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The Prisoner at 50: celebrating a landmark TV show

Jamie Andrew Sep 29, 2017

Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, Patrick McGoohan’s The Prisoner was imaginative, unfathomable, and years ahead of its time...

It’s fifty years this month since The Prisoner premiered on British screens, bringing with it blazers, badges and mind-bending bad guys. The show ran for a mere two years, two truncated seasons and seventeen episodes, but its surreal imagery, iconic catchphrases, cerebral plots and absolutely bonkers ending have earned it a perennial place in our cultural consciousness.

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It's truly an odd-beast, quintessentially sixties in some respects, timeless in others. It's hard to describe or define it as any one thing: it's a spy show that isn't a spy show; it's an action show with bigger
See full article at Den of Geek »

Looking back at Yes Minister/Yes, Prime Minister

Juliette Harrisson Jun 8, 2017

As the nation goes to the polls, we revisit two political comedy classics, now available on Netflix UK...

Yes Minister/Yes, Prime Minister was a BBC sitcom that ran for five series and one special between 1980 and 1988. It starred Paul Eddington as the Right Honourable James Hacker MP (later Prime Minister), Nigel Hawthorne as Sir Humphrey Appleby, Permanent Secretary to the Minister for Administrative Affairs (later Cabinet Secretary) and Derek Fowlds as Bernard Woolley, Principal Private Secretary to the Minister for Administrative Affairs (later Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister). It was written by Sir Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn, and was a favourite show of then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

See related Doctor Who series 10: Empress Of Mars review

Technically, it was two shows: the original Yes Minister and a sequel series called Yes, Prime Minister. However, while there are some obvious differences between the
See full article at Den of Geek »

Why Margaret Thatcher loved her yes-man, Antony Jay | Letters

I am reminded, reading Antony Jay’s obituary (24 August) of the popularity of Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister outside the UK. In 1996, I had the great pleasure of meeting Eric Molobi. He was a South African businessman, who was brought up in a township, and who, in his youth was a political prisoner on Robben Island at the same time as Nelson Mandela. During our conversations, he mentioned that his favourite television of all time was Yes Minister. Upon my return to the UK I sent him the full sets, which were then on tapes, and they gave him many hours of enjoyment.

Given Margaret Thatcher’s sanctions policy, it is interesting that the machinations of our civil service and the wonderful Sir Humphrey were appreciated by two such different political personalities.

David Shannon

Woore, Shropshire

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See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Yes Minister co-writer Sir Antony Jay dies

Co-author of hit BBC political comedy has died at age of 86, his representative has said

Sir Antony Jay, the co-writer of the political satires Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister, has died at the age of 86. He was surrounded by his wife and family when he died peacefully on Sunday evening after a long illness.

Born in London, Jay started his career at the BBC’s current affairs and documentary department, where he was a founder member of Tonight, the groundbreaking current affairs programme, becoming its editor in 1962.

Related: Sir Antony Jay obituary

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See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Sir Antony Jay obituary

Co-writer of Yes Minister, BBC TV’s satire on the mechanics of government

Sir Antony Jay, who has died aged 86, was one of the two authors behind the influential 1980s BBC government satire Yes Minister and its successor Yes, Prime Minister. It was a broadcasting triumph that not only intrigued and attracted the civil service caste and politicians from Margaret Thatcher downwards, but has echoed around the world – with sales to 84 countries – and reverberated in spin-off books and a successful West End adaptation of Yes, Prime Minister.

The idea of a hapless politician, constantly thwarted, outwitted and occasionally saved by wilier, more devious, civil servants struck a resonant chord among viewers in democracies from Europe to Australia and the Us, and taught viewers valuable, if cynical, lessons about the shortcomings of governments. While it did not make Jay’s fortune – he and his co-author Jonathan Lynn were paid £1,200 an episode
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

‘Tower of Evil’ Blu-ray Review

Stars: Jill Haworth, Bryant Haliday, Dennis Price, George Coulouris, Anna Palk, William Lucas, Anthony Valentine, Jack Watson, Derek Fowlds, Derek Fowlds, Gary Hamilton, Candace Glendenning, Dennis Price, Robin Askwith, Seretta Wilson | Written by Jim O’Connolly, George Baxt | Directed by Jim O’Connolly

Set in deserted lighthouse on fog-shrouded Snape Island, the terror of the Tower of Evil begins when a nude, crazed woman slaughters a sailor who visits the island. When she is taken back to civilization, she is found to possess an ancient relic; and so the authorities mount an expedition to solve a mysterious series of psycho-sexual murders…

I distinctly remember the very first time I saw Tower of Evil, it was on British TV – around the same time as the classic BBC 2 Horror double bills, so around 1993-95 – and, as someone who equated British horror with the likes of Amicus and Hammer, seeing the gloriously
See full article at Blogomatic3000 »

BBC's Citizen Khan set to be remade in Germany

Corporation in talks to change format of sitcom so it is set around an immigrant Turkish family

BBC1 sitcom Citizen Khan is set to become the latest British show to be remade abroad with the corporation in talks to make a German version based around an immigrant Turkish family.

Now the BBC’s most popular sitcom among young audiences, Citizen Khan is following in the footsteps of other comedies that have been exported, such as The Office, Fawlty Towers and Yes Minister.

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See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Vote now: Can 8 of our favourite fictional Prime Ministers beat the real one?

Vote now: Can 8 of our favourite fictional Prime Ministers beat the real one?
As Britain digests the results of its General Election, a look back at some of the most memorable prime ministers from TV and the movies reveals a bunch only marginally more disconcerting than some of the real-life options.

Operating on a scale from complete idiocy through to full-blown murderous villainy, were they actually on the ballot paper, you'd probably do well to think twice before putting an X in their box. But you can be sure of one terrifying thought - someone out there would.

So who would you vote for, given the choice between the real prime minister and 8 of TV and film's most memorable premiers? Find out more about our fictional candidates below...

1. Baldrick in Blackadder: Back and Forth

Baldrick became an MP in a rotten borough during the opening episode of Blackadder the Third, mainly thanks to the help of a campaign partner who's especially keen to
See full article at Digital Spy - Movie News »

Vote now: Can 8 of our favourite fictional Prime Ministers beat the real one?

As Britain digests the results of its General Election, a look back at some of the most memorable prime ministers from TV and the movies reveals a bunch only marginally more disconcerting than some of the real-life options.

Operating on a scale from complete idiocy through to full-blown murderous villainy, were they actually on the ballot paper, you'd probably do well to think twice before putting an X in their box. But you can be sure of one terrifying thought - someone out there would.

So who would you vote for, given the choice between the real prime minister and 8 of TV and film's most memorable premiers? Find out more about our fictional candidates below...

1. Baldrick in Blackadder: Back and Forth

Baldrick became an MP in a rotten borough during the opening episode of Blackadder the Third, mainly thanks to the help of a campaign partner who's especially keen to
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

Rex Robinson, star of three classic Doctor Who serials, dies aged 89

Rex Robinson, known to TV audiences for his appearances in Doctor Who during the 1970s, has died aged 89.

The Derby-born star featured in three serials between 1972 and 1976.

Watch a clip of Rex Robinson in 1976 Doctor Who serial, 'The Hand of Fear' below:

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Steven Moffat is "changing the rhythm" of Doctor Who for series 9

Robinson played Dr. Tyler in 'The Three Doctors' and Gebek in 'The Monster of Peladon' - both oppposite Jon Pertwee.

He later starred alongside Tom Baker in 'The Hand of Fear' - and all three of his Doctor Who appearances were under the director Lennie Mayne.

Robinson's last credit was BBC Two's 1989 mini-series Shadow of the Noose and he also appeared in episodes of The Onedin Line, Only Fools and Horses and Yes Minister.

Roles in films including A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square (1979) and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

TV comedy’s top 10 jargon abusers

To celebrate the return of W1A, we salute the top 10 comedy characters who talk absolute mother-thumping rubbish…

Yesnobrilliantverygoodverystrong. As satirical BBC mockumentary W1A returns tonight for a triumphant second series, we celebrate TV comedy’s rich lineage of jargon fans.

Drawn from across the political spectrum and from TV’s most biting depictions of the worlds of business, government, technology and the media, these guys are master obfuscators. They're neologism-coiners and proponents of the kind of abuses to the English language that, in a just world, would see them locked up and force fed copies of The Elements Of Style.

From The Thick Of It to Peep Show, Yes Minister, The Office, Nathan Barley, The Day Today, and Drop The Dead Donkey, across the Pond to 30 Rock and Silicon Valley, we present TV comedy's top ten full-of-it jargon-meisters.

Stewart Pearson - The Thick Of It

Who is he?
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Pinkoes and Traitors: The BBC and the Nation by Jean Seaton review

A brilliant account of the BBC’s battles under Labour and Thatcher reveals an institution more important to the nation than it perhaps is today

These days, BBC crises reflect the corporation’s unique status as a kicked-around, intermittently revered piece of national furniture. The message of Jean Seaton’s tart, idiomatically written, brilliantly comprehensive history of the BBC in its prime is that this wasn’t always so. During the 1970s, and throughout the Thatcher years, the BBC existed in a state of more or less permanent crisis. It was starved of funds by a bruised, antagonistic Labour government, which considered abolishing the licence. Then, in the 1980s, it became the target of numerous handbaggings from Mrs T. Although the book’s title comes from a Private Eye Dear Bill column, it is clear that (though Thatcher didn’t watch much TV, except for Yes Minister, which she never
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Nighy, Jones Join "Dad's Army" Movie

Bill Nighy and Toby Jones are set to lead the cast of a movie adaptation of the classic 1970s BBC sitcom "Dad's Army".

Set in a fictional south-coast English town in 1940, the original comedy ran for nine series and followed the farcical exploits of a Home Guard platoon, a group of local volunteers ruled ineligible for military service due to advanced age or extenuating circumstances.

This platoon would be on the front line in the event of an invasion across the English Channel, but the series mostly got mileage out of its cast of eccentric characters.

In the film version, Jones will play the pompous and diminutive Captain Mainwaring, Nighy is set as the dry Sergeant Wilson. "Johnny English Reborn" director Oliver Parker and scribe Hamish McColl will serve in the same capacities on this film, while Damian Jones ("The Iron Lady") will produce.

The original series placed fourth in
See full article at Dark Horizons »

The Office, Top Gear and more: BBC Two's Greatest Ever Shows

BBC Two is 50 - the British Broadcasting Corporation's second eldest child hits the half-century mark today - Sunday, April 20.

Picking out the greatest shows from five decades of broadcasting seems like a near-impossible task, but never say that Digital Spy is easily cowed. These are - in our humble opinion - the channel's finest ever offerings.

BBC Two is 50: The Hour, Bottom and more shows to bring back

The rules are as follows: shows like Red Dwarf that originated on BBC Two are eligible, but shows better associated with another channel are not - say Top of the Pops, which aired on BBC One for the majority of its run but shifted to the sister channel for its final episodes.

Oh, and we're talking only original commissions - so no Us imports either. But even that barely narrows it down, so if you think there are any glaring omissions,
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

Big in the Balkans: British TV shows

A generation of young people in the Balkans have grown up on Only Fools and Horses, 'Allo 'Allo and Blackadder, the sense of humour chiming with their own

The most fun part of meeting people abroad? Bonding over British TV shows. I'm not talking about in the Us, or anglophile Sweden and Denmark, the top three countries for BBC export sales in 2012. I was in Serbia when someone told me with authority about the time Father Ted got lost in the lingerie aisle.

When friends from the Balkans visited London recently, they preferred a photo opportunity with the sign for Peckham – which they saw fleetingly from a bus – over a visit to Abbey Road. "Del Boy! Dad's gonna love this one!"

"Only Fools and Horses was on all the time. Bosnians could identify, I guess," says Aldin Kameric, 25. "Peckham looks like a random commie hood in Bosnia, with working-class people
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Ambassadors – TV review

So Mark and Jeremy, Aka David Mitchell and Robert Webb, are our men in Tazbekistan ...

Remember Craig Murray? Formerly our man in Tashkent, he accused the Uzbek regime of human rights abuses, fell out with them as well as with the Foreign Office, and was recalled – officially a disgrace, though to many a hero. Him. Well there's a bit of Craig Murray in this new comedy-drama Ambassadors (BBC2), with David Mitchell and Robert Webb as numbers one and two respectively at the British embassy in "Tazbekistan", an oil-rich former Soviet republic with a despot in charge and a very dodgy human rights record. There's also a hint of Graham Greene (though updated to an age when diplomats are called Keith and Neil); more than a hint of Yes Minister (it's pretty much Yes Your Excellency); and a splash of Borat, because it's set round about those parts, where the locals have moustaches.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Sir David Frost obituary

Veteran broadcaster who started out in the 60s satire boom and found worldwide fame with his TV interviews

For half a century, Sir David Frost, who has died aged 74 of a heart attack, was hardly ever off our television screens, from 1960s satire on the BBC to encounters with the great and good on al-Jazeera. In the process, he became the world's most celebrated television interviewer.

At the outset, the very success of this man in a stupendous hurry proved somewhat alarming to some – as the author and translator Kitty Muggeridge said of him in 1967: "He has risen without a trace." Worse than that, he was nicknamed the "bubonic plagiarist", for allegedly appropriating Peter Cook's gags and sketches from Beyond the Fringe for his television show That Was the Week That Was, and so piggybacking on the achievements of others.

No matter. In the decades that followed, Frost
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

12 British sitcom stars and their surprise movie appearances

Feature Simon Brew 28 Jun 2013 - 07:11

Ever watched a big movie, and stopped with a jolt when a star of a British sitcom pops up? Us too...

This feature is all the fault of the late Richard Marner. As the incompetent Colonel in 'Allo 'Allo, he built a performance that was indelible in our eyes. Thus, when he turned up in a big Hollywood thriller as the President of Russia, we unsuccessfully stifled a guffaw. A big guffaw.

And it got us thinking: what other times has a British sitcom star appeared out of the blue in a big movie, causing a sedentary double take from the comfort of our local Odeon? Glad you asked.

Two things. Firstly, this isn't designed to be a complete list, and also, we've covered films made after the actor or actress confirmed rose to prominence in a sitcom. Oh, and another thing: none of
See full article at Den of Geek »

"The Sopranos" - The Best Written Show Ever?

Last night the Writers Guild of America unveiled a list of what they are calling the 101 "Best Written TV Series of All Time."

The choices are mostly excellent, but like with any list - the ordering is highly debatable. "The Sopranos" and "Seinfeld" took the top two spots whilst current acclaimed shows like "Mad Men," "The Wire," "The Simpsons," "Breaking Bad" mixed with old classics like "The Twilight Zone," "Mas*H," "Cheers" and "Hill Street Blues".

Of course, everyone has their own take. I think some shows should be higher than they are such as "Deadwood," "The X-Files," "Game of Thrones" and "I Claudius". There's also some glaring omissions - the UK "The Office" makes it, but the far superior writing in the likes of Brit comedies like "Black Adder," "Yes Minister" and "The Thick of It" does not?

Here's the complete list, what do you think?

The Sopranos

Seinfeld
See full article at Dark Horizons »

German Political Satire Stole Dialoge from British Series ‘Yes Minister’

German Political Satire Stole Dialoge from British Series ‘Yes Minister’
Cologne, Germany– A political satire on German TV about a plagiarist politician itself copied lines of dialog from other sources, including the BBC’s Yes Minister. The series, Der Minister, which premiered this week to strong ratings on commercial network Sat.1, is a thinly veiled parody of the rise and fall of German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg. Guttenberg was Germany’s most popular politician and tipped as a top candidate to become Chancellor before he was forced to resign after admitting he copied large portions of his university doctorate. But as an article in German newspaper the Frankfurter Allgemeinen

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See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »
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