Wednesday Trivia Question

Who starred as DCI Dave Creegan on Touching Evil?

The anthology series MYSTERY! featured dozens of well known and obscure detectives, from private gumshoes to police investigators to amateur sleuths. In the late 1990s, MYSTERY! presented series one of TOUCHING EVIL (two more seasons followed in subsequent seasons). Created by Paul Abbott (RECKLESS) and written by Abbott with Russell T. Davies (CASANOVA, DOCTOR WHO), TOUCHING EVIL centered on the Organised and Serial Crime Unit which squared off against England’s most dangerous criminals. The primary characters were DCI Creegan and his colleague DI Susan Taylor (Nicola Walker). It was a very good series (as most MYSTERY! presentations were, of course) and even spawned an American adaptation starring Jeffrey Donovan and Vera Farmiga. But who starred in that original UK series as Dave Creegan?

Think about it and I’ll post the correct answer later today.


Where Do I Know That Actor?

This week’s Midsomer Murders (“The Animal Within”) featured a trio of recognizable guest stars that keen-eyed UNC-TV viewers may know from other fare. Let’s see if you spotted them.

We’ll start out with David Troughton, a man with a familiar surname to any Doctor Who fan (he’s the son of Patrick Troughton, Doctor #2). David Troughton played gardener Miles King in this episode. But where else have we seen him? Most recently, Troughton was Chief Inspector Benson on Grantchester. He also played Stan Astill on the charming Britcom The Café and Sergeant Clive Harvey on the Mystery series Jericho. And, yes, David Troughton has indeed made an appearance on Doctor Who – he was Professor Hobbes on the David Tennant adventure “Midnight.” Continue reading

My Top Five: Dogs

It’s now the Year of the Dog according to Chinese astrology and there have been loads of loyal canine companions on shows UNC-TV has broadcast over the decades. From Wellard on EastEnders to Barkley on Sesame Street, these memorable mutts have dug holes in our hearts and buried bones in our souls (if you’ll forgive the very disturbing and messy metaphor). But which pooches are my personal faves? I thought about it and came up with MY TOP FIVE DOGS from PBS shows and other public television fare we’ve aired here at UNC-TV.

5) MARTHA (Martha Speaks) Wagstaff City’s most vocal canine gained her power of human speech when she was fed alphabet soup and it went to her brain instead of her stomach. Not the most scientific of origins but it’s a dandy comedic premise for a kids show. Continue reading

Hey, It’s Photo Friday!

I’m very excited. I recently unearthed a cache of archival photos from the station’s 60+ year history. Many of these go back long before my time and I cannot even be certain who or what is pictured. Still, they are extremely interesting and a snapshot of UNC-TV during its early, formative years.

This week’s photo: a shot of an Open House held in 1983 at our Raleigh studios. Way back in the day, UNC-TV (at that time the UNC Center for Public Television) was spread out across the Triangle in various locations (NC State, UNC-CH, Chatham County). In 1989, all forces were assembled in the RTP in the then newly-constructed Joseph and Kathleen Bryan Communications Center, where we reside today.


I think you’ll recognize some familiar faces from our programming perched atop the Raleigh studios. If you happened to visit this Open House in the early 80s, drop me a line and let me know (I was but a viewer at the time).

Where Do I Know That Actor?

Fans of Midsomer Murders may have noticed a bevy of special guest stars on the most recent episodes. Saturday night’s two-part mystery (“Death In Chorus”) featured a handful of actors you may know from shows seen on UNC-TV’s airwaves in the past. Let’s see how many you noticed.

We’ll start with Patrick Drury who played Connor Simpson in the episode. His acting credits and public broadcasting association go back to the 1970s since his first imdb.comcredit is listed as “Courier” in I, Claudius. Drury has since been seen on Masterpiece Theatre as Montagu Corry in Disraeli and as Ian Ruby Smith in The Politician’s Wife.

Annabelle Apsion, who portrayed Ellen Barker, has guest starred in several series of note (My Uncle SilasThe Mrs Bradley MysteriesMI-5Foyle’s War) but she’s probably best known as Jennifer Cardew in Doc Martin or Violet Buckle on Call The Midwife. Continue reading

Monday Montage

What’s happening, what’s on and what’s interesting this week …

Join Ann Curry for a new series featuring dramatic reunions of people whose lives crossed at pivotal moments. From war to natural disasters, view history through their eyes and hear stories of heroism, hope and the forging of unbreakable bonds. Don’t miss WE’LL MEET AGAIN – premiering Tuesday night at 8 on UNC-TV.

PBS is celebrating 50 years of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood with an all-new special narrated by Michael Keaton (Keaton got his start on the series back in the 1970s). Continue reading

Where Do I Know That Actor? (Paddington Edition)

Occasionally, I like to veer away slightly from UNC-TV programming to tackle a feature film that’s heavy with appearances by faces familiar to public broadcasting viewers. As such: Paddington 2. Now, I haven’t seen the film but it’s got a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes (which is pretty impressive) and the cast is rife with actors from many of our favorite shows. Let’s get into it, shall we?

We’ll start with Paddington himself. Actually the titular bear from deepest, darkest Peru is computer generated but the character is voiced by Ben Whishaw. Fans of Shakespeare may remember him as King Richard in Richard II on The Hollow Crown.

Next up: the Browns, Paddington’s adoptive family. Parents Henry and Mary are played by Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins, respectively. Bonneville is best known as Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, on Downton Abbey. Hawkins was Anne Eliot on Persuasion, a 2007 Masterpiece adaptation of the Jane Austen novel. Continue reading