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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

Star of Primeval and The Armstrong and Miller Show joined us for the 2007 Cult TV Festival Weekender...

 

Ben Miller is one of the stars of the new ITV1 Science Fiction series Primeval, where he plays the disbelieving senior Home Office official Sir James Lester.

Ben was midway through a PhD in Physics at Cambridge University, when he met Alexander Armstrong, who was also studying there, and neither have looked back since getting involved with the Footlights comedy club.

Ben was soon getting television roles, appearing in an episode of Murder Most Horrid, “He Died A Death”, as PC Watkins, and as a Client in the Jack Docherty comedy Mr Don and Mr George. He was also in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles episode “Palestine, October 1917”, playing a ‘French Officer’ amongst a cast that also included Colin Baker, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Terrance Hardiman and Daniel Craig! He also featured in Smith and Jones, Jerry Sadowitz, Paul Merton – The Series and French & Saunders.

Other roles around that time included a turn in the Casualty episode “Trials and Tribulations” as Daniel Murdoch, and Marty in the mini-series “Look at the State We’re In” which also featured John Cleese, Hugh Laurie, Rik Mayall, Dawn French and Robert Hardy, amongst a great many others. In 1995, with John Collins, he wrote the TV movie “Sardines”, where he played Simon alongside a cast including Alexander Armstrong, Jack Docherty and Griff Rhys-Jones.

Moving back to the tale of the comedy duo of Armstrong and Miller, after four years of touring pubs and underground comedy clubs they got a break on Saturday Live in 1996 as the Euro-Rock duo “Strijka”.

They were nominated for the Perrier Award that year, and were soon after commissioned to produce The Armstrong and Miller Show. Receiving its first transmission on the UK’s Paramount Channel in February 1997, and co-funded by Channel 4, three further series were made for Channel 4, one later in 1997, and then in 1999 and 2001.

The duo had their own radio show, “Armstrong and Miller” on BBC Radio 4 in 1998, which featured many of the sketches and characters from their TV series. A second show, “Children's Hour with Armstrong and Miller” aired later the same year on Radio 4, featuring their journalist characters Craig Children (Miller) and Martin Bain-Jones (Armstrong) as hosts of a spoof cultural review.

Ben co-wrote “MindGym”, winner of the first BAFTA Interactive Entertainment Award for comedy in 1998, with Tim Wright and Adam Gee. Meanwhile Armstrong and Miller both appeared in supporting roles in the highwayman comedy-drama “Plunkett And McLean” in 1999, playing Winterburn and Dixon.

Ben appeared in the television films “Passion Killers”, a comedy-drama about an agency that exposed cheating spouses, “Coming Soon”, a three-part comedy-drama about an improvisational theatre group, and played Gavin in the hilarious “Hunting Venus”, a spoof comedy drama about a former new romantic pop band being forced to reform, that included cameos by Gary Numan, Tony Hadley, Phil Oakey, Simon Le Bon and Jools Holland.

Ben lined up alongside Ray Winstone and Robert Carlyle in the comedy drama “There's Only One Jimmy Grimble”, played small time criminal Colin in Steve Coogan’s “The Parole Officer”, as well as the hotel concierge in Jez Butterworth's “Birthday Girl”.

He was also Rowan Atkinson's sidekick 'Bough’ in spy spoof “Johnny English”, as well as featuring in “The Actors” as Clive, alongside Michael Caine and Michael Gambon, and played Soren in “The Prince and Me” with Julia Stiles (Nicky in “The Bourne Identity”), James Fox and Miranda Richardson.

Ben played the unlucky groom, Howard, for two series of The Worst Week of My Life alongside long-time friend Sarah Alexander. He has also appeared in Doc Martin as Stewart James, The Book Group as Martin Logan, and Dr Terrible’s House of Horrible as Rebenor.

Over the years, he has also featured on Have I Got News For You, Space Cadets, The 11 O’Clock Show, Not A Lot Of People Know That, Never Mind The Buzzcocks and 8 Out Of 10 Cats. He even presented a season of cult film company Troma’s films for Bravo!

TV movie-wise, Ben played Edmund Bickleigh in “Malice Aforethought”, Basil Blake in “Marple – The Body In The Library”, and Roland Moxley-Nemesis in “Jeffrey Archer – The Truth”. Later this year, and from the collective pen of Robin Ince and Carolyn Wilson, Ben will be starring as Mr Jonathan in “Razzle Dazzle – A Journey Into Dance”.

Ben was also the voice of ITV Digital’s ‘Monkey’ character alongside Johnny Vegas, which is now the PG Tips monkey character in the same set-up. He also now works behind the camera as a director, and took the helm of the first episode of Steve Coogan's Saxondale. He is currently recording a new series of The Armstrong And Miller Show for Hattrick Productions.

Having now written, produced and directed as well as acted, Ben was once asked which of the four disciplines he enjoyed the most. He replied: “Whichever one I'm doing at the time! I try and vary it a bit. And I feel I learn a lot about acting when I'm directing, and vice versa. I just love being involved in things that I think are good, whatever capacity it's in”.

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

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Scriptwriter on Doctor Who and Script Executive on the new audio Blake's 7 adventures joined us at Cult TV 2007 courtesy of B7 Media...

 

Ben Aaronovitch is a writer whose first work for television was the critically acclaimed Doctor Who story "Remembrance of the Daleks" from the Sylvester McCoy era of the series.

He had been put in touch with Andrew Cartmel by a BBC script editor, Caroline Oulton, and he produced a story idea called "Nightfall" on spec, before being commissioned for the Dalek story. Ben also scripted "Battlefield" for the 26th season of the show.

Ben has gone on to write for Casualty and also wrote, with Cartmel, an initial script for the 1989 Doctor Who stage play "The Ultimate Adventure". He also scripted 13 episodes of the BSB series Jupiter Moon, and has written several novels in Virgin Publishing's "Doctor Who: The New Adventures" range and a new Bernice Summerfield novel for Big Finish Productions.

Other credits include five's Dark Knight, a fantasy retelling of the classic Ivanhoe tales.

He is the son of economist Dr Sam Aaronovitch, and the younger brother of actor Owen Aaronovitch and British journalist David Aaronovitch.

He is currently Script Executive on the re-imagining of Blake's 7, and is hard at work on a novel based on the 1960s TV series The Prisoner.

Ben appeared at the Cult TV Festival Weekender 2007 courtesy of B7 Media, the producers of the brand new Blake’s 7 audio dramas that you can currently hear at the SCI FI Channel’s website.

 

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Huggy Bear in the original Starsky and Hutch...

 

The status of Antonio Fargas is legendary. Since his initiation into the world of film at the age of fourteen, when his exceptional interpretative skills led to a role in Shirley Clarke's "The Cool World", he has been noted for the unforgettable characters he creates, most famously through his role as the incorrigible and loveable Huggy Bear in Starsky & Hutch.

Whether perfecting outrageously comedic characters as in Robert Downey's "Putney Swope" and Keenan Ivory Wayan's "I'm Going to Git You Sucka", or chilling the audience through a convincing rendition of a 90-year old witchdoctor, as in the Broadway play "The Great White Hope", Antonio's performances have generated a near endless array of enthusiastic acclaim from some of the industry's most respected critics of film, television and stage.

Antonio's television credits include starring, recurrent and guest roles on Miami Vice, MacGyver, Charlie’s Angels, Vega$, The Love Boat, G vs E, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Hardcastle and McCormick, Kojak, Police Woman, Kolchak – The Night Stalker, Sanford and Son, Ironside, All My Children, Martin, L.A. Heat, Kaz, Police Story, CHiPs, The Bill Cosby Show, Eve, The District, Homeboys In Outer Space, Holby City, Fastlane.The Simpsons, and most recently Everybody Hates Chris.

His list of Movies Of The Week includes back-door pilot "Huggy Bear and The Turkey", "Denmark Veresy", "Huckleberry Finn", "Ambush Murder" and "Ali – An American Legend".

His film credits include "Osmosis Jones", "Shaft", "Car Wash', "Cleopatra Jones", "Pretty Baby", "Next Stop, Greenwich Village", "Le Bell Anglaise", "Whore", "Conrack", "The Howling VI" and "The Borrower", amongst many others.

Antonio's stage career is most extensive with appearances both on and off Broadway, these include Melvin Von Peeples' "Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death", the on-Broadway production of "The Great White Hope", North Carolina Repertory's "The Contract", Stage West's "The Rainmaker" and "The Emperor Jones", and numerous other productions.

He is also a partner in his own production company, and they currently have a television series in development for a UK TV network. Antonio is currently partnering with a number of other artists in a tribute to urban art forms, the focus of his tribute is a twelve city tour of "Calling All Saints", a gospel musical stage play about the threats to marriage and family.

His commitment to theatre is further exemplified by his position on the boards of Rhode Island's Langton Hughes Centre for the Arts, and the Martin Luther King Center of Newport. He is Chairman of the Board of the Mount Vernon Open Case Theatre, and Honorary Board Chair on the Progressive Symphony's Academy of the Arts, an organization by Maestra Yvetter Devereaux.

Antonio was unable to join us as anticipated due to scheduling conflicts in 2006, but he cleared his diary for our Appreciation Weekend in 2007, and wowed his fans in person, with a red Ford Torino in tow!

Check out more on Antonio at his very own website, www.antoniofargas.com.

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

From Crossroads to Monarch of the Glen ...

 

Angus Lennie was born in Glasgow, and is best remembered for playing chef Shughie McFee in the original Crossroads (first appearing onscreen in 1972 as a Travel Agent), although his career before and after that gig has been renowned.

An episode of The Saint (1963's 'The Fellow Traveller') saw him play MacTavish, and he can be seen in the Doctor Who story 'The Ice Warriors', playing Storr in 1967 (He would return to the series in 1975 for the Tom Baker story "Terror of the Zygons", playing Angus McRanald). In 1964 he featured in the series HMS Paradise as Able Seaman Murdoch.

He can be seen in the movies Tunes of Glory (an orderly room clerk alongside Sir John Mills and Alec Guinness), The Great Escape (Flying Officer Archibald 'The Mole' Ives alongside Steve McQueen), and 633 Squadron (playing Flying Officer 'Hoppy' Hopkinson). He even provided the voice for Hamish Great in One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing as well as appearing in Oh What A Lovely War and The Zany Adventures of Robin Hood.

On television, he has appeared in Rumpole of the Bailey, Lovejoy, Game On, Hale and Pace, Hannay, The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, Parahandy, Doom Castle, The Stanley Baxter Show, Dad, The Les Dennis Show, The Bobby Davro Show, Justice, Keeping Up Appearances, The Upper Hand and All Night Long. He played John MacColl in the 1978 mini-series of Kidnapped, and was Curtis in the 1980 BBC Shakespeare adaption of The Taming of the Shrew. He has also been seen in Monarch of the Glen.

In terms of theatre work he undertook Rep seasons at Bath, Birmingham, Dundee, Farnham, Westcliff and Surrey. Other stage highlights include Dear Brutus and A Midsummer Night's Dream at Nottingham Playhouse, a Far East and Gulf tour of Lloyd George Knew My Father, The Three Estates at the Edinburgh and Walsall Festivals, plus several pantomimes.

Angus left Crossroads in 1981, but he is still recognised all over the world from the role: a doorman at the Barclays Bank branch in Paris once greeted him with "Bonjour, Monsieur Shughie"!

 

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

He was with us to announce the continuing adventures of Blake's 7 in 1999, and Andrew made a return visit in 2007 as Producer of the brand new audio adventures of the series...

 

Andrew was a former Creative Director at BBC Worldwide, and in that role was a key architect in defining the editorial and commercial strategy for exploiting BBC interactive content globally.

He was a Writer, Producer and Executive Producer on a range of cross-media projects, including the UKTV simulcast event Haunted (short-listed for the Montreux e-Rose), Dig Egypt, The Old Grey Whistle Test and Tomorrow’s World+.

Other credits include documentaries Echoes of the Past (for the UK History channel), Barcelona Burnout (Men and Motors) and Secrets of the Paranormal.

He was the UK Producer of the critically acclaimed feature film "Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont" that starred Joan Plowright, Anna Massey, Robert Lang, Rupert Friend and Zoe Tapper.

As co-founder of B7 Media, he most recently produced and directed the SCI FI Channel audio drama series based on the cult SF series Blake’s 7, starring Daniela Nardini (This Life), Derek Riddell (No Angels) and Colin Salmon (Keen Eddie, Hex, Bad Girls, and was Charles Robinson in a trio of James Bond movies, "Tomorrow Never Dies", "The World Is Not Enough" and "Die Another Day").

We were delighted to welcome Andrew back to the Cult TV Festival Weekender 2007 after eight years away. Goodness, how things changed in that time!

You can catch the brand new Blake’s 7 audio dramas right now at the SCI FI Channel’s website.

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Stu Riley from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea joined in the Cult TV fun in 2007...

 

Allan Hunt comes came into a family already blessed with acting talent. His Aunt, Marsha Hunt, was a well known movie actress of the 1940s and 1950s.

Allan Trained at the Pasadena Playhouse, The American Conservatory Theatre, The Seattle Repertory, and earned a degree at UCLA in journalism. He started acting as a youngster, initially appearing regularly as the boyfriend of Shelly Fabares in the series The Donna Reed Show. Other roles around this time included The Munsters, Gunsmoke, Dr Kildare, Slattery’s People, Karen, and Perry Mason.

He was then picked by Irwin Allen for Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, but he voluntarily cut his own 'voyage' short, at the end of season two, when he enlisted in the Marine Corps - knowing that he might soon be drafted with the events that were going on in Vietnam. Irwin Allen promised to keep the role of Stu Riley for Allan when he completed his duties in the Marines, however Voyage was cancelled before he could return to the show. While in the services, he worked on USO shows, lending his musical and theatrical talents to entertain his fellow troops.

Returning home after his tour of duty, he resumed his acting career, guest starring in many favourite shows including General Hospital, Quincy, Centennial, Ironside, Barnaby Jones, Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law, The Young and the Restless, and Police Story. He also featured in the 1979 TV movies Mandrake and The Ordeal of Patty Hearst.

Allan has continued to work in the industry, appearing in the recent The New Love Boat and Charmed, and on stage in the annual production of “A Christmas Carol”, with the likes of Anne Lockhart and Walter Koenig, and starring in a recent production of “The Music Man” as Harold Hill.

Allan is a full time teacher of Theatre at the Oak Park High School, in Oak Park, California, where he teaches drama, directs and supervises theatrical and musical productions, and works with the students, showing them an aspect of the industry that few High School students have the opportunity to see.

We were delighted that Allan agreed to join us at the Cult TV Festival Weekender 2007 in an exclusive UK appearance – his first this side of the Atlantic in almost a decade.

 

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

The sound designer and voice of Zen in the new Blake's 7 audio adventures joined us in October 2007 for the Cult TV Weekender courtesy of B7 Media...

 

Alistair Lock is the sound designer and the voice of Zen in the new Blake's 7 audio adventures.

He demonstrated a talent for the audio medium at an early age, spending most of his childhood playing with tape recorders, as well as honing his keen interest in music and theatre.

Having acquired a thorough education in radio production, Alistair went on to greater things, working as producer, sound designer and actor for Audio Visuals, which came out with a number of independent Doctor Who stories after the television series went off the air. At the same time, Alistair also developed an interest in Blake's 7, working with Alan Stevens to produce the behind-the-scenes documentary “Travis: The Final Act”, and two spin-off radio plays set in the Blake's 7 universe, “The Mark of Kane” and “The Logic of Empire”.

More recently, Alistair has done music, acting and production work for BBV's Doctor Who spin-off audio plays, notably "Republica" and "Prosperity Island", as well as their videos, including "The Airzone Solution", "More than a Messiah" and the "Autons" series. He also did post-production work on the well-received UNIT video story, "Downtime".

He has supplied theme music for a number of Science Fiction conventions, including his famous remix of Madonna's "Open Your Heart" with the Doctor Who theme for Panopticon, and produced a number of plays of his own. Alistair is probably best known, however, for his astounding work on Big Finish Productions' series of officially-licensed Doctor Who audio plays, which more than one reviewer has described as "cinematic". He also worked on the "Kaldor City" series of audio plays, giving them their distinct ambience of sophistication and menace

Alistair is a well-respected audio professional who is a very capable actor and director, all adding to his expertise in sound design and music. He has come a long way from the days when post-production was a difficult and cumbersome task involving yards of reel-to-reel tape and four track cassette recorders to the present world of sophisticated computers and surround sound.

Alistair appeared at the Cult TV Festival Weekender 2007 courtesy of B7 Media, the producers of the brand new Blake’s 7 audio dramas that you can currently hear at the SCI FI Channel’s website.

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

One of the members of the special effects team on Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, and UFO joined us for the Cult TV Weekender 2007...

 

Born in 1947, Alan was influenced by the cinema he saw throughout his childhood. During the 1950s space adventure films such as “Flash Gordon”, which were shown at Saturday Morning Cinema, encouraged him to pursue his childhood dream of working within the film industry.

His early interest in photography also found him in the role of official photographer to West Ham United Football Club, travelling with the legendary Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst on a weekly basis, for some years, around the UK.

In 1966, at the age of only 19, he became the youngest member of the elite special effects team, working under the supervision of Oscar-winning effects director Derek Meddings, at Century 21 Studios.

Alan worked on over 100 children’s television programmes including the classic Thunderbirds series, Captain Scarlet, Joe 90 and UFO.

Whilst working at the Studios he continued his passion for photography, casually capturing behind the scenes moments on the special effects film stages. His unique collection of photographs and untold stories from the Studio floor have now been published - for the first time in forty years - in a new hardback book “Century 21 FX - Unseen Untold” - see www.thunderbirdsbook.com for details.

Today Alan is still working as a professional photographer in his own business. We were delighted that he agreed to join us for the 2007 Cult TV Weekender.

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008
L-J "Gadget Girl" Rich has become one of the faces of digital television. Some of you may recognise her from her days at BID-UP.TV, the live auction TV channel. She moved on from there to short-lived live music and current affairs station WHEREITS.AT. Now, she's turning up on the trio of SIMPLY SHOPPING channels, plus QVC, and most recently on the AUCTION WORLD station.

L-J comes from a musical background, playing the piano from the tender age of 3 years old. She won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music at 11, continued her studies at Oxford and went on to become a sound engineer for Pete Waterman. She toured the USA in a rock 'n' roll band, still gigs occasionally and writes her own songs.

Nowadays Laura-Jane combines her musical talent with a love of all things technological as well as being a confirmed Science Fiction fan (the more explosions, the better!). L-J also enjoys training in acrobatic tumbling and playing the piano - upside down!

For more information, visit her website at www.laurajanerich.com

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Tuesday, 19 February 2008
Recently voted Best New TV Drama by The People’s Choice Awards 2008 in the USA, Moonlight is already leaving its mark on Stateside viewers and arrives on LIVING this month.

Private Investigator Mick St John (Alex O’Loughlin, Detective Kevin Hiatt in The Shield) is a vampire who ironically makes it his mission to help people, rather than adhere to the usual vampiric tendencies. He teams up with beautiful and tenacious reporter Beth Turner (Sophia Myles, Lady Penelope in the "Thunderbirds" movie, as well as Reinette in the Doctor Who episode "Girl In The Fireplace").

Mick makes it his mission to uncover murders and mysteries, and protect the innocent. Garlic and ornate crucifixes are no match for this modern-day vampire; a stake through the heart will only render a vampire paralysed ... but only until someone kindly removes it.

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