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Enduring legacy of BBC’s Play for Today | Letters

12 hours ago

Deborah Orr laments the loss of Play for Today (Opinion, 14 January). The effect that it had in exploring social issues is illustrated by the charity Action against Medical Accidents, which celebrates its 35th anniversary this year. My Play for Today, Minor Complications (which was directed by Moira Armstrong), exposed the way medical negligence was covered up in the health service. It was based on a real story of a woman fighting her own case. The response was so great my wife and I set up the charity to help people with claims: an uphill task because the opinion of medical experts was essential and (with honourable exceptions) the profession closed ranks. It is now more open and legal awareness much greater thanks to AvMA. Hospital trusts paid out just over £1bn in medical negligence claims in 2013-14, compared to £287m in 2003-4. According to AvMA’s chief executive Peter Walsh, »

- Letters

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Broad City on the inauguration: 'It is about to get I Am Legend up in here'

13 hours ago

In a specially released video, Abbi and Ilana panic about Donald Trump becoming president while ‘bragging about sexual assault’

Donald Trump sworn in as 45th president – live coverage

The stars of Broad City have released a special video to showcase their panic over the reality TV star-turned-president Donald Trump.

Related: Late-night hosts on the inauguration: 'How is that a president?'

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- Guardian staff

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Late-night hosts on the inauguration: 'How is that a president?'

15 hours ago

Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers took aim at the inauguration proceedings and shared concern over the future: ‘We’re so fucked’

Donald Trump sworn in as 45th president – live coverage

On the eve of his inauguration, late-night hosts roasted incoming president Donald Trump with Trevor Noah saying that “we’re fucked”.

The comic, who leads The Daily Show, expressed concern about the decision to elect the host of The Celebrity Apprentice over a seasoned politician. He ridiculed Trump’s tweet where he showed himself writing his inauguration speech earlier this week.

Related: Samantha Bee on Kellyanne Conway: 'Soulless, machiavellian despot'

Season 1 of Trump’s presidential reality show premieres tomorrow! Oh wait, this is real. pic.twitter.com/rzmUmNrreS

Related: Broad City on the inauguration: 'It is about to get I Am Legend up in here'

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- Guardian staff

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Reboot regrets: the TV revivals that should never have happened

17 hours ago

There’s relief over One Day at a Time and excitement over Twin Peaks, but televisual history suggests that comebacks aren’t always a good thing

Yes, look, you’re excited by this year’s Twin Peaks revival, but maybe wind it in a little bit. Sure, you loved the first season of Twin Peaks. And, sure, the nostalgia fetishist inside you has successfully managed to block out memories of the disappointing second season. But there’s a good chance – an overwhelmingly good chance – that the revival will be rubbish. Because almost all TV revivals are.

Related: #TeamLogLady! How the world finally caught up with Twin Peaks

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- Stuart Heritage

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Reggie Yates webchat – post your questions now

19 hours ago

The children’s TV presenter turned hard-hitting documentary filmmaker will answer your questions in a live webchat on Tuesday 24 January – post them in the comments below

10.42am GMT

Turning yourself from an exuberant children’s TV star to a presenter of weighty documentaries is a tough call, but Reggie Yates has pulled it off.

For years he was the cheery face of BBC youth shows, from Top of the Pops to Rastamouse to a Radio 1 slot with Fearne Cotton. But while there’s still space in his schedule for fun – like the high-concept reality gameshow Release the Hounds – he has since presented a series of acclaimed documentaries, meeting everyone from hardcore Russian nationalists to victims of Us police brutality. In his latest series, called Hidden Australia, he meets disenfranchised Aboriginal communities and Melbourne’s crystal meth addicts.

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- Guardian Staff

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Homeland and Hedda Gabler: top things to do in the UK this week

21 hours ago

From the return of the terrorist thriller to Ruth Wilson’s turn in Ibsen’s finest play: your at-a-glance guide to the best in culture


After decamping to Pakistan and Berlin in recent years, Carrie Matheson is back on Us soil for season six of the terrorist thriller. Can we expect parallels to real-life goings-on? Given that the show is set before the inauguration of a maverick president who distrusts the CIA, it seems likely.

Sunday 22 Jan, 9pm, Channel 4

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- The Guide

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Case: a chilly crime drama that uncovers something rotten in Reykjavík

22 hours ago

Police investigating the apparent suicide of an Icelandic ballerina find dark forces within polite metropolitan society in this series from one of the directors of Trapped

What is it? A chilly Icelandic crime drama; yes, another one.

Why you’ll love it: From Baldvin Zophoníasson, one of the directors of the brilliant Trapped, which was shown last year on BBC4, Case follows Gabríela (Steinunn Ólína Þorsteinsdóttir, also from Trapped), a female 21st-century TV detective who, by some miracle, isn’t immediately fetishised for the way she looks in knitwear or her lovely, effortless hair. She is styled as a normal policewoman (not TV normal, actually normal) investigating the apparent suicide of Lára, a talented young ballerina, found dead at Reykjavík’s National Theatre.

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- Julia Raeside

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Urban Myths: Bob Dylan review – his Bobness pops to Crouch End for tea

23 hours ago

The first in Sky Arts’ new Urban Myths series of comedy drama, starring a very convincingly Bob-like Eddie Marsan

Sky Arts’ new Urban Myths series of comedy dramas has already made waves, although not the sort it would have wanted. They decided, in the end, not to air the one in which Joseph Fiennes plays Michael Jackson, after the outrage it caused, particularly from Jackson’s family. Seems it does matter if you’re black or white, after all.

This one – Urban Myths: Bob Dylan (Sky Arts) – is contentious only in its questionable veracity, which of course is the point of an urban myth. Bob shows up at Heathrow; he is poetic, obtuse and generally Bob-like to the (unusually) nice lady at passport control, who is confused, a little suspicious but also undeniably charmed and sends her regards to Dave, the Eurythmic, whom Bob says he’s in town to visit. »

- Sam Wollaston

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Friday’s best TV: Tina & Bobby; Sound of Musicals with Neil Brand; Delicious

19 January 2017 10:10 PM, PST

The England-star biopic continues, as Bobby Moore is swept up into sixties stardom, the composer takes us back to fifties New York, and the Dawn French drama reaches its dark conclusion

The well-played love story continues with ex-Coronation Street star Michelle Keegan in her element as Tina, the ordinary girl who falls for Bobby Moore and gets swept up into the turbulent life of Wagdom. When England win the World Cup, the couple are reunited and life looks rosy as they become rich and famous. Baby Dean comes along but soon their perfect life is shattered by the threat of kidnap, and tensions grow within their marriage. A nicely soapy watch. Hannah Verdier

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- Hannah Verdier, John Robinson, Mark Gibbings-Jones, Ali Catterall, Jack Seale, David Stubbs, Paul Howlett

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Unforgotten series two, episode three recap – was the murder a terrorist act?

19 January 2017 2:00 PM, PST

A nervous breakdown, a Hello! magazine cutting and a Republican housemate: the revelations keep coming as the four most supportive husbands on TV get suspicious at last

This week, the four most supportive husbands on TV finally start asking questions of our core four suspects. They may not like the answers they get, but Cassie loves the revelations – thrilled by the prospect of a potential terrorist angle and heartened at David Walker’s story becoming clearer as the fog of the past starts to lift.

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- James Donaghy

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It's all connected! Pixar and the history of surprising film and TV shared universes

19 January 2017 9:42 AM, PST

With the animation company revealing that its films are linked, what other unexpected connections are there between big- and small-screen worlds?

There are some pretty weird Pixar fan theories out there, including the one about the seminal animation house’s entire canon representing a 65m-year struggle between humans, sentient toys and intelligent animals. But who needs wild stretches of fancy when mischievous animators with far too much downtime have inserted real visual Easter eggs connecting virtually all the studio’s movies?

#Starwars Fact Of The Day: E.T. can be found in "The Phantom Menace" as "Asogians" - a promise made to Steven Spielberg by George Lucas. pic.twitter.com/vBXj9zaNlx

Related: Fandom menace: the story threads Star Wars: Episode VIII can't afford to forget

So Blade Runner's Tyrell was the mentor of Alien's Weyland. Prometheus Blu-ray extras are ace

Related: Sci-fi and superheroes in 2017: can Luke Skywalker »

- Ben Child

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Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens due on Amazon Prime in 2018

19 January 2017 8:49 AM, PST

Gaiman has scripted all six episodes of TV adaptation of his and Pratchett’s comic novel about the end of the world, originally published in 1990

Neil Gaiman’s TV adaptation of his book Good Omens, written with his late friend and collaborator Terry Pratchett, has been picked up by Amazon Studios for a worldwide release in 2018.

Gaiman, who is also serving as showrunner on the series, has written all six one-hour episodes. The show, which has been co-produced with BBC Studios, will premiere in 2018 on Amazon’s streaming service Prime Video, and will be broadcast on the BBC in the UK soon afterwards.

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- Sian Cain

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Sex Criminals and psychic dinosaurs: the oddest comic book heroes coming to TV

19 January 2017 5:21 AM, PST

Move over Batman and Superman … the new wave of supers are telepathically linked to dinosaurs – and can stop time when they orgasm

In the not-too-distant past, TV comic book adaptations were a predictable beast. They would be brightly coloured, feature costumes too slavishly close to the originals, and every episode would end with our hero learning a valuable lesson.

But now that all the classics have been adapted, often many times over, networks are peering into the dark corners of the medium – which is where the really interesting stories are being told. Here are some of the oddball adaptations to look out for:

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- Abigail Chandler

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Denise Lesley obituary

19 January 2017 5:00 AM, PST

My wife, Denise Lesley, who has died of ovarian cancer aged 65, started her professional life as a teacher. When head of geography at Hurlingham school in Fulham, south-west London, she was seconded in 1979 to the Inner London Education Authority’s television centre in Battersea, where teachers were trained in educational broadcasting, and where she learned the trade over the next two years.

Dee went freelance in 1981 and soon became a researcher on the live children’s Saturday morning TV show No 73, made by Tvs for ITV, working with Sandi Toksvig and Andrea Arnold. She was an early member of the Production Managers’ Association, which was devoted to raising professional standards. She served on its committee and for a number of years was deputy chair.

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- Mike Raggett

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Channel 4 to run week of programmes on fake news

19 January 2017 12:00 AM, PST

The programmes, including documentaries, news investigations and panel shows, are scheduled for February

Channel 4 is to run a week of programming on the topic of fake news next month, including regular debunks from its news team and a panel show mocking viral falsehoods. Reports, interviews and discussions on Channel 4 News through the week will explore the phenomenon of false stories purporting to be real news, with input from the programme’s FactCheck team.

Related: What is fake news? How to spot it and what you can do to stop it

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- Jasper Jackson

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Midsomer Murders review – like Bake Off with bunnies, but more menacing

18 January 2017 10:59 PM, PST

After 19 series, a corpse festooned with bouncing bunnies seems totally plausible. Plus: Hospital, the documentary bringing us sorry tales of the NHS in crisis

‘Welcome to the Bellville Hall Small Pets Show,” reads the banner. Oh dear. It may not be spattered with blood and guinea-pig fluff, but give it time. Entering this impending crime scene – a sort of Bake Off with bunnies – things get more creepy. I mean, cosy. Pets are persuaded over teeny-weeny hurdles. A strange man called Tim kisses Hercules, “the greatest rabbit who ever hopped the Earth”, on the lips. Everything is bucolic and mildly menacing in a clap-your-slippers-together way. Midsomer Murders (ITV, 8pm) openings don’t get more Midsomery than this.

Of course, the point of such long-running detective dramas is to up the ante, slowly, sneakily – in this case over 19 increasingly preposterous series – until a body festooned with bouncing bunnies seems totally plausible and fun. »

- Chitra Ramaswamy

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Thursday’s best TV: Horizon; Unforgotten; Jack Dee’s Inauguration Helpdesk

18 January 2017 10:10 PM, PST

The pseudoscience of clean eating is investigated, and investigations continue in the superior whodunnit, as the comic tries to find the funny in the rise of Trump

“Can we really eat ourselves well?” asks Dr Giles Yeo in a Horizon that examines “clean eating”. For the uninitiated, this is the Instagram-driven dietary movement that attributes health-giving properties to certain foods. Thus, beef broth becomes an “elixir”. (Yeo: “You might call it stock …”) Interviewee “Deliciously” Ella Mills is sensible, suggesting the term “clean” has lost its meaning. Conversely, we see what happens when clean collides with pseudoscience. Jonathan Wright

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- Ben Arnold, Rachel Aroesti, Ali Catterall, Phil Harrison, Paul Howlett, Andrew Mueller, Jack Seale, Jonathan Wright

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Moneysupermarket grabs most complained-about ad top spot again

18 January 2017 4:01 PM, PST

Dancing bodyguard Gary’s Michael Jackson-style crotch grab during ad for price comparison website riles TV viewers

Moneysupermarket’s ad featuring a bodyguard busting out old-school dance moves and a crotch grab was the most complained-about TV ad in the UK last year.

The TV ad, part of the brand’s “So Moneysupermarket” campaign about consumers who feel “epic” after saving cash using the price comparison website, features “Gary the bodyguard”, who at one point is seen doing a Michael Jackson-style crotch grab and gyrations.

Related: Moneysupermarket.com unleashes Big Bad Wolf campaign - Ad break

Related: Match.com ad criticised for suggesting red hair and freckles ‘imperfections’

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- Mark Sweney

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Here's one we ate earlier: Blue Peter badges to be made from yoghurt pots

18 January 2017 4:01 PM, PST

BBC children’s programme announces its famous badges awarded since 1963 will be made from recycled materials

For decades, Blue Peter presenters have encouraged children to use toilet rolls and other household refuse to recreate the Thunderbirds’ Tracy Island and fantasy castles. Now the BBC has announced it will be making the show’s famous badges from recycled yoghurt pots.

The announcement is part of an effort to make the BBC children’s programme more green: the badges will be made in a solar-powered factory using materials that were made earlier – in this case, yoghurt pots.

Related: Blue Peter: behind the scenes

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- Alice Ross

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American Crime Story to cover Monica Lewinsky sex scandal, reports say

18 January 2017 3:28 PM, PST

After an award-winning take on the Oj Simpson trial, a future season is rumored to revolve around Bill Clinton’s affair with a staffer

American Crime Story is set to revolve around the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal in a future season.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, show-runner Ryan Murphy has obtained the rights to Jeffrey Toobin’s book A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President with an eye to turn it into a future season.

Related: The People v Oj Simpson: Ryan Murphy delivers a real American horror story

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- Guardian TV

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