James Bond will return - promises the closing credits of many a 007 movie. Now the future of the action franchise seems a little less assured, passing through another period of change with Daniel Craig unlikely to reprise the role as MI6's favourite secret agent.
Bond met a new challenge with Spectre, coming under fire from critics as a competent if unremarkable and formulaic romp. In the midst of murmurings over whom the new Bond should be, I suggest 10 things which should be considered for a future Bond.
Following the 50th anniversary of hit puppet series Thunderbirds, a unique trio of adventures are released this month as part of a Kickstarter campaign to bring the classic Supermarionation series back for one final outing.
In the Sixties, several audio-only Thunderbirds adventures were released commercially on vinyl. Three of these were original stories, unique from the broadcast series and featuring the voices of the original cast, including Sylvia Anderson as Lady Penelope and David Graham as Parker.
Some fifty years later, these recordings have been expanded and restored to form the basis for three newly-produced episodes, employing the traditional Supermarionation techniques and effects which made the original series a global phenomenon.
End of Part One arrived on screens in 1979. Devised by David Renwick and Andrew Marshall, the series borrowed concepts from Monty Python’s Flying Circus and paved the way for satirical sketch shows such as Not the Nine O’Clock News and The Fast Show.
The first season of End of Part One centres roughly around the Straightman couple who are the latest inhabitants of a northern soap opera. As they go about their lives they collide with characters from other shows, stumbling into commercial breaks and encountering all manner of technical effects. Essentially a bridge between sketches and impersonations, Norman and Vera’s scenes clearly attempt to subvert the inanity of Seventies’ soap and sitcom, effectively slaughtering Coronation Street and twisting the knife in Terry and June.
Most of my dramatic writing is either inspired by true stories or based on historical events.
When I was researching The Man With The Plastic Heart, a drama surrounding the events of the first permanent artificial heart implant, I provided the following critical commentary which evaluates the creative process and ethics of documentary drama.
The Fact of Fiction
When Barney Clark was implanted with the Jarvik-7 in 1982, America watched intently as a grandfather, in pyjamas and dressing gown, spoke lightly in the absence of his own heart. Twenty-five years later, details of what occurred behind the hospital curtains are clearer, providing an opportune moment to dramatically re-present the events that eventually destroyed an ambitious heart surgeon, and transformed a retired dentist into an American hero.
An Audience With Jasper Carrot, the breakthrough 1977 series for the famous stand-up comedian, saw its premier release on DVD almost thirty-five years since its original broadcast on ITV.
Jasper Carrott’s stand-up routines, once a staple diet of televised comedy during the Eighties and Nineties, have taken a backseat with his last offering, Back to the Front, broadcast over fifteen years ago. Incredibly popular at the time with family audiences, Carrott’s shows have been eclipsed in recent years, and to younger viewers he is perhaps something of a mystery. As such, the DVD release of An Audience With gives a new generation the opportunity to experience the popular performer anew, as a comic talent who defined the new wave of observational comedy which is so prevalent today.
Cast: Peter Dyneley, David Graham, Bob Monkhouse, Shane Rimmer, Ray Barrett, Neil McCallum, Sylvia Anderson, Christine Finn, Charles Tingwell, Jeremy Wilkin, Paul Maxwell, Matt Zimmerman, Alexander Davion
Director: David Lane
Writers: Gerry Anderson and Sylvia Anderson
Released By: Fabulous Films
Duration: 89 minutes & 85 minutes
Release Date: June 15, 2015
Reviewed On: Blu-ray
In 1965 Gerry Anderson led his team at AP Films to produce one of the most expensive and enduring television programmes of all time. Thunderbirds was the culmination of several years experience in the creation of adventure drama with marionettes and scale models, utilising cutting-edge technology and special effects to present a futuristic world. Filmed using a process coined Supermarionation, Anderson’s shows were unique in their unmatched production values, perilous stories and orchestral scores, evidenced by the popularity of Thunderbirds fifty years on.
The entirety of audiences in 1965 experienced Thunderbirds in low resolution monochrome, on comparatively small television screens. Regardless of the broadcast limitations of the time, the explosive bravura of the series shone through and Thunderbirds was a huge success in Europe, enjoying a phenomenon which was expected to spread to the lucrative American market. ITC’s Managing Director, Lew Grade, was so pleased with Thunderbirds that he quickly funded a project to bring a movie version to the big screen. Capitalizing on the show’s popularity, a cinematic adaptation would offer all the action and adventure in full Technicolor with a widescreen frame. Scripted by Gerry and produced by Sylvia Anderson, Thunderbirds Are Go was released through United Artists shortly before the Christmas of 1966.
Charlie Chaplin is arguably one of the most important figures in the history of cinema. Famous for the creation of the moustachioed Little Tramp, he produced over eighty films and was the highest paid performer of his time. Chaplin became, by his own conviction, more famous than Jesus Christ.
Between 1916 and 1917, Chaplin signed a record-breaking $670,000 deal with Mutual films to produce twelve two-reels films running at approximately 25 minutes a piece. Chaplin was by now in his mid-twenties and at the height of his creative powers, having previously worked extensively with the Keystone and Essanay film companies. He later recalled that his year with Mutual was the happiest professional period of his career.
In March 2013 the tabloid press broke a story that would rock the fragile foundations of the public relations department of the BBC. With a much-hyped season of Doctor Who on the way, the timing could scarcely have been bettered when The Mirror trumpeted: ‘Doctor Who Sex Scandal’. The story, which was also triumphantly run in The Daily Mail, was lifted from a soon-to-be released book, The Life & Scandalous Times of John Nathan-Turner, a biography penned by ex-Blue Peter producer Richard Marson.
So named due to the sting at the end of each outing, Scorpion Tales is a series comparable to fellow anthology programmes of the Seventies, notably Tales of the Unexpected. A platform for the short story on television, Scorpion Tales sits comfortably between the high budget Alfred Hitchcock Presents of the Sixties, whilst paving the way for horror anthologies such as Tales From The Crypt and Chiller in the Eighties and Nineties.
In 1994 Yorkshire Television embarked on an ambitious project to produce a film anthology series of adult horror stories. The result was Chiller, a collection of five fifty-minute films exploring the supernatural, featuring recognisable leading actors from the time.
There's no black and no white...
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