Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Missing But Not Forgotten: London's Burning

The Drama Channel have just started showing the long running ITV drama London's Burning.  It began in 1986 with a 2-hour (100 minute) pilot.  A series followed in 1988 and ran until 2002 clocking up 170 episodes.

The pilot contained a topless scene in which female firefighter Josie Ingham (Katharine Rogers) is sitting in a bath washing her husband Gerry's (Eric Deacon) hair while telling him about her new colleagues at the stationhouse to which she has just transferred.

Katharine Rogers' first appearance
Katherine Rogers was a main cast member for the first two series up to 1989 and then appeared in the first few episodes of series 3 before leaving the watch.  She made a couple of further guest appearances with the final of these being at the end of series 4.

The pilot is also packaged as a two-parter and the bath scene appears in the first part.

The drama channel are showing the episodes at 8am and 3pm each weekday and as seemed inevitable the scene did not survive.  There was a scene at a registry office wedding followed by a scene in a doctor's surgery - in the uncut version it occurs in between those two scenes.

The full version of the pilot is on YouTube split into multiple segments.  The missing scene can be seen in context at two minutes into part 5.

Monday, 14 August 2017

New Discovery: Zienia Merton in Kosmetikkrevolusjonen (1977)

If you thought that all nudity discoveries of well known TV actresses in pre-video age films must all be known about by now, you'd have been wrong, because new, previously unknown about scenes in a Norwegian film starring British actress Zienia Merton, has just come to light.

Zienia Merton is a familiar face on British TV.  Her most well known role was as regular character Sandra Benes in the science fiction series Space 1999 (1975-77).  Her other credits include a wide range of supporting performances in TV shows from the 1960s up to (currently) 2013.

It is known that she appeared topless in the 6-part 1971 BBC drama serial Casanova before her Space 1999 role came along.  But until now that was thought to be the only one.

Soon after Space 1999 ended she starred in a 1977 Norwegian film called Kosmetikkrevolusjonen (Translation: Cosmetics Revolution).  Top-billed in the film, Zienia Merton plays Lucy Ferner, an ambitious and highly persuasive corporate businesswoman representing a Hong Kong concern that is seeking opportunities in Norway to revolutionise the cosmetics industry with an innovative new secret process they have developed to manufacture cosmetic products from cheap raw materials.  The process is energy intensive so Norway is chosen because of its cheap power costs. She offers the process to a small Norwegian cosmetics company run by Mr Olsen (Carsten Byhring) who jumps at the chance to catapult his company into the big time heedless of how one-sided the financial arrangements seem to be in Ms Ferner's favour.

The top secret computer-controlled "Black Box System" is installed in the company's small factory.  The internal workings of the cabinet-sized Black Box unit are kept closely guarded by Ms Ferner's people but it is able to convert the input of a non-descript waste sludge into a whole range of valuable products such as soaps, deodorants, and skin lotions.  The products in the new range are a commercial success and Ms Ferner is soon making further expansion plans to capitalise on the huge demand.  What is she really up to and will a mounting wave of protests to her polluting factories ruin her plans?

Despite being a Norwegian language film Zienna Merton speaks with her normal English voice and the Norwegian characters she interacts with speak accented English with her (these scenes are subtitled with Norwegian text).  When she is not in a scene the other characters speak Norwegian (with no subtitles).

Zienna Merton has a fully nude scene near the start of the film in which she gets out of a luxury sunken bath and regally stands as her male assistant dries her with a towel, perfumes her, and helps her on with her bathrobe. 

Later on she is nude again in her hotel suite as she uses her allure to seduce a simple farmer to her bed in order to secure his support for her factory expansion plans and take part in an advertising campaign.

In the first scene she has her usual short hair while in the second scene her character is wearing a wig with long hair.

This film was discovered via YouTube and thanks go to the contributor who brought it to my attention.  Running Time 78 mins.  The bath scene is at 6 minutes, and the bedroom scene is at 41 minutes.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Outlander on More4

The US series Outlander is coming to More4 on Freeview.  Made by Starz the show was only previously available to watch in the UK on the internet service Amazon Prime Instant Video. 

Based on the series of books by Diana Gabaldon, Outlander tells the story of English World War II nurse Claire Randall who is accidentally transported back in time to the year 1743 while holidaying in Scotland with her husband.  Trapped in the past she has to make a life for herself amongst the highland clans equipped only with her advanced medical knowledge and forthright manner to gain acceptance amongst the rebellious Scots who have every reason to hate the English.

With a mostly British cast, led by Irish actress Catriona Balfe, Outlander debuted in 2014 with eight episodes ending with a cliffhanger.  A second run of eight episodes continued the following year.  These 16 episodes comprise the first season.  There was a second season of 13 episodes in 2016.  A third season is due this year.

Outlander begins on More4 on Thursday 29th June at 9pm.

The first series has a fair amount of nudity the bulk of which falls to Catriona Balfe.  The scenes for each actress have already been added to the Topless Review database, but here is a handy guide collating those descriptions into episode order. 

WARNING: There may be a few spoilers

Episode 1
Caitriona Balfe (Claire Randall) - topless and rear nudity standing in a hotel bedroom with her husband Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies) as they kiss and undress each other on their second honeymoon - then topless astride and underneath him on the bed as they make love.

Episode 2
Laura Donnelly (Jenny Fraser) - topless in the street as brutal redcoat Captain Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies) roughly tears down the front of her dress and pinions her arms so she cannot conceal herself as he forces her rebellious Scots brother Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) to watch her humiliation to show him the futility of fighting back against the English.

Caitriona Balfe (Claire Randall) - topless and rear nudity standing as she undresses out of the skimpy modern day evening dress she slept in after spending the night in the Scottish castle Leoch after having been transported back to the 18th century - she hands her clothes to castle cook Mrs Fitzgibbons (Annette Badland) who helps her into clothing more suited to the period.

Episode 3
Caitriona Balfe (Claire Randall) - topless side view with her right breast seen as she steps out of a parlour bath and Mrs Fitzgibbons helps dry her back as she puts on a shift

Episodes 4 - 6
No nudity

Episode 7
Nina Gilhooly (Isabella) - topless with her right breast seen out of her dress as she and her fellow whores tease embarrassed solicitor Ned Gowan (Bill Paterson) who has been tasked with swiftly obtaining a readymade dress for a wedding.

Caitriona Balfe (Claire Randall) - topless and rear nudity as she removes her shift in front of her new husband Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) on their wedding night as they gaze upon each other's bodies while getting to know each other properly after their hastily arranged marriage - then topless underneath him on the bed as they make love with passion - then topless as she moves atop him and kisses down his body - then topless laying beside him at contented rest when they have finished - then rear nudity as she gets up and puts a shawl around herself - later sitting with the shawl loosely draped and her left breast seen as Jamie presents her with a family heirloom pearl necklace and puts it around her - then topless astride his lap as they make love this time gently.

Episode 8
Caitriona Balfe (Claire Randall) - topless laying outdoors in the countryside making out with Jamie as he lowers one side of her dress and kisses her left breast.

Caitriona Balfe (Claire Randall) - topless with her arms tied behind her as her captor the evil redcoat Captain Jack Randall rips down her top while terrorising her to make her reveal what she knows of the Jacobite rebellion - then topless as he pushes her down onto the table and torments her with a dagger just as her husband Jamie bursts in on a rescue mission (cliff-hanger ending to the first half of series 1)

Episode 9
Caitriona Balfe (Claire Randall) - topless being held down on a table by brutal redcoat captain Jack Randall in his fortress when her husband Jamie Fraser enters through the window on a rescue mission - then topless as Randall holds her as a shield with a knife to her throat and forces Jamie to surrender his pistol - later topless as Jamie overpowers Randall and frees her.

Caitriona Balfe (Claire Randall) - rear nudity in their bedroom as Jamie lifts her shift and does his perceived marital duty against her will by spanking her to discipline her for her disobedience which resulted in her earlier capture

Caitriona Balfe (Claire Randall) - topless in the bedroom as she and Jamie breathlessly undress when they patch up their differences - then topless as he kisses her breasts - then topless astride him as they make love on the floor by the fire and she makes him pledge never to raise his hand to her again - then topless beside him as they rest and talk loving words after they have finished - then topless laying on her back as he continues to kiss her body and then as he gets up to fetch food from the kitchen and she finds a ill-wish fetish planted under their bed.

Episode 10
Caitriona Balfe (Claire Randall) - topless laying on her back on a bed in the morning moaning with pleasure as Jamie gives her oral sex (out of shot) when there is an urgent knocking at the door

Lotte Verbeek (Geillis Duncan) - topless kneeling on the ground at night beside a fire in a forest with her ceremonial dress down to her waist as she performs a pagan summoning ritual - then topless laying on her back talking to her friend Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe) who arrives to see her - then topless and rear nudity as she stands and changes into her regular apparel.

Episode 11
Lotte Verbeek (Geillis Duncan) - topless as she rips open her bodice in the dock of a courthouse in front of an angry baying crowd at a witchcraft trial as she falsely confesses to being a witch to selflessly save her equally innocent co-accused Claire - then topless as she is carried aloft by the mob out to the stake for her burning.

Episode 12
Laura Donnelly (Jenny Fraser) - brief flashback to her topless scene from episode 2  where she is being held by Jack Randall to torment Jamie.  However this is a slightly new bit not seen in the actual episode it refers to

Episode 13
No nudity

Episode 14
Laura Donnelly (Jenny Fraser) - topless with her left breast seen out of her dress as she relieves herself of excess milk into a cup while standing in a forest talking to Claire (Caitriona Balfe) with whom she is travelling on a rescue mission and consequently away from her newly born baby - then she switches to the other breast and expresses milk from that.

Episodes 15 & 16
No nudity

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Heads Up: The Queen's Sister on Yesterday

The Yesterday channel are showing the one-off Channel 4 biopic The Queen's Sister about the life of Princess Margaret.

The drama was previously shown on the Yesterday channel a while back although I didn't give a Heads Up then because of the fair possibility it might have been cut.  This suspicion was due to it having a couple of showings scheduled over the period in both pre- and post-watershed timeslots.  However it turned out that the post-watershed one was shown uncut (I didn't check the daytime showing but it seems very likely it would have had to have been edited).

This Sunday's broadcast is another post-watershed showing so this Heads Up is in the expectation it will be the full version once again.

The drama contains a topless bedroom scene featuring Lucy Cohu as Princess Margaret with her lover Antony Armstrong-Jones (played by Toby Stephens).

The Queen's Sister
Sunday 25th June 2017 at 9pm on Yesterday
Originally shown 27th November 2005 on Channel 4

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Heads Up: The Street on ITV3

ITV3 are currently showing the Jimmy McGovern drama The Street.  It was originally shown on BBC1 from 2006 to 2009 over three series.  Each episode focussed on different residents living in the same Manchester street.

The entire series had two episodes with female nudity.

The first of these is the opening episode of the second series which is coming up this Friday. It features a topless bedroom scene with Katy Cavanagh.

The Street
Series 2, episode 1: Twin
Friday 23 June 2017 at 9pm on ITV3
Shown again: Monday 26 June 2017 at 11pm on ITV3
Originally shown: 8 November 2007 on BBC1

ITV3 are allocating 80 minutes to the hour long programme which seems to suggest they are not cutting them simply to make way for adverts.

The other episode to watch out for in 7 weeks is the second episode of series 3 from 2009 in which Anna Friel is seen in a shower (the water suddenly runs cold and the camera pans down in a continuous shot to show her hurriedly turning the taps off).

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Query Solved: Unknown Drama #3: Man on the Screen

This is an update to the following blog post from October 2013.  http://toplessreview.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/unknown-drama-3.html

While revisiting this query I've managed to pinpoint a very likely candidate.

Here is a collage of scenes from it.

Armed with the known clues that 1) it had a character called "Jack"; 2) there was a scene in a computer centre; 3) a French woman featured ...

... and then narrowing the timeline being considered to the vicinity of June 1987, which seemed a possibility because the clip's position in a sequence of forum posts made by the original archive clip collector (the two clips either side of the unknown were both from known programmes broadcast in that particular month)

A search of some TV records elicited a single possible candidate that fitted all the criteria.  It was a one-shot drama broadcast on Sunday 21 June 1987 called Man on the Screen which went out under the banner title of Thriller (although nothing to do with the long-running 1970s ITV series of that name).

Man on the Screen featured a lead character called Jack Adams played by David Quilter.  His co-star was the French actress Elisabeth Etienne, who was playing a character called Chantal.  It also had a character listed as a "Computer Technician" played by Jill James. 

Thriller was an ITV series made by the HTV company and appears to have only been a short series of three one-off dramas.  The only other two that seemingly went out under this series title were both shown in 1986.

Because it was an ITV programme it is not covered by the BBC Genome project so instead I used the Times Digital archive to lookup that week's TV listings page and obtained the following plot details.

TV REVIEWER'S CHOICE: Man on the Screen (10:00-11:00pm, ITV). Smart Money meets Gaslight in Terence Feely's electronic thriller.  With one nervous breakdown under his belt, computer genius David Quilter finds his sanity threatened once more by a couple of corrupt colleagues.  Alastair Reid's mannered direction and Feely's clich├ęd dialogue fortunately detract little from the story.

LISTING: Man on the Screen.  A computer genius is accused of a murder he cannot remember committing

Since it was about a computer genius a scene set in a computer centre fits.

And most compellingly pictures of David Quilter bear a strong resemblance to the man in the scene.

The French woman's face isn't seen all that clearly in the clip but images of Elisabeth Etienne show the same general look.

With the clues fitting all available avenues of investigation plus additional follow-ups on scenario and actor resemblance also panning out, it seems as likely as it can be (without the full programme to hand) that this query is now solved to a sufficient degree of confidence to call it.

Elisabeth Etienne's acting career was primarily in France and this seems to have been the only thing she did on UK television, although it is not shown on IMDB.   She also appeared nude in the French film Femmes de personne (1984).

Man on the Screen was written by Terence Feely and was directed by Alastair Reid.  It also starred Robert Urquhart, Natalie Slater, Eva Mottley and Thorley Walters.

The other two episodes in Thriller, both from March 1986, were Macho starring John Stride and Susannah York; and You'll Never See Me Again starring Leslie Phillips.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Righting Wrongs: A Clockwork Orange (1971)

A Clockwork Orange (1971) contains a fair amount of nudity but the end credits unhelpfully list the minor players without indicating the roles played - and in alphabetical order too so nothing useful can be determined from the order in which they are listed

Although IMDB have long had a full list of credits showing character names it has never been clear where these identifications originate from and how reliable they can be taken to be.  One would of course hope the identifications were made by someone who had access to researched documentation.  But they could just as easily contain a degree of guesswork.

Case in Point
Recently watching the 1970s drama Secret Army on the Drama channel I noticed the actress Shirley Jaffe appearing in a small role in episode 3 and that prompted me to re-examine A Clockwork Orange in which she is one of those credited without a character designation.  On IMDB she is shown as being the "Victim of Billyboy's gang". 

This IMDB identification has led to the long-standing and widely-held belief that she is the naked woman near the beginning of the film being assaulted on the stage of a derelict casino by a gang who are then interrupted by a rival gang led by Alex (Malcolm McDowell).

But being only ever seen at a distance it has been impossible to really say one way or the other whether this is correct even with good face shots of her from another film - Taste The Blood of Dracula (1970).  Consequently it has been necessary to take the IMDB identification on good faith.

With no way to really prove it, it would only be possible to potentially overturn it if she could be spotted in some other role in the film.  And indeed this has now proved to be the case.  She has been located in an easily missed cameo as a non-speaking nurse in the first hospital that Alex is taken to where he is soon to get his aversion therapy.  She is getting a hypodermic syringe ready while Dr Branom (Madge Ryan) assesses Alex.  Her face is only briefly seen as she is walking into the room but it is her clearly enough.

This means she is not the woman in the Billybob scene as has long been thought.  So her entry on the site database will be removed next time its pages are refreshed.

This of course leaves the actress in that scene unaccounted for ... (but not for long)

While doing this new investigation I came across a site dedicated to Malcolm McDowell and A Clockwork Orange (aco) which has behind-the-scenes documentation on the film.

acolocations.freeiz.com - A table of call sheets for the film
malcolmtribute.freeiz.com/aco/acocast.html  A list of participants and the roles they actually played.  Including uncredited roles and other useful information.
From this the following can be drawn.

It confirms Shirley Jaffe is indeed the Hypo Nurse and not the woman being assaulted in the derelict casino.

On IMDB Cheryl Grunwald is listed as "Victim in film" - this would be referencing a sequence seen of a young woman in a pink wig on some grass being set upon by men in white clothing - this is a film shown to Alex during his aversion therapy designed to appal him and correct his way of thinking.

But the information on the malcolmtribute site shows that Cheryl Grunwald was in fact the girl in the earlier Billybob scene and not the girl wearing the pink wig in the aversion therapy film.  The latter scene is unfortunately not actually mentioned on the site, so unless Cheryl Grunwald did both scenes (which there is no real cause to think) that performer now becomes an unknown.

Here is a comparison collage showing a blow-up from the Billybob scene along with a photo that is apparently one of Cheryl Grunwald in a publicity shot taken at the time of A Clockwork Orange.  It's not conclusive but it seems entirely possible it could be her.

The malcolmtribute site does help substantiate a few of the other identifications made on the IMDB entry.
  • Jan Adair, Vivienne Chandler & Prudence Drage are indeed the three women in Alex's bible fantasy
  • And Katya Wyeth is indeed the girl in Alex's Ascot fantasy right at the end of the film. 
  • Also, the uncredited brunette girl who was in the speeded up bedroom sequence along with Gillian Hills, was indeed played by Barbara Scott who doesn't appear in the end credits despite having a speaking role and the same degree of involvement as the credited Gillian Hills (who was recognisable enough from other things not to need IMDB's help identifying her role).  This seems to be because she asked for her name to be taken off the credits.