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Sally Phillips interview: Ferdinand, Taskmaster, Smack The Pony, Veep

Louisa Mellor Dec 15, 2017

We chatted to actor and writer Sally Phillips about comedy, European accents, special cuddles, writing films and more...

“I’m quite keen to meet a Finnish shaman, have you seen them?” asks Sally Phillips three minutes into an interview that’s supposed to be about her role in new family animation Ferdinand. Scrolling through her phone, she presents me with a photograph of a fearsome looking woman with Pris from Blade Runner eye make-up, wearing an elaborate headdress and holding a tambourine.

See related Star Wars: The Last Jedi review

“Look at the expression! Very, very miserable, tambourine, excellent eye make-up” says Phillips, delighted. “I play a character who looks a bit like that in Zapped! and I did something else recently where they painted a black chicken on one eye. I thought, well, it’s slowly, slowly happening, I’m turning into a Finnish Shaman.”

Despite not having visited Finland,
See full article at Den of Geek »

Alice Lowe webchat – your questions answered on folk horror, Sightseers and sexy golf

The Prevenge and Chubby Funny star answered your questions on working with Ben Wheatley, being weird in moon boots and Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace

2.14pm BST

Thanks for all the really funny questions, which had me laughing out loud. It's nice to answer questions about shows I haven't thought about for a while. Thanks for being really lovely - I had a nice time. And for those who haven't watched Prevenge, get a move on - the DVD comes out in June.

2.12pm BST

OzMogwai asks:

Are you as weird in real life as you are on screen?

No, disappointingly, I'm not as weird in real life. I think I'm probably just a deeply pragmatic person. I remember there being an interview with Bjork, who is one of my heroines and I'm not comparing myself to her, but it resonated with me - she said people compare me to a pixie,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Twelfth Night, Your Name and Ted come to theatres in our April Events list

  • Cineplex
Twelfth Night, Your Name and Ted come to theatres in our April Events list Twelfth Night, Your Name and Ted come to theatres in our April Events list Scott Goodyer3/30/2017 10:13:00 Am

April is here and we can almost feel that spring weather just around the corner. So we wanted to give you that extra bounce in your step with some great new monthly cinema events! Check out the list below of a few highlights: WWE Wrestlemania 33

The biggest event in WWE history, featuring Universal Champion Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar, WWE Champion Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton and much more, broadcast live to cinemas from Florida's Orlando Citrus Bowl. All this epic action is a must see on the big screen!

Show date: April 2nd

Twelfth Night National Theatre Live

Tamsin Greig is Malvolia in a new twist on Shakespeare’s classic comedy of mistaken identity. A ship is wrecked on the rocks.
See full article at Cineplex »

Sally Phillips To Host UK Casting Directors Association’s Inaugural Awards Ceremony

Britain's Casting Directors Association is launching an awards ceremony geared specifically towards honoring the work of the casting director. The inaugural event, dubbed the Casting Awards, will take place in London on March 17, 2017, and is set to be hosted by comic actress and writer Sally Phillips (Bridget Jones Diary, Smack the Pony). An independent panel of industry judges, including United Agents' Gabe Blair, Apa chief exec Steve Davies and TV and commercials…
See full article at Deadline TV »

Sally Phillips To Host UK Casting Directors Association’s Inaugural Awards Ceremony

Sally Phillips To Host UK Casting Directors Association’s Inaugural Awards Ceremony
Britain's Casting Directors Association is launching an awards ceremony geared specifically towards honoring the work of the casting director. The inaugural event, dubbed the Casting Awards, will take place in London on March 17, 2017, and is set to be hosted by comic actress and writer Sally Phillips (Bridget Jones Diary, Smack the Pony). An independent panel of industry judges, including United Agents' Gabe Blair, Apa chief exec Steve Davies and TV and commercials…
See full article at Deadline »

Doon Mackichan: 'We were sexy, funny women – perhaps that was a bit much'

The comic hits out at the sexism that held back Smack the Pony, the rise of rape as entertainment – and the pleather trousers she spent 11 hours in for Two Doors Down

Doon Mackichan has just moved to Hastings with her third child, the only one left young enough – at 12 – to make move places with you. She lives in dinky, seaside-Regency elegance, and I keep expecting something dark and unexpected, like a wolf, to lope in. Mackichan is a true original, subversive, very fast and witty, slightly surreal, with a straight-backed gangly mien, like a teenage clown.

Something as normal as a sofa just seems too normal, yet here we are on a sofa, discussing her recent documentary for Radio 4, Body Count Rising, a profound, textured, definitive consideration of violence against women on television – what it does to the viewer, the actor and the culture. “I was getting really quite angry about what I was watching,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Clive James: ‘I am continually reminded of what a misery guts I have been’

When I was young, I rarely demonstrated any subtlety at all

Nothing makes me feel decrepit and obsolete quite as much as when friends of my children make television programmes. That used to be my business, but now it’s theirs. Simon Finch, a friend of our family since for ever, has just done a documentary called The Good Terrorist, which is one of the best summaries I have seen about what took so long to happen in South Africa. It deals with the trial and execution of the only white man who managed to convince himself that planting a bomb in a Johannesburg station would be a dramatic blow against the oppressive white government. Finch argues the rights and wrongs with great subtlety for someone I first met when he had only recently graduated. At the same age, I myself had rarely demonstrated any subtlety at all.

On a similar time scale,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Actor Doon Mackichan hits out at 'crime porn' TV thrillers

The Smack the Pony star has criticised use of ‘brutalised women’ as ‘entertainment fodder’ in series such as The Fall

The actor Doon Mackichan has criticised what she calls “crime porn” – the use of “brutalised women as entertainment fodder” in television dramas such as The Fall.

The Smack the Pony star calls on broadcasters to “bring the body count down” in a documentary for BBC Radio 4 in which she examines the prevalence of scenes of sexual violence involving women.

Related: Still, moody, still sexy, still flawed: The Fall returns for series three

Continue reading...
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

On The Hour: revisiting a brilliant radio comedy

Andrew Blair Oct 17, 2016

Armando Iannucci & Chris Morris' BBC Radio 4 news spoof not only gave rise to Alan Partridge but also launched countless comedy careers.

If you haven’t heard of On The Hour, you’ll have seen or read the work of the people who made it: Brass Eye, The Thick Of It, Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle, Veep, Four Lions, that bit on the train at the end of Mission: Impossible, Closer, Jam, the Leicester Square Theatre Podcasts, the movie version of Notes On A Scandal; the NME, TV Burp, the videos for Little Baby Nothing by the Manics and Kung Fu by Ash, Smack The Pony, and Alan Partridge to name a few.

See related The Big Bang Theory season 10 episode 4 review: The Cohabitation Experimentation The Big Bang Theory season 10 episode 3 review: The Dependence Transcendence The Big Bang Theory season 10 episode 2 review: The Military Miniaturization The Big Bang Theory
See full article at Den of Geek »

24 great comedy shows that deserve more love

We asked Den Of Geek’s writers to recommend brilliant comedy shows that deserve to have more of a fuss made about them. Here they are...

Banging a drum about stuff we love is more or less our remit on Den Of Geek - hence what many readers have started referring to as the ‘inexplicably regular' appearance of Statham, squirrels and Harold Bishop from Neighbours on these pages.

To that end then, we asked our writers which comedy shows (past and present, UK or otherwise, on TV, radio, or online…) deserved more praise, and here are the ones they chose. You might already like them too, or you might discover something new to dig out and enjoy. That’s the fun of it.

Please note that this list isn’t ranked in any order, nor is it exhaustive. It’s compiled from the opinions of a group of different people,
See full article at Den of Geek »

Duopoly's New Dark Comedy Series Sos: Save Our Skins on FEARnet

Produced as a feature – 4 TV half-hours – and as a 13 episode web series, Sos: Save Our Skins is the tale of two hapless British geeks who wake up in New York City to discover that the entire human race has vanished. But as they explore the seemingly empty world before them, Ben (Nat Saunders) and Stephen (Chris Hayward) soon realize they’re not alone after all. This new comedy sci-fi adventure launched on FEARnet in the U.S. in April on its new “Twisted Comedy” block and on Blue Ant Media’s Bite TV in Canada. This U.K.-Canada coproduction was produced by Steve Coogan and Henry Normal’s Baby Cow Productions in the U.K. and by Duopoly in Canada.

“We discovered Sos: Save Our Skins in a pitch session at the Just For Laughs Conference and were determined to find a way to finance it,” said Catherine Tait , Executive Producer. “Co-productions are challenging but in the case of Sos, the talent and final results were entirely worth the effort!”

Sos: Save Our Skins was created, written by and stars two of Britain’s in-demand comedy writing teams, Nat Saunders and Chris Hayward. Together they have contributed to hit U.K. shows such as Big Train (BBC), Smack the Pony (Channel 4), Trollied (Sky) and Fit (Cbbc), and created the popular web series Misey Bear(BBC). Sos also stars Hannah Spear (Versus Valerie, Sexy Nerd Girl) as Kill the cannibal and Peter Serafinowicz (Shaun of the Dead, Guardians of the Galaxy) as the voice of Andrew the Alien.

A sci-fi, comedy and horror homage, Sos: Save Our Skins sends Ben and Stephen on a desperate journey to find their loved ones, escape the jaws of death and work out why they’re two of the few remaining people on Earth. But the answer to the mystery is bigger, crazier and more apocalyptic than they could ever have imagined, and it puts the fate of the planet into their very stupid hands.

Sos: Save Our Skins is part road movie, part sci-fi fantasy, part buddy movie, and even has a twisted love story at its heart, even if one of the lovers is a mass-murderer,” said Director and Producer, Kent Sobey.

The film version of Sos: Save Our Skins premiered at the 39th Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival in February, where Sorespot Movies observed, “[it] does not hold back with the comedy or the wildness of the plot”. The film also screened at the International Horror and Sci-fi Film Festival in Phoenix and the Sci-Fi London Film Festival (April 24 – May 4, 2014). It will screen at the St. Tropez International Film Festival (May 12 – 16, 2014).

The film was produced in association with the Independent Production Fund and with the participation of BBC Worldwide in the UK, FEARnet in the U.S. and Blue Ant Media in Canada.

About Fearnet

As America’s leading television and digital programming service devoted to genre entertainment, Fearnet delivers a diverse array of original and acquired horror, thriller and suspense content as a cable TV movie network, a video-on-demand outlet and award-winning web portal. The year-round horror network features box-office hits and popular movies from major film studios, independents, and foreign producers, as the channel programs over 350-plus titles a year; many of which are world television and broadcast premieres. The Channel has been the number-one free VOD movie service for six straight months – Sept. 13 to Feb. ’14- (available in more than 28 million homes) and the website, Fearnet.com, currently ranks as the top site in the genre category for its original content, TV reviews, web shorts and exclusives. Fearnet is a partnership between Sony Pictures Television, Lionsgate Entertainment and Comcast Corporation and is widely distributed to U.S. cable subscribers across various systems. For more information about the company, visit www.Fearnet.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter (@Fearnet).

About Baby Cow Productions

Established in 1999 by award winning comedy creators Steve Coogan and Henry Normal, Baby Cow Productions Ltd has gained an enviable reputation for nurturing new British comedy talent, whilst teaming up with the best of the U.K.’s established writers, directors and producers. Baby Cow’s productions include award winning Gavin and Stacey, The Mighty Boosh, Nighty Night, Mid Morning Matters, Hunderby, Moone Boy, Hebburn and the Alan Partridge specials resulting in an array of nominations and awards including Bafta, Rts, Rose d’Or, Southbank Awards and International Emmys.

Baby Cow’s most recent television shows and films include Uncle for BBC 3, The Trip to Italy, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa and Philomena which received four Oscar nominations including Best Picture and won a BAFTA for Best Adapted Screenplay.

About Duopoly

Duopoly is an independent content company which develops, produces and acts as a sales agent to a range of feature film properties, television series and digital series. Recent feature titles repped by Duopoly include Velcrow Ripper’s Occupy Love and Andrew Bush’s Roller Town. Duopoly operates its own channel on Hulu and has distributed over 300 episodes of content to this platform including successful comedy series Odd Job Jack and Puppets Who Kill.
See full article at Sydney's Buzz »

Stars reveal their criminally underrated entertainment picks

Stars reveal their criminally underrated entertainment picks
Everyone — stars included — has that one show or movie they believe hasn’t received the attention it deserves. EW asked some celebrities, ranging from director John Waters to actress Allison Janney, what shows or movies they think are criminally underrated. Here’s what they said:

John Waters, director Hairspray, Serial Mom

Bruno Dumont’s movies, which are all long, depressing, French art movies about farmers and the earth and misery [such as Humanité]. I love a feel-bad movie. I hate to feel good at a theater. There is such honesty in the pain he puts on screen.”

John Lasseter, director Toy Story, Cars
See full article at EW.com - PopWatch »

Trailer For Danny Boyle’s ‘Babylon’ Released Online

Channel 4 have released a first look at Danny Boyle latest directorial outing Babylon.

We told you back in August about the project but I don’t think even we could have predicted such a stellar line up because if the trailer is anything to go by, it’s going to be a good one! Starring James Nesbitt and Another Earth’s Brit Marling, it follows a young American named Liz Garvey (Marling) as she is hired to “revolutionise” the public image of London’s police force.

It is written by Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, known for their work on Smack The Pony, That Mitchell And Webb Look and the rather brilliant Four Lions. This is not the only TV project Boyle has been working on, he has also been working on Telemark over in the States alongside Slumdog Millionaire writer Simon Beaufoy…Boyle’s a busy fella isn’t he?
See full article at The Hollywood News »

Comedy needs more female writers, says Veep's Armando Iannucci

As Smack the Pony writer joins his hit Us show, women in the UK are also taking lead writing roles

Julia Louis-Dreyfus's heels may clatter down the corridors of power in the American sitcom Veep – now back for a second season – but her gender is not the prime theme. Although her Emmy-winning character, vice-president Selina Meyer, is clearly operating inside a male world, the show's creator, Armando Iannucci, has placed a woman comfortably at the centre of a political story without making it the dominant issue.

Now women writers in television comedy are pulling off a similar trick. While they remain rare, female scriptwriters are being commissioned to write sitcoms on both sides of the Atlantic.

To create the new series of Veep, Iannucci has called on the services of one of Britain's leading women comedy writers, Georgia Pritchett.

He wanted Pritchett, who has worked on Smack The Pony and Spitting Image,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Mel Smith obituary

Comedian, actor, writer and director who came to prominence in satirical TV sketch show Not the Nine O'Clock News

Mel Smith was once upstaged by a talking gorilla. He was playing a zoologist in a sketch on his hit comedy show Not the Nine O'Clock News and the gorilla suit contained Rowan Atkinson. "When I caught Gerald in 68 he was completely wild," said Smith. "Wild?" retorted the gorilla. "I was absolutely livid!"

If the gorilla had the best line, Smith had the more expressive countenance, mugging with a deadpan virtuosity rarely seen since Oliver Hardy in his pomp. That face – as hangdog as his childhood hero Tony Hancock's – made Smith, who has died of a heart attack aged 60, one of the most recognisable of postwar British comedians.

Smith's face was only part of his fortune. He was a writer and editor of some of the most redoubtable British TV
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Mel Smith obituary

Comedian, actor, writer and director who came to prominence in satirical TV sketch show Not the Nine O'Clock News

Mel Smith was once upstaged by a talking gorilla. He was playing a zoologist in a sketch on his hit comedy show Not the Nine O'Clock News and the gorilla suit contained Rowan Atkinson. "When I caught Gerald in 68 he was completely wild," said Smith. "Wild?" retorted the gorilla. "I was absolutely livid!"

If the gorilla had the best line, Smith had the more expressive countenance, mugging with a deadpan virtuosity rarely seen since Oliver Hardy in his pomp. That face – as hangdog as his childhood hero Tony Hancock's – made Smith, who has died of a heart attack aged 60, one of the most recognisable of postwar British comedians.

Smith's face was only part of his fortune. He was a writer and editor of some of the most redoubtable British TV
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Mel Smith remembered: 'A gentleman and a scholar, a gambler and a wit'

Griff Rhys Jones talks about his shock at the news of his former comedy partner's death from a heart attack at home

Mel Smith, the British comedian, writer, actor, producer and film director, known for his long and popular television partnership with Griff Rhys Jones, died on Friday at the age of 60. He suffered a heart attack at his London home.

Smith's deadpan style, along with his lugubrious manner and large build, quickly established him as one of the country's favourite television performers in the early 1980s.

Jones, his friend for 35 years, said he had lost "a gentleman and a scholar, a gambler and a wit" and that he was in a state of shock. "I still can't believe this has happened. To everybody who ever met him, Mel was a force for life. He had a relish for it that seemed utterly inexhaustible.

"He inspired love and utter loyalty
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

R.I.P. Mel Smith (1952 - 2013)

British comedy favourite Mel Smith passed away yesterday after suffering a heart attack aged 60, his agent has revealed via a statement. The comedian, actor, writer and director was best known for his work on the sketch shows Not the Nine O'Clock News and Alas Smith and Jones, which saw him starring alongside his long-time comedy partner Griff Rhys Jones. The duo also formed Talkback Productions in 1981, with the production company going to produce a number of popular British comedy shows, including I'm Alan Partridge, Smack the Pony, Da Ali G Show and Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

As well as appearing in several movies including Morons from Outer Space (which co-wrote with Jones) and The Princess Bride, Smith also directed several films, beginning in 1989 with his feature film debut, the romantic comedy The Tall Guy, penned by Not the Nine O'Clock News writer Richard Curtis; the pair would reunite with another
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Barry 'Dame Edna' Humphries returns to UK TV screens

Australian comedian ruffles feathers as a headmaster in Sky1 sitcom Chickens, set during first world war

Barry Humphries, the Australian comedian behind Dame Edna Everage, is returning to UK TV with a role in a comedy set during the first world war.

Humphries will play a headmaster who takes a dim view of three young men who remain in England rather than fight on the western front in the Sky1 sitcom Chickens. The three leads are played by The Inbetweeners stars Simon Bird and Joe Thomas, and Jonny Sweet. The trio also share writing duties.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for three of the funniest and most talented men in the northern hemisphere to work with me. I am very proud of my young supporting cast, whose names I cannot remember at the moment," Humphries said.

Sally Phillips, whose credits include Smack the Pony and Miranda, has also signed up to guest star in Chickens.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Rewind TV: The Lady Vanishes; It's Kevin; Our Queen – review

The BBC's remake of The Lady Vanishes distanced itself rather too well from Hitchcock's classic film

The Lady Vanishes (BBC1) | iPlayer

It's Kevin (BBC2) | iPlayer

Our Queen (ITV1) | ITV Player

Who can say why the BBC suddenly decided to remake The Lady Vanishes, though it must have seemed a fair bet that only film buffs – and perhaps not the ones in the habit of dropping by for Call the Midwife at this time on a Sunday night – would remember more than the opening credits of the original 1938 Hitchcock adaptation (scrolling jerkily over a railway hobbyist's layout of a station and hotel nestling in the snow-capped Balkans, which must have looked almost real at the time). In the event they avoided plot familiarity by cunningly going back to the forgotten 1936 novel (The Wheel Spins) by Ethel White, thus dispensing with Hitchcock's gunfight at the end, his comic characters and egregiously providential turns of fortune.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »
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