Derby Dead Pool

The online competition to guess which famous people won't make it to the end of the current year. If they're elderly, ill, or just live a high-risk lifestyle, stick 'em in your team, and for each one whose death you correctly predict, you'll score points. DDP was dreamt up in Derby, England (hence the name...) by Big-Iain back in 1996, then was run from 2003 to 2007 by Siegfried Baboon and Rude Kid. From 2008 to 2009, it was run by Octopus of Odstock, and from 2010 The Man in Black

Latest Stiffs & Review of 2014: 2nd January 2015 by The Man in Black
[Picture of Rik Mayall]

Why didn't you pick me, you bastards!

2014: This lot passed the ice kick-the-bucket challenge

So another year comes to an end, and as we reach the halfway mark of the decade with no name, a familiar name is at the top of the pile...

But first, the final hits (as if we needed any more). The first is a very late, in the nick of time obit of sorts but enough to qualify. Barry Rubin was a journalist who specialised in Israeli affairs. He died way back in February aged 64, but with just days to go This mention in the Independent from July was enough to make Rubin retrospectively the 38th hit of the year and a second such late obit find for The Beatles Are Dying In the Wrong Order, turning what was till then a relatively poor season into their best yet, with a place in the top 10 for the first time. The fickle finger of fate, eh?
And there's still room for more hits by the year's end. Luise Rainer became the first person to win consecutive Best Actress Oscars, in 1936 for 'The Great Ziegfeld' and the following year for 'The Good Earth'. After that she almost totally disappeared from Hollywood. She was 104 and the spark of a fair scramble for substitutes for next year, I can tell you!
2014 ended as it began with hits even on the final day with hours left. The Duke of Wellington pegged it just months not just shy of his hundreth birthday but also the 200th anniversary of his great-great-etc grandfather's win over Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo He was 99 and again, something of a ballache for yours truly in terms of replacing for substitutes. At least it wasn't Sam Simon. The final and 247th hit of what's been a record-breaking year was music journalist/expert Michael Kennedy who was 88, leaving the last word on 2014 for theme team Boddies... Manchester's Finest.

Quantick wins again

So David Quantick's Showbiz Pals retains the title, although it was by no means a stroll, with the champion swapping the lead several times with veteran double winner Drunkasaskunk before making his trademark late burst. Curiously, the bulk of DQSP's points were won in effectively three seperate months, January, July & October but it doesn't matter how you win, it's all about staying on top at the year's end that matters. US team Misers are rewarded for their consistency with a podium finish for the first time. Despite the huge volume of hits, only the champion scored more than half their selection and some contenders had a disappointing time. DDP legend Octopus of Odstock signed off the last time with a respectable 6th place finish. The Theme teams had better luck, with the top two even entering the overall top 20. Football team Kicking Buckets Instead of Balls holdng off defending champion The British (D)i(e)sles by just 2 points.

Hits of the year

When even The Man In Black's own brother casually mentions that it's been quite a year for celebrity deaths, then we've had quite a year. Indeed it's pointless even trying to name even a few, knowing that I would miss out on loads of others. Arguably the hit of the year was the shocking demise of the comedian and actor Robin Williams. So what did we miss? Well of those we picked before, there was of course Rik Mayall, Alvin Stardust, Sam Kelly, James Ellis, Johnny Winter, 'Beagle 2' inventor Colin Pillinger, Peaches Geldof & Clarissa Dixon Wright of 'Two Fat Ladies' fame to name but a few. And those we missed entirely included 'Trigger' AKA actor Roger Lloyd-Pack, House music pioneer Frankie Knuckles, film director Mike Nichols and actor Harold Ramis, actresses Kate O'Mara and Patsy 'Nursey' Byrne as well as singer Lynsey De Paul and musicians Scott Ashton (Stooges) and Ian MacLagan (Faces/Small Faces). What a year...

Into 2015...

Of course this was supposed to be the year that we have a new host but no-one was forthcoming and so, with a little help, The Man In Black continues. However, I am seriously considering some changes to the rules, the format and the layout in time for the DDP 20th anniversary in 2016, so stay tuned. As for now, may the hits continue (just not quite so many now as I have a lot to do!)

Latest Stiffs: 29th December 2014 by The Man in Black

Christmas crackers...

This is a very brief update on the stiffs that have cropped up in the Xmas period as time is short and the nominiations are coming in thick and fast, so here goes:
Jeremy Lloyd was an actor and sitcom writer best known for this less than politically correct series' 'Are You Being Served?' and ''Allo 'Allo', which he co-wrote with the legendary David Croft. He died aged 84. Considering the elements that made up the famous theme tune to AYBS, that a team called Cashier Number 84 Please! grabs the points seems rather apt...
Debbie Purdy suffered from M.S. and fought in the High Court over the right to die through euthanasia.
She was 51.
Now for not one but two hits on Christmas Day itself. Kate Gross worked as an aide to Tony Blair on one of his many *cough* lucrative post-PM projects. However, she developed terminal cancer and as is often the way these days, decided to blog about it. She died aged 36 and was a massive hit for Golden Slumbers, who make a late, late move into the top 5.
The other hit on Xmas Day was blues singer Alberta Adams who died aged 97. Wep 2.0 - World's Eternity Prophet Reloaded get a unique hit and one day later got another hit with two other teams.
Leo Tindemans was Prime Minister of Belgium from 1974-1978 before becoming the Foreign Affairs minister in the 1980s. He was 92.
Finally, Tottenham Hotspur left back Ron Henry was part of the London side's legendary double-winning team of 1961. He was 80. With just hours to go, David Quantick's Showbiz Pals is on course to retain the title. This late rush of hits makes the total 243, which clears the decks for 2015...

[Scorecard] (Lloyd) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] + [Unique] = 9pts
[Scorecard] (Purdy) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] (3 teams) = 9pts
[Scorecard] (Gross) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] + [Unique] + [Party Pooper] = 18pts
[Scorecard] (Adams) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] + [Unique] + [Party Pooper] = 13pts
[Scorecard] (Tindemans) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] (3 teams) = 5pts
[Scorecard] (Henry) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] + [Unique] = 9pts
Latest Stiffs: 22nd December 2014 by The Man in Black

Joe lifts himself to where he belongs

Rock singer Joe Cocker has died after a battle with lung cancer. The Sheffield-born singer rose to fame in 1968 with his era-defining version of the Beatles' 'With A Little Help From My Friends', turning a piece of psychedelic pop into a rock-soul anthem. He famously performed it at Woodstock in 1969. Later, in the era of the "power ballad" in the 1980s, he hit the top again with his 1983 duet with Jennifer Warnes 'Up Where We Belong'.
Cocker was 70 and a unique hit for Lady Cadaver's Lover.

[Scorecard] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] + [Unique] = 10pts

Freeman face to face with death

Cocker is part of a pre-Xmas blizzard of hits except for one which was at the end of spring and almost ignored...
Major John Freeman had a decidedly varied career. Service in World War 2, elected to Parliament in 1945 (the last to survive that epochal election) before becoming a journalist. His pioneering TV series, 'Face To Face' saw him interview the great and the good of the 1960s, including Dr Martin Luther King, Bertrand Russell and famously, Tony Hancock. The Lad 'imself was at the peak of his powers but Freeman's probing perhaps afforded us a glimpse of the decline to come. Freeman was also chairman of LWT in a packed CV, yet he remained an elusive character. Freeman was 99 and a hit, finally, for yours truly's team as well as couple of others.
Billie Whitelaw was an acclaimed actress who was muse and collaborator with the great existentialist playwright Samuel Beckett. Nothing was too much trouble for Billie, including being buried in sand or performing just as a mouth in the short play 'Not I'. Whitelaw also featured in the films 'The Krays', 'The Omen' and 'Hot Fuzz'. She was 82 and a hit for three teams.
Yet more rubbing out of candidates for 2015 with the death of Udo Jurgens. Jurgens was an Austrian singer and songwriter who won the 1966 Eurovision Song Contest for his home country with 'Merci, Cherie'. It would be until this year, 48 years later that Austria would win again, with the "bearded lady" Conchita Wurst. Jurgens perhaps should have known his number was up. His biggest-selling record was with the German World Cup squad in 1978 and guess who won the World Cup this year? Jurgens was 80 and aptly a hit for the Eurovision theme team Death For Everybody. That's why you need substitutes...
The last hit has come by a circuitous route. Alan Callan was part of the Led Zeppelin management team who was diagnosed with bone cancer way back in 2000. But he died in May this year age 67 and it was all very low key. However, whilst researching for the new year's competition, Noah Reason And The Youth In Asia spotted that not only had he died but it was announced in the Telegraph. There's no hiding place for the deadpooler! Merry Christmas everybody...

[Scorecard] (Freeman) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] (3 teams) = 5pts
[Scorecard] (Whitelaw) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] (3 teams) = 6pts
[Scorecard] (Jurgens) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] + [Unique] = 9pts
[Scorecard] (Callan) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] + [Unique] = 11pts
Latest Stiffs: 18th December 2014 by The Man in Black

Is it really Game Over?

It's been a fairly ambling start to the last month of DDP 2014 and just as it looked like the title was tied up, another hit comes along to makes things uncertain again in the run-up to Christmas.
Teresa Sandeman-Charles was diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer who then went on to form a charity devoted to increasing organ donors. She died on December 12th aged 54 and was a pick for double DDP champion Drunkasaskunk. This obit from ITV News gives the Glaswegian a fighting chance of catching reigning champ (and still the favourite) David Quantick's Showbiz Pals with just days to go...
Just a couple more to add to this update, perhaps not so much a surprise after such volumes of hits early on in the year. Ralph H. Baer created the Magnavox Odyssey, which became the first video game console, in 1972. He was also the developer of the popular electronic game 'Simon' in 1978. He is considered the 'father' of video games. He died aged 92 and was an 8th hit for theme team The Bedsoring 20's who's had a superb year and is one of three theme teams in the top 20 overall.
Another German émigré was Dieter Grau who was part of the German rocket team during World War II before being drafted into America's space program led by Wernher von Braun. Graur helped to develop the Saturn V rocket, which eventually took man to the moon. Graur was 101 and was a unique hit for Obituaries 'R' Us who have sparked to life late on after first scoring with Jeremy Thorpe.

[Scorecard] (Sandeman-Charles) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] + [Unique] = 12pts
[Scorecard] (Baer) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] + [Unique] = 9pts
[Scorecard] (Graur) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] + [Unique] = 7pts

List of the Lost - Latest Entrants

Jorge María Mejia, Dawn Sears, Guillermo Flores Reyes

List of the Missed - Latest Entrants

Arthur Bonsall, Nathaniel Branden Keith Martin, Ralph Giordano, Mary Glen-Haig, Bernard Kay, Jimmy Dunn

Player of the Month - November

Garf Wants You To Die - 13 points

Latest News

Surprising news as both Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raúl Castro announce a thawing of relations. Meanwhile, Sony Pictures withdraw a film mocking North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un after implied threats and computer hacking. Can't you take a joke, Kim?
Just to confirm that The Man In Black's retirement has been put off and we go on in 2015...

Message to all current competitors: There will be no more regular emails except in certain circumstances, such as rules and invitation to next year's competition.

Further Information
Derby Dead Pool is hosted by The Man In Black with contributions from Big-Iain, Rude Kid, Siegfried Baboon, Octopus of Odstock, WEP 2.0 - World's Eternity Prophet Reloaded and The Grey Horde

[DDP 2014]