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Brian Cox: ‘My guiltiest pleasure? Liquorice. And cannabis’

10 hours ago

The actor on kissing in an air-raid shelter, weight issues and best friend Billy Connolly

Born in Dundee, Brian Cox, 70, won an Olivier in 1988 for his Titus Andronicus for the RSC. In 2001, he was awarded an Emmy for his portrayal of Hermann Göring in the TV mini series Nuremberg; his more recent TV work includes Bob Servant Independent and War And Peace. His films include Braveheart, two Jason Bourne movies and Zodiac. He is currently filming Churchill, in which he plays the title role. He is married to the actor Nicole Ansari-Cox, has four children and lives in New York.

When were you happiest?

I’ve had a lot of happiness in my life: 1) the birth of my children; 2) getting into Lamda when I was 17; 3) meeting my wife; 4) and the renewal of our marriage vows and my 60th birthday.

Related: Vinnie Jones: ‘My favourite smell? Flowers’

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- Rosanna Greenstreet

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The new Gillette advert: the lazy and useless need not apply

11 hours ago

A new promo that exists purely to remind us we’re not Adonises. Thanks very much

The Olympics are back guys, and you know what that means, don’t you? More deification of men and women whose only discernible attribute comes down to “can run in a straight line for about four minutes”. A bag of people we assume are our betters because they can throw a metal spike. Not only that, but they’re annoying, serious bastards to boot. Olympians, like all hard-working, driven people are no fun. They suck. They make you feel fat and greasy, like a sponge soaked in chip fat.

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- Joe Bish

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Unsolved: The Boy Who Disappeared – the bitesized answer to Serial

11 hours ago

The mystery that unfolds over eight stylish 10-minute instalments is compelling, but does it obscure the human tragedy at the heart of it?

Sometimes, you have to say enough is enough. When something is truly broken – rickety Ikea shelves, shonky standard lamps, the entire criminal justice system – you just have to pull it apart and start again. In the case of the police, there’s a strong line of reasoning that the Taser-happy zealots we currently have should be replaced by upstanding people who embody honesty and integrity. But who could that be? If you believe investigative programming like Serial, Making A Murderer and now, Unsolved: The Boy Who Disappeared (from Monday, 10am, BBC3), those people turn out to be journalists. I, for one, see no problem at all with this situation.

Unsolved will likely live in the shadow of its Us cousins, but the parallels are easy to draw. »

- Filipa Jodelka

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Clive James: I've been reliving my years as a TV critic, though this time with adverts

12 hours ago

I forget what product this advert sells, and I have seen it about 100 times. Did you hear that, creatives? I have seen your dumb creation over and over, and I still don’t remember what product you’re selling

In my granddaughter’s Phoenix comic, there is a story with a recurring feature called The Well Of Infinite Gravy. The invisible well is a time tunnel that does double service as a brain scrambler. You fall into it now and come out again some time ago, with your brains on backwards. Or at any rate I do.

This week, I had a bad Infinite Gravy experience when I not only forgot a hospital appointment – something I take pride in not doing – but I spent several evenings compulsively reliving my years as a TV critic. The infinite gravy twist was that I found myself making notes about commercials that get their »

- Clive James

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The People's History of Pop review – peace, love and Bowie's chromium head

14 hours ago

In this bittersweet documentary, Danny Baker remembers 1966-76 – the loved-up Isle of Wight festival, a demo for Space Oddity and his mum shrinking Marc Bolan’s shirt

‘Everybody likes to fight their corner about which era was the best to be a pop fan,” said Danny Baker at the start of The People’s History of Pop (BBC4), an occasional if not downright infrequent series (the first instalment aired in April). But Baker wasn’t going to waste breath making the case for the period covered by this episode: 1966 to 1976. “I’m afraid, my friends, I win this battle hands down,” he said. “The fact is, the golden years were during my youth.” It’s a typical Baker statement – biased, genially egotistical and, in this instance, pretty inarguable.

The programme looked back at a decade in pop through the eyes of the fans who lived through it: middle-aged men and »

- Tim Dowling

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Walking Dead fans have a big question at Comic-Con: who did Negan kill?

21 hours ago

Comic-Con attendees were asking for hints about the season six finale not just during the show’s Friday panel but during the Fear the Walking Dead panel

Lead Walking Dead actor Andrew Lincoln got glitter-bombed by cast-mate Norman Reedus at San Diego Comic-Con, but that could not distract from the main question every fan had: which of the series main characters did new villain Negan kill in the season six finale?

Fans wanted to know not just during the Friday panel but during the panel preceding it, which featured cast from prequel Fear the Walking Dead. One anxiously asked the two series’ producers, Robert Kirkman and Gale Ann Hurd, to give them a hint. They were not even distracted by the huge tiger in the trailer for the Walking Dead’s seventh season, which made good on Hurd’s promise in the pre-trailer chatter of “some interesting nonhuman characters”.

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- Sam Thielman in San Diego

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Jon Stewart on The Late Show: angry and rusty – but still essential

22 July 2016 10:27 AM, PDT

The former Daily Show anchor took over Steven Colbert’s desk to lambast Trump’s Rnc speech and we remembered why we need him now more than ever

Jon Stewart to Republicans: stop ‘scaring the holy bejesus out of everybody’

When Jon Stewart left The Daily Show last summer, many people wondered how he could step down the year before a presidential election, when his show was always at its most vital. Now that the political contest has turned into the Hunger Games with Super Pacs, he’s probably kicking himself. Luckily Stewart has some friends in high places, so he can come out of seclusion and get a few things about the election off his chest. He did just that last night on The Late Show, where he took over Steven Colbert’s desk to lambast Donald Trump and rip Fox News a new one.

Sporting a “hiatus beard »

- Brian Moylan

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Carlton Cuse at Comic-Con: 'One year I wore a stormtrooper outfit'

22 July 2016 8:58 AM, PDT

The former Lost executive producer, this year discussing Bates Motel, The Strain and Colony, is an old hand in San Diego, and once added a touch of cosplay

What’s your history with Comic-Con?

I’ve been coming to Comic-Con for a long time, really since the beginning of Lost. The first time was in 2004. Comic-Con has become very corporatized and a mature media and publicity event. At the beginning, well before I was attending, it was just guys talking about comics and buying and selling them. Then it began to celebrate genre storytelling in other forms, mainly movies, and now predominantly it’s focused on television. That may have something to do with the fact that there are 420 scripted television shows between network, cable and streaming and then surrounding all that is just a ton of publicity and reporters and all the people that cover media.

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- Alex Needham

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ITV launches big-budget rival to BBC hit Strictly Come Dancing

22 July 2016 7:36 AM, PDT

Celebrity talent show Dance Dance Dance, from the makers of The Voice, will recreate famous dance routines from music videos, movies and theatre

ITV is to make a new celebrity dancing show on Saturday night - but it will not go head to head with BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing.

The new show, called Dance Dance Dance, will recreate famous dance routines from music videos, movies and theatre, and promises to use “the most up to date technology on a truly epic scale”.

Related: Which is the worst TV dance show ever?

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- John Plunkett and agencies

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Outcasts united: Winona Ryder, Stranger Things and the oddest misfits on TV

22 July 2016 6:40 AM, PDT

It’s got a flesh-sucking monster, evil government agents who lock up children and some truly terrifying scenes. But the scariest thing in Netflix’s new fright-a-thon is the thought of being normal

Warning: this article contains spoilers

Early on in Stranger Things, Netflix’s 80s movie-inspired fright-a-thon, school bullies force Dustin to make a weird clicking sound with the joints in his arm, then recoil in horror when he does so. “I think it’s cool,” his friend Mike says comfortingly. “It’s like your superpower!”

This scene occurs before the show becomes a place of real superpowers, shadowy government agents, another dimension called the “upside down” and a flesh-sucking monster who is a cross between the Predator and Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors. Despite all of that – and some truly terrifying sequences – it was this moment that most stuck with me.

Related: Stranger Things review – a »

- Brian Moylan

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Joining Top Gear was like being parachuted into a war, says Rory Reid

22 July 2016 6:33 AM, PDT

Presenter says he was surprised by the level of hostility when Chris Evans took over from Jeremy Clarkson on BBC show

Top Gear presenter Rory Reid has said joining the BBC motoring show was “like being a soldier parachuted into a war”.

Newcomer Reid said he expected a “pretty big change” in the format of the next series after presenter Chris Evans resigned, but said he had not yet signed a new contract.

Related: Chris Evans quits BBC Top Gear after just one series

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- John Plunkett

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The Sun's Kelvin MacKenzie: Channel 4 hijab criticism was reasonable

22 July 2016 2:58 AM, PDT

ITN and presenter Fatima Manji among 2,000 people complaining to watchdog about column asking why Muslim journalist fronted report on Nice truck attack

Former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie has defended as “reasonable” his criticism of Channel 4 News for fronting a report on the Nice truck attack with a journalist wearing a hijab.

MacKenzie prompted more than 2,000 complaints to the press regulator after he used his Sun column on Monday to question whether it was “appropriate” for journalist Fatima Manji to be on camera “when there had been yet another shocking slaughter by a Muslim”.

Related: The Sun's Kelvin MacKenzie is trying to smear Muslims, says C4 News presenter

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- John Plunkett and agencies

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Refugee Camp: Our Desert Home review – step inside the world's largest sanctuary for Syrians

21 July 2016 11:10 PM, PDT

This moving documentary takes us to the ground level of the purpose-built Zaatari city, to meet the people trying to carve out as normal a life as possible

On a busy high street in northern Jordan, shoppers bustle past the stalls selling toys, shoes, bikes and kettles. In a kitchen nearby, a baker bakes the next day’s bread. Across town, a couple prepare for their wedding, while a young boy prepares to return to school.

My favourite thing about Refugee Camp: Our Desert Home (BBC2) is that it portrays the residents of Zaatari, Jordan’s fourth-biggest city, as just normal people. But the title gives the game away. Zaatari isn’t a normal town. It’s the world’s biggest Syrian refugee camp. And just four years ago, none of its 80,000 residents lived there.

Related: Our life in the Zaatari refugee camp: no electricity, no space to sleep, no »

- Patrick Kingsley

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Friday’s best TV: People’s History of Pop, the Strictly Prom; The Out-Laws

21 July 2016 10:10 PM, PDT

TV’s favourite hoofers get their own Prom; more hapless Belgian attempts at murder; and Danny Baker tells 60s and early-70s pop tales

People like great music: that’s pretty much the understanding on which BBC4, essentially one long documentary on Robert Wyatt, is built. Here, Danny Baker brings together the people and the music of 1966 to 1976 to tell both their stories. We meet Roger, whose life was changed by the Isle Of Wight festival in 1970, and John who took Rose, now his wife of 40 years, on a first date to see David Bowie play Earls Court in 1973. John Robinson

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- Rachel Aroesti, Ben Arnold, Mark Gibbings-Jones, Paul Howlett, John Robinson, David Stubbs, Graeme Virtue and Jonathan Wright

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Lisa Oldfield one of seven women cast in The Real Housewives of Sydney

21 July 2016 9:34 PM, PDT

Wife of former One Nation deputy leader David Oldfield returns to TV 10 years after being cast as a panelist on Nine’s failed daytime talk show The Catch-Up

Lisa Oldfield, the wife of former One Nation deputy leader David Oldfield, is one of seven women cast in The Real Housewives of Sydney, Sydney’s first season of the global hit reality show.

Oldfield returns to television in 2017, 10 years after then-Nine executive Mia Freedman cast her as a panelist on Nine’s failed female daytime talk show the Catch-Up.

Welcome Lisa Oldfield, one of our new Real Housewives of Sydney announced today. #RHOSydney #Foxtel @arenatv 2017. pic.twitter.com/63gVJeMbBu

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- Amanda Meade

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Emmy nomination goes to Girls after Veep actor deemed ineligible for award

21 July 2016 2:40 PM, PDT

Peter MacNicol was forced out of the Emmys race for appearing in more than 50% of the show’s fifth season. He has been replaced by Peter Scolari of Girls

Actor Peter MacNicol was last week announced as an Emmy nominee for his supporting work as Jeff Kane in HBO’s political comedy, Veep. However, this week the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the organization that votes on the Emmys, deemed him ineligible for the outstanding guest role category because he has appeared in more than 50% of the show’s current season.

MacNicol has appeared in five of the 10 episodes of Veep’s fifth season – which was not the case when the Emmy nominations were announced on 14 July. The recent rule, instituted in 2015, was part of an overhaul made in 2014.

Related: Veep season five – supernaturally selfish Selina tops Trump

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- Nigel M Smith

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Game of Thrones: Republicans hate it, Democrats love it – supposedly

21 July 2016 12:29 PM, PDT

A study claims the fantasy program is a liberal favorite – but conservatives would rather watch Supernatural. Does this mean we’re heading for a Clinton landslide?

Of all the things they’re talking about at the Republican national convention in Cleveland this week, one thing not being discussed is Jon Snow becoming the King of the North and Cersei Lannister taking control of the Iron Throne. That’s because, according to a study by E-Score, the Gop is not down with GoT.

According to the study by a company that tracks awareness about TV series, Game of Thrones is Democrats’ favorite show. However, it doesn’t even figure in the top 10 of Republicans’ preferred viewing.

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- Brian Moylan

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Son of a Bitch – knockabout Brazilian football comedy-drama plays a blinder

21 July 2016 10:40 AM, PDT

The trials of a referee who finds comfort on the pitch while his life falls apart is the perfect warm-up for the Rio Olympics

What is it? A knockabout Brazilian comedy drama about a referee, his angry ex-wife, his drug-taking son, his horny mum and her naked boyfriend. And football. Lots and lots of football.

Why you’ll love it The scene that sets the tone for the entire series comes early: Juarez is attending a custody hearing with his ex-wife, who left him after he passed on an Std contracted from a prostitute. The judge recognises Juarez, and grants him sole custody of his son. But there’s a catch: the judge is also the director of a team in the cup final that Juarez is about to officiate. “Don’t disappoint me,” he says once the hearing ends. Juarez has to decide which is more important – his family, »

- Stuart Heritage

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'Don't get too attached': Comic-Con 2016 airs upcoming fall pilot shows

21 July 2016 8:37 AM, PDT

The fan convention started on Wednesday airing TV pilots for the coming fall – with the comedy People of Earth, starring Wyatt Cenac, looking most promising

At San Diego Comic-Con there’s always quite a bit of pop culture ephemera on display, none of it more ephemeral than the screenings of pilots for the coming fall that open the show on Wednesday night. The Guardian managed to catch part of the presentation, which had plenty to recommend it despite the caveat the comes with every pilot: namely “don’t get too attached”. Two-thirds of all broadcast TV series are canceled before season two.

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- Sam Thielman in San Diego

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BBC to make Les Misérables for TV with War and Peace team

21 July 2016 6:53 AM, PDT

Producer Harvey Weinstein and screenwriter Andrew Davies on board for adaptation based on novel rather than hit musical

The BBC is to make a six-part adaptation of Les Misérables with the team behind War and Peace, including producer Harvey Weinstein and screenwriter Andrew Davies.

The new six-hour drama will be based on the 19th century classic novel by Victor Hugo, rather than the award-winning musical, and will air on BBC1.

Related: Andrew Davies: my Les Misérables will be nothing like 'shoddy farrago' musical

Related: Clive James: how did the BBC’s War And Peace measure up?

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- John Plunkett

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