Friday, 26 July 2013

Doctor Who Vs. Dr. Who and the Daleks

AARU productions was formed by another film-maker, Amicus, to create a cinematic version of the BBC's Doctor Who - this feature was the result.
Based on the seven-part TV serial The Daleks (aka. The Mutants), this rendition was the programme's first ever spin-off. The film was also the first Doctor Who adventure made in colour (only used on the TV series from 1970) and widescreen (introduced with the 2005 revival).
Dr Who and the Daleks was scripted by (TV writers) Terry Nation,
David Whitaker, (the producers) Max Rosenborg, and Milton Subotsky, and directed by Gordon Flemyng.
The cast was headed by horror film legend, Peter Cushing, as the human inventor 'Dr. Who'. Jennie Linden and Roberta Tovey played his granddaughters, Barbara and Susan, whilst Carry On star, Roy Castle, was the hapless Ian Chesterton.
Further connections to the parent TV series are as follows:
  • Cushing starred opposite three future Doctors - with Patrick Troughton in Hamlet (1948), The Black Knight (1954), The Gorgon (1964)and Frankenstein (1974); then with Jon Pertwee in The House that Dripped Blood; and Richard Hurndall, in I, Monster (both 1971)
  • Tovey had an uncredited role in The Blood on Satan's Claw (1971) which also featured Wendy Padbury and Anthony Ainley - in Runaway Railway (1965) she starred opposite Pertwee, and her father, George Tovey, was the Poacher in Pyramids of Mars
  • Geoffrey Toone (Temmosus here), was Hepesh in The Curse of Peladon
  • Bruce Wells (Thal) was a Cyberman in The Tenth Planet, an uncredited Alien in The War Games, and an Ogron in both Day of the Daleks and Frontier in Space
  • Gary Wyler (Thal) was a Soldier in The Aztecs
  • The four Dalek operators were - Robert Jewell (a Dalek in eight TV serials, a Clown in The Feast of Steven, a Zarbi in The Web Planet, and a Macra operator); Bruce Castagnoli (an Egyptian Warrior in The Daleks' Master Plan: Golden Death); Gerald Taylor (also a Dalek in seven stories, Damon's Assistant in The Underwater Menace, Baker's Man in The Daemons, Vega Nexos in The Monster of Peladon, as well as a Zarbi, and a War Machine operator) and Kevin Manser (also a Dalek in six adventures, and a Zarbi)
  • Dalek voices were provided by - David Graham (who also voiced Skaro's finest in five TV serials, was Charlie in The Gunfighters, and Kerensky in City of Death) and Peter Hawkins (also voiced the Daleks in seven stories, and voiced the Cybermen in four others)

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Doctor Who Vs. The Quatermass Experiment (1953)

The television adventures of Professor Bernard Quatermass celebrate their diamond anniversary this month.
The first entry in this seminal series began in the summer of 1953 with the broadcast of The Quatermass Experiment
Sixty years on, this science-fiction classic is seen as the precursor to much of the BBC's adult drama output as well as greatly influencing a fledgling TV genre that would introduce Doctor Who a decade later.

Set in the near future, the serial tells the story of the first manned flight into space. Supervised by Quatermass, the British Experimental Rocket Group (BERG) attempt to return it's three-man crew safely to Earth, but their ship crash lands in Wimbledon. Two astronauts are missing, and the sole survivor, Victor Caroon behaves erratically - he has been infected by an alien presence. The Professor must prevent the entity from destroying the world, resulting in a climatic showdown at Westminster Abbey (scene of the Queen's recent Coronation).

The Quatermass Experiment was penned by Corporation writer, Nigel Kneale (1922-2006), and directed by Austrian Rudolph Cartier (1904-1994) - they next collaborated on George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four the following year. Kneale's hero - portrayed here by Reginald Tate (1896-1955) - was named in honour of astronomer Bernard Lovell (1913-2012) and his surname came from a London phone directory.

The thriller was transmitted live from Alexandra Palace over six consecutive Saturday nights, from July 18 to August 22 1953, and only the first two episodes now exist in the archives. Two sequels - Quatermass II and Quatermass and the Pit - followed in 1955 and 1958/59, whilst all three stories were later adapted for the cinema by Hammer. Kneale finally wrote the conclusion to his saga for Thames TV in 1979, and BBC Four re-staged the original drama - again live - in 2005.

The Quatermass Experiment  featured twelve Doctor Who cast and crew connections:
  • Paul Whitsun Jones (Fullalove) played Squire Edwards in The Smugglers, and the Marshal in The Mutants
  • Duncan Lamont (Victor Caroon) was Dan Galloway in Death to the Daleks
  • Moray Watson (Marsh) was Sir Robert Muir in Black Orchid
  • Peter Bathurst (Greene) was Hensell in Power of the Daleks, and Chinn in The Claws of Axos
  • Neil Wilson (Constable) was Seeley in Spearhead from Space
  • Keith Pyott (Minister) was Autloc in The Aztecs
  • Alan Casley (Crowd) was Miro in Planet of the Daleks
  • Paddy Russell (Passenger/On-looker) was a stage manager for Cartier, before becoming a director in 1962 -  she later helmed The Massacre, Invasion of the Dinosaurs, Pyramids of Mars, and Horror of Fang Rock
  • Malcolm Watson (the only actor to appear in all three Quatermass serials of the 1950's) and Aubrey Danvers Walker (both Photographers here) were Council Members in The Dominators 
  • Jack Kine (1921-2005) co-founded the BBC Visual Effects Department in 1954 with Bernard Wilkie (1920-2002) - together they provided special effects on The Mind Robber, Kine even featured as the 'Big Brother' type leader (albeit on posters) of the parallel Earth in Inferno, whilst Wilkie worked on An Unearthly Child, The Ice Warriors, Colony in Space, The Curse of Peladon, Frontier in Space, and Planet of the Spiders
  • lighting engineer Michael Leeston Smith also became a director and later helmed The Myth Makers

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Doctor Who Vs. Oliver Twist (2005)

By 2005, the French-born film-maker, Roman Polanski was keen to produce a child-friendly cinematic version of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist - actually the first adaptation since the Oscar-winning musical, Oliver! in 1968. This new rendition, shown on Film4 today, was shot entirely in the Czech Republic.
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 Dickens' second novel.
The cast here was headed by Sir Ben Kingsley as Fagin, with the famous orphan now portrayed by Barney Clark (picutred left), and also featured these nine Doctor Who cast connections:
  • Ian McNeice (Limbkins) played Winston Churchill in Victory of the DaleksThe Pandorica Opens, and The Wedding of River Song, and also voiced Zeus in Immortal Beloved (2007) and Reginald Harcourt for The Renaissance Man (2012) both from Big Finish
  • Jamie Foreman (Bill Sykes, pictured right) was Eddie Connolly in The Idiot's Lantern
  • Timothy Bateson (Parson) was Binro in The Ribos Operation
  • Joseph Tremain (Hungry Boy) was Jim in The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances
  • Peter Copley (Master) was Dr Warlock in Pyramids of Mars
  • Gerald Horan (Farmer) was Clark in Human Nature and The Family of Blood
  • Patrick Godfrey (Bookseller) was Tor in The Savages, and Major Cosworth in The Mind of Evil
  • Frank Mills (Officer) was the Radio Telescope Director in Terror of the Autons
  • Paul Brooke (Grimwig) voiced Paolo for The Ghosts of N-Space (Radio 5, 1996), and Toby the Sapient Pig for Year of the Pig (BF, 2006)

Saturday, 13 July 2013

New Doctor Who Companion Poll

Candy Jar Books, the Welsh publishers of Companions: Fifty Years of Doctor Who Assistants, have revealed the results of their poll to find the Doctor's best friend.
Tegan Jovanka was voted the programme's most popular travelling companion after receiving almost a quarter of all votes.
Janet Fielding - who played Tegan on TV from Logopolis (1981) to Resurrection of the Daleks (1984) and more recently for Big Finish - said it was "fantastic.. and unexpected" that "the Mouth-on-legs" had topped the survey.
The book's author, Andy Frankham-Allen commented: "I would have expected either Sarah Jane or Rose to win, but it's pleasing to see a companion who's only been obliquely referenced [just] twice since 2005 win. Seems there's still a lot of love for the [classic era of the 19]80's  and Fielding's" portrayal.
The complete list is here:

1) Tegan Jovanka
2) Sarah Jane Smith
3) Donna Noble
4) Rose Tyler
5) Ace [McShane]
6) Romana/Jamie McCrimmon
7) Nyssa
8) River Song
9) Amy Pond
10) Leela

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Doctor Who Vs. Blackout

This dark and gritty BBC One thriller first aired a year ago. The three-part series featured Christopher Eccleston in another trademark performance as the flawed and angst-ridden politician, Daniel Demoys. Formerly known as The Fuse, the programme was created by Bill Gallagher, and the Red Production Company - makers of Russell T Davies' Queer as Folk, The Second Coming (also starring Eccleston), and Single Father (starring David Tennant).
Blackout featured ten other Doctor Who cast and crew connections:
  • co-executive producer Piers Wenger held the same post on the twenty-first century series (from The End of Time, Part 2 to The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe), DreamlandThe Sarah Jane Adventures, and Doctor Who Confidential
  • Danny Sapanni (Griffin) played Colonel Manton in A Good Man Goes to War
  • for Myanna Buring (as Sylvie, pictured) see this other blog
  • Dervla Kirwan (Alex) and Karl Collins (Bo) both starred in 55 Degrees North (see my blog)
  • Rebecca Callard (Ruth) voiced Connie for Time Reef: A Perfect World (Big Finish, 2008)
  • stunt co-ordinator Gordon Seed worked in that capacity on eighteen episodes of the revived series
  • stunt performer Dean Foster also worked on seven stories
  • stuntman Andy J Smart appeared in Evolution of the Daleks, and Let's Kill Hitler
  • SFX supervisor Ben Ashmore was SFX co-ordinator on thirty-six installments of the revived series, from The Girl in the Fireplace to The Next Doctor