sat 15/06/2024

tv

Listed: Whistleblowers

Jasper Rees

Even now, as Edward Snowden floats in the diplomatic neverwhere of Sheremetyevo airport, someone somewhere is plotting the movie. Currently the story of the man who blew the whistle on the National Security Agency looks like it could still play out as farce, but it may yet turn to tragedy.

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James Gandolfini 1961-2013

Adam Sweeting

Mobster roles have helped define many of America's greatest screen actors, from James Cagney to Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. Thanks to his portrayal of Tony Soprano in HBO's TV masterpiece The Sopranos, James Gandolfini has made an unforgettable addition to their ranks.

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theartsdesk in Bradford: Bollywood Carmen Live

Jasper Rees

“My generation all were steeped in Bollywood.” Meera Syal, Wolverhampton born and bred, is recalling the cinematic influences of her youth. “It was our major link to India and was much more current than trying to make a phone call. You did feel that, though you were so far away, you were watching the same movies as your cousins.”

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Inspector Morse's Last Round

Jasper Rees

Oxford. A glum afternoon in early spring, 2000. Tourists clogging the city’s arteries. On a terrace overlooking the river Cherwell, a tour guide finishes her spiel and shepherds a flock of pensioners on to the next destination. A lone squat figure with silver hair, leaning contemplatively against the railings, doesn’t budge. The tour guide is convinced he’s one of hers. A quick cup of tea, she says kindly, and it’s back on the coach to Stratford.

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Thatcher: We are an impersonator

Jasper Rees

Mrs Thatcher famously presided over a huge rise in unemployment, but down the years she kept a large sorority of impersonators (and one male one) off the dole. She was lucky with her mimics, who included some of the great actresses of the age, and never luckier than when Meryl Streep (pictured below) inhabited the role of Britain's first female Prime Minister.

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10 Questions for Actor Michael Emerson

Adam Sweeting

He may not be a household name, but Michael Emerson became a household face by virtue of his role as the sinister Benjamin Linus in Lost, the leader of the group called the Others on the show’s hallucinatory South Pacific island. Emerson, born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 1954, was already a theatre veteran with a string of intermittent TV performances to his credit.

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Opinion: How soon is too soon for plot spoilers?

Jasper Rees

Last November, for the 25,000th time on the stage, the actor playing Sergeant Trotter in The Mousetrap stepped forward during the curtain call and asked members of the audience not to reveal the play's surprise ending to others. To do so would, by implication, spoil the whodunnit for future audiences. Over the years the odd clever-clogs stand-up has disobeyed the injunction. And whoever wrote the play’s Wikipedia entry also gives the game away.

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Television: 10 of the Best from 2012

Adam Sweeting

Far be it from me to try to impose shape or meaning on the past 12 months of television. You'd need teams of statisticians and psephologists to have any chance of drawing conclusions from the whirling cosmos of TV, and its infinite variety of soaps, shopping, repeats, weird sports, ailing current affairs programmes, forgotten comedies and obscure dramas. Instead, in a spirit of shameless subjectivity, here are 10 of my favourite performances from 2012.

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Larry Hagman, 1931-2012

Adam Sweeting

It was the Seventies/Eighties supersoap Dallas which made Larry Hagman a household name, and his portrayal of the amoral, unscrupulous oil baron JR Ewing became a benchmark character in TV history. Hagman's performance also helped to make Dallas one of the highest-rated shows of all time, and the question "Who shot JR?" (which somebody did at the end of series three) became the focus of intense global speculation.

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Great Danes: Sofie Gråbøl and Søren Sveistrup

Demetrios Matheou

There was a time when we’d have felt withdrawal symptoms over the absence of The West Wing or The Sopranos, or The Wire; invariably it was American television that had its hooks in us. Now it’s Danish. And it’s time for a fix. Cue The Killing, which returns to add its own particular chill to the winter.

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