Tuesday, 31 July 2012

TARDIS Tuesday: The Cybermen Are Back!

Radio Times - 1982
There was something quite magical about the return of the Cybermen at the climax of Doctor Who: Earthshock Part 1 back in 1982.

The Cybermen's return had pretty much been a well kept secret for those of us not privy to the Radio Times published the same day that the Earthshock Part 1 cliffhanger Cybermen reveal was broadcast.

Those who were unfortunate to turn to John Craven's Back Page saw a wonderful Frank Bellamy-esque illustration featuring the fifth Doctor and a Cyberman, which served to give the game away for The return of The Cybermen. The metal meanies hadn't appeared in Doctor Who since 1975 so their return was unexpected to many as well as a surprise.

We now face spoilers on a daily basis, in fact many current Doctor Who live in a spoiler generation but it is nice to be occasionally surprised by a plot which in the case of Earthshock carried two stings in its tale.

The John Craven feature also previewed a feature broadcast on that Saturday's edition of Did You See (presented by Ludovic Kennedy) featuring many clips of Doctor Who Monsters from old stories. A few years before video - a real treat indeed!

Saturday, 28 July 2012

On Television: Dad's Army - No Spring For Frazer

Private Frazer loses a vital part of a Lewis gun and Captain Mainwaring assigns the platoon to recover it.

No Spring For Frazer was originally broadcast on BBC 1 in 1969 and is repeated on BBC 2 Wales at 19:30 Hrs.

Check listings for regional variations.


Friday, 27 July 2012

Badge Friday: Cliff Richard - From A Distance 1990-91

Here's a badge I got when I went to see Cliff Richard at Birmingham NEC in 1990.

Cliff was on his From A Distance tour that year and I recall seeing him within a week of seeing his former backing band The Shadows at Newcastle Upon Tyne.

In fact this the first of several Cliff concerts I attended over a 12 year period. Anyone else got any tour badges out there?

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Mary Tamm - The First Lady Of Time

Mary Tamm as Romana
The passing of another legendary Doctor Who assistant today makes me recall that moment in The Five Doctors where The Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) remarks that chunks of his past are been removed.

Indeed in the last year we've lost Nicholas Courtney, Elizabeth Sladen, Caroline John and now Mary Tamm.

I remember watching with great keenness the 1978-79 series of Doctor Who when The Doctor, K9 and Romana went in hot pursuit of The Key To Time, scattered in six segments throughout the universe.

Romana joined the Doctor on his travels, a Time Lady sent by the Time Lords, she was The Doctor's match and kept him on his toes. Her exchanges with The Doctor were a joy to watch.

Mary Tamm - Versatile Actress

It soon became clear however that Mary Tamm was more than just another Doctor Who assistant. Within weeks of her Doctor Who debut, she also cropped up in an episode of Return of the Saint opposite Ian Ogilvy.

Although Return of the Saint was filmed prior to her joining Doctor Who it was good exposure displaying her versatility as an actress.

In way of a tribute, I've dug out an archive interview with Mary from The Northern Echo published in 1984 when she was appearing in Good Morning Bill at The Darlington Civic Theatre.

Mary Tamm 1950-2012 - You gave us some classic Doctor Who moments which will endure.

On Radio: Dad's Army - We Know Our Onions

Jones knows his onions on 
BBC Radio 4 Extra
Mr Hodges wants his onions, the only problem is they've gone away on a weekend training exercise in Jones van...

The radio adaptation of We Know Our Onions was originally broadcast on BBC Radio in June 1976.

 Dad’s Army is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra at 08:30Hrs, 12:30Hrs and 19:30Hrs and available to listen again on the BBC iPlayer for a week after broadcast.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

TARDIS Tuesday: The Doctor Finds Enlightenment

My trawl through Doctor Who cuttings from years gone by continues today with Peter Davison's first season in the role of The Doctor .

This particular cutting originates from 18 January 1982 and profile's Annie Lambert's guest role in episode one of Four To Doomsday.

Annie appeared in several series over the years including Space 1999 and All Creatures Great and Small, yet I always liked her in this role as the sophisticated sexy villain Enlightenment, certainly one of series most underrated fantasy females.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Badge Friday: Madonna - You Can Dance Pin Badge


This pin badge produced in the late 1980s replicates Madonna's album cover for You Can Dance a collection of remixed tracks segued together to make one continuous dance track.

I think Madonna (or Sire Records) was breaking new ground with this in-between release (sandwiched with the Who's That Girl soundtrack somewhere between True Blue and Like a Prayer).

The album paved the way for dance remix albums of a similar nature. Madonna herself was no stranger to remixes and within a few years would be featuring several remixes of her singles within CD formats.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

On Radio: Dad's Army - Asleep In The Deep

Godfrey's in trouble in
today's Dad's Army
When a bomb drops on the pumping station, Captain Mainwaring and members of the Platoon run to the rescue of Walker and Godfrey who are on guard duty there.

Unfortunately the platoon soon find themselves trapped underground with the water rising.

The radio adaptation of Asleep in the Deep was originally broadcast on BBC Radio in June 1976.

Dad’s Army is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra at 08:30 Hrs, 12:30 Hrs and 19:30 Hrs and available to listen again on the BBC iPlayer for a week after broadcast.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

TARDIS Tuesday: Time Lords' Time Slot Change

When Peter Davison took over the role of The Doctor in Doctor Who , not only did the series get a revamp on screen it was also given a new time-slot.

As early as May 9, 1981, BBC1 Controller Alan Hart revealed that when the series returned the following Winter it would "possibly not" be in its regular time slot of Saturday tea-times.

Speculation was also rife that the series would also go twice-weekly like Angels or Triangle.

On this occasion the Daily Mail weren't far off the mark, when Doctor Who returned the following January the series did go twice-weekly.. and dematerialised from the Saturday schedules for a good few years.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

On Television: Dad's Army - Man Hunt

The Platoon find a four legged friend
An enemy agent may be at large in Walmington-On-Sea, so Captain Mainwaring and his men enlist the help of a friend with four feet.

Man Hunt was originally broadcast on BBC 1 in 1969 and is repeated on BBC 2 Wales at 19:30 Hrs.

Check listings for regional variations.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Badge Friday: TARDIS in Durham

Tardis In Durham Badge - 1992
Although I'm a life-long Doctor Who fan (well I've been watching the show for over 40 years) I have to say I have rarely attended Doctor Who Conventions.

That's not because I dislike meeting my heroes, generally meeting any celebrity I admired on TV as a child has been a great experience. It's usually the super fans who pounce on you as soon as you enter asking if you have a rare episode of Blakes 7 or if you know Peter Davison's inside leg measurement that freak me out.

The badge above was my entry into Tardis In Durham 1992 in which I met Frazer Hines (Jamie McCrimmon), Anthony Ainley (The Master),  Michael Wisher and Peter Miles (Davros and Nyder) and David Banks (The Cyber-leader).

There was also a young author at one of these conventions called Mark Gatiss who signed his Doctor Who book Nightshade for me which I bought the day before...

Thursday, 12 July 2012

On Radio: Dad's Army - The Big Parade

Mascot Mayhem for Mainwaring in today's Dad's Army
Captain Mainwaring decides the platoon should have a mascot, unfortunately for the platoon that means they have to try and catch one.

The radio adaptation of The Big Parade was originally broadcast on BBC Radio in June 1976.

Dad’s Army is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra at 08:30Hrs, 12:30Hrs and 19:30Hrs and available to listen again on the BBC iPlayer for a week after broadcast.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

TARDIS Tuesday: When A Vet Became A Doctor

Vet Peter Joins The Doctors' Who's Who - The Sun, 21 March 1981
There was quite a lot of interest in Doctor Who when Tom Baker quit the role in 1981 to make way for a new younger Doctor in the shape of Peter Davison.

For the first time an actor with a well-known TV face was joining the series. Davison having already been well-established as Tristan Farnon in the TV series All Creatures Great and Small.

The above article Vet Peter Joins The Doctors' Who's Who was typical of many headlines in this period and indeed Peter remained been referred to as a vet by the papers until he officially became The Doctor.

This cutting from The Sun dated 21 March 1981, promoted part four of Logopolis, Tom Baker's final episode and the last episode to be broadcast on BBC1 until January 1982, a long wait indeed to see Peter Davison's proper debut!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Mono Monday: It's All Over Now by The Rolling Stones

It's All Over Now
The Rolling Stones (1964)
This week marks the 50th anniversary of the first official concert The Rolling Stones performed at The Marquee Club in London.

As way of a tribute I've selected their 1964 release It's All Over Now, an early Decca single penned by Bobby and Shirley Womack.

Yes I know, its not an original Mick Jagger/ Keith Richard composition but it was a single that the band managed to successfully put their own style on  that would ultimately set them apart from other bands, particularly The Beatles.

Combining rhythm n blues with pop The Stones captured their own unique following, although the frantic screaming girls the band played to were recently compared to a scary scenario from a Hieronymous Bosch painting by Keith Richards. I once even heard first hand of a girl losing bladder control at a Stones gig in Stockton On Tees - I'm sure she wasn't the only one!

Back to It's all Over Now, the track became the bands first UK number one in Summer 1964, toppling The Animals House Of The Rising Sun, and in all seriousness it had to be a great single to do that! I love everything about it from Jagger's carefree vocals to the creeping guitar lick that's so prominent throughout the record. Great stuff!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Maindee Festival 2012 - In Pictures

The parade arrives in Maindee Primary School
It's been an incredibly wet week here in Newport and unfortunately the weather hasn't been kind to several festivals going on in the area. However the community in Maindee pulled together to put on a splendid afternoon of events including a fabulous street parade (which we took part in) and an afternoon featuring lots of music and arts events in three tents.
Everyone got more than a bit wet in the street parade
Unfortunately as the day went on the bad weather increased. Rachel and the children had to go home early after getting a bad soaking during the parade, but not before sampling some fabulous chipsticks from one of the food vans on the grounds!
Mr and Mrs Clark entertain
Because of certain cancellations the timetable was rescheduled which sadly resulted in me missing Toypop! (I was home getting changed when they were on) however I did get to catch a fabulous array of music from Holika, Loren Balaam, Rusty Shackle and  Rogora Khart.

In the company of clowns with the Denny Dennis' troop
There was also some surreal on-the-edge comedy from Mr and Mrs Clark and Denny Dennis Company Of Clowns who appealed to audiences of all ages.
Singer/songwriter Loren Balaam  performed a brilliant set
As the rain beat down outside there was no better place than to be in that main stage tent with such great talent. Well done to organisers and all concerned.

Rusty Shackle brought some energy to the main stage

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Audiobook Review: Doctor Who and The Sea Devils

Doctor Who And The Sea Devils
AudioGO
Malcolm Hulke only novelised seven Doctor Who television stories in the 1970s, Doctor Who and The Sea Devils being his third and the sequel to Doctor Who and The Cave Monsters cataloging the Doctor’s encounter with The Silurians underwater cousins.

Like The Silurians before them in Doctor Who And The Cave Monsters, The Sea Devils are also just a little hacked off to come out of hibernation after thousands of years only to discover a new life form - the  human race -  have taken over their beloved planet.

With the help of The Doctor’s enemy The Master, the Sea Devils begin sinking ships around the English Channel, so it’s only a matter of time before The Doctor and Jo Grant turn up and try to convince the Navy something’s amiss.

Original Target
novelisation
- 1974
Unlike several Doctor Who book writers of this era, Hulke preferred to rewrite elements of the television script to make them better paced books. The Sea Devils is perhaps the best example of this,

The Doctor and Jo’s arrival on the island where the Master has been imprisoned has been considerably fleshed out while security guards in the prison are given well developed and frequently entertaining personalities. Action sequences which lasted for several minutes on screen are dispensed with in favour of more entertaining dialogue (in many cases between the Doctor and the Master). 

There are some moments which will make die-hard fans jolt however including the reference to The Doctor as “Doctor Who” in one chapter and The Master’s reference to his encounter with The Ogrons which hasn't happened yet.

Geoffrey Beevers, an actor who has been associated with the role of The Master since his appearance in the 1981 TV story The Keeper of Traken, is an excellent choice to project Malcolm Hulke’s written word to the listener. Beevers doesn’t attempt to impersonate any of the actors from the original TV serial (although his portrayal of George Trenchard is close to that of Clive Morton’s) but he does catch the essence of each character enough to make Doctor Who and The Sea Devils a great listen.

Released by AudioGO, Doctor Who and The Sea Devils is available on CD and download formats and has a running time of 4 hours, 25 minutes.

On Television: Dad's Army - Branded

In today's episode of Dad's Army, Private Godfrey's bravery is called into question as Captain Mainwaring discovers he was a contentious objector in the First World War.

The television episode Branded was originally broadcast in 1969 and remains one of  the best from the series demonstrating how tragedy and comedy can fuse perfectly together to create great television.

Dad's Army is broadcast on BBC2 Wales at 17:40 Hrs. Check TV listings for regional variations.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Badge Friday: Heartbeat

Heartbeat - 1990
Here's a badge from the days when I regularly attended a local church in North Yorkshire.

This particular badge originated from a Christian pop concert I attended which turned out to be one of the last ones performed by the band Heartbeat.

Heartbeat had been dazzling churchgoers up and down the country with their praise and worship pop for several years and even scored a minor hit (and a Top Of the Pops appearance) with their song Tears from Heaven.

I remember been quite taken with the band at the time and even had one of their garish New Generation T-Shirt and a signed "best of" CD. These items have long been fobbed off on ebay, I felt Heartbeats new generation approach to the 1990s dated rather rapidly and only the pin badge survives from the gig.

On Radio: Excusing Private Godfrey

Arnold Ridley in profile - BBC Radio 4, 11.00am
On BBC Radio 4 today, poet Paul Henry, explores the true story of how Dad's Army's Private Godfrey, whom the nation took to its heart, belied an altogether more complex character: Arnold Ridley. Nearly a century after the outbreak of the First World War, one of its most enduring heroes lives on in the living rooms of millions. Behind the genteel, lovable, incontinent elder that was Private Charles Godfrey was the much more complex character of the actor and playwright Arnold Ridley. 

In Excusing Private Godfrey, passionate Dad's Army fan Paul Henry will highlight the true story behind the humour, challenging the listener's preconceptions of Godfrey and bringing the horrors of WW1 and WW2 into sharp focus. The programme explores the many sides of Ridley's character and life through interview, personal diary, clips from the films, plays, and of course clips from Dad's Army. Paul Henry will delve into Ridley the soldier, how his Somme experience and war injuries shaped the rest of his life.

In Dad's Army, Godfrey was a former conscientious objector. In reality, Arnold had been a battle-hardened lance corporal with the 6th Somerset Light Infantry, who went over the top on the morning of September 16, 1916. Paul Henry finds out about his love and family life and relationship with his son Nicholas - who is interviewed for the programme. 

Henry delves into Ridley the playwright through his 1941 film The Ghost Train and other plays, and find out how this successful writer was both entrepreneur though eventual bankrupt. In addition, Paul Henry will unmask Ridley the actor - how did he end up as a character in Dad's Army, and what was the impact of his time spent in Forces entertainment.

Produced by Terry Lewis Excusing Private Godfrey is a Tinderbox production and will be broadcast at 11:00am on BBC Radio 4. The programme will be available on BBC iPlayer for a week after broadcast.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Sykes And A Classic Comedy Lifestyle

Sykes promoting a TV special 
on the cover of Radio Times in 1971
Eric Sykes 4 May 1923 - 4 July 2012 

It seems all to easy to look back over comedians actors and musicians lives and coo "What A Legacy they left behind" at the moment.

In the last few years we have lost so many great stars from the golden era of British TV, in many cases we'll probably never see their like again - that can certainly be said of Eric Sykes.

My earliest memories of Eric were his popular TV series in which he starred alongside Hattie Jacques, Deryck Guyler and Richard Wattis in the early 1970s. But of course his career in comedy went right back to 1950s radio knocking out scripts for episodes of The Goon Show and appearing alongside legends such as Tony Hancock, Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers.

Eric took the lead  of his own series on both TV and radio in the early 60s and also made memorable appearances in films such as Monte Carlo Or Bust, It's Your Move and his own platforms which recalled the days of silent comedy The Plank and Rhubarb Rhubarb.

He continued to act despite suffering with deafness throughout most of his adult life. Well into his 80s, Eric still turned up on TV from time to time in shows as diverse as New Tricks and Poirot and even took time out to write his autobiography a few years back.

He was awarded a CBE in 2004.

Sykes was probably one of the last great stars of a classic comedy era, however its great think that his contributions to both written and performed will endure for many more years to come.

On Radio: Dad's Army - Big Guns

Captain Mainwaring and his men wreak havoc when they take possession of a naval gun in today's radio episode of Dad's Army.

The radio adaptation of Big Guns, based on the original TV episode by Jimmy Perry and David Croft was originally broadcast on BBC Radio in May 1976. It was adapted by Harold Snoad and Michael Knowles and stars Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier and Clive Dunn.

Dad’s Army is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra at 08:30 Hrs, 12:30 Hrs and 19:30 Hrs and available to listen again on the BBC iPlayer for a week after broadcast.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Arnold Ridley Remembered in BBC Radio 4 Documentary

The life of actor Arnold Ridley will be brought under analysis on Friday when poet Paul Henry, explores the true story of Dad's Army's Private Godfrey in Excusing Private Godfrey on BBC Radio 4.

The programme explores the many sides of Ridley's character and life through interviews and of course clips from Dad's Army. Paul Henry will delve into Ridley the soldier, how his Sommeexperience and war injuries shaped the rest of his life.

Henry finds out about his love and family life and relationship with his son Nicholas - who is interviewed for the programme. 

Excusing Private Godfrey will be broadcast on Friday morning on BBC Radio 4 at 11:00 Hrs.

TARDIS Tuesday: 1964 And All That

Do You Remember
...1964?
Magazine Article
- Early 1980s
When compiling my Doctor Who scrap books many years ago I used to go through every morsel of printed matter in hope of finding something new about my favourite TV show.

This nostalgic look at the year 1964 for instance was culled from an early 80s women's magazine.

Peering out from the article is an image of William Hartnell with the accompanying text describing Doctor Who was launched with William Hartnell in the title role.

Not strictly true, Doctor Who as we all know began in November 1963, but still, a rare image of Hartnell (pictured in the 1966 tale The Gunfighters) was a welcome addition to my scrapbook!

Also dig the fashion pictures and a photograph of Prince Edward as a baby... groovy man!

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