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Mcphereson Working with Animals #1

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Written by edparnell

August 28, 2017 at 11:59 am

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Mcphereson Dr Who? Not me!

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Written by edparnell

July 17, 2017 at 3:38 pm

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Mcphereson Spare Time

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Written by edparnell

July 7, 2017 at 5:37 pm

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Mcphereson Dream jobs.

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One of the questions I am often asked by young actors is ‘How do I get my dream job?’. This is probably the most posed query, along with ‘ What is Joanna Lumley really like?’ and ‘Can I go to the toilet?’.

Dream jobs are hard to come by. Look at lovely Tony Blackburn. When he was a small lad, he dreamt of being a milkman. Up at 3, out, delivering bottles and creams and yoghurts. A merry soul with a kind smile and maybe the odd joke along his route. But fate played a cruel hand and he became a disc jockey. Which is probably just as well as no one has a milkman anymore and he would be alone, unemployed and unskilled by now and probably ending his days in a dark basement with a shotgun in his mouth. Fortunately he is on Radio Two. Which I know for a fact is on the fourth floor.

I myself have done the odd bit of ‘jocking’. In 1972 David Hamilton took two weeks off to have his hair done, and I was invited to fill in. Now people do say that sitting in a comfortable room taking records out of sleeves and putting them on a record player, playing them, muttering in between some incoherent rubbish and then playing another record does not constitute hard work. But it does. I am not the only one who thought that, as the Producer, Pat Bennington agreed that the programme was ‘bloody hard work’. Bennington left after the first three days citing a religious conversion, and was replaced by the more progressive Geoff Lyons. We had some fun on that show, I can tell you. People would ring in, and almost all of them could not believe what they were hearing. David came back after just six days and was amazed at what I had done. I still remember him sitting there, his head in his hands, looking at the show listening figures and wondering how he was going to equal them.

I did offer my services a couple more times but they said that once was enough, and on reflection that’s true. They don’t want to give their audience too much of a good thing, and then the audience gets spoiled and expects good things all the time and when the good things are not as good as the audience wants then they get all noisy and animated and demand their money back from frightened box office staff.

This did lead to a brief spell on City Radio. For those who don’t know, the millionaire Hors Gorvitz started a commercial radio station, and I was on the line up. In his autobiography I am flattered to be referred to as ‘someone who made us all look good’. One in the eye for those bodkins at Radio Two I think. I was to present the Overnight Express. A mixture of music and entertainment with the odd phone in. I decided not to do the average phone in, this was a chance to really push the envelope, to move things into a new arena. The subjects I covered were areas untouched by other presenters. Apostrophies. Pottery. Mowers. The show was an overwhelming success, garnering much media attention, esp after that man from Hastings said what he did about the Queen.


Posted By Ed to Mcphereson on 6/07/2017 04:36:00 am

Written by edparnell

June 7, 2017 at 12:36 pm

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Mcphereson Charlies.

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What a packed week this has been so far. I was working on cataloguing my collection of candlesticks, when the phone rang. Lo and behold it was George Barrington, who I believed to be dead but who, seeing as how it was him on the other end of the phone, wasn’t. For those outside the business Barrington is an actors’ dream. A director with all the passion and vision and scope and actor could possibly want, plus he had damn good caterers. I am sure if he had not made Shoreditch Showdown, he would have made a living with his canopies. Shoreditch Showdown was a classic, and was not responsible, as some would have it, in the collapse of the British Film Industry. Many the time I have rewatched this classic south London based western, about a good man battling a gang of cockney ne’erdowells lead by Dickie Attenborough. It was said to be the British High Noon on the posters until lawyers got involved.

Anyway, Barrington is doing this absolutely amazing thing. He’s going to make a fourth in the Thanet Terror Trilogy. As he said, a trilogy has never had four parts, and he may well be right. Who can forget the frenzied scenes of Bloodbath in Broadstairs? Which of us can erase from our minds the Murderous Murders in Margate or the climactic and banned Deathly Deed of Death in Dumpton Park? This new segment is also set in Thanet, and is provisionally titled The Rampaging Reaper of Ramsgate. The setup is much the same. Abandoned house, visitors, escaped serial killer, blood, death, screaming girls, foolish men, gore, squelching and cleaning bills. Rumour has it the Dumpton Park installment was so frightening three cinemas sued to have their upholstery cleaned.

I make my return as the infamous Dr Taplowe, trying to find his escaped patient, Mathias Wand, before Mr Wand gets his murderous urge. Connoisseurs of the oeuvre will know Wand was played by the brilliant Charles Hawtrey. Charles was a remarkable actor, with a rare give of being able to inflate his body to over six times it’s natural size. In fact I break no confidence that the slight figure you saw in may lighter vehicles hid behind it a towering inferno of power. I recall seeing him and Chuck Norris on location queing. Norris had pushed in front of Hawtrey, and Charles didn’t like it. An argument broke out, people moved away. The caterer closed his shutters. Actors and crew drove home at speed. Finally, Hawtrey took off his glasses. When this happened, you knew there were going to be ructions. Drawing himself up to his full 8ft height and puffing himself out as much as he could, Hawtrey and Norris went at it, Mano on Mano. Fists, kicks, punches, knees everything was a flurry of speed until Norris lay on the floor, gasping for mercy. Hawtrey put his foot on Norris’ windpipe when Terry Thomas put his hand on Hawtrey’s shoulder and said ‘Leave it, Charlie, bounder isn’t worth it. He’s a shower’. They went to the Fish and Mondays for a drink, leaving Norris writhing in the filth overnight. This is why you never see Norris and Hawtrey in the same films.


Posted By Ed to Mcphereson on 5/11/2017 04:47:00 am

Written by edparnell

May 11, 2017 at 12:52 pm

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Hypothetically, if instead of elections

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Hypothetically, if instead of elections the royals hunted the party leaders until only one remained to take the prize, who would be left standing a… http://ow.ly/KGb230bqffs

Written by edparnell

May 4, 2017 at 11:03 am

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Mcphereson Advertising and the Actor

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Just come off the phone from talking to a certain computer manufacturer. You see, acting isn’t only about walking about, speaking your lines and not bumping into things. It’s about creating. It’s about being open to the muse and giving it form, breathing life into the ideas and concepts that are floating around. And if posssible flogging them to someone.

I well remember Sir Ian McKellan, during fallow periods when work was thin, devising a new advertising scheme for detergent. Long into the night he laboured. Should it be a housewife? Should the lead character be a single man? Should it be a super hero bubble, searching for dirt in a cape? Sir Ian disappeared for a few months and then – in a shock reappearance in the Duck and Sniffers – he appeared triumphant. The pitch itself was brief. Sir Ian was to play the main part, a beleaguered man tortured by a mysterious stain on his codpiece. Try as he might he cannot remove it without Stainaway. Sir Ian demonstrated his characters dilemma by furiously rubbing his codpiece, waving it about and moaning too all and sundry before being asked to leave by a somewhat luddite landlord. I caught up with him in the street and after dusting himself down and getting up Sir Ian explained the whole concept. It was to be set in 15th Century Italy, and this Duke of Naples had an important meeting with the Pope but had spaghetti stains on his best outfit and therefore was in a quandary about the attention he paid to his personal grooming in front of the Pontif. Many courtiers suggested remedies, but none seemed to fit and with each paltry and superfluous suggestion a courtier met with the blade of the executioners axe. Even his sisters were not immune to his wrath and on the scaffold one gave a heartfelt and well written speech about brotherly love, the joy of life and the importance of bibs. Finally a wizard appears with the detergent and removes the offending stain and is rewarded with keeping his head in the traditional position. And so the Duke finally meets the Pontif, who compliments him on the cleanliness of his codpiece, and awards him six castles and a Earldom.

The actual advertisment was somewhat over the allotted twenty eight seconds, running at roughly three and three quarter hours (minus the music but including interlude).

Sir Alec Guinness once confided in me he wanted to promote Cream Eggs. He had this idea that he doing a Hamlet, and would be in the middle of his oratory, when his stomach would rumble and he would squat down and produce a Cream Egg. The rest of the cast would then abandon their roles and tuck into his newly laid egg. This was – amazingly – turned down. As was Derek Jacobi’s Zanussi washing machine idea, David Suchet’s DFS Sale and Helen Mirren’s Volvo (though the last one may be down to a spelling error in the proposal).


Posted By Ed to Mcphereson on 4/29/2017 04:12:00 am

Written by edparnell

April 29, 2017 at 12:12 pm

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