Mornington Crescent? Go via Dunstable
I can’t be the only BBC Radio 4 fan who was overcome with excitement by a tweet about one of my favourite shows the other day.
It was from “@TheRealJackDee”.
And it said: “On my way to Dunstable to record 1st of new series of I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, with Graeme, Tim, Tony and young Barry.”
Woo hoo! Of course, Twitter is riddled with wannabes who pretend to be celebs.
So I couldn’t be sure that it really was the world-weary comedian Jack Dee.
But I checked it out, and to my delight found that the team really was coming to town.
Jack Dee is now the deadpan chairman of the panel, of course, taking on the role held for so many years by the late Humphrey Lyttelton.
And I take it that the rest of the line-up were Graeme Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Tony Hawks and Barry Cryer.
They were at the Grove Theatre on Wednesday, October 10 for the first recordings of the latest series.
And I hear that they were there to record two programmes.
It’s the 40th anniversary year of the show, so it’s especially exciting that Dunstable was chosen as the venue for the first recordings of the series.
I’m so pleased that this tweet turned out to be the real deal.
I wonder if the panel arrived here en route to Mornington Crescent...
I was sad to read that table tennis great Lavender “Pinkie” Barnes had died, at the grand age of 97.
Pinkie, born in Luton, was the widow of a famous former Dunstable Grammar School pupil – the late Sam Kydd.
Actor Sam was a familiar face for my parents’ generation and for my age-group, too.
Gazette readers followed his career in countless movies and TV shows with a keen interest.
He even appeared in Coronation Street as Mike Baldwin’s dad.
Sam once told the Gazette: “I acted for the first time while I was at Dunstable School. I don’t think you could say I was a star pupil. I was the sort who got up to pranks all the time – but I was keen on sport.”
Interesting, then, that he wed a famous sportswoman.
Pinkie and fellow player Peggy Franks also competed in exhibition matches at fire stations when they were doubles partners, to raise the public’s spirits in the Second World War.
And Pinkie was a successful copywriter, too. She won an award for her famous Veet slogan: “Veet. It’s always summer under your arms.”
As well as Sam Kydd, the grammar school’s star-studded alumni included another famous actor.
I’m talking about the late, great Hollywood mega star Gary Cooper.
We mentioned “Coop” in the office the other day.
And a younger member of staff asked: “Who’s Gary Cooper?”
I’ve yet to meet someone from the younger generation who remembers him.
But incredibly, he was just as famous as Brad Pitt in his day.
Fame is fleeting. But Dunstable will always remember them.
I had a call from Julia Lewry, of Dunstable, the other day.
She had been watching the TV show QI, on the Dave channel.
And she said that one talking point was all about what Bedfordshire had in common with Uzbekistan and Liechtenstein.
Hmm. Is there such a thing as a Uzbekistan Clanger? And perhaps a Liechtenstein Clanger?
Nope. Apparently, the answer was that they are “doubly landlocked”.
I’m told this means that they don’t have a coastline, and you also have to go through another landlocked county or country to finally get to a place at the seaside. I think I’ve got that straight!
Anyway. It certainly is a long way from Dunstable to the coast.
But that question really did leave me all at sea...
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Weather for Luton
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 7 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North