- 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.
- Life in Squares review: ‘absurd, beautiful characters in a ridiculously golden world’
Art, literature, exquisite interiors and copious copulation – do try to keep up with Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury set If only their passions had been as muted as their palettes – how different life could have been for the Bloomsbury set. By the end of the opening episode of Life in Squares (BBC2), the three-part dramatisation of the Stephen-Bell-Strachey-Keynes-Sackville-Woolf lot’s attempts to fit their life into their art, their art into their life and their genitals into anyone who was passing through WC1, we had had two deaths, at least four affairs (depending whose terms you use) and a handful of criminal assignations, all set against the most exquisitely tasteful interiors you could hope for. I don’t know how they found time to handpaint half the lampshades they did. The drama took a certain effort of will to get into. You just have to accept that you are in a world where people convened salons , and probably did say things like “Childe Harold is a load of posturing nonsense! It can’t hold a candle to Don Juan, even if the alexandrines are forced to breaking point!” and let the pounding in your head pass. Continue reading... A world in which people convened salons … Life in Squares.A world in which people convened salons … Life in Squares.
- The enduring social shorthand of Harry Enfield characters
When the LSE published a report about rich, useless children being protected by cash and connections, newspapers illustrated the story with Tim Nice But Dim. Why, 25 years on, are Loadsamoney and Waynetta Slob still go-to references? The report from the London School of Economics called it “opportunity hoarding”: the way that well-off parents create a “ glass floor ” to protect their untalented offspring and, in the process, stop the poor from rising up. They were good phrases, but Britain already had a name for it. What the report really described, as the Mail put it , was “the triumph of Tim Nice But Dim”. There’s perhaps a slender chance that you won’t know who the Mail – along with the Express , the Sunday Times , the Telegraph and, naturally, the Guardian – were talking about. Tim Nice But Dim was a character originally created by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman, but brought to life by Harry Enfield in a series of sketch shows in the 1990s. Tim put a self-explanatory name and a confused face to something that everyone already knew existed: the thick posh boy (or girl) whose wealth and connections kept him happily ignorant of all the striving in the world. Continue reading... On the money … Harry Enfield as Tim Nice But Dim.On the money … Harry Enfield as Tim Nice But Dim.
- Lydia Leonard’s favourite TV: ‘I watched every episode of Neighbours in the 90s’
The Wolf Hall stage actor reminisces about Jeeves And Wooster and looks forward to starring as a 23rd-century ghostbuster with Bill Murray It used to be Neighbours . I think I watched every single episode for about six years in the early 90s. Is it even still on? Now it’s probably Black Mirror , which is funny, insightful and scathing. They make bold original choices with the content and the format, and always have fantastic actors in them. I wish they’d make more. I’m really enjoying House Of Cards , too. I’ve just started series three. The scripts are brilliant and those two lead characters are just total antiheroes. It makes it feel quite dangerous and you feel a bit complicit in it. Continue reading... Brimming excellent.Brimming excellent.
- Downton Abbey with pigs? Why an HBO version of All Creatures Great and Small isn’t completely daft
After the stateside success of British dramas such as Poldark, Doctor Who and Downton Abbey, the home of Game of Thrones and True Detective is rumoured to be planning a remake of the Sunday tea-time veterinary drama Name: All Creatures Great and Small. Age: 45. The first book was published in 1970. The TV series came eight years later. Continue reading...
- The outrageous fortune of Benedict Cumberbatch
Five years ago, Sherlock propelled him into the stratosphere. Now he’s photobombing the Oscars and selling out Hamlet a year in advance. Friends and co-stars reveal why the world is wild for Benedict Cumberbatch Twenty years ago, while he was still at school, Benedict Cumberbatch had his first chance to star in Hamlet. But, remembers Harrow drama teacher Martin Tyrell, he decided to concentrate on his A-levels instead. A couple of years earlier, the pupil had joined a Shakespeare workshop and had spent a couple of hours working on the play’s first scene. Tyrell remembers the 15-year-old being “so gripped by it. That was when he woke up to Shakespeare, I think, and the idea of becoming a professional actor.” Tyrell, having seen Cumberbatch’s obvious talent in several school productions, thought he would become “an extremely hard-working, conscientious and successful professional actor, but I had no idea he would be both an Oscar nominee and an actor playing Hamlet to a sell-out audience months before it opened”. Continue reading... Benedict Cumberbatch.Benedict Cumberbatch.
- 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.
- Experimental review – ‘so blokey and knowingly dumb it just might be the next Top Gear’
Tim watches ridiculous YouTube stunts then goads Buddy into recreating them – but strangely, they seem to be really good mates While Jeremy Clarkson and Top Gear hunker down in their respective corners to lick wounds and make plans, an uneasy tension has fallen across the country. Without a deliberately stupid male-orientated programme to keep them entertained on Sunday nights, there’s a chance that Britain’s blokes will soon be forced to make their own entertainment; blundering into the streets in their ugliest shirts to jostle lampposts and be disappointingly sexist to bins. This, obviously, would be a disaster. Full marks to Channel 4, then, for attempting to fill the Top Gear slot with Experimental , a show that couldn’t be any more male, or knowingly dumb, if it was presented by Danny Dyer and a Crayola scribble of a willy. Experimental’s premise is simple enough – man watches dangerous-looking YouTube video, man replicates dangerous-looking YouTube video, repeat – but it’s giddy, gloriously moronic stuff. Continue reading... Charming chemistry … Tim Shaw and Buddy Munro in Experimental. Photograph: Channel 4Charming chemistry … Tim Shaw and Buddy Munro in Experimental. Photograph: Channel 4
- Monday’s best TV
A corsets-free portrait of the Bloomsbury group in Life In Squares, a forbidding trek along The Pennine Way and joyous comedy in Parks And Recreation. Plus: hooligans face 24 Hours In Police Custody and the BBC opens The Secret Files This is the sort of handsome, avuncular series the Beeb does really well. Polar adventurer and diver Paul Rose presents a four-part documentary (showing daily) in which he takes on the Pennine Way, a forbidding trek that runs like a spine through the north of England. It was opened in 1965, following resistance from the landed gentry. As well as telling that story, he meets theatre director Barry Rutter, who recalls past literary residents along the route, including Ted Hughes. David Stubbs Continue reading... Lydia Leonard as Virginia Woolf and Phoebe Fox as Vanessa Bell in Life in Squares. Photograph: Robert Viglasky/Ecosse Films/BBCLydia Leonard as Virginia Woolf and Phoebe Fox as Vanessa Bell in Life in Squares. Photograph: Robert Viglasky/Ecosse Films/BBC
- 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.
- The new pirate radio crackdown: 400 stations closed in the past two years
Illegal radio setups are still being seized by the authorities, but you shouldn’t fear for their future The unique character of British popular music owes a lot to pirate radio. In the 1960s, the original pirates illicitly brought pop music to the shores of Britain, broadcasting from ships in international waters and forcing an anachronistic BBC to launch Radio 1 in response . From the 1980s, pirate radio saw the genesis of British underground culture, as transistors on top of towerblocks became the only places broadcasting reggae, rave, jungle, drum’n’bass, garage, grime and dubstep. But piracy has always been at odds with the law. Earlier this month, Ofcom revealed that in London alone they have seized 400 suspected pirate radio setups over the past two years. Ofcom’s head of Spectrum Enforcement, Clive Corrie, says that mostly they stop stations broadcasting because they “interfere with vital radio communications used by the emergency services and aircraft systems, and frequently cause damage to property”. This is a problem specific to the capital, since “of the 100 or so stations illegally broadcasting in the UK, around 70 of them are in London”. Continue reading... Radio Caroline disc jockeys at Walton police station in Essex after their ship ran aground, 1966.Radio Caroline disc jockeys at Walton police station in Essex after their ship ran aground, 1966.
- Humans recap: season one, episode seven – outstanding and unnerving
The penultimate instalment of the suburban sci-fi drama moves up another gear with Karen’s trail of destruction, but leaves plenty of loose ends “Children, I’ve got a surprise for you.” Come on then, who guessed Karen was the mother of all conscious synths? Now revealed as the synth embodiment of Leo’s mum, her persona has been played out so cunningly as she gradually seeped towards centre stage over the last couple of weeks. Continue reading... Laura (Katherine Parkinson)Laura (Katherine Parkinson)
- Partners in Crime recap: episode 1 – Sunday night escapism with Tommy and Tuppence
Jessica Raine and David Walliams (just about keeping a lid on his inner Frankie Howerd) star in BBC1’s Agatha Christie mystery – with furniture to die for SPOILER ALERT: This blog is for those watching series one of Partners in Crime . Don’t read on if you haven’t seen episode one. David Walliams and Jessica Raine star as Tommy and Tuppence Beresford in this stylish Agatha Christie mystery romp , which was once before adapted in the early 80s with Francesca Annis and James Warwick in the title roles. Continue reading... Jessica Raine as Tuppence and David Walliams as Tommy in The Secret Adversary (episode 1), Partners in Crime on BBC1.Jessica Raine as Tuppence and David Walliams as Tommy in The Secret Adversary (episode 1), Partners in Crime on BBC1.
- TV drama set to spark a tourist rush on the trail of the Bloomsbury Group
The country retreats of the bohemian elite who triggered a cultural revolution are braced for a busy summer as a lavish retelling of their story comes to BBC2 The decorated furniture, flamboyant fabrics and wall paintings of Charleston, the Sussex home once shared by artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant , are now so fragile, and the rooms so small, that tourists go round in groups of only 10. From next week, however, curator Darren Clarke will be squeezing in extra provision. A surge in interest is predicted with the broadcast on Monday of the new BBC2 drama Life in Squares , which will chronicle the tangled love affairs and bohemian tastes of their social circle. “People on our tours are often surprised the beds are not bigger,” said Clarke. “We may get more of those sort of questions. To cope, we are stepping up the tours, with more than one every 15 minutes.” Continue reading... The cast of Life in Squares, a new BBC2 drama.The cast of Life in Squares, a new BBC2 drama.
- Experimental: how to recreate a death-defying YouTube stunt
Shock jock Tim Shaw’s new Channel 4 show pushes the concept of the viral stunt to its natural conclusion, not to mention the limits of health and safety I’m staring at a terrifying-looking contraption in a park round the back of Channel 4. Presenter Tim Shaw has customised a swivelling car seat, attached to which are two industrial-strength leaf blowers. The thing is rooted to the ground by a metal frame; leather straps will hold down each limb of whichever human ends up in the seat. It looks like something from Saw. You may have seen a primitive version of this setup on YouTube, where clips involve one leaf blower and an office chair, and invariably end with someone flying off, and a woman screaming; Tim Shaw’s new show Experimental is an attempt to push viral clips like these to their natural conclusions. “If you spin anything fast enough it will destroy itself,” Tim cheerfully reports. Continue reading... The outer limits: Tim Shaw and Buddy Munro prepare for take-off in Experimental.The outer limits: Tim Shaw and Buddy Munro prepare for take-off in Experimental.
- The week in TV: Witnesses; The Ugly Face of Disability Hate Crime; Dispatches: Hunted: Gay and Afraid
The latest Euro noir thriller ticks all the right boxes, while BBC3’s brave programme about disablism showcased a great new talent in Adam Pearson Witnesses (Channel 4) | All 4 The Ugly Face of Disability Hate Crime (BBC3) | iPlayer Continue reading... Marie Dompnier as Sandra Winckler in Witnesses: ‘paced and styled to perfection’. Photograph: Newen DistributionMarie Dompnier as Sandra Winckler in Witnesses: ‘paced and styled to perfection’. Photograph: Newen Distribution
- The week in radio: Desert Island Discs; The Surgery With Gemma and Dr Radha
Three cheers for castaway Noel Gallagher. And Radio 1’s teen advice show turned to bad first dates Desert Island Discs (Radio 4) | iPlayer The Surgery With Gemma and Dr Radha (Radio 1) | iPlayer I wish there was a radio show that had Noel Gallagher on every week. Maybe he could be an agony uncle? The way he talks – tells his truth – is so astute and so funny, it cheers me up every time I hear him, whether he’s playing bubble-burster to Russell Brand’s ego or just speaking solo. Continue reading... Noel Gallagher with his wife Sara. Photograph: Dave M Benett/Getty ImagesNoel Gallagher with his wife Sara. Photograph: Dave M Benett/Getty Images
- 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.
- Wanted: A Very Personal Assistant review – have you got what it takes to be a catheter manager?
A clever BBC3 programme matches Britain’s unemployed youngsters with those requiring hands-on assistance. But would any be tempted into care work? Personal assistant needed for young easygoing boss, says the advert aimed at some of the three quarters of a million Brits under 24 looking for work. Must be sociable and outgoing, will be paid to attend parties and gigs, must be prepared to travel with all expenses paid, no qualifications needed, training provided. Sounds brilliant – the perfect job for any young person. But what the advert doesn’t say, and what candidates only find out at interview, is that they must also be prepared to assist in emptying the easygoing boss’s bowel. Or even that the easygoing boss is disabled, and the job is caring for them. That’s the idea of Wanted: A Very Personal Assistant (BBC3) – to get people who have never thought about care as employment to consider it. Continue reading... Funny and thought-provoking … Francesca and Josh in Wanted: A Very Personal Assistant. Photograph: BBC/RicochetFunny and thought-provoking … Francesca and Josh in Wanted: A Very Personal Assistant. Photograph: BBC/Ricochet
- I Am Cait: Caitlyn Jenner's new show is a profound transition – for reality TV
The show goes beyond the vapid self-interest of Keeping up with the Kardashians to genuinely discuss transgender acceptance and struggles No matter how you feel about the Kardashians or their place in the celebrity firmament, the strangest thing about them is that their flagship show, Keeping up with the Kardashians, is really boring. The program is the thing that catapulted Kim Kardashian from sex tape notoriety to global phenomenon and selfie-taking mega-brand, but it’s always dull and full of overly controlled situations that never really show the truth. Keeping up with the Kardashians is always trying to squeeze drama out of real life and usually fails miserably. And when there is actual drama (Kim, Khloe, and now Kourtney’s divorces) it’s usually elided. Related: Caitlyn Jenner: transgender people 'shouldn’t have to take' bullying Continue reading... ‘What a responsibility I have toward this community,’ Caitlyn Jenner says at the opening of I Am Cait. ‘I just hope I get it right.’
- The Guinness Golden Ale ad: ‘a mea culpa thinly disguised as a carpe diem’
No more capering Inuits or surfing horses, the traditional Irish brewery is going back to basics and targeting the hipster pound At what point might you get rid of your beard? If even the advent of artfully unshaven Premier League footballers wasn’t enough to indicate looming saturation point, here’s a development that might give you pause. Guinness wants a piece of the action. The company that has used everything from rampaging surf-horses to capering Inuits to punt its resolutely unchanging black gloop has gone to the opposite end of the spectrum. It’s got a new beer to sell but rather than devise some insanely tangential scenario involving twerking unicorns or something, the advertising could hardly be more self-consciously generic. It’s almost as if the last 20 years of gratuitously baroque brand-building has culminated in this: a tacit admission that smug, style-over-content gimmickry has led to complacency. Continue reading... Guinness Golden Ale.Guinness Golden Ale.
- Witnesses recap: episode one – things could get a little weird
The French drama is the latest show to take inspiration from Scandi noir, and this promising opening episode gave us plenty to get our teeth into France has reinterpreted an assortment of police drama genres from the US. Slow-burning takedowns such as Spiral bore the influence of The Wire . There were shades of The Shield in the morally murky Braquo . And Jean Reno’s Jo was surely a ludicrous, high-camp spoof in the mould of Police Academy. Now it appears French television isn’t immune from the chill winds blowing from Scandinavia, either. Witnesses is clearly influenced by Nordic noir – from its determined, complex female lead to the blue-grey colour palette – but, as with the shows mentioned in the glib comparisons above, it’s entirely its own animal. It’s also rather promising. It bodes well for Channel 4’s imminent on-demand service, 4World Drama, and rather less well for the tourist board of Le Tréport (new suggested slogan: “where the sun never shines”), which looks thoroughly dreary and unwelcoming throughout. Continue reading... Marie Dompnier as Sandra Winckler in Channel 4’s Witnesses.Marie Dompnier as Sandra Winckler in Channel 4’s Witnesses.
- Kit Harington spoiler alert: he's still got long hair – and now he's in Belfast
That’s right, the Game of Thrones star has been seen in the city where the show is filmed with the same hair as his character, Jon Snow. Prompting uncontrollable speculation that he might be back for the next season … Spoiler alert: this blog contains details about the end of season five of Game of Thrones If your hobbies include ghoulishly following people around and obsessing about their hair to a genuinely creepy degree, then congratulations! Kit Harington – the man who played Jon Snow in Game of Thrones until his character died at the end of the last series , and then recently attended Wimbledon with a vaguely Jon Snowish haircut – has now travelled to Belfast, and his hair still hasn’t changed very much. This must be huge for you. This is basically your Christmas. Continue reading... Hair today … you know nothing. Kit Harington in Game of Thrones.Hair today … you know nothing. Kit Harington in Game of Thrones.
- Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! Watch it with us - as it happened
Quip along with us as we take a look at the third - third! - in the series of SyFy’s camp disaster movie, stuffed with cameos from 90s stars. And sharks 11.09pm ET Thanks everyone for tuning in. We got to see a strangely conservative movie full of tea partiers, NASCAR, Real Housewives, and more product placement than you can throw a bag of 3D Doritos at. There was a space shuttle launch, a laser chainsaw, and Frankie Muniz getting all of his limbs eaten off by a a shark.All in all, that is a fine night of entertainment. We’ll see you again next year when we see just how #AprilDies. 11.06pm ET Damn, how sad that Tara Reid’s fate is left up to humanity and we get to decide if she lives or dies on Twitter. Isn’t there a Ray Bradbury story about something like this? I hope she doesn’t die because her post-baby body was on fleek. Continue reading... Ian Ziering as Fin Shepard in Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!Ian Ziering as Fin Shepard in Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!
- 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.
- White People: MTV misses opportunity to have uncomfortable talk about race
The documentary aimed to find out what young, white Americans think about race – but did not confront them with the hard truths they needed to hear When I see news of a black boy being shot dead by police on a playground because he was holding a plastic gun ; or a black woman being pushed to the ground with a knee at her neck, then ending up dead while in police custody , I’m not wondering whether a white girl in Arizona feels discriminated against because she thinks all the college scholarship money goes to brown people – which, by the way, is statistically untrue. What I wonder is how a nation of complicit white Americans can live with themselves in the current climate of terrorism against black people in a structurally racist system. So while I appreciate and applaud the ambition of Jose Antonio Vargas’ new MTV documentary White People , I expected answers to that exact question. Because even in the current browning of America, white is the default identity – an identity essentially cultivated at the expense of black people’s human dignity. Continue reading... Antonio Vargas, right, listens to a group of young people during the filming of his documentary White People.Antonio Vargas, right, listens to a group of young people during the filming of his documentary White People.
- Me & My New Brain review – revealing the ‘invisible’ disabilities that follow traumatic brain injuries
This impressive and subtle BBC3 documentary followed four young people recovering from TBIs, and highlighted some of the less obvious after effects As I have listened to the occasional pop-science podcast about the science of the brain, and once read Oliver Sacks’s book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, I consider myself to be an expert in neurology, and so I approached the BBC3 documentary Me and My New Brain expecting to know it all. What a treat it was to be surprised. This one-off film launched the channel’s Defying the Label season , which aims to “explore what it’s like to live with a disability in the UK today”, and it did so with a kind of delicate ease that slipped new truths in unnoticed. Related: Defying the Label: From sweetness to filthy humour, BBC3 unpacks disability Continue reading... Tai Lester, Charlie Elmore and Callum Beaton in Me & My New Brain on BBC3. Photograph: BBC/Graeme McAulayTai Lester, Charlie Elmore and Callum Beaton in Me & My New Brain on BBC3. Photograph: BBC/Graeme McAulay
- Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners review: ‘a vivid picture of the spread of slavery profits’
David Olusoga was a thoughtful, thorough, unswerving guide to how slavery was abolished, but the underlying ideas and attitudes endure David Olusoga’s two-part documentary Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners (BBC2) concluded last night by following the money. The money in question was that paid to the slave owners to compensate them for the loss of their human property when slavery was finally officially abolished in 1834. A 10-man committee divvied up nearly £17bn in today’s money among 46,000 claimants stretching across the entire British empire, from £800 or so to a country vicar for his single servant to £80m for John Gladstone’s (father of prime minister William) loss of thousands of unpaid workers on his plantations in Guyana. Not a penny, of course, was paid to the slaves themselves. The compensation money was drawn largely from consumption taxes, as income tax didn’t exist at the time, which effectively meant the poor paid for it. The disproportionate extra whack they paid for basic goods set those who had already grown fat on the profits of slave labour nicely ever after. They were able to diversify, investing in industry, insurance and institutions whose income streams would balance each others’ fluctuations out and keep flowing nicely down the generations. This useful injection of taxpayer cash enabled its recipients to avoid any hardship once their indefensibly exploitative bubble burst and freed them to concentrate on other things, like building country piles, grooming their sons for government and ensuring that no more than seven families actually matter in Britain at any one time. It’s a good thing history never repeats itself. Continue reading... David Olusoga on the Barbados sugar plantations in Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners. Photograph: Ben Crichton/BBCDavid Olusoga on the Barbados sugar plantations in Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners. Photograph: Ben Crichton/BBC
- Desi Rascals series two: bring on the sharp-tongued mums
It’s already the most believable reality show, but the Asian-based programme could only get better with more caustic mothers, more fights and a hijab or two The first series of the scripted reality show Desi Rascals debuted on Sky Living in January, and quickly turned into one of the most underrated TV moments of the year, thanks to its cliche-free portrayal of British Asians, relatable, multi-generational west-London cast and addictive storylines. It was created by Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha , who explained the concept to the Guardian . “What’s amazing about Desi Rascals is that once you get over the all-Asian cast, what it seems to be mainly about is what everyone else is concerned about. Young people. Getting off with each other. Being embarrassed by your parents. Being hurt by romance. You’ll watch it because it is entertaining, because it is moving, not because it is Asian.” Here are five things we hope to see in the new series … Continue reading... Kavita, Jasmin & Rita in Desi Rascals.Kavita, Jasmin & Rita in Desi Rascals.
- 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
- 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?’
- Celebrity MasterChef 2015: Rylan, Scott, Kimberley or Sam – who should win?
From Rylan, the weaponised Bee Gee, to Kimberley, who tackles every task as if it were an attempt on Everest, every contestant in this series deserves to win. But who will it be? What an unexpected treat this year’s Celebrity MasterChef has been. Not so long ago, the celebrity version was shunted off to daytime to save everyone the agony of watching Danny Goffey and Tim Lovejoy attempt to travel back to the 1990s by building a time machine out of discarded potato scraps. Or whatever it was that happened on it. It was on during the day, and I’m a busy man. However, this year Celebrity MasterChef has managed to haul its shattered body back to a position of relative invulnerability. And this isn’t because of a brave new format overhaul, because the show is still just people cooking things in a studio, and then cooking things in a restaurant, and then cooking things in a field, and then cooking things in a studio again. Nor is it because the level of ability on show is a marked improvement on what came before, because last week’s cooking in a field segment quickly turned into a tragic disaster zone of busted deadlines and inedible sludge. If any of this year’s contestants decide to open a restaurant, it’s safe to say that the restaurant should immediately be roped off and torched. Continue reading... Scott Maslen, Kimberley Wyatt, Sam Nixon and Rylan Clark - all deserving winners?Scott Maslen, Kimberley Wyatt, Sam Nixon and Rylan Clark - all deserving winners?
- Lookalikes review – Posh meets George, Ricky and Barack as TV eats itself
This is lookalikes plus – not just another observational documentary about an agency, but scripted reality. These people are really trying to pass themselves off as real celebrities ‘I just don’t see a way how you can come back into it,” Andy tells Croz, effectively sacking him. “I don’t know what to suggest – I dunno, change your look, do something else.” Croz is one of these Lookalikes (Channel 4), and the reason Andy doesn’t see how he can continue is the person Croz looks alike and plays is … Rolf Harris. Ah yes, I can see that could be a problem, there’d probably be less demand for Croz these days. Yeah, Rolf, you didn’t just mess up the lives of your victims, and ruin your own career, you also ruined the careers of the people (if there were more than just Croz) who impersonated you for a living. Continue reading... Lookalikes David and Victoria Beckham. Photograph: Production StillsLookalikes David and Victoria Beckham. Photograph: Production Stills
- Comedy Feeds: People Time – the sketch show rises from the dead
Seven writer-performers brought together to make a comedy supergroup have made the best ensemble show since Absolutely. Will BBC3’s iPlayer exclusive find the audience it deserves? When a link to a “new BBC3 comedy pilot” pops up on social media, you may not be the type of person to click, assuming as you might that it will lead to insufferably youthful types, talking about a popular culture you no longer understand. (Or that could just be me.) But I did click on a BBC3 link last week that punctured my post-lunch fug like a crossbow bolt through porridge. People Time is just over 20 minutes long and features seven writer-performers from various different comedy acts, brought together super-group style (like Monty Python) to make a new sketch show. And it’s brilliant. Continue reading... Comedy Feeds: People Time - Sexy American Girls Natasia Demetriou and Ellie White.Comedy Feeds: People Time - Sexy American Girls Natasia Demetriou and Ellie White.
- The Wire cast reunites to give voice to stories of Baltimore's riots
Organizer Sonja Sohn says stage reading of monologues written by city residents aims ‘to give a platform to these folks who felt they were not being heard’ Sixteen cast members of The Wire returned to Baltimore on Saturday to read stories of the city’s recent riots. Related: David Simon calls Baltimore police 'an army of occupation' Continue reading... Sonja Sohn – Detective Kima Greggs in The Wire – was one of the main organizers of the event in Baltimore that reunited members of the HBO show’s cast.
- The Three Day Nanny review – Kathryn Mewes is a busybody in a silk scarf, but I’d probably still hire her
Kathryn Mewes has been called in to sort the Morrisens out with her miracle 72-hour fix and her guarantees – beef, chicken or the naughty step? I’ve been single-parenting. Not permanently, just a few days; she is coming back, I think. There have been occasions when I would have called Kathryn Mewes, The Three Day Nanny (Channel 4), if I’d had her number to hand. Like the time we went to the park, the park on the hill, the hill that three-and-a-bit-year-old – suddenly deaf, apparently – scooted down at speed, into the distance, towards the park gate, lorries, paedophiles. Meanwhile, one-and-a-bit-year-old lay in a howling heap on the ground. It’s hard to know what it was about; he only really says “duck”. I somehow managed to round them up and hang on to them – this time – and we just about made it home, although not without more tantrums and lots more tears, mostly mine. There has been no actual physical abuse – by them on me, I mean. Which is what Laura Morrisen here gets from her three-and-a-bit-year-old, Frankie. He doesn’t just shout and tantrum; he hits and kicks and spits as well. Charming. And he can already say duck with an eff. From Frankie’s one-and-a-bit-year-old sister Willow, Laura’s fiance Luke gets … nothing. He’s never even had a cuddle from his own daughter. So, on top of the violence, the verbal abuse and the emotional abuse, here is a family torn in two along the gender line. Continue reading... Kathryn Mewes … The Three Day Nanny. Photograph: Hal ShinnieKathryn Mewes … The Three Day Nanny. Photograph: Hal Shinnie
- Who needs another Australian Bachelor when we can watch UnREAL?
As Channel Ten offers up another chiselled torso to the TV gods, you could be watching a fictional drama about the reality behind a fake dating show It’s third time unlucky for Australia this evening. Once again Channel Ten will dump some candles, a gaudy mansion, a chiselled torso, troughs of champagne and repeated use of the word “journey” into the televisual meat grinder and crank the handle to produce the sodden, bitter reality sausage known as The Bachelor . Related: The Bachelor finale: there are no winners in competitive dating Continue reading... UnREAL, a relentless beat-up of the reality TV industry.
- Wednesday’s best TV
Alan Gardner masterminds the tropical transformation of an old-fashioned garden; The Interceptor bows out; and post-privatisation reality is revealed at the Post Office. Plus, on the 70th anniversary of Hiroshima, ITV charts the countdown to the dropping of the bomb This wholly charming gardening series concludes in the north-east of London, where a young couple, both called Alex, are unhappy with their old-fashioned garden. Radical steps are called for, especially as the neighbours’ plots are so plush. Working in a space that’s 60ft by 20ft and with a budget of £5,000, Alan Gardner and his team come up with a transformation scheme that’s modern and tropical in flavour. It’s appropriate, then, that monsoon-like downpours impede progress. Jonathan Wright Continue reading... Alan Gardener in The Autistic Gardener Photograph: Todd AnthonyAlan Gardener in The Autistic Gardener Photograph: Todd Anthony
- 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
- Wet Hot American Summer: the obscure cult favourite is about to get a TV reboot
It was a flop when it first came out but now this surreal comedy has been turned into a Netflix series. Could the A-list cast members like Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler have anything to do with it? It started in 2005 with a double-sided DVD, found by a friend in the bargain bin of a local discount shop. On one side was The Independent, a Jerry Stiller comedy about a B-movie director (“excruciatingly unamusing” – The Miami Herald). The other side didn’t look terribly promising, either: the film’s title, Wet Hot American Summer, sounded like top-shelf smut. On its sleeve was what looked like a crudely drawn knock-off of a National Lampoon poster. It seemed at best like it would be a bawdy, brainless comedy in the manner of the 80s cult favourite Porky’s, and at worse its sequel, Porky’s Revenge. Related: Wet Hot American Summer is back – but did it typecast its comedy all-stars? Continue reading... Happy campers: Amy Poehler and Bradley Cooper in Wet Hot American Summer.Happy campers: Amy Poehler and Bradley Cooper in Wet Hot American Summer.
- 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.
- Tuesday’s best TV
The five remaining child geniuses try to out-precocious each other; Whistlestop discipline at the hands of the Three-Day Nanny; Not Safe For Work arrives at the ministry. Plus: Dave (the channel) proves a tough Taskmaster The final, in which the five pocket encyclopedias left are allowed to choose a specialist subject, Mastermind-style. Thomas, who has blitzed every test and holds the integrity of the series in his hands – because, so far, he looks at ease with his impossible gifts – goes for ancient cryptography (“Which ninth-century Muslim scientist, known as ...” “AL-KINDI!”) and dares the others to challenge. Leading the underdogs: Sasha and Giovanni, whose tough dad hits an emotional wall before his son does. Jack Seale Continue reading... Child Genius: The Final ... Thomas gets ready to shine.Child Genius: The Final ... Thomas gets ready to shine.
- Taskmaster: ‘Nato should be informed of its molten-hot banter’
What the world needs is another comedy panel show, right? But wait... Dave’s Taskmaster has added convoluted parlour games to the mix! I don’t know what makes a person turn to a career in comedy – perhaps those promising Hollyoaks auditions came to nothing, or they have a natural proficiency for lax personal hygiene – but I know that the ultimate aim is to appear on a panel show. In turn, the panel show exists to support these same lost souls, like a Royal Hospital Chelsea for people who disappoint their mums. New Dave project Taskmaster started out at the Edinburgh festival fringe. Created by Alex Horne, it featured various comedians having to perform spurious tasks. Somehow, thanks to the lurid gymnastics of production company presenter allocation, Horne has been reduced to an administrative role on TV, holding stopwatches and noting scores onto clipboards for the Demon Head Taskmaster Greg Davies. Davies and Horne are joined each week by five comedians – Roisin Conaty, Tim Key, Romesh Ranganathan, Frank Skinner and Josh Widdicombe – to carry out various challenges and give the panel show that edgy parlour-game twist it’s been waiting for (FYI: in 2015, New World Order drones control your life and several of us could be licked down by Isis at any moment. Also, smashing a melon in a hazchem suit and seeing how much of it you can scoop from the floor to your mouth is now a parlour game). Continue reading... Twisting their melons: fruit-based fun in Dave show Taskmaster.Twisting their melons: fruit-based fun in Dave show Taskmaster.
- Catch-up TV guide: from the bloodshed of Banshee to The Outcast's sober drama
Season three of the crime show continues, while Sadie Jones adapts her melancholy 50s-set novel for the radio While it may pride itself on its operatic levels of bloodshed (a throat being ripped out by a car hood ornament, anyone?), this pulpy action drama (pictured, right) about a lawless Pennsylvanian town is made up of more than violence alone, confronting the notion of moral codes and how firmly we should enforce them. Season three continues Thursdays, Sky Atlantic, while the series in full is available on Sky On Demand and Now TV. Continue reading... Banshee.Banshee.
- Kingpin box set review: ‘a darkly entertaining take on life in a Mexican drugs cartel’
At the centre of this gripping gangster story is the relationship between the icy Miguel and his hot-headed brother Chato – a modern-day Michael and Sonny from The Godfather Miguel Cadena has problems. His Uncle Jorge is on the run and his cousin Ernesto is managing the family drugs cartel like a less-in-control Scarface . At least his clever, manipulative wife, Marlene, and brutal brother, Chato, are loyal. Or are they? Unfortunately, they have dangerous secrets of their own. Kingpin , a darkly entertaining take on life in a Mexican drugs cartel, ran for six all-too-short episodes in 2003. Intended as a network riposte to the likes of The Sopranos , it was meant to grow into a larger series, but low ratings led to cold feet. Essentially a repackaging of The Godfather for modern times, at the centre of the story is the icy-calm Miguel, who is determined to apply the lessons he learned in business school to the shady world of the cartel , buying a form of legitimacy for his family in the process. Continue reading... Applying business school principles to the drugs cartel … Yancey Arias as Miguel Cadena in KingpinApplying business school principles to the drugs cartel … Yancey Arias as Miguel Cadena in Kingpin
- Cracking jokes and the Candy Dance: have you been watching The Javone Prince Show?
This new comedy sketch show offers parodies, cringe-inducing moments about matters of race in middle England – and the opportunity to dance to Cameo Amid the dearth of minority-led entertainment in the UK, this new sketch show on BBC2 starring Javone Prince (AKA Jerwayne from cult E4 comedy Phoneshop, and also an alumnus of Little Miss Jocelyn, the black-led sketch show which ended in 2008) is an exciting proposition. With energy and just the right amount of chutzpah, he enthrals a crowd at London’s Rivoli Ballroom with anecdotes and guests, segueing into slick, pre-filmed sketches. It’s a platform not only for Prince, but for the show’s other regular black cast members, Samson Kayo , Jason Barnett, Akemnji Ndifornyen and Ann Akin. As well as a diverse cast, black voices were a crucial part of the writers’ room: the show’s creator, Phil Bowker (who also masterminded Phoneshop ) enlisted Prince, Kayo, Ndifornyen and a black trainee writer from the BBC, Brian Birigwa, to work alongside himself and Jon Macqueen, another writer who, like Bowker, is white. Continue reading... The Javone Prince Show.The Javone Prince Show.
- True Detective: season two, episode six recap – Church in Ruins
This straightforward episode, bookended by two great set pieces, is the easiest to digest so far. But there are still an awful lot of loose ends to tie up … Spoiler alert: this blog details events in the sixth 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 five recap, click here . Continue reading... A terrible mumbler … Colin Farrell as Ray Velcoro.A terrible mumbler … Colin Farrell as Ray Velcoro.
- Hannibal Recap: Season three, episode 8 – The Great Red Dragon
The show takes a left turn and instead of focusing on Will and Hannibal facing off against each other, they have to reunite to catch a new killer 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 I’m such a dummy, I thought that Hannibal was only turning himself in so that he could break out again, but little did I know that would be it. That small scene at the end of the last episode was the conclusion of Hannibal’s reign of terror against Will, Alana, Jack, Bedelia, the Vergers, and the Chesapeake Bay that he has pursued since the series started. He has no intention of breaking out, at least not yet, and I’m not entirely sure what he has to gain from living the rest of his life in an institution, but I guess we have no choice but to go along with it. However, Hannibal is also free (in a way). In his mind he’s not residing in a cell in the Baltimore city mental hospital; he is living in his mind palace. The scene where he sits in the chapel in Italy – where Will tracked him down earlier this season – and listens to a choirboy sing Hallelujah while he is being arrested is quite brilliant. We see flashes of his freedom throughout the episode, as when Fredrick, who is working on a new book about the Tooth Fairy, stokes his “competitive vanity”, and again when he’s cutting out articles about the Tooth Fairy and using it to once again lure Will back into his trap. When the camera trains on Hannibal, we see him in some lush setting, like the salons and sitting rooms that he’s used to. But when the camera focuses on someone else, we see the stark contrast of his reality. We see this dichotomy once again when Will takes the bait and asks for Hannibal’s help to find this new killer. Continue reading... Hannibal, season three episode eight: The Great Red Dragon.
- 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!
- Ghost Bear Family: Natural World review – ‘disappointingly, they aren’t actual ghosts’
Jeff the bear-like filmmaker is sane, respectful and sensible – sadly he’s no Grizzly Man at all, which makes his nature film a little bit dull Usually it’s obvious what to review; there’s something new or interesting or maybe a big show coming to an end. But on Thursday, not so much. The third and final part of Channel 4’s Married At First Sight wasn’t available (I see things in advance, in order to meet old-school print deadlines). My guess is that it might even have worked out for Jason and Kate, who clearly couldn’t wait to get their paws on each other at the end of the last show, but Emma and James less so, and I’m not hopeful for them. Also unavailable: Channel 4’s intriguing Dogs on the Dole. I just hope George Osborne was watching so he can target the scrounge hounds first, before children and the elderly. And I’ve had it with BBC2’s Coast – they’ve been around so many times now, I know every headland and cove, I’m starting to recognise individual rocks. I’m dizzy, seasick, longing for a bit of Inland. Continue reading... A white black bear with her two cubs in Ghost Bear Family: Natural World. Photograph: River Road Films/BBCA white black bear with her two cubs in Ghost Bear Family: Natural World. Photograph: River Road Films/BBC
- Desert Island Discs with Noel Gallagher review – easy listening, with added rock’n’roll
The ‘creative engine’ of Oasis makes a classic castaway, with singalong song choices and an unpretentious view of life Noel Gallagher is the sort of rent-a-gob who was born to roll out a soundbite between songs. He’s also unafraid to use the word “knob” on Radio 4. Put him together with Kirsty Young on Desert Island Discs and a platter of obvious but crowd-pleasing tracks and he makes a classic castaway. Gallagher, or to give him his full Young-approved title, “the creative engine of the massively successful era-defining band Oasis” is a natural storyteller. From his first glimpse of a punk to his thoughts on dole culture, he opines and delivers. Continue reading... Crowd pleaser … Noel Gallagher. Photograph: Shirlaine Forrest/WireImageCrowd pleaser … Noel Gallagher. Photograph: Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage
- Sky profits rise as it passes 12 million UK and Ireland customers
Satellite broadcaster’s annual revenues hit nearly £11.3bn in the first full year since it completed the takeover of Sky businesses in Germany and Italy Sky has passed the 12 million customer mark in the UK and Ireland for the first time as it reported annual revenues of nearly £11.3bn. The satellite broadcaster said like-for-like pre-tax profit rose 6% to £1.196bn in the year to the end of June this year, slightly ahead of analysts’ forecasts. Continue reading... Fortitude: the Sky original drama has been sold to more than 100 countries. Sky/Tiger AspectFortitude: the Sky original drama has been sold to more than 100 countries. Sky/Tiger Aspect
- Diane Keaton and Jude Law to star in The Young Pope
Oscar-winning star takes first-ever series regular television role in joint HBO, Sky and Canal+ production Oscar-winning actor Diane Keaton is to star alongside Jude Law in the eight-part Paolo Sorrentino-directed series The Young Pope, it has been announced. The Annie Hall star will play Sister Mary, an American nun living in Vatican City, while Law is in the lead role as Pius XIII, formerly known as Lenny Belardo – a fictional American pontiff. Continue reading... Diane Keaton is to star opposite Jude Law in HBO and Sky series The Young Pope.Diane Keaton is to star opposite Jude Law in HBO and Sky series The Young Pope.
- Helen Mirren fails to mind her language on Good Morning Britain – video
Dame Helen Mirren tells viewers on Tuesday how it 'pissed with rain' when she went camping. Presenter Ben Shephard apologises to the viewers for the actor's language while co-host Kate Garraway jokes that despite playing the Queen, Mirren is still not allowed to swear on breakfast television Listen to the interview in full Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for Helen Mirren tells Good Morning Britain it 'pissed with rain'- video
- BBC Wales rides to the rescue for Media Parents back-to-work scheme
Organisation that helps get new parents back into employment in the television industry hit by government-imposed cuts to corporation We’re all in this together. Except mothers who work in the media, apparently. When Media Parents, an organisation which boasts a “100% success rate” in getting new mothers back into work in TV, asked BBC Television to renew its (already discounted) contribution to the scheme, the answer was simply that there was no money left given the current budget squeeze. Continue reading... The BBC had been funding the Media Parents back-to-work scheme since its inception three years ago.
- ITV profits up 25% despite continuing decline in ratings
X Factor and Downton Abbey broadcaster’s pre-tax profits increase to £391m as viewing figures fall by 4% in first half of 2015 ITV reported a 25% increase in pre-tax profits, despite a 4% drop in viewing in the first half of this year, saying it remained on track for a strong performance in 2015. The broadcaster, home to X Factor and Downton Abbey, said pre-tax profits rose 25% to £391m in the first half of 2015, adjusted for amortisation and acquisition costs. On a statutory basis the figure was £327m, up 31%. Continue reading... ITV, broadcaster of shows such as The X Factor, has reported a rise in profits and ad revenues, despite viewing figures declining across its portfolio of channels.
- Prisoner TV star Maggie Kirkpatrick charged with historical child sex charges
The 74-year-old Australian actor will face a Melbourne court next month charged with the indecent assault of a 13-year-girl in the 1980s Australian actress Maggie Kirkpatrick, who played the Freak in the original series of Prisoner (known as Prisoner: Cell Block H in the UK and US), has been charged with historical child sex charges. The 74-year-old will face a Melbourne court next month charged with the indecent assault of a 13-year-girl in the 1980s. Continue reading... Australian actor Maggie Kirkpatrick, who played the Freak in the original Prisoner series, says she will fight historic child sex charges.
- UK advertising spend hits record £4.7bn in first quarter of 2015
TV ads grew 11.5% year on year but newspapers and publishers report slowest growth in digital ads on record and decline in spending of 6.8% across industry UK advertising spend reached £4.7bn in the first three months of 2015, a record for the tradtionally weak first quarter, driven by a surge in TV advertising. TV advertising grew 11.5% year on year to reach £1.2bn, it’s highest Q1 figure on record, according to the latest figures from the advertising expenditure report from Warc and the Advertising Association. As well as the continuing strength of traditonal TV advertising, Warc said the sector was benefiting from new revenues streams such as sponsorship, video-on-demand services, advertiser-funded programming and product placement. Continue reading... Newspapers and news publishers did not perform as well as TV and radio in advertising according to the latest figures from Warc and the Advertising Association.
- Top Gear remake to launch in Italy
Show continues global expansion despite Jeremy Clarkson’s exit, with Sky Italia airing local series fronted by Guido Meda and Joe Bastianich Top Gear is going to Sky. Not in the UK but a remake of the hit BBC motoring format for Sky Italia on its pay-TV entertainment channel, Sky Uno. Italy becomes the fifth overseas territory to adapt the show and the first since Jeremy Clarkson’s axing following a fracas with a producer earlier this year. Continue reading... Top Gear: Guido Meda is to be one of the show’s Italian presenters.Top Gear: Guido Meda is to be one of the show’s Italian presenters.
- Homeland and Selma stars sign up as patrons for diversity network
David Harewood and David Oyelowo among actors backing TriForce Creative Network, which brings together talent from diverse backgrounds Homeland’s David Harewood, Selma star David Oyelowo and Broadchurch’s Marianne Jean-Baptiste are among more than a dozen figures from TV and film lending their support to a network aimed at increasing diversity on screen and behind the camera. They have signed up as patrons of TriForce Creative Network, which was founded in 2004 by actors Jimmy Akingbola and Fraser Ayres to help bring together broadcasting professionals and up and coming talent from across all backgrounds. Continue reading... David Harewood has lent his support to Triforce Creative Network, which was founded by Jimmy Akingbola and Fraser Ayres in 2004.
- 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
- 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
- Humans, Napoleon and The Interceptor: TV review – video
In his review of the week's TV, telly addict Andrew Collins enters the synthetic world of a Swedish dystopian drama remade as Humans by Channel 4; fails to be convinced by historian Andrew Roberts' agenda in Napoleon on BBC2; gives 'the new Spooks', BBC1's The Interceptor, half a chance; is captivated by Zen nature doc Japan: Earth's Enchanted Islands on BBC2 and indulges Chris Packham's Natural Selection on BBC4, a Guardian reader's dream Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for Humans, Napoleon, The Interceptor and more:TV review-video
- The Syndicate, Brotherhood, Gadget Man and Springwatch: TV review – video
This week, telly addict Andrew Collins checks his numbers for the return of lottery-based melodrama The Syndicate on BBC1; laments the sad loss of Rik Mayall from Man Down on Channel 4; wonders if he's too old to enjoy sibling slacker-com Brotherhood on Comedy Central; applauds the detachment of Richard Ayoade on Gadget Man on Channel 4; and finds Zen in some fledgling wrens thanks to Springwatch • WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for The Syndicate, Brotherhood,Gadget Man and more:TV review-video
- Springwatch; 1945: The Savage Peace; and Inside Amy Schumer: TV review – video
This week, telly addict Andrew Collins give thanks for the BBC's biggest outside-broadcast ever, Springwatch; braves a horrifying but vital second world war documentary, 1945: The Savage Peace; samples the much-talked-about grown-up US import Inside Amy Schumer on Comedy Xtra; the ticklish Brit murder-mystery-comedy Murder In Successville on BBC3; and a new BBC1 sitcom, SunTrap, tucked worryingly away at 10.45pm so that nobody will see it • WARNING: DISTURBING IMAGES AND SEXUAL CONTENT Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for Springwatch, 1945: The Savage Peace, Inside Amy Schumer and more: TV review-video
- Mad Men, 1864, Grayson Perry's Dream House and more: TV review – video
This week, telly addict Andrew Collins avoids spoiling the final episode of Mad Men; wishes he'd read the novel before attempting fantasy Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell on BBC1; gets wrapped up in year-specific Danish historical drama 1864; enters Grayson Perry's Dream House on C4, and likes what they've done to the place; and binges on all three grippingly grim episodes of cop doc The Detectives on BBC2 Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for Mad Men, 1864, Grayson Perry's Dream House and More: TV review-video
- 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.
- Angelo Badalamenti to compose new music for Twin Peaks score
Composer of surreal soundscapes returns for the highly anticipated reboot of David Lynch’s cult 90s TV series Twin Peaks still marks the summit of TV soundtracks The man behind the musical style often referred to as “ Lynchian ” has confirmed his place in the new Twin Peaks reboot: Angelo Badalamenti, who scored the original show, not to mention Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive, is the latest Twin Peaks alumni added to the lineup of the forthcoming series. Related: Songs of praise to David Lynch, film's king of mood music Continue reading... David Lynch’s original Twin Peaks cast.David Lynch’s original Twin Peaks cast.
- Eurovision 2015: is it time for Brexit?
Should the UK avoid the annual humiliation and bow out of the contest? Or perhaps start entering songs that don’t sound like a malfunctioning dentist’s drill? Brexit might be the ugliest word in the entire history of language – managing to simultaneously sound like the name of a minor multinational adhesives conglomeration and the noise you make when you barf three litres of semi-digested Weetabix into a metal colander – but that hasn’t stopped the prospect of an EU referendum from dominating the news cycle. And yet this isn’t even the biggest potential Brexit on the horizon. There’s a bigger Brexit to be discussed, one that might alter the fundamental outlook of the UK on an even more profound level. A Brexit so potentially catastrophic that some dare not even speak its name. That’s right, I’m talking about a Eurovision Brexit. Continue reading... Electro Velvet … humiliating. Photograph: Rolf Klatt/REX ShutterstockElectro Velvet … humiliating. Photograph: Rolf Klatt/REX Shutterstock
- Ad men on Mad Men: what the show got right about the advertising business
Some of the 60s Madison Avenue ad men might not have liked the show, but that’s because it unerringly captured the life they led One of the greatest testaments to the accuracy of Mad Men is that 82-year old art director, George Lois, one of the huge figures of Madison Avenue in the 1960s, wrote a furious article in the August 2010 edition of Playboy, in which he said: “The more I think and write about Mad Men, the more I take the show as a personal insult. So fuck you, Mad Men, you phoney grey-flannel-suit, male-chauvinist, no-talent, Wasp, white-shirted, racist, antisemitic Republican SOBs!” Continue reading... Office life … Bryan Batt, Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Aaron Staton and Michael GladisOffice life … Bryan Batt, Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Aaron Staton and Michael Gladis
- 'We're all news junkies': why The Good Wife writing team is one of TV's sharpest
From bitcoin to Homan Square, senior writer Ted Humphrey explains how the hit CBS show spots topical stories before they hit the headlines The Good Wife has a reputation for picking up news stories and turning them into plots – even before some of them reach the mainstream news cycle. But how do they do it, exactly? Ted Humphrey, a longtime staff writer on the show, agreed to talk to us about the process. “We are never looking for stories that are ‘ripped from the headlines’,” he said. “There are other shows that do that. We’re looking for the thing that isn’t a headline yet.” Continue reading... The Good Wife: one of the best-written shows on TV.The Good Wife: one of the best-written shows on TV.
- Eurovision at 60: 60 questions to test your knowledge of Europe's celebrated song contest
Think you're a Eurovision expert? As the BBC celebrates 60 years of Eurovision with a star-filled concert, test your superfan credentials with our fiendish 60-question quiz • Eurovision's Greatest Hits, Friday 3 April, 9pm, BBC1 Continue reading... Hats off to Bucks Fizz, the UK winners of the 1981 contest. But what cam off mid-performance? Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
- I Am Cait panel review - five trans writers give their verdict
Caitlyn Jenner’s reality TV show, which debuted Sunday night, has been hailed as a landmark in trans visibility – but how representative was it really? You wake up with Caitlyn Jenner at 4am as she fulminates over her sense of responsibility to the trans community, fretting about “getting it right”. As I sat through the gauzy opening titles of I Am Cait I found myself feeling just a touch ill at ease about the media phenomenon Jenner has become – a phenomenon that always seemed crafted for the curiosities and pleasures of a non-trans audience. What I Am Cait revealed to me is how seriously Jenner herself seems to take this, how morally conscious she is of her role and its obligations. Contrary to most close-ups of an individual trans woman’s life, the documentary does afford Jenner the opportunity to weave its personal subject matter into larger political issues. Continue reading... Caitlyn Jenner introduces Culture Club at the Greek Theatre earlier this month in Los Angeles, California.Caitlyn Jenner introduces Culture Club at the Greek Theatre earlier this month in Los Angeles, California.
- What real lawyers think about Breaking Bad – and why it should be taught in class
A new collection of essays for the New Mexico Law Review makes an argument for Breaking Bad to be required study material in law schools. Here’s why it makes sense In the introductory essay to the special edition New Mexico Law Review devoted entirely to Breaking Bad, Max Minzner makes the case for why the show should be required study material in law schools. His argument is simple: times have changed and the kids like to watch videos. That, and Breaking Bad is a show about “law enforcement in action”. Minzner recommends five specific scenes professors could roll out to demonstrate various parts of the law. Continue reading... Better call Saul for legal troubles.Better call Saul for legal troubles.
- True Detective season two, episode five recap – Other Lives
Last week’s bloody shootout seems to have done the trick: Nic Pizzolatto’s faltering drama has burst back into life ... 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 America, and Mondays in the UK on Sky Atlantic at 9pm & 2am. For the first season of True Detective click here . Continue reading... The tache is gone… Vince Vaughn and Colin Farrell.The tache is gone… Vince Vaughn and Colin Farrell.
- True Detective: season two, episode one recap – The Western Book of the Dead
Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, Vince Vaughan and Taylor Kitsch make their debuts as the anthology crime series moves to California Spoiler alert: this blog details events in the first episode of the second season of True Detective which airs on Sunday nights on HBO in America, and Mondays in the UK on Sky Atlantic at 2am and 9pm. For the first season of True Detective click here . Continue reading... ‘Hello? I’m looking for a flat circle …’ Rachel McAdams as Ani Bezzerides in True Detective.‘Hello? I’m looking for a flat circle …’ Rachel McAdams as Ani Bezzerides in True Detective.
- Ripper Street to return for two more series of 'blood, guts and pocket watches'
After a successful revival, Amazon has commissioned a fourth and fifth series of the Victorian detective drama Ripper Street lives on – Amazon Prime confirmed today that it has recommissioned the Victorian detective drama for a fourth and fifth season. Originally a BBC drama, Ripper Street was dropped after the second series, only to find a new online home for its third . The series, starring Matthew Macfadyen, MyAnna Buring, Jerome Flynn and Adam Rothenberg, follows the adventures of 19th-century policemen in London’s East End. Continue reading... Back for more… Ripper Street’s Detective Inspector Bennet Drake (Jerome Flynn), Detective Inspector Reid (Matthew Macfadyen) and Captain Homer Jackson (Adam Rothenberg).Back for more… Ripper Street’s Detective Inspector Bennet Drake (Jerome Flynn), Detective Inspector Reid (Matthew Macfadyen) and Captain Homer Jackson (Adam Rothenberg).