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Creators of the Extras on Avenger DVD's
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anti-clockwise
The Bird Who Wrote Too Much


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:04 pm    Post subject: Creators of the Extras on Avenger DVD's Reply with quote

I have a question. I don't want to sound too ignorant but uh ...well the fact is I am. Very Happy
I am in the Avengerland of DVD's finally getting to watch the marvelous 50th anniversary box set (where the DVD's don't fit back into the slots and the DVD's are unreadable in most every region.) But I digress.
Anyway to my surprise, I see Jaz, Alan, Alys, Anthony, Andrew, and many other members here participating in creating the extras for the DVD's. Besides the fact that most of you have written Avenger books, created websites and recordings, done fantastic interviews with the cast and creators of the Avengers. Not to mention the diabolical masterminds behind the Dead Man's Treasure Hunt.
Well I think the word is I am gobsmacked( in an impressed kind of way). I hope I am using that term correctly.
How did all of you get involved with making the extras for the DVD set? How did you get access to both the creators of the show or the studio to do the necessary research that was obviously put in?
This site is like the Oxford of the Avengers. Everyone has a PhD in the Avengers. There is no stone left unturned. I guess it makes sense that such a great show has such a great fan club!
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Andrew Pixley
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, for my part I wasn't really involved with the DVD sets at all. It was a lot of hard work from people like Jaz, Alan and Alys which went into all the bonus features on those, and it's nice to see all their talents being appreciated. At a very early stage, Jaz did offer me the chance to get involved with some material connected with the very first year of the show - and I said that that was very kind, but I didn't really have anything to "bring to the party" which he didn't have already and that I felt that what small budget he did have could be spent in a way which gave a better end product for the customer. And as it turned out, what was produced was something vastly superior to anything that I could have come up with anyway.

I've a feeling I may have had some memos which were scanned as part of the paperwork archive for a later set - but it's quite a few years ago now and to be honest my memory of it is rather hazy because it's more likely I was tied up with other projects. Anyway - my involvement in the DVD sets was really just to sit back and admire what Jaz, Alan and Alys had achieved, and to be very glad indeed that people who cared about the show in this way were involved with the project in the first place.

I'm sure that the other guys will be able to tell you a far more interesting story than the one I've just bored you with for two paragraphs ... Very Happy

All the best

Andrew
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Alan
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From my point of view (and thanks for the kind words, both of you), it was simple. I was running my own website (The Avengers Declassified, as you know), and my friend Jaz called me at work one day and asked if I'd like to be involved. I was a bit taken aback at being asked, as I'd not done anything like it before (the reconstructions were my first video programmes - I think in some ways, it shows), but was soon talked around.

The research materials (for my projects at least) were supplied from a number of sources - StudioCanal themselves, Dave Rogers' collection care of Dave Matthews (who I didn't know then and who now is a good friend), and from the collection that Alys and I have built up over several years.

The big game changer in terms of what we could do was in Jaz tracking down Leonard White, who was a mine of information (and enthusiasm!) and who provided his scrapbooks, which contained the previously unheard of off-screen Tele-Snaps. Without those, there would have been no reconstructions, and Leonard's contribution cannot be underestimated. His help was vital and so very appreciated.

And that's it, really, no amazing story, no interviews for the job, or beating off other people to get the gig. Smile
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anti-clockwise
The Bird Who Wrote Too Much


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 4:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you both for your responses but then how did Jaz get assigned the job? The Dave Rogers collection? Again forgive my ignorance.
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Andrew Pixley
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Alan Smile

Alan wrote:
From my point of view (and thanks for the kind words, both of you), it was simple. I was running my own website (The Avengers Declassified, as you know), and my friend Jaz called me at work one day and asked if I'd like to be involved. I was a bit taken aback at being asked, as I'd not done anything like it before (the reconstructions were my first video programmes - I think in some ways, it shows), but was soon talked around.

The research materials (for my projects at least) were supplied from a number of sources - StudioCanal themselves, Dave Rogers' collection care of Dave Matthews (who I didn't know then and who now is a good friend), and from the collection that Alys and I have built up over several years.

The big game changer in terms of what we could do was in Jaz tracking down Leonard White, who was a mine of information (and enthusiasm!) and who provided his scrapbooks, which contained the previously unheard of off-screen Tele-Snaps. Without those, there would have been no reconstructions, and Leonard's contribution cannot be underestimated. His help was vital and so very appreciated.

And that's it, really, no amazing story, no interviews for the job, or beating off other people to get the gig. Smile


I think what you've said here echoes something I've often been asked about "How did you get to work on such-and-such ...?" and, because I have a full-time job in IT, this is really a hobby for me. While I know there are many people who do write and research for a living, I've not been one of them and so generally I get to work on a magazine or book or documentary or DVD or whatever because somebody is kind enough to phone up - as Jaz did with yourself - and offer you that opportunity. But there's no career structure as such. It just sort of ... happens. And I think you put that beautifully.

All the best

Andrew
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anti-clockwise
The Bird Who Wrote Too Much


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are both so modest. I guess what I was wondering is perhaps how you know Jaz and again forgive my ignorance--how Jaz is conncected to producing the DVD's.

I figured it was not a lucrative job and more of a hobby for you both. Clearly I can see you both have needed skills so no wonder you were asked. It's kind of like "Mrs. Peel we're needed".
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Andrew Pixley
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

anti-clockwise wrote:
You are both so modest. I guess what I was wondering is perhaps how you know Jaz and again forgive my ignorance--how Jaz is conncected to producing the DVD's.


Jaz is the guy with the drive and enthusiasm to start doing fanzines on "The Persuaders!" ("The Morning After") and ITC shows in general ("Nuisance Value") - these were terrific publications. They were beautifully designed, full of amazing information and great interviews, and a real cut above a lot of other zines that were on the market at the time. He's a design professional and so you can be assured that everything he turns his hand to looks top notch! You can see his rather beautiful website here:

http://www.itc-classics.com/

Jaz also worked overseeing the DVD releases of a lot of the ITC series back at the turn of the century; he managed to ferret out all manner of fascinating bits and pieces. He's really a top bloke with tremendous passion for all these amazing shows, and always a pleasure to work with. He's helped me immensely on so many projects over the years - most generous fella.

Quote:
I figured it was not a lucrative job and more of a hobby for you both. Clearly I can see you both have needed skills so no wonder you were asked. It's kind of like "Mrs. Peel we're needed".


People *do* do this kind of thing full time - certainly when I was out of work during the recession of the 1990s, I managed to keep paying the mortgage because of some bits of writing. But it's not something that I want to do full time - my main job offers me more maths, stats and programming which is something I enjoy. Certainly by doing it as a hobby, I have more freedom to pick and choose the interesting assignments that appeal to me rather than having to think the whole time, "I need to take whatever comes because that's next month's mortgage." And because there are many very good people who have a real passion for writing and design in particular, I think I would struggle in what is a very small market.

All the best

Andrew
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Alan
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

anti-clockwise wrote:
Thank you both for your responses but then how did Jaz get assigned the job?


That's one for Jaz to answer, if he wishes to.

Quote:
The Dave Rogers collection?


Dave's rightly renowned as the driving force behind early Avengers fandom, and as the author of a number of good books about the series, and the collection he built up over the years was made available to us - and was mighty helpful. Another "without whom".
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Alan
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

anti-clockwise wrote:
You are both so modest. I guess what I was wondering is perhaps how you know Jaz.


Not modest at all. Very lucky, more like. Jaz has been a friend for many years.

Quote:
I figured it was not a lucrative job and more of a hobby for you both. Clearly I can see you both have needed skills so no wonder you were asked. It's kind of like "Mrs. Peel we're needed".


Yes, all part time, voluntary, unpaid (besides complimentary DVD sets). But that was fine. I'm not complaining. If I wasn't happy with the situation, I'd not have got involved.
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Andrew Pixley
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Quote:
The Dave Rogers collection?


Dave's rightly renowned as the driving force behind early Avengers fandom, and as the author of a number of good books about the series, and the collection he built up over the years was made available to us - and was mighty helpful. Another "without whom".


Very much so. Dave was one of the key players in the subculture, particularly during 1980s. He was able to get some very, very important works published. I still adore his very first book on "The Avengers" from 1983. There had been nothing like it before and it was so exciting to have such a work on an archival show - especially in the days before videotapes of shows were widely available. The other amazing work of his to my mind was "The ITV Encyclopedia of Adventure" which was a quite remarkable series of episode guides to programmes I honestly never, ever thought I'd get to see ... and so many of which are now available on DVD. Dave really blazed a trail for so many others to follow and made some major achievements in the archive television field.

All the best

Andrew
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jaz
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Firstly, thanks to Andrew and Alan for their kind comments - both are fantastic guys and have been good friends for a number of years.

I got involved in dvds purely by chance. As Andrew has previously mentioned, I started out writing a fanzine on The Persuaders! in 1988 and this also covered my interest in ITC programmes (and occasionally The Avengers). Very quickly my fanzine was 'officially' recognised by the rights holders ITC and this in turn led to many, many visits to their offices and vaults to research articles and go through the photographic archive.

The official status continued on through Polygram's acquisition of the ITC catalogue and again I spent a lot of time in their offices/archives. When Carlton acquired the rights I was invited to their office to meet with them and chat about the magazine (had progressed from a fanzine to a magazine by now) - during my chat the person I met with suggested I should meet with their video/dvd division and she arranged a meeting. At this meeting I was asked if I'd be interested in helping them out with their initial ITC DVD range but by the time I got home their was a message offering me a job in a newly created role especially for me. I couldn't quite believe what I was hearing but I agreed and started working on dvds which were very new at the time.

I stayed at Carlton for 18 months before resigning to become a freelance graphic designer (my 'real' job and something I was missing hugely) and continued working as a freelance dvd producer. I was lucky enough to land the role of designing The Avengers official calendar with Slow Dazzle which meant a lot of trips to the Canal+ archive to go through photographs and materials. I did the calendar for about 7 years and get really friendly with the guys in the archive.

Throughout this time I work very closely with Grant Taylor, a great guy, who was producing ITC dvds for the Australian companies Umbrella and Madman and via my contacts I made writing my magazine we interviewed many people associated with series like The Saint, Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased), Department S, Danger Man, etc.

One day my phone rang and it was Optimum who had seen my work and had been recommended by the guys in Canal+ archive and they asked me there and then if I'd do The Avengers dvds. I went to London and had a meeting and agreed. The money I got paid wasn't fantastic but I wasn't doing it to earn loads of money - it was another series I loved and wanted to do the dvds.

I asked Andrew and Alan if they'd like to be involved and they've explained the rest...

Hope this helps
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anti-clockwise
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for the explanations. All of you. I just wondered since it is a unique situation to be able to chat with people who were so directly involved with the DVD release and interviews. Sounds like all of you had a fun time.

Now I am scratching my head. What does ITC stand for? Something no doubt
obvious but it is not coming to me. Very Happy

I just want to let you know that you did an outstanding job. I just started watching the DVD's and bonus material and it is very creative and interesting. You did a really great job. It really shows.
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Frankymole
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Incorporated Television Company:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITC_Entertainment
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jaz
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most of the DVDs I've worked on have been for little remuneration but I'm not bothered by that - if I was looking to become rich from working on DVDs I'd have quit at day one. What has driven me is to try and deliver the best product for the allocated budget and a DVD set that I would be happy with both as a fan and a contributor.
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anti-clockwise
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well it was very tastefully done Jaz. So you have gone from a graphics designer to interviewer. Did you search out the actors/producers/writers you interviewed or how did you find them? They all seemed very charming and you really did some nice interviews.
Those extra touches on the bonus material really do make a world of difference. Gives the viewer the feeling like they are behind the scenes as well.
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Frankymole
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jaz's magazine "The Morning After" and the website of the same name (being The Persuaders! appreciation society) are great fun and very popular in this house, as The Persuaders! is definitely an Avengerish and fun series with a great couple of leads.
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anti-clockwise
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok I guess I will hijack my own thread. I am just looking into the Persuaders. I had never seen it before. I don't even recall there were reruns in the US. What a find though. Thank you Franky.

Is there actually a monthly magazine that Jaz puts out available online to subscribe or just the website?

What a shame it was on only for a year.
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Frankymole
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

anti-clockwise wrote:
Ok I guess I will hijack my own thread. I am just looking into the Persuaders. I had never seen it before. I don't even recall there were reruns in the US. What a find though. Thank you Franky.

Is there actually a monthly magazine that Jaz puts out available online to subscribe or just the website?

What a shame it was on only for a year.
The details are here: http://www.itc-classics.com/tmadetails.html

I guess Roger Moore getting the part of James Bond put the kibosh on any new Persuaders! which is indeed a shame - what we have is brilliant though.
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Timeless A-Peel
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 3:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

anti-clockwise wrote:
Ok I guess I will hijack my own thread. I am just looking into the Persuaders. I had never seen it before. I don't even recall there were reruns in the US. What a find though. Thank you Franky.


That's unsurprising since The Persuaders! failed to capture the American audience, which effectively led to its cancellation (sadly the same story behind the demise of innumerable other ITC series). If it didn't go down too well the first time around, I can't imagine they'd be motivated to give airtime to reruns. If you've never seen it before, you're in for a treat. The Persuaders! was one of the first ITC series I looked at, and it's lots of fun. Tony Curtis is particularly brilliant (though I don't know if he was sober for any of it Laughing ).
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Timeless A-Peel
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 3:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frankymole wrote:
anti-clockwise wrote:
Ok I guess I will hijack my own thread. I am just looking into the Persuaders. I had never seen it before. I don't even recall there were reruns in the US. What a find though. Thank you Franky.

Is there actually a monthly magazine that Jaz puts out available online to subscribe or just the website?

What a shame it was on only for a year.
The details are here: http://www.itc-classics.com/tmadetails.html

I guess Roger Moore getting the part of James Bond put the kybosh on any new Persuaders! which is indeed a shame - what we have is brilliant though.


Roger was reluctant to do it to begin with, because he wanted to remain free to do Bond. Lew Grade actually let him do it without signing a contract so he could drop everything and go as soon as the call came. I think they actually would have done more given the chance, but no American success meant budget problems. Tony Curtis said that Lew Grade told him they could make a second season, but they'd have to forgo the European filming because the money just wasn't there. Tony said that was why he'd done it in the first place, so it died and Roger went off to do Bond. It is indeed a shame. I would have loved more Persuaders, just as I would have loved more Champions, Randall and Hopkirk, Man in a Suitcase and Jason King (I've never been keen enough on Department S to feel much of a loss on that front). I have The Baron on order, and I see it suffered the same fate, which, given my track record, probably means I'll love it, too. Laughing
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