In our very first show Mark talked about his Guilty Pleasure: Richard Gere in Breathless (1983). For List-O-Mania, Mark discussed his Top Ten David Bowie films. This month’s classic film in One from the Vaults was Maîtresse (1976). Furthermore, for the very first Sound & Vision Mark talked about the music in Girlhood (2014), Rihanna’s Diamonds.
Outspoken, opinionated and never lost for words, Mark Kermode is the UK’s best known and most trusted film critic.
He is the resident film reviewer for The Observer; for BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sony award-winning Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review; for the BBC News Channel’s Review Show and for BBC2’s Culture Show. Additionally, Mark hosts a film soundtrack show on Scala Radio on Saturdays. On his ground-breaking Kermode Uncut Blog he airs his personal views on what most fires him up about cinema, and invites viewers to give their own opinions.
Audiences have been delighted by the trademark passionate rants about films that have earned him his cult following in print, broadcast and online.
Mark Kermode began his career in film journalism and broadcasting in the 1980s after studying English at Manchester University, where he wrote his PhD thesis on horror fiction. He began working for magazines such as City Life, Time Out, Fangoria and the NME. Currently he is a contributing editor to Sight & Sound.
After a spell at BBC Radio 1, he presented Channel 4’s ‘Extreme Cinema’ strand. He has written and presented numerous documentaries for both Channel 4 and the BBC, including In Search of the Blair Witch, On the Edge of Blade Runner, Fear of God: 25 Years of the Exorcist and Poughkeepsie Shuffle: Tracing the French Connection.
Mark plays bass in skiffle band the Dodge Brothers. Their second CD, The Sun Set, was recorded in Sun Studios (where Elvis made his first albums) and was released in May 2013. The Dodge Brothers regularly team up with Neil Brand to accompany classic silent movies with newly composed scores.
With his wife Professor Linda Ruth Williams, Mark curates the Shetland Film Festival and regular seasons at the Bfi.
Mark has published monographs on The Shawshank Redemption, The Exorcist and Silent Running.
His best-selling autobiographical movie-related books are It’s Only A Movie (2010), The Good, The Bad and the Multiplex (2011) and Hatchet Job: Love Movies, Hate Critics (2013).
He regularly does sell-out tours of the UK with film-related stand-up shows.
Mark Kermode tweets as @kermodemovie
“Hedda Archbold and I have worked together for over a decade, during which period I have found her to be an invaluable ally. Offering unwavering support, excellent advice and incomparable organisational skills, her passion for doing the job properly is unmatched, and her ability to get it done extraordinary. Frankly, I’d trust her with my life.”
William Ayot is a poet, author, coach, teacher and ritualist. He works with individuals and groups to explore leadership through poetry, performance and ritual. He is currently Poet-in-Residence at Saïd Business School, Oxford University and sits on the board of Literature Wales. William is a Member of the Welsh Academi, a Fellow of the Guild of Mythodrama Practitioners, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts & Manufactures. He lives with his wife, Juliet Grayson Ayot, in a restored Monmouthshire Gentry House near Chepstow, South East Wales.
Writer, storyteller and inspirational speaker.
Geoff Mead, PhD is a writer, storyteller, keynote speaker and corporate consultant. He is an Associate Fellow of Saïd Business School, University of Oxford and Associate Professor of Narrative Leadership at Hult International Business School. He also performs traditional stories at national and international festivals and teaches storytelling at venues in UK and as far afield as Spain, Canada and Japan.
Geoff has published widely in academic and professional journals as well as works of fiction and creative non-fiction. Books include Coming Home to Story: Storytelling Beyond Happily Ever After (2011); Telling the Story: The Heart and Soul of Successful Leadership (2014); Gone in the Morning: A Writer’s Journey of Bereavement (2017); and, for children, Bear Child (2018).
He is currently working on a collection of short stories, developing a podcast and completing an illustrated story cycle based on Minoan myths and archaeology. He also has a novel brewing, based on the life and work of a 17th century French writer of fairy tales.
Geoff is an inspiring speaker and workshop leader with a particular focus on the power of storytelling to shape our lives and the world we live in.
Simon Brew is a maverick writer and editor. He is the founder and editor of Film Stories, a monthly print magazine, a weekly podcast, a YouTube channel and a series of live events. Previously he conceived, launched and edited denofgeek.com. Simon writes and edits trade and consumer titles such as Minecraft World magazine, in the areas of film, gaming, mental health, IT and TV – and Kevin Costner. He hosts Q&As, panels and live events and his company handles full editorial production of magazines and websites.
“I’ve worked with Hedda for many years and I am proud to call her my agent. She’s clever, committed, informed, inspired and inspiring, always on hand with sound professional advice. Her knowledge of film and media is superb – and she’s great company to boot.”
Anna Smith, film journalist and Chair of the Film Critic’s Circle
Anna Smith is a film critic and broadcaster and the host of all-female film review show Girls On Film in which she discusses film with female critics and interviews actors and directors about their work. She is President of the UK Critics’ Circle and a regular film critic for BBC News, Sky News, BBC Radio, Metro, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Sight & Sound, Empire and more.
If you stayed up to watch the Oscars this year, you will have seen Anna commentating from Sky Cinema’s sofa – and if you browse through Metro newspaper in the morning, you’ll have read her ’60 Seconds’ interviews. Anna hosts Q&As with film stars in cinemas all over London.
Before specialising in film, Anna was the first woman to become the editor of a UK dance music magazine, Wax. She dedicated herself to film criticism in 2000. Her twitter is @annasmithjourno.
Award-winning broadcaster, writer, educationalist and cultural historian Sir Christopher Frayling is best known for his study of popular culture. His most recent publications are The Yellow Peril: Dr Fu Manchu & the Rise of Chinophobia (2014), Frankenstein: The First 200 Years (2017) and Once Upon a Time in the West: Shooting a Masterpiece (2019).
He has had a wide output as a writer and critic on subjects ranging from vampires to westerns and has written and presented television series such as The Art of Persuasion on advertising, Strange Landscape on the Middle Ages, The Face of Tutankhamun and Nightmare: Birth of Horror. He has conducted a series of radio and television interviews with figures from the world of film, including Woody Allen, Deborah Kerr, Ken Adam, Francis Ford Coppola and Clint Eastwood.
Frayling studied spaghetti westerns and specifically director Sergio Leone. His highly popular biography of Leone, Something To Do With Death (2000) was followed by the DVD documentaries of Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), and audio commentaries for the special edition DVD releases of A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, Once Upon a Time in the West and The Colossus of Rhodes. He curates an international travelling exhibition on Sergio Leone.
In 2001, he was awarded a knighthood for “Services to Art and Design Education” and chose as his motto, Perge scelus mihi diem perficias’, which can be translated as ‘Proceed, varlet, and let the day be rendered perfect for my benefit’. That is, ‘Go ahead, punk, make my day’.
He has 18 books to his credit and has been chairman of the Arts Council and the Design Council, a governor of the British Film Institute, and trustee of the Victoria and Albert Museum where he co-curated the Hollywood Costume exhibition, which was exhibited from October 2012 to January 2013.
Naomi Clifford focuses on historical subjects, drawing out long-forgotten true-life stories from the archives. Her latest book, The Murder of Mary Ashford: The Crime That Changed English Legal History (2018), published by Pen and Sword, looks at a notorious case of rape-murder which involved the last legal challenge to hand-to-hand combat and, through a discovery in the archives, finally positively identifies the perpetrator of the crime. The Disappearance of Maria Glenn (2016) relates the rollercoaster fortunes of a teenage heiress stolen from her family in 1817 and explores the world of elopement and abduction and Women and the Gallows 1797-1837 (2017) tells the stories of 131 women who were hanged.
She is currently writing a book about the life of a volunteer ambulance driver working in Chelsea, London during the Blitz.
Naomi has long experience in journalism and online projects but, as she says, her first love is libraries and archives. “I get a buzz out of just being there amongst the original sources – and when I start delving into the archives I feel like a detective on a case.” She has previously written under the name Naomi Lourie Klein.