The Tattershall Castle, Review

Local writer Catherine Derrick launched her latest production The Tattershall Castle at Kardomah 94 this evening.

The story mainly revolves around two sweethearts Jean Brown and James Palmer who are torn apart by the outbreak of World War 2 which causes the young man to go off and fight in the RAF.

The young couple stay in touch by sending letters but then disaster strikes as Jean’s house is bombed in the blitz and flattened, rendering Jean and her mum homeless which ultimately leads to them moving to stay with Jean’s nan in Pickering away from the bombing.

At the other end is James, love lorn and pining for Jean, upon seeing what’s left of her house when he returns on leave from Biggin Hill and the desperate fight in the sky James believes Jean has been killed in the blitz.

In the middle is James’ father, an unscrupulous, hard, wealthy man who believes Jean is nowhere near good enough for his son and heir apparent, who lies to both Jean, telling her he will pass on her new address to James so he can write to her, and James by confirming his worst fears saying Jean was killed by a bomb on Hessle Road.

You are immediately drawn in at the start as singer Carolyne Storey sings a wartime medley to set the tone as we are swept back to wartime Hull.

The early scenes with Jean, played by the thoroughly compelling Sarah Hicks, and James, played by the engaging Jack Holt, are well choreographed and get you hoping and wishing for the young couple.

Mrs Brown, played by Jackie Rogers, is another very likable character and the scene of the bombing when their house is hit is very well acted by both Hicks and Rogers as the desperation and panic of the blitz is brought to life with their actions, facial expressions and speech.

James’ father Mr Palmer, played by Anthony Musgrave, is a very well acted lowlife who clearly only cares about his bank balance and isn’t bothered whoever he upsets, including his own flesh and blood. He is so horrible that he draws boos from the audience when they see him on stage.

Jean’s brother Tommy, who is portrayed by David Dale, is another very believable character who clearly cares very deeply for his sister, his part is very well pitched so when he almost comes to blows with James later, believing James had dumped Jean for another woman, there is no question that his character would react like he does.

The barmaid from The Minerva, James’ favourite watering hole, is the character played by Lynda Harrison who gives the whole production a genuine element of fun as it moves into the 1960s.

The cast is completed by Chrissy, played by Catherine Rose Senior, she is Jean’s daughter and, in a beautifully subtle sideline, is the one who ultimately brings Jean and James back together after James’ father and Jean’s husband have died.

There is of course a twist at the end that you absolutely don’t see coming in a masterful piece of writing by the writer/director.

It is a very good production, well written, well acted and well directed.

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Ladies Rugby League Is Alive And Kicking

As you can guess from the headline, ladies rugby league is real and it looks very healthy if the game I saw, when Hull Wyke Ladies RL visited RAF Cranwell, is anything to go by.

I met the team from Hull and traveled with them on their team minibus to the RAF College in Lincolnshire where they were to play their third game against the ladies from the military.

On the way I found out more about how the team came about, what they want to achieve and how they see the club developing as I spoke to team manager/secretary Sally Ellerington.

Telling me about how the team came together it’s obvious social media played a very large part: “We put it on Facebook and people got in touch through that as the word spread through friends and families.”

With team coach Danny ‘Choppy’ Devine having just passed his level 2 coaching course with the RFL I asked her if she will be doing the same qualification as him, she said: “i don’t know about that yet, maybe further down the line if we get some youth teams together then I’ll consider it.”

I asked about the possible development of youth teams and she confirmed this is definitely something they want to do in the future, she said: “Yes that’s definitely something we want to do further down the line yeah, we’ve talked about having under 12’s and under 15’s teams.”

Her advice to other people wishing to start up a ladies team is clear, “Be prepared for it to take up a lot of your time.

“We came together quite quick but it takes a lot of your own time especially getting in touch with the RFL and then other teams to arrange fixtures and contacting players to tell them ‘be here at this time’ but it is all absolutely worth it.”

Sally also confirmed that Hull Wyke Ladies do have some sponsors in place but would welcome more with open arms.

Once the interview was over the music was soon re-started as an almost party atmosphere encapsulated the minibus which needs a bungee to hold the door closed.

RAF College Cranwell is a very big site, so big in fact that it has its own car park for its own multi-sports venue which also has its own clubhouse where food and drink was to be served after the match.

Hull Wyke Ladies had previously played Ince Rose Bridge ladies over in Wigan and, before that game, they had played Brighouse from West Yorkshire and had beaten both, this however was likely to be a sterner test of their promising credentials.

The game started at a good pace, in fact if I hadn’t known it was a friendly, I would have sworn that the intensity was of a league match standard.

Playing 30 minutes each way it gave the ladies plenty of time and opportunity to show their undoubted talent in defence, attack and all round intensity, while an unmistakable comradeship and respect pervaded.

It was difficult to pick out the player of the match for the ladies from East Yorkshire in the entertaining 32-32 draw but it came down to between two players Jenna Greening, who’s hat-trick was a definite highlight and Jade Key who, despite her small, slight figure, was throwing bigger RAF ladies to the ground in the tackle with genuine relish and was a definite thorn in the side of the oppositions defence with her distribution and running.

Special mention must also go to Chloe James for some very good goal-kicking.

There was a great sense of tenacity, willingness to work and enthusiasm oozing through both teams and a fantastic team spirit throughout the whole day I spent with Hull Wyke Ladies.

These ladies support the two teams on opposite sides of Hull but they seemingly transcend that great divide when they unite as one team with purpose of entertaining the good folk of Hull with good old fashioned guts, tenacity and blood, sweat and tears on a Sunday afternoon.

The journey has only just begun, but I have a feeling it’s going to be worth absolutely every step.

Ladies under the posts Ladies Teams together Ladies RL Ladies half time Ladies Close Ladies after the match Hull Wyke Ladies

A Day Out With The Few

Hull Wyke Ladies rugby league team coach Danny ‘Choppy’ Devine asked me to go for a day out to watch his new ladies team play at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire, naturally as a rugby league fan I snapped up the chance.

The team Minibus is really something to behold, it’s the only minibus I know that has to have its door fastened shut with a bungee, but it certainly has a character all of its own and it got us swiftly and safely from A to B and back to A again.

Hull Wyke Ladies RL are a well mannered bunch and a definite treat to share a minibus with, they know their rugby league pretty well as would be expected and the banter is great fun.

In this team supporter’s of Super League sides Hull FC and Hull KR stand side-by-side and have a great comradeship together as one, it comes across as clear as a whistle.

We hit the open road and headed for the county on the other side of the Humber Bridge, it’s a bit of a trek which took just slightly less than two hours to navigate.

When you get to RAF College Cranwell it’s a big base and even has its own car park for the sports ground, walking up towards where the game was to be played coach Danny Devine had to have a word with his team to make them aware of certain things they mustn’t do including bad language, all was being taken very seriously by this brand new team.

The game itself was a fast and free-flowing end to end affair as both sides traded territory, possession and points.

Stand out player’s for the ladies from Hull were hat-trick hero Jenna Greening and little magician Jade Key as the game was drawn 32-32.

Both sides were a credit to their coaches which also included Stu Gaden and Sally Ellerington for the brave visitor’s who gave every bit as good as they got from the military girls.

At the end seeing both teams posing for photos in front of the posts just put a lovely cap on the proceedings before food was served to the player’s and we returned home.

If you’re a rugby league fan in Hull please go and support this team who seem to cross the great rugby league divide in our City of Culture with genuine ease and great friendship.

Their next game is on Sunday 6th September.

Hull Wyke Ladies Ladies after the match Ladies Close Ladies half time Ladies RL Ladies Teams together Ladies under the posts

Michael Buerk and Martin Bell comparison.

Michael Duncan Buerk was born on 18 February 1946 in Solihull ( He was educated at Solihull School before going on to University of Sussex and then Cardiff Metropolitan University.

His first choice of career was the Royal Air Force (RAF) but his hopes were dashed for this when he failed an eyesight test at the selection centre.

He began his journalism career at the Bromsgrove Messenger, South Wales Echo and the Daily Mail before joining Radio Bristol in 1970 (BBC On this day).

He became a BBC news reporter in 1973 and went on to become the corporations South Africa correspondent in 1983 until his uncompromising reports about the brutalities of the regime there during the dying years of Apartheid led to him being expelled by the government of the day in 1987.

He is best known for his reports of the “Biblical famine” from Korem in Ethiopia which was first broadcast on 23 October 1984 and ultimately led to the Band Aid record Feed the World and the Live Aid concerts at Wembley Stadium, and in the USA on 13 July 1985.

Watching that report from Ethiopia you can tell that he slightly lowers his voice to give off a sense of hopelessness because of what he’s reporting about, sometimes he just goes silent and let’s the pictures do the talking telling the viewer everything they need to know.

He is also known for being the first news reporter on the BBC at the start of the new millennium when he made the bulletin at 01.00 on 1 January 2000.

He has crossed swords with the BBC on occasion including expressing disappointment at their decision to move the Nine o’ Clock News to its current slot at 10 o’ Clock (BBC On this day).

He has also openly criticized the “Pressure to deliver” that is put on today’s news reporters.

He has also been known to court controversy and the BBC had to issue an apology when he criticized the victim in the Ched Evans rape case for being drunk at the time.

He had to be airlifted out of Addis Ababa in 1991 after a munitions dump exploded, killing his Kenyan sound recordist, John Mathai, and injuring Mohammed Amin, the cameraman who had accompanied him to Ethiopia in 1984 (BBC On this day).

By the time of that incident he was turning his hand to presenting, and had become one of the main anchors for the BBC Nine o’ Clock News. He also began presenting non-news programmes such as BBC 1’s 999 and, on BBC Radio 4, the ethical debating programme, The Moral Maze, and interview series The Choice.

Other reporting credits in his portfolio include North sea oil begins to flow (3 November 1975), Duchess opens massive Selby coalfield (29 October 1976), Violence erupts at Irish hunger strike protest (18 July 1981), Queen fends off bedroom intruder (9 July 1982), Parents can stop school beatings (25 February 1982) and Europe grants emergency aid for Ethiopia (25 October 1984).

He announced his retirement from News Presenting at the end of 2002 but continued presenting other programmes beyond then (BBC On this day) and also entered the jungle for I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here in 2014.

One of his famous quotes is, “It’s the little things that you notice in this cacophony of misery… The whole thing is emotionally overwhelming. “You take some sort of refuge in the mechanics of the job that you do… but there are limits, and it got very close to the limit of being able to function in the midst of all that, because you feel an overwhelming sense of inadequacy. “The only Europeans who were there were aid workers, and you weren’t, you were just a journalist, and at that particular moment I couldn’t think of a more useless occupation.”(BBC On this day)

Martin Bell OBE was born on 31 August 1938 in Redisham. He was educated at The Leys School in Cambridge and then went on to King’s College, Cambridge where he gained a First Class Honours degree in English and also served on the committee of the Cambridge University Liberal Club.

He didn’t gain a commission so served his two years of National Service as an acting corporal in the Suffolk Regiment, during which he was involved in active service in Cyprus during the emergency involving an Insurgent campaign by the Greek Cypriot militant group.

He joined the BBC as a reporter in Norwich as a 24 year old following his graduation in 1962. He was called to London three years later and over the next 30 years he reported from 80 countries and covered 11 conflicts (BBC On this day).

He made his name reporting from Vietnam in the 1960s and then went on to cover wars in the Middle East, Nigeria, Angola and Rwanda, he also had numerous assignments in Northern Ireland.

He won the Royal Television Society’s Reporter of the Year award in 1977 and again in 1993 and was awarded an OBE in 1992. He was let down by his “Lucky” white suit in 1997 when he was badly wounded by shrapnel whilst delivering a bulletin from Sarajevo (BBC On this day).

What he saw in Bosnia led to him making the surprise announcement that he was leaving the BBC and entering politics just 24 days before the 1997 General Election. His legendary fight for the safe Conservative seat at Tatton, on an independent, anti-corruption ticket, made him a symbol of the revolt against perceived sleaze in the governing Conservative party at the time. He won the seat with a majority of 11,077, overturning the tory majority of over 22,000 (BBC On this day).

Despite describing himself as an accidental MP he was persuaded to run for Parliament again in 2001 for the constituency of Brentwood and Ongar in Essex where the sitting Conservative MP Eric Pickles, much like Neil Hamilton in 1997, was embroiled in controversy, however this time he was unsuccessful and so ended his political career (BBC On this day).

He then made a brief return to TV journalism in 2003, providing analysis on the second invasion of Iraq for ITN’s Channel Five News, he compiled short stories from daily video coverage that gave a uniquely historical and humanitarian perspective that was in stark contrast to much of the mainstream media at the time.

He is now a Unicef Ambassador and describes himself as “Too old” for journalism and politics although he still comments now on the state of modern journalism (BBC On this day).

His reporting credits include, Moscow calls for UN action against Israel (13 June 1967), De Gaulle: Back me or sack me (24 May 1968), Civil Rights protestors defiant (10 January 1969), IRA Bomb kills six at Aldershot barracks (22 February 1972), ‘Anti IRA Spies’ break out of jail (11 March 1974), Dozens Die as Israel retaliates for Ma’a lot (16 May 1974), Mercenaries trial begins in Angola (11 June 1976), Sadat in US for Middle East talks (3 February 1978), Carter wins Panama Canal battle (18 April 1978), Nuclear Leak causes alarm in America (28 March 1979), Skylab tumbles back to earth (11 July 1979), Sandinista rebels take Nicaraguan capital (17 July 1979), Reagan beats Carter in landslide (4 November 1980), US Guilty of backing contras (27 June 1986), Superpower treaty to scrap warheads (18 September 1987), Irangate colonel avoids prison (5 July 1989), Earthquake hits San Francisco (17 October 1989), Failed Bosnian ceasefire threatens peace (25 July 1993) and US Peacekeepers pour into Bosnia (2 January 1996).

One of his famous quotes is, “It was once said of ITN’s Sandy Gall and myself that we had faces like the relief maps of the countries we were covering. The country in his case was Afghanistan and in mine was Bosnia, neither of which is blessed with regular features. But film star good looks were not then in the job description.”(BBC On this day)

He is also a member of the prestigious Frontline Club which is a club exclusively for war journalists.

Comparing the work of Michael Buerk and Martin Bell is like reading two bestsellers, both clearly put people at the forefront of their stories and let the pictures they are showing do the talking at different times. The main difference between them is in their voices, while Michael Buerk has a quite deep, almost forbidding, voice, Martin Bell is higher pitched and he tends to talk that much faster as well, both though are very clear and intelligible and very descriptive at times.

You will also find that they have much of their impact by keeping their sentences short and they always report the most newsworthy aspects of their stories.

In his report from Ethiopia on 23 October 1984 Michael Buerk would at times just go silent for 10 to 20 seconds and allow the pictures to do the talking for him and the only time you saw him was when he was interviewing an aid worker from Medicins Sans Frontieres.

Martin Bell on the other hand, certainly in his time in Bosnia, would do a piece to camera with troops either around him or behind him.

The times when you see Michael Buerk reporting with armed people near him are in his reports from South Africa when he covered the violence caused by Apartheid.

In his report for Newsnight about the death of Nelson Mandela Michael Buerk took us back to the days of Apartheid before Mandela was released from prison and also struck us with a film that showed two completely different sides to 1980s South Africa.

In the film he showed Apartheid related violence with guns being fired and riots, then in one swift move he took us to the part of South Africa he lived in while there, just 12 miles away from the violence, where there was a banquet in an exclusive white suburb which was a different world altogether to the townships.

After showing the banquet in very plush surroundings he suddenly took us back to the townships where death and violence reigned. Looking through Michael Buerk’s autobiography The Road Taken (Hutchinson, 2004), there are pictures that hold particular fascination like a photo of him in Ethiopia, one of him interviewing Margaret Thatcher and one of him stood with Nelson Mandela.

Both of them do appear to absolutely immerse themselves in their surroundings and genuinely give a voice to the people they are reporting on like the starving, the terrorized, the dead and dying.

There is no holding back from extremely disturbing images in their reports as well. Both show extreme violence, dead bodies and genocide and will also show both sides of the story no matter what the story as shown by Martin Bell when he shows troops firing on civilians.

One very interesting interview with Martin Bell, which can be viewed on You Tube, is when he is interviewed at The Frontline Club in which he talks about his career covering different conflicts in front of a packed audience.

They are both massively influential and still very well respected in their own ways. You can see impressions of the work they did in modern journalism and both are still very well spoken about by their colleagues and have both very much earned their respective places in journalism history and their influence will clearly continue to have an effect in time to come.

Current journalist’s such as Rageh Omaar and BBC News special correspondent Caroline Hawley have since picked up the baton from their elder statesmen and continue to show a similar style of reporting due, no doubt, to the massive influence of Michael Buerk and Martin Bell.

The awards and personal accolades that both have been awarded are clearly very deserved, looking back on their remarkable careers you can only be inspired by them especially when seeing how their work has stood the test of time and is still very relevant to this day.