Happy Memories of Earlier Television…

You know, there is one TV western show I never tire of watching. With my clutch of the first three series and series four and five on route from the US… Rawhide has for me, to be about the most enjoyable outing from around that era of the sixties cowboys.

It made household names out of Eric Fleming, Clint Eastwood, ‘Sheb’ Wooley and of course Paul Brinegar as the lovable Wishbone. I watched ‘Wishbone’ in a recent ‘Knight Rider’ and really, little had changed, aside from a change of clothes and the lack of a gun and holster!

It must have been a colossal undertaking in terms of production. To keep a large cast of actor drovers, hundreds of wandering cattle, in conditions of extreme heat and dust, and to get the actors and cattle, all to play their part just as scripted must have been a truly mammoth task and one, that clearly required a high level of talent and discipline to make it work so well.

Singer Frankie Laine, with his memorable opening title song ‘Rawhide’ was to become a smash hit, earning him a star role in one episode, as a likeable and sympathetic character  of the team.

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The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp…

Episode 64 …Rebecca’s Spell….

‘An adventure?’ Charles echoed the thoughts of the others. ‘That really sounds grand. I think we all can do with a sense, now of purpose.’ They grinned enthusiastically and Rebecca beamed, as if with a fortified new energy and life.

‘I shall take you into an adventure, such as you have never known’, she said. That will be my gift to you all, each and everyone sat around this table. It will be your alternative path that you may wish to tread in order to reach your dreams. I will give you those thoughts of your past and I will give you a sense of your futures. We will embark on our voyage in the morning. Today, I want to hear all about you. Your lives, your loves, and above all… Your dreams.’

The remaining day was spent first in idle chatter, then of personality, of likes and dislikes, and as the day wore-on to mid afternoon, talk became more honest and more serried.

Charles… And Rebecca’s Spell

It became light and slowly Charles opened his eyes to a brightening dawn. He could hear the call of hungry birds some distant away, then the sound of low voices. The wheels of some sort of vehicle would sound to his ear, reflected through that thin shielding glass of his bedroom window. Now and then, a distant honking horn could be heard.  He was not quite sure where he was. It were as if he was in some strange dreamlike state. The familiar sounds associated with his life in Bayswater were not there. He tried to focus his hearing and then his eyes. Nothing seemed to make sense. The bed upon which he lay and the room he was in became strange to him. He would have recognized the clatter of milk bottles on the front step or the snap shut of the letter flap downstairs. But there was none. Nothing to tell him where he was. The bed was small, he could feel its sides easily, just room for his body. Things were the same and yet they were not. There was no Esme beside him… He felt completely alone.

He stretched out tired limbs beneath the bed covering, then at once, threw them back and staggered himself to the beckoning window. He looked out.. Nothing became familiar to him. What lay before him was a huge grassland park of people walking, and resting  sometimes in pairs, smiling beneath a glorious sunshine. In the distance he could make out some sort of track, perhaps the roadway that he thought he heard, but there was no sign of any sort of transportation along its path. It simply wound away into a blue distance.

‘This is my world Charles. My world beyond the darkness. I have created those images from within your own deep thoughts and your feelings.’ Her voice he knew. It was familiar to him. He turned from the window. Rebecca stood before him. A creature of exquisite beauty, of loving eyes and warming lips.

In that moment, he felt he wanted to kiss her. Somehow, any burden he felt he had carried, lifted from him. Energy seemed to soar through his veins and into every sinew of his soul. “This is her spell” he told himself. “This is my dream.”

Her body was warm and soft to his touch. Their kiss was long and took him down a path of delicious enticement. His small bed seemed to grow much larger now and their bodies clung together for such of an eternity that awoke them both to a new dawning.

They lay together. Rebecca’s head resting gently on his chest. ‘Charles.’ She asked at last. Her voice was soft and thoughtful. ‘I know that you miss your parents so dreadfully. That you were an only child. Both your parents died from illness, and yet, with all those years gone… You still grieve and suffer inside?’

A watery tear began to well in Charles. ‘Yes,’ he murmured. ‘The consumption took them both.’ He sat up and looked at Rebecca. A question arose .’You know all this?’

‘Would you like to say goodbye to them for the very last time. To say, what you really feel about their departure from you. Do you want the reassurance that they are both truly happy and above all, that they miss you and love you. I can arrange those images for you Charles. It will be real to you, and real to your loved ones. This would be my thanks to you.’

‘You can do this for me?’ His eyes were full of her beauty. He tried to look deep into her soul and was pleased.

‘Yes I can.. she replied, ‘Take my hand and close your eyes. Let your thoughts here and now simply fade into nothingness. There will be darkness for a few moments and then you will awake to a warming and compelling world.’


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Happy Memories of Earlier Television…


Ok, I guess,  I’m still working on the next episode of our popular “The Shriving” so meanwhile, I’m going to give you something that I’ve held back for a long time because it’s not that far back in TV time land. Now, Richard Dean Anderson just knocks my socks off with his portrayal of MacGyver in the named TV show. I first watched this on UK Freeview and it just swept me out. so much so, that I rushed out a purchase for all 139 episodes of the show from 1985 to 1992

Each episode is carefully and skilfully written, with all the ingredients needed for a successful production, those of action, help and love, just where its most needed. It’s a show that has youth, vitality and conviction. This is a young adventurer who believes guns are a menace, a downfall to humanity, and that people are more valuable than bullets. Perhaps, that’s a gospel we should all try and live by.

I’ve not watched the later remake of the series starring a different actor, in not wanting to tarnish the images I have of Richard’s acting skills. I guess, the new guy, would be just as compelling to a newer and younger audience and technology would play its important part. But for me, I’m just in my own comfort zone with RDA and knowing he shares the same love of Ice Hockey as I do!




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Happy Memories of Earlier Television…

Tales of Wells Fargo… 1957-1962 NBC

It all came back to me over the years, when I sat down to watch a disc of the opening series of ‘Tales of Wells Fargo’ featuring Dale Robertson as the company’s investigator. I must admit, that I had rather forgotten these productions long ago and it was only the reference to Wells Fargo in another western that got me thinking to myself… “Wasn’t there, a western TV series entitled thus. Well, a quick check with Amazon has now provided with a reasonable priced disc of the first series.

These 25 min slot fillers are an enjoyable romp, much in the style of ‘Whiplash’, with Dale as Jim Hardy giving justice to the company’s problems by a left handed gun belt or simple logic that is much of the backbone of any respectable and successful western.

Dale Robertson’s lay back, easy going style, is quite engaging. An approach, I feel, that was very much of his own real life character. A man that women loved and men admired and who only recently departed from us, and yet, left for the rest of us, his lifetime legacy.

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Happy Memories of Earlier Television…

Raffles 1977 ITV Studios

Now, this really does go down memory lane and with such class and sparkle. Anthony Valentine features as the charismatic Victorian jewel thief ‘Raffles’ ably assisted in his exploits by dear friend ‘Bunny’ played beautifully by Christopher Strauli in an adaption of E.W.Hornung’s original stories.

This is a wonderful step into the past with Raffles becoming a modern day Robin Hood, the poor really being himself and ‘Bunny’ who with their extravagancies were broke. This is no Toby Myers. This is Anthony Valentine as a most charming character.

This is my second outing with this complete boxed set and again it takes no prisoners. A lovely romp into an era that simply takes you into another gentlier world.

Yes, I’m at it again with another ‘name dropper’ A lovely guy, I photographed many years ago who had appeared on ‘The Golden Shot’ a number of times was TV’s Mr Pickpocket ‘Mark Raffles.’ He and wife Joan hold many happy recollections for me. I pictured Mark back in the Seventies dressed in such Victorian evening wear as topper and white silk scarf in the old manor house of the Savoy Country Club IOW and on a further occasion wife Joan, not in period dress of course, but for ‘Woman’s Own’ that popular magazine. Then, it became the turn of their two children, who at the time had formed a ‘pop’ group and were about to appear on ‘Opportunity Knocks’: Hughie Green’s highly rated talent show for ITV.

Around that time, I did photographed a number of very hopefuls to the show and by way of Tony Barrie my agent. Yet, it’s sad so many only surface just that once for their shot of stardom, but I guess, you can get a buzz for just being there!

Ps. I did hear recently, that Mark Raffles had done a show in the North of England, just a couple of years back… And at the age of 97! Well, I guess, that’s got to be “One for the record books.”




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Happy Memories of Earlier Television…

Cadfael 1994-98 ITV Studios

You know, this was a series I missed the first time round, guess, I was doing other things. Ellis Peters books were truly brought to life with Sir Derek Jacobi’s portrayal of Brother Cadfael for Independent Television in the UK.

Sitting back with a boxed set, each episode just swarms over you, it’s as if you were there back in time, all those years ago, in the backdrop of medieval Shrewsbury.

The research by Author Ellis Peters (her Pen Name) must have been quite meticulous, in having studied in great detail the lifestyle of these Monks, whose Monastery was positioned close to a fortress castle that gave protection to the nearby village folk.

The Television screenplay works at an engaging easy pace woven into a strong style of high drama. It’s not always for the squeamish, me for one! as one of Cadfael’s duties as a Monk is to act as potholigist and apothecary for the many unfortunates of the time. It’s always worth averting your eyes for a moment or two, then regain the pleasure of a near-truth drama.

Screenplays may come and go, however, this just keeps on coming. Over the years there have been many ‘just-so’s, but this has something that makes it go that extra mile. Maybe, because it’s so well written and recreated and it certainly has much of that. Well, I’m now lusting to go down memory lane once again, with a boxed set featuring Derick Jacobi again in the title roll of a certain Roman Emperor, in the full knowledge this will settle me down with a glass of rich Chivas Regal, gifted from dear friend Steve.

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The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp…

Episode 63… Rebecca’s Tale… Part Two

Toby looked across to Charles, somewhat helplessly. Then said warily: ‘The connection… The thoughts… Are with Esme, that’s where we are now Charles, believe me. Esme is the connection, the joining with Rebecca…Just remember.’

Rebecca chose to sit close to them, almost in some confidential manner, as if wanting to be accepted into their little gathering. She was stunningly very beautiful, perhaps in her early twenties, with long flowing golden hair that reached down to her finely shaped shoulders. Charles studied her sea blue eyes and thought to himself: “How could any man reject such beauty.”

She was dressed now, in the clothes Esme had carefully selected for her, gone was the smoke ridden dress that she had worn earlier. Here was a refreshed Rebecca, of Lilac fragrance, a relaxed spirit, perhaps. She spoke gently, and yet, with some small determination.

‘You have been my rescuers and I thank you all for that. You have brought me beyond a most certain death… To a life, and into your lives.’ Toby looked upon her and smiled warmly. Charles was apprehensive for a moment, then dismissed it from his mind. ‘Perhaps, you should have not!’. she quickly questioned. There could be punishment for me. I don’t know.’

Charles suddenly replied: ‘How can punishment be your conclusion Rebecca. I don’t believe you can bring that upon yourself, or in fact, any other living person. I feel that’s not within your heart.’

Rebecca looked long and hard into his eyes. She found truth there and compassion in this man. It stirred something within former thoughts of love. It became refreshing and recognizable to her. Then at last, she said: ‘You are right Charles, of course you are right, all of you sat around this table. You have been my rescuers. It was your salvation from my distress.’

Those words seem to trouble Charles thoughts for a moment once more. Whilst the others said no more.

‘Will you stay with us.’ he asked. ‘You know, you are most welcome.’

Rebecca opened with such a beautiful smile, then said: You know the answer, all of you. I will be with each of you for as long as I can. Toby and Barney already know this. They are my guides through the darkness and into the light, and when I return to the darkness, as I know I shall. I will remember. I will remember all of you.’

They sat in silence for some moments. Esme, Charles, Barney and Toby reflected on thoughts of their new found friend. Finally, it was Rebecca that broke the silence. ‘Don’t be despondent.’ she looked at each of their faces, then spoke calmly. ‘We all have an adventure to go.’


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The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp…

Episode 62… Rebecca’s Tale (Part One) Later that day, Rebecca woke from her deep sleep, and when gently roused by Charles, agreed to meet them all in the Parlour downstairs. ‘She seems quite flesh and blood to me.’ remarked Charles … Continue reading

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Enid Stamp Taylor… Actress, and her Daughter Robin Anne…

I guess, I was very lucky to photograph Enid Stamp Taylor’s daughter on two very special occasions, just a few years back. It those picture sessions, Robin Anne gave me a some very thoughtful insight into her mother’s life and at a time, when Enid took an apartment in London’s famous Park Lane.

I found Robin Anne to be very relaxed in front of my camera, she chatted on very much of her mother’s acting career, including many leading actors that gave Enid support and helpful advice. One such actor was Robert Newton; they had both worked together on “Hatter’s Castle” often playing cards together between ‘takes’. Robin herself, loved the game of ‘Bridge’ and was a regular with her Surrey club. Whilst her delightful husband; ‘Guy’ was a retired Naval Officer of many serviceable years.

Since that time, I had not kept in touch with her and was saddened to learn from a relative in New South Wales, that she had died in 2016. For me those are recollections that will never fade from my mind and that of my children’s thought’s, they too, have shared much of my work in the past. In our last picture session together, I recall, Robin Anne, confided in me, that she had a brief acting career, although, not too successful, along side actress Dorothy Tutin and that she had enjoyed every moment, albeit, briefly, climbing into her mother’s shoes.

Regretfully, I can’t bring you any of the shots taken… These were strictly copyrighted to my agent at the time. However, I rather hope I can give the reader some small insight into two wonderful people who are no longer with us.

To come close to Enid’s World… take the serpentine path across Hyde Park, and as you walk, think of her. She would have walked this path, just as you. She would have paused, and looked upon the golden yellow of spring daffodils and the racing heart of early bluebells. You are seeing what her eyes saw. The same birds are singing… and you are so close to her… that you can hear her silent feet over green fields, and taste the sweet smell of Hawthorn blossom that fills your soul… and when you come to a bend in the path, where she too, saw the first shimmer of April blue upon the lake, I know… that you, have only to turn your head… to see her walking beside you.

A tribute to a mother’s private life… And a daughter’s love…


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Snap Around…

You know, there are times when you just don’t turn your back, specially, when your friend has gathered up a snowball. Still with us, is the snow of the Chilterns.

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