Talking about on the hoof. Thanks to a good friend of mine who is in Emmerdale I had managed to line up an interview with the marvellous Lesley Dunlop (who is also in it). Great – Frontios, one of the last remaining stories on my list, was taken care of. Unfortunately, she suddenly got a truck load of extra filming and very apologetically asked to reschedule (note to self, get back in touch with Ms Dunlop!).
This left me with about a week to go till Christmas. I already had things in motion to secure a cat with Steven Moffat chat which would take care of The Time Of Angels/Flesh And Stone and was intended to be the last Who’s Round interview. Now, suddenly, there was a story I didn’t have an interviewee for, so I had to get my thinking cap on.
I had always found a certain gentleman to be an engaged and candid contributor to the DVD range so quickly begged his email from a colleague. It was probably Ed Stradling or John Kelly but alas I begged by text and so the evidence was swept away in the great Toby’s iPhone Data Collapse of 2014 (or was it 2015? There have been so many). Anyway – thanks to my mystery benefactor.
I had to be prescriptive – I had about 2 days during which I was scheduled to be in London before Christmas, so I had absolutely no idea if it was going to be possible to convene this interview. Thankfully, my request was answered almost immediately (and, I’m pleased to say, positively) and the resulting edition is – I think – great fun. It is also in two parts, of which this is the first.
I fear I am becoming the Psoriasis You Tube Video equivalent of Ian Hyland on talking heads clip shows – ubiquitous, tiresome and not actually that clued up on what I am talking about. But because I have psoriasis and can walk and talk in a straight line I am a useful (and mottled) idiot and of course I am happy to spread awareness as readily as I shed skin.
So I have done three vlogs (blogs on video, geddit?) in order to highlight how psoriasis impacts upon my everyday life. The first one is here. Enjoy.
Oh, I’m a bit behind (I’ve been posting about Psoriasis a lot instead as it has been Psoriasis Awareness Week so I hope you are now sufficiently aware!).
Anyway, two new Who’s Rounds have come out.
The first was recorded immediately after I had performed a Christmas comedy show with this particular fellow (with whom it has been my great pleasure to work many times over the years). He was in a Doctor Who story that is probably not considered canonical but it’s part of the show’s rich tapestry so what the heck? And something was clearly in the air as when we had finished we emerged from the 99 Club in Covent Garden and opposite us, at the exit of the Donmar Theatre, stood Peter Capaldi, patiently posing with fans and signing autographs. This show gets bloody everywhere!
Second up, I had arranged to interview one lady but a change of timetable meant I would be joining her on the day she was due to have lunch with a colleague. And this colleague has done loads of Doctor Whos. So I got two for the price of none. And they had a lot to say so there is a second part to this interview due out next week.
Kenneth Gilbert, who played World Ecology Bureau official Richard Dunbar in the Tom Baker classic The Seeds Of Doom (1976) has died at the age of 84. Prematurely grey and with distinguished granite features, he often played authority figures, although the one he portrayed in Doctor Who found himself on the wrong side of the fence. Dissatisfied with seeing “non-entities” promoted in his place he sells the location of the Krynoid seed pod to eccentric millionaire Harrison Chase and so initiates a chain of events which nearly results in mankind’s consumption by lethal alien vegetation. He has an attack of conscience and tries to remedy the situation, leading to Chase’s famous instruction to his underling – “Scorby – get Dunbar”. Scorby doesn’t get him but the Krynoid does, and the civil servant perishes in the climax of episode four. It’s a strong performance from Gilbert who maintains a stoical dignity even when selling his soul: he had a gift for subtle underplaying which lent his characters a touch of class and made him such an essential actor for character parts.
Born in Devon in 1931, Gilbert’s early stage work included a 1957/58 stint with what was to become the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre playing (amongst others) Balthazar in Romeo And Juliet (with Richard Johnson and Dorothy Tutin), Valentine in Twelfth Night and the Priest to Michael Redgrave’s Hamlet. He stayed at Stratford for the following season playing opposite Charles Laughton’s King Lear and Paul Robeson’s Othello.
He was the principal actor at Pitlochry’s 1975 season playing Solness in The Master Builder and Richard in On Approval. For the Old Vic he toured in Henry VI Parts I and II and Henry V (1974-1975) and played the key role of Enobarbus opposite Alec McCowen’s Antony in their 1977-1978 Antony And Cleopatra (Derek Jacobi was Caesar). Other theatre work included St Joan with Eileen Atkins (Prospect Theatre 1977), Judge Brack to Joanna Lumley’s Hedda Gabler (Dundee 1985), Boyet in Love’s Labours Lost (Ipswich, 1992) and the title role in The Wizard Of Oz (for the RSC at the Theatre Royal, Bath 1994-1995).
He was a familiar face on television,appearing on the small screen as early as 1953 in The Heir Of Skipton. He kept busy throughout the 1950s and by 1961 was playing opposite William Russell’s Hamlet. Prominent roles included Friar Tuck in Wolfshead: The Legend Of Robin Hood (1969) and Harold Earle in House Of Cards and To Play The King (1990/93) and these were augmented by countless guest parts in everything from No Hiding Place (1963) to Hustle (2011) via Callan (1969), The Mind Of Mr JG Reader (1971), Crown Court (1973), Edward VII (1975), The Changes (1975), The New Avengers (1976), Testament Of Youth (1979), Enemy At the Door (1980), The Gentle Touch (1981), Cracker (1995) and Midsommer Murders (2003) often playing policemen, doctors or authority figures. He could consider himself to be one of Douglas Camfield’s rep of actors and worked with the acclaimed director many times including on The Sweeney (1976) and Ivanhoe (1982) : Camfield liked casting actors he knew could do the job and wouldn’t need too much direction, so his continued use of Gilbert can be taken as a mark of his quality. Gilbert also had an underused gift for comedy as well as a natural authority which mad him so useful to at bringing presence and watchability to potentially dull roles.
He almost didn’t make it into Doctor Who. As he recalled many years later “I rang the production office and said ‘Look, I think I’ve caught my daughter’s chicken pox.'” He thought this would involve taking a couple of days off but under doctor’s orders was out of action for several weeks. He could easily have lost the job but instead the studio schedule was altered to accommodate his absence – a great deal of trouble and expense in order to retain the services of an actor deemed vital to the success of the production.
He married the actress Beth Harris in 1966 and the couple lived in East Anglia for many years. She predeceased him, passing away in 2012. Kenneth Gilbert died on October 29th.
Hot on the heels of World Psoriasis Day is Psoriasis Awareness Week for those of you for whom a mere 24 hours mulling over the ramifications of dermatological issues is simply child’s play.
Every year at this time the See Psoriasis, Look Deeper campaign looks to highlight a particular aspect of the condition.This year we are trying to spread the word about psoriasis-related arthritis which a lot of people are affected by without them necessarily realising it. If you are a psoriasis patient who has an ache or a pain it could well be related to your condition and there is a lot of help and support out there to enable you to combat it.
Please have a lookhere for a page which has a couple of videos (one with me stuttering my way through it, the other with the far more qualified Dr Sandy McBride who regular readers of this blog will know has had a massively beneficial impact on my understanding of my condition). There is also an animation which is full of useful pointers.
Please pass this information on to anyone you know who might find it useful.
It was World Psoriasis Day on Thursday 29th October. I was supposed to be in London helping my dear friend Peter to move house. The least I could do after he gave me sanctuary for a very long time. At the last minute, however, I was asked if I could wend my way back to Manchester in order to feast with the dawn chorus and appear on BBC Breakfast to give the patient’s perspective on the condition. Dr Christine Bundy with whom I sit on the See Psoriasis, Look Deeper campaign was there to say all the clever stuff, thankfully. She is a senior lecturer on Behavioural Medicine at the University of Manchester (and, as it happens, was on Any Answers this week too, as I discovered when I listened to the podcast a couple of days later) .
I do look a little tired (and bloated) from over-indulging on white bread and white wine in Germany the previous weekend but hopefully I provide some reasonable insight. Our chat is preceded by a very interesting and candid film which I also include in the video below:
Thanks to Dom Robinson for recording the piece and to Peter Crocker for forgiving my last minute withdrawal of labour (another thing to go on a very long list).