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Monday’s best TV: Two Doors Down; Silent Witness; Winterwatch 2018

  • The Guardian - TV News
A lewd and prickly Burns night blowout in the Scottish sitcom; Nikki and Jack investigate a fatal road accident; and Chris Packham and crew check out the Autumnwatch critters

A timely return for the Scottish sitcom that mines wicked humour from its cosy cul-de-sac setting. Perpetually put-upon hostess Beth (Arabella Weir) is entertaining the neighbours again, this time for a Burns Night blowout. But while her hubby Eric (Alex Norton) anticipates some poetry and pomp, everyone else seems more interested in assessing the redecorated downstairs loo. With prickly social barbs, lewd observations and an excess of whisky, the bawdy Ploughman Poet himself would likely approve. Graeme Virtue

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See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Comfort and Joy

You never heard of the Great Glasgow Ice Cream Wars? They weren’t exactly Armageddon, and the gentle director Bill Forsyth makes a radio personality’s involvement with two competing ice cream companies more of a plunge into amiable drollery. If you like Gregory’s Girl and Local Hero you’ll understand the odd, unhurried attitude of this oddball show from 1984.

Comfort and Joy

Region B Blu-ray


1984 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 100 min. / Street Date February 29, 2016 / At Amazon UK / £ 9.99

Starring: Bill Patterson, C.P. Grogan, Eleanor David, Alex Norton, Patrick Malahide.

Cinematography: Chris Menges

Film Editor: Michael Ellis

Original Music: Mark Knopfler

Produced by Davina Belling, Clive Parsons

Written and Directed by Bill Forsyth

Quick, name some great filmmakers before the 1990s that hail from Scotland. Actually, there are plenty, it’s just that most made their careers and reputations in London, and some later in Hollywood. The home-grown talent Bill Forsyth
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Timothy Spall & Kenneth Cranham To Star In ITV ‘Hatton Garden’ Series

Timothy Spall and Olivier award-winner Kenneth Cranham are set to star in Hatton Garden, a four-part drama from ITV about the audacious 2015 burglary in London's diamond district. Spall, Cranham and Brian F. O'Byrne will play leading roles while David Hayman, Alex Norton, Ian Puleston-Davies, Geoff Bell and Nasser Memarzia will also star. The 4×60 drama tells the inside story of how an elderly gang of career criminals pulled off the heist which was considered in a class…
See full article at Deadline TV »

ITV Making ‘Hatton Garden’ Heist Drama

The 2015 heist in London’s diamond district by a group of grizzled thieves is already the subject of multiple movie projects. Now ITV is giving the notorious caper the small-screen treatment by greenlighting drama series “Hatton Garden.”

The robbery is proving irresistible for film and TV producers, with Studiocanal’s “Night in Hatton Garden,” Ronnie Thompson’s “The Hatton Garden Job,” and Working Title also reportedly working up a project about the raid, in which a gang of retired petty criminals looted the contents of the Hatton Garden Safety Deposit Company.

ITV’s series will consist of four parts and comes from Jeff Pope, a writer who specializes in dramatizing real-life events.

Timothy Spall, Kenneth Cranham, and Brian F. O’Byrne will play the aging robbers. David Hayman, Alex Norton, Ian Puleston-Davies, Geoff Bell, and Nasser Memarzia will also star. Terry Winsor (“Essex Boys”) will co-write the series, and Paul Whittington (“Cilla”) will direct.

See full article at Variety - TV News »

Two Doors Down: Season Two Renewal for UK Comedy Series

[caption id="attachment_48722" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Image via BBC./caption]

BBC Two has renewed the Two Doors Down TV show for a second season. Set in Scotland, this sitcom features a couple and their insufferable neighbors. The cast of Two Doors Down includes: Arabella Weir, Alex Norton, Elaine C. Smith, Doon Mackichan, Sharon Rooney, Jonathan Watson, Jamie Quinn, and Harki Bhambra.

Filming is set for mid-August, on location in Glasgow and at BBC Scotland's Dumbarton Studios. Two Doors Down is written by Gregor Sharp and Simon Carlyle. The season two recommissioning is for six 30-minute episodes.

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See full article at TVSeriesFinale »

Shetland Season Two

  • bestbritishtv
Shetland season two

ITV Studios BBC Scotland drama Shetland returns to BBC1 next month with six all new episodes. The season is split into three, two-part stories: Raven Black, Dead Water and Blue Lightning. Douglas Henshall returns to play Detective Jimmy Perez in the drama that’s based around novels by Vera creator Ann Cleeves. Guest stars in the new series include Brian Cox, Alex Norton, Nina Sosanya, David Hayman, John Lynch and Bill Paterson. Meanwhile Vera season 4 is set to air this Spring on ITV.

N Conrad

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Tudor Monastery Farm Christmas; Two Doors Down – TV review

Festive overeating was even more indulgent – and enjoyably gruesome – 500 years ago

Thank the figgy pudding that's all over then. And that it's not 500 years ago, when there would still be another four days of bingeing to go, as I'm learning from Tudor Monastery Farm Christmas (BBC2). I guess it's why they thought it didn't matter putting the programme out after the main event. Of course you didn't see it, it was New Year's Eve. I'll tell you about it …

Actually, this time of year looks quite good back then. No turkey for one, but a nice pig's head to go in the centre of the table. First it needed preparing and there were some fun jobs involved in that. Like twisting it – the pig's head – off. Off the pig. And then removing the skull – gently cutting it out, so as not to damage the pig's face, which then had to
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Grint Tops ‘Foosball’ English-language Cast (Exclusive)

Grint Tops ‘Foosball’ English-language Cast (Exclusive)
San Sebastian –- “Harry Potter” star Rupert Grint will lead the English-language voice-cast of Juan Jose Campanella’s animated 3D feature “Foosball,” which bowed to strong applause and cheers at San Sebastián Friday, opening the Spanish Festival.

Grint will play “Foosball’s” hero Amadeo, a shy table soccer genius whose table soccer figures come alive to help him save his local town and win his childhood sweetheart, both threatened by a preening soccer mega-star.

Anthony Head (“Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) limns the international soccer ace, dubbed Flash, who is also out for revenge after Amadeo beat him at table soccer as a kid, “Foosball” producer Jorge Estrada Mora announced Friday at San Sebastian.

An up-and-coming English actress, Eva Ponsoby (“The White Queen”) will dub Amadeo’s childhood sweetheart, Laura.

Produced by London-based 369 Production, headed by Victor Glynn and David Burgess, the English-language version, now in advanced production,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Taggart at 30: the original Nordic noir

Taggart, the world's longest-running cop show, was decades ahead of its time. If only it was still around to bear witness to Glasgow's continuing regeneration

If you'd tuned in to ITV on 6 September 1983, you would have seen the first episode of Taggart. It wasn't called Taggart then; it was "Killer". In the opening shots, the camera swoops past a stony, snowy landscape before hovering over the smog-choked sprawl of Glasgow. Soon, there is another imposingly craggy sight: the face of Mark McManus, starring as a local cop called up to investigate a body dumped by the river Kelvin.

"Strangulation by ligature," offers his university-educated sidekick. "We don't have ligatures in Maryhill," barks McManus, setting a no-nonsense tone that would endure for 109 episodes. A former miner and a proficient amateur boxer, McManus was entirely plausible as a hard-bitten detective unafraid to get up in suspects' faces. The Killer pilot was commissioned for a full series,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

'Taggart' star Alex Norton cast in 'Waterloo Road'

'Taggart' star Alex Norton cast in 'Waterloo Road'
Taggart star Alex Norton has been cast in the new series of Waterloo Road. The actor will play the headmaster of a rival private school who clashes with Waterloo Road head Michael Byrne (Alec Newman) when the school drama moves to Scotland. Gaynor Holmes, acting head of drama for BBC Scotland and executive producer of Waterloo Road, told the Sunday Mail: "Alex will be joining as the character Gerard Findlay, the headmaster of rival school Havelock High. "He has a very different philosophy to ­teaching from Michael and they are going to clash and butt heads. A lot of the local pupils will be attracted to Waterloo Road at the expense of the roll call at Havelock and that's going to get right up his nose. "So, you have two strong headmasters with very different approaches to teaching on (more)
See full article at Digital Spy - Movie News »

There's been a murder – and this time it's terminal | Tracy McVeigh

Taggart is being taken off the air after 28 years. Who is behind this dastardly deed?

So farewell then, Taggart. With its 1980s rock anthem theme tune, and the fact that its main character died in 1994, leaving the series Taggart-less, the writing may have been on the wall for some time.

After 27 series and 110 episodes over 28 years, just about every Scot with an Equity card has passed before the Taggart cameras, sometimes appearing several times – one week as a corpse, the next as a key suspect. The record would seem to be five times as five characters, achieved by actor Bill Murdoch. While, sadly, Sir Sean Connery's uncharacteristic tan ruled him out of a part in the gritty Glaswegian drama, Dougray Scott, James McAvoy, John Hannah, Robert Carlyle, Ken Stott and Ashley Jensen all cut an acting tooth on the show.

Even the main characters started as someone else: Alex Norton,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Review – Taggart: Set 3

I thought Law & Order had been on forever, but that’s nothing compared to the UK’s Taggart, which bowed in 1983 (a full six years before L&O). The world’s longest-running police drama releases a third set of eight episodes on September 21, and I have a look at the Acorn Media release for you before it does.

The Show

As a self-professed crime show junkie, I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I haven’t seen Taggart before this. It’s been on since before I was born! The series is set in Glasgow, Scotland, and spotlights a team of four detectives: Detective Chief Inspector Matt Burke (Alex Norton), Detective Inspector Robbie Ross (John Michie), Detective Sergeant Jackie Reid (Blythe Duff), and Detective Constable Stuart Fraser (Colin McCredie).

If you’re wondering how the show gets its title, it takes it from the original protagonist, Detective Chief Inspector Jim Taggart,
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DVD Playhouse--august 2010

DVD Playhouse—August 2010


Allen Gardner

Black Orpheus (Criterion) Winner of the 1959 Best Foreign Film Oscar and that same year’s Palme d’Or at Cannes, Black Orpheus is a modern-day update of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice reset in 20th century Brazil during Carnival in Rio. Director Marcel Camus offers up a visual feast with some of the decade’s most ravishing color cinematography. A classic. Also available on Blu-ray disc. Bonuses: Archival interviews with Camus and actress Marpessa Dawn; Interviews with Brazilian cinema scholar Robert Stam, jazz historian Gary Giddins, and Brazilian author Ruy Castro; Documentary on the film; Trailer. Full screen. Dolby 1.0 mono.

The Last Song (Touchstone) Sentimental adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ (by Sparks and Jeff Van Wie) sentimental novel about a father and daughter attempting to repair their damaged relationship. Greg Kinnear, as the dad in question, comes off best, while tween sensation Miley Cyrus
See full article at The Hollywood Interview »

Hartmanns to publish five songs for 'Sir Billi'

London -- Universal Music Publishing has struck a deal with the husband-and-wife creative team of Sascha and Tessa Hartmann -- who have spent five years in production on the CGI-animated movie "Sir Billi" -- to publish five original songs for the movie.

In postproduction, the movie features the singing of Shirley Bassey and the voice of Sean Connery; the pair is together on a feature for the first time since they were both involved in "Goldfinger."

Universal will publish Bassey's version of the title song, "Guardian of the Highlands," with lyrics by Tessa Hartmann, who penned them with Bassey in mind.

Sascha Hartmann composed the music, and Tessa Hartmann wrote the lyrics for the five featured original songs.

Universal and Glasgow-based Billi Prods. remain tight-lipped about the four other artists being lined up for the songs, written by the Hartmanns.

Alan Cumming, Miriam Margolyes, Ruby Wax, Alex Norton, Ford Kiernan,
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

First Images from Sean Connery’s Animated Movie Sir Bill

The first images from Sir Billi, the animated film featuring the voice of Sean Connery, have arrived online. As we reported back November, the movie sounds like someone came up with it while enjoying every drug ever made: “The movie centers on a retired, skateboarding veterinarian who lives in a remote Scottish village and who spearheads the rescue of an illegal fugitive who also happens to be a beaver.” At the time, part of me thought, “That can’t possibly be right.” Who would make that? Sean Connery would make that. He’s a producer on the film who has been instrumental in getting it made.* It’s also the first film he’s done since 2003’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

You can see the images after the jump and keep in mind that indie feature animated films don’t have the money of studios like DreamWorks or Pixar.
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'Taggart' actor 'amazed at its longevity'

'Taggart' actor 'amazed at its longevity'
Taggart star Alex Norton has revealed that he thought the show was "lucky to last a year". The actor plays Dci Matt Burke in the 25-year-old crime series, which celebrated its 100th episode on Christmas Eve. The 59-year-old told The Sun: "Taggart's amazing - 100 not out. It's utterly incredible. What a milestone. To be in the 100th episode of Taggart was a real buzz. I've been in it now for eight years and loved every minute of it, so long may it continue. "My greatest hope when I was asked to do Taggart was that I'd get a good three years out of it. To be honest, I thought I'd be lucky to last a year. But it just went on and on. Its success is extraordinary." The drama, which Stv have produced since it began in 1983, was rumoured to be on a cancellation list after ITV axed a
See full article at Digital Spy - Movie News »

Shirley Bassey, Sean Connery reunite

Shirley Bassey, Sean Connery reunite
London -- The voices of Shirley Bassey and Sean Connery have been drawn together on a feature for the first time since they were both involved in "Goldfinger" back in the day.

Bassey has signed up to sing the title song named "Guardian of the Highlands" for the CGI animated movie "Sir Billi," which stars Connery's voice.

After five years in production, the feature created by husband-and-wife team Sascha and Tessa Hartmann is in postproduction and due for completion in 2010.

Alan Cumming, Miriam Margolyes, Ruby Wax, Alex Norton, Ford Kiernan, Greg Hempill, Barbara Rafferty, John Amabile, Larry Sullivan and U.S.-based newcomer Chris Jai Alex also lend voices to the movie.

Sascha Hartmann said the title track was penned with Bassey in mind and after her management was approached to do it, the singer agreed.

"There was no persuading needed here, I liked the song from the moment I heard it,
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Sean Connery and Shirley Bassey reunite for Sir Billi

Sean Connery will lend his voice as the star of "Sir BIlli," a CGI animated movie and Shirley Bassey will sing the title song "Guardian of the Highlands." This brings the two together again since the last time they worked on "Goldfinger" in 1964. This has been in production for some five years now. Created by husband-and-wife team Sascha and Tessa Hartmann, the film is now in post-production and set for completion at the end of next year. Also lending their voices are Alan Cumming, Miriam Margolyes, Ruby Wax, Alex Norton, Ford Kiernan, Greg Hempill, Barbara Rafferty, John Amabile, Larry Sullivan and newcomer Chris Jai Alex. The movie focuses on a retired, skateboarding veterinarian who resides in a remote Scottish village. He heads the rescue of an illegal beaver fugitive.
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Sean Connery, Shirley Bassey Together Again

Every once in a while in the world of cinema, the imagery and the music blend so harmoniously and magnificently that they attain legendary status; it's hard to imagine any other combination working quite so well. And one of the best examples of this can be found in the opening titles of the 1964 James Bond film, Goldfinger. Sean Connery's visage combined with the powerhouse voice of Shirley Bassey singing the title track (not to mention Maurice Binder's title sequence) created an indelible cinematic image that resonates as much today as it did back in the '60s.

And now comes word that the singular voice of Shirley Bassey and the thespian talents of Sean Connery will be combined once again — for the first time since 1964 — for the CGI animated movie Sir Billi. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bassey has signed up to sing the title song, "Guardian of
See full article at CinemaSpy »

England gets Collison, Scotland gets car-crash telly

Scots saw the ads and read all the hype about Collision but got The Greatest Scot instead

The English can whine about the Barnett formula all they want – but they don't know how lucky they are. Last night while English audiences being treated to the first episode of the much hyped and rather exciting-looking Collision, Scottish audiences were forcefed The Greatest Scot – part one of a week-long examination of championed Scottish inventors, warriors and celebrities (though oddly, Dougie Henshall, the Scottish star of Collision, did not made the shortlist).

Scottish viewers have become used to cash-strapped Stv opting out of high-profile, high-quality drama in preference for a homespun piece of hokum – I've discussed the issue on this blog before – but this swap felt like a particularly cruel example of cultural exclusion. Scots are well aware of Collision – we've read numerous breathless previews and noted the number of times the show
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »
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