Deborah Latham


Yet another page of completely gratuitous and unnecessary information that will make no difference to your life whatever once acquired, but that I have included purely in accordance with the time-honoured (and really rather scary) principle so memorably expressed in 'The Stepford Wives' - "Because I can..."

So this is where I get to play Favourites, yay!

Favourite Actors

The dedication of Peter McLeish reads as follows:

"For David John McDonald and Christopher John Davison, neither of whom I have met in person, but whose exercise of their respective professional talents has, for me, ranged from alleviating the consequences of life to reminding me of what can be most wonderful about it."
Deborah Latham

So - David John McDonald, eh? And bear in mind that Peter McLeish himself is a tall, lean, dark-haired Scot sporting a beard and whose formative years were spent in the vicinity of Glasgow...

So, armed with that knowledge and access to Google, you should be able to work it out, you really should. "I'm so sorry" - don't see why I should make it too easy for you! - but if it will help, allow me to encourage you to "do your research" (Sherlock fans will have registered that one) with the following exhortation: "Allons-y!"

Plus two mentions in despatches while I'm on the subject of favourite actors - as an admirer of Richard Armitage I would like to claim that I'm a fully enlisted member of what one forlorn husband dubbed the 'Armitage Army', but at my age it's probably more accurate to describe me as an 'Armitagerian' (!), and it may be something of a giveaway that the acknowledgements in Peter McLeish include this one: "...and last - but not least! - the actor Anton Lesser, for quite unknowingly, but always, from the very outset, 'being' Richard Taylor in this book."

Favourite Singer/Songwriter

If you don't already know who Christopher John Davison is, I again refer you to the dedication of Peter McLeish in combination with Google. Or - I'm going to suggest a really radical solution here - read the book! You'll soon suss it.

On this evidence you will conclude that nobody can claim my musical tastes are fashionable (or even popular, except in certain quarters), but I steadfastly stand by this one. How can you not be intrigued by a man who has written songs whose 'voices' include (among others) Leonardo da Vinci, Henry VIII, the war dead, a vampire, mankind's spirit of exploration, a literally insanely jealous husband, and one of the lovers entombed in Pompeii?

So can I congratulate Jenny, in Peter McLeish, for having the same favourite as me - Heart of Darkness? Excellent taste in both her man and her music, that woman...

And while we're in the general area of 'favourite' musicians, can I also cite Ennio Morricone and John Barry for their film scores, and Murray Gold for Doctor Who ever since 2005? I can? Gosh, thanks awfully!

Also, see my reference to Mark Barnwell on the About Time! page of this site.

Favourite (Living) Comedy Writer/Performer (Morecambe and Wise no longer being with us)

No prevarication on this one. John Finnemore. Completely. Absolutely. Without question. Yes.

The man is brilliant - as his own Cabin Pressure character, Arthur, would instantly agree - brilliant. Anyone who can be that funny - consistently funny - without resorting to either crudity or profanity, gets my vote and always will. The Council of Moths sketch from the second series of John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme will always spring to mind! So for goodness' sake go and visit his blog, Forget What Did. It's - brilliant! (If a bit sporadic, these days... Still, maybe that means he's tremendously busy brewing up new stuff for us to laugh at - hope so!)

So there it is. Evidence toward my contention that John Finnemore is one of the most talented radio comedy writers and performers the UK has ever produced - if you happen to think my opinion matters. (Which John will, for one, clearly...)

In terms of 'one to watch', I'd also like to mention someone I have as yet seen very little of, but have completely fallen in love with on the scant evidence available to me - Kieran Hodgson. His performance as Ridley in Jonathan Creek (The Letters of Septimus Noone) was completely stand-out, while this example of his skills is completely stand-up... Plus he was the King of Liechtenstein in Cabin Pressure, so there we are back with Mr Finnemore!

(Postscript: I had never seen Kieran prior to his appearance in Jonathan Creek, but while I was watching it, he displayed an uncanny ability to apparently keep morphing into other people. (Jolly clever, that.) At various points in the episode I was exclaiming to my husband, "Gosh! He looks like David Tennant!" - then, "Now he looks like Tom Ward!" - then, "Now he looks like Robert Peston!" Which led me to despatch an email with this advice: "BBC, you have to hang on to this man - look how many bases you've got covered if you do!")

Favourite Music Tracks

My personal Desert Island Discs playlist is (in no particular order, except that Heart of Darkness hasn't changed from being my favourite since you read about it approximately one minute/half the page ago):

Holding Out For A Hero (Bonnie Tyler)

The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore (Walker Brothers)

This is Gallifrey/Vale Decem (Murray Gold) (Two for the price of one here - combined in "Doctor Who At The Proms 2010", lead vocal for Vale Decem by Mark Chambers - gets me up in goosepimples, every time! If you haven't come across it, try here)

Walk On (Matt Monro)

For Love One Can Die (Ennio Morricone)

Somewhere In Time (John Barry)

Viva La Vida (Coldplay) (note: I'm not a dedicated follower of Coldplay, but how can you resist a song with the line "Roman cavalry choirs are singing" in its chorus...?!)

Heart of Darkness (and here I refer you back to Favourite Singer/Songwriter above; it's also the track I'd select if I could only take one while I was 'Living on the Island' - the clues are all there...)

Deborah Latham