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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

Heard but not seen as the Blake's 7 artificial intelligence ...



Beginning his career in weekly repertory on Hastings Pier, Peter Tuddenham entertained the troops during the Second World War as a member of the Army's "Stars in Battledress". Back home, he won a part in Ivor Novello's "The Dancing Years" and, following stints in West End revues and farces, worked with Noel Coward in "Ace of Clubs".

Finding his way into radio, Peter acted in the long-running series "Mrs Dale's Diary" and "Waggoner's Walk", numerous literary adaptations, and original dramas including the Blake's 7 radio drama, "The Sevenfold Crown".

On television, he was the voice of the computer in the Doctor Who adventure "The Ark in Space" and the alien Mandragora Helix in "The Masque of Mandragora", both starring Tom Baker as the Doctor. A decade later he returned to play the voice of Brain in Sylvester McCoy's first adventure, "Time and the Rani". Before that Peter famously voiced the artificial intelligence in Terry Nation's Blake's 7. Giving each computer a distinct personality, he played Zen aboard the Liberator, the testy Orac and the obsequious Slave aboard the spaceship Scorpio.

In person, he appeared as Jack Godfrey in The Nine Tailors, starring Ian Carmichael as Dorothy L Sayer's Lord Peter Wimsey, the Campion drama "The Case of the Late Pig", with Peter Davison as Albert Campion and Brian Glover as his manservant Magersfontein Lugg, and played the Priest in P D James' A Mind to Murder. He played Doctor Rendel in The Lost Boys, based on J M Barrie's relationship with the Llewelyn-Davies family, and was reunited with Paul Darrow in the psychological drama Maelstrom.

Along with guest roles in Nearest and Dearest starring Hylda Baker and Jimmy Jewel, Only Fools and Horses, and One Foot in the Grave, Peter appeared in The Onedin Line, Bergerac, two episodes of Tales of the Unexpected and The Bill.

An authority on East Anglian dialect, he helped the players with their Suffolk accents for the Glyndebourne Opera Albert Herring and regularly works as a dialect coach for Anglian TV. The subject of a MythMakers DVD from Reeltime Pictures, the interview with Peter is hosted by none other than Orac himself.

Peter died peacefully in 2007.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Michael's role of Vila was the only character seen in all 52 episodes of Blake's 7 ...


Michael Keating is responsible for one of the most major characters in the worlds of Cult TV. As the small-time thief Vila Restal, who placed self-preservation at the top of his agenda, Michael was the only actor to have starred in all 52 episodes of Blake’s 7.

Michael was born in 1947 in what is now known as North London, but in those distant halcyon days it was part of Middlesex. He grew up and went to school mainly in Potters Bar (except for a brief period as an immigrant in Australia in the 1950s). Potters Bar was then in Middlesex but is now in Hertfordshire. So, Michael's early years on this planet are a total confusion geographically.

Michael's first job, after leaving school in 1963, was as a mailing clerk for United Artists Film Corporation in Wardour Street, London. One of his duties was to take the telegrams to the Post Office in Soho, and it was during that period he took one to be sent to the United States to announce that The Beatles were to make their first film, which subsequently was called "A Hard Days Night". So, he was but a small cog in a very big wheel.

In 1964 Michael gained a place at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, with help and encouragement from his late parents Gwen (Lyn) and Frank, to study drama for two years. After a very happy and sheltered time there, he began his first professional job at Nottingham Playhouse, under the directorship of the great classical actor John Neville (who played the eponymous hero in "Baron Munchausen", and the Well-Manicured Man in The X Files many years later). Michael spent two and a half years at Nottingham, and then set forth to work in many other repertory theatres up and down the United Kingdom.

Propriety prevents Michael from regaling you with the many tales of a mispent youth. Suffice to say that by the early 1970s he had reached London Town in search of fame and/or fortune. In 1972 the most important event occured in his life, his daughter Lisa was born. It was also that year that he first worked for the BBC in an episode of Doomwatch, "Enquiry", playing Stephen Grigg, under the direction of Pennant Roberts.

After more repertory theatre and a stint at The National Theatre, Pennant offered Michael the part of Goudry in the Doctor Who story "The Sun Makers" with Tom Baker as The Doctor. It was Pennant who was one of the first directors on a series called Blake's Seven, a series which Michael himself had some input into! He can't say he found much fortune with the BBC, but Michael considers himself rich in the many experiences and friendships that he gained as a result of being in Blake’s Seven.

Blake's Seven finished in the winter of 1981, and since then Michael has been involved, yet again, in repertory theatre and occasional appearances on TV. He even spent the year of 1985/86 in the West End in a play with music about Elvis Presley called "Are You Lonesome Tonight?", starring Martin Shaw as Elvis. Other productions have included "Charley’s Aunt", "Death of a Salesman", "A Christmas Carol", "Relatively Speaking", and "Dial 'M' for Murder".

Michael appeared in the 1995 Casualty episode "Bringing It All Back Home" with fellow Blake’s 7 star Gareth Thomas. Michael played a retired footballer. He then played Gareth Wingate in the 2000 episode "State of Shock". Michael has also guest starred in episodes of London’s Burning and Yes, Minister.

Michael has recently featured in audio dramas, playing Major Koth in the Big Finish Paul McGann Doctor Who story "The Twilight Kingdom", as well as starring as Mydas Mydason, the game show host turned agent, in the ongoing Soldiers of Love SF comedy. He can currently be seen making occasional appearances as the Vicar, Reverend Stevens, in Eastenders.

Since Blake’s Seven there have been many changes in Michael's life, one was reaching middle age quicker than he thought possible. In his forties, in between appearing in the theatre, he joined the Rambling Association, and it was through rambling that he met his partner, Sue, who he plans to marry if she'll have him! Now in his late fifties, and fitter than he has ever been, Michael and Sue lead walks with their group and enjoy life to the full.

Cult TV was delighted to have had Michael join us for our 2005 Festival.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

A member of The League of Gentlemen, Mark has also played in Doctor Who ...


Best known as one quarter of the comedy team The League of Gentlemen which started life on the London Fringe before transferring to radio, television and the stage, Mark Gatiss has also been heavily involved in post-television Doctor Who.

Along with penning several Doctor Who novels he has written and appeared in new audio adventures from Big Finish Productions as well as The Zero Imperative, The Ghosts of Winterborne, Unnatural Selection and The Devil of Winterborne for BBV Video Productions.

The interviewer in Bidding Adieu, a video documentary of Sylvester McCoy filming the Doctor Who television movie in Canada, in 1999 he appeared as The Doctor and various other characters in the specially recorded interstitial sequences for the BBC's Doctor Who Night.

As well as the multiple inhabitants of Royston Vasey in The League of Gentlemen, Mark has appeared in Spaced, Dr. Terrible's House of Horrible and In the Red.

He played the police inspector in Drop Dead, the first episode of the updated Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) starring Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, and co-wrote with Jeremy Dyson, Two Can Play at That Game, the final episode of the second season.

In 2002 he appeared in The Cicerones, co-written and directed by Jeremy Dyson, provided voices for the animated Comic Relief film The Legend of the Lost Tribe, featuring Robbie the Reindeer, and has recently finished filming Sex Lives of the Potato Men.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Top flight costume designer for the BBC, ITC and others ...


Known for bringing her work in on budget and always giving good value, June Hudson has worked for the BBC as a costume designer on sitcoms, science fiction dramas and soap operas.

As a wardrobe supervisor she worked on Johnny Speight's comedy Till Death Us Do Part starring Warren Mitchell as the opinionated Alf Garnett. Rising to the position of costume designer, Ruth dressed Leonard Rossiter and the staff of Sunshine Desserts for David Nobbs' The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin.

For Blake's 7, June followed producer David Maloney's instructions to create a look as colourful and spectacular as her budget would allow. Making costumes that suited the individual character's personalities, her designs subconsciously supported the series' Robin Hood theme. For Jacqueline Pearce's Servelan, June decided the character would always wear white, like Marilyn Monroe.

In 1978 June worked on Doctor Who after producer John Nathan-Turner decided to smarten up the long-running series' costuming which had become a hit-and-miss affair. Admiring June’s work, he requested she be assigned full time to Doctor Who.

Though the department head refused to agree to his request, she was allowed to alternate on the production with fellow costume designer Amy Roberts.

Working on such stylised shows, June worked closely with the make-up designers and sometimes the set designers to achieve the best results for the human characters and the aliens and monsters. One of her first tasks was to redesign Tom Baker's costume, originally been envisaged by James Acheson. Realising Baker's personality was tied up with the existing look, June decided to adapt the costume rather than create a wholly new outfit. Under her aegis, she introduced the deep burgundy overcoat and suggested the big collar incorporating the question marks.

Coming back down to earth once her stint on Doctor Who was over, June was the costume designer on the soap opera EastEnders when it launched in 1985. Most recently June redesigned Tom Baker's costume for the Radio Times cover celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Doctor Who.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

From The Avengers to Play Away, Julie Stevens is a familiar Cult TV face ...


Following the departure of Ian Hendry after the first year of The Avengers, three new companions were appointed to partner John Steed, who had now taken centre stage, before it was decided who would be the permanent replacement.

Although Honor Blackman's Cathy Gale would eventually take the coveted role, for six episodes Patrick Macnee was partnered with the platinum blonde night-club singer Venus Smith, played by Julie Stevens.

Best known as a children's television presenter, she hosted The Sunday Break, ABC Weekend Television's religious programme for teenagers, during the early 1960s and ITV's Sunday 'Family Hour' which featured the seven-part Pathfinders in Space and its two sequels, devised by The Avengers and Doctor Who creator Sydney Newman.

Between 1966 and 1979 Julie was a regular on Play School, which catered for the pre-school audience, and its companion show, Play Away from 1975 and 1979. In 1972 she played alongside Johnny Ball and Derek Griffiths in Cabbages and Kings, taking part in the historical comedy sketches the series was based around.

As an actress Julie appeared in episodes of Z Cars, Not For Women Only and The Dick Emery Show. For three years she played Rosemary Pilgrim in the ATV sitcom Girls About Town, and appeared in the cinema as Gloria, the slave girl, in Carry on Cleo.

Having spent many years as Harry Secombe's personal manager she recently returned to acting with an appearance in the hospital drama Holby City.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Ruling the air waves as a writer and producer ...


After graduating from St Catharine's College, Cambridge with an MA in Law, Jonathan Ruffle joined the BBC World Service as a Studio Manager before moving to BBC Radio 1 to became an entertainment producer.

Known as Happening Boy on "Steve Wright in the Afternoon", which introduced the American zoo-format to UK radio, he played the character The Pervy as well co-creating Dr Fish Filleter. In 1989 he won a Sony Gold Award for following in the footsteps of Phileas Fogg by attempting to travel "Around the World in 80 Days" with Simon Bates.

Switching stations, he produced the Radio 4 documentary "The Romans in Britain" and the award-winning drama "Bomber". For the Radio 2 adaptation of Nicholas Monsarrat's "The Cruel Sea" starring Donald Sinden and Philip Madoc, he crossed the Atlantic on a cargo ship, recording the sounds of the winds and waves to create the right sound effects.

While contributing to "Excess Baggage" as a travel reporter, he was the Commissioning Executive for BBC Entertainment's "The Millennium" in 1999. After producing radio commercials and reporting from the 2000 Cannes Film Festival for LBC he returned to Radio 4 to produce the comedies "Wheeler's Fortunes" and "Wheeler's Wonders" which documented the life of Creighton Wheeler, a talented everyman afflicted with Splicer's Disease which removed whole phrases from his speech, making him appear to sound badly edited.

A charity producer for Comic Relief in 1991, and produced the award-winning Channel 4 documentary Edward VIII: The Traitor King. A consultant on the Discovery Channel documentary Wings and the BBC drama Night Flight, he produced the documentary Bomber for GB Films. Having written for BBC Radio comedies, he scripted numerous documentaries for Channel 4, Carlton and Five, and contributed to Never Mind the Buzzcocks as a gag writer.

As well as writing "Battle of Britain at the Barbican" for the RAF Benevolent Fund in 2000, he has been involved in producing numerous Air Shows and events including the History in Action re-enactments for English Heritage the Royal International Air Tattoos.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

A serious producer of the best in British comedy ...


Born in Glasgow in 1930, Joe McGrath’s credentials as a writer, producer and director in British film and television comedy are almost second to none.

Beginning as a producer on Michael Bentine’s surreal sketch show It’s a Square World, he co-wrote and directed the television play Justin Thyme starring Leonard Rossiter and produced the first of two BBC shows for the Soviet Union’s leading comedian Arkady Raikin, and the short-lived sitcom The Big Noise which starred Bob Monkhouse as brash pop disc jockey.

In 1965 he produced and contributed material to the first series of the classic Not Only... But Also starring Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. After producing East of Howerd which filmed Frankie Howerd entertaining British forces in Malaysia, Joe directed The Goon Show for Thames Television. A recording of Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe performing The Tale of Men’s Shirts, the programme was deemed unsuccessful and scuppered plans to transfer the classic radio comedy to television.

He produced Spike Milligan’s surrealistic sketch show Oh In Colour and directed the television series Zodiac starring Anouska Hempel and Anton Rodgers. Both director and producer of the sitcom The Losers written by Punch editor Alan Coren and starring Leonard Rossiter as a cockney wrestling promoter, he executive produced and co-wrote Good Night and God Bless with Donald Churchill who played a stand-up comic fronting a television game show.

In a film career that began as one of six directors on the James Bond spoof "Casino Royale", Joe co-wrote and directed "The Magic Christian" with Terry Southern and star Peter Sellers, "The Great McGonagall" with Spike Milligan playing the Scotsman eager to become Poet Laureate and the Sherlock Holmes spoof "The Strange Case of the End of Civilisation as We Know It" with John Cleese and Jack Hobbs.

In recent years Joe co-wrote the book "Now That’s Funny!" with David Bradbury, a collection of interviews with some of the greatest writers of British comedy including Spike Milligan, Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, and John Sullivan.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Her bubbly personality took flight with Magpie ...


The daughter of actors Jimmy Hanley and Dinah Sheridan, Jenny Hanley's original ambition was to be a children’s nanny. She followed in her parents' footsteps after a career in modelling led to a part in the James Bond feature "On Her Majesty's Secret Service". As one of the patients at Blofeld's mountain lair alongside Catherine Schell and Joanna Lumley, Jenny was offered an exclusive contract from the co-producer Harry Saltzman.

After playing Caroline in "The Ballad of Tam-Lin", directed by Roddy McDowall, she appeared in "Scars of Dracula", the last of the Hammer Films period Dracula features alongside Dennis Waterman and Christopher Lee, and the Boulting Brothers' satirical "Soft Beds, Hard Battles" starring Peter Sellers. Balancing film work with roles on television, Jenny played Mrs Hawkins on the long-running BBC police drama Softly, Softly.

Appearing in The Persuaders! episode "Someone Waiting", she guest-starred in episodes of The Adventurer, Zodiac, the Royal Navy drama Warship, The Hanged Man and The Return of the Saint opposite Ian Ogilvy's Simon Templar. After playing Liz in Man About the House, she starred as Angie in the first series of the children's sitcom Robert's Robots and Alison Bentley alongside Sylvia Syms in the Comedy Premiere pilot "The Truth About Verity".

From 1974 Jenny was one of the presenters of ITV's trendier rival to the BBC’s Blue Peter, the bi-weekly children's magazine programme Magpie. During her six years on the show she travelled around the world joining in many hazardous events such as mountain climbing, go-kart racing and parachuting and even being sunk in a helicopter.

After fronting the popular Saturday Night at the Mill, she presented the magazine programme Sky By Day. Having been a celebrity guest on numerous game shows including Celebrity Squares, Punchlines and Give Us A Clue, she regularly appears in Countdown’s Dictionary Corner.

In demand as a voice over artist, Jenny currently presents a weekday afternoon and Sunday morning show on Saga Radio Digital.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Doctor Who's big-screen Barbara ...


Jennie Linden began her television career with guest appearances in The Avengers, two episodes of The Saint, including one directed by Roger Moore, Virgin of the Secret Service where she played a suffragette who has to be rescued from a school of love run by Rodney Bewes' Rajah of Chundrapore, The Persuaders!, and Monty Berman and Dennis Spooner's The Champions and The Adventurer.

She appeared in Present Laughter, adapted from the play by Noel Coward, alongside Peter Wyngarde and James Bolam, the Galton and Simpson comedy The Suit with Leslie Phillips and Bill Oddie and the Thriller episode "Death to Sister Mary", written by Brian Clemens. In the 1970s, after roles in the Cold War spy drama Charlie Muffin starring David Hemmings, Pit Strike and Degree of Uncertaintly, she played Mrs Errol in the BBC production of Little Lord Fauntleroy and Patsy Cornwallis-West in the miniseries Lillie starring Francesca Annis as Lillie Langtry.

Along with guest roles in Dick Turpin, Tales of the Unexpected and Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime, she featured in the Victorian drama Jessie directed by Bryan Forbes, The Corsican Brothers, adapted from the novel by Alexander Dumas, which starred Trevor Eve in the dual role of Louis and Lucien de Franchi, the three-part miniseries Menace Unseen and the TV movie The Endless Game starring Albert Finney and George Segal. With appearances in Lovejoy, the comedy The Piglet Files and Casualty, Jennie played Angela Healy in the horse-racing drama Trainer created by the veteran producer Gerard Glaister.

After starring as a young woman haunted by her mother's insanity in the Hammer film "Nightmare", directed by Freddie Francis, Jennie played Barbara opposite Peter Cushing in the 1965 film version of "Dr Who and the Daleks". She went on to appear in Ken Russell's "Women in Love", alongside Oliver Reed, Alan Bates and Glenda Jackson, and "Valentino" playing silent-screen star Agnes Ayres, "Vampira", written by Are You Being Served?'s Jeremy Lloyd and Trevor Nunn's RSC adaptation of Ibsen's "Hedda Gabler", starring Jackson and Patrick Stewart.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Gary has been working as a radio and TV presenter since 1989, initially with Radio Cymru, before getting another presenting gig with Radio Wales shortly afterwards. By 1990 he was one of the faces of magazine show Heno on S4C.

By 1999, he had his own show on S4C, Slaymaker - nought out of ten for originality, but it was good for the ego, and it ran for six years! This was a pop culture show featuring interviews, comedy items, and a hefty slice of film and television reviews. During the series he covered the 2002 Cult TV Festival Weekender at Southport, getting to meet one of his heroes, Dirk Benedict.

He has been doing stand-up comedy in both Welsh and English for the past 15 years, across the principality and beyond. He spent the whole three days at 2011’s Machynlleth Comedy Festival as MC/headliner/mid-carder, performing in both Welsh and English. Every show was sold out (thankfully).

Since 2006 Gary has been the presenter and head gag writer on Bwletin, a Welsh language radio version of Have I Got News For You/Mock the Week, for BBC Radio Cymru.

Gary was nabbed by S4C to present a Rugby World Cup show in 2007, in the style of Soccer AM.

Since 2010 he has been the resident film expert on The Jamie & Louise Show for BBC Radio Wales, with a monthly ‘crash course’ in different genres for Louise Elliott, who admits she doesn’t ‘get’ cinema.

Gary has over the years contributed to a number of S4C shows, and even worked on a couple of aborted sit-coms – apparently the formats were either a little ambitious or too ‘out there’. He was a regular contributor to both live and pre-recorded formats on the station. The last major piece of work for the channel was in 2008, as writer and presenter of a documentary about Wales’ qualification and appearances in the 1958 World Cup. This involved travelling to Sweden, and meeting former professionals such as Cliff Jones, Mel Charles, and the legendary Pele.

In the last few years Gary has turned more towards writing, with a regular film review column in the Western Mail newspaper, and his first novel, “Y Sach Winwns” was published in 2005 – a coarse comedy about non-league football and African tribal magic. This has been doing the rounds between a few production companies in Wales, who want to try and adapt it for television. He is about to finish his first English language novel for e-publishing. Interest in it was attracted by the simple pitch – “A zombie comedy rugby road trip”.

Gary is starting to organise a whistle-stop stand-up tour of Canada and North America for early March 2012. This will tie in with documentaries on the tour in both English and Welsh for BBC Radio Wales and Radio Cymru. He is in negotiations to film the final gig in Los Angeles, in front of a celebrity audience of the likes of Ioan Gruffydd, Mathew Rhys, and Bryn Terfel, for transmission on BBC Wales.

He will again be performing at the Machynlleth Comedy Festival in 2012, but this time with the expectation of presenting from the Festival for Radio Wales.

Radio Wales have also shown interest in producing a sit-com Gary offered them, with a science-fiction theme, before the end of 2012.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

One of the stars of Crackerjack and a regular on various television and radio comedy shows ...


Don was awarded a Silver Heart from the Variety Club of Great Britain to mark his 30th anniversary in show business in 2003 - Don McLean is one of Britain's leading television and cabaret performers.

Well known as one of the presenters of the long-running children's variety show Crackerjack, regularly shown on Fridays at 'five to five,' he was also the host of The Black and White Minstrel Show for three years on television and five years during its theatrical run.

A regular on Celebrity Squares in the late 1970s, Don hosted the game shows Mousetrap and First Letter First, and devised and appeared in The Cheapest Show on the Telly with Lenny Henry. He hosted three series of Keen Types and more recently presented Songs of Praise for the BBC.

On the radio he featured in his own series, Maclean Up Britain and Keep It Maclean. A team member of Wit's End and team captain on The Press Gang, he devised The Clever Dick Athlon and acted as quizmaster.

For the past twelve years Don has presented Good Morning Sunday on BBC Radio 2 which mixes music and interviews with a religious theme, and in the 2001 New Year's Honours List he was made an MBE for services to religion and inter-faith relations.

Interested in the First World War in the Air, and qualified as a private pilot since 1984, his aptly named autobiography, Flying High, was published by Hodder Headline.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Kowalski from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea ...


Del Monroe is best know for his portrayal of Kowalski in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, the TV series, and as Kowski, in the 1961 film of the same name. He is the only actor to have appeared in the movie and all four years of the series with a supporting character role.

Del enlisted in the army after finishing school, and during a tour of duty caught the acting bug. Returning home after his enlistment, he enrolled in the Pasadena Playhouse where he appeared in more than 30 plays, all the while adding to his TV and film resume, and working part-time to support his acting. Shows from this time that he featured in included The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, The Gallent Men, The Dakotas and The Legend of Jesse James. Then came his break in Voyage.

Del was born in Santa Barbara, California, ironically the same place that Irwin Allen placed as the homeport of the Seaview in Voyage, and the home of The Nelson Institute of Marine Research, the home of the Seaview.

When Voyage ended, Del was offered the role of Inspector Kobick in Land of the Giants which he didn't take. He did however work for Irwin again in an episode of The Time Tunnel - “The Kidnappers”.

Since then, Del has made many TV appearances in series such as Mission: Impossible, The Untouchables, Gunsmoke, Emergency!, Mannix, Wonder Woman, The Dukes of Hazzard, The Incredible Hulk, Hunter, The Fall Guy, The Men from Shiloh, Lancer, Longstreet, Adam-12, The FBI, The Mod Squad, Ironside, Tenafly, SWAT, The Rockford Files, Ark II, The Amazing Spiderman, Time Express, Robbery: Homicide Division, and Fame.

At the same time, Del continued to work on the stage, constantly improving and refining his skills. Within the last year, Del appeared on stage in his first musical, playing one of the fathers in the new production “Is This Anyway to Start a Marriage?”, at the NoHo playhouse, and he was recently seen on the small screen in a guest role in Medium.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Producer and director of Sapphire & Steel ...


Known as an outstanding producer and director, first of television comedy then atmospheric suspense dramas, Shaun O'Riordan began his career as an actor.

Having studied at the Old Vic Theatre School where he specialised in Shakespearean comedies, Shaun began his televison career as one of the repertory players in The Adventures of Robin Hood starring Richard Greene, appearing in a variety of roles over successive episodes.

After playing Eddie, the dim-witted but enthusiastic son of Peggy Mount and David Kossoff's Ada and Alf for four years in the popular comedy The Larkins, he moved behind the camera gaining experience as a technician and religious programme director before becoming a fully fledged director.

From working on the hospital drama Emergency - Ward 10, Shaun directed Charlie Drake's 1965 comedy series The Worker and the Six Of The Best episode "Me And My Big Mouth" starring Alfie Bass and Peter Bowles. He reteamed with Peggy Mount, directing George and the Dragon, starring Sid James and John Le Mesurier, then in John Browne's Body and Lollipop Loves Mr Mole, written for her and Hugh Lloyd by Dad’s Army co-writer Jimmy Perry.

Producer of Goodbye Again, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's follow-up to Not Only... But Also, Shaun produced and directed the sitcom Girls About Town starring Play School's Julie Stevens, The Best Things in Life featuring Harry H Corbett as a cockney spiv and June Whitfield as his fiancée Mabel, and The Squirrels, Eric Chappell's first sitcom prior to Rising Damp.

Moving away from comedy, in the 1970s Shaun directed seven plays in ITV's Thriller series as well as working on Scorpion Tales. He produced the children's serials No Place to Hide and Come Back Lucy which eventually led to his involvement on P J Hammond's Sapphire and Steel which effectively married the two genres.

Suggesting Joanna Lumley and David McCallum play the title roles, Shaun produced all six adventures in the series and shared the directing duties with David Foster, effectively creating the sense of menace and unease that pervaded the studio-bound drama.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Detective writer in his element with Sapphire & Steel ...


Best known as the creator of Sapphire & Steel, Peter J Hammond studied art at Hammersmith School of Arts and Crafts, drama at Goldsmiths College, and wrote several radio plays for the BBC before breaking into television.

First commissioned to write the play "Four Way Incident" for Thirty Minute Theatre, he wrote all six episodes of the children’s thriller Ramshackle Road for BBC Bristol. Eventually joining the BBC as a script editor, Peter worked on the police drama Z Cars, when the programme ran bi-weekly, before leaving to write full time.

During the 1970s, as well as writing for Thames Television's daytime series Couples and the nursing drama Angels, he scripted episodes for numerous police series including Z Cars, The Sweeney, Hunter’s Walk, Target and Manhunt. He also wrote for the prison drama Within These Walls, Crown Court, and the The Professionals using the pseudonym James McAteer.

After dramatising of Arthur Morrison's Victorian novel "The Hole in the Wall" and writing for Thames' successful children's adventure Ace of Wands, Peter set out to create a fantasy show of his own. Wanting to write a detective story that incorporated the notion of time he came up with Sapphire & Steel. Initially designed as a one-off half-hour drama for children, the series was developed for a family audience. Running for six stories between 1979 and 1982, the series starred Joanna Lumley and David McCallum as mysterious elemental beings repairing rifts in Time through which malignant forces enter the everyday world.

After Sapphire & Steel finished with an enigmatic cliff-hanger, Peter tried his hand at comedy with the 1984 BBC series Lame Ducks starring John Duttine. In later years, with the exception of an episode for Sky One’s science fiction series Space Island One, he returned to mainstream dramas writing for The Bill when it was in a half-hour format, two EastEnders specials, Dangerfield and HTV’s Wycliffe.

Since 1999 he has been writing for ITV's popular Midsommer Murders, created for television by Anthony Horowitz and starring John Nettles as Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Vivian 'Jaws' Wright from Dream Team and Travis in Blake's Junction 7 joined us for Cult TV 2005 ...


The Cult TV Festival was lucky enough in 2004 to screen the highly regarded short film Blake’s Junction 7, directed by Ben Gregor. Amongst the star-studded cast, there was a murmur of recognition during the screening from the Sky One viewers when the character of 'Travis' appeared. Actor Philip Brodie, taking on the role of Servalan’s head henchman, is a regular on Dream Team.

As Harchester United's shot-stopper, Vivian 'Jaws' Wright became the latest keeper to sport the fictional club's number one shirt – he had originally been brought in due to a player crisis at the club. Jaws has a history of violence both on and off the pitch, and was coming back to play after a lengthy ban. He does not suffer fools gladly, and is extremely obsessive-compulsive. His wife Chelsea soon can't put up with him any more, which leads Jaws to some extreme actions.

The role of an unhinged character is always difficult to carry off, but as Jaws comes to terms with his marriage break-up, finally ending up as caretaker manager of Harchester and shouldering the responsibility that this entails, Philip Brodie rises to the challenge impeccably.

A native of Canterbury in Kent, Philip trained at Dartington College, Devon, qualifying with an Honours Degree in Theatre. His television appearances include Jaak in My Family (episode "Sixty Feet Under"), Robbie in a Tom Clegg-directed episode of Adventure Inc ("The Search For Arthur"), a Paramedic in Absolutely Fabulous, a reporter in My Hero, and Bruce Reynolds in Days That Shook The World ("The Great Train Robbery").

He also was also one of the performers in Mike Agnew’s Sack Race for the BBC in 2004, which saw Joseph Glavey and Laura Solon starting new jobs with the challenge to get sacked as near to 3.00pm on their first day as possible. Hidden cameras follow their progress. He was also involved in the pilots for Shoreditch Tw*t and Semi-Detatched. Philip will shortly be seen in There’s a German on my Sunbed, a series of six half hour comedies for ITV1, and as Colin Kay in Broken News, a half hour comedy series due in the Autumn on BBC2.

Theatre credits include "Waiting For Godot", "Bouncers", "Spooks", "Up 'n' Under", "Bandits", "Polar Bears", "The Legendary Polowski Murders", "Muscle", "West", and "Taylor Made Love".

Philip also featured in Simon Messingham’s short, "The Truth Behind The Facts". In his spare time, Philip writes and performs comedy.

We were delighted that Philip agreed to join us for the Cult TV Festival 2005.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Stephen from the original Tomorrow People joined us for Cult TV 2005, courtesy of Fantom Films ...


Peter Vaughan Clarke is most famous for taking the role of Stephen in the first four seasons of the Thames TV cult classic The Tomorrow People.

Born in 1957, is first television appearance was in a Marmite commercial in 1972, and he then went on to play Ronnie Page in Dora for London Weekend TV. He appeared in the film "A Touch of Class" in 1973. He also featured in the pantomime "Peter Pan" with Lulu, where she gave him the nickname 'PVC'.

Peter played Jamie in The Duchess of Duke Street episode "The Bargain" in 1976. Later in his career he featured as the rent boy Pierre in the film "The Stud", and played Fred in the Shoestring episode "The Mayfly Dame" in 1980.

PVC now works as a chief electrician in a major West End theatre, working on various musical productions. He recently returned to play Stephen Jameson in two Big Finish CD audio plays of The Tomorrow People. Peter's appearance at Cult TV 2005 was made possible thanks to Fantom Films.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Musician and star of The Monkees joined us exclusively for some fun at Cult TV 2005 ...


Peter performed as a folk musician in Greenwich Village and Los Angeles before passing the auditions for the TV series The Monkees. During his time with the group, he made 58 episodes and a TV special, six albums, and the movie "Head".

The most accomplished musician in The Monkees, even as a young boy, Peter showed musical talent and could play the guitar and banjo. He now plays twelve different instruments. While producers Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart admired Tork's playing, Peter was almost never given lead vocals on any of the Monkees records. That said, Boxed-Set and CD bonus tracks from the 1980s and 1990s include several rarely-heard Peter Tork songs and vocals.

Peter was the first Monkee to actually play an instrument on one of their records , on the track "Papa Gene's Blues", after Michael Nesmith insisted Peter be allowed to add a guitar part.

In the early 1970s, Peter played guitar for the group Osceola, and for a year and a half was a social studies, mathematics and music teacher for a California High School. In 1976, Peter rejoined messrs Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart onstage for a concert on their tour. Following on from this, they all recorded a new Christmas single for that holiday season.

In the early 1980s, Peter formed The New Monks and released a single, "Peter's Back”. The Peter Tork Project followed shortly afterwards, but in 1986, his solo career was put on hold when The Monkees reunited for a 20th Anniversary Celebration. This successful reunion lasted until the end of 1989. Although Peter was the first to leave The Monkees, he never released a solo album until 1994 when "Stranger Things Have Happened" hit the shelves. Also in 1994, Peter formed Shoe Suede Blues with Tadg Galleran and Michael Sunday. Peter has performed with them on and off ever since.

1995 saw Peter making a guest appearance the big screen "Brady Bunch Movie" as well as having several guest spots in the TV series Boy Meets World as Jedediah Lawrence. He has made appearances in many television series since, including the role of Surf Guru in California Dreams, a Band Leader in The King of Queens, and Chris in 7th Heaven. At the movies, he had an uncredited cameo in 1997’s "Groupies", and played a Band Manager in 2001’s "Mixed Signals".

In 1996, more new music was forthcoming from Peter, when he and James Lee Stanley recorded "Two Man Band". In 2001, they collaborated on their second album, "Once Again" before Peter re-joined Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones for tours that took up most of 2001. Soon after, he went back to Shoe Suede Blues, and in 2002 the band released a follow-up to their debut album, "Saved By The Blues".

Peter joined us for the 2005 Cult TV Festival, performing in our Sunday evening cabaret as well as talking about his career and signing autographs. We were delighted that he agreed to join us.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

The past leader of The Tomorrow People ...


Both an actor and an agent, Nicholas Young is best remembered as John, the leader of a group of Homo Superior teenagers in The Tomorrow People. Gifted with special powers that included telepathy and teleportation, they saved the world from alien aggressors using non-violent means.

Intended as ITV’s answer to Doctor Who, The Tomorrow People became one of the most successful shows in children's television. Broadcast between 1973 and 1979, the series was sold to over fifty countries around the world where it captured the imaginations of a generation of viewers.

Working in an agency when Thames Television put out their casting call, Nicholas forwarded one of his photographs. Meeting with Roger Price, the show's creator, he was offered the part of John without having to audition. Along with Philip Gilbert who voiced TIM, the talking biotronic computer, Nicholas appeared in every episode of The Tomorrow People.

Prior to the role, Nicholas appeared in the television plays Alma Mater, starring Ian Carmichael, and Wine of India written by Quatermass creator Nigel Kneale, and an episode of Upstairs, Downstairs. During production of The Tomorrow People he guest starred as Peter Rockwell in the second season of Space: 1999, one of the crew of the Superswift in the two-part story "The Bringers of Wonder".

After the final episode of The Tomorrow People, John appeared in Kessler, a sequel to Secret Army starring Clifford Rose as the former Sturmbahn-Fuhrer trying to escape prosecution for war crimes. Cast in an adaptation of Shakespeare's Cymbeline alongside Richard Johnson and Helen Mirren, he also guest-starred in Pulaski, written by Roy Clarke.

Having begun his career in the film "Eagle Rock", he played a Passport Officer in "The Day of the Jackal" and appeared in "Three for All" and "Eskimo Nell", both directed by Martin Campbell. Though not involved with the revival of The Tomorrow People during the 1990s, Nicholas returned to play John in the first six of seven audio adventures produced by Big Finish.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart was brought to life by this actor with a wide range of series on his CV ...


The son of a British diplomat, Nicholas Courtney was born in Egypt and spent his early years in Kenya and France. After his National Service he enrolled at the Webber Douglas Drama School for two years before leaving to work in repertory theatre in Northampton.

His early television work included roles in The Avengers, The Champions and Jason King, as well as the Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) episode The Ghost Who Saved the Bank at Monte Carlo, alongside Roger Delgado.

Nicholas Courtney began his long association with Doctor Who in 1965, playing Space Security Agent Bret Vyon, opposite William Hartnell in the twelve-part story The Daleks' Masterplan.

Three years later he reappeared as Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart during Patrick Troughton's tenure, helping defeat the Yeti and the Great Intelligence in London's Underground in The Web of Fear.

The following year, battling Cybermen in The Invasion, the character had been promoted and was in charge of UNIT, the military and scientific organisation that would play an integral part in the adventures of Jon Pertwee's third Doctor during the first half of the 1970s.

Playing the Brigadier on and off for 23 years, Nicholas Courtney made his last appearance during Doctor Who's final year in 1989. Appearing alongside every incarnation of the Doctor during the series, bar one, after returning to the role in the spin-off video Downtime, he finally got to work alongside Colin Baker as well as Paul McGann on the Big Finish series of audio adventures.

Outside of Doctor Who, as well as guest-starring in episodes of Minder, Yes, Prime Minister, Only Fools and Horses and The Bill, he played Lieutenant Colonel Robin Witherton in Then Churchill Said to Me and The Maquis in French Fields, the sequel to the sitcom Fresh Fields, starring Anton Rodgers and Julia McKenzie.

On CD he plays King Turnidus, the elephantine, fashion conscious ruler of Voltarabia in Soldiers of Love, the comedy science fiction audio series from MJTV. Honorary President of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society, Nicholas Courtney published his autobiography, Five Rounds Rapid, in 1998.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

One of the stars of UFO and Special Branch, as well as numerous other cult series, joined us for one of his last ever appearances, at Cult TV 2005 ...


When in 1968 George Sewell was cast as Eurosec security chief Mark Neuman in Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's "Doppelganger", he did not realise that this would lead on to the Cult TV role that arguably most appreciators remember him for – that of Colonel Alec Freeman in UFO.

Born in London, George left school at 14 and followed his father into the printing trade as an apprentice printer. He served with the Royal Air Force during World War II. When demobbed, he took a series of jobs before joining the Merchant Navy and serving as a steward for the Cunard Line aboard the Queen Mary, the Queen Elizabeth and the Carionia on Atlantic crossings to New York. Feeling in need of a change, he resigned his commission. For six years he was a courier for a coach holiday tours company, a job which allowed him to explore Europe.

George had never considered joining his brother Danny in the acting profession until a chance meeting with actor Dudley Sutton in a pub. Sutton suggested that George should go and see Joan Littlewood who was casting a production of "Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be" and was looking for someone with George's features. Sutton impressed upon George that Littlewood didn't like using actors in her productions, so George's lack of training would prove ideal. George accepted Sutton's challenge and he was given a role in the production. At the age of 35, George made his acting debut in the West End and even appeared on the original cast album recording of the show.

This role was followed by another in Joan Littlewood's "Sparrows Can't Sing" and then as Field Marshal Haig in "Oh, What a Lovely War", which went on tour to Paris and Broadway. These three roles for the Theatre Workshop were George's training in the theatre and paved the way to his career in TV and film, with cinematic roles in "This Sporting Life", "Deadlier Than the Male", "Kaleidoscope", "Robbery ", "Up The Junction" and "The Vengeance of She".

On television, he made guest appearances in episodes of Man in a Suitcase, Mr Rose, The Man in Room 17, Gideon's Way, Redcap, Z Cars, Softly Softly, The Power Game, Public Eye, and the original Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased).

Following his role in UFO, George moved on to recurring parts in ITV's Manhunt and the BBC's Paul Temple (1969), and was a guest star on the likes of The Adventurer and Dixon of Dock Green, and had a further guest role on Public Eye too.

His role as Con McCarty in "Get Carter" led to the starring role as Detective Chief Inspector Craven in the later seasons of Special Branch. He also appeared in Stanley Kubrick's "Barry Lyndon", and went on to guest in episodes of The Sweeney, Minder, Callan, The Gentle Touch, CATS Eyes, Bulman, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense, Tales of The Unexpected, The Chinese Detective, and with Sylvester McCoy in the Doctor Who story "Remembrance of the Daleks".

George has played plenty of comedy over the years, too - he co-starred with Jim Davidson in the sit-com Home James!, and the comic casting continued when he played the boss to Jasper Carrott and Robert Powell in the The Detectives. He has also featured in Rising Damp, Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, Don't Forget To Write and The Upper Hand. He also featured as 'Huggy' Bear in the children's series Harry and The Wrinklies.

Towards the end of his career, he was seen in The Bill, Heartbeat, and Doctors. We were delighted that George agreed to be with us for Cult TV 2005.

George died peacefully in 2007.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Famous to fans as Blake in Blake's 7, Gareth has also been a host of other Cult TV series ...


Trained at RADA, where he is now an Associate, Gareth Thomas has worked extensively in television, theatre, film and radio.

Following guest appearances in The Avengers and Public Eye, his first major television role came in 1972 as the Welsh policeman sent to police the 1913 Cornish clay miners' strike in Stocker's Copper.

It earned Gareth his first BAFTA nomination and led to roles in the legal drama Sutherland's Law, and adaptations of David Copperfield and How Green Was My Valley.

After playing Lord Beresford in Edward VII and astro-physicist, Adam Brake, in the mystery serial Children of the Stones, he starred as resistance leader Roj Blake in Terry Nation's Blake's 7.

Although he would return for the season three episode Terminal and the final show, Blake, Gareth left the series after two years to play James Tayper Pace in The Bell and Dr. Philip Denny in the period medical drama The Citadel.


He earned a second BAFTA nomination portraying the Welsh hill farmer in Morgan's Boy. After appearing as one of Cromwell's soldiers in By the Sword Divided, he played another futuristic rebel leader in Knights of God.

In the 1990s Gareth played a drunken bigot in We Are Seven, the fire brigade area commander in London's Burning, and Nathaniel Clegghorn in Heartbeat, followed by guest roles in The Strangerers, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and the comedy Baddiel's Syndrome. More recently he appeared as Blaze in Merlin - The Legend, and Reverend Denis Thomas in the docu-drama Shipman.

His stage performances have been just as prolific with roles in everything from Shakespeare to Chekov. Recently he played Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, publican Michael James Flaherty in The Playboy of the Western World, and the Holocaust refugee in Moving Objects.

Featured on several CDS, Gareth plays Kalendorf in Big Finish Audio's Dalek Empire series, and the villainous megalomaniac Arran Arkenstein in the comedy science-fiction audio series Soldiers of Love from MJTV.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Voice artist and actor from the likes of Thunderbirds and Timeslip joined us for Cult TV 2005 ...


David Graham is a British character actor and voice artist, whose work may be more familiar than his name. He trained as an actor in New York but has worked mainly on British television series.

Fans of the work of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson will know that he voiced Parker, Brains, Kyrano and Gordon Tracy in the original Thunderbirds. A role in an episode of Martin Kane, Private Investigator originally brought him to the attention of Mr Anderson. From that point on, David was a mainstay of the Anderson productions, from Four Feather Falls (Grandpa Twink and Fernando) through to Supercar (Doctor Beaker, Mitch the Monkey, and Zarin), Fireball XL5 (Professor Matthew Matic, Lieutenant 90 and Zoonie The Lazoon), and Stingray. He also featured in the Anderson B-Movie “Crossroads To Crime”.

Thunderbirds was the last series that David worked on for the Andersons in a ‘full-time’ capacity, although he did provide voices for the feature films "Thunderbirds Are Go" and "Thunderbird Six", as well as guest roles in an episode of The Secret Service. However, he did provide many of the voices in Roberta Leigh’s marionette series Sarah & Hoppity, as well as The Moomins and Dominion Tank Police.

David played many parts in Doctor Who, notably the Dalek voices in the 1960s stories "The Daleks", "The Dalek Invasion of Earth", "The Daleks' Master Plan", and "The Chase" (where he also provided Mechanoid voices). He played the barman, Charlie, in "The Gunfighters", and Professor Kerenszky, a foreign time-travel scientist, in the 1979 story "City of Death".

David also had an association with the fondly remembered Timeslip. He played Controller 2957, a future projection of lead character Simon (Spencer Banks). Mr Graham has also appeared in Callan, Danger Man, Out of the Unknown,So Haunt Me, The Saint, Owen MD, Softly Softly, When The Boat Comes In, Casualty, The Bill, and The Avengers (in the 1963 Venus Smith episode "Man In The Mirror").

Over the years, David has used his voice to supply accents including American, Russian, French, Italian, Middle European, German, Spanish and Hungarian. He was also a member of the BBC Radio Drama Company from 1975 to 1977.

In 2004 he played Grandpa Pig in Peppa Pig, the animated children's series. We were delighted to welcome David to the 2005 Cult TV Festival.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Barry Lockridge from Land of the Giants ...


Stefan is best known for his role as Barry Lockridge in the Irwin Allen series Land of the Giants. Stefan has also starred in several movies including "The Way West" with Richard Widmark and Robert Mitchum, "Class of 1984", "Fear No Evil", "Strange Days", "The Final Cut", and the 2005 version of "The Fog".

Before landing the co-starring gig in Land of the Giants, Stefan had guest roles on the small screen in the likes of The Defenders, Gunsmoke, T.H.E. Cat, Combat, Dragnet and The Virginian. Later on, roles in Switch, Police Story and TJ Hooker would cement his television credentials.

In recent years has appeared in the likes of Highlander ("Courage"), The Sentinel ("Payback"), The X Files ("Terma" and "Tunguska"), Poltergeist: The Legacy ("Ransom"), Viper ("Stormwatch"), Millennium ("Thirteen Years Later" and "Goodbye Chris"), The Crow: Stairway To Heaven ("The Road Not Taken"), 7 Days ("The Dunwych Madness"), Special Unit 2 ("The Eye"), UC: Undercover ("The Seige"), Cold Squad ("True Believers"), Da Vinci's Inquest ("Wash The Blood Out of The Ring" and "Dizzy Looking Down") and Dead Like Me (the pilot episode). He also appeared as Shire Reeve in "The Legend of Earthsea" mini-series.

Stefan is a very accomplished musician. He had a band called "The Knights of The Living Dead", in Los Angeles from 1986 to 1993. The band was offered several deals, and signed with Capitol Records. Unfortunately, the president of Capitol was fired that same week, and the new president dropped all the new bands that were signed but had not gone into the recording studio.

The band did get money to make a demo with Dave Jerden (Jane's addiction, Rolling Stones, etc) as producer. But by the time everything was done, the band was breaking up. Stefan and his partner Roland Devoile continued to make music until the 1994 Northridge earthquake, when his girlfriend, now wife, Dawn, decided it was time to leave Los Angeles. They moved to Vancouver, Canada later in 1994. Stefan also helped his sister (Alison Arngrim) get one of her first roles on the series Room 222, who went on to fame as Nellie in Little House on the Prairie.

Stefan won The Science Fiction Film & Fantasy Award "Best actor" for "Fear No Evil" in 1981, and was recently Nominated for a Gemini Award in the category "Best supporting actor" for "The Life" in 2005.

You can find out some more background about Stefan by visiting his website at www.stefanarngrim.com.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Having played Iolaus, the side-kick to Hercules, Michael is also a terrific director! ...


Co-founder of Auckland’s Watershed Theatre, Michael Hurst was born in Lancashire and emigrated to New Zealand with his family at the age of seven.

After acting and directing at school, Michael was accepted into a two-year training programme at Christchurch’s Court Theatre before joining Auckland’s Theatre Corporate.

On television he appeared in two episodes of The Ray Bradbury Theatre before taking the role of Iolaus in Hercules and the Amazon Women. When the TV movies spawned the series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys he stayed on as Hercules’ loyal sidekick.

On the show Michael played variations of the character as, after sacrificing himself, Iolaus is inhabited by the demon Dahak, then appears as a cowardly double from the Netherworld before his eventual resurrection.

He also played the dancing Widow Twanky, under the pseudonym Edith Sidebottom, and writer Paul Robert Coyle, in the contemporary episode Yes, Virginia, There Is a Hercules. With the spin-off show Xena: Warrior Princess filming concurrently, Michael appeared as Iolaus in cross-over episodes and took on dual roles of Nigel and Charon in You Are There.

From the third year Michael directed the first of six episodes, including Faith, the show in which Iolaus dies. He also stepped behind the camera for a further six episodes of Xena: Warrior Princess, in particular A Day in the Life which has a three minute, single camera take of Xena and Gabrielle bathing together.

He directed the pilot for Amazon High, written by Robert G. Tapert. When it failed to be picked up the footage was recycled into the Xena: Warrior Princess episode Lifeblood.

After appearing as Captain Nardo da Vinci in Jack of All Trades starring Bruce Campbell, he directed the episode The Morning After, and was recently reunited with Kevin Sorbo in the Andromeda episode The Knight, Death and the Devil.

After directing the television movie, Love Mussel, Michael played Riff-Raff in a theatrical run of The Rocky Horror Show in New Zealand.

He has appeared at the Cult TV Festival in the UK twice, in 2001 and 2003.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Rising in rank over the years in Doctor Who ...


Keen to become an actor even though he had no formal training, while working in a menswear shop John Levene found himself serving Telly Savalas and asked his advice.

Getting his Equity card he found every variation of his real name, John Anthony Woods, in use and chose his professional alternative after boxing promoter Harry Levene.

Best known as Sergeant Benton in Doctor Who, his first acting job on the series was in 1967 as one of the Cybermen in the adventure The Moonbase. A year later he played a Yeti in The Web of Fear before being cast as Benton in The Invasion. Between 1970 and 1975 he regularly appeared on the show, acting alongside first Jon Pertwee then Tom Baker, until UNIT was gradually phased out of the story-lines.

Having previously appeared as an Interceptor Pilot in UFO and a policeman in Z Cars, John made guest appearances in The Adventurer, Callan and Space: 1999 before returning as Benton in Reeltime Picture’s spin-off, Wartime.

He formed Genesis Communications, directing audio visual presentations and live events for clients such as British Airways and Revlon then after working as MC on cruise ships, relocated to America in the mid-1980s and took his mother’s maiden name to become John Anthony Blake.

Now producing celebrity charity shows and other events, as well as doing corporate voice-over work, John recently played Lord T.N. Crumpets in an episode of Big Bad Beetleborgs and appeared in the independent movie Cannibalistic.

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