thu 13/08/2020

tv

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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Good Cop: From Page to Screen

Stephen Butchard

On Thursday the BBC will screen the opening episode of the television drama Good Cop. I finished writing it back in August 2010, and on the strength of that story and ideas for a total of four episodes, the series was green-lit in February 2011. We completed filming (pictured below) by the end of December 2011, then came post-production. Now at last we have our transmission date and it will be broadcast to the world.

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Paula Milne on writing White Heat

Paula Milne

Each decade is a response to and reaction again the previous decade. I’m a child of the Sixties, which were clearly to some extent a response to the post-war austerity of the Fifties. You felt the presence of the war. It was the elephant in the room. My parents’ generation had fought or driven ambulances and been informed by its values. My father was blinded in the last week of the war. After the trauma of war, his generation seemed to seek contentment and stability.

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Peter Cook Season, British Film Institute

Bruce Dessau

The death of Peter Cook on 9 January 1995 was my JFK moment. I'll never forget what I was doing when I heard the news. I was driving from London to Granada Studios in Manchester to interview comedian Caroline Aherne. At the time she was married to the New Order bass guitarist Peter Hook, so when the radio announced that Peter Cook was dead my ears did a double take.

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theASHtray: Homeland, Kings of Leon, and we need to talk about Aïda

ASH Smyth

So Homeland is here, and mid-ranking-CIA-operative Claire Danes is chasing Marine-Sergeant-and-possible-al-Qaeda-double-agent Damian Lewis all over the shop (but really only in their heads, so far), and neither of them is getting anywhere fast, so Claire goes home for a kip and sticks on some relaxing music, and would you Adam ‘n’ Eve it? – another bloody jazz nerd!

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