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14 reviews in total 
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13 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
Ood, Glorious Ood, 21 April 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'll lay my cards immediately on the table and let you all know that I absolutely adored the latest episode in the new series of "Doctor Who", "Planet of the Ood"! It's as big a surprise for me as it is you, dear reader!! In spite of Tate, regardless of Davies and notwithstanding a rather naff gag dependant on, admittedly minimal, knowledge of "The Simpsons", I would love it if the programme were like this more of the time. I confess I'd been looking forward to this episode, more than any other, because the Ood story from two years ago is my favourite of the tenth Doctor's era, to date. Ironically, considering my preference for the classic series, but not being particularly partial to the Sontarans, I haven't been looking forward to next week's two-parter nearly as much! One of the things I like about these Ood tales is the turning on its head of the master-servant/slave relationship. Usually, it's the humans who are subjugated in "Doctor Who", not the aliens. At the start of the story, a mystery is quickly inaugurated for the Doctor and his companion to investigate when the pair chance upon what-is-soon-to-be-revealed-as a red-eyed Ood dying in the snow whose last words plead, "The circle must be broken". The whole setup of this adventure is very similar to that of "Revelation of the Daleks", with the fast-fading Ood being comparable to the forgiving mutant near the start of the earlier escapade. Both stories feature a trudge through snow, from where the TARDIS has materialised, across an alien landscape. Both include the aforementioned preliminary confrontation before reaching the hub of the action. And, both deal with the nature of conducting business while, perhaps revealingly, both are directed by Graeme Harper! It doesn't take the time travellers quite as long to reach their destination in "Planet of the Ood", however, as it did the Doctor and Peri twenty-three years ago!!

As "Planet of the Ood" hurtles towards its climax, the Doctor and Donna make an alarming discovery. Huddled together in a cell, singing the song of captivity, are a group of natural born Ood, unprocessed, before they're adapted to slavery, unspoilt. They carry their secondary hind-brain in their cupped hands. Donna finds the music overwhelmingly unbearable, emotionally speaking, and asks for it to be taken away. I used to have the same problem whilst spinning discs for customers, when working in a record shop back in the Eighties! Joking aside, the use of music here is exemplary, for once, and connected to a warning in the final moments of this sequel, when, speaking to the Doctor, an Ood forewarns, "I think your song must end soon. Every song must end." Earlier, the Doctor offers stunning marketing manager Solana Mercurio, played by the beautifully named Ayesha Dharker, the hand of friendship which she briefly considers then rejects. She proceeds by betraying both him and Donna at the first available opportunity, not being able to step outside her own small, seemingly secure, world of the workplace. This is a minor moment of momentous tragedy, more real than any of the nonsense concerning the separation of Rose from her mentor at the end of Series Two! And, the themes of this Ood episode have resonance, not just emotional content. We are privy to a great big (business) empire built on slavery, witness to battery-hen farming for Ood-kind. There is a slowness and precision in both manner and movement of the Ood which makes them a very dignified race of beings, and that is key to their success. As Tennant said in the following "Doctor Who Confidential" documentary, "Oods and Ends", "they are benevolent and non-invasive". By way of contrast, this time round there are also rabid Ood, perhaps comparable in concept to rogue Cybermen as seen in "The Invasion" and "Attack of the Cybermen".

I guessed, before "Planet of the Ood" commenced, that the Doctor wouldn't be able to resist mentioning the "real" snow, on this occasion, as opposed to the raining ash etc of previous instances! I also predicted the fate of Tim McInnerny's Klineman Halpen, when he first commented upon his hair loss ten minutes into the episode, even though the manner in which it happened was still a pleasant surprise! Transformed into the very creature he's been abusing, it's not quite as agreeable for the character as the viewer but justly deserved, nevertheless, for both murder and as amoral "owner of the franchise for selling Ood, domestically, across the known and unknown galaxy"!! A nice commentary on the nasty and seedy nature of business, generally, I thought. I hope Sir Alan was watching, though I'm not sure he would heed any message even if attuned to literary subtext! The enemy within Halpen's company was successfully disguised throughout by the discreet performance of Adrian Rawlins, as much put upon Dr Ryder, having been a friend of the Ood, working for their release, for the past ten years! The almost-chanted and oft-repeated phrase, "Doctor, Donna, friends", will no doubt pass into the folklore of the programme though I'm more likely to remember the Time Lord's criticism, "Who do you think made your clothes?" As producer Susie Liggat indicated, "Planet of the Ood" is a really important story about liberating repressed people, a metaphor that can be applied the world over both on a personal level and globally. Writer Keith Temple fashioned what-turned-out-to-be a very old school episode of "Doctor Who", and good on him!!

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
"All My Love To Long Ago", 16 November 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Doctor Who" was back for all of eight minutes, as part of "Children in Need" night, in a mini-episode, written by Steven Moffat and directed by Graeme Harper, entitled "Time Crash". I've already seen it described, subsequently, as "Time Crap" but I thought it was good fun with a rather poignant final minute. My favourite line was actually one given to tenth Doctor David Tennant, and thus the obvious choice for the title of this post, but, overall, I thought fifth Doctor Peter Davison out-acted his successor. He was "let's be honest, pretty sort-of-marvellous"! Readers may think I'm prejudiced in his favour because I prefer the classic series to Russell T. Davies' reinvention but that isn't the reason. Peter wasn't "My Doctor", just the better actor on this occasion. They really only got it spot on, during his era, in his final story so it was intriguing to see the actor reunited with the director of that story, "The Caves of Androzani", for this little, well-balanced, excursion.

While David may have had the best line, the one tinged with A. E. Housman-style regret of a past long since lost, the fifth Doctor had the leading question, and the one I've been asking myself for the last two years, when he asks the tenth, "Is there something wrong with you?"! Perhaps David is "the decorative vegetable" rather than Peter's stick of celery!! Steven Moffat summed up the current Doctor's predilection for "ranting in my face about every single thing that happens to be in front of him" perfectly!!! My only regret about "Time Crash" is that it wasn't a full-length episode. Having gone to the trouble of rehiring a popular former-leading man from the series, together with the programme's best director of that period combined (for the first time) with the writing skills of the current series' best author, it would've been nice to see the central relationship developed further… as in "The Two Doctors", one of my "Blue Remembered Hills". I echo the sentiment, "All My Love To Long Ago".

10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Walking on the Moon, 4 April 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

With "Smith and Jones", "Doctor Who" was back with a bang! A better season opener than either of its two predecessors, I only wish an episode as strong as this had heralded the programme's return a couple of years back. It got the balance right between domestic and universal. Martha's family problems were only allowed to top and tail the episode not dominate the entire proceedings. What happened in-between highlighted the triviality of those everyday concerns.

The problem, of course, is that Martha's family follows Rose's, which on paper makes it sound like a new family has moved into the square, umm… street, sorry TARDIS! If Rose's family hadn't preceded Martha's I wouldn't be focusing on it now because, despite Martha's Dad's airhead bimbo of a girlfriend, her family weren't overwhelming for the viewer even if they were for each other!

Russell wrote Roy Marsden out too quickly for my liking, also, which is another trait of new "Who". Every year this happens with only a short amount of airtime given to quality guests such as Richard Wilson and Don Warrington. Good actors obviously don't come cheap so I suspect they're hired for a short space of time in order to lay claim to having had them on the show! Anyway, Roy had the best line, at least the one that made me laugh-out-loud, albeit lifted from "Fawlty Towers", as he walked away from patient "John Smith" recommending a full psychiatric review!!

Anne Reid was the main guest of the episode and she clearly relished her role. She was more memorable in this than "The Curse of Fenric" although I'm not for one minute saying that "Smith and Jones" is better than my favourite McCoy serial. And Freema was terrific. For my money, miles better than Rose because she is playing an intellectually, not emotionally, more intelligent character and hopefully won't be prone to bouts of tears every few minutes.

I hope the audience picked up on all the clues. The Doctor's passing reference to once having had a brother. Now, I wonder who that could be?!! That could be the red herring that RTD has slipped in to put the fan forums into meltdown, never to be mentioned again, or might conceivably be connected to the posters in the alleyways urging us to vote Saxon! As I'm sure everyone knows by now, a certain actor from "Life on Mars" has been cast to play the villainous black-suited Mr Saxon in the final two episodes. Now, again, I wonder who Saxon could really be?!!

I really hope the rest of the season is as strong as the first episode and doesn't let up like it did after the black hole story last year. Even so, I couldn't help thinking "Smith and Jones" would've made an even better four-parter with the cliff-hangers coming where Florence is revealed to be more than just a little old lady, where the marvellous Judoon march inexorably towards Martha, the audience in the knowledge she contains Time Lord DNA, and finally, and very traditionally, where the Doctor is believed dead. However, "Doctor Who" seems very much back on his/its feet, with or without trainers!!!

31 out of 52 people found the following review useful:
In need of Resurrection, 23 October 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have to admit a success on the part of Russell T. Davies! He successfully fooled me, and no doubt countless others, into believing second-in-command Suzie Costello (Indira Varma) would be a regular of the "Torchwood" team. But she's not, and that's why she wasn't at the press launch last week and thus absent from the subsequent photo. She was simply a guest in the opening episode, "Everything Changes", despite the misleading publicity, appearing with the other five on the cover of the Radio Times and with a profile inside, equal to that of the truly-regular members of the cast. I'm not usually so gullible. At least, I hope not. As soon as I saw Tom Cruise confiding in Max Von Sydow, for example, (the previous evening) early on in "Minority Report", I guessed the outcome. For all its SF trappings, Spielberg's film is a very traditional affair. And it isn't as if "Torchwood" is the first series to bump off a "regular" so soon. I'm sure fans of "Spooks" haven't forgotten the almost immediate demise of Lisa Faulkner. So I was taken in, tricked, not surprised exactly because I hadn't really had a chance to get to know the character. Was this ploy meant to endear me to the new series or irritate me into dislike? Alienating the audience is becoming a habit with RTD shows. It happened in the last series of "Doctor Who", at least twice, at the beginning of both "Rise of the Cybermen", with the humiliation of Mickey, and on arrival in "The Impossible Planet", whatever the merits might be of the remainder of those two stories.

I didn't really warm to "Torchwood", regardless of being duped. The rain looked fake in the opening scenes and the blood spurting from the neck of the hospital orderly, having been bitten by a renegade Weevil, the main creature in this new series, was over enthusiastic. Adult doesn't have to mean copious amounts of gore, cartoon sex and what is euphemistically called strong language! For much of its original run, "Doctor Who" was, and still is, a far more mature affair than either new "Doctor Who" has so far proved to be or "Torchwood" looks like being. A secret subterranean base, the Hub, beneath the centre of Cardiff, reminds of "Batman" while the stone lift rising to street level, cloaked in invisibility until disembarkation, is reminiscent of "Thunderbirds". Mix what is generally thought of as the province of children's television with generous lashings of tonsil tennis and supposedly risqué ideas, in the second episode, Chris Chibnall's "Day One", lifted from "The Outer Limits" episode "Caught in the Act", which starred "Charmed" actress Alyssa Milano, only goes to prove Mr. Davies doesn't have a clue for whom his new series is intended. A person's level of writing speaks volumes about their maturity. That's why Claire Tomalin was able to successfully reveal on "The South Bank Show" (later the same evening), with great warmth, wit and enthusiasm, the true nature of Thomas Hardy, the poet, novelist and most-importantly the man, from his writing alone, given that he had destroyed all important documentation pertaining to his life. Unfortunately, there is too much on record for this to be the case with Russell T. (for "Torchy, the Battery Boy") Davies!

Cracker (2006) (TV)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Cracked Actor, 5 October 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Cracker" was back, for the first time in ten years, on Sunday evening for a one-off feature-length episode and written by its creator, the brilliant and extremely likable Jimmy McGovern. Entitled "Nine Eleven", it featured many of the trademarks of previous stories, revealing the killer early on, thus enabling the narrative to concentrate on the why rather than the who. Despite the title, the story centred on the aftermath of the Troubles of Northern Ireland for one particular ex-squaddie called Kenny, engagingly played by Anthony Flanagan, now working in the Manchester Police Force and with six years service behind him. Psychologist Fitz (Robbie Coltrane) returns to Manchester from Australia for the first time in seven years, for his daughter's wedding, only to find the city redeveloped after the IRA bombing and becomes embroiled in the case, much to the annoyance of his long-suffering wife, played as ever by Barbara Flynn.

Richard Coyle, best known for sitcom "Coupling", played Fitz's new boss DI Walters and good though he was, especially when losing his temper, I did miss the sincerity and wisecracks of Ricky Tomlinson as DCI Charlie Wise, who joined the drama in its second series as the replacement for outgoing DCI David Bilborough played by Christopher Eccleston, together with the other original regulars DS Jane Penhaligon (Geraldine Somerville) and DS Jimmy Beck (Lorcan Cranitch). The latter, of course, committed suicide in quite spectacular fashion, in third season opener "Brotherly Love", unable to cope with both the guilt he felt over the nature of Eccleston's demise and the subsequent descent of his own character compelling him to rape colleague "Panhandle". In the latest story, Belfast serves the same function as Hillsborough in that most highly-regarded of "Cracker" serials "To Be A Somebody", the 1989 football disaster being part of the trigger which ignites the never-bettered Robert Carlyle as Albie Kinsella on the road to ruin, but "Nine Eleven" is still cracking stuff. Kenny, the copper with problems, driving his first victim's Mother, and intended next victim, back to her residence is reminiscent of a scene in "Men Should Weep" in which taxi-driver Floyd Malcolm (Graham Aggrey), wanted for rape, gives a ride to a witness who, during their journey, fleetingly recognises her cabbie's turn of phrase.

I do think the "radical departure from the norm of police procedural dramas" element has been overstated somewhat in the promotion of "Cracker". There are a number of Hitchcock thrillers, Joseph Cotten as the Merry Widow Murderer in "Shadow of a Doubt" and Barry Foster dubbed the Necktie Murderer in "Frenzy" for example, that tell you who the killer is long before the resolution. But hype hasn't detracted from the quality of the product. McGovern's creation remains one of the jewels of ITV's output and its resurrection hasn't undermined what went before, back in the early Nineties. The new episode is available on DVD from the 9th of this month together with the entire back catalogue of stories, from the 16th, either individually or as a box set. I have a sneaking admiration for two of the non-McGovern penned stories, "True Romance" by Paul Abbott, featuring Emily Joyce as an unhinged admirer of Fitz's, but especially "The Big Crunch" by Ted Whitehead, featuring the always excellent Samantha Morton as schoolgirl victim of creepy Head Teacher and Minister Jim Carter ably supported by ex-"Doctor Who" companion Maureen O'Brien as his wife. But if you want the essence of "Cracker", go for "To Be A Somebody" or "To Say I Love You".

18 out of 32 people found the following review useful:
Absorbing Stuff?, 19 June 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

With the Doctor and Rose virtually written out of "Love & Monsters", a strong cast was needed to take centre stage to effectively replace them for a week. Facially similar to Malcolm McDowell, Marc Warren took the lead as Elton Pope, an actor who'd probably make a better job of playing the Doctor than David Tennant, to be honest. He was terrific as PC Dougie Raymond in the first season and a half of "The Vice", alongside Ken Stott, and is now perhaps best known as con man Danny Blue whom he has played for the last three years in "Hustle". Shirley Henderson appeared as his sidekick, Ursula Blake, whom I best remember from the third and final season of the French-resistance drama "Wish Me Luck" in which she played ill-fated Sylvie, executed by the Nazis AFTER the war was declared over.

To complete the line-up a villain was needed and cast as Victor Kennedy was comedian Peter Kay, best known to television viewers for multiple roles in the two seasons of sitcom "Phoenix Nights" and its less successful spin-off "Max & Paddy's Road to Nowhere". Victor is not what he seems, however, when it transpires he is distantly related to the Slitheen family preferring to go by the name of Abzorbaloff. The creature was created by nine-year-old William Grantham for a 'Design a "Doctor Who" monster' competition held by children's magazine programme "Blue Peter" last year. I think the design team did the boy proud. It was a pleasure to witness his excitement in "Doctor Who Confidential", immediately after episode ten aired, on meeting the Bolton comic in costume.

Taking the target audience into consideration, the script by Russell T Davies could've been a little more appropriate for family viewing. I'm not talking about the fart gag. Tedious though it is, I'm sure children everywhere will love that element as much as seeing Mr Blobby chasing Elton (thank God he wasn't called Cliff!) through the back streets of Cardiff. But, was it really necessary for Jackie to try and seduce the Pope by flashing her underwear in his direction in the launderette? One is left wondering if, like the TARDIS, her knickers are bigger on the inside (apologies to the more sensitive reader)! There was also reference made to the size of Camille Coduri's chest and worse at the climax of the story, in relation to Elton and Ursula's love life now that Miss Blake is reduced to a head in a paving stone!! You might say "Doctor Who" has reached rock bottom!!!

Sharpe's Challenge (2006) (TV)
13 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Sharp Practices!, 24 April 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Sean Bean returned to the role of Richard Sharpe, after a nine year absence from the small screen, this weekend on ITV1 in the two-part story "Sharpe's Challenge". Based on three of Bernard Cornwell's novels, this adventure is set in Jaipur one year on from Napoleon's demise at the Battle of Waterloo. It sees Sean reunited with director Tom Clegg and sparring partner Daragh O'Malley, as Sergeant Patrick Harper, whom he sets out to find on a mission to India, but on the pretext of looking for General Burroughs' daughter Celia who has been kidnapped and is held hostage against attack at Khande Rao's fort.

Sharpe's opposition on this occasion is a rogue East India Company officer, Colonel William Dodd, played by Toby Stephens, able to put his fencing skills to good use again after his appearance as the villain Gustav Graves in the James Bond movie "Die Another Day"! The real power behind young maharajah Khande Rao, Dodd is aided and abetted against the English by the late maharajah's favourite consort, Madhuvanthi, played by Salman Rushdie's wife Padma Lakshmi. She tries to seduce Sharpe but, naturally, he's having none of it! And, not surprisingly, Sharpe has unfinished business with the Colonel! Dodd lays a trap for the troops of the East India Company who are coerced by General Sir Henry Simmerson into attacking the fort, regardless of the consequences to the indisposed General's daughter, and thus the stage is set for the final battle...

Watching the "Behind the Scenes" documentary after the concluding episode, on ITV3, it's a wonder the programme ever got made! The number of extras, and costumes required for them, hand-built rifles and cannons, learning how to become a soldier in ten days flat, not to mention Sean and Toby going down with Delhi belly both on the same day! But the finished product was a treat with a terrific cliffhanger at the end of episode one which wasn't immediately spoiled in the next time trailer! Having infiltrated the enemy, and unrecognised by Dodd, Sharpe has to prove his new found loyalty to the young maharajah when he is ordered by the Colonel to shoot his best friend...

If you missed it, and want to find out whether or not Harper survives, after all Sharpe is a good shot, the best, then the DVD is out at the beginning of May! It's worth seeing just for Peter-Hugo Daly's performance as Sergeant Shadrach Bickerstaff, a constant thorn in Sharpe's side, who steals every scene he is in with consummate ease!

A for Andromeda (2006) (TV)
4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
A for "A for Andromeda"!, 27 March 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What a pleasant change to see science fiction being treated seriously and played straight! Hot on the heels of the Patrick Stewart vehicle "Eleventh Hour" comes a remake of the seven-part 1961 serial "A for Andromeda" as a follow-up to last year's BBC4 remake of "The Quatermass Experiment". Richard Fell was given the task of updating and condensing astronomer Fred Hoyle and John Elliot's original, and actress Kelly Reilly, starring alongside Tom Hardy, Jane Asher and David Haig, became the third actress to play Andromeda, following in the footsteps of Julie Christie and Susan Hampshire.

The story opens with a listening station picking up a signal from the Andromeda Galaxy that turns out to be instructions, in binary, detailing how to build a super-computer. Once active, the computer kills one of the scientific community, Christine, and creates a living being, with all the machine's knowledge, in her image. The themes of mankind's arrogance, humanity's inability to self-discipline, and the self-sacrifice of the Andromedan android, making her more human than human, have undoubtedly been done to death over the past 45 years but probably seemed fresh to a television audience in the early 60s.

References to E-mails and Firewalls, early on, placed the story in the modern world as did the now seemingly-obligatory popular culture reference, in this instance to "Deep Space Nine", though in a much less heavy-handed fashion than crowbaring three lowbrow game shows into the penultimate episode of last year's season of "Doctor Who"! Ultimately, like the mid 70s' "Doctor Who" story "The Brain of Morbius", "A for Andromeda" is a reworking of "Frankenstein", a morality tale warning us of the error of playing God. There are a further two opportunities to see the production this coming Friday, again on BBC4.

11 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Marvellous Marple!, 16 February 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I half expected "Agatha Christie's Marple" to be a little on the stodgy side but "The Moving Finger" turned out to be great fun. This was partly due to the all-star cast but also the knowing screenplay by Kevin Elyot which contained many laugh-out-loud moments at the numerous in-jokes. Best of these sprung from Ken Russell's character, the Reverend Caleb Dane Calthrop, speaking out against fornication, in the knowledge that the director-turned-actor himself has built a career making movies on that selfsame subject, from "Women in Love" to "Mahler", "Lisztomania" to "Tommy"!

The preview I read called the casting of Ken, together with comedian Harry Enfield as the dastardly uptight solicitor Richard Symmington, dodgy thus missing the point that this production intended itself as self-mocking. From the opening shots of playboy and World War II veteran Jerry Burton, played by James D'Arcy, first on his motorcycle and then in a red sports car with sister Joanna, a red-headed Emilia Fox, so blatantly filmed as period parody in the style of the time against a back projection, the story always managed to entertain.

I missed Paul McGann in last week's opening episode but "Doctor Who" Jon Pertwee's son Sean was on hand this week as the rather nervous Dr. Owen Griffith and I believe "Doctor Who" companion Bonnie Langford appears in the next yarn as a pushy mother! The poison-pen letters in "The Moving Finger" turn out to be one enormous red herring which distract Inspector Graves, a superb turn from Keith Allen, into hilariously staking out the women's institute's typewriter! Credit must also be given to John Session's Cardew Pye, as gay as the name sounds, reminding me of Nickolas Grace's performance as stuttering Anthony Blanche in "Brideshead Revisited"!

Another interesting piece of casting was that of ex-"Big Breakfast" presenter Kelly Brook as governess Elsie Holland who gains a place in the affections of our hero Jerry before he realises he is in love with Megan Hunter, played to perfection by Talulah Riley fresh from her success as Mary Bennet in the recent movie version of "Pride and Prejudice". The ye-olde-worlde scenes of Lymstock, a typically idyllic-seeming English country village, were picture-postcard perfect and made me think I was still watching "The Avengers"!!! Highly recommended.

5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Chronicling Hammer's "Dracula" Movies!, 12 May 2005

It's open to debate, and that's part of the problem and fun with cataloguing such things accurately, but I've always believed there to be seven films in the Hammer "Dracula" cycle. Although "Brides of Dracula" has Dracula in its title, and good though it is, the Count's absence from this film surely excludes it from being part of the canon, strictly speaking. I include the two "modern" takes that Hammer took on the story. They reunite Lee as Dracula with Cushing as nemesis Van Helsing for the first time in the series since its début and thus give the feel of the cycle having come full circle.

Based on the aforementioned, this would make my personal favourite, "Taste the Blood of Dracula", the fourth of the seven and thus the middle film of the cycle. The "Frankenstein" series also comprises seven and its middle film, "Frankenstein Created Woman", covers the same territory as this Dracula movie, namely Victorian values and three aristocrats who get what's coming to them!!! I'm sure it wasn't planned this way, at least not from the outset, but there is a kind of beauty to viewing them with this sequence in mind. There is no lumbering monster in this Frankenstein film which makes it atypical of its series just as, without many of the familiar trappings we have come to expect such as priests, suspicious villagers and disgruntled coach drivers, "Taste the Blood of Dracula" is also atypical.

Alas, my argument isn't watertight! Although Dracula isn't mentioned in the title, in "The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires", released by Hammer after their last "official" Dracula movie "The Satanic Rites of Dracula", the character is included although this time not played by Christopher Lee. Therefore, it could be argued there are eight films in the cycle, nine if one still wishes to include "Brides of Dracula", and therein lies the problem. It is impossible, however desirable, to pin an exact number of films to the sequence!

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