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Edition No. 70

Date:- 18 October 2002

Famous Sci-fi Faces in
SOUTHPORT!

Southport residents could be in for a "Cult-ture" shock later this month when a galaxy of TV stars
descend on the town.

Dirk Benedict, best known as 'Face' in the 1980s show The A-Team, will be one of the star guests at this year's Cult TV Festival, which takes place for four days from Friday, October 25th. Hot on the heels of the festival, Dirk will also be appearing on the Graham Norton show on Tuesday (October 29th). 

The 73-hour non-stop festival at the Southport Theatre and Floral Hall complex and the Royal Clifton Hotel includes TV production workshops, special screenings, theme parties, charity auctions, autograph sessions, eclectic activities, star cabaret and the Cult TV Awards.

Other guests include Claudia Christian (Susan Ivanova in Babylon 5), Don Estelle (Lofty in It Ain't Half Hot, Mum),Virginia Hey (Zhaan in Farscape), Teryl Rothery (Dr Janet Fraiser in Stargate SG-1) and Herb Jefferson Jr. ( Boomer in Battlestar Galactica).

Members of the British Society Of Comedy Writers including Ken Rock and Ken Basford, will be undertaking workshops, and 'The Sweeney -The Official Companion' will be launched exclusively at the festival. There will also be a chance to meet the authors, Robert Fairclough and Mike Kenwood.

Lord Fearn, Sefton's Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Tourism, said:- "It looks like being a rather unusual weekend in Southport with so many famous people in the town."

"We're delighted that Cult TV has decided to bring its annual convention to Southport. Many local people are also taking part and have already got their tickets into the world of television appreciation."


More than 700 stars, organisers and Cult TV fans will be in Southport for the festival and the town's Royal Clifton Hotel has been re-christened 'Moonbase Alpha', from where there will be entertainment into the early hours. There will be heated late-night TV related discussions, plus the chance to catch up on a few more special screenings, courtesy of a host of TV companies. A shuttle bus will operate between the hotel and the Floral Hall at night.

In the Cult TV awards on the Saturday night, 27 accolades are up for grabs including best new satellite series, most promising Cult TV newcomer, best returning terrestrial series and the best repeat. Others include the 'Hall of Shame' with awards for the worst line of dialogue and worst special effect and the 'Hall of Fame' for the best series, actor and costume.

Alex Geairns, the founder and executive producer of Cult TV, said:- "The production crew for the festival, all enthusiastic amateurs, have been delighted with the response we've received from the people of Southport. The local Science Fiction Club, and is particular its chairman Andrew Sciacca, have done wonders to help publicise the fact that we're coming to town.

"In the nine years we have been running Cult TV, we have never had so much goodwill and understanding of our event as has come from both Southport Tourism and the Royal Clifton Hotel. Their staff should be commended as being some of the best in their respective trades."

Cult TV is a charity benefit organised by unpaid volunteers and this year Unicef and the Southport Community Christmas Lights Campaign are the nominated charities.

For further details telephone 01733 205009, email enquiries@CultTV.net or visit www.CultTV.org.

Four-day tickets are priced at £70, children 11-15 at £45 and under 11s free. Special day rates will be available on the door from 8.30am on Sunday (October 27th).

Julia Brough.

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Ritalin - facts & abuse
By Dominic Bonner

Following our investigation, additives and attention hyperactive disorder (ADHD) seem to highlight only one thing, Ritalin.
 
The Southport Reporter embarks on an investigation of this drug and its effects.

Ritalin is not a drug that is unbeknown to most of us, indeed many of us have heard of it. We have little understanding of the drug and its implications upon those that must use it. The depths of the drug reveal a clandestine nature. Shrouded in government red tape and NHS mystery.  Yet the champion of ADHD sufferers, and those blighted with narcolepsy. Across the pond in America, the implications of the drug only herald a new danger. Is it the next lifestyle drug such as cocaine?

The jury remains out on this one for the moment. However, abuse of Ritalin has become widely known in most United States of America.  Highlighted as the 'teen-drug' of designer quality that is legal and mostly distributed illegally by children, accepted as a cheap alternative to cocaine. Ironically, America's leading pharmaceutical company concerning ADHD, CIBA-Geigy Corporation legally produces 98% of the world's Ritalin.

Strangely, this is wholly American problem - as in the late 1980's with crack cocaine. It has not transferred over to Britain. As with many prescribed drugs, problems associated with them are remain trivial and uncovered to a greater or lesser extent. Yet this drug could prove to be an epidemic that bucks the trend of illegal drug trade. 

Evidence in studies in Indiana, suggest that Ritalin has surpassed Prozac abuse. Described as the new happy drug, prescriptions of Ritalin over the last five years described as 'going through the roof', rising by some 600 percent. Many prescriptions are often bogus. Therefore, there are no surprises that it has gained the attention of America's Department of Enforcement Agency. Addicts run the risk of a ten-year prison term under American law. 

The street value per tablet can lead up to paying the English equivalent of ten pounds sterling per tablet. It is white and crystal like in appearance with no smell, but mostly in tablet form. Teenagers crush these tablets into powder and snort it like cocaine. Alternatively, inject it via a syringe. This leads to a whole host of new health problems. Some of which are related to the use of heroin and other drugs. Although as with any drug, the short-term gain overrides the risks.

It is a horrifying contradiction in terms. Ritalin and its purpose are to repress anti-social behavior in children. Yet teenagers willingly take on a concoction of health risks purely in the name of the 'next high'. The attraction lies solely in the fact that it is an amphetamine stimulant. Yet in extreme cases, recent cases of drug addicts have proved to mix the drug with a cocktail of cocaine and heroin, often with fatal consequences.

Side effects of Ritalin are well documented. Commonly it causes nausea, headaches, depression and many other symptoms. Intravenous injections of the drug invite dormant ingredients such as talc. Held as part of the tablet's make up, and further complicate side effects leading to formication (feeling of insects under the skin), paranoia and severe respiratory problems. 

Again, like many drugs, the consensus remains that it will lead to further drug abuse and characterized by a total dependency for the drug. The similarities for this view serve only to uphold current attitudes towards drugs as a whole. 

Conversely, in Britain the government regards the drug as safe. Consideration for the National Health Service to distribute it has been in planning for some time. Thirty thousand people in the U.K. are already using Ritalin. 

Yet we only seem to enforce the use of the drug for children with ADHD, without regard for a potential epidemic of drug abuse that could entail. Moreover, the price of social consequence that could rear its ugly head sooner rather than later.

Southport Reporter Facts....

Dexamfetamine Sulphate:- 
Interestingly the NHS say the side effects of the above are Insomnia, restlessness, irritability and excitability, nervousness, night terrors, euphoria, tremor, dizziness, headache, convulsions, dependence and tolerance, sometimes psychosis, anorexia, gastro-intestinal symptoms, growth retardation in children, dry mouth, sweating, tachycardia and anginal pain, palpltations, increased blood pressure, visual disturbances, cardiomyopathy reported with chronic use, central stimulants have provoked choreoathetold movements, tics and Tourette Syndrome in predisposed individuals.   
Methylphenidate Hydrochoride:-
as above also rash, urticaria, fever, arthralgia, alopecia, exfollative dermatitls, erytheme multifome, trombocytopenic purpura, thrombocytopenia, leucopenia and abnormal liver functions reported.

The Drugs are not recommended to children under 6 years of age by the British Medical Association.   

Southport Reporter is Trade Mark of Patrick Trollope.   Copyright © Patrick Trollope 2002.