A great day out at Beaulieu

A great day out at Beaulieu

Review: Tom Gates Live on Stage!

Review: Tom Gates Live on Stage!

April 26

Sir Anthony Hopkins: Screen legend, double Oscar-winner and Only Fools and Horses fan

I was so delighted that screen legend – and massive Only Fools and Horses fan – Sir Anthony Hopkins won his second Academy Award at the Oscars last night.
You might not know was that Anthony was going to appear in Only Fools back in 1988. He was a huge fan of the show and, during an interview on Wogan on BBC One, said he’d love to be in it.
He and writer John Sullivan went out for a curry and John subsequently decided to bring gangland hard-men, the Driscoll Brothers into the show with the elder one, Danny, to be played by Anthony.
“Unfortunately when we got to film it he wasn’t free. He was in America filming some movie called The Silence of The Lambs and after that we never heard of him again, did we?” John joked.
Anthony’s performance in The Silence of the Lambs earned him a Best Actor Oscar and last night he won a second for his role as an elderly man with dementia in the film Father.
Back in 1998 when I was writing my first Only Fools book The Only Fools and Horses Story I wrote to Anthony to ask him if he would write a foreword to the book.
He rang me the following day and said he was delighted I’d asked him. To say I was chuffed to bits was the understatement of the decade – and he couldn’t have been more helpful.
He talked about his love of the show – and spoke fondly about Lennard Pearce, who’d played Grandad. They worked together at the National Theatre in the 1960s. “He was a very nice man,” he told me. “A really gentle guy.”
Anthony’s favourite Only Fools moments is also one of mine too…. the scene in the Nag’s Head when the guys are talking about everyone having 15 minutes of fame during a lifetime.
Trig says: “Like Gandhi.” And Rodney says: “Gandhi?” and Trig says: “He made one great film and then you never saw him again.”
More in my book: https://amzn.to/3evO5q6
(c) Steve Clark 2021
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September 11

Flying For Britain with David Jason

Flying For Britain with David Jason is a new hour-long one-off documentary follows Sir David Jason as he meets the RAF team who fly and maintain the country’s historic aircraft that make up the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Marking the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain – a Second World War campaign in which British fighters attempted to keep the country safe against attacks from German pilots – this year is particularly notable for the Memorial Flight, which consists of 12 aircraft.

Sir David, a qualified helicopter pilot and aircraft enthusiast who has previously flown Spitfires, sees the pilots practicing formation flying and rehearsing for public displays, filming behind the scenes in hangars and workshops where these irreplaceable historic machines are fastidiously maintained.

He takes to the skies and flies alongside veteran Battle of Britain Hurricane and Spitfire fighters, learning more about the history of these incredible aircraft and the brave crew who flew them.

He also gets to know some of today’s best pilots – and meets the team of engineers at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire who keep the aircraft in the Memorial Flight in perfect working order.

Because Britain went into Coronavirus lockdown as the programme started filming, Sir David speaks to the volunteers from the Memorial Flight, many of whom also have other jobs in the Royal Air Force, about how they plan to salvage their previously-packed display schedule.

Watch Flying For Britain with David Jason on ITV on Tuesday September 15th

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August 3

There’s no mystery as to why we love Scooby Doo!

Who doesn’t love Scooby Doo? Well, it’s no big mystery to me – it’s funny, silly, formulaic and appeals to children and, for reasons of pure nostalgia, their parents.

I grew up watching it and it’s never gone away and seems to be continually being reinvented for new generations.

Now there are new toy versions – and the nice people at Playmobil sent me one of their range – the iconic Mystery Machine – for my children to review.

The set contains three figures: Fred, Daphne and Velma and loads of accessories. The attention to detail is great – including a little magnifying glass, map and a torch.

The Mystery Machine is solidly made and bright and colourful and therefore appealing to kids even if they aren’t that familiar with the show.

My youngest hasn’t really watched the series much but she loves the set – as played with it every day since it arrived so it’s become a firm favourite toy in our house.

It doesn’t matter to my daughter, but if she was a bit older, from a parent’s point of view, it’s a bit annoying when a set like this doesn’t have all the main figures – this one omits Scooby and Shaggy (although this is normal for this kind of branded set and Lego does it all the time, as obviously manufacturers want us to buy more sets!)

That minor gripe aside, it’s a nice addition to our toy cupboard.

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