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Tracy Morgan takes questions on Reddit: 'If you love me, I love you back'

5 hours ago

With a slate of upcoming comedy projects, the comedian embarked on a whirlwind media tour and addressed his past homophobic comments

Tracy Morgan, the talented 30 Rock comedian whose unpredictability once threatened to outshine his accomplishments, took questions on Reddit on Thursday as part of a tour to rehabilitate his image ahead of a new comedy special and standup tour.

The 45-year-old Morgan has seen his reputation tarnished in recent years by allegations of homophobic and sexist remarks. If my son were gay he better come home and talk to me like a man," Morgan said during a 2011 appearance before then saying he'd "pull out a knife" on his child. Morgan has three sons and one daughter.

I used to buy my own weed, and it wasn't laced with Pcp. I knew what I was smoking. I would never do that.

My favorite kind of pizza? I like just pepperoni and cheese. »

- Katie Rogers

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Fifty years on: how BBC2 lost its way | Mark Lawson

8 hours ago

New controller Kim Shillinglaw will have a tough task resolving the channel's ongoing identity crisis between light and shade

Imagine being born as the third child of a devoted and attentive family but then celebrating your 50th birthday as one of hundreds of siblings claiming the attention of increasingly distracted and financially desperate parents.

This is roughly the position of BBC2, which reaches the half-century mark on Saturday . When the network arrived, on 20 April 1964, a television station was a special and treasurable thing. The BBC's single visual service was 28 years old and its ITV rival only nine. And although the new baby had a difficult delivery a power cut on the first night wiped out everything except a short news bulletin its early upbringing was privileged.

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- Mark Lawson

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Orphan Black review: Tatiana Maslany is dazzlingly impressive to watch

11 hours ago

This fascinating clone thriller mixes science with suspense and gives its lead actor a once-in-a-career opportunity to stun the viewers

As unique selling points go, Orphan Black's is just that extra bit special. This Canadian-made show about a young woman who discovers she is one of a "family" of clones (hardly a massive spoiler, you can figure this out early in episode one) stands out because of the perfomance, or rather performances, of its lead Tatiana Maslany.

Maslany plays half a dozen different clones over season one, with who knows how many more promised for the imminent second season. We start with the street-smart Sarah, but soon meet her test tube sisters: soccer mom Alison, microbiology student Cosima, assassin Helena and more. Delivering one creditable performance for a show is tough enough, but Maslany nails several here, often appearing in scenes as multiple versions interacting seamlessly. This is Olympic-level, »

- Phelim O'Neill

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BBC's George Alagiah to receive treatment for bowel cancer

13 hours ago

Six O'Clock News presenter, who also hosts GMT on BBC World News, to be off air 'for a while', according to the corporation

BBC news presenter George Alagiah is to receive treatment for bowel cancer and will be off air "for a while", according to the BBC.

In a statement the corporation said that the popular face of the BBC Six O'Clock News is to undergo treatment but "is optimistic for a positive outcome".

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- Tara Conlan

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Revisiting the Waltons: long-form documentaries versus trash reality

13 hours ago

Britain's famous sextuplets are back for a documentary marking their 30th birthdays but how will the increasingly camera-shy siblings fare with audiences now we're in the age of Towie?

Television can be prone to panic when dealing with the past. Historical documentaries often resort to dramatic reconstructions to fill in the parts of the story for which no pictures exist. Dramas can insist on using flashbacks. And television interviewees who mention their childhoods are usually covered with cheesy montages from the family photo album.

So how grateful documentary-makers are to subjects who took the precaution of being captured by the cameras from childhood. These include Michael Jackson, the Osmonds and the royal family, but also six girls born to one mother on Merseyside in November 1983: the Waltons. Tonight, we'll get the latest broadcast update on their progress in The Walton Sextuplets at 30, an hour-long film charting the run-up to their milestone birthday. »

- Mark Lawson

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Easter TV: will Fargo be the only show worth watching?

13 hours ago

Where are the bunny ears? We pick 10 highlights from a slightly underwhelming schedule that includes food specials, the pope and a man with a beard (no, not that one)

This Easter weekend, television has something for everyone. Or does it? The lack of effort on the part of the broadcasters this year is staggering. We're basically getting a normal weekend of telly, with a cursory amount of quasi-festive programming chucked in as an afterthought.

Don't ignore your television completely though. Alongside the barrage of Don't Get Done, Get Dom, Flog It! and repeated Benny Hill retrospectives (and snooker; my God, there's a lot of snooker on this weekend), there are a few bright spots. I've scoured the schedules and found 10 shows that are either Easter-specific or decent enough to count as festive programming. Don't have time to watch them all? Luckily for you, I've ranked them in descending order of importance. »

- Stuart Heritage

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Kate Humble: We don't value food because it's not expensive enough

16 hours ago

The Springwatch presenter talks about food waste, keeping sheep, not having children and her mission with aquaponics

"I'm over here!" shouts Kate Humble, and she of Springwatch and Lambing Live gambols towards me, closing the gate on a field of anxious goats and their Disney-cute babies. She's carrying a bucket. "I was just about to muck out," she announces, and I'm reminded this is a working farm in the Wye Valley and in no way a TV set.

The photographer has already done his work and gone. Apparently Humble had no idea he was coming. It is hard to think of another TV person on the planet for whom an impromptu photoshoot while wearing a well-loved fleece and no makeup would be Ok, but Humble couldn't give a hoot. She's been up since the wee small hours: "I love getting up early. I can bounce out of bed at 5am but I'm useless at night. »

- Lucy Siegle

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Benedict Cumberbatch: no Star Wars or Doctor Who, but a licence to thrill? | Media Monkey

18 hours ago

Sherlock star denies he'll appear in Jj Abrams film or play Time Lord, but is reported to have been offered role as Ian Fleming

Another day, another Benedict Cumberbatch casting rumour. The Sherlock star had been linked to a role in Jj Abrams' new Star Wars movie, but shot down hopes on the weekend when he told fans at the Oz Comic Con "I would've liked a part in Jj's [Abrams] new Star Wars but it won't happen sadly." He also told the audience that he's unlikely to appear in Doctor Who: "I'm never gonna play the Doctor and nothing to do with the Whoniverse." Now Hollywood blog The Tracking Board claims he has been offered the starring role in an Ian Fleming biopic detailing the origin stories of James Bond. Monkey hopes the rumour turns out to be true Cumberbatch could certainly carry off wearing Fleming's trademark bow tie. »

- Monkey

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ABC International's Chinese deal: a visionary exercise in soft diplomacy

19 hours ago

Though Chinese audiences have been streaming foreign shows for years, allowing the Australian channel to broadcast there is a pioneering move

Earlier this month an audience member from ABC's panel discussion program Q&A posed the question: how many years will it take before China can have its own Q&A-style program? The consensus from the panelists, who were part of a special episode live from Shanghai, was that relaxing China's censorship laws to allow for the television broadcast of such a frank, public discussion takes time, but also that that time will come.

The question seemed to preticipate a new landmark deal that was announced on Wednesday, in which the overseas arm of the broadcaster, called ABC International, will begin airing ABC shows and content in China. While other foreign media brands such as BBC International and CNN International have limited broadcasting rights in China, the ABC are reporting »

- Monica Tan

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TV highlights 17/04/2014

21 hours ago

Premier League Darts | Posh Pawn | Parking Mad | Protecting Our Parents | The Walton Sextuplets At 30 | Deep, Down & Dirty: The Science Of Soil | Flowers In The Attic | Southland

We're reaching the business end of the Pdc season, with the field now whittled down to an octet following the eliminations of Wes Newton and Simon Whitlock two weeks ago. Week 11 takes the darts roadshow to Aberdeen, where last season Robert Thornton and eventual champion Michael van Gerwen were involved in a thrilling 6-6 tie. Both are well placed for the play-offs this time around, though will be aware of the looming presence of Phil Taylor, who has been in ominous form in recent weeks. Gwilym Mumford

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- Gwilym Mumford, Ben Arnold, Hannah Verdier, Rachel Aroesti, Jonathan Wright, Ali Catterall, Bim Adewunmi and David Stubbs

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How to Get a Council House; Party House TV review

21 hours ago

How do you get a council house? Sabrina and Lacey and Billie are desperate to know

Read Zoe Williams's recap of last night's Mad Men here

The explicit question is How to Get a Council House (Channel 4). The implicit subtitle is You Can't, and we follow a selection of families as they try and fail. On paper, the requirements are difficult enough you have to be on the waiting list for around a decade, or you have to have a bailiff's notice in your hand, or you have to be on the streets. But that's not quite enough, because there are thresholds for vulnerability even among the homeless, and you have to show that you're more at risk than another homeless person. But it's actually more difficult even than that.

Sabrina, a 30-year-old teaching assistant, had been on the waiting list for 12 years when a flat eventually came up dinky, »

- Zoe Williams

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Rupert Murdoch believed to be involved in leading bid for Channel 5

16 April 2014 1:14 PM, PDT

Media tycoon's BSkyB is thought to have made joint offer for free-to-air channel with Discovery Communications

It once achieved notoriety for its gameshow Naked Jungle, in which presenter Keith Chegwin and the contestants cavorted without the aid of clothing.

But the latest development in Channel 5's short history may cause even more controversy, with Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB involved in what is thought to be the leading bid to buy the station after it was put up for sale by Richard Desmond.

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- John Plunkett and Tara Conlan

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SNL alum Maya Rudolph to host variety special on NBC

16 April 2014 12:38 PM, PDT

Bridesmaids star to be joined by fellow comedians on The Maya Rudolph Show to see if show could become recurring series

Saturday Night Live alum Maya Rudolph is getting an hour-long variety special in May, NBC announced on Tuesday.

While variety shows are a relic of an earlier television era, early reports say its a test pilot to see if the show could turn into a recurring series.

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- Amanda Holpuch

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Channel 4 Benefits Street producers struggle to cast second series

16 April 2014 11:50 AM, PDT

Stockton residents oppose filming by Love Productions, whose James Turner Street documentary won audiences of 5 million

The notoriety of Channel 4's documentary Benefits Street has left the show's producers facing an uphill task trying to persuade people to take part in a second series as well as a spin-off programme about immigration.

Programme-makers scouting potential locations for another series of the controversial programme in Stockton-on-Tees, and a separate documentary with a working title Immigration Street in Southampton, have faced opposition from politicians and community leaders.

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- Tara Conlan

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Russell Howard review 'beige comedy with nothing to say'

16 April 2014 10:07 AM, PDT

Royal Albert Hall, London

There's no denying Howard's technical mastery, but his show relies on funny voices rather than content

At one point in this show, Russell Howard in one of his many comedy voices upbraids himself for meandering off-script: "This is big-room stuff," he urges himself, "and you've got to keep that shit rolling." Whatever else he does tonight, he certainly keeps it rolling. He shouts, he jumps around, he roleplays dogs, his mum and talking vaginas, he shouts some more. The material is densely packed with jokes or at least, funny tones of voice. It's a clinically engineered two hours of comedy, let down only by Howard's complete lack of anything interesting to say.

It's getting more incongruous the older he gets. He's 33 now, and a large chunk of the set is about willies and jolly non-consensual sex. Here's his excitable brother displaying his penis, over and again. »

- Brian Logan

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Sniper Elite 3: Charlie Brooker to cameo between the crosshairs

16 April 2014 9:14 AM, PDT

Anyone aggrieved by the sometime Guardian columnist, rejoice  he will appear as a target in Sniper Elite 3

He may have keyboard warriors taking him down in the comments section of his columns, but Charlie Brooker now has a new army of aggressors to face: the players of forthcoming video game Sniper Elite 3.

Brooker will appear as a character in the latest instalment of the world war two shooting game, after the game's creators offered him the chance to be immortalised in pixels. His exact character is being kept under wraps, but he underwent full motion capture complete with ball-covered Lycra suit to recreate his likeness for the game. His voice was also recorded for the character, which can be shot and killed.

Hopefully for Sniper Elite V3 there'll be an even more comprehensive kill sequence in which, after an even more explicit close-up of the bullet boring a path through some Nazi intestine, »

- Ben Beaumont-Thomas

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Forget career advisors - apparently it's TV shows that influence your choice of job

16 April 2014 7:20 AM, PDT

According to a new survey, half of all doctors claim they were inspired to do their job by watching Casualty. If that's the case, why aren't I a burglar, says Stuart Heritage

Here's an interesting fact: 50% of all doctors chose their career after watching an episode of Casualty. That's weird for two reasons first, it suggests that we're much more influenced by what we watch on TV than we make out, and second, who the hell watches Casualty and then decides to become a doctor?

Surely, if Casualty made you want to start any new career, it would be in the health and safety area. Almost every single injury those poor medical professionals have to deal with come from faulty ladders or improperly moored steering columns. If Casualty is about anything, it's the importance of diligence when it comes to the manufacturing and usage of everyday household objects. Everyone knows that. »

- Stuart Heritage

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New TV adaptation of Fargo debuts to favourable reviews

16 April 2014 7:14 AM, PDT

Critics praised the FX show's strange atmosphere and outstanding cast, but some were left cold by its heart of darkness

The TV version of the Coen brothers' classic 1996 film made its debut on FX last night, largely impressing critics with its unique atmosphere and strong performances, though some were unimpressed by its central conceit. Here's what they had to say.

Mary McNamara, La Times:

An atmospheric homage that quickly stands on its own nimble feet, FX's experiment in cinematic crossover does take some getting used to. Written by Noah Hawley (with the Coens' blessing) this Fargo is at once eerily similar and completely different. The first episode especially is a bit like being caught in a dream; everything's intensely familiar, yet several ticks off.

Hawleys Fargo is a singularly odd piece of work. Theres nothing about Fargo, the series, that is poorly made or technically flawed. Its a gorgeous series, »

- Guardian staff

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Killing your darlings: soap's obsession with bumping off its leading ladies continues

16 April 2014 2:12 AM, PDT

Both Coronation Street and EastEnders are killing off female stars in the coming weeks but neither Tina's nor Lucy's exit is completely convincing

Kill your darlings, somebody once said, not referring to the soaps. But that's what's happening in the big two, with high-profile murders of two young women. This week sees the untimely demise of Lucy Beale on EastEnders, while Coronation Street has been building up to the killing of Tina McIntyre for what feels like months. For very different reasons, both are problematic.

In her six years playing Tina, actor Michelle Keegan has become one of Corrie's brightest stars. Not only is she one of the most talented players on the Street, her string of high-profile relationships has kept the show in the gossip pages, providing welcome publicity during a turbulent period in which two of its cast members were trialled and cleared of sex offences.

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- Dan Martin

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The BBC: there to inform, educate, provoke and enrage? | Charlotte Higgins

15 April 2014 11:00 PM, PDT

The BBC has never seemed more under attack. But what provokes such passion? In the second of a series of essays on the corporation's past, present and future, Charlotte Higgins asks why the critics seem to come from within as often as from outside

Part one: What can the origins of the BBC tell us about its future?

The BBC is like the Greeks Hydra: vast and many headed. The same organisation that made Sherlock frittered away £100m on a failed It initiative; it runs five orchestras, the Today programme and the World Service; it inexplicably buys and then sells for a much smaller sum the Lonely Planet guides. While Kenneth Clark was pacing the streets of Italian hill towns, filming Civilisation for BBC2, Jimmy Savile was presenting Top of the Pops on BBC1, and Stuart Hall was informing, entertaining and abusing in the north of England. Whatever qualities it has, »

- Charlotte Higgins

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