fri 22/03/2019

tv

'Most of the time I play complete losers'

Jasper Rees

The world now knows him as Lord Crawley, stiff-backed in white tie and tails, regimental garb or, for relaxation, tweed. But before he became the face of Downton Abbey – and of bumbling institutional incompetence in Twenty Twelve and W1A – Hugh Bonneville could be seen in roles of considerable depth and range, including a moving Philip Larkin and a brutish husband in the BBC's Daniel Deronda.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Actress MyAnna Buring

Adam Sweeting

There came a moment, around three years ago, when MyAnna Buring suddenly seemed to be in everything. "I'm so sorry!" she shrieks (ironically) when I point this out to her. She had given warning of her arrival by appearing in Ben Wheatley's Kill List and, rather more prominently, as Tanya (who as you'll know was a vegetarian vampire from the Denali coven) in the concluding pair of Twilight films.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Novelist Hilary Mantel

Jasper Rees

Hilary Mantel is a maker of literary history. Wolf Hall, an action-packed 650-page brick of a book about the rise and rise of Thomas Cromwell, won the Man Booker Prize in 2009. Its successor, the just as sturdy Bring Up the Bodies, followed it onto the Booker rostrum three years later - the first sequel ever to win the prize in its 44-year history. Then came the RSC's stage adaptation of both novels, which started in Stratford, proceeded to the West End and this year...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Actress Sofie Gråbøl

Jasper Rees

Sofie Gråbøl as Danish royalty: it hardly stretches credulity. The face of Nordic noir has been a star in her home country ever since appearing in Bille August's Pelle the Conqueror in 1987, but is solely familiar on these shores as Sarah Lund, the jumpered Copenhagen detective from three unmissable series of The Killing.

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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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