Category Archives: Eccentrics

Does John Ward have THE No 6 badge from cult TV series “The Prisoner”…??

Malcolm Hardee Comedy Award designer John Ward has got in touch with me about the cult TV series The Prisoner, which starred Patrick McGoohan

John Ward wrote:


Patrick McGoohan made The Prisoner down the road from you at MGM Borehamwood in 1966-1967.

Patrick McGoohan, the Prisoner badge, the MGM envelope

I wrote to him when it was screened to say I thought the series was a cracker and a few weeks later a signed photo plus a Number 6 penny farthing badge came in the post…

Could this be THE badge that was used in the show? – Or just one of them? 

I suspect that a few were made in case of cock-ups during filming – or to send out to fans. But, on the back of the badge I was sent – in the pin attachment – are visible grains of sand.

Some of the location stuff was filmed along the beach area at Portmeirion in Wales.

Years ago I did try to find out how many badges were made, but no joy.

In the 1980s, I ‘loaned’ my badge to the Six of One fan club for a Channel 4 programme Six Into One – The Prisoner File. I saw an article in the TV Times asking for anybody with any memories relating the original showing – 1967-1968.

So I wrote in.

Next thing I knew I had a ‘highly educated’ man calling me on the phone to say how wonderful it was that I had this ‘memento’ from the show.

The more he asked, the more he seemed to be drooling over it.

Could I send it, together with the envelope with the MGM logo, by recorded delivery, to him?

I duly did his bidding and got back a pile of their Six of One promo stuff about membership etc… and then… nothing, really.

I was never told when the programme was going out. By chance, I spotted it in the telly listings. 

And then it took so much hassle getting it back from them! 

I got the impression they thought I was going to give it them. 

They eventually succumbed to sending the badge back to me in a registered envelope after loads of phone calls from me to them. 

However…

MGM envelope franked

…the MGM envelope they had requested “to prove its authenticity” that I had sent together with the badge was not there – So back to the phone I went and told him in no uncertain terms I was not best pleased.

The MGM envelope appeared about a week later in a Royal Mail Registered envelope, with no apology or anything else, hence I have no time for the Six of One clique in any shape or form.

And, despite all this aggro the badge was not actually used in any context in the programme.

What is interesting is I cannot find any reference to the badge I have. 

Okay, there are loads of shit copies on eBay, yes – But no mention of anybody saying they have the original badge at all.

Years ago our local newspaper – the Northants Evening Telegraph – ran an article on it but no joy. One idiot said he had bought ‘the badge’ while on holiday and he paid 50p for it in… well… in Margate..

He came round to see me, but it was a simple button type badge with a pin about the size of a 50 pence piece.

I may well take my badge along to an Antiques Roadshow at some point as I think, with the original MGM logo envelope, it has provenance, as they say.


The entire 50-minute opening episode of The Prisoner is currently available to view on YouTube… speeded-up so it lasts just 2 mins 33 secs…

…and there is 8mm film footage of the first episode being shot at Portmeirion

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The death of cult German variety act The Short Man with Long Socks…

From Channel 46 News today:

 

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Mad inventor John Ward, a very stupid copper and the search for hidden guns

A week ago, I posted a blog was about mad inventor and Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards designer John Ward’s interest in guns. 

(John Ward would like it pointed out he is not actually mad, but I cling to it as an attractive clickbait adjective.)

In last week’s blog, John W mentioned he used to keep guns and ammunition in his home. He had an FAC (a Fire Arms Certificate) and occasionally a policeman would come round to check the guns were being securely locked-up. 

But there is more to this story, as John Ward explains here:


As part of the renewal process for an FAC, you had a visit from a member of the local police force, our own local ‘beat constable’, who checked the security boxes – one for the weapons and one for the ammunition.

In over twenty plus years in my case, the system worked well and each time I passed the requirements with ‘flying colours’ and no untoward comments.

Then it was decided that the local Crime Prevention Officer (CPO) should undertake this task.

However our CPO left a lot to be desired.

A police inspector friend whispered in my ear that, if you were a clueless copper and capable of just about screwing anything up, you were ‘promoted’ to the rank of CPO to keep you out the way – You just did basic stuff like going round and telling shopkeepers how to lock their front doors etc.

It seems our CPO was a bumbling idiot but not far off his pension so, out of kindness, he had been ‘promoted’ to end his days in this most prestigious position for, as my inspector chum pointed out, “There is no way he would ever get up to the rank sergeant – no way….no way…”

Anyway, PC Bumbling rang our doorbell one teatime. I answered it to find him on the doorstep, with his clipboard.

I asked him if he had got a bus ticket inspector’s job – like Blakey, the character in ITV’s sitcom On The Buses.

I could tell he was not amused.

He told me he had come to check my security as my FAC was soon coming up for renewal.

I pointed out that the normal, recognised procedure was a phone call first to arrange an appointment to visit.

I also pointed out that I was just going to sit down to have my din-dins that the lady of the house had cooked, so he could lick the end of his pencil and put a date down agreeable to us both to come back to do his visit.

He hummed. He aahed. And then the call came: “Dinner on the table!”

So I shut the door on him.

He did come back on a designated, agreed date and, being the complete prat he was, then asked me for my name and address and asked had it changed since my last FAC was issued.

Bearing in mind he knew my name and that he was standing in the very address as printed on the said FAC, I asked him: “What do you think?”

Next was: “Where do you keep these listed firearms? They must be in a prescribed steel box… blah..blah” and so on.

I replied that they were in a box but well hidden.

He asked where and I opened the door to our under stairs.

I told him: “In there, in the steel box.”

He looked inside, shone a torch and said he could not see anything that looked like a steel box.

I said: “Just think… If you were a burglar and looked in and thought the same, you would look elsewhere… Yes?”

I pointed out that the steel box was hidden behind a large box of Lego toy bricks that the kids played with.

I said there had been no reported cases, as far as I was aware, of anybody locally housebreaking and stealing boxes of kids’ Lego bricks but he could correct me on that.

He didn’t… I pulled the ‘decoy’ box away.

He asked me to unlock the steel box so he could see my weapons, to check their serial numbers.

He then asked what the thickness of the steel box was as he – looking at his crib sheet – said it must be 10-gauge (a metal thickness measurement) to which I said it was 6-gauge.

His eyes lit up and he said: “This is illegal!!!!! – It’s got to be 10-gauge!’

I then explained to him that the gauging of metal is on a sliding scale; the higher the number, the thinner the metal. So my 6-gauge was thicker – much like a CPO – than actually required by law… Plus others before him were more than happy about it.

I pointed out that, by having the 6-gauge, it would take a ne’er-do-well longer to break into… plus it was screwed to the floor AND bolted to the wall as well.

“Where is the ammunition?”

“Upstairs in the attic, away away from the weapons.”

He followed me upstairs and the first thing he said was: “Aha! – There’s no lock on the attic door!”

To which I explained as best I could that, until I told him there was ammunition up there, in a steel box, safely hidden from view… putting a lock on the said attic door would infer that there was something in there of value.

The previous three inspections, with different personnel doing them, had all thought it a brilliant idea.

He then went for Gold: “Some burglars would straight away go to look in the attic (!?)”

I explained that the only way I could get up there myself was by using a ladder that I kept in the shed outside the house… Maybe there were ten foot tall housebreakers I was not aware of. But, unless he had a list of approved burglars that carried their own ladder with them on their ‘jobs’, I was less than convinced.

I said, short of having a flashing neon sign over the front door saying GUNS AND AMMO KEPT HERE to take the guesswork out of the situation, did he have any bright ideas – excluding the flashing sign that is – to add to the ‘security’ I already had?

Answer there came not.

He cleared off.

I got my FAC renewed.

I brought the matter up a while later with my inspector chum. He replied with a sigh: “He is a twat. It’s a safe bet there are trees in forests still standing that are not as thick as him.”

I agreed with him… not wishing to cause trouble you understand…


NOTE TO BURGLARS AND POLICEMEN: John Ward no longer keeps guns or ammunition in his house, loft or shed.

A John Ward designed toilet accessory with gun, silencer and loo roll

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Defective sex toys made into plastic soles for quirky ‘soul’ footwear in the US

I get sent PR releases.

What can I say?

Yesterday, I received this one, which I print without comment. I have no words and I am not entirely sure if the final word is a typo or not…


“The world’s leading and most influential American sex toy company Doc Johnson is excited to announce the release of the third colorway of their viral shoe and innovative collaboration with celebrity favorite label Rose in Good Faith, dubbed the ‘Plastic Sole’ that is made from recycled sex toys (!!). The ‘Crème Brûleé’ colorway is limited to only 400 pairs.

“Not only fashionable, the ‘Plastic Sole’ is infused with a purpose to promote sex positivity as part of Doc Johnson’s global movement to destigmatize sexual health and wellness. With a focus on inclusion and diversity, Doc Johnson has helped pave the way for advances in sexual health and sex positivity.

“Working on this project for almost 2 years, they developed a unique recycling system that grinds down the factory’s defective adult toys into millimeter-sized cubes of TPE (thermoplastic elastomer). The cubes are then mixed with non-bleach EVA (Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate) foam and injection molded into the shape of the Plastic Soul.”

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Mad John Ward and the UK gun laws…

John Ward interviewed by a Russian TV reporter (don’t ask)

Mad inventor and Malcolm Hardee Comedy Award designer John Ward used to be a member of a local shooting club. It was local – thank the Lord – to him, not to me.

He used to keep guns in his house.

“Normal people,” (I use the term ‘normal’ loosely when talking of John Ward) “are not allowed to keep guns in their house now?” I asked him. “What was the deal back then? I think you had to have a securely lockable safe in your house and a policeman came round to check on you every year?”

He told me:


It was every five years in ‘my day’ – but it may have changed by now…

It’s not strictly true you can’t keep guns in your home – rifles and shotguns can be kept at home but, once again, in a steel, approved, gun box or safe.

Any supposedly ‘normal person’ who goes hunting, target shooting etc. can apply for an FAC – a Fire Arms Certificate – but it’s down to if you fit the criteria of the local PC Plod in your area as it is ‘open to interpretation’ by each individual force – The fact you are the local hit man or drive-by shootist for the Borehamwood Massive might not go down too well and could provide assorted “Tut-tut, oh what have we got ‘ere then, petal?” sessions in the local Nick.

When I was pistol shooting years ago – before we all had to hand in our weapons following the Dunblane massacre – we honest, law-abiding, licence-owning target shooters said that, once you outlaw guns, it will be only the outlaws that will have them and, as things have turned out, it has happened.

However, I always wanted a Luger pistol because I liked the sheer mechanical side of it – the complex toggle-loading action appealed. Typical German engineering at its finest.

I did actually handle, but not fire, one as a visitor to our (licensed) gun club brought one along to show us. 

The temptation to fire it at our targets was there, but I declined.

My reasoning was that it was of the WW11 era and, as such, it may well have been used to take a human life – or lives.

In those days, before legal target pistol shooting was prohibited, it was possible to buy a second-hand Luger legally from bona fide licensed firearms dealers – for about £400 or so upwards.

In much the same way, I would have liked to have owned a Walther P38 – German engineering again – but the above same reservations I had about a second hand Luger applied.

My ownership of a real Luger was never to be realised.

I stopped with post war American and Italian made firearms in my collection because, that way, I knew each round I fired down at the club range was less likely to have caused anybody’s abrupt demise in the past.

Call me old fashioned.

(…CONTINUED HERE…)

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Mad inventor John Ward discovers the many perils of having a famous face

I received this recent anecdote from John Ward, designer of the Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards.


It was a much normal day as such – weather atrocious outside – so I made myself busy indoors.

The doorbell rang.

I went to find a courier there holding a parcel.

On seeing me at my door, he asked for my address.

Then he asked for my name but he spoke in broken English as it was not his native tongue.

He looked at the parcel, then at me, then at his handheld wotever with an LCD screen. He checked to see if the details tallied and handed the parcel over to me.

It was  my ‘dead cat’ microphone for my Sony camcorder to use alongside in lieu of the maker’s own mic when conditions are not too clever when filming outside etc.

I thanked him and closed the door and went back inside.

Before I had a chance to open the box up to see if it really was the item as ordered, the doorbell rang again.

It was the same courier.

He said he was sorry to disturb me and then said: “I know who you am!” in an excited tone.

Now armed with a big, beaming grin, he asked for my autograph.

Ever happy to oblige, I picked up a yellow coloured plain display card, A4 size, that was lying about and did the doodle/cartoon I normally do and signed it with: ‘Best wishes to Pieter’.

He seemed overjoyed, shook my arm out of  its socket near enough and off he went.

A moment or two later, the doorbell rang yet again.

It was Pieter.

He stood there, pointing at the card: “Who dis?” he asked

“Me,” I said.

“No, no I want your real name!” he replied.

“That is my real name,” I told him. “I had this arrangement with my mother and father soon after I was born, so can’t really say too much about it with regard to my input on the matter as I was not consulted about it at the time.”

“Who dissa John Ward?”

“It’s me, the same as on the parcel you just delivered to me… John Ward.”

He looked slightly bewildered. He was not alone on that one. 

“Is it you stage name thing you do when not doing you real work?”

“No, my stage name is Wells Fargo but I never really use it much, unless I am travelling overland.”

“I want you real name – Christopher Biggins!”

Christopher Biggins (not John Ward)

“I am not him.”

“Why you not him?”

“I never said I was him.” 

I could see he was even more confused as he slowly looked me over and said: “I now go.” 

Off he went.

Back I went to my parcel and, as I was finally unwrapping it, yet another ding-dong on the doorbell.

Yes, once again, I beheld Pieter standing there with a lady who I assumed was in the lorry cab with him.

“I want excusing as this is Sandra, my vera good friend.”

He wanted her to meet me, whoever I was or might be. 

By this point, I was feeling quite unsure myself to be honest.

Ken Morley (Pic: Allstar/GlobePhotos Inc)

They looked at me, then at each other, then they mumbled to each other – I was not included at this point – and Sandra then spoke in perfect English:

“He is not Christopher Biggins!”

On hearing that, I was most relieved. But that was short-lived. 

“It is,” she added, “that Ken Morley bloke who used to be in Coronation Street on the telly… But I thought he was dead!”

I said I had things to do as they turned and left to wander back to the lorry.

But, just as I shut the door, I heard Sandra suggest: “He could be that Brian Blessed bloke, though… He’s got the ears for him I think….”


Below: the irrepressible Brian Blessed and the inimitable John Ward as himself (almost)

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John Ward and the stupid TV people…

John Ward in a photograph where it is probably best if you supply your own caption…

I first worked with mad inventor John Ward – designer of the Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards – on the TVS/ITV series Prove It! for which he supplied bizarre weekly inventions. That was back in 1988. We paid him a fee, put him up in a local hotel and covered his travel costs. He presented his inventions in a sort-of double act with the show’s presenter Chris Tarrant.

For one show in the series, he conceived and built a ‘TV Dining Machine’:

A couple of blogs ago, John Ward shared the quirkiness of one recent BBC approach to him about his frequently ‘unusual’ inventions.

The posting of that blog reminded John of another incident, back in 2007. He told me: “The crass silliness of clueless staff was/is not restricted to just the Beeb.”

Back in 2007, he received this email (which I have edited) from the member of an ITV production team:


We are currently producing a new entertainment show hosted by (two famous UK personalities).

The show has been an instant success. It features celebrity chat, the hottest music acts and the presenters’ ‘take’ on the week’s events.

Each week we like to feature new inventions and gadgets and I have seen
online your various inventions and was hoping that I might be able to speak with you about the possibility of featuring some of them on our show. 

I think it would be fantastic for our show.

I would be really keen to discuss this opportunity further.

Kind regards,


John Ward explains what happened next…


The ITV guy duly rang me up and, after a lot of patronising twaddle, he explained, once we finally got round to it, what my ‘involvement’ would be:

  1. I was not to be appearing on the actual programme – quite why he didn’t say.
  1. What he/they wanted was for me to send to them – at my cost! – assorted inventions I had made so that one could be displayed and talked about (i.e. taken the piss out of) each week during a filler moment on said show.
  1. I was also to source the boxes/containers etc. to pack them up in and then pay to send them – quote: ‘by courier would be nice’ (!)

I did pose the question as to how I would get them back afterwards, but this query seemed to fall on rather stony ground. I got the overall impression that I would be ‘donating’ them to the programme.

Finally, he asked… Could I supply a list of suitable small inventions that would not take up too much space in the studio?

He then explained there was no fee, but I would be ‘rewarded’ by having my name in the end credits along the lines of: ‘Inventions supplied by John Ward’.

I pointed out that this supposed ‘reward’ would be meaningless at the end of the programme because, within seconds of the end credits rolling, they were then either squeezed to one side or reduced in size – or both – to promote the next programme.

He then went into autopilot mode and waffled on about ‘the prestige’ of being ‘connected’ with this series featuring such ‘iconic personalities’ and that I should be ‘grateful for being considered’ for a part in the production.

I think my response was fairly straightforward.

I posed the question:

“Are there still two ‘L’s in bollocks?”

He put the phone down rather swiftly after that intellectual exchange.


That poor 2007 ITV man missed-out on showcasing John’s originality – as we did on ITV’s 1988 series Prove It!

For the episode below, he had invented some very adaptable shoes:

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BBC investigative reporting at its best…

Yesterday, mad inventor John Ward, who designed and makes the Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards for the annual Edinburgh Fringe, sent me this email:


The other week in my Ward’s World column in the local Spalding Guardian newspaper, I made reference to ‘Our Annie’ a shopkeeper whom my mum knew. Annie would not sell ‘straight’ bananas as they had to be curved – Nothing else would do for her loyal customers.

I mentioned in the column that I once made a ‘Banana Gauge’ – basically a piece of wood with one side curved and the other straight. There was no photo in the column but here is one of my original ‘invention’.

I had forgotten about this particular newspaper column when the phone rang this morning and a young lady spoke.

“Is that Mr Ward? – the inventor John Ward?”

She worked for the BBC and, while researching assorted sources for possible news or items of interest, she had come across the said Ward’s World column.

Our conversation went roughly thus:

Q: Was the gauge digital? 

A: Nope, it was made mainly from wood. The hole was made with a drill

Q: Did it come from sustainable forest supplies?

A: Not a clue as it was a wood off-cut

Q: Where does the Off Cut tree grow? In what country?

A: Not really sure but, as far as I know, Sir David Attenborough has not mentioned it as being in danger, otherwise a film crew would have been dispatched by now.

Q: On the environmental issue, do you think it could be in danger of becoming extinct soon, though?

A: Not sure, to be honest.

Q: So what made you, as a highly regarded (she said it, not me) inventor, decide to build this gauge?

A: I had the wood from the Off Cut tree to hand… Plus a curved banana to use as a model to get the curve right.  

Q: I see… So did the straight side prove to be a challenge or what did you use to get that right?

A: I used the edge of a door which, to be honest, I had to open first. Then I held the gauge up to the edge and drew a pencil line downwards to get the angle right.

Q: I see…umm.. I assume this did not happen the first time, so how many prototypes did you construct before standing back to say: “This is the one. This is THE gauge” – Did you have your very own personal eureka moment?

A: I only had the one stab at it to be honest.

Q: So you knew straight away that this was THE one?! – That’s really remarkable, if I may say.

A: You may, you may. But it was really due to the fact it was the only bit from the Off Cut tree I had at the time… plus the local DIY store had shut by then so I could not do another as I had no material to use.

Q: I find your ‘low key’ approach to inventing quite incredible. You see the need, then you use your skills, you devise it in your mind. You don’t do any drawings or blueprint things?

A: You have hit the nail on the head, as we say in the business.

Q: Has there been any interest from any commercial concerns about marketing this device so far?

A: It depends largely on if the bananas are home-grown or imported.

Q: Really.

A: Oh yes…

She said she would get back to me “in due course”, as she feels “there is something here” that shows the British bulldog spirit thing is very much alive in these current traumatic times.

John Ward: designer, inventor, manufacturer and bendy banana enthusiast

 

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The making of The Comedians’ Choice Awards at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe

I have mentioned the Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards in the last couple of blogs. The actual trophies were designed and made by mad inventor John Ward who is particularly keen (via an email this morning) that I mention he lives in or near Moulton-Seas-End in Lincolnshire.

If you go to Wikipedia, you will find there is an article on Moulton-Seas-End currently illustrated with  a sole photograph (below).

John Ward clearly is, indeed, a man out standing in his own field.

Moulton-Seas-End, home of John Ward  (Photograph supplied by Kate Jewell via geograph.org.uk)

I suspect he may be trying to drum up tourist trade for Moulton-Seas-End, which is nowhere near the sea.

Having established specifically where he lives, onwards more generally to this year’s Comedians’ Choice Awards.

These, like the Malcolm Hardee Awards, are currently organised by the British Comedy Guide with trophies designed by John Ward but, in this case, there is sponsorship from London’s Museum of Comedy.

The Comedians’ Choice Awards were founded in 2014 and aim to help highlight “the amazing work of those at the Fringe who may well otherwise go unrecognised, as judged by those who understand their efforts the best: their peers.”

Every comedy show at the Edinburgh Fringe is eligible to both cast a vote and to be voted for.

There is no panel of judges, no industry specialists. The performers themselves decide who wins. Voting is conducted during August via an online form administered by the British Comedy Guide.

The Comedians’ Choice Awards are presented in three categories:

BEST SHOW at the Fringe.

BEST PERFORMER – The best individual comedy performer at the festival.

BEST PERSON – “A person who the voter feels should get recognition for their contribution to this year’s Fringe. This does not need to be a performer; it can be anyone associated with the comedy industry at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, from reviewers to producers and venue staff.”

The Best Performer and Best Show winners and the Best Show shortlist nominees get invited to take part in a special Comedians’ Choice showcase season at London’s Museum Of Comedy in October.

This year, as a bonus, streaming platform NextUp Comedy will also record some of the Museum Of Comedy nights, with the performer receiving a revenue share.

The actual trophies, as I said, are designed and made by John Ward, who lives in or near the village of Moulton-Seas-End in Lincolnshire. He tells me:


John Ward, from Moulton-Seas-End, with the original Award

Before the Covid, if you recall we met up at Milton Keynes with the then ‘new’ Award that – unbeknown to me at the time – was then given in three classes and not one as I first thought.

Trying to replicate that one this year has been slightly chaotic… Since the Covid malarkey, things have been a bit fraught in acquiring the same materials in the making of.

The materials that went into making that Award are not readily available nowadays – blame the Ukraine business, the 3 Day Week, fluoride in toothpaste, wotever.

John Ward, resident of Moulton-Seas-End, crafting an Award

The new design is more handy for standing on a bookshelf, fireplace or to use as a door stop.

It’s in a mask configuration with the now standard ‘red nose’ being central, with a slanted ‘comedic eye’ on one side with the Comedy Guide emblem opposite making the twin ‘eyes’ as such with raised eyebrows.

The ‘grinning’ mouth has been chiselled out and filled with red ‘sparkly ripple’ type finish inserted and is not symmetrical but, as you look at it, there is a small curl on the left hand side at the top of it.

It is secured to the base with twin screws and a central wooden dowel so, in theory, there is not much chance of it falling apart… but, then again, they said the Titanic was unsinkable..

I have made nine of these: three for 2021 to give to the winners from then, three for this year 2022 and three for next year 2023, with each year being designated its own colour scheme.

The colours per year are: Gold, Silver and Bronze. This year, for 2022, it’s Silver.

Three years’ worth of The Comedians’ Choice Awards


THE COMEDIANS’ CHOICE AWARDS

2022 WINNERS

BEST PERFFORMER

Jordan Gray …performing in Jordan Gray: Is It a Bird?

Sharing the news on social media, Gray said: “This means EVERYTHING to me.”

BEST SHOW

Rob Copland: Mainstream Muck (Gimme Some of That)

In a nod to his unconventional show, when asked what it felt like to win, Copland supplied this statement: “\m/”.

BEST SHOW SHORTLIST

Ali Brice: I Tried To Be Funny, But You Weren’t Looking
Chelsea Birkby: No More Mr Nice Chelsea
Colin Hoult: The Death of Anna Mann
The Delightful Sausage: Nowt but Sea
Elf Lyons: Raven
Luke Rollason: Bowerbird
Siblings: Siblage
Shelf: Hair Stuart Laws – Putting Zoo

BEST PERSON

Martin Willis

He is managing director of show production company Objectively Funny. The company also produces and distributes the Small Book on Mental Health at the festival, to support performers.

Martin Willis said: “It is a massive honour to win an award like this, one that’s voted for by people involved in shows here. It means the world to be recognised by a community that I care so dearly about, and I’m incredibly grateful.

“That being said, it cannot go unmentioned that in the history of this particular award the winner has always been a man. That fact speaks both of the demographics of the voters but also of what we actually see from behind the scenes. For an industry that is historically male-dominated onstage, there is a vast array of brilliant women that have made so much work possible in so many ways – technicians, producers, agents, venue programmers and people that do whatever job needs doing with care and gusto.

“I would like to accept this award on behalf of the Objectively Funny team that has worked so hard to make excellent things happen at this festival: Ellie Brayne-Wyatt, Maddy Bye, Kathryn Higgins, Olivia Phipps and Lois Walshe.”

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Who/Where on Earth reads my blogs?

45 minutes ago, someone asked me if all my blog readers were in the UK, which is an interesting question and the answer is No.

This is often called a “comedy blog” but not by me. I see it as just whatever takes my fancy. I have, in the past, called it a blog mostly but not exclusively “about interesting people doing interesting (often creative) things”.

I am sometimes approached by performers who want a specific comedy show mentioned/plugged… for example at the Edinburgh Fringe or in London.

And I sometimes (not always!) point out that the blogs may be read way after the show has finished and certainly not exclusively in London or Edinburgh or any-pinpoint-where.

If an interview is involved, I record it so that I cannot misquote people. I do make some edits to what people tell me, mostly to clarify what is being said. I take out the umms and erms and general linguistic ramblings which everyone does. Including, very much so, me.

And I try to clarify details for non-UK residents. For example, when “Soho” is mentioned, I usually expand this to “Soho, London” to avoid confusion with Soho in New York.

Most of my readers are in the UK, followed by the USA, then by the native English-speaking countries. There is also a TRANSLATE button on the blog. Who knows what gibberish that may create?

But, as a public service – and as a crass piece of self-promotion – here are four graphics showing where my blogs are read.

The first shows the hits on the blog today… up to 3.00pm… so there are still another nine hours to go in the day.

 

As you can see, most of the hits ARE in the UK, with a strong secondary following in the USA.

The next image shows the hits received in the last seven days:

I find it a tad unsettling that I appear to be read in Russia.

By whom I dare not guess.

The next graphic shows the hits in the last 30 days:

This one is even more worrying because it shows people reading me in China and, as far as I know, all Western blogs are blocked (to ordinary people) in China.

The good news is that I appear not to be read in North Korea.

Finally, a map showing the origin of hits on my blog in the last 12 months.

Clearly I have much work to do in the Faroe Islands, Iran, Yemen, Tajikistan, Honduras, Madagascar and chunks of Africa. I will continue to try to avoid drawing the attention of anyone or, rather, any organisation in North Korea.

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