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13 items from 2012


Bill Tarmey obituary

9 November 2012 4:02 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Actor who became a household name as Coronation Street's Jack Duckworth

Bill Tarmey, who has died aged 71, made his name as Jack Duckworth, the endearingly lazy husband of the nagging motormouth Vera Duckworth, played by Liz Dawn, in Granada television's Coronation Street. The former asphalt spreader began with the long-running soap as an extra in the mid-1970s, and came into his own as Duckworth in 1979. This was five years after Dawn joined the cast, and it soon helped to create a character duo that was stronger than the sum of its parts.

Vera and Jack met at Gail and Brian Tilsley's wedding. Jack later became a cellar man at the Rovers Return, whose other stalwarts at the time included Hilda Ogden and Bet Lynch, played by Jean Alexander and Julie Goodyear. The health problems of his son, Carl, led to Tarmey's departure from the series in November »

- Dennis Barker

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Stephen Graham: 'There's no dark, twisted side to me'

29 September 2012 4:05 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

TV's hardest-working man on the day Martin Scorsese rang, and how he gets his best critiques at the village Co-op

You play Al Capone in Boardwalk Empire. How did an actor from Kirkby in Liverpool come to play such an iconic American character?

I worked with Martin Scorsese, [executive producer of Boardwalk Empire] on Gangs of New York, and he promised we'd work together again, and he stuck to his word. One day my manager rang to ask if I'd be in because Scorsese's office was going to call me. Obviously I was going to be in! And he rang and said, "I want you to play Al Capone – see you in a couple of weeks."

He made you an offer you couldn't refuse?

It really was! All the details came through – it was an HBO production, with Terence Winter [who co-wrote The Sopranos] – and I was thrown into this whirlwind. All of a sudden I was on this set with 15 cranes, »

- Kathy Sweeney

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Stephen Graham: 'There's no dark, twisted side to me'

29 September 2012 4:05 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

TV's hardest-working man on the day Martin Scorsese rang, and how he gets his best critiques at the village Co-op

You play Al Capone in Boardwalk Empire. How did an actor from Kirkby in Liverpool come to play such an iconic American character?

I worked with Martin Scorsese, [executive producer of Boardwalk Empire] on Gangs of New York, and he promised we'd work together again, and he stuck to his word. One day my manager rang to ask if I'd be in because Scorsese's office was going to call me. Obviously I was going to be in! And he rang and said, "I want you to play Al Capone – see you in a couple of weeks."

He made you an offer you couldn't refuse?

It really was! All the details came through – it was an HBO production, with Terence Winter [who co-wrote The Sopranos] – and I was thrown into this whirlwind. All of a sudden I was on this set with 15 cranes, »

- Kathy Sweeney

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DVD Review - Accused (Series 1)

27 August 2012 4:50 AM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

Accused (Series 1).

Created by Jimmy McGovern.

Starring Warren Brown, Peter Capaldi, Mackenzie Crook, Christopher Eccleston, Naomie Harris, Andy Serkis, Ben Smith, Juliet Stevenson and Marc Warren.

Synopsis:

Accused centres on ordinary people who end up in the dock. But should these men and women be there? Are they innocent or guilty or somewhere in between?

Originally aired in 2010 and released now to coincide with the arrival of second series, Accused was Jimmy McGovern’s first writing job since the cancellation of the much-missed BBC drama The Street. Prior to its untimely demise, The Street had always seemed to be a show that could run indefinitely. By containing each story within one hour long episode, and by focusing on a different resident of the titular street each time, McGovern’s writing was not constrained by the demands of long term character development and multi-episode story arcs. The show operated as a »

- flickeringmyth

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Parade's End: why Tom Stoppard's return to TV is a cause for celebration

24 August 2012 4:47 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Dramatist's first work for BBC for 35 years signals ongoing rapprochement between playwrights and the small screen

By any measures, Sir Tom Stoppard is among our greatest living writers and the BBC is one of the most industrious producers of culture in the world. And yet – startlingly – Parade's End (BBC2, 9pm, Friday), adapted by Stoppard from Ford Maddox Ford's quartet of novels, marks the first time the playwright has written a script directly for BBC television since 1977, when Professional Foul, his brilliant comedy about moral philosophers and England footballers sharing the same hotel in Prague, won a Bafta award.

During this 35-year spell, Stoppard has written radio plays, had stage works adapted for TV and scripted one original drama – Squaring the Circle (1984), about the Polish uprisings in the 1980s – for commercial television, but it does seem extraordinary and regrettable that such a significant dramatist has been so lost to a medium »

- Mark Lawson

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Tobey Maguire to Star and Produce Craig Zobel’s Z For Zachariah

15 August 2012 6:33 AM, PDT | Filmofilia | See recent Filmofilia news »

Tobey Maguire, perhaps best known for his role as Peter Parker in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man film trilogy has been taped to star in and to produce the post-apocalyptic drama Z for Zachariah, which Compliance (opening Friday) helmer Craig Zobel will direct.

Based on the novel by Robert C. O’Brien and adapted by Nissar Modi, the film will star Maguire as a rugged scientist with a dark past.

Modi’s 2009 Black List script follows a teenage girl, Ann Burden, who lives alone and maintains a farm in the only valley with breathable air in the wake of nuclear war; her world is turned upside down when two strangers wander in from the forest.

Maguire recently shot Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby in Australia and he will soon be seen in The Weinstein’s long-delayed dark comedy The Details; Maguire is currently filming a key role in »

- Nick Martin

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Six to watch: British miniseries

25 July 2012 7:16 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

From man-eating plants to dulcet-toned detectives, we run down the UK's great short TV series. What have we missed?

They say good things come in small packages – and while longform storytelling and slowburn plotlines can make for thrilling television, a strong miniseries has an appeal of its own. Short, sharp and crammed full of quality, they're something the British do incredibly well.

So which make our shortlist? For the purpose of this piece we're classifying miniseries as singular stories told across a limited number of episodes; that means there's no spot for Sherlock but still plenty of room for everything from man-eating plants to dulcet-toned detectives. So join us as we look through some of the best British miniseries, shows that have left a big imprint despite their small number of episodes.

Have we included your favourite or made a glaring omission from the list? Let us know in the comments below. »

- Daniel Bettridge

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Abigail’s Party – Theatre Review

31 May 2012 7:05 AM, PDT | Obsessed with Film | See recent Obsessed with Film news »

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The 1977 Play for Today recording of Abigail’s Party has become such a cemented part of British contemporary drama, that when going into Lindsay Posner’s revival currently playing at the Wyndnam’s Theatre just off Leicester Square I felt that I already knew the plays lead Beverly better than some of my own friends. It was very pleasing then to see that Jill Halfpenny more than measures up against Alison Steadman’s performance, and that Abigail’s Party is a fine revival.

Mike Leigh’s comedy of social manners and class aspiration has lost none of its potency or bite since its premier over 30 years ago, and director Lindsay Posner perfectly pitches his revival between excruciating embarrassment and all out comedy. It’s 1977 and un-happily married couple Beverly and Laurence invite the new couple that have just moved in across the street (Tony and Angela »

- Will Pond

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Letters: Betrayed by our Homeland insecurities

8 May 2012 4:06 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

A full page in Sam Wollaston's breathless G2 TV review (7 May) seems reasonable for the end of season one of the Us series Homeland. But four columns by Mark Lawson, on page 3 of the main paper, under the page heading "News" and with the headline "Gripping and daring, Homeland raised questions British TV needs to answer?", is too much – and far, far too blinkered.

First, Lawson cannot appraise American TV drama without making invidious comparisons to its British equivalent. His argument about British creative caution brought about by "public funding, state regulation and rapid newspaper fury over 'flops'" is specious. Although our dramatic output may be more modest now than in the heyday of Play for Today and The Wednesday Play, BBC, ITV and Sky are still nurturing creative, ground-breaking talent. Let's not simply emulate American TV. Let's originate.

Second, while both your critics give deserved praise to the quality »

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Coronation Street, the Musical: look back in leopard skin

7 May 2012 4:05 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

As Coronation Street: the musical prepares to open, Simon Hattenstone goes behind the scenes and asks the cast – from Julie Goodyear to Bill Roache – how they plan to bring its bolshy magic to the stage

I can't move for childhood ghosts. In front of me is grumpy Albert Tatlock; to my left, battleaxe Ena Sharples and her mousey friend Minnie Caldwell; to my right, legendary busybody Hilda Ogden. We are in a huge warehouse in east London, for rehearsals of Street of Dreams (or Coronation Street, the Musical), and I am finding this time-travel strangely moving. I'm tempted to hug these characters, ask them how they've been all these years.

Like so many people (and especially Mancunians), I grew up with Coronation Street. Back in the 1970s, it was pretty much the soap. But it was also more than that. In its youth, the series was fantastically well written, »

- Simon Hattenstone

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[Interview] ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’ Writer Simon Beaufoy Talks Adaptation Process, ‘The Hunger Games’ & More

12 March 2012 7:31 AM, PDT | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

Winning an Oscar is a life-changing event, even as we all acknowledge how silly it all seems. When Simon Beaufoy, the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of Slumdog Millionaire discusses his craft, one tends to listen. I was afforded such an opportunity recently, as Simon sat down with myself and a few other journalists to discuss his latest film, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, his directorial past and future ambitions, the daunting task of adapting Catching Fire, the second book in The Hunger Games series, and his next possible project with director Slumdog and 127 Hours helmer Danny Boyle. The following is a transcript of interview questions asked by myself and other journalists at a recent roundtable session with the writer.

So this project, you adapted from the book, and the book is written in a very unconventional style.

It’s an epistolary novel, like Dracula.

A lot of people look at a »

- jpraup@gmail.com (thefilmstage.com)

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Frederick Treves obituary

3 February 2012 11:15 AM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

A familiar face on stage and screen, he often played authority figures

In an acting career that lasted for well over half a century, Frederick Treves, who has died aged 86, specialised in playing men in positions of authority – senior police officers, peers, admirals, colonels and scientists. He was a tall man with a heavily jowled, amiable face, a hawk-like profile and a patrician bearing. A regular National Theatre player, he supported many television dramas, including The Regiment (1973), a BBC series set in India; Destiny, David Edgar's 1978 Play for Today; The Jewel in the Crown (1984); The Invisible Man (1984); Poirot (1991); Hetty Wainthropp Investigates (1997); and The Rector's Wife (1994). In all of these disparate productions, he played a colonel.

Treves was the great-nephew of Sir Frederick Treves, the surgeon who rescued Joseph Merrick, the "Elephant Man" (he also had a role as an alderman in David Lynch's 1980 film about the case). He was born in Margate, »

- Gavin Gaughan

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The cop and the robber – a unique friendship

21 January 2012 4:06 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

How the woman who inspired Prime Suspect's Helen Mirren and the 'M25 Bandit' are working together on an inside job

Jackie Malton and Graham Godden used to hate each other, although they had never met. That is to say that Detective Chief Inspector Malton of the Flying Squad, the thief-taking, go-getting, hard-drinking real-life role model for Dci Jane Tennison of the television series Prime Suspect used to hate all armed robbers. And Godden, once "Britain's most wanted robber", the "M25 Bandit" and a reckless heroin addict, used to hate all coppers. Now, as they sit together having afternoon tea in Wimbledon, they regard each other with admiration, affection, even love.

What has brought them together and what has happened to Malton since she left the police is as remarkable as any of the dramas in which her fictional alter ego was involved. This former cop is now spending as »

- Duncan Campbell

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13 items from 2012


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