Friday, 30 June 2017

The Radio Verulam Film Guide: Friday 30th June 2017

Chris is on holidays this week, sorry for the lack of comedy service for the blog post this time round. Normal service will resume next time.

Simon was in the studio to talk (proof! ^^) about the UK box office, new releases in the cinema, and his pick of films on TV for the coming week.

Dr No
9.00pm – 11.15pm

Marvel Avengers Assemble
10.00pm – 12.25am

11.20pm – 1.10am

Monsters: Dark Continent
9.00pm – 11.20pm

Experimenter: The Stanley Milgram Story
11.20pm – 1.15am

The Imitation Game
9.00pm – 11.15pm

9.00pm – 10.30pm

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Chris' Film Dump: Transformers: Age of Extinction

The last Big Budget mess on this week's Film Dump is 'Transformers: Age of Extinction', the almost 3 hour long 4th installment of a series that consists of explosions, gratuitous shots of female characters, and crude racial stereotypes.

Mark Wahlberg is Cade Yeager, a struggling inventor who finds the damaged body of Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots, and brings him back to health. Then stuff happens and I don’t know how it ends because I stopped watching.-Chris

Cost $210m and made over $1.1b at the box office, proving humanity is doomed.

Annie Lawrence (@annielawrencee) joins us to discuss her amazing project, Code the Globe

This afternoon on Radio Verulam we were joined by local student, Annie Lawrence, as she discussed her project, Code the Globe, an organisation that aims to spread modern technology to children in developing countries.

Annie, a former studio assistant at Radio Verulam and Computer Science student, hopes to improve the lives of children across the world using technology that we take for granted in this country. Her organisation also wants to encourage more girls to study and enjoy STEM subjects (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics), which are typically associated with boys.

To find out more about Code the Globe head to or you can follow Annie on twitter @annielawrencee.

Missed the show? Catch up online at and navigate to Thursday at 5:30pm.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Chris' Film Dump: Catwoman

Chris condemns another superhero flick to the 'Film Dump' in his week of big budget calamities, with today's choice being 'Catwoman' from 2004.

A shy fashion designer discovers the revolutionary anti-ageing product her company is releasing hides a dark secret, and when she gets in too deep finds herself developing a life changing set of powers.

Made for $100m, this dreadful film made back only $82m and won Halle Berry a Razzie Award, which she collected in person.

Chris and Danny made the smart choice to discuss the Marvel/DC film series as a whole instead, in this podcast-exclusive episode,

The Drivetime Sessions with James Carol

On this week's Drivetime Sessions we were joined by James Carol, author and musician. He performed his own single 'Raining in Hollywood' and 'The Dark before the Dawn' and covered the Beatles' 'Come Together'.

For more information about James Carol, including details about his books, visit  His twitter handle is @JamesCarolBooks

If you would like to listen to the Drivetime Sessions again then visit and navigate to Wednesday at 5:30.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Chris' Film Dump: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

Our Film Dump week of 'Big Budget Calamities' continues today with last years 'Batman v. Superman'. Yay.

This joyless and great big muddled mess of stupid plot points and ridiculous character decisions is about, you guessed it, Batman and Superman deciding to fight each other. Spoilers, the two make-up and decide to work together because their mothers have the same name!

Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams and Jesse Eisenberg star in this $300million gloom-fest.

Interior Design Feature with @ga_interiors- Fabulous Flooring

Today we talked with Gwendoline Alderton, our interior design correspondent about flooring.  Yes- today it was all about getting laid! 

With the weather being very hot recently, many pets have been overheating on unsuitable floors.  Dogs in particular have been overheating on ceramic floors, which are easily heated by sunlight through windows.  To combat this issue cooling mats and cooling pads for pets are available. Small children can also find these types of floor hot if they are crawling on them often. In addition, carpets tend to attract pet hair and will need to be vacuumed regularly.  

People with dust allergies might also want to avoid carpets because these attract dust, and might instead want to consider wooden flooring.  People with disabilities might need level flooring if they have a wheeled mobility device.  Thick carpets would not be useful because it would be hard for the wheelchair/mobility scooter to work on these.  

Another thing to think about is that in rooms with a higher traffic, you may need a harder wearing type of floor.  For example, in the lounge you may want to opt for a longer-wearng crpet but in the bedroom, where thereis less traffic, you may want to have a shagpile carpet. 

Gwendoline's Links:
Twitter: @GA_interiors
Gwendoline's website :

Monday, 26 June 2017

Chris' Film Dump: John Carter

This week the Film Dump continues, as Chris looks at some of the greatest (or worst?) big budget calamities to hit the big screen. Up first is 2012 's 'John Carter'.

Costing upwards of $350m to make and based on a Edgar Rice Burroughs novel, the film tells the story of an American civil war soldier who wakes up on the planet mars unexpectedly, and finds himself embroiled in a similar huge conflict.

A massive box office flop. the film was meant to make Taylor Kitsch a star. It did not.

Millions of colonists on #Mars by 2062, #SotM @ProfSaraSeager and Night Sky July/Aug with @smrolfe

A summary of the Radio Verulam West Herts Drivetime Science Feature broadcast 26/06/2017 5:30-6:00 pm BST

City on Mars of a million colonists by 2062

Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and helped create PayPal and set up the Tesla electric car company has suggested a colony city could be set up on Mars by 2062, with the first flight to Mars in as little as 4 to 5 years, in 2022.
His suggestion includes warming up the atmosphere and planting plants, he suggests that warming Mars up there would be a thick atmosphere and liquid water at the surface.

The Dragon craft which currently resupplies the International Space Station (ISS) is being modified to make an unmanned mission to Mars, possibly in 2018. However, it has also been said that there could be a manned mission sent beyond the Moon in 2018 by two private customers. Depending on the number of craft that can built within in a given time frame, a million people could live on Mars between 40 and 100 years from now (1 spacecraft would have to make 10,000 trips, 100 people per trip (more ideal 1,000 spacecraft, only 1,000 trips)).

Problems addressed: propellant (can you make a propellant on Mars?)

system architecture (launch manned craft, booster stage returns to Earth, propellant loaded on reusable booster, craft fuelling in orbit, booster returns to Earth, manned craft heads to Mars)

vehicle design and performance, rocket engine, interplanetary spaceship (capable of transporting 100 + passengers to Mars plus an unpressurised compartment for cargo and materials. Heat shield technology extremely important.)

ticket cost - ~$140,000 possibly dropping below $100,000 with optimisation over time.  

timeline Red Dragon mission to launch in 2018 and then launch something to Mars every time there is a launch window (~ every 26 months), already making rocket engines at a rate of 300 a year and require 51 per Mars vehicle, so rate is sufficient. 

carbon fibre tank, difficult to cool which would occur with the cold fuel storage – cracks/leaks could mean catastrophic failure… so far have developed a prototype for testing, seems to have positive results.


Problems to be addressed (not mentioned in above source paper): space junk, cost per person once living there, radiation protection, one-way?, planetary protection.

Scientist of the Month

Professor Seager’s main research goal is to find and identify another Earth, including the search for signs of life by way of biosignature gases.

“Sara Seager is an astrophysicist and planetary scientist at MIT.
Her science research focuses on theory, computation, and data analysis of exoplanets.
Her research has introduced many new ideas to the field of exoplanet characterization, including work that led to the first detection of an exoplanet atmosphere.
Professor Seager also works in space instrumentation and space missions for exoplanets, including CubeSats, as a co-investigator on the MIT-led TESS, a NASA Explorer Mission to be launched in 2017, and chaired the NASA Science and Technology Definition Team for a “Probe-class” Starshade and telescope system for direct imaging discovery and characterization of Earth analogs.
Before joining MIT in 2007, Professor Seager spent four years on the senior research staff at the Carnegie Institution of Washington preceded by three years at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ.
Her PhD is from Harvard University.
Professor Seager is on the advisory board for Planetary Resources.
Professor Seager was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2015, is a 2013 MacArthur Fellow, the 2012 recipient of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in the Physical Sciences, and the 2007 recipient of the American Astronomical Society’s Helen B. Warner Prize.
She has been recognized in the media, most recently in Time Magazine’s 25 Most Influential in Space in 2012.”

She developed the Seager Equation, which is a variation on the Drake Equation, but rather than estimate the number of planets with intelligent life, this equation focusses detecting the number of habitable planets, where (any) life could be detected.
where: N = the number of planets with detectable signs of life
N* = the number of stars observed
FQ = the fraction of stars that are quiet
FHZ = the fraction of stars with rocky planets in the habitable zone
Fo = the fraction of those planets that can be observed
FL = the fraction that have life
FS = the fraction on which life produces a detectable signature gas

Night Sky this Month

We’ve just gone through the summer solstice, but the long summer evenings will continue with sunset at the end of July not until about 8:50 pm.

29-30 July - Peak of the Delta Aquarids meteor shower, 20 per hour, best viewed from a dark location after midnight.

30 July - Mercury at Greatest Eastern Elongation – look for the planet in the western sky just after sunset.

11-12 August - Peak of the Perseids meteor shower, 60 per hours, bright fireballs, best viewed from a dark location after midnight.

Look out for ISS, use this link to get information on sighting opportunities:

Friday, 23 June 2017

On Drivetime next week (wb/ 26/6/17) feat. @smrolfe @GA_Interiors @JamesCarolBooks @annielawrencee and #Over2UFriday

This week Monday sees the return of the Science Feature with Sam Rolfe bringing the latest news, Scientist of the Month and what to see in the Night Sky.

On Tuesday Gwendoline Alderton will be talking Interior Design with Danny and how to bring summer into your home.

Wednesday brings the regular Drivetime Sessions, this week featuring musician and novelist James Carol who will be performing some original songs and the required cover song.

Danny will be interviewing Annie Lawrence on Thursday. Annie is involved in a project to bring computer technology and coding knowledge to children in Kenya -
For the project to go ahead Annie is raising funds via

Friday brings you the regular #Over2UFriday - you pick 'em, we play them. Get in touch with the show via Twitter @WestHertsDrive or the Drivetime Facebook page to tell us your song choice. Simon Carver will return once again with the Drivetime Film Guide, talking about the Top 10 in the cinemas, new box office releases, and Simon's film picks for the week on free-to-air TV.

The Radio Verulam Film Guide: Friday 23rd June 2017

now, fink SIMON, fink. youve got to come up with summint interestin to right about for this heer blog fingy otherwise theyre gonna kick you off hear they aint never gonna let you do it again. what stories cud you tell the reader about that they aint already herd before? maybe the one about the time that you and david van day got drunk on a ski lift in colorado and drew naughty picktures with your wee wee? nah, theyre bound to have heard taht one. what about the one wen sheena easton knocked you down in her car and as a way of saying sorry she TOOK YOU TO VEGAS AND YOU MET DAVID COPPERFIELD OOOPS CAPS SORRY HOW TO YOU TAKE THESE OFF? TECHNOLOGY IS CONFUSING.

Ok, I don't know what that was, but Simon was in the studio to talk about the UK box office, new releases in the cinema, and his pick of films on TV for the coming week.

The Descent
11.25pm – 1.25am


1.00pm – 2.45pm

11.05pm – 1.30am

Mission: Impossible 2
9.00pm – 11.30pm

The Road
10.05pm – 12.10am

Hot Tub Time Machine
1.25am – 3.20am

The Deer Hunter
11.05pm – 2.40am

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Chris' Film Dump: Plan 9 From Outer Space

Chris hasn't finished looking at terrible Films just yet! This week the Film Dump is rounded off with 1959's 'Plan 9 From Outer Space'.

One of the most enduring contenders for ‘worst film ever made’, this Ed Wood-made film is about an alien plan to resurrect the Earth’s dead into zombies to stop humanity from creating a doomsday weapon that will destroy the universe.

Stars Gregory Walcott, Mona McKinnon, Duke Moore, Tor Johnson, Dudley Manlove, Vampira and Bela Lugosi.

Local author @HowardLinskey joins us to discuss his two latest novels

This afternoon on Radio Verulam we were joined by Howard Linskey to discuss his two new novels, Hunting the Hangman and The Search.

Hunting the Hangman is a historical fiction novel telling the story of two men who plotted to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich, one of the key architects of The Final Solution.

The Search is a psychological thriller and third in the DS Bradshaw series, this time focusing on the disappearance of a young girl during the heatwave of 1976.

For more information on Howard and his novels, click here.

Missed the show? Catch up online at and navigate to Thursday at 5:30pm.