Crikey, it’s March and my last update was back in August last year.
My apologies dear reader. It’s sort of a mix of there being no news, and too much news, so I will try and update a bit. So – Work first – then my life….
Winter is generally a quiet time in my line of work, as TV and Film tends to wind down a bit.
I did some theatre in September, with Dead Earnest Theatre, in a production of The Ratcatcher, part of the Festival Of The Mind in the Spiegeltent in the centre of Sheffield.
I’ve done some voice work too, on a wonderful series for VanitasArts, a new jazz based audio drama series titled Persons of Interest– four audio drama podcasts based on the lives of prominent jazz artists who are Black and Queer: Gladys Bentley, Josephine Baker, Ken Snakehips Johnson and Ada Bricktop Smith. You can listen to these as they’re released here, or through your favourite Podcast sources.
My voice has also featured on a new story on the Geostories App: Freyda Skald of Jorvik.
The Jorvik GeoStory is about magic, myth and mystery as a young woman’s life is transformed after an encounter with a legendary Viking Seeress, Gudrun. Developed in partnership with The Jorvik Viking Centre and supported by Arts Council England, the story begins in Coppergate, York.
Launched at the 2023 JORVIK VIKING FESTIVAL in February, it features Augmented Reality images that come to life as you are transported back to Jorvik in the Year 960 and into magical Viking Realms.
Freyda Skald of Jorvik is free to listen to and can be accessed in the GeoStories Library by downloading the GeoStories app on the App Store and Google Play or by scanning the QR Code on the flyer below.
LIFE & LOVE
2022 ended wonderfully. I met an amazing woman.
Just when you feel like there is no one out there for you, that you should just maybe give up on the idea of romance. That a hand blindly fishing around in the Quality Street tin for a wrapped chocolate may be the most exciting thing to happen over Christmas.
Beverley is much nicer than a Quality Street Strawberry Cream or a Purple One.
She’s an author, writer, coach, entrepreneur, single mum, and much, much more – and things are quite lovely. We laugh, sing, cuddle, and kiss a lot.
You can find her here or at The Writers Workshop.
Or read her latest Grief blog update here – Swimming Through Clouds: A journey of love and loss. I am mentioned in the latest update.
The Writers Workshop is an amazing resource for you writers out there, with workshops, motivation sessions, mentoring, live events, retreats, masterclasses, and much more.
It’s very affordable, and the sessions are either in person or online. Take a look
Inspired by being with this amazing Writer Woman, I have started writing more myself, and I’ve even dug out some older pieces to tinker with. I will share some of my new stuff at the end of this update.
My birthday arrived in January. It wasn’t unexpected of course.
I decided on a trip to Edinburgh for my birthday treat, as I’d never visited before.
So it was the Castle, Royal Mile, Haggis Neeps and Tatties, Deep Fried Mars Bars, and a walk up Arthur’s Seat.
And I slipped walking back down from Arthur’s seat, hurting my own seat, a bang on the Coccyx. It’s still painful now.
My Brother John and his daughter Modena visited from Canada in January. Our birthday’s are 4 years and a day apart. So it was lovely to catch up, have family time, and a drink or two with old friends.
COVID HITS Damn! After avoiding the lurgy since the very beginning, Covid hit the house at the end of January.
Mum and I are both fully vaccinated, so it could have been worse.
I was pretty miserable with it for a few days, but bounced back.
Mum is 90, so it has hit her harder. Though now testing negative, she has ended up in hospital, but we hope she will be home again soon. Keep everything crossed.
As I mentioned, Beverley has inspired me to write more. And to be public about it.
So here’s a couple of recent pieces.
It’s bin day
Bins blown over everywhere
Regardless of colour Black, brown, blue
On it’s side, lid flapping like a puppet mouth
Spewing garbage like a politician Pizza crusts
Eeeeuw I don’t even know what that is
But it’s not nice Dogs try to sniff. No!
Home we rush with chilled ears through streets awash with flotsam and jetsam Bin day
It’s Bin Day again
Wind day again Blue Bins put out to stand street-side
Like Bobbies in a row
Guarding our road like sentry’s on duty
But blue bins are slender
Thinner than Grey and Brown
And with contents of cardboard and paper
There’s no weight to hold it down So blue bins blow, off they go
Like drunken revellers
Until they trip off the kerb
And they’re down, rolling around, regurgitating contents Prescription copies, old bills, egg boxes, dozens of Amazon cardboard envelopes, pizza boxes, cardboard sleeves off yogurt containers, magazines, newspapers Almost no bins left to empty now
Contents blow freely
Twisting and turning Escaping down the road
Hiding in gardens and under cars Bin lorry comes, empties the few still standing, then blue bins left on the pavement Empty now, lighter and giddy, they wheel around
Throwing themselves down once more
They roll around like pigs in muck
It’s bin day again Wind day again
A man down the road has a DeLorean.
A man down the road has a DeLorean.
Yes, that sporty stainless steel car made famous in the Back to the Future franchise. On our road. Just parked there on the street. Under a tree. Hardly ever moves it, it sits there, falling blossoms gathering at the base of the windscreen. Which must block his air intakes because he often puts a sheet of plastic over the air vents in autumn. That fancy rear cover over the engine compartment. Tied down with a length of tatty rope. And what of the owner? No Marty McFly or Doc Brown here.
A mild mannered chap, dresses conservatively, slacks and sweaters. Silver framed glasses, greying blonde hair parted to one side. His other car, his daily drive, parked behind the DMC – a silver Ford Focus. Seen him in the paper shop. Buys two loaves. Appears to be single. And heard Linda in the shop ask about his mother. So why? Why a DeLorean? The dream car of the 80’s, sitting outside a Sheffield semi? He hardly ever moves it. If he does then it’s MOT time, though he did park it around the corner for a few days when they repaved the street. I often stand beside it when I’m walking the dogs. They seem to have a fascination with it, they sniff the alloy rims and custom rubber tyres. Where has it been to gather smells so interesting to canine olfactory organs?
Then, this morning, walking back from the paper shop, the rumble of an engine. Not a normal rumble. He’s sat in the drivers seat – on the left of course, it’s American – giving it an occasional monthly turnover to keep it running, circulate the juices that keep the beast alive. Or is he? Is there more to Mr Normal. Is he actually from the future? Holding out on Holdings Rd, keeping watch over the steel city, his DeLorean the Time Machine that brought him here, and his lifeboat to return him home. Are those “sitting there running the engine” times really to keep it roadworthy? Or perhaps he’s generating some time clock energy, rewinding us all to correct something that shouldn’t have happened. But I still remember you. And what we said last night. That can’t be rewound by Mr Future. So, we are good. No objection raised by the Time Panel, no temporal anomaly created, we can go on. And how can we say no to the future?
So, I think that’s just about all the interesting stuff.
There’s more of course, but my instagram and Twitter Feeds may fill in the gaps for you.
Wishing you all love, prosperity, and the fall of this evil Tory government.
I’m delighted to share a new project with you today – an audio soap opera!
An audio drama that’s available on your favourite download sites – and a perfect accompaniment to summer days… in the garden, in the car, on the plane, by a pool… or just tuning out the neighbour mowing the lawn.
The Riverside audiobook drama is based on the popular weekly magazine serial Riverside, created and written by Glenda Young. The audiobook script is written, adapted and produced by Ian Skillicorn.
I had a great time recording this with some lovely voices – old friends and new.
I play George Dougal – George hasn’t got over the loss of the Ryemouth Shipyard, and the job he had there for years. But he has plenty to keep him occupied. Not least keeping a close eye on his daughter’s boyfriend!
Dave on playing George:“I’ve been a fan of the work of writer Glenda Young for years. Ian Skillicorn has lifted her characters from the page and given them life with fantastic scripts that were a pleasure to read. It was a joy to work with a great cast, some old friends and some new ones, all of them experienced and talented audio actors. To play George in Riverside has been a treat. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Ryemouth and I hope to meet you for a cuppa in the Old Engine Room!”
ABOUT RIVERSIDE :
“The feel-good, life-affirming story of love, friendship, family and new beginnings!”
Changes are coming to the riverside town of Ryemouth, and while some of the community are excited by new beginnings, others are finding it hard to let go of the past.
Susan and her boyfriend can’t wait to open their new cafe and deli, The Old Engine Room. But Susan’s dad, George, is not so thrilled. He’s never approved of Dave, who used to hang out with the wrong crowd. Can the happy young couple win George round?
Mary and Ruby have been friends since the first day of infant school, even though their lives have turned out very differently. Mary has a contented family life with husband George and daughter Susan. Poor Ruby has never been so lucky in love. Then she meets her teenage crush in surprising circumstances. Mary has her doubts about the charming Paul. Will Ruby finally get her own happy ever after?
Dave wants to put his past behind him. His dream is to make a success of the business, and one day be a good husband and father, like his own dad, Mike. Yet, he’s forced to keep a secret from everyone he loves. Who should he turn to for help out of a tricky situation?
When the community comes under threat from developers, can everyone put their differences aside to defend the town they love?
Riverside is full of romance, heartbreak and secrets, as well as gentle wit and humour. You’ll laugh and cry along with the family and friends of Ryemouth.
We’re almost finished January, and about to blast into February with a LIVE show!
That’s real LIVE people performing in front of a real LIVE audience!!!!
But Fear Not! There’s a LIVE STREAMING option those who aren’t yet ready to mingle.
Rachel’s comedy has been heard on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Scotland and performed by impressionists including Rory Bremner, Alistair McGowan and Christina Bianco. Rachel also performs improvised comedy shows nationwide and is the winner of The Phoenix Remix Act Of The Year 2019.
Rachel has put together a group of fun professional performers for her Sketch Up Crew, and at her cry of “SKETCH UP ASSEMBLE!” we all fall into place. We’ve been recording and performing Rach’s sketches for a few years now (except the last two obvs) and its brilliant fun – mainly because they’re so well written and full of wonderful characters we’d never get asked to play otherwise!
On stage for this performance, besides our Wonder Woman Rachel, we have Melanie Crawley, Gerard Fletcher, and myself.
A fabulous voiceover artist, having narrated over 40 audiobooks including An Unknown Woman by Jane Davis and The River Through Rome by Nicholas Nicastro. She is Joy in The Age of Love, the podcast based on artist Pete McKee’s characters, and starred in the UK tour of Tannie & Tannie.
One of the best voiceover actors in the business. My favourite facts are that he presents Screwfix’s YouTube channel and he’s the on-hold voice of DPD, The National Trust and Halfords!
TV includes Sherwood, Get Even (BBC/Netflix – 5 EPs), Emmerdale, Happy Valley” and Girlfriends, where he and I first worked together, sharing a scene with Zoë Wanamaker and Miranda Richardson.
He has performed in radio dramas for BBC Radio 3, Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra. His voice can be heard in ads on TV and most independent commercial radio stations worldwide and he’s narrated audio books and documentaries for BBC, ITV, Channel 5 Paramount and History Channel.
Sketch Up at Leicester Comedy Festival is being live-streamed by Next Up on Friday 4th February at 8pm. It should also be available to watch on demand afterwards. To watch, you’ll need a Next Up account, which is either £7 a month with no long-term commitment or £24 for a whole year’s subscription. This gives you access to a bajillion live comedy shows from the UK’s most famous comedians – and us too!
As the artist, we take 50% of the revenue generated by people watching our show. Anyone who signs up for Sketch Up can watch Rachel’s dark comedy Sex, Lies & Improvisation on Friday 18th February at 9pm for no extra cost! Here’s the Link to sign-up!
IN OTHER NEWS….
I loved my couple of Corrie episodes, Jan 12 & 14, what a treat to work on those famous cobbles. Here’s a clip of my scenes – NOTE ***SPOILER ALERT***
Here’s hoping Corrie ask Gordon back for more! Maybe send them a tweet if you want to see him return?
I’ve walked a lot throughout January – as part of the RUN THE MONTH Fundraiser for PROSTATE CANCER UK.
So, here we are, it’s almost New Year’s Eve as I write this on Thursday evening.
It’s been another odd year hasn’t it? Lockdowns, loss of people, loss of work.
New Year is always a time for reflection time for me anyway, my Dad died Dec 31, 2010, and I always feel his loss. This year it feels even more reflective.
So it’s back to New Year traditions to say farewell to the old and welcome the new. I’ve baked lots of tarts, jam and lemon curd. My Gran always cooked them for Christmas and New Year, and as a youngster I helped, cutting out the tarts, scooping the jam fillings. And making a jam turnover with the remaining pastry.
Tomorrow will be an evening at home with my Mum, a beer or two, nibbles…. some Pork Pie, Scotch Egg, Sausage Rolls, vol-au-vents… And this evening I’ve made Egg Nog for the first time, it’s now chilling ready to add to traditions tomorrow. I admit, my Brandy pouring hand may have been over zealous.
At midnight I’ll sing Auld Lang Syne, I’ll go out and come in again to First Foot, I’ll phone and message friends near and far, then to bed and 2022.
I’m hoping work continues next year as it ended in 2021. I ended up quite busy over the last couple of months. An episode of Doctors for BBC1, two episodes of an upcoming series, Compulsion, for Channel 5. And most recently I shot two episodes of Coronation St, airing mid-January on ITV.
To end the year tomorrow, you can hear me doing some radio. As I’ve mentioned before, I co-host the monthly Comedy Show on Write Radio on Sheffield Live. Tomorrow’s show is a year-end special, a murder mystery featuring all the hosts of Write Radio, put together by our amazing producer Andrew Tildesley. It’s fun, so listen in, either live, or catch up on the link later. Write Radio airs Friday afternoons, 1-3pm.
“Each film is its own dramatic poem, performed by one talented actor down the camera lens. RDTL has a working-class flavour – poetry for anybody to enjoy. (I say ‘anybody’, but probably not kids – you’ve been warned…)
There are just two rules for a Rhyme Down the Lens production: It must rhyme, and it must be delivered (you guessed it), down the lens. This last point puts the viewer right in the middle of the action, being spoken to directly by the film’s lead. Whether they’re filling the shoes of a passenger on a bus, or taking the role of an online sex worker, the viewer is very much playing a character themselves. Tearing down the fourth wall brick by brick.
I hope Rhyme Down the Lens proves that anybody can follow (and enjoy) a poem. The amount of times you hear people say ‘I just don’t get poetry’… I’m not going to lie, a little part of me dies every time. If RDTL can change one person’s mind on this, I may have just written/directed something worthwhile…”
So, I hope you enjoy my piece, and the whole series, it’s great to be part of something that’s a very different sort of role for me.
Take a look at this LINK TO ALL THREE EPISODES
I’m delighted to have worked on two TV projects over the last month – a daytime soap (a Christmas week episode), and 2 episodes of a new series to be released next year.
More on those next time.
Right then, that’s all for now. Remember, Covid is not over, despite our government moving on, so please stay safe.
Ey up from the Steel City!!! Hope you’re all doing okay, staying warm and staying safe.
I write this on the 39th day of Lockdown 3. It just goes on and on doesn’t it?
But, thankfully, I have something to tickle your funny bones on these cold nights.
I’m a member of Sketch Up! – a group of Actor’s, Writers and Voice Artists, that got together to record comedy sketches, directly from the mind and nimble fingers of Rachel E. Thorn
We were due to perform these LIVE!!! Yes, LIVE!!! with an audience, at the renowned Leicester Comedy Festival. But, alas, a Global Pandemic thwarted our bid for Global Sketch Comedy Stardom.
Live comedy’s loss is, however, your gain…
Thanks to the power of T’interwebs, you can enjoy our sketches in the comfort of your very own home/car/van/tent/workplace/ears… via the Leicester Comedy Festival – until Feb 21.
We’ve already had a 4-STAR REVIEW (“a delight…with a bit of bite!”) and lots of lovely feedback which is great. Its free to listen (you bloody old misers) online – 45 comedy sketches – listen all in one go or individually.
They range from the surreal to the domestic and sometimes incorporate a bit of both but nowhere will you find even the vaguest reference to the dreaded pandemic!
Last weekend was a happy/sad one… My eldest son Benjamin turned 19. He lives just outside Blackpool, and with Lockdowns and Tiers, etc, we haven’t seen each other in person since last August.
Sadly Benjamin, my daughter Sophie and my youngest son, Joseph, lost their mum, my ex-wife Jane, to Covid just before Christmas. It’s such a difficult time for everyone. And it’s really hard not seeing my children, when all I want to do is hug them.
I posted a link to my Ko-Fi account in case anyone wanted to send Benjamin a bit of birthday love. And many of you did, thank you so very much! It made his day!
Benjamin has now created his own Ko-Fi Page, so if you’d like to check it out and send him the price of a a coffee, cake, or even more, the link is here….
A reminder, I post daily Twitter and YouTube Lockdown Log updates, featuring 2 Minute 20 Second updates on the boring minutiae of my Lockdown life. Really selling that, aren’t I?
Here’s the YouTube Playlist…
My Day. Sun 28 Mar. Lockdown 3/Day 83. L03D83.
My Day. Sat 27 Mar. Lockdown 3/Day 82. L03D82.
My Day. Fri 26 Mar. Lockdown 3/Day 81. L03D81
My Day. Thurs 25 Mar. Lockdown 3/Day 80. L03D80
My Day. Weds 24 Mar. Lockdown 3/Day 79. L03D79
My Day. Tues 23 Mar. Lockdown 3/Day 78. L03D78
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My first update of 2021, and we find ourselves in a situation even more dire than December.
New strains, more cases, sadly many more deaths,. No going out, no physical contact, no idea when any degree of normality will return. Not this year I fear.
On today’s No 10 Briefing, featuring the very evil, and the letter G incapable, Home Secretary, Priti Patel, a reporter asked the question – as people must be desperate for a holiday after all we’ve been through, can they think about booking a summer holiday?
BOOK A F**KING SUMMER HOLIDAY!!!! Are you mad?
Be grateful to still be breathing.
It will end when it ends, it will be safe when it is safe.
Remember that DISASTROUS “Eat Out To Help Out” cheap meal/mass-killing scheme.
Too early Rishi!
One good thing in the world is that that Orange Trump Stain has been removed! I watched the Biden/Harris Inauguration yesterday, hated much of the schmaltz and flag adoration, but loved Amanda Gorman and her wonderful poem – here’s Barack Obama’s link to it
One can only imagine the Big Orange Baby sulking in Florida.
Obviously life is quiet here. Good news is my Mum has had both Vaccine injections, so let’s hope she is safe(r). I await my turn.
Just before Christmas, I was lucky enough to have a small role in a TV ad, which is apparently airing so often that people keep telling me they saw me on the telly!
Here it is….
I’m happy to be working on an Audiobook narration at the moment, and loving the book. It’s called CRONIES, by Robert Craft. I’ll let you know when the audiobook version is finished and available.
If you fancy a bit of Audio Fun, I am co-host of Write Radio (Comedy edition) on Sheffield Live. The Christmas Day show was a special one, where yer old pal Dave goes full on Scrooge, so take a listen – Go to the SHEFFIELD LIVE site, and click on Dec 25, Hour 1 and Hour 2.
And that’s about it. I carry on with my Daily Lockdown logs, recording the dull monotony of Lockdown 3. Posted on my Twitter and Playlisted on YouTube (and below).
Stay safe you Beauties, I look forward to lifting a glass with you some time in the future! Contact me via form below if you fancy a video catchup!
I hope you’re all keeping well during these strange continuing times.
Last year I was in a play called The Sylvia Swing, a touching piece about loss and loneliness. Playwright Melanie Hopkinshas adapted the stage version to be performed online, and it went live Friday night.
Take a look at the results below. A lovely piece – and feels apt for these times.
The Lockdown Log…
So, Lockdown 2 is over and we are now in Tier 3 (again) – or T3.2 as I think of it.
I passed the days of Lockdown 2 doing a daily log update with a max running time 2:20, so I could post to Twitter.
I’m keeping up with the Log now we’re in T3.2, hopefully through to Christmas at least. Link below is for the YouTube Playlist for the Nov/Dec videos… Take a look, I walk the dogs, eat breakfast, drink coffee and spend time at the computer…. Exciting times.
Catch up on MOCKDOWN! for Sunday Aug 30th, as I chat with my guests about lockdown life – and coping with the new normal.
This week… Film Director Jack Spring, and Star Trek Yorkshire’s Joshua Note!!
JOSHUA NOTE – Actor, writer, presenter – formed a Star Trek Yorkshire fan group that’s now helping people struggling during this global pandemic through the Sick Bay…
JACK SPRING – Film director, former hot-tub salesman and part time international warlord. Made his directional debut aged just 19 with ‘Destination: Dewsbury‘ (I was in it) – we’ll find out what he’s up to now…
Actor, Extra, Model, Influencer, Writer / Director, Other Film & Stage Crew, TV Presenter, Radio Presenter.
Joshua Note has written children’s fiction since he was a child, and has finally decided to send his work out into the world with the help of his editor.
He used to work in tech, and still designs apps and new concepts for fun things.
He’s working on a video game design with his colleagues from Australia and The United States.
He also used to interview people across the whole spectrum of the arts on his podcast The Note Show, and has just relaunched it.
He is a mental health advocate, and supports Bipolar UK by fundraising and raising awareness of the condition.
He’s deeply interested in Psychology, Music and Games.
Formed Star Trek Yorkshire – an online fan group that is already helping people struggling through pandemic through the Sick Bay.
JACK SPRING Film director, former hot-tub salesman and part time international warlord.
Jack is one of the World’s most exciting feature emerging film directors. Having made his directional debut aged just 19 with ‘Destination: Dewsbury‘. After becoming one of WME’s youngest ever directorial signings, Spring is currently working on his second feature film; ‘Three Day Millionaire’, which is due to shoot in late 2020. He is also due to shoot his debut two TV projects throughout 2020. Spring is based in London, UK but is regularly floating in foreign bars.
An eccentric director known for his ‘big, hyper-real characters’ and ‘fast paced, all you can eat’ style, Spring’s work stands out as some of the most amusing in British Cinema.
“Jack Spring represents the next generation of superstar British directors.” — DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD “The humour is crass and the jokes come faster than a pubescent teens first hand job.” — ALEX CLEMENT, CRITIC