So, realistically, will mysql functions ever be removed from PHP? I reckon not, but it would be interesting to hear the opinions of people better informed than I. Thanks.
Yes, the mysql extension will definitely stop being bundled as part of PHP. The ball is currently rolling steadily in that direction: the community has been dissuading folks from using it for many years, the PHP manual introduced "soft-deprecation" of the mysql functions last year, and the upcoming PHP 5.5 will introduce actual deprecation. It will most likely be moved at some future point (maybe PHP 5.6) to PECL, should anyone decide they absolutely must keep on using the old extension. Go to the full post