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Permission to speak, sir?

Sad news today of the death of the actor Clive Dunn, best known for his role as Lance Corporal Jones in the much-loved series, Dad’s Army.  He has passed away at the age of 92 at his home in Portugal.   Apparently in recent years he was struggling to see, but his mind was as sharp as ever.   In an interview for this month’s edition of Oldie magazine, he was  asked what it was like being 92. He replied simply: ‘It’s like being  91.’

I think it is widely known that the actor was actually only 48 when he began playing the doddery pensioner in the BBC comedy in 1968. The series ran until 1977, regularly attracting 18million viewers, and is still repeated to this day.   Few know, however, the real wartime service of the man behind bungling Corporal Jones, who saw active service with the 4th Hussars during the Second World War and spent four years as a prisoner of war in Austria.

I grew up with Dad’s Army and Lance Corporal Jones was a favourite of mine – he had all the best lines and several catchphrases that never failed to make me laugh – “Don’t panic Mr Mainwaring, don’t panic”, “They don’t like it up ’em” and “Permission to speak, sir”,  whilst always enjoying telling long rambling stories of his wartime heroics but often forgetting whether he was fighting ‘the Bosch’ or ‘the fuzzie-wuzzies’ in Sudan!

Above all, however, what never ceased to crack me up was his complete inability to stand to attention at the same time as the rest of the platoon – always just a beat behind the rest – so sit back and enjoy these clips of a very funny man – RIP Clive Dunn.

Football -v- Sperm Whales?

Last night there was a huge, foootball-shaped hole in my evening.  For the first time since 8th June there was no Euro2012 action and the TV schedulers failed to take advantage of this fact and give us anything else worth watching! 

At least tonight things are “back to normal” with the quarter-final match between the Czech Republic and Portugal kicking off at 19.45.

Czech Republic captain (and Arsenal player) Tomas Rosicky is still nursing the Achilles injury he picked up against Greece in the second group match but is hoping to still play and the Portuguese don’t appear to have any injury worries and are expected to name an unchanged side from the 11 that defeated the Dutch in the last game.  The same starting line-up incidentally that Portugal used in each match during the group stage – the only team to do this!

At the pre-match press conference today, Rosicky, sporting a beard along with the rest of the Czech squad, said he and his team mates would continue to grow their facial hair for as long as they remained at the tournament.

“We look scary as a team. Hopefully they (the beards) will get worse and worse,” he joked.

Of course, if you don’t like football, you could always watch Ocean Giants on BBC2.  The last in the series, this documentary (narrated by Stephen Fry) explores the vocal ranges of marine mammals.  Failing that, there is always Emmerdale and Lewis!!! 

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