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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Media consultants who work with prisoners, persuaders, saints and sinners ...


Directors of Popco, a media consultancy specialising in classic television, music and film, since the company’s formation in 2001 Robert Fairclough and Mike Kenwood, along with fellow director Jaz Wiseman, have been involved in producing CDs, books and DVD packages.

Having received universal critical acclaim for their 1998 book Fags, Slags, Blags & Jags: The Sweeney, co-written with George Williams, which analysed Ian Kennedy Martin’s seminal police drama, the pair were commissioned to write Sweeney! The Official Companion which contains exclusive interviews with many of the series’ cast and crew including Ted Childs, Dennis Waterman and Garfield Morgan. In addition they put together the best-selling original soundtrack album Shut It! The Music of The Sweeney for the Sanctuary Records Group.

Alone, Rob has written The Prisoner: The Official Guide to the Classic TV Series, described in one of many critical notices as the definiive, and most authoritative study of Patrick McGoohan’s classic series. He also acted as consultant on Carlton Visual’s special 35th Anniversary The Prisoner DVD release which featured the first commercial release of the alternate edit of the episode Arrival.

Jaz co-produced the special features for the DVD boxsets of The Persuaders!, Space: 1999 and UFO for TF1 in France. He also produced the DVD extras and commentaries for boxsets of Minder, Department S and The Saint for Umbrella Entertainment in Australia.

More recently the company has had a hand in producing the newly released DVD/magazine partwork Inspector Morse: The Complete Collection.

For more information, check out their website: www.pop-co.com


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Writer who's worked from Gangsters to Doctor Who ...


Born in Liverpool, Philip is an experienced television writer who is probably best known for creating the ground breaking "Cult" series Gangsters which ran for two series following a successful "Play For Today" in 1975 and is just coming out on DVD.

Such is the longevity of this series it has been shown at the National Film Theatre as part of a season of significant TV films.

Philip has also contributed to many other well known TV series including Hetty Wainthrop Investigates, Shoestring, Virtual Murder, Star Cops, The Good Guys, Crossroads, Thirty Minute Theatre, New Scotland Yard, The Bill and two Doctor Who stories namely "Vengeance on Varos" and Parts 5 - 8 of "The Trial of A Timelord", both of which featured the villainous slug-like "Sil".

A third story featuring the return of "Sil" along with the "Ice Warriors" was scheduled for the ultimately postponed season 22 of Doctor Who in 1985, although Philip did complete a novelisation of this story based on his draft scripts.

Philip has also worked as a Writer, Producer and Director in Radio Drama for the BBC and was voted Best Director at the New York Radio Festival in, 1990.Other work includes the film "Valentina" and his plays have been performed at, amongst other venues, The National Theatre London, The Royal Court and Liverpool Playhouse.

As well as novelising his two televised "Doctor Who" novels he also wrote a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book and two novels based on Gangsters.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Gene Hunt himself from Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes joined us for the Cult TV Festival Weekender 2007, and is back with us for our new event, CINEOLOGY 2010 ...


Philip has been a regular face on British television for many years. He was Phil in Roger Roger, Gunner Hobbs in Hornblower, James 'Mack' Mackintosh in Clocking Off, DCI William Bell in State of Play and DCI David Driscoll in Vincent.

Other guest roles on television series include Drop The Dead Donkey, Bergerac, The Detectives, Heartbeat, Blue Heaven, Love Hurts, Soldier Soldier, Silent Witness, Wycliffe, The Vice, and Sharpe’s Justice.

TV movies have included “Murder Being Done Once”, “Last Rights”, “The Stepfather”, “Byron”, “Lloyd and Hill”, “The Hunt”, “The Walk”, “True Love”, “The Other Boleyn Girl”, “Frontiers”, “Loved Up”, “Have Your Cake And Eat It”, the mini-series Island at War and 1998’s Vanity Fair. He was also the narrator of the Jamie Oliver Jamie’s Chef series.

Then came Life on Mars. As Gene Hunt, he created the ultimate cult anti-hero. In between times he has courted the big screen, too. In “Calendar Girls” he had one of only two decent male roles. “ID” was a police drama made in 1995, and “Tuesday” saw him again star alongside John Simm, which is a study of the battle between law and anarchy. Other films have included “The Perfect Blue”, “Kingdom of Heaven” and “London Kills Me”.

Philip was seen in Cranford, the BBC costume drama, plus ITV's short-run vampire series Demons, but of most note was the return of DCI Gene Hunt, this time coping with the world of the 1980s in Ashes to Ashes, this time set in London and now on its third and final season.

Philip is married to the actress Beth Goddard, living in London with their two daughters.

You can find out more about Philip's career at his official website, www.philip-glenister.com.

We were delighted that Philip agreed to come and join us for the 2007 Cult TV Festival Weekender in his first ever convention appearance, and even more thrilled that, subject to work commitments, he will be back with us for our new live venture, CINEOLOGY 2010, happening in September at the Pontin's Pakefield Resort near Lowestoft on the east coast of England.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

The man who was Avon continues to act prolifically ...


Best known for playing the glacial computer genius Kerr Avon in Blake’s 7, Paul Darrow defined the amoral antihero. Motivated by personal gain and lacking true revolutionary zeal, Avon became increasingly paranoid after taking over as leader following the disappearance of the fanatical Blake.

Trained at RADA like his Blake’s 7 compatriot Gareth Thomas, Paul Darrow has worked extensively in all aspects of the entertainment industry.

Beginning his television career playing Mr. Verity in the hospital drama Emergency-Ward 10, Paul’s links with Cult TV series go back to a guest appearance in The Saint episode The Gadic Collection. Since then he has played two roles in Doctor Who, appearing first as Captain Hawkins to Jon Pertwee’s Doctor in The Silurians, then as Tekker to Colin Baker’s Time Lord in the adventure Timelash.

Along with guest appearances in a wide range of comedies and dramas, he played the Sheriff of Nottingham in The Legend of Robin Hood, Oliver Bridewell in the psychological drama Maelstrom and George Parnell in Making News.

More recently he appeared as The Ghoul Master in Sky TV’s Goulashed, Gusset in The Gruesome Grannies of Gobshot Hall and C.D., the owner of a downmarket hotel, in Rob Grant’s surreal comedy The Strangerers.

A presenter of 2001’s Ghostwatch Live, which included mixed-media web-casts, Paul has since recorded the voices for numerous computer games. As a writer he has produced scripts and short stories, and written the novel Avon: A Terrible Aspect.

Having acted with most of Britain's leading repertory companies, including four seasons with the Bristol Old Vic, Paul has enjoyed an equally prolific career on stage. Amongst his numerous theatrical credits he has appeared as Jimmy Porter in Look Back in Anger, Elvis Presley in Are You Lonesome Tonight? and Captain Vimes in an adaptation of Terry Prachett’s Guards! Guards!

Paul had a cameo role in the James Bond film "Die Another Day", and at one time had been involved in the planned Blake’s 7 revival.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

The actor who played Andrew Forbes in The Tomorrow People joined us at Cult TV in 2007 ...


Nigel’s first acting job was for Southern TV in 1974 in Follow that Dog – he played Peter alongside Norman Rossington and Patsy Rowlands.

He also starred alongside Michael Palin in the Ripping Yarns story “The Curse of the Claw” (he was ‘Young Kevin’). Also during this period he starred in Roger Price’s You Can’t Be Serious, Rocking Horse Winner, When Santa Rode the Prairie for the BBC, with Willy Rushton and Victor Spinetti, and HTV’s Westway in 1976, set in a commune and also starring Sarah Sutton and Dean Lawrence.

Nigel joined the cast of The Tomorrow People at the age of 12, in Season Seven as Andrew Forbes, and stayed until the end of the series in 1979. His stories included “Castle of Fear”, “Achilles Heal”, “The Living Skins” and “War of The Empires”.

In the years that followed, Nigel embarked on following his passion of music and learned to play guitar and established his own band, Aerial Device.

Nigel has not completely given up his thirst for acting - he has continued to be an extra on my many television series including Strange (as seen on BBC 1 and SCI FI), and playing a CGI character in the children series Dinotopia.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Reservoir Dog who secured Vengeance Unlimited ...


Best-known as the cop-torturing wiseguy Mister Blond in Quentin Tarantino's critically acclaimed film Reservoir Dogs versatile movie actor Michael Madsen made his name with the television audience starring in Vengeance Unlimited.

Madsen, who fans might also recognize from his role as Susan Sarandon's sympathetic boyfriend in Thelma and Louise, has acquired numerous other film credits. Some of his roles are as diverse as the movies in which he appears, ranging from family oriented films like "Free Willy" and its sequel "Free Willy 2: The Adventure", as well as the Western epic "Wyatt Earp", and the fantasy baseball flick "The Natural". Other films include "Species", "Species II", "The Maker", "Donnie Brasco", Mulholland Falls", "The Fly", "Man With A Gun", "The Winner", "The Getaway", "The Doors", "The End Of Innocence", "Fatal Instinct", and "Racing With The Moon".

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

From The Valeyard to Colonel Mustard ...


Michael Jayston, as fans of Doctor Who will know, played the character of 'The Valeyard' in Colin Baker's final season, who was in fact the final regeneration of The Doctor himself!

Michael is well known both on-screen and through his voiceover work. He played Ernest Bristow in several episodes of The Darling Buds of May, and was Colonel Mustard in the UK 1991 version of Cluedo. Other series we have seen him in include "UFO", "Tales of the Unexpected", "CATS Eyes", "Press Gang", "Callan", "Casualty", "Heartbeat", "Quiller", "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy", "Crazy Like A Fox", "A Bit of A Do", "Haggard", "The Bill", "Outside Edge", "The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes", "The Edwardians", "Holby City" and what was expected to be the last ever episode of "Only Fools and Horses" in 1996.

He appeared in the 1997 mini-series "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea", and has worked in many period pieces, including 1968's "A Midsummer Night's Dream", 1970's "Cromwell", 1971's "Nicholas and Alexandra", 1973's "The Merchant of Venice", 1973's "Jane Eyre", 1975's "King Lear", and 1988's "Macbeth".

Big screen appearances include "The Internecine Project", "Zulu Dawn", and "Highlander III: The Sorcerer".


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Co-creator of Birds of a Feather ...


Maurice Gran is part of one of the UK's leading Comedy writing partnerships, with Laurence Marks. Through their production company Alomo ('Lo' for Laurence and 'Mo' for Maurice) they introduced a more American-based system of writing, where having created series they subsequently brought in teams of writers to develop shows in the long term.

Early work included contributions to "The Marti Caine Show", followed by their first sitcom, "Holding The Fort" which starred Peter Davison, Matthew Kelly and Patricia Hodge.

Their most notable early success came with "Shine On Harvey Moon" in 1982, which outlined the exploits of Corporal Harvey Moon as he returned home after demob at the end of WWII, and attempted to rebuild his pre-war life. Although originally airing in the traditional thirty-minute sitcom format, no studio audience was present for the recordings. Later series adopted an hour-long format, the first time this had been tried with a series of this type.

The duo continued to create and write further sitcoms throughout the 1980s, including a spin off from "Holding The Fort" called "Relative Strangers" which featured Matthew Kelly's character, Fitz. Other series included "Young, Gifted and Broke", "Roll Over Beethoven" and most famously "Birds of A Feather" and "The New Statesman". The former starred Linda Robson and Pauline Quirke (who had also featured in "Shine On Harvey Moon"), whilst the latter told the story of an extreme Thatcherite MP, with Rik Mayall in the title role.

The 1990s saw the creation of possibly their most "Cult" series, combining the a wartime setting with time travel to create "Goodnight Sweetheart", starring Nicholas Lyndhurst. Further comedy drama beckoned in "Love Hurts" with Adam Faith and Zoe Wanamaker, and more controversially the sitcom "So You Think You've Got Troubles" featuring Warren Mitchell as a Jewish Factory Manager relocated in later life to Belfast.

More recent work includes the Beatles-influenced "Get Back" with Ray Winstone and Kate Winslett, "Unfinished Business", and "Starting Out".

For the big screen they contributed to the screenplay for "Bullseye", and Alomo was also responsible for the Robert Lindsay vehicle "Nightingales", with Laurence acting as Executive Producer.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Co-creator, executive producer and writer of Life On Mars, as well as writing credits including Doctor Who, Hustle, and Spooks joined us for Cult TV in 2007, and is back for the brand new Cineology 2010 ...


Matthew Graham is the co-creator, executive producer and one of the writers of the BBC - Kudos Film and Television series Life on Mars.

He began his writing career with the children's drama Byker Grove and moved on to EastEnders. In the 1990s he wrote episodes of This Life, and created and wrote the post-apocalypse drama The Last Train for ITV. He has also written episodes of Spooks, Hustle, Thief Takers, and City Central, as well as “Fear Her”, an episode from the 2006 series of Doctor Who.

Matthew started writing at a very young age. He was sending scripts out to directors and producers when just 15 years old, and met a lot of famous directors including Terry Gilliam and Hugh Hudson. He was just 19 when he got himself an agent, but it took until he was 21 to get his first paid-for commission - writing for Byker Grove, where his age was an obvious advantage, as he wasn’t far out of his teens at the time.

In December 2006, the BBC commissioned a Life on Mars follow-on series, Ashes to Ashes, again named after a David Bowie track. The series picks up the life of DCI Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) from Life On Mars, but it's no longer be set in 1973 – they are now in the 1980s, with fashions and music to match.

In partnership with Ashley Pharoah, Matthew also developed two other dramas. Under their newly formed independent production company Monastic Productions, the duo teamed up with Mammoth Screen to develop a drama for BBC One that took place in the world of archaeology, Bonekickers.

They are also developing a legal drama provisionally titled Eternal Law for ITV1, although this has not yet been fully commissioned.

We were delighted that Matthew agreed to join us once more, for the CINEOLOGY 2010 TV Festival Weekender, this September at the Pontin's Pakefield Resort, Lowestoft (subject to work commitments).


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Graphics designer and DVD author ...


Now the owner of the multi-media, audio-visual design company Dysfunction Group, Mark Spencer began his career as a singer.

Working as a session musician, studio engineer and producer for artists such as Robert Plant, Duran Duran, Alexander O'Neal and Spike Milligan, Mark eventually swapped one role in the music business for another, designing album covers for artists as diverse as Jon Bon Jovi, Andrea Bocelli and Metallica.

Having done the odd bit of acting, his interpretation of Frank-N-Furter, the sweet transsexual from Transylvania, in Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show is considered second only to Tim Curry.

In 2001, Mark worked on the Ghostwatch Live event filmed on location at the Tower of London. Hosted by Paul Darrow and Babylon 5's Claudia Christian, he designed the Ghostwatch website and graphics, and wrote the incidental music.

Authoring DVDs, the Dyfunction Group's credits include the recent releases of cult favourites Monkey and The Water Margin. At present the company is continuing their work authoring the four box-sets of Terry Nation's science fiction drama Blake’s 7.

Mark recently shot behind-the-scenes stills for the upcoming Mirror Mask. Directed by Dave McKean from a story by Neil Gaiman, the film stars Marion and Geoff’s Rob Brydon and Gina McKee from Our Friends in the North.


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