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Star Profiles

Background information and career history of cult celebrities from in front of and behind the camera.

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Co-creator and writer of T-Bag, and writer and producer of The Tomorrow People joins us in October courtesy of Fantom Films ...

 

Lee Pressman’s writing career began with contributions to to two long-running Children’s television programmes - Rainbow and Play Away.

However, Lee’s breakthrough success came with the creation of T-Bag. Running from 1985 to 1992, this series spanned many incarnations, including “Wonders in Letterland” (1985), “T-Bag Strikes Again” (1986), “T-Bag Bounces Back” (1987), “Turn on to T-Bag” (1988), “T-Bag’s Christmas Cracker” (1988), “T-Bag and the Revenge of the T-Set” (1989), “T-Bag’s Christmas Carol” (1989), “T-Bag and the Pearls of Wisdom” (1990), “T-Bag’s Christmas Ding Dong” (1990), “T-Bag and the Rings of Olympus” (1991), “T-Bag’s Christmas Turkey” (1991), “Take Off with T-Bag” (1992), and “T-Bag and the Sunstories of Montezuma” (1992).

During this time he also worked on the series Mike & Angelo, running for almost ten years, and three series of the children’s sit-com Spatz.

He was also a writer and producer of the 1992-1995 re-imagined version of The Tomorrow People. After completing work on that series, Lee worked on Cone Zone (1995), Delta Wave (1996), Children’s Ward (1997-1998), Polterguests (1999), and Crossroads (2001).

Recently, Lee has been involved with a lot of animation projects, including scripts for Shaun The Sheep (the “Wallace and Gromit” TV spin-off) for Aardman Animation, as well as Bob The Builder, The Secret Show and Frankenstein’s Cat.

Lee has written three plays for BBC Radio 4 – “Bird of Paradise” (all about Dr Crippen), “Harp Goes to Leningrad” (about Harpo Marx’s 1933 to Russia), and a dramatised short story, “My Beautiful Lambretta”.

Lee is currently writing Genie in the House alongside Grant Cathro for Nickelodeon.

Lee appeared at the 2007 Cult TV Festival Weekender courtesy of Fantom Films, to celebrate their release of the T-Bag Reunion DVD.

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Helga Geerhart from 'Allo, 'Allo ...

 

Kim played Helga Geerhart in all 96 episodes of 'Allo, 'Allo, as well as in the 'Allo, 'Allo stage show which toured the UK, Australia and New Zealand and had five seasons in the West End.

Other TV performances have include Roz Fenton in Casualty and Lotte Laudrup in The Brittas Empire as well as roles in Miss Jones and Sons, The Kelly Monteith Show, The Pedler, Comedy Playhouse and 15 Storeys High. She is currently playing Ms Rawlinson in Grange Hill.

Kim’s early career included performances at the Chichester Festival Theatre, Harrogate, The Bristol Old Vic and the Redgrave Theatre, Farnham playing Rita in "Billy Liar", Margaret in "Much Ado About Nothing", Sorrel in "Hayfever", Doonyasha in "The Cherry Orchard", Alice Hobson in "Hobson’s Choice", Shaw's "St Joan", Mary Yellen in "Jamaica Inn" and Alys in "Abelard and Heloise".

She co-produced the West End thriller "Double Dutch" which toured nationally. Kim followed this with a New Zealand tour playing Jacqueline in "Don't Dress For Dinner", which she subsequently played for a year in the West End. She then returned to New Zealand for four months to play the leading role of Josie in "Steaming". She toured the Far and Middle East with "Move Over Mrs Markham" and "The Maintenance Man".

Other UK tours include "My Fat Friend", "Beauty And The Beast", "My Mother Said I Never Should", "Relatively Speaking", "Table Manners", "Bedside Manners", "Killing Time", "Stepping Out", and "Hayfever". Directing credits include "A Jovial Crew", "Comedy of Errors", "Henry V" and "The Cherry Orchard".

Kim is a co-founder and director of the production company Quinton Arts, and we were delighted when she joined us in Hemsby for Cult TV 2006.

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Producer and animator responsible for many projects linked to Doctor Who, Blake's 7 and The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy ...

 

Kevin Davies began his career as an animator, working on the BAFTA award-winning graphic sequences for The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Blake’s 7 before designing the titles for Gerry Anderson’s Terrahawks. After joining the special effects team for Disney Animation’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit he worked on Spitting Image, the Warner Brothers feature Space Jam, and Event Horizon.

His writing and directing career began with The Making of the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which included new scenes for the characters and cast, the BBC1 documentary Doctor Who: Thirty Years in the Tardis and Dalekmania which covered the feature films starring Peter Cushing in the 1960s. Since then he has directed Shakedown, two episodes of Sky One’s drama Space Island One and the live-action segments for the Sci-Fi Channel’s manga-influenced Archangel Thunderbird.

Acting as a consultant on the Omnibus tribute to Douglas Adams, he directed both his own short tribute for the Sci-Fi Channel and new segments for the DVD release of The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, as well as producing the on-screen captions which detail the creation of the show.

After the inclusion of his short spoof, Unit Recruitment Film, on the DVD release of Doctor Who Spearhead from Space, and his interview with writer Nigel Kneale on the Quatermass DVD, he has produced the documentaries and extras to accompany each boxset of Blake’s 7 and prepared documentaries for the classic sitcom Dad’s Army.

Kevin has recently been working on the documentary for the brand new audio adventures of Blake's 7 from B7 Productions, as well as a documentary concerning the new radio series of the classic Douglas Adams story "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" (starring Harry Enfield, Olivia Colman, Andrew Sachs and Billy Boyd). We were delighted that Kevin came back to Cult TV in 2007.

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Star of Farscape, Adam-12, and Galactica 1980 - amongst a host of others - joined us for Cult TV in 2007 ...

 

Kent was born in downtown Los Angeles, California, and grew up in the San Gabriel Valley town of Baldwin Park, California. At the age of 12 he got a job at Brackett Field Airport in La Verne, California with the help of a family friend. Unable to be legally paid at that age, he instead was given flying lessons in exchange for his work. For the next five years Kent worked weekends and summers at the airport.

Kent starred on the football team at Baldwin Park High School. After graduation, he attended Citrus Junior College and then accepted a football scholarship to the University of Utah. It was during this time that perhaps the two most important events in Kent’s young life occurred.

A friend asked Kent if he would like to participate in a touch football game. This was no ordinary game, as Kent would be playing on a team captained by Ricky Nelson, and none other than Elvis Presley would lead the opposing squad. As a result of this game, Kent began a friendship with Ricky that quickly led to his first acting job on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. Kent soon became a regular on the show, and would appear as part of America’s favourite family for the next five years. Kent began to take acting seriously, and finally made the decision to pursue a career as an actor. During this time he worked on a mulitude of films and television shows doing bits, background and stunts.

The next big moment in Kent’s life took place on 14 July, 1962. This was the day that he married his high school sweetheart, Cynthia Lee Doty.

While working on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Kent was asked to screen test at Universal Studios for a long term contract. While waiting for the studio to sign him, he continued working on other shows including several of Elvis Presley’s films – “Viva Las Vegas”, “Girl Happy”, “Kissin’ Cousins”, and “Roustabout”.

In November 1965, Universal put Kent under contract and immediately sent him to work. He appeared in shows such as McHale’s Navy, Ironside, The Outsider, Run for your Life and The Men from Shiloh as well as several appearances on Jack Webb’s Dragnet. It was these appearances that led to Kent being case as one the stars in Adam-12, playing Officer James A 'Jim' Reed alongside co-star Martin Milner. A worldwide phenomenon, the show aired from 1968-1975, clocking up 174 episodes, and the character even crossed over into a trio of episodes of the series Emergency!. Around this time he appeared as himself in Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In and The Dean Martin Comedy Hour

Appearing on a top rated television show offered Kent many tremendous opportunities. Among his favourites was being a guest at the Indianapolis 500 and being trackside for the race itself. A lifelong racing fan, this was a special moment for Kent and led to his continued involvement in the sport. He has competed as a driver in automobile races such as the annual Toyota Pro Celebrity Challenge in Long Beach, California, and Watkins Glen, New York. He has also competed in several professional racing series in the Sports Car Club of America and IMSA, in such events as the 12 Hours of Sebring. Another great moment was when legendary film director John Ford, who was a big fan of the show, visited the Adam-12 set. Being able to sit with the great director and hear his wonderful stories and fond memories was an incredible thrill for Kent, who grew up admiring Ford’s films.

After Adam-12, Kent played guest roles on Marcus Welby M.D and Black Sheep Squadron before landing another series gig – this time as Captain Troy alongside Barry Van Dyke in Galactica 1980.

Another starring role, this time alongside David Soul, was as Alan McWhirter in the 1989 series UNSUB, all about an expert FBI forensic team that investigates serial murderers and other unsolved violent crimes – very much a forerunner of the CSI franchise.

Kent has also appeared in recurring roles in Seaquest 2032 (as Commander Scott Keller), Renegade (as Marshal Jack Hendricks), Silk Stalkings (as DA Craig Alexander), and Pacific Blue (as Brolin Jorgenson)

He has also become well-known as Jack Crighton in Farscape - a role than spanned for whole of the series, as well as having a couple of roles in JAG.

Other television credits include The Love Boat, Monsters, MacGyver, Private Eye, The Highwayman, J.J. Starbuck, 21 Jump Street, Murder, She Wrote, Dark Skies, Lawless, and Diagnosis Murder.

Movies for television include “Dragnet 66”, “Shadow Over Elveron”, “Jigsaw”, “Breakout”, “Beg, Borrow or Steal”, “Telethon”, “Pine Canyon is Burning”, “For Heaven’s Sake”, “Dark Justice”, “Accidental Meeting” and “Nashville Beat” - a pilot for The Nashville Network, which Kent Executive Produced and Co-Created.

Kent’s film appearances include “The Young Warriors”, “Did you Hear the One about the Travelling Saleslady?”, “Airplane II: The Sequel”, “Predator II”, “Illicit Behaviour”, and “Return of the Living Dead III: Ashes”.

His last legitimate theatre appearance was on the famous Kenley Circuit in “Tunnel of Love” with Martin Milner. He has just completed roles in the movies “Run Ronnie Run”, “Megiddo: The Omega Code 2”, and stars with Erin Gray in “Woman’s Story”.

For ten years, Kent was a member of the Celebrity All Stars Basketball team that played throughout Southern California to help raise money to support various charities.

Kent has also worked for his fellow actors, having served on The Screen Actor’s Guild’s Board of Directors, as well as serving four years as its first Vice President. He chaired the Children’s Committee, which helped fashion protections for child performers throughout the world. In 1999, Kent received the prestigious Ralph Morgan Award, named after The Screen Actors Guild’s first President, which is given by SAG members to honour another member’s devotion to the cause of actors.

In 2000, Kent and Martin Milner received The Jack Webb Award, given by the LA Police Historical Society for their support of the LAPD and the community it serves.

Kent and Cynthia are the proud parents of daughters Kristen, and Megan, an actress, and their son, Michael. Kent continues to work, and still looks forward to the next great role or adventure to add to an already illustrious career and life.

We were delighted that Kent has agreed to join us for his first ever UK convention appearance, in 2007 at the Cult TV Festival Weekender.

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

A regular guest in The Prisoner ...

 

Kenneth Griffith was born in Tenby, South Wales. He was the sidekick to Peter Sellers in most of Sellers' early films. He cannot give a precise figure for the number of films he's done, but the estimate is over 80.

Kenneth was well-known from The Prisoner where he appeared in the episodes "The Girl Who Was Death" (as "Schnipps") and "Fall Out" as "The President".

TV Guest Appearances included Danger Man (aka Secret Agent), Lovejoy, Callan, Jane Eyre (1971), The Zany Adventures of Robin Hood (1974), Spyder's Web, Minder, Colditz, Hancock, Some Matters of Little Consequence, Holby City and The Babysitter.

Films included "Love on the Dole" (1941), "The Forest Rangers" (1942), "Blue Murder at St Trinian's" (1958), "A Night to Remember" (1958), "I'm All Right Jack" (1959), "Expresso Bongo" (1960), "The Lion in Winter" (1968 - winner of three Oscars, nominated for four others), "The Assassination Bureau" (1968), "S*P*Y*S" (1974), "The Wild Geese" (1978), "The Sea Wolves" (1980), "Who Dares Wins" (1982 - aka "The Final Option"), "Shaka Zulu" (1987), "Four Weddings and a Funeral" (1994), "The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill but Came Down a Mountain" (1995), and "Very Annie Mary" (2001).

His non-acting interests were in the wrongs done by nations to nations, or nations to individuals. This interest gave him a new career as a producer of contriversial documentaries. He made one about Doctor Ambedkar, the Indian Untouchable leader, and was the President of the International Untouchable Society. He also published books about historical events and people, and was a recognised world authority on the Boer War.

Other documentaries included The Legend of George Rex (about the 200 year old rumour that the the Royal Family are not the rightful heirs to the British throne), Zola Budd: The Girl who Didn't Run (on the persecution of the athlete), The Public's Right To Know (the prevention of a film about Baden Powell and the supression of the "Michael Collins" movie), Hang Out Your Brightest Colours (the life and times of the Irish patriot Michael Collins), Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death (the causes of the American War of Independence), Bus to Bosworth (Henry Tudor's march from Mill Bay to Bosworth Field), and The Man on the Rock (Napoleon's final years spent on St Helena).

He was a strong supporter of Welsh Rugby Football (Union), and was often invited as a guest to their games. The Tony Hancock Appreciation Society had Kenneth among its honorary members, and he was also a member of Peter O'Toole's cricket club. BBC Wales produced a TV biography of Kenneth called The Tenby Poisoner.

Kenneth died at his London home in June 2006, aged 84.

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Jo Grant to Pertwee's Doctor Who ...

 

Katy Manning is the daughter of sports columnist J L Manning. At the age of eighteen she went to America and was offered a five-year contract with MGM. However, her father insisted that she return to England and study acting there. She trained at the Webber Douglas drama school for a year, then joined a Wolverhampton repertory company and made her debut on TV in 1970 in the series Man at the Top.

She made several commercials before appearing in an episode of Softly Softly. Later in 1970, Barry Letts cast her in the role of new Companion Jo Grant in Doctor Who, and she stayed for three years.

The role was described as follows: "Glamorous young female intelligence agent, newly attached to UNIT. Keen, professional, lots of charm. Works with The Doctor. Needs to be involved with the story in an active way, not just as a screaming heroine or passing The Doctor's test tubes. Not a scientist, but has enough basic background to know what's going on".

Katy was asked at her audition to be frightened of what her character thought was a monster, then to laugh in relief when she finds out it isn't. She has said that since this was very close to her own state of emotions at the time, she didn't have any problem auditioning!

Jo was a new recruit to UNIT who only got the job because her uncle had pulled strings for her. The Brigadier, not sure what to do about her, handed her over to the Doctor, pointing out that all he really needed was someone to hand him his test tubes and tell him how wonderful he is.

Trained in espionage and escapology, like all successful companions, the character draws upon the actress. Jo, while intelligent and resourceful, was somewhat accident-prone, definitely scatter-brained, and tended to act first and think later. It made her an excellent foil for Jon Pertwee's strong, action-hero Doctor, and it is no wonder that Jo's departure is one of the most poignant in the entire series.

Following Doctor Who she presented the BBC crafts programme Serendipity and appeared as Miss Damina in the film Don't Just Lie There, Say Something. She returned to the theatre in West End productions of Why Not Stay for Breakfast, There's a Girl in My Soup, and, with Colin Baker, Odd Man In. In 1975 she made a guest appearance in the series Target (episode "Joanna"). She also appeared in a Yorkshire Television production of Oliver Twist. Other TV roles have included Armchair Theatre, Roses for Me, Z Cars, and Are You Making Money?

Katy eventually moved to Australia where she has appeared in Educating Rita (as Rita), Blithe Spirit, Run for Your Wife, and The Odd Couple. She also wrote the TV series Private Wives, featured in The Magnificent Mellops, and wrote and starred in the television series Don't Call Us. Commericals include Vodafone Australia, and "Lamb Off the Bone" for the Australian Meat Marketing Board.

Recently she has returned to the worlds of Doctor Who, with The Plague Herds of Excelis by Stephen Cole - a Bernice Summerfield audio adventure with Lisa Bowerman, and Excelis Dawns by Paul Magrs - a Big Finish Doctor Who Audio Adventure also starring Peter Davison and Anthony Stewart Head.

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

A true friend to Mr Chapel in Vengeance Unlimited ...

 

Kathleen York made her breakthough to a cult audience playing K C Griffin in Vengeance Unlimited. A multi-talented performer, Kathleen York's film credits include "Dead Man Can't Dance", "Cries Of Silence", "Dream Lover", "Wild Hearts", "I Love You To Death", "Flashback", "Cold Feet", "Checking Out" and "Winner Takes All".

On television, she had a recurring role on the series Murder One, and guest starred on The Practice. Kathleen also appeared in the telefilms "Nightjohn", "Lies and Lullabies", "Gregory K", "Thompson's Last Run", "Not My Kid", "This Child Is Mine" and "Chase", as well as the mini-series "A Season in Purgatory" and "Naomi And Wynonna: Love Can Build A Bridge".

Other television credits include "Tales From The Crypt", "Northern Lights", "Iceberg" and "The Player". A seasoned Broadway actress, York's theatre credits include "Gemini", "The Real Queen Of Hearts Ain't Even Pretty", "Home", "Bury The Dead", "The Glass Menagerie", "The Effects Of Gamma Rays", "Acme Improv" and "90 Days Without A Man".

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

T-Shirt / Thomas in T-Bag joined us for the Cult TV Weekender 2007, courtesy of Fantom Films ...

 

As part of the celebrations surrounding the series T-Bag, Cult TV were proud to announce in 2007 that Fantom Films, who were bringing out a T-Bag Reunion documentary DVD, sponsored yet another guest – their fourth for us in 2007 – to help celebrate the series and their new title. The quartet was completed with the actor John Hasler, who played T-Shirt / Thomas in the series.

Back at the beginning of the show, in the season “Wonders in Letterland” in 1985, John was still only 7 or 8 years old. He ended up growing up on television, featuring in 93 of the total of 94 episodes – he missed out on being in the first episode – with the show bowing out in 1992.

John had previous acting experience from “Breakout”, a 1983 Children's Film Foundation production, and an uncredited role in Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil”. He went on to appear in various other television series, including Doctor At The Top (with Robin Nedwell), Against All Odds (with Roy Marsden and Melanie Kilburn), Renford Rejects for Nickelodeon, and Harry’s Mad for Carlton. In October 2003 he filmed a commercial for Roots Coffee in Japan, alongside Ewan McGregor.

In recent years John had a role in Casualty, but has mainly been seen in theatre, including the role of Peter in a national tour of “The Railway Children”; Sam in “Tarnished Angel” at the Finborough Theatre; Boult in “Pericles” for the Ludlow Festival; Eugene in “Brighton Beach Memoirs” for the English Theatre, Frankfurt; Edwin in “The Cub” at the Traverse Theatre; Stefano in “Miranolina”, Skinner in “Forty Years On”, and Young Charlie in “Conversations with My Father”, all at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. John has also played Arty in “Lost in Yonkers”, the Artful Dodger in “Oliver!”, Lampwick in “Pinocchio”, and the Son of McDuff in “Macbeth” for the RSC Barbican..

John does much voiceover and radio work, which includes the animated German film “The Adventures of Globi” (as the voice of Benji), “The Kingfisher Tailor” (as the voice of Coffee Sewell) and the 1996 Central Television version of The Legends of Treasure Island (as the voice of Jim Hawkins).

His many radio roles include Will in “With A Little Help From My Friends”, Masher in “A Fairly Secret Agent”, Stephen in “Travelling Light” and James in “Auntie Mame”, all for the BBC. He has also recorded several short stories for the “Together” programme for BBC Radio 4 including reading 12 episodes of “Black Beauty”. In the American radio drama serial “First Light” he played the role of Peniel.

John’s voice has also featured in many commercials and corporate assignments, including projects for LWT, BBC, Vodafone Live, NatWest, Microsoft, Homechoice, Dell, OUP, Pearsons, Hertz, Christian Aid and Tango. He dubbed the young Ben Wishaw in the new movie “Perfume” and other recent dubbing work includes Silent Witness, The Tudors, Ghostwatch, and Rome. Most recently he was involved in recordings for a new website on citizenship, partly sponsored by the BBC.

We were delighted that John has agreed to join in the T-Bag celebrations in 2007, appearing courtesy of Fantom Films.

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Director extraordinaire, from 007 to Space Precinct ...

 

John Glen is famous from his work on James Bond films, but he was also involved in TV series such as The Avengers, Man in a Suitcase, Danger Man and Space Precinct.

Back in the days before film schools became so prevalent, film directors started their careers as either an editor or a cinematographer. John Glen began work in the industry as a messenger boy in the editing studios at Shepperton, emptying the waste bins at first before graduating to rewinding and splicing the film. After working in the sound department as a dubbing editor and sound editor, he rose to the position of assistant editor putting inserts, such as car chases, into the films.

After editing episodes of ABC's The Avengers, and many of the ITC shows like Danger Man and Man in a Suitcase, as well as directing the episode 'Somebody Loses, Somebody... Wins?' for the latter show, John Glen was given the job of editing the James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service. This outing was directed by Peter Hunt, who had created the editing style of the Bond films as editor of the first three, and supervising editor on 'Thunderball' and 'You Only Live Twice'. Once filming began, John found himself being flown out to Switzerland to shoot the famous "bobsled run" sequence. Completing the filming in three weeks from start to finish, he was given the task of directing the rest of the second-unit sequences, with the exception of the stock car race that had been shot by the previous unit.

After editing Gold, staring Roger Moore, and acting as second unit director on Shout at the Devil starring Lee Marvin and Roger Moore, John Glen returned to the 007 series as editor/second-unit director on The Spy Who Loved Me (filming the celebrated pre-credit sequence, when stuntman Rick Sylvester launched himself off Asgard Peak), and Moonraker. He worked as editor/second unit director on The Wild Geese, again staring Roger Moore, and second unit director on Superman: The Movie (without Roger Moore) in the year between these two Bond movies.

'Moonraker' had really reached the zenith of the gags and gimmickery that had crept into the James Bond films. Like 'The Spy Who Loved Me' before it the film's narrative was little more a virtual remake of 'You Only Live Twice'. After being in outer space it was decided to bring the long-running series back down to earth and return to a more minimalistic and realistic approach with the follow-up. After working as the editor on The Sea Wolves (yes, it starred Roger Moore!), John Glen was promoted to full director and was handed the reins of James Bond's return in For Your Eyes Only.

Returning back to basics, this entry in the series cut the fantasy elements short and returned to the more serious "00" action of the past. Plot twists were back in and invincible super-villains were out, making the bad guy much more on a level with Red Grant in 'From Russia With Love' and Largo in 'Thunderball'. While this experiment was not as warmly received by the cinema audience, the film was notable for bringing a sense of closure to the previous films in the series by showing the death of an aging character, who was supposed to represent the aging Ernst Stavro Blofeld, in the pre-credit action sequence.

Whilst the James Bond movies had used a rota of directors, most notably Terrance Young and Lewis Gilbert, John Glen is notable for directing all five James Bond movies that ran through the course of the 1980s. Octopussy followed two years later, returning to the more popular larger-than-life elements the fanbase demanded, and after that came A View to a Kill. By now the "Roger Moore as James Bond" era was coming to a close and the production team had to set their sights on a new actor to play the role. Although John screen tested James Brolin and Pierce Brosnan (who was unable to take the role then because of a contractual clause which dragged him back to further mid-season episodes of 'Remington Steele'), the part eventually went to the Shakespearean actor Timothy Dalton.

More in the style of Sean Connery, Dalton brought a darker intensity to the role, creating a ruthless character in line with the James Bond of Ian Fleming's novels. The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill, reflected that by replacing the humour with more dramatic situations. By now, though, James Bond wasn't the only action hero on the block. Although 'Licence ...' was a good movie with an engaging story and a killer performance from Timothy Dalton, who really nailed the part, the box-office returns were disappointing.

With the series put on hiatus, John Glen turned to directing the racing drama, Checkered Flag, and Aces: Iron Eagle III. In 1992, to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the discovery of the Americas, his movie Christopher Columbus: The Discovery set sail ahead of Ridley Scott's '1492: Conquest of Paradise'.

John Glen briefly returned to television in the 1990s, directing eight episodes of Gerry Anderson's Space Precinct, namely 'Protect and Survive', 'The Snake', 'Deadline', 'Illegal', 'Divided We Stand' (uncredited), 'Take Over', and the two-part 'The Fire Within'.

John was a special guest at Cult TV 2002.

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Writer and editor at large ...

 

John Freeman is a freelance editor, writer and creative consultant. His current work includes being the News Editor for Star Trek Monthly and feature writing for Dreamwatch and other Titan Magazines.

In the comics world he recently worked with Striker3D (publishers of the "Striker" football strip in "The Sun"), sourcing new artists for upcoming projects. He's also working with CJL Publishing in Italy on a variety of strips. The Grand Tour, drawn by Mike Collins, is now being published by them in their flagship title, Daisy Hamilton's English4Life.

Online he's maintaining the official Hammer Films web site at www.hammerfilms.com, and investigating other projects, including new comic strips and some new media stuff. John recently edited the Planet of the Apes licensed comic for Titan Magazines and contributed a "Clapperboard" column on new film and TV projects to Dreamwatch.

Between November 1999 until December 2000 he worked as Project Manager for the online community-based site VZSciFi (www.vzones.com). That job included the creation of the framework for a new "virtual chat zone" using avatar technology. It mixed editing SF magazines and comics with new media applications. Unfortunately, it seems the technology was ahead of its time and the parent Avaterra.com pulled the plug on many of its operations just as its European arm was about to secure some major media deals back in June 2001. VZones is now back up and running and has a new project, The Second Kingdom, on the way.

Until November 1999 John was Managing Editor at Titan Magazines in London, publishers of a wide range of licensed science fiction magazines. Managerial duties included the hands-on editing of Babylon 5 Magazine and Star Wars Comic, and overseeing the creation of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Trek Monthly, Star Wars Magazine, The X-Files, Xena, The Simpsons and Manga Max. Titan Magazines is part of the Titan Publishing Group, publishers of Titan Books and owners of many Forbidden Planet shops around the UK. John continues to work in a freelance capacity for Titan Magazines as a Creative Consultant, which means they can ask him all sorts of questions at any time of night and day!

Between 1987 and 1993 John was at Marvel UK and work there included being editor of Doctor Who Magazine and, later, several Marvel UK titles, including Death's Head, Warheads, Motormouth (its last few issues) Digitek and the weekly Overkill. He has also written a few comic strips for Marvel (among them, Warheads and Shadow Riders) and Fleetway (Judge Karyn); self-published a fanzine, SCAN, which counted comics luminary Alan Moore amongst its minuscule number of subscribers; and started writing a novel - and that's still a work in progress!

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Edward of Wickham in Robin of Sherwood and Bobba Fett in "Star Wars"...

 

Jeremy was born in Market Harborough, one of six children, and even at the young age of five was on stage in his school show enjoying acting and singing. After failing an exam at the age of eleven Jeremy seemed destined for the acting profession, and was soon attending a drama school called Corona Academy. He made his first television appearance at the age of twelve when he appeared in a commercial for a breakfast cereal.

Following many appearances on children’s television Jeremy’s big break came at the age of seventeen when he landed a major role in a musical film called "Summer Holiday" that starred Cliff Richard. He then went into a BBC soap called The Newcomers, which ran for three years and made him a household name in the UK. In 1969 Jeremy landed a leading role in a musical called "Las Leandras" which was filmed in Madrid, Spain. This was followed by two major films - "The Virgin and the Gypsy" and "Mary Queen of Scots".

During the 1970s he appeared in many other movies including three James Bond films – "The Spy Who Loved Me", "For Your Eyes Only" and "Octopussy" - first as an HMS Ranger Crewman, and the later two as Smithers, Q’s assistant. In 1977 Jeremy went to the Far East for six months where he was based in Singapore and travelled to the Philippines, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, filming a BBC drama documentary called "The Sadrina Project". This documentary was designed to teach people in the Far East, mainly Chinese, the English language. On a trip to China in 1992, some fifteen years later where Jeremy was performing in a stage play, he was instantly recognised by hundreds of people who said they had learnt their English from "The Sadrina Project".

In 1978 he was starring in a hit television comedy series called Agony, co-written by American Len Richmond and real life Agony Aunt Anna Raeburn, which ran for three years. It was during this series that Jeremy got a small part in “The Empire Strikes Back”. This part of course was "Boba Fett", proving the old theatrical saying ‘there is no such thing as a small part’. Jeremy was asked to reprise his role as “Boba Fett” in "Return of the Jedi" some two years later. But that was not the end of his connection with the "Star Wars" saga - in the summer of 2004 Jeremy was contacted to play a small cameo in ‘Revenge of the Sith” as Captain Colton.

Jeremy has appeared in many TV series. He was a regular in Robin of Sherwood, where he played Edward of Wickham. Jeremy’s son Robbie was asked to play Matthew, Edward’s son, in the series.

Another favourite series was Doctor Who, where he played the part of Tor in "The Space Museum" with William Hartnell. He also played the part of Hal the Archer in "The Time Warrior" when Jon Pertwee was the Doctor.

Jeremy also voices various commercials, talking CDs and radio advertisements. He appeared in the debut Spooks season episode “One Last Dance” (the series is called M-I5 Stateside).

Other TV appearances have included Strange Report ("Grenade – What Price Change"), Public Eye ("John VII Verse 24"), Thriller ("Only A Scream Away"), Man About The House ("Three Of A Kind"), The Professionals ("Where The Jungle Ends"), George and Mildred ("Days of Beer and Rosie"), Boon ("Fiddler Under The Roof"), as well as Leave It To Charlie, Only When I Laugh, Chocky, Casualty, The Bill, and Sloggers. His latest television appearance was this year in the BBC medical drama Doctors.

Jeremy was also involved in the filming of the pilot of StarHyke, playing the lead role of Dr Yul Striker – this year the pilot for the series is receiving its premiere at the Cult TV Festival.

He has also appeared in an independent film called "Number One Longing, Number Two Regret" and has also worked on an interactive film called "Advanced Warriors" that is now out on DVD.

Since the re-release of "Star Wars" in 1997, the interest in the character of "Boba Fett" has meant that Jeremy has been invited to many conventions and events all around the world. His fan mail has increased five-fold and he manages somehow to reply to everyone. In the little leisure time he has left he has managed to write his memoirs "Flying Solo" which is a beautiful hardback book with its own slipcase, and limited to 2000 copies only. He enjoys playing cricket and golf and as his three sons have produced a total of nine grandchildren (seven girls and two boys) babysitting is also high on the agenda. He enjoys travelling and has collected an amazing amount of "Boba Fett" memorabilia; some given to him by dedicated fans, and some he cannot resist buying at toyfairs. His office at home resembles a "Boba Fett" museum.

We were delighted to welcome Jeremy to the 2006 Cult TV Festival, to talk about his career and help launch Starhyke.

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

The star of TV's War of the Worlds, The Fantastic Journey and Dallas joined us for Cult TV in 2007 ...

 

Jared Martin is best known to Cult TV appreciators from a trio of starring roles across the years. He was: Varian, a man from the future in The Fantastic Journey, starring alongside fellow Cult TV 2007 guest Ike Eisenmann; Dr Harrison Blackwood in the 1988-1990 television version of War of the Worlds; and Steven ‘Dusty’ Farlow in 31 episodes of Dallas between 1979 and 1991.

Jared was born in Manhattan, New York, and his interest in acting began at the age of 10 when his parents gave him the choice of joining his local children's theatre group, or learning to play the piano. He excelled at sports whilst at school in Vermont, and graduated from Columbia University with a BA degree in English Literature and a minor in Art History. His roommate at Columbia University was future film director Brian de Palma, who cast him as the lead in his directorial debut, “Murder a la Mod” in 1968.

After graduation in 1965 Jared worked as a copy boy at the New York Times. Jared read galleys and helped select books suitable for review. He also wrote capsule reviews for the New York Times Sunday Book Review Section.

During the next few years Jared founded ‘Group 6 Productions’, a New York City film and stage production company, while also creating art history curricula for a prestigious art institute. It was at this time Jared began actively seeking professional acting roles, and for the next 25 years Jared starred in Hollywood movies, internationally known TV series, and acted on and off the Broadway stage.

He has many other Cult TV roles to his name, guest starring in Dan August, Rod Serling's Night Gallery, Nakia, Get Christie Love, Toma, Griff, Medical Center, The Partridge Family, The Bold Ones – The Lawyers, The Silent Force, Cannon, Columbo, Shaft, The Rookies, Logan’s Run, The Six Million Dollar Man, How the West Was Won, Project UFO, The Waltons, Wonder Woman (the “Phantom of the Roller Coaster” two-parter), ChiPs, The Incredible Hulk, Hart to Hart, Tales of the Gold Monkey, Fantasy Island, Aloha Paradise, Finder of Lost Loves, Scarecrow & Mrs King, Knight Rider (the “Knight of the Drones” two-parter), Airwolf, Magnum PI, The Love Boat, Murder, She Wrote, Big Shamus, Little Shamus, Hotel, Mike Hammer, Hunter, Silk Stalkings and LA Law.

In terms of cinema roles, Jared had a small part in the cult classic “Westworld”, playing one of the technicians who ran Delos, the futuristic amusement park, and the lead role in the psychedelic and moody “The Second Coming of Suzanne” opposite Richard Dreyfuss.

Jared himself highlights two films he shot in Italy in the 1980s for Lucio Fulci, who is best known for his directorial work on some of the most shocking horror films ever made. He has been cited by Quentin Tarantino as a major source of inspiration. The first was “Guerrieri dell'anno (2072)”, (filmed in 1984) aka “The New Gladiators” aka “Fighting Centurions” aka “Rome, 2072 AD” aka “Warriors of the Year 2072”. The plot concerns the type of television we can expect later this century, when two networks fight for ratings by producing a modern day version of Roman gladiators.

The other Fulci film was “Aenigma” (1987) where a girl in a coma, as a result of being hit by a car after a prank played on her by classmates, takes revenge from her hospital bed.

In 1987 Jared starred in “Il Ragazzo dal kimono d'oro”, aka “Karate Warrior”, aka “Fist of Power”, aka “The Boy in the Golden Kimono” for writer and director Fabrizio De Angelis, and it was during the filming of this in Hong Kong that he became fascinated with Chinese culture.

While producing and directing the movie “In Deeper”, commissioned by Mayor Edward Rendell of Philadelphia, Jared became aware of the plight of disadvantaged youth of the inner city. He knew his experience as an actor and producer could be translated into a film programme for at-risk youth as a way to both reach and teach them skills, and to become civically aware of community issues. This resulted in Jared’s co-founding of the non-profit organisation, the Big Picture Alliance, in 1994. Jared takes on many roles within this, including director, producer and scriptwriter.

Jared has received over 15 film industry awards for his student-produced films, including the 1998 Cine Eagle, has mentored over three dozen Big Picture Alliance young staff members, one of whom won the first-ever Sundance Film Award for film editing, created a film production company, Lost Dog Productions, which produces films for social service and cultural non-profits, and hosted “Philly Live”, an interview talk show series for WYBE-TV.

Currently he is senior lecturer at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia where he teaches a course in Acting for Film using a proprietary curriculum he designed. He also manages and provides technical direction for the career of Yu Wei, his wife, a well-known Chinese classical dancer. In 2006 he authored “Dazhengzhao: a 1,000 Year Old Chinese Village”, a book of pictures and text about his latest trip to China.

Cult TV were delighted to have Jared join us in 2007 for his first ever appearance at a convention anywhere in the world, and we were pleased to host something of a Fantastic Journey re-union between him and Ike Eisenmann, after almost 30 years. Watch out for the DVD documentary coming soon from Fantom Films!

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

A writer whose work includes voyages into the Blake's 7, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica universes joined us at Cult TV in 2007 ...

 

James Swallow is an author, scriptwriter and journalist.

His writing includes the Sundowners series of ‘steampunk’ Westerns (“Ghost Town”, “Underworld”, “Iron Dragon” and “Showdown”), “Jade Dragon”, “The Butterfly Effect”, and fiction in the worlds of Doctor Who (“Peacemaker”, “Dalek Empire”, “Destination Prague”, “Snapshots”), Star Trek (“Distant Shores”, “The Sky’s The Limit”, “Shards and Shadows”, “Day of the Vipers”), Stargate (“Halcyon”, “Relativity”), 2000AD (“Eclipse”, “Whiteout”, “Blood Relative”) and Warhammer 40,000 (“The Flight of the Eisenstein”, “Faith & Fire”, “Deus Encarmine”, “Deus Sanguinius”, “What Price Victory”).

His short fiction appears in “Inferno!”, “Stargate: The Official Magazine” and several anthologies, including “Silent Night”, “Something Changed” and “Collected Works”. His non-fiction work features the critically acclaimed “Dark Eye: The Films of David Fincher”, and he was a contributing writer on “Game Writing: Narrative Skills for Videogames”.

Jim's other credits include writing for the television series Star Trek: Voyager – he remains the only British writer to have worked on a Star Trek television show – and radio drama for Doctor Who, Blake’s 7, Judge Dredd and Space: 1889. In the videogames industry, he has written for several high-profile projects, including Battlestar Galactica, the “Killzone” series, Star Trek: Invasion and Maelstrom.

We were delighted that Jim agreed to join us for the 2007 Cult TV Weekender in Oxfordshire.

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Scott Jordan from The Fantastic Journey and Peter Preston in Star Trek joined us for Cult TV in 2007 ...

 

Ike Eisenmann (who is now known as Iake Eissinmann) was born in 1962 in Houston, Texas. His first acting role was as a guest star in Gunsmoke in 1972, and he would play two further parts on this show in 1973 and 1974. Other early appearances included episodes of Mannix, Kung Fu, Emergency!, S.W.A.T. and Doc Elliot.

It was in 1975 that he made a huge impact, with Disney's “Escape to Witch Mountain”, where he played Tony Malone, a role he was to reprise in the 1978 sequel “Return to Witch Mountain”. Ike starred alongside screen icons Ray Milland, Donald Pleasence, Christopher Lee and Bette Davis in these films

There were three other roles for Ike within The Wonderful World of Disney, with him featuring in “The Sky’s The Limit”, “Kit Carson and The Mountain Men” and “Shadow of Fear”.

Star Trek fans will know that Ike featured in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” as Peter Preston, Mr Scott’s ill-fated nephew.

He was also one of the stars of the cult television series The Fantastic Journey, playing Scott Jordan, in what has become a fondly-remembered series that also featured Jared Martin (‘Harrison Blackwood’ from the TV series version of War of the Worlds), the stunning Katie Saylor, and cult icon Roddy McDowell.

Other TV roles have included Doctors’ Hospital, Little House on the Prairie, Police Woman, Eight Is Enough, CHiPs, The New Adventures of Wonder Woman, Fantasy Island, The Jeffersons, TJ Hooker, Enos, Buchanan High and Voyagers!. He was also the voice of Cub Jones in Ring Raiders, as well as Nick in Challenge of The GoBots, and provided various voices for Dino Riders.

TV movies featuring Ike include ”My Dad Lives in a Downtown Hotel”, “The Kansas City Massacre”, “The Amazing Cosmic Awareness of Duffy Moon”, “Banjo Hackett: Roamin’ Free”, “The Winged Colt”, “The Bastard”, “Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell”, “The Revenge of the Savage Bees”, “A Special Gift”, “Dreams Don’t Die”, and the 1978 TV mini-series of “Black Beauty”.

Other big screen movie appearances include “The Sky’s The Limit”, “The Formula”, “Cross Creek”, " Tom and Huck" and “Some Kind of Wonderful”.

Though acting is no longer his primary vocation, Ike is still involved in the film and TV industry. Since 1987, he has moved behind the camera and is primarily a producer, sound designer and vocal performer, working on such films as “Man of the House”, “While You Were Sleeping”, “Powder”, “American Beauty”, “Shrek”, and “Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion”.

One of Ike's recent projects has been “The Blair Witch Mountain Project”, a spoof of the “Blair Witch Project”, and “Tugger”, an animated children's cartoon, as well as providing a commentary for the DVD release of the "Witch Mountain" films.

Ike met and married his wife, Alex, in 1993. She is a writer from Palm Springs, California, and worked with Ike on the script and production of a short film called “Single Family Dwelling”, which premiered in 1999.

Ike is currently in production behind the scenes on several major projects and operates as Chief Executive at Mighty Mojo Studios. Some of Ike's upcoming credits include directing the "Mystery of ..." children's series to be released in the Summer of 2007, Co-Producer of "Cartoon Explosions", and Director/Co-Producer on "Finder's Keepers", an animated feature to be released in 2008. You can find out more by visiting the Mighty Mojo Studios website at www.mightymojostudios.com.

Ike has always liked Science Fiction. You can find out more about him and his career at THE OFFICIAL IKE EISENMANN WEBSITE.

We were delighted that Ike agreed to join us for the Cult TV Festival Weekender in 2007.

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Jessica in the TV series Logan's Run and Louisa von Trapp in "The Sound of Music" joined us for Cult TV 2007 ...

 

Heather Menzies Urich starred in the Cult TV series Logan’s Run as Jessica – the series was a follow-on from the movie of the same name.

Born in Toronto, Canada, Heather moved to California via Florida at the age of 11. Insisting on attending acting school, she enrolled at the Falcon Studio’s University of the Arts in Hollywood. Her first professional role was at the age of 13 in an episode of My Three Sons. Directly after that Heather auditioned for and won the role of 'Louisa von Trapp' in “The Sound of Music”.

Heather then appeared in the epic drama “Hawaii”, again with Julie Andrews, and at the age of 16, travelled across the country to star in the Broadway play “We have always lived in the Castle” with Shirley Knight. The production opened at the National Theater in Washington DC and enjoyed a lengthy run at the Ethel Barrymore Theater in New York City. Subsequent movie roles included “How Sweet It Is”, “Hail, Hero!”, “Red, White and Busted”, and an uncredited role in 1969 version of “The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes”.

Heather guest starred in many television series throughout the 1970s and 1980s and did several television pilots (The Keegans and Man in the Middle) and movies for television including “Tail Gunner Joe” with Peter Boyle and “The James Dean Story” with Michael Brandon and Amy Irving. She starred in the popular cult favourite “Sssssss” with Strother Martin and Dirk Benedict, as Kristina Stoner, the mad scientist’s loyal daughter.

Following Logan’s Run, Heather co-starred in the cult movie “Piranha” with Bradford Dillman, as well as the 1979 TV movie version of Captain America with Reb Brown as the hero.

Among the numerous TV shows Heather did guest appearances on are Alias Smith and Jones, The Farmer's Daughter, Dragnet, Marcus Welby, M.D., The High Chaparral, To Rome With Love, The Love Boat, TJ Hooker, Bonanza, S.W.A.T., The Bob Newhart Show, Barnaby Jones, Gavilan and Love, American Style.

Heather met her late husband, Robert Urich, acting with him in a Libby’s Corned Beef Hash Commercial. Heather guest starred in many series with Robert over the years, including three episodes of Vega$ and one of Spenser: For Hire. She had a small role in the SF thriller "Endangered Species" alongside him in 1982.

The couple co-starred in theatrical productions including “The Hasty Heart”, a production at the Burt Reynolds Playhouse in Jupiter, Florida. The play achieved substantial acclaim including a run at the Kennedy Center for the Arts in Washington DC with President and Mrs Ronald Reagan in attendance.

Heather lives in Los Angeles with her three children - Ryan, Emily and Alison. She works tirelessly with the Urich Fund for Sarcoma Research at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

We were delighted that Heather agreed to join us for her first ever UK convention appearance, at the Cult TV Festival Weekender in 2007.

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Co-creator and writer of T-Bag, and writer and producer of The Tomorrow People joined us for Cult TV 2007 courtesy of Fantom Films ...

 

Grant was born in Motherwell, Scotland. His first important achievement came at the age of 18 when he co-wrote, produced and directed an epic-scale period fantasy film, "Jack Snell". Hailed by the Glasgow Evening Times as a triumph it received screenings at the Glasgow Film Theatre.

Originally intending to pursue a career as a director, Grant gained a place on the three-year Actors’ Course at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, graduating with a Diploma in Dramatic Art and the Award for Special Merit in Acting. It was here that Grant formed a writer/performer double act with Alex Bartlette. Together they won the BBC Muriel Finlayson Award for Scriptwriting – an interest which they had developed during their time at Drama School.

For the following six or seven years, Grant balanced his career as a busy actor with occasional writing commissions.

He starred in the BBC TV 13-part prime time drama, Jury - a performance which won him much praise. Grant also landed the title role in Mick Gold’s film biopic of "Egon Schiele", playing alongside David Suchet. There followed seasons at the Glasgow Citizens’ Theatre, the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith, Leicester Haymarket Theatre and Northcott Theatre, Exeter - where as well as appearing in "Hamlet" and Thomas Hardy’s "The Dynasts", Grant also composed and performed the music.

A production of his Comedy Musical "A Buckskin Bag of Gold" was mounted at the Exeter Northcott Theatre. He performed opposite Kenneth Branagh in Julian Mitchell’s play "Francis" at the Greenwich Theatre, London, then joined The Royal Shakespeare Company for one year, appearing in Terry Hands’ production of "Troilus and Cressida" and Solzhenitsyn’s "The Love Girl and The Innocent".

After that he worked for a while on the London Fringe, winning rave reviews in numerous Shakespeare comedy roles – Puck, Biondello, and Launcelot Gobbo.

As a writer, Grant’s earliest success (aged just 22) was a one-hour play produced by Tom Kinninmont for BBC Radio 4 - a comedy called "Moonlight and Aspirins", it starred Miriam Margolyes, Rupert Frazer and David Hayman.

He then contributed material to a TV sketch show, which led him to collaborate with Children’s TV writer Lee Pressman. Together they created and wrote all 94 episodes of the cult kids’ comedy T-Bag. One of ITV’s most popular shows of the 1980s, it ran for almost a decade. Pressman and Cathro went on to create a run of original and hugely successful children’s TV series – a diverse body of work including long-running sitcoms (Spatz, Mike & Angelo, Cone Zone) SF action/adventure (Delta Wave, The Tomorrow People) and popular family dramas. Their 100-minute film screenplay "B&B", starring Kevin Whately, Jan Ravens, Joanna Kanska, Katy Murphy and Ian McNeice, met with great critical acclaim and won them a Writers' Guild of Great Britain Award.

Grant went on to appear as an actor in a succession of mainstream television dramas including Taggart and Love Hurts - starring Zoe Wannamaker and Adam Faith.

In the late 1990s, Grant re-established his writer/performer relationship with Alex Bartlette. Together they wrote a film adaptation of William Shakespeare’s "Romeo & Juliet" for Channel 4 and co-wrote a further five series of ITV’s longest-running children’s sitcom Mike & Angelo.

Grant and Alex wrote, co-produced and starred in a 60-minute SF comedy "The Light Fantastic" alongside Peter Capaldi and Phillida Law. They also wrote scripts for the multi award-winning hit Microsoap (Disney/BBC), ITV’s family-drama series Snap, and the pop-band comedy Star Street.

In 2003 Grant Cathro and Alex Bartlette wrote all the scripts and starred in their own late-night comedy series "Something Or Other", which aired on BBC Radio 4.

With an astounding 350-plus scripts to his credit, Grant has been working as a solo writer for the past two or three years. Grant is currently Head Writer of Genie In The House, a 52-episode fantasy sitcom which has quickly established itself as one of Nickeodeon’s top-rated shows.

Also in 2007 Grant has been commissioned by Trudie Styler of Xingu Films to write a feature film screenplay based on Joshua Doder’s book "A Dog Called Grk".

Grant appeared at the 2007 Cult TV Festival Weekender courtesy of Fantom Films, to celebrate their release of the T-Bag Reunion DVD.

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Tabatha in T-Bag and Jean in Budgie joined us at Cult TV 2007 courtesy of Fantom Films ...

 

Georgina Hale is am iconic actress, having appeared in numerous films including many directed by Ken Russell ("Mahler" and "The Devils", as well as in-joke cameos in "Lisztomania" and "Valentino"). Add to these her performance in the Twiggy musical "The Boyfriend" (alongside Glenda Jackson) and her reputation for superb performances was sealed.

She first came to national recognition in the TV series Budgie, playing the leading role of Jean, alongside Adam Faith’s title character. Before that, her TV career began with a small part in a BBC Wednesday Play in 1966, “Way Off Beat”, which led on to guest roles in such series as Special Branch, Public Eye, Detective, Virgin of the Secret Service and Menace.

Other subsequent TV series appearances have included the starring role of Tabatha Bag in T-Bag, Daisy K in the 1988 Doctor Who story “The Happiness Patrol”, plus The Protectors, One Foot In The Grave, Upstairs, Downstairs, Yes, Honestly, Minder, Hammer House of Horror, Murder Most Horrid, Boon, The Lady Killers, Casualty, The Detectives, The Bill, Murder Investigation Team, Emmerdale, and the 1976 TV movie “Voyage of the Damned”.

Georgina won the BAFTA for Outstanding Newcomer for her role as Alma Mahler in Ken Russell’s "Mahler" in 1975. Other films during her career include "Sweeney 2" (1978), "The World is Full of Married Men" (1979), "The Watcher In The Woods" (1980), "McVicar" (1980), "Castaway" (1986), "Beyond Bedlam" (1993), "Preaching to the Perverted" (1997), "Photo Finish" (2003), and Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont" (2005).

The film “Butley” (1976), was written by Simon Gray, and Georgina continued her connection with this writer, performing in many of his stage plays, which were filmed and shown on TV, such as "Only Make Believe", "Electra", "Plaintiffs And Defendants", "Two Sundays" and "The Seagull".

She has had many theatre roles over the years, many of them for the Glasgow Citizens Company such as "Mourning Becomes Electra" (1991), "The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore" (1994), "Britannicus" (2002) and "The Cherry Orchard" (2002). Other plays include "Life Support" (1997, The Aldwych, London), "The Guardsman" (2000, National Tour) and "Semi-Monde" (2001, The Lyric Theatre, London).

Georgina appeared at the Cult TV Festival Weekender 2007 courtesy of Fantom Films, to celebrate the release of their T-Bag Reunion DVD.

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Researcher and writer ...

 

Gareth Owen graduated from Bangor University in 1994 with a Honours Degree in Applied Physics. He wondered what he might do ... perhaps some top job in nuclear research, or become an academic postulating mind boggling theories. But no, instead he took the next logical step and entered the film industry. Doesn't everyone?

After organising British Film Day in April 1994 at Pinewood, within two months of graduation the studio was to become his new home from home.

He set up a small production company, and served as Executive Producer on acclaimed comedy (i.e., no one ever saw it) A Fistful Of Fingers. He has since found greater success in writing. In 2000 his official history of Pinewood Studios, The Pinewood Story, was published. It was swiftly followed by a biography of special effects genius Albert J Luxford The Gimmick Man, and Roger Moore's career biography, fittingly entitled Roger Moore: His Films And Career. A couple of other projects are underway, along with writing for industry periodical British Film & TV Production Magazine.

He considers himself an expert on all things James Bond and can bore for England on British comedy films.

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

The principal female voice artiste in Captain Scarlet, presenter of Finding Out and co-star of The District Nurse...

 

Liz Morgan was the principal female voice artist for Captain Scarlet and The Mysterons, lending her vocal talents to the French ‘Destiny Angel’ and resident Sloane ‘Rhapsody Angel’, as well as ‘Harmony Angel’ in early stories, before Lian Shin took on the role a dozen episodes into production. Liz also voiced Dorina Cordova in the Joe 90 episode “Viva Cordova”.

At the time of the production of Captain Scarlet, Liz was the presenter of ITV schools programme Finding Out. She starred in The Old Devils for BBC Wales, was District Nurse Joanna in two seasons of ITV’s We Are Seven, Mrs Prosser-Davies in The District Nurse, and Joyce in the LWT comedy The Two of Us.

Other guest roles include Public Eye, The Wednesday Play, Dad’s Army, The Dick Emery Show, Dixon of Dock Green, Softly Softly, The Befrienders, Are You Being Served?, Terry and June, Angels, Fair Ground, Maybury, Mapp & Lucia, and Hetty Wainthropp Investigates.

Other television productions include the TV movie “Headhunters” and the mini series Ransom For A Pretty Girl and To Have And To Hold.

Liz appeared in a story from The Magnificent Six and a Half – “A Good Deed In Time”, a children’s cinema series from Harry Booth (who would go on to use some of the cast and the same style of production for Here Come The Double Deckers!), as well as “Ballet Shoes” alongside Angela Thorne and Barbara Lott, and appeared briefly as Christina in “Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed”.

Liz continues to take on various roles, including radio comedy and dramas, theatre and TV, including new animations Captain Sabertooth, and Snow Children.

Liz was born in Llanelli and has performed at the National Theatre and provincial venues, notably the Sherman Theatre Cardiff and Theatre Clwyd, plus several tours in the USA with her own one-woman plays. She has worked extensively in radio, particularly with the BBC Radio Drama Company, and recorded “Under Milk Wood” with Sir Anthony Hopkins. Recently she played Caitlin in a new play about Dylan Thomas at the Dylan Thomas Festival in Swansea.

She has written 26 performed plays for BBC Radio 4, several short stories and four television plays, and wrote and appeared in the 1994 sit-com pilot Sisters Three. A regular contributor to magazines and newspapers, she is now working on a sequel to her book, “Can We Afford The Bidet?” (Queen Anne Press), a guide to setting up a house in France. Her first novel “The Girl On The Promenade”, was published in 2003.

A devoted Francophile, she spends half the year at her home in the South of France, easily recognisable by the Welsh flag 'Y Ddraig Goch', which flutters from the balcony.

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Lofty in It Ain't Half Hot, Mum ...

 

Don Estelle was born in Manchester, and spent his early years there until, during World War II, he was evacuated to Darwen, near Blackburn, Lancashire. It was here that the young Don found his voice as a boy soprano at Holy Trinity Church (known today as St Peter's, Darwen). He was lucky enough to have the guidance and tuition of the prominent church musician, Sydney Nicholson.

The end of the war found Don back in Manchester, where he continued his valuable church experience at St Mary's Church, Crumpsall. The choir master and organist Mr Middleton continued Sydney Nicholson's sterling work by helping Don to maintain his musical studies which were given a further boost when he met Mrs Vaughan-Williams, a relative of the great composer, who taught him voice training for some years. This solid basis inspired the confidence required for Don to continue with an artistic career.

His first stage experience was with a local charity group, The Manchester Kentucky Minstrels. This led to a solo career on the North of England Club circuit - a renowned tough circuit for any aspiring artiste - during which time he met Windsor Davies. They teamed up to together with a double act, and played all the top clubs and theatres thoughout the UK for the next four years.

Don's short physical stature was to deny him the lead in romantic roles. Thus, he turned to comedy as a way to have his talent as a singer noticed. He was fortunate to meet Arthur Lowe at Granada TV who suggested he contact David Croft, the producer of the BBC's Dad's Army. Don was asked to play a Pickford's removal man delivering a 13 pounder naval gun to the Platoon, and from there the comedy career had started. When David Croft and Jimmy Perry went on to develop the series It Ain't Half Hot Mum their natural choice for the role of Gunner "Lofty" Sugden was Don Estelle.

The programme ran for eight years and brought the release, by EMI, of a cast album of the show. The ensuing single 'Whispering Grass', featuring Don and Windsor Davies soared to Number 1 in the BBC charts and remained in the hit parade for three months. To date it has sold well over one million copies. Don and Windsor's album Sing Lofty, also on the EMI label, sold over 80,000 copies and made the top ten, re-released on the 'Music for Pleasure' label it has sold a further 250,000 copies making it one of EMI's top twenty selling regular albums.

Never an artiste to rest on his laurels he continued to perform regularly around the world, from the UK to New Zealand, Australia and beyond. In 1999 he launched his autobiography 'Thoughts of a Gemini,' and started another recording venture, a reworking on CD of the classic Laurel and Hardy movie song 'Trail of the Lonesome Pine' featuring Rochdale's very own Liberal personality Sir Cyril Smith. TV audiences also saw Don the actor in his cameo role in the award winning series The League of Gentlemen.

Don died in August 2003, aged 70. He had been a guest, and star of the cabaret, at Cult TV 2002. Further information about him can be found at his website www.donestelle.co.uk

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

The actor behind Starbuck and Face, and a guest at Cult TV 2002...

 

Dirk Benedict was born on 1st March 1945, in Helena, Montana, Dirk Niewoehner grew up in White Sulphur Springs. With no cinemas or television, he learnt to hunt, fish and enjoy sport, particularly American football. He was elected to the All-State Football team in his senior year at High School, in addition to having his own Dixieland Dance band (he played the trombone).

Gaining a football scholarship to Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, he got acting bug by accident. He was dared by his friends to audition for the spring musical Showboat and landed the lead role, Gaylord Ravenal. He fell in love with the stage and, once he graduated with a degree in music, decided to pursue an acting career. He underwent a two year course at Meadowbrook Theatre in Detroit, under John Fernald, who had been the Principal at RADA for 15 years. As soon as he finished the course, he was offered a job in Fernald's Repertory Company, and the next few years were taken up with various Repertory gigs, filling in with other plays and musicals when he was between seasons.

Dirk's stage career took him to New York and inevitably Broadway. Shortly after arriving he landed a role in Abelard and Heloise, playing opposite Keith Michel and Diana Rigg. He also played the lead in Butterflies Are Free, with the late Gloria Swanson playing his mother. Their mother/son relationship developed off the stage too, and Ms Swanson shared her dietary secrets for health and long life with him.

Once Butterflies Are Free finished on Broadway, Dirk accepted an offer to do the play in Hawaii, with Barbara Rush. Whilst there, he had a guest role in Hawaii Five-O - his first TV role. Shortly afterwards he was given the role of Gil Foley, the lead in Aaron Spelling's Chopper One, which was cancelled after one season.

He then left the acting profession for nearly three years. During this time he fought his own private battle, with prostate cancer. He treated this with a macrobiotic diet, a regime that he still follows to this day.

On his return to acting, he toured the East Coast in Li'l Abner with Lucy Arnaz, and in 1978 Glen Larson offered him the starring role of Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica. This propelled him into the spotlight and from there he progressed to his other well-known role, Templeton "The Faceman" Peck in The A Team, which ran from 1983-87.

Dirk has had several guest appearances on television, including, Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense, Murder, She Wrote, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Charlie's Angels, Baywatch, The Love Boat, "mazing Stories, Walker - Texas Ranger and Hotel, to name but a few.

His film career started in 1972 with Georgia, Georgia, where he starred alongside the late Diana Sands. His next film was a psycho-thriller, SSSSS, in which he was turned into a king cobra. He followed this, in 1974, with W, in which he had a starring role opposite Twiggy, in her first American film. Since then, he has starred in numerous films including, Alaska, Shadow Force, Underground Aces, Trenchcoat in Paradise, Blue Tornadoes, Abduction of Innocence, Scruples, Mark of the Devil, and Zork, Grand Inquisitor. He also directed Christina's Dream (1994).

In addition to acting and directing, Dirk is a renowned author. His first book, Confessions of a Kamikaze Cowboy, published in 1991, chronicles his journey from Montana to Hollywood, including his fight with cancer. His second book And Then We Went Fishing is the true story of becoming, and losing, a Father. His third book, Montana Memoirs: Notes from a Dangerous Wordsmith, will be a collection of short stories covering his childhood in Montana. He has also written two original stage plays, Puppy Dog Tales and Acting Becomes Her, as well as several screenplays. He has directed his own screenplay, in Cahoots.

Dirk lives in Montana with his two sons, George and Roland, and he maintains that the greatest role he has ever played is that of "Dad".

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Programme consultant and writer ...

 

Spending his formative years working in a variety of odd jobs to gather the varied experiences essential to a creative writer, since 1979 Dick Fiddy has devoted his professional career to television.

As a researcher and archivist he was responsible for the Channel 4 specials The A to Z of TV and 1001 Nights of TV and was a consultant and writer for the 13-part series TV Heaven.

Contributing sketches to Not the Nine O’Clock News, and Spitting Image, he was one of four writers on the Channel 4 sitcom Little Armadillos. In partnership with Mark Wallington he created The Ballad of Johnny Vanguard and the six-part All Night Long.

After writing and developing an audio/visual history of British television for the BFI’s Museum of the Moving Image he has been a consultant programmer for the National Film Theatre, collaborating on their seasons of classic film and television.

One of the founders of Primetime: The Television Magazine, Dick has written numerous books including So You’re the Famous Simon Templar, Television: An Introductory Guide to its History, and Missing, Believed Wiped which details the programmes missing from British television archives.

He is currently writing a book about Television in the 1960s.

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Victoria Waterfield from Doctor Who and Norma Baker from Danger UXB ...

 

A companion to Patrick Troughton’s Doctor from 1967 to 1968, Deborah had set her sights on becoming a dentist but turned to stage school instead, only to leave after three weeks, unhappy with what she was being taught.

Born into a theatrical family, her first onscreen role was in the William Tell episode “The Spider”, and from 1957 to 1958 she played Sally, the niece of the invisible Peter Brady in HG Wells’ Invisible Man. She later landed the title role in the 1965 BBC Wednesday play “Alice”, which brought her to the attention of Doctor Who producer Innes Lloyd - recognition which would eventually lead to the role of Victoria Waterfield.

Deborah had originally auditioned for the part of Polly a year earlier but lost out to Anneke Wills. After the forthright and extrovert Polly, Victoria was designed to be the classic Victorian-style heroine; innocent and scared witless of just abut everything that moved, relying of the Doctor and Frazer Hines’ Jamie for protection. She first appeared in “The Evil of The Daleks”, and after her mortally wounded father asks The Doctor to take care of her, joined in his adventures until “Fury from the Deep” where her trademark scream was effective in killing the parasitic seaweed creatures.

Deborah made a brief appearance in “Dimensions in Time”, paired with Jon Pertwee, and returned to play Victoria in “Downtime”, Reeltime Pictures’ 1995 direct-to-video drama, starring alongside Nicholas Courtney, Elisabeth Sladen and her actor-father Jack Watling, who she had also played the role with in “The Abominable Snowmen” and “The Web of Fear”.

Other television roles have included The Power Game (“Later Via Rome”), Out of the Unknown, The Newcomers, Arthur of the Britons, Lillie, Danger UXB, Rising Damp, Accident and Doctor in Charge, while her film work includes “Take Me High” with Cliff Richard and “That’ll Be the Day” with David Essex.

Deborah has also had a distinguished career on the stage as well - her most recent theatre credits range from playing Mrs Alving in Ibsen’s “Ghosts”, to Beverly in “Abigail’s Party”.

Deborah last joined us for a Cult TV Festival in 1997, and we were delighted that she agreed to return for our final live event in 2007. She appeared courtesy of Fantom Films.

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

We profile the creator of Dad's Army ...

 

Born in Poole, Dorset to a theatrical family he was educated at Arnold House, St John’s Wood; Durleston Court, Swanage; and Rugby School. During World War II he served in The Royal Artillery and Dorset Regiment in North Africa, India and Singapore. He was on Montgomery’s staff at the War Office, and eventually rose to the rank of Major.

After the war he appeared in Repertory theatre and a West End Musical. In 1952 he collaborated with Ian Carmichael and Ted Kavenagh on a new TV series, and commenced a partnership with Cyril Ornadel writing the music and lyrics for the Ciceley Courtnedge musical “Star MakerE He wrote a number of shows for the London Palladium and many light entertainment spectaculars for the BBC.

In 1954 he joined Rediffusion Television as Head of Light Entertainment Script Department. In 1959 he assisted with the setting up of Tyne Tees Television. He then joined the BBC and produced and directed such programmes as The Benny Hill Show, The Dick Emery Show, Hugh and I, Beggar My Neighbour, Steptoe and Son, Till Death Us Do Part, Tales of Lazy Acre and Up Pompeii.

He then started situation comedy writing with co-author Jimmy Perry, commencing with the legendary Dad’s Army, followed by It Ain’t Half Hot Mum and Hi De Hi. With Jeremy Lloyd he wrote Are You Being Served, Come Back Mrs Noah and Oh Happy Band. As well as writing he also produced and directed all of the above.

In 1982 he co-wrote, again with Jeremy Lloyd, and produced Allo Allo. This ran for some ninety episodes and also had a record-breaking theatre run at The Prince of Wales Theatre and the London Palladium. You Rang M’Lord followed, co-written with Jimmy Perry, which pioneered the 50 minute situation comedy. Most recently David co-wrote Oh Doctor Beeching with Richard Spendlove.

David has also produced and directed television in Australia for Channel 7 and Los Angeles for CBS and Paramount. In 1978 he was awarded the O.B.E. for services to television and in 1982 the Desmond Davies award for his outstanding contribution to the industry.

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Red Dwarf's Cat creates a song and dance ...

 

If you have ever wondered what would happen to your moggy if it was left to evolve on a spaceship for three million years, then Cat, played by Danny John-Jules in Red Dwarf, supplies the answer.

Supremely cool but ever-so vain, Danny also played Cat’s highly memorable and completely opposite alter-ego in the episode "Back to Reality", Dwaine Dibbly.

Danny has been busy recently on TV, playing Ed Ross in the BBC sit-com The Crouches, Milton Wordsworth, a member of a family of library-inhabiting magicians in The Story Makers, and the role of Leon in Casualty.

For the big screen he played Asad in Blade II, and the part of Paul in the acclaimed short film Sleep.

Other roles over the years include Barrington in Maid Marian and her Merry Men, Byron Lucifer in "The Living Stones", a story from the 1990s version of The Tomorrow People, an episode of The Bill, and the part of Barfly Jack in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. You can also see him as one of the partygoers in the 1991 movie London Kills Me.

As a boy, he appeared as an extra in the hard-hitting drama Scum. His singing and dancing career includes appearances on The Hot Shoe Show, as well as the West End musicals Cats, Starlight Express and Soul Train. He toured America with Wham, was a Doo-Wop Street Singer at a bus stop in the 1986 version of Little Shop of Horrors, and a voice of two of the Fireys in Labyrinth. He also sang backing vocals on "Chilly Down", one of the David Bowie tracks on the Labyrinth soundtrack.

Danny recorded a CD single of "Tongue-Tied", a song from the Red Dwarf series, which was credited to The Cat, and reached the Top 20 in 1995. It also features his rendition of the theme to the series.

Danny's nephew, Alexander John Jules, played Lister as a baby in the “Ouroboros” episode of Red Dwarf.

 

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