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Catch-up TV guide: from Once Upon A Time to Problems

2 hours ago

Netflx has found a home for cult series Once Upon A Time and there’s dark comedy from Australia over on UKTV Play

When Channel 5 surprisingly dropped this faintly Lost-inflected fantasy series from its schedules in 2013, it dismayed a small but smitten band of devotees who had fallen hard for its allegorically repurposed modern take on classic fairytales. However, a platform can be found for almost everything these days and, perhaps inevitably, Netflix has stepped into the breach and given Once Upon A Time a new home. For UK fans, there’s an exciting amount of catching up to do: season four has already begun but season three didn’t make it to British screens and is also available on Netflix now.

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- Phil Harrison

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The new Cortana advert: watch Clean Bandit’s career die before your eyes

2 hours ago

‘“What are you wearing, Cortana?” he asks, like he’s in a shit version of the film Her’. Cortana replies: “A phone. Like it?”

Clean Bandit, the Cambridge-educated group who looked at dance music and thought, “What this needs is more violins”, redefine cringe-worthy in this new ad for Cortana. In it, the band chat with the Windows Phone personal assistant as they prepare to attend the Brit awards. Cortana, which even Robin Thicke would concede is a Siri rip-off, promises to remind cello player Grace not to dance on tables while mocking the band’s violinist Neil for his taste in hideously garish jackets.

If Clean Bandit’s reason for accepting the job was money then they weren’t paid enough; if it was to create something even worse than their music then they went too far. And if you last long enough without clawing out your eyeballs or »

- David Renshaw

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Unreported World: The City That Beat Isis review – a 3am Girl goes to Syria

3 hours ago

Two seriously gutsy journalists smuggle themselves into a pulverised Kobani to witness the final days of the battle between Isis and the Kurds

Reporter Kiki King has a serious pair of bollocks. So does James Brabazon, director of Unreported World: The City That Beat Isis (Channel 4). Earlier in the year they got themselves smuggled into Kobani while it was surrounded – and still partly occupied – by the Islamic State. They witnessed the last days of the battle that saw Kurdish fighters finally repel the jihadis from the Syrian city.

I don’t know anything about Kiki’s and James’s family situations, but their mums must have been having kittens. Maybe they just sneak off without telling, or lie (like westerners going to fight for the caliphate, ironically). “Yeah, it’s like a travel programme we’re filming, Mum, cool places to go to beat the winter blues, Turkey »

- Sam Wollaston

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Crush of the week: Paul Feig

5 hours ago

‘He’s that rare thing in Hollywood, a man who seems to want to address the desperate gender imbalance’

If dictionaries had photographs to go with their definitions, next to the entry for “cult viewing” would be a tiny thumbnail shot of Paul Feig. He has directed episodes of high-school drama Freaks And Geeks (which he created and co-wrote), Arrested Development, Nurse Jackie, The Office and Weeds. On the big screen, he helmed the hugely successful 2011 comedy Bridesmaids and is directing an all-female reboot of Ghostbusters, due out next year. Inevitably, this has ruffled some feathers: Feig has been accused of “ruining people’s childhoods”. “Honestly,” he replied, “the only way I could ruin your childhood is if I got into a time machine and went back and made you an orphan.”

Related: Paul Feig: Hollywood's accidental feminist

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- Bim Adewunmi

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Top Gear: can the BBC handle its big names?

15 hours ago

Jeremy Clarkson’s departure raises questions over BBC’s talent management, and whether it can keep the world’s most watched factual TV show

The BBC has begun the task of filling a £50m Jeremy Clarkson-shaped hole at the heart of its schedules at the end of a bruising week that saw the enforced departure of its star presenter.

Clarkson, whose contract was not renewed by the BBC after an “unprovoked attack” left a colleague bleeding and seeking hospital treatment, was said by colleagues to be “robust” and considering a break from TV following the events of the past few weeks.

The importance of having a strong executive to stand up to and understand talent cannot be overrated

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- John Plunkett and Tara Conlan

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Better Call Saul's Vince Gilligan: 'We want to reward the fans'

15 hours ago

Breaking Bad creator spoke during a panel in La and revealed how fans of the AMC spinoff are at the heart of his creative decisions

The creator of Better Call Saul has promised to “reward” fans by staying true to the canon established by Breaking Bad.

“The folks who watch this show … they deserve to be rewarded for their strict attention,” creator Vince Gilligan told an audience at the Cary Grant Theater in Los Angeles, at a panel screening of the penultimate episode on Thursday night.

Related: Has Better Call Saul lived up to expectations?

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- Lauren Gambino

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Should Guy Martin take over at Top Gear?

21 hours ago

The part-time presenter could bring boyish humility, insane bravery, and even women to the mix of the motoring show. It could just work

Jeremy Clarkson is finally gone but his executioner, BBC director-general Tony Hall, has promised to continue Top Gear in 2016. With early front-runner Chris Evans having ruled himself out as a replacement host, bookies are instead backing as favourite a man most international Top Gear fans won’t have heard of: Guy Martin.

Martin is certainly a surprising choice. His charming, thrilling series for Channel 4 – including Speed, where he set out to break unusual speed records, and How Britain Worked, his hands-on guide to the engineering marvels of the Industrial Revolution – have been labours of love by a part-time amateur. To take over one of the biggest shows on TV, Martin would have to ditch his day job fixing trucks, not to mention his great passion as »

- Jack Seale

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Bill Oddie: My family values

22 hours ago

The broadcaster talks about his mother, who was in an asylum for much of his childhood, and realising that he too had bipolar disorder

I’ll never forget coming home from school when I was 10 to find a naked woman in the bath. She said: “Hello, I’m your mother.” Mum was said to be schizophrenic, but these days we would probably call it bipolar disorder. When I was six, she had been forcibly taken away and placed in a mental asylum, where she remained for nine years. But occasionally she would make a sudden reappearance. My memories of her are single shots, like a trailer, but I never saw the film.

My father, Harry, an accountant, provided as normal a childhood as possible, so I wasn’t acutely aware that I didn’t have a mother. He was dapper, witty and charming. He was also minutely interested in everything »

- Interview by Angela Wintle

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Douglas Booth: 'I'm a 90-year-old trapped in a young body'

22 hours ago

He’s mates with Miley Cyrus and can play anyone from Bullingdon boy to Boy George. Just don’t call actor Douglas Booth handsome

Douglas Booth is trying to dissuade a dog from having sex with his leg. “No humping, Barry – I knew you when you were a puppy!” Booth has evidence, too: video footage of the young actor in a vest, cradling the photographer’s whippet on a previous shoot, found its way on to the internet two years ago, its Athena poster cuteness delighting teenage girls around the world. It’s probably for the best that this sequel isn’t being filmed.

Related: Douglas Booth models menswear for spring 2015 – in pictures

‘I had a conversation with Jude Law: he told me people’s obsession with looks goes away after a while’

‘I have severe dyslexia and can’t skim a script. I have to reread every line, »

- Rhik Samadder

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Five ways Game of Thrones has improved on George Rr Martin's books

23 hours ago

George Rr Martin fans should not worry that Game of Thrones might throw up spoilers for forthcoming books. The TV show has repeatedly shown that it can add to the literary experience

Spoiler warning: discussion of events in seasons one to four of Game of Thrones, and all of A Song of Ice and Fire to date.

It was inevitable that HBO’s Game of Thrones would eventually overtake George Rr Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series of novels. Martin published the fifth book, A Dance with Dragons, four years ago, and so far there has not been so much as a whisper of the sixth instalment, The Winds of Winter, arriving any time soon. Still, a recent interview with Game of Thrones showrunners Db Weiss and David Benioff, in which they admitted that the forthcoming fifth season was likely to begin spoiling unpublished storylines, has drawn horrified responses. »

- Ben Child

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Kay Burley v Jeremy Paxman: who won the style debate?

27 March 2015 4:07 AM, PDT

Forget Miliband v Cameron. Of the two presenters, who looked better?

Technically speaking, David Cameron won the #battlefornumber10 last night, dressed in snooze-button navy and looking pleased as punch. But what of the hosts? Incomparable as presenters (Kay Burley moderated, Jeremy Paxman grilled) their disparate styling caught our attention too, raising the question: who looked better? Debate dressing is always tricky, given that you can mistakenly appear to back a party by wearing the wrong socks. So was it Sky’s Burley, who came dressed as a buoy, or Paxman who went Pitti Uomo?

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- Morwenna Ferrier

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Bloodline's forebears: six brilliant family dramas from Six Feet Under to Empire

27 March 2015 3:29 AM, PDT

Netflix’s new thriller introduces us to the latest in a much-loved line of backbiting TV families. Which has been your favourite on-screen saga?

Netflix’s new show Bloodline is a twisty thriller with hints of long-suppressed secrets and devastating betrayals. It’s also an excellent example of a family drama, which draws its power from the contrast between the supposedly perfect front that the Rayburns present to the world and the darker reality lurking behind closed doors. Here are six other shows that put family life in the spotlight.

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- Sarah Hughes

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Oscar telecast producers end three-year stint in charge of ceremony

27 March 2015 2:41 AM, PDT

Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who oversaw the shows hosted by Seth MacFarlane, Ellen DeGeneres and Neil Patrick Harris, have ended their producing contract

Oscars organisers are on the hunt for a new creative team to oversee the 2016 show following the departure of Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who have produced the annual film ceremony for the past three years.

Meron tweeted on Thursday that he and Zadan “would like to thank The Academy”. His representatives confirmed to Variety that the pair had ended their stint in charge to pursue other interests.

ending 3 year deal producing #Oscars, its an honor to say "We'd like to thank The Academy" @TheAcademy @craigzadan pic.twitter.com/byNessAaoN

Hoping that whoever produces the #Oscars next year will retain our innovations: #TeamOscar program & reading all 24 nom on Oscar nom morning

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- Ben Child

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Star Trek 3 to veer closer to spirit of original TV show, says Simon Pegg

27 March 2015 2:11 AM, PDT

Shaun of the Dead star, who is co-writing the sci-fi sequel, suggests the film will go back to basics

The next Star Trek film will be closer in spirit to the original television show, according to co-writer Simon Pegg.

In a conversation with Comic Book Resources, Pegg revealed that he hopes to inject an element of Apollo-era optimism into Star Trek 3, which will be the first new film in the long-running space saga since the death of original Spock Leonard Nimoy and is rumoured to be starring Idris Elba as the main villain.

Related: From Star Trek to board games: meet Wil Wheaton, king of the nerds

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- Ben Child

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Why is schizophrenia portrayed so negatively on screen?

27 March 2015 12:45 AM, PDT

New film The Voices and Louis Theroux’s BBC documentary reinforce the stereotype that people with schizophrenia are dangerous

It is argued that no publicity is bad publicity when it comes to raising awareness of an issue. But recent portrayals on people living with schizophrenia cast some doubt on this theory. The Voices, a black comedy starring Ryan Reynolds, currently in cinemas, has drawn fierce criticism from mental health campaigners. The movie portrays a murderer who is instructed to kill by the voices in his head, more specifically his talking cat. This film joins a long line of inaccurate and misleading film portrayals – who can forget Alphabet Killer; The Butcher Boy; Me, Myself and Irene; or Psychosomatic to name but a few?

At the same time as this film airs in our multiplexes, the BBC is broadcasting the latest documentary from Louis Theroux – the second part of a two-part programme airs on Sunday. »

- David Crepaz-Keay

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Inside No 9 review – the couchette is crammed with comic characters, but I’m just not laughing

27 March 2015 12:02 AM, PDT

There are nightcaps, undressing, farting, pants, bodies, sex, snoring, and some more macabre cadaver business too – and Shearsmith and Pemberton exploit pretty much all of it

So what’s the No 9 we’re inside in Inside No 9 (BBC2) this time? Couchette No 9, on a train speeding through the night through Europe. Good one. I think a couchette naturally lends itself to humour – the noise, and the motion, the romance and the adventure, the potential for new love, death, murder. Also – mainly – the fact that it’s a place where people go to bed just a few inches from total strangers. With all the stuff associated with bed and going to it – nightcaps, undressing, farting, pants, bodies, sex, snoring etc. And of course there’s also a good chance of foreigners, so they bring all their national characteristics, stereotypes, unique foreign bodies and foreign smells to the couchette party.

Heck, I »

- Sam Wollaston

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Queer As Folk box set review – just the thing if there’s a Cucumber-shaped hole in your life

27 March 2015 12:00 AM, PDT

With Aidan Gillen as alpha-gay filthy charmer Stuart, this turn-of-the-millennium exploration of life on Manchester’s Canal Street is full of sex, clubbing and heartbreak

When Queer As Folk first aired in 1999, it was an Ofcom-bothering hit that offered a shameless education on rimming, unrequited love, and the sort of sexual positions that had never been seen on TV before – as well as fabulous lines like: “Ooh, I’d stick my head up his arse and wear him like a hat” and “I snogged a woman once. It was like kissing the Body Shop.”

So if you have a Cucumber-shaped hole in your life, as Russell T Davies’s midlife-crisis, gay drama recedes into the past, there couldn’t be a better time to revisit his breakthrough hit, which brought the hedonistic joys of a pre-Grindr world to mainstream viewing. Imagine the greatest night out you’ve ever had in all its pumping-disco, »

- Hannah Verdier

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Friday’s best TV

26 March 2015 11:00 PM, PDT

Marvel’s Agents Of Shield hit Hydra where it hurts, The Musketeers ride to the rescue and Amy Winehouse is featured in Sings Motown. Plus: Unreported World witnesses the battle against Isis in Kobani and more scenes from An Island Parish: Falklands

Channel 4’s factual strand, always intimate and immediate, returns with a dispatch from Syria. The Kurdish people of Kobani, a town near the Turkish border, are on the verge of repelling Isis after a three-month siege. Kiki King flinches as the final few Isis mortars explode, but mainly captures a community clinging defiantly to the scraps of their old lives. One remaining school flourishes in a bunker, the last hospital does what it can and fierce young women tote machine guns on the frontline. Flowers in the rubble. Jack Seale

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- Jack Seale, Hannah J Davies, Gwilym Mumford, Hannah Verdier, John Robinson and David Stubbs

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The end of the road for Jeremy Clarkson | Letters

26 March 2015 12:42 PM, PDT

Contrary to your claim, Jeremy Clarkson has not been “sacked”, or “dismissed” as you go on to say (And on that bombshell … BBC sacks Clarkson, 26 March). More accurately, his contract has “not been renewed” and this is not a matter of semantics but employment law. The decision by the BBC director general is thus much less impressive than is being claimed (On your bike: why the BBC had to take the high ground over Clarkson fracas, 26 March). In quite what other circumstances (beyond a football field) a publicly witnessed physical assault would not necessitate summary dismissal it is hard to imagine. Had Tony Hall actually sacked Clarkson, despite how little time was left on his contract, we could be reassured that the principle that “there cannot be one rule for one and one for another” was being scrupulously observed, especially if it involved a loss of earnings, which however minimal »

- Letters

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United States of … whatever happened to Liam Lynch?

26 March 2015 12:33 PM, PDT

After his surprise hit, United States of Whatever, Liam Lynch disappeared from view. Eric Ducker catches up with him and finds he’s not that bothered

Earlier this year, MTV made the two-season run of the Sifl & Olly Show available via iTunes and Amazon Instant Video. For those unfamiliar with it – and I’m guessing there are many of you, considering that after its short life it wasn’t even played as reruns – Sifl & Olly was about two sock puppets who hosted something that resembled a public access television show. Its bizarre segments included interviews with the planet Mars, commercials for something called lice monkeys, and songs about rock’n’roll friends checking library books back in – all of which were delivered with an absurd amount of absurd non sequiturs. Sifl & Olly ran on MTV from 1998 to 1999, around the time the network was souring on strange original comedies like The State and Beavis & Butthead, »

- Eric Ducker

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