I was a slightly awkward 13-year-old when I met Maggie Philbin. I'd won a competition to design a logo for unleaded petrol, and she presented the prizes to a group of us assembled in an ugly and inappropriately corporate conference centre in Westminster. The real prize, of course, was meeting the Tomorrow's World presenter, who represented the glamour of primetime television, the inspiration of a successful and authoritative woman, and the wonder of some incredible technology, much of which has become central to our lives.
Twenty-three years after she finished her seven-year stint presenting the BBC's flagship science and technology show, any mention of Philbin triggers a flurry of nostalgia among people of a certain age. Typical tweets about her describe her enthusiasm, her skill at translating complex ideas and willingness to sacrifice her
• Mad Men: the characters
• My years as a true-life Peggy Olson
Philip French, Observer film critic
The elegant opening credits of Mad Men made an indelible impression on me. Evoking the year 1960 with imaginative precision, they tell you this isn't a nostalgic sitcom but the story of a successful man in nightmarish freefall at the centre of a consumer society of enticing abundance. In the foreground is a man in a dark suit and white shirt viewed from behind. He puts his briefcase down in a smart, semi-abstract office and then begins his flailing descent down a canyon of gleaming skyscrapers surrounded by giant, glamorous advertisements. He eventually lands in a chair, slumped but thoughtful, a cigarette in his right hand.
The background is
Sometimes Dance Moms -- which follows demanding dance coach Abby Lee Miller, her tiny, flexible proteges and their preening, paranoid Midwestern mothers as they travel the country, putting on group and individual competitive dance numbers, each somehow more ridiculous than the last -- feels like Christopher Guest and Tim & Eric got collectively inspired by screaming and spandex and decided to make a show about it. But no. Dance Moms is not a mockumentary, nor is it a nightmare. It's real. And a real treat I'm going to miss after the season finale airs this Wednesday. But at least we know it's coming back.
Anyone who watches Dance Moms knows that Abby Lee is a busy woman,
Dance Moms follows seven children (Maddie, Chloe, Brooke, Paige, Nia, Mackenzie, and Vivi-Anne) ranging in age from 6 1/2 to 13 with an interest in dance as they train under the famed Abby Lee Dance Company in Pittsburgh. Along with various competitions and stylish routines, the show focuses on the mothers of the children and the conflict that arises between them over costumes, favoritism from Miss Abby, and choreography. Tonight's episode, titled "There's Only One Shining Star", will find the girls being cast in a Hollywood music video.
Lifetime recently renewed Drop Dead Diva for a
We spoke to Miller about the theatrics of her vocation and show, and to hear her tell it, the pyramid is made-for-tv invention. Peppering her speech with reminders about her and her studio's accomplishments, Miller told us about her background, the impetus for her toughness and why she wishes she could teach orphans...
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Charletta adjusts the dial on the remote device that controls the electrodes surgically inserted into her spinal column. Her left leg begins to twitch alarmingly. Her inability to climax during sexual intercourse, to remedy which is why she is taking part in the clinical trial of the Orgasmatron, remains unmoved. "But it's useful if I want to kick someone in the ass," she observes.
Welcome to Orgasm Inc, which has its British premiere next week as part of the Bird's Eye View festival. It is a wry and unsqueamish piece of film-making by the American documentary-maker Liz Canner, who has spent the best part of the last decade charting charted the race to market the first medical cure for female sexual dysfunction (Fsd), and attempted to
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