20th March 2017
1. I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again... Again! begins touring, with Graeme Garden and Jo Kendall (from the original radio cast) putting in cameos at The Chipping Norton Theatre on Friday 17th March, to a sold-out crowd. In attendance were original producer, Humphrey Barclay, and ISIRTA production secretary (and writer of the Angus Prune Tune lyrics), Lizzie Evans. This is nudging the top spot of my favourite theatre show I've ever put together and selfishly hogging the adapting, directing and producing duties (as well as performing in it) has been a stressful but ultimately rewarding experience. One of comedy heroes is Graeme Garden, so to be performing alongside him in a famous radio show that directly influenced and lead to the creation of The Goodies, Monty Python and I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue is something of a dream come true.
2. Chinbeard Books goes from strength to strength, with a limited final edition of Seasons of War gaining a glowing review in Doctor Who Magazine and including a tribute to the late Sir John Hurt and a foreword by showrunner and War Doctor creator Steven Moffat. Likewise, A Time Lord For Change (a drabble anthology covering the entirety of Doctor Who's existence) has also sold well. Both books being solely for the benefit of their chosen charities, it's really exciting to be able to pass on money to much-needed sources.
3. Total Commitments - my 10-piece tribute show to The Commitments soundtrack/movie - recently sold out The Playhouse in Cheltenham, with a new and revised show. I'm now back as front man, instead of being behind the drums, whilst James Hamblett (Guitar) and Paul Wood (Drums) join the fray. The feedback has been amazing and we're looking forward to getting the show on the road a bit more now.
4. Robin of Sherwood. Having had to sit on the secret that the licence had been granted for a brand-new series of audio adventures for the classic 1980's television show (with the original cast returning) was tough. But, it's now out there and I'll be producing (and directing) for Spiteful Puppet Entertainment Ltd. We are currently at the scripting stage, with recording dates to be booked in as soon as we can logistically gather the 11-strong main cast!
16th November 2016
1. I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again... Again! tours the UK in 2017, with the original radio cast appearing in cameos at different venues (Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden confirmed so far). A list of venues and links to tickets will appear very soon.
2. Trying - I directed and co-produced an adaptation of Joanna McClelland Glass's award-winning play, with actors Michael Craig and Becky Wright. It was released by Spiteful Puppet on a digital download platform only.
23rd February 2016
1.'I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again... Again!' premiered on Friday 19th February, at The Bacon Theatre. We were very favourably reviewed in The Gloucestershire Echo and also were very humbled to have Mr Tim Brooke-Taylor in attendance: http://www.gloucestershireecho.co.uk/Review-m-Sorry-ll-Read-Bacon-Theatre-Cheltenham/story-28783258-detail/whatson/story.html
You can also view a Gallery of professional photographs of the last rehearsal and the performance here: http://www.sosfilmphotographysound.com/Theatre/Im-Sorry-Ill-Read-That/
2. 'Robin Of Sherwood: The Knights Of The Apocalypse' went into the studio on the 18th February and there's three more sessions to go before we have all the voice cast in the can. It's been hugely envigorating and so less stressful working with Iain Meadows of Spiteful Puppet, where we've genuinely felt like a team. I'm hugely looking forward to working with them on other projects we're developing.
3. Chinbeard Books has had to halt production and are now behind schedule on releases, due to the printers throwing a legal spanner in the works with US tax laws and the like. It's fixable but takes a while to sort out.
4. OFF THE CUFF continues on, monthly, drawing a bigger crowd each time. It's so lovely to be back improvising again and amongst such an eager bunch of newbies and a couple of oldies!
3rd January 2016
Happy New Year!
So, this year is going to be hectic. Well, the first half is.
1. 'Robin Of Sherwood: The Knights Of The Apocalypse' is now being solely produced by me, though I have bought Spiteful Puppet Entertainment on board as executive producers. Sweeping changes have been made to the non-regular cast and also the script itself - all of which are for the better, according to those who matter. So, that's a relief! I'm loving working with Iain Meadows of Spiteful Puppet, who's as big an RoS fan as me. We are recording in February and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a few hurdles to jump yet before we do.
2. Total Commitments has been put on hiatus for two months but will be back in March. Drumming is good fun but I do miss being the frontman. Mainly because it was easier on my knees.
3. Chinbeard Books will be releasing a whole host of books in 2016, included A Time Lord For Change, Feel, Who's Playing Who?, Seasons Of War, The Little Book Of Dharma, Goblins, and a few others yet to be announced. It's going to be busy.
4. I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again... Again has a cast, a new caricature and nearly has a script. There's just too many jokes to do one 'Best Of' show. We are obviously hoping that Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie will like it enough for us to tour it. Fingers crossed. If you can spare a fiver for the production budget (all profit is going charities nominated by Bill and Graeme), please do: http://igg.me/at/ISIRTAA
5. The Hooded Man II convention takes place in April/May 2016. We've got about three more Guests to announce before then. It's going to be an amazing event, where I'm sure we'll be talking about the new audio as much as the old show.
6. OFF THE CUFF - my monthly comedy improv show - returns for a year-long residency at The Playhouse, Cheltenham. The third Sunday of every month. There will be Jaffa Cakes.
And my wife promises me that we can do a play I've sat on for about five years if I don't take one more thing on. Trying not to!
17th September 2015
A lot has happened in a few short months. Firstly, I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again... Again! is moving venues to Cheltenham's Parabola Arts Centre and is now being produced next year instead of this year. Purely a logistical rather than a creative reason, so we're still on course to produce a fantastic piece of theatre out of a genuinely hilarious (and classic) BBC Radio series from the pens of Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie. Secondly, more books have been announced over at my publishing house, Chinbeard Books. Thirdly, Robin Of Sherwood is coming back in audio form, with me co-producing alongside Simon Barnard of Bafflegab Productions. We had an astonishing reaction to our fundraiser, to create an audio adventure from the original creator/writer Richard 'Kip' Carpenter's unproduced script, 'The Knights Of The Apocalypse'. It features all the original surviving cast and, if you want to hear it, you can pre-order or donate on our Indiegogo page. We have 29 days left and are already nearly £4,000 over the target we intended to reach. All the profits will be going to Kip's two chosen charities in his lifetime. And, finally, I'll be writing and performing a fast-paced version of the Back To The Future trilogy, in the style of a children's bedtime story acted out by a couple of actor types. Here's the Facebook event link.
Oh, and in other news, the 10-piece band which I manage and drum for is playing a huge show at The Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham, in aid of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. Grab a ticket here for Total Commitments.
13th July 2015
There's good and bad news this month. We'll start with the bad...
Sadly, after a serious case of crossed wires, the 'Jason King' audio series is not to be. I did have permission to record two audio books, with Peter Wyngarde returning as the eponymous hero, but his views on the literary merits of these novelisations were less than complimentary.
But, now the good...
The contract has been signed and everything's official for the 'Best Of' stage version of the very popular BBC Radio comedy show I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again (using scripts and music by Mr Graeme Garden and Mr Bill Oddie). I'm co-producing and co-adapting this with the legendary Producer that is DIRK MAGGS, so it's going to be good. Hopefully, if all goes well with this one-off, we may be able to tour with it in 2016. Fingers crossed.
Grab your tickets now: ISIRTA Tickets
13th June 2015
Most of my life seems to consist of chasing things I can't announce. But, as always (and because about two people read this stuff - one of which is me, the other of which is a handsome fellow called Octavius Fox), I do drop the odd exclusive here months before I should. So, here it is. ITV granted me the licence to do a couple of 'Jason King' audios, which I'll be adapting unproduced scripts from the original series. If you don't know who or what 'Jason King' is, then I suggest you use Google. But, in essence, it's partly who Mike Myers based the character of Austin Powers on. I'm chasing Peter Wyngarde to reprise his title role and he has said 'yes', pending script approval. So, fingers crossed he likes what he reads. The other property ITV Has granted myself and my co-producer, Simon Barnard, is an even bigger deal and you'll hear more about that in the coming months.
Chinbeard Books, my publishing company, has released its first book - 'Tales Of The Female Perspective' - and this charity anthology seems to be selling well and getting some good feedback.
Another exclusive will be revealed next week, when I begin to publicise my next big project: a revival of a famous BBC Radio show from the '60s/'70s, live on stage in a 'Best Of' type show. it's been fun researching this one. Coming soooooooon!
18th February 2015
Chinbeard Books has announced a fair few titles and now begins the slow process of rolling them out and trying to make sure each book is top quality. I'm really very happy that Jason Connery is on board with his 'Gullible's Travels' book about his life, it made me chuckle loads when I read an extract.
I've managed to secure the licence to an ITV property, which is currently being adapted for audio. The other licence, from ITV, is just awaiting the final signature before we get cracking on that too. Both of this will be done in partnership with Bafflegab Productions.
The third licence is more of an agreement being reached. Hopefully, after a meeting with the respective writers of this particular famous BBC production, we can then get started on adapting it for stage and announce it. With this, I'm co-producting with a highly respected and very celebrated produce/writer/director of audio/stage goodness who I'm incredibly humbled to be bumping beards against.
All will be revealed soon!
26th December 2014
I promised I'd cut back on projects in 2015. I lied.
Next year promises to be my busiest year ever and I'm not sure how many plates I can juggle before breaking a few. But, I'll give it a jolly good go.
Firstly, I'll be running my own publishing company, Chinbeard Books Ltd, which already has a large slate of releases all waiting to be proofed and printed. I love books. I'm not looking to turn a vast profit on this, it's just a sideline to tick over and break even. My passion for it is like my passion for literary endeavours - never-ending. I'm so delighted to be able to bring some amazing talent onboard and humbled to be publishing some very exciting titles.
Secondly, I'm writing the official biography of Richard 'Kip' Carpenter for Miwk Publishing. This has been sanctioned by his family and, although his name may not be instantly familiar with everyone, he pretty much had hit series after hit series from when he began to when he retired ('Robin of Sherwood', 'The Adventurer', 'The Smuggler', 'The Ghosts Of Motley Hall', 'Dick Turpin', 'The Scarlet Pimpernel', to name but a few). In 2015, I'll be conducting a shedload of interviews and formulating the narrative into some cohesive structure. Hopefully, with the right ingredients, the finished pudding shouldn't take that long to write but there's a LOT of research and brainwork to delve into before I even get to a first draft. It's a big project, as befits such a fantastic writer, and it's an amazing honour to be doing it but also very, very scary.
Thirdly, I'm on tour. Well, not me on my own. My theatre group is resurrecting my multi-award winning one-act play, 'Waiting For A Friend', and coupling it with a more well-known work as a double bill. I shall be directing it but not appearing in it. We're going to five venues at the moment (though more may be added) in May/June.
Fourthly, I'm getting gigs for 'Total Commitments', the tribute band to the music of 'The Commitments'. We hope to be touring with that after two highly successful debut gigs at the end of this year.
Fifthly, I'm developing four graphic novels with four different artists (I'm providing the storyline/dialogue) and our work-in-progress will be debuted at a stall for Chinbeard Books Ltd in the True Believers Comic-Con, Cheltenham. Tickets are available for what looks like an amazing day of comics and cosplay.
Sixthly, I've got three projects bubbling under, both of which are top-secret and require licensing, contracts and agreements to be in place before I announce them. One is for the stage and two are for audio. At the moment, two are looking very close to being announced and the other is looking hopeful. If these can be okayed, then my workload increases HUGELY but all three are genuinely amazing and I'm very happy to be co-producing all three.
So, 2015. Let's hope you are good to me and I promise I'll be good to you.
6th November 2014
I launched a publishing company this month. Chinbeard Books
27th September 2014
'The Shock Horror Treatment Show' is a comedy improvisation/musical that will precede a showing of the actual film of 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show' on Halloween night, at the HUGE venue known at The Centaur, in Cheltenham Racecourse. We have also booked Patricia Quinn (the original 'Magenta' from the stage and film cast) for the event too. My fellow performers and I will be staying in character for the whole night and getting the audience to join in during the film too. It's going to be massive and sexy and fun and joyful and you should ALL be there. You can grab a ticket from: Rocky Horror Tickets
Also, and this is a real thrill for me, I've had a short story accepted in the 'Seasons Of War' charity anthology, which is an unofficial project for John Hurt's The War Doctor from 'Doctor Who' - originated and overseen by Declan May.
For me, after seeing John Hurt play this hitherto unknown incarnation of the Doctor (with hardly a huge amount of screen time), I absolutely fell in love with the portrayal and the wounded, exhausted but still twinkly character he created. This anthology, which has the most amazing line-up of authors (and the less famous, like myself, were chosen from something like 400 submissions), is covering the span of the Time War, from when we see John Hurt's Doctor regenerate from Paul McGann's Eighth Doctor, to the moment we see him appear opposite Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor. Each 'season' sees this warrior traveller, who rejects the name 'Doctor', get older, wearier and more battle-hardened. You can make a donation to the charity this is in aid of, which will mean you get a free copy of the eBook version (how to buy paperback, hardback and deluxe versions will be on the Just Giving page nearer the release date in December). Whisper it quietly, but it seems like John Hurt himself will be involved in the project - though it hasn't been announced as to what he will do. It's very exciting. You can find out all about it, and how to donate, by following this link: Press Release For 'Seasons Of War'
13th September 2014
Sadly, I've had to pull out of 'The Goon Show' before it started rehearsals, due to illness. I've never had to do that before in my life and it feels terrible. But, I didn't want to put the production in jeopardy by soldiering on and risking having to leave later on. However, as one door closes... as they say.
I've decided to finish up a few old writing projects, as well as a new secret project that will be unveiled soon. Plus, for Halloween, I get to write and perform (or just write and direct, if I'm not well enough to perform) some amazing content for an event that will be announced next week. Stay tuned!
14th July 2014
I've been cast as Neddie Seagoon (aka Harry Secombe) in a live recreation of 'The Goon Show', from FRED, the Birmingham Comedy Festival and The Old Joint Stock Theatre. Performing in Birmingham and Croydon in October. Highly personal for me, as my Dad (who passed away a year or so ago) was a huge fan of 'The Goon Show' and I grew up being inspired by the lunacy that assaulted my eardrums. It's what honed my comic sensibilities and, I believe, is why I love radio comedy more than most.
21st May 2014
So, 'The Hooded Man' seems to have gone down quite well. I'm very chuffed that the weekend celebrating 30 years of 'Robin of Sherwood' was enjoyed by so many. I promised myself I'd just do the one event and not be lured into the trap of producing one every couple of years but, aside from the positive feedback, there were a few niggles that I could have ironed out had I not relied on others to help in the last week (and, plus, my far-more-organised wife is interested in coming on board properly if another one is announced). It looks like there may be another. Possibly two years, possibly three. I haven't really decided yet, as I'm still dealing with post-convention admin, etc. But, the main thing is, I was able to create something the way I wanted it - relaxed, atmospheric, fun, interactive and enjoyable. Phew.
And now, nagging away at me, there's projects put on the back burner that are jostling for position. I've got two charity book anthologies to finish, the editing on 'Single White Who Fan' to complete with Chads, three Graphic Novels to storyboard and the 'Who's Playing Who?' book to finally finish. That's on top of rehearsing for my new tribute show (the 10-piece tribute to 'The Commitments', called Chain Of Fools). I'm sat behind the drums for this one. It's nice to sit down for once. Although it's twice as physical! Ha.
24th April 2014
'Single White Who Fan' was successfully recorded over two looooong days, with an ever-revolving cast of people. I'm chuffed that we also got to use the voices of John Guilor, Frazer Hines, John Levene and Terry Molloy as 'The Announcer'. At this moment, it is being edited (by Steve 'Chads' Bradbury) and has its' own theme tune courtesy of Arpeggio Creative (thanks, Alexander White).
The two charity anthologies are ticking over. 'Tales Of The Female Perspective' is currently being edited by Frances Gardiner, our professional editor, and has a new publisher. Whereas 'Fifteen Shades Of CoppaFeel!' is currently on hiatus until the second week of May (when the photos start being farmed out to the writers).
'The Little Book Of Dharma' lost the illustrator who was initially so passionate about it and, although it's basically finished (from a writing point of view), it is currently trying out new illustrators to find the best fit; in order to finish it completely.
'The Hooded Man' is the project that has swamped me of late, celebrating the 30th anniversary of 'Robin of Sherwood'. If you want to see what that's about, head over to the 'Links' page and click on 'The Hooded Man'. It's a big event and I'm very excited about it, having basically set-up and organised it on my own. If it comes off well, then I'll be a happy bunny.
Many more projects bubbling away, including the very-long-in-gestation Graphic Novels, but more on those as they actually get kick-started. For now, I'm happy getting fatter, growing my chin-beard and wondering how I manage to look after two daughters at the same time as taking on way too many projects.
30th January 2014
The 'Tales Of The Female Perspective' anthology (for 'Invest In M.E.) is in the process of switching publishers, the CoppaFeel anthology has been taken on by a new publisher (and the final photoshoots are taking place in the next couple of days), and recording dates have been booked for 'Single White Who Fan'. Blues Brothers Reloaded are two rehearsals away from their final FINAL show, for the charity named in my Daddio's will. So, come along and join in the fun at the Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham. We're on a mission for Ray.
4th January 2014
Happy New Year! January is a busy month, in that I have too much to do and not enough energy/time to do it. A final edit of the audio version of 'Single White Who Fan' needs to be done, with approval sort from the original author, and I'm rehearsing for a one-off Blues Brothers show (in tribute to my Dad) at The Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham. On top of that, the two anthologies are bubbling away but require attention (both for charity) and I'm struggling massively with my health. But, you know, being creative is a way of taking myself away from my physical disabilities and being who I want to be. Onwards and upwards.
15th December 2013
I'm 40. That's new.
24th October 2013
So, apparently, nothing new has happened between August and October. This is, in fact, a lie. I know it's a lie, as I'm the one living my life. But, a website dedicated to my ego should at least tell you how big my ego is becoming. So, what IS new, rather than just saying the same old, same old. Well, I've lost some weight. That's new. I'm closer to my fortieth birthday. That's also new. But, what of creative things? Well, I closed my comedy improvisation troupe down ('Off The Cuff') - we did our final performance at The Playhouse Theatre in Cheltenham and still made people laugh. I even got into the newspaper with it, albeit pulling a comedy face. Well, that's what I said, just so that people didn't laugh at my actual face. I resurrected my Blues Brothers tribute band for a one-off performance next year, at The Everyman Theatre (in Cheltenham too). That's to honour my Dad, who passed away this year. He was a big music fan and loved our Blues Brothers show, so we're doing it for the charity he named in his Will. I'm just about to start editing an anthology that I've put together for another charity ('Invest In ME'), which goes by the title of 'Tales Of The Female Perspective', and am starting on another one (which is naughtily erotic) for the breast cancer charity 'CoppaFeel'. I'm currently writing a Doctor Who mini-play to perform near the 50th anniversary of the TV show in November but that's yet to be announced. Unless you read this. Which nobody does, so I know it's safe to say it here first. To be honest, there's a lot of things new. I'm constantly taking on projects and wondering how I'm going to fit them into my life. It's what I do. It keeps me busy. Of course, I take on so much that projects often get neglected and fall by the wayside. The graphic novels I've mentioned in previous updates are still very much something I want to sort out, they've just been put in a cupboard for now and I can already hear them knocking to come out. What I need to do next is compile 'The Little Book Of Dharma' - a sort of peer pressure book that came out of me posting status updates on Facebook about the little things my eldest daughter comes out with. Since I started, I've noticed there's been a lot of people doing the same. I believe I may have started a trend. Or everyone's child is actually mine and I'm waiting for the paternity suits. I wonder if you can wear a paternity suit? I bet they'd be uncomfortable.
22nd August 2013
I've been booked to 'open' the Witcombe Cider Festival, which is in walking distance from where I grew up. I'm the 1:00pm slot, this Saturday. Looking forward to getting my self-penned songs out there again (comedy and serious), wearing my trusty head mic and reading my trusty lyrics from a trusty folder, as I don't trusty myself to remember them. Ahem.
28th April 2013
If I don't read my own website for a few months, then surely nobody else does? Ahem. Sadly, work on various projects got put on hold as two close family members became ill and subsequently passed away. But, in this unhappy times, I've been restructuring and re-thinking what to do. I can announce that the Doctor Who tie-in audio adaptation has been approved by the original author and is now in the casting stage. I'm currently writing pitches for FOUR Graphic Novels with four different artists, 'Who's Playing Who?' is scheduled to be published at the end of August, a comedy musical version of the popular '80s TV series 'Robin Of Sherwood' is in pre-production (to be filmed for inclusion in 'The Hooded Man' 30th Anniversary Convention), ten poems for children's stories, to be illustrated by Heather Franklin, are nearing completion, work has begun on the sequels to 'Lemon' and a new novel called 'Stacey And The Bandit', and a horror/comedy anthology book for the charity 'Invest In ME' has been picked up by FBS Publishing, for a Winter release slot; which features 20 authors, each writing their own short story. Phew.
9th January 2013
Happy New Year everyone! Whilst trying to scale back on projects this year, I appear to have actually taken on more. So, in the pipeline are four Graphic Novels (all with different artists), one Anthology of Short Stories (with a murderous linking theme and a great line-up of authors), the final edit of 'Who's Playing Who?', and the recording and release of two very exciting audio plays (which have a strong Doctor Who connection; in the 50th Anniversary year of the show).
18th October 2012
'Running To Stand Still' - an original audio play, with songs, will be released on the 1st of November, via download (http://www.wirelesstheatrecompany.co.uk/) or on CD; by clicking on the 'Shop' link on this very website. It is in aid of the charity Invest In ME, who are raising funds for a medical research centre for the illness that is the focal point of the play (M.E.).