Benjamin Whitrow - News Poster


Letter: Benjamin Whitrow in After Henry

Related: Benjamin Whitrow obituary

In addition to his stage, TV and film work, Benjamin Whitrow made a significant contribution to the popular BBC Radio 4 sitcom After Henry, written by Simon Brett. Running for 34 episodes between 1984 and 1989, it starred Prunella Scales as Sarah, a widow facing life after the sudden death of her husband, Henry. Whitrow played Russell, the gay owner of the secondhand bookshop where Sarah works. He proves to be a sympathetic and wise friend as he listens to Sarah’s accounts of her problems with her mother and her daughter, who both live in the family home. The series has recently resurfaced on Radio 4 Extra.

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

Benjamin Whitrow obituary

Expert supporting actor equally at home on stage and screen

Benjamin Whitrow has never given a bad performance,” said Laurence Olivier, who employed the actor in his National Theatre company at the Old Vic for seven years in the late 1960s. By the same token, you might deduce that Olivier never thought of Whitrow, who has died aged 80, as a barnstormer.

And you would be right. Whitrow’s stock-in-trade was an avuncular, measured rationality, a superb stillness on the stage and the capacity, very occasionally, to take you by surprise with a controlled outburst, or a frozen stare. Tall and lean, with a beautiful speaking voice, Whitrow was a master craftsman and, as such, luxury goods as a supporting player.

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

Dr Who: films of Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy

Feature Alex Westthorp 16 Apr 2014 - 07:00

Alex's trek through the film roles of actors who've played the Doctor reaches Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy...

Read the previous part in this series, Doctor Who: the film careers of Patrick Troughton and Tom Baker, here.

In March 1981, as he made his Doctor Who debut, Peter Davison was already one the best known faces on British television. Not only was he the star of both a BBC and an ITV sitcom - Sink Or Swim and Holding The Fort - but as the young and slightly reckless Tristan Farnon in All Creatures Great And Small, about the often humorous cases of Yorkshire vet James Herriot and his colleagues, he had cemented his stardom. The part led, indirectly, to his casting as the venerable Time Lord.

The recently installed Doctor Who producer, John Nathan-Turner, had been the Production Unit Manager on
See full article at Den of Geek »

Chance to Check Out Heston Directing Self in 'Man" Remake

Charlton Heston movies: ‘A Man for All Seasons’ remake, ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’ (photo: Charlton Heston as Ben-Hur) (See previous post: “Charlton Heston: Moses Minus Staff Plus Chariot Equals Ben-Hur.”) I’ve yet to watch Irving Rapper’s melo Bad for Each Other (1954), co-starring the sultry Lizabeth Scott — always a good enough reason to check out any movie, regardless of plot or leading man. A major curiosity is the 1988 made-for-tv version of A Man for All Seasons, with Charlton Heston in the Oscar-winning Paul Scofield role (Sir Thomas More) and on Fred Zinnemann’s director’s chair. Vanessa Redgrave, who plays Thomas More’s wife in the TV movie (Wendy Hiller in the original) had a cameo as Anne Boleyn in the 1966 film. According to the IMDb, Robert Bolt, who wrote the Oscar-winning 1966 movie (and the original play), is credited for the 1988 version’s screenplay as well. Also of note,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

New Acorn Releases in 2013: Lillie, La Plante and Dr Zhivago

  • bestbritishtv
Dr Zhivago

By Kieran Kinsella

British TV specialists Acorn Media have decided to capitalize on the wintery weather by releasing the critically acclaimed 2003 version of Boris Pasternak’s snow swept epic Dr Zhivago. This 2 disc set is for mature audiences only and includes the unedited UK version of the 225 minute revolutionary drama. Additionally, the box set includes 70 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage including cast interviews, and you also get a mini-biography of Pasternak.

As an avid fan of the 1965 film version of this same book, I was a little bit skeptical when I first heard about the small screen version. However, my fears were without foundation as this ITV production is just as enthralling as David Lean’s version and many people would argue that it is also closer to Pasternak’s book. That being said, BBC veteran writer Andrew Davies does a very good job of converting the wordy dialogue
See full article at bestbritishtv »

Celia Imrie 'made baby deal with friend'

Celia Imrie 'made baby deal with friend'
Celia Imrie has revealed that she planned to have her baby with a male friend because she couldn't stand the idea of marriage. The Calendar Girls actress, now 58, longed for a baby in her mid-40s but hated the thought of having a husband. She told the Evening Standard that she eventually came to an agreement with her friend Benjamin Whitrow. She said: "Ben and I walked on the beach one day as I laid out my terms. These included that I would not ask for anything, I wouldn't want to live with him, or marry (more)
See full article at Digital Spy - Movie News »

Imrie Details Baby Deal With Whitrow

  • WENN
Imrie Details Baby Deal With Whitrow
British actress Celia Imrie has opened up about her quest to become a mother in her 40s, revealing she turned to actor Benjamin Whitrow to father her son because she hated the thought of marriage.

The Bridget Jones's Diary star admits in her upcoming autobiography The Happy Hoofer she never wanted to settle down with a man, but longed for a child.

Imrie told Whitrow about her plight in the early 1990s and he offered to father a child with her. The actress accepted - but the 58 year old was clear in her conditions for the deal.

In the book, she writes, "I told Ben that, although I never wanted to take that step (marriage), I did want a baby, now more than ever, before it was too late. Ben asked if I meant it. We gradually got to know each other and grew very fond. He thought perhaps in time... But because Ben had a grown-up family I was very anxious not to upset them.

"Ben and I walked on the beach one day as I laid out my terms. As long as he understood I would not ask for anything, I wouldn't want to live with him, or marry him, would never ask for money for the child and I would be responsible for choosing and paying for the child's education, accommodation, clothing - everything. If Ben could take all that on board, I said, then his offer to fulfil my wish for a child would be wonderful."

Imrie gave birth to a son, Angus, in 1994 - and now admits Whitrow has become a male role model in the teenager's life.

She adds, "He has proved to be a marvellous father to Angus. And his whole family has been very welcoming."

Winter Arts Calendar

Our critics pick the season's highlights. From Elisabeth Moss on stage to Adele's new album, these are the dates for your cultural diary


5 Film 127 Hours

Danny Boyle's 10th film tells the story of Aron Ralston, played by James Franco who severed his own arm with a penknife to escape after becoming trapped while hiking in Utah.

7 Film The King's Speech

Colin Firth is introverted monarch George VI, battling a debilitating stutter with the aid of an extroverted therapist (Geoffrey Rush). The ensuing friendship is touching – and, when the second world war breaks out, of national importance.

9 Classical Hollywood Rhapsody

The Bbcso and Chorus celebrate Hollywood's golden age. Composers include Korngold, Waxman, Rózsa; films range from The Wizard of Oz to Gone with the Wind. Barbican, London. 9 Jan only.

11 Theatre Twelfth Night

To mark his 80th birthday, Peter Hall returns to the National theatre, which he ran until 1988. He directs his daughter Rebecca,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Sliff 2010 Review: Bomber

Review by Dane Marti

Directed by Paul Cotter, this U.K./U.S. co-production is possibly my favorite of the recent films seen for the festival: Bomber reminds me of the great Ealing films of the postwar 1940′s and 1950′s British films that were done with such skill, such cunning and such undeniable precision to craft that it often made the yank.s Hollywood work of the same period appear gaudy by comparison. Ealing did such quality work as the inspired genius of ‘Kind Heart and Coronets,’ ‘The Lavender Hill Mob’ ‘The Man in the White Suit’ and the original ‘Ladykillers,’ among many other great works.

Like, The End, the Hungarian film that I recently enjoyed, this clever flick also deals with an elderly couple. Is something in the water? Are the elderly the next Big Thing in cinematic entertainment? Move over Justin Timberlake! Yep, that.s correct,
See full article at »

[TV] Pride and Prejudice (DVD)

For the record, this is the same feature and package as offered in last year's Blu-ray release of the same title. The only difference to be noted between the two is the video resolution, which only suffers a minor detriment in this version for not having been in hi-def. With that said, read on.

Some women would try to deny it, but truth be told Pride and Prejudice, starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, is the stereotypical woman's holy grail of films. The flowery speech, the witty conversation, and the dreamy Colin Firth constitute the 5 hour and 23 minute filmed version of Jane Austen's romantic classic. Men, if you couldn't figure out how Colin Firth was so popular after starring in mediocre [read: crappy] chick flicks like Bridget Jones's Diary then you missed the boat. Firth has ridden the brooding manliness he established with Pride & Prejudice ever since. It's not your fault
See full article at JustPressPlay »

[DVD Review] Pride and Prejudice

Some women would try to deny it, but truth be told Pride and Prejudice, starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, is the stereotypical woman's holy grail of films. The flowery speech, the witty conservation and the dreamy Colin Firth constitute the 5 hour and 23 minute filmed version of Jane Austen's romantic classic. Men, if you couldn't figure out how Colin Firth was so popular after starring in mediocre [read: crappy] chick flicks like Bridget Jones's Diary then you missed the boat. Firth has ridden the brooding manliness he established with Pride & Prejudice ever since. It's not your fault if you never understood the allure of Mr. Firth if you've never seen Pride & Prejudice. Well, actually the average woman would say it's your fault for not having seen the greatest story ever told on film - but they're somewhat biased on that account. For those of us less swayed by a timeless tale of romance,
See full article at JustPressPlay »

SXSW 2009: More Film Reviews

Hal Holbrook & Barry Corbin in That Evening Sun

As usual, the number of films seen during SXSW were in direct competition with the sum of hours slept, the quantity of BBQ consumed, the volume of alcoholic beverages imbibed, the length of lines endured and the number of parties partaken (Rachael Ray's was cool). And the music! I lost count of all the bands I saw, but I did enjoy: Bruce Robison at the Gibson Guitar party, the Meat Puppets at the Nat Geo taping, The Manichean at the Justice Records party, Theresa Andersson at the Boundless rooftop party and, of course, M. Ward at the Paste party.

Some final thoughts on a few more films...

That Evening Sun

The SXSW awards committee appears to have it right in awarding That Evening Sun as Best Narrative and Best Ensemble Cast. In 2008 the Academy passed on giving Hal Holbrook a best
See full article at PasteMagazine »

SXSW Review: Bomber

Bomber is a prime example of a movie that feels fresh and insightful even though its individual elements are familiar. It's about a road trip, an underemployed 30-year-old man-child who lacks direction, a husband and wife who no longer communicate, and a family that must learn to relate to one another again. Not exactly a groundbreaker, obviously, but writer/director Paul Cotter's feature debut benefits from strong performances and from Cotter's knack for avoiding the obvious, easy resolutions.

The married couple are Alistar (Benjamin Whitrow) and Valerie (Eileen Nicholas), both British, fairly upper-class, and in their 80s. They are embarking on a road trip to Germany, where Alistar wants to visit a particular small village for reasons the film saves for later. (It doesn't exactly spoil the movie, but it's better not to know -- which means you shouldn't read the plot description at IMDb.) Their son, Ross (Shane Taylor
See full article at Cinematical »

SXSW Interview: “Bomber” Director Paul Cotter

Editor’s Note: This one of a series of interviews, conducted via email, with directors whose films will be screening at the 2009 SXSW Film Festival. “Bomber” Director/Writer: Paul Cotter A bittersweet comedy about love, family and dropping bombs on Germany. Cast: Shane Taylor, Benjamin Whitrow, Eileen Nicholas [Courtesy of SXSW] “Bomber” will screen in the Narrative Features Competition. Please introduce yourself… I was born in Brighton, England. I studied Geography at …
See full article at indieWIRE - People »

SXSW 09: Full lineup announced

SXSW is one of my favorite festivals of the year as it showcases some of the best and most innovative real independent films, and with this host of world premiers, it's also playing alot of Sundance material as well as genre fare from all over the world, many of which we've covered heavily in these pages.

From the Sundance lineup, we have films like Moon, The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle, You Won't Miss Me, Grace, and Humpday, among others.

For the world genre material we've covered, there's Lake Mungo, The Square, Zift, and Awaydays.

I think you get the point that lots of great looking film will be playing. I'll leave a bit of the exploration to you..

Lineup after the break.

Narrative Features Competition

Artois the Goat

Director: Kyle Bogart. Writer: Cliff and Kyle Bogart

Lab technician Virgil Gurdies embarks on an epic quest to craft the greatest
See full article at QuietEarth »

Film review: 'Chicken Run'

"Chicken Run" gives those irrepressible folks at Aardman clay animation studios, the ones behind the hysterically funny "Wallace & Gromit" and "Creature Comforts" shorts, a chance to strut their stuff through their first feature-length film.

While Aardman's founders -- director-producers Peter Lord and Nick Park and producer David Sproxton -- clearly are still finding their way in the expanded format, they nevertheless come up with a pleasing, likable comedy that will entertain nearly all age groups. A grab bag of slapstick action, whimsical characters and tongue-in-cheek makeover of the human world into animal society, "Chicken Run" definitely has legs -- albeit of the poultry kind.

Those expecting the outrageous wit of Wallace & Gromit or the all-out wackiness of "Creature Comforts" are in for a slight disappointment. Aiming to expand their audience, Aardman's animators go for much broader characterizations and a somewhat hokey story line. But that twinkle in the eye remains. Like Pixar's "Toy Story" -- or, for that matter, all great family entertainment from Peter Pan to Dr. Seuss -- much sophisticated humor and adult sensibilities underline the childlike fantasies.

Inspired here by "The Great Escape" and all those other POW movies, "Chicken Run"'s characters are trapped behind barbed wire with little to do other than plot endless escape attempts. Only these prisoners are chickens and their Stalag is Tweedy's Egg Farm. Supplying urgency to their conspiracies is their hard-hearted owner's determination to transform her egg farm into a chicken pie emporium.

To the seeming rescue of the alarmed hens comes a rascal rooster named Rocky, a "lone free ranger" who promises to teach these earth-bound birds how to fly. But when a cannon and other means fail this objective, he flies the coop, leaving the hens including Ginger -- with whom he has a "thing" -- in the lurch. Ever the optimist, Ginger gets an inspiration, and, in the nick of time, Rocky returns to save the day and help the chickens abandon Mrs. Tweedy to wallow in her own pie filing.

One of the fun conceits by these British animators is to create a culture clash by casting Mel Gibson as the brash "American" Rocky, while giving all the hens British voices. The sweet-natured, visionary Ginger is voiced by Julia Sawalha from the hit BBC comedy series "Absolutely Fabulous", while another alum from that series, Jane Horrocks, plays Babs, forever knitting and never fully cognizant of the danger the flocks is in.

Imelda Staunton is champion egg-layer Bunty; Lynn Ferguson plays the Scottish chicken, Mac the engineer; and Benjamin Whitrow is Fowler, an aging rooster always willing to reminiscence about his days in the RAF. Abetting the fowl conspiracies are rats Nick and Fletcher, voiced by Timothy Spall and Phil Daniels, who play the rodents like a pair of music hall comics.

On the human side, Miran- da Richardson supplies Mrs. Tweedy with a mean, shrewish streak that bedevils gentle, hen-pecked Mr. Tweedy (Tony Haygarth) almost as much as the chickens. Mr. Tweedy greatly suspects that more is being hatched in the chicken coop than eggs, but his warnings are ignored by Mrs. Tweedy. Which leaves him to mutter "It's all in my head" whenever he happens upon more evidence of chicken chicanery.

No one is better at clay animation than Aardman, but fashioning cartoon chickens proves quite a challenge. Their chickens are rubbery in appearance, and for all their different scarves and "hair-dos," there's an unmistakable sameness that inflicts the characters. The animators also don't yet feel comfortable with feature length; certain scenes feel padded or redundant.

Nevertheless, the pacing is brisk and only the attention spans of the very young are likely to wander. For that matter, the very young might be inappropriate for this movie. One chicken's slaughter when she fails to produce eggs is all too real for the very impressionable.


DreamWorks Pictures

DreamWorks in association with Pathe present

an Aardman production

Producers: Peter Lord, David Sproxton, Nick Park

Directors: Peter Lord, Nick Park

Screenplay: Karey Kirkpatrick, Jack Rosenthal

Based on an original story by: Nick Park, Peter Lord

Executive producers: Jake Eberts, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Michael Rose

Supervising director of photography: Dave Alex Riddett

Music: John Powell, Harry Gregson-Williams

Line producer: Carla Shelley

Editor: Mark Solomon

Supervising animator: Loyd Price



Rocky: Mel Gibson

Ginger: Julia Sawalha

Mrs. Tweedy: Miranda Richardson

Babs: Jane Horrocks

Mac: Lynn Ferguson

Bunty: Imelda Staunton

Fowler: Benjamin Whitrow

Mr. Tweedy: Tony Haygarth

Running time -- 85 minutes

MPAA rating: G

See also

Credited With | External Sites