Week of   « Prev | Next »

1-20 of 61 items   « Prev | Next »

The death of celebrity historians is much exaggerated | Richard J Evans

27 May 2012 4:06 PM, PDT

Don't write celebrity TV historians off just yet – as long as they don't stray from their expertise

For about 15 years, history has been experiencing a popularity boom. History books now sell more than 5 million copies a year in the UK and feature regularly in the bestseller lists. You can hardly switch on your television without seeing Simon Schama, David Starkey, Niall Ferguson or their younger, often female rivals holding forth in some exotic or historic location. Natasha's Dance, Orlando Figes' study of 19-century Russian culture, was advertised on huge posters in London's tube stations. The latest volume in Dominic Sandbrook's multi-volume history of postwar Britain is prominently displayed in bookshops across the land. "History," a BBC television producer is said to have remarked, "is the new gardening."

Not surprisingly, younger academics are keen to jump on the media bandwagon, given the continuing relative decline in academic pay and the »

- Richard J Evans

Permalink | Report a problem

Graham Linehan: Twitter has made me

27 May 2012 4:05 PM, PDT

The It Crowd and Father Ted writer talks about social networks, internet distractions and why so-called pirates are really fans

Graham Linehan would like to make one thing really clear, Ok? It is this: Father Ted was filmed in front of a studio audience. It might look as thought it's all done in a draughty house on a remote Irish island, but in fact it's a studio set. Linehan, who turned 44 last week, is irked by the persistence of the idea that the sitcom that brought him and Arthur Mathews to the attention of millions has canned laughter on it.

"I get asked it all the time," he says, his Dublin accent tinged with faint exasperation. "It's like the moon landings or something." He thinks the misunderstanding stems from Wikipedia: a sound recordist captures a track from the audience, other microphones capture the actors; the audience noise is called the »

- Charles Arthur

Permalink | Report a problem

TV review: Kingdom of Plants

27 May 2012 4:05 PM, PDT

Plants are as aggressive and competitive as polar bears – when you speed them up

Remember Polar Beargate? When it emerged that Sir David Attenborough, the most trusted, the most loved man in Britain, was in fact no better than a common conman. He duped us, making out that a bear and her cub, stars of Frozen Planet, were in the wild, when actually they were filmed in a Dutch zoo. Even the snow was fake. All that trust, built up over the years, instantly melted away ...

Well, guess what? He's only gone and done it again! Because this one, Kingdom of Plants (Sky Atlantic), I can exclusively reveal, is filmed in a greenhouse. So it's a big greenhouse, in Kew Gardens, but that's still a greenhouse. A captive palm in a palm house, a captive bear in a bear house: what's the difference?

Well, maybe it is a bit different to be honest. »

- Sam Wollaston

Permalink | Report a problem

TV highlights 28/05/2012

27 May 2012 4:05 PM, PDT

Springwatch 2012 | Steps: On the Road Again | Afghanistan: The Great Game – A Personal View By Rory Stewart | 56 Up | Britain's Hidden Homeless | Revenge

Springwatch 2012

8pm, BBC2

Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Martin Hughes-Games return for another series documenting wildlife's struggle for survival throughout spring. Filmed in the Welsh nature reserve Ynys-hir and using hidden mini-cameras to capture the daily lives of wildlife, including birds, otters and bumblebees, tonight's instalment focuses on life in the undergrowth. As ever, each show will come to you live, with surveys, challenges and results revealed on air. Clare Considine

Steps: On The Road Again

8pm, Sky Living

It's been a hard road back to popdom for Steps, who've had every little drama hammed up along the way in this fly-on-the-wall show. Now, in the final episode, they've made it to the end of the tour and have to decide whether to stay together for more mascara-troubling confessions »

- Ali Catterall, Hannah Verdier, Andrew Mueller, Clare Considine, Gwilym Mumford

Permalink | Report a problem

A room of my own: Eddie Marsan

27 May 2012 8:36 AM, PDT

The cult British actor and father of four at home in Chiswick

Eddie Marsan says it's only in the last "three or four" years of his acting life that he has received "public recognition." He doesn't mind, despite the fact that it's been some two decades. "I enjoyed it when it came because it felt like vindication for all the times I was rejected," he says. "But ultimately I'm an actor who wants to convince an audience. I don't want to be famous."

His family life in Chiswick seems nicely separated from Hollywood, though he has brought a few mementos back to show his children. The latest is an illustration from Snow White and the Huntsman, a big-budget adaptation starring Kristen Stewart. Marsan plays a dwarf, alongside Bob Hoskins and Ray Winstone – both "childhood heroes" and "the sort of people you can have a laugh with when you're spending five »

- Megan Conner

Permalink | Report a problem

Eurovision Song Contest 2012 final from Baku – as it happened

26 May 2012 4:37 PM, PDT

Stuart Heritage and Heidi Stephens covered all the action, which ended with a convincing win for Sweden's Loreen

Check out our gallery of performances

Good evening, bonsoir and axşamınız xeyir to the 2012 Eurovision liveblog! Tonight promises to be a cheese-packed variety hamper of musical joy, courtesy of the 26 finalists vying for the honour/economic ruin of hosting the contest next year.

Tonight's showbiz extravaganza is coming live from Baku, Azerbaijan – a nation so loaded they've build a sparkly new venue Just for Eurovision. The liveblog, however, is coming to you courtesy of Heidi Stephens and Stu Heritage, live from Stu's front room. We might post the odd photo on Twitter as we go along, so follow us at @stuheritage and @heidistephens. Just so you know, we're a tiny bit excited. We have food with flags in it and everything.

We'll be giving you the low-down on each of the 26 entries, »

- Stuart Heritage, Heidi Stephens

Permalink | Report a problem

Americans vote fictional politics on screen a hit – but reality is a turn-off

26 May 2012 4:12 PM, PDT

TV and cinema are turning again to life in the White House and on the campaign trail for drama while the approval ratings for real politicians are at rock bottom

She is a former first lady turned top diplomat. She had a president for a husband who was notorious for infidelity. But, with her scrappy guile and sheer determination, she remains a heroine to many ordinary Americans who desperately want her to run for the Oval Office.

But this is not secretary of state Hillary Clinton. This is Elaine Barrish Hammond, a fictional politician played by Sigourney Weaver who is about to hit television screens in a new six-part drama called Political Animals.

American politics has rarely looked this good. In a trailer for the show briefly put online, Weaver's Hammond cuts a sexy figure, with red hair to match her figure-hugging red clothing. In one scene Hammond compares herself to great women from history. »

- Paul Harris

Permalink | Report a problem

Danny O'Donoghue: 'I idolised Dad. I'd bring home my songs to him like paychecks'

26 May 2012 4:12 PM, PDT

The Voice judge on his journey from Dublin boy in hand-me-downs to frontman of the Script… and now Saturday night talent show judge. And all without being remotely cool…

Danny O'Donoghue would like to make it clear that he doesn't consider himself to be cool. "No fucking way," he says, waving the thought aside. It's as though I've just asked if he plucks his own nasal hair. And yet, sitting in a white armchair in his dressing room in Elstree studios, he has many of the attributes of coolness: the black skinny jeans, the Irish accent, the tattoos snaking up each arm. At 31, he is a professional rock star, arguably the coolest job in the world and, as frontman of the Script, has sold almost 4m albums.

The band – known for catchy, soft-rock hits such as The Man Who Can't Be Moved and For the First Time – has had two No 1 albums, »

- Elizabeth Day

Permalink | Report a problem

When a son of a gun turns into a mother…

26 May 2012 4:11 PM, PDT

Paul Abbott and Sean Conway describe how they created Hit & Miss, the story of a transsexual hitman played by Chloë Sevigny

Paul Abbott once went to a hypnotist because he had a problem: he couldn't stop having ideas. Fortunately the hypnotism didn't work. His astounding new mini-series Hit & Miss would never have come to light were Abbott not on ideas overdrive. Jet-lagged – just back from La – he is vivid, exhausted, irrepressible. He tells me he listens to thunder through headphones while writing. This figures. Even by his own standards, the Bafta-winning creator of Shameless and State of Play is on a roll: "Two projects were on my desk: one about a transsexual mother of five, the other about a hitman.

"The trouble with the first was the way the penis became an obstructive prop – it seemed that was all there was to talk about." One day he thought: why can't »

- Kate Kellaway

Permalink | Report a problem

Rewind TV: Hit & Miss; Hell on Wheels; The Fish Market: Inside Billingsgate – review

26 May 2012 4:06 PM, PDT

Chloë Sevigny showed us what she's made of in Sky Atlantic's crime thriller Hit & Miss

Hit & Miss (Sky Atlantic) | Watch trailer

Hell on Wheels (TCM)

The Fish Market: Inside Billingsgate (BBC2) | iPlayer

Gok Cooks Chinese (C4) | 4oD

The big hurdle you had to get over in Hit & Miss – the first fruits of Sky Atlantic's much-trumpeted investment in original drama – was the notion of Hollywood glamour minx Chloë Sevigny as a transsexual hitman working for an underworld gang boss in Manchester.

Here she was as sexy Mia, silently pumping bullets into someone in a car park (will car-park users never learn?) and afterwards seen knowing how to use an electric screwdriver. Yes, Diy skills. What did that tell us? Well, it was half convincing, in so much as Chloë Sevigny made a terrific woman. She walked like one, punched a punchbag like one, and sat in a bar smoking like one. »

- Phil Hogan

Permalink | Report a problem

The Voice first semi-final live show: live blog

26 May 2012 11:50 AM, PDT

The remaining eight contestants battle it out for a place in The Voice final. Join me from 6.30pm as we find out which singers will make it through

Good evening, and welcome to The Voice semi-final liveblog. This is where things get serious - for the first time this series, all the acts from all the coaches will take their turn to sing live on stage. Which of these plucky young upstarts will make it through to bask in the glory of next week's big final? Well, Jaz, Ruth, Becky and Bo, obviously. But don't let that put you off.

There are other questions to be answered tonight. Questions like "How many songs will Jessie J pull to standstill this week?", "Will Tom Jones ever be able to think up a word that rhymes with 'cow'?" and "How tall will Holly Willoughby be this week? Eight feet? Nine?". Hopefully we'll »

- Stuart Heritage

Permalink | Report a problem

Phew! We don't need to worry about egalitarianism any more, apparently | Ian Jack

25 May 2012 4:13 PM, PDT

Increasing social mobility is a bigger priority than reducing inequality, according to Nick Clegg

According to a speech made this week by the deputy prime minister, there are "few more powerful illustrations of just how divided our society can be" than the continuing Up series of television documentaries, which began in 1964 with Seven Up! and has revisited its participants once every seven years since. "What hits you hardest", Nick Clegg went on, "is that in the half-century since the series began, little has changed. Our society is still too closed, too static. A society that still says where you are born, and who you are born to, matters for the rest of your life."

Up to a point. What hit me hardest about Monday's episode of 56 Up, the second of three, was its disappointing compression: too much was squeezed into too little time, with too much left unsaid. Britain may »

- Ian Jack

Permalink | Report a problem

Q&A: Andrew Flintoff

25 May 2012 4:10 PM, PDT

'My most embarrassing moment? The pedalo incident in St Lucia'

Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff, 34, was born in Preston. He began playing cricket as a boy for Dutton Forshaw cricket club. In 1995, he made his first class debut for Lancashire, and in 1998 he made his Test debut for England, against South Africa. In 2005, he played a major role in regaining the Ashes from Australia and won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. Five years later, he was forced to retire from cricket due to a recurring knee injury. He has since made a career in television and radio. His series, Freddie Flintoff Goes Wild, is currently on Discovery.

What is your greatest fear?

The dark.

What is your earliest memory?

Playing my first game of cricket when I was six, with my brother who was nine. The under-14 side was short, so I stood in.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? »

- Rosanna Greenstreet

Permalink | Report a problem

What I see in the mirror: Donal MacIntyre

25 May 2012 4:09 PM, PDT

'As soon as you have children, it becomes less about what you look like and more about what faces from the past generations meet you in the mirror'

In essence, I have a forgettable face. People who have seen me one day on television, won't recognise me the next, and that has allowed me to have a long and fruitful career as an undercover investigative reporter. That said, I have a twin brother and thankfully we are not identical, so any threats that have come my way have never impacted on his life.

Interestingly, I was less recognisable when I did Dancing On Ice in 2009. I lost about two or three stone. As soon as I put the weight back on and became my traditional chubby Irish potato size, my recognition came back. My brand, apparently, is fat.

As soon as you have children, it becomes less about what you »

Permalink | Report a problem

Steve Backshall: The wild man from Surrey

25 May 2012 4:06 PM, PDT

There have been few children's TV presenters as intrepid as Steve Backshall – he's survived poisonous spiders, crocodile bites and the world's deadliest spots. But his passion for nature started in his parents' manure heap

For a man who has smelled the breath of the planet's deadliest predators and lived to tell the tale, Steve Backshall cuts a remarkably disarming figure. Anyone familiar with Cbbc's resident adventurer and naturalist through his show Deadly 60 may be surprised to hear that in the flesh he is boyishly enthusiastic, softly spoken and miraculously unscarred by a lifetime of death-defying confrontations with nature's fiercest creatures.

What he lacks in Crocodile Dundee machismo the Buckinghamshire-based explorer, presenter and now novelist, more than compensates for with his infectious zeal and encyclopaedic ecological knowledge. And where lesser mortals might capitulate when faced with a venomous tarantula or a snarling snow leopard, Backshall positively bristles with prospective excitement. »

- Nick McGrath

Permalink | Report a problem

The Hard Sell: Renault

25 May 2012 4:05 PM, PDT

'Most 24-year-olds have more chance of buying a talking unicorn than finding a mortgage provider"

Meet Let's Just Call Him Simon, the face of Renault's new four-year warranty and the human embodiment of "life's ups and downs". In 40 seconds we watch him graduating (up), looking for a job (down), getting a job (just unlikely). There he is with the lads (up) visiting somewhere that looks like Costa Del Eastbourne (down). There's a woman! She's a hotter Zooey Deschanel, and far too good for him (it's an up – in his trousers). They hold hands, go to the shops, dry hump. While most 24-year-olds have more chance of buying a talking unicorn than finding a mortgage provider, we watch them buying the kind of place our parents had to bravely soldier through the 70s to afford. Next their roof leaks (down) so they decide to get married (up). Simon's wife-to-be looks miserable »

- Sian Rowe

Permalink | Report a problem

TV Od with Peter Robinson: Hidden Talent

25 May 2012 4:05 PM, PDT

Britain's got talent, and not just for training dogs to dance – we can operate switchboards and recognise people really well, too

For the last five weeks, Channel 4 viewers have witnessed Richard Bacon on a bridge full of people on their way to or from mundane jobs. "What if you could change you life?" he's pondered, every week. "A hopeless dream?" Just as you are wondering if this dream might in fact be hopeless, Bacon hits you with the answer: "Not So."

Having watched Richard Bacon say "Not So" every week for over a month, I can confirm that his own Hidden Talent (Tue, 10pm, Channel 4) is in fact saying "Not So" in a really exciting way. But what of the public? Hidden Talent's premise has been this: you might be excellent at something but nobody knows what it is, not even you, so good luck. Obviously this is a real blow, »

- Peter Robinson

Permalink | Report a problem

Eurovision 2012: Sebastien Tellier gives his verdict

25 May 2012 4:05 PM, PDT

The French star (joint 18th, Eurovision 2008) makes his picks and announces the launch of his own quasi-political movement while he's at it


Roman Lob – Standing Still Honesty is something I admire – what are we without truth? I believe it to be crucial that all within the Blue Alliance be honest not only to themselves but to each other too. Enter ideal Blue Alliance poster-child Roman Lob. His truth is simple: Roman is going to sing his song standing completely still. His honesty far exceeds the expectations held for my community. Roman is standing still. This is made clear not only by his inaction, but his insistence upon it. Stand on Roman. Your honesty is divine.


Engelbert Humperdinck – Love Will Set You Free Your candidate has a lot of class! I can see it on his face and his knitted tie. You're lucky! He makes me think of an »

Permalink | Report a problem

Revenge: the high-society whodunnit that is frighteningly addictive

25 May 2012 4:05 PM, PDT

Wigs worthy of Joan Collins, a perceptive dog, and a comeback for Madeleine Stowe … We're hooked already. Here are 10 reasons to watch Revenge, which starts on E4 on Monday May 28 at 9pm

See a gallery of the characters here

It's a classic whodunnit

Revenge begins on a beach in the Hamptons, playground of New York's ultra-rich. Pop pop! A man is shot as a party sparkles in a mansion behind him. It's instantly gripping: "Who is he? Who shot him? And why?" Then it's distracting: "Just look at their fantastic skin, and those outfits, and their abdominals, and the interior decor, and the actual Van Gogh perched on an easel in what we're guessing they call the Champagne Brunch Room … "

It's a tale of hidden identity

Our heroine is Amanda Clarke (Emily VanCamp). When she was a girl, her daddy got framed by his powerful Hamptons mates and was killed in prison. »

- Nick Levine

Permalink | Report a problem

Catch-up TV Guide: From The Thick Of It to Blue Peter's Big Olympic Tour

25 May 2012 4:05 PM, PDT

TV: The Thick Of It

"Oh," wrote Armando Iannucci recently on Twitter "we've finished writing 7 eps of The Thick Of It, to be shown on BBC2 later this year". Woo! Along with Veep airing in the Us, it's another fine reason to catch up on the first three superbly sweary series, then.


Radio: Nicolas Jaar's Essential Mix

Smarty-pants muso Nicolas Jaar took over Radio 1 for a two-hour Essential Mix last week. And props to him for having the mettle to mix Jay-z and N*Sync with Charles Mingus and oud composer Anouar Brahem.

BBC iPlayer

TV: Indian Ocean With Simon Reeve

If gorgeous photography coupled with denunciations of the west's debasing influence on the developing world is somehow your thing, Simon Reeve's travelogue-cum-massive guilt trip is a must-watch. The series is waiting to be unearthed over on BBC iPlayer, and will likely elicit awestruck sighs and depressed groans in equal measure. »

- Gwilym Mumford, Sian Rowe

Permalink | Report a problem

1-20 of 61 items   « Prev | Next »

IMDb.com, Inc. takes no responsibility for the content or accuracy of the above news articles, Tweets, or blog posts. This content is published for the entertainment of our users only. The news articles, Tweets, and blog posts do not represent IMDb's opinions nor can we guarantee that the reporting therein is completely factual. Please visit the source responsible for the item in question to report any concerns you may have regarding content or accuracy.

See our NewsDesk partners