Sunday, 31 May 2015

Tartan Noir = Scottish Gore!

Wikipedia describes ‘Tartan Noir’ as a form of crime fiction particular to Scotland and Scottish writers. It has its roots in Scottish literature (notably Robert Louis Stevenson), and the term was coined by American novelist James Ellroy in the 1990’s.
The genre is typified by its “hard-boiled” and dark-humoured style. The first landmark TN title was Laidlaw by William McIlvanney (1977), which in turn inspired the “king of Tartan Noir” Ian Rankin.
Other noted genre authors include Lin Anderson, Tony Black, Gordon Ferris, Alex Gray, Allan Guthrie, Quintin Jardine, Val McDermid, Stuart MacBride, Peter May, Denise Mina, James Oswald, Craig Robertson, and Craig Russell.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Date With History: 1914

May 29th, 2.00 am: The Canadian Pacific steamship RMS Empress of Ireland collided with the Norwegian collier SS Storstad in heavy fog on the St. Lawrence River near Quebec, and sank in just 14 minutes.
Of the 1,477 passengers and crew on board, only 465 survived.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Doctor Who Vs.The Moonraker

This 'swashbuckler' film was released by Associated British
Pathé in 1958, and depicts the fictional account of the escape of Charles II from the Battle of Worcester - the final showdown of the English Civil War in 1651. The Earl of Dawlish leads a double life here as the outlaw, the 'Moonraker' (a contemporary term for a smuggler), who rescues Royalists from Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army. 
Shown again yesterday on Film4, the feature starred Patrick 
Troughton (pictured as Captain Wilcox) and eleven other future Doctor Who cast connections:

  • George Baker (Dawlish) played Login in Full Circle
  • Sylvia Syms (Anne) was Mrs. Pritchard in Ghost Light
  • Marius Goring (Beaumont) was Theodore Maxtible in The Evil of the Daleks
  • Clive Morton (Harcourt) and Edwin Richfield (Trooper) both appeared in The Sea Devils, as Trenchard and Captain Hart respectively - the latter was also Mestor in The Twin Dilemma
  • Richard Leech (Strangeways) was Gatherer Hade in The Sun Makers
  • Paul Whitsun-Jones (Parfitt) was Squire Edwards in The Smugglers, and the Marshal in The Mutants
  • Edward Dentith (Lieutenant) was Major General Rutlidge in The Invasion 
  • Jack May (Villager) was General Nicolai Hermack in The Space Pirates
  • fencing coach Bob Anderson was a Guard in (episode 4 of) The Enemy of the World
  • Peter Arne (Tyler) had been cast as Range in Frontios - he had just returned to his London home from a costume fitting when he was murdered - the role then went to William Lucas

Friday, 1 May 2015

Doctor Who Vs. The Thirty Nine Steps

This British thriller, starring Robert Powell (as fugitive Richard Hannay) and Sir John Mills (Scudder) was the third, and most faithful cinematic adaptation of John Buchan's adventure novel (the first of five books to feature his hero), although the famous climax atop Big Ben is the biggest deviation from the original story.
Robert Donat played Hannay in the first film version, directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1935, then Kenneth More took the lead role for the 1959 remake.
A fourth, television production was broadcast on BBC One in 2008, with Hannay now portrayed by Rupert Penry-Jones.
The Thirty Nine Steps first appeared in Blackwoods Magazine in 1915 and depicts Europe on the edge of war. The book quickly became popular reading both in the trenches and on the home front.
The story was first dramatised for radio by Orson Welles in 1939, and more recently for theatre. Radio 4 first transmitted a two-part rendition in 2001, which starred Tom Baker and David Robb.
Powell later reprised his film role for Thames TV's spin-off series, Hannay 
(1988/89). Released by Rank in 1978, the film was shown on More4 today, 
and featured these seventeen Doctor Who guest actors:
  • veteran screen actor and prolific Big Finish artist David Warner (Appleton) finally made an appearance in the TV series as Professor Grisenko (pictured) in Cold War, but had previously voiced Lord Azlok for Dreamland, and portrayed an Unbound Doctor for both Sympathy for the Devil (2003) and Masters of War (2008), then voiced Sir Isaac Newton for Circular Time: Summer (2007), Co-ordinator Angell for Empathy Games (2008), Professor Boston Schooner for Deimos and The Resurrection of Mars (both 2010), Autarch Siris for The Children of Seth (2011), Biggs for The Rosemariners (2012), and Cuthbert for the Fourth Doctor adventures, The Sands of LifeWar Against the LaanThe Dalek ContractThe Final Phase (all 2013), and the upcoming releases, Casualties of War and The Pursuit of History (both 2016)
  • George Baker (Bullivant) was Login in Full Circle
  • Ronald Pickup (Bayliss) was the Physician in The Reign of Terror: The Tyrant of France - his TV debut
  • Donald Pickering (Marshall) played Eyesen in The Keys of Marinus, Blade in The Faceless Ones, and Beyus in Time and the Rani
  • Timothy West (Porton) voiced Turvey for Cuddlesome (BF, 2008), and Dr. Magnus Soames in House of Blue Fire (BF, 2011)
  • Andrew Keir (Lord 'R') was Wyler in the second Dalek film
  • William Squire (Harkness) was the Shadow in The Armageddon Factor 
  • David Collings (Tillotson) was Vorus in Revenge of the Cybermen, Poul in The Robots of Death, the titular role in Mawdryn Undead, and also voiced another Unbound Doctor for Full Fathom Five (BF, 2003)
  • Edward de Souza (Woodville) was Marc Cory in Mission to the Unknown
  • John Normington (Fletcher) was Morgus in The Caves of Androzani, and Trevor Sigma in The Happiness Patrol
  • Michael Bilton (Vicar) was Charles de Teligny in The Massacre, Collins in (part 1 of) Pyramids of Mars, and a Time Lord in The Deadly Assassin (part 1)
  • Harry Fielder (Policeman) a veteran of fifteen 'classic' era appearances, was 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 
  • Paul Jerrico (Scott) was the Castellan in The Five Doctors
  • Prentis Hancock (Perryman) was a Reporter in Spearhead from Space, Vaber in Planet of the Daleks, Salamar in Planet of Evil, and the Captain in The Ribos Operation
  • James Garbutt (Miller) was Ronson in Genesis of the Daleks
  • Andrew Downie (Stewart) was Willie Mackay in The Highlanders
  • Oliver Maguire (Martins) was a Shrieve in The Ribos Operation
The 39 Steps (1959) featured future Doctor Who guest stars Duncan Lamont,
Leslie Dwyer, James Copeland, John Harvey, William Mervyn and Harry Towb.
The 39 Steps (2008) was directed by James Hawes, and starred David Haig.