HOORAY for arty anniversaries here on the Wirral.

The Wirral Arts Society is 70 and BOST - Birkenhead Operatic Society Trust - is 92.

Following their recent Sweeney Todd success, BOST Musicals now have their Fanfare for Christmas on December 10 and plans are underway for Hello Dolly next year.

Meanwhile, Wirral Arts Society will see in 2019 with their current exhibition at The Atkinson in Southport.

Both are Wirral Globe arts ambassadors.

As are Off the Ground theatre company, who will mark 25 years since their first production of Look Back in Anger. They have looked forward ever since with a thriving youth theatre.

Now that's only a small slice of the impressive contribution Wirral makes to the Liverpool City Region's cultural cake. They were all around long before Imagine Wirral was imagined.

And there are plenty more 'creatives' out there with similar credentials who should be heard.

No better time to shine from the moment the Borough of Culture baton is handed over from St Helens this weekend.

The Globe has already revealed next year's BoC plans.

There is still time surely for new ideas? Let's be more inclusive not exclusive.

Wirral, after all, is the pioneer of the much-imitated pirate festivals.

The BoC year is on the themes of exploration, discovery, well-being and the great outdoors.

So the Inferno reminds Wirral Council of its Action Plan pledge: "We will encourage more people to enjoy the wide range of leisure, culture and sporting opportunities on offer across Wirral.

"We will listen to residents' ideas and requests and, by 2020, will have increased access to events and activities to all our residents regardless of age or income."

You said it, WBC ... curtain up.


WHERE's Wirral?

I read a national newspaper magazine survey last weekend which trumpeted the 'Top 100 cosiest UK pubs.'

Alas, it was sobering news that when it came to Merseyside - there was just one 'top' name the Philharmonic Pub.

Yet, there are six in the Cotswolds alone.

Now the Phil is famous for its ornate toilets, but it has never really struck me as cosy – majestic, yes, but it has all the atmosphere and intimacy of a library with a bar.

For a city that once boasted 'a pub on every corner' there still are more worthy contenders for the top 100 list.

But, equally importantly along with stunning sunsets, Wirral has some tourist friendly, cosy pubs.

The White Lion in West Kirby, Farmers Arms in Frankby and Seven Stars in Thornton Hough are just three pubs that spring to mind.

I am bemused, but not surprised, by this poorly-researched compilation by famous food and drink critics Tom Parker Bowles and Olly Smith.

If they are planning a similar pub crawl next year, may I suggest they take a trip to our Penninsular and get a round in at pubs from Heswall to Hoylake and Pensby to Parkgate for a 'cosy' pie and a pint.


CHEERS to former Brookside writer Jimmy McGovern.

Hillsborough was a masterpiece and since then he has written inspirational dramas about subjects from fixed odds gambling to cases of injustice.

Many years ago, I raised money for my local Alzheimer's Society and Jimmy agreed to accept the cheque on their behalf which was written on a football (it didn't bounce).

I recall at the time how supportive he was and hoped one day he would write about dementia.

This Sunday sees a new 90 minute drama co-written by Gillian Juckes starring Sheridan Smith and Jimmy fellow Liverpudlians Alison Steadman.

Called Care, it will be uncomfortable to watch but, like all of Mr McGovern's life-changing work, will be well worth it.

And let's hope it starts a nationwide debate about care for our elderly.


GLENDA Jackson has been starring in a new video production I, affectionately, call The Royal Wee.

The actress who played Queen Elizabeth1 has finished a run as King Lear at the Old Vic Theatre, which is now campaigning for refurbishment.

"We need more toilets for female theatregoers", demands Dame Glenda. "Is it that you think women don't wee?"

I agree with the Birkenhead actress and former MP, why should women theatregoers have to queue up in nearly every UK theatre while men are well taken care of?

It really is an inconvenience for ladies when it comes to 'the ladies.'


FIR enough ... Saturday is the first Take Home Christmas Tree Awareness Day.

Our outdoor Xmas trees are still getting a bad press as shown in the Globe’s round-up.

But I believe every tree captures the spirit of the occasion.

The worst tree I can ever recall was actually my own when, due to Bob Crachitt finances, I bought a cactus plant and covered it with icing sugar.

Scrooge would have been proud.


AND finally ...

This year I will be working on Boxing Day as a guest on Roger Lyon's BBC Radio Merseyside show.

Roger has invited me to host a quiz between himself and Stephen Yip of the KIND charity.

I thought about a Brexit theme.

But then realised as we await next Tuesday's crucial vote in Parliament, there is already a TV quiz show which sums up Brexit - it's called Tipping Point.

Peter Grant