What Waterloo Road taught us about long-running dramas

After exhausting every conceivable plotline in its 10-series run, the BBC's school drama is being axed. But it has valuable lessons for anybody who wants to create a prime-time drama with staminaTelevision reference books and websites follow the practice of cemeteries by placing after each name a bracket containing the dates of the beloved: Footballers' Wives (2002-2006), Bad Girls (1999-2006) and so on. However, unlike gravestones, broadcasting histories also taunt the still-existing by... [continue]

TV review: Endeavour; The Dambusters' Great Escape

News: Main section | - 31 march 2014 - 09:15
Endeavour is only moderately gritty, and very charming in an English way. More importantly, it is true to the spirit of Morse, and certainly superior to LewisI've made a few cock-ups in my time as a journalist, as I'm sure you can imagine. Like using a picture of Edwyn Collins to illustrate a piece about Morrissey. And the time I enraged an entire country and was sent there, to say sorry, to everyone.But the one I think I'm most ashamed of is a review of the Inspector Morse prequel Endeavour, in... [continue]

50 years of BBC2: from David Brent to the Blackstuff

News: Main section | - 31 march 2014 - 08:14
As the channel celebrates its half-centenary, key figures behind some of its landmark programmes from Arena and The Office to Boys From the Blackstuff pay tribute to the channel that tore up the TV rulebookAs a BBC trainee in the late 90s, Stephen Merchant made a short film in which he cast his friend, Ricky Gervais, as the awful boss of a small paper firm. The short eventually became The Office, a sitcom first broadcast in 2001 which ran for two series and won multiple awards, including a... [continue]

The Past: 'a whirlwind of warring emotions' Mark Kermode's film review

News: Main section | - 30 march 2014 - 18:02
Bérénice Bejo is outstanding in Oscar-winner Asghar Farhadi's rich study of people trapped in physical and emotional limboIn the Oscar-winning drama A Separation, the Iranian director Asghar Farhadi painted a piercingly insightful picture of a failing marriage framed within the strictures of a rigidly regulated society the personal and political intertwined, with painful consequences. Although the film depicted (and was indeed made under) often difficult circumstances, its characters were as... [continue]

Mad Men meets the 70s with lava-lamp minis and handlebar moustaches

News: Main section | - 30 march 2014 - 10:56
Hemlines and hirsuteness on the rise but Don Draper sticks to the Brylcreem for the final season of TV showMad Men has entered the 1970s; you can tell by Peggy Olsen's hemlines. A mid-thigh skirt, considered transgressive in the 60s, is now acceptable office attire in the final season of the TV show which premieres in the UK on 16 April. [continue]

Damian Lewis joins cast of John le Carré film Our Kind of Traitor

News: Main section | - 29 march 2014 - 00:24
Homeland actor cast as member of British intelligence for adaptation which also stars Ewan McGregor and Naomie Harris [continue]

Richard Ayoade: 'Making films is exhilarating and terrifying'

News: Main section | - 29 march 2014 - 00:24
Richard Ayoade shot to fame as Moss in The IT Crowd but it was Submarine, his debut behind the camera, that won him critical acclaim. As his new film, The Double, is released, he talks about pride, performing and giving up his pop dreams [continue]

On my radar: Jon Robin Baitz's cultural highlights

News: Main section | - 29 march 2014 - 00:24
The American playwright and screenwriter on True Detective, David Hockney and langoustines at the River Cafe [continue]

Game of Thrones season four to receive US-UK simulcast

Fantasy drama will be broadcast at exactly the same time in both countries for its fourth season beginning 6 AprilGame of Thrones will receive a simultaneous broadcast in the US and the UK, it was announced at the London premiere on Tuesday.In the US, HBO will show season four of the fantasy epic on Sundays at 9pm ET, which Sky Atlantic will broadcast in the UK at the same time, at 2am Monday GMT. The UK channel will then repeat the episode on its usual 9pm slot on Monday evenings. [continue]

Rick Santorum says new Christian western offers 'message of forgiveness'

The Redemption of Henry Myers is the latest movie from the former presidential hopeful's film company EchoLight StudiosIt looks to have all the traditional ingredients of a truly rootin' tootin' western, including bank robberies, gunfights and murderous outlaws out for revenge. But The Redemption of Henry Myers, the new movie from former US presidential wannabe Rick Santorum, also throws something fresh into the mix: Jesus.The evangelical tale, which debuted on the Hallmark Movie Channel in the... [continue]