5 items from 2014
DVD Review: Out of the Unknown
7-disc Region 2 DVD box set from the BFI
By Adrian Smith
Famously, or rather, infamously, the BBC took a rather cavalier approach to the preservation of its television output in the 1950s and 1960s. Due to the cost of videotape, once pre-recorded programmes had been broadcast,the tape was wiped and used again. For programmes to be kept for repeat use or to be sold to other territories around the world, the episode would be transferred to film, and it this process we have to thank that any television from this period has survived at all.
Out of the Unknown was an attempt to present serious, adult science fiction on television, adapting well-known and important authors like John Wyndham, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, J.G. Ballard and E.M. Forster. The single play was a tradition by this point, with popular series such as Armchair Theatre »
- email@example.com (Cinema Retro)
Though he’s been no stranger to the action genre over the years, Denzel Washington officially joins the league of mature asskickers this month with The Equalizer. Just as Liam Neeson has the Taken franchise, so Columbia Pictures hope audiences will take to Robert McCall’s controlled vigilante antics and clamour for sequels. People of a certain age remember the movie’s source material, a 1980s American TV series starring an unlikely British lead, which Washington and director Antoine Fuqua have distanced themselves from. I presume this isn’t out of disrespect – the new version is more a reimagining than an adaptation. But it shares enough with the original to warrant a closer look at the small screen events that gave rise to this high octane fest of bone cracking and soul searching. We begin by going back to the 1960s, where the UK drama showcase Armchair Theatre introduced us »
- Steve Palace
The Englishman’s long but sporadic career included an Oscar and BAFTA nomination for his art direction and set decoration on 1981’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman. Assheton Gorton’s daughter told local paper the Shropshire Star that he died in his sleep September 14 at his home near the England-Wales border. He was 84. Gorton also worked on such well-known films as Michelangelo Antonioni‘s Blow-Up (1966) — scoring his first BAFTA nom — Ridley Scott’s Tom Cruise starrer Legend (1985) and Disney’s live-action 101 Dalmatians (1996) and sequel 102 Dalmatians (2000), both starring Glenn Close as Cruella de Vil. Gorton worked on fewer than 20 films during his four-decade career, including The Magic Christian (1969), Get Carter (1971), For the Boys (1991), Rob Roy (1995) and Shadow of the Vampire (2000). He also worked on a handful of television programs including ITV’s Armchair Theatre and 1980 NBC miniseries The Martian Chronicles.
- The Deadline Team
Two of Britain's brightest and most inventive comedy brains are back. Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton return to BBC Two this week with Inside No 9 - a new series of one-off darkly comic vignettes that the pair are pitching as a contemporary counterpart to classic anthology shows like Armchair Theatre and Nigel Kneale's Beasts.
"I think it is a hard sell for people," Shearsmith says of the format. "There's this idea that you don't build an audience with an anthology - every week, you've got to start again and if you don't like the first one [you see] you might not watch again. That's the fear! But I think the appeal is the absolute excitement of not knowing what you're going to get."
We have a small golden circle of writers who do everything, in effect closing the door on Britain's rich diversity of talent
A meeting I attended this week, chaired by the culture minister Ed Vaizey in the House of Commons, was in many ways a ground-breaking event. For the first time, representatives from film, television and the performing arts came together to acknowledge that representation among black, Asian and ethnic minorities across the television and film industry – most significantly behind the camera – has fallen from 7.4% in 2009 to 5.4% in 2012, and is continuing to decrease, and that it is not an acceptable state of affairs in a vibrant democracy which boasts a rich diversity of cultures. Most important, we recognise it is our job collectively to reverse this trend by ensuring that the inequalities faced by ethnic minority talent become a thing of the past.
Many options and possibilities for changing the »
- Lenny Henry
5 items from 2014
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