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Last Minute Shopping for the Comedy Lover

16 December 2010 5:00 PM, PST | JustPressPlay.net | See recent JustPressPlay news »

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Ask any American what they know about British pop culture and chances are they will tell that they love The Office and Extras with that guy who does the embarrassing comedy stuff. Beyond that they probably know of nothing since Monty Python. British television, especially comedy, extends so much further than some fat bloke from Reading that we feel it is our duty to introduce you to some of the finest imports the 51st state has to offer. So if you need a last item here or there for a lover of comedy, all are top quality stocking stuffers, most are available easily, and none of them have anything to do with Ricky Gervais.

The League of Gentlemen: The Collection

DVD - $55.99

{amazon}B0007Y0982{/amazon}

A horror themed sitcom that is as funny as it is strange. Set in »

- JPP Staff

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Tonight's TV highlights: The Culture Show | Beeny's Restoration Nightmare | At Home with the Georgians | Art of Cornwall | Misfits | Eastbound & Down

2 December 2010 12:00 AM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

The Culture Show | Beeny's Restoration Nightmare | At Home with the Georgians | Art of Cornwall | Misfits | Eastbound & Down

The Culture Show

7pm, BBC2

Andrew Graham-Dixon presents from Glasgow this week, but takes the journey south to visit the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, which recently spent £1m on drawings by the likes of Ellsworth Kelly and Barbara Kruger. Mark Kermode meets Danny Boyle to chat about grim true tale of arm-severing 127 Hours, and James Murphy talks about the analogue challenges of LCD Soundsystem's live show. Rn

Beeny's Restoration Nightmare

8pm, Channel 4

D-day approaches for Sarah Beeny and her husband as they struggle to get their stately wedding venue ready for the first happy couple. Beeny wanders around the wrecked sports hall, gurning like a Creature Comforts character when she contemplates it not being ready to host the megabucks reception. Naturally, she still has time for a quick visit to »

- Julia Raeside, David Stubbs, John Robinson, Rebecca Nicholson, Phelim O'Neill

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30 Greatest Gay Actors #14: Stephen Fry

1 December 2010 11:21 PM, PST | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

Actor, writer, journalist, comedian, television presenter and film director Stephen Fry began making a name for himself back in in various university drama clubs and performances where he became friends with fellow students Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, and Hugh Laurie, all of whom would be his future professional collaborators. His career kicked off immediately thereafter, beginning with the television comedy Al Fresco. His hit Broadway revival Me and My Girl made him a millionaire and won  him a Tony Award (1987). The 80s also saw Fry do a large amount of work for television, including the comedy shows A Bit of Fry & Laurie and Blackadder.

During the late 1980s, Fry began a film career as well, appearing in supporting roles in such films as A Fish Called Wanda (1988) and A Handful of Dust (1988). His first major role was that of the eponymous Peter in Peter’s Friends (1992) and later played »

- Ricky

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Tonight's TV highlights: The Culture Show | Beeny's Restoration Nightmare | The Beauty Of Diagrams | The Madness Of Peter Howson | Misfits | True Blood

24 November 2010 4:05 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

The Culture Show | Beeny's Restoration Nightmare | The Beauty Of Diagrams | The Madness Of Peter Howson | Misfits | True Blood

The Culture Show

7pm, BBC2

An hour of such storming eclecticism, it's enough to make you dizzy. Andrew Graham-Dixon presents from the newly spruced-up Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, and he's also talking to artist Bridget Riley. We learn about the Gateshead Granny Cloud, a scheme that recruits pensioners to go online and help kids in India with their studies. What else? Shopkeeper Tom Alexander on how he amassed an art collection that includes Lowry, Spencer and Moore. Plus Stephen Frears and a Gareth Edwards on making sci-fi film Monsters in his bedroom. Phew. Ms

Beeny's Restoration Nightmare

8pm, Channel 4

This is billed as the big one for the "queen of TV property". As she attempts to turn a dilapidated Georgian building into a wedding venue, she's "risking her reputation", while »

- Martin Skegg, John Robinson, Rebecca Nicholson

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Tonight's TV highlights

18 November 2010 12:00 AM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

The Culture Show | The Beauty Of Diagrams: The Vitruvian Man | The Secret Millionaire | Meet the Parents | Misfits | Beeny's Restoration Nightmare

The Culture Show

7pm, BBC2

Andrew Graham-Dixon goes to Greifswald (sounds like a fun place) to examine the work of German artist Caspar David Friedrich. Mark Kermode meets director Fernando Trueba and designer Javier Mariscal to discuss their creative collaboration on forthcoming animation Chico & Rita. And Miranda Hart pays homage to her comedy hero, Tony Hancock. A little cultural pontoon adrift in a sea of "You deserve your place in this competition" and "I've got incredible business skills". You can't get this stuff anywhere else on your Epg. Jnr

The Beauty Of Diagrams: The Vitruvian Man

8.30pm, BBC4

Marcus De Sautoy is a mathematician who, in common with many in his line of work, is determined to prove that maths is more interesting, even beautiful, than we might care to imagine. »

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Tonight's TV highlights: The Culture Show | Kara Tointon: Don't Call Me Stupid | Britain's Trillion Pound Horror Story | Misfits | Eastbound And Down | True Blood

10 November 2010 4:04 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

The Culture Show | Kara Tointon: Don't Call Me Stupid | Britain's Trillion Pound Horror Story | Misfits | Eastbound And Down | True Blood

The Culture Show

7pm, BBC2

Tonight, Mark Kermode looks back at the creepy Brit thriller Peeping Tom, and explains the impact it had when it was first released 50 years ago; and, to commemorate Remembrance week, Andrew Graham-Dixon looks at the work of first world war artist Harry Tonk, a surgeon who turned to painting to depict the lives of soldiers returning home. Also, Sarfraz Manzoor explores the future of photojournalism with the winning images from this year's World Press Photo exhibition at Royal Festival Hall. Michael Smith, Paul Auster and Alain De Botton are all in the culture mix this week, too. Rv

Kara Tointon: Don't Call Me Stupid

9pm, BBC3

BBC3 gets its fair share of stick for its "youth" output, but its occasional one-off documentaries about issues, »

- Richard Vine, Rebecca Nicholson, Andrew Mueller, Phelim O'Neill

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Tonight's TV highlights: The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes | The Culture Show | Carpool | Ego: The Strange And Wonderful World Of Self-Portraits | What The Green Movement Got Wrong | True Blood

3 November 2010 5:04 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes | The Culture Show | Carpool | Ego: The Strange And Wonderful World Of Self-Portraits | What The Green Movement Got Wrong | True Blood

The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

5.30pm, Disney Xd

If your idea of fun is an afternoon spent watching Iron Man melting Hydra's attack-bots with his foot jets, wrangling with Shield's mandroids and then getting shouted at by Nick Fury ("You can't do this alone! You're only One Man!") then you're in luck: this new Avengers cartoon has it all. As Nick points out, Iron Man is alone in this first adventure, but it can't be long before the Avengers assemble (and build some anticipation for Marvel's much-mooted live action team-up). Rv

The Culture Show

7pm, BBC2

Andrew Graham-Dixon goes on a stroll around Florence's landmarks but the rest of this week's Culture Show is as all over the place as Wayne Rooney's loyalty. Jacques Peretti »

- Richard Vine, Sian Rowe, Phelim O'Neill, David Stubbs, Martin Skegg

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Tonight's TV highlights: The Culture Show | The Taking Of Prince Harry | Never Mind The Buzzcocks | Pretty Little Liars | Edgar Allan Poe: Love, Death And Women

20 October 2010 4:05 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

The Culture Show | The Taking Of Prince Harry | Never Mind The Buzzcocks | Pretty Little Liars | Edgar Allan Poe: Love, Death And Women

The Culture Show

7pm, BBC2

Another giddying lineup from the arts magazine whose only defect is its name, and the grudging tokenism it implies. In a just world, the BBC would instead compress much of the rest of its output into The Inane Populist Drivel Hour, and free its schedules for more of the likes of tonight's profile of Alasdair Gray, Miranda Sawyer's interview with rapper Tinie Tempah, a rumination on the film The Kids Are Alright, a preview of Nina Raines' new play Tribes, and Damien Hirst's selection of favourite BBC archive footage, including moments with Bacon, Duchamp and Warhol. Am

The Taking Of Prince Harry

9pm, Channel 4

This drama-documentary, which speculates on what sort of co-ordinated response would be triggered were Prince Harry »

- Andrew Mueller, David Stubbs, Rebecca Nicholson, Phelim O'Neill

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BBC Election 70 | Merlin | BBC4 World Cinema Awards | Single Father | Louis Theroux: Law and Disorder in Lagos | The weekend's TV highlights

8 October 2010 10:45 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

BBC Election 70 | Merlin | BBC4 World Cinema Awards | Single Father | Louis Theroux: Law and Disorder in Lagos

Saturday 9 October

BBC Election 70

9am, BBC Parliament

Repeat of the BBC's coverage of the 1970 election. Obviously, this doesn't have the suspense value of contemporary counts, as we know who wins – Edward Heath's Conservatives, in something of an upset of Harold Wilson's Labour party. However, watching old election coverage is an engaging and occasionally hilarious education in the broadcast technology and social mores of the period – with the opportunities for idiotic CGI japes limited, anchors are forced to fall back upon informed comment. Cliff Michelmore presents – or rather presented – with Robin Day, Ludovic Kennedy and David Dimbleby.

Britain's Biggest Book Prize: A Village Decides

5.55pm, BBC2

Literary critics, who needs them? Always wibbling on about prose style while under-valuing plot, you'd get far more sense asking a bunch of people off the street. »

- Andrew Mueller, Jonathan Wright, Will Hodgkinson, Martin Skegg, Will Dean, Julia Raeside, John Robinson, David Stubbs

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Running on empty: culture in the silly season

29 July 2010 12:11 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Sherlock got rave reviews this week, and looks set to win awards. So why is it going out in the dog days of summer?

The overwhelmingly positive response to Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss's drama Sherlock, which started on BBC1 at the weekend, suggests that it will be a strong contender when it comes to this year's TV prizes. If the scripts, direction and Benedict Cumberbatch's portrayal of a modern Sherlock Holmes continue at the level set by the opener, my own view is that this show may go on to rank as a classic.

Yet many admiring critics have struck the same note of incredulity: why was a show of this quality being broadcast in the third week of July, when British television, run by deputy executives while the real ones holiday in Tuscany or Cape Cod, traditionally resorts to repeats and rejects?

It may be that »

- Mark Lawson

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Running on empty: culture in the silly season

29 July 2010 12:11 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Sherlock got rave reviews this week, and looks set to win awards. So why is it going out in the dog days of summer?

The overwhelmingly positive response to Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss's drama Sherlock, which started on BBC1 at the weekend, suggests that it will be a strong contender when it comes to this year's TV prizes. If the scripts, direction and Benedict Cumberbatch's portrayal of a modern Sherlock Holmes continue at the level set by the opener, my own view is that this show may go on to rank as a classic.

Yet many admiring critics have struck the same note of incredulity: why was a show of this quality being broadcast in the third week of July, when British television, run by deputy executives while the real ones holiday in Tuscany or Cape Cod, traditionally resorts to repeats and rejects?

It may be that »

- Mark Lawson

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Lauren Laverne: 'Let's face it, TV's not brain surgery'

1 July 2010 12:30 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Teen rocker, television presenter and radio DJ – now Lauren Laverne has written her first book

For the last couple of hours, Lauren Laverne has been ensconced in a photoshoot in the penthouse of the Sanderson hotel in London, and when she emerges into the bar, six months pregnant in a purple leopard-print top and still in full make-up and false eyelashes, she is holding a half-eaten apple. "It's, like, a really weird thing to bring down," she says, and laughs, placing the apple core self-consciously on the corner of the table. "But you know when you can't tell what's a bin and what's not? This is one of those places, isn't it?"

Irreverence is Laverne's calling card. She's smart as a whip, bright as a button, with a sense of humour that seems to bubble up through the gaps of her conversation. She found fame early, in 1994, as the lead »

- Laura Barton

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Glastonbury 2010: Grace Dent's liveblog from the sofa – Saturday night

28 June 2010 2:16 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Grace Dent settles down in front of the telly to watch Muse, Scissor Sisters and Pet Shop Boys take to the stage for the second night of music

Friday night: Florence and the Machine, Gorillaz and Lou Reed

Sunday night: Faithless, Stevie Wonder and Orbital

Day two of Glastonbury on the Sofa. I'm still confident that giving the festival a swerve was wise and noble. Look at me, bushy-tailed and fragrant! I didn't crawl from my sweatbox tent this morning, dehydrated to the size of a Californian raisin. My alarm clock was Not the low mooing of a jaded rock wife berating her au pair for losing all her raggedy-haired children in the Green Field 12 hours ago. Oh no. Everything in Dent Mansions is most genteel. No one with an infected lip-ring will be waggling my chakras or handcuffing me to one of Ozric Tentacles. Unlike in 2006, I won't be »

- Grace Dent

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The Culture Show | The Book Show at Hay | The Simpsons | Pulse | Little Ships | You Have Been Watching | Watch This

3 June 2010 12:00 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

The Culture Show | The Book Show at Hay | The Simpsons | Pulse | Little Ships | You Have Been Watching

The Culture Show

7pm, BBC2

Andrew Graham-Dixon previews Rude Britannia, Tate Britain's new exhibition looking at the tradition of British satirical cartoons. Mark Kermode meets Kidulthood star Noel Clarke to discuss his latest film 4.3.2.1. Tom Dyckhoff explores the impact of good design on people's health, checking into Norman Foster's new Circle Hospital in Bath and the new children's wing of St Thomas' in London. And Miranda Sawyer joins an all-male book group in Bolton to find out what they think of this year's shortlist for the all-female Orange prize for fiction. Rv

The Book Show At Hay

7pm, Sky Arts 1

The nightly Book Show Hay catch-up continues. Mariella has the usual mix of guests, though they tend to be heavyweights from the bestseller lists, including Alexander McCall Smith and Louis de Bernières, »

- Richard Vine, Will Dean, Jonathan Wright, Martin Skegg

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The Culture Show | The Book Show | Modern Family | All At Sea | Men Brewing Badly: World Cup 2010 | Dirty Sexy Money | Watch this

27 May 2010 12:00 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

The Culture Show | The Book Show | Modern Family | All At Sea | Men Brewing Badly: World Cup 2010 | Dirty Sexy Money

The Culture Show

7pm, BBC2

Any given instalment of The Culture Show features something worth watching, but this one seems to boast more than most. Among other discussions and features, Sebastian Junger and others discuss the literature inspired by the war on terror, which has (so far, at least) spawned any number of terrific non-fiction volumes, but little in the way of novels. Sarfraz Manzoor visits one of the more astute chroniclers of these times – American satirical newspaper The Onion. Westminster Abbey's imminent unveiling of a new set of gargoyles inspires a history of the art form, and the Magic Numbers play a song.

The Book Show

7pm, Sky Arts 1

So who is "the best English novelist of his generation"? That'll be Jonathan Coe then (plaudits c/o Nick Hornby), who »

- Andrew Mueller, Ali Catterall, Will Hodgkinson, David Stubbs, Julia Raeside

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The Culture Show | Springwatch High Seas With Gordon Buchanan | Outnumbered | Behind The Scenes At The Museum | Alaska State Troopers | Warehouse 13 | Watch this

19 May 2010 10:44 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

The Culture Show | Springwatch High Seas With Gordon Buchanan | Outnumbered | Behind The Scenes At The Museum | Alaska State Troopers | Warehouse 13

The Culture Show

7pm, BBC2

His hair will flop in the spring heat, but somehow you doubt whether that will stop Mark Kermode enjoying himself as he heads for the 63rd Cannes film festival. Elsewhere, as the art series returns, Miranda Sawyer visits the Brighton festival to meet playwright Simon Stephens, who has written a musical, Marine Parade, with American Music Club mainman Mark Eitzel. There's also an interview with the festival's artistic director, Brian Eno. Plus Sue Perkins on an unusual production of Benjamin Britten's opera, Noye's Fludde; David Mitchell reads from his new novel, The Thousand Autumns Of Jacob de Zoet; and a performance from Seun Kuti, leading his father Fela's Afrobeat band, Egypt 80.

Springwatch High Seas With Gordon Buchanan

8pm, BBC2

Brand Springwatch discovers life »

- Jonathan Wright, Will Hodgkinson, Andrew Mueller, Phelim O'Neill

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The Culture Show | Springwatch High Seas With Gordon Buchanan | Outnumbered | Behind The Scenes At The Museum | Alaska State Troopers | Warehouse 13 | Watch this

19 May 2010 10:44 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

The Culture Show | Springwatch High Seas With Gordon Buchanan | Outnumbered | Behind The Scenes At The Museum | Alaska State Troopers | Warehouse 13

The Culture Show

7pm, BBC2

His hair will flop in the spring heat, but somehow you doubt whether that will stop Mark Kermode enjoying himself as he heads for the 63rd Cannes film festival. Elsewhere, as the art series returns, Miranda Sawyer visits the Brighton festival to meet playwright Simon Stephens, who has written a musical, Marine Parade, with American Music Club mainman Mark Eitzel. There's also an interview with the festival's artistic director, Brian Eno. Plus Sue Perkins on an unusual production of Benjamin Britten's opera, Noye's Fludde; David Mitchell reads from his new novel, The Thousand Autumns Of Jacob de Zoet; and a performance from Seun Kuti, leading his father Fela's Afrobeat band, Egypt 80.

Springwatch High Seas With Gordon Buchanan

8pm, BBC2

Brand Springwatch discovers life »

- Jonathan Wright, Will Hodgkinson, Andrew Mueller, Phelim O'Neill

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The Culture Show: what next for the flagship arts programme?

12 March 2010 2:19 AM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

As the Culture Show ends its current series, uncertainty over scheduling and the sidelining of Lauren Lauverne does not bode well for its future

Last night the current season of The Culture Show bowed out with a Scorsese special on Shutter Island and Elmore Leonard treating us to his 10 rules of writing. But where exactly is this flagship television arts magazine heading with subsequent series? The programme has ducked and dived so much since it arrived on our screens that it has presented a bit of a moving target for viewers. First it was broadcast on Thursday nights, then it switched to late night on Tuesdays, then to Saturday teatime and now it is back to Thursday night. The uncertainty about where to place the show has been a clear sign of back-room conflict about what it should really be.

BBC2 controller Janice Hadlow, in charge since November 2008, is a »

- Vanessa Thorpe

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The Culture Show | Crufts 2010 | Michelin Stars – The Madness of Perfection | Too Poor for Posh School? | Watch this

10 March 2010 10:45 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

The Culture Show | Crufts 2010 | Michelin Stars – The Madness of Perfection | Too Poor for Posh School?

The Culture Show

7pm, BBC2

The latest series of the arts show draws to a close. Chatting with Andrew Graham-Dixon, Martin Scorsese discusses Shutter Island, his gothic new chiller about a detective who can't escape the past. Graham-Dixon also meets American conceptual artist Jenny Holzer as an exhibition of her work opens at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, while Tom Dyckhoff looks at life on housing estates. Plus, Jacques Peretti considers the art of the videogame.

Crufts 2010

7.30pm, More4

Clare Balding presents nightly highlights of the dog show from Birmingham's NEC Arena. In between thrilling VTs of dogs prancing and posing, she'll be discussing the serious side of dog-breeding with in-depth looks at puppy farming, status dogs and cross-breeding. Plus, there are choice moments from the agility and flyball competitions. Doggy run through tunnel. »

- Jonathan Wright, Julia Raeside, Martin Skegg, John Robinson

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The Culture Show | Nicola Roberts: The Truth About Tanning | Cocaine Submarines | Skins | Watch this

3 February 2010 4:05 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

The Culture Show | Nicola Roberts: The Truth About Tanning | Cocaine Submarines | Skins

The Culture Show

7pm, BBC2

Andrew Graham Dixon dishes up a properly diverse serving of culture. Headlining is Martin Amis, whose new novel, set in 1970, is described as a semi-autobiographical comedy of manners centred around the sexual revolution and rise of feminism. Plus, playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah goes to the Barbican to see what theatre director Peter Brook is up to, and pianist Daniel Barenboim discusses Schoenberg. There's also a poke around the vaults of Rbs to take stock of the bank's 2,200 works of art.

Nicola Roberts: The Truth About Tanning

9pm, BBC3

Nicola from Girls Aloud and her full-on blow-dry meet tanning addicts across the UK, to highlight the rising incidences of skin cancer in the under-40s. First, to an orange man in Cardiff to confiscate his collection of tinted moisturisers. She then watches mole-removal »

- Martin Skegg, Julia Raeside, David Stubbs, Rebecca Nicholson

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