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The 14 most exciting things to happen on TV in the 90s

Louisa Mellor Dec 7, 2017

UK kids wouldn’t have survived the 90s without The Crystal Maze, Knightmare, Gladiators and more…

Remember boredom? Boredom was to a nineties childhood what stress is to modern adulthood – a constant and inescapable presence, relieved only by television.

See related Gotham season 4 episode 7 review: A Day In The Narrows

The difference is, even television could be boring in the nineties. Grown-ups exclusively watched One Man And His Dog, The Budget and Ballykissangel, the sort of programmes that gave you Sunday-night-dread any day of the week. Try as you might to escape border collies, Kenneth Clarke and priests having harvest festival scrapes in picturesque Irish villages, it simply wasn’t possible. There were no streaming services to come to your rescue. Video rental was a birthdays-only treat. What else were you supposed to do? Read?

Every so often, a bright light would shine through, illuminating the murk of Ground Force and Oh,
See full article at Den of Geek »

In praise of … Michael Cockerell | Hugh Muir

He’s a filmmaker whose potent mix of guile and charm delivers crucial insights into the politicians of the day, no matter how accustomed they are to the camera

If we are to encourage or admonish those in power, it is important we have some idea what they are up to. Light is shone by the press corps and by the transmission of proceedings from parliament itself. But every so often, we get a glimpse behind the curtain.

More often than not, that is provided by the filmmaker Michael Cockerell. He filmed his first intimate political portrait, of Willie Whitelaw, in 1989, and in the years since he has produced agenda-setting work adding colour and texture to figures such as Edward Heath, Kenneth Clarke, Barbara Castle, Michael Howard, Boris Johnson, Tony Blair and Alan Clark. His subjects are accustomed to cameras and the limelight,, yet inevitably they surrender an unscripted disclosure,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

The rape of Anna Bates: what if Stieg Larsson had written Downton Abbey? | Holly Baxter

It's a real shame that Downton treats Anna's rape as just another bothersome episode for her husband

In the realm of the small screen, another rapist is dead. Mr Green, who raped Anna Bates in Downton Abbey a few episodes ago, has been killed, somewhat mysteriously, in the series finale. The presumed murderer is the long-suffering Mr Bates, who has already undergone pretty much every injustice imaginable in pursuit of a quiet life. And now, of all things, his bloody wife went and got herself raped! Life, eh? Isn't it just a series of trials and tribulations?

The fact that Green became just another thing for Mr Bates to sort out is problematic for Downton. On the one hand, the programme was true to its time: it was, after all, unrealistic to imagine that Anna Bates might pop down to the police station, have her case handled sensitively, pursue her attacker in court,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Ex-Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons Going The Jazz Restaurant Route In Harlem

Richard Parsons, the former chairman of Citigroup who was chairman/CEO of Time Warner until he stepped down in 2007, has resurfaced in Harlem. He and wife Laura are opening two new uptown restaurants in Minton’s and The Cecil. Minton’s is a restoration of the famed 1930s/1940s Harlem jazz club Minton’s Playhouse. It will reside in the original location, redesigned as a contemporary jazz supper club. Next-door sister restaurant The Cecil will be an Afro-Asian-American brasserie that integrates the culinary traditions of the African Diaspora with traditional Asian and American cuisines. The Parsons have appointed their long-time friend and Cafe Beulah restaurateur Alexander Smalls as Executive Chef of both eateries. The Cecil opens September 23rd and Minton’s opens the following month. The original Minton’s Playhouse opened in 1938 and became an outpost for good jazz from the likes of Thelonious Monk, Kenny Clarke, Charlie Christian, Charlie Parker
See full article at Deadline TV »

Ex-Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons Going The Jazz Restaurant Route In Harlem

  • Deadline
Richard Parsons, the former chairman of Citigroup who was chairman/CEO of Time Warner until he stepped down in 2007, has resurfaced in Harlem. He and wife Laura are opening two new uptown restaurants in Minton’s and The Cecil. Minton’s is a restoration of the famed 1930s/1940s Harlem jazz club Minton’s Playhouse. It will reside in the original location, redesigned as a contemporary jazz supper club. Next-door sister restaurant The Cecil will be an Afro-Asian-American brasserie that integrates the culinary traditions of the African Diaspora with traditional Asian and American cuisines. The Parsons have appointed their long-time friend and Cafe Beulah restaurateur Alexander Smalls as Executive Chef of both eateries. The Cecil opens September 23rd and Minton’s opens the following month. The original Minton’s Playhouse opened in 1938 and became an outpost for good jazz from the likes of Thelonious Monk, Kenny Clarke, Charlie Christian, Charlie Parker
See full article at Deadline »

Strictly Ann: The Autobiography by Ann Widdecombe – review

Devoid of grace, humour or feeling, the former Conservative MP's autobiography serves as a corrective to her 'national treasure' status

When Ann Widdecombe appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in 2010, the judges were not complimentary, describing her variously as "a dancing hippo", "a Dalek in drag" and "the Ark Royal". Len Goodman, exasperated that she had somehow crept into the quarter finals, likened her to haemorrhoids: "You keep coming back more painful than ever," he said, in the dazed moments after she and her partner, Anton du Beke, had completed their Titanic-inspired interpretation of the rumba. Fortunately, a cure for Len's painful posterior was just around the corner. The following week, she finally made her exit, she and Anton having scored just 14 points out of 40. Widdy had been dragged across the Blackpool ballroom "like a Hoover or something" for the last time.

Is Widdecombe's writing any better than her dancing? No.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

The Politician's Husband – TV review

Ambition, betrayal and battles in the bedroom – and that's just episode one of this follow-up to Paula Milne's The Politician's Wife

The Politician's Husband on iPlayer

I like to think of a few real politicians watching The Politician's Husband (BBC1). Yvette Cooper and Ed Balls, certainly; it might give her a few ideas. Ed Miliband, too, for the betrayal, though here the betrayal is not of a brother, but of a best friend, best man, godparent of children etc. And any number of politicians for dramatic resignations and/or leadership challengers – Geoffrey Howe, Michael Heseltine, John Redwood

In the belated follow-up to Paula Milne's 1995 drama The Politician's Wife, Westminster golden boy Aiden Hoynes (television's golden boy David Tennant, worryingly golden-haired here) resigns from the government, nominally in protest at the Pm's immigration policy, though really because he is challenging for the leadership himself. It backfires big time, mainly because his best mate,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Margaret Thatcher funeral: Dimbleby is stately on TV's near-state ocacasion

ITV's Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield started too late and aimed too low to keep up with the BBC

David Dimbleby has some time to kill before the procession leaves the Palace of Westminster. Time to talk about the route, tell us about the undertakers and the horses – six black chargers led by Mr Twister – who'll pull the gun carriage after a pit stop at St Clement Danes.

And there are distinguished guests, mostly titled, in the studio overlooking St Paul's. Shirley Williams is generous, remembers the Iron Lady actually ironing, and praises her extraordinary single-mindedness and seriousness.

"What brings you here?" Dimbleby asks Terry Wogan. Sir T's not sure, he didn't know Lady T well, but he tells a story about her, Denis and a couple of gin and tonics I've heard before. Peter Hennessy, the historian, is on hand for pithiness. "She was a primary-colours politician who disturbed all the atoms in politics,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Rewind TV: Mad Men; Thatcher coverage; Off Their Rockers – review

The sun shone for the return of Mad Men, but the show's main man soon had sorrows to drown

Mad Men (Sky Atlantic)

Maggie and Me (C4) | 4oD

Off Their Rockers | ITV player

For years and for selfish, childish, reasons, I didn't really want to review Mad Men. It was about Madison Avenue in the 1960s, when there were slightly fewer colours in the world but those that there were were, somehow, more vibrant. The men got to wear properly cut suits, with shorter jackets and longer trousers, with pleats, creased just so. They wore slim, square watches that told you the time rather than sang to you to tell you it was raining, because they were grown-up men. They lived in impossibly sexy Bauhaus cartoon penthouses, with impossibly sexy Vargas cartoon wives. They said and thought clever things, often (and often even more cleverly) after having started in on
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Europe is a ball and chain – we should unshackle ourselves | Terry Smith

We have a negative balance of trade with the least competitive trading bloc in the world. Why would we want to stay part of it?

In deciding whether we want to be part of the EU we should ask ourselves whether or not it is advantageous to the UK to be part of that trading bloc. A trading bloc is advantageous if it enables us to access a larger free market for our goods and services. Economic theory from Adam Smith to David Ricardo shows that our prosperity is enhanced when we are able to focus on those goods and services that we are best at, and trade them with others who have different skills.

How is that going with our EU partners? Not very well judging by last year's Office for National Statistics figures. We have a negative balance of trade of £55.7bn with our EU partners: they sold
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

TV review: Secret State; The Comic Strip Presents … Five Go to Rehab

Secret State is just like real British politics – but sexed up and Spookified

I think the prime minister is abroad at the moment isn't he? In the Gulf, selling arms to countries with dodgy human-rights records; not in America talking to a dodgy petrochemical company as the Pm is in this political conspiracy thriller, Secret State (Channel 4). Same idea, though – dubious big business ahead of domestic hardship.

It's difficult not to replace characters with their counterparts from the real world. Of course, no one would wish it on our Pm, but if his plane were to come down in suspicious circumstances (Boris, was that you, with your big grouse-buster blunderbuss?) on the way back, there could be a similar scenario. The home secretary and the foreign secretary fight for power. So that's Felix Durrel (Rupert Graves) and Ros Yelland (Sylvestra Le Touzel), respectively, in Secret State; Theresa May and William Hague in real life.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

TV review: The Thick Of It; The Scapegoat

Whisper it – The Thick Of It isn't very funny. Even the swearing has lost its edge

It's like … what's something you really look forward to for a long time but which turns out to be not all that? Losing your virginity? A cigarette at the end of a long haul flight? The Stone Roses' Second Coming? Actually, I think Second Coming is underrated and brilliant, so not like that; smoking, and the other, I've forgotten. Anyway, there's no escaping it: this opening episode to the fourth (and probably final) series of The Thick of It (BBC2), one of the smartest, funniest British TV shows ever made, is – whisper it – disappointing.

The opposition from the last series is now in power. So the Ken Clarke-ish Peter Mannion is the new minister at the DoSAC, and he's flanked, ineptly, by advisers Phil and Emma. But this is a coalition government,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Judge's remarks about burglary taking 'courage' trigger investigation

Controversial comments at Teesside crown court prompt David Cameron to condemn those who break into people's homes

A crown court judge who said burglars needed "a huge amount of courage" and sending them to prison did little good has triggered an investigation by the Office for Judicial Complaints (Ojc).

The outspoken comments were made by Judge Peter Bowers at Teesside crown court earlier this week when he spared a 26-year-old, serial burglar from an immediate custodial sentence. The Ojc said it was considering complaints it has received.

The remarks also prompted David Cameron to condemn those who broke into people's homes. Appearing on ITV's Daybreak programme, the prime minister said he did not know the details of the case, but continued: "I am very clear that burglary is not bravery. Burglary is cowardice. Burglary is a hateful crime. People sometimes say it is not a violent crime, but actually if
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Armando Iannucci v Andrew Rawnsley

As The Thick of It returns to TV for what may be the last time, its creator, satirist Armando Iannucci, is challenged by Observer chief political commentator Andrew Rawnsley to get serious about politics…

Armando Iannucci has a confession to make. "The thing is, I don't despise them," he says. "I've always been fascinated by politics. Read up on political history. Love all the election shows. I am a political geek."

At the age of 14 or 15, he would take himself off to a public library in Glasgow to read Hansard. I remark that William Hague is the only other person who has ever been heard admitting to the nerdish compulsion to read the parliamentary record as a teenager. "Yeah," he nods, wincing slightly. "I know."

We have met for lunch in a break between final edits of the new series of The Thick of It. The hugely acclaimed comedy has
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

The Thick of It: 'it feels more like politicians copy us'

Show's stars and writers describe how lines between reality and satire have become blurred in the year of the 'omnishambles'

In the three years since the last series of Armando Iannucci's The Thick of It, the fine line dividing art and real life has become more gossamer-like than ever.

The government's pasty tax U-turn, Jeremy Hunt's unfortunate Olympic bell-ringing incident and treasury minister Chloe Smith's Newsnight mauling by Jeremy Paxman all suggested a master satirist at work.

"I always look at the news, unless it's something absolutely horrific, as entertainment," said one of The Thick of It's six principal scriptwriters, Roger Drew. "Stuff in politics, the backbiting, the in-fighting, it's just hugely entertaining. Chloe Smith on Newsnight – that was terrific."

The show's writing team keeps its distance from real-life politics – script consultant Kate Conway is their conduit with Westminster – although Iannucci was said to have been contacted
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Offender shows there is no justice for the young

Paul van Carter's crime drama shows that youth custody is still failing because we can't decide what we want from it

Many applauded the firm response to last summer's riots that saw an unprecedented influx into England's youth custody system. Fewer may have wondered how the new arrivals fared. In fact, according to the chief inspector of prisons, some were subjected to attacks by fellow inmates and some embraced gang culture themselves for the first time; at one youth jail, the number of new prisoners on suicide watch trebled.

This may come as little surprise to those who've seen Offender. Violence, suicide, bullying, drug-taking, bent screws and rioting are rife in the establishment in which it's set. Understandably, incarceration therein does nothing to divert Tommy, the film's once worthy young hero, from the wayward course on which he's embarked.

Filmgoers may wonder whether things are really this bad in such places,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Brit prisoner wins right to make tea in cell - Realbollywood.com News

London, July 5: A prisoner has won the right to a keep a thermos flask of hot tea overnight after the new Prisons and Probation Ombudsman said that it was good for his health and that he deserved "decent treatment."

Nigel Newcomen Cbe, who had been appointed the new Prisons and Probation Ombudsman by Justice Secretary Ken Clarke in September 2011, took up the unnamed prisoner's case after hearing he had been denied access to hot drinks in his cell, the Daily Mail reported.

Newcomen agreed that banning access to hot drinks was in breach of the rules on how prisoners should be kept in prison.

The National Offender Management Service has now accepted the recommendation and agreed that prisoners should be provided with.
See full article at RealBollywood »

Silk series two: Costello as a role model ... and a night in the officers' mess | Ros Taylor

Writer of the BBC1 legal drama, Peter Moffat, talks to Ros Taylor about avoiding stereotypes about women at the bar and his new drama series on family courts

Twelve years ago Channel 4 launched a drama series set in a barristers' chambers, featuring Rupert Penry-Jones and a female character who returned to work three days after having a baby. North Square acquired a devoted following among barristers, but never returned for a second series. "There was a change of regime at Channel 4," says the writer, Peter Moffat. "It was hugely loved and not watched by many people."

Moffat is the writer and Penry-Jones and Phil Davis are back in the cast, but Silk - whose second series opened this week - is not North Square 2. The cases are bigger, the lawyers are older and the setting is London rather than Leeds. The show's popularity among lawyers as well as
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

"Ways of Seeing", Then & Now

  • MUBI
To profane a Botticelli with a knife is something likely to go down well even with the Windsor Knitting Club these days, less so forty years ago when John Berger literally did so on national television. Though staged for the benefit of an oblivious public, this iconoclastic gesture, accompanied by Berger’s declaration that “it is not so much the paintings themselves which I want to consider as the way we now see them,” your average prime time TV was not.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of its original airing, the BFI is screening Berger’s seminal TV series Ways of Seeing, inaugurating “Broadcasting the Arts”, a new programme exploring the way(s) television has dealt with literature, music, theatre, dance and fine art. Judicious choice that of starting with this particular series—the focal point of this 1972 televisual experiment being that of investigating how the perception of images was
See full article at MUBI »

Oldies are goodies – even the gags

Gossip abounds at the Oldie of the Year lunch as the great and good gather to exchange jokes, jibes and a bit of mild filth

Off to the Oldie of the Year lunch and some of the nicest gossip of the year. I noticed the magazine's slogan – "Buy it before you snuff it", which does not have quite the same cheery ring as, say, "It's naughty but it's nice". I bumped into the great children's illustrator Shirley Hughes, who was chatting to the celebrated TV critic Philip Purser, whom she had met only once since they learned ballroom dancing together in Wirral, Merseyside, some 70 years ago.

There was Lord West, the former First Sea Lord (the head of the army told him he envied his splendid title. West replied: "Then you would be the First Land Lord.") The former terrorism minister arrived wearing the first bowler hat I've seen, on a head,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »
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