Voices

These letters appear in the Monday 14th October edition of the Independent

Media: Have the likely lads had their last laugh?: The critics may not like their latest series, but Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais are not about to quit after 30 years in TV comedy, says Sue Summers

FOR more than 30 years, Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais have written classics of television drama. Their big hit of the Sixties was The Likely Lads; in the Seventies, it was Porridge; in the Eighties, Auf Wiedersehn, Pet. Each combined brilliantly observed characterisation with mainstream entertainment.

Letter: The strange case of 'Bengal famine gruel'

Sir: It was with some astonishment that I learnt from Anne Symonds's afterword (Gazette, 23 January) to the obituary of Dame Janet Vaughan that the distinguished doctor claimed that thousands of British prisoners of war returning from the Far East in 1945, and also the victims of the Belsen concentration camp, owe their lives to a simple solution of powdered milk with a few additives prescribed by herself.

Eight-year-old murders mother

PEKING (Reuter) - An eight-year-old only child who poisoned his mother when she refused to buy him a toy car was killed by his enraged father, who then committed suicide, the Jiangsu Legal News said.

Recipe: Go to work on a drink

IT IS a strange old world, especially in the morning. A quick poll of what my colleagues eat for breakfast showed up some diverse, and occasionally unappetising, habits. One, for example, consumes fruit-flavoured yoghurt and lemon tea every morning. Your contributions tend to be more wholesome, but every bit as individualistic. Frank and Marian McGreevy of Church Stretton, Shropshire, submit an 'Irish porridge' recipe. It dictates that the oats be cooked overnight and finished with whiskey.

TELEVISION BRIEFING / Follow that cab

If you are a new franchise-holder making your debut network comedy programme, you could do a lot worse than ask Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais to write it for you. FULL STRETCH (9pm ITV), made for Meridian, the new South and South-East franchise-holder, may not match up to some of their Greatest Hits (The Likely Lads, Porridge), and a cab office is not the most original setting (Taxi, Rides, Carry on Cabby), but this six-part series gives the viewer a pleasant enough ride. In the first episode, we are introduced to Baz (Kevin McNally), a former Chelsea footballer from the era of Peter Osgood and 'Chopper' Harris who now runs the Ivory Tower limo service. The office, run by a wheelchair-bound Sue Johnston, is festooned with pictures of Bruce Forsyth and the Chippendales, and his motley crew of drivers includes a resting actor called Tarquin (Reece Dinsdale) and a female athlete training for the Atlanta Olympics (Rowena King). Tonight, Tarquin has the opportunity to say 'I had that David Bowie in the back of my cab.'

Letter: National potential bogged down in porridge

Sir: Christopher Huhne ('How to escape from our history of failure', 18 September) is right. Inflation and exchange rate policy, by themselves, can do little to improve the UK's international competitiveness.
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