Patrick Campbell on Call My Bluff : an Old Rossallian on Youtube

Let us turn gratefully away for a moment from the sometimes sorry spectacle of the present day, and let me introduce the first of what I think will have to be  a very short series : Old Rossallians on YouTube.

This is my favourite OR of all – Patrick Campbell – in action on Call My Bluff from some time in the 1970s.

Campbell doesn’t seem to have greatly enjoyed his time at the school (I think he described it as “a notoriously Spartan school in the North of England where the drains blocked at high tide“).  His father was a notable Irish barrister (not Barrista) and his Grandfather – the first Baron Glenavy  – Baron Glenavy was an even more eminent Irish jurist, being successively the Attorney General, Solicitor General and Lord Chief Justice of Ireland in the years before partition and after it the first President of the Irish Senate – Seanad Ireann.  I seem to remember, in fact, that Patrick Campbell had quite an amusing anecodete about the anti-Partition faction of the IRA trying to burn the family home down.

On the show I don’t think it’s too fanciful to see his performance as a parody – almost – of the old style of advocacy his father and grandfather might have employed, but which, presumably, his speech impediment must have prevented him making use of professionally (even if he’d had the inclination, which I don’t think he did).  There always seemed to be a slight gleam in his eye as he leant back in his chair in triumph having given his definition of the word, knowing that no-one would be so ill-mannered as to admit that they hadn’t understood a word of it.  I particularly like it here when he says “I can’t do an English accent”.

My liking for Campbell was partly due, I think, to the fact that as a child I had a slight stammer, though mine was of the milder Derek Nimmo-as-silly-ass-clergyman variety.  The only words I really had difficulty with were those beginning with H, which may have contributed to an unquestioning nature.

Those of us who mourn the passing of this rather more leisurely and amateurish syle of TV presentation will note sadly the presence of a serpent in this happy Eden, sitting alongside Frank Muir – not the Minister for the Elderly and Infirm, but the one introduced as the “Disc Jockey and Motor Racing Driver”.


6 thoughts on “Patrick Campbell on Call My Bluff : an Old Rossallian on Youtube

  1. Third Man was at Rossall watching cricket yesterday and can confirm that the wind still blows in bracing fashion and high tide affects the wicket so may still disturb the drainage.
    He also very much enjoyed the descriptive powers Backwatersman’s fresh eyes brought to the Pro40 experience.

  2. Good heavens, the internet is a small place. What took you there?

    That was where I learned my cricket, bowling seam up into a force 8. My father was the Master i/c Cricket there, which is what took us up to those parts.

    Glad you enjoyed the Pro40 piece – I can see that all the razmattaz might add something to the 20/20 experience on a Friday night, but seemed a bit incongruous on a fairly dour Sunday afternoon.

  3. Stonny v Rossall. Son playing for Stonny.
    TM wishes he’d known of your connection before the visit. He is already kicking himself that he didn’t snap a photo of the fine pavilion, but he did take one of the 1897(?) side with a Thomas Beecham (???) wearing a Stetson. Who he? And a very fine photograph of a gathering of Rossalleans both of which could be sent if the blue tooth on the phone obliged or you were willing to send a mobile number through email.
    There are many Rossalleans around here including John Fisher and the father of Nick Fielden. Slightly younger, an Andrew Graham.
    Rossall have a very pleasant cricket master now called Thomas Root who is a member of the Newbery dynasty. TM’s son broke his bat early in his innings and Mr Root very kindly lent him his (very special bat) made by his Mother! Now that is the Spirit of Cricket.

  4. Some of those names do take me back a bit. If that’s Anthony Fielden I’m sure he would remember my father, if not me (Brian Slough?), as, I think, would John Fisher, if it’s the one I’m thinking of.

    I’d be interested to see the photos but unfortunately don’t have a phone that can cope with them. Email is, if they can be sent by that. Is one of them the one where they’re standing outside the chapel door?

    Thomas Beecham (as in the famous powders) was the conductor of the Halle Orchestra, amongst others, and a good friend of Neville Cardus, in his capacity as music critic of the Manchester Guardian.

    I do remember playing at Stonyhurst (and St Mary’s Hall!) – wonderful views from the ground, as I remember it, and slightly less of a breeze than at Rossall.

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