ONE 1970s TV show really left its mark.

The Good Life must be an inspiration to Wirral Council leader Phil Davies, who has already planted seeds for radical spending reforms to make his 2020 vision a reality.

The Good Life was all about self-sufficiency.

But don't worry, we won't be growing much-in-demand lettuces on council allotments, although that does sound like a money-spinner.

Unlike The Good Life, the UK's economic future is no laughing matter as councils up and down the country aim to balance the books.

In a recent interview with property and business bible, Move Commercial, Phil said: "We will create new companies, charitable trusts and social enterprises better capable of delivering high quality front-line services in a more efficient and commercial way than currently provided.

"Simply put, by 2020, Wirral will be going it alone and must be self- sufficient." 

Alas, Tom in The Good Life didn’t really succeed. He had no help.

There were so many market forces against him.

Even the writers knew Tom's eventual success rate was going to be 50-50 - although it did inspire countless people to take up making their own dairy produce.

In these austere times, Cllr Davies knows that we need the entrepreneurial spirit and plenty of inward investment.

While watching last week's Question Time from Wallasey I realised just how important TV is as an inspiration to get people debating and involved.

Judging by the ongoing success of Dragons' Den, where people pitch ideas to business experts, there are plenty of people out there - especially in the North West - with great ideas.

The applicants' waiting list has never been higher.

There's un-tapped talent out there.

So how about WBC setting up a team of Dragons' Den-styled advisers who could, say, conduct open seminars each month over the next three years - where ideas can be discussed and encouraged?

Advice is crucial for any new venture.

We may be going it alone, but bright sparks need all the experience and help they can get before they become a viable flame.


TALKING of going it alone - Brick Up The Mersey Tunnels 2 is a smash hit.

It was the show that saved Liverpool's Royal Court 10 years ago - no one knew what to expect from the writers, Dave Kirby and Nicky Allt.

The initial core audience were all from Liverpool to see a musical about militants blocking up the Kingsway Tunnel in protest at their snobbish Wirral neighbours in the five-star comedy.

Wirral is name-checked throughout from Caldy to Heswall, Birkenhead to Bromborough.

It's a lot of fun.

Court spokesman Iain Christie tells the Inferno: "After the first week in 2006 we noticed the booking pattern was mainly Liverpool addresses.

"Then there was a surge of CH postcodes.

"The support hasn't stopped since.

"We love the fact that Liverpool and Wirral theatre-goers are laughing together and side-by-side.

"All the cast are from both sides of the river too - this is a real Merseyside success story."


I WAS fortunate to meet and interview the late actor John Hurt on two very different, memorable occasions.

Both left a life-long impression on me.

The first was in 1995.

I saw his outstanding talent in a BBC TV real-life drama called Prisoners in Time, about POW soldier Eric Lomax forced to work on the construction of the infamous Burma Railway.

His portrayal was one of the most stunning performances I have ever seen on the small screen.

He was a man of great humanity and someone who loved his craft so much so he gave a Masterclass at LIPA - Paul McCartney's 'fame' school.

Speaking to him after the awards ceremony in 2008 at Liverpool's Philharmonic Hall, despite his 200 screen roles, I cheekily reminded him of his voice-over work for the '70s Harlequin chocolate adverts.

He threw his head back laughing. He had a great self-effacing sense of humour.

Sir John Hurt truly was a unique acting talent. A Man for all Seasons.


ONE of the current trends in theatre land is 'star appearances' on video.

Ricky Tomlinson, Ken Dodd and Pete Price have all been the 'Mirror mirror on the wall' in Snow White pantos.

Now it seems the fad is spreading to the pop world.

10CC are on tour fronted by their only original member - Graham Gouldman. So it should be 2.50 CC.

Alas, no.

Look out for his 'support act' at the forthcoming Liverpool Philharmonic Hall gig on April 1.

Kevin Godley, a founder member, will be "A special video contribution". That should now be 3.50 CC.

This is what I call a virtual reality reunion. And it is not even an April Fool.

It's a dream idea for bands who have split up and fancy a bit of nostalgia - by bringing in a former member on screen.

Are you watching Robbie Williams.


AND finally...

Having interviewed seven Dr Whos in my career I feel I know what makes a good Time Lord when Peter Capaldi steps down.

Maybe some Wirral greats have what it takes. So can I suggest Paul O’Grady to move into the Tardis.

Paul Hollywood, too, could put his rock cakes to good use defeating the Cybermen.

Or having met her, how about the first ever female doctor - Dame Patricia Routledge?

She doesn’t suffer fools gladly - Patricia would silence the Daleks with just one glaring look.

Peter Grant