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Monday, 31 December 2012

Sunday, 30 December 2012


Happy Christmas to     

My last show of 2012 was on December 19th.  Apart from being packed with Christmas tracks, I played my favourite music and thanked my listeners for supporting me over the year.  Tony Williams, Producer of Rhythm 365, and some of his DJs came into my show to say hi, and Hannah Woolley - Controller of Raiders One, took over at 8 o’clock. 

Celebrating at The Raiders Chirstmas Party 
The Raiders Christmas Bash was held at The Pizza Express, in Balham.  Twenty of us, including presenters from the 80s and 90s gathered to make the Christmas Party and Awards a very special occasion.  As well as presenters, there were News Raid contributors, Labour and Lib Dem councillors, studio technicians, Raiders mentor Arthur Smith and several ‘friends’ of Raiders.  We sat down together to celebrate almost thirty years of Raiders FM, and 

Jan Cooper with his award
  Dom Chambers & Mark Oxley
After a super meal, and more wine than was decent to quaff, Dom Chambers of Summer Valley FM, who was controller of Raiders Two in the nineties and noughties.  And who I presented band profiles for on The Rock Jukebox.  Dom presented The Best Live Show to Mark Oxley, for his Rock Metal and Mad humour show.  Dom also awarded, Jan Cooper an ward for his brilliant Podcast Shows, @     

The most prestigeous award, The Lifetime Achievement Award, went to one of the original Presenters of Raiders FM from the 1980s, and Raiders Two Controller Claire Mansfield.   

Claire Mansfield with Raidersbroadcast Producer Mike Summers
Above left: Madalyn Morgan, Arthur Smith and Claire Mansfield.  Right: The lovely Susan John Richards was given an award for her contribution to News Raid, Raiders news and political arm.
Feel the love from


Thank you Mike for a wonderful year at and a fabulous Christmas party

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Happy Christmas, Glædelig jul, हैप्पी क्रिसमस, חדשה משגשגת

 Happy Christmas And A Prosperous New Year
Glædelig jul og et lykkebringende nytår

   חג החנוכה שמחה ושנה חדשה משגשגת

  हैप्पी क्रिसमस और एक समृद्ध नया साल


Happy Christmas to all my Actor, Musician and  Writer Friends, 
My Family, Twitter, Facebook,
  'Blog and Google Circle friends.
Love Madalyn


And a Wonderful 2013

Friday, 23 November 2012


                     The Bicentenary Of Charles Dickens

                      by Madalyn Morgan

                  Charles John Huffam Dickens,
                  February 7, 1812-June 9, 1870
“I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me.  May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.

"Their faithful Friend and Servant, C.D. December, 1843”
A Christmas Carol was the first of Dickens’ Christmas books. The Chimes and The Haunted Man followed, but A Christmas Carol remains the most popular.  It has never been out of print and, like the classic novels, Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations and The Mystery of Edwin Drood (which Dickens was writing when he died).  A Christmas Carol has been adapted for film, stage, opera, and other media, many times.  In all professions, but especially in the arts, being in the right place at the right time can mean the difference between fame and obscurity.  In the mid nineteenth century, Charles Dickens was in the right place at the right time, and took full advantage of it.  There was a revival of the old nostalgic Christmas traditions, which the puritans in the 17th C. had tried (with some success) to abolish, as well as new customs, like the Christmas tree and greeting cards.  A Christmas Carol, published in time for Christmas 1843 was an instant success and received great critical acclaim.  

 The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come.

 Dickens' source material for the story came from the humiliation he suffered as a child working in the blacking factory (the ghost of Christmas past).  He was insecure, because he had been abandoned by his father (the ghost of Christmas present).  And he feared what the future would bring (the ghost of yet to come).  As well as sympathy for the poor, and many Christmas stories and fairy tales.

Charles was the second of eight children.  His father, John, was a naval clerk; his mother, Elizabeth, aspired to be a teacher and school director.  The family were poor, but they appeared to be happy in the early days.  In 1816, they moved to Chatham, in Kent, where Charles and his siblings played in open fields and explored the ruins of the old Rochester castle.  But in 1822, they moved to a poor neighbourhood in Camden Town, London.

As a child, Dickens would walk with his father by Gad's Hill Place, a large impressive mansion outside Rochester.  His father told him that with perseverance and hard work he could live in such a house.  Thirty-six years later, in 1856, Dickens bought it.

Charles’ father had always lived beyond his means.  He borrowed money, spent it recklessly, and in 1824 was sent to Marshalsea prison for debt.  His wife and the younger children lived with him there, but Charles, aged twelve, was made to work in Warren’s Blacking Factory where he labelled bottles of shoe polish, and had to find his own lodgings.  Sometime later, his father inherited enough money to pay off his debts.  He left Marshalsea, but he wouldn’t let Charles leave the factory.  Charles hated the dirty and demeaning work and never forgave his father for abandoning him.  The harrowing experience scarred Charles so badly that he wasn't able to pass the former site of the factory, in the Strand, without crying.
     In 1825, Charles was allowed to go back to school.  John Dickens was a socially ambitious man, and a son working in a blacking factory would not have looked well in the kind of society he aspired to.  In 1827, Charles became a lawyer’s clerk.  An experience he uses in many of his novels.

Dickens, The Entertainer

Dickens wanted to be an actor.  He was obsessed with drama.  He joined the Garrick Club at the age of 25 and had many theatrical friends, including the actor William Macready to whom he dedicated Nicholas Nickleby.  Not only was he an avid theatregoer, he loved circuses and melodrama houses.  His periodical writings covered vents and "grimacers," waxworks, freak shows, clowns and gaslight fairies – actors wearing grotesque heads made of papier-mâché.                   Joseph Grimaldi, Panto clown

Dickens was a talented mimic and used to ‘act out’ scenes from his novels before writing them down.  He once paid a theatre manager to let him do a comic turn on stage.  Rather him than me.  The audiences in those days were rough.  They didn’t only mock and heckle, they threw things – orange peel was a favourite for some reason.

  Dickens, Lover and Husband

“A man is lucky if he is the first love of a woman.  A woman is lucky if she is the last love of a man.” 
  Charles’ first love was, Maria Beadnell, the daughter of a banker.  Her parents disapproved and forbade her to see him.  He wrote her passionate letters and stood outside her house every night (which would be considered as stalking today), but his love was unrequited.  He called her the love of his life, until he met her again in middle age.  He said, he was cruelly disappointed, and could not see what it was that had so fascinated him.

He married Catherine Thomson "Kate" Hogan (19 May 1815 – 22 November 1879) after she moved to London from Edinburgh with her family in 1834.  Catherine’s father was a music critic for the Morning Chronicle where Dickens was a young journalist.  They were married at St. Luke’s Church in Chelsea, on April 2nd 1836, honeymooned in Chalk, near Chatham in Kent, and set up home in Bloomsbury. 

As the years went by, Dickens found Catherine an increasingly incompetent mother and housekeeper and blamed her for the birth of their ten children.  

"They separated in 1858 after rumours of Dickens' unfaithfulness were publicised, which he publicly denied."  
Dickens, The Adulterer

Charles Dickens and Ellen Ternan

Ellen Lawless Ternan (3 March 1839 – 25 April 1914), also known as Nelly, was an English actress more famous for being Charles Dickens mistress than for her stage performances.
Unlike other literary men of the time, Thackeray or Dickens’ friend Wilkie Collins, who flouted Victorian conventions and had mistresses, Dickens went to great lengths to keep Nelly a secret.  It wasn’t until after his death that details of their affair became known. 

Dickens met Ellen Ternan in 1857 when he was forty-five, and she was eighteen.  As his mistress, Nelly unlocked the pain of his childhood and put an end to his feelings of sexual and social inadequacy.  As his muse, she inspired him to write his finest novel, Great Expectations.  However, the sorrows and complications of their relationship coloured his final novels: Our Mutual Friend, with its many themes of characters living a lie and pretending to be other than they truly are.  And, The Mystery Of Edwin Drood, in which a murder story, based on a tormented love tangle, is set in Nelly's home town of Rochester. 

Catherine, The Loyal Wife 

When Catherine Dickens found out about her husband’s infidelity in 1860, Ellen retired from the stage and lived quietly in a house that Dickens bought for her.  There were rumours that she bore him a son who died in infancy.  But, as Dickens burned many of his personal papers before he died, no one will ever know. 
     Dickens and Catherine had little correspondence after their marriage break up.  Catherine moved to live in London with her oldest son, and Charles to Gad's Hill in Kent.  On her deathbed in 1879, Catherine gave her daughter Kate, a collection of letters that her estranged husband had sent to her, instructing her to "Give these to the British Museum, that the world may know he loved me once." 

"It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and orrow, there is nothing so irresistibly contagious as laughter."   This year we celebrated the 200th birthday of literary hero, Charles Dickens.  I say hero because we all know Dickens wrote about poverty, crime and social injustice.  But there are some things we don't know about the author of A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist, and many, many other classics.

Here are some lesser known facts.Dickens saved the lives of many people when the train he was travelling on derailed.  All but the carriage he was in plummet into a river.  He first found the key to the door and after helping his friends to safety, climbed down to help people in the carriages below to escape, giving water and brandy to whoever needed it.  And, if that wasn’t enough, he climbed back into the dangling carriage and retrieved the manuscript of, Our Mutual Friend, which he was taking to his publishers.  You’d have to be a writer to understand that!  His bravery was never publicly acknowledged.  Because he was travelling secretly with his mistress, he denied helping anyone. 
He also helped “fallen women.”  In a world where single or widowed women had few options to support themselves and their families, prostitution was a common crime – and one that was severely punished.  Dickens, along with an heiress called Angela Coutts, created “Urania House” where former prostitutes could learn to read and write, and keep house.  Dickens searched prisons and workhouses for potential candidates and interviewed them personally.  He even established the house rules.  Approximately a hundred women's lives changed after their stay at Urania House.
And, when he was young, Dickens was offered a prestigious audition in Covent Garden.  Thank goodness he was ill and couldn’t attend, or the literary world would have lost a great writer – and every generation since would have been poorer for not being able to read his books.  He wrote, produced and acted in plays with his amateur company.  He did many readings of his work, especially as he got older.  He even performed for Queen Victoria.
A Christmas Carol Ends
Ebenezer Scrooge, “had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!”

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Dickens Cartoon. Posting an article about Dickens Bicentenary

I've had an article about Charles Dickens accepted.  As soon as it's published I shall post it right here!  Until then, here's a cartoon that my writer friend, Pauline Conolly sent me.


Dickens at work 1858

Dickens' pet raven

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Where are the books that have been written by writers?

Forgive me but I'm going to have a moan. WH Smith is advertising books for Christmas.  I counted at least 14 half price celebrity books (including, Kerry Katona. Yes, the ex-girl band singer, the one you see on the front of celeb magazines - either in love or out of love, drinking or not drinking, fat or on a diet.  And, wait for it! “The number one bestselling author, Tabloid Superstar and ex-Glamour Girl, Katie Price” has a book out for Christmas). And there's more.  There's a multitude of Cookbooks, Antique and DIY books.  But where's the quality fiction?  Novels that will thrill us, scare us, make us think, laugh and cry? And the quality non-fiction books? Where are the books that take us to worlds that are different to our own.  Worlds we don’t see on the television, or read about in glossy magazines? Where are the life books? Books that tell us about the origins of our world; show us how our ancestors lived thousands of years ago, or more recently, during the last century? Where are the books that are not only enjoyable to read, but we learn from? Well written books with good grammar, strong plot lines and rich believable characters. Sadly, they weren't being advertised.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Lest We Forget

Remembrance Day.  

A Flanders Poppy Field

The 11th hour of the 11th day, in the 11th month, is when we remember the brave service men and women who gave their lives so that future generations in this country, and many others, can live in a world that is free of dictators, fascism and prejudice. 

Remembrance Day. The day the Germans signed the Armistice that ended World War I. The document was signed at 5 am. The peace accord came into effect six hours after the signing, which is why we remember the 11th hour.  At 11 o’clock on November 11th, 1918 the ‘guns fell silent.’ 


Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Monday, 29 October 2012

Hurricane Sandy. Praying for the people who live on the East Coast of America


Thinking about, and praying for, the safety of our friends on the East Coast of America

New York called off school today, Monday, for the city's 1.1 million students and shut down all train, bus and subway service Sunday night.  More than 5 million, workers (doctors, nurses, shop, factory and office workers) a day depend on the transit system to get around the city. 

Hurricane Sandy is about 425 miles southeast of New York City.  From Washington to Boston, Sandy will cause havoc.  And New York could get the worst of it.  In the metropolitan area of about 20 million people could be hit with an 11-foot wall of water.  Reports from Ocean City state warn that sea levels could rise 8 feet above normal - enough to flood much of the city.  And New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned, "If you don't evacuate, you are not only endangering your life, you are also endangering the lives of the first responders who are going in to rescue you.  This is a serious and dangerous storm."

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Speaking about acting and theatre at Lutterworth WI


The Women’s Institute, Lutterworth
                   Speaker Madalyn Morgan

In September the secretary of the Lutterworth Women’s Institute asked me if I would give a talk to the members about being a writer.  I was surprised, and honoured, and said yes immediately.  Because the WI starts organising its diary for the coming year six months in advance, I was booked for February 2013.  However, the following week, the secretary asked if I could bring my talk forward to October 11th, as the speaker they had booked for that night had to pull out.  

 I was delighted and again said yes.  But, instead of giving a talk about being a writer, I suggested I took some theatre posters, photographs and costumes along, and spoke about being an actress, which I have been for more than thirty years.  That way I could still speak about writing in February.  And hopefully by then my novel will be published.

Margot Lester, Vanessa Redgrave, Madalyn Morgan in Antony and Cleopatra at The Theatre Royal, The Haymarket, London.

The women of Lutterworth’s WI were a great audience.  I’ve spoken about the acting profession and my career as an actress several times before, and found that if I don’t take myself seriously, which I don’t do anyway, I have fun and the audience has fun too.  
I was introduced as Madalyn Smith, my birth name, which most people in my hometown know me by.  It was a great introduction because it took me straight into how I got my stage name.  There was already an actress called Madeleine Smith in Equity, when I joined, so I chose Morgan from a bottle of Captain Morgan’s rum in my dad’s pub.  There was already a Madalyn Bell (Bell’s whiskey) and I didn’t think Smirnoff (vodka) had the same tasteful ring to it.  So, in 1976 I became, Madalyn Morgan.

I laughed as I talked about the fun things, strange things, and good things that had happened since 1976 – and the ladies of Lutterworth’s WI laughed with me.  Sadly, I didn’t take a photograph of them.

The poster on the left is of an adaptation of, George Orwell’s book, Down And Out In Paris and London, which I did at The Latchmere Theatre, in London.  I took over the female lead with thirty-six hours’ notice. 

How the WI began

In 1897 Adelaide Hunter Hoodless (1858-1910), a Canadian from St. George in Ontario founded the Women’s Institute.  She also introduced domestic science programmes into the school curricula, was a co-founder of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON), and the National Council of Women.
The Women's Institute Movement in Britain was formed during the First World War.  It started in 1915 to encourage women in rural areas to grow and preserve food, in order to “increase food production for a war-torn nation.”
                                                                                                          ADELAIDE HUNTER HOODLESS

The WI contributed enormously to the Home Front.  From the outbreak of war in 1939 they co-operated by caring for evacuees.  But, as in the First World War, the main contribution was in growing and preserving food.  Between 1940 and 1945 over 5,300 tons of fruit was preserved.  Almost twelve million pounds of fruit that, without the WI, would have been wasted.  It was for this work in the war that the WI members became renowned – and the 'jam' image has stuck ever since.
I read recently that EU legislation states, all food for sale must be packaged in safe materials.  Nothing wrong with that!  However, as glass is permeable, the EU said jars should not be recycled and used for jam, if the jam is going to be sold, not even for charity. 

(What a load of rubbish.  My words not the words of the WI.)
 Since the end of the war, the organisation’s aims have increased.  They play a unique role in providing women with educational opportunities, giving them the chance to learn new skills, take part in a wide variety of activities, and campaign on issues important to them and their communities.

Currently, with over 210,000 members in around 6,600 WI Groups, the WI is the largest voluntary women’s organisation in the UK.  In 2015, it will be celebrating its Centenary.  

Sunday, 14 October 2012

The Rhythm Riders at The Shambles, Saturday October 13th

The Rhythm Riders

  Paul guitar, Deano sax, Matt singer, Garf on drums, Mike bass guitar

What a night!
The Rhythm Riders at the Shambles in Lutterworth on Saturday October 13th rocked!  Literally!  They played from 9 until midnight to a packed house.  Eveyone was dancing, even the landlady.  And when the gig ended, there were so many calls for more, that they played on, and on, and on. 
It was the band's new singer, Matt's debut at the Shambles - and the audience loved him.  It was evident too that Matt loved fronting the band.                                             
It was fantastic. The band was loud - and it was good. Rock, and Rhythm and Blues, with a saxophone. I think the sax, with its powerful and sexy sound, adds something very special to an R & B Band.                                                                                           

                                                                Deano on saxaphone