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 since 2010 by The Man In Black...

Latest Stiffs: 4th February 2017 by The Man in Black

[Picture of John Hurt]

Last orders at the Hurt lock-in...

the naked (and the dead) civil servant

One of Britain's finest and prolific actors, John Hurt has died of pancreatic cancer. Hurt was virtually never out of work in his 50+ year career and his roles spanned the likes of the persecuted Winston Smith in '1984' to the outrage-courting Quentin Crisp in the 1975 TV play 'The Naked Civil Servant', the despotic Caligula in the TV classic 'I, Claudius' and the disfigured John Merrick in David Lynch's 'The Elepahnt Man' for which Hurt gained the second of two Oscar nominations (the other for 'Midnight Express'). His sonorous voice was put to good use as Hazel in 'Watership Down' and his weathered features graced many a memorable bit part in film franchises such as Harry Potter, Indiana Jones and Alien. He was even a hidden incarnation of 'Doctor Who' in the 2013 anniversary story 'The Day of the Doctor'.
The great man was 77 and a hit for 27 teams, including I Will Not Die, It's The World That Will End!, who the leads the pack at the end of January...

[Scorecard] [Points] (27 teams) = 7pts
There's one entry in The Obituary Vault, which is Theme Team League's 2016 winner Shameless' first hit...

Wetton not warm

John Wetton was a bass player and songwriter who performed with several bands in the 1970s which came broadly under the banner of progressive rock. He joined King Crimson in 1972, toured with Roxy Music and played on a couple of albums from Uriah Heep. But it was in the 1980s that Wetton had his biggest success with the supergroup Asia, whose debut album in 1982 reached #1 in the US Billboard charts, defying the "New Pop" and new wave sensibilities of the time. Wetton was 67, a surprising entrant into the Drop 40...
Emmanuelle Riva was a French actress who won BAFTA and Ceasar acting awards in 1960 her her role in 'Hiroshima mon amour'. Although primarily a stage actress, Riva was in the film spotlight again in 2012, when she became the oldest woman ever to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her role as a music teacher debilitated by a stroke in 'Amour'. Riva died from cancer aged 89, a hit for two teams.
Billy Simpson was a Northern Irish footballer who was in the squad for the national side's first World Cup campaign in 1958, albeit he didn't play. Simpson had his best years at Glasgow Rangers, winning three league titles and scoring over 100 goals for "The Gers". He died aged 87. This mention in the Daily Mail means a first hit in 2017 (and a joker too) for former host and winner Octopus of Odstock, his 84th in DDP history...

[Scorecard] (Wetton) [Points] + [Drop Forty] (40 teams) = 11pts [Joker](5 teams) = 22pts
[Scorecard] (Riva) [Points] (2 teams) = 6pts
[Scorecard] (Simpson) [Points] (3 teams)= 6pts [Joker](1 team) = 12pts

have a propaganda at this lot!

Brunhilde Pomsel was a stenographer and typist who ended up working for the Nazi Party and in particular, the notorious propagandist Joseph Goebbels as a secretary. Her job was to downplay the number of German soldiers getting killed and exaggerating the number of rapes carried out by the Red Army. Nice! After release from prison in 1950, Pomsel later worked in broadcasting and it was only very late in her dotage that she actually talked about her time working for Goebbels and condeming his activities. Hmmm a little late for all that, wasn't it? Pomsel was 106 and a hit for 5 teams with Shorter Of Breath, One Day Closer To Death nabbing the joker points. Achtung, baby...
Now another secretary, ableit a fictional one. Barbara Hale was a US actress who played Raymond Burr's trusty legal secretary Della Street in the popular drama series 'Perry Mason' from 1957-1966, later reprising the role in a series of TV films in the 1980s. Hale was 94 and hit for 2 teams. No objections to that!
Katherine Fryer was a Leeds-based artist known for her wood engravings. She died on January 11th aged 106, so there was a little wait for the right obit and then this arrived ensuring a hit for four teams. Unless we hear about more, that was hit number 36, matching the record amount achieved 12 months ago. Maybe 2016 wasn't an outlier after all...

[Scorecard] (Pomsel) [Points] (3 teams)= 4pts [Joker](1 team) = 8pts
[Scorecard] (Hale) [Points] (2 teams) = 5pts
[Scorecard] (Fryer) [Points] (4 teams) = 4pts

Latest Stiffs: 27th January 2017 by The Man in Black

[Picture of the MTM logo]

Who's going to feed the cat now?

the mary tyler morgue show

Actress and comedian Mary Tyler Moore has died. Tyler Moore first emerged in the 1960s, starring alongside Dick Van Dyke in his eponymous TV show from 1961-66. Then in 1970, she starred in her own sitcom 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' which ran until 1977. The show broke ground by having a single, career-minded woman as the lead and featured memorable performances from actors Ed Asner and Valerie Harper who both went onto star in their own respective spin-off series 'Lou Grant' and 'Rhoda'. Tyler Moore set up her own production company with her then husband Grant Tinker which went on to create the likes of 'St. Elsewhere' and 'Hill Street Blues'. Tyler Moore also proved to have the straight acting chops, gaining an Oscar nomination in 1980 for 'Ordinary People'.
Tyler Moore was 80 and the second Drop 40 hit for the year...

[Scorecard] [Points] + [Drop Forty] (40 teams) = 9pts [Joker](2 teams) = 18pts

enter the vault

And now, a new feature for DDP 2017. In the heat of competition, it is inevitable that some of the more controversial choices who have died will feature.
The Obituary Vault is a repository for such queasy choices. Of course the difficulty in subtly pointing out the more unsavoury picks is that a good many will have an inevitable impact on the DDP championship itself. And the first three inductees demonstrates this. The upshot of this is that the DDP has a new leader in To Kill A Gabor Sister, with reiging champion David Quantick's Showbiz Pals already positioning themselves for the drive for five. In future, there will be similar notifications of this kind throughout the year when they arise with the only commentary referring to their impact on the year's competition...

'Allo 'Allo and goodbye from Kaye

Actor Gorden Kaye spent much of his early career as a character actor, appearing in 'Coronation Street' and the film version of 'Porridge' amongst others. But in 1984, Kaye hit the big time with the popular farce sitcom ''Allo 'Allo!' as the deadpan French wartime cafe owner Rene Artois. Rene was forever trying it on with his head waitress Yvette, while all around him there is plot and counter-plot involving Germans, the French resistance and the The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies! Kaye did well to reach 2017. In 1990, during a fierce winter storm, Kaye was hit in the head with a flying advertising hoarding. He recovered and the series ran until 1992. Kaye was 75 and a hit for three teams. You Have Been Watching him...
Tam Dalyell was a long-serving Labour MP for West Lothian (later Linlithgow) who famously asked the "West Lothian question" in regards to the devolution of UK parliament's powers to Scotland (and indeed Wales). That question is still being grappled with today! Dalyell was 84 and a unique hit for theme team Dead Commons.
Mike Connors was an American actor of Armenian descent who starred as private detective Joe Mannix in 'Mannix', which ran from 1967-75. Connors was 91 and a hit for two teams.
Douglas Reeman was a historical fiction writer, with most of his books set in the high seas, either during World War 2 or the Napoleonic wars. Reeman was 92 and a unique hit for See You In Heaven, a theme team featuring the (sea) Salt of the Earth...

[Scorecard] (Kaye) [Points] (3 teams) = 7pts
[Scorecard] (Dalyell) [Points] + [Unique] = 9pts
[Scorecard] (Connors) [Points] (2 teams) = 5pts
[Scorecard] (Reeman) [Points] + [Unique] = 8pts

Ferrer robocop's it

The next four hits are all uniques. Actor Miguel Ferrer was the cousin of Hollywood royalty George Clooney and thus singer Rosemary Clooney's son. He forged his own career, often playing somewhat slippery characters, including the designer of 'RoboCop', Bob Morton in Paul Verhoven's cult 1987 film. He later starred in TV series 'Crossing Jordan' and 'NCIS: Los Angeles' as well as a long-standing role as FBI agent Albert Rosenfeld in David Lynch's 'Twin Peaks'. Ferrer died of throat cancer aged 61. Hardwood Surround gets the unique bonus.
Wayne Barrett was a long-standing investigative journalist for the Village Voice magazine. One of Barrett's targets was non other than the new President of the USA, Donald Trump. Other subjects included former New York mayors Ed Koch and Rudy Giuliani. Barrett was 71 and a unique hit for DDP contender Thomas Jefferson Survives.
Peter Abrahams was a South Africa-born writer who came to prominence with his 1946 novel 'Mine Boy', the first major published novel to expose the apartheid regime to Worldwide attention. Abrahams later settled in Jamaica and continued to write about Africa's continuing issues. Abrahams was 97 and a unique hit for TOETAG4U.
Dame Shirley Paget AKA the Marchioness of Anglesey, served as President of the National Federation of Women's Institutes from 1966-69 and chair of the Broadcasting Complaints Commission from 1987-91. God knows what she would have made of this site! Paget was 92 and a unique hit for IMGONESOLONG.

[Scorecard] (Ferrer) [Points] + [Unique] = 11pts
[Scorecard] (Barrett) [Points] + [Unique] = 10pts
[Scorecard] (Abrahams) [Points] + [Unique] = 8pts
[Scorecard] (Paget) [Points] + [Unique] = 8pts

Latest Stiffs: 19th January 2017 by The Man in Black

[Picture of Eugene Cernan]

One last ascent to the heavens for Gene...

heaven '17 redux

Since our update last Friday, there have been a few additions (celebs & teams) bringing the total of teams competing to 542. And there'll be no more to add as we are very much well on the way, so anyone who thought they sent in their teams, they'll have to wait until next year...

Ashes to ashes, moondust to moondust

Astronaut Eugene Cernan has died. Cernan was a key part of the Apollo missions of the 1960s. He was part of Apollo 10, the pre-Moonshot dress rehearsal in May 1969, just two months before Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the lunar surface. Three years later, with Harrison Schmitt, Cernan became the last man to set foot on the Moon, in December 1972. Humanity has never returned...
Cernan died aged 82, a hit for two teams.

[Scorecard] [Points] (2 teams) = 6pts

Superfly bye bye

Fijian wrestler Jimmy Snuka has written himself a small part of DDP history by becoming the first scoring Drop 40 hit. "Superfly" Snuka was a regular in the WWF and was named "Wrestler of the Year" in 1983. However, that year he became embroiled in the mysterious death of his girlfriend, Nancy Argentino. The case rumbled on until he was indicted in 2015. But Snuka's health was by then failing and just days after being declared unfit for trial, he died aged 73. Worth an extra three points as he was part of the Drop 40, Snuka's demise means that there's a five-way tie at the top, but of course these are very early days...

[Scorecard] [Points] + [Drop Forty] (45 teams) = 10pts [Joker](5 teams) = 20pts

Eddie's long story cut short

Eddie Long was a US pastor, who like Snuka, was also in trouble with the law. Long ran the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church "megachurch" in Georgia, USA. Long came under Senate investigation over finances and later was accused of using his status for sexual purposes with some young male members of his parish. However, just like Snuka, the Grim Reaper has got there first and he died of cancer aged 63. Three teams profit, including The Living End who increase their all-time record total of hits to 112 and get their first of the year.
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was a huge figure in the Iranian revolution. After the Ayatollah Khomeini seized power, Rafsanjani positioned himself as a moderating figure. When Khomeini died in 1989, Rafsanjani succeded Ali Khamenei as President when the latter became Supreme leader. Rafsanjani held power until defeat in the 1997 election. Rafsanjani died of a heart attack aged 82. Debutant theme team Heef's Politics XX get a unique hit.
Zhou Youguang was a Chinese linguist who developed the Pinyin system which converted Chinese characters into the Roman alphabet. Youguang cretaed the system after the Chinese revolution in 1949. This helped children to read and this achievement prevented him from serious persecution despite being a critic of the communist regime, bar a short period of "re-education" during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. Youguang was 111 and a hit for five teams.
John Jacobs had a moderately successful career as a professional golfer but he was key in the development of a European tour, serving as Tournament Director-General when the tour kicked off in 1972. He later was a non-playing captain for the new European Ryder Cup team, crucially persuading Seve Ballesteros to compete for Europe in the 1981 competiton despite the great Spaniard having played in a handful of tour matches that season. Jacobs was 91 and a unique hit for golf theme team In The Hole!.

[Scorecard] (Long) [Points] (3 teams) = 8pts
[Scorecard] (Rafsanjani) [Points] + [Unique] = 9pts
[Scorecard] (Youguang) [Points] (5 teams) = 3pts
[Scorecard] (Jacobs) [Points] + [Unique] = 8pts

Latest Stiffs: 13th January 2017 by The Man in Black

[Picture of Lord Snowden]

Lights, camera, inaction...

heaven '17

So, we're back! A new year, a new look and new teams, celebs and deaths as we approach the end of the decade. 537 teams (up from 483 in 2016), over 3,300 celebs (in the broadest sense in some cases) and a new bonus (Drop 40 picks). Will David Quantick's Showbiz Pals claim a 5th championship in a row? It could be his toughest defence yet as a phalanx of teams line up to try to wrestle the crown from his grip...

snowden heads for the dark room

So without further ado let's get on with the first major hit of 2017.
Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowden, was a successful portrait photographer, with many famous subjects including Queen Elizabeth II. In 1960, Snowden married the Queen's sister, Princess Margaret. They had two children, but divorced in 1978 after both were having affairs with others (Snowden was a notorious womanizer and fathered two children outside of his two marriages). Snowden continued to photograph the great and the good although ill health dogged him in later years. Snowden died aged 86 and was a hit for 5 teams who don't get the unlucky 13 bonus as that has been discontinued. Unlucky...

[Scorecard] [Points] (5 teams) = 6pts

blatty was just a shot in the dark pick

Hollywood writer William Peter Blatty has died. Blatty formed a successful writing/directing partnership with Blake Edwards in the 1960s, with films such as 'A Shot in the Dark', which featured Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau. In 1971, Blatty wrote the novel 'The Exorcist', which was developed into one of the hit films of the 1970s, when it was directed by William Friedkin. The horror classic produced two sequels, the second of them directed by Blatty himself. Blatty was 89 and a unique hit for Wayne Manor. Enough to make you turn your head...

[Scorecard] [Points] + [Unique] = 9pts

hollingworth the wait

Clare Hollingworth was a British female journalist who was in Poland just as the Germans started their invasion in 1939. Working for The Daily Telegraph, Hollingworth had spotted the build-up of German troops and immediately informed the British embassy in Warsaw. The following day it was front page news. The Second World War effectively begun then. Hollingworth went onto become one of the leading war correspondents and was both the first and last person to interview the Shah of Iran. Hollingworth died in Hong Kong, where she moved in 1973, aged 105. 14 teams score with Bladerunner getting a joker and with another hit (coming up) becomes the early leader...
That other hit for Bladerunner is Victor Lownes. Lownes was a businessman who effectively ran the Playboy empire whilst founder Hugh Hefner was chasing big-breasted girls around swimming pools. Allegedly! It was Lownes who created the famous Playboy clubs both in the US and UK, which attracted the celebrities of the day. However, Lownes got into hot water when he expanded into the casino game, a move which almost bankrupted the business. Lownes died aged 88 with Bladerunner picking up the unique bonus.
Buddy Greco was a popular jazz singer and pianist who enjoyed his biggest hit in 1960 with his version of Rodgers and Hart's 'The Lady Is A Tramp', which sold over a million copies. Greco was 90 and a unique hit for Tick Tock's Second String.
Greco was a fresh new pick for DDP 2017 and another to fall just days after making their debut was Oliver Smithies. Smithies was a geneticist and biochemist who won the Nobel Prize in 2007 (with Mario R. Capecchi & Sir Martin J. Evans) for his work on stem cell gene modification on mice. Smithies was 91 and inevitably was a hit for theme team Nobel Laureates.

[Scorecard] (Hollingworth) [Points] (14 teams)= 4pts [Joker](1 team) = 8pts
[Scorecard] (Lownes) [Points] + [Unique] = 9pts
[Scorecard] (Greco) [Points] + [Unique] = 8pts
[Scorecard] (Smithies) [Points] + [Unique] = 8pts

Oh no, not another sick parfit!

As is customary, we had a hit on New Year's Day. Derek Parfit was a moral philosopher who spent his entire career at Oxford Univeristy. His 2011 book 'On What Matters' was a much discussed work on personal identity. Parfit died on his first day of action on the DDP and was a unique hit for new theme team Destination Eschaton. Well, I suppose you've got to be philosophical about it...
Another one for beard-strokers (and there are a lot of those these days) was art crtic/writer John Berger. In 1972 Berger created the BBC art series 'Ways of Seeing' as a sort of response to Kenneth Clark's more traditionalist 'Civilisation' series. The same year Berger won the Booker Prize for his romantic novel 'G'. Berger was 90 and was a hit for 2 teams.
Mario Soares was a key figure in Portugal in it's move to democracy following years of military dictatorship. Soares led the Socialists to power in 1976 and served as Prime Minister on two occasions before becoming President in 1986. Soares' main achievement was the entry of Portugal into the European Community. Soares was 92 and a hit for the 26 teams who had shrewdly noted his declining health at the back end of 2016. DDP veterans Inquilinekea/Simfish get the joker bonus.
Our final hit for this first update for 2017 had a big hit himself. Peter Sarstedt was an India-born British singer-songwriter who scored a massive hit in with the reflective 'Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)?' which topped the UK singles chart in 1969. The song also won the Ivor Novello award the following year. Sarstedt died aged 75 and was a hit for 9 teams.

[Scorecard] (Parfit) [Points] + [Unique] = 8pts
[Scorecard] (Berger) [Points] (2 teams) = 5pts
[Scorecard] (Soares) [Points] (26 teams)= 5pts [Joker](1 team) = 10pts
[Scorecard] (Sarstedt) [Points] (9 teams) = 7pts

List of the Lost - Latest Entrants

Hans Breukhoven, Lisa Brown, Paul McGill

List of the Missed - Latest Entrants

Octavio Lepage, Milt Schmidt, Graham Taylor (do I not like that!), Roman Herzog, Frank Spellman, Magic Alex, Nicodemo Scarfo Sr, Eddie Filgate, Ronald Buxton, Matilde Capuis

Player of the Month - December

Mourning Glory - 37 points

Latest News

New US President Donald Trump is causing ructions already with his muslim ban. The Theme Team League is (finally) up with wrestling team Francis of Arse-Easy 2017 the early leader...

Further Information

Rules & Scoring

E-mail The Man In Black with any questions/comments about the DDP:


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, David Quantick's Showbiz Pals, Dickie's Gone the Way of the Dinosaurs & The End Of The World As We Know It
[DDP 2017]