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Rodney Bewes: one of TV's great class acts

The actor unforgettably captured the feverish social-climbing of the 1960s and 70s in two incarnations of The Likely Lads sitcom, but never equalled his success in the part of Bob

Although it is 43 years since Rodney Bewes last played his career-defining role on TV – as the Thatcherite social-climber Bob Ferris in the Geordie sitcom Whatever Happened to The Likely Lads? – fans of the series will feel sharp loss at the news of his death, at the age of 79.

Viewers will have particular memories of Bewes as Bob because it represented an unusually perfect piece of casting. He had previously played the character in The Likely Lads, a black-and-white BBC sitcom broadcast between 1964-66, with James Bolam as Terry, a former schoolmate whose downwards trajectory was as steep as Bob’s rise towards the middle class. But it was when writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais suggested a sequel, answering the question,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

James Bolam denies feud with Likely Lads co-star Rodney Bewes

Actor admits pair did not speak for decades but says he has nothing but fond memories of Bewes, who died on Tuesday

The actor James Bolam has denied that there was a feud with his Likely Lads co-star Rodney Bewes, who died on Tuesday at the age of 79.

The hit sitcom followed the escapades of two young working class men in 1960s Newcastle. During the show’s running, Bolam and Bewes had been close friends, going out together for meals in the evenings with their wives.

Related: Rodney Bewes obituary

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See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Rodney Bewes obituary

Actor and comedian best known for his role as Bob Ferris in TV’s The Likely Lads

Rodney Bewes, who has died aged 79, will be most remembered for playing Bob Ferris, the well-intentioned and socially aspiring half of The Likely Lads, the BBC television series which at its 1960s peak and beyond regularly attracted 27 million viewers. He would later talk with gratitude about how the show, featuring the economic, emotional and amatory ups and downs of two working-class lads in the north-east, had made his career.

The Likely Lads (1964-66) and its successor, Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? (1973-74), cast Bewes alongside James Bolam. In 1975 there was a BBC radio version, since reheard on Radio 4 Extra, and the following year a feature film. But Bolam, who played Ferris’s derisive and self-limiting mate Terry Collier, could not later bear any reference to his presence in the show. He did
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Rodney Bewes, star of The Likely Lads, dies at 79

Yorkshire-born actor also appeared in 1970s sequel, Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?, again paired with James Bolam

The actor Rodney Bewes, best known for his role as the northern working class hero Bob Ferris in The Likely Lads, has died aged 79.

His agent, who said he would have turned 80 next week, made the announcement on Tuesday afternoon.

It is with great sadness that we confirm that our dear client, the much loved actor Rodney Bewes, passed away this morning. Rodney was a true one off. We will miss his charm and ready wit. pic.twitter.com/a6ShhAo2an

So long, kidda. Rip Rodney Bewes. https://t.co/MY0pntAvrx

Rodney Bewes, gone.

Our childhood homes demolished brick by brick.

A face that coloured our week when the world was still black and white.

Thank you for our together days.#TheLikelyLads

Related: Rodney Bewes obituary

Oh I'm very upset
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Patrick O’Connell obituary

My father, Patrick O’Connell, who has died aged 83, was an actor for 40 years. He first made his name in social realist drama, and went on to work with the RSC and on television.

Paddy, as he was known to friends and family, started in the theatre at that exciting time when French windows were replaced by kitchen sinks and he fitted the archetype of the “angry young man”. One of his big breaks was the role of Gunner O’Rourke in John McGrath’s Events While Guarding the Bofors Gun at Hampstead theatre in 1966, with James Bolam. “Patrick O’Connell creates a dangerous, pitiful psychotic who frightened me so much that if he had moved one step nearer the auditorium, I would have run for my life,” wrote Alan Brien in the Sunday Telegraph.

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See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

8 TV shows you must watch this week: Great British Bake Off final, New Tricks ends and Empire returns

From the soggy bottom-filled finale of The Great British Bake Off to the end of New Tricks after its 1,435th series, hunker down for Digital Spy's top TV picks over the next seven days.

1. New Tricks - Tuesday, 9pm on BBC One

After 12 years and over 100 cold cases, the old detective dogs will finally retire after a hugely successful run. With the high likelihood that we may see a cameo or two from the original lineup of James Bolam, Alun Armstong, Dennis Waterman and Amanda Redman, it's bound to an emotional night for crime-lovers everywhere.

Don't despair too much if you're concerned about your laid-back cop drama fix, as ITV's Lewis returns for a ninth series the very same night. Crime never sleeps.

2. Empire - Tuesday, 9pm on E4

It's utterly ludicrous on Dallas levels, but it's so damn addictive. The hip-hopera was one of the most-watched shows during its first season,
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

Danny Baker defends Peter Kay's cockney accent in Cradle to Grave

Surprised by Peter Kay's 'Gor blimey!' Cockney accent in BBC Two's Cradle to Grave? Series creator Danny Baker says you'll get used to it.

Speaking at a press screening, Baker said that "authenticity" isn't all that important in terms of how a TV character speaks.

"It's a shock when Peter Kay don't talk like Peter Kay - and it takes a bit to get over that," he acknowledged.

"But after a while, hopefully, he's that character - that's who he is, that's how he walks, that how he talks."

Cradle to Grave is based on Baker's youth, with Kay playing the young Danny's hot-tempered father Fred.

"I grew up with Harry Corbett in Steptoe and Son, what part of London was that?" Baker asked. "James Bolam in The Likely Lads - that ain't Geordie! But that's how that character speaks."

Baker added that Bolton-born Kay worked closely
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

New Tricks to end after 12th series, BBC confirms

New Tricks is to end after its upcoming 12th series.

The BBC is bringing the long-running crime drama to an end "to make room for new series", Broadcast reports.

In a joint statement, BBC One controller Charlotte Moore and BBC drama controller Ben Stephenson said: "We are incredibly proud of New Tricks and would like to thank Roy Mitchell the brilliant creator, Wall to Wall and Headstrong, and all the cast and teams involved across the 12 series.

"However, on BBC One, it's important to make room for new series and continue to increase the range of drama on the channel, so it won't be returning after the next series airs this summer."

Headstrong Pictures - who are producing the final series - added: "For eleven series, New Tricks has been one of the most enduringly popular dramas on television, and Wall to Wall and Headstrong Pictures are hugely proud of the success of the show.
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

Richard Osman’s favourite TV

The creator and co-host of Pointless on his love of Dukes Of Hazard and why he’s still gutted about missing out on University Challenge

I absolutely love Celebrity Antiques Road Trip. It’s just two celebs and two antiques experts driving through Staffordshire or Lincolnshire or somesuch and trying to make more money than the other pair; it’s a lovely slice of Britain. Cutting-edge TV is all very well but I love watching James Bolam and his wife buying lamps, I really do. I will watch any TV programme that has an auction in it. Literally anything. If someone buys a little tin box for £5, I will watch until the end of the hour to see if they sell it for seven.

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See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Bingate, Bye to Sir Bruce, Cheryl & Simon: The year 2014 in reality TV

2014 is almost over - we've had Christmas and everything - but what kind of year has it been? Well, if you're talking about reality TV, it's been pretty bloody spectacular. From scandals involving paper skeletons and baked Alaskas to shock winners and surprise losers, 2014 had a bit of everything. It's time for a little trip down memory lane, so strap in and join us as we revisit the best reality TV moments from the past 12 months...


Jim Davidson wins Celebrity Big Brother - and Lee Ryan loses it

This year's Celebrity Big Brother prompted a lot of soul searching as Jim Davidson ended up taking the crown - after striking up a bromance with Dappy. But it wasn't actually this winning moment that made January's CBB so captivating - instead, it was Lee Ryan's inability to keep it in his pants (and Casey Batchelor's mum shrieking: "He's mugging you off,
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

James Bolam will duet with Michael Bublé in Get Your Act Together

Get Your Act Together is starting to sound like it will be the best thing on our screens in the new year.

ITV's new series sees various celebrities trying to learn new skills before performing them with experts in their field, and we've already been told about lot of the stars who will be taking part.

But now we've found out what some of them will be doing - and the thought of 79-year-old New Tricks actor James Bolam duetting with Michael Bublé on 'Me And My Shadow' is just too much for us to deal with.

According to the Daily Star, that's what we can expect - as well as Amy Willerton dancing on roller skates, Phil Tufnell showing off his basketball skills, the cast of Emmerdale doing a "magic" quick change stage act and Jedward performing some illusions.

And Chelsee Healey has reportedly joined the lineup and will
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

Get Your Act Together: Jedward and Sinitta to learn circus skills for ITV

Sinitta, Brian McFadden, Jedward and Ann Widdecombe are among the stars who have signed up to learn circus skills for ITV's new series Get Your Act Together.

The show, hosted by Stephen Mulhern, will see celebrities teaming up with some of the world's best variety acts in an attempt to learn different talents.

Five celebrities will appear in each show and will try to learn skills such as contortion, fire dancing, ventriloquism, acrobatics, juggling and plate spinning.

Some of the other stars who have signed up are Danielle Lloyd, James Bolam, Oliver Mellor and Sherrie Hewson, while Roxy Shahidi, Ruth Madoc, Phil Tufnell, Natalie Anderson and Matthew Wolfenden are also on the bill.

Rounding out the cast so far are Nigel Havers, Chip, Claire Richards, Gaby Roslin, Gareth Thomas and Nina Wadia.

Their mentors - who will perform with the celebrities in front of a studio audience - include famous magicians Penn and Teller,
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

Lynda Bellingham obituary

Star with a wide-ranging TV and stage career, best remembered as the Oxo mum in a long-running TV ad

Lynda Bellingham, who has died aged 66, played many roles during her five-decade professional career, but became synonymous with one. Being a mum making gravy was not quite how I had seen my career advancing, she said once. But between 1983 and 1999 thats what she did in 42 episodes of an award-winning TV ad. Since the early 1980s, her name was rarely mentioned in print without it being prefaced with Oxo mum.

During her career, though, she starred on TV as the vets wife Helen Herriot in All Creatures Great and Small in the 80s and as one of two divorcees trying to forge a relationship in the 90s sitcom Second Thoughts, opposite James Bolam. On stage she was best known for playing the lead in a touring production of Calendar Girls between 2008 and 2012. She was also,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

BBC Drama: New Tricks Returns For 11th Season

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BBC New Tricks

The popular BBC crime drama New Tricks is set to return for an eleventh season this Fall. At the end of the last season, Tamzin Outhwaite (Eastenders) and Nicholas Lyndhurst (Only Fools and Horses) joined the ensemble cast and they’ll be back for the new season alongside regulars such as Dennis Waterman (Minder) and Denis Lawson. Outhwaite and Lyndhurst will attempt to fill the void left by the departures of Amanda Redman and James Bolam.

With regard to the new arrivals Producer, Tom Mullens, said: “There’s definitely a new dynamic within the team, the format is still the same with three unruly boys running rings around their boss. Tamzin’s character brings something slightly different to the dynamic and so do the guys and there are different relationships to explore between them all.”

N Conrad

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BBC Two is 50: The Hour, Bottom and more shows to bring back

BBC Two is 50 - the British Broadcasting Corporation's second eldest child hits the half-century mark this Sunday (April 20).

But which shows from those five decades on air were given short shrift? Did your favourite drama or comedy not get a fair shake?

BBC Two is 50: Share your memories and thoughts

Other channels have plundered BBC Two's back catalogue with results ranging from the sublime - Sky's Alan Partridge revival - to the disastrous - Gold's Yes, Prime Minister rehash.

But with just two days to go until Two hits 5-0, here's five more shows - from the '60s to the '00s - that deserve another shot.

The Likely Lads (1964-66)

"Oh, what happened to you? Whatever happened to me?" - Yes, its more distinguished follow-up Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? might have graduated to BBC One, but its 1960s predecessor was a BBC Two staple.
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

10 great TV shows to enjoy with your kids

Feature Glen Chapman James Stansfield 26 Feb 2014 - 07:00

From Adventure Time to Old Jack's Boat, James and Glen talk us through ten modern kids' TV shows that geek parents can enjoy too...

“Urgh, I’m so hungover. I’m going to sit in my pants and watch movies all day”

So invariably goes at least one entry on my Twitter feed every Saturday or Sunday morning. Yes, lying about all day watching TV is great but nine times out of ten when someone writes something like this, I can guarantee that they don’t have kids. For those of us with small children, the television we regularly watch throughout the day comes from a vastly different landscape. To the childless, names such as Makka Pakka, Tree Fu Tom and Yo Jo Jo may mean very little. To some us though they’ve become household names, as our lives are filled
See full article at Den of Geek »

Grandpa in my Pocket returns with two new young stars

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CBeebies' BAFTA-nominated series Grandpa in my Pocket returns for a fourth series with two new young stars.

Sezen Djouma plays Elsie and Harvey Thorn is Josh, who come to stay for the summer and the now teenage Jason (played by Jay Ruckley) lets them in on my secret life.

James Bolam, one of the country’s favourite actors, returns as Grandpa but in this series he has new grandchildren in tow. He said of the young cast members:

"I think Harvey is brilliant as Josh and Sezen is absolutely delightful as Elsie. They were both a little nervous at the start, but they soon settled in and licked all us adults into shape. They’re both so natural, and keen, so a real pleasure to work with. They really "live" the stories. It's been a fantastic experience for them both working with such an experienced cast and they've learned a lot.
See full article at ScreenTerrier »

The 1978 Radio Times: Christmas TV, before Thatcherism ruined it

Highbrow lectures, arthouse films and a spot of Steptoe and Son – the Christmas TV and radio schedules of the 1970s were smarter, kinder and more varied than today's

"The holiday starts here. And to put you in party mood some of your favourite comedians bring the spirit of pantomime to these pages. Mike Yarwood, on our cover, opens the festivities, followed by a host of BBC TV comedians – Michael Crawford, Ronnies Corbett and Barker, John Inman, Larry Grayson (with Isla St Clair, of course), Little and Large, and last, but not least, a villainous Peter Cook."

And so begins the bumper 118-page edition of the Christmas and New Year Radio Times for 1978. The 26-page guide to BBC television and radio for 23 December 1978 to 5 January 1979 is more than just a list of programmes: it's a fascinating historical document, revealing much about the country we were that last Christmas before Thatcherism arrived and changed everything.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

New on Acorn DVD: War and Peace, and New Tricks

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New Tricks

Kieran Kinsella

Costume drama lovers are in for a treat as Acorn Media are set to release the 2007 multi-national production of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace on DVD on 24 September. Originally broadcast in France and Belguim, the production has never aired in the U.S. although it was available on Acorn’s streaming service earlier this summer. While there have been many adaptations of this Russian classic, few if any can boast a cast that includes such luminaries as Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange), Clemence Poesy (Birdsong) and Brenda Blethyn (Vera). The director, Austrian film-maker Robert Dornhelm is no slouch either, having been been behind the lens for hits including the Oscar nominated The Children of Theatre Street.

War and Peace is so long and so impressive that it makes “epics” such as Dr Zhivago look like short children’s stories. It features a colorful cast of
See full article at bestbritishtv »

David Frost: Hello, Good Evening and Farewell; When Miranda Met Bruce; David Attenborough's Rise of Animals; Peaky Blinders; Science Britannica – review

It's been a week for TV's grey knights, with Frost, Brucie – and Attenborough's brief history of spines

David Frost: Hello, Good Evening and Farewell (ITV1) | ITVPlayer

When Miranda Met Bruce (BBC1) | iPlayer

David Attenborough's Rise of Animals (BBC2) | iPlayer

Peaky Blinders (BBC2) | iPlayer

Science Britannica (BBC2) | iPlayer

Such was David Frost's unprecedented success on television in both Britain and America that his weekly bicontinental commute at the height of his fame was said (wrongly) to have put him in the Guinness Book of Records as the most travelled man on the planet. Meanwhile Bruce Forsyth is apparently the longest-serving TV entertainer of all time. Yet the reason neither man needs an introduction is in no small part due to their introductions.

"Hello, good evening and welcome" and "Nice to see you, to see you nice" – they're not exactly prose poems, but in the 1960s and 1970s a
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »
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