Cosmic Dwellings is very proud to announce the arrival of Tony G. Marshall’s “That’ll be the Stardust!” to the website on the 5th anniversary of its original release as an independent radio drama! The production is a spin-off to 2 celluloid cult classics: “That’ll be the Day” (1973) and its sequel “Stardust” (1974). This special section of our website includes an interview with the radio production’s Lead voice actor, writer and co-producer. And, following the interview, you are granted FREE access to the Audio link of the actual complete feature-length Drama itself! Furthermore, we also feature the Cast & Character listing including all relevant weblinks. We sincerely hope you enjoy this unique and entertaining journey steeped in the music and ‘legends’ of its time in a production that was 20 years in the making…
‘Cosmic Dwellings’ interview with writer, voice actor and co-producer, Tony G. Marshall:
Cosmic Dwellings: For the benefit of the people who are not too familiar with ‘That’ll be the Day’ and its sequel, the films told the story of the early beginnings of Jim Maclaine through to his rise and fall in the music business. His son, who was born during the original film was named after him but referred to as ‘Jimmy’. And it’s this character of Maclaine’s son whom you developed in your radio drama production of ‘That’ll be the Stardust!’. Is this correct?
Tony G. Marshall: Yes, correct. The radio drama basically chronicles the life of ‘Jimmy Maclaine junior’ as he comes to terms with having a famous rock star father and only ever having met him briefly in his childhood. It’s the legacy of music and media attention that is very much the focus of obsession with young Jimmy.
CD: What influenced you to undertake the development of the story from this perspective?
TGM: Well, for one, the climax of ‘Stardust’ – the sequel to ‘That’ll be the Day’. But also in that film we see Jimmy in a few brief scenes when he was about 6 years old, and therefore we never get to see his character further develop because it’s the story of his father’s rise to fame. Furthermore, by this juncture in the story, his father is already separated from his mother. The approach that I took to continue the story didn’t happen overnight. It was back in the late ’80’s when I first had an idea about writing some kind of theatre script or segment which was primarily about the legend of Jim Maclaine. However, because I wasn’t a writer at that time nothing ever materialised.
CD: Why do you think the concepts, and elements, of the two movies had such a great impact on you?
TGM: It was a combination of a number of things via the writing, characterisations and most importantly the music. Being very young when I first viewed ‘That’ll be the Day’ quenched my thirst for discovering any form of classic rock ‘n’ roll music. Secondly, the story was a compelling ‘kitchen sink’ type drama which appealed to me. And, ‘Stardust’ expands upon the formula by updating its concept and placing its main character in ‘other worldly’ surroundings. What was fascinating to me is how his character developed and handled everything thrown at him in this so-called newfound ‘world’ which was virtually consumed with the music he was making, and his status as a ‘celebrity’ figure, that he now found himself inhabiting.
CD: Singer, David Essex played the lead character of Jim Maclaine – are you an Essex fan?
TGM: Not exactly a big fan. However, I appreciate David’s contribution to music and theatre having seen his live show many years ago. I enjoyed it. But, it was his characterisation of Jim in both films that originally inspired me – first and foremost.
CD: At which point did the inspiration strike you for the idea of a continuation, or spin-off, to the story?
TGM: Well, this goes back to the time I first viewed ‘Stardust’ in 1985. I never realised until the night I saw it that a sequel to ‘That’ll be the Day’ existed. It had been about five years previously since I first watched ‘That’ll be the Day’. So you can imagine revisiting the life of Jim Maclaine and all that music just blew my mind! But, one of the very images I remember which had a strong impact was when young Jimmy (Maclaine’s son) first appeared on screen amidst all those screaming girl fans of his father which got me thinking: realistically, what must a little boy or girl in that position be thinking in that precise moment? I can only try to imagine it being considerably daunting to say the least and not to mention the potentially long term effects of such an event. However, in further reply to your question, I purchased an old vinyl copy of the classic 2-LP soundtrack of ‘Stardust’ in 1988 and the music therein was a most amazing odyssey of rock and pop that one could ever imagine. Therefore, it was the music that inspired my idea of a tribute or continuation to the original story at that time. Continues…
CD: You mention Jimmy as a young boy there and in ‘Stardust’ he was portrayed by the son of screenwriter, Ray Connolly. Furthermore, in 2008, Ray’s son became part of the cast of ‘That’ll be the Stardust!’. How did that happen?
TGM: I’d already contacted Ray Connolly regarding the use of his characters in the radio production, therefore acknowledging any kind of copyright issues that I had to adhere to beforehand. Naturally, Ray had told Dominic about the project and handed him the material I’d already sent, and explained how it was all about the continuing story of his character in ‘Stardust’. Therefore, Dominic was interested and wanted to find out more. The next thing was I set up a meeting, we talked about the production and the script and I consequently offered him the part of ‘Jim Maclaine’ in flashback sequences in the production. He duly accepted the role.
CD: Did you write Jim’s flashback scene’s specifically for Dominic’s inclusion in the radio drama?
TGM: No. I’d already adapted and expanded upon scenes featuring the character of Jim Maclaine which Dominic’s father had originally written both for the films and for the subsequent books of the films in order to tie-in certain aspects to Jimmy’s story. Furthermore, these scenes act as Maclaine family history vignettes for the listener so that they can familiarise themselves with some of the events which took place beforehand. However, it is possible to treat the radio drama as a standalone production, but if you have already viewed the movies then it enlightens the overall experience.
CD: When did you eventually come to the conclusion that the medium of radio production would benefit the telling of the story?
TGM: It was the time I became a professional voice actor. I’d been writing some material for prospective voice demos and I drafted some further ideas about an approach of developing the son of ‘Jim Maclaine’ and his story. So, everything was then beginning to fall into place. It was in early, 2007 that I scripted an idea in which young Jimmy had asked his mother about his father and it morphed into a scene or two of further ‘discovery’. The writing of this idea was actually inspired by the Jon & Vangelis song, “I’ll Find My Way Home”. So, I was developing the production around my voice acting and utilising my writing skills with the inspirational ideas I ‘channel’ through music.
CD: Naturally, there’s a lot of musical themes and inspiration running throughout Jimmy’s life in ‘That’ll be the Stardust!’, but is it a story which parallels his father’s success?
TGM: No. However, he is a bass-playing music fanatic who performs with several bands. And, the influence behind this is primarily down to who his father was, and having access to make further discoveries not only about his father, but the music business in general. Once again, like his father in ‘Stardust’, Jimmy is exposed to life’s alternative ‘surroundings’ and ‘temptations’, and in the process it’s a journey of trying to attempt self-discovery as well as coming to terms with his father’s legacy. In some instances we find him treading the ‘ground’ in which his father had previously occupied. But, as you’ll find out, such things present very real problems and consequences in some areas.
CD: You play the lead role in ‘That’ll be the Stardust!’ and you also voice the opening and closing credits of the production along with your contribution to a particular scene which is set to Alice Cooper’s “Only Women Bleed”. Could you tell us about that?
TGM: I wanted to create something with a type of psychedelic feel to it, but with a song that was from the era that the scene was taking place in – and that was 1975. It’s a Jim Maclaine flashback sequence and it’s his ultimate ‘trip’ and everything that’s happening in the scene with the female voices is like an amalgamation of all the women he had known. There’s also a male voice that acts like his own conscience and another male voice which executes several ‘trippy’ lines of poetry – maybe it’s the devil on a bad trip?! Therefore, it’s a colourful mix of sounds and images which evoke contrasting ‘landscapes’ within Maclaine’s mind.
CD: Do you have any particular favourite scenes from the radio play?
TGM: Lots of them. There’s a really good opening flashback sequence which features Jimmy’s grandmother (Jim’s mum) and Jean (his mother’s former best friend). Also a scene featuring Jimmy and his Uncle Terry who was his father’s best friend at school. Other scenes I enjoyed creating and acting in include scenes featuring Jimmy and his girlfriend, Julie Coleman – it was honest, natural and the chemistry between the two characters was a good mix. Also, Jimmy’s meeting with his father’s former girlfriend, ‘Danielle’ from ‘Stardust’. It was a good ensemble cast of actors and actresses.
CD: Did you ever consider adapting the production for the theatre or film mediums?
TGM: I did consider it. However, I was told that Ray Connolly was concerned about me making any kind of monies from such mediums and that included the radio play too. I mean, he was flattered about the fact that I chose to honour the original films and characters, but I got the impression that it would have been treading on ‘hallowed’ turf, so to speak, and perceived as a move to profit from the project. Furthermore, it’s a separate company who actually own the rights to the films now, so one can only assume it’s a political ‘cauldron’ of red tape. I even received a letter from producer, David Puttnam and whilst acknowledging ‘That’ll be the Stardust!’ also made it clear about the consequences of pursuing any profitable ambitions regarding the project. This was never an intention from my own personal creative outlook anyway.
CD: But sequels and spin-offs seem to be prominent fixtures in today’s film and media society – surely this would have been an incentive for them to make money from your production?
TGM: I can’t answer that. I don’t know anything about any such incentives – if there were indeed any at all. All I can say is that I was under the impression that it was wrong for Me to pursue any such profitable routes for the production in any form of medium. However, there was talk of a newspaper article being published for the radio play. Then, more talk. I was quite surprised at the offer of the article anyway, but even further surprised when it never materialised. I mean, it’s not as though such an article could be perceived as a potentially profit-seeking venture by Me, and I assumed that’s why the offer of such an article came about in the first place – simply because it wouldn’t have been perceived as such. However, from my perspective of the situation, I can only ‘guess’. Nevertheless, ‘That’ll be the Stardust!’ was created, it happened and I’m very proud to say it still exists. It’s home now.
CD: Was this “newspaper article” matter never further discussed with you?
CD: You are currently working on a short story continuation to the radio play called “Bloodline”, what made you decide to continue with the life of Jimmy Maclaine jr.?
TGM: Well, not to disclose too much at this stage, but I felt it would be a good idea to finalise the project with an extra written alternative for people to view once they’ve listened to the radio play. Plus, the ebook will present an unpublished Jim Maclaine story which I expanded from ‘Stardust’ and also include the lyrical prose I devised for ‘Dea Sancta et Gloria’ – Jim’s rock opera in the movie.
CD: Wow! It sounds like you’ve developed something which conveys great value for an evening’s worth of home entertainment!
TGM: Well, you could also include the ‘afternoon’ in that schedule if you watched both movies too!
*** FEATURE PRESENTATION ***
– The Complete Feature-Length Radio Drama –
TONY G. MARSHALL – ‘Jimmy Maclaine jr.’ / Opening & closing credits voice over / Poetry recitation voice in Jim Maclaine ‘Fantasy Flashback’ (“Only Women Bleed” sequence).
MADELEINE HAVELL – ‘Julie Coleman’ / ‘Danielle Bertrand’ / French Prostitute / ‘Maria’ / Spanish Prostitute / Groupie / Scottish Receptionist / ‘Fantasy Flashback’ voice (“Only Women Bleed” sequence) / Fantasy voice (“Bette Davis Eyes” sequence).
WAYNE ROSS – Radio Caroline International Presenter / ‘Brian Thorpe’ / ‘Alex Crossley’ / ‘Mike Menary’ / Producer / Drug Dealer.
HOLLY MAGRATH – ‘Jean’ / ‘Cathy Menary’ / Groupie / Poetry recitation voice ‘Fantasy Flashback’ (“Only Women Bleed” sequence) / Fantasy voice (“Bette Davis Eyes” sequence).
DOMINIC CONNOLLY – ‘Jim Maclaine’ in opening Flashback scenes and ‘Fantasy Flashback’ (“Only Women Bleed” sequence).
ALMA SIMPSON – ‘Mrs. Maclaine’ / ‘Jeanette Sutcliffe Maclaine Thorpe’.
ERICA THOMAS-LOWE – Producer / Receptionist / Poetry recitation voice ‘Fantasy Flashback’ (“Only Women Bleed” sequence) / Main voice in “Bette Davis Eyes” sequence.
RICHARD WARD – Radio Caroline International Presenter / ‘Terry Sutcliffe’ / Drug Dealer / Security Officer / Roadie / Waiter / Spanish customer in bar / Psychiatrist.
APRIL HARRISON – ‘Rachel Menary’ / ‘Fantasy Flashback’ voice (“Only Women Bleed” sequence) / Fantasy voice (“Bette Davis Eyes” sequence).
Recording Venue: Resident Studios, Willesden, London
Praise for lead voice actor, writer and co-producer, TONY G. MARSHALL:
“A good actor…the script of ‘That’ll be the Stardust!’ is also a ‘page-turner’!”
– Ray Connolly, Author/Screenwriter.
“Out of all the contacts I made during my time at university Tony was by far the most talented and the most committed to his art. His voice acting talents are matched only by the depths of his creative vision and he is at all times an excellent man to work with. He provides clear and concise direction for his projects without issuing a stranglehold on any of his cast or crew and is at all times, the consummate gentleman. I am proud to have worked with him and would jump at the chance of doing so again.”
– David Preston, Producer.
“I first worked with Tony in 2007/8 on his radio play ‘That’ll Be The Stardust’ and have collaborated with him several times since. He is the most dedicated and creative individual who is very passionate about the industry, as well as being a talented voice-actor, he is also an excellent writer.”
– Madeleine Havell, Actress.
“Tony is an extremely talented and descriptive writer who has an unending creative imagination with a writing style that is undeniably exciting but yet relatable. He is passionate about his craft which is evident in how he promotes his story.”
– Deborah Porretto, Artist/Designer.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
CITY BEAT RADIO (UCLH) INTERVIEW – MAY, 2009
“Further to the completion of additional voice overs and editing on “That’ll be the Stardust!”, my co-actor Madeleine Havell and I attended a special promotional interview at City Beat Radio – part of the University College London Hospitals network. We’re pictured here with presenters, Simon and Marina during the show which features a selection of music from the soundtrack of the radio drama along with some scene performances and poetry recitals by Madeleine and myself. Later in the show I refer to my story idea called “Harmony’s Voice” as a potential sequel to “That’ll be the Stardust!” However, that never materialised but the concept has since become a 2-part story in my “GOLD1E” crime serial-in-progress. And, incidentally, Madeleine is the ‘muse’ for the development of twin characters in that story!” – Tony G. Marshall.
Please click the icon below to access the very entertaining City Beat Radio interview (approximate running time – 1 hour 30 minutes):
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
– “THE SLEEP OF LUXURY” –
NEW UNPUBLISHED ‘JIM MACLAINE’ SHORT STORY AT THE FOLLOWING LINK: