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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.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Network has just released the first ever DVD featuring early 1980s icon Metal Mickey. A Saturday teatime favourite during its run from 1980 – 1983, 39 episodes were made – and here we have, to savour, the first season of eight episodes.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Author, comedy trainer, comedian and expert ...


As comedy trainer, comedian and expert, Marc has been a writer on numerous TV and Radio series including Weekending, The News Huddlines, Spitting Image, Arnold Brown, Craig Charles, Frankie’s On… (with Frankie Howerd), Bobby Davro and The Russ Abbott Show.

Marc’s stand-up comedy career began at the notorious Tunnel Palladium in Greenwich under the dubious tutelage of the late Malcolm Hardee. He rose through the ranks, becoming a finalist in the first Hackney Variety New Act of the Year Awards and a regular at the Comedy Store, Banana Cabaret, King’s Head and numerous venues nationwide. In 1990 he wrote and starred in his own ITV special – EuroComedy, which was soon followed by a BBC Radio 4 Series “Marc Blake’s Whining For England”.

He performed at the first Comic relief at Richmond Theatre and at the Birmingham Hippodrome in “Full Steam A-Hudd”. He won Sky TV’s Star Search and has appeared on Weapons of Mass Distraction (ITV), The Test (Granada), The James Whale Show (Granada), After the News (TVS), Five’s Company (five), Good Morning (GMTV), “The Judy Spiers Show” (BBC Radio 2), “Loose Ends” (BBC Radio 4), “The Simon Fanshawe Show” (LBC), “The Fred Macaulay Show” (BBC Scotland) as well as London Live, Talk Radio, Viva, BBC Three Counties, BBC Radio Shropshire and BBC Radio Birmingham. He has also been a guest, reviewer, and comedy expert on numerous shows for BBC Radio London. For reasons best known to himself he was also once a contestant on Watercolour Challenge (ITV).

In 2002, he produced ten hours of radio programming at the Riverside Studios, including two new half hours of recorded comedy written by himself – a broken comedy show, “Hawking’s Half Hour”, and a sit-com “Victor and Albert”.

He returned to performing comedy in 2003 with a brand new character act – “Helmut, the German Comedian”. This became a full length show, “Helmut’s Half Hour”, performed at Edinburgh in 2004. This show later appeared at the Leicester Comedy Festival and at the Jersey Arts Centre. Marc returned to the Edinburgh Fringe in 2005 with his new show – “Manners”.

Marc began teaching comedy and situation comedy writing at adult education level at London’s City University in 1994. Past students include Catherine Tate, Jenny Colgan, Renton Skinner (Perrier Nominee) and numerous others. He expanded this teaching to further courses at Kensington and Chelsea College in 2003.

Marc has published three comic novels to great acclaim. He has also authored many other books as well as publishing short stories (“Mammoth Book of Crime”, “Girls Night Out”, “Boy’s Night In”) and has written for the Evening Standard, The Express and The Mail.

He was comedy tutor at the Mu-lan Chinese Theatre Studios in 1999 - a series of workshops which resulted in their show Frying Circus and the subsequent TV pilot. He has taught regular comedy training courses with Pepperstock Productions, Comedy People and The Comedy School between 2001 and 2005, as well as seminars and conferences at Bath University, Millfield School, Lancaster University and a series of courses throughout the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2005.

We were delighted that Marc agreed to join us the 2007 Cult TV Festival Weekender. You can find out more about him at his website, www.marcblake.net.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Co-creator and writer of T-Bag, and writer and producer of The Tomorrow People joins us in October courtesy of Fantom Films ...


Lee Pressman’s writing career began with contributions to to two long-running Children’s television programmes - Rainbow and Play Away.

However, Lee’s breakthrough success came with the creation of T-Bag. Running from 1985 to 1992, this series spanned many incarnations, including “Wonders in Letterland” (1985), “T-Bag Strikes Again” (1986), “T-Bag Bounces Back” (1987), “Turn on to T-Bag” (1988), “T-Bag’s Christmas Cracker” (1988), “T-Bag and the Revenge of the T-Set” (1989), “T-Bag’s Christmas Carol” (1989), “T-Bag and the Pearls of Wisdom” (1990), “T-Bag’s Christmas Ding Dong” (1990), “T-Bag and the Rings of Olympus” (1991), “T-Bag’s Christmas Turkey” (1991), “Take Off with T-Bag” (1992), and “T-Bag and the Sunstories of Montezuma” (1992).

During this time he also worked on the series Mike & Angelo, running for almost ten years, and three series of the children’s sit-com Spatz.

He was also a writer and producer of the 1992-1995 re-imagined version of The Tomorrow People. After completing work on that series, Lee worked on Cone Zone (1995), Delta Wave (1996), Children’s Ward (1997-1998), Polterguests (1999), and Crossroads (2001).

Recently, Lee has been involved with a lot of animation projects, including scripts for Shaun The Sheep (the “Wallace and Gromit” TV spin-off) for Aardman Animation, as well as Bob The Builder, The Secret Show and Frankenstein’s Cat.

Lee has written three plays for BBC Radio 4 – “Bird of Paradise” (all about Dr Crippen), “Harp Goes to Leningrad” (about Harpo Marx’s 1933 to Russia), and a dramatised short story, “My Beautiful Lambretta”.

Lee is currently writing Genie in the House alongside Grant Cathro for Nickelodeon.

Lee appeared at the 2007 Cult TV Festival Weekender courtesy of Fantom Films, to celebrate their release of the T-Bag Reunion DVD.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Helga Geerhart from 'Allo, 'Allo ...


Kim played Helga Geerhart in all 96 episodes of 'Allo, 'Allo, as well as in the 'Allo, 'Allo stage show which toured the UK, Australia and New Zealand and had five seasons in the West End.

Other TV performances have include Roz Fenton in Casualty and Lotte Laudrup in The Brittas Empire as well as roles in Miss Jones and Sons, The Kelly Monteith Show, The Pedler, Comedy Playhouse and 15 Storeys High. She is currently playing Ms Rawlinson in Grange Hill.

Kim’s early career included performances at the Chichester Festival Theatre, Harrogate, The Bristol Old Vic and the Redgrave Theatre, Farnham playing Rita in "Billy Liar", Margaret in "Much Ado About Nothing", Sorrel in "Hayfever", Doonyasha in "The Cherry Orchard", Alice Hobson in "Hobson’s Choice", Shaw's "St Joan", Mary Yellen in "Jamaica Inn" and Alys in "Abelard and Heloise".

She co-produced the West End thriller "Double Dutch" which toured nationally. Kim followed this with a New Zealand tour playing Jacqueline in "Don't Dress For Dinner", which she subsequently played for a year in the West End. She then returned to New Zealand for four months to play the leading role of Josie in "Steaming". She toured the Far and Middle East with "Move Over Mrs Markham" and "The Maintenance Man".

Other UK tours include "My Fat Friend", "Beauty And The Beast", "My Mother Said I Never Should", "Relatively Speaking", "Table Manners", "Bedside Manners", "Killing Time", "Stepping Out", and "Hayfever". Directing credits include "A Jovial Crew", "Comedy of Errors", "Henry V" and "The Cherry Orchard".

Kim is a co-founder and director of the production company Quinton Arts, and we were delighted when she joined us in Hemsby for Cult TV 2006.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Producer and animator responsible for many projects linked to Doctor Who, Blake's 7 and The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy ...


Kevin Davies began his career as an animator, working on the BAFTA award-winning graphic sequences for The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Blake’s 7 before designing the titles for Gerry Anderson’s Terrahawks. After joining the special effects team for Disney Animation’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit he worked on Spitting Image, the Warner Brothers feature Space Jam, and Event Horizon.

His writing and directing career began with The Making of the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which included new scenes for the characters and cast, the BBC1 documentary Doctor Who: Thirty Years in the Tardis and Dalekmania which covered the feature films starring Peter Cushing in the 1960s. Since then he has directed Shakedown, two episodes of Sky One’s drama Space Island One and the live-action segments for the Sci-Fi Channel’s manga-influenced Archangel Thunderbird.

Acting as a consultant on the Omnibus tribute to Douglas Adams, he directed both his own short tribute for the Sci-Fi Channel and new segments for the DVD release of The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, as well as producing the on-screen captions which detail the creation of the show.

After the inclusion of his short spoof, Unit Recruitment Film, on the DVD release of Doctor Who Spearhead from Space, and his interview with writer Nigel Kneale on the Quatermass DVD, he has produced the documentaries and extras to accompany each boxset of Blake’s 7 and prepared documentaries for the classic sitcom Dad’s Army.

Kevin has recently been working on the documentary for the brand new audio adventures of Blake's 7 from B7 Productions, as well as a documentary concerning the new radio series of the classic Douglas Adams story "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" (starring Harry Enfield, Olivia Colman, Andrew Sachs and Billy Boyd). We were delighted that Kevin came back to Cult TV in 2007.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Star of Farscape, Adam-12, and Galactica 1980 - amongst a host of others - joined us for Cult TV in 2007 ...


Kent was born in downtown Los Angeles, California, and grew up in the San Gabriel Valley town of Baldwin Park, California. At the age of 12 he got a job at Brackett Field Airport in La Verne, California with the help of a family friend. Unable to be legally paid at that age, he instead was given flying lessons in exchange for his work. For the next five years Kent worked weekends and summers at the airport.

Kent starred on the football team at Baldwin Park High School. After graduation, he attended Citrus Junior College and then accepted a football scholarship to the University of Utah. It was during this time that perhaps the two most important events in Kent’s young life occurred.

A friend asked Kent if he would like to participate in a touch football game. This was no ordinary game, as Kent would be playing on a team captained by Ricky Nelson, and none other than Elvis Presley would lead the opposing squad. As a result of this game, Kent began a friendship with Ricky that quickly led to his first acting job on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. Kent soon became a regular on the show, and would appear as part of America’s favourite family for the next five years. Kent began to take acting seriously, and finally made the decision to pursue a career as an actor. During this time he worked on a mulitude of films and television shows doing bits, background and stunts.

The next big moment in Kent’s life took place on 14 July, 1962. This was the day that he married his high school sweetheart, Cynthia Lee Doty.

While working on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Kent was asked to screen test at Universal Studios for a long term contract. While waiting for the studio to sign him, he continued working on other shows including several of Elvis Presley’s films – “Viva Las Vegas”, “Girl Happy”, “Kissin’ Cousins”, and “Roustabout”.

In November 1965, Universal put Kent under contract and immediately sent him to work. He appeared in shows such as McHale’s Navy, Ironside, The Outsider, Run for your Life and The Men from Shiloh as well as several appearances on Jack Webb’s Dragnet. It was these appearances that led to Kent being case as one the stars in Adam-12, playing Officer James A 'Jim' Reed alongside co-star Martin Milner. A worldwide phenomenon, the show aired from 1968-1975, clocking up 174 episodes, and the character even crossed over into a trio of episodes of the series Emergency!. Around this time he appeared as himself in Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In and The Dean Martin Comedy Hour

Appearing on a top rated television show offered Kent many tremendous opportunities. Among his favourites was being a guest at the Indianapolis 500 and being trackside for the race itself. A lifelong racing fan, this was a special moment for Kent and led to his continued involvement in the sport. He has competed as a driver in automobile races such as the annual Toyota Pro Celebrity Challenge in Long Beach, California, and Watkins Glen, New York. He has also competed in several professional racing series in the Sports Car Club of America and IMSA, in such events as the 12 Hours of Sebring. Another great moment was when legendary film director John Ford, who was a big fan of the show, visited the Adam-12 set. Being able to sit with the great director and hear his wonderful stories and fond memories was an incredible thrill for Kent, who grew up admiring Ford’s films.

After Adam-12, Kent played guest roles on Marcus Welby M.D and Black Sheep Squadron before landing another series gig – this time as Captain Troy alongside Barry Van Dyke in Galactica 1980.

Another starring role, this time alongside David Soul, was as Alan McWhirter in the 1989 series UNSUB, all about an expert FBI forensic team that investigates serial murderers and other unsolved violent crimes – very much a forerunner of the CSI franchise.

Kent has also appeared in recurring roles in Seaquest 2032 (as Commander Scott Keller), Renegade (as Marshal Jack Hendricks), Silk Stalkings (as DA Craig Alexander), and Pacific Blue (as Brolin Jorgenson)

He has also become well-known as Jack Crighton in Farscape - a role than spanned for whole of the series, as well as having a couple of roles in JAG.

Other television credits include The Love Boat, Monsters, MacGyver, Private Eye, The Highwayman, J.J. Starbuck, 21 Jump Street, Murder, She Wrote, Dark Skies, Lawless, and Diagnosis Murder.

Movies for television include “Dragnet 66”, “Shadow Over Elveron”, “Jigsaw”, “Breakout”, “Beg, Borrow or Steal”, “Telethon”, “Pine Canyon is Burning”, “For Heaven’s Sake”, “Dark Justice”, “Accidental Meeting” and “Nashville Beat” - a pilot for The Nashville Network, which Kent Executive Produced and Co-Created.

Kent’s film appearances include “The Young Warriors”, “Did you Hear the One about the Travelling Saleslady?”, “Airplane II: The Sequel”, “Predator II”, “Illicit Behaviour”, and “Return of the Living Dead III: Ashes”.

His last legitimate theatre appearance was on the famous Kenley Circuit in “Tunnel of Love” with Martin Milner. He has just completed roles in the movies “Run Ronnie Run”, “Megiddo: The Omega Code 2”, and stars with Erin Gray in “Woman’s Story”.

For ten years, Kent was a member of the Celebrity All Stars Basketball team that played throughout Southern California to help raise money to support various charities.

Kent has also worked for his fellow actors, having served on The Screen Actor’s Guild’s Board of Directors, as well as serving four years as its first Vice President. He chaired the Children’s Committee, which helped fashion protections for child performers throughout the world. In 1999, Kent received the prestigious Ralph Morgan Award, named after The Screen Actors Guild’s first President, which is given by SAG members to honour another member’s devotion to the cause of actors.

In 2000, Kent and Martin Milner received The Jack Webb Award, given by the LA Police Historical Society for their support of the LAPD and the community it serves.

Kent and Cynthia are the proud parents of daughters Kristen, and Megan, an actress, and their son, Michael. Kent continues to work, and still looks forward to the next great role or adventure to add to an already illustrious career and life.

We were delighted that Kent has agreed to join us for his first ever UK convention appearance, in 2007 at the Cult TV Festival Weekender.


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