Michael J Bird Tribute Website

News from the Michael J Bird Website
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December 2017

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Following Stefan Gryff's death in June this year Neil Hendry asked website visitor Chris Williams to write an obituary to post on the Ian Hendry website.

Chris says he did a lot of research but found very little information. Later, he decided to dig a little deeper.

You can download a PDF of Chris's chilling account of the fortunes of the Gryff family from the 'cast' page for any of the three series in which Gryff appeared.


I established and maintain the MJB website but I like to think of it as a community effort. Website visitors regularly contact me with bits of information which I weave together to enrich the resource and the narrative. Earlier this year Brian Coughlan emailed me with a couple of detailed questions about The Aphrodite Inheritance that I couldn’t answer:

1) The title of the song that Basileos (Brian Blessed) keeps singing, and has it any significance within the general story?

2) The name of the dance troupe at Hellman's party at the Asteria Beach Hotel.

Brian got back to me in September to tell me that he had found the answers for himself.

“My sister and her family were going to Cyprus this year, and I asked her to go to the Hotel and try and find out. She did! A member of staff requested the manager to look back in their records to 1978 and he came up with the time-shooting schedule for that night’s filming. The resident dancing troupe was Armenian (I thought they were Turkish) and were called "Tamzara". The European girl that danced with them is an Austrian named Alina Christel Vinke, who later became a teacher, married and now retired, she still lives in Limassol. And the dancer who balanced all those glasses on his head was Narek Nahigian!”

And the song that Basileos sings and whistles ...?

"The song is called the "Dithyramb" - it is the ancient "Hymn to Wine" which in Greek mythology was always sung by Dionysus."

So that will be another of those 'clues' Bird talked about he had hidden in the series. How did Brian find that out? - “I simply asked a Greek friend who works at the local Greek Takeaway!”

Anna Pereboom, another regular contributer to the website, recently came across a lady named Christine Rogers who says “I was in Elounda the year they filmed Who pays the Ferryman? and was an extra in the first episode when Haldame goes to a taverna to meet up with his friends. It was filmed in nearby Aghios Nikolaous."

Anna has asked Christine to get in touch. Hopefully she will.


I regret to report not one but two more deaths in 'our' little community of actors.

Shortly after the last newsletter website visitor Neil Farrell emailed to tell me that Takis Emmanuel, the actor who played the villanous Matheos Noukakis in Michael Bird's Who Pays the Ferryman?, died on 26th August, 2017 in Athens, Greece. Emmanuel was an actor and writer, well established before Ferryman having appeared in Zorba the Greek (1964), Young Aphrodites (1963) and The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973).

And more recently Alex Henderson emailed to tell me that Suzan Farmer, who played the beautiful Julie (title character in The Lotus Eeaters episode 'Aphrodite'), died on 17th September 2017. Farmer had a long and varied film, television and stage career. I have added a link on the website to her obituary from The Guardian.


The tacky little snow routine is up on the homepage of the website so it must be that time of year again. I doubt there will be another newsletter this side of Christmas so I wish you and your loved ones all the best and a happy and peaceful New Year.

Michael J Bird Tribute Website

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