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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 16:19

Cy Grant

Lieutentant Green in Captain Scarlet and Hal Mellanby in Blake's 7 ...

 

Born in Guyana (then British Guiana), Cy Grant has lived an extraordinarily varied life. He served as a flight lieutenant in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, was shot down and spent two years as a prisoner of war. His War Memoir, "A Member of the RAF of Indeterminate Race", is being published by Woodfield Publishing.

After the war Cy qualified as a Barrister at Law, but went on to be an actor on stage and in film, as well as a singer in concert and cabaret. His was the first black face to be regularly seen on British Television, singing the news in calypso on television on the BBC Tonight programme from 1957 to 1960.

He voiced Lieutenant Green in Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, the first leading black character in a British SF series. He also appeared in the Blake’s 7 episode “Aftermath”, playing Dayna’s father, Hal Mellanby. He has also guest-starred in episodes of The Persuaders!, Softly Softly, Metal Mickey, Freedom Road, Born Free, White Hunter, They Met In A City, Home of the Brave and Man from the Sun.

On the big screen he has appeared in "At The Earth’s Core", "Journey To The Far Side of the Sun" (aka "Doppelganger"), "Shaft In Africa", "Sea Wife", "Calypso" and "Safari".

He is the author of "Ring of Steel: pan sound and symbol" (Macmillan 2000) and "Blackness & the Dreaming Soul" (Shoving Leopard). He was the Chairman and co-founder of "DRUM", the London based Black arts centre in the 1970s, and Director of the "CONCORD" Multicultural Festivals in the 1980s.

Cy is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Surrey, Roehampton and a member of The Scientific & Medical Network.

 

Wednesday, 20 February 2008 16:18

Terry Adlam

Creator of Dick Spanner and effects wizard on Terrahawks ...

 

Terry is a comedy scriptwriter who started out as a special effects technician, working on such films as "Arabian Adventure", "King Arthur and the Spaceman", "Clash of The Titans", "Bear Island", "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Return of the Jedi".

He later moved from film to television, where he worked on the Gerry Anderson production Terrahawks. During this time he also created, co-wrote and directed 26 episodes of Dick Spanner.

Since then he has written over 2,000 sketches, including material for Spitting Image, The Freddie Starr Show, Hale and Pace, Who Do You Do?, The Friday Zone, The Jack Docherty Show and Giggly Bitz. He's also written as part of a team for two series of S4C's Llwyth O Docs (aka Life on the Docks), and has scripted over 200 corporate videos, five stage plays (all performed) and is currently writing a book about a specific genre of comedy.

 

Wednesday, 20 February 2008 16:17

Stephanie Waring

Cindy Cunningham from Hollyoaks ...

 

Stephanie was born in Urmston, Manchester in 1978 and has appeared in various television series including Nice Guy Eddie, Mersey Beat and Holby City, but is well known for the role of Cindy Cunningham in Hollyoaks. She also had one of the lead roles in the Australian Sky One series, Crash Palace, playing Tina Clark in the backpacker drama.

Stephanie was a long time in the role of Cindy Cunningham - she played the part for four years on Hollyoaks. Initially the character was played by Laura Crossley for a few episodes, before Stephanie took on the role between 1996 and 2000. For those who want a short recap of what the character was about, well, life was running pretty smoothly for Cindy until the night of her 16th birthday when she became pregnant, following the advances of scandalous Stan Stanley. Cindy would conceal the pregnancy from her parents and, when she finally gave birth, abandoned the child. Her parents forcibly reunited mother and child, but Cindy tried to suffocate the baby. The shock of her actions suddenly made Cindy realise that she actually really loved her newborn daughter.

Cindy fell for Sean Tate the decorator, who mistreated baby Holly. An incident with a firework was brought to the attention of Social Services, who then never let up on checking up on her. Eventually, Cindy tried to move abroad to start a new life, but was abandoned at the airport by Sean. Unfortunately, Holly was prevented from leaving as she did not have a passport. Instead, Cindy returned to Hollyoaks, set up her own business venture, "Steam Team", and hooked up with fireman Ben Davies.

An incident involving Holly swallowing an ecstasy tablet, and Social Services quickly being on her tail, meant that Cindy had no choice but to flee the country, involving Ben in helping mother and child make an escape from hospital.

In Nice Guy Eddie, Stephanie played Laura, one of the daughters of streetwise PI Eddie McMullen (Ricky Tomlinson). Other television guest starring roles have included Always and Everyone (as Linda), Sweet Medicine (with Ashley Jensen), Brookside, The Royal, and Doctors.

Her training includes two years at the Oldham Theatre Workshop, followed by two years at the Acting Studio in Manchester. She has devised a treatment for a drama format which is in development with a major production company. Recently, in fact on Christmas Day 2006, Stephanie appeared as Emma, a girlfriend of Jason Grimshaw in Coronation Street.

Some of Stephanie's personal TV favourites are 24, Ugly Betty, Ally McBeal, Will & Grace, Sex in the City, Buffy, Angel and Friends.

 

Wednesday, 20 February 2008 16:16

Ronald Wolfe

Creator and Writer of On The Buses, The Rag Trade and much more ...

 

Ronnie’s professional career began in BBC radio, with him eventually becoming Head Writer of the hit series "Educating Archie" (created by Eric Sykes). The cast at various times included such well-loved and remembered names as Julie Andrews, Tony Hancock, Max Bygraves, Beryl Reid, Harry Secombe, Benny Hill, Bruce Forsyth and Warren Mitchell.

Other writing projects around that time included intimate revue, summer shows and pantomimes, some of which starred Ken Dodd, Kenneth Williams, Beryl Reid and Tommy Steele.

In the 1960s Ronnie decided to concentrate on television, and with his writing partner Ronald Chesney, devised and created many TV sit-coms. These included The Rag Trade (with Peter Jones, Miriam Karlin, Sheila Hancock, Barbara Windsor and Reg Varney), Meet the Wife (with Thora Hird and Freddie Frinton), The Bedsit Girl (with Sheila Hancock), Take a Letter Mr Jones (with John Inman, Rula Lenska and Miriam Margolyes), Romany Jones, Don’t Drink The Water and, most famously, On The Buses (with Reg Varney, Doris Hare, Stephen Lewis, Anna Karen, Michael Robbins and Bob Grant).

The television series of On The Buses led to three cinema spin-offs, "On The Buses", "Mutiny On The Buses" and "Holiday on the Buses". The format has spawned a large and active fan club which continues to send out loads of literature, news and features to its devoted fans.

The Rag Trade is now a worldwide success, as in the last few years it has been successfully re-made in other countries. Each country has used their own actors and has been translated into their own language. And in each of these countries it has continually been top of the ratings, and is constantly repeated. So successful was the TV show in Scandinavia, that a full-length feature film, “Fredrikssons Fabriks - The Movie” was made. This show is still running in South Africa, with 26 further episodes recently made in 2003.

Ronnie’s work as a deviser, creator and writer of sitcoms has taken him across the world, and he has worked for all the major networks in the United States (ABC, NBC and CBS), Australia, Scandinavia, Germany, Portugal, Holland, Belgium, Canada and South Africa.

He is a script consultant for Alomo Productions, and in his work as Visiting Lecturer, Ronnie has been invited to speak and take Seminars and Workshops at the British National Film and Television School, The City University - London, the London Department of the New York University, the University of Barcelona, as well as at many other leading universities at home and abroad, plus various institutes of learning which have departments of Drama, Film, TV, Radio and Media Studies.

Ronnie’s definitive book, "Writing Comedy", has recently been published in a new and updated third edition by Robert Hale Ltd.

 

Wednesday, 20 February 2008 16:13

Jean–Pierre Dorléac

The costume designer for Quantum Leap, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and the original Battlestar Galactica, and many others, made his UK convention debut at Cult TV 2005 ...

 

Jean–Pierre Dorléac's prolific career in costume design has encompassed feature films, television, theatre, music videos and private couture. An American, born in Toulon, France, many of his relatives worked in the theatre, both in front of and behind the footlights. His schooling took in many European countries, even England for a time when he resided in both Ipswich and Oxford.

For fans of Cult TV, his contributions to fantasy and science-fiction have been very memorable, and across a range of styles. These are represented through the punk, sociopathic madness of Max Headroom, the vampy, cartoonish camp of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and the Emmy Award winning simplicity of the retro, alternative future of Battlestar Galactica (Outstanding Costume Design for a Series for the episode "The Man With Nine Lives", aka "Furlon", which guest-starred Fred Astaire).

His depiction of the South Pacific in the 1930s was nominated for an Emmy with Tales of the Gold Monkey. The 1940s were explored in "Rosie: The Rosemary Clooney Story". The 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s costumes for Quantum Leap were Emmy nominated for four consecutive years, for their factual depiction of the eras that Sam Beckett visited in his weekly trips through time. Jean-Pierre also worked for producer Donald Bellisario on other projects such as Airwolf and Magnum PI, as well as further work for Glen A Larson on Knight Rider, Rooster and Sword of Justice.

Jean-Pierre also became a trendsetter in the classic American mini series. The gallantry and pageantry of the American Revolutionary War was seen in the television movie, 1978's The Bastard, earning him his first Emmy nomination, followed by its sequel, 1979's The Rebels.

His provocative and challenging creations range from the exotic rags and tatters assembled for the 1980 version of "The Blue Lagoon", to the mad, institutional designs for the West Coast stage production of Peter Weiss' "Marat/Sade".

The beauty and romanticism of turn-of-the-century America was captured in a quartet of memorable films. These were Horton Foote's "Lily Dale" (1996), the biopics "Mae West" (1982) and "A Burning Passion: The Margaret Mitchell Story" (1994), and the cult hit "Somewhere in Time" (1980), the film that garnered him an Academy Award nomination.

The enduring "Heart and Souls" showed us San Francisco in the late 1950s and present day, while Universal's feature, "Leave It to Beaver" gave us a 'today', reminiscent of the late 1950s. His striking creations for the cover of New York magazine caused a fashion media frenzy and the beguilingly-styled, high-tech glamour Elizabeth Hurley wore in the television special "The World of James Bond" was 'simply drop-dead', according to television’s Extra.

Dorléac's collection of work has been exhibited worldwide. Benefit events for AIDS Project Los Angeles have celebrated his designs, as well as fashion shows seen at Mannequins Auxiliary of the Assistance League of Southern California. The Los Angeles County Museum of Arts showcased his costumes in their exhibition and book, "Hollywood and History: Costume Design In Film", and there have been other celebrations at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City), La Palais de la Civilization (Montreal, Canada), and La Place Vendôme, (Paris, France).

His most recent TV series, The Lot, was set in a 1938 movie studio back lot, and was a half-hour comedy that featured Jonathan Frakes. Dorléac's attention to detail earned him another Emmy in 2001 (in conjunction with Costume Supervisor Gilberto Mello) and recognition from the Costume Designers Guild in 2002, for Excellence in Period Television Design.

Jean-Pierre had an uncredited role as a mental patient in the Quantum Leap episode "Shock Theater", and played himself in an episode of the short-lived police series Tequila and Bonetti, as well as the mini series of Jacqueline Susann's "Valley of the Dolls".

He has recently completed the costumes for George F Kaufman and Moss Hart's American comedy classic, "You Can’t Take It With You" for the Geffen Playhouse, directed by Moss Hart's son, Christopher Hart.

His first novel, "Abracadabra Alakazam" was released by the renowned publishers, Monad Books. It has been described as a "deliciously decadent two-part caper revolving around an alluring but unpredictable heroine named Glenna Flanning, and two young men who enter her life, twenty-one years apart".

 

 

Wednesday, 20 February 2008 16:12

Dave Prowse

The Green Cross Code Man and the body behind Darth Vader ...

 

Dave was most famously the road safety Green Cross Code Man for 14 years - what he describes as the best job he's ever had, that started in 1976.

His gargantuan set of TV credits also include Doctor Who ("The Time Monster"), The Saint ("The Portrait of Brenda"), Department S ("Treasure of the Costa del Sol"), Space: 1999 ("The Beta Cloud"), Arthur of the Britons ("The Slave" and "Go Warily"), The Champions, The Avengers, Ace of Wands, Callan, The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Tomorrow People, The Rose Medallion, A Horseman Riding By, the 1978 BBC As You Like It, The Balcony - Jean Genett (for the BBC Open University), The Benny Hill Show, The Stanley Baxter Show, The Kenneth Williams Show, The Two Ronnies, The Dick Emery Show, Beyond The Fringe, The Morecambe and Wise Show and The Beverly Hillbillies.

In 1975, he was cast as the number one villain in SF cinema - Darth Vader in Star Wars (Director George Lucas had given him the choice of playing the evil nemesis, or Chewbacca!).

Other big screen credits include "Casino Royale", "Hammerhead", "Crossplot", "The Horror of Frankenstein", "A Clockwork Orange", "Up The Chastity Belt", "Up Pompeii", "Carry on Henry", "Vampire Circus", "White Cargo", "Blacksnake!", "Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell", "Confessions of a Pop Performer", "The People That Time Forgot" and "Jabberwocky".

The owner of three gymnasiums, The Sunday Times described Dave as "The World's Number 1 Personal Trainer" - celebrities under his tuition have included Christopher Reeve for the role of "Superman", Daniel Day Lewis for the "Last of the Mohicans", Vanessa Redgrave, Edward Heath MP, Robert Powell, Peter Davison, Sandra Dickinson, Jason Donovan, Shane Richie, Gary Wilmott, John Barrowman and Stefanie Powers.

Dave was a guest at Cult TV 2006. Find out more about the man himself at the DAVE PROWSE website, www.daveprowse.com

 

Wednesday, 20 February 2008 16:11

Richard Gibson

Herr Flick from 'Allo 'Allo! ...

 

Richard Gibson played Gestapo Officer Herr Otto Flick in the BBC series, 'Allo 'Allo!. The show ran from 1982 with an initial pilot and then from 1984 to 1992. Dressed in an ankle-length leather coat and with the obligatory stiff-legged limp and walking stick, Herr Flick spent his life suppressing peasants, seducing Helga, the German town Commandant's assistant, and vainly trying to get his hands on the original of the painting “The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies” by Van Klomp.

Richard Gibson toured with 'Allo 'Allo! when it transferred to the stage, having successful tours both in the United Kingdom and abroad. The stage version of the show gave rein to his other skills and he was able to demonstrate his mastery of the violin.

Richard even released a single with his 'Allo 'Allo! colleague Helga called 'Rock Around Ze Clock'. He was born in Kampala, Uganda, on 1 January, 1954.

He has also featured in Tom Brown’s Schooldays, Hadleigh, and The Upper Hand, as well as Poldark, Penmarric, The Children of the New Forest, Park Ranger, Prospects, The Upper Hand, and Coral Island.

TV movie appearances include "The Key to Rebecca" and "Omagh". Film appearances include Joseph Losey’s "The Go-Between", "England Made Me", and "The Young Girl and the Monsoon".

Richard was a guest star in the Big Finish audio production "Flip-Flop", a Doctor Who story featuring Sylvester McCoy and Bonnie Langford. He is a regular contributor of features and short stories to newspapers and magazines in both the UK and Ireland.

Richard joined us for the Cult TV Festival in 2006.

 

Wednesday, 20 February 2008 16:09

Jean Marsh

From Upstairs, Downstairs to Doctor Who, The House of Elliot to The Saint ...

 

Jean Marsh is an actress best known for creating the television series Upstairs, Downstairs (with Dame Eileen Atkins) and for portraying housemaid Rose Buck in the same series, a role that brought her an Emmy Award. Jean and Eileen also co-created The House of Eliott for the BBC.

Jean became interested in the acting world while taking dancing and mime classes. A spell in charm school and some work as a model led to employment in repertory theatre. Her first film was "Tales of Hoffman" when she was just 17. Jean then spent three years in America, appearing in Sir John Geilgud's Broadway production of "Much Ado About Nothing" and taking numerous guest slots in TV series, including an episode of the original Twilight Zone.

Returning to London, she was soon to appear in Doctor Who alongside William Hartnell. Her first role in the series was as Princess Joanna in "The Crusade", which was followed by the iconic character of Sara Kingdom in "The Daleks' Master Plan". She returned to the series in the Sylvester McCoy era, as Morgaine in "Battlefield".

Uncredited for her appearance as Marc Antony's wife Octavia in 1963's "Cleopatra", she then attracted much attention for roles such as Mrs Rochester in the 1971 TV movie version "Jane Eyre", and Monica Barling in Hitchcock's "Frenzy" (1972). After nearly 20 years in the business, Jean received the award of "Most Outstanding New Actress” in 1972.

Seen as a guest star in many a Cult TV series, she has appeared in episodes of The Saint (four stories – "The Scales of Justice", "Escape Route", "The Imprudent Politician" and "The Good Medicine"), Department S ("The Perfect Operation"), UFO ("Exposed"), The Persuaders! ("Five Miles To Midnight"), Danger Man ("Name, Date and Place"), Gideon’s Way ("A Perfect Crime" and "The Night Lifers"), Adam Adamant Lives! ("Face In A Mirror"), The Third Man, I Spy, The Wonderful World of Disney, The Befrienders, The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes, The Waltons, Trapper John MD, Tales from the Darkside, Murder, She Wrote, The All New Alexei Sayle Show, Dangerfield, Kavanagh QC, Ghosthunter, Holby City, Doctors, the 1990s revival of The Tomorrow People, the TV series version of 9 to 5, and the TV movie "Goliath Awaits".

Other roles on the big screen include the likes of "The Eagle Has Landed" (1976), "The Changeling" (1980), "Return to Oz” (1985) and "Willow" (1988).

Jean nominated Medecins Sans Frontieres as the chosen charity for the 2006 Cult TV Festival.

 

Wednesday, 20 February 2008 15:45

David Barry

Frankie Abbott from Please, Sir! and The Fenn Street Gang ...

 

David Barry came to televisual fame in the 1970s, when he starred as Frankie Abbott, the mummy's boy who thinks he's a hardcase, in the sitcoms Please, Sir! (a US version was known as Welcome Back Kotter) and The Fenn Street Gang. At this time he wrote his first broadcast TV script, and in the 1980s wrote regularly for the sitcom Keep It in the Family (US version: Too Close for Comfort), and also played a leading role in the feature film of "George and Mildred".

David was born and brought up in north Wales. At the age of 12 he worked as an actor, and his first stage appearance was at Theatre Royal, Windsor in "Life With Father", the longest running Broadway play. In the late 1950s he made a film with Tyrone Power, "Abandon Ship", then toured Europe with Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh in Peter Brook’s production of "Titus Andronicus", the most prestigious post-war tour, and one of the first to visit the Iron Curtain countries. As a teenager, he appeared in countless TV productions, including playing the part of Ginger in the first commercial television series of Just William.

He has enjoyed working in the theatre, in plays such as "Under Milk Wood", "Forget-Me-Not Lane", "Funny Money", and more recently in David Mamet's "Duck Variations". He has also played in 25 Christmas pantomimes, and these days usually plays the Dame.!

During the 1990s, he was very involved both as an actor and writer in producing diversity training workshops in public sector organisations, and wrote a full-length play "What Goes Around", which ran for a limited season in London theatres.

More recently he has turned to book writing, and his first novel, "Each Man Kills", was published in November 2002. It is located in Wales, and reached Number 8 in the Welsh bestseller list. He has also created and is writing an internet soap, "Careless Talk", located in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, the town in which he now lives. Visit www.carelesstalksoap.btinternet.co.uk to access the stories, and there are links on his website to his book at the publisher and at Amazon.

David has recently published his autobiography, "Flashback", which is also available at Amazon and most booksellers. We were delighted that David joined us for the Cult TV Festival in 2006.

 

Wednesday, 20 February 2008 15:44

Brian Grant

Award winning Director of the likes of Doctor Who, Hex, Bugs and Highlander, and co-creator of As If ...

Brian Grant has directed many a show that is considered a Cult TV series. You'll see his name on the credits of such programmes as Highlander – The Raven, The Hitch-hiker, She-Wolf of London, Mann and Machine, Red Shoe Diaries, Bugs, Second Noah, Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married, Clocking Off, Queen of Swords, Love Bytes and Sky One's horror hit Hex.

He was the Co-Creator, Executive Producer and one of the Directors of Channel 4's As If, the tale of the lives and loves of six teenagers, set against the background of London in the 21st century that ran for four seasons. He also served as Producer and Director for the short-run American restaging of the series for the UPN network. Recently he has turned his attention to directing an episode of the new regeneration of Doctor Who, namely 'The Long Game'.

Brian started his TV and film career in the 1970s as a television cameraman. He worked on hundreds of productions, covering everything from drama to sport, light entertainment to news and current affairs. Projects included Edward the Seventh, The Strauss Family, Anthony and Cleopatra, Sapphire and Steel, Hamlet and The Muppet Show. He also shot a number of documentaries.

In 1979 he formed a production company with producer Scott Millaney. This led to him directing over 200 music videos for acts such as Whitney Houston, Rod Stewart, Tina Turner, Duran Duran, The Rolling Stones, Olivia Newton John, Queen, Dolly Parton, David Bowie, Aretha Franklyn, Liza Minelli, Elton John, Donna Summer, Sheena Easton, Jodey Whatley, The Bee Gees, Stevie Nicks, The Moody Blues, Spandau Ballet and Peter Gabriel (including 'Shock The Monkey'). He won many prestigious awards including the first Music Video Grammy for Olivia Newton John's 'Let's Get Physical'.

Brian has directed over 30 commercials, including ones for Chrysler, Pepsi, Sharp and Ford. Millaney Grant Productions eventually became MGMM Productions when directors Russell Mulcahy and David Mallet joined in 1984. The company grew and formed Initial Films with Eric Fellner, and produced a number of feature films including "Sid & Nancy", "A Kiss Before Dying", "The Rachel Papers" and "Hidden Agenda".

In true Hitchcock style, Brian has taken a couple of cameos in films he has directed - watch out for him as a Chef in "The Immortals" and a man outside a phonebox in "Bloodlines: Legacy of a Lord".

His most recent cinematic outing was directing the stars of Smack The Pony in a spoof of Xena-esque adventures, "Gladiatress". He has just wrapped production on series two of Hex, screening on Sky One from October 2005.

Brian was a guest at the Cult TV Festival 2005.

 

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