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Some of the best articles on the blog. Typically, these have a picture. It's a low entrance requirement, I know.


July 15, 2008

Competition time: Sky+ for almost free

Posted on July 15, 2008 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

A Sky+ HD box

It's competition time again. This time, it's your chance to get Sky+ for almost free.

No doubt you've heard of Sky+. It's a PVR for BSkyB that lets you record programmes, pause live TV and watch one programme while you record another.

But it's pricey. The Sky+ box normally costs £75-£120 plus anything up to £120 for installation; the Sky+ HD box costs anywhere between £150 and £399 plus up to £120 for installation, depending on how well you shop around.

However, as an exciting Sky subscriber, I've been given a voucher that entitles one other person to either a Sky+ or a Sky+ HD box at reduced cost. With the voucher, you can get the Sky+ box for free or the Sky+ HD box for £75 and installation will cost just £30. You could save £300.

And my voucher will be going to the winner of this competition. To enter, all you have to do is leave a witty comment or plead your case below. Deadline for entries is Monday 21st July 2008.

Usual rules apply: you have to live in the UK (obviously). You also need to be in position where you can say, "Yes, you can attach a satellite dish to my place of residence and wire it up." You can't be a Sky subscriber already, and you'll need to take out a year's contract; if you go for the Sky+ HD box, you'll also need to sign up for the Sky HD mix, which costs £10 a month extra. But what's the point of the HD box if you don't?

July 14, 2008

Review: Flashpoint 1x1

Posted on July 14, 2008 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Flashpoint

In the US/Canada: Fridays, 10pm ET/PT, CBS/CTV

Remember the writers' strike in the US? It seems so long ago now, yet it really did happen, honest. While curtailing the runs of many existing shows was its most obvious side-effect, it also killed off more than a few pilots, and stopped shows that were going to kick off in the Summer season.

While most US networks responded by commissioning easy-to-make reality TV shows to fill the gaps, some chose to think the unthinkable. CBS, as well as re-purposing Dexter for mainstream audiences, decided to look to other countries for some primetime programming.

Canada was the main port of call. That shouldn't be surprising as Canadian TV has come on in leaps and bounds of late. The Border might have been a natural choice as an import, given it's 24-esque qualities, and indeed some cable channels did look at it for a while. But the fact all Canada's ills turned out to be caused by Americans (and Muslims) put them off.

Now comes something more surprising: Flashpoint. It's set in Toronto, features Canadian actors playing Canadians and it's a co-production between CBS and Canada's CTV that's simulcast on both sides of the border - the first such show since Due South in 1994.

Continue reading "Review: Flashpoint 1x1"

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July 14, 2008

Today's Joanna Page/Lambert Gold: The Cazalets

Posted on July 14, 2008 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Joanna Page in The Cazalets

Today's Joanna Page - and also, in a blog crossover first, Lambert Gold - is The Cazalets, a mini-series from 2001 based on 'The Cazalet Chronicles' by Elizabeth Jane Howard.

Now, you may - or may not - have noticed that in many TV programmes there feature a certain group of people called 'women'. More often than not, particularly in period dramas, they're there to serve specific plot functions: to encourage/discourage the hero; to make tea; to bring up the children; and to be decorative and fallen in love with.

However, many noted scholars, intellectuals and TV producers are coming to the conclusion that these secondary characters could have emotions and feelings of their own; they could have their own viewpoints and opinions; they could even, in time, become the heroes - 'heroines' perhaps? - of some stories.

It was one such rebel faction, led by actress Joanna Lumley and producer Verity Lambert, who decided in 1998 to adapt 'The Cazalet Chronicles' as a mini-series. Convinced that a story of the various women and girls in the Cazalet family during the 30s and 40s could be as interesting as any similar tale about men, they scratched together co-funding from the BBC and WGBH.

An at-times grim tale that shows all the miseries that could befall even well-off women back in the 'good old days', the only real problem with the 2001 production is that they never had a chance to finish it.

Continue reading "Today's Joanna Page/Lambert Gold: The Cazalets"

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