Category Archives: News

New Edinburgh Show and Gig List June-October 2012

Well, I’ve bowed to the pressure and am currently working on a sequel to Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf which I have entitled My Stepson Stole My Sonic Screwdriver. It will be the story of my life and Doctor Who since the  end of the last show, covering personal triumphs and disasters whilst mentioning Meglos and fuming about The Only Way Is Essex. Like Moths… it will be suitable for a non-Who crowd and its vocabulary and subject matter will be suitable for children (though it is not aimed specifically at them). It’ll get its own page on the website soon, and will be previewing throughout July. In the meantime, tickets and details for the Edinburgh run are here.

I have been ill so sadly took most of May off work, but will be back on my feet by mid June, and so my current gig list has been updated : this includes details of My Stepson… and its preview dates. The gig list is here.

LAST MINUTE CHARITY GIG AND LATEST NEWS

I’ve been added as a last minute replacement (I know my place) to compere a great bill at a charity gig for London Pathway. I am MC for a bill that includes Josh Widdicombe, Hal Cruttenden, Mitch Benn, Scott Cappurro, Adam Bloom and Tom Allen. Excellent stuff.

For more info, go here (see where it says Paul Tonkinson’s name? That’s where mine will be):

I have also updated my Gig List.

In light of the death of Philip Madoc recently, I would like to point you in the direction of an article I did about him a while ago:

I Know The Face But … #1 Philip Madoc

I had the pleasure of working with Philip only in December, and he will be sorely missed. Thankfully, much of his work will be around forever for us, and those lucky blighters in the future, to enjoy.

Me, sound legend Brian Hodgson, and Philip Madoc

Quickies:

XS Malarkey goes from strength to strength and has enjoyed its new heaters as well as some fantastic bills (comedy line-ups, not heating bills : though they’ve been quite big).

I have written two new jokes for my forthcoming Edinburgh show. I have a title, I think, but for now let’s just say that it will be a direct follow on from Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf.

And I’m back on The 7th Dimension on March 17th ; there’s some good stuff there to stimulate your brain nodes.

MANY HAPPY MALARKEYS

Next week, it’s the anniversary of when I began a comedy night that I hoped would give me regular employment for the next two and a half months. On October 4th, XS Malarkey reopens to celebrate its fourteenth birthday.

We’d shut down for the first time over the summer as our venue, The Queen Of Hearts, was being refurbished, and this gave us plenty of time to consider the club’s future. I’d not been especially happy at the Queen as the venue never really seemed to have its (ahem) heart in the club and with a new brewery taking over I decided to reclaim Malarkey’s independent status. We’ve always worked best when not answerable to an area manager who knows nothing about comedy, hence our happiest times being at Remedy (a fantastic freehold venue closed by a short-sighted council).

It'll be a bit tidier than this when we open.

After some soul searching and a fabulous meeting of minds, we have opted to relocate to Platt Chapel, an ethical venue with a real desire to create something of an artistic hub in South Manchester in these financially trying times. They’re very much into audience interaction. You want real ale behind the bar? Great – let’s organise a tasting and you can vote on your favourite. Obviously, some of these things will take time to sort out, but there’s a real opportunity for you – as well as us – to create the environment here.

I’ll carry on booking the very best comedians. You just need to keep coming. We have always run on a not-for-profit basis, and we continue to do so. We have no budget, we are entirely dependent on ticket sales, which is why we rely on you to spread the word. In the current cash-strapped climate our prices of £3 (members) and £5 (non-members) for the level of comics we get is unparalleled. We’ve got an illustrious bevy of acts for our birthday, and in the next 6 weeks I can promise at least two high profile TV names. I can’t say when and who, because they’re playing the gig precisely so they can work in front of the XS crowd, and not some interlopers who’ve been lured by a famous person. One act we can announce is Stewart Francis, a Malarkey veteran (he played during that initial two-and-a-half month run that helped put us on the map) also seen on Mock The Week, who’ll be popping in at the end of November. We have a deliberate policy of promoting new talent alongside established acts, and don’t need to play it as safe as some clubs are obliged to at big weekend gigs. That means you never quite know what’s going to happen at Malarkey, except that it’ll be funny and cheap. And that I’ll probably be annoyed about something (just because I generally am).

Stewart Francis - A Malarkey Advocate

So please spread the word and get it out there that Malarkey is here to stay, and that there’s not a better value, high quality comedy night anywhere else in the country.

www.xsmalarkey.com

More pictures and infor on Facebook. Be sure and “Like” us: it’s terribly good for our self esteem.

XS MALARKEY UPDATES

Well, these ramblings have a sister blog entirely dedicated to all things that go with XS Malarkey, the comedy club I am proud to run in Fallowfield, Manchester, every Tuesday. The club is enjoying a rare rest whilst it gets refurbished, ready for a spanking relaunch in September.

To keep it separate from my more content lead stuff on here, I’ll be posting all things Malarkey on the XS Malarkey site, but will provide links in these here quarters should any accidental web tourists be interested.

XS Malarkey Blog One : One Day, Tuesday, Happy Day

Memoriam Cheats

In addition to my (occasionally disjointed, sorry, I just wanted to get it out) post below called Memoriam Loss (which I’d advise you to read before this), here is the reply I received from BAFTA when I informed them that I was appalled by Nicholas Courtney’s absence from this year’s In Memoriam section during yesterday’s ceremony.

Dear Toby

Thank you for your message regarding the absence of Nicholas Courtney from the Obituaries segment in Sunday’s Television Awards broadcast and please accept our apologies for any distress this may have caused.

Nicholas Courtney was on the list of over 170 names considered for inclusion. Every loss is equally important, but the time restriction of the Obituaries section in the broadcast forces us to make a small and necessarily subjective selection, which sadly meant that he could not be included.

You may not be aware that Nicholas Courtney is featured in our online Obituaries area – – which aims to maintain a year-round, public acknowledgement of those in our industries who have passed away.  He was also included in the In Memoriam section of the souvenir brochure that was given to all attendees yesterday evening.

We do hope this recognition by BAFTA provides at least some acknowledgement, however small, of Nicholas Courtney’s wonderful career.

All best wishes,

Kemuel

My reply went like this:

Dear Kemuel Solomon,

Thanks for your reply, which I am aware is the cut and paste job you use for all such complaints and doesn’t really get to the nub of the issue. Not only Courtney, but others including the actor Gerard Kelly, and scriptwriters Jeremy Paul and Bob Block, could only expect due credit and remembrance from the Academy. Names who did feature in the awards ceremony video like Tom Bosley, Gary Coleman and Henry Cooper could expect to be remembered elsewhere and will doubtless be so: Cooper was a sportsman, and for the BRITISH Academy to prioritise American performers – whose own academy will rightly give them their dues – over those I mention is appalling.

I’m not someone fighting a corner over a particular performer who appealed to my particular tastes – I am someone pointing out an inherent flaw in an at best misguided and at worst insultingly slapdash approach to what should and could be a reflective tribute section and well earned memorial. It shouldn’t be too much to expect a public acknowledgement to those who gave much to the industry, by those who actually care about it. And are you really telling me viewers would object to an extra minute to find space for people (like the four I mention here) whose work would be known to even the most casual viewer?

Thanks for your reply, but I’m afraid it fails to address the issue in any way satisfactorially.

Best wishes,
Toby Hadoke

 

As an addititional addendum (from your apoplectic addressee of annoying alliteration) I would like to point out that I actually understand why Mr Courtney didn’t get a caption on any recent Doctor Who episodes. Now before you get angry with me, I understand and empathise with all of the arguments that say Mr Courtney should have got one (which would have been my personal preference). I also, on the other hand, understand why it didn’t happen.

I’m certain it was a diffcult decision to make, and I’m glad I didn’t fall to me to have to make it.

I won’t be joining the chorus of those getting angry about it, though, sorry. I think BAFTA’s omission is a different matter.

Memoriam Loss

Warning : This has a swear word in it.

I remember it quite well – it was an afternoon, a Sunday I think (it has that lazy, family-round-the-box Sunday afternoon feel as I picture it) – watching an episode of It Ain’t ‘Alf ‘Ot Mum, and just at the end they showed a still of Dino Shafeek who played Char Wallah Muhammed in the series. Not the star, not a major role, and the show itself was no longer being made. But still, someone at good old Auntie Beeb had the thoughtfulness to put up a picture of Mr Shafeek and announce, with regret, that he had recently passed away in hospital. “Awww” we chorused as a family – we’d let him into our homes, were happy that he’d been there, and sadly noted that he was off to sit in the corner of that great living room in the sky.

A few seconds was all it took, but those seconds, which allowed Sunday afternoon TV watchers to spare a thought for a man, stuck in my mind as a decent thing to do.

And as with most decent things, it was the right thing.

Thereafter, I always noted these little nods to deceased entertainers – the protocol was generally that if it was an as yet unseen piece and a contributor had died betwixt its production and its broadcast, then something should be said (not always though – Shafeek’s programme had died three years before he did, but they still found the time to pay their dues). When Roy Kinnear was tragically killed filming abroad, the episode of Casualty in which he featured that week was pulled as a mark of “respect to the family” (that’s what they said in the voiceover explaining why tonight’s episode wasn’t the advertised one). A mark of respect.

As with most respectful things, it was the right thing.

Then there was Harold Innocent, whose death was commented on in the newspapers prior to his final TV role in Heartbeat (I never saw the broadcast so don’t know if he got an acknowledgement, but suspect he did, as at around the same time the actress Noel Dyson rightly got a voiceover on the same show under similar circumstances and Innocent was definitely a better known face). The BBC certainly paid their dues on the broadcast of Doctor Who – The Paradise Of Death, which was airing on the radio that same week.

Fast forward some years later and the character actor George Raistrick died. Raistrick was never a household name – not even a minor one like Shafeek (“Oh him, off that”), or indeed, instantly recognisable face like Innocent (“Oh him, off, umm, I’m not sure, but him”) – but he featured heavily in an episode of The Vet shortly after his death, and I noted glumly that the protocol on such things had clearly changed.  Not a mention – not even out of respect to the family.

Not long after, Comedy Connections featured John Barron (definitely a “him off that”) who died the very week they broadcast him remembering his iconic role as CJ in The Fall And Rise Of Reginald Perrin. The end credits flew by as they are prone to do nowadays lest the viewing public be confused by the words of the English language those programme makers of old had the naivety to expect people to be able to actually read – and neither a voiceover or a caption appeared. I would have thought that someone who made that programme, who’d been lucky enough to secure Barron’s talents and enjoy the privilege of working with him, would have made sure something happened. Out of, say, respect. But no.

Nowadays, unless it’s someone hugely famous, we’re not expected to be interested in acknowledging someone’s life now it’s gone. We’re no longer expected to respect the wishes of the family. We’re no longer expected to do the decent thing. There are too many advertisements for what’s coming up next to cram in, too many idents and logos and DOGs to fill the screen to expect a tiny sliver of humanity to be allowed into our living rooms.

This week, when Yesterday provided a caption for Edward Hardwicke after one of their timely repeats of Colditz I found myself impressed that a minor repeat channel had someone there with enough nous to give him due credit. It almost made up for the Telgarph obituary describing his Dr Watson as “bumbling”, thus proving that you are allowed to write about things in newspapers even if you know precisely nothing about them. But then of course, that’s the newspapers. TV people obviously know better. Obviously.

BAFTA would know better wouldn’t they? Television is actually one fifth of the acronym that BAFTA actually is. Television is the T in BAFTA. For fuck’s sake.

And so tonight’s ceremony came to the specific, this-is-the-moment- where-we-do-it, orchestrated, researched, lovingly, caringly put together acknowledgement, respectful, decent thing to do.

The “In Memoriam” section.

And Nicholas Courtney, the man who played Brigadier Lethbridge- Stewart, the most enduring character in one of TVs most recognisable, iconic programmes, one that currently resides in peak form at the very forefront of the small screen (that’s Doctor Who, in case you’ve temporarily forgotten whose blog you’re reading), was left off. He’s not the only person to have suffered that ignominy in recent years, as it happens, or even tonight. Lest you think this is disproportionate Whovian fulmination I’ll drop Gerard Kelly’s name into this diatribe. When his post mortem episode of Casualty aired there was ne’er a mention nor postponement despite the fact that his face and name were well enough known in England (“oh him, off Extras”) and definitely household in Scotland (“Oh, Gerard Kelly, off City Lights. And Extras. And, well, … Gerard Kelly!”). In case you’re confused BAFTA, Scotland and England are both bits that make up the B part of the acronym that is your name!

The very best television at the moment is made by people who have a love and knowledge of the medium (and I note with pride that Doctor Who has, in recent years, featured In Memoriam captions for a number of cast and crew – some from days gone by even) and it’s no accident that the men in charge – Davies and Moffat – are self-proclaimed geeks. See that’s what you are if you know and love television, a geek. The same level of love and understanding in any other area and you’d be called an expert.

TV may be disposable, and much of it may be simple, trivial entertainment, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a place in it for a modicum of decency and respect, and if you don’t show those things to the people that came before you, then don’t bother to work in the medium. Find something else.

It’d be the right thing to do.