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4 items from 2015

A Very British Coup box set review: ‘a startlingly prescient, first-class governmental drama’

13 August 2015 8:04 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Ray McAnally is superb as the former steelworker-turned-prime minister Harry Perkins, who counters the dirty tricks of a threatened establishment with wit and heaps of political nous

It is the near future. After a wave of public revulsion at the excesses of corrupt bankers, the Labour party has enjoyed a landslide victory under a far-left leader. He’s got a mandate to revitalise the British economy on a more equitable basis and ditch the UK’s nuclear deterrent. His rise to power surprises and horrifies the establishment, as well as the Us, who assumed he was the usual “bungling incompetent” under whose leadership previous attempts at British socialism had run aground. They tried every dirty trick on him, particularly media vilification. The Times, says the Pm in his victory speech, called him a “simple-minded fool”. He duly takes the opportunity to thank the mass of “simple-minded fools” who just voted him into office. »

- David Stubbs

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The Forgotten: Richard Lester's "Juggernaut" (1974)

12 August 2015 5:41 PM, PDT | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

Inspired by the Richard Lester retrospective at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, August 7-13.When the great Omar Sharif died recently, the BBC's coverage of the sad event included clips from Lawrence of Arabia and Dr. Zhivago, of course, and then cut to Richard Lester's Juggernaut just as the voice-over commented on the declining quality of Sharif's later films, causing me to splutter into my cocoa and pen angry letters to Auntie Beeb in my mind, for Juggernaut is a fantastic example of seventies British cinema. It's what I remember seventies Britain being like. The Christmas scene in Ken Russell's Tommy has the same effect on me, but that's because I was a kid in the seventies.Brown and orange color schemes, older men with long hair, and grim political discussions that went over my head but seemed to portend explosive doom: that was the United Kingdom in Ad 1974. In Juggernaut, »

- David Cairns

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‘The Ribald Tales of Canterbury / Tasty’ Review (Vinegar Syndrome)

21 February 2015 9:43 AM, PST | Blogomatic3000 | See recent Blogomatic3000 news »

The Ribald Tales Of Canterbury

(dir: Bud Lee, 1985)

We’ve all been there at some point. A long journey with nothing to do. All of a sudden, someone comes up with the idea of sharing stories and laughs to help pass the time. Yeah, maybe not everyone has been there, but I had to set the scene somehow right? The first film on this double feature release from Vinegar Syndrome follows the journey of a group of noblemen and women headed by the Hostess Hyapatia Lee (Let’s Get Physical) en route to Canterbury. She proposes a wager with her fellow travellers. Each places the grand sum of 20 pence in to a small pouch and whoever can recall the best erotic tale on their journey wins all. It’s certainly a novel way to pass the time! The stories range from a humble knight having a surprising (in the best »

- Mondo Squallido

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Letter: Bridget Turner’s role in Get Lost!

6 February 2015 9:00 AM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Related: Bridget Turner obituary

I’d like to add to Michael Coveney’s recollections of Bridget Turner. She gave a fine performance as a radical English teacher, Judy Threadgold, opposite Alun Armstrong’s woodwork teacher in Alan Plater’s Get Lost! This was an ITV series in four parts, shown in 1981. When Armstrong proved to be unavailable for a sequel, Plater took its theme of people going missing as the basis for The Beiderbecke Affair, the first of three series with a different cast.

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- Stephen Herring

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