Archive for the Television Category

Annual Appraisal Training

Posted in Television with tags , , on April 30, 2015 by telescoper

Teaching is over and the students are writing dissertations and revising for the summer examinations, so naturally the thoughts of staff here in the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the University of Sussex are turning towards the annual round of staff appraisals. Naturally, as the Supreme Leader Head of School I shall myself be appraising a number of staff and in so doing I will be putting into practice the useful tips passed on to me by the following training video.

Farewell, Mr Spock

Posted in Biographical, Television on February 27, 2015 by telescoper

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I was very sad to hear this afternoon of the death, at the age of 83, of actor Leonard Nimoy. Although he did a great many other things in a long and varied career, Leonard Nimoy will of course be remembered most fondly for his role as Mr Spock, Science Officer of the USS Enterprise, in Star Trek.

I was both fascinated and inspired by Mr Spock when I was young, so Leonard Nimoy’s death is like the loss of an old friend. I’m sure I’m not the only scientist of my generation who is feeling that way today. Mr Spock represented the outsider in all of us.

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Left Bank Two, for Tony Hart

Posted in Music, Television with tags , , , on February 16, 2015 by telescoper

Yesterday Twitter was awash with comments about the sad death of the pioneering children TV’s presenter Tony Hart. The trouble is that he died six years ago, thus demonstrating what I suspected for some time, i.e. that most users of social media have a very short attention span.

Now, where was I?

Oh yes.

When he actually died The newspapers and television were filled with suitably glowing tributes to Tony Hart, because he was not only a superb presenter but also a warm and generous person. That’s quite a rare combination in the world of television, so I’m told. Anyway, I’m not at all sorry to have the excuse to play tribute to him again as he is still greatly missed.

I knew of him primarily through Vision On, a programme which I watched avidly as a child, and only found out much later on that it was intended to be for deaf children. The show involved comedy sketches and cartoons, as well as Tony Hart’s contributions which involved creating works of art live in front of the camera. He hardly ever spoke and used only the simplest of materials to create very beautiful things with the idea that this would inspire his audience to get in touch with their artistic side without making it look too much like a lesson. He did it brilliantly.

My favourite bit of the programme was The Gallery, accompanied by a piece of music which is almost as redolent with nostalgia for me as the theme from Doctor Who. The track concerned is called Left Bank Two and was performed by the Noveltones, just a trio of vibraphone, guitar and drums played with brushes, I think it’s a masterpiece of relaxed simplicity. Nobody got his collar wet playing it, that’s for sure. It’s the sort of music you might have expected to hear in a smart cocktail bar in the early 60s but is now inextricably linked to The Gallery.

Parliamo Glasgow

Posted in Politics, Television with tags , , , on September 15, 2014 by telescoper

Whatever the outcome of Thursday’s referendum on independence, it’s clear that we who live South of the Border need to try harder to understand the Scots much better than we have so far. Because Glasgow and its environs appear to be hotbeds of the pro-secession vote, I can think of no better way to begin this process than by learning more about Glaswegian and the way what she is spoke, in order to improve mutual respect and foster dialogue.

Here are some useful lessons based on everyday situations and characters, as portrayed by the inimitable Stanley Baxter…

 

 

A Sketch to Make the Blood Run Cold

Posted in Television with tags , on July 8, 2014 by telescoper

I’m assuming that the writers of Not The Nine O’Clock News didn’t know in 1980 what we now know about Rolf Harris. The joke was really just about the BBC trying desperately to get kinds to participate in a crappy programme. But still..

Yeh Yeh

Posted in Music, Television with tags , on April 22, 2014 by telescoper

By way of celebrating the end of my holiday I thought I’d post this bit of musical entertainment by the legendary Bob Downe singing a medley of the Georgie Fame hit, Yeh Yeh. If only all Australian men were as butch as Bob Downe…

 

Smiley talks to Toby

Posted in Television with tags , , , , on December 5, 2013 by telescoper

Just time for a brief post as it has been a very long and stressful day (it’s probably best if I don’t try to explain why). I’m going to pour myself into a bottle of wine when I get home. For some reason I thought of this clip, from the TV series Smiley’s People, which I thought I’d share because I happened to watch the entire series on DVD at the weekend. I think it’s beautifully done.

Just to set the scene, the series (based on the novel of the same name by John Le Carré) is set a few years after Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Intelligence officer George Smiley (Alec Guinnness) is in retirement, as is his former colleague Toby Esterhase (Bernard Hepton) who has adopted the identity of a dodgy art dealer. Smiley is called back into action when a former agent by the name of Vladimir is murdered on Hampstead Heath en route to an appointment with British Intelligence (aka “The Circus”). Smiley is told to find out what happened and hush it up, but a combination of detective work and intuition leads him to the realization that he may, at last, have stumbled upon a way of bringing down his opposite number in Soviet Intelligence, the enigmatic Karla. This scene, wherein Smiley and Esterhase meet up for the first time since they parted company with the Circus marks the point where Smiley decides to ignore his instructions to bury the case and embark on one last operation in the hope that he can at last locate Karla’s Achilles Heel. To find out more, you’ll have to watch the series, which unfolds slowly, but brilliantly…

 

 

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