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Cult TV Festival 2003

The annual Cult TV Festival took place at Torquay, 10th - 13th October 2003.

To celebrate this tenth anniversary, those attending were asked who they would most like to see again from the guests of the previous nine years. Among the most popular were my own favourites, actors Paul Darrow and Gareth Thomas, and writers Ray Galton and Alan Simpson.

The crowded schedule also included Mitch Benn, Nicholas Courtney, Jack Douglas, Jeremy Dyson, Mark Gatiss, Maurice Gran, Richard Hatch, Bernard Horsfall, Michael Hurst, Keith Lindsay, Shane Rimmer, Michael Sheard, Mark Spencer, Julie Stevens, and Alan Gilbey & David Freedman of Peafur Productions.

The last guest was Nicholas Parsons, who made a surprise visit on the last day.

Cult TV is run by unpaid volunteers for charity, and as someone remarked during the weekend, it is this that gives the Festival its heart. Guests receive expenses but no fee; all monies raised this year were donated to Unicef (with an exception explained below).

As well as the star guests, Cult TV has gathered together a number of professionals highly experienced in their own fields. The quality of input by these people may be judged by the difficulty we experienced in trying to decide whether to attend guest interviews or workshops run by these consultants. Several times, I wished that I could "make division of" myself, and be in two places at once. Very interesting work was done by Tony Currie, Dick Fiddy, Thomasina Gibson, Kenneth Rock, and Robert Ross. Some I had to miss, including Robert Fairclough and Mike Kenwood, because of something unmissable happening elsewhere.

Those who are interested in interviews with guest stars and the opportunity for photographs and autographs are well catered for. There is also the chance to catch up with rarely seen TV appearances. Those interested in knowing more of what goes on behind the camera will find the workshops greatly interesting and informative.

As if this was not enough, there is also a "festival within a festival" - Eclectic 21, running alongside the other events. I only managed to attend one item at Eclectic 21 - in which Gareth Thomas read from a number of texts including Shakespeare, and some of his own work. He also gave a reading from "Under Milk Wood" that made me revise my belief that I would never admire a version of this work so much as the original Richard Burton version.

There was unexpected drama on the Friday evening, when a favourite guest - writer and ex-stundtman Frank Maher - collapsed with a heart attack. Thanks to the prompt and extremely efficient action of our St. John's Ambulance man, Frank was breathing again before the ambulance arrived some 25 minutes later. Happily, Frank is reported to be making good progress, and I very much hope we will see him next year. Colin Jones, our St John's representative, received a very well deserved standing ovation at the end of the Festival on Monday. As indicated above, part of the funds raised were donated to the St. John's Ambulance Service.

The 11th Cult TV Festival will be held from Friday 8th to Monday 11th October 2004 at the same venue, Sand Bay Holiday Camp near Weston super Mare. After problems experienced in recent years at different venues, I shall be pleased to return to Sand Bay, the accommodation and the staff were excellent.


Booking is already open. Details on the Cult TV site.
(Note that you will need to book accommodation separately from the Festival registration.)