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Saturday Night Live to be adapted for Chinese television

5 hours ago

China follows in Brazil and Japan’s footsteps with plan to adapt classic sketch comedy show after internet company Sohu reaches deal

China is set to screen its own version of the American TV sketch show Saturday Night Live after an internet company in the country said it had reached a deal to adapt the show.

Sohu, which has streamed the New York version of the show since 2013, is in the process of recruiting comedians for the show, which is being tailored for Chinese audiences but “will have international appeal”, Sohu said in a statement.

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- Amanda Holpuch in New York

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RuPaul's Drag Race recap: season seven, episode one – the devil wears nada

7 hours ago

It’s age versus beauty as the queens throw shade in nude body stockings, with ‘glamour toad’ Ginger Minj and the icepick-tongued Katya early favourites

Can it be a year already since all those vicious bitches fought for the spotlight to decide which queen will reign supreme? But enough about Cpac. RuPaul’s Drag Race entered its seventh season on Monday night. If you haven’t seen it, imagine Survivor, Project Runway and The Voice crossed with In Treatment, smothered in lip gloss and rolled in glitter. Or better yet read Brian Moylan’s primer here.

Following the ins and outs (should that be tucks and untucks) each week will be Megan Carpentier and Dominic Rushe. Spoilers abound.

Related: RuPaul’s Drag Race: New season of America's best reality show kicks off

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- Megan Carpentier and Dominic Rushe

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Matt Lucas’s Pompidou: why are we so snobbish about silent comedy?

9 hours ago

The BBC’s new sitcom, like Mr Bean before it, has been called cynical and childish – but family entertainment shouldn’t be dismissed as unsophisticated

Ouch. There’ve been some stinking reviews for Matt Lucas’s new silent sitcom Pompidou. A failed experiment, says Chortle. “Few laughs,” says the Arts Desk. “Painful,” says the Telegraph – which only a few days previously had assured us that, “with its roots in [the UK’s venerable silent comedy] tradition, Pompidou has the surest of starts”.

Related: Are you a comedy snob?

Related: Critics aren’t comedy snobs – I like Lee Mack as much as Stewart Lee

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- Brian Logan

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I'm with Simon Cowell, let's bring professional wrestling back to British TV

9 hours ago

I agree, the return of tummy-bumping to our screens could be a glororious thing. But there are a few rules. …

This weekend, Simon Cowell revealed that he’d like nothing more than to bring wrestling back to British television. You can’t blame him: professional wrestling was once a huge part of British culture, and the fact that it has fallen by the wayside is a cause for despair.

For some people, Britishness is a gentle stroll through a springtime meadow. For others it’s the endless nocturnal swirl of city life. Not for me, though. For me – and, we can assume, for Simon Cowell – to be British is to spend your Saturday afternoons sitting on a tatty sofa in a house that smells of chip fat, watching two fat blokes repeatedly bump tummies in their pants for money.

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- Stuart Heritage

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Liz Miele: my mentor and friend George Carlin

10 hours ago

The comic was still a teenager when she wrote to the legendary Saturday Night Live host for advice. He wrote back, and the resulting friendship shaped her work

Liz Miele was 14 when she began writing stand-up comedy. The following year, she wrote to 40 of her favourite comics seeking advice. Two replied. Judd Apatow emailed the next day, urging her to study English. Then a week later ...

“Hi. Is Liz there? … This is George Carlin. I got your letter.”

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- Jay Richardson

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Eddie Redmayne invited to cameo on Neighbours after praising stars of show

12 hours ago

Oscar winner calls actors who play Karl and Susan Kennedy ‘the greatest unsung acting duo in history’

Related: Halle Berry: ‘If an Oscar winner tells you they can pick out hits, they’re lying!’

After winning an Oscar, actors are given a rather short amount of time to utilise their moment in the spotlight and make some prime decisions as to what to work on next. Just ask Halle Berry. While it’s been pretty quiet so far from Julianne Moore, Patricia Arquette and Jk Simmons, best actor winner Eddie Redmayne has been difficult to avoid.

Related: Harold from Neighbours wants a good movie role before he dies. Write him one

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- Benjamin Lee

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Better Call Saul recap: season one episode five – Alpine Shepherd Boy

13 hours ago

After the hectic pace of previous weeks, things settle down a bit as Jimmy finds his feet – and light relief from a talking sex toilet

Spoiler warning: do not read until you’ve seen the fifth episode of Better Call Saul on AMC/Netflix

Related: Better Call Saul recap: season one, episode four – Hero

Related: Better Call Saul recap: season one, episode three – Nacho

Related: Better Call Saul recap: season one episode two

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- Richard Vine

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Westboro Baptist Church protest at Leonard Nimoy funeral thwarted

14 hours ago

Unaffiliated Christian group failed to find church where service to commemorate the life of Star Trek star was being held

The Westboro Baptist Church were foiled in their attempts to protest at the funeral of Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy on 1 March, because of their failure to find it.

The church posted a Twitter update lamenting its inability to picket the event, which it said was due to a lack of publicity over the location. The organisation also referenced the widely-publicised failure of Nimoy’s Star Trek co-star William Shatner to attend the funeral.

Leonard Nimoy's funeral is today, but nobody is sharing Where. So Westboro And @WilliamShatner can't attend :( https://t.co/FBwkrfmEGM

I do want to thank everyone for coming here and sharing their memories and celebrating the life of #LeonardNimoy Llap! Mbb

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- Ben Child

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Arthur & George review – the mysterious case of the shadow of Sherlock Holmes

15 hours ago

This is a fine, well-acted adaptation of Julian Barnes’s novel, but reminders of a certain deer-stalkered sleuth are everywhere

The middle of the night, somewhere in the countryside. A full moon hides bashfully behind the clouds, only occasionally peeking out. Mist lies in smoky wisps on the ground. Baskervillian in feel? A little, maybe, but this is agricultural, not moorland. There is a man creeping about in the dark, and a large beast; but it’s a horse, and this time the animal is victim. The man sticks it in the stomach with something sharp; a Reichenbach of horse juice cascades out.

This is one of many attacks on farm animals in the parish of Great Wyrley. Suspicion quickly falls on a young man called George Edalji. Well, the evidence is pretty damning: he’s mixed race (I doubt anyone ever accused rural Staffordshire, 1903, of being the epicentre of »

- Sam Wollaston

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Tuesday’s best TV

15 hours ago

Natural World’s footage of owls is a treat for owlheads everywhere. Meantime, Jon Snow is getting stoned again on Channel 4 as part of the investigation into the drug and its dangers. And Jed Mercurio’s medical drama Critical goes from strength to strength

Say what you like about owls: maintaining a solid profile in the animal kingdom despite most people not seeing a single example from one year to the next deserves a doff of the cap. These stately, wondrous birds and their natural “super powers” are fully explored over an affectionate hour, pivoting around Lloyd and Rose Buck, bird-handlers extraordinaire, raising two barn owl chicks in their own home. The footage, as well as the devotion of the Bucks, is enthralling. Ben Arnold

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- John Robinson, Ben Arnold, Hannah Verdier, Jack Seale, Andrew Mueller

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RuPaul’s Drag Race: New season of America's best reality show kicks off

2 March 2015 10:01 AM, PST

Call the drag queen contest the gay community’s equivalent of football: everyone watches it, there are different teams to root for, and it brings people together

RuPaul’s Drag Race is a competitive reality show on Logo. Either you know every single word in that sentence or you have absolutely no clue what is going on. And that’s fair. Even cable providers that have Logo on their dial don’t always know that this all-gay cable channel actually exists. But if you’re among the million or so viewers that tune into the network’s top show each season, you are probably ardently devoted to one of the best hours of entertainment on television. If you haven’t seen it yet, you need to check it out on Monday, 2 March at 10pm Est when its seventh season kicks off.

Hosted by 90s phenomenon RuPaul, the show is like Top Chef, »

- Brian Moylan

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The Walking Dead season five episode 12: Remember – recap

2 March 2015 6:57 AM, PST

Rick and his crew return to the civilisation of Alexandria, but have been so damaged by their experiences that they can no longer fit in

Spoiler alert: this blog is published after The Walking Dead airs on AMC in the Us on Sundays. Do not read on unless you have watched season five, episode 12 (which airs in the UK on Fox on Mondays)

Recently, watching The Walking Dead has been an incredibly tense experience. We’re so attuned to every positive situation having awful consequences that we are constantly braced for something horrible to happen. When Rick and the crew finally get past the gate into Alexandria, with its model homes and perfectly manicured lawns, we’re looking behind the doors to see whether there is a psychopath running the whole thing, or inspecting the labels in the pantry to see if the tins contain the same ingredients as Soylent Green. »

- Brian Moylan

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What sports would you like to see more (or less) of on free-to-air TV?

2 March 2015 6:55 AM, PST

Carl Frampton’s defence of his world title on Saturday night was a triumph for the champion, his manager Barry McGuigan, British boxing and mainstream fight fans. What other sporting occasions should be available on free-to-view TV?

For those of us who grew up watching live boxing on terrestrial television, Saturday night was a real treat. As soon as the formalities of the weekend news and weather had been wrapped up for another night, ITV set off to Belfast, where local boy Carl Frampton was defending his super bantamweight world title in front of 11,000 loud fight fans in the Odyssey Arena.

Chris Avalos, the brave challenger, was first into the ring. Avalos had talked up his credentials before the fight, even pausing before the fight to tell Frampton that he “fights like a little pussy”, but the man from California let himself down badly with his choice of ring-walk music. »

- Paul Campbell

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Celebrity Big Brother cleared despite more than 2,700 complaints

2 March 2015 6:41 AM, PST

Viewers complained to Ofcom about Perez Hilton’s ‘sexualised’ ans ‘threatening’ behaviour, as well as Ken Morley’s use of the word ‘negro’

The media watchdog will not investigate the latest series of Celebrity Big Brother, despite receiving thousands of complaints about it.

There were 2,736 complaints to Ofcom about the Channel 5 show, including 715 about Perez Hilton’s “sexualised behaviour”, 480 about his “threatening behaviour” and 262 about “racially offensive language” when Ken Morley repeatedly used the word “negro”.

Related: Ken Morley thrown off Celebrity Big Brother after using word 'negro'

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- John Plunkett and agencies

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I Survived a Zombie Apocalypse is a reality show with real bite

2 March 2015 4:44 AM, PST

BBC3’s high-concept reality show is like a cross between Big Brother and The Walking Dead, pitting housemates against an outside world of flesh-hungry zombies

Can anything stop the zombie zeitgeist? Perhaps at some point we’ll all get properly fed up with walkers, rotters, biters and anything else that shuffles off this mortal coil, only to keep on shuffling. Right now, though, we’re stuck with them. So it’s surprising it’s taken so long for a zombie-themed reality show to appear, especially when Channel 4’s gory satire Dead Set essentially provided proof-of-concept back in 2008. Thankfully BBC3 – a channel currently contemplating its own kind of compromised afterlife – has come up with the goods.

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- Graeme Virtue

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Nick Offerman to take lead in stage version of A Confederacy of Dunces

2 March 2015 4:17 AM, PST

The Parks and Recreation actor and woodworking enthusiast is to take on one of Us fiction’s most well-loved comic creations

Nick Offerman, the actor who gained fame as ultra-masculine moustachioed politico Ron Swanson in the TV comedy Parks and Recreation, is to play one of Us fiction’s most vivid characters: Ignatius J Reilly, from John Kennedy Toole’s novel A Confederacy of Dunces.

Related: Feeling Pawnee? Farewell to Parks & Recreation - the little sitcom that could

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- Ben Beaumont-Thomas

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ITV's This Morning to be investigated over 'Fifty Shades' sex-toy slot

2 March 2015 4:01 AM, PST

Segment on ‘bondage for beginners’ shown at 10.30am attracted more than 120 complaints to media watchdog

ITV daytime show This Morning is to be investigated by media regulator Ofcom after it offered viewers a lesson in “bondage for beginners” featuring sex toys inspired by hit film, Fifty Shades of Grey.

Ofcom said it had 120 complaints from viewers about the item, fronted by the programme’s regular presenters Christine Bleakely and Philip Schofield along with “sexpert” Annabelle Knight, featuring bondage equipment and other X-rated topics.

Related: ITV This Morning 'Fifty Shades' session gets lashing from viewers

Related: This Morning's 25 best moments

Related: Celebrity Big Brother cleared despite more than 2,700 complaints

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- John Plunkett

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House of Cards recap: season three, episodes 11, 12 and 13 – are the Underwoods undone?

2 March 2015 2:08 AM, PST

As one season closes, another is dangled teasingly in front of us. Frank is alone, Doug has done his foulest deed yet and the Democratic primary is hotting up

There is no such thing as closure. The seeming finale of a TV series, for instance, just tees up the next. So, after Claire Underwood told Frank “I’m leaving you” and made her magnificent exit from the White House, there was only temporary resolution; a false closure prompting all sorts of questions that can only be answered in season four.

Not that I’m complaining. I wasn’t looking forward to season three but much preferred its austere mood and gloomy visual and moral palette, to its more campily clamorous predecessors. There was much less of Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood appropriating the tic of his mentor – Ian Richardson in the British original – and mugging in a putatively wise-assed-manner to camera. »

- Stuart Jeffries

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YouTube's top 100 channels have more than doubled their views in a year

2 March 2015 1:08 AM, PST

With 517.3m monthly views, unboxing channel Funtoys Collector is now bigger than second-placed PewDiePie – and Taylor Swift hasn’t done badly either

YouTube’s top 100 channels have more than doubled their monthly views in the last year, with toy-unboxing channel Funtoys Collector emerging as the biggest star.

The 100 most popular channels generated more than 14.7bn video views in January 2015 according to figures published by industry site Tubefilter based on data from analytics firm OpenSlate, which tracks YouTube.

Related: YouTube targets music lovers and children to head off rivals

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- Stuart Dredge

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Troy’s favourite TV

2 March 2015 1:00 AM, PST

Street magician Troy von Scheibner on guilty pleasure New Girl and how he’s saving Game Of Thrones for retirement

This probably won’t be that popular with the guys but I really love New Girl on Channel 4. It’s got a dry sense of humour, and I like that. Also, repeats of Dragon Ball Z on Cartoon Network. I’ve been into anime since secondary school, running back home every Thursday because a new episode was coming out. The Undateables, too. I find it quite endearing. People who don’t have any issues with ourselves, we take a lot for granted. I watch a show like that and I’m like: ‘Damn – I’m lucky.’

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- Louis Pattison

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