Thursday, March 17, 2016

They Always Go in Threes, or Fours

Paul Daniels, Cliff Michelmore and Frank Sinatra Jr - they're still going in threes.  Except, of course, if you include Sylvia Anderson, whose demise over the same period would make four.  I suppose that if you just confined it to UK TV personalities it would be three.  But that would mean leaving out Frank Sinatra Jr, famous for being Frank Sinatra Sr's son, playing himself on Family Guy a couple of times and writing one of the songs in 1965's Beach Girls and the Monster - who could forget that?  I must admit that in the case of Cliff Michelmore, I was surprised to learn that he had still been alive.  I could have sworn that he died years ago, but concluded that I must have been confusing him with his rival in the comb over stakes, Robert Robinson.  The latter, of course, presided over Ask The Family, in which two unbearably smug middle class families competed to answer pseudo-intellectual questions posed by the unbearably smug Robinson.  At least, he sounded smug, as did Michelmore, but I suspect tht had to do with the fact that came from a generation of BBC presenters who were trained to speak that way, with that air of slight superiority.  They came from an era when broadcasting chiefs thought that their audiences liked to be talked down to.

As for Paul Daniels, how we loved to mock his hair piece and much younger wife.  But the fact is that he was a pretty damn good magician and his show was must watch TV in its day.  Actually, to call him a 'magician' is a bit derogatory, he was, more accurately, an illusionist.  And he was right - latter day illusionists like David Blaine are pretty boring.  I mean, Blaine was good when he was doing his street magic, but his later shenanigans, like sitting in that box over the Thames, was just dull and didn't really qualify as illusions.  What can I say about Sylvia Anderson other than that to me she'll always be Lady Penelope from Thunderbirds. Actually, she was much more than just that on Thunderbirds and the various other Gerry Anderson series, being, with her then husband, a major creative force behind them.  I loved those series when I was a kid - I think it was all the explosions as those elaborate miniatures were blown to bits.  One day I'll have to make my own version - probably with the help of my great nieces, the younger of whom is considering a possible career in arson.

Of course, all of this gives the impression that only famous people have died this week - the reality is that far larger numbers of regular, but no less worthy, people have also passed away over the same period.  But they aren't considered as interesting by the media, so, generally speaking, don't get their obituaries printed in the papers.  They also don't go in threes (or fours). Although my mother would probably disagree with me on that point, citing many examples of friends and families who have turned up their toes in neat batches of three.



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