Talking Pictures TV

Talking Pictures TV, a family-owned, father and daughter-run station with only three members of staff, launched on Freeview about four years ago but it already has over two million viewers.

It IS unashamedly nostalgic with mainly fifties films – which quite often are non colour ones, documentary shorts and TV series of a good few years ago - which seem to have  proved a hit with the public and – we are informed – the Queen.

Available on Sky  328 and on Channel 81 Freeview.

Films such as  1949 classic The Rocking Horse Winner starring John Mills;  episodes of The Human Jungle (1965) with Herbert Lom as psychologist Dr Roger Corder; and last weekend and today the wonderful ‘John and Julie’ from 1955.

Then we had a full run of the Edgar Wallace features -  they were really good – I particularly remember ‘Act of Murder’ in this series which was just superb.

 

Talking Pictures

 

ABOVE A scene from  ‘A Family at War’ which has had a regular slot – a re-run of the 70′s series.

 

Going back to what is on offer on Talking Pictures – below is a taste :

Michael Denison and Dulcie Gray in ‘The Glass Mountain’. The chilling horror of Sir Donald Wolfit in ‘Blood of the Vampire’.

Rock ‘n’ roll of Terry Dene in ‘The Golden Disc’, and  John Bentley as the cum amateur detective Paul Temple.

Horror legend Boris Karloff brings his television sleuth to the big screen in ‘Colonel March Investigates’, ‘Dixon of Dock Green’ star Jack Warner plays an altogether tougher policeman in the Brighton-based thriller ‘Jigsaw’, and Michael Redgrave and James Mason join forces for thegenuinely creepy ‘Thunder Rock’. These are just a few of the many offerings

The family run company headed by Father and Daughter Noel and Sarah Cronin bring to us classic series from  the USA ranging from Westerns to  Dramas featuring such guest stars as Ronald Reagan, Ginger Rogers, and many others of the day.

Many of these films have not seen the light of day for decades, Talking Pictures has  opened up the  treasure trove which has been stupidly overlooked  and brought this magic back to an  audience who yearn for a  return to that golden age of Thrills and Romance.

Talking Pictures TV

BELOW – a Press feature on Talking Pictures as they prepare to launch in 2015

The 24-hour channel on Sky will see long-lost British classics, including some of Michael Caine’s earliest film work, screened at last. Sarah Cronin-Stanley is the powerhouse behind the channel, along with her father Noel Cronin, who has a tremendous background in British fi lm.

“He started off in 1963 as a postboy at the Rank Organisation, but moved on to be an assistant in the cutting room and eventually became an editor at the Central Offi ce of Information, working with directors who went on to be famous in their own right, such as Peter Greenaway,” says Sarah.

“Then he started a film distribution company called Dandelion Films, then Renown Pictures, which bought up the rights many British films.” Sarah began her career as a freelance foreign correspondent, with special expertise in Africa and the Arab world, and a producer/director, but confesses that being brought up with such a background in classic film and television, it was natural that she would end up working with her father in his business.

“We sold films to the major broadcasters for many years but recently demand from them for the type of films that we specialise in had started to decline,” Sarah says, “but we know that there’s still a sizeable audience for them.

“We don’t hold the rights for the big British classics such as The Lavender Hill Mob, but many films which were probably B-films at the cinema when they were originally screened. That doesn’t make them any less entertaining or historically important, though. Many major movie stars made their earliest appearances in these kinds of films.

“Actually, we’re showing one of Michael Caine’s earliest, Blind Spot, made in 1958, in our first week. It’s always fun to watch the films and spot a future star.”

Talking Pictures TV really has an extraordinary breadth of material for movie-lovers. In its first week it has classic horror movie Blood Of The Vampire, with Donald Wolfit and Hammer pin-up girl Barbara Shelley; a 1963 teen movie called Live It Up!, starring David Hemmings, a young actor called Steve Marriott (who of course went on to be in the Small Faces), with music from acts including Kenny Ball, Gene Vincent and The Outlaws, a group that included Rainbow’s Ritchie Blackmore, and our gardening correspondent Chas Hodges!

There is also a 1932 crime drama called When London Sleeps, a musical comedy called Every Day’s A Holiday with a cast of what seems to be everyone who was famous in 1965 (John Leyton, Mike Sarne, Freddie And The Dreamers, Ron Moody, Richard O’Sullivan, Liz Fraser), and a 1980 movie called Richard’s Things, with an almost unbelievable cast that you would never see anywhere else. New Tricks’ Amanda Redman, Tim Piggott-Smith and intense Norwegian actress Liv Ullmann.

There is also, a Paul Temple film starring John Bentley, who went on to play Meg Mortimer’s husband inCrossroads, as the suave detective.

If you are over 40 I can hear you salivating at the idea of seeing these gems, but is there a market in these classics from a younger audience?

“I think the vintage boom has been very good for us,” says Sarah. 

“Younger audiences want to see the styles and hear the sounds of the past. I’m very much a vintage girl myself. As well as working here, I run a vintage ice-cream van. 

“I also think that you can learn a lot about film history from old movies. All the special effects that you see in films today started with a smoke effect in something from the 1950s and 1960s.”

However, Talking Pictures TV isn’t just offering vintage movies, restored to a high standard, it also has access to American TV series from way back.

They will be showing Burke’s Law, starring Gene Barry as millionaire policeman/spy Amos Burke, and Honey West – Sarah’s favourite – a 1960s series about a sexy lady private detective, starring Anne Francis. 

They’ll also be showing The June Allyson Show, a series of one-off dramas with an incredible roster of guest actors, including David Niven, Bette Davis, Ginger Rogers, James Coburn and then-movie star Ronald Regan (whatever happened to him?). 

Sarah says that Talking Pictures TV is currently looking into the rights to show vintage adverts in the “intermissions” between films and programmes, and that they will be interviewing actors from the classic films on the channel. 

Sarah and her father have for many years run a club for fans of B-movies (The Renown B Movie Fan Club) and a company selling DVDs of their films. “I know everybody who’s a member of the club, and I really love hearing from them.

We’ve even got a widow of an actor who is in several of the films as a member, and she always writes to find out if we’re releasing another one of his films on DVD.”

Sarah clearly feels very close to the films she represents, and to the people who enjoy them, and hopes that Talking Pictures TV will resonate with the viewers, of any age. “I hope that people will enjoy spending time with the channel; sitting down with a cup of tea and recalling some happy memories that watching the films and programmes bring back.”

Albert RN

 

ABOVE: A Classic scene from Albert RN – a typical film that has appeared on Talking Pictures

 

 

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