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4 items from 2011

Who are your favourite supporting actors?

16 June 2011 9:08 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Lead Balloon's Raquel Cassidy is a great example of an unsung hero who plays a crucial part in a show. Who else fits the bill?

They're the unsung heroes of the small screen: the best friend, the assistant, the parent, the colleague, the partner. Great supporting actors are a crucial but often overlooked part of any television series, emerging from the background without ever overstaying their welcome or overplaying their role. The best never do.

Take Raquel Cassidy, currently playing second fiddle (or indeed not) to Jack Dee in Lead Balloon. Nobody does withering scorn quite like Cassidy – whether in Teachers, Party Animals or as the unflappable partner of Jack Dee's increasingly exasperating Rick Spleen, where she has a great deal to be witheringly scornful about. Cassidy is the perfect foil, often voicing what the viewer is thinking, a role which Olivia Colman plays equally well – whether providing »

- Kathy Sweeney

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TV review: Lead Balloon

31 May 2011 4:05 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

What's the funniest thing about the return of Rick Spleen? That would be the pig

My girlfriend's brother is over. He's quite useful for trying things out on because he's been in a coma for some years. Well, not strictly a coma, medically speaking; but he's been living in Singapore, which is like being in a coma. He's missed things, so he can bring a fresh perspective to them: he comes without prejudice or preconception. So I'm watching Lead Balloon (BBC2) with him. This, the first episode in series four, is his first ever.

In the opening scene, Jack Dee's character, Rick, appears to be reading a suicide note. It is a suicide note, but it's a suicide note in the novel he's writing, and the camera pans back to reveal Rick's wife, Mel (Raquel Cassidy), who he's reading it to for approval. It's one of those you-think-it's-one-thing-but-actually-it's-something-else gags. »

- Sam Wollaston

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Doctor Who Episode 6.5 Review: A Tale of Two Doctors and a New Race

22 May 2011 3:11 PM, PDT | | See recent news »

It’s hard to review the first of a two-part episode when most of it was mainly setup. Unlike the one-two punch of the Doctor Who Season Six premiere, “The Rebel Flesh” takes its time to introduce the guest starring characters The Doctor (Matt Smith), Amy (Karen Gillan), and Rory (Arthur Darvill) come into contact with, and put the wheels of the plot in motion. We get a sense of what’s going on but the real story doesn’t happen until the last act. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not a bad thing. After all, we now have Two Doctors!

Reminiscent of the Steven Moffat-penned two-parter “Silence in The Library”/”Forest of The Dead” from Season Four, most of “The Rebel Flesh” (and from the looks of it, the concluding “The Almost People”) takes place in one location. This time, it’s in an Earthly castle »

- Mo Fathelbab

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Doctor Who: The Rebel Flesh – Series 32, episode 5

21 May 2011 11:30 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

This Matthew Graham episode set in a grimy industrial future is classy, stylish and nicely unsettling

Spoiler Alert: This weekly blog is for those who have been watching the new series of Doctor Who. Don't read ahead if you haven't seen episode five – The Doctor's Wife

Dan Martin's episode four blog

Neil Gaiman live Q&A

"You poured in your personalities; emotions, traits, memories, secrets, everything. You gave them your lives. Human lives are amazing. Are you surprised they walked off with them?"

It's that time of year again. We've been to Planet America, we've been on a dodgy pirate ship, we've been through the plughole at the bottom of the universe. And now, to complete Doctor Who's checklist of formats, it's time for the one in the grimy industrial future. So yes, this is familiar ground in many ways, but whether it is Matthew Graham's writing, or »

- Dan Martin

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