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Showing posts from April, 2016

The Avengers Series 1: Nightmare

True to form, I am starting my consideration of the lost series 1 Avengers episodes with the one of which least remains. There doesn’t seem even to remain a script for this one, so I am very indebted to the reconstruction in Richard Mcginlay, Alan Hayes & Alys Hayes The Strange Case of the Missing Episodes (Electronic Edition: Hidden Tiger, 2014.), a synopsis based on published synopses ‘and other sources’. I do not know whether it has made it into a Big Finish audio version, but doubt it, because their format seems to be recording the remaining script. I am obviously not intending to take issue with any elements of the synopsis, since I was not there 55 years ago to have memories of this episode, and the authors have clearly taken a great deal of care over considering the likely elements of the plot, in their heavily-footnoted text. Right from the start, we are clearly in a very different Avengers world than most of the episodes I write about here, since Ian Hendry receives to

Coming next: The Avengers Series 1!

Having got to the end of the posts I projected on railways in cult TV I have decided that I am going to give my own opinionated view on series 1 of The Avengers. I hope nobody has come to this blog post eagerly expecting that I have visited some local TV station in some out of the way part of the world and found that they happen to have the remaining reels of series 1 on their dusty shelves, which they haven't cleared out since c. 1961. Sadly I don't think that is ever going to happen, since it seems The Avengers was not exported in the way Doctor Who was, at least until later series. This is rather something I have been meaning to do for some time, which is to watch through the reconstructed series 1 episodes I have on my DVD box sets, read about them on the internet and with the help of the book, The Curious Case of the Missing Episodes, and try to enter the world of missing Avengers episodes. One of the reasons it has taken me so long to get round to doing this is simply f

The Tomorrow People: Second Impression

The Tomorrow People is one of the series which I have seen before and consciously not written about here, because I did not take to it at all. It is only on reading round on the internet that I have discovered my instant dislike of this series is a result of patchy writing from one series to another. I have discovered that many of the show’s greatest fans are quite upfront about their opinion that certain series of the show (it seems that the general opinion is that it had a slump in the series in the middle) were almost complete duds which badly let down an otherwise good show. Yesterday when I saw the DVDs of series 6, 7, and 8 in a charity shop I thought I would give it another go. I have been also confused by the way the series is released in two separate runs, one with series numbers, and the other with the titles of adventures, and obviously you don’t need both of them if you want the whole series. Unbeknown ot me, it was series 6 I have seen before and taken a dislike to, whi

The Stone Tape: First Impressions

Still in the seventies, and still dominated by the twin contemporary questions of Science and the Supernatural, I come to one of the highest-rated ghost stories ever. I’m actually rather surprised that I have never seen The Stone Tape before, in fact I am writing this on my first viewing. This is the Christmas ghost story which famously gave its name to one of the major theories of modern quackery, which I’m glad to see was actually first published in 1961 by C.T. Lethbridge, always a good source for pseudo-science and quackery: ' The  Stone Tape  theory is the speculation that https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghosts ">ghosts  and  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haunting ">hauntings are analogous to  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tape_recorder ">tape recordings, and that electrical mental impressions released during emotional or traumatic events can somehow be "stored" in moist rocks and other items and "replayed" under certain co

Doomwatch: Sex and Violence

I wanted to devote a separate point to this episode of Doomwatch alone, being probably the best-known purely for the fact of having never been seen on television before. That story is one which is well told HERE and I don’t propose to revisit it except to comment that I find it hilarious that pornographers of the 1970s were shocked at the idea of soft porn being broadcast on television and so a mock-up porn film had to be made. The wonder is that I don’t think the subject matter of this episode has really come up in this blog before, at least in any great length. I was amused to read recently that despite a drumming by the critics Confessions of a Window Cleaner was the highest-grossing UK film of its year. The account I was reading described it as ‘low-brow’, but the contemporary concern for the effect of the media on people’s morals and the simple fact that a smutty film could be both highly-criticised and extremely popular, indicates a certain ambivalent attitude. The root of t

Paul Temple Again

I have been watching Jason King again. He is probably an acquired taste, but how I love that show. I have been reflecting on what makes it appeal to me, and I think it is its setting, which I will refer to as ‘seventies opulent’. He is actually in a great tradition of people, frequently writers, who have a day job and yet seem to spend all their time either reclining in the most luxurious settings of the time or else doing the real purpose of the show, frequently investigating crimes. To me there is little point criticising the seventies opulent school for rubbing people’s noses in it when the world was going through a bad time, since nobody can live on gritty realism all the time. It’s my own silly fault, since it is always a mistake to judge different ‘takes’ on a story in the same light (for example I like to approach The New Avengers as if I am watching The Professionals rather than as if I am approaching The Avengers), and I realise that I did Paul Temple’s TV incarnation a di

Doomwatch: boxed set

Today I have taken delivery of the newly-released boxed set of the remaining episodes of Doomwatch. I seem to remember a rather ambivalent attitude towards this show, based on the only two episodes I have seen before, which coincidentally form the first two remaining episodes of the first series. Suffice to say that I am glad I ordered this series, and I have paused in rewatching Paul Temple and in watching The Stone Tape for the first time, in order to post some second thoughts on Doomwatch. For a start, I must congratulate Simply Media on a wonderful restoration and presentation job. There is the odd jump in the picture only, it has really been incredibly well restored. Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with my oft-expressed opinion that if you want modern-standard TV, you should watch modern TV. Archival footage of forty or fifty years ago cannot reasonably be expected to keep up with it, and there is just the odd jump in the picture now and then. That said, watchin