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Join us for the latest on the best in extraordinary fictional television and film from the past, present and future, and analysis on its cultural impacts.

Find out about the amazing facts in fiction, and discover the truth about what's really going on in the World around us...

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Director extraordinaire, from 007 to Space Precinct ...

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John was a special guest at Cult TV 2002.

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Writer and editor at large ...

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

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

 

James Swallow is an author, scriptwriter and journalist.

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

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

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

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

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

by
Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Researcher and writer ...

 

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

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

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

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

 

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