Network has completed a new film about the work of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson that’s going to be released in Autumn 2014. They were the minds behind Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Stingray, UFO, Space: 1999 et al, in case you don’t know.
Directed and produced by Stephen La Rivière (The Story Of Upstairs Downstairs, We Were ‘The Champions’), Filmed In Supermarionation is a screen adaptation of his book of the same name telling the story of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s TV productions using a wealth of previously unseen archive footage, new interviews with those involved, and clips from the shows themselves.
Back in the 1960s, crime stories were all the rage (well, crime stories and spy stories. But crime stories particularly.) Finding a way to differentiate the main characters and give a series a unique selling point compared with others was often a challenge.
Possibly the most differentiated - and indeed interesting - crime show of the 60s was Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) (known more prosaically in the US as My Partner The Ghost because focus group research suggested viewers wouldn't understand the word 'deceased'). Its premise was simple: two down-at-heel British private investigators, Jeff Randall (Mike Pratt) and Marty Hopkirk (Kenneth Cope), are investigating a case. The bad guys don't like this and think they're getting too close so they kill Hopkirk.
Except that doesn't stop him. Hopkirk is so dedicated to his friend, Jeff - and so keen to bring his murderers to justice - that he returns as a ghost to help solve the case and stop the bad guys. Unfortunately, it takes him too long and after the bad guys are rounded up, a curse dooms Hopkirk to walk the earth as a ghost in an eternally spotless white suit for 100 years.
So Hopkirk stays on to help Jeff solve further cases as best he can, despite being intangible and invisible to everyone else. Cue catchy theme tune and 25 more episodes.
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?
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A UK media blog focusing on the best scripted TV from around the world, 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 Scandinavian, Canadian, European and Antipodean TV, as well as 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.