Short BiographyGordon Honeycombe

Gordon Honeycombe was born in Karachi, British India, in September 1936. Educated at the Edinburgh Academy and at University College, Oxford, he has an MA in English. He did his National Service with the Royal Artillery, mainly in Hong Kong, where he was also an announcer with Radio Hong Kong. In 1962, he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and acted with them for two years, at Stratford-upon-Avon and at the Aldwych Theatre, London.

He became nationally known as a TV newscaster when he joined ITN in May 1965, staying with ITN for 12Ĺ years, until November 1977. He was twice voted the most popular newscaster in Britain, by readers of the Daily Mirror and The Sun.

For the next seven years he concentrated on his writing career, although he continued to appear on television, presenting shows for Scottish TV and Southern TV and for the BBC, among many other activities. During this period he wrote five books, including the best-sellers RED WATCH and ROYAL WEDDING.

TV-AM 1984In January 1984 he joined TV-am as their chief newsreader and remained with the company for the next five years. By 1988 he had become Britain's longest-serving TV newscaster, and the most seen, reading as many as seven bulletins every weekday on 'Good Morning Britain', between 6:00 and 9:25am. He left TV-am in March 1989, and in April received the Newscaster of the Year Award from the Television and Radio Industries Club. In 1986 he was voted the most popular male TV newscaster by Women's Own.

Since 1965 Gordon has written for television, radio, stage and films. He has also presented, appeared in and narrated many TV programmes. He presented SOMETHING SPECIAL for Scottish TV, THE LATE LATE SHOW for TVS, and the four times repeated BBC TV series FAMILY HISTORY, which was based on his own researches. He narrated ARTHUR C. CLARKE'S MYSTERIOUS WORLD for YTV, A SHRED OF EVIDENCE for Thames TV, and SICK AS A PARROT for Channel 4. He has appeared in many TV plays and series, including THE FOUNDATION, THE BRACK REPORT, CQ, FIRST AMONG EQUALS and BAD COMPANY, as well as in the films RANSOM, THE MEDUSA TOUCH, CASTAWAY, THE FOURTH PROTCOL, BULLSEYE and LET'S GET SKASE. He has sung for various charities, at the Old Vic, the Dominion Theatre, the Players Theatre, the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

During his 29 years on British television, he has also recorded the voice-overs or narrations of many TV and other documentaries, training films, commercials and cinema shorts, and has been involved in many industrial presentations, conferences, in-house videos and fund-raising charity events.

A best-selling author and playwright, Gordon Honeycombe has written 13 books: NEITHER THE SEA NOR THE SAND (1969), which was also filmed: DRAGON UNDER THE HILL (1972), ADAM'S TALE (1974), RED WATCH (1976), ROYAL WEDDING (1981), NAGASAKI 1945 (1981), THE EDGE OF HEAVEN (1981), THE YEAR OF THE PRINCESS (1982), THE MURDERS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM (1982), SELFRIDGES (1984), THE TV-AM CELEBRATION OF THE ROYAL WEDDING (1986), SIREN SONG (1992), and MORE MURDERS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM (1993). He has also written several stage and radio dramatizations, including THE REDEMPTION, LANCELOT AND GUINEVERE and PARADISE LOST, and three TV plays THE GOLDEN VISION (BBC1, 1968), TIME AND AGAIN (Westward TV, 1974) and the THE THIRTEENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS (Granada TV, 1985). His adaptation of THE PRINCESS AND THE GOBLINS as a musical, for which he wrote the book and lyrics, was staged in 1994.

He starred in a new play, SUSPECTS, in 1989 at Swansea, and in 1990 toured in RUN FOR YOUR WIFE! with Les Dawson. He was the Emperor of China in ALADDIN at the Wimbledon Theatre, with Cilla Black, 1989-90, and again played the Emperor in ALADDIN at the Pavilion Theatre, Bournemouth, 1990-91, with Su Pollard.

He produced and directed his own play THE REDEMPTION for the Festival of Perth in Western Australia in March 1990. His fourteenth book, THE COMPLETE MURDERS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM was published in 1995.

Since settling in Perth, Western Australia, Gordon has continued to work for radio, TV and the theatre. He regularly does voice-over work for radio and television, as well as documentary narrations. He has acted in a radio play for the ABC, and has appeared in a national television ad campaign. He also acted in the children's TV series, MINTY, a co-production between Scottish Television and RT Films, and in THE ADVENTURES OF THE BUSH PATROL.

His theatre involvement includes a season in Kings Park as Gremio in THE TAMING OF THE SHREW for EHJ Productions, and he produced a staged reading of his adaptation of PARADISE LOST with a star-studded cast in St George's Cathedral, Perth. Gordon has also performed with the Gilbert and Sullivan Society. In September 1997 he was King Hildebrand in PRINCESS IDA, and then Pooh-Bah in THE MIKADO in March 1999. He also appears in a feature film, LET'S GET SKASE, which was made in Perth in 2000 and released in 2001.

At the end of June 2000 he moved into a new apartment in the City, and in 2001 began writing a novel, Beach, which was completed in September 2002. His aunt, Dorothy Barry, was 102 in October and died in March 2003, when Gordon was in New Zealand.

On 10 November 2003 he bought a HP laptop and a printer and now spends hours on the laptop every day.

In August 2004, Gordon was in Dubai for a few days Ė dune-bashing, camel-riding and belly-dancing, as well as seeing the sights. He was in the UK in September, based in London, celebrating his 68th birthday with friends in the Ivy Restaurant. For a week he was in Cyprus, visiting locations in connection with a proposed production, by a Polish film company, of THE EDGE OF HEAVEN.

Back in London, he and John Honeycombe acquired a Coat of Arms for the Honeycombes at the College of Arms, and on his return to Australia, initiated the setting up of a website called the Honeycombe Family History Archive, containing over 3,000 photos, 22 family trees, certificates, texts and books, etc (all the material he had gathered about the Honeycombes over 40 years). This was completed in March 2005. But the site will not be available on the Net until April 2006.

Gordon was in the UK from 10 to 30 September. He played bridge in Bournemouth with Tony, Gerry and Geoff, met up with his sister, Marion, in Edinburgh, visited his parentsí grave in Morningside Cemetery, and his auntís (Dorothy Barryís) grave in Logie Cemetery, Bridge of Allan, and attended a college dinner.

On Thursday, 22 September, he was interviewed on Good Morning Britain, as well as on the ITV Lunchtime News. He then read the ITN 6.30 News with Mary Nightingale, more than 40 years after reading his first News bulletin for ITN, when he was paid £25 a week. He left ITN in November 1977. 

Julia Summerville, Selina Scott, Martyn Lewis and Anna Ford also returned to ITN that week to read the News Ė it had been Gordonís idea that ITNís Golden Oldies should return to help celebrate the 50th Anniversary of ITV.

He was in Cornwall with an old college friend, Sid Bradley, over the weekend of 23-26 September, staying in a chalet at Honicombe Manor Holiday Village, Calstock, where he planted a tree, a cedar of Lebanon, to replace a sequoia cut down the previous year. The sequoia had been planted in 1984. On 27 September he celebrated his 69th birthday at the Ivy with an old school-friend, Francis Walker.

On his return to Perth he initiated the computerizing of all the material in his 35 Scrapbooks, and on 3 November his fourth novel and 14th book, BEACH, was published in Perth.

200 copies of BEACH were privately printed by Gordon, but although it sold well in Perth, no publisher took it up. He flew to New Zealand on 10 April via Melbourne, where he met up with Ross Honeycombe and his family and the Healesville Honeycombes. In Auckland he stayed with Alan Macleod and his family and met up with the Honeycombes and the Marinovich family, also Darrin and Craig. In Tauranga he stayed with Nigel Blakeborough and Jo, who married a few months later. Back in Perth he attended the wedding celebrations of Vasyl Holobotovsky and his young wife, Svitlana, on 28 April 2006. Meanwhile, he lunched with the Ambrosians every month, went to the Ballet, and did occasional Voice-overs.

Phil Kelly and Gordon, after much editing and cutting, involving five drafts, completed the screenplay of THE EDGE OF HEAVEN. Phil then began work on the screenplay of BEACH. The computerisation of Gordon's Scrapbooks, covering his life from 1936 to 2006, was completed by Yuri Kaydanov in October. It contained over 3,000 items, photos, newspaper cuttings, programmes, articles, etc.

On 17 August 2006, Gordon was in Townsville and Ayr, Queensland, for the celebrations for John Honeycombe's 70th birthday, which was on 20 August. He returned to Perth on 26 August and celebrated his own 70th birthday, on 27 September, on five different occasions with five different groups of friends.

In September he began writing a History of the Origins of the Early Honeycombes for the Honeycombe Archive and initiated the copying on DVD of all the taped interviews concerning the Honeycombes he had made over the past 40 years.

The Scrapbooks section of the website, containing over 4,000 items, was completed by Yuri Kaydanov by the end of October 2006.Further additions and corrections were made over the next six months.On 4 November Gordon flew to Thailand, to Phuket, for a week, where he met up with Vic and Stevie Pocock, now living in Chiang Mai.From 18 November he spent a week in Kalbarri, WA.†† Ronnie Sinclair, ex-EA, was in Perth at the end of November.

In January 2007 Gordon finished writing the early history of the Honeycombes for the Honeycombe Archive website.†† A new friend, Sibian Jodrell, committed suicide on 10 January, his 29th birthday.†† On 26 January Gordon attended the Australia Day ceremony at the Council House and was at the christening of Victoria Elizabeth Holobotovsky on 11 February.†† The final drafts of the screenplay of BEACH, written by Gordon and Phil Kelly, were completed in March and revised in April and October.†† At the end of March, Ayden Armitage, a friend of Carl Honeycombe in NZ (who set off on his travels around the world in April) came to stay while working in the mines and elsewhere, and on 13 May Gordon began work on a short history of the Honeycombes who emigrated to New Zealand in 1873.†† This was for the Honeycombe Archive and was completed in August 2007.†† In September he got in touch with Ben Darwin and advised him about TV presentation during the Rugby World Cup in France and the UK.†† On 27 September Gordon was 71.

Meanwhile, the one-act opera of SIREN SONG, based on his book, was published (libretto and music) by Editions Peters in September and John Blake Publishing emailed about reissuing both his books about THE MURDERS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM.†† In October 2007, Gordon auditioned for (and got) the role of Gordon in a film, THE SCULPTOR, directed by Chris Kenworthy, to be made in WA in March 2008.†† Then Screen West organised and presented a very successful Read-through of the screenplay of BEACH before an invited audience at the Subiaco Arts Centre on 28 November 2007.

Also in November Gordon backed the winner in the Melbourne Cup, Efficient, and booked a seat on a 14-day Air Cruise, on a private Qantas all Business Class jet, flying to Sarawak, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, departing Sydney on 29 January 2008.

On 28 March 2008, Gordon began work on THE SCULPTOR, a film made by Skyview Films in and around Perth, WA, and directed by Chris Kenworthy.††† He played the part of Gordon, leader of a black magic cult, and did five daysí work over a period of three weeks, until 16 April.†† The film starred Paul Goddard, Melanie Vallejo, Georgina Andrews and Matt Penny. The film has yet to be released.

In May 2008, Gordon was in New Zealand, staying with Alan and Duriena Macleod in Auckland, and with Nigel and Jo Blakeborough in Tauranga. He also met up again with Darrin Maynard and Craig Boyle, who had stayed with him in London in 1984. There was a gathering of the NZ Honeycombes at the Marinovich home at Kumeu, and Gordon visited Charlie and Ray Honeycombe in Rotorua. Just before Xmas 2008 he joined all 18 of the Queensland Honeycombes for another gathering, at Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast.

Meanwhile, the text, proofs, jacket and photos of the reissue of MURDERS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM all had to be checked before the book's eventual publication, by John Blake, on 27 April 2009 in the UK and in August in Australia.

On 13 February 2009, Tommy Tymuszkin from Poland, who was improving his English at the Milner School in Perth, moved for six months into Gordon's apartment. Then, on 20 February, Gordon flew to Kalgoorlie to stay for a weekend with Carl Honeycombe and his girl-friend, Flick. On 26 February Gordon's heart began fibrillating again (for the third time - the last time being four years ago). This entailed a daily intake of betablockers and Marevan pills until a cardioversion was possible. Meanwhile, on 16 April, Nigel and Jo came to Perth and stayed with Gordon for five days. They spent a day on Rottnest Island and went on a day-long wineries boat-trip up the Swan River.

On 1 May, a cardioversion was successfully performed on Gordon in the Mount Hospital. It took three minutes and he was allowed out three hours later.

THE SCULPTOR was shown at the Dungog Film Festival in NSW on 30 May.

On 2 July Gordon's sister, Marion Campbell, died in Peebles. She was 78.

On Friday, 10 July Gordon flew to London in an Emirates A380. He stayed with Deb and Sandy Macfarlane in Frimley. In London he saw two showbiz agents, as well as his publisher, John Blake. With Russ Coffey he visited Alan McCormick, the Curator of the Crime Museum, New Scotland Yard. He met up with Francis Walker, Doina Percival, Paul and Steve, stayed with Sid Bradley in York and drove with Michi Stoeckli down to Cornwall, where they stayed at Honicombe. On 30 July, he attended the marriage of his niece, Felicity, to Dennis Heard-White, in Eastbourne. She was given away by her father, Jim Campbell, Gordon's brother-in-law.

Gordon returned to Perth on 4 August 2009 and Tommy left for Brisbane on 26 August.

In September, Gordon renewed the plants on his balcony, all with new pots. Climbing jasmine and bougainvillea, and a lemon tree, were added to some succulents, as well as some lilies and flowering shrubs. A park bench provided the seating.

September was the wettest in Perth for some time. But voice-overs picked up.

A BCC on his shoulder had to be excised at the end of October and then on the 30 October Gordon began fibrillating again. At the same time a lump was discovered next to a kidney. This, however, after a CT Scan, turned out to be a benign cyst. Visits were made to his cardiologist and a urologist. But no cardioversion was required this time and he was declared clear of any internal problems.

No rain fell in the City of Perth from 21 November until the end of February, and the City experienced its hottest and driest summer ever, over December and into January and February 2010. ††

On 22 March a series of ferocious thunderstorms swept over the City: driving rain flooded streets and hail damaged over 58,000 cars and several suburbs.

On 8 May Ross Honeycombe flew into Perth and stayed with Gordon for four days. His parents, Alan and Beth, were also in Perth, passing through on a round-trip of Australia, as were Rob and Kerryn Honeycombe and their two little girls from Brisbane. They all had breakfast at the Hilton Hotel on 9 May. On 4 June, Carl and his fiancée, Flick, at present living and working in Kalgoorlie, stayed for a few days.

On 3 July Gordon flew to Townsville for the 70th birthday celebrations of Beth Honeycombe on Magnetic Island, in the Peppers Resort at Nelly Bay Family friends and the families of David, Peter and Rob, the three sons of Beth and John, were also there Ė 10 grandchildren in all, Gordon returned on 9 July to a cold and rainy Perth, where much building of office and residential towers, new facades and amenities was still going on. He then began writing his Memoirs, covering the first 30 years only, from 1936 to 1966.

His 74th birthday on 27 September 2010 was celebrated with Carl and Flick, and Jocelyn, with whom he attended a Gala Reception for the WA Ballet Company at the Parmelia Hilton on 21 November. Tess Stroudís 80th birthday was celebrated on 14 December at Sharonís home in Mosman Park, when it was announced that Tess had married Jim Robinson.

In January 2011, Nick Honeycombe, Carlís father, stayed with Gordon in Perth on his way to and from a holiday in Kalgoorlie. Alistair Sawers dropped in on 18 January, and Richard Chidley, whom Gordon had last seen in 1974, stayed for a few days. They went on a Wine Cruise and flew to Rottnest Island for the day.

By the end of July 2011 Gordon had completed the writing of an autobiography, What Went Before, 1936 to1966. By this time he had lost a quarter of his UK income, the exchange rate, pounds to dollars, having gone from .37 in 1993 to .67.

He celebrated his 75th birthday with a Tea Party on Saturday, 24 September, in the revolving C Restaurant on the 33rd floor of St Martinís Tower in Perth, from 2.0 to 4.30 pm. Present were the Lord Mayor, Lisa Scaffidi; the Deputy Lord Mayor, Janet Davidson & her husband, Mike; Tess Stroud & Jim Robinson; Lee & Bruce Evensen; Jocelyn Basterfield; Adrian & Suzanne Momber; David Locke & Leandra Fallis; Nick & Lilia Male; Steve & Jenny Trafford; Adrian Mulraney & Avril; Ross Honeycombe; Carl Honeycombe & Flick; Rose & Shayne Honeycombe; Steve Drane; Yuri Kaydanov; and Chris Gray.

At the end of October the Queen was in Perth to open the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

On 10 January 2012 Gordon flew to Auckland and stayed with Duriena Macleod in Greenhithe Ė Alan was away working on a Bass Strait rig. On 14 January he attended the wedding of Carl Honeycombe and Felicity (Flick) Goode on a beach at Russell in the Bay of Islands. The following day he drove with Nigel Blakeborough to Cape Reinga, then down to Kataia. Then it was back to Auckland on the 16th, via Hokianga and Dargaville. On the 17th they drove to Tauranga. Gordon visited the film set of Hobbiton near Matamata. They spent the night of the 18th at Taupo. Then it was across to Hawkes Bay, where they stayed with David Griffiths and Prue and lunched at Elephant Hill. On the 20th Gordon did a bus tour to Cape Kidnappers to see a gannet colony. He also called on Charlie and Ray Honeycombe.

Back in Auckland on the 23rd, Gordon dined at Moontide, the home of Tony and Anna Marinovich. Also there were Barbara and Nick Honeycombe, Carlís gran and father. On 24 January Gordon met up with the Boyle family in Remuera and had a few beers with Craig and Darrin at the Cock and Bull. He returned to Perth on the 25th, where it was 38 degrees. Two days later it was 42.

On 26 January, Australia Day, he attended the Citizenship Ceremony at the Council House with Ryan Ebert. Gerry Senior and Judith visited on the 28th and again on 9 February. They were touring WA with her son, Robert. Financial difficulties caused by the worsening exchange rate, pounds to dollars, meant that Gordon had to temporarily postpone, on 2 February, the Memorial Window project for the parish church of St Cleer and seek ways of boosting his income, much diminished by the exchange rate with the UK. One way was to get an Equity Loan or Reverse Mortgage. But he didnít follow this up.

His scene in the Perth film, Short Film Maker, was filmed at Super IGA in Canning Vale on Friday, 10 February. He played Grandad. Dan Parry was Jimmy. A pick-up scene was filmed in March 2013. On 11 February, he and Ryan saw the Festival of Perth production of The White Divers of Broome at the Heath Ledger Theatre.

In June Gordon received a request from a publisher in Edinburgh, Mainstream, to write a review of an ex-firemanís book, Call the Fire Brigade! Later in the year Mainstream turned down his Memoirs, entitled Far Away and Long Ago. In July he was contacted by Colin Parker, whom he hadnít seen for 20 years, about doing lectures on a cruise ship, Saga Ruby, in March 2013, travelling free with a friend. The cruise was later curtailed and the Australian and NZ segment dropped..

The Memorial Window project was resumed and a Down Payment made. It was given Diocesan approval on 21 November and the Dedication Ceremony was fixed for 2 June 2013. Deb and Sandy Macfarlane stayed with him in Kingsgate from 21 to 29 November. Their visit included a wine cruise, and drives to Guilderton, Cervantes, and the Pinnacles, and to New Norcia and Northam. On 15 February Gordon travelled by train to Kalgoorlie to stay with Carl and Flick till the 18th. Over the weekend they visited Coolgardie, Kununalling, Ora Banda, Lake Ballard and Menzies and had dinner at the Palace Hotel, Kalgoorlie.

Ross Honeycombe stayed with Gordon in Perth over the weekend of 5 to 8 April. Alan Macleod was in Perth for 2 weeks of meetings, medicals, etc, before taking up his new job at Barrow Island. Gordon had a problem with his bone marrow, and blood, which necessitated a blood transfusion at the St John of God Hospital on 16 May. He saw his cardiologist on 21 May, and after an ECG was told he needn't come back for a year.

On 26 May he flew by Thai Airways to London via Bangkok and was in England from 27 May to 8 June, staying at the Hilton London Metropole in Edgware Road. He met up with Russ Coffey, Francis Walker, Rose and Shayne Honeycombe, Robert Mackinstosh, Syd Norris, Steve Beaver, Paul Mallender, Phil Tomkinson, Doina Percival, and Deb and Sandy Macfarlane. Robert gave Gordon a tape of the songs from The Princess and the Goblins, which they wrote 40 years ago, and Russ gave him a copy of Dennis Nilsen. Gordon visited Oxford, and on 1 June he travelled with Gerry and Judith Senior from Southampton to Cornwall, to Liskeard, where they stayed at the Liskeard Inn. On Sunday 2 June, there was a Morning Service at St Cleer, a buffet lunch in the Vicarage Garden, and at 2.0 pm the Honeycombe Memorial Window was dedicated by the Bishop of St Germans. On 3 June, after visiting Kit Hill, Honicombe Manor, Calstock Church and the Tamar Inn, Gordon and the Seniors drove to Exeter, where he caught a train back to London.

Gordon had another blood transfusion on 13 June and saw David Locke and Leandra on 15 June before they flew to Canada for their wedding on 6 July. On 20 June, Carl, Flick and Laylah stayed the night before driving down to Bunbury to inspect various lots. They bought one at Donnybrook. On 2 July Gordon saw his haematologist and GP and both indicated that his blood ailment, myelo dysplasia, could be stabilised by a series of protein self-injections and blood transfusions, but there was no cure.

On 3 July, he was at a Preview at the ACE cinemas in Subiaco of the 27 minute cartoon, God Squad, in which he had voiced the Holy Ghost the previous year. On 31 July he finished revising and emending the reissue of More Murders of the Black Museum, to be published by John Blake in June 2014.

Ryan Ebert and Gordon celebrated their birthdays with a beery session in the Moon and Sixpence on 26 September. Ryan was briefly revisiting Perth after settling in Melbourne. On 19 October, David Honeycombe captained a Qantas jet to Perth and he and Gordon had lunch together. On 26 October Gordon was a guest of Councillor Janet Davidson at a Council House dinner. On 20 November he returned to St John of God Hospital for a transfusion of three bags of blood. Thereafter the blood complaint seemed to stabilise - self injections continued once a week. On Christmas Day he joined Jocelyn and her family for lunch. On 28 December he and Ryan lunched at the Duckstein Restaurant in the SwanValley, prior to Ryan's move to Melbourne. Periodically Gordon revised and added to his as yet unpublished memoirs, Far Away and Long Ago, 1936-66 and updated the Honeycombe Archive.

On 16 January 2014 he flew to Melbourne and stayed with Ross Honeycombe at Lilydale, also with Alan and Beth Honeycombe in Healesville. It was 44? when he arrived. Two days later it was 23?, with a cold wind. He met Ross's four little girls, and on Saturday 18 January he spent the day with Ross and Alan at the Australian Tennis Open. They saw Andy Murray play at the HiSense Arena, and Novak and Boris Becker playing in a practice court. There were some outings, and on 20 January all the Victorian Honeycombes, including Warwick and Lucy Honeycombe (whom GH hadn't met for 40 years) had dinner at the Box Hill RSL. On 21 January he met up with Ryan at Young & Jackson's in Melbourne.

On 22 January Gordon flew to Auckland, NZ, and stayed for a week with Alan, Duriena and Logan Macleod. Among various outings, to the Nobilo Winery, the Pah Homestead and Waitakere Summit, there was a barbecue at the Macleods' Greenhithe home, attended by the Marinovich family and Barbara Honeycombe, which was followed by a similar gathering at the Riverhead pub on 27 January. Nick Honeycombe, Carl's father, was also there. On 28 January Gordon met up with Darrin Maynard at the home of Craig and Michelle Boyle and their two sons. He reminisced later with Craig and Darrin over several beers at the York Street Mechanics. They had first met in London 30 years ago.

Gordon returned to London on an Air New Zealand flight on 29 January. Alan Macleod, who was heading for his workplace on Barrow Island, was on the same flight. On 28 February Gordon saw Dr Ben Carnley, who said his haemoglobin level had risen, that no transfusion was necessary and that G needn't see him again for three months. On 15 March David and Leandra Locke returned to Perth, nine months after their marriage in Canada.

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