Ken Dodd

It was announced today that comedian Ken Dodd has died at the age of 90.

Let’s just say a few words about Mr Dodd.

I have never seen him live, but he was notorious for his long sets going on until 1 am. He could, I gather, simply wear you down with laughter.

Dodd was a fair singer and had some big hits in the 1960s. His gimmick was his teeth, the hair, his tickling stick and the diddy men. He had successful shows on tv and the radio, but his biggest success was on stage in front of a live audience. And he was a staple of the summer seaside show circuit.

At one point he had some tax problems, which he came through of course and which he made a part of his act.

I suppose he is the last of the people I think of as the ‘old tyme’ comedians. Frankie Howerd, Arthur Askey, Ted Ray, Jimmy Edwards and so on. When you listen to them now, they seem rather lame and unfunny, but tastes change, and, to be honest, most ‘current’ comedians seem just as poor to me.

Doddy had his loyal fans and a long and successful career. He was working up to almost the very end, and was still as sharp as ever.

Harold and Maude

So, we went to see Harold and Maude on stage in London on a particularly cold and snowy day. And, we have to say, while it does have its moments, mostly it is a dull thing.

Sheila Hancock is excellent as 79 year old Maude, of course, but Harold reminded me too much of Eric Trump, and this was annoying. Having the musicians on stage is something they like to do at this theatre, and sometimes it worked but other times it didn’t. Somehow we were supposed to know that all the music was Cat Stevens, except it wasn’t. This is not a musical, but there is one song at least. Actually, it was so unmemorable, I am not sure.

One of the people in our party missed the matinee, because of the weather, and went to the evening performance. She said the audience was really laughing and it was a good time. We in the afternoon were fairly stone faced, because it wasn’t funny.

There are some changes from the film. I can’t explain without spoilers. But the whole tone was changed from two people being naughty to some kind of inspirational message about be true to yourself and you will go to heaven.

The seats are comfortable, and it is nowhere near sold out, and the wine is cheap, but the programme is not worth £3.


There are very few programmes I watch on tv regularly, but the American series Blindspot is one.

If you haven’t seen it, and why would you, the initial premise was that some woman comes into FBI headquarters covered in tattoos which are clues to crime about to be committed. Stuff is typed into a computer, things are decoded and crimes are prevented just luckily as they are about to happen.

Why do I watch it? Because the basic idea was nonsense, the story lines are meaningless, it’s full of jargon and people pretending that waving fingers over a computer keyboard can solve anything, and the acting is terrible. I watch it to see if it can get any worse.

But it’s an interesting example of a show where you can at least guess what happened. Someone came up with an initial idea, quite an interesting one, and ideas for maybe half a dozen shows, hoping that it wuld gain momentum, new writers would come on board and the ideas taken forwards.

Person of Interest was like this: a computer can predict people who need help.

So was Num3ers: Maths can solve crimes

The producers realise very quickly that the basic idea has no legs, so it changes, runs out of steam and becomes nonsense quickly. Some barely get through a full final season.

Blindspot has a “chase the bomb” plot every two weeks or so. Random elements are thrown in at, well, random. Dead people come back to life. People have daughters or not as suits the plot.