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4 items from 2012

The White Queen Starts a War of Roses on Starz

5 September 2012 2:16 PM, PDT | Boomtron | See recent Boomtron news »

Starz has picked up a dense and confusing 10-episode drama series based on Philippa Gregory’s The Cousins War trilogy: The White Queen, The Red Queen and The Kingmaker’s Daughter. The new series, which will be called The White Queen, is being executive produced by former HBO Films president Colin Callender, thanks to a two year deal with his company, Playground. Part of the deal will see him as executive producer on Magic City’s second season. Callender will be working once again with former HBO boss Chris Albrecht, now the CEO of Starz, and Carmi Zlotnik. Company Pictures will produce the series. If you want to know details about the plot of the series, well… you may want to get a notepad.

As reported by Deadline, The White Queen takes place in England in 1464, centered on the War of the Roses. The war breaks out between the House »

- Brody Gibson

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TV highlights 08/08/2012

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

Vexed | A History Of Art In Three Colours | Savage U | The Living Weapon | Secrets Of The Pickpockets | Fatima Whitbread: Growing Up In Care


9pm, BBC2

Sparring duo Jack and Georgina investigate a student's murder and uncover a world of gender politics. Which, of course, gives Jack the chance to bumble around and offend anyone who'll listen with the use of words like "lesbetarian". Away from crime-fighting, they edge nearer to getting it on, except there are a couple of obstacles in their way: Jack keeps banging on about his man-like girlfriend and George briefly meets the man of her dreams. Fun. Hannah Verdier

A History Of Art In Three Colours

9pm, BBC4

In his final exploration of colour, James Fox tells the story of white, which in the history of art is not as pure as it seems – in fact, it may be the darkest colour of all. »

- Hannah Verdier, Martin Skegg, Nosheen Iqbal, David Stubbs, Ben Arnold

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The Iron Lady – review

9 January 2012 5:47 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

A portrait of Margaret Thatcher from colossus to recluse is distinguished by Meryl Streep's superb central performance

In his mid-19th-century poem "A Psalm of Life", Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote: "Lives of great men all remind us/ We can make our lives sublime/ And departing leave behind us/ Footprints on the sands of time." This was the kind of thinking that underlay the inspirational movies produced by Warner Brothers in the 1930s for which Variety coined the term "biopic" – films about medical pioneers, democratic revolutionaries and other movers and shakers who changed the world, invariably men (MGM's Madame Curie was a rare exception).

But suddenly, in 1941, Orson Welles entered the scene with Citizen Kane, a picture that fractured chronological narrative and constantly changed points of view while presenting a lightly fictionalised, highly critical life of the press tycoon William Randolph Hearst. The biopic was never the same again, and »

- Philip French

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The Iron Lady – review

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

Despite a note-perfect performance by Meryl Streep, the Margaret Thatcher biopic lacks much cutting edge

Poor Margaret Thatcher: her transformation into biopic drag queen is now complete. Daringly, screenwriter Abi Morgan and director Phyllida Lloyd have made a movie about Baroness Thatcher's flashback-riddled dementia while their subject is still alive. Britain's most important and controversial postwar prime minister has been recast – rather like Judi Dench's Iris Murdoch 10 years ago – into a bewildered old lady cherished in dramatic terms for her poignant vulnerability and decline, rather than for the mature achievements of her pomp. And, like the screen Iris, she is paired off with kindly Jim Broadbent.

Margaret is played with cunning and gusto by Meryl Streep, and it is a pious critical convention to praise performances like these on the grounds that they go beyond mere impersonation. I'm not entirely certain that Streep does go beyond mere impersonation, »

- Peter Bradshaw

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