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Dylan Thomas

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1101075.  Sun Nov 09, 2014 8:12 am Reply with quote

If the presenter of a tv show is lookimg directly at the camera, it is most likely that they are reading the autocue and the remark is scripted. If they are looking at another person (whether on a panel or a guest on a sofa) then they will usually be ad-libbing, though often directed by the producer through their ear piece.

1101096.  Sun Nov 09, 2014 1:06 pm Reply with quote

Those of us who have been to recordings can confirm that Stephen does not use an autocue.

1101100.  Sun Nov 09, 2014 2:40 pm Reply with quote

I thought he famously used cue cards on his desk?

Shame he's on secret service at the moment or we could ask him.

1101157.  Mon Nov 10, 2014 6:53 am Reply with quote

I have to agree with Robert. I too was amazed to hear this on QI, especially from the lips of Stephen himself!

There is no evidence that these were Dylan's last words - indeed there is no substantial evidence that the quantity of alcohol referred to in the remark was anywhere near the truth either!

A quick check of just two biographies (one by Caitlin Thomas and the other by Constantine Fitzgibbon - the nearest two I happen to have to hand) corroborate this, as I know (having read a fair few of them for work this year) do many other biographies.

Even so, the 'urban myth' about his last words prevails and I think Stephen deserves a klaxon for perpetuating it.

1101185.  Mon Nov 10, 2014 11:16 am Reply with quote

CB27 wrote:
I thought he famously used cue cards on his desk?

Shame he's on secret service at the moment or we could ask him.

Yes he does have cue cards with answers and additional info on his desk, but he quite often throws in things ad lib.

1101196.  Mon Nov 10, 2014 12:05 pm Reply with quote

Yes, but the Dylan comment was Steviebabes' "closing funny comment", so presumably it was one of the scripted elements of the show.


Robert Padam
1101528.  Wed Nov 12, 2014 8:37 pm Reply with quote

I'm just disappointed in the programme - having always assumed their 'facts' are accurate.
I am not asserting anything. The error is not up for debate. The man only died sixty years ago and his grand-daughter, Hannah Ellis has worked hard this centenary year to dispel myths like this. There was even a BBC Arena programme on Thomas from 2003 - 'From Grave to Cradle', excellently written and presented by Nigel Williams, which dealt with this matter in the first ten minutes.
It is extremely easy to verify Dylan Thomas was up and about the following day after his boast about the number of whiskies - there are not only the statements of the people who were with him there are even photographs of him in the White Horse the following afternoon, posing (albeit ghostly) with a couple of longshoremen.
Having said that you can't take anything you read on trust. The poet John Berryman's biography states that Dylan issued his famous remark from his barstool and collapsed there and was rushed to hospital. Likewise, most of Thomas's biographies state Berryman was the only visitor present in the room when Dylan died when Berryman himself admitted in interviews that he was out in the corridor.
It's these sort of discrepancies I have expected QI to iron out but now I wonder how many 'urban myths' they just perpetuate for dramatic effect. To be honest, if what they tell you is not correct to the best of their knowledge then it's not much of a programme.

1101535.  Wed Nov 12, 2014 9:43 pm Reply with quote

The closing line is mostly meant to be funny and I wouldn't hold it up to the same scrutany as the rest of the show. That isn't to say they don't make mistakes, or explain things wrong, but most of what Stephen says is checked and triple-checked.

They probably used Dylan Thomas because he is a man connected with the myth, but it is said more like a joke. They could just as easily have used something from "The Big Book of Hilarious Jokes."

Robert Padam
1101807.  Fri Nov 14, 2014 8:03 pm Reply with quote

If they'd have used something from "The Big Book of Hilarious Jokes" then presumably that would actually have been funny.

1101824.  Sat Nov 15, 2014 12:07 am Reply with quote

Anything calling itself "hilarious" or "funny" is sure to not be that funny. If it is actually hilarious, they don't need to beat you over the head with the fact.

Robert Padam
1101980.  Sun Nov 16, 2014 8:03 pm Reply with quote

Can't pretend I really understand what you mean in this context. The closing remark is usually truthfuly humurous, or quirky or surprising or occasionally moving.
Perhaps Stephen was just quoting from 'The Big Boy's Bumper Book of The Inane' instead... oh no, he couldn't be because that would have meant the remark wouldn't have been inane. I do see what you mean.

1102007.  Mon Nov 17, 2014 5:51 am Reply with quote

To be honest, I've seen many 'closing remarks' that I have either known to be untrue or recognised as a klaxon from a previous episode. I was a bit annoyed the first time, but now (as others have said) I just assume that the ending lines are just designed to be a humourous or thought-provoking goodbye, and not subject to the same requirements as the rest of the show.

Robert Padam
1102087.  Mon Nov 17, 2014 8:56 pm Reply with quote

I do understand what you mean but as the remark was neither humourous nor thought-provoking (what wouldn't be even slightly thought-provoking you might argue) then it could have at least been accurate.
I doubt if Stephen would be so casual if it was Oscar Wilde, whose last words are frequently misquoted as, "This wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. Either it goes or I do." At least that was intended to be amusing but was said quite some time before he died. Better though than the Catholic prayer he actually mumbled at the end.

1102109.  Tue Nov 18, 2014 5:30 am Reply with quote

In case you haven't seen it, there is a biopic out about Dylan Thomas and his drunken tour of the USA. It is called "Set Fire to the Stars", with Celyn Jones and Elijah Wood. music by actual Welsh person Gruff Rhys.

Robert Padam
1102262.  Wed Nov 19, 2014 6:38 am Reply with quote

That is kind of you to point it out. I had heard about the film - though I'm not holding out much hope after the 'Poet in New York' on BBC and don't get me started about 'Edge of Love'.
Still I would like to see it. It is 'U' rated surprisingly - none of Dylan's limericks then - but I can't find it has a showing anywhere near Bristol. Perhaps it's already destined for DVD.


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