12 items from 2013
Doctor Who's 50th anniversary episode is BBC Drama's biggest event ever. Showrunner Steven Moffat's daunting mission: to come up with a special that will blow up everyone's space-time vortex. Can 'the Grand Moff' pull it off?
"The anxiety is unbearable," said Oscar Wilde, one of history's great should-have-been Doctors. "I can only hope it lasts for ever." Such is the case for lovers of Doctor Who. For months they've both avoided and vacuumed up any scrap of information about this Saturday's 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor, torn between curiosity and the self-denying desire to see the show play out as intended. You want to know, and you don't want to know.
The special could well be BBC Drama's biggest event ever, with a worldwide simulcast, 3D cinema screenings and a security blackout. It features current incumbent Matt Smith, his pin-up predecessor David Tennant, Billie Piper »
- Andrew Harrison
Singalong TV themes are becoming more rare, but you still can't beat a catchy tune and lyrics. From recap songs to star vehicles, here are the five archetypes
The Neighbours theme tune has been rerecorded twice in 2013, with the latest version coming to Channel 5 in November. The bouncy backing track may have been freshened up but, crucially, the lyrics remain sacrosanct. Even you if haven't kept up with Erinsborough gossip since – Spoiler – Jim had a heart attack in 1993, you will still instinctively accept the view that "everybody needs good neighbours", and agree that, if they were there for one another, it was likely that they would become good friends.
That's the uncanny power of a good TV theme song, one with actual lyrics. From the 50s onwards, they were the proto-earworms, getting free heavy rotation in living rooms across the land. Singalong TV themes might have fallen out of favour »
- Graeme Virtue
Let's hope that Diana's real-life relationships were more rewarding than this movie
Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel
Entertainment grade: Fail
History grade: C
The death of Diana, Princess of Wales in August 1997 provoked international mourning and a flurry of conspiracy theories.
The film begins on the night of 31 August 1997 in Paris. Pausing in a corridor, the Princess of Wales (Naomi Watts) turns as she hears a mysterious, baleful noise. It's not obvious what this harbinger of doom is supposed to be. Perhaps it's the collected groans and howls of the poor souls who sat through earlier screenings. Anyway, it sets the tone for the movie: delusional, banal and often ridiculous.
The story flashes back to 1995. Lonely Di hangs out in Kensington Palace, heating up baked beans for one, playing the Moonlight Sonata and hurling »
- Alex von Tunzelmann
An excruciatingly well-intentioned biopic laced with bizarre cardboard dialogue
• Tell us the worst "real life" film you've ever seen
Poor Princess Diana. I hesitate to use the term "car crash cinema". But the awful truth is that, 16 years after that terrible day in 1997, she has died another awful death. This is due to an excruciatingly well-intentioned, reverential and sentimental biopic about her troubled final years, laced with bizarre cardboard dialogue – a tabloid fantasy of how famous and important people speak in private.
The green space outside the Odeon Leicester Square may well be covered in cellophane-covered bouquets in the days to come, in memory of this new woe. It was here, after the film was over, that I crouched down and like Martyn Lewis of old, my lip trembled. Only by imagining a cathartic waltz with John Travolta was I able to control myself.
Is this film an MI5 plot »
- Peter Bradshaw
Joanna Lumley and her crazy garden-bridge plan steal the show in a portrait of designer and architect Thomas Heatherwick
He has been described as the Da Vinci of our time. Alan Yentob calls him a magician, a real-world Willy Wonka or a Wizard of Oz. The Culture Show: The Unstoppable Thomas Heatherwick (BBC2) aimed to paint a portrait of the designer and architect who has given Britain – among many other things – the fire petals of the Olympic cauldron; the great seed-lined glass cube that won first prize at the World Expo; and the sleek, retro curves of London's new red double-decker bus. But, while the soft-spoken, child-like, almost otherworldly Heatherwick was certainly a character, it was the unstoppable Joanna Lumley who stole the show.
Lummers has an idea, see. She wants to build a bridge over the Thames. Lumley bridge is not for crossing but for visiting. It is a garden, »
- Tom Meltzer
Live Football: Audi Cup | Celebrity MasterChef | You Saw Them Here First | Extreme Diet Ward: A Food Hospital Special | Justified | The Culture Show: The Unstoppable Thomas Heatherwick | The Last Leg | Street Outlaws
Live Football: Audi Cup
We're into the lucrative-if-apathetically-contested-tournament stage of pre-season. This one takes place in Munich's Allianz Arena and features Champions League winners Bayern Munich (now with added Pep Guardiola), Brazilian big guns São Paulo, a waning AC Milan side and Manchester City who, as ever, feature plenty of new signings. First up this afternoon is City v Milan, with São Paulo and Bayern following directly after. The winners of those games meet in the final tomorrow. Gwilym Mumford
- Gwilym Mumford, Hannah Verdier, Mark Jones, Jonathan Wright, John Robinson, Ben Arnold, David Stubbs
By Nikole Zivalich
The cast of Mortal Kombat: Legacy stopped by Comic-Con 2013 to spread the word about season 2 of their popular webseires. Mortal Kombat Legacy is on the forefront of the digital wave of TV as it's one of the most watched series on YouTube. Season 2 will up the ante when it comes to story development, fight sequences and yes, fatalities. The first fatality debuted at the Mortal Kombat: Legacy Comic-Con panel in a fight between Kitana, Johnny Cage and Milena. I won't tell you who wins.
Mortal Kombat: Legacy's director, Kevin Tancharoen has been a fan of Mortal Kombat since he was 10 or more specifically "before you could take Super Nintento home." His love for Mk led him to make the short film Mortal Kombat: Rebirth. The short film got the attention of Ed Boon and Warner Bros ushering in Season 1 of Legacy. After the success of season »
- MTV Video Games
Review Louisa Mellor 16 Jun 2013 - 22:00
The BBC and Starz visit the Wars of the Roses for new Sunday night historical drama, The White Queen…
This review contains spoilers.
The Starks and Lannisters having left us for another year, the BBC is filling the void with the original players of the game of thrones: the Yorks and Lancasters. A ten-part adaptation of Philippa Gregory’s celebrated The Cousins’ War series, The White Queen takes place in the twenty years between the Battles of Hexham and Bosworth, but is less interested in clashing armies than it is power struggles between the Wars of the Roses’ royal women.
Taking in the events of a trio of novels - The White Queen, The Red Queen, and The Kingmaker’s Daughter - the drama tells three stories, those of Elizabeth Woodville (beautiful and a bit witchy), Margaret Beaumont (devout and a bit mental), and Anne Neville (a pawn, »
Cumbrian arts group to screen 1980s cult film at real-life location of Uncle Monty's house, with all proceeds going to charity
To Withnail and I fans, it will always be Uncle Monty's country bolthole, where alcoholic luvvie Withnail and his uptight best friend Marwood go on holiday "by mistake"; the ramshackle Lake District cottage where a rampant Monty tells Paul McGann's character he must have him, "even if it must be burglary".
But this summer the real-life Crow Crag – Sleddale Hall, near Shap in Cumbria – becomes the ultimate open-air cinema where fans like me get to endlessly parrot lines from perhaps the most quotable of quotable cult films (though The Big Lebowski might give it a run for its money).
This calls for a drink! Maybe two large gins, two pints of cider. Ice in the cider.
And perhaps the best thing about it all – in addition to the »
- Mark Smith
Latest triptych of films in long-running space saga will kick off in 2015 with Episode VII, directed by Jj Abrams
The latest trilogy of Star Wars films will arrive in 2015, 2017 and 2019, Disney chairman Alan Horn has revealed.
Speaking at the annual CinemaCon convention in Las Vegas, Horn confirmed the latest triptych of movies in the long-running space saga would kick off in 2015 with Star Wars: Episode VII. Disney previously announced that the film is being directed by Jj Abrams from a script by the Oscar-winning writer of Toy Story 3 and Little Miss Sunshine, Michael Arndt.
Horn also confirmed Disney is working on a number of spin-off "movies derived from that [Star Wars] universe", though he did not state when these were due to arrive on the big screen. Many fans have interpreted Horn's speech at the annual conference for cinema chain owners as a sign that Disney is planning to release a »
- Ben Child
Johnny Cash: Blood, Sweat and Tears (Columbia)
Some of Cash's '60s concept albums were burdened with much too talking between tracks; here the tribute to the American working man gets to mostly stand alone on its musical merits, and shines. Notably, it incluces the top version of the traditional "John Henry"” about the most legendarily heroic working man ever, and the version of "Casey Jones" here is classic as well. Politically and psychologically, Cash was the perfect man for this job.
Byrds: Notorious Byrd Brothers (Columbia)
Sometimes transitional albums, confusing listeners expecting a group's earlier style, are underrated. Not so with this classic. It's true that it didn't sell as well as earlier Byrds LPs, nor did the single from the album chart very high, but for decades Notorious Byrd Brothers has been widely revered, and not just by fans; some critics have even anointed it as the band's best album. »
Tom Daley's celebrity diving show joins a notable group of television programmes that are so utterly awful we can't stop watching them
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"Tom Daley belly flops with new show"… "ITV plunges to new low with Strictly Come Diving flop" … "Tom Daley's Splash! makes a plop." Even before ITV's new diving celebrity talent show Splash! hit the screens last week, headline writers were cracking their knuckles with glee. Four minor celebrities coached to dive by Olympic medal-winner Tom Daley? It was always going to be rubbish, wasn't it?
But judging by both the colossal Twitter response and the audience figures (it was watched by an average of 5.6 million), viewers rather liked it. Splash! has already proved something of a hit in the Netherlands (where it's called Sterren Springen) and has sold around the world including to ABC in America, »
- Ben Dowell
12 items from 2013
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