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Spooky and magical kids' TV dramas of the 1980s: 1985-89

Alex Westthorp Sep 19, 2016

We revisit Tom's Midnight Garden, Moondial, The Chronicles Of Narnia and a few lesser-known UK children's TV series...

Read our look-back at UK kids' fantasy dramas 1980 - 1984 here.

By 1985 British TV's children's drama had really hit its stride, achieving "a balanced diet of programmes" as Edward Barnes, the head of the BBC children's department observed. The late 80s, arguably, saw a new golden age for spooky and magical kids drama. Excellent production values, improved significantly by well-honed special effects work using Quantel, Paintbox and Harry, and moreover some interesting casting - often of very talented newcomers - produced some of the most memorable dramas of the era.

The second half of the decade saw the BBC riding high on the back of the success of their state-of-the-art adaptation of John Masefield's Box Of Delights. Meanwhile, anthology series Dramarama was going from strength to strength on ITV.
See full article at Den of Geek »

Progressive social activist, 'The Sound of Music' Broadway Star, and Oscar-Nominated Actor Bikel Dead at 91

Theodore Bikel. Theodore Bikel dead at 91: Oscar-nominated actor and folk singer best known for stage musicals 'The Sound of Music,' 'Fiddler on the Roof' Folk singer, social and union activist, and stage, film, and television actor Theodore Bikel, best remembered for starring in the Broadway musical The Sound of Music and, throughout the U.S., in Fiddler on the Roof, died Monday morning (July 20, '15) of "natural causes" at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. The Austrian-born Bikel – as Theodore Meir Bikel on May 2, 1924, in Vienna, to Yiddish-speaking Eastern European parents – was 91. Fled Hitler Thanks to his well-connected Zionist father, six months after the German annexation of Austria in March 1938 ("they were greeted with jubilation by the local populace," he would recall in 2012), the 14-year-old Bikel and his family fled to Palestine, at the time a British protectorate. While there, the teenager began acting on stage,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Daily | Tati, Heise, Blanchett

David Cairns, writing for Criterion: "You can consider gags as decoration—little nuggets of entertainment dispensed on the way through a story—or you can view them as architecture, structural elements that tell the story using action. Or you can see them as Jacques Tati did, which has very little to do with story at all." Also in today's roundup of news and views: Cate Blanchett remembers former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam; the CIA and Animal Farm; Thomas Heise's Städtebewohner; remembering Renee Asherson; a discussion Fritz Lang's The Big Heat; and Jamie Foxx will join Benicio del Toro in Harmony Korine's The Trap. » - David Hudson
See full article at Fandor: Keyframe »

Daily | Tati, Heise, Blanchett

David Cairns, writing for Criterion: "You can consider gags as decoration—little nuggets of entertainment dispensed on the way through a story—or you can view them as architecture, structural elements that tell the story using action. Or you can see them as Jacques Tati did, which has very little to do with story at all." Also in today's roundup of news and views: Cate Blanchett remembers former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam; the CIA and Animal Farm; Thomas Heise's Städtebewohner; remembering Renee Asherson; a discussion Fritz Lang's The Big Heat; and Jamie Foxx will join Benicio del Toro in Harmony Korine's The Trap. » - David Hudson
See full article at Keyframe »

London Stage Star and Olivier Henry V Leading Lady Asherson Dead at Age 99

'Henry V' Movie Actress Renée Asherson dead at 99: Laurence Olivier leading lady in acclaimed 1944 film (image: Renée Asherson and Laurence Olivier in 'Henry V') Renée Asherson, a British stage actress featured in London productions of A Streetcar Named Desire and Three Sisters, but best known internationally as Laurence Olivier's leading lady in the 1944 film version of Henry V, died on October 30, 2014. Asherson was 99 years old. The exact cause of death hasn't been specified. She was born Dorothy Renée Ascherson (she would drop the "c" some time after becoming an actress) on May 19, 1915, in Kensington, London, to Jewish parents: businessman Charles Ascherson and his second wife, Dorothy Wiseman -- both of whom narrowly escaped spending their honeymoon aboard the Titanic. (Ascherson cancelled the voyage after suffering an attack of appendicitis.) According to Michael Coveney's The Guardian obit for the actress, Renée Asherson was "scantly
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Renée Asherson obituary

Versatile actor who combined grace with gravity in her many roles over 65 years

Renée Asherson, a vivacious and stylish actor, who has died aged 99, enjoyed a career on stage and screen spanning 65 years. She will be remembered as the French princess in Laurence Oliviers wartime propaganda film version of Henry V, pertly trimming her garden roses while rehearsing the English words for delicate body parts.

She had made her screen debut earlier the same year, playing a small role in Carol Reeds The Way Ahead (1944), Peter Ustinovs script (from Eric Amblers story) showing how an army officer (David Niven) organised a bunch of disparate conscripts into a plausible fighting unit. She followed that with another war-time adventure, this time with more love interest, Anthony Asquiths The Way to the Stars (1945), scripted by Terence Rattigan, in which she played John Millss girlfriend, with Michael Redgrave and Rosamund John as a more straightforwardly middle-class pair.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Reviews: Hammer Blu-rays, M.R. James BBC Ghost Stories Vol.5, Wallenberg

Hammer Blu-rays The Devil Rides Out (1968, dir. Terence Fisher)

Hammer applies its trademark Gothic veneer with considerably greater care than usual in this, the second and best of the company's three stabs at the satanic stylings of author Dennis Wheatley. Christopher Lee comes over to the light for a rare foray as central hero the Duc de Richleau, teaming up with friend Rex van Rijn (Leon Greene) to prevent the evil Satanist Mocata (Charles Gray) from enmeshing the son of his old friend (Patrick Mower) into a devil-worshipping cult.

The Devil Rides Out is perhaps best remembered for what Lee argues in his commentary to be Hammer's most enduring image, that of our heroes fighting a series of spectral and psychological nemeses from within the protective confines of a ritual circle. And yet the most chilling scene contains no special effects, but is instead a simple conversation between the wife
See full article at Shadowlocked »

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