Yes, 2021 said adios to Captain Tom, in the same year we got rid of James Bond and the latest Doctor Who. What’s next, a new host of Mastermind?
You may pick me in 2022 but immortals never die…
So, how about Jodie Whittaker as the next James Bond, right? No, hang on, sorry, that’s for stirring up Twitter later in the week.
2021 though. What a year. Like 2020 but with slightly more social gatherings. Most of us got injected twice, and Matt Hancock lost his job for trying to.. I mean, there are open goals and there are open goals.
Now, as your departing co-host was ill most of the month, here are some people who had the bad timing to die in late December:
Vicente Fernandez was a big deal in Mexico (one of their biggest music deaths since Jose Jose Jose Jose) and a unique pick for American as Apple Pie, as was US politician Johnny Isakson for Swimming in the Death Pool and the great author Joan Didion for Touch of Grey. Sally Ann Howes was a popular Christmas TV regular due to her spot as Truly Scrumptious in kids nightmare flick Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Ray Illingworth’s Christmas Day death provided about 50 DDP team runners to swear loudly, and pioneering model April Ashley was a DDP regular. Also on Boxing Day we lost 2 heavyweights of US culture in swift succession, NFL mastermind John Madden and Democrat mob boss Harry Reid.
I know, I know, you can’t wait for DI to take over either. Let’s crack on, then…
There were two big hits over the Christmas period, who would have got long obits at other points in the year.
Desmond Tutu was one of the most highly respected people of the 20th Century. A Nobel Peace Prize winner, he stood as the public, non-imprisoned face of the fight against apartheid in South Africa, but also bravely took on his own side as he opposed violence for any reasons. He was the first black Archbishop in South African history, and would later dance for joy when he got to vote for the first time in 1994. In later life, he was a passionate advocate for gay rights, and he died nearly universally loved. Except by Alan Dershowitz, but then Dershowitz spent Christmas trashing Tutu and defending Ghislaine Maxwell’s good name, so you might not want him as a credible witness here…
Betty White has ruined extensive celebration plans for her 100th birthday in America by dying just over a fortnight beforehand. This may have caused Grim Up North a nervous breakdown, poor sod, especially as her death was announced at 8pm UK time on Hogmanay, after most of the DDP teams were in the bank. White was the last of the four Golden Girls from that massively popular 80s sitcom. In the 21st Century, she built a reputation for her longevity and her “give it a go” nature, becoming a TV and internet sensation for her incredible longevity as a performer. White’s death not only dents many a younger deadpoolers theories in immortality, but also suggests 2021 really hated The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
And now, congratulations are in order for Salmon Mousse, who became the best DDP debut team since Fallen Sparrow, by winning the bloody thing. Doesn’t leave you in much suspense about the Rookie of the Year, admittedly. Mousse joined the DDP by way of the Doug Stanhope Deadpool (which I so hope is actually run by Doug Stanhope for real) and his 17 point win in the DDP was a solid and deserved win in a year when most of the biggest picks failed to take off. In fact, they were the first team in 8 years to win without their joker dying. Particularly good picks included B-movie star Julie Strain and the obit risk boxer Lee Noble. In fact, you could say his team were as strong as a bull Mousse.
Yeah, best gag in the entire thing and its not even mine…
Haben die Spaten finished second in their second year in the competition, and were our most improved side. They were among the many who cashed in joker points on Rush Limbaugh, and also scored off Paul Westphal and Prince Philip. Will they survive the Curse of 2nd Place, however? Watch this space. What happened to 2020’s runners up? 49th place? Oh right.
Bronze went to Poochie, in the greatest to date finishing spot for the DDP veterans. They kept faith with Greg Gilbert, and Yoo Sang-Chul (dropped by every current or former DDP host in the game).
Deathray’s Corrie theme team lead the DDP hours into the year when Mark Eden died, but as joker points were dished out on Floyd Little later on, this turned out to be the shortest reign at the top of the DDP in history. A donnybrook eventually took place but when Gerd Muller bombed out, Salmon Mousse took an unstoppable lead.
Grim’s K2 climbers seemed to have an unassailable lead aided by unsurvivable falls for 11 months of the year, but in the closing weeks, the death of Doug Cowie meant Sudden Death over took them to win the Theme Team League!
By numbers, Prince Philip was the biggest death of 2021, with 173 teams cashing in. In fact, no one was picked more this year. The Drop 40 also saw Carlos Menem, Welsh goalkeeper Dai Davies, and boxer Leon Spinks. Other notable DDP picks included, from TV: Mark Eden, Larry King, Cloris Leachman, Cicely Tyson, Screech, Ronald Pickup, Johnny Briggs, Trevor Peacock, Jessica Walter, Jackie Mason, Una Stubbs, Ed Asner, Tony Selby, Robert Fyfe, Lionel Blair. Film lost Hal Holbrook, Christopher Plummer, Yaphet Kotto, Andre Maranne, Norman Lloyd, Ned Beatty, Omen director Richard Donner, Dilip Kumar, and Jean-Paul Belmondo. Musical hits included Gerry Marsden, Chris Barber, Charlie Watts, Don Everly, Mikis Theodorakis, and Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding. Sport gave us Hank Aaron, Saint AND Greavsie, Murray Walker, Sabine Schmitz, Peter Lorimer, Gerd Muller, and Roger Hunt as well as a pair of respected Old Firm managers in Jo Venglos and Walter Smith. We also scores on Siegfried (not Roy), the brave William MacPherson, two of Bushes inner circle, Beat legend Lawrence Ferlinghetti, kids author Beverly Cleary, British stateswoman Shirley Williams, US Vice President Walter Mondale, Hungry Caterpillar scribe Eric Carle, Apollo astronaut Michael Collins, eccentric genius inventor Clive Sinclair and the controversial apartheid-ending South African President, FW de Klerk. Also, Joan Rivers favourite of all the Watergate Judges, G Gordon Liddy, and Bob Dole.
Bob Dole doesn’t like this.
Those we missed included ER star/rapper Deezer D, the great Anne Feeney, Sydney Devine, actor Alan Curtis (a personal miss), DMX, Damaris Hayman, Jackie Lane, Mr Wonderful, Bobby Eaton, Lee Scratch Perry, Leslie Bricusse, Alan Igglesden (a big loss for 2022 teams, I know), Bertia Auld, Mike Nesmith, Anne Rice and, alas, Steve Bronski.
Oh, and New Jack, who took on 5 terrorists in shootouts as a bounty hunter, and survived a scaffold match with Grimes, but somehow died in his sleep of a heart attack.
No Jack City, this DDP
Those we didn’t even consider at any risk included Bond girl Tanya Roberts, Up series director Michael Apted, Telegraph owner David Barclay, US magician Mark Wilson, musician/DJ Sophie (whose demise I know saddened many of our younger players), first openly gay female MP Maureen Colquhoun, King of the Extras Harry “Aitch” Fielder, Supreme Mary Wilson, former West Ham boss Glenn Roeder, Bunny Wailer, boxing legend Marvin Hagler and Bond ally Frank McRae. There was also the jeans model Nick Kamen, The Wire/Lovecraft Country star Michael K Williams, Worst Witch writer Jill Murphy, and stuntman extraordinaire Roy Scammell. Not to mention current MPs Cheryl Gillan and James Brokenshire, as well as 2022 picks who went too soon in singer BJ Thomas, Friends star James Michael Tyler and acting royalty Sir Antony Sher.
What a year. It seemed to be less a vintage year for deadpooling, and more a year of far too many “where the hell did that come from?” moments. Comedian Sean Lock’s tragic death in August took centre stage in the UK, even if he had been ill before, but it was symptomatic of a year in which people died their dying in private, leaving a stunned public on the announcement of death. In the space of ten days in April, two highly respected British TV actors died from secret cancer battles. First up, Paul Ritter, star of Friday Night Dinner, recently praised for his role in Chernobyl, destined for bigger and deserved greater things, only to be snuffed out at the same age as the similar American Ritter, John, two decades ago. Barely had the shockwaves decreased when news arrived of Helen McCrory’s similar cancer related death in her early 50s. It is somewhat frustrating to look at a world where Peter Tobin and Henry Kissinger carry on happily in their own worlds, while such promise and talent is cancelled decades too early.
Anyhow, it’s time for me to say goodbye. In 2 years, I’ve written 480 obits for the front page, and around 230, 000 words on deceased celebrities picked by you lot. That’s thrice the size of the last book I worked on! In that time we’ve got to say goodbye to the good, the bad and the ugly. The personally beloved (one more Diana Rigg reference here), the conflicting (Colin Powell) and the outright bastards (Yorkshire Ripper). We got rid of the Famous For Being Ill Only picks, and tried to clean up the DDP as much as possible, as a Committee. But now its time for regeneration.
First, my great thanks to Reptile and Grim. They do all the hard work that makes this competition works. Grim puts all your teams into the system, corrects your spelling mistakes, makes sure they actually exist, and gets the system running. He also does all of this during December without a single grumble. Reptile puts it into action, keeps the scoreboard and pages updating, and fixes any bugs. All bugs. One time, a bug which had floored the last 2 hosts happened, and where most give in and seek help, Reptile sat down with a beer, and casually looked through 2000 lines of coding, and found the bloody flaw. Marvellous gents, both of them. I’d also like to thank those who helped make the front page work easier, including Spade, Willz, Gooseberry, Ulitzer, Joey, DI, Clorox, Captain, Book, Deathers, with his FFBI help, and everyone who helped find pics, Dates of Birth or obits.
And I’d like to welcome and thank Death Impends for taking my spot. The first female winner of the DDP, and now the first female co-host of the competition. Given she’s already sorted two of the issues I’ve struggled with for two years, I think we’re leaving this in better hands. And while I try and work out how you actually win this thing, I can safely say that as a host, DI will be fandabidozi.
Right, I’ve started quoting the fn Krankies. Time for me to F off.
Drum us out of here, Charlie.