Thursday, 27 November 2008
Sunday, 23 November 2008
Saturday, 15 November 2008
Published June 2004 by Black Horse Westerns (Robert Hale Limited)
In November 2003 the writer known as Tex Larrigan died.
Tex Larrigan was the nom-de-plume of a white haired lady who wore large framed glasses who's name was Irene Ord.
Irene was born in Darlington, Lancashire in 1920 the daughter of a draper. She married and had five children. It was those children who would set her on the writing path for she told them bedtime stories that she would write down as her children would want to hear those stories again.
From this Irene began to write a column for The Northern Despatch newspaper .
Her first novel, DESERT ROMANCE, was published in 1977 and went on to write about 30 novels under the names of Emily Wynn and Kate Fairfax. When her publishers decided not to publish anymore of her historical bodyrippers she found guidence from Albert Hill (better known as Black Horse Western writer Elliot Conway) who suggested that she write a western.
Both Albert Hill and Irene Ord had been founder members of the Darlington Writers Circle.
In 1989 her first western 'BUCKMASTER' was published under the name of Tex Larrigan by Hale's Black Horse Western brand.
This was a story where Buckmaster, riding the Oregon Trail, comes to the aid of a woman who is looking for revenge against her ex-lover who has seduced her daughter. Told in the first person it is one of those times when the reader becomes convinced that it could have only have been written by a man and for some years I have been under that illusion until I discovered her identity in The Directory Of Twentieth Century Western Writers.
It is said that Irene could turn out a book in four weeks. Ideas just kept coming to her so that in the period 1977 to 1986 she had 28 published books to her name.
Irene had never been to America. All her books were a combination of good research and a fertile imagination. In 1998, with Albert Hill, she went to Wyoming for a BBC tv programme. Here she walked in the footsteps of Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, visited the site of Custer's Last Stand, fired a gun and rode horses. She came back with enough material for several books.
Eventually, her output was reduced to about two books a year and, on her death, left two or three manuscripts that were published after her death.
Besides writing as Tex Larrigan, Irene also wrote western novels under the names of Curt Longbow, James O. Lowes and Newton Ketton.
Tex Larrigan writes a good page turner with well drawn characters that, for me, makes these books very collectable and there are many on my bookshelf. Irene, known as 'Tex' her nickname, is a talent that has to be read.
Friday, 14 November 2008
Monday, 10 November 2008
Tuesday, 4 November 2008
Sunday, 2 November 2008
SURVIVORS was a 1970s BBC series. It was created by Terry Nation - better known for his 'Dr Who' series.
At Christmas, a couple of years ago, my wife bought me Series One and Two. This came as a bit of surprise as I hadn't a clue why she bought it. As it turned out it was one of those programmes where I would not miss an episode.
Survivors is set in the UK and deals with a world wide flu-like virus that wipes out all but a handful of survivors who, gradually, come together in order to survive.
Although dated - it is reflective of the time. One 'brilliant' moment was when a band of looters steal TVs from a shop - at a time when there is no electricity - why?
Apart from that the series did have a serious message. If you were a survivor what would you do? In one episode there is a good performance by George Baker as an ex-MP who is starting up a dictatorship with his own ideas on ethnic cleansing - dispose of anybody who disagrees with him.
As the series progresses the survivors begin to learn new skills and take up farming - this leads to trading with other communities. And yet none of these groups appear to want to join each other which is something that I could not quite fathom. Maybe, the answers are in Series 3 which I'm hoping Father Christmas will put in my stocking.
By the end of series two contact is made with survivors from Europe.
Now, the BBC have re-made this series and airs later this year. Written by Adrian Hodges who is, also, a executive producer with Susan Hogg (Larkrise To Candleford)
Julie Graham will take over the Abby Grant role and Freema Agyeman (better known for her roles in Dr Who and Torchwood) takes on the role of Jenny. These were the main leads in the original series one. Another Dr Who actor - Shaun Dingwall has a part to play along with Max Beezley (brilliant in the adaptation of Tom Jones and Hotel Babylon) as Tom Price.
From the trailer I am in two minds - a hospital scene that looks a bit '28 Days Later' and a man playing football with a kid on an empty road doesn't seem real to me. At least, the original had abandoned vehicles around - and a hint that people had died while still on the road - and the remains of a multiple pile-up on a motorway.
Still, I will watch the opening episodes - give it a chance to impress. Until then - well I'm sticking with the original.