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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Felix Dexter: A Life Full Of Laughs

Felix Dexter

Felix Dexter

I was shocked and saddened to hear that comedy genius, Felix Dexter, had lost his battle against cancer at the age of 52 earlier this month. Felix played a huge part in my teenage years when he shot to fame as part of the multi-cultural comedy sketch show The Real McCoy back in the 1990s. It was something that all my friends at school used to watch during weekday evenings and we would laugh about it at school the next day.

With the cast of The Real McCoy

With the cast of The Real McCoy

Felix created a series of hilarious characters of which at least one would appear in an episode every week. There was the nightclub doorman who was dating a “white babe;” Douglas, the Patois speaking lawyer; Nathaniel, the Nigerian accountancy student; Samuel, the retired ticket collector; ‘Owl, the widower who thought life was better in the 1950s… and that’s not even a fraction of Felix’s memorable comedy skits. I also remember his one-off show that was shown by the BBC entitled It’s Felix, in which Felix played a number of his famous characters. I was watching it with my family on a Friday evening and goodness knows what the neighbours thought with all the non-stop howling that was filtering through the walls!

Nathaniel, one of Felix's best-loved characters

Nathaniel, one of Felix’s best-loved characters

Felix Dexter wasn’t just a comedian; the St. Kitts-born star was also a versatile actor having appeared in Absolutely Fabulous, Bellamy, The Fast Show, The Bill, Casualty, Jonathan Creek, Crapston Villas… and the list goes on. Felix can still currently be seen on screen in BBC comedy, Citizen Khan. Despite his many acting roles and undeniable talent, it his ability to make us laugh and his skill of being able to observe people and create realistic and funny characters for which he will be best remembered. What’s amazing is that entertainment wasn’t Felix’s original career choice as he had trained and worked as a barrister. However his true calling was in performance and it’s fantastic that he realized that and was able to fulfil his ambitions. Going back to a time when political correctness was more over the top than it is now, it’s amazing that Felix was fearless enough to play on racial stereotypes – and get plenty of laughs.

Lawyer Douglas

Lawyer Douglas

Unfortunately, the laughter stopped on 18th October when Felix took his last breath. tributes came in from the world of entertainment. Those who knew him said that he wasn’t just an extremely funny man but he was incredibly warm, kind and generous. To his fans, he’ll be remembered as a comedy legend; for those who knew him, he has left behind memories of a truly remarkable man.

In Citizen Khan

In Citizen Khan

Felix – we’ll miss you. Thanks for the years of entertainment and laughter. I hope you’re making them laugh in Heaven.

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Crimestoppers: Why Did It Stop?

I never thought I’d be writing a post about a subject that is less than pleasant but that’s exactly what I’m about to do; the grim topic of crime is central to this post. Crime reconstruction programs bring back childhood memories – of the scary variety!

My contribution to the fight against crime is playing armchair detective when Crimewatch broadcasts its monthly appeals. True, I haven’t helped to solve anything yet but you never know when I might just do so. Incidentally, I realised today that I’ve been watching crime reconstructions shows from a very young age. Either I’ve missed my calling to work in forensics or I was just a very weird kid! Crimewatch UK, Police 5, CrimestoppersI can’t really explain how or why… it’s just something that I happened to stumble across especially as the latter two aired pre-watershed.

crimestoppers

 

It was Crimestoppers which infiltrated my thoughts this afternoon (again, not sure why.) I don’t watch much television these days but I know that Crimestoppers is no longer shown – at least not in the UK. But I remember it very well from the 1980s and ’90s when televised appeals used to be broadcast in the HTV, Thames, Yorkshire and Tyne Tees regions.  Unlike Crimewatch which is an actual program and lasts for about an hour, Crimestoppers lasted around a minute and would be shown during commercial breaks. They would feature one single appeal (there is only so much you can do in a minute!) using either a reconstruction or CCTV footage in order to solve a case. An e-fit and written description of the perpetrator would be shown towards the end of the appeal, along with the Crimestoppers number and the assurance that callers were able to give information anonymously and could given earn a reward.

 

These television appeals were brought by Crimestoppers, an independent charity first established in New Mexico in 1975,  whose aim is to help the law track down criminals and solve crimes. Information given by anonymous callers would then be passed on to the police. Callers are also likely to receive a reward if their call results in an arrest. The UK branch of the charity first got under way in 1983 in Norfolk. Crimestoppers in the UK has had much success since 1988 when it first began televising appeals, with over 122,000 arrests and the recovery of £126,000,000 worth of stolen goods.

I always felt quite spooked after watching Crimestoppers. I was at an age where I thought Walt Disney ruled the world and everything in it. Crime reconstruction features hit home that the world is not always a nice and safe place. Quite a disturbing realisation for one so young. Furthermore, there were  elements of Crimestoppers which I found quite eerie: it would pop up between programs without any warning; the creepy intro with flashing mouth montage; frightening reconstructions complete with narration in a dead-pan voice, and chilling e-fits.

pricedidupay

 

It’s good to know that I’m not the only one who was spooked by Crimestoppers as others who remember the crime appeals said that they were freaked out by them too. It does make me wonder – whatever did we expose ourselves to? I feel quite sorry for my poor parents as I was already quite afraid of the dark – can you imagine what it must have been like getting me to sleep after I’d seen a Crimestoppers appeal! Someone said that now they’re an adult they do wonder why it scared them so much. Can’t say I agree with them. I’m well into adulthood and it still freaks me out! It was extremely hard-hitting and it’s even mentioned on Wikipedia, that the appeals frightened young children. However, the element of shock factor might have been beneficial in getting people to take notice of these appeals and prompt the public into phoning in if they had any relevant information.

It is ironic that as we live in an age where we don’t need statistics to tell us that the crime rate has soared, Crimestoppers no longer broadcast appeals. Because it is so truly chilling, I think it would act as the perfect crime deterrent: Criminals would give up their lives of crime to avoid ending up on the show and seeing unflattering e-fits of themselves, and kids of today would experience the same fear we did and never do anything bad in their lives!

I was trying to track down the intro so that you could see how scary it was but then I realised that I wouldn’t want something as eerie as that on Nostalgia Pie. Trust me – it’s the stuff nightmares are made of!

 

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Posted by on October 5, 2013 in TV Shows

 

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