Saturday, 16 December 2017

My Top TV of 2017 (Part 2, 25 - 11)

MY TOP TV OF 2017 25 - 11

Having already listed the Also Rans, the shows that have Lost It this year, and the Hast Thou Got Crops In Jethro shows in my personal TV favourites of 2017, here comes the rundown of the real winners.

25 - Rellik (BBC 1)

Telling a story backwards has been done before, most famously by Seinfeld and Memento, and this was more of an exercise than a satisfying end result. But parts of it were excellent, and full marks to the Williams brothers for attempting it. Quite how a second series will work we'll have to see next year. (Or last year, I don't know how it works.)

24 - Orange Is The New Black 5 (Netflix)

Having dropped off my radar with its last two series, this "one season in a day" series won us back. Patchy and variable, as ever, it found its mojo and a couple of episodes were the tops.

23 - Murder In Successville 3 (BBC 3)

Possibly the funniest improv comedy that's ever been on telly, shockingly overlooked in this multi-channel landscape, its third series was as good as its predecessors. I'd put it on BBC1 primetime and see it slay Mrs Brown and Porridge, if I was in charge.

22 - Decline & Fall (BBC 1)

I have spent most of my life not realising how funny Evelyn Waugh is, probably as a result of TV adaptations that don't do him justice. But this, I realised as we got into it, was one of only a couple of Waugh novels that I'd actually read, albeit 35 years ago. And I bet most of the humour went over my head then. This time, with Jack Whitehall in the central role, it worked beautifully and was, at times, laugh out loud funny.

21 - Top Of The Pops 1983 / 84 (BBC 4)

This is usually in my Staples pile, and in truth gets fast-forwarded over in places. But these two years worth of TOTP are particularly strong examples, 1984 being one of the richest years, both musically and visually, of my younger years. Politically and socially 1984 was an outstanding year, and TOTP captures it marvellously, from Bronksi Beat to Band Aid, via Frankie Goes To Hollywood. 

20 - Roots (BBC 4 / History Channel)

Only a remake of a TV show from my childhood, but a powerful one, and stories that need to be told to every generation. Had me welling up at the end. Again, in the context of the racist president and the alt-right White House, watching this in 2017 was disappointingly similar to watching it in 1977 (when it was quite possibly up against the Black & White Minstrels on BBC1)

19 - The OA (Netflix)

One of those shows that suffers in the memory from having been on early in the year. Had we watched it in November, it might be in our top ten. As it is I'm struggling to remember how outstandingly original and surprising it was. But it was.

18 - Veep 5 (HBO DVD)

In this year's list, when it might have been in last year's for some, because (as Virgin media customers) we can't see Sky Atlantic shows so have to catch up with them on DVD. Simply the smartest and most consistent comedy writing to be had. The politics seem quaintly old fashioned in the context of the Trump Presidency, and make you nostalgic for the way things used to be done.

17 - Broken (BBC 1)

Jimmy McGovern's miserablist Priest drama with Sean Bean nearly fell into the Hast Thou Got Crops In Jethro category, but really punched above its weight with its topics, its great writing, and the close of the last episode which had us all welling up (and tweeting "you marvellous priest")

16 - Better Call Saul 3 (Netflix)

Again, I'm sure I'd have ranked it higher if we'd just finished watching it, and it continues to have the best photography on the screen. Another good season that, surprisingly, doesn't seem to get noticed at the Emmys.

15 - Urban Myths (Sky Arts)

A little overlooked gem from Sky Arts, short stories based on true or apocryphal real life incidents. Noel Clarke as Muhammed Ali, Eddie Marsan as Bob Dylan, Cary Grant taking acid with Timothy Leary, David Threlfall as Samuel Beckett, all really deserved to be seen by a wider audience.

14 - Roald Dahl's Way Out (CBS 1960)

An odd one, being a TV show that's not from this year, not from this decade, not even from this century. And not even consistently great. But it is this year's best TV surprise find, which I discovered purely as a result of looking at Wikipedia after seeing an episode of Tales Of The Unexpected. Who knew that, way back in 1961, Roald Dahl devised and presented an anthology series of horror and thriller stories, sponsored by a cigarette company, resulting in him smoking throughout, parts of which are as spooky now as they were 55 years ago? And you can see almost all of them on YouTube.

13 - Richard Osman's House Of Games (BBC 2)

Oh look, I know it's the cheapest show to make in this entire list. It's probably one of the cheapest shows to make in telly, but we loved it. As if to demonstrate how hard it is to come up with a good gameshow, the rest of TV failed to come up with one good new lasting format this year. Meanwhile House Of Games came up with half a dozen new game formats every episode, and half of them could probably hold their own as a separate programme. Look out for series 2 shooting up the ratings and probably crossing over to BBC 1, and if the boardgame isn't the biggest selling game of Xmas 2018, someone's missing a trick.

12 - Stranger Things 2 (Netflix)

If it hadn't been for Episode 7... (This was No 1 in my Top TV of 2016

11 - The Crown (1 & 2) (Netflix)

Another victim of the time of year. Last year I put it at No 2 in my list, because we hadn't finished watching the whole of season 1. And at time of writing we've only watched two episodes of season 2. Season 1 was, really, the best. Season 2's started with a bit of a slow one and a few anachronisms, but I bet it's going to warm up. Hey, like it needs my accolades. Look at all those BAFTAs it picked u - what's that you say? Oh come on.

So which shows made my Top Ten? Watch this space...

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

The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre return with a brand new show in 2018. Stay tuned.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Drawing Book Of Ruth, work in progress

Having completed the 8 page Jael Wife Of Heber (above) on December 1st (as recorded in this blog post, rather confusingly dated Nov 17th), at a rate that worked out at slightly faster than a page a day, the next strip on my desk is The Book Of Ruth. A 12 pager. Which I've only just got round to starting two weeks later.

What can I say, Christmas stuff has got in the way (and another illustration job for the Chartered Insurance Institute, and the production and posting of both The Socks Christmas card and my Comic Art Masterclass Christmas card, which always take more time than you expect. Oh, and I made four Socks videos when I should have been starting this work, and the Socks had gigs in Plymouth and in Grewelthorpe in North Yorkshire, now you ask. Excuses done.)

Whatever, today I started Book Of Ruth. So here is my virtual timesheet, so I can measure my pace.

Friday Dec 15th, approx 10.30am - 12.30, laying out all the boxes and voice bubbles, while listening to a week's worth of Popmaster on Radio 2.

Stay tuned for further progress.

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

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Top TV of 2017 - Lost It, Also Rans, & Has Thou Got Crops In Jethro?

My Top TV of 2017

First, before I get to the shows that I really rate from 2017, a couple of secondary categories


Winners of the Hast Thou Got Crops In Jethro? Prize (for shows that shoehorn life lessons in in place of drama)

3 - The A Word (aka The Bumhole Word, a family in-joke, take no notice) - Last year's winner of the Psychiatry Disguised As Entertainment Award

2 - Love Lies and Records - The soundtrack to this show could be the sound of boxes being ticked. Every gender and ethnicity gets a suck of the sauce stick, and a spelling-out of how they should be treated fairly in a just and modern society gets covered. Actually jolly good fun, and I should imagine it's wound up The Daily Mail no end, but sadly the message rather consumes the medium.

1 - The Good Place - A fun comedy, with a great cast and big budget, but the most "lesson learned" show I've seen since The Wonder Years used to end every week with "And that's when I realised...". Every time.


The Top 4 Shows That Lost It in 2017

4 - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - After 1 amazing series (No 4 in my 2015 chart) and a poorer 2nd (No 23 in 2016), this third series was so abysmal we gave up 3 episodes in

3 - The Get Down - Series 1 so good it was No 3 in my 2016 chart. This series had lost our interest by 2 lacklustre episodes and was given up on, not only by us, but by Baz Luhrmann too

2 - Fargo - I've had people telling me it was their favourite series, and parts of it were ground-breakingly excellent. But in comparison to its predecessors (No 3 in 2014 and No 6 in 2015 respectively) it was such a mess I felt it was best to give it pride of place in this list rather than lurk ignominiously in the Bubbling Under section

1 - The Walking Dead - What a bloody awful season of Walking Dead this Autumn's farrago has been. I mean, obviously, we keep watching it cos it's now much more of a soap opera than a miniseries, and we've seen it come back from the brink of oblivion before now like some kind of... some kind of dead creature that comes back to life there's probably a word for it. 


Things we watched & would love to have liked more (or, in some cases, even remember, though I made a note of them at the time, so they can't have been atrocious)

Hospital People, Babs, Kat & Alfie Redwater, Count Arthur Strong 2, Sherlock, Victoria 2, Apple Tree Yard, Triptank, The Loch, The Moorside, Witness for the Prosecution, Trust Me, Liar, The Durrells, Howard's End


We watch them without fail, and they've not lost it yet. But they'd have to be brand new to qualify.

Only Connect, University Challenge, Pointless Celebrities, Strictly Come Dancing, HIGNFY, The Daily Show, Dick Van Dyke Show (we're onto the second season, where Dick may or may not trip up over a stool in the title sequence. Check it out on Netflix)


Line Of Duty 4, The Replacement, No Offence, Car Share 2, Dr Foster 2, Alias Grace, Porridge

So what have I ranked as my Top 25 TV Shows of 2017? Stay tuned...

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

The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre return with a brand new show in 2018. Stay tuned.

The Reindeer Song - Scottish Falsetto Socks

You wait months for a new Socks video, years for a new Christmas one, and three come along at once. Here's the latest, The Reindeer Song. Enjoy.

This is in fact a remake of a song the Socks originally recorded way back in 2008, while we were spending the whole month of December up in Edinburgh performing nightly in the Winter Wonderland show and making a video every day. The original is here.


It was the 24th of December when the call came down the line
It was the chance to work for Santa, pulling his sleigh behind
Yes I'm a flying reindeer, I've never done this job before
Flying through the skies is brilliant but, there's one thing I don't know

Am I Cupid, or am I Dancer?
I can't be Vixen, I'm not a girl
And I'm not the camp one, so I can't be Prancer
So am I Cupid, or am I Dancer?

There is a reindeer here called Donner, and one called Rudolf with a glowing nose
And an annoying one called Blitzen so I'm not any one of those
But when they handed out the nametags, I couldn't read my one, although
I don't think I'm Dasher, and I'm not Comet - you've got to let me know

Am I Cupid, or am I Dancer?
It's not that vital, but it's quite cold
And we get fed in alph-abetical order
So am I Cupid or am I Dancer?

I hope I don't give you a fright, when I land on your roof tonight
we've got all the presents that were on your list
If Santa can remember and he's not too pissed

So, am I Cupid or am I Dancer?
Or Dasher or Basher of Gnasher or Masher or Pasha or Steve?
Am I Mincer or Ginster, I wish I knew the answer

You've got to let me know
Am I Cupid or am I Dancer?
As if I've got no eyeballs, I'm a no eyed deer
And I'm on my hooves begging for the answer
Am I Cupid, or am I Dancer?

The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre return with a brand new show in 2018. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The Snowman - Scottish Falsetto Socks

It never rains but it snows, two new Socks Christmas videos in as many days. Today they've done their take on The Snowman. Enjoy.

I'm walking in the air, I'm floating in the moonlit sky
And people down below look up at me and sigh

Cos I am the snowman I have the power of snow you fool
I can freeze up the whole country, give you a day off of school

Check it out (guitar solo)

I've got the power to freeze, I can paralyse the roads and rails
I can turn your transport system to a great big epic fail

You're stuck inside, can't go to work, you're shivering to bits
Of course I don't affect Scotland cos they're not all soft Southern gits

With the power that I weald, see the snowy havoc that I wreak
And I come every year and I last about a week

The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre return with a brand new show in 2018. Stay tuned.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Fannying Around The Christmas Tree - Scottish Falsetto Socks

Brand new from the Socks, a seasonal ditty for everyone's yuletide pleasure - Fannying Around The Christmas Tree. Enjoy.

Fannying about the Christmas Tree
When we're trying to put it up
I'm trying to get the branches the right way round
Well I wish you'd bloody stop

You're fannying around with the Christmas tree
L - You've got to get it balanced right
I know you want to stick some baubles on it
But I don't want it to look shite

R - You will get a monumental feeling up your gob
If we don't get on with sticking up holly
I'll deck your halls and you won't feel jolly

Stop fannying around the Christmas tree
Let us get some tinsel on
Or I'll stick the end of a Christmas tree
Where a Christmas tree don't belong

You will get a monumental -
- I'll go and get some glitter
I can see where this is going and I
Don't want to wind up with a double entendre

Fannying about with the Christmas tree
We've got it done by Christmas day
And we've ripped off a song by Brenda Lee
In a new old fashioned way

UPDATE: Weds am, 2 days after posting on Facebook, this video's had 5,500 views, 113 likes, 147 shares, and has apparently reached 16,666 people. Which is nice.

Friday am, 8,100 views, 140 likes, 198 shares, 22,794 reached.

The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre return with a brand new show in 2018. Stay tuned.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Modern Art gags - new video from the Socks

We've done modern art as a subject before, and toyed with having it as the subject for our show more than once. But these are a set of all new gags, which we hope you'll enjoy/tolerate. And even better, a new song. A new song, you say..?

Gie’s a Giacometti Betty
Gie’s one for the hall,
I’ll stick it by the Pao-o-lozzi hanging on the wall
Given my choice I’d have a Bueys, a Klimt or a De Kooning
I’d happily take a Bacon if there’s one you arenae using

I wouldnae mind a Lichtenstein
I’d hae a Warhol too
I’d cough up fer a Jeff Koons but a Rauschenberg would do
I’d murder for a Miro, a Brancusi or a Pollock
But fob me off wi a Banksy you can stick it up yer bollocks

The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre return with a brand new show in 2018. Stay tuned.
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