Wednesday, June 23, 2010


A Manchester legend has died. There was nobody else like him. Surreal, daft, side-splittingly funny, and only 54 years old. He launched his World Cup song recently - 'Three Shirts On My Line'. Very very sad.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Photo: L-R Lisa Howard, Adam Barlow, Kenneth Alan Taylor and Jo Mousley


Oldham Coliseum Theatre until 10th July 2010

Review by Brian Gorman

William Woodruff’s bestselling memoir of a poverty-stricken childhood in post WW1 Blackburn finds an ideal home on the stage of Oldham Coliseum, and is a perfect piece to herald the much anticipated return of actor Kenneth Alan Taylor; this is his first theatrical role since recovering from a heart attack a year ago. The real life drama added much poignancy to the depiction of an elderly Woodruff narrating the story of his childhood years, and Mr Taylor gave a masterly performance full of restless, even youthful, energy demonstrating a genuine love of the subject matter. Young ‘Billy’ Woodruff was born during World War One when his mother gave birth on a woolsack whilst working in one of the many cotton mills in Blackburn. The story follows the first twenty or so years of our young hero’s life as the family struggle to make ends meet, and the cast play a bewildering variety of characters. Kenneth Alan Taylor holds everything together as the mature Woodruff visiting his old hometown in, what appeared to be, the late 1970s, and finding that most of the places he remembers have now been demolished, but the memories of the people and events remain strong. This is a very colourful production, rich in character, charm, and showcasing a very talented cast in a variety of challenging roles. Adam Barlow is superb as Billy, aging from a small child to a young man very effectively indeed. Robin Simpson was delightful as Billy’s best pal, Harold, using skillful body language to conjure up a believable young rogue, constantly adjusting his ‘bits and pieces’. Simpson also gave us a wonderfully comic Salvation Army bigamist, and almost stole the show as an upper-class character who reminded me of the late, great Leonard Rossiter. John Elkington played Billy’s father as a solid northern patriarch, determined to provide for his family, and loathe to accept any form of charity when losing his job at the mill. A contrasting role for Elkington was as Mr Grimshaw, Billy’s pedantic and charm free employer; a fabulously comical character one could imagine popping up in tv’s ‘Little Britain’. Lisa Howard as Billy’s mother also played Grandmother Bridget, and had many heartbreaking scenes to play, carrying them off beautifully. Unfortunately, with so many characters on display, it’s hard for me to recognize who was playing who at times (and yes, I did read the programme; but no, it doesn’t list every character). Whoever played The Salvation Army lady was outstanding at berating the audience on the evils of liquor, and I apologise for not being able to name her here (write to me, ma’am!). Christopher Chilton was yet another actor able to showcase his dramatic and comic talents in a variety of roles including the amiable Gordon Weall, a staggering drunk singing ‘Nelly Dean’, and a firebrand communist who comes to a sticky end beneath the hooves of a Police horse. Director Kevin Shaw has a strong hand on the rudder, and, as he showed us in last month’s fantastic production of ‘The Memory Of Water’, can handle tears and laughter with the surest of touches. There is always the danger of a story like this lapsing into parody, but at no time did Kevin Shaw and his company seek to patronize their audience. There is a real atmosphere at Oldham Coliseum, and it was clear from Kenneth Alan Taylor’s curtain call speech that respect is paramount here. Kudos too to Philip Goulding for adapting Woodruff’s book for the stage in this, its premiere production. Goulding successfully weaves a fascinating tale of a young boy’s life, his aims and ambitions, and the tough times of local mill workers’ lives, and presents us with a vibrant, life-enhancing story filled with every human emotion. There are also musical moments with John Elkington on ukulele, and the cast singing old favourites such as ‘Danny Boy’; what more could you ask for?!


Photo: Sue Devaney and Andrew Dunn


Manchester Palace Theatre until 26th June

Review by Brian Gorman (Originally written for

I really wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy this at all. I love Victoria Wood, but never fancied watching her tv sit-com (’Dinnerladies’). It all looked far too cosy for me. Well, I missed out, didn’t I? She’s a clever one, our Victoria (I can call her ours, as she’s a local lass; born in Prestwich), and there are quite a few dark moments among the primary colours in this stage version adapted from the tv scripts by David Graham, who also directs, for The Comedy Theatre Company. Set in the kitchen of a Manchester factory canteen, this is the bittersweet love story of Bren (Laura Sheppard uncannily channeling Ms Wood herself) and Tony (Andrew Dunn successfully recreating the role he played on tv). Encouraged to ‘get it on’ by their work colleagues, their road to happiness seems to be eternally blocked by various misunderstandings (both comic and tragic), the misadventures of Bren’s deluded mother Petula (Tamsin Heatley; absolutely hilarious in the Julie Walters part), and Bren’s despairingly low self esteem. The characters are largely female, middle-aged, and working class, and the laughs vary from simple one-liners to borderline slapstick. Sue Devaney, who also starred in the television version, again plays the common-as-muck Jane in what can only be described as ‘broad terms’. But such is the good humoured warmth of Wood’s writing, that we can forgive some of the eye-rolling, pantomime performances and simply enjoy a superbly crafted production that has something for everybody. Barrie Palmer’s Stan, the grumpy old handyman, delivers a very touching poem about his father, that is both poignant and appalling in equal measures. Sarah Head takes on the part of Human Resources manager Philippa, and creates a suitably silly little madam with a heart of gold. Gay Lambert as Dolly, and Stella Ross as Jean are a beautiful double act with their constant bickering, while Carrie Whitton as the slovenly Twinkle, and Roya Amiri as the dim-witted Anita, round out a first rate ensemble. Laura Sheppard holds everything together, and has perfected Victoria Wood’s voice, body language and delivery to a tee, and her scenes with the outrageous Petula are utterly fabulous. I must also mention Peter Brad-Leigh as Bob, who pops up briefly and milks every single line for all it’s worth; give this man his own show, somebody!
David Graham’s direction is spot on, and this is a lovely, feelgood piece of unashamedly old-fashioned, and unfashionable theatre. The cast seem to be thoroughly enjoying themselves throughout, and every character has life. Wood is a very generous writer, and everybody gets their chance to shine. Some, in the case of Peter Brad-Leigh, simply dazzle!

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Photo: Simon Harrison (as John Worthing), Russell Dixon (Lady Bracknell), and Natalie Grady (Gwendolen).

By Oscar Wilde

Manchester Library Theatre Company until 3rd July 2010

Review by Brian Gorman

The Library Theatre is one of Manchester’s most cherished institutions. Nestling comfortably beneath the Central Library, it offers a genteel refuge from the cares of the outside world. This week sees the last production take to the stage before the company packs its bags and prepares for life above ground. There will be several shows staged at The Lowry in Salford Quays, with other work in non-theatre sites around Manchester, before the company take up residence in their new home, at The Theatre Royal, in Peter Street in four years time. The Library Theatre Company’s first production, back in 1952, was Oscar Wilde’s celebrated play ‘The Importance Of Being Earnest’, in which this most charming man mercilessly satirized the decadent ruling classes of the day. Age has not withered this vibrant, sparkling and hilarious piece of candy floss, which is as enjoyable a theatrical experience as it ever was; and a suitably fitting choice for the closing production. Artistic Director Chris Honer has delivered a gorgeous piece of work, leaving his faithful audience with a smile on their faces and a spring in their step as they clamber back up those endless stairs from a world less ordinary to a bustling St Peter’s Square. If it’s witty one-liners you’re looking for, they’re all here; a veritable Greatest Hits of Mr Oscar Wilde, with Judith Croft’s impeccably traditional set design anchoring the action in 19th century opulence. It’s a simple enough tale of the well-heeled and fashionable elite trading barbed witticisms whilst munching tea cakes and flouncing around thinking up new and amusing ways in which to pass the time. There’s no great message, no psychological analysis of any of the characters; just a big frothy concoction with the monstrously intimidating character of Lady Bracknell providing a gift of a part to, on this occasion, the actor Russell Dixon. Wisely underplaying, Dixon provides maximum entertainment when enunciating particular segments of dialogue and manages to milk virtually every line dry. Investing the names ‘Bunbury’ and ‘Prism’ with indecently huge significance, he had the audience in stitches. Played in a deadpan fashion, this was no camp pantomime dame either; and Dixon pitched his performance perfectly. One of the funniest creations I’ve seen on stage in a very long time, and no wonder one particular actor found it difficult not to corpse at one point. Alex Felton as the feckless Algernon was full of puppy dog energy and posher than our new PM. He provided a great double act with the upright and manly Simon Harrison as John Worthing, the unfortunate chap found abandoned as a baby in a rather large handbag. He lost both his parents, you know, which was very careless of him according to Lady Bracknell. Natalie Grady as Worthing’s hardnosed fiancĂ©, Gwendolen Fairfax, provided a frightful younger version of Lady Bracknell; while Florence Hall as Cicely was her perfect opposite number; indescribably pretty, and sweeter than sweet. Olwen May, who really could double for Kristin Scott Thomas played the dithering Miss Prism, terrified as a rabbit when caught in the headlights of Lady Bracknell. A charming near-cameo from Malcolm James as the dotty old Canon Chasuble, and a solid, ramrod straight Leigh Symonds as the hired help, barely concealing his contempt for the wastrel fop who pays his wages, completed a fine ensemble. I loved it.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

'EVERYMAN: The Story Of Patrick McGoohan - The Prisoner'

I am writing, producing & directing a new short play later this year. Here's some latest news:

Albino Injun Productions & Transmission Unlimited

The Story Of Patrick McGoohan - The Prisoner

Performed by Joe O’Byrne
Written & Directed by Brian Gorman

8pm Wed 11th to Fri 13th August, 2010
The Salmon Theatre, The Lass O’Gowrie, Charles Street, Manchester M1 7DB

Press Release 10.06.10

‘EVERYMAN: The Story Of Patrick McGoohan - The Prisoner’ is a new play detailing the life of the theatre, television, and film star (who sadly died last year), and is to be staged in Manchester this summer at the famous Lass O’Gowrie pub on Charles Street. Writer/Director Brian Gorman believes that a theatrical tribute to the star of such cult tv favourites as ‘DANGER MAN’ and ‘THE PRISONER’ is long overdue:

“McGoohan was a brilliant actor. In common with the great Orson Welles,
who he cited as a major influence, he was also a fiercely uncompromising
individual who took real artistic chances, and divided the critics.”

The play is produced by Gorman's company TRANSMISSION UNLIMITED and O'Byrne's ALBINO INJUN PRODUCTIONS.

Onboard as the production’s official adviser is ROBERT FAIRCLOUGH. Robert is a freelance writer, designer and producer. His work on ‘The Prisoner’ includes the book ‘The Prisoner: The Official Companion to the Classic TV Series’, editing two volumes of ‘The Original Scripts’ for the classic series and graphic design work on the recent AMC remake.He is a broadcaster who has featured on BBC radio and ITV, written for the British Film Institute and 'SFX' magazine and produced documentaries for 2 Entertain's range of ‘Doctor Who’ DVDs.

JOE O’BYRNE is the man with the unenviable task of stepping into McGoohan’s shoes, but he is more than ready for it. As Joe himself says:

"'It's not often you get the chance to play one of your idols. Patrick McGoohan is one of the reasons I took such a strong interest in acting from an early age. I loved Danger Man and The Prisoner as a kid and I always try to catch The Prisoner each time it comes around, it's timeless and still works today. It had such a surreal influence, echoed through the years in series like Twin Peaks and Lost, and on the larger screen in The Truman Show. The man was a genius, and years ahead of his time.Playing him will be a huge challenge but how many times do you get an opportunity like this? I won't let him or Brian Gorman down."

A writer, actor, and film-maker, Joe can be seen in the upcoming dvd release of the low budget crime movie ‘Diary Of A Bad Lad’, which has seen him garner rave reviews for his performance. His plays include ‘The Bench’, ‘I’m Frank Morgan’, and ‘Rank’ which have all been produced in Manchester and Salford at The Lowry, Studio Salford, and Salford Arts Theatre.
For the opening Manchester production, ‘Number Two’ will be played on stage by DAVID BICKERSTAFF. This Paisley born actor is now living in London, and trained at Queen Margaret, Edinburgh. He has just finished a successful run of Joe Orton's 'The Erpingham Camp' for TW4, and is a regular in the cult sci-fi comedy radio series 'The Scarifyers'.

Patrick McGoohan was born in New York, but spent less than a year there before his family relocated to their native Ireland. Several years later, they moved to England, where McGoohan caught the acting bug in Sheffield, and worked his way up to leading roles at the local professional repertory theatre. He was the first choice to play James Bond in 1962, but turned down the role of a lifetime due to his distaste for the depiction of gratuitous violence and casual sex. While Bond was smashing cinema box office records, McGoohan became an international television star as secret agent John Drake in ‘Danger Man’; who rarely used a gun and politely declined the numerous advances of beautiful women. After several hugely successful years, McGoohan tired of playing Drake, and persuaded legendary producer Lew Grade to back his new project, ‘The Prisoner’, and allow him full creative control. The series made McGoohan the highest paid actor on British tv, and became a massive cult hit with its flamboyant action, imaginative stories, and surreal style.
McGoohan also starred in a variety of successful films including ‘Silver Streak’, ‘Ice Station Zebra’, and Mel Gibson’s oscar-winning ‘Braveheart’.
He won two Emmy awards for acting in the ‘Columbo’ tv series, and was even immortalised in an episode of ‘The Simpsons’.

Manchester-based Brian Gorman is a writer, artist, and actor. He has designed posters and brochure illustrations for The Chester Gateway Theatre, and had work published in The Liverpool Daily Post, The Big Issue, and Green World (the magazine of The Green Party). His artwork has also been seen on television (ITV1’s ‘Martina Cole’s Lady Killers’), and he is currently working on a professional commission to produce a series of graphic novels on Manchester bands. As an actor he has played leading roles in corporate and educational dramas, music videos, and has just been cast as the notorious mass murderer Thomas Hamilton in a television reconstruction of the 1996 Dunblane massacre. He also has an arts review blog at
Gorman doesn’t rule himself out of playing McGoohan sometime in the future:

“I would love to play the man, but I’d like Joe to do it first!
It’s a dream of a role, as McGoohan was a dynamic, fiery character
with a distinct acting style. I think it’s best I see the play from the
audience point of view first, and examine what works.”

There is also a word of warning for anyone expecting a straight-forward story of McGoohan’s life:

“In keeping with McGoohan’s surreal work on ‘The Prisoner’, I
shall be playing around with time, as well as the character itself. ‘Patrick
McGoohan’ will be a mix of the real man, and ‘No.6’ (from ‘The

Tickets will be available soon. More details can be seen on the production’s Facebook page 'JOHN DRAKE'. Production information is available from

Brian Gorman can be contacted at


I had mixed feelings about the first two series, but last year's 'Children Of Earth' was fantastic. Here's what the BBC has said:

Torchwood returns with international flavour

Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood will return for a fourth series with a more international flavour, the BBC said.
The 10-part series will be funded by BBC Wales, as well as the corporation's commercial arm - BBC Worldwide - and US cable network Starz Entertainment.
John Barrowman will return as Captain Jack alongside Eve Myles, as Gwen.
While previous series have been recorded in Cardiff, new storylines will include locations in the US and around the world.
The first series of the sci-fi drama was shown on BBC Three in 2006 with the second broadcast two years later on BBC Two.
Creator Russell T Davies: "It's going to be lively, it's going to a good laugh"
The five-part third series, Children of Earth, was shown on consecutive nights on BBC One last July.
Torchwood creator and former Doctor Who head writer Russell T Davies will lead a team of writers to create the new series.


Here's the cover image for the forthcoming dvd release. This film is getting rave reviews, and here's mine:


Review by Brian Gorman

Made on a shoestring ‘without compromise, about people without principles, by people without money’ (as it states proudly on the poster), ‘Diary Of A Bad Lad’ is a prime example of sheer raw talent triumphing over lack of resources. Astonishingly, this 90 minute film cost under £4000 to make, which really throws down the gauntlet to aspiring movie-makers everywhere. Forget Hollywood, make your own movie on your own doorstep, and talent will carry the day. Taking the classic Belgian black comedy ‘Man Bites Dog’ as its roadmap, this is the tale of Blackburn-based frustrated film-maker Barry Lick (played by the film’s writer & producer, Jonathan Williams) attempting to make a documentary about local gangsters, and soon finding himself getting deeper and deeper into hot water. Using the format of such recent movies as ‘The Blair Witch Project’ and ‘Paranormal Activity’, the film unfolds through a series of video tapes edited together by the 'bad lad' himself (and the fictional movie’s ‘executive producer’) Tommy Morghen, played by Joe O’Byrne. Performances are uniformly excellent, with Williams’ hapless chancer Barry Lick eliciting sympathy and loathing in equal measure. The real ‘bad lad’ of the story is the amoral hardman Tommy, and O’Byrne’s steely-eyed take on what could have been a one-dimensional gangster part echoed the screen charisma of Steve McQueen (yes, he’s THAT good!). Michael Booth’s direction is confident and assured, allowing the action to unfold without the use of gimmicky camerawork or tricksy editing. A Jon Ronson style voice-over by Williams (in character as Barry) works superbly in conveying the simple-minded and naive approach Barry takes to his work, and manages to make every scene that little bit more disturbing. A tip of the hat to actor James Foster as a desperate man forced to film himself and his wife having sex in order to avoid Tommy calling in a debt. His straight-faced performance whilst attempting to get an erection during a full-frontal to camera is a truly brave one. ‘Diary Of A Bad Lad’ should be required viewing for anyone who wants to make movies, and a shot across the bows of the struggling British film industry.

'Diary Of A Bad Lad' gets a much deserved release on dvd at the end of June. Certificate 18.

Check out


Photo: Fleming (Patrick Ryecart) and Columbo (Dirk Benedict)

I managed to interview Mr Dirk Benedict at The Fab Cafe last Sunday, but unfortunately I couldn't make it to The Lowry to see him in this production. Fortunately, Mr Richard Howell-Jones could. Here's his review:


Review by Richard Howell-Jones

Sir! Oh, sir! Sorry to interrupt, I know you’re very busy, but there’s just this one little thing that’s been botherin’ me . . . .
[sigh] Yes, lieutenant?
Is it true I’m in a play, sir?
Yes, lieutenant, it’s true. It’s called Prescription: Murder, produced by Middle Ground Theatre Company at the Lowry theatre, Salford Quays, and runs from Monday 7th to Saturday 12th June at 8pm.
How about that! My wife’ll be thrilled.
We-ell, it’s not actually you, lieutenant.
It’s Dirk Benedict.
Well, whaddya know . . . wasn’t he in Battlebus Galactistud - ?
Battlestar Galactica.
- and . . . what was it . . . the B-list?
The A-Team. Yes, he’s quite famous.
Sure, sure, I never watch those things, too cerebral, but my cousin, he just loves ‘em, talks about ‘em all the time.
[sigh] Was there something you wanted, lieutenant?
I’m sorry, sir. Tell me, is he anything like me?
Hard to say, lieutenant. The cigar’s in the script, of course, but I’m not sure the raincoat is; I believe that was Peter Falk’s idea –
So is he like this Falk guy?
Practically identical, right down to the mannerisms, the stance, the voice . . . it’s fun if you’re a fan of the TV shows –
You think Mr Benedict studied this Falk character?
He says not.
Uh-huh. That’s very interesting. Is there anyone else in the show?
Well, the villain is played by Patrick Ryecart, who seemed somehow detached from events –
Maybe he wanted me to think he was innocent?
[sigh] I’d’ve been happy if I’d thought he was interested. A pity, as it lessened considerably the onstage tension between himself and Benedict. What could have been gripping became just amusing. He had some nice comedy moments, mind you.
[writing in notebook] Comedy . . . moments . . . . [looks up] Anything else, sir?
The victim, Karen Drury, did her best with an unsympathetic character who, though a nuisance to her husband, ultimately loved him enough not to struggle while he strangled her.
Well, sir, I can sympathise with that. After all, it’s a week’s run and they can’t have new actresses every night.
True, lieutenant, but even so, I’m sure there’s more to being strangled than gurning & waving one arm about a bit. On the other hand, the lover, Elizabeth Lowe, was very convincing in all her scenes, as were Karren Winchester (the secretary) and Michael Shane (delivery man & detective). I felt a little sorry for George Telfer (District Attorney) who gave the impression that he wasn’t quite sure why he was there but would do his best anyway; more to do with the script than his performance, perhaps, as he had only the one appearance. As for the staging, the music was far too Humphrey Bogart for the period, though the set changes were very impressive.
I get the picture, sir – a theatrical crime scene. You didn’t like it?
I wouldn’t say that, lieutenant. If you like your theatre more light entertainment than deep meaningful drama, or if you’re a Columbo fan, you’ll have an enjoyable evening.
Well, my wife, she loves the theatre sir, maybe I’ll take her along.
Do that, lieutenant. Just leave your cousin at home.
Thank you sir, thank you very much, you’ve been very helpful . . . oh, sir? Sir? Just one more thing.
[sigh] Yes, lieutenant?
Who directed?
Michael Lunney. Can I go now?

Monday, June 07, 2010

Vworp 3 - the Lass' annual Doctor Who PubCon is BACK!

Update on the upcoming big Dr Who event in Manchester from your host, Gareth Kavanagh:

Yes, it's that time of year again and I'm thrilled to announce we're back for our third annual pubcon at the Lass O'Gowrie.Taking place on Sunday, July 18th as part of our inaugural fringe festival in the Lass (Lassfest), our theme this year is 'six of the best'. Essentially a take on Desert Island Discs, our assembled guests will take us on a journey through their six favourite things about their time of Doctor Who - beit a person, a character, a scene - whatever they fancy really. As it's us, you can bet we'll be using all the technology at our disposal and with our good pals at Kasterborous will be streaming and harvesting questions via twitter to boot.

Guests include the following (subject to professional commitments, *natch);*

MC John Cooper*

Terrance Dicks (writer, legend novelist who taught most of us to read)*

Andrew Cartmel (script editor and mastermind behind the McCoy revival)*

Graeme Harper (only the greatest Director of Who ever)*

Dez Skinn (Founding editor of our beloved Doctor Who Magazine)*

Rob Shearman (Genius behind Dalek, Chimes of Midnight and fan scholar)*

Chris Achilleos (Master of the early target novel covers, this man IS art)*

Ade Salmon (Artist's artist, illustrator of the Time Team and Cybermen)

And more in the pipeline, so keep 'em peeled!

Other treats include the debut of John Cooper's One Man Doctor Who and after show entertainment with the superb WART Show - award winning character comedy!

Naturally, our fine pies and ale will be available throughout the day and with only 50 tickets being made available, the relaxed atmosphere you've all come to know and love will be retained, no fear.

Tickets cost a bargainous £19.50 a head and are available ONLY from .

More info on us, as ever can be found at or in our cosy little thread on Gallifrey Base -

Saturday, June 05, 2010


He only began painting two years ago as a way of coping with his brother’s death, and is self-taught, but Eccles based Joe Coffey is attracting attention. His colourful depictions of everyday Salford life, with a particular focus on the much maligned ‘hoodies’, have brought comparisons to the great L S Lowry himself, but Joe is very much his own man:

“I’d never done any art before. I just did bits of drawings and stuff of Salford life. Everyone compares it to Lowry, I don’t know why. I try to paint life in general on the streets. I don’t know why I started doing hoodies. I’ve had a lot of positive comments about my painting. Salford is at the heart of my work - the community spirit - people always helping each other out. I suppose my paintings have turned to documenting life in Salford.”

Based in Winton, Eccles, 37 year-old Joe has recently completed a painting of Lowry opening the gate of his Station Road house in Swinton; the place he lived in for over 40 years (see photo). Joe has a passion about preserving the great man’s home, where he painted many of his masterpieces:

“It would be a shame not to keep it as part of Salford’s heritage. Doing something with it in honour of one of our BoldSalford legends and turning it into somewhere for artists would be good - or even a visitors centre.”

Following his first two exhibitions at Eccles Precinct, Joe is now preparing for a new one at Langworthy Cornerstone from 13th September.


Above: Joe O'Byrne tells it like it is. (Photo: Richard J Bradbury)

A fabulous turnout (Photo: Richard J Bradbury)

Wednesday 2nd June 2010

Report by Brian Gorman

The AXM nightclub on Bloom Street, Manchester was the venue this week for the inaugural Silver Pearl TV & Networking Event, organized by Gail Cullen of Pink Diamond Productions and Rhiannon Clifford, aspiring Production Designer . I wasn’t at all sure what to expect, as I’d always viewed such things with a certain degree of apprehension, if not outright fear. ‘Networking’. The word always sent a shiver down my spine. What would I encounter? Queues of aspiring celebrities desperately prostrating themselves to producers, casting agents, etc.? I’d always hated that kind of thing. Guess what? Nothing could have been further from the truth. This was a fabulous evening, in an atmospheric venue, with several fascinating guest speakers who gave a real, honest, and clear insight into working in the film and television industry. Ms Cullen, delightfully attired, one has to remark, in a splendidly spangly silver dress, was an ideal hostess; warm, approachable, and keen to get people talking to each other. Several times she introduced me to people I might never have had the nerve to approach, and I came away a hell of a lot more knowledgeable, keen, and inspired. I met producers, casting agents, stuntmen, actors, writers, and made some invaluable contacts and, one hopes, future friends. For anybody even contemplating working in television, events like this are a must. It’s no good being the best, if nobody knows about you. Gail Cullen is doing everybody in the business a huge favour by organizing these evenings, and if the vibe is anything to go by, I’d book early for the next one.
Local writer, actor, and film-maker Joe O’Byrne gave an entertaining and inspiring talk on how to succeed in the business (or at least how to get on the ladder). His story of how he left a successful career in retail to pursue his dream of working in tv and film was both amusing and uplifting. His basic message was don’t wait for opportunities to fall in your lap; get out there and make things happen. Illustrating his various points with anecdotes about his impressively long list of accomplishments in theatre, tv, and independent film-making, here was a guy you couldn’t help admire. The film ‘Diary Of A Bad Lad’, in which he plays the title character was made on an incredible budget of under £4000, and is released on dvd later this month, as well as receiving a limited cinema release. O’Byrne believes in talent, and has little patience with those seeking fame for fame’s sake; a punk style attitude of getting up and just doing it is what’s needed in his book.
After a short break we had a chance to mingle and chat with fellow creatives; made easy by everybody wearing wristbands that identified them as producers, writers, actors, etc (a great idea, and a real icebreaker). Next on stage were Lee Mountjoy and Darren R L Gordon, casting director and actor trainer/artistic director respectively. Once again we were treated to a friendly, unpretentious, informative and entertaining talk on the industry. Lee Mountjoy had some invaluable advice for actors attending auditions, such as not directing one’s monologue directly at the poor casting person who’s trying to make notes. Darren R L Gordon ( gave us some insights into getting a movie off the ground, and the various avenues that are open to local film-makers. Chatting to each of the speakers later in the bar, each one of them was approachable, keen to talk, and a delight to listen to. Yes, there are some horror stories, and any wannabe actor or film-maker should be prepared for a hard slog, but there is a great deal of help around, and some genuinely nice people to work with. Get yourself along to one of Gail’s events and you’re already ahead in the game.

Her website can be found at
Richard J Bradbury (event photography)

DR WHO 'PUBCON' at The Lass O'Gowrie

Photo: Legendary Dr Who Weekly creator DEZ SKINN with Gareth Kavanagh at a previous Lass Pubcon.

Dr Who fans alert!!!! The glorious Lass is holding it's next 'Pubcon' very soon. Here's the latest from Mein Host, Gareth Kavanagh:

Hello,Yes, it's that time of year again and I'm thrilled to announce we're back for our third annual pubcon at the Lass O'Gowrie.Taking place on Sunday, July 18th as part of our inaugural fringe festival in the Lass (Lassfest), our theme this year is 'six of the best'. Essentially, our assembled guests will take us on a journey through their six favourite things about their time of Doctor Who - beit a person, a character, a scene - whatever they fancy really. As it's us, you can bet we'll be using all the technology at our disposal and with our good pals at Kasterborous will be streaming and harvesting questions via twitter to boot.Ticketing and guests will be announced very soon, and we've got some fabulous treats in store to boot.
Naturally, our fine pies and ale will be available throughout the day and with only 50 tickets being made available, the relaxed atmosphere you've all come to know and love will be retained, no fear.Keep 'em peeled!
A little more info to tickle you with....
Ticketing is now set up and will be imminently available from (it's just in admin hell for a short time, relax).
Tickets are priced at £19.50 a head
MC is once again, the great John Cooper. Guests confirmed to date (subject to availability, fingers crossed, don't shout if someone doesn't make it) include Terrance Dicks, Andrew Cartmel, Dez Skinn and Rob Shearman.
We hope to confirm at least a further three guests in the next few weeks
John Cooper will be performing his One Man Doctor Who for the first time ever, radio stylee which promises to be immense
Coin Brockhurst is working on some lovely new artwork for the con poster, an amalgum of Ena Sharples and Who (what else?) Exciting!

Why not pop over for a gander at Vworp Vworp? Probably the best Who comics fanzine you'll read all year?

More info on the Lass can be found at