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Showing posts from October, 2019

Gideon's Way: The Nightlifers

In my last post about this show I neglected to mention the soundtrack of this show, and this episode personifies perfection. It depicts demimondaine - I'm not sure of the word to use to describe them, possibly respectable people at the time would have called them beatniks - denizens of Soho and the sound track is thus jazzy and cool for cats. I have recently also been watching some episodes of Peter Gunn, which has a similarly groovy soundtrack. In point of fact The Nightlifers places us squarely in the most sophisticated worlds of post-War Britain, just before the Beatles met the Maharishi and everyone started meditating. It has all the hallmarks - for a start being set in Soho, Gideon's wife tries to get him to get some Chinese delicacies from a shop in Soho, and there are parties and drugs galore. This episode exactly depicts the world in which The Avengers is set, including depicting a world of privilege. This show is not the simplistic contrast of youthful exuberance w

Gideon's Way: The Firebug

Image credit I have somehow managed to get to this stage without watching more than the odd episode of Gideon's Way, so when I saw it for sale I had to try it. I have spent the past couple of evenings beginning to watch the episodes in order that they come on the DVDs and was thinking of them as standard ITC offerings, until this one really hit me between the eyes. I have no idea whether the episodes are in original broadcast order, but there is the slight drawback that this one about a deranged fire setter follows straight on from one about a man traumatised by being in a concentration camp who also has a plan, just for an explosion, with the same motivation of drawing attention to his issue. You all know how I don't like the same actors appearing in different shows? In this one George Cole is cast as the fire starter. It is an unusual role for him, and he plays it superbly - he really does come across as absolutely deranged and it is even worse that the death of his wif

Doctor Who: The Face of Evil

I am feeling a little trepidation at the thought of reviewing a Who which is a definite favourite of the fans - I realise that my usual tendency is to pick a show or episode which routinely gets savaged on the Internet, and have a go at rehabilitating it. My thoughts about this one are relatively few. The names of Doctor Who adventures are rather confusing. We have The Mind of Evil, The Faceless Ones, The Face of Evil, and so on. Personally I tend to think of them as 'the one where...'. In the case of this adventure I am not sure that actually helps because I think of it as 'the one where everyone would be better leaving well alone,' and that is also my title for several others! In fact I think it would be better called by one of the titles mooted before the final was settled on, and which unfortunately was rejected on the grounds it was pretentious: The Day God Went Mad. A major thread of the story is commentary on humans' religious instincts and behaviour, sp

Doctor Who: Kinda

To Gloucester and Cheltenham today, where I bought the BBC boxed set featuring A for Andromeda, which I have never seen. The supply must dry up at some time, but until now, whenevr I have thought that the supply of cult TV has dried up,I have always discovered another new series. Gloucester is also famous to TV aficionados for one of the settings of Petunia Winegum's fall from fame - the other one was here in Birmingham. I was reading an article on the train coming back about how the phrase 'white heat of technology' or something similar was first used in A for Andromeda, before the then Prime Minister used it in a speech in 1963, both of which events brought the preoccupation with science of so much 1960s TV to the fore. I have commented that it is usually an ambivalent preoccupation, because science is the hope for the future but also dangerous. Science fiction , as in Doctor Who, has an opportunity to nbuild on this ambivalence by introducing fictional elements into t

Nigel Kneale's Beasts: Baby

I am probably going to sound fairly critical of this episode, which isn't my intention at all - regular readers will be aware that my policy is only to post about what I consider to be good television. And it may be intentional, part of the depiction of a pregnant wife's breakdown, but there are a few things which chime wrong notes. The absolutely first thing is that the vet's wife brings the family cat to their new home in a basket, opens the basket in a room which isn't sealed tight  and is then surprised that the cat runs away. This is of course a rookie error, and would be excusable if she'd never seen a cat before, but it is her cat and she claims to have grown up in the country. She is also a vet's wife and I doubt that he would never have brought a sick cat home to keep an eye on it overnight. I see from the excellent Celluloid Wickerman post that this story lends itself to a Freudian interpretation, which is of course completely valid but I hadn'