Doctors & Nurses – More about the Lost Ade Edmondson/David Mitchell Sitcom!

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You may have already read about this on our various other social media posts but the lost 2004 sitcom starring Adrian Edmondson, Mina Anwar and David Mitchell has been found after literally years of searching for it.

In truth I’d probably been searching for this since about 2008. I’d seen the odd photograph on the Radio Times website (long since deleted) and started asking around on message boards, contacting the BBC, emailing The British Comedy Guide and even trying to find contact information for Carlton as they produced/ funded it but absolutely nothing turned up. So I gave up. But then occasionally I would take up my quest for Doctors and Nurses again. Still nothing ever happened though and I often wondered if this search was worth it? And also why this sitcom had seemingly evaporated with only the tiniest hints on the dustiest corners of the internet giving proof of it’s existence! But surely anything with Adrian Edmondson and David Mitchell has merits worth preserving? Which is what has always made me continue to look for it.

It wasn’t until earlier this year I happened to causally mention my quest for this show to our fan site contributor @ChasquiPenguin  in an email who then told me she’d been to a recording and certainly had a few episodes on VHS which she  sent over to me! This brought a search spanning roughly ten years to an end with the full series turning out to be on the VHS. Now after a spot of format converting it is  up on You Tube for the world to see! A lost sitcom found, my own personal Dad’s Army missing tapes style quest fulfilled. So after all that what is the show like?

To start with David Mitchell has a substantial role in this which I had previous doubted and wondered if he simply just popped up occasionally. To put the show in some context of David’s career at this time Doctors and Nurses was broadcast January 2004. His casting and the show’s recording would have almost certainly come before Peep Show’s TV debut in September 2003. David had previously only appeared in various sketch shows across radio and TV (Bruiser, The Mitchell and Webb Situation, and That Mitchell and Webb Sound) making this was one of David’s first roles in a sitcom. He plays Doctor Toby Stevens who is quite useless as a Doctor but is very likeable and well meaning and is also not interested in following in the footsteps of his privileged family of surgeons. He’s also a bit of a ladies man despite not immediately appearing so. All in all this is a character that plays to David’s strengths and there are some great moments from David in this such as the slapstick of him attempting to give a a patient an injection, his rousing rendition of Nirvana-‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and a speech where he finally stood up to his overbearing father. And that’s what I liked about the series as a whole, all the characters had a really nice character arch which felt completed by the final episode.

The main plot of the show is the battle of NHS Vs Private health care with Adrian Edmondson’s Dr Glover being the kind NHS doctor who is constantly attempting to squeeze in more NHS operations much to the exasperation of rival surgeon Dr Banatwala (Madhav Sharma). Their rivalry eventually turning into a friendship of sorts by the end of the series.

Another key plot of the series is Mina Anwar’s Sister Zita Khan and the possible romance between her and Adrian Edmondson’s character. I thought this was handled very well, most sitcoms would have allowed this plot point to take over the whole show but brilliantly it didn’t at all. Their relationship was one of the highlights of the series.

Mina Anwar’s character draws obvious similarities to her character Maggie Habib in the fantastic 90’s Ben Elton sitcom: The Thin Blue Line. I think this series was written with the idea of making a Thin Blue Line style show in a Hospital, even to the point of a direct nod to the show with a gag about keeping light under your chin while Dr Banatwala was filming surgery.

All in all there was absolutely no way this sitcom should have been lost to the point of near extinction and I’m so glad we were able to find it again. The main cast put in great performances and the characters are strong. It certainly deserved a second shot but as it was, told it’s story  well across 1 series. Also look out for a cameo from Uncle Geoff  AKA Geoff McGivern driving the bus at the start of every episode.

Now please enjoy the show! Here it is on our You Tube Channel for your viewing pleasure:

 

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Upstart Crow: 15 Facts About Mary Arden

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Continuing her series on the interesting parallels between the Upstart Crow characters with their real life counterparts @ChasquiPenguin has written another article for us! This one’s all about Mary Shakespeare (née Arden):

15 Facts Known about Shakespeare’s Mother

  1. With no records available, Mary Arden is thought to have been born in a year between 1535 and 1540, the youngest of her parents’ eight daughters.
  2. Her parents were Robert and (probably) Mary Arden.
  3. Her father, Robert Arden, was the owner of Glebe Farm in Wilmecote, 8 miles from Stratford-upon-Avon, and from a noble Catholic family. The Arden family’s ancestors are said to have been given land by William the Conqueror.
  4. Mary would have grown up learning how to manage a house, cook and plan meals as much as a year ahead, in addition to helping on the farm.
  5. On the death of her father in 1556, she inherited Asbies, part of the Arden estate in Wilmecote, now known as Mary Arden’s House. Along with her sister, Joan, Mary was an executrix of his will.
  6. Mary married John Shakespeare in 1557 and moved into their Henley Street home, in Stratford, which he had bought the year before.
  7. John Shakespeare’s father, Richard, was a tenant farmer on land owned by the Ardens, so it is likely Mary and John had known each other since they were children.
  8. They had four sons and four daughters, though not all survived to adulthood, but their most famous son was William Shakespeare, born in April 1564.
  9. Three months after his birth there was an outbreak of the plague in Stratford and Mary took their baby son (their two elder daughters having already died, possibly of the plague) to her family home in the countryside, which was untouched by the epidemic, where she stayed with her sisters.
  10. John Shakespeare was a glover by trade, also dealing in wool, and possibly leather, and was a prosperous businessman, though his fortunes fluctuated. He also took on civic roles, which elevated the Shakespeares further in the town.
  11. Mary’s role was to look after the family but it is likely she also helped with cutting out the leather for the gloves and saddles made by her husband. She also sold some of her inherited land, when times were hard.
  12. Mary, like most wives, would have been expected to deputise for her husband, by dealing with any business colleagues who called at the house. As a result, she probably became adept at this skill.
  13. It is most likely that Mary was illiterate; she used a running horse as her signature, which would have been stamped on to documents from a wax seal.
  14. Mary died in 1608 and was buried on 9th September at Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon.
  15. Mary Arden’s House was bought by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and, together with its farm, is now an historic museum, open to the public.

 

The above details are correct to the best of my ability but please let me know if you notice any inaccuracies.

Twitter: @ChasquiPenguin

A Peep Back: When Mitchell and Webb met in Cambridge

22825.jpegHere’s a link to a fantastic article detailing some of David and Robert’s first shows and appearances:

https://www.varsity.co.uk/theatre/14965

And here’s what we believe to be Mitchell and Webb’s first TV appearance on local news promoting one of their shows:

And (because I forgot to post it) here’s this week’s Observer column from David. Lovely to have him back after a while away filming Upstart Crow and doing a few WILTY? Live events.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/25/good-reasons-for-ignoring-the-news-david-mitchell-trump-erik-hagerman

20 Facts and Speculations about William Kempe

Upstart Crow - Generics

William Kempe

20 Facts and Speculations about William Kempe

 @ChasquiPenguin  has written another brilliant interesting facts article for us. This one’s about the real William Kempe who really was ‘big in Italy’ and also quite the modern comedian it seems, not too dissimilar to Ricky Gervais after all.

Personal Life

  1. With no records found of his birth/baptism, William Kempe’s early life is shrouded in mystery but there is conjecture that he was born in 1560 in Kent.
  2. Little is known of his appearance aside from the description of him as a big man.
  3. In February–March 1600 he morris danced from London to Norwich. This is said to have taken him several weeks, with crowds cheering him along the way, and is thought to have been a publicity stunt, which he called his “Nine Days Wonder”.
  4. Later that year he wrote a description of the event, to prove its validity. This was published and the book, “Kempe’s Nine Days Wonder”, is still in print.
  5. There is a wood carving depicting Kempe in Chapelfield, Norwich.
  6. He is thought to have died in late 1603, possibly from the plague. The parish records of St Saviour in Southwark include the death of “Kempe, a man” in that year but it is by no means certain that this was the Elizabethan actor. However, his disappearance from around that time gives rise to this speculation.
  7. Despite his successful theatre career, he appears to have died in poverty.

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    Kempe’s Nine Day’s of Wonder book cover

 

Theatre Life

  1. William Kempe was a comic actor and dancer, his style being more physical than verbal.
  2. Thomas Nashe considered him to be the successor to another great comic actor, Richard Tarlton.
  3. The first known record of his acting is in 1585 when he was part of Leicester’s Men and toured Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, as part of their troupe that year.
  4. In 1592 he was a member of Lord Strange’s Men, later joining The Lord Chamberlain’s Men with whom he stayed till 1599.
  5. After his “Nine Days Wonder” in 1600, he is thought to have undertaken a tour in Europe, possibly in Italy.
  6. In 1601 he is recorded as being part of the acting troupe, Worcester’s Men.
  7. He is said to have performed at The Rose Theatre, with The Admiral’s Men, and the last record of his life is documented in Philip Henslowe’s diary in 1602.
  8. Will Kempe appeared in many of Shakespeare’s plays, as well as “Knack to Know a Knave” and Ben Jonson’s “Every Man in His Humour”.
  9. He always played comedic characters and may have taken the role of Bottom. It seems that Shakespeare wrote comedy roles for Kempe specifically.
  10. Kempe was so famous in his own right that news of his appearance in plays would apparently draw in the crowds.
  11. He was much given to improvisation in his roles, a trait which many of his fellow actors objected to, and it may have been this which led to his leaving The Lord Chamberlain’s Men in 1599.
  12. He was famous for his stage jigs (short comic plays with singing and dancing) and wrote at least three of these, two of which are extant. These were less sophisticated versions of Italy’s commedia dell’arte, which was popular in Europe in the 16th–18th centuries.
  13. Though he never appeared at The Globe, he was one of the original shareholders, along with Shakespeare, Richard Burbage (son of James, owner of The Curtain Theatre) and others, but is said to have backed out of this soon after, with his fellow actors having to make up the resultant shortfall.

 

The above details are correct to the best of my ability but please let me know if you notice any inaccuracies.

Twitter: @ChasquiPenguin

15 Likely Facts about Henry Condell

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 Kempe (SPENCER JONES), Burbage (STEVE SPEIRS), Condell (DOMINIC COLEMAN) – (C) BBC – Photographer: Colin Hutton

Friend of the fan site @ChasquiPenguin has complied another ‘Likely Facts’ article! This time on Henry Condell, the actor thought usually to have taken Shakespeare’s female roles. He and John Heminges said of Shakespeare in their publishing of the first folio:

‘Read him, therefore; and again, and again: and if you do not like him, surely you are in some manifest danger, not to understand him.”

Henry Condell
(15 Likely Facts about his Personal and Theatre Life)
Personal Life
1. Henry Condell is believed to have been born in Norwich, and baptised on 5th September 1576.
2. His parents were probably fishmonger Robert Condell and his wife Joan (née Yeomans), both from the Norwich area.
3. In 1596 Henry married Elizabeth Smart at the church of St Laurence Pountney in the City of London. The church burnt down in the Great Fire of London and the parish was united with St Mary Abchurch.
4. Henry and Elizabeth Condell lived in the parish of St Mary Aldermanbury and he served as a churchwarden there.
5. Henry and Elizabeth had nine children, only three of whom, Elizabeth, Henry and William, survived to adulthood.
6. During his acting career he obviously made enough money to buy houses in Fulham (which was then in Middlesex) and Gloucestershire.
7. Henry died in Fulham, aged 51, and was buried on 29th December 1627 at St Mary Aldermanbury, with his widow buried there on 3rd October 1635.
8. Henry Condell is said to have left a large estate, including shares in The Globe Theatre and Blackfriars Theatre.
9. There is a memorial to Henry Condell and John Heminges in the former churchyard of St Mary Aldermanbury – now a public garden.
Theatre Life
10. Although 12 years younger than Shakespeare, Henry Condell could have been acting in 1590 (aged 13–14), with John Heminges and Augustine Phillips.
11. Although little information is available on the roles he played, Condell was known as one of the “Principall Players” in Shakespeare’s plays, along with Richard Burbage, William Kempe and Shakespeare himself.
12. He also performed in many of Ben Jonson’s plays.
13. He seems to have had friendships with many in the acting world, including Shakespeare who named him, John Heminges and Richard Burbage in his will.
14. Henry Condell seems to have retired from acting in 1619.
15. Together with John Heminges, Henry Condell compiled and edited Shakespeare’s First Folio, with the Preface by Ben Jonson. This was published in 1623 and contains 36 of Shakespeare’s plays, though none of his sonnets or poems.

The above details are correct to the best of my ability but please let me know if you notice any inaccuracies. Twitter: @ChasquiPenguin

Guest Stars for Upstart Crow Series 3

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Guest stars have been announced for the third series of Ben Elton’s Upstart Crow which is being filmed now.

Upstart Crow © BBC/Colin Hutton

The new series, which is due to air later this year, will include guest appearances from Adrian Edmondson and Nigel Planer, as well as Montserat Lombard, Beattie Edmondson and Ben Miller. Kenneth Branagh and Lily Cole will appear in a 2018 Christmas special.

The usual cast of David Mitchell, Gemma Whelan, Tim Downie, Mark Heap, Harry Enfield, Paula Wilcox, Liza Tarbuck, Helen Monks, Rob Rouse, Dominic Coleman, Spencer Jones, Steve Speirs and Jocelyn Jee Esien are all returning for the new series.

The BBC describes what we can expect from series 3 as follows…

‘Containing turbulent workplace politicks behind the scenes at the first ever performance of Julius Cæſar; a mischievous puckish sprite with a magic love potion who lurketh in the woods around Stratford; prejudice that forestalls…

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All The Places to catch David this Christmas + 20 more Upstart Crow facts!

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2017’s David Mitchell Christmas bonanza starts this Monday with a Christmas Would I Lie To You? on BBC1 at the later time of 9.30pm. The show will then reappear in the schedules on December 29th on BBC1 this time back at 8.30pm.

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Then on Christmas day we are treated to the most fantastic Upstart Crow Christmas special. I was lucky enough to be in the audience and it really was something amazingly special, something truly deserving to take pride of place in BBC 2’s Christmas schedule (which it does). A Christmassy Crow is on at 8.25pm on Christmas day on BBC2. It’s got a special 5 minute extra running time and as you’re no doubt aware it guest stars Emma Thompson.

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Then on Boxing Day David is on The Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2017 with Jimmy Carr, Richard Ayoade, Roisin Conaty, Noel Fielding, Big Narstie and Katherine Ryan. That’s at 9.00pm on C4.

Now I hand you over to my good friend @ChasquiPenguin for 20 Upstart Crow facts about the real life Burbage:

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James Burbage

20 Facts on his Personal Life and Theatre Life

Personal Life

  1. James Burbage was born around 1531 – probably in Bromley, Kent, though there is a theory that he was born in Stratford-upon-Avon.
  2. He was primarily a joiner but also a builder, actor, impresario and theatre owner.
  3. James Burbage married Ellen Brayne on 23rd April 1559 and they had 4 children: Cuthbert, Richard, Ellen and Alice.
  4. Cuthbert became a theatre manager while his younger brother, Richard, became one of the most famous actors of the day, playing a number of lead roles in Shakespeare’s plays, including Romeo, Richard III and Hamlet.
  5. James Burbage died in 1597 and on 2nd February that year was laid to rest in St Leonard’s Church in Shoreditch, where other actors of the Tudor era were buried.

 Theatre Life

  1. James Burbage was a member of and leading actor in Leicester’s Men, whose patron was Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, the troupe having been established in 1572, though Burbage later gave up acting to concentrate on theatre management.
  2. James Burbage, with his partner and brother-in-law, John Brayne (c1541–1586), built one of London’s first permanent playhouses: The Theatre, in Curtain Road, Shoreditch. This is said to have cost £700 to construct – a large sum of money for Tudor times.
  3. In Elizabethan times actors were considered with suspicion, often as layabouts or vagabonds, and in 1574 James Burbage was the first Englishman to be granted a theatrical licence.
  4. The Theatre opened in 1576 and was dedicated solely to plays and long-running productions.
  5. Prior to this The Red Lion had been built by John Brayne in Whitechapel. Whether James Burbage had any dealings with this is unclear, but this theatre was for travelling companies only, opening in 1567 and closing in 1568.
  6. The Theatre was host to a number of theatrical companies, including The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, who employed Shakespeare as an actor and playwright.
  7. Because of the huge expense of building The Theatre, plays were staged during its construction to help pay the costs.
  8. It is understood that Burbage consulted Dr John Dee, considered to be a magician and alchemist, on the design of The Theatre for his knowledge of architecture.
  9. Little is known about the appearance of The Theatre but it had a cobbled yard and was described as an amphitheatre with a large stage and numerous props. Cannon could be fired and often had to remain on stage throughout the performance. There was also facility for smoke, fireworks and flying entrances.
  10. After a dispute with the landlord, The Theatre was dismantled, its timbers being used to build The Globe Theatre in Southwark. Under the lease, dismantling was permitted though the Burbage brothers, with William Shakespeare and others, are said to have carried this out in darkness on 28th December 1598.
  11. Although The Globe Theatre had been the vision of James Burbage, he did not live to see its opening in 1599 nor its construction, but his sons, as well as Shakespeare, were among the shareholders. It is not definitely known which play was the first to be performed there; Shakespeare’s “Henry V” (in the spring) and “Julius Caesar” (on 21st September) are both listed as likely, along with Jonson’s “Every Man out of His Humour” (at the end of the year).
  12. The first Globe theatre burned down in 1613, following a cannon misfiring and setting light to the timbers and thatching. There was just one casualty – a man whose breeches caught fire, being extinguished by a bottle of ale. The theatre was rebuilt and opened the following year.
  13. The Blackfriars Theatre was a short-lived, failed venture by James Burbage. In 1596 he purchased the property, a former Dominican priory, for £600, intending to open it to stage plays during the winter. However, there was much local opposition to this plan and instead it was leased to a troupe of boy players who disbanded in 1608.
  14. During the Elizabethan era plays were usually performed in the daytime due to lack of light into the evening.
  15. In 2008 archaeologists from the Museum of London unearthed the foundations of a polygonal structure which is believed to be the NE corner of The Theatre. A new theatre has been planned for the site, with a small part of the original wall being retained for the new playhouse.

 

The above details are correct to the best of my ability but please let me know if you notice any inaccuracies.

Twitter: @ChasquiPenguin

15 Likely Facts about Greene to Celebrate Upstart Crow’s 3rd series and 2nd Christmas Special commission

landscape-1506981445-noel1.jpgIt would hardly have escaped any David Mitchell fan’s attention that Upstart Crow was immediately re-commissioned for a third series just as the second one ended. But what a lot of people missed was the fact that a second Christmas Special has been commissioned for 2018! Read more about it here:

https://www.comedy.co.uk/tv/news/2818/upstart_crow_series_3/

To celebrate this marvelous news my good twitter friend and historian, @Chasqui Penguin, has written another interesting facts article (although she stresses they are not completely proven facts) all about Will’s Upstart Crow nemesis, and just as likely real life nemesis, Robert Greene:

Upstart Crow - Generics

Robert Greene

 

15 Likely Facts on the Tudor Writer

 

There are few certain details on Robert Greene’s birth, life and death. With records not readily available and the far-from-unusual name he had, it is difficult for historians to discover exact information on the Tudor writer but below are a few likely facts I have gathered together during my amateur researching. Any corrections or updates on these will be gratefully received and I apologise for any inaccuracies given below, which are inadvertent.

 

  1. Robert Greene is believed to have been born in Norwich, probably in 1558.

 

  1. In line with the above, his baptismal date is recorded as 11th July 1558.

 

  1. He is thought to have been the son of either a saddler or a cordwainer turned innkeeper, but either way it is believed he came from a family of tradesmen.

 

  1. Robert is believed to have been educated at Norwich Grammar School but no documents survive to confirm this.

 

  1. He is known to have attended St John’s College, at Cambridge University, from where he gained his BA in 1580 but was not among the top students, being listed as graduating 38th out of 41 in his college and 115th out of 205 at the university.

 

  1. He is known to have gained an MA in 1583 but it is unclear from which college or university as reports claim he moved to Clare College, Cambridge for this course (an unusual step as postgraduates generally remained at the same college for their second degree) and, even more unusually, moved to Oxford University.

 

  1. It is understood he married a lady called Dorothy by whom he had a son but, soon after the baby’s birth, he left them for the sister of a criminal who was hanged at Tyburn.

 

  1. By his mistress he is thought to have had a son called Fortunatus.

 

  1. On moving to London, Robert Greene was probably the first person ever to earn a living as a writer.

 

  1. He published more than 25 works in prose, some of which were probably pamphlets, for which he is well known, plus a number of plays including “Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay”, “The Scottish History of James IV”, “Alphonsus” and, possibly, “A Knack to Catch a Knave”.

 

  1. He is also being considered as a co-writer of Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus” and is said to have influenced the later writings of The Bard.

 

  1. He is most famous for his pamphlet “A Groats-worth of Witte, Bought with a Million of Repentance” which contained his supposed reference to Shakespeare, a then jobbing actor and aspiring writer, describing him as an “Upstart Crow”. This was published posthumously, and it is understood that this was Greene’s request.

 

  1. He also criticised other fellow writers: Marlowe, Peele and Nashe.

 

  1. Some of Greene’s writing seems to have been undertaken as an autobiography and he claimed to have travelled widely across Europe, though there is no evidence of this and the autobiographical claims may well have been exaggerated.

 

  1. He is thought to have died on 3rd September 1592 from “a surfeit of pickle herring and Rennish wine” and there is an unconfirmed report that he asked for a laurel wreath to be placed on his head as he died.

And as a bonus I’ve added what is believed to be the only picture we have of Greene. It’s a woodcut depicting him writing about Shakespeare from his shroud.

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