- Steven Moffat: 'Only the BBC would have come up with Doctor Who'
Doctor Who’s executive producer says the long-running sci-fi series is a wonderful example of the corporation’s breadth Doctor Who’s lead writer and executive producer has added his voice to a growing chorus defending the BBC at the Edinburgh international television festival. Speaking after a screening of The Magician’s Apprentice, the opening episode of the ninth series, Steven Moffat insisted that only the BBC could have commissioned something as idiosyncratic as the long-running show, which celebrated its 50th anniversary two years ago. “It’s fair to say that there’s only one broadcaster in the whole world that would have come up with and transmitted as good an idea as Doctor Who,” he said, offering a mock version of what a contemporary pitch for the Who might sound like. “‘What’s the spaceship going to look like?’ ‘You’re going to love this’ ‘Is he going to be a young dashing hero?’ ‘Sometimes.’” Continue reading... Doctor Who actors Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman.Doctor Who actors Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman.
- Hunted: could you go on the run in Britain's extreme surveillance state?
A new reality show sees a team of tracking experts pursue ordinary people as they attempt to go off-grid. An escapist fantasy – or a grim warning? We’re now over-familiar with the concept of the reality show “journey”, where someone insists that they’ve become a better person through singing, dancing or playing the didgeridoo. In Channel 4’s ambitious new series Hunted, the journey is rather more extreme, involving panicked scrambles over country stiles and ducking down secluded backstreets. The 14 volunteer contestants are literally on the run, pursued by a dedicated team of professional trackers and hackers burrowing deep into their private lives. It’s TV’s Big Brother crossed with Orwell’s Big Brother by way of The Fugitive, a post-Snowden game of kiss-chase set in the vast playground of the UK’s surveillance state. The six-part series is being edited right up until transmission, but early footage looks both intriguing and chaotic – as kinetic as the Bourne movies with a bit of Blair Witch thrown in. Jittery fugitives film themselves hiding in cupboards or are glimpsed yomping out into the wilderness as they try to evade capture for 28 days, with limited funds and no outside help, just a single, silent cameraperson in tow. Continue reading... We’ll be watching you: in Hunted’s hackers’ office.We’ll be watching you: in Hunted’s hackers’ office.
- Danny Baker: 'People assume I must be hiding some dark secret'
While the irrepressibly upbeat presenter’s talents have earned him a shelf full of awards, his willingness to speak his mind often lands him in hot water If there is one thing Danny Baker wants you to know about his character, it is that he is a very shallow man. In fact, the radio DJ, comedy writer, TV presenter and all-round loudmouth is proud of having honed shallowness to an art form and he insists it makes him very happy. “I don’t have any hidden depths,” he says, “I’m a notorious Pollyanna, shockingly upbeat. People always assume I must be hiding some dark secret, but I’m not. Continue reading... Danny Baker, 58, who is working on the third volume of his autobiography.
- The X Factor is on the ropes: could an injection of fun save it?
With three unsuccessful winners in a row, the show is no longer a guaranteed path to pop success and audience figures have plummeted. So can Olly Murs, Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw turn it around with a lighter touch? The timing could hardly be worse for Simon Cowell and The X Factor, which returns to ITV tomorrow night. The 12th series begins in the same week that One Direction, the programme’s biggest success story, have announced that they are “taking a well-earned break” . Everyone knows that by “break” they mean “pursue solo careers with varying levels of success” – but could the show that made them the world’s biggest boyband face a similar dissolution? Related: Why Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw joining X Factor is bad, bad news Continue reading... The new-look X Factor line-upThe new-look X Factor line-up
- Shane Meadows on This is England '90: 'They're very addictive, them lot'
In a Q&A at the Edinburgh TV festival, the director discussed the final chapter of his state-of-the-nation series, as well as the possibility of its return After an initial 2006 film , transformation into a series and a third instalment, director Shane Meadows opened the final phase of the This is England saga at the Edinburgh TV festival with a preview of the new series’s first episode. This is England ’90 sets the tone with an opening montage of mad cows, poll-tax riots and Gazza and Gary Lineker on the pitch at Italia 90 , before juxtaposing Margaret Thatcher’s resignation speech (“We leave the United Kingdom in a much better state than when we arrived 11 years ago”) with There She Goes by The La’s on the soundtrack. Continue reading... Shane Meadows, whose long-running This Is England saga is about to come to an end.Shane Meadows, whose long-running This Is England saga is about to come to an end.
- El Pulso de la Republica: meet Chumel Torres, Mexico's answer to Jon Stewart
In a country where national television is accused of being a vehicle of society’s elite, Torres took to YouTube armed with satire and a hope of spurring the young middle class: ‘We’re tired of the old generation being all corrupt and full of shit’ Chumel Torres gathers steam during his opening monologue on drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman , who just two days earlier had escaped from a high-security prison in Mexico through a mile-long tunnel complete with ventilation, a conveniently parked motorbike and, as Torres assures his audience, Wi-Fi and a convenience store with both tills open, ready for the taking. “We have been made to look ridiculous in the eyes of the whole world and you don’t even bother to come back,” Torres says, staring into the camera, berating President Enrique Peña Nieto for not interrupting a visit to France to attend to the crisis, while an image of the Mario Bros running through digital tunnels plays behind him. Continue reading... Chumel Torres, host of El Pulso de la Republica, a Daily Show-style satire of Mexican news.
- Menace and manners: Paul Theroux journeys through the deep south
Actor Henry Goodman reads Theroux’s Deep South: Four Seasons On Back Roads, which sees the writer discover the dark side of the former Confederate states Even the prettiest communities in the former Confederate states of America have, as travel writer Paul Theroux has observed, “a haunted substratum of darkness”. In Deep South: Four Seasons On Back Roads ( Weekdays, 9.45am, Radio 4 ) actor Henry Goodman’s reading of Theroux’s travelogue conjures that combination of menace and manners as Theroux journeys to Tuscaloosa, Alabama; the city’s quaint name belying the fact that 100,000 partisans visit there regularly to roar on the Crimson Tide, the most bloodcurdlingly named American football team on Earth. He also visits Greensboro, North Carolina, where he finds the poverty and idleness on the wrong side of the tracks remind him of parts of Africa; and Hollandale, Mississippi, a small town washed up by history, segregated in living memory where, as he says, the welcome is warm but the stifling heat has a human odour in it. Another great voice presents Archive On 4: New Orleans – The Crescent And The Shadow ( Saturday 8pm, Radio 4 ). Here, actor and Simpsonian Harry Shearer, who lives in the Crescent City, looks at what has happened in the 10 years since hurricane Katrina. One hundred thousand people who used to live there no longer do. The federal government isn’t clear where they all went, which is some admission for the planet’s richest country. Marking the same anniversary, Science Of The Storm ( Sunday, 10am, 5 Live ) turns up on the Corporation’s news and sport channel, as Simon King goes to the hurricane research hub of Miami to find out what, if anything, has been learned since and what can be done to limit the impact of a similar event in the future. Continue reading... Paul Theroux. Photograph: Rachel Torres/AlamyPaul Theroux. Photograph: Rachel Torres/Alamy
- Narcos: history turned Netflix drama traces Pablo Escobar's rise to power
No one comes out clean in the series about the infamous drug kingpin, as the cartels and the DEA fight for control of the illegal trade What’s the name of the show? Narcos When does it premiere? All 10 episodes start streaming on Netflix on Friday 28 August. Continue reading... Stand and deliver: Wagner Moura as Pablo Escobar.
- Strictly Come Dancing 2015: meet the contestants – in pictures
The full Strictly lineup has been revealed and Jeremy Vine, Jamelia and Peter Andre are among the stars competing for this year’s grand prize Continue reading...
- Hannibal: farewell to the best bloody show on TV
After three gripping and gory seasons, Bryan Fuller’s singular series has come to an end. In the lead up to the final ever episode, we take a look at the elements that made it such a beautiful, disgusting and messed-up show This article contains images from the show that some may find distressing. Never has eating people looked so good as on NBC’s Hannibal, but the show had all the reasons to be a failure. When books are made into films, and films made into TV shows, people are usually sceptical. There is precedent to say that adaptations are awful ideas, let alone adaptations of successful adaptations: the 1991 film The Silence of the Lambs was faithful to the 1988 Thomas Harris novel and the Oscar count alone suggests the film did pretty well, but its successors – Hannibal, Red Dragon, Hannibal Rising – weren’t received quite as warmly. The 2015 TV Hannibal had the odds stacked against it for other reasons: the titular lead is a European cannibal played by an actor then relatively unknown to US audiences. It was also troublingly frank for US TV: homoerotic, bloody and not above showing some skin – the showrunner Bryan Fuller has talked about being asked by NBC to add more blood to hide a corpse’s butt crack. It also looked weird on the page: it’s grandly cinematic, the dialogue is wordy. In short the show really shouldn’t have worked. Continue reading...
- Trailer watch: a first look at Homeland season five
After a deflating finale, the Showtime drama returns to our screens for its fifth series, with Carrie now based in Berlin but still finding herself caught up with the CIA – and with plot lines plucked from real-life issues of terrorism and hacking Homeland’s fourth season marked a pleasing return to form for the counter-terrorism drama (though one with a slightly deflating denouement ), meaning that expectations for its forthcoming fifth season were high. Building anticipation further, the show’s creators have been drip-feeding information about what that fifth season might entail: we know that Carrie is now based in Berlin , and that the season will feature storylines referencing Isis and Edward Snowden (and, as we know, TV plots ripped from the headlines are all the rage these days). “This story is current,” creator Alex Gansa told the Hollywood Reporter last month . “With all of the stuff that’s going on just south of Berlin in the Middle East and to the east in Russia and Ukraine, it’s fascinating. Carrie is out of the intelligence business when the season starts and she finds herself in Berlin. It’s a center for dissidence – that’s where hacktivists go because German privacy laws are so strict. It’s hard to have surveillance on people there.” Continue reading... In Homeland’s fifth season, Carrie is based in Berlin, though she is still caught up with the CIA.In Homeland’s fifth season, Carrie is based in Berlin, though she is still caught up with the CIA.
- Stephen Fry in Central America review: firmly in Wish You Were Here territory
Mischievous and charming, he is moved to tears by a Mexico City demonstration against the drug wars – but there’s no attempt to investigate and tell us more It’s all Michael Palin’s fault. In 1989 Palin fronted Around the World in 80 Days , a recreation of Phileas Fogg’s global gambol for the BBC, and did such a good job that he inaugurated a new sub-genre: the celebrity travelogue. We all know what happened next: in the years since, there’s barely been a celeb who hasn’t donned bumbag and jetted off to a far corner of the world to “explore the real Tibet/Alaska/Guernsey”. Some of these travelogues have been pretty good ( Paul Merton in China ), others have been quite, quite bad (that one where Richard E Grant luxuriated smugly in various hotel rooms ), but few have given off the sense of being much more than a broadcaster-funded jolly. Continue reading... Have ‘workhorse’ bus, will travel … Stephen Fry in Central America. Photograph: ITVHave ‘workhorse’ bus, will travel … Stephen Fry in Central America. Photograph: ITV
- The great British smut-off: why is there so much innuendo on TV?
From Bake Off’s soggy bottoms, to the naughty puns of nature programmes, we’ve reached saucy saturation point. When did it become so acceptable to wave double entendres in viewers’ faces? Moisture, cracks, hot baps: nothing is out of bounds in the world of Great British Bake Off innuendo. What started out with a stray soggy bottom becomes more extreme every week. And it’s not just GBBO. Britain’s Got Talent, BBQ Champ, any wildlife show involving tits – they’re all at it. When did it become so acceptable to wave double entendres in viewers’ faces? Ten million people tune in to witness this “sick filth”, or, as the more broad-minded call it, pre-watershed cheekiness. There’s even a #BakeOffInnuendo of the week on Twitter. “Bear in mind what my wife says – always leave it in for an extra 10 minutes,” said Fireman Mat, talking about his hot baguette. You can’t even have caramel flowing round your nuts without Mary Berry making lewd comments about it. Thinking about complimenting a baker on their box? Forget it, you pervert. Continue reading... Titter ye not: Springwatch’s Chris Packham and Mel and Sue from Great British Bake Off are masters of innuendo.Titter ye not: Springwatch’s Chris Packham and Mel and Sue from Great British Bake Off are masters of innuendo.
- BBC2 drama to tell story of Dad’s Army
John Sessions and Shane Richie drama on making of show comes ahead of big-screen version of comedy BBC2 will revisit the making of Dad’s Army in a new drama starring John Sessions, Shane Richie and Sally Phillips. Making Dad’s Army will tell the story of the sitcom, starring Arthur Lowe and John Le Mesurier, which is still one of BBC2’s highes-rating shows 40 years after it was first on air. Continue reading... Dad’s Army: the orginal cast of the classic BBC comedy.Dad’s Army: the orginal cast of the classic BBC comedy.
- Celebrity Big Brother UK v USA: the housemates – in pictures
The latest series of Celebrity Big Brother has launched. Here are the British and American celebrities you’ll find in the house Continue reading...
- My Mad Fat Diary box set review: a teen drama that leaves you cheering
Sharon Rooney’s marvellous Rae tackles weighty issues – depression, suicide, body image – with charm, wit and laughter Set between 1996 and 98, My Mad Fat Diary tells the story of Rae (Sharon Rooney) and her attempts to assimilate back into normal life after spending a summer in psychiatric care following a suicide attempt. Her best friend, Chloe, is unaware of Rae’s summer troubles and much of the first series deals with Rae’s attempts to lead a “normal” life while keeping the truth behind her four months away from the small Lincolnshire town of Stamford a secret. Nicknamed Jabba at school by bullies, Rae is all too aware of her size and is confronted with her insecurities in the very first episode. Invited to a pool party by the posh, pretty Chloe and her cool mates, she gets stuck on a slide and, as if that wasn’t mortifying enough, reveals the self-harm scars on her legs to the gang she’s hoping to impress. It’s the kind of moment some teen dramas might use to mock the weak and elevate the popular kids. Mad Fat Diary isn’t like that, though, and you’re left cheering as Rae laughs the moment off as she dives into the pool. Continue reading... Lusty couple … Rae (Sharon Rooney) with Finn (Nico Mirallegro) in My Mad Fat DiaryLusty couple … Rae (Sharon Rooney) with Finn (Nico Mirallegro) in My Mad Fat Diary
- The Show About Race: the podcast that gets real in not-so-post-racial America
Raquel Cepeda, Baratunde Thurston and Tanner Colby team up to create a safe space for multiracial dialogue while unpacking black v white media drivel There’s an ongoing national conversation about race and each week you can tune in and take part in that conversation thanks to the aptly-named podcast, Our National Conversation About Conversations About Race or The Show About Race , for short. Hosted by authors Raquel Cepeda (Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina), Baratunde Thurston (How to Be Black), and Tanner Colby (Some of My Best Friends Are Black), the show is a comfortable venue for what can be uncomfortable conversations about life in what the show calls “pre-post-yet-still-very-racial America”. Continue reading... Baratunde Thurston, Tanner Colby and Raquel Cepeda host Our National Conversation About Conversations About Race or The Show About Race, for short.
- Ewe cannot be serious: in defence of Flockstars, ITV's sheepdog showdown
The celebrity shepherding contest has attracted baa humbugs from critics, but they’ve missed the point: it’s comfort TV that doesn’t outstay its welcome Right out of the gate, Flockstars was on the back hoof. On paper, ITV’s brazen attempt to co-opt the classic One Man and his Dog by remaking it with a gaggle of second-string celebrities in Hunter wellies seemed both disrespectful and a little desperate. Executives had somehow signed off on an entire eight-week run predicated on what should probably just have been a single Ant v Dec round on Saturday Night Takeaway. The final product, which awkwardly combines the presentational razzmatazz of a shiny-floor ITV gameshow with the rather more muddy, mulchy reality of a giant echoey showground containing live animals, seemed a little too sincere to be enjoyably silly, and rather too arbitrary to be genuinely exciting. The reviews of last month’s first episode formed an exceptionally loud chorus of baa humbug, branding the format “garish”, “silly” and “embarrassing”. On Twitter, the real-time reaction was similarly dismissive and often actively appalled, as if watching Brendan Cole coax a quartet of jet-black Hebridean sheep round a peacock-shaped hedge was some atrocious new low in livestock/celebrity-related content. That, of course, would be to conveniently forget the bottom-of-the-barrel pork scratching of Channel 5’s The Farm . Continue reading... Come by: Flockstars shepherd mentor Emma Gray with sheepdogs (l-r) Skye, Hoggy and Gyp.Come by: Flockstars shepherd mentor Emma Gray with sheepdogs (l-r) Skye, Hoggy and Gyp.
- Terry Wogan: 'If I squeeze another sausage I'll go mad'
It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it. Sir Terry Wogan has teamed up with a London cabbie for a TV tour of Britain ‘stuffing his face’. Tears, jellied eels, being mistaken for Tony Blackburn … the broadcaster reveals all If there’s one thing that Terry Wogan has mastered after so many years of broadcasting, it’s the art of conversation. There’s a warmth and knowingness in his on-air style that made him the perfect person to host the UK’s annual Eurovision humiliation for years, or wake Radio 2’s TOG s up, host his BBC chat show, dole out Blankety Blank cheque books and pens, or get people to cough up for Children in Need ; he’s more than earned his “national treasure” status. On the radio it’s the kind of delivery that lets you hear the twinkle in his eye; in person he’s easy company, a gent who holds the lift doors open. As he says in the introduction to his new BBC2 show Terry and Mason’s Great Food Trip : “It’s taken 50 years in broadcasting, but I’ve finally cracked it – a chance to meander around the country, see the sights, meet the people and eat and drink.” Continue reading... Mason McQueen, left, and Terry Wogan on their Great Food Trip.Mason McQueen, left, and Terry Wogan on their Great Food Trip.
- Taylor Swift and Lisa Kudrow sing 'Phoebe's' Smelly Cat – video
Lisa Kudrow joins Taylor Swift on stage for a rendition of Smelly Cat , the song made famous by Kudrow’s character Phoebe in NBC hit TV show Friends. Swift was performing for a fifth night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles as part of her 1989 tour. Selena Gomez and Justin Timberlake also made cameo appearances on Wednesday night Read: Taylor Swift – ‘Sexy? Not on my radar’ Continue reading...
- Posh Pawn review – high-end oddballs with terrible business sense
In the new series of this Channel 4 documentary, an heiress and a yacht-owner try to flog their extravagant personal property in an attempt to set up some of the duffest ideas outside of Dragons’ Den Rosie keeps her TV on 24 hours a day to entertain her collection of 180 teddy bears. Teddy bears, like the torture victim in A Clockwork Orange , don’t have functioning eyelids, nor do they have the opposable thumbs necessary to work the remote. As a result, they have to watch whatever Rosie puts on. If the CIA is looking for new ideas to get suspects to confess, they could do worse than to hire Rosie as a consultant. She explained that many of her collection are rescue animals who, after being fitted with new outfits she created, come to life. Or so she believes. Personally, I could see no movement from the Paddington clones who sat in neat rows sporting duffel coats and floppy hats, their beady little eyes and mouths remaining inexpressive. Though, to be fair, there are more inert families on Gogglebox . Continue reading... Moor money, more problems ... Steve and his yacht on Posh Pawn.Moor money, more problems ... Steve and his yacht on Posh Pawn.
- Witnesses recap: episode six – less than meets the eye, but immensely stylish
Ultimately the mysteries this French thriller offered up were fairly thin, but it made up for them with a sense of flair and some memorable set pieces. But will you be tuning in for a potential second series? This might be hindsight speaking, but I can’t help feeling there really was less to this series than met the eye. But its (in reality) fairly thin mysteries were revealed with immense style and some truly memorable locations and set pieces – most recently, that creepy shoreline quarry. Truly, Witnesses was an anti-travelogue. And at least Sandra finally ditched those bloody boots. Thanks as always for contributions that have enlivened this patchily impressive entry in the ever-broadening annals of Euro-noir. A second series is reportedly in the works , although Paul Maisonneuve may be absent. Will you be watching? Continue reading... Marie Dompnier as Sandra Winckler in WitnessesMarie Dompnier as Sandra Winckler in Witnesses
- Season finale of Mr Robot delayed over similar scenes to Virginia shooting
The USA Network show was due to air its finale on Wednesday but has postponed it a week out of respect for Alison Parker and Adam Ward The season finale of USA Network’s series Mr Robot has been postponed as scenes in it are “similar in nature” to the shooting that took place in Virginia on Wednesday morning. In a statement USA Network said that out of respect for the victims of the shooting – Alison Parker and Adam Ward, who were killed live on air while filming for local station WDBJ – the episode which had been due to be broadcast on Wednesday night will be shown next week . Continue reading... Mr Robot has been a sleeper hit this summer with a storyline concerning an ‘Anonymous-like band of anarchist hackers’.
- The Great British Bake Off, episode four – as it happens
Desserts are on the menu as Bake Off continues. Whose fondants will you fancy, and who will be making a right old Eton mess of things? 9.00pm BST So that’s it for another week! Next week it’s alternative ingredients week, so join me then and we’ll do a gluten-free version of the liveblog. In the meantime come and say hello on Twitter @heidistephens, and we’ll commiserate over Sandy and talk all things cake. Thank you for joining in, was lovely as ever. See you next Wednesday! Hx 8.57pm BST Star Baker this week is...IAN! For the third week running! And going home this week is...SANDY. Nooooooo! Not Random Sandy! We loved her, right down to her sparkly shoes. We never even got to see her make a meat pie out of a cake. Continue reading... Sue Perkins, Paul Hollywood, Mary Berry and Mel Giedroyc in the Great British Bake Off.Sue Perkins, Paul Hollywood, Mary Berry and Mel Giedroyc in the Great British Bake Off.
- The Strain: behind the scenes of the vampire drama
Guillermo del Toro’s bloodsucking series has blood and guts aplenty, but the most pressing concern is Toronto’s ferocious weather “Where can oi get sam facking caffee!” The Canadian assistant director mimics my question in Van Dyke-ian mockerney, tugging imaginary braces. I am from Doncaster. I’d asked for the coffee because it’s February in Toronto, and it is cold. Very cold. Today it’s around minus 10. Some of my extremities are numb. Others: awol. I’m visiting the studio where the second series of The Strain – Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s adaptation of their own trilogy of vampire novels – is being filmed. Having heard tales of Del Toro’s friendliness, I’m looking forward to meeting him. “He’s great, very blue collar,” says Jack Kesy, who plays Bolivar, a goth rock star-turned-bloodsucker henchman. Kesy looks fairly buff and blue-collar himself, so I’m inclined to believe him. He talks about a time Guillermo gave him a bear hug. It sounds warm. Continue reading... Corey Stoll in The Strain. Photograph: FoxFastCorey Stoll in The Strain. Photograph: FoxFast
- Cold Feet was a classic drama of the 90s – and that's where it should stay
The thirtysomething comedy drama is rumoured to be returning for a new series. It should follow the example of Friends and stay on ice Every few years, there are rumours that Cold Feet will return . They are usually denied pretty quickly. But this time around, the claims seem to have a little more substance, with widespread reports that the late-90s comedy-drama will fill the Sunday night void left by Downton Abbey. Cold Feet, which ran from 1998 to 2003, is very much a product of its era, and that is where it should stay. It was born in a time where Manchester seemed to buzz with sharp-suited women, turn-of-the-millennium optimism and affordable houses in which attractive people would sit drinking red wine out of enormous glasses. Continue reading... Robert Bathurst, James Nesbitt, Fay Ripley, Hermione Norris, Helen Baxendale and John Thomson in Cold Feet.Robert Bathurst, James Nesbitt, Fay Ripley, Hermione Norris, Helen Baxendale and John Thomson in Cold Feet.
- Steve McQueen to make BBC drama set in Enoch Powell’s ‘rivers of blood’ era
Oscar-winning director to make first television drama with six-part series telling story of West Indian community in London across three decades The Oscar-winning writer and director Steve McQueen will make his first British television drama for BBC1, while Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be reimagined by the man who brought back Doctor Who, the corporation has announced. McQueen’s six-part series will tell the story of a West Indian community in the heart of London across three decades, beginning at the moment of Enoch Powell’s notorious “rivers of blood” speech in 1968. Continue reading... Steve McQueen, who won an Oscar for 12 Years a Slave, said his BBC drama is about a ‘legacy that shaped the Britain we live in today’.
- Educating Cardiff review: another heartwarming and witty lesson
Building on the Bafta-winning template laid down in Essex and Yorkshire, this window onto Cardiff’s Willows High School is as funny and poignant as expected Bunking off from class takes a certain amount of nerve and luck at the best of times. But when your school has been kitted out with wall-to-wall cameras and microphones by Channel 4’s Educating crew … well, let’s just say that no matter how far you pull your hoodie over your head, or how fast you leg it out of the school gates, the evidence is there for everyone to see. Not that Mr Hennessey needs to watch the tapes to know what Leah in year 11 is up to. He’s got her number – literally. Her attendance record is so bad that he’s resorted to calling her at 8am every day to remind her that yes, it is a school day, and yes, her presence is required. Educating Cardiff (Channel 4) builds on the Bafta-winning template laid down in Essex , Yorkshire and the East End : rig a school with cameras – this time it’s Willows high school in Cardiff (motto: “Belong Believe Achieve”) – set them rolling, sit back and wait for the stories to emerge. Continue reading... “Belong believe achieve” ... Cardiff’s Willows high school headteacher Joy Ballard.“Belong believe achieve” ... Cardiff’s Willows high school headteacher Joy Ballard.
- Goodness Gracious Me: an Asian comedy that everyone could relate to
The genius of GGM, which returns tonight for a one-off special, is that it tackles universal themes of greed, aspiration and family. At a time when British Asians find themselves increasingly stigmatised, we need it more than ever Aubergines , ras malai and English food . If these items don’t make you think of Goodness Gracious Me, then you were probably born after 1992 – or really unfortunate. As an Asian kid growing up the 90s, Goodness Gracious Me was everything to me. I remember my parents’ shock at the comedy being given a prime slot. Asians on mainstream telly that weren’t Sanjay and Gita on EastEnders! They couldn’t believe their luck – and neither could I. Finally: something that second-generation immigrant kids, growing ever more detached from the culture of their first-generation parents, could laugh at with their whole family. Continue reading... Goodness Gracious MeGoodness Gracious Me
- Idris Elba to change gear for second Discovery series
Channel says follow-up to motoring series No Limits will feature new theme, as it reveals it has not signed a deal for the BBC to sub-license live Olympics coverage TV network Discovery is planning to make a new series with Idris Elba following the success of his show No Limits . The series featured the actor competing in drag racing, power boating and aerobatic flying events, as well as an attempt on the land speed record. Continue reading... Idris Elba is to front a follow-up to his series No Limits on Discovery.Idris Elba is to front a follow-up to his series No Limits on Discovery.
- Fighting fires on the internet? CSI: Cyber is a franchise struggling to stay relevant
The latest instalment, CSI: Cyber, feels like a grandparent thinking they’re cool because they just used a smartphone to bid on a Werther’s Original on eBay To do list: interview philandering men terrified by the Ashley Madison leaks and spend the afternoon trying to figure out who the RealMarkLatham is (spoiler alert, it’s the real Mark Latham: that anonymous egg disguise doesn’t work so well when you christen the egg with your actual name). It’s the kind of real life hacking the fictional team of CSI Cyber (Ten) would find themselves bored by. A far cry, then, from the silly tech crimes that pervade most episodes of this latest offshoot of the CSI franchise. I get the sense that no one behind the show actually knows what cybercrime is, and has instead bolted tech elements on to everyday analogue crime, such as when they were tracking someone down who could start fires over the internet. A useless skill if stranded on a desert island: “Just rub these two sticks together until they generate Wi-Fi.” Continue reading... Not even James Van Der Beek can rescue CSI: Cyber.
- BBC4 viewers to chill out with 'slow TV' sleigh ride
Channel follows successes with canal trip and birdsong with festive special featuring a reindeer ride through Lapland’s frozen wilderness BBC4 will offer viewers a real-time Rudolph eye’s view of a two-hour sleigh ride through Lapland, its latest “slow TV” offering after half a million viewers watched the dawn chorus and an uninterrupted, commentary free canal boat trip. The reindeer ride through Lapland’s frozen wilderness will be broadcast on BBC4 at Christmas, a two-hour fixed-rig film in which the only noise will be the crunching of snow and the tinkle of the reindeer bell. Continue reading... BBC4 viewers will enter a winter wonderland on a sleigh ride in Lapland. Photograph: Heather Sunderland/flickr BBC4 viewers will enter a winter wonderland on a sleigh ride in Lapland. Photograph: Heather Sunderland/flickr
- Listen up! From Game of Thrones to Frasier, it's a golden age for TV podcasts
Whether it’s a smash-hit US drama, a 90s high-school caper or a cult sci-fi series, if people are watching a TV show, there’s probably a podcast about it As you may have heard, we’re in a “ golden age ” of TV, and, with the success of Serial and President Obama’s appearance on Marc Maron’s WTF , podcasts have never been more popular. It makes sense, then, that this is a prime time for TV podcasts. It seems that almost every programme on the box is being nattered about somewhere, sometimes on more than one podcast. You can fill the months between Game of Thrones seasons by listening to Game of Owns , A Podcast of Ice and Fire or the terrifically titled Boars, Gore, and Swords , among others. Meanwhile, there are so many Doctor Who podcasts (153 at last count) that a loyal fan set up a website to keep track. Continue reading... ‘Any time a TV show finds a new audience, it’s likely that a podcast will follow in its wake.’‘Any time a TV show finds a new audience, it’s likely that a podcast will follow in its wake.’
- Celebrity Big Brother: Live Launch - reassuringly constant D-list desperation
It only comes but once a year, but is there any richer source of voyeuristic schadenfreude than baffled semi-slebs parading themselves for pounds? Anyone who tells you that autumn, with crunching leaves underfoot, or spring with its ripe promise, is their favourite season is a stinking frigging wrong ’un and probably a virgin. Clearly the only time of year worth getting excited about is the few weeks of humid desperation known as CBB season or, in some parts, “summer”. This is the period when munchkins gladly scrub the Big Brother house free of civilian traces, paying special attention to the beds, lilos and beanbags where the conjugal foundations of an OK!-friendly partnership were laid. Only then can a bag of celebs enter. The constancy is so beautiful, it could bring a tear to your eye. Sun rise, sun set. It’s around this time of year that people like me start behaving strangely: collating betting odds, paying attention to tabloid coverage of particularly crap D-listers. “Well well well,” I say over spreadsheets detailing the work schedule of Linda the dinner lady who tried out for Britain’s Got Talent in 2002. “It seems the mysterious Linda has six whole weeks off in August, and nary a supermarket opening to be seen.” Then I get Paddy Power on the blower. Speculating over who will go into the house is half the fun. Sometimes, say around 97 minutes into the Celebrity Big Brother: Live Launch (Thursday, Channel 5, 9pm) , you realise it may be the entirety of the fun. Continue reading... Celebrity Big Brother.Celebrity Big Brother.
- Reeves and Mortimer comedy House of Fools axed after two series
BBC says ‘fantastically inventive’ show that started first run with more than 1 million viewers will not return Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer’s comedy House of Fools has been axed after just two series. The sitcom, which ran for two series and a Christmas special, marked a return to mainstream television for the pair behind 1990s TV hits that included Shooting Stars. Continue reading... Vic Reeves, left, and Bob Mortimer made their return to mainstream television with BBC2 comedy House of Fools.
- The new Currys PC World advert: pugs, electricals and arrested development
‘“Somebody’s after a laptop,” claims the ad. Oh really? Well why doesn’t Manchild go out and buy one then?’ Never leave a bloke alone with your electrical goods. That’s the lesson from the new Currys PC World ad, in which a manchild frames his dog for cocking his leg on his laptop in the hope that his more successful wife will buy him a new one. Why does Manchild need a new laptop? He only uses it to watch porn and email his boss to tell him he’s not coming in today. “Hey, I’m working from home, babe,” he murmured when his wife tried to rouse him for their usual power walk to the station. The minute she left the house, he kicked the dog off the bed and booted up a selection of “artistic” websites. That faux dog wee isn’t the first spillage that keyboard’s seen today. The truth is it’s 6.45pm and he’s only just out of the shower. No need to use that herbal tea bag to brew up fake wee – that could easily be his own. “Sorry, mate,” he says to poor Benji the pug as he plonks him on the table next to the laptop. That’s loyalty for you – this is the same dog he napped with earlier after he pretended to get cut off from a conference call. His wife, back from her Proper Job, lets out a horrified gasp when she sees the soggy computer. Imagine how loudly she’d shriek if her hapless husband forgot to delete his browsing history? “No, darling, Ashley Madison is where I buy my shirts,” he’d whimper. Continue reading... Someone call the RSPCA… Currys PC World advertSomeone call the RSPCA… Currys PC World advert
- Friday’s best TV
Rick Stein visits Greece in From Venice to Istanbul, big bands pay tribute to swing masters in Friday Night at the Proms: The Story of Swing, and Kirsty Wark highlights the best of Edinburgh Nights. Plus: the machines have the last laugh in Bad Robots, and there’s magical realism in the Deep South in Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild A night of sax education at the Royal Albert Hall, exploring the roots of the swing era with two big bands led by old hands Guy Barker and Winston Rollins. The legacies of masters such as Glenn Miller, Count Basie and Benny Goodman are celebrated with the help of guest singers Clare Teal, Elaine Delmar and Jamie Davis. There’s also a rousing Cab Calloway turn by Clarke Peters, who was burning up West End stages long before he played The Wire’s fastidious Freamon. Graeme Virtue Continue reading... Veal-good viewing… Rick Stein: From Venice to Istanbul.Veal-good viewing… Rick Stein: From Venice to Istanbul.
- Catch-up TV guide: From True Blood to Modern Toss
Alan Ball’s vampire drama is very good before it goes very bad, and Guide stalwarts Modern Toss reinvent the BBC Proms Robert Rodriguez’s small-screen spinoff (pictured, right) from the Tarantino-penned fantasy horror flick of the same name returns for a second season. Prepare for more mysterious visions, blood cults, shady oil money and gruesome, stylish violence. Expect the fearsome Gecko twins to continue their rampage through a twisted, supernatural America. Continue reading... From Dusk Till Dawn. Photograph: Ryan Green/El Rey NetworkFrom Dusk Till Dawn. Photograph: Ryan Green/El Rey Network
- New on Amazon in August: Catastrophe, Sneaky Pete and Inception
Sharon Horgan’s razor-sharp romantic comedy lands on the streaming site, there are new pilots Sneaky Pete and Casanova, and films including Inception and Child 44 Casanova Available now Continue reading... Rob (Rob Delaney) and Sharon (Sharon Horgan) in Catastrophe.Rob (Rob Delaney) and Sharon (Sharon Horgan) in Catastrophe.
- Farcical, larger than life – and totally believable: have you been watching People Just Do Nothing?
Series two of the BBC3 mockumentary gave us a glimpse of the personal lives of the Kurupt FM gang, but the show is best when it sticks to the goings on at the pirate radio station The second full series of BBC3’s People Just Do Nothing comes to an end this week with the members of pirate radio station Kurupt FM celebrating the launch of Brentford’s leading new nightclub, the Champagne Steam Rooms. It has been a welcome return from the gang, including MC Grindah and DJ Beats , with series two seeing pirate radio’s most deluded duo muddle by while continuing their efforts to keep listening figures up in the high double digits. Garage MC Grindah has had it particularly tough this time out, having to endure the woes of looking after his child after girlfriend Miche got a job in a beauty salon. He stepped up to the plate, though, getting Angel “Christianed” in church and picking out a suitable godfather. After trying to decide between Beats and fellow Kurupt DJ Decoy, he instead took the role on himself. “It’s about loyalty, it’s about respect, it’s about being the head of a crime family,” he tells a church full of friends, having watched a film to understand what his job will involve. Continue reading... A proper mug: Steves (Steve Stamp) in People Just Do Nothing.A proper mug: Steves (Steve Stamp) in People Just Do Nothing.
- Denise Lewis’s favourite TV
The heptathlete-turned-presenter on her TV personal bests and false starts Continue reading... Denise Lewis.Denise Lewis.
- Partners in Crime: episode five recap – lashings of ginger beer and a genre sandwich
It’s a cross between the Famous Five, Scooby Doo and Miss Marple this week, as Tommy and Tuppence’s adventures take them down into a smugglers’ cave SPOILER ALERT: This blog is for those watching series one of Partners in Crime . Don’t read on if you haven’t seen episode five. For the episode four recap, click here. Continue reading... Tommy Beresford (David Walliams) and Tuppence Beresford (Jessica Raine) in Partners in Crime.Tommy Beresford (David Walliams) and Tuppence Beresford (Jessica Raine) in Partners in Crime.
- Hannibal recap: season three, episode 12 – The Number of the Beast Is 666
As the series finale approaches, there is more concern with tying up plot lines than being profound Spoiler alert: this blog is published after Hannibal airs on NBC in the US on Saturdays. Do not read on unless you have watched season three, episode six, which airs in the UK on Sky Living on Wednesdays at 10pm Bryan Fuller, though not nearly as popular, is certainly more artful than American Horror Story impresario Ryan Murphy. That’s why it made me sad when there were two instances of one of Murphy’s laziest storytelling tactics in one episode . First we see Frederick barge into Hannibal’s cell with a copy of a psychological journal. He tells the audience Hannibal has refuted all the claims in his book. Here is a deus ex machina to get the plot rolling. Continue reading... Hugh Dancy as Will Graham and Gillian Anderson as Bedelia Du Maurier.
- True Detective: season two, episode eight recap – Omega Station
The formulaic tropes that plagued the second season continue right into the bloody finale, and many questions have been left unanswered – no more so than, will there be a third season? Spoiler alert: this blog details events in the eighth and final 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 9pm & 2am. For the episode seven recap, click here. Continue reading... Vince Vaughn as Frank and Colin Farrell as Ray in True Detective.Vince Vaughn as Frank and Colin Farrell as Ray in True Detective.
- Humans recap: season one, episode eight – the big finale
It would be an understatement to say that Humans doesn’t end neatly. There are more questions than answers as the super-synths make their bid for freedom Spoiler alert: this recap covers the eighth episode of Humans showing on Channel 4 . For episode seven, click here If you’ve grown to love the conscious synths over the past few episodes, look away now. Hobb has all five of them strapped to beds and he’s removing their ability to self-replicate, along with their dignity. Continue reading... Mattie and Toby, who now have Pete on their side.Mattie and Toby, who now have Pete on their side.
- 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.
- 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!
- The David Byrne Radio Show review: the Talking Heads frontman turns freaky DJ
‘Let’s go somewhere really odd,’ says Byrne, spinning a weird mix of choices so obscure it’s a relief to hear a bit of Hot Chip You can’t turn on the radio without bumping into David Byrne at the moment, and the chief Talking Heads dancer turns DJ in The David Byrne Radio Show on 6 Music, armed with a bucket of eclectic tunes. It’s not everyone who would kick off their show with Enrique Morente. “It’s like Sonic Youth meets flamenco,” says Byrne with a giggle. “Which seems very, very unlikely, but it’s really cool.” Indeed. Anything Byrne touches is considered cool, but that doesn’t even register to him as he mixes up songs he likes and surprises “in the same bucket”. He’ll spin from Curtis Mayfield’s live funk rambler We The People Who Are Darker Than Blue to the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra’s rendition of the Planet of the Apes soundtrack. “Let’s go somewhere really odd,” he says, in a way that would make you slowly back out of his front room if this was real life. The choices are so obscure it’s a relief to hear a nice bit of Hot Chip, who Byrne listens to as he cycles around New York. That’s a snapshot of a great life, right there. Continue reading... Curating the Meltdown festival … David Byrne. Photograph: Catalina Kulczar-MarinCurating the Meltdown festival … David Byrne. Photograph: Catalina Kulczar-Marin
- World’s Busiest Railway 2015; Muslim Drag Queens – review: 'I'm worried for your safety'
Last night’s TV featured some remarkable risk-taking, from the Indian commuters running the risk of Mumbai’s suburban railyway, to the drag queens taking to the stage in a burka and niqab, then stripping them off Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji terminus – or just CST if you don’t trust yourself to remember that extra h – was the subject of the first night of World’s Busiest Railway 2015 (BBC2), part of the Beeb’s India season. Treble-hosted by Dan Snow, Anita Rani and Robert Llewellyn with what sometimes appeared to be heavily caffeinated enthusiasm, this was a whistle-stop tour through some very impressive numbers. CST plays host to 1,500 trains a day. Each of these trains carries up to 5,000 people. The incredible throughput relies on some inventive practicalities – there are no ticket barriers, and passengers can “double discharge” on to platforms either side of the train – and some alarming safety compromises: there are no doors on the trains, people tend to disembark while they’re moving and the rush-hour capacity is achieved by what’s known locally as the “super-dense crush load” – up to 14 people per square metre inside the carriages. Continue reading... The World’s Busiest Railway 2015, introduced by Robert Llewellyn, Dan Snow, Anita Rani.The World’s Busiest Railway 2015, introduced by Robert Llewellyn, Dan Snow, Anita Rani.
- Time Crashers review: a great cast gets down and dirty in Olde England
Kirstie Alley, Meg Mathews and Keith Allen et al are surprisingly game given their immersion in a smelly, grimy Elizabethan world where clothes are washed in urine and wild animals are skinned for dinner Quantum Leap was a mainstay of my 1980s and 90s-based youth, its central conceit allowing fictional scientist Dr Sam Beckett to jump around in time and into the bodies of random people, never knowing where and when he’d end up next. And Sam only had the comparatively shallow waters of US history to plunder, offering little or no scope for codpieces, ruffs or sackcloth of any kind. Someone clearly shares my fondness for the Donald P Bellisario classic because new entertainment format Time Crashers (Channel 4) works in a similar way. It features 10 blindfolded celebrities, fitted with costumes they can’t see until the big reveal, transported to an immersive setting where they must spend the day surrounded by in-role extras and historical experts, living as people of yore. Sir Tony Robinson and historian Cassie Newland hover on the fringes, bulking out the action with fact and the whole thing has an overwhelmingly nostalgic feel, not for Elizabethan times (their first stop-off of the series) but for the favourite TV of my childhood. Continue reading... No place for wimples … (left to right) Meg Mathews, Louise Minchin, Zoe Smith, Kirstie Alley and Fern Britton prove game in Time Crashers.No place for wimples … (left to right) Meg Mathews, Louise Minchin, Zoe Smith, Kirstie Alley and Fern Britton prove game in Time Crashers.
- The week in TV: The Scandalous Lady W, School Swap: The Class Divide, Show Me a Hero, Britain’s Spending Secrets, Natural World
The Beeb’s costume romp was hampered by being squashed into a mere 90 minutes, but David Simon has plenty of room for another hit The Scandalous Lady W (BBC2) | iPlayer School Swap: The Class Divide (ITV1) | itvplayer Show Me a Hero (Sky Atlantic) | sky.com Britain’s Spending Secrets (BBC1) | iPlayer Natural World: Return of the Giant Killers: Africa’s Lion Kings (BBC2) | iPlayer Well, it was certainly sexier than Life in Squares . So is toothache. The tale of Lady Seymour Worsley’s travails first in the bedchamber of her inadequate hubby and then the high London courts of the land of the 1780s did manage to convey many frissons, frottages, filthily decorous décolletages and je ne sais quoi flirtings of the sort so much better suited to both the French language and to a happy time when one flash of pretty upbucked knee could promise so much more than a nation of bulbous naked grinding Kardashians. Continue reading... The ‘wondrous’ Natalie Dormer with Shaun Evans in The Scandalous Lady W. Photograph: Laurence Cendrovitz/BBC/Wall to Wall ProductionsThe ‘wondrous’ Natalie Dormer with Shaun Evans in The Scandalous Lady W. Photograph: Laurence Cendrovitz/BBC/Wall to Wall Productions
- The week in radio: Seriously…; Overage Drinkers; Philip Glass: Taxi Driver; The Bin Laden Tapes
Hard-drinking pensioners and Osama Bin Laden’s audio legacy were among the highlights as Radio 4 got its documentary house in order Overage Drinkers (Radio 4) | iPlayer Philip Glass: Taxi Driver (Radio 4) | iPlayer Continue reading... The Bin Laden Tapes, all 1,500 of them, told a fascinating story. Photograph: Majid Saeedi/GettyThe Bin Laden Tapes, all 1,500 of them, told a fascinating story. Photograph: Majid Saeedi/Getty
- Building the Ancient City: Athens and Rome review – ‘an infectious mix of wonder and actual knowledge’
Not even Boris Johnson can spoil the rosy-cheeked humour and gusto of Professor Wallace-Hadrill’s portrait of ancient Athens No sudden moves, but if you turn slowly towards BBC2, you might catch a glimpse of a bona fide expert presenting a programme on ancient Athens. Not Joanna Lumley or David Suchet, but an actual professor of classics called Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, who infuses Building the Ancient City: Athens and Rome (BBC2) with real facts and enthusiasm. I don’t know how producers smuggled him past commissioning editors more usually preoccupied with celebrity. But I have a feeling the trade-off here is Boris Johnson, who pops up sporadically to talk about his admiration for the Athenians’ civic organisation. Fair enough; with his classics degree he’s qualified. But the fact he isn’t presenting this two-part series is surprising. Is it an aberration or has something genuinely shifted, because I’ll happily take a pinch of Boris here and there if it means a true expert gets to take charge the rest of the time. Continue reading... Enthusiastic … Andrew Wallace-Hadrill with Dr Manolis Papagrigorakis in Building The Ancient City: Athens and Rome. Photograph: Paul Elston/Brace New Media/BBCEnthusiastic … Andrew Wallace-Hadrill with Dr Manolis Papagrigorakis in Building The Ancient City: Athens and Rome. Photograph: Paul Elston/Brace New Media/BBC
- X Factor's Simon Cowell laughs off ratings threat from Strictly line-up
‘If it’s us versus Peter Andre, I’m going to put my money on us’, says presenter, whose ITV judging panel includes Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw X Factor judge Simon Cowell has laughed off any ratings rivalry with Strictly Come Dancing, joking about the BBC’s lack of a star-studded line-up. The TV mogul has reprised his role as a judge on this year’s series of the ITV singing competition alongside Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, with Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw joining the panel, while celebrities such as Peter Andre, Jamelia and Daniel O’Donnell will be showing off their moves on the Strictly dancefloor. Continue reading... Simon Cowell laughs off the ratings threat from Strictly Come Dancing.
- BBC4 launches search for Britain's top part-time band
Producers Wall to Wall are seeking musicians from all over country who play any type of music A nationwide search has begun to find the best non-professional groups of musicians from across the UK. Called the UK’s Best Part-time Band, the BBC4 show will feature established, well-known musicians travelling on a road trip across the nation to find talent. However, it is unlikely to resemble other talent shows such as X Factor; the producers Wall to Wall are searching for bands “who play any type of music – rock, pop, reggae, electronic, country, bluegrass, skiffle, ska, folk, funk, jazz or soul.” Continue reading... BBC4 is launching a talent show to find Britain’s best part-time band.BBC4 is launching a talent show to find Britain’s best part-time band.
- BBC missed chance to get Top Gear's Chris Evans on exclusive deal
Delay in signing deal for motoring show meant Channel 4 had the chance to secure him for a full series of its revived 1990s hit The BBC missed out on an opportunity to secure new Top Gear presenter Chris Evans on an exclusive deal after Channel 4 signed him first. Danny Cohen, its director of television, admitted this week he was surprised when Evans committed to front a new series of his Channel 4 show, TFI Friday. Continue reading... Chris Evans: will present a series of Channel 4’s TFI Friday before he starts on the BBC’s Top Gear.Chris Evans: will present a series of Channel 4’s TFI Friday before he starts on the BBC’s Top Gear.
- Commissioning Katie Hopkins show was a 'no-brainer', says Discovery exec
Controversial presenter’s ‘Marmite’ personality is a huge part of her appeal, says Phil Craig, as he defends talkshow’s low overnight ratings Commissioning If Katie Hopkins Ruled the World was a “no-brainer” and the show is racking up good viewing figures despite early reports of tiny audiences, according to one of the senior executives behind the show. Phil Craig, chief creative officer of Discovery Networks International, the company that runs the TLC channel where Hopkins’ show is airing, said her “Marmite” personality was a huge part of her appeal. Continue reading... Katie Hopkins: denies she is ‘playing a part of a pantomime villain’.Katie Hopkins: denies she is ‘playing a part of a pantomime villain’.
- Lord Burns said to be examining options for Channel 4 sale
Government believed to have asked broadcaster’s chair to draw up proposals that would allow it to maintain public service remit in event of a sell-off Lord Burns, the chair of Channel 4, is understood to be looking at options for a partial or full sell-off of the broadcaster as the government considers the sale of state assets to help reduce its budget deficit. The former Treasury economist and chair of Santander bank is believed to be preparing various proposals that would allow Channel 4 to maintain its remit to provide distinctive public service programming in the event of a sale. Continue reading... Millie Mackintosh, Louise Thompson, Lucy Watson and Binky Felstead from Channel 4’s Bafta award-winning show Made In Chelsea.
- BBC3 should follow Radio 1 in focusing on social media, says Google boss
Matt Brittin praises station for going to the right places for its audience and securing 2 million subscribers on YouTube BBC3 should follow Radio 1’s example in “fishing in the right places” for its younger target audience by focusing on social media such as YouTube, according to Google Europe boss Matt Brittin. “They should do is what they did with Radio 1,” Brittin told an audience at the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival. “Think about what content that audience and is going to like, watch and share across the internet, and really use that as a place to learn and I think it’s going to be helpful for BBC1, Radio 4, the BBC News Channel and so on and so forth.” Continue reading... Radio 1 has 2 million subscribers on YouTubeRadio 1 has 2 million subscribers on YouTube
- BBC should pause before putting Strictly against X Factor, says Channel 4's Hunt
Former BBC1 controller says talent show is ‘very expensive’ for ITV and the corporation should think twice before ‘aggressively trying to clip it’ Channel 4’s chief creative officer Jay Hunt said the BBC should think twice before scheduling Strictly Come Dancing against ITV’s The X Factor, saying the commercial network “really needs it to do well” this year. Hunt, a former controller of BBC1, said ITV needed the ratings more than the BBC in the simmering feud between the two broadcasters over their Saturday night schedules. Continue reading... ITV needs The X Factor to do well this autumn, said Chennel 4’s Jay Hunt.ITV needs The X Factor to do well this autumn, said Chennel 4’s Jay Hunt.
- BBC contract was never about the money, insists Met Office
Weather forecaster recently dropped by the corporation says its services represented ‘great value’ and its focus was on serving the nation The Met Office has delivered a frosty response to accusations that its services had become too expensive for the BBC, saying that its contract was “never about the money”. The BBC has put out a tender for its weather forecasting contract in a move that marks the end of the meteorological service’s 93-year contract with the corporation. Continue reading... Stormy relationship: the BBC recently ended its deal with the Met Office, which had lasted for 93 years.Stormy relationship: the BBC recently ended its deal with the Met Office, which had lasted for 93 years.
- Tony Hall a 'coward' for not challenging John Whittingdale, says Chris Bryant
Shadow culture secretary also claims BBC director of strategy James Purnell is ‘daft’ to have ‘bought’ the minister’s conciliatory speech about the corporation Shadow culture secretary Chris Bryant has called BBC director general Tony Hall a “coward” for not publicly challenging minister John Whittingdale over the recent licence fee settlement. And he said it was “daft” of BBC director of strategy James Purnell to have “bought” a conciliatory speech by Whittingdale about BBC charter renewal and that people should remain “very, very, very wary” . Continue reading... The BBC’s Tony Hall has been described as a ‘coward’ by Chris Bryant MP for not challenging culture secretary John Whittingdale.The BBC’s Tony Hall has been described as a ‘coward’ by Chris Bryant MP for not challenging culture secretary John Whittingdale.
- Educating viewers: TV teachers embrace chance to share joy and pain of schools
Educating Cardiff is the latest in a flurry of shows set in the classroom, and some of their stars hope to challenge the audience’s ideas about teenagers Leah and Courtney, two disaffected pupils at Willows high school in Cardiff, are late for period one science. The cameras capture them as they sidle into school and slip into class, surly and disruptive, as the teacher battles on. Later Courtney tries to explain. “When I wake up, I have to sit there for like 10 minutes to actually wake up.” She giggles. “Well, I just don’t wake up,” says Leah. “You have to jump on her to wake her,” says Courtney, with mock gravity. The surly girls turn out to be sweet and funny; they have complicated lives and feelings, and the viewer is hooked. Continue reading... Mr Burton in Educating Yorkshire.
- Nicola Sturgeon should 'calm down' over BBC Scotland plan, says Tory MP
Philip Davies says first minister should remember that Scottish people voted to remain in UK, after she calls for a dedicated BBC television channel Nicola Sturgeon needs to “calm down” following her demands that Scotland must get a dedicated BBC television channel, a Tory MP has said. The comment made by backbencher Philip Davies is reminiscent of a remark made by David Cameron in 2011. Continue reading... Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon told the Edinburgh International Television Festival that the BBC needs to undertake radical reform to take account of the realities of devolution in the UKScottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon told the Edinburgh International Television Festival that the BBC needs to undertake radical reform to take account of the realities of devolution in the UK
- Google boss warns against television repeating mistakes of press
Matt Brittin cites newspapers’ failure to grasp impact internet companies would have on business and says producers should take advantage of web’s growth Google’s European boss has warned that the TV industry risks repeating the mistakes of newspapers by trying to “protect the past from the future”. Matt Brittin told the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival that the “Edinburgh bubble” and debates over the BBC reminded him of how newspapers failed to grasp how companies like Google would affect their businesses. A former Olympic rower, Brittin had first-hand experience of the internet’s impact on newspapers as an executive at Trinity Mirror before joining Google in 2007. Continue reading... Google’s European chief Matt Brittin says there is a disproportionate interest from around the world in content from the UKGoogle’s European chief Matt Brittin says there is a disproportionate interest from around the world in content from the UK
- Channel 4 launches drama inspired by Operation Yewtree investigations
National Treasure, written by Bafta winner Jack Thorne, features ageing comic facing police investigation into accusation of rape in 1970s A new Channel 4 drama, National Treasure, will feature an ageing comic facing a Operation Yewtree-style investigation into an accusation of rape from the 1970s. Channel 4’s chief creative officer Jay Hunt said it was an “absolutely fascinating area” for the broadcaster to examine. Continue reading... Jack Thorne says his Channel 4 drama National Treasure is about society in the Yewtree times.
- The Great British Bake Off, Ripper Street and The Scandalous Lady W: TV review – video
In his review of the week’s TV, Andrew Collins – by accident rather than design – presents a showcase for the BBC: from current behemoth The Great British Bake Off, the resplendent Ripper Street and The Scandalous Lady W on BBC1, to non-judgemental finance doc Britain’s Spending Secrets on BBC2, via the sublimely terrifying one-off film from Storyville, Atomic: Living In Dread And Promise on BBC4. No adverts. • WARNING: CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for The Great British Bake Off, Ripper Street, The Scandalous Lady W and more: TV review - video140x84 trailpic for The Great British Bake Off, Ripper Street, The Scandalous Lady W and more: TV review - video
- Blind Date wedding couple: Cilla was our fairy godmother – video
Alex and Sue Tatham, the first Blind Date couple to meet and marry on the TV show, describe Cilla Black as their fairy godmother. The couple, who wed in 1991, three years after meeting on the programme, say Black was ever-present in their lives, and that she was thrilled the couple had stayed together Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for Blind Date wedding couple: Cilla Black was our fairy godmother - video
- BBC Breakfast presenter Bill Turnbull says c-word live on air – video
BBC presenter Bill Turnbull stumbles over his words and accidentally swears live on BBC Breakfast on Tuesday morning. In a segment discussing cancer treatments Turnbull mispronounces the word 'client'. The two presenters brush over the slip. The BBC later released a statement apologising for any offence caused Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for BBC Breakfast presenter says C-word live on air video
- X-files trailer: Mulder and Scully reunite with some old friends
There are some clues, if few surprises, in the trailer for next year’s six-part ‘event series’ on Fox, starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson In this teaser for the new six-part “event series” revival on Fox next year, there are a few more clues to get X-fans in the mood (although not really any surprises). The military is involved – with a shadowy-looking man in black in the background. There’s something being injected into someone’s arm: black oil perhaps? Someone’s treading on Mulder’s iconic “I WANT TO BELIEVE” poster. And Mulder and Scully have remembered the batteries for their torches. Continue reading... Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny as agents Scully and Mulder in the original X-Files.Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny as agents Scully and Mulder in the original X-Files.
- The Affair's season two trailer: it's not the first show to drag things out
The first series of Showtime’s drama was compelling, but then came a nonsensical cliffhanger. Can we trust that a second season will be worth committing to? A new trailer has surfaced for the second series of The Affair , the Golden Globe-winning infidelity drama told from the differing perspectives of its two lead characters. The trailer itself is exactly what you would expect it to be – it looks like we are in for another rip-roaring funride of anguished pauses, mournful hugging and people punching inanimate objects while trying their damnedest not to look as if they’ve just really hurt themselves – but that’s not the point. The point is that there didn’t really need to be a second series of The Affair. The final episode of the first series just aired in the UK. I know this because I distinctly remember spending that evening holding my head in my hands and wailing the word “Why?” over and over again. Because the series ended incredibly badly. Until that point, The Affair had been a decent little drama with a cute central conceit. But the final episode trashed all that, turning a programme that could have ended on a definitively elegant grace note into a cack-handed murder mystery that thudded in out of nowhere and clunked everyone across the head in the blind hope that we’d all be too concussed to realise how stupid it was. Continue reading... An affair to remember: Ruth Wilson as Alison Bailey and Dominic West as Noah Solloway in Series 1 of The Affair.An affair to remember: Ruth Wilson as Alison Bailey and Dominic West as Noah Solloway in Series 1 of The Affair.
- Fear the Walking Dead – Comic-Con trailer reveals first look at LA's zombies
The first full look at The Walking Dead prequel rewinds to a time when kids were still worrying about homework rather than walkers “What is man versus nature? Man may offer warmth, he may offer food – but nature always wins…” Continue reading... Kim Dickens, left, as Miranda and Cliff Curtis as Sean in a scene from Fear the Walking Dead season one.
- Walking Dead season six trailer: the gore just keeps on coming (as do the walkers)
A four-minute trailer is unveiled at Comic Con and reveals a show that still piles on violent deaths, as well as some new additions for Rick and co to deal with Spoiler alert: do not read unless you are completely up to date with season five (obviously) It’s only Friday afternoon and already the announcements are rolling out of Comic Con like a zombie’s guts after it’s been sliced open. AMC announced on Friday that The Walking Dead will return 11 October with an expanded 90-minute premiere. What’s even better is the network released a trailer for the upcoming sixth season. No, this was not one of those 30-second teasers that just shows all the characters’ faces and the title of the show, and doesn’t give you any hint of what is about to happen. This was four minutes hinting at major story arcs in the upcoming season. Continue reading... Red or (Walking) Dead
- Sherlock's Victorian-era Christmas special – watch the trailer
The trailer for Sherlock’s upcoming BBC special, set in Victorian London, was launched at Comic-Con in San Diego Steven Moffatt’s 21st century update of Sherlock Holmes has been one of the most talked-about BBC shows of recent years, pitting Benedict Cumberbatch’s meticulous detective against a host of contemporary foes – while keeping a little of the emotional repression of Conan Doyle’s creation. Now for an upcoming Christmas special, Moffatt is doubling back on himself, taking Holmes and Watson back to their original Victorian setting, but clearly with a sprinkling of post-modern wit. As you can see from this trailer launched at Comic-Con, there’s plenty of winking self-referentiality, both to Conan Doyle’s stories and the TV series itself. Continue reading... Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch in the forthcoming Sherlock special.Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch in the forthcoming Sherlock special.
- Fargo: a first look at Kirsten Dunst and Ted Danson in season two
Two Hollywood stalwarts will be appearing in the second series of the television adaptation of the big-screen hit With a few details emerging about the next series of Fargo , here’s a first look at two of the stars: Kirsten Dunst who plays beautician Peggy Blomquist, and Ted Danson as Sheriff Hank Larsson – who teams up with Patrick Wilson’s young Lou Solverson (Molly’s grizzly dad played by Keith Carradine in the first series). Set in 1979, this time the “true story” rewinds to fill in the gaps about the Sioux Falls incident that was mentioned several times in the first series. Breaking Bad’s Jesse Plemons , Jean Smart and Parks and Recreation star Nick Offerman are also in the cast, as is Evil Dead cult star Bruce Campbell , who plays Ronald Reagan. Continue reading... Kirsten Dunst as beautician Peggy Blomquist in Fargo.
- Trailer watch: a first look at Humans, episode five
In this clip from Sunday night’s next episode on Channel 4, Mattie seems to have changed her position on Synths Related: Humans recap: season one, episode four – blurred lines and revelations “Please reconsider this course of action, Mattie, it’s very unsafe…” Continue reading... Gemma Chan in Humans.Gemma Chan in Humans.
- The truth is in there: a first peek into the new X-Files
David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are due to return as iconic TV duo Mulder and Scully in a mini series next year. Here’s the first glimpse of them back in action Related: Bees, sinkholes, hipsters: new X-Files cases for Mulder and Scully “I believe that what we’re looking for is in the X Files … I’m more certain than ever that the truth is in there.” Continue reading... The way they were: David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in The X-Files.The way they were: David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in The X-Files.
- Wet Hot American Summer – First Day of Camp: first look trailer
Bradley Cooper, Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks return in a new prequel to the cult classic on Netflix, with guests including Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm and Jason Schwartzman Related: Wet Hot American Summer: a cult classic reborn on Netflix Continue reading... Wetter, hotter… Wet Hot American Summer - First Day of Camp on Netflix.
- 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 …
- 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
- True Detective, Aquarius and Very British Problems: TV review – video
In his review of the week’s TV, telly addict Andrew Collins salutes the season-two finale of True Detective on Sky Atlantic; finds intrigue in the historically inaccurate period procedural Aquarius, also on Sky Atlantic; questions the very concept of talking-head show Very British Problems on Channel 4; and finds Lynchean solace in what may be your first ever Norwegian sitcom, Dag, on Sky Arts Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for True Detective, Aquarius, Very British Problems and more: TV review - video140x84 trailpic for True Detective, Aquarius, Very British Problems and more: TV review - video
- Great British Bake Off, Tut, Chinese School and more: TV review – video
This week, telly addict Andrew Collins welcomes the return of The Great British Bake Off to BBC One for its sixth reassuring series; gives a nod to blatant, cut-price Walking Dead zombie-apocalypse copycat Z Nation on Pick; dismisses the bloated Egyptian epic Tut with Ben Kingsley; and finds merit on both sides of the BBC Two social experiment Are Our Kids Tough Enough? Chinese School. Also, a zen moment from Animal Super Parents, featuring actual meerkats Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for The Great British Bake Off , Z Nation, Tut and more:TV review-video140x84 trailpic for The Great British Bake Off , Z Nation, Tut and more:TV review-video
- Partners in Crime, Life in Squares, Ripper Street and more: TV review – video
This week, telly addict Andrew Collins gets dressed up for three BBC period dramas: Partners in Crime, the corporation's first Agatha Christie since buying the rights to the crime writer's catalogue, with talent-show judge David Walliams and actress Jessica Raine, on Sunday nights BBC One; Bloomsbury Group recreation Life in Squares, on BBC Two; and Victorian detective thriller Ripper Street, part-funded by Amazon Prime and showing on BBC One seven months after it first streamed. Also, Parks & Recreation lands on Dave for its fourth season, and the same channel gives us Taskmaster, a panel show that isn't a panel show, more of a likeable version of Big Brother Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for Partners In Crime, Life In Squares, Ripper Street and more: TV review - video
- Javone Prince Show, Undercover, Witnesses and more: TV review-video
In his review of the week's TV, telly addict Andrew Collins turns for a laugh to the brand new Javone Prince Show on BBC2, a sketch show built around racial profiling in Diversity Britain; returns to the comedy-drama Undercover on Dave to see if the drama outweighed the comedy; welcomes an overcast new French policier Witnesses on Channel 4; enjoys the attack on everyday sexism in Marvel spin-off Agent Carter on Fox; gets to the end of Norwegian wartime thriller The Saboteurs on More4; and finds Zen in BBC1's Animal Super Parents • WARNING: CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for Javone Prince Show, Undercover, Witnesses and more: TV review-video
- The Outcast, Rock'n'Roll America and Ireland's Wild River: TV review – video
Telly addict Andrew Collins reviews the week's TV. In light of attacks on the BBC, he sings the praises of literary adaptation The Outcast on BBC1; rock doc Rock'nRoll America on BBC4; nature jaunt Ireland's Wild River on BBC2; and returning mockumentary People Just Do Nothing on BBC3; plus pirate drama Black Sails on History and Inside the KKK, to see that the commercial sector is in good health without asset-stripping the BBC • WARNING: CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for The Outcast, Rock & Roll America, Ireland's Wild River and more:TV review-video
- Veep, Penny Dreadful, How To Get A Council House and more: TV review-video
Telly addict Andrew Collins reviews the week's TV. He uncovers the secret of a more relaxed current affairs show while watching Andrew Neil's This Week on BBC1; salutes the season-two finale of Showtime/Sky's top-schlock Penny Dreadful; applauds the acting in 7/7 drama A Song For Jenny on BBC1 but feels a little voyeuristic; feels conflicted by How to Get a Council House on Channel 4 (where else?); and binges Netflix-style on the full season of Veep on Sky Atlantic • WARNING: CONTAINS STRONG AND RACIST LANGUAGE Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for This Week, Penny Dreadful, How To Get A Council House and more: TV review-video
- Top Gear, The Good Wife, Odyssey and Not Safe For Work: TV review – video
Telly addict Andrew Collins reviews the week's TV. He waves a solemn goodbye to the Clarkson/Hammond/May model of Top Gear on BBC2; assesses the end of the sixth season of The Good Wife on More4; wonders how stupid the makers of Homeland-alike thriller Odyssey thinks we are as it is imported by BBC2; and goes back to his hometown Northampton (or not) in new office comedy Not Safe For Work. • WARNING: CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for Top Gear, The Good Wife, Odyssey and more:TV review-video
- 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
- 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
- Life in Squares: why the Bloomsbury group’s talents are wasted on the box
From Nicole Kidman’s Virginia Woolf to Emma Thompson’s Carrington, the Bloomsbury group have enjoyed a starry presence on screen, but as BBC2’s Life in Squares reminds us, their appeal has little do with paintings and books “The Bloomsbury set defied convention in their morals,” the Daily Mail enthused uncharacteristically ahead of Life in Squares , “and blazed a trail with their take on design.” Promising to show readers “how to get the literary look”, the article neatly encapsulated the group’s appeal. Why the Bloomsbury group crop up so often on screen has very little to do with their books or paintings: they are feted as lifestyle pioneers, with their modernity as polymorphous lovers and avant-garde designers charmingly offset by their plummy voices and period clothes. The literary or artistic stuff is once again just a bonus in BBC2’s Life in Squares , which sensibly sticks to the rules established by previous portrayals of them on screen: Related: Life in Squares review: ‘absurd, beautiful characters in a ridiculously golden world’ Continue reading... Lifestyle pioneers … Eve Best (left) as Vanessa Bell and Catherine McCormack as Virginia Woolf in Life in Squares. Photograph: BBC/Ecosse FilmsLifestyle pioneers … Eve Best (left) as Vanessa Bell and Catherine McCormack as Virginia Woolf in Life in Squares. Photograph: BBC/Ecosse Films
- Strictly Come Dancing is a masterclass in TV tease
The dancing contest is peerless in building anticipation for the main event, and this year’s lineup looks promising – even without Richard and Judy As anyone who has ever opened a rubbish Christmas present will tell you, sometimes the anticipation delivers bigger rewards than the main event. The guessing games, the gentle jiggling of the box, the peeling back of corners to take a tiny peek. By the time Christmas Day comes, expectations are off the scale and inevitable disappointment is just a layer of penguin wrapping paper away. Related: Jeremy Vine first celebrity to join Strictly Come Dancing line-up Continue reading... This year’s Strictly Come Dancing celebrity lineup includes Katie Derham, Jeremy Vine, Ainsley Harriott and Peter Andre.This year’s Strictly Come Dancing celebrity lineup includes Katie Derham, Jeremy Vine, Ainsley Harriott and Peter Andre.
- A cunning plan: if Blackadder returns, where and when should it be set?
Tony Robinson has suggested that Blackadder might go forth for a fifth series, but which historical era should Edmund and Baldrick visit next? From Roman England to present-day Washington, here are a few suggestions In 1989, Blackadder Goes Forth culminated with a chorus of shrill whistles and an ashen-faced platoon of soldiers going over the top . As finales for comedies go, it was memorable, deeply moving and will likely never be bettered. But that hasn’t stopped Tony Robinson from dropping some heavy hints that Rowan Atkinson’s other Mr B might return to our screens. While promoting his new show Time Crashers – where celebs tackle dirty work worthy of Baldrick – Robinson implied promising discussions had taken place among the key Blackadder talent. If Edmund’s family tree did sprout again, here are five settings where the fifth Blackadder might thrive. Related: Blackadder – your country needs you Continue reading... Tony Robinson and Rowan Atkinson in Blackadder the Third.Tony Robinson and Rowan Atkinson in Blackadder the Third.
- This Is England '90 – exclusive trailer for the Shane Meadows drama
Another two years have passed for our troubled youths, and they’ve reached the age of rave and Madchester – but conflict is clearly never far away We first met the This Is England characters when they were kids in 1983, as they stumbled through the minefields of race, sex and youth in the Midlands – and we have since caught up with them, almost 7 Up style, every few years since. Shane Meadows’s film begat TV spinoffs set in 1986 and 1988, charting how friends Woody, Lol, Shaun, Smell and the rest grew up and faced sometimes horrendous trauma. Now we’ve reached 1990; the era of acid house and Madchester has caught up with them, but they’re clearly not just getting off their faces in a field somewhere. Here’s the exclusive first glimpse of This Is England ’90. Continue reading... House nation... the gang from This Is England ‘90.House nation... the gang from This Is England ‘90.
- Best of Beats 1: how to take a bite out of Apple Music
Eclectic dance music from Julie Adenuga, hip-hop from veteran presenter Ebro Darden and 80s American punk from Josh Homme – a roundup of the best shows on Apple Music Whether it was Drake unleashing his Meek Mill diss track via his radio show OVO Sound, Taylor Swift penning open letters to the company on Tumblr, Dr Dre using his show as a launch pad for his new album (potentially) , or industry-heavy analysis on why the world’s biggest company wants to get its hands dirty in the streaming market, it’s likely you’ve seen and heard of Apple Music by now. A month since its launch, what hasn’t really been discussed is the music itself. What does Apple Music offer, and is their catalogue any good? Apple Music is essentially an amalgamation of Spotify and the old – now defunct – Beats Music service, with the ability to stream just about every song you can wish for, create playlists and have your tastes catered to by telling the service what you like, and what you don’t. Beats1, however, is where things start to get interesting. You don’t need a subscription to listen, and it’s built into every Apple device you have. Continue reading... Sound concepts in St Vincent’s Mixtape Delivery Service.Sound concepts in St Vincent’s Mixtape Delivery Service.
- The 10 best holiday podcasts
Have we missed a podcast perfect for holiday listening? Leave your suggestion in the comments below and it could feature in the alternative list next week Continue reading...
- What Hillary Clinton could learn from TV's women in power
Power, plots and controversial haircuts … Hillary Clinton may have set her sights on the White House, but the TV characters she inspired – in Veep, House of Cards and Madam Secretary – are way ahead of her If imitation really is flattery, then Hillary Rodham Clinton should be thrilled by the American TV schedules. As she sets out on her second bid to become the country’s first woman president, three fictional female politicians – all based to some extent on her – are running alongside. In the latest series of Veep (broadcast in the UK on Sky Atlantic), central character Selina Meyer is already president; and, with CBS having commissioned a second term of Madam Secretary (the first season is currently on Sky Living), the narrative logic seems to point to secretary of state Elizabeth McCord (Téa Leoni) launching a bid for the White House. Viewers of House of Cards (Netflix) must also suspect that Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) will not remain content with merely being First Lady and US ambassador to the UN. Continue reading... Julia Louis-Dryfus plays President Selina Meyer in Veep.Julia Louis-Dryfus plays President Selina Meyer in Veep.
- Great British Bake Off: new contestants poised to serve up sixth series
BBC1 programme crowned the biggest entertainment hit of 2014 is set to return to screens next week The most popular show on television, The Great British Bake Off, will return to BBC1 next week with a Lithuanian bodybuilder, a London firefighter and this year’s youngest contestant, a 19-year-old arts student from Scotland, among those vying for the coveted master baker prize. With its mixture of spectacular recipes, soggy bottomed disasters and relentless double entendres by presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, the primetime cookery show may sound an unlikely TV hit. Continue reading... Contestants (left to right) Alvin, Ugne, Paul, Dorret, Marie, Ian, Nadiya, Stu, Tamal, Flora, Mat and Sandy prepare for this year’s contest.Contestants (left to right) Alvin, Ugne, Paul, Dorret, Marie, Ian, Nadiya, Stu, Tamal, Flora, Mat and Sandy prepare for this year’s contest.
- How we made Morph
Peter Lord: ‘Our great fear was that he’d fall over. When I nipped to the loo, I had to prop him up with lots of mugs’ Continue reading... The indestructible Morph.The indestructible Morph.
- Parks and Recreation: another acclaimed US show without the UK audience it deserves
It took a long time to come here and its fourth season is going out on Dave. But Parks and Recreation’s struggles put it in good company with Seinfeld, Breaking Bad and others There’s good news for UK fans of the hardest-working local government department in Indiana, as the fourth season of Parks and Recreation is finally set to surface on Dave. The series took an age to reach British shores, with BBC4 picking up the first seasons at the same time as the penultimate season was airing in the US. But despite a top-drawer cast, with Amy Poehler , Nick Offerman , Aziz Ansari and Jurassic World star Chris Pratt playing some of the most enjoyable characters in modern sitcom history in a pitch-perfect caricature of small midwestern city life, the show hasn’t really managed to grab the British audience it deserves. Continue reading... Meet the Veep… Chris Pratt as Andy, Aubrey Plaza as April Ludgate, Vice President Joe Biden, Adam Scott as Ben Wyatt, Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope in Parks and Recreation.Meet the Veep… Chris Pratt as Andy, Aubrey Plaza as April Ludgate, Vice President Joe Biden, Adam Scott as Ben Wyatt, Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope in Parks and Recreation.
- Wentworth Prison: the show Orange Is The New Black could have been
There are no more shaky doors as the original female-jail drama Prisoner: Cell Block H returns with a fantastic prequel As TV premises go, a frenetic modern-day prequel to a vintage classic could be viewed as a little unseemly. Wentworth Prison – heavily inspired by Prisoner: Cell Block H and now in its third season – is on to a winner, though, grabbing at characters and plots from the cult series and smooshing them together in the setting of a Melbourne women’s jail. After some bold criminal flourishes at the end of the last series, including avenging the death of her daughter Debbie, Bea Smith faces life in prison. As a result she is not, as any number of cast members would say in tones similar to the defence cry of the North Pacific albatross, fucking about. “You don’t run this prison,” she growls at Joan “The Freak” Ferguson, “I do.” Continue reading... Bea Smith taking care of business in the first episode of Wentworth Prison. Photograph: Ben KingBea Smith taking care of business in the first episode of Wentworth Prison. Photograph: Ben King
- It's time to play the music: 10 Muppet minutes that sold the new show
As a taste of what’s to come this autumn, we can look forward to a behind-the-scenes mockumentary, familiar furry faces and slightly more adult humour Footage of the new Muppet show has been released by ABC. First shown at Comic-Con, the 10-minute presentation was shot by series creators Bill Prady, Bob Kushell and Randall Einhorn instead of a full pilot. Prady produced long-running sitcom The Big Bang Theory , Kushell has written for The Simpsons and Anger Management and director Einhorn worked on The Office and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia . Related: Still not easy being green? The Muppets return to TV for mockumentary series Continue reading... Fozzie and Kermit.Fozzie and Kermit.
- Why the BBC’s updated iPlayer Radio app will change your life
Whether it’s punk rock, reggae, true crime, comedy or chat, the ‘listen again’ function enables you to download a treasure trove of audio delights The update of the BBC iPlayer Radio app has arrived just in time to make a valuable contribution to the debate around the licence fee and also improve your summer holiday experience. For years now, radio producers have had lots of their best work go unheard thanks to the accident of scheduling. Entire lifetimes of good radio are missed because most of the audience is at work, in bed, or watching TV when it’s on. The “listen again” function of the iPlayer has already made it possible to retrieve programmes that have slipped by. The new version of the app, which is available now (for free, of course), makes it possible to download the majority of programmes to a smartphone or tablet, a great thing for all seasons but particularly at this time of the year when you can load up enough good listening to see you through the longest holiday journey or most interminable baggage-reclaim wait. The download facility doesn’t apply to all shows – music rights will never be straightforward – and you can only listen within 30 days of broadcast, but it’s a major step forward and helps bolster the corporation’s claims to be providing value for money. Continue reading... Screengrab of The Archers on the BBC iPlayer Radio app.
- True Detective: is it OK to admit that no one knows what's going on?
So, you’re finding this second series of the cult crime drama totally confusing? Relax, you’re not alone Spoiler alert: this blog details events in the fifth episode of the second season of True Detective , which airs on Sunday nights on HBO in the US, and Mondays in the UK on Sky Atlantic at 9pm & 2am. We’ve been watching it for weeks now, but True Detective’s plotline is no clearer than it was in the first 10 minutes of the show, leaving viewers nodding along to deep-sounding proclamations, thinking: “Am I … am I stupid now? Is everyone else understanding this endlessly confusing plotline? Will I have to pretend to my colleagues at work that everything made sense, when Colin Farrell just got shot by a raven?” Continue reading... ‘No, I don’t know what’s going on. Wait, when did you shave off your moustache?’‘No, I don’t know what’s going on. Wait, when did you shave off your moustache?’
- Agent Carter declassified: the key facts about Marvel’s 1940s spy caper
A subtle, stylish hero without powers – here’s all you need to know about Hayley Atwell’s retro espionage TV series Peggy Carter is coming home (sort of). This weekend, Agent Carter, the Hayley Atwell-starring Marvel TV spinoff about the resourceful English rose who stole Captain America’s heart, belatedly makes its UK debut after screening in the US six months ago. It’s set in 1946, a year after Captain America: The First Avenger , but even in peacetime, Peggy is under pressure. She’s adjusting to single life in New York after being reposted to the covert Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR) and still grieving the loss of Cap after he “died” heroically ditching a Hydra megabomber into the freezing North Atlantic. Can Peggy get things back on track? Here’s what you need to know about the show. Continue reading... Lyndsy Fonseca as Angie Martinelli and Hayley Atwell as Agent Peggy Carter.
- Casualty Sin City: the soft-boiled Frank Miller homage no one expected
Noir comes to Holby as the veteran hospital drama tries its hand at something a little out of the ordinary. But can such tricksy pastiches revive a flagging patient? Casualty will be 30 next year. How much longer the Saturday-night medical soap can soldier on must be a question asked regularly in top-level BBC pow-wows: so is its current yen for special, spoof and spin-off episodes a celebratory show of strength or a cry for help? This week’s edition is entitled Holby Sin City – written in an opening caption using a crimson font mimicking the Sin City graphic novels and 2005 film . The episode is entirely taken up with fussy registrar Ethan (George Rainsford) and his interaction with long-term patient and femme fatale Bonnie (Renee Castle), a 1940s-style sex bomb who might have committed murder. Rain lashes the hitherto rarely glimpsed neon mean streets of downtown Holby. It’s what the show’s producers have dubbed “Casualty Noir”. Continue reading... A fatal femme? Bonnie (Renee Castle) in Casualty’s Holby Sin City.A fatal femme? Bonnie (Renee Castle) in Casualty’s Holby Sin City.
- 7 Days in Hell – Kit Harington and Andy Samberg slug it out in Wimbledon spoof
Game of Thrones star Harington is locked in an epic seven-day tennis men’s singles final with Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Samberg in HBO’s tennis spoof, featuring Serena Williams and John McEnroe “The Williams-Poole match – it wasn’t even a match, it was something else …” – Serena Williams. Related: Decoding Kit Harington's Wimbledon locks: celebrity haircuts as spoiler alerts Continue reading... Love, all: Andy Samberg and Kit Harington in 7 Days of Hell.Love, all: Andy Samberg and Kit Harington in 7 Days of Hell.
- New on Netflix in July: Wet Hot American Summer, Chris Tucker Live and BoJack Horseman S2
The cult summer-camp film starring Janeane Garofolo, Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler returns as a TV series, there’s a second season of BoJack Horseman and films including A Most Wanted Man and The World’s End Wet Hot American Summer 31 July Continue reading... No can do … Janeane Garofalo in Wet Hot American Summer.No can do … Janeane Garofalo in Wet Hot American Summer.
- New on Amazon Prime in July: Extant S2, Arrow S2, '71 and Paddington
Halle Berry returns for a second season of her sci-fi drama, while new films include Belfast thriller ’71, Paddington starring Hugh Bonneville and big Oscar-winner The Imitation Game Extant season 2 – 2 July Continue reading... Halle Berry as Molly Woods and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as JD Richter in Extant.Halle Berry as Molly Woods and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as JD Richter in Extant.
- Dermot O’Leary: 'I'll never say anything bad about X Factor'
He’s done with presenting TV talent shows. So what’s next – could he be the next Paxman? O’Leary talks about James Joyce, politics and his hero Terry Wogan When Dermot O’Leary was asked to dance outside BBC Broadcasting House for 24 hours for Comic Relief, he thought he might make a hundred grand. In the end, he raised over £1m for the charity, as people across the nation kept pressing the red button, utterly intoxicated by the sight of him bouncing along, in a cheery sort of trance. “Someone asked me how I was feeling and I said, “Oh I’m really fucked” – I swore a few times, my producer had to come and have a word.” He says he had given his team a list of 500 songs that make him happy, to ensure the visiting celebrity DJs would play at least some of them. “They played three. In 24 hours. Everybody decided disco would keep me going instead – if I have to hear Boogie Wonderland again, I’m not joking …” When we meet, in a spare studio at the Radio 2 building, I am instantly struck by the fact that Dermot O’Leary is exactly the same in real life as he is on the telly, and how great it must be to have a job where you just put your whole cheery, chatty self out there. After talking to him for an hour, and realising how much more is going on, I’m left wondering how peculiar it must be to have a job where you hold so much of yourself back. Continue reading... Would love to go on Question Time … Dermot O’Leary. Photograph: Richard SakerWould love to go on Question Time … Dermot O’Leary. Photograph: Richard Saker
- Wimbledon 2day: what Clare Balding will have 2 do 2 save this balls-up
The revamp of BBC2’s new tennis highlights show has not gone down well with fans. But how could they make it less W1A and more love-all? BBC2’s new nightly Wimbledon recap show has a stupid name. A name so stupid that it should have been changed dozens of times during its commissioning process. A name so stupid that it makes you want to pinch yourself, just to check that your whole world hasn’t somehow been folded into W1A’s morbid reality . A name so stupid that you daren’t say it out loud, in case you end up inadvertently Candymanning yourself to death. Its name – and brace yourself for this – is Wimbledon 2day . That’s right. 2day. With a numerical two. Watch Wimbledon 2day for any length of time and you’ll soon understand that it has a numerical two, because Clare Balding keeps having to laboriously explain it to viewers every few seconds with an increasingly exasperated look on her face. Continue reading... “Number two, number two, number two” … Clare Balding faces the future.“Number two, number two, number two” … Clare Balding faces the future.
- 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
- 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?
- 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.
- Genesis P-Orridge: Caitlyn Jenner should 'stop being a spokesperson'
The former Throbbing Gristle member spoke to Against Me! lead singer Laura Jane Grace about Jenner’s position in the transgender movement Genesis P-Orridge has questioned whether Caitlyn Jenner can be called a spokesperson for the transgender community, saying she is “clueless” and “lives in her own bubble”. Related: Caitlyn Jenner accepts courage award: 'If you want to call me names, I can take it' Continue reading... Genesis P-Orridge questioned Caitlyn Jenner’s position as spokesperson for the trans movement.
- This Is England ’90: it’s bye-bye Thatcher, hello acid house
Over 10 years, Shane Meadows’s This Is England has followed the lives of disaffected 80s youth to become one of the most compelling TV series of the age. We talk to director and cast as the final instalment prepares to air The new series of Shane Meadows’s This Is England is set in 1990, so nostalgia is – once again – required. Also an eagle eye for detail from the costume department, and hair and makeup. In a disused parking lot in Sheffield, dotted with the squat white trailers of a film set, actors wander, dressed in historical uniform. Some are resplendent in one-cig-and-you’re-ablaze shellsuits. Others have stuck to skinhead roots: Fred Perrys and Harringtons. There are ravers: Reni hats, dungarees, retina-refreshing T-shirts. Most of the extras are dressed with pinpoint accuracy: over-bleached bowl-heads, trousers like they’ve found their dad’s flares all crumpled at the bottom of the washing basket. There are… bandannas. But it isn’t just the aesthetic recreation of 25 years ago that is bringing the flashbacks: the actors themselves are in memory mood. Almost a decade ago, Meadows cast the central group – a disparate crew that played characters Shaun, Woody, Lol, Gadget, Kelly, Harvey, Smell – in the original This Is England feature film. This was set in 1983, filmed in 2006, and for most of the actors it was their first ever professional acting job. Since then they’ve all worked on other projects but returned en masse for This Is England ’86 and ’88 – both award-winning, moving, funny, gritty television series – and, this year, This Is England ’90 , the four-part TV finale. After ’90 there will be no more This Is England , says Meadows. Though some cast members still hold out hope. Continue reading... L-r: Thomas Turgoose (Shaun), Vicky McClure (Lol) and Joe Gilgun (Woody) photographed on location. Photograph: Dean Rogers/Observer New ReviewL-r: Thomas Turgoose (Shaun), Vicky McClure (Lol) and Joe Gilgun (Woody) photographed on location. Photograph: Dean Rogers/Observer New Review
- Made In Chelsea – meet the cast, ranked in order of poshness
TV’s ultimate gilt-y pleasure Made In Chelsea returns for a ninth series this week, still full of aspirational fluff and love decagons. If you’re new to it, get to know the cast – with their SW3 credentials rated Awkward silences! Intense staring! And constant close-ups of drinks! Crack open the Beluga and get ready to “pardy”, because series nine of Made in Chelsea begins tonight. For the uninitiated, the “constructed reality” show and gilt-y pleasure focuses on a group of privileged twentysomethings who live in the exclusive Royal Borough. Tonight, MIC adds friends Emily Weller, Jess Woodley and Millie Wilkinson. Then there’s Fleur Irving, and Josh Paterson, better known as JP, as well as Irish model Nicola Hughes. But where will they place in the pecking order of poshness? Meet the rest of the cast, ranked from the most common to the most toffee of nose. Continue reading... The ‘stars’ of Made In Chelsea series nine.The ‘stars’ of Made In Chelsea series nine.
- Lady Chatterley's Lover: see the first trailer for Jed Mercurio's adaptation
Plenty of smouldering and soft-focus closeups of Richard Madden and Holliday Grainger in the first sighting of the BBC’s one-off period drama Though it’s not due to air until next month, Jed Mercurio’s adaptation of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, DH Lawrence’s infamous novel, is already causing a stir , with media organisations arguing among themselves over whether it contains too much sex and bad language – or too little. Handily, the BBC has now released the first trailer for the one-off drama , which gives us a few more clues as to where on the art/smut divide Mercurio’s work sits. Certainly there’s a decent helping of raunch here – Game Of Thrones star Richard Madden looking smouldering and Poldark-y as Oliver Mellors, soft-focus closeups of Constance Chatterley’s (Holliday Grainger) bedroom activities – but equally, there’s enough period melodrama here to suggest that it will hold its own should it go up against Downton in the Sunday-night prestige-drama slot. Continue reading... Holliday Grainger and Richard Madden in the BBC’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover.Holliday Grainger and Richard Madden in the BBC’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover.