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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

One of the stars of UFO and Special Branch, as well as numerous other cult series, joined us for one of his last ever appearances, at Cult TV 2005 ...


When in 1968 George Sewell was cast as Eurosec security chief Mark Neuman in Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's "Doppelganger", he did not realise that this would lead on to the Cult TV role that arguably most appreciators remember him for – that of Colonel Alec Freeman in UFO.

Born in London, George left school at 14 and followed his father into the printing trade as an apprentice printer. He served with the Royal Air Force during World War II. When demobbed, he took a series of jobs before joining the Merchant Navy and serving as a steward for the Cunard Line aboard the Queen Mary, the Queen Elizabeth and the Carionia on Atlantic crossings to New York. Feeling in need of a change, he resigned his commission. For six years he was a courier for a coach holiday tours company, a job which allowed him to explore Europe.

George had never considered joining his brother Danny in the acting profession until a chance meeting with actor Dudley Sutton in a pub. Sutton suggested that George should go and see Joan Littlewood who was casting a production of "Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be" and was looking for someone with George's features. Sutton impressed upon George that Littlewood didn't like using actors in her productions, so George's lack of training would prove ideal. George accepted Sutton's challenge and he was given a role in the production. At the age of 35, George made his acting debut in the West End and even appeared on the original cast album recording of the show.

This role was followed by another in Joan Littlewood's "Sparrows Can't Sing" and then as Field Marshal Haig in "Oh, What a Lovely War", which went on tour to Paris and Broadway. These three roles for the Theatre Workshop were George's training in the theatre and paved the way to his career in TV and film, with cinematic roles in "This Sporting Life", "Deadlier Than the Male", "Kaleidoscope", "Robbery ", "Up The Junction" and "The Vengeance of She".

On television, he made guest appearances in episodes of Man in a Suitcase, Mr Rose, The Man in Room 17, Gideon's Way, Redcap, Z Cars, Softly Softly, The Power Game, Public Eye, and the original Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased).

Following his role in UFO, George moved on to recurring parts in ITV's Manhunt and the BBC's Paul Temple (1969), and was a guest star on the likes of The Adventurer and Dixon of Dock Green, and had a further guest role on Public Eye too.

His role as Con McCarty in "Get Carter" led to the starring role as Detective Chief Inspector Craven in the later seasons of Special Branch. He also appeared in Stanley Kubrick's "Barry Lyndon", and went on to guest in episodes of The Sweeney, Minder, Callan, The Gentle Touch, CATS Eyes, Bulman, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense, Tales of The Unexpected, The Chinese Detective, and with Sylvester McCoy in the Doctor Who story "Remembrance of the Daleks".

George has played plenty of comedy over the years, too - he co-starred with Jim Davidson in the sit-com Home James!, and the comic casting continued when he played the boss to Jasper Carrott and Robert Powell in the The Detectives. He has also featured in Rising Damp, Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, Don't Forget To Write and The Upper Hand. He also featured as 'Huggy' Bear in the children's series Harry and The Wrinklies.

Towards the end of his career, he was seen in The Bill, Heartbeat, and Doctors. We were delighted that George agreed to be with us for Cult TV 2005.

George died peacefully in 2007.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Famous to fans as Blake in Blake's 7, Gareth has also been a host of other Cult TV series ...


Trained at RADA, where he is now an Associate, Gareth Thomas has worked extensively in television, theatre, film and radio.

Following guest appearances in The Avengers and Public Eye, his first major television role came in 1972 as the Welsh policeman sent to police the 1913 Cornish clay miners' strike in Stocker's Copper.

It earned Gareth his first BAFTA nomination and led to roles in the legal drama Sutherland's Law, and adaptations of David Copperfield and How Green Was My Valley.

After playing Lord Beresford in Edward VII and astro-physicist, Adam Brake, in the mystery serial Children of the Stones, he starred as resistance leader Roj Blake in Terry Nation's Blake's 7.

Although he would return for the season three episode Terminal and the final show, Blake, Gareth left the series after two years to play James Tayper Pace in The Bell and Dr. Philip Denny in the period medical drama The Citadel.


He earned a second BAFTA nomination portraying the Welsh hill farmer in Morgan's Boy. After appearing as one of Cromwell's soldiers in By the Sword Divided, he played another futuristic rebel leader in Knights of God.

In the 1990s Gareth played a drunken bigot in We Are Seven, the fire brigade area commander in London's Burning, and Nathaniel Clegghorn in Heartbeat, followed by guest roles in The Strangerers, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and the comedy Baddiel's Syndrome. More recently he appeared as Blaze in Merlin - The Legend, and Reverend Denis Thomas in the docu-drama Shipman.

His stage performances have been just as prolific with roles in everything from Shakespeare to Chekov. Recently he played Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, publican Michael James Flaherty in The Playboy of the Western World, and the Holocaust refugee in Moving Objects.

Featured on several CDS, Gareth plays Kalendorf in Big Finish Audio's Dalek Empire series, and the villainous megalomaniac Arran Arkenstein in the comedy science-fiction audio series Soldiers of Love from MJTV.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Voice artist and actor from the likes of Thunderbirds and Timeslip joined us for Cult TV 2005 ...


David Graham is a British character actor and voice artist, whose work may be more familiar than his name. He trained as an actor in New York but has worked mainly on British television series.

Fans of the work of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson will know that he voiced Parker, Brains, Kyrano and Gordon Tracy in the original Thunderbirds. A role in an episode of Martin Kane, Private Investigator originally brought him to the attention of Mr Anderson. From that point on, David was a mainstay of the Anderson productions, from Four Feather Falls (Grandpa Twink and Fernando) through to Supercar (Doctor Beaker, Mitch the Monkey, and Zarin), Fireball XL5 (Professor Matthew Matic, Lieutenant 90 and Zoonie The Lazoon), and Stingray. He also featured in the Anderson B-Movie “Crossroads To Crime”.

Thunderbirds was the last series that David worked on for the Andersons in a ‘full-time’ capacity, although he did provide voices for the feature films "Thunderbirds Are Go" and "Thunderbird Six", as well as guest roles in an episode of The Secret Service. However, he did provide many of the voices in Roberta Leigh’s marionette series Sarah & Hoppity, as well as The Moomins and Dominion Tank Police.

David played many parts in Doctor Who, notably the Dalek voices in the 1960s stories "The Daleks", "The Dalek Invasion of Earth", "The Daleks' Master Plan", and "The Chase" (where he also provided Mechanoid voices). He played the barman, Charlie, in "The Gunfighters", and Professor Kerenszky, a foreign time-travel scientist, in the 1979 story "City of Death".

David also had an association with the fondly remembered Timeslip. He played Controller 2957, a future projection of lead character Simon (Spencer Banks). Mr Graham has also appeared in Callan, Danger Man, Out of the Unknown,So Haunt Me, The Saint, Owen MD, Softly Softly, When The Boat Comes In, Casualty, The Bill, and The Avengers (in the 1963 Venus Smith episode "Man In The Mirror").

Over the years, David has used his voice to supply accents including American, Russian, French, Italian, Middle European, German, Spanish and Hungarian. He was also a member of the BBC Radio Drama Company from 1975 to 1977.

In 2004 he played Grandpa Pig in Peppa Pig, the animated children's series. We were delighted to welcome David to the 2005 Cult TV Festival.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Barry Lockridge from Land of the Giants ...


Stefan is best known for his role as Barry Lockridge in the Irwin Allen series Land of the Giants. Stefan has also starred in several movies including "The Way West" with Richard Widmark and Robert Mitchum, "Class of 1984", "Fear No Evil", "Strange Days", "The Final Cut", and the 2005 version of "The Fog".

Before landing the co-starring gig in Land of the Giants, Stefan had guest roles on the small screen in the likes of The Defenders, Gunsmoke, T.H.E. Cat, Combat, Dragnet and The Virginian. Later on, roles in Switch, Police Story and TJ Hooker would cement his television credentials.

In recent years has appeared in the likes of Highlander ("Courage"), The Sentinel ("Payback"), The X Files ("Terma" and "Tunguska"), Poltergeist: The Legacy ("Ransom"), Viper ("Stormwatch"), Millennium ("Thirteen Years Later" and "Goodbye Chris"), The Crow: Stairway To Heaven ("The Road Not Taken"), 7 Days ("The Dunwych Madness"), Special Unit 2 ("The Eye"), UC: Undercover ("The Seige"), Cold Squad ("True Believers"), Da Vinci's Inquest ("Wash The Blood Out of The Ring" and "Dizzy Looking Down") and Dead Like Me (the pilot episode). He also appeared as Shire Reeve in "The Legend of Earthsea" mini-series.

Stefan is a very accomplished musician. He had a band called "The Knights of The Living Dead", in Los Angeles from 1986 to 1993. The band was offered several deals, and signed with Capitol Records. Unfortunately, the president of Capitol was fired that same week, and the new president dropped all the new bands that were signed but had not gone into the recording studio.

The band did get money to make a demo with Dave Jerden (Jane's addiction, Rolling Stones, etc) as producer. But by the time everything was done, the band was breaking up. Stefan and his partner Roland Devoile continued to make music until the 1994 Northridge earthquake, when his girlfriend, now wife, Dawn, decided it was time to leave Los Angeles. They moved to Vancouver, Canada later in 1994. Stefan also helped his sister (Alison Arngrim) get one of her first roles on the series Room 222, who went on to fame as Nellie in Little House on the Prairie.

Stefan won The Science Fiction Film & Fantasy Award "Best actor" for "Fear No Evil" in 1981, and was recently Nominated for a Gemini Award in the category "Best supporting actor" for "The Life" in 2005.

You can find out some more background about Stefan by visiting his website at www.stefanarngrim.com.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Having played Iolaus, the side-kick to Hercules, Michael is also a terrific director! ...


Co-founder of Auckland’s Watershed Theatre, Michael Hurst was born in Lancashire and emigrated to New Zealand with his family at the age of seven.

After acting and directing at school, Michael was accepted into a two-year training programme at Christchurch’s Court Theatre before joining Auckland’s Theatre Corporate.

On television he appeared in two episodes of The Ray Bradbury Theatre before taking the role of Iolaus in Hercules and the Amazon Women. When the TV movies spawned the series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys he stayed on as Hercules’ loyal sidekick.

On the show Michael played variations of the character as, after sacrificing himself, Iolaus is inhabited by the demon Dahak, then appears as a cowardly double from the Netherworld before his eventual resurrection.

He also played the dancing Widow Twanky, under the pseudonym Edith Sidebottom, and writer Paul Robert Coyle, in the contemporary episode Yes, Virginia, There Is a Hercules. With the spin-off show Xena: Warrior Princess filming concurrently, Michael appeared as Iolaus in cross-over episodes and took on dual roles of Nigel and Charon in You Are There.

From the third year Michael directed the first of six episodes, including Faith, the show in which Iolaus dies. He also stepped behind the camera for a further six episodes of Xena: Warrior Princess, in particular A Day in the Life which has a three minute, single camera take of Xena and Gabrielle bathing together.

He directed the pilot for Amazon High, written by Robert G. Tapert. When it failed to be picked up the footage was recycled into the Xena: Warrior Princess episode Lifeblood.

After appearing as Captain Nardo da Vinci in Jack of All Trades starring Bruce Campbell, he directed the episode The Morning After, and was recently reunited with Kevin Sorbo in the Andromeda episode The Knight, Death and the Devil.

After directing the television movie, Love Mussel, Michael played Riff-Raff in a theatrical run of The Rocky Horror Show in New Zealand.

He has appeared at the Cult TV Festival in the UK twice, in 2001 and 2003.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Rising in rank over the years in Doctor Who ...


Keen to become an actor even though he had no formal training, while working in a menswear shop John Levene found himself serving Telly Savalas and asked his advice.

Getting his Equity card he found every variation of his real name, John Anthony Woods, in use and chose his professional alternative after boxing promoter Harry Levene.

Best known as Sergeant Benton in Doctor Who, his first acting job on the series was in 1967 as one of the Cybermen in the adventure The Moonbase. A year later he played a Yeti in The Web of Fear before being cast as Benton in The Invasion. Between 1970 and 1975 he regularly appeared on the show, acting alongside first Jon Pertwee then Tom Baker, until UNIT was gradually phased out of the story-lines.

Having previously appeared as an Interceptor Pilot in UFO and a policeman in Z Cars, John made guest appearances in The Adventurer, Callan and Space: 1999 before returning as Benton in Reeltime Picture’s spin-off, Wartime.

He formed Genesis Communications, directing audio visual presentations and live events for clients such as British Airways and Revlon then after working as MC on cruise ships, relocated to America in the mid-1980s and took his mother’s maiden name to become John Anthony Blake.

Now producing celebrity charity shows and other events, as well as doing corporate voice-over work, John recently played Lord T.N. Crumpets in an episode of Big Bad Beetleborgs and appeared in the independent movie Cannibalistic.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

The voice of K9, who played both Pasco and Toise in Blake's 7 ...


John Leeson's career as an actor of over forty years has spanned the West End, film, and television of all kinds.

His work in TV space adventure and fantasy includes Blake's 7 (Pasco in "Mission to Destiny" and Toise in "Gambit") and Doctor Who, as the voice of K9 (1977-1979 and 1980-1981), the faithful and smart robotic dog. He has been delighted to rejoin Elisabeth Sladen to reprise the character in the current series episode "School Reunion", and we are looking forward to reuniting the two of them at this year’s Cult TV Festival (subject to work and personal commitments).

John also voiced K9 in 1981's pilot K9 and Company (1981) and has reprised the character in several Big Finish audio adventures, including "Zagreus" and the "Gallifrey" series. Leeson's vocal contributions to Doctor Who also include other characters in the stories “The Invisible Enemy” and "Remembrance of the Daleks".

John’s other television appearances include Bugs, Dad’s Army, Jigsaw, Sorry!, 'Allo 'Allo!, Take Three Girls, Rings On Their Fingers, My Wife Next Door, The Barretts of Wimpole Street, Tucker’s Luck, Crown Court, Crossroads, The Bill, 1998's Vanity Fair, Longitude, Doctors, and he was the original Bungle in Rainbow. In 1995 he appeared in BBV's Doctor Who spin-off production Downtime, playing a disc jockey.

John has also set questions for Mastermind, and was co-author (with Anthony Marriott) of stage comedies "Under The Bench" and "Nipped In the Bud", and the drama "What'll The Neighbours Say?". He was also the co-scriptwriter for pilot sit-coms We Never Closed and Roland and Julie.

John is progressively touring his one-man show "A Dog’s Life", an engaging backstage glimpse of his professional career and his later association with Doctor Who (he was also seen on-screen as the character Dugeen during the serial "The Power of Kroll"). Beyond his theatre and TV work John is also a fully accredited wine educator, and he is a deputy chairman of his local magistrates' bench.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Bill Buchanan from 24 and McQueen from Space: Above and Beyond ...


James Morrison began his professional acting career as a clown and wire walker for the Carson and Barnes Wild Animal Circus in the mid-1970s, and served his theatrical apprenticeship with the Alaska Repertory Theatre during its 1977-79 seasons. Since then, he has appeared at the McCarter Theatre, the La Jolla Playhouse, the Mark Taper Forum, the LA Stage Company, The Jupiter Theatre, The Old Globe, and The Pasadena Playhouse with such renowned directors as Emily Mann, Des McAnuff, Jack O'Brien, Charles Nelson Reilly, Jose Quintero and Harry Mastrogeorge.

James is currently starring in 24, as Head of CTU Bill Buchanan, alongside Keifer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer. He was also Lt Col Tyrus Cassius ‘TC’ McQueen in Space: Above and Beyond, and has appeared in Six Feet Under, The West Wing, Frasier, CSI: Miami, Millennium, LA Law, Quantum Leap, Brooklyn South, Prey, Nash Bridges, The X-Files, The Others, Freedom, The Division, JAG, 10-8, NCIS, Cold Case, and was Kingston Nickson in Point Pleasant.

James has appeared on the big screen in the films “Catch Me If You Can”, “The One”, “Desert Cross”, “Falling Down”, “Shadow of Doubt”, “Abilene”, “Wilderness Survival for Girls” and “Jarhead”.

He directed his first film, “Parking”, in 1996. Based on his play, “Parking” was produced by his wife, Riad Galayini. “Parking” has screened at Slamdance (receiving the Audience Choice Award for Best Short Film); the Palm Springs International Film Festival; the Portland, Cleveland, Sedona, and Albany Film Festivals; the Taos Talking Picture Festival, Austin's South By Southwest Festival; New York's New Directors/New Films Festival presented by Lincoln Centre at the Museum of Modern Art; the South Beach Film Festival in Miami; the Central Florida Film Festival (winning third place in the narrative film award); the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival; the Montreal World Festival; The Festival of US Shorts in Brisbane, Australia; Ireland's Cork International Film Festival; the St. Louis Film Festival; and The Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema. “Parking” also aired on the Sundance channel.

In December 1997 James and Riad completed their second short film, “Nude Descending”, which won the George Melies Award at the 1998 Taos Talking Picture Festival. In 2000 “Nude Descending” was selected for special recognition by the reelshort.com New Short Film Directors Showcase and Universal Studios at the Hitchcock International Director's Series presented by the American Cinematheque.

James can be heard in the BBC radio production of “Julius Caesar” and seen in the American Playhouse production of Ibsen's An Enemy of the People. He also appears in Ruby McCollum and Rainmaker, radio dramas for American National Public Radio.

James is a recipient of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Performance and three Drama-Logue Awards. He appeared in the London premiere of Emily Mann's “Still Life” at the West End's Donmar Warehouse and the Riverside Studios after a stint in The Edinburgh Festival at the venerable Traverse Theatre, where the production received a Fringe First Award. In addition to being a Lecture Fellow at Bournemouth University School of Media in the UK, James is certified to teach Hatha yoga by the White Lotus Foundation in Santa Barbara and teaches at L.A.'s oldest studio, The Centre for Yoga.

A member of the Dramatists Guild and the Ensemble Studio Theatre, his plays have been seen at The Sundance Institute, The Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Playwrights' Centre of Minneapolis, LA Theatre Works, The MET Theatre, City Theatre in Miami, The Two Parts Theatre Company, The Classical Theatre Lab, The Road Theatre, The Mojo Ensemble, The Wooden O, and the Salt Lake Acting Company where James has directed several plays including those by Sam Shepard, John Robinson, Larry Shue, and Beth Henley.

Born in Bountiful, Utah and raised in Alaska, James lives in Los Angeles with Riad and son Seamus. Scheduled to be a guest at Cult TV 2007, unfortunately due to last minute changes of schedules for the filming of that year's season of 24 meant he was not able to join us.

You can find out more about James Morrison at his official website at www.jpmorrison.com.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

From the Brothers-hood of Time Lords ...


Best known as the unscrupulous Paul Merrony in The Brothers and the sixth incarnation of The Doctor in Doctor Who, Colin Baker studied law and worked as a solicitor before deciding to become an actor.

Graduating from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, an early role in The Roads to Freedom led to the part of Count Steinbock in Cousin Bette. After playing Anatol Kuragin in the BBC's ambitious serialisation of War and Peace, Colin joined the cast of The Brothers as the ruthless banker Paul Merrony.

He appeared opposite Nyree Dawn Porter in For Maddie With Love and played Vaughn in The Citadel alongside Gareth Thomas. Having already appeared in the Doctor Who adventure "Arc of Infinity", when Peter Davison decided to bow out from playing the fifth Doctor, Colin was chosen to replace him. Portraying the character as a complex individual imbued with a blustering arrogance, Colin never got the chance to properly develop his incarnation as the series went through a production upheaval that resulted in a seventeen month gap between series.

Although he acted alongside Patrick Troughton in "The Two Doctors", his second full year on television, made up of the season long "Trial of a Time Lord" storyline, proved to be his last. Having played The Doctor in the six-part "Slipback" on BBC Radio 4, in 1989 Colin took over from Jon Pertwee in the stage production "Doctor Who - The Ultimate Adventure", and has since expanded on his character in the audio productions from Big Finish Productions.

Having guest-starred in Blake's 7, Colin played Harry George Chauvel in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, and appeared in The Famous Five, and Jonathan Creek. For his second appearance in Casualty he played a character, who believed he had special alien powers, named David Vincent after the protagonist in The Invaders.

Still active as the Chairman of the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID), Colin has recently been on tour with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in Gilbert & Sullivan's "HMS Pinafore".


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Amongst many other roles, Carol IS the "Monty Python girl" ...


A Londoner at birth, Carol Cleveland moved to America at the age of five only to return to the UK shores in 1960 to study at RADA.

Starting with guest roles in The Saint, and the adventure series The Sentimental Agent, Carol frequently appeared in many of the ITC series. In fact in two productions; ‘The Sitting Pigeon’ episode of Man In A Suitcase, and ‘For the Girl Who has Everything’ episode of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) she even wore the same dress. As one of the guests invited to The Hellfire Club, she appeared in the infamous episode of The Avengers, ‘A Touch of Brimstone.’

More famously, Carol became known as ‘the Python Girl’ after appearing in Monty Python’s Flying Circus, a role that led to her inclusion in all of the Python films, stage shows and recordings.

Other television work includes guest appearances in the sitcoms Are You Being Served? and Only Fools and Horses, About Face, The Two Ronnies and Land of Hope and Gloria. Although predominantly known for her light comedy, Carol considers some of her best TV work was as Leigh Mervish in Michael J Bird’s drama, The Lotus Eaters, set amongst the expat community on the island of Crete.

With a film career that has included roles in Moon Zero Two, Vampira and The Return of the Pink Panther, on stage, Carol has played leading roles in Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Lenny at London’s Criterion Theatre. With twenty national tours to her credit, including runs of Not Now Darling, Miss Julie, as well as a far East tour of Two and Two Make Sex. More recently she appeared in The Front Page at the Festival Theatre, Chichester.

Carol has written her own one-woman show, Pom Poms Up, a wry, autobiographical, look at the glamour business. First performed at the Brighton Festival and later, onboard the QE2. Lucky attendees to the 1996 Cult TV Festival were delighted to be treated to extracts from the show as part of that year’s cabaret.

Carol was also a guest at the Cult TV Festival in the UK in 1995 and 2002.


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