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Spooky and magical kids' TV dramas of the 1980s: 1985-89

Alex Westthorp Sep 19, 2016

We revisit Tom's Midnight Garden, Moondial, The Chronicles Of Narnia and a few lesser-known UK children's TV series...

Read our look-back at UK kids' fantasy dramas 1980 - 1984 here.

By 1985 British TV's children's drama had really hit its stride, achieving "a balanced diet of programmes" as Edward Barnes, the head of the BBC children's department observed. The late 80s, arguably, saw a new golden age for spooky and magical kids drama. Excellent production values, improved significantly by well-honed special effects work using Quantel, Paintbox and Harry, and moreover some interesting casting - often of very talented newcomers - produced some of the most memorable dramas of the era.

The second half of the decade saw the BBC riding high on the back of the success of their state-of-the-art adaptation of John Masefield's Box Of Delights. Meanwhile, anthology series Dramarama was going from strength to strength on ITV.
See full article at Den of Geek »

Video Game Review – Batman: The Telltale Series – Episode 1

Chris Sanderson reviews Batman: The Telltale Series – Episode 1…

At the Game Awards in 2015 we got our first hint of Telltale Games’ next big project and much to the surprise of many, it turned out to be a new Batman game. With almost no information given since then and only small hints and teasers given, I managed to get my hands on the game this past week and played the first episode, titled Realm of Shadows.

Having played a number of Telltale Games over the years such as The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Back to the Future and Jurassic Park, I was quite interested from the get go to find out what they had planned for a Batman story. The ability to jump into a story centred around Batman is just too good to miss. Since the developers don’t have to worry too much about what different game
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

6 actors you never knew played James Bond, from Toby Stephens to... Tom Hiddleston?

Gun to your head - or, rather, powerful laser device pointed close to your groin - you could probably list all six actors who've played James Bond.

But Connery, Brosnan, Moore and so on are the just the tip of the (admittedly quite small) iceberg, as this list of the "other" Bonds proves...

1. Bob Holness

Best known for everyone's favourite pee-themed, letter-obsessed quiz show, Holness enjoyed a wide and varied career before he settled down behind the Blockbusters desk, once working as an airborne traffic reporter and briefly holding down a job in a South African printing press.

How he then ended up as secret agent James Bond 007 seems as great a mystery as "Who are the kind of parents that call their daughter Pussy Galore?" But he did, thanks to a 1956 BBC radio play based on Moonraker.

2. Barry Nelson

Eight years before Sean Connery met Dr No, Barry Nelson
See full article at Digital Spy - Movie News »

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical extends in London

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, London

Aldwych Theatre

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical has had its London run extended, and will now play in the capital’s West End until 26 November 2016.

Over 350,000 new tickets have been released for the show, which will have new cast members join the production in November. Cassidy Janson will play the title role in the musical from 30th November, while Diane Keen will appear as Genie Klein, King’s mother. Alan Morrissey will continue as King’s husband and song-writing partner Gerry Goffin as well as Lorna Want as song-writer Cynthia Weil, Ian McIntosh as song-writer Barry Mann and Gary Trainor as music publisher and producer Don Kirshner.

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical is the untold story of her journey from school girl to superstar; from her relationship with husband and song-writing partner Gerry Goffin, their close friendship and playful rivalry with fellow song-writing duo Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil,
See full article at The Hollywood News »

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey’ will cause a supernova in your mind

Science has been under attack of late and I’m not sure why. Some want to tear down the discoveries and words of caution by scientists, as if to discredit them like an urban legend. No one wants to put money into space programs anymore, and there are those who continue to bury their heads in the sand when it comes to the environment, greenhouse effect, global warming and other scientific truths. It’s not always easy to understand science but to outright deny it is a movement that is befuddling as much as it is frustrating. So what better time than to revive Cosmos, the TV show hosted by the late scientist Carl Sagan, who succeeded in breaking down the walls of science, putting the discoveries in a digestible format that would help communicate the wonders of science to non-scientists.

Led by his widow Ann Druyan and Steve Soter,
See full article at BuzzFocus.com »

Doctor Who: the film careers of Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi

Alex's series looking back at the film careers of actors who've played the Doctor finishes with Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi...

Feature

Read the previous part in this series: the film careers of Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant, here.

By 2009, the new version of Doctor Who had become not only an integral part of Saturday night television and a huge Christmas ratings winner but also an international success all over again. David Tennant, who had played the Time Lord since 2005 and was, arguably, more popular than any Doctor since the mighty Tom Baker hung up his scarf in 1981, had announced his resignation from the part he loved in October 2008. Many wondered how the incoming showrunner, Steven Moffat, would follow Tennant and what kind of show would emerge.

Tennant spent much of 2009 on stage in Hamlet and was only able to devote small amounts of time to Doctor Who. Occasional specials
See full article at Den of Geek »

Exclusive Interview With William Morgan Sheppard

It’s always a delight, an honour and a privilege for this writer to interview some of the industry’s veteran actors- masterful performers with a wealth of experience and anecdotes to give. William Morgan Sheppard is one of those great character actors, whom you’d likely recognise from his work on various Star Trek films and series, his appearance on Doctor Who with his son Mark in 2011′s The Impossible Astronaut, and a whole back catalogue of other TV series and films. Sheppard is a man skilled on screen, on stage and in his prolific voiceover work, such as Biker Mice from Mars.

It was a pleasure to conduct the following interview with the classically trained actor and former member of the Merchant Navy. So whether you’re an actor established or aspiring, or just interested in great reminiscences and anecdotes from a humble and modest old pro who
See full article at Obsessed with Film »

October DVDs Include The Pallisers, The Fall and a Little History

  • bestbritishtv
Kieran Kinsella

Appropriately enough for this time of year, Acorn Media’s latest batch of DVD releases includes The Fall. It’s a Belfast based psychological crime drama in which Dsi Stella Gibson attempts to hunt down a sadistic serial killer who seems to delight in deviousness. Somewhat unusually for a crime drama, the killer is identified fairly early on as Paul Spector. Thereafter, Spector and Gibson become embroiled in a game of cat and mouse that lasts through five suspensful episodes. The relationship between Spector and Gibson is similar to the one involving Hannibal Lector and Clarice except for the fact that Lector was banged up while Spector is on the loose.

X-Files actress Gillian Anderson takes on the role of Gibson and she seems quite at home on British TV these days having enjoyed success in recent hits such as Great Expectations. Her nemesis is the rather less
See full article at bestbritishtv »

Doctor Who: 10 Weirdest Moments From The Classic Series

As I mentioned in one of my most recent articles (most recent here being a relative term…) Doctor Who as a whole is specifically designed to be as weird as possible.

Or to put it in a slightly more up-with-people kind of way, Doctor Who was specifically created to be a program that showed us things that no other program on television could, which is why the theme music was deliberately realized by the lovely and extraordinarily talented Delia Derbyshire to sound as unlike anything you’d ever heard anywhere else in the world.

Yet it’s really a shame that over the years the style of the theme tune has fallen into sounding exactly like most other sci-fi theme songs (full orchestra, a bit military.) But that’s another discussion for another day.

So given that the initial to do list for the show was – ‘Step One: Show lots
See full article at Obsessed with Film »

PBS Masterpiece Review: Endeavour – Rocket

  • bestbritishtv
Endeavour Rocket

N Conrad

PBS Masterpiece’s best detective show returned tonight with another episode that was full of twists, turns and a dash of romance. However, this time I was able to spot the killer within the first few minutes of the show. No, it wasn’t because the script wasn’t clever — it was very good — it was simply because of the casting. Craig Parkinson (Whitechapel) is far to good at playing villains to be sidelined as a factory floor foreman. He had to be the villain and indeed he was although there were lots of red herrings along the way.

It was great to see Martin Jarvis, who seems to have discovered some kind of anti-aging potion because he hasn’t visibly aged in the last 40 years. Anton Lesser is superb as the hob-knobing police chief and at times he really steals the show. However, Shaun Evans
See full article at bestbritishtv »

David Suchet films his last Poirot 'Dead Man's Folly'

David Suchet is filming his final Hercule Poirot film 'Dead Man's Folly'.

The film is one of the final five starring Suchet in his 13th series as author Agatha Christie's detective, alongside 'Elephants Can Remember', 'Curtain; Poirot's Last Case', 'The Labours of Hercules' and 'The Big Four'.

Zoë Wanamaker returns as Poirot's unwitting sidekick Ariadne Oliver and the pair are joined by a cast including Sean Pertwee, Sinead Cusack, Tom Ellis, Martin Jarvis, Sam Kelly and Stephanie Leonidas.

'Dead Man's Folly' is written by Nick Dear, directed by Tom Vaughan and produced by David Boutler.

The book was published in 1956 and centres around a house inspired by Christie's former holiday home Greenway, now a National Trust-owned property.

While it has already been shot, the last film to air will be 'Curtain; Poirot's Last Case'.

Suchet was cast as Poirot for ITV in
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

Longtime Batman Actor Kevin Conroy Won't Be In 'Arkham Origins'

The man who's given voice to the Caped Crusader for 20 years now across games, animated features, and television won't be returning for the "Arkham" prequel, according to WB Montreal.

Speaking with South Africa's Nag magazine, a WB Montreal representative explained that since "Arkham Origins" was a prequel, they wanted to go another direction for voice talent. While the studio, who's taken over the franchise from "Arkham City" and "Arkham Asylum" developer Rocksteady, didn't say just yet who would be playing Batman, they did announce that Nolan North would have multiple roles in the game including the Penguin and central villain Black Mask. Tom Kane and Martin Jarvis would be making their return from the previous "Arkham" games as Commissioner Gordon and Alfred.

Conroy, who's voiced Batman since the debut of "Batman: The Animated Series" has reprised the role everywhere from "Justice League" Netherrealms' "Injustice: Gods Among Us." With his gravelly yet human voice,
See full article at MTV Multiplayer »

Doctor Who: 10 Worst Casting Decisions Ever Made

Since Doctor Who began, if you forgave its occasional production shortfalls, it paid you off generously with Amazing performers and casting. And in the Classic Series, casting often was everything. The New Series mostly continues the impeccable standard. I stand with a majority of fans and say they’ve Never blown casting the role of the Doctor, and more often than not the companions have been perfectly rendered too. Many, Many iconic villains are what they are not because of ring modulators or Dalek casings – They were effortlessly portrayed through perfect casting, sometimes by names that were justly famous already (Martin Jarvis, Kylie Minogue, Brian Blessed, Julian Glover, and Sir Ian McKellan for example) or who rose to fame shortly thereafter (We can count Andrew Garfield, Martin Clunes, and Carey Mulligan amongst those who broke out on “Who”).

Sometimes, though….they get it So wrong. New and Classic Who sometimes
See full article at Obsessed with Film »

Roger Hammond obituary

Actor known for his roles as clergymen, favourite uncles and tragic-comic characters

There is a great tradition in the rotundity of actors, and Roger Hammond, who has died aged 76 of cancer, stands proudly in a line stretching from Francis L Sullivan and Willoughby Goddard through to Roy Kinnear, Desmond Barrit and Richard Griffiths, though he was probably more malleably benevolent on stage than any of them.

He reeked of kindness, consideration and imperturbability, with a pleasant countenance and a beautiful, soft voice, qualities ideal for unimpeachable clergymen, favourite uncles and tragic-comic characters such as Waffles in Chekhov's Uncle Vanya (whom he played in a 1991 BBC TV film, with David Warner and Ian Holm), a man whose wife left him for another man on his wedding day but who has remained faithful to her and forgiving ever since.

Hammond grew up in Stockport, Lancashire. His chartered accountant father was managing director of his own family firm,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Roger Hammond obituary

Actor known for his roles as clergymen, favourite uncles and tragic-comic characters

There is a great tradition in the rotundity of actors, and Roger Hammond, who has died aged 76 of cancer, stands proudly in a line stretching from Francis L Sullivan and Willoughby Goddard through to Roy Kinnear, Desmond Barrit and Richard Griffiths, though he was probably more malleably benevolent on stage than any of them.

He reeked of kindness, consideration and imperturbability, with a pleasant countenance and a beautiful, soft voice, qualities ideal for unimpeachable clergymen, favourite uncles and tragic-comic characters such as Waffles in Chekhov's Uncle Vanya (whom he played in a 1991 BBC TV film, with David Warner and Ian Holm), a man whose wife left him for another man on his wedding day but who has remained faithful to her and forgiving ever since.

Hammond grew up in Stockport, Lancashire. His chartered accountant father was managing director of his own family firm,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Outnumbered returns for fourth series

  • ScreenTerrier
Outnumbered, the multi-award-winning comedy series from Hat Trick Productions, which captures the turbulent chaos of family life, is back on BBC One with a new six-part series starting on Friday 2 September and followed by a Christmas special.

In the new series, the family is confronted by an array of issues ranging from death, drugs, terrorism and getting old, to food science, Top Gear, the joy of ventriloquism and the perils of Subbuteo.

The casting director avoided stage-school talent, instead undertaking a lengthy audition process which involved lots of game playing, determined to find children who would enjoy the filming process. So the three juvenile leads came out at the top of the fairly exhausting casting process. Andy: "They're all really interesting to watch and they've all got very interesting, funny personalities. Confident, but also excellent actors."

Tyger Drew-Honey returns as Jake Brockman

Tyger was born Lindzi James Tyger Drew-Honey, he is now 15 years old,
See full article at ScreenTerrier »

Cars 2: The Video Game – review

PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, DS, Disney, cert 7, out now

The vocal talents of veteran actor Martin Jarvis, whose velvet purr can be heard narrating Just William or Jeeves in Manhattan on BBC Radio 4, pops up here on Disney/Pixar's Cars 2 doing an impersonation of Michael Caine (playing an animated Aston Martin). Is this the moment where licensed video games become a proper art form or was the pay good?

The target audience won't give a flying flugelhorn as they are nine-years-old, probably male and definitely hyperactive. All they care about is revving engines and squealing tyres, which this game delivers in large doses. More akin to Mario Kart than Gran Turismo, stage after stage is packed with cartooney, crash-bang-wallop and the fun is accessible for multiple players whether online or in the same room.

Years of bitter experience have taught us to give licensed games a wide berth, but this
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Doctor Who complete reviews: Vengeance On Varos

Vengeance On Varos is one heck of a scary tale. Not terrifying monster scary - we have a revolting green slug thing who's probably more amusing than terrifying - but scary as in how prophetic Philip Martin's story is.

Vengeance revolves around a bleak Orwellian society that is dependent on TV. Not just any old TV, but the most sadistic form of entertainment that you can get. Torture. Blindness. Acid baths. Men in nappies. It's all to be found on the TV channels on Varos, and those are just the ones that we either see or hear about. Presumably, there's other classics such as Strictly Come Dismembering, The Axe Factor and Masterdeath to be lapped up by the Varosian masses. What's worse though is that practically every programme has a punch-in vote, right down to the Governor's broadcasts. It's simple - the Governor of Varos makes a broadcast announcing
See full article at Shadowlocked »

TV review: Just William | Mark Lawson

Time moves on, and Violet Elizabeth's lack of a lisp will infuriate the purists, but this William is just so

Although he has become the epitome of an 11-year-old boy, William Brown is now almost 89: Richmal Crompton's first book about the scruffy scourge of girls was published in 1922. But, following a fortnight of school holidays and heavy snow, this story of the alpha naughty brat may have felt urgently topical in many households, making Christmas week a perfect time for the release of the latest BBC adaptation.

Unusually with a juvenile role, the show has been revived as a vehicle for a star actor. The 11-year-old Daniel Roche won award nominations and hero status among the pre-teen audience for his performance as the factually unreliable and relentlessly inquisitorial Ben in the BBC1 domestic comedy Outnumbered.

In many ways, Ben is a latterday William, although with readier access to violent images on the internet,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

TV highlights 28 December

Just William | The Miracle Baby of Haiti | Giles & Sue Live the Good Life | Take That: Look Back, Don't Stare | Royal Institute Lectures | Rich Hall's The Dirty South

Just William

12.30pm, BBC1

This is the fourth time Richmal Compton's larger-than-life schoolboy has been cut down to size for the small screen (previous William Browns famously include a scabby-kneed Dennis Waterman – he could be so bad for you), and some might argue these stories actually work best on the radio, c/o the peerless readings of Martin Jarvis – who, in a best-of-both-worlds scenario, also intermittently narrates this new 1950s-set adaptation from Simon Nye, which does lack a certain fizz. Outnumbered's Daniel Roche plays the scowling scamp, tonight encountering Violet Elizabeth Bott. Ajc

The Miracle Baby of Haiti

9pm, C4

Incredibly moving documentary following the remarkable story of a Haitian baby girl, Landina, who survived a terrible fire and then,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »
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