20 items from 2014
The late larger-than-life, cross-dressing extraordinaire who ushered in the now-established world of theatrical drag (simultaneously bringing queer performance art to the mainstream) is given the documentary treatment in the warmly nostalgic and playful tribute, I Am Divine.
The alter-ego of shy suburban boy Harris Glenn Milstead, Divine was the muse of “Pope of Trash” filmmaker John Waters (the biggest contributor here, offering up some deliciously trashy anecdotes). Described by her best friend as a “cinematic terrorist”, the duo were childhood friends in 60′s Baltimore, and Divine’s trajectory, from early transgressive dog poop-eating infamy to full-blown stardom, is exhaustively covered by director Jeffrey Schwarz.
Fully ‘out’ before being gay was even recognised as an alternative lifestyle, Divine managed to tap into the uninhibited more accepting culture which emerged during the seventies, and her popularity surged as her NY stage performances gaining prominence around the time Studio 54 and the world of disco exploded. »
- Adam Lowes
Rik Mayall, most famous for his portrayal of sniveling anarchist Rik in the early '80s BBC comedy series The Young Ones, has died at the startlingly young age of 56, according to Variety. Mayall made his bones as the co-creator and lead writer for the series, which was among the first to put angry, counterculture British youth on television on a weekly basis. Not only was the character he created anarchic, so was the comedy, crashing back and forth between a quartet of equally unseemly characters. The Young Ones also served as an anti-Top of the Pops stage for underground music to bubble through, notably hosting performances from bands like Motorhead, The Damned, Madness, and many more.While many people outside of England lost track of Mayall...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
The first excitable batch of Big Brother contestants entered the famous Elstree compound last night (June 5), but are we right in thinking a few of their faces seem vaguely familiar?
Yes, yes we are! So we find out what salacious scandals or other reality TV shows a few of these fame-hungry housemates have been involved in before entering the house below:
Strict Catholic and lingerie model contestant Danielle McMahon has appeared in the colourful pages of men's magazines such as Nuts (Rip) and FHM. She also dished the dirt on ex-bb contestant Dexter and his "designer penis" (no idea) to the Daily Star after they apparently dated for four months last year. Dexter appeared on Big Brother's Bit on the Side last night and denied that they had slept together.
McMahon has her own website with a portfolio of her modelling work and a blog (no-one's going to »
When we found out that new Big Brother housemate Pauline had a previous life as a popstar, we couldn't resist digging up her music video with Kylie Minogue for 'Shocked'. And boy, are we glad we did.
We're not going to pretend that Pauline - sorry, Jazzi P - is a massive part of the promo. You have to sit through a lot of scantily clad Kylie before you get to her (that may or may not be a good thing, depending on your taste). But when Pauline pops up behind a massive keyhole, we basically cheered.
The whole thing is so gloriously '90s that we're basically digging out our Walkmans, getting our Smash Hits stash out of the attic and waving our glow sticks in the air. As if that wasn't enough, there's also a spectacular performance from Top of the Pops.
If you're wondering why poor old »
Britain's Got Talent convincingly topped Saturday primetime last night (May 31), despite the lowest semi-final ratings this series, according to overnight data.
The live show, which saw Jack Pack and Paddy & Nico secure places in the final, averaged 7.19m (38.1%) between 7pm and 8.30pm on ITV.
The results show grabbed 5.81m (28.2%) from 9.30pm, while in between, World Cup Epic Fails took 3.38m (17.4%).
The latest episode of BBC One's Casualty treated 4.27m (22%) from 8.40pm. It was followed by an airing of Mrs Brown's Boys, which entertained 3.13m (15.3%).
Repeats of The Goodies (810k/4.2%), I Love 1973 (1.14m/5.7%) and Top of the Pops Christmas 1978 (1.37m/8.6%) followed.
Channel 5's first season of Longmire concluded with 359k (1.8%) from 8.10pm. »
Broadchurch was the big winner with three awards at UK TV's most glamorous event, and this is how Stuart Heritage saw the action unfold
Anyway, thats that for this evening. Were the winners worthy? Some of them. Do the Baftas change anything? Not really? How weird was it for me to not just look up who won an hour before any of this started? Extremely.
Still, thanks a lot for joining in. You really are the best. If youd like to follow me on Twitter, Im @StuHeritage, but youre not missing out on much if you dont. Thanks everyone.
Walters' speech is all about how someone in the press thought »
- Stuart Heritage
London --BBC Trust chairman Chris Patten is standing down with immediate effect on health grounds following major heart surgery. Vice chairman Diane Coyle will take over as acting chairman until a successor is appointed, the BBC Trust said May 6. Patten’s term as BBC Trust chairman was due to end in April 2015. A former MP, Patten took up the post in May 2011 and has steered the public broadcaster's governance through a slew of policy and era-defining moments for the broadcaster, most notably the fallout from the the former Top of the Pops host Jimmy Savile sex
- Stuart Kemp
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, »
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
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. »
The BBC has never seemed more under attack. But what provokes such passion? In the second of a series of essays on the corporation's past, present and future, Charlotte Higgins asks why the critics seem to come from within as often as from outside
Part one: What can the origins of the BBC tell us about its future?
The BBC is like the Greeks Hydra: vast and many headed. The same organisation that made Sherlock frittered away £100m on a failed It initiative; it runs five orchestras, the Today programme and the World Service; it inexplicably buys and then sells for a much smaller sum the Lonely Planet guides. While Kenneth Clark was pacing the streets of Italian hill towns, filming Civilisation for BBC2, Jimmy Savile was presenting Top of the Pops on BBC1, and Stuart Hall was informing, entertaining and abusing in the north of England. Whatever qualities it has, »
- Charlotte Higgins
Comedian, sports pundit and novelist on his TV highs and lows
Sherlock. There's a real sense of occasion about it. [The reveal of how Sherlock survived the fall] was a lot less cunning than people thought it might be. But I liked the way they addressed that by starting with those fantasy scenarios. It's the sort of thing that could have annoyed people, but I thought it fitted perfectly. For 10 minutes the whole country thought that the writers had gone insane.
Earliest TV memory?
Watching the video of Into The Groove by Madonna on Top Of The Pops, in about 1985 or 1986. I would definitely have watched TV before then, but that is immortalised in my brain, for a number of reasons: it was my first experience of Madonna, my first experience of sexy women, and the first time I can remember understanding what TV was.
I'd lobby for a one-off Friends reunion. It had »
- Gwilym Mumford
The 1970s were a weird time. I'm glad I didn't have to live through any of it... but thanks to the internet, I can marvel (and mock) at the wonders of the 1970s.
Lalo Schifrin is best known as a composer who has scored hundreds of films, everything from The Amityville Horror to Dirty Harry to Thx 1138. He also put out a number of albums, mostly jazz instrumentals. In the late 1970s, he did a disco cover of John Williams' classic Jaws score. The BBC music show Top of the Pops decided to choreograph a strange dance to the song, complete with waggling legs, a swimming cut-out shark, and scared looks on the dancers' faces. The icing on this disco cake is that the dance troupe was called Legs & Co.
Sit back and enjoy the weirdness.
- Alyse Wax
The second series of the ITV2 reality show reveals the grim reality of rapid pop fame – and it should be screened in all stage schools as a warning
If you've never seen The Big Reunion, the ITV2 show in which late-90s pop groups reform for one last shot at success, you'd be forgiven for thinking it might be a feel-good slice of nostalgia for fans of manufactured pop. In fact, it's unrelenting pathos from beginning to end.
They say it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, but going on the evidence presented by the ragtag bunch in series two, it's hard to decide whether their lives were improved or damaged by their brief taste of success. This was perhaps best illustrated when we saw Linzi, a former member of short-lived girlband Girl Thing, living back on the Manchester estate where she was bought up. »
- Joe Stone
Wasted muscles, psychological damage … and patchy Wi-Fi. We're not going to be ready to hit the ground running when we travel to Mars
When we abandon this increasingly useless planet and head, as surely we must, to Mars, there will be a few problems on arrival. It's not just that there is, as yet, no baggage reclaim, but rather that, after a 15-month flight across space, prey to radiation from solar flares, having recycled again and again our own urine and solid matter, we won't be ready to hit the ground running. In fact, our muscles and bones will have wasted so much during that 56m km journey that we will have to be carried from our landing craft and nursed until we recover the strength to stand upright.
- Stuart Jeffries
Oh, isn't it good to have The Big Reunion back? As the sort of people who grew up pasting Top of the Pops stickers on every available surface, it's pleasing that we can revisit the glory years with the help of an ITV2 show on these cold, wet January nights. And boy, episode one did not disappoint. But as pop devotees, what exactly did we learn? Well, read on for the all-important lessons from tonight's instalment...
1. Andi Peters is still cheeky.
Well. Andi's narration was one of the best things about tonight's show, but we admit to blushing at times. "Simon Cowell splashed his massive wad in the direction of a famous French landmark." Andi, this is a family show! (Praise, though, for dubbing 'Freak Me' a "bonking anthem".)
2. Girl Thing's Nikki is voice twins with Philomena Cunk from Charlie Brooker's Weekly Wipe.
Seriously. It's creepy.
3. Victoria Beckham is loads of fun. »
Since we grew up surrounded by Top of the Pops and Smash Hits magazines, we were always going to be pretty happy with the lineup for series two of The Big Reunion. While others moaned about the lack of big names, we were chuffed. 3T? Check. Damage? Yep, remember them. Eternal? Obviously. A1? Well, we were a bit old for them, but then Ben was adorable on Big Brother. Brand new supergroup 5th Story? Our karaoke dreams made a reality.
But even we were left scratching our heads when Girl Thing were announced. Sure, we remember them vaguely trying to be a hit; we remember their one big song 'Last One Standing' in the sense that if someone hummed it we might have some kind of recollection. We know Jodi Albert, of course. But were Girl Thing really going to hit the nostalgic value of series one of The Big Reunion? »
The Big Reunion - the No.1 TV guilty pleasure of last year - returns for series two this evening.
So dig out your best Kappa tracksuit and buy yourself a multi-pack of Sunny D and prepare for a trip in a music time machine to an era pre-downloads and The X Factor, when Top of the Pops was still the most important show on television.
To celebrate the show's return, why not check out our Big Reunion Class of 2014's Greatest Hits package, featuring the best tracks from this year's acts preparing to reunite and face their demons.
The Spice Girls? Pah, too cheesy. Girls Aloud? Hah, they came from a reality show. If you want vintage British girl power pop, the original masters were Easther, Vernie, Kelle and Louise. Sadly, Mrs Redknapp isn't involved in the reunion, but we're still keeping our fingers crossed for a BeBe Winans cameo. »
Kate Greer, assistant producer, 1960s
I applied for a secretarial job at the BBC, but when I said I was interested in theatre, music and entertainment, they said I'd be useful in TV production. I was gobsmacked. I started off on Grandstand then, in 1965, was seconded to Top of the Pops, which had been launched to rival ITV's already successful Ready, Steady, Go!
The hit parade, as the charts were called then, had always been dominated by Us acts. But suddenly we had the Beatles, the Stones – and swinging London. Although our office was there, the first shows were filmed in Dickenson Road, Manchester, in an old church with a spireWe'd scour the city's clubs looking for kids to be in the audience. »
- Dave Simpson
London, January 30: Dave Lee Travis has claimed that he had been groped by three "very famous" female stars.
The former Radio 1 DJ refused to name them, but insisted that he was the victim as three female celebrities had "squeezed" his manhood, the Daily Star reported.
The former 'Top Of The Pops' host said that he was the victim of a "witch-hunt" by women who were lying or bearing a grudge because he did not sign autographs for them.
Travis is accused of sex attacks on 11 women over three decades, but has denied 13 indecent assaults and one sexual assault. (Ani) »
- Ketali Mehta
I gave up on a musical career after 15 years broke. It was painful at the time, but now I'm a happy software engineer
Inside Llewyn Davis, the latest film from the Coen brothers, tells the story of a musician struggling to climb one of life's hardest ladders. Anyone who has essayed a career in music will sympathise with Davis, even if they don't warm to his spiky persona. But while Hollywood has dealt extensively over the years with the blossoming of talent, it has been less penetrating in its analysis of the many careers that never flower, a lacuna that the Coens' film tries to fill.
When I was about 15, I discovered that I could write music. Worse than that, I found that I enjoyed it. Thus my academic fate was sealed – no longer was I going to drift rudderless through sixth form and university and become a second-rate solicitor »
- Edward Collier
20 items from 2014
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