The Likely Lads (1976) - News Poster


Don’t knock Friends. It’s still relevant, and progressive too | Sarah Gosling

The show addressed modern masculinity and women’s empowerment. If that’s a problem today, Tory MP Kemi Badenoch is right to call young people puritanical

Not many things grow better with age: cheese, wine and George Clooney spring to mind. One thing particularly unable to cope with the ravages of time, though, is the situation comedy. The whole point of a sitcom is to take a moment in time and derive from that a whole heap of canned guffaws. A Guardian article once laid waste to a collection of classics: The Office was dismissed as “knowing, ironic idiocy”; The Likely Lads was called out for having an “unreconstructed racist, homophobic misogynist” as a lead character.

Related: I didn’t grow up with Lgbt kids’ TV characters – but I found them elsewhere

Before I watched Friends, I’d never heard of 'trans', and didn’t know about homosexuality or gender politics

Continue reading.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Rodney Bewes: one of TV's great class acts

The actor unforgettably captured the feverish social-climbing of the 1960s and 70s in two incarnations of The Likely Lads sitcom, but never equalled his success in the part of Bob

Although it is 43 years since Rodney Bewes last played his career-defining role on TV – as the Thatcherite social-climber Bob Ferris in the Geordie sitcom Whatever Happened to The Likely Lads? – fans of the series will feel sharp loss at the news of his death, at the age of 79.

Viewers will have particular memories of Bewes as Bob because it represented an unusually perfect piece of casting. He had previously played the character in The Likely Lads, a black-and-white BBC sitcom broadcast between 1964-66, with James Bolam as Terry, a former schoolmate whose downwards trajectory was as steep as Bob’s rise towards the middle class. But it was when writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais suggested a sequel, answering the question,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Rodney Bewes obituary

Actor and comedian best known for his role as Bob Ferris in TV’s The Likely Lads

Rodney Bewes, who has died aged 79, will be most remembered for playing Bob Ferris, the well-intentioned and socially aspiring half of The Likely Lads, the BBC television series which at its 1960s peak and beyond regularly attracted 27 million viewers. He would later talk with gratitude about how the show, featuring the economic, emotional and amatory ups and downs of two working-class lads in the north-east, had made his career.

The Likely Lads (1964-66) and its successor, Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? (1973-74), cast Bewes alongside James Bolam. In 1975 there was a BBC radio version, since reheard on Radio 4 Extra, and the following year a feature film. But Bolam, who played Ferris’s derisive and self-limiting mate Terry Collier, could not later bear any reference to his presence in the show. He did
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Rodney Bewes, star of The Likely Lads, dies at 79

Yorkshire-born actor also appeared in 1970s sequel, Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?, again paired with James Bolam

The actor Rodney Bewes, best known for his role as the northern working class hero Bob Ferris in The Likely Lads, has died aged 79.

His agent, who said he would have turned 80 next week, made the announcement on Tuesday afternoon.

It is with great sadness that we confirm that our dear client, the much loved actor Rodney Bewes, passed away this morning. Rodney was a true one off. We will miss his charm and ready wit.

So long, kidda. Rip Rodney Bewes.

Rodney Bewes, gone.

Our childhood homes demolished brick by brick.

A face that coloured our week when the world was still black and white.

Thank you for our together days.#TheLikelyLads

Related: Rodney Bewes obituary

Oh I'm very upset
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Interview: Director Danny Boyle Goes Back to ‘T2 Trainspotting’

Chicago – Rarely does a filmmaker have a long or influential enough career to revisit a story and characters that they’ve explored in a previous film. Oscar winner Danny Boyle has both qualifications, as he again takes on – 20 years after its 1996 release – his classic film “Trainspotting, which is elegantly titled “T2 Trainspotting.”

The boys of the original “Trainspotting” have reunited for the outing, portrayed by Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, Ewen Bremner and Jonny Lee Miller. Middle age angst is the theme, as each of the characters are going through some life changes, but the spirit of their larcenous souls are still intact. The first film launched the uber-careers of Ewan McGregor and director Danny Boyle, and the re-exploration of the energetic style and quick-cutting scene work are back in the new story as well.

Jonny Lee Miller and Ewan McGregor in ‘T2 Trainspotting,’ directed by Danny Boyle

Photo credit: Sony Pictures Releasing
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The Commitments 25th Anniversary special edition review

Time for people of a certain age to start feeling old. It’s been a quarter of a century since director Alan Parker introduced us to an unlikely soul combo whose legacy still lives on via a hit stage show and countless concerts. So while their onscreen fortunes turned out to be mixed, The Commitments place in popular culture is absolutely assured.

Opening with a bustling Dublin street market with second hand goods, fiddle players and horses, this marks itself out from the blockbusters of the time as a gritty take on Roddy Doyle‘s source novel. Fast-talking wannabe music mogul Jimmy Rabbitte (Robert Arkins) has a simple idea: reasoning that the oppressed Irish are “the blacks of Europe”, he wants to assemble a world class soul outfit from local talent. But like the best band stories the road to success is paved with false starts, egos and copious amounts of drink and swears.
See full article at The Hollywood News »

Danny Baker defends Peter Kay's cockney accent in Cradle to Grave

Surprised by Peter Kay's 'Gor blimey!' Cockney accent in BBC Two's Cradle to Grave? Series creator Danny Baker says you'll get used to it.

Speaking at a press screening, Baker said that "authenticity" isn't all that important in terms of how a TV character speaks.

"It's a shock when Peter Kay don't talk like Peter Kay - and it takes a bit to get over that," he acknowledged.

"But after a while, hopefully, he's that character - that's who he is, that's how he walks, that how he talks."

Cradle to Grave is based on Baker's youth, with Kay playing the young Danny's hot-tempered father Fred.

"I grew up with Harry Corbett in Steptoe and Son, what part of London was that?" Baker asked. "James Bolam in The Likely Lads - that ain't Geordie! But that's how that character speaks."

Baker added that Bolton-born Kay worked closely
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

10 largely forgotten UK sci-fi sitcoms

Remember Kinvig, Clone, Not With A Bang? These are the UK sci-fi sitcoms you’re unlikely to see on comedy best-of lists…

With E4 sci-fi comedy commissions, Tripped and Aliens, and in-development Channel 4 projects, Space Ark and Graham Linehan/Adam Buxton collaboration The Cloud, in the works, a new crop of sci-fi sitcom could be making its way to UK TV.

Making funny sci-fi on a small-screen budget is tough enough without the additional pressure of having to attract viewers more traditionally down-to-earth in their sitcom tastes. Sci-fi sets and effects can be seen as prohibitively expensive by comedy commissioners (which is perhaps why the best UK sci-fi sitcoms of recent years has been on BBC Radio), and the genre’s niche status doesn’t scream mainstream hit. Over the years, one or two stand-outs have managed to straddle the sci-fi and comedy TV worlds, but plenty more have stumbled in the attempt.
See full article at Den of Geek »

UKTV Gold has announced 3 new original comedy commissions

UKTV Gold has ordered three new original comedies.

Henry IX, Marley's Ghosts and Bull will air on the channel in late 2015 and early 2016.

Henry IX will be a three-part series set in the fictitious court of Henry IX, who finds himself trapped in a life he doesn't want. The series comes from the team behind Porridge, The Likely Lads and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.

Marley's Ghosts, another three-parter, follows a woman with a rare gift of being able to talk to the dead, but things get a bit awkward when both her husband and her lover are added to that list.

Meanwhile, Bull focuses on a man who runs an antiques shop alongside staff he may regret hiring. The series comes from first-time sitcom writers Gareth Gwynn and John-Luke Roberts.

Richard Watsham, UKTV's Director of Commissioning, said: "The first three of our new commissions for Gold offer a fantastic range of different stories and comic styles.
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

Britcoms Reloaded

With the news that Dad’s Army could be headed for the big screen, it’s safe to assume producers are eyeing up the nation’s beloved sitcoms for cinematic fodder. Whatever your view on the topic, converting a half hour of laughs into a feature length gutbuster is nothing new. Broadcasters and their writers made several attempts to cash in during the 70s and 80s with hastily-assembled film versions of classics such as Porridge, The Likely Lads and Are You Being Served?

These experiments never went down in the annals of mirth, but On The Buses (bizarrely-billed as “A Hammer Special Comedy Production”) ran to three movies. Even John Cleese was tempted at one point to create a Fawlty Towers romp with Basil trapped on a plane. Bringing us right up to date are a potential film of Miranda and, coming soon, Mrs. Brown’S Boys D’Movie.

See full article at The Hollywood News »

The Office, Top Gear and more: BBC Two's Greatest Ever Shows

BBC Two is 50 - the British Broadcasting Corporation's second eldest child hits the half-century mark today - Sunday, April 20.

Picking out the greatest shows from five decades of broadcasting seems like a near-impossible task, but never say that Digital Spy is easily cowed. These are - in our humble opinion - the channel's finest ever offerings.

BBC Two is 50: The Hour, Bottom and more shows to bring back

The rules are as follows: shows like Red Dwarf that originated on BBC Two are eligible, but shows better associated with another channel are not - say Top of the Pops, which aired on BBC One for the majority of its run but shifted to the sister channel for its final episodes.

Oh, and we're talking only original commissions - so no Us imports either. But even that barely narrows it down, so if you think there are any glaring omissions,
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

BBC Two is 50: The Hour, Bottom and more shows to bring back

BBC Two is 50 - the British Broadcasting Corporation's second eldest child hits the half-century mark this Sunday (April 20).

But which shows from those five decades on air were given short shrift? Did your favourite drama or comedy not get a fair shake?

BBC Two is 50: Share your memories and thoughts

Other channels have plundered BBC Two's back catalogue with results ranging from the sublime - Sky's Alan Partridge revival - to the disastrous - Gold's Yes, Prime Minister rehash.

But with just two days to go until Two hits 5-0, here's five more shows - from the '60s to the '00s - that deserve another shot.

The Likely Lads (1964-66)

"Oh, what happened to you? Whatever happened to me?" - Yes, its more distinguished follow-up Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? might have graduated to BBC One, but its 1960s predecessor was a BBC Two staple.
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

BBC Two is 50: Share your memories and thoughts

BBC Two is 50 - the British Broadcasting Corporation's second eldest child hits the half-century mark this Sunday (April 20) and, in those five decades, has delivered some phenomenally popular and powerful programming.

Kim Shillinglaw has a lot to live up to - with every channel controller from the very first, Michael Peacock, to the most recent, Janice Hadlow, serving up a range of diverse, entertaining and even groundbreaking shows.

Since 1964, BBC Two has become renowned as a home for great comedy - from the surreal The League of Gentlemen and Shooting Stars, to much-loved classics like The Likely Lads and The Goodies and modern favourites such as The Trip and The Wrong Mans.

But there's a tradition of fine drama too - running from the original The Forsyte Saga (1967) to Line of Duty (2012-present) and taking in such iconic series as I, Claudius (1976) and Edge of Darkness (1985).

Meanwhile, popular entertainment and
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

BBC Two 50th anniversary: Dara Ó Briain, Sue Barker for special shows

BBC Two has announced a series of special programmes to mark its 50th anniversary.

The channel celebrates the milestone on April 20, and will broadcast several one-off programmes featuring the likes of Dara Ó Briain and Sue Barker.

Earlier today (March 19), it was announced that Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse will star in a spoof look back at the history of the channel in The Story of the Twos, while there will also be a one-off Goodness Gracious Me reunion.

Ó Briain will host All About Two, a 90-minute quiz and celebration of BBC Two. Pointless star Richard Osman will reveal facts and figures, while celebrity teams and special guests will also appear.

50 Years Of BBC Two Comedy will look back at the channel's biggest comedy programmes and performers, including Fawlty Towers, Spike Milligan, Shooting Stars, The Office, Victoria Wood, and The Fast Show.

The two-hour special will feature Armando Iannucci,
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

New on Acorn DVD: War and Peace, and New Tricks

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New Tricks

Kieran Kinsella

Costume drama lovers are in for a treat as Acorn Media are set to release the 2007 multi-national production of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace on DVD on 24 September. Originally broadcast in France and Belguim, the production has never aired in the U.S. although it was available on Acorn’s streaming service earlier this summer. While there have been many adaptations of this Russian classic, few if any can boast a cast that includes such luminaries as Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange), Clemence Poesy (Birdsong) and Brenda Blethyn (Vera). The director, Austrian film-maker Robert Dornhelm is no slouch either, having been been behind the lens for hits including the Oscar nominated The Children of Theatre Street.

War and Peace is so long and so impressive that it makes “epics” such as Dr Zhivago look like short children’s stories. It features a colorful cast of
See full article at bestbritishtv »

The secret of Birds of a Feather: female friendship is the key to sitcom success

ITV's revival is a reminder of how central women's friendships are to most classic comedy shows

Rock bands go on for ever, it seems. And even when they break up, they re-form later. So perhaps popular sitcoms should have the same leeway. News last week that Birds of a Feather, the BBC show that first standardised the Essex brand across Britain, will be back on television screens with its original female cast implies that, as the age of pensionable retirement recedes, so the sell-by date on comic scenarios has lengthened too.

Birds of a Feather ran for nine series between 1989 and Christmas 1998 and told the story of two sisters, Sharon and Tracey, played by Pauline Quirke and Laura Robson, both married to imprisoned bank robbers and living in Chigwell. Diverting them from their squabbles was their neighbour, the libidinous and aspirational Dorien, played by Lesley Joseph. Written by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

‘Harry Potter’ Star Bonnie Wright Cast in Stage Debut

Harry Potter’s girlfriend is all grown up! Bonnie Wright, best known for playing Ginny Weasley in the Harry Potter franchise, has announced she will be making her stage debut in London next month.

Wright will be playing the role of ‘The Girl‘ in Peter Ustinov’s ‘The Moment of Truth‘ in the play’s first revival since 1951. The play is being revived by the New Actors Company as they continue their commitment to bringing forgotten theatre back to the stage. Here’s what to expect:

‘A republic is poised to fall. The only remaining members of an unpopular government are its cynical Prime Minister and a naïve, emotional Foreign Secretary. The invading army has it’s boots upon the soil of this crumbling nation. Inside the cabinet office, toy soldiers and old icons of military glory veil the realities of war and bloodshed. Death, in a moment of truth was never so real’.

See full article at The Hollywood News »

How Plebs gets laughs from the past

ITV2's new sitcom set in ancient Rome belongs to a fine tradition of historical TV comedies, from 'Allo 'Allo to Blackadder

Sitcom locations may vary, but the vast majority are set in contemporary times. Every so often, however, a show such as ITV2's Plebs arrives on screen ready to face the challenges of both period TV and situation comedy. Set in ancient Rome, Plebs – which began last night – follows Marcus, Stylax and Grumio as they juggle love and work in a city that doesn't care whether they live or die. Coming fresh on the heels of Hunderby, Julia Davis's extended riff on the language and oddness of Victorian period drama, it shows that there still exists an appetite for making funny shows set in the past.

Up Pompeii! is the (literally) classic historical sitcom, originally broadcast in 1969 with Frankie Howerd as Lurcio stealing every scene with his asides to the audience.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

How we made Men Behaving Badly

From farting in a birthing pool to rolling down a giant penis, Martin Clunes and producer Beryl Vertue remember the laddish sitcom that defined an era

Martin Clunes, actor

Men Behaving Badly didn't start with a script coming through the door. It got going simply because Harry Enfield signed up to star in it. His original vision was for it not to be like a usual sitcom. Then we made the pilot and it shocked him. It was bad. It didn't faze me since I was nobody from nowhere, but you could see Harry wanted out. He was under contract, though, so had to do one series. I've not watched the pilot since. Actually, no one has. It's never been aired. It was everything Harry railed against: coarse, with the director saying you've got to be chalk and cheese – abrasive like The Likely Lads. But what worked about Men Behaving Badly
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Ant and Dec pursue American dream with silent comedy project

Duo say they hope to 'try their luck' in the Us again, and reveal they want to create a 'legacy' with non-live TV idea

With Britain's Got Talent and I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here, Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly present two of ITV's biggest shows.

But three years off their 40th birthdays, the pair's thoughts have turned to creating a longer lasting legacy than the fast food of reality TV which does not reward repeat viewing.

The pair's latest two-year contract with ITV ends this year and McPartlin said the pair – who are insured for millions of pounds against the other one dying – have "talked a lot about the future".

Specifically, a silent comedy project and their hopes of breaking America put a question mark over how long Ant and Dec, both 37, will remain a mainstay of the ITV schedule.

"We've talked a lot about the future this year,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »
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