fri 24/05/2019

tv

Sifting the Evidence: the Great Train Robbery, 50 Years On

Andy Plaice

There’s a wonderful moment in Bruce Reynolds’s autobiography when he describes what became of his mate, a fellow train robber who had fled to Canada but was hunted down by the enigmatic Tommy Butler. Four and a half years after the Great Train Robbery in which crooks made off with £2.6million, Detective Chief Superintendent Butler had come to arrest Charlie Wilson and was knocking on his door.

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Listed: Television's long-runners

theartsdesk

In the past weeks there has been a frenzy of publicity about the timelessness of a Time Lord. Through sundry incarnations (and one sizeable moratorium), Doctor Who has been on television screens for 50 years. But it's by no means the only show possessing what a football pundit once called stickability. In this edition of Listed, we celebrate the shows which have been knocking around for what feels like forever, nearly half of them for even longer than the good Doctor.

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Opinion: Today's BBC would have rejected Morecambe and Wise

Jasper Rees

A couple of weeks ago I was queueing to get into the BBC’s magnificently revamped HQ at Broadcasting House. Just behind me in the same queue were Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse. Their faces are craggier, their hair less confident than when the two comedians became part of the national furniture 20 years ago. And here they were, lightly joshing about the indignity of signing in to enter the offices of the national broadcaster which owes them so much.

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Why Birgitte of Borgen has your vote

Jasper Rees

God morgen. Yes, Borgen is back on Saturday nights, and it’s all change at the top of Danish coalition politics. It gives nothing away to say that Birgitte Nyborg is no longer statsminister – she called an election and the opposition’s bluff at the end of the second series but it turns out that after three years in power Denmark’s fictional electorate had had enough of the Moderates.

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Mystery Dance: On filming Elvis Costello

mark Kidel

Making a film about an artist with the phenomenal range and creative effervescence of someone like Elvis Costello was never going to be easy. There have been over 30 albums since he started out in 1977, hundreds of songs, many of which are as brilliant as anything written in the last 50 years, and a series of collaborations with artists including Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach, Bill Frisell, Chet Baker, the Brodsky Quartet, Emmylou Harris, T-Bone Burnett and many others.

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Listed: Jane Austen provides

Jasper Rees

Right at the start of the boom around 20 years ago, a Hollywood mogul is said to have told one of his people to get some more work out of that Jane Austen. She seemed like a good source of romantic comedies. Regrettably for all, there were only ever six titles from this promising scriptwriter, and those have been done and done again by film and particularly television.

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David Frost, giant of the small screen, dies

Jasper Rees

David Frost, who has died at the age of 74, was a character. The obituaries will tour the entirety of his career as swinging young presenter of TW3, as the first transatlantic celebrity of the gogglebox who gave his name to a sugary brand of Kelloggs cereal, and as a lifelong thorn in the side of Peter Cook. Then there was Through the Keyhole and the TV-am cataclysm later followed by his Sunday morning resurrection on the BBC.

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The Culture Show at Edinburgh: Leonardo da Vinci - The Anatomist, BBC Two

Claudia Pritchard

When Leonardo da Vinci went for a job in Milan, he wrote ahead mentioning his bridge-building skills and then turned up at court with a lyre he had made in the shape of a horse’s skull. But had he finished compiling his illustrated treatise on the human body - said Alastair Sooke in this Edinburgh Culture Show special - it would have been as a scientist, rather than as an artist, that he would have been remembered for centuries.

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Channel 4 Launches Second Series of 'Top Boy'

Adam Sweeting

Originally there was never any plan to take Top Boy into a second series, but its arrival in autumn 2011 provoked such acclaim and enthusiasm (mixed with a bit of useful controversy) that Channel 4 could hardly help themselves from recommissioning it. It has partly been a phenomenon driven by social media, where fans have persistently discussed the show and demanded another series over the intervening two years.

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Listed: Sitcoms that became movies

James Williams

This week sees the release of the eagerly anticipated Alan Partridge film, Alpha Papa. And while there are those of us who simply cannot wait to cringe along with Norwich’s favourite talk radio host, there is a rather vocal minority that are indignant at having their favourite sitcom sullied by the limitations of the movie format.

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