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Has British comedy learned how to portray foreigners?

The 1970s was littered with sitcoms that will never see the light of day again, thanks to their xenophobic themes. But Asylum and Benidorm reveal more sophistication in their portrayal of non-Brits

British sitcoms have a history of resorting to crude stereotypes when it comes to portraying foreign characters – 70s sitcoms such as It Ain’t Half Hot, Mum and Mind Your Language are considered too racist to rebroadcast, even in these times of numerous re-run channels. Some would argue that these stereotypes have now simply relocated from sitcoms to Top Gear, so it’s perhaps surprising to find this week’s schedules book-ended by comedies that feature foreign characters.

On Monday night BBC4 broadcast the first part of Asylum, a three-part farce inspired by Julian Assange’s predicament, with Ben Miller as Dan Hern, a Gchq analyst who, after leaking CIA secrets, takes refuge in the London embassy of a Latin American nation.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

New Who Review: “Kill the Moon”

  • Comicmix
It’s the classic time travel question – would you kill a dangerous killer in their crib, before they’ve actually done anything? Well, what is you weren’t sure the baby was going to do anything? What if you were asked to…

Kill The Moon

By Peter Harness

Directed by Paul Whilmshurst

Clara speaks to the entire Earth – they run the risk of the Earth being destroyed if they don’t kill an innocent being. “The man who normally helps” is nowhere to be found, and a decision must be made. Flashing backwards, we learn that Coal Hill student Courtney Woods has not reacted well to her brief run on the Tardis. The Doctor told her she “wasn’t special”, a comment she’s taken to heart. Clara asks him to apologize; he instead offers her a chance to be the first woman on the Moon.

Alas, all is not well there.
See full article at Comicmix »

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire's demise: was the recession to blame?

It's the recession that killed off the long-running ITV quiz show,

says its host Chris Tarrant. So how extensively do social

and political trends impact on TV schedules?

Although not primarily known as a thinker, Chris Tarrant this week made a striking philosophical observation on the dynamics of populist television. In an interview about the decision to bring Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? to an end, he suggested that the show declined because the recession made members of the public reluctant to compete for a seven-figure cheque.

The article described the broadcaster as enjoying a couple of glasses of Scotch while talking and, at first glance, I wondered if they had affected his judgment: logic suggests that, in a credit crunch, TV contests handing out wonga should have long queues at the studio doors. But, on closer examination, the explanation is intriguingly counter-intuitive.

The stepped question structure of Wwtbam?
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Secret Teacher: TV shows about schools keep missing the mark

From the over-sexed Pe teacher to the chain-smoking, alcoholic head, where have all these far-fetched dramatisations of life in school come from?

Register taken, all present and correct: the overwrought gay drama teacher; the over-sexed, in-your-face, under-intellectually-resourced Pe teacher; the confused elder statesmen of science; the naive French teacher with hearts-and-minds-delusions; and the chain-smoking alcoholic headteacher. I haven't yet spotted the workshy union rep but I can confidently predict he or she (on current form, probably the former) will stagger into shot at some point, post-pub, clutching his Nut rulebook and the Racing Post. Welcome to Big School, the BBC's latest addition to the secondary-school-as-warehouse-for-lifelong-adult-failures comedy canon.

It's hardly a lone entrant in the field. We already have a second series of Bad Education in the offing, a vehicle for self-professed "rubbish teacher" Mr Wickers (Jack Whitehall), the top of whose whiteboard features the legend "Follow me on Twitter". But
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Fawlty Towers isn't racist. Major Gowen is

The BBC's cutting of racial insults from a repeat of The Germans has brought the integrity of the hit comedy show into question. But the words are clearly used to satirise English upper-class bigotry

Rivalled only by Dad's Army as Britain's most-loved sitcom, Fawlty Towers seems an unlikely candidate to merit comparison with the movies of Quentin Tarantino. But the BBC has cut from a repeat of the episode The Germans (screened many times since it was first seen in 1975) a speech in which the blimpish hotel resident Major Gowen uses two outlawed racial insults while reporting on a trip to see an England v India cricket match at the Oval.

It is impossible to discuss properly the censored dialogue without quoting the line. Very sensitive readers should stop now and it should not be assumed that I, the Guardian – or, indeed, John Cleese and Connie Booth, the show's writers
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Fawlty Towers isn't racist. Major Gowen is

The BBC's cutting of racial insults from a repeat of The Germans has brought the integrity of the hit comedy show into question. But the words are clearly used to satirise English upper-class bigotry

Rivalled only by Dad's Army as Britain's most-loved sitcom, Fawlty Towers seems an unlikely candidate to merit comparison with the movies of Quentin Tarantino. But the BBC has cut from a repeat of the episode The Germans (screened many times since it was first seen in 1975) a speech in which the blimpish hotel resident Major Gowen uses two outlawed racial insults while reporting on a trip to see an England v India cricket match at the Oval.

It is impossible to discuss properly the censored dialogue without quoting the line. Very sensitive readers should stop now and it should not be assumed that I, the Guardian – or, indeed, John Cleese and Connie Booth, the show's writers
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

How Amitabh Bachchan united generations of British Asians

The Bollywood actor's early films are fondly remembered because, in their day, they offered a triumphant alternative version of what it meant to be Asian

I was probably 12 years old the first time I saw an Amitabh Bachchan film. It was the early 80s and video players were relatively rare. My family did not own one so my father would, like many Asians at the time, hire a machine, which he would pick up on a Friday evening and return on Sunday. The cost of the video hire was, I recall, £5, and my dad and I would also select three or four films to watch on the Friday and Saturday evening. Invariably, these films would star Amitabh Bachchan.

Bollywood movies – especially those released in the 70s and 80s – are today often viewed as gaudy kitsch, but the pleasure I derived from titles such as Coolie, Naseeb and Sholay was entirely unironic.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Citizen Khan may face Ofcom investigation

Debut of BBC1 sitcom about an Asian family prompted complaints that it stereotypes Muslims and insults Islam

Ofcom is considering launching an investigation into BBC1's Citizen Khan, a comedy about a modern Asian family, after receiving complaints that it stereotypes Muslims and insults Islam.

The TV regulator has received about 20 complaints about the sitcom, which debuted on BBC1 in Monday night, and is now assessing them.

Ofcom will then make a decision as to whether the complaints warrant a formal investigation to see whether the BBC has broken any UK broadcasting rules relating to viewer harm and offence.

The BBC had received 187 complaints by Tuesday about the show, which follows the life of a self-appointed "Muslim community leader" and his British-Pakistani family in Birmingham, following its broadcast.

The number of complaints has almost certainly increased since then, propelled by media coverage of the show, prompting the BBC to decide
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Notes & Queries: What was the funniest TV comedy?

Plus: Where do butterflies go when it rains, and how would we cope in 3012?

Hilarity is in the ear of the beholder, of course, but which was the best TV comedy show ever? I'm voting for Monty Python.

Not Only But Also, with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore in the late 1970s. Their National Gallery sketch is right up there with Monty Python's dead parrot sketch: Pete and Dud didn't get the joke in Leonardo's cartoon; wondered about all those paintings of nude women that we're not allowed to see, because the bit of floating gauze landed on their nose, or somewhere; noticed how their nipples follow you around the room …

Pam Lunn, Kenilworth, Warks

Coupling was very good indeed, as was Black Books, Blackadder 2 and The It Crowd. But nothing comes anywhere close to Fawlty Towers.

Grazman

I'm for Alan Partridge series one. Nothing man has ever done comes remotely close.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Doctor Who complete reviews: The Eleventh Hour

Fish fingers and custard.

Now there's a combination you won't find in your average fine dining restaurant. Hordes of students up and down the country swear by this sort of food, especially when they find that the budget's plummeted to zero at the end of the month. Result? Raid the fridge and the food cupboards and fill your belly with unusual if unappetising recipes.

Bet it leaves a funny taste in the mouth though – in fact, hindsight leaves a bittersweet taste in the mouth too. Especially if you're a picky, over-perfectionist reviewer who's poring over past analyses of Doctor Who stories. In 2010, I reviewed the whole of Matt Smith's first season, and scribbling my thoughts pretty much on the trot and working on first impressions. Looking back at those reviews, you'd have thought that I'd have stumbled across a brand new Golden Age of Doctor Who. Yes, even stories such as The Beast Below,
See full article at Shadowlocked »

Anushka is my girlfriend, Ranveer

Anushka is my girlfriend, Ranveer
When a fan of Anushka Sharma claim to have a big crush on her from the days of ‘Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi’, Anushka’s ex-flame Ranveer Singh got fired and had a scuffle with the fan. A source revealed, “This guy walked up to Anushka and told her that he had a crush on her when he saw ‘Rab Ne…’. She took it in the right spirit and jokingly askedif he still had a crush on her. The guy hesistantly admitted that he did. Though Anushka was enjoying the chat, Ranveer, sitting beside her got really angry. He told the guy, “Mind your language. She is my girlfriend. I will break your nose.” Anushka&...
See full article at Bollywood Mantra »

It's the passing of an era that saddens me as much as David Croft's death | David Mitchell

David Croft came from the golden age of television, when it was a unifying medium with enormous power

Last week David Croft, one of the most successful and talented comedy writers of his generation, died in Portugal. I wonder if he was worried about the euro? It's a nice thought that it's not his problem now. I hope when I'm dying, I remember to reflect on all the anxieties that are soon to become somebody else's problem. The insane terms of my will, for starters.

People have been saying that it's very sad that he died, which it is. But then I'm enough of a woolly liberal to consider "sad death" to be a tautologous phrase. I know that's a controversial view not shared by the Texan penal system and anyone who's ever said: "Death's too good for him!" If you're reading this online and have already started to type: "Oh right,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

The not-bleeding-likely lads

The Inbetweeners: The Movie sees Will, Simon, Neil and Jay transported, in all their puerile glory, to Crete. But do the writers and cast realise this is the end?

The feature film-of-the-sitcom is one of the less heralded genres in cinema. Forty years ago, when Hollywood's vision of a low-budget hit was the cool and radical Easy Rider, the British film industry couldn't have been eulogising a less glamorous form of transport, when Hammer brought the sitcom On the Buses to the big screen.

That first On the Buses film made more than a million pounds, and sparked a gold rush. 1973 saw nine films based on sitcoms, including Love Thy Neighbour, Father, Dear Father and even For the Love of Ada. By the end of the decade, though, the notoriously thin quality of the adaptations meant the genre had become irrevocably tarnished.

But in 1997, the astonishing success of Bean,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Meet the family: at home with the Grewals

Sarfraz Manzoor meets the family who have become Channel 4 stars since opening their home to the cameras for a new fly-on-the-wall reality show

George and Mildred. Terry and June. Richard and Judy. Television has thrown up many memorable married double acts but there has been no one quite like Arvinder and Sarbjit Grewal. They are the unlikely stars of Channel 4's fly-on-the-wall documentary series, The Family, which features the British-Asian couple, their three children, two in-laws and one granddaughter. Oh, and two dogs.

In the programme, Arvinder and Sarbjit, married for more than 30 years, live in a five-bedroom pebble-dashed house and communicate mostly through insults and abuse: he demands a cup of tea; she grunts contemptuously. He wistfully remembers when she was slim; she says she can recall when he still had hair. In the rare moments when they are not bickering, Arvinder works as a coach driver and Sarbjit
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Tanaaz Currim out of Bigg Boss

Television actress Tanaaz Currim was this week contestants to get evicted from the Bigg Boss House. She was nominated along with her husband Bakhtiyaar Irani. She got maximum votes than her husband and finally got eliminated this Friday. Tanaaz was in constant public glare for her hot temperament and shared a sour relationship with many contestants. She also had argument with her husband Bakhtiyaar.While leaving the house, she hugged Bakhtiyaar and told him to be good. Tanaaz enacted in many television serials and best remembered for her comic role in the serial, 'Zaban Sambhal Ke', the Indian version of 'Mind Your Language'.  Taanaz ...
See full article at Bollywood Mantra »

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