14th March 2014 – Manuel Torres, 83
Spanish footballer who won the European Cup with Real Madrid in 1957.
15th March 2014 – Scott Asheton, 64
Drummer for The Stooges.
15th March 2014 – Clarissa Dickson_Wright, 66
TV Chef who was best known for being one of the Two Fat Ladies.
16th March 2014 – Steve Moore, 64
British comic book writer, mentor of Alan Moore and worked for 2000AD and Marvel. He created Absolom Daak and Kroton the Cyberman in the Doctor Who comics of the 1980s.
17th March 2014 – Oswald Morris, 98
Acclaimed British Oscar winning cinematographer. Credits: A Farewell to Arms, Look Back in Anger, Our Man in Havana, Guns of Navarone, Lolita, The Hill, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, Oliver, Goodbye Mr Chips, Scrooge, Fiddler on the Roof, Sleuth, The Odessa File, The Man with the Golden Gun, The Man Who Would Be King, The Great Muppet Caper and The Dark Crystal.
Not a bad CV.
“He won his Academy Award for Fiddler on the Roof (1971), a shoot on which he slipped a silk stocking over his camera lens to gain the distinctive sepia-tinged visuals. The film was, he said, “a cameraman’s dream because it had everything a cameraman could wish for.” Filming Norman Jewison’s musical allowed Morris to take a cinematic journey through the seasons. “We have winter with rain, winter with dull weather, winter with snow. We have dawns, sunrises, hot summer days, cold winter days, sunsets and nights,” he said. “Now I can’t think of anything, except possibly a storm, that one couldn’t have put in this film from a photographic point of view. Morris would defuse actors’ demands as adeptly as he would soften the light in which they were bathed. “I would chat them up before filming started and ask if they had any hang-ups,” he explained. “You bypass the director and form a relationship with them.” Directors could be equally tricky. He worked on eight films with the notoriously difficult John Huston. “I did use to go up and say, 'John, we have a problem’,” remembered Morris “He would always say: 'Well, kid,’ — he always called me kid — 'what are you going to do about it?’ and I’d go and find a solution. We always came up with something in the end.”
18th March 2014 – Martin Friend
Actor who played the villainous Styggron in the Doctor Who story The Android Invasion.
19th March 2014 – Lawrence Walsh, 102
American deputy Attorney General who led the investigation into Iran-Contra.
“Walsh, a lifelong Republican, seemed a safe pair of hands. He had served two Republican presidents, worked at one of the nation's most powerful law firms (Davis Polk & Wardwell), and had spent five years as president of the American Bar Association. But he had risen through the ranks by investigating corruption, and was known for his determination, thoroughness and indefatigable energy. From the outset, Walsh came into conflict with Congress, which was uninterested in criminal prosecutions. The administration blamed everything on Admiral John Poindexter, Reagan's national security adviser, his aide Robert McFarlane, and the man who had run Iran-Contra, Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North. By giving immunity to many of Tower's witnesses, the administration also made it impossible for Walsh to use their testimony.”
Michael Carlson, Guardian obit
20th March 2014 – Hilderaldo Bellini, 83
Brazilian footballer who was the captain of the 1958 World Cup winning side, as well as winning the Cup for a second time in 1962 and appearing in a third World Cup in 1966. He made over 400 league appearances as a central defender for Vasco da Gama.
21st March 2014 – James Rebhorn, 65
American actor who had starred in Homeland as Frank Mathison.
22nd March 2014 – Mickey Duff, 84
British boxing promoter.
23rd March 2014 – Adolfo Suarez, 81
The first democratically elected Prime Minister of Spain (1976-81) who transferred from cabinet posts under Franco to free Spain. When the failed coup happened, Suarez was one of only three men (alongside Santiago Carrillo) who refused to budge in the face of the gunmen.
“As acting minister of the interior, [Suarez] prevented a potential massacre after police brutality had provoked leftwing protests that the army was keen to crush. Having already established contacts with the Christian Democrat opposition, Suárez became ever more the focus of royal hopes, especially after a brilliant speech in the Cortes arguing that the straitjacket of Franco's laws needed to adapt to Spain's pluralist society. At the beginning of July 1976...The king shocked the political world by replacing Arias with Suárez rather than with a more senior candidate. The fate of the monarchy depended on Suárez rather than with a more senior candidate's success or failure: Suárez himself commented years later that the king had "risked his crown".With the king's approval, Suárez picked a government that was ridiculed as a "cabinet of assistant lecturers". Nonetheless, the unchanged military ministers aside, Suárez's team of conservative Catholics was committed to reform. His strategy would be based on speed, introducing measures faster than the Francoist establishment could respond. His programme recognised popular sovereignty, promising a referendum on political reform and elections before 30 June 1977.”
Paul Preston, Guardian obit
“Adolfo Suárez, was very unfairly treated in this country. Because after four years of facing a difficult situation, to contribute to regime change in practice, Suarez was crucified by the Spanish right.” Santiago Carrillo in 2007
25th March 2014 – Jerry Roberts, 93
British WW2 codebreaker who worked at Bletchley Park.
“I suppose I should have been unhappy that I wasn’t fighting the true fight. But this never bothered me. One knew that this was immensely more important than any other single contribution that you could make as a soldier, or as an officer.”
“Roberts, a French and German linguist, was recruited to the British listening post in Buckinghamshire in 1941 following a recommendation from Professor Leonard Willoughby, his tutor at University College London, who had worked during the First World War in Room 40, the main cipher-breaking unit of that time. Roberts was interviewed and accepted by the renowned Colonel John "The Brig" Tiltman as a cryptographer and linguist at the Government Code and Cypher School. Roberts was one of four founder-members of the Testery, an exclusive unit established in October 1941 and named after the man leading it, Major Ralph Tester, and including Captain Peter Ericsson and Major Denis Oswald. All four were fluent in German. After a few months of breaking of a Double Playfair cipher system used by the German Military Police from 1 July 1942, the team was given the task of breaking Tunny, a cipher that only carried the highest-grade intelligence, messages from a handful of Hitler's top Generals and Field Marshals – including von Rundstedt, Rommel, Keitel and Jodl – to German Army HQ in Berlin, and despatches from the Führer himself.”
Martin Childs, Independent obit
27th March 2014 – Derek Martinus, 82
TV director with a visual eye unsurpassed in his field. There is a moment in the first Jon Pertwee Doctor Who story, Spearhead from Space, helmed by Martinus, which makes the audience gasp. A shop window dummy makes a military convoy vehicle crash by walking in front of it. Van hits tree, monster takes the thing within. But as the camera pans over the scene, you see the broken windscreen, complete with the blood of the (presumably dead) driver. Imagine trying to get that past the censors nowadays!
“As a young man he joined an amateur group, the Taverners, as did Timothy West. It toured Shakespeare plays round London pubs, as it had done throughout the second world war. After national service in the RAF, Derek studied directing and acting at the University of Oklahoma and Yale school of drama, and by the mid-50s was back in Britain, working as a jobbing actor in regional rep.”
Michael Billington, Guardian obit
Besides work on Z-Cars (helming over 50 episodes) and episodes of Blake's 7, United! And Emmerdale, it was Doctor Who he returned to in the 1960s. Pertwee’s debut was the final turn from a hand who had provided a flair beyond the norm to previous stories Galaxy Four, Mission to the Unknown, The Ice Warriors and The Evil of the Daleks. He was also the director looked upon to direct The Tenth Planet, the final William Hartnell story, as well as being the debut appearance of the Cybermen. Martinus shot from afar mysteriously, from low and high, and with atmospheric long shots panning over the faces of characters, dragging mood and tension out of what could on paper read quite mundane. The episode three cliffhanger – a countdown – is textbook example of making the mundane gripping tv. What helped this eye for how the thing would look visual, was the knack of casting the actors to give the added emphasis to the characters. Tenth Planet had Robert Beatty and Earl Cameron. Ice Warriors was lifted by the excellent casting of Peter Barkworth, Angust Lennie and Peter Sallis. The aforementioned Spearhead was boosted greatly by appearances from John Woodnutt and Hugh Burden.
“Returning to the UK, Martinus enjoyed a steady freelance career as an actor and director in the regions, and directed more than 20 shows for Croydon’s in-the-round Pembroke Theatre (1959-62). In 1964, he was appointed associate director of Salisbury Playhouse. His later directing credits included West End thriller The Killing Game with Hannah Gordon and Peter Gilmore for Bill Kenwright (Apollo Theatre, 1981), Strindberg shorts at London’s Gate Theatre (1985) and a long association with the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. His other television credits included more than 50 episodes of Z-Cars (1968-78), the Frances Hodgson Burnett adaptation A Little Princess (1973), the five-part drama A Legacy, starring Flora Robson and Claire Bloom (1975), 14 episodes of the medical soap Angels (1975-76), Blake’s 7 (1979), the Sunday-evening family saga Penmarric (1979), the military drama series Spearhead (1978-81) and, his swan song, the children’s foster-home drama Dodger, Bonzo and the Rest (1985).”
Michael Quinn, The Stage obit
“One often gets the impression that the producers pay more attention to the commercials than to the programme.”
Derek Martinus in the Stage, 1956
A Swedophile, Martinus went onto produce and adapt shows in Sweden too in the 1980s.
“As early as 1962 Martinus had felt Sweden to be “an actor’s Utopia”, with “an enormous state and municipal subsidy for theatre, and in having a classless society, which makes theatre-going an entertainment that all can share.” He had a lasting partnership with his Swedish wife, Eivor, whom he met in 1959. He acted in her one-act play You at the London fringe venue the Cockpit in 1974. Twenty years before John Madden’s film, he assembled Shakespeare in Love (1978), an anthology which toured Scandinavia, with Eivor providing a Swedish commentary. He directed Vargen (1984), a drama for Swedish TV set in an unnamed country in 1994, depicting the aftermath of civil war. Martinus co-directed, and Eivor translated, three one-act Strindberg plays at the Gate, Notting Hill in 1985, where they also staged the playwright’s Thunder in the Air four years later. In 1991 he directed and she translated Caryl Churchill’s Mad Forest in Swedish in Malmo.” Gavin Gaughan, Independent obit
“[Pat Troughton] lent it an air of respectability. At that time, the programme was beginning to make a big impact and star names were attracted. I do remember being quite nervous about approaching Marius Goring to appear in ‘The Evil of the Daleks’, but he was attracted to the indulgence of the part. He liked to play these great Henry Irving style eccentrics, and we sold it to him on the basis that here was the chance to create a really rich, bizarre character. He seized on that and really went to town. I seem to remember a lot of filming in an old house, which was very good. The Daleks had to be shot very carefully and from exactly the right angle, because if you shoot them without care they do look rather tame and ordinary. You had to build up a Dalek’s entrance. I used to make them lurk in the shadows.”
Derek Martinus, 1980s
Martinus had suffered from very poor health for a number of years.
(some clips of Martinus's Doctor Who aesthetic - the latter starring Angus Lennie, alas latter to feature in these dispatches.)
27th March 2014 – James R Schlesinger, 85
US Secretary of Defence for Nixon and Ford, and Energy Secretery for Carter.
28th March 2014 – Lorenzo Semple Jr, 91
American screenwriter who wrote Three Days of the Condor, and created the Adam West Batman series.
“Semple didn't much mind if he was not the sole writer on a film. "Almost all the good scripts I've been involved in, I've been fired off of for one reason or another," he said in a 2011 video interview conducted by the Writers Guild Foundation. Semple simply loved the craft of writing, and he had little use for the rest of what went into moviemaking, except as fodder for hilarious stories he would tell about star egos and meetings with studio executives. In fact, one of his favorite projects came before any of the blockbuster movies. He was the first writer and executive story editor on the wacky, highly irreverent and wildly successful "Batman" TV series that made its debut in 1966. "I think 'Batman' in general was much the best thing I ever wrote," Semple said of the show, which was done without a lot of oversight by executives. "'Batman was a lot of fun. But already, when I got to doing a couple other things, you had to have meetings and talk to people, and it wasn't any fun."
David Colker, LA Times
30th March 2014 – Kate O’Mara, 74
Dynasty’s Caress Morrell. Doctor Who’s Rani. Howard’s Way’s Laura Wilde.
“Her major performances were invariably off-piste, in repertory theatres, or on Bill Kenwright tours. In the mid-1990s she gave one of those touring roles, Mrs Cheveley in Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband, at no fewer than three West End addresses: the Haymarket, the Albery (now the Noël Coward) and the Globe (now the Gielgud). However, she was best known to the British public as a stalwart of many popular television soaps – The Brothers (1975-76), Dynasty (1986), Howards' Way (1989-90), a revival of Crossroads (2003) – and one of the worst, too, the execrable Triangle (1981-82), a North Sea ferry saga that even the BBC, which had produced the programme, included on an evening of worst-ever TV shows. Kittenish and seductive – her friend Roger Moore once dubbed her "Starlet O'Mara" – she counted Lydia Languish in Sheridan's The Rivals, which she played for the Welsh Theatre Company in 1965, and Elvira in Noël Coward's Blithe Spirit as her favourite roles. But she more than cut the mustard, too, as Cleopatra at the Nottingham Playhouse in 1982 and as Martha inEdward Albee's vitriolic Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? on a 1990 tour.”
Michael Coveney, Guardian obit
April 2014 – Brenda Kempner,75
Actress best known for roles in The Elephant Man and Never Say Never Again. She also had a role in Doctor Who, as Mrs Grose in Ghost Light.
2nd April 2014 – Glyn Jones, 82
South African who both wrote (The Space Museum, a futuristic apartheid satire) and acted (opposite the Sontarans in The Sontaran Experiment) in Doctor Who.
“Watched “Private Schultz,” BBCTV (1981) at its very best, with Michael Elphick and the brilliant Ian Richardson absolutely superb as Major Neuheim plus a few smaller parts ending with a one liner, the very last line in the six part one hour series: “Your change, sir.” Not an inflexion wrong, not a gesture wrong, not a note wrong, not an expression wrong, an absolute gem of a performance achieving that wonderful outcome of being both hilarious yet at the same time a real person rather than a two dimensional comic. Hats off too to Jack Pulman, most famous probably for his adaptation of “I Claudius,” for his scripts of “Private Schultz.” He died young (54) before he could see his work. I feel sure he would have been more than pleased with the final result. Not all of us can have that sort of talent but what a loss when you see some of the dross TV puts out.”
Glyn Jones, blogging 9th January 2014
3rd April 2014 – Arthur Smith, 93
Guitarest who wrote the duelling banjos.
4th April 2014 – Margo MacDonald, 70
Hardline socialist Scottish politician who served in the Scottish Parliament as a MSP both for the SNP and as an Independent.
MacDonald burst onto the scene explosively in 1973, shockingly the British establishment by winning the Glasgow Govan by-election. When reporters asked if the twenty-something blonde was running as a PR stunt, she would drag them by the arm down to the collapsing Govan slums by the Clyde that thousands still lived in, the scene proving more brutal than a thousand words of rhetoric ever could. Her husband Jim Sillars later won Govan in another by-election in 1988 for the SNP.
“She leaves a void in our lives which will be impossible to fill and her death robs the Scottish nation of one of its greatest talents. She was without question the most able politician of her generation. Today, the brightest light in the Scottish political firmament has gone out. She supported and inspired generations of idealists and campaigners who, like her, wanted Scotland to take its place in the world. Her talent acted like a magnet and she gave her time so freely to so many for so long.” ”
Jim Sillars, Scotsman
Her left wing outlook was not in step with the SNP leadership of the time (despite being for a time their Deputy Leader in the mid-70s), and after the election wipeout of 1979, she left the SNP until Alex Salmond was in charge. She was director of Shelter from 1978-81.
Her long battle with Parkinsons was leaked by the press in 2003. It didn’t stop her being elected as an independent – after a further fall out with SNP leadership which saw her drop down their list preferences for the regional elections– in 2003, 2007 and 2011. She supported Assisted Dying legislation.
“The causes she pursued were often high-risk in terms of public opinion but her independent status gave her the freedom to do so, and the electorate, when asked, responded positively. For example, Margo championed tolerance zones for prostitution and worked tirelessly to understand and improve the conditions in which that trade operated, leading to a much more tolerant attitude in Edinburgh than elsewhere in Scotland. In recent years, from a position of irrefutable authority, she pursued her campaign to legislate for the right to assisted suicide. Margo was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1996 and it was through her contact with others who suffered from the condition, or had cared for them, that she arrived at the view that it should be the right of people suffering from terminal illnesses to decide when to end their own lives. The campaign that she pursued, in Scotland and beyond, showed Margo at her best. Assisted suicide is an emotive subject with deeply held views on both sides. But, in Margo's hands, the debate was conducted with vigour and passion, but always with mutual respect, and a bill in her name was before the Scottish parliament at the time of her death.
Brian Wilson, Guardian obit
6th April 2014 – Mickey Rooney, 93
American child actor who went onto have a near 80 year career in Hollywood.
“As adept at comedy as drama and an excellent singer and dancer, Rooney was regarded as the consummate entertainer. During a prolific career on stage and screen that spanned eight decades (“I’ve been working all my life, but it seems longer,” he once said), he was nominated for four Academy Awards and received two special Oscars, the Juvenile Award in 1939 (shared with Deanna Durbin) and one in 1983 for his body of work.He also appeared on series and TV and in made for television movies, one of which, “Bill,” the touching story of a mentally challenged man, won him an Emmy. He was Emmy nominated three other times. And for “Sugar Babies,” a musical revue in which he starred with Ann Miller, he was nominated for a Tony in 1980.” Carmel Dagan, Variety
“The diminutive 5-foot, 2-inch Rooney began his acting career shortly after his first birthday, appearing on vaudeville stages with his parents. He was born Joseph Yule Jr. on September 23, 1920, in Brooklyn, New York. His parents split when he was young, but spurred by his mother, he soon found himself in Hollywood. Before he was 10, he was a star, appearing in dozens of shorts based on the popular "Mickey McGuire" strip. He worked steadily through the 1930s, with notable turns in a 1935 version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and 1937's "Captains Courageous," the latter opposite Spencer Tracy. (Rooney also appeared in Tracy's 1938 vehicle "Boys Town.") But he shot into Hollywood's stratosphere in his next film series as Andy Hardy in more than a dozen films produced between 1937 and 1946.” Alan Duke and Todd Leopold, CNN
7th April 2014 – Peaches Geldof, 25
Journalist Daughter of Bob Geldof who had fought demons and used social media as a charitable campaign platform
“We are beyond pain. She was the wildest, funniest, cleverest, wittiest and the most bonkers of all of us. Writing ‘was’ destroys me afresh. What a beautiful child. How is this possible that we will not see her again? How is that bearable?”
7th April 2014 – Warrior, 54
“No WWE talent becomes a legend on their own. Every man's heart one day beats its final beat. His lungs breathe a final breath. And if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others and makes them bleed deeper and something larger than life then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized. By the story tellers, by the loyalty, by the memory of those who honor him and make the running the man did live forever. You, you, you, you, you, you are the legend markers of Ultimate Warrior. In the back I see many potential legends. Some of them with warrior spirits. And you will do the same for them. You will decide if they lived with the passion and intensity. So much so that you will tell your stories and you will make them legends, as well. Ultimate. You are the Ultimate Warrior fans. And the spirit of the Ultimate Warrior will run forever!" Warrior, on live TV, 6th April 2014
Pro-wrestler who had been WWF Champion in 1990, headlining WrestleMania 6 against Hulk Hogan. Eccentricism and political issues led to him disappearing for long periods of time from the industry, only to return in April 2014 to enter the Hall of Fame. He died the day after his last public appearance.
8th April 2014 – Sandy Brown, 75
Footballer who played for Partick Thistle and Everton.
“His move to Everton’s “School of Soccer Science” came just days after he gained his solitary representative honour, when he played for the Scottish League XI, which was roundly criticised for “only” beating the Irish League 4-1 at Windsor Park, Belfast, on 4 September, 1963. His next game, on Saturday, 7 September, was his Everton debut, against Burnley, at Goodison Park, in a match which the visitors won 4-3. On moving south, Brown was an immediate success at Goodison Park, where his versatility saw him occupy every position in the team – he even deputised in goal after England internationalist Gordon West was sent off in a match at Newcastle United – and made him a more-regular team member than he might otherwise have been, given that Everton’s other full backs at the time were Scotland cap Alex Parker and England regular and World Cup winner Ray Wilson. Another England internationalist in Tommy Wright was also on the staff, with Keith Newton, yet another England full-back arriving later from Blackburn Rovers. He played his part in Everton’s successful FA Cup campaign of 1966, never more so than in the semi-final against Manchester United at Bolton’s Burnden Park, where his goal line clearance late in the game preserved Everton’s lead.”
Matt Valance, Scotsman obit
9th April 2014 – Sir James Holt, 91
“The most famous single document ever produced by an English government, the Magna Carta has generally been seen as a guarantee of human rights in the English-speaking world, the first in a long and progressive series that includes the English Bill of Rights of 1689 and the American Bill of Rights of 1791. Magna Carta, in this sense, has become overlaid with centuries of Whiggish myth, during which the original document has been extracted from its original context and made to serve purposes that its original authors never had in mind. Holt set out to strip away all such accretions and set the events of 1215 and the charter itself in the context of the law, politics and administration of England and Europe of the time, to provide an analysis of the immediate political context and contemporary meaning of the document. Among other things, he highlighted the fact that many of the broad concepts, such as judgment by peers and protection against arbitrary disseisin (seizure of property) were hot topics all over Europe in the 13th century. Similar charters were issued in Germany, Sicily and France in the 13th and early 14th centuries. Only one thing set England’s Magna Carta apart from the rest: its survival.” Telegraph obit
“You ask me when I began to be interested in history. That I think occurred at a very young age, before I went to Bradford Grammar School in 1932. I attribute that in part to the interest of my father, who didn’t teach me any history but talked in historical terms now and then, and, in particular, to a series of volumes which I can only describe to you as the Waverley History of the British People. It was written by very distinguished historians. A lot of the medieval period was written by Powicke, making money on the side I suppose when he was in his Chair at Manchester. It had facsimiles of the Modus Tenendi Parlimentum, and continued in that vein into the modern period, up to after the First World War, where it ended with the Treaty of Versailles. Now I lived in those volumes as a boy. I had to ask my father’s permission: ‘May I take one off the shelves father?’ He would say yes, without any question, and I would turn the pages. Looking I think initially at the pictures, which were beautifully done, and also including contemporary images where that was possible. And of course as you go through the centuries it becomes more and more possible. Now, I wouldn’t say that I read them continuously from beginning to end. I read little bits of them. I lived with the pictures. I can recall many of them now. And that was a big influence.” James Holt, Fitzwilliam College interview 16 May 2008
“The College is saddened to record the death of Sir James Holt (1922-2014), Honorary Fellow. A Yorkshireman by birth (and a lifelong cricket fan), Jim Holt came to Merton as Harmsworth Senior Scholar in 1947, after war service in the Royal Artillery and an undergraduate degree at Queen's. In his subsequent career he was Professor and Head of the History Department at both Nottingham and Reading, before moving to Cambridge, where he was Professor of Medieval History (1978-1988) and Master of Fitzwilliam College (1981-1988). Renowned for his leadership and administrative flair, he was also President of the Royal Historical Society and Vice-President of the British Academy.” Dr Matthew Grimley, Merton College Oxford statement
10th April 2014 – Sue Townsend, 68
Writer best known for the Adrian Mole series of books. Had a style best described as the iron fist inside the velvet glove, in terms of punching satire.
“Townsend, a passionate socialist who was left blind due to the complications of her diabetes, achieved worldwide success for her book series about the teenager Adrian Mole, who battles haphazardly through adolescence under Margaret Thatcher’s government and, in later books, struggles to come to terms with maturity when Tony Blair is the Prime Minister.” Jenn Selby, Independent obit
“The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾, as the first volume was titled on publication in 1982, unveiled a boy clear-eyed enough to assess the world around him but powerless to shape his own fate. His pursuit of the treacle-haired, middle-class Pandora is defeated by acne, and his self-declared intellectual inclinations by the fact that “I am not very clever”. His slight teenaged frame carried a large dollop of guilt about the state of the nation itself. While The Secret Diary was devoured by teenagers looking for fiction that accurately reflected their own experiences, Adrian Mole was also a sufficiently convincing Everyman to appeal to other generations too. On the canvas that he provided, Sue Townsend was able to paint a satirical portrait of the day. Mole, she admitted, “is me. He is all of us, to a greater or lesser degree.”
“Yet, for all the poignant and hilarious personal detail, the Adrian Mole diaries offer the reader far more than the experience of one individual. Townsend’s greatest strength as a writer is her seemingly effortless ability to combine the personal with the wider social and political context. Her satirical social commentary is dry and witty, revealing her incredibly sharp and perceptive eye for detail through Adrian’s acute observations. It also offers a revealing and compassionate picture of the way in which socio-political matters affect the lives and mindsets of the ordinary person and the ordinary family. The early books therefore combine the fairly timeless issues of adolescent ups and downs with a telling commentary on Thatcher’s Britain in the 1980s, while the later works apply the same sharp satirical eye to New Labour in the 1990s and early twenty-first century, intertwined with Adrian’s worries about marriage, divorce, parenthood and career. Yet, despite Townsend’s penetrating vision, the tone of her work never descends into despair or pessimism.”
Elizabeth O’Reilly, British Council
10th April 2014 – Richard Hoggart, 95
Sociologist colleague of Stuart Hall, previously mentioned (and father of Simon, also previously mentioned) who had been expert witness at the Lady Chatterly Trial in 1960. Published the Uses of Literacy in 1957.
“The publication of The Uses of Literacy in 1957 propelled Richard Hoggart, then an extramural lecturer at the University of Hull, to the forefront of the changes that swept British culture from the sclerotic 1950s into the swinging 60s. The book was a groundbreaking study of working-class culture and a critical appraisal of the changes wrought by the commercial forces... Not only did it anticipate the opening-up of the cultural landscape, it also contributed to a critical and popular climate far more receptive to the subsequent explosion of books, films and art about working-class subjects by working-class artists."
Nicholas Wroe, Guardian
“When he reread the book 25 years later he said, ruefully, "Good God". This was not, he stressed, because he saw it as a work of any genius but because he realised how much time he had had, as a young, undiscovered lecturer, to write it. In his 40 working years he held down six senior full-time jobs with hardly a break. He wrote 15 books and edited more. He was an active pamphleteer, speaker and reviewer. He was also a Reith lecturer and a decisive witness in the 1960 Lady Chatterley trial, which liberalised British pornography laws and was instrumental – through the Pilkington Report on Broadcasting, which he largely wrote – in creating BBC2 as a quality television channel. He worked untiringly on cultural quangos for lifelong causes, which included public libraries, adult education and the arts. He was Arts Council vice-chairman until Margaret Thatcher sacked him in 1982. At home he was a conscientious DIY man. Several friends saw his workload as evidence of unfocused energy. The poet Philip Larkin felt he should have stuck to writing. But Hoggart said he never had the nerve to go freelance because of his insecure early life. He admitted to the lack of a clear sense of direction coupled with "a drive to go on, usually to the point of overworking"
John Ezard, Guardian obit
“Yet he was also essentially conservative in his dislike of change; hawkish in foreign affairs; and thoroughly elitist in his disdain for modern mass culture. He believed fervently in the value of great literature : “In a democracy which is highly commercialised you have to give people critical literacy. If you don’t do that, you might as well pack it in. He also thoroughly detested the fashion for relativism, which “leads to populism which then leads to levelling and so to reductionism of all kinds, from food to moral judgments". For Hoggart, those who maintained that the Beatles were as good as Beethoven represented a “loony terminus”. Telegraph obit
11th April 2014 – Edna Dore, 92
Actress best known for her role as Big Mo in Eastenders. Also had roles in Tenko, Love Hurts, The Canterville Ghost, Doctor Who, Gavin and Stacy, and recurring roles in The Bill and Time Gentlemen Please.
16th April 2014 – Frank Kopel, 65
Former Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers left back, who became a Dundee United legend, playing over 400 games for the team, and winning the League Cup twice for them, in 1980 and 1981.
17th April 2014 – Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 87
Colombian Nobel Prize winning novelist best known for his novels Love in the Time of Cholera and 100 Years of Solitude.
20th April 2014 – Rubin Carter, 76
Former boxer whose time in jail for murder (he was released after 20 years after the conviction was quashed) whose plight inspired both a film and the Bob Dylan song “Hurricane”.
23rd April 2014 – Mark Shand, 62
Brother of Camilla Parker-Bowles and a travel writer.
24th April 2014 – Arturo Licata, 111
Italian supercentenarian who had been involved in the Invasion of Ethiopia in 1936.
24th April 2014 – Sandy Jardine, 65
Scottish international and Rangers footballer who was in the SFA Hall of Fame.
“He remains the only Scot to have played 1,000 games in first class professional football. [1970-1] also saw Jardine make his first appearance for Scotland, coming on as a substitute in a friendly against Denmark at Hampden on 11 November, 1970, the Scots winning 1-0. It was not until 1973 and the 1-0 defeat by England at Wembley that Jardine formed his famous full-back partnership with Celtic’s Danny McGrain. They would play 19 times together for Scotland in all, including all three matches in the 1974 World Cup finals in which Scotland were undefeated but exited after the group stage on goal difference. Jardine also played for the national side in the 1978 World Cup Finals in Argentina, and made his 38th and final appearance for Scotland in the loss against Belgium in December 1979. In all, he captained Scotland nine times. For Scotland under Tommy Docherty, Willie Ormond, Ally McLeod and Jock Stein, and for Rangers under Waddell and his successors Jock Wallace and Greig, Jardine was encouraged to display his qualities both in defence and attack, becoming one of the original modern attacking full-backs”
Martin Hannan, Scotsman
“ We are all devastated by the news he has passed away, we have lost a great man today. I had the privilege of watching Sandy playing for Rangers when I was a young boy, I had enjoyed the pleasure of working with him closely since I returned to the Club in 2007 and he was a truly remarkable human being. His achievements both on and off the pitch are second to none and I was honoured to regard him as a friend. He gave everything for this great club and worked tirelessly in a number of roles because he wanted to ensure the traditions, history and standards at Rangers were maintained. He was respected not only by Rangers fans but also the wider football community and he is a huge loss to the game. We will never see his like again in the modern era. He recently told me he was proud to be a Ranger and wanted to be remembered forever as a Ranger. Well Sandy you will go down in history as one of the greatest of all time and we will miss you terribly."
Ally McCoist, Rangers manager
25th April 2014 – Tito Vilanova, 45
“I always thought about carrying on training and working, chasing my dream. I was lucky that when Tito came I began to play more often and from then on my career changed in the youth system.”
Barcelona manager from 2012-13 after a long stint as their youth coach. His raging start – in which his team looked invincible – was derailed entirely by the emergence of the cancer which cut short both his team, his career and then his life. Barcelona still won the league under his sole season in charge, but the dynamo pre-diagnosis suggested a sporting managerial dynasty that we’ve been robbed of.
“As Guardiola's assistant, Vilanova provided the tactical know-how that helped the coach build one of the best teams in the history of the sport, winning two Champions League titles in their impressive haul. As a young player, Vilanova was at Barcelona's training academy from 1984-89 but never made it to the first team. Instead, he went on to play for clubs such as Celta Vigo and Mallorca before his career was cut short by a serious knee injury. Vilanova then went into coaching and got a job with Barcelona's cadets, tutoring players such as Gerard Piqué, Cesc Fábregas and Messi. Vilanova left to work as the sport director at third-division Terrassa before returning to Barcelona to take over the club's "Barça B" feeder team.” Guardian staff
26th April 2014 – William Ash, 97
WW2 Great Escaper said to be the inspiration for Steve McQueens character in the film. Having saved his money up to go to university, he found himself in the midst of The Great Depression, and so took a series of working jobs (hiding his degree) until enlisting in the RAF.
“Though Ash was usually swiftly recaptured, his numerous escape attempts won him the admiration of his fellow prisoners, and it was as a tunneller that he found his true vocation. On one occasion, after he had been sent to a camp for recidivist escapees in Poland, he and a Canadian pilot led an escape bid involving the digging of a tunnel extending several hundred yards from under a stinking latrine to beyond the camp perimeter. They managed to break out, leading the way for 30 other prisoners, but all were eventually recaptured and Ash was returned to Stalag Luft III. On another occasion Ash staged a daring climb in broad daylight over two barbed-wire fences between machine-gun towers to reach a neighbouring compound where a group of prisoners were being shipped off to a new camp in Lithuania, which Ash thought might offer better prospects for escape. When he got there, he helped to dig another long tunnel and this time made it all the way to the Baltic coast. There he found a boat, but was too weak from hunger and exhaustion to drag it down the beach alone . He spotted some civilians digging a cabbage patch nearby and tried to enlist their help — only to discover that they were off-duty German soldiers . He swiftly found himself back in Stalag Luft III.”
“But the restless idealist in him drove him on, and after being posted to newly independent India by the BBC he fell under the spell of the left-wingers who formed part of the circle of the country's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. In the words of a Canadian air force association account of his life, the BBC External Services let him go "when his radical left-wing politics became embarrassing". While keeping a toehold in the BBC by editing scripts, he built himself a new career as a novelist, producing six books, including The Lotus in the Sky (1961) and Ride a Paper Tiger (1969). In 1968 he founded the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) with the eccentric pro-Chinese trades union leader and intellectual, Reg Birch (who died in 1994). He wrote non-fiction works including Pickaxe and Rifle: the Story of the Albanian People (1974) and served as literary manager of the tiny Soho Poly Theatre. He was chairman of the Writers' Guild of Great Britain until the 1980s, and in 1985 produced the acclaimed textbook The Way to Write Radio Drama.”
Anne Keleny, Indepedent obit
Kind of seems like the movie, motorcycle interlude or not, toned down the guy!
26th April 2014 – Paul Robeson, Jr, 86
26th April 2014 – Lee Marshall, 64
American sports commentator who did play by play commentary in WCW during the 1990s.
28th April 2014 – Richard Kershaw, 80
28th April 2014 – Jack Ramsay, 89
American HOF basketball coach who won 2 NBA championships, with the Philidelphia 76ers in 1967,and with the Portland Trail Blazers in 1977.
28th April 2014 – Jane MacNaught, 55
Producer of Coronation Street, You’ve Been Framed and The Kyrpton Factor.
“While producing Coronation Street, the show was regularly pulling in more than 18m viewers, with one programme in 1999 becoming the year’s most watched show with 19.82m. Macnaught would also introduce some headline-grabbing plot twists, such as the return of Raquel Watts (Sarah Lancashire), Bet Lynch (Julie Goodyear) and Reg Holdwsworth (Ken Morley). As well as the arrival of Dev, Sunita and Fiz. Promoted in 2000 she’d exec produce a further 229 episodes of the soap, before taking on responsibility for ITV’s drama department in Manchester.However, the final years at Coronation Street were seen as difficult. Its 40th anniversary, live episode didn’t have the impact the channel was expecting and there was reported friction between Macnaught and the cast with the introduction of a new pay regime.”
Stephen Chapman, Prolific North
Stephen Chapman, Prolific North
29th April 2014 – Walter Walsh, 106
Olympian FBI agent who competed at the 1948 London Olympics.
“Quickly rising to the ranks of the top agents, Walsh was responsible for tracking down bank robbers, cold-blooded murders, Mafiosi, and other horrible people that were far more likely to whip out a BAR and start smoking Feds than they were to walk backwards slowly with their hands behind their heads. Luckily for the FBI, Walter Walsh was damn good at his job. In 1934 he tracked down the final resting place of Baby Face Nelson. In ’35 he was driving around the murder-soaked blood-drenched streets of Chicagoland when he spotted the dangerous outlaw Doc Barker, a hatchetman for the Barker Gang. Walsh slammed on the brakes of his car, jumped out, and sprinted down the street after Doc. The gangster started running, but Walsh ran him down, jammed a .45 in his face, and did what was probably the first-ever recitation of the “Do you feel lucky punk?” speech. Doc surrendered, was hauled off to Alcatraz, and later that same fucking day Walter Walsh got in a shootout with a hardened gangster known as “Slim Gray” Gibson. Walsh’s only description of the gunfight was this: “He shot high. I didn’t.” In his decade of service to the FBI, Walsh is credited with killing between 11 and 17 gangsters in shootouts.”
The Badass of the Week site tribute
“Mr. Walsh’s most celebrated success came Oct. 12, 1937. Al Brady of the Brady gang, a man who had dismissed Dillinger as a “cream puff,” had surfaced in Bangor, Maine. When a shopkeeper tipped off authorities that the gangsters were expected back at his store, G-Men and other officials staged a stakeout with Mr. Walsh posing as a clerk. “Viewed through the eyes of an unemotional criminologist,” The Washington Post reported in one of the many sensational news accounts of the event, “the Bangor ambush was a work of art.” Sometime before 9 a.m., a car rolled up to the shop. The FBI agents and other officers were ready. A shootout and hand-to-hand fighting ensued, with both Brady and his associate, Clarence Lee Shaffer Jr., falling dead. Mr. Walsh received a gunshot wound to the shoulder. Another gang member, James Dalhover, was arrested. Not even his wife would defend him. “They had it coming to them,” she told a reporter.” Emily Langer, Washington Post
“Walsh competed in the 1948 London Olympics, finishing 12th in the 50-meter free pistol. He won gold and silver for the USA at the 1952 International Shooting Sport Federation championships and was Team Leader of the USA's 1972 Olympic shooting team. He was inducted in to the USA Shooting Hall of Fame last September.” Erik Brady, USA Today
“Mr. Walsh was still winning handgun awards and coaching Olympic marksmen at 90, and aside from some hearing and memory loss, he was fit and continued to live alone at home. At the centennial of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2008, he was recognized not only as the oldest living former agent, but also as older than the organization itself by more than a year.”
Robert D McFadden, NY Times
“It is with a heavy heart that the FBI pays its respects to the storied Walter Walsh, who passed away earlier this week at his Virginia home... Retired FBI Special Agent Richard “Bugsy” Boteler, a former Marine who met Walsh in 1987 at the annual FBI-Marine Corps birthday celebration in Washington, D.C. and developed a close friendship with him over the years, remembers Walsh fondly. “He was the most humble man you’d ever meet—you would never know of his accomplishments,” Boteler said. “To know Colonel Walsh has really been an honor. He was an extraordinary man.” We agree. The FBI is honored to have been part of his full and incredible life.” FBI statement
29th April 2014 – Bob Hoskins, 71
Supreme actor, known instantly for The Long Good Friday, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Hook.
“His cuboid frame, villainous features and Cockney accent fitted him for a series of roles which he described as “animals, thugs and heavies”. These included the gangland boss Harold Shand in The Long Good Friday (1980) and the violent minder George in Mona Lisa (1986), a portrayal that earned him an Oscar nomination. Hoskins won critical success in both films, mainly for his ability to exude menace while suggesting the vulnerability beneath the violent surface of his characters. Ultimately it was Hoskins’s versatility and eye for a good part that made him a star. He played Arthur Parker in Dennis Potter’s innovative and hugely successful Pennies from Heaven (1978); Nathan Detroit in the National Theatre’s first musical Guys and Dolls (1981); and cameo parts such as the police chief in The Honorary Consul (1983) and Robert de Niro’s plumbing partner in Brazil (1985). Like his friend Michael Caine, Hoskins was one of the few British actors to become equally successful in Hollywood. Films such as The Cotton Club (1984), Sweet Liberty (1986) and the box office smash Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988) consolidated his position as a British actor who could make the transition to the United States. A contributing factor in his American success may have been that Hoskins was one of a small minority of British actors able to produce a convincing American accent.”
“It was fitting that one of his last major roles, before retiring after the diagnosis of Parkinson's disease in 2012, had been as a pub-owner - the main character in one episode, a background presence in another – in Jimmy McGovern's anthology series The Street. The other reason, though, that Hoskins never disowned his TV work is that On the Move shared the qualities of his best stuff. Handed a working-class stereotype (not for the last time in his career), Hoskins gave Alf a vulnerability and poignancy far beyond the requirements of a public information short. Apart from its intended audience of adults struggling with reading and writing, On the Move gained a large secondary following among literate viewers because, even then, Hoskins' expressive face and growly voice made you want to watch and listen. As a kind and generous man, Hoskins also appreciated the ideological aspect of the project and treasured letters and comments from people who had sought belated education as a result of On the Move. He may have been thankful as well, at that stage of his TV career, to be playing a man who wasn't on his way to or from jail. As a short stocky bloke with a wheezer-geezer North London accent, Hoskins was, according to the class-driven stereotyping of the day, frequently cast on the wrong side of the law, as the titles of two early telly jobs – the 1972 drama Villains and the 1974 sitcom Thick as Thieves – vividly illustrate.” Bob Hoskins: We Should remember him for his TV Work too, Guardian