Archive for the Television Category

What a Strange World We Live In

Posted in Books, Television with tags , , , , on May 1, 2009 by mrtoppit

Mr Toppit Paperback

In April 1981, times, as they say, were a-changing. Daylight saving time is introduced in the USSR, the rock band Yes broke up and at the McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket the Red Wings and the Red Sox battled it out in what became the longest professional baseball game in history.

More importantly April 1981 also saw the end of children’s author Arthur Hayman’s life, as he was knocked down and out of this world  by a cement mixer truck on the streets of Soho. After his death his books remained dark curios for a few interested fans  until American chat show host Laurie Clow brought The Hayseed Chronicles to millions.

Now, exactly 28 years on from the day of his death, two popular British chat-show hosts, Richard & Judy have announced that Mr Toppit, a novelisation of Arthur and his family’s story, will feature as part of their Summer Reading programme. I guess Oscar Wilde was right; life does imitate art far more than art imitates life.

eBay Excitement

Posted in Television with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2008 by mrtoppit

Fifty Great British Pounds seems like a lot to spend on a little over 130mm of plastic in these times of economic turmoil. But this Luke Hayseed action figure from the BBC adaptation of the Hayseed Chronicles is worth every penny.

Luke Hayseed Action Figure 1

Once Hayseed hysteria hit America, The Carter Press was inundated with requests from Hollywood to option the series into a full scale motion picture. Despite the astronomical figures running across Graham Carter’s desk, it was Arthur Hayman’s widow, Martha, that had the final say on the matter and her mind was swayed by a hand written note from a Junior Script Editor at the BBC.

Luke Hayseed Action Figure 2

Jake Cotton (known to colleagues as “Joke Cotton” due his general ineptness) had languished in White City for longer than he cared to remember and saw The Hayseed Chronicles as a way to make a name for himself. Legend has it that he wrote to Martha directly, mentioning his interest in her PhD on the First Crusade in his covering letter. A lunch was organised, a contract signed and the rest is history.

Luke Hayseed Action Figure 3

The action figure is based on the likeness of Toby Luttrell, a regular in Grange Hill, a bit part player in Bugsy Malone, and the young British actor cast to play Luke Hayseed in the six-part BBC miniseries of The Hayseed Chronicles. The series was a huge success both sides of the Atlantic and my old VHS tapes are practically worn out from extensive watching. Does anybody know if the BBC are planning to reissue them on DVD?

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