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Sunday 15th June 2014


I don't know if God is casting a new sitcom or cartoon in Heaven, or if He's just decided to take a potshot at my childhood favourites, but we've lost some great talent this week. If God's a sniper taking aim at things I liked then Rik Mayall was a direct shot to the heart and now God's poking his finger into the wound. First he took Sam Kelly, one of the many actors I'd admired in Porridge and today he smashed his massive fist down on Shaggy from Scooby Doo and Captain Scarlet.

Of course cartoon characters and puppets never really die, but we'd lost the voices provided for them in the human forms of Casey Kasem and Francis Matthews. Shaggy and Captain Scarlet (now that's a TV show I would pay good money to see) were right up there for me in the first six or seven years of my life, Shaggy a ridiculous man that a tiny child could identify with, who would never suspect that a new ghost was just a man dressed up, in spite of his overwhelming experience of that happening and Captain Scarlet, a brave and dramatic hero, with the least dramatic of superpowers, indestructibility. That shouldn't have worked, right. Where's the jeopardy. But it did work. Ask the Richard Herring of 1972 for his favourite TV show and there would have been no hesitation: Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. And who didn't love Scooby Doo (remember this was in the glory days before Scrappy Doo had even been envisioned as a piece of dog semen, let along a living breathing crappy character). Thanks to the men who made these characters come to life and doing such a good job that even now it takes a bit of leap in my brain to work out that those characters didn't just voice themselves.

Amazing how important those early connections are. I couldn't tell you much about Captain Scarlet beyond the fact that I was once obsessed with it. In the end the jeopardy came today, as I realised Captain Scarlet could actually die. That's one Hell of a pay-off.

The play moves steadily, but too slowly onwards (it's going to be OK in the end, but there's some severe pain to come between now and then). I escaped it today for a slow 4 mile run (and this was Me1 running this time, so his poor 10 minute mile pace was a bit of a shock) and an enjoyable gig in Finsbury Park (Lord of the Dance Settee seems to be simmering away nicely even without me doing any work on it, except on stage) and when I got home my wife and I watched the last two episodes of Orange is the New Black, season 2. It's a brilliant show, so give it a crack if you get the chance. Complex, funny and giving screen time to the kind of people (and actors) who you don't usually see on TV. I love the opening titles too, which show the eyes and mouths of dozens of real women who have been in prison. It's very effective for such a simple idea, conveying real emotion. Which one is your favourite? I like the woman with the slightly pursed and skew whiff mouth, who looks like she's just done something really cheeky. Who'd have thought you could get so much from just a mouth!?

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