Paul Verhoeven

Dutch film director, film producer, television director, television producer, and screenwriter Paul Verhoeven was born 18 July 1938 in Amsterdam, however the family lived in the village of Slikkerveer. In 1943 the family moved to The Hague, the location of the German headquarters in the Netherlands during World War II. The Verhoeven house was near a German military base with V1 and V2-rocket launchers, which was repeatedly bombed by allied forces. Their neighbours’ house was hit and Verhoeven’s parents were almost killed when bombs fell on a street crossing. From this period, Verhoeven mentioned in interviews, he remembers images of violence, burning houses, dead bodies on the street, and continuous danger. As a small child he experienced the war as an exciting adventure and compares himself with the character Bill Rowan in Hope and Glory.

Verhoeven’s father became head teacher at the Van Heutszschool in The Hague, and Paul attended this school. Sometimes they watched informative films at home with the school’s film projector. Paul and his father often saw American films, such as The Crimson Pirate. Verhoeven also liked The War of the Worlds (1953). Paul Verhoeven was a fan of the Dutch comic Dick Bos (nl). The character Dick Bos is a private detective who fights crime using jujutsu. Verhoeven himself liked comic drawing; he created the character The Killer, he also liked Frankenstein and the Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom series. Verhoeven attended public secondary school Gymnasium Haganum in The Hague. Later, beginning in 1955, he studied at Leiden University, where he joined the elite fraternity Minerva. Verhoeven graduated with a doctorandus (M.Sc.) with a double major, in Mathematics and Physics.

In 1960 Verhoeven made his first film A Lizzard Too Much for the anniversary of his students’ corps. In his last years at university Verhoeven also attended classes at the Netherlands Film Academy. After this he made three more short films Nothing Special (1961), The Hitchhikers (1962) and Let’s Have a Party (1963). Verhoeven never used his maths and physics degree, opting instead to invest his energies in a career in film. After his studies he entered the Dutch Navy as a conscript. In 1965 He made the documentary “Het Korps Mariniers” (The Royal Dutch Marine Corps, which won the French Golden Sun award for military films. In 1967 Verhoeven married Martine Tours, with whom he later had two daughters, Claudia and Helen.

When he left the Navy, Verhoeven took his skills to Dutch television. First, he made a documentary about Anton Mussert named Mussert (1968). His first major success was the 1969 Floris television series, starring Rutger Hauer. Floris was inspired by foreign series like Ivanhoe and Thierry La Fronde. Verhoeven’s first feature film Business Is Business was released in 1971 then in 1973 with Turkish Delight, starring Rutger Hauer and Monique van de Ven and based on a novel by bestselling Dutch author Jan Wolkers. This tells the passionate love story of an artist and a liberal young girl from a rather conservative background. The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film in 1974. In 1999 the film won a Golden Calf for Best Dutch Film of the Century. Verhoeven’s 1975 film Katie Tippel again featured Hauer and van de Ven.

In 1979 Verhoeven achieved international success with his Golden Globe nominated film Soldier of Orange. starring Rutger Hauer and Jeroen Krabbé. The film, based on a true story about the Dutch resistance in World War II, was written by Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema. Soldier of Orange received the 1979 LA Film Critics Award for best foreign language film. It was also nominated for a Golden Globe. In 1980 Verhoeven made the film Spetters with Renée Soutendijk and Rutger Hauer. The story is sometimes compared to Saturday Night Fever, but the film has more explicit sex and violence which are sometimes seen as the trademarks of Paul Verhoeven. Verhoeven’s film The Fourth Man (1983) is a horror film starring Jeroen Krabbé and Renée Soutendijk. It was written by Gerard Soeteman from a novel by the popular Dutch writer Gerard Reve. This was Verhoeven’s last Dutch film production until the 2006 film Black Book. In 1985 Verhoeven released Flesh and Blood (1985), which starred Rutger Hauer and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Verhoeven moved to Hollywood for a wider range of opportunities in filmmaking. Working in the U.S. he made a serious change in style, directing big-budget, very violent, special-effects-heavy smashes RoboCop and Total Recall. Both RoboCop and Total Recall won Academy Special Achievement Awards, for Sound Effects Editing and for Visual Effects respectively.

In 1992 Verhoeven released the equally intense and provocative Basic Instinct (1992), an erotic thriller. The ninth-highest-grossing film of the year, the movie was a return to themes Verhoeven had explored in Turkish Delight and The Fourth Man. The film received two Academy Awards nominations, for Film Editing and for Original Music. Verhoeven’s next film was Showgirls (1995), about a stripper in Las Vegas trying to make a career as a showgirl. The film won seven Golden Raspberry Awards including Worst Film and Worst Director; Verhoeven became the first director to accept his “award” in person. In 1997 Verhoeven released the science fiction films Starship Troopers (adapted from the controversial novel of the same name by Robert A. Heinlein, and Hollow Man (2000). Each film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects. In 2005 Verhoeven returned to the Netherlands and together with his screenwriter Gerard Soeteman, made Black Book (2006) which eventually won six Golden Calves, including Best Director. Verhoeven followed Black Book by directing a movie in French: Elle, an adaptation of a novel by Philippe Djian. The film by Verhoeven, is a psycho-thriller where Isabelle Huppert plays a rape victim, and was selected in the Official Competition at the Cannes International Film Festival.

In 2007 Verhoeven was made a knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion. Verhoeven is also a member of the Jesus Seminar,and is the only member who does not have a degree in biblical studies. He graduated with a degree in mathematics and physics from the University of Leiden. Since he is not a professional biblical exegete, his membership in the Jesus Seminar has occasionally been cited by opponents of the Seminar as a sign that this group is less scholarly than it claims. In 2007 Verhoeven wrote the book Jesus of Nazareth (Dutch: Jezus van Nazaret) about the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Which reviews the ideas of Jesus of Nazareth and the alleged corruption of these same ideas over the last 2,000 years. Co-written with Verhoeven’s biographer Rob Van Scheers, the book is the culmination of the research Verhoeven conducted in preparation for Jesus: The Man, a motion picture about the life of Christ The book tells about the Jewish uprising against Roman rule and characterizes Jesus as a radical political activist, downplaying any supernatural events and miracles as unproved or unprovable. And in 2017 Verhoeven was President of the Jury for the 67th Berlin International Film Festival. He is currently filming his next film “The Blessed Virgin”

Burt Kwouk OBE

The late British actor W. “Burt” Kwouk, OBE was born 18 July 1930 in Warrington, Cheshire. He was brought up in Shanghai until he was 17 years old, when his Chinese parents returned to England. He went to the United States to study and in 1953 graduated from Bowdoin College. The Kwouk family fortune had been lost in the 1949 revolution and in 1954 he came back to Britain, where a girlfriend “nagged me into acting”.

He appeared in numerous films and television programmes. One of Kwouk’s earliest film roles was in The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958) where he played the leader of a prison revolt who later aids the main character in heroically leading orphans to safety. In 1968 he appeared in The Shoes of the Fisherman opposite Laurence Olivier and Anthony Quinn. Kwouk was also a stalwart of several ITC television TV series, such as Danger Man, The Saint and Man of the World. He co-starred in 12/13 episodes of The Sentimental Agent (1963). Kwouk appeared in three James Bond films. Including Goldfinger (1964) portraying played Mr. Ling, a Chinese expert in nuclear fission; in the spoof Casino Royale (1967) a general and in You Only Live Twice (1967) and a Japanese operative of Blofeld credited as Spectre 3.

He was most famous for playing Cato Fong, Inspector Clouseau’s manservant in the Pink Panther films, who was ordered to attack Clouseau when he least expected it in order to keep him alert, this would end up totally hilarious and caused absolute chaos. A reference to his appearances in several films with Peter Sellers including the opening scene of The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu alongside Peter Sellers, who says to him “your face is familiar.” (referencing Pink Panther). He also portrayed the honorable but misguided Major Yamauchi in the 1980’s British World War II drama series Tenko.

In 2000, he appeared in an episode of the western TV series Queen of Swords as Master Kiyomasa, an aged Japanese warrior-priest. Sung-Hi Lee played his female pupil, Kami. The episode was filmed at Texas Hollywood, Almeria, Spain. From 2001 to 2004 he provided voice-overs on the spoof Japanese betting show Banzai and subsequently appeared in adverts for the betting company, Bet365. From 2002 until 2010, he so had a regular role in the Last of the Summer Wine, as Entwistle. In 2010, he provided the voice of the CGI character Shen, a Chinese water dragon, for the groundbreaking BBC TV fantasy drama series Spirit Warriors. He sadly died 24 May 2016.

Jane Austen

English novelist Jane Austen tragically died in 18th July 1817. She was born 16th December 1775 and her works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature. Her realism and biting social commentary have gained her historical importance among scholars and critics. Austen lived her entire life as part of a close-knit family located on the lower fringes of the English landed gentry. She was educated primarily by her father and older brothers as well as through her own reading. The steadfast support of her family was critical to her development as a professional writer. Her artistic apprenticeship lasted from her teenage years into her thirties. During this period, she experimented with various literary forms, including the epistolary novel which she then abandoned, and wrote and extensively revised three major novels and began a fourth. From 1811 until 1816, with the release of Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1816), she achieved success as a published writer. She wrote two additional novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published posthumously in 1818, and began a third, which was eventually titled Sanditon, but died before completing it.

Austen’s works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century realism. Her plots, though fundamentally comic, highlight the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing and economic security. Her work brought her little personal fame and only a few positive reviews during her lifetime, but the publication in 1869 of her nephew’s A Memoir of Jane Austen introduced her to a wider public, and by the 1940s she had become widely accepted in academia as a great English writer. The second half of the 20th century saw a proliferation of Austen scholarship and the emergence of a Janeite fan culture. Biographical information concerning Jane Austen is “famously scarce”, according to one biographer. Only some personal and family letters remain (by one estimate only 160 out of Austen’s 3,000 letters are extant), and her sister Cassandra (to whom most of the letters were originally addressed) burned “the greater part” of the ones she kept and censored those she did not destroy. Other letters were destroyed by the heirs of Admiral Francis Austen, Jane’s brother. Most of the biographical material produced for fifty years after Austen’s death was written by her relatives and reflects the family’s biases in favour of “good quiet Aunt Jane”. Scholars have unearthed little information since. Since her death Jane Austen’s novels such as Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey and Emma, have all remained popular and have given rise to numerous television and film adaptations.

Doctor Who

Doctor Who showrunner and Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall announced On 16 July 2017, that Broadchurch actress Jodie Whittaker would be Doctor Who’s 13th Incarnation. She follows on from William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, John Hurt, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi. The Broadchurch star succeeds Peter Capaldi, who took over the role in 2013 and leaves in the forthcoming Christmas special. Former time-lord David Tennant has also starred in both Doctor Who and Broadchurch

Jodie Whittaker 35, made her professional debut in The Storm at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2005. She has since worked in film, television, radio and theatre in such productions as St Trinian’s, Good and Attack the Block. She has also starred in the television series Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Wired, Return to Cranford, Marchlands, Black Mirror, Broadchurch and The Assets. In 2007 she stood in at short notice for an unwell Carey Mulligan in the Royal Court’s production of The Seagull, and appeared in a fundraising play at the Almeida Theatre. Whittaker’s first major role, was co-star Jessie / Venus in the film Venus. Her radio credits also include a 2008 adaptation of Blinded by the Sun by Stephen Poliakoff and Lydia Bennett in Unseen Austen, an original drama by Judith French. In 2009, she worked on the film Ollie Kepler’s Expanding Purple World, the BBC2 drama Royal Wedding, and the short film Wish 143, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Live Action Short Film at the 83rd Academy Awards.

In 2010, Whittaker appeared in the film The Kid and co-starred in BBC’s Accused. She appeared in the 2009 Irish comedy crime film Perrier’s Bounty. In 2011, she appeared as Viv in the BBC adaptation of Sarah Waters’s novel The Night Watch and the cult film Attack the Block. In 2012, she starred in the musical comedy-drama Good Vibrations and In 2013, Whittaker starred in the ITV detective drama Broadchurch. In January 2014, she starred in the reality-based spy drama miniseries The Assets on ABC. Whittaker was a late favourite to become the Doctor, and will debut on the sci-fi show when the Doctor regenerates in the Christmas Day special.

Harrison Ford (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Blade Runner)

American film actor and producer. Harrison Ford was born July 13 in 1942. He is famous for his performances as Han Solo in the original Star Wars trilogy and as the title character of the Indiana Jones film series. Ford is also known for his roles as Rick Deckard in Blade Runner, John Book in Witness and Jack Ryan in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. His career has spanned six decades and includes roles in several Hollywood blockbusters, including Presumed Innocent, The Fugitive, Air Force One, and What Lies Beneath. At one point, four of the top six box-office hits of all time included one of his roles. Five of his films have been inducted into the National Film Registry. In 1997, Ford was ranked No. 1 in Empire’s “The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time” list. As of July 2008, the United States domestic box office grosses of Ford’s films total over US$3.5 billion, with worldwide grosses surpassing $6 billion, making Ford the third highest grossing U.S. domestic box-office star.

Ford is the husband of actress Calista Flockhart.His first known part was an uncredited role as a bellhop in Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round and he later worked for Universal Studios, playing minor roles in many television series throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s, including Gunsmoke, Ironside, The Virginian, The F.B.I., Love, American Style, and Kung Fu. He appeared in the western Journey to Shiloh and had an uncredited, non-speaking role in the film Zabriskie Point. He eventually landed his first starring film role. In 1975, after George Lucas hired him to read lines for actors auditioning for parts in his Star Wars. Lucas was eventually won over by Ford’s portrayal, and cast him as Han Solo. Star Wars became one of the most successful movies of all time worldwide, and established Ford as a superstar. He went on to star in the similarly-successful Star Wars sequels, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, as well as The Star Wars Holiday Special.Ford’s status as a leading actor was solidified when he starred as Indiana Jones in the George Lucas/Steven Spielberg collaboration Raiders of the Lost Ark. Though Spielberg was interested in casting Ford in the lead role from the start, Lucas was not, due to having already worked with the actor in American Graffiti and Star Wars, but he eventually relented after Tom Selleck was unable to accept.Ford reprised the role for the prequel Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and the sequel Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. He later returned to his role as Indiana Jones again for a 1993 episode of the television series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, and for the fourth film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Ford has been in numerous other films, including Heroes, Force 10 from Navarone, and Hanover Street. Ford also co-starred alongside Gene Wilder in the buddy-Western The Frisco Kid, playing a bank robber with a heart of gold. He then starred as Rick Deckard in Ridley Scott’s cult sci-fi classic Blade Runner, and in a number of dramatic-action films: Peter Weir’s Witness and The Mosquito Coast, and Roman Polanski’s Frantic The 1990s brought Ford the role of Jack Ryan in Tom Clancy’s Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, as well as leading roles in Alan Pakula’s Presumed Innocent and The Devil’s Own, Andrew Davis’ The Fugitive, Sydney Pollack’s remake of Sabrina, and Wolfgang Petersen’s Air Force One. Ford also played straight dramatic roles, including an adulterous husband in both Presumed Innocent and What Lies Beneath, and a recovering amnesiac in Mike Nichols’ Regarding Henry. He also starred in Six Days Seven Nights, Random Hearts, K-19: The Widowmaker, Hollywood Homicide, Firewall, Extraordinary Measures, and also starred alongside Daniel Craig and Olivia Wilde in the science fiction Western film Cowboys & Aliens. Ford has also filmed corporate espionage thriller Paranoia, Directed by Robert Luketic and starringHunger Games/Avengers star Liam Hemsworth and Gary Oldman.

Ford Reprised his role as Han Solo alongside Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill in Star Wars Episode VII, The Force Awakens, directed by J.JAbrahams and starring John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow, Lupita Nyong’o Crystal Clarke, Pip Anderson, and Gwendoline Christie, with Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker reprising their roles from previous films. Although he sustained a minor injury while filming When part of the Millenium Falcon fell on him. The Force is setapproximately 30 years after Return of the Jedi and sees a new threat called The First Order threatening to take over the Galaxy, led by the villainous Supreme Leader Snoke J. Abrams co-wrote the screenplay with Lawrence Kasdan, who acted as co-writer on The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The film was released December 2015, with Episode VIII due for release in 2017.

Since 1992, Ford has also lent his voice to a series of public service messages promoting environmental involvement for EarthShare, an American federation of environmental and conservation charities. In 2006 He also received the Jules Verne Spirit of Nature Award for his ongoing work in preservation of the planet. In 1993, the arachnologist Norman Platnick named a new species of spider Calponia harrisonfordi, and in 2002, the entomologist Edward O. Wilson named a new ant species Pheidole harrisonfordi (in recognition of Harrison’s work as Vice Chairman of Conservation International). Following on his success portraying the archaeologist Indiana Jones, Ford also plays a part in supporting the work of professional archaeologists. He serves as a General Trustee on the Governing Board of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), North America’s oldest and largest organization devoted to the world of archaeology. Ford assists them in their mission of increasing public awareness of archaeology and preventing looting and the illegal antiquities trade. During his film career Ford has received many awards including Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor in Witness, He received the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2002 Golden Globe Awards and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He has received three additional “Best Actor” Golden Globe nominations for The Mosquito Coast, The Fugitive and Sabrina, and also received the first ever Hero Award for his many iconic roles, including Han Solo and Indiana Jones, at the 2007 Scream Awards, and also the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2000.

Patrick Stewart (Star Trek, X-Men)

Best known as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation and its successor films English film, television and stage actor Patrick Stewart was Born 13th July 1940. He has had a distinguished career in theatre and television. He is most widely known for his television and film roles, such , Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men film series, and as the voice of Avery Bullock in American Dad!. He attributes his acting career to an English teacher who “put a copy of Shakespeare in my hand and said, ‘Now get up on your feet and perform’”. In 1951, aged 11, he entered Mirfield Free Grammar School, where he continued to study drama. At age 15, Stewart dropped out of school and increased his participation in local theatre. He acquired a job as a newspaper reporter and obituary writer, but after a year, his employer gave him an ultimatum to choose acting or journalism, Stewart also trained as a boxer.

Following a period with Manchester’s Library Theatre, he became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1966 where He appeared next to actors such as Ben Kingsley and Ian Richardson. In January 1967, he made his debut TV appearance on Coronation Street as a Fire Officer. In 1969, he had a brief TV cameo role as Horatio, opposite Ian Richardson’s Hamlet, in a performance of the gravedigger scene as part of episode six of Sir Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation television series. He made his Broadway debut as Snout in Peter Brook’s legendary production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, then moved to the Royal National Theatre in the early 1980s. Over the years, Stewart took roles in many major television series without ever becoming a household name. He appeared as Lenin in Fall of Eagles; Sejanus in I, Claudius; Karla in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley’s People; Claudius in a 1980 BBC adaptation of Hamlet. He even took the romantic male lead in the 1975 BBC adaptation of Mrs Gaskell’s North and South. He also took the lead, playing Psychiatric Consultant Dr. Edward Roebuck in a BBC TV series called Maybury in 1981. He also had minor roles in several films such as King Leondegrance in John Boorman’s Excalibur the character Gurney Halleck in David Lynch’s 1984 film version of Dune and Dr. Armstrong in Tobe Hooper’s Lifeforce.

In 1987 Stewart began his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and received a 1995 Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for “Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series”. From 1994 to 2002, he also portrayed Picard in the films Star Trek: Generations, Star Trek: First Contact , Star Trek: Insurrection, and Star Trek: Nemesis and in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s pilot episode “Emissary”. Stewart became so typecast as Picard that he has found obtaining other Hollywood roles difficult. The main exception is the X-Men film series. The films’ success has resulted in another lucrative regular genre role in a major superhero film series. Stewart’s character, Charles Xavier, is very similar to Picard and himself; “a grand, deep-voiced, bald English guy”. He has also since voiced the role in three video games, X-Men Legends, X-Men Legends II and X-Men: Next Dimension. Other film and television roles include the flamboyantly gay Sterling in the 1995 film Jeffrey and King Henry II in The Lion in Winter, for which he received a Golden Globe Award nomination for his performance and an Emmy Award nomination for executive-producing the film. He portrayed Captain Ahab in the 1998 made-for-television film version of Moby Dick, receiving Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations for his performance. He also starred as Scrooge in a 1999 television film version, receiving a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for his performance. (You may be able to find copies of these on Ebay)

In late 2003, during the eleventh and final season of NBC’s Frasier, Stewart appeared on the show as a gay Seattle socialite and Opera director who mistakes Frasier for a potential lover. In July 2003, he appeared in Top Gear in the Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car segment, he was cast as Professor Ian Hood in an ITV thriller 4-episode series Eleventh Hour, created by Stephen Gallagher. He also played Captain Nemo in a two part adaptation of The Mysterious Island andt also appeared in the television series Extras. For which he was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2006 for Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.Stewart is also a fairly frequent guest voice on Fox’s animated comedy American Dad! as Avery Bullock and also appeared with the rest of the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation in the Family Guy episode “Not All Dogs Go To Heaven

Although he remained associated with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the lengthy filming for the Next Generation prevented him from participating in most other works. He instead began writing one-man shows that he performed in California universities and acting schools. Stewart found that one—a version of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol in which he portrayed all 40-plus characters—was ideal for him because of its limited performing schedule which was performed on Broadway, receiving a nomination for that year’s Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One-Person Show it also had d a 23-day run in London’s West End. For his performances in this play, Stewart also received the Drama Desk Award for Best Solo Performance in 1992 and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Entertainment for Solo Performance in 1994. Other Shakespeare roles during this period included Prospero in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, as well as in Rupert Goold’s 2006 production of The Tempest as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Complete Works Festival. In 1997, he took the role of Othello with the Shakespeare Theatre Company (Washington, D.C.)

Surprisingly for a Shakespearean actor, he has not played notable roles such as Hamlet, Romeo, and Richard III He played Antony again opposite Harriet Walter’s Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra at the Novello Theatre in London in 2007 to excellent reviews. During this period, Stewart also addressed the Durham Union Society on his life in film and theatre. When Stewart began playing Macbeth in the West End in 2007, some said that he was too old for the role; however, he and the show again received excellent reviews, with one critic calling Stewart “one of our finest Shakespearean actors”. He was named as the next Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre based at St Catherine’s College, Oxford in January 2007. In 2008, Stewart played King Claudius in Hamlet alongside David Tennant. He won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor for the part. When collecting his award, he dedicated the award “in part” to Tennant and Tennant’s understudy Edward Bennett, after Tennant’s back injury and subsequent absence from four weeks of Hamlet disqualified him from an Olivier nomination.Stewart has expressed interest in appearing in Doctor Who.

In 2009, Stewart appeared alongside Ian McKellen as the lead duo of Vladimir (Didi) and Estragon (Gogo), in Waiting for Godot. Stewart had previously only appeared once alongside McKellen on stage, but the pair had developed a close friendship while waiting around on set filming the X-Men films. “In 2011, Stewart appeared in the feature length documentary The Captains alongside William Shatner, who also wrote and directed the film. which is about actors who have portrayed captains within the Star Trek franchise and Stewart reveals the fear and personal failings that came along with his tenure as a Starfleet captain, but also the great triumphs he believes accompanied his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard

John Wyndham

English Science Fiction Author John Wyndham was born 10 July 1903 in the village of Dorridge near Knowle, Warwickshire (now West Midlands), England, the son of George Beynon Harris, a barrister, and Gertrude Parkes, the daughter of a Birmingham ironmaster. His early childhood was spent in Edgbaston in Birmingham, but when he was 8 years old his parents separated and he and his brother, the writer Vivian Beynon Harris, spent the rest of their childhood at a number of English preparatory and public schools, including Blundell’s School in Tiverton, Devon, during World War I. His longest and final stay was at Bedales School near Petersfield in Hampshire (1918–21), which he left at the age of 18, and where he blossomed and was happy.

After leaving school, Wyndham tried several careers, including farming, law, commercial art and advertising, but mostly relied on an allowance from his family. He eventually turned to writing for money in 1925 and, by 1931, was selling short stories and serial fiction to American science fiction magazines, most under the pen names “John Beynon” and “John Beynon Harris”, although he also wrote some detective stories including The Secret People (1935), as John Beynon, Foul Play Suspected (1935), as John Beynon and Planet Plane (1936), as John Beynon (a.k.a The Space Machine and Stowaway to Mars).

During World War II, Wyndham first served as a censor in the Ministry of Information, then joined the British Army, serving as a Corporal cipher operator in the Royal Corps of Signals. He participated in the Normandy landings, although he was not involved in the first days of the operation. After the war, Wyndham returned to writing, inspired by the success of his brother, who had four novels published. He altered his writing style; and, by 1951, using the John Wyndham pen name for the first time, he wrote the novel The Day of the Triffids. His pre-war writing career was not mentioned in the book’s publicity, and people were allowed to assume that it was a first novel from a previously unknown writer.

Novels published by John Wyndham include The Day of the Triffids (1951), also known as Revolt of the Triffids, The Kraken Wakes (1953), published in the US as Out of the Deeps, The Chrysalids (1955), The Midwich Cuckoos (1957), filmed twice as Village of the Damned, The Outward Urge (1959), Trouble with Lichen (1960) and Chocky, the Web and Plan for Chaos. Wyndham also published many Short story collections including Jizzle, The Seeds of Time, Tales of Gooseflesh and Laughter, Consider Her Ways and Others, The Infinite Moment, Sleepers of Mars, Worlds to Barter, Invisible Monster, The Man from Earth, the Third Vibrator, Wanderers of Time, Derelict of Space, Child of Power, The Last Lunarians, The Puff-ball Menace (a.k.a. Spheres of Hell), Exiles on Asperus, No Place Like Earth, The Lost Machine, The Venus Adventure” (1932), The Stare, The Moon Devils, The Cathedral Crypt, The Perfect Creature, Judson’s Annihilator and The Trojan Beam

In 1963, he married Grace Isobel Wilson, whom he had known for more than 20 years; the couple remained married until he died. He and Grace lived for several years in separate rooms at the Penn Club, London and later lived near Petersfield, Hampshire, just outside the grounds of Bedales School. He died 11 March 1969, aged 65, at his home in Petersfield, survived by his wife and his brother. Subsequently, some of his unsold work was published; and his earlier work was re-published. His archive was acquired by Liverpool University. On 24 May 2015 an alley in Hampstead that appears in The Day of the Triffids was formally named Triffid Alley as a memorial to him.