Tag Archives: top

Top Ten BBC3 Sitcoms of all-time (with clips)

With BBC 3 going off-air in the autumn of 2015, scores of terrible sitcoms will now likely never see the light of day. In amongst the tripe there have been some belters though, Dom Kureen shares his top ten BBC 3 sitcoms.

10. Uncle (Launch: 2014)

 

Loosely based on Man Stroke Woman’s ‘Uncle Jack’ sketches, Uncle follows the evolving relationship between a struggling musician and his until recently neglected 12 year-old nephew. A satisfying blend of dark humour and heart-warming narrative kept the first six episodes fresh, a second series has been commissioned.

 

9. The Smoking Room (Launch: 2004)

Written by Brian Dooley and starring Robert Webb, The Smoking Room won a BAFTA in 2005 and ran for two series from 2004-2005. Set in one room, the snappy repartee between characters never allowed it to drift.

 

8. How Not To Live Your Life (Launch:  2007)

Hitting screens in late 2007, How Not To Live Your Life ran for 20 episodes and focused on the futile existence of Donald “Don” Danbury (Writer and actor Dan Clark), a man stumbling through life with no clear purpose or direction.

 

7. Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps (Launch: 2001*)

Although not to everyone’s taste, Two Pints had a nine series, 80 episode lifespan that started in 2001 on BBC 2 and moved to BBC 3 a couple of years later. The Runcorn based sitcom provided a springboard for the careers of Sheridan Smith, Ralf Little and Will Mellor.

 

6. Bad Education (Launch: 2012)

Starring and written by Jack Whitehall, Bad Education centres around the often misguided teaching styles of Alfred Frufrock Wickers and his relationships with other eccentric figures at the fictional Abbey Grove School in Watford, including sketchy headmaster Shaquille “Simon” Fraser (Matthew Horne.)

 

5. Him & Her (Launch: 2010)

A sitcom about a lazy 20-something couple and their run-ins with various irritating friends and family members. Joe Wilkinson’s portrayal of Dan Wilkinson – Becky (Sarah Solemani) and Steve’s (Russell Tovey) socially awkward neighbour, is the best thing in the show.

 

4. Pulling (Launch: 2006)

The brainchild of Sharon Horgan and Dennis Kelly, Pulling was a creative success, even if the ratings were a little disappointing. The sitcom focuses on the lives of three single, female house mates and their attempts to…  erm, pull.

 

3. Gavin and Stacey (Launch: 2007)

 

Ruth Jones and James Corden hit the jackpot when they co-wrote Gavin and Stacey, a tale of a long distance relationship that brings the two lead protagonists together. Ultimately, a star-studded supporting cast outshine the colourless lead pair.

 

2. The Mighty Boosh (Launch: 2004)

After years of stage and radio shows, The Mighty Boosh finally hit the small screen in 2004, picked up by Steve Coogan’s company, ‘Baby Cow Productions’. Although sometimes panned as student-y silliness, the programme built up a decent following and created numerous vivid, memorable scenes for viewers.

 

1. Nighty Night (Launch: 2004)

 

A black comedy, Nighty Night follows the movements of narcissistic sociopath Jill Tyrell (Julia Davis) who has become obsessed with her neighbour Cathy Cole’s (Rebecca Front) husband Don (Angus Deayton.) The first series won a Banff award and Davis, who created the show as well as starring in it, received a Royal Television Society Award for her portrayal of the twisted lead.

Disagree with Kureen.co.uk’s top ten? Let us know which sitcoms you think should have been included or discarded in the comment section below.

 

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Top 10 British boxers of all time (Part Two)

In the first part of Ken Irons’ article he revealed the first half of his top ten British boxers of all time, this time we find out who made the top five (and more importantly the number one slot!)  So who did our man at ringside feel were the premier pugilists from the land of the Rose? Read on and find out…

5) Chris Eubank 

Middle & Super Middleweight (45-5-2, 23 KO’s)

London born Eubank moved, in his teens, to New York, where he eventually fought off drug, alcohol and shop lifting dependencies when he took up boxing. 

On his return to the U.K. he was undefeated world middleweight champion for over five years and unbeaten in all fights in his first ten years as a pro.

His lisping drawl, eccentric attire and foppish attitude antagonised some (including arch adversary Nigel Benn) but masked a steely character.

 4) Carl Froch

Super Middleweight (33-2, 24 KO’s)

Froch, from Nottingham, is generally regarded as the best pound for pound British fighter currently plying his trade.

Nicknamed ‘The Cobra’, the 38 year-old has won 33 of his fights (24 knock outs) and suffered his only defeats by decision, with a record of 9–2 in world title fights, four victories being by knock out.

 –

3) John Conteh           

Light Heavyweight (34-4-1, 23 KO’s)

Aged only 19 Lancastrian Conteh won a gold medal at middleweight in the 1970 Olympics.

On turning professional he won the WBC light heavyweight crown in 1974 and held it until 1977. He retired in 1980 with a record of 34 wins, 4 losses and a solitary draw.

Regrettably he was another superbly talented fighter who could have done better still had it not been for an alleged penchant for the high life.

 –

2) Joe Calzaghe CBE

Super Middleweight (46-0, 32 KO’s)

British Lionhearts v Italia Thunder - World Series of Boxing

Welsh southpaw Calzaghe held WBO, WBA WBC & IBF super middle titles and is the longest reigning super middle champion in history, retiring undefeated in 2009.

His popularity has since resulted in appearances on national TV shows, while a perfect professional record of 46-0 is one of the finest in the history of elite level sparring, trumped only by Rocky Marciano (49-0) and Floyd Mayweather Jr (47-0).      

– 

1) Lennox Lewis CM, CBE

Heavyweight (41-2-1, 32 KO’s)

Born in West Ham, Lewis moved to Canada in childhood but retains dual nationality. At 6 feet 5 inches and around 17 stone, easy going, chess playing Lewis was a supreme boxer with a knock out punch in either hand.

He held the undisputed world title and never ducked a fight in an era (nineties) when there were plenty of dangerous fighters around, such as Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Vitali Klitschko (all of whom Lewis subjugated.)

His only professional defeats were duly and emphatically avenged in resultant re-matches.

What do you think of Ken’s choices? Should Ricky Hatton have made the cut? How about Frank Bruno or Herbie Hyde (ok, the last one might be a joke!)

Written by Ken Irons

I have always had a love of the written word and have frequently, over the years, exasperated editors, publishers et al with my copious submissions of work. My highly advanced years I find a plus, as it means not having to research so much - I can remember it if it's in the last century or so!

Top 10 British boxers of all time (part one)

Britain has produced some incredible pugilists over the past century, but who are the cream of the crop? In part one of this article Ken Irons gives the first five of his top ten British boxers of all time, focusing on numbers 10 to 6.

Nigel Benn

It is inevitably difficult to assess athletes of any kind when comparing different eras; the contemporary boxer has the advantages of improved fitness levels, whereas fighters of fifty and sixty years ago, in the days before multi titles for each weight division, had but one world title to fight for.

They didn’t, like today, get a shot at a title when they’d only had to undergo a handful of fights. Taking these points into account, I have done my best to come up with a fair assessment of the top ten British boxers of all-time based on a series of criteria that includes longevity and performances on the big stage; the latter one reason why some notable names have missed the cut.

10) Sir  Henry Cooper OBE KSG

 Heavyweight (55 fights, 40 wins,  14 losses, 1 draw, 27 K.O’s)                                                         

Cooper, otherwise fondly referred to as Our Enery’, was arguably the most popular British fighter since the war and, although he held only Commonwealth and European titles as opposed to a world strap, is still remembered for his fearsome left hook.

It was this punch which, famously, floored Muhammad Ali in perhaps Cooper’s most notorious bout although Ali, aided by some alleged sharp practice from his corner to give him extra recovery time, went on to stop Cooper with a badly cut eye.

9) Barry McGuigan MBE

Featherweight (32-3, 28 KO’s)

McGuigan, born in Clones, Republic of Ireland, and nicknamed the ‘Clones Cyclone’, was a skilful boxer and powerful puncher whose 32 winning professional fights included 28 knock outs. 

He won the world title and successfully defended it twice. His career was at it’s height during the time of ‘The Troubles’ (a religion conflict mainly based in Northern Ireland) and McGuigan earned tremendous respect and admiration from both sides of the political divide, not only via his in-ring accomplishments, but also by his heartfelt, authentic neutrality. 

 –

8) Naseem Hamed

Bantam, Super Bantam & Featherweight (36-1, 31 KO’s)

Southpaw Hamed, born in Sheffield, was a very exciting, if unorthodox fighter who packed a great punch with either fist, knocking out 31 of his 36 victims (losing only one fight in his professional career).

He held WBC, WBO, IBF & WBA world titles but retired at only 28 years of age, this despite being hailed by some as potentially Britain’s best ever fighterwhose only fault allegedly was a limited enthusiasm for training camp.  

7) Lloyd Honeyghan     

Welterweight (43-5, 31 KO’s)

Jamaica born Honeyghan, a supreme combatant, was responsible for one of the greatest world championship wins ever achieved by a British fighter when, in 1986, he travelled to the USA to defeat their seemingly invincible champion Donald Curry in 6 rounds.

He was WBC, WBA & IBF champion from 1986 to 1987 and WBC champion 1988  1989, although he famously dumped his WBA belt in a trash bin due to their policy of allowing fights in South Africa.  

6) Nigel Benn

Middle & Super Middleweight (42-5-1, 35 KO’s)

Ex soldier Benn, born in Ilford, was one of the most exciting fighters Britain has ever produced and the crowds would flock to witness his aggressive, barnstorming approach to contests, which resulted in many knock out victories.

He won world titles at both middle and super middleweight and had two epic battles against his nemesis and arch rival Chris Eubank, the first of which he lost, with the rematch concluding in a hotly disputed draw.

Check back with Kureen tomorrow for the top five and let us know if you agree with Ken’s selections or not! 

Written by Ken Irons

I have always had a love of the written word and have frequently, over the years, exasperated editors, publishers et al with my copious submissions of work. My highly advanced years I find a plus, as it means not having to research so much - I can remember it if it's in the last century or so!

Retro Gaming: Top 10 Super Nintendo Games

Retro gaming is big business at the moment, everything comes back into fashion as they say – so what did Dom Kureen pick as his top ten Super Nintendo games of all time? Read on to find out!

Mario Kart

Of all the consoles that I’ve had the pleasure to own or experience, my favourite remains the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (AKA SNES.)

With the advances in gaming that have taken place in the past two decades, it would be easy to scoff at the simple graphics and limited depth of the 16-bit era, viewing it as an eyesore fit only as a reference for how far games consoles have evolved since, with the current power players, the Playstation 4 and much maligned Xbox One, hammering home that point.

Still, that would be to dismiss the simple fun and focus on gameplay that defined the SNES, it was a brilliant machine that was responsible for memorable titles being released with reassuring regularity.

The return of retro has seen a boom in popularity for the machines from the Megadrive/SNES/Gameboy era, as once again those vintage devices are dusted off and given an airing as some sort of ironic fashion accessory.

With that in mind, I felt that it was only right to do a top ten of all SNES games, let us know if there are any that you think should have made the list, but weren’t included.

Please note that games such as Earthbound and the breathtaking Chrono Trigger were never released on the UK SNES and are therefore not under consideration.

10. Street Fighter II Turbo (1993)

Street Fighter 2 Turbo

With fighting games all the rage in the 1990s, the SF 2 series found its way to the forefront of the genre, despite the likes of Mortal Kombat and Killer Instinct also making successful transitions from arcade to console.

The turbo edition of the game not only added an option to change the speed of combat, it also enabled the use of the four boss characters from the previous SFII game – of which M.Bison was undisputedly the most dynamic.

With slick cartoon graphics and easy-to-learn moves, this incarnation beats its sequel, Super Street Fighter II, on to the list, with the worthless additional characters adding very little to the latter. The only real competition comes from Mortal Kombat 2, but this just edges it out of the top ten.

9. International Superstar Soccer (1995)

As far as footballing games went on the Super Nintendo, most had followed a similar format, with small, pixilated graphics and muffled sound dominating games like Striker or Kick Off.

ISS changed all of that, with big bold sprites and even the occasional phrase such as ‘free-kick’, ‘throw in’ and best of all ‘gooooooooooaaaaaalllll!!!’ spouted by a wild commentator for good measure.

Easy to get to grips with and boasting international teams set up exactly as they had been in the 1994 World Cup, this added new layers to previous carts dedicated to the sport.

Perhaps best of all, the game had a scenario mode, which had matches set up at specific points, with the objective usually to overturn a difficult situation or hold on for dear life with a poor side against the likes of Holland or Brazil. One of these even has a biased referee who sent off two Italian players, so you begin your challenge with only nine men on the pitch!

Interestingly, this game was the predecessor to the more famous Pro Evolution Soccer series, which in 2013 still rivals Fifa as the must-own football game.

8. Donkey Kong Country (1994)

Donkey Kong Country - [Front]

A controversial choice, as most DK fans prefer the second part of the trilogy. For me, the incredible visuals and imagination of the original still give it the edge.

With a brilliant two-player mode, in which team-mates can tag to switch control midway through stages, this was innovative on numerous levels and reinvented a character who had for the most part been reduced to the role of a bad guy in doddery 8-bit games, something alluded to with tongue firmly in cheek during this version of the big ape’s antics.

Developers, Rage, spent 22 years designing this game and it shows. With its pre-rendered 3D graphics and three files to store progress in, DK Country was a must-own title, which helped to reinvigorate the Super Nintendo brand after sales had dipped during early to mid-1994.

7. Super Metroid (1994)

The third entry of the Metroid series, Metroid 3, better known as Super Metroid was indisputably the best of the three games.

A sideways scrolling platformer, which features run, jump and gun gameplay, players progress along their journey by adding new features and weapons as the difficulty increases, making the final embers of play a formidable prospect to overcome.

A huge challenge, with more than enough variety to keep any platform fan interested in the long term, Super Metroid is still considered one of the finest examples of what can be done with limited graphical and storage capabilities.

6. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island (1995)

How do you follow a timeless classic such as Super Mario World? By revamping the setup and letting his dinosaur pal take over at the helm!

With pressure to produce a new Mario adventure after a three-year gap in Europe, Nintendo decided upon a prequel where Mario was a baby, as opposed to the plump plumber that had captivated his fans in the first four installments.

This shouldn’t work, but somehow does. The hand-drawn backdrops stand out a mile and if Yoshi is struck by an enemy there is a countdown to collect infant Mario as he drifts away and whines. This makes it a tad easier to recover from errors than the previous adventures.

5. Super Bomberman (1993)

What could be more fun than blowing up your enemies with strategically placed bombs? It’s the age-old question that most scholars eventually put forward in one guise or another. Super Bomberman finally gave SNES owners the opportunity to do exactly that, with this exciting and bold offering.

With a terrific multi-player option allowing up to four people to get involved at any one time, this is frighteningly addictive with three different modes and a captivating storyline to keep players on their toes.

The various items that can be picked up include a boot and boxing glove, which both add unpredictability to your attacks. Meanwhile, progression towards the holy grail of maximum acceleration and full compliment of bombs means that the story mode takes some time to defeat, virtually guaranteeing hundreds of hours of entertainment in the process.

4. Super Mario All-Stars (1993)

Super Mario 3

Yes, this choice might be a bit of a cheap shot with all of these games re-releases from the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), but to have the first three parts of the Mario story on one cart, as well as the Lost Levels addition, was a shrewd move by Nintendo.

Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 3 are the standouts here, not losing any of their greatness in the conversion. The other two offerings are still above par and scrub up well.

With the graphics upgraded from the originals and the music revamped, there is no doubt that here we have a special collection, which helped to introduce newer fans of Nintendo to some of the classic games of yore, whilst gifting veterans a nostalgic journey down the railroad tracks.

3. Super Mario World (1992)

After releasing the superlative Super Mario Bros. 3 last time out, it would have been safe and easy for Nintendo to deliver something similar here, what they decided instead was to instigate a near 180 degree sea change and deliver a fresh take on things in the Mushroom Kingdom.

Bowser has once again captured the Princess and it is Mario’s job to save the day. This time his dinosaur pal Yoshi comes along for the ride, swallowing enemies and using different-coloured shells to acquire various special powers.

With over 100 ways of completing levels and tons of hidden pathways, there is little danger of getting bored until the task of completing the mighty game is complete. The only downside may be the lack of a two-player option, but that is a minor yawp in an otherwise terrific game.

2. The Legend of Zelda: A link to the past (1992)

Regularly cited as the best SNES game of all time and among the greatest ever on any console, Zelda comes within a gnat’s whisker of topping this list.

If you have enjoyed Zelda games in the past, either pre or post A Link To The Past, then the chances are that you’ll love this as well. As an adventure game Zelda is an explorative journey of discovery in which players uncover more with each phase of play.

With an original score to rival any computer game music of the time and graphics that are visually pleasing, this is clearly a game with which great care was taken. It isn’t all surface value though, as a substantial dose of carnage and vast array of bad guys to conquer ensure that this game should satiate even the fussiest fan.

1. Super Mario Kart (1993)

So we arrive at the peak of the mountain with Super Mario Kart, the most accessible, joyful and simple racing game ever created.

Where Mario Kart excels is the variety in courses, game modes and drivers. With Championship mode playable at either 50cc, 100cc or 150cc level, it offers the opportunity to gradually sharpen your skills until you are ready to face the epic struggle of courses such as Rainbow Road.

Better still, the battle mode offers a two player experience with few peers, with each driver aiming to inflict damage on their rival via shells, banana skins and magic stars, until one kart has managed the three hits required to secure victory.

With the karts all matched up fairly well (eg: big guys such as Bowser have a high top speed and can bash small ones around the course on impact, but lack acceleration and control and Toad vice-versa) there is always a new challenge awaiting as you try to master each skill set.

So there you have it. Do you agree, disagree or are you just confused by the retro scene? Let us know in the comment section below!

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Top Ten Heavyweight Boxers of all time (part two: 5-1)

Yesterday Ken Irons shared the first half of his top ten heavyweight boxers of all-time, now it’s time to step into the ring with the elite, as he reveals his top five!

Butterbean: Failed to make the cut
Butterbean: Failed to make the cut

5) JOE LOUIS
Record: 66-3 (52 KO’s)

Joe Louis is a boxing icon who held the title (before it became fragmented) from 1937 until 1949, the longest period ever for a champion to reign.

He was undefeated until sustaining a 12-round loss to Germany’s Max Schmeling in 1936. After winning the title he had a return fight with the German in 1938, a fight which triggered deep emotions owing to the anti-Nazi feelings prevalent at the time (Hitler had reportedly personally encouraged Schmeling to win the title for the honour of the third Reich, although there was never any question that the fighter himself was involved in politics in any way). The fight lasted 124 seconds with Schmeling knocked senseless having been floored 3 times.

A tribute to Joe Louis in Detroit
A tribute to Joe Louis in Detroit

Louis retired in 1949 but then had to come back due to financial problems as he owed a large sum in taxes. This caused anger amongst fans and the general public as a whole because Joe had served his country well, both in wartime (in the U.S. Army) and as a unifying personality, loved by both blacks and whites.

The Government displayed no such sentimentality and Joe was reduced to working as a wrestler to pay off his debt, having first lost comeback fights to both Ezzard Charles and Rocky Marciano. He did receive official approval in death however, when the then U.S. President, Ronald Reagan, requested that he be buried at Arlington Cemetery.

4) GEORGE FOREMAN
 Record: 76-5 (68 KO’s)

George Foreman

Foreman, at 6 feet 3 inches, was not a stylish fighter but he was a devastating puncher, winning the title in 1973 against the seemingly invincible Joe Frazier when he demolished him in 2 rounds.

The following year, at age 25, he lost the crown to 32 year-old Muhammad Ali in the famous ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ in Zaire. Foreman was expected to win the contest but was overcome by Ali’s ‘rope a dope’ tactics whereby the latter leaned on the ropes, raised both gloves in protective mode and encouraged Foreman to eventually punch himself out.

Foreman always maintained that he had not felt right during the fight leading to some speculation that his water may have somehow been ‘spiked’, but this idea never got beyond the unsubstantiated rumour stage.

Foreman retired soon after and practised religion as a preacher. He came back to regain the title against Michael Moorer, at age 45. This made him the oldest man to win the title. He finally hung up the gloves for good in 1997.

3) LENNOX LEWIS
Record: 41-2-1 (32 KO’s)

London born but having spent part of childhood in Canada, Lewis holds dual nationality. At 6 feet 5 inches and 245 pounds, he was a superb boxer with a knock-out punch in either hand. 

Dispensing of all of the elite pugilists of his era, Lewis achieved amateur success when representing Canada at the Seoul Olympics in 1988, defeating future great Riddick Bowe for the gold medal, subsequently turning professional and switching allegiance to Britain during the same year.

He held the undisputed world title and never suffered an unavenged defeat, retiring in 2004, having stopped Vitali Klitschko via TKO in his final bout.

2) LARRY HOLMES
Record: 69-6 (44 KO’s)

Larry Holmes

Holmes has suffered more in his rightful claim to immortality than perhaps any other fighter due to the unfortunate timing of his rise to fame.

The fact that Muhammad Ali’s career was still ingrained in the hearts and minds of fans the world over when HolmesAli’s ex sparring partner, came into prominence, detracted greatly from the new champion’s overall standing.

He was, however, at 6 feet 3 inches, a consummate boxer/ fighter who could, in truth, match Ali in most aspects of his craft. As a one punch knock-out specialist he was perhaps superior to his old ‘employer’ who was more of adamaging’ puncher and his left jab is generally considered to be the best ever in the division.

Holmes was champion from 1978 – 1985 and his 19 consecutive defences of the title ranks second only to Joe Louis.

1) MUHAMMED ALI
Record
: 56-5 (KO’s 37)

Muhammed Ali

Muhammad Ali was a man whose fame transcended the sport due to his strongly held and fearlessly expressed political and religious beliefs (including his refusal to fight in Vietnam) and his generally extrovert personality.

He was the first champion to overtly ‘wind up’ his opponents, often causing trouble at press conferences, pre fight interviews and the like. This however was all part of his deliberate practice of getting the better of an opponent mentally which he invariably did, and which usually paid off for him in terms of results.

Ali’s dancing style, lightening fast reflexes and astonishing hand speed, wherein, in his own words,he “floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee”,were just too much for most of his bewildered and disheartened opponents to cope with

He is the only three time lineal world heavyweight champion, winning the title in 1964, 1974 and 1978. It should also be remembered that his ‘prime years’, 1967 – 1971, were taken from him when his license was taken away following the Vietnam draft incident.

So there it is, the top ten heavyweight boxers of all-time and not a Rocky Balboa or Butterbean in sight! Let us know your thoughts on Ken’s choices in the comment section below.

Written by Ken Irons

I have always had a love of the written word and have frequently, over the years, exasperated editors, publishers et al with my copious submissions of work. My highly advanced years I find a plus, as it means not having to research so much - I can remember it if it's in the last century or so!

Top 10 heavyweight boxers of all time (part one: 10-6)

His “Best of British Boxers” article received a double thumbs up from legendary pugilist Riddick Bowe last month, now Ken Irons returns to share his top ten heavyweight boxers of all time. Part one focuses on numbers 10 through 6.

The legendary Riddick Bowe enjoyed Ken's previous article
The legendary Riddick Bowe enjoyed Ken’s previous article

In assessing the comparative merits of fighters whose respective careers span a long period of time, I have resorted to the commonly held premise that all sportsmen/women can only improve as time progresses due to the better fitness levels, diet, training regimes etc. now available.

 It is for this reason that I have deliberately omitted some of the champions of yesteryear – men like Dempsey, Johnson and Tunney – from my selection.

However, whilst it is true that Rocky Marciano, had I included him, would not have been the oldest fighter to appear, I feel that his small stature (today he’d have been a cruiserweight) goes against him.

Another negative is the fact that, although he holds the only perfect record in the division, the fifties was not an exceptional era for heavyweights and he never really fought any outstanding fighters (with the exceptionof Joe Louis, at that time well past his bestand Archie Moore – also past his best and, in reality, only a blown up light-heavyweight).

As is inevitable when constructing such lists, there are also other great champions with exemplary records who narrowly miss the cut – Wladimir Klitschko and Riddick Bowe amongst them.

 –

10) KEN NORTON
Record: 42 wins, 7 losses, 1 draw (33 KO’s )

Ken Norton Muhammed Ali

Norton, only the second man to beat Ali, was famous for his idiosyncratic cross armed defence which he used to good effect against the great fighters around in his era. Although he was subsequently outpointed by Ali in a return fight, the judges’ verdict in this contest was deemed at the time to be one of the most ill considered and unfair on record.

Norton’s unsuccessful fight with Larry Holmes for the title is rated one of the very best ever seen in the division.

Unfortunately however, it left Norton with the dubious distinction of being the only heavy weight champion who never won a title fight (the WBC having awarded him the crown prior to the Holmes fight as a result of a contract dispute they had with Leon Spinks). Any dreams Norton may have had of regaining the crown were then crushed by Holmes retaining it for the next 7 years!

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9) EVANDER HOLYFIELD
Record: 44-10-2 (29 KO’s)

Holyfield, nicknamed ‘The Real Deal’, was aundisputed world champion at both cruiser and heavyweight.

He is the only 4 time world champion, winning the WBA, WBC and IBF titles in 1990, the WBA and IBF titles in 1993 and the WBA title in 1996 and 2000Among those he defeated were Mike Tyson, Larry Holmes and George Foreman although, it has to be said, both Holmes and Foreman were in their early forties at the time he fought them.

 –

8) VITALI KLITSCHKO
Record: 45-2 (41 KO’s)

Vitali Klitschko

Klitschkoqualified PhD, nicknamed Dr Ironfistand currently Mayor of Kiev, was the first European for many years to make an impact on the heavyweight boxing scene

At 6 feet 7 inches and a superbly fit 240 pounds or so, he brought a new focus to the division which was traditionally ruled by American fighters. Whilst interest in the sport had begun to wane in the states, via the gradual decline of activity in the amateur ranks. By the turn of the century in Europe a new enthusiasm was taking hold. Klitschko took the WBC title in 1999 beating Herbie Hide in 2 rounds.

Klitschko’s height, reach, punching power and boxing skills established him as an all time great. His only 2 losses were to Chris Byrd and Lennox Lewis. He has always maintained a steadfast refusal to fight his younger brother, Wladimir, another outstanding champion.

7) JOE FRAZIER
Record: 32-4-1 (27 KO’s)

Ali and Frazier

“Smokin'” Joe Frazier was an aggressive, bustling type of fighter with a thunderbolt left hook, who won the title in 1970 and, in retaining it in the massively hyped ‘fight of the century’ in 1971, was the first man to beat Muhammad Ali. 

He lost the title to another attacking fighter in 1973 when he took on the heavier George Foreman who, after flooring Frazier several times in a brutal encounter, knocked him out in round two.

He subsequently lost twice to Ali (the second of these fights being the gruelling “Thrilla in in Manila, which left both men in hospital) and again to Foreman, leaving Big George and Ali as his only conquerors.

6) MIKE TYSON
Record: 50-6* (44 ko)

Tyson, the youngest man to win the WBC, WBA and IBF titles at 20, is perhaps the most destructive puncher the division has known.

This made him capable, especially in the early days of his career, of suddenly demolishing an opponent in a split second, no matter the current state of the contest. He won the WBC title in 1986 and the WBA and IBF in 1987. He defended the title 9 times before losing to underdog James ‘Buster’ Douglas in 1990.

His downward slide was not helped when he changed management. He also achieved notoriety for the ear biting escapade in his rematch with Evander Holyfield and activities outside the ring, which included a rape charge, imprisonment and money problems(despite his massive ring earnings and lucrative endorsements).

*Tyson also fought two bouts that ended as ‘no contests’.

Tune in tomorrow for the second part of Ken’s article, where he’ll reveal his top five heavyweight boxers of all time. In the meantime let us know your thoughts on the list so far in the comment section below, and please ask people to ‘like’ our Facebook page.

Written by Ken Irons

I have always had a love of the written word and have frequently, over the years, exasperated editors, publishers et al with my copious submissions of work. My highly advanced years I find a plus, as it means not having to research so much - I can remember it if it's in the last century or so!

20 Worst TV Spin-offs ever. Pt.1 (20th-11th)

Cleveland Show

Kureen has explored the best TV spin-off shows ever during the past couple of days, now it’s time to take a gander at the bottom feeders, with a two part list of the 20 worst of all time.

*Years of broadcast and parent series in parenthesis

20. Saved By The Bell: The College Years (1993-94, Saved By The Bell)

Saved By The Bell followed the lives of half a dozen teenagers (and one principal) as they navigated their way through Bayside high school’s minefield. This follow up adapted the formula for a college setting, but the same goofy gags that had previously flourished fell flat coming from older students, with an 18 year-old  Screech (Dustin Diamond) one of the most abhorrent characters in sitcom history.

19. The Cleveland Show (2009-13, Family Guy)

With all of the entertaining characters in Family Guy to choose between for a spin-off, Seth Macfarlane opted for Cleveland Brown, the least worthwhile member of the FG ensemble. What resulted was lethargic and rarely worth a chuckle, mercifully Fox put the animated series out of its misery after four laborious seasons.

18. AfterMash (1983-84, M*A*S*H)

AfterMash wasn’t M*A*S*H, despite desperately trying to emulate it without putting forth any effort and praying for some chemistry from an excruciatingly bland cast. As the title track of the original aptly stated: “suicide is painless”, as thousands of viewers eyed up their AK-47’s and contemplated.

17. Top of The Heap (1991, Married With Children)

Check this out if you want to see a young, pre-Friends Matt Le Blanc… and then find a device to wipe any trace of the woeful rhetoric from your mind’s eye, or else take enough psychedelic drugs to lay waste to the part of your brain that threatens to store the criminally corny dialogue you’ve been subjected to.

16. The Golden Palace (1992-93, The Golden Girls)

The lifeblood of The Golden Girls was the snappy repartee between the four main pensioners, all enjoying their twilight years and each other’s company. CBS thought they would strike while the iron was still somewhat warm by bringing the remaining core cast (Rue McClanahan, Betty White and Estelle Getty) back with a new series and a slightly fresh situation, but the idea of them running a hotel was far fetched, and it bombed in the ratings.

15. Girl Meets World (2014-Present, Boy Meets World)

From 1993 to 2000, viewers followed the relationship of Cory Matthews and Topanga Lawrence-Matthews on “Boy Meets World.” More than a decade later, the couple’s daughter, Riley, is trying to navigate her ‘tween years with all of the panache and wit of a moribund tea cosy.

14. Hello Larry (1979-80,  Diff’rent Strokes)

“Hello Larry” was part of Fred Silverman’s attempt to ruin, er, resurrect NBC, a channel whose comedy had plummeted toward the ratings doldrums. Despite its abysmal badness, the show ran for two seasons simply because so many of the network’s other offerings bombed, so they had nothing better to run; a fact that beleaguered network execs cheerfully admitted to.

13. Hot Bench (2014-Present, Judge Judy)

In America the court TV show is a tried and trusted formula that has made stars of a myriad of judges. “Hot Bench” attempted to shake up the usual concept by employing a three-judge panel. Created by Judge Judy Sheindlin, the series’ main issue is that the judges crave the spotlight too freely, like attention seeking toddlers with overflowing nappies, and the cases are too puerile for viewers to invest any fucks.

12. The Tortellis (1987, Cheers)

“The Tortellis” was a spin off of “Cheers” featuring Carla Tortelli (Rhea Perlman)’s eccentric family, who were infrequent recurring characters.  All were hilarious in the context of the parent show, but gave the impression of fish out of water when dumped into a vehicle that lacked any concept or purpose.

11.  Three’s A Crowd (1984-85, Three’s Company)

“Three’s a Crowd” can be aptly summed up as boring, direction-less, and painfully unfunny. The producers made no attempt to create a new and exciting vehicle for John Ritter’s brilliant physical comedy, content instead to bask in the glory of the exceptional Three’s Company, all the while milking this obese cash-cow until its teats shrivelled like raisins in the Sahara.

Agree with Dom’s list? Let us know in the comment section below. The top (bottom?) ten will be published tomorrow, so keep your eyes open and share, share, share!

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

20 Best TV Spin-Offs Ever – Pt.2: Top 10.

Yesterday Dom Kureen shared the first half of his TV spin-off top-20 with the world, today it’s time to find out which shows made the top ten.

*Years of broadcast and original series in parenthesis.

10. Saved By The Bell (1989-93, Good Morning Miss Bliss)

This is one case where the spin-off was far superior to the original. Wise cracking Zach Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) leads up a cast of pretty young things and uber dorks, whose antics usually come with a life lesson attached. In hindsight it looks a little cheesy, but was must see TV for any kids in the early 90’s.

9. Knowing Me, Knowing You (1994-95, On The Hour/The Day Today)

Having begun life as a character featured on BBC Radio 4’s “On The Hour”, and transferred to television with “The Day Today”, the Alan Partridge character was given his own series in  1994, with this spoof chat show. Steve Coogan masterfully portrays the hapless presenter, whose desperate attempts to curry favour with his guests inevitably backfire.

8. Happy Days (1974-84, Love, American Style)

Based in the 1950’s and 60’s, no show has spawned as many spin-offs as Happy Days, which was a spin-off itself. More than 10 years on air ended when the diminishing value of the classic sitcom struck a nadir – “The Fonz” jumping over a shark on water skis, thus coining the term ‘jumping the shark’, used in modern vernacular to describe a TV programme in decline.

7. Absolutely Fabulous (1992-2012, French and Saunders)

A sitcom brilliant in its uncensored bad behaviour and satirical humour, “Ab Fab”  featured Edina and Patsy, two hard-drinking, drug-taking, selfish middle-aged women. Their cruel humour zoning in on the hypocrisy of modern day society, much to the chagrin of Edina’s more moral and conservative daughter, Saffron.

6. CSI Miami (2002-12, CSI)

A Florida team of forensics investigators use cutting-edge scientific methods and old-fashioned police work to solve crimes. Horatio Caine (David Caruso) leads the way with understated brilliance, and as tough an act to follow as CSI was, its Miami successor was retrospectively the superior series.

5. A Different World (1987-93 The Cosby Show)

A Different World followed the student life of Denise Huxtable,  played by the gorgeous, talented Lisa Bonet, as she ditched the comfort of the Cosby bosom to attend Hillman College. Bonet lasted one season before getting knocked up by Lenny Kravitz. Her departure (and that of a young Marisa Tomei) didn’t harm the show, with four superior seasons preceding a flat finale.

4. Sesame Street (1969-present, Sam and Friends)

A long-time favourite of children and adults, Sesame Street bridges many cultural and educational gaps and has to date aired 4,378 episodes over the course of almost half a century. Big Bird leads a cast of characters teaching children numbers, colours and the alphabet. Bert and Ernie, Oscar the Grouch and Grover are just a few of the other creatures involved in this show, set on a city street full of valuable learning opportunities.

3. Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-94, Star Trek)

Featuring a bigger and better USS Enterprise than its parent series, “TNG” is set 78 years after the original, in the 24th century. Instead of Captain James Kirk, a less volatile and more mature Captain Jean-Luc Picard (played by ultra smooth thesp’ Patrick Stewart) heads the crew of various humans and alien creatures in their adventures in space, aka: the final frontier.

2. Frasier (1993-2004, Cheers)

While many of Cheers’ spin-offs were tacky cash ins, Frasier had the staying power and depth of cast to last for 11 years and wave adieu on its own terms. Kelsey Grammar plays radio psychiatrist Frasier Crane, whose charm and sophistication beautifully dovetail with the rest of the ensemble, most notably brother Niles, who often steals the show courtesy of the excellent David Hyde Pierce.

1. The Simpsons (1989-present, The Tracey Ullman Show)

Beginning life as a series of short sketches produced by Matt Groening based on his own family, “The Simpsons” soon extended into a 25 minute weekly cartoon of its own. Purists will argue that it peaked during seasons 4-8, and that everything after season 20 (now on no.26) has been an abomination. Forget that for a minute though, The Simpsons revolutionised the cartoon comedy genre, and richly deserves its place atop the pile.

So, there you have it – tomorrow we’ll take a look at the worst spin-offs of all time, make sure you return and feel free to leave a comment in the section below. 

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

20 Best TV Spin-Offs Ever: Pt.1 (20th-11th)

With last year’s UK première of Breaking Bad spin-off, Better Call Saul, receiving huge plaudits, Kureen thought the time was apt to share our 20 best and worst spin-offs to reach the small screen not including Saul’s antics. In part one Dom Kureen reveals positions 20 to 11. 

Stephen Colbert

*Years of broadcast and original series in parenthesis.

20. Muppet Babies (1984-91, The Muppets)

The 1980’s was a decade chock-full of cartoons with good intentions. The Muppet Babies revolved around the power of imagination, and gave kids (and possibly morally stunted adults) some ethical food for thought meshed with just enough entertainment to avoid being preachy.

19. Kenan and Kel (1996-2000, All That)

“Who loves orange soda…”
With catchphrases like the above, Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell were destined to captivate audiences from the get-go. What on paper looked naff was performed with gusto by the duo, providing the pinnacle of late 1990’s teenage satire during their pomp – With early 21st Century internet rumours of Kenan’s demise proving premature.

18. Going Straight (1978, Porridge)

Going Straight followed former jailbird Norman Stanley Fletcher as he attempted to adapt to life on the ‘outside’. Despite relying excessively on a so-so support cast, and not coming close to emulating its predecessor Porridge, Ronnie Barker was able to provide fitting closure for fans of the protagonist, while sporadically dropping memorable one-liners along the way.

17. Torchwood (2006-10, Doctor Who)

A year after Russell T Davies revived Doctor Who, he created this spin-off for the character ‘Captain Jack Harkness’ (John Barrowman), an immortal time-travelling former con man. A distinctively Welsh twist on the original saw Captain Jack heading up the Cardiff branch of the Torchwood institute, which deals with incidents involving aliens… And the title is an anagram of ‘Doctor Who’, those smarty clever bastards!

16. Xena Warrior Princess (1995-2001, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys)

Coming at a time when ‘girl power’ was in full force, Xena started life on the dark side, before eventually realising the error of her ways and turning face. With a strong, independent and alluring swagger, the series made up for some woeful scripts with enough action, titillation and engaging plot arcs to maintain it during a six-year run.

15. Angel (1999-2004, Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

The show about a guilt-ridden vampire with a human soul ran for five seasons and was a successful spin-off of Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. David Boreanaz’s Angel and Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Buffy seemed to be stake-cross’d lovers, until Angel left to start his own series at the end of season three.

14. Mork and Mindy (1978-82, Happy Days)

This popular sitcom was borne out of a dream had by Happy Days’ Richie Cunningham in which alien Mork (played by an unknown Robin Williams) tried to take Richie back to his home planet of Ork. Series producer Garry Marshall was so impressed by Williams’s comic ability that he gave him his own series about an alien who comes to Earth to study human behaviour and moves in with a woman he meets.

13. The Colbert Report (2005-14, The Daily Show)

Political satirist Stephen Tyrone Colbert took on cable-news pundits in this show’s decade long run, which centred around his essential rightness about the issues of the day. Colbert portrayed a caricature of the conservative political pundits often seen on channels such as Fox News. In addition, the show was known for coming up with new words that enter the lexicon, most notably “truthiness.”

12. Summer Heights High (2007, We Can Be Heroes)

Chris Lilley nailed it with this ‘mockumentary’ based within the confines of the fictional Summer Heights high-school based in Sydney. The Australian comedian expertly portrayed all three of the main characters, allowing viewers an occasional window for empathy during the show’s otherwise relentless hilarity. 

11. Daria (1997-2001,  Beavis and Butthead)

Under rated cartoon following acutely perceptive, acerbic tongued teenager Daria Morgendorffer. Her self-esteem teacher can’t even remember her name, not that low self-esteem is a problem for Daria, who in one memorable exchange with her family explains that “I don’t have low self-esteem, it’s a mistake… I have low esteem for everyone else.”

Tune in again tomorrow for our top 10 spin-offs of all time, let us know what you think deserves the number one spot, and if you’re feeling kind please like and share the Kureen Facebook page x

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Top 15 Countdown: Female Rappers

Welcome to the first of a regular series on Kureen called the Top 15 Countdown. This week we look at the 15 greatest female rappers ever to spit bars.

15. Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes

Despite enjoying a successful solo career and three No. 1 hits as a member of TLC, Lopes’s personal life was marred by her rocky relationship with American football player Andre Rison, and in 1994 she was arrested for burning down his home. Lopes died in a car accident on April 25, 2002, in Honduras at the peak of her powers.

14. Yo-Yo

Yo-Yo (born Yolanda Whitaker) is among the most sophisticated and unpredictable female rappers of all-time. Despite refraining from an overtly feminist tack, she dealt with issues of sexual restraint and self-worth in young women.

13. Rapsody

With her polished and distinct style, Rapsody’s wordplay and flow are virtually unparalleled in both delivery and execution. Still only 27 years old, the North Carolina resident remains one of the most promising forces on the contemporary hip-hop landscape.

12. The Lady of Rage

Though she had made more than a dozen appearances on soundtracks as well as albums from her Death Row Records cohorts from 1988 onwards, the Lady of Rage didn’t release an album until 1997; the explosive Necessary Roughness was worth the wait.

11. Foxy Brown

Diminutive Brooklyn-based MC, model and actress whose brash style helped mould a generation of sexually-activated female rappers. First hit the scene in 1989, aged just 15.

10. Salt-N-Pepa

All-female rap crew from Queens whose assertive rhymes, topped with a dollop of feminism, earned them worldwide success. The group, consisting of Cheryl James, Sandra Denton and Deidra Roper, was formed in 1985, peaking a year later with the release of seminal album Push It.

9. Bahamadia

Philadelphia rapper whose unique monotone delivery and crafty rhymes wooed critics in the 1990’s, Bahamadia rose to prominence on the hip-hop scene as the female protégée of Gang Starr’s Guru, and lent her smooth-flowing lyrics to a variety of projects during the latter part of the decade.

8. Eve

Former member of the Ruff Ryders crew, her photogenic looks and impudent rhymes, Eve was number 48 on VH1’s “50 Greatest Women of the Video Era” list. Another female rapper to seamlessly transition into acting.

7. Da Brat

Chicago-based spitfire who burst onto the mid-’90’s hip-hop scene with her bold, defiant delivery.  Her debut album, Funkdafied, sold one million copies, making her the first female solo rap act to go platinum.

6. Missy Elliott

Individualistic female MC who altered the hip-hop landscape with her eclectic, innovative, sexually charged rhymes, buoyed by Timbaland beats. Recent Bestival headline set was a noteworthy example of effectively keeping a large audience on a short leash.

5. Lil’ Kim

Fiercest, most provocative, and most infamous female rapper of the late-1990s, Kim lost steam as her career entered the 21st Century, but her legacy remains pivotal in the evolution of female hip-hop.

4. Nicki Minaj

First stepping into the spotlight as an affiliate of Lil Wayne, the quirky, cool Minaj went from mix-tape queen to bona fide superstar with a string of successful releases. Regular surgeries have rendered her barely identifiable in a physical sense when placed alongside the Minaj of the late 2000’s, but her rap game remains tight.

3. Queen Latifah

One of the first politically conscious female rappers, selling nearly two million records worldwide as she feuded with Foxy Brown. She later became better known for a successful acting career and talk show.

2. MC Lyte

Trailblazer who came to the fore in the late 1980’s, becoming the first solo female rapper to release a full album with 1988’s critically acclaimed Lyte as a Rock. MC Lyte has long been considered one of hip-hop’s pioneer feminists.

1. Lauryn Hill

Singer, actress, songwriter, rapper and producer best known for being a member of the Fugees and for her brilliant solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Has become a virtual recluse in recent years, distancing herself from the music industry excepting the occasional low-key venue.

 Agree with the list? Think we missed someone out? Let us know in the comment section below!

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.