2019 deaths of notables


Hall of Fame Member
Oct 15, 2017
i learned to play walking stick by listening to his version of it over and over.

i haven't played that one in years now. maybe i'll see if i can still remember it


Hall of Fame Member
Oct 9, 2004
Heartbeat actor William Simons dies aged 79

BBC News
23 June 2019

One of Simons' BBC roles was in The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries between 1990 and 1994

Heartbeat actor William Simons, who charmed Sunday evening viewers for nearly two decades as easygoing veteran PC Alf Ventress, has died aged 79.

Welsh-born Simons played the character in all 18 series of the 1960s-set show.

He also appeared in Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Crown Court and Last of the Summer Wine during his 60-year career.

His agent said: "He was a wonderful, kind, warm, witty, lovely human being and anyone who ever worked with him or knew him will be devastated."

Jason Durr, who appeared alongside Simons in Heartbeat paid tribute to the "lovely man".

Simons, who was born in Swansea, was already 51 when he landed the biggest role of his career, playing Alf Ventress when Heartbeat first landed on TV screens in 1992 as a prime-time vehicle for former EastEnders star and chart-topping singer Nick Berry.

Berry played a young London constable who moved north with his family and encountered Ventress as one of the colleagues who helped him build a new life while fighting crime in a rural setting.

The show, set in the fictional Yorkshire villages of Ashfordly and Aidensfield, attracted more than 13 million viewers and saw guest appearances by Gary Barlow, Charlotte Church, Lulu, and David Dickinson - and Yorkshire's legendary cricket umpire Dickie Bird.

Simons was very popular with viewers and his character continued to appear in the show as a civilian even after he retired from the force.

Simons (third from left) starred in a total of 355 episodes of Heartbeat, with fellow actors including Mark Jordan, Nick Berry and Derek Fowlds

And when ITV launched a spin-off show called The Royal, he was asked to play Ventress in six episodes.

According to the Yorkshire Post, Simons enjoyed his role in Heartbeat so much that he bought a house in the village of Goathland, where much of the show's filming took place.

But he sold it 14 years later, explaining in an interview with the Daily Express that Goathland had become so popular with tourists drawn by the Heartbeat factor that "it was impossible to step outside without being recognised".


Curious Cdn

Hall of Fame Member
Feb 22, 2015
I remember that K cars were the first ones where things like carbs became sealed units - replace instead of repair.
They were a nasty replacement for the boring but reliable slant six engined chariots that predated them.


Hall of Fame Member
Oct 9, 2004

Legendary racing pundit John McCririck, who for many years was the face of British horse racing, has died at a London hospital on Friday aged 79.

McCririck made his career as the face of Channel 4's racing coverage, famous for his loud, eccentric style and his signature deerstalker hat.

He also appeared on reality TV shows such as Celebrity Big Brother, Celebrity Wife Swap and Celebrity Coach Trip.

He is survived by his wife Jenny.

His family said he had been ill in recent months but continued to make several TV and radio appearances.

Tributes are being paid to John by figures from the worlds of racing and entertainment.

"Very sad to hear the news of John McCririck's passing - one of the most recognisable faces from the world of horse racing and a great at promoting our sport," tweeted 20-time champion jockey AP McCoy.

Three-time champion jockey Frankie Dettori, 48, said he first met McCririck as a 16-year-old apprentice and the broadcaster was "a big part of my racing life."

"He was very flamboyant and controversial but I always got on really well with him," said Dettori.

"He did put on a bit of a show but underneath it all he worked very hard and he was very knowledgeable about racing."

The British Horseracing Authority also paid tribute, saying: "Throughout a lengthy & colourful career one thing was always clear - his enduring passion & love for the sport of horseracing. He was a recognisable figure and resonated with the wider public."

Ascot Racecourse tweeted: "He was an unmistakable presence in racing, and one of the most impactful broadcasters of his generation."

Broadcaster Nick Luck, a former Channel 4 colleague, added: "Life without John McCririck will be far less interesting - he was a magnificent journalist first and a great showman. So often very kind to me and many, many others."

McCririck worked for BBC Sport early in his career as a sub-editor on Grandstand when the programme was presented by the likes of Frank Bough and Des Lynam.

He went on to write for The Sporting Life where he won British Press Awards 'Specialist Writer of the Year' and 'Campaigning Journalist of the Year'.

McCririck's profile grew when he energised racing broadcasts with lively updates from the betting ring, where he was not afraid to berate punters playing the fool in the background.

When he was axed by Channel 4 in 2012, he launched a claim for age discrimination.

"I have put my own personal future on the line," he said. "But I think it's so important for people in their 30s up to their 70s who fear anonymous suits and skirts coming along and getting rid of them."

He lost the case, and with it a significant amount of money, although he became a regular on reality TV shows.

McCririck would make disparaging remarks about his wife Jenny, nicknaming her 'The Booby', but in truth they were a strong and happy couple.

"It's all a pantomime. Do I look like someone who is downtrodden?" said Jenny.

McCririck was still a regular sight - often smoking a fat cigar - at big race meetings in recent years although ill health meant he missed the Epsom and Royal Ascot fixtures last month.