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(1962–1978)

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Jeremy Kemp obituary

One of the original cast of Z Cars who was a stalwart of British cinema and TV, often playing army officers and authority figures

The actor Jeremy Kemp, who has died aged 84, was in at the beginning of a piece of television history when he appeared in the original cast of Z Cars as PC Bob Steele.

While Dixon of Dock Green depicted a homely image of the police, Troy Kennedy Martin’s creation was a warts-and-all portrayal of the members of a new crime division set up in the fictional Liverpool suburb of Newtown, with mobile officers in patrol cars Z Victor One and Z Victor Two, and in its early days broadcast live.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Peter Byrne obituary

Actor who spent two decades in the role of Andy Crawford in the long-running police drama Dixon of Dock Green

Dixon of Dock Green, one of British television’s longest running and most popular police dramas, starred Jack Warner as the dependable, friendly London bobby who welcomed viewers to each episode with the cheery greeting “Evening, all”. It ran for 21 years from 1955, and is remembered for its cosy, nostalgic world of petty theft and tickings-off delivered over cups of tea.

Although there is much truth in this recollection of the programme, from the early 60s – in a changing Britain where crime was rising, and with the launch of the much grittier series Z Cars – there was some attempt to bring the drama up to date. The ageing Dixon – promoted to sergeant in 1964 – eventually became deskbound and stories focused on the younger detective Andy Crawford, played by Peter Byrne, who has died aged 90.

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See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Exploring the world of live TV episodes

David Baldwin Jun 22, 2017

From ER to 30 Rock, EastEnders to The Simpsons, live TV drama and comedy episodes are here to stay...

In 1997, the Us TV network NBC gave permission for its highest rated show, the global medical drama hit ER, to produce an episode that would be broadcast to audiences completely live.

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It’s hard to explain just how completely out of nowhere that decision was at the time. Live broadcasts began as a cornerstone of television, but once videotape came into use in the late 1950s, it was gradually confined to news bulletins and talent contests. By the 1990s, any comedy or drama that produced a live episode was usually perceived as a show suffering from flagging ratings or creative jaundice, one in dire need of an attention grabbing gimmick.

Let’s be clear – ER was none of those things.
See full article at Den of Geek »

David Rose obituary

Producer of Z Cars for BBC Television who later became the driving force behind Channel 4’s Film on Four movie output

When Channel 4 was launched in 1982, its brief was to be distinctive and innovative. As a senior commissioning editor and then head of drama until 1990, David Rose, who has died aged 92, took up that challenge for the movies produced under the banner of Film on Four, with many successes including Neil Jordan’s Angel (1982) and Mona Lisa (1986), David Leland’s Wish You Were Here (1987) and Mike Leigh’s High Hopes (1988).

Two decades earlier, Rose had been breaking new ground at BBC Television, as the first official producer of its police series Z Cars, and he went on to invigorate regional drama for the corporation. Among the writers whose talents he nurtured were Alan Plater, David Rudkin and Alan Bleasdale – and David Hare was astonished and delighted by his boldness.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

John Hurt, Alien and Harry Potter Star, Passes Away at 77

John Hurt, Alien and Harry Potter Star, Passes Away at 77
British actor Sir John Hurt, whose illustrious career spans six decades, has sadly passed away at the age of 77. The gravelly voiced man of many roles was perhaps best known for his classic movies such as Alien, Harry Potter and The Elephant Man. Publicist Charles McDonald confirmed the death late Friday. According to CNN, no cause of death is given.

John Hurt made a name for himself playing tormented characters. And he was actually known as an actor who most often times died on screen. Throughout his many projects, he had 47 death scenes. Perhaps no more memorable than when he introduced the world to the iconic Chestburster in Ridley Scott's 1979 classic Alien, where a baby xenomorph came ripping through his chest during a dinner scene inside a spaceship mess hall.

John Hurt's first role was in the 1962 TV show Z cars, and he has worked steadily ever since.
See full article at MovieWeb »

R.I.P. John Hurt 1940-2017

Legendary British actor Sir John Hurt has sadly passed away at the age of 77. The screen icon passed away after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

John Hurt dies at 77.

Hurt was a veteran of stage and screen making his debut in the 1960s TV show Z Cars. From there he went on to star in hundreds of productions, including The Elephant Man and Midnight Express, for which he was nominated for an Oscar. He did win four Bafta Awards during his career, including a lifetime achievement recognition for his outstanding contribution to British cinema in 2012.

His most famous role was arguably as Kane in Ridley Scott’s 1979 sci-fi classic Alien, and later in life as Ollivander in the Harry Potter films.

He was also seen in films like V for Vendetta, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and 1984. He even played the iconic
See full article at The Hollywood News »

British legend John Hurt dies at 77

  • ScreenDaily
British legend John Hurt dies at 77
Update: The two-time Oscar-nominated British star of The Elephant Man and Midnight Express has died, his publicist confirmed to Screen on Friday night. He was 77.

Hurt was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015 and continued to work after it appeared he had overcome the disease. However last summer he withdrew from the stage revival of The Entertainer upon the advice of his doctors. According to his publicist Hurt had intestinal issues when he died.

He recently played a priest in the Natalie Portman starrer Jackie and was in the cast of Joe Wright’s upcoming Second World War drama Darkest Hour for Working Title and Focus Features.

His wife Anwen Rees-Myers issued the following statement: “It is with deep sadness that I have to confirm that my husband, John Vincent Hurt, died on Wednesday 25th January 2017 at home in Norfolk.

“John was the most sublime of actors and the most gentlemanly of gentlemen with the greatest of hearts
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Blake's 7's Gareth Thomas dies at 71

Welsh actor Gareth Thomas’s most famous role was as political dissident Roj Blake in sci-fi drama

Welsh actor Gareth Thomas, best known as the star of cult BBC sci-fi show Blake’s 7, has died at the age of 71 from heart failure.

Rada-trained Thomas made his acting debut in 1965, before taking small roles in well-known series such as The Avengers, Z Cars and Coronation Street.

Very sad to hear of the death of my good friend Gareth Thomas. We were at Rada then Blakes 7 and onwards. He was a proud Welshman. Rip.

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See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

61 film books that are well worth your time

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Looking for good books about the movies to read? We've got a bumper selection of recommendations right here...

A confession. I actually started writing this article in 2013, and the reason you've only reading it now is that I've made sure I've read every book on this list, save for one or two where I've marked otherwise. As such, what you're getting is a very personal list of recommendations. Each of these books has at least something to it that I think is of interest to someone wanting to learn more about film - or just enjoy stories of movie making.

I've tended to avoid picture books, with one exception, as these ones I've chosen are all intended to be chock-full of words, to relax with at the end of a long day. Which is what I did. There are one or two notable omissions, as I'm still
See full article at Den of Geek »

Anthony Read obituary

Author, television screenwriter and producer who worked on Doctor Who, Z Cars, The Professionals and The Omega Factor

Anthony Read, who has died aged 80, was a writer and television producer who in 1977 chose to be, in effect, demoted, in order to spend a year working as script editor during Tom Baker’s years in Doctor Who. When he joined the BBC in November 1963 Read had noticed the show’s very first instalments being recorded in one of the studios. By the 1970s, he was a seasoned writer and producer of drama, and was reluctant to accept a post offered to him as script editor – until told which series he was being asked to join. Read’s vast experience, calm demeanour and forensic aptitude for structuring scripts provided essential ballast for the Doctor Who producer Graham Williams. When one script fell through at the last minute, together they hurriedly wrote the season climax,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Colin Welland Dies: Oscar-Winning ‘Chariots Of Fire’ Writer Was 81

Colin Welland Dies: Oscar-Winning ‘Chariots Of Fire’ Writer Was 81
Colin Welland, who famously proclaimed, “The British are coming!” in his Academy Award acceptance speech for Chariots Of Fire, has died at the age of 81 following a long battle with Alzheimer’s. The actor and writer, who appeared in the TV show Z Cars and also acted in Ken Loach’s Kes and Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs, also wrote the Gene Hackman-starrer Twice In A Lifetime and the Marlon Brando Apartheid drama A Dry White Season. A statement released by his family via…
See full article at Deadline Movie News »

There’s plenty of dramatic potential in social work. Here’s a script to prove it

Police and medical dramas abound on our screens. But no one’s yet delved into the fascinating and harrowing work of child protection social workers – until now

We’ve seen Z Cars, Morse, Casualty and Holby City but I’ve often heard social workers wonder why there was no TV series about them, and in particular about child protection. So after retirement I took scriptwriting courses. I felt optimistic; technical or legal aspects of my scripts would be accurate, reflecting my experience of more than 40 years as a social worker in child protection, Guardian Ad Litem, chair of child protection conferences and an adoption/fostering manager. I knew about attachments, Section 8 orders and fostering disruptions and now I understand about subtexts, five-point structure and voiceovers. I hoped that I had a distinctive, authentic voice.

I aim to present the public with a series of complex dilemmas about children needing protection and,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Herbert Wise obituary

Film and television director whose work included I, Claudius, Rumpole of the Bailey, Z Cars and The Woman in Black

The film and television director Herbert Wise, who has died aged 90, made an impressive contribution to television drama over five decades. Most notably, he earned plaudits (and Bafta and Emmy nominations) as the director of all 13 episodes of I, Claudius (1976), the Robert Graves adaptation starring Derek Jacobi; but his credits appeared on a wide range of programmes, including Z Cars, Upstairs Downstairs, The Norman Conquests, Rumpole of the Bailey, Breaking the Code, and both The Woman in White and The Woman in Black. In 1979 he won a Bafta for his outstanding service to television.

As Herbert Weisz, he arrived in Britain in January 1939 on the Kindertransport, a 14-year-old Jewish refugee from Vienna without a word of English. He was fostered by the family of a wealthy Surrey accountant, who almost
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Interview: Philip Martin on Doctor Who, Gangsters, and Z-Cars

  • bestbritishtv
Sil in Vengeance on Varos BBC

By Kieran Kinsella

Liverpool born screenwriter Philip Martin has delighted British TV audiences with entertaining and sometimes hard-hitting scripts for classic shows such as Z-Cars, Doctor Who, and Hetty Wainthrop Investigates. He also created the critically acclaimed and somewhat controversial 70s era BBC drama Gangsters. As a fan of his work, and a fellow Evertonian, I was delighted when Philip agreed to an interview. Like many great writers, he began his career in the creative arts as a performer. I began the interview by asking him why he decided to make the move from actor to writer.

“I had good experiences in my acting career, playing leads in Play of the Week etc but I looked younger than my age and when I could no longer play juveniles it was like having to start all over again. By that time I was thinking about
See full article at bestbritishtv »

Lynda Bellingham: a life in clips

The actor and presenter, who has died aged 66, was famous for her role as the Oxo mum, but also starred in Doctor Who, All Creatures Great and Small and The Bill, and hosted Loose Women

The actor and presenter Lynda Bellingham, who has died aged 66, enjoyed a long and varied career on British television. In addition to her iconic Oxo mum role in the long-running adverts, and her presenting stint on the chat show Loose Women, she also had roles in iconic shows such as Z Cars, Doctor Who, The Sweeney and The Professionals. Here are some of her finest small-screen moments.

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See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Brian Blessed turned down Doctor Who role

Brian Blessed has revealed he turned down the role of 'Doctor Who'. The British actor was approached to take on the iconic role in the mid-60s when First Doctor William Hartnell was about to be replaced in the Tardis. However, he declined due to other work commitments meaning the BBC went on to cast Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor. In an interview with Radio Times magazine, Blessed revealed: ''After I was in 'Z Cars', the head of BBC serials took me aside and said, 'We're thinking of having a young Doctor Who and we'd like to cast you'. But it clashed with
See full article at Virgin Media - TV »

Brian Blessed turned down Doctor Who lead

Brian Blessed was approached to take on the role of the Doctor in Doctor Who, the quiet actor has revealed...

Oh, how history could have been so very different. Brian Blessed popped up in Doctor Who once upon a time, in the Colin Baker adventure Mindwarp (which in turn was part of The Trial Of A Time Lord). But in a new interview with the Radio Times, he's revealed he was once upon a time offered the role of the Doctor - but he had to turn it down.

Blessed said that he declined the chance to take on the role of the Time Lord in the mid-1960s, which hints that he was in line to take over from William Hartnell, rather than Patrick Troughton. He said that "after I was in Z Cars, the head of BBC serials took me aside and said, 'we’re thinking of having
See full article at Den of Geek »

Brian Blessed: 'I turned down lead Doctor Who role in the '60s'

Brian Blessed has revealed that he was approached to play The Doctor in the '60s, but turned it down because he was too busy.

The 77-year-old actor - who guest starred as King Yrcanos in 1986 - said that he would "jump" at the chance to play the Doctor Who Time Lord now.

"After I was in Z Cars, the head of BBC serials took me aside and said, 'We're thinking of having a young Doctor Who and we'd like to cast you'," he told Radio Times. "But it clashed with other things."

Blessed would have replaced William Hartnell in the lead role, but Patrick Troughton eventually succeeded him in 1966.

The actor went on to suggest that the BBC should transform The Doctor into an Asian female in the future.

"I think they need to re-examine his surname - 'Who' is very oriental. It's about time they had an Asian actor as The Doctor.
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

Suzi Perry credits Gadget Show for her marriage

Brian Blessed has revealed he turned down the role of 'Doctor Who'. The British actor was approached to take on the iconic role in the mid-60s when First Doctor William Hartnell was about to be replaced in the Tardis. However, he declined due to other work commitments meaning the BBC went on to cast Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor. In an interview with Radio Times magazine, Blessed revealed: ''After I was in 'Z Cars', the head of BBC serials took me aside and said, 'We're thinking of having a young Doctor Who and we'd like to cast you'. But it clashed with
See full article at Virgin Media - TV »

Dr Who: films of Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy

Feature Alex Westthorp 16 Apr 2014 - 07:00

Alex's trek through the film roles of actors who've played the Doctor reaches Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy...

Read the previous part in this series, Doctor Who: the film careers of Patrick Troughton and Tom Baker, here.

In March 1981, as he made his Doctor Who debut, Peter Davison was already one the best known faces on British television. Not only was he the star of both a BBC and an ITV sitcom - Sink Or Swim and Holding The Fort - but as the young and slightly reckless Tristan Farnon in All Creatures Great And Small, about the often humorous cases of Yorkshire vet James Herriot and his colleagues, he had cemented his stardom. The part led, indirectly, to his casting as the venerable Time Lord.

The recently installed Doctor Who producer, John Nathan-Turner, had been the Production Unit Manager on
See full article at Den of Geek »
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