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25th-Feb-2017 07:11 pm - A well-earned break
It seems strange to think that Anthony and I were in another country only last week! But we were, we had a lovely holiday in Denmark. Anthony, as always, was tremendously excited about going to another country. He does love travelling so much. My dislike of flying always means I approach travelling much more resentfully – truthfully, I’d rather stay at home and read lol but I married a man who loves travel so I’ve always known this would be my great compromise. Annoyingly, our plane was two hours late leaving Heathrow due to a growing list of problems that means delays which was incredibly frustrating and not handled brilliantly by ground staff but very well by the cabin crew and captain who were much more informative.

Denmark is a beautiful chilly place. I don’t mean that it feels remote or unfriendly, just that the weather was brisk and cold and there was snow almost everywhere and paired with the beautiful buildings, both ancient and modern and sat side by side, it really was beautiful. It took me a couple of days to acclimatise to the cold but I managed eventually lol and wore at least three layers of clothing outside which definitely helped.

We stayed in a great hotel – the room was quite small but the bed was really excellent. We don’t like a soft mattress and this one was perfect. My favourite thing about staying in a hotel is the inclusive breakfast and this hotel provided a great varied continental breakfast buffet each morning for people, like us, who’d paid for breakfast inclusively as part of the stay. We ate a lot of meat and cheese each morning lol and so many Danish pastries. There was a delicious chocolate and cinnamon one that I liked especially. I ate so much each morning, to set myself up for the day, and drank plenty of orange juice and yes, I do miss it lol.

So highlights. Well, we had a rough plan of what we wanted to see before we went. As always pre-holiday, Anthony asked for a guidebook for Christmas which we received and which helped a lot with the planning. There was a lot of amazing architecture wherever we went, statues and government buildings and the canal running through the city. One day, we went to the two royal palaces, which meant getting to witness the changing of the guard, seeing the crown jewels and getting to enjoy a great exhibition innovatively displaying lots of the items from the royal family’s attic, set out like they were in a series of warehouse rooms. It was great to explore and there was a special treasure hunt for children to do which I thought was a lovely provision so that kids didn’t get bored as their parents enjoyed themselves lol.

That day, we also visited the Lutheran cathedral. It was a perfectly round building and not as gaudy and gold as some of the Catholic ones we’ve previously visited on holiday. The ceiling had a wonderful mosaic of the apostles and everything was simple and very peaceful. I had a real sense of God’s spirit in there which was truly lovely to experience. Anthony, who normally doesn’t enjoy cathedrals for the occasional ostentatiousness, really liked this one.

On Valentine’s Day, we spent the morning at the aquarium which was full of children but a beautiful building and full of amazing creatures. We started by going outside to watch the sea otters being fed. They were so big – much bigger than the river otters we’re used to in the UK, more the size of beavers really – and were so graceful in the water. It was terrific to get to watch them outside in the sunshine; a clever idea to have their tank outside for visitors to look in; there was also a tank for them interconnected which was inside. There was an outdoor water play area for the children too, though is naturally closed at this time of year due to the cold. I was especially pleased to find the octopus; it was all curled up in a hole in the rock and then suddenly unfurled and emerged, revealing just how big it was, before disappearing behind another rock. My Mum is rather unnerved by octopuses so I am looking forward to telling her about it ;)

We also popped over to Sweden that afternoon – you have to take your passport for the train as you’re crossing a border. But we were given a free heart-shaped chocolate on account of the day which was rather lovely (and delicious). We discovered that we’d arrived in Sweden far too early really – we were there primarily to see an ice hockey game that evening and there really wasn’t much to do in that area, except for visiting an enormous shopping mall. But we entertained ourselves and Anthony found a good birthday present for his sister – a map of Rome made up of words which he’ll get framed over here. Rome is special to his sister as it’s where she and her husband got engaged. As they’ve recently moved into a new house and haven’t a great deal to put up on the walls, it’s a great gift which I know she’ll love. The hockey game was good fun and certainly exciting enough. Anthony seriously enjoyed himself, drinking in ice hockey in yet another country and recording audio notes for a verbal summation of his experience for his hockey site. I contributed my thoughts on the food, always my favourite part of any ice hockey experience ;)

We went to a very different ice hockey game back in Denmark later that week. It was for a much lower league and at an old rink like the kind Anthony’s UK team play in. Anthony was wearing his UK team’s jersey and a Danish fan wanted to know who it was for and struck up an easy conversation with him about hockey in general which was nice. There were a lot of fights in this game, always entertaining, and the chips were especially crispy so I was pleased. Anthony was amused and enjoyed the rather lower standard of skill on display and as always relished taking in hockey in another country which was still so familiar to him thanks to how ice hockey binds together its fans across the world.

Our last day in the city, we went to the zoo, which obviously was my favourite day lol. There was certainly plenty to see and the animals all seemed to have a lot of space in their enclosures which is always good. Anthony was particularly thrilled to see the tank of piranhas – the Rostock Piranhas were the first ice hockey team he supported (and still does) – and I got to see plenty of snakes and some crocodiles which always makes me happy. There were so many animals to see, it was a great exploration to walk through and see giraffes and elephants (my Mum’s favourite so an animal I always seek out). I got to see my favourite – penguins – who were all stood on rocks quite motionless and you could go so close to them. They really do make me smile. And later we saw them swimming so gracefully too. Anthony got to see the polar bear swimming which made him happy : ) We tried to see the anteater, another favourite of mine, but the weather was too cold for it apparently. We spied it’s nose stuck out the doorway of its enclosure but then it beat a hasty retreat. One day, I will get to see an anteater properly.

Then in the afternoon, we went to the Carlsberg Experience, getting to see how the beer was made and where the ideas had come from etc. It was a really good and interesting exhibition and Anthony got to drink a free sample, while I chose Carlsberg’s version of lemonade which was very tasty.

I have to admit, I ate a lot of crap while over there. At places like the zoo and both hockey games, the only thing available was fast food. The best food we ate was at the street food market, somewhere a friend of Anthony’s had recommended. It was across the water from our hotel so fairly easy to get to, all under cover in a small warehouse-like building. There’s plenty of seating and staircases hidden around which take people up to other small seating areas above the sellers. It’s a really cosy setting and all the sellers are in little shacks or caravans. The smell is amazing.

There was a lot to choose from; one night I had an amazing chicken burger while Anthony had a meatball sub and then we had slices of cheesecake from another seller for dessert. We went back on our last night and had duck and chips with vinegary red onion, which was even more delicious than I thought it’d be. Seriously, I think it was my favourite meal I had the whole holiday. It was so very tasty. If there was one place I’d recommend people go to in Copenhagen, it’s that street food market.

Low points? Well, the bus stops are weird. When you get off at a stop, there’s no stop on the opposite side of the road for you to use to get home again; you have to really search for it lol. And it’s a pricey place to stay, it uses the Danish Kroner and yeah, definitely the priciest place we’ve visited, definitely in terms of eating and drinking. It was also a real shame we couldn’t go into the Tivoli gardens – probably the main attraction of Copenhagen, enormous and full of fairground rides and sculptures and things to look at and places to eat – as it was closed for the winter. So that was very disappointing.

But overall, I recommend Denmark and Copenhagen, the people are friendly and speak English, the food is tasty and there’s so much to see and explore. We used the Copenhagen card which you can buy before you go which lasts for about four days and means you’ve paid for practically all the attractions in the city like the palaces and the zoo. Made things a lot easier!

Title: Work For Idle Hands
Fandom: The Hobbit
Characters: Sigrid/Fili, Tauriel/Kili, Tilda, Bain, Bard
Rating: G
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Summary: King Bard carries so many worries, especially now his council want his eldest daughter Sigrid betrothed in a way to best benefit Dale. Sigrid carries her own worries and is determined to cut back her Da’s. There’s a trade agreement between Erebor and Dale; Sigrid and Fili begin using it.

Read it here.
Title: Going Nuclear
Fandom: WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment)
Characters: Johnny Gargano/Tommaso Ciampa
Rating: E
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Summary: Tommaso loves his tag team partner as a friend, and thinks about him in ways that he can't act on because Johnny's a fucking Disney prince and Tommaso is not gonna ruin this NXT run for either of them. Johnny makes sure he gets a clue.

Read it here.
Title: Running With Scissors
Fandom: WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment)
Characters: Dean Ambrose/Roman Reigns, Original Characters, Seth Rollins
Rating: T
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Summary: Everyone is something 'other' - Dean's from a bloodline of spinners, weavers and cutters (the Fates can't do it themselves), Seth the architect who sees how everything works so he can change it and Roman's always had Amazon blood. Dean sees what he sees and won't end up like his parents. He holds onto Roman, awake and sleeping, and is wrong-footed when he sees Seth in his dreams again too. His aunts keep him spinning on.

Read it here.
4th-Feb-2017 07:29 pm - Cookie time
It was time to try out a new cookie recipe, one I found online. As it was our friend's birthday the week of the recent PROGRESS show, I thought I'd make them as a present we could all enjoy during the interval. The cookies were brownie fudge cookies and ended up as quite a thin batter with three different kinds of chocolate in. The problem I found was in the baking; the recipe asked for 'golf ball sized' scoops of batter on the baking tray. When I did this with the first batch, the cookies turned out enormous! Not a problem, you might think, but as I'd be transporting them in my bag through London and into a venue without security finding them, this wasn't good lol. These cookies also turned out quite fragile due to the thin batter. So I used smaller scoops for the second batter and then encountered a second issue - they bake quickly which means you have to grab them out the oven at just the right time before they start to burn. I missed that point with this batch and they ended up the right size but too dark. Thankfully the batches after that turned out fine! The cookies taste delicious and surprisingly, not too sweet. We successfully got them into the venue and our friend loved them, especially as he couldn't bring his usual homemade cakes with him. Definitely a cookie to try out again but not my favourite cookie recipe, I like thick fudgy biscuits, like pucks lol. Still very tasty though.

3rd-Feb-2017 09:37 pm - 2017 progress begins :)

First PROGRESS show of 2017! Much excitement for us J There was a slight wrinkle in that train work was going on around Clapham Junction so the trains weren’t running as frequently and we ended up getting a train that got us in an hour early. So we popped into the National Portrait Gallery again and looked at a lot of paintings that weren’t our style at all but it was something to look at a real Di Vinci. We do like visiting there as we can sit down and enjoy the culture.

The weather forecast was pretty dire so I had brought spare jeans with me but it turned out I didn’t need them. Our friend C was able to come to his first show since September and it was good to have our usual group hug and catch up while we waited. Thankfully the doors opened pretty promptly and in we trooped to grab our usual seats – C had to sit in the row behind as he hadn’t been able to buy silver this time but he was close enough. It was such a great feeling to be back in the Ballroom again; there’s something about that atmosphere and being with those friends again that just makes me feel so much better about the world in general.

Before the show even started, there was an issue as there was a serious leak on the balcony, meaning everyone who usually stood on the balcony had to find somewhere to stand downstairs as the balcony was evacuated. Thankfully everyone packed in companionably and there didn’t seem to be any problems. There were quite a few wrestlers on the card who were new to PROGRESS, which was unusual as usually there’s not more than one debut per show. But it did make things interesting.

First up, we had the London Riots (James Davis & Rob Lynch) vs the debuting Kings of the North, an Irish tag team who are the premier team of OTT Wrestling. I wasn’t that impressed with them, they seemed like just another version of the Riots. It was like a team facing an alternate reality version of themselves. There was some rather marvellous comedy at the beginning – very unexpected from the Riots who are usually tough straight-faced brawlers. One of the Kings of the North wears a single red leather glove so Rob Lynch produced his own black leather gloves and hit his opponent in the face, challenging him to a duel. They had to stand back to back and walk five paces, of course Rob’s opponent tried to jump him early and so Rob hit him with his other glove and wore his Progress scarf like a grand gentleman. It was a nice touch, no doubt a riff on PROGRESS alumni Jack Gallagher partaking in a duel on WWE TV recently. I think maybe I’d like to see the Kings of the North against some very different opponents stylistically; I think that might be better. It made sense for the Riots to face them first, they are the gatekeepers of PROGRESS’ tag team division after all. It was a tough brawling match which ended with the Riots winning.

There was women’s action as Laura Di Matteo faced Chakara in another first round match of the Natural Progression Series. Laura hasn’t been featured in PROGRESS for a while so it was great to see her back, sporting MMA-style braids which pulled together her MMA look very awesomely. No one else is doing that in the UK right now and it does make her stand out. Chakara made her main chapter debut as a villain and they had an okay match. I think if either had been in there with someone more experienced it would have been tighter and more interesting but it was still awesome for PROGRESS to showcase more female talent and I can’t wait to see more of Laura as she’s clearly been working hard on both look and abilities.

Match of the Night was undoubtedly the South Pacific Power Trip (Travis Banks & TK Cooper) vs. Ringkamf (Walter & Axel Dieter Jr). Ringkamf are a tag team from German company wXw who have featured at a PROGRESS Sheffield show the previous month. Their stable are villains in wXw and consider themselves superior to all other wrestlers and serious at what they do, Axel has a wonderful line in sneering facials. Anyway, they contrasted wonderfully with the overacting antics of the SPTT. I honestly didn’t expect these two vastly-different teams to mesh so well but they did. The crowd went ballistic for TK trying to shoulder-block Walter and Walter’s unimpressed reactions. Walter is so powerful and really threw the SPPT about. This, combined with Axel’s incredible technical abilities, makes for a really impressive team that got a huge amount of crowd love. Travis and TK reacted so brilliantly to everything and Dahlia Black, their valet, as always reacted superbly on the outside, distracting the referee at key moments and eventually getting kicked in the face by Walter and off the ring apron. She’s one hell of a game girl. At the end SPPT sneaked out the win – expected as they are the number one contenders for the tag team titles – and Ringkamf got a huge standing ovation for their part in the match. I felt a bit bad for SPPT for that, as they really did make the match too. It was a stunning piece of work, full of character and terrific sequences and powerful wrestling that all just flowed and impressed brilliantly. Watch this match.

Side note – I cannot wait for when Travis Banks inevitably splits from TK Cooper as Travis is such a superb strong-style wrestler and while the tag team works (though I much prefer Travis’ tag teams elsewhere with Damian Dunne and with Chris Brookes), it’s clear that Travis will have a hugely successful singles career, as he is already building in fellow British company Fight Club: Pro. I think he could do it in PROGRESS too. I’m just hoping we don’t have to wait too long.

Juurn Simmons vs ‘Bodyguy’ Roy Johnson. This match was something, and I don’t mean that it was bad. Juurn is another wXw wrestler – the company did a London show for the first time the night before so unsurprisingly, a few wXw talent got used at PROGRESS. He’s probably best described as a lion or human Wookie, in terms of height and hairiness. His entrance is what gets the reaction. He comes out to some grand ‘royal-sounding’ music, wearing a long cape and a look that tells you he knows how good he is. Then he throws the cape off as the music changes to what I can only describe as ‘stripper music’ and he begins gyrating, posing and dancing on the entrance stage for the longest time before making his way down to the ring to do more of the same. It lasts almost the entire song. It was quite a spectacle; apparently he did this when he was a villain in wXw too, though is now a fan favourite. Anthony and I, and most of the crowd, were in utter stitches. It was so funny.

The match itself, as was pointed out later by Jim, was the most ‘sports entertainment’ match on the card but that’s not a criticism. It made it stand out; though I’m sure that most people will remember Juurn’s gyrations most of all lol. It was great for Roy, who has recently worked for the WWE during their UK Tournament, to face someone so large and challenging as usually Roy is the big man in his matches. And Juurn showed what a great solid wrestler and wow, charisma off the charts. It was a decent match and Juurn got chants of ‘please come back’ after so hopefully it won’t t be the last we see of him. Roy continues to impress, showing there’s more to him than just his outstanding character work and clearly, he’s only gonna get better as he wrestles more and more and gets to face more people like Juurn.

The second half offered only two matches, but one was the yearly Thunderbastard. Two competitors start, then another is added every couple of minutes. People are eliminated by pin, submission or knockout. The winner, ie the last man standing, earns a title shot but cannot cash in immediately at any time like a Money in the Bank or Natural Progression Series win. Instead, they have to announce when their title shot will take place. Previous winners are Will Ospreay, Mark Haskins and Marty Scurll (the only man to compete as champion and retain the title).

The list of competitors was impressive and diverse – Trent Seven, Mark Andrews, Marty Scurll, Jack Sexsmith, Nathan Cruz, Zack Gibson, Dave Mastiff and Pastor William Eaver (replacing the apparently injured Paul Robinson). Before the show started, Sebastian came out and demanded that Eaver be forced to be part of the ring crew for the night – a job usually undertaken by PROGRESS’ trainee wrestlers so something Eaver did for months before debuting on the main chapter shows – but Jim told him during the first half to go get ready as he was replacing Robinson. Of course, when Eaver did make his entrance, Sebastian appeared and took his place, as Eaver’s ‘boss’. But Sexsmith, still feuding with Sebastian, was ready and immediately rolled up Sebastian for the win to a huge reaction. Sebastian petulantly beat up Sexsmith afterwards until Eaver finally rebelled and clocked Sebastian. But does this mean Sebastian will reveal Eaver’s secret? What could it be? I just hope it’s not a disappointment.

Elsewhere we finally had the implosion of the Origin – it’s the first time since October that Zack has been back in PROGRESS and he received the rousing chorus of boos he always does, which only increased when he inevitably grabbed the microphone. Oh dear lord, it doesn’t half elongate the night when he insists on doing that! Thankfully Mark jumped on him to shut him up, thanks Mark! Also It was lovely to have Nathan back, I’m always pleased to see him. Mastiff came out to huge cheers, sporting a cap that declared him ‘Banter King’. But Nathan and Zack took him to task immediately, reminding him that fun and laughs with the crowd are not important at all, not for the Origin, and that he needed to get serious again. Mastiff though, eventually, gave them the thumbs-down and beat them soundly, to great love from the crowd. It was a shame El Ligero wasn’t there but he was booked at another show. I cannot wait to see how the Origin vs. Origin feud goes because I really do think it’ll get a marvellous reaction and because anything that means Nathan is more frequently in PROGRESS is only a good thing to me. He doesn’t stand out right now – as Anthony put it, he’s a great dickhead, but he’s not the deadhead. He’s not pushing it far enough, he’s second tier in PROGRESS and if he wants to thrive there as he did in the early days, something’s gotta change.

Also kudos to Zack and Nathan who took Jack Sexsmith grabbing their arses and then shoving a condom-covered hand into each of their mouths. Yuck. A great moment for us and really not for them.

This match was so interesting because there was no clear winner you could see before. We reckoned either Mark or Zack; Mark makes most sense story-wise because he’s a fan favourite to villainous champion Pete and they came up in the business together and always have tremendous matches together which they’ve not yet done in PROGRESS yet. In the end, Mark triumphed which is a fantastic achievement for a PROGRESS original, bringing his accomplishments to – first ever Tag Team Champion, PROGRESS Champion and Natural Progression winner (making him PROGRESS’ only Triple Crown winner) and now the 2017 Thunderbastard too. I am so proud of him and know that he’ll create a great main event match. He always does and somehow isn’t slowing down in the ring as he matures.

Ah the main event – Pete Dunne vs Jimmy Havoc for the title. Jimmy entering the Ballroom to ‘I Hope You Suffer’ as everyone sings along is still very much my super-happy place. I wrap my arms around Anthony and sing and love it. Of course Pete comes out and disrespects the belt by dropping it derisively on the ground, Trent Seven accompanying him. The match was a violent belter, featuring both men getting thrown into each side of the crowd multiple times. Sometimes we had no warning at all – Jimmy got thrown into our section so suddenly that not everyone had time to move and he ended up in about row 8!! My friend assured me that Jimmy was both breathing and talking. As always, the speed with which fans rearrange chairs and make sure everyone has their stuff after a wrestler wrecks the area impresses and comforts me. Punk rock mind set – we take care of each other.

It was another match featuring these two which really showed their anger towards each other and told a great story. I’m so impressed with how Pete has developed over the years – he’s come a long way since being known as ‘Dynamite’ Pete Dunne on the first PROGRESS show I went to. Trent of course interfered and made sure that Pete won. I hate a screwy finish and sadly at PROGRESS there have been too many endings like that to the main event for a while. I believe that a villainous character, especially one as talented between the ropes as Pete, can win clean and maintain his character. I really hope that begins to happen. Also it’s wonderful to see Jimmy wrestle more. He’s a hardcore match specialist but he really can wrestle well too – not something he often shows off – and it’s great to see him unleash that more, showing another subtle but key difference between him as a fan favourite now and the monster villain he was.

Of course, post match Pete and Trent relished beating down Jimmy. Jimmy has feuds going with both British Strong Style and the Swords of Essex. But of course he burned every bridge when he was the monster villain of PROGRESS, when he destroying everyone. Who on earth is going to help him? Well, Flash Morgan Webster’s music hit and out he came, returning to PROGRESS for the first time since his Cruiserweight Classic Qualifying Match early last year. He was severely injured then and has been out of wrestling ever since. We have missed The Modfather and his uber cool uber talented air. The Ballroom exploded with delight and Flash came out looking wonderful in John Lennon shades and an awesome long green duffle coat with ‘In Mod We Trust’ painted on the back. Great to see how he’s developed his look in his absence.

But that wasn’t all. Flash held up a finger and then Mark Haskins’ music hit! The Ballroom exploded again – Mark was last seen after tearfully giving up the PROGRESS Title in October last year during to prevailing neck problems that needed time to heal. He and Flash knocked fists and ran to the ring to beat up Pete and Trent who eventually escape to the entrance stage. Mark grabbed the mic and announced that he and Flash were cleared to wrestle again and that Pete had something that belonged to him and that if they wanted a war, they’d get one!

I was cheering so much and I had tears in my eyes because I know how much Mark loves PROGRESS and how much he hated being away. He and Flash are so beloved and they’ve been deeply missed and seeing them there, so fired up, so pleased to be back and fighting, was a wonderful heartfelt moment that I will treasure. Anthony was smug and thrillled as he'd guessed they'd be around - he's so good at untwisting twists. Also, it makes perfect story sense – neither Flash or Mark were burned by Jimmy when he was a villain, so they have no beef with him. Jimmy staggered to his feet and paused before accepting Flash’s handshake, after all when he accepted Will’s last month he got beaten down. I love moments like that, that show character nuance and real thought. And Mark shook his hand too, finally sealing that Jimmy has allies in his fight. Jimmy then grabbed a folding chair, the one Trent had been using on him, and stomped off towards the entrance stage to deal with Trent and Pete no doubt who’d already left. It was a great character way for Jimmy to leave the ring for Mark and Flash to enjoy and soak in the adulation and welcome back. What a way to end a show! A joyful heart-punch of sheer adrenaline happiness.

Title: Too Many Mirages
Fandom: Robin of Sherwood
Characters: Richard of Leaford, Nasir, Little John, Much, Marion
Rating: G
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Spoilers: Set post series and post audio-play The Knights of the Apocalypse.
Summary: Sir Richard of Leaford sees Robin Hood’s men, is pained by grief and anger, and misses and despairs of his daughter.

Read it here.
31st-Jan-2017 09:54 pm - R.I.P John Hurt (1940 - 2017)

Sir John Hurt was so many people.

He was Quentin Crisp in the massively acclaimed The Naked Civil Servant.

He was the voice of the Dragon in Merlin.

He was the Alien crewmember who memorably and graphically had an alien burst through his chest.

He was The Elephant Man.

He was Caligula in hit miniseries I, Claudius.

He was the War Doctor in Doctor Who.

He was a hellraiser, one of the crowd with Peter O’Toole, and didn't give up the drink and smoking until after he married for the fourth time in 2005. He was staying with Richard Burton the night Burton died and always refused to talk about that night. He was a man who possessed the most incredible raspy evocative voice.

He was a man who knew that playing a vivid variety of roles meant you were never pigeon-holed and never bored. He was delighted by the reception he received from Doctor Who fans for his work on the 50th Anniversary Special and went on to record a series of Doctor Who audio plays as the War Doctor.

I will think of him as the War Doctor, for his work in Hellboy and V for Vendetta, for his fabulous craggy looks, his utter bravery in taking on literally anything and relishing a challenge, and for that amazing voice. I don’t know if I really have the words to sum up the astonishing rich long life of John Hurt. I just know he was many things and many people and that he was absolutely adored.

I’ll end with a link to my favourite John Hurt story that I read in the aftermath of his passing. It’s just wonderful and makes me smile every time I read it.

25th-Jan-2017 10:39 pm - R.I.P Gorden Kaye (1941 - 2017)

Gorden Kaye was superb as Rene Artois in ‘Allo ‘Allo, a broad sitcom taking swipes at everyone involved in World War II. The character has outrageous affairs with his waitresses, tries to understand what on earth the English are going on about and does his best to keep the Germans from realising how flexible his loyalty actually is. Regardless of what you think of the show – it hasn’t aged brilliantly – Kaye is brilliant as the lead character, the one around whom the outrageous madness spins. It’s a show that Anthony utterly adores, the first sitcom he ever remembers watching. I’m grateful to Kaye for being part of something that makes Anthony so very happy.

He survived a terrible car crash – which included advertising boarding smashing through his front windscreen – resulting in a awful head injuries and prominent facial scar. But he recovered his identity - 'Allo 'Allo co-creator Jeremy Lloyd believed that it was watching episodes of the show that helped Kaye remember who he was - and continued working on the sitcom.

I treasure him best as Rene, but for the performance he gave as Rene in the Children’s Royal Variety Performance 1992, singing ‘Be Our Guest’ to the show’s hero at the top of the show. I don’t know if these performances are still done annually as they were, for an audience of parents and children and all the money made going to charity. They were the delight of my childhood and the 1992 & 1993 versions did more than anything to shape my love of magical transporting stories and fantasy. I’m so glad they both exist on YouTube for me to enjoy. Rene’s wry scenes make me smile even now; absolutely the same character from the sitcom, transported into something very different, and he can hold a tune.

Describing the character that so completely defined him, Kaye commented: "Honestly, there is no other character I would rather have played."

[Lack of photo at the top of this tribute is due to Photobucket screwing up my laptop every time I try to use it!]

Title: Out For Blood
Fandom: WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment)
Characters: Johnny Gargano/Tommaso Ciampa
Rating: M
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Summary: Johnny’s always wished he wasn’t just human. Being a wrestler is the next best thing, especially when it means making it to NXT and meeting and teaming with wolf-blood Tommaso Ciampa.

Read it here.
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