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Quiz (2020): The Game Show, the Cough and the Criminal Trial

Quiz tells the story of one of the more unlikely scandals of early 21st Century Britain. It's a story of a phenomenally successful TV game show, a million pound prize, a court case, and a lot of coughing.

In the 1990s and early 2000s British television became good at creating reality TV formats that sold around the world. Before the likes of Pop Idol and The X Factor came the quiz show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Part of Millionaire's appeal is summed up by that title. Its top prize was a then unprecedented £1 million. Or, as Doctor Evil might say, One Million Pounds.

Unlike later reality TV shows, the programme's contestants weren't filtered by how photogenic they were or what heart-rending backstory they could produce. Almost anyone could phone the production company's hotline, answer a few questions, and theoretically have the chance of going on to compete for the million.

Once on the show, the cash prizes got bigger with each question successfully answered, …
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6 Favourite Films from the 1960s

For National Classic Movie Day on 16th May, the Classic Film and TV Cafe are hosting the 6 from the '60s blogathon. Writers and bloggers are asked to pick their six favourite films of the 1960s and say a bit about their choices.

This event is a sequel to the Five Favourites of the Fifties blogathon, one of the most entertaining blogathons that I took part in last year. I think the 1960s choices are going to be more eclectic and harder to guess, so I'm especially interested in seeing what everyone else's picks are this time.

Anyway, these are my six choices. There are at least four films here that I don't expect to see on any other list. But who knows?

Two Way Stretch (1960)

Most Peter Sellers fans will probably tell you that his best films were made earlier in his career, before he got trapped playing Inspector Clouseau over and over again.

One of his best films is Two Way Stretch from 1960. Sellers plays the leader of a trio of imprisoned crooks (with David Lodge and …

Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

This 1992 film version of Dracula was directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and stakes a claim for itself initially by virtue of its faithfulness to the original novel. Although there have been hundreds of films featuring Count Dracula, many owe little to the original source novel by Bram Stoker.

This version is also partially an origins story, and ties itself in to one of the probable inspirations for the character, Vlad III of Wallachia, also known as Vlad the Impaler. The film's prologue shows Count Dracula (Gary Oldman) as a 15th Century knight, defending his land from an invading Turkish army. Dracula leaves his young bride, Elisabeta (Winona Ryder), to lead his soldiers against the Turks in battle.

Dracula and his forces are victorious, but a false message saying that he has been killed in the battle has been sent to his wife. The inconsolable Elisabeta commits suicide, and when Dracula returns to discover her body, he is told by an elderly priest (Anthony Hopkins) that her sou…

Classic TV: Regan (1974)

The crime series The Sweeney first burst onto British TV screens in 1975 and presented viewers with an irresistible mix of character drama and cops 'n' robbers action, leavened with blokey banter and pithy dialogue. It starred John Thaw asJack Regan, a Detective Inspector with the Metropolitan Police's Flying Squad, a specialised team dealing with bank jobs and armed robberies. The title of the series was taken from "Sweeney Todd", a rhyming slang nickname for the Flying Squad.

Jack Regan was a tough, old school copper, grappling with the changing world of police work in the 1970s. He was assisted by his loyal Detective Sergeant, George Carter, played by Dennis Waterman. But The Sweeney didn't mark Jack Regan and George Carter's first screen appearance. They had been seen first in the previous year's TV film Regan.

Tales That Witness Madness (1973)

This horror anthology features four separate stories involving the inmates of the same high security mental institution. Donald Pleasence plays Dr. Tremayne, a psychiatrist at the hospital, who explains his revolutionary new psychiatric techniques to his visitor, Nicholas (Jack Hawkins).

To demonstrate his work, Dr. Tremayne introduces four of his patients. They have all gone through extraordinary experiences, experiences that the audience is shown in flashback as four separate, but vaguely linked, stories. The stories feature a boy's imaginary friend, a black magic sacrifice, a time travelling bicycle and a possessed tree trunk.

British film company Amicus became known for their horror film anthologies in the 1960s and 1970s. The films were popular enough to produce this copycat rival, Tales That Witness Madness. Although it is often lumped in with the Amicus films and readily mistaken for one, Tales That Witness Madness was produced by Norman Priggen for a different company, Wo…

3 'Careless Talk Costs Lives' Short Films From Ealing Studios

'Careless Talk Costs Lives' was a famous campaign run in Britain during World War II. It was aimed at stopping the unwitting spread of information that might be useful to the enemy. The campaign was accompanied by a series of iconic posters, including the cartoons of 'Fougasse' (Cyril Bird), and by a series of informational films, including three short films made by Ealing Studios.

Ealing would later produce a feature length film related to this campaign and directed by Thorold Dickinson, Next of Kin in 1942. That film told the story of a British raid on a German-held port in France. The raid almost goes disastrously wrong, because the enemy have pieced together information about the operation in advance from their spies in Britain.

Before Next of Kin, Ealing made three short films to accompany the 'Careless Talk Costs Lives' campaign in the first year of the war. The three films were all released in May 1940, and each film was aimed at a different socio-econo…

Some Will, Some Won't (1969)

Some Will, Some Won't is a remake of the 1951 comedy Laughter in Paradise. The story centres on four people who are all beneficiaries in the will of a recently deceased relative, Henry Russell (Wilfrid Brambell).

Russell was a famous prankster, and was hanging from the clock tower of Big Ben, trying to add some extra bongs to the chimes, when he fell into the River Thames to a watery grave. His not-too-distressed relatives gather for the reading of the will, which the forward-thinking Russell has arranged to deliver from beyond the grave, via a recorded message.

Russell tells the four that they will each inherit £150,000, not a bad sum for 1969. They are all ecstatic - until he spells out the conditions. Meek and mild bank clerk Herbert (Ronnie Corbett) will have to stage an armed hold up at his bank and put the frighteners on his imperious boss, Mr Wagstaff (John Nettleton). Lurid pulp fiction author Deniston (Michael Hordern) will have to commit a real crime and go to prison for…