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Plenty on Wikipedia and on IMDd.  Those two websites are great for the date and place of birth, as well as listing the TV, films, stage and radio I've worked on.  What they don't do is describe what it was like working on those productions, alongside the wonderful and sometimes not-so-wonderful personalities involved. They also don't divulge the highs and lows of over 50 years of marriage, bringing up three kids as well as emerging grandchildren. If you're interested, Learning My Lines (my autobiography), Echoes (my first novel) are for sale through my website, as is an archive of my blogs from 2009-2013.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

CATHY CHAOS

After the debacle of Cathy at BAFTA, I was standing waiting for a train at Brighton Station. When it arrives it looks like something out of The Ark. With me and a few of others, it chugs along coughing and sputtering, stopping at every station, where nobody gets on or off. then there’s an announcement over the the tannoy. ‘We will be delayed because of trouble with signals. We’re sorry for any inconvenience.‘ Inconvenience! I’m starving, there’s no  buffet car and the seats are rock hard.

Eventually the train arrives at Southampton. I’d missed my connection to Bournemouth. I was starving so I went and got a sandwich from a dubious station cafe. Egg and cress which tasted like it  had been made in around 1847. After about half and hour the Bournemouth train arrived. When I got there I took taxi to the hotel.

‘The room’s been cancelled.’

‘What !’

‘Yesterday.’

I phoned my contact. Not answering. Left a message. Got a taxi back to the bloody station. Got back to Brighton. Dark and miserable (me) and exhausted. You can stuff Cathy.

Now someone has has invited me to a showing of Cathy in Brighton, I turned it down

After the disaster of Bournemouth good news arrives ! I’ve been invited to the Bewdley Book Festival in Worcestershire plus ( and this is extraordinary) to go to The Dr Who Convention in Wichita in Kansas. And I’ve only done a Dr Who film with Peter Cushing! Very exciting. Valium Airlines here I come! If I’m brave enough.

But my concentration is focused on Ilfracombe. I go there on the 13th of January to do my show. The hotel is booked, the posters have arrived and so have my books.
 I’m following my rep towns which I did for three years. The second one was Clacton but there were no suitable theatres ( two but both too big ), I certainly couldn’t get 750 people in. My first was Nottingham which I have fond memories of.

So next year is exciting if Valium Airlines stays in the air!

Sunday, 11 December 2016

BAFTA

Wednesday 16th is the fiftieth anniversary of the first showing of Cathy Come Home. A lot of you may have not heard of it.

It’s about about people who hit hard times and fall through the net and end up having nowhere to live. When it was aired it caused a stir there questions about it in Parliament and it was repeated the following week. Also it was voted the 2nd best TV programme of all time. Oh, and I was in it playing Carol White’s husband.

There was a radio breakfast time interview arranged on the morning of the 16th on some obscure station I’d never heard of. I had to ring up and talk to them. I phoned but nothing happened. Finally I got through. The bloke didn’t know who the hell I was. Then I was passed down to someone else, who said. ‘Can we record it between 1.00 and 5.00.’ No I said. ‘Ok.we’ll talk live at 12.55. A Bright Good Morning DJ voice eventually spoke to me. ‘Good morning, Ray Brooks! You were in Cathy Come Home?’, ‘Yes, I was.’, ‘How exciting.’, ‘Yes it was.’, ‘I’m sure it was. Oh, we’ve run out of time the clocks against us. Goodbye. Lovely to have spoken yo you.’  What a load of crap!

The point is I was invited to BAFTA on that evening and my son Tom came as well. Clare who arranged it met us and bought us a drink. Then she shot off to see some other people. I was very excited. A Q&A with Ken Loach and Tony the producer. It was my chance to go on the stage and prove to the people that I wasn’t dead.

Tom was exited too. ‘It’ll be great, there might be someone out there who’ll give you a job.”
We had another drink. 

About ten minutes later Clare came back. I asked her about timings.

“The programme finishes at 7.55 then the are Q&A for about half and hour. and then back here for a couple of drinks. What time do you want the car to take you back?”

“9.15 would be fine. And where we will sit so I can get on the stage for the Q&A session?”

“Oh, it’s just Ken Loach and Toni Garnett going onto the stage.”

“Oh.”

So that was it. I was only there to watch Cathy which I seen four or five times before. What a pisser! What a f**K up! Tom and I sat and the back of the cinema. It’s a very depressing show. In the group scenes It’s impossible to hear the dialogue (maybe it was the sound system) but even Tom, who’s got hearing like a bat, couldn’t hear it.

Eventually, with about five minutes to go, Tom said can we go,

“Right. There’s an exit just there.”

“Ken and Toni are there.”

I told him to go and get the coats and I’d wait to the end when Ken and Toni went down to the stage then I’d get out.

We went to a pub, had a couple of beers and got a taxi. The evening was a bloody wash out.

Three days later I get an email from Clare. THANK YOU FROM BAFTA. “Sorry about the mixup on Wednesday. Ken and Tony were both keen to see you and made a point of mentioning you from the stage! We did an audio of it. Would you like me to email you it.”

Now I thought she was organizing the whole evening. So what’s this all about ‘the mix up’? Do I care? Not now. Because I’m off to Bournemouth to talk about Cathy. No Ken or Tony this time. But...I’ll be sharing the stage with a Labour MP.


Once you switch on a politician they rabbit forever. I won’t get a word in edge ways. If that happens, and it will,  I’ll say I have to go to the toilet and I’ll piss off never to return.