31 August 2012

My Life As A Dalek

From the murky depths of the Ripping Yarns t_ape archive comes My Life As A Dalek, just in time to mark the fascistic pepper-pots triumphant return to our screens this weekend. This half hour programme was originally broadcast in 2003, towards the end of the Doctor Who dark ages. It's all a bit of a luvvie-in and quite right too.
"Mark Gatiss peeks below the skirts of Dr Who's most feared adversary to celebrate their 40-year reign of galactic tea-time terror. It is an affectionate tribute on the 40th anniversary of the first appearance of the Daleks, Dr Who's celebrated pepper-pot adversaries.

Mark talks to the many men and women who donned the tin headgear and those who created and styled the arch-enemy of the man from Gallifrey. My Life As A Dalek traces their history. Mark hears from actors, designers, creators, fans and enemies of the Daleks who reveal inside stories about their monstrous appearances from the planet Skaro.

Ridley Scott was originally commissioned to design the Dalek but he turned the job down and went on to become a blockbuster film director. Writer Terry Nation's original notion was to see the Daleks as "futuristic slave traders" crossing the galaxy and capturing other creatures to act as their agents.

Roy Skelton was the voice of the Daleks for 20 years and employed numerous radiophonic tricks to make the "exterminate" the perfect grating cry.

Producer Verity Lambert talks about the moment when BBC executives nearly turned the Dalek design down on the grounds that it was "just another bug-eyed monster" and sci-fi writer Kim Newman talks about its fascist overtones.

There are interviews with actors Terry Malloy who played the role of Davros, Dalek operators John Scott-Martin and Cy Town, Frazer Hines, Alexei Sayle and Rula Lenska.

29 August 2012

The Lost Episodes

Archive On 4: Doctor Who, The Lost Episodes. "Shaun Ley investigates what happened to 108 missing episodes of Doctor Who from the 1960s, why the tapes were wiped and how dedicated fans hunted down copies of other episodes in film collections from Cyprus to New Zealand. And while we may have lost those early programmes, Shaun hears how home recordings ensured all the audio survived." 

This fascinating radio feature includes interviews and conversations with '60's era Doctor's assistants Peter Purves, Pauline Collins and composer/sound designer/Radiophonic Workshop archivist Mark Ayres amongst other familiar voices.

26 August 2012

"There can be no great accomplishment without risk."

Neil Alden Armstrong (1930 - 2012)

Do your blood pressure a good turn and please refrain clicking on all that pathetic "faked moon landing" conspiracy nonsense linking from this clip.

19 August 2012

The Bermuda Triangle Incident

The Bermuda Triangle Incident is an X-Files era boys own adventure story. It's about an incident that takes place in the... where was it again? Not saying any more, wouldn't want to spoil it. Written by Doctor Who script writer/editor and popular childrens author in his own right, Terrance Dicks. I recall being in quarantine with the chicken pox and whiling away the hours with a stack of Terrance Dicks' Target Doctor Who novelizations from the library. Good times, if more than a little itchy. 

This post comes courtesy long-time friend of the blog Herr Döktor, who sent this audio-book my way for the ripping thereof.

15 August 2012

Harry Harrison's The Technicolor Time Machine

Very sad to read of the passing of yet another SF hero today, but what a fantastic and enjoyable body of work he has left us. As a young reader I loved such stories as The Men From P.I.G and R.O.B.O.T, Bill The Galactic Hero and of course Slippery Jim DiGriz aka The Stainless Steel Rat. Currently on the "to read" shelf I've a copy of Harrison's A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah! (aka Tunnel Through The Deeps) a steampunk/alt. history novel published a good 20 years or so before the sub-genre was first pigeonholed.

Technicolor Time Machine cover art by the great Bruce Pennington

The Saturday Play: The Technicolour Time Machine (1981). Harry Harrison's fun tale of desperate movie moguls, airheaded Hollywood starlets, brawny Vikings and the time machine that brings them all together.

All credit to the original uploader. dl

You can also listen to the rather excellent, BBC Radiophonic LP version of Bill The Galactic Hero here.

14 August 2012

A Sound British Adventure

This week's listening recommendations are twofold:

1:A Sound British Adventure.

"Comedian Stewart Lee is passionate about electronic music and he takes us on a remarkable musical journey. We discover how, after the Second World War, a small group of electronic pioneers began tinkering with their army surplus kit to create new sounds and music.
Tristram Cary started the first electronic music studio in Britain but, while France, Germany, Italy and the USA had lavishly funded research centres, British electronic music remained the preserve of boffins on a budget.
As the programme reveals, this make do and mend approach prevailed long after austerity Britain had given way to the swinging 60s, with Peter Zinovieff developing EMS synthesizers from a shed at the bottom of his garden in Putney. (Paul McCartney put on his wellies and took a look). Zinovieff is interviewed about his experiments in sound.
Unsurprisingly, the electronic community in Britain was a small, intimate group and joining Cary and Zinovieff was Daphne Oram, who devoted decades to developing a 'drawn sound' electronic composition system that never really quite worked.
Brian Hodgson tells us about 1960s experimental and electronic festivals, including The Million Volt Light and Sound Rave (1967) at which The Beatles' electronic piece Carnival Of Light had its only public airing. We shall also hear how the radiophonic workshop broke new musical ground with Dr. Who.
Experts in the history of electronic music, including author and musician Mark Ayres and Goldsmith College lecturer in computer studies Dr. Michael Grierson give the boffins' view and Portishead's Adrian Utley explains why the early forays in electronics are still relevant today.

2:Book at Bedtime: The Greatcoat.

"A new ghost story from Helen Dunmore set during and after the Second World War, about the power of the past to imprint itself on the present, and possess it.

10 August 2012


Brian Aldiss Presents: Imposter. Philip K Dick's paranoid tale is read by Peter Marinker.
"Spence Olham is confronted by a colleague and accused of being an android impostor designed to sabotage Earth’s defences. The impostor’s ship was damaged and has crashed just outside the city. The android is supposed to detonate a planet destroying bomb on the utterance of a deadly code phrase. Olham must escape and prove his innocence, providing he is actually Spence Olham.
First published in Astounding Science Fiction June 1953 issue.