Sunday, 24 February 2013

A Tribute To Raymond Cusick (1928-2013)

News broke today that former BBC designer Ray Cusick has died after a short illness, aged 84. His daughter, Claire Heawood said that Cusick passed away on Thursday at his home near Horsham in West Sussex.
Raymond Patrick Cusick was born in London, and planned to be a civil engineer, but then joined the army. After a stint stationed in Palestine, Cusick planned to take up teaching instead. Having taught art, he then took an interest in design and joined Granada Television. This led to a move to the BBC as a staff designer, which included being assigned to the fledgling Doctor Who. Here, he was to come up with the design of the Daleks, which are one of the key elements that made the fifty-year old programme the success it has become. 
Unfortunately, Cusick had always played second fiddle to Dalek creator, Terry Nation - as a salaried Corporation employee, he was not paid royalties, whilst the writer became a millionaire. Cusick (pictured in 1964) only ever wanted to be credited as the designer.
Besides his contribution to The Daleks, Cusick was production designer on The Edge of DestructionThe Keys of Marinus, The Sensorites, Planet of Giants, The Rescue, The Romans, The Chase, Mission to the Unknown, and The Daleks' Master Plan.
The designer's final work for the BBC was on their Miss Marple series (1987), and in June 2008, Cusick appeared in the Doctor Who Confidential episode, Friends and Foe.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Doctor Who @ 50: An Adventure In Space And Time [Update 2]

Studio filming on the Doctor Who 50th anniversary biopic continued yesterday at BBC TV Centre. Scenes from An Unearthly Child were recreated for An Adventure in Space and Time, and the replica TARDIS set can be seen above in the first image to feature the regular cast. In front of the boom operator, from the left, are Jamie Glover (playing William Russell as Ian), Jemma Powell (Jacqueline Hill as Barbara), David Bradley (William Hartnell as the Doctor), and Claudia Grant (Carole Ann Ford as Susan).
The production has also reconstructed the Totter's Lane scrapyard set and the Police Box prop.
Period cameras and other vintage gallery and studio equipment has been provided by Golden Age Television Recreations.

Further casting news for the drama has been confirmed today. Current voice of the Daleks, Nicholas Briggs will appear as the original Dalek voice artist, Peter Hawkins, and the part of TARDIS set designer, Peter Brachacki is taken by David Annen. Another newcomer, Sophie Holt has been cast as Dodo actress, Jackie Lane.
Minor roles have gone to Elaine Andrews (as Mum), Philip C Francis (as Customer), Ernest Gormov (as BBC designer), and John Foreman (passerby).
The crew now includes Matthew Patnick (line producer), Simon Maloney (first assistant director), Richard Cookson (script editor), and Daniel Bishop (camera operator).

Doctor Who Vs. Oliver Twist (1985)

Literary classic Oliver Twist (also known as The Parish Boy's Progress, and originally published monthly in Bentley's Miscellany from 1837-39) was only Charles Dickens' second novel.
The first television adaptation of Oliver Twist was produced by the BBC in 1962, followed by a second, more faithful version in 1985.
The latter was produced by Doctor Who luminary Terrance Dicks as part of the corporation's Classic Serial strand, which ran regularly on Sunday afternoons for twenty years from 1975. 
The cast here was led by Eric Porter as Fagin, with the famous orphan now portrayed by Ben Rodska. The twelve-part series first aired from October to December 1985, and  featured twenty-three further Doctor Who cast and crew connections:
  • Terry Molloy (Brittles) was the third actor to play Davros (pictured) on TV from Resurrection of the Daleks, a role he reprised for Big Finish's audio series I, Davros (2006) and further plays Davros (2003), The Juggernauts, Terror Firma (both 2005), The Davros Mission (2007), Masters of War (2008), and The Curse of Davros (2012), and even on stage for The Trial of Davros (2005) - he was also Russell in Attack of the Cybermen, and voiced Magus Riga for Kingdom of Silver, an Examiner for Keepsake (both 2008), Dr Christopher Wallace and the Rat King for Rat Trap (2011), and Lord Ampthill for Jago and Litefoot: The Hourglass Killers (2012)
  • Brian Badcoe (Magistrate) was Adam in Invasion of the Dinosaurs
  • June Brown (Mrs Mann) was Lady Eleanor in The Time Warrior
  • Donald Eccles (Limbkins) was Krasis in The Time Monster
  • Davyd Harries (White) was Shapp in The Armageddon Factor
  • Nicholas McArdle (Master) was De Vries in The Stones of Blood
  • Edward Burnham (Grimwig) was professors Watkins and Kettlewell in The Invasion and Robot respectively
  • Lysette Anthony (Rose/Agnes) voiced Clara Harris for Assassin in the Limelight (BF, 2008) and Hazel Bright for Hothouse (BF, 2009)
  • Michael Attwell (Bill Sikes) was Isbur in The Ice Warriors, and Bates in Attack of the Cybermen
  • Godfrey James (Mr Bumble) was Tarn in Underworld
  • Gillian Martell (Mrs Maylie) was Lily Gregson in K9 and Company
  • Chrsitian Rodska (Barney) voiced Laan Carder for Faith Stealer (BF, 2004) and the Reverand Small for Hornets Nest: The Dead Shoes (AudioGo, 2011)
  • Miriam Margolyes (Mrs Corney) voiced Leef Apple Glyn Slitheen-Blathereen in The Sarah Jane Adventures: The Gift, and Frau Tod for The Beast of Orlok (BF, 2009)
  • Christopher Driscoll (Crackit) was the Security Guard in The Idiot's Lantern
  • Janet Henfrey (Martha) was Miss Hardaker in The Curse of Fenric
  • Mark Bassenger (Cabbie) made his TV debut as a Cyberman in The Five Doctors
  • David McKail (Dr Losberne) was Sergeant Kyle in The Talons of Weng Chiang
  • Harry Fielder (Big Man) made fifteen 'classic' Who appearances, as a Guard (in serials PP, ZZZ, 4L, 4P, 5A, 5F, 5Z), a Crewman (SS, 4T), a Vogan (4D), an Assassin (4Q), a Tigellan (5Q), and a Krarg in Shada 
  • Leslie Schofield (Patterer) was Leroy in The War Games, and Calib in The Face of Evil
  • Henry Stamper (Fang) was Anton in The Enemy of the World
  • production manager Nigel Taylor began his career as assistant director on The Stones of Blood
  • script editor Brian Wright as a former actor was Dassuk in The Ark
  • incidential music was provided by Dudley Simpson, the composer on almost 300 episodes of the 'classic' series, from Planet of the Giants (1964) to The Horns of Nimon (1980)

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Doctor Who @ 50: An Adventure In Space And Time [Updated]

Shooting on the Doctor Who 50th anniversary biopic resumed this morning in Central London. Writer Mark Gatiss accompanied the makers of An Adventure in Space and Time on Westminster Bridge to reconstruct some of the most iconic scenes in the series' history. The location filming for The Dalek Invasion of Earth (1964) was represented by four replica Daleks and a Sixties BBC film crew. Also present was Gatiss' partner, Ian Hallard playing director, Richard Martin.

Meanwhile, further details on the programme's cast and crew have emerged online this week. Joining actors David Bradley, Brian Cox, Jessica Raine, and Sacha Dhawan are newcomer Claudia Grant as Carole Ann Ford, Jemma Powell as Jacqueline Hill, Sarah Winter as Delia Derbyshire, Jeff Rawle as Mervyn Pinfield, Andrew Woodall as Rex Tucker, Jamie Glover as William Russell, and Russell himself has a cameo role as Harry. Comic actor, Reece Shearsmith, friend and former co-star of Gatiss, has been cast as Patrick Troughton.
The latest issue of Radio Times has reported that Lesley Manville plays William Hartnell's wife, Heather. The IMDB website now has a tentative listing for the BBC2 production, and also cites child actor Reece Pockney as Alan.
The crew now includes Andy Pryor (casting), Terry McDonough (director), Philip Kloss (film editor), Suzanne Cave (costume designer), John Pardue (director of photography), Dave Arrowsmith (production designer), Lucienne Suren (art director), and assistant Oliver Benson.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Date With History: 1993

Friday, February 12th: CCTV footage (above) from the Strand shopping centre in Bootle, near Liverpool showed two-year James Bulger being abducted by truant school boys Robert Thompson and John Venables, both aged only ten.
The pair forced James to walk a 2.5 mile route that led to a railway line at Walton, where they tortured and beat him. The toddler died from his forty-two injuries (including ten to his skull), and his body was found two days later.
The killing generated great anger on Merseyside and throughout Britain, and twenty years on, still provokes much debate. The child killers were convicted of James' murder at Preston in November 1993, but Thompson (pictured, top right) and Venables (top centre) were both released on licence in 2001 after serving only eight years in detention.
James' parents, Denise and Ralph still campaign for justice for their murdered son.