thu 23/05/2024

tv

theartsdesk Q&A: Writer Jimmy McGovern

Jasper Rees

The black stuff. The phrase was patented in the early 1980s by Alan Bleasdale, Liverpool's other small-screen big hitter. But it could just as well describe the drama that issues from McGovern's imagination, with its dark understanding of the Manichean psyche, its intimacy with the curlicues of Catholic guilt, its knowledge that animal instincts pulse insistently beneath the epidermis we call civility.

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10 Questions for Harry Shearer

Jasper Rees

It is the fate of political leaders to be played by actors. In the circumstances Richard Nixon hasn’t been dealt a bad hand. He has been portrayed by Anthony Hopkins in Oliver Stone’s Nixon, by Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon on stage and screen and by tall handsome Christopher Shyer in Clint Eastwood’s J Edgar. But towering over them all is Harry Shearer, who has been impersonating Tricky Dicky since Nixon was actually president.

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Tidy: Ruth Jones gets gonged

Jasper Rees

The late rise of Ruth Jones, who has been made an MBE, is a blessed relief. According to the prevailing rules of ageism and lookism, Jones should still be plugging away in supporting roles, typically as the large gobby sidekick which for years looked like the outer limit of her casting range.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Borgen creator Adam Price

Caroline Crampton

Borgen wasn’t supposed to be an international hit. Even though viewers all over the world had adored other Danish and Swedish TV exports like The Killing and The Bridge, the show’s creator Adam Price was told early on in the commissioning process that his slow-burn drama about Danish coalition politics was not something that was going to bring him global recognition.

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10 Questions for Actor Simon Russell Beale

Adam Sweeting

It’s difficult to give Simon Russell Beale a brief introduction, so encyclopedic is his list of stage and screen acting credits. He has cruised masterfully through Shakespeare, Ibsen, Chekhov, the Restoration playwrights, Shaw and Pinter, and recently camped it up madly in a revival of Peter Nichols’s Privates on Parade. He has been such a mainstay of the National Theatre that the building may have subsided into the Thames without him.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Sex researcher Shere Hite

Jasper Rees

This week Channel 4 embarks on a season of programmes about sex. Real sex, it claims, in real British bedrooms. A new series called Masters of Sex dramatises the story of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, who from 1957 pioneered research into sexual response. And then there is Sex Box, in which couples will perform the eponymous activity in the eponymous container and then come out and discuss it in front of Mariella Frostrup and a live audience.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Actress Sheridan Smith

Jasper Rees

There’s a song in the musical version of Legally Blonde, in which peroxide ditz Elle celebrates her impending good fortune. “Oh my god, oh my god, you guys,” she sings exultantly as she prepares to accept her beau’s proposal of marriage. Since leaving the role at the start of 2011, Sheridan Smith has continued hollering the words more or less non-stop.

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10 Questions for Internet Broadcaster Jamal Edwards

joe Muggs

In six and a half years of existence, SBTV has redefined what youth culture broadcasting can be. It began as nothing more than a YouTube channel where Jamal Edwards would put up videos he had filmed of his favourite grime MCs – but his natural ambition and charm ensured it kept expanding from that base.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Writers Ray Galton and Alan Simpson

Jasper Rees

Is Steptoe and Son the platonic ideal of the British sitcom? Two men trapped in eternal stasis, imprisoned by class and bound together by family ties as if by hoops of steel, never to escape: it’s what half-hour comedy should be. Posterity would seem to agree, because since the sitcom ended in 1974 the two rag and bone men have never been out of work, appearing in the cinema, on stage and radio.

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Interview: Braquo and A Prophet screenwriter Abdel Raouf Dafri

Kieron Tyler

Explaining the difference between the first series of the uncompromising French policier Braquo and the second, which he has come on board to write, Abdel Raouf Dafri says his take is “even more violent, even more sarcastic. The line between the good guys and the bad guys is even more fluid”. Dafri knows about bad guys. He wrote Mesrine and A Prophet. He also knows series one of Braquo is a tough act to follow.

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