30 September 2014

'Of the 36 ways of avoiding disaster, running away is the best'

I've recently been reading a compendium of obituaries from the Daily Telegraph with the punning title Thinker, Failure, Soldier, Jailer, which contains an impressive cross-section of mainly British subjects of a particular nature most appealing to readers of that conservative and eccentric newspaper. World War 2 heroes are out in force, as are the usual mix of senior political figures, world leaders and august celebrities. And a peculiar mix of golfers, horse racing aficionados, ribald debutantes and society cat-burglars. But it is the oddities that make the book appealing, illustrating as they do the British love of the outre sort who flit around the edges of society. The House of Lords provides fertile ground for such characters, including this fellow:
The 3rd Lord Moynihan (1936-1991) 
The 3rd Lord Moynihan, who has died in Manila aged fifty-five, provided, through his character and career, ample ammunition for critics of the hereditary principle. His chief occupations were bongo-drummer, confidence trickster, brothel-keeper, drug-smuggler and police informer, but 'Tony' Moynihan also claimed other areas of expertise - as 'professional negotiator', 'international diplomatic courier', 'currency manipulator', and 'authority on rock and roll'. If there was a guiding principle to Moynihan's life, it was to be found on the wall of his office in Manila, where a brass plaque bore the legend, 'Of the 36 ways of avoiding disaster, running away is the best'.
- Thinker, Failure, Soldier, Jailer, Harry de Quetteville (ed.), London, 2012, p.522.

Notorious drug smuggler Howard Marks, who was imprisoned after Moynihan wore a wire to incriminate his friend, described Moynihan as 'a first-class bastard'.

29 September 2014

Katherine Ryan on Beyonce

An excerpt from Canadian-born and UK-residing comedian Katherine Ryan, performing on the BBC's Live At The Apollo in January 2014, displaying skilful comic timing, clearly well-practiced dance moves and an impressive devotion to the life and works of Beyonce. Sample quotes:

'All I've ever wanted to be my entire life is a strong, powerful, beautiful black woman'. 
'She had the kind of thighs you need to be friends with Beyonce - the kind of thighs that could squash a man's head like a grape'. 
'Twerking is a victim's dance'.

28 September 2014

Arras Tunnel opening ceremony

Yesterday morning a ceremony at the War Memorial and a speech by Hon Chris Finlayson opened the new tunnel from the Basin Reserve to Taranaki Street and commemorated the historic relationship between New Zealand and the French town of Arras, which the new tunnel is named after. New Zealand engineers lived and worked in and under Arras during World War 1, tunnelling out huge secret barracks for an enormous allied force to be used in the offensive from April to May 1917 involving 14 assault divisions and nine reserve divisions. Many of the sappers from the New Zealand Tunnelling Company were from the Hauraki goldfields, and the NZTA brochure for the opening ceremony noted their often fiery disposition:

While mustering at Avondale Racecourse in Auckland for training prior to embarkation, they quickly earned the nickname of "The Red Feds" because of the high number of union activists among their ranks. It was reported that 'such men did not take kindly to drill and were later famed throughout the Expeditionary Force as being the toughest and roughest company'.

Walking through the tunnel before and after the official speech, visitors were asked to carry laminated certificates bearing the details of sappers who lost their life as a result of the war. The one I carried was 4/1340 Sapper Sylvester Dargan, a married gold-miner of Waihi who was born in South Australia on 9 October 1877, and had formerly served in the South Australian Infantry Regiment. Dargan shipped out with the initial company deployment. Gassed on 13 November 1917, Dargan was hospitalised, discharged from the army and shipped back to New Zealand as an invalid, where he was treated at the Pukeroa Sanatorium in Hawkes Bay. He died of his wounds on 13 July 1920, leaving behind his wife and four children.


The Carillon
Mayor of Wellington, Celia Wade-Brown & Army guard
In honour of the French contingent
The Arras Tunnel opens for traffic on Monday
Walk-through, admiring the commemorative poppies

26 September 2014

Step out into the world and love someone

The second track from American singer-songwriter Josh Rouse's fourth studio album 1972, Love Vibration is a simple but perfectly crafted pop nugget boasting an infectious beat, an optimistic lyric and a deft sax solo on the outro. Released in 2003, the office party karaoke video is an additional selling point.
 

See also:
Music: Bo Diddley - Elephant Man, 15 August 2014
Music: Lush & Jarvis Cocker - Ciao!, 11 July 2014
Music: Eg - Stay Home, 14 February 2014

25 September 2014

My favourite scene from 'Sunset Boulevard'

Sunset Boulevard is Billy Wilder's 1950 film noir featuring a remarkable and remarkably courageous performance by former silent movie star Gloria Swanson, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award. She plays close to home as the increasingly delusional former silent movie star Norma Desmond, whose relationship with a much younger screenwriter Joe Gillis (William Holden) starts out as one between an employer and employee but swiftly elides into a relationship between the grandiose older woman and the down-on-his-luck writer. Swanson's performance is historic in its impact, and several of her lines from the film are still quoted - "I'm ready for my closeup, Mr DeMille' and 'I am big, it's the pictures that got small!' The film was nominated for an impressive 11 Oscars, but only won three, most prominently for the screenplay. There are even treasured cameos from the golden age of film: DeMille himself, the legendary Buster Keaton, famed director and actor Erich von Stroheim, and doyenne Hollywood gossip columnist Hedda Hopper.

But my favourite scene from the movie is a tiny snippet involving Holden and the talented young would-be screenwriter Betty Schaefer (Nancy Olson). At this point in the film, Joe and Betty are foils - Betty is Joe's best friend's fiance, and had previously nixed one of Joe's studio spec scripts with an honest but honest review in her day job as a script reader. It's New Year's Eve and Joe has sneaked out of Norma Desmond's mansion for some company closer to his own age. In the bathroom of a noisy party, Holden and Olson stage this lovely scene, which is the first inkling the characters actually do fancy each other. Facetiously assuming the roles of melodramatic screen stars in a saccharine romance, they satirise the genre while at the same time sparking a new romantic dynamic that, as you might imagine, rather complicates Joe's relationship with his batty middle-aged patron. Just soak up the lovely jink in Olson's '...furthermore you can have the phone now' and Holden's mock-aristocratic 'Suddenly I find myself terribly afraid of losing you'. Not bad for a scene under a minute long! Olson and Holden would be paired in three further studio films in quick succession after Sunset Boulevard, but none was as successful as this classic offering.
 

23 September 2014

Top gardening story of the day, and probably the year

Yes, a woman did ask the BBC to help her identify a marijuana plant

When pensioner Patricia Hewitson contacted BBC Radio Devon to help identify a “weed” in her garden, we doubt she was expecting it to be exactly that.

Ms Hewitson, of Exmouth, asked for help from BBC Radio Devon’s show The Potting Shed - who told her she had unwittingly grown a 1.5m cannabis plant.

“I sent a picture in via email and I got a couple of interesting emails back, including one from the police. They said they wouldn’t prosecute me as I’d done it in good faith”, she said.

A spokesperson for the BBC told i100: “It is a genuine story. The expert advised the caller to contact the police.”

A spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall Police told the BBC: “The lady has committed an offence although there are mitigating circumstances so we would not look to take it further although we would take it away.”

- The Independent, 22 September 2014

22 September 2014

World Press Photo 2014

Yesterday I caught the last day of the World Press Photo 2014 exhibition at Shed 11 here in Wellington. I try to catch it every year, although naturally on the last day it was a rather crowded space, and Shed 11 is more cramped than the Art Academy space where it's appeared previously. The exhibition offers the usual mix of reportage and documentary photography, with a strong focus on natural disasters and conflict. The latter photos, including subjects like a factory collapse in Dhaka, the recent siege of Gaza, drug murders in Mexico and the plight of Syrian refugees in Bulgaria are the meat and drink of this exhibition - they are frequently eye-opening and challenging. But for me the most appealing photos were more sedate material. Here's three particular highlights that stood out for me.

Jeff Pachoud (France) - Sledding race from above 
Four dog-sleds competing in the gruelling La Grande Odyssee at Megeve, France, photographed from a helicopter by Pachoud, on 18 January 2014. The beautiful oceanic swoop of the snow trail is punctuated by the dragonfly shadow of Pachoud's helicopter vantage point, as if it was about to lurch down and yank the lead sled to safety.

Carla Kogelman (Netherlands) - Ich bin Waldviertel (4/12)
Waldviertel ('Forest Quarter') is a beautiful rural province in Lower Austria where Kogelman has documented the life and play of two sisters, Hannah (7) and Alena (9), who live in the village of Merkenbrechts near the Czech border. The sisters look to have a fairly idyllic life in the small village, but my favourite picture is the fourth, depicting a roaring Alena barrelling through the house pushing a pram laden with a rather concerned-looking kitten.

John Stanmeyer (US) - Signal
This prize-winning image is the 'cover-shot' for the exhibition brochure and I can see why: it's a punchy and artful image, illustrating a gathering of African migrants on a beach in Djibouti, attempting to pick up a mobile signal from neighbouring Somalia to take advantage of its cheap rates to stay in touch with their far-flung families. The ghostly image of uplifted mobiles in the night sky is a supremely clever image, suggesting the worship of a satellite-based deity, and could easily have graced a Hipgnosis album cover of the 70s or 80s, or perhaps it'll turn up as a Storm Thorgerson-like cover for the next Muse album.

See also:
Photography: World Press Photo 2012, 2011
Photography: The City - Becoming & Decaying, 23 March 2014
Photography: Dark Cloud / White Light, 22 September 2013

21 September 2014

Spitfire over Wellington

Spitfire Alpha Lima, over Wellington, 3.35pm

Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1X serial PV270, reg ZK-SPI

For restoration background see RNZAF News

Women in Parliament 2014

Following yesterday's general election, the announced lists of provisionally elected candidates reveal that the proportion of women MPs is identical to the 2011 result of 39 members (32 percent):

Party Female Male Total %Female
ACT 0 1 1 0%
Green 7 6 13 54%
Labour 12 20 32 38%
Maori 1 1 2 50%
National 17 44 61 28%
NZF 2 9 11 18%
UFNZ 0 1 1 0%

As in 2011, the Green caucus is the only one with a majority of female representation. Labour has improved slightly, from 35 percent in 2011 to 38 percent in 2014, but only because its caucus is smaller than at the last election: there were 12 women Labour MPs elected in both 2011 and 2014, but two fewer male MPs (20 today as opposed to 22 in 2011). The National caucus has also improved slightly from 25 percent to 28 percent, with 17 female members elected. New Zealand First carries on its traditional male-dominated caucus, and with the departure of Asenati Lole-Taylor it now only has two female MPs, Tracey Martin and Barbara Stewart.

Three more electorates returned female members this election, increasing the electorate representation for women from a mere 19 (27 percent) in 2011 to 22 (31 percent) in 2014.

20 September 2014

The chiming of a perfect chord

Neil Finn
Opera House
Wellington
19 September 2014

Last night at the Opera House Neil Finn and his five band-members put on a traditional Mullanean concert outing, bursting with memorable tunes from a career spanning five decades and boasting a generous setlist that saw the performance stretch out until half eleven. I was particularly lucky to be sitting in the front row only a few metres from the stage and right in front of a stack of five Marshall monitors: probably the loudest spot in the venue. Which was a good thing!

It's tricky to assemble a selection of highlights because the standard was so high, showcasing songwriting deployed by one of its finest modern adepts. The material from new album Dizzy Heights was of a high quality and was interspersed through the more well-known material to good effect, particularly the solid In My Blood. But for me, personal highlights included a double burst of Split Enz magic with a fired-up One Step Ahead (which benefited from a raucous but tight guitar solo by Jesse Sheehan) and the chiming, exuberant 1981 pop classic History Never Repeats, which is an object lesson in successful songcrafting. The lead single from the Finn album in 1995, Suffer Never, filled the Opera House with Sharon Finn's enormous reverberating bass sound and was perhaps the loudest moment of the night. And a pair of more introspective numbers from Neil at the piano impressed too. First, the epic gospel-strength chorus of Edible Flowers from the second Finn album, Everyone Is Here in 2004 ('Who owns that space, declare it if you dare tonight / Don't let the moment pass until another day'), and second the charming simplicity and candour of Message To My Girl, which originally appeared on Split Enz's Conflicting Emotions back in 1984.

Photo via Wimseycal
Finn's band provided a pleasing mix of youth and guile, with wife Sharon performing bass duties adeptly as she did on the Pajama Club side-project. Guitarist Sheehan brought impressive proficiency and backing vocals, plus an epic guitar face, although he had to be reigned in on one solo when he didn't drop back in as expected. Local singer Lisa Tomlins, who has performed previously with Finn and Rhombus, fitted in perfectly, and drummer Alistair Deverick (Ruby Suns) and American keyboardist Andrew Everding both provided skilful backing and tight discipline.

The capacity crowd - including ex-Hobbit Billy Boyd, a few rows back from me - witnessed the evidence that Finn is still in his musical prime. The wealth of his songbook means his live performances are a must for any fan of cleverly and beautifully-written pop and rock music.

Finn also has great connections, and before the main event the audience was treated to a support slot from Bic Runga, who hadn't performed in New Zealand since 2011, having become a parent with her partner, Kody Nielson, formerly of the Mint Chicks. Her performance was every bit as talented as the first time I saw her play support, which was at a Dave Dobbyn gig in some rough North Shore tavern in about 1993 when an audience of roistering bogans stood silently and listened to her exquisite, gentle songs. A new album is predicted soon.

See also:
Music: Pajama Club, 4 December 2011
MusicCrowded House, 4 July 2010
Music: Crowded House, 1 July 2007

16 September 2014

Exorcising Edith

The actor Marion Cotillard, who gave a captivating performance in La Vie en Rose (a.k.a. La Môme), seems to have become a little too attached to the role of Edith Piaf, if this interview is anything to go by:
After the shoot wrapped, Cotillard says she continued to be haunted by Piaf, sometimes speaking in her gravelly voice. Piaf stayed with her for a total of eight months. 'I tried everything,' Cotillard tells me. 'I did exorcisms with salt and fire. I travelled to Bora Bora to escape her. I went to Peru and Machu Picchu and did ancient shamanic ceremonies to cleanse myself after I eventually realised why I couldn't let her go. She had been abandoned as a child. Her greatest fear was to be alone.

- Marion Cotillard, interviewed in the Observer, 3 August 2014, and quoted in Private Eye 1374, 5-18 September 2014

14 September 2014

Bill Hader

From this morning's Sunday programme, Wallace Chapman interviews actor and former Saturday Night Live star Bill Hader about his new film with Kristen Wiig, the indie drama / comedy The Skeleton Twins, directed by Craig Johnson. I caught the film during the festival in July, and it's worth checking out, particularly if you like the lead actors - and who wouldn't?

11 September 2014

'A lot of women became very interested in the Universe lately'

In a 2011 clip, Dylan Moran discusses the correlation between camera-friendly physicist Brian Cox (who, it is mandatory to mention, used to play keyboards in D:Ream, of Things Can Only Get Better 'fame') appearing on telly and women exhibiting unprecedented levels of interest in the Universe (NSFW-L).


Dylan Moran Discusses Brian Cox by anonymouscoward382

07 September 2014

On the occasion of my sisters' 30th birthday

May 1988
Zoe and Gabrielle, my sisters - you were born in Auckland on this day 30 years ago, or if you prefer a little more precision, 10,957 days ago. The moon waxed gibbous on the day they entered the world. The same day you were joined (on the other side of the world) by the daughter of Igor and Nataliya Zvonareva, who was born in Moscow in the then USSR. Vera Zvonareva would go on to become the world's second-highest ranked women's tennis player in 2010. And to balance things out, on your birthday the distinguished Irish writer Liam O'Flaherty drew his last breath. One of O'Flaherty's novels had the distinction of being made into a film not once but twice, including in 1935 by the legendary director John Ford. The Informer, a gritty tale of life in Ireland during the war of independence, won four Oscars at the 1935 Academy Awards, including Best Director for Ford. In the music world, and slightly less auspiciously, on the day you were born the 18-year-old Janet Jackson married the 21-year-old fellow singer James DeBarge. (The marriage was annulled the following year). And the number one chart single in New Zealand was One Love / People Get Ready, a re-release of a 1977 single from the album Exodus, which had also topped the charts here. (The 1984 video features cameos from Paul McCartney and a host of other 80s UK popsters). The single was in its final week of seven at the top of the charts, and would be replaced the following week with Two Tribes by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Of course, none of this other ephemera has anything to do with your own entry onto the global stage. Just thought I'd mention it.

Apart from visiting you, the swaddled and wriggling twins, in the birthing unit at the hospital, one of my earliest memories of you was a trip to the Auckland War Memorial Museum, when for some reason I was tasked with pushing your double pram through the highly crowded entry hall, down the flight of steps from the wings. Quite a task if you're not used to handling an unwieldy pram. At the first sign of difficulty you both very sensibly bailed out and proceeded to the exit under their own steam, thereby affording me an early glimpse of the precocious development of your good sense of judgement.

Don't worry about turning 30. Turning thirty is fine. As David O'Doherty says:
'35 is the first disappointing age. Even marketing people realise this, because they've divided our lives into three bits. There's zero to 18, and they're kids and they like brightly coloured things. And then there's 18 to 34, and they're the key demographic that people are supposed to care about. They're the people who feel emotion and fall in love, and take risks and appreciate technology. And then there's just 35 to death. And we like Michael Buble and driving gloves'.

You've got five years to work out a strategy to avoid that terrible fate. Happy birthday!

April 2006, with Nada

05 September 2014

Down at the Kebab & Calculator

Suggs: 'You hum it... and I'll smash your face in'.

From the third episode of season one of the BBC's The Young Ones in 1982, it's Madness performing their 12th top 40 single, and their first and only UK chart-topper, House of Fun. The group would go on to rack up 30 UK chart entries, and the compilation album this single appeared on later in 1982, Complete Madness, was their first number one album in the UK. (Divine Madness, another best of, would also top the charts a decade later in 1992). Madness are still performing live - you can catch them at their House of Fun festival over a long weekend at Butlins Minehead in November.

03 September 2014

75 years on - New Zealand declares war on Germany

At 11.30pm tonight it will be exactly 75 years since the New Zealand declaration of war against Germany in 1939, in response to the expiry of Britain's ultimatum for German withdrawal from its invasion of Poland, which had commenced two days earlier. Half an hour before midnight, the acting Prime Minister Peter Fraser issued the declaration with the following grim statement:

This is not an occasion for many words; it is a dark day in the history of the world ... It is with deep regret and sadness that I make this announcement on behalf of the Government, and the people will receive it with similar feelings. That will not, however, affect the determination of both Government and people to play their part.

Fraser himself had been directly affected by the last world war: he served 12 months imprisonment from December 1916 for the politicised charge of sedition, having opposed the introduction of wartime conscription.

New Zealand's newspapers recorded the outbreak of war the following day. The tiny Bay of Plenty Beacon, a slender eight-pager, contained the usual archaic format of a newsless front page dominated by print advertisements, several pages of rural news and adverts of interest to farmers ('Take care of your cows with Wallace super milking machines'), and turf news from the horse-racing scene. Not until page 4 did the hastily-composed but elegant editorial address the declaration, with the headline 'The Empire at war':

A humble news organisation serving a small rural community in one of the last outposts of Empire the BEACON hesitates to express an opinion on the subject that has already shaken the fabric of civilisation and filled the press of the world with forboding [sic]. Yet we feel that we have something to reflect in the way of local opinion in this tiny unit of Empire which in common with the whole of the Dominion is proud of its loyalty to the crown. In every Whakatane home over the momentous week-end just past, the apprehension felt at the possibility of armed conflict was offset by whole-hearted endorsement of the nations' desperate bid for peace and final decision to lay the bully of Europe low. This opinion is typical of the spirit of Empire in all parts of the globe. Britishers the world over will realise the task which lies ahead and can be relied upon to meet the call to arms in the same spontaneous manner as they have in the past.
- Bay of Plenty Beacon, Monday 4 September 1939

Wellington's Evening Post of the same day was twice the length of the Beacon, but even more back-to-front from a modern perspective, in that the humdrum adverts, Humphrey Bogart and Basil Rathbone cinema listings and non-war news occupies the first seven pages, and it's not until page eight that the full text of Mr Fraser's Monday morning follow-up statement is printed, with headings illustrating the martial motif: 'New Zealand's support - Britain ready - An appeal to all - Friendship rejected - Intentions disbelieved - Firm determination'.

Page nine is devoted to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's declaration address, the statement of George VI, and Germany's response to Britain's Polish ultimatum: 'Germany did not seek to destroy Poland but merely sought to rectify the frontiers'. 'Herr Hitler' was also quoted saying 'The British Government has let its mask fall and has proclaimed war on a threadbare pretext. Britain, driven on by those warmongers whom we knew in the last war, has done this despite the fact that Germany made no demands against any State to the west of the Reich, and despite Germany's offer of cordial understanding, and even of friendship'. A brief paragraph also noted the keen interest of the deposed former Kaiser Wilhelm II from his exile in Doorn, the Netherlands: 'the ex-Kaiser is following the war before a gigantic map of Poland, hanging in the great hall of the palace. He is methodically placing little coloured pins to indicate the army positions'. Finally, an official notice on page 11 reads:

The NEW ZEALAND GAZETTE Extraordinary
Published by Authority
Wellington, Monday, September 4, 1939 
HIS Excellency the Governor-General has it in command from His Majesty the King to declare a state of war exists between His Majesty and the Government of the German Reich, and that such state of war has existed from 9.30pm, New Zealand standard time, on the third day of September, 1939. 
Given at Wellington this third day of September, 1939 
GALWAY,
Governor-General 
P. FRASER
Acting Prime Minister

In a sign of things to come, the final page of the Post also contains a hastily-inserted column advising that 'numerous aeroplanes of unidentified nationality, believed to be part of a tremendous air fleet, skirted Holland shortly after midnight flying towards Germany'. New Zealand would go on to serve in many theatres of World War 2, and would suffer the loss of 11,928 lives in military action. Victory over Germany would not be declared until VE Day, 8 May 1945, nearly six years later.

See also:
History: 75 years on - Paddy the Wanderer, 17 July 2014
History: 100 years on - the Battle of Featherston St, 5 November 2013
History: 95 years on - Passchendaele, 12 October 2012

02 September 2014

Emily Dickinson's book group

Emily Dickinson, via Wikimedia
[T]here is one ... epistolary feature that makes Dickinson original: from her teenage years onwards she conducted a postal - and virtual - book group. If it wasn't the first it was certainly one of the strongest: a huge amount (perhaps even half) of her letters contained at least some reference to her current reading material or an oblique literary reference her middle-class friends would be sure to recognise. It is highly likely that she also attended what she may have called a 'corporeal' real-life book club in her early twenties (in one letter she writes to her brother how 'Our Reading Club still is, and becomes now very pleasant'), but when she saw less of the real world she seemed happy to keep in touch with it through books and letters about books. Her first tentative steps towards this occurred in 1848 at the age of 18, writing to a friend 'What are you reading now?' before launching into her own list, and her regular book circle soon expanded to include her brother Austin and his wife Sue, her cousins Louise and Frances Norcross, and at least three friends. The Dickinson scholar Eleanor Heginbotham has observed that her 'book club manners' in her letters are still reflected in book club behaviour today: a sociability, a boastfulness, a competitiveness, a delight. Present-day book club members may well exhibit all of these in discussing the work and life of Emily Dickinson.

- Simon Garfield, To the Letter, Edinburgh, 2013, p.252-3.

See also:
Books: Mark Twain on knowing nothing about New Zealand, 31 July 2014
Books: Mr Pooter puts his foot in it, 28 June 2014
Books: Satan amongst the sofa cushions, 29 May 2014

01 September 2014

Favourite scene from Lindsay Anderson's 'If...'

The Headmaster (Peter Jeffrey): 'I take this seriously. Very seriously indeed. Reverend Woods might've been quite badly hurt. Do you realise that? Now I want you to apologise to him, is that clear?'



'If...', the title referencing the hoary old Rudyard Kipling poem, was Malcolm McDowell's first film role. The film received an X certificate on release in Britain in 1968 due to its subversive content and won the Palme D'Or in 1969. Most of it was filmed at Cheltenham College, Gloucester, but I love the fact that it turns out I've actually been to one of the other filming scenes. The Wikipedia entry states that 'the motorbike shop was filmed at the Broadway Motor Company on Gladstone Rd, Merton, London SW19. The garage is now a Wetherspoons pub'. I had a drink there with friends at some point around 1998. (Clearly we weren't all that fussy when it comes to atmosphere). This is also the pub that Pamela Anderson popped into for a swift pub meal following her panto appearance at the nearby New Wimbledon Theatre in 2009. (Apologies for the illiterate Standard hack).

Interestingly, two supporting actors from the film were offered the role of Doctor Who but reportedly turned it down: Peter Jeffrey before Patrick Troughton took the role in 1966, and the History Master Graham Crowden before Tom Baker took the part in 1974. Crowden would later become best known for his five years in a lead role in the sitcom Waiting For God. Both eventually featured in Doctor Who playing other guest roles, but then so did nearly everyone else in British acting circles.