- From Little Britain to Gavin & Stacey: what we said about BBC3
As the decision to make BBC3 an online-only channel is confirmed , we look back at what Guardian writers wrote about Being Human, Don’t Tell The Bride and Young, Dumb and Living Off Mum at the time The great escapists Continue reading... Pulled off the air … Sharon Horgan, Tanya Franks and Rebekah Staton in BBC3’s Pulling.Pulled off the air … Sharon Horgan, Tanya Franks and Rebekah Staton in BBC3’s Pulling.
- Not Safe for Work: is it This Life for a new generation?
Channel 4’s new drama about young people saddled with debt, unable to afford to buy a house and struggling to find work aims to define a generation in the way This Life and Peep Show did for their audiences They’ve been called the “unluckiest generation” – unable to get on the housing ladder, saddled with student debt, and hit hardest by government cuts. Now a new Channel 4 drama aims to put Millennials under the spotlight, capturing this generation’s rootless insecurity in the same way 1990s hit This Life depicted the lives and loves, fears and failures of those who came of age at the dawn of New Labour. Related: Sacha Dhawan: 'My generation don't care who plays a part' Continue reading... Katherine (Zawe Ashton) in Not Safe For Work.Katherine (Zawe Ashton) in Not Safe For Work.
- Is Episodes the One Where We Still Get To Enjoy Friends-style Sitcom Fun?
Now in its fourth series, the Anglo-American show-within-a-show has got looser, broader, dafter, ruder – and as unmissable as Matt LeBlanc’s greatest hit We’ll probably never get a Friends reunion, mainly because the cast are all mind-bogglingly rich, and they’re all doing pretty well for themselves anyway. Of course, nobody will ever match the divine ascendance of Lisa Kudrow (everyone loves The Comeback, but if you haven’t binged on Web Therapy yet, then what is wrong with you?). David Schwimmer has been having a dignified time of it on Broadway and as a director. Matthew Perry has fun lurching from cancelled show to cancelled show, picking righteous fights with Peter Hitchens as he goes; Courteney Cox enjoys median success with Cougar Town ; and Jennifer Aniston has forged a stellar career as a professional Jennifer Aniston. Continue reading... Matt LeBlanc in Episodes.Matt LeBlanc in Episodes.
- John Noakes reported missing from his Mallorca home
Police on Balearic island search for former Blue Peter television presenter, who has Alzheimer’s disease, after he disappeared on walk in 35C heat Police in Spain were searching on Tuesday evening for the former children’s television presenter John Noakes, nine hours after his wife alerted them that the 81-year-old had disappeared from a walk amid 35C heat. Noakes’s wife, Vicky, said she alerted police in Andratx, the district of the Balearic island of Mallorca where they live, shortly after 9am (0700 GMT) on Tuesday. Continue reading... John and Vicky Noakes in Mallorca, 1990.John and Vicky Noakes in Mallorca, 1990.
- Trailer watch: BoJack Horseman, season two
A first look at the second season of the Netflix cartoon starring Will Arnett, Aaron Paul, Amy Sedaris as Princess Carolyn and Alison Brie Related: Neighsayers! BoJack Horseman: season two details “Well, that was another in a long series of regrettable life choices …” Now starring in what should be his dream movie (a biopic of Secretariat), the second season of washed-up sitcom horse antics will see BoJack attempting to become a “newer, better BoJack”, with Lisa Kudrow guest-starring as Wanda Pierce. Continue reading... BoJack’s back …BoJack’s back …
- There's surely a funny way to depict waterboarding: The Brink didn’t find it
Polished US foreign policy drama The Brink, starring Tim Robbins and Jack Black, lacked the most important element of satire – humour The Brink (Sky Atlantic) actually started last week, but with a new comedy it’s sometimes worth waiting to see if it hits its stride in episode two. A satirical take on US government diplomacy – specifically geopolitical crisis, The Brink occupies territory normally squatted by straight drama: The West Wing, Homeland, House of Cards. Tim Robbins is secretary of state Walter Larson; Jack Black plays a scheming but ineffectual State Department functionary stationed in Pakistan, where a coup has taken place, interrupting Larson’s standing appointment with a prostitute. Continue reading... Was its heart in the right place? I’m not sure … Tim Robbins and Maribeth Monroe in The Brink.Was its heart in the right place? I’m not sure … Tim Robbins and Maribeth Monroe in The Brink.
- BBC3 set to go online only as trust backs plans to scrap TV channel
Rona Fairhead says long-term future of broadcasting is online in move to save corporation around £30m a year, with proposal for BBC1+1 channel rejected The BBC Trust has approved the corporation’s plans to scrap the BBC3 TV channel and make it online-only in a move set to save the corporation £30m a year, while disappointing hundreds of stars and producers who fought against the channel’s closure. In its first major decision since Rona Fairhead was appointed as chair of the trust last September, the regulator recognised the “clear long-term potential” in moving online, but admitted there were clear concerns about the loss of services to the key 16- to 34-year-old demographic as well as the BBC’s ability to try out new ideas and develop new talent. Continue reading... Under BBC proposals, the budget for scripted BBC3 comedies such as Cuckoo will be less than a quarter of its current level.Under BBC proposals, the budget for scripted BBC3 comedies such as Cuckoo will be less than a quarter of its current level.
- Get a better stylist: five key changes for the Top Gear trio's new show
Jeremy Clarkson and his team left the show with a solemn goodbye, but the departing presenters are already getting to work on a rival offering. So, maybe it’s time to cut some of the toe-curling rot that had infected their old series Top Gear as we know it ended last night . Despite James May dressing up like a hideous stonewash Doctor Who – and Richard Hammond sporting a horrific David Brent-ish goatee that made him look as if he’d daubed his chin with honey and then bog-snorkelled through an anthill – it was a decidedly solemn affair. Perhaps too solemn, in fact, given that it ended with the sort of silent credit sequence that Game of Thrones tends to reserve for episodes that end with scenes of graphic genocide. But don’t be sad. Kill Top Gear and two Top Gears will inevitably spring up in its place. Just as the first run of Top Gear birthed both Channel 5’s Fifth Gear and the revived Dadrock Top Gear that Jeremy Clarkson created in his own image, we’ll soon be inundated with laddy motoring programmes. Continue reading... Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May said goodbye to Top Gear in a solemn closing episode.Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May said goodbye to Top Gear in a solemn closing episode.
- The Paris Hilton plane crash: a new low for TV pranks
After fake family reunions, pretending to murder your child and kidnappings, is an Egyptian trick on the celebrity heiress the meanest stunt yet? Congratulations should surely go to Egyptian television programme Ramez in Control, for it has finally achieved the impossible. Until now, everything that Paris Hilton touched has been hilarious. Her singing career ? Hilarious. That perfume she created called Fairy Dust ? Hilarious. Her speaking voice, sense of entitlement and time spent in prison ? All completely hilarious. But now Ramez in Control has managed to put Paris Hilton in her first ever unapologetically non-hilarious situation. You see, Ramez in Control is a prank show, and its latest prank involved tricking Paris Hilton into believing that she was moments away from dying in a fiery aeroplane crash . She was in a plane, the engine stopped, it plummeted towards the ground and she started screaming and weeping hysterically, powerless against the certainty of her imminent demise. Continue reading... Paris Hilton fails to see the funny side during Ramez in Control’s plane crash prank.Paris Hilton fails to see the funny side during Ramez in Control’s plane crash prank.
- Odyssey review – ‘A pick-and-mix of lazy old tropes’
Anna Friel’s new spy thriller – clearly an attempt to replicate the success of Homeland – fails to produce a single moment of originality Anna Friel spends the first episode of new US military thriller Odyssey (BBC2) struggling with fictional insurgents, the unforgiving heat and a script that doesn’t leave a single expository detail to chance. Why beat around the bush with subtlety when each coarsely drawn character can spell out plot and motivation so clearly and deliberately? You can practically hear the clunk and ding of the typewriter whenever someone opens their mouth. That said, Friel is a cut above this nonsense and puts in a convincingly American and fully committed performance as Sergeant Odelle Ballard, the only female soldier in her unit, currently on a mission to Mali, where they accidentally assassinate a terrorist leader who happens by. Now she must find a way home to her husband and young daughter before her enemies catch up with her. It was clearly supposed to be Friel’s Homeland, and shares many visual and auditory signifiers, including the colour palate and snatches of Middle-Eastern music to remind you of the unseen threat. But this is a conspiracy thriller, so the threat may naturally come from closer to home. There are rumblings of US corporate funds channelled to terrorist cells and communiques in English, rubber-stamped by the mysterious SOC corporation. Even the secret, encrypted documents kept safe in a USB stick around her neck are written in Fisher-Price spy language. The writers do not believe you’ll keep up any other way. Continue reading... Anna Friel in Odyssey. Photograph: Virginia Sherwood
- Amy Schumer: comedy's viral queen
From photobombing weddings to attacking sexism, everything she touches turns to gold – but not all her comedy is as surefooted as her celebrated sketches It would be inaccurate to say that Amy Schumer is having a moment. Rather, it feels like the comedian has a new series of moments each week, as the greatest hits from new episodes of Inside Amy Schumer’s bumper third season hit the web to be shared, reviewed and fawned over by an army of online fans. And then there are her untelevised moments: photobombing a couple’s engagement pictures while on a run , making quotable, funny, feminist remarks at women’s magazine awards , Instagramming a recent Monistat purchase or trip to the gynaecologist . Smart and sharp, Schumer seems to satirise and encapsulate the feminist debates of the moment, from equal pay to rape culture. Continue reading... Amy Schumer: a blind spot around race?Amy Schumer: a blind spot around race?
- Terry Sue-Patt: what became of the boy who was Grange Hill's Benny Green?
He was first through the school gates when landmark TV series Grange Hill began. Last month Terry Sue-Patt, the actor who played him, was found dead in his flat aged 50. Had his life taken a tragic turn? The death of Terry Sue-Patt was announced on social media last month, and quickly went viral. The strange thing was that few people had thought of him for years. Decades even. Many of those who remembered him did so by a different name – Benny Green. Benny was the tiny black kid from fictional 70s comprehensive Grange Hill . Rarely seen without a football, he was Tucker Jenkins ’ cute if anxious sidekick, the first boy in the first episode of the hit series to enter the school gates. Next thing we saw was him kicking his football against the school wall. Then he was shouted at by the caretaker. Typical Benny. Continue reading... School's out! The Grange Hill cast, including Terry Sue-Patt as Benny Green (second from right). Photograph: BBCSchool's out! The Grange Hill cast, including Terry Sue-Patt as Benny Green (second from right). Photograph: BBC
- Humans recap: season one, episode three – having a synth proves a lifesaver
Laura finds herself having to thank Anita, Niska proves she has mixed morals, and Mattie accidentally gives Leo a lead on his missing synth Spoiler alert: this recap covers the third episode of Humans showing on Channel 4 . For episode two, click here If Humans has left you only mildly unnerved until now, this is a real sleep-disturber of an episode. Mortality, consciousness and the prospect of a synth serial killer? That’ll do nicely. Continue reading... Anita … can she withstand Laura’s attempts to get rid of her?Anita … can she withstand Laura’s attempts to get rid of her?
- Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell recap: episode seven – the finale
From the rousing prelude to the brave, bittersweet ending, the final episode of this excellent series may have deviated from the book, but it captured its spirit And now the denouement. Strange is coming from Venice, brimming with vengeance, and the cowardly Norrell has perhaps sensibly high-tailed it back to Yorkshire and the protection of his library at Hurtfew. Vinculus hangs from a tree in a wind-swept ravine, and Lady Pole has taken to her bed and cannot be roused. There was much (too much?) to resolve in this final episode of Toby Hayne’s ambitious adaptation of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. So how did it get on? Well, it was bananas. Continue reading... Lady Pole and Arabella in the final episode of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.Lady Pole and Arabella in the final episode of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.
- Glastonbury on TV: spectacular, even from my sofa
The BBC recreated the festival experience perfectly, from the panic attacks to the annoying companions Live coverage, the best photos and reviews of Glastonbury acts There’s a fundamental difference between experiencing Glastonbury in the flesh and watching it on TV. In person, it’s a simultaneous assault on your senses, the sort of thing that sears your nervous system. Then again, when you’re watching from home, you get to eat vegetables and occasionally wash your hands. Who’s to say which is better? However, even though sitting down indoors is undoubtedly better than standing up outside, this year’s television coverage seemed hell-bent on replicating the festival experience as closely as possible. Luckily, thanks to my five-month-old son, I was already one step ahead in this regard. Between the constant noise, the lack of sleep and the relentless exposure to gallons of red-hot liquid faeces, it was just like being there. Continue reading... Voices of experience … Lauren Laverne and Mark Radcliffe front the BBC’s Glastonbury coverageVoices of experience … Lauren Laverne and Mark Radcliffe front the BBC’s Glastonbury coverage
- On my radar: Richard Ayoade’s cultural highlights
The actor and film-maker on Björk’s powerful brilliance, the gritty films of Mike Nichols and the perfect sound of TS Eliot’s poetry Richard Ayoade was born in London in 1977. He read law at Cambridge, where he was president of Footlights, and co-wrote a Perrier-nominated show at the Edinburgh fringe in 2000. Part of the original cast of The Mighty Boosh , he also appeared on The IT Crowd as Moss for four seasons, receiving a Bafta in 2014. He began a parallel career as a director, first for music videos by Arctic Monkeys and Vampire Weekend, and later in features including Submarine and The Double . The paperback of his first book, a satirical take on movie biographies, Ayoade on Ayoade: A Cinematic Odyssey (Faber), is out now. Continue reading... Richard Ayoade: ‘I’m not very articulate about good literature but you know when you’re in good hands.’ Photograph: Antonio OlmosRichard Ayoade: ‘I’m not very articulate about good literature but you know when you’re in good hands.’ Photograph: Antonio Olmos
- On with the show: best TV opening credits, from long to short
Kicking off a television series can be an art in itself, whether it’s slow-burn or fast and furious. Here are some classics… The recent trend for artily extended title sequences in television has reached its beautiful apex with the 90-second opener to the new series of True Detective . But how long must opening credits be to make an impact? We stack up six of the most memorable from longest to shortest. Continue reading... ‘Beautiful’: a shot from the opening credits of True Detective, season two.‘Beautiful’: a shot from the opening credits of True Detective, season two.
- The week in TV: Imagine: Frank Gehry; True Detective; The Brink; The Syndicate; Black Work
Frank Gehry came out punching against his critics, while Colin Farrell was mesmerising in a corrupt, murky and complex California Imagine: Frank Gehry BBC1 | BBC iPlayer True Detective Sky Atlantic Continue reading... Colin Farrell as Detective Ray Velcoro in the second season of True Detective: 'LA Confidential for a new generation.' Photograph: Lacey Terrell/APColin Farrell as Detective Ray Velcoro in the second season of True Detective: 'LA Confidential for a new generation.' Photograph: Lacey Terrell/AP
- Patrick Macnee, star of The Avengers, dies aged 93
London-born actor was best known for his role as dapper John Steed in 1960s ‘spy-fi’ series, but also appeared in Spinal Tap and Bond film A View to a Kill Patrick Macnee, the actor best known for playing John Steed in the 1960s television series The Avengers, has died at the age of 93. His family were at his bedside at his home in Rancho Mirage, California, his son Rupert said in a statement published on Thursday on Macnee’s website . Continue reading... Patrick Macnee with his second Avengers co-star, Diana Rigg.
- My afternoon at the Seinfeld apartment
A new pop-up exhibition recreates the set of the legendary comedy – and fans are flocking to disrobe on the couch, George Costanza-style Related: Seinfeld on Hulu: which episodes should you download first? It turns out that the best part of visiting Jerry Seinfeld’s apartment is his wacky nextdoor neighbour. Continue reading... Jerry Seinfeld’s kitchen lovingly recreated.Jerry Seinfeld’s kitchen lovingly recreated.
- Don’t Tell the Bride review: ‘A comforting perennial, like a cheese toastie’
Don’t Tell the Bride has had a makeover after migrating from BBC3 to BBC1. So what can we expect from this revamped reality-doc? Will love conquer all? When it was announced that BBC3 was under threat and was likely to become online-only (the official line is that it’s still “under review”), my first thought was: “Get your grubby touchscreen-swiping fingers off Don’t Tell the Bride ”. The reality-documentary series, which got through 83 episodes and 21 specials in its original home, was a comforting perennial, like a cheese toastie. It wasn’t fancy, it wasn’t complicated, but it put just enough of a spin on your regular reality-show cheddar sandwich to make it worth your while. The BBC clearly agreed with this pained metaphor and brought it over to BBC1, where it began its primetime slot on Wednesday night. Don’t Tell the Bride should be awful. It gives the groom full control of his wedding, which he must plan in secret, and a budget of £12,000. He does everything, from booking the venue and entertainment to choosing the bridesmaids’ dresses and planning the hen do. Its entire premise is a sort of 1970s washing powder ad conceit that, when it comes to heterosexual relationships, all men are a bit useless and insensitive and dim, and all women are romantic and demanding and shrill, and if you put those two traits together on the most stressful day of people’s lives, then decent television is born. Continue reading... Jenni and Andrew at their wedding reception in a circus tent.Jenni and Andrew at their wedding reception in a circus tent.
- Sesame Street is an instant hit: From the archive, 25 June 1970
Educationists hope the US words and numbers show can bridge the knowledge gap between children from lower and higher income families Once upon a time a guy named Joe Noticed a June bug upon his toe Put it in a jar and started to go But here comes the Judge and said no, no, no. A nursery rhyme? A jingle? Yes, but with a difference. It comes from “Sesame Street,” an experimental programme which opened on America’s 170 educational television stations a few months ago. Now a smash hit in the eyes of most educators, teachers, and parents, the daily hour-long show is aimed at the nation’s 12 million three-year-olds and its goal is to educate young children through entertainment. Continue reading... Sesame Street’s Big Bird reads to children. Photograph: APSesame Street’s Big Bird reads to children. Photograph: AP
- Lee Pace interview: 'Halt and Catch Fire is about people, not computers'
The Guardians of the Galaxy star is back for a second series as Joe MacMillan, the ruthless visionary in AMC’s drama about the PC revolution. He explains why he likes playing bad guys – and how much his character is based on Steve Jobs Ever since breaking through opposite Anna Friel in Bryan Fuller ’s delirious, divisive TV fantasia Pushing Daisies , Lee Pace has been a familiar face at multiplexes. A role in the final Twilight film was followed by that of Thranduil, The Hobbit ’s Elven King, and Guardians of the Galaxy ’s supervillain, Ronan the Accuser. His latest project, Halt and Catch Fire (named after an early computer command requiring a restart), investigates the home-computing revolution in the early 1980s, with Pace’s Joe MacMillan the slippery svengali at its heart. Related: Halt and Catch Fire: retro computer drama’s creators discuss show's reboot Continue reading... Computer world … Scoot McNairy as Gordon Clark, Mackenzie Davis as Cameron Howe and Lee Pace as Joe MacMillan in Halt and Catch Fire.Computer world … Scoot McNairy as Gordon Clark, Mackenzie Davis as Cameron Howe and Lee Pace as Joe MacMillan in Halt and Catch Fire.
- Kenneth Branagh: Playing Wallander left me in 'permanent state of anxiety'
Actor tells Guardian editor-in-chief Katharine Viner about depression caused by playing a Nazi and how meditation helps him stay calm Kenneth Branagh has described how playing the angst-ridden eponymous hero in TV series Wallander put him in a “permanent, acceptable state of anxiety”. In an honest and engaging appraisal of his career, the award-winning actor and director talked to the Guardian’s editor-in-chief Katharine Viner about his use of meditation and mindfulness to still his racing mind as well as the impact of his early life in Belfast and early success. Continue reading... Kenneth Branagh said he meditated twice a day for half an hour a time ‘to calm that racing mind’ as well as ‘hear instincts’ or ‘uniformed hunches’.
- The Bank: A Matter of Life and Debt review – ‘Who’s heard of Walt Disney?’
Claire has an ace idea to revive the British public’s sadly dormant love for high-street banks in this surprisingly entertaining documentary Banks. Boo. Everyone hates them, right? And hates the people who work there. Bankers, the lot of them, with a “W”. Which is possibly a little unfair on the staff of the average high-street branch. NatWest in Huddersfield, say, the subject of this revealing and surprisingly entertaining three-part doc, The Bank: A Matter of Life and Debt (BBC2). The way to win back our hearts (because before the crash of 2008 we used to love banks, remember?) is customer service. Acting manager Claire, 28, has an ace idea: she’s going to borrow a bit of magic from another well-known brand. She gathers the troops on a Wednesday morning. “Who’s heard of Walt Disney?” she wants to know. (There’s more than a hint of a primary-school teacher about Claire). Continue reading... Claire, right, and Sarah in The Bank: A Matter of Life and Debt. Photograph: BBC/The Garden Productions/Simon PantlingClaire, right, and Sarah in The Bank: A Matter of Life and Debt. Photograph: BBC/The Garden Productions/Simon Pantling
- True Detective's opening credits: a thing of beauty (that goes on a bit too long)
A strong title sequence can make a TV show – but are long and elaborate credits really better? I miss Lost. When I watched Sense8 , I missed Lost. When I’ve watched anything starring anyone from Lost, I’ve missed Lost. And, over the last year or so, whenever I’ve watched the opening titles of almost any prestigious drama series, I’ve really missed Lost. Continue reading... A work of art ... True Detective’s opening credits.A work of art ... True Detective’s opening credits.
- Chris Evans will host more episodes of TFI Friday – how did we get here?
After the successful 20th-anniversary celebration, Channel 4 has announced a further eight-part run of TFI Friday with the new Top Gear host back at the helm – and not Nick Grimshaw, as Evans himself had suggested Personally, I would have brought back The Word or, at a stretch, Katie Puckrik’s Pyjama Party. But today we are faced with news that’s going to be as divisive as it was inevitable. Following its successful one-off revival, TFI Friday is coming back to Channel 4 for a full series, the twist being that Chris Evans will return to front all eight episodes. We should at least be used to Evans going back on his word when it comes to career plans. And so it would be instructive to establish a timeline of these cataclysmic last few months. A rip opens in the fabric of light entertainment when Jeremy Clarkson punches somebody in the face . Because this happens around the same time as the UK’s most bankable TV presenter, Dermot O’Leary, quits The X Factor , Chris Evans feels the need to loudly and publicly rule himself out of the race to replace Clarkson . Because it’s 19 years since TFI Friday, Channel 4 decide to air a 20th-anniversary special of the show a year early. The broadcast goes exceptionally well , save for a bizarre final sequence, which descends into an elongated audition for the Top Gear job, complete with a cameo from Clarkson and an interview with charisma black hole Lewis Hamilton. Continue reading... Chris Evans, right, with Lewis Hamilton on TFI Friday’s 19th 20th-anniversary special.Chris Evans, right, with Lewis Hamilton on TFI Friday’s 19th 20th-anniversary special.
- Hannibal is cancelled but there's hope he'll dine again on a streaming network
NBC has canned the cannibal show, but with its lavish production, fine acting and intelligent script, surely it’s is perfect for cable, Hulu, Netflix or Amazon Unleash the gags about last suppers - NBC has cancelled Hannibal . (Although how anybody can joke at a time like this is more upsetting than the series’ most graphic scenes.) With the final episode scheduled to air on 3 September, the Bryan Fuller-directed series about the exploits of the cannibal psychiatrist invented by Thomas Harris will end its three-season run and break the hearts of fannibals everywhere . Continue reading... Mads Mikkelsen as Dr Hannibal Lecter: an artful approach to murder.Mads Mikkelsen as Dr Hannibal Lecter: an artful approach to murder.
- The Saboteurs, Jordskott and The Legacy: TV review – video
In his review of the week's TV, telly addict Andrew Collins indulges in a Scandinavian smorgasbord with brand new hit Norwegian-Danish-British second world war thriller The Saboteurs on More4; the latest Nordic noir detective mystery (this time from Sweden), Jordskott, on ITV Encore; the recent epic Danish war drama 1864, on BBC4; the return of family saga The Legacy to Sky Arts; and, for a bit of English-speaking respite, Undercover, a new cop comedy on Dave. Tak! Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for The Saboteurs, Jordskott, The Legacy and more:TV review-video
- Lady Dynamite: Maria Bamford's Netflix comedy should be a blast
If you have enjoyed her oddball standup and cameos on everything from Arrested Development to Adventure Time, news that Netflix has signed Bamford for her own comedy series will be welcome If you laughed at Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt , were intrigued by House of Cards and missed sleep to race through season three of Orange is the New Black, you’re going to want to watch what Netflix does next. Arguably the most exciting of the upcoming shows it has announced in the past week is a comedy called Lady Dynamite , conceived by Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz and US comedian Maria Bamford. Bamford will play the eponymous heroine, and (fingers crossed) this could be the star vehicle her unique talents deserve. If you know who she is, it is most likely from her two appearances on Louie or her turn as DeBrie Bardeaux, the butter-chomping addict who beguiles Tobias in the fourth season of Arrested Development. But while “the Bammer” is frequently – and justifiably – cast as an oddball, she is much more than just another quirky actor. She has had a long career in the States, where she began standup 25 years ago, temping at the same time. She appeared on the Comedians of Comedy tour (and in the accompanying documentary) alongside Patton Oswalt and Zach Galifianakis in 2005. She has performed on the Tonight Show, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and the pre-James Corden Late Late Show. She appeared on the WTF podcast way before President Obama , was the first female comedian to have two Comedy Central specials and has lent her voice to dozens of cult cartoons, most recently Adventure Time and The Legend of Korra. But what makes her stand out is also what has often made her a mismatch for mainstream roles: she is weird. Continue reading... Maria Bamford on The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail.Maria Bamford on The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail.
- True Detective review: ‘Bad, bad men are still doing bad, bad things’
Four new characters go about their dodgy business in a doomy atmosphere – but what of the case, you may well wonder? “I welcome judgment” says Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell somewhere underneath a droopy moustache). “I’m an American – say it,” orders Detective Antigone “Ani” Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams) to a line-up of webcam girls she’s hoping are illegal immigrants. “I had to work out some kinks …” offers California highway officer Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch) (yes, he’s in CHiPs!), to his bored, semi-clad girlfriend after a 30-minute shower, the effects of his blue pill having finally kicked in. “Never do anything out of hunger – not even eating,” says casino owner Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn), confusing everyone. Welcome to True Detective (Sky Atlantic), round two. Unlike, say, Line of Duty, which adopted the “guest lead” model – swapping Lennie James for Keeley Hawes but keeping the core team of Adrian Dunbar, Vicky McClure and Martin Compston, or American Horror Story, which has employed a floating repertory system with Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett recast as different characters in different scenarios each season (an asylum, a coven, a travelling freak show), the “anthology” model True Detective is using feels closer to The Twilight Zone or Tales Of The Unexpected model. Apparently it’s a brand name guaranteeing a doomy atmosphere, confusing crimes, scenes of bad, bad men (and now – a woman!) doing bad, bad things … and then going out to do some police work. So far, True Detective 2 seems to be exploring (did anything really get solved last time?) the case of Ben Caspere – a city manager who has gone missing, just as he was about to wrap up a big land deal. Continue reading... Rachel McAdams and Colin Farrell investigate in True Detective. Photograph: Lacey Terrell/HBORachel McAdams and Colin Farrell investigate in True Detective. Photograph: Lacey Terrell/HBO
- No Offence to return for second series on Channel 4
Filming of Shameless creator Paul Abbott’s comic police drama, starring Joanna Scanlan, set to begin in early 2016 Paul Abbott’s darkly comic police drama No Offence starring Joanna Scanlan will return for a second series on Channel 4. Continue reading... Programme makers said the new series of No Offence would ‘see the team investigating a whole new case, involving warring crime families’.Programme makers said the new series of No Offence would ‘see the team investigating a whole new case, involving warring crime families’.
- Hannibal cancelled by NBC after ratings slump
The TV show’s third season, which stars Mads Mikkelsen as cannibal psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter, will be its last due to declining ratings Hannibal is cancelled but there’s hope he’ll dine again on a streaming network After three seasons of stylish, critically acclaimed but little-watched gore, NBC has decided that it has had its fill of Hannibal. The TV series about the cannibal psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter , invented by the thriller writer Thomas Harris and immortalised in the 1991 film The Silence of the Lambs, received good reviews but never attained high ratings. Its violent imagery, often displaying corpses artfully arranged and waiting to be eaten by the eponymous antihero, pushed the envelope of what is permissible on network TV. Continue reading... Hannibal: cannibalism never looked so suave.Hannibal: cannibalism never looked so suave.
- How we made The League of Gentlemen
‘When we were looking for locations on our first series, the producer was always stepping away to take calls. We learned later they wanted to cancel us’ We were doing our first stage shows in 1995 and decided to stop off at Rottingdean on our way to a gig in Brighton; there was a wishing stone in a churchyard that Mark [Gatiss] wanted to find. When we got there we each made a wish – essentially that this endeavour we had started would bear fruit – and on our way back we stopped off at this little shop. All four of us went in and the woman who worked there looked aghast, as if thinking: “My God, I’m going to be mugged and raped! You’re going to steal everything!” We walked out and burst into laughter. Reece [Shearsmith] came up with The Local Shop and that was the birth of those characters. Continue reading... The Local Shop… Steve Pemberton, left, and Reece Shearsmith in The League of Gentlemen.The Local Shop… Steve Pemberton, left, and Reece Shearsmith in The League of Gentlemen.
- Stay inside this summer: the best new shows on TV
It used to be the dead zone, thanks to the sun and everything, but times are changing. Here, Guardian writers pick the best of this summer’s new stuff Summer is traditionally off-season for TV. Schedule-obliterating sport events, and the unreliable but still enticing prospect of spending evenings outside in the warm, have proven tough competition. The middle of the year became a dumping ground for misshapes (hello, Prized Apart and The Interceptor!) while most of the big guns were saved for the dark, wine-and-onesie nights of autumn and winter. But something is in the muggy air. On-demand and time-shifted viewing have turned TV into a 24/7 medium, lessening the risk of broadcasting a potential hit when the audience are still outside playing naked Swingball. Now, every day is another chance to ensure a programme finds a following. The modern scheduler can’t afford to just bung on a load of Two Ronnies repeats before taking July and August off. Now there are new shows, bold shows, and shows that make queueing for a festival toilet or a tepid pint seem even less appealing. Here are the coolest shows for these hot months… Continue reading... A veritable feast of summer TVA veritable feast of summer TV
- John Noakes found after going missing during walk near his Mallorca home
Former Blue Peter presenter, who has Alzheimer’s disease, taken to hospital after he was found in a field in 35C heat Former children’s television presenter John Noakes has been found after disappearing during a walk on the island of Mallorca early on Tuesday morning in 35C heat. Noakes’s wife Vicky said she alerted police in Andratx, the district of the Balearic island where the couple live, that he was missing shortly after 9am. Continue reading... John and Vicky Noakes in Mallorca in 1990. The former children’s TV presenter has been found after going missing during a walk.John and Vicky Noakes in Mallorca in 1990. The former children’s TV presenter has been found after going missing during a walk.
- My Jihad: a romcom that merits more exposure than BBC3's online future
A new online-only romcom from the scrapped channel featuring a Muslim couple who meet on a speed-date is exactly the sort of gem that could get lost without the exposure that live transmission brings Nothing better than a good old-fashioned romantic comedy, is there? The BBC aired an utterly superb one at the weekend, called My Jihad . If you haven’t seen it, it’s on iPlayer. But that’s probably why you haven’t seen it: it’s only on iPlayer. Related: BBC3 set to go online only as trust backs plans to scrap TV channel Continue reading... Fahmida (Anjli Mohindra) and Nazir (Hamza Jeetooa) in My Jihad.Fahmida (Anjli Mohindra) and Nazir (Hamza Jeetooa) in My Jihad.
- NeNe Leakes' exit from Real Housewives of Atlanta may be a death knell for Bravo
As Atlanta’s original housewife moves on, the reality TV franchise slips in ratings and the network faces problems putting out hits like those of a decade ago So far there are only three exit strategies for the women who star on Bravo’s popular Real Housewives franchise. Most Housewives are fired for being too boring (Deshawn Snow), too crazy (Danielle Staub) or otherwise bad for the show (Jill Zarin, Alex McCord, and Kelly Bensimon in one fell swoop). Then there is Bethenny Frankel – the exception that proves the rule – who created the Skinny Girl liquor brand and sold it for a reported $120m . And then, of course, there is jail. Just ask Teresa Giudice . NeNe Leakes, from the Real Housewives of Atlanta and one of the franchise’s biggest stars, is trying to change all that. She is leaving the show after seven seasons, seemingly of her own accord. “My contract is up and I just think this is the right time,” she told People magazine yesterday . “This is my opportunity to spread my wings and do different things.” In the article she says she starts filming a new “primetime television show with a big legend” this week. Could it be Kim Kardashian, whose wildly famous game Leakes just joined ? Continue reading... NeNe Leakes walks out on the Real Housewives franchise.
- Zoo: animals attack in CBS's undemanding new sci-fi show
If you like the thought of animals eating stock characters as scientists and journalists freak out, turn your brain off for this lazy summer watch What’s the name of the show? Zoo When does it premiere? Tuesday 30 June at 9pm EST on CBS. Continue reading... Zoo is the sort of show that you turn on and laze through in the summertime while eating watermelon and waiting to check the score on the Red Sox game.Zoo is the sort of show that you turn on and laze through in the summertime while eating watermelon and waiting to check the score on the Red Sox game.
- Sacha Dhawan: 'My generation don't care who plays a part'
He’s one of the most prominent new British-Asian faces on television, starring in Line Of Duty, Utopia and C4’s new comedy Not Safe For Work. Meet the rising actor who won’t let his ethnicity define him It’s your early 20s. You’ve just emerged from higher education. Congratulations! Now go and live in a strange city to do a job you don’t like or understand, while painfully screwing up your first grown-up relationships. The obvious solution to not knowing what you’re doing is to party your way through it… but preferably without spiralling down to the point where you’re wasted 24/7, taking showers with your suit on, and being sick in your mouth during crucial meetings. That’s the fate of Danny, the young office manager played by Sacha Dhawan in queasily convincing new Channel 4 dramedy Not Safe for Work. This monstrous, immersive comic turn is a level-up role for the 31-year-old Mancunian, who has become dangerously close to ubiquitous in TV drama recently. He was a scene-stealing wrong ’un in Line Of Duty and Last Tango in Halifax and a bio-terrorist in Utopia, alongside gentler roles provided by his friend Mark Gatiss in The Tractate Middoth and Doctor Who biopic An Adventure In Space And Time. Continue reading... “He takes a lot of substances”: Sacha Dhawan as bad boss Danny.“He takes a lot of substances”: Sacha Dhawan as bad boss Danny.
- Tuesday’s best TV
Britain’s brainiest kids gather in Child Genius, the 7/7 Bombing recalled in Survivors’ Stories and Dan Cruickshank on the Isis threat in Civilisation Under Attack. Plus: lottery winners struggle on in The Syndicate and Zawe Ashton is relocated to Northampton in Not Safe For Work “I’m having a double stainless steel with waste disposal!” The lottery winners are taking over the mansion they used to work in, but Julie’s ignorance of building regulations is the least of the dramas. Writer-director Kay Mellor stuffs about two hours’ worth of plot into 60 minutes, starting with the theft of a clock three years ago. The combination of believable dialogue and unbelievable events makes it feel as if this could be your own family discovering secret bank accounts and admitting their lives are built on juicy porkies. Jack Seale Continue reading... Contestant David in Child Genius. Photograph: Stephen Wells/Channel 4Contestant David in Child Genius. Photograph: Stephen Wells/Channel 4
- Catch-up TV guide: from Sons Of Anarchy to WTF
Sons Of Anarchy’s final series is available in full on Sky On Demand while Marc Maron’s WTF podcast nets his biggest interview yet Even in this age of the gruelling antihero drama, few shows have managed to explore the depths of depravity quite as effectively as Kurt Sutter’s brutal biker drama, the penultimate season of which is currently airing on Spike. For those who can’t wait to see what hideous fates befall the members of SAMCRO and their rivals, the seventh and final season is available on Sky On Demand, along with the rest of the series. Continue reading... We are the robots… HumansWe are the robots… Humans
- Wolf Hall box set review: ‘a compelling, candlelit historical drama’
Mark Rylance is astonishing as the steely, watchful Thomas Cromwell – and there is not an actor who puts a foot wrong in this hugely impressive adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s novels It is a special drama that not just withstands a rewatch but grows richer for it. Peter Straughan’s measured adaptation of Hilary Mantel ’s novels becomes more compelling with subsequent viewing, thanks to its nuanced performances and economical direction; layers of subtlety revealed in quiet asides or unnoticed glances. It is without doubt, some of the most impressive British TV drama in years. The tale begins with the fall of Cardinal Wolsey. It is 1529 and Henry VIII, after 20 years of marriage to Catherine of Aragon, is without a son. The Duke of Norfolk, clattering boldly through the cardinal’s palace halls by night, finds Wolsey, clad head-to-toe in scarlet, his limbs heavy with jewels, unable to persuade the pope to annul the king’s marriage. Henry’s heart is set on Anne Boleyn, Wolsey’s influence a casualty of Rome’s refusal to smooth the way for the monarch. The priest remains in his bed for one last night thanks only to the quick wits of his right-hand man, the lawyer Thomas Cromwell. Continue reading... Intellect, wit and underdog status in the court of King Henry … Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall.Intellect, wit and underdog status in the court of King Henry … Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall.Intellect, wit and underdog status in the court of King Henry … Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall. Photograph: Giles Keyte/BBCIntellect, wit and underdog status in the court of King Henry … Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall. Photograph: Giles Keyte/BBC
- Tracy Austin’s favourite TV
The former US No 1 pro tennis player on I Love Lucy and her guilty pleasure, Home and Garden Television I have three boys, so often they’ll have Top Gear on. It was funny, because last week at Queen’s the main man [recently deposed host Jeremy Clarkson] was shown on the screen and I shouted: “I know that man,” and everyone went: “How do you know about him?” Top Gear’s really crossed over to the States. What’s really fun is that my sons all like a different genre: my oldest likes history, my middle one likes outdoors stuff and my youngest likes all the sports. It makes for nice variety. I’m not saying I’m not in control of the clicker, though! Continue reading... Photograph: Clive Brunskill/GettyPhotograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty
- True Detective season two, episode two recap: Night Finds You
The Californian setting sees the show teetering on the edge of cliche at times but there’s potential for humour in the working relationship between Ray and Ani Spoiler alert: this blog details events in the second episode of the second season of True Detective which airs on Sunday nights on HBO in America, and Mondays in the UK on Sky Atlantic at 2am and 9pm. For the first season of True Detective click here . Continue reading... ‘Did I tell you about my body issues?’ … Colin Farrell (Ray) announces his support for feminism to Rachel McAdams (as Ani)‘Did I tell you about my body issues?’ … Colin Farrell (Ray) announces his support for feminism to Rachel McAdams (as Ani)
- Hannibal recap: season three, episode four – Aperitivo
NBC has cancelled Hannibal and Aperitivo is a suitably depressing explanation of events before the previous two episodes featuring characters broken by Hannibal Spoiler alert: this blog is published after Hannibal airs on NBC in the US on Thursdays. Do not read on unless you have watched season three, episode four, which airs in the UK on Sky Living on Wednesdays at 10pm. There’s a sense of melancholy heading into watching this episode of Hannibal. It’s one unlike the typical sense of melancholy, the sense of steeling oneself for the dark and twisted turns of the series. This time around, it’s the fact that, no matter how good the episode could be (and of course ends up being), it will have to take a back seat to the fact that NBC just cancelled Hannibal. Continue reading... Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal Lecter draws his enemies to him, but to what end?
- Mindbending thrills, redemption and orgies – have you finished Sense8?
The Wachowskis sci-fi drama on Netflix gathers pace in episodes seven to 12, as the ‘sensates’ across the world get to know each other – and start to learn what is happening to them Spoiler alert: this blog discusses events in episodes seven-12 of Sense8 on Netflix, don’t read on if you haven’t finished the season. It was clear from the off that the Wachowskis’s divisive, mindbending thriller was very clever. But by the end, it proved itself something better than that; it proved itself to be really rather smart. Continue reading... Riley (Tuppence Middleton) and Nomi (Jamie Clayton) meet in Sense8.Riley (Tuppence Middleton) and Nomi (Jamie Clayton) meet in Sense8.
- Game of Thrones season five finale recap – Mother's Mercy
Justice, faith, revenge and repentence play out in the final episode of this season Spoiler alert: this blog is published after Game of Thrones airs on HBO in the US on Sundays and on Foxtel in Australia on Mondays. Do not read on unless you have watched season five, episode 10, which airs in the UK on Sky Atlantic on Monday at 9pm . Also please avoid posting spoilers from the books. Related: Game of Thrones recap: season five, episode nine – The Dance of Dragons Continue reading... Back in Castle Black… Jon Snow (Kit Harrington).Back in Castle Black… Jon Snow (Kit Harrington).
- Orange is the New Black recap: season three, episode one – Mother's Day
Welcome back to the Litchfield pententiary, where we find the inmates preparing for Mother’s Day in an opening episode that reminds us just what’s so good about Orange is the New Black Spoiler alert: this blog details events in the first episode of season three of Orange is the New Black, please refrain from posting spoilers if you’ve seen more … Continue reading... Suzanne (Uzo Aduba) and Poussey (Samira Wiley) in Orange is the New Black.Suzanne (Uzo Aduba) and Poussey (Samira Wiley) in Orange is the New Black.
- Fast and curious: what do you make of Sense8's telepathic tag team?
At the half-way point, the Wachowskis’ Netflix show really comes into its own, with the interlocking characters sharing life skills across the world, a decent take on LBGT representation and some great action scenes Spoiler alert: this blog discusses episodes one to six of Sense8 on Netflix. Please don’t post any spoilers if you’ve watched further than this. By now, you probably know at least a few things about Sense8, the TV debut from the Wachowskis, which launched this week on Netflix. Those things are likely to include: the fact that the opening sequence features a German jewel thief urinating on his father’s grave, a trans blogger being rogered senseless with a rainbow dildo by Martha from Doctor Who . And Naveen Andrews from Lost . Continue reading... Global communication… Doona Bae and Aml Ameen in Sense8.Global communication… Doona Bae and Aml Ameen in Sense8.
- 1864 recap: episodes seven and eight – the final chapters from Inge's diary
Claudia reads to the baron for the last time, Didrich taunts Peter, and Inge and Sofia arrive back at the manor Spoiler warning: this blogpost contains references to episodes five and six of 1864 on BBC4 in the UK. To read the recap for episodes five and six, click here . Continue reading... Laust carrries Didrich during the battle of Dybbol.Laust carrries Didrich during the battle of Dybbol.
- The Game: season one, episode six – an endgame in sight
Finally Operation Glass was revealed – this was a largely satisfying conclusion to events, but the pacing felt slightly off Spoiler warning: This blogpost contains references to episode five of The Game on BBC2 in the UK. Please do not post spoilers if you have watched further in the series on BBC America. To read the recap for season one, episode five of The Game, click here . Continue reading... Case closed? Sarah Montag (Victoria Hamilton) in The Game.Case closed? Sarah Montag (Victoria Hamilton) in The Game.
- Mad Men: what does the final scene mean? (Warning: spoilers)
Fans are divided over whether the ending to Mad Men is idealistic or cynical – so what do you think? Spoiler alert: this article discusses the final episode of Mad Men in detail. Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner was one of the key writers on The Sopranos, whose final scene, a sharp cut to black at Holsten’s diner , is still endlessly debated . Continue reading... Here’s to you... Mad Men reaches its conclusion.Here’s to you... Mad Men reaches its conclusion.
- Indian Summers recap: season one, episode 10 – a spy in the house of hate
The first season of the Channel 4 drama reaches its climax, and it is time for three central characters to face up to who they truly are So here we are. The last hurrah. The swansong. The final countdow – oh, let’s just get on with it. Related: A gorgeous, ambitious epic: have you been watching Indian Summers? Continue reading... Finally in the Club … Aafrin, played by Nikesh Patel.Finally in the Club … Aafrin, played by Nikesh Patel.
- Fortitude recap: season one, episode 11 – wasps, jam and an uncertain ending
The Sky drama reached the end of its first season a long way from where it started – and left fresh avenues open for season two Spoiler alert: this recap refers to events in episode 11 of Fortitude . Continue reading... Pride before a fall... Yuri Lubimov.Pride before a fall... Yuri Lubimov.
- Daredevil recap: season one, episode two – The Cut Man
Netflix’s marvel looked to build Daredevil’s backstory this week and uncovered some stereotypical ethnic bad guys, skewed morals and Rosario Dawson A slower episode than last week’s slugfest, and not in a bad way – we get more of Daredevil’s childhood this time around, although we still only see the trademark red costume in the credits and have to make do with the black ad hoc ninja suit during the rest of the fighting. This season is shaping up to be a 13-episode-long origin movie , which suits me just fine. Our story picks up just moments after the conclusion of the first episode, which ended on a not-really-a-cliffhanger in which Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) hears a child screaming for help. As the closing credits roll, we assume that, like Batman, he’s going to swoop down shortly and save the kid, but – surprise! – the kidnappers are ready for him and the first thing Daredevil does here is get the holy hell beat out of him by some Russian goons. He subsequently flashes back to his father’s mistreatment at the hands of Irish mobsters as he lies semi-conscious in a dumpster. Continue reading... Definitely Maybe: Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock, channelling mid-90s Liam Gallagher.Definitely Maybe: Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock, channelling mid-90s Liam Gallagher.
- Better Call Saul recap: season one, episode 10 – Marco
The first season reaches its end – and Jimmy is going into an exquisite meltdown in a bingo hall Spoiler warning: this recap discusses the tenth episode of Better Call Saul on AMC/Netflix. Read our episode nine recap . Continue reading... Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill in Better Call Saul.Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill in Better Call Saul.
- House of Cards recap: season three, episodes 11, 12 and 13 – are the Underwoods undone?
As one season closes, another is dangled teasingly in front of us. Frank is alone, Doug has done his foulest deed yet and the Democratic primary is hotting up There is no such thing as closure. The seeming finale of a TV series, for instance, just tees up the next. So, after Claire Underwood told Frank “I’m leaving you” and made her magnificent exit from the White House, there was only temporary resolution; a false closure prompting all sorts of questions that can only be answered in season four. Not that I’m complaining. I wasn’t looking forward to season three but much preferred its austere mood and gloomy visual and moral palette, to its more campily clamorous predecessors. There was much less of Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood appropriating the tic of his mentor – Ian Richardson in the British original – and mugging in a putatively wise-assed-manner to camera. The dearth of those asides certainly helped make this season less risible and self-satisfied than the first two. You may have liked Spacey’s mugging, but I couldn’t possibly agree. Continue reading... House of Cards: Robin Wright as Claire Underwood. When you've gotta go, you've gotta go.House of Cards: Robin Wright as Claire Underwood. When you've gotta go, you've gotta go.
- Wolf Hall recap: episode six – a head on the block
Anne refuses to go quietly, and it is Cromwell who must carry out Henry’s dirtiest work yet in this unsettling conclusion to the series With Wolf Hall’s final episode, Masters of Phantoms, we have a conclusion in which, as Scott put it at the end of Waverley , nothing is concluded. With this adaptation, of course, there is the added complication that Hilary Mantel has yet to publish The Mirror and The Light , the third part of her great historical romance. One looks forward to it with rather more eagerness than the newly announced third series of Broadchurch . Cromwell has, over the years covered by the narrative, become less sympathetic. There is blood on his hands – a bucketful by the end of this episode. But, as ever, he evades any charge of being downright despicable (as, for example, Henry most certainly is). However shredded his scruples may be, Thomas Cromwell remains, in his own peculiar way, scrupulous. Continue reading... Wolf Hall: Claire Foy as Anne Boleyn.Wolf Hall: Claire Foy as Anne Boleyn.
- Charlotte Rampling: ‘You can’t fool an audience with lots of bits and pieces. You have to lead them somewhere’
The Broadchurch star on our fear of wolves, the joy of working with English actors and her ‘iconic’ image Very shortly, you’ll be appearing in Manchester in Neck of the Woods , a theatrical collaboration between Turner prize winner Douglas Gordon , pianist Hélène Grimaud , writer Veronica Gonzalez Peña and you. It’s about wolves, isn’t it? Yes, I will be the narrator, the interpreter, the person who will actually lead you through the story. There is a fundamental theme, which is the mysteriousness of the wolf, the bad reputation of the wolf, the mythology and the wolf in psychoanalytical terms. Wolves seem to have come back to the fore recently, especially with an interest in rewilding. Why do you think they continue to fascinate? There’s something about the wolf, I guess, because since childhood and fairy stories we have had this idea of this ultimate predator, just waiting to pounce on us, waiting to come in. It’s always as if he’s hovering, this wolf, and going to get us one day. Continue reading... Charlotte Rampling: ‘Shall I slow down or make sure I’m still connecting with the world?’ Photograph: Jeff Vespa/Contour by Getty ImagesCharlotte Rampling: ‘Shall I slow down or make sure I’m still connecting with the world?’ Photograph: Jeff Vespa/Contour by Getty Images
- Spiral recap: season five, episodes 11 and 12 – a resolution, of sorts
There were plenty of thrills to end this season of the French drama – with Laure, Gilou, Joséphine and Roban ending the series in unexpected places Spoiler alert: This blog contains spoilers for season five, episodes 11 and 12 of Spiral . Catch up with the previous episode blog Continue reading... Gilou and Laure … another fine mess.Gilou and Laure … another fine mess.
- Homeland recap: season four, episode 12 – Long Time Coming
Whether you enjoyed this finale episode depends on what you expect from Homeland – but it was, without question, the best season since it began Whether you felt satisfied with Long Time Coming will depend on what you wanted from a season finale of Homeland. If you expected the pyrotechnics of the past three seasons – assassination attempts, bombings, impromptu crane-based executions – well, you’re likely to be very disappointed indeed. But if you were just happy with something that provided some sort of emotional resolution while setting the show up for its fifth season, this did the job adequately enough. I’m just about in the latter camp, though with some reservations. Ultimately, Long Time Coming didn’t match its predecessors’ big finishes, but nor did it need to, given the trio of action-heavy episodes that preceded it. Instead, what we got was a brooding blue note, languidly (and at times soporifically) paced but still seismic in its implications for the series in the future. Continue reading... Claire Danes as Carrie in the Homeland series five finale.Claire Danes as Carrie in the Homeland series five finale.
- The Fall recap: season two, episode six – an infuriating cop-out of an ending
After all the tension, too many questions were left unanswered and those that were seemed contrived to leave the viewer hanging – and the possibility of another series The finale in so many ways summed up season two of The Fall: moments of promise buried in a massive heap of storylines either too contrived to be believable, or introduced only to be discarded later. And while season two has largely failed to repeat the successes of The Fall’s first, much-acclaimed run, it very much replicated the disappointment of the first series’s finale – refusing to come to satisfactory conclusions in its desperation to leave the door open for a return to screen. It’s so infuriating for the viewer: if you’ve invested six-plus hours in watching a drama, the very least it can do is not leave you hanging for a year. (Or indeed, a great deal longer – despite Anderson saying she hopes there will be a third season, there’s been no announcement about a recommission.) And so we’re left with three characters clinging on to life: Rose Stagg, Paul Spector and Tom Anderson, while Katie’s fate is undecided. That seems pretty cynical storylining to me, but also undermines the idea that writer/director Alan Cubitt has taken great care to ensure the female victims in his story are not reduced to unnamed, disposable bodies. Rose’s torture and horror were used here purely as a plot device to allow that final cliffhanger – to give Spector his last powerplay and allow Jimmy to find him in the woods – which seems just as gratuitous to me. There was nothing in this finale that was about Rose: she existed only to allow us to find out more about Gibson and Spector (her guilt, his desire to reassure his daughter); even Rose’s discovery (and possible recovery) were immediately upstaged by Spector’s shooting. Continue reading... This is the end … or is it?This is the end … or is it?
- The Walking Dead recap: a season finale that had everything
In bravura style, this shocking season finale showed Rick confronting the people of Alexandria, and perfectly set up a very creepy season six Spoiler alert: this blog is published after The Walking Dead airs on AMC in the US on Sundays. Do not read on unless you have watched season five, episode 16 (which airs in the UK on Fox on Mondays) Of all the shows on television, none does a season finale quite like The Walking Dead, and Sunday night’s was no disappointment. Much like one of Stefon’s nightclubs on Saturday Night Live , the episode had everything: a zombie’s brain exploding inside its head, a guy fighting off weirdos with a stick like Donatello from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles , Carole picking on someone twice her size and demanding her dish back, a throat-slashing Sasha lying down in an open grave, and a disco ball hooked up in the back of a big rig. What more could you possibly ask for? How about the season finale perfectly setting up the challenge for the next season? Check. The best part of the finale was near the end, where the action was cutting between four life-or-death confrontations. Rick was fighting off the three zombies that had been let into Alexandria; Sasha was fending off Gabriel; Glenn was beating the snot out of Nicholas; and Carol, Michonne, and the rest of the group were defending Rick from Deanna. Continue reading... On the hunt … The Walking Dead finale.On the hunt … The Walking Dead finale.
- Doctor Who recap: Last Christmas
After last year’s overblown special, this one played to the show’s claustrophobic strengths – and was probably the most Christmassy Christmas special they’ve ever done Merry Christmas! And how about that: probably the only story that will ever be told in which “and I woke up and it was all a dream” was not a lazy get-out but a miraculous fist-pump of a happy ending. Continue reading... The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), with Clara (Jenna Coleman) and Santa (Nick Frost).The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), with Clara (Jenna Coleman) and Santa (Nick Frost).
- Peaky Blinders recap: series two, episode six – what a finale!
Packed with revelations, this was Peaky Blinders at its best – a gut-wrenching and beautifully directed climax What. A. Finale. I’ve really enjoyed this season, bloodthirsty though it has been, and this was a fitting end, a nail-biting, action-packed hour of tension that had me screaming at the screen more than once as Tommy Shelby’s long-promised Derby day of reckoning finally arrived. And what a day it was, packed with revelations (Alfie is double-crossing Sabini! Grace is pregnant! May is definitely not to be messed with!) and filled with casualties both deserved (goodbye Major Campbell, may your red right hand guide you to hell) and tragic (oh, Lizzy, it’ll be a long, cold day before I forgive Tommy for using you in this way). The odd clunky moment apart – I may stand alone but the scene when Grace revealed her pregnancy left me cold – this was Peaky Blinders at its best, a gut-wrenching and beautifully directed climax, which was not always easy to watch but which left me, like May a few weeks ago, exhausted but begging for more. Continue reading... Cillian Murphy as Thomas Shelby in Peaky Blinders: he commanded the screen, making it impossible to look away.Cillian Murphy as Thomas Shelby in Peaky Blinders: he commanded the screen, making it impossible to look away.
- Downton Abbey Christmas special recap – it worked as retro festive wallpaper
Beautifully shot and wonderfully acted, yet all a bit too overcomplicated and drawn out. It must be the Downton Christmas special! The labrador’s backside is back for Christmas. And let’s hope it’s not just for Christmas, eh? Actually, my Christmas wish would be that it is just for Christmas. Because if this convoluted outing proved anything, it’s that this series has outstayed its welcome. Unlike Isis the dog, whose absence in this Christmas special finally disproved the conspiracy theory that she was just absent from the last episode to tease us. Sorry, people, but Isis really is dead. As always this was a beautifully made and wonderfully acted confection showcasing all the shortcomings of the Downton Abbey brand. In the opening sequences, it felt as if the actors had been directed to speak the dialogue slowly and carefully in order to help viewers a) worse for the cooking sherry and b) unfamiliar with Downton (as probably many Christmas-only viewers were – lucky them). There was a lot of signposting of characters and history, which only served to flag up that there are often far too many people involved and far too many things going on. Continue reading... It’s Christmas!It’s Christmas!
- Top Gear review: the particle-farting gas-guzzlers shine up well on final run
Sure you could boo them, but the last episode hosted by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May is imaginative, artfully made television The elephant in the room is the elephant is the room. Literally, in the studio with James May and Richard Hammond. It’s a model, not an actual living elephant, though I bet they tried to get one of them. But funny all the same. Would a mammoth – woollier, more extinct – have been better? Though that’s not really the expression is it, the woolly mammoth in the studio … It’s not a normal Top Gear episode, this last in the Clarkson-Hammond-May era, but a couple of films that had already been shot, pre steak-gate. With you-know-who himself then. The first is about classic cars: they each have one, an MGB, a Fiat 124 Spider and a Peugeot 304 Decapotable. Continue reading... Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May in the final Top Gear show featuring the three presenters.Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May in the final Top Gear show featuring the three presenters.
- Arthur Ashe: More Than a Champion review – 'He took on the white world, and won'
Celebrating the 40th anniversary of his Wimbledon win, this was a fascinating portrait of a cultured tactician … both on the tennis court and off Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the pro-slavery confederacy during the American civil war, was still segregated when Arthur Ashe was born there in 1943. The debate that currently burns about the confederate flag isn’t the reason for the timing of Arthur Ashe: More Than a Champion (BBC2), but it does give it extra poignancy. Ashe was born into a world of injustice. He was a black man who took on the white world and won. Today on Richmond’s Monument Avenue, his statue joins a bunch of old confederate generals – though Ashe faces the other way from them, appropriately. Maybe it is a shame that Ashe wasn’t more involved in the civil rights movement early on, but full-time activism doesn’t generally lead to grand slam victories (the 40th anniversary of his Wimbledon title is the reason for the film). The campaigning and the protest and the writing came later, and would surely have led to a career in politics had he not died at 49, of Aids-related pneumonia, in 1993. Continue reading... Tennis star and civil rights activist Arthur Ashe at the Queen’s Club, London, in 1970.Tennis star and civil rights activist Arthur Ashe at the Queen’s Club, London, in 1970.
- Superhospital review: ‘hold the cheese and tomato sandwiches’
Superhospital is full of moving life-and-death stories – they should skip the boring bits about catering and carpark problems Is there really any call for yet another hospital doc? Oh well, here we go anyway: Superhospital (ITV), filmed over a year at the Royal Derby. This one covers the entire hospital from top to basement – or maternity to morgue, if we’re looking at it that way. Starting with the liver ward (nearer the morgue, that way). One in 10 of all patients at the hospital is there as a result of alcohol (disease, injury; I don’t think it includes those in maternity). In the liver ward the figure is obviously much higher. “If you fall, you fall on the floor and you crack your skull,” senior sister Jayne tells one patient. “And then create lots of paperwork for us.” No one wants that. Continue reading... Caring in all senses of the word ... senior sister Jayne in Superhospital. Photograph: From The Garden Productions Ltd/ITVCaring in all senses of the word ... senior sister Jayne in Superhospital. Photograph: From The Garden Productions Ltd/ITV
- The Doctor’s dementia review: ‘You live with dementia, you don’t suffer it’
The truly inspirational Dr Jennifer Bute’s account of her refusal to become a victim is a life-affirming message for many others in the same situation It takes one hell of a woman to burst out laughing at the thought of her own torturous hallucinations of ringing phones, babies crying and typewriter keys tapping. Dr Jennifer Bute is that woman. In The Doctor’s Dementia (Radio 4), Jennifer tells the no-nonsense story of what it is like to live with her condition. She was in her late 50s and working as a busy GP when she noticed she was becoming forgetful, a symptom she blamed on getting older. But Jennifer was diagnosed with dementia – and realised her condition was deteriorating when she left her internet shopping delivery on the hob and instinctively turned on the four “twirly things”. The plastic packaging melted while she watched. “It was only when the bananas exploded that I was brought to my senses,” she says. Continue reading... Facebook is useful, and singing helps … Jennifer ButeFacebook is useful, and singing helps … Jennifer Bute
- Banished review – it's the blackfellas who are banished from BBC drama
This preposterous omission undermines an otherwise worthwhile watch in Redfern Now creator’s racy colonial, blood-and-guts bodice-ripper Behind the scenes on Banished – in pictures Ryan Corr on his Banished character: ‘He’s a complete coward’ ‘ I’m a Convict Get Me Out of Here’ – UK take on Banished Seven hours. That’s nearly an average working day or a good night’s sleep. Continue reading... Russell Tovey and Ryan Corr in BBC series Banished, now showing on Foxtel’s BBC First.
- Zane Lowe kicks off Apple's 24-hour radio stream in endearingly niche style
Quirky DJ’s show is almost identical to his former BBC Radio 1 slot, suggesting Beats 1 is intended to be an experimental rather than a mainstream station “All right man, we’ve gotta kick this whole thing off at some point.” Uttered just after 5pm UK time on the world’s first global, 24/7 radio station, Zane Lowe’s characteristically conversational opening bon mot might have found itself committed to history books, had listeners who tuned in early not heard 45 minutes of Brian Eno’s Music For Airports punctuated by Lowe and his producer wrestling with the studio equipment. Instead, the first words the Guardian hears on Beats 1 are: “Check! Check! Check!” Continue reading... ‘We’re Beats 1, we’re worldwide, and from now on, we’re always on,’ Zane Lowe said at the top of the show.‘We’re Beats 1, we’re worldwide, and from now on, we’re always on,’ Zane Lowe said at the top of the show.
- BBC aims to become 'leaner and simpler' with new round of job cuts
Drop in the number of licence fee payers leaves broadcaster with a £150m hole in its finances Hundreds of jobs are expected to be axed by the BBC as it tries to become “leaner and simpler” at a time when it is facing a £150m-a-year shortfall in funding and growing political pressure from the Conservative government. The director general has always said he came here to make the BBC a simpler and leaner place Continue reading... A BBC source said that the new round of cuts would be “painful”.
- Mexican TV networks denounce Donald Trump as 'racist' and 'offensive'
Carlos Slim, Mexico’s richest man, criticises Trump’s disparaging comments No Mexican Miss Universe contestant due to Televisa’s refusal to air pageant Mexico is turning up the heat on Donald Trump following the businessman and presidential hopeful’s offensive comments about Mexico and Mexicans, some of whom he described as criminals and “rapists”. Related: Donald Trump dropped by NBC over candidate's comments about Mexico Continue reading... Donald Trump’s comments about Mexico and Mexican immigrants has caused Univision, NBC, Televisa and Ora TV to sever ties with his businesses.
- Apple Music's Beats 1: what you need to know
Apple is launching the Zane Lowe-fronted radio station with its Spotify-like streaming service. Here’s what we know and what’s yet to be revealed The days of big surprises from Apple are mostly in the past. As the scale of the company has grown, it has become unable to prevent leaks somewhere along its chain. That’s doubly true when dealing with the notoriously gossipy music industry, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that nearly everything about Apple Music, the company’s new Spotify competitor, was known long in advance of the service’s announcement. Continue reading... Beats 1 will kick off with former Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe interviewing Eminem.Beats 1 will kick off with former Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe interviewing Eminem.
- The Independent reduces its trading losses to £4.6m
Evgeny Lebedev proclaims the newspaper group’s recovery from £22.6m losses four years ago is ‘one of the biggest turnarounds in modern media’ The Independent has made what it calls “a dramatic improvement in its financial position” by announcing a trading loss of £4.6m for the year up to September 2014. That compares with a loss of £9.1m in the previous year. Its parent company, ESI Media, also points out that it sustained a loss of £22.6m in 2010-11, prompting it to refer to the changed circumstances as “a remarkable reduction” over the four-year period. Continue reading... The Independent: trading loss of £4.6m for the year up to September 2014The Independent: trading loss of £4.6m for the year up to September 2014
- Idris Elba rules out Top Gear role
The Wire actor says he does not have much experience as a presenter and also refuses to comment on whether he will be the next James Bond Luther actor Idris Elba says that he may have a love of fast cars but he is not interested in joining Chris Evans on a new-look Top Gear – and goes quiet on persistent James Bond rumours. Elba, who got his big break as Russell “Stringer” Bell in hit HBO crime series The Wire in 2002, said he is not going to enter the open auditions for the next Top Gear. Continue reading... The BBC is to bring back Idris Elba’s maverick detective John Luther for two special episodes.
- Only 16 of world's highest-paid celebrities are women, Forbes finds
Katy Perry is highest-ranked woman in third place on magazine’s list Men’s greater earning power reflects gender pay gap in wider society Related: Gender pay gap will not close for 70 years at current rate, says UN Forbes magazine’s annual Celeb 100 list , chronicling the world’s highest-paid entertainers over the past year featured a wide range of talents from all over the globe including a British chef, a Canadian rapper and a Russian tennis star – but only 16 women. Continue reading... Katy Perry is high up the list of top-paid celebrities but few other women made the cut. Female musicians accounted for seven of the 16 women in the top 100.
- Glastonbury, True Detective and The Brink: TV review – video
This week, Andrew Collins tears himself away from the BBC's coverage of Glastonbury 2015 long enough to catch up with the return to Sky Atlanticof HBO's moody, noirish, anthological True Detective; a brand new, big-name political comedy, also from HBO, called The Brink; and a gripping contagion thriller in Flemish, Cordon, on BBC4 • WARNING: CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for Glastonbury, True Detective, The Brink and more:TV review-video
- Humans season one, episode two: sneak peek with William Hurt – trailer
George encounters up-to-date synth Vera in this clip from Sunday’s episode of Humans on Channel 4 “The particulate saturation in this room exceeds safe limits for men over the age of 60...” Will George (William Hurt) work out a way to live with his new bossy synth Vera (Rebecca Front)? Continue reading...
- William Shatner lends voice to iconic children's show The Clangers – video
Star Trek's Captain Kirk has taken on a new space-themed role: narrating the action in an updated version of iconic British show The Clangers. The show achieved cult status in the UK after running for two seasons between 1969 and 1974. The new Clangers will run on Sprout, the NBC-owned TV channel. Continue reading... A new clip from The Clangers narrated by William Shatner Photograph: Sprout
- Trailer watch: Zawe Ashton in Channel 4's Not Safe for Work
A first look at a new workplace comedy starring Zawe Ashton, Sacha Dhawan, Anastasia Hille and Jo Hartley Channel 4’s new “ dysfunctional comedy drama about work for a jilted generation ” stars Zawe Ashton as civil service policy adviser Katherine, who finds herself relocated from Whitehall to Northampton as part of public-spending cuts. In this scene from the first episode, she meets her new boss, Danny (Sacha Dhawan), who has somehow jumped several pay grades since she last saw him … Continue reading... Work it … Katherine (Zawe Ashton) in Not Safe for Work.Work it … Katherine (Zawe Ashton) in Not Safe for Work.
- Exclusive trailer: The Last Panthers
A first look at the new jewel heist thriller on Sky Atlantic starring Samantha Morton, Tahar Rahim and John Hurt Filmed in London, Marseille, Belgrade and Montenegro, the trilingual thriller (English, French and Serbian) follows a diamond heist across Europe, where “a shadowy alliance of gangsters and ‘banksters’ now rules”. With Samantha Morton as Naomi, a British loss adjuster charged with recovering the stolen diamonds, John Hurt as her boss Tom and Tahar Rahim as French-Algerian policeman Khalil. Continue reading...
- Exclusive video: Better Call Saul's red/blue colour theory
Did you pay attention to the colour-coding in the Breaking Bad spin-off? How closely did you watch Better Call Saul? Did you spot the colour-coded clues: good guys in blue (cool), bad guys in red (hot) apparently … Continue reading... Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman, Michael McKean as Chuck - framed by blue…Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman, Michael McKean as Chuck - framed by blue…
- Trailer watch: Game of Thrones season five, episode 10 – Mother's Mercy
A preview of next week’s final episode reveals swords being drawn, a trio of sad gents and a lot of pensive thinking in the dark Game of Thrones recap: season five, episode nine – The Dance of Dragons Spoiler alert: don’t watch unless you have watched Game of Thrones season five, episode nine (and want to see a sneak preview of next week’s finale) . Also, please avoid posting spoilers from leaked episodes and from the books. Continue reading... Fire, meet ice … Melisandre (Carice van Houten).Fire, meet ice … Melisandre (Carice van Houten).
- Top Gear fans get glimpse of final show with Clarkson, Hammond and May
BBC reveals footage of episode shelved when Jeremy Clarkson was suspended for fracas involving TV show’s producer The BBC has given Top Gear fans a first glimpse of the final episode of the show to feature Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. The footage was shelved after Clarkson was suspended and then axed following his assault on a producer, but will air on BBC2 in the next few weeks. Continue reading... Top Gear’s James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in 2011.Top Gear’s James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in 2011.
- Trailer watch: a first look at Between, a Netflix original series
A new thriller about a town where everyone over the age of 22 is killed by a deadly disease What’s the sell? “The story of a town under siege from a mysterious disease that has wiped out everybody except those 21 years old and under. The series explores the power vacuum that results when a government has quarantined a 10-mile radius and left the inhabitants to fend for themselves.” Sample dialogue: “We need to pray.” “None of this makes any sense.” “It has been confirmed that no-one over 22 is left alive …” Continue reading... Only young people are left behind in Between.Only young people are left behind in Between.
- Dawn Chorus, The C-Word and No Offence: TV review – video
This week, telly addict Andrew Collins finds relief after the election in the BBC4 Goes Slow season, featuring relaxing film of birds, woodland, canals and glass-blowing; also, less relaxing, the BBC1 true-life cancer weepie The C-Word; a confusing comedy-drama-police-procedural No Offence on C4; un-scary true-life ghost story The Enfield Haunting on Sky Living; and the welcome return of Gothic monstrosity Penny Dreadful to Sky Atlantic; plus … some more birds • WARNING: CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for Dawn Chorus, All Aboard! The Canal Trip, No Offence and more:TV review-video
- Game Of Thrones, The Jinx, Last Week Tonight, Newzoids and more: TV review – video
This week, Andrew Collins reviews the return of Game of Thrones for its fifth season; also from HBO, The Jinx, a six-part true-crime saga with drama production values; on ITV, new satirical puppet show Newzoids, which draws inevitable comparisons; the BBC's Election Debate (with two leaders missing); and Gogglebox doing the Grand National, with hysteria the result Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for Game Of Thrones, The Jinx, Last Week Tonight, Newzoids and more: TV review - video
- Mad Men, Code Of A Killer, 1992, Freewheeling and Last Week Tonight: TV review – video
This week, telly addict Andrew Collins joins the tiny minority who actually watch Mad Men on Sky Atlantic for its final seven episodes; tries to separate history from science in the true crime drama Code Of A Killer on ITV; discovers an exciting new Italian period drama on Sky with the self-explanatory title 1992; joins Ross Noble on a comedic jaunt around Andrew's hometown Northampton, courtesy of Freewheeling on Dave; and salutes John Oliver's exclusive interview with Edward Snowden on HBO's Last Week Tonight • WARNING: CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for MAD MEN, CODE OF A KILLER, 1992, ROSS NOBLE FREEWHEELING and more: TV review - video
- HBO unveils True Detective season two teaser trailer
First glimpse offers plenty of moody visuals and little else, but it looks as if the detectives’ mental and emotional states will be as crucial as the central murder True Detective fans have got their first glimpse of how the second season of HBO’s hit crime drama will look as the cable giant unveiled the first trailer for the follow-up, which stars Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn. Starting with a slow pan over Los Angeles – the series is set in the industrial location of City of Vinci, LA County – the trailer introduces the three detectives: Ani Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams), Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch) and Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell). Continue reading... Colin Farrell: all moodiness and moustachioed angst.Colin Farrell: all moodiness and moustachioed angst.
- Orange is the New Black season three trailer: here come new inmates – and old
The first trailer has been released for Netflix’s prison ‘dramedy’ and reveals life at Litchfield is just as bittersweet as ever The time has come. After what seemed like an eternity of waiting, we’ve been graced with the first look at Orange is the New Black’s third season. Related: How Orange is the New Black uniforms became a hit in prisons Continue reading... Friends reunited: Piper and Alex ‘reconnect’.Friends reunited: Piper and Alex ‘reconnect’.
- Moone Boy, The Royals, Coalition, and Inside No9: TV review – video
This week, telly addict Andrew Collins bows and scrapes before The Royals on entertainment channel E!; enjoys the shirt-sleeved subterfuge of political drama Coalition on C4; braves the "non-debate" between David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Paxo on C4 and Sky News; hops aboard the latest claustrophobic playlet from Shearsmith and Pemberton's dark anthology Inside No9 on BBC2; and celebrates Sir Terry Wogan swearing on Sky 1's Moone Boy Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for Moone Boy, The Royals, Coalition, Cameron & Miliband Live and Inside No. 9:TV review - video
- Raised By Wolves, Britain's Racist Election, Back In Time For Dinner and more: TV review – video
This week, telly addict Andrew Collins fails to be starstruck by coverage of the eclipse; applauds Raised By Wolves for being a hymn to the West Midlands, even if it is wilfully annoying; winces at 1960s race relations in Britain's Racist Election on C4; wonders if there is a more middle-class comedy than In and Out of the Kitchen on BBC4; puts up with the privations of Back in Time For Dinner on BBC2; and doesn't buy the lie in drama Ordinary Lies on BBC1. Now, back to that eclipse ... Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for Raised By Wolves, Britain's Racist Election, Back In Time For Dinner, In And Out Of The Kitchen and Ordinary Lies : TV review - video
- Poldark, Nurse, Togetherness, and more: TV review – video
This week, telly addict Andrew Collins bets his breeches on BBC1's high-def remake of Poldark; finds deep sadness in Paul Whitehouse's latest latex-indebted comedy Nurse on BBC2; salutes the endings of two moving shows, HBO's laugh-free comedy Togetherness and Reginald D Hunter's Songs Of The South on BBC2; makes an iPlayer recommendation for people-at-work civil engineering doc The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway; and some championship HBO swearing from satirist John Oliver • WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for Poldark, Nurse,Togetherness, Reginald D. Hunter's Songs Of The South and The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway:TV review - video
- Critical, Wolf Hall, The World at War, The Great Painting Challenge and others: TV review – video
This week, telly addict Andrew Collins checks his pulse and wheels himself into new, real-time medical trauma drama Critical on Sky1; laments the end of Mark Rylance's face-acting in the sublime Wolf Hall on BBC2; celebrates Laurence Olivier's pronunciation on The World At War; watches acrylic dry with The Great Painting Challenge on BBC1; and enjoys the ride with Reginald D Hunter for Songs Of The South on BBC2. There's also room for a bit of Gogglebox • WARNING: contains offensive language Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for Critical,Wolf Hall,The World At War,
- The Casual Vacancy, Indian Summers, The World at War and others: TV review – video
This week, telly addict Andrew Collins risks being caught in the crossfire of the Sunday night TV ratings war between JK Rowling's social satire The Casual Vacancy on BBC1 and its dramatic enemy Indian Summers on C4 at the same time; also, an actual war in a welcome repeat of 70s landmark documentary series The World at War on BBC2; the 30th anniversary live week of EastEnders on BBC1; a documentary about immigrants and benefits that provides food for thought, The Romanians Are Coming on C4; and the triumphant return of Gogglebox on C4 for its fifth series of armchair TV criticism Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for The Casual Vacancy,Indian Summers,The World At War,EastEnders,The Romanians Are Coming and Gogglebox:TV review - video
- The Walking Dead, Better Call Saul, The Daily Show, Last Week Tonight and Uncle: TV review – video
This week, telly addict Andrew Collins gets behind the sofa for the mid-season return of AMC's zombie saga The Walking Dead to Fox; finds himself a sucker for Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul, on Netflix; bemoans the resignation of Jon Stewart from Comedy Central's The Daily Show, and compares him to former protégé John Oliver, whose breakaway show Last Week Tonight returned to Sky Atlantic; and welcomes back surprisingly warm and avuncular BBC3 sitcom Uncle Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for The Walking Dead, Better Call Saul, The Daily Show,Last Week Tonight and Uncle:TV review-video
- Fortitude; Bitter Lake; The Good Wife; Suits; and Catastrophe: TV review – video
This week, telly addict Andrew Collins braves the cold of big-name, British-made Nordic thriller Fortitude on Sky Atlantic; lauds Adam Curtis's BBC iPlayer-only mega-doc Bitter Lake; welcomes the return of two glossy legal dramas from the US, season six of The Good Wife on More4 and season four of Suits on Dave; and gives a nod to the sweet soul of sexually frank comedy Catastrophe. Plus: some bunnies from a BBC1 pets documentary • WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for Andrew Collins Telly Addict
- Wolf Hall, Cucumber, The Eichmann Show, Sound of Song: TV review – video
Telly addict Andrew Collins weighs up Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall on BBC2; the return of Russell T Davies to Manchester's Canal Street in Cucumber on C4; docudrama The Eichmann Show on BBC2; the return of musicologist Neil Brand with Sound Of Song on BBC4; and The Daily Show after Barack Obama's State Of The Union address • WARNING: SEXUALLY EXPLICIT CONTENT Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for 26th January 2015
- Ascension, Girls, Togetherness, Spiral: TV review — video
This week, telly addict Andrew Collins goes boldly beyond terrestrial and lands on Battlestar-like sci-fi saga Ascension on Sky1; nods approvingly to the return of HBO's Girls to Sky Atlantic; but sings from the rooftops about HBO's new mumblecore sitcom Togetherness; back on ITV, it's Mel & Sue in live daytime chatshow mode; plus the return of gritty French procedural Spiral to BBC4; and a glimpse of the calm before the Twitterstorm on C4's Cyberbully Continue reading...
- Broadchurch, Silent Witness, Foyle's War, The Super-Rich and Us: TV review – video
Telly addict Andrew Collins looks at three returning drama-juggernauts: habit-forming Dorset post-whodunit Broadchurch on ITV; forensic procedural Silent Witness, back for its 18th series on BBC1; and period case-solver Foyle's War on ITV. He also reviews, from BBC2's Super-Rich season, two rewarding docs, The Super-Rich and Me and Rich, Russian and Living In London; plus, those calming new BBC1 idents at a turbulent time Continue reading...
- Mapp & Lucia, Downton Abbey, Miranda, The Wrong Mans: TV review – video
Telly addict Andrew Collins returns from the seasonal break with a catch-up from the end of 2014: a sparkling new Mapp & Lucia on BBC1; a disappointing Downton Abbey on ITV; the end of two comedies, Miranda on BBC1 and The Wrong Mans on BBC2; plus honourable mentions to Snow Wolf Family and Me on BBC1; continuing Danish saga The Legacy on Sky Arts; and Charlie Brooker's 2014 Wipe on BBC2 Continue reading...
- Telly addict Christmas special: the best TV of 2014 - video
This week, telly addict Andrew Collins looks back over the year in TV: the scandals, the series finales, the stars, the strops, the Scandi influences, the scenery and the speeches. He also reviews his top three shows of 2014, and reveals his channel of the year Continue reading...
- Humans, Napoleon and The Interceptor: TV review – video
In his review of the week's TV, telly addict Andrew Collins enters the synthetic world of a Swedish dystopian drama remade as Humans by Channel 4; fails to be convinced by historian Andrew Roberts' agenda in Napoleon on BBC2; gives 'the new Spooks', BBC1's The Interceptor, half a chance; is captivated by Zen nature doc Japan: Earth's Enchanted Islands on BBC2 and indulges Chris Packham's Natural Selection on BBC4, a Guardian reader's dream Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for Humans, Napoleon, The Interceptor and more:TV review-video
- The Syndicate, Brotherhood, Gadget Man and Springwatch: TV review – video
This week, telly addict Andrew Collins checks his numbers for the return of lottery-based melodrama The Syndicate on BBC1; laments the sad loss of Rik Mayall from Man Down on Channel 4; wonders if he's too old to enjoy sibling slacker-com Brotherhood on Comedy Central; applauds the detachment of Richard Ayoade on Gadget Man on Channel 4; and finds Zen in some fledgling wrens thanks to Springwatch • WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for The Syndicate, Brotherhood,Gadget Man and more:TV review-video
- Springwatch; 1945: The Savage Peace; and Inside Amy Schumer: TV review – video
This week, telly addict Andrew Collins give thanks for the BBC's biggest outside-broadcast ever, Springwatch; braves a horrifying but vital second world war documentary, 1945: The Savage Peace; samples the much-talked-about grown-up US import Inside Amy Schumer on Comedy Xtra; the ticklish Brit murder-mystery-comedy Murder In Successville on BBC3; and a new BBC1 sitcom, SunTrap, tucked worryingly away at 10.45pm so that nobody will see it • WARNING: DISTURBING IMAGES AND SEXUAL CONTENT Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for Springwatch, 1945: The Savage Peace, Inside Amy Schumer and more: TV review-video
- Mad Men, 1864, Grayson Perry's Dream House and more: TV review – video
This week, telly addict Andrew Collins avoids spoiling the final episode of Mad Men; wishes he'd read the novel before attempting fantasy Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell on BBC1; gets wrapped up in year-specific Danish historical drama 1864; enters Grayson Perry's Dream House on C4, and likes what they've done to the place; and binges on all three grippingly grim episodes of cop doc The Detectives on BBC2 Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for Mad Men, 1864, Grayson Perry's Dream House and More: TV review-video
- The Affair, The World's Most Expensive Food and Shark: TV review – video
Telly addict Andrew Collins reviews this week's TV, wondering who to believe in the Long Island-set infidelity drama The Affair on Sky Atlantic; dismissing Twin-Peaks-meets-The-Truman-Show hybrid Wayward Pines on Fox; feeling physically sick at the antics of the super-rich on C4's The World's Most Expensive Food; marvelling at Shark on BBC1; welcoming the return of sitcom-within-a-sitcom Episodes to BBC2; and finding Zen in HBO's Last Week Tonight • WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for The Affair, The World's Most Expensive Food, Shark and more: TV review - video
- The Game,Madam Secretary,Empire and more: TV review - video
This week, telly addict Andrew Collins goes back to the cold war for BBC spy drama The Game; asks if Madam Secretary on Sky Living is the "women's West Wing"; finds music-biz saga Empire on E4 a bit too Dallas; hops aboard for Peter Kay's Car Share on BBC1; and endures the last Leaders Debate on Question Time and spots the Don Draper influence on Ed Miliband Continue reading... Telly Addict composite 0505 Photograph: BBC/Channel4/Sky
- Silicon Valley, W1A, Safe House and Sex and the Church: TV review – video
In his review of the week's TV, telly addict Andrew Collins welcomes the return of HBO tech-com Silicon Valley to Sky Atlantic; wonders if the BBC should really be letting the rest of us see self-kicking satire W1A; gives ITV drama Safe House a chance; recommends two Beeb docs, Treasures of Ancient Greece and Sex and the Church (with his new favourite presenter, fruity Prof Diarmaid MacCulloch); and wonders if there's a comedy more existentially depressing than Louie, back on Fox • WARNING: CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for Silicon Valley, W1A, Safe House, Sex And The Church and more: TV review-video
- Kanye West is no Freddie Mercury: what we learned from the weekend's TV
The star’s rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody at Glastonbury was a trifle half-hearted – meanwhile has Celebrity MasterChef passed its sell-by date? Perhaps the most shocking thing about Kanye’s performance of the classic Queen song at Glastonbury (Saturday, BBC1) was that he had not bothered to learn the words (“I’m just a poor boy, la-la-la blah-blah-tea ...”), which was cruelly revealed as he mimed along to Freddie in the intro. Then it got worse – or better, depending which side of the Twitter divide you were on – as he led the crowd in a “massaoke” (or massacreaoke perhaps). Continue reading... Kanye West on The Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury.Kanye West on The Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury.
- Laverne Cox: 'Now I have the money to feminise my face I don’t want to. I’m happy'
The ‘transgender black chick from Alabama’ talks about her tough childhood, balancing activism with acting and why she loves her Orange is the New Black character Sophia ‘Until recently, I was the transgender person that people were most aware of,” says Laverne Cox, who describes herself as “an actress first and activist second”. She’s best known for playing hairdresser Sophia Burset in the Netflix prison drama Orange is the New Black , but a year before Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair unveiling, Cox appeared on the cover of Time magazine under the headline, The Transgender Tipping Point: America’s next civil rights frontier . We meet in Paris, a few days after the Jenner cover has become a global news story. “I knew everybody would be asking me about it,” she says, explaining the thoughtful and nuanced blog she posted in response to Jenner’s transition. “I am so moved by all the love and support Caitlyn is receiving,” she wrote. “It feels like a new day, indeed, when a trans person can present her authentic self to the world for the first time and be celebrated for it so universally.” Continue reading... ‘My acting has given me the platform to speak out’ … Laverne Cox. Photograph: Andrew H Walker/Getty Images‘My acting has given me the platform to speak out’ … Laverne Cox. Photograph: Andrew H Walker/Getty Images
- New on Netflix in June: Sense8, Orange is the New Black and Obvious Child
The Wachowskis make their TV debut, the inmates of Litchfield Penitentiary return, there’s a new Nina Simone documentary and films including Palo Alto, Obvious Child and The Expendables 3 “Eight people. Eight cities. One mind.” Continue reading... Naveen Andrews and Daryl Hannah in Sense8 by the Wachowskis.
- Has Game of Thrones season five been too brutal to enjoy?
From scenes of people being burned alive to marital rape, this latest season has been filled with shocking twists – has it become more horror than fantasy? Game of Thrones recap: season five, episode nine – The Dance of Dragons Trailer watch: Game of Thrones season five, episode 10 – Mother’s Mercy This has not been an easy season, and not just for the obvious reasons. As the fifth series of Game of Thrones reaches its conclusion with an episode that will apparently “break the internet” (according to spoiler-filled links like this ), viewers are increasingly split as to whether this show is a dark and serious examination of the true cost of war, or a gruesome entertainment with an over-reliance on shocking twists and grim deaths. For what it’s worth I incline towards the former camp. Game of Thrones is often difficult to watch – this season alone has given us Sansa’s harrowing wedding night rape by her new husband Ramsay and the immolation of sweet, lonely Shireen Baratheon , a child whose only crime was to love her father to the bitter end – but those scenes do not occur in a vacuum. The viewer might find them unpleasant and harrowing to watch (and as mentioned on this week’s blog, I particularly struggled with Shireen’s death ) but they are storylines that have been foreshadowed throughout. If there was a grim inevitability to Sansa’s night of reckoning with Ramsay, so too was there a dawning realisation that no one would save Shireen Baratheon in the penultimate episode of season five – just as no one saved Ned Stark in the penultimate episode of season one . Continue reading... Missandei and Daenerys wonder how much worse things are going to get.Missandei and Daenerys wonder how much worse things are going to get.
- This is a radio clash: can Radio 1 survive the Apple attack?
Breakfast show host Nick Grimshaw has lost almost a million listeners, Zane Lowe has jumped ship and young people are tuning in for less time. With Apple Music and Spotify changing the game, what does it mean for radio’s existing players? When I met DJ Zane Lowe at Radio 1 at the end of 2013 , he had no illusions about the challenges that lay ahead if the station were to stay engaged with young people. “Whoever’s got the ideas, listen to what they’ve got to say,” Lowe said. “Everything’s changing. As long as radio moves with the things that occupy its audience’s time, there’s no reason you can’t take radio along for the ride. My only philosophy is this: hang with the smart people.” Related: Apple unveils streaming service Apple Music and 24-hour radio stations Continue reading... Radio 1’s audience could be at risk of being poached by Apple’s new streaming service, Apple Music.Radio 1’s audience could be at risk of being poached by Apple’s new streaming service, Apple Music.
- 'Iain was in love when he wrote it': Iain Banks thriller Stonemouth comes to TV
Screenwriter David Kane explains how he adapted Stonemouth for the BBC, the first Iain Banks novel to be filmed since his death In Iain Banks’s 2012 novel Stonemouth , a funeral brings Stewart Gilmour reluctantly back to the coastal Scottish town where he grew up. It is an awkward homecoming: Stewart was run out of Stonemouth by a volatile local gangster after an indiscretion at a wedding, and returns to a lot of unfinished business. Now a two-part BBC drama starring Christian Cooke, Charlotte Spencer and Peter Mullan , Stonemouth is the first Banks TV adaptation since the author’s death in June 2013 . Veteran writer David Kane explains how he transferred the book to the screen, meeting Banks in the process. How did you come to work on Stonemouth? Continue reading... Stonemouth starring Peter Mullan, Charlotte Spencer and Christian Cooke.Stonemouth starring Peter Mullan, Charlotte Spencer and Christian Cooke.
- Bertie Carvel: man of many faces
He’s been a terrifying Miss Trunchbull, a convincing Nick Clegg, and now, in the BBC’s Sunday-night drama, he’s a magical Jonathan Strange. Emma John meets actor Bertie Carvel Not many actors would tell you that the best part of their teenage years were spent in a fantasy role-play club. A youth lost to drugs or alcohol is easy to admit to, or a stint in jail for gang-related offences. But it takes confidence to reveal the fact that you used to spend your weekends dressed as a goblin playing Dungeons and Dragons-style games with your friends. Bertie Carvel has that confidence. If you’ve watched TV at all recently you’ll have begun to nod in recognition each time he appears: as the cynical police PR in Babylon , or an earnest Nick Clegg in Channel 4’s political drama Coalition . Right now he’s the primetime face of Sunday-night drama in the BBC’s magical period piece, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell , an adaptation of Susanna Clarke’s bestselling novel that follows a pair of magicians through an alternate history of the Napoleonic Wars, one inhabited by long- forgotten legends of faerie. It turns out that the role of Strange, its flawed hero, couldn’t have gone to a more deserving chap. Continue reading... ‘I should just be a fat Jonathan Strange’: Bertie Carvel.‘I should just be a fat Jonathan Strange’: Bertie Carvel.'I should just be a fat Jonathan Strange': Bertie Carvel. Photograph: Shamil Tanna/33'I should just be a fat Jonathan Strange': Bertie Carvel. Photograph: Shamil Tanna/33
- No Offence: why female coppers are the making of Paul Abbott's drama
DC Kowalska is a maverick and DI Deering is a glorious monster of a boss. It just so happens, both are women I like to knit to detective dramas. When people ask why I like them so much, I don’t usually give that as my answer, but it’s true. I like the structure of a detective show, the way you can predict the shape of them: the murder, the discovery of the body, the hunt for clues, the interrogation, the red herring, the second death and so on. But only very rarely do I find a detective drama so engrossing that I put my knitting down for fear of adding an extra armhole. And that is what happened with No Offence . In the first few moments of the opening episode, we see a couple arguing in the back of a taxi, our sense of unease growing as she boots him out into the street. Is the cab driver going to attack her? Is this the last we will see of her, or her boyfriend? Nope, neither. We’re instantly wrong-footed as she flips her police ID at the driver, and tells him to keep an eye on her stuff while she chases after a wanted man she has just clocked outside. She ditches her high heels and pelts down the street after the suspect. He races up an alley and she follows without hesitation. As he exits the alley, he looks back to see how close behind she is. He trips, falls, lands in the road. His head is instantly crushed by a double decker bus. Cue opening credits. Continue reading... No Offence.No Offence.
- The Affair is compelling television - but will we ever get the truth?
Dominic West and Ruth Wilson’s The Affair demands us to be the jury, weighing the lies of a pair of lovers as they tell the different sides to their story. But who are we supposed to trust – and how will we reach a final judgement? At away days and staff meetings in recent years, BBC drama commissioners have been prone to ask: “What stories do we want to tell?”, directing attention towards compelling narratives. An equally interesting question, though, might be: “How do we want to tell this story?” For example, in a brainstorm structured around the search for stories that demand to be told, The Affair (Wednesdays, 9pm, Sky Atlantic) would struggle: it has an off-the-peg premise – the sort of thing that John Updike and John Cheever were familiarising in prose fiction more than 50 years ago – of marital infidelity among the moneyed east coast classes. But it is the way the story is told that has won Sarah Treem and Hagai Levi ’s 10-part series for Showtime two Golden Globes , several foreign exports and a recommission for a second series. Continue reading... Ruth Wilson as Alison Bailey and Dominic West as Noah Solloway.Ruth Wilson as Alison Bailey and Dominic West as Noah Solloway.
- When Pop Ruled My Life: a loving look at extreme fandom
‘No one is safe, there are identical fan colonies at whichever end of the ideological pole you find yourself: be it the in crowd or those who embrace their outsider status’ “I’d forced my family to go on holiday near Roger Taylor’s house in Cornwall,” explains Kate Mossman with a breezy nonchalance in When Pop Ruled My Life: The Fans’ Story (Friday, 9pm, BBC4) . After seeing Queen on Top Of The Pops in 1991, Kate’s life became filled by the spoils of pop obsession: diaries flooded with prose; a life-size papier-mache Freddie Mercury mask the exact purpose of which still baffles her (and me); a lovingly Pritt-sticked collage that ate up an entire weekend in its making, etc. In this documentary, we see how powerful the tide of furiously zealous pop neeks really is. We watch footage of young girls enraptured by some incomprehensible quality of Harry Styles (maybe, but not conclusively, his resemblance to a lovely gerbil); we have interviews with fans long grown up and the pop stars those fans were in love with; and finally Kate’s own candid confessions of consuming passion. Continue reading... John Deacon, Freddie Mercury, Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen in 1970. Photograph: REXJohn Deacon, Freddie Mercury, Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen in 1970. Photograph: REX
- Springwatch has high drama, it doesn't need soap opera twists
Producers of the programme should stop trying to make this much-loved wildlife show into Game of Thrones – the natural world is thrilling enough British spring now starts up to three weeks earlier than it used to, according to research conducted for the 2015 run of BBC2’s Springwatch . This is unfortunate for the show, which already rather distorts the natural calendar. Springwatch traditionally begins around eight weeks after the start of British Summertime and will conclude in mid-June, which most people call summer. Continue reading... ‘Beneath the often irksome words, the pictures are thrilling, and the technology improves each season.’‘Beneath the often irksome words, the pictures are thrilling, and the technology improves each season.’
- Looking box set review – a modern drama that’s more than a gay Girls
Patrick, Augustin and Dom belong to a generation with new freedoms – and it’s shown to be both thrilling and terrifying in this smart, richly impressive series When it first appeared last year, this HBO drama was neatly dubbed the “gay Girls ”. But that label doesn’t nearly capture the unique nature of this richly impressive drama. Looking may have been axed just a few months ago, but it achieved a lot in its two series, most notably establishing gay characters in situations that felt real, relatable and transcendent of sex and sexuality. Focusing on three men living in San Francisco , its main focus is Patrick, played with an agreeable mixture of anxiety and conceit by Jonathan Groff. He’s joined by Agustin, his best friend, and Dom, who works as a sommelier and sports one of TV’s finest moustaches . Keen to establish itself as a throughly modern drama, Looking has Patrick fretting about online dating. “I can’t tell if this guy is hot or not,” he says. “Instagram filters have ruined everything!” He also suffers heartbreak when it turns out that the man he’s just moved in with is still using the hook-up app Grindr . The show uses sex smartly, though – not as titillation, but as a way to reveal character. What lengths do they go to get it? How do they act with each other afterwards? And how do they manage to get themselves in such a mess? Patrick, a computer game developer, is caught in a love triangle with his boss (played by British actor Russell Tovey) and a hairdresser called Richie. Continue reading... Gay normcore … Agustin, Dom and Patrick in Looking. Photograph: HBOGay normcore … Agustin, Dom and Patrick in Looking. Photograph: HBO
- Why Coronation Street's Tracy Barlow is 2015’s best soap villain
Corrie’s super schemer may have had a quiet year by her standards, but she’s back in the deadly game with a week of destruction Tracy Barlow’s been robbed. She didn’t even get nominated for villain of the year at the British Soap Awards , an accolade that went to Hollyoaks’s Patrick Blake. Sure, Chester’s chisel-jawed headmaster spent the past 12 months in a bullying, violent spiral of evil, but he’s a mere beginner. When it comes to being really, really bad, Tracy has devoted her life to the cause. The red-lipped siren of the cobbles has murdered, married and manipulated her way through Coronation Street for nearly 40 years. Her latest exploits involve an unsuccessful plot to gain control of The Rovers Return by shagging landlady Liz McDonald’s lover Tony into submission. Continue reading... Tracy Barlow: murdered, married and manipulated her way through Coronation Street for nearly 40 yearsTracy Barlow: murdered, married and manipulated her way through Coronation Street for nearly 40 years
- BBC axes Never Mind the Buzzcocks after 20 years
Music panel show, which has featured team captains including Phill Jupitus, Noel Fielding, Sean Hughes and Bill Bailey, has run to 28 series The BBC has pulled the plug on Never Mind the Buzzcocks after 20 years and 28 series of the music panel show. The show, which has been presented by Mark Lamarr, Simon Amstell and, in its latest incarnation Rhod Gilbert, has featured team captains including Phill Jupitus, Sean Hughes, Bill Bailey and Noel Fielding. Continue reading... Never Mind the Buzzcocks currently features Phill Jupitus, Rhod Gilbert and Noel Fielding.Never Mind the Buzzcocks currently features Phill Jupitus, Rhod Gilbert and Noel Fielding.
- Angelo Badalamenti to compose new music for Twin Peaks score
Composer of surreal soundscapes returns for the highly anticipated reboot of David Lynch’s cult 90s TV series Twin Peaks still marks the summit of TV soundtracks The man behind the musical style often referred to as “ Lynchian ” has confirmed his place in the new Twin Peaks reboot: Angelo Badalamenti, who scored the original show, not to mention Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive, is the latest Twin Peaks alumni added to the lineup of the forthcoming series. Related: Songs of praise to David Lynch, film's king of mood music Continue reading... David Lynch’s original Twin Peaks cast.David Lynch’s original Twin Peaks cast.
- Eurovision 2015: is it time for Brexit?
Should the UK avoid the annual humiliation and bow out of the contest? Or perhaps start entering songs that don’t sound like a malfunctioning dentist’s drill? Brexit might be the ugliest word in the entire history of language – managing to simultaneously sound like the name of a minor multinational adhesives conglomeration and the noise you make when you barf three litres of semi-digested Weetabix into a metal colander – but that hasn’t stopped the prospect of an EU referendum from dominating the news cycle. And yet this isn’t even the biggest potential Brexit on the horizon. There’s a bigger Brexit to be discussed, one that might alter the fundamental outlook of the UK on an even more profound level. A Brexit so potentially catastrophic that some dare not even speak its name. That’s right, I’m talking about a Eurovision Brexit. Continue reading... Electro Velvet … humiliating. Photograph: Rolf Klatt/REX ShutterstockElectro Velvet … humiliating. Photograph: Rolf Klatt/REX Shutterstock
- Ad men on Mad Men: what the show got right about the advertising business
Some of the 60s Madison Avenue ad men might not have liked the show, but that’s because it unerringly captured the life they led One of the greatest testaments to the accuracy of Mad Men is that 82-year old art director, George Lois, one of the huge figures of Madison Avenue in the 1960s, wrote a furious article in the August 2010 edition of Playboy, in which he said: “The more I think and write about Mad Men, the more I take the show as a personal insult. So fuck you, Mad Men, you phoney grey-flannel-suit, male-chauvinist, no-talent, Wasp, white-shirted, racist, antisemitic Republican SOBs!” Continue reading... Office life … Bryan Batt, Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Aaron Staton and Michael GladisOffice life … Bryan Batt, Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Aaron Staton and Michael Gladis
- 'We're all news junkies': why The Good Wife writing team is one of TV's sharpest
From bitcoin to Homan Square, senior writer Ted Humphrey explains how the hit CBS show spots topical stories before they hit the headlines The Good Wife has a reputation for picking up news stories and turning them into plots – even before some of them reach the mainstream news cycle. But how do they do it, exactly? Ted Humphrey, a longtime staff writer on the show, agreed to talk to us about the process. “We are never looking for stories that are ‘ripped from the headlines’,” he said. “There are other shows that do that. We’re looking for the thing that isn’t a headline yet.” Continue reading... The Good Wife: one of the best-written shows on TV.The Good Wife: one of the best-written shows on TV.
- Eurovision at 60: 60 questions to test your knowledge of Europe's celebrated song contest
Think you're a Eurovision expert? As the BBC celebrates 60 years of Eurovision with a star-filled concert, test your superfan credentials with our fiendish 60-question quiz • Eurovision's Greatest Hits, Friday 3 April, 9pm, BBC1 Continue reading... Hats off to Bucks Fizz, the UK winners of the 1981 contest. But what cam off mid-performance? Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
- Greg Davies: ‘Rik Mayall was still a force of nature. His ambition was huge’
The Man Down star and comedian has had a hard year, with both the death of his father and onscreen dad Rik Mayall and a breakup with Labour leadership candidate Liz Kendall Oddly, the strangest thing about Man Down, Greg Davies ’s Channel 4 sitcom in which he plays a teacher, is not the far-fetched set pieces or the ludicrous characters. It is the fact that the school drama studio in which his character works, while hating his job, is the very one Davies used to teach in for real – while hating his job. Out the back, you can find a blackened hole in the bricks where he used to stub out cigarettes while commiserating with the equally miserable music teacher. Doesn’t it feel odd to be back there? It is, he says with a laugh, “almost therapy. Every time I wrote a school scene I thought of that drama studio, because that’s where I was a bit lost at sea. I often run teaching down in my standup, but I had some great years and it’s a great job. It represented a place where I knew what I wanted to do but didn’t have the courage. So it’s nice to be back in that room remembering myself. It’s not somewhere I’ve had profound revelations, it’s just a fairly warm feeling. I sat in that room dreaming of doing something like this.” Continue reading... Greg Davies: ‘I had an early midlife crisis.’Greg Davies: ‘I had an early midlife crisis.’
- That sinking feeling: the creators of Atlantis on where it went wrong
The prime-time drama was axed by the BBC during its second series. Here, Atlantis star Jack Donnelly and co-writer Johnny Capps discuss what worked, what they might have done differently, and where the show would have gone if it hadn’t been cancelled Earlier this year, the BBC announced it was axing Saturday-night drama Atlantis – a shock to fans. But after only one full series (it was cancelled halfway through its second), the decision seemed premature: was the show given a fighting chance? Atlantis co-writer Johnny Capps (whose credits include Merlin and Hex ) and star Jack Donnelly, who plays Jason, talk about where it all went wrong. Although Atlantis was axed, it did have a strong fan base. What were its strengths? Continue reading... Atlantis … going down.Atlantis … going down.
- How will Mad Men end? Four of the best theories
Could Pete Campbell get eaten by a bear? Does Don Draper die of syphilis? The internet is awash with potential outcomes – some more plausible than others At a recent Guardian event to mark the final run of Mad Men, the conversation kept returning to one subject above all others – how would it end? Would Don Draper kill himself? Would he keel over of natural causes? Would there be a time jump? Would we see him in the present day – still charismatic at 90 – presenting a nostalgia-tinged advertising pitch for a selfie stick? We won’t find out until the series finale next week. Until then, our best guess is to trawl the internet for its most pervasive theories. Here they are, in descending level of likelihood. Continue reading... Is Don Draper really DB Cooper?Is Don Draper really DB Cooper?
- Jamie Theakston and Zoë Ball: how we made Live & Kicking
Jamie Theakston: ‘We were about to go live when this kid got into the pen with Mr Blobby – and just starting punching him’ Jamie Theakston, presenter Live & Kicking was the first live TV show I’d done. I’d very little broadcast experience, so was surprised to be asked to audition. They tried me with various female presenters. It’s like giant pandas mating: they put you in a room and just see what happens. And it was a disaster. Then I got a call saying they’d got Zoë Ball and would I like another go? The instant Zoë and I met, we clicked. Continue reading... ‘Show Jamie a costume and he’s in it in a flash’ … Jamie Theakston and Zoë Ball‘Show Jamie a costume and he’s in it in a flash’ … Jamie Theakston and Zoë Ball
- Bafta TV awards 2015: exclusive backstage shots - in pictures
Sarah Lee’s behind-the-scenes shots of this year’s winners and presenters, including Graham Norton, Maisie Williams, Steve Coogan and Sheridan Smith. Follow Guardian Photos here: @guardianphotos Continue reading...
- Archie Panjabi: why the time was right to say goodbye to The Good Wife
After six seasons, the British actor is stepping down as tough investigator Kalinda Sharma on the show. Before the Bafta TV awards, she reflects on her unique role As Kalinda Sharma, the enigmatic, no-nonsense investigator for Stern, Lockhart & Gardner (and more lately, Florrick-Agos), Archie Panjabi has been one of the stand-out members of The Good Wife ’s classy cast, alongside Julianna Margulies , Matt Czuchry , Christine Baranski , Chris Noth and Alan Cumming , winning an Emmy for her performance. It’s not hard to find praise for her performance: in the past, the Guardian has described the role as a “ dazzling portrayal ”, called Panjabi’s character “ a sort of 1940s noir heroine transposed to modern-day Chicago ” and argued that “ nobody else on TV has smouldered quite like her, or rocked knee-length boots with such panache ”. In London to present the Bafta for best supporting actor at Sunday’s TV awards, Panjabi (who last attended the ceremony as part of the winning cast of East is East, in 1999) also stands a chance of taking home a gong for the drama, which has been nominated in the international category. But even The Good Wife’s good things come to an end and, as Panjabi announced in December last year, the current sixth season is to be her last on the show. With her final episode airing this weekend on CBS in the US (it’s showing in the UK on More4 next month, so no spoilers please), we joined her to talk about Kalinda, her decision to leave and, yes, those boots. The Good Wife has been nominated in the international category of this year’s Bafta TV awards. How do you feel about your competition? We’re up against one of my favourite shows, True Detective, and Netflix’s House of Cards. Both definitely have a lot more freedom creatively, but The Good Wife’s season five was very strong and deserves to be in that category, so you never know … Continue reading... Archie Panjabi as The Good Wife’s Kalinda Sharma.Archie Panjabi as The Good Wife’s Kalinda Sharma.
- Why Tina Fey's Letterman striptease was a tongue-in-cheek feminist fail
Fey is a pro at denouncing the standards of performative femininity but her Spanx-baring stunt would not have gotten praise if she were Kim Kardashian Dave Letterman leaving late night marks the end of an era. And appearing as a guest last night on one of the last episodes of the host’s The Late Show, Tina Fey announced the end of something else, too. “This is my last time wearing a fancy dress on a talk show and conforming to gender norms,” she told Letterman and his audience. “I dress up like this out of respect for you. What, am I gonna put on a dress for Jimmy [Fallon]? That’s creepy. He’s like my brother.” Continue reading... Fey’s stripping removed all the threats that lurk within the power of female sexuality. The critics would not be laughing if Nicki Minaj or Miley Cyrus showed up in Spanx.Fey’s stripping removed all the threats that lurk within the power of female sexuality. The critics would not be laughing if Nicki Minaj or Miley Cyrus showed up in Spanx.
- Father Ted’s legacy, 20 years on: up with this sort of thing
Put three priests and their tea lady on a remote Irish island and what do you get? One of TV’s most loved sitcoms. The creators and cast of Father Ted explain how they put Craggy Island on the comedy map Careful now.” “Down with this sort of thing.” Of all the additions to the lexicon of protest from the past 20 years, none punctures a pompous bubble quite as well as these two deathless slogans paraded (with some reluctance) by Fathers Ted Crilly and Dougal McGuire outside a 1995 screening of the salacious movie The Passion Of St Tibulus on Craggy Island , Ireland’s last bastion of morality. Ted and Dougal’s noble vigil failed – St Tibulus went on to be bigger than Jurassic Park – but their entreaties have since passed into the language on both sides of the Irish Sea. You could see them on placards outside the Conservative party conference in Manchester in 2013, at last year’s Dublin water-pricing demonstrations, at the Pope’s visit to the UK and the student-fee protests. Irish football fans waved them at riot police in Poznan during Euro 2012. Continue reading... The cast of Father Ted, l to r: Ardal O’Hanlon (Father Dougal McGuire); Dermot Morgan (Father Ted Crilly); Frank Kelly (Father Jack Hackett); Pauline McLynn (Mrs Doyle).The cast of Father Ted, l to r: Ardal O’Hanlon (Father Dougal McGuire); Dermot Morgan (Father Ted Crilly); Frank Kelly (Father Jack Hackett); Pauline McLynn (Mrs Doyle).
- Masterchef 2015: who will win the final?
We’re down to the final five – and for Simon, Tony, Emma, Pete and Paul, it’s that tricky combination of skill, nerve and exoticism-combined-with-authenticity that will snare them the toughest prize in TV cooking Ahead of this week’s final episodes (culminating on Friday), five semi-finalists remain in the race to be someone who can, er, then go on to launch a cookbook. And probably a restaurant. If they are very, very lucky. Cautionary note to all the contestants: the cookbook from last year’s winner Ping Coombes is not out until May 2016. MasterChef is a whirlwind – but real life is a slow burn. It has been a cracking series. I am still missing Man Mountain Robert, the one who crossed swords with John Torode in last week’s taste test. When Robert served his sauce on the side in the smoked quail copycat dish, John looked like he would smoke him alive. Instead the judge did something much worse: knocked Man Mountain out of the competition. Meanwhile, anyone with a pulse (so not Sarah’s pig’s ear) should harbour a twinge of nostalgia for Beth: the 23-year-old graduate from Swansea tried hard but nothing could save her from the aridity of her rabbit pie, finished though it was with the cutest pastry bunny ears ever. It’s cruel, but no-one misses Sarah’s oeufs en cocotte. Continue reading... The final five: Simon, Tony, Emma, Pete and PaulThe final five: Simon, Tony, Emma, Pete and Paul
- Jon Stewart: why I quit The Daily Show
Stewart’s decision to retire as host of the satirical news show after 16 years has left liberal America in mourning. So why is he leaving just before an election – and what will happen when he steps out from behind the desk? There was no one moment when Jon Stewart knew it was time for him to leave what he describes as “the most perfect job in the world”; no epiphany, no flashpoint. “Life,” he says, in the lightly self-mocking tone he uses when talking about himself, “doesn’t really work that way, with a finger pointing at you out of the sky, saying, ‘ Leave now!’ That only happens when you’re fired, and trust me, I know about that.” Instead, he describes his decision to quit The Daily Show , the American satirical news programme he has hosted for 16 years, as something closer to the end of a long-term relationship. “It’s not like I thought the show wasn’t working any more, or that I didn’t know how to do it. It was more, ‘Yup, it’s working. But I’m not getting the same satisfaction.’” He slaps his hands on his desk, conclusively. Continue reading... At 52, Jon Stewart has the bouncy energy of a man half his age and, unlike most in the public eye, has an aversion to compliments.At 52, Jon Stewart has the bouncy energy of a man half his age and, unlike most in the public eye, has an aversion to compliments.
- Mad Men has the buzz – but The Good Wife is a better show
The Good Wife’s Alicia Florrick is not one of TV’s one-dimensional divas – and she is so much more appealing than Mad Men’s Don Draper. Elizabeth Wurtzel makes the case for the smartest lawyer on our screens It is that rare time of year, and the last ever, when The Good Wife and Mad Men are on the air at the same time on the same night in tandem in the US. To me, they are the same show, so this is a lovely early spring kismet . Both tell of the inexplicable, inevitable rise of a career genius with an unruly personal life. Don Draper sold furs before he became the biggest thing on Madison Avenue; Alicia Florrick was a housewife for 13 years before her husband went to jail and she became the biggest thing in a Chicago courtroom. You underestimate people at your peril. Of course, everyone knows that Don Draper is a genius and that Mad Men is the best series on television ever. It has won Emmys and Golden Globes and all those other awards they give for costumes and set design and lighting and tilting the camera just so. Everyone agrees that Mad Men is astute with gesture, it is nuance galore. Watching Don Draper down fingers of scotch and somehow maintain his dignity, is a lesson in menschkeit . We love Don Draper and everyone else on the show, both for and against him. It is complete. You judge a drama by the way it treats its minor characters. Mad Men is good on plot and on subplot. We understand Don Draper; we understand his veins and neurons. Continue reading... First rate … Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick and Jon Hamm as Don Draper. Photograph: Allstar/SportsphotoFirst rate … Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick and Jon Hamm as Don Draper. Photograph: Allstar/Sportsphoto
- Meet Daredevil, TV’s emo superhero
Had your fill of superheroes? Don’t put the cape away just yet because here’s Netflix’s latest drama; a heavy hitting crime procedural with a conflicted leading man Related: Netflix bets on Marvel and Tina Fey as it unveils a slate of new shows The recently incorporated law firm of Nelson & Murdock operates out of a shabby office in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. The cardboard sign on the door is a rushed scrawl, the furniture is the sad kind of vintage and the dusty fax machine looks like it was last functional in 1994. If this is part of the Marvel universe, it’s a few rungs down from the luxe interiors and floating screens so beloved of Tony Stark. But Matt Murdock – blind lawyer by day, fledgling vigilante by night – is a very different sort of hero from Iron Man. Continue reading... Above the law: Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock in Marvel’s Daredevil.Above the law: Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock in Marvel’s Daredevil.
- Richie Benaud: the bard of the crease
The Australian cricket commentator Richie Benaud, who has died aged 84, could blend comedy and poignancy like no other – and remained impressively non-partisan even when others started flagwaving There may seem to be no obvious link between Richie Benaud, the great Australian cricketer and TV commentator who has died at the age of 84 , and Ed Miliband’s performance in the recent ITV leaders’ debate. Related: Richie Benaud, former Australia cricket captain, dies at 84 Continue reading... Richie Benaud in 1961.
- I've watched hundreds of hours of Ninja Warrior. Here's what I learned
The latest Saturday-evening gameshow is based on a fiendish Japanese contest called Sasuke. The editor who remade it for a British audience explains how to earn Total Victory This Saturday evening on ITV, Ninja Warrior arrives in the UK. It is the ultimate obstacle-course gameshow . If you are old enough to remember The Krypton Factor , then imagine it souped up with Fast and Furious levels of bombast, plus Rochelle from the Saturdays. It derives from a Japanese show called Sasuke, which first aired in Japan in 1997. Twice a year, 100 challengers would take part, in the hope of claiming what was called Total Victory. Challengers faced four stages of obstacles, each progressively harder. The show’s unprecedented fiendishness later inspired a successful US version. Continue reading... The hardest step … Ninja Warrior UK, based on the hardcore Japanese show Sasuke.The hardest step … Ninja Warrior UK, based on the hardcore Japanese show Sasuke.
- Louie isn't a sitcom about nothing – it's a comedy about everything
Louis CK’s comedy vehicle breaks the mold, taboos and expectations. As it goes into a new season, the comic looks intent on continuing his experimentation The sitcom is not a genre, it is a structure. It is a mechanism for delivering jokes in the same way that a newspaper is for delivering information and an Uber is a way for delivering people holding lattes to events they think are more important than they really are. There have been artistic improvements since Seinfeld found a way to rejig the mechanism, but most of those modifications amount to shows “about nothing”. Louie, though a comedy, is not a sitcom. It is something else entirely. it is a show about, well, everything. Related: Louis CK standup review – this time it's not personal for the arch-misanthrope Continue reading... Louie CK: not another brick in the wall.Louie CK: not another brick in the wall.
- True Detective: season two, episode one recap – The Western Book of the Dead
Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, Vince Vaughan and Taylor Kitsch make their debuts as the anthology crime series moves to California Spoiler alert: this blog details events in the first episode of the second season of True Detective which airs on Sunday nights on HBO in America, and Mondays in the UK on Sky Atlantic at 2am and 9pm. For the first season of True Detective click here . Continue reading... ‘Hello? I’m looking for a flat circle …’ Rachel McAdams as Ani Bezzerides in True Detective.‘Hello? I’m looking for a flat circle …’ Rachel McAdams as Ani Bezzerides in True Detective.
- Belle Gibson on 60 Minutes: no remorse and the lies kept coming
Despite Tara Brown’s tough questioning, disgraced wellness blogger refuses to confirm her age and claims finding out she’d never had cancer was ‘traumatising’ The disgraced wellness blogger Belle Gibson has insisted she did not try to “get away with anything”, despite having deceived thousands of online followers into believing she had terminal brain cancer. In an interview with Tara Brown for 60 Minutes on Sunday night, Gibson, 23, claimed it was she who was the victim after her lies were exposed and her wellness empire fell apart. Continue reading...
- The Guardian auditions for Top Gear – video
With new Top Gear host Chris Evans making an open call for audition tapes in his search for a presenting sidekick, Guardian columnists Owen Jones , Polly Toynbee , George Monbiot and Zoe Williams decided to apply to the revamped BBC show. Do any of them have what it takes to replace Clarkson, Hammond and May? With thanks to Bespokes Luxury Car hire Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for The Guardian auditions for Top Gear - video