The Walking Dead

4 Dec

Reviewed: Jimmy McGovern’s ‘Accused’ – series 2

7 Sep
Olivia Coleman and Anne Marie Duff

Accused episode 2

Jimmy McGovern’s second series of Accused will wipe the floor with your emotions, and if it doesn’t you’re a psycopath.

We know Accused is good, because it won two International Emmy Awards (best series and best actor – Christopher Ecclestone) and is from Jimmy McGovern, but like a lot of the BBC’s output, they’re not going to rave about it, not going to shout from billboards like Sky or C4, no, they’ll just let it speak for itself. This is a shame because it needs to be watched, and frankly, we’re very busy with our lives and need our attention grabbing, thank you very much, beeb.

Accused is good. It’s got grit, and paints a bleak picture of The North of England, as if someone’s stolen all the primary colours from your pencil case and left you with greys and browns and blacks. But there’s plenty of love. And there’s bravery by the bucket load.

The themes of shame, loyalty, love etc are handled by a master; the characters seem real and flawed, and as it happens, they’re struggling: and with that lack of a good vs evil compass to tell you what to think, you’ll work out for yourself who to root for, and will remain transfixed as the outcome unfolds. If you don’t ask yourself at least once in this short series of 4 episodes ‘what would I do?’ you’re lying.

The cast are astounding. Episode 1’s Sean Bean (Game of Thrones, Lord of The Rings, Sharpe) and Stephen Graham (Boardwalk Empire, Occupation, This is England, Good Cop) kick things off with brilliant chemistry and performances, with shame feeling a central theme. Episode 2 culminates in a showdown between Anne Marie Duff (Shameless, Nowhere Boy, The Virgin Queen) and Olivia Coleman (Tyrannosaur, Peep Show, Rev, Twenty Twelve) that will leave you gasping.

It’s the subtlety of Robert Sheehan’s (Red Riding, Misfits) performance in episode 3 and 4 that truly broke my heart, playing a grieving son who’s slowly slipping away before us, I just wanted to bring him back to reality before his actions go too far. It’s episode 4’s Anna Maxwell Martin who gave the stand out performance of the series, exposed, violated and panicked, but never showing any vulnerability until the climactic final scenes. Watch it all while you can on iPlayer:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01mhgrc/Accused_Series_2_Tinas_Story/

My summer starts here

27 May

My summer starts here, with what Americans call “cable” and us Brits call “Sky or Virgin”.

My TV, with my new SKY plus box and hideous coaster

 

 

The day has arrived. All days after today will hereby be called “pre Sky”. I have proper TV. No more legal loopholes to jump down, such as buying an iTunes voucher in the US so that you can get your TV in US time (this works, and is a very good loophole I feel; well done person who first spotted this). I’m a proper member of society now. I can press some buttons and boom! All of Mad Men, Game of Thrones and Hit and Miss are automatically recorded. I can pause! Which freaks me out, being such a connoisseur of time travel (i.e. watching films/TV about time travel multiples time – Quantum Leap, Back to the Future (one and two, three doesn’t count, ever) and Flight of the Navigator).

I’ve waited for this moment since as a child, World Wide Wrestling became a thing at school. Oh how I longed to know who the guy with Hitman in his name really was. Then in my teens (pre Broadband) when I Sky meant having loads more choice and access to US channels.

Now the day has arrived. It’s 27 degrees outside, but my Sky plus box is a calling and I’m busy making a list of programmes to series record. And I’m pleased to discover that wrestling still exists, in fact it was on when the Sky installer switched on my TV today. Fancy that.

Fringe Season 4 Finale

16 May

William Bell is back, and this time he has a hair transplant. There are dinosaurs (no – not Belly and Walter, real dinosaurs), and a new world. Belly is playing God! And why not!

The characters in Fringe, Fauxlivia and Walternate just visible in the window reflection

I like this picture of the cast in Fringe because you can see Fauxlivia, Walternate and an Observer in the reflection. There are probably other subtle motifs that I’m not clever enough to pick up on.

The Observer that died returns, doesn’t foresee the future. Eh?

Olivia’s cortexiphan powers are being used for evil. She is a conduit. Belly wants to harness Olivia’s powers to end both Universes, thus starting a new one with the big bang. So maybe Belly’s God is agnostic.

It appears that Buffy style, Olivia has to die. The Observer did warn her about this.

Walter shoots Olivia square between the eyes and she’s dead! Who knew sugar obsessed Walter was such a good shot! It’s OK because we had ages left so we knew if wouldn’t end there (though again, Buffy style, what an end of season cliffhanger that would have been!)

Turns out cortexiphan is the go-to drug for everything. Makes you transport through worlds and gives you super powers, stops cancer spreading and, can make the brain heal itself and Olivia comes back to life – or something, I turned away for a second and lost my way – and guess what? he’s preggers – even though she was clinically dead. Miraculously the baby survived in her dead womb for a few minutes, which will probably be explained in the next season when the writers have time to think about it. It will probably be cortexiphan based.

Season 5 where are you going to go next – cortexiphan baby? New timeline? Nina’s hand takes over the world?

Take a Sneak Peek at the Inside the Actors Studio With the Cast of Mad Men

15 May

Take a Sneak Peek at the Inside the Actors Studio With the Cast of Mad Men. <<<< One for fans of Mad Men and Actors talking about themselves and their “art” in a very serious way (no doubt).

TV BAFTA 2012 highlights and predictions

13 May

BAFTA picks

Full list, here.

Here are my highlights, as I love a good story, they’re very Drama heavy.

John Simm as Tom Ronstadt

Yes that’s Jim Broadbent in the background, you know Exile is going to be good now, don’t you?

LEADING ACTOR
Benedict Cumberbatch: Sherlock  – BBC One, Dominic West: Appropriate Adult –  ITV1, John Simm: Exile – BBC One, Joseph Gilgun: This is England ’88 – Channel 4

Dominic West manages to portray Fred West as a sympathetic character, funny at times in the captivating Appropriate Adult; in the psychological thriller Exile, John Simm is superb as the fallen son, returning home and trying to forge some sort of relationship with his father, whose dementia is taking over his brain, piece by piece. Simm is frustrated, angry, tolerant and caring, taking you on the journey through all of his emotions in whirlwind speed. Joseph Gilgun’s happy-go-lucky Woody, returned as a troubled shell, still recovering from the heartbreak and betrayal of ’86, heartbroken yet hilarious at the same time. It’s very tight between John Simm and Joseph Gilgun, but Gilgun gets it, just.

LEADING ACTRESS
Emily WatsonAppropriate Adult – ITV1, Nadine Marshall: Random – Channel 4, Romola Garai: The Crimson Petal and the White – BBC Two, Vicky McClure: This is England ’88 – Channel 4

Emily Watson’s face is one worn with the strain and world weariness it would when dealt with the true horrors of Fred and Rose West’s murders. Playing Gloucester housewife Janet Leech, instrumental in uncovering the Fred and Rose West murders. Watson’s ‘moment’ is in the first ten minutes of Appropriate Adult, when, having just met Fred West, he calmly describes how he murdered, dismembered and buried his daughter Heather. She struggles to remain poised as the true horror is shown in her eyes. In This Is England ’88,  Vicky Mclure’s beautiful Lol is captivating, playing the strong yet tormented and utterly vulnerable. This Is England co-writer Jack Thorne,  described Vicky’s performance to me once as someone so talented, one would happily “watch her dancing with a packet of crisps”. As he’s such a talented wordsmith, I’ll leave it there.  Romola Grai’s ambitious prostitute in The Crimson Petal and the White who is aware of her temporary and fleeting her life (and role within it) really is, is wonderfully performed. But it’s Nadine Marshall who should succeed this time. More than 5 characters at once, of both sex, whilst not changing costume, reacting to herself and delivering her prose with real passion, is astounding.

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Andrew Scott: Sherlock – BBC One, Joseph Mawle: Birdsong – BBC One Martin Freeman: Sherlock – BBC One, Stephen Rea: The Shadowline – BBC Two

Sherlock has two nominations in this category, an impressive accomplishment for the casting producer. As always Joseph Mawle is proper acting. Proper, emotional, good quality stuff. Stephen Rea’s menacing portrayal in The Shadowline is top notch, as is Andrew Scott as Sherlock’s demented nemesis in Moriarty, who just might grab the award.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Miranda Hart as Chummy, in Call the Midwife

Anna Chancellor: The Hour – BBC Two, Maggie Smith: Downton Abbey – ITV1, Miranda Hart: Call the Midwife – BBC One, Monica Dolan: Appropriate Adult – ITV1

Miranda Hart in Call the Midwife. Witty, upper class charmer straight out of Enid Blyton’s Mallory Towers.

SINGLE DRAMA
Holy Flying CircusTony Roche, Owen Harris, Kate Norrish, Polly Leys Hillbilly Television – TalkbackTHAMES/BBC Four, Page EightDavid Hare, Bill Nighy, David Heyman, David Barron A Heyday Films, Runaway Fridge TV – Carnival Films production in association with NBC Universal for BBC/BBC Two, RandomPolly Leys, Kate Norrish, Debbie Tucker Green, Nadine Marshall – Hillbilly Television/Channel 4, StolenSita Williams, Rebecca Hodgson, Stephen Butchard, Justin Chadwick – Open Door Films Ltd/BBC One

Random just beats Page Eight. Stolen is far too clumsy in its’ message.

MINI SERIES

Vicky Mclure as Lol, leaning against a wall that could do with redecorating

Stunning. Vicky Mclure as LOL, from This is England ’88

Appropriate AdultNeil McKay, Lisa Gilchrist, Julian Jarrold, Jeff Pope – ITV Studios/ITV1, The Crimson Petal and the WhiteDavid M Thompson, Steve Lightfoot, Marc Munden, Lucinda Coxon – Origin Pictures, Cité Amérique/BBC Two, This is England ‘88Production Team – Warp Films/Channel 4, Top BoyCharles Steel, Alasdair Flind, Ronan Bennett, Yann Demange – Cowboy Films/Channel 4

Although Appropriate Adult is hugely compelling, managing to reveal the true horrors of a true story without relying on guts and gore, just spoken word to bring depravity to life, it’s This Is England 88 which deserves the BAFTA, as the modern classic that it is.

DRAMA SERIES
The Fades: Susan Hogg, Caroline Skinner, Jack Thorne, Farren Blackburn – BBC Production/BBC Three, Misfits: Petra Fried, Howard Overman, Murray Ferguson – Clerkenwell Films/E4, Scott and Bailey: Production Team – Red Production Company/ITV1, Spooks: Production Team – Kudos Film &Television/BBC One

The only disappointing selection in this year’s BAFTAs, which shows the budgets are going to shorter seasons (though UK shows only have 6 eps in a season anyway). It’s a shame Channels aren’t investing more in longer, continuing dramas, such as Shameless. Until then, it’s Misfits which is the best of the  bunch; if only for its’ US style production values.

SITUATION COMEDY

The cast of Fresh Meat, laid out like chicken, in a meat aisle

Fresh Meat: Production Team – Objective Productions – Lime Pictures/Channel 4, Mrs Brown’s Boy’s: Brendan O’Carroll, Stephen McCrum, Ben Kellett, Martin Delany – BBC Scotland, BBC Productions co-production with BocPix in association with RTE/BBC One, Friday Night Dinner: Robert Popper, Steve Bendelack – Popper Pictures – Big Talk Productions/Channel 4, Rev.: Production Team -Big Talk Productions/BBC Two

Fresh Meat makes me laugh out loud every episode. That’s enough for me.

INTERNATIONAL
Borgen: Adam Price, Jeppe Gjervig Gram, Tobias Lindholm, Camilla Hammerich DR/BBC Four
The Killing: Soren Sveistrup, Piv Bernth, Kristoffer Nyholm, Sofie Grabol – DR, ZDF Enterprises/BBC Four
Modern Family: Steve Levitan, Christopher Lloyd – 20th Century Fox/Sky One
The Slap: Jessica Hobbs, Kris Mrksa, Helen Bowden, Penny Chapman – Matchbox Pictures/BBC Four

Come on, it’s a cultural reference now! It was even covered in Ab Fab! The Killing is edge of the seat, nail biting stuff, rivalled only by Homeland, in its’ pace and the turnaround each episode: ‘Is it him? Or him? Who is it?’ Etc

Other shows of note; We Need to Talk About Dad (Single Documentary), Educating Essex (Factual Series) which managed to bring a completely new take to the reality TV shows we’ve loved for so long, and Tom Hollander as Rev, in a Male Performance in a Comedy Programme.

BAFTA TV nominations 2012

13 May

Some of the schoolgirls from Educating Essex

Full list, with the Drama stuff, first.

LEADING ACTOR
Benedict Cumberbatch: Sherlock  – BBC One
Dominic West: Appropriate Adult –  ITV1
John Simm: Exile – BBC One
Joseph Gilgun: This is England ’88 – Channel 4

LEADING ACTRESS
Emily Watson
Appropriate Adult – ITV1
Nadine Marshall: Random – Channel 4
Romola Garai: The Crimson Petal and the White – BBC Two
Vicky McClure: This is England ’88 – Channel 4

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Andrew Scott
: Sherlock – BBC One
Joseph Mawle: Birdsong – BBC One
Martin Freeman: Sherlock – BBC One
Stephen Rea: The Shadowline – BBC Two

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Anna Chancellor
: The Hour – BBC Two
Maggie Smith: Downton Abbey – ITV1
Miranda Hart: Call the Midwife – BBC One
Monica Dolan: Appropriate Adult – ITV1

SINGLE DRAMA
Holy Flying CircusTony Roche, Owen Harris, Kate Norrish, Polly Leys Hillbilly Television – TalkbackTHAMES/BBC Four
Page EightDavid Hare, Bill Nighy, David Heyman, David Barron A Heyday Films, Runaway Fridge TV – Carnival Films production in association with NBC Universal for BBC/BBC Two
RandomPolly Leys, Kate Norrish, Debbie Tucker Green, Nadine Marshall – Hillbilly Television/Channel 4
StolenSita Williams, Rebecca Hodgson, Stephen Butchard, Justin Chadwick – Open Door Films Ltd/BBC One

MINI SERIES
Appropriate AdultNeil McKay, Lisa Gilchrist, Julian Jarrold, Jeff Pope – ITV Studios/ITV1
The Crimson Petal and the WhiteDavid M Thompson, Steve Lightfoot, Marc Munden, Lucinda Coxon – Origin Pictures, Cité Amérique/BBC Two
This is England ‘88Production Team – Warp Films/Channel 4
Top BoyCharles Steel, Alasdair Flind, Ronan Bennett, Yann Demange – Cowboy Films/Channel 4

DRAMA SERIES
The Fades: Susan Hogg, Caroline Skinner, Jack Thorne, Farren Blackburn – BBC Production/BBC Three
Misfits: Petra Fried, Howard Overman, Murray Ferguson – Clerkenwell Films/E4
Scott and Bailey: Production Team – Red Production Company/ITV1
Spooks: Production Team – Kudos Film &Television/BBC One

SITUATION COMEDY
Fresh Meat: Production Team – Objective Productions – Lime Pictures/Channel 4
Mrs Brown’s Boy’s: Brendan O’Carroll, Stephen McCrum, Ben Kellett, Martin Delany – BBC Scotland, BBC Productions co-production with BocPix in association with RTE/BBC One
Friday Night Dinner: Robert Popper, Steve Bendelack – Popper Pictures – Big Talk Productions/Channel 4
Rev.: Production Team -Big Talk Productions/BBC Two

INTERNATIONAL
Borgen: Adam Price, Jeppe Gjervig Gram, Tobias Lindholm, Camilla Hammerich DR/BBC Four
The Killing: Soren Sveistrup, Piv Bernth, Kristoffer Nyholm, Sofie Grabol – DR, ZDF Enterprises/BBC Four
Modern Family: Steve Levitan, Christopher Lloyd – 20th Century Fox/Sky One
The Slap: Jessica Hobbs, Kris Mrksa, Helen Bowden, Penny Chapman – Matchbox Pictures/BBC Four

ENTERTAINMENT PERFORMANCE
Alan Carr: Alan Carr Chatty Man – Channel 4
Dara O’ Briain: Mock The Week – BBC Two
Graham Norton: The Graham Norton Show – BBC One
Harry Hill: Harry Hill’s TV Burp – ITV1

FEMALE PERFORMANCE IN A COMEDY PROGRAMME
Jennifer Saunders
: Absolutely Fabulous – BBC One
Olivia Colman: Twenty Twelve – BBC Four
Ruth Jones: Stella – Sky One
Tamsin Greig: Friday Night Dinner – Channel 4

MALE PERFORMANCE IN A COMEDY PROGRAMME
Brendan O’Carroll
: Mrs Brown’s Boys – BBC One
Darren Boyd: Spy – Sky One
Hugh Bonneville: Twenty Twelve  – BBC Four
Tom Hollander: Rev. – BBC Two

SOAP & CONTINUING DRAMA
Coronation Street: Production Team – ITV Studios/ITV1
EastEnders: Production Team – BBC Productions/BBC One
Holby City: Production Team – BBC Productions/BBC One
Shameless: Paul Abbott, George Faber, David Threlfall, Lawrence Till – Company Pictures/Channel 4

FACTUAL SERIES
The Choir: Military Wives: Lucy Hillman, Stephen Finnigan, Gareth Malone, Tim Carter – Twenty Twenty Television/BBC Two
Educating Essex: David Clews, Andrew Mackenzie-Betty, Beejal-Maya Patel, Grace Reynolds – Two Four Productions/Channel 4
Our War: Colin Barr, Bruce Goodison, John Douglas, Stuart Bernard – BBC Productions/BBC Three
Protecting Our Children: Damned If We Do Damned If We Don’t: Sacha Mirzeoff, Emma Burman, Petra Graf, Anna McGill – BBC Bristol Factual/BBC Two

SPECIALIST FACTUAL *
British Masters: James Fox, Jonty Claypole, Matt Hill, Richard Wilkinson – BBC Vision Productions/BBC Four
Frozen Planet: Vanessa Berlowitz, Alastair Fothergill, Mark Linfield, David Attenborough A BBC, Discovery Channel, Antena 3 Television S.A, ZDF, Skai, Open University Co-Production in association with Discovery Canada/BBC One
Mummifying Alan: Egypt’s Last Secret: Production Team – Blink Films/Channel 4
Wonders of the Universe: James van der Pool, Brian Cox, Jonathan Renouf, Michael Lachman -BBC London Factual Productions/BBC Two

SINGLE DOCUMENTARY
9/11: The Day That Changed the World: Leslie Woodhead, Kate Botting, Brian Lapping, Talya Tibbon – Brook Lapping Productions/ITV1
The Fight of Their Lives: Gabriel Clark, John McKenna – ITV Sport/ITV1
Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die: Craig Hunter, Charlie Russell, Rosy Marshall, Gary Scott – Keo North/BBC Two
We Need To Talk About Dad (Cutting Edge): Peter Dale, Elizabeth Stopford – Rare Day Ltd/Channel 4

FEATURES
DIY SOS: The Big Build: Simon Knight, Hannah Corneck, Ben Rowland, Beth Brooks – BBC Productions/BBC One
Hairy Bikers’ Meals on Wheels: Nicola Moody, Tom Clarke, Paul Ratcliffe, Lisa Edwards – Optomen Television/BBC Two
The Great British Bake Off: Anna Beattie, Richard McKerrow, Simon Evans, Emma Willis – Love Productions/BBC Two
Timothy Spall: Somewhere at Sea: Paul Crompton, Philip Shotton, Matt David, Anton Short – Steadfast Television/BBC Four

REALITY & CONSTRUCTED FACTUAL
An Idiot Abroad: Production Team – Risk Productions/Sky One
Don’t Tell The Bride: Lisa Edwards, Harry Lansdowne, Jon Rowlands, Rebecca Bayatti – Renegade Pictures/BBC Three
Made in Chelsea: Production Team – Monkey Kingdom Productions/E4
The Young Apprentice: Michele Kurland, Colm Martin, Darina Healy, Andy Devonshire – TalkbackTHAMES/BBC One

CURRENT AFFAIRS
Bahrain: Shouting in the Dark: Production Team – Al Jazeera/Al Jazeera English
Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields: Callum Macrae, Chris Shaw, Jon Snow – ITN/Channel 4
The Truth About Adoption (Panorama): Roger Graef, Tom Giles, Claire Johns, Todd Downing – Films of Record/BBC One
Undercover Care: The Abuse Exposed (Panorama): Frank Simmonds, Paul Kenyon, Matthew Chapman, Joe Casey – BBC Productions/BBC One

NEWS COVERAGE
BBC News at Ten: Siege of Homs: Production Team – BBC News/BBC One
Channel 4 News: Japan Earthquake: Production Team – ITN/Channel 4
ITV News at Ten: Battle of Misrata: Production Team – ITN/ITV1
Sky News: Libya Rebel Convoy – Live: Production Team – Sky News/Sky News

SPORT & LIVE EVENT
Frankenstein’s Wedding: Live in Leeds: Meredith Chambers, Eleanor Moran, Richard Fell, Pat Connor – BBC Wales in collaboration with BBC North/BBC Three
The Royal Wedding (BBC): Production Team – BBC Entertainment & Events/BBC One
Rugby World Cup Final: Tony Pastor, Paul McNamara, Phil Heslop, Roger Pearce – ITV Sport/ITV1
Tour De France 2011: Steve Docherty, Gary Imlach, James Venner, Carolyn Viccari – V Squared TV/ITV4

ENTERTAINMENT PROGRAMME
Celebrity Juice: Dan Baldwin, Leon Wilson, Toby Baker, Ed Sleeman – TalkbackTHAMES/ITV2
Derren Brown: The Experiments: Derren Brown, Simon Dinsell, Iain Sharkey, Fiona Cotter-Craig – Objective Productions/Channel 4
Harry Hill’s TV Burp: Spencer Millman, Peter Orton, Harry Hill – Avalon Television/ITV1
Michael McIntyre’s Christmas Comedy Roadshow: Michael McIntyre, Addison Cresswell, Andrew Beint, Anthony Caveney – Open Mike Productions/BBC One

COMEDY PROGRAMME 
Charlie Brooker’s 2011 Wipe: Alison Marlow, Al Campbell, Annabel Jones, Charlie Brooker – Zeppotron/BBC Four
Comic Strip: The Hunt for Tony Blair: Nick Smith, Peter Richardson, Pete Richens – Great Western Pictures/Channel 4
The Cricklewood Greats: Peter Capaldi, Adam Tandy, Tony Roche – BBC Productions/BBC Four
Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle: Stewart lee, Richard Webb, Tim Kirkby – BBC Productions/BBC Two


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