The official 2012 video, it seems (corrected from my earlier impression that it was this year's):

Today's Doctor Who DVD catch-up exercise was Death to the Daleks. I realise that I had never recognised John Abineri as Railton until now, perhaps because of his wig and also that he is unceremoniously dispatched by an Exxilon arrow early in part two. The casting of Duncan Lamont, the original Victor Caroon in The Quatermass Experiment, is appropriate as well as occasioning some frisson from the juxtaposition of a symbol of early British television science fiction with the Daleks. (ETA: my own historical perspective is of someone who has always viewed Quatermass as 'past' and the Daleks as 'current', but this was not the case for those who were making Death to the Daleks just a little over twenty years after The Quatermass Experiment.)

The production subtitles benefit from our knowing more about the development of Sarah Jane Smith and the subsitution of the (excellent and deservedly legendary) Elisabeth Sladen for the (taller, more 'womanly') April Walker. For all he says in interviews nowadays about the place of women in adventure stories, ropes and railway tracks, the Terrance Dicks of 1973 emerges as someone keen to enhance the role of women in Doctor Who, unsuccessfully urging Terry Nation to make Jill Tarrant second-in-command of the expedition, and emphasising Sarah's resourcefulness.

Lesser-known personalities are given coverage too - Arnold Yarrow, one of the acting profession's sprightly nonagenarians, is a cogent presence on the DVD's making-of documentary and the subtitles emphasise the breadth of his career. While Yarrow was glued into grey latex as the subterranean Exxilon Bellal, another studio in Television Centre was recording an episode of Softly Softly: Task Force quite possibly commissioned by Yarrow in his just-former capacity as that programme's script editor.

I'd come across a newspaper cutting from 1974 publicizing the London Saxophone Quartet's involvement with Death to the Daleks, and here they are on the soundtrack, performing the music of Carey Blyton. Blyton was in the process of leaving his long tenure as music editor at Faber, where he had been Benjamin Britten's editor, seeing his compositions through the press. Production subtitler Martin Wiggins draws attention to the quotations from music hall and nursery rhyme which pepper this score. His contributions to this period are understandably overshadowed by those of Dudley Simpson, but his determination to avoid electronic music (on the grounds that synthesizers were depriving musicians of income) was rewarded in a memorable score which arguably set a precedent for the rest of the 1970s as Dudley Simpson was steered away from close collaboration with the Radiophonic Workshop and back towards conventional music.

Visually Death to the Daleks supports my argument that it is in this, the last Pertwee/Letts/Dicks season, that the programme begins its Gothic phase, with Sarah finding her way through a temple set lit with flickering candles before being trussed up by priests ready to sacrifice her for bringing the latent past of the intelligent living city into the present of fear and ignorance. The execution of the scene is far more steeped in threat than the near-sacrifice of Jo at the end of The Daemons.
sir_guinglain: (Hartnell words)
( Jul. 9th, 2012 09:54 pm)
I've written before, I think, that going through the Radio Times of the 1960s leaves me with the feeling that I have been watching the world I know come into existence, as television programmes which I grew up with begin, entertainment personalities still active today emerge. It's an illusion, of course, but only up to a point, as although not obvious to everybody the seeds of our internetted world had already germinated and their gardeners were cultivating them. In this spirit, The Guardian are reporting on the fiftieth anniversary of the first gig by the Rolling Stones: planted with deliberation in the atmosphere of London jazz clubs, one perhaps austere to our eyes but if not its cradle, then perhaps a hammock in which the decade's counterculture swung for a while.
sir_guinglain: (RadioTimesRichardDimbleby)
( Feb. 4th, 2012 03:26 pm)
The composer, scriptwriter and artist Ted Dicks died last weekend. He was a principal collaborator with Hazel Adair and Peter Ling on Compact for the BBC and then Crossroads for ATV in the 1960s, but seems best remembered for his music, including several chart hits for Bernard Cribbins and one for Ronnie Hilton. Here's Bernard Cribbins with 'Right Said Fred', and then the first part of the first episode of Catweazle (London Weekend, 1970), music by Ted Dicks.
Another video from the 2009 David Tennant Doctor Who wrap party. Mr Barrowman goes over all Victoria Wood:

sir_guinglain: (Charles II)
( Aug. 18th, 2011 04:03 pm)
Back at Christmas 1995, I recorded the Channel 4 transmission of England, My England, a drama commemorating the threehundredth anniversary of the death of Henry Purcell. It was promoted as John Osborne's last screenplay, though it was actually uncompleted at his death and finished by Charles Wood, and its commercial release has emphasised the director, Tony Palmer, rather than the writer. I'm finally watching it now, only sixteen years late. The screenplay's argument parallels Restoration England with Britain in the 1960s and after, with nonchalant anachronisms from the 1990s intruding in the 1960s scenes - mentions of the 'British Library' and post-1985 editions of Penguin Classics in characters' hands - just as the reign of Charles II is imagined through the concerns of an actor-playwright uninspired by a failed production of Bernard Shaw's In Good King Charles's Golden Days. Simon Callow is both the playwright and Charles II, but it was the 'brave' casting which caught the attention at the time, EastEnders's Sharon, Letitia Dean, playing Barbara Villiers, and most controversially Michael Ball playing the adult Purcell, whom I've not yet reached. Purcell's music accompanies and punctuates the whole; the depiction of circular time is underlined by the mixture of model shots and stock footage (from, I think, Gone with the Wind's burning of Atlanta) to represent the Great Fire of London, intercut with documentary footage of anti-Vietnam protests) and by the name of the play-within-a-play's producer, played by latterday West End producer Bill Kenwright but here named 'Bill Betterton', identifying him with the seventeenth-century actor-manager Thomas. Odd to think that this was commissioned by Channel 4 on the eve of the era of The Big Breakfast and its modern populism.
sir_guinglain: (Boyandbear)
( Mar. 16th, 2011 04:20 pm)
Which songs were number one in the UK, US and Australian charts on the day I was born? Courtesy of [ profile] wellinghall and This Day in Music.

UK: I Hear You Knockin' - Dave Edmunds; though I'd have gone for the top of the charts of 21 November 1970 rather than 28 November as the engine does, so I also offer Voodoo Chile - The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Reviews for both on the excellent Popular: Voodoo Chile; I Hear You Knockin'.

US: I Think I Love You - Partridge Family

Australia: Lookin Out My Back Door - Creedence Clearwater Revival

and to counter accusations of Anglophone bias:

France: Deux amis pour un amour - Johnny Halliday

Germany: A Song of Joy - Miguel Rios

Italy: Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall - Aphrodite's Child

Netherlands: To My Father's House - Les Humphries Singers

France, Germany and Netherlands courtesy of Wikipedia; Italy courtesy of Hit Parade Italia.
A Turn on your MP3 player or music player on your computer.
B Go to SHUFFLE songs mode.
C Write down the first 15 songs that come up—song title and artist—NO editing/cheating, please.

1. Green, Green Grass of Home - Johnny Cash
2. It's All Too Much - The Beatles
3. Elephants Graveyard - Boomtown Rats
4. Kitty Jay - Seth Lakeman
5. Over my Head - Furslide
6. I Don't Want to Spoil the Party - The Beatles
7. Deborah Recitative - The King's Consort (Handel: Deborah)
8. Moonshiner - Bob Forrest
9. Trumpet Fanfare - The King's Consort (Handel: Music for the Coronation of King George II)
10. Let the Cold Wind Blow - Kate Rusby
11. Si Tu Dois Partir - Fairport Convention
12. One Sure Thing - Fairport Convention
13. The Unwelcome Guest - Billy Bragg and Wilco
14. The Legionnaire's Lament - The Decembrists
15. John the Gun - Fairport Convention
sir_guinglain: (Sylvester)
( Jun. 19th, 2010 11:00 am)
The excellent Popular blog on the FreakyTrigger site, chronicling the UK pop charts, number one by number one, has reached Doctorin' the TARDIS. Columnist Tom's somewhat self-conscious analysis is balanced by many of the longer comments, which are worth looking for further down the page.

As for what I thought at the time... see the article headed 'Timelords Record Shunned?' on this page from a 1988 Celestial Toyroom. There's probably more to be said on the junctures and disjunctures between this record, the state of Doctor Who in 1988, and the place of the programme in popular culture in the late 80s, but not by me (at least not now).
Pick a musical artist whose discography you know fairly well. Using only their song titles, try to answer these questions. Try not to repeat a song title.

Answers behind cut )


sir_guinglain: (Default)


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