February 16th, 2004

This IS me (by schwitters)Default


The Department of Health has decided that it would be a really smart idea to change its URL from www.doh.gov.uk to www.dh.gov.uk (do you see what they did there?).

We have literally hundreds of links to their site, many of which are inside PDFs, some of which will redirect automatically while some will be irretrievably broken because the DoH is also restructuring everything.

As of now there's sod all at dh.gov.uk, not even a placeholder, though the official announcement at the old site is still promising that 'the new-look...website launches overnight on 16 February 2004'.
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This IS me (by schwitters)Default

"I'm a true Boy Scout" - "I'm an East End lout" - "And I'm the bugger in the kilt!"

A treat on Saturday night: the fifth instalment in the series of Dick Barton, Special Agent plays, The Excess of Evil.

These tongue-in-cheek yarns have acquired something of a cult following since Dick's first outing, and all the elements which have made the plays such a hit were back: the set in the shape of a giant wireless, the BBC announcer (who, due to a scheduling mix-up, was required to read out the shipping forecast in his dramatic Dick Barton voice during a particularly thrilling scene), the Blackadderish innuendo, the appalling racial slurs, the music hall ditties and of course the cliffhanger ending. Sadly the tradition of having Barton and Jock played by the same actor was no longer sustainable, but we did get two sets of identical twins to make up for it.

In this episode, which is told in flashback, we learn of Richard Barton's first mission as a Special Agent, including how he first meets his trusty sidekicks Jock Anderson and 'Snowy' White (a Scotsman and a Cockney respectively, so obviously not as perfect as Dick himself, but useful chaps to have in a scrape).

Our hero dons the traditional garb of the English holidaymaker (a knotted hanky on the head) and travels to the imaginatively-named small European country of Abroadia, via Casablanca, Paris and the land of peat bogs, Guinness and shillelaghs - that's right: Kilburn - on behalf of the Government and the BBC, to investigate a downturn in production from the country's many boot-polish mines and dubbin wells whose output is essential to the British war machine. During the course of his mission he will encounter conspiracies, weapons of mass destruction and a sinister figure known as The Baron (MUHAHAHAHAHA!). A curiously topical tale, and likely to remain so for the rest of its run and subsequent UK tour.

(Who is this Dick Barton anyway?)
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