So, I went off to Snowdonia (that's in North Wales, non-UK readers. You know where Wales is, right?) for the weekend – hence my absence on Friday. Bit of a trek, what with the traffic and all, so seven hours drive each way. Argh.
Anyway, we're just coming up to our hotel when to my surprise, I see a sign to Portmeirion. Honestly, I had no idea it was there – I thought it was further north. It's not.
But the TV gods had clearly spoken to Dealcloud, which is how we ended up at this particular hotel (which also turned out to have been visited by Jackie O and Ted Kennedy at some point) only 15 minutes away from where The Prisoner was filmed. Remember The Prisoner – the original Patrick McGoohan version, not the remake? Here, at least, is the iconic title sequence, which also explains the plot (secret agent resigns so is kidnapped and imprisoned in a seemingly loving prison called The Village):
Anyway, having made it out that far, how could we not go and have a wander round? Okay, it's £10 per adult, but we'll live. So, after the jump, lots of pictures of Portmeirion: how much will you recognise, discerning Prisoner fans?
News of the day is that Gerry Anderson puppet show Thunderbirds is going to be remade. For those not in the know (who are you?), this saw a team of brothers go into action as part of International Rescue to save people from usually very explosive danger, sometimes with the assistance of their London agent Lady Penelope.
The gods alone know how I missed this one when I was doing my recap of ITC's 1970s shows, but I did, so let's rectify that mistake ASAP.
A close inspection of ITC's early 1970s shows, including The Persuaders!, The Protectors and The Adventurer will reveal a very subtle trend: a move away from casting bright young unknowns who might become stars to casting stars who were - trying not to be harsh - perhaps very slightly over the hill. Roger Moore obviously still had a career as James Bond ahead of him, but he'd already been The Saint and Ivanhoe, so who knew if there was a future for him in 1971. Ditto Tony Curtis, Robert Vaughn and Gene Barry who had been big once.
The Zoo Gang married that trend with ITC's new dedication to overseas filming, casting Brian Keith (The Westerner, The Parent Trap, Nevada Smith, Family Affair and eventually Hardcastle & McCormick), Barry Morse (The Fugitive, The Adventurer and afterwards Space: 1999), Lilli Palmer (an award-winning German actress) and Sir John Mills as a group of World War 2 resistance members who reunite 30 years later to wreak vengeance on the compatriot who betrayed them to the Gestapo during the War. Their job done, the elderly group decide to stay together to use their skills to scam con artists and criminals out of their money so as to build a hospital in memory of Palmer's deceased husband.
Based on a book by Paul Gallico and set on the French Riviera in Nice, the show ran for six episodes and took its name from the fact that 'the Zoo Gang' all had animal codenames: the Elephant, the Tiger, The Leopard and The Fox. And while the scripts were nothing special, it did have a great title sequence - that's rather a lot like The Persuaders!'s in style - and, in a first for ITC, a theme tune by Paul and Linda McCartney.
Here's the title sequence and if that's not enough for you, the entire first episode is after the jump. Yes, you can get it on DVD, you lucky people. No, you can't get Barry Morse's hat - why would you want to?
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This is a UK media blog with daily news, views, exclusive reviews and good conversation. There's a bit of a bias towards the latest and greatest US TV, but we also cover UK TV ranging from new Doctor Who to old Z Cars, and BBC4 to S4C.
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"For most of us watching the telly of an evening is a way to wind down and relax, but for Rob Buckley it’s his blogging bread and butter. With reviews of cult classics and up and coming US and Brit television shows, The Medium is Not Enough is fast becoming essential reading for TV buffs, with over 50,000 hits a month."
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I'm Rob Buckley, a freelance journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of, although you might have heard me on Radio 5 Live's Saturday Edition. I've edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for trade magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider and the equally short-lived Death Ray and Filmstar magazines; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it "web site for urban hedonists" The Tribe. I'm freelance now and have contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network and TV Scoop.