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Dinner at Innholders' Hall

with Ted Childs (Executive Producer)


6th March 2018

On Tuesday 6th March 2018, forty-seven members and guests headed off for dinner at the Innholders’ Hall, a lovely Georgian building very near to Cannon Street Station. We were not there because of the splendour of the building, lovely though it was, but because Innholders’ Hall has a Michelin starred chef, Herbert Berger, who bears more than a passing resemblance to the late John Thaw. Our speaker for the evening was to be Ted Childs OBE, Chair of BAFTA in 1994 and 1995, and as this was a joint meeting with the Inspector Morse Society it was to have a detective theme, but more of that later.

During the reception, we were serenaded with television signature tunes from Ted’s many series, which we were asked to name as our first detective activity for the evening. It was fun trying to remember the programs but unfortunately, for some of us, music baffled our brains!

The meal started with the chef’s appetiser and was followed with a fricassee of bass and clams, with the gentle blend of fennel, artichokes, liquorice and Pernod, paired with a subtle Colombard-Sauvignon Blanc 2015. It was followed by pavé of prime Scotch beef and winter vegetables, all cooked to perfection and paired with a Merlot Cielo Raboso 2016. Our final course, lime meringue tart, mango sorbet and Thai syrup, was a lovely fresh taste to end the meal. We rounded this off with a traditional Loving Cup, and everyone had great fun remembering to bow when they handed the cup on and forgetting, until reminded, to stand guard after imbibing with their sword arm free to protect the next drinker (despite the Master having printed off sheets explaining exactly what to do!).  The Master then asked Herbert Berger to join us for a well-deserved round of applause at the end and presented him with a pair of the new Aldersgate Ward Club cufflinks. In addition each guest received an Inspector Morse bookmark/key fob to take home.

On introducing Ted Childs the Master found an audio clip from the time Ted received his Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Nottingham University which was played to the audience. It included many familiar voices (Kevin Whately, Sheila Hancock, Chris Burt etc.) in praise of Ted’s work. In reply Ted gave a very interesting talk about his career which included writing, producing and directing some of the most popular television series of the 1970s and 80s. He regaled us with tales of how everything from The Sweeney to Inspector Morse and Kavanagh Q.C. were conceived, cast and made. It reminded us that creativity is a fabulous gift and even starting out as an economist, which Ted did, does not preclude you from giving hours of entertainment and pleasure to millions of people.

The evening drew to a close by the announcement of the winner of the theme music quiz, Mervyn Jones of the Inspector Morse Society, and by a blind raffle which had a detective theme. Raffle tickets, when drawn, entitled you to choose a prize from a list of cryptic clues e.g. ‘Morse would have approved of this type of Teacher’ or ‘Something to make you Poirot’. In all 23 prizes were drawn so there were plenty of winners with a variety of prizes from drinks to jokes. The proceeds (just over £200) were for the Colin Dexter Memorial Fund with the aim of sponsoring a statue of Colin Dexter in Oxford. The prizes linked to the cryptic clues above were, a bottle of whisky, the clue being in the capital T in Teachers, and a joke moustache kit in the case of Poirot. In fact, much to the amusement of all the guests, the moustache was won by Kevin Kieran who proceeded to win a second joke moustache stamping set despite the fact that he has a perfectly splendid moustache of this own. Overall, it was a great fun evening thoroughly enjoyed by all! Thanks go to the Master (who was also the founder of The Inspector Morse Society) for conceiving and organising the event.

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