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1-20 of 35 items from 2011   « Prev | Next »


This week's arts diary

13 December 2011 4:05 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Two new Doctor Whos and a Dennis Potter are found; a Dutch architecture firm show Clouded judgment in their design for twin towers; and does Britain need a new capital?

Two new Whos and a Potter

Archive television fans gathered on London's South Bank last Sunday to witness the BFI's annual showcase of newly discovered shows that had been thought lost, or "wiped". The big news was the announcement of two Doctor Who episodes. More interesting, I thought, was an early TV play by Dennis Potter.

Emergency Ward 9 was broadcast in 1966 as part of BBC2's live Thirty-Minute Theatre series. A riposte to ITV's soap opera Emergency – Ward 10, Potter's play is set in a shabby London hospital ward and centres on the patients: an opinionated old man; a prissy preacher; a cocky businessman. The latter is black, and the casual racism he suffers forms the crux of the play. In »

- Mark Brown

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'Lost' Doctor Who episodes from 1960s returned to BBC

12 December 2011 5:52 AM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Two classic episodes of Doctor Who starring William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton have surfaced from a village fete

It is a feat of time travel of which the Doctor would be proud. Two classic episodes of Doctor Who that were thought to have been lost for ever have been returned to the BBC.

The two episodes from 1965 and 1967, which star William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton, have been unearthed three decades after they were unsuspectingly purchased at a village fete.

More than 100 instalments of the BBC1 show are still missing because the BBC did not start routinely archiving its shows until 1978.

The discovery of the "lost" two episodes was revealed at the Missing Believed Wiped event at the British Film Institute on Sunday.

Airlock, the second of a four-part story called Galaxy Four, was originally broadcast in 1965.

The doctor, played by Hartnell, is joined by Peter Purves and Maureen O'Brien in »

- John Plunkett

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South Bank Show makes a swift return ... on Sky Arts

1 December 2011 2:31 AM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Melvyn Bragg 'chuffed to bits' after accepting Sky deal for six one-hour arts documentaries

Melvyn Bragg, The South Bank Show and in all probability its instantly recognisable Paganini-based theme tune are to return to television three years after being ditched by ITV.

The presenter announced on Wednesday that he had accepted an offer from Sky Arts for an initial series of six hour-long programmes. "I am really chuffed to bits that The South Bank Show is back in town, I really am," he said.

Bragg admitted he had been "a bit all over the place" when ITV ditched the show in 2009 after 33 years but "I knew what I basically wanted to do was to keep on doing arts programmes. I thought I'd gone to heaven when I got to make arts programmes aged 23, I thought that's the end of my career – I'll just stick here."

Over the ITV years »

- Mark Brown

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DVD Release: Track 29

30 November 2011 2:24 PM, PST | Disc Dish | See recent Disc Dish news »

DVD Release Date: Feb. 21, 2012

Price: DVD $14.98

Studio: Image

Theresa Russell and Gary Oldman embark on a different kind of train ride in Track 29.

Gary Oldman (Sid & Nancy), Theresa Russell (Insignificance) and Christopher Lloyd (Piranha) star in the eccentric 1988 drama film Track 29, directed by Nicolas Roeg (Don’t Look Now) , Russell’s then-husband.

Unhappy with her barren marriage to her model train-loving surgeon husband (Lloyd), restless suburban housewife Linda Henry (Russell) craves something to awaken her lonely existence.

She soon becomes captivated with Martin (Oldman), a hitchhiker who drops in on Linda claiming to be the child she gave up for adoption after a teenage pregnancy.  They spend time together trying to forge a bond, but bizarre events and behaviors make Linda wonder about this oddity who has shown up at her doorstep.

Executive produced by George Harrison and written by Dennis Potter (Pennies From Heaven, The Singing Detective), this DVD is the U. »

- Laurence

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Ken Russell: his film career was one colossal, chaotic rhapsody

28 November 2011 4:05 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

The defiant romantic of British cinema never lacked for critics but his prime inspiration was surely in music

Part glam rocker, part wild-haired conductor, Ken Russell was the populist maestro of the screen, the great defiant romantic of British cinema. Russell's films showed his great love for music and composers: Elgar, Tchaikovsky, Delius, Strauss, Liszt – and Sandy Wilson and Roger Daltrey. Other film-makers might have found their creative impetus in novels or plays; Russell's inspiration was surely primarily in music. His ideas, his images, his rows, his career itself were all one colossal, chaotic rhapsody.

His adventures were a rebuke to British parochialism, literalism and complacency, and he had something of Kubrick's flair for startling or mind-bending spectacle. Russell gave us the nude wrestling scene between Alan Bates and Oliver Reed in the Oscar-winning Women In Love (1969) in which each actor, with Russell's cheerful consent, was said to have taken »

- Peter Bradshaw

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Why the BBC silenced The Singing Detective | Heather Peace

17 November 2011 7:21 AM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Dennis Potter would not make it in today's BBC, which prefers to nurture managers over writers

On the face of it, the news that Dennis Potter's masterpiece The Singing Detective will not be repeated to mark its 25th anniversary because the BBC is unwilling to stump up what amounts to less than a week's pay for one of its senior executives (£5,000 to you and me) is bewildering. In the context of its current policy of imposing 20% cuts – and despite a last-minute offer to make up the difference from the Labour peer Lord Hollick – it is less surprising.

Since I joined the BBC drama department as a trainee script editor in 1989, the corporation has altered the balance of its budgets radically, reducing the number of producers, editorial and production staff to a fraction of what it was when Potter was alive and criticising John Birt in memorable terms. (If you're too young to remember, »

- Heather Peace

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Lord Hollick offers BBC £5,000 to repeat The Singing Detective

16 November 2011 5:47 AM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Peer steps in after talks between BBC and Potter estate broke down but corporation rules may prevent it taking funds

Lord Hollick, the Labour peer and millionaire businessman, has offered to pay the BBC the £5,000 needed to secure a repeat broadcast of Dennis Potter's drama The Singing Detective to mark its 25th anniversary.

However, BBC rules on using donations to pay for programmes may prevent Hollick's offer being accepted.

Hollick made a personal approach to the BBC director general, Mark Thompson, at Oxford charity art auction last week and told him that he would be happy to make up the £5,000 gap between what the BBC is prepared to pay and what the Potter estate wants for the rights to repeat it.

He confirmed on Twitter: "Bumped into Mark Thompson, BBC Dg at Art Room charity auction and confirmed my £5k gift to help BBC fund rebroadcast of Singing Detective. »

- Ben Dowell

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BBC cancels re-screening of Dennis Potter series over fee disagreement

9 November 2011 5:41 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Fee negotiations between BBC and Potter estate break down with gap between two parties at no more than £5,000

The BBC has pulled out of re-broadcasting Dennis Potter's landmark drama series The Singing Detective in its 25th anniversary year because managers were not willing to pay an extra £5,000, the Guardian has learned.

The six-part drama, which starred Michael Gambon as a hospitalised writer, was a sensation when it was first shown in 1986 and was ranked 20th in the BFI's all time top 100 list of the greatest TV shows.

BBC4 planned to mark what was a seminal moment in TV history by repeating the series from this Sunday, almost 25 years to the day the first run began.

Negotiations between BBC4 and the Potter estate represented by the agent Judy Daish broke down suddenly last Wednesday, little more than a week before it was due to be broadcast.

Daish said she was »

- Mark Brown

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Ewan McGregor interview: Mr Sunshine vs the apocalypse

3 October 2011 1:58 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

He's turned 40, moved his family to Los Angeles and spends his time tinkering with motorbikes. Midlife crisis? No fear

In the corner of his regular haunt, a bustling restaurant in the posh suburb of Brentwood, Los Angeles, Ewan McGregor takes a break from his shrimp salad to consider the apocalypse.

"I'm not remotely worried," he says. "For all of the hurtling towards climate change, there's also a lot more understanding of it than there was when we were kids. They don't call environmentalists tree huggers any more, so there's hope!"

Doomsday would be an odd fixation for McGregor. After all, life is rather good. He has five movies coming down the pipe, and promising ones, too. There's Bryan Singer's sword-swinging fantasy Jack the Giant Killer and The Impossible, in which he and Naomi Watts face the 2004 tsunami. He also plays a stuffy scientist who falls for Emily Blunt in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, »

- Sanjiv Bhattacharya

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Jonathan Cecil obituary

25 September 2011 4:05 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Versatile actor and writer often called upon to play toffs and bumbling clerics

The actor Jonathan Cecil, who has died of pneumonia aged 72 after suffering from emphysema, spent much of his career playing upper-class characters. That is hardly surprising since his father was Lord David Cecil, Goldsmiths' professor of English literature at Oxford University, and Jonathan's grandfather was the 4th Marquess of Salisbury. Although often typecast as a comic blueblood, there was infinitely more to Jonathan than that. He excelled in Chekhov and Shakespeare, and four times played Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night, always investing the character with a silvery pathos. In 1998 he had an outstanding season at Shakespeare's Globe, where he appeared in As You Like It and Thomas Middleton's A Mad World, My Masters, in which he played Sir Bounteous Progress – "gazing benignly", as John Gross wrote, "on almost everything, even his own undoing".

I »

- Michael Billington

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Grimetime TV: why the north rules

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

From Coronation Street to Cold Feet, the north of England has dominated TV drama. Mark Lawson reveals the grim truth about why southerners don't get a look in

Quiz shows and gameshows – from It's a Knockout! to Round Britain Quiz to University Challenge – have long enjoyed pitting teams from the north and south of England against each other. It's an idea imported from sport, the rivalry giving extra zest to the contest. Similarly, throughout the history of broadcasting, there has always been needle over the amount of representation each region gets – with TV and radio regularly accused of being London-centric.

In this context, many observers north of Watford will feel regret at the fate of the most recent northern show on BBC1. Sugartown, a comedy drama set in a Blackpool-like resort and centring on a factory that makes sticks of rock, has been relegated to a 10.25pm Sunday-night summer slot, »

- Mark Lawson

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The Forgotten: Sparkles

27 July 2011 8:22 PM, PDT | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

"This was never a fun place. Oh, they had a pool and everything, but it was never fun."

The title 11 Harrowhouse (1974) has a grim sound to it, but it's a largely light movie, tipped over from heavy heist to comic caper by the onscreen presence and script contribution of Charles Grodin. But more on him later.

Director Aram Avakian made only a few films (this was his last), including an adaptation of John Barth's End of the Road (1970) scripted by Terry Southern that's soon to be reissued courtesy of Steven Soderbergh, and Cops and Robbers (1973), adapted from Donald Westlake's novel by the author himself. His strongest suite as filmmaker was his editing, hardly surprising since he was an editor himself, cutting early films by Coppola and Arthur Penn.

In his untrustworthy memoir The Kid Stays in the Picture, Robert Evans recounts firing Avakian from The Godfather, after a Machiavellian attempt to get Coppola fired. »

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Dennis Potter & Adam Curtis On Rupert Murdoch

16 July 2011 1:00 PM, PDT | Hope for Film | See recent Hope for Film news »

The brilliant Dennis Potter had one dying wish... (hat tip to Dan McGuire again!) The equally brilliant Adam Curtis lays out Mr. Murdoch's path to becoming the Supreme Satan. (hat tip to MovieCityNews again!) Dennis Potter and Adam Curtis have brought so much joy and pleasure to my world. And I leave their work always feeling stronger, smarter, fuller. I can't say the same for Mr. Murdoch »

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"Hobbit" Dwarf Centerfolds: Balin & Dwalin

15 July 2011 9:20 AM, PDT | Dark Horizons | See recent Dark Horizons news »

The unveilings continue for Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" with today's dwarf pictorial coming from Time Magazine.

Their photo shows the dwarf lords Balin (Ken Stott) and Dwalin (Graham McTavish), brothers who are close relatives and the "most loyal and trusted friends" of the Company's leader Thorin Oakshield.

Balin has fought many battles but harbors doubts about their quest, Dwalin has no such doubts and is a strong fighter with a distrust of all non-Dwarves - especially Elves.

Both Stott and McTavish are Scottish actors best known for their TV work but have had plenty of big screen experience as well.

Stott is mostly known for British police dramas such as taking over the title role in the detective series "Rebus" from "The Mummy" actor John Hannah in 2006 and 2007. Stott also scored much acclaim and an award nomination for his work as Di Chappell in ITV police »

- Garth Franklin

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Colin Cunningham Talks Falling Skies – Exclusive Interview

24 June 2011 10:03 AM, PDT | AreYouScreening.com | See recent AreYouScreening news »

Well, Falling Skies has launched, and the debut ratings were impressive. If you're like me, you took a shine to the character John Pope, and there is a lot of him coming up in the show, and with some interesting spins. Pope is played by Colin Cunningham, and I got a chance to talk to him recently about the show, shows generally, and his character. It was a great conversation, and I hope that translates (it usually doesn't quite work). For my money, a lot of the best hope of the continued success of the show comes down to how Pope figures into things, and I think Colin gives a fun, interesting, and layered performance that is worth watching.

Just because the show is so new, I'm going to include the official rundown on both the character and Cunningham before jumping right into the interview. Have fun.

John Pope, the »

- Marc Eastman

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Cinema’s 10 greatest disembodied brains and heads

23 June 2011 8:33 AM, PDT | Den of Geek | See recent Den of Geek news »

We provide a rundown of ten of the most memorable and freaky floating brains and flying heads in the history of cinema...

For some reason I've yet to discover, cinema has, for decades, been home to all manner of sentient, disembodied heads and floating brains. From massive flying stone heads to telekinetic, evil brains from other planets, this list is devoted to the most memorable instances of this peculiar movie phenomenon...

The Brain From The Planet Arous (1957)

It's been several years since I've seen the sci-fi B-movie, The Brain From Planet Arous, but one thing is still clear in my mind: that it features a large disembodied alien brain, a criminal brain, no less, that comes to Earth to control the population with its psychic powers.

The brain, called Gor, seizes control of Steve, a nuclear scientist, who becomes a randy "regular caveman" under the alien's influence. With Steve as his puppet, »

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Cinema’s 10 greatest disemembodied brains and heads

23 June 2011 8:33 AM, PDT | Den of Geek | See recent Den of Geek news »

We provide a rundown of ten of the most memorable and freaky floating brains and flying heads in the history of cinema...

For some reason I've yet to discover, cinema has, for decades, been home to all manner of sentient, disembodied heads and floating brains. From massive flying stone heads to telekinetic, evil brains from other planets, this list is devoted to the most memorable instances of this peculiar movie phenomenon...

The Brain From The Planet Arous (1957)

It's been several years since I've seen the sci-fi B-movie, The Brain From Planet Arous, but one thing is still clear in my mind: that it features a large disembodied alien brain, a criminal brain, no less, that comes to Earth to control the population with its psychic powers.

The brain, called Gor, seizes control of Steve, a nuclear scientist, who becomes a randy "regular caveman" under the alien's influence. With Steve as his puppet, »

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Badi Uzzaman obituary

21 June 2011 4:06 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Actor best known for his part in Potter's The Singing Detective

The actor Badi Uzzaman, who has died from a lung infection aged 72, was perhaps best known for playing the patient in the hospital bed next to Michael Gambon in The Singing Detective (1985). The pair's camaraderie provided some of the lighter moments in Dennis Potter's TV series and showed off Uzzaman's talent for comedic roles. In their scenes together, Gambon (as Philip Marlow) and Uzzaman (as Ali) were shown to share an outsider status, Marlow due to his disfiguring skin condition and Ali due to his race.

Uzzaman again explored British attitudes toward race in Brothers in Trouble (1995), a film directed by Udayan Prasad and based on Abdullah Hussein's novel about the experiences of Pakistani illegal immigrants in Britain in the 1960s. Uzzaman himself was no stranger to the immigrant experience. He was born in Phulpur, in Azamgarh, »

- Tania Ahsan

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Badi Uzzaman obituary

21 June 2011 4:06 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Actor best known for his part in Potter's The Singing Detective

The actor Badi Uzzaman, who has died from a lung infection aged 72, was perhaps best known for playing the patient in the hospital bed next to Michael Gambon in The Singing Detective (1985). The pair's camaraderie provided some of the lighter moments in Dennis Potter's TV series and showed off Uzzaman's talent for comedic roles. In their scenes together, Gambon (as Philip Marlow) and Uzzaman (as Ali) were shown to share an outsider status, Marlow due to his disfiguring skin condition and Ali due to his race.

Uzzaman again explored British attitudes toward race in Brothers in Trouble (1995), a film directed by Udayan Prasad and based on Abdullah Hussein's novel about the experiences of Pakistani illegal immigrants in Britain in the 1960s. Uzzaman himself was no stranger to the immigrant experience. He was born in Phulpur, in Azamgarh, »

- Tania Ahsan

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Q&A: Bob Hoskins

19 June 2011 5:17 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

'The person I most despise? Tony Blair, he's done more damage than Thatcher'

Bob Hoskins, 68, was born in Bury St Edmunds and raised in London. Having left school at 15, he worked as a porter, lorry driver and window cleaner. In 1968, he accompanied a friend to a play audition and ended up with the lead. Ten years later, he starred in his first TV drama, Dennis Potter's Pennies From Heaven, and in 1980 he made his major film debut with The Long Good Friday. He went on to star in The Cotton Club in 1984 and Mona Lisa in 1986, a performance that earned him an Oscar nomination. He is in Neverland, a Peter Pan prequel, on Sky Movies Premiere HD on 8 and 15 July.

When were you happiest?

When the kids were babies.

What is your greatest fear?

Loneliness.

What is your earliest memory?

The face of a cat looking into my cot »

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1-20 of 35 items from 2011   « Prev | Next »


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