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Extras - comedy masterclass
Series 2 of Extras has just opened on the BBC, and I can only state that it just gets better. I don't want to spoil it by giving away too many plot details, but the new series shows what happens when Andy Millman (Ricky Gervais) finally achieves minor success, as both an actor and writer. But who knows how long this will last? This series proves what an impressive actor Ricky Gervais is. How he portrays the increasing disillusionment felt by his character on the consequences of fame is pure genius.
Ashley Jensen is just as gorgeous and gormless in equal measures. The on-going squabbling between Stephen Merchant, who plays Andy's agent, and Barry, played by Shaun Williamson, in real life an ex-soap star in the UK, is hilarious.
The idea of having a comedy series within a series is just brilliant, especially when the show within a show is similar to those terrible non-PC British comedies of the 1970's. I can't stop humming the theme tune to 'When the Whistle Blows'! I've just watched episode 3, and it must be the funniest thing I've seen this year. It is excruciatingly funny and embarrassing at the same time. The look of bewilderment on Andy's face as he asks how to fend off the dwarf that is attacking him is something to behold.
Take note Harry Potter fans; prepare to be shocked! And is Daniel Radford old enough to remember Diana Rigg in a jump suit? Is Orlando Bloom more handsome than Johnny Depp? Watch this series and all will be revealed.
Finally, any comedy that can get David Bowie to appear, and then compose and perform a song about the leading character just has to be good.
The Way to the Stars (1945)
What an excellent film, with a cast that lifts it above other films made during WW2. Was there a British war film made that did not have John Mills starring in it? Many of the actors here went on to become familiar faces in film and British TV. The story-line and the absence of background music do make this film both nostalgic and entertaining.
It may interest some that the 'Golden Lion' in the film does exist, it is a hotel in Northallerton, North Yorkshire. The street scenes were shot in nearby Bedale. I'm not sure which airfield was used, but it may have been one of the many bomber bases situated in this area, such as Leeming or Dishforth.