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Plenty on Wikipedia and on IMDd.  Those two websites are great for the date and place of birth, as well as listing the TV, films, stage and radio I've worked on.  What they don't do is describe what it was like working on those productions, alongside the wonderful and sometimes not-so-wonderful personalities involved. They also don't divulge the highs and lows of over 50 years of marriage, bringing up three kids as well as emerging grandchildren. If you're interested, Learning My Lines (my autobiography), Echoes (my first novel) are for sale through my website, as is an archive of my blogs from 2009-2013.

Monday, 10 April 2017

CRAZY WORLD

A few years ago we were encouraged to buy Diesel powered cars. Cheaper fuel and better for the engines. Now higher charges if you drive these dangerous vehicles in London also it is muted that they could ban them off the roads completely..

It’s a strange old world. Take a product that I voiced a few years ago. Flora  boasts high in Polyunsaturates. Sold well until......a crazy American scientist told the world that it was dangerous to heath. Flora went down the drain.

Like some schools said that playing conkers was dangerous and the children had to wear goggles if they played it. Similar to T Blair who tried to ban completive races at schools ‘because children who didn’t win could suffer damage their self esteem.

What a load of toss. I never won a race at school. I’ve never won a prize in my job. But we were taught to soldier on.

In the seventies there cafes called Cranks. You may remember them. These place served  ‘healthy tea and special coffee’ and sandwiches that tasted like cardboard.  Once, with dreary church music in the background, I saw what must have been vegan mouse running about. That was the last straw.

Back to the pub for me. Jolly music, good company, laughs fags and lovely beer.

Alright I’m probably wrong . Certainly about diesel engines. Not sure about conkers, coming 2nd and cardboard sandwiches. Smack my wrist.

Experts say that electric cars are on the way and robots will be running everything. But the NHS is in a on the skids. What can we do about that? With medicine improving month by month people are living longer and old people are clogging up hospitals. 

I’ve always thought that old people should be supplied with a bottle whiskey, a hundred fags a day and it can’t be impossible in this technological world to create a night time pill for the older generation to dream happily of sleeping with Nicole Kidman or if they prefer Brad Pitt. Anyway there is alternative.... the electric car. Sleeping with a car !? No,no.

Old people get frail, wobbly, certainly not too quick on their pins and usually a bit deaf.
So match deaf old folks and electric cars.

They cross the road and then can they hear these silent assassins?


Oh, dear, electric cars and cardboard . What the hell is this crazy world coming to?    

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Supermarkets

We all use supermarkets, don”t we? They are enormous and charmless.They can buy in bulk and consequently all the local shops can’t compete and and they have to close. And I miss the friendly faces.
Of course the supermarkets sell their goods a lot cheaper and shoppers love them.
But they are temples of destruction. Why are they so? Not just the little business that go under but the potential of bringing A.E. departments to bursting point. Why do I predict this?
Supermarket trollies. We’ve all seen them whizzing around piled high with food and the owner on a mobile phone. haven’t we? But have you ever had to leap out of the way when one of these juggernauts bears down on you? If you were a lorry driver on the mobile the police would slap him in prison. But these buggers are never touched.
So I have a simple solution. At the end of each supermarket aisle there should be traffic lights. So normal basket shoppers can cross safely.
But, of course, it would cost money and for these poverty stricken supermarkets might have to shell out and then they’d be FORCED to put their prices up. Any excuse.

Then maybe the local shops would be able to open up and we’d all be happy.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Dreaming

A dream. Well they’re looking for a new Dr Who. What about this: a very old, retired Time Lord trying to get a hip replacement. Then he finds himself in the Tardis. The wrong button has been pressed. He’s totally confused, doesn’t know what to do. Fortunately there is an assistant who helps him to fly the Tardis to sunnier climes where his aching bones can be eased. They’re attacked by Sun Rays. The only thing he’s got in his pocket is a pencil.It could be fun having a dopey old man trying to come to terms with the terrifying stuff he’s confronted with. What about dopey old me? Dreaming.

Or back to EastEnders. Say I went back as the twin brother of Joe Macer ( who fell out of a first floor window after confessing to Dot that he killed his wife Pauline Fowler), who’s corporate lawyer, and demands to get back the property that Ian’s living in. Dot would have kittens thinking that Joe had come back from the grave and Ian would have a nervous breakdown and my lawyer would become the pariah of Albert Square. That’d be fun.


The trouble with dreams is you always wake up.    

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Wind and Rain in Ilfracombe

 got a taxi from Barnstable and arrived at the Carlton Hotel £30 lighter. Snow was predicted.

‘It only snows on Exmoor’ the driver said confidently. ‘You’ll be alright.’

But there was certainly rain. When I got out of the taxi it was like having a bucket of water chucked over me and the wind nearly blew me off my feet.

‘Mr Brooks.’ the Michael, who I’d spoken to on the phone, greeted me warmly. ‘Your room is 203.’ The room was comfy and so was the bed. The wind was kicking up but I had to get a beer.

All the pubs seemed to have closed down for the winter but then I found one that was open! It was a big warm place and I downed two pints lickerty spit and settled down to think about my show tomorrow night in The Space in wet Ilfracombe. I had to introduce my memory stick to the projector at 1.00 on the day.

Having slept well and having a jolly breakfast. I set off, with my books, for The Space. The rain had stopped but the wind was even fiercer. The Space was was in the basement of sort of church. Inside it was a hive of activity. People putting up seats, others fixing up lights and I was greeted by Robert, the overall boss of the place.

‘A lot of seats.’ I said.

‘Forty people have applied but only fifteen have confirmed. The weather, I suppose.’

Fifteen was alright for me, I’ve played in front of a lot fewer than that, but for the theatre not so good. Although they’s said they wanted just 40 per cent of the ticket price and I told them that they could keep it all. It didn’t seem like a lot of money to take on the gate.

That evening when I arrived it seemed full! The wind must have blown them all in.

The show went well although I left out a chunk in the first half (getting as bit carried away I suppose). ‘Ran for forty minutes, Ray.’ Robert, the stop watcher, announced.

‘The second half is shorter.’ I said pathetically. And it was.

Generally I was pleased and the audience seemed happy. They bought most of the books.  Then I took Robert off to the pub. Back at the hotel and Michael was still there but the bar was closed.

‘Do you want a drink, Ray.’ he said. Then opened the bar and brought a large red wine. ‘And I’d like to buy a book for our in our library/’ he bought a book then offered me a  lift back to Barnstable the next day.

And so to bed. Two books left, an audience of 47, then a text from son, Tom. ‘Very proud of you.’


The perfect end to a perfect day.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

CATHY CHAOS

After the debacle of Cathy at BAFTA, I was standing waiting for a train at Brighton Station. When it arrives it looks like something out of The Ark. With me and a few of others, it chugs along coughing and sputtering, stopping at every station, where nobody gets on or off. then there’s an announcement over the the tannoy. ‘We will be delayed because of trouble with signals. We’re sorry for any inconvenience.‘ Inconvenience! I’m starving, there’s no  buffet car and the seats are rock hard.

Eventually the train arrives at Southampton. I’d missed my connection to Bournemouth. I was starving so I went and got a sandwich from a dubious station cafe. Egg and cress which tasted like it  had been made in around 1847. After about half and hour the Bournemouth train arrived. When I got there I took taxi to the hotel.

‘The room’s been cancelled.’

‘What !’

‘Yesterday.’

I phoned my contact. Not answering. Left a message. Got a taxi back to the bloody station. Got back to Brighton. Dark and miserable (me) and exhausted. You can stuff Cathy.

Now someone has has invited me to a showing of Cathy in Brighton, I turned it down

After the disaster of Bournemouth good news arrives ! I’ve been invited to the Bewdley Book Festival in Worcestershire plus ( and this is extraordinary) to go to The Dr Who Convention in Wichita in Kansas. And I’ve only done a Dr Who film with Peter Cushing! Very exciting. Valium Airlines here I come! If I’m brave enough.

But my concentration is focused on Ilfracombe. I go there on the 13th of January to do my show. The hotel is booked, the posters have arrived and so have my books.
 I’m following my rep towns which I did for three years. The second one was Clacton but there were no suitable theatres ( two but both too big ), I certainly couldn’t get 750 people in. My first was Nottingham which I have fond memories of.

So next year is exciting if Valium Airlines stays in the air!

Sunday, 11 December 2016

BAFTA

Wednesday 16th is the fiftieth anniversary of the first showing of Cathy Come Home. A lot of you may have not heard of it.

It’s about about people who hit hard times and fall through the net and end up having nowhere to live. When it was aired it caused a stir there questions about it in Parliament and it was repeated the following week. Also it was voted the 2nd best TV programme of all time. Oh, and I was in it playing Carol White’s husband.

There was a radio breakfast time interview arranged on the morning of the 16th on some obscure station I’d never heard of. I had to ring up and talk to them. I phoned but nothing happened. Finally I got through. The bloke didn’t know who the hell I was. Then I was passed down to someone else, who said. ‘Can we record it between 1.00 and 5.00.’ No I said. ‘Ok.we’ll talk live at 12.55. A Bright Good Morning DJ voice eventually spoke to me. ‘Good morning, Ray Brooks! You were in Cathy Come Home?’, ‘Yes, I was.’, ‘How exciting.’, ‘Yes it was.’, ‘I’m sure it was. Oh, we’ve run out of time the clocks against us. Goodbye. Lovely to have spoken yo you.’  What a load of crap!

The point is I was invited to BAFTA on that evening and my son Tom came as well. Clare who arranged it met us and bought us a drink. Then she shot off to see some other people. I was very excited. A Q&A with Ken Loach and Tony the producer. It was my chance to go on the stage and prove to the people that I wasn’t dead.

Tom was exited too. ‘It’ll be great, there might be someone out there who’ll give you a job.”
We had another drink. 

About ten minutes later Clare came back. I asked her about timings.

“The programme finishes at 7.55 then the are Q&A for about half and hour. and then back here for a couple of drinks. What time do you want the car to take you back?”

“9.15 would be fine. And where we will sit so I can get on the stage for the Q&A session?”

“Oh, it’s just Ken Loach and Toni Garnett going onto the stage.”

“Oh.”

So that was it. I was only there to watch Cathy which I seen four or five times before. What a pisser! What a f**K up! Tom and I sat and the back of the cinema. It’s a very depressing show. In the group scenes It’s impossible to hear the dialogue (maybe it was the sound system) but even Tom, who’s got hearing like a bat, couldn’t hear it.

Eventually, with about five minutes to go, Tom said can we go,

“Right. There’s an exit just there.”

“Ken and Toni are there.”

I told him to go and get the coats and I’d wait to the end when Ken and Toni went down to the stage then I’d get out.

We went to a pub, had a couple of beers and got a taxi. The evening was a bloody wash out.

Three days later I get an email from Clare. THANK YOU FROM BAFTA. “Sorry about the mixup on Wednesday. Ken and Tony were both keen to see you and made a point of mentioning you from the stage! We did an audio of it. Would you like me to email you it.”

Now I thought she was organizing the whole evening. So what’s this all about ‘the mix up’? Do I care? Not now. Because I’m off to Bournemouth to talk about Cathy. No Ken or Tony this time. But...I’ll be sharing the stage with a Labour MP.


Once you switch on a politician they rabbit forever. I won’t get a word in edge ways. If that happens, and it will,  I’ll say I have to go to the toilet and I’ll piss off never to return.