Pop links: Original Kurtzman art, Secret Policeman's Balls, Krigstein crime comic, chief Dalek dies,

Check out some original art from Harvey Kurtzman's post-Mad mag Humbug. The pieces on display are up for auction. But it that's too rich for your blood, note that Fantagraphics Books has a two-book collection of Humbug's best pieces coming out in March.

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British comedy and rock'n'roll: Two of my twin obsessions in one package. If you're like me, you remember hearing the Secret Policeman's Ball and Secret Policeman's Other Ball albums of the 1980s. The LPs were live recordings from benefit performances put on for Amnesty International and featured performances by all sort of people, such as most of Monty Python, Rowan Atkinson, Fry and Laurie, Pete Townshend, Peter Gabriel, Donovan, Lou Reed, Kate Bush, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and others. I have a vague memory of seeing at least some of these performances on video, too.

But, now, I can look forward to seeing the whole works, as Shout Factory is releasing a collection of the performances on DVD. The 3-disk set is out next week and you can see clips from it at Amazon.



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Fortress of Fortitude presents a classic Bernie Krigstein-illustrated crime comic, "Blind Man's Bluff."

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John Scott Martin, the chief Dalek operator on over 100 episodes of "Doctor Who" has died.

He said: "There was no special technique to make them move. You just trampled around and they glided about - a bit like a supermarket trolley.

"They didn't require much strength - but at the beginning they were wooden and they became a bit heavy at the end of the day.

"You were done for if you had to go into the countryside in a field or woods because they were difficult to move in uneven terrain.

"I would frequently topple over and I would be left screaming, 'Get me out of this thing!' The only thing you could do was put down hardboard sheets so you could glide over the top.

"The Daleks were a great success. They were the first real robotic bad guys and the first screen monsters where you didn't realise there was a person inside."


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R.I.P. Fathead: David "Fathead" Newman, the sax/flutist famous for his solos on many a Ray Charles track, has died. Beyond R&B, he was a great jazz player and I saw him perform in that context twice. An awesome, soulful musician. He'll be missed.

Here he takes a solo with Ray, back in 1963.

Official details on upcoming Doctor Who specials

Turns out former "Bionic Woman" won't be the new long-term companion on "Doctor Who," as was reported earlier in the week (although, who know, things may change), but she will be appearing in an upcoming DW special.

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From the BBC:

The BBC has confirmed that Michelle Ryan and Lee Evans will guest star in the forthcoming BBC One Doctor Who Easter special which began filming this week in Wales.

Michelle, best known for her roles as Zoe Slater in EastEnders, and Jaime Sommers in the recent remake of Bionic Woman, will play the mysterious Lady Christina de Souza in the special episode entitled Planet Of the Dead. Christina joins the Doctor on a bus trip which takes an unexpected detour into danger.

Michelle comments: "I'm a huge fan of Doctor Who and very excited to be joining David Tennant and the Doctor Who team. It is such a fantastic show and I can’t wait to get started!"

One of Britain’s best loved and biggest comedy stars, Lee Evans, will also be joining the cast playing a character called Malcolm, whose life becomes connected to the Doctor's under extraordinary circumstances.

Planet Of The Dead is the first of four Doctor Who specials which will air in 2009.

Michelle joins David Tennant, as he continues his role as The Doctor, and Noma Dumezweni who returns as Captain Erisa Magambo – last seen helping Rose and Donna save the world in Turn Left.