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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 19 February 2018 at 2:43pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

It seems like since Hugh Laurie eliminated his accent while playing HOUSE, there has been a noticeable improvement in the quality of American accents by British actors. The late John Mahoney of FRASIER lost his accent so thoroughly, he later discovered he couldn't even do a good imitation of a Manchester accent, when Jane Leeves asked him for pointers!
One actress I've noticed whose accent is all over the place is Katie McGrath, who plays Lena Luthor on SUPERGIRL, and who can't seem to decide if Lena should sound American, or Irish(kike herself), and seems to end up with British as a 'compromise!'

Some of the worst American accents I recall hearing on British shows were in certain adaptations of Agatha Christie stories, where one or two 'Yank' characters showed up. The actors seemed to be trying to make the characters sound 'Texan', regardless of where they were suposed to have come from!(This was in the '80s, so perhaps there was some influence due to the popularity of 'Dallas!')
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 19 February 2018 at 3:01pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I was surprised that actor/director Dexter Fletcher was a
Brit after seeing him in the tv series Press Gang, not
sure how convincing hus accent was to the Anerican ear.
Regarding the 'Texan' point, I remember seeing a VHI
drama/documentary about Sheffield band Def Leppard, the
American actors all sounded like London residents,
regional accents are noticeable to the indigenous
population!
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Robbie Moubert
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Posted: 19 February 2018 at 9:00pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

The BBC were actually using Doctor Who to test the waters for their own twice weekly soap opera intended to take on Coronation Street. There's no way they would cast Peter Davison, who was a big star on British TV at the time, to be the lead in something they 'intended' to fail.

****************************************

IIRC it was only the McCoy stories that went out at the same time as Coronation Street at a time when the Beeb had pretty much given up on Doctor Who.

I'm not sure the Davison move was a test for Eastenders. Z Cars had been made as a twice-weekly show for much of the 70s and the same was done with Angels from '79 - '83. In 1981 they also launched Triangle, another twice-weekly soap.

It has been speculated that one reason for the cancellation/hiatus during Colin Baker's run was because they needed the money to  launch Eastenders.
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 19 February 2018 at 10:34pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Going by the UK magazines of the time I had, I got that impression too that it was McCoy put up against Corrie. I have the 4 disc set of '70s Z-Cars BBC authorized, and it's all from the time when it went from twice weekly two-part stories to single parters. I'm not sure how long they ran it like that but before they did it with Davison's Who it had failed as a format with Z-Cars. Outside it's Saturday evening family slot Doctor Who dwindled away... you'd have thought they'd have put it back to Saturdays if they'd actually wanted it to succeed. Yes, the old "if it ain't broke" rule again.


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Bill Collins
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Posted: 19 February 2018 at 11:00pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

It WAS McCoy era, also the BBC never schedule Eastenders
against Coronation Street, even today with plenty of
ways to record/catch up.
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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 20 February 2018 at 3:30pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

John Nathan Turner said of the move to twice weekly episodes during the Peter Davison era: I think that what we were doing was really rehearsing which of the two evenings of the week would be ideal for a soap opera which had yet to be named, which was Eastenders.

The shift helped with the ratings too - ITV had scheduled Buck Rogers in the 25th Century against Doctor Who on Saturday nights, and the American import was killing the home team.
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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 20 February 2018 at 5:34pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

I think some of the sources are futzing with the 'timeline', since EASTENDERS debuted in 1985,  a year after Davison hung up his cricket bat. Was it really 'in development' as far back as 1981-82?
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 20 February 2018 at 10:46pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

They already had a soap around the 81/82 era, called
Triangle.
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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 21 February 2018 at 3:42am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I think some of the sources are futzing with the 'timeline', since EASTENDERS debuted in 1985,  a year after Davison

I know Doctor Who involves time travel but testing the waters for something after the event can be difficult for non-Time Lords.
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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 21 February 2018 at 4:39am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

They already had a soap around the 81/82 era, called Triangle

I can think of any number of BBC serials and soaps but, for reasons of his own, Alan Hart used long-running Doctor Who with new lead Peter Davison (very popular on TV at the time) to test viability for a proposed new soap. Far from being part of a sinister conspiracy to kill off Doctor Who, this move was good for our favourite Time Lord because the ratings improved. The only downside to the twice weekly move was that the season went by faster.
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Robbie Moubert
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Posted: 21 February 2018 at 8:34am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

According to a 2005 book about 20 years of EastEnders, David Reid, Head of Series and Serials, approached Julia Smith and Tony Holland about producing a twice-weekly, 52 weeks per year series in March 1983 (Angels and Triangle, although twice-weekly, were made in shorter runs).


Edited by Robbie Moubert on 21 February 2018 at 8:35am
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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 21 February 2018 at 2:25pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Yeah, so JNT was a bit 'fuzzy' in the timing. No biggie.
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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 22 February 2018 at 4:19am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

David Reid, Head of Series and Serials, approached Julia Smith and Tony Holland about producing a twice-weekly, 52 weeks per year series in March 1983

That would tie in with Hart making Doctor Who twice weekly to see how it would fare. Even though what we now know of as Eastenders had yet to take form, it was clear that the BBC was wanting its own Coronation Street for quite a long while.

Yeah, so JNT was a bit 'fuzzy' in the timing. No biggie.

Was he?  That'll teach me to trust someone who was actually there at the BBC making the show over some guy on the internet. Look, I'm sorry, but no one is going to convince me the BBC was trying to kill off Doctor Who during the Davison era. Even if you won't accept that the move to twice weekly was done for good reasons then there's the Longleat celebration and Hart giving permission for a 90 minute special, The Five Doctors, to celebrate the 20th anniversary. Plus, Doctor Who had become popular in the States - the real reason for introducing an American companion. On both sides of the pond that was a truly wonderful time to be a fan of the series.

(And then one day I opened a newspaper and was presented with a picture of Colin Baker wearing a very peculiar costume... )




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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 22 February 2018 at 12:20pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

There was a lot of noise from fans that JNT should go, but starting only about when the hand-over to Colin Baker happened. The Twin Dilemma was blasted in print and on the talk-back tv show. Criticism built, ratings slipped, one of the BBC heads did want rid of the show as he found it embarrassing, and the other wanted JNT replaced. They took 18 months off, came back to the same mess, then Colin Baker was sacrificed, but during the whole thing the BBC publicity department failed to get behind the show at all. Publicity hungry JNT kept plugging in special guest stars to get 'bums in seats' as he put it, got fewer fabby vacations abroad and just as McCoy's Doc was getting interesting, fade to black! So never got a resolution/explaination of the 'more than just a doctor' Cartmell business, and Ace became a monster/killer in the supposedly 'adult' New Adventures paperbacks. Bleh.

Then we got one McGann story and that was all for nowt too (not counting the Big Finish audios which are great). Double Bleh. And look at all the money they kept making from selling books etc. to those fans! It's like Marvel, if someone on the upper floor just doesn't like something that's all that counts, they make the real bottom line by slashing lower down staff and what's left goes into Eldorado or whatever pet project.
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David Miller
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Posted: 22 February 2018 at 12:58pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

I wonder how "a lot of noise from fans" was made in the Eighties? Letters to the Dr. Who fanzine? 
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 22 February 2018 at 1:20pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

In newspapers that had regular review columns on tv, to the BBC in Radio Times, and on the various talk-back tv and radio shows they ran. Plus even letters to MPs and things actually got noticed and read in parliament or the house of Lords.

There were also the Doctor Who Appreciation Society magazines besides the Marvel monthly, and large distribution semi or pro magazines Starburst, Starlog, DWB...


Edited by Rebecca Jansen on 22 February 2018 at 1:21pm
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 22 February 2018 at 2:28pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

P.S.: I'm not sure, but I think maybe people in the U.S. might need to know that the BBC was affiliated with the government, it had a right to collect tax through the license fees everyone had to pay, so it might seem ludicrous involving an MP or Lord if you don't know that. Even ITV was overseen by a regulatory body of government.

I remember at least one sitting political figure getting involved on behalf of Doctor Who fans in his constituency. License payers are tax payers and in theory everyone works for them.
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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 22 February 2018 at 5:24pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Me:
Yeah, so JNT was a bit 'fuzzy' in the timing. No biggie.
************************************************************ *****


Andrew:
Was he?  That'll teach me to trust someone who was actually there at the BBC making the show over some guy on the internet. Look, I'm sorry, but no one is going to convince me the BBC was trying to kill off Doctor Who during the Davison era. Even if you won't accept that the move to twice weekly was done for good reasons then there's the Longleat celebration and Hart giving permission for a 90 minute special, The Five Doctors, to celebrate the 20th anniversary. Plus, Doctor Who had become popular in the States - the real reason for introducing an American companion. On both sides of the pond that was a truly wonderful time to be a fan of the series. 

(And then one day I opened a newspaper and was presented with a picture of Colin Baker wearing a very peculiar costume... )
************************************************************ ******
All I meant (honest!) about JNT being a little 'fuzzy wit the timeline was the arithmetic:
1981: BBC changes DOCTOR WHO scheduling to Tuesday-Thursday. effective in January 1982. JNT, in a quote up thread says this was when the BBC was 'testing the waters for a twice-weekly soap opera which became EASTENDERS.'
But EASTENDERS wasn't in existence, and wasn't even a thought, until March, 1983, when David Reid reached out to the two producers of what would become EASTENDERS.
So, all I'm saying is, JNT was a little off in his recollection of the timing.Not lying, no conspiracy theories, nothing.
No need to summon me before the High Council of the Time Lords.;-)
'Vote Saxon'!
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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 22 February 2018 at 5:48pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Can't find it just now, but I know there was ince a web page that went into great detail about what that never-made 1990 season would have revealed(try Googling 'The Doctor is Merlin an alternate timeline').
Sophie Aldred was going to leave after that season, and McCoy would have stuck around for the year after that. Ace was supposed to remain behind in a Gallifrey story, so that she could study at the Time Lord Academy(this was when the Doctor still thought people could be 'safe' on Gallifrey!)
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 22 February 2018 at 6:20pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Maybe it's for the best there was no 1990 season as now we can imagine the greatest things. They did publish the cancelled Colin Baker season stories as Doctor Who novels and it was the usual uneven bunch, of course, as it would be.
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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 22 February 2018 at 7:32pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

It's been said that the 'unused' plans for the Time Lords inspired the idea tto refer to something 'big' that had happened to them prior to the 2005 version, which became The Time War.
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Robbie Moubert
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Posted: 22 February 2018 at 7:34pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

I think that by putting the McCoy stories against Coronation Street the Beeb were definitely throwing Doctor Who under the bus but I also agree that moving the Davison episodes was a bid to improve  the ratings and was successful. I still find it hard to accept that they thought Doctor Who was the programme to use to test the viability of a twice-weekly soap. As mentioned, Z Cars, Angels and Triangle - all arguably more likely to appeal to a soap audience - would already have done that. 
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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 22 February 2018 at 7:55pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

Looking at 'What might have been' in the unmade 1985 season: Stories featuring the Celestial Toymaker(in modern-day Blackpool, solving the 'mystery' of the Doctor's 'I'll take you to B....' line at the end of the previous season); the Autons, with the Master and Rani; and the Ice Warriors, as well as a second Master appearance, following the 'he was disguised as another character' approach).
Who knows, it sounds better than using the plot device  'video evidence presented at a trial' as a way of 'condensing' the story content in each episode.

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Matthew Wilkie
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Posted: 24 February 2018 at 10:25am | IP Logged | 24 post reply

The stupidest thing about Peri was that John-Nathan Turner fed the press some BS that Nicola Bryant was using her 'real American accent' on the show, and that she had dual UK/US citizenship, spending most of her childhood in this country. This was eventually debunked on the convention circuit, but it was treated a 'gospel' for years.

***

That may all be true but the story is even dafter than that. I saw a recent interview with Bryant where she said that an agent had seen her in a play playing an American and put her up for the part with the casting call specifically asking for American nationals. When she admitted it wasn't her natural accent, the agent suggested that she didn't let on at the audition. Could it be that JNT actually thought she may be American? 
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 24 February 2018 at 12:31pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

I think my explanation for Peri makes sense:

The character was born/and or raised in America by English parents, but didn't live her entire life in the U.S.; She more likely moved between the U.S. and England.

That would explain her name (no American in their right mind would name their kid Perpugilliam), her accent switching around, and her using British idioms. 

If they ever have an American companion again, either cast an American or at least make sure the actor can maintain a decent accent.

And as far as accents go, it seems the two hardest accents for Americans to do are English (any region) and southern U.S. Most of the time when a non-southern actor tries to do a southern accent, they either sound like they're from part of Georgia (or rarely Kentucky), or have an accent that I call `Hollywood southern', because it doesn't sound like any real one at all.


Edited by Brian Floyd on 24 February 2018 at 12:35pm
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