My Dad and Roy Kinnear: When Anoraks Collide

This week, if he was still alive, my father would have been 80 years old. We’ve marked the milestone with a pint or two of Guinness and fulsome toasts to him.

I’ve been thinking about Dad a lot recently, trying to pass on some of his prodigious wit and wisdom to my children, both of whom were too young to have known him when he died.

Roy Kinnear, Wikipedia
Roy Kinnear, Wikipedia

The other night I was watching Rory Kinnear in Skyfall when I remembered a funny incident from my teenage years: his father, actor Roy Kinnear, and my father bonding over anoraks.

Dad was a dapper man, who wore a well-cut suit to work and never owned a pair of jeans. However, some time in the late 1970s he flirted with what might be termed communist worker chic. He bought himself a navy anorak “for hacking around in.”

It was a utilitarian, padded affair, with a zip up the front. It was probably waterproof. It was unlovely and unfashionable, and Dad wore it into the ground.

For years Dad’s navy anorak was his go-to coat for any and every eventuality. He wore it to the rugby, to mass, to walk the dog and even once — to my mother’s consternation — to parents’ night at our school.

The anorak gradually lost any lustre it once may have had and became the very model of lived-in. But still Dad loved it and stubbornly wore it even with the indelible stains and fraying edges. Meanwhile, Mum’s dislike of the navy anorak steadily grew and she would urge him to get rid of it.

On one of the anorak’s last outings Mum, Dad and I headed into Kingston for a spot of shopping. I was about 14 and, like Dad, loathed shopping so I joined him sitting on an upholstered bench in the Bentalls’ ladieswear department, kicking our heels while Mum was trying on clothes.

A man came over to the bench and sighed deeply as he sat down next to us. Dad nudged me. “See that?” he said, pointing an elbow towards our neighbour. “He’s wearing my anorak.” Sure enough, he was wearing the same anorak as Dad, albeit a slightly less battered version. He nudged the man: “Nice anorak,” he said.

The man looked up and it was Roy Kinnear. He looked Dad up and down and started to laugh. “My wife hates it,” he said. “So does mine,” said Dad. And that was the start of a conversation about all things anorak that had the two of them in stitches.

By the time Mum came back to claim us both men were slapping their knees and crying with laughter.

Henceforth, any criticism of the navy anorak was countered with, “Roy Kinnear’s got one just like it.” It had a stay of execution, and Dad and I privately referred to it as “The Kinnear.” However, not even fame by association could save the navy anorak from its own personal Waterloo.

Out shopping for ski gear for my first school trip abroad, my parents and I bumped into a classmate and her well-groomed parents. Very unusually for him, Dad hadn’t shaved that day and had paired the anorak with his threadbare allotment trousers. As we left the house Mum had warned that he looked like a down and out, but he shrugged it off because we were only going to C&A.

My classmate’s father took one look at mine and assumed he’d fallen on hard times. Hence an awkward phone call later that day from her mother asking if there was anything they could do to help us out. My mother binned the anorak.

Gone, but not forgotten, the anorak lives-on in memories. Every time he saw Roy Kinnear on television Dad would say, “He’s got my anorak.” The other night my husband raised an eyebrow as I pointed at Rory Kinnear and said, “His dad and my dad had the same anorak, you know.”



The Game of Thrones Cast: Don’t I Know You From Somewhere?


As the magnificent Game of Thrones Series/Season 3 cracks on apace, viewers could be forgiven for thinking that some of the faces look a bit familiar.

The Game of Thrones supporting cast is, quite frankly, awesome, despite the lack of Timothy Dalton and Christopher Eccleston.

The latest appearance to have TVClaw spilling wine on the floor was Stannis Baratheon’s wife, Lady Macbeth Selyse.

Creepy Selyse is played by Tara Fitzgerald who, back in the early to mid-’90s, cornered the market in period drama heroines with starring roles in The Woman in White, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and The Camomile Lawn.

She also co-starred as the small but determined heroine in films with Hugh Grant and Ewan McGregor before heading back to the small screen post-2000 as Dr Eve Lockhart in Waking the Dead and its spin-off series, The Body Farm.

So, who else looks familiar? Check out the TVClaw “Who He?” Game of Thrones rundown and feel free to add your own celeb spots in the Comments section.

But please: NO SPOILERS.

Keen-eyed viewers will have most recently seen Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton), Brynden ‘Blackfish’ Tully (Clive Russell), Bronn (Jerome Flynn), Ser Barristan Selmy (Ian McElhinney), Hodor (Hodor! Kristian Nairnand Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) in Series/Season 1 of Ripper Street.

In fact, the Game of ThronesRipper Street bonds are so deep that when the luxuriant ginger beard of Tormund Giantsbane first hoved into view, TVClaw initially thought it was Artherton (David Wilmot). But alas, it wasn’t.*

Meanwhile, Ser Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) and Ser Barristan featured in recent nautical drama Titanic: Blood and Steel

Davos was then joined underwater in a Cold War-era Russian submarine in Doctor Who by Lady Catelyn’s brother Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies).

Long ago, Edmure was the man to whom a blood-soaked Mance Rayder (Ciarán Hinds) uttered the immortal line, “et tu, Brute?” in Rome.

Viewers with long memories may remember Thoros of Myr (Paul Kaye) as the celeb-baiting spoof interviewer Dennis Pennis. Remember when he squirted Tom Cruise with water?

How about Maester Pycelle (Julian Glover)? Remember him from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade? Or The Empire Strikes Back?

Before he was smithing in Game of Thrones, Gendry (Joe Dempsie) was hunted by Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) in The Fades, a short-lived supernatural thriller on the BBC.

Margaery’s Gorgon of a grandmother, Lady Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg), originally found fame as Emma Peel in The Avengers.  (No, not that one, this one.) She was also — briefly — Mrs James Bond.

Before he was King in the North, Robb Stark (Richard Madden) was in the Birdsong trenches with his uncle Benjen Stark (Joseph Mawle).

Karl (Burn Gorman), the treacherous Nights Watchman who killed Kraster, was known in a previous life as the libidinous Owen Harper in Torchwood.

Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish (Aidan Gillen) cut his scheming teeth in Baltimore, playing conniving local politico Tommy Carcetti in The Wire.

You may have recognised wildling Osha (Natalia Tena) as Tonks from the Harry Potter films, but did you spot Jojen Reed (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) as the kid from Love, Actually or the classic Doctor Who two-parter, ‘Family of Blood’? (Which also starred Viserys Targaryen, a.k.a. Harry Lloyd.)

LATE ADDITION: Watching Hot Fuzz last night I spotted The Hound (Rory McCann) as the homicidal supermarket trolley boy who just says “Yarp” a lot. Plus Walder Frey (David Bradley) as the incomprehensible, heavily armed local with a sea mine in his shed.

*Giantsbane is played by excellent Norwegian actor Kristofer Hivju. Who features heavily in this ginger beard “appreciation blog.” 

In the UK: Game of Thrones airs Mondays at 9pm on Sky Atlantic
In the US: Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9pm ET on HBO

Ripper Street Series/Season 2 premieres on BBC1 and BBC America in early 2014

Twitter: @TVClaw

Grand Days Out: Richmond Park

‘The Way’ Gates (Photo: Catherine Lawson)

Growing up right by Richmond Park meant that I spent a lot of time there as a child.

Year-round we rode our bikes and walked various dogs now long-dead. We ate Marmite sandwiches on the grass in the summer, and watched dad play rugby in the autumn and winter.

One of my happiest memories is of sneaking in at night with dad to stand atop King Henry’s Mound in Pembroke Lodge and stare at Halley’s Comet through binoculars.

However, never having owned a pair of wellies until quite recently (my mother got chillblains after wearing a pair precisely once in the winter of 1961 and so forswore them as the work of the devil), I must confess that my fond memories of Richmond Park are tempered with memories of squelching home miserably with wet, cold feet and soaked trousers.

So, having made sure the sprogs were kitted out with wellies and raincoats, Mr Lawson and I took them for a long walk in the woods on Saturday. It was one of those glorious, sunny autumnal days, and the leaves were a thousand different shades of red, gold and amber.

Now, I’d love to report that our walk was an Elysian idyll, free from noise or crowds, but as Richmond Park is home to legions of sweating MAMILs at the weekend parts of our route felt a bit like Piccadilly Circus just after chucking-out time. Dozens of grey-faced panting men lurched past us at speed while others sat quivering on the grass, heads on knees.

We parked in Pembroke Lodge car park and crossed the road (dodging the hordes of Wiggins-wannabes) to make a circuit of what I’ve always known as “the circular woody bit oppposite Pembroke Lodge.” Thanks to the Royal Parks website I discovered an hour or so ago that it’s actually called Sidmouth Woods. Who knew?

‘The Way’ Gates and Sidmouth Woods (Photo: Catherine Lawson)

Having rambled around the circular woody bit Sidmouth Woods, we were admiring the panoramic views of London and beyond when we stumbled upon these magnificent gates.

Called The Way, they are the work of young artist blacksmith Joshua De Lisle and were unveiled in June 2012 to mark the tercentenary of St Paul’s Cathedral.

St Paul’s and Richmond Park are connected via a protected 10-mile view of the cathedral from King Henry’s Mound.

The gates depict oak branches, which gradually morph into a concave top suggesting the curves of Christopher Wren’s dome. He is further acknowledged in the gates with the inclusion of a small wren sitting in the foliage.

They really are beautiful. Stand next to them and take in the vista through the trees beyond with, or without, binoculars. Then head to Pembroke Lodge and look again, this time with the aid of the telescope on King Henry’s Mound. You won’t be disappointed.

Follow me on Twitter: @TVClaw

The Friday Goodies: Earthanasia

(Photo: BBC)

“What haven’t I done yet? Or what have I done that I enjoyed so much I want to do it again?

The Goodies freak out after they hear an announcement on the radio that the world will be blown up that night.

With less than half an hour to go, they scramble to work out what they want to do with the last few  minutes of their life. Cue regression therapies and fantasies about the Three Degrees.

Follow me on Twitter: @TVClaw

Doctor Who: Matt Smith Not Leaving!

With Doctor Who 7 looming (huzzah) it seems like a good time to revisit the past ahead of what promises to be a tumultuous season.

Back in March 2012 I had the pleasure of interviewing Doctor Who stars Matt Smith and Karen Gillan for The Huffington Post.

I sat down with them at the frankly awesome Doctor Who Convention in Cardiff, Wales on March 24 and 25 to talk about all things Whovian.

Smith chatted about his future as the Eleventh Doctor, the timing and manner of Amy and Rory’s departure in Season 7, and what he would like to do next. Plus, he revealed the cast’s nickname for Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat.

The stars weighed in on the Doctor’s new companion, Jenna-Louise Coleman, and Smith threw down the gauntlet to Who wannabe, Helen Mirren. Click over to HuffPostTV for all of the scoop.

Have You Read the One About … ?

So, I’ve been busy with the Olympics and have shamefully neglected my nascent blog this week. Coming soon: my Olympics blog for The Huffington Post. It will contain my musings on all things ‘lymp-tastic.

In the meantime, why not dip your toes into some of my other work?

The Huffington Post, for my articles about all things television, including Doctor Who and Etonian actors taking over the world:

The Daily Telegraph, for my officially expert advice on what to do, see, eat, buy in London:

AOL TV/TV Squad live on in name-only now, but are (were?) the late, lamented TV blogs full of terrifically well-informed and funny writers and editors. I used to write a lot of TV news articles very early in the morning for these sites:

TV Replay is part of HuffPost TV. I used to write up clips of the best bits of the previous night’s television shows:

Follow me on Twitter: @TVClaw

Hello world!

Welcome to my new blog, taking you inside the mind of me, Catherine Lawson, a.k.a. TVClaw. I’m a freelance entertainment editor and writer, now living in London, formerly of New York City.

Check back later for some more posts, but for now I’ve got to cook dinner and then cheer on Tom Daley in the Olympics diving.

Follow me on Twitter: @TVClaw