Eric and Ernie had high hopes of breaking into the fresh new medium of television -they felt that they were 'right' for it. So when the critics slaughtered 'Running Wild' their confidence took quite a battering. At the end of the run of six fortnightly shows they returned to the stage to do what they did best - perform in front of a live audience.
Published in Film Archive
On the 25th December 1977 over 28 million people tuned in to a television show that had become a national institution. As much a part of Christmas as the Queen's Speech, Turkey and Plum Pudding, Morecambe and Wise's Christmas Day Special was an event not to be missed. Like most success stories this kind of adoration didn't come overnight. In Morecambe and Wise's case took more than thirty years of hard work, setbacks and refining their act to evolve a style that was quite unique. An act that twelve years after the death of Eric Morecambe, had television viewers voting for them as the Best Light Entertainment Performers of all time. This is their story...
Published in Film Archive
Mickey Rooney 3

© Words Dennis Munday. Ronchi Dei Legionari, Gorizia, Italy

When the ‘pint’ sized Mickey Rooney died on April 6, 2014, it was truly the end of an era. Rooney was born Joe Yule Jr. on September 23, 1920, the son of vaudeville performers Joe Yule and Nell Carter. He first appeared on stage as part of the family act, at the age of 17 months, playing a mouth organ. They were divorced when Rooney was seven, and when his parents separated in 1924, his mother took
him off to Hollywood.
Published in Film Archive
Sid James 22.

© Words Laurence Marcus


Tony Hancock had been appearing in just such a radio, 'All-Star Bill', when the series producer, Roy Speer was taken ill. His replacement, Dennis Main Wilson, unhappy with the shows content, enlisted the writing talents of two relatively unknown, but talented newcomers, Ray Galton and Alan Simpson. Then in 1953, Galton and Simpson, knowing that the BBC were anxious to give Hancock his own starring vehicle, came up with the concept of a rather pompous character who would hold court in a bed-sit somewhere in London. The show would be centred around the character's hopes and misadventures, and would star other comedians but be devoid of catchphrases, silly voices or musical numbers.
Published in Film Archive
/Sid James 1.j

© Words Laurence Marcus.
With his battered features, wicked leer and possibly the most recognisable laugh in show business, Sid James appeared to the world as a streetwise Cockney ex-heavyweight boxer, an image that he actively encouraged because he knew that it would endear him to millions of fans worldwide. But Sid was no more an East End boy than he was a fighter. "Nobody could ever think of me as a star, " Sid once said. " All I can do is play myself." But being 'himself' was all he needed, because Sid James was loved by millions worldwide, and when he tragically died on stage at the Sunderland Empire on 26th April 1976, the world lost a unique talent.
Published in Film Archive
Monday, 24 March 2014 21:00

Frankenstein The True Story

Michael Sarrazin Frankenstein The True Story.
© Words Matteo Sedazzari

Frankenstein The True Story made in 1973, directed by Jack Smight, a veteran of TV movies and shows (The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Arrest and Trial, The Sound of Miles Davis) and cinema (The Illustrated Man, Kaleidoscope ,The Third Day).   Much of Smight’s work is focused on the psychology of the central actors, and how circumstances affected their actions and decisions. This is certainly the case with Frankenstein The True Story, made for TV, yet with such picturesque settings, dramatic sound track and strong performances, Frankenstein The True Story could easily have been released for the cinema.
Published in Film Archive
Saturday, 15 February 2014 12:51

Dave Allen Part Two of Two

/Dave Allen 20.j

© Words Laurence Marcus.

When the series was screened on BBC2 the critics heaped praise on it finding David's story-telling hilarious and the new technique of using the filmed sequences an exciting innovation. In spite of Dave Allen's reputation for controversial material this first series took great pains to avoid anything crude or vulgar. True, he did take a side-swipe at religion and other sacred subjects but the only complaint that the first show had was not from a viewer.
Published in Film Archive
Sunday, 02 February 2014 14:14

Dave Allen Part One of Two

Dave Allen 1

© Words Laurence Marcus.
David Tynan O'Mahony was born on 6th July 1936 in Dublin. He later changed his name to Dave Allen on advice from his agent who felt that his given name was 'unpronounceable'. However, that didn't hold back other members of the O'Mahony family of whom his grandmother, Nora O'Mahony edited Freeman's Journal, a publication that could boast W.B. Yeats among it's contributors, and his cousin, Eoin O'Mahony, a respectable barrister and something of a wandering scholar, who was affectionately given the nickname of 'The Pope', because one day when he was asked what he wanted to be -that's what he replied.
Published in Film Archive
Saturday, 21 December 2013 16:29

The Edgar Wallace Mysteries

The Edgar Wallace Mysteries 1.j
© Words Matteo Sedazzari
Loosely based on the works of writer Edgar Wallace (1st April 1875 – 10th February 1932) who covered many genres from crime to historical fiction, and began his career writing songs and poems at the close of the 19th  century before establishing himself as a fiction writer.  He even worked on the screen play for King Kong in 1932 before his unexpected death.  If he had lived it looked like he would have broken into the US. 
Published in Film Archive
Thursday, 26 September 2013 18:08

Private Walker of Dad’s Army Changed My Life

/Private Walker Dads Army James Beck 1
© Words Matteo Sedazzari

Like many of my generation, the BBC situation comedy Dad’s Army was prime time viewing during the mid-seventies.  A show about the British Home Guard, a collection of volunteers doing their best  at a British coastal town to prevent a Nazi invasion during wartime Britain. The volunteers were usually too old to join the army, hence the common nickname Dad’s Army.
Published in Film Archive
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