All posts by admin

The Curse of Peter Kay’s Charity Singles

The is a theory out there, that if you are famous and mentioned in a Half Man Half Biscuit song, then you will die. There is (as ever) a web page devoted to it:  http://halfmanhalfbiscuit.uk/because-i-aint-got-a-job/those-no-longer-in-need-of-season-tickets/

Peter Kay, long time annoyer of taxi staff everywhere, former booze advertiser, comedy genius, and reportedly “nice guy”,  cursed more entertainers in the space of two charity single videos than Half Man Half Biscuit could manage in such a short space of time.

Here we shall consider each hexing separately.

Case 1:  (It This The Way) To Amarillo


Released March 14, 2005.
Length: 3:33, Death Toll: 6

0:29 Anne Kirkbride, known for playing Deirdre Barlow in Coronation Street, died 19 January 2015
0:37 Keith Harris, known for having his hand up Orville’s rectal cavity, died 28 April 2015
1:06 Jimmie Saville, known for historic sex offences, died 29 October 2011
1:33 Jim Bowen, known for Bullseye, died 14 March 2018
1:56 Geoffrey Hayes, known for Rainbow, died 30 September 2018
2:03 Robbie Corbett, known for being about a third of The Two Ronnies by volume, died 31 March 2016

Case 2: (I’m Gonna Be) 500 Miles 2009


Released 17 March 2007
Length 5:27, Death Toll: 9

0:37 June Whitfield, known for Carry On Films and Terry & June, died 29 December 2018
1:16 Kathy Staff, known best for being Nora Batty, died 13 December 2008
1:23 Frank Sidebottom (Chris Sievey), died 21 June 2010
1:32 Burt Kwouk, (not now, Kato!), died 24 May 2016
1:48 Kenny Lynch, singer and commedian 18 December 2019
2:42 David Bellamy, noted Charles Darwin and orangutan look-a-like naturalist, died 11 December 2019
2:50 Keith Chegwin, former stooge of The Edmonds, died 11 December 2017
3:00 Rick Parfitt, Status Quo guitar hero,died 24 December 2016
3:18 Terry Nutkins, had his fingers repeatedly bit off by otters, died 6 September 2012

To sum up then, 2 songs, 9 minutes, 15 deaths. And remember, this is only the death toll so far.

The JAGverse Family Tree

In the beginning Bellisario created the ‘verse. Now the ‘verse was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Bellisario was hovering over the waters.

And Bellisario said, “Let there be JAG,” and there was JAG. 

And in time JAG begat NCIS, and NCIS begat NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans. After the initial NCIS Backdoor Pilot on JAG, JAG characters started appearing on NCIS. Similarly, following their respective pilots, NCIS:LA and NCIS:NO shared characters with their parent series, but oddly not each other. Also, a JAG character started cropping up on NCIS:LA. So thus we have (Note: the arrows show the flow of characters):

But, we also have JAG importing a character from the not-very-popular First Monday (I’m possibly the only person in the UK to have bothered watching it): Edward Sheffield (Dean Stockwell), later Secretary of the Navy.

And then the walls of the ‘verse were broken, when Hetty from NCIS:LA appeared on Scorpion, and a crossover happened between NCIS:LA and Hawaii Five-0 (the reboot of Hawaii Five-O).

Hawaii Five-0 opens up another can of worms though. Characters appeared in MacGyver (2016), the reboot of MacGyver (1985). And then there are the cross-overs with Magnum P.I. (2018), itself a reboot of Magnum p.i. (1980).

Phew. That is a lot of interconnected TV. But we’re not done yet! Oh no, there is more.

In 2015, Duane “Dog” Chapman appeared on Hawaii Five-0 as himself, thus establishing that he exists within the ‘verse. And in 2018 Mike Wolfe of American Pickers popped up on NCIS, adding his show in to the mix.

So many series tied together does of course bring up problems. Aside from many actors being reused across the various shows (Terry O’Quinn, Sean Murray, Michael Bellisario, Dean Stockwell, and Zoe McLellan being the most obvious), there are the various references made to the other shows. DiNozzo in NCIS was a big Magnum p.i. fan, and Gibbs mentioned Hawaii Five-O once.

Then there is DiNozzo naming Bellisario, and being a Quantum Leap fan but not recognising that Dwayne Pride is Scott Bakula.

This does bring up the interesting possibilty that Dwayne is actually Sam Beckett on an extended leap, but temporarily unaware of his circumstances, not being in contact with Al.  If you look at S05E01 “See You Soon” in a certain way, it could be seen to be his daughter Samantha (or even Ziggy) trying to bring Sam back into the QL program.

If Pride exited the series in a blue halo with the appropriate sound effects it would be a better end than his last leap: the one where he spent four years as a ship captain that may or not have been a computer simulation run by a fat man with a beard.

Sorry, I got carried away again.

UPDATE!!!

At the end of NCIS: Los Angeles Season 10,  the 14 year cliffhanger from JAG was revealed (look elsewhere for spoilers), but that doesn’t really change the tree – JAG characters had already appeared in NCIS: LA.

However, a chance viewing of an old Magnum p.i. (1980) episode showed a cross-over with Simon and Simon (1981). More research turned up a Magnum/Murder, She Wrote (1984) crossover too.

There were rumours of other cross-overs and spin-offs, and an unlikely one turned up the from the Dog show Dog and Beth: On the Hunt (2013).

 

No doubt purists would disagree with the inclusion of the “reality shows”, but they stay for now.

As of Monday, June 10th 2019 this is up to date. If things change, I will try to keep up with the changes.

 

Star Bores – an old Text Adventure from the early ’90s

A long time a go, in a city far far away (ok, it was a town then and it’s only 92 miles up the road from me now) I wrote a computer game. It wasn’t good, it didn’t sell more than a few copies.

The game was Star Bores, a Star Wars parody that originally pre-dated Spaceballs by two years. But, as you will see, it suffered massive schedule slip, a lot of delays, massive apathy and eventual consignment to the shitbin of computing history.

It all started back in 1985, when I got hold of a copy of Gilsoft’s The Quill adventure writing software for the ZX Spectrum. I’d played a good few games written with it, including some excellent ones by Delta 4. Thinking “I can do that, how hard can it be?” I launched half-heartedly into games design.

The first version was a simple 20-ish room affair which just involved getting Luke on the bus to get off the planet Tattoo.  I hawked it around school on cheap C15 cassettes for a while, until everyone told me to sod off. It was utterly awful, and I’m thankful that the likelyhood of any copies remaining is very very slight.

Version 2 (late ’85-early ’86) included graphics using The Illustrator add-on to The Quill. The text was cleaned up, the puzzles were made more logical, and it made more sense. I remember being particulary proud of the drawing of a Mercedes Minibus for the final end screen.

Sadly, in April ’86 my mother died, orphaning us. In the follwing upheaval I lost all my data tapes and notes, as they “weren’t considered to be important”. Neither was my self-designed ZX81 controlled Logo Turtle, but that another story that goes on and on and on…

Early 1987 brings us to the Amstrad CPC6218,  the Graphic Adventure Creator, and a re-write from scratch.  Once again it was awful. And thus swiftly abandoned.

Shortly afterwards, I managed to scrape up the money (by selling brushes door-to-door) to get a copy of The Professional Adventure Writer! It ran uder CP/M on the Amstrad 6128/PCW8258. It was great. Sadly, my game writing skills were still not.

But, Keeping calm and carrying on (before that was a thing), I reached a final release in early 1988. Two years after Spaceballs came out. It was still rubbish.

Still, I spent a fortune sending 3″ (yes) disks out to those magazines that might be interested. Nothing, except for a letter from Amstrad Action along the lines of “Thanks, but no thanks”. Some more copies were done for a local games shop, but more cases were stolen than games bought (Amstrad 3″ disk cases being rare as rocking horse shit at the time).

By 1990 I’d moved south and the CPC had packed up. By now the sorry saga whould have been over, but in about 1997 I heard about getting data from old Amstrad disks onto PC disks.  So I did. And I got it running on a PC!

Since then it has been available on a number of retro download sites, and in total has had over 1000 downloads (he says, making numbers up like a British Politician).

Anyway, you’ve come this far so you need some sort of reward.

Here is a zip of the CPM version: starbore.zip