5 items from 2014
The beleaguered British Rail clerk with big ambitions is a superbly nuanced creation: misanthropic but lovable, arrogant but vulnerable, slobbish but sympathetic
When Mel Smith died last year, his sad passing did have one small silver lining: 26 years after it aired, his underrated and oft-forgotten sitcom was finally been released on DVD. A relatively fresh-faced Smith, who had made his name with the era-defining Not The Nine OClock News and Alas Smith & Jones, plays Colin Watkins, a beleaguered British Rail clerk who spends all day listening to customer complaints, daydreaming about becoming a bestselling horror writer as he eats his depressing packed lunch. Real life invariably gets in the way at first, anyway.
Thanks to its shabby, semi-suburban London setting and Smiths lugubrious looks, Colins Sandwich was dubbed Hancock for the 80s. His bulldog face appears in almost every frame and his performance is superbly nuanced: misanthropic but lovable, arrogant but vulnerable, »
- Michael Hogan
Rowan Atkinson lets his disastrous actions speak louder than words as the much-loved TV hero goes large. In Mel Smith's big-screen spin-off, Mr Bean is the unlikely choice to oversee the transfer of priceless painting Whistler's Mother from a London gallery to a museum in the USA. Havoc ensues, with Bean having a hand in the break-up of a marriage, driving an American cop to distraction and breaking art lovers' hearts. »
Biscuits! Cookies! Gingerbread! It was crunch time (sorry) in the Great British Bake Off tent this week as the remaining eleven contestants weathered three dastardly Biscuit Week challenges - but who went crackers and who jammie dodged an early exit (oh God, we're sorry)...
The signature challenge - biscuits for cheese
First up, the bakers all had to create 36 savoury biscuits to go with cheese ("cheesier than an Abba tribute band at a fondue all night bash", Sue ordered). We figure that turns out as 396 biscuits in total. Mary's cheese and wine nights must be pretty epic.
Nancy had to get used to using in-date ingredients. "I used three teaspoons of fennel at home and that was spot on, but I think it was probably out of date," she confessed, to Mary's pursed lips. Who doesn't have forgotten, out-of-date herbs at the back of their cupboard, though? This is possibly »
By 2009, the new version of Doctor Who had become not only an integral part of Saturday night television and a huge Christmas ratings winner but also an international success all over again. David Tennant, who had played the Time Lord since 2005 and was, arguably, more popular than any Doctor since the mighty Tom Baker hung up his scarf in 1981, had announced his resignation from the part he loved in October 2008. Many wondered how the incoming showrunner, Steven Moffat, would follow Tennant and what kind of show would emerge.
Tennant spent much of 2009 on stage in Hamlet and was only able to devote small amounts of time to Doctor Who. Occasional specials »
The red carpet has been rolled, the stars are sleeping off their hangovers. Here are our top takeaways from last night's Baftas
• Winners in full
• The ceremony as it happened
Stephen Fry has got gummy
Maybe it's that Amy Poehler and Tina Fey have ruined us for everyone else. Maybe it was because the broadcast didn't start until after the watershed, so we'd expected more bite. But Stephen Fry calling Emma Thompson "a ghastly piece of stinking offal" and describing Captain Phillips as "Saving Mr Hanks" didn't quite seem to cut it like it might have in 2002. There was the odd glimmer of the old wit: slagging off Jeff Pope's grammar, telling us he was so moved by Oprah in The Butler he nearly gave his the afternoon off. But Fry's own suggestion that Steve Coogan should take on the mantle seemed the sanest thing he said all night. »
- Catherine Shoard
5 items from 2014
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