Impossible Astronaut Day

Impossible Astronaut Day takes place on 11 April. It commemorates the date of 23 April 2011 when The Impossible Astronaut” was broadcast. This was the first episode of the sixth series of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who it starred Matt Smith, Karen Gillanp, Arthur Darville and Alex Kingston and was written by show runner Steven Moffat and directed by Toby Haynes. It was first broadcast on 23 April 2011 in the United Kingdom on BBC One, the United States on BBC America and in Canada on Space. It also aired in Australia on ABC1 on 30 April 2011. The episode features alien time traveller the Doctor (Matt Smith) and his companions Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill), and is the first of a two-part story, which concluded with “Day of the Moon” on 30 April.

The Impossible Astronaut features, the Doctor, Amy, Rory and the archaeologist River Song (Alex Kingston)
who are summoned together by a version of the Doctor from 200 years in his future. they also meet a man called Canton Evrett Delaware III (Mark Sheppard and William Morgan Sheppard), before travelling to the United States in 1969 where they find discover a scared girl (Sydney Wade) who is trapped inside a spacesuit. Amy, Rory, and River discover the fourth envelope was sent to the Doctor, alive and 200 years younger than the one at the lake. So The Doctor and his companions travel back to 8 April 1969, where the younger Canton, a former FBI operative, is briefed by President Richard Nixon about a series of phone calls Nixon received from a young girl asking for help. The Doctor arrives in Washington, DC trying to locate the girl. Meanwhile, Amy meets and takes a photograph of one of the leaders of the Silence, a group she also saw by the lake. Canton follows the Doctor and the others into the TARDIS as they depart for Florida where they encounter more Silence and get a bit of a shock

The episode was dedicated to Elisabeth Sladen, known for playing former companion Sarah Jane Smith, who died from cancer on 19 April 2011.

Mortal Engines

The dystopian big-budget, apocalyptic-adventure film Mortal Engines is out on DVD &BluRay.  It is based on the novel of the same name by Philip Reeve and was directed by Christian Rivers and Produced by Peter Jackson who also wrote the script. It stars Hera Hilmar, Hugo Weaving, Robert Sheehan, Jihae, Leila George, Colin Salmon, Patrick Malahide and, Regé-Jean Page. I have also downloaded the novel on Kindle version plus the sequels Predators Gold, Infernal Devices and A Darking Plain also by Philip Reeve.

Mortal Engines is set About 1100 years in the future where a devastating and cataclysmic conflict dubbed “The 60 Minute War destroyed Civilizations and cracked continents. So The remnants of humanity regroup and form mobile “predator” cities. Under a philosophy known as “Municipal Darwinism”, larger cities hunt and absorb smaller settlements in the “Great Hunting Ground”, which includes Great Britain and Continental Europe.

Meanwhile an “Anti-Traction League” have developed an alternative civilization consisting of “static settlements” in Asia led by Shan Guo (formerly China), which are protected by the “Shield Wall”. Here relics of modern technology such as toasters, computers, and iPhones are valued as “Old-Tech.” TO maintain old technology, civilization depends on archaeologists. Many people live just below the surface to hide from the Traction Cities. There is also a burgeoning slave trade which has cannibalism as part of its pricing system.

The Predator cities survive by moving, rumbling across the barren plains, crossing land bridges created when continents shifted, roaming the barren landscape and (quite literally) gobbling up smaller towns for their resources. They weigh so much they leave canyon-sized ravines in their wake. In response to this threat, small towns or neighborhoods were rebuilt on bulldozer or earth moving equipment treads or wheels,  to escape the all-devouring cities.

The city of London, or what survived of it (recognizable landmarks are stacked on it, from St. Paul’s to Trafalgar Square’s gigantic lions) is one such giant, predator city on wheels. which has to move and devour smaller communities in order to survive. They capture a small mining town called Salzhaken, absorbing its population and resources, under orders of Lord Mayor Magnus Crome. Meanwhile a masked woman among the Salzhakens, Hester Shaw, wants to assassinate Thaddeus Valentine, Head of the Guild of Historians. Meanwhile Tom Natsworthy, a teenage Apprentice Historian, is sent to London’s “Gut” to collect Old-Tech for London’s Museum, accompanied by Valentine’s good-natured daughter Katherine. Hester attempts to kill Valentine but Tom intervenes and Hester escapes,Then Tom and, Hester, both find themselves unceremoniously dumped out like garbage into the Great hunting Ground, a desolate wasteland where they face a fight for survival and are forced to work together. Hestor and Tom arrive at a town called Scuttlebug.

Meanwhile, Valentine frees Shrike, a reanimated cyborg known as a “Stalker”, from an offshore prison to hunt down and kill Hester. At the slave market of Rustwater, Tom and Hester are rescued by Anti-Traction League agent Anna Fang and but find themselves pursued by Shrike. Meanwhile Katherine learns some disturbing things from the Apprentice Engineer Bevis Pod concerning Valentine. Hester and Tom then travel to the airborne city Airhaven, meeting with other members of the Anti-Traction League. Tom Informs them about MEDUSA, a superweapon that can destroy cities in an instant. Shrike attacks again however Hester, Tom, and Anna ecape to the Shield Wall with the surviving Anti-Tractionists. Meanwhile Valentine vows to destroy the Shield Wall with MEDUSA, however Hestor, Tom Anna Governor Kwan and the remaining Anti-Tractionists decide to fight back and stop Valentine from destroying the Sheild Wall.

George Takei

Best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise in the 60′s television series Star Trek and numerous Star Trek Movies Amercan Actor George Takei was born 20th April 1937. Takei began his career in Hollywood in the late 1950s, His first role was providing voiceover for several characters in the English dub of Japanese monster films such as Godzilla Raids Again and Rodan, followed by an appearance in the Emmy award winning television series Playhouse 90 and Perry Mason The Case of the Blushing Pearls.He originated the role of George in the musical Fly Blackbird!, but when the show traveled from Los Angeles to Broadway the west coast actors were forced to audition and the role went to William Sugihara instead. Eventually Sugihara had to give up the role and Takei closed out the show’s final months.Takei subsequently appeared alongside such actors as Frank Sinatra in Never So Few (uncredited), Richard Burton in Ice Palace, Jeffrey Hunter in Hell to Eternity, Alec Guinness in A Majority of One, James Caan in Red Line 7000 and Cary Grant in Walk, Don’t Run. He featured in a lead role in “The Encounter” (1964), an episode of The Twilight Zone He had an uncredited role in the film PT-109 (1963) and also guest-starred in an episode of Mission: Impossible (1966). He also appeared in two Jerry Lewis comedies, The Big Mouth and Which Way to the Front? In 1969 Takei narrated the award winning documentary The Japanese Sword as the Soul of the Samurai.

In 1965, producer Gene Roddenberry cast him as Hikaru Sulu in the second Star Trek pilot and eventually the Star Trek television series. It was intended that Sulu’s role be expanded in the second season, but Takei’s role as Captain Nim, a South Vietnamese Army officer, alongside John Wayne’s character in The Green Berets meant that he only appeared in half the season, with Walter Koenig as Pavel Chekov substituting for him in the other episodes. When Takei returned, the two men had to share a dressing room and a single episode script. Takei also appeared in the first six Star Trek motion pictures, and today he is a regular on the science fiction convention circuit throughout the world. He has also acted and provided voice acting for several science fiction computer games, including Freelancer and numerous Star Trek games. In 1996, in honor of the 30th anniversary of Star Trek, he reprised his role as Captain Hikaru Sulu on an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, appearing as a memory of Lt. Tuvok, who served on the USS Excelsior under Sulu, during the events of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. He appeared alongside Shatner on the 2006 Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner in which the two mocked each other in good humor and embraced, Takei is also one of six actors (the other actors being Jonathan Frakes, Kate Mulgrew, Michael Dorn, Avery Brooks and Majel Barrett) to lend his voice to Star Trek: Captain’s Chair, reprising his role of Captain Hikaru Sulu when users visit the bridge of the original Enterprise in the computer game. In 2007, Takei also reprised his role of Sulu in the fan-made Internet based series Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II.

Aside from his film and television career with Star Trek, He also has a lengthy record of public service through his involvement with organizations such as the Japanese American Citizens League and the Human Rights Campaign.He is a proponent of gay rights and active in state and local politics as well as continuing his acting career. He has won several awards and accolades in his work on human rights and Japanese American relations, including his work with the Japanese American National Museum. In 2004, the government of Japan conferred the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, which represents the fourth highest of eight classes associated with the award. This decoration was presented in acknowledgment of his contributions to US-Japanese relations. George Takei also has an Asteroid named after him.


Andy Serkis

English Actor, Director and Author Andy Serkis, was born April 20th 1964. Serkis is known for his performance capture roles comprising motion capture acting, animation and voice work for such computer-generated characters as: Gollum in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy (2001–2003) and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), King Kong in the eponymous 2005 film, Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), Captain Haddock in Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin (2011) and Snoke in Star Wars the Force Awakens.

Serkis’ film work in motion capture has been critically acclaimed, earning him recognition from many associations that do not traditionally recognise motion capture as “real acting”. Serkis has received an Empire Award, a National Board of Review Award, two Saturn Awards and a Screen Actors Guild Award for his motion capture work. Serkis also earned a Golden Globe Award nomination for his portrayal of serial killer Ian Brady in the British television film Longford (2006); and he was nominated for a BAFTA Award for his portrayal of New Wave and punk musician Ian Dury in the biopic Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (2010). Serkis also reprised his role as the villainous Gollum in Peter Jackson’s three part Tolkien film adaptation “The Hobbit” – An unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug and “The Battle of Five Armies”.

David Tennant

Best known for his roles as the Tenth Doctor in the British television series Doctor Who, Alec Hardy in Broadchurch, Giacomo Casanova in the TV serial Casanova, Kilgrave in Jessica Jones, and Barty Crouch, Jr. in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Scottish actor and voice actor. David Tennant was born 18 April 1971 in Bathgate, West Lothian. He is the son of Alexander “Sandy” McDonald (1937–2016), a minister who served as the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and Helen McLeod. He grew up with his brother Blair and sister Karen in Ralston, Renfrewshire, where his father was the local minister. Tennant’s maternal grandfather, footballer Archie McLeod, met William and Agnes’ daughter Nellie while playing for Derry City FC. McLeod was descended from tenant farmers from the Isle of Mull.

At the age of three, Tennant told his parents that he wanted to become an actor because he was a fan of Doctor Who, but they tried to encourage him to aim for more conventional work. He watched almost every Doctor Who episode for years, and he spoke to Tom Baker at a book-signing event in Glasgow. Tennant was educated at Ralston Primary and Paisley Grammar School.He acted in school productions throughout primary and secondary school. Tennant also attended Saturday classes at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama;at 16, he passed an audition for the Academy, one of their youngest students, and studied there between the ages of 17 and 20, taking his stage name from the Pet Shop Boys frontman Neil Tennant after reading a copy of Smash Hits magazine. Tennant had to legally change his name to Tennant to meet Equity and Screen Actors Guild rules.

Tennant made his professional acting debut while still in secondary school. When he was 16, he acted in an anti-smoking film made by the Glasgow Health Board which aired on television and was also screened in schools. The following year, he played a role in Dramarama. Tennant’s first professional role upon graduating from drama school was in a staging of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui costarring Ashley Jensen. He also made a television appearance in the Scottish TV sitcom Rab C Nesbitt as a transsexual barmaid called Davina. In the 1990s, he appeared in several plays at the Dundee Repertory Theatre. Tennant’s first major TV role was as the manic depressive Campbell in the Scottish drama series Takin’ Over the Asylum. Where he met comic actress and writer Arabella Weir with whom he lodged in London for five years and became godfather to her youngest child. He has subsequently appeared with Weir in spoof television series Posh Nosh, in the Doctor Who audio drama Exile and as panellists on the West Wing Ultimate Quiz. Weir later guest-starred on Doctor Who itself after Tennant left the series). One of his earliest big-screen roles was in Jude (1996), in which he shared a scene with Christopher Eccleston, (Who also appeared in Doctor Who) playing a drunken undergraduate who challenges Eccleston’s Jude to prove his intellect.

Tennant developed his career in the British theatre, frequently performing with the Royal Shakespeare Company. His first Shakespearean role for the RSC was in As You Like It. He later portrayed playing Antipholus of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors and Captain Jack Absolute in The Rivals, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet. Tennant also contributed to several audio dramatisations of Shakespeare for the Arkangel Shakespeare series, Antipholus of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors, Launcelot Gobbo in The Merchant of Venice, Edgar/Poor Tom in King Lear, and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. In 1995, Tennant appeared at the Royal National Theatre, London, playing the role of Nicholas Beckett in Joe Orton’s What the Butler Saw.

In 2000 Tennant appeared in the first episode of Reeves and Mortimer’s revamped Randall and Hopkirk Between In 2004 and 2005 he appeared in a dramatisation of He Knew He Was Right, Blackpool, Casanova, and The Quatermass Experiment In film, he appeared in Bright Young Things and later that same year appeared as Barty Crouch Jr. in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. In 2005 Doctor Who was revived starring Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor. Tennant replaced him as the Tenth Doctor in the episode “The Parting of the Ways” He also appeared in a special 7-minute mini-episode shown as part of the 2005 Children in Need appeal. His first full-length outing as the Doctor was in “The Christmas Invasion”. Tennant had fulfilled a childhood dream by becoming The Doctor. In 2006, readers of Doctor Who Magazine voted Tennant “Best Doctor” over perennial favourite Tom Baker. While In 2007, Tennant’s Doctor was voted the “coolest character on UK television”. Writer Russell T Davies made the decision not to use Tennant’s own natural Scottish accent for the character . However he used his own accent in the episode Tooth and claw masquerading as “Dr Jamie McCrimmon” of Edinburgh. He also had a small role in the BBC’s animated Doctor Who webcast Scream of the Shalka. He has also appeared in several audio plays based on the Doctor Who television series by Big Finish Productions. He appeared in the Seventh Doctor audio Colditz, portraying a Nazi lieutenant guard at Colditz Castle, he also appeared in Dalek Empire III as Galanar, a young man who is given an assignment to discover the secrets of the Daleks and UNIT: The Wasting for Big Finish, appearing as Brimmicombe-Wood from a Doctor Who Unbound play, Sympathy for the Devil alongside Nicholas Courtney, who reprised the character of Sir Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart.

He also played an unnamed Time Lord in another Doctor Who Unbound play Exile. He also played the title role in Bryan Talbot’s The Adventures of Luther Arkwright, recorded The Stone Rose by Jacqueline Rayner, The Feast of the Drowned by Stephen Cole and The Resurrection Casket by Justin Richards. He made his directorial debut on the Doctor Who Confidential episode that accompanies Steven Moffat’s episode “Blink”, entitled “Do You Remember The First Time?” He also appeared with Peter Davison’s Fifth Doctor in a Doctor Who special for Children in Need, entitled “Time Crash” and also performed alongside Davison’s daughter, Georgia Moffett (as “Jenny”) in the 2008 episode “The Doctor’s Daughter”. Tennant featured as the Doctor in an animated version of Doctor Who in The Infinite Quest, and also starred as the Doctor in the animated six-part Doctor Who series, Dreamland. Tennant guest starred as the Doctor in a two-part story in Doctor Who spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures. He played the Doctor in four special episodes in 2009, before his final episode aired on 1 January 2010, where he was replaced by the eleventh doctor, portrayed by Matt Smith. In 2013 Tennant and Billie Piper returned to Doctor Who for the 50th anniversary special, “The Day of the Doctor” alongside Matt Smith and John Hurt and also appeared in the one-off 50th anniversary comedy homage The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.

Tennant portrayed the Tenth Doctor alongside Catherine Tate as former companion Donna Noble in three new stories from Big Finish which also Strax actor Dan Starkey, former Davros actor Terry Molloy, and many veterans of Big Finish, including Niky Wardley, who portrayed Eighth Doctor companion Tamsin. Tennant was also in the ITV drama Secret Smile. His performance as Jimmy Porter in Look Back in Anger at the Theatre Royal, Bath, and Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, was recorded by the National Video Archive of Performance for the Victoria and Albert Museum Theatre Collection. In 2006, he portrayed Richard Hoggart in a dramatisation of the 1960 Lady Chatterley’s Lover obscenity trial, The Chatterley Affair. In 2007, Tennant starred in the BBC Drama Recovery, Portraying Alan, a self-made building site manager who attempted to rebuild his life after suffering a debilitating brain injury. His costar in the drama was friend Sarah Parish, with whom he had previously appeared in Blackpool. He also starred in Learners, a BBC comedy drama written by and starring Jessica Hynes (another Doctor Who costar, in the episodes “Human Nature”, “The Family of Blood” and “The End of Time”), in which he played a Christian driving instructor who became the object of a student’s affection. Tennant had a cameo appearance as the Doctor in the 2007 finale episode of the BBC/HBO comedy series Extras with Ricky Gervais. In November 2008, Tennant played Sir Arthur Eddington in the biographical film Einstein and Eddington, In 2009, he worked on a TV film version of the RSC’s 2008 Hamlet for BBC Two and hosted the Masterpiece Contemporary programming on ABC And appeared in Rex Is Not Your Lawyer, playing Rex, a Chicago lawyer who starts to coach clients to represent themselves when he starts suffering panic attacks.

In 2010 he starred as Dave, a man struggling to raise five children after the death of his partner, in the British drama Single Father. For which he was nominated as Best Actor at the Royal Television Society Programme Awards 2010. In 2011, he starred in United, about the Manchester United “Busby Babes” team and the 1958 Munich air disaster, playing coach and assistant manager Jimmy Murphy. In 2011, he appeared in a guest role in one episode of the comedy series This is Jinsy, and also started filming True Love. In 2012, Tennant played lead in a one-off drama The Minor Character for Sky Arts and filmed Spies of Warsaw, an adaptation of Alan Furst’s novel The Spies of Warsaw, portraying Jean-François. In 2012, he started filming the 3-part political drama series The Politician’s Husband for BBC Two, playing an ambitious cabinet minister who takes drastic action when his wife’s career starts to outshine his. In 2012 Tennant appeared in the ITV detective series Broadchurch and also presented the new comedy quiz show Comedy World Cup. Tennant also appeared in The Escape Artist portraying a talented, junior barrister who is yet to lose a case. In 2014 Tennant filmed the US remake of Broadchurch, re-titled Gracepoint and a second series of Broadchurch during summer 2014. Tennant also portrayed the villainous Kilgrave in Jessica Jones. He is currently filming Mad to be Normal (previously titled Metanoia), a biopic of the renowned Scottish psychiatrist R. D. Laing. Tennant ALSO appears in writer/director Daisy Aitkens’ first feature film, You, Me and Him, co-produced by Tennant’s wife, Georgia. Tennant also portrays Cale Erendreich in the film Bad Samaritan.

In 2008 David Tennant joined the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), to play Hamlet with Patrick Stewart and Berowne in Love’s Labours Lost and appeared at the Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon as Hamlet, In 2011, a photograph of Tennant as Hamlet featured on a stamp issued by the Royal Mail to mark the RSC’s fiftieth anniversary. In 2012, Tennant was appointed to the Royal Shakespeare Company board, on the selection committee interviewing and choosing the new artistic director. In 2013 Tennant returned to the RSC portraying the title role in Richard II at Stratford-upon-Avon and the Barbican Centre in London. In 2016 Tennant reprised his role as Richard II in the RSC’s ‘King and Country’ cycle at the Barbican Theatre in London and the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York.

In 2007 David Tennant was the “Star in a Reasonably Priced Car” on Top Gear and also appeared in Derren Brown’s Trick or Treat. Tennant also appeared the radio series Nebulous (a parody of Doctor Who) in the role of Doctor Beep, during the 2008 episode “Holofile 703: Us and Phlegm” And voiced the character of Hamish the Hunter in the 2008 English language DVD re-release of the 2006 animated Norwegian film, Free Jimmy, alongside Woody Harrelson and Simon Pegg. In 2009, Tennant narrated the digital planetarium space dome film “We Are Astronomers” commissioned by the UK’s National Space Centre. In 2009, he presented Red Nose Day 2009 with Davina McCall and joined Franz Ferdinand onstage to play the guitar on their song “No You Girls” on a special Comic Relief edition of Top of the Pops. Tennant also appears in St. Trinian’s II: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold and he co-hosted the Absolute Radio Breakfast Show with Christian O’Connell.

Tennant also provides all the character voices for the audio book versions of the Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III stories by Cressida Cowell such as How to Train Your Dragon, including the Norfolk yokel of Norbert the Nutjob, the broad Glaswegian of Gobber the Belch, the hissing and whining Cockney of Toothless the Dragon and the sly insinuations of Alvin the Treacherous. He also played the role of Spitelout. In 2010, he also appeared as George in a one-part BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Of Mice and Men and also appeared with Catherine Tate in the Shakespeare comedy Much Ado About Nothing at London’s Wyndham’s Theatre as Benedick for which he he won the BroadwayWorld UK Award for Best Leading Actor in a Play. Tennant also voiced a character in the Postman Pat film. In 2011, Tennant started shooting the semi-improvised comedy film, Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger in Coventry.He played dual roles: the main character, put-upon teacher Mr Peterson, and his “golden boy” twin brother and rival. He appeared in a multi-million-pound campaign for Virgin Media. Tennant starred opposite Rosamund Pike and Billy Connolly in a BBC/Origin Pictures film, What We Did on Our Holiday, a semi-improvised comedy from the writers of the popular BBC sit-com Outnumbered.He is the narrator on Xbox One video game Kinect Sports Rivals. In 2015, Tennant appeared on the Radio 4 panel show Just a Minute, becoming the show’s most successful debut contestant. During 2017 Tennant is appearing in Patrick Marber’s Don Juan in Soho at the Wyndham’s Theatre.

Tennant was named “Coolest Man on TV” of 2007 in a Radio Times survey. He won the National Television Awards award for Most Popular Actor in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010. He was voted 16th Sexiest Man in the World by a 2008 Cosmopolitan survey. Tennant was ranked the 24th most influential person in the British media on 9 July 2007, according to MediaGuardian. He appeared in the paper’s annual media rankings in 2006. In December 2008, he was named as one of the most influential people in show business by British theatre and entertainment magazine The Stage, making him the fifth actor to achieve a ranking in the top 20. He was voted the third best dressed man in Britain in GQ reader’s poll for 2013. In the expansion EverQuest: Seeds of Destruction for the game EverQuest, a character was introduced called Tavid Dennant, named after David Tennant. In 2008, Tennant was voted “Greenest Star on the Planet” in an online vote held by Playhouse Disney as part of the Playing for the Planet Awards.In 2008 he underwent surgery for a prolapsed disc. He is a supporter of the Labour Party and appeared in a party political broadcast for them in 2005; in 2010, he declared his support for then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown. In April 2010, he lent his voice to a Labour Party election broadcast. In 2012, he introduced Labour Party leader Ed Miliband at the Labour Party Conference. In 2015, he also lent his voice to a Labour Party General Election broadcast. He is a patron of Worldwide Cancer Research.

In December 2005, The Stage placed Tennant at No. 6 in its “Top Ten” list of the most influential British television artists of the year, citing his roles in Blackpool, Casanova, Secret Smile, and Doctor Who.In January 2006, readers of the British gay and lesbian newspaper The Pink Paper voted him the “Sexiest Man in the Universe”. A poll of over 10,000 women for the March 2006 issue of New Woman magazine ranked him 20th in their list of the “Top 100 Men”.In October 2006, he was named “Scotland’s most stylish male” in the Scottish Style Awards.

Maisie Williams

English actress Margaret Constance “Maisie” Williams was born 15 April 1997 in Bristol, UK. She is nicknamed “Maisie” after the character from the comic strip The Perishers. Maisie is the youngest of four children; her three older siblings are James, Beth, and Ted. Born to Hilary Pitt (now Frances) a former university course administrator, she grew up in Clutton, Somerset. She attended Clutton Primary School and Norton Hill School in Midsomer Norton, before moving to Bath Dance College to study Performing Arts.

She made her professional acting debut as Arya Stark of Winterfell in the HBO fantasy television series Game of Thrones in 2011, for which she won the EWwy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama, the Portal Award for Best Supporting Actress – Television and Best Young Actor, and the Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor. In 2016, she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.

Williams has also had a recurring role in Doctor Who as Ashildr in 2015. She made her feature film debut in the mystery The Falling (2014), for which she won the London Film Critics’ Circle Award for Young Performer of the Year.

Gerry Anderson MBE

Best known for his futuristic television shows, the late great British publisher, producer, director and writer Gerry Anderson MBE was born 14 April in 1929 in Feltham Middlesex and was brought up in Neasden, north London, where the family shared a single room, but at the outbreak of war he was evacuated to Northamptonshire. He left Willesden county secondary school with ambitions of being a plasterer until he realised he was allergic to plaster. He started work as a trainee with Colonial Films and after National Service as a radio operator with the RAF worked as an assistant at Gainsborough Studios before co-founding Pentagon Films to make commercials in 1955. The following year, he moved into film production and formed AP Films (Named after partner Arthur Povis) in the hope of making a classic epic — but the opportunities were not forthcoming. Instead he reluctantly turned to making puppet series for television and produced 52 episodes of The Adventures of Twizzle, a project that led to Torchy The Battery Boy and Four Feather Falls, a Western series in which the puppets (unable to draw their guns) had to swivel their holsters to fire. These early efforts convinced Anderson of the potential of puppet series as an entertainment form, and his 1960 series Supercar was the first successful science-fiction format to reflect the growing interest among children in futuristic technology. He followed it with the more sophisticated Fireball XL5, 26 episodes featuring the hero Steve Zodiac, and timing it to coincide with increased interest in the “space race”. To give his characters more movement He also created a technique called Supermarionation using specially modified marionettes

In 1965 Anderson created Stingray, featuring the underwater exploits of Troy Tempest and his submarine, and the first of his series to be shot in colour. The series was also the first of Anderson’s to be sold to America. Anderson’s most successful and popular series Thunderbirds was elaborately produced and followed the adventures of the futuristic Tracy family who ran an air, space and undersea rescue service from a small island in the Pacific. Anderson remembered that his elder brother, Lionel, a pilot who was killed in the war, had trained in Arizona near Thunderbird Field, and helped himself to the “very exciting” name. As well as Jeff Tracy and his sons John, Scott, Virgil, Alan and Gordon (all named after early American astronauts), Thunderbirds also introduced some of Anderson’s most popular and enduring characters, including the myopic genius Brains, the glamorous secret agent Lady Penelope ( who was based on his second wife, Sylvia) and her chauffeur, an ex-alcoholic Cockney safecracker-made-good called Parker, whose distinctive way of speaking (“Yus, m’lady”) was apparently modelled on a waiter at a pub in Cookham where Anderson used to have his lunch.Although the television series caught the imagination of millions of young viewers, two feature-length film spin-offs, Thunderbirds Are Go and Thunderbirds 6, both failed to achieve the same popularity. More successful was Anderson’s venture into a tie-in weekly children’s comic, TV Century 21, launched in 1965 and containing strips based on his various television series.

In 1967 Anderson created a new series, Captain Scarlet, named after its indestructible hero, and the first to be made by Anderson’s new production company, Century 21. It was followed in 1968 by Joe 90, about a nine-year-old boy who gained expert knowledge on any subject using his uncle’s hi-tech mousetrap invention. Anderson’s next venture, The Secret Service, was his first and unsuccessful attempt to combine puppets with real actors and marked the start of a decline in the fortunes of his production company, Century 21. His first science-fiction feature film, Journey to the Far Side of the Sun, starred Ian Hendry and Patrick Wymark and coincided with Anderson’s first all-live action series for television called UFO which, although well produced, was a humourless affair which failed to make an impact on its first showing although it attracted considerable interest when it was repeated in 1987. In the 1970s Anderson persevered with live action series such as The Protectors, featuring a glamorous international crime-fighting agency starring Robert Vaughn and Nyree Dawn Porter, and also made the Science fiction series Space 1999, starring Martin Landau and Catherine Schell.

Thunderbirds

Sadly Stalled projects, misjudged investments and a property crash left Anderson in dire financial straits, and he endured a painful divorce from his second wife and former business partner, Sylvia. However Anderson returned to puppets in 1982 with Terrahawks, in which Dr Tiger Ninestein and the Terrahawks tried to stop the evil Zelda conquering the universe. The success of this series encouraged Anderson to attempt a new project called Space Police, but although a pilot was produced, financial backing never materialised and the series failed to get off the ground. Most of Anderson’s work in the 1980s was with television commercials, the most memorable perhaps being that for Scotch videotape featuring the “skeleton man”. Having sold the rights to his shows to the television tycoon Lord Grade in the 1970s, in 2008 he entered into talks with ITV to buy back the rights to Thunderbirds to remake it using computer-generated imagery. A live-action remake of Thunderbirds, co-produced by the British company Working Title and the American studio Universal was also released in the 2004. The highly anticipated remake of Thunderbirds aired Easter 2015 on ITV. In retirement he lived at Henley-on-Thames with his third wife, Mary, and took an active interest in his production enterprises and the extraordinary following his puppet series continued to attract. He was appointed MBE in 2001 and sadly passed away on December 26 2012 aged 83 however both Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet continue to remain popular.

The Hainish Cycle (Worlds of Exile and Illusion: Rocannon’s World, Planet of Exile, City of Illusions by Ursula K. Le Guin

Three of Ursula K. Le Guin’s early novels are contained in Worlds Of Exile And Illusion. These novels are, Rocannon’s World, Planet Of Exile, and City Of Illusions, and are set in the same universe as Le Guin’s ground-breaking classic, The Left Hand Of Darkness.

Rocannon’s world takes place on A world shared by three native humanoid races – the cavern-dwelling Gdemiar, elvish Fiia, and warrior clan, Liuar. This world is suddenly invaded and conquered by a fleet of ships from the stars. It features an Earth scientist named Rocannon who sees his friends murdered and his spaceship destroyed. Rocannon gets Marooned among these alien peoples, and leads the battle to free this new world from the invaders.

Planet of exiles is the second in the Hainish Cycle. This takes place on The Earth colony of Landin which has been stranded on the planet of Werel for ten years after being dropped off by a starship. Werel is huge and ten of Werel’s years equate to over 600 terrestrial years. Having lost all communications with galactic society, this group is slowly dying out, unable to thrive in Werel’s environment. Werel also contains other tribes of humans such as the humanoid Hilfs a nomadic people who only settle down during the cold winters and live in a primitive, superstitious pre-wheel society. The hilfs fear the Earthmen, whom they think of as witches & call the farborns. Gradually though The farborn and the local hilfs make a tentative, hard-won deal to trade and cooperate.

However That deal violently falls apart when Agat Alterra and Rolery, a farborn man and a hilf woman, decide to have a very ill-advised fling, which is forbidden by hilf society on pain of death. However a horde of ravaging barbaric nomads, called the Gaal invade intent on conquering the Farborn and the Hilfs. With Winter approaching the Farborn and the Hilfs are also being killed by eerie preying snow ghouls. So Eventually the Farborns and the Hilfs face the decision to either settle their differences and join forces to survive or be annihilated by the Gaals.

City of Illusions is the third novel in the Hainish Cycle. It takes place on a sparsely populated Earth which has been conquered by aliens called the Shing. It features a chap named Falk who finds himself abandoned in a dystopian forest region of what was once the eastern United States with amnesia. A forest person named Parth and her family take him in and raised him almost as a child, teaching him to speak, training him in forest lore, giving him all the knowledge they had. However he has no memory of his past or how he came to be in the forest so he decides to set out on a perilous cross country journey to Es Toch, the City of the Shining, the Liars of Earth, the Enemy of Mankind to get some answers, however this is fraught with many deceptions and misunderstandings.