Showing posts from July, 2015

Strange Report: Second Impressions

These are my second impressions because I have actually owned the boxed set of this show before and sold it. I found myself thinking about one of the plots, and this turned into one of the rare occasions when I regret getting rid of something, so I bought it again, fortunately much more cheaply this time, on EBay. I'd better start off by saying that I don't find anything terribly objectionable in this show. Regular readers of this blog will know that that is how I usually preface tearing apart a poor defenceless old TV series, and I really don't want to tear this one apart but I realise now the things that made me uncomfortable with it the first time round. The first thing is the name. Just to be completely clear, this is a series of crime 'reports' investigated by a chap called Strange. You would therefore expect it to be called The Strange Report; I have a feeling that it may not have been because that would be too obvious a parody of late 60s and early 70s

The Avengers: You Have Just Been Murdered

This wasn't going to be a post on an Avengers episode at all. It started off life as a post on the Champions Episode, The Iron Man, but since I only have to say that while it is an endearing plot, it is strange how often George Murcell is wheeled out as a random foreign baddie. I was astonished to discover the sheer breadth of his acting career, including frequent appearances on ITV series. This post therefore morphed at that point into an attempt to write a post or series of posts on George Murcell as a character baddie. I was horrified to discover that someone has done it far better than I could (  here ), and in fact short of merely copying and pasting that essay, I would refer you there. So I was left thinking about the shows in which I have seen him, and immediately wanted to write about this Avengers episode. In true Avengers style Murcell plays an evil mastermind with the rather unlikely name of Nathaniel Needle, who hides out in a haystack. The show is peppered wit

Steed’s Library: My detective work has finally paid off

For many years I have wanted to know what the books were in Steed’s flat at 3 Stable Mews. I mean specifically the collection of uniformly-bound leather volumes, one of which he is seen reading in only one episode. It is evident that they are not just a random collection of brown-back books, because of the uniform binding. They are clearly a set, they were either bound all together or one at a time in imitation of the others, maybe even by the same binder. The number of them mean that they are unlikely to be a set of encyclopaedias or even a set of one of the English writers. I had always theorised that they could be court reports, bound magazines of a previous age, or a set of books uniformly bound; standard authors, type of thing. Because these books have a very distinctive red and black band a little down the spine, I have taken the liberty of assuming they were the same set of books when I have seen something that looked like them appear in other TV series of the 1960s. If

Columbo: Identity Crisis

I find that this is only the second episode of Columbo I’ve blogged about here, and for the same reason I wrote about the first: for the sake of the guest villain, in this case Patrick McGoohan. I realised I hadn’t seen any of the Columbo episodes in which McGoohan guest stars, and found the box set for a song. In case I should be seen to damn with faint praise, perhaps I had better just observe that I rarely watch Columbo, so the fact that I have made a point of writing about two episodes for the sake of the guest stars, isn’t really an indictment of the series, more an indication of my interests. I am very interested to see how McGoohan – notorious for being temperamental, overpowering and difficult – plays his part in this episode. I started off thinking that he would be overpowering, just by his sheer presence in the opening scenes in comparison to Leslie Nielsen, himself no bit-part actor. As the episode goes on I was relieved to find McGoohan becoming more subtle in his portra