tue 15/06/2021

tv

The wisdom and wit of Carla Lane

Jasper Rees

Carla Lane, who has died at the age of 87, was the first from Liverpool. Before Alan Bleasdale and Willy Russell, long before Jimmy McGovern, hers was the loudest Liverpudlian voice on television portraying ordinary working people's lives. From The Liver Birds to Bread, from Butterflies to Solo, her comedies covered the waterfront of womanhood: husband-hunters, divorcees, matriarchal grandmothers, unhappy wives, mistresses.

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Antonia Bird: 'I get lumped together with Ken Loach'

Jasper Rees

Antonia Bird died in 2013 at the age of 62. The last television drama with her name on it was the first series of The Village, but the career which is celebrated in the BBC Four documentary Antonia Bird: From EastEnders to Hollywood were from a golden age of single drama. You always knew you were watching a film by Bird. She made a name with single-issue films with single-syllable titles.

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Victoria Wood: 'Please could you repeat the question?'

Jasper Rees

Victoria Wood was a very private national treasure. Not for her the tawdry catwalk of Twitter nor the klaxon of the confessional memoir. She wasn't comfortable talking to journalists and when she found one whom she could just about trust, she stuck with them.

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Peter Bowker on making 'The A Word'

Saskia Baron

Films, TV and books about autism often send me down memory lane; my older brother Timothy was one of the first children in the UK to be diagnosed with autism in the early 1960s, and I’ve kept a wary eye on how autism is portrayed ever since I can remember. But I wasn’t expecting the new BBC One drama, The A Word, to inspire a wave of nostalgia for Peter Perrett and The Only Ones, last seen at some grungy punk venue back in the late Seventies.

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First Person: The Estate We're In

Fran Robertson

Situated next to the beautiful Welsh Harp reservoir in North London, the West Hendon council estate was built in the 1960s to provide 680 homes to low income families. I first went there in November 2014. I had been following various housing stories around London and had heard about an estate where residents were fighting a multi-million pound regeneration which was forcing them out of their homes and where land valued at £12 million had been sold to developers for just £3.

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First Person: 'It's all about deception'

David Farr

I’ve been working on two projects over the last four years and like buses they’ve arrived on British screens at the same time. On the surface they seem very different. My adaptation of John Le Carré’s The Night Manager is a huge epic sprawling espionage drama that spans six episodes and several years, moving from the Egypt of the Arab Spring to London, Spain, Turkey and beyond.

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Rock History Revisited in HBO's Vinyl

Adam Sweeting

It was 20 years ago that Mick Jagger suggested to Martin Scorsese that they should make a film "that spanned four decades of the world of music in New York City". The idea has finally come to fruition as Vinyl, HBO's new 10-part series that kicks off on Sky Atlantic on Monday 15 February.

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Adele at the BBC, BBC One

Adam Sweeting

As you all know by now, Friday is D-Day for Adele's new album 25, and part of the all-media Adelathon is Friday night's show on BBC One, Adele at the BBC. It's a mix of live performances and taped sequences linked together by chunks of interview with Graham Norton, and makes the perfect relaunch package for the reclusive superstar. It opens, aptly enough, with her performing "Rolling in the Deep".

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Warren Mitchell - ‘If you could be Welsh and Jewish you really couldn’t miss’

Jasper Rees

“He has been in poor health for some time, but was cracking jokes to the last,” read the statement from Warren Mitchell’s family following news of his death today, at the age of 89. That will come as no surprise for those who remember the actor primarily as Alf Garnett, first in Till Death Do Us Part (on the BBC, 1965-75), and later In Sickness and In Health (1985-1992).

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Listed: The 100 Funniest Things about Downton Abbey

theartsdesk

It began with the sinking of Titanic and the loss of not one but two heirs to the title. James Cameron having already filmed this disaster, the producers of Downton Abbey were spared the expense of re-enacting it. Last week another Hollywood blockbuster was in viewers' thoughts as the most iconic scene from Alien was re-enacted at the Downton dining table. His Grace’s ulcer burst on scene in a lurid shade suggesting Crawley blood is less blue than previously supposed.

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