been spread across two single one hour slots (shown a week apart), where in the past they would have been broadcast in one evening. This removes one of the joys of the programme – one hour is too short to disappear into one of those improbable, inexplicable storylines. It barely allows you to get a hold on who the characters are, let alone guess whodunnit.

But the plot in this first episode was as delightfully bizarre as the best of Lewis. Dodgy Oxford students feature – specifically the victim, a man who, unbeknown to his wife, had been moonlighting as a psychic, duping the recently bereaved into thinking he could talk to their loved ones.

There were oddballs-a-dozen, including the wonderfully enigmatic Justine Skinner, played by Beatie Edney. Skinner once poisoned her next door neighbour’s cats with the same drug used to kill the victim and, therefore, is a suspect. Sanjeev Bhaskar appeared towards the end as assisted dying campaigner Kanan Dutta, who advised Lewis on the murder, and although he featured very little in this episode, it's likely there will be more from him and his gloomy wife in the second episode.

There was also mention of a government conspiracy, plenty of red-herrings and a shock cliffhanger to whet the appetite. This was classic Lewis, let down by the frustrating decision to keep us waiting seven days for the follow up.