Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Graceless on the wireless

All this week, BBC Radio 4 Extra are broadcasting my original sci-fi series Graceless. You can listen to each episode, for free, on iPlayer up to a week after broadcast. Here are some handy links to each episode:

1.1 The Sphere
1.2 The Fog
1.3 The End
2.1 The Line
2.2 The Flood
2.3 The Dark

Abby and Zara were created to search for the missing pieces of the Key to Time. But having completed their mission, they're on their own in a universe that can be dangerous and unpredictable... They have special powers - they can teleport anywhere or when, and they can get into people's heads. But more often than not, that only gets them into more trouble...

The series stars Ciara Janson, Laura Doddington and Fraser James, with a guest cast including Colin Spaull, Patricia Brake, David Warner, Michael Keating, Derek Griffiths, Michael Cochrane, Joanna Van Gyseghem and Susan Brown.

You can also buy both series from Big Finish, as well as Abby and Zara's earlier adventures in the TARDIS. Speaking of which, here's a lovely illustration for that first adventure that Brian Williamson (yes, the chap who does AAAGH!) produced for Doctor Who Magazine. Cor.
Artwork from the Judgement of Isskar by Brian Williamson
Ice Warriors, the Fifth Doctor and Amy in
The Judgement of Isskar
Art by Brian Williamson
I'm busy writing series three of Graceless at the moment, which should be released next year.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

50 Kisses - longlist

Delighted to have made the longlist for the London Screenwriters' Festival's 50 Kisses competition. Mine is one of the 508 of 1,870 two-page scripts to get through the first stage, with the winning 50 announced at the end of the month.

The wheeze is that the 50 winning two-page scripts (each one set on Valentine's Day and including a kiss) will get made in August and September, and then a 100-minute movie of all of them stuck together is released on Valentine's Day 2013. A great idea, and good fun to write - however my one ends up doing.

Very pleased to see chums Natasha Phelan and Eddie Robson also get longlisted. And is that the Neil Penswick who wrote Doctor Who novel The Pit?

ETA: Made the shortlist of 100! Thrilled. Didn't win, but congratulations to all those who did. You can read - and make - the winning 50 screenplays.

Friday, July 13, 2012

AAAGH! The Big Clonk!

The second part of the AAAGH! story that began last week. This one featured in Doctor Who Adventures #276 and may owe a little to 2010 episode The Big Bang.

As ever, the script is by me, the art by Brian Williamson and the editing by Natalie Barnes and Paul Lang - who gave kind permission for me to post it here. Paul - who came up with AAAGH! in the first place - is leaving Doctor Who Adventures. Thank you for everything.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Plotters - a new film by the Guerrier brothers

"The Plotters" is now up on the Virgin Media Shorts website. Please retweet (with "The Plotters" and the hashtag #ShortsLucky13), share, generally shout to the world...

I'll do a full making-of post when I have some time (that will likely not be until the year 2150 AD), but here is a full cast and crew:

"The Plotters"
Written by Adrian Mackinder and Simon Guerrier
Based on an idea by Adrian Mackinder and Hannah George

Directed by Thomas Guerrier

Produced by the Guerrier brothers

Adrian Mackinder - Guy Fawkes
Barnaby Edwards - Robert Keyes
Nicholas Pegg - Robert Wintour
Will Howells - Ambrose Rookwood
John Dorney - Robert Catesby
William Hughes - Thomas Wintour
Jonathan Hearn - John Wright
Anthony Keetch - Everard Digby
Dominic Fitch - The Interrogator
Simon Guerrier - Policeman

DOP: Sebastian Solberg
Gaffer: Oliver Watts

1st AD: Natasha Phelan

Art Department: Simon Aaronson and Gemma Rigg

Make-Up: Chantell Jeanetta

Visual Effects Supervisor: Alex Mallinson

Colourist: Otto Burnham

Sound Design: Matt Snowden

Music: Matthew Cochrane

Costumes supplied by Angels


Piers Beckley
Adrian Bentley
Håvar Ellingsen
Charlotte Lungley
Jéanine Palmer

Filmed on location at the Jerusalem Tavern, London, 2012.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

The AAAGH! of Fang Rock

The AAAGH! of Fang Rock, Doctor Who Adventures #275 by Simon Guerrier and Brian Williamson

Something special for AAAGH! in issue #275 of Doctor Who Adventures - the first of a two-part adventure! It owes a smidgen to The Horror of Fang Rock - one of my favourite Doctor Who stories ever. You can learn more about Rutans on the official Doctor Who website.

As always, the script is by me, the art by Brian Williamson and the editing by Natalie Barnes and Paul Lang - who gave kind permission for me to post it here. You can also read all my AAAGH!s. Next time: the conclusion!

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Bidisha on Palestine

Beyond the Wall – Writing a Path Through Palestine is a short, haunting account of a trip Bidisha made there last year. I read it in an afternoon, unable to put it down.

From the rigours of even getting into the occupied territory, to the settlements that literally overlook the old market and rain sewage down on to it, to the starkness of the $3.5 billion wall enclosing the land, “the majority of it paid for by international donors” (p. 65), the glimpses are evocative and linger in the mind. The world and worldviews described are so rich and strange and eerie it feels almost like supremely crafted sci-fi.

Having read her newspaper columns (and worked with her on a documentary about black actors in Doctor Who), I'd expected Bidisha to be a bit more, well, vociferous. Yet the overall sense is of careful negotiation through a complex tangle of competing interests.
“[Ghada Karmi] explains the occupation's corruption of both its victims and its perpetrators, its generation of obsessive behaviours the acts of violence and destruction which can never be taken back and the ceaseless toxic back-and-forth of attrition. What should be feared are not just the actions of one authority and its weapons but the wider poison of these cycles, endlessly regurgitated, of grievance, frustration, claustrophobia, desperate uprising and vicious suppression, abuse and perpetual inter-reaction. I would add, too, that the saddest thing in all this is the life that Palestinian children must live, one of fear, pain, limitation and, as they get older, cynicism, despair, anger and (potentially) vengefulness.” 
Bidisha, Beyond the Wall – Writing a Path Through Palestine, pp. 110-111. 
That link offers another good quotation on the strategy of occupation. True, she's forthright in citing a breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and has no time for the settlers, but she takes pains to critique both sides of the divide. You can feel her frustration at the position of women in Palestine. A trip to a school is telling, with large numbers of women taking classes but few willing to speak, and no women in the school management. There's fury, too, at the blatant sexism and misogyny, and horror when it comes from the British men in her own tour group.

But this momentary anger serves to highlight her general restraint, the plain style of reporting all the more effective without comment. Not easy or offering answers, but a compelling read. 

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Horsing Around with Alan Cumming

A photostory from the Jackie annual '84, featuring a talking horse and Alan Cumming.

Horsing Around photo story from Jackie annual '84, starring Alan Cumming 1

Horsing Around photo story from Jackie annual '84, starring Alan Cumming 2

Horsing Around photo story from Jackie annual '84, starring Alan Cumming 3

Horsing Around photo story from Jackie annual '84, starring Alan Cumming 4

Horsing Around photo story from Jackie annual '84, starring Alan Cumming 5