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Beginnings

Saturday, 23 February 2008 08:57

Cult TV first came into being as a Student Union Society in 1983 at Wolverhampton University, back when it was a Polytechnic...

 

Regular events began from September 1983, ranging from screenings to co-operative ventures with other fan groups (including Six Of One - The Prisoner Appreciation Society). Within weeks the Society had over 300 members - more than all the political societies combined!

At the time, whilst specific shows had their own unique fanbases, there was still no recognisable term to encompass television series with fan-followings that covered a multitude of genres.

Happening upon Danny Peary's seminal "Cult Movies" book, which categorised the various films outside the mainstream which elicited a fiery passion from enthusiastic filmgoers championing their favourite features, Alex J Geairns made the connection from one medium to the other and began organising weekly Cult TV meetings. Before the decision was made to go with the name "Cult TV", various other possibilities had been considered, including "Classic TV", "FAB TV", and "Retro TV". However, no term seemed to really capture the spirit in the way that "Cult TV" did.

In 1984 "mini" Cult TV magazines were issued to publicise events, many of the screenings organised in co-operation with Wider TeleVision Access (WTVA), in an effort to open up the television archives.

In March of 1985 the first proper issue of Cult TV Magazine appeared throughout the country via the network of speciality comic and book shops. A low budget affair, its balance of knowledgeable appreciation and irreverence set a tone which continued for the next four years.

Over the following years, various failed attempts were made to launch a commercial monthly magazine, but at the time no-one could be convinced that there was a viable market for such a tome - in hindsight, one can see that Cult TV was very much ahead of its time.

From these roots, it was not long before something much bigger grew. The 1992 FAB 1 Convention, held in Wolverhampton, was a celebration of Thunderbirds, and brought together Henry Holland, Tina Bailey, John Wilkinson, Mark Andrews, Sarah Barker and Alex J Geairns, who would form the nucleus of the first Cult TV crew.

Reunited in Watford the following year, 1993, at a Gerry Anderson convention, come Sunday evening with the event winding down, and joined by Idris Evans, everyone adjourned to an Indian Restaurant. During the meal, conversation turned to wondering why an event that celebrated all strands of television with fan followings had never been organised. Looking to entice Sylvia Anderson as one of the guests, the proposition was focused enough to be the beginning of the idea that would become the Cult TV Weekender.

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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