OCTOBER 2019 ISSUE 056
FIGHTBACK AS LABOUR ‘DECLARES WAR’ ON CITY’S INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS Party says private schools don’t need to exist By KEVIN GOVER News Editor THERE’S been fierce condemnation against Labour’s proposals to shut down all independent schools if the party comes to power. At Labour’s conference in Brighton, delegates voted to make the vow part of their next election manifesto. It would mean the end of Winchester College (founded in 1382) and St Swithun’s among others. Labour would effectively also seize all of the school properties as well to “re-distribute” them around the community. Winchester’s MP Steve Brine gave this reaction: “If ever there was a move which
“Utter Madness” Steve Brine MP
showed the danger of the Labour Party, this is it. Utter madness. People in places such as Winchester need to be conscious of their actions, no matter how well intentioned, and the place we could up as a result.” Winchester College and St Swithun’s both got in contact with Winchester Today to say they fully back the message from Julie Robinson, who’s the chief executive of the Independent Schools Council: “Parents across the country have every right to be worried about the decision by Labour Party conference to support a motion to abolish independent schools. The move is an attack on the rights and freedoms of parents to make
choices over the education of their children. “Abolition would represent an act of national self-harm. Tearing down excellent schools does not improve our education system. The repercussions would be irreversible and far-reaching, damaging educational opportunities and limiting life chances. Moreover, Labour’s plan would breach the European Convention on Human Rights on the right to choose education. “This decision is an ideological distraction from dealing with the real problems in education. We all want to see more funding for state schools and
TOP OF THE BILL
Revamp for Theatre Royal’s charity page 5
continued on page 12 ➜
Your guide to the Film Fest Centre pages
Catherine Latham and her daughter Becca from Kings Worthy pictured at St Swithun’s Church ahead of the inaugural Worthys Festival Duck Race (pictured below)
Cheriton Players sell out again! page 16
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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR It’s very rare that we have had the need here at the newspaper to get angry about anything. We’ve had gentle digs before at all the main political parties, because that’s the point of a newspaper – to hold them to account. Yet Labour’s declaration of war against Independent schools is an attack on Winchester itself. It’s a direct attack on the fabric of our society here in the city. Labour wants to shut them down and ‘re-distribute’ the buildings around the rest of the society for us all to share. Well forgive me, but the buildings already do that! Winchester College has been here for more than 600 years. Who hasn’t enjoyed a tour of the magnificent building? I felt
honoured to host a concert there back in the late 80s for Ocean Sound featuring the wonderful Treorchy Male Voice Choir. Yes, I felt in awe of my surroundings, because you’re meant to. That’s the whole point, that’s what Labour don’t ‘get’. On top, there’s the sheer hypocrisy of “don’t do as I do, do as I say.” Jeremy Corbyn aides Seamus Milne and James Schneider both attended Winchester College. Diane Abbott sent her children to a fee-paying school, as did Shami Chakrabarti. Labour needs to realise once and for all that people are not the same. One size does not fit all. What does it boil down to… jealousy? I attended a comprehensive
school and I knew people who had gone to private school after we parted ways in the last year of junior school. I felt not one single ounce of jealousy then, nor do I now. My senior school was amazing. Here at the newspaper, we have spoken just recently about the exam achievements of ALL schools in the area. The state schools have matched the independent ones all the way. Perhaps Labour don’t really care about Winchester anyway, full stop. In nearly 14 years of living here in Winchester, not once have I seen any Labour prospective candidate for any election at my front door. Kevin Gover
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K ings’ school
WOW, WHAT A DAY! THE atmosphere for Results Day was of excitement and fear all rolled into one. Everyone was emotional and relieved all at the same time! The atmosphere was more like a festival... seeing old friends and waiting for the band to start. Headteacher Matthew Leeming says it’s a special day for everyone involved: “It is always delightful to see young people we know to be well-motivated and determined become well-qualified as well! They have worked very hard - as a rule, I would say that the teenagers we work with today are even more conscientious than their predecessors were. The staff deserve great credit too - I am lucky to work with such a skilful and committed group of professionals.”
The teenagers we work with today are even more conscientious than their predecessors Of 329 pupils: 86% achieved at least 4 in English and Maths
(and also in three other subjects; equivalent to the old 5+A*-C including English and Maths measure)
68% achieved at least 5 in English and Maths 92% achieved at least 4 in English, with 82% achieving at least a 5 88% achieved at least 4 in Maths, with 73% achieving at least a 5
REVAMPING AND REBRANDING A look at the efforts to create a ‘new’ Theatre Royal By ELEANOR MARSDEN WINCHESTER’S Theatre Royal is a well-known and well-recognised local space, saved from demolition when still a cinema in the 1970s by a small group of dedicated theatre enthusiasts. These days, the theatre has been known locally for a varied output of performance, plays and dance, as well as for sponsoring the ever-popular street theatre festival, the Winchester Hat Fair. However, as Deryck Newland, the charity’s Chief Executive, explained to a packed room of press, patrons and collaborators, the charity has just moved up a gear with its ambitious new re-launch. The tantalising covers were removed from its foyer windows and a large crowd of invited guests were welcomed in to celebrate the re-brand of its managing charity, formerly Live Theatre Winchester Trust, now called Play to the Crowd. On the surface, the physical re-brand has provided a warm and dramatic new public space. A fantastic cafe bar is a modern and inviting space, accompanied by matt black walls, new comfortable seating and atmospheric lighting. The space to the rear has been reimagined as a studio, meeting and mingling space, with original architectural brickwork revealed and a stunning new sculpture, Uniting: Deryck and Kirstie Mathieson with the team from Marmalade on Toast who helped with the charity’s renaming process, brand restructure and development of each brand’s identity Adrienne Photography
The physical re-brand has provided a warm and dramatic new public space donated by artist Nadine Collinson and husband David. The real transformation, however, is in the charity’s vision: now re-born as Play to the Crowd. CEO, Deryck Newland, explained more about the three facets of its work: running the Theatre Royal; producing the internationally-acclaimed Hat Fair; and highlighting the community work done under the new name of Playmakers. Unashamedly a charity, Play to the Crowd aims to be bolder and more collaborative than its earlier incarnation. Deryck gave an impassioned speech about the relevance of the word ‘play’: a critical part of imagining and exploring through art, whilst ‘crowd’ is equally significant in the charity’s mission to be there for everyone to enjoy. Notably, the three project logos all include a ‘smile’ design, and this is no coincidence; Play to the Crowd has the short but decisive aim to ‘delight and unite’. The evening was punctuated with original music by talented local composer, Jake Gauntlett, and an intriguing lighting display, before many guests took their seats for the first production of the season: David Glass’ Bleak House.
BEHIND THE BRAND David Cradduck gets to speak further with Deryck Newland, CEO of Play To The Crowd Q: Derek, the rebrand has been a bold move – what was your ultimate aim? A: One of the first things I noticed when I took office as CEO two and half years ago was that no one knew we were a charity, a pretty fundamental requirement in terms of the sustainability of any such organisation. If nobody knows you are a charity then no one is inclined to support or invest in you. The second thing was that not many people knew that Theatre Royal Winchester and Hat Fair were run by that same charity – a big miss to me as we want the public to know the totality of our output. The third thing was that no one was aware of the participation work we do with the local community. So there was a lot of mis-communication with the public that needed to be addressed, and the most effective way to do that was to re-launch through a rebranding exercise. The purpose of that exercise was to transmit a much clearer message about why we exist as a charity. Q: It’s early days, but do you feel you have succeeded in what you set out to do? A: Well, time will tell; we literally have only just launched the new name – Play To The Crowd. The feedback to date has been positive: I think people understand what we are trying to achieve but it will probably be eighteen months to two years before we can answer that question definitively. Q: Was the removal of the word ‘Winchester’ from the trust’s name deliberate? A: The old name of the charity was Live Theatre Winchester Trust. But we don’t only work in Winchester and in the future we may want to operate more broadly across Hampshire or even further afield. For future-proofing and future resilience, the charity needed to be free to work where the resources or demands might be. The word ‘theatre’ is also limiting: we do so much more than just theatre. We present music, comedy, drama, talks and participatory work that can be theatrical but the outputs might be different like film, for example. Q: The new name, then, is Play To The Crowd. Will the public understand the meaning of that and is there an emphasis on them understanding it as the ‘parent’ organisation, rather than its ‘children’? A: The organisational parent brand is Play To The Crowd but its three operational ‘children’ are Theatre Royal Winchester, Hat Fair and a new name, Playmakers, which is all about creative learning and participation work. On a day to day basis, the public interact with those three operational brands. That’s fine, we don’t need everybody to know all about the Play To The Crowd brand which is there more for stakeholders, investors, local businesses and philanthropists, people who need to understand our charitable purpose. But the ongoing challenge to public funding is not going to stop any time soon. We therefore need to be assertive about our purpose and to diversify our income streams. If we don’t go out there and push that, as a charity, we cannot expect people to invest and support us. Q: A big rebrand is also a big deal. Historically there have been examples of high profile rebrands going horribly wrong. Does that concern you? A: No, if we think like that we’re doomed from the start. We’re being driven by the vision we have for the charity and we spent a lot of time with our board, our stakeholders and experts sharpening that vision. We were challenged for about a year and a half by a lot of external organisations asking “What is the point of you? What are you for? What is your social purpose?”. We have answered that in three words: ‘Delight and Unite’. That, for me, and for all of us who now work for Play To The Crowd is really appropriate: as an arts and education charity, we aim to delight and unite. Q: So the rebrand exercise itself is complete – what methods are using to now implement that brand across the board? A: The thing to remember is that a brand is not just a logo. The logo is just a tiny part of it. It’s about creating a culture and living a set of values and beliefs. The work that we’ve done internally has been about being clear as a team what our purpose is and what our values are. Play To The Crowd is friendly, it’s bold and it’s collaborative. We want the public to judge us by those three values. We believe that if we also live those three values, our brand will begin to take traction and be successful in the long run. Q: Finally, give me the inside track on the ‘smile’ that features in all three logos? A: The story behind that is that our three ‘children’ are all distinct personalities and we as ‘parents’ celebrate those differences. But they are all held together by the same DNA – in this case that smile is the common gene that links them all together. The smile also reflects our values: it represents our welcome, it represents fun, play and a twinkle in the eye. And in society at the moment we certainly need a bit of a smile don’t we?
WINCHESTER MATHS TEACHER REDESIGNS THE PROTRACTOR (YES, REALLY!) IT’S one of those inventions that you probably never knew needed redesigning, unless you’ve tried to use it in teaching. Well, following years of maths teaching frustration, Winchester resident Shelley Frape has designed a new style of protractor. This long standing maths essential, which has not changed for 100 years, has been redesigned by the maths teacher to help reduce confusion and simplify its use in geometry lessons. Stationery giant Helix has partnered up with Shelley and will be launching her new design for distribution throughout the UK and overseas: “Having taught secondary school maths for a number of years I could see within my own classrooms that the measurement markings on a traditional protractor were the cause of some confusion. My redesign has removed the anti-clockwise scale and placed the zero line at the very base of the protractor, which makes it easier for students to use while improving their understanding of acute and obtuse angles with the use of the two colours and inclusion of the words, acute and obtuse. These simple changes have made a big difference in the classroom so I’m hoping
These simple changes have made a big difference in the classroom
We can’t wait to see the product in students’ hands
Making changes: Shelley Frape with some of her students at Harrow Way Community School
going forward it will make life easier for both students and maths teachers alike.” To turn her idea into reality Mrs Frape worked with invention design company Idea Reality who took her concept to create prototypes of the new style protractor for both primary and secondary school use. From there she
approached and worked with a number of schools to research how her protractor redesign worked in reality: “I worked with both Sparsholt Primary School and St Swithun’s in Winchester who used the two new styles of protractor with their students. The feedback was very positive with both schools reporting back that
their students found the redesigned version much easier to use, which helped reduce the number of unnecessary errors made by their students. “Exam boards were then approached to see if it would be acceptable for use in their exams and they agreed that the non-worded version would be acceptable
Squirt and Squidge
for use at Key Stage 2 and in an exam setting. Once I had the green light from the boards, we were good to go and ready to see if I could get my new style protractor making a difference in classrooms.” Armed with her prototypes, research findings, and the support of the PIXL’s Maths Lead, she approached the stationery giant, Helix, who were so impressed with her design and market research that they’ve agreed to manufacture her redesigned protractor. Lianne Fletcher is Marketing Manager: “Helix education products are specifically designed to aid students learning and we felt Shelley’s protractor met this requirement. We’re excited to be launching the new protractor and have already gained listings with major education suppliers. School can be a challenging time for some children and we aim to make the learning process as stress free as possible for them. We can’t wait to see the product in students’ hands and see the help it offers them whilst learning.” The new style of protractor will be available to Hampshire schools via the Bar End, Winchester based County Supplies and to the public via Amazon.
YOU CAN READ PREVIOUS EDITIONS OF FREYA’S BLOG AT SQUIRTANDSQUIDGE.COM
At a tipping point for local news Freya Storey continues to share her life as a mum-of-two SO, I started my career back in 2005 in local news (I know I’m old, right!) I worked in a small town called Warminster in Wiltshire and was a rookie reporter out and about for most of the day meeting people from neighbouring towns and speaking to local businesses. If I’m honest, it was GREAT. I loved my job and got a buzz from delivering stories that the people listening to the radio station wanted to hear about. There was a strong sense of community and people respected me as a journalist and us as a station. I still have a strong passion for local news and the community and feel it is something that is innately ingrained within me. I enjoy the free community newspapers that land on my doorstep and admire and respect the time and diligence that often volunteers, put into ensuring there is still a local voice, it acts as a kind of trusted informant, away from the quick snap world of social media where words are often written in haste and with little founding. Still with a keen interest in local radio, I was saddened to hear of recent job losses and closures of stations as more and more ‘local’ news becomes centralised and run from London. If I’m honest I don’t really get how that can
It’s an interesting time for media and a knife edge moment for local news work and I think ultimately if things continue as they are, the listener will become further disengaged from the content and switch to other means for information that’s relevant to them. In some ways I guess we are losing control, but in others we are gaining more choice. We just need to ensure we remain technologically minded and savvy to find the right medium to satisfy our content desires. Does that work for an older market - I’m not so sure - but that’s another post!
So, Podcasts seem the new ‘alternative’; we have a menu where we can certainly pick and choose, there is a podcast for anything from in-depth and heated Brexit debates, to county fire and police officers recording their own material. The market seems to be capturing a younger audience than that of local radio which is interesting in itself. There appears to be a greater desire for content to be digested, now just to make sure it’s accessible to all. With a desire for both micro level informative news such as ‘what’s happening with the weekly bin collections’ and a growth in interest in specialised, personalised podcast style productions it looks like an interesting time for the media. It would seem that the appeal of content is getting wider with a younger, engaged audience - the technology just needs to be up their street! While the older audience will turn more and more to local community sources of content, steering away from the falsity and deception of the ‘local news’ coming to them from London or elsewhere. It’s an interesting time for media and a knife edge moment for local news, let’s hope the local voice continues to find its channel.
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POSTCARD FROM WORLD SCOUT JAMBOREE Winchester Scouts take part in a trip of a lifetime to the US and Canada SPECIAL REPORT FOR WINCHESTER TODAY with thanks to Ray Noice for his help SCOUTS from Winchester and across Hampshire will certainly have some tales to tell in the new term at school after returning from the 24th World Scout Jamboree held in West Virginia. It was a joint venture with Mexico, USA and Canada Scouts Associations, and was opened by Bear Grylls, UK Chief Scout and World Scout ambassador: “World Scout Jamborees only happen every four years in a different country each time and tens of thousands of Scouts attend each one. “They are incredible festivals of peace, friendship and adventure. Young people will make friends for life with people from over 150 countries, experience different food, language and culture while learning new skills. “It will have been the journey of a lifetime. The theme was ‘Unlock a new world’ – focusing especially on how we can create a sustainable world together.” The Jamboree offers young people the chance to learn new skills that they can use in other aspects of their life and taste high adventure. Three Winchester based young people, 17-year-old Olivia Crimlis, 14-yearold Isabel Whitt, and 14-year-old Jamie Benwell — one of the youngest to participate in this once in a lifetime opportunity — joined 45,000 other Scouts from nearly every country in the world to learn new skills and activities. They included climbing, scuba diving, kayaking and a zip wire with a total distance of 5.5 miles (8.8
This is what the Jamboree is all about – learning about other countries km) long, as well as meeting and making new friends. Speaking while at the event, Jamie said he was having a great time: “The Jamboree is awesome, my favourite bits so far have been trading things with Scouts from around the world and being able to meet people from different places like Sweden, Japan and lots of other countries. In the run up to the Jamboree I’ve built up my social skills which has helped me make lots of new friends.” Isobel says meeting others was key: “This is what the Jamboree is all about – learning about other countries. Culture Day was the best day so far. I’m definitely more confident as a result of my Jamboree experience. I am doing lots of singing and dancing.” Each had to raise £3,790 over the past two years after being selected
They had the most incredible experiences that will stay with them forever from among more than 300 Hampshire and Isle of Wight Scouts and Explorer Scouts that applied. A lead volunteer for Hampshire Scouts said none of them will ever forget it: “It’s a huge achievement for all of them and we know they had the most incredible experiences that will stay with them forever.” The first leg of the Scouts journey was to New York where they toured the city sites during a heat wave, including paying their respects at Ground Zero (pictured). They then travelled to the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia to join Scouts from around the world for 10 days of fun and adventure while continuing to learn skills for life. After the Jamboree the Scouts travel to Washington DC for a tour around the capital before finishing their adventure in south east Canada. Olivia enjoyed the activities: “The great thing about Jamboree is that we get to do things we can’t do at home. We did scuba diving and it was great to get the chance to do it with lots of other Scouts from across the world.” The Jamboree expedition was the culmination of two years’ work for 16 specially selected adult Scout volunteers who also each had to raise the £3,790 fee per person. You can join in the fun and adventure while teaching young people skills for life. scouts.org.uk/volunteer Left: Photographer Vanessa Slawson captures the Hampshire team just before they head out to the US.
by Richard Horsman
A breath of fresher air Fresher’s week. Was there ever such a misnomer? If there’s one thing you can be absolutely certain of, it’s that very few newbie students will reach the end of that first week on campus feeling fresh. Total excess week, maybe. Homesick week for some. I know one place where they give cake to those kids who actually turn up for a 10am start four days on the trot, although quite how much gooey orange butterscotch cream, bright red jam and vivid yellow citrus icing will be appreciated by said first years with a raging hangover and a vague, very real if poorly-defined, sense of shame from the night before may be open to serious question. It’s one of the rituals of varsity life, and to be fair many serious-minded children of the twenty first century turn their backs on the more sordid antics of their peers. The security staff, of course, have seen it all before. They’ve only just finished cleaning up after the parents who were being badly behaved in the atrium on open day. Ah, the atrium. No university in 2019 is complete without an overgrown conservatory bolted on the front stuffed with primary coloured bean bags, garish pink neon and overheating video screens. Higher Education must be by far the biggest client for the uPVC, brushed aluminium and tinted glass industry; even corporate accountants don’t come close. The glittering atrium is to academia today as spires and gargolyles were to the founding fathers of Oxford and Cambridge; however stupidly out of scale it is, you can never overdo it. They host all the big events. Open days, recruitment fairs and the biggest quasi-medieval
No university in 2019 is complete without an overgrown conservatory bolted on the front festival of them all, graduation. It was a university chaplain who once told me the precise value of a degree. 97 handclaps. That’s what each successful candidate received, on average, on the walk from the edge of the stage to the handshake with a minor TV celebrity in drag, to the awkward pause for the photographer, before the final nervous descent back into obscurity. Said chaplain had to attend every degree ceremony from Astronomy to Zoology, so had plenty of opportunity to calculate the mean audience appreciation index. He also went through a lot of hand cream. He had a wry wit, including a pointed reminder that “the first shall be last, and the last shall be first” as he brought up the rear of the academic procession with the Vice Chancellor at its head. The only people who really profit from graduation are the people who rent out gowns at something like £15 a minute for the ceremony. They have a touch of the dark arts about them as they transform gangly youths into rough approximations of 14th century monastic scholars, complete with tassel (over the left eye, please) to
flick the flies away whilst reading your illuminated manuscript. Or Snapchat. I once had a boss who was brilliant, but other worldly. Filling out a form to order the gown for the graduation ceremony was a bit mundane, so it didn’t happen. On the day when he was required to present thirty-odd candidates to receive their degrees, he was totally unprepared in the Hogwarts fancy dress department. It was up to me to save the day. I had to explain to Mr Snooty from the hire company my superior’s predicament. He’d heard it all before. “Well, sir, of course we fully understand some esteemed members of the learned faculty may be a little .. forgetful. Now what gown does sir’s sir require?” “You’re not going to like this …” “Sir. This emporium has been providing proper academic attire for the gentlemen of the country’s leading scholastic institutions for seven generations. Ladies for three. We do red, black and blue gowns, with or without braid. Three, four or five hoops. Shiny ribbon, hard hats, floppy hats or no hats at all if you’re from that place in Scotland where they all chucked them in the river in 1413. I’m sure we will be able to meet sir’s sir’s requirements .. precisely”. “You’re really not going to like this ..” “Try me.” There was a distinct hardening of the tone. “Well, we require a Doctor’s gown …” “Yes ..” “For a PhD in Anthropological and Cultural Studies …” “Oh, yes …” “.. at the University of the Upper Delta in Former Rhodesia”. The flunkey’s smile froze for just a
precious , wonderful moment. “Well, sir, I do have a very good outfit right here. Doctor of Divinity from the University of Grimeville. Very bright. Very .. yellow. Put on a good show for the parents, eh, that’s what it’s all about …” Indeed. That is what it’s all about.
Frothy, man Whatever happened to proper coffee? Time was, going for breakfast in even a modest hotel, the full English would be accompanied by a teapot or, for those with a preference for the bean over the leaf, a taller, more slender pot filled with black gold. Now instead three words strike dread into the heart of every early riser, and they are “bean to cup”. What it means is a noisy, flashy, horrid thing that incites immediate migraine in the miserable line of punters queuing for their first caffeine hit of the day. It does this by jiggling a transparent cone that whizzes a few cosmetic beans around before it eventually dispenses a teaspoonful of bitter, yet otherwise surprisingly tasteless, brown goo into an inch of frothy milk dispensed at roughly the temperature of the sun’s core. Now I love a café crème in an idyllic French square, or a perfect espresso costing a king’s ransom on the shady side of St Mark’s. I can enjoy English style frothy coffee, too, as is still served in my favourite greasy spoon just off the A1 near Peterborough. The bean to cup experience bears little resemblance to any of these. We need a Campaign for Real Coffee, and we need it now.
➜ contined from page 1
GREEN HAMPSHIRE HARVEST WEEKEND
SATURDAY 5 OCTOBER - SUNDAY 6 OCTOBER, 10.00AM - 5.00PM Join us for a fun-packed weekend celebrating Harvest, farming and exploring the impact of climate change. Discover how it is affecting us on a daily basis and what, as a community, we are doing to address it. This is a free event and all are welcome!
greater support for underperforming pupils, which is precisely why we encourage all schools to work together in the interests of every child. “Every family with school-aged children would be affected if independent schools were abolished. State school class sizes would swell further, resources would be stretched and the financial strain on already-stretched budgets would be enormous.” St Swithun’s also pointed out to us their direct contribution to the economy: “Abolishing our school would eliminate £6.9 million in tax each year from our school, and the £3.8 million currently saved by our pupils not taking up a place in a maintained school, and remove £12.6 million from the local economy. It would also threaten the employment of the 310 teachers and support staff who work here and an additional 240 jobs in our UK-based supply chain and UK-based jobs supported by the spending of our staff and suppliers. “We are proud of our place in the local community, and are always looking to do more to contribute to the area by improving educational provision for local students, working in partnership
We are proud of our place in the local community with local state schools. “In the last academic year our staff and students delivered outreach and enrichment to 543 children in our five local partner primary schools: Oliver’s Battery; Winnall; Sun Hill; All Saints and Four Marks schools. We also provided 35 hours of free swimming pool hire, tuition and transport, saving each of the schools involved an average of £3,000. “Students regularly undertake community service work at our partner schools, Trinity Winchester and Unit 12. Every week over 50 pupils visit local nursing homes and 15 pupils and staff provide meals for Winchester Nightshelter.”
PUZZLE PAGE ANSWERS SUDOKU – HARD
SUDOKU – MEDIUM
CROSSWORD Across: 7 Liberate, 8 Trot, 9 Toughie, 10 Amid, 11 Stream, 12 Handel, 14 Privet, 16 Needn’t, 18 Adds, 20 Cabaret, 21 Gnat, 22 Anorexic. Down: 1 Dictator, 2 Reduce, 3 Mathematician, 4 Telephone book, 5 Attain, 6 Gobi, 13 Einstein, 15 Visits, 17 Eerier, 19 Dune.
ANOTHER TOUCH OF CLASS Downton Abbey’s transition to the big screen serves up a true spectacle
DOWNTON ABBEY Dir. Michael Engler ★★★★★ (If you’re a Downton Fan) ★★★★✩ (If you’re not)
OK, I’m going to put all my cards on the table right now and fully admit I’m a huge Downton Abbey fan and have been looking forward to this moment since the last episode was broadcast on Christmas Day 2015. Yes, since a small boy when Upstairs Downstairs was staple weekend viewing back in the 1970s, I cannot get enough all things below and above stairs. It’s now 1927 in the world of the Grantham dynasty and things are mostly the same, Butler Charles Carson (played with brilliant authority as ever by Jim Carter) has retired to his grace and favour cottage in the grounds and his revered post has been filled by former footman and full-time slimeball Thomas Barrow (Robert James-Collier) who clearly from the start is not quite up to the mark. The film revolves around a letter dropping through the front door after a visual (and very clever) journey from Buckingham Palace and hastily rushed up stairs on a silver salver to the steady hand of the Earl Of Grantham, who announces like only Hugh Bonneville can to the assembled family over the scrambled eggs and devilled kidneys that the King and Queen will be staying at Downton for one night during their forthcoming tour of Yorkshire. The whole house goes into meltdown in anticipation of such an event and shady characters with big coats and fedora hats start appearing in the local village asking awkward questions to former chauffeur and Irish Republican sympathiser turned dutiful son-in-law, Tom Branson (Allen Leech) and an entourage from the Royal Household come to lay down the law about how they are going to hijack below stairs for the duration and take over Mrs Patmore’s
Lovely: Two hours flew by with the Granthams
The film is a true spectacle in more ways than one kitchen and Mrs Hugh’s linen cupboard. Carson is summonsed from his vegetable patch by Lady Mary to steady the ship and the restless natives below stairs plot to banish the obnoxious royal household staff so they can have the glory of serving the King and Queen at dinner. Their antics wouldn’t have gone amiss in a Whitehall farce of the 1960s; at one stage I thought Brian Rix was going to appear and lose his trousers. The story gains rapid pace from then on with numerous sub-plots, too many to mention here, involving most members
Celebrating 100 years of Sinatra and Swing Music! THE Theatre Royal, Winchester is the place to be with Five Star Swing for an evening of famous songs spanning Frank Sinatra’s career from the Tommy Dorsey band to Hollywood. The show on Sunday, 13th October, at 7.30pm also features songs from Sinatra’s Vegas and ‘Rat Pack’ era plus those with the Count Basie band. Five Star Swing’s singers and multiinstrumentalists have appeared at London’s Leicester Square Theatre, TV’s Military Wives, BBC Children in Need, Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom and TV’s Strictly Dance Fever. The show features Simone from the Ivy Benson Orchestra, and Chris Smith (Jnr) composer and arranger for the BBC Radio Big Band, Herb Miller Big Band (Glenn’s brother), plus Tony Bennett’s trombonist!
The show spans Frank Sinatra’s career from the Tommy Dorsey band to Hollywood
of the family and staff. I think the whole of the old cast is in the film and they all play it splendidly as the TV series moves effortlessly on to the big screen. There are some moments of high drama during a military parade and comical moments; watch out for footman Moseley’s cringe-worthy fauxpas during serving dinner to the King and the Dowager Countess of Grantham (Maggie Smith), absolute classic putdowns and verbal sparring with Baroness Merton (Penelope Wilton). Lord Julian Fellowes has not lost his touch in giving the Dowager the best lines and quite
Jaap Buitendijk/© 2019 Focus Features, LLC
rightly so. The film also is not without its poignant moments. Thomas Barrows’ homosexuality was touched upon during the TV series and brought to life in stark reality during the film which I won’t spoil for you here. Tom Branson’s scenes with maid Lucy (Tuppence Middleton) are exceptional and Allan Leech finally gets his chance to show what a good actor he is which I felt were never shown on TV. The film is a true spectacle in more ways than one. The costumes, locations, parades, dinner parties, balls, props are truly exceptional visually which so much come to life as you would expect them to on the big screen. I think the film crew were only allowed to shoot Highclere Castle when the public were not there as all the outside shots seem to be bathed in an eerie early morning or evening light. That apart the house is shown in all its glory and is truly stunning. The two hours absolutely flew by with the sub-plots, all neatly concluded, and a lovely ending which I dare you not to shed a tear when you see it. I didn’t want it to end. Come on ITV and Lord Fellowes, please, pretty please, make another series.
THE JOSHUA TREE Released: March 1987 Island Records An album which went platinum in the UK within 48 hours, became the fastest-selling album up to that point – and which, quite frankly, has some of the best songs ever recorded. U2’s The Joshua Tree was the one which followed on from their huge success at Live Aid in 1985 and made superstars of the band. I had been in a field with them at Torhout in Belgium in 1983 with 36,000 others, but they weren’t the headline act. A year later in 1984, I saw them at the Forest National in Brussels, but again it was only an indoor venue for 8,000 people. It was the whole Live Aid sequence (which the band say almost resulted in Bono’s sacking as they had no idea why he’d jumped off the stage) which propelled them into stadium performers. The year after, 1986, saw them record the songs for The Joshua Tree which was released in 1987. At the insistence of Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois they recorded as a whole in the ‘non-studio’ environment of the rooms of a country house in Ireland instead of individually. The album was a musical response to Bono’s impressions of America, whether it be beauty (the landscapes and life itself) or hate (politics). I picked the album up again recently and was amazed that the first seven songs are just belters. The man brought in at the 11th hour to mix everything was Steve Lillywhite. His then wife Kirsty MacColl had been tasked with coming up with the running order, as long as ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’ was first. When it came out she was surprised - she’d misunderstood the request and written the list of which songs she liked best, from 1 to 11. Check out the documentary footage on YouTube of ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’ created with the gospel choir at the church in Harlem. Goosebumps anybody? Kevin Gover
SUDOKU – MEDIUM Across 7 Set free (8) 8 Horse’s gait (4) 9 Difficult question (7) 10 Among (4) 11 Flowing water (6) 12 Composer of “The Messiah” (6) 14 Hedge plant (6) 16 Have no obligation to (6) 18 Increases (4) 20 Nightclub (7) 21 Midge (4) 22 Compulsive slimmer (8)
Down 1 Duce (8) 2 Lower (6) 3 One skilled in algebra, for example (13) 4 Directory of contact numbers (9,4) 5 Achieve (6) 6 Central Chinese desert (4) 13 Physicist (8) 15 Calls on (6) 17 Weirder (6) 19 Ridge of sand (4)
SUDOKU – HARD
WORD SEARCH AUTUMN Aromas Bale Blaze Cool Corn Cosy Crisp
Crop Dark Dew Fog Forest Ghost Gravy
WORD LADDER Gusty Hay Icy Jam Leaf Log Mist
Nut Oak Pear Pick Rain Reap Red
Ripe Scenic Seed Stews Vivid Web Wood
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 12
What’s On in Winchester and beyond Oct – Nov – Dec 2019
Ongoing Kings and Scribes Winchester Cathedral. More details on winchester-cathedral.org.uk
Saturday 5 October Sunday 6 October Green Harvest Festival Weekend Winchester Cathedral. 10am - 5pm
Sunday 6 October Mark Watson Theatre Royal Winchester. 8pm
Saturday 12 October Orla Kiely, a life in pattern Discovery Centre. 10am until 3pm (until 5 January 2020)
Saturday 12 October Owls by Moonlight
You do NOT have to pay to have your event listed here! You can send printed leaflets or brochures to Winchester Today, Suite 123, 80 High Street, Winchester, SO23 9AT, send details by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet us the info @winchestertoday All event details listed are correct at time of going to press.
Hawk Conservancy Trust, Weyhill near Andover. 7pm - 9pm
Until Sunday 13 October Art in the Garden Sir Harold Hillier Gardens
Shappi Khorsandi brings comedy to the Theatre Royal on the 25th October
Saturday 19 October to Sunday 20 October Great South Run Weekend Portsmouth
Sunday 13 October Waterside Market Port Solent. 11am - 5pm
Sunday 20 October Hampshire Farmers’ Market Southsea. 10am – 2pm
Sunday 13 October Afternoon talk on Jane Austen By Professor Jocelyn Harris. Chawton House. 2pm - 4pm - £15
Thursday 24 October Modern Calligraphy Workshop for Beginners Chawton House. 10.30am - 1.30pm
Tuesday 15 October Winchester Ghost Tour
Friday 25 October Shappi Khorsandi
Royal Oak, Royal Oak Passage. 8.30pm - 10pm
Theatre Royal Winchester. 7.30pm
Saturday 26 October Griff Rhys Jones
Wednesday 30 October Frank Skinner
Sunday 10 November Waterside Market
Theatre Royal Winchester. 8pm
Theatre Royal Winchester. 7.30pm
Port Solent. 11am - 5pm
Saturday 26 October Beaulieu Fireworks Spectacular
Thursday 31 October Winchester Ghost Tour
Doors open 3pm
Royal Oak, Royal Oak Passage. 8.30pm - 10pm
Saturday 26 October and Sunday 27 October Anglo Saxon Living History Weekend with Weorod Winchester City Museum. 10am - 5pm (Sat) 11am - 5pm (Sun)
Sunday 20 November Hampshire Farmers’ Market Southsea. 10am – 2pm
Tuesday 19 November Winchester Ghost Tour Royal Oak, Royal Oak Passage. 8.30pm - 10pm
Saturday 9 November Winchester Bonfire and Fireworks 6pm (procession from King Alfred’s Statue). 7.15pm (lighting of bonfire at River Park). 7.45pm (Fireworks!)
Saturday 23 November Modern Calligraphy Workshop for Beginners Chawton House. 10.30am - 2.30pm
Saturday 30 November Sunday 1 December Dick Whittington Previews Winchester Theatre Royal. 7pm. (Sat) 11.30am and 2.30pm. (Sun)
Tuesday 19 Saturday 23 November Diamonds Are For Trevor
Tuesday 3 December Dick Whittington
Cheriton Players at Cheriton Village Hall *SOLD OUT* See back page for details of returns policy.
Theatre Royal Winchester. 10am (Performances continue until Sunday 5 January 2020)
the final word
STIRRED, NOT SHAKEN Cheriton Players bowled over by advance reaction to their next show THIS entire page would normally have been dedicated to the poster for Cheriton Players’ show Diamonds Are For Trevor due to take place at the Cheriton Hall in November. However, as you will see from the now smaller version of the poster, the show has been sold out for some time, so it seems a little academic. Everyone here at Winchester Today offers congratulations to the Players for their success, and we asked David Cradduck from the Players to explain why he thinks it’s happened: “I’ve been a member of Cheriton Players for over 45 years but have never, ever seen a sell-out so quickly and so early on in rehearsals. It is true that our shows have sold out in recent years – partly because we try to put on shows that people want to see, partly (we would like to think) because we produce them consistently well and have earned a reputation for professionalism and entertainment value. “In the case of ‘Diamonds Are For Trevor’, we have added an extra dimension to the play inasmuch as about half an hour of the total show will comprise filmed sequences. These include scenes that would be impossible to perform on stage, like a car chase and a dripping Trevor arising from the murky waters of the
I have never, ever seen a sell-out so quickly Solent. This is a Bond spoof after all, and the natural medium for a Bond film is … er … film. “Written by a couple of ex BBC producers for a local theatre group in Devon, and centred around the 2012 Jubilee, director Helena Gomm has virtually rewritten the script to bring it bang up to date with characters like Donal Trumpet and Vladimir Putitov. Everyone involved in the filming has thoroughly enjoyed the process of filmmaking, something that is new to many of them. “Our Director of Photography, Jim Glaister from Chesil Theatre, has headed up a film crew that has been shooting sequences around Hampshire, including on location at Winchester Science Centre, Hayling Island, Langstone Harbour, Cheesefoot Head, West Meon, Bramdean Common and – yes – Cheriton. This in turn has attracted a lot of attention that has captured the imagination of many of our regular
Helena Gomm has virtually rewritten the script to bring it bang up to date audience members, and some new ones who have heard about the new ‘Bond film’ being shot locally and who have obviously booked tickets to see what it’s all about. “But seriously, we are all amazed and pleased by the way the tickets have sold, even with the addition of an extra performance. We now have a waiting list and await the inevitable returns from those few who for some reason may not be able to make it. There won’t be many but if anyone has bought tickets and now find they can’t use them, I would urge them to get in touch with us as we can probably find good homes for them.”
The online version of the October 2019 edition of Winchester Today