Foreign Countries Christmas Special: K-9 and Company: A Girl’s Best Friend (1981)

Spin off TV programmes can be a difficult sell, they rely on the success of their parent programme to be born but must serve a different purpose to survive on their own. Secondary characters need to be capable of stepping up to lead and like any other programme the central premise must be strong enough. … Continue reading Foreign Countries Christmas Special: K-9 and Company: A Girl’s Best Friend (1981)

Foreign Countries #14: Late Night Horror: The Corpse Can’t Play (1968)

Paddy Russell's death on 2 November saw the end of one of television's true pioneers, the first female floor manager at the BBC and the first woman to direct Doctor Who. You can read Toby Hadoke's obituary for Paddy in The Guardian here. She cut her teeth under legendary television producer and director Rudolph Cartier on … Continue reading Foreign Countries #14: Late Night Horror: The Corpse Can’t Play (1968)

Foreign Countries #13: The Orchard End Murder (1980)

Visiting a cinema's rubbish these days isn't it? By 'cinema' I of course mean the 'civilian cinema' of  a multiplex or similar. This rather snobbish observation reflects the barrage of adverts and mind draining trailers one sits through before the film starts and having to share the auditorium with any number of patrons who display … Continue reading Foreign Countries #13: The Orchard End Murder (1980)

Land of weather forecasts and breakfasts that set in #2: Ghost Stories (2017)

  Early on in this blog I remarked that short form is probably the best way to tell a ghost story, it spares the need for an explanation that always seems to disappoint, but of course a short film is not so much of an attractive proposition for film distributors and cinemas. Thus the portmanteau … Continue reading Land of weather forecasts and breakfasts that set in #2: Ghost Stories (2017)

Foreign Countries #12: The Woman in Black (1989)

Nigel Kneale had an impressive career. Interviewed by the BBC when he died, Mark Gatiss referred to him as the man who invented popular television and it's a sentiment that's hard to argue with. His collaborations with Rudolph Cartier brought about the first adult science fiction for television with The Quatermass Experiment (1953), The Year … Continue reading Foreign Countries #12: The Woman in Black (1989)

Foreign Countries #11: The Frighteners: The Manipulators (1972)

Sure, Flash Gordon (1980) and Morons from Outer Space (1985) may only ever been seen as cult favourites but when you mention Mike Hodges, there's usually one film you think of, and it stars Michael Caine........ Get Carter's uncompromising style and informal camera work betrays Hodges' background in TV documentary. But when it comes to … Continue reading Foreign Countries #11: The Frighteners: The Manipulators (1972)

Land of weather forecasts and breakfasts that set in #1: God’s Own Country (2017)

First in an occasional series looking at forthcoming British films, starting here with Francis Lee's debut feature, God's Own Country. The British farming industry's certainly going though a purple patch at the moment, although sadly only on film. There's Clio Barnard's forthcoming Dark River to look foward to and Hope Dickson Leach's superb recent feature … Continue reading Land of weather forecasts and breakfasts that set in #1: God’s Own Country (2017)