DECEMBER 2019 ISSUE 058
Kings’ school remembers page 4
Choristers at Winchester Cathedral carried out their traditional test of the ice rink ahead of the official opening. They will be taking part in the Christmas Concert on Friday 13 December. More details in the What’s On section inside the newspaper on page 15.
The Dean’s Christmas message page 6
‘Trevor’ is an epic success page 13
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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR “I just love Christmas,” said my friend to me just a few hours ago: “I’ve got the whole of Christmas week off!” My head imploded at this news, as I most definitely do NOT have Christmas week off and will be working on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. My industry does not stop for Christmas. Neither will the hospital, emergency services and many other people across Winchester. Life cannot stop for them either. Much as we try to enjoy it on the day itself with a special meal or a quick shot of sherry, the work has to be done. I know that for others, Christmas is a terrible time when they remember loved ones who have passed on. For me, I will be there to read the news and send crews to where they need to be. I remember being on duty a couple of years ago when it started snowing
winchestertoday est 2012 n EDITOR-IN-CHIEF • Kevin Gover email@example.com n CONTRIBUTORS • David Cradduck • Drew White • Gavin Harris • Rachel Gover • Helena Gomm • John Ellery • Chrissie Pollard • Freya Storey • Eleanor Marsden • Chris Book • Edyth Miles • Richard Horsman • Simon Newman Richard Horsman portrait by Chris Eastham
very heavily in the early hours of Boxing Day. And it was already causing massive disruption, not just looking pretty. Good job I was great friends with the reporter I had to ring at 4am to tell her: “You’re on, and can we have something by 6am please?” And still my Dad enquires as to “when I’m going to get a proper job.” Do you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way. There’s a tradition in the newsroom that if you do Christmas, you don’t do New Year. There I will be, in front of the telly at 11am on New Year’s Day enjoying the concert from Vienna. Hopefully there will be a roaring fire as well. Tradition. It’s the one thing I never miss on New Year’s Day – apart from one day in the 90s of course when the Beeb decided not to show it and thought that no-one would notice. I’m sure the
PUZZLE PAGE ANSWERS CROSSWORD Across: 7 Starship, 8 Lord, 9 Spinal, 10 Oldest, 11 Organ, 13 C T scans, 16 Wassail, 17 Roast, 19 Christ, 21 Bauble, 23 Noel, 24 Mince pie. Down: 1 Atop, 2 Frontals, 3 Child, 4 Sprouts, 5 Sled, 6 Presents, 12 Reach for, 14 Choruses, 15 Airtime, 18 Ebony, 20 Idle, 22 Lois. CODEWORD
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Duty Officer at Television Centre had a deluge of calls! Tradition is something my dear departed Grandad was a stickler for back in the 70s. There was always a fireworks display and a bonfire in the back garden on 5 November just for us grandkids – and the entire extended family was expected to turn up at his place on New Year’s Eve for a sing-song around the piano, great food, Big Ben at midnight and his Des O’Connor records. No excuses. Tradition. If you’re working on Christmas Day, I hope the day goes well for you, and that you don’t lose out. If you’re remembering someone special, think of these words I read somewhere… that if the person is still alive in your heart, then the memories are still alive too. Happy Christmas. Kevin Gover
K ings’ school
KINGS’ SCHOOL REMEMBERS ON Monday 11th November pupils of Kings’ School in Winchester were joined by members of the St Thomas’s Old Boys Association as well as parents who are past and present members of the armed forces. Among these were recent past pupils who have swapped their school uniforms for military uniforms. St Thomas’s was the boys’ school in the centre of Winchester which predated Kings’, Danemark and Montgomery of Alamein by some decades. Their alumni are now part and parcel of the Kings’ family and were welcomed with the usual respect and affection they are shown every year. Our service of remembrance was led by the Reverend Neil Birkett, a former deputy head teacher at Kings’, and there were poignant readings by pupils who have recently returned from the Battlefields Tour. Following the moving ceremony,
HOT POOLS AND COLD SKIES
Poignant: Kings’ pupils and St Thomas’s old boys paid their respects together
Staff, parents and pupils have worn their poppies with pride
ICELAND 2019 started off with a bang in the Fontana Spa. After several hours of travelling, a quick visit to take photos at the Blue Lagoon and a hearty meal of reindeer meatballs, a visit to the spa rounded the day off quite nicely. We were incredibly lucky this year to see the northern lights whilst sat in a hot pool, it was a truly outstanding light show! Zeus was on our side and on Sunday we visited Thingvillir, Fludir, Gulfoss and Geysir under glorious blue skies which made for a cold but sunny day. The sun setting over Thingvillir
viewed from Geysir was fantastic. As ever, the highlight was the glacier trek which the Icelandic mountain guides led. This year the pupils had to pull themselves up through ice tunnels and crevasses via ropes which was both enthralling and challenging. We also visited several waterfalls, ascended Stora Dimon and visited other hot pools where the pupils, like Iceland itself, let off a bit of steam. Plans for Iceland 2020 have already been made and we look forward to taking another cohort of pupils there next year.
pupils, veterans and service personnel enjoyed an informal tea, where our pupils had the pleasure of chatting to the guests and finding out about their lives. Once again, the staff, parents and pupils of Kings’ School in Winchester have worn their poppies with pride, respect and gratitude. Edyth Miles
IZB BASKETBALL STARS Boxing up a record number WE had 142 shoe boxes in the end, 20 more than last year. The tutor group which collected the most were 8PLE with a whopping 36 boxes! Second place were 7RSR with 9 and third 9 LEE with 7. Thank you to the Year 8 team who pulled together to make a collection of boxes, a real team effort! A big thank you to everyone who made the effort to create this wonderful presents for children around the world - we are sure they will be very gratefully received.
We took eight year 8’s and two year 11’s to the Inclusive Zone Basketball south east regional finals in Aldershot. What a terrific day! We came 3rd overall with a fantastic 17-4 win to secure our place. The team came together to perform well. Great baskets from Logan and Jagger. The pupil support team is proud of each and every one of the team.
AN UNFORGETTABLE CHRISTMAS AT WINCHESTER CATHEDRAL Shopping, skating and Carols return this festive season WINCHESTER has undoubtedly become a must-visit destination for all those in search of an authentic Christmas experience, and you’ll find the majestic Winchester Cathedral at the heart of the festivities. Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas Market is one of the best in Europe, with over 100 chalets. Visitors travel from far and wide to soak up the bustling festive atmosphere. Inspired by traditional German Christmas Markets, you’ll be captivated by the sights, sounds and smells of Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas Market, with tempting seasonal treats and exclusive Christmas gifts. Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market will be open daily from Thursday 21 November – Sunday 22 December from 10.00am, until 6.30pm Sunday to Wednesday and 8.00pm Thursday to Saturday. Admission to the Christmas Market is free. Located at the heart of Winchester Cathedral’s famous Christmas Market, the real open-air Ice Rink enjoys stunning views of the Cathedral whilst the clear roof guarantees a rain-free skate whatever the weather. Regularly voted as one of the top 10 Ice Rinks in the UK, and recommended by Countryfile Magazine, Families Online and Days Out with the Kids, Winchester Cathedral Ice Rink is the
The Christmas Market is one of the best in Europe
perfect destination for skaters of all ages and abilities this Christmas. Penguins and banana skate aids are available and special Parent and Toddler sessions offer a family-friendly environment for younger skaters. Fabulously festive decorations and a large Christmas Tree in the centre of the rink will fill skaters with festive cheer, whilst the cosy Ice Café offers the perfect opportunity to enjoy an après-skate before exploring the Christmas Market. New for 2019, the Ice Rink will now
be offering 2 for 1 Student Nights every Tuesday evening from 26 November – 17 December. A Skate and Escape lunchtime offer has also been launched on weekdays from 12noon – 3.00pm until 19 December, including a 30-minute skate and a sandwich for just £10. Ice Rink tickets are available from £6.95 - £11.50. Advanced booking is advised, especially for weekend skating, and tickets are available from the Cathedral Box Office on 01962 857276 or online at www.winchester-cathedral. org.uk Winchester Cathedral Ice Rink will be open from Thursday 21 November – Sunday 5 January from 10am – 9am (last session starts at 8pm). Visitors from near and far should also take time to explore the magnificent Cathedral itself, one of the finest medieval Cathedrals in Europe. With a towering Christmas tree and traditional carol services throughout December, Winchester Cathedral really does epitomize the true joy of Christmas. So after a long day of shopping at the Christmas Market or skating on the Ice Rink, visit Winchester Cathedral to make your own treasured memories. You won’t be disappointed! To plan your visit to Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas Market and Ice Rink, please visit www.winchestercathedral.org.uk/christmas
CHRISTMAS MARKET AND ICE RINK 2019 WINCHESTER CATHEDRAL CHRISTMAS MARKET 21 NOVEMBER - 22 DECEMBER 2019 WINCHESTER CATHEDRAL ICE RINK 21 NOVEMBER 2019 - 5 JANUARY 2020 Explore one of the best Christmas Markets in Europe, renowned for its high quality exhibitors and bustling atmosphere, before skating on the spectacular real Ice Rink in the shadow of Winchester Cathedral. Ice Rink tickets available from £6.95. Book your Ice Rink tickets today from the Cathedral Box Office 01962 857276. www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk
A message for Christmas for the readers of Winchester Today from the Dean of Winchester, the Very Rev’d Catherine Ogle IN these short, dark days we decorate and light up our homes with Christmas trees and lights. We ward off the darkness with colour and Christmas cheer. Our churches and cathedrals too are full of light, preparation and wonder, because once again we’re listening to the story of the birth of Christ told in scripture and carols. This is a time of significant change… we’re about to have a General Election, and at times we’ve been divided and fractious. Friends and families have fallen out. We face change, and not a little uncertainty… at times like this it’s really good to put differences to one side, to get together around what really matters. At Christmas we gather around a newborn child in a manger. This child shows us the mystery and wonder of new life; the value of every human child regardless of race or religion. For Christians this child tells us a deep and timeless truth that the God of all creation loves us and wants to be with us.
God is born as a baby to light up the world with love and hope. In these days, I hope that your heart will be touched afresh with this love. And may God bless you this Christmas and light up your life with his love and hope, now and always.
It’s really good to put differences to one side, to get together around what really matters
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OUR CHRISTMAS FILM FAVOURITES If you get some spare time at Christmas, what’s your essential film? What’s the must-see at Yuletide? We asked our crew… Rachel Gover, Chris Book, Eleanor Marsden, David Cradduck, John Ellery, Beccy Conway, Freya Storey, Jon Heal, Helena Gomm, Chrissie Pollard and Richard Horsman to blow the dust off THOSE videos which only see the light of day every 12 months. Whether you agree with them or not, we hope you have a great time!
JACK FROST (1998)
This will always be on the television at Christmas time. It is mine and my Dad’s film, which will always bring great memories. This film will always light up my day, a feel-good family film. A rock-star turned snowman, Michael Keaton brings joy to the screen. A heart-warming watch, as Stevie Nicks’ “Landslide” will guarantee to bring a tear. RG.
(1976, A Ghost Story For Christmas, episode 6 – BBC) Railwayman (Denholm Elliot) is on duty at a signal box in a deep cutting at the entrance to a long tunnel and visited by a stranger on a stormy night. The stranger sees a railwayman on the line and calls to him, but gets no reply. He recounts this story to Elliot who then tells him the story of ghostly visitations that occur in the tunnel. A gripping ghostly tale which still has the fright factor and is ideal for a cold foggy Christmas Eve. CB. (Ed: I didn’t know that anyone even remembered this one, let alone liked it. I love it too!)
I fell in love with this film the year it came out
LOVE ACTUALLY (2003) A film that you either love or hate, this one was full of cheese and some unlikely scenarios. However, it wasn’t afraid to shy away from the reality of disappointment in love – or the equal reality that, for some, Christmas is quite rubbish. Everyone can relate to at least one of the stories contained in this, especially when it’s clear that family comes first for some. Hey, I’ve never been to Wisconsin, but I’d really love to go to that bar. “Bottle!” KG.
MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1994) (The Richard Attenborough version). I fell in love with this film the year it came out and always wanted to live in the ‘Catalogue House’ which they move to at the end of the film. I would watch it with my father every year, even when I came home from university for the holidays. It’s such a feel-good movie and still has the power to make me shed a tear! Richard Attenborough really was Father Christmas! EM.
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946) Because you feel better even if you haven’t had the best of years. CP.
SCROOGE (1951) The one with Alistair Sim. I remember this when I was a small lad and in black & white the ghost scenes
seemed quite real. Apart from liking black and white movies this one seemed to set Christmas for me with the Dickens characters, and snow - something we rarely have on Christmas day. It’s kind of how I want my Christmas to be - log fire and snow, but no Mr. Scrooge. I think it sent me into a fantasy world and fired my imagination. JE.
THE POLAR EXPRESS (2004) Late on Christmas Eve, a restless young boy is disturbed from his slumbers by a ghostly steam train that pulls up outside his house en route to the north pole. Welcomed on board by friendly conductor played by Tom Hanks, they embark on a fantasy journey via snow-covered forests and mountains to visit Santa Claus in person. Clunky CGI, but it will still keep the children entertained. CB.
WHITE CHRISTMAS (1954) GIs and part-time entertainers, Bob Wallace and Phil Davis return from WW2 only to find out that their inspirational Major Waverley who led them through France is down on his luck with a failing hotel and ski resort in Vermont. The lads return and put on a show to try and help. A timeless classic with an ending that is guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye and, of course, that song. CB.
ELF (2003) Elf Bucky (Will Ferrell) is put up for adoption at 6 months old and finds himself being brought up by the elfs at Santa Claus’ house at the north pole. Reaching thirty, he decides to go back to New York where he was born to find his father. Full of LOL moments including a hilarious explanation why gnomes and trolls do not make good workman. One of the funniest Christmas films I’ve seen. A great film for a Boxing Day afternoon with the older children. CB.
(1988) A few other classics run it close (It’s a Wonderful Life, Elf, Gremlins, the 1951 version of A Christmas Carol) but I can watch Die Hard again and again - and again. It has a cracking setup, a bouncy script that doesn’t let you go and Bruce Willis in his pomp before he got too pleased with himself. The icing on the Christmas cake is Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber - a screen baddies for the ages with a black heart and all the best lines “he won’t be joining us for ... the rest of his life.” People sometimes forget it’s a Christmas movie, but it has all the ingredients for such a film: coming
home for the holidays, reuniting with family, heartwarming friendships with strangers (Willis and the wonderful Reginald VelJohnson’s Officer Powell) - and the odd unexpected party guest to make things interesting. Note: It IS very sweary, so Gremlins is a better family choice. JH.
THE HOLIDAY (2006) My favourite Christmas film is The Holiday because it’s cosy, has a wonderful soundtrack and it celebrates kindness. It’s the only Christmas film I’ll happily watch year round! BC. THE SNOWMAN (1982, Channel 4) This makes me well up every time ... especially watching my children enjoy its magic too. FE.
THE SNOWMAN AND THE SNOWDOG (2012, Channel 4) Would you count this? (Yes! - Ed) It’s only a short film but they often put it on at Christmas and it’s guaranteed to make me cry! HG.
THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965) If you mean the films they always show at Christmas, Sound of Music is Sally’s (DC’s wife) fave feel-good flick. I don’t have one. Bah, Humbug. Maybe ‘A Christmas Carol’ then… DC
We make a point of watching it every year
A MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL
(1992) ...to see Michael Caine overacting like mad to avoid being upstaged by a bunch of cuddly toys. RH.
THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963) ...because it’s possible to have too much Santa theming. I mean, we’ve been living in a communal grotto since Halloween. And is it even Christmas without The Great Escape? RH.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL (Disney 2009 version) I think it has got to be this one starring Jim Carrey. The first time I watched it was with my wife and daughter. Having just seen a small clip of it before we went I was under the impression it was going to be a child friendly Disney feel-good film for all the family. How wrong I was!! From the start when they showed a close up of Scrooge’s former business partner Jacob Marley dead in his coffin with two pennies on his eyes to his ghost then appearing first in the door knocker of Scrooge’s house and then coming through the door into his lounge later on that evening scared me half to death and still does every time we watch it! Then the other Ghosts and the very dark scenes that go with them certainly gives it a real edge. The special effects and the CGI are brilliant, I love the way they show old Victorian London especially from above and the other characters that are so lifelike. As a family, the three of us now make point of watching it every year a couple of days before Christmas on the DVD. We switch the lights off, light the fire and a few candles and still get scared, but when it ends we are all truly in the Festive Spirit and have that feel good factor as well. CB.
STILL PHENOMENAL AFTER 25 YEARS Beccy Conway finds this evergreen show still storming as ever LES MISÉRABLES Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
TEN years on from the premiere of Cameron Mackintosh’s record-breaking 25th anniversary tour of Les Misérables, the statistics in the evening’s programme say it all: seen by 7 million people across fifty-two countries, and translated into twenty-two languages. The term phenomenon is thrown around, but in the case of Les Mis there can be no more accurate a description. Based on the novel by Victor Hugo, which chronicled the impoverished living conditions of the French working class in the early 19th century, Les Misérables follows the life of Jean Valjean, a man who has spent nineteen years imprisoned and in servitude, for the meagre crime of stealing bread to feed his starving sister and nephew. The musical opens with Valjean’s release, only for him to learn that the certificate of his convict status – which he is forced to carry for life – prevents him from gaining legitimate work, and could at any time permit police to re-incarcerate him. After stealing from a priest who shows him kindness and mercy, Valjean vows to make the most of his life and sheds his identity, so beginning a life-long hunt by Javert, a police inspector intent on bringing his foe to justice. The extensive cast produce extremely accomplished performances, with some company members returning to Les Mis for this tour, while others, including Harry Apps in the role of Marius, making their professional debuts. Killian Donnelly leads as Jean Valjean, and his experience is immediately evident in his nuanced performance. At first angry at the harsh injustice of his treatment, Donnelly later demonstrates the signature empathy that is synonymous
You would be forgiven for thinking ‘Bring Him Home’ was the show’s finale with Valjean’s character, and his performance of Bring Him Home is met with such a long round of applause you would be forgiven for thinking it was the show’s finale. Nic Greenshields is effective in his performance as the show’s ‘bad guy’, his character personifying the complex balance of good versus evil, faith versus sinfulness that Javert struggles with, and eventually leads to his downfall. Katie Hall takes on the down-andout Fantine, a role made only more recognisable by Anne Hathaway in her Oscar-winning performance in Tom Hooper’s acclaimed 2012 film adaptation. Hall’s interpretation more than lives up to the character’s infamy, her portrayal of the desperate young woman is heart-wrenching and her singing voice simply beautiful. Other notable performances come from Tegan Bannister as lovelorn Eponine, Bronwen Hanson as Cosette and Will Richardson as the revolutionary Enjolras. We’re brought light-relief in the
The transition between sets is second to none
Notable: Killian Donnelly as Valjean (left) and Katie Hall as Fantine (above) both impressed in these iconic roles Images: Helen Maybanks, Matthew Murphy, Johann Persson, CML.
form of the Thénardiers; young Cosette’s neglectful guardians played by SophieLouise Dann and Martin Ball. Their recital of Master of the House is just as bawdy and hilarious as you would hope. Lastly, the young cast members who play scrappy Gavroche, Little Cosette and Young Eponine display professionalism to equal their adult colleagues. Surely stars of the future. Perhaps more commendable still is the striking set, which has the unenviable job of taking the audience through a timeline that spans seventeen years and multiple places across revolutionary France. The set pieces and clever projections are inspired by Hugo’s own paintings from the time. The transition between the towering sets is second to none, the intricacy with which the segments fold in on each other is seamless, and a particularly impressive feat for a touring production. And, then there’s the barricade. Thin beams of light stream through the gaps in the wreckage, which is otherwise silhouetted and becomes the location of the bleak tableau where the young revolutionaries fall. Les Misérables is a musical it’s impossible to depart from without one of Boubil and Schönberg’s many rousing songs in your head, be it I Dreamed a Dream, Red and Black, One Day More or Do You Hear the People Sing? It’s an admittedly long show, at three hours with a short interval, and our evening is made slightly later still by a short delay to the start of the performance, but it speaks volumes that by the end – at nearly 11pm – everyone in the entire audience is on their feet.
THURSDAY LAUNCHES APP FOR A GOOD CAUSE YOU may remember that we told you last month about Winchester design agency Marmalade on Toast’s big move to new premises. Well, along with that has come a name change. Now known as Thursday, the agency has chosen the neonatal unit at Royal Hampshire County Hospital to benefit from doodles created at the event celebrating the launch of their new doodling app – Dwoodle. Attendees were asked to create a ‘dwoodle’ and for each one submitted, £1 was raised for the neonatal unit, a total of £1,540 was raised. The neonatal unit was chosen by Simon Harmer, founder and owner of Thursday: “I have lived in Winchester for nearly twenty years. During that time I have moved house 6 times, married and had 3 children. As such, my wife Katy and I have spent a large amount of time with the neonatal unit at The Royal Hampshire County Hospital. “We have always been thankful, grateful and genuinely amazed by the level of care and attention the staff have given our entire family over the years. We want to do all we can to support such an amazing place and the people who work there.” Sharon Stone is clinical matron on the neonatal unit at Royal Hampshire County Hospital: “We are delighted that Thursday have chosen to support
We want to do all we can to support such an amazing place the neonatal unit through this fun and imaginative app. Their support will help us to buy new equipment for the babies and ensure that the unit is a comfortable and welcoming place for parents, relatives and staff.” After the event each unique drawing will be made into a huge piece of artwork which will be displayed at the design agency’s studio in the heart of Winchester city. Simon’s next ambition is to turn everyone’s dwoodles into the largest piece of artwork in the world. His record breaking ambition will mean the final piece of art will need to reach over four million square meters, which is the current record, set by Ando’s Mundi Man. This would take a staggering 158,720,000 Dwoodles!
Thankful: Over £1,500 was raised for the neonatal unit
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Support for Winchester Hospice grows through special donation FUTURE patients and family members spending time at Winchester Hospice will have a special place to reflect and spend time together, thanks to a generous donation from Bible Society. It’s been announced that the hospice will benefit from a special garden being created by multi-award-winning designer Sarah Eberle for Bible Society’s display at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2020. After being viewed at the event, which is attended by over 150,000 visitors each year, including members of the royal family, the garden will be recreated at Winchester Hospice, where patients, their loved ones and staff will all be able to enjoy it. The garden, based on Psalm 23, will provide a quiet space for reflection for those of all faiths and none. Maddy Thomson is clinical matron of palliative
and end of life care at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which will run Winchester Hospice: “The garden will represent a special place for our patients and their families, who can enjoy precious moments in this beautiful outdoor space. “We are absolutely delighted that we will be able to offer this as part of the care and support we provide, and know that it will make a huge difference to the families being supported by Winchester Hospice. Our huge thanks go to Bible Society and Sarah Eberle for this incredible gift.” The garden will make its way to Winchester after the flower show in May 2020, with alterations made to fit the space inside the grounds of the converted Burrell House and make it practical for a hospice environment. Hazel Southam is spokeswoman for Bible Society: “Donating the garden to the Winchester Hospice seemed to be such a fitting final piece of the story, as the psalm offers something to reflect on as we journey through life. We hope that patients can find comfort and joy in this space.” Winchester hospice will have 10 inpatient rooms as well as outpatient facilities, acting as a hub for specialist palliative care both on site and in the community, allowing the expert team to be there to care for patients with long-term illnesses and those at the end of their lives.
The garden will provide a quiet place for reflection
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A SPLENDID MURDER MYSTERY Kevin Gover doesn’t care whodunnit, when it’s presented this well A MURDER IS ANNOUNCED Theatre Royal, Winchester
“HAVE you worked out who done it yet?” said an audience member to his partner as they passed by my seat during the interval. I smiled to myself, as by that stage I really didn’t have a clue. There are so many twists and turns that if you’re not familiar with the play or Agatha Christie’s book, you really will not know. The gasps from the audience throughout as they themselves discover what’s going on just go to prove it. The tension on stage at the end was something else. In between all that there’s beautiful acting, beautiful costumes, a beautiful set – and, despite it being a murder plot, there are plenty of laughs! The story is based around an announcement placed in the local newspaper that there will be a murder at a specific time, at a specific place (an early Victorian house) on a specific day in October 1950. And that’s all I’m going to tell you! The audience and I particularly liked Mitzi the maid’s mixed-up English (she’s a Mitteleuropa refugee), played by Lydia Piechowiak. There was lots of scope for fun, and she took it. Sarah Thomas (Glenda in Last of the
Splendid: The ensemble cast all performed brilliantly
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Summer Wine) was just as you would expect Miss Marple to be. Her explanation at the end – as previously mentioned – helped create the tension. Kazia Pelka is well known from Heartbeat and Brookside – and she dominates the stage in her portrayal of Letitia Blacklock. There’s a strong performance too from Tom Butcher as Inspector Craddock – you may remember Tom played PC Steve Loxton in The Bill for seven years. I also loved Jenny Funnell as Dora Bunner. Her voice projection in her ‘confused’ demeanour were spot on. Even the sound effects were gently and professionally done. They were supposed to be coming from outside on the set, and they certainly appeared to do so. It’s a pity that twice they were drowned out by real sounds of real sirens from the real outside. That’s something we’ve learned to put up with though. And I wasn’t convinced by the gun. All in all, a splendid performance from everyone – just the kind of thing Winchester audiences love at this most special of theatres. Adapted for the stage by Leslie Darbon and performed by the Middle Ground Theatre Company.
by Richard Horsman
A spaceman came travelling (with apologies to Jimmy Perry and David Croft…) “I don’t like it, Wilson”. Captain Mainwaring bristled in an irritated fashion as he surveyed the happy crowds swirling around. “There are Germans. Here. In the Market Square. In lederhosen. One of them swore at me – loudly. ‘Fröhliche Weihnachten’ or some similar foul insult …” “it means ‘Merry Christmas’, sir” “What year is this, Wilson?” “Er .. 2019, sir. The war ended - let’s see - nearly 75 years ago now. We’re only here because you insisted on the platoon taking cover in that police box …. “Plenty of space for everyone …” “ .. and then I had to stop you from going back in time to kill that German Corporal from the first world war with a paintbrush …” “I wasn’t going to kill him with a paintbrush, I had my revolver …” “.. thereby ripping open the fabric of existence and creating a new leg in the trousers of time” “Wilson. These trousers are good Harris tweed, woven in the Outer Hebrides. I can assure you they won’t rip. Oh good grief is that a Sauerkraut vendor?” “Well you have been calling them names sir, I’m not surprised if they give you funny looks ….” “So the Germans won then. We did our best. Gave it all we had, but now here they are, camped right outside the town hall, staging a German
Market, singing The Red Flag …” “It’s ‘Oh Tannenbaum’, sir, and it’s a carol …” “Lording it over the vanquished and noble English race by imposing their strange, alien customs of drinking beer and enjoying big sausages …” Mrs Pike looked up, startled, and then resumed her knitting. “even the taxis are Uber … how did we get to this, Wilson?” “Well sir – we actually won. Hatred was defeated. A wall went up, and then came down again. So now, 75 years on, people here welcome their German friends to enjoy a Christmas celebration together … you do know it was Queen Victoria who made all the old German traditions part of the English Christmas? Advent calendars, holly wreaths, even the sparkle on the big tree is thanks to that Prince Albert …” Mrs Pike dropped a stitch. “So isn’t it good to know that even the most bitter disputes can be resolved in time, and that people who are bitter opponents can overcome their differences to drink and laugh together? I mean, they’ve been arguing here over something called ‘Brexit’ now for nearly as long as our war lasted, I’ve been fiddling with the Tardis thing and that doesn’t get settled until …” “Nooooo” There was a wail of agony from Private Frazer, who’d just seen the price of a wee dram in The Bull. “But you get my point, sir. Peace on earth. Goodwill to all men. It’s what Christmas is all about. If only the people here, right now, could look ahead like we’ve done, they’d stop all the
The sound of “Stille Nacht” wafted through the air from a choir of schoolchildren gathered around the big tree. The Sauerkraut vendor found he had something in his eye.
trolling and Twittering …” “Wittering?” “.. same thing … and they’d look up for a minute. Look up from the little newsreel gadgets they all carry around now. See the good things, like the sky and the trees and the decorations and the Cathedral and Amazon Prime next day delivery ...” “What?” “ … never mind … and they’d stop bickering, and shutting out people with opinions other than their own and calling anyone who thinks differently ‘meatheads’ or ‘traitors’ – because in the end what matters here and now is today, the people we love and the people we share our time with. All of them. Goodwill to all men. And women. All of them. Not just the ones we follow and like … Snowflakes began to fall. They’d had a long day picketing the Bratwurst stall. The sound of “Stille Nacht” wafted through the air from a choir of schoolchildren gathered around the big tree. The Sauerkraut vendor found he had something in his eye. Mrs Pike sniffled gently. The two stalwart and long-dead Home Guardians looked at each other for a lingering moment. “… so merry Christmas, sir” “Merry Christmas, Wilson. We don’t belong here. We need to get back. Back to our own time .,..” Young Private Pike tugged the sergeant’s sleeve. “Uncle Arthur …” “Yes what is it ...” “I think I should tell Captain Mainwaring something ... I just went round that corner and there’s a big new shiny sort of café place where the fishmongers should be and it’s called ‘Yo Sushi’ and it’s full of Japanese people ...” Merry Christmas. Wherever you are.
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A REAL FESTIVE PUDDING This Christmas, Chris Book wants two hours of his life back
LAST CHRISTMAS Dir. Paul Feig
★✩✩✩✩ ON the way to the cinema to review this film, a strapline on the side of a passing bus reliably informed me that Last Christmas was “The Christmas Film of the Decade”. Well ladies and gentlemen, I can assure you after sitting through 1hr 43min of it that it most certainly is not! In fact, I can safely say it is probably the worst Christmas film of the last decade. Emilia Clarke plays Kate, a notvery-good aspiring dizzy actress/singer who, in between auditions, works in an all-year-round Christmas shop in Covent Garden dressed as an elf. Unfortunately, in this film, art imitates life in more ways than one and Emila is really not very good in this one either. During run-ins with her tyrant boss Santa (geddit?) and awkward customers in the lead up to the festive season, she meets local delivery man, part-time helper in the local homeless shelter and mystery man Tom, who pursues her for a date. During the wooing process and first half an hour of the film, it struggles to spring into life with lame acting, bad slapstick routines and an awful script.
Turkey: Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding have nothing to smile about
The film only gets worse when we are introduced to Kate’s mum, Petra (Emma Thompson) a refugee from the former Yugoslavia who escaped that place during the troubles to bring Kate and her sister, Marta over to the UK for a fresh start. This is not one of Dame Emma’s finest I’m afraid. Her eastern European accent is spoken as though she has a mouthful of pebbles and she hams everything up as a way-over-thetop matriarch mother. Dame Emma is also one of the film’s credited writers, and as everything about her these days seems to come attached with a political message, this film is bad enough without
The film struggles to spring to life reminding the audience of Brexit, the minimum wage and refugees being repatriated. There is a time and a place for those things and it certainly wasn’t
winchestertoday.co.uk 13 here in a feel-good Christmas film. There is also a nasty scene on a bus involving racial abuse which I thought totally unnecessary, but there we go. The story clunks on with our central couple attending auditions, sitting in communal gardens being pensive and strolling along a moonlit Thames eating take-aways as the mysterious Tom gets even more mysterious and Kate reveals to him an operation she had last year which finally made sense bearing in mind how many times it was mentioned earlier in the script that she had been ill. Even her scar wasn’t very convincing, looking like something that had been stuck on her by the Props Department after a last minute visit to the local Halloween fancy dress shop. Numerous minor characters are introduced and come and go in the background behind the main characters to keep the plot line afloat before we are hit with a bombshell of a twist which is so unbelievable you will pinch yourself to see if you are not dreaming. I’m not into spoilers and I certainly won’t go into detail of what it is here, but it does test the imagination to the limit. The film isn’t all bad; it does capture the festive mood and central London in all its Christmas finery. There is also a nice touch (bearing in mind what the soundtrack of the film is based on) at the end when the camera pans around the audience at the Christmas concert in the homeless shelter - don’t blink or you might miss it. The makers of this film have obviously tried to re-invent one of the best Christmas films ever, in my mind, Love Actually, and have failed miserably. I will leave it up to yourselves should you wish to go and see it in the coming weeks. If you do, it will probably be the first turkey you will come across prior to the 25th December.
AN EPIC, AND CLEVER, ‘TREVOR’ Kevin Gover is well and truly knocked out by this performance DIAMONDS ARE FOR TREVOR Cheriton Players at the Village Hall and also on location throughout Hampshire.
THERE are levels of professionalism that the Cheriton Players achieve every time they put on a show… and then they go and reach the summit of Everest with this one. Right from the off when you saw Pratt (David Cradduck) and realised he was the cleaner, not a spy, you knew this was going to be different. (David also excelled as the Duke of Edinburgh later…) Imagine if you will a stage play that also has a film which interweaves throughout (Director of Photography: Jim Glaister.) The characters even run out of the Village Hall only to then
The characters even run out, only to then appear onscreen appear on a film screen at the back of the set. The film took five months to create – and my word it shows. Lord knows how many times my old clapperboard had to be waved in front of the camera. The whole technical efforts are not only
Excelling: Great stage acting was combined with film clips (top right) Images: Craig Robertson
achieved but excelled. The plot is simple… The Queen is kidnapped through a sinister collaboration between Donald Trumpet (Mike Cornter) and Vladimir Putitov – superbly played by John Weston. Hats
off too to Tracey Anderson who excels as Bond girl Fanny Stravaganza. There are also plenty of opportunities for character acting including the delightful Mr and Mrs Slobby (Tim and Jan Conway) – and I loved everything
that Paul McTaggart was involved with – including his fantastic ‘Burly Chassis’ portrayal in the title sequence. He just seems to grow and glow with every show. Yes, there’s even a Bond-like title sequence. Waving hands, versions of songs favourites… it’s all there. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments – but one of the best is represented by Charlie Hellard’s facial expression as shown here, and what then happens to the Vicar (Craig Robb). Suffice to say that you will never look at a corgi in the same way again either (!) There were a few moments when the on-stage set changes saw the audience a little quiet, but it only added to the anticipation of what was to come next, and they were delighted when the actors came back. Director Helena Gomm even has a cameo role in the film. Helena asked special permission of the author Simon Tytherleigh to rewrite the script to bring it up to date with characters that we could identify with right now (anyone actually remember one of the original characters Fred the Shred? – exactly). I’m absolutely sure that if Simon was to see this production, he would be thoroughly approving of what the Cheriton Players have achieved. Epic.
LONDON CALLING Released: December 1979 CBS/Epic Records Forty years ago this month (yes, forty) – music lovers were able to get their hands on an album that is remembered as much for its iconic front cover as for what’s on the vinyl. London Calling brought a whole series of problems into focus, including rising unemployment and racial conflict. There was a new government that was completely out of touch with young people. If you weren’t there living through it as a 19-year-old like me, perhaps it would be difficult to understand just how much in tune the Clash were, and still are. These problems would continue well into 1980 and 1981, and for me it got so bad that I simply left the country. Those of us who were still teenagers in 1979 had managed to get through the winter of discontent largely endured by our parents – and we kept on spending our pennies on records into another great year of music. And boy, did the Clash speak to us: “London calling to the faraway towns – now war is declared and battle come down…” – this was always the way we and the bands communicated with people in power who just didn’t understand. The cover, as I mentioned, also speaks volumes. Speaking to ‘Fender’ in 2011, Paul Simonon explained it was an on-the-night moment of utter frustration that led to him destroying his Fender Precision Bass on stage at The Palladium in New York in September 1979. He spoke about how it was not the guitar at all; he was getting angry that bouncers were pushing fans back into their seats instead of allowing them to stand up and enjoy the music. Luckily, photographer Pennie Smith was there to capture the moment. The picture has hung on bedroom walls ever since. And you can see the actual guitar at the exhibition ‘The Clash: London Calling’ right now at the Museum of London. Kevin Gover
SUDOKU – MEDIUM Across 7 Star Trek’s --- Enterprise (8) 8 Jesus’ Father (4) 9 Cord or tap (6) 10 Most senior (6) 11 Played at carol services (5) 13 Sources of inside information? (1,1,5) 16 Sweet seasonal drink (7) 17 How to cook turkey for 25 December (5) 19 Central Xmas figure (6) 21 Tree decoration (6) 23 The Christmas season, or a carol (4) 24 Sweeter seasonal food than 4 Down (5,3)
Down 1 Above (4) 2 Altar draperies (8) 3 “Unto us a --- is born” (5) 4 Christmas dinner fare, disliked by some (7) 5 Useful if Christmas is white (4) 6 Given at Yuletide (8) 12 “--- the Sky” (Kenneth More WWII film) (5,3) 14 Vocal groups (8) 15 TV advertisers buy it (7) 18 Piano key wood (5) 20 Doing nothing (4) 22 Superman’s --- Lane (4)
WORD SEARCH Baby Cedar Child Dolls Elves Family Fir
Gift Gold Gravy Ham Holy Icicle Incarnation
SUDOKU – HARD
WORD LADDER Inn Ivy Joy Lord Magi Mary Mass
Noel Pie Pine Port Red Sales Sled
Star Tinsel Toast Turkey Yule
Change the bottom word into the top one a letter at a time, making a new word with each change. Write your changes between the rungs.
ALL SOLUTIONS ON PAGE 2
What’s On in Winchester and beyond December 2019 Ongoing until 19th January 2020 Southern Ceramic Group City Space, Discovery Centre. 500 works from 50 potters to view and buy.
You do NOT have to pay to have your event listed here! You send details by email to email@example.com or tweet us the info @winchestertoday All event details listed are correct at time of going to press.
RACHEL GOVER Saturday 21 December Baaa Humbug: A Stocking Full of Show-Tunes Perins School, Alresford. 3pm and 7pm
Tuesday 24 December Christmas Eve Services
Friday 13 December Christmas Concert
11.00am and 3.00pm: Dress Up Nativity Services 5.30pm Carols with Blessing of the Crib 11.30pm Midnight Eucharist
Cathedral, 7.00pm. Music, laughter and delight, featuring Winchester Cathedral Choir and awardwinning comedian Hugh Dennis. Tickets £20–£40 available from the Cathedral Box Office 01962 857275 or online www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk
Wednesday 25 December Christmas Day Services 8.00am Holy Communion 10.00am Festal Mattins 11.15am Festal Sung Eucharist 3.30pm Evensong with Procession to the Christmas Tree
Saturday 14 December The Snowman Cathedral Nave. 1.00pm, 3.00pm & 7.15pm. On the big screen in the Cathedral Nave with music provided by a live orchestra. Tickets from £16 available from the Cathedral Box Office 01962 857275 or online www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk
Saturday 21 & Sunday 22 December (Christmas Boxes) Friday 27, Saturday 28 & Sunday 29 December (Christmas Wreaths) Christmas at Chawton
Tuesday 17, Wednesday 18 and Friday 20 December Cathedral Carol Services Wonderful services filled with beautiful music sung by the Cathedral Choir. 6.30pm. The first service is ticketed, with priority booking for the Cathedral Community. The second and third services are not ticketed and all are welcome.
Come along to Chawton House in Alton and discover Christmas traditions of times gone by. Learn how the Austen and Knight families celebrated the festive season. Included in general admission. 11am - 4pm.
Until Sunday 5 January 2020 Dick Whittington Theatre Royal Winchester. See details on the back page.
The Cathedral will be hosting its Carol servic es from Tuesday 17th December
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1: talk about Winchester 2: play fantastic music
WINCHESTER CATHEDRAL CHRISTMAS CONCERT FRIDAY 13 DECEMBER, 7.00PM An evening of music, laughter and delight, featuring Winchester Cathedral Choir and award-winning comedian Hugh Dennis, star of BBC One’s Outnumbered, Radio 4’s The Now Show and BBC Two’s Mock the Week. A fundraising concert for Winchester Cathedral’s Choral Foundation.
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Tickets: £20–£40 available from the Cathedral Box Office 01962 857275 or online from the Cathedral website. www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk
A Traditional Family Pantomime
Written & Directed by James Barry | Music by Simon Slater
30 November 2019 â€“ 5 January 2020 theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk
Jewry Street, Winchester, SO23 8SB
Box Office 01962 840 440
The online version of the December 2019 edition of Winchester Today