30/10/2015

Adam Adamant Lives! S1 Eps 4 & 5



Episode 4 The Sweet Smell of Disaster
Aggressive advertising of a sinister nature alerts Adam Adamant in this crisp instalment penned by Robert Banks Stewart. A new perfume called Cloud Seven becomes an overnight sensation because the giveaway plastic blue carnations contain a highly additive perfume. Only Adamant seems to suspect something is going on, not least when he finds a giggling Simms and Georgina. His means of investigation is the opposite of undercover as he simply walks in to the company’s headquarters to confront its director Benjamin Kinthly.  The latter has definite dictatorship traits and an ambition to match which actor Charles Tingwell exploits to the full.

27/10/2015

Top of the Pops 9 Oct 1980



Shown on BBC4. Reviewed by Chris Arnsby

[Fade up on the Top of the Pops audience with some very ostentatious dancing on display. Cut to]

Peter Powell: Hello! As you can see we've already started but you're very welcome to tonight's edition of Top of the Pops, and a great show lined up for you needless to say! And here's just a look at one or two of the artists who are going to be on tonight's show!"

Status Quo: What You’re Proposing [27]. The crowd are very rowdy. They're still fired up with excitement after being allowed some freestyle dancing to D.I.S.C.O at the top of the programme and now Status Quo is the extra fuel being poured on their dancing fire. The band get into a muddle at the start of the instrumental. Rick Parfitt has drifted to the back of the stage, and when he wanders back there is a log jam as he and Francis Rossi try to change places. Rick Parfitt shuffles backwards while Francis Rossi has to take a couple of giant steps to avoid the edge of a rostrum. Still it all gets sorted out in time for the guitar break.

23/10/2015

The Flash Season 1 Pilot and Ep 2



Pilot (aka City of Heroes)
There’s been a trend for darker, moodier heroes on TV in recent years perhaps as a reaction to the snappy likes of Buffy and company so it’s refreshing when a show comes along that takes a different path. While it would be inaccurate to describe The Flash as a laugh a minute- and it does have darker moments- the general tone of this pilot is lighter than almost all recent new series. Appropriately enough the pace is also considerably faster with a narrative that is equivalent to developments that in other series would take several episodes. It does a splendid job of setting out the basic parameters of the show as well as providing a few pointers to the future. It’s particularly impressive when you consider that while being able to run super fast is a very, very cool power (as X Files- Days of Future Past proved) beyond clever showboating effects sequences there needs to be some ballast to carry a series for 24 episodes a year. Pleasingly there is plenty of that squeezed into this supersonic 42 minutes.

21/10/2015

Automessages we hate!


You know how life is all automatic now? Well this is all shiny and futuristic and that but it has thrown up a whole new parade of automatic messages that drive people crazy. Messages that don’t necessarily explain anything but just serve to annoy us even more. Here’s my (least) favourite ones-
(Not Responding)
Oh yes, there you are online doing things leaping from one place to another when all of a sudden your screen fades to a grey pallor and everything stops. The Internet stops! Well not the actual Internet I suppose. Anyhow there then appears a little message to say (not responding). Yep, that’s the sum of the information you’re getting. Of course you know full well that your device is not responding because – big clue- it is not responding!! So why tell us? Surely a more helpful message would be to tell us why it’s not responding; wouldn’t that be a tad more informative? The final insult in this message is that it is in brackets- as if it doesn’t matter. Imagine if we did this in our jobs every so often. Just stopped working and held up a cardboard sign saying Not Responding. In brackets of course.

18/10/2015

Top of the Pops 25 Sept 1980



Shown on BBC 4 Reviewed by Chris Arnsby
Mike Read,"...."
The unkindest cut of all. An abrupt edit means Top of the Pops begins in media res with Mike Read already describing the delights on offer in tonight's programme. Whatever did he say that was too hot for BBC4 to handle? We will never know. That moment is lost to us like a tear in the rain.
Black Slate: Amigo [35]. A very laid back opening to the programme. The song is nice enough but it can't compete with the lead singer's giant sombrero.
Split Enz: I Got You [22]. Leo Sayers pops up in a burst of pre-recorded applause to co-host the show. An explanation of how he and Cliff Richard swapped songs (Leo Sayer wrote Dreamin') allows Mike Read to do his hilarious Cliff Richard impersonation which always goes down a storm when Mike is playing tennis with Cliff and Sue Barker. I Got You should not be confused with the Sony and Cher song.

14/10/2015

Adam Adamant Lives! S1 E 2+3



Death Has a Thousand Faces
Proving it is possible to combine any unlikely circumstances in one script, this lively windswept second has Adam Adamant on the trial of a circuit diagram found in a stick of rock for which a man has been killed at a party Georgia happens to be at. It’s Blackpool rock and with the Victorian panache only he knows, Adamant is soon strutting along the Golden Mile with a stripy clothed Georgia in tow buying sticks of the stuff. It’s all so bizarre that it kind of works.
Second episodes are tricky to pull off and this Tony Williamson penned example manages to contain a scenario you wouldn’t expect in particular taking the characters out of London before they’ve established themselves in it. Still it’s funny to see Adamant with cloak and cane taking the pavements of the seaside town as if he owned them.

07/10/2015

Faze is back!!

After fourteen and a half years the acclaimed fanzine Faze is back! 
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first issue I've created a brand new one.
Issue 25 includes:
Key changes in media, tech, entertainment and the world in the past twenty years
Doctor Who’s Anniversary Stories – The Three Doctors, The Five Doctors and Day of the Doctor
One Glorious Year- Doctor Who 1964 mini mag
The 1983 Longleat event
It Is Midnight, Doctor Schweitzer- the story of the oldest surviving recording of a British television drama
Catching the bus!
Henry Van Statten’s Dalek- where did it come from?
Doctor in Distress- the worst song ever?
Plus lots of lots more. 48 pages of tasty goodness.
Writers: Tim Worthington, Sean Alexander, John Connors, Oliver Wake, Chris Arnsby and Albert Grunge
 
What's more it is totally free!
You can view a downloadable PDF or a printed version or even both.
Limited Edition Print VersionUse the form at the foot of the right hand column of this blog and remember to include a full postal address. 
(The message goes to a personal webmail account and will not be seen by anyone else)
Download Version
Click on the links below to view. The links open into a new window and the issue may take about 10 seconds to appear.
 1964 Mini Mag

If either of these links don't work please let me know. 


05/10/2015

Humans Series One


When the first episode of Humans was broadcast earlier this year it netted Channel 4 nearly 7 million viewers, one of its largest audiences for some time and overall the series is the highest rated drama ton the channel since 1992. That may be because there is something intangibly fascinating about Humans even though it seems to touch familiar bases. There have been so many science fiction stories in this area that it is difficult to think of a different angle – and even this script namechecks Asimov- but the route taken gives the show the biggest chance of success. The clue’s in the title. There may be robots aplenty but this series is about humans, about being human and what it means and whether robots can become like humans. Humans deals first and foremost with what might be our emotional response to having some sort of robots in our everyday lives.


04/10/2015

Adam Adamant Lives! S1 E1



A Vintage Year for Scoundrels
Yes, it’s time to watch another old tv series and waffle on about it. This time we’re travelling back in time to 1966 to meet someone who’s travelled forward in time, sort of. I’ve never seen this show before so should be interesting…
It is 1902 and renowned protector of the Crown Adam Adamant falls into the hands of his arch nemesis The Face (oddly he doesn’t show his actual Face) who promptly freezes him in a block of ice. 64 years later he is uncovered during demolition work and when he wakes up finds things have changed rather a lot. Quite what expressions passed across the faces of television executives when this proposal reached their desks is unknown but judging from this opening episode their leap of faith paid off handsomely. Belying its 49 year vintage, this is a smart, crisp well produced 50 minutes that still ticks most boxes in 2015 which is an achievement in itself. You’d expect it to creak and groan but just like its sprightly 99 year old hero, it is positively sizzling with energy and style. Somehow it manages to encompass two different decades by positioning Adamant as a champion in another, equally crime ridden era. It’s a great match.

02/10/2015

Jigsaw Puzzle Blues

twuarchive: occasional snapshots from the print issues.


This is the story of Danny Kirwan who was a blues guitarist with early line ups of Fleetwood Mac in the late 60s and early 70s but ended up living at a hospice for alcoholics. First printed 2003. 
Fleetwood Mac is a group that means different things to different people. Probably the largest section of the public remember them as all conquering stadium celebs of the late 1970s and early 1980’s thanks to `Rumours`, one of the biggest selling records of all time which is full of songs chronicling the dysfunctional relationships between the band members. You may recall their later success with the `Tango In The Night` LP or the fact that they performed at Bill Clinton’s inaugural party. Nowadays they are one of those groups who surface once in a while to enjoy a little nostalgic attention and there are even some who remember how they used a marching band for their only really left field record, `Tusk`.

The Fleetwood Mac of 1968 was a very different animal indeed. They were an English based blues band that had established a reputation based largely on the genius of their leader Peter Green. The rest of the line up included the rhythm section that gave the group it’s name; Mick Fleetwood on drums and John McVie on bass plus guitarist Jeremy Spencer. They had released two albums already, the second of which  `Mr Wonderful` had topped the British album charts. Meanwhile, a group called Boilerhouse had supported Mac and Green was so impressed with the playing skills of their guitarist Danny Kirwan that he arranged some gigs for them at the legendary Marquee club in London and suggested the amateur band turn professional. Kirwan was enthusiastic but the other two were not, so the group fell apart and Green helped Kirwan to try and put together a new band. When that too fell through, the offer was extended to the young guitarist to join Mac.