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BBC Television has unveiled new details of its line-up for 2014.
In addition to joining Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond for a two-part Top Gear special, James May will also host a new episode of Toy Stories and Gareth Malone is back with The Choir: New Military Wives.
Miranda, Mrs Brown's Boys: 14 Christmas TV highlights from the BBC
Danny Cohen, Director of Television, said: "This year's Christmas line-up on BBC Television is one of our best ever. »
Few directors can be said to have changed the way films are made, but Mike Nichols, who died Wednesday at 83, was one of them. His first film, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966), ended decades of Hollywood censorship of adult content and freed the movies for mature language and subject matter ever after. His second film, "The Graduate," was the first serious mainstream movie to feature a rock soundtrack (spawning Simon and Garfunkel's hit "Mrs. Robinson") and, through its casting of Dustin Hoffman, expanded Hollywood's notion of what a leading man ought to look and sound like.
Nichols wasn't born in America (he and his family escaped from Nazi Germany when he was a child), but he was one of the best chroniclers of contemporary America -- its politics, its aspirations, its dreams, its aristocracy, and its successes and failures -- in movies. His youth in Manhattan as the son »
- Gary Susman
Simon Callow wants to star in 'Downton Abbey'. The 'Four Weddings and Funeral' actor is eager to land a role in the period drama because he loves the ITV show. The 65-year-old star is happy to appear in the series - which also stars Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery and Laure Carmichael, Maggie Smith and Joanne Froggat - as part of the upper class Crawley family or their team of servants. He told The Sun newspaper: ''I'd love to be in 'Downton...' You might have thought they'd find some lowly role for me to play above or below stairs.'' Simon also revealed a »
Starz was very happy with the early reception of their new Outlander TV show so they gave it an early season two renewal. The cable channel has often given quick renewals but the series are then often cancelled after two seasons. Will Starz regret giving Outlander a second year order so soon? Would it have been cancelled if they had waited?
The Outlander series revolves around Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe), a married combat nurse from 1945. She finds herself mysteriously thrown back in time, to 1743 Scotland, and forced to marry another man to save her life. A passionate affair is ignited. The rest of the cast includes Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies, Graham McTavish, Gary Lewis, Annette Badland, Stephen Walters, Laura Donnelly, Lotte Verbeek, James Fleet, Duncan Lacroix, Roderick Gilkison, Simon Callow, Grant O'Rourke, Bill Paterson, and Simon Meacock.
The ratings are typically the »
It was the huge success of Brian de Palma’s The Untouchables back in 1987 that made Hollywood realise that vast amounts of money could be mined from a middle-aged audience by revisiting their childhood nights spent in front of the television. Fellow 1950s TV stalwart Dragnet arrived the same year to lesser acclaim – pairing Dan Aykroyd’s stoic Joe Friday against Tom Hanks’s impossibly-named Pep Streebeck – but the ball kept rolling.
In the 1990s, the ‘movie version of the classic 1960s TV show’ became a genre of its own. Some were huge hits (The Fugitive, Maverick), some spawned brand new franchises (Mission: Impossible, The Addams Family), some were absolute disasters (The Avengers, Wild Wild West). The best of them cooked up something fresh and new from the old ingredients, creating something with pan-generational appeal. If the recipe was right, there were huge dividends to reap.
Strange then that the »
- Cai Ross
The part live-action, part-animated Dave show sees celebrities narrating adult versions of bedtime stories in the style of the children's classic Jackanory, which first came to TV screens in 1965.
Late comic actor Mayall will appear reading The Weatherman by Tony Way, which will be screened on Wednesday, September 24 at 10pm.
Mayall's episode - which will also feature Vic Reeves - will get a BAFTA preview screening on September 16.
Watch a trailer for the new series of Crackanory below: »
Episodes: Ongoing (hour)
TV show dates: August 9, 2014 -- Tbd
Series status: Has not been cancelled
Performers include: Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies, Graham McTavish, Gary Lewis, Annette Badland, Stephen Walters, Laura Donnelly, Lotte Verbeek, James Fleet, Duncan Lacroix, Roderick Gilkison, Simon Callow, Grant O'Rourke, Bill Paterson, and Simon Meacock.
TV show description:
Quick-witted and beautiful Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe) is a married combat nurse from 1945 who finds herself mysteriously thrown back in time to 1743 Scotland. Claire and Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan), a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, are forced to marry to save her life. A passionate affair is ignited »
The romantic smash that perfectly blends wit, wit, wit with Wet Wet Wet stars Hugh Grant as a confirmed bachelor whose ideas about commitment change when he meets American beauty Andie MacDowell. With a champagne cast (Kristen Scott Thomas, Simon Callow, John Hannah, and the late Charlotte Coleman) throwing writer Richard Curtis's wonderfully colourful dialogue around like confetti, it's a truly happy occasion. »
Beginning with an August 9 comedy special, the upcoming series will feature different themes each week.
The part live-action, part-animated show sees celebrities narrating adult versions of bedtime stories in the style of the children's classic Jackanory, which first came to TV screens in 1965.
The second series could also feature a story told by Rik Mayall, who recorded an episode before he passed away last month.
Dave bosses previously explained that they were carefully considering when to schedule the episode in question, with general manager Steve North calling it a "complete privilege" to work with Mayall.
Watch a trailer for the first series of Crackanory below: »
Has it really been 20 years? We hadn't noticed. Prepare to feel old, because this week romantic comedy classic Four Weddings and a Funeral celebrates a landmark anniversary.
The Richard Curtis-penned film delivered exactly what its title promised and so much more. It was funny, charming and packed with brilliant performances from a stellar Brit cast. Without it Hugh Grant would never have hit the Hollywood A-list and Wet Wet Wet wouldn't have spent what felt like an eternity at the top of the UK singles chart.
But what are the cast up to two decades on? We take a look at the key players then and now below...
Hugh Grant was a respected supporting actor in the Brit film industry prior to Four Weddings thanks to roles in Remains of the Day and Sirens. Things changed overnight after his role as the ever-so-British and lovelorn Charles.
Sure, some little show called Britain's Got Talent might have started tonight, but that wasn't the only new series on the block. Both BBC One and ITV had brand new, fresh out of the box Saturday night formats hoping to win the hearts and minds of the UK viewing public - and guess what, they didn't even clash.
But we know you have busy lives - there's only so much iPlayer or ITV Player you can take - so if you had to watch just one, what would it be? Amazing Greys on ITV, or The Guess List on BBC One? Well, to help you out we watched both shows - and pitted them against each other in the battle for Saturday night supremacy. Read on for our verdict - and let us know what you thought below...
But wait... what are these shows about, anyway?
Both The Guess List »
Pointless Celebrities: BBC One, 7pm
The start of a new run of celebrity specials of the daytime quiz show fronted by Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman. This week, it's a 1970s special complete with comedy Village People moustaches. There's a round on pop music, which should suit Roy Wood and Rick Wakeman. The other teams involved are actors Paul Henry and Madeline Smith, DJ Edward Stewart and Sally James (of Tiswas fame), and Sally Thomsett and Anna Karen.
Britain's Got Talent: ITV, 7.15pm
ITV's biggest talent show is back with its great variety of singers, dancers, gymnasts, comedians and performing dogs. From the sublime to the ridiculous, the audition rounds have it all. Ant and Dec present, claiming about Simon Cowell that "if anything, parenthood has made him grumpier". The media mogul presides over the judging panel, alongside Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams.
With the introduction of the Golden Buzzer, »
It's not often you read about an actress planning to fondle a comedian post-mortem, but it seems today is special.
Rob Brydon's new entertainment show The Guess List starts tomorrow and features a bunch of celebrities offering two competing contestants advice.
But we're not sure they should take any life hints from Emilia Fox, who seems to have some very strange ideas about dead bodies.
During the filming of tomorrow's episode, Rob admitted that he would love the Silent Witness star to perform his autopsy.
"Isn't it a strange thing, to know who you'd like to do your autopsy?" he said. "I would love Emilia Fox to have a little rummage in Rob."
As if things hadn't become weird enough, Emilia replied: "I'd have a little rummage on Rob first, before I went into Rob."
Her meaning was pretty clear, »
Perhaps if he brushes up his dance moves, Brydon could be a dark horse among the contenders to replace Bruce Forsyth as presenter on Strictly Come Dancing. Smith already has Saturday night dancing credentials, after winning the 2012 edition.
In the show, two contestants compete for prizes specifically chosen for them, assisted by the celebrities. Smith and Callow join a star-studded lineup for the first episode, »
Movie trailers have evolved into miniature feats of filmmaking, but there were directors working during cinema’s golden age who foretold the possibilities of trailers and movie marketing. Orson Welles’ trailer for Citizen Kane skips the humdrum movie montages for a behind-the-scenes look at the filming of the cinema classic. The documentary-style trailer reveals character interactions, narration from Welles, and some of the same cinematography we see in the film itself. Kane’s Gregg Toland used deep focus in the movie, a technique that was still considered new and somewhat experimental for the time. We get all the yummy chiaroscuro lighting and unique point-of-view shots, too, in this unique clip. According to Open Culture, critic and actor Simon Callow...
- Alison Nastasi
A father-and-son editing team has compiled a new anthology in which 100 prominent male figures reveal the lines that make them cry
The cover of a new collection of poetry should probably carry a sticker bearing Shakespeare's warning: "If you have tears, prepare to shed them now."
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry is an anthology of some of the most emotive lines in literature chosen by 100 famous and admired men, ranging from Daniel Radcliffe to Nick Cave, John le Carré and Jonathan Franzen. Published next month and edited by the journalist and biographer Anthony Holden and his film-producer son, Ben, the book is winning praise for introducing male readers to unfamiliar works – and emotions.
Contributor Simon Schama has tweeted enthusing about his choice, Wh Auden's Lullaby, the poem that opens with the words "Lay your sleeping head, my love, Human on my faithless arm." Auden turns out to be the »
- Vanessa Thorpe
Twenty years ago, "Four Weddings and a Funeral," a charming little romantic comedy about a group of friends who attend wedding after wedding but can't seem to find true love themselves, became the highest-grossing British film in history. It earned more than $245 million worldwide, a number that's since been eclipsed ("Skyfall" currently holds the record).
Besides boffo box office, this movie skyrocketed the careers of star Hugh Grant and screenwriter Richard Curtis, who would work together again in "Notting Hill" and "Love Actually." It also was one of the first mainstream romantic comedies to casually feature a committed gay couple (played by John Hannah and Simon Callow).
So, where is the cast now? Most are still hard at work but a few are no longer with us. Pardon »
- Sharon Knolle
From satire to slapstick, the Simpsons achieved comedy perfection as well as being emotionally rich – and left a crater-sized hole in popular culture
• The Simpsons in its 25th season: showrunner Al Jean on why it endures
The first Simpsons episode I ever saw was Bart the Daredevil. I was 10 years old. The first girl I ever had an unrequited crush on recorded it for me and furtively slid the VHS across my desk at school. Since that moment, The Simpsons has come to mean more to me than any other TV show before or since. It's deep in my bones.
Even now, my brain's resting state is basically just a collage of Simpsons quotes. The other day in the shower I got locked into an unbreakable cycle of Dr Nick Riviera's line: "If it isn't my old friend Mr McGreg, with a leg for an arm and an arm for a leg. »
- Stuart Heritage
Whishaw, who played Q in the latest James Bond film Skyfall, will co-star with Billie Piper in Foxtrot, the first TV drama by acclaimed playwright Polly Stenham, about an ill-fated heist by an all-girl gang.
Perry will appear in The Dog Thrower, a near silent 30-minute comedy written and directed by Jon Ronson with a soundtrack by Belle and Sebastian. Delevingne will make her TV acting debut alongside Sylvia Syms in Timeless, written by Tim Firth, about a young woman whose fiance is serving in Afghanistan.
Other stars appearing in the latest Playhouse season include Jo Brand, who will star in Damned, »
- John Plunkett
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