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Mark Stay

Podcast #15 - Mark Stay



Mark’s second film, Unwelcome (aka The Little People) is released through Warner Bros. next February whilst his first feature starred Sir Ben Kingsley, Our Robot Overlords (2014) which was selected for the BFI London Film Festival.


Mark also has a TV series in development with a major streaming platform that is so top secret that even mentioning the title would be a dead giveaway.


His latest book is The Crow Folk, published by Simon & Schuster in February 2021 whilst second book in the series, Babes in the Wood, is coming in October 2021. Mark also wrote fantasy novel The End of Magic and some amazing people have said some very nice things about it!


You can visit Mark's website here


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Sally Hibbin

Podcast #15 - Sally Hibbin



Sally Hibbin is a British independent film producer, known for her work on low budget films with directors like Ken Loach and Phil Davis as well as producers like Sarah Curtis and Rebecca O'Brien in both film and television.


The daughter of Nina Hibbin; film critic for the communist Daily Worker (later the Morning Star), her career also began as a journalist until she founded her independent production company, Parallax Pictures in 1981 where she had a lengthy cooperation with Ken Loach, which marked “a pivotal period in the director's career”, with films like Riff-Raff (1991), Raining Stones (1993), Ladybird, Ladybird (1994), Land and Freedom (1995) and Carla's Song (1996).


She also worked with television directors such as Les Blair on feature films like Bad Behaviour (1993) and Stand and Deliver (1997), as well as actor Phil Davis on his directorial debut motion picture, I.D. (1995) and then, Hold Back the Night (1998).


With Skreba Films, she produced A Very British Coup (miniseries) (1988) for Channel 4 which was a three-part dramatization of the novel by MP, Chris Mullin, depicting United Kingdom under a genuinely socialist Labour government. The series won four BAFTA Awards in 1989 - for Best Actor (Ray McAnally), Best Drama Series (Sally Hibbin, Alan Plater, Anne Skinner and Mick Jackson), Best Film Editor (Don Fairservice) and Best Film Sound (Christian Wangler, David Old and Peter Elliott ) – and a 1988 International Emmy Award for Best Drama.


Riff-Raff (1991), won the Critics' Award at Cannes Film Festival as well as the inaugural Felix for Best European Film, and I Know You Know, won the BAFTA Cymru award in 2009.


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Steve Bailie

Podcast #14 - Steve Bailie



Olly is joined by screenwriter Steve Bailie in our latest podcast.


Steve, who hails from Belfast, started out as a Literary Agent at ICM in London, and worked in development and as a producer for numerous companies including the BBC, ITV, Carlton Television and Columbia Tri-Star Productions before beginning his writing career.


Writing multiple episodes of popular TV series such as Spooks, The Bill, Primeval and Casualty Steve graduated to big budget series Versailles, The Musketeers, Deutschland 83 (and subsequently Deutschland 86 and 89 – for Amazon - on which he is also executive producer), Hackerville (HBO) and more recently Sky Atlantic’s Riviera.


He is a BAFTA and Writer’s Guild Award winner. Steve’s insight of big budget and continuing drama series is intriguing, and he’ll share some of them along with career anecdotes with Olly.


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Kevin Connor

Podcast #13 - Kevin Connor



Our lucky 13th podcast features Olly Smith chatting with veteran director Kevin Connor.


Kevin began his career as an editor and worked on films such as The Charge Of The Light Brigade (director by Tony Richardson), Oh What A Lovely War! and Young Winston (both directed by Richard Attenborough), The Magic Christian, and Hitler: The Last Ten Days to name a few.


He then got his directorial break on From Beyond The Grave, an Amicus horror feature in 1974 starring Peter Cushing, Ian Bannen, Diana Dors, Donald Pleasance and David Warner. This led him to directing a series of boys’ own adventure features such as The Land That Time Forgot starring Doug McClure, Trial By Combat starring John Mills, At The Earth’s Core, Warlords Of Atlantis and The People That Time Forgot (again with Doug McClure), Arabian Adventure, plus Motel Hell and episodic TV such as Space 1999, Remington Steel, Return Of The Saint, Hart To Hart, Moonlighting, Hotel … which in turn led him to major US miniseries Mistral’s Daughter and North And South Book 2. Kevin subsequently helmed The Apocalypse Watch, The Old Curiosity Shop, The Hollywood Detective with Telly Savalas, The Return Of Sherlock Holmes, Mary Mother Of Jesus, In The Beginning, Frankenstein, Marco Polo … and many others. He has directed over 80 films and TV productions and is still counting.


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Alan O'Duffy

Podcast #12 - Alan O'Duffy
Producer & Engineer



This next Media Lunch Club podcast is an amusing yarn from Dublin-born record producer & engineer Alan O'Duffy, who nowadays works on TV drama & features – 150 plus of the former to his credit TV and 19 feature films, working in 32 countries.


Alan was introduced to the MLC by music supervisor Don Gallacher, and spoke at our last pre-Covid lunch in February 2020. Alan was a highly entertaining speaker who discussed his life in music with a thirty-million global selling record, mixing three USA #1 albums with Paul McCartney, working with The Blind Faith Clapton / Winwood supergroup, & the original landmark Jesus Christ SuperStar album with Lord Lloyd Webber and Sir Tim Rice.


With his memoir out very soon Alan was interviewed in Liverpool by Director Mark Reeson FRSA, in the fabulous Titanic Hotel – the half hour interview is well worth a listen. Enjoy!


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Mark Herman

Podcast #11 - Mark Herman
Director and Screenwriter



Mark Herman is a graduate of the National Film and Television School, where he concentrated on writing and directing having originally enrolled to study animation.


His 1987 student film, See You At Wembley Frankie Walsh, was awarded best foreign film at that years Student Academy Awards.


Herman’s first feature-length project was Blame It on the Bellboy (1992), a comedy of mistaken identity starring Dudley Moore and Bryan Brown; from where he wrote and directed the critically acclaimed Brassed Off (1996), following the members of a colliery brass band, still struggling to survive a decade after the miners' strike.


In Little Voice (1998), adapted by Herman from Jim Cartwright's play ‘The Rise and Fall of Little Voice’, Jane Horrocks reprised the title role of a harried young woman whose only escape lies in the memory of her father and in imitating the singers he admired.


Purely Belter (2000), adapted by Herman from Jonathan Tulloch's novel ‘The Season Ticket’, is the story of two teenage boys trying to get together enough money for a couple of Newcastle United F.C. season tickets. Whilst Hope Springs (2003), is an adaptation of the book ‘New Cardiff’ starring Colin Firth.


In 2008 he adapted The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas which was produced by David Heyman and stars David Thewlis, Vera Farmiga, Sheila Hancock and Rupert Friend.


He is presently developing a feature on the life of Spike Milligan.


Mark Herman is a fellow of Film and Television Production, York St John University, and has received Honorary Doctorates from Hull University and Leeds Beckett University.


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Colin MacKenzie

Podcast #10 - Colin Mackenzie
Journalist and Author


The entertainment industry thrives on publicity, as do the personalities within it – it’s what helps sell movies, TV shows and books.


One of Fleet Street’s veterans, and finest, is Colin Mackenzie. He grilled the likes of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, Warren Beatty, Led Zeppelin through to political leaders such as Margaret Thatcher, President Richard Nixon, and President Nicolae Ceausescu. Aged just 31 he delivered the biggest story of his career - he located the great train robber Ronnie Biggs in far off Rio de Janeiro and went out to interview him, delivering a worldwide scoop – which was recently nominated as one of the best ten scoops of the 20th century by the UK Press Gazette.


This was of course before the advent of fax, internet and mobile phones – an age when journalists relied on phone boxes, libraries and hunches and a time in when politicians, top sports stars and celebrities didn’t employ teams of public relations and protection employees to ward off the attention of journalists.


In 1964, for example, Mackenzie got through to former Prime Minister Harold MacMillan with just one phone call.


In his new book – Pressing My Luck - Mackenzie lovingly recreates a clubbable Fleet Street which, sadly, no longer exists as newspapers, battling for survival in a computerised world, have moved offices to the outer boroughs of London. "The Street of Shame" as Private Eye characterised the newspaper world of the Sixties and Seventies, is no more.


Throughout his career, Mackenzie entertained a love of the Sport of Kings, becoming a founder reporter on the Racing Post, before re-joining the Daily Mail to become the doyen of racing correspondents, rubbing rubbed shoulders with the Queen, the Queen Mother, Princess Anne, the Aga Khan and Sir Alex Ferguson. More recently he was writer on three documentary films for Sky, the BBC and Channel 5).


You can purchase a copy of Colin's book - Pressing My Luck: Memoir of a Fleet Street Veteran here


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David Parfitt

Podcast #9 - David Parfitt
Actor \ Producer


Our December podcast features Olly Smith chatting with David Parfitt. David is the Oscar winning producer producer behind such hits as Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, The Madness Of King George, Shakespeare In Love (for which he won the Academy Award for Best Picture), My Week With Marilyn, Red Joan and the upcoming and much-praised The Father with Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman.


David is a past Chairman of BAFTA and Film London.


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Anne Wood

Podcast #8 - Anne Wood
Children's Television Producer

Ragdoll Productions


Our November podcast features Olly chatting with children’s television producer Anne Wood CBE.


Anne, and her company Ragdoll Productions, is responsible for co-creating shows such as Teletubbies (with Andrew Davenport), Tots TV, Boom, Twirlywoos and Rosie and Jim … to name but a few.


She was a recipient of the 1998 Fellowship of the Royal Television Society, and in 2000 a BAFTA Special Award for Outstanding Contribution in Children's Television and Film. She is a trailblazer and leading figure in children’s entertainment.


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Phil Hunt

Podcast #7 - Phil Hunt



In our next podcast, Olly Smith talks to Phil Hunt - the founder and managing director of London-based film, TV and video games financier Head Gear Films and the co-managing director of international sales outfit Bankside Films.


Head Gear provides finance for producers as well as executive producing and international distribution through Bankside.


Phil also heads Bohemia Media () a London-based production and distribution company, representing film, TV, performance and theatre arts projects made by under-represented groups.


Bohemia Media aims to amplify the stories told by folk from marginalised groups which are not well-served within mainstream culture and might otherwise struggle to find finance. We bring in investors on a project-by-project basis, which will be cause-focussed rather than for profits.


Bohemia is where great stories come first. It has launched with a slate of projects including Halle Berry’s directorial debut BRUISED and biographical documentary REBEL DREAD, which tells the story of director and D.J. Don Letts and received its world premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) in February 2020.


Phil has provided financial back for literary hundreds of films!


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Michael Ryan

Podcast #6 - Michael Ryan
Film financier, sales & distribution

GFM Animation


Olly Smith chats with Michael Ryan.


Michael began his career working with Lord Lew Grade’s company, where he initially oversaw the foray into motion pictures and headed up their sales division. Later, going independent, he was half of the hugely influential and successful J&M Sales. Michael currently has two roles role; the first as Partner at GFM Animation and the other as Chairman of IFTA (Independent Film & Television Alliance) where he is serving an unprecedented fourth term. After many years of working parallel to one another, Michael and Guy Collins partnered in 2000 and together have financed, sold and produced over 250 films including The Wild Geese, The English Patient, The General, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Osterman Weekend, the Highlander series and Planet 51.


Michael is a keen singer with an amazing voice and can often be seen at industry events fronting the popular band ‘The Indies’.


He has a unique and unprecedented insight into film finance, sales and distribution.


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John Battsek

Podcast #5 - John Battsek
Documentary Producer



Olly Smith chats with two-time Oscar winning documentary producer John Battsek.


John has behind such docs as: Academy Award winning One Day in September, Academy Award winning Searching For Sugar Man, Academy Award nominated Restrepo & Winter On Fire and BAFTA-winning Hillsborough. Since 1997 he has produced/exec produced over 100 documentaries, with 5 presently in post-production.


At the recent (virtual) Cannes Marche, Screen International reported the clear winners in sales/distribution deals as being in the documentary sector. There is a greater market for documentary features now than ever before.


Furthermore, a report on the UK’s documentary film industry has called for “urgent policy intervention” as the creative sector works to rebuild in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. One suggestion is to increase the proportion of lottery funds ring-fenced for documentary from 9.1% to 25% for 2020-21. The BFI awarded Doc Society £1.8m for documentary activity for 2020-21, out of a total lottery funding pot of £20.9m. The report suggests this support should be 20-25% of the total pot, up to £5.2m. Another recommendation is to amend the UK’s current film tax relief to a rebate of up to 50% of qualifying spend, compared to the current 25% for fiction films.


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Sir Tim Rice

Podcast #4 - Sir Tim Rice



In our latest podcast, Olly Smith chats with lyricist Sir Tim Rice. Tim has worked on films ranging from the James Bond adventure Octopussy to Disney’s The Lion King & Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast to other major productions such as The Road To Eldorado and Evita. There are also numerous TV adaptations and stage productions including Chess, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar ... to name but a few.

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Freddie Davies

Podcast #3 - Freddie Davies
Actor, Writer & Comedian



In our latest podcast, Olly Smith talks with actor, writer and comedian Freddie Davies. Freddie started out as a Butlin’s Redcoat, before becoming a stand-up comedian and eventually a stage, TV and film actor. Film credits include Funnybones and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, whilst TV drama includes Casualty, Heartbeat, Preston Front, Hetty Wainthrop investigates, Band of Gold, Medics, Micky Love, Last of the Summer Wine and two series of Harbour Lights. He’s a terrific all-round entertainer and his chat is really enlightening. Olly mentions a recent McDonald’s commercial Freddie filmed, and here is a link in case you’d like to see it


Macdonald's Commercial

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Colin Vaines

Podcast #2 - Colin Vaines



In our June podcast, Olly Smith speaks with producer Colin Vaines. Colin has been an acclaimed Executive with Miramax and GK Films, along with being a producer and executive producer in his own right with films such as B Monkey, Coriolanus, Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool, an upcoming Sandra Bullock / Netflix movie and a biopic of Marianne Faithfull which is in pre-production.


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Will Smith

Podcast #1 - Will Smith
actor, writer, script editor and stand-up comedian



Perhaps most recognizable for being one of the writers and stars of the acclaimed The Thick Of It and writer/executive producer of HBO’s Emmy-winning series Veep Will’s writing credits also encompass: Avenue 5 with Hugh Laurie, Damned, Paddington 2, Moving Wallpaper … … and his acting credits include In The Loop, Paddington, Citizen Khan, Hampstead, Damned, Greed, and many others. Remaining busier than ever during the lockdown, Will is presently engaged scripting and producing a new show for Apple TV.

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