les adventures de Lancelot

Here’s a curio for fans of 1960s ‘Doctor Who’ (i.e. any ‘Who’ fan over twenty-five with a functioning taste gland).

While in Paris for our honeymoon a couple of years ago, we browsed a vast second hand book shop in a covered market. It was the kind of place that, for whatever reason, you don’t see in the UK. Amongst all the filthy Italian horror comics and other oddities I spotted a familiar face:

… William Russell, Ian Chesterton himself. Now, most fans of any vintage will know that Russell was the star of ‘The Adventures of Sir Lancelot’ before starring in ‘Who’. Indeed, as with Matt Smith et al on the back of current ‘Who’ books, Russell is credited by name at the front of this French tie-in book:

As ‘Who’ has never been big in France, it’s interesting to see that one of it’s initial stars was well-known enough to have his face plastered over a kids tie-in storybook in the late 1950s/early 1960s.

There was a DVD release of ‘Lancelot’ a few years back, some of you may even have seen it. I’m seriously doubting that it had the kind of action this book’s illustrations suggest:

Pretty dynamic, huh? My suspicion is that most of the show was more like a bunch of actors standing around in a small TV studio.

Finally, it’s good to know that even when playing Lancelot, Russell still had Ian’s frankly awesome haircut:

I don’t know much French, but I’m glad we found this book, physical confirmation that William Russell was a global star five decades before the current ‘Who’ team started doing premiere events in New York, as well as a charmingly straightforward TV tie-in from long ago.


June 8, 2011. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. Comments off.

Millennium: ‘The Curse of Frank Black’

Halloween is a holiday that has never really settled in over here in the UK, but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate what the Americans see in it when it recurs in film and TV.

To mark the occasion, last night I watchged the Millennium episode ‘The Curse of Frank Black’, in which Frank spends the night of 31 October seeing demons, ghosts and the possibility of a future as a bitter loner, eventually taking his own life. There are minor characters, spirits and costumed kids, but this is mainly a one-man show for Lance Henricksen as he wanders the streets, pestered by visions, his own memories and a plague of minor annoyances designed to drive him over the edge. Henricksen is great in this one, doing very little but with a subtle feeling of disquiet building in Frank throughout.

Frank is a man alone, every contact with another person a reminder of his isolation. The whole episode twists suburbia and the mundane into something more sinister, while at the same time emphasising that to see the sinister in normality is to risk going off the rails, becoming the weird guy the kids in the street talk about.

The second season of Millennium is a real oddity, a demonstration of what a couple of slightly pissed off writer/producers can do with a show when cut loose and devoid of any real sense of responsibility. The box set is well worth buying, for ‘Curse’ as a whole lot of other crazy, memorable episodes.


November 1, 2006. Tags: , . Uncategorized. Comments off.