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Bella Emberg obituary

Actor and comedian best known for her TV role as Blunderwoman alongside Russ Abbot

The actor Bella Emberg, who has died aged 80, played stooge to comedians such as Benny Hill, Frankie Howerd, Dick Emery, Stanley Baxter and Les Dawson on TV before gaining her greatest fame as a foil to Russ Abbot.

Alongside his spoof superhero Cooperman, a fusion of Tommy Cooper and Superman, she was memorable as Blunderwoman, one of her many metaphorically and physically larger-than-life characters. “It’s my fate to play fat, ugly bags,” she said in 1987. “My big break came when Russ wanted a fat lady who could keep a straight face.”

Related: Comedy actor Bella Emberg dies aged 80

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See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Comedy actor Bella Emberg dies aged 80

Comedy actor Bella Emberg dies aged 80
Russ Abbot leads tributes to Emberg, who played his comic sidekick Blunderwoman in the 1980s

Tributes have been paid to the comedy actor Bella Emberg, who has died aged 80.

Emberg was described by Russ Abbot, with whom she appeared on The Russ Abbot Show as Blunderwoman, as a “a woman of immense warmth and generosity”.

So sad to lose the lovely Bella Emberg. A funny, lovely friend. Thoughts and love with Rosemary. Goodnight Sweetheart x pic.twitter.com/SNYQK92BmO

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See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Reliving the joys of an 80s TV Christmas

Jenny Morrill Dec 20, 2016

Russ Abbot, Bullseye, Noel Edmonds and a film we all watched in the same room. Christmas TV was more exciting in the 80s...

Cast your mind back to when Christmas Day wasn't about Doctor Who followed by sticking something on Netflix until it was time to go watch the annual fist fight outside the pub.

See related Looking back at Martin Scorsese's The King Of Comedy The Wolf Of Wall Street review The Wolf Of Wall Street & Scorsese's confrontational films

In the 80s, Christmas was about seeing which fantastic fare the TV had decided to bless us with. Of course, the more prepared among us knew this well in advance, having eagerly pored over the Radio Times/TV Times to check that Jimmy Cricket's Family Laugh 'n' Waz would be shown. There it was – right after Reflections On The Eucharist With The Reverend Paul Leyland.
See full article at Den of Geek »

The Walking Dead: season seven, episode three – The Cell

There’s a new rule for Walking Dead fans: we must suffer along with Rick’s crew. Us voyeurs are finally being called to account for our sick viewing habits

• Spoiler alert: this blog is published after The Walking Dead airs in the Us on Sundays. Do not read unless you have watched season seven episode three, which airs in the UK on Fox on Mondays at 9pm

Imagine for a moment that you’re a torturer. You’ve got someone in a prison cell and every time they nod off, you want to jerk them awake by playing something unbearable over the Pa. Which earworm song would really drive them nuts? Chuck Berry’s My Ding-a-Ling? Atmosphere by Russ Abbot?

In The Cell, Daryl was trying to catch some shut-eye in gangmaster Negan’s prison block when the music kicked in, making sleep impossible. Drum intro. Banjo twang. And
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Boomers: BBC One Series Renewed for Season Two

Are you a fan of the BBC One TV show, Boomers? Has the long hiatus made you concerned that it has been cancelled? Well, keep calm and carry on. BBC One has renewed the comedy for a second series (i.e. "season" in Us parlance). Boomers series two is set to return with six episodes in 2016. Boomers stars Russ Abbot, Stephanie Beacham, Phillip Jackson, James Smith, Alison Steadman, and Paula Wilcox. The last new episode of Boomers first aired on BBC One, on September 19, 2014. Read More…
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Boomers is returning for a second series on BBC One next year

Boomers will be back on BBC One for a second series.

The comedy is returning for six new episodes in early 2016, starring Russ Abbot, Stephanie Beacham, Philip Jackson, James Smith, Alison Steadman and Paula Wilcox.

Following the ups and downs of three couples living in Thurnemouth, the new run will see the characters dealing with sexual experimentation, drug abuse and camping trips.

"The new series pushes our merry band of retirees into evermore agonising and ridiculous situations whilst crackling with sharply observed dialogue," said BBC comedy commissioning controller Shane Allen.

"It's a privilege to see these well-loved and hugely accomplished performers in full flow with such richly comic material."

Producer Paul Schlesinger added: "It's great to welcome back this particular group of friends and to see their jealousies, general resentment and disappointment with life come off the page even more vividly than series one - all brought to life by a stellar comedy cast.
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

Bill Bailey, Abbey Clancy and Tinie Tempah for BBC iPlayer exclusives

Bill Bailey, Abbey Clancy and Tinie Tempah will front new exclusive programming on BBC iPlayer.

Victoria Jaye, Head of TV Content for the service, has announced 16 new titles for 2015, including nine original comedy shorts to coincide with Valentine's Day.

The Funny Valentine series will see Bailey and other comedians create a short film offering their unique take on Valentine's Day. Matt Berry, Romesh Ranganathan, Sara Pascoe, Limmy, Nick Helm, Modern Toss, Russ Abbott and Katy Wix will also feature.

Meanwhile, Tinie Tempah will offer an insight into Alexander McQueen's forthcoming V&A exhibition, Savage Beauty, in Private View.

Abbey Clancy will return to front iPlayer's coverage of London Fashion Week later this year, which is being produced in collaboration with the British Fashion Council.

Speaking about the commissions, Jaye said: "BBC iPlayer presents a huge creative opportunity to push the boundaries of storytelling and engage audiences in new ways.
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

Big Brother final watched by 1.53 million on Channel 5

The Big Brother final was viewed by an average of 1.53 million (8.3%) on Channel 5.

The live finale, which was won by Helen Wood, attracted a peak audience of 1.62 million (9.3%) as the winner was announced.

Follow-up show Big Brother's Bit on the Side was seen by an average of 898k (7.7%) immediately after at 10.45pm.

BBC One's Boomers was the evening's highest-rated show outside of soaps, pulling in an average of 4.45 million (21.9%) at 9pm. The new comedy series, which stars Philip Jackson, Alison Steadman and Russ Abbot, peaked with 4.47 million.

BBC One's evening started with 2.27 million (13.2%) for The One Show at 7pm, followed by 2.10 million (11.3%) for A Question of Sport and 2.35 million (11.4%) for Scrappers at 8.30pm.

Later in the evening, Room 101 and Would I Lie to You? The Unseen Bits were seen by 2.08 million (15.3%) and 1.47 million (14%) respectively.

After a bumper evening of athletics, BBC Two's night kicked off with
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

8 reasons why we love Les Dennis - Extras, Mavis, more

Les Dennis isn't exactly in our day-to-day thoughts, truth be told, but the news yesterday (January 23) that the light entertainment legend would be joining Coronation Street still managed to put a massive smile on our face. Les on the cobbles! Amazing!

To celebrate Les's biggest gig in quite some time, we look back at the celebrity good egg's life and career in order, and come up with eight reasons why we absolutely love him...

He's a talent show king!

Way back before Britain's Got Talent, The X Factor et al, there was New Faces, a notoriously tough competition where a panel of judges - including a youthful Noel Edmonds - marked variety acts on their "star quality", usually without chucking water over each other or trying to get into the papers with a particularly daring dress, as all that palaver is a modern talent show invention.

After doing the rounds
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

Viewers love television's Mrs Brown because she bucks every trend | Elizabeth Day

Mrs Brown's Boys, the biggest hit on the box at Christmas, reflects TV's new role as refuge from the complex world beyond the living room

There was only one real talking point in the aftermath of Christmas. It wasn't the gale-force winds ravaging parts of the country, leaving thousands of homes without power over the festive period. Nor was it the endless cricketing news where someone might or might not have won the Ashes and where something called "sledging" is nothing to do with Rudolf.

No, the topic under heated discussion around metropolitan distressed-pine kitchen tables was, of course, the absurdly naff taste of the British television viewing public.

For the second year in a row, the sitcom Mrs Brown's Boys, in which the central cause of hilarity appears to be that the title role is played by a man in woman's clothing, was the most-viewed TV programme on Christmas Day.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Women on screen aren't allowed to grow old erotically | Lynne Segal

If older women are given TV and film roles at all, their bodies are still subject to one of the last sex taboos

Diane Keaton recalled her mother's advice – "don't grow old" – as useless, however pertinent for Keaton's chosen career as an actress. It's a truism that interesting roles for older actresses are hard to come by. While signs of physical ageing are routinely played down in leading male actors, who regularly take roles as still vigorous and desirable characters (whether heroes or villains), the opposite applies to older actresses, if they are allowed to appear on screen at all.

Are things changing? It was Keaton herself who seemed to herald a shift when she played in the popular 2003 film about love in later life, Something's Gotta Give. At the time she expressed astonishment at being offered the role of romantic heroine, at 58, despite being partnered by Jack Nicholson, already a decade older.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Women on screen aren't allowed to grow old erotically | Lynne Segal

If older women are given TV and film roles at all, their bodies are still subject to one of the last sex taboos

Diane Keaton recalled her mother's advice – "don't grow old" – as useless, however pertinent for Keaton's chosen career as an actress. It's a truism that interesting roles for older actresses are hard to come by. While signs of physical ageing are routinely played down in leading male actors, who regularly take roles as still vigorous and desirable characters (whether heroes or villains), the opposite applies to older actresses, if they are allowed to appear on screen at all.

Are things changing? It was Keaton herself who seemed to herald a shift when she played in the popular 2003 film about love in later life, Something's Gotta Give. At the time she expressed astonishment at being offered the role of romantic heroine, at 58, despite being partnered by Jack Nicholson, already a decade older.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Russell Brand v the Sun: war of words hots up

Red-top brands comedian a hypocrite, Jack Dee criticises Crewe and Jimmy Carr tells Ross Noble not to knock Mock the Week

This week's comedy news

The gloves are off in Brand versus the Sun. On Saturday, the never-knowingly-underexposed comedian wrote a piece for this paper accusing the Sun on Sunday of printing lies about his personal life, and comparing Rupert Murdoch to Hitler. Brand had previously tweeted his intention to sue the tabloid. This week, the red-top struck back, with an article entitled 20 reasons why Russell Brand is the Biggest Hypocrite in Britain – a piece it was so keen to broadcast, it suspended its online paywall. Its accusations? That Brand's anti-capitalist arguments don't square with his £9m fortune. That he has written extensively for the Sun and frequently publicly praised the paper. That his book and TV series were published and broadcast by Harper Collins and Fox respectively – both owned by Rupert Murdoch,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

BBC One boss criticises media's Twitter 'obsession'

BBC One controller Charlotte Moore has said that social media should never dictate programming decisions.

Speaking today (December 2) at a BAFTA session, Moore argued that sites like Twitter should "never [be] the only reason to decide whether you're going to commission or not commission".

"It would be mad to think that you're going to make any creative judgements based on that," she said. "That's just one element of feedback [and] it's a very small part of our audience."

Moore added that working in the media can cause people to become "overly obsessed" with Twitter.

"If you work for the media, you feel [social media] must be the biggest market, but I simply don't think that's true," she continued. "I know it's not true.

"It's very easy to get overly obsessed by it. You've got to take it within context. It's that balance between... keeping up with your younger audiences who really are interested in social media and Twitter.
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

David Walliams comedy Big School gets second series on BBC One

David Walliams comedy Big School is to return for a second series.

Charlotte Moore - Controller of BBC One - made the announcement today (December 2) at a BAFTA session.

"We've recommissioned Big School," she said. "I loved the fact that we were in a new precinct and environment, with a stellar cast."

Moore also claimed that Big School could have a "long" run, with more series in the planning stages.

BBC One has also ordered a third series of its comedy Citizen Khan, plus new sitcom Grey Mates starring Russ Abbot.

Big School was co-created by David Walliams and stars the comic as bumbling chemistry teacher Mr Church.

Catherine Tate and Philip Glenister also featured in the first six-part series, which aired on BBC One between August and September.

David Walliams's Gangsta Granny: New Miranda, Robbie Williams pictures

Watch a deleted scene from Big School below:
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

BBC1's Grey Mates sitcom to star Alison Steadman and Russ Abbot

Channel's lineup of new shows includes sequel to Afghanistan war drama Our Girl and docusoap about fast-food chain KFC

Russ Abbot, Alison Steadman and June Whitfield will star in new BBC1 sitcom Grey Mates, one of three new shows on the channel including a five-part sequel to Afghanistan war drama Our Girl and a docusoap about high street food chain, KFC.

BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore also announced new series of David Walliams comedy Big School and Adil Ray's Citizen Khan, and confirmed a new 90-minute drama about Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, written by Jeff Pope.

Grey Mates, written by Richard Pinto and made by Have I Got News for You producer Hat Trick, will follow the ups and downs of three recently retired couples whose children have just left home and will also star Stephanie Beacham, Philip Jackson and James Smith.

Moore said it was a "fabulously witty
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Citizen Khan to return for third series on BBC One

Citizen Khan is to return for a third series.

Charlotte Moore - Controller of BBC One - made the announcement this morning (December 2) at a BAFTA session.

Starring Adil Ray as lead character Mr Khan, Citizen Khan first aired in August 2012, with a second series transmitting on BBC One in October and November of this year.

A Christmas special has also been scheduled for later this month, with the third series now expected to follow in 2014.

Moore also addressed the "controversy" surrounding Citizen Khan - with the show having been criticised in some quarters for its depiction of South Asian culture.

"We're not scared of being edgy and provocative in comedy," she said. "Comedy is meant to take us into those areas."

BBC One has also commissioned new sitcom Grey Mates starring Russ Abbot and June Whitfield.

Lacey Turner's Our Girl picked up for full series on BBC One
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

BBC One orders new documentary Inside KFC

BBC One is to explore the world of KFC in a new three-part documentary series.

Inside KFC promises to offer "a unique, top-to-bottom look" at the fast food franchise, which has grown year-on-year despite the recession.

The series was announced today (December 2) by Controller of BBC One, Charlotte Moore, who promised a "warts and all" examination of the fried chicken empire.

A statement announcing the commission reads: "It will paint a multi-layered portrait of the fried chicken empire, meeting the many colourful characters working there - from the boardroom to the restaurant chef.

"How does KFC ensure there is enough chicken to meet the demands of its many thousands of daily customers? Where does the chicken come from and what journey does it take before reaching the bucket?

"We'll meet the people responsible for the minutiae of daily operations at KFC, as well as those charged with the bigger tasks of growing the business,
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

Russ Abbot to star in new BBC One sitcom Grey Mates

Russ Abbot is to star in new BBC One sitcom Grey Mates.

Veteran stars Stephanie Beacham, Alison Steadman and June Whitfield will also appear in the six-part half-hour comedy.

Created by Citizen Khan writer Richard Pinto, Grey Mates will follow the ups and downs of three recently retired couples.

Philip Jackson, James Smith and Paula Wilcox have also been cast as pensioners "all coming at retirement from very different directions".

Announced today (December 2) by Controller of BBC One, Charlotte Moore, Grey Mates promises to "strike a chord with people of all generations".

Made by Hat Trick Productions, the sitcom will be produced by Paul Schlesinger (Twenty Twelve) and executive produced by Jimmy Mulville (Outnumbered).

> Tim Minchin to star in new BBC sitcom 88 Keys

> Eddie Izzard, Brian Cox science programmes for BBC Two and Four
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

10 coolest TV soundtracks of 2013: Do you agree with our picks?

Quite often, TV soundtracks are only mentioned when they're particularly bad. A clunking tune or wobbly composition can turn a beautiful, tense or dramatic TV moment and stink out the whole scene.

But what about the great soundtracks? The ones that make a good moment great. The tunes that give TV shows swagger. Digital Spy has picked out the 10 TV show soundtracks from 2013 that have rocked, helped us get our groove on or made us cry.

1. Peaky Blinders

The Brummie gangster drama, which ended this week, was beautifully shot, brilliantly acted and deliciously dark. The cherry on the top of the flat caps was the soundtrack. Tom Waits, the White Stripes, the Raconteurs and a hefty topping of the brilliant Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.

2. Broadchurch

The TV phenomenon of 2013's soundtrack matched its content. Eerie, brimming with drama and totally captivating, the music of Ólafur Arnalds was almost as
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »
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