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5 items from 2015


After Christopher Lee, Another Nonagenarian British Actor Has Died: Oscar Nominee Moody

12 June 2015 4:05 PM, PDT | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

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

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We love W1A. But, dear BBC, is it wise to lay bare your foibles so mercilessly? | Charlotte Higgins

15 May 2015 8:03 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

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

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W1A review: ‘nibbling, not biting, satire’

23 April 2015 11:00 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

The problem with W1A is that reality is funnier than spoof – just look at Jeremy Clarkson. And the annoying language really is annoying

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

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W1A premiere review: BBC's self-flagellating satire finally hits its stride

23 April 2015 2:01 PM, PDT | Digital Spy | See recent Digital Spy - TV news news »

When held up to the heady heights of its BAFTA-winning spiritual predecessor Twenty Twelve, the first series of W1A fell short on occasions.

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, »

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The Royals: guaranteed to be the trashiest thing on TV

21 January 2015 5:52 AM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Liz Hurley plays the Queen! Joan Collins plays the Queen Mum! What’s not to love about the E!’s new drama about a British royal family?

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

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5 items from 2015


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