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(1956–1974)

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Network Distributing launch retro streaming service ‘Networkonair’

Network Distributing launch retro streaming service ‘Networkonair’
The swinging Sixties are back. Today marks the launch of a new streaming service called Networkonair available via watch.networkonair.com. The new service offers TV fans a unique nostalgic experience where TV meets streaming with a selection of time travel ‘Nights In’.

Networkonair, available from today, July 29th, in the UK and Ireland, enables nostalgia lovers, old and new, the opportunity to rent specially curated Nights In and collected series from ABC Television, which broadcast in the Midlands and Northern England between 1956 and 1968. Many of these programmes have not been seen since their original broadcast.

Nights In consist of 4-6 hours of exclusively curated programming, including specially recorded new linking material from David Hamilton (original ABC continuity announcer and host), clips and contemporary ads. Nights In are entirely remastered in the best possible quality. Platform viewers will enjoy a truly vintage viewing experience, it is time travel TV! These
See full article at Nerdly »

Hugh Whitemore obituary

Dramatist and screenwriter who enjoyed success with Stevie, Breaking the Code and The Gathering Storm

The dramatist and screenwriter Hugh Whitemore, who has died aged 82, was an accomplished craftsman for theatre and TV for more than 50 years, moving easily between the disciplines and writing major stage roles (usually based on real-life characters) for Glenda Jackson, Judi Dench, John Gielgud and Derek Jacobi. Having started out with ambitions as a performer, he was told by one of his teachers at Rada, the actor Peter Barkworth, that he had the potential to make a great contribution to theatre – “though perhaps not as an actor”.

And so it proved. He was busy in television from the early 1960s, contributing to such important one-off drama series as the BBC’s Play for Today and ITV’s Armchair Theatre, as well as to popular series such as the soap opera Compact, set in the world of magazine publishing,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Film milestones my one-year old will never experience

Carley Tauchert Sep 5, 2017

From video shops to the corner fleapit, our kids are going to miss out on some of the movie rites of passage we got to enjoy...

Just over a year and a half ago I had a baby, and my son is a beautiful bundle of joy who is growing rapidly by the day. One of the many things I look forward to as he grows up is introducing him to new and exciting experiences, and the one I actually cannot wait for is the world of film as it was such an important thing to me growing up. But we live in a different age now, and although we have a huge cinematic adventure ahead of us, there are some things I’m quite sad about that he is going to miss out on in this digital age, starting with...

Fleapit cinemas

This actually is the
See full article at Den of Geek »

Cummings Pt.4: Career Peak with Tony Award Win, Acclaimed Mary Tyrone

Constance Cummings: Stage and film actress ca. early 1940s. Constance Cummings on stage: From Sacha Guitry to Clifford Odets (See previous post: “Constance Cummings: Flawless 'Blithe Spirit,' Supporter of Political Refugees.”) In the post-World War II years, Constance Cummings' stage reputation continued to grow on the English stage, in plays as diverse as: Stephen Powys (pseudonym for P.G. Wodehouse) and Guy Bolton's English-language adaptation of Sacha Guitry's Don't Listen, Ladies! (1948), with Cummings as one of shop clerk Denholm Elliott's mistresses (the other one was Betty Marsden). “Miss Cummings and Miss Marsden act as fetchingly as they look,” commented The Spectator. Rodney Ackland's Before the Party (1949), delivering “a superb performance of controlled hysteria” according to theater director and Michael Redgrave biographer Alan Strachan, writing for The Independent at the time of Cummings' death. Clifford Odets' Winter Journey / The Country Girl (1952), as
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Julia Jones obituary

Prolific and talented writer of dialogue for television dramas and sitcoms

Julia Jones, who has died aged 92, was a prominent and versatile television writer for more than 40 years, contributing one-off dramas to both the BBC’s Play for Today series and ITV’s Armchair Theatre, making adaptations of Our Mutual Friend and Anne of Green Gables, and writing episodes of The Duchess of Duke Street and sharply turned sitcoms such as Take Three Girls and Moody and Pegg in the 1970s.

Jones, who hailed from a modest Liverpool background, trained as an actor and toured with Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop immediately after the second world war. She took up writing as an economic imperative: while raising a young family, her husband, the actor Edmond “Benny” Bennett, was afflicted with facial cancer which, in the days when the effects of radiotherapy were more haphazard, developed into bone necrosis; he was unable to carry on working.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Reginald Perrin actress Pauline Yates dies, aged 85

Actress Pauline Yates has died, aged 85.

The British star was best known for her starring role in The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin from 1976 to 1979, as the title character's wife Elizabeth Perrin opposite Leonard Rossiter.

She also played the wife of comic-strip artist Dudley Rush (Robert Gillespie) in Keep It In the Family, and starred in Bachelor Father.

Yates's family have said that she "died peacefully in her sleep" yesterday (January 21) in Denville Hall nursing home in Northwood, Middlesex.

During a career that spanned six decades, Yates became a regular performer in 1960s TV series, including Armchair Theatre, Dixon of Dock Green, Z-Cars, Gideon's Way, Nightingale's Boys, The Human Jungle and The Ronnie Barker Playhouse.

She returned as Elizabeth Perrin for The Legacy of Reginald Perrin in 1996, and continued to perform on stage. Her most recent roles were in Rose and Maloney and Doctors in the early 2000s.

Yates
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

Review: "Out Of This World", Hosted By Boris Karloff, British Film Institute DVD Release

  • CinemaRetro
Out of This World: Little Lost Robot

DVD release from British Film Institute

Review by Adrian Smith

(This review pertains to the UK Region 2 DVD release)  

Alongside the recent BFI release of the BBC television series Out of the Unknown comes this oddity; the only completely surviving episode of Out of This World, a science fiction series produced in the early 1960s by independent television channel ABC. The series was created by Irene Shubick and produced by Leonard White, who would achieve lasting fame through his co-creating The Avengers. Like other anthology shows before it such as Armchair Theatre, this was conceived as an opportunity to present a variety of quality writing to mainstream audiences. It was Shubick's belief that science fiction contained some of the 'most original and philosophical ideas' in modern fiction.

Boris Karloff was employed as the presenter for the show. By this time he was
See full article at CinemaRetro »

First-rate man of mystery: Brian Clemens, the screenwriter who made The Avengers iconic

54 years ago, ABC Television, the ITV franchise holder for the Midlands and North of England, embarked on a new drama series that stood a good chance of success. The leading man was Ian Hendry, who played David Keel, a Gp avenging the death of his wife; the producer was Sydney Newman, the creator of the acclaimed Armchair Theatre. The first episode was scripted by Brian Clemens, a young writer who had previously worked for the Danziger brothers, the B-film producers who based their masterpieces around stock footage and borrowed props. Against not inconsiderable odds, Clemens’ scripts often managed to make a Danzigers production entertaining. The Avengers would provide a higher profile showcase for his talents.
See full article at The Independent »

DVD Review: "Out Of The Unknown" Collector's Edition From The British Film Institute

  • CinemaRetro
DVD Review: Out of the Unknown

7-disc Region 2 DVD box set from the BFI

By Adrian Smith

Famously, or rather, infamously, the BBC took a rather cavalier approach to the preservation of its television output in the 1950s and 1960s. Due to the cost of videotape, once pre-recorded programmes had been broadcast,the tape was wiped and used again. For programmes to be kept for repeat use or to be sold to other territories around the world, the episode would be transferred to film, and it this process we have to thank that any television from this period has survived at all.

Out of the Unknown was an attempt to present serious, adult science fiction on television, adapting well-known and important authors like John Wyndham, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, J.G. Ballard and E.M. Forster. The single play was a tradition by this point, with popular series such as Armchair Theatre
See full article at CinemaRetro »

R.I.P. Production Designer Assheton Gorton

The Englishman’s long but sporadic career included an Oscar and BAFTA nomination for his art direction and set decoration on 1981’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman. Assheton Gorton’s daughter told local paper the Shropshire Star that he died in his sleep September 14 at his home near the England-Wales border. He was 84. Gorton also worked on such well-known films as Michelangelo Antonioni‘s Blow-Up (1966) — scoring his first BAFTA nom — Ridley Scott’s Tom Cruise starrer Legend (1985) and Disney’s live-action 101 Dalmatians (1996) and sequel 102 Dalmatians (2000), both starring Glenn Close as Cruella de Vil. Gorton worked on fewer than 20 films during his four-decade career, including The Magic Christian (1969), Get Carter (1971), For the Boys (1991), Rob Roy (1995) and Shadow of the Vampire (2000). He also worked on a handful of television programs including ITV’s Armchair Theatre and 1980 NBC miniseries The Martian Chronicles.
See full article at Deadline Movie News »

Inside No 9: cult comedy heroes Reece Shearsmith & Steve Pemberton return

Two of Britain's brightest and most inventive comedy brains are back. Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton return to BBC Two this week with Inside No 9 - a new series of one-off darkly comic vignettes that the pair are pitching as a contemporary counterpart to classic anthology shows like Armchair Theatre and Nigel Kneale's Beasts.

"I think it is a hard sell for people," Shearsmith says of the format. "There's this idea that you don't build an audience with an anthology - every week, you've got to start again and if you don't like the first one [you see] you might not watch again. That's the fear! But I think the appeal is the absolute excitement of not knowing what you're going to get."

Join Digital Spy as we head inside Inside No 9 and find out what the latest project from the men behind The League of Gentlemen and Psychoville has to offer.
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

Britain's ethnic minorities need better access to the TV and film industry | Lenny Henry

We have a small golden circle of writers who do everything, in effect closing the door on Britain's rich diversity of talent

A meeting I attended this week, chaired by the culture minister Ed Vaizey in the House of Commons, was in many ways a ground-breaking event. For the first time, representatives from film, television and the performing arts came together to acknowledge that representation among black, Asian and ethnic minorities across the television and film industry – most significantly behind the camera – has fallen from 7.4% in 2009 to 5.4% in 2012, and is continuing to decrease, and that it is not an acceptable state of affairs in a vibrant democracy which boasts a rich diversity of cultures. Most important, we recognise it is our job collectively to reverse this trend by ensuring that the inequalities faced by ethnic minority talent become a thing of the past.

Many options and possibilities for changing the
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

‘Little Deaths’ DVD Review

Stars: Amy Joyce Hastings, Luke de Lacey, Kate Braithwaite, Tom Sawyer, Jodie Jameson | Written and Directed by Sean Hogan, Simon Rumley, Andrew Parkinson

The anthology has a rich history in British film, from TV dramas such as Armchair Theatre and Hammer’s House of Horror to the classic Amicus anthologies such as Tales From the Crypt and From Beyond the Grave, in more recent years America has become home to the anthology greats (think Creepshow, The ABCs of Death and the excellent Trick r Treat). But now the UK are striking back with the portmanteau film Little Deaths.

A three part anthology directed by three of the UK’s most promising filmmakers – Andrew Parkinson (I, Zombie), Sean Hogan (Isle of Dogs) and Simon Rumley (Red White & Blue), Little Deaths tells three stories of sex and death, pushing the envelope of what “love” means in modern society…

The film opens with
See full article at Nerdly »

Have you been watching … Playhouse Presents?

Grayson Perry, Idris Elba and Peter Serafinowicz are among the many stars involved in this inventive series of 30-minute one-offs

How often do TV critics hark back to the heady days of Play for Today and Armchair Theatre? Back then, men were men, bitter was cheap and Ibsen was on ITV. Since the 80s, this sort of arts programming has all but died out. There have been resuscitation attempts, but the reception has been mixed: The Hollow Crown won Baftas, while Jerry Springer: the Opera spawned hate mobs.

In 2010, Sky Arts produced its own attempt, Playhouse Live. It was valiant but half-baked. I remember Alia Bano's Hens, broadcast live on Sky Arts 2, and it was lifeless, shabby and clunkily shot. Backs blocked the camera. The set seemed half-finished. Without an audience, it felt both stilted and dated.

This strand was replaced last year by Playhouse Presents, a series of miscellaneous 30-minute one-offs.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

John Forrest obituary

My friend the actor John Forrest, who has died aged 80, combined a distinguished film career with work as a stage magician. He had his first success as a child actor, in David Lean's classic movie Great Expectations (1946), as the "pale young gentleman" – the young Herbert Pocket.

Known later for his many supporting roles playing very "British" characters such as Grassy Green in Very Important Person (1961), he was in fact born in the Us, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. His English mother, an artist, had married an American lawyer, and when the marriage broke up after a few years, she brought John and his sister to England where they lived in the village of Cookham, Berkshire. Their neighbours were the painter Stanley Spencer and his equally eccentric brother, Horace, who taught John magic.

Following his early film success, John acted alongside such distinguished actors as David Niven, in Bonnie Prince Charlie (1948), Richard Attenborough,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Robert Fuest obituary

Director who blended sophistication and sickness in the horror film The Abominable Dr Phibes

With its mix of pop art, sophisticated humour, pulp science fiction and English eccentricity, the television series The Avengers was among the most influential and significant products of "swinging London" in the 1960s. Robert Fuest, who has died aged 84, cut his teeth on the series under the aegis of the writer-producer Brian Clemens, initially as a production designer when the show was produced "as live" in the studio in black and white and co-starred Honor Blackman with Patrick MacNee, then as director when the series had moved on to colour, film and Linda Thorson.

As designer and director, Fuest learned how to achieve style on a budget – making a great deal of the show's famously minimalist aesthetic – and he carried this over into his best-known works as a film director, the two Dr Phibes horror movies of the early 1970s,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Robert Fuest obituary

Director who blended sophistication and sickness in the horror film The Abominable Dr Phibes

With its mix of pop art, sophisticated humour, pulp science fiction and English eccentricity, the television series The Avengers was among the most influential and significant products of "swinging London" in the 1960s. Robert Fuest, who has died aged 84, cut his teeth on the series under the aegis of the writer-producer Brian Clemens, initially as a production designer when the show was produced "as live" in the studio in black and white and co-starred Honor Blackman with Patrick MacNee, then as director when the series had moved on to colour, film and Linda Thorson.

As designer and director, Fuest learned how to achieve style on a budget – making a great deal of the show's famously minimalist aesthetic – and he carried this over into his best-known works as a film director, the two Dr Phibes horror movies of the early 1970s,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Peter Hammond obituary

Actor who became a prolific TV director

Peter Hammond, who has died aged 87, moved from acting to become a prolific TV director, contributing to series including The Avengers, Granada's Sherlock Holmes series and Inspector Morse. It was with The Avengers in 1961 that he first made his mark. Hammond and his colleague Don Leaver directed 19 of the opening 26 episodes of the series between them and were largely responsible for creating its distinctive look in its pre-film days.

Hammond established himself as a quick worker who still managed to bring flair to his episodes. He developed a trademark style in which the confines of the small studio spaces would be enlivened by "foreground interest" and scenes would be distorted or heightened by being shot through glass or caught in the reflection of a mirror. This distinctive visual effect would reappear in productions as diverse as the studio-bound Three Musketeers (1966) and Dark Angel,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Peter Hammond obituary

Actor who became a prolific TV director

Peter Hammond, who has died aged 87, moved from acting to become a prolific TV director, contributing to series including The Avengers, Granada's Sherlock Holmes series and Inspector Morse. It was with The Avengers in 1961 that he first made his mark. Hammond and his colleague Don Leaver directed 19 of the opening 26 episodes of the series between them and were largely responsible for creating its distinctive look in its pre-film days.

Hammond established himself as a quick worker who still managed to bring flair to his episodes. He developed a trademark style in which the confines of the small studio spaces would be enlivened by "foreground interest" and scenes would be distorted or heightened by being shot through glass or caught in the reflection of a mirror. This distinctive visual effect would reappear in productions as diverse as the studio-bound Three Musketeers (1966) and Dark Angel,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Paul Massie obituary

Actor turned teacher, he quit the screen at the height of his fame

There are some actors who, having disappeared from the public gaze early in their careers, always prompt the question, "Whatever happened to ... ?" The answer, in the case of Paul Massie, who has died of lung cancer aged 78, is that, at the height of his fame on films and television, he gave it up at the age of 40 to teach drama at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

The son of a Baptist minister, Massie was born Arthur Massé in the city of St Catharines, in the Niagara region of Ontario. Although he was brought up in Canada, almost his entire 16-year acting career was in Britain. In fact, the only film he made in Canada was his first, Philip Leacock's High Tide at Noon (1957), a Rank Organisation melodrama shot in Nova Scotia. Although it was a bit part,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »
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