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12:29pm Friday 7th June 2013
12:00am Monday 3rd June 2013
I have just spent two weeks in the USA. On my outward journey, the entertainment system was down and we got credit notes offering $150 off our next flight if, given the nonexistent leg room, we ever used that airline again.
4:47pm Friday 24th May 2013
I wish I could understand the people who are so adamant that gay men or women should not be allowed to formalise and celebrate their commitment and love for each other by getting married. The bill being considered at the moment specifically protects those religions that have objections to the notion of same sex marriage so that they cannot be compelled to act contrary to their agreed beliefs. Only religions that are willing to marry same sex couples will be doing so.
12:58pm Tuesday 21st May 2013
12:48pm Monday 13th May 2013
It was initially encouraging to hear in the Queen’s Speech that the government are planning to do something about ‘Health Tourism’. I say ‘initially’ because a little research revealed that successive governments have made similar promises dating back to the days of Brown and Blair.
2:08pm Friday 3rd May 2013
I wore a pair of odd shoes to a concert this week. I discovered when I returned home that I had spent an entire evening with friends and colleagues wearing one blue and one black shoe. None of them had commented. Too polite, perhaps? Probably not. At least one of them would have derived enormous pleasure in drawing attention to my fatal foot folly, had he noticed. It is more likely that, just as I had no idea what footwear they were sporting, they had similarly failed to deem it necessary to check mine out.
2:02pm Friday 19th April 2013
Having returned from another trip to Australia and New Zealand with my fellow Doctor Who actors, I have had time to reflect on the business of world travel in the 21st century. I don’t suppose there are many people who relish the process of ‘getting there’, even when the journey is short. I dare say that those who travel to holiday destinations with the prospect of relaxed days by aquamarine seas, sipping cocktails and dining in a warm breeze under the stars are more disposed to endure with equanimity the stresses of air travel than those of us who travel at the behest of our employers and have to sing for our less exotic suppers in places of employment rather than leisure.
6:30pm Monday 15th April 2013
11:08am Monday 8th April 2013
I was involved this week in a legal case three years after a minor collision when a car rolled into the back of another at a roundabout when the driver’s foot slipped off the brake of an automatic car.
11:00am Saturday 30th March 2013
12:00am Monday 25th March 2013
This week marks the demise of the iconic building, the BBC Television Centre. I have been asked to appear on the One Show on Friday evening to help celebrate the glory years of BBC Television. Whilst I am delighted to be able to share some happy memories of the wonderful programmes made by the Beeb over half a century, it is a bit like being invited to visit the home one lived in as a child to reminisce just before the demolition men move in to reduce your memories to rubble. I was lucky enough to spend a large part of the 70s and 80s at TV Centre, when the classic serial (which is now a landmark event in the television schedules) was staple fare on our screens. In quick succession, I appeared in ‘Roads to Freedom’ an adaptation of the Jean Paul Sartre trilogy), ‘War and Peace’ and ‘Cousin Bette’ by Balzac. It was perhaps naïve of me to think that this pattern would be continued in perpetuity. Looking back now, I realise just how lucky we all were to be working as actors and performers at a time when the BBC was at its most productive, a time when programmes were made by creative and innovative individuals and not by committees of administrators and accountants.
12:00am Sunday 17th March 2013
During the BAFTA and Oscar season my wife, who was an actress until we had children and she decided to concentrate on being a mother and send me out to work, commented that she had always felt uncomfortable about the smug, self congratulatory nature of those events. Her point was that film stars and successful theatre actors have more than enough already in terms of job satisfaction, fame and income without the additional business of statuettes and ballyhoo at the celebrity junkets that surround those events.
11:30am Saturday 9th March 2013
WYCOMBE Wanderers are beginning to succeed more regularly on the pitch under Gareth Ainsworth, who has inspired the team to battle hard and climb steadily away from the perilous waters at the bottom of the Second Division, in which we were languishing only a few months ago.
12:00am Sunday 3rd March 2013
12:00am Sunday 24th February 2013
Thirty-two years ago when I was playing King Rat in Dick Whittington in Lincoln, I befriended a seven year old girl who was one of the young local dancers that traditionally play village children in panto. She was shy and seemed somewhat lonely and apart from her more confident contemporaries. I used to chat to her in the wings and make her laugh. She became quite attached to me and I was even invited round to her home for tea by her parents, who appreciated my avuncular attitude to their daughter. She, now a 40-year-old mother of three, came last week with her parents and her husband to see the play I am currently doing in Lincoln and we met up and reminisced afterwards.
12:00am Monday 18th February 2013
LAST week, my daughter miraculously walked away from an accident that destroyed her car and could easily have injured or killed her. The fact that she survived with only bruises and a few aches and pains meant that it was a good day.
12:00am Monday 11th February 2013
12:38pm Friday 1st February 2013
12:00am Sunday 27th January 2013
11:35am Friday 18th January 2013
THE changes in the Bucks selection process for secondary education are a step in the right direction. At the end of secondary education, the preferred outcome must be that all will have achieved their potential.
10:31am Friday 11th January 2013
12:00am Sunday 6th January 2013
When I left the UK for my stint in the jungle, Wycombe Wanderers were bouncing ominously around the bottom of League Two and had just suffered a home defeat at the hands of Oxford that left us on 12 points after 11 games.
11:00am Saturday 29th December 2012
6:35pm Friday 21st December 2012
As my memory of jungle deprivations, excitements and trials fades, I am now in the throes of panto twice daily down in wintry Bournemouth. Christmas is everywhere to be seen and heard and this year I am, I have to confess, woefully unprepared. I suppose five weeks on the other side of the world followed by an immediate immersion into the fantasy world of Sleeping Beauty with Su Pollard twice daily, six days a week, does not leave a lot of time for a measured and careful preparation for the Yule jollifications.
10:30am Monday 17th December 2012
12:00am Sunday 16th December 2012
12:00am Sunday 2nd December 2012
WHY is car insurance so ridiculously frustrating? The very clever marketing idea of creating a collectible toy that my daughter covets has induced me over the last couple of years to check through their website to see if I can get better value insurance for our veritable fleet of vehicles. We live in a fairly inaccessible place and all six of us need independent transport.
12:00am Sunday 25th November 2012
WHEN I became an actor, reality television didn’t exist in the way that it does now. I suppose the first such programme was probably Candid Camera, in which practical jokes were played on unsuspecting members of the public and secretly filmed for our entertainment.
12:00am Sunday 18th November 2012
10:22am Friday 9th November 2012
10:55am Friday 2nd November 2012
On November 15, we are being invited to vote for a Police Commissioner for The Thames Valley. I have received my voting card, but no information about the candidates. So, I searched online and, lo and behold, it is all there for the asking at www.choosemypcc.org.uk I had not given much thought, I confess, as to the advisability or otherwise of having an elected Police Commissioner, instead of the present system, whereby basically a Chief Constable who has risen through the ranks answers to the politicians at the Home Office. The police have had a rough ride lately.
12:00am Sunday 28th October 2012
As a season ticket holder and Trust member of Wycombe Wanderers, I would like to congratulate Gareth Ainsworth and his team on the transformation that has taken place over the last few weeks. Yes, we were put in our place by a strong Port Vale team last Saturday when we played half of the game with ten men, but the three games before that have given us new hope after an opening to the season that left some spectators feeling free to boo their own team.
12:00am Monday 22nd October 2012
WHY is everything unnecessarily complicated? That is the question I feel compelled to ask even though I know the answer. The answer is that it suits those who want our money, our compliance and our obedience to have us all wandering around in a haze of baffled incomprehension. I am talking about taxation, insurance, telephone and internet service, travel tickets, hotel prices, utility prices, even a cup of coffee. Everything has been made so complicated that we need a battery of explanatory buffers between us, the consumers, and ‘them’. Although they are the ones who should be called the ‘consumers’ because they gobble up everything like corporate Pacmen as they make billions and pay teams of tax lawyers to ensure that they baffle HMCR as well. It has to stop.
12:50pm Friday 19th October 2012
English is a living language and therefore one has to be careful about trying to preserve it in aspic come what may. I am sure that many 17th Century grammarians were utterly appalled by the demise of ‘thou’ as the second person singular pronoun when that vulgar upstart ‘you’ became widely used in its place. My parents’ generation may have a similar attitude about the loss of ‘gay’ as a word for that particular kind of light-hearted, easy fun enjoyed when they were young, but we all have to accept that it now has a new meaning.
12:00am Sunday 14th October 2012
IF you’re a Wycombe or Marlow resident, next time you’re driving back (if you’re lucky enough to be a car owner) on the 40 mile plus round trip from Stoke Mandeville Hospital, after being obliged to go there in the absence of an A & E department in Wycombe, or next time you’re bumping along on one of the infrequent buses, have a glance to your left as you reach the Pedestal roundabout at West Wycombe. You will see a large, yellow sign that has been put there by Bucks County Council. You can’t miss it really. It is of a size that suggests it is conveying information of vital importance, possibly two metres square.
12:00am Sunday 30th September 2012
I WAS made even more aware of the full enormity of what is happening to our hospital when I received a circular along with my brown envelopes on Monday this week. It was from Buckinghamshire Healthcare, whose disingenuous strap-line is ‘Where your needs always come first.’ Well, the people of High Wycombe and Marlow and the surrounding area need a proper Accident and Emergency Unit in Wycombe. But it seems we are not going to be allowed to have one because, presumably, Buckinghamshire Healthcare has decided that we don’t ‘need’ it. Any more than we ‘need’ proper maternity provision, it seems.
12:00am Sunday 23rd September 2012
THE deaths of the two young lady police officers in Manchester serve as a salutary reminder, if one were needed, of the number of people in this country who regularly put their lives on the line for the rest of us.
12:00am Sunday 16th September 2012
12:00am Monday 10th September 2012
WE had to face an uncomfortable truth last week at Baker Towers. I was brought up in an age when we all left our doors open, and although the post-war years would be regarded as times of comparative deprivation by the current generation – no TVs, no computers or mobile phones, few cars – thefts from homes were rare, perhaps partly for that reason.
3:54pm Friday 31st August 2012
IN the last week 34 striking miners were shot dead at a platinum mine in South Africa; an 11 year old girl with Downs Syndrome in Pakistan was arrested for blasphemy as a result of burning pages from the Koran; a US Republican candidate for the senate announced that women who were victims of ‘legitimate rape’ (whatever that is) rarely got pregnant, therefore abortion could and should be safely be made illegal; soup kitchens became commonplace in Greece; Winnie Johnson died, after a lifetime of agonised hope, without ever having the small solace of knowing where her son Keith was buried by the vile Ian Brady.
10:11am Friday 24th August 2012
It is only during my lifetime that suicide ceased to be a criminal act. Amazingly, until 1961 anyone attempting and failing to end their own life could be prosecuted and imprisoned. It is a myth that it was ever a capital offence in this country, or indeed any other, in the two millennia since the Roman Emperor Hadrian tried to prevent soldiers from committing suicide (as a means of avoiding having to fight and die in battle), by making their attempt punishable by death.
12:00am Sunday 19th August 2012
12:00am Sunday 12th August 2012
I am anticipating Olympic withdrawal symptoms. The rare joy of events being broadcast at times when we in the UK can watch without staying up to 3am has meant that we have immersed ourselves in the breadth and depth of the fantastic efforts of competitors from all over the world. And the age of the red button has allowed us to choose our excitement of preference.
12:00am Sunday 5th August 2012
MY daughter was unexpectedly offered the chance of a holiday last week after a friend was unable to use one he had booked when work intervened – and in my business work always wins; there’s not a lot of it about.
12:00am Sunday 29th July 2012
EARLIER this week a young man, wearing a costume of protective gear similar to that worn in a film and carrying guns entered a cinema where that film was being shown in Aurora, Colorado and shot dead 12 people, injuring around 58 more.
4:00pm Sunday 22nd July 2012
A NEAR neighbour rented a small digger/tractor this week which was kept overnight in a small field behind his house. During Sunday night the caterpillar-tracked vehicle was driven through his field and two larger fields which were connected by gates and then through a wire fence (which was cut for the purpose) onto a country track and then presumably loaded on to a trailer.
1:00pm Sunday 15th July 2012
If you are in the public eye, it is undoubtedly true that you can be perfectly pleasant most of the time but if you let things wind you up for a brief instant, that is the moment that will be remembered forever by those present.
10:40am Sunday 8th July 2012
10:20am Sunday 1st July 2012
Not a good week for banks or computers. When computers really entered our everyday lives two or three decades ago, the received wisdom was that we would ultimately all be relaxing in our hammocks while they took over all those jobs that no one really wanted to do and generated oodles of wealth.
12:50pm Sunday 24th June 2012
THIS is a time of year when football usually fades from the headlines. But with the European Championship dominating the television schedules, football is still very much on everyone’s mind. Locally too, we would be hardly thinking of our local team beyond keeping a casual interest on the back pages of this paper for news of transfers and the fixture lists for the upcoming season. Not this year.
Village news from around Bucks!
- Tylers Green
- West Wycombe
- Princes Risborough
- Marlow Bottom
- Chesham Bois
- Great Missenden