Monday morning day-off news

Comic Doctor

You’d never guess I wasn’t supposed to be working today, would you? Must. Work. Harder…

Doctor Who


  • Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse will be two separate movies in the UK. The first part will be out on September 21st
  • Iron Man will have both the original grey and the more famous red and gold suits
  • Frost-Nixon is being made into a movie with Frank Langella as Nixon. Will Michael Sheen get to be Frost again?
  • Ridley Scott to direct revisionist Robin Hood film Nottingham, with Russell Crowe as the brave and good Sheriff
  • Daniel Craig doesn’t like having his bottom snapped, allegedly
  • Darren Aronofsky wants to make a film about Noah
  • Gordon Ramsay: the movie?
  • Old Clive Owen mini-series Second Sight to be adapted


British TV

  • Freesat’s been given the all-clear by the BBC Trust. Good news: it’ll be futureproof
  • Richard Herring talks about his new sitcom


  • New characters for Adult Swim
  • Conan O’Brien blames NBC for the demise of Andy Barker, PI
  • Studio 60‘s coming back on May 24 in the current ER slot
  • Whatever happened to Masters of Science Fiction?
  • The UK’s Man Stroke Woman to be remade by and with Sean Hayes

Review: Out – The Complete Series – Special Edition

Many people will only know of the late Tom Bell as the sexist DS Otley in Prime Suspect. But his acting career was wide and varied. Perhaps Bell’s finest hour was in Out in his BAFTA-winning lead role of Frank Ross, a former bank robber who tears up his old manor after eight years inside, trying to find out who put him behind bars.

Written by Trevor Preston, a contributor to Callan and previous Euston Films productions such as Special Branch, Out is firmly rooted in the revenge thriller genre, as well as the general Euston Films milieu. Like Walker in Point Blank (1967) and Carter in Get Carter (1971), Ross is an iconic figure, a sharply dressed gangster who’s prepared to go to almost any lengths to find out who informed on him.

While the grittiness of those films lives on in these six episodes, it would be wrong to think of Out as simply a standard crime thriller. Taking the Krays and other real-life criminals as guidance, it explores the relationships that a career criminal might make with others, including his family, his friends, other criminals and the police, as well as the rules that bound societies like that together during the 60s and 70s.

Continue reading “Review: Out – The Complete Series – Special Edition”

Third-episode verdict: Painkiller Jane

The Carusometer for Painkiller Jane5-Full-Caruso

Oh the pain. If only there were some way to end it! Fortunately, there is. It’s called the off switch.

After three not terribly good episodes of Painkiller Jane, I’m throwing in the towel. It’s not without its charms: at its heart are some intriguing ideas; it feels at times like a 21st Century version of the rather good 80s show Max Headroom (the US sci-fi version, not the UK chat show); Kristanna Loken is?��Ǩ�� pretty; and it does look good.

But style can overcome only so much lack of substance. It’s appalling in execution. The writing is leaden and cliché d, with dialogue that makes you feel like you’ve got Ebola; there’s no real sense of place or time, so allusions to “Brad and Angelina” make absolutely no sense whatsoever in context; there’s no characterisation and even Jane only gets to be something more than a cipher because she does the ridiculous voiceovers; the plots are bizarre mishmashs of effortlessly poor detective investigations, action thrillers and homely moralising (the bad guys turn out to be lonely teenagers or well meaning little old men); and the actors are blessed with less talent than a computer-generated console game interstitial.

So The Medium Is Not Enough has great pleasure in declaring Painkiller Jane has scored a five or ‘Full Caruso’ on The Carusometer quality scale. A Full Caruso corresponds to “a show in which David Caruso might be responsible for every aspect of production. In an attempt to make the show futuristic, he will force the cast to wear sunglasses, even when it means they’ll fall over in the poorly lit sets he will insist on. He will also insist they end every sentence with the word ‘hip!’ because ‘People will talk different in the future’. All their shirts will be made from PVC.”

TV things at the NFT next month

As usual, the NFT has a few nice TV treasures on display next month, as well as some excellent events. Here are the highlights, IMHO.

Friday 11th May: Preview: The War on Democracy + John Pilger intro

Pilger’s first feature-length film for the cinema, looking at Latin America. Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez gives Pilger a rare face-to-face interview.

Saturday 19th May: Bar Mitzvah Boy

Jack Rosenthal’s bittersweet comedy about a teenage Jewish boy’s coming of age. Plus 15 minutes of clips from the strand.

Saturday 19th May: Play for Today discussion

A panel of writers, directors, producers and academics debate Play for Today and its impact. How did it work and what were its achievements? No idea who the panel are though.

Wednesday 23rd May: A Night With the Bonzos

TV appearances by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, including Do Not Adjust Your Set and Son of the Exploding Sausage. May feature appearances by actual Bonzos.

Wednesday 23rd May: Coming to England

Floella Benjamin leads a discussion on the experiences of first-generation immigrants to the UK in the 50s and 60s. Includes a screening of Coming to England, the autobiographical account of her journey to the UK.

Friday 25th May: Eccentric England

One Man’s Week: Vivian Stanshall BBC 1975 30min

The Bonzos’ Viv Stanshall cycles around Muswell Hill, hunting records and attending to his terrapins.

Dave Allen in Search of the Great English Eccentric ATV 1974 52 mins

Meet a man who resides in a small iron box, plus Bonzos cohort Bruce Lacey, who has a home-made robot-lady in his shed. Meanwhile, Ivor Cutler plays the harmonium and sings at the zoo.

The Moon and the Sledgehammer UK 1971 65 mins

Words like ‘weird’ and ‘odd’ do not do justice to this remarkable, eerily beautiful folk documentary recording the exploits of a strange, mysterious family living deep in the woods – according to their own rules – along with their giant steam engines, pump organs, broken-up buses, and all manner of outlandish regalia. Once seen, never forgotten!

The Mediatheque will be crammed with Play for Today stuff that you can view for free as well. Plus there’s film stuff at the NFT as well, apparently.