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Hannibal: season three promises to sate your appetite for more horror

7 hours ago

As the much anticipated third season kicks off on 4 June, smack your lips at the prospect of even darker storylines, as two psychopaths go on the run in Europe

The word on the third season of Hannibal, which returns to Us screens on 4 June, is that things take a very dark turn. Let’s put that into perspective; in previous episodes, this show killed off one of its most decent, honest characters, then displayed her corpse cut lengthways into strips in a manner Gunter von Hagens would deem “a bit much”. They’ve had one character kept conscious while most of his internal organs were removed; another was sat down to a fancy meal that consisted of part of his own anatomy; yet another was drugged, given a blade and ordered to eat his own face. And now it’s getting dark?

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- Phelim O'Neill

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Springwatch has high drama, it doesn't need soap opera twists

10 hours ago

Producers of the programme should stop trying to make this much-loved wildlife show into Game of Thrones – the natural world is thrilling enough

British spring now starts up to three weeks earlier than it used to, according to research conducted for the 2015 run of BBC2’s Springwatch.

This is unfortunate for the show, which already rather distorts the natural calendar. Springwatch traditionally begins around eight weeks after the start of British Summertime and will conclude in mid-June, which most people call summer.

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- Mark Lawson

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Dustin Diamond says he did not intentionally stab man in bar scuffle

11 hours ago

Actor who played Screech on Saved by the Bell allegedly stabbed man while defending girlfriend but claims Casey Smet hurt himself while grabbing Diamond

The TV actor Dustin Diamond said on Friday he did not intentionally stab a man in a barroom scuffle just outside Milwaukee.

Diamond, 38, who played Screech on the 1990s show Saved by the Bell, is accused of stabbing a man on Christmas Day in Port Washington, about 25 miles north of Milwaukee.

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- Associated Press in Port Washington, Wisconsin

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Brazil’s biblical soap opera The Ten Commandments is a TV hit

12 hours ago

Set in ancient Egypt and loosely based on the story of Moses, the soap is now one of the country’s top prime-time TV shows – and it may be headed for the Us

The actress agonizes on her deathbed, her hair and makeup impeccable, as the hunky male lead clutches her hand. Tears pour down his face as her eyelids flutter to a final close.

The scene oozes with the over-the-top drama that makes Brazil’s prime-time soap operas as much of a national institution as soccer or Carnival. However, in this case, the actors aren’t playing wealthy sophisticates with complicated sex lives, but characters out of the Old Testament.

Related: Brazil’s evangelicals become a political force to be reckoned with

Related: The rise of the mighty evangelicals filled with the spirit of capitalism

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- Associated Press in Rio de Janeiro

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How Twin Peaks led a fan into and out of trouble

13 hours ago

Do films and TV influence behaviour, and for good or for ill? The answer is still hotly debated, so one film-maker decided to make a documentary about it

I used to be unable to answer the question: “What’s your favourite movie?” There were just too many options. My parents got me hooked on films when I was 11. My mom and I would sit and watch Alfred Hitchcock and Bette Davis films, and my dad would take me into New York to watch films by Jean Renoir and other foreign auteurs. At 13, my bar mitzvah had a film festival theme. Each table was named after a different favourite film at the time: All About Eve, Jaws, North by Northwest, The Searchers. Movies changed my life and I’ve always had such a deep and passionate love for so many different kinds, it was impossible to play favourites.

Today, things are different. »

- Adam Baran

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Monkey Tennis, Britain's Hardest Grafters … which are real TV shows? | Paul Fleckney

15 hours ago

Oh how we laughed when Alan Partridge begged to make a TV programme called Monkey Tennis. Youth Hostelling With Chris Eubank?, he continued desperately, Cooking … in Prison?

As it turns out, it was a grim augury of the future of broadcasting, in which TV execs appear to create shows by starting with a title and working backwards. The latest example being Britain's Hardest Grafter, in which 25 low-paid workers compete for a cash prize. Critics say it's 'poverty porn', but the BBC insists it is 'a serious social experiment'. Which brings to mind Japan's unerring commitment to whaling 'research'.

Back in 2005, then BBC1 controller Peter Fincham said, 'I always said quite a few of those [Partridge suggestions] would have been commissioned.' And lo and behold, in 2012, Cooking in Prison became a reality (show) thanks to Gordon Ramsay.

So, it's quiz time! Can you tell the real shows from the fake? All answers »

- Paul Fleckney

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When Pop Ruled My Life: a loving look at extreme fandom

20 hours ago

‘No one is safe, there are identical fan colonies at whichever end of the ideological pole you find yourself: be it the in crowd or those who embrace their outsider status’

“I’d forced my family to go on holiday near Roger Taylor’s house in Cornwall,” explains Kate Mossman with a breezy nonchalance in When Pop Ruled My Life: The Fans’ Story (Friday, 9pm, BBC4). After seeing Queen on Top Of The Pops in 1991, Kate’s life became filled by the spoils of pop obsession: diaries flooded with prose; a life-size papier-mache Freddie Mercury mask the exact purpose of which still baffles her (and me); a lovingly Pritt-sticked collage that ate up an entire weekend in its making, etc.

In this documentary, we see how powerful the tide of furiously zealous pop neeks really is. We watch footage of young girls enraptured by some incomprehensible quality of Harry Styles (maybe, »

- Filipa Jodelka

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Ardal O’Hanlon: ‘I was a nervous wreck before standup shows’

21 hours ago

The standup, actor and author talks about stage fright, life after Father Dougal, being the son of a politician and how he prefers to snipe from the sidelines

How much standup do you do now?

I do it year round and I work on it every day, [though] I’m more selective about the types of show I do nowadays. I do a fair few gigs a month, whereas I used to do 10 shows a week, which is fine when you’re starting out, but now I can treat each one as a real event rather than a routine appointment.

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- Interview by Paul Fleckney

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Viral video: Coldplay's Game of Thrones, Bieber's karaoke, and Jamie Oliver cries

22 hours ago

Michelle Obama shows how to workout, a Supernatural spoof, welcome to the world of the Simpsons and mobile phones make popcorn go pop

Calling all Coldplay and Game of Thrones fans! We’ve got a treat for you – a musical written and performed in aid of Red Nose Day in the Us. With contributions from Diana Rigg, Mark Addy and Emilia Clarke, and a voiceover from Liam Neeson, this is a hoot of a spoof from Chris Martin and co, who are huge fans of the series.

The tunes continue in our second clip, as Justin Bieber joins James Corden for Carpool Karaoke. And if that hasn’t reduced you to tears, you will be weeping into your cupcakes when you watch Jamie Oliver’s workforce create a 40th birthday surprise for the celebrity TV chef, complete with Star Wars characters, a huge birthday cake, a robot, and teams wearing his trademark plaid shirts. »

- Janette Owen

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Inside Jaguar: Making a Million Pound Car review – ‘it reminds me how good Top Gear was’

22 hours ago

This film about the making of a limited edition E-Type Jag is a niche programme for enthusiasts only – and don’t get me started on the chassis ledger

Half a century ago, Jaguar made 12 special cars, known as the Lightweight E-Types, because they were were lighter than regular E-Types. Lighter, faster, more expensive, better. Today these cars change hands for up to £5m. Now Jaguar is making six more of them, and Inside Jaguar: Making a Million Pound Car (Channel 4) is a documentary about that. Kinda Big Cat Diaries then. Presented, appropriately, by Mark Evans, the vet who used to do Pet Rescue. He’s also an engineering fanatic, and E-Type fan.

So here is the original chassis ledger, and here are Martin and Kev who are in charge of the project. Kev’s not happy with a chip in the paint on the engine bracket of the new car, »

- Sam Wollaston

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Friday’s best TV

22 hours ago

Laura Mvula tracks down Nina Simone, pop fans confess their obsessions and 1940s Brits reflect on the war. Plus the Book of Revelation’s predictions, Anzac Girls, Marvel’s Agents, The Blacklist and sport

Nick Cave tells a funny story about Nina Simone that involves cocaine and sausages. Here, British singer Laura Mvula finds a rather more musical way to relate to the legendarily temperamental singer. She visits New York, following in Simone’s footsteps to what used to be the Juilliard School, then plays a couple of numbers with Simone’s unflappable guitarist Al Shackman. “She was a taskmaster,” says Al. “If we goofed, we’d have to repeat the song 10 times.” John Robinson

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- John Robinson, Ali Catterall, Graeme Virtue, Ben Arnold, Andrew Mueller, David Stubbs, Hannah Verdier

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The Game: season one, episode five – there's more than one MI5 rotten apple

28 May 2015 2:00 PM, PDT

Alan’s duplicity is exposed only to make way for a bigger reveal. And Kate makes a welcome return whereas Colin Blakefield mysteriously disappears once again

Spoiler warning: This blogpost contains references to episode five of The Game on BBC2 in the UK. Please do not post spoilers if you have watched further in the series on BBC America.

To read the recap for season one, episode four of The Game, click here.

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- Vicky Frost

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Trevor Noah to begin hosting the Daily Show in September

28 May 2015 12:17 PM, PDT

The South African stand-up comedian will replace Jon Stewart on 28 September, just before Stephen Colbert takes over Late Show, and promises ‘sexy’ show

Trevor Noah will take over from Jon Stewart as the host of the Daily Show on 28 September, which gives the South African comic less than two months to put together his new version of the show.

Stewart will depart on 6 August after 16 years as Comedy Central’s late-night political satirist, with Noah – who caused a stir after a series of offensive tweets about Jews, fat women and Asian Americans emerged when he was announced as Stewart’s replacement in March – given the task of replacing him.

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- Guardian staff

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Smash goes from TV flop to the hottest ticket on Broadway

28 May 2015 12:16 PM, PDT

Demand is exceptionally high for tickets to Bombshell: The Musical, even though the original TV show started the hate-watch phenomenon

The only thing that most people know about Smash, NBC’s two-season wonder about the making of a Broadway musical that aired in 2012 and 2013, was that it was awful. Though the pilot was promising and featured both a great cast and some whiz-bang musical numbers, the show quickly descended into chaos, hemorrhaged viewers, and became the crux of a million articles about the new age of hate-watching.

It might come as a surprise, then, that the hottest ticket in New York is currently Bombshell: The Musical, a concert version of the faux Marilyn Monroe-inspired musical that the characters on the show were crafting.

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- Brian Moylan

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The Affair is compelling television - but will we ever get the truth?

28 May 2015 9:36 AM, PDT

Dominic West and Ruth Wilson’s The Affair demands us to be the jury, weighing the lies of a pair of lovers as they tell the different sides to their story. But who are we supposed to trust – and how will we reach a final judgement?

At away days and staff meetings in recent years, BBC drama commissioners have been prone to ask: “What stories do we want to tell?”, directing attention towards compelling narratives. An equally interesting question, though, might be: “How do we want to tell this story?”

For example, in a brainstorm structured around the search for stories that demand to be told, The Affair (Wednesdays, 9pm, Sky Atlantic) would struggle: it has an off-the-peg premise – the sort of thing that John Updike and John Cheever were familiarising in prose fiction more than 50 years ago – of marital infidelity among the moneyed east coast classes. But it is »

- Mark Lawson

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Jilted Louis Walsh’s post X Factor role – pop music’s troll-in-chief

28 May 2015 9:29 AM, PDT

After getting a ‘no’ from Simon Cowell, the pen-pointing pop manager has decided against a dignified silence. Instead, he’s gone rogue

Rejection affects us all in different ways. But pen-pointing pop manager Louis Walsh, whose X Factor relationship status is now “not exactly sacked but equally not invited back”, has developed an extreme response to getting his Q4 Saturday and Sunday nights back. He’s gone rogue.

Anyone who’s spent more than 90 seconds with Walsh will know that his conversations are peppered with “you can’t print this but…” gossip nuggets, and over the past month he’s amped up the indiscretion and carved out a new role as the ultimate pop troll. Having left, then rejoined The X Factor once before, Walsh now promises he’s “flat-out left, I’m not going back to the show, absolutely gone”. So he’s in full-on bridge-burning mode.

Related: Louis Walsh »

- Peter Robinson

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Aquarius: David Duchovny on the trail of Charles Manson

28 May 2015 8:16 AM, PDT

It’s a brilliant idea: a detective searching for a girl who’s become mixed up with Manson’s murderous Family – but Aquarius is, at heart, a conventional cop show

What’s the name of the show? Aquarius.

When does it premiere? The two-hour season premiere airs Thursday 28 May at 9pm Est on NBC. The network will air episodes each Thursday at 9pm, but the entire 13-episode season will be available to stream on NBC.com for a month starting Friday.

Related: Charles Manson's sordid legacy endures thanks to pop culture's odd fascination

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- Brian Moylan

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Looking box set review – a modern drama that’s more than a gay Girls

28 May 2015 8:00 AM, PDT

Patrick, Augustin and Dom belong to a generation with new freedoms – and it’s shown to be both thrilling and terrifying in this smart, richly impressive series

When it first appeared last year, this HBO drama was neatly dubbed the “gay Girls”. But that label doesn’t nearly capture the unique nature of this richly impressive drama. Looking may have been axed just a few months ago, but it achieved a lot in its two series, most notably establishing gay characters in situations that felt real, relatable and transcendent of sex and sexuality. Focusing on three men living in San Francisco, its main focus is Patrick, played with an agreeable mixture of anxiety and conceit by Jonathan Groff. He’s joined by Agustin, his best friend, and Dom, who works as a sommelier and sports one of TV’s finest moustaches.

Keen to establish itself as a throughly modern drama, »

- David Renshaw

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BBC defends reality show involving poor, dubbed 'Hunger Games'

28 May 2015 7:53 AM, PDT

Britain’s Hardest Grafter will pit 25 of Britain’s lowest-paid workers against each other for cash prize in series it claims is a ‘serious social experiment’

The BBC has defended a new TV reality show pitting unemployed and low-paid workers against each other for a cash prize, which has been accused of echoing film the Hunger Games, arguing it is a “serious social experiment”.

The show, called Britain’s Hardest Grafter, is seeking 25 of Britain’s poorest workers with applications limited to those who earn or receive benefits totalling less than £15,500 a year.

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- Mark Sweney

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BBC's Top Gear cleared of 'cover-up' over Falklands number plate

28 May 2015 6:56 AM, PDT

Viewers complained controversial licence number on Jeremy Clarkson’s Porsche was deliberately chosen and timing of Patagonia special was offensive

Top Gear has been cleared of allegations there was a “cover-up” over the use of a controversial number plate that appeared to refer to the Falklands conflict in its Patagonia TV special.

Presenters Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond were forced to flee from Argentina during filming last October.

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- Mark Sweney

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