Johnny Morris

John Ernest Morris, OBE was a British television presenter. He was known for his children's programmes for the BBC on the topic of zoology, most notably Animal Magic and for narrating the imported, Canadian-produced Tales of the Riverbank series of stories about Hammy the Hamster, Roderick the Rat, GP the Guinea Pig, their assorted animal friends along a riverbank. Morris was born in Newport, Wales, the son of a postmaster, he learned to play the violin as a child and toured the valleys of South Wales, performing with his cello-playing father. Morris attended Hatherleigh School and worked as a solicitor's clerk, a timekeeper on a building site, a salesman and managing a 2,000-acre farm in Wiltshire for thirteen years. Morris was discovered telling stories in a pub by the BBC Home Service West Regional producer Desmond Hawkins. Morris made his radio début in 1946, featured in a number of regional series throughout the 1950s employed on light and entertainment programmes as a storyteller, such as in Pass the Salt, or as a commentator on local events.

A natural mimic and impersonator, Morris first appeared on television as The Hot Chestnut Man, a short slot in which he was shown sitting roasting chestnuts. He would tell a humorous yarn in a West Country accent ending with a moral. In 1960 he narrated the imported, Canadian-produced Tales of the Riverbank series of stories about Hammy the Hamster, Roderick the Rat, GP the Guinea Pig, their assorted animal friends along a riverbank; the show used slowed-down footage of real animals filmed doing humanised things such as driving a car or boat, living in houses. In the 1960s Morris narrated books 1–11 of The Railway Stories, recordings of the Railway Series books by the Rev. W. Awdry; the recordings of the first eight books were re-released in LP format in the'70s but the other three sets of recordings were never reissued and in the end were rerecorded by Willie Rushton. Morris's ability to create a world which children could relate to through his mimicry led to his best-known role, that of the presenter, narrator and'zoo keeper' for Animal Magic.

For more than 400 editions, from 1962 until 1983, with inserts shot at Bristol Zoo Gardens, Morris would carry out a comic dialogue with the animals, whom he voiced. His regular companion on the show was Dotty the Ring-tailed Lemur; when the idea of imposing human qualities and voices upon animals fell out of favour the series was discontinued. Morris rarely worked with spiders, having a phobia that he wished to keep from the public. Morris carried over his comedic commentary technique into other programmes, such as Follow the Rhine, a BBC2 travelogue which included a witty Morris commentary featuring his companion Tubby Foster – his producer Brian Patten. Follow the Rhine was based on Morris' earlier BBC Radio 4 series Johnny's Jaunts; these series chronicled not only the Rhine journey but other worldwide journeys and were broadcast between 1957 and 1976. Included in this series were tales based upon his visits to such places as Austria, Hong Kong, Japan, USA, Malaysia, South America, South Sea Islands, France.

Morris was Vice President of the Bluebell Railway in Sussex from its early days in the 1960s until the late 1980s, attending several anniversaries and landmark events over the first few decades of the railway's existence. He made two promotional LPs for the railway in the 1970s, one of, released on the Discourses Label,'Johnny Morris on the Bluebell Railway‘, he released other recordings, too:'Sights and Sounds of Britain', a 1975 Flexidisc and'It's a Dog's Life’, a Single promoting Winalot dog foods, oddly, played at 33 1/3 rpm. In the 1970s, Morris read children's bedtime stories for the Post Office to be heard via the telephone. Children could hear a different story over the telephone each week, he was a presenter on BBC Schools Radio's Singing Together and wrote and read stories on BBC Schools Radio's A Service for Schools, renamed Together. In a nod to his role with Animal Magic, Morris added his voice to the award-winning Creature Comforts series of electricity advertisements, created by Aardman Animations.

These advertisements featured animated claymation animals speaking about their life and conditions in a way comparable to the dialogues that Morris had created in the earlier television show. Although latterly criticised in the 1990s for his anthropomorphic technique of introducing television viewers to animals, Morris was active in environmentalism, in his eighties demonstrated against the building of the Newbury Bypass near his home. In June 2004, Morris and Bill Oddie were jointly profiled in the first of a three part BBC Two series, The Way We Went Wild, about television wildlife presenters. Morris was awarded the OBE in 1984, his autobiography, There's Lovely, was first published in 1989. A diabetic, Morris collapsed at his home in Hungerford, Berkshire, in March 1999 when he was about to star in new animal series Wild Thing on ITV. Admitted to the Princess Margaret Hospital, Swindon for tests, he was discharged to a nursing home in the Devizes and Marlborough district, where he died on 6 May 1999.

His wife, had died ten years previously. He bequeathed his house to his co-host on Animal Magic, Terry Nutkins, a large sum of cash to his housekeeper, Rita Offer, smaller sums to his gardener and his builder but he left nothing to his stepsons, his step-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren - due to a failed business partnership which had cost him £500,000. Morris was a

Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio

Liaozhai Zhiyi, called in English Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio or Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio, is a collection of Classical Chinese stories by Pu Songling, comprising close to five hundred "marvel tales" in the zhiguai and chuanqi styles, which serve to implicitly criticise societal problems then. Dating back to the Qing dynasty, its earliest publication date is given as 1740. Since many of the critically lauded stories have been adapted for other media such as film and television; the compilation was first circulated in scribal copies but it was not published until after the author's death. According to Zhao Qigao, Pu intended for his anthology to be titled Tales of Ghosts and Foxes. Sources differ in their account of the year of publication. One source claims Liaozhai was published by Pu's grandson in 1740. Pu is believed to have completed the majority of the tales sometime in 1679, though he could have added entries as late as 1707; the earliest surviving print version of Liaozhai was printed in 1766 in Hangzhou.

The Martin Bodmer Foundation Library houses a 19th-century Liaozhai manuscript, silk-printed and bound leporello-style, that contains three tales including "The Bookworm", "The Great Sage, Heaven's Equal", "The Frog God". The main characters of this book are ghosts, foxes and demons, but the author focused on the everyday life of commoners, he used the unexplainable to illustrate his ideas of society and government. He sympathized with the poor. Four main themes are present in Strange Stories; the first is a complaint about the skewed feudal system. The author argued that many officers and rich people committed crimes without being punished, because they enjoyed privilege and power granted to them by the government, purely by their status and/or their wealth; this theme can be found in short stories such as “The Cricket”, “Xi Fangping”, “Shang Sanguan”. It is clear that the author resents the feudal government and unfair as it was. Secondly, the author revealed the corrupt examination system at the time.

Pu had discovered that the exams were unfairly graded. He postulated that many students bribed examiners or the grading officers; the education system, became pointless in Pu's eyes, as it had destroyed the scholars’ minds and ruined their creativity, as illustrated in such stories as “Kao San Sheng”, “Ya Tou”, “Scholar Wang Zi-an”. Pu's third theme was a clear admiration of pure, faithful love between poor scholars and powerless women, writing many stories about the love between beautiful and kind female ghosts and poor students to illustrate the allegory; the author praised women who took care of their husbands’ lives and helped them achieve success, as can be found in chapters such as “Lian Xiang”, “Yingning” and “Nie Xiaoqian”. Lastly, Pu criticized the people’s immoral behavior and sought to educate them through Strange Stories, he embedded Confucian-styled moral standards and Taoist principles into parables. Strange Tales from Liaozhai. Jain Pub Co. 2008. ISBN 978-0-89581-001-4. Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio.

London: Penguin, 2006. 562 pages. ISBN 0-14-044740-7. Strange Tales from the Liaozhai Studio. Beijing: People's China Publishing, 1997. ISBN 7-80065-599-7. Strange Tales from Make-do Studio. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1989. ISBN 7-119-00977-X. Strange Tales of Liaozhai. Hong Kong: Commercial Press, 1982. Strange Stories from the Lodge of Leisure. London: Constable, 1913. Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio. London: T. De La Rue, 1880. ISBN 1-4212-4855-7. John Minford and Tong Man describe Herbert Giles's translation as "prudish", because he chose not to translate "anything connected with sex, blood, sometimes indeed the human body in any of its aspects" and made "extraordinary lengths to cover up his traces, showing considerable craft and cunning." In the Giles translation fox spirits wish to chat and share tea with people rather than trying to seduce and engage in sexual intercourse, romantic partners at most exchange kisses. They wrote that "Giles was a creature of his time" since he was required to follow Victorian Era morality, urged readers to "not get Giles' bowdlerising of Liao-chai out of proportion."

They added that "the distributed Commercial Press edition of the stories makes many of the same prudish cuts as Giles."Minford and Tong Man write that people have continued reading Giles's translations though they "have been at best tolerated, more derided, dismissed as orientalist bowdlerisations...." Lydia Chiang, describes Minford and Tong Man's essay as a "post-Saidian re-evaluation" that compares the Giles translation to Chinese representations of the story from pre-modern and modern eras. Martin Buber made the first German translation of the work, included within his Chinesische Geister- und Liebesgeschichten. Buber had assistance from a person named Wang Jingdao. Buber stated in the preface of his translation that his translation had portions untranslated in Giles work because Giles, according to the "English custom" had "omitted or paraphrased all passages which seemed to him indecorous." The Chinesische Geister- und Liebesgeschichten was translated into English by Alex Page, published in 1991 by the Humanities Press.

Vasily Mikhaylovich Alekseyev has published an acclaimed translation of Pu Songling's stories in Russia


HMS E16 was an E-class submarine built by Vickers, Barrow-in-Furness for the Royal Navy. She was laid down on 15 May 1913 and was commissioned on 27 February 1915, her hull cost £105,700. E16 was the first E-class to sink a U-boat, U-6, sunk 4 mi south-west of Karmøy island off Stavanger, Norway on 15 September 1915. E16 was sunk by a mine in Heligoland Bight on 22 August 1916. There were no survivors. Like all post-E8 British E-class submarines, E16 had a displacement of 662 tonnes at the surface and 807 tonnes while submerged, she had a beam length of 22 feet 8.5 inches. She was powered by two 800 horsepower Vickers eight-cylinder two-stroke diesel engines and two 420 horsepower electric motors; the submarine had a submerged speed of 10 knots. British E-class submarines had fuel capacities of 50 tonnes of diesel and ranges of 3,255 miles when travelling at 10 knots. E16 was capable of operating submerged for five hours; as with most of the early E class boats, E16 was not fitted with a deck gun during construction but may have had one fitted forward of the conning tower.

She had five 18 inch torpedo tubes, two in the bow, one either side amidships, one in the stern. E-Class submarines had wireless systems with 1 kilowatt power ratings, their maximum design depth was 100 feet. Some submarines contained Fessenden oscillator systems, her complement was 28 men. Casualties'Submarine losses 1904 to present day' - Royal Navy Submarine Museum