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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

Kowalski from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea ...

 

Del Monroe is best know for his portrayal of Kowalski in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, the TV series, and as Kowski, in the 1961 film of the same name. He is the only actor to have appeared in the movie and all four years of the series with a supporting character role.

Del enlisted in the army after finishing school, and during a tour of duty caught the acting bug. Returning home after his enlistment, he enrolled in the Pasadena Playhouse where he appeared in more than 30 plays, all the while adding to his TV and film resume, and working part-time to support his acting. Shows from this time that he featured in included The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, The Gallent Men, The Dakotas and The Legend of Jesse James. Then came his break in Voyage.

Del was born in Santa Barbara, California, ironically the same place that Irwin Allen placed as the homeport of the Seaview in Voyage, and the home of The Nelson Institute of Marine Research, the home of the Seaview.

When Voyage ended, Del was offered the role of Inspector Kobick in Land of the Giants which he didn't take. He did however work for Irwin again in an episode of The Time Tunnel - “The Kidnappers”.

Since then, Del has made many TV appearances in series such as Mission: Impossible, The Untouchables, Gunsmoke, Emergency!, Mannix, Wonder Woman, The Dukes of Hazzard, The Incredible Hulk, Hunter, The Fall Guy, The Men from Shiloh, Lancer, Longstreet, Adam-12, The FBI, The Mod Squad, Ironside, Tenafly, SWAT, The Rockford Files, Ark II, The Amazing Spiderman, Time Express, Robbery: Homicide Division, and Fame.

At the same time, Del continued to work on the stage, constantly improving and refining his skills. Within the last year, Del appeared on stage in his first musical, playing one of the fathers in the new production “Is This Anyway to Start a Marriage?”, at the NoHo playhouse, and he was recently seen on the small screen in a guest role in Medium.

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Producer and director of Sapphire & Steel ...

 

Known as an outstanding producer and director, first of television comedy then atmospheric suspense dramas, Shaun O'Riordan began his career as an actor.

Having studied at the Old Vic Theatre School where he specialised in Shakespearean comedies, Shaun began his televison career as one of the repertory players in The Adventures of Robin Hood starring Richard Greene, appearing in a variety of roles over successive episodes.

After playing Eddie, the dim-witted but enthusiastic son of Peggy Mount and David Kossoff's Ada and Alf for four years in the popular comedy The Larkins, he moved behind the camera gaining experience as a technician and religious programme director before becoming a fully fledged director.

From working on the hospital drama Emergency - Ward 10, Shaun directed Charlie Drake's 1965 comedy series The Worker and the Six Of The Best episode "Me And My Big Mouth" starring Alfie Bass and Peter Bowles. He reteamed with Peggy Mount, directing George and the Dragon, starring Sid James and John Le Mesurier, then in John Browne's Body and Lollipop Loves Mr Mole, written for her and Hugh Lloyd by Dad’s Army co-writer Jimmy Perry.

Producer of Goodbye Again, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's follow-up to Not Only... But Also, Shaun produced and directed the sitcom Girls About Town starring Play School's Julie Stevens, The Best Things in Life featuring Harry H Corbett as a cockney spiv and June Whitfield as his fiancée Mabel, and The Squirrels, Eric Chappell's first sitcom prior to Rising Damp.

Moving away from comedy, in the 1970s Shaun directed seven plays in ITV's Thriller series as well as working on Scorpion Tales. He produced the children's serials No Place to Hide and Come Back Lucy which eventually led to his involvement on P J Hammond's Sapphire and Steel which effectively married the two genres.

Suggesting Joanna Lumley and David McCallum play the title roles, Shaun produced all six adventures in the series and shared the directing duties with David Foster, effectively creating the sense of menace and unease that pervaded the studio-bound drama.

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Detective writer in his element with Sapphire & Steel ...

 

Best known as the creator of Sapphire & Steel, Peter J Hammond studied art at Hammersmith School of Arts and Crafts, drama at Goldsmiths College, and wrote several radio plays for the BBC before breaking into television.

First commissioned to write the play "Four Way Incident" for Thirty Minute Theatre, he wrote all six episodes of the children’s thriller Ramshackle Road for BBC Bristol. Eventually joining the BBC as a script editor, Peter worked on the police drama Z Cars, when the programme ran bi-weekly, before leaving to write full time.

During the 1970s, as well as writing for Thames Television's daytime series Couples and the nursing drama Angels, he scripted episodes for numerous police series including Z Cars, The Sweeney, Hunter’s Walk, Target and Manhunt. He also wrote for the prison drama Within These Walls, Crown Court, and the The Professionals using the pseudonym James McAteer.

After dramatising of Arthur Morrison's Victorian novel "The Hole in the Wall" and writing for Thames' successful children's adventure Ace of Wands, Peter set out to create a fantasy show of his own. Wanting to write a detective story that incorporated the notion of time he came up with Sapphire & Steel. Initially designed as a one-off half-hour drama for children, the series was developed for a family audience. Running for six stories between 1979 and 1982, the series starred Joanna Lumley and David McCallum as mysterious elemental beings repairing rifts in Time through which malignant forces enter the everyday world.

After Sapphire & Steel finished with an enigmatic cliff-hanger, Peter tried his hand at comedy with the 1984 BBC series Lame Ducks starring John Duttine. In later years, with the exception of an episode for Sky One’s science fiction series Space Island One, he returned to mainstream dramas writing for The Bill when it was in a half-hour format, two EastEnders specials, Dangerfield and HTV’s Wycliffe.

Since 1999 he has been writing for ITV's popular Midsommer Murders, created for television by Anthony Horowitz and starring John Nettles as Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby.

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Vivian 'Jaws' Wright from Dream Team and Travis in Blake's Junction 7 joined us for Cult TV 2005 ...

 

The Cult TV Festival was lucky enough in 2004 to screen the highly regarded short film Blake’s Junction 7, directed by Ben Gregor. Amongst the star-studded cast, there was a murmur of recognition during the screening from the Sky One viewers when the character of 'Travis' appeared. Actor Philip Brodie, taking on the role of Servalan’s head henchman, is a regular on Dream Team.

As Harchester United's shot-stopper, Vivian 'Jaws' Wright became the latest keeper to sport the fictional club's number one shirt – he had originally been brought in due to a player crisis at the club. Jaws has a history of violence both on and off the pitch, and was coming back to play after a lengthy ban. He does not suffer fools gladly, and is extremely obsessive-compulsive. His wife Chelsea soon can't put up with him any more, which leads Jaws to some extreme actions.

The role of an unhinged character is always difficult to carry off, but as Jaws comes to terms with his marriage break-up, finally ending up as caretaker manager of Harchester and shouldering the responsibility that this entails, Philip Brodie rises to the challenge impeccably.

A native of Canterbury in Kent, Philip trained at Dartington College, Devon, qualifying with an Honours Degree in Theatre. His television appearances include Jaak in My Family (episode "Sixty Feet Under"), Robbie in a Tom Clegg-directed episode of Adventure Inc ("The Search For Arthur"), a Paramedic in Absolutely Fabulous, a reporter in My Hero, and Bruce Reynolds in Days That Shook The World ("The Great Train Robbery").

He also was also one of the performers in Mike Agnew’s Sack Race for the BBC in 2004, which saw Joseph Glavey and Laura Solon starting new jobs with the challenge to get sacked as near to 3.00pm on their first day as possible. Hidden cameras follow their progress. He was also involved in the pilots for Shoreditch Tw*t and Semi-Detatched. Philip will shortly be seen in There’s a German on my Sunbed, a series of six half hour comedies for ITV1, and as Colin Kay in Broken News, a half hour comedy series due in the Autumn on BBC2.

Theatre credits include "Waiting For Godot", "Bouncers", "Spooks", "Up 'n' Under", "Bandits", "Polar Bears", "The Legendary Polowski Murders", "Muscle", "West", and "Taylor Made Love".

Philip also featured in Simon Messingham’s short, "The Truth Behind The Facts". In his spare time, Philip writes and performs comedy.

We were delighted that Philip agreed to join us for the Cult TV Festival 2005.

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Stephen from the original Tomorrow People joined us for Cult TV 2005, courtesy of Fantom Films ...

 

Peter Vaughan Clarke is most famous for taking the role of Stephen in the first four seasons of the Thames TV cult classic The Tomorrow People.

Born in 1957, is first television appearance was in a Marmite commercial in 1972, and he then went on to play Ronnie Page in Dora for London Weekend TV. He appeared in the film "A Touch of Class" in 1973. He also featured in the pantomime "Peter Pan" with Lulu, where she gave him the nickname 'PVC'.

Peter played Jamie in The Duchess of Duke Street episode "The Bargain" in 1976. Later in his career he featured as the rent boy Pierre in the film "The Stud", and played Fred in the Shoestring episode "The Mayfly Dame" in 1980.

PVC now works as a chief electrician in a major West End theatre, working on various musical productions. He recently returned to play Stephen Jameson in two Big Finish CD audio plays of The Tomorrow People. Peter's appearance at Cult TV 2005 was made possible thanks to Fantom Films.

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Musician and star of The Monkees joined us exclusively for some fun at Cult TV 2005 ...

 

Peter performed as a folk musician in Greenwich Village and Los Angeles before passing the auditions for the TV series The Monkees. During his time with the group, he made 58 episodes and a TV special, six albums, and the movie "Head".

The most accomplished musician in The Monkees, even as a young boy, Peter showed musical talent and could play the guitar and banjo. He now plays twelve different instruments. While producers Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart admired Tork's playing, Peter was almost never given lead vocals on any of the Monkees records. That said, Boxed-Set and CD bonus tracks from the 1980s and 1990s include several rarely-heard Peter Tork songs and vocals.

Peter was the first Monkee to actually play an instrument on one of their records , on the track "Papa Gene's Blues", after Michael Nesmith insisted Peter be allowed to add a guitar part.

In the early 1970s, Peter played guitar for the group Osceola, and for a year and a half was a social studies, mathematics and music teacher for a California High School. In 1976, Peter rejoined messrs Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart onstage for a concert on their tour. Following on from this, they all recorded a new Christmas single for that holiday season.

In the early 1980s, Peter formed The New Monks and released a single, "Peter's Back”. The Peter Tork Project followed shortly afterwards, but in 1986, his solo career was put on hold when The Monkees reunited for a 20th Anniversary Celebration. This successful reunion lasted until the end of 1989. Although Peter was the first to leave The Monkees, he never released a solo album until 1994 when "Stranger Things Have Happened" hit the shelves. Also in 1994, Peter formed Shoe Suede Blues with Tadg Galleran and Michael Sunday. Peter has performed with them on and off ever since.

1995 saw Peter making a guest appearance the big screen "Brady Bunch Movie" as well as having several guest spots in the TV series Boy Meets World as Jedediah Lawrence. He has made appearances in many television series since, including the role of Surf Guru in California Dreams, a Band Leader in The King of Queens, and Chris in 7th Heaven. At the movies, he had an uncredited cameo in 1997’s "Groupies", and played a Band Manager in 2001’s "Mixed Signals".

In 1996, more new music was forthcoming from Peter, when he and James Lee Stanley recorded "Two Man Band". In 2001, they collaborated on their second album, "Once Again" before Peter re-joined Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones for tours that took up most of 2001. Soon after, he went back to Shoe Suede Blues, and in 2002 the band released a follow-up to their debut album, "Saved By The Blues".

Peter joined us for the 2005 Cult TV Festival, performing in our Sunday evening cabaret as well as talking about his career and signing autographs. We were delighted that he agreed to join us.

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

The past leader of The Tomorrow People ...

 

Both an actor and an agent, Nicholas Young is best remembered as John, the leader of a group of Homo Superior teenagers in The Tomorrow People. Gifted with special powers that included telepathy and teleportation, they saved the world from alien aggressors using non-violent means.

Intended as ITV’s answer to Doctor Who, The Tomorrow People became one of the most successful shows in children's television. Broadcast between 1973 and 1979, the series was sold to over fifty countries around the world where it captured the imaginations of a generation of viewers.

Working in an agency when Thames Television put out their casting call, Nicholas forwarded one of his photographs. Meeting with Roger Price, the show's creator, he was offered the part of John without having to audition. Along with Philip Gilbert who voiced TIM, the talking biotronic computer, Nicholas appeared in every episode of The Tomorrow People.

Prior to the role, Nicholas appeared in the television plays Alma Mater, starring Ian Carmichael, and Wine of India written by Quatermass creator Nigel Kneale, and an episode of Upstairs, Downstairs. During production of The Tomorrow People he guest starred as Peter Rockwell in the second season of Space: 1999, one of the crew of the Superswift in the two-part story "The Bringers of Wonder".

After the final episode of The Tomorrow People, John appeared in Kessler, a sequel to Secret Army starring Clifford Rose as the former Sturmbahn-Fuhrer trying to escape prosecution for war crimes. Cast in an adaptation of Shakespeare's Cymbeline alongside Richard Johnson and Helen Mirren, he also guest-starred in Pulaski, written by Roy Clarke.

Having begun his career in the film "Eagle Rock", he played a Passport Officer in "The Day of the Jackal" and appeared in "Three for All" and "Eskimo Nell", both directed by Martin Campbell. Though not involved with the revival of The Tomorrow People during the 1990s, Nicholas returned to play John in the first six of seven audio adventures produced by Big Finish.

 

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart was brought to life by this actor with a wide range of series on his CV ...

 

The son of a British diplomat, Nicholas Courtney was born in Egypt and spent his early years in Kenya and France. After his National Service he enrolled at the Webber Douglas Drama School for two years before leaving to work in repertory theatre in Northampton.

His early television work included roles in The Avengers, The Champions and Jason King, as well as the Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) episode The Ghost Who Saved the Bank at Monte Carlo, alongside Roger Delgado.

Nicholas Courtney began his long association with Doctor Who in 1965, playing Space Security Agent Bret Vyon, opposite William Hartnell in the twelve-part story The Daleks' Masterplan.

Three years later he reappeared as Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart during Patrick Troughton's tenure, helping defeat the Yeti and the Great Intelligence in London's Underground in The Web of Fear.

The following year, battling Cybermen in The Invasion, the character had been promoted and was in charge of UNIT, the military and scientific organisation that would play an integral part in the adventures of Jon Pertwee's third Doctor during the first half of the 1970s.

Playing the Brigadier on and off for 23 years, Nicholas Courtney made his last appearance during Doctor Who's final year in 1989. Appearing alongside every incarnation of the Doctor during the series, bar one, after returning to the role in the spin-off video Downtime, he finally got to work alongside Colin Baker as well as Paul McGann on the Big Finish series of audio adventures.

Outside of Doctor Who, as well as guest-starring in episodes of Minder, Yes, Prime Minister, Only Fools and Horses and The Bill, he played Lieutenant Colonel Robin Witherton in Then Churchill Said to Me and The Maquis in French Fields, the sequel to the sitcom Fresh Fields, starring Anton Rodgers and Julia McKenzie.

On CD he plays King Turnidus, the elephantine, fashion conscious ruler of Voltarabia in Soldiers of Love, the comedy science fiction audio series from MJTV. Honorary President of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society, Nicholas Courtney published his autobiography, Five Rounds Rapid, in 1998.

 

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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.

 

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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.


 

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