10 items from 2015
Comic writer best known for his Reginald Perrin novels, serialised for television starring Leonard Rossiter
David Nobbs, who has died aged 80, became established in the 1960s as a gag writer for popular performers of the day such as David Frost and Frankie Howerd. This funded his greater ambitions as a novelist, and in 1975 he struck gold with The Death of Reginald Perrin, in which office politics and meeting-filled drudgery at Sunshine Desserts make Reggie Perrin so fear that “his past was his future’s jailer” that he fakes suicide and assumes a fresh identity. A much-loved television adaptation, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, starring Leonard Rossiter as Perrin and Pauline Yates as his long-suffering wife, Elizabeth, ran between 1976 and 1979, and Nobbs embarked on a series of sometimes interconnected novels and scripts chronicling changes to British life across the decades.
Related: David Nobbs, Reginald Perrin creator, dies at 80
Related: Crossword blog: David Nobbs, »
- Christopher Hawtree
A lighthearted look at the programmes that mean the most to comic Rory McGrath, time for some reflection as the Bloomsbury Set settle down and a scary look at the nuclear secrets of Sellafield. Plus a visit to a British couple making a new life as sea gypsies and an examination of other Britons caught up in Peru’s cocaine trade
In a weekday series that began last Monday, Brian Conley chats about old telly with “some of our favourite celebrities”. Rory McGrath is put in that category today. He and Conley banter in a humour vacuum about Andy Pandy, Troughton-era Doctor Who, The Telegoons and the lost Postgate & Firmin cartoon The Seal of Neptune. It becomes less stilted when the clips move on to McGrath’s own career, including They Think It’s All Over, some televised Footlights, and writing for Frankie Howerd. Jack Seale
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- Jack Seale, Jonathan Wright, Julia Raeside, Ali Catterall, David Stubbs, Hannah Verdier and Rachel Aroesti
Writer David Nobbs has passed away at the age of 80, the British Humanist Association has confirmed.
Nobbs was best known for creating the comic television character Reginald Perrin, played in the BBC series by Leonard Rossiter.
Nobbs created the BBC sitcom The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, which ran between 1976 and 1979, from his series of novels.
The novels follow the story of a middle-aged middle manager, Reginald "Reggie" Perrin, who is driven to bizarre behaviour by the pointlessness of his job.
Nobbs wrote over 20 novels during a prolific career that spanned nearly 50 years.
Watch a clip from The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin below: »
Nobbs, who was best known as a comedy writer, was also a longstanding patron of the British Humanist Association, which, along with his agent, confirmed he had died.
Related: Once upon a life: David Nobbs
I didn't get where I am today by not knowing what a genius David Nobbs was. Rip
Very sad to hear of the death of inspirational David Nobbs, who I had quite a few laughs with. A comic genius and an excellent human being.
David Nobbs was a genius of English comedy. That is an astonishing loss. Very sad news indeed.
Very sad today to hear of the death of David Nobbs. »
- Kevin Rawlinson
Spoiler Alert: This blog is for those watching series one of Partners in Crime. Don’t read on if you haven’t seen episode one.
David Walliams and Jessica Raine star as Tommy and Tuppence Beresford in this stylish Agatha Christie mystery romp, which was once before adapted in the early 80s with Francesca Annis and James Warwick in the title roles.
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- Julia Raeside
Ron Moody in 'Oliver!' movie. Ron Moody: 'Oliver!' actor nominated for an Oscar dead at 91 (Note: This Ron Moody article is currently being revised.) Two well-regarded, nonagenarian British performers have died in the last few days: 93-year-old Christopher Lee (June 7, '15), best known for his many portrayals of Dracula and assorted movie villains and weirdos, from the title role in The Mummy to Dr. Catheter in Gremlins 2: The New Batch. 91-year-old Ron Moody (yesterday, June 11), among whose infrequent film appearances was the role of Fagin, the grotesque adult leader of a gang of boy petty thieves, in the 1968 Best Picture Academy Award-winning musical Oliver!, which also earned him a Best Actor nomination. Having been featured in nearly 200 movies and, most importantly, having had his mainstream appeal resurrected by way of the villainous Saruman in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies (and various associated merchandising, »
- Andre Soares
The gloriously self-mocking comedy is a sign of the corporation’s maturity. But in the current climate, it could be a godsend for detractors
It was with joy that a month ago I settled down to watch the second series of W1A, John Morton’s painfully brilliant comedy about the internal workings of the BBC: shown, needless to say, on the BBC. I spent 2013-14 researching the corporation, spending more time inside Broadcasting House than in the Guardian’s own offices. (A line in the show, uttered by a BBC media correspondent, describes Broadcasting House as a “highly secretive, some might say frankly incomprehensible building” – which chimed with me.)
During that period I became habituated to its panopticon-like layout, its meeting rooms emblazoned with images of TV favourites (there’s no Frankie Howerd room, as W1A has it, but there is a Captain Mainwaring room). Alan Yentob did seem always »
- Charlotte Higgins
Over to New Broadcasting House and W1A (BBC2) where it’s a new day and Head of Values Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville) is chairing an important meeting (obviously) of the Way Ahead taskforce. It’s about the forthcoming visit of Prince Charles, which takes on extra significance in the context of impending royal charter renewal. Also on the agenda: the possibility of the BBC losing Wimbledon, to rival broadcaster Sk…beep. Which is why Head of Brand Siobhan Sharpe (Jessica Hynes) is there, to say “so here’s the thing with this”, “it’s a no-brainer”, “Ok cool” etc and then to go away to play mash-up tennis with her team at Perfect Curve.
On another day, but in the same place (the Frankie Howerd meeting room »
- Sam Wollaston
But with a new series opener in which a high-level management power struggle starts simmering alongside the usual japes, hi-jinks and gaffes at Broadcasting House, the BBC's self-flagellating satire is at last hitting its stride.
Hugh Bonneville's still the star of the show as Ian Fletcher, keeping a sharp focus on charter renewal as his contemporaries in the Way Ahead Task Force fall over themselves (almost literally at one point) to get one over on their professional rivals. There's whispers of a new senior post at stake, and everyone seems to have their eye on it.
Following his fall from grace at the end of the last series after a newspaper sting exposing both his handsome salary and close relationship with his former Olympic Deliverance Commission Pa Sally, »
Amid all its troubled antiheroes and fatalistic gunplay, the golden age of television has been desperately short of one thing: trash. Not your common or garden, lowest common denominator, mass market, light entertainment crap – switch on your TV after 5pm on any given Saturday and you’ll practically drown in the stuff – but knowing, high-drama, campy trash. Trash such as Footballers’ Wives and Desperate Housewives.
We’ve come close – Scandal is clearly preposterous but takes itself slightly too seriously, and House of Cards perpetually seems seconds away from turning into a full-scale Frankie Howerd parody of itself – but it has always been hard to shake the feeling that most modern showrunners have been too busy eyeing up prestige to fully commit to trash. »
- Stuart Heritage
10 items from 2015
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