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3 items from 2014

Still Friends after all these years: the one about the 20th anniversary

3 September 2014 8:33 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

The hit sitcom may be on constant replay, but it's a joy to rediscover how genuinely funny it was. The show's creators share the secrets of its success

Here's the thing about Friends, the thing that's often forgotten in all the fuss over Jennifer Aniston's hair; the embarrassment about the fuss over Jennifer Aniston's hair; the catch-phrases ("We were on a break!", "Could you be any more annoying?"); the soap-opera plot lines (Ross and Rachel! Monica and Chandler! Er, Rachel and Joey); the great star cameos (Brad Pitt) and long-running roles (Tom Selleck, Kathleen Turner); the always awful British cameos (Tom Conti, Jennifer Saunders); and the ridiculous hoo-hah over the show's final episode. The thing about Friends is that it's funny.

But Friends is a victim of its own success and, more specifically, its ubiquity. To mark the 10th anniversary of its final episode, and the 20th anniversary of the first episode, »

- Hadley Freeman

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BBC turns to variety shows to win over Saturday night audiences

19 July 2014 4:06 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Shift in programming after criticism that viewers are fed up with long-running dramas such as Casualty and Waterloo Road

The BBC is planning to respond to fresh calls for more variety in its Saturday programme schedules with just that: more "variety" and cabaret-style shows. A pilot for a show called Nina Conti's Va-Va-Riety is to be recorded live for BBC2 in a London theatre on 28 July. Compered by the ventriloquist and standup comedian, it is billed as a mix of cabaret, burlesque, magic, musical comedy and circus performance.

Conti, who is the daughter of actor Tom Conti, has also been singled recently out by the BBC's head of entertainment, Mark Linsey, as one of the talents who will help to increase the number of female comedians on screen.

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- Vanessa Thorpe and Maggie Brown

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Bryan Cranston

10 June 2014 4:55 PM, PDT | Gold Derby | See recent Gold Derby news »

Bryan Cranston and Sophie Okonedo won Tony Awards for their Broadway debut. These victories put them in a freshman club that now has 87 members.  -Break- Bryan Cranston on adding a Tony Award to his mantel in press room (Video) Cranston, who won for his portrayal of Lyndon Johnson in "All the Way" is the fourteenth Best Actor (Play) champ to take home the trophy for his first-time on Broadway. He joins: Paul Scofield for "A Man for All Seasons" (1962); Cliff Gorman for "Lenny" (1972); John Kani and Winston Ntshona (joint nomination) for "Sizwe Banzi is Dead/The Island" (1975); Tom Conti for "Whose Life is it Anyway?" (1979); Harvey Fierstein for "Torch Song Trilogy" (1983); Jeremy Irons for "The Real Thing" (1984); Ralph Fiennes for "Hamlet" (1995); Stephen Dillane for "The Real Thing" (2000); Jefferson Mays for "I Am My Own Wife" (2004); Ri »

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