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Showing posts from October, 2016

Undermind

I've had this series for some time and actually started writing a post about it at one point, which although I make a point of keeping everything (while not being what I would call a hoarder) I can't find it so will begin again. Plot-wise, we are in totally familiar territory with Undermind. Well, I say totally familiar, it is in the sense that technology, some kind of signal, is being used to get inside people and undermine society. The use of technology is very apparent from the very beginning of the series, and of course that is a characteristic subject of the 1960s television I write about here. The only different from the short of shows I watch normally is that the enemy here is an alien force, which I suppose places us with one foot in the sort of horror films of the 1950s when an all-American town is taken over by an alien force, only in this case of course it is set in Britain. In the case of Undermind the fear is placed in a very specific period of time. It is not

French and Saunders Parody the New Avengers

The Avengers: Mister Jerico

Today a post about one of two films I have been meaning toblog about here which are related to The Avengers in one way or another; the other one is Q Planes, which is thought to be a possible inspiration for the character of Steed, and I wil blog about it at some point, although I have never managed to watch it all the way through yet! I make no bones about tagging Mister Jerico with 'The Avengers'. Mister Jerico I believe was intended to be the pilot for another series starring Patrick Macnee. Just reading the box, the names are so familiar: written by Philip Levene, original music by Laurie Johnson, produced by Julian Wintle... This, kids, is what the team behind The Avengers went on to do before they went even further on to the New Avengers. And in fact the film is so very much like The Avengers in some ways. The font used for the titles was also used for The Avengers titles. It has Patrick Macnee in it, playing the sort of ambivalent figure he played in the earlier serie

Seventies TV: Steptoe and Son the Film

Back to the 1970s today, and while I will grant you that Steptoe and Son was a series which spanned the 1960s and 1970s, I am mainly interested in the first of the two spin off films here, which is also called Steptoe and Son, and as so often on this blog, not really for a very obvious reason, but we will come to that. I had better begin by making a disclosure that I have never really taken to Steptoe and Son. If I'm frank it is because Steptoe senior is way too much like my own mother; unfortunately for this reason I can never find entertaining his continual manoeuvring to keep his son under his thumb. It is far too near the bone, and in this film he actually does something which my own mother would do, namely pretend to be ill to get his own way, having prevailed on his own son to take him on honeymoon! Personal concerns apart, the subject of this film is really a domineering father who will not let his son, who is nearly forty, grow up or get away from him. There is a wildly

Colonel March of Scotland Yard/Colonel March Investigates

In a recent post about Knight Errant, I passed out of my usual time frame, i.e. beyond the beginning of the 1960s. In recent weeks I have also passed beyond my most recent date, previously the 1990s, when I posted about The Game. This has caused me to reflect on what TV was like before television executives began smoking copious amounts of weed in the 1960s and came up with the weird shows I post about here. I think probably Knight Errant was an atypical example, since it definitely has Avengers overtones. I'm not sure whether this is accurate but I have a mental picture of a snobbish division between the worthy broadcasting of the BBC and the more ephemeral broadcasting of the independent channels - in fact exactly the sort of programmes I blog about here. I'm sure the BBC's output required close attention and could not be reduced to background, although I suspect the picture in my mind's eye of people in evening dress (both viewers and broadcasters) is much furthe

The Avengers Series 1: Lost Episode Tunnel of Fear Recovered!!!

I'm wrong. I'm wrong wrong wrong wrong. Never has it given me so much pleasure to say these words. After my confidently stating that no more Avengers Series 1 episodes would be found, behold Tunnel of Fear has turned up. You can read about it and other recovered shows at http://observationdeck.kinja.com/lost-episode-of-the-avengers-rediscovered-after-55-year-1787383187 I don't need to tell readers how delighted I am and it is one of the episodes I have always wanted to see. My only sorrow is that the first screening next month is sold out! Image credit: http://ianhendry.com/the-avengers-1961-lost-episode-tunnel-of-fear-from-the-very-first-series-rediscovered-after-55-years/

The Avengers Series 1: Toy Trap

There is something disheartening about watching old TV, in that it reinforces that human nature does not really change, and that the ambivalence about progress which I write about so often here, is a wise way to approach the treatment we humans mete out to each other. This series 1 Avengers episode is incredibly topical - for me at least - since recently in my city three brothels were busted in three separate operations on three successive days. The police were supposed to have reason to believe they were brothels. Well with the best will in the world, apart from the tea rooms in Sutton Coldfield, I knew all along that the other two were brothels and fail to see how they could have been anything else. I also used to live round the corner from the notorious Cuddles, where a major legal concern was that the girls were foreign nationals who had their passports taken off them. Even without that danger, the takings at the other brothels were phenomenal - in the millions - and it is very pl

The Avengers: The House that Jack Built

Another day of non-stop rain here in Blighty, so I'm going to get my head down to a fairly analytical post on an Avengers episode I have always found difficult. To be frank, and to get the criticism out of the way at the beginning, the big downfall of this episode is that the sequences of Mrs Peel running through the house are way too repetitious, and rather mar what proves to be a seminal episode when considered in a more analytical way. That said, I was unsurprised to find my one big criticism echoed elsewhere on the internet, but was very surprised to discover that this episode has been sold for years in bootleg editions by S and M studios. No, I don't get it either, but this discovery was one of the things that have reinforced for me how differently a show can be understood. There is a very real sense in which the key concern of this episode is one of the major ones of so much 1960s TV: the fear of the machine, and in fact the absorption of Mrs Peel into the machine is t