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Steven Berkoff television 2010s





Steven Berkoff - Horizon To Infinity and Beyond - title

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.

Steven Berkoff - Horizon To Infinity and Beyond - infinity monkey

An infinite number of monkeys will eventually produce Shakespeare's plays- they could only afford one monkey.

Steven Berkoff - Horizon To Infinity and Beyond

Steven Berkoff - Horizon To Infinity and Beyond  Steven Berkoff - Horizon To Infinity and Beyond

Berkoff appears in arty black and white with shadows, and sometime his voice is echoed.

Steven Berkoff - Horizon To Infinity and Beyond - credit

All images from the film.






Steven Berkoff - Words of the Blitz

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.






Steven Berkoff - Corrie: The Road to Coronation Street - title

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.

Steven Berkoff - Corrie: The Road to Coronation Street

Steven Berkoff - Corrie: The Road to Coronation Street

 The struggle to get the show started. 

Steven Berkoff - Corrie: The Road to Coronation Street

Steven Berkoff - Corrie: The Road to Coronation Street

Steven Berkoff - Corrie: The Road to Coronation Street

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).

Steven Berkoff - Corrie: The Road to Coronation Street  - credit as Sidney Bernstein

The real Sidney Berstein.

All images from the film.
 


The Borgias

The Borgias


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.

Steven Berkoff as Savonarola in The Borgias

Steven Berkoff as Savonarola in The Borgias

Steven Berkoff in The Borgias

The series has a good cast, powerful scripts and classy photography by cinematographer Paul Sarossy such as the duel in the vaults...

The Borgias

...or the Pope and his cardinals filmed from above.

The Borgias

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).

Jeremy Irons as Pope Alexander VI in The Borgias

Berkoff is convincing as he moves from rabble-rouser to leader of disenchanted followers who like his fundamentalist approach.

Steven Berkoff in The Borgias as Savonorola

But the Pope recognises the threat he poses, and he is arrested for heresy.

Berkoff as Savonorola in The Borgias

He is tortured to sign a confession, but refuses to sign.  Eventually his signature is forged and he is burned as a heretic.

Berkoff The Borgias

The Borgias Berkoff at the stake

Steven Berkoff in The Borgias

All images from the film.







Steven Berkoff - Doctor Who Power of Three  Steven Berkoff - Doctor Who Power of Three

Doctor-Who-Power-of-Three 

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.

Doctor Who cubes in Power of Three   Black cubes

The cubes 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.

Girl blue face   Black cuibe 5

Steven Berkoff - Doctor Who Power of Three - Shakri

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 here).

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 assistants. 

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.

Steven Berkoff - Doctor Who Power of Three - Shakri - credit

All images from the film.





Steven Berkoff - The Boy With a Camera for a Face - title

The Boy With a Camera for a Face, a short 15 minute film from 2013 directed by Spencer Brown.

There is no dialogue but Steven Berkoff provides the narration, in verse "Once upon a time a child was born / A child without a face /Where normally a face was worn / Was something in its place".

Steven Berkoff - The Boy With a Camera for a Face - boy

The boy was born with a camera instead of a face.

Steven Berkoff - The Boy With a Camera for a Face - lovers

Despite everything he finds love, but there are troubles coming up for both of them.

The film is a surreal exercise but lacks the anarchic structure and visual imagery of other short surreal films such as Un Chien Andalou by Luis Buñuel or The Flat by Jan Švankmajer.

Steven Berkoff - The Boy With a Camera for a Face

Some good photography.

Steven Berkoff - The Boy With a Camera for a Face

The Director of Photography is Chris Moon and the Editor is Masa Skalec.

“… a timely parable about how we document our entire lives as much, if not more, than we live them... The Boy with a Camera for a Face is a strange, timely, multi award-winning short film… It is very much worth your time, all 14 minutes of it.  Filmmaker Spencer Brown‘s parable is about our obsessive interest in other people’s lives, our insatiable urge to document every moment that happens to us, and the distorting effects of doing so" (Joe Berkowitz, Fast Company, 21 Jan 2016, click here).

Steven Berkoff - The Boy With a Camera for a Face - credit

All images from the film.







Steven Berkoff plays King Nikolaus in five episodes of Witches of East End.





Steven Berkoff - The Frankenstein Chronicles - title

The Frankenstein Chronicles.

Steven Berkoff - The Frankenstein Chronicles - William Blake

Steven Berkoff - The Frankenstein Chronicles - poem

Steven Berkoff - The Frankenstein Chronicles - Mary Shelley

Steven Berkoff - The Frankenstein Chronicles - credit

All images from the film.







 

Dave Allen - God's Own Comedian

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".

All images from the film



 

This is Genius No Place Like Holmes

This is Genius: No Place Like Holmes.  Steven 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 director is Tom Kirby.

Justin Edwards plays Colin Benchley described as a novelist, poet, psychogeographer and wine connoisseur.

No Place Like Holmes

This is of course a spoof documentary, but lacks the wit and sharpness of other spoofs such as Brasseye (which Berkoff also appeared in).

No Place Like Holmes

Berkoff's 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 Jamie Oliver's".

All images from the film.



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