sun 21/01/2018

tv

Opinion: Bazalgette is welcome at the Arts Council

ismene Brown

So the chairman of Big Brother TV becomes chairman of the Arts Council. Is it good or bad that Sir Peter Bazalgette will now hold the purse-strings for our publicly supported arts, the most debated, the most fragile, the most ephemeral elements of our national cultural consciousness, the most opposite of the time-wasting that is reality TV?

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Thinking of Something Funny: Eric Sykes, 1923-2012

jasper Rees

“One never consciously observes. The only people who consciously observe are policemen and undercover agents.” Eric Sykes, who has died at the age of 89, was the last of the great vaudevilleans. When I met him in the late 1990s, he was already totally deaf and largely blind, and somehow continued to work and remain remarkably chipper with it. He had his first ear operation in 1952, another a decade later, whereafter he wore a hearing aid camouflaged as a pair of thick-rimmed glasses.

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BAFTA Television Awards 2012

adam Sweeting

It wouldn't have been theartsdesk's pick of the pops, but ITV1's Fred West drama Appropriate Adult had a great night at the BAFTA Television Awards. Dominic West took Leading Actor, Emily Watson was Leading Actress, and Monica Dolan completed the hat-trick by taking Supporting Actress.

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theASHtray: Walliams on Dahl, Gill vs. Beard, and a new (old) play by Eugene O'Neill

ASH Smyth

There’s something in the water at the commissioning editors’ local, I think, resulting, of late, in a rash of rather good arts-n-culture biopics. This week, it was the turn of Roald Dahl, the Big Friendly Giant who made an absolute shit-load of cash telling really not-very-bedtime stories to young children.

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He Was More Than a Monkee: Davy Jones, 1948–2012

kieron Tyler

The death of Davy Jones is a surprise. A horrible surprise. Less than a year ago he was on stage at the Royal Albert Hall in the reunited Monkees, full of life, hogging the stage, hamming it up and celebrating the wonderful songs of America’s manufactured answer to The Beatles.

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Black Cab Sessions: music TV catches up with the net?

joe Muggs

Tonight on Channel 4, a new music series begins with a fantastic premise. A group of music obsessives drive around the USA in a London black cab, finding interesting musicians and recording them performing and talking in the back of the cab. Sounds a little bit like the 2008 Stephen Fry in America series, doesn't it? Well maybe, except Black Cab Sessions has been broadcast online since 2007.

Watch the Black Cab Sessions trailer:

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Channel 4 has high hopes for Homeland

adam Sweeting

If you don't fancy any more masters-and-servants dramas on a Sunday evening, you can thank Channel 4 for bringing the excellent Homeland to its Sunday roster. Kicking off tonight, it arrives in the UK basking in Golden Globe glory, having picked up accolades for Best Drama Series and Best Actress in a Drama Series in last month's ceremony.

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Dustin Hoffman rides his Luck on Sky Atlantic

adam Sweeting

Further advancing the theory that television is the place for pedigree actors to be seen nowadays, Dustin Hoffman makes his TV debut in HBO's Luck, which kicks off on Saturday 18 February on Sky Atlantic.

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The Return of Upstairs Downstairs

adam Sweeting

The BBC's updated Upstairs Downstairs is not a lucky show. Its three-night debut in December 2010 brought unflattering comparisons to Downton Abbey, a fate also likely to greet the imminent series two thanks to Downton's booming national-treasure status. Worse, Upstairs... is reeling from the double blow of losing Eileen Atkins's Lady Maud and Jean Marsh as Rose Buck.

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Birdsong Arrives on BBC One

adam Sweeting

Since the publication of Sebastian Faulks's World War One-era bestseller Birdsong in 1993, actors and film-makers have been falling over each other to bring a version to the screen. Such names as Joe Wright, Sam Mendes, Ralph Fiennes, Andrew Davies, Eva Green, Rupert Wyatt and Damian Lewis have been connected with a string of abortive efforts, but up to now a short-lived stage version directed by Trevor Nunn has been the only dramatisation to have seen the light of day.

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