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: 31st January 2015 by The Man in Black
[Picture of Demis Roussos]

The biggest hit of the DDP so far...

Demis gone forever and ever

Big-boned Greek singer Demis Roussos died on 25th January. Roussos started off as part of the prog rock combo Aphrodite's Child in the early 1970s with synth pioneer Vangelis before enjoying a meteroric if somewhat short-lived rise during the long hot British summer of 1976 with his number 1 hit 'Forever and Ever', which was infamously referenced in Mike Leigh's classic TV play 'Abigail's Party' the following year.
The big man was 68 and a unique hit for Dead And Deader II: Fidel's Fucking Finished.

[Scorecard] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] + [Unique] = 11pts

Never Abdullah moment round 'ere!

Another man comfortable in a large tent was King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia who has died aged 90. Abdullah succeeded his half-brother King Fahd and is succeeded by another half-brother, Salman but the curious hold over the Western world, as witnessed by UK & US leaders dropping everything to pay homage, will likely continue until the black gold runs out...

[Scorecard] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] (17 teams) = 5pts [Joker](1 teams) = 10pts

Thatcher's bloody Brrrittan!

Staying on politics, we have the somewhat interestingly timed demise of the former cabinet minister Leon Brittan, who's died of cancer aged 75. Brittan had an Icarus-style rise and fall in British politics during the 1980s, becoming the youngest Home Secretary since Winston Churchill in 1983, helping Margaret Thatcher defeat the miners before surprisingly being shunted to Trade and Industry in 1985. He resigned from government in 1986 over the Westland Affair and later became a European commissioner. Curiously he died just as there was pressure on him regarding an alleged file on high profile paedophiles which mysteriously disappeared. Sticking with European politics, we have the death of Richard von Weizsäcker. Weizsäcker was President of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1984-1994 and thus oversaw the unification of east and west in 1990. He was 94 and not surprisingly a couple of German teams grabbed the points along with Dutch veteran The Grey Horde.
Wendell H. Ford was a Democrat senator from Kentucky for 25 years and whose uncompromising stance on smoking ruffled a few feathers. Not surprisingly, he died of lung cancer aged 90 and was a hit for four of the likely contenders for this year...

[Scorecard] (Brittan) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] (7 teams) = 7pts [Joker](1 team) = 14pts
[Scorecard] (von Weizsäcker) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] (3 teams) = 5pts
[Scorecard] (Ford) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] (4 teams) = 5pts

We had Rod, we had Ron, we had seasons with Manzon

As we get near the end of the first month of 2015 (where did that go, everybody?), here's a motley assortment of stiffs.
Rod McKuen was an American songwriter and poet, considered by some to be the "King of Kitsch". He wrote the hit song 'Love's Been Good to Me' and the English lyrics to 'Seasons in the Sun', a massive hit for Terry Jacks in 1974. He was 81 and a unique hit for You're Dead Now, So Shut Up!.
A somewhat more unconventional entertainer was Ronnie Ronalde who earned his corn as a professional whistler. A dying art no doubt and even more so now that Ronnie was passed away aged 91. The theme team of Ronnies, ...and Its Goodnight From Him take the points.
From Rod to Ronnie and now Robert. Robert Manzon was the last survivor of Formula 1's very first season, in 1950. He competed until 1956 and took part in 28 grand prix. He was 97 and a hit for two teams.

[Scorecard] (McKuen) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] + [Unique] = 9pts
[Scorecard] (Ronalde) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] + [Unique] = 8pts
[Scorecard] (Manzon) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] (2 teams) = 5pts

Grim in for the Kel

Australian golfer Kel Nagle won over 80 professional titles but his most famous came at St Andrews at the 1960 Open Championship, when he beat the peerless Arnold Palmer by one shot. He died aged 94 and was a hit for 4 teams.
Charles Townes won the 1964 Nobel Prize for Physics for creating the maser and the laser. He died aged 99. Curiously, such is the long life Townes has had, If you look at his obit you'll find the obit writer died 17 years ago! Moving swiftly on...
Actress Pauline Yates played the long-suffering wife in the 1970s sitcoms 'Keep it in the Family' and the better known 'The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin and the Spiders from Mars' or something like that. She died aged 85 at that reliable deadpool bolthole that is Denville Hall. She was a unique hit for theme team 16 Is The Number, who apparently (due to the nature of the theme, those born on the 16th of the month) had never heard of her prior to discovering her birthdate, but noting that she was an actress of repute, put her in the team. That's the way the cookie crumbles!
A somewhat more precise hit, involving the usual ambulance chasing instincts that makes the DDP so contentious is that of Liz Taylor, no not the Liz Taylor but the mother of 16-times World Darts Champion Phil "The Power" Taylor. She died aged 74. Ill relative of famous person, tabloid mention, Bob's yer bob for three teams including newcomer Paint the town DEAD with the Rocket Man. That's their third hit of the new year and marks them out as something of a dark horse...

[Scorecard] (Nagle) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] (4 teams) = 5pts [Joker](2 teams) = 10pts
[Scorecard] (Townes) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] (4 teams) = 5pts [Joker](1 team) = 10pts
[Scorecard] (Yates) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] + [Unique] = 9pts
[Scorecard] (Taylor) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] (3 teams) = 7pts
Latest Stiffs: 17th January 2015 by The Man in Black
[Picture of Queen Victoria]

One is not amused that the last of her subjects has passed on...

Stiff competition...

Welcome (at last) the latest edition of Britain's finest dead pool. This is the twentieth edition of the Derby Dead Pool and it's likely to be the most competitive yet, with reigning champion David Quantick's Showbiz Pals aiming for the "threepeat", whilst former champion The Living End aims for an unprecedented 4th title after a relatively poor year, by his high standards anyway. One team that wont be back however with be former host and 2010 champion Octopus of Odstock, who made it known that 2014 would be his last year. A high profile departure but not the only one. Sadly, Jesus Jones, who had entered every competition from the beginning in 1996, has not entered this year. That means there is a new "Father of the Hearse", which going by its parliamentary-influenced rules, means that Mr C acquires the title, with him having the longest continuing run (since 1999). In fact we have 498 competitors this year, down from 2013's peak entry of 588. Wither DDP? Well, much of the burst of entries in recent years was due to the Theme Team League and perhaps the novelty is wearing off on that score, although there's still over 150 teams. Over 400 have returned from the previous year and a number of teams (my own included) have notched up the milestone of 10 years predicting stiffs...

But enough of the flummery, lets get on with the hits and 2015 continues where 2014 left off, with a death coming on the first day, which was just hours after the last hit of 2014 was announced but with all the entries being prepared and so forth it doesn't feel that way! Indeed there are SIXTEEN deaths to report, so I'm going with a thematic approach as the best way to digest this...

Churchyard on Capitol Hill

So let's indeed start with 2015's first hit which was the former Governor of New York Mario Cuomo. Cuomo served as a Democrat in the Big Apple from 1983-1994 and died a decade and a day after he stepped down from office, aged 82. It's a spectacular start for DDP debutant Paint the town DEAD with the Rocket Man and for veteran Tentoesup. A couple of days later another US politician bit the dust. Edward Brooke was the first African-American to be elected to the US Senate, when he won in Massachusetts in 1966, as a Republican at the height of the Civil Rights movement. He served until 1979 and is one of only 9 black senators in US history, which includes current President Barack Obama. He died aged 95.

[Scorecard] (Cuomo) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] (2 teams) = 6pts
[Scorecard] (Brooke) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] (2 teams) = 5pts

What the Dickens! Great Scott!

As is often the case in the DDP, when time ticks towards the start of the new campaign, ears are often on the ground regarding the sudden turn for the worse of celebrities. Diminuitive Country star Little Jimmy Dickens is a case in point, falling ill over Christmas. Chosen by grand total of 4 teams in 2014, the ambulance chasers were on the march and the 149cm star of the Grand Ole Opry was chosen by over 30 teams, many of them contenders and they have been rewarded with his death at 94.
Another "get 'em before they get cold" pick was ESPN sportscaster Stuart Scott Scott had battled cancer for many years and so was on the radar for a while. He died aged 49.

[Scorecard] (Dickens) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] (31 teams) = 5pts [Joker](4 teams) = 10pts
[Scorecard] (Scott) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] (22 teams) = 9pts [Joker](3 teams) = 18pts

Fine for Rosi & Ekberg, Fin for Jean...and Gene!

A sad week for Italian cinema with one of their "big" icons and great director's pass away. Francesco Rosi's neo-realistc style combined with a gritty, crime-based subject matter, was to inspire the likes of Martin Scorcese and Francis Ford Coppola. He won the Palme d'Or for 'The Mattei Affair' in 1972. He was 92 and a hit for Italian theme team Death Amore.
Swedish actress Anita Ekberg gained cinematic notoriety in 1960 in Federico Fellini's classic film 'La Dolce Vita' (another Palme d'Or winner) with a famously voluptuous wading through Trevi Fountain in Rome. Her stardom faded in the 1970s, however. She was 83. The continental theme continues with the death of French F1 racing driver Jean-Pierre Beltoise, who has passed away aged 77. Beltoise won the 1972 Monaco Grand Prix.
He was a hit for two theme teams.
Gene Kemp was a children's author whose 1977 book 'The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler' challenged then existing gender stereotypes regarding child characters. She was 88 and a unique hit for Bibliogryphon's Bookworm Food, who are continuing the good form of the previous year.

[Scorecard] (Rosi) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] + [Unique] = 8pts
[Scorecard] (Ekland) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] + [Unique] = 9pts
[Scorecard] (Beltoise) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] (2 teams) = 7pts
[Scorecard] (Kemp) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] + [Unique] = 9pts

Bernie and Ethel add Victorian value while Rod is left for the birds...

Last year was a poor one for teams picking supercentenarians, with only 4 110yr+ hits. 2015 suggest things will be better with two early hits. Bernice Madigan was a Massachussets resident and one of the 5 oldest people in the World. She died on January 3rd aged 115, with the Daily Mail coming in with a legit obit. The infamous right-wing paper will be relied on a fair few times in 2015, I can promise.
The other to cash in on their pension book one last time was Ethel Lang, recognised as the last person born during the reign of Queen Victoria. She was 114.
Australian actor Rod Taylor famously played a Victorian time traveller in the 1960 adaptation of H. G. Wells' 1895 novella 'The Time Machine'. He also starred in Afred Hitchcock's classic dystopia 'The Birds' in 1963.
He was 84 and a suitable hit for Hitchcock theme team Dial D For Deadpool as well as two others.

[Scorecard] (Madigan) [Points] [Points] [Points] + [Unique] = 6pts
[Scorecard] (Lang) [Points] [Points] [Points] (13 teams) = 3pts
[Scorecard] (Taylor) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] (3 teams) = 6pts

And That Was The Weak That Was...

..well nearly! a quintet of odds and sods to come before finally wrapping up this first post of 2015. Anas al-Liby was a Libyan terrorist indicted for his part in the 1998 US Embassy bombings in Africa, the clear antecedent of the 9/11 atrocity 3 years later. He had been ill for some time and died awaiting trial aged 50. The Living End gain a early unique hit advantage...
Lance Percival was a familiar face on British TV and film in the 1960s, appearing in the first colour Carry On film, 'Carry On Cruising', in 1962 before becoming part of the That Was The Week That Was satirical team with his weekly 'calypsos', probably not the best way to convey current events these days, as DJ Mike Read found out!
He was 81. Another iconic 1960s TV show was 'The Avengers', starring Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg. They were the creation of writer Brian Clemens, who also created the 1970s action series 'The Professionals'.
He died aged 83 and was a unique joker hit for TV theme team On The Box/In The Box.
Kim Fowley was a key player in the LA alternative rock scene. He was a singer, producer and manager but is best known for creating the all-girl rock band The Runaways, a band, like Fowley who treaded the uneasy line between Glam and Punk. He died after a long illness aged 75. The final word goes to another American, albeit one based in Britain, because it is he who has produced DDP 2015's unlikely early leader.
Mike Marqusee was a left-wing writer, who wrote several books on matter such as cricket and politics. I have to decalre an interest of sorts as I've actually read one his books: 1992's 'Defeat from the Jaws of Victory' which concerned Neil Kinnock's influential yet ultimately ill-fated leadership of the Labour Party. Marqusee died of cancer age 61. The significance of this hit is that it was a unique, unlucky 13th and joker his for theme team Taking The Michael, and some might thing they really are after scoring a whopping 26 points to take the lead. There's a fair chance that this might be their only hit of the year but what a start. 2015 begins in earnest...

[Scorecard] (al-Liby) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] + [Unique] = 12pts
[Scorecard] (Percival) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] + [Unique] = 9pts
[Scorecard] (Clemens) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] + [Unique] + [Joker] = 18pts
[Scorecard] (Fowley) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] (8 teams) = 7pts
[Scorecard] (Marqusee) [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] [Points] + [Unique] + [Unlucky Thirteen] [Joker] = 26pts

List of the Lost - Latest Entrants

Géry Leuliet, Ahuti Prasad, Bernard Joseph McLaughlin, Isobel Rosado

List of the Missed - Latest Entrants

Donna Douglas, Jack Hayward, Ervin Drake, Paul Thomas Francis O'Grady, Joe Franklin, Ward Swingle, Lt Otto Carius, Bob Symes, Jackie Selebi, Lizabeth Scott, Frank Borghi, Jeno Buzánsky

Player of the Month - December

Obituaries 'R' Us & Wep 2.0 - World's Eternity Prophet Reloaded - 17 points

Latest News

Reclusive author Harper Lee announces a sequel to 'To Kill A Mockingbird' making a million English teachers sigh.
With the British general election three months away, former PM Tony Blair offers his services for the campaign to Labour. How about a long cruise, Tony?
The Drop Forty is also up, with Zsa Zsa Gabor retaining her place at the top. Remarkable woman...

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, The Grey Horde, Thomas Jefferson Survives & Bibliogryphon

[DDP 2015]