All posts by Mark Simpson

Facebook Q&A with Sue Malden

Over on Facebook, the Doctor Who Missing Episodes Discussion Group are currently inviting questions for another of their popular and successful Q&A series. This has already featured Philip Morris (the man who returned Enemy of the World and Web of Fear in 2013), Richard Molesworth (author of the popular book Wiped!) and Paul Vanezis (documentary producer and member of the Restoration Team) and next up to answer fan questions will be archivist Sue Malden.

Film and TV Archivist Sue Malden.
Film and TV Archivist Sue Malden.

For those whose memory is hazy at best on the saga of the missing episodes of Doctor Who, it was Sue Malden who was instrumental in the discovery and return of many thought lost episodes in the late 70s and early 80s, having been alerted to the junking of archive TV by Who fan Ian Levine. She also put together the first paper trail of episode sales, building on the work of Pamela Nash who had established a stock of 16mm prints to be sent to foreign TV stations. These along with the episodes held by the BBC were brought under one roof in the new BBC Film and Videotape Library, aka BBC Archives. Sue Malden became its first ‘archive selector’, responsible for deciding which programmes were worthy of storing there.

The film can for the existing second episode of The Evil of the Daleks
The film can for the existing second episode of The Evil of the Daleks

So, if anybody is interested in asking Sue a question about Doctor Who missing episodes in particular or Film and TV archiving in general, follow the link above to the group and add your question to the pinned thread. All questions to be received by 9pm BST (UK time) on Wednesday July 1st please.

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Doctor Who Series 9 Set Report Number 2

Special Agent Chamberlain 006 is back, and he has once again been out on the trail of the Doctor Who crew filming in and around Cardiff for Series 9. Last week Agent 006 caught up with them during filming in and around the grounds of Caerphilly Castle. Here is his pictorial report….

A new flag replaces the familiar Welsh dragon. Looks a little like the Royal Beast of Peladon. Alternately, someone mentioned it looks like the Sheriff's standard from Robot of Sherwood.   (Photo by Tony Chamberlain)
A new flag replaces the familiar Welsh dragon. Looks a little like the Royal Beast of Peladon. Alternately, someone mentioned it looks like the Sheriff’s standard from Robot of Sherwood.
(Photo by Tony Chamberlain)

 

The entrance to Caerphilly Castle, with added smoke effect.   (Photo by Tony Chamberlain)
The entrance to Caerphilly Castle, with added smoke effect.
(Photo by Tony Chamberlain)

 

Smoke on the water.   (Photo by Tony Chamberlain)
Smoke on the water.
(Photo by Tony Chamberlain)

 

Effects Guy 1 - “Did we do that?”   Effects Guy 2 - “Just walk away quietly and nobody will notice.”   (Photo by Tony Chamberlain)
Effects Guy 1 – “Did we do that?”
Effects Guy 2 – “Just walk away quietly and nobody will notice.”
(Photo by Tony Chamberlain)

 

Ogri Eggs?   (Photo by Tony Chamberlain)
Ogri Eggs?
(Photo by Tony Chamberlain)

 

Peter Capaldi signing autographs for the fans.   (Photo by Tony Chamberlain)
Peter Capaldi signing autographs for the fans.
(Photo by Tony Chamberlain)

 

Guest Actor Daniel Hoffmann-Gill in costume.  (Photo by Tony Chamberlain)
Guest Actor Daniel Hoffmann-Gill in costume.
(Photo by Tony Chamberlain)

 

Setting up the camera rig for filming down the well. Possible set-up for later studio green-screen shot?   (Photo by Tony Chamberlain)
Setting up the camera rig for filming down the well. Possible set-up for later studio green-screen shot?
(Photo by Tony Chamberlain)

 

Our Agent is caught by the Doctor, so poses as an 'ordinary fan' to get an autograph.   (Photo by Tony Chamberlain)
Our Agent is caught by the Doctor, so poses as an ‘ordinary fan’ to get an autograph.
(Photo by Tony Chamberlain)

 

A special message from the Doctor to the Facebook Doctor Who Missing Episodes Discussion Group.   (Photo by Tony Chamberlain)
A special message from the Doctor to the Facebook Doctor Who Missing Episodes Discussion Group.
(Photo by Tony Chamberlain)

 

+++

As ever we appreciate the efforts of Special Agent Chamberlain 006 in his ongoing mission to find and photograph the Doctor Who production crew going about their filming work. More reports as and when he files them.

Doctor Who Series 9 Set Report

Deep in the heart of urban Cardiff, the production team are hard at work filming the new series of Doctor Who. Today our special agent, known only as Chamberlain 006 and recently parachuted into Cardiff, disguised himself as a local to send us this report from the latest outdoor filming of Series 9….

+++ Report Begins +++

The production team began setting up overnight at Lydstep Flats in Gabalfa, Cardiff, creating a staging area about a mile away. Location set-up began before 9am in the area around the flats (previously used as the Powell Estate in ‘Rose’ and more recently as block containing Clara’s flat in ‘Time of the Doctor’) with 2pm. The team remained on site after 5pm, though whether night filming is involved is currently unknown.

Jenna Colman reading her script (Photo - Tony Chamberlain)
Jenna Colman reading her script
(Photo – Tony Chamberlain)

First spotted was Jenna Colman (Clara), who filmed three scenes involving her entering and leaving the building, while donning and removing a motorcycle helmet. Two separate outfits were worn during these scenes.

Peter Capaldi in costume (Photo - Tony Chamberlain)
Peter Capaldi in costume
(Photo – Tony Chamberlain)

Peter Capaldi (the Doctor) arrived and left in costume, though did not film outside. His scenes were presumably inside the building, and possibly also quite short.

Ingrid Oliver arrives (Photo - Tony Chamberlain)
Ingrid Oliver arrives
(Photo – Tony Chamberlain)

Also in costume were Jemma Redgrave (Kate Stewart) and Ingrid Oliver (Osgood) making these scenes part of the UNIT episodes, most likely the two part story suggested for episodes seven and eight. Like Capaldi, they did not appear to be filming any exterior scenes.

Jemma Redgrave on set (Photo - Tony Chamberlain)
Jemma Redgrave on set
(Photo – Tony Chamberlain)

+++ Report Ends +++

Thanks to our anonymous special operative for that report and the set photos included with it. Great work Tony!

Oops….

“Peace and Long Life” – A Leonard Nimoy Tribute

He had one of the most iconic ‘looks’ of the 1960s and 1970s, seen and recognised around the globe in an age long before the Internet. Quite possibly the most famous actor/character in a television and film series of all time. Played the same character on and off across 47 years, from 1966 to 2013. Leonard Nimoy, despite the title of his 1975 autobiography, was Spock.

Born 26 March 1931 in Boston, Massachusetts, to Ukrainian Jewish parents, his acting C.V. for the 1960s represents the most famous television series of that era. He played guest roles in Bonanza, Rawhide, The Twilight Zone, The Untouchables, Wagon Train, Perry Mason, General Hospital, The Outer Limits, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and The Virginian, as well as the regular role of Paris in 49 episodes of Mission: Impossible. But it was for the half-human, half-Vulcan science officer of the Starship Enterprise in Gene Roddenbury’s ground breaking Star Trek that he will be forever remembered.

“Fascinating!”

Mr Spock in Star Trek (1966-69)
Mr Spock in Star Trek (1966-69)

Nimoy is the only actor to appear in all 80 episodes of the original series of Star Trek (including the first, unaired pilot) and all 22 episodes of Star Trek: The Animated Series. He also played Spock in the first six movies of the franchise, directing two of those (The Search for Spock and The Voyage Home) as well as making guest cameos in the first two movies of the rebooted version. And he appeared in the two-part Star Trek: Next Generation episode Unification, the first original series actor to have a substantial role in the second television incarnation of Star Trek (discounting DeForest Kelley’s brief role at the start of Encounter At Farpoint). He voiced himself/Spock in both The Simpsons and The Big Bang Theory.

Despite his most famous role however, and in line with that fervent wish in the 1970s not to be completely associated with that one part, Nimoy was able to go beyond Spock to create success in other areas. As noted above, virtually as soon as Star Trek finished he moved over to another successful television series, Mission: Impossible, clocking up almost 50 episodes in that. Further guest roles in known as well as minor small screen shows continued until 2012 when he made the last of his eleven appearances as Dr William Bell in Fringe. His deep, baritone voice led to plenty of voice work, including numerous video games in the 21st century, plus Galvatron in the 1986 Transformers Movie and Sentinel Prime in the reboot Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011). He scored a box office hit away from acting when he directed the movie Three Men and a Baby in 1987 and turned his hand to directing music videos with the Bangles hit Going Down to Liverpool (1984).

“I am endeavoring, Madam, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bear skins.”

But it will of course be the defining role of Spock for which he will be most remembered. Building the character through iconic episodes such as The Galileo Seven, Amok Time, Journey to Babel and All Our Yesterdays, Nimoy created a rounded yet still alien performance that touched the viewers on a basic level, stirring in them a sense of understanding and, strangely, humanity. In the hands of a lesser actor Spock could have come across as completely cold and unlikeable, yet somehow this green blooded, pointy eared hobgoblin, as McCoy might have put it, captured the hearts and minds first of a nation, then of the world.

Spock's death scene in The Wrath of Khan
Spock’s death scene in The Wrath of Khan

Part of the triumph of his performance was the on-screen chemistry with his co-stars, especially that with William Shatner. The Kirk/Spock relationship was pivotal to so many episodes and moved on into the film series, with the ending of The Wrath of Khan and the death of Spock an especially moving moment and very well played by all concerned. Until the title of the next movie (The Search for Spock) was announced, many fans openly grieved for the loss of their favourite character.

“I have been, and always shall be, your friend.”

Possibly the most interesting part of Spock’s character was his reliance on logic. For many young fans growing up with the series, this would be their first exposure to logic. Many modern day scientists, not only in America but across the world, claim their interest in the subject came from watching Leonard Nimoy play science officer Spock week in and week out on the television screens of their childhoods. Such an inspirational performance, influencing so many, is to be applauded.

But that is only part of the legacy. Others claim they chose acting, writing, directing and many other professions based upon Star Trek, and to a large degree, the character of Spock. To be able to command such devotion from an audience, that they choose a career path based upon you trading lines of dialogue with other actors in front of a television camera on a weekly basis, shows you are doing something right.

“Insufficient facts always invite danger.”

Basically, Leonard Nimoy was loved by people around the world, both by those who met him and by those who never did. A friendly and affable interviewee, he spent more than sixty years doing what he loved, acting. Be it on television, film, on stage or in the audio/voice over medium, he was never happier than when he was performing.

It could have all been different though. Away from acting he was married twice, had two children and enjoyed writing poetry, singing and was a keen photographer. Excelling in all three of these disciplines, he did consider changing career in the 1970s and becoming a full time photographer after gaining a degree in the subject from the University of California. His numerous fans around the world are no doubt happy he did not pursue this idea and continued with his first love, acting.

“Random chance seems to have operated in our favor.”

On a personal level, I have been aware of Star Trek for most of my life. Born on 1964 (the year of the first pilot, The Cage) my earliest memories are of the fake alien puppet used by Balok in The Corbomite Maneuver. I think this would have been around 1969 at the latest, as I also recall the first Moon landing around the same time. While I consider myself predominantly a Doctor Who fan, I didn’t start watching that until Jon Pertwee’s début the following year, so I actually watched Star Trek first.

Also, I did not realise until around 1973 that the Doctor wasn’t human. However, Spock was obviously an alien and therefore he was my first encounter with a friendly and benevolent non-human aspect in science fiction. The power of Nimoy’s acting was a reassuring presence on the screen, allowing comfort to be drawn from the fact that Spock could sort out any situation that the Enterprise crew found themselves in. He, and they, always won.

“Logic and practical information do not seem to apply here.”

Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Spock Prime (Leonard Nimoy) in Star Trek - Into Darkness
Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Spock Prime (Leonard Nimoy) in Star Trek – Into Darkness

The sad death of Leonard Nimoy on 27 February 2015, aged 83, has been felt around the world. Tributes have poured in on news broadcasts and across all social media platforms. As well as his family and friends, hardcore fans and casual viewers alike will miss him. I will miss him. The word ‘legend’ is used far too often these days, but here it applies.

Leonard Nimoy. Actor. Director. Husband. Father. Icon. Legend. Spock.

He lived long, and prospered.

Pascal Salzmann Timelash Convention Founder Interiew

Pascal Salzmann is one of the organisers of the first German Doctor Who convention, TimeLash, which takes place on the weekend of 24th and 25th October 2015 at the KulturBahnhof facility in the city of Kassel, in the northern Hesse district of Germany. This e-mail interview with Pascal took place on 1st February 2015.

Hi Pascal. Firstly, can you tell me a little bit about how you came to create the first dedicated Doctor Who convention in Germany?

A Doctor Who Convention for Germany has been on my mind for quite a while. In the last few years the popularity of the show increased and after sold-out cinemas at the 50th anniversary I felt the show finally “arrived”. We are now getting DVD releases of the Classic Show and also German translations of the novels, which I heard sell very well. So a Doctor Who convention has always been a No-Brainer to me. There are several other sci-fi/fantasy conventions established in Germany already but when fans asked for actors from Doctor Who they usually got a reply “too niche” for Germany or something along those lines. I never believed that.
I later met Ralf Schmidt at the 50th Anniversary Event in London and found someone who also believed in the idea of a German convention. Also he had experience with the convention scene, as he hosted the “Weekend of Horrors” Convention in Germany. Later Simone Violka joined us and the three of us founded the TimeLash Event organisation.
And the reception we received was amazing from the start. So much that not long after we began to announce details, another huge Con in Germany announced two actors from Doctor Who. I am not sure this would have been possible without the positive reactions we received for the TimeLash.

TimeLash logo

Of the guests announced so far, which one has excited you most?

Although it isn’t my favourite era of the show, I am looking forward to meeting Nicola Bryant. I met her before several times by coincidence but I don’t think she will remember me.
I am also excited to meet Catrin Stewart, who plays the wonderful Jenny Flint. I’m also watching “Stella” right now, so I appreciate her in that show, too.
And I’m also very, very excited for the Doctor-actor. Due to complicated reasons we cannot reveal which Doctor is coming to our event, though we are hoping to announce who that is in a few weeks. I’m sure he will make many fans very happy.

How many guests are still to be announced? And can you give any hints about them?

Well, when we started out developing the convention we planned with three guests. And look where we are now! Our budget is limited, though we have just added Big Finish writer Nev Fountain to the line-up.
Our guest list is finished for now, with the exception of the Doctor.

What are your earliest memories of Doctor Who? Which story or stories got you hooked?

Paradise Towers. I watched it on German television in 1993. I was eleven and it hooked me right from the start. After that I watched Greatest Show in the Galaxy and Curse of Fenric. I then found some German versions of the Target novels in my local library. One of them had a chapter about the history of the show. In 1994 I went to London for the first time in my life and discovered all the wonderful Doctor Who merchandise. Not long after I subscribed to the Doctor Who Magazine and found out about a German fanclub. I think the club had around 15 members back then. But it was great to get together with other fans. Otherwise it could get very lonely as a fan in Germany in the 90’s.

You also set up last year what has become a very successful discussion group of Facebook dedicated to the missing episodes of Doctor Who. Which story would you most like to see returned in full and why?

Oh, there are so many. I especially love The Daleks Masterplan, as it feels really epic and it has so many magic moments: Katarina’s sacrifice, the Sarah Kingdom-arc, her gruesome death. This has to be one of the bravest Doctor Who of the 60’s and I would really love to see it in its entirety.

Tough one I know, but which is best, Classic or New series?

I love them both, for different reasons. Is this reply satisfying enough?

Who is your favourite Doctor? And who is your favourite companion?

These things change for me constantly. Right now Patrick Troughton is my favourite and I really love what Series 8 has done with Clara Oswald as a companion.

Returning to the convention, what aspect of it are you most looking forward to?

We have so much exciting things planned, which will be revealed in the coming weeks. Toby Hadoke will perform one of his shows. I’m very excited for this as I wanted to see him live for years. Never being able to come to the UK when he was touring, I just invited him to Germany. We will also have a Cosplay-Contest with some exciting prizes for the winners.

How much time do you estimate has already gone into the preparation of the TimeLash convention?

Hard to say. Most of my free time in the last few months. We have been preparing the event since September 2014.

What has been the most challenging part of organising TimeLash? And the most fun?

Challenging and fun has been to contact and communicate with all the agencies of the actors. It is something I wasn’t used to, but I think I learned a lot on the way and most of the agencies have been very helpful.
Organising an event like that is always challenging. Every day there are new challenges. But if it was not fun, I wouldn’t do it.

Where can people find out more about TimeLash?

You can find out everything about the TimeLash at our website http://www.timelash-event.de. So far it only exists in German but we are planning to do an English version, too.
If you want to be up-to-date with the latest news, then like our Facebook Page at http://www.facebook.com/timelashevent.
And then there is our Crowdfunding site at Indiegogo: http://igg.me/at/timelash/x. You can pre-order tickets from there. The campaign runs until 12th March 2015.

Pascal Salzmann, thank you very much for your time.

Thank you.