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5 items from 2011


My TV hero: Rebecca Front on Jack Rosenthal

15 August 2011 4:05 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Jack Rosetnhal's TV plays squeezed into our family consciousness – we still quote lines to each other

What made Jack a really fantastic writer was his sense of humanity. He never wrote as a judge of his characters; he didn't patronise them. He just wrote them all as individuals, and that's an incredible skill.

There was a whole flurry of his plays on television in the 1970s, when I was growing up. My mum and dad were huge fans of his, and I vividly remember gathering round the telly for The Knowledge, Bar Mitzvah Boy, The Evacuees and Ready When You Are, Mr McGill. Like Mike Leigh's stuff, they just squeezed into the family's consciousness. We would quote bits from them, and still do, in fact.

There's a lovely character played by David Ryall in The Knowledge, for example. At the beginning of the film he's cleaning somebody's car, and »

- Leo Benedictus

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Christopher Neame obituary

20 July 2011 4:05 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Producer and writer behind a string of popular TV series

The producer Christopher Neame, who has died of an aneurysm aged 68, found his greatest success in television, making popular series such as Danger Uxb (1979), about a second world war bomb-disposal unit; The Flame Trees of Thika (1981), adapted from Elspeth Huxley's book about British settlers in Kenya; The Irish Rm (1983-85); and Soldier Soldier (1991-97).

His father, Ronald Neame, was a director and cinematographer who co-produced and co-wrote Brief Encounter and Great Expectations for David Lean. Ronald's father, Elwin, was a director who worked in silent films, as did Elwin's wife, the actor Ivy Close. Noël Coward was Christopher's godfather.

Inevitably, Neame grew up immersed in the film business. Born in Windsor, Berkshire, he attended the King's school, Canterbury, but spent much of his time at Pinewood studios, where his father worked. He regularly rubbed shoulders with the stars – on »

- Anthony Hayward

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Your next box set: Jack Rosenthal at the BBC

25 March 2011 1:00 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

With Bar Mitzvah Boy and his other great TV dramas Jack Rosenthal chronicled everyday life with wit and warmth

Although he died in 2004, Jack Rosenthal's reputation as a giant of British TV drama continues to grow. We've already had Jack Rosenthal at ITV, all four discs of it – including The Knowledge, about cabbies, maps and more. Now the BBC is muscling in with a box set, out next month, that includes more of his early dramas from the 1970s. And they're even better.

The Evacuees, his first standalone TV drama, drew on his experiences as a boy sent away from Manchester during the second world war. The director was Alan Parker, warming up for his film Bugsy Malone. Presumably Parker learned how to handle child actors here: thanks to Rosenthal's deft and moving script, their awkwardness in a new environment is all too apparent.

Rosenthal's major breakthrough came with Bar Mitzvah Boy, »

- Andrew Pulver

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Like mother, like daughter for Mike Leigh's new production

29 January 2011 4:08 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

TV favourite Ruby Bentall takes stage role with director who cast her mother 30 years ago in the classic comedy Abigail's Party

The distinctive plays and films of Mike Leigh have introduced many strong female characters to audiences down the years. In fact, the director has often returned to work with a small group of actresses whom he can trust to create memorable roles – Alison Steadman, Sheila Kelley, Lesley Manville and Imelda Staunton.

But this year, as he works on a new play for the National Theatre, Leigh has found a new star – the daughter of one of his funniest muses.

Ruby Bentall, whose mother is actress Janine Duvitski, will have a lead role at the National in the new play, which so far has no name or an announced subject, but will be written and directed by Leigh. Bentall is already known to viewers for playing Minnie in BBC1's »

- Vanessa Thorpe

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Like mother, like daughter for Mike Leigh's new production

29 January 2011 4:08 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

TV favourite Ruby Bentall takes stage role with director who cast her mother 30 years ago in the classic comedy Abigail's Party

The distinctive plays and films of Mike Leigh have introduced many strong female characters to audiences down the years. In fact, the director has often returned to work with a small group of actresses whom he can trust to create memorable roles – Alison Steadman, Sheila Kelley, Lesley Manville and Imelda Staunton.

But this year, as he works on a new play for the National Theatre, Leigh has found a new star – the daughter of one of his funniest muses.

Ruby Bentall, whose mother is actress Janine Duvitski, will have a lead role at the National in the new play, which so far has no name or an announced subject, but will be written and directed by Leigh. Bentall is already known to viewers for playing Minnie in BBC1's »

- Vanessa Thorpe

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5 items from 2011


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