11 items from 2016
From Friends to Father Ted, some of the greatest sitcoms of all time have had laughter included on the soundtrack. But audiences have grown more sophisticated – and TV needs to follow their lead
Related: America: where British sitcoms go to die
Last month I made a mistake in a review of Going Forward, the sitcom starring and co-written by Jo Brand – and I’m still not totally convinced it was a mistake. I wrote: “The days when sitcom meant a door opening, someone walking in and delivering a one-line, then pausing for the canned laughter, are nearly over, thankfully.”
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- Sam Wollaston
Book of the Stranger
Directed by Daniel Sackheim
Jon & Sansa
How awesome is it to have a section title with those two names together? A genuinely emotional moment for everyone as Sansa (Sophie Turner) rode into Castle Black and gave a loitering, listless Jon (Kit Harington) what he very much needed – not just a reminder of the past, not just a reminder he’s always been a Stark, but a rallying cry; he doesn’t just have a reason to leave behind a Night’s Watch he has no faith in, he has a reason to keep fighting given he knows Rickon is at Ramsay’s mercy, a reason to oddly enough become what he always wanted to be – more than just a bastard (not that he ever was, but we still haven’t seen R+L=J confirmed. It’s coming, it’s coming… »
- Tony Black
Two-time Academy Award winner Michael Caine (The Cider House Rules, The Dark Knight, Youth), BAFTA Award Winner and Golden Globe Winner Bill Nighy (Love Actually, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Pirates Of The Caribbean) and Matthew Goode (The Imitation Game, The Good Wife, Downton Abbey) will star in the family action adventure film Four Kids And It directed by BAFTA Award nominee Andy De Emmony (Father Ted, West Is West), it was announced today.
Produced by Dan Films’ Julie Baines and Anne Brogan of Kindle Entertainment, the screenplay is written by Simon Lewis and adapted from the novel “Four Children and It” by best-selling author Jacqueline Wilson. Additional writing is provided by Mark Oswin.
The film is slated to begin principal photography in August on location in the UK.
13 Films is handling worldwide rights to the project outside of the UK and is actively selling the film to buyers at the Cannes Market. »
- Michelle McCue
Move over Sherlock, hello Mrs Hudson – the time has come to bring the true geniuses of telly into the limelight
Here she comes. The unbrushed, talc-encrusted, low-heeled, apron-wearing matriarch of the tea tray. The one who gets all the gossip, the best one-liners, steals every scene, asks the case-solving question, puts everyone in their place and still has time to rustle up a tray of custard creams and a pot of watery tannin.
In so many of our best-loved comedies, crime dramas and soaps, that archetypal figure stalks in the background, just itching to steal the show: Father Ted’s Mrs Doyle, Sherlock’s Mrs Hudson, Poirot’s Ms Lemon, EastEnders’ Dot Cotton and Grantchester’s Mrs Maguire. These women – peach hosiery magnets for words like “indomitable”, “staunch” and “stately” – are a quintessential counterpart to that other figure: the monkish bachelor, the troubled hero. Where he locks himself away in »
- Nell Frizzell
The much-loved comedian, whose comic range stretched from clever musical spoofs to sharp observational standup, has died after a short cancer fight. Follow our liveblog to read all the tributes and share her best moments
Among her many projects, Ted Robbins recalled working with Wood on 2000’s Victoria Wood with All the Trimmings, in which she took on the role of Anne Widdicome at one point. Here’s that memorable moment:
While saying that it was clear that she was “hilarious”, he told the BBC: “She was also a great writer, her words were so crafted. She did not mind who got the laughs. She wrote wonderly lines for other people. »
- Guardian Staff
The second season of Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt arrives on Friday. Here’s what made the first run such unmissable good value…
“We need Kimmy. Stat.”
That was the verdict when a bunch of us emerged battle-worn from a screening of the emotionally draining Room, the Fritzl-inspired story of a woman kidnapped as a teenager and held captive for many years.
Room is a powerful and distressing film. Thanks to actors Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay, perhaps even more so than the novel from which it was adapted. It’s a film that leaves you feeling as if you’ve been staring too directly at a bright light. When you blink, the anguish remains imprinted in negative inside your head.
Ground-breaking, intelligent, prescient 1970s drama Doomwatch, now out on DVD, is a British television classic...
Playing on the public's fear that 'this could actually happen', Doomwatch had a veneer of credibility unusual in the escapist television drama landscape of the late 60s/early 70s. This spring sees the most comprehensive haul of Doomwatch episodes released on DVD for the first time. The nickname for the "Department for the Observation and Measurement of Scientific Work", the series first appeared on BBC1 on Monday 9th February 1970 at 9.40pm. It followed half an hour of comedy from Kenneth Williams, which must have surely heightened its dramatic impact.
The series would run in tandem with the early Jon Pertwee era of Doctor Who; the first episode made its debut two days after part two of Doctor Who And The Silurians. The two shows undoubtedly shared a synergy of ideas - not to mention cast and crew. »
When I was growing up, St. Patrick's Day always inspired a mix of emotions in my house. On the one hand, America's take on St. Patrick's Day always struck us as kind of weird and comical (seriously, lads, where did you come up with the whole "top of the morning" thing?). But on the other hand, March 17 inspired an annual bout of homesickness for the country my parents had left - and that I'd always considered my second home. Ever reluctant to assimilate (at least within the privacy of their own home), my parents would stock up on Irish bacon and Barry's tea bags and blast the RTÉ (Raidió Teilifís Éireann) morning show on our kitchen speakers. While it helped, nothing could compare to the therapeutic value of television. Irish wit and sentimentality translate pretty well onto the small screen, and curling up on the couch watching Father Ted never »
- Chloé Durkin
The Horror Channel has announced a ‘Laugh or Die’ season for this month, which features a collection of extremely bloody and funny films spearheaded by the UK TV premiere of Jon Wright’s Grabbers, a Father Ted vs. Aliens monster romp from Ireland, and the network premiere of Jake West’s gore-ridden, exuberant zomcom Doghouse, starring Danny Dyer, Noel Clarke & Horror Channel’s Emily Booth. The season also includes the network premiere of Idle Hands – Rodman Flender’s stoner comedy horror starring Jessica Alba and the network premiere of Jay Lee’s Zombie Strippers starring Robert Englund and Jenna Jameson.
Sat 5 March @ 10.55pm – Grabbers (2012) *UK TV Premiere
The day after a meteor lands in the ocean and a group of fisherman go missing, Garda Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley) and Garda Ciarán O’Shea (Richard Coyle) start investigating strange occurrences happening around the remote fishing community. Pretty soon it becomes clear »
- Gary Collinson
The actor Frank Kelly was best known as Father Jack Hackett, the demented, drunken old cleric bellowing “Drink! Girls! Arse! Feck!” from his armchair in the priests’ house on Craggy Island. But there was far more to Kelly, who has died aged 77. He had been a versatile television and radio star, stage actor, writer, satirist and singer in Ireland for more than 20 years before his breakthrough role in the classic Channel 4 series Father Ted (1995-98), written by Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews.
A gentle, urbane and analytical person, Kelly once told me: “Father Ted is not a lampoon of the church at all. It’s a dysfunctional little family, and it’s a very convenient umbrella to bring these people together under. Ted is a guy who »
- Stephen Dixon
Irish actor had celebrated acting career on stage and screen including much-loved turn as Father Jack in Channel 4 sitcom
Kelly, who survived bowel cancer in 2011 and underwent treatment for skin cancer in 2014, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease last year.
Rip Frank Kelly. You made us laugh a lot. pic.twitter.com/w4cAlQTr1j
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- Hannah Ellis-Petersen
11 items from 2016
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