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   Inside Out - West: Monday February 27, 2006

Crimea's War

Crimea with musicians
Music man - battling to be heard in music circles

Inside Out West tells the story of a partially blind man with Tourettes Syndrome – and his battle to be taken seriously as a talented composer of classical music.

Crimea Butler-Downton, from Stroud in Gloucestershire, has never had it easy.

Born prematurely, he spent the first five months of his life in hospital and the rest of his childhood in and out of various institutions.

His behaviour can often be bizarre - even alarming.

But despite the many obstacles he’s faced, he has a gift for composing classical music.

His work is uplifting and joyous, while his life has been downtrodden and sad.

Creative force

Crimea’s dream is to have his talent recognised and applauded.

Exclusive Podcast
Crimea writing
Listen to Crimea's music


But he has been frustrated at every turn by people who can’t see past his strange compulsions to shout out, twitch, mimic the sound of musical instruments and lick inanimate objects.

He is usually dismissed as being mad.

In his adolescence he was bullied and shunned.

Realising he was never going to be accepted, he locked himself in his house, afraid to step outside, writing music so that one day people would know he existed.

Now, at 44, he is determined to share his music with a wider audience.

His scores are still written painstakingly by hand, even though his virtual blindness means it can take him hours to write just a few staves.

Beautiful sound

Inside Out West arranges a performance of some of Crimea's music by a professional string quartet.

While it's not the big orchestral concert that Crimea dreams of, it is a chance for his work to be heard by some influential people.

Bristol University Professor of Composition, Geoffrey Poole, says, "It's such a beautiful sound. I think the feel for the string quartet is something that some people never catch and Crimea's obviously got that feeling.

"But beyond that I think there's a real intensity about what he's saying in music."

Crimea has been encouraged by the feedback to his work and hopes eventually to earn the recognition of his talent and acceptance of his condition that he has craved all his life.

Listen to Crimea's music

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Titter ye not!

Frankie Howerd in Up Pompeii
Oooh missus - take a look inside my house....

Inside Out West goes behind closed doors for a peak inside the Somerset house where the legendary entertainer Frankie Howerd used to escape from the pressures of showbiz life in London.

Wavering Down at Cross, near Cheddar, was Frankie's bolthole from 1969 until his death at the age of 75 in 1992.

He shared his country retreat with his long term partner and manager Dennis Heymer who still lives at the house.

Steve Yabsley takes a look 'through the keyhole' to find out more about the place where Frankie could take time out to be himself whatever his mood.

Comedy memories

Steve also chats to people in the village about their memories of the star whose Up Pompeii television series and appearances in Carry On films were comedy classics.

Frankie Howerd
Frankie Howerd - through the keyhole

Chris Byrne, friend and resident carer of Dennis Heymer, has for the past two summers opened the gardens to the public raising thousands of pounds for local causes.

And this year for the first time visitors will also be able go inside the house.

They will tour rooms which still contain Frankie Howerd's furniture and possessions and view items such as photographs, school reports and showbiz memorabilia.

The first of the series of charity events will be on the 16 and 17 April, 2006.

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Double life of theatre's Walter Mitty

Theatre production
All the world's a double life... Inside Out West investigates

Inside Out West unmasks a theatrical fraudster.

Using wigs, stage make-up and a variety of costumes, Jessica Maynard has pretended to be at least eight different people - including a pair of twins.

And the female Walter Mitty has used her false identities to cheat the Arts Council and the National Lottery out of thousands of pounds.

Inside Out West shows how the Romsey woman also left a trail of debts around the country.

Twin lives

Jessica Maynard started her career as a theatre officer with the Southern Arts Board in Winchester in 2001.

Her job was to administer grants to theatre companies, but she also paid a grant to herself using the alias Kat Mallory.

Jessica Maynard as Chess Eliot
Double exposure - Jessica Maynard as 'Chess Eliot'

The Arts Council provided the BBC with copies of the fraudulent grant application.

A spokesperson said:

"We felt it important to give what information we could to the Inside Out team in order to help bring this story to the attention of the general public."

In 2003, Ms Maynard moved to Burton upon Trent and started using the names Claire and Chess Eliot from the Journeyman Theatre Company.

The "twins" told staff at the Brewhouse Theatre that they wanted to put on a play called Desperately Seeking Jake Roverton.

The play was about a woman who uses a false identity to become a Hollywood producer.

Claire and Chess worked at the Brewhouse for several months but staff became suspicious because they were never seen together.


Ms Maynard eventually admitted that Claire and Chess were invented characters, and claimed that her real name was Denise Bryan.

The play was abandoned and she was asked to leave.

Jessica Maynard
Another identity - Jessica Maynard as 'Denise Bryan'

A year, later Ms Maynard arrived in Sheffield to promote the UK tour of a play called Picture Perfect.

The play was really just a rewrite of the Burton play, Desperately Seeking Jake Roverton.

She used the alias Rebecca Perry of Dreamweavers Theatre Company to get grants of almost £5,000 from the National Lottery Awards For All Scheme and £3,000 from the Arts Council.

The tour had only just started when she was again confronted by suspicious actors.

She left Sheffield leaving debts of £7,500.

Plan B

In 2005, she worked in Bristol using the name Alison Kennedy from Plan B Theatre Company.

She called her play Holding out for a Hero, but it was another rewrite of the two earlier plays. Once again, the Arts Council and the National Lottery were duped into giving grants.

Jessica Maynard as 'Alison Kennedy'
Double take - Jessica Maynard as 'Alison Kennedy'

This time the tour actually went ahead, but she later disappeared leaving thousands of pounds of debts.

Nigel Jones, of the actors' union Equity, says his members have been tricked by Ms Maynard on numerous occasions:

"One of our members said she initially thought she was misguided and incompetent.

"She now realises she is malicious and dangerous.

"Her advice was that performers should not put themselves in the position she was in. We would endorse that advice."

Mythic Dreams

Some actors have also been registered as directors of Ms Maynard's theatre companies without their consent.

Sara Brooks
Duped - Sara Brooks was outraged by the deception

Sara Brooks was outraged when she discovered she had been made a director of the Mythic Dreams Theatre Company.

She says, "I have no words to describe how I feel about her. She is just a complete and utter fraud."

Inside Out West gave Jessica Maynard written details of all the programme's allegations, but she said she had not been given enough information or time to respond.

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