CRIES & WHISPERS: Hello, hello, good to be back

WE AT Cries & Whispers were on holiday last week - not for our own benefit, mind, but for that of the showbiz folk whose parlous mental state depends on what may be written about them in this column every Sunday. Well, they can breathe easily for another seven days, as this week we clear the desk of the holiday backlog.

Further to Cries' revelation that someone called Tony Blair is thanked in the sleevenotes of R Kelly's album, 12 Play, Andy Danson from Bradford has kindly directed my attention to the smallprint of the first Ben Folds Five album. On the last track, "the cello is credited to a Chris Eubank, and even more bizarrely, this rather moving song is called 'Boxing'."

Other readers have written in to suggest ways of improving the Cries and Whispers festive party game, Carry On Drinking. So, in addition to the Carry On occurrences listed, take a swig every time there is an excrement joke, every time Charles Hawtrey says, "Oh, hello", and every time there is a sliding whistle on the soundtrack. I'm very happy to pass on these amendments, mainly because those people who neglected to buy the paper over New Year won't have a clue what I'm on about.

Last of the Summer Wine has just returned for, at last count, its 83rd series, with Peter Sallis, as ever, playing the part of Clegg. Sallis should by now be better known as the voice of Wallace, from Nick Park's Oscar-winning Wallace & Gromit animations, but the articles written in praise of the Plasticene pair never seem to acknowledge him. Looking up the IoS database of newspaper cuttings, we find 546 references to Wallace & Gromit. Of these, 238 mention Park, and a paltry 11 mention Sallis. Eleven! Cries & Whispers says: Justice for Peter Sallis! He voiced the first Wallace film when Park was a mere student, and he, Sallis, was a nationally renowned actor, which makes him the Harvey Keitel to Park's Quentin Tarantino. By rights, then, he should now be appearing in every cool, independent cartoon there is.

Last year's Demi Moore movie, GI Jane, was advertised with the line, "Failure is Not an Option", a maxim that was ignored by the film's box- office performance. More recently, Paul Verhoeven's mandible-fest Starship Troopers was promoted with several different billboard slogans, including "Victory Is Our Only Option". And now there are posters all over the country (or, at least, my local underground station) for the computer game, Command and Conquer: Red Alert, posters that are emblazoned with the words "Surrender Is Not an Option". I know it's a tough job thinking up slogans for militaristic fluff, but if there's a copywriter who sold this one to three different clients he should be ashamed of himself.

Just as the Glenn Miller Band made records after Miller's plane went down, the Chris Evans breakfast show is now broadcast on Fridays without Evans. While the nominal presenter has a day off to practise leering at female celebrities for TFI Friday, his usual team of sycophants do the radio show without him. Two mornings ago, I listened to the first of these Chris-in-name-only shows, in the hope of writing something pithy about it, but after 90 smug, dreary minutes of ads, Aerosmith, and plugs for TFI, I decided I had sacrificed too much of my life already. Maybe next week I should follow Evans's example. I'll get someone else to write about his show, and put my own name at the bottom.

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