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Game of Thrones season five trailer: masks, snakes, blood and dragons

5 hours ago

The first full-length season five trailer suggests grim business as usual in Westeros and Essos, from war and vengeance to monsters. Warning: spoilers

George Rr Martin’s The Winds of Winter: no plans for publication in 2015

Don’t keep reading unless you’ve seen through the fourth season of Game of Thrones or don’t care or want to complain about spoilers. Said spoilers follow of what’s happened on the TV show so far …

A eunuch and a dwarf go on a roadtrip to reinvent themselves. A recent ingenue plots revenge with her duplicitous mentor. An old knight gets stuck in a gladiator pit and a young king gets stuck on the Iron Throne. Game of Thrones is almost back – and the first trailer for its fifth season suggests a lot of new world to take in.

Related: Game of Thrones season five preview: six things we need to know

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- Alan Yuhas

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Bob Symes obituary

6 hours ago

Television presenter, producer and film-maker with a passion for engineering and railways

Bob Symes’s inventive mind and considerable engineering skills made him a natural choice in 1965 to join the small team producing the BBC’s Tomorrow’s World, the series about new developments in science and technology. Bob, who has died aged 90, appeared on screen regularly, first of all assisting Raymond Baxter and, in later years, with a regular feature in his own right. He continued to contribute to the programme for more than 30 years.

His special interest was in metal engineering, including developments in plumbing. His Tomorrow’s World colleagues particularly remember his presentations of a device that automatically removed air from central heating systems, an innovative ventilator for bathrooms and a process for relining broken water mains without having to dig up the road.

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- Michael Rodd

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In praise of … Michael Cockerell | Hugh Muir

7 hours ago

He’s a filmmaker whose potent mix of guile and charm delivers crucial insights into the politicians of the day, no matter how accustomed they are to the camera

If we are to encourage or admonish those in power, it is important we have some idea what they are up to. Light is shone by the press corps and by the transmission of proceedings from parliament itself. But every so often, we get a glimpse behind the curtain.

More often than not, that is provided by the filmmaker Michael Cockerell. He filmed his first intimate political portrait, of Willie Whitelaw, in 1989, and in the years since he has produced agenda-setting work adding colour and texture to figures such as Edward Heath, Kenneth Clarke, Barbara Castle, Michael Howard, Boris Johnson, Tony Blair and Alan Clark. His subjects are accustomed to cameras and the limelight,, yet inevitably they surrender an unscripted disclosure, »

- Hugh Muir

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The Avengers, the Minions and the Terminator touch down at Super Bowl Sunday

7 hours ago

Forget the football, just watch the trailers: Hollywood is splashing out on some expensive ad-time to show off its forthcoming wares

Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer reviewMore from Week in geek

The annual Super Bowl broadcast invariably features a torrent of TV spots promoting the movies that Hollywood hopes will be massive at the multiplexes in 2015. Sunday’s event is expected to give us 30-second glimpses of Jurassic World, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Terminator: Genisys and Minions, among others, and there is even talk, however unlikely, of a fresh look at Star Wars: The Force Awakens or a first glimpse of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Here’s a quick rundown of what we can expect.

Related: Jurassic Park IV: something has survived (and it seems to be half human) | Ben Child

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- Ben Child

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Jimmy Kimmel solves #deflategate and Channing Tatum pulls his 'poop face'

7 hours ago

Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers were on reruns this week, but Letterman, Kimmel, Wilmore and @midnight kept the late-night oil burning

Calling all lazy voters: Rachel Maddow visited Letterman this week to sum up what’s going on with both parties in the lead-up to the election. She’s witty, she’s informed, she’s got thoughts on Sarah Palin (“she says she’s very interested in running again” [victorious face]). In short, she’s everything you wish you were when politics comes up at a dinner party. For those not taking notes for an upcoming cocktail affair, the clip’s worth it for Maddow’s eager-beaver impression as soon as the election is mentioned at all. Girl’s ready.

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- Monica Heisey

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Jake Chapman turning his Mills and Doom novel into Sky television drama

8 hours ago

One half of the Turner-nominated brothers is filming a typically provocative work featuring Rhys Ifans and Sophie Kennedy Clark, out this summer

He is the enfant terrible of the art world, one half of the visual art duo whose provocative exhibitions have featured everything from sex dolls to Nazi insignia.

Now Jake Chapman is to turn his talents to television for the first time, creating an original series to be broadcast on Sky Arts.

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- Hannah Ellis-Petersen

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TV soaps just don’t ring true any more – where are all the people staring mutely at their iPhones? | Deborah Orr

10 hours ago

Anne Kirkbride’s funeral is a reminder of a lost era, when Coronation Street and EastEnders showed our changing times back to us. Maybe it’s become hard to depict Britain on screen because so much of British life is now conducted in front of one

The funeral of Anne Kirkbride, the actor who played Deirdre in Coronation Street, took place this week. It’s been sad, of course, seeing Kirkbride’s face in the news so much lately, because the news was that she had died at the age of just 60. She had played Deirdre since 1972, and the character had been such an integral part of British culture, we were reminded, that when she had been wrongly imprisoned some years back, even Tony Blair, then the prime minister, had implored that she be freed.

Which, indeed, was true. It wasn’t so long ago that soap operas were the »

- Deborah Orr

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Farewell Atlantis – what would you like to watch in the Doctor Who slot?

12 hours ago

Atlantis has been cancelled, leaving a looming science-fiction/fantasy/period romp-shaped hole in the BBC’s Saturday evening schedules. What could they do to fill it?

Goodbye, Atlantis, we hardly knew ye. Once this second series comes to a close, the boisterous if unlovably featherweight action-fantasy will be no more,​ thanks to the BBC’s “difficult” decision to send it to the knacker’s yard of expensive, Saturday-night Doctor-Who alternatives. There it will join Merlin, which managed a respectable five series, and Robin Hood, which limped forlornly to three. And, like them, there it will be forgotten, alongside the inevitably shortlived Twitter campaign to see it renewed on Amazon, Ripper Street-style​.

The issue of what to with the Doctor Who slot when Doctor Who isn’t on is a persistent stone in the shoe of the BBC. Since the Doctor’s rebirth in 2005, the corporation has dredged folklore for popular myths and legends, »

- Luke Holland

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Key & Peele: kings of football comedy

13 hours ago

Ahead of their Super Bowl special we revisit the best football-related sketches from the provocative Comedy Central duo, featuring concussion, rap and J’Dinkalage Morgoone

Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele have played pretty much every character you can think of since debuting their eponymous show on Comedy Central three years ago: the Nazi soldier, the dopey sports anchor, the penis-themed performance artist. In the hands of lesser talents, an attempt to revive the comedy duo might have resulted in little more than a thinner, less-British version of Hale and Pace, suburban comedians ploughing the same predictable joke furrow for years on end. But they’ve proved a raging success, racking up more than 600m views on Comedy Central’s YouTube channel. Much of that is down to the complementarity of their respective strengths – Key’s thin-man falsetto the perfect alloy for Peele’s squat basso profundo – and the sheer range »

- Aaron Timms

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Luther star Idris Elba presents Story of Now for BBC

18 hours ago

Documentary uses ground-breaking interactive technology to explore 20 of the world’s fundamental issues

Luther star Idris Elba is to present a ground-breaking, interactive BBC documentary series called Story of Now that explores some of the biggest questions facing mankind about its past, present and future.

Using the latest video technology, the series allows viewers to explore hours of films and information from experts about 20 of the world’s fundamental issues – from politics to religion, creation to consciousness.

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- Tara Conlan

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Friday’s best TV

18 hours ago

Joan Collins arrives in Benidorm, Michael Sheen helps out Jamie Oliver and Paul Morley argues that Kraftwerk may well be more influential than the Beatles. Plus: The Musketeers, the final part of Sound of Song and Bournemouth v Watford

Irrespective of whether it ends in promotion, this has been a fine season for Bournemouth, who, led by manager Eddie Howe, have stormed the Championship with their fast, technical brand of attacking football. Watford, meanwhile, have been in a constant state of flux – current boss Slavisa Jokanovic is their fourth manager of the season – yet remain in the promotion shake-up and possess arguably the strongest squad in the division. Should be decent, this. Gwilym Mumford

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- Gwilym Mumford, Jack Seale, Hannah Verdier, John Robinson, David Stubbs and Ali Catterall

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Fortitude – review: a heroic but doomed attempt to muscle in on Scandinavian territory

18 hours ago

A great original drama needs more than a big budget, stars and a fashionable, chilly location, though I won’t give up on Sky Atlantic’s new crime thriller yet

Iam always a bit suspicious of a new drama with a massive advertising push that’s in your face all over the underground. I’m not talking just posters and newspaper wraparounds but an actual polar bear, on the tube. It came down the Northern line, went round the Arctic Circle line, then back north on the Metro-polar-tan line … no one except a punning moron would say. It wasn’t a real polar bear, of course (only guide bears are permitted and not during peak times), but a couple of puppeteers in a polar bear suit. Quite convincing though, and it had the desired effect. It’s hard not to be aware of Fortitude (Sky Atlantic).

Does it merit the fuss though? »

- Sam Wollaston

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Aacta awards 2015: red carpet highlights - video

29 January 2015 3:37 PM, PST

Australian film and TV stars including Essie Davis, Geoffrey Rush, Josh Thomas and Luke Arnold walk the red carpet before the 2015 Aacta awards at the Star in Sydney. As Luke Buckmaster wrote in December, it has been an influential 12 months for Aussie movies and 2014 was the year that genre film-making found its feet. Read our live coverage from the event for all the winners Continue reading »

- Guardian Staff

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Nissan breaks Super Bowl silence with 'emotional' dad ad – and a baby

29 January 2015 12:19 PM, PST

Cars, football and family as automaker teases its first Super Bowl commercial in 20 years. Woman gives birth, a man drives Nascar

Teaser trailers are beginning to dominate the Super Bowl ad landscape. Skittles teased its ad, which is apparently about men with big right arms, while Esurance responded to Progressive’s self-deprecating Kim Kardashian ad with a self-deprecating Lindsay Lohan ad. Automaker Nissan has gotten in on the act too after almost 20 years of opting not to make a Super Bowl commercial. It’s only a teaser so there’s obviously not a lot of info.

What we know so far is: a woman gives birth, a man drives a Nissan Nascar and says “with daaaaaad” in a slightly creepy way and Harry Chapin’s Cat’s in the Cradle provides the soundtrack. The automaker is saying it “can’t wait to share this emotional story” with football fans. It »

- Lanre Bakare

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Come on, Parenthood – make me cry again

29 January 2015 10:54 AM, PST

The show has charted devastating emotional peaks, but the past two series haven’t rung true. Will tonight’s finale provide the catharsis we fans really need?

Is it masochistic to admit that I will always love a good family drama? Because I do. At first thought, “family drama” is a supremely unappealing genre choice – one that echoes tense holiday dinners, family chore charts, bickering siblings. But it’s also a genre that looks at the flipside of that: the joy of sibling bonds, the delight in visiting a grandparent, the warmth of making your family proud. Watching family dramas was a weird salve for my own familial inadequacies, allowing me to experience my own family issues on screen or see that maybe my own weren’t as bad as I thought.

Family dramas encompass the scope of what people deal with on a day-to-day basis – HBO’s raw, aching »

- Kerensa Cadenas

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Downton Abbey: What should happen in the final episode?

29 January 2015 10:34 AM, PST

Reports are rife that the end is nigh for the Crawleys and chums. But if the Yorkshire aristos truly are facing the axe, what plot-clinching twists can we expect for the final episode, and what would you like to see happen?

It strikes me that rumours of Downton Abbey’s demise are much exaggerated. It was reported today that series six – due to air in the UK in September (series five is currently on PBS in the Us) – will be the last gasp of the Crawley dynasty. ITV has said it won’t comment on “speculative stories about our programmes”, but added that they absolutely do not mind broadcasting countless series of period dramas with endlessly speculative and inconclusive plots (not really, I added that).

But what if it’s true and this is the end? What should happen if series six is the finale? The last episode of series »

- Viv Groskop

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Inside the Commons – review: a peek behind Westminster’s crumbling facade

29 January 2015 10:06 AM, PST

Michael Cockerell’s documentary about the ‘mother of all parliaments’ gets up close with the great and good of British politics – and it isn’t pretty

There is precious little in Michael Cockerell’s documentary about the House of Commons to encourage Russell Brand, should he watch it, to cast his vote after all.

Cockerell portrays a “mother of all parliaments” in which MPs vote against their instincts to avoid ending up in their whips’ black books, and where Tory MPs use a precious opportunity at Prime Minister’s Questions to ask a question emailed to them by Conservative high command.

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- John Plunkett

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Downton Abbey's future in doubt after Julian Fellowes fails to commit

29 January 2015 9:20 AM, PST

Several stars from ITV’s hit drama said to be talking to producers in the Us as fears that sixth series will be its last

The future of ITV hit Downton Abbey could be in doubt after it emerged that writer Julian Fellowes has yet to commit to a seventh series of the popular period drama.

It follows reports that this autumn’s series could be the last after some of the show’s younger stars were said to be in talks to follow in the footsteps of star Dan Stevens and pursue work in America.

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- Tara Conlan and Mark Sweney

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The Missing box set review: a harrowing examination of a family torn apart

29 January 2015 8:29 AM, PST

James Nesbitt’s obsessive father and Frances O’Connor’s ex-wife who tries to move on keep you guessing right to the heart-wrenching end of this drama

You don’t need to be a parent to understand the pain and anguish that lies at the heart of The Missing – it’s all visible in James Nesbitt’s face. Nesbitt plays Tony Hughes, who went on holiday to France in 2006 with his wife and young son. Spirits were high, the national team got to the World Cup final and while they watch the French beat Brazil in the quarters their life is turned on its head. Amid the celebrations, their son Olly is snatched from a local bar and, fast forward eight years, still hasn’t shown up. It is these two time frames, 2006 and 2014, that The Missing exists in as a family torn apart by mystery and attempting to fill »

- David Renshaw

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Letter: Brian Clemens obituary

29 January 2015 7:22 AM, PST

In addition to his extensive oeuvre in television and film, Brian Clemens wrote splendid stage plays, notably The Edge of Darkness and The Devil at Midnight. I had the privilege of working with him for more than 40 years while I was an editor at Samuel French, the firm that published them. When they had run the gamut of professional production they were offered to the amateur theatre, which took them up wholeheartedly, and they are now produced throughout the world.

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- Amanda Smith

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