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Star Profiles

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

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Actor, Stunt Co-ordinator and double for Patrick McGoohan in The Prisoner ...


After serving in the Parachute Regiment during the war, Frank Maher worked as a stuntman and actor on many of the ITC action adventure shows. An expert in all forms of fighting, he became a master at crashing cars, falling from great heights and leaping through windows.

A stunt man on The Avengers, he played roles in three episodes opposite Honor Blackman. When Diana Rigg took over as Steed's assistant he appeared as Nicholls in You Have Just Been Murdered, ultimately impaled on a scythe by Emma Peel.

After working on Man in a Suitcase he acted as the stunt co-ordinator for both Department S and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased).

As well as Roger Moore’s stunt double in The Saint, he played Kraft in The Paper Chase and Rip Savage in the two-part story The Fiction Makers. Two years later he doubled for Moore a second time in The Persuaders!, and appeared in the episode The Man in the Middle.

Forging a long association with Patrick McGoohan after being his stunt double in Danger Man, Frank teamed up with the actor for The Prisoner.

As stunt director on the series, responsible for the action sequences and choreographed fight scenes, he played Number Six in the episode The Schizoid Man and appeared as a Gunman in Living in Harmony.

When he retired from stunt work, after working on Doctor Who and Blake’s 7, Frank spent his time writing adventure novels.

Frank died peacefully in July 2007.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Frankie Abbott from Please, Sir! and The Fenn Street Gang ...


David Barry came to televisual fame in the 1970s, when he starred as Frankie Abbott, the mummy's boy who thinks he's a hardcase, in the sitcoms Please, Sir! (a US version was known as Welcome Back Kotter) and The Fenn Street Gang. At this time he wrote his first broadcast TV script, and in the 1980s wrote regularly for the sitcom Keep It in the Family (US version: Too Close for Comfort), and also played a leading role in the feature film of "George and Mildred".

David was born and brought up in north Wales. At the age of 12 he worked as an actor, and his first stage appearance was at Theatre Royal, Windsor in "Life With Father", the longest running Broadway play. In the late 1950s he made a film with Tyrone Power, "Abandon Ship", then toured Europe with Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh in Peter Brook’s production of "Titus Andronicus", the most prestigious post-war tour, and one of the first to visit the Iron Curtain countries. As a teenager, he appeared in countless TV productions, including playing the part of Ginger in the first commercial television series of Just William.

He has enjoyed working in the theatre, in plays such as "Under Milk Wood", "Forget-Me-Not Lane", "Funny Money", and more recently in David Mamet's "Duck Variations". He has also played in 25 Christmas pantomimes, and these days usually plays the Dame.!

During the 1990s, he was very involved both as an actor and writer in producing diversity training workshops in public sector organisations, and wrote a full-length play "What Goes Around", which ran for a limited season in London theatres.

More recently he has turned to book writing, and his first novel, "Each Man Kills", was published in November 2002. It is located in Wales, and reached Number 8 in the Welsh bestseller list. He has also created and is writing an internet soap, "Careless Talk", located in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, the town in which he now lives. Visit www.carelesstalksoap.btinternet.co.uk to access the stories, and there are links on his website to his book at the publisher and at Amazon.

David has recently published his autobiography, "Flashback", which is also available at Amazon and most booksellers. We were delighted that David joined us for the Cult TV Festival in 2006.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Award winning Director of the likes of Doctor Who, Hex, Bugs and Highlander, and co-creator of As If ...

Brian Grant has directed many a show that is considered a Cult TV series. You'll see his name on the credits of such programmes as Highlander – The Raven, The Hitch-hiker, She-Wolf of London, Mann and Machine, Red Shoe Diaries, Bugs, Second Noah, Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married, Clocking Off, Queen of Swords, Love Bytes and Sky One's horror hit Hex.

He was the Co-Creator, Executive Producer and one of the Directors of Channel 4's As If, the tale of the lives and loves of six teenagers, set against the background of London in the 21st century that ran for four seasons. He also served as Producer and Director for the short-run American restaging of the series for the UPN network. Recently he has turned his attention to directing an episode of the new regeneration of Doctor Who, namely 'The Long Game'.

Brian started his TV and film career in the 1970s as a television cameraman. He worked on hundreds of productions, covering everything from drama to sport, light entertainment to news and current affairs. Projects included Edward the Seventh, The Strauss Family, Anthony and Cleopatra, Sapphire and Steel, Hamlet and The Muppet Show. He also shot a number of documentaries.

In 1979 he formed a production company with producer Scott Millaney. This led to him directing over 200 music videos for acts such as Whitney Houston, Rod Stewart, Tina Turner, Duran Duran, The Rolling Stones, Olivia Newton John, Queen, Dolly Parton, David Bowie, Aretha Franklyn, Liza Minelli, Elton John, Donna Summer, Sheena Easton, Jodey Whatley, The Bee Gees, Stevie Nicks, The Moody Blues, Spandau Ballet and Peter Gabriel (including 'Shock The Monkey'). He won many prestigious awards including the first Music Video Grammy for Olivia Newton John's 'Let's Get Physical'.

Brian has directed over 30 commercials, including ones for Chrysler, Pepsi, Sharp and Ford. Millaney Grant Productions eventually became MGMM Productions when directors Russell Mulcahy and David Mallet joined in 1984. The company grew and formed Initial Films with Eric Fellner, and produced a number of feature films including "Sid & Nancy", "A Kiss Before Dying", "The Rachel Papers" and "Hidden Agenda".

In true Hitchcock style, Brian has taken a couple of cameos in films he has directed - watch out for him as a Chef in "The Immortals" and a man outside a phonebox in "Bloodlines: Legacy of a Lord".

His most recent cinematic outing was directing the stars of Smack The Pony in a spoof of Xena-esque adventures, "Gladiatress". He has just wrapped production on series two of Hex, screening on Sky One from October 2005.

Brian was a guest at the Cult TV Festival 2005.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

From Bergerac to Margaret The Slitheen in the new Doctor Who, here's an excellent actress who joined the fun at Cult TV 2005 ...


Annette’s breakthrough television performance was as Charlotte in the early seasons of Bergerac, although the performance more recent Cult TV audiences will have latched on to was her role as Margaret Blaine, one of the Slitheen, in three episodes of the new series of Doctor Who.

She has also become very recognisable from her role as Brawdie Henshall in the BBC’s Cutting It, and has a role in the new movie "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory".

This year she also featured in Coronation Street as Thelma Clegg, and as Pauline in the Russell T Davies adaption of Casanova. Guest roles over the years have include 2.4 Children (as Dawn in one of a couple of episodes that included the Star Trek homage "Beam Me Up, Scotty"), Shoestring, The Gentle Touch, Nanny, Minder, Frank Stubbs Promotes, You Must Be The Husband, Love Hurts, The Demon Headmaster, Holby City, Doctors, The Bill, Judge John Deed, Twisted Tales, and several episodes of The Worst Witch (as Mrs Tapioca).

An early TV appearance was as a Tap Dancing Pupil in The Naked Civil Servant, and she later appeared in the mini-series Lace and Lace II, as well as the critically acclaimed The Old Men At The Zoo. She starred as Christine in the series Trouble and Strife, Willow in Making Out (alongside Keith Allen) and as Dolly Buckle in Blackhearts In Battersea. She played Shine in Archer’s Goon, and featured as a Nurse in Inside Victor Lewis-Smith.

Film credits include "Jabberwocky", "Beyond Bedlam", "Twenty Four Seven", "Little Voice", "Honest", "Beautiful People", "Club Le Monde", and the voice of Elsa in "Valiant". She also starred alongside Patrick Stewart as Mrs Fezziwig in the 1999 adaption of "A Christmas Carol".

Annette Badland was kindly sponsored by the League Of The Non-Aligned (LOTNA) when she appeared at Cult TV 2005.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Exploring the reality of television science fiction ...


Born in Birmingham of dual British and American nationality, Andrew O'Day spent his childhood in Washington DC, Oxford and Milton Keynes. A firm Doctor Who fan after the transmission of BBC2's "The Five Faces of Doctor Who" season in the Autumn of 1981 and Longleat's "20 Years Of A Time Lord" Convention two years later, he edited the fanzine "Doctor Who Times", then "Sci-Fi Times".

Studying at William Shatner's Alma Mater, McGill University in Montreal where the Students' Union building was named after him, Andrew met Forbes March who was staying in the same Hall of Residence. Best known for playing Jesse Kilman in Mutant X, Forbes helped him get a job researching aspects of culture for The Professor's Page in the Halifax newspaper "The Chronicle Herald".

Awarded a BA in English Literature from McGill, Andrew returned to Oxford to take an MA in Text and Performance Studies at King's College, London in association with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. One of his instructors at RADA was Gregory de Polnay, best known to Doctor Who fans for his role as D84 in the highly acclaimed 1977 story "The Robots Of Death" starring Tom Baker.

Andrew has since completed a PhD thesis at Royal Holloway, University of London on science fiction television. Entitled "Borderline Discourses: Meta-Textuality in Television Science Fiction", the thesis provides a thorough investigation of reflection on genre, ideology, and narrative structure in The Twilight Zone, Star Trek, Doctor Who and Douglas Adams' The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy.


He has also co-written the book Terry Nation, with Dr Jonathan Bignell, Reader in Television and Film and Director of the Centre for Television Studies at the University of Reading. Published by Manchester University Press in 2004, the book focuses primarily on Nation's science fiction work for Doctor Who, Survivors, in which civilisation is decimated by a deadly viral strain, and Blake's 7.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

The star of The Adventures of Sir Lancelot and Doctor Who ...


William Russell has been part of the film and TV world since 1940, when he had an uncredited role as a Field Judge in the film "God Gave Him A Dog" (aka "The Biscuit Eater"). An early television role as the star of St Ives, based on the book by Robert Louis Stevenson, led to him gaining the leading role in ITC/Sapphire Films' The Adventures of Sir Lancelot, all 30 episodes of which are about to be released by Network DVD.

Other early TV appearances included Sword of Freedom, Assignment Foreign Legion, Triton, Suspense, and the 1963 adaptation of Jane Eyre. Over the years, he has also adopted the stage names of Russell Enoch and Enoch Russell.

It was in 1963 that he took on the other role that most Cult TV fans associate him with – that of schoolteacher Ian Chesterton in Doctor Who, a part that he played from until 1965.

He has been a regular face on television ever since, appearing in series such as The Professionals, Black Adder (as the Duke of Winchester), Shoestring, Strangers, Van der Valk, Father Brown, Disraeli, David Copperfield, Nicholas Nickelby, Boon and Heartbeat. He even spent a year in Coronation Street in 1992, playing Ted Sullivan, who married Rita Fairclough before meeting his demise!

His film credits include "The Gift Horse", "Malta Story", "Appointment in London", "Intimate Relations", "They Who Dare", "The Saint Returns", "Always a Bride", "One Good Turn", "Above Us the Waves", "The Gay Dog", "The Man Who Never Was", "The Big Chance", "Breakaway", "Blind Spot", "Duellists", "Deathwatch", and "Mark Gertler". He played Sorren in "The Great Escape" and was the Eighth Elder in the first Christopher Reeve "Superman" movie.

William held a senior post in actors’ union Equity for a time. He has considerable theatrical experience, having been part of the Old Vic, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and the National Theatre, and has toured the likes of Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Ireland, Sweden and Romania.

We were delighted that William agreed to join us for Cult TV 2005.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

The original Colonel Tigh from Galactica, and Sugarman in Bilko ...


Terry Carter is best remembered for his roles as Colonel Tigh in the original Battlestar Galactica, and Joe Broadhurst in McCloud (working up from a Sergeant in the first episode, through to being Police Chief in the 1989 reunion TV movie).

Terry has had a multi-faceted career, often portraying police officers and military personnel. He became one of the privates – Sugarman - in Sergeant Bilko's platoon in Phil Silvers Show in 1955. That role saw him as one of the few African-Americans appearing on TV in the USA at the time. He went on to be seen in episodes of The Big Story, Playhouse 90, Naked City, Breaking Point, Dr Kildare, Combat! and The Defenders. He was also a star of the 1957 Hallmark Television Playhouse segment "The Green Pastures", alongside Harry Baird (Mark Bradley in UFO).

He became a newsreader for WBZ-TV in Boston from 1965 to 1968, seeing him gain the status of being the world's first black news anchor. Later he worked as a commercial spokesman for Standard Oil.

He then returned to television with roles in series such as The Bold Ones: The New Doctors, Mannix, Bracken’s World, and The Most Deadly Game.

His familiarity to television audiences has been cemented with roles in The Six Million Dollar Man, Search, The Jeffersons, Falcon Crest, The Fall Guy, Mr Belvedere, 227, The Highwayman and One West Waikiki.

Film work has included "Foxy Brown", "Brother on the Run" (aka "Man on the Run"), "Benji", "Abby", and Hamilton (a movie that was turned into a TV series, in which Terry played Texas Slim).

Terry has also been a director and producer – he produced the segment "A Duke Named Ellington" for American Masters - and we were delighted to welcome Terry to his first Cult TV Festival in 2006, where "A Duke Named Ellington" received a screening.

And if you want to find out more about Terry, why not visit his official website at www.terry-carter.net.


Our thanks to Marcel Damen for providing some additional information for this biography.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Professor Clifford Jones from Doctor Who and Max in Blake's 7 ...


Stewart is well remembered for his role as Professor Clifford Jones in the Doctor Who story "The Green Death", directed by Michael E Briant in the Jon Pertwee era of the series. Stewart's other notable Cult TV appearance was in the Season Three episode of Blake's 7 - "Deathwatch", as Max.

Over the years, he has been a regular face across many television series – he was Doctor Dawson in Brookside, and Doug Keele Grange Hill, as well as having roles in The Troubleshooters, Dick Turpin - "The Pursuit", Shoestring (3 episodes), Public Eye (two 1975 episodes as Martins), Secret Army, The Enigma Files, Airline, The Gentle Touch, Casualty, Silent Witness, Crocodile Shoes, Emmerdale, The Bill, The Brian Conley Show, The House of Elliott, Days That Shook The World, The Brief, Sherlock Holmes and the case of the Silk Stocking, Nanny, Murder in Mind, a 1994 Jackanory – "Who Stole A Bloater?", and even Noel's House Party.

His film credits include "Brannigan" (with John Wayne), "To Sir With Love", "4D Special Agents", "Steptoe and Son Ride Again", "Burke and Hare", "The Ghoul", "The Confessional", "Chromophobia", "Ivanhoe" (1982, directed by Douglas Camfield) and "Lord Peter Wimsey – Strong Poison".

Stage tours have included "Deathtrap", 2Separation", "Under Milk Wood", "Conduct Unbecoming", and "Macbeth" and "The Importance of Being Earnest", both which he directed himself.

Stewart plays the guitar, and enjoys horse riding, swimming and cricket. We were delighted to be able to entertain him at the 2006 Cult TV Festival.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

One of the original stars of The Tomorrow People joins us at Cult TV 2005, courtesy of Fantom Films ...


Sammie Winmill became famous in Cult TV circles for her role as Carol in the first season of the original version of The Tomorrow People.

During the 1970s other credits included appearances along side Frankie Howard in Up Pompeii and Up the Chastity Belt, as well as The Professionals, The New Avengers, The Duchess of Duke Street, The Professionals and of course Nurse Sandra Crumpton alongside Robin Nedwell and Geoffrey Davies in Doctor in Charge.

Her theatre credits include the "Stand and Deliver" (The Musical), "The Clandestine Marriage" with Alistair Simm, and she took the lead in the Redgrave Theatre’s opening production of "Romeo and Juliet".

Sammie made her return to acting in the late 1990s with appearances in BBV’s Only Human and MJTV's Ghostlands and Soldiers of Love. More recently she took part in The Tomorrow People documentary "Beyond Tomorrow", and made a guest appearance in chapter two of the fantasy thriller trilogy Explode.

Sammie was brought to the Cult TV Festival 2005 by Fantom Films, and performed a ten-minute extract from her one-woman show during the Cult TV Festival's Saturday night entertainment.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Star of One Foot In The Grave, Only When I Laugh, Hot Metal and Doctor Who ...


There are not many actors who have claim to portraying a cult icon. But with pensioner crusader Victor Meldrew, Richard Wilson did exactly that in One Foot In The Grave, a role he played between 1990 and 2001 (the last appearance being a specially written "Comic Relief" segment, where Victor does not realise he is a ghost). The character’s catch-phrase "I don't believe it" was even mercilessly sent-up, with Richard’s participation, in an episode of Channel 4's Father Ted.

One Foot In The Grave was not the first time that Richard had been written for by David Renwick who, along with Andrew Marshall, had provided the words for principled newspaper editor Richard Lipton, the character Wilson played in the satirical and much under-rated comedy series Hot Metal. He also featured in the big screen version of the duo’s Whoops Apocalypse, playing politician Nigel Lipman.

Richard starred in the single season of Duck Patrol in 1998 as PC Roland Rose, and co-starred as John Doone in the short-run hospital drama Life Support in 1999. He played Bruce Morton in 2001’s High Stakes, and journalist Alex Cameron in Life As We Know It in the same year.

In a career where he has been both an actor and an accomplished theatre director, Richard previously worked as a research scientist. He first became a well-known face when he played Gordon Thorpe in hospital comedy Only When I Laugh, which was headlined by James Bolam and Peter Bowles. He was Reverend Martin Hooper in My Good Woman, and Henshaw in A Sharp Intake of Breath, one of David Jason’s first starring vehicles, and one that never gets mentioned much these days.

Having received an OBE in 1994, Richard again played a man of medicine in 2005, with his portrayal of Doctor Constantine, in two episodes of the regenerated Doctor Who, namely "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances", the story set during the Second World War.

Other TV appearances have included The Sweeney, Inspector Morse, Under The Hammer, Mr Bean, The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes, Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, Howard’s Way, Crown Court, Tutti Frutti, High And Dry, In Loving Memory, Not on Your Nellie, Room At The Bottom, Chessgame, Andy Robson, A Passage To India, In The Red, Cluedo (as Reverend Green) and Emmerdale (when it was still a Farm!).

Television mini series and specials he has appeared in include "Selling Hitler" "Jeffrey Archer: The Truth", "Gulliver's Travels", "The Four Minute Mile", "Butter", "The Vision Thing", "The Other Side of Paradise", "Lord of Misrule" and "The Nearly Complete and Utter History of Everything".

Big screen appearances have included "Carry On Columbus", "The Man Who Knew Too Little", and "How To Get Ahead in Advertising".

His most recent TV starring role has been in Born and Bred, playing another doctor, Donald Newman, from the third season onwards.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Paul Morrow from Space:1999, and a well-known TV face from the likes of Doctor Who, The New Avengers, and Survivors ...


Prentis Hancock was born and bred in Glasgow, and studied architecture at college. A keen sportsman, he played rugby and was a fencing instructor, but got the bug for acting and directing after joining an amateur theatre company. This led to him attending the Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama.

Many television roles followed, including the likes of Z Cars, Dixon Of Dock Green, Softly Softly, Doctor Finley's Casebook, the 1972 version of The Last Of The Mohicans, Paul Temple, Spy Trap and Colditz.

He also appeared in "Wam", the two part episode of The Protectors alongside Robert Vaughn, and several Doctor Who stories (as Jimmy in "Spearhead From Space", Vaber in "Planet Of The Daleks", Salamar in "Planet Of Evil", and the Captain in "The Ribos Operation").

It was for his role as Main Mission Controller PAUL MORROW in Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s Space: 1999 that Prentis is probably best known. He featured in 23 of the 24 episodes of the first season ("The Infernal Machine" being the exception). He was offered the role without having to audition, and was only the fourth cast member to be signed up to the production. In one episode he was able to use his guitar playing skills as part of the plotline, and to help flesh out his character.


Since his stint in Space 1999 he has appeared in episodes of The New Avengers, Survivors, Bergerac, Danger UXB, Bulman, Secret Army, Return Of The Saint, Armchair Thriller, The Famous Five, Life and Death of Penelope, Bodyguards, Kappatoo, Staying Alive, Finney, Civvies, The Chief, and The Bill.

He co-starred in the spooky ITV serials Chocky's Children and Chocky's Challenge, and is one of the only actors to have featured in both The Professionals and its revival, CI5: The New Professionals.

Prentis appeared in the television movies "Lime Street", "Hitler’s SS: Portrait in Evil", "Kim" and "Jekyll and Hyde", the mini-series "King Jamie and the Angel", the 1978 big screen version of "The 39 Steps", "The Monster Club" and "Defence Of The Realm".

Recent theatre work has included "The Cut", "Pygmalion", "Terra Nova", "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof", "Best of Friends", "The Last Tram", "My Blue Heaven", and "Striking Silence".

We were delighted when Prentis joined us for the Cult TV Festival 2005.



Wednesday, 20 February 2008

From Dad's Army to UFO, A Mind To Kill to Doctor Who, Philip has had a massive career on television ...


Born in Wales, Philip Madoc attended the Universities of Wales and Vienna, where he became an interpreter, and since entering the theatre has worked in Russian, French, German and Italian.

An extensive stage career includes productions at the Bristol Old Vic, The Royal Shakespeare Company, and The Royal Exchange, plus numerous national tours and West End appearances.

He is most well known for playing the title role in the BBC’s The Life and Times of David Lloyd George, the German U Boat Captain in the Dad’s Army episode "The Deadly Attachment" featuring the legendary 'Don’t Tell Him Pike' scene, plus the lead of Noel Bain in Five’s A Mind To Kill. He played Magua in the BBC adaptation of The Last of The Mohicans and Doctor Lewis in Another Bouquet.

His film work includes "Operation Crossbow", "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold", "Shadow Falls", "Best", and the feature length version of A Mind To Kill.

As one of the most prolific television character actors of the last forty years Philip has graced numerous Cult TV series including four Doctor Who stories, namely, "The Krotons", "The War Games", "The Power of Kroll" and most famously as Solon in "The Brain of Morbius". He also appeared in the 1966 "Daleks Invasion Earth 2150AD" film which starred Peter Cushing.

Other series in which he has made guest appearances include Porridge, The Goodies, Emmerdale, Poldark, Fortunes of War, Redcap, R3, Manhunt, The Sweeney, Target, Survivors, Moonacre, First Born, The Good Life, Casualty, Doctors, Spine Chillers, Fun at the Funeral Parlour, He Knew He Was Right, and A Very British Coup. He played the Jordache’s Defence counsel in Brookside and took part in the BBC comedy pilot Thin Ice. He also appeared in ’Orrible, Johnny Vaughan’s BBC comedy.

In the worlds of ITC he has appeared in Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) playing Rawlins in the episode "Never Trust a Ghost", Jason King playing Hoffman in the episode "A Page Before Dying", two episodes of Man in A Suitcase, The Saint, playing Alzon in the episode "The Counterfeit Countess", Paul Sabot in The Zoo Gang episode "The Counterfeit Trap", Angel Martes in The Champions episode "Get Me Out of Here", and in The Baron he was Frank Oddy in "There's Someone Close Behind You".

For Gerry and Sylvia Anderson he played outgoing Commander Anton Gorski in the premiere Space: 1999 episode "Breakaway", plus two roles in UFO - Steven Rutland in "A Question of Priorities" and "Mindbender", plus the ship’s Captain in "Destruction". He also played the role of Doctor Pontini in the Oscar nominated "Doppelganger" (aka "Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun").

He has appeared in five episodes of The Avengers, playing Slater in the episode "My Wildest Dream", Ivan in "The Correct Way To Kill", Eric Van Doren in "Death of a Batman", Julian Seabrook in "Six Hands Across a Table", and Stepan in episode "The Decapod".

On tape he has, amongst other works, recorded the Poetry of Dylan Thomas, Mallory’s "Morte D’Arthur", "How Green Was My Valley" and "Doctor Zhivago". He played the title role in "King Lear" for the BBC Open University and narrated the series "Egypt". He has numerous radio credits including Radio 2's "The Cruel Sea" with Donald Sinden and Helen Baxendale and "The Rhyme of The Ancient Mariner".

Philip appeared as a special guest at BBC Wales’ "Voice of a Nation Concert" to celebrate the opening of the Welsh Assembly. He was the Radio voice of "Cadfael" and was in the Radio 3 adaption of "The Tempest". He is shortly to be heard in the third installment of the Noise Monster audio adventure Space: 1889.

We were delighted when Philip joined us for the Cult TV Festival 2005 in Solihull.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

The original Holly from Red Dwarf ...


Norman Lovett was well into his thirties before he decided to be a stand-up comedian. He played the original Comedy Store many times and even supported The Clash, which he considers the favourite moment in his career.

Television and radio followed, including the role that he's most known for in Cult TV circles, the original Holly in Red Dwarf - in the first, second and eighth series, along with "Nanarchy", the final episode of the seventh series.

Norman's other television appearances include Don't Miss Wax, The Young Ones, Rab C Nesbitt, Pajamarama, Happy Families, Lenny Henry Tonight, The Tube, Later… with Jools Holland, Weekend In Wallop, Seven Wonders of the Industrial World, Is It Bill Bailey?,Baby Baby, Just For Laughs, Gordon the Gopher, Eastenders, The Bill, and his own series, I, Lovett.

His film career includes playing a police computer expert in "The Criminal", written and directed by Julian Simpson and starring Bernard Hill, Eddie Izzard and Stephen Macintosh, and playing one of the leads, a driving test examiner, in "Feedback", written and directed by Chris Atkins.

Norman's radio gigs include "Loose Ends", "To Boldly Go", and "The News Quiz". He starred as Clegg the Butler in Ben Traver's “Spotted Dick” at the Watford Palace Theatre. Commercial and voiceover work includes spots for Sony, First Direct, Sugar Puffs, Blockbuster Video, BMW, Grolsch, Nationwide, UCI Cinemas, and The Discovery Channel.

He also appeared in rock band Intro2's music video "Clear", playing Holly alongside fellow Red Dwarf stars Craig Charles and Danny John Jules.

Norman has worked on "The Lovett and Barrie" stand-up tour with Chris Barrie, and has had sellout seasons of solo stand-up shows at the Edinburgh Festival. He's currently recording a pilot for BBC Radio 4, which he has his fingers crossed will go to a full series.

Norman was a guest at the Cult TV Festivals in 1996, 1997, and most recently in 2006.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

From Star Trek to The X Files, Kim is not only an accomplished actress but also an acting teacher...


For many years, Kim Darby’s entry in the Star Trek universe, playing the title character in the episode "Miri", was one of a quartet of original series stories 'withdrawn' by the BBC from being screened. In fact, it was the initial screening of "Miri" in 1971 on BBC1 that caused the Corporation to cast a careful eye over future episodes. There had been several complaints concerning the story depicting children attacking adults, and so the episode remained unseen on Auntie Beeb for over two decades.

Kim recently re-acquainted herself with Cult TV audiences when she took the role of Kathy Lee Tencate in the episode "Sein und Zeit", part of Season Seven of The X Files.

Between these two markers has been a very busy and varied career.

A show business baby, Kim's parents were Jon and Inga Zerby, a dance team that toured nationally as 'The Dancing Zerbys', primarily playing hotels in Miami and Las Vegas. The Zerbys were performers going back three generations, so it was immediately assumed that their baby would go into the family trade.

Realising that all the most popular people in her school were drama students, Kim asked to go to acting school. Her grandmother took her to coach Tony Barr, who ran the Desilu Workshop, located in what is now Paramount Pictures Studios. Barr initially refused Kim on the grounds that she was too young for his classes, but she was allowed to audition, and, much impressed, Barr accepted her into his school of professional adult actors.

Some months later, agent Jimmy McHugh Jr visited class, saw Kim's scene work, and asked to represent her. Kim made her professional acting debut on television at sixteen, guest starring in the series Mr Novack and made her first film appearance that same year, not as an actress, but as a dancer in "Bye Bye Birdie".

Television guest roles following this were many, including Run for Your Life, Judd for the Defense, Gunsmoke, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Ironside, The Road West, The Fugitive, Ben Casey and Dr Kildare.

Then came "True Grit".


Starring opposite screen icon John Wayne, at the age of only twenty, Kim was considered for a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a drama for her performance, but actually got one that year for her role in the musical "Generation" instead (she has also received three Emmy nominations over the years, plus Best Actress awards from the New York Critics Circle Awards, the Film Editors Awards, the Dramalogue Theatre Awards, as well as the 'Star of the Year Award' from the National Association of Theatre Owners).

On television, she has gone on to appear in a host of other series, including For The People, Becker, Dark Realm, Profiler, Scarecrow and Mrs King, Riptide, Crazy Like A Fox, Murder, She Wrote, Hotel, Trapper John MD, Baretta, Petrocelli, The Streets of San Francisco, Police Story, Marcus Welby MD, and Cool Million. She also starred in the mini-series Rich Man, Poor Man, and the TV movies Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, The Capture of Grizzly Adams, Embassy, Summer Girl, First Steps (with Judd Hirsch), Pretty Boy Floyd (with Martin Sheen), and Enola Gay.

Other big screen movie performances have included "Better Off Dead", "Mockingbird Don’t Sing", "Halloween – The Curse of Michael Myers", "Teen Wolf Too", "The Last Best Sunday", "Newsbreak", "The One and Only", "The Grissom Gang", "Norwood" and "The Strawberry Statement".

In 1988, Kim began teaching acting classes at the University of California, Los Angeles, and shortly thereafter in her own school as well. Highly regarded by both the university and her students, she preaches learning in a safe place, and that acting is a skill that can and should be refined by study. As an actress who is continually working in her trade, she is able to bring to her students her continuing experiences and expertise.

We were delighted when Kim joined us in October 2005 for that year's Cult TV Festival.



Wednesday, 20 February 2008

The young star of The Rifleman, now a singer and orchestra leader, joined us for Cult TV 2005 ...


Johnny Crawford comes from a family of musicians and has been a performer right from the time he learned to walk. In 1955 his singing impersonation of Johnnie Ray came to the attention of the Disney empire, and a contract was offered which saw him become one of the original Mouseketeers on The Mickey Mouse Club in the 1955-6 season. As an actor, Johnny has appeared in nearly 300 television productions, 15 films, and over a dozen plays. He received an Emmy Nomination at the age of 13 for his role as Mark McCain, the son of series star Chuck Connors in the western series The Rifleman, which ran for five seasons following its debut in 1958.

Signed by Del-Fi Records in 1961, Johnny had several American Top 40 hits in the 1960s including "Cindy's Birthday", "Rumors", "Your Nose Is Gonna Grow", "Proud", and "Patti Ann", as well as four Top 40 albums.

After graduating from Hollywood High School in 1964, Johnny appeared in a number of television series, including Branded (which again saw him co-star with Chuck Connors), Whirlybirds, Lancer, The Lone Ranger, Mister Ed, Rawhide, Hawaii Five-O, Have Gun – Will Travel, Wagon Train, The Big Valley, Cade’s County, The Frank Sinatra Show, Murder, She Wrote and Paradise. He even reprised his role from The Rifleman alongside Chuck Connors, in the TV movie The Gamble Returns: The Luck of the Draw (which starred Country Music legend Kenny Rogers). Interestingly, in an earlier instalment in this TV movie series, Johnny had played a different character, Masket, in The Gambler: The Adventure Continues.


He became a rodeo performer for a time, using skills he had perfected filming The Rifleman, and spent two years in the Army, where he used the commission making training films.

In 1986 he co-starred in the new TV production of The Adventures of William Tell (sometimes known as William Tell, or even Crossbow) as Prince Ignatius. Unfortunately, despite this being a UK-based production, it sank without trace on these home shores, due to the powers-that-be objecting to a format that saw the hero carrying a crossbow as his weapon of choice.

A long-time fan of dance records from the first half of the 20th century, Johnny made occasional appearances during the 1980s singing songs from this period to his own guitar accompaniment. He spent the period 1987 to 1989 in New York as the vocalist in Vince Giordano's Nighthawks Orchestra. Now Johnny enjoys singing with his own dance band as well as producing period music for films and events.

Since 1990 "The Johnny Crawford Dance Orchestra", a 16-piece ensemble, has gathered an enthusiastic following in Southern California, appearing at such venues as The Argyle Hotel, The Atlas Supper Club, Cicada, The Derby, Moonlight Cafe, Biltmore Hotel and The Palace. Johnny's performances at The Hollywood Athletic Club in the late 1990s garnered much attention, and are even referred to in the Elmor Leonardís novel "Be Cool" (the follow-up to "Get Shorty"). He was recently heard on the soundtrack of the George Clooney film "Welcome to Collinwood".

Visit Johnny's official website at www.crawfordmusic.com



Wednesday, 20 February 2008

From Star Trek to McMillan and Wife, Holmes and YoYo to The Munsters Today ...


John has been one of the only guest characters to feature in more than one movie in the Star Trek franchise, when he portrayed the Klingon Ambassador in both "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" and "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country". He has also featured in various Trek series – as Parn, a Cardassian legate and member of Cardassian Central Command in Deep Space Nine’s "Maquis, Part II", Chorus #2 in the Voyager episode "Muse", and Klingon Doctor Antaak in the Enterprise season 4 episodes "Affliction" and "Divergence".

He was a series regular as Sergeant/Lieutenant Charles Enright in McMillan and Wifeopposite Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James for six seasons, including the pilot movie "Once Upon A Dead Man". He starred as robot cop Gregory Yoyonovic in the fondly remembered sit-com Holmes and YoYo in 1976, a series once screened early evenings on BBC1. He took on the role of Herman Munster in The Munsters Today, the 1988 reimagining of the classic format, and played Ordell in the classic mini-series "Roots", and Jair in "Greatest Heroes Of The Bible".

Another short-run TV starring role was in the sit-com Turnabout in 1979, where he played Sam Alston, in a tale of a Buddha statue that magically causes a permanent body-swap for a happily married couple. Sharon Gless played wife Penny, but just six episodes were screened. John also featured as Murray in 1982-3's The New Odd Couple, and was in four episodes of St Elsewhere as Andrew Wegener.

Further TV work has included Babylon 5 (2 episodes as Draal), Mission Impossible, Misfits of Science, MacGyver, Time Trax, The Young Riders, NYPD Blue, Diagnosis Murder, Law & Order and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (3 episodes), Titus, The Golden Girls, Diff’rent Strokes, Simon & Simon (4 episodes), Murder, She Wrote (2 episodes), Gunsmoke (2 episodes), Fantasy Island (2 episodes), Live Shot (2 episodes), The Bonnie Hunt Show (2 episodes), Cade’s Country (a 2-parter), The Love Boat (another 2-parter), Matlock, L.A. Law, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Bonanza, Ironside, Partners In Crime, JJ Starbuck, Sisters, Faerie Tale Theatre, Love, American Style, Movin’ On, Hey Arnold, Arli$$, and Chicken Soup For The Soul.

TV movies have included "Project: ALF", the sequel to the TV series ALF, "Shepherd’s Flock", "Hunter", "Four Eyes and Six-Guns", "Run for the Dream: The Gail Devers Story", "The Trial of Old Drum", and "The Halloween That Almost Wasn't".

Born Conrad John Schuck in Boston, Massachusetts in 1940, he is the son of an English professor. Graduating from Dennison University where he had appeared in a number of plays, John got himself into regional theatre, including stints at the Cleveland Playhouse, Baltimore Centre Stage, and the American Conservatory Theatre (ACT) in San Francisco.

It was while at ACT that director Robert Altman took an interest, and featured John as Captain Walter Kosciusko 'Painless Pole' Waldowski, the dentist, in the classic film version of "M*A*S*H" in 1970. Altman used John in further big screen ventures, including "Brewster McCloud", "McCabe and Mrs Miller", and "Thieves Like Us".

Other big screen movies have included "The Moonshine War" (with Patrick McGoohan), "Hammersmith Is Out" (with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, directed by and co-starring Peter Ustinov), "Holy Matrimony" (with Patricia Arquette and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, directed by Leonard Nimoy), "Outrageous Fortune" (with Shelley Long and Bette Midler), "Just You And Me Kid" (with George Burns and Brooke Shields), "Pontiac Moon" (with Ted Danson and May Steenburgen), "My Mum’s A Werewolf" (with John Saxon and Ruth Buzzi), "Dick Tracy" (with Warren Beatty and Madonna), "Earthbound" (with Burl Ives), "Finders Keepers" (with Pamela Stephenson and a young Jim Carrey), "Tales from the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight", "The Curse of the Jade Scorpion" (directed by Woody Allen), and "Butch and Sundance: The Early Days" (directed by Richard Lester). He also had an uncredited role as Wilson in "Midway".

Stage musicals have become John's big love in recent years. He has regularly appeared as Daddy Warbucks in "Annie", on Broadway as well as on tours. He had great success as Frank Butler in "Annie Get Your Gun", and has appeared in "The Sound of Music", "Peter Pan", "The Most Happy Fella" and "She Loves Me".


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

From The Six Million Dollar Man to Melrose Place, Planet Earth to Enter The Dragon, here's an actor with an incredible track record ...


John Saxon is a powerhouse of cult appearances on both the big and small screen. Gene Roddenberry fans will know him as 'Dylan Hunt' in the 1974 TV pilot movie Planet Earth, a second attempt at a format originally filmed with a different cast as Genesis II the year before. Eventually the format was developed into the series we now know as Andromeda.

On The Six Million Dollar Man he guest-starred as Major Frederick Sloan, who became better know thanks to the tie-in toys as arch-villain Maskatron (a role which also crossed over to The Bionic Woman)! Other regular series roles included Henry Waxman in Melrose Place, Tony Cumson in Falcon Crest, Rashid Ahmed in Dynasty, and the first incarnation of Edward Gerard in Another World.

His list of TV guest appearances in monumental, and includes outings on Kung Fu, The A Team, Burke’s Law, Gunsmoke, Dr Kildare, Bonanza, The Virginian, The Time Tunnel, Cimarron Strip, Ironside, Garrison’s Gorillas, It Takes A Thief, The Name Of The Game, The Sixth Sense, Night Gallery, Banyon, The Streets of San Francisco, The Rookies, Police Story, Banacek, Petrocelli, The Rockford Files, Starsky and Hutch, Wonder Woman, The Fantastic Journey, Westside Medical, Fantasy Island, Vega$, Hardcastle and McCormick, Scarecrow and Mrs King, Magnum PI, Masquerade, Murder She Wrote, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Hotel, Monsters, Matlock, Ray Bradbury Theater, In The Heat Of The Night, and Kung Fu – The Legend Continues.

John became interested in acting as a teenager and began attending dramatic school in Manhattan while still going to New Utrecht High School in Brooklyn. A photograph of him from a summer modelling job came to the attention of a Hollywood agent and thereafter luck, ability and the then prevailing Hollywood studio system provided John with a Universal Studios Stock Contract at the age of 17, three weeks after his arrival in Los Angeles.

After much screen-testing he gained a co-starring role with Esther Williams in the 1956 drama "The Unguarded Moment". Roles in "Rock Pretty Baby", "Summer Love", "The Restless Years", "This Happy Feeling" and "The Reluctant Debutante" secured his reputation as something of a 'teenage heart throb'.

By 1960, character acting had become his trade, in movies such as "Cry Tough", "The Big Fisherman", "The Unforgiven", "The Plunderers" and "Warhunt".

In 1965 John won the role of Chuy Medina, a Mexican bandit, playing opposite Marlon Brando in "The Appaloosa". A new contract with Universal led John to appear in many of the earliest television movies, such as "Doomsday Flight" and "Winchester 73", and well as the part of Dr Ted Stuart in The New Doctors - a regular strand of the anthology series The Bold Ones, from 1969 to 1972.

He has featured in the mini-series Harold Robbins’ 79 Park Avenue, Once An Eagle, and Greatest Heroes of The Bible.

In 1973 John co-starred as Roper in "Enter the Dragon", with Bruce Lee, a film that has achieved classic cult status. John has now appeared in over 100 feature films, including "From Dusk Till Dawn", "Strange New World", "Raid On Entebbe", "The Electric Horseman", "Battle Beyond the Stars", "Prisoners of the Lost Universe", "Cannibal Apocalypse", "Tennebrae", "Wrong Is Right", "Nightmare on Elm Street" (1 and 3), "Fever Pitch", "My Mom's a Werewolf", "The Arrival", "Aftershock", "Frame-Up II – The Cover-Up", "Night Class", "Maximum Force", "Jonathan of the Bears", "Released to Kill", "Beverly Hills Cop III", "Final Payback", "Outta Time", "Living In Fear" and "The Road Home".

John has also tried his hand at directing, having helmed "Death House" with Dennis Cole and Anthony Franciosa in 1987. Unsurprisingly, Mr Saxon has a black belt in karate!

We were delighted to have John as a guest at the Cult TV Festival 2005.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

The little-seen member of The League of Gentlemen ...


The 'reclusive' co-writer of The League of Gentlemen, Jeremy Dyson met Mark Gatiss, Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton while studying for a Philosophy degree at Leeds University.

Starting out on the London Fringe, the quartet played at the Edinburgh Festival in 1996 and, when they returned the following year, won the Perrier Award and were signed by the BBC.

Introduced to a wider audience when the award-winning On The Town With The League Of Gentlemen aired on Radio 4, the bizarre inhabitants of Royston Vasey arrived on television in 1999, winning an RTS award, BAFTA and the Golden Rose of Montreux for Best Entertainment.

While the other members relish portraying the freakish characters, except for the odd cameo role Jeremy Dyson stays behind the camera, co-writing the show and, since the second series, taking on the role of assistant producer.

Outside of The League of Gentlemen, Jeremy has co-written an episode of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) with Mark Gatiss, and written and directed the short film The Cicerones. Writing fiction since 1987, his books include the short story collection Never Trust a Rabbit, Darkness Bright and The Essex Files, co-written with Mark Gatiss.

A keen musician, Jeremy plays with the band Rudolph Rocker, described by the NME as "so good we missed the last bus home," and recently joined Joby Talbot of The Divine Comedy for the musical ghost story, The Same Dog, at London's Barbican Concert Hall.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

A stalwart of the Carry On movies, Jack has featured in many TV series, including The Goodies, The Shillingbury Tales and The Good Old Days ...


Best known for his appearances in the Carry On films and television specials, Jack Douglas was born into a theatrical family and produced his first show at the age of fifteen.

Showing no interest in performing until an actor was taken ill and he took his place, Jack Douglas learnt his craft playing stooge to the likes of Benny Hill and Bruce Forsythe before forming an act with Jack Baker.

One night, with Baker locked out of the theatre, Jack Douglas was forced to go on alone. Fidgeting nervously infront of the bemused audience, the character of Alf Ippititimus was born.

As Alf he began a long partnership with Des O'Connor that saw them through pantomimes, summer seasons, and numerous television shows before an impressive performance on the Royal Command Variety Show and an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

A recognisable character actor, Jack Douglas appeared in Carry on Matron in 1972 and stayed with the series until the final Carry on Columbus in 1992. After appearing in an episode of The Goodies, he became a regular on Joker's Wild and played Stanley Pickersgill in Not on Your Nellie. A role in The Shillingbury Blowers led to him reprising his character in The Shillingbury Tales and the further spin-off, Cluffy, alongside Bernard Cribbins.

With many stage successes to his credit, Jack Douglas has also penned the musical, What a Performance, based on the life of entertainer Sid Field.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Star of four Doctor Who stories with three different Time Lords ...


Ian is famous for his numerous appearances in Doctor Who alongside Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker, in "The Macra Terror" (as Questa), "Inferno" (as Bromley), and "The Seeds of Doom" (as Dr Chester). He also featured as Gregory in the first part of "The Invasion", a missing episode that is being especially animated to an existing copy of the soundtrack for release in October.

In 1970 Ian starred in ATV's first SF children's series, Timeslip. He appeared in the last two serials as Dr Frazer and his clone Alpha ’, alongside the late Dennis Quilley.

Other Television Credits include Adam Adamant Lives! “The Last Sacrifice”, Emergency Ward 10, The Big Spender, Softly Softly, Z Cars, Stand up for Nigel Barton, Mogul, Paul Temple, No Exit, Van der Valk, Spy Trap, Shoestring, Last of the Summer Wine and two episodes of The Professionals ("Private madness, public danger" and "Kickback").

Ian's theatre work includes a number of seasons and tours, including "The Mousetrap" (during 1963-4) understudying and playing both male leads.

He has also performed all the voices on the cartoon series All Talk for Central and is currently involved in providing the voices for Horrace and the Magic Motorcycle. He also appeared in the Big Finish audio drama "Catch 1782" as Professor David Munro.

Ian recently returned to acting in Explode Part 3 – "Power Struggle", in 2005, and recorded an interview "In Conversation with Ian Fairbairn" about his life as a jobbing actor, both released by Fantom Films.

Ian made an appearance at the Cult TV Festival 2006 thanks to www.cultpodcast.co.uk.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Writers Ray and Alan were responsible for shows like Hancock and Steptoe and Son ...


Born a year apart, Ray Galton and Alan Simpson first met at Milford Sanatorium in 1948 while undergoing treatment for T.B. and decided to collaborate on comedy shows for the amateur radio room used for occupational therapy.

Avid listeners of Take It From Here and The Goon Show, they wrote four scripts entitled Have You Ever Wondered. After leaving the sanatorium, Alan was asked to write a show for his church concert party. He contacted Ray, and by 1951 the pair were writing professionally for the BBC.

During the next decade the pair established themselves as one of Britain's most successful comedy-writing partnerships. Working from an office over a greengrocer in Shepherd's Bush along with a crowd of writers that included Spike Milligan and Eric Sykes, they met Tony Hancock and in 1954 Ray and Alan started writing Hancock's Half Hour.

Running for 101 episodes until its final broadcast in 1959, by 1956 the radio show transferred to television with 63 episodes screened before it ended in 1961. After their Sid James vehicle Citizen James, the pair moved on to write the BBC Comedy Playhouse. From the sixteen episodes emerged Steptoe and Son, starring Wilfred Brambell and Harry H. Corbett as the two rag-and-bone men.

Over the next twelve years Steptoe and Son ran for eight series on television and five on radio. Like Hancock's Half Hour before it, the format was sold world-wide, most successfully in America where Sanford and Son topped the ratings for five years.

After adapting Gabriel Chevalier's novel Clochemerle for television, they wrote the BBC series Casanova, starring Leslie Phillips, Dawson's Weekly and seven plays for The Galton and Simpson Playhouse before Alan decided to take a sabbatical. In 1995 they got back together to update eight of their classic scripts for the first of two series of Paul Merton in Galton and Simpson's .... Three years later BBC Radio 4 celebrated the 50th Anniversary of their partnership by broadcasting four of their comedies, specially adapted by Ray and Alan, in The Galton and Simpson Radio Playhouse.

Amongst their film credits are The Rebel, starring Tony Hancock, an adaptation of Joe Orton's play Loot, and two Steptoe and Son features. For the stage they collaborated on the revue Way Out in Piccadilly and adapted Rene d'Obaldia's The Wind in the Sassafras Trees, starring Frankie Howerd, which successfully transferred from London to Broadway.

The recipients of numerous awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Writers Guild, Ray and Alan were recognised with OBEs in the Millennium New Year's Honours.

In 2002 the BFI ran a special season culminating in the launch of a new book to commemorate forty years of Steptoe and Son, written in conjunction with Robert Ross.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Star of Paul Temple and Captain Scarlet ...


Schooled in classical theatre, Francis Matthews began his career as an Assistant Stage Manager at the Theatre Royal, Leeds. His first role, at the age of 17, as a schoolboy in a production of Emlyn Williams "The Corn is Green" led to two years in rep at the Oxford Playhouse, followed by subsequent leading roles in London's West End. Acting alongside Rex Harrison in "Aren't We All", and playing Badger in the National Theatre's production of "Wind in the Willows", Francis starred as Mr Darcy in the musical version of "Pride and Prejudice", which inaugurated the new Birmingham Repertory Theatre, and Professor Henry Higgins in a European tour of "My Fair Lady".

On television, Francis made guest appearances in shows such as Hancock ("The Writer"), The Avengers ("The Thirteenth Hole" and "Mission: Highly Improbable"), The Saint ("The Noble Sportsman" and "To Kill a Saint"), The Adventures of Robin Hood ("The Little People" and "The Minstrel"), the war-time spy drama O.S.S. ("Operation Powder Puff"),and the BBC’s SF anthology series Out of the Unknown.

He starred as an educated and ambitious son of a furniture producer, forcing his traditionalist father to modernise his ways, in the sit-com A Little Big Business, before landing the lead in Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's 1967 series Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. Basing the voice of the title character on his impersonation of actor Cary Grant, Francis played the indestructible Spectrum agent, defending the Earth from Mysteron threats.

After the success of Captain Scarlet Francis moved on to another starring role in the BBC's classic detective series, Paul Temple. Based on the character created in the 1930s by Francis Durbridge, and similar in vein to Dashiell Hammett's The Thin Man, where fabulously wealthy Nick and Nora Charles become high-society sleuths, Paul Temple was similarly suave and sophisticated, but it was his success as a writer of detective novels that allowed him to become an amateur detective. Touring Europe with his wife, Steve, while solving crime, the part seemed tailor-made for Francis.

He played six characters in Alan Plater’s Trinity Tales, a contemporary reworking of Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales", and was a three-times guest on The Morecambe and Wise Show, as well as appearing alongside Eric and Ernie in their film comedies The Intelligence Men and That Riviera Touch.

With other television roles including Lord Peregrine Hansford in the sitcom My Man Joe, as well as parts in Don't Forget To Write, Middlemen, and A Roof Over My Head, Francis has made more recent appearances in Taggart, Tears Before Bedtime, and Jonathan Creek.

After appearing with the late Ava Gardner in the film "Bhowani Junction", Francis appeared on the big screen in "Crossplot", "Just Like A Woman", "Rasputin The Mad Monk", "Dracula: Prince of Darkness", "Murder Ahoy", "Nine Hours to Rama", "The Treasure of Monte Cristo", "The Hellfire Club", "I Only Arsked", and "The Revenge of Frankenstein". He played Noel Coward in "Ike", and Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in "Moi, General De Gaulle" and appeared with William Hurt in "Do Not Disturb".

Francis joined in the fun at the Cult TV Festivals in 2002 and 2006.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Sarah-Jane Smith returned to Doctor Who, then got her own spin-off show, and we were delighted the actress who plays her returned to the Cult TV Festival in 2006 ...


Elisabeth Sladen is perhaps one of the most famous of all the Doctor Who companions, having been a cornerstone of both the Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker eras of the programme. Her character of Sarah Jane Smith also appeared in a spin-off pilot in the 1980s, K9 and Company, and both she and the robotic pooch are returning to the series, for the first full season with new TARDIS incumbent David Tennant this year.

Elisabeth steadily built up to this role as companion, her big break came when she played Desdemona in a TV adaption of Shakespeare’s "Othello". There was also a short stint as barmaid Anita Reynolds in half a dozen episodes of Coronation Street in 1970. In 1972 she played a terrorist in "Say Knife, Fat Man", an episode of Doomwatch. Elisabeth found herself on the right side of the law, playing a police woman in episodes of Special Branch and Public Eye. She also popped up in a trio of episodes of Z Cars as well as Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em.

Following her three and a half years in Doctor Who, Elisabeth went back to work in theatre in Liverpool. She was not off our screens for long, as she spent a couple of years as a presenter of the children's series Stepping Stones. Elisabeth then co-starred in Send in the Girls, a seven episode comedy about a Sales Promotion Team that also starred Floella Benjamin, Annie Ross, Andrew Sachs and Anna Carteret, and the six episode sit-com Take My Wife, playing spouse Josie in a vehicle designed for comedian Duggie Brown.

Other television appearances have included In Loving Memory, Play for Today, Dempsey & Makepeace, The Bill, Peak Practice and Faith in the Future.

In 1981, former Doctor Who producer Barry Letts cast Elisabeth as one of the leads in the BBC's production of Gulliver in Lilliput, and she worked with Letts again, playing the Dormouse in the 1986 adaption of Alice in Wonderland.

Elisabeth appeared as a bank secretary in "Silver Dream Racer", a movie written by Michael Billington (Foster in UFO) and starring David Essex.

Sarah-Jane Smith has never been too far away for Elisabeth – as well as the 20th anniversary celebration story "The Five Doctors", the Children In Need special "Dimensions in Time", as well as the BBV production "Downtime", there were also the BBC Radio plays "The Paradise of Death" and "The Ghosts of N-Space". Big Finish Productions is also currently releasing several audio adventures featuring Sarah-Jane. Elisabeth also appeared in the Bernice Summerfield story "Walking to Babylon", as Ninan-ashtammu, a member of that ancient civilisation.

Previously a celebrity guest at the Cult TV Festivals in 1996 and 1997, we were delighted that Elisabeth joined us once more in 2006.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Doctor Who's Grand-daughter Susan joined our celebration of the origins of the travelling Time Lord at Cult TV 2005 ...


Carole Ann Ford first appeared in a film at the age of eight. Following acting and elocution lessons, she started doing commercials and walk-on work. Her first professional role was in the play "Women of the Streets" and her career blossomed from that first engagement.

She excelled in the world of televisions, taking roles in series that included Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads, Public Eye, Z Cars, Emergency Ward 10, Attorney General, Probation Officer, Dial M for Murder, Moonstrike, Compact and Man on a Bicycle.

It was while working on Man on a Bicycle that she was approached to play the part of Susan in Doctor Who. After leaving the series, being unhappy with the way Susan’s character was not being allowed to develop, Carole worked mainly in the theatre and, having missed a lot of her first daughter Miranda’s childhood due to pressure of work, decided to put her family first when her second daughter Tara-Louise was born.

As her family commitments became less demanding, Carole took on more acting work, and also began voice coaching for actors, businessmen and politicians. She also reprised her role as Susan in the 20th anniversary Doctor Who story "The Five Doctors", and spin-offs such as the independent production Shakedown, and "Auld Mortality" and "A Storm of Angels" for the Big Finish audio range of Doctor Who - Unbound adventures.

Carole’s theatre credits include "The Jungle Book", "Stranger in the House", "Bakerloo to Paradise", "The Owl and the Pussycat", "The Rumpus", "Pride and Prejudice", "Inadmissible Evidence", "Enrico", 2Expresso Bongo", "Sleeping Beauty", "You Never Can Tell", "Ned Kelly", "Mother", "MacBett", "The Boyfriend", "Have You Seen Manchester", "Private Lives" and "Solitary Confinement".

On film she has appeared in "Sarah", "The Hiding Place", "The Great St Trinians Train Robbery", "Mix Me a Person" and the part of the blind French girl Bettina in "The Day of the Triffids".

Today, Carole lives in North London with husband Harry ... and Tara-Louise has grown up to become an actress herself.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

A regular guest in the worlds of Doctor Who, and familar face from a huge range of Cult TV series ...


Guest-starring in the Cult TV shows The Saint, Department S, The Persuaders! and three episodes of The Avengers, Bernard appeared in four Doctor Who adventures directed by John Maloney.

He played Gulliver in the 1968 story The Mind Robber, a Time Lord in The War Games, which marked Patrick Troughton’s last outing as The Doctor, and appeared as Taron in Planet of the Daleks opposite Jon Pertwee. Playing Chancellor Goth in The Deadly Assassin, his battle with Tom Baker is one of the most violent scenes in the history of the series and drew strong complaints from Mary Whitehouse.

Amongst his numerous television credits, Bernard portrayed Sir Christopher Hatton in Elizabeth R and Dr Philip Martel in Enemy at the Door, set during the Nazi occupation of the Channel Islands, Rankin in The Jewel in the Crown, the Prime Minister in For the Greater Good, and Peter Dobson in Nice Town.

After roles in Minder and Between the Lines, he played Harland in The Return of Sherlock Holmes's The Hound of the Baskervilles, starring Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke, and the elder Crawford in David Pirie's Murder Rooms: The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes.

On the big screen he played Campbell opposite George Lazenby’s James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, then went on to appear in Gold and Shout at the Devil for director Peter Hunt. More recently he played General Edgar in Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi and Balliol in Braveheart.


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