Gene Wilder

The late, great American stage and screen comic actor, screenwriter, film director, and author Gene Wilder was born June 11 1933 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, He adopted “Gene Wilder” for his professional name at the age of 26, later explaining, “I had always liked Gene because of Thomas Wolfe’s character Eugene Gant in Look Homeward, Angel and Of Time and the River. And I was always a great admirer of Thornton Wilder.”

Wilder first became interested in acting at age 8, when his mother was diagnosed with rheumatic fever and the doctor told him to “try and make her laugh.”At the age of 11, he saw his sister, who was studying acting, performing onstage, and he was enthralled by the experience. He asked her teacher if he could become his student, The day after Wilder turned 13, he called the teacher, who accepted him; Wilder studied with him for two years. His mother Jeanne Silberman sent him to Black-Foxe, a military institute in Hollywood, where he was bullied and sexually assaulted, After an unsuccessful short stay at Black-Foxe, Wilder returned home and became increasingly involved with the local theatre community. At age 15, he performed for the first time in front of a paying audience, as Balthasar (Romeo’s manservant) in a production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Gene Wilder graduated from Washington High School in Milwaukee in 1951. Wilder then studied Communication and Theatre Arts at the University of Iowa, where he was a member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity.

Following his 1955 graduation from Iowa, he was accepted at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in Bristol, England. After six months of studying fencing, Wilder became the first freshman to win the All-School Fencing Championship. he returned to the U.S., living with his sister and her family in Queens. Wilder enrolled at the HB Studiolm Wilder was drafted into the Army on September 10, 1956. At the end of recruit training, he was assigned to the medical corps and sent to Fort Sam Houston for training. wanting to stay near New York City to attend acting classes at the HB Studio, he chose to serve as paramedic in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurology at Valley Forge Army Hospital, in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Sadly In November 1957, his mother died from ovarian cancer.

He was discharged from the army a year later and returned to New York and obtained A scholarship to the HB Studio. Wilder’s first professional acting job was in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he played the Second Officer in Herbert Berghof’s production of Twelfth Night. He also served as a fencing choreographer. After three years of study with Berghof and Uta Hagen at the HB Studio, Charles Grodin told Wilder about Lee Strasberg’s method acting. Grodin persuaded him to leave the studio and begin studying with Strasberg in his private class.NSeveral months later, Wilder was accepted into the Actors Studio. After joining the Actors Studio, he slowly began to be noticed in the off-Broadway scene, thanks to performances in Sir Arnold Wesker’s Roots and in Graham Greene’s The Complaisant Lover, for which Wilder received the Clarence Derwent Award for “Best Performance by an Actor in a Nonfeatured Role.”

Wilder made his screen debut in the TV series Armstrong Circle Theatre in 1962. Although his first film role was portraying a hostage in the 1967 motion picture Bonnie and Clyde, Wilder’s first major role was as Leopold Bloom in the 1968 film The Producers for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. This was the first in a series of collaborations with writer/director Mel Brooks, including 1974’s Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, which Wilder co-wrote, garnering the pair an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. Wilder is known for his portrayal of Willy Wonka in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) and for his four films with Richard Pryor: Silver Streak (1976), Stir Crazy (1980), See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989), and Another You (1991). Wilder also directed and wrote several of his own films, including The Woman in Red (1984).

His third wife was actress Gilda Radner, with whom he starred in three films. Her death from ovarian cancer led to his active involvement in promoting cancer awareness and treatment, helping found the Gilda Radner Ovarian Cancer Detection Center in Los Angeles and co-founding Gilda’s Club. After 2003 Wilder turned his attention to writing. He produced a memoir in 2005, Kiss Me Like a Stranger: My Search for Love and Art; a collection of stories, What Is This Thing Called Love? (2010); and the novels My French Whore (2007), The Woman Who Wouldn’t (2008) and Something to Remember You By (2013). Gene wilder tragically passed away 26 August 2016 however he has left behind some memorable performances in many fantastic films.

A Day at the Races

The Marx Brothers’ hilarious movie, A Day at the Races, opened on 11 June 1937 in Los Angeles. It features Groucho Marx as a vet named Hugo Z. Hackenbush who is hired as chief of staff for the Standish Sanitarium, owned by Judy Standish (Maureen O’Sullivan), at the insistence of her most important patient, the wealthy Mrs. Emily Upjohn (Margaret Dumont), who insists on being treated only by Dr. Hackenbush.

Sadly The Sanitarium has fallen on hard times, and banker J.D. Morgan (Douglas Dumbrille) is attempting to gain control of the sanitarium in order to convert the building into a casino. Judy hopes that Mrs. Upjohn will make a large donation and prevent that from happening. Elsewhere, Judy’s beau, singer Gil Stewart (Allan Jones), who performs in Morgan’s nightclub, bets his life’s savings on a racehorse named Hi-Hat hoping that the winnings will help save the sanitarium. However the horse loses and he and Tony (Chico Marx), who works for the sanitarium, and Stuffy (Harpo Marx), Hi-Hat’s jockey, have to resort to trickery to fend off the Sheriff (Robert Middlemass). Tony also regains some money by scamming Hackenbush

At the Sanitarium, Judy’s business manager, Whitmore (Leonard Ceeley) suspects Hackenbush is a fraud and attempts to expose him however Stuffy and Tony intervene. so Whitmore brings in the eminent Dr. Steinberg (Sig Ruman) from Vienna, hoping to reveal Hackenbush’s exploits. Threatened with exposure Hackenbush, Tony, Stuffy and Gil hide out in Hi-Hat’s stable. Whitmore finally exposes Hackenbush as a vet and Morgan is about to have them arrested when Hi-Hat intervenes. Gil from enters Hi Hat into the upcoming steeplechase race where Hi Hat and Morgans horse compete in a high-stakes Steeplechase hoping to secure the future of the sanitarium.

Charles Dickens

Renowned Victorian novelist Charles Dickens sadly died at Gad’s Hill Place, on 9 June 1870. He was born 7 February 1812 in Landport, Portsea. He moved to Norfolk Street, Bloomsbury then to Chatham, Kent. He spent his early years outdoors and reading voraciously. He received a private education at William Giles’s School, in Chatham. In 1822 the Dickens family moved from Kent to Camden Town, in London. Unfortunately his His Father John Dickens continually lived beyond his means and the Dickens family, apart from Charles, were imprisoned in the Marshalsea debtor’s prison in Southwark, London in 1824.Charles himself was boarded with family friend Elizabeth Roylance in Camden Town. whom Dickens later immortalised, “with a few alterations and embellishments”, as “Mrs. Pipchin”, in Dombey and Son. Later, he also lived in the house of an insolvent-court agent who was a good-natured, kind old gentleman, with a quiet old wife”; who he had a very innocent grown-up son; these inspired the Garland family in The Old Curiosity Shop. Dickens left school and began working ten-hour days at Warren’s Blacking Warehouse, on Hungerford Stairs, near Charing Cross railway station, pasting labels on blacking. The terrible working conditions made a deep impression on Dickens and influenced his writing and kindled his interest in socio-economic reforms and improving labour conditions,

Whilst in Marshalsea, John Dickens’s paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Dickens, died and bequeathed him the sum of £450 and Dickens was released from prison. Under the Insolvent Debtors Act, After paying his creditors, he and his family left Marshalsea for the home of Mrs. Roylance and Charles attended the Wellington House Academy in North London, although his mother did not immediately remove him from the boot-blacking factory which soured their relationship. Righteous anger stemming from his own situation and the conditions under which working-class people lived, became major themes of his works. This unhappy period in his youth features in his favourite, and most autobiographical, novel, David Copperfield. From 1827 until 1828 Dickens worked at the law office of Ellis and Blackmore, attorneys, of Holborn Court, Gray’s Inn, as a junior clerk. He then became a freelance reporter. reporting legal proceedings. This experience informed works such as Nicholas Nickleby, Dombey and Son, and Bleak House. In 1833 Dickens’s first story, A Dinner at Poplar Walk was published in the London periodical, Monthly Magazine. In 1834 he becoming a political journalist, reporting on parliamentary debate covering election campaigns for the Morning Chronicle.

His journalism, in the form of sketches in periodicals, formed his first collection of pieces Sketches by Boz, published in 1836. his first novel, The Pickwick Papers, was also published in March 1836. Dickens became editor of Bentley’s Miscellany and also wrote Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, The Old Curiosity Shop and, Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of ‘Eighty as part of the Master Humphrey’s Clock series. In 1836, he married Catherine Thomson Hogarth the daughter of George Hogarth, editor of the Evening Chronicle. Dickens and his family lived in London for two years. Dickens’s younger brother Frederick and Catherine’s 17-year-old sister Mary also moved in with them. Sadly Mary died in 1837 and her death is fictionalised as the death of Nell in The Old Curiosity Shop. In 1842, Dickens and his wife travelled to the United States and Canada and supported the abolition of slavery. In 1851 Dickens moved into Tavistock House where he wrote Bleak House, Hard Times and Little Dorrit.

In 1856 he moved to Gad’s Hill Place in Higham, Kent. In 1857, Dickens hired professional actresses for the play The Frozen Deep, which he and his protégé Wilkie Collins had written. Dickens, was very philanthropic and in 1858 he was approached by his friend Charles West, who founded Great Ormond Street Hospital, to help during a major financial crisis.So In 1858, Dickens spoke at the hospital’s first annual festival dinner at Freemasons’ Hall and later gave a public reading of A Christmas Carol at St. Martin-in-the-Fields church hall. The events raised enough money to enable the hospital to purchase the neighbouring house, No. 48 Great Ormond Street, increasing the bed capacity from 20 to 75. In 1858 Dickens began a series of public readings in London followed by a tour of England, Scotland and Wales. He then wrote The novelsA Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations. He also worked as the the publisher, editor & major contributor to, the journals Household Words and All the Year Round. Dickens also became interested in the paranormal was one of the early members of The Ghost Club. Arctic Exploration also featured in Dickens’s writing The heroic friendship between explorers John Franklin and John Richardson gave Dickens the idea for A Tale of Two Cities, The Wreck of the Golden Mary and the play The Frozen Deep.

IN 1865, Dickens was involved in the Staplehurst rail crash. The first seven carriages of the train plunged off a cast iron bridge under repair. The only first-class carriage to remain on the track was the one in which Dickens was travelling. This inspired the short ghost story The Signal-Man in which the central character has a premonition of his own death in a rail crash and is based around several previous rail accidents, such as the Clayton Tunnel rail crash of 1861. The Staplehurst crash deeply traumatized Dickens, and his normally prolific writing shrank to completing Our Mutual Friend and starting the unfinished The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

In 1867 Dickens sailed to America and met Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his American publisher James Thomas Fields. His final appearance was at a banquet the American Press held in his honour at Delmonico’s on 18 April and boarded his ship to return to Britain shortly after. Between 1868 and 1869, Dickens gave a series of “farewell readings” in England, Scotland, and Ireland, until he collapsed on 22 April 1869, at Preston in Lancashire showing symptoms of a stroke. Dickens began work on his final novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. After, he witnessed an elderly pusher known as “Opium Sal in an Opium Den in Shadwell, who subsequently featured in his mystery novel. On 2 May, he made his last public appearance at a Royal Academy Banquet in the presence of the Prince and Princess of Wales, paying a special tribute to his friend, illustrator Daniel Maclise.

Sadly On 8 June 1870, Dickens suffered another stroke at his home, after a full day’s work on Edwin Drood, and he died the following day five years to the day after the Staplehurst rail crash 9 June 1865. Contrary to his wish to be buried at Rochester Cathedral “in an inexpensive, unostentatious, and strictly private manner,” he was laid to rest in the Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey. A printed epitaph circulated at the time of the funeral reads

“To the Memory of Charles Dickens (England’s most popular author) who died at his residence, Higham, near Rochester, Kent, 9 June 1870, aged 58 years. He was a sympathizer with the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed; and by his death, one of England’s greatest writers is lost to the world.”

Five days after Dickens’s interment in the Abbey, Dean Arthur Penrhyn Stanley also delivered a memorial eulegy. Dickens’s will stipulated that no memorial be erected to honour him. The only life-size bronze statue of Dickens, cast in 1891 by Francis Edwin Elwell, is located in Clark Park in the Spruce Hill neighbourhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States. The couch on which he died is preserved at the Dickens Birthplace Museum in Portsmouth. However Dickens’ novels remain popular and have been adapted for stage, screen and Television numerous times

BAFTA 2021

Stacey Dooley and Vick Hope are presenting the 2021 British Academy of film and television (BAFTA) awards in London on 6 June 2021. here are the nominations.

DRAMA SERIES

GANGS OF LONDON

I HATE SUZIE

SAVE ME TOO 

THE CROWN

LEADING ACTOR

JOHN BOYEGA – Small Axe

JOSH O’CONNOR – The Crown

PAAPA ESSIEDU – I May Destroy You

PAUL MESCAL – Normal People

SHAUN PARKES – Small Axe

WALEED ZUAITER – Baghdad Central

LEADING ACTRESS

BILLIE PIPER – I Hate Suzie

DAISY EDGAR-JONES – Normal People 

HAYLEY SQUIRES – Adult Material 

JODIE COMER – Killing Eve

LETITIA WRIGHT – Small Axe

MICHAELA COEL – I May Destroy You

SUPPORTING ACTOR

KUNAL NAYYAR – Criminal: UK

MALACHI KIRBY – Small Axe 

MICHAEL SHEEN – Quiz

MICHEAL WARD – Small Axe 

RUPERT EVERETT – Adult Material

TOBIAS MENZIES – The Crown

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

HELENA BONHAM CARTER – The Crown

LEILA FARZAD – I Hate Suzie 

RAKIE AYOLA – Anthony 

SIENA KELLY – Adult Material

SOPHIE OKONEDO – Criminal: UK 

WERUCHE OPIA – I May Destroy You

COMEDY ENTERTAINMENT PROGRAMME

CHARLIE BROOKER’S ANTIVIRAL WIPE 

ROB & ROMESH VS Jack Shillaker

THE BIG NARSTIE SHOW

THE RANGANATION

FEMALE PERFORMANCE IN A COMEDY PROGRAMME

AIMEE LOU WOOD – Sex Education

DAISY HAGGARD – Breeders

DAISY MAY COOPER – This Country

EMMA MACKEY – Sex Education 

GBEMISOLA IKUMELO – Famalam

MAE MARTIN – Feel Good

MALE PERFORMANCE IN A COMEDY PROGRAMME

CHARLIE COOPER – This Country

GUZ KHAN – Man Like Mobeen

JOSEPH GILGUN – Brassic

NCUTI GATWA – Sex Education

PAUL RITTER – Friday Night Dinner

REECE SHEARSMITH – Inside No.9

MINI-SERIES

ADULT MATERIAL

I MAY DESTROY YOU 

NORMAL PEOPLE 

SMALL AXE

CURRENT AFFAIRS

AMERICA’S WAR ON ABORTION (EXPOSURE) 

ITALY’S FRONTLINE: A DOCTOR’S DIARY

THE BATTLE FOR HONG KONG (DISPATCHES)

THE CYPRUS PAPERS UNDERCOVER (AL JAZEERA INVESTIGATIONS)

DAYTIME

JIMMY MCGOVERN’S MOVING ON 

RICHARD OSMAN’S HOUSE OF GAMES

THE CHASE 

THE GREAT HOUSE GIVEAWAY  

ENTERTAINMENT PERFORMANCE

ADAM HILLS – The Last Leg

BRADLEY WALSH – Beat the Chasers

CLAUDIA WINKLEMAN – Strictly Come Dancing

DAVID MITCHELL – Would I Lie to You? At Christmas 

GRAHAM NORTON – The Graham Norton Show 

ROMESH RANGANATHAN – The Ranganation 

ENTERTAINMENT PROGRAMME

ANT & DEC’S SATURDAY NIGHT TAKEAWAY 

LIFE & RHYMES

STRICTLY COME DANCING 

THE MASKED SINGER

FACTUAL SERIES

CRIME & PUNISHMENT

HOSPITAL

LOSING IT: OUR MENTAL HEALTH EMERGENCY 

ONCE UPON A TIME IN IRAQ

FEATURES

BIG ZUU’S BIG EATS

LONG LOST FAMILY: BORN WITHOUT TRACE

MORTIMER AND WHITEHOUSE: GONE FISHING 

THE REPAIR SHOP  

NEWS COVERAGE

BBC NEWS AT TEN: PRIME MINISTER ADMITTED TO INTENSIVE CARE 

CHANNEL 4 NEWS: DETERRING DEMOCRACY 

NEWSNIGHT: COVID CARE CRISIS 

SKY NEWS: INSIDE IDLIB 

REALITY & CONSTRUCTED FACTUAL

MASTERCHEF: THE PROFESSIONALS 

RACE ACROSS THE WORLD 

THE SCHOOL THAT TRIED TO END RACISM 

THE WRITE OFFS 

SINGLE DRAMA

ANTHONY

BBW (ON THE EDGE)

SITTING IN LIMBO 

THE WINDERMERE CHILDREN

SOAP & CONTINUING DRAMA

CASUALTY

CORONATION STREET

EASTENDERS

HOLLYOAKS  

INTERNATIONAL

LITTLE AMERICA 

LOVECRAFT COUNTRY

UNORTHODOX

WELCOME TO CHECHNYA: THE GAY PURGE (STORYVILLE)

LIVE EVENT

LIFE DRAWING LIVE! 

SPRINGWATCH

THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION FESTIVAL OF REMEMBRANCE

THE THIRD DAY: AUTUMN Production Team 

SCRIPTED COMEDY

GHOSTS 

INSIDE NO. 9 

MAN LIKE MOBEEN

THIS COUNTRY

SHORT FORM PROGRAMME

CRIPTALES 

DISABLED NOT DEFEATED: THE ROCK BANS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES – DELTA 7 

THE MAIN PART 

THEY SAW THE SUN FIRST

SINGLE DOCUMENTARY

AMERICAN MURDER: THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR 

ANTON FERDINAND: FOOTBALL, RACISM & ME

LOCKED IN: BREAKING THE SILENCE (STORYVILLE) 

SURVIVING COVID 

VIRGIN MEDIA’S MUST-SEE MOMENT (voted for by the public)

BRIDGERTON – Penelope is revealed as Lady Whistledown 

BRITAIN’S GOT TALENT – Diversity perform a routine inspired by the events of 2020

EASTENDERS – Gray kills Chantelle  

GOGGLEBOX – Reactions to Boris Johnson’s press conference

NIGELLA’S COOK, EAT, REPEAT – Mee-cro-wah-vay

THE MANDALORIAN – Luke Skywalker arrives

Marilyn Monroe

American actress, model, and singer Marilyn Monroe, was born 1st June in 1926. She became a major sex symbol, starring in a number of commercially successful motion pictures during the 1950s and early 1960s.Born Norma Jeane Mortenson (soon after changed to Baker), she spent much of her childhood in a succession of foster homes. It was during this time Monroe was told that someday she would become a movie star. Norma Jeane’s Foster Mother Grace was captivated by Jean Harlow, and would let Norma Jeane wear makeup and take her out to get her hair curled. They would go to the movies together, forming the basis for Norma Jeane’s fascination with the cinema and the stars on screen.

During the forties Monroe began a career as a model, which led to a film contract in 1946 with Twentieth Century-Fox. Her early film appearances were minor, but her performances in The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve (both 1950) drew attention to her. By 1953, Monroe had progressed to a leading role in Niagara (1953), a melodramatic film noir that dwelt on her seductiveness. Her “dumb blonde” persona was used to comic effect in subsequent films such as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) and The Seven Year Itch (1955).

Limited by typecasting, Monroe studied at the Actors Studio to broaden her range. Her dramatic performance in Bus Stop (1956) was hailed by critics and garnered a Golden Globe nomination. Her production company, Marilyn Monroe Productions, released The Prince and the Showgirl (1957), for which she received a BAFTA Award nomination and won a David di Donatello award. She received a Golden Globe Award for her performance in Some Like It Hot (1959). Monroe’s last completed film was The Misfits, co-starring Clark Gable with screenplay by her then-husband, Arthur Miller. The final years of Monroe’s life were marked by illness, personal problems, and a reputation for unreliability and being difficult to work with. The circumstances of her death, from an overdose of barbiturates, have been the subject of conjecture. Though officially classified as a “probable suicide”, the possibility of an accidental overdose, as well as of homicide, have not been ruled out. In 1999, Monroe was ranked as the sixth greatest female star of all time by the American Film Institute. In the decades following her death, she has often been cited as both a pop and a cultural icon as well as the quintessential American sex symbol.

Ian Fleming

English author, journalist and Naval Intelligence Officer Ian Fleming was born 28 May 1908 in Mayfair . He is best known for creating the fictional spy James Bond and the series of twelve novels and nine short stories about the character. Fleming was from a wealthy family, connected to the merchant bank Robert Fleming & Co. and his father was MP for Henley from 1910 until his death on the Western Front in 1917. In 1914 Fleming was sent to Durnford School, a preparatory school on the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset. The school was near to the estate of a family called Bond, who could trace their ancestry back to an Elizabethan spy called John Bond and whose motto was Non Sufficit Orbis—The World Is Not Enough. From 1921 Fleming followed his brother Peter to Eton College. Although not one of the academic stars of the school, he excelled at athletics and was Victor Ludorum.He left Eton a term early for a crammer course to gain entry to the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. Fleming spent less than a year at Sandhurst, leaving in 1927 without gaining a commission. He then went to a small private school, the Tennerhof, in Kitzbühel, Austria, run by a former British spy, and his American wife, the novelist Phyllis Bottome.

His language skills developed well and from the Tennerhof he studied briefly at Munich University and the University of Geneva. Foreign Office, but failed the examinations. In October 1931 he was eventually given a position as a sub-editor and journalist for the Reuters news service. in October 1933 moved into the banking world with a position at financiers Cull & Co. He was not a good banker and, in October 1935, became a stockbroker with Rowe and Pitman, headquartered on Bishopsgate, London. From 1929 onwards Fleming Also collected a library of over one thousand books of what Fleming described as “books that made things happen.”These books represented “milestones in modern science, technology and Western civilization.” He concentrated on science and technology, had a copy of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species but also owned other significant works ranging from Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf to Baden Powell’s Scouting for Boys.

During the Second World War Fleming was recruited by the Director of Naval Intelligence of the Royal Navy to become his personal assistant with the codename “17F”. On 29 September 1939 a document comparing deception of an enemy in wartime with fly fishing was published which contained a number of schemes to be considered for use against the Axis powers, in order to lure U-boats and German surface ships towards minefields. Number 28 on the list was an idea to use a corpse, carrying misleading papers, which the enemy could find: this suggestion formed the basis of Operation Mincemeat, the successful 1943 deception plan to cover the intended invasion of Italy from North Africa. On 12 September 1940 Fleming wrote a memo instigating a plan named Operation Ruthless, aimed at obtaining details of the Enigma codes used by the German Navy. The memo suggested “obtaining” a German bomber, putting ina German-speaking crew, all dressed in Luftwaffe uniforms, and crashing the plane into the English channel. When the Germans would come to rescue the crew, they would be attacked and the boat, including its Enigma machine, would be brought back to England. Fleming also worked on intelligence co-operation between London and Washington.In May 1941 Fleming went to the United States and assisted in writing a blueprint for the Office of the Coordinator of Information, the department which turned into the Office of Strategic Services and eventually became the CIA. In 1941-42 Fleming was put in charge of Operation Golden Eye, a plan to maintain an intelligence framework in Spain in the event of a German takeover of the territory. The plan, drawn up by Fleming, involved maintaining communication with Gibraltar and launching sabotage operations against the Nazis.

During 1942 Fleming formed a unit of commandos, known as No. 30 Commando, or 30 Assault Unit (30AU), a group of specialist intelligence troops. 30 AU’s job was to be near the front line of an advance—sometimes in front of it— to seize enemy documents from HQs previously targeted. Fleming selected targets and directed operations from the rear, The unit was filled with men from other commando units and trained in unarmed combat, safe-cracking and lock-picking at the Special Operations Executive (SOE) facilities. Prior to the Normandy landings, most of 30AU’s operations were in the Mediterranean. Because of their successes in Sicily and Italy, 30AU became greatly trusted by naval intelligence. In March 1944, Fleming oversaw the distribution of intelligence through to Royal Navy units in preparation for Operation Overlord and he subsequently followed the unit into Germany after they located the German naval archives from 1870, archived in Tambach Castle. During an Intelligence fact-finding trip to the Far East on behalf of the Director of Naval Intelligence, Fleming spent Much of the trip identifying opportunities for 30AU in the Pacific.

Following the success of 30AU, it was decided to establish a “Target Force” during 1944 which became known as T-Force. The official memorandum, held at The National Archives in London described their primary role as: “T-Force = Target Force, to guard and secure documents, persons, equipment, with combat and Intelligence personnel, after capture of large towns, ports etc. in liberated and enemy territory.”It was responsible for securing targets of interest to the British military. These included nuclear laboratories, gas research centres and individual rocket scientists. The unit’s most notable coup was during the advance on the German port of Kiel, where it captured the research centre for German engines used for the V-2 rocket, Messerschmitt Me 163 fighters and high speed U-boats. Fleming Later used elements of T-Force, in his 1955 Bond novel Moonraker. In 1942 Fleming attended an Anglo-American intelligence summit in Jamaica and Fleming decided to live on the island a friend helped him find a plot of land in Saint Mary Parish and, in 1945, Fleming had a house built there, which he named Goldeneye. The name of the house and estate where he wrote his novels has many possible sources. Ian Fleming himself cited both his wartime Operation Golden Eye, but also the 1941 novel, Reflections in a Golden Eye by Carson McCullers. n May 1945, he joined The Sunday Times and became Foreign Manager.

During the war Fleming mentioned to friends that he wanted to write a spy novel, but it was not until 1952 that he began to write his first novel, Casino Royale. He started writing his book at his Jamaican home Goldeneye, on 17 February 1952. On 13 April 1953 Casino Royale was released in the UK in hardcover, Three print runs were needed, all of which sold out. The novel centred on the exploits of James Bond, an intelligence officer in the Secret Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6. Bond was also known by his code number, 007, and was a Royal Naval Reserve commander.

Bond was a composite character based on all the secret agents and commando types Fleming encountered during his time in the Naval Intelligence Division during World War II and Many of the names used in the Bond works are also from people Fleming knew: the primary villain of The Man with the Golden Gun, Scaramanga was named after a fellow schoolboy at Eton, with whom Fleming fought; Goldfinger, from the eponymous novel, was named after British architect Erno Goldfinger, whose work Fleming abhorred; Sir Hugo Drax, the protagonist from Moonraker, was named after an acquaintance of Fleming’s, Admiral Sir Reginald Aylmer Ranfurly Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax and one of the homosexual villains from Diamonds Are Forever, ‘Boofy’ Kidd, was named after one of Fleming’s close friends.

Much of the background to the stories also came from Fleming’s previous work in the Naval Intelligence Division or to events he knew of from the Cold War. The plot of From Russia, with Love uses a fictional Soviet Spektor decoding machine as a lure to trap Bond; the Spektor had its roots in the German World War II Enigma machine. Ths first five books —Casino Royale, Live and Let Die, Moonraker, Diamonds Are Forever and From Russia with Love proved to be wildly successful and In 1958 Dr. No was published. the next book Fleming produced was a collection of short stories, For Your Eyes Only. Fleming followed This up by novelizing a film script that he had worked on with others, the resulting novel being Thunderball. In April 1961, he also began working on a children’s novel, Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang, which was published in October 1964.

Sadly because Fleming was a heavy smoker and heavy drinker throughout his adult life he suffered from heart disease and In 1961 he suffered a heart attack and by the age of 56, Fleming was rather ill. So In January 1964 Fleming went to Goldeneye to write The Man with the Golden Gun, Sadly Five months after returning from Jamaica, on the morning of 12 August 1964, Fleming died of a heart attack. He was buried in the churchyard of Sevenhampton village, near Swindon. In 1966, two years after his death, twelve Bond novels and two short-story collections were also published, with the last two books—The Man with the Golden Gun, Octopussy and The Living Daylights—published posthumously.

During his lifetime Fleming sold thirty million books; double that number were sold in the two years following his death and The Bond books are among the biggest-selling series of fictional books of all time, having sold over 100 million copies worldwide and in observance of what would have been Fleming’s 100th birthday in 2008, Ian Fleming Publications commissioned Sebastian Faulks to write a new Bond novel entitled Devil May Care. The book, released in May 2008, was credited to Fleming. Fleming was ranked fourteenth in a list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945″. The Eon Productions series of Bond films, started in 1963 with Dr. No, continued after Fleming’s death. The lates bond movies includE Skyfall and Spectre. A further five continuation authors have also produced Bond novels including “Sebastian Faulks, writing as Ian Fleming”, who was followed by American thriller author Jeffery Deaver, whose novel, Carte Blanche, was published in May 2011, William Boyd wrote the novel “Solo” in 2013 and Anthony Horowitz hasreleased the Bond novels Trigger Mortis and Forever and a day.

Peter Cushing OBE

English actor Peter Wilton Cushing, OBE was Born 26 May 1913 he was known for his many appearances in Hammer Films, in which he played the sinister scientist Baron Frankenstein or the vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing, among many other roles. He appeared frequently opposite Christopher Lee, and occasionally Vincent Price. A familiar face on both sides of the Atlantic, Cushing’s best-known roles outside the Hammer productions include Sherlock Holmes, Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars (1977) and The Doctor in Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965) and Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. (1966), both films based on the Doctor Who television series.

He was Educated at Shoreham College. Cushing’s first job was a surveyors Assistant. He left this to take up a scholarship at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. After working in repertory theatre in Worthing, Sussex, he left for Hollywood in 1939, debuting in The Man in the Iron Mask later that year, before returning to England in 1941 after starring in several films. In one, A Chump at Oxford (1940), he appeared opposite Laurel and Hardy. His first major film role was that of Osric in Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet (1948).In the 1950s, he worked in television, notably as Winston Smith in the BBC’s 1954 adaptation of the George Orwell novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), scripted by Nigel Kneale. Cushing also starred as Fitzwilliam Darcy in the BBC’s production of Pride and Prejudice (1952), as King Richard II in Richard of Bordeaux (1955), and as Raan, a Prospero-like character, in “Missing Link” (1975), an episode of Space: 1999. He also appeared in The Avengers and its successor series, The New Avengers. In 1956, he received the British Academy Television Award for Best Actor. Cushing also starred in film adaptation of the H.Rider Haggard novel “She” with Ursual Andress and Bernard Cribbins.

Cushing is also well known for playing Baron Victor Frankenstein and Professor Van Helsing in a long series of horror films produced by Hammer Film Productions in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. He was often cast alongside Christopher Lee, who became his best friend. His first appearances in his two most famous roles were in Terence Fisher’s films The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) and Dracula (1958). He later said that his career decisions entailed selecting roles where he knew that he would be accepted by the audience. “Who wants to see me as Hamlet? Very few. But millions want to see me as Frankenstein, so that’s the one I do.” Cushing and Christopher Lee in Nothing But The Night (1972) . Cushing also played Sherlock Holmes many times, originally in Hammer’s The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959), the first Holmes adaptation to be filmed in colour. This was followed by a performance in 16 episodes of the BBC series Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes(1968), of which only six episodes survive.

Cushing reprised the role, now playing the detective in old age, in The Masks of Death (1984) for Channel 4. In the mid-1960s, Cushing played Dr. Who in two films (Dr. Who and the Daleks and Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.) based on the BBC science-fiction TV series Doctor Who. He decided to play the part as a lovable and avuncular figure to counter the public’s image of him as a horror actor. In an interview published in ABC Film Review in November 1964, Cushing stated, “People look at me as if I were some sort of monster, but I can’t think why. In my macabre pictures, I have either been a monster-maker or a monster-destroyer, but never a monster. Actually, I’m a gentle fellow. Never harmed a fly. I love animals, and when I’m in the country I’m a keen bird-watcher.” In an interview published in 1966, he added, “I do get terribly tired with the neighbourhood kids telling me ‘My mum says she wouldn’t want to meet you in a dark alley’.

In 1976, Cushing was cast in Star Wars in the part of Grand Moff Tarkin. He was presented with ill-fitting riding boots, which pinched his feet so much that he was given permission by director George Lucas to play the role wearing his slippers. The camera operators filmed him only from the knees up, or else standing behind the table of the Death Star conference room set. As a result, Cushing’s role could not be expanded on in the later director’s cut versions with improved special effects (such as inserting a CGI Jabba the Hutt in place of a human for Han Solo to argue with), because the technicians could not replace the slippers with the boots. Peter Cushing was also later digitally added to the Star Wars spin-off film Rogue One as Grand Moff Tarkin.

Following Star Wars, Cushing continued to appear sporadically in film and television, as his health permitted. In 1969, he had appeared in a comedy play by Ernie Wise on The Morecambe and Wise Show on BBC2. Throughout the BBC era of the show, he would regularly join Wise and his comic partner, Eric Morecambe, on stage; he would constantly seek payment for his first appearance, wearily asking “Have you got my five pounds yet?” This running joke continued when the duo left the BBC and moved to Thames Television in 1978. Cushing appeared in their first special for Thames Television on 18 October, still asking to be paid, with the hosts repeatedly trying to get rid of him; at the end of the show, Morecambe placed some money in a wallet wired up to a bomb, in an attempt to blow Cushing up in exaggerated comedic style. In the duo’s Christmas special, Cushing pretended to be the Prime Minister while Morecambe and Wise caroled outside 10 Downing Street; he made the comedians give him money and finally came out to declare “paid, at last!”Wise was a guest for Cushing’s appearance on This Is Your Life in 1989. He promptly presented Cushing with a five pound note, only to extort it back from him. Cushing was delighted and exclaimed “All these years and I still haven’t got my fiver!”

Sadly Cushing was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1982, but managed to survive for 12 years without surgery, although his health remained fragile. In 1989, he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, although his friend Christopher Lee publicly opined that the honour was “too little, too late”. Cushing retired to Whitstable, on the Kent coast, where he had bought a seafront home in 1959, and continued his hobby of birdwatching while writing two autobiographies. He also worked as a painter, specialising in watercolours, and wrote and illustrated a children’s book of Lewis Carroll-style humour, The Bois Saga. He was the patron of the Vegetarian Society from 1987 until his death. Cushing’s final professional commitment was the co-narration of the TV documentary Flesh and Blood: The Hammer Heritage of Horror, produced by American writer and director Ted Newsom. His contribution was recorded in Canterbury, near his home. The programme was broadcast only a few days before his death on 11 August 1994, aged 81.

Matt Stone

Best known for being the co-creator of South Park along with his creative partner and best friend Trey Parker, the American actor, voice artist,animator, screenwriter, director, producer and musician, Matthew Richard “Matt” Stone was born May 26, 1972 in Houston, Texas, he attended Heritage High School and graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder,becoming their first student to double major in film and mathematics. Matt Stone and and his friend Trey Parker launched their largely collaborative careers in 1992, making a holiday short titled Jesus vs. Frosty. Their first success came from Alferd Packer: The Musical, subsequently distributed as Cannibal! The Musical. From there he made another short entitled Jesus vs. Santa, leading him and college friend Parker to create South Park. He has four Emmy Awards for his role in South Park, winning “Outstanding Programming More Than One Hour” and “Outstanding Programming Less Than One Hour”

In 1992, Stone and Parker created the short film Jesus vs. Frosty, which included four boys, two resembling Stan Marsh and Kyle Broflovski, one called Kenny who looked likeCartman, and a fourth unnamed boy who looked like Kenny. Both Jesus and Cannibal! The Musical were made while they were students at the University of Colorado film school, studying under both Stan Brakhage and Jerry Aronson. After the duo released Cannibal! The Musical, they were asked to make another animated short. They came down to two ideas: one a sequel to Jesus vs. Frosty, and one about a character that would later be recurring in South Park, Mr. Hankey. They chose to write about the four boys, and Stone and Parker produced 13 episodes for season 1. The video landed in the hands of Comedy Central who thought it was hilarious and South Park is currently still under contract.

In 1999, Stone and Parker made South Park bigger, longer and uncut and the film’s music was nominated for an Academy Award. As of 2007, Parker is credited with directing and writing the vast majority of South Park episodes, and voicing most of the regular and guest characters, leading fans to question Stone’s involvement in the creative process. On September 25, 2013, South Park’s seventeenth season will premiere. In 1997, they also released Orgazmo and In 1998, they starred in (but did not write or direct) BASEketball, another feature film, while being renewed for a second season of South Park. In 2001, the duo announced they would do 39 shorts between the lengths of 2 and 5 minutes. Although originally thought to be South Park related, they decided they would do something different. The result was the shorts Princess. The content was so extreme that it was cancelled after two shows aired. In 2001, they also created That’s My Bush!, another television series, which was cancelled after one season. In 2004, they made a parody film, entitled Team America: World Police.

Stone is also a member of the band DVDA with Parker, for which he plays bass and drums. DVDA’s songs have appeared in many of the duo’s productions, including Orgazmo, BASEketball, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, and Team America: World Police. On January 14, 2013, Stone and Parker announced that they would be starting a film production company called Important Studios. Inspired by the production work of Lucasfilm and DreamWorks

Sir Ian McKellen CH CBE

English actor Sir Ian Murray McKellen, CH, CBE was born 25 May 1939 in Burnley, Lancashire. Shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, his family moved to Wigan. They lived there until Ian was twelve years old, before relocating to Bolton in 1951, after his father had been promoted. McKellen’s father was a civil engineer and lay preacher, and was of Protestant Irish and Scottish descent. Both of McKellen’s grandfathers were preachers, and his great-great-grandfather, James McKellen, was a “strict, evangelical Protestant minister” in Ballymena, County Antrim. His home environment was strongly Christian, but non-orthodox. When he was 12, his mother died of breast cancer; his father died when he was 24. His great-great-grandfather Robert J. Lowes was an activist and campaigner in the ultimately successful campaign for a Saturday half-holiday in Manchester, the forerunner to the modern five-day work week, thus making Lowes a “grandfather of the modern weekend. McKellen attended Bolton School (Boys’ Division), and his acting career started at Bolton Little Theatre, of which he is now the patron.

An early fascination with the theatre was encouraged by his parents, who took him on a family outing to Peter Pan at the Opera House in Manchester when he was three. When he was nine, his main Christmas present was a wood and bakelite, fold-away Victorian theatre from Pollocks Toy Theatres, with cardboard scenery and wires to push on the cut-outs of Cinderella and of Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet. His sister took him to his first Shakespeare play, Twelfth Night, by the amateurs of Wigan’s Little Theatre, shortly followed by their Macbeth and Wigan High School for Girls’ production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with music by Mendelssohn, with the role of Bottom played by Jean McKellen. In 1958, McKellen won a scholarship to St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, where he read English literature.While at Cambridge, McKellen was a member of the Marlowe Society, where he appeared in 23 plays over the course of 3 years. At that young age he was already giving performances that have since become legendary such as his Justice Shallow in Henry IV alongside Trevor Nunn and Derek Jacobi, Cymbeline (as Posthumus, opposite Margaret Drabble as Imogen) and Doctor Faustus.

McKellen made his first professional appearance in 1961 at the Belgrade Theatre, as Roper in A Man for All Seasons. After four years in regional repertory theatres he made his first West End appearance, in A Scent of Flowers. In 1965 he was a member of Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre Company at the Old Vic, which led to roles at the Chichester Festival. With the Prospect Theatre Company, McKellen made his breakthrough performances of Richard II and Marlowe’s Edward II at the Edinburgh festival in 1969. During the 1970s and 1980s McKellen performed frequently at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre, portraying several leading Shakespearean characters including Macbeth and Iago in Othello. In 2007 he appeared in the Royal Shakespeare Company, productions of King Lear and The Seagull. In 2009 he appeared in Waiting for Godot at London’s Haymarket Theatre, opposite Patrick Stewart. He is Patron of English Touring Theatre and also President and Patron of the Little Theatre Guild of Great Britain, an association of amateur theatre organisations throughout the UK. In late August 2012, he took part in the opening ceremony of the London Paralympics, portraying Prospero from The Tempest.

McKellen’s career spans genres ranging from Shakespearean and modern theatre to popular fantasy and science fiction and He started his professional career in 1961 at the Belgrade Theatre as a member of their highly regarded repertory company. In 1965 McKellen made his first West End appearance. In 1969 he was invited to join the Prospect Theatre Company to play the lead parts in Shakespeare’s Richard II and Marlowe’s Edward II, firmly establishing himself as one of the country’s foremost classical actors. In the 1970s McKellen became a stalwart of the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre of Great Britain.

Over the years he has gained fame for many notable film roles, which include Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies and Magneto in the X-Men films, both of which introduced McKellen to a new generation. He has been the recipient of six Laurence Olivier Awards, a Tony Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a BIF Award, two Saturn Awards, four Drama Desk Awards, and two Critics’ Choice Awards. He has also received two Oscar nominations, four BAFTA nominations and five Emmy Award nomination. He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1979 Birthday Honours, was knighted in the 1991 New Year Honours for services to the performing arts, and made a Companion of Honour for services to drama and to equality in the 2008 New Year Honours. He has been openly gay since 1988, and continues to be a champion for LGBT social movements worldwide. He was made a Freeman of the City of London in October 2014.

Towel day

Towel Day takes place annually on 25 May. The purpos of Towel Day is to celebrate the life and works of English author Douglas Adams, who is most famous for writing the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Dirk Gently’s Hollistic Detective Agency and a couple of Doctor Who episodes starring Tom Baker. On this day, fans carry a towel with them, to demonstrate their appreciation of the books and the Author. The importance of Towels is described in chapter three of Adams’ The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy thus:

A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (this mind-bogglingly stupid animal, assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have “lost.” What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with. Hence a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in “Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.” (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy. The emphasis on towels is a reference to Hitch-hiker’s Guide to Europe by Ken Welsh, which inspired Adams’ fictional guidebook and also stresses the importance of towels.

The first of five books in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy comedy science fiction series by Douglas Adams was published 12th October 1979. Originally a radio comedy broadcast, it was later adapted to other formats, and over several years it gradually became an international multi-media phenomenon. Adaptations have included stage shows, a “trilogy” of five books, a sixth novel penned by Eoin Colfer, a 1981 TV series, a computer game, and three series of three-part comic book adaptations of the first three novels published by DC Comics between 1993 and 1996. A film version, produced and filmed in the UK, was released in April 2005, and radio adaptations of the third, fourth, and fifth novels were broadcast from 2004 to 2005. All versions, the series follows the adventures of Arthur Dent, a hapless Englishman, Ford Prefect, who named himself after the Ford Prefect car to blend in with what was assumed to be the dominant life form, automobiles, and is an alien from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse and a researcher for the eponymous guidebook; Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ford’s semi-cousin and the Galactic President; the depressed robot Marvin the Paranoid Android; and Trillian, formerly known as Tricia McMillan, a woman Arthur once met at a party in Islington and the only other human survivor of Earth’s destruction.

In the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the Earth is destroyed by a Vogon constructor fleet to make way for a Hyperspace bypass, so the characters visit the legendary planet Magrathea, home to the now-collapsed planet-building industry, and meet Slartibartfast, a planetary coastline designer who was responsible for the fjords of Norway. Through archival recordings, he relates the story of a race of hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings who built a computer named Deep Thought to calculate the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. When the answer was revealed to be 42, Deep Thought explained that the answer was incomprehensible because the beings didn’t know what they were asking. It went on to predict that another computer, more powerful than itself would be made to calculate the question for the answer. (Later on, referencing this, Adams would create the 42 Puzzle, a puzzle which could be approached in multiple ways, all yielding the answer 42.) The computer, was the Earth, and was destroyed by Vogons five minutes before the conclusion of its 10-million-year program. Two of a race of hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings who commissioned the Earth in the first place, disguised themselves as Trillian’s mice, and want to dissect Arthur’s brain to help reconstruct the question, since he was part of the Earth’s matrix moments before it was destroyed, and so he is likely to have part of the question buried in his brain.

In The Restaurant at the End of the Universe , Zaphod gets separated from the others and finds he is part of a conspiracy to uncover who really runs the Universe. He then meets Zarniwoop, editor for The Guide, who knows where to find the secret ruler and is briefly reunited with the others for a trip to Milliways, the titular restaurant. Zaphod and Ford decide to steal a ship from there, however this turns out to be a stunt ship pre-programmed to plunge into a star as a special effect in a stage show and they are unable to change it’s course. Meanwhile Ford and Arthur, end up on a spacecraft full of the outcasts of the Golgafrinchan civilisation, which crashes on prehistoric Earth; leaving Ford and Arthur stranded, and it becomes clear that the inept Golgafrinchans are the ancestors of modern humans, having displaced the Earth’s indigenous hominids. Adams himself considered Restaurant to be his best novel of the five. In Life, the Universe and Everything , Slartibartfast, enlists the aid of Ford, Arthur, Marvin, Zaphod and Trillian who travel to the planet Krikkit to prevent the people there from escaping and starting a destructive galactic war, which could wipe out all life in the Universe.

In So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, Arthur returns home to Earth, where He meets and falls in love with a girl named Fenchurch, and discovers this Earth is a replacement provided by the dolphins in their Save the Humans campaign. Eventually he rejoins Ford, who claims to have saved the Universe in order to hitch-hike one last time and see God’s Final Message to His Creation. Along the way, they are also joined by Marvin, the Paranoid Android, who, although 37 times older than the universe itself (what with time travel and all), has just enough power left in his failing body to read the message and feel better about it all before expiring.

Finally, in Mostly Harmless, Vogons take over The Hitchhiker’s Guide (under the name of InfiniDim Enterprises), to finish the task of obliterating the Earth. Arthur loses Fenchurch and travels around the galaxy despondently, before crashing his spaceship on the planet Lamuella, where he settles in happily as the official sandwich-maker for a small village of simple, peaceful people. Meanwhile, Ford Prefect breaks into The Guide’s offices, gets himself an infinite expense account from the computer system, and then meets The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Mark II, an artificially intelligent, multi-dimensional guide with vast power and a hidden purpose. Trillian leaves her daughter, Random Frequent Flyer Dent with Arthur, but she then steals The Guide Mark II and uses it to get to Earth. Arthur, Ford, Trillian, and Tricia McMillan (Trillian in this alternate universe) give chase & follow her to a crowded club, where an anguished Random becomes startled by a noise and inadvertently fires her gun at Arthur. Soon afterwards, The Guide Mark II removes all possible Earths from probability, which is bad news for all the main characters, apart from Zaphod, who were all on Earth at the time.

Author Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl) wrote a sixth instalment entitled And Another Thing, which sees the characters awoken from virtual reality as death rays bear down on Earth before being picked up by Zaphod and joined by Bowerick Wowbagger, the Infinitely Prolonged. Zaphod then travels to Asgard to get Thor’s help, to deal with the Vogons, who are heading to the planet Nano in order to destroy a colony of people who also escaped Earth’s destruction. So Arthur, Wowbagger, Trillian and Random head to Nano during the journey Wowbagger and Trillian fall in love, then Zaphod arrives with Thor, who becomes the planet’s God. Wowbagger then marries Trillian and Thor manages to stop the first Vogon attack. Then Arthur get flung across alternate universes during a hyperspace jump but ends up exactly where he’d want to be, unfortunately the Vogons turn up again….

The popularity of the radio series gave rise to a six-episode television series, which first aired on BBC 2 in 1981. It employed many of the actors from the radio series and was based mainly on the radio versions of Fits the First through Sixth. A second series was also planned, although it was never made. On 21 June 2004, BBC Radio announced that a new series of Hitchhiker’s based on the third novel would be broadcast followed by a further series based on the fourth and fifth novels. A movie adaptation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was also released in 2005 starring Martin Freeman as Arthur, Mos Def as Ford, Sam Rockwell as Zaphod Beeblebrox and Zooey Deschanel as Trillian, with Alan Rickman providing the voice of Marvin the Paranoid Android (and Warwick Davis acting in Marvin’s costume), and Stephen Fry as the voice of the Guide/Narrator. The plot of the film adaptation of Hitchhiker’s Guide differs widely from that of the radio show, book and television series and visits to Vogsphere, the homeworld of the Vogons (which, in the books, was already abandoned), and Viltvodle VI are inserted. The film covers events in the first four radio episodes, and ends with the characters en route to Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, leaving the opportunity for a sequel open.