AND the winner is ...

The only time I stay up all night to watch live television is when the Oscar ceremony is beamed over from Hollywood.

Closer to home and with less razzmatazz but equal drama were this year's local elections.

Not exactly Tinsel Town - but it was nail-biting for residents and councillors alike.

The results had put an end to watching an ongoing series of Hammer Horror meets Carry On film scenarios.

Wirral residents have in the past year become reluctant extras on such real-life screenplays as Invasion of the Environmental Litter Enforcers featuring its X certificate plot line - the uninvited Zero Tolerance zealots.

We saw the re-make of the Clark Gable classic Gone with the Wind - set in the Greenbelt.

Frankly, voters did give a damn.

Now there are whole new productions to be set in Wirral - directed by the people.

In the build-up to the 2019 elections I asked questions about the effects of policies on those who live and work in Wirral as well as those who commute and the many visitors and tourists who come to the borough on a regular basis.

Decisions that affect me and you on a daily basis.

Through working here for the past six years and with being part of a strong community I know why Wirral is special.

The Inferno is five years old next week - that's 260 weekly columns.

It will continue to share opinions - just like all the political websites and inspirational and influential bloggers to remind the council they work for the people of Wirral and not the other way round.

That is why we have a state of NOC - no overall control.

A 'NOC out' blow for the Labour Group.

People clearly demand transparency, consultation and accountability.

Outgoing Labour leader Phil Davies has said goodbye to his 2020 vision.

It has come a year early.

I have covered local politics in Birmingham, Oxford, London and Liverpool where I witnessed what I called rampant apathy.

Happily that seems to be changing here.

Judging by social media - in all it's positive forms - it is now encouraging that so many people are looking ahead to next May while our MPs fight their Brexit civil war.

Will it be another Oscar - winning blockbuster result in Wirral next year?

One thing is certain - the electorate is on a roll.


TALKING of classic films, it is encouraging to see Wirral in a co-starring role.

I have just seen Tolkien - the newly-released biopic of The Lord of the Rings writer.

In this moving love story set amid the horrors of The Somme and Port Sunlight and Thornton Hough and Thornton Manor double up as Oxford and the Midlands.

It is yet another reason we should look to the future and think about a possible Wirral Film Office.

Maybe the Liverpool City Region can build on this success alongside the much-in-demand Liverpool Film Office.

Tolkien is a four star, beautifully-filmed movie which also brought a smile to my face when I saw the closing credits which say a big 'thank you' from the producers to our very own Wirral Met.


H is for half-baked.

I was not the only one of nine million viewers disappointed with the far-fetched outcome of the TV series Line of Duty.

A storyline involving a last-minute Morse code clue left me tapping my fingers in despair.

We are told there will be a sixth series.

Can I ask Comic Relief producers a favour?

Please do not include characters from our crime dramas in your future spoof sketches.

I never recovered from seeing Adrian Dunbar's enigmatic Hastings mess around with Joanna Lumley and the cast of The Bodyguard earlier this year ahead of the series.


BRAVO to the BBC for its two-parter Our Dementia Choir which concludes tomorrow.

It features an emotional concert featuring 2000 sufferers.

The Beeb have treated the subject matter with complete dignity.

If only other creatives on screen and on stage could see they have a responsibility for treating dementia with sensitivity.

Let's hope more such choirs arise from this idea.

"Life does not end with a dementia diagnosis," is a chorus we can all sing.


GLOVES are off for Ricky Tomlinson who is in with a fighting chance of picking up a movie award.

While Man City and Liverpool go to the wire at the weekend, at the end of this month Ricky will be up against the likes of Michael Gambon, Simon Pegg and Ray Winstone for the 'best supporting actor' title in the National Film Awards for his part as a boxing promoter in the film Gloves Off.

When he's not up for prizes Ricky is busy giving them out.

I was with him at the annual Clapperboard UK Awards last week where - as a supporter for the last 15 years like me - he presented the gongs.

Ricky, who is 80 this year, told the Inferno he has no intention of retiring.

Judging by the number of young Spielbergs queuing up for selfies that is a wise decision.

Ricky, I can reveal, still wears his Jim Royle vest under his shirt in case of any photographic emergency.


And finally ...

The world's oldest duck has celebrated his 21st birthday in Buckinghamshire.

His owners say there is no secret to Ernie's longevity.

It appears ... the mallard he lingered on.

Peter Grant