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Monkey Goes Wild About Heaven

MonkeyAn elemental force of nature born from a stone egg, Monkey began life as a stone monkey, but now assumes human form in his ongoing battle of order against chaos against a legion of demons. But while he seeks to bring order to the world around him, Monkey’s love of this fight against the havoc demons means that he’s a chaotic whirl of action, often leaving collateral damage in his wake. To sate Monkey’s considerable ego when he tries to storm Heaven itself, the title of Great Sage, Equal of Heaven, is bestowed upon him, and he is put in charge of Heaven’s orchard of magical peach trees. Monkey promptly begins eating the peaches, whose magical properties make him immortal, and becomes infatuated with Lady Vega, consort of the Emperor of Heaven. He’s willing to start a war in Heaven to win her, and two fighters are sent to stop him – and they fail. The Emperor of Heaven banishes both of them to Earth, turning one of them into a pig and the other into a water spirit, and then summons the help of the Buddha. Assuming a female form, the Buddha assigns Monkey a task, which he thinks is easily accomplished…but in fact he fails and is also banished to Earth.

written by Mamoru Sasaki and Isoa Okishima
based on the story by Wu Ch’Eng-En
adapted by David Weir
directed by Yusuki Watanabe
English dub directed by Michael Bakewell
music by Micky Yoshino / theme performed by Godiego

MonkeyCast: Masaaki Sakai (Monkey), Masako Natsume (Tripitaka), Shirô Kishibe (Sandy), Toshiyuki Nishida (Pigsy), Takao Inoue (Emperor), Yatsuko Tanami (Buddha), Emi Shindo (Lady Vega), Maki Carcer (Demon), David Collings (Monkey’s voice – English dub), Maria Warburg (Tripitaka’s voice – English dub), Gareth Armstrong (Sandy’s voice – English dub), Peter Woodthorpe (Pigsy’s voice – English dub), Frank Duncan (Narrator – English dub), Cecile Chevreau (Buddha’s voice – English dub), Miriam Margolyes (Voices – English dub), Peter Marinker (Voices – English dub)

MonkeyNotes: The airdate shown here reflects the BBC2 premiere date rather than the Japanese premiere date on NTV. Monkey is a satirical Japanese take on the 16th-century Chinese novel Saiyuki (a.k.a. Journey To The West), a staple of Chinese literature that has been adapted dozens of times, both more faithfully told and more bizarrely told (it’s also the basis for the Dragonball franchise). Monkey initiates what is now apparently a tradition of casting a woman as the young male priest Tripitaka.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Monkey Turns Nursemaid

MonkeyMonkey is trapped inside the base of a mountain for 500 years, thanks to a magical seal placed there by the Buddha, who wishes him to learn patience. Emissaries from the Buddha drop by to check on him over the years, but do not free him. They also free a dragon imprisoned in Heaven, sending it to Earth on a mission to help a young priest on a quest. Monkey also meets this young priest, Tripitaka, who is heading westward to retrieve lost Buddhist scriptures, and talks Tripitaka into removing the Buddha’s seal, freeing him. But even Tripitaka was expecting to meet Monkey: he puts a magical headband from the Buddha on Monkey’s head, and can tighten it at will to ensure Monkey’s obedience on their journey. Fortunately, Monkey still loves to fight demons, which comes in handy when they try to bring Tripitaka’s quest to a premature end. The dragon also comes in handy after it changes itself into a horse.

written by Mamoru Sasaki
based on the story by Wu Ch’Eng-En
adapted by David Weir
directed by Jun Fukuda
English dub directed by Michael Bakewell
music by Micky Yoshino / theme performed by Godiego

MonkeyCast: Masaaki Sakai (Monkey), Masako Natsume (Tripitaka), Shirô Kishibe (Sandy), Toshiyuki Nishida (Pigsy), Atsuo Nakamura (Warlord), Eishin Tono (Demon), Homare Suguro (Priest), Akihiko Hirata (Emissary), Yatsuko Tanami (Buddha), David Collings (Monkey’s voice – English dub), Maria Warburg (Tripitaka’s voice – English dub), Gareth Armstrong (Sandy’s voice – English dub), Peter Woodthorpe (Pigsy’s voice – English dub), Frank Duncan (Narrator – English dub), Cecile Chevreau (Buddha’s voice – English dub), Miriam Margolyes (Voices – English dub), Peter Marinker (Voices – English dub)

MonkeyNotes: The airdate shown here reflects the BBC2 premiere date rather than the Japanese premiere date on NTV. Atsuo Nakamura also appeared in the Japanese TV series The Water Margin, which had been adapted by David Weir prior to production of Monkey, as well as in the film 47 Ronin. Eishin Tono (1942-2000) appeared in Ultraman Taro. Akihiko Hirata (1927-1874) appeared in numerous entries in the Godzilla and Ultraman franchises (playing Professor Iwamoto in the latter), as well as films such as Sayonara Jupiter, Fugitive Alien, and Atragon.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Great Journey Begins

MonkeyNot long after Monkey and Tripitaka set out westward, they are accosted by a priest who is able to change into a raven at will, warning them of evil spirits who will interfere in their journey. During their first stop, they meet Pigsy, one of the guards exiled from Heaven, and after a brief fight ending in a stalement, Pigsy is asked to join Monkey in guarding Tripitaka on the journey. An encounter with Sandy, the other outcast from Heaven banished to Earth and turned into a water monster, adds another ally the group, and a chance meeting with a general who claims to embody the spirit of a thousand tigers adds a new danger. Can Monkey fight off an entire army of tigers after being blinded by their king?

written by Tetsuro Abe
based on the story by Wu Ch’Eng-En
adapted by David Weir
directed by Daisuke Yamazaki
English dub directed by Michael Bakewell
music by Micky Yoshino / theme performed by Godiego

MonkeyCast: Masaaki Sakai (Monkey), Masako Natsume (Tripitaka), Shirô Kishibe (Sandy), Toshiyuki Nishida (Pigsy), Hajime Hana (Tiger General), Toshiko Tsuyama (Priestess), Hiroshi Yanagiya (Priest), Sei Hiraizumi (Tiger King), David Collings (Monkey’s voice – English dub), Maria Warburg (Tripitaka’s voice – English dub), Gareth Armstrong (Sandy’s voice – English dub), Peter Woodthorpe (Pigsy’s voice – English dub), Frank Duncan (Narrator – English dub), Cecile Chevreau (Buddha’s voice – English dub), Miriam Margolyes (Voices – English dub), Peter Marinker (Voices – English dub)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Monkey Swallows The Universe

MonkeyMonkey, Tripitaka, Pigsy and Sandy encounter a local on their journey, and he warns them of cannibalistic demons on the road ahead. Monkey tricks Pigsy – who wasn’t paying attention to this warning – into scouting ahead by himself. When Monkey goes to look for Pigsy, his friend is nowhere to be found…and a demon drop a mountain on his back, which will eventually crush him. Sandy and Tripitaka are surrounded by demons and taken prisoner. Tripitaka’s very flawed retinue begin bickering about one another’s weaknesses. Once he frees himself from the mountain, demons are sent with a magic bottle to absorb Monkey’s body and soul. Monkey takes it upon himself to infiltrate the demons’ ranks and defeat them, tricking them into thinking he has a bottle that will engulf the entire universe. Using all of the magic available to him, Monkey might just live long enough to free his friends…or be recaptured.

written by Hiroichi Fuse
based on the story by Wu Ch’Eng-En
adapted by David Weir
directed by Daisuke Yamazaki
English dub directed by Michael Bakewell
music by Micky Yoshino / theme performed by Godiego

MonkeyCast: Masaaki Sakai (Monkey), Masako Natsume (Tripitaka), Shirô Kishibe (Sandy), Toshiyuki Nishida (Pigsy), Kenji Tamiya (Silver Horn), Ryohei Uchida (Golden Horn), Yuzuru Yamaguchi (Cannibal #1), Hideya Niiyama (Cannibal #2), David Collings (Monkey’s voice – English dub), Maria Warburg (Tripitaka’s voice – English dub), Gareth Armstrong (Sandy’s voice – English dub), Peter Woodthorpe (Pigsy’s voice – English dub), Frank Duncan (Narrator – English dub), Cecile Chevreau (Buddha’s voice – English dub), Miriam Margolyes (Voices – English dub), Peter Marinker (Voices – English dub)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Queen Of Spain’s Beard

Blackadder1492. The King, in need of a strategic alliance with Spain, decides to marry Edmund to the Spanish Infanta, since Harry is already engaged to several other young women. Initially excited by the notion, Edmund’s enthusiasm wanes quickly upon actually meeting the Infanta. After failing in his many attempts to evade the altar, it seems Edmund will be married whether he will or no…

Order the DVDswritten by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson
with additional dialogue by William Shakespeare
directed by Martin Shardlow
music by Howard Goodall

Guest Cast: Jim Broadbent (Don Speekingleesh), Miriam Margolyes (Infanta Maria Escolosa), Jane Freeman (Mrs. Applebottom), Howard Lew Lewis (Mr. Applebottom), John Rapley (Rev. Lloyd), David Nunn (Messenger), Stephen Tate (Lord Chiswick), Kenn Wells (Messenger), Richard Mitchley (Messenger), Willoughby Goddard (Archbishop), Natasha King (Princess Leia of Hungary), Harriet Keevil (Lady on Ramparts)

Notes: The Queen Of Spain’s Beard was originally transmitted out of order, switching places with Born To Be King.

Miriam Margolyes’ comic skill has been used in many diverse films, from wacky comedies such as Morons From Outer Space (1985) to full dramas like Romeo + Juliet (1996) to popcorn fare like Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002). Margolyes also appears in Blackadder II (Beer) and in Blackadder’s Christmas Carol.

Jim Broadbent is a highly regarded actor, known for his work in such films as Richard III (1995) and Iris (2001), for which he won an Academy Award. His only other Blackadder appearance is in Blackadder’s Christmas Carol. He also appeared with Rowan Atkinson in the Doctor Who charity special The Curse Of Fatal Death, portraying the 11th Doctor to Atkinson’s 9th Doctor.

Natasha King’s portrayal of Princess Leia would be seen only one more time, in the following episode, Witchsmeller Pursuivant.

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey

Beer

BlackadderEdmund challenges Lord Melchett to a drinking contest despite the fact that one drink causes Edmund to start singing “that song about the goblin.” Complicating matters is the fact that Edmund’s aunt and uncle, the puritanical Lord and Lady Whiteadder, are coming over for dinner to discuss his inheritance on the very same night…

Order the DVDswritten by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton
directed by Mandie Fletcher
music by Howard Goodall

Guest Cast: Miriam Margolyes (Lady Whiteadder), Hugh Laurie (Simon Partridge), Roger Blake (Geoffrey Piddle), William Hootkins (Monk), Daniel Thorndike (Lord Whiteadder)

Notes: Miriam Margolyes makes her second appearance here, following her work in The Black Adder (The Queen Of Spain’s Beard). She returns again in Blackadder’s Christmas Carol.

Hugh Laurie returns in the final episode of Blackadder II (Chains). He was a regular cast member of the remaining series. Laurie is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Bertie Wooster opposite Stephen Fry’s Jeeves in the TV series Jeeves and Wooster. He is also known for his appearances in the Stuart Little films as the human father of the little mouse, Stuart.

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey

Blackadder’s Christmas Carol

BlackadderOn Christmas Eve, Ebenezer Blackadder is visited by the Spirit of Christmas. Seeing that Ebenezer is such a good person (no, really!), the Spirit decides to show him scenes of his ancestors’ shameful behavior. A view of how horrid his predecessors were leads Ebenezer to wonder what the future holds for him…

Order the DVDswritten by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton
based on “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens
directed by Richard Boden
music by Howard Goodall

Cast: Rowan Atkinson (Ebenezer Blackadder / Lord Edmund Blackadder / Mr. Edmund Blackadder / Grand Admiral Blackadder), Tony Robinson (Mr. Baldrick / Baldrick / S. Baldrick / Commander Baldrick), Stephen Fry (Lord Melchett / Lord Frondo), Hugh Laurie (The Prince Regent / Prince Pigmont), Miranda Richardson (Queen Elizabeth I / Queen Asphyxia XIX), Robbie Coltrane (The Spirit of Christmas), Jim Broadbent (Prince Albert), Miriam Margolyes (Queen Victoria), Patsy Byrne (Nursie / Bernard), Denis Lill (Beadle), Pauline Melville (Mrs. Scratchit), Philip Pope (Lord Horatio Nelson), Nicola Bryant (Millicent), Ramsay Gilderdale (Ralph), David Barber (Orphan), Erkan Mustafa (Orphan), David Nunn (Orphan), Martino Lazzeri (Boy)

Notes: The principals from the casts of Blackadder II (minus Tim McInnerny) and Blackadder the Third (minus Helen Atkinson-Wood) reprise their roles for the flashback sequences.

Nicola Bryant is best known to sci-fi fans (especially guys who hit puberty around 1985) for her portrayal of Perpugilliam “Peri” Brown on Doctor Who.

Robbie Coltrane returns in a kindly role, following his menacing portrayal of Dr. Samuel Johnson in the Blackadder The Third episode Ink and Incapability.

Jim Broadbent and Miriam Margolyes appear together, re-uniting the duo from The Queen of Spain’s Beard episode of The Black Adder. Margolyes also appeared in Blackadder II (Beer).

This is the only full Blackadder series or special not to feature Tim McInnerny.

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey

Episode 24 (Fit The Twenty-Fourth)

Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy: Quintessential PhaseFord discovers that the publishers of the Hitchhiker’s Guide have not only changed their name, but they’ve been bought out – and a chance encounter with Zaphod reveals that anyone who’s working for Guide is now, whether they realize it or not, working for the Vogons. Frustrated by the reappearance of the alternate Earth, the Vogons are now setting out to destroy that planet in every probability and every dimension, and using the Guide’s knowledge – and a portable version of the deadly Total Perspective Vortex – to achieve that goal. Arthur, resigned to his existence in this dimension, is feeling fatalistic enough to work at trying to consciously avoid Stavromula Beta, a place where he has been told he will meet his own death. And a television reporter named Tricia McMillan has the story of a lifetime land in her lap as aliens visit her home.

Order this CDwritten by Douglas Adams
adapted by Dirk Maggs from the novel “Mostly Harmless”
directed by Dirk Maggs
music by Paul “Wix” Wickens

Cast: William Franklyn (The Voice of the Book), Rula Lenska (The Voice of the Bird), Simon Jones (Arthur Dent), Geoffrey McGivern (Ford Prefect), Mark Wing-Davey (Zaphod Beeblebrox), Jonathan Pryce (Zarniwoop), Saeed Jaffrey (Old Man on the Pole), Miriam Margolyes (Smelly Photocopier Woman), Sandra Dickinson (Tricia McMillan), Lorelei King (Stewardess), Andrew Secombe (Colin the Robot), Roger Gregg (Doctor), Philip Pope (Grebulon Underling), Michael Fenton-Stevens (Grebulon Lieutenant)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Beast Of Orlok

Doctor Who: The Beast Of OrlokThe Doctor and Lucie arrive in Germany in 1827, just in time to find the wreckage of a coach, its passengers wounded or dead and its horses literally torn to pieces. One of the passengers is dazed, but not actually hurt; this man is introduced as Baron Teufel, obviously a lucky survivor of whatever happened. Naturally, the local constabulary believes that the Doctor and Lucie are the most likely suspects, though the Baron blames the incident on the legendary beast of Orlok, a piece of local folklore. As the Doctor tries to get to the bottom of the attack, which clearly shows signs of a power beyond current human technology, Lucie teams up with a particularly bright philosophy student and does some investigating of her own. The Doctor finds a lab loaded with technology beyond the 19th century, and discovers the Baron is behind it… and the Baron also somehow knows that the Doctor is a Time Lord.

Order this CDwritten by Barnaby Edwards
directed by Barnaby Edwards
music by Andy Hardwick

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Miriam Margolyes (Frau Tod), Samuel Barnett (Hans), Peter Guinness (Baron Teufel), Nick Wilton (Otto Pausbacken), Trevor Cooper (Judah), Alison Thea-Skot (Greta), Nicholas Briggs (Lugner)

Timeline: after Hothouse and before Wirrn Dawn

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

The Gift – Part 1

The Sarah Jane AdventuresSarah and her friends engage in one of their least favorite pastimes: tracking down a nest of Slitheen bent on destroying the world. Just as it looks as though the Slitheen have the advantage, two more Slitheen-like creatures appear, neutralizing both the Slitheen and their world-destroying equipment. The newcomers introduce themselves as members of the Blathereen family, and claim to be devoted to law and order – by way of bringing the last remaining members of the Slitheen family to justice. The Blathereen apologize for the Slitheen’s behavior over the years and offers a gift to humanity as an apology, a vegetable which they say will eliminate famine on Earth. Sarah asks for time to study the gift before distributing it to the rest of the Earth… but the gift has its own timetable for spreading across the planet, with or without human assistance.

Get the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Rupert Laight
directed by Alice Troughton
music by Sam Watts / title music by Murray Gold

Guest Cast: Alexander Armstrong (Mr. Smith), John Leeson (voice of K-9), Miriam Margolyes (voice of Leef Blathereen), Simon Callow (voice of Tree Blathereen), Paul Kasey (Leef Blathereen), Ruari Mears (Tree Blathereen), Calvin Dean (Chris), Jimmy Vee (Chris Slitheen), Edward Judge (Dave), Sarah Paul (Miss Jerome)

Notes: Actor Simon Callow had previously played Charles Dickens in The Unquiet Dead, the third episode of the new Doctor Who series in 2005, and had been rumored as a contender for the role of the Doctor himself. Miriam Margolyes made multiple appearances in Blackadder. The Blathereen do have a point: the Slitheen have a lot to answer for: they crop up persistently in the Doctor Who episodes Aliens Of London, World War Three and Bad Wolf, and they’ve kept Sarah Jane & company busy in Revenge Of The Slitheen and The Lost Boy. The real reason the Slitheen keep popping up: the partly-animatronic Slitheen costumes are still among the most expensive investments made in the new Doctor Who series (and its subsequent spinoffs).

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Gift – Part 2

The Sarah Jane AdventuresThe Blathereen’s “gift” is spreading itself throughout London and, within days, will overrun the entire Earth. Clyde and Rani are lucky – when the plant spreads through their school, they have K-9 on hand to help (but only because Clyde has brought K-9 along to help him cheat on a test). Luke is not so lucky, but even with the prospect of him dying from his infection, Sarah decides to confront the Blathereen, and this time she’s going in guns blazing.

Get the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Rupert Laight
directed by Alice Troughton
music by Sam Watts / title music by Murray Gold

Guest Cast: Alexander Armstrong (Mr. Smith), John Leeson (voice of K-9), Miriam Margolyes (voice of Leef Blathereen), Simon Callow (voice of Tree Blathereen), Paul Kasey (Leef Blathereen), Ruari Mears (Tree Blathereen), Sarah Paul (Miss Jerome), Nick Williams (Reporter)

Notes: The BBC news report lists Perivale (Ace’s old stomping grounds, as seen in the 1989 Doctor Who story Survival) and Chiswick (the site of Donna’s wedding in The Runaway Bride) among the sites infested with heavy concentrations of the Blathereen’s plant.

LogBook entry by Earl Green