Wednesday, April 30, 2008

BBC Somerset Bus

Another week and another appearance on Jo Phillips' "Morning Jo Show" panel on BBC Somerset. There were a couple of differences though. Firstly we weren't in the studio in Taunton but on the BBC Broadcast Bus in Market Street in Crewkerne. And secondly, there was no Emma Britton as she is away on holiday and her place was taken by Liam, the bus driver and he did a very passable impression. I was on the show with a couple of ladies, one from Crewkerne Town Council and another lady from Drimpton just up the road from Clapton. It is quite a snug fit inside the studio on the bus, but it was good fun, especially the chat about cows! You will know what I mean if you listen again on line!
After the show I wandered to the bank and then back to Bilby's for a cup of tea where I bumped into Annette, the lady from the Town Council again and we had a nice chat and she invited me to come to Crewkerne in November and turn on the Christmas lights as Henry! I accepted on the spot! Watch this space...
Tomorrow I am back at Blandford Camp in Dorset and it should be a good 'un!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

West Huntspill School

Some years ago I visited a lovely little school at Westbury-sub-Mendip. I obviously made an impression as one of the teachers from that day has recently become the head teacher at West Huntspill School near Bridgwater. She remembered me and phoned last week for a booking. I had this day free in my diary and so she booked me!
West Huntspill is a truly wonderful school - it is currently under special measures following a bad OFSTED some time ago, but they are really putting things right in a big way. The actual facility is very good and the teachers are excellent - full of enthusiasm and a desire to make things better. And the children? Well they were just a delight! So much laughter in one day - it was life affirming and fun in the extreme. They lapped up all the Tudor information and laughed outrageously at even the lamest of my jokes. One young lady laughed so much one of her teeth fell out! Now I have never managed to have that effect on any member of my audience before, but I had probably better not make a habit of it.
After a fun morning and also having had lunch bought for me (which was greatly appreciated) it was back to the crime and punishment section and the stocks! A rip roaring joust capped the day admirably with another good win for a fine gents team who blew the ladies away in the final.
Tomorrow I am off to Crewkerne for another appearance on Jo Phillips "Morning Jo Show" on BBC Somerset. They are broadcasting "Live" from the middle of Crewkerne on the BBC Somserset bus. If you are in Crewkerne for the morning, come and say "Hello".

Blundell's Prep, Tiverton

For the third year running it was back to Blundell's Prep School in downtown Tiverton. My day got off to a less than auspicious start when Doris, my beloved sat nav, decided to have an almost complete breakdown. She would not power up from her lead and would only work off batteries, which sadly have a life span in a sat nav of about half an hour it seems. I stopped and bought some batteries and carried on, but more or less remembered my way to Blundell's from my previous visits.
They are having massive amounts of building work done, but the school is a friendly welcoming place and it was good to see so many familiar faces. I had an early cup of tea and a chat with the Head Master, Nick Folland, who used to play cricket for Somerset. He and I have been dreaming up an idea for a charity cricket match at Barrington Court played in period costumes. He reckons he could get Marcus Trescothick and Andy Caddick to come down and play, plus some other big names. I must chase up Matthew Applegate about this as well.
The day at the school was brilliant fun. We started off in the drama studio, but later were in one of the upstairs classrooms and finally in the afternoon in the dining hall. The children were bedecked in some fantastic costumes and they certainly knew their Tudor history, despite one little girl asking me if Henry VIIIth had a pet panda (?).
The afternoon stocks were great fun and we finished with a really high quality jousting tournament that the boys won for a nice change! I stopped off in Ilminster on the way back and then on to home for a home made chicken korma and a glass of wine!
Next Henry is today at West Huntspill near Burnham-on-Sea.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Enmore Primary

Back in January 2006 I visited Enmore Primary. I had been requested for this return visit and, wrack my brain all I could, I just could not picture the school at all. Not a jot! I could not remember the village, or anything about the place at all. And then I arrived at the car park, and it all flooded back to me! It was then (in 2006) and is now (2008) a fantastic school. I was working with a mixed class of 28 pupils of years four and five. It was also a different form teacher this time around, a charming fairly newly qualified lady by the name of Laura Potter who was bedecked in a most becoming red Tudor dress that she'd had made by dressmakers in Bahrain (where her parents live and where she was brought up)!
The class were fantastic today, all dressed in wonderful Tudor costumes and showing some fabulous knowledge. After my opening talk and a lot of laughs I kept the relatively small group all together for the activities. With the quiz we had two perfect scores from a couple of the ladies and some of the coat of arms designs they came up with were brilliant. Miss Potter suggested that they would make a collage of the designs on the walls of their classroom.
After lunch (which I had to drive virtually into Bridgwater to get from a petrol station! Mmm! Cold sandwiches!) it was back for more Tudor mayhem in the hall. The afternoon really zipped by and we had a cracking jousting tournament culminating in yet another triumph for the ladies. I reassured the disappointed boys team that this sort of thing happens all the time...
Back home I was due to visit my landlord and his partner's place this evening for dinner with them, but unfortunately he wasn't feeling very well and so the meal was postponed. I am back on duty as Henry again on Monday morning at Blundell's Prep School in Tiverton in Devon for a third visit in as many years.

Henry VIIIth - Page Three Stunna!

If you live in the right area of Somerset or Dorset, and are able to get your hands on a copy of the Western Gazette (preferably the Chard and Ilminster copy - hey I am aware that this is getting very precise), then you will discover that in this week's issue I am the Western Gazette's Page Three Stunna for the week!
There is an article and a couple of photos from last weekend's "Right Royal Weekend" at Barrington Court. It is quite a nice photo for once! There is also a very cute pic of some of the little kids who played with the Tudor skittles with me on the Saturday.
Good King Hal should point out that there are other local papers available for purchase... but I'm not in them, so what's the point in buying them? Be honest!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happy St George's Day!

Happy St George's Day!
Kind regards,
Henry VIIIth

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Right Royal Weekend Part 2

The second of my two days at Barrington Court had promised far superior weather to the first, and on the whole it didn't disappoint. It wasn't exactly a blazing sun-fest, but after the drab damp dreary day of Saturday it was a vast improvement. The number of visitors was up too which was good to see. I would like to say a big thank you to the three little girls who turned up in their finest Tudor clothes to come and see me, each one taking on a roll as a famous Tudor lady! I had a Jane Seymour, a Queen Elizabeth and a Katherine Parr!
Both of the talks on the Sunday were packed out which was good to see and gave a wonderful atmostphere. The better weather also allowed me to venture out into the gardens to meet and greet the people as they wandered around Barrington Court's beautiful surroundings. Another big "hello" to the three lovely, but extremely hungover ladies from Bristol, recovering as they were from the rigours of a hen night in Chard the previous evening! The Tudor skittles in the hall went really well too, and I think all the children and their parents who attended seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves.
In the evening, Matthew Applegate, his assistant Simon and myself ventured out for a celebratory beer starting off at The Volunteer Pub in Seavington. However, the barmaid appeared to serve us about as frequently as the return of Hailley's Comet and after just one pint we gave up and ventured over to Shepton Beauchamp and the Duke of York where we had a much better time of it. We had a lot of fun discussing how funny a sit com set in a National Trust property would be. I just don't think anyone would believe it if we put some of Matthew's true stories in the script!
Back to paperwork this morning and the next siting of Henry will be a return visit to Enmore Primary in Bridgwater this coming Friday. Watch this space for more.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Right Royal Weekend Part 1

I can confidently assure you that the photo you see here was NOT taken today at Barrington Court. As predicted, the weather was of the dark, wet, windy and biblical black variety. However, there were still plenty of hardy souls who ventured forth into the teeth of this inclement weather for Barrington's "Right Royal Weekend".
The attractions were modest, but fun. You could come and meet me (Henry VIIIth), hear a talk by me, have a go at making your very own royal crown and then have a bash at Tudor skittles. Having said that, everyone who took part in all these activities seemed to enjoy themselves. For my first talk we had a smallish turnout, but they all laughed and enjoyed themselves in the right places. The children especially enjoyed the skittle games afterwards. The second group were bigger but far fewer of them came back to try the skittles. As for my performances - my first talk, as far as I was concerned, was dreadful. It really showed that I hadn't done any appearances for a couple of weeks as I was forgetful and kept fluffing my lines. However, I really enjoyed the second talk, particularly one young chap in the audience who everytime I did a loud Henry roar he'd jump about 3 feet out of his chair, much to the amusement of his mother!
I am back for more tomorrow with a promise of a beer in the evening from Matthew Applegate. I treated myself this evening by stopping for fish and chips on the way home. I have been a good boy and typed up my blog nice and early so I can settle down and enjoy "Planet of the Ood" on Doctor Who! Bring it on!

Friday, April 18, 2008

BBC Somerset Panel Again

I had managed to wangle my way back on to the Panel on the BBC Somerset's "Morning Jo" Radio programme today. It was to publicise this coming weekend's "Right Royal Weekend" at Barrington Court. The morning traffic was virtually non-existant for once and so I was a bit early when I arrived at the august portals of BBC Somerset in Park Street, Taunton. I was greeted by the ever lovely Emma Britton and taken up to the waiting area where I could begin sifting through the days newspapers.
I was joined on the panel today by Simon Lomax, a musician and teacher from Somerton and the charming Maggie Mickshik from the Martha Care charity for sick children based in Glastonbury. Jo Phillips was, as ever, a brilliant host and a lovely lady (as the photo here shows!) and the conversation flowed so easily today. If you missed the show and would like to hear it again then go to and click on the "Listen Again" tab and choose the "Morning Jo Show" for Friday. I chose as my story from the paper today the horrific news that the new England cricket kit will be without a chunky cable knit sweater. This is the end of an era and enough to make grown men want to throw themselves from the top of Old Father Time at Lord's Cricket Ground. Half the fun of playing cricket is wearing the big baggy sweater that manages to make even the most attractive and dashing of men appear to be Worzel Gummidge's younger brother who has lost interest in scaring crows and has really let himself go.
Right, off to the Doctor's shortly to see if I can get my deaf ear sorted out. Tomorrow and Sunday I am at a waterlogged Barrington Court (if the weather forecast is anything to go by). I shall wear my water proof codpiece.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Mark Speight R.I.P.

The BBC is reporting that the children's TV presenter Mark Speight has been found dead at Paddington Station. I think everyone is aware of the sad background to this terrible occurrence, and it will serve no purpose for me to go over the story again.
Back in 2005 I was fortunate enough to work for the BBC on the Rolf Harris' "Rolf on Art" television programme about Hans Holbein and his famous paintings of Henry VIIIth. I was also lucky in that some of the filming I did involved working with Mark Speight. He was a lovely man, charming, easy to get on with, very approachable and down to Earth. All the kids at the recording seemed to love him as well. The picture here was taken by Anna, my little BBC runner, who took it for her daughter who fancied Mark. It was quite late in the day and everyone by this time was tired and a little fractious, but Mark was great, mucking about in front of the camera pretending to be a male model and making everyone laugh. I remember seeing him at the after show party at the Trafalgar Square Hilton with his beautiful girlfriend. How tragic and cruel life can be sometimes. It was an honour to work with and meet Mark Speight, however fleetingly, and his death is a tragic waste of a talented young life. My son James was a big fan of Mark's frequent appearances on Smarteenies and his "Big Picture Little Picture" routines. Everyone involved with Good King Hal sends their condolences to Mark and Natasha's family at this very sad time.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Real People Magazine - It's true you know!

Just to let all of you fine people out there that Real People Magazine, featuring yours truly is out NOW! And remember it is only a weekly, so you only have until next Wednesday to get a copy. So what are you doing here reading this blog? Get out there and buy it now. HURRY!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Real People Magazine

Just a quickie today folks! The next issue of "Real People Magazine" is to feature Amanda and I as Mr and Mrs Henry VIIIth! We have both done interviews with journalists from the magazine and yesterday we had to pose like mad for a photographic session, some as just us in civvies, and then another load with me in the Henry clobber.
I have been led to believe by the lovely people at Real People Magazine that we are featuring in the very next issue coming out later in April - so hurry to your local newsagent while stocks last!