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Sunshine to

Eddie Mair | 07:51 UK time, Thursday, 8 March 2007

start the day here. Will the news cupboard be any less bare today?

Sadly just hearing that John Inman has died. On PM of late we've been trying to improve how we respond when someone the audience might be interested in passes. We're fond of replaying interviews they've done with us...or sometimes mixing recordings of their voice with, perhaps, tributes from others, or the music/poetry or whatever that the deceased was famous for. We felt there was a tendancy in our business to spend a long time hearing others talking ABOUT the deceased, rather than hearing them in their own words.

Another factor for us is when the news was announced. Mr Inman's passing became public in the last few minutes so it will be mentioned, at least, on Today. The World at One would be unlikely to do much on the subject, so it may fall to us to bring you something. We'll see.


  1. At 08:07 AM on 08 Mar 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Very sad news :-(

    Where exactly does Mr. Humphries live?
    Mr. Grainger: "People really seldom curtsy in these days."
    Mr. Humphries: "My milkman does."
    Mr. Lucas: "You should stop answering the door in a tiara."
    Mr. Humphries (smiling): "You've been there early, haven't you?"
    - Top Hat and Tails

  2. At 08:50 AM on 08 Mar 2007, jonnie wrote:

    In response to your second paragraph Eddie, although some of us will have been listening to various stations during the day. Many use PM to catch up after a day at the office.

    I think one or two little clips would go down nicely this evening.

  3. At 09:11 AM on 08 Mar 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Glad they didn't have Mr. Humphrys on Mr. Humphries this morning.

    I thought Wendy's tribute was rather nice, because it came across as warm, close, and spontaneous.

    It can't be easy for anybody having to comment on the passing of a friend so close to the event, something which has often occurred to me when listening to tributes. I think the 'in their own words' concept is a good one. It worked well in the tribute to dear Nick last year and is a model to be encouraged.

    Everybody has different 'takes' on their heroes, so any tribute will be received differently by the listener. It's all in the perception. But the actual person whose passing is being commemorated can never be misinterpreted.

    Does that make sense?

  4. At 09:35 AM on 08 Mar 2007, Adrie van der Luijt wrote:

    With all respect to John Inman, it is not just an actor that has passed away but hopefully also a dreadful stereotyping of gay men in the media that has for decades caused havoc for young men and women trying to come out to their friends and relatives.

    The portrayal of a gay man with which Inman made a career was in the naughty seaside postcard tradition of British humour that was exported all over the world. Thank goodness there are much more balanced role models on TV and film for gay men and women and their relatives.

    Well, apart from the BBC in the US, of course, where the outdated stereotypes of Benny Hill and Are You Being Served are still aired on an almost daily basis as innocent entertainment.

  5. At 10:35 AM on 08 Mar 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re: Adrie van der Luijt :-

    How very very dare you! I've been checking this blog everyday with my Mother since it started, and many people tell me I resembe Mr Humphreys.

    What are you implying?

    gay dear, me dear, you dear yes dear.

  6. At 10:47 AM on 08 Mar 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    On Monday afternoon, I had a wonderful experience listening to yet another excellent BBC play. I commend it to anyone with a listenagain facility. Follow the link below.

    What is Missing from Your Life (the men)

    By Stephanie Dale

    Two years ago, writer Stephanie Dale asked the women of Birmingham to answer the simple question, 'What is missing from your life?' She turned the resulting letters into a drama-documentary for Radio 4. Now she asks the same question of the men of Birmingham, weaving their answers around the myth of Birmingham's Anglo-Saxon origins.
    Listen here.

  7. At 11:14 AM on 08 Mar 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re: Adrie van der Luijt :-

    How very very dare you! I've been checking this blog everyday with my Mother since it started, and many people tell me I resembe Mr Humphreys.

    What are you implying?

    gay dear, me dear, you dear yes dear.

  8. At 12:01 PM on 08 Mar 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    For some reason a point I made here - oh, at least 90 minutes ago - hasn't appeared.

    It was merely to point out that the amazing online encyclopaedia wiki we all know so well(!) had already updated its entry on Mr. Inman at 9 a.m. today.


  9. At 12:12 PM on 08 Mar 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    It's quite sad to see John Inman's gone. I think he was the last of that classically camp comedy that I grew up with; Kenneth Williams, Frankie Howerd, they all shaped my taste in comedy and I believe, gave me a complete acceptance of homosexuality in contrast to the real world I grew up in which was largely bleak and homophobic.

    I am very grateful to John, Ken and Frankie and miss them all.

    And I am unanimous in that!

    (Thinks... Can I get away with answering the 'phone today with a deep-voiced, "Menswear"...?)

  10. At 12:16 PM on 08 Mar 2007, Dozy Parker wrote:

    "No good decision was made from a swivel chair"

    George Patton.

  11. At 01:19 PM on 08 Mar 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    Big Sis (8)-

    I posted 4 hours ago and its still not appeared! To briefly reiterate I'd like to hear a what else Mr Inman did; it seems such a shame that some actors are only known for one role (perhaps he only appeared as Mr H) much like Ian Richardson. it would be nice to hear a few details that make me exclaim 'really, well I never knew that' etc. Just an idea!

  12. At 02:14 PM on 08 Mar 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    Not sure where to post this....
    Listened to Today this morning and am out of radio/tv earshot til a third of the way through PM. Didn't hear a thing about International Womens day this a.m., and there was a fleeting mention yesterday from Lord Eric, any chance of more today? It would have completely passed me by otherwise and I bet theres something newsworthy there (even if it ends up in the No News Larder for use at a later; the news equivalent of baked beans)

  13. At 03:59 PM on 08 Mar 2007, Ike Entell wrote:

    John Inman. What a guy - even his name was a double entendre.

  14. At 04:27 PM on 08 Mar 2007, Breda Finn wrote:

    You did a section at the end of the programme about someone who passed on recently and i remember thinking that it was different and a much better way of doing this.Unfortunately i can't remember who it was for. But it was brilliant. Always thinking. Breda Finn

  15. At 05:34 PM on 08 Mar 2007, Martin Humphries wrote:

    I rather agree with Adrie van der Luijt and have always found it difficult to find John Inman's performance as funny. This is because I was bullied mercilessly at school whilst this programme was originally broadcast because my surname is Humphries. The bullying was compounded because at the time I was in the closet about my gayness - being open then was almost impossible. As a consequence I use to dread the programme being broadcast because I knew the next day at school I would be catcalled and harassed. The only positive result was this this did radicalise me about oppression and led to me being open about my sexuality from the age of 19.

  16. At 06:23 PM on 08 Mar 2007, Roberto Carlos Alvarez-Galloso,CPUR wrote:

    My condolences to John Inman's Family, the BBC, and the People of Great Britain. I remember seeing "Are You Being Served" in PBS [US Public Television]. I used to laugh heavily. We need more people like Mr. Humphreys.

  17. At 06:35 PM on 08 Mar 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Eddie wrote “how we respond when someone the audience might be interested in passes” and I had to read it three times to work out what he meant.

    “Someone in the audience is interested in passes” was my first reading; then “Passes what?” Or if it’s about a gay, passes as straight or something?

    Then I read the rest of what had been posted here, and I wonder -- why aren’t we able just to use the old-fashioned, accurate and unambiguous words “death” and “die” any more? He’s dead. He has died. We are sorry about his death.

    If we can’t bring ourselves to use the word “died”, surely we can come up with something better than “passed” (on, away or over), anyhow: has he gone to join the choir eternal, perhaps, or shuffled off this mortal coil, or joined the great majority, or become like the Dodo, or finally found his Happy Hunting Ground, or... Doornailed out?

  18. At 07:01 PM on 08 Mar 2007, Gordon Mackie wrote:

    Re : Martin Humphries comments.

    We must be the same age as I share your experience. The unintended consequences of his caricature were felt very painfully by a generation of young men who learned to despise even the mention of his name. I remember quite clearly explaining to my family, in tears, that although I was gay, I was nothing like John Inman or Larry Grayson. Both these men never knew quire the level of hurt they had indirect responsibility for. Don't get me started on Dick Emery. Unless that is, you believe that no-one is responsible for anything they do.

  19. At 07:39 PM on 08 Mar 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re: Chris above.

    But Eddie did say 'died' in the second paragraph.

    :- ..........'Sadly just hearing that John Inman has died' ........... so I'm surprised at your confusion, (perhaps the way you read it)

    I think it's good colourful use of language, avoiding repetition.

  20. At 07:45 PM on 08 Mar 2007, jonnie wrote:

    As an afterthought Chris, I think had Eddie used any of your substitutions it would have been a little dis-respectful, don't you ?

  21. At 10:10 PM on 08 Mar 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Jonnie, (19), what was your comment an afterthought to? Am I not getting all the posts? Waaah?

    The phrases in my last paragraph were me frivolling so's not to seem too rebuke-ish, and come over as being a prune. (I restrained myself from "popped his clogs": now that *would* have been disrespectful!) My serious question, though, was, what IS wrong about using the word "died"? I mean, it's what John Inman has done.

  22. At 11:43 PM on 08 Mar 2007, Gossipmistress wrote:

    Using the word 'passing' sounds rather old fashioned and sweet. And a bit less stark. I quite like it actually Chris.

  23. At 12:10 AM on 09 Mar 2007, David Jones wrote:

    I met and had my photo taken with John Inman and my two brothers on a family vacation when I was a child. I think I was only six but I do remember what a nice person he was. Happy memories.

    To be honest I am not a big fan of AYBS or in general the "Carry On" style of humour. However it is a credit to him that the series ran so long, is amazing popular still in the US and even had a spin off Australian show in which he stared.

  24. At 12:27 AM on 09 Mar 2007, jonnie wrote:

    This evenings edition was a text book example of the best that Radio 4 can offer, by way of information, news and entertainment.

    If the 'Today' programme is hot tea with a digestive biscuit then PM tonight was Red Bull with two shots of Vodka.

    Admittedly there was a recent death, a breaking news story but it was putting it all together in a captivating style that kept me listening.

    The use of audio clips, notably in the John Inman wrap was very impressive, along with a healthy mix of listeners e-mails and blog comments. We should remind Matthew Paris however, that 'Adrie van der Luijt', who's comment from the blog was read out, is very much a man.

    Technically, and editorially the programme was spot on, including proper back announcements of stories :-)
    There are no 'but's on this one .. perhaps a however?

    I noted the 17:50 (voice) -- I understand the reasons, -- and I take in the information. I'm just not sure of the point, when you have a perfectly good voice yourself?

    If it were a light hearted phone-in or similar style programme, it would be an ideal place for the listeners to fill though.

  25. At 12:44 AM on 09 Mar 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re: Chris (21)

    The blog is very strange. My comment (20) appeared hours BEFORE (19) and therefore was meaningless.

    I didn't bother in resubmitting it as it would probably result in two posts. I've now idea of the how or why it happened.

    I do - after re-reading Eddies post -understand your second take on Eddies last paragraph, well if I'm trying hard.
    However as I said before, Eddie did say 'Died' at the beginning. - so I guess using the word passing is a variation on a theme, avoiding repetition, but Chris, to be honest .. How the hell did you manage to interpret it as, in your words:-

    "Someone in the audience is interested in passes was my first reading; then, Passes what? Or if it's about a gay, passes as straight or something?"

    He may be Scottish Chris, but he still speaks English :-)

  26. At 11:01 AM on 09 Mar 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    At 12:27 AM on 09 Mar 2007, jonnie wrote:

    "This evening's edition was..."

    Congratulations on your foresight, Jonnie. Whose death is being discussed tonight?

    As for the discussion of Mr. Inman, I never saw him; and all the other performers' sexual references meant nothing to me in my youth. I just found them very funny (except Grayson -never saw him either).

  27. At 11:11 AM on 10 Mar 2007, Adrie van der Luijt wrote:

    Jonnie wrote:

    We should remind Matthew Paris however, that 'Adrie van der Luijt', who's comment from the blog was read out, is very much a man.


    I am a man, but have we met? What do you mean I'm 'very much' a man? A bit of innuendo Inman would have loved, no doubt.

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