Remembrance of Things Past

Mostly about growing up the 1950s in Ilford, Essex.

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[..] Unchained

Sadly, it’s another obituary.


Not many will remember the singing career of Jimmy Young in the fifties but he had a number one hit with his version of Unchained Melody in 1955.

He was a DJ in the early days of Radio Luxembourg and Juke Box Jury and for many years hosted a programme on Radio Two.

I remember him as a DJ on the ‘Easy Listening’ of pop music.

Sadly missed.

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[..] Comedy is a Serious Business


Although I mentioned him in [93] a list of TV memories, I have to mention the sad death of Brian RixBrian Norman Roger Rix, Baron Rix, described by Wikipedia as an English actor and campaigner.

Over many years, he presented more than ninety one-night-only television farces on the BBC, which were hugely popular, with viewing figures regularly topping 15 million. In the early 1960s he was the highest paid actor to appear on BBC TV. Only a few of these have survived in the BBC archive.

Farce in those days may have included some innuendo and double entendres but by modern standards it was good, clean fun.

With his wife Elspet he became involved in the world of learning disability after their first daughter, Shelley, was born with Down syndrome, in those days referred to as mongolism. There was no welfare support for such children and certainly no education. The only offering the state made was a place in a run-down so-called hospital where “patients” were left to their own devices for hours on end.

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He was the Greatest

Cassius Clay, later Muhammad Ali, was the Greatest.


I am not a fan of boxing but he was more than a boxer.

In the mid-sixties boxing to me was just the World heavyweight championship and in those day it was an undusputed title. He was the undisputed champion and a great boxer.

But he was all known for his outspoken quotes, sometimes in poetry, his dancing style of boxing, his Muslim faith and change of name and his resistance to the US draft during the Vietnam War.

He was such an icon of the time, one of the first black Americans to be so universally known and loved.

Many will remember in 2012, he was a titular bearer of the Olympic Flag during the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics.



Always remembered as the Greatest.




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Two More Sad Memories

Today I have to note the deaths of two personalities from my early memories.


Cliff Michelmore was a significant part of radio in the fifties and sixties – in a time when radio was a much more important part of our entertainment, when television was poor quality, black and white and just one channel for a few hours each day.

I will leave it to my blog about Two-Way Family Favourites to explain about the radio of Sunday mornings. He is sadly missed.

Paul Daniels, who also died today, was really more a product of the seventies and later. To me he always brought memories of David Nixon and What’s my Line.


From two days ago I could also note the passing of Sylvia Anderson, who did much for early Children’s Television Series such as Thunderbirds. She was much more than the voice of Lady Penelope.




All together in the Floral Dance

Another sad obituary, Sir Terry Wogan (1938-2016) who died today.


Remembered for many things. Originally broadcasting in Ireland, he moved to the Light Programme and Radio One in the late sixties.

Apart from his continuing presence on radio he is remembered for his chat show, Wogan, the outrageous game show Blankety Blank and his long running presence at the Eurovision Song Contest. More lately he has presented the all night Children in Need annual event

He was so ubiquitous in the media meant that he was often parodied by comedians of the time. He was self-deprecating and released a vocal version of the song The Floral Dance, where he almost talked over the instrumental hit by the Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band.



As I walked home on a Summer night
When stars in Heav’n were shining bright
Far away from the footlight’s glare
Into the sweet and scented air
Of a quaint old Cornish town
Borne from afar on the gentle breeze
Joining the murmur of the summer seas
Distant tones of an old world dance
Played by the village band perchance
On the calm air came floating down
I thought I could hear the curious tone
Of the cornet, clarinet and big trombone
Fiddle, ‘cello, big bass drum
Bassoon, flute and euphonium
Far away, as in a trance
I heard the sound of the Floral Dance
And soon I heard such a bustling and prancing
And then I saw the whole village was dancing
In and out of the houses they came
Old folk, young folk, all the same
In that quaint old Cornish town
Every boy took a girl ’round the waist
And hurried her off in tremendous haste
Whether they knew one another I care not
Whether they cared at all, I know not
But they kissed as they danced along.
And there was the band with that curious tone
Of the cornet, clarinet and big trombone
Fiddle, ‘cello, big bass drum
Bassoon, flute and euphonium
Each one making the most of his chance
All together in the Floral Dance
I felt so lonely standing there
And I could only stand and stare
For I had no boy with me
Lonely I should have to be
In that quaint old Cornish town.
When suddenly hast’ning down the lane
A figure I knew I saw quite plain
With outstretched hands he came along
And carried me into that merry throng
And fiddle and all went dancing down.
We danced to the band with the curious tone
Of the cornet, clarinet and big trombone
Fiddle, ‘cello, big bass drum
Bassoon, flute and euphonium
Each one making the most of his chance
Altogether in the Floral Dance.
Dancing here, prancing there
Jigging, jogging ev’rywhere
Up and down, and round the town
Hurrah! For the Cornish Floral Dance


Fondly remembered and sadly missed.

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Globetrotting no More

Most of my obituaries are about UK memories but I have to mention Meadowlark Lemon, who died yesterday, one of the most famous of the Harlem Globetrotters.


I probably only saw the team play two or three times, on television, but they impressed me. I don’t normally follow basketball but they were pure entertainment.

Wikipedia says that they have travelled over 120 countries and played over 20 000 exhibtion games.