Guide No Mans Land: East German Drama After the Wall (Contemporary Theatre Review)

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The two domineering women are a very effective dual role played with just the right amount of eccentricity and restrained menace by Jacqueline Pearce, forever the crew cut 'ice queen' antagonist Servalan in Blake's 7. Pearce would work with the Director, Colin Cant once more on 's Dark Season at the suggestion of its writer - a certain "promising newcomer" called Russell T. Filmed at the atmospheric Belton House in Lincolnshire, as envisaged by Helen Cresswell in her writing, the iconic lichen-covered stone sundial supported by the figures of Eros and Kronos representing the supposed healers - love and time is actually in the grounds and not a prop.

The serial provided quite a challenge for Colin Cant. Despite being an experienced director, having worked on a variety of children's drama including the early years of Grange Hill , Cant found the book perplexing and unable to get a handle on it, took the unusual step, at the suggestion of producer Paul Stone, of meeting Cresswell to work out exactly what she intended the serial to be about.

The author was developing her book in tandem with the serial. Consequently, between them they created one of the finest and most memorable children's dramas of the decade. It shares much in common with Moondial ; like Helen Cresswell's tale, the story features an adolescent heroine.

Anne is a far spikier character than Moondial 's Minty.

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She is contacted by a ghost haunting the local lifeboat station. Westall's novel appears to draw inspiration from the story of Grace Darling, the legendary lass who saved several drowning sailors on the rugged Bamburgh coast in the 19th century. Like Moondial , the production was the work of the talented Paul Stone, who by had developed something of a reputation for spooky drama of quality. Like Helen Cresswell, Westall wrote the book with a particular location in mind.

In scenes also redolent of Moondial , Anne must lay to rest the Watch House ghosts to achieve closure for her personal emotional upheavals. There are many twists and scares along the way. The serial is visually very striking in spite of its relatively small budget. There is a particularly chilling moment featuring a dusty skull which may have given many youngsters nightmares at the time. The main protagonist was Chas MacGill Shaun Taylor an anti-hero, collecting would-be relics from dead Germans to impress his mates. The series was especially memorable for a savant character called John Brownlee who could only ask "where ya goin' now?

There is a graphic scene in which we get a close-up of a dead German pilot suddenly falling forward out of his cockpit - quite disturbing in the context of a 5pm kids drama. November saw the first of several adaptations of CS Lewis' Narnia books.

Made as part of a multi-million pound co-production, it reinvigorated the classic serial slot on Sunday afternoons, achieving both high praise and high ratings. It replaced the now four year old Box Of Delights as the new benchmark in effects work and was deemed the kind of showpiece drama the BBC 'should be doing'. It was a show of which the Corporation was undoubtedly very proud. Like Box , it kick-started a new generation's love of fantasy and magical spooky dramas.

They stay with the eccentric Professor Digory Kirke.

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On a rainy day, Lucy - rummaging in an enormous old wardrobe - discovers herself in the Land of Narnia. She encounters a fawn called Mr Tumnus, who warns Lucy about the malevolent White Witch, who has made it "always Winter in Narnia but never Christmas". Returning back to the Professor's house a lamp post marking the portal Lucy's siblings don't believe her, questioning the Professor about her sanity.

Some time later, Edmund follows Lucy through the wardrobe, where he comes face to face with the evil White Witch. She bribes him to do her bidding with Turkish delight. When the Professor suggests Lucy may be telling the truth, a curious Peter and Susan join their younger siblings in the wardrobe and find their way into Narnia too, only to discover that Mr Tumnus has vanished, arrested and charged with treason by the Chief of Police, working for the White Witch.


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Edmund's greed for Turkish delight leads him to betray his brother and sisters but they are about to set out on a journey to meet Aslan, a Lion with special powers, whom the children believe will help them defeat the White Witch. The serial had been previously attempted by ABC Television for ITV in , however, by the budget a co-production with Wonderworks and moreover the technology Paintbox finally existed to do it justice.

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Adapted for Story time in , in the month before the Home Service became Radio 4, it was even revamped again for Radio 4 Schools in early Boasting a terrific cast lead by Michael Aldridge, who indulged his wonderfully bumbling eccentric persona as Digory Kirke and Barbara Kellermann, spellbinding as the icy, evil White Witch. The rich tones of Ronald Pickup gave voice to Aslan the Lion.

Scott Edmund left the profession soon afterwards; Sophie Wilcox Lucy has continued to act, with intermittent film and TV roles over the last few years.

More recently a colour version set in contemporary times had been made for BBC1 in However, for my money, the version, dramatised by Julia Jones, is much the better of the two colour entries, not least because by the end of the Eighties, TV had the special effects arsenal to pull off such a demanding serial as this in a satisfying manner and also this version sticks more closely to the book.

When his brother catches measles, Tom Long is packed off to stay in quarantine with his uncle and aunt in their small flat.

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This is a subtle cold war story told in dark cold tones. Nuance plays an important role in the storytelling both visual and dialogue driven. They compliment each other in most cases. While not an action packed graphic novel, it is a fast moving and rich story if a bit predictable. This is not a superhero story and certainly for other than a young adult audience. History of the cold war and familiarity with cold war literature, fiction and non, are both prerequisites to a Sprechen Sie Deutsch, Ja?

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History of the cold war and familiarity with cold war literature, fiction and non, are both prerequisites to a fuller understanding of this story. The connection to the film Atomic Blonde had brought many readers to this work. They are different in many ways. The main character is radically redrawn for the movie, the visuals are altered to a reverse polarity, and the story is rooted in a different premise with the ending twists also changed. This is intriguing as they, the film and the original story, compliment one another not unlike the storytelling technique previously mentioned. Liest du Deutsch?

That is a better question. The Coldest City is partially told via German dialogue.

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Not entirely 'good' German in places, but mostly effective German. Some of it borders on modern colloquial urban German, some is idiomatic, and places there's a bit of DiploDeutsch that squeaks into the story. I'm more than a bit critical having learned various forms of German as a youth including formal instruction by Northern and Southern read Austrian teachers simultaneously. Aug 09, Doug rated it it was ok. I rarely read graphic novels, and - as with most people who have read it in the past month - I only did so with this one since it was the basis of the new film, Atomic Blonde which I have yet to see - I wanted to read it first.

Although a very quick read it can be consumed in under an hour , the story is so convoluted - and to be honest - NOT that interesting, that my enthusiasm for the film has somewhat waned. Shelves: comic-reviews , comics , reviewed. Illustrated with a decidedly minimalist style that is almost harsh in its lo-fi application, details never reach a point of saturation and neither do lines coalesce unto anything eye-catching.

Without irises popped and no oracular candy to be savored, grimy angulations never amount to anything memorable nor fantastic. While certainly inching away from anything on the bleak and nihilist side of things, the drawings within remain unbodied and thin in their lack of atmosphere. Denuded of visible energy, each and every action seems to be perforated with shivs of a stiletto. Part flashback, part-present-time interrogation, our story moves at the speed of a snail and never develops into any significant drama or thrills until at least half-way through it.

Disappointingly enough, this turgid intro never evolves a meaningful atmosphere let alone ripens strong characters that are memorable nor emotionally investible. Nope, less Kabuki acting and more automaton-like action unfurls across a narrative draped in an uncompromisingly harsh hue of jet black. All in all, as I read more and more, I never understood what the buzz was ever about. From boring action to the ever present German while adding a nice period piece feel to it, is kinda lame to be left untranslated for the less linguistically knowledgeable amongst us the Coldest City certainly gave me a cold shoulder that only got frostier that more I read into it.

By the time got to the last page, I felt like my mind had been tossed into a freezer and my sensory apparatus chilled off. None of the Buenos here. Jul 18, Rebecca Watson rated it it was ok Shelves: read-in Like I assume many people, I saw the trailer for Atomic Blonde and wanted to read the book first.

While I can see how the story has the bones for what could be a good movie, I wasn't blown away by the book though I have the next volume and will still give it a shot at some point. My main issue was with the art style, which was high-contrast and sketchy. The art style should serve the story, and while it may have added to the feel of the era, it actually detracted from the story by making it n Like I assume many people, I saw the trailer for Atomic Blonde and wanted to read the book first.

The art style should serve the story, and while it may have added to the feel of the era, it actually detracted from the story by making it nearly impossible for me to figure out what was going on. There are a lot of characters, all of which look pretty much exactly the same, so at several points there were "reveals" that were just confusing. Who is that guy? Am I supposed to know who that is? The other downside was an end reveal that was telegraphed from the first page.