WHILE this year's Baftas were a decidedly lack-lustre affair (the Flatfas more like it) there was one non back-slapping element that did impress.

Apart from his bitingly-topical introduction, many of compere Graham Norton's gags received more tumbleweed than a repeat of Bonanza.

But when he introduced a section on the impact of serious programme-making this year's ceremony became a lot more relevant and meaningful.

It showed just how inspiring and life-changing the medium of television can be when it comes to highlighting issues that affect us all through documentaries, dramas and our hallowed soaps.

I have spent more than 30 years writing about the genre and feel the UK now creates the best programmes in the world when it comes to entertaining and educating.

From dementia to domestic violence, debt to depression the small screen can put society under the microscope like never before.

On Monday, the BBC raised the curtain on National Mental Health Awareness Week with its moving, thought-provoking and sensitive look at anxiety.

It features role models detailing personal traumas and, at times, their tear-soaked revelations were reality TV at its most persuasive showing that mental health illness can affect each and everyone of us.

At last taboos are being tackled one by one.

Now television joins the local and and national press, the Internet and responsible social media in saying out loud that mental health is not a stigma.

This leads me to congratulate the Wirral Be Yourself campaign - featured in the Globe - for its inspiring film aimed at combating negative stereotypes surrounding body image.

Give it a BAFTA.


FREDDIE Starr has left the building.

The former Merseybeat comedian once impersonated Elvis in front of the 'King' himself despite being warned not to.

Presley loved it.

I got to know Freddie when he made his TV specials before his alleged 'hamster-eating' exploits and he would often ring me out of the blue with surreal showbiz stories.

Memorably, he phoned me after his horse won the Grand National in 1994 and there was no trace of the stammer that he had struggled with since his abused childhood.

It was the happiest I had ever heard him.

Ricky Tomlinson said frenetic Freddie was a 'one-off' and relished playing practical jokes on his fellow musicians before live shows notably loosening their guitar strings leading to chaotic scenes.

Fellow Cavern Club star Billy Butler was deeply saddened by the death of his 'funny friend.'

He called him a 'comic genius'.

So many had been Starr-struck by Freddie's talent.


HERE'S a 'Dear John' letter with a difference.

Come home Mr Rotten ...

It seems Johnny Lyndon (nee Rotten) is now tasting his own medicine.

And it's bitterly ironic.

He lives in California where what he calls ‘aggressive homeless gang-y’ youngsters are making life very unpleasant for his family in the 'sunshine state' causing emotional and physical damage to his Los Angeles property.

Johnny, who sang the praises of English butter in a TV commercial while decked out in country squire-esque suit, was the sneering, anti-establishment face of punk with the Sex Pistols. Johnny, it’s time to return to Blighty - it beats putting up with anarchy in the USA.


OUR Birkenhead cowboy rode into the Philharmonic Hall on his farewell tour last weekend.

But Charlie Landsborough says he won't be doing a Frank Sinatra-styled famous comeback like Ol’ Blue Eyes.

He will now enjoy writing and recording - but long treks are over.

He says, having just played 27 concerts on the trot, that any comeback would have to be billed 'Ol' bloodshot eyes is back.'


KLOPP that!

Has Stan Boardman's favourite German (yes, he has one) inspired him to re-boot his pop career?

Stan, who made the charts with his World Cup Song, may venture into the recording studios again to celebrate LFC’s forthcoming Champions League final but he us up against the clock.

Last year the Globe exclusively revealed how Stan missed the final when he had been booked to do a show on the same night the Reds took on Real Madrid.

He plays the Epstein Theatre on May 25 a week before LFC take on Spurs in Madrid. Tactically, he has kept June 1 free.



BRAVO ... following his sell-out Festival of Firsts success at West Kirby’s Westbourne Hall, Roger McGough hinted he may be back on Merseyside in October with more poetry collaborators with Little Machine.

For those who missed the show how would Roger describe these joint performances with the trio?

He said Wirral and Liverpool are in the mix, adding: "We are a cross between Atomic Kitten and Half Man Half biscuit." Roger and out.


And finally ...

A sincere ‘thank you’ to the reader who sent the Inferno a ‘Happy 5th birthday’ card ... the icing on the cake.

This is the 260th column - that’s a lot of candles to blow out.

On the positive side, that's plenty of wishes I have to make.

Peter Grant