Richard Todd and Catherine Grant-Bogle

This is a rare picture of Richard Todd and Catherine Grant-Bogle at their wedding reception at the Hyde Park Hotel in London on Saturday 13th August 1949.

Catherine and Richard were divorced in 1970 and it was reported in the Daily Mail that she had passed away in 1997. What Catherine did after her divorce from Richard Todd remains a mystery, so if anyone can help with information on her later life, please get in touch at

For more information on Richard Todd please click on the Richard Todd Label.

Elton Hayes

I have recently received a very interesting email regarding Elton Hayes, from Geoff Waite who has been researching the life and recording career of the folk-singer and entertainer. This is the first part of his message:

“Congratulations on your marvelous website about possibly my favorite film.

I am a big fan of Elton Hayes and his music – he was predominately a singer of old folk songs and ballads – and I have been trying to collect together his records, most of which are only on 78rpm, for some years now. The 45rpm Decca recording of Whistle my Love is a North American pressing. They were way ahead of us with vinyl whilst in the UK the song was issued on 78rpm on the Parlophone label in 1952 and (much) later it was included in a 1991 Hello Children Everywhere C.D compilation. The flipside of both the Decca and Parlophone recordings was Riddle De Diddle De Day from the Robin Hood film (‘O, I’ll sing a song a rollicky song as I roll along my way…’) This was subsequently included some years later in a vinyl EP collection of Elton’s songs called Sings to a Small Guitar also on the Parlophone label which is well worth tracking down.

You have mentioned the Beatle connection (the melody in Little Child) being inspired by Whistle my Love. Did you also know that a very young George Martin actually produced Elton Hayes singing the Edward Lear Nonsense songs The Table and the Chair/The Jumblies released October 1950 on Parlophone 78rpm and subsequently included in Elton’s EP collection For the Children. The Beatles of course signed for George Martin and Parlophone in 1962.

Some of Elton’s records are now extremely difficult to find and he has been sadly overlooked by the CD generation. Only The Owl and the Pussycat is currently available on compact disc. As for downloads, I only know of Whistle my Love and one other song. When Elton was filmed by British Pathe at the Parlophone Recording Studios for Film Fanfare, I think you will find that he was rehearsing and recording Jacqueline for the film starring John Gregson. This clip can be downloaded.

I also refer to the message you found about Elton on the Mudlark Café website from Evelyn Branston. When Elton died in September 2001 Evelyn, who personally knew him, wrote his obituary for the now defunct Mike Raven online freefolk magazine. Evelyn mentions Elton’s second film where his scenes ended up on the cutting room floor. This was The Black Knight released in 1954 which starred Alan Ladd. However, Elton can still be seen in the opening credits as the minstrel on horseback riding up to the castle as he sings the title song (released on Parlophone 78rpm as The Bold Black Knight) Elton then rides right out of the film!

According to Evelyn, Elton told her that he sang the part of the maiden in Friar Tuck’s little ditty ‘Come sing low, come sing high’ in the Robin Hood film ……“Is it in sport you pay me court with such low words as these?”"

Many thanks for getting in touch Geoff.

I will post the rest of Geoff's email soon. For more information please click on the Elton Hayes Label.

I will post the second part of Geoff’s email soon.

Gordon Kennedy

“Strong, instinctive, practical, resolute, Little John is powerful in battle and knowledgeable about survival in the forest.”

The line above is taken from the website for the BBC/Tiger Aspect Robin Hood (2006-2009)series. The role of Little John is played by actor Gordon Kennedy, known for a variety of acting and presenting projects.

Kennedy was born in Scotland on 22nd February 1958, the son of a local doctor; he grew up in Tranent, East Lothian, where he has two roads named after him. This old coal mining town was re-named Stoneybridge by Kennedy in the cult TV comedy Absolutely (1989-93) and became the butt of many jokes, when the town in the series hilariously bid to host the Olympic Games!

It was as a student at George Watsons College in Edinburgh that Kennedy met up with future members of Absolutely. They got together originally to form the fringe sketch show The Bodgers and went on create what has often been described as the best comedy show Scotland has ever produced.

His early experience in comedy also saw him in The Kenny Everett Show and various characters in many episodes of Russ Abbott’s comedy series.

“I loved working on The Russ Abbott Show! Kennedy says, “It was a very steep learning curve, and I used to keep bumping into the sets. I was far too big for the show. When it came to Absolutely, I made sure they made an extra six-inch gap to get my shoulders through the doorway. I loved it. It was great fun, and a fantastic first experience.”

Due to a last minute adaption to a script, Kennedy also appeared in another cult TV series, Red Dwarf (1988-1999) as Hudzen. But this former P.E. teacher also presented the original National Lottery alongside Anthea Turner and filmed an advert for Tunes-the cold remedy.
Various television dramas also used his acting ability, including, Inspector Morse, Where the Heart Is, Red Cap, River City and two episodes of The Bill.

As the rather grisly Little John, Gordon Kennedy has starred in both series of the BBC’s new adaption of the legend of Robin Hood and recently completed a third.

“I don't mind keeping my hair long,” Kennedy said during filming Robin Hood, “as it is cheaper than having a mid-life crisis and buying a Ferrari but I don't like the beard. I had my last shave for eight months yesterday. It feels like an invasion of my facial space. I hate it!”

The BBC’s Robin Hood has received mixed reviews, particularly in its determined departure from many of the traditional elements of the story and an eagerness to modernize the age old tale. But it has a hard-core following, including many fan-sites over the web, which in there own way are taking this ancient medieval tale into the 21st Century.

Kennedy’s Little John does not have the traditional quarter-staff fight with Robin Hood over a river in this modern adaption by the BBC. Instead he is the moody, no-nonsense ‘giant-bear’ that stands mainly in the back-ground, that we only really get to know in Episode 11, of the first series, Dead Man Walking written by Simon Ashford. In this emotionally charged story, Little John’s son (also called John) is imprisoned after trying to protect a villager known as Luke, from being arrested for making bows and arrows for Robin Hood. Little John attempts to rescue the pair but is also thrown in the dungeons.

Later, Little John’s wife Alice is also imprisoned and estranged husband and wife, temporally meet up in the overcrowded cells, where they are soon to appear in the Sheriff’s Festival of Pain. Alice is surprised to see her husband alive. Little John soon begins to realize how time has moved on and that Luke now looks after Alice and her son. Meanwhile in an emotional scene Little John reveals he is the father of John.

Robin and his men infiltrate the castle dressed as guards and Little John’s temper finally snaps. In a fit of anger he breaks free of his oak stocks and manages to help free his family. Robin sets to work freeing the other prisoners from their chains with a lock pin given to him by Marian. Upon their escape, they leave the wicked Sheriff hanging upside-down in one of his own instruments of torture.

Sadly Little John has to say goodbye to his wife and son as they are now forced to live elsewhere for safety.

This in my opinion, was without doubt one of the best episodes of the first series, where we get to see some fine acting, particularly by Kennedy.

It was during the filming of the second series, that Kennedy pulled a ligament in his leg. When he was taken to hospital in Budapest, where the location filming was taking place, he was still in full costume as Little John and was left to one side, as the hospital staff thought he was a

Barack Obama

Tomorrow the world will hold its breath as an event of monumental historical significance takes place. Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish my visitors from the United States all the very best for the future!

God Bless America.

Nottingham's Caves

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Above is a publicity photo of (right to left) Richard Todd, Lawrence Watkin (script writer), Perce Pearce (producer) and Dr. Charles Beard (research advisor)during their fact-finding trip to Nottingham, before making the Story of Robin Hood. One of the historical sights that Disney’s team of researchers saw when they visited Nottingham, was the remarkable rock-hewn caves and passages that are underneath the city. Some of the publicity shots can be seen in the short promotional film The Riddle of Robin Hood, one in particular, included Richard Todd (smoking a pipe) emerging from the small man-made opening of a cavern.

Nottingham’s earliest reference to its caves comes in the year 868 AD in Asser’s Life of King Alfred, when the area is described as Tiggun Cobaucc-Place of Caves. Some of them are natural; others are man-made, cut from the solid Bunter Sandstone ridge (also known as Sherwood Sandstone) upon which the city sits. It is ideal for excavation and those early dwellers used the simplest hand-held tools to cut into the rock to make a dwelling. Gradually extra chambers were added for storage and working in. Soon this remarkable honeycomb cave system spread out for about five miles around the city. The bulk of them produced during the Anglo-Saxon period.

Because Sandstone does not burn, craftsmen and traders soon realized the potential of the Nottingham caves. On Bridlesmith Gate, blacksmiths used the caves for their workshops, the fishmongers in Fisher Gate and the Butchers of Goose Gate used them for storage. The constant steady temperature of the caves was ideal for the brewing of ale. Nottingham ale became renowned. Barley was brought in from the Vale of Belvoir and mixed with Nottingham’s natural gypsum rich water. After the ale was left to mature in the caves it was exported throughout places like Mercia.

Most of the old local public houses use rock cellars. Today, you can still see in The Trip To Jerusalem, cellars cut deep back into the castle rock, ventilating shafts, a speaking tube bored through it and a chimney climbing through the rock forty seven feet above the chamber, all evidence of its brewing past.

During the construction of the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre, many of Nottingham’s man-made caves were nearly lost forever. But two caves, originally cut into the cliff face, now form, what is known as the City of Caves attraction beneath the shopping mall. The tour includes a unique medieval underground Tannery and the Pillar Cave, so called because of the large column, which supports the roof. Both caves were used like many of the others, during WWII as air-raid shelters.

It was in the well of the Pillar Cave that a King John groat (a silver coin, worth four English pennies) was found.

These remarkable caves no doubt inspired Carmen Dillon and the rest of the Disney team of researchers during their fact-finding visit to Nottingham for the Story of Robin Hood. So I am sure it is no coincidence that Robin’s camp, in Disney’s Robin Hood is a series of caves, hidden deep in Sherwood Forest.

A Trip To Denham Studios

A while ago I posted an article on The Boys' and Girls' Cinema Clubs Annual from my collection. It featured an article on two youngsters, Lavinia Bailey (as she was then!) and Peter Green who were lucky enough to spend a day at Denham Studios, in Buckinghamshire, during the filming of Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood in 1951.
Lavinia has recently got in touch:

"I came across a very old photograph of myself as a girl taken for the cover of a film annual at Denham Studios with Richard Todd during the making of "Robin Hood". Just to say I am still alive!"

Would you be able to describe for us, your day at Denham, Lavinia?

Hubert Gregg

This has been sent to me from our regular contributor, Neil Vessey:

“I have recently purchased direct from his widow, a copy of Hubert Gregg's autobiography. He was indeed a genius with all the many, many talents and different careers he had going. He was brilliant as Prince John - possibly the performance of the film. Anyway in his book he has this to say about the film:-

'It was during a tour of Agatha Christie's The Hollow that I got a telephone call to say that I had been asked to test for the part of Prince John in the coming Walt Disney production The Story of Robin Hood. I was told that Ken Annakin was directing. He had directed me in a pot-boiler called Vote for Huggett and we got along well together.
I made my first film at Denham Studios - I hadn't set foot there since In Which We Serve - and the final choice seemed to be between Kenneth More, Geoffrey Keen and myself. I won by a short beard.
The Disney Robin Hood was a new screen experience and one I wouldn't have missed for seven whodunits in a row, director or play. Peter Finch was cast as the Sheriff of Nottingham and we shared a crack of dawn car to the studio each day. It was a colour movie with absolutely no expense spared. The costumes were beautiful, if unnecessarily weighty in their adherence to mediaeval reality. One cloak was heavily embroidered and lined with real fur: it cost more than a thousand pounds (a good deal of money in pre-inflationary days) and took all my strength to wear. In one scene I had to ride into the town square, leap off my horse and enter the treasury building in high dudgeon.
To add to the reality our saddles were fitted with mediaeval pommels at the back that had to be negotiated carefully when dismounting. In the first take, I lifted my leg as gracefully as I could the necessary six inches higher than usual and leapt beautifully off my steed. As my feet touched the ground the weight of my cloak carried me completely out of frame to the left.
One day on the set, a week or two after shooting had begun; I heard a quiet voice coming from a chair on my left."How are you, Mr. Gregg, my name is Disney" I looked surprised at this modest newcomer to the studio - he had arrived from Hollywood the day before. "I'd like to thank you...." he was saying, adding flattering things about my performance, which however he referred to as 'a portrayal'. The choice of word was typically American and the modesty typically Disney.
I enjoyed every moment of the filming but had to put my foot down over a suggestion from the publicity department. They wanted to send me by car, in costume and make-up, to Alexandra Palace where I would appear on television singing 'Maybe it’s Because I'm a Londoner'

The above is an extract from Hubert Gregg’s book. He does say more about Ken Annakin working with colour pictures of all the set-ups. You will know of course know that he had written the song ‘Londoner.’

The autobiography is called 'Maybe it’s Because.....? '
Hubert Gregg is described as an actor, songwriter, author, director and radio presenter - among other talents - as if that isn’t enough. His career spanned 70 years in Theatre, Film and Radio.

Hope this is of interest - I know it will be. It gives another fascinating glimpse into the film and its making. "

The Hubert Gregg website is at
If you want to read more about Hubert Gregg please click on the Hubert Gregg label.