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Topline Broadhurst obituary

4 hours ago

Topline Broadhurst, who has died aged 95, was one of the venerated gardening writers who in the 1960s, 70s and 80s inspired householders to make their own space, of whatever size, as attractive as the gardens of stately homes. Though he was christened Creighton Broadhurst, to myriad gardeners in Britain he was always Topline, his nickname, which came from the call signal he used during the second world war when commanding motor gunboats.

The only child of George Broadhurst, a Lloyd’s underwriter, and his wife, Vera (nee Leins), he was educated at Charterhouse school and was also briefly a Lloyd’s underwriter before the war began. After demob, he had another spell in the City, but found it boring, and decided to become a dairy farmer, buying a small farm at Staverton, near Ashburton, Devon.

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- Wendy James

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The week in TV: Educating Cardiff; Resistance; Soup Cans & Superstars: How Pop Art Changed the World

13 hours ago

The work of inspired teachers in Wales was matched by tales of teen courage in the excellent Resistance. Meanwhile, a hero of British art was given his due

Educating Cardiff (C4) | All 4

Resistance (More4) | All 4

Soup Cans & Superstars: How Pop Art Changed the World (BBC4) iPlayer

As ever in the terrific Bafta-nominated Educating… strand, it was all about getting away from the statistics. After a mind-altering two weeks of hearing obfuscation over Labour membership figures finally man up and morph into simple, honest, gruesome twisted lies, it was a necessary delight to be reminded that stats tell only one story. The truth tells another.

Mr Hennessy took it upon himself to phone one pupil, Leah, three times before breakfast, every day, just to wake her up

Without the irony of hindsight, we got a great sense of the sludge and trudge, the heartache and stress of a long war

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- Euan Ferguson

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Hannibal recap: season three finale – The Wrath of the Lamb

16 hours ago

A satisfying – and satisfyingly gory – series finale gives this Gothic drama a perfect send-off

Spoiler alert: this blog is published after Hannibal airs on NBC in the Us on Saturdays. Do not read on unless you have watched season three, episode six, which airs in the UK on Sky Living on Wednesdays at 10pm

I’m usually against cable channels or streaming services resurrecting dramas that the networks cast off, but I would sort of love for Hannibal to get a fourth season, just to see how Bryan Fuller would get himself out of the corner he painted for himself with this finale.

I found the final moments incredibly satisfying as well as wonderfully open-ended … as much as two men throwing themselves off a cliff in a fatal embrace can allow anything to be open-ended.

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- Brian Moylan

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Fictional Russian invasion sparks row with Moscow

20 hours ago

Norwegian TV series Occupied shows Russia taking control of Scandinavian country

A Norwegian TV channel says it will air a TV drama depicting a Russian invasion of Norway after environmentalists seize power and freeze the nation’s oil and gas industry. TV2 says the production company has already sold Occupied – a 10-episode, £7m drama by thriller writer Jo Nesbø – to European stations.

Vyacheslav Pavlovsky, the Russian ambassador in Oslo, told Russia’s Tass news agency that “Russia, regrettably, has the role of the aggressor. In the worst traditions of the cold war, [this show] decided to scare Norwegian viewers with a nonexistent threat from the east,” he said. TV2 drama chief Christopher Haug said he was “surprised by the reaction”. “It is obviously a fiction, everyone can see that,” he said, adding that the Russian embassy had been told about the series “at an early stage, three years ago, I believe”.

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- Associated Press

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Is it justifiable to show footage of people being killed?

23 hours ago

Last week, two TV journalists were shot and killed by an ex-colleague while they were filming. Footage of the incident has been widely shared

Peter Preston, editor of the Guardian 1975–1995

This isn’t, at heart, a debate about media regulation, taste and public susceptibilities. It’s a debate about 8,500 people gunned down in the Us this year alone and how to stop the slaughter. You won’t begin to turn the argument there unless you show ordinary people, ordinary voters, the horror of putting guns too easily into the hands of the wild and the deranged. If thousands upon thousands are allowed to die each year virtually unmarked and unmourned – small, routine items at the foot of page two – then the tide of opinion will never turn. Newspapers, news channels and news blogs are there to chronicle and inform. They don’t exist to sanitise life. They exist to do – and tell – what’s necessary. »

- Peter Preston and Emma Graham-Harrison

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My highlight: Lady Chatterley’s Lover

29 August 2015 3:00 AM, PDT

Dh Lawrence’s gamekeeper has cleaned up his act and Sir Clifford is a dish in the BBC’s new morally complex adaptation

The potty-mouthed gamekeeper is back. Oliver Mellors, he of the corduroy breeches, is striding towards us in the shape of Richard Madden (Rod Stark in Game of Thrones) in the BBC’s new version of Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Except that he’s cleaned up his act. Madden’s Mellors is positively bashful when it comes to four-letter words. It’s a decorous “bottom” instead of “arse”, and there’s just one “cock”, right at the end, at which point Lady C is so embarrassed she doesn’t know where to look.

Director Jed Mercurio, who also wrote the adaptation, maintains that there’s no justification these days for bad language. The words that got the book banned for 30 years have lost their original purpose, which was to de-smut sex. »

- Kathryn Hughes

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How Jb Priestley’s Inspector first called on the Ussr

29 August 2015 3:00 AM, PDT

Priestley’s first postwar play, An Inspector Calls, was premiered not in London but in Leningrad. Seventy years on, and in the runup to both the revival of Stephen Daldry’s classic production on stage and a new BBC film version, the playwright’s Russian journey seems more extraordinary than ever

‘They simply adore Daddy here”... “Daddy was recognised everywhere ... his books sell like hot cakes … ” “Daddy made a speech, terrific applause, packed theatre stood and shouted.” “People kept coming up and saying ‘What a mind!’ ‘What a man!’”

This was Jb Priestley’s wife Jane, in September 1945, writing home to their six children from Russia, where they had been invited for the world premiere of An Inspector Calls. It opened first in Leningrad as “This You Will Not Forget”, then in Moscow where it was retitled “He Came”: the new titles were needed because in Russia an inspector »

- Valerie Grove

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The new Currys PC World advert: pugs, electricals and arrested development

29 August 2015 1:00 AM, PDT

‘“Somebody’s after a laptop,” claims the ad. Oh really? Well why doesn’t Manchild go out and buy one then?’

Never leave a bloke alone with your electrical goods. That’s the lesson from the new Currys PC World ad, in which a manchild frames his dog for cocking his leg on his laptop in the hope that his more successful wife will buy him a new one. Why does Manchild need a new laptop? He only uses it to watch porn and email his boss to tell him he’s not coming in today. “Hey, I’m working from home, babe,” he murmured when his wife tried to rouse him for their usual power walk to the station. The minute she left the house, he kicked the dog off the bed and booted up a selection of “artistic” websites. That faux dog wee isn’t the first spillage that keyboard’s seen today. »

- Hannah Verdier

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Hunted: could you go on the run in our post-Snowden surveillance state?

29 August 2015 12:59 AM, PDT

A new reality show sees a team of tracking experts pursue ordinary people as they attempt to go off-grid. An escapist fantasy – or a grim warning?

We’re now over-familiar with the concept of the reality show “journey”, where someone insists that they’ve become a better person through singing, dancing or playing the didgeridoo. In Channel 4’s ambitious new series Hunted, the journey is rather more extreme, involving panicked scrambles over country stiles and ducking down secluded backstreets. The 14 volunteer contestants are literally on the run, pursued by a dedicated team of professional trackers and hackers burrowing deep into their private lives. It’s TV’s Big Brother crossed with Orwell’s Big Brother by way of The Fugitive, a post-Snowden game of kiss-chase set in the vast playground of the UK’s surveillance state.

The six-part series is being edited right up until transmission, but early footage »

- Graeme Virtue

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Steven Moffat: 'Only the BBC would have come up with Doctor Who'

28 August 2015 11:01 PM, PDT

Doctor Who’s executive producer says the long-running sci-fi series is a wonderful example of the corporation’s breadth

Doctor Who’s lead writer and executive producer has added his voice to a growing chorus defending the BBC at the Edinburgh international television festival. Speaking after a screening of The Magician’s Apprentice, the opening episode of the ninth series, Steven Moffat insisted that only the BBC could have commissioned something as idiosyncratic as the long-running show, which celebrated its 50th anniversary two years ago.

“It’s fair to say that there’s only one broadcaster in the whole world that would have come up with and transmitted as good an idea as Doctor Who,” he said, offering a mock version of what a contemporary pitch for the Who might sound like. “‘What’s the spaceship going to look like?’ ‘You’re going to love this’ ‘Is he going to be a young dashing hero? »

- Richard Vine

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Crush of the week: the Great British Bake Off’s lion loaf

28 August 2015 10:00 PM, PDT

‘Have you seen this lion loaf? That beast will haunt my dreams for years to come’

In popular culture, there have been many important lions. Aslan, Mufasa and, if we’re being topical, Cecil. And now we can add another, a nameless lion made of bread, created by contestant Paul Jagger on this year’s Great British Bake Off. Have you seen this lion loaf? That beast will haunt my dreams for years to come.

Even taking into account my passion for baking (nothing beats my exquisite coconut cupcakes), it’s hard to explain how I came to be so enamoured of this painfully middle-class show. There is no edge to Gbbo: it is Downton Abbey rendered in cake mix and gently administered to a sleepy audience. So what’s the secret recipe? It’s not just the judges, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, beloved of many; or presenters Mel and Sue, »

- Bim Adewunmi

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Modern tribes: the Strictly Come Dancing contestant

28 August 2015 10:00 PM, PDT

‘It’s not about the money, or the exposure. You know me, it’s always been about the work. The way I see it, it’s just a chance for eight million people to watch me finding the real me’

I know! Moment of madness, but you know how it is, they ask you every year. Oh, they don’t ask you? They totally should! That’s ridiculous. When you think of some of the C-listers who’ve been on. Anyway, every single year it’s, oh, go on, please, we’ll double the fee, you’ll be the star, look how everyone loved John Sergeant, and every year I say, sorry, you’re absolutely asking the wrong guy, no, I don’t even dance at weddings yadda yadda yadda. Seriously, my agent is in tears – hilarious. Then this year I just thought, wait, lighten up, why the hell not? »

- Catherine Bennett

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Commissioning Katie Hopkins show was a 'no-brainer', says Discovery exec

28 August 2015 9:53 AM, PDT

Controversial presenter’s ‘Marmite’ personality is a huge part of her appeal, says Phil Craig, as he defends talkshow’s low overnight ratings

Commissioning If Katie Hopkins Ruled the World was a “no-brainer” and the show is racking up good viewing figures despite early reports of tiny audiences, according to one of the senior executives behind the show.

Phil Craig, chief creative officer of Discovery Networks International, the company that runs the TLC channel where Hopkins’ show is airing, said her “Marmite” personality was a huge part of her appeal.

Related: Katie Hopkins' TV show: 'I’m not playing the part of a pantomime villain’

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- Jasper Jackson

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El Pulso de la Republica: meet Chumel Torres, Mexico's answer to Jon Stewart

28 August 2015 9:44 AM, PDT

In a country where national television is accused of being a vehicle of society’s elite, Torres took to YouTube armed with satire and a hope of spurring the young middle class: ‘We’re tired of the old generation being all corrupt and full of shit’

Chumel Torres gathers steam during his opening monologue on drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who just two days earlier had escaped from a high-security prison in Mexico through a mile-long tunnel complete with ventilation, a conveniently parked motorbike and, as Torres assures his audience, Wi-Fi and a convenience store with both tills open, ready for the taking.

“We have been made to look ridiculous in the eyes of the whole world and you don’t even bother to come back,” Torres says, staring into the camera, berating President Enrique Peña Nieto for not interrupting a visit to France to attend to the crisis, »

- Jo Tuckman in Mexico City

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Danny Baker: 'People assume I must be hiding some dark secret'

28 August 2015 9:07 AM, PDT

While the irrepressibly upbeat presenter’s talents have earned him a shelf full of awards, his willingness to speak his mind often lands him in hot water

If there is one thing Danny Baker wants you to know about his character, it is that he is a very shallow man.

In fact, the radio DJ, comedy writer, TV presenter and all-round loudmouth is proud of having honed shallowness to an art form and he insists it makes him very happy. “I don’t have any hidden depths,” he says, “I’m a notorious Pollyanna, shockingly upbeat. People always assume I must be hiding some dark secret, but I’m not.

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- Alasdair Glennie

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BBC should pause before putting Strictly against X Factor, says Channel 4's Hunt

28 August 2015 8:49 AM, PDT

Former BBC1 controller says talent show is ‘very expensive’ for ITV and the corporation should think twice before ‘aggressively trying to clip it’

Channel 4’s chief creative officer Jay Hunt said the BBC should think twice before scheduling Strictly Come Dancing against ITV’s The X Factor, saying the commercial network “really needs it to do well” this year.

Hunt, a former controller of BBC1, said ITV needed the ratings more than the BBC in the simmering feud between the two broadcasters over their Saturday night schedules.

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- John Plunkett

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Shane Meadows on This is England '90: 'They're very addictive, them lot'

28 August 2015 7:58 AM, PDT

In a Q&A at the Edinburgh TV festival, the director discussed the final chapter of his state-of-the-nation series, as well as the possibility of its return

After an initial 2006 film, transformation into a series and a third instalment, director Shane Meadows opened the final phase of the This is England saga at the Edinburgh TV festival with a preview of the new series’s first episode.

This is England ’90 sets the tone with an opening montage of mad cows, poll-tax riots and Gazza and Gary Lineker on the pitch at Italia 90, before juxtaposing Margaret Thatcher’s resignation speech (“We leave the United Kingdom in a much better state than when we arrived 11 years ago”) with There She Goes by The La’s on the soundtrack.

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- Richard Vine

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If we can’t have Lords reform, can we at least have some fun with them? | Marina Hyde

28 August 2015 7:51 AM, PDT

The clutch of peers just announced confirms that the second chamber and dignity have parted ways forever. So let’s turn it over to the reality-tv producers

As far as second acts go, public life in post-imperial Britain offers two distinct options. For those who hail from what we might loosely describe as the world of entertainment, there is the jungle or the dancing; for those from Westminster, there is the House of Lords.

Occasionally, someone has a shot at both. It could have gone either way for Ed Balls this year, but once the Labour leadership election has ascended to its expected conclusion, and the former chancellor judges that the possibility of embarrassing his wife has receded, I strongly urge Balls to go for sequins rather than ermine. There is literally nothing he could inflict on a paso doble that would be more wantonly humiliating than being part of »

- Marina Hyde

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The X Factor is on the ropes: could an injection of fun save it?

28 August 2015 6:22 AM, PDT

With three unsuccessful winners in a row, the show is no longer a guaranteed path to pop success and audience figures have plummeted. So can Olly Murs, Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw turn it around with a lighter touch?

The timing could hardly be worse for Simon Cowell and The X Factor, which returns to ITV on Saturday. The 12th series begins in the same week that One Direction, the programme’s biggest success story, have announced that they are “taking a well-earned break”. Everyone knows that by “break” they mean “pursue solo careers with varying levels of success” – but could the show that made them the world’s biggest boyband face a similar dissolution?

Related: Why Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw joining X Factor is bad, bad news

Related: Dermot O’Leary: 'I'll never say anything bad about X Factor'

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- David Renshaw

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Narcos: history turned Netflix drama traces Pablo Escobar's rise to power

28 August 2015 5:00 AM, PDT

No one comes out clean in the series about the infamous drug kingpin, as the cartels and the DEA fight for control of the illegal trade

What’s the name of the show? Narcos

When does it premiere? All 10 episodes start streaming on Netflix on Friday 28 August.

Related: I shot Pablo Escobar: Narcos' José Padilha on his new TV series

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- Brian Moylan

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