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The Hard Sell: Peugeot 208

24 August 2012 4:04 PM, PDT

'Throughout the advert he wears only a pair of bright yellow shorts and shows himself how life should be lived'

Popular culture has given us some memorable alter egos, from Killer Bob in Twin Peaks to Fight Club's Tyler Durden. Now we have the star of the new Peugeot 208 advert. (We don't catch his name, so let's call him the Peugeot Pervert.) It begins when a complete loser (the side parting, grey cardigan and empty face are a giveaway for students of physical characterisation) finds a human-shaped package. It's not his daughter, wrapped in plastic, but the unfettered version of himself, who has 'I Am Your Body' tattooed on his otherwise naked chest. Throughout the advert he wears only a pair of bright yellow shorts – a look that has you hoping he'll bound into the nearest working men's club, endeavouring to spread the love – and shows himself how life should be lived. »

- Rob Smyth

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Sherlock series three: creators give clues about episodes

24 August 2012 11:07 AM, PDT

Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss give fans a teaser about hit BBC1 detective show at Edinburgh TV Festival

The creators of BBC1 hit Sherlock have given fans a teaser about the detective show's third series, due to begin filming next January, revealing the three words "rat, wedding, bow".

Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, and Sherlock producer Sue Vertue, revealed the cryptic clues at a masterclass session on the popular and critically acclaimed BBC1 drama at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival on Friday afternoon.

"We have three new words – which may be misleading, are not titles, are only teases or possibly clues, but might be deliberately designed to get you into a lather. Who knows?" said Moffat.

There is no broadcast date for the new instalments as yet.

The second series of the modern day version of Arthur Conan Doyle's detective stories ended on a cliffhanger, with Benedict Cumberbatch »

- Vicky Frost

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David Walliams lines up BBC1 sitcom

24 August 2012 7:04 AM, PDT

Six-part series with working title of Autumn Leaves one of several commissions from BBC1 controller Danny Cohen

David Walliams has created a new sitcom for BBC1 in which the Little Britain star will feature as an irreverent chemistry teacher.

The six-part series, which has a working title of Autumn Leaves, is due to air in 2013 and is one of several new commissions by the BBC1 controller, Danny Cohen.

Cohen told the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival on Friday that BBC1 will also launch a new Saturday night game show, with a working title The Brightest Briton, where contestants will battle it out to be crowned the most intelligent person in Britain.

These new shows will line up alongside Slings and Arrows, a sitcom by Ben Elton set in the world of local government.

"The raft of exciting new programmes I'm announcing today are at the heart of what I believe »

- Josh Halliday

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Sky entertainment director comes out fighting at Edinburgh television festival

24 August 2012 5:00 AM, PDT

Stuart Murphy hits back at criticism that talent is attracted to broadcaster solely by money and defends scale of investment

Stuart Murphy, the director of Sky entertainment, has dismissed criticism that the satellite broadcaster uses its chequebook to attract talent as a "load of shit".

Murphy fought back against accusations that Sky was attracting talent by the power of its financial muscle alone. The broadcaster has made a major push into scripted drama and comedy in the past couple of years as part of a move to double its investment in UK originated non-sports programming to £600m a year by 2014.

"When the chairman of the BBC and the director general said 'Sky are doing well because of the money', I just thought that is so pathetic … You can't think of any other reason why anyone would work at Sky: not the relationships I've had 20 years in the industry … It's just money. »

- Vicky Frost

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Parade's End: why Tom Stoppard's return to TV is a cause for celebration

24 August 2012 4:47 AM, PDT

Dramatist's first work for BBC for 35 years signals ongoing rapprochement between playwrights and the small screen

By any measures, Sir Tom Stoppard is among our greatest living writers and the BBC is one of the most industrious producers of culture in the world. And yet – startlingly – Parade's End (BBC2, 9pm, Friday), adapted by Stoppard from Ford Maddox Ford's quartet of novels, marks the first time the playwright has written a script directly for BBC television since 1977, when Professional Foul, his brilliant comedy about moral philosophers and England footballers sharing the same hotel in Prague, won a Bafta award.

During this 35-year spell, Stoppard has written radio plays, had stage works adapted for TV and scripted one original drama – Squaring the Circle (1984), about the Polish uprisings in the 1980s – for commercial television, but it does seem extraordinary and regrettable that such a significant dramatist has been so lost to a medium »

- Mark Lawson

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Cops called out over boy racers find... Jeremy Clarkson

24 August 2012 3:59 AM, PDT

Next time you find yourself irritated by the sound of kids doing handbrake turns and revving their engines as they tear down your street, don't automatically call the police as all may not be quite as it seems. According to the Daily Star, a community support officer in Darlington, called out after complaints that boy racers were using a former football stadium, was surprised to find that the culprits were none other than the stars of Top Gear – Clarkson, May and The Stig – filming an item for the latest series. To Clarkson's scorn, Pcso James Metcalffe had turned up to investigate on a bicycle. "In London, they issue police with cars," the motormouth muttered.

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- Monkey

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TV review: Whatever Happened to Harry Hill? Vic & Bob's Lucky Sexy Winners; Just Around the Corner

24 August 2012 1:39 AM, PDT

It was mainly a clips job, but the insane happiness of Harry Hill is as addictive as sild

Much like Kenneth Tynan and Look Back in Anger – but without the intellect, insatiable cultural curiosity and immeasurable breadth of knowledge and living in hopelessly degraded rather than fearlessly innovative times – I could not love anyone who did not love Harry Hill. He is happiness made baldy flesh.

The spoof documentary Whatever Happened to Harry Hill? was part of the Funny Fortnight celebrating Channel 4's 30th birthday. This is the channel, of course, on which Hill first appeared, back in 1997. The aptly-named Harry Hill Show was a gallimaufry of inspired idiocy that introduced us to the ever-elusive badgers' parade, a blue rubber cat called Stouffer, the sight of Bert Kwouk (formerly Cato in the Inspector Clouseau films) as Harry's lacklustre chicken catcher, Mai Sung – Harry's wife and stealer of his Abbey National book and … well, »

- Lucy Mangan

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Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies set for BBC2 adaptation

23 August 2012 4:07 PM, PDT

Fictionalised life of Thomas Cromwell to be brought to TV in six-hour adaptation and expected to be broadcast in late 2013

Her fictionalised life of Thomas Cromwell won Hilary Mantel the Man Booker prize – and now Wolf Hall and its follow-up Bring Up The Bodies are to be brought to television in a six-hour adaptation for BBC2.

The TV version of the acclaimed 2009 novel and its sequel, expected to be broadcast in late 2013, is to be adapted by Peter Straughan, who wrote the screenplay for the recent Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy movie.

The third part of Mantel's Tudor trilogy, the yet-to-be-published The Mirror and the Light, might form a standalone drama at a later date.

Stressing the channel's commitment to drama in the face of cuts that from the new year will ravage the daytime schedule, BBC2 controller Janice Hadlow – who named Wolf Hall as among her favourite books of recent »

- Vicky Frost

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William Windom obituary

23 August 2012 4:06 PM, PDT

American TV and film actor whose repertoire ran from Shakespeare to Star Trek

It may well be that the American actor William Windom, who has died aged 88 of congestive heart failure, appeared as a guest star in more TV series than anyone else in the history of the medium. While quantity is not necessarily an adjunct of quality, Windom made it so.

The character actor's career on television spanned seven decades, from his debut as a fiery Tybalt in a Philco Television Playhouse production of Romeo and Juliet (1949) to an episode of Star Trek: New Voyages (2004) in which he recreated the role of the unbalanced Commodore Matt Decker. Decker was first seen in one of the series's best chapters, The Doomsday Machine (1967), and it was enough to sanctify Windom in the eyes of Trekkies. The role had been written for Robert Ryan, but Windom's powerful portrayal made any possible comparisons redundant. »

- Ronald Bergan

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Your next box set: Medium

23 August 2012 4:05 PM, PDT

This underrated supernatural police procedural stars the excellent Patricia Arquette as Allison Dubois, part psychic investigator, part suburban mum

Think of Patricia Arquette and you very likely think of her role as kickass callgirl Alabama in the 90s cult classic True Romance – directed, of course, by the mighty Tony Scott, who died last weekend. Since 2005, though, Arquette has been quietly starring in underrated supernatural police procedural Medium.

Arquette's character Allison DuBois is a psychic medium working for the district attorney in Phoenix, Arizona. She dreams about crimes, sometimes before they have happened, gets given clues by ghosts, can talk to dead people – and eventually persuades the authorities to use her abilities to their advantage. Which all sounds pretty preposterous, until you realise it is based on a real-life Allison DuBois, a "psychic profiler" who really did work in law enforcement and serves as consultant on the show. Writer Glenn Gordon Caron, »

- Michael Hogan

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TV highlights 24/08/2012

23 August 2012 4:05 PM, PDT

Parade's End | Idris Elba's How Clubbing Changed the World | House Party | The Seahorse Man | Celebrity Bitchslap News

Parade's End

9pm, BBC2

Tom Stoppard writes and Benedict Cumberbatch stars with Rebecca Hall in this superb Edwardian love-triangle saga, a co-production by the Beeb and HBO. Christopher (Cumberbatch) is unhappy with his icy wife Sylvia (Hall) and her predilection for frequent and blatant affairs. She throws a plate because she's bored. She lazily cheats on him, trying to provoke a reaction. But, unbeknown to her, he falls for a young suffragette. The photography, Stoppard's script and the leads' performances are all gripping. Julia Raeside

Idris Elba's How Clubbing Changed the World

10pm, Channel 4

"Look at this chair," says filmmaker Jacques Peretti. As he points out, it's the kind of chair that would have once graced the chill-out room of a nightclub, but is now standard in modern offices. This »

- Julia Raeside, Ali Catterall, Ben Arnold, Martin Skegg, David Stubbs

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Channel 4 lines up gun-crime drama and David Tennant panel show

23 August 2012 9:00 AM, PDT

Red Riding screenwriter to pen series about spate of shootings in UK, while former Doctor Who star to host Saturday night show

Channel 4 has commissioned a new drama about a small town rocked by a spate of shootings, penned by the screenwriter behind Red Riding, and unveiled a new panel show to be hosted by David Tennant.

Southcliffe has been written by Tony Grisoni and will be made by Warp Films.

The four-part series of one-hour episodes will look at the fallout from a spate of shootings, which all occur in one day, through the eyes of a journalist returning to the small town of Southcliffe where he grew up.

Grisoni was responsible for adapting David Peace's Red Riding series of crime novels into a trilogy of dramas for Channel 4 in 2009.

Southcliffe, which will air next year, will be directed by Sean Durkin, who directed the film Martha Marcy May Marlene. »

- Mark Sweney

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Monkey goes to ... the Edinburgh TV festival | Media Monkey

23 August 2012 7:41 AM, PDT

Lemon squeezes Fincham till it hurts

It was always going to be a high-risk strategy being a guest panellist on Keith Lemon's special festival edition of Celebrity Juice. So spare a thought for ITV director of television Peter Fincham who ended up with his head in his hands after Lemon – the creation of Leigh Francis – went all post-watershed on the distinctly pre-watershed festival opener. The gags about his wealth, ITV1's Daybreak, sex – "are you familiar with the euphemism licking the lid?" asked Lemon, and even inviting him to recreate a particular sexual position – all that Fincham could handle. "Are you a fan of the tits?" Lemon asked the ITV boss. "Yes and no," replied Fincham. But a long routine that involved Lemon mimicking blow jobs – alas space precludes further detail – appeared to break even Fincham's resolve. Still, it could have been worse. Lemon asked BBC3 controller Zai Bennett »

- Monkey

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Blake's 7 is returning. What TV show should be next? | Open thread

23 August 2012 5:46 AM, PDT

The channel behind the Battlestar Galactica reboot is turning its attention to Blake's 7. Tell us shows you'd like to see remade

News that the Us cable TV channel Syfy is remaking the much-loved 70s show Blake's 7 has provoked a mixed response. Diehard fans are always likely to have ambivalent feelings about their favourites being resurrected. But what programmes would you like to see given a new lease of life? Is it time to bring back Quantum Leap, Sapphire and Steel or Bergerac? And who would star in them today?

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Blake's 7: is Syfy's remake plan a cause for geek excitement or trepidation?

23 August 2012 4:39 AM, PDT

The original was ahead of its time with its grim, paranoid premise but a new version is likely to horrify as many fans as it will thrill

The news that Syfy are making moves to remake Blake's 7 will thrill as many as it will horrify – and baffle just as many again.

The BBC's other dusty science-fiction classic ran for four series between 1978 and 1981, and followed the adventures of one Roj Blake, a political dissident from the third century of the second calendar who, after being tried and imprisoned on false charges, steals an abandoned ship and leads a group of space rogues on a mission across the galaxy.

In one sense it was only a matter of time. Attempts have been made – or at least rumoured to be made – to resurrect Blake's 7 since the runaway successes of the Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica revivals. The original Blake's 7 occupied (an admittedly »

- Dan Martin

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Which fictional TV town has the highest murder rate? | Media Monkey

23 August 2012 2:31 AM, PDT

Maine, Oxford and Scandinavia might look nice on the telly but they're sure keeping the funeral parlours busy, according to the Sun. After totting up the figures, Radio 4's More or Less has worked out that the deadliest fictional place in the world of deadly fictional places is Cabot Cove in Maine, home town of one Jessica Fletcher (played by Angela Lansbury) in Murder, She Wrote, which has 149 murders for every 100,000 people. Ystad, home of Swedish detective Wallander, is nipping at its heels, with 110 murders per 100,000. By comparison, Oxford, which is home to Inspector Morse and his sidekick Lewis, is positively boring, with a mere three murders for every 100,000, while Midsomer, of Murders fame, (where recent deaths include the body of a tax inspector being found dumped in a barrel of cider and a local farmer brutally murdered on an ancient stone circle) has just 3.2 murders per 100,000. Handily, the Sun »

- Monkey

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Paralympics 2012 on TV: why you should be watching

23 August 2012 1:56 AM, PDT

Channel 4 and Radio 5 Live will cover more events than ever – and there's some great sporting contests to look forward to

Don't put your Team Gb bunting away just yet – the Olympics may be over but the Paralympics are about to begin.

And in telly terms, from the opening ceremony on 29 August to the closing ceremony on 9 September, Channel 4 will playing a role it hasn't performed since it lost the England home Test cricket rights to Sky – that of a major TV sports broadcaster.

The Paralympics is usually overlooked by broadcasters. Even this year only a dozen or so broadcasters have bought the rights (which have been sold separately from the main Olympics for the first time) compared with 147 for the Olympics.

But Channel 4 has approached the task with some gusto, ploughing resources and energy into the coverage. For a broadcaster founded on values of tolerance and inclusivity, »

- Ben Dowell

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Blake's 7: Syfy cues up Us remake

22 August 2012 4:58 PM, PDT

Cable channel that successfully rebooted Battlestar Galactica orders pilot of Terry Nation's hit 70s sci-fi show

The bloodbath of a final episode suggested a comeback was out of the question. But television's appetite for remaking sci-fi classics of yesteryear has extended to Blake's 7, the story of interstellar renegades which came to an end on BBC1 in 1981.

Blake's 7, which was dubbed "The Dirty Dozen in space", is being remade for the same Us cable TV channel, Syfy, that successfully revived another 70s sci-fi show, Battlestar Galactica, in 2004.

Doctor Who was reinvented for a new Saturday teatime audience by BBC1, but not every reboot of a fondly remembered show has been successful – ITV1's new version of The Prisoner proved short-lived despite an all-star cast featuring Sir Ian McKellen.

It remains to be seen what form the Blake's 7 remake will take or how faithful it will be to the original. Veteran director Martin Campbell, »

- John Plunkett

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TV review: The Revolution Will Be Televised

22 August 2012 4:05 PM, PDT

These two pranksters even tried to get Tony Blair sainted. What cojones!

I was once involved with a stunt this newspaper carried out at a Labour party conference in Bournemouth. We press-ganged a bunch of local students and organised an ironic guerrilla Save Tony Blair campaign (he wasn't at his most popular at the time). We had placards ("Two tiers are better than one", "Ten More Years of Tony"); we heckled and harassed. It was funny … ish. But it wasn't nearly as funny as Jolyon Rubinstein and Heydon Prowse are in The Revolution Will Be Televised (BBC3).

In character as junior MPs James Twottington-Burbage (Con) and Barnaby Plankton (Lib Dem) they gatecrash the Lib Dem conference in Newcastle, and make total nuisances – and total twats – of themselves. James the Tory tries to have a coffee with Vince Cable; then, when the business secretary seems reluctant, James tries to get Vince »

- Sam Wollaston

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Citizen Khan: an Asian sitcom star is born

22 August 2012 4:05 PM, PDT

Citizen Khan is notable for being the BBC's first Asian sitcom, but it's also the creation of Adil Ray, a radio presenter who has reinvented himself as a TV funnyman

On a muggy July evening, hundreds of people are queueing to enter a shiny studio at the BBC's new MediaCity centre in Salford: we are all here to watch the filming of an episode of BBC1's new comedy, Citizen Khan. Created by and starring Adil Ray – more commonly known as a BBC radio and TV presenter – it also has the distinction of being the BBC's first Asian sitcom. That's ever. But more on that later.

Citizen Khan's comedy mostly takes place in the twin hubs of Mr Khan's life: the mosque and the family home in Sparkhill, Birmingham. The set is fantastically well-observed, from the clear plastic covering on the chintzy sofa – a familiar sight to many of »

- Bim Adewunmi

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