Georges Méliès

French film Pioneer and innovator Georges Méliès was born December 8th 1861. After completing his education, Méliès joined the family shoe business. Later he visited London And,after visiting the Egyptian Hall, run by the famous London illusionist John Nevil Maskelyne, he developed a lifelong passion for stage magic. Méliès returned to Paris in 1885 Where he studied painting at the École des Beaux-Arts, also attending performances at the Théâtre Robert-Houdin, founded by the famous magician Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, he tookmagic lessons from Emile Voisin. In 1888 Georges Méliès purchased the Théâtre Robert-Houdin Which was equipped with lights, levers, trapdoors, and several automata, and Over the next nine years, Méliès created over 30 new illusions including the Recalcitrant Decapitated Man, bringing comedy and melodramatic pageantry to performances which all proved popular. Méliès also worked as a political cartoonist for the liberal newspaper La Griffe.


Méliès began working more behind the scenes & acted as director, producer, writer, set and costume designer as well as inventing many of the magical tricks. He also brought many famous magicians to the theatre. As well as performing fairy pantomimes, an automaton performance during intermissions, magic lantern shows, and special effects such as snowfall and lightning. In 1895, Méliès was elected president of the Chambre Syndicale des Artistes Illusionistes and Between 1896 and 1913, Méliès directed 531 films. Which were similar to the magic theatre shows and contained tricks” and impossible events, such as objects disappearing or changing size, and by experimenting with multiple exposures he was also able to play seven different characters simultaneously in film. After seeing the Lumière brothers’ films he bought several films and an Animatograph film projector & By April 1896 the Théâtre Robert-Houdin was showing films. Méliès built a film camera using parts from automata and special effect equipment. And developed and printed the films himself. In 1896 he patented the Kinètographe Robert-Houdin, an iron-cast camera-projector, which Méliès referred to as his “coffee grinder” and “machine gun” and began shooting his first films in May 1896, and screening them at the Théâtre Robert-Houdin and founded the Star-Film Company. His earliest films included Playing Cards and A Terrible Night

Whereas The Lumière brothers intended their invention to be used for scientific and historical study dispatching camera operators across the world to document it as ethnographic documentarians,’ Méliès’s Star-Film Company, catered for the “fairground clientele” who were intersted in magic, Art and illusion and Méliès began to experiment with special effects in his filmmaking using them in The Vanishing Lady, where a person seemed to turn into a skeleton before disappearing and then reappearing later. Then In 1896, Méliès built a film studio on his property in Montreuil, just outside of Paris. which had glass walls and ceilings so as to allow in sunlight for film exposure, and also included a shed for dressing rooms and a hangar for set construction. In 1896 Méliès made 78 films and 53 in 1897 covering every genre, including documentaries, comedies, historical reconstructions, dramas, magic tricks and féeries (fairy stories).Méliès also made advertisements for whiskey, chocolate, and baby cereal. Although he only made 30 films in 1898 his films were becoming more ambitious and elaborate, including the historical reconstruction of the sinking of the USS Maine, Divers at Work on the Wreck of the “Maine”, the magic trick film The Famous Box Trick, the féerie The Astronomer’s Dream, the religious satire TheTemptation of Saint Anthony And A Dinner Under Difficulties.

He also experimented with superimposition In the films Cave of the Demons and The Four Troublesome heads, and the early horror film Cleopatra depicts her mummy being resurrected in modern times. Méliès also made The Dreyfus Affair, and Cinderella, which were popular in both Europe and The United States. At first US filmmakers such as Thomas Edison resented the competition from foreign companies & attempted to block Méliès from screening most films in the US prompting Méliès and other film makers to established a trade union Chambre Syndicale des Editeurs Cinématographiques as a way to defend themselves in foreign markets using Théâtre Robert-Houdin as the group’s headquarters. In 1900 Méliès made 33 films, including Joan of Arc, The One-Man Band and The Christmas Dream, and In 1901 Méliès made the Bus, The Brahmin and the Butterfly, Little Red Riding Hood and Bluebeard, both based on stories from Charles Perrault. In1902 Méliès made The Devil and the Statue, The Man with the Rubber Head and A Trip to the Moon, Which was loosely based on Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon and H. G. Wells’ The First Men in the Moon, in which Méliès himself stars as Professor Barbenfouillis, president of the Astronomer’s Club, who oversees an expedition to the Moon where they encounter a group of Moon Men.

Méliès also produced three other films The Coronation of Edward VII, using actual footage of the carriage procession in the film, Gulliver’s Travels, based on the novel by Jonathan Swift and Robinson Crusoe, based on the novel by Daniel Defoe. In 1903 Méliès made Fairyland: A Kingdom of Fairies, Ten Ladies in one Umbrella, The Melomaniac and Faust in Hell, based on the opera by Berlioz, and In 1904 he made a sequel, Faust and Marguerite. based on an opera by Charles Gounod, the Barber of Seville and The Impossible Voyage Which was about an expedition around the world, into the oceans and even to the sun. Méliès also create a special effects film for a theatre revue, entitled The Adventurous Automobile Trip. In 1905 Méliès contributed two short films to The Merry Deeds of Satan : The Space Trip and The Cyclone, and also made The Palace of Arabian Knights and the féerie Rip’s Dream for the 100th birthday of Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin. in 1906, he made a film version of The Merry Deeds of Satan and The Witch. In 1907 Méliès made nineteen films, including a parody of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and a short version of Hamlet and in 1908 Méliès made one of his most ambitious films: Humanity Through the Ages, which retells the history of humans from Cain and Abel to the Hague Peace Conference of 1907.

Méliès made three films in 1909 and In 1910 his brother Gaston set up a studio called the Star Films Ranch in Texas, where he began to produce Westerns. By 1911 Gaston had renamed his branch of Star Films American Wildwest Productions & produced over 130 films between 1910 and 1912. Between 1910 and 1912, Georges Méliès produced 20 films including Whimsical Illusions and Spiritualist Phenomena.The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and The Haunted Window & In 1912, Méliès made Conquest of the Pole, inspired by Robert Peary’s expedition to the North Pole in 1909 and Roald Amundsen’s expedition to the South Pole in 1911. This included giant monsters and also has elements of Jules Verne’s The Adventures of Captain Hatteras he also made The Snow Knight and Le Voyage de la famille Bourrichon.

Unfortunately in the autumn of 1910, Méliès made a fateful deal with Charles Pathé that would eventually destroy his film career, whereby he accepted a large amount of money to produce films while Pathé Frères distributed and reserved the right to edit these films, and also held the deeds to both Méliès’s home and his Montreuil studio as part of the deal. Later he also started having financial trouble thanks to his brother Gaston’s poor financial decisions, and he lost $50,000 and was forced to sell the American branch of Star Films to Vitagraph Studios. As a result Méliès was unable to pay the money he owed Pathé thus breaking the contract and he was declared bankrupt and stopped making films. the Théâtre Robert-Houdin was shut down for a year and Méliès left Paris for several years. In 1917 the French army turned the main studio building at his Montreuil studio into a hospital for wounded soldiers. He and his family then turned the second studio set into a theatrical stage and performed over 24 variety show revues there until 1923 when it was torn down in order to rebuild the Bouvevard Haussmann. The French army also confiscated over 400 of the original prints of Star-Films’s catalog of films in order to melt them down and retrieve their celluloid and silver content. The final straw came In 1923, when Pathé took over Star-Films and the Montreuil studio. And In a rage, Méliès personally burned all of the negatives of his films that he had stored at the Montreuil studio, as well as most of the sets and costumes. As a result many of his films do not exist today. Nonetheless, just over 200 Méliès films have been preserved and are available on DVD. After being driven out of business, Méliès disappeared from public life. By the mid-1920s he was making a meager living as a candy and toy salesman at the Montparnasse station in Paris.

However in 1920s several journalists began to research Méliès and his life’s work, creating new interest in him. As his prestige began to grow in the film world, he was given more recognition and in December 1929 a gala retrospective of his work was held at the Salle Pleyel. Eventually Georges Méliès was awarded the Légion d’honneur (Legion of Honor) which was presented to him in 1931 by Louis Lumière. Lumière himself said that Méliès was the “creator of the cinematic spectacle. In 1932, the Cinema Society arranged a place for Méliès, his granddaughter Madeleine and Jeanne d’Alcy at La Maison du Retrait du Cinéma, the film industry’s retirement home in Orly, where Méliès worked with several younger directors on scripts for films including a new version of Baron Münchhausen with Hans Richter and a film called Le Fantôme du métro (Phantom of the Metro) In his later years.

He also acted in a few advertisements . In 1936 an abandoned building was rented on the property of the Orly retirement home to store the collection of film prints. They then entrusted the key to the building to Méliès and he became the first conservator of what would eventually become the Cinémathèque Française. Although he was never able to make another film after 1913 or stage another theatrical performance after 1923, he continued to draw, write and advise younger film and theatrical admirers until the end of his life. By late 1937 Méliès had become very ill and he was admitted to the Léopold Bellan Hospital in Paris. one of Méliès last drawings was of a champagne bottle with the cork popped and bubbling over. Méliès died of cancer on 21 January 1938 just hours after the passing of Émile Cohl, another great French film pioneer, and was buried in the Père Lachaise Cemetery.


Ridley Scott

British film director and producer Sir Ridley Scott was born 30 November 1937 in South Shields, County Durham, North East England. After World War II, the Scott family moved back to their native North East, eventually settling on Greens Beck Road in Hartburn, County Durham, whose industrial landscape would later inspire similar scenes in Blade Runner. His interest in science fiction began by reading the works of H. G. Wells as a child. He studied at Grangefield Grammar School and West Hartlepool College of Art from 1954 to 1958, obtaining a diploma in design.

BladeScott went on to study at the Royal College of Art in London, contributing to college magazine ARK and helping to establish the college film department. For his final show, he made a black and white short film, Boy and Bicycle, starring both his younger brother and his father (the film was later released on the “Extras” section of The Duellists DVD). In February 1963 Scott was named in title credits as “Designer” for the BBC television programme Tonight, about the severe winter of 1963. After graduation in 1963, he secured a job as a trainee set designer with the BBC, leading to work on the popular television police series Z-Cars and science fiction series Out of the Unknown. He was originally assigned to design the second Doctor Who serial, The Daleks, which would have entailed realising the serial’s eponymous alien creatures. However, shortly before Scott was due to start work, a schedule conflict meant he was replaced by Raymond Cusick. In 1965, he began directing episodes of television series for the BBC, only one of which, an episode of Adam Adamant Lives!, is available commercially.

In 1968, Ridley and Tony Scott founded Ridley Scott Associates (RSA), a film and commercial production company. Working alongside Alan Parker, Hugh Hudson and cinematographer Hugh Johnson, Ridley Scott made many commercials at RSA during the 1970s, including a notable 1973 Hovis advertisement, “Bike Round” (underscored by the slow movement of Dvořák’s “New World” symphony rearranged for brass), set in the north of England but filmed in Gold Hill, Shaftesbury, Dorset. A nostalgia themed television advertisement that captured the public imagination, it was voted the UK’s all-time favourite commercial in a 2006 pol. In the 1970s Scott directed advert for the Chanel No. 5 brand. Chanel television commercials were inventive mini-films with production values of surreal fantasy and seduction, which “played on the same visual imagery, with the same silhouette of the bottle. Following his commercial breakthrough with the science-fiction horror film Alien (1979), his best known works include the neo-noir dystopian science fiction film Blade Runner (1982), historical drama and Best Picture Oscar winner Gladiator (2000), and science fiction film The Martian (2015).

Scott’s directorial debut was The Duellists (1977) Shot in Europe, it was nominated for the main prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and won an award for Best Debut Film. The Duellists is Set during the Napoleonic Wars, it follows two French Hussar officers, D’Hubert and Feraud (Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel) whose quarrel over an initially minor incident turns into a bitter extended feud spanning fifteen years, interwoven with the larger conflict that provides its backdrop.

After seeing Star Wars, Scott became convinced of the potential of large scale, effects-driven films. He accepted the job of directing Alien, the 1979 horror/science-fiction film that would win him international success. Scott made the decision to switch Ellen Ripley from the standard male action hero to a heroine Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver), who appeared in the first four Alien films, would become a cinematic icon. The final scene of John Hurt’s character has been named by a number of publications as one of the most memorable in cinematic history. Scott later returned to Alien-related projects when he directed Prometheus and Alien: Covenant three decades after the original film’s release.

In 1982 Scott directed the classic science fiction film Blade Runner. A dystopian neo-noir film based on the Philip K.Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, which featured Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer,Joanna Cassidy and Robin Wright. The film depicts a dystopian Los Angeles in which genetically engineered replicants, which are visually indistinguishable from adult humans, are manufactured by the powerful Tyrell Corporation to work in hazardous environments on off-world colonies. However some escape and Those that escape and return to Earth are hunted down and “retired” by special police operatives known as Blade Runners. Harrison Ford portrays one such Blade Runner named Rick Deckard who is informed by his supervisor Bryant that four Tyrell Corporation Nexus-6 Replicants named Leon, Roy Batty, Zhora, and Pris. have come to Earth illegally. Although these Replicants only have a four-year lifespan they are extremely dangerous and are seeking ways to extend their lifespan and Deckard must hunt hem down before they reach the Tyrell Corporation and start killing people.

In 1985, Scott directed The fantasy film Legend, produced by Arnon Milchan. Scott decided to create a “once upon a time” tale set in a world of princesses, unicorns and goblins, filming almost entirely inside the studio. Scott cast Tom Cruise as the film’s hero, Jack, Mia Sara as Princess Lili and Tim Curry as the diabolical Satan-horned Lord of Darkness who instructs his goblins Blix (Alice Playten) Pox (Peter O’Farrell) and Blunder (Kiran Shah) to kill the unicorns who safeguard the Power of Light and bring him their horns to free himself. Meanwhile, Princess Lily (Mia Sara), a mischievous and vibrant girl goes alone to the forest to meet her love interest Jack (Tom Cruise) he shows her the unicorns However Lily approaches the stallion to stroke him, with tragic results which cause an apocalyptic winter. Lily discovers the Goblins sinister plot involving the Unicorns and the Prince of Darkness. Meanwhile Jack encounters the hot-headed elf Honeythorn Gump (David Bennent, voiced by Alice Playten). Joined by Gump, the fairy Oona (Annabelle Lanyon), and the dwarves Brown Tom and Screwball (Cork Hubbert and Billy Barty), Jack sets off on a perilous quest to rescue the unicorn encountering many hazards along the way including The swamp hag Meg Mucklebones (Robert Picardo), before confronting the sinister Prince of Darkness himself.

In 1987 Scott made Someone to Watch Over Me, a romantic thriller starring Tom Berenger and Mimi Rogers and Black Rain (1989), a police drama starring Michael Douglas and Andy García, which was shot partially in Japan. In 1991 Ridley Scott directed the Road movie Thelma & Louise starring Geena Davis as Thelma, Susan Sarandon as Louise, and Brad Pitt as J.D, for which Scott received his first nomination for the Academy Award for Best Director. Ridley Scott’s next project, was the historical epic 1492: Conquest of Paradise, Which recounts the expeditions to the Americas by Christopher Columbus (Gérard Depardieu). In 1993 Ridley and Tony Scott created the Production Company Scott Free and In 1995 the two brothers purchased a controlling interest in the British film studio Shepperton Studios. In 2001, Shepperton merged with Pinewood Studios to become The Pinewood Studios Group.

In 2000 Scott directed the epic historical drama Gladiator starring Russell Crowe, Richard Harris, Joaquin Phoenix and Oliver Reed. The film proved to be one of his biggest critical and commercial successes. It won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor for the film’s star Russell Crowe, and saw Scott nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director was named the fifth best action film of all time in the ABC special Best in Film: The Greatest Movies of Our Time. Gladiator was dedicated to actor Oliver Reed who tragically died during filming. In 2001 Scott directed Hannibal starring Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lector. Scott’s next film, Black Hawk Down was based on a group of stranded US soldiers fighting for their lives in Somalia, and saw him receive a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Director. In 2003, Scott directed a smaller scale project, Matchstick Men, adapted from the novel by Eric Garcia and starring Nicolas Cage, Sam Rockwell and Alison Lohman.

In 2005 he directed another epic historical drama Kingdom of Heaven which took place during the 12 Century Crusades to reclaim the Holy Land, and Starred Orlando Bloom as a knight tasked with reclaiming Jerusalem. Scott’s collaborate with Harry Gregson-Williams for the music. However Scott was Unhappy with the theatrical release of Kingdom of Heaven so he supervised a director’s cut of the film, the true version of what he wanted which added 45 minutes and received widespread critical acclaim. In 2006Scott teamed up again with Gladiator star Russell Crowe, for A Good Year, based on the best-selling book by Peter Mayle about an investment banker who finds a new life in Provence. Scott’s next film was American Gangster, this was based on the story of real-life drug kingpin Frank Lucas and Starred Denzel Washington as Frank Lucas, and Russell Crowe as Richie Roberts. Scott was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Director for American Gangster. In 2008, Scott directed the espionage thriller Body of Lies, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe. Then in 2010 Scott directed a revisionist, gritty and more realistic adaptation of Robin Hood, which starred Russell Crowe as Robin Hood and Cate Blanchett as Maid Marian.

In 2012 Ridley Scott directed the science fiction film Prometheus starring Noomi Rapace as scientist Elizabeth Shaw, Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender. This served as a sort of prequel to the film Alien, which concerns an ill-fated mission to discover the origins of mankind and explain the origins of the alien Xenomorphs. In 2009, Scott also planned to direct an adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World set in a dystopian London with Leonardo DiCaprio, Also In 2009, the TV Series The Good Wife premiered with Ridley and his brother Tony credited as executive producers. As part of the buildup to the 2012 London Olympics, Scott also produced Britain in a Day, a documentary film consisting of footage shot by the British public. In 2012, Scott produced the commercial for Lady Gaga’s fragrance, “Fame” and In 2013, Scott’s series Crimes of the Century debuted on CNN. In 2013 Scott produced the documentary, Springsteen & I directed by Baillie Walsh and inspired by Life in a Day, which Scott also produced. The film featured fan footage from throughout the world on what musician Bruce Springsteen meant to them and how he impacted their lives.

In 2013 Scott directed The Counselor with a screenplay by author Cormac McCarthy. He was also heavily involved in developing an adaptation of the author’s 1985 novel Blood Meridian with screenwriter Bill Monahan (The Departed) however McCarthy did not want to make it. In 2014 Ridley Scott directed the exciting biblical epic Exodus: Gods and Kings, starring Christian Bale and Directed the film The Martian in 2015, based on the novel of the same name and starring Matt Damon as stranded astronaut Mark Watney alongside Jessica Chastain as the Mission Commander on an ill-fated space mission to Mars. The Martian was a critical and commercial success, grossed over $630 million worldwide, becoming Scott’s highest-grossing film to date.

Next Ridley Scott directed Alien: Covenant, which was A sequel to the film Prometheus, and premiered in 2017. It starred Michael Fassbender, Billy Crudup and Katherine Waterston. This features the crew of the colony ship the Covenant who are bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, when they receive a distress signal from a supposedly uninhabited planet and go to investigate. They discover what happened to the crew of Prometheus and the planets original inhabitants but soon end up wishing they hadn’t,

Next Ridley Scott acted as Executive Producer for a sequel to the dystopian science fiction film Blade Runner entitled Blade Runner 2049 starring Harrison Ford and Ryan Reynolds, which was released in 2017 and was directed by Denis Villeneuve. During 2017, Scott also filmed All the Money in the World, a drama about the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, starring Christopher Plummer, Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams. Ridley Scott is currently in negotiations to direct the screen version of the 1968 British TV series The Prisoner. Ridley Scott and Drew Goddard (who had worked together on The Martian) are also adapting the book Wraiths of the Broken Land by S. Craig Zahler. It is described as a piece of fiction that combines elements of “horror, noir, and Asian ultra-violence.” Scott is also due to direct a film about the Battle of Britain. Scott has also said that he would film a sequel to Alien: Covenant which is the final film in his prequel series to his original film, Alien.

Ridley Scott has also worked on a number of Television shows. Between 2005 and 2010 Scott and his brother produced CBS crime drama series Numb3rs about a genius mathematician who helps the FBI solve crimes and The Good Wife (2009–2016), a legal drama about an attorney balancing her job with her husband, a former state attorney trying to rebuild his political career after a major scandal. The two Scotts also produced a 2010 film adaptation of 1980s television show The A-Team, directed by Joe Carnahan. Scott was also an executive producer of the first season of Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle, which is adapted from the Philip K.Dick novel of the same name and takes place in an alternate timeline where Germany won World War II. Scott also serves as executive producer on the dark comic science-fiction series BrainDead. Scott is currently collaborating with Amazon and AMC studios on an adaptation of Dan Simmons’ dark historical fiction novel, “The Terror” (a speculative retelling of the ill-fated 1845 expedition to find the fabled “Northwest Passage” with elements of horror and supernatural fiction).

Scott has been nominated for a number of awards including three Academy Awards for Directing (for Thelma & Louise, Gladiator and Black Hawk Down). In 1995, both Ridley and his brother Tony received a BAFTA for Outstanding British Contribution To Cinema. In 2003, Scott was knighted for his “services to the British film industry”. In a 2004 BBC poll Scott was named the tenth most influential person in British culture. In 2015 he received an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art in London.

Jonathan Swift

Satirist, essayist, poet and cleric Jonathan Swift was born 30 November 1667. He is remembered for works such as Gulliver’s Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella, Drapier’s Letters, The Battle of the Books, An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity, and A Tale of a Tub. Swift’s family had several interesting literary connections: His grandmother, Elizabeth (Dryden) Swift, was the niece of Sir Erasmus Dryden, grandfather of the poet John Dryden. The same grandmother’s aunt, Katherine (Throckmorton) Dryden, was a first cousin of Elizabeth, wife of Sir Walter Raleigh. His great-great grandmother, Margaret (Godwin) Swift, was the sister of Francis Godwin, author of The Man in the Moone which influenced parts of Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. His uncle, Thomas Swift, married a daughter of the poet and playwright Sir William Davenant, a godson of William Shakespeare. He is probably the foremost prose satirist in the English language, and is less well known for his poetry. Swift originally published all of his works under pseudonyms – such as Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff, MB Drapier – or anonymously. He is also known for being a master of two styles of satire: the Horatian and Juvenalian styles.

In February 1702, Swift received his Doctor of Divinity degree from Trinity College, Dublin. He then traveled to England and returned to Ireland in October, accompanied by Esther Johnson and his friend Rebecca Dingley, another member of William Temple’s household. During his visits to England in these years Swift published A Tale of a Tub and The Battle of the Books (1704) and began to gain a reputation as a writer. This led to close, lifelong friendships with Alexander Pope, John Gay, and John Arbuthnot, forming the core of the Martinus Scriblerus Club.

Swift also went to London many times & was recruited by The Tory Party to support their cause as editor of The Examiner. In 1711, Swift published the political pamphlet “The Conduct of the Allies & became part of the inner circle of the Tory government, and often acted as mediator between Henry St John (Viscount Bolingbroke) the secretary of state for foreign affairs (1710–15) and Robert Harley (Earl of Oxford) lord treasurer and prime minister (1711–14).

Following the death of Queen Anne in 1714 and accession of George I, the Tory leaders were tried for treason for conducting secret negotiations with France so Swift returned to Ireland, where he began to support of Irish causes, producing some of his most memorable works: Proposal for Universal Use of Irish Manufacture (1720), Drapier’s Letters (1724), and A Modest Proposal (1729), earning him the status of an Irish patriot. He began writing Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts, by Lemuel Gulliver, first a surgeon, and then a captain of several ships, better known as Gulliver’s Travels.

In 1726 he visited London again, staying with his old friends Alexander Pope, John Arbuthnot and John Gay, who helped him arrange for the anonymous publication of Gulliver’s Travels in 1726. It was immediately successful and was translated into. French, German, and Dutch. Swift returned to England in 1727 but The visit was cut short when Swift received word that Esther Johnson was dying and he rushed back home to be with her. On 28 January 1728, Esther Johnson died. Sadly After this, Death became a frequent feature in Swift’s life. In 1731 he wrote Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift. In 1738 Swift began to show signs of illness, and in 1742 he may have suffered a stroke, losing the ability to speak. Swift sadly passed away on 19 October 1745 (aged 77), and was buried in his own cathedral by Esther Johnson’s side, in accordance with his wishes. The bulk of his fortune (twelve thousand pounds) was left to found a hospital for the mentally ill, which opened in 1757. There have also been many film Animation and Television adaptations made of of the novel. including the 1939 version, a Hallmark version starring Ted Danson as Lemuel Gulliver, and the most recent one starring Jack Black.

Karen Gillan

Best known for her portrayal of Amy Pond in Doctor Who, the Scottish actress and, former model, Karen Sheila Gillan was born 28 November 1987. She learned to play the piano when she was seven & developed a love for acting, joining several local youth theatre groups and taking part in a wide range of productions at her school,Charleston Academy. When she turned 16, Gillan moved to Edinburgh and completed an HNC Acting and Performance course at Telford College She then moved to London at 18 to study at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts drama school in the BA (Hons) Acting degree course. While studying at Italia Conti Gillan was scouted by a modelling agency. Gillan worked as a model in 2007’s London Fashion Week for designer Allegra Hicks’ autumn/winter catwalk show and the launch party of Nicola Roberts’ Dainty Doll Make-Up Range. Gillan has said she would not give up her acting career to return to modelling. She stated that she enjoyed modelling but acting was always her main interest and goal.

Gillan’s early television acting career included guest appearances on several drama series, she also appeared on The Kevin Bishop Show portraying multiple characters, as well as celebrities such as Katy Perry and Angelina Jolie. She appeared in Channel 4’s Stacked and the BBC2 Horror series The Well, which was later broadcast as a web series on She was then cast for the role of the Eleventh Doctor’s first companion, Amy Pond, on the British sci-fi series Doctor Who in May 2009. She made her first on-screen appearance as Amy Pond in “The Eleventh Hour” with her cousin Caitlin Blackwood portraying a young Amelia (Amy) Pond. Gillan also appeared in the “The Fires of Pompeii” in the role of a Soothsayer.

Gillan also made her first theatre appearance playing the role of Shirley in John Osborne’s play Inadmissible Evidence along with Douglas Hodge The play debuted at the Donmar Warehouse on 16 October 2011. She appeared in the seventh series of Doctor Who until leaving in 2012 .On 26 January 2012, Karen Gillan played the part of supermodel Jean Shrimpton in the BBC Four film We’ll Take Manhattan, which told the story of Shrimpton’s relationship with the photographer David Bailey. Gillan also starred in a Scottish rom-com called Not Another Happy Ending alongside Emun Elliott. Which was directed by John McKay and a supernatural horror pic called Oculus cast in the lead role and filmed in Alabama. She revealed that she has been cast in comedian Charlie Brooker’s TV series A Touch of Cloth. Gillan has also been cast in a film titled ‘ The List ‘ which began filming in Los Angeles in May 2013. Gillan also appears as Ruby Roundhouse in the latest Jumanji film.

FHM magazine ranked Gillan #42 in FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women 2011 In 2012 they also ranked her #36. Gillan has also voiced advertisements for eHarmony and The Royal Bank of Scotland. Gillan portrayed Nebula in the superhero science fiction film Guardians of the Galaxy. She also joined the regular cast of Adult Swim’s NTSF:SD:SUV:: for the show’s third season in 2013 and in 2011, She helped promote Fashion Targets Breast Cancer (FTBC) and the opening of Squirrel Ward in Great Ormond Street Hospital

Neil Gaiman

English author Neil Gaiman was born 10 November 1960 in Portsmouth. After living for a period in the nearby town of Portchester, Hampshire, where Neil was born in 1960, the Gaimans moved in 1965 to the West Sussex town of East Grinstead, where his parents studied Dianetics at the town’s Scientology centre; one of Gaiman’s sisters works for the Church of Scientology in Los Angeles.

Gaiman was able to read at the age of four. For his seventh birthday, Gaiman received C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia series and by the time he was about ten years old, he read his way through the works of Dennis Wheatley, such as The Ka of Gifford Hillary and The Haunting of Toby Jugg. Another novel that made a particular impression on him was J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings which also inspired his desire to become an author. Narnia also introduced him to literary awards, specifically the 1956 Carnegie Medal won by the concluding volume. Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was another childhood favourite, and He also enjoyed reading Batman comics as a child.

Gaiman was educated at several Church of England schools, including Fonthill School in East Grinstead, Ardingly College (1970–74), and Whitgift School in Croydon (1974–77). His father’s position as a public relations official of the Church of Scientology was the cause of the seven-year-old Gaiman being blocked from entering a boys’ school, forcing him to remain at the school that he had previously been attending. He lived in East Grinstead from 1965 to 1980 and again from 1984 to 1987. He met his first wife, Mary McGrath, while she was studying Scientology and living in a house in East Grinstead that was owned by his father. The couple were married in 1985 after having their first child, Michael.

As a child and a teenager, Gaiman read the works of C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Lewis Carroll, Mary Shelley, Rudyard Kipling, Edgar Allan Poe, Alan Moore, Steve Ditko, Will Eisner, Ursula K. Le Guin, Harlan Ellison, Lord Dunsany and G. K. Chesterton. He was also inspired by Roger Zelazny, Michael Moorcock, Samuel R. Delany, Angela Carter, and R.A. Lafferty Whom he contacted When he was 19–20 years old, asking for advice on becoming an author along with a Lafferty pastiche he had written. The writer sent Gaiman an encouraging and informative letter back, along with literary advice.

During the 1980s, Gaiman worked as a journalist, conducting interviews and writing book reviews, as a means to learn about the world and to make connections that he hoped would later assist him in getting published. He wrote and reviewed extensively for the British Fantasy Society. His first professional short story publication was “Featherquest”, a fantasy story, in Imagine Magazine in May 1984. When waiting for a train at London’s Victoria Station in 1984, Gaiman noticed a copy of Swamp Thing written by Alan Moore, and carefully read it. Moore’s fresh and vigorous approach to comics inspired Gaiman and he began visiting London’s Forbidden Planet to buy comics. In 1984, he wrote his first book, a biography of the band Duran Duran, as well as Ghastly Beyond Belief, a book of quotations, with Kim Newman. he was also offered a job by Penthouse but refused. He also wrote interviews and articles for many British magazines, including Knave using pseudonyms, including Gerry Musgrave and Richard Grey.

Gaiman ended his journalism career in 1987 andIn the late 1980s, he wrote Don’t Panic: The Official Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Companion in what he calls a “classic English humour” style. In 1987 Gaiman started writing comic-books, for comic-book writer Alan Moore picking up Miracleman after Moore finished his run on the series. Gaiman and artist Mark Buckingham collaborated on several issues of the series before its publisher, Eclipse Comics, collapsed, leaving the series unfinished. His first published comic strips were four short Future Shocks for 2000 AD in 1986–87. He wrote three graphic novels with his favourite collaborator and long-time friend Dave McKean: Violent Cases, Signal to Noise, and The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch. Impressed with his work, DC Comics hired him in February 1987, and he wrote the limited series Black Orchid.

Karen Berger, head of DC Comics’s Vertigo, then read Black Orchid and offered Gaiman a job: to re-write The Sandman. This tells the tale of the ageless, anthropomorphic personification of Dream that is known by many names, including Morpheus and is a mixture of fantasy, horror, and ironic humour. In the eighth issue of The Sandman, Gaiman and artist Mike Dringenberg introduced Death, the older sister of Dream, who would become as popular as the series’ title character and In 1993 DC launched Vertigo with The limited series Death: The High Cost of Living. The 75 issues of the regular series, along with an illustrated prose text and a special containing seven short stories, have been collected into 12 volumes that remain in print, 14 if the Death: The High Cost of Living and Death: The Time of Your Life spin-offs are included. Artists include Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Jill Thompson, Shawn McManus, Marc Hempel and Michael Zulli, lettering by Todd Klein, colours by Daniel Vozzo, and covers by Dave McKean. The series became one of DC’s top selling titles, eclipsing even Batman and Superman. Gaiman and Jamie Delano were due to become co-writers of the Swamp Thing series following Rick Veitch. However An editorial decision by DC to censor Veitch’s final storyline caused both Gaiman and Delano to withdraw. Gaiman then produced two stories for DC’s Secret Origins series in 1989. A Poison Ivy and a Riddler. A Riddler was originally written for Action Comics Weekly but was shelved due to editorial concerns however it was finally published in 2000 as Green Lantern/Superman: Legend of the Green Flame.

In 1990, Gaiman wrote The Books of Magic, a four-part mini-series that provided a tour of the mythological and magical parts of the DC Universe through a frame story about an English teenager who discovers that he is destined to be the world’s greatest wizard. The miniseries was popular, and sired an ongoing series written by John Ney Rieber. Sadly Gaiman’s adaptation of Sweeney Todd, illustrated by Michael Zulli for Stephen R. Bissette’s publication Taboo, was discontinued. In the mid-1990s, he also created a number of new characters and a setting that was to be featured in a title published by Tekno Comix. The concepts were then altered and split between the titles: Lady Justice, Mr. Hero the Newmatic Man, and Teknophage, Gaiman then wrote a semi-autobiographical story about a boy’s fascination with Michael Moorcock’s anti-hero Elric of Melniboné for Ed Kramer’s anthology Tales of the White Wolf.

In 1996, Gaiman and Ed Kramer co-edited The Sandman: Book of Dreams. This was Nominated for the British Fantasy Award and featured stories and contributions by Tori Amos, Clive Barker, Gene Wolfe, Tad Williams. Gaiman then wrote two series for Marvel Comics. Marvel 1602, an eight-issue limited series and The Eternals a seven-issue limited series drawn by John Romita Jr. In 2009, Gaiman wrote a two-part Batman story for DC Comics to follow Batman R.I.P. titled “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? Referencing the classic Superman story “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” by Alan Moore. Gaiman contributed a twelve-part Metamorpho serial drawn by Mike Allred for Wednesday Comics. Gaiman and Paul Cornell also co-wrote Action Comics #894 featuring an appearance by Death. In 2013, DC Comics released The Sandman: Overture with art by J. H. Williams III and Gaiman’s Angela character was introduced into the Marvel Universe in the last issue of the Age of Ultron miniseries in 2013

Neil Gaiman also collaborated with Terry Pratchett on his first comic novel Good Omens which was published in 1990. The 1996 novelisation of Gaiman’s teleplay for the BBC mini-series Neverwhere was his first solo novel. The novel was released in tandem with the television series though it presents some notable differences from the television series. Gaiman has since revised the novel twice, the first time for an American audience unfamiliar with the London Underground, the second time because he felt unsatisfied with the original. In 1999, Gaiman published his fantasy novel Stardust, which was highly influenced by Victorian fairytales and culture and has been released as a standard novel and in an illustrated graphic novel. Gaiman’s next novel American Gods was published in 2001 and has become one of Gaiman’s best-selling and multi-award-winning novels. Gaiman’s characters from American Gods also Crop up in a short story set in Scotland, which applies the same concepts developed in American Gods to the story of Beowulf.

Gaiman’s next novel Anansi Boys was published in 2005 and deals with Anansi (‘Mr. Nancy’), tracing the relationship of his two sons, one semi-divine and the other an unassuming Englishman, as they explore their common heritage. In 2008, Gaiman published The Graveyard Book which follows the adventures of a boy named Bod after his family is murdered and he is left to be brought up by a graveyard. It is heavily influenced by Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. In 2013 Gaiman published The Ocean at the End of the Lane which follows an unnamed man who returns to his hometown for a funeral and remembers events that began forty years earlier and was voted Book of the Year in the British National Book Awards. In 2017 Neil Gaiman published the novel Norse Mythology.

Gaiman has also written prolifically for television. In 1996 wrote BBC dark fantasy television series Neverwhere and cowrote the screenplay for the movie MirrorMask with his old friend Dave McKean for McKean to direct. In addition, he wrote the localised English language script to the anime movie Princess Mononoke, based on a translation of the Japanese script. He alsomcowrote the script for Robert Zemeckis’s Beowulf with Roger Avary, And has expressed interest in collaborating on a film adaptation of the Epic of Gilgamesh. Neil Gaiman was featured in the History Channel documentary Comic Book Superheroes Unmasked. He also wrote the script for the Babylon 5 episode “Day of the Dead. Gaiman’s novel Stardust has also been made into a film starring Charlie Cox, Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Claire Danes, and directed by Matthew Vaughn. A stop motion version of Coraline was released in 2009, with Henry Selick directing and featuring the voices of Dakota Fanning and Teri Hatcher. Gaiman’s 2009 Newbery Medal winning book The Graveyard Book will also be made into a movie, directed by Ron Howard.

In 2011 Gaiman wrote an episode of Doctor Who, called The Doctor’s Wife Featuring Matt Smith and Alex Kingston which won the 2012 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form). Gaiman also appeared as himself on The Simpsons episode “The Book Job” broadcast on 20 November 2011. In 2013 Gaiman wrote another episode of Doctor Who titled “Nightmare in Silver”. A six-part radio play of Neverwhere was broadcast in March 2013, adapted by Dirk Maggs for BBC Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra. Featured stars include James McAvoy as Richard, Natalie Dormer, Benedict Cumberbatch, Christopher Lee, Bernard Cribbens and Johnny Vegas. Neil Gaiman’s novel American Gods has also been adapted for television. In 2014, Gaiman and Terry Pratchett joined forces with BBC Radio 4 to make the first ever dramatisation of their co-penned novel Good Omens, which was broadcast in December in five half-hour episodes and culminated in an hour-long final apocalyptic showdown and there is also a forthcoming television adaptation of Good Omens starring David Tennant and Michael Sheen.

Throughout his prolific career Neil Gaiman has won numerous awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker awards, as well as the Newbery and Carnegie medals. He is the first author to win both the Newbery and the Carnegie medals for the same work, The Graveyard Book (2008). In 2013, The Ocean at the End of the Lane was voted Book of the Year in the British National Book Awards.

Bram Stoker

Best known today for his 1897 Gothic novel Dracula, the Irish novelist and short story writer Abraham “Bram” Stoker was Born 8th November 1847 in Clontarf, Dublin, Ireland. Stoker was bedridden until he started school at the age of seven, when he made a complete recovery. He was educated in a private school run by the Rev. William Woods. After his recovery, he grew up without further major health issues, even excelling as an athlete (he was named University Athlete) at Trinity College, Dublin, which he attended from 1864 to 1870. He graduated with honours in mathematics. He was auditor of the College Historical Society (‘the Hist’) and president of the University Philosophical Society, where his first paper was on “Sensationalism in Fiction and Society.

While a student Stoker became interested in the theatre & became the theatre critic for the Dublin Evening Mail, co-owned by the author of Gothic tales Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. After giving a favourable review of Henry Irving’s Hamlet Irving invited him to dinner and the two became friends. Stoker also wrote stories, and in 1872 “The Crystal Cup” was published by the London Society, followed by “The Chain of Destiny” in four parts and “The Shamrock”. while a civil servant in Dublin, Stoker wrote a non-fiction book (The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland. Stoker was also interested in art, and founded the Dublin Sketching Club. In 1874 The Stokers moved to London, where he became acting manager and then business manager of Henry Irving’s Lyceum Theatre, London, a post he held for 27 years. The collaboration with Irving was important for Stoker and through him he became involved in London’s high society, where he met James Abbott McNeill Whistler and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (to whom he was distantly related)

DRACULA ===========================================================
Working for Irving, the most famous actor of his time, and managing one of the most successful theatres in London made Stoker a notable if busy man. He was dedicated to Irving and his memoirs show he idolised him. In London Stoker also met Hall Caine, who became one of his closest friends – he dedicated Dracula to him. In the course of Irving’s tours, Stoker travelled the world, although he never visited Eastern Europe, a setting for his most famous novel, and began writing novels beginning with The Snake’s Pass in 1890 and Dracula in 1897. Stoker was also part of the literary staff of the London Daily Telegraph and wrote other fiction, including the horror novels The Lady of the Shroud (1909) and The Lair of the White Worm (1911)

Stoker also met Ármin Vámbéry who was a Hungarian writer and traveler and the story may have been inspired by Vámbéry’s dark stories set among the Carpathian mountains. He also spent several years researching European folklore and mythological stories of vampires, particularly That of Vlad Tepes, a.k.a Vlad III Dracula, the ruler of Targoviste, in Wallachia, Romania, whose brutal regime And predilection for impaling his enemies gave him a fearsome reputation. He may also have learnt about Hoia Baciu forest which is said to be haunted and is well known for its disturbing and inexplicable Paranormal phenomenon. Stoker also visited Whitby Abbey, Slains Castle in Aberdeenshire and the crypts of St. Michan’s Church in Dublin and also read the novella Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. All of which gave him plenty of inspiration.

Sadly Though after suffering a number of strokes, Stoker passed away on 20 April 1912 and was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium where his ashes were place in a display urn . To visit his remains at Golders Green, visitors must be escorted to the room the urn is housed in, for fear of vandalism. However his Gothic novels, especially Dracula remain popular and have been adapted for film and television numerous time

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

The novel Gulliver’s Travels by Irish Writer and Clergyman Jonathan Swift was published 28 October 1726. Gulliver’s Travels, is a satire whose full title is Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. In Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships. It is Swift’s best known full-length work, and a classic of English literature. Gulliver’s Travels has been described as a children’s story, proto-science fiction and a forerunner of the modern novel. It was Published seven years after Daniel Defoe’s wildly successful Robinson Crusoe The novel begins with a short preamble in which Lemuel Gulliver gives a brief outline of his life and history before his voyages.

Part I: A voyage to Lilliput

During Gulliver’s first voyage he is washed ashore after being shipwrecked and finds himself a prisoner of a race of tiny people, less than 6 inches (0.50 ft) tall, who are inhabitants of the island country of Lilliput. After giving assurances of his good behaviour, he is given a residence in Lilliput and becomes a favourite of the Lilliput Royal Court. He is also given permission by the King of Lilliput to go around the city on condition that he must not harm their subjects. At first, the Lilliputians are hospitable to Gulliver, but they are also wary of the threat that his size poses to them. The Lilliputians reveal themselves to be a people who put great emphasis on trivial matters. For example, which end of an egg a person cracks becomes the basis of a deep political rift within that nation. They are a people who revel in displays of authority and performances of power. Gulliver assists the Lilliputians to subdue their neighbors the Blefuscudians by stealing their fleet. However, he refuses to reduce the island nation of Blefuscu to a province of Lilliput, displeasing the King and the royal court. Gulliver is charged with treason for, among other crimes, “making water” in the capital though he was putting out a fire and saving countless lives. He is convicted and sentenced to be blinded. With the assistance of a kind friend, “a considerable person at court”, he escapes to Blefuscu. Here, he spots and retrieves an abandoned boat and sails out to be rescued by a passing ship, which safely takes him back home.

Part II: A Voyage to Brobdingnag

Gulliver soon sets out again. When the sailing ship Adventure is blown off course by storms and forced to sail for land in search of fresh water, Gulliver is abandoned by his companions and is left on a peninsula on the western coast of the North American continent. The grass of that land is as tall as a tree. He is then found by a farmer who was about 72 ft. tall. He brings Gulliver home and the farmer’s daughter Glumdalclitch cares for Gulliver. The giant-sized farmer treats him as a curiosity and exhibits him for money. After a while the constant shows make Gulliver sick, and the farmer sells him to the queen of the realm. Glumdalclitch (who accompanied her father while exhibiting Gulliver) is taken into the Queen of Brobdingnag’s service to take care of the tiny man. Since Gulliver is too small to use their huge chairs, beds, knives and forks, the Queen of Brobdingnag commissions a small house to be built for him so that he can be carried around in it; this is referred to as his “travelling box”. However because of his diminutive size Gulliver becomes a target for various forms of wildlife including giant wasps, giant monkeys and a giant Eagle…

Part III: A Voyage to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Luggnagg, Glubbdubdrib and Japan

After escaping Brobdingnag Gulliver’s ship is attacked by pirates and he is marooned close to a desolate rocky island near India. However He is rescued by the flying island of Laputa, a kingdom devoted to the arts of music, mathematics, and astronomy. Gulliver then tours Balnibarbi, the kingdom ruled from Laputa, and also learns of the rebellion which the kingdom of Lindalino led against the flying island of Laputa. Gulliver sees the ruin brought about by the blind pursuit of science without practical results, in a satire on bureaucracy and on the Royal Society and its experiments. At the Grand Academy of Lagado in Balnibarbi, great resources and manpower are employed on researching completely preposterous schemes such as extracting sunbeams from cucumbers, softening marble for use in pillows, learning how to mix paint by smell, and uncovering political conspiracies by examining the excrement of suspicious persons (muckraking).

Gulliver is then taken to Maldonada, the main port of Balnibarbi, to await a trader who can take him on to Japan. While waiting for a passage, Gulliver visits the island of Glubbdubdrib which is southwest of Balnibarbi. On Glubbdubdrib, he visits a magician’s dwelling and discusses history with the ghosts of historical figures, including Julius Caesar, Brutus, Homer, Aristotle, René Descartes, and Pierre Gassendi. On the island of Luggnagg, he encounters the struldbrugs, people who are immortal. They do not have the gift of eternal youth, but suffer the infirmities of old age and are considered legally dead at the age of eighty.

Part IV: A Voyage to the Land of the Houyhnhnms

Gulliver returns to sea as the captain of a merchantman, but becomes bored with his employment as a surgeon. Unfortunately His crew turn against him and abandon him in a landing boat. Upon reaching land Gulliver encounters a race of hideous, deformed and savage humanoid creatures to which he conceives a violent antipathy. Shortly afterwards, he meets the Houyhnhnms, a race of talking horses. They are the rulers while the deformed creatures called Yahoos are human beings in their base form. Gulliver becomes a member of a horse’s household and comes to both admire and emulate the Houyhnhnms and their way of life, rejecting his fellow humans as merely Yahoos endowed with some semblance of reason which they only use to exacerbate and add to the vices Nature gave them. Unfortunately an Assembly of the Houyhnhnms rules that Gulliver, is himself a Yahoo with some semblance of reason, and is therefore a danger to their civilization…