Black Cats audition for acting role

black cat

This charming film clip from 1953 is of an audition for a black cat to perform on the West End stage. The role isn’t very demanding and there are no lines to learn. The pay is £3 per week plus food and milk. The turnout of hopefuls would match any human casting!

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Celebrate the birth of Hermione Gingold #OnThisDay in 1897

Hermione Gingold

Hermione Gingold

was an English actress whose distinctive drawling, deep voice was a result of the nodes on her vocal cords she developed in the 1920s and early 1930s.

A successful child actress,

Hermione Gingold

went on to act in comedy, drama and experimental theatre as well as broadcasting on the radio. Her greatest success came in revues during the 1930s to the 1950s.

In later life she played formidable elderly characters in such films and stage musicals as Gigi (1958), Bell, Book and Candle (1958), The Music Man (1962) and A Little Night Music (1973).

She became well known as a guest on television talk shows and continued to appear in revues, plays and musicals until an accident ended her performing career in 1977.

Hermione Gingold

had two children with her first husband, publisher Michael Joseph. Her younger son was Stephen Joseph the pioneer of theatre-in-the round who established the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough.

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The longest running British stage play opened in London #OnThisDay in 1952.


The Mousetrap is a murder mystery play by Agatha Christie.

The Mousetrap opened in London’s West End on 25th November 1952 and has been running continuously since then.

It’s the longest running West End show with over 26,000 performances.

Agatha Christie herself did not expect The Mousetrap to run for such a long time.

In her autobiography, Christie reports a conversation that she had with Peter Saunders, the theatre impresario and producer of the show. Saunders thought the show would run for about fourteen months. To which Christie replied, “It won’t run that long. Eight months perhaps. Yes, I think eight months.”

The original West End cast included Richard Attenborough as Detective Sergeant Trotter and his wife Sheila Sim as Mollie Ralston. They took a 10% profit-participation in the production, which was paid for out of their combined weekly salary.

The murderer’s identity is divulged near the end of the play in a twist ending. By tradition, at the end of each performance, audiences are asked not to reveal the identity of the killer to anyone outside the theatre, to ensure that the end of the play is not spoilt for future audiences.

We went to see the show years ago but I can’t remember what happened in the end, so I can’t tell you anyway!

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Who followed the money in Dept Q?

BBC4, the home of subtitled noir

according to Andrew Collins in the Radio Times, has recently shown a trilogy of cold-case thrillers grouped together with the prefix Department Q.

The films are based on the novels by Danish crime writer Jussi Adler-Olsen.

Department Q is the unit worked by Detective Carl Morck and Detective Assad. It’s about as far away from New Tricks as you can get! This week’s instalment, A Conspiracy of Faith, had the discovery of an eight year old message written in blood leading Morck and Assad to a reclusive religious sect, a serial killer and some ominous wind turbines.

Abuse and abduction permeate the films which are nasty and deep and make for compulsive viewing. We’ll definitely be looking out for further titles.

A few weeks ago we also enjoyed Follow the Money

and while watching Department Q recognised some actors who’d made an appearance in both series.

Carl Morck was Sander in Follow the Money Season One.

The abducted woman in The Keeper of Lost Causes (Department Q Film 1) was the sister in FTM Season 2.

The Swede in FTM had a small part in The Keeper of Lost Causes.

The brother in FTM Season Two was in The Absent One (Department Q Film 2).

And there were a couple of other faces we recognised but I can no longer remember the names of their characters.

And the names of the brilliant actors we recognised were completely unknown to us until now.

I’ve been doing my homework and found that:

Carl Morck / Alexander Sodergren (Sander) is the actor NIKOLAJ LIE KAAS who you might know as The Assassin in Angels and Demons.

Merete Lynggaard / Amanda Absalonsen is the actor SONJA RICHTER best known for the film Open Hearts.

Larsson / The Swede is the actor CLAES LJUNGMARK who has a long list of credits going back to the 1980s.

Ulrick Dybbol / Simon Absalonsen is the actor DAVID DENCIK who played Tony Esterhase in the 2011 film version of Tinker, Tailor Soldier, Spy.

My favourite character in Follow the Money was Bimse played by the actor LUCAS HANSEN  who I hope to see in future scandi noir shows on BBC4.

There’s more info about Department Q

on the BBC website and also Follow the Money.

If you’d like some more Follow the Money

this entertaining blogpost by a devoted fan is well worth a look.

I thought I read somewhere that Follow the Money Season 3 was in development but I can’t find any references. Hope there will be more!

There’s definitely more Department Q. A fourth film is in development and the film rights of another Adler-Olsen novel have recently sold. Adler-Olsen is aiming to write 10 Department Q novels and is currently working on the seventh. More books for the Waiting To Be Read list!

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Today’s book promo is:


“Warning! This book is seriously addictive!”

“Right until the very end, everything is not as it seems.”

“The reader witnesses changing times, changing attitudes and entire lives that are shattered with secrets and deceit.”