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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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Friday, 22 February 2008 07:41

Edge of Darkness

Does playing with nukes bring about the end of the world as we know it ...


UK - 1985 - 6 episodes (60 mins) - colour

Written by Troy Kennedy Martin, the creator of Z Cars, in response to the political shifts of the early 1980s. With England moving closer to becoming a nuclear state, and the United States changing their strategy from the notion of mutually assured destruction to the idea that a nuclear war was winnable, Edge of Darkness introduced a Green perspective that elevated the drama from what could have been a one-sided rage against the nuclear machine.

After witnessing the murder of his politically-active student daughter, Yorkshire police detective Ronald Craven starts a private investigation that draws him into a wide-reaching conspiracy involving state security services and sinister big business, conspiring to gain the high ground in the race for absolute nuclear power.

The multi-layered storytelling, already rife with mystic and mythical undertones from Arthurian Romances to the Knights Templar and the culture of Enlightenment, expertly introduced James Lovelock's Gaia Hypothesis which treated the planet as a self-regulatory, complex super-organism, maintaining the optimum condition for life, satisfying many people's need to re-evaluate their relationship with nature.

Edge of Darkness received such critical plaudits and public applause that a repeat screening was scheduled almost immediately after its initial broadcast. Winner of six Bafta awards, and voted number 15 in the British Film Institute's poll of All Time Top 100 Television Programmes, it proved to be a defining moment in television drama.


Bob Peck as Ronald Craven
Joe Don Baker as Darius Jedburgh
Joanne Whalley as Emma Craven
Charles Kay as Guy Pendleton
Ian McNiece as Henry Harcourt
John Woodvine as Assistant Chief Constable Ross
Jack Watson as James Godbolt
Kenneth Nelson as Jerry Grogan
Hugh Fraser as Robert Bennett
Zoe Wanamaker as Clementine

Friday, 22 February 2008 07:40

Department S

When traditional criminology fails, call on the Interpol experts ...


UK - 1969-70 - 28 episodes (60 mins) – Colour

An Interpol branch which specialised in solving previously 'unsolvable' crimes, Department S was created by Monty Berman and Dennis Spooner, the second of three shows they collaborated on for ITC. Like The Champions before it and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) which would follow, the format took otherwise routine mysteries involving murders and kidnapping, that were part of the ITC regular diet, and blended them with a strong element of the fantastic so that even the most implausible scenario eventually led to a logical resolution.

More importantly, the show relied on the interplay between the three leads. While actors Joel Fabiani as action man Stewart Sullivan, and Rosemary Nicols as the computer expert Annabelle Hurst were cast as the traditional leading man and attractive female co-star, the memorable performance came from Peter Wyngarde's portrayal of Jason King. Established as a writer of detective thrillers, the character of King was modelled on a parody of James Bond's creator Ian Fleming. He would regularly drive his collegues to distraction by approaching each case they were assigned to as if he were his own literary creation, Mark Caine.

As relief to the more conventional roles beside him, King's flamboyance and unchecked egotism proved popular enough for ITC, once Department S had finished its run, to commission spin-off series Jason King. Rumour has it that Lord Lew Grade’s wife was particularly keen on Wyngarde’s portrayal, and the follow-up series saw the character brought back as a solo crimebuster, in even more outlandish adventures than before.


Peter Wyngarde
as Jason King
Joel Fabiani as Stewart Sullivan
Rosemary Nicols as Annabelle Hurst
Dennis Alaba Peters as Sir Curtis Seretse

Friday, 22 February 2008 07:38

Dad's Army

Perry & Croft's timeless WWII comedy ...


UK - 1968-1977 - 80 episodes (30 mins) - B&W/Colour

Easily the funniest, and certainly the most fondly remembered of all British sitcoms, Dad’s Army followed the adventures of the Home Guard platoon, protecting the fictional coastal town of Warmington-on-Sea during World War II.

Inspired by Jimmy Perry’s wartime experiences in the local civil defence force, and co-written by ex-Royal Artillery major David Croft, the BBC were at first wary of broadcasting the show for fear of offending wartime veterans. In fact the show derived its humour not so much from the war itself but the English class system. From the conflict of interests between the blustering, Blimpish, middle-class Captain Mainwaring, superior in rank only to the laid back, public school-educated, Sergeant Wilson, and the continual battle between the Home Guard and the ARP wardens, led by the town greengrocer, Hodges, over who got to use the church hall as their base of operations, Dad’s Army revealed how such an upheaval affects social standing.

All this would have amounted to nothing if it had not been for the creation of such well rounded characterisations and the cast of actors playing them. From Jones, the butcher, regaling the platoon with stories of fighting the fuzzie-wuzzies in the Sudan during The Great War (“They don’t like it up ‘em”) to young Pike’s relationship with “Uncle Arthur” Wilson, and even the never-seen wife of Mainwaring, Dad’s Army exemplified the rule that in sitcoms, the situation is as important as the comedy.


Arthur Lowe as Captain Mainwaring
John LeMesurier as Sergeant Wilson
Clive Dunn as Lance Corporal Jones
John Laurie as Private Frazer
James Beck as Private Walker
Arnold Ridley as Private Godfrey
Ian Lavender as Private Pike
Bill Pertwee as ARP Warden Hodges
Frank Williams as The Vicar
Edward Sinclair as The Verger




Friday, 22 February 2008 07:35

Cold Lazarus

Dennis Potter's wilful last testament ...


UK - 1996 - 4 episodes (60 mins) - colour

The second part of Dennis Potter's valedictory diptych that began with Karaoke, the deeply poignant Cold Lazarus continues the story of writer Daniel Feeld 374 years after his death.

The test subject for the Larazus Project, Feeld is being used by a team of scientists led by Emma Porlock at the Madson Science Centre, to successfully revivify his cryogenically preserved head. Regenerating the brain cells through chemical inducements, the team discover they can bring his memories to life on the Living Wall.

While their experimentation incurs the wrath of would-be autocrat Martina Matilda Masdon who is only concerned with the huge overspend, media mogul David Siltz, the president of Uniplanet Total Entertainment only sees the potential in broadcasting Feeld's past life memories to the masses. As the city becomes host to terrorist attacks perpetrated by dissident Luddites who espouse Reality Or Nothing, Feeld gradually becomes aware of the interested parties vying for his memories and manipulates them to his end.

A fitting conclusion to his life and work, having named his cancer after Rupert Murdoch in response to his utter loathing of the media tycoon, Dennis Potter created an outrageous vision of the future to satirise the growing crass commercialism and media exploitation. Knowing Cold Lazarus would be his final work, he uses Feeld's visualised memories to reference his life and the already established masterpieces while voicing concerns as to how he expected to be remembered.


Albert Finney as Daniel Feeld
Frances De La Tour as Emma Porlock
Ciaran Hinds as Fyodor Glazunov
Henry Goodman as David Siltz
Diane Ladd as Martina Matilda Masdon


Friday, 22 February 2008 07:34

Brisco County Jr, The Adventures of

The Wild Wild West gets really surreal ...


USA - 1993-94 - 27 episodes (60 mins) – Colour

Created by Jeffrey Boam and Cartlon Cuse, and modelled after the original The Wild, Wild West, the exploits in The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr followed a Harvard law graduate and romantic dreamer, hired by the Westerfield Club (a syndicate of wealthy businessmen) in his quest to track down the outlaws who murdered his father in cold blood.

Joined by Socrates Poole, a bookish attorney who acts as liaison with his legal employers, and the tracker Lord Bowler, the hunt for the Bly gang finds Brisco Country, Jr and his telepathic horse, Comet, involved in a mystery surrounding mysterious metal orbs, discovered by a Chinese railroad gang, that grant extraordinary powers to whoever possesses them.

Parodying the genre by spoofing the clichés without excessive smugness, amongst the familiar Western tropes of riverboat gamblers, saloon singers and stagecoach hold-ups, found an eccentric professor building a rocket in his barn, Mafia-like Italian crimelords, an Elvis Presley-inspired Sheriff, and a cowpoke who repeatedly gets killed. While in a sly nod to television's past, James Drury, star of The Virginian, plus Rawhide's Paul Brinegar, and Robert Fuller from Wagon Train and Laramie made cameo appearances as the Robber Barons from the Westerfield Club.

Laced with such fantasy elements and expected to be Fox's breakout hit of 1993, an honour that instead went to The X-Files, The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr proved to be too left-field and unpredictable for most American viewers and their conservative tastes, and therefore lasted just the one season.


Bruce Campbell
as Brisco County, Jr
Christian Clemenson as Socrates Poole
Gary Hudson as Sheriff Aaron Viva
Julius J Carry III as Lord Bowler
Billy Drago as John Bly
John Astin as Professor Albert Wickwire
Kelly Rutherford as Dixie Cousins
Jeff Phillips as Whip Morgan
John Pyper-Ferguson as Pete Hutter


Friday, 22 February 2008 07:30

Alien Nation

A TV spin-off of a dark SF movie ...


US - 1989-90 - 23 episodes (60 mins) - colour

Developed for television by Kenneth Johnson, who had earlier been responsible for V, and based on the film written by Farscape creator, Rockne S O'Bannon, Alien Nation used the mismatched cop format as a thinly veiled commentary on racial intolerance.

Already familiar staples from television, the impulsive, divorced detective partnered with an introspective, family man differed significantly in with the quieter George Francisco being a Newcomer; one of a quarter million Tenctonese slaves onboard an alien spaceship that crashes on Earth in the Mojave Desert. Humanoid in appearance, their intellectual superiority to Earthlings has failed to endear them to reactive Los Angeles residents who refer to the Tenctonese as 'slags' and give them menial jobs.

Although the police stories were structurally routine, Alien Nation focused on Francisco's experience as the first Newcomer detective in the LAPD, as well as the reception his family gets moving out of the alien ghetto into a human neighbourhood. Making the point effectively, without being too preachy, the family angle concentrated on the Francisco daughter Emily, attending a new school where she is the only Newcomer on campus, and son Buck, rebelling against integrating into human culture and joining a Newcomer gang. The series also significantly developed Tencton culture, from their eating habits to reproductive methods.

Lasting only the one season, the characters were revived for five television movies between 1994 and 1997, which resolved the series cliffhanger ending and saw the return of the Tenctonese's slave masters, The Overseers.

Gary Graham as Detective Matthew Sikes
Eric Pierpoint as Detective George Francisco
Michelle Scarabelli as Susan Francisco
Lauren Woodland as Emily Francisco
Sean Six as Buck Francisco
Terri Treas as Cathi Frankel
Jeff Marcus as Albert Einstein


Friday, 22 February 2008 07:27

Adam Adamant Lives

Gerald Harper's Victorian adventurer out of time ...


UK (BBC) - 1966-67
26 episodes (50 mins) - B&W

Conceived for the BBC, and based on a proposal to update Sexton Blake that had fallen through after the Corporation failed to acquire the rights to Hal Meredith's crime-fighter, Adam Adamant Lives! saw England's gallant defender from Edwardian times, Adam Llewellyn De Vere Adamant (Gerald Harper) frozen alive by his arch-nemesis The Face in 1902.

Revived sixty-four years later by thoroughly modern mod girl, Georgina Jones (Juliet Harmer), granddaughter to one of his long dead acquaintances, and joined by William Simms (Jack May), a former music hall artiste prone to speaking in doggerel verse who serves as his valet, this man out of time continues his fight against the nation's foes whilst adjusting to the strange new modern world.

Compared unfavourably to The Avengers, a show many of the writers, including co-creator Tony Williamson, had previously written for, whilst Adam Adamant Lives! employs the same tongue-in-cheek humour and male/female dynamic, the overall content owed more to the ITC action series of the time. Against the backdrop of “Swinging London” with its beat clubs and boutiques, the valiant Adamant and hip Georgie take a stand against assorted low-lifes, gangsters and military fanatics who proved little match for his cold steel and elaborate style.

By the time of the second series, the BBC had lost confidence in the show, and it was not even allocated a regular time slot. With almost half the episodes wiped from the archive, the lack of repeats has meant that Adam Adamant Lives! has almost fallen off the radar of memory, unlike many series of the era that had a similar cult following.

Gerald Harper as Adam Adamant
Juliet Harmer as Georgina Jones
Jack May as William Simms


Wednesday, 20 February 2008 16:22

Herb Jefferson Jr

It's Boomer from Battlestar Galactica ...


Herbert Jefferson Jr is best known to Cult TV fans as Lieutenant Boomer from the original Battlestar Galactica. He's been seen in many more roles than just Galactica's erstwhile Cylon hunter, though!

Jefferson was a series co-star in Rich Man, Poor Man with Nick Nolte, as well as its sequel Rich Man, Poor Man Book II, the American Revolutionary War mini-series The Bastard, plus Yellow Rose with Sam Elliott and Cybill Shephard, and The Devlin Connection with Rock Hudson and Jack Scalia.

Jefferson has also guest-starred in over 100 episodes of series television, including ER, Sister Sister, Hill Street Blues, Police Story, Airwolf, TJ Hooker, Quincy, The Streets Of San Francisco, White Shadow, Knight Rider, McCloudand Mission Impossible. His most recent TV appearance was in the recurring role of Police Chief Price on NBC's Sunset Beach. His many feature film credits include "Apollo 13", "Outbreak", "Detroit 9000", "Black Gun", "The Slams", "One Dozen", and Roger Corman's "Private Duty Nurses" (which marked his feature film debut).

Herb's extensive theatre credits include two Pulitzer Prize winning plays, "The Great White Hope" and "No Place To Be Somebody". He was directed by Mike Nichols in the David Rabe play "Streamers", which went on to win Best New American Play of the Year by the New York Drama Critics.

Although currently a resident of Southern California, Jefferson is originally from Jersey City, New Jersey, where he attended high school and college. He is a New York trained actor studying at the Herbert Berghof Studio, The Actors Studio with Lee Strasberg, and an alumnus of New York's American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He has appeared in productions on Broadway, off-Broadway, and off-off Broadway, including several plays at Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theatre.

In his spare time Herb has been, and continues to be, an active supporter and volunteer with the US military by way of the USO, the Paralyzed Veterans Association, Operation Standown, US Navy Public Affairs, and the US Marine Corps Toys for Tots program. He is also a 25 year volunteer with the Special Olympics.

Having had one previous appearance at Cult TV, in Southport in 2002, Herb triumphantly returned for Cult TV 2006 at Hemsby.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008 16:14

Keith R Lindsay

Script writer and story editor on productions as diverse as Birds of a Feather and Crossroads ...


A member of the British Society of Comedy Writers, whose aim is to provide highly trained writers to the highest the comedy light entertainment, Keith Lindsay has written for television, the stage, and film both in the UK and abroad.

After writing stand-up material for the likes of Frankie Howerd and Rik Mayall in the early stages of his career, from 1988 until 1991 he was put under contract to Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran's Alomo Productions and involved in the American-style, team-writing on the award-winning sitcoms Love Hurts and Birds of a Feather to which he contributed story-lines during its second and third series.

While providing material for Hale and Pace and The Freddie Starr Show during the early 1990s, he developed sitcoms for Spanish and Dutch television channels, then spent the remainder of the decade contributing to The Jacques Vermiere Show in Belgium and a comedy drama for Germany.

From July 2001 to January 2002 he was a story-liner on the re-launched Crossroads, featuring what is believed to be the first ever soap story-line involving a crypt.

For further details on the British Society of Comedy Writers visit their website at http://www.bscw.co.uk


Wednesday, 20 February 2008 16:09

Peafur Productions

Alan Gilbey and David Freedman are writers and cartoonists, with shows like Aaagh! It's The Mr Hell Show! and Bounty Hamster amongst their credits ...


Formed in 1995 from the partnership of Alan Gilbey and David Freedman, Peafur Productions have co-created, produced and supervised a number of animated series of their own as well as developing shows in conjunction with other companies.

Writers as well as cartoonists, they have developed and written series for The Disney Channel, Jim Henson Productions, Nelvana, Universal Pictures and Fox Television.

Successfully steering shows from bible, through sample scripts, to full series commission, projects they have scripted have won BAFTAs, Royal Television Society awards and a British Animation Award.

After acting as script consultants on the first series of Bob and Margaret, based on the 1994 Oscar-winning short, Bob and Margaret, made by Alison Snowden and David Fine, they wrote the screenplay for Hibbert Ralph Entertainment’s The First Snow of Winter, collaborated on the 13-episode Rex the Runt with the show’s creator for Bristol’s Aardman Animation, and Cosgrove Hall Film’s Foxbusters for Cosgrove Hall Films. Their recent projects include BBC2's Aaagh! It's The Mr Hell Show! which won Canada’s Leo Award for Best Animated Series and was was nominated for Best Direction at the International Animated Film Society’s Annie Awards, and CITV’s Bounty Hamster, produced in collaboration with Silver Fox Films.

To find out more about Alan Gilbey and David Freedman, visit their website www.Peafur.com and the Bounty Hamster fansite at www.geocities.com/ bountyhamster1


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