The Jennings Meeting held at the White Hart Hotel, Lewes
on 8th May 2004 was by common consent one of the most successful that we have
Jonathan Cooper presided over the gathering in his usual entertaining form and as well as arranging an excellent programme he gave an outline of the coverage of the programmes in the Radio Times. Bernard Elwen provided an interesting back-up to Jonathan's talk by tracing the career of Jennings on Radio and Television. He focused on the importance of the Radio Times not least by providing widely read publicity to writers, illustrators and actors.
Val Biro, one of the most respected of illustrators, talked of the pleasure he has derived from illustrating Anthony's books - paying tribute to the fact that it is the quality of the language that entitles the books to be treated as literature. Incidentally, I must pay tribute to the fact that Val is one of the illustrators who actually reads (as apart from skimming) the material that he illustrates.
Before the teabreak Bob Bray linked Anthony's influence on such comedy programmes as Hancock's Half Hour, the Goons and Take it from Here. Then a hilarious interlude was provided by tape recording of one of the Radio plays made by Jonathan and his colleague Peter Downes with a gaggle of beautifully spoken boys: what a pleasure to hear English well spoken.
After the break, Peter Hicks, always a star, gave an account of how he has collected his collection of books - with little comfort for the Dealers!
David Schutte told us about the forthcoming revised edition of the Jennings Companion illustrated by Val and updated and revised by Jonathan.
Peter Singleton - surely an actor at heart! - concluded the appreciations with a gallop through the mainly disastrous financial transactions inaugurated by Jennings.
In conclusion, Peter Vincent and Brian Woodruff led a fruitful discussion of the ways to manage a new website - www.linbury-court.co.uk - We are indeed fortunate to have the expert guidance of these two: they are aware of the pitfalls and helped us, the audience, to understand how to keep a website dynamic.
There was one other talk by me which Caroline Batemen has undertaken to cover. Anthony was able to attend and was most moved by all the tributes showered upon him.