Interview with Kate Knight

Having recently joined in with the Moseley improv scene, it was suggested I write an article for B13 magazine. For research, I interviewed Kate Knight of the Box of Frogs and Kneejerks et al. I met Kate on a pleasant Tuesday evening for a chat about comedy, drama, the improv, and here’s the full interview.

Edited transcript

Could you tell me a little bit about your background, and your relationship to comedy growing up?

Ooh OK! Right from, right from the start? Continue reading “Interview with Kate Knight”

Philip Martin

The writer Philip Martin has died. Probably best known for the 1970s TV play and later series ‘Gangsters’, which was set and filmed in Birmingham, ‘Gangsters’ stands up today partly as social commentary and partly as an exemplar of non-realist TV drama somewhere between Patrick McGoohan and Dennis Potter.

He subsequently wrote two rather idiosyncratic, very political and satirical Doctor Who stories of the mid-1980s, and in a strong field was probably the best new writer for the series in that decade. Martin, while taking Doctor Who in new and bravely uncomfortable directions, impressed fans at the time as a possible successor to Robert Holmes. Certainly of the 80s writers he was closest to Holmes’ style and approach to the series. Vengeance on Varos, his first Doctor Who story, satirised reality TV years before it was even invented, and features outstanding guest performances from Nabil Shaban and Martin Jarvis. Its sequel a year later seemed to inspire director Ron Jones to create some powerfully surreal, dramatic and moving moments of television, with strong performances from Nicola Bryant, Brian Blessed and Colin Baker. Nicola Bryant tweeted her tribute:

Martin went on to write for the excellent 1987 sf drama series Star Cops with the episode This Case To Be Opened In A Million Years, which gave us some of the best character moments for the protagonist Nathan Spring battling his demons – and the mafia – in Venice and on the Moon.

Philip Martin was a visionary, offbeat writer and deserves to be remembered as a legend for his contribution to British TV drama.

RIP Philip Martin 1938 – 2020

Old Wine in New Skins

Thoughts on re-presentations of vintage Doctor Who

In the run-up to Doctor Who’s sixtieth anniversary last month, two announcements in particular took this fan somewhat by surprise. Firstly, accompanying the release of the bulk of 20th century episodes onto the UK’s publicly-funded streaming service BBC iPlayer, came a brand new spin-off series exclusive to that platform: Tales of The Tardis.

Secondly, the BBC confirmed the rumour that early black and white episodes of the series might be colourised for broadcast. Rumours initially suggested An Unearthly Child, the first story, would get this treatment, but certain rights issues prevented it from making it onto iPlayer at all. Unbowed, Auntie Beeb commissioned a colourised, edited, and enhanced edition (a “cosmic makeover” according to the press release) of the second Doctor Who – and first Dalek – story, the seven-part serial usually known as The Daleks.

To mark the anniversary I’ll share my thoughts on these matters, dipping into the now public archive of vintage Doctor Who, and explore some of the issues around presenting them in new ways. Another surprise was the inclusion in the iPlayer release of animated versions of missing Doctor Who episodes, and I’ll begin by discussing one of these.

Continue reading “Old Wine in New Skins”