Category Archives: News



Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 15.14.13I 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.


Who’s Round 144 and 145


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.

Nick RevellThe 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!

June and DorkaSecond 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.

Who’s Round 144 is here.

Who’s Round 145 is here.


Kenneth Gilbert 1931-2015 : Douglas Camfield regular dies


Kenneth Gilbert as Richard Dunbar in The Seeds Of Doom.
Kenneth Gilbert as Richard Dunbar in The Seeds Of Doom.

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).

Gilbert was often seen in uniform, including in this episode of The Sweeeney.
Gilbert was often seen in uniform, including in this episode of The Sweeeney.

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.

Kenneth Gilbert recalling The Seeds Of Doom for the BBC DVD release.
Kenneth Gilbert recalling The Seeds Of Doom for the BBC DVD release.

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.

Psoriasis Awareness Week Videos


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.

SSLD_logo_smallEvery 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 look here 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.

World Psoriasis Day


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).

Neville Jason RIP – “Androids Of Tara” actor dies

Neville Jason, who died recently.
Neville Jason, who died recently.

Neville Jason, the actor who played Prince Reynart in the 1978  Tom Baker story The Androids Of Tara has died. His good looks and bearing had an old fashioned and regal quality that made him perfect casting for the prince, a part that also required him to perform as an occasionally malfunctioning android. The serial is rather splendidly acted and whilst the likes of Peter Jeffrey and Declan Mulholland have all the fun, Jason does a fine job of giving lustre to a potentially dull part: and his innate poise and effortless charm are spot on, fulfilling exactly the needs of director Michael Hayes.

The Androids Of Tara was written to ape The Prisoner Of Zenda, which had first been adapted for film in 1937 “Michael cast me as Prince Reynart because The Prisoner Of Zenda starred Ronald Colman and Michael thought if I put on a pencil moustache I’d look like Ronald Colman,” he recalled years later. His role required that he share the screen with Mary Tamm’s as Romana. “Neville was very good in the part,” she felt “because he had that romantic hero look which was essential. He was lovely, very nice to work with.”

As Prince Reynart in The Androids Of Tara.
As Prince Reynart in The Androids Of Tara.

Co-star Paul Lavers who played his bodyguard swordsman Farrah remembered him with great affection. “He was a gentlemen: he was like a breed of actor that I’d read about – terribly, terribly well spoken, effete and very well read. He was just a joy to be with.”

Jason trained at RADA where his voice work was noted early and he received the diction prize from Sir John Gielgud: this was to stand him in good stead throughout his career. He has walk-on roles during the 1957/58 season at the RSC, carrying spears for the likes of John Neville’s Hamlet and touring with Laurence Olivier’s Titus Andronicus before joining Birmingham Rep. Other theatre roles included such romantic leads as John Worthing in The Importance of Being Ernest, Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, and Christian in Cyrano de Bergerac. He also appeared in a number of musicals.

On television he was Horatio to Barry Foster’s Hamlet (1961) and played regular roles such as Lapointe opposite Rupert Davies as Maigret (1960-63 – on which he first met Michael Hayes) and Mr Bob Turner in Emergency Ward 10 (1965). Hefty roles after Doctor Who included and Malcolm Penny in Goodbye Darling (1981) and hitman Constant Delangre in Skorpion (1983).  Other TV work included Dixon Of Dock Green (1966), Barlow (1974/75), Churchill’s People (1975), Warship (1976), Armchair Thriller: Rachel In Danger (1978), Minder (1984), The Tripods (1985) and Adrain Shergold’s TV film Ahead Of The Class (2005) with Julie Walters. He also appeared on the big screen in the Bond film From Russia With Love (1963) and Ridley Scott’s big screen debut The Duellists (1977).

A2006He had great success as an audiobook narrator. He recorded the whole of War And Peace, an epic which came in at 70 hours upon completion. The Washington Post described him as “the audiobook world’s unofficial marathon man”. And no wonder: he was a huge aficionado of Proust and abridged and recorded the whole of the massive Remembrance Of Things Past, even translating the last volume himself. The result is a 150 hour long recording available on 120 CDs. His credits as an audiobook reader were extensive and award winning, and some of those that he directed won Talkie Awards. His voice was also put to good use as a member of the BBC Radio Drama Company on three occasions and latterly he lent his tones to computer games as well.

He also co-wrote The Sculpture of Frank Dobson: his wife Gillian had opened a gallery in their Camden home in the early 1980s and still works selling modern British art and advising galleries. She survives him.

Neville Jason 1934-2015

With thanks to Malcolm Franks.