>Is Bill Scanlan Murphy still out there? – loved his message about the 'Gilmorisations' – I should think PG was a menace to act with – a little bit of a loose cannon?
Peter was a *menace*. He drove poor Howard Lang, in particular, clean up the wall. There are numerous occasions in the transmitted shows where, if you look carefully, you can see that quizzical look on Howard's face that simply meant "has he finished yet?" when Peter has delivered some ludicrous paraphrase of his scripted lines. It was common for sound manager Peter Barville, in particular, to roar "Or words to that effect!!!" down the talkback to his boom operators after a particularly extravagant Gilmorisation. One time Peter said absolutely what was on the page, and Howard was so surprised he dried. Peter Barville rewarded this with a joyous "It says 'ere!" Happy days.
My strangest memory of Howard, by the way, was passing his house on Parsifal Road in Hampstead when on my way back to my then-inlaws' house after a dub. His living room was piled literally to the ceiling with a huge pyramid of seaboots. He was the only member of the cast who actually sailed.
So sad to see dear old Mervyn Haisman pass away the other week. Known to all on the show as Merv the Scribe, he was responsible for driving the show into all sorts of places it never should have gone (what Gerald Blake once called "Crossroads In Crinolines"!), but he was a genuinely good and decent man. He was almost schoolboyishly proud of having scripted one of Boris Karloff's last films, The Curse of the Crimson Altar. Karloff, he told us, preferred to be addressed as "Billy" (his real name). The things you learn in the BBC club …
Bill Scanlan Murphy