Tuesday, 18 December 2018

My Top TV of 2018 (Part 2, 25 - 11)

My Top TV of 2018. We've already seen the Runners Up, ones that Lost It this year, and the winner of the Hast Thou Got Crops In Jethro prize (here). So who's made the chart?

26) A special mention for The Apprentice, only cos I was in it. It's a staple, and one we enjoy. But one of the genuine best TV shows of the year? Sorry Lord Siralan.

25) Disenchantment (Netflix)

Matt Groening’s fairytale animation erred on the side of fairytale telling and kept forgetting to keep the comedy in there, especially towards the end. No Futurama, but fun.

24) Peaky Blinders (BBC, on Netflix)

We came to this a few years after everyone else and, three seasons in, now understand what everyone was going on about.

23) The Good Place (Netflix)

Seasons 1 and 2 were excellent, but season 3 is less so. These charts are hard to compile when you watch all three win the same year.

22) Vanity Fair (ITV) 

An excellent new adaptation, getting the most of the comedy and drama in Thackeray. Definitely wins best 19th Century period drama of the year.

21) Mum 2 (BBC)

Still brilliant, a quiet comedy gem that will be a delight to revisit for years to come.

20) Inside No 9 (BBC)

A fourth excellent series may not have been as strong as their earlier ones, but the live Halloween episode earns them a place in anyone’s chart.

19) Preacher 3 (Amazon)

Suffering a little from the spend-a-season-in-one-location trap that made Walking Dead so boring, Preacher still has more novel ideas than most shows. And I did love the comics.

18) Feud: Bette & Joan (FX/BBC) 

The first of four shows in my chart made by FX, which I didn’t realise until I double-checked. They are punching above their weight. These award-winning impersonations were to die for.

17) Upstart Crow 3 (BBC)

After a year doing Shakespeare with the Socks, I still remain the person who admits liking this series. Ended on a bit of a downer, but hopefully the Christmas episode will save it.

16) Black Mirror 4 (Netflix)

Diverse, dark, and wearing its big budget on its sleeve, these dystopian sci fi stories did what I wish Doctor Who would do. A few too many had the same “brain thing stuck to the temple” theme to them, but that’s a small quibble for such amazing imaginative fiction.

15) Better Call Saul 3 (Netflix)

And then nothing happened. Such mastery of the screen, to be able to spin so little action out so well, but by golly they do. Sooooooo well.

14) Handmaids Tale 2 (C4/Hulu)

Not getting any lighter, and still doing things in TV storytelling that no-one else has done, an adaptation of a 30 year old book continues to amaze.

13) The Crown 2 (Netflix)

It suffers from being on at the start of the year. If it had just been on, I’d probably put it at number one. Being divided into such perfect stand alone films this will be a delight to revisit. As it is, let me join the BAFTAs in not giving it the praise it deserves by squeezing it out of the top ten.

12) GLOW 2 (Netflix)

Such good fun, and continuing to mine the characters of its wide range of diverse characters, the lady wrestlers are better TV now than lady wrestlers can possibly have been in real life.

11) Talking Pictures TV (Freeview channel 81, Virgin channel 445)

It’s not a show, it’s a channel and if I haven’t raved about it to you yet, just corner me at a party sometime. Showing old films, largely British, it became our have-on-in-the-background channel this year. We wake up to it, fill gaps with it. And, every now and again, watch an entire movie on it. The best wallpaper on TV, and the channel that’s had me going to Google most often to find out whatever happened to the actor we’re looking at.

And my Top Ten TV of 2018? Thanks for asking, it look like this…

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video here

Monday, 17 December 2018

2018’s Most Popular Celebrity with schoolkids is..?

This year my visits to schools took me to Switzerland twice and to all points of the British Isles. Yes even the Isle Of Wight. As always in my Comic Art Masterclasses I ask the kids to come up with a celebrity to draw in my demonstration strip. I get four suggestions from the room, then do a quick knockout between them so we end up with what should be the room’s favourite. It seems to keep them focussed on the strip I then draw, and gives me the opportunity for a bit of improv around the character, which is always fun. The celebrities they choose get mentioned somewhere on each cover.

So who did they choose in 2018? Here are the results.

ONCERS - only chosen the one time

Anthony Joshua
Ariana Grande
Barry Scott (Cillit Bang)
Bear Grylls
Boris Johnson
Bruce Willis
Craig Revel Horwood
Daniel Radcliffe
David Bowie
Eddie Redmayne
Gigi Hadid (a model)
Harry Styles
Hugh Jackman
Jake Paul (a Youtuber)
Jeff Kinney (Diary Of A Wimpy Kid)
JK Rowling
John Cena

John Travolta
Jon Bon Jovi
Justin Bieber
Mary Berry
Olly Murrs
Pablo Escobar
Paul Walker (Fast & Furious)
Prince Harry
Roald Dahl
Robbie Williams
Robert Downey Jr
Selena Gomez
Stephen Hawking
Stan Lee
Taylor Swift
The Pope
Theresa May
Tom Holland
Tom Jones
Usain Bolt
Vladimir Putin
Will Ferrell

…of which my favourite stand-out original suggestions have to be…

Angus Young of ACDC
Gilbert O’Sullivan
Geoff Nutkins (aviation artist)
William The Conqueror
Sir Isaac Newton
Bob Ross


Ali A  
Chris Pratt 
Elvis Presley  
Gordon Ramsay 
Harry Hill
Johnny Depp  
Kanye West  
Kevin Hart  
Lionel Messi  

7th PLACE - chosen 3 times each

Ant McPartlin (2017 once)
Barack Obama (2017 6th/5, 2016 5th/6, 2015 8th/4)
Beyonce (2017 twice, 2016 once)
Cristiano Ronaldo (2017 3rd/8, 2016 11th/3, 2015 4th/8)
Tom Cruise (2017 once, 2016 once) 

6th PLACE - chosen 4 times each

David Attenborough (2017 once)
David Beckham (2017 not chosen, 2016 7th/5)
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson (2017 twice)

5th PLACE - chosen 5 times each

David Walliams (2017 5th/6, 2016 not chosen, 2015 7th/5)
The Queen (2017 5th/6, 2016 5th/6, 2015 5th/7)

4th PLACE - chosen 6 times

Declan Donnelly (2017 once)

THIRD PLACE - chosen 8 times each

Kim Kardashian (2017 4th/7, 2016 4th/7, 2015 3rd/10)
Kim Jong Un (2017 not chosen, 2016 once)
Michael Jackson (2017 7th /4, 2016 11th/3, 2015 2nd/12)

SECOND PLACE - chosen 16 times

Simon Cowell

(2017 2nd/11; 2016 2nd/20; 2015, 14 & 13 1st Place)

And the WINNER, for the third year running:

Donald Trump  - chosen 30 times

(2017 42 times, 2016 25 times, 2015 twice, before that he’d never been mentioned)

Thanks for joining in with this futile and not-even-quasi-scientific study. We look forward to reporting back on more such trivia in 2019.

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video here

Suck Your Bum In - the last kids comics of the year

And, with these two comics by kids at North Tawton Primary in Devon, my Comic Art Masterclasses come to an end for 2018. December's usually a quiet month, for obvious reasons, so this was a nice pair of strong covers to go out with. The first group's teacher wanted a historic theme, and got it. The second group, luckily, couldn't spell blew.

Two classes in a day, one in Knaresborough, one in Ripon. And, by dint of the fact that I'm writing this blog a fortnight later, I can remember nothing about either class. Looks like they were fun. The phrase "suck your bum in" is a thing I say to get kids to tuck their chairs in so I can get past. And now it's been immortalised, hallelujah.

This comic cover and flipchart are from an afternoon class in Resolven in South Wales (followed by a Socks gig later). It was the day after Stan Lee dies, hence the commemorative flipchart and, pleasingly, their choice for the celebrity in the demonstration strip.

I've done two classes now with kids for the Cleft Lip and Palate Association, putting together material for a Clapa comic, to be fully properly printed with the kids strips themselves forming the majority of the magazine, finished off by me. This was part of that, from a session in London.

The celebs five of these six groups chose to star in my demonstration strip were Ant McPartlin, Declan Donnelly (twice), Stan Lee and Simon Cowell (we dispensed with the demo strip for the Clapa group because of timing). Which means I can now draw up the final list of The Most Popular Celebrity As Chosen By Kids in 2018...

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video here

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Band Aid 1974

DAVID ESSEX It's Christmas time, there's no need to be afraid
At Christmas time we let in light and we banish shade

ELTON JOHN And in our world of plenty, we can spread a smile of joy
Throw your arms around the world at Christmas time


ROD STEWART But say a prayer, pray for the other ones, at Christmas time it's hard

ROGER DALTREY But when you're having fun, there's a world outside your window

GARY GLITTER And it's a world of dread and fear

BRIAN CONNOLLY of SWEET Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears

LES GRAY of MUD & BRYAN FERRY And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom

NODDY HOLDER Well tonight thank God it's them instead of you

DAVID BOWIE And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas time
The greatest gift they'll get this year is life

LULU, GILBERT O’SULLIVAN & SUZI QUATRO Where nothing ever grows, no rain nor rivers flow

ROY WOOD & MARC BOLAN Do they know it's Christmas time at all?

PAUL McCARTNEY Here's to you 
THE WHO Raise a glass for everyone

JOHN LENNON Here's to them 
THE WHO Underneath that burning sun

McCARTNEY, LENNON, HARRISON & STARR Do they know it's Christmas time at all?


Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Merry Christmas from Kev F & The Scottish Falsetto Socks

Hopefully everyone who's getting this through the post has already had it, so here for the world at large is this year's official Christmas card from Kev F the comic artist, and the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre.

On there you'll see just a fraction of the comics I've produced in this year's Comic Art Masterclasses, you can see my major comic productions Woman Of The Bible and Joseph, you can see the Socks' with their Superheroes comic commemorating this year's hit show, and you can see their award that they won for Best Joke at this year's Bath Comedy Festival. You can also probably spot my appearance on The Apprentice, which was my moment of televisual glory this year.

And since you're on, how about a special treat for you. Here's the original version of the card that was almost going to go to the printers before I decided it frankly didn't say "Christmas" enough. Can you spot the difference?

Merry Christmas everyone, and a happy new year when it comes.

(TOP SECRET sneak preview - now don't tell anyone you've seen this cos they're not out yet, but for those of you who've scrolled down this far, here is Hev & Kev's 2018 Christmas card - and it's in 3D. You'll need a 3D viewer to see it properly (sorry we can't send one to everyone. But if you have one, the classic Victorian kind which holds the image about three inches from your eyes and has two little eyeholes with lenses in to focus with, then download this image to your phone - swipe and it should copy - fill the screen with it portaitways, and voila! Let your eyes focus and, bingo, it's in 3D. I for one am very impressed. All Hev's idea, using her Pollocks toy theatre and images from her Lulu book and exhibition. I just helped with the execution. Enjoy)

Here, should you be interested, are my some past cards from...

2017 - Kev F comic card, the Socks' card
2016 - Kev F comic card, the Socks' Shakespeare card
2015 - Kev F comic card, the Socks' Minging Detectives card
2014 - teasers for mine & the Socks' cards, I failed to put the finished things online!
2013 - Kev F schools card, the Socks don't seem to have had one
2012 - Hev & Kev's fairytale card (a classic, above), Kev F schools card,
2011 - Hev & Kev's and the Socks cards
2010 - Hev & Kev's card (below), and Kev F comic card

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video here

Merry Christmas from Mum

Merry Christmas from Mum, Corral Sutherland. As you probably know she's not well and is in a care home in Kibworth, so we've helped her out finishing off the card (all the drawings are hers though) and sending them. A lucky few have the printed card, but she wants everyone to see it, and please print it out and stick it on the wall if you can.

Merry Christmas, love from Mum, Jude, Heather, me and all the extended family.

Here are some of the preparatory stages that went into the completing of the card. Mum had a couple of stabs at drawing the final five groups of characters.

The original Maids A Milking and piper, from back in September.

A first draft of the card, from September, which I'm glad we didn't go with. It's my layout and, ouch, it hurts my eyes. What was I thinking?

Mum's revised Maids A Milking, with which she was a lot happier. And in case you never saw her original Twelve Days Of Christmas cards, which began in 2013, here's how the first one looked.

Just to remind you that, when she was on top form, Mum's draughtsmanship knocks spots off anything I've ever managed to do. Merry Christmas all.

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video here

Hev & Kev in RCA Secrets

Check me out, front and centre on the front page of the RCA Secrets website this year. What do you mean you've never heard of it? For shame. Look, here's one of Hev's entries...

That's just one of Hev's three cards in this year's RCA Secrets, I have three in there as well. And is that Michael Bartlett, to the right, the same man who was head of my 4D Department at Exeter in the 1980s? It would be brilliant if it was.

The way RCA Secrets works is that a number of artists, by invitation don't cha know, are given three postcards each, to decorate as they see fit. These cards are then displayed, anonymously, and sold on opening night, with all moneys going to the support of the Royal College Of Art.

Here's an interview I did with RCA Secrets back in 2011.

Artists who've entered this year include Jeremy Dellar, Grayson Perry, Nick Park, Maggi Hambling, Ridley Scott and hundreds more. And, of course, Kev Sutherland and Heather Tweed.

Both Heather's and my cards were produced during her exhibition at Christmas Steps back in September. Heather's are prints based on Lulu, the circus performer she's doing work on, and my cards were simply biro drawings of the gallery and Hev's exhibition.

I hope our cards have gone to good homes. I've only ever met one person who's ever bought my card, I suppose statistically it's unlikely that I should even have managed that. She was a teacher at The Brit School, as I recall. Hmm, I wonder if my niece Shona has met her. We should compare notes. Anyhoo, here's to being invited to be in RCA Secrets again next time, and congratulations to all the buyers who got a surprisingly valuable card by a top artist. Commiserations to whoever got me again.

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video here
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