Author Topic: John Sessions has died  (Read 5900 times)

Re: John Sessions has died
« Reply #60 on: November 04, 2020, 12:46:43 AM »
It was Len he was cautioning, when Len admits he wanted to burn Roger Moore's house down.

Stop getting Stella Street wrong.

https://youtu.be/doZJUaQdP6k?t=492

Re: John Sessions has died
« Reply #61 on: November 04, 2020, 12:56:43 AM »
I know the scene being referenced and it was Michael Caine's house he wanted to burn down.

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Re: John Sessions has died
« Reply #62 on: November 04, 2020, 01:07:45 AM »
Blimey, just been going through Stella Street now after the Phil Cornwell thread reminded me I never properly finished it. Remember he was really quite talented in WLIIA? as well.

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Re: John Sessions has died
« Reply #63 on: November 04, 2020, 01:20:43 AM »
Interesting stuff on his crisis of confidence here https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2020/nov/03/john-sessions-a-brilliantly-unhinged-self-effacing-genius, but doesn't this bit miss the point?
Quote
Genius is a word too lightly bandied around, but when comedian Ronni Ancona applied it to Sessions after news of his death broke it did not feel misplaced. No less an authority than David Brent mentioned him in the same breath as Spike Milligan, John Cleese and Kenny Everett in his pantheon of geniuses, putting all four above Newton and Einstein, whose sense of humour was questionable.

Wasn't that piss-taking bathos from Gervais, implicitly putting Sessions down?

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Re: John Sessions has died
« Reply #64 on: November 04, 2020, 01:22:29 AM »
Yeah it was definitely a piss take. There was a huge pause before ... Sessions then Brent mugged to the camera.

Guardian idiots.

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Re: John Sessions has died
« Reply #65 on: November 04, 2020, 09:32:26 AM »
Stop getting Stella Street wrong.

https://youtu.be/doZJUaQdP6k?t=492

Just coming in to say that. 

Does anyone else feel like visiting Stella Street provided a map towards Royston Vasey?

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Re: John Sessions has died
« Reply #66 on: November 04, 2020, 11:14:31 AM »
Just coming in to say that. 

Does anyone else feel like visiting Stella Street provided a map towards Royston Vasey?

Very similar in visual tone but does On The Town With The League Of Gentlemen not pre-date this?

the

Re: John Sessions has died
« Reply #67 on: November 04, 2020, 11:33:52 AM »
Stop getting Stella Street wrong.

https://youtu.be/doZJUaQdP6k?t=492

I forgot about that, I've most recently watched series 2 which features the same copper character saying more or less the same thing to Len after he tries to burn down Roger Moore's house

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Re: John Sessions has died
« Reply #68 on: November 04, 2020, 11:46:40 AM »
Like Michael Sheen he had a niche that combined first-class impressions and dramatic chops. This performance as Geoffrey Howe is as close to the real thing as you could get: https://youtu.be/wFvMbc9XnVY?t=350

He has separately played Heath and Wilson. Some range! RIP

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Re: John Sessions has died
« Reply #69 on: November 04, 2020, 12:00:01 PM »
Does anyone else feel like visiting Stella Street provided a map towards Royston Vasey?

Must have inspired Murder in Successville too.

Re: John Sessions has died
« Reply #70 on: November 04, 2020, 01:28:20 PM »
Does anyone else feel like visiting Stella Street provided a map towards Royston Vasey?

Similar theme tunes

Buelligan

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Re: John Sessions has died
« Reply #71 on: November 04, 2020, 04:13:48 PM »
Very similar in visual tone but does On The Town With The League Of Gentlemen not pre-date this?

Interesting thought, I think they were originally released within a month or so of each other - when you allow for writing time and filming in Stella's case, it's hard to say but I'm guessing both populations are pretty incestuous.

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Re: John Sessions has died
« Reply #72 on: November 04, 2020, 05:05:00 PM »
To further complicate matters, the League's stage shows would have come well before the radio show.

But more to the point, shocking news.

Re: John Sessions has died
« Reply #73 on: November 04, 2020, 06:16:32 PM »
Very sad news.

Always liked Sessions as a performer and there have been some good shoutouts about that.

One work that I particularly like is Sessions' portrayal of Zipser of the Channel 4's Porterhouse Blue, appearing with the likes of Dennis Lill, David Jason, Harold Innocent and Charles Grey. As with Blott on the Landscape, Malcolm Bradbury, brilliantly adapting a Tom Sharpe novel.

Another particular - and even greater - favourite is Beachcomber... by the Way for Radio 4, which introduced me to the work of J.B. Morton, which I'm forever indebted. Richard Ingrams played Morton, whilst Patricia Routledge, John Wells and Sessions (and later joined by June Whitfield and Joan Sims) played twelve red-bearded amongst others... and very good too (natch).

Interesting stuff on his crisis of confidence here https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2020/nov/03/john-sessions-a-brilliantly-unhinged-self-effacing-genius, but doesn't this bit miss the point?

Wasn't that piss-taking bathos from Gervais, implicitly putting Sessions down?

Thanks for posting that - I was going to say that I found Sessions could be very candid in interviews and the linked to in the piece I had in mind.

Re: Gervais - personally, I wouldn't say that it was a dig at Sessions in The Office. Scenes like that, for me, were squarely aimed at Brent and his ignorance/viewpoint - just re-watched it and it's pretty much as I remember.

Sessions' inclusion in that name-checking is slightly incongruous (e.g. the manic energy of the other three and were established far earlier) and amusing on those grounds, for me, could reflect Brent's aspirations - being someone like Sessions. Well-known, prolific, funny and talented.

A few years earlier than The Office, Sessions was in an office-based sitcom and wonder Brent mentioning him was a deliberate nod to that?

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Re: John Sessions has died
« Reply #74 on: November 04, 2020, 06:38:13 PM »
Yeah it was definitely a piss take. There was a huge pause before ... Sessions then Brent mugged to the camera.

Guardian idiots.

I've always liked that line, as Sessions is the sort of clever-clogs comedian Brent would pretend to like, but yeah, it is a blatant put-down. The author of that obituary is clearly a very stupid man with no sense of humour.

EDIT: Gah! Sorry, Ignatius, I should've read your post before firing off mine! You articulated the point of the Sessions reference more eloquently than I did. It is a dig at Sessions, but Brent is the butt of the joke. And I think it's fair to assume that the geeky early-twenty-something Merchant would've been a fan of Sessions on WLIIA.

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Re: John Sessions has died
« Reply #75 on: November 04, 2020, 06:56:08 PM »
Like Michael Sheen he had a niche that combined first-class impressions and dramatic chops.

Sheen's who I thought of, after looking at Sessions' Lowe/Mainwaring.  They're like the best caricaturists - they have (had) the gift of being able to accurately home in on the telling details as well as divine the overall geist of person, which allows them to very effectively judge how and where to exaggerate and distort, if they're playing an impersonation for laughs, or which bounds to stay within but 'push against' in a bio-drama in order to serve up a simulacrum of the person they're playing ('depicting' seems as suitable to use in the case of these two) that strikes as uncanny.

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Re: John Sessions has died
« Reply #76 on: November 04, 2020, 07:32:31 PM »
I've always liked that line, as Sessions is the sort of clever-clogs comedian Brent would pretend to like, but yeah, it is a blatant put-down. The author of that obituary is clearly a very stupid man with no sense of humour.

EDIT: Gah! Sorry, Ignatius, I should've read your post before firing off mine! You articulated the point of the Sessions reference more eloquently than I did. It is a dig at Sessions, but Brent is the butt of the joke. And I think it's fair to assume that the geeky early-twenty-something Merchant would've been a fan of Sessions on WLIIA.

Maybe a bit of both, although I'm not convinced. It certainly can't be sensibly interpreted the way the Guardian article has it anyway.

It's reminded me of another less subtle moment in Extras, in an exchange that Gervais has obviously engineered just to get the putdown in:

CHEGGERS PLAYS POP: Black people aren't funny
RICKY EXTRA: Black people are funny
CHEGWIN: Name one black person that's funny
GERVAIS: I can name loads - Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Eddie Murphy...
CHEGWIN: British!
GERVAIS: [thinks for a bit, notices a photo of Lenny Henry...] Don't change the rules

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Re: John Sessions has died
« Reply #77 on: November 04, 2020, 09:50:57 PM »

CHEGGERS PLAYS POP: Black people aren't funny
RICKY EXTRA: Black people are funny
CHEGWIN: Name one black person that's funny
GERVAIS: I can name loads - Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Eddie Murphy...
CHEGWIN: British!
GERVAIS: [thinks for a bit, notices a photo of Lenny Henry...] Don't change the rules

Seeing that was when I first thought, "hang on, this Gervais fella is a bit of a cunt"

The Cloud of Unknowing

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Re: John Sessions has died
« Reply #78 on: November 05, 2020, 10:51:12 PM »
Reading his obit today I was surprised to see he read English literature at Bangor Uni in North Wales. I'd thought he was Oxbridge.

Also:
Quote
Sessions had a habit of batting away questions about his private life. However, his homosexuality was revealed in 1994 while he was appearing at the Royal Court in My Night With Reg, a comedy about gay life in London: “I was interviewed by the London Evening Standard and asked very robustly, ‘Are you gay?’ I said, ‘Yes I am, but my parents don’t know’. The journalist said she thought I should tell them and outed me.” His mother, with whom he had tried as a teenager to discuss his sexuality but quickly backtracked when he saw her look of horror, died unexpectedly six weeks later.
Hooray for tabloid journalists!

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Re: John Sessions has died
« Reply #79 on: November 06, 2020, 12:50:21 AM »
Ugh, that's horrible.

Re: John Sessions has died
« Reply #80 on: November 06, 2020, 01:42:41 AM »
He was also in my all time favourite radio comedy series Cabin Pressure as Monsr. Jutteau, the evil airport chief in the 'Douz' episode.

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Re: John Sessions has died
« Reply #81 on: November 10, 2020, 08:25:16 PM »
Ah, damn. This thread is the first I've heard about Sessions's death. Stella Street was excellent. RIP

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Re: John Sessions has died
« Reply #82 on: November 13, 2020, 10:29:45 PM »
Tony Slattery

A FEW THOUGHTS FOR JOHN SESSIONS
It takes time to process the loss of such a brilliant, good man as John.
This last week or so, since his untimely death, I’ve been reflecting a lot on a dear friend and valued colleague.
During our very happy days together, on Whose Line is it Anyway?, John was tremendously kind to me. Week in, week out, he was also relentlessly funny. Dangerously so, but with never an ounce of malice. John had no room for such weakness. His heart was the size of a mountain. His mind just as immense.
Years later, and during my lowest ebb, one of the few people who could even make me smile was John in the brilliant Stella Street. I can still quote great reams of that show. Even now, moments of its inspired silliness can make me cry with laughter.
John was a lovely, true, human being.
We will all miss him.
Tony x

The photographic study of John Sessions, by Steve Speller, held in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery.


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Re: John Sessions has died
« Reply #83 on: November 14, 2020, 12:35:39 AM »
That's a lovely tribute from old Slatters. For any Sessions fans on here, he narrates the audiobook to Tim Bouverie's 'Appeasing Hitler'. It's a fascinating look at British foreign policy in the 1930s, of which I now realise I knew virtually nothing about. He reads it brilliantly and is clearly enjoying himself. Unfortunately most of the Audible reviews are negative but for me it's one of the best narrations I've ever heard. Book and narration are well worth your time, I promise.


My other memory of him is a bit sadder. He was a guest on Armanda Iannucci's Charm Offensive and at one point he goes off on a typical flight of surreal fancy which AI interrupts to ask him, "What the hell are you going on about?". It's very unlike Iannucci and he makes a kind of implicit apology in the next episode I think. But Sessions hardly speaks again. Very regrettable. Those shows which are otherwise excellent are available on iTunes still I think.

Re: John Sessions has died
« Reply #84 on: November 14, 2020, 06:03:37 PM »
Got reminded by Twitter that I went to see this at the Watford Palace Theatre in 1988. Not a bad cast - Rik, Fry and Sessions would have been right in my Channel 4 wheelhouse at the time.


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Re: John Sessions has died
« Reply #85 on: November 14, 2020, 06:47:32 PM »
Got reminded by Twitter that I went to see this at the Watford Palace Theatre in 1988. Not a bad cast - Rik, Fry and Sessions would have been right in my Channel 4 wheelhouse at the time.
Blimey! Originally directed by Harold Pinter (with Ian Ogilvy and Simon Williams), then Fry, Sessions and Mayall were only in it for three months. You lucky bugger, although I see the "Screen Two" version with Fry and Tim Roth is HERE, if anyone wants to watch it.

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Re: John Sessions has died
« Reply #86 on: November 23, 2020, 03:58:13 PM »
There's a tribute in the most recent issue of Private Eye:

Quote
John Sessions, the actor and comedian who has died at the age of 67, was a long-standing friend of the Eye.

Sessions' extraordinary talent for mimicry graced the last of the flexidiscs mounted on the magazine's cover in the 1980s and the "CD-Romp" given away to celebrate the mag's 40th anniversary. Up until last year he was a mainstay of the star-studded troupe that performed extracts from the magazine at Private Eye's annual shows at the National Theatre. These invariably culminated with his extraordinary performance as the legendary old buffer Sir Herbert Gussett, reading out one of his letters to the Telegraph.

"He didn't just milk each joke, he creamed and yoghurted it," recalls a fellow cast member. "It was ridiculous, it was over the top, and it was one of the funniest things I have ever seen. The audience started to laugh before John had even said a single word."

Sessions was also the one who introduced the phrase "Luvvies" to the magazine to describe the more overwrought of his fellow actors. His RADA contemporary Kenneth Branagh inaugurated the feature in August 1991; Sessions made his own debut with a particularly flowery quotation about Molière three months later, which he enjoyed hugely. He was self-aware, modest, and kind despite his enormous gifts. We will miss him.

Re: John Sessions has died
« Reply #87 on: November 23, 2020, 05:23:58 PM »
Wait, there's an annual Private Eye stageshow at the National Theatre where people such as John Sessions act out bits of the year's content? Why have I never heard of this before? Is it a well-known thing? Who else is involved?

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Re: John Sessions has died
« Reply #88 on: November 23, 2020, 05:46:24 PM »
Wait, there's an annual Private Eye stageshow at the National Theatre where people such as John Sessions act out bits of the year's content? Why have I never heard of this before? Is it a well-known thing? Who else is involved?

Usually Hislop, and the likes of Lewis Macleod, Jan Ravens, Craig Brown, Harry Enfield and Sessions. There's a link to last year's in this very thread.

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Re: John Sessions has died
« Reply #89 on: November 24, 2020, 12:05:52 AM »
Highlights of the last two shows are available from the Page 94 podcast.

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