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Full details of the BFI & Radio Times Television Festival

Posted on February 14, 2017 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Crown at the BFI and Radio Times Television Festival

Although March might be a bit of a wash-out for tele at the BFI, April is looking a whole lot more promising thanks to the BFI & Radio Times Television Festival. I've already given you the highlights, but the BFI has now provided the rundown for the whole thing, including some shiny new events, special guests and even some archive French TV featuring Tom Baker. Being lazy, I've copied and pasted the whole shebang below.

New special guests* announced today include: Dame Maggie Smith (DOWNTON ABBEY), Aidan Turner (POLDARK), Claire Foy (THE CROWN), Stephen Daldry (THE CROWN), Sir Ridley Scott (TABOO), Charlie Brooker (BLACK MIRROR), Rowan Atkinson (MAIGRET), Jenna Coleman (VICTORIA), Susanne Bier (THE NIGHT MANAGER), Joe Wicks (THE BODY COACH), Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley (HEMSLEY + HEMSLEY), Tom Kerridge (TOM KERRIDGE'S PROPER PUB FOOD), Jack Thorne (NATIONAL TREASURE), Jed Mercurio (LINE OF DUTY), Lee Mack (NOT GOING OUT), Barry Cryer (I’M SORRY I HAVEN’T A CLUE), Adam Hills (THE LAST LEG/PARALYMPICS), Simon Nye (THE DURRELLS)

Guests join those names already announced: Michael Palin (MONTY PYTHON), Steven Moffat (DOCTOR WHO, SHERLOCK), Mark Gatiss (SHERLOCK), Julie Walters (NATIONAL TREASURE/DINNER LADIES), Keeley Hawes (THE DURRELLS), Josh O'Connor (THE DURRELLS), Simon Nye (THE DURRELLS), Freida Pinto (GUERRILLA), Babou Ceesay (GUERRILLA), Walter Iuzzolino (WALTER PRESENTS), Jacqueline Wilson (TRACY BEAKER), Judith Kerr (THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA), Michael Morpurgo (WAR HORSE) and Helen and Rob from The Archers

The BFI and Radio Times today announce the full line-up for the BFI & Radio Times Television Festival, celebrating the current golden age of TV with more than 40 events featuring some of the biggest names on the small screen. The new events announced today include the stars, writers and producers of some of the biggest TV shows of the year; including The Crown, Victoria, The Night Manager, Line of Duty, Poldark, Sherlock, Black Mirror and Strictly Come Dancing. Joining the line-up of TV stars is acclaimed director Sir Ridley Scott, who will be in conversation following a screening on Saturday 8 April of The Author of Beltraffio (TF1 1974), a precious gem which has recently been rediscovered by the BFI National Archive, and was directed by Sir Ridley’s brother, the late Tony Scott. This TV drama has been unseen since its UK transmission in 1976 and stars Doctor Who’s fourth Time Lord Tom Baker.

Other highlights announced today include:

IN CONVERSATION:

  • Dame Maggie Smith will make a rare appearance onstage on Saturday 8 April; the legendary Downton Abbey actor will reflect on her life on stage and screen.
  • The satirical writer and broadcaster Charlie Brooker will talk about his work including Screenwipe, Dead Set and the award-winning Black Mirror as well as his TV influences on Sunday 9 April.
  • Comedians Lee Mack and Barry Cryer have spent many years writing sketches and sitcoms for television; join these two giants of comedy on Sunday 9 April as they discuss their craft and comedies past, present and future.

PANEL DISCUSSIONS:

  • Opening the Festival on Friday 7 April will be an event dedicated to Maigret starring Rowan Atkinson. Atkinson will be joined by exec producer John Simenon, son of original Maigret creator Georges Simenon, to talk about bringing the enigmatic sleuth to the small screen.
  • A panel discussion about Netflix’s lavish drama The Crown with executive producer Stephen Daldry, Claire Foy, who plays the Queen, and more cast and crew TBA will take place on Saturday 8 April. The discussion will offer audiences an insight into the making of this majestic drama which recently won Golden Globes for actor Claire Foy and for Best Drama.
  • On Saturday 8 April Victoria stars Jenna Coleman and Tom Hughes will take a break from filming the second series, along with writer-creator Daisy Goodwin and executive producer Damien Timmer, to discuss ITV’s Sunday night hit drama.
  • The compelling adaptation of John le Carré’s book The Night Manager became one of the TV highlights of 2016; on Sunday 9 April Oscar-winning director Susanne Bier, executive producers Simon Cornwell and Stephen Garrett, and cast member Alistair Petrie will explain how they created such brilliant water-cooler TV that kept us on the edge of our seats.
  • On Saturday 8 April there will be a special Poldark event, with the drama’s leading man Aidan Turner, writer Debbie Horsfield and executive producer Damien Timmer. Audiences will also get a glimpse of series three, due to be aired this autumn.
  • On Sunday 9 April join Doctor Who executive producer Brian Minchin, and cast members to talk about the joys and challenges of making the world’s longest-running sci-fi series. With a sneak preview of clips from the upcoming series, set to be the last full series for Moffat and for star Peter Capaldi.
  • Moffat’s other worldwide smash for the BBC is the marvellous re-imagining of Arthur Conan Doyle’s great detective Sherlock, co-written and co-created by Mark Gatiss and exec-produced by Moffat’s wife Sue Vertue. An event on Sunday 9 April will see a discussion of the compelling sound of Sherlock with Gatiss and Vertue along with composers David Arnold and Michael Price.
  • Join writer Jed Mercurio and members of the cast of Line of Duty on Saturday 8 April as they discuss the latest series of the compelling drama as it moves to BBC One and the dark word of AC12 and police corruption. 
  • Meet the unsung stars of Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday 8 April; executive producer Louise Rainbow, talent executive Vinnie Shergill, director of choreography Jason Gilkison and head of costume Vicky Gill are some of the team responsible for putting together the glitziest programme on TV.
  • On Sunday 9 April athletes Libby Clegg and Susie Rogers will be joined by comedian and Last Leg host Adam Hills to discuss how Channel 4’s exciting, dedicated coverage of The Paralympics has changed public attitudes towards those who are physically different.
  • Join the country’s best-loved wordsmith Susie Dent on Saturday 8 April as she vacates Countdown’s dictionary corner to take audiences on an entertaining and informative journey across the rolling landscape of the English language.

MASTERCLASSES:

  • How to Become a Social Media Star on Saturday 8 April with guests Joe Wicks (The Body Coach) and the Hemsley Sisters (Hemsley + Hemsley), will reveal how they turned themselves into lifestyle gurus, TV presenters, and social media stars.
  • BAFTA-winning writer Jack Thorne will give a masterclass on Sunday 9 April, speaking about his influences and work at the forefront of British TV’s current golden age including National Treasure, Skins, Shameless and The Fades and his forthcoming adaption of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials for the BBC.

TREASURES FROM THE BFI NATIONAL ARCHIVE:

  • Sir Ridley Scott will be in discussion following a screening of his brother Tony’s TV drama Author of Beltraffio (TF1, 1974) which has remained unseen since its UK transmission in 1976. This drama was the British contribution to a five-part series of Henry James stories made for French TV in 1974 and stars Tom Baker.
  • The Festival programmers have plundered the BFI National Archive to put together a collection of memorable moments from Tom Jones’ outstanding ATV series This Is Tom Jones (1969-1971); on Saturday 8 April audiences will be able to revel in clips of special stars such as Dusty Springfield and Stevie Wonder performing one-off duets with their host.
  • TV Dinners with Tom Kerridge on Saturday 8 April will celebrate larger-than-life cookery stars such as Fanny Cradock and even Vincent Price, bringing us up to date via Mary Berry and Delia Smith with clips drawn from the BFI National Archive and hosted by the Michelin-starred chef and TV cookery star Tom Kerridge.

FAMILY EVENTS:

  • On Sunday 9 April there will be a preview of two brand new episodes from CBBC’s top football drama Jamie Johnson. Hear from the writers, selected cast and crew, plus a special celebrity guest, after the screening.

EVENTS WITH RADIO TIMES EXPERTS:

  • Spoiler alert! How to Write About Television on Saturday 8 April will see Radio Times’ TV Editor Alison Graham, Deputy TV Editor David Butcher and RT’s Choices writers share a few secrets of the previewer’s art.
  • The Making of a Cover Star on Saturday 8 April sees Radio Times Art Director Shem Law and prolific Radio Times photographer Don Smith discuss 90 years of iconic covers and what it takes to create them.

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What have you been watching? Including Beyond, Sherlock, and Man Seeking Woman

Posted on January 9, 2017 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

It's "What have you been watching?", my chance to tell you what movies and TV I’ve been watching recently and your chance to recommend anything you've been watching. 

TV networks around the world are starting to crank into life, with a few old favourites returning to our screens and a few more new ones on their way this week (Canada - I'm looking at you here). That means that after the jump, as well as the latest episodes of Shooter and Sherlock, I'll be looking at the return of Lethal Weapon, Man Seeking Woman, and Son of Zorn.

I've not yet had a chance to watch NBC's gritty Wizard of Oz adaptation, Emerald City, from Friday, so I'll be reviewing that separately on Wednesday. But the other major newbie out last week was…

Beyond (US: Freeform; UK: Available now on Netflix)
A gender-swapped insipid amalgam of every other Young Adult sci-fi/fantasy show you've ever watched, whether it be Twilight or even Freeform's own Kyle XY, in which a young adult (Burkely Duffield in this case) discoveres he's very, very special for some arbitrary reason and both a skulking conspiracy and a band of goodies want to recruit him to their respective teams.

Here, the conceit is that Duffield was knocked out when he was 12 years old and since then has been in a coma. Except during that time, his disembodied consciousness went to another realm - unimaginatively called The Realm - something that's given him telekinetic/firestarting abilities. Waking up, he's pursued by a 'man in a yellow jacket' (Peter Kelamis), as well as a foreign-sounding 'ninja girl from The Matrix' (Dilan Gwyn), while having visions of an old man (Alex Diakun). Duffield not only has to recover his memories from that time in The Realm and try to escape those who would control him, he's also got to get used to the new world of cellphones, Wikipedia and being a 12-year-old in a 24-year-old's surprisingly unatrophied body. There's also all the changes in his family, with younger brother now effectively the elder brother and his parents having separated.

There are moments in Beyond - most of them in the pilot - where the show's almost cool, such as when Duffield uses his powers for the first time. There's also a sweet charm to Duffield's character, who tries to woo girls by talking about science and history, because that's all he knows about, having missed out on half his life. Kelamis's 'yellow jacket' is both sinister and amusing, and the introduction in episode 5 or so of a coma-girl with powers of her own was a welcome addition.

But I managed to sit through six episodes without finding anything much more than that, although maybe I should have held on a bit longer until Martin Donovan shows up as the Big Bad. There's not much danger, nothing too exciting about The Realm beyond a few dogs. Duffield's powers seem to consist of accidentally blowing things up a lot, which gets boring after a while. Gwyn is far less Trinity, far more Bella (but before she gets all cool and vampirey), constantly pining after Duffield but never actually doing much. 

The show also has a 24-year-old's memory of history. So while it's interesting we learn that US youth have in just 12 years gone from first making phone calls to talk to someone they like to texting them (something last week's Lethal Weapon touches on, oddly enough), everything else exists in an oddly timeless vacuum. While we're clearly in something like the present day, judging by the phones and the CSI:Miami-style floating displays and touchscreens behind invalids' beds, Duffield doesn't know about Apple Computers (iPod generation 2 released 2002) and his 12-year-old self had a bedroom adorned with original Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back posters. Meanwhile, Kelamis wears a pair of glasses straight out of 1988.

All in all, you're probably better off watching Shadowhunters, if you're going to be watching any YA fantasy shows.

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News: Sherlock trailer; France's Netflix alternative; Ireland's network do-over; + more

Posted on December 12, 2016 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

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