Murder mystery? Rom-com? And, as an afterthought.... wartime boosterism?East of Piccadilly (1941) was known as "The Strangler" in the US and was directed by Harold Huth. It stars Judy Campbell & Sebastian Shaw and was written by the then quite young J Lee Thompson. It tells the story of a murder investigation and is (extremely) loosely based on a real life case, that of the "The Soho Strangler".1940s UK film expert, Mel Byron, comes all the way in from Talking Picture TV Podcast HQ to talk about the film. It's her third visit to the podcast - she wasn't that keen on Street of Shadows and her second visit was for Soho Conspiracy which is possibly the worst film ever made. Apologies to Mel. Will she like this one more?The 1930s Soho Strangler case upon which the film is supposedly based, is largely forgotten now but not by our other guest, Michael J Buchanan Dunne. Mike is the creator of the Murder Mile podcast and at the time of publication has just released the third episode of a TEN PART series about the Soho Strangler.At the time if writing this, East of Piccadilly is simply NOT AVAILABLE to stream (legally) anywhere online. It does sometime crop up on certain streaming serivces - if you fill in THIS FORM you will be notified when it appears (can't guarantee it will be free though!)However, if you are based in London or are ever a visitor to our beautiful city, you can watch East of Piccadilly in the BFI Library. Grab yourself a terminal and ask one of the nice librarions for help. The reference number is N-626109.Did the director of East of Piccadilly, Harold Huth cast himeself in a small uncredited role as a Spiv in Joe's cafe? You decide.The Spanish version of the film poster is ace!A 1938 article in the Chicago Tribune about the Soho Strangler case.Mel Byron is on Twitter and has a website.You can also follow Talking Pictures and the podcast on Twitter. Murder Mile Mike is on the Twitters too as his girlfriend....
Attention jiving scum! This is one is straight from the fridge dad.It doesn't get more Soho than Beat Girl (1960) - coffee shops, beatniks, strip clubs, The 2 i's.... it's got the lot.Gillian Hills leads the cast of Beat Girl, which also stars Adam Faith, Christopher Lee, Shirley Ann Field and, in a very small role, a young Oliver Reed.We met novelist, Des Burkinshaw in the bar of the Soho Theatre to talk about Beat Girl which is the closest we could find to a bohemian coffee bar.Des is a huge fan of John Barry, who wrote the music for Beat Girl and he recently concluded a two year stint as the presenter of the Museum of Soho Show on Soho Radio.You can stream Beat Girl right now on TPTV Encore.Also on TPTV Encore is this 2016 BFI interview with the star of Beat Girl, Gillian Hills, about the making of the film. It's well worth a watch.Back in the day, Des actually met one of the stars of Beat Girl and grabbed this selfie.Gillian Hills released a four part podcast about her life in December 2021.Follow Gillian on Facebook.Our other guest for this episode is Paris based journalist Hanna Steinkopf-Frank. Paris is some distance from Soho - the connection is that Gillian Hills became a Yé-yé singer and Hannah came on to talk about this genre.What's Yé-yé? Find out in this article by Hannah.Follow Hannah on <a href="https://twitter.com/HSteinkopfFrank"...
This is not really an episode I'm afraid - time just ran away from me.However, I've recorded this mini-episode because there is some very important business to finish up which is to announce two things....The winners of last month's Dora Bryan competitionKino Quickies season 2 Two lucky lucky listeners were destined to win a copy of the new 4K DVD release of The Sandwich Man - all they had to do was answer a fiendishly tricky question.Did you enter? Did you win? Listen to the episode to find out.And the second half of this episode is the preview trailer of Kino Quickies season 2 - our season of live films screenings at the Kino Cinema in Bermondsey Square, London.We'd love to see as many Soho Bites listeners as possible at the screenings. Tickets available here: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/kinoquickies
Sep 19, 2022
Everything changes but....The changing faces of London neighbourhoods is our loose theme for this episode.In the first half, the novelist, Christopher Fowler makes his second appearance on the podcast, talking about his latest book and about his memories of Soho - a neighbourhood which changes constantly but somehow always remains the same.Follow Chris on Twitter and peruse his website. Read about Chris's most well known charcters in The History of Bryant & May.This episode features a snatch of original music composed by Des Burkinshaw. It was written as the theme tune for proposed TV adaptation of the Bryant & May series. Listen to it on this page of Chris's website.Follow Des on Twitter.Our featured film is The Optimists of Nine Elms (1973) in which Peter Sellers, playing a faded former music hall star, befriends - or is befriended by - two local kids. It's a beautiful portrayal of an unlikely friendship and of an area that has massively changed in the intervening 50 years. Our film chat guest, Robert JE Simpson, rather likes it.Follow Robert on Twitter and check out his podcast Cinepunked. He is also engaged in some detailed research into Exclusive Films.Definitely definitely definitely try to watch the Optimists of Nine Elms. It's available to stream on the BFI Player.This clip will give you a flavour of itHere's a set of lovely old lobby cards of the film.Have a look at some of the loations from the film, then & now, on the every brilliant Reelstreets website.*** COMPETITION *** COMPETITION *** COMPETITION *** COMPETITION **In episode 33 we discussed The Sandwich Man with the aforementioend Christopher Fowler. That episode has just been included as a bonus feature on a new 4K release of the film. To win a DVD, answer the question: Who was Dora Bryan frequently...
Aug 29, 2022
Two Films, One Guest.Normally we have two guests on each episode of Soho Bites, but when your guest is as good as David McGillivray, who needs a second?Long before Matthew Sweet gave him the moniker, "The Truffaut of Smut", David reviewed Zeta One (AKA The Love Factor - no idea why) for The Monthly Film Bulletin. He didn't have a lot of good things to say about it then - has his opinion changed over the last 51 years? He makes a return visit to Soho Bites to tell us.Produced by Tony Tenser, the film had a troubled shooting period and was shelved for two years upon completion. Although the main attraction was, presumably, the acres of naked flesh on display throughout the film, top billing nominally goes to James Robertson Justice as the chief baddy and his oily sidekick, Swyne, played by Charles Hawtrey. Any mention of Charles Hawtrey invites another reading of his Wikipedia entry which is always fun.If you really must watch Zeta One, it's available to buy online. You will find the results of a carefully curated Google search for Zeta One DVDs HERE. But maybe watch the trailer first so you have some idea of what you're letting yourself in for.And here is an album of stills from the film.There are some outrageous Crimes Against Location in Zeta One - eg pretending Warwick Avenue is next to Greek Street and Berwick Street market leads to Camden. If you're a London geography geek just waiting be outraged, look at the film's locations on Reelstreets.In the first half of the programme , David talks about a film that promises to be a teeny-weeny bit better than Zeta One, although we won't get to find out until next year. The Wrong People is currently in pre-production and is David's own adaptation of Robin Maugham's 1967 novel of the same name.Set in Tangier in the early 60s, it's the uncomfortable story of Arnold, a closeted gay teacher who falls under the corrupting influence of Ewing Baird, a wealthy ex-pat with particular peccadillos.Follow the progress of The Wrong People on their website and maybe chuck David a penny or two towards he production costs.You could...
Jul 25, 2022
Double Stinker.After an extended break to allow our massive team to shift its attention to our most recent podcast series, Kino Quickies, we return to Soho Bites with the 1948 murder mystery, It Happened in Soho.It’s safe to say, the film had a very small budget and doesn’t have the highest of production values but it does boast a major star, Richard “Stinker” Murdoch.At the time the film was made, Murdoch was a big BBC radio star, having starred, at this stage, in two huge radio comedy hits - Band Waggon with Arthur Askey and Much Binding in the Marsh with Kenneth Horne.To talk about It Happened in Soho, we welcomed Paul Kerensa to the show. Paul is a stand up comedian and, most importantly for our purposes, is the creator of the epic British Broadcasting Century podcast - who better to talk to about a film starring one of early broadcasting’s biggest names.At the time of writing, It Happened in Soho is available to watch on TPTV Encore...... and Band Waggon is on YouTube.Watch Richard Murdoch, in later life, talking about Much Binding in the Marsh.To begin the show, Mark Brisenden makes a return visit to Soho Bites talk about the London venue at which nearly all BBC radio comedies were recorded between 1946 and 1995 - The Paris Studios on Lower Regent St.Mark worked on Week Ending and The News Huddlines and was the creator of Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel - all of which were recorded at the Paris.During our conversation, Mark points out that the 1950 film, The 20 Questions Murder Mystery, was set at the Paris. You can watch that film at <a...
Jun 28, 2022
Special Sandwich Special.We’ve done some episodes in the past with some disparate and unusual themes. We did a Spain themed episode, a sport one, a God special and even a wrestling / boxing episode, but we think we’ve surpassed ourselves this time as the theme linking the two items in episode 33 is sandwiches.Sandwich boards, that is, and the men who wear them.There was a time when Sandwich men and women and other forms of portable adverts were a common sight in the west end but In August 2008, Westminster council implemented a ban on such advertising, consigning this minor social menace to history.The ban came too late though, to have any effect on the sandwich men we’re talking about in this episode.Our first sandwich man is NOT a fictional character - Stanley Green, otherwise known as Protein Man. Stanley campaigned against the consumption of excessive protein for about 25 years and became a familiar sight to people in the west end during that time. We meet Honorary Research Fellow at the Museum of London, Dr Cathy Ross, to hear about Stanley, his writings and his life.Learn about Stanley’s unusual views in his Protein Wisdom leaflet.Read an ARTICLE by Cathy Ross about Stanley.For more info: Stanley’s entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National BiographyAnd here’s a three page extract of Stanley’s unpublished novel, Behind the Veil: More than Just a Tale. I have corrected some of the spelling and some of the more confusing errors, but have tried to leave Stanley’s idiosyncratic punctuation and writing style in tact.Our second sandwich man IS a fictional character - Horace Quilby is played by Michael Bentine in the 1966 comedy, The Sandwich Man. The film is noteworthy mostly for its extraordinary cast and for its numerous London locations which you can see HERE courtesy of Reelstreets.To talk about The Sandwich Man we were joined by the novelist, Christopher Fowler.You can follow Chris on Twitter and check out his blog.Film makers often cheat when it comes to locations - eg a person turns a corner and re-appears three streets away. In The Sandwich Man, Horace Quilby is supposed to be walking around the west end, but according to THIS...
Mar 4, 2022
Softly Shoe Shuffle.Murphy's Law states that if you've arranged an interview with a brilliant guest to talk about a fantastic film in a great location, then you will catch Covid and have to self-isolate. This is why my interview with Ming Ho about Turn the Key Softly (1953) took place online and not in the lovely surroundings of the BAFTA bar as originally planned.Turn the Key Softly is set over a period of twelve hours and follows three very different women on their first day of freedom after their release from Holloway Prison.Starring Yvonne Mitchell, Kathleen Harrison and a very young Joan Collins, it is directed by Jack Lee who also wrote the screenplay along with producer, Maurice Cowan and is based on the novel of the same name by Johh Brophy.Have a look at these lovely old lobby cards, produced to promote Turn the Key Softly.Have a look at some of the locations in Turn the Key Softly on ReelstreetsYou can follow Ming on Twitter.As the period of self isolation dragged on, a real in-person meeting was still impossible, so Dom met up with John Snelson online to hear about two forgotten musicals set on the streets and nightclubs of Soho. The Crooked Mile ran for 160 performances at the Cambridge Theatre in 1959-60 and Ace of Clubs also ran at the Cambridge, for 211 performances in 1950.The Crooked Mile consolidated the UK career of Millicent Martin. Here is some publicity material from the show.Ace of Clubs was written by Noel Coward, the MD was Mantovani and Graham Payn & Pat Kirkwood starred. Allegedly, Pat Kirkwood allegedly had an alleged affair with Prince Philip, allegedly. Allegedly. Graham Payn was Noel Coward's long-term partner. Here's some publicity material from the show.The Crooked Mile was based on Peter Wildeblood's novel "West End People". I can't afford it so have put it on my list for Santa.We have another podcast coming out! Starting in March, a series...
Jan 22, 2022
Sohohoho Bites Christmas special.In this festive special, we’re talking about the much loved Christmas classic, The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) which, according to this article, is the greatest film ever made.In the first half of the show we meet up with Jonanathan Foster. He works at the Prince Charles Cinema, just off Leicester Square and is the co-host of the Pod Charles Cinecast. The PCC is renowned for its special event screenings including its Muppet Christmas Carol Singalongs which are are wildly popular.In the second half we’re off to a festive get-together of podcasters to find out what they think about The Muppet Christmas Carol (spoiler – everybody loves it, obvs)Muppet Christmas Carol trailerDifferent versions of the film have been released over the years. Read about those differences in this article by Mark Harrison.This Wikipedia article about the history The Prince Charles Cinema is worth a read and you can check out the current PPC season and book tickets on its website. You can also follow the PCC on Twitter.The cinema also has a podcast called The Pod Charles Cinecast co-hosted by this episode’s guest, Jonathan.A lot of people graced the Soho Bites microphone in the second half of the show talking about The Muppet Christmas Carol – many of whom (but not all) are connected to the Talking Pictures TV podcast. Click below for their Twitters…AdamDaniHelenaKevMurder Mile MikeShameful SteveTracyPhil is not on TwitterThank you for listening.Follow us on TwitterEmail us at firstname.lastname@example.orgLeave us a rating & reviewPlease make a teeny weeny donation
Dec 13, 2021
Kent Noir.Good-Time Girl is a post war UK film noir with three main locations – Lambeth, Soho and “Soho-On-Sea” (AKA Brighton). James Harrison of South West Silents & Film Noir UK joins Dom to talk about the film and about Film Noir UK.The star of Good-Time Girl is Jean Kent, known throughout the 1940s and beyond as UK film’s “bad girl”. To talk about Jean’s life and career, we drop in to the BFI to meet up with curator, Josephine Botting.For a few years before she became famous, Jean Kent worked as a Windmill girl. This scan is from the autobiography of Vivian Van Damm, the long term producer at the Windmill, who sacked Jean for being “immature” and “lacking personality”. He later realised he had made a mistake!Our guest, Jo Botting, met Jean Kent in 2011 for a special screening of Jean’s 1946 romantic drama Caravan. Here’s the photographic proof of that meeting….In 2011, not long before she died, Jean’s 90th birthday was celebrated on local TV.In this clip from Good-Time Girl, Gwen meets Rosso for the first time – a meeting that ultimately has unfortunate consequences for Gwen.Good-Time Girl was based on a novel by Arthur La Bern called, “Night Darkens the Streets”. La Bern also wrote, “It Always Rains on Sunday” which was adapted for the screen and “Goodbye Piccadilly, Farewell Leicester Square” upon which, Alfred Hitchcock’s “Frenzy” was based. Night Darkens the Streets is now out of print and the cheapest available copy online was £47 when last checked, so here’s a picture of the cover for free.Interesting article by Josephine Botting & Sarah Castagnetti about the co-writer of Good Time Girl, Muriel BoxGood-Time Girl is available to view for free on the brillant BFI PlayerAlthough not always in perfect quality, there are several Jean Kent films available on the Interent Archive including The Browning Version and Caravan. Find more HEREYou can follow both Josephine Botting and the BFI on Twitter<a...
Nov 12, 2021