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Mr Ross takes a short break from his hectic work schedule to drop us a line!
I’m sure really busy people have lots of different ways to keep track on just how busy they are. Me? I have a quick phone call to Anne-Marie to check on when my last Laughter Lines took me up to in what I laughingly call my career in ‘mirth and joy’. You see, I have an hour window in which I can scribble down some random thoughts in a Soho pub: the Olde Coffee Shoppe in fact. The same pub where I and a mate (Rick Blackman) once chatted to classical actor James Villiers. But, I digress.

My gauge for busyness, Anne-Marie, is on voicemail. She’s more busy than me! Suffice to say I’ve been having a whale of a few months, completely let loose on ITVDVD’s back catalogue of classic British cinema. Box sets showcasing the immortal work of such stars as Stewart Granger, Diana Dors, Donald Sinden, Laurence Olivier and Kenneth More which have or are about too hit your DVD shelves. So keep ‘em peeled. And there’s more where they came from. I love my ‘job’!

There have been audio commentary recordings with everyone from Leslie Phillips to Michael Winner. Impromptu interviews with online B.O.U.N.C.E. radio (thank you Foxxy!) and those glorious Goodies fans, the Giddies. Check it out by clicking here!

Some of the fruits of my labour for BBC’s 2entertain have been hitting the shops. Series one of Sorry! featuring three audio commentaries with Ronnie Corbett, is now currently available.Meanwhile, the Sorry! release and the Ever Decreasing Circles set have been picked up by Australian company, Madman. Such is the all-round good-egg-ness of Grant Taylor that he wanted continuity (ie: me!) for the exclusive down under Don’t Wait Up release. Thus I found myself with beloved cohort Henry Holland and the ‘talent’, scriptwriter George Layton, in the celebrated Redwood Studios with legendary sound engineer Andre Jacquemin. The four half-hour commentaries were beautifully effortless and flawless and hilarious.

On the new British comedy front, I’m told that Carry On London still hopes to get in to production in time to sink the entire franchise next year. Yes, impossible to believe, that next March will mark the 50th anniversary of filming starting on the inaugural classic Carry On Sergeant. And mention of that film is a timely nudge for me to make readers aware of the Giveafewbob.org website aiming to raise money and awareness for prostrate cancer research. Have a final laugh with the true gent of comedy that was Bob Monkhouse. And don’t forget to give a few bob…yes, you!!

Talking of the late, great, Bob, a pal of mine (Alan Coles) and me are still on our mission to get hold of every Sid James film. Bearing in mind he made loads this is no mean feat. Anyway, Al finally tracked down a copy of the long-thought-lost Hammer comedy, A Weekend with Lulu. Not only Sid in a bristling cameo as a French (but not French! He’s reassuringly Sid) café owner, but Bob as an irritating cockney lead, Leslie Phillips doing Leslie Phillips, Shirley Eaton looking stunning as always, Irene Handl dithering with false refinery and Alfred Marks as some kind of continental Count. It’s wild and wacky and wonderful. Although I think my favourite Sid find of late is Idle on Parade. The film that made Anthony Newley a rock ‘n’ roll star, William Bendix heads the cast with a lip-smacking rooster of British character actors in support, including Dilys Laye, Lionel Jeffries, Harry Fowler, David Lodge and little Ian Wilson. So, basically, this is a Sid plea. If you have a copy of Is Your Honeymoon Really Necessary? or Interpol about your person please drop me a line!

A few of the more obscure Sid films have filtered on to official DVD recently: Time Gentlemen, Please!, Simon and Laura, The Big Job, and, most notably, the unsung Orders Are Orders. A low budget film with an embarrassment of comic riches, it stars Sid, Tony Hancock, Peter Sellers, Eric Sykes and Bill Fraser in a manic army farce based round the filming of a sci-fi adventure. Think The Square Peg meets Plan Nine from Outer Space and you will have a fair idea of what you are in for!

Anyway, I think that’s my word count completed for this session. If not I’m sure Anne-Marie will crack the whip and force another couple of hundred words out of me. Do your worse A-M!

Robert Ross

Page Last Updated Wednesday, July 18, 2007 at 12:01:28