Oooh ... Carry on Chatting; Answers to Correspondents

Article excerpt

QUESTION Who is the most recycled guest on the Parkinson chat show?

THIS accolade goes to Kenneth Williams, who appeared eight times on the show between 1972 and 1982.

It seems a strange irony that one of our comic greats never found a niche on TV, flitting between panel games, variety specials, children's series and chat shows.

Following the disastrous Kenneth Williams Show in the early Seventies, an awkward mixture of live stand-up and sketches, he ignored anything that involved script-based characterisation.

Instead, he gained equal celebrity appearing on a series of chat shows and game shows.

Studio audiences would gaze in awe as the dapper conversationalist, forever sporting a funereal suit, bawled and sneered his way through the interview.

He fashioned himself as a walking anecdote, arming himself with tall tales, a battery of impersonations and numerous outpourings of harmless antagonism.

Despite this, Parkinson regarded Williams as one of his toughest interviewees: 'Kenneth Williams was a strange man. You didn't interview him.

You tried to interrupt the monologue. He is there in a category that includes people like Spike Milligan and Peter Cook who, in a sense, lived out their lives on talk shows.' Leonard Franklin, Catterick, North Yorks.

QUESTION Are there any religions that still practise animal sacrifice?

ADHERENTS to Santeria still practise animal sacrifice. Santeria originated in 19th-century Cuba as a combination of the Western African Yoruba religion and Iberian Catholicism. It was developed by African slaves whose Cuban masters discouraged the practice of their native religions.

Noticing the parallels between their own religion and Catholicism, they created a secret religion that used Catholic saints and figures as fronts for their God (Olodumare) and Orishas (spiritual emissaries).

Thus, when a slave prayed to an Orisha, it looked as if they were praying to a saint.

The name Santeria was originally derogatory, applied by the Spanish to mock followers' apparent overdevotion to the saints and their perceived neglect of God. Thus many adherents prefer other names, such as La Regla Lukumi (the Way of the Lukumi).

Santeria lives on in small numbers around the world, still mostly practised in secret, but a few churches have emerged.

In recent times, Santeria has courted controversy over animal sacrifice, which is viewed by practitioners as essential for human wellbeing. Through sacrifice to Orishas, it is believed one restores the positive life processes.

The victims of these sacrifices are almost always chickens and the meat is usually eaten. …