Online TV

The Avengers 50th anniversary celebration

Leonard White, original Avengers producer, interviewed on stage
Leonard White, original Avengers producer, interviewed on stage

I’m just back from a weekend in glorious Chichester, where the town’s University was celebrating the 50 anniversary of one of my favourite TV shows, The Avengers.

Around 350 of us sat in the audience while over 40 members of the cast and crew of the 1960s series discussed the creation and development of one of the most unusual series to come out of the studios of ABC television.

Highlights included an appearance by Avengers stuntman and director, Ray Austin, who worked on the show before making it big in Hollywood, and Avengers girl, Linda Thorson, who played Tara King in the programme’s final years.

Ms Thorson was a revelation, full of energy and love for the show, and her double act with her good friend, and celebrity Avengers fan, Paul O’Grady, was a delight to witness.

Though I was off duty for the weekend, there as a fan rather than press, I couldn’t resist taking a few photos, tweeting from the audience and catching up with one of the organisers, Dr Adam Locks, for a short audioboo.

The Avengers celebration was one of the finest TV-related events I’ve had the pleasure of attending, a fitting tribute to the many people who worked to bring such an iconic series to our screens.

Sadly, as O’Grady mentioned a few times, ITV, the original home of the series, now wants nothing to do with the programme and won’t stump up the cash, or the air time, to transmit their own tribute. A real shame, and another reason why this weekend was so important, as I tweeted last night:

For more on the event, head over to the official blog or see Frank Collins’ live blog (well, it was live over the weekend). There’s also this short clip from BBC News:


Film Filming Online Writing YouTube

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2011 coverage

Covering subtlemob on STV

In 2011 I’m celebrating my fourth year of attendance at the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) in a professional capacity, and it’s the year that my involvement in the Festival has changed the most.

Wheras in the past I’ve turned up to press screenings and written opening and closing night reviews for the Edinburgh Evening News and my own blogs or websites, this year I’ve found myself looking at the bigger picture for a number of outlets as freelance opportunities come my way.

As well as commenting on the controversial changes to the EIFF in the paper, I’ve been covering the Festival for local news website, STV Edinburgh, mainly focusing on the special events that make up roughly half of this year’s programme. This is a return to STV for me following some work at the end of 2010 on their YouTube/archive service.

My first piece, in conjunction with local writer Claire Connachan, saw me filming an interview with the creators of a subtlemob, Our Broken Voice. The first feature went live last Thursday and within a few hours had rocketed to the top of Google News results for the Festival and remained there for 24 hours, with more articles to come in the next few days:

subtlemob feature in Google News
subtlemob feature in Google News

As well as commenting on the EIFF from a critical perspective I’m looking after the blog for a new Creative Scotland-funded website, The site has existed as an online videotheque for a few years now, showcasing some of the best Scottish filmmaking talent in a password protected area, but last week saw the launch of phase one of a new blog, part of which I’ll be looking after.

With the EIFF the place where many filmmakers are congregating I’m trying to make contact with some of them for future site content while working with the behind-the-scenes team to ensure some footage from the any industry events can be seen on The site will get another facelift soon and I hope to build it into an important resource for Scottish filmmakers.

Finally, as well as being asked to interview the charming and self-effacing CEO of IMDb, Col Needham, on stage on Sunday, my other involvement this year comes in running Scottish film website, ReelScotland, which I launched just over a year ago. Although the above work makes it impossible to attend as many films as in previous years, a small team of writers are currently taking the strain, providing a high quality range of reviews and interviews. I’m merely the editor for much of this, though I do hope to see at least a handful of films alongside the special events.

All-in-all it’s been a pretty exhausting EIFF already, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.


Film Interview

EIFF 2011 interview with IMDb founder Col Needham

IMDbIt’s a big week here in Edinburgh, one which sees the launch of the 65th Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) and some major changes for the old girl in her 65th year. As part of the Festival, I’ll be carrying out an on-stage interview with the founder of the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), Col Needham, on Sunday.

As the EIFF’s focus shifts from being a showcase of films and filmmakers to being a celebration of film (at least I think that’s what’s happening, I raised a few questions in the Edinburgh Evening News on this very subject a few weeks ago), one side effect is that we have some of the great and the good of the online film world making their way to the city.

Col Needham founded IMDb over 20 years ago as a resource for a few film fans, before Amazon bought the site and helped turn it into something most of us have visited at least once – it now receives over 100 million unique visitors per month.

We’ll be discussing the rise of IMDb and how new technologies are helping film fans and filmmakers online, plus a few other topics suggested by the audience. If you have any questions you’d like me to ask Col, let me know in the comments below or via Twitter.

The event takes place on Sunday 19 June at 14.30 in the Teviot Row House Debating Hall.

Online Writing YouTube

Hollywood travel article published

Me. In Hollywood. Yesterday
Me. In Hollywood. Yesterday

As you can see from that (allegedly) smiling mug above, I was in Los Angeles last month for the TCM Classic Film Festival and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

One of the side projects I worked on was a travel article, a top 10 round-up of things to do in and around Hollywood for the visiting film buff. Some were perhaps predictable (Disneyland and Universal Studios) but others only came from asking people on arrival for suggestion or taking a walk along Hollywood Boulevard (the Egyptian Theatre and Larry Edmunds Bookshop).

I was commissioned to write the piece for one of the net’s largest flight comparison websites, Skyscanner, and shared writing duties with Claire Connachan, the owner of advertising blog, Crabbit Copywriter.

You can read the full travel article on the Skyscanner website.

Finally, here’s another Hollywood tour worth taking, a trip around silent movie locations which I made on the day I arrived in LA:


Filming Interview Online YouTube

Volunteers’ Week videos for Volunteer Centre Edinburgh

Filming for Volunteer Centre Edinburgh

I first met the team at Volunteer Centre Edinburgh (VCE) a couple of years ago while putting together an article for the now-defunct Scottish Government website, The article discussed how new arrivals in Edinburgh from abroad could make connections and build their CV by volunteering in the city.

I was struck by the fantastic work they did with few resources and it wasn’t too long after this that the digital agency I worked for took them on as a client.

Then, in January 2011, I spoke to VCE again for an article on also now-defunct (there’s a theme here) Guardian Edinburgh website and realised that there was a lot of potential for online promotion that wasn’t being tapped. This made me want to do more when I heard that Volunteers’ Week was coming up, running from 1 – 7 June.

On 17 May I headed along to Edinburgh City Chambers for the Inspiring Volunteering Awards ceremony, filming various award winners for some short videos. For the last few days I’ve been editing the clips and publishing them on the VCE website, teaming up with an ex-colleague, Scott Langley, to ensure the copy complements the videos.

I’ll embed all the videos on here: they’re also available on the VCE YouTube Channel.

Day One: Emily Dodd from Greener Leith


Day Two: Dominic Jules from Canongate Youth Project


Filming Interview Online YouTube

New Anthony LaPaglia video clip online

As I mentioned back in March, I worked with the team behind this year’s Glasgow Film Festival as their video blogger, interviewing a number of their guests for the official YouTube channel.

The biggest interview of the lot was with the actor Anthony LaPaglia, who was in town to promote a film which he starred in and executive produced, Balibo. A second clip from that interview has now appeared on the Glasgow Cinema City website, in which LaPaglia discusses his love of Scotland.

I should say that I seem to remember asking a fair few questions in the full interview, which I suspect will be online sometime soon, but here I let LaPaglia have his say: