Title: Herostratus
Medium: Film
Genre: Experimental drama
Filmed: 1964
Location: London
First shown: June 1967
Character: Max, a young poet
Role: Starring role. Max sells the chance to film his suicide to an advertising executive.
Character’s fate (highlight to read): Max survives, traumatised by having accidentally caused someone else’s death.
Link to entries on this archive

Title: The Machine Stops
Medium: TV: part of the BBC series – Out of the Unknown
Genre: Science fiction
Filmed: 1966
Location: UK
First shown: 6 October 1966
Character: Kuno, a young man living in a future society, underground.
Role: Starring role. Kuno, tries to escape the tyranny of the Machine by going out unprotected onto the surface of the Earth.
Character’s fate (highlight to read): Kuno dies, along with his mother Vashti, and their whole underground civilisation, when the Machine breaks down, because no one knows how to repair it.
Link to entries on this archive

Title: The Excavation
Medium: Television: part of the BBC series – Thirty Minute Theatre
Genres: Crime, psychological drama
Filmed: 1966
Location: UK, but set in the USA
First shown: 31 October 1966
Character: Grady, an ex-convict
Role: Starring role. Grady and his partner have perjured themselves at a murder trial; they are questioned by a wealthy civil rights lawyer, trying to get the truth.
Character’s fate: Unknown: the episode has been lost.1
Link to entry on this archive

Title: The Further Adventures of the Musketeers
Medium: TV serial, in 16 parts
Genres: Historical drama, swashbuckler
Filmed: 1966/7
Location: UK, but set in France
First shown: May – September 1967
Character: Mordaunt, formerly John Francis de Winter
Role: Mordaunt is the son of Milady de Winter: an enemy of the Musketeers, who was executed many years before. He appears in 10 episodes.
Character’s fate (highlight to read): According to Brian Blessed, who played Athos, Mordaunt was killed by the Musketeers: details unknown. The series still exists in the BBC Archive, but is not yet available.1
Link to entry on this archive

Title: Up the Junction
Medium: Film
Genres: Drama, slice of life
Filmed: 1967
Location: London
First shown: 13 March 1968
Character: Terry: a young Londoner
Role: Terry is a friend of the hero. He is upset when his girlfriend Rube has an abortion, but nevertheless gets engaged to her.
Character’s fate (highlight to read): Terry is killed, when his motorbike hits a lorry.
Link to entries on this archive
Read more... )
The BFI brought out three films in which Michael Gothard had major roles, “Herostratus”, “The Devils” and “La Valleé.” The booklets that accompany and “Herostratus” (released 24/08/2009) and “La Valleé” (released 08/06/2009) both include sections about him, but while the notes in the “La Valleé” booklet include some material specifically related to his role in that film, the notes for "Herostratus” are basically the same.

These notes show a disappointing reliance on online sources, one of whom – Curtis Harrington – actively disliked Michael Gothard. A quotation from Harrington is even used to provide the title: “An interesting type.”

At best, this phrase, culled from a highly personal attack that Harrington launched on Gothard some years after his death, damns a very talented and unique actor – not a ‘type’ – with faint praise, and tends to discourage the reader from looking more closely at his work.

It is tempting to think that the reason this quotation was used, was that it was easy to find. It’s true that there was not much information about Michael Gothard available at the time the booklet on “Herostratus” was written, but a little research in a library reveals that John Glen, the Director of “For Your Eyes Only”, described him as “a captivating actor”1, and that Louis M. Heyward, the Executive Producer of “Scream and Scream Again” said: "I felt that Michael Gothard was going to be the biggest thing that ever happened. He had that insane look and that drive, and he was wonderful … He had a lot of class and a lot of style.”2

Either of these quotations could have more aptly supplied a title for Michael Gothard's mini-biography. Instead, Harrington’s quotation sets the tone for an article which is not only negative, but misleading.

Firstly, the statement that, “Michael Gothard’s choice of television and film roles illustrated the dark side of the 1960s and 70s” warrants scrutiny. The word “choice” assumes that at the start of his career, Michael had the pick of television and film roles - which seems unlikely – rather than having to take what was offered.

Secondly, even if he did, indeed, choose the roles he took on between 1967 and 1979, from among many, it cannot be said that all or even most of them illustrated the "darker side" of those times. An argument could be made for his roles in “Herostratus”, “Up the Junction”, “More”, “The Storyteller”, “The Excavation”, “La Vallée”, “Nine Bean Rows”, “Games People Play”, “Run for Your Money”, and “Stopover”, but even some of those are debatable, and not all of them are extant.

As for the rest: “The Machine Stops” is set in the future; “The Further Adventures of the Musketeers”, “Michael Kohlhaas”, “The Last Valley”, “The Devils”, “Arthur of the Britons”, “The Three and Four Musketeers”, and “Warrior Queen” are all set in the past. “Les Fleurs du Mal” is an escapist spy/crime drama, “Scream and Scream Again”, a horror/science fiction, “When the Spirit Moves You”, a supernatural comedy, “Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?” a thriller, and “Warlords of Atlantis” a fantasy adventure. It is hard to see how his role in any of these could illustrate the darker side of the 1960s and 70s.

The notes go on to describe Michael as having a “deep, hard voice.” In his work that post-dates “Up the Junction”, his voice was deep, but “hard” is not how most people would describe it. David Wickes, who directed him in “Jack the Ripper” and “Frankenstein”, spoke of “his soft, husky voice” which “was electrifying … he knew how to use it to maximum effect.”

The notes go further into the realms of fantasy when they state that Gothard was “usually cast in historical actioners, European arthouse or mind-bending genre movies, more often than not torn apart or committing the ‘elemental crime’ of suicide.”

It’s true that he was often cast in historical pieces: a total of twelve productions. Under the heading “European Arthouse” there seem to be only three films, “Herostratus”, “La Valleé”, and a non-speaking appearance in “More.” Mind-bending genre movies? Again, perhaps “Herostratus” is one of those, along with “Scream and Scream Again”, and “Lifeforce.”

However,this only constitutes seventeen productions: less than half of Michael Gothard’s forty-two roles. This doesn’t fulfill the description, “usually cast.”

But it is the final assertion in the sentence – that his characters are “more often than not torn apart or committing the ‘elemental crime’ of suicide’” – which is the most damaging, and the most lacking in substance. It is complete fabrication.

Even if one assumes that by “torn apart”, the writer means “conflicted”, rather than literally “torn apart” (which never happens), this statement has no basis in fact. Most of Michael’s characters show no sign of being conflicted, and certainly not to the extent of being “torn apart.” Many of them – Kuno, John, Weber, Hansen, Father Barré, Albie, Volthan, Gaspard, Locque, Terry Marvin, Karl Portillo, Strett, Stefan, Xaros – are unusually single-minded.

Of his 42 known film and TV roles, only six of them, Max (“Herostratus”), Ivan (“Games People Play”), Olivier (“La Valleé”), Kai (“Arthur of the Britons”), Felton (The “Musketeers” films) Athelstane (“Ivanhoe”) and Sergei (“From Fulham With Love”) ever suffer significant internal conflict. Only in Max and Olivier is it a basic character trait, rather than something arising from circumstances, and Olivier’s conflict is not a bad thing, but the result of intellectual curiosity and a refreshing capacity to step back from his sociological context.

As for the ‘elemental crime’ of suicide’: in “Herostratus”, Michael’s character, Max, intends to commit suicide, but changes his mind, then accidentally kills someone else. In “Scream and Scream Again”, as the artificially-created vampire, Keith, he jumps into a bath of acid to avoid capture, presumably because he has been programmed to do so, rather than from an actual desire to kill himself.

There is no other instance in his entire known canon of film and TV work, of a character Michael Gothard played committing suicide.

Even if, being charitable, we count all six of the conflicted characters, and add in Keith the vampire as a suicide, this makes a total of seven roles out of forty-two: one sixth does not constitute “more often than not.”

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the writer made these claims in a misguided attempt to make things seem neat and tidy - by telling the rather tired story of an actor and his roles becoming one and the same thing - rather than making the effort to find out the truth.

Another less important inaccuracy, is the claim that Michael Gothard appeared in “Vampyre.” He did not. It was intended that he should appear, but the project fell through, and was eventually resurrected without him.

Towards the end of the article, the writer describes Michael Gothard “momentarily acting opposite Marlon Brando” as if that were his finest hour, when it was more like Brando’s worst. In fact, Gothard was brought in as a possible replacement for Brando, whom John Glen thought unreliable, and in the end, Brando got terrible notices for the film.

Finally, the article says of Michael Gothard: “Overpowered by depression, he hanged himself at home in Hampstead, aged 53 and alone.”

We know that Michael Gothard had suffered from depression for most of his life, on and off, but his suicide was unexpected. Some friends suspect that prescription medication may have precipitated his suicide, but the truth of what was going on in his mind will probably never be known, so to claim, as fact, that he was “overpowered by depression” is pure speculation.

Naturally he was “alone” at the time when he killed himself – few people take their own lives in company. But the tacit implication of “aged 53 and alone” is that he was “alone” in his life, and this is completely wrong.

A lifelong musician, he often met up with fellow musicians for jamming sessions. He dated many beautiful women, and was an avid letter-writer, keeping in touch with old friends and girlfriends. While he seems – as far as the creators of this archive have been able to discover – to have had no contact with his father, and little with his mother, he did have close friends whom he regarded as family.

The writer of the notes in the BFI booklet could not have known all this at the time they wrote the article, so - presumably because Michael Gothard’s social life was not plastered all over the tabloids every day - they have made the mistake of interpreting his whole life in the light of his final act, and suggesting that he was living a solitary and miserable existence. This is both misleading, and insulting to him and to his friends. It would have been better to be honest, and simply say, “Little is known of his private life”, but that wouldn’t have fitted in with story the writer wanted to tell.

~~

1 "For My Eyes Only: My Life with James Bond”, by John Glen. (2001)
2 Interview with Louis M. Heyward by Gary A. Smith, in “Uneasy Dreams: The Golden Age of British Horror Films, 1956-1976.” (2006)
“Capital City” was a show about the lives and loves of a group of city bond traders working at fictional company, Shane Longman. It was shown in the UK, The Netherlands, Canada and elsewhere.

From the DVD cover notes:

“Originally broadcast in 1989, “Capital City” was a huge success, giving a realistic insight into the fast-paced life at an international bank. Set in the offices of London-based Shane Longman, the charismatic team of bankers are hired for their blend of style, intelligence and verve. They take risks, and thrive on the pressure of closing the deal.”

Michael Gothard appeared in episode 11: “Twelve Degrees Capricorn”, which was first broadcast in the UK on 5 December 1989.

Michael Gothard’s role in “Twelve Degrees Capricorn.”

“… Sirkka [Joanna Kanska] finds her own ultimately dangerous way of relieving the feelings of frustration she is currently feeling regarding her inability to read the financial market. After a particularly difficult day she unwinds by stopping off at a nearby bar that sells her current favourite tipple, ‘lemon vodka’.

Whilst there she is propositioned by Stefan [Michael Gothard], a Swiss Trade Commission representative and – enjoying what she considers another way of relieving the tedium of her trading existence – she arranges to sleep with him for money.

… however this initial thrill of Sirkka’s one night stand then turns sinister when Stefan locates where she works and continues to phone her.

… she breezes onto the trading floor, attempting to put these dalliances behind her, to the strains of saxophone laced confident incidental music ready for the day ahead. However with cards, flowers and ultimately a personal visit … Stefan initially proves a difficult person to dissuade.”

Full review from series fan, Sarah Tarrant, on TV Gold

Screencaps

£500 £500 (2)

Swiss Trade Commission representative, Stefan (Michael Gothard), watches as Sirkka Nieminen (Joanna Kanska)
sits alone in her favourite bar, drinking lemon vodka.

£500 (3) £500 (7)
Read more... )

Watch clips featuring Michael Gothard as Stefan on Youtube.

IMDB entry
Coroner (9) Coroner

George Lusk (Michael Gothard) first comes to the attention of Chief Insp. Frederick Abberline and Sgt. George
Godley at the Coroner’s Court. Lusk is in the company of journalist Benjamin Bates (Jonathan Moore) of The
Star, hearing testimony from Dr. Llewellyn (Michael Hughes) about the first of the Whitechapel murders.

Suspects arrive Suspects arrive (2)

Lusk helps stir up the crowd when two of the other suspects, Richard Mansfield and Robert James Lees, appear
in public.
Read more... )
Reviews

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: “A perfect whodunit.”

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: “Jack the Ripper lashes the viewer with the insistent thrust of a Dickensian epic.”

SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER: “This carefully wrought, brightly scripted movie manages the near impossible.”

~~

Glenn Erickson on DVD Savant

… The story of Jack the Ripper continues to fascinate audiences. The famous 1888 London serial murder case was documented in detail, killing by bloody killing. Forensic evidence, including photographs of the murder sites and the victims, are a matter of public record. As the killer's identity was never discovered the case is still controversial, with scores of hypothetical solutions. Social reformers used the killings to bring attention to the horrible living conditions in crowded lower-class areas of the city. Author Jack London wrote scathing essays based on his observances of poverty and squalor in Whitechapel, the district where the Ripper killings took place …

The most satisfactory historical effort so far is this lavish two-part TV miniseries from Euston Films, Thames Television and Lorimar. It was produced for the centennial of the killings … and made news for its rare TV appearance by Michael Caine. Caine praised writer-producer-director David Wickes, for whom this was actually a second go at the story. Wickes had directed a previous English TV show on the same subject in 1973, that was applauded for sticking to the facts of the case.

The Jack the Ripper miniseries has its factual flaws and anachronisms but by and large is an exciting and complex large-scale recounting of the murders. The three-hour running time gives plenty of elbow room to sketch out political elements of the story usually omitted, such as the activities of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee …

Chief Scotland Yard Inspector Fred Abberline (Michael Caine) must climb back on the wagon when he's assigned the Whitechapel murder case, a horrific mutilation murder. Under the watchful eye of his superiors, Abberline and his partner Sgt. George Godley (Lewis Collins) engage the help of Robert Lees, a psychic (Ken Bones), prostitutes Kate Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly (Susan George & Lysette Anthony) and sketch artist Emma Prentiss (Jane Seymour), a previous sweetheart of Abberline's. As the murders mount so does the pressure to put an end to the case -- public uproar is turning ugly. Fred and George investigate the famous American actor Richard Mansfield (Armand Assante), who nightly transforms from Jekyll to Hyde before terrified audiences. But the only consistent clues that Abberline can put together point in a very sensitive direction --- to someone involved with the Royal Family ...

The dapper Fred Abberline must answer to closed-mouthed bureaucrats concerned that he'll get drunk and fumble the case. Out in the streets he's confronted by coarse working men, arrogant criminals and Marxist agitators. A nervy reporter (Jonathan Moore) openly fans the flames of scandal. Abberline is inundated with opportunists, gadflies and obstructionists. Adding to his troubles, the local police are anxious to discredit him as well.

Numerous actors serve as transparent red herrings, while Inspector Abberline pursues the case as best he can. Local police cynically "round up the usual suspects" to give the impression that they're doing something constructive. Fred's superiors remove bodies and clean up a murder site in an attempt to keep a lid on a case that can cost them their jobs. When a shoemaker's apron is found at a murder site, the police are forced to lock up leather workers to protect them from lynching by the Vigilante Committees ...

The presence of Michael Caine helped producer Wickes attract a superior cast. Armand Assante is properly suave as the high-toned actor. He's greatly aided by some anachronistic but startling makeup effects. Jane Seymour is on hand to offer a romantic possibility for Abberline, and Susan George and Lysette Anthony are women of the night terrified at the thought of becoming the Ripper's next prey. Cult actor Michael Gothard (Herostratus, The Devils, For Your Eyes Only) plays George Lusk, the rabble-rousing leader of the Whitechapel Vigilantes. I think Gothard has more dialogue here than in the rest of his filmography put together.1

Full review

1 A blatant exaggeration, but it makes a valid point about the under-use of Michael’s talent.

~~

At-A-Glance Film Reviews

In 1888, when the real life Jack the Ripper was caught, the court records were ordered to be vaulted for one hundred years and the details of the case kept confidential. This film claims to be based on these top secret Home Office files; the filmmakers believe their ending the correct solution to the mystery.

Accurate or not, this is an outstanding film, especially so given that it was made for television. The character portrayals are solid, as is the screenplay, but the acting -- top notch work from nearly everyone -- takes the spotlight. Michael Caine, who plays the lead detective on the case, won a well-deserved Golden Globe for his performance.

At-A-Glance Film Reviews

~~

Television Heaven

… Wickes wrote, directed and produced 'Jack The Ripper' for the Euston Films/Thames Television partnership, responsible for 'The Sweeney' over a decade earlier. It was made for television and was screened in two parts, the first on Tuesday 11th October 1988 and the second concluding instalment following a week later on October 18th. Each instalment began at 9pm but took a break at 10pm allowing transmission of ITN's 'News At Ten', often the custom for the ITV network …

The mini-series boasted extremely high production values for a British television programme and had an all-star cast. Playing the lead role of Inspector Frederick Abberline was Michael Caine, in his first acting role for British television for twenty years. Caine had spent most of the 1980s resident in America, so his casting represented a considerable coup for the production team. Playing his sidekick Sgt George Godley was former 'Professionals' star Lewis Collins.

Both Inspector Abberline and Sergeant Godley were real-life people, as indeed were most of the characters in this drama. And Abberline was without doubt at the centre of the Ripper investigation - but the drama takes liberties with his character. In fact, from the moment when we are introduced to Abberline as an alcoholic with crumbling respect from his fellow policemen the alarm bells start ringing and rightly so - for despite the wealth of research that went into this production it is at best a badly warped version of history and at worst 99% fiction …

Abberline then becomes suspicious of police surgeon Dr Rees Llewelyn (Michael Hughes) on account of him initially missing the victim's abdominal mutilations. Next he gets a visit from Queen Victoria's personal clairvoyant, Robert Lees (Ken Bones), who claims to have had visions of the killer, which leads to the detective paying attention to American actor Richard Mansfield (Armand Assante), then performing on the London stage in "Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde". Such is his convincing performance of playing a man who can be sane one moment and insane the next, Mansfield immediately becomes a top suspect! And just to confirm his theory, Abberline seeks advice from the Queen's surgeon Sir William Gull (Ray McAnally) who agrees that it is theoretically possible for a man to switch between sanity and insanity.

The next victim, Annie Chapman, is found in Hanbury Street and Abberline continues to quiz Dr Llewelyn who takes exception to being suspected. So Abberline suspects him even more. Then Lees is run over by a coach and informs Abberline about it. Not just any coach, but a black coach with a crest on its side. The Royal coach. Checking to see if the coach has been out lately, Godley by chance gets talking to coach driver John Nettley (George Sweeney) who tells him how clever he is and how he has been teaching himself medical and anatomical knowledge. Another suspect.

Meanwhile the public have been outraged by the murders and a vigilante committee has been set up by George Lusk (Michael Gothard), whilst in reality Lusk and his committee mainly acted as street patrollers and helped to set up reward money for the capture of the killer, in this production they are an unruly mob bent on revolution and overthrowing the police and the monarchy!

The Central News Agency receives a letter from a 'Jack The Ripper', claiming to be the killer. Abberline believes that it is genuine because it refers to cutting off the victim's ears, something that happened with the last murder but, on Abberline's instructions, was withheld from the press. Another piece of fiction because the extant photo of Chapman's body shows her ears intact! September 30th brings two more murders - Liz Stride and Kate Eddowes (Susan George). This time we see the killers in action. Yes, KILLERS because it is the work of two men - the driver of the royal coach and its mysterious passenger. Dr Llewelyn, Mr Lees and Mr Mansfield all start behaving more suspiciously and just to make matters worse George Lusk's mob make the Chief Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Charles Warren, decide to resign. And then Superintendent Arnold, Head of H Division, begins acting suspiciously too ...

… "Jack The Ripper" is nothing more than a dramatisation based on real-life events and should not be regarded as fact. Its plot failings are compensated for through good production values and its strong cast and is an enjoyable, if not classic, piece of British television that is perhaps more likely to satisfy those who know little about the Ripper crimes than those who are better informed, though until something better comes along Ripperologists will keep coming back to this one.

The original transmission of the opening episode broke into the top ten ratings for that week, being watched by 14.1 million viewers, an excellent achievement given its timeslot.

Full review

~~

Hal Erikson on Rotten Tomatoes

The TV movie Jack the Ripper endeavors to shed new light on one of the most notorious unsolved cases in history. The Ripper, of course, was the London serial killer who, in 1888, killed and disemboweled five prostitutes.

Michael Caine stars not as the Ripper but as a Scotland-Yard inspector who is assigned to the case. The trail of evidence leads Caine to some astonishing suspects--including at least one member of the Royal Family.

As the public clamors for an arrest in the case of the unsolved evisceration murders of five East End prostitutes, Abberline narrows down his list of suspects: the four most likely to have committed the murders, according to the inspector, are American-actor Richard Mansfield (Armand Assante), Queen Victoria's personal psychic (Ken Bones), a certain Dr. Acland (Richard Morant) and socialist-gadfly Lusk (Michael Gothard).

The British government is also pressuring Abberline to produce the killer. Unfortunately, if Abberline were to publicly release all the clues at his disposal, the revelation would probably rock the Empire to its foundations.

Rotten Tomatoes

~~

Digital Fix

… The production value reflects the fresh injection of cash with most of the money seemingly going into the sets and the period costumes - the global feel is not really that of a TV drama but rather a film though the plotting and script betrays its TV origin with unnecessary cliff-hangers cropping up regularly for US ad-breaks. The film was originally split into two parts to be shown on different nights and the DVD echoes that by not merging both parts together ...

The direction is generally quite good with most of the cast performing well... The general speed of the film does seem a little slow at times and would have been substantially edited were it a cinema release but the overall quality of the production makes it a good piece of well researched TV drama that stands up to repeated viewings and the test of time.

Full review
Jack the Ripper was a two-part TV dramatisation of the investigation of the infamous murders of London prostitutes. According to Television Heaven, the original transmission of the opening episode was among the top ten ratings for that week, being watched by 14.1 million viewers.

Four different endings were originally filmed, to keep the conclusion of the investigation a secret, until the show was broadcast.

The two one-and-a half-hour episodes were shown on 11 and 18 October 1988.

Michael Gothard played George Lusk, leader of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee. In the film, Lusk is portrayed as a political rabble-rouser and Marxist revolutionary, and is one of the suspects.

In real life, the activities of Lusk’s organisation mainly consisted of putting up posters and offering reward money.

Casting

In correspondence, the Director, David Wickes says:


"On Ripper, I wrote Michael’s character George Lusk as a 19th century Marxist. One of Lusk’s lines (to Michael Caine) was 'You can’t even protect ordinary working people'.

Most actors would have used a sneering tone and left it at that. Not Michael Gothard. He took me aside on the set and said he wanted to speak the line as if it were something his character had repeated hundreds of times — a mantra for meetings and speeches ... 'ord’ry workin’ peep-ul!'

Brilliant. In one second, we knew that Lusk was a professional activist, a man of slogans and sayings instead of original thoughts. 'Great,' I said, 'Do it'.

Now, that’s what I call an actor.

... Michael had a screen presence unlike that of any other actor with whom I have worked. He could frighten an audience with a glance. His soft, husky voice was electrifying and he knew how to use it to maximum effect.

Each time I welcomed Michael to the set, I knew that we were about to get something special in the can. There are very few actors in that category."

More details on Jack the Ripper from David Wickes Productions

Per Digital Fix: “Though they had originally started to film on video with a different cast (with Barry Foster in the lead), a vast sum of money was put up by CBS on the condition they made it into a much bigger production with US recognisable stars in it thus the inclusion of Michael Caine, Jane Seymour and Lewis Collins ...”

Per IMDB: “Michael Caine was persuaded to return to TV for the first time in nearly 20 years because of David Wickes's powerful script. Caine later described Wickes as "the nicest, fastest Director I've worked for, and the master of filming Victorian London."’

This was the second film in which Michael Gothard had worked opposite Michael Caine, the first being “The Last Valley” in 1971.

In 1979 he had worked with Lewis Collins on an episode of “The Professionals”: “Stopover.”

More recently, in 1982, he had worked with Lysette Anthony, who had played Rowena, his unwilling betrothed, in Ivanhoe.

The stunt arranger on ‘Jack the Ripper’, Peter Brayham would also have been well known to Michael, from “Stopover” and “Arthur of the Britons.”

Cast photo

Jack the Ripper cast

IMDB entry
FFWL (3) FFWL (10)

Sergei (Michael Gothard) waits in the pub, and is pleased to see his new friend Ernie (Joe Melia).

FFWL (18) FFWL (24)

Ernie introduces Sergei to his friends Terry (Dennis Waterman) and Arthur Daley (George Cole). Sergei negotiates
the purchase of some merchandise.
Read more... )
'Minder' was a very popular series in the 1980s, featuring the adventures of loveable cockney "businessman" Arthur Daley (George Cole) and his bodyguard or “minder’ Terry (Dennis Waterman).

In episode 5 of season 6, first broadcast on 2 October 1985, Michael Gothard was cast as Russian seaman, Sergei.

Michael gets a decent amount of screen-time in this 50 minute episode, and seems to have fun in the mostly comic role.

Season 6 was the last to feature Dennis Waterman. The consensus among fans of the show is that by this time, the series was running out of ideas, had lost its edge, and relied too much on guest stars; Michael Gothard and Rula Lenska appear in this episode.

This was the second time Michael had worked with Dennis Waterman; in “Up the Junction”, Michael played Terry, a friend of the hero, Pete, played by Waterman.

The episode was filmed in London, and some of the locations for the episode have been identified, by a fan known as nry, as being in and around Lot’s Road, SW10.

Plot synopsis from Minder.org

Arthur is reluctantly forced to give 'er indoors’ nephew Nigel – a scruffy punk who has a swastika tattooed on his forehead and is seemingly hopeless at everything he does, apart from sewing which he learned at detention centre – a job.

Arthur is also approached by Ernie, who has got to know some of the Russian seaman currently docked in London. Ernie’s new business partner, Russian sailor Sergei, is very keen on buying plenty of goods from Arthur in order to resell them back in Russia to turn a profit for himself.

Arthur gets Nigel to start sewing some motifs on the gear he wants to sell Sergei.

All seems to go to plan until Arthur is paid in roubles, which he soon discovers he is unable to exchange at the bank.

When Sergei decides to take a day out up west with Ernie, the attractive Natasha, the Russians ship’s bosun and political officer, tracks down Arthur and Terry, as she believes that Sergei is about to defect.

Worried that not helping may lead to difficulties with KGB, Arthur agrees to do his best to track down Sergei.

Meanwhile Chisholm, who has arrested Arthur’s nephew Nigel, finally catches up with Arthur, Terry and the Russians, arresting them all on the spot.

As soon as they have been arrested, they are quickly released under the instruction of DCI Norton, who wants to avoid a possible diplomatic incident.

Watch extracts, including Michael Gothard's scenes as Sergei on Youtube.

Minder.org website

IMDB entry
In ‘Lytton’s Diary’, Peter Bowles plays a London gossip columnist, investigating the lives of the rich and powerful.

This episode, 'Daddy’s Girls', was broadcast on 16 January 1985.

Per. DVD talk: "Neville Lytton is now the gossip Diary Editor of The Daily News. He spends the day with his estranged wife, Catherine, and Laura, his girlfriend, is not amused. Meanwhile, on the work front, Lytton aims to find out if a merchant banker who disapproves of his daughter's relationship with a record producer, has something in his past that he is trying to hide."

Michael Gothard plays the record producer - and, as it turns out, drug dealer - Jake Cutler, who is seeing little rich girl Belinda Phillips. However, Lytton ends up investigating Belinda’s father, so Jake very soon disappears from the story.

The episode was directed by Peter Sasdy, who also directed Michael in 'The Sweet Scent of Death', and the two pilot episodes of ‘Arthur of the Britons,’ ('Arthur is Dead' and 'Daughter of the King').

Peter Sasdy said of Michael Gothard: ‘I thought of him as a very interesting actor, with strong personality and in the right part he’d always give a good performance.’

Peter Bowles, creator and star of ‘Lytton’s Diary’, had appeared with Michael as greasy chieftain Hecklar in ‘Rowena’ (‘Arthur of the Britons’ episode).

Screencaps

Lytton's Diary (3) Lytton's Diary (5)

There is a scene where Jake and Belinda attend a society party.
Read more... )

Series review on DVD talk

Watch extracts, including Michael Gothard's scenes as Jake Cutler on Youtube.

IMDB entry
SSoD SSoD (3)

A sinister figure prowls Ann Denver (Shirley Knight)’s new home, as she arrives with her husband Greg (Dean Stockwell).

Read more... )
Sweet Scent of Death

Michael Gothard as Terry Marvin, bottom right. Terry is described as "an intruder", but he is not the one endangering Ann Fairfax Denver's life.
“The Sweet Scent of Death” was episode 8 of season 1 of the “Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense”, also known as “Fox Mystery Theatre.”

This Hammer Film Production premiered in September 1984, though it wasn’t broadcast until 17 December 1984.

It was one of thirteen 70 minute episodes, this one being written by Brian Clemens and directed by Peter Sasdy.

Peter had directed Michael before, in the two pilot episodes of “Arthur of the Britons” – “Arthur is Dead”, and “Daughter of the King.” He said of Michael Gothard: ‘I thought of him as a very interesting actor, with strong personality and in the right part he’d always give a good performance.’

Reviews and plot synopses:

Fandango

In this suspenseful drama an American ambassador and his wife encounter problems when they visit their pastoral retreat in the English countryside and discover a portrait covered in blood. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

~~

TV.com

American diplomat Greg Denver arrives in England as the new U.S. ambassador to London, and to avoid spending the whole time at the embassy he rents a beautiful country house for his wife, Ann. But while Greg is away in London, unknown intruders terrorize his wife, and Ann soon realizes that they may have more of a motive then sheer random terror …

~~

Horrorview

Writer Brian Clemens was a natural choice to contribute some stories to the series: not only had he worked for Hammer several times before during their heyday, he'd also always been associated with the Hitchcockian mystery and suspense style that this particular series was focused on … Read more... )
OMiT OMiT (10)

Karl Portillo (Michael Gothard) is not happy with one of his associates, Werner Mueller (Jonathan Coy).
Read more... )
“Scarecrow and Mrs. King, which ran on CBS from 1983 to 1987 may well be the only bona fide hit spy show of the entire decade, making it a fairly important entry in the canon of spy TV. It’s taken a long time to appear on DVD, sought after by nostalgic fans and by curious viewers like me, who missed it in its day …it’s a lot of fun!”

full article at Double O section

Filming

The series often used unusual locations. Episode seven of series 2, “Our Man in Tegernsee”, is set in Munich, and in Tegernsee, a small ski and spa resort town near Munich, on the Germany/Austria border. Tegernsee is one of several small towns on the shore of Lake Tegernsee, amid the Bavarian Alps.

According to Michael’s former girlfriend, N.B., who accompanied him, this episode must have been filmed in late spring or early summer 1984, as it was quite soon after they first met.

Michael’s role

Michael Gothard once again plays a villain: a neo-Nazi from Paraguay, Karl Portillo.

Having found some old counterfeiting plates, Portillo intends to go through with an old Nazi plot to undermine the US currency, by flooding the market with fake US dollars. His neo-Nazi friends in Paraguay are hoping to come to power as a result of his activities.

But Mueller, who originally led him to the plates, has been spending some of the counterfeit money before the time is right, and drawn the attention of the German authorities, as well as that of American agent, Scarecrow, whose partner, Mrs King, was passed some of the counterfeit notes.

Another of Portillo’s associates, US agent, Harry Hollinger, kills Mueller for his incompetence, but says he needs Portillo’s help to get rid of Scarecrow.

They lure Scarecrow to an isolated sawmill, intending to kill him. But Scarecrow has brought back-up in the form of local police Lt. Volkenauer, and Portillo is out-gunned, and gives himself up.

He tries to persuade Volkenhauer that they are both on the same side, because they are both German, but Volkenhauer says he has enjoyed foiling Portillo’s plot, and arresting him.

Lt. Volkenauer was played by Stuart Wilson, who had recently appeared with Michael in “Ivanhoe”, in which he played the Norman lord Maurice de Bracy, and Michael played Athelstane.

Trivia from IMDB

In Germany, this episode has not been aired on TV due to its plot around the Nazis and their WW2 treasure. It only has been made available with the German 2011 DVD edition of season 2, still with German subtitles only instead of the usual German audio synchronization.

Series background

“A housewife, Mrs. King, is handed a package by a secret agent, Lee Stetson, who is being pursued by bad guys. Mrs. King gets a job working for Mr. Stetson's agency, doing secretarial work, as needed, but ends up working with him on his cases. She is not really accepted by agent Francine Desmond, because she has no training and has a self-deprecating, ditsy style, which adds to the humor in the show. She is accepted by the other agents.”

full article at TV.com

Watch on Youtube

NB. Michael appears in parts 2 and 4.

part 1
part 2
part 3
part 4
part 5

IMDB entry
“Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense” episode 8, The Sweet Scent of Death premiered in September 1984, though it wasn’t broadcast until 17 December 1984.
Very little is known about Michael Gothard’s role in this production, other than that his character's name was Dieter. There are two references to it in “The Stage”, the first on 31 May 1979.

“Of eight single plays recorded by Thames for transmission in the one-hour ITV Playhouse slot later in the year, five have been produced by John Bowen well-known of course as a writer, and three by Rob Buckler ...

On film and tape, The Perfect House, by Patricia Chaplin, is directed by Ken Grieve. Among the actors are Brian Protheroe, Cathleen Nesbitt, Leonard Cavenagh, Helen Rappaport, Anna Cropper, Michael Gothard, Ann Lynn and Gary Waldhorn.”

“The Perfect House” must have been filmed early in 1979, before the producer, Rob Buckler, left his post with ITV Playhouse in April of that year. Evidently, it was supposed to be screened later in 1979, but – for some reason – this, and Rob Buckler’s other two plays, were kept under wraps.

The second article to mention “The Perfect House”, on 26 February 1981, was entitled “Thames plays at last”, evidently referring to the two-year gap between filming and transmission.

“Three Thames single plays, all produced by Rob Buckler during his year as producer in charge of the company’s ITV Playhouse productions, are to be shown next month.

… The Perfect House will … be shown from 9 pm in an hour slot. This production was directed by Ken Grieve and the large cast included Anna Cropper, Brian Protheroe, Leonard Cavanagh, Cathleen Nesbitt, Helen Rappaport, Ann Lynn, Danny Rae, Gus Roy, Frank Lee, Marcello Rono, Gary Waldhorn, John Cassaday, Rachel Warren, Charles Warren, Lizie Spender, Bob Curtis, Michael Gothard, Kevin Costello and Francesco Moralis.”

“The Perfect House” was finally broadcast on 17 March 1981 as episode 2 of season 13 of ITV Playhouse.

This is the entry in the TV Times.

The Perfect House 1

The accompanying article by Larry Ashe on pages 6 and 7, entitled, "The terror that could be on the street where you live" has this to say:

"They are all respectable enough today – but these houses and flats were not as innocent as they look. They were used as bomb factories, boltholes or transmitting stations for terrorists and spies. Neighbours were unaware of what went on behind those ordinary-looking doors and windows.

Today there will almost certainly be other houses and flats hiding similar deadly secrets – perhaps on the street where you live. Tuesday’s play, The Perfect House, is a story about terrorists and their need for what in the jargon of spying is called a 'safe house'."

It then goes on to give details of real life "safe" houses which could be harbouring dangerous terrorists or criminals in your own neighbourhood - so long as you live in London or Middlesex!

The Perfect House 2

The BFI, which holds a copy of the play, gives this plot summary:

“A woman innocently becomes involved with an Argentinian terrorist who uses her home as a base for his activities.”

IMDB entry
“Shoestring” was a very popular BBC series about a down-at-heel detective, Eddie Shoestring, played by Trevor Eve.

“The Mayfly Dance” concerns an elusive former band member, Jody Brent. Michael Gothard plays Harry, who was in the same band. He gives Eddie Shoestring an idea of where Jody can be found, so that the truth about a death can be revealed.

Robert Banks Stewart, the producer of “Shoestring”, would have been familiar with Michael’s work, having been one of the writers on “Arthur of the Britons.”

Mayfly Dance (2) Mayfly Dance (8)

Mayfly Dance (10) Mayfly Dance (13)

Mayfly Dance (15) Mayfly Dance (31)

“The Mayfly Dance” episode guide on the Shoestring fansite

General description of “Shoestring” on the Thrilling Detective website


IMDB entry
The BBC drama, "A Tale of Two Cities", was based on the Dickens novel, and spanned 8 episodes.

Michael Gothard played a revolutionary named Gaspard. His character featured briefly in part 1, shown 5 October 1980, but had more of a story in part 3, shown 19 October.

The series won a Daytime Emmy: Outstanding Children's Entertainment Series 1981.

IMDB entry

Screencaps from episode 3.



Gaspard kisses his daughter, then sets her down so she can go and play.
Read more... )
Stopover Pros (2) Stopover Pros (4)

Bodie (Lewis Collins), Doyle (Martin Shaw), and Cowley (Gordon Jackson) escort stowaway Meredith (James Laurenson) from the docks. Kodai (Michael Gothard) makes his escape after taking a shot at them.

Stopover Pros (8) Stopover Pros (10)

Bodie and Doyle quibble over who chases after him first, as Kodai climbs onto a roof.
Read more... )

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