Friends, firstly apologies for not keeping the updates coming. 

The last two and a bit years have been turbulent and distressing for everyone and I hope this message finds you all well. While Brexit, Covid and the war in Ukraine have surely impacted on us all, I have been keeping myself busy working on several freelance commissions and thought it was time for an update.

THE BLACK ARCHIVE: KINDA (Obverse Books - forthcoming. Due December 2022)

Just as Covid restricted us all to working from home or furlough or no job at all, I was in the middle of researching and writing for the forthcoming Obverse Books Black Archive on Kinda. It's a particular favourite of mine from Season 19 of Doctor Who. After publishing the book about Warriors' Gate in 2019, I fancied the challenge of writing about what has come to be regarded, despite its flaws, as one of the most intriguing stories in the canon. At this stage, I don't want to say much about the book. The research at BBC Written Archives, after much delay because of Covid, was completed in August last year but that was the icing on a particular cake in terms of where this book led me and the new insights I've been provided with. 

With Obverse switching back to a bi-monthly publication schedule after the book was commissioned, I had a generous amount of time to write and I hope the results will have been worth it. The current manuscript is now with my editor at Obverse and I have no doubt we'll be going through that in due course as we hit the run-up to publication this year. I'm quietly excited for this one.

ROBIN HOOD AT HAMMER: Two Tales From Sherwood Forest (Due for release in August 2022)

I'm currently putting the final touches to an essay for the book that will accompany Indicator's forthcoming Blu-ray release of Hammer's Sword of Sherwood Forest and A Challenge for Robin Hood, the two films featuring the quintessentially British character that the studio made in the 1960s.

From Indicator's site:

"For 1960’s Sword of Sherwood Forest, Richard Greene (The Blood of Fu Manchu, The Castle of Fu Manchu) reprises the role he made famous in the classic television series The Adventures of Robin Hood. Directed by Terence Fisher (The Gorgon, The Revenge of Frankenstein), and starring Peter Cushing (The Devil’s Men, Corruption) as the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham, the film sees Robin Hood thwart a plot to assassinate the Archbishop of Canterbury (Jack Gwillm, Jason and the Argonauts, The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb). The film also boasts an uncredited early role for Oliver Reed (The System, The Damned).

In 1967’s A Challenge for Robin Hood, Barrie Ingham (The Day of the Jackal) dons the Lincoln green as he and his merrie men hide out in Sherwood Forest after his cousin (Peter Blythe, Frankenstein Created Woman) frames him for murder. This action-packed adventure features acting support from Gay Hamilton (Barry Lyndon, The Duellists) and Leon Greene (Adventures of a Private Eye, Adventures of a Plumber’s Mate).

This 2-disc Limited Edition set contains a double-sided poster, an 80-page book, and extensive new and archival extra features, including the much-loved Children’s Film Foundation film Robin Hood Junior (1975), starring Keith Chegwin (Multi-Coloured Swap Shop, Cheggers Plays Pop) as the diminutive hero."


Back in September 2021 it was also a pleasure to be asked to review BBC Studios Blu-ray release of the animated The Evil of the Daleks for DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE issue 570, which hit the stands last October. 

My thanks to the team for asking me to contribute to a magazine I've been reading since it first appeared as a Marvel weekly in 1979. The Evil of the Daleks is also a firm favourite so it was serendipitous that my first contribution was an opportunity to review its animated reincarnation.

HAMMER VOLUME SIX: Night Shadows - Limited Edition (Released June 2021)

I completed a further commission for Indicator's box set release last summer and wrote the essay for the booklet accompanying the Blu-ray edition of Hammer's Captain Clegg for this release. It was a great opportunity to write about a Hammer film I had such a soft spot for and I spent some time researching the life and times of Russell Thorndyke, the author of the original books that Hammer's Captain Clegg was inspired by and to understand where the character of Clegg originated.

"Hammer Volume Six: Night Shadows revives four consummate Hammer classics from the early sixties, exemplifying some of Hammer's best work in the horror and thriller genres. Edgar Allan Poe looms large in The Shadow of the Cat, a macabre ‘old dark house’ tale of feline revenge, starring AndrĂ© Morell (Cash on Demand) and Barbara Shelley (The Camp on Blood Island); Peter Cushing (The GorgonCorruption) and Oliver Reed (The Scarlet Blade) star in Captain Clegg, which sees Hammer fuse horror and adventure in an eighteenth-century-set tale of smugglers and marsh phantoms; Herbert Lom (Mysterious Island) stars as The Phantom of the Opera in Hammer’s acclaimed production of Gaston Leroux’s Gothic classic, whilst Freddie Francis (Torture Garden) directs Nightmare, a spooky psychological thriller in the Les Diaboliques vein, which benefits from full-blooded central performances by Moira Redmond (Jigsaw) and Jennie Linden (A Severed Head). 

This collection contains a wealth of new and archival extra features, including documentaries and appreciations, interviews with actors and crew members, audio commentaries, and extensive booklets. Strictly limited to 6,000 numbered units." 

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