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October 2018



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Two anniversaries

Q: Do you remember the Kennedy assassination?
A: Yes, very well.
Q: Was it very shocking?
A: Yes, very shocking.
Q: Did you watch the very first episode of Dr Who?
A: Yes.
Q: Was it frightening?
A: It was fascinating, full of new ideas. The police box that was bigger inside than out! Amazing.

Looking at the BBC’s coverage, one wonders which anniversary they consider the more important.

William Hartnell

Yesterday evening I watched An Adventure in Space and Time, a programme about the making of the first series and about William Hartnell. At times, I thought I was watching The Hour. These programmes seem designed to show off what the props department and costume designers can do. Then having paid all that attention to detail, they get things wrong. Walking Back To Happiness was a hit for the wonderful Helen Shapiro in 1961, not 1964. David Bradley was excellent, as always.

The memorial at Runnymede, UK


It seems that the Doctor has it hands down. Such is modern day life that such a huge historical event is barely remembered.

I went to see Helen Shapiro when she was just starting out. It was my friend's birthday treat. She had such a powerful voice.
If you want a lot of Kennedy coverage, Radio 2 is the place, which is embarrassing. Where is BBC 4 on this story? The trouble is that programmes are made by the young :-) I am interested in the Doctor, but it's clear to me which event really matters historically.

I never saw Helen Shapiro. She was unlucky to have that great talent just at a time when agents had all the power. She toured with the Beatles yet when they wrote a song for her, her manager wouldn't let her record it. Luckily, she's a well balanced type who just carried on singing her way while the whole music scene changed. Until fairly recently she used to perform with Humphrey Lyttleton. When Amy Winehouse burst on the scene, I at once compared her with Helen, who was famous at fifteen. I do like Winehouse, but she wasn't any better a singer, IMO, just had more control over her own career.
You are right. We are of the Kennedy era so the event is more than memorable.

I remember reading somewhere that Helen was religious and spent some years gospel singing. I also liked Amy Winehouse a lot. The difference between the two eras is amazing though. Helen Shapiro had the better and more settled life than Amy so maybe she was lucky that her agent had the power.