Wednesday, 30 December 2015

'Radio Times' TV Review of 2015

That venerable publishing colossus,
Christmas perennial, and loyal Doctor 
Who supporter, the Radio Times, has
revealed the results of their annual,
multi-channel survey. Their top forty
shows of the year (headed by BBC2's
historical drama Wolf Hall) have again
been selected by the magazine's critics,
and Peter Capaldi's second season has
been placed at a very respectable number seven (up from nine last year). Rwriter Patrick Mulkern comments:

DOCTOR WHO BBC1 

"This autumn, the TARDIS landed in
its latest ever timeslot, which seemed 
suited to a darker tone of storytelling 
but was quickly denounced as the
reason for a ratings plunge of around
one million. No decline in quality was visible [though, in fact] there was an
upswing, with provocative themes, bold experiments, intelligent writing and
performances. Steven Moffat and Peter Capaldi remoulded the Doctor
into a "raddled old rocker" more lovable than last year and painfully aware
that his glory days with Clara were ending. Jenna Coleman shone but her
job was done, while Capaldi proved [with] his solo jaunt, Heaven Sent (an
instant classic) [that] he's a one-man constellation".

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Doctor Who Vs. The Gorgon

This feature marked a departure from the typically gothic fare of the Hammer stable by turning to Greek mythology for inspiration - here the legendary Gorgon sisters terrorise the villagers of Vandorf in turn-of-the-century Germany.
Released in cinemas in a double bill with The Curse 
of the Mummy's Tomb in 1964, the cast was headed 
by Hammer stalwarts Christopher Lee (as Professor Meister) and Peter Cushing (as Dr. Namaroff).
Shown again on the Horror channel today, The Gorgon featured Patrick Troughton (pictured as Inspector
Kanof, his second of five Hammer roles*) and six
other Doctor Who cast and crew connections:

  • Barbara Shelley (Carla) played Sorastra in Planet of Fire
  • Michael Peake (Constable) was Tavius in The Romans
  • Jim O'Brady (Angry Man) was an Escapee in Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 AD
  • Ron Hyde was sound editor on Dr. Who and the Daleks too
  • music supervisor Marcus Dods was the conductor on The Aztecs
  • stunt co-ordinator Peter Diamond was a regular stunt double and fight arranger on the classic series, from The Daleks to The Daemons
The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (also screened on Horror this week)
starred seven other Doctor Who links:
  • George Pastell, Pat Gorman, Jimmy Gardner, Michael McStay, Roy Stewart, Eddie Powell and Peter Diamond
*Troughton also appeared in The Phantom of the Opera (1962), The Viking 
Queen (1967), Scars of Dracula (1970), and Frankenstein and the Monster 
from Hell (1974)

Doctor Who Vs. S.O.S. Titanic

This Anglo-American TV movie was first shown over 
two nights on ABC television in 1979, then opened
in European cinemas in 1980.
The film depicts the doomed maiden voyage of 1912
from the perspectives of passengers in First, Second
and Third Classes, and is the first Titanic film released
in colour.
Exterior deck scenes on the famed liner were filmed
on board RMS Queen Mary, whilst TSS Manxman 
doubled for the rescue ship Carpathia. Some interior onboard scenes were recorded in the Waldorf and 
Adelphi hotels in London and Liverpool, and Peel in 
the Isle of Man served as the backdrop for 
Queenstown.
The cast of S.O.S. Titanic (screened on the True Entertainment channel last night) was headed by
Ian Holm (as Bruce Ismay), David Janssen (John
Jacob Astor), and Harry Andrews (Captian Smith), and featured thirteen 
Doctor Who cast and crew connections:
  • veteran Northern screen actor and prolific Big Finish artist David Warner (pictured as Second Class survivor Laurence Beesley here; then Lovejoy in 1997's Titanic) 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), the Narrator of The Black Hole (2015), and Cuthbert for the Fourth Doctor adventures The Sands of LifeWar Against the LaanThe Dalek ContractThe Final Phase (all 2013), Casualties of War and The Pursuit of History (both 2016) - he also voiced Lord Azlok for Dreamland (2009) and finally had a television role as Professor Grisenko in Cold War
  • Ed Bishop (Harris) voiced General Finch for Unbound: Full Fathom Five (BF, 2003)
  • Tony Caunter (Officer Wilde) was Morgan in Colony in Space, and Jackson in Enlightenment 
  • Robert Pugh (Farrell) was Tony Mack in The Hungry Earth and Cold Blood 
  • Maurice Roeves (Stoker Barret) was Stotz in The Caves of Androzani
  • Peter Bourke (Harold Bride) was Mr. Chambers in Human Nature
  • Alec Sabin (Frederick Fleet) was Ringway in Earthshock
  • Malcolm Stoddard (Officer Lightoller) voiced Urtak for The Zygon Who Fell to Earth (BF, 2008)
  • Phil Davis (Lookout) was Lucius Petrus Dextrus in The Fires of Pompeii, and voiced Titus for The Cannibalists (BF, 2009)
  • AndrĂ© Maranne (Navratil) was Roger Benoit in The Moonbase
  • Big Finish artist Nick Brimble (Abelseth) voiced Shreeni for Exotron (2007), Dudley Jackson for The Eternal Summer (2009), Kith for Max Warp (2008), and Olaf Eriksson for The Book of Kells (2010)
  • Barbara Lane was also the costume designer on The Claws of AxosThe DaemonsThe Curse of PeladonThe Time MonsterThe Android InvasionThe Seeds of Doom and The Hand of Fear
  • gaffer Maurice Gillett was the supervising electrician on both of Amicus' Dalek films