This blog is for English actress, cakemaker and writer Jane Asher, with many pictures and accurate information of one of the most beautiful rock muses from the 20th century.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

The Stone Tape, 1972

The Stone Tape is a television play directed by Peter Sasdy and starring Michael Bryant (as Peter Brock), Jane Asher (as Jill Greeley), Michael Bates (as Eddie Holmes) and Iain Cuthbertson (as Roy Collinson). It was broadcast on BBC Two as a Christmas ghost story in 1972. Combining aspects of science fiction and horror, the story concerns a team of scientists who move into their new research facility, a renovated Victorian mansion that has a reputation for being haunted. The team investigate the phenomena, trying to determine if the stones of the building are acting as a recording medium for past events (the "stone tape" of the play's title). However, their investigations serve only to unleash a darker, more malevolent force.
The Stone Tape was written by Nigel Kneale, best known as the writer of Quatermass (film in wich a very young Jane starred in). Critically acclaimed at time of broadcast, it remains well regarded to this day as one of Nigel Kneale's best and most terrifying plays. Since its broadcast, the hypothesis of residual haunting – that ghosts are recordings of past events made by the natural environment – has come to be known as the "Stone Tape Theory".

The play focuses on the relationship between three scientists: Jill, a talented computer programmer attuned to psychic phenomena; her arrogant, egotistical and ruthless, if frequently charming, boss (and lover) Peter; and Collinson, the foreman on the project and confidante to both of them. Their differing personal experiences of the mansion's haunted room provide the framework for the drama and are drawn along traditional gender lines. Kneale's script explores male and female perspectives, contrasting rational problem solving and the application of the scientific method with intuitive and emotional responses and solutions aligned with a compassionate feeling for people and their circumstances. Peter and Jill stand at the opposite poles of this dialectic, and as their inability to communicate their differences increases, so their personal relationship disintegrates. Collinson comes somewhere between the two, as the main identification figure for the audience. Iain Cuthbertson gives a powerful yet restrained performance in the role, which was expanded considerably during filming as his character replaced the one played by Michael Bates, who became unavailable when the shooting of some scenes had to be rescheduled.

The special effects in the climax, in which Jill is pursued by ancient shapeless creatures and taken back thousands of years to a high sacrificial altar before falling to her death, are often startling, despite their crudeness. The use of sound by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, however, is highly sophisticated, with atonal electronic sounds used to merge music with the noises made by the scientific machinery. 

Although reminiscent of Kneale's own earlier Quatermass and the Pit (BBC, 1957-58) in the way that science unleashes supernatural forces from the past, The Stone Tape can also be seen as a dark meditation on Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol', with Peter as a Scrooge figure, basically uncaring of those around him, who eventually learns the error of his ways through supernatural intervention, but only when it's too late.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Evening Standard Film Awards, 2001

February 4th, 2001 - Cartoonist and artist Gerald Scarfe and his wife actress and cook Jane Asher arriving at the Evening Standard Film Awards at the Savoy Hotel in London.

Photo 1) Michael Crabtree / PA Archive/PA Images
Photo 2) Doug Peters/allactiondigital.com/PA Images.
Photo 3) Corbis.
Photo 4) Dave Hogan/Getty Images.
Photo 5) Alan Davidson / Silverhub/REX/Shutterstock.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Chelsea Flower Show, 1996

May 20th, 1996 - Actress Jane Asher is joined by Gerald Scarfe, the Right Reverand Peter Nott, and TV presenters Prunella Scales and Esther Rantzen after Asher had been presented with the new Arc Angel Rose at the Chelsea Flower Show in London.


Photo 1 - Doug Peters / EMPICS Entertainment/PA Images.
Photo 2 - Michael Stephens / PA Archive/PA Images.
Photo 3 - Nils Jorgensen/REX Shutterstock
Photo 4 - Starstock/Photoshot Photo

Monday, 19 October 2015

Paintings by deaf children, 1980

February 15th, 1980 - TV presenter Esther Rantzen with her five-week old baby Rebecca; and actress Jane Asher with her six year old daughter Katie Scarfe judging paintings by deaf children who will compete in a nationwide painting competition organised by Ann Rakhin,  the founder of The Beethoven Fund For Deaf Children and in conjunction with Lorin Maazel's 50th Birthday Gala Concert at The Royal Festival Hall on March 6th. The paintings were also judged by actor Edward Fox, Richard Baker and Gerald Scarfe.

Photos 1 & 2 - Phillip Jackson / Daily Mail /REX Shutterstock
Photo 3 - TopFoto via Lady Jane group at yahoo!

Friday, 16 October 2015

"Sharing the Honours", 1972

Jane asher as Martha Washbrook in the ‘ITV Sunday Night Theatre’ - ‘Sharing the Honours’ TV Drama, aired on August 13th 1972.
With Siân Phillips as Sally Stirling and Nigel Davenport as Ed Sterling.

ITV/REX Shutterstock

Monday, 12 October 2015

Twickenham Studios, 1964

April 3, 1964 - Jane Asher and Paul McCartney and Dick Van Dyke and his wife Margie visiting Twickenham Studios where The Beatles were filming A Hard Day's NightVan Dyke had just finished filming Mary Poppins at the Disney Studios in California and was taking his first vacation in many years.

Photos 1 to 5 - Lady Jane group at yahoo!
Photo 6 - By Dezo Hoffman, from the gilly tumblr.