Drop the Dead Donkey (1990) - News Poster

(1990–1998)

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Honk honk! All aboard the Brexit bus: the TV show that spoofs the unspoofable

Power Monkeys is an EU referendum satire from the brains behind Drop the Dead Donkey that will fly by the seat of its pants – and Archie Panjabi for one is embracing the dangers of nearly-live TV

On a private jet, a well-groomed woman is tapping busily at her phone. When her colleagues start discussing the Zika virus, she snaps: “Mr Trump wants it to be called ‘Mexican flu’.” When a colleague protests, she murmurs, “A plague coming up from Latin America to real America …”

It may sound like the latest rhetoric from the real Us presidential nominee, but thankfully this is a new comedy from the makers of Drop the Dead Donkey and Outnumbered. Power Monkeys is a satire with an ambitious plan to beat Twitter to the best jokes: a third of its scenes will be written, performed and cut on the day it goes out.

Related: How we
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

David Swift obituary

Actor who found fame as the irascible news anchor Henry Davenport in the TV newsroom satire Drop the Dead Donkey

The actor David Swift, who has died aged 85, found fame as Henry Davenport in the TV sitcom Drop the Dead Donkey, which achieved a sense of authenticity by including real-life topical events in the stories covered in the television studios of the fictional GlobeLink News. Swift revelled in the role of the irascible, vain Henry, a seasoned reporter turned news presenter who wears a toupee and constantly bickers with his fellow anchor, Sally Smedley (played by Victoria Wicks). He is contemptuous of the company’s largely unseen media tycoon owner, Sir Royston Merchant (Roger Hammond) – and away from the studio, he drinks, gambles, chases women and struggles to make alimony payments to his former wives.

Over six series of the Channel 4 newsroom satire (1990-98), written by Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Before They Were Famous: The Stars Of Spectre

The 24th James Bond movie Spectre is absolutely smashing it at the British box-office, and could potentially take the mantle of the highest grossing British film of all time, which currently belongs to a movie called Skyfall – the last Bond film. There’s a long way to go until that happens, but because we’re into Bond so much at the moment, we thought we’d take a look at the early careers of the stars of the film, and see what they were up to ‘Before They Were Famous.’

Here, we look at the early days of Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Monica Bellucci, Lea Seydoux, Christoph Waltz and Dave Bautista.

Daniel CraigDrop The Dead Donkey (1993)

Let’s kick things off with 007 himself. British TV show Drop The Dead Donkey ran from 1990-1998, and was a political satire that revolved around life at a TV station.
See full article at The Hollywood News »

TV comedy’s top 10 jargon abusers

To celebrate the return of W1A, we salute the top 10 comedy characters who talk absolute mother-thumping rubbish…

Yesnobrilliantverygoodverystrong. As satirical BBC mockumentary W1A returns tonight for a triumphant second series, we celebrate TV comedy’s rich lineage of jargon fans.

Drawn from across the political spectrum and from TV’s most biting depictions of the worlds of business, government, technology and the media, these guys are master obfuscators. They're neologism-coiners and proponents of the kind of abuses to the English language that, in a just world, would see them locked up and force fed copies of The Elements Of Style.

From The Thick Of It to Peep Show, Yes Minister, The Office, Nathan Barley, The Day Today, and Drop The Dead Donkey, across the Pond to 30 Rock and Silicon Valley, we present TV comedy's top ten full-of-it jargon-meisters.

Stewart Pearson - The Thick Of It

Who is he?
See full article at Den of Geek »

Ballot Monkeys: did the first episode get your vote?

A new topical satire from the creators of Drop the Dead Donkey and Outnumbered promises last-minute political gags from the general election campaign

Channel 4’s new election comedy Ballot Monkeys has an awful lot going for it. Its cast is rammed with talent. It’s written by Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin, settling back into their political roots after the cosy time-out of Outnumbered. Its subject matter could barely be any more timely. Plus it’s set entirely on four buses, so it’s probably quite cheap to make.

And yet there was only one real reason why I watched Ballot Monkeys last night. I wanted to see the join. Portions of each episode are written on the day of transmission for topicality, and then scattered throughout the existing material. And, as unkind as it sounds, I wanted to see how badly these bits stood out.

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See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Laughing all the way to the ballot: comedy’s role in a general election

There’s little in this campaign’s comedy roster to suggest comedians will forcefully express any opinions about politicians – which is a missed opportunity

What is comedy’s role in a general election? Over the last few weeks, a raft of telly events have been announced to tie in with the vote. We’re promised an election sitcom, Ballot Monkeys, by the writers of Drop the Dead Donkey. Set on the campaign buses of (what Channel 4 defines as) the main parties – Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, plus that of Ukip – it will be filmed only a week before transmission, to maximise the cuttingness of its edge.

Elsewhere on the wee screen, we’ve got election editions of The Last Leg, Jack Dee’s Election Helpdesk, Charlie Brooker’s Election Wipe, and – safely post-election and on iPlayer only – Frankie Boyle’s Election Autopsy. There is also Newzoids, the so-called new Spitting Image,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Channel 4 to air 'real-time' election comedy starring Ben Miller

Drop the Dead Donkey writer returns with satirical show Ballot Monkeys incorporating events and bungles on the campaign trail

Channel 4 is to air a “real-time” political comedy in the runup to the general election starring comedians Ben Miller and Hugh Dennis and created by the writers of cult hit Drop the Dead Donkey and sitcom Outnumbered.

The topical five-part series, Ballot Monkeys, will follow in the footsteps of successful political satires such as The Thick of It, focusing on the frenetic scheming and machinations of a group of managers, press officers, strategists and spin doctors on the campaign trail in the runup to polling day.

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See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

New election sitcom Ballot Monkeys to air on Channel 4

Channel 4 has commissioned a new political sitcom.

The satirical Ballot Monkeys will focus on politicians campaigning for the four main parties in the run-up to the General Election.

Sky News unveils 2015 General Election coverage details

Trevor Cooper, Ben Miller, Sarah Hadland and Hattie Morahan star as candidates for Labour, Lib Dem, Ukip and the Conservatives. The show will intercut between the various campaign buses.

Drop The Dead Donkey and Outnumbered creators Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin will write the five-episode sitcom.

The pair said: "We're very excited about this. We don't think anyone's done anything like this before, although we may find out why."

Fiona McDermott, Channel 4's commissioning editor for comedy, added: "We haven't yet decided whether we're brave or bonkers but a real-time satirical sitcom like Ballot Monkeys could only be handled by the remarkable Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin.

"We are thrilled to have them
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

Waterloo Road: Watch first trailer for new series

Waterloo Road's upcoming season has been previewed in a new trailer.

The trailer teases the arrival of Drop the Dead Donkey actor Neil Pearson as new headteacher Vaughan Fitzgerald.

Nicola Stephenson has also joined the cast as new art teacher Allie, who is the partner of Vaughan.

It was announced in April that Waterloo Road would be coming to an end after its tenth series, but bosses promised to send the show out "on a high".

The cast and crew filmed the show's final scenes in Greenock, Scotland on August 22.

Waterloo Road returns to BBC One on October 15 at 8pm.
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

Waterloo Road return date confirmed by BBC One

Waterloo Road will return on Wednesday, October 15, it has been confirmed.

The first of ten new one-hour episodes will air at 8pm, with ten final episodes scheduled to air in 2015.

The new episode will feature the introduction of new head teacher Vaughan Fitzgerald, who is played by Drop the Dead Donkey actor Neil Pearson.

Nicola Stephenson has also joined the cast as new art teacher Allie, who is the partner of Vaughan.

It was announced in April that Waterloo Road would be coming to an end after its tenth series, but bosses promised to send the show out "on a high".

The cast and crew filmed the show's final scenes in Greenock, Scotland on August 22.
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

Benidorm actor Kenny Ireland dies of cancer, aged 68

Actor Kenny Ireland has died following a battle with cancer.

The 68-year-old performer was perhaps best known for playing swinger Donald Stewart in ITV's Benidorm.

He was also director of Edinburgh's Royal Lyceum Theatre from 1992 until 2003.

Ireland's character was written out of Benidorm in June in order for him concentrate on cancer treatment.

A spokesperson for ITV said: "We are terribly saddened to hear that Kenny Ireland has passed away, our thoughts are with his family at this time.

"He was a much loved actor, not only by the cast and crew on Benidorm but by the millions of fans out there.

"He appeared as Donald Stewart in Benidorm from the first episode and helped play a huge part in its success. He will be greatly missed."

Ireland was also known for his appearances in Victoria Wood As Seen On TV, including his role as Derek the handyman in Acorn Antiques.
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

David Tennant Vacations in 'What We Did On Our Holiday' Trailer

Many know David Tennant for his tenure as "Doctor Who," the recent British drama series "Broadchurch" or small roles in films like Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. But now he's dabbling in some lighter fare with the family comedy What We Did on Our Holiday. Maybe it's just the presence of children and their British accents, but this looks adorably charming. Rosamund Pike is along for the ride as Tennant's wife when they take their three kids on a vacation to see their grandfather (Billy Connolly) in Scotland. At the very least, it's better than that Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good, Very Bad Day trailer. Watch! Here's the trailer for Andy Hamilton & Guy Jenkin's What We Did on Our Holiday from Lionsgate UK: What We Did on Our Holiday is written and directed by Andy Hamilton & Guy Jenkin (of the United Kingdom series "Outnumbered" and
See full article at FirstShowing.net »

Father Ted, It Crowd among Channel 4 shows leaving Netflix, LoveFilm

Father Ted, The It Crowd and Peep Show are among the classic Channel 4 shows that will be removed from Netflix UK and LoveFilm Instant.

Channel 4's licenses are to expire on both streaming services, according to VODzilla. They will be removed from Netflix on Saturday (February 15), followed a few days later on LoveFilm.

The Inbetweeners, Shameless and Green Wing are said to also be among the longlist of shows to be removed from the services.

The move follows Channel 4's recent removal of content from YouTube, leaving the only option to watch shows on 4oD.

Channel 4 recently said to Wired about the YouTube removals: "As a not-for-profit broadcaster funded by advertising, we put our money back into the programmes themselves. To make the best of this investment, we've decided to focus on bringing online viewers of our full-length shows to our own 4oD apps - such as those on iOS,
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

Peter Sellers lost films found in skip to be screened at festival

Peter Sellers lost films found in skip to be screened at festival
Two lost Peter Sellers films from 1957 have been found in a skip in London.

Dearth of a Salesman and Insomnia Is Good for You were thought to be lost when they were found by Southend-on-Sea resident Robert Farrow when he was cleaning out a now-defunct Park Lane Films property.

"As the building manager it was my job to oversee that each floor of the property was properly cleared prior to refurbishment back in 1996," Farrow said.

"I spotted 21 film cans in a skip outside the office block and thought they would be good for storing my Super 8 collection in. I took them home, put them in a cupboard and pretty much forgot about them."

He continued: "During a recent clear-out I found them again and decided to see what the tins contained - it was then I realised they were two Sellers films including the negatives, titles, show prints, outtakes and the master print.
See full article at Digital Spy - Movie News »

'Waterloo Road': Neil Pearson's Vaughn Fitzgerald to be new head teacher

Waterloo Road will have a new head teacher in series ten, it has been revealed.

Neil Pearson, who is to star as incoming teacher Vaughn Fitzgerald in the next series of the continuing BBC One drama, will play the new head next year.

The news was revealed online after a fan visited the set in Greenock, Scotland. Pictures showing filming for the tenth series, due to air in 2014, were posted on Inverclyde Now and show the school's sign on a wall outside.

Closer inspection reveals that the sign says "Head Teacher: Vaughn Fitzgerald".

Last month, it was revealed that the 54-year-old Drop the Dead Donkey actor and actress Nicola Stephenson had been signed up by Waterloo Road bosses as two new teachers, Fitzgerald and Allie Westbrook.

Speaking about joining Waterloo Road in a BBC press release, Pearson commented: "Waterloo Road has a long and successful history, an impressive list of alumni,
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

TV highlights 10/10/2013

  • The Guardian - TV News
Trust Me I'm A Doctor | Equestrianism: Horse Of The Year Show | Truckers | Peaky Blinders | Breathless | The Duchess, The Killer And Her Lover: Countdown To Murder | Tricked | The Big C: Hereafter

Trust Me I'm A Doctor

8pm, BBC2

This new series purports to reveal the facts behind widespread medical stories and to help resolve the confusing claims around what exactly is and isn't good for us. The tendency with such magazine programmes is to rely on gimmicks, but here the stunts are largely kept in check and the results are informative. If you're hoping to find out the best way to assess fatness, whether extra sleep is healthy and if we should all be taking aspirin to prevent heart attacks and strokes, look no further. Martin Skegg

Equestrianism: Horse Of The Year Show

8pm, Sky Sports 4

Coverage of day two of the 2013 celebration of all things equine from Birmingham's NEC, marking
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

'Spamalot' at Playhouse Theatre, London - Review

'Spamalot' at Playhouse Theatre, London - Review
Monty Python fans will love this London musical, infused as it is with vintage sketches and nods to the great British troupe's classic Holy Grail movie. Indeed, fittingly for a show created by comedy gods, Eric Idle plays the Almighty - though not in person: his appearance is limited to a video projection that nonetheless is a pleasant addition to the show. Stephen Tompkinson (who TV viewers will know from various primetime shows including Drop The Dead Donkey or Wild At Heart) is effective as King Arthur, adept at clowning and convincing as the exasperated leader of a higgedly-piggedly set of idiot knights. Familiar scenes abound and those with even the slightest knowledge of Python will recognise the Knights of Ni, a deadly attack-rabbit and - inarguably one of the show's highlights - the fabulous and thickly-accented French soldiers who (more)
See full article at Digital Spy - Movie News »

Tony Hancock lost work among rare radio scripts offered for sale

Script for fourth episode of 1955 show catalogued along with those for and by the likes of Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers

When Tony Hancock failed to turn up for three episodes of his radio show in 1955, producers simply replaced him with Harry Secombe as if nothing had happened. The fourth episode followed Hancock and Sid James as they travelled to Swansea to thank him – where they found him singing down a coalmine.

The recorded episode was wiped and continues to be lost, but the script – along with a host of others – has now emerged. They have been catalogued by the actor turned rare books dealer, Neil Pearson.

It is a true treasure trove, featuring scripts by and for comedy stars such as Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, Frankie Howerd and Kenneth Williams. "It is a rather extraordinary and rather moving collection of material that reminds us of how we used to
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

David Mitchell and Robert Webb: fear and loathing in Croydon

As Peep Show returns, David Mitchell and Robert Webb talk to Tara Conlan about the cast's new agonies, their own doubts over Sky's commitment to the arts – and why comedy outranks drama

Sitting forward in an earnest fashion and pushing back his flop of brown hair, David Mitchell is explaining why the production company he has just formed with Robert Webb has gone into business with the BBC. At a time when a growing number of comedians, including Steve Coogan, Julia Davis and Chris O'Dowd, have been beating a path to Sky, it's a bold move from the stars of cult hit Peep Show.

"Sky is making a lot of comedy at the moment, and that's great," says Mitchell. "It's always good to have more choice for pitching ideas and more choices for the viewer. But my worry is that that money could be turned off in a second if
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Roger Hammond obituary

Actor known for his roles as clergymen, favourite uncles and tragic-comic characters

There is a great tradition in the rotundity of actors, and Roger Hammond, who has died aged 76 of cancer, stands proudly in a line stretching from Francis L Sullivan and Willoughby Goddard through to Roy Kinnear, Desmond Barrit and Richard Griffiths, though he was probably more malleably benevolent on stage than any of them.

He reeked of kindness, consideration and imperturbability, with a pleasant countenance and a beautiful, soft voice, qualities ideal for unimpeachable clergymen, favourite uncles and tragic-comic characters such as Waffles in Chekhov's Uncle Vanya (whom he played in a 1991 BBC TV film, with David Warner and Ian Holm), a man whose wife left him for another man on his wedding day but who has remained faithful to her and forgiving ever since.

Hammond grew up in Stockport, Lancashire. His chartered accountant father was managing director of his own family firm,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »
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