I’ve very much been in a nostalgic mood recently and no finer example of this is my revisiting of my favourite television series, returning with six new episodes in January 2016. I’ve already discussed on this blog why I loved the show so much and my favourite episodes, as well as talking about my most memorable moments between, in my opinion, the greatest TV partnership. Something else that has been very obvious during my recent viewings of the series is the power and importance of the musical score of The X-Files.
Written throughout the series and the two films by composer Mark Snow, it has a very distinct sound, which became ingrained in the fabric of the series and also a vital part of its atmosphere, tone and mood. The series was always meant to be a little out there and needed to have music which matched its various tones – whether myth arc conspiracies, creepy monsters of the week or more emotional, personal stories centring on the lives of the characters we had grown to know so well. Mark Snow scores all of this brilliantly.
Recently his music has been able to be appreciated all over again by X-Philes with the release of two volumes (4 CDs in each) of his wonderful music from the series by La La Records, each selling out very quickly (although you can still locate copies on the web if you keep looking). A re-release of the score to the first film is however still available (see the link at the end to buy). It’s been fantastic to listen to the music on its own and realise just how much certain moments in the series are linked to the music that accompanied them.
Fans are already chatting about what music they’d like to see in a further third volume (come on La La Records, you know you want to!) and it’s made me consider which musical score moments from 202 episodes and 2 films have stood out for me. So, as we await those new stories and new music from Mark to accompany them, here are my favourite pieces of Mark Snow’s X-Files score. I’d love to hear what other fans have on their lists and what they would love to hear on a third CD volume if we are lucky enough to get one.
1. Ending from Jose Chung’s From Outer Space (series 3)
This is a fairly surreal episode by fan favourite Darin Morgan (hard to believe he only actually wrote four episodes!), but more than anything I love the music written for the final few minutes. It’s a genuinely beautiful piece of music, which is able to be both melancholy and hopeful at the same time. This is a very distinctive musical piece from the series and it’s no surprise it was included on the first volume of music released.
2. Scully remembers her sister in Piper Maru (series 3)
This is only a short music cue from Piper Maru, but it’s always been one that I’ve remembered and I was thrilled to see it included on volume 1 (within the track “Back In The Hood”). As Scully returns to the naval base she grew up on, we see her remember happy childhood times playing hopscotch with her sister. With Melissa’s death still very recent, this moment is very touching and this cue from Mark Snow truly adds to the emotional depth of the scene.
3. Dark revelations in Grotesque (series 3)
Grotesque is one of the series’s most chilling episodes and required a darker, more disturbing musical background to enhance the atmosphere we were seeing on screen. Mark’s loud, intense score, heavy on the piano and its relentless pounding is absolutely perfect to depict the frightening events of the story as the viewers start to worry that Mulder may have truly fallen over the edge of sanity.
4. Home Again (I Want To Believe)
Although it disappointed me in many ways, the music for the second film I Want To Believe was not one of them and Mark Snow proved that years later he was still perfect at capturing the magic of Mulder and Scully (and indeed David and Gillian) on screen. The stand out piece for me has to be what is effectively their love theme from the film, captured in “Home Again.” It’s a beautiful piece of music, full of love and emotion and marks this deeper connection now shared between them.
5. On a bridge between life and death for Scully in One Breath (series 2)
One Breath was bound to be in here somewhere as it’s my favourite episode and it’s another which highlights the variety of music needed over the course of the series. Unlike darker, moodier music such as for Grotesque, the music for One Breath needed to be more delicate, in order to reflect Scully’s fragile life and how close she was to death. Mark Snow’s score is very touching and feels, in parts, rather spiritual and I particularly love the music chosen for scenes in which Scully sits in her boat, which at any point could be set adrift. Thankfully volume 1 of the CD collection has captured this score in both “Reanimation” and “Guardian Angel”.
6. Unwavering love and friendship in Momento Mori (series 4)
Momento Mori is one of those episodes that always manages to bring a tear to my eye and remains, for me, one of the finest hours of the series. It’s certainly some of Gillian Anderson’s best work (in the year she deservedly won an Emmy) and this scene at the end of the episode, in which she deals with Penny’s death by resolving to come back to work as she has things to finish, is truly wonderful and contains one of the series’s most emotional and heartbreaking pieces of music. The fact this has yet to be released on the CDs surely means a 3rd volume is a necessity?!
7. Sweeping conspiracies in Gethsemane and emotional depths in Redux (series 4 & 5)
The music of the fourth series finale and indeed the start of series 5 has always stayed fresh in my head and for me is one of the most memorable sections of score written for the show. These episodes were quite epic in story, both on a myth-arc level, as Mulder searches to prove the ultimate proof of a governmental deception and on a personal level, as Scully’s cancer seems to finally be too strong for her. Mark’s music is very impressive, with grand, sweeping sections, moving seamlessly through to the more fragile moments. Although most of the music from Gethsemane and Redux has been captured on volume 2, I was sad that the beautiful short cue from Redux II, played as Mulder visits a sleeping Scully was left out. Surely this is another must-add piece for a third volume?!
8. Beware Eugene Victor Tooms! (series 1)
Tooms remains one of the most memorable and indeed terrifying characters of the series and the music written by Mark in his two episodes was fantastic. With brilliant use of plucked strings and synth, he truly conveys an eeriness that was essential to the effect the episodes were designed to have on the audience. The creepy music from the beginning of Tooms, when we are within the Druid Hill, stands out for me as being some of the most frightening music on film or television (captured on volume 2’s release). It’s a perfect example of how crucial music is to something – no matter how well written and acted, I think Squeeze and Tooms would not have had the same impact without Mark’s score.
9. Maybe there’s Hope in The Truth Part 2 (series 9)
It was a sad day when The X-Files came to an end and the final scene of the series was a lovely way to end the show. It left Mulder and Scully with hope for the future, one that saw them reunited and stronger together. Mark Snow’s delicate music, with echoes of the main theme within it was a lovely way to say goodbye to our favourite FBI agents and no doubt brought a tear to the eye of many fans when they first watched it.
10. At the crossroads (Fight The Future)
The release of the first feature film was an exciting event and Mark Snow created a grand score to accompany this big screen outing. I could have picked a number of pieces, but I’ve always loved the piece of score that accompanied the scene in which Mulder and Scully drive across country after the tanker trucks and instead of going left or right, drive straight ahead in to the barren wasteland.
11. The influence of the Navejo (Anasazi trilogy, series 2 and 3)
In what for me is the strongest mythology multi-part story of the whole series, there is the strong influence of the Indian tribe and their ancient traditions. Mark Snow did a great job of creating a score for the episodes that managed to capture this within the sound, giving the episodes a fresh and distinct sound. It’s such an intrinsic part of this story that you can see the moments in your mind as you listen to it.
12. Little Box of Sand (Emily, series 5)
The season five two-parter which revealed the existence of little Emily as Scully’s daughter is one of the most poignant stories. You had a sense that this could never have a happy ending. The score is delicate, haunting and filled with a tragic sadness and this piece from the soundtrack, brings this beautiful music together. It’s one of the best examples of Mark Snow creating an emotional depth in his music to enhance the power of the storylines on the show.
13. The End – Closure (The End, series 5)
As the show’s time in Vancouver drew to a close the creators gave us a finale that brought certain answers, while also setting the course for the show’s new path. It felt like an ending of sorts and the music was epic and with a sweeping grandeur to match the occasion. I especially love the score that accompanies the last few moments as Mulder finds his office and life’s work has literally gone up in smoke.
14. Cloning and the alien bounty hunter (Colony/End Game, series 2)
Colony and End Game marked a shift in the stakes of the mythology of the show, introducing the concept of clones, a deeper mystery surrounding Mulder’s sister and the frightening Alien Bounty Hunter. The music throughout is suitably atmospheric and eerie, giving the story an added other-worldly element, which was able to ratchet up the tension once Scully realises the person before her is not her partner at the cliffhanger end to the first episode. It was gripping television and Mark’s score certainly added to that.
15. and of course…..the now iconic theme!
Although this list is more focussed on music from the episodes themselves, it seemed wrong to not include the brilliant theme of the series. Looking back at the show now, I can’t imagine The X-Files without this haunting, otherworldly music cue, which set the tone for Mark Snow’s music for the entire duration of the series. It’s instantly recognisable and one of the best television themes created.
So those are my favourite pieces from the series to date. No one else would be able to capture the unique mood and atmosphere of the world of Mulder and Scully and I’m certainly looking forward to seeing what musical score Mark Snow will create for the new episodes airing next January (I can’t believe how close we are now!). I’d love to hear which musical tracks you love and which you are hoping to see on any future compilation CD.
The official soundtrack releases for The X-Files were released by La La Records. The collection for the first film Fight The Future is still available here. Keep an eye on their website for news of any future releases (fingers crossed).
After watching the recent Spooks film The Greater Good, I was struck by just how brilliant the original television series was. I thought so at the time of course, but time sometimes causes you to forget. So, it seemed to be the perfect opportunity to revisit one of my favourite BBC dramas and one that even almost four years after it ended, still outclasses the majority of dramas on television today.
Created by David Wolstencroft, Spooks ran for ten years on BBC One, between 2002 and 2011. In may not have taken place in real-time like 24, but Spooks was certainly a change in pace compared to other dramas on British television at the time. Its high quality ensemble cast and intelligent and frighteningly current stories meant that the series stood out and quickly developed a strong following.
Series one introduced us to the core MI5 Section D team, led by Tom Quinn (Matthew Macfadyen), who together with Zoe (Keeley Hawes) and Danny (David Oweloyo) seemed to be Britain’s only line of defence against the constant threats thrown at the intelligence service. Overseeing it all was their boss Harry Pearce (Peter Firth), who so quickly became the bedrock of the series – you couldn’t believe he would ever leave.
The series may have become more high-tech, faster paced and filled with more action as the series developed, but such aspects were never the reason for its success. Perhaps the key to Spooks’ popularity and longevity was the very real awareness that no one was safe. At that time heroes always seemed to triumph in long running dramas, but Spooks very early on took a brave stand in bucking the trend. This was of course through the shocking death of Lisa Faulkener’s character. Although Matthew, Keeley and David are big stars now, in 2002 Lisa Faulkener was the most known and killing her off in episode two and in such harrowing scenes, truly made the series stand out. I can still remember the first time I watched it.
From then on, you knew that any character could die at any time and your favourites may not survive, which added to the tension and tone of the show. This seems much more common now, with shows such as Game of Thrones following the same model, but it was a much braver choice when Spooks began and it meant that over its ten year run, Spooks saw the team of Section D grow and inevitably change. The original trio had left by the end of series three, but we had already grown to know Adam Carter (Rupert Penry-Jones) and other newcomers, not to mention the growing support from Ruth (Nicola Walker), Malcolm and Colin. Later saw the introduction of the superb Hermione Norris as Ros Myers – strong, clever, serious, but still funny at times and at heart a caring member of her team, despite her hard edge and then the sigma that was Lucas North (Richard Armitage). It was perhaps one of the weaker aspects of the last two years that the new team members, as good as they were, never had enough time to gel in the same way as their predecessors had and part of the power of Spooks was getting its audience to care about its characters.
The series included so many strong stories, with funny, tense, emotional and action-packed moments. Overall I enjoyed the series from start to finish. Were I to pick a favourite series as a whole, I’d probably say one of series 2-4. On the flip side of that, series 6 was the least interesting, as its shift to focussing on one overarching plot over the whole series didn’t work as well as individual stories. I also think that, as great as the new cast members were post series 8, once Ros had gone, it didn’t feel quite as strong as it had.
So, on finishing my rewatch of the series, here are my top ten episodes of one of BBC’s finest dramas.
1. Danny’s Heroic Sacrifice (series 3 episode 10)
This is perhaps the story from Spooks which has stayed in my mind over the years since it first aired. As well as being the finale to the third series, it was also the episode in which we said farewell to Danny, superbly played by David Oweloyo. The story is a tense thriller from start to finish, as both Danny and Fiona are kidnapped. From watching since the start, I knew that anything could happen and that there was a horrible possibility that my favourite of the original trio was not going to have a happy ending. What makes the episode stand out so much is how Danny meets his fate. Unlike others, he makes the conscious decision to provoke their captor, knowing it will almost certainly cost him his life. It’s such an honourable moment in the series and the scenes themselves were incredibly powerful, as Adam and the team react to it. I also loved the end, as Ruth (already entrenched in the series by this point) lovingly says her own goodbye to Danny. It’s an an incredibly emotional and powerful episode.
2. London terrorist attacks (series 4 episodes 1 and 2)
To open the fourth series, Spooks chose a storyline which became sadly close to real life, coming only months after the London bombings in 2005. This certainly resulted in a stronger impact on us as an audience at the time. On its own merit, it’s another brilliant episode and the first two-parter of the series, which also properly welcomed the newest member of the team, Zafar (Raza Jaffrey). As well as the usual blend of tension, action and drama, I also thought Adam’s connection with Martine McCutcheon’s character was a nice aspect of the story and truly showed his willingness to do what was honourable, choosing to go back to be with her, knowing he may not survive. This was Spooks on a larger scale and is perhaps why the recent feature film felt less impressive to me, when two parters during its run were so strong already.
3. Lockdown on the Grid (series 2 episode 5)
I thought this second series episode, set entirely on the Grid was a brilliantly written hour of television. With the team in lockdown in what they initially believe to be a training exercise, events soon unfold in to a much more frightening scenario, with the possibility that a lethal substance has been released, killing a huge amount of the population of the country. With seeming chaos outside Thames House, Tom has to take control and maintain order of the team, as fears and frustrations start to boil over. With the action being contained within such a small space, it feels very claustrophobic, which only adds to the tense atmosphere. Matthew Macfadyen is brilliant here and it showed how Spooks didn’t need lots of action and explosions to be gripping television.
4. Farewell to Ruth (series 5 episode 5)
Farewell to Ruth (well until series 8 anyway). Ruth quickly became one of my favourite characters in Spooks and watching her relationship with Harry develop was one of the loveliest aspects of the series. You wanted them to be together and yet it seemed inevitable that something would ruin it (more on that later). Having Ruth at the centre of this story allowed Nicola Walker to take an even bigger role and having both her and Harry willing to take the blame for the other was very honourable. Their final scene by the Thames felt very real and believable and I was sorry to see her go.
5. Fiona Carter’s past returns (series 4 episode 7)
I wasn’t a huge fan of Fiona Carter and by killing her off it allowed for more emotional scenes for Rupert Penry-Jones, as Adam has to cope with the tragic loss of his wife and having to come to terms with her death while still being able to do his job. As an episode I thought this hour from series four was one of the most engaging and skilfully scripted, as when it starts you are not quite seeing the truth of the circumstances. It’s only as the story unfolds that we start to realise that Fiona is running her own agenda, one which shows how brave she is and how much she cares for her family. By the end I really thought she might survive, another skill of the writers that you know characters may die, but you are never quite sure when their end will happen.
6. Tom is framed / the beginning of Tom’s fall (series 2 episode 10)
Matthew Macfadyen did such a fantastic job playing Tom Quinn and developing his character over the course of the first two series. The finale here marks the start of his inevitable end as a spy. So much happens that you don’t expect, as the story starts out as a relatively standard plot. It’s only once Tom is set up that it becomes something much larger, placing him and the team in situations we haven’t seen them in before, most notably mistrusting each other. Having Danny and Zoe seemingly against Tom by the end was wonderfully tense, not to mention Tom actually shooting Harry! It made you wonder whether he had started to lose all hope and made the possibility that he really had walked out in to the sea to die seem much more plausible. Series three couldn’t come quickly enough.
7. Finale (series 10 episode 6)
Series nine and ten weren’t as strong as those that had gone before and I wasn’t a huge fan of the Russian plot across the final series. However, it did make sense to have the focus be on Harry – the person who embodied Spooks more than any other character. So many series finales arrive and don’t do justice to the series, whether feeling open-ended, weak or unsatisfying for all the fans who have been loyal over the previous years. I loved that the finale to Spooks did mange to achieve a dramatic hour of television, while also honouring all those who had been a part of it over the decade. Yes, I would have loved Ruth and Harry to get their happy ending, but it feels much more realistic and honest to have that slip from their grasp. Peter Firth and Nicola Walker were always wonderful together and their final moments are heart-wrenching television. I also loved that the episode didn’t just end there – having Harry visit the house Ruth hoped they’d live in is so sad and the memorial wall he visits feels very poignant too (although where is Tarik on it?) and as a final treat for the fans, the return (although briefly) of Tom Quinn! Overall, it’s a wonderfully satisfying conclusion to the ten years that has preceded it, ending with Harry back at his desk, ready to protect the Service and the country he holds dear.
8. Adam Carter dies a hero (series 7 episode 1)
I always loved Adam. Together with Danny he was perhaps my favourite of the team and I was very sad to see him go. The shock here I think was having him leave in the opening episode of the new series and it was such a close call too. I honestly thought he was going to survive (silly of me, knowing the tragedies that frequently occurred in the series). Ros had after all just come back, so I expected them to at least have some episodes back together and they surely couldn’t make little Wes an orphan would they?! After the action of the episode, one of the most powerful and poignant scenes in the whole ten series has to be the end of this story, as poor Harry goes to break the news to Wes. It’s a subtle scene, played beautifully by both actors, which brought a tear to my eye.
9. Hunted by Russians while averting a nuclear disaster (series 7 episode 8)
For me this was the strongest episode of the later years of Spooks, as the team find itself hunted across London by Russian operatives, as they try and avert a nuclear explosion, with the help of recently revealed traitor Connie. Gemma Jones is so fantastic here, as we see Connie’s ruthless and selfish character, while almost admiring her foresight in having such a strong card up her sleeve. Also having the team on the run, means that the pace and tension is relentless throughout the story and despite her dreadful deeds, Connie at least salvaged some respect, in giving her life to stop the nuclear explosion.
10. The introduction of Ros Myers (series 5 episodes 1 & 2)
Picking a final choice was quite hard, but in the end it had to be the opening two parter from series five, which was so much like a mini movie. London was at risk, the government was about to be overthrown, Anna Chancellor is almost blown up, but more importantly it introduced one of Spooks’ greatest characters and one of the strongest female characters from British drama in Ros Myers. I only knew Hermione Norris from the comedy Cold Feet, so it was fantastic to see her in such a strong, serious role. Ros really is a force to be reckoned with in Spooks and it’s interesting to see her introduced as more of an enemy, only for her to go on to be one of the most capable officers Section D had. The series lost some of its magic and strength when she left in series 8.
So those are my top ten episodes. there were a few others that could have made it (the introduction of Jo Portman in series 4 is great, Ros’s final episode in series 8, not to mention that infamous second episode). It’s been lovely revisiting such a superb BBC series and if you haven’t watched for a while or know someone who missed it the first time around, I certainly recommend it. It’s a testament to its quality that over a decade on it stills stands up as a quality drama series.
Spooks is available on DVD from all the usual stockists and is available on UK Netflix and Amazon Instant. Spooks: The Greater Good is released on DVD in September.
Another classic television show from the 1990s was the wonderfully entertaining Due South. Created by Paul Haggis (in the days before he became an Oscar winner), it centres around the unlikely partnership of a Canadian mountie and a Chicago police detective. RCMP Constable Benton Fraser (together with his deaf wolf Diefenbaker) travels to Chicago to track down his father’s killers and in doing so he meets Detective Ray Vecchio and they form a partnership and friendship as Benton remains in Chicago and regularly becomes involved in Ray’s cases.
It sounds like a bizarre concept for a drama series but it worked brilliantly, bringing both humorous and more serious storylines in equal measure on to our Saturday nights on BBC One. For two series, the leads were played by Paul Gross and David Marciano. Gross brings Fraser to life perfectly – he was such a different character and his quirky, polite, principled, kind-hearted mountie was a joy to watch. It made you wish everyone could be a bit more like him (and yes, he was also gorgeous)! Bringing the other side of the duo to life was David Marciano’s Ray, who with his Chicago Italian upbringing and cynical, sarcastic and streetwise personality he was the perfect balance to Fraser and David Marciano was superb in the role.
Crucially too they had such great chemistry together. You genuinely believe they are great friends who would be there for one another and over the years you see their caring, comedic and affectionate friendship develop. They make each other better people. Another key component of Due South was the strength of the supporting cast. Beau Bridges was excellent as Ray’s boss, bemused by Fraser’s constant presence in his station. Ramona Milano added a touch of flirtatious fun as Ray’s sister Francesca, clearly besotted with Fraser, together with Catherine Bruhier as Elaine Besbriss, who also seemed to be attracted to the handsome mountie (who wouldn’t be?!). We also saw Gordon Pinsent in the recurring role of Fraser’s dead father (bonkers I know), whose relationship with his son improves now he’s dead!
As the series grew, so did the cast of regulars, as we got to know Fraser’s no-nonsense boss Meg Thatcher played by Camilla Scott and the police duo of Huey and Gardino (or Luey) (and then later Dewey)! Not to mention Fraser’s wonderful deaf wolf Diefenbaker! After being cancelled in America the show was rescued and given a new lease of life through its popularity overseas – primarily here in the UK, with the BBC co-funding series three and four (packaged in DVD form as just one series three). Sadly, however Marciano had already committed to new projects and so Callum Keith Rennie joined the gang as Fraser’s new partner, Ray Kowalski. Theirs was a new dynamic but enjoyable in a different way, although I personally missed the original duo and tend to prefer episodes from the early seasons when reaching for my Due South boxset. Then there were also one of the best theme tunes and all the wonderful songs and artists the series introduced me to, none more so than Sarah McLachlan and I still listen to the two soundtracks released to accompany the series.
Each week the cases varied from those with a serious and sometimes emotionally dramatic resonance for the duo, to the utterly ridiculous, but that was all part of its charm. It was something for a family to watch together, that always seemed to make you smile. Sadly Due South ended after four seasons (or three depending on where you watched it and how they chose to transmit it) in 1999. It would be lovely if we could have a one off special and return to these brilliant characters. It probably won’t happen though, so if you missed this sometimes overlooked gem at the time, please go and watch it now.
And of course here are my favourite ten episodes:
1. Victoria’s Secret (series 1)
This two-part story was a slight departure from the usual light-hearted tone of the series, as we learnt that in his past Fraser had been in love with a woman, who also happened to be a criminal. His world is turned upside down when she comes back in to his life. The question is whether she has left her criminal past behind. The story gave Paul Gross the opportunity to play another dimension of the character we knew so well and his friendship with Ray is tested in a way it hadn’t been before, as Ray distrusts Victoria’s motives. It also introduced me to Sarah McLachlan’s music as “Possession” features in this episode. The story builds to the point where you have no idea what the outcome will be and the ending between Ray and Fraser at the station is one of the pivotal and poignant moments of the whole series.
2. Juliet Is Bleeding (series 2)
Another more serious episode, this time focussing on Ray, as we see the return of mafia player Frank Zuko. However what makes the episode interesting is that his sister Irene is the childhood love of Ray’s life. As her brother is implicated in some terrible events (one which impacts on the whole cast) their love becomes stretched to its limit, as does Fraser’s friendship with Ray, as he starts to question Zuko’s guilt. There is some lovely acting from David Marciano here in one of the series’ most moving episodes. It also contains one of my favourite songs “Full Circle” by Loreena McKennitt, which plays during one of the series’ most poignant scenes.
3. Pilot (series 1)
Not all first episodes get it right, but for me Due South’s opening Pilot is brilliant. Opening with the murder of Fraser’s father, we are soon introduced to Constable Benton Fraser and his unique way of seeing the world, which in Chicago is as alien as it could be and by the end his friendship with Ray is already firmly established. It has some lovely scenes as Fraser learns more about the father he never really knew. Also throw in some very funny moments in the Canadian wilderness, as Ray joins Fraser to rebuild his father’s cabin and brings along his all-American arsenal of weapons and this is a wonderful 90 minutes of television. I couldn’t wait to see more of this series after watching it all those years ago and it’s an episode I tend to return to often.
4. North (series 2)
The first episode of series two is set in the Northwest Territories after Ray and Fraser’s plane is high-jacked and crashes, leaving Fraser with a serious concussion. It is then up to Ray to take charge and try and get them to safety, with comedic effect. It’s also a lovely episode that sees them rebuilding their partnership after the events of the last series. It’s one episode that really captures what wonderful chemistry Paul Gross and David Marciano had.
5. The Duel (series 2)
A tense cat-and-mouse game between Ray and Charles Carver, a parolee who Ray helped catch years earlier, but who he could never prove committed a separate murder, brings added drama to this episode, as both Fraser and Ray as well as their loved ones are put at risk by Carver’s determination to get revenge on Vecchio. The episode has a slightly darker tone to some of the lighter episodes of the series, which always makes it stick out in my mind, as Carver leaves little clues for Ray as to who he is going to target next. Plus it has one of my favourite exchanges between Ray and Fraser about Ray’s dislike of maths logic problems!
6. All The Queen’s Horses (series 2)
The RCMP’s famous equitation team are held ransom on board a train in this bonkers episode which sees Fraser grow closer to his boss Meg Thatcher and the glorious return of Leslie Nielsen’s Buck Frobisher, who gets the shock of his life in the form of his old dead friend Bob Fraser. With Ray’s help they need to save a whole train of unconscious mounties! Totally barmy, including a good sing song, but certainly good fun.
7. Perfect Strangers (series 3)
This episode has a few elements that bring together everything that made Due South so good. The story is interesting (two murders, two suspects, but with tight alibis) and it also requires Ray and Fraser to travel to Canada, resulting in Ray being exposed first hand to the politeness of Canadians in their home territory. His reactions to that always make me laugh! It makes a change for him to be the odd one out and not Fraser, who also finds himself in an awkward situation with Inspector Thatcher, as she starts to want a child and wants him to be part of the process. Good fun all round.
8. The Man Who Knew Too Little (series 1)
This series one episode never fails to make me laugh, as Fraser escorts an uncooperative witness back to Canada to testify and poor Ray ends up tagging along, despite his holiday plans. The banter between Ray, Fraser and Ian (Rino Ramano) is very funny, as are the scenes where Ray and Fraser have to track Ian on foot (the duck line is a Due South classic). Episodes like this one had such great material for David Marciano. Then of course there is the fate of Ray’s precious car. Poor poor Ray.
9. Call of The Wild (series finale)
I was quite sad when Due South ended. It had been saved with help from the BBC before but the end of the third (split in to two series for the UK) saw us bid farewell to our favourite mountie. It was lovely to see David Marciano back as the real Vecchio, as I doubt it would have felt right without him. Watching Fraser say goodbye to his parents was very poignant, as his father finally moves on to the next life with his wife, while Fraser and Kowalski head off for more adventures.
10. A Cop, A Mountie and a Baby (season 1)
Benton Fraser with a baby. I needn’t really say more about this episode in which a mother scared for her child leaves him in the back of Ray’s famous green Buick. Seeing Fraser and Ray looking after the baby is just too cute to not be included here!
Hopefully this post will make those fans out there reach for the DVDs to watch their favourite episodes and hopefully I have tempted those new to the show to give it a go. Here’s a great youtube video of the show’s opening and closing theme and titles to get you in the mood!
That’s all from me, but in the words of a mountie we all know and love – Thank you kindly!
So today brought the news X-Philes the world over have been waiting for – The X-Files is returning to our screens! After so much speculation and a growing anticipation, it has been confirmed that Fox has commissioned six new episodes of the series, reuniting creator Chris Carter with stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson.
In the hope that the revival would indeed become a reality I started to think about what I most hope to see included in this new run, more so now we have a set of episodes rather than just a film. Below is my top 10 wish list. Do let me know what you are hoping to see!
1. The truth about what happened in 2012
The mythology became a huge driving force of the series and dedicated fans continued on Mulder’s quest for the truth through nine seasons waiting for answers. The finale hinted at a hugely significant global event on 22nd December 2012. That has come and gone now, so the question has to be – what happened?! I find it ridiculous to think this won’t be addressed somehow! It’s one of the biggest plot points left unresolved and one which was not touched on during the last film.
2. AD Walter Skinner
I always loved Skinner. He started out as so by the book and became one of Mulder and Scully’s biggest allies. It was lovely to see him in the last movie, after the uncertain future that awaited him in his last appearance in the finale, but it really wasn’t enough for me. Skinner better be a big part of this revival. Plus, I was lucky enough to get Mitch Pileggi’s autograph and he was a genuinely lovely guy, who I’m sure would love to go back to the show.
3. Some brand new stand alone mysteries
I certainly hope the initial indications are true that as well as some form of mythology conclusion, we’ll also see some stand alone episodes as part of the six episode run. The X-Files may have started out as a show slanted towards aliens, but with episode 3, Squeeze, a now iconic liver-eating mutant made us all realise that the possibilities of the show were endless. After Mulder’s absence from so much of the last few years and cases of the show, it would be nice to see the duo tackle a brand new, creepy monster on their return to scare a whole new generation!
I wasn’t a huge fan of the William story arc if I’m honest, but it would seem nuts to me if there is no acknowledgement or reference to him during this series. He’d be 13 or so now and so it would perhaps be interesting to see where he is and whether he is displaying any otherworldly characteristics. I also imagine Gillian would be brilliant in some scenes with him, even if it’s just them watching him from a distance.
5. Mrs Scully (just no William Jr!)
Sheila Larken’s portrayal of Mrs Scully was another highlight of the show for me. She was such a lovely character and so supportive of her daughter and clearly saw the special bond between her and Mulder. After going through so much during the course of the series, it would be lovely to see where she is now and hopefully that she is happy. Heck maybe her and Skinner could be a couple!!
6. The Cigarette Smoking Man is never really dead!
No one really absolutely believes the Cigarette Smoking Man is dead do they?! He has “died” at least twice on the show already, so I find it hard to accept that he won’t find a way to return to cause trouble for Mulder & Scully. Plus William B Davis was so brilliant in the role, that it would seem a waste to not see him sparring with Mulder or Skinner once again.
7. A return for some classic writers and directors
The X-Files always seemed to be like a family for those who worked on the show and those of us who watched it from start to finish came to recognise the names and work of the writers and directors as much as the actors. If we are to have six new stories, I certainly hope Chris Carter has lined up some of the show’s old faithful family to be part of it. I imagine such a short run would rule out a quirky Darin Morgan script, but I’d love to see the return of Glen Morgan and James Wong, whose writing partnership brought us some of the best stories and characters, together with Vince Gilligan, now more famous for creating his own successful series Breaking Bad. As for directors, it would be nice to see Rob Bowman back, as well as R.W Goodwin (aka Sheila “Mrs Scully” Larken’s husband) who directed so many of my favourite stories.
8. A special dedication to Kim Manners
Since the show ended, director Kim Manners passed away. He directed some great episodes, such as Quagmire and the controversial Home and it would be lovely to see a dedication to him at the end of one of the new episodes.
9. Filming returns to Vancouver, the spiritual home of The X-Files!
So the series left Vancouver after five seasons but, for me, the tone and mood of the show was always at its best during its years filming in Canada, in a city I’ve visited since and loved. Now the series is coming back, it feels appropriate that it goes back to the place where it all began 20 years ago and that’s Vancouver!
10. Details of filming please!
Okay, so number ten is a bit of a cheat and a fantasy request, but why not?! I’d love a comprehensive, detailed schedule for filming, issued in advance, so that geeky fans like me can seriously consider planning a holiday around coming to watch some filming! Even if it’s just a couple of days to accommodate all the loyal fans out there. If you are listening Chris Carter, make it happen!
So that’s my top ten wish list, although I admit just having my favourite series returning is exciting enough! I look forward to all the debate, speculation and buzz that will occur over the next few months! Don’t forget, the truth is out there!
One of the lasting memories of childhood for me will always be watching Neighbours on BBC One. It’s the only soap I can say I ever watched regularly. Everyone I knew came home from school to watch Neighbours at 5:35 p.m. and enjoy getting to know the residents of the sunny cul-de-sac Ramsay Street, which over the years has seen so many births, marriages, deaths and memorable moments occur in the lives of the people of Erinsborough. Everyone had their favourite characters and it was lovely to tune in each day to see these fantastic families and friends going about life in the lovely sunshine of Australia.
Now Neighbours is celebrating its 30th Anniversary (technically it’s 30th anniversary in the UK will be in October 2016, as it started to air here almost 18 months later). How time flies! I admit that as I got older and started work I drifted away from Neighbours, meaning that if I happen to watch it now I’m left clueless as to who everyone is, with the exception of the characters who’ve been around forever – Karl, Susan (the new Helen Daniels it seems), Toadie and Lou. It’s nice to see it’s still going though, thanks to Channel 5 after it left the BBC in 2008 and I’m sure those who are growing up watching it now will have their own favourite characters and moments just like those of us who were watching in those early years.
With today’s anniversary episode screening on Channel 5 and tonight’s behind the scenes celebration, it had me thinking about the moments I most remember from the series and in the spirit of television nostalgia, I’ve chosen my most memorable storylines / moments below. All clips are thanks to those who have made them available online and all rights of course belong to Grundy Television Pty Limited and Fremantle Media Operations B.V.
1. Scott and Charlene’s wedding (UK airdate: 1988)
This is probably no surprise, as the wedding of Scott Robinson (Jason Donovan) and Charlene Ramsay (Kylie Minogue) was an iconic moment of television in the 1980s and was watched by a huge 19.6 million viewers in the UK when it aired in 1988! It was such a beautiful episode for two characters that you really had grown so fond of and rooted for. I still love everything about it, her dress, the choice of playing Angry Anderson’s Suddenly over the scene rather than having the dialogue and all those old Neighbours faces in the congregation. Plus, they are still together in the fictional world of the show too which is nice! I do think it’s a pity though that neither of the stars is coming back for the anniversary.
2. Kerry Mangel is killed by duck hunters (UK airdate: 1991)
The next most vivid moment from watching Neighbours growing up has to be the tragic death of Harold’s daughter Kerry. Out on a protest against duck hunters with her friend and her husband Joe Mangel (sounds daft right?!), Kerry is unexpectedly shot. I remember being stunned by this event and Kerry being pregnant at the time made it even more sad. At least we had her daughter Sky return years later, played by Stephanie McIntosh, who looked spookily like Linda Hartley-Clark, who played Kerry.
3. Lucy Robinson’s sight returns (UK airdate: 1988)
I don’t think this was a hugely memorable plot line for the series, but it’s one of the earliest television memories I have. Lucy Robinson was suffering from blindness and in a vivid memory, I remember her being given a bowl of ice-cream (chocolate I think) and as she eats it her sight came back! I’m not sure whether it was the fact she was very young like me and was blind or the fact I just wanted ice-cream, but it’s an image that’s stayed with me ever since!
4. Libby and Drew get married (UK airdate: 2001)
Libby Kennedy became one of my favourite characters in Neighbours and she went through a great deal. I especially loved it when she finally realised she loved her best friend Drew, as the pair were so clearly suited for each other and it was nice to see them happy. Their wedding was a lovely episode, as Drew serenaded her at the reception, although I’m still not sure the kilt worked! He always seemed like the perfect guy, so loving, loyal and decent. It’s sad their happiness didn’t last but, for a while at least, they were my favourite couple.
5. The Flick, Steph and Mark love triangle (UK airdate: 2002)
This was a story that you were waiting to explode, as Flick Scully (Holly Valance) fell for her sister’s fiancé Mark Lambert. Watching him stand Steph up at the altar and for her to realise this was because of her sister was fantastic television and the showdown scene between Steph and Flick was brilliantly acted by the two actresses.
6. Anne and Billy’s happy ending (UK airdate: 2000)
Another one of my favourite couples was Billy Kennedy and Anne Wilkinson. Anne was the good girl, who worked hard and was a decent friend to Lance, Amy and co and Billy always seemed to be a genuinely decent young man. Theirs was a Neighbours relationship you wanted to work and last and it was lovely to see them leave to make a life together, with Anne heading off to join Billy. As far as we’re aware they are still together. I’d love these two to return one day.
7. Clive Gibbons in his gorilla outfit (UK airdate: 1987)
Another early memory for me is that of Dr Clive Gibbons (Geoff Paine) in a gorilla costume! It turns out this was in fact his first episode in the series and he became an early favourite character of mine, although that possibly may have all stemmed from this memorable entrance!
8. Toadie and Dee’s wedding day ends in tragedy (UK air date: 2003)
It’s nice to see that Toadie is still in Neighbours and is a link to the past for people like me who stopped watching. He certainly grew up on the show, from troubled teenager taken in by Karl and Susan to a respectable lawyer (although he never seemed to do much actual work!). Never having that much luck in love, it was lovely when Dee finally fell for Toadie and their wedding was another lovely day. She looked beautiful and everyone was so happy. However, the episode stays in the mind due to the tragic end, as they drove off a cliff, resulting in Dee’s body never being found. You really didn’t want such an end for this couple. I wonder if one day she’ll ever return?!
9. Henry Ramsey locked out in a towel! (UK airdate: 1990)
Ahh Craig McLachlan. I think a lot of young viewers at the time loved Henry Ramsay. He was fun, cute, a great friend and a hugely entertaining character in the days of Scott, Charlene, Mike and Jane. This moment is probably the one most remembered by viewers, as he is forced to run naked after being thrown out of Bronwyn’s house to avoid being caught by her aunt. Unfortunately his towel is caught in the door and he has to make a run for it, ending up hiding in the shrubbery in the greenhouse! The accompanying music is always brilliant for adding to the comedy of the scene.
10. The plane crash (UK air date: 2006)
Ten years ago, to celebrate its 20th Anniversary, the series saw a huge disaster storyline, which led to the deaths of a whole family, as the staff of Lassiter’s were treated to a night out and travel on Paul Robinson’s private plane. Unfortunately there was a bomb on board (planted by Paul’s son Robert) and the explosion left everyone in the sea fighting for survival. Harold’s son David, his wife Liljana and their daughter Serena all perished, which was quite shocking. I especially remember poor Connor desperately trying to keep Serena afloat. Yes, it may have been cheesy at times, but Neighbours could always pull off the dramatic stories.
11. Daphne dies after telling Des she loves him (UK air date: 1989)
Poor Des Barnes. He was always such a decent guy in the early days of Neighbours and when he ended up getting the woman of his dreams, Daphne, (who started way back in the very first episode as a stripper!), it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. That made her death all the more upsetting after a car crash. I think this death stays with you because not only was Daphne the first regular character to die, but it was the first one I’d seen where you thought the person was on the road to recovery, as she finally seems to regain consciousness to tell Des she loves him, only to die seconds later. Watching this clip back now, it still makes me sad. At least we get to see Des again in the next couple of weeks as he makes an appearance to celebrate this special anniversary.
12. The mystery of Julie Martin’s death at the murder mystery weekend (UK airdate: 1995)
Julie Martin, daughter of Jim Robinson, was always such an annoying character, always judging everyone and being fairly horrible. However, even I remember feeling sorry for her when she met her end at the murder mystery weekend some of the residents went on in 1995. It made a change to have the setting away from Ramsay Street and it was an unexpected end to the episode when Julie was found dead. I remember all the debate as to whether she’d fallen or was pushed. It was months later that Debbie revealed she’d witnessed her mother fall.
13. Farewell to Helen Daniels (UK airdate: 1998)
Helen Daniels was the mother to everyone on Neighbours, there as a shoulder to cry on for almost every character and Anne Haddy played her wonderfully throughout her time on the show. Although Helen’s (or Gran’s) death was sad to see, she had perhaps an end we would all be happy with – simply falling asleep at home, surrounded by family and friends during and happy get together for her birthday. I always thought Rebecca Ritters (who played Hannah Martin) was brilliant here, as she realised her grandmother had died. Her death certainly marked the end of an era.
14. Karl keeps a trapped Joel alive in rising water (UK airdate: 1999)
This dramatic episode saw Joel trapped beneath a truck, after he and Karl stop to help an upset Anne. As Anne rushes off through the bush for help, Karl desperately tries to keep Joel alive, as the water rises around them, through using water bottles and tubing to act as a way of helping him breath under the water. It was brilliantly tense to watch and showed Doctor Karl yet again to the rescue!
15. Shy Nina Tucker’s amazing voice (UK airdate: 2002)
Many pop stars have come out of Neighbours over the years, but Delta Goodrem went in to Neighbours with a recording deal and through her time on the show as shy Nina Tucker acquired an immediate fan base for her music. Nina was a great character, who like Delta, went off to conquer the music world. Plus you can’t deny that she can sing and it was lovely to see this career begin on the show and unlike Kylie, Delta is returning to the series that helped make her career for the 30th Anniversary celebrations this month.
So those are my most memorable moments over the years that I was a regular viewer. It’s been nice to revisit the series in the last few days in the run up to the anniversary and I’d be curious to hear about your favourite moments.
The 30th Anniversary episode screens today (18th March) at 1:45 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Channel 5. There is also an evening of celebration starting from 10 p.m. with The Stars Reunite, featuring interviews with famous residents from the past, followed by Scott and Charlene’s wedding and the first ever episode of the series. It’s a shame these are on so late, so don’t forget to set your recorders!
Television Nostalgia – Television’s finest partnership – My favourite Mulder & Scully moments in The X-Files
With the possibility of a return for Agents Mulder and Scully on television, which I certainly hope is true, I’ve recently revisited some of my favourite episodes of this brilliant series. As my favourite television show since I first watched it aged 12, I’ve always found myself returning to my favourite episodes at times when life gets a bit tough and you need something familiar to calm you and provide that escapism that a trusty show or a beloved book manage to provide.
So, in need of some escapism from real life and following all this exciting speculation, I’ve been looking back at the moments of the series between Fox Mulder and Dana Scully that I’ve never forgotten. Watching the show, I was always quite envious of their friendship, which is one that is so strong and immutable. No matter what happened, or what traumas or tragedies they each faced, they always knew that the other would be there for them, to provide that unwavering support. It’s what sets them apart for me, as the best partnership on television – yes they were destined to be together, but it was always the uniquely close friendship that I loved. There are so many wonderful moments between them over the series, but these are my favourite.
1. Mulder visits Scully’s bedside (One Breath)
This scene from my favourite episode of the series has always been a memorable one. Scully’s abduction was quite a shocking plotline at the time and her return in such a seemingly hopeless condition allowed the writers to create some very emotional moments for David Duchovny. Mulder spends the episode consumed with fighting to find out what’s happened to his friend, when really all he really needs to do is to sit with her. This scene in which he visits her in hospital and tells her he’s there for her is wonderfully acted and highlighted how important to him Scully had become and is then followed by the touching scene in which Mulder breaks down in his apartment as all seems utterly beyond hope. This story arc may have been unplanned until Gillian’s pregnancy, but I’m so pleased the writers made these brave choices so early, as Scully’s abduction became such a hugely vital part of the series.
2. Mulder teaches Scully to play baseball (The Unnatural)
In David Duchovny’s writing and directorial debut for the series, we get to see a lighter and more fun side to Mulder and Scully here. After a rather unusual story about the joys of baseball, we see Mulder teach a sceptical Scully how to play, something which she actually finds she enjoys. It’s a sweet, tender moment between the two, as they inch ever nearer to being more than just friends. It’s also one of the more lighthearted endings to an X-Files episode and always makes me smile.
3. The hallway scene (Momento Mori)
I seem to enjoy the emotionally charged hospital scenes in the series and this incredibly moving moment from series four’s Momento Mori is one of the best moments between Mulder and Scully for me and encompasses so much of what makes their bond special and the series so successful. Gillian Anderson deservedly won an [Emmy] for her work this year, which centred on Scully’s battle with cancer and she is truly brilliant in this episode, conveying all the anger, fear and emotion that must go through you if you have to experience something so frightening. This moment in the hospital, in which Mulder waits outside Penny Northern’s room, knowing his friend will need him there, even if she probably wouldn’t have asked him, is so beautifully written and acted. Scully is determined to fight and Mulder makes it clear he will be by her side every step of the way. Depending on my mood I can get quite teary-eyed watching this scene.
4. Chatting while “stranded” on a rock (Quagmire)
Quagmire is such a wonderful little episode in which a Loch Ness-style sea monster may or may not exist in America, Scully’s beloved dog (although not loved by Mulder) meets a tragic end and Mulder and Scully end up “marooned” on a rock after their boat sinks in the middle of the night. It’s a rare chance for them to talk about topics other than work and in that respect is quite a refreshing scene. I love how Scully is surprised and impressed by his knowledge of Moby Dick and his joke about her losing weight, which she soon realises is less of a compliment than she first thought is very amusing. David and Gillian are both fantastic at comedy and it’s nice that every so often they had the opportunity to play scenes like this one, in between the more serious myth-arcs.
5. Scully falls asleep on Mulder’s couch (All things)
A more romantically slanted moment here from the first script written and directed by Gillian Anderson, which also seemingly finally signposts the turn in their relationship from friends to lovers. Scully has been on quite an emotional journey over the course of this episode and it’s Mulder who is there for her when she needs him most. This moment, as she falls asleep on his couch and his obvious love and affection for her is so genuinely lovely and perfectly played by both actors.
6. Scully breaks down (Irresistible)
Series two remains my favourite of the series (with series four a close second) and it contained some truly brilliant episodes, including this chilling story of Donnie Pfaster, the death fetishist. It’s one of the first times we see Scully in peril and how much Mulder is effected by it. It’s also a crucial turning point in their friendship, as it’s here where Scully lets herself break down in front of him for the first time and allow him to comfort her when she needs it the most.
7. Celebrating Scully’s birthday (Tempus Fugit)
The main story of this series four two-parter may have been rather tough, dealing with the aftermath of a plane crash and the death of Max Fenig, last seen in series one’s Fallen Angel, but it did contain this lovely scene. Mulder and Scully haven’t been seen much by this point doing everyday activities and their birthdays haven’t been mentioned in any significant way. That perhaps makes this scene, in which Mulder surprises / embarrasses Scully on her birthday with a sparkling dessert and gift, all the more special. These moments don’t come around too often so they are even more of a treat to watch when they do. I also always loved the gesture behind the gift – it may only be a cheap keychain, but Mulder’s reason for giving it to her, is so lovely (whether he admits it or not)!
8. Mulder visits a sleeping Scully (Redux II)
Back to the hospitals and angst galore for moment number eight, in which Scully’s battle with her illness seems to be one she cannot win. As hidden enemies and uncertain allies gather around Mulder, swaying him to choose a path that he may not necessarily want, while facing the unimaginable reality of losing the closest person in his life, he comes to seek comfort and solace at the only place he can – Scully’s bedside. Watching him watch her sleep, you can almost read his thoughts as he tries to imagine her no longer being in his life and seeing him silently crumble is incredibly moving and beautifully acted by David Duchovny. It certainly tugs at my heartstrings whenever I watch it.
9. “You were my constant” (The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati)
The opening episodes to series six aren’t one of my favourite stories. However it was lovely to see Mulder and Scully reaffirm their support and affection for each other in this scene, with Mulder admitting that when his world was falling apart, through everything, it is Scully that has been his “constant, his touchstone”, to which she replies that he is hers. As if every fan of the show didn’t know that already!
10. “Maybe there’s hope” (The Truth)
I watched the last episode of the series with a heavy heart in 2002. I’m still not really satisfied with The Truth as a climax and I certainly hope that any revival will bring further closure than this trial-centred episode tried to do. However, the heart of the series was always the chemistry between Duchovny and Anderson and even stories I am less keen on often contain moments that I love and despite what went before, this scene in a dark motel room, echoing the scene in the very first episode, is a genuinely wonderful moment. It honours the past and all they have been through together, while laying the foundations for the future – one in which hope is their shining light.
11. The dancing (Post Modern Prometheus)
The fact that Mulder and Scully’s relationship remained platonic for so long only heightened fans excitement when there was even the slightest possibility of something more and one of these moments is when Mulder asks Scully to dance with him to Cher’s Walking In Memphis. Post Modern Prometheus is a totally unique episode, which has a special charm and this is a wonderful way to end it. It’s another hopeful, happy scene, in which we see the less serious side of these two characters and it being in black and white lends it an added air of old fashioned romance.
12. Their last scene (so far…!) (I Want To Believe)
I was rather disappointed by the second X-Files film. After looking forward to it for so long and having such high hopes, the story of body swapping Frankenstein-like science was a bit of a let down. However, despite the plot’s weaknesses, it was still utterly fantastic to have Mulder and Scully back on the screen and David and Gillian certainly hadn’t let years away from these iconic roles lessen their chemistry. It’s a rocky path through this film for them and by the end I had my fingers crossed for something positive and hopeful to finish with and this lovely scene didn’t disappoint. Perfectly acted, shot and with a gorgeous piece of score by Mark Snow it makes the film worth watching for me.
13. Lost in the woods (Detour)
After the trauma and emotion of the Redux opener, it was nice to have our favourite FBI agents back out on an X-File, albeit one they happen to stumble in to. I’ve always liked Detour. Mulder’s distain for team building and wine and cheese receptions is very funny and there’s lots of opportunity to have Mulder and Scully back in the field again. It’s the scene in the woods though that makes my list of favourite moments. Despite the danger of their situation, it’s light and funny, as let’s face it by this point they’ve already faced so much anyway, what’s a potentially deadly creature in the woods going to do! It’s also more flirty, which was always entertaining to watch – shame it didn’t rain sleeping bags!
14. “Nobody down here but the FBI’s most unwanted.” (Pilot)
The first meeting of Mulder and Scully had to be on this list and it’s such a great scene. Mulder playfully pushes her buttons, testing the type of person she is and seeing that Scully is a strong, intelligent and independent woman, who will not be intimidated by his tactics. It’s also fizzing with chemistry, which David and Gillian had from the very beginning and you sense that this is going to be something special. It makes me nostalgic every time I watch it.
15. The (in)famous hallway scene (The X-Files: Fight The Future)
I will always remember the first time I watched this scene. It was at a preview screening of the film, in a cinema filled with X-Philes and at this moment the loud shouting was mad! Half the cinema screaming “Do it!” and the other half screaming “No!” – I’ve never experienced anything like it in a cinema since! Let’s face it this was a huge moment for the series and the characters and speculation as to whether they would finally get together was rife by the time the film opened. It’s a brilliantly created scene by Chris Carter and his team, building the anticipation up, only to dash it at the last moment due to a bee! It was exactly the right choice. As much as I wanted to see these two finally admit their feelings, there was always something special about their friendship that I didn’t want to see change.
So those are my favourite 15 Mulder and Scully moments. It was certainly difficult to keep myself to just 15 and on a different day the list may also have included either of their reflections on the office scene in Bad Blood, Mulder meeting Emily Sim at the children’s home, Scully threatening Mulder in Wetwired, Mulder arriving at the Senate subcommittee hearing in Terma, their farewell moment in Dreamland II when they think they will never meet again and the Russian roulette scene from Pusher. I’d love to hear which moments other fans love. It’s also thrilling to think what new moments we might be enjoying if the revival really does happen! All my fingers are certainly crossed!
I recently had a discussion with a group of friends about the children’s television programmes we’d all loved growing up and it was fun to remember some of the classics. With the chat fresh in my mind, it seemed to be a fun idea for a new Television Nostalgia post. So here are my 15 favourite children’s television programmes from my childhood. Plus most of these are now available on DVD, which is fantastic! Have I included yours? Feel free to comment!
1. The Chronicles of Narnia (BBC – 1988-1990)
The BBC’s series of dramatisations of C.S Lewis classic Narnia series was always going to come first in this list. I loved these books and the series was spellbinding. Each of them was wonderful, but my favourite was of course The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. It’s an exciting, magical story and world for children and I remember having the tie-in board game too! I still think children today would love this series.
2. Around the World With Willy Fog (BBC – 1987-1988)
A close second is the Japanese/Spanish anime cartoon adaptation of Jules Verne’s story, charting the adventures of Willy Fog and his friends, as they travel around the world, which was another must-see event on Children’s BBC for me. I always enjoyed Willy Fog’s adventures with Tico and the gang as the nasty Transfer (with his glowing eye) tried to stop them at every turn. Admit it, you can still remember the theme tune!
3. Dogtanian & The Three Muskehounds (BBC – started 1985)
By the same Spanish team behind Willy Fog was this version of The Musketeers or, in this case, the Muskehounds! Although I admit that now Dogtanian’s voice is a bit irritating (especially all that wailing for Juliette!), this will always be a special part of my childhood.
4. Bertha (BBC – 1985 – 1986)
Produced in the UK for the BBC by Woodland Animations (creators of Postman Pat too), Bertha was set in a factory with a special machine of the same name. What made Bertha so magical was that she could make any item requested of her! It’s hard to believe only 13 episodes were ever made as it certainly felt like more than that as I was growing up. I bet I still have the board game somewhere at my parents house!
5. Going Live! (BBC – 1987-1993)
Many Saturday morning shows came after it (SM:TV, Live & Kicking etc.) but the best one in my opinion is Going Live! Saturday mornings were all about this show. It had Gordon the Gopher and Philip Schofield and the lovely Sarah Green. Not to mention Trev & Simon (they don’t do duvets!) and the fun gameshow Double Dare.
6. Thundercats (BBC – 1987-1991)
I was never that fussed about He-Man and She-ra, but I did think Thundercats was fantastic. The music, the characters (including let’s face it, a really quite scary baddie for kids in the form of Mumm-ra). It was action-packed, exciting, a little scary and was a regular show for me. I understand from the internet that not all the episodes were ever screened in the UK, which seems like a pity, especially in light of how popular it was.
7. Rainbow Brite
Another childhood classic was Rainbow Brite, who with the help of the Colour Kids and the Sprites in RainbowLand brought colour throughout the universe. I even liked the baddies Murky & Lurky and the card game is still a cherished memory of my family’s childhood holidays.
8. The Mysterious Cities of Gold (BBC – 1986-1987)
This French/Japanese animated series is another that seems to have been far shorter than I remember. Set in 1532, it’s the story of a Spanish boy, Esteban, who joins Mendoza on a voyage to the New World looking for the Lost Cities of Gold and also his father. Including Mayans and Incans and a solar-powered Golden Condor, we follow their journey in South America. Esteban also has a mysterious gold medallion, which Mendoza believes holds the key to the Cities of Gold. Other characters included Zia (an Incan girl travelling with them) who is also seeking her father and also has a gold medallion of her own. Another classic that I may have to dig out on DVD.
9. Knightmare! (ITV – 1987-1994)
This brilliant CITV children’s gameshow is surely due a comeback? Each instalment saw a team of four kids attempting to complete a quest through a medieval world, completing puzzles, riddles and more in various rooms and virtual landscapes, as the clock counted down, through the disintegration of a face and skull (which seemed pretty creepy to me at the time). One child was the sightless dungeoneer (due to the helmet they had to wear), who was then guided by the other three. The graphics may seem old now, but at the time this show seemed like a futuristic cutting edge experience and I was always quite jealous of those taking part!
10. Pigeon Street (BBC – 1981 and repeated later)
This has to be one of my earliest television memories as a child. Over the far too few episodes we met the residents of Pigeon Street, living in flats and terraced houses and the pigeons who observed them. I particularly remember Mr Macadoo who ran the pet shop and Clara the long-distance lorry driver, not to mention the memorable cooing noise of those pigeons. Pre-school television at its best for me!
11. Look and Read (BBC 1967-1994, especially Through The Dragon’s Eye 1989)
During the course of primary school Look & Read was part of the week anticipated by my class. Yes it meant watching the television at school, but some of the stories grabbed our attention in a particularly exciting way, making learning even more enjoyable. The stand out story of my Look and Read days was 1989’s Through The Dragon’s Eye, which even my mother became hooked on as well. Whilst painting a school mural of a dragon, three children are transported in to the painting to the world of Pelamar, where they are asked by the dragon to help save the land by collecting together pieces of the world’s life source, while the evil Charn tries to do the same for his evil purposes. It looks as though Look and Read ended in 2004, which seems to be a real shame to me.
12. Neighbours (BBC)
It may be on Channel 5 now and be filled with characters I’ve never heard of, but for me the Neighbours I loved (who needed Home & Away?) was the Neighbours on the BBC in the 80s and 90s. Remember all those storylines from that era? Des & Daphne, Bouncer the dog, Joe Mangel and the death of his wife Kerry by duck hunters, Lucy Robinson’s blindness, Henry Ramsey locked out of the house naked, the rivalry of the Robinson and the Ramsey families. Plus the biggest storyline of the 80s – Scott and Charlene’s wedding (complete with Angry Anderson’s song Suddenly). I’m sure it’s still good now, but it can’t be as good as it was back then!
13. The Wide Awake Club (ITV – 1984-1989) / Wacaday (ITV – 1985-1992)
These were two shows hosted by Timmy Mallett in the 80s. The Wide Awake Club was the Saturday morning show on ITV, which then led to Wacaday, which ran during the school holidays for 30 minutes (in what is now Lorraine’s morning slot). Surely most memorable for Mallett’s Mallett, the game which saw two children compete against each other and be hit over the head with his foam mallett. I also remember a gunge-related game which resulted in a toy figure ending up in custard or gunge (I’m sure once this was Michael Jackson) and a blind tasting game featuring all manner of disgusting foods.
14. Belle and Sebastian (BBC – 1989-1990)
Not many people I speak to remember this cartoon about a boy and a dog, but it’s still one of the shows I remember most from childhood. It was the story of a young boy, who is teased by the other children for not having a mum, who meets a mountain dog. The dog, named Belle, is falsely accused of many crimes and feared by the residents, so Sebastian leaves his village with her, escaping the police and also looking for his mother. I really wish I could find this on DVD one day.
15. Postman Pat (BBC – from 1981)
Surely a classic in everyone’s childhood, even today as a new film was released for a whole new generation earlier this year. Postman Pat and Jess in their van delivering post to the villagers around Greendale is always going to be special.
I could go on and on but those are the most special for me. I did also enjoy Sooty, The Gummi Bears, The Racoons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Raggy Dolls, Dungeons & Dragons, Rentaghost, Round The Twist, T-Bag, Ghostwriter and Moondial.
I would love to hear what classics you enjoyed as a child. You may remind me of ones I’ve forgotten!