Horizon: To Infinity and Beyond. Steven Berkoff presents this
Horizon documentary on numbers, including a googol which is a 1 followed by 100 zeroes.
I liked the children being asked what is the biggest number- answer: 120.
An infinite number of monkeys will
eventually produce Shakespeare's plays- they could only afford one
Berkoff appears in arty black and white with shadows, and sometime his voice is echoed.
All images from the film.
A documentary, Words of the
Blitz from 2010 directed by Paul Copeland. Steven Berkoff and fellow actors Dominic West, Romola Garai, Sheila Hancock, Russell Tovey,
Alex Jennings, Joseph Beattie read from diaries and letters
who were in the blitz in the second world war.
Corrie: The Road to Coronation Street- Coronation Street,
nicknamed Corrie, is the
world's longest-running TV soap opera currently in production, having started in
1960 and still going bold. It is directed by Charles Sturridge in 2010.
The Cinematographer is Tim Palmer and the editor is Adam Green. The writer
is Daran Little who also wrote more than 100 of the Coronation Street episodes.
The struggle to get the show started.
Steven Berkoff plays Sidney Bernstein, the
head of Granada Television who has to be convinced the series is worth
doing. Berkoff is convincing in the role.
"a beautifully crafted love letter to the past by former Street
archivist and writer Daran Little, which ends just as Britain's first
TV soap opera begins" (Ian Wylie, The Guardian, 16 Sep 2010).
The real Sidney Berstein.
All images from
The Borgias, Neil Jordan's series on
"The Original Crime Family" with a prime British cast, Jeremy Irons as lead Borgia
Pope Alexander VI and in the first episode Derek Jacobi, from 2011-2013.
The Borgias were "a powerful family in Renaissance Italy. Despite the fact that
they produced two Popes, their name has become associated with all kinds of dark
deeds" (from history revealed
here). The Borgias, who were Spanish, have massive might, but so
do competing powers such as the Sforzas,
Steven Berkoff plays the priest Savonarola, the same role he played in A Season of
Giants from 1991. He appears in series 1 from 2011 in the episodes Death
on a Pale Horse and The Borgias in Love (both directed by Jeremy
Podeswa) and Lucrezia's Wedding (Simon Cellan Jones) and series 2 from
2012 in the episodes The Confession and World of Wonders (both by
David Leland,) The Siege at Forli and The Choice (both by Kari
Skogland) and Day of Ashes (John Maybury). He is introduced giving a hell-fire sermon about the evils of the Borgias
The series has a good cast, powerful scripts and
classy photography by cinematographer Paul Sarossy such as the duel in the
...or the Pope and his cardinals filmed from above.
And a large number of extras (actual
people and realistic CGI) used well, such as the French army marching
through Italy and threatening Rome with pillage and destruction.
Pope Alexander VI (Jeremy Irons) has to
face opposition from other powerful families the Medicis and the
Sforzas, as well as handling his family including a mistress and
children, the invading French army, and the rising power of Savonarola
Berkoff is convincing as he moves from
rabble-rouser to leader of disenchanted followers who like his
But the Pope recognises the threat he
poses, and he is arrested for heresy.
He is tortured to sign a confession, but
refuses to sign. Eventually his signature is forged and he is
burned as a heretic.
All images from the DVDs of the series.
Doctor Who: Power of Three. The doctor and his two companions
investigate after mysterious small cubes land all over the
Earth and no-one knows what they are.
initially seem innocuous, and the people collect them as ornaments or
paperweights. Everybody seems to have one.
Suddenly a number
appears on each and slowly counts down. What will happen when
they reach zero? And a small girl reacts to the doctor.
Steven Berkoff plays
Shakri, the controller of the attack on Earth- well actually he is a
hologram. He wears heavy make-up, but does have a very small number of
lines- his role was cut a lot.
"In an interview with SFX magazine's J.R. Southall, ... director
Douglas Mackinnon rather diplomatically stated that 'you could ask
anyone on the cast or crew and they'll agree that his [Steven
Berkoff's] participation was extraordinary.' As the years have passed,
some details have come out in various fan circles that suggest this is
code for 'he was an absolute nightmare to work with.... The day's
shooting with Berkoff was virtually unusable and Chris Chibnall had to
hastily rewrite dialogue to work with what they could salvage. The
Shakri was never originally intended to be a hologram, but Berkoff's
stock still performance necessitated such a rewrite. In an
interview a few years later, Berkoff complained about being worked to
death and spending the majority of his 15 hours in the make-up chair"
(Mark Donaldson, What Culture website, 15 Jan 2022, click
The title refers to a cube
(the power of three) but also something Shakri will never
understand, the power of three friends namely the Doctor and his two
Directed by Douglas
Mackinnon who also directed Berkoff in The Flying Scotsman and written by Chris Chibnall in 2012. The doctor is
Matt Smith and his companions are Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill. Berkoff's previous television role was in The
Borgias and Selva Rasalingam was also in both. Behind the
screens Julia Ankerson (foley artist) and Martin Marty
McLaughlin (special effects) worked on Rancid Aluminium and The Girl
with the Dragon Tattoo respectively.
Dave Allen: God's own Comedian, a documentary about
Irish comedian Dave Allen. The director is Verity Maitlow.
Berkoff appears a few
times, and is credited as a friend of Allen. The documentary
covers Allen's stand-up comedy, and also his documentaries and acting
roles. What do people remember of Allen as a comedian- Berkoff
answers "Sitting on a stool, telling stories". And
later Berkoff says "He just sat there, attractive, beautifully
Irish, and told the most outrageous jokes" and "There's
something about him which was eternally young. Even when he got
into his 50s, 55, 60s, he was a vital comedian".
from the film.
This is Genius: No Place Like Holmes
Berkoff provides this voiceover
in a BBC Four television programme described as "a comic look at Sherlock
Holmes's London". It was made in 2005 and broadcast on BBC Four on 5
Jan 2006 (description and broadcast date from Genome Radio Time). 28 minutes.
The diector is Tom Kirby.
plays Colin Benchley described as a novelist, poet, psychogeographer
and wine connoisseur.
This is of course
a spoof documentary, but lacks the wit and sharpness of other spoofs
such as Brasseye (which Berkoff also appeared in).
voiceover frames the programme, ending with "If you would like to find
out more about Conan Doyle's London the book accompanying the
programme is available in all good remaindered bookshops alongside the
All images from the Vimeo download of