Wednesday, December 19, 2007

THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMAN'S APOCALYPSE

'Welcome to Royston Vasey - You'll Never Leave".

On Channel 4 on Friday 28 December 2007 is the premiere of the League of Gentleman's big screen finale, Apocalpyse, to the characters from the TV series.

The forbidding road sign that 'welcomes' visitors to England's weirdest town sees a reverse flow for some of the population. They learn that their creators, Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton, Reece Shearsmith and Jeremy Dyson plan to stop writing the series and thus end their fictional lives. Mad butcher Hilary Briss (Gatiss), Herr Lipp (Pemberton) and Geoff (Shersmith) set out on a desperate mission to London to confront their creators and sabotage their latest effort, a feature film called The King's Evil , by infiltrating and disrupting the shoot. Directed by Steve Bendelack (who also directed the TV series), this hysterical conceit also sees appearances from other Royston Vasey residents, including Mickey Michaels, Pauline Campbell-Jones and Papa Lazarou.

Rather like A Cock and Bull Story , the film-within-a-film-within-a-film plot works in its favour. If there is a drawback for the fans of the TV series, it is that some of the most popular characters only have brief appearances before the demented trio leave Royston Vasey for the scriptwriters' London offices. But that's more than compensated for by seeing them confront their creators as well as invading The King's Evil , with Bernard Hill as William of Orange and Victoria Wood as his wife Mary. And, of course, the film wouldn't be complete without the stop-motion monster that's straight out of Ray Harryhausen's imagination.

Director: Steve Bendelack
Writers: Jeremy Dyson, Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton, Reece Shearsmith
Cast: Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton, Reece Shearsmith, Michael Sheen, Danielle Tilley

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Just a little post to say Merry Christmas to all our readers and newsletter subscribers. We've lined up some great giveaways to keep you busy over the holidays including

FAMILY GUY PRESENTS: Blue Harvest
THE CAMOMILE LAWN
DOCTOR WHO SERIES THREE
A TIME TO REMEMBER
THE SAINT SET FOUR
THE SAINT SET FIVE
JANE EYRE
I SPY VOLUME TWO
E STREET - MR BAD'S REVENGE PART 2
THE OTTO PREMINGER COLLECTION
THE ROMAN POLANSKI COLLECTION
LOVESTRUCK WRESTLINGS No1 FAN
DANIEL BOONE SERIES ONE
PREMONITION
BLACK SNAKE MOAN

A big thank you to every one who has got in touch with us this year, we have a huge 2008 planned and some great competitions ccoming up too.

Have a very good festive break and a safe New Year from everyone here at Memorable TV Towers.

Monday, December 17, 2007

LARK RISE TO CANDLEFORD episode one

Lark Rise to Candleford which begins soon on BBC1 is a star studded adaptation (Julia Sawalha, Dawn French, Ben Miles) adaptation of Flora Thompson's trilogy, here we take a look at what is store in the first episode.

When a new baby arrives in the Timmins family, Laura, the eldest, is forced to leave the family home and embark on a new life.

Having spent her early years in the small hamlet of Lark Rise, in late 19th Century Oxfordshire, Laura finds herself working in the Post Office, the hub of the bustling market town of Candleford, under the watchful eye of the woman who is to become her mentor, the effervescent Dorcas Lane.

Just as Laura leaves behind her family and friends in Lark Rise and is beginning to enjoy the delights of Candleford, the two communities are thrown into conflict over Post Office regulations. The poor people from the hamlet take on the well-to-do folks of the town and Laura finds herself caught in the middle.

Why should the poor folks of Lark Rise pay three-and-six for the delivery of a telegram when the "counter-jumpers" from Candleford pay nothing?

Dorcas finds herself enforcing Post Office rules that her heart can't abide, and it requires her to be at her most mischievous to unravel the dilemma.

In doing so, Dorcas turns to her childhood friend Sir Timothy for aid. These two have some history, the kind that just won't go away. Sir Timothy's wife Adelaide , a city girl who has never quite settled in these parts, finds herself caught up in a love story that is far from over.

Back in Lark Rise, Laura's old neighbour, Caroline Arless is all-too-eager to succumb to a travelling brewery salesman's offer of a barrel of beer on the never-never. And so begins a tangled tale that will lead Caroline to the brink of debtors' prison and beyond.

WIRE IN THE BLOOD Prayer of the Bone

Robson Green goes stateside for a special episode of the acclaimed and hard-hitting drama Wire In The Blood, made in America for ITV1 by Coastal Productions.

The feature-length thriller, filmed in and around Austin, Texas, takes talented but eccentric clinical psychologist Dr Tony Hill (Robson Green) away from the familiar streets of Bradfield and pits him against the might of the US legal system, sweltering heat, and rattlesnakes.

Prayer of the Bone, written by acclaimed scriptwriter Patrick Harbinson (ER, Red Cap, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) comes ahead of a sixth, eight-part series of Wire In The Blood.

The action begins as Tony Hill is invited to Luther in Texas as an expert witness in the case of an American man accused of brutally slaughtering his wife and young son and daughter.

Iraq combat veteran Darius Grady (Brad Hawkins) has confessed to the crimes but his defence team claim his traumatic experiences in war have left him with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and that he killed his family while hallucinating – a mitigating factor that could spare him the death penalty.

The prosecution want Tony to help them prove that Darius’s supposed PTSD is a fraud. But alone in a strange country without his usual team in support, surrounded by hostile lawyers and police, Tony finds himself at the centre of a maelstrom of competing legal and political interests. He’s insulted, threatened, framed and physically attacked.

Meanwhile his doubts grow about the case. Nobody is quite what they seem and everyone has a vested interest in Darius. Everyone, that is, except Darius himself – who seems peculiarly determined to die.

As the trial proceeds, Tony’s illicit investigation uncovers drugs scams and infidelity in the small town of Luther. But only when Tony questions all of his own assumptions does he start to uncover the tragic truth behind what really happened to Darius’ family.

Wire In The Blood is based originally on the books by top crime writer Val McDermid. As well as sales to more than 30 countries around the world, including America and Australia, it has picked up several international awards.

Prayer of the Bone is written by Patrick Harbinson, directed by Declan O’Dwyer and produced by Bill Boyes. The executive producers are Sandra Jobling and Philip Leach. A Coastal and BBC America Co-production for ITV1.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

LOSE 30 STONE OR DIE

Amazing hour long documentary Lose 30 Stone or Die airs on ITV1 on Tuesday 18 December 2007 @ 9:00pm and tells the story of a man who is so overweight that his own body is going to kill him within a year, and his painful struggle to reclaim his life. Thirty-six-year-old Colin weighs 48 stone and is a prisoner in his own home because his weight means he can’t even manage to walk more than a few steps.

He is in constant pain, has severe difficulty breathing during the night, needs someone to dress him each day and feels so low he has contemplated suicide.

Doctors have warned Colin that unless he loses weight, he will die. Lose 30 Stone or Die is a poignant and moving account of Colin’s battle to lose the pounds. In emotional scenes, Colin is seen as he prepares to undergo a series of major operations to reduce his stomach and drastically cut his weight.

Colin and his family talk candidly about the distress his weight problem has caused. His mum reveals how she has sold her house in a final effort to raise the money for Colin’s surgery.

The film also uncovers what lies behind Colin’s weight problem: a troubled family history. He says that he used to be very fit and healthy, but reveals how drug and alcohol problems in his early twenties sent his weight spiralling out of control.

He says: “People look at me and say, ‘he must be greedy and eat loads’, but I don’t. I am in constant pain with my back and my legs. I dream of coming through the operation. I want my life back.”

TRINNY AND SUSANNAH UNDRESS THE NATION - UNIFORM

We all know that the majority of workplace uniforms are absolute tat but the dynamic duo once again set out to change all that, in Trinny and Susannah Undress the Nation - Uniform (Tuesday 18 December 2007 @ 8:00pm on ITV1).

Despite being worth a massive £430 million pounds a year, Trinny and Susannah soon discover, thanks to the pink pod, that the nation’s uniforms are largely made up of ‘fleeces, shirts, and ill-fitting trousers’.

In an attempt to revamp one company’s uniform, the girls have joined force with supermarket chain Somerfield to redesign their uniform to accommodate 42,000 workers. They head to Birmingham to road test the existing uniform and work alongside the supermarket’s staff.

Susannah takes an instant dislike to the whole ensemble. “I’m coming out in a rash as I put this on.”

While Trinny mans the deli, Susannah decides eating the produce is much better than stacking it. Fellow workers describe the uniform as ‘uncomfortable’, ‘tatty’ and ‘horrible’. After their day in store the girls are armed with all the ammunition they need to fight for a new uniform.

In order to hammer home their mission, the girls invade the Somerfield annual conference, which is attended by all the store managers. They are greeted with resounding agreement when they pitch their plans, with 84% of the store managers in favour of new uniforms.

Now the girls need to road test their ability to create a uniform. They visit an all female driving school in Leeds who would like a company uniform that is fashionable and practical. In a swift fix they take the five driving instructors shopping and kit them out in figure flattering outfits of silver and grey with white shirts and practical yet stylish rain macs, all unified with a bright pink scarf to tie in with their company branding.

“The whole experience of designing the uniform for the driving school was great because it really made us think of important points like the sense of uniformity but keeping the women as individuals, colours and how important they are, corporate identity and confidence,” says Trinny.

But before they launch straight in to trying to accommodate a 42,000 strong workforce, Trinny and Susannah have a go at transforming the uniforms of the catering team at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend.

Lead by Barbara McCarthy, the team’s uniform is from a catalogue and was last changed ten years ago. Barbara presents the style experts with their uniforms for the day complete with hairnets and plastic aprons to meet health and safety guidelines.

Whilst Trinny and Susannah get down to business buttering bread and serving at the hot plate, they disagree with Barbara about being called dinner ladies, and Barbara is adamant about one thing – colour. “We definitely don’t want pink,” says Barbara.

But, it seems Trinny and Susannah think pink is the colour as they choose the ladies’ new outfits – pink, gingham and white.

“I think they’ve been watching too much Grease,” says Barabara. Despite their reservations the ladies are won over by the new pink uniforms, which are a hit amongst their colleagues.

Finally, after their two practice runs, Trinny and Susannah come up with their own uniform designs to be made for the Somerfield team. They opt for a pallet of greens fabrics with navy blue, in styles that are designed to be hard wearing, comfortable and on budget.

Trinny describes it as a ‘couture supermarket collection’ as they head back to Birmingham to present Somerfield staff with their new look.

They’ve planned a catwalk show amongst the fruit and veg, but it’s not without complications as the outfits get muddled and nothing quite fits right.

Crisis averted, the eight staff members reveal their practical but stylish new look to the store, which comprises warm, smart fitted fleeces for those who work in the freezer departments, flattering flared trousers and comfortable, long culottes for the ladies, with waistcoats and fitted long sleeve tops for the gents.

A resounding success, Trinny and Susannah receive the seal of approval from the store, and as a result Somerfield agree to remodel their uniforms. The new designs are yet to be revealed.

BLUE MURDER - CRISIS MANAGEMENT

Jill Halfpenny, Richard Fleeshman and Katy Cavanagh guest star in the Blue Murder episode Crisis Management on Monday 17 December 2007 @ 9:00pm on ITV1.

The crime drama starts when K Troop are about to be redeployed overseas. A young female soldier sneaks out of a barrack party and meets her lover by the sports pavilion outside the base. The couple, Cathy Covington (Freya Parker) and Mike Blatt (Kevin Wathen), stumble over the body of Ray Pettigrew who has been beaten to death.

Having escaped from a house full of children, Janine (Caroline Quentin) is waiting for her friend in a bar when a handsome stranger, Tim Fairhead (Nick Reding), offers to buy her a drink. Janine asks Tim, “What do you do?” He responds “Health and Safety. You?”, to which Janine replies “I’m in crisis management.” Janine is interrupted by a phone call sending her to the nearby army base. Before leaving the bar she gives Tim her number. Arriving at the base, Janine and the team are introduced to Major Tim Fairhead. Not surprisingly this creates mutual embarrassment and some definite chemistry.

The investigation gets underway with Major Tim offering support from the Special Investigation Branch. Richard’s (Ian Kelsey) nose is out of joint, as he’s jealous of Tim, particularly in light of Janine’s obvious attraction towards him. Richard questions whether Tim and Janine have a conflict of interests, but Janine brushes him off.

The victim, Pettigrew, wasn’t particularly popular and had recently failed Gunner Tracey Duff (Lucy Gaskell) in a physical fitness test, which meant she probably wouldn’t be deployed overseas.

Lt. Rosie Parr had also come to his attention when a solider was injured on a live firing exercise. Parr was exonerated from blame in the incident, but Pettigrew had made comments about her. In addition Pettigrew’s wife Geraldine (Kathy Cavanagh) reveals she was in massive debt from internet gambling. Cathy is found brutally attacked outside the base. It looks as if Pettigrew’s killer may have tried to kill again, though Cathy survives.

Janine’s interest in Tim hasn’t gone unnoticed by Shap. Richard’s prejudices against ‘army plod’ officers’ leads him to rekindle a contact in journalist Kate Malin (Angel Coulby) when he feels the army are giving him the run-around.

When tyre tracks near Pettigrew’s body are traced to Sgt. Mark Turton (Neil Fitzmaurice) he's arrested. His wife Shirley (Carol Starks) arrives, claiming she had taken the car to the pavilion to meet Pettigrew, with whom she was having an affair. Shirley also says Pettigrew had asked her for money to pay off his wife’s debts.

Though Shirley has given her husband a motive, the DNA on Pettigrew’s body isn’t his and the detectives are back to square one. Reluctantly Turton is released, but questions remain. Richard is frustrated with the investigation and Janine’s closeness to Tim. Shap, for his part, is enjoying the attention from one of the female soldiers.

In trying to identify the DNA found on Pettigrew’s body we meet Sgt. Jackie Holroyd (Jill Halfpenny), her sixteen year old son Ben (Richard Fleeshman) and fourteen year old daughter Bethan (Larner Taylor). Jackie is about to be deployed with the regiment. While she’s away Jackie leaves the children in the care of Mark and Shirley Turton. Janine and Jackie bond over single motherhood and the difficulties of juggling work and family life. We then discover Mike Blatt is Tracey’s boyfriend, providing Tracey with a motive for both the attack on Cathy (jealousy) and Pettigrew (revenge). We see Tracey talk to her young teenage friend Ben. The investigation focuses on her, not least when she is found in possession of Pettigrew’s wallet.

Janine invites Tim round for dinner with the children. Their romantic evening is interrupted by the news Tracey has been found dead in woodland not far from the base. She’s taken an overdose of painkillers. Or did someone want her dead?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

THE MADNESS OF MODERN FAMILIES: SCHOOL

In a kind of spin on the Grumpy Old Men theme the Madness of Modern Families is a new series looking at the way parents parents seem to be turning into panic-stricken and obsessive perfectionists. The Madness of Modern Families (episode 2 School airs on the ABC Network on Tuesday 18 December 2007 @ 8..0pm) focuses on the absurd social pressures parents find themselves facing and caving in to in an ever-increasingly competitive world.

From the day after you've given birth, the social pressure begins: if you don't get your child into the right nursery school, the right primary, the right secondary, the right sixth-form college and university, then you - personally - have damned your child to be a moron addicted to crack.

It's a race. And this stomach-knotting responsibility is yours - all yours. Every panicky round must be won.

Camping out overnight in the playground to be first to sign on for next term’s nursery classes - fact, not fiction. Checking the boundaries of the catchment area with a tape measure - people really do it. So what if the French tutor lives in Normandy? And if you've spread lies that St Crispin's needs conversational Latin to get in? And if the local league-table leader is that devout Catholic school, then go to church and start knitting. You must be noticed by the priest!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

SOPHIE VAVASSEUR INTERVIEWED

Sophie Vavasseur plays Little Nell in the ITV1 Boxing Day production of The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens. She spoke recently about working on the project.

“Nell lives with her grandfather because her mother died when she was young and her dad couldn’t really cope. Although she’s only 13, I think people look up to her because she has to take on responsibilities beyond her years. She misses out on a lot of her childhood and has to be the adult because her grandfather has his problems. You can see at the start she is more of a normal 13-year-old and then has to take some giant leaps forward in maturity to take care of herself and her grandfather.

“She touches everyone in the story in some way. Every time she thinks her grandfather is getting better she takes one step forward and then two steps back. It must take a lot of willpower. Mrs Jarley is the first motherly figure she’s had, and she tries to cling onto that. She’s just so gullible and vulnerable. Like with Mr Codlin and Mr Short: she just wants friends and to like people, and these guys are really funny and nice to her, even though it turns out that they just want the reward. My mum was joking all the time and saying ‘you need to be more like Nell’. She’s flawless and she does anything for anyone.

“It really is an honour to play Nell. It’s amazing to work with people like Derek Jacobi and Toby Jones and Martin Freeman too. The first time we met at the readthrough everyone was introducing themselves and I just sat there with my mouth wide open thinking ‘I’m Sophie… just Sophie!’ I’ve learned so much from them, not just about acting but because the atmosphere of the whole thing has given me a real experience of the life of an actor. I think the director Brian (Percival) could see at the start that I wasn’t that confident in myself but he really made a connection. It was a relationship where I wasn’t afraid to say anything and could relate it to my everyday life by talking about my own relationship with my grandparents. It really brings it back to reality when you can work off everyday experiences. Having Nell’s thoughts in my head really worked for me. With [the film] Evelyn I was just nine-years-old, but this job really matured me I think. If I mess up then at least I can say I’m only small – small people tend to make mistakes.

“Dickens is one of those writers who really left his trademark. It’s just something about his writing that helps you form really vivid pictures of all of his characters in your mind, and although mine aren’t the most stylish or flattering dresses, I do like period costume. When I saw Mrs Jarley I loved her outfits but there was me left with something resembling an old curtain or something. I was wearing my Uggs at all times on set though – that was my compromise!”

The Old Curiosity Shop | ITV1 Network | 26 December 2007 @ 9.00pm

Friday, December 7, 2007

PHILIP PULLMAN PROFILE

Philip Pullman is now probably the most well known children's author after J.K. Rowling, this Christmas one of the big BBC highlights is an adaptation of his Sally Lockhart novel Shadow in the North BBC One - Sunday 30 December at 8.55pm) and the big movie at the cinemas this festive period is The Golden Compass which is based on the first novel in his legendary His Dark Materials trilogy. Here we take a look at his life and career.

Philip Pullman was born in Norwich on 19 October 1946. The early part of his life was spent traveling all over the world, because his father and stepfather were both in the Royal Air Force. He spent part of his childhood in Australia, where he fell in love with the art of comedy and superheroes including Superman and Batman.

Having moved back to Britain at the age of 11, he grew up in North Wales. It was a time when children were allowed to roam anywhere, to play in the streets and he took full advantage of it. His English teacher, Miss Enid Jones, was a big influence on him, and he still sends her copies of his books.

After he left school he went to Exeter College, Oxford, to read English. He did a number of odd jobs for a while, and then moved back to Oxford to become a teacher. He taught at various middle schools for 12 years, and then moved to Westminster College, Oxford, to be a part-time lecturer. He taught courses on the Victorian novel and on the folk tale, and also a course examining how words and pictures fit together. He eventually left teaching in order to write full-time.

His first published novel was for adults, but he began writing for children when he was a teacher. Some of his novels were based on plays he wrote for his school pupils, such as The Ruby In The Smoke and The Shadow In The North.

Philip lives with his wife Jude in Oxford, and used to write in a shed at the bottom of his garden inhabited by a six foot long stuffed rat from his play Sherlock Holmes And The Lighthouse Horror. But when he moved he gave the shed to fellow writer Ted Dewan and now spends his time surrounded by hundreds of books in a special writing room.

Post-It notes and Blu-Tack play a big part in Philip Pullman's writing process. He sticks pictures, notes, posters, reminders, postcards, book jackets and basically anything that will stick to the wall. He uses Post-It notes when planning the shape of a story: he writes a brief sentence summarising a scene on one of them, and then puts them on a very big piece of paper which he can fill with up to 60 or more different scenes, moving them around to get the best order.

"The Sally Lockhart quartet is a series of old fashioned historical thrillers which I wrote with a genuine cliché of melodrama right at the heart of it, on purpose: the priceless jewel with a curse on it; the madman with a weapon that could destroy the world; the situation of being trapped in a cellar with the water-rising; the little illiterate servant girl from the slums of London who becomes a princess ... and I set the stories up so that each of those stock situations when they arose would do so naturally and with the most convincing realism I could manage."

Pullman's most popular work is the trilogy His Dark Materials beginning with Northern Lights (The Golden Compass) which has just been adapted and released as a feature film starring, Dakota Blue Richards, Daniel Craig, Ian McKellan and Nicole Kidman, continuing with The Subtle Knife and concluding with The Amber Spyglass. He has been awarded with the Carnegie Medal, the Guardian Children's Book Award and the Whitbread Book of the Year Award (The Amber Spyglass).

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

HOW DO THEY DO IT?

Starting 8th January 2008 on Channel Five is this new factual series, How Do They Do It?, which puts the modern world under the microscope in order to understand the extraordinary engines, machines and structures that form the backbone of 21st-century living. As the world becomes progressively more automated and mechanised, people grow further removed from the way things are made and how things are done. To rectify this, comedian and presenter Robert Llewellyn (‘Red Dwarf’, ‘Scrapheap Challenge’) get his hands dirty in a quest to understand modern technology.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

COMPETITIONS AHOY

We've got another bumper crop of giveaways up and running for your delectation and delight.

There's family comedy with Shrek the Third, sitcom The Librarians, drama with Rain Shadow, Johnny Depp (not the man himself but a great DVD featuring a rare interview), Burt Lancaster,gorgeous kids show Charlie and Lola, music with Tony Bennet and not to forget our mammoth classic movies contest with stacks of box sets up for grabs.

As always Memorable TV for full details. See you there.

BONEKICKERS

The BBC have announced plans to make archeology exciting and sexy (what haven't they seen Time Team - Phil in his denim shorts and Mick's stripey jumpers, guaranted to get any women's pulses racing!), Bonekickers promises to be a major new series for Spring 2008.

Julie Graham (Dalziel & Pascoe, William And Mary) is Gillian, a feisty Celt who heads up a team of archaeologists working out of Bath University.

Adrian Lester (Hustle, Ballet Shoes) is Dr Ben Akomfrah, a forensic expert who brings an objective understanding to the team, Hugh Bonneville (Miss Austen Regrets, Tsunami) is the encyclopaedic but terminally louche, Professor Gregory Parton and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Spooks, Tish Jones in Doctor Who) is the eager, young, post-grad intern, Viv Davis.

As a team their skills combine under a variety of imperatives to extract bodies, books, weapons and all manner of artefacts which lead them into an investigation of the past that will unlock dangers and mysteries in the present.

From the excavation of murdered 18th century slaves to the possible discovery of the True Cross, each episode is a window on a period of history but, more importantly, a reflection on how we live now.

Running through the series is a greater puzzle that Gillian keeps to herself for fear of ridicule – the hunt for the greatest treasure in the history of Man, a hunt that drove her brilliant mother insane, a hunt that pits her wits against her academic nemesis, the arrogant, urbane TV historian Daniel Mastif, and that will culminate at the end of series one in a desperate race for glory which may destroy her in the process.

From Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharoah (Monastic Productions), the writers and creators of the hit series Life On Mars and Ashes To Ashes, and Michele Buck and Damien Timmer of Mammoth Screen, Bonekickers is a thrilling adventure series packed with historical mystery and contemporary relevance.

Based in fact, the series has on board the expertise of Dr Mark Horton, Head of Archaeology at Bristol University, a specialist in the archaeology of historical

societies around the world and Bonekickers consultant on the factual evidence and background to the relics featured in each episode.

Polly Hill, BBC Commissioning Editor for Independent Drama, comments: "Bonekickers takes history and archaeology and makes it sexy, accessible and exciting."

Bonekickers is being produced by Rhonda Smith (Fairy Tales, Marie Lloyd) and executive produced by Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharoah of Monastic Productions and Michele Buck and Damien Timmer of Mammoth Screen.

Bonekickers begins filming in and around Bath this month and will transmit on BBC One in spring 2008.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

THE GOLDEN COMPASS

Step aside Harry Potter, there's a new child hero in town! The first of a trilogy by best-selling author Philip Pullman, 'The Golden Compass' is one of the most anticipated films this year and ahead of its world premiere in London on Tuesday (November 27), cast and director spoke about the story that has already attracted controversy.

The story of The Golden Compass is set in a world where witches rule the northern skies, ice bears are the bravest of warriors, and where every human is joined with an animal spirit who is as close to them as their own heart. But this world is dominated by the Magisterium, which seeks to control all of humanity and whose greatest threat is the last remaining golden compass and the one child destined to possess it.

Twelve-year-old Lyra Belacqua (played by newcomer Dakota Blue Richards) lives an extraordinary life as a ward of distinguished Jordan College in Oxford, tearing unsupervised through the streets with her loyal friend Roger (Ben Walker). Lyra is accompanied everywhere by her daemon, Pantalaimon (voiced by Freddie Highmore) - a small, ever-changing animal that serves as a constant voice of reason.

Casting the unknown Dakota Blue Richards, was a risk for 'American Pie' director Chris Weitz, but one he took gladly. He was opposed to casting an American actress in the role as he says it was so quintessentially English that it had to be a British actress: "It started with having thousands of girls come in for an audition and eventually it just came down to one and I think she was the right one of all those thousands so I think there's something kind of fairytale-like about the process of choosing her and I hope that we have changed her life for the better as opposed to worse," he said.

Hailing from Brighton, on the east coast of England, Dakota Blue Richards auditioned amongst thousands of girls and was a fan of her character Lyra ever since she knew the books and had seen a play. "Oh I really really wanted to play this role because my mother had read the books to me and I'd seen the play at the National Theatre and I love the character so much I wanted to be just like her."

Lyra's uncle, Lord Asriel played by Daniel Craig, embarks on a trip to the Arctic Circle to investigate a mysterious element called 'dust' but the Magisterium wants to stop him. At the same time , rumours of children mysteriously disappearing become real when Lyra's best friend Roger goes missing. A new figure appears - Marisa Coulter (Nicole Kidman) is a beguiling scientist and wants to take Lyra with her to the Arctic Circle.

Director Weitz, who screened a small part of the fantasy movie at this year's Cannes Film Festival, already received criticism by fans of the book that he was whitewashing the story's more religious themes for the film, for instance referring to the 'Church' as the 'Magisterium'. Says Weitz, "We kind of get it on both sides - both people on the far right who are worried that we are peddling atheism and then people who are fans of the book but only of its religious elements and who think that we are watering down the theological content of the books. I think neither is the case, it's not an aggressively atheistic story first of all but that it does have religious elements which I have done my best to keep in the movie although not necessarily in as aggressive a way as certain people might like."

Daniel Craig adds, "If you read the books, I think you might find them to be incredibly spiritual and they do raise a very good debate, individualism, free will, understanding the world, dealing with it, facing up to your responsibilities, looking after your fellow human beings or animals in this case, and those are fairly core-Christian beliefs, I don't think you can argue that. What it does say fairly strongly against and you could say it's organized religion but actually living in a totalitarian society is on the whole pretty uncomfortable and should be fought against."

The star-studded cast also includes Bond girl Eva Green in the role of a witch, who acts as an almost maternal guardian angel for Lyra and supports her in her quest. Both Green and Kidman were full of praise for Dakota Blue Richards for her performance. "Dakota is a very strong child, very intelligent. She had school breaks during the day and she came back all fresh and focussed all the time and she knows what she has to do, I didn't have to give her any advice she's a strong little actress. It's a big part, big movie and she's very confident in a nice way and I think she's captivating."

Adds Kidman, "The thing about Dakota is she has a great Mum and she's very poised. I don't know if you've interviewed her yet , but it's why she got the role, I think, because Lyra is meant to have this intelligence and this seriousness and extraordinary will and wilfulness and I think that Dakota has all of those things in abundance. I find it condescending if you start giving a kid advice, and she's not a kid. She's this young girl who pretty much knows a lot about herself and I just stood back and let her do her thing. Tried not to boss her around too much."

'The Golden Compass' is the first in a trilogy, with the second book 'The Subtle Knife' and the third 'The Amber Spyglass' also to be turned into movies.
Kidman is keen to be asked back for more: "Oh yeah! I'm hoping. I mean a lot of times as an actor you sign on for a film and you don't want to do a sequel. You think, 'Oh gosh, please, No!' But for me when you read the books they get better and so particularly for my character. She gets to evolve and these layers get peeled away and it's just a great role so I'm really hoping."

Whilst Dakota Blue Richards will inevitably shoot to fame, she remains very down-to-earth as to what career she would like to have: "I want to act but I don't want to do it as a full-time job, like say if a film comes along that has like either a really good story or I really like the character then I'll do it but I don't want to always be acting. I want to be a supply teacher in primary school."

"The Golden Compass" will be in cinemas through Europe, the Americas and Asia starting December 7.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

KATE FORD ON BLUE MURDER

Blue Murder returns on 3 December and guest starring in the first episode is Kate Ford in her first appearance since leaving Coronation Street, we spoke to her recently about her role in the show.

Why did you choose Blue Murder as your first role after Coronation Street?
It was quite an attractive part for me to play as she is so different to Tracy. It was really nice to be working back at Granada.

What sort of person is Adele and how did you find playing a character that’s so different to Tracy?
Adele is very honest. What she says is the truth even though she’s been hiding a secret. She really cherishes her home-life and her children and she realises that she has everything she’s always wanted, whilst Tracy was always looking for something else.

How does she end up getting mixed up with Dwayne?
She’d just had her second child and wasn’t feeling especially attractive, so she started getting dressed up and going out flirting with guys. When she met him in the club she was really flattered and was drawn into his glamorous lifestyle, plus she wants to brag to her friends that she’s pulled a famous guy.

How does she feel about being drawn into the murder investigation?
She has a dark secret she has tried to brush under the carpet, so when the police come asking her questions she’s absolutely horrified. She’s convinced if the truth comes out it will be the end of her marriage.

How did you find working with Thomas Craig again (who played Tommy Harris in Coronation Street)?
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to work with him as we didn’t have any scenes together, but we got on brilliantly when he was in Coronation Street.

Can you tell us a more about the episode you appear in?
It’s a very different way of working to when I was on Coronation Street. We had more time to rehearse and shoot each scene. Some of the crew were the same too. I had the same make-up artist as on Coronation Street, which was really comforting in my first role after leaving ‘the street’.

What’s next for you after Blue Murder?
I’m looking to see what happens really, as I want to put some distance between me and Tracy before I take on another big role. It’s totally different being a working actress, which can be quite scary after being in full time employment. I’m enjoying myself though, and looking forward to seeing what happens in the future.

BLUE MURDER RETURNS

Returning to ITV1 on 3 December is Caroline Quentin who reprises her lead role as DCI Janine Lewis, a single mother of four children who juggles the demands of family life with her high-profile job in a new series of Blue Murder.

Filmed on location in Manchester, three brand new 90-minute episodes have been produced for the ITV1 winter schedule and feature the likes of Kate Ford, Thomas Craig, Richard Fleeshman, Jill Halfpenny and Luke Bailey.

In Not a Matter of Life and Death, Kate Ford plays Adele, a mysterious witness to a violent murder who is reluctant to tell the police what she has seen.

As the investigation progresses, DCI Lewis and her team find themselves drawn into the hedonistic world of professional footballers, their “wags” and hangers-on. The drama also stars Thomas Craig as corrupt football agent Chris Milligan and Luke Bailey as Caleb Kent, brother of professional football star in the making, Dwayne Kent.

Desperate Measures begins with the execution-style shooting of respected local doctor, Donald Halliwell (Simon Williams). The initial suspicion is that Dr. Halliwell has been shot by robbers who have carried out a series of raids to steal controlled drugs from his surgery, but detectives then discover the Doctor’s respectable suburban life may not have been all that it seemed. Paula Wilcox also guest stars as Doctor Donald Halliwell’s wife, Pamela Halliwell.

The series ends with Crisis Management featuring Jill Halfpenny and Richard Fleeshman as mother and son, Jackie and Ben Holroyd. Jackie is an Army mechanic with the Alexandria Battery and when a body is found at the Cranham Edge Barracks where she is based, she and her son find themselves caught up in a murder investigation.

The returning cast includes Ian Kelsey as DI Richard Mayne, Paul Loughran as DS Butchers and Nicholas Murchie as DS Shap. The new series also features the return of DC Lisa Goodall played by Rhea Bailey, sister of acclaimed singer Corinne Bailey Rae.

THE BILL - SUN HILL UNDER ATTACK: Lockdown

Ultimate Force star Christopher Fox is join the regulars at Sun Hill as Detective Sergeant Max Carter and his entry into the fray could be more explosive, in a two part action special Sun Hill finds itself under seige from masked gunmen.

Having evacuated the station, most of Sun Hill are forced to watch from the outside with Sergeant Nikki Wright (Gillian Taylforth) and PC Sally Armstrong (Ali Bastian) being held on the inside. Unable to meet the hostage takers outrageous demands, Superintendent Heaton (Daniel Flynn) finds himself in a standoff but he has a way out. Unbeknown to the gunmen, DC Terry Perkins (Bruce Byron) is on the inside. Will he risk his life to save the day?

Whilst previously working in the firearms division of C019, Carter gained a reputation for being able to make emotionless decisions in an instant. He only ever pulled the trigger twice and is responsible for two deaths.

Returning to CID, Carter hits it off with his colleagues on his first day, and although he is described by most who meet him as ruthless and almost unemotional, he is also man whose greatest strength lies in his mental toughness.

Christopher said, “I’ve been watching The Bill on and off since I was ten years old and now to be acting in it as one of Sun Hill’s finest is quite surreal. To follow in the footsteps of Tony Scannell, Kevin Lloyd and Mark Wingett makes me immensely proud”

The Bill is on ITV1 evry Wednesday and Thursday @ 8.00pm

Sunday, November 18, 2007

NEW GIVEAWAYS TO DELIGHT AND BEHOLD

Another week another collection of scintillating DVD's for you to get your mits on. We have some major new giveaways just starting over at Memorable TV including such TV classics as The Sweeney, Minder and My Favorite Martian, scifi adventure with Battlestar Galactica, comedy with Will and Grace, music with Led Zeppelin and Tony Bennett and family fun with Shrek The Third. Truly something for everyone.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

ABC TO GET DEDICATED CHILDREN'S CHANNEL

The ABC Australia network have formally announced their plans, after a period of intense speculation, for a dedicated free to air children's tv channel, set to go to air in April 2008. Helped of course by the $82 million that the government have provisionally agreed to cough up, arn't elections wonderful things!

The channel will be known as ABC3, ABC Director of Television, Kim Dalton, speaking from the Screen Producers Association of Australia Conference on the Gold Coast, said ABC3, as the new channel will be known, will be a tremendous addition to the entertainment choices available to Australian families.

Planning is already underway at the ABC for the provision of ABC3, which will be a digital channel, available free to viewers who have a digital television or a digital set-top box.

Mr Dalton issued a caveat saying, “Provided the funds are approved by government soon after the election, we will be on air by April 2008.”

Monday, November 12, 2007

SPECIAL BRANCH COMPLETE SERIES ONE

Derren Nesbitt may not be quite so well remembered now but back in the day he was very much the popular action man, cast in the same mould as Patrick McGoohan he was at the height of his powers when he starred in the first series of Thames classic Special Branch and funnily enough the Special Branch that most people will probably remember, that of the Patrick Mower and George Sewell era of kick down the door first and ask questions later era is a different kind of show altogether, much more of a police/spy procedural than a thick ear show.

Nesbitt is the lead as Inspector Jordan and for the time was something of an original, his maverick womanising ways might be the stuff of every genre show you see now but back in 1969 he was leading the field somewhat, his immediate superior was initially Superintendant Eden (Wensley Pithey) (he
appears in the first seven episodes before being replaced by Fulton McKay's Inman).

Like all classic TV drama re-watched today the pace is much slower and all the better for it, scripts are allowed to breathe (for example the first ten minutes of the brilliant first episode Troika take place around the table in the briefing room) and the production team actually allow for the fact that intelligent viewers might be watching rather than the jump cut zoom around all style and no substance that makes up modern TV.

Distributor: Network DVD

Certificate: PG | Region: 2 | 4 disc set | 700 minutes

Extras: No

cast
Derren Nesbitt, Fulton McKay, Wensley Pithey, Jennifer Wilson

RETURN OF THE SAINT

In 1978 ITC decided to revive their much loved Saint franchise with Ian Olgilvy in the lead, this time out although The Saint is still an adventurer always ready to save the country from crisis or help a damsel in distress there was a little more realism with actual location shooting and even one or two actual visits abroad.

A real treat, a nostalgia filled blast of classic seventies TV that doesn't take itself too seriously. Whilst still heavy on the Roger Mooresque suaveness and derring do Ian Olgilvy's Saint is a little more action oriented with episodes featuring a plot to blow up London, Arab terrorists, drug rings and assassinations (of course there is also plenty of Saint saving girl in peril style storylines too!).

With its great 70's fashions and concerns and a feel similar to shows such as The New Avengers or The Professionals The Return of the Saint is excellent (not to mention one very funky little theme tune). There is also great fun to be had in playing the famous guest stars, and this series attracted quite a large
volume of them including the likes of Carolyn Seymour, Britt Ekland, Judy Geeson, Rula Lenska, George Cole, Joss Ackland, Jenny Hanley, Linda Thorson and even the great Derren Nesbitt to name just a few.

extras (all on disc seven)
Return of the Saint is everything a DVD Box set should be, fantastic packaging, the complete run of episodes and choc full of extras. First up is The Saint Steps In... to the 70s - Narrated by Sir Roger Moore, this is a unique and exclusive documentary on the making of the series which features contributions from Ian Ogilvy, producer Robert S. Baker and others involved with the production of the series Written and produced by Ian Dickerson; There are also four exclusive audio commentaries featuring Ian Ogilvy, producer Robert S. Baker, production manager Malcolm Christopher and writer John Goldsmith; The Saint and the Brave Goose (which combined the two collision course episodes, given a run in theatres its presences indicates the level of completeness Network are aiming for); Episodic Image gallery with music suite; Title sequence storyboard gallery; Return of The Saint Script Archive - Presented here in PDF format are original scripts (plus some changes and meeting notes) for Return of the Saint. They are included here courtesy of Ian Dickerson. These PDFs can only be viewed on suitable software on a PC/Mac and cannot be viewed on your DVD player. The scripts are: Appointment in Florence, Assault Force, The Debt Collectors, The Diplomat’s Daughter, Hot Run, Nightmare Man, The Obono Affair, The Poppy Chain, Tower Bridge is Falling Down and Vicious Circle.

Also included is Prince of Darkness – an unproduced script in which the Saint fights vampires!

There is also a Promotional image gallery; Memorabilia image gallery; ITC Home Video trailer; European titles featuring vocal theme "Taking it Easy" by Oliver Onions; Previously unseen rushes from the title sequence (mute); Commercial Break Bumpers; Textless material (mute and made so that overseas countries could put on their own credits); The Saint at Elstree featurette - A plaque honouring Roger Moore is unveiled at Elstree Studios in December 2006; Return of The Saint annuals in PDF format (1979 & 1980); PDF of original colour publicity brochure and PDF of original Look In and TV Times articles.

Superb stuff not to be missed!!!

Distributor: Network DVD

Certificate: PG | Region: 2 | 7 disc set

Extras: Yes

cast
Ian Olgivy, Jenny Hanley, George Cole, Rula Lenska, Britt Ekland

OUT

Frank Ross...is Out.

Tom Bell is just one of those actors with an amazing screen prescence, very much at home playing the hard man and pretty much tailor made for the role of Frank Ross. The plot sees Frank Ross (played by Bell) coming out of prison after serving 8 years for a bank robbery that went wrong, with his marriage in
tatters (his wife has had a major breakdown and his teenage son is something of a delinquent) Ross is determined to get his revenge on the ones who grassed him to the law.

Opening with a great sequence of Ross coming to terms with actually being out and feeling alienated by the fast moving crowds around him.

The 6 part serial, here in a nice two disc set, was a big ratings hit and also won a Bafta award. Written by Trevor Preston, Out was a Thames-Euston production and has that classic shot on location feel and is quite similar in tone to Preston's equally excellent series Fox. Although the series belongs to Bell
(he dominates proceedings in much the same way as Michael Caine does in Get Carter) the supporting cast is quite superb, including as it does a young Brian Cox, Bryan Marshall and Derrick O'Connor.

It's strong stuff but Out stands up to anything made today and is definitely a Memorable TV recommended purchase.

Extras
Audio commentaries on the first and last episodes with writer Trevor Preston, director Jim Goddard and producer Barry Hanson and all six of Trevor Preston’s scripts in PDF format. The series also definitely looks as good as it did on its original broadcast one of the hallmarks of Out was its clever filming techniques and exceptional lighting so its good to see it looking pristine.

Distributor: Network DVD

Certificate: 12 | Region: 2 | 2 disc set | 300 minutes

Extras: Yes

cast

Tom Bell, Derrick O'Connor, Brian Croucher, Lynne Farleigh, Bryan Marshall

MAN ABOUT THE HOUSE COMPLETE SERIES FIVE

More britcom fun from Network as we take a look at the fifth and penultimate series of Man About the House, the situation is the same as before, two sexy girls (Paula Wilcox as Chrissy and Sally Thomsett as Jo) sharing a flat with a male chef (Richard O'Sullivan as Robin) - a very risque idea back in the seventies, added to the mixture is their landlords The Ropers (George and Mildred played by Brian Murphy and Yootha Joyce) who lived downstairs. With a cast that appear to get on really well and a series of plotlines that revolve around misunderstandings and frustrated attempts by Robin to get off with Chrissy Man About the House is one of the better ITV sitcoms of the 1970's.

By now the formula is well set and screen time is devoted pretty much equally between the youngsters and the Ropers with George at least once in every episode trying to con the trio into something dodgy (especially when his friend Jerry, played by the brilliant Roy Kinnear, gets involved). The series never
ventured far outside the confines of the studio but always attracted quality guest stars most notably here in the shape of Peter Jones in the stand out episode on the 6 episode single disc collection, A Little Knowledge which sees Robin working as an encyclopedia salesmen to try and earn some cash. By this stage Doug Fisher has become a regular character as Robin's cocky mate Larry (he has moved into the tiny attic room at the top of the house) and is always good value with his talk of birds, booze and football.

We always enjoy Man About the House here at Memorable TV and not just for our not so secret thing for the fantastic Paula Wilcox that we have; Definitely a recommended purchase despite the lack of extras.

Distributor: Network DVD

Certificate: PG | Region: 2 | 150 minutes

Extras: No

cast
Richard O'Sullivan, Paula Wilcox, Saly Thomsett, Yootha Joyce, Brian Murphy, Doug Fisher,

WITHOUT A TRACE SEASON TWO

By the time of the second season of this missing persons crime show Without A Trace was becoming the first show to give ER a run for its money, fast paced and allowing as much time for the personal lives of the cops as their policing Without A Trace is a much stronger show than any number of strangely unfeeling CSI clones.

Anthony La Paglia and Poppy Montgomery (Australians both) play FBI Missing Persons Special Unit operatives Jack Malone and Samantha Spade and each episode sees the team trying to trace another missing person.

By applying advanced psychological profiling techniques, the special task force is able to peel back the layers of the victims’ lives and trace their whereabouts in order to determine if the missing person has been abducted, murdered, committed suicide or has simply run away. The team reconstructs a “Day of Disappearance” timeline that details every minute of the 24 hours prior to the disappearance, following one simple rule: learn who the victim is in order to learn where the victim is.

Other key members of the team include Vivian Johnson (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), a no-nonsense investigator; Danny Taylor (Enrique Murciano) an intense and private agent; and Martin Fitzgerald (Eric Close), the newest member of the team, considered a lightweight by the squad because his only experience involves fighting white-collar crime.

The second season of Without a Trace follows the team as they continue to track down missing persons, while Malone and his wife divorce and fight for the custody of their children. At the same time Malone also cares for his father (Martin Landau) who has Alzheimer’s disease.

A high quality series that deserves its place in the top ten. Extras are made up of numerous previously unaired scenes.

Distributor: Warner Home Entertainment
Certificate: Unrated | region 1 ntsc
Available to buy
Extras: Yes

cast
Anthony La Paglia, Poppy Montgomery, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Enrique Murciano, Roselyn Sanchez

WOLLONGONG THE BRAVE

Having achieved almost mythic status with the genius of The Aunty Jack Show in the early seventies Grahame Bond, Rory O'Donahue et al were back in 1975 with a quartet of themed specials all designed to make ample use of the new colour TV sets that were sweeping the nation in the mid seventies.

This seldom seen since collection has now been released by the always excellent Roadshow.
Apart from the first of the four which is pretty much a live in concert special the team prove yet again that they are well ahead of their time with a collection of fake documentaries, mockumentaries if you will, to quote spinal tap. A style that was quite rare back in the day but is all the rage now with shows such as We Can Be Heroes and even The Office. Theres much fun to be had at the expensive of Wollongong, both the Farrelly Brothers and Norman Gunston are local boys and there is some great location footage of the city in its prime.

Great fun and still essential.

Distributor: Roadshow Home Entertainment
Certificate: PG | region 4
Available to buy
Extras: No

cast
Grahame Bond, Rory O Donahue, Garry McDonald

Sunday, November 11, 2007

THE XYY MAN COMPLETE SERIES

This highly culty spy-crime drama series from the mid seventies has long been on most TV fan's must see list so all praise to Network for bringing us the entire series (including the original 3 part serial which led to the longer series). Besides the fact that the stories are intriguing the show has held interest because of it featuring the first appearance of a certain Detective Sergeant George Bulman who would later go on to appear in the legendary series Strangers and his own series, here (still played by Don Henderson of course) he is teamed with DC Derek Willis (who would also go on to Strangers) Bulman is a somewhat different beast to the character he became in the later series, single minded and dogged in the extreme Bulman has none of the quirkiness that makes him stand out in Strangers but it is more than interesting to see the genesis of a character though.

The star of the series is the excellent Stephen Yardley who is probably best known for having played greasy Ken Masters in BBC1 super soap Howard's Way but who has actually had some great roles over the years, notably this and his spell in Secret Army as the traitorous Max Brocard.

Distributor: Network DVD

Certificate: 12 | Region: 2 | 4 disc set

Extras: Yes

cast
Stephen Yardley, Vivienne McKee, Don Henderson, Dennis Blanch, Mark Dignam

PRIMEVAL THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON

With the festive season approaching we thought it would be a good idea over the next few weeks to take a look at some great titles you may have missed over the last few months. First up is the excellent action adventure series Primeval.

With its filmic sheen and some jaw dropping special effects Primeval looks quite fantastic, with storylines to match and a nice ensemble feel to the cast we have ourselves a great big slice of classic TV scifi.

Douglas Henshall heads the cast as evolutionary zooologist Nick Cutter who in an opening scene flashback has never got over the disappearance of his wife Helen (the gorgeous Juliet Aubrey) 8 years before. His team are called to the Forest of Dean to investigate some strange sightings that have been occuring in the area, also there is Hannah Spearitt, a zoo worker also drawn to the area, they soon discover that prehistoric creatures from the past and some amazing creatures from the future are stepping through holes in the fabric of time and threatening to bring chaos into the modern world, added to this is the discovery that Helen is alive and well and has been travelling around through these time holes.

Cutter's team have to not only try and stop these creatures causing havoc but also answer to a government agency led by Ben Miller and his assistant Lucy Brown.

It's big budget, full of crash bang wallop and brilliant fun, comparisons with a certain Timelord will no doubt be drawn but the roots of the series probably lay in the same teams Prehistoric Park and Walking With Dinosaurs taking the theme to its next logical step.

A second series has been commissioned and if its even half as good as this one its sure to be a blast.

extras include a lengthy behind the scenes making of doco.

Distributor: Roadshow Home Entertainment
Certificate: M | region 4 | 2 disc set
Extras: Yes

cast
Douglas Henshall, Hannah Spearitt, Juliet Aubrey, Lucy Brown, Rogan Grant, Andrew Lee Potts, Ben Miller

THE NEW INVENTORS

Hosted by the ebullient host, James O'Loghlin, The New Inventors highlights the spirit of Australian entrepreneurship and social enterprise and illustrates how the nation is far from sedentary when it comes to pioneering new ideas.
In the episode airing Wednesday, 14 November 2007 @ 8.00pm on the ABC James is joined by engineer James Bradfield Moody, science journalist Bernie Hobbs and materials engineer Veena Sahajwalla.

Inventions featured on the program:

Invention 1 - LiceSuk by inventor Janina Tregambe from SA.
LiceSuk is a vacuum hose attachment with a nit comb attached to the front which provides a convenient, safe and environmentally friendly way for the speedy removal of lice from the head providing instant relief for children from head lice. Removing the need for chemicals, it literally sucks the lice off your head!

Invention 2 - Quantum Lift by inventors David Catford and Dirk Plug from SA.
The Quantum Lift is an inexpensive hay and equipment-moving trailer which can be towed behind an ordinary vehicle. It uses the energy of the towing vehicle to hoist the load into place, so requires no winching. It is designed to transport large square bales, but can also be adapted to carry other loads such as drums and other equipment.

Invention 3 - The Cable Koala by inventor Graham Gillam from NSW.
The Cable Koala is a simple tool. When threaded onto a nylon strap with a ratchet, it allows you to run your heaviest power or communication cables at a sensible height, and from any kind of tall asset you have at your disposal - be that a tree, a pole, a column: anything you can get your strap around. It won't damage the pole, and it won't pull the strap from the asset, reducing its holding power!

NEW TRICKS: BIG TOPPED

It's the final episode of the season for the New Tricks team, this entertaining show has one of the best casts on TV. Big Topped airing on the ABC on Saturday, 17 November 2007 @ 7.30 sees the team at the circus when they are assigned to reinvestigate the suspicious death of the Great Miraculo aka Bert Dignam.

In 1990, ringmaster and circus owner Bert Dignam was found burnt to death inside his caravan at Spingles Circus. Mysteriously, all that remained of him were his feet, and nothing else in the caravan was burnt. How or why he died was never discovered. To try and solve the puzzle, Brian attempts to recreate his death using a whole pig carcass as the body.

It doesn't take long for the case to get twisted. With pressure from Bert's long lost daughter and a lack of leads from his old friends, the team struggle to get a break.

Off the case, Sandra's trust in her team is shattered when she discovers they have hidden an important secret about her past from her. The news that her father, a Detective Inspector killed himself while under investigation for corruption, throws into doubt everything she has believed in. Will she ever be able to get past her feelings of betrayal?

Stars Amanda Redman, James Bolam, Alun Armstrong and Dennis Waterman

THE BRIEF: BLAME

ABC's Friday Night Mystery night is still going strong, this week sees the return of the second series of The Brief (Friday, 16 November 2007 @ 8.30pm) which sees Alan Davies return as criminal barrister Henry Farmer, in pursuit of justice and a win on the horses.

In the first episode Blame, Henry's finances are still suffering as a result of his gambling addiction and alimony payments to his ex-wife and son in Australia. Newly single, temporarily homeless and juggling a heavy workload and a complicated personal life, Henry turns to his trusted friend Maureen 'Mo' Tyler (Linda Bassett) for support when he finds himself sleeping on the office floor and answering to a bankruptcy trustee.

Despite his shambolic life, Henry is a formidable courtroom operator with a tremendous gift for cross-examination and a silver tongue for the vital closing speech. A gambling man, Henry's not afraid to take on the hard cases including; defending a man accused of murdering his own mother; a nurse accused of killing an elderly man who days before his death changed his Will naming her prime beneficiary; as well as a tricky civil action against a man recently acquitted of rape.

Also returning to the second series are Henry's Chamber colleagues, tough-talking Cleo Steyn QC (Cherie Lunghi) and the Chamber's clerk Ray Scanlon (Chris Fulford). Joining Chambers is Henry's friend, junior barrister Millie Marsh (Camilla Power).

The first episode finds Henry defending train driver Mick Westlake (Dean Lennox Kelly) who is standing trial for manslaughter. Mick is accused of answering his mobile phone while driving and running a red signal. As a result, the train he was driving collided with an oncoming goods train, killing nine people.
There is a clear conflict as to whether the phone was indeed answered and if the driver was in a fit state to work. Was he tired because of overwork or because of his lifestyle? Henry is convinced that the owners, Traxco, the rail company with a questionable health and safety record, are looking to deflect responsibility and Mick Westlake is the perfect scapegoat. Tension at Chambers mounts, with Cleo Steyn representing Traxco and Henry defending the driver.

The episode was written by Dusty Hughes and Amanda Coe.

JTV LIVE: POWDERFINGER GO AWOL

Australia's biggest rock band Powderfinger, along with triple j and jtv descended upon the mining town of Karratha WA in Australia's north-west for the second instalment of the triple j goes AWOL series. airing on the ABC on Thursday, 15 November 2007 @ 11.25pm

Hailed as the biggest event the region had hosted in years, the gig drew thousands from all over the region with many making the ten-hour drive south from Broome. It was worth the effort as Powderfinger delivered a rocking set of old and new favourites.

Director: Brendan Doyle; Producer: Deb Spinocchia; Executive Producer: Jennifer Collins

THE LIBRARIANS 14 NOVEMBER

It's such a shame that this series hasn't lived up to the hype, a promising scenario but nowhere near enough laughs for a comedy, even Bob Franklin seems off form. In fact there's not a believable or likeable character in it. In the episode broadcast on the ABC Wednesday, 14 November 2007 @ 9.30pm Frances (Robyn Butler) is on a diet in preparation for Book Week and as a result is even more stressed and anxious than usual.

Christine's (Roz Hammond) slimy lawyer Piero (Grant Piro) puts pressure on her to get Frances to testify in her favour if there is any chance of an acquittal. Christine knows Frances will refuse and must find a way to win her over.

Christine realises how important Book Week and the Premier's visit is to Frances and takes advantage of her vulnerability by offering some beauty tips. Frances relaxes and for a moment, enjoys Christine's company, a distant memory of their school days.

The pleasantness doesn't last long. When Christine inadvertently steals the Book Week limelight, Frances is once again filled with loathing.

GRUMPY OLD MEN: EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK

Maybe its because we are turning into one ourselves but we do find this show funny, airing on the ABC Network Tuesdays @ 8.00pm, this week Eveywhere You Look is a treat.

As Don Warrington say "What I hate is people who beep you when you're driving. You stop somewhere, and presumably you've stopped there for a reason. You're not on holiday, you're not relaxing, it's not the beach, you're trying to get somewhere. Obviously you can't get there because something's in the way. But some dick behind you thinks 'No, he's just hanging around.' "

35-to-54-year-olds are the grumpiest group of people in Britain today. Grumpier than their parents, who survived the war. Grumpier than their children, who just want to do drugs and surf the internet. Just when you thought they were finished, the Grumpy Old Men are back again to complain about modern life.

Sir Tim Rice, Will Self, Rick Wakeman, Nigel Havers, Rory McGrath, Tony Slattery, John O'Farrell, Sir Gerry Robinson, Arthur Smith, John Stapleton, Des Lynam, Don Warrington and Peter York air their very grumpy views about mobile phones, modern music, Hollywood films, bottled water, Bluetooth, Blackberries, DVDs and advertising - among other things. No stone is left unturned.

In episode two filling up the car, a trip to the supermarket, traffic wardens, pedestrians, drivers, motorcyclists, even consulting the street directory are grist to the mill for the Grumpy Old Men. Not to mention Bono wearing sunglasses inside and the mindless chit chat between newsreaders and buskers on the Tube.

Hilariously funny and frighteningly accurate, the third series of Grumpy Old Men is just as entertaining as its predecessors.

COMPASS: THE UNITING CHURCH

Australia's third largest Church, the Uniting Church, is struggling to adapt in the face of a changing Australia, this fascinating documentary airing on Sunday 11 November @ 9.25pm takes an indepth look at the organisation.

Born in the Australian religious community in 1977, it was a bold new experiment in Christian unity and was a culmination of three separate churches: the Presbyterian Church, the Congregational Church (with their roots in the European reformation), and the Methodist Church, derived from 18th century Britain.

Overnight, the Uniting Church has become Australia's third largest denomination with two million members, standing for social justice, human rights and religious liberty. From the start, it was not afraid to mix religion and politics. The faith opposed racism, supported Aboriginal Land Rights and lobbied for the decriminalisation of homosexuality. It was a community that revelled in its diversity.

However, over the past decade, its constituency has divided and fractured over questions of theology and sexuality, with many different expressions of faith now living under the one church banner. Also, like other Christian churches, it has an ageing and declining congregation.

Compass takes a look into the current challenges faced by the Church and asks whether this uniquely Australian institution can survive the division taking place in its community. We also speak with John and Marion Morrison, who were with the Church from the start, as well as visiting two Uniting congregations: The Uniting Church at Bondi Junction's Market Place and St. James Uniting Church in Canberra.

RAIN SHADOW: CALL OF THE WILD

Rainshadow, despite it's oh so Australian, serious McLeod's Daughters backdrop works extremely well as a strong character driven drama, this week's episode Call of the Wild (airing on the ABC Network Sunday, 11 November 2007 @ 8.30pm) sees Jill (Victoria Thaine) almost reconciled to the idea of an imperfect future with Kate (Rachel Ward), the past catches up with her when her father, brother and then Shane (Nathin Butler), the drover from episode one, all descend on them for an impromptu country lunch. All three men are there with the intention of wooing Jill away from her new life, although each has a very different motivation.

Meanwhile, Kate is trying to persuade the departing Iraqi agronomist, Achmed Aziz (Panda Likoudis), not to tell the authorities about the widespread sheep disease in the district.

A horrific attack on the Balfour farm by a pack of dogs distracts everyone, but it gives Jill a chance to show her true worth as well as crystallising her decision to stay in Paringa.

She is unexpectedly rewarded by Kate's confession about what really happened the night her husband died. The revelation is as shocking in its candour as it is in content. Jill is both accepted and challenged as she realises she's now privy to the dark secret that has cast its shadow over the last decade of Kate's life.

CAPTAIN COOK: OBSESSION AND DISCOVERY

This excellent drama documentary continues on the ABC Network on Sunday, 11 November 2007 @ 7.30pm, this week Cook continues his relentless pursuit of a Great Southern Continent, putting fable and mystery to rest. Despite his great skills sailing and navigating across the world, Endeavour runs aground and is nearly lost. As a patched up Endeavour crawls its way north again, Cook commits the most controversial act of the voyage: he claims the entire east coast of New Holland for Britain, without permission from local inhabitants. To this day, Cook's claim is still not accepted by Aboriginal people.

Stopping for emergency repairs in Batavia, infected water turns Endeavour into a death ship. Until now Cook has not lost a man, but by the Cape of Good Hope, Cook has lost over a third of his crew.

Back in London, enduring trials of life are also taking their toll on the Cook family. In his absence, Cook's wife Elizabeth must bury a second child. Cook's maps confirm his brilliance. He is promoted to Commander to lead a new voyage that will add an incredible third of the world to the map. It makes him a great British hero but the massive responsibility is taking its toll. He is losing control; only his obsession with discovery drives him on.

Starring Matt Young as Captain James Cook. Bridget Bezanson as Elizabeth Cook. Jay Dawson as Joseph Banks. Andrew Hunt as Dr Solander. Daniel Jameison as Sydney Parkinson. Pulou Vaituutuu as Tupaia.

IF AUSTRALIA'S WRITERS WENT ON STRIKE TOO...

Can you imagine the chaos that would be wreaked if Australia's writers came out on strike in support of their American brothers, you can picture it now, the placards, the chants, the sympathetic glances from their colleagues on Today Tonight. But we are a hardy bunch we Australians, we happy breed, we noble few and those three writers would be out for as long as it takes.

Who cares if City Homicide goes into re-runs, not they, who cares if Sea Patrol goes into dry dock, they don't. Unfortunately neither does the audience.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

GREY'S ANATOMY CAST EXPRESS SOLIDARITY

The cast of Grey's Anatomy gave up their lunch hour on Wednesday (7 November) to join their brothers on the picket line outside the studio in Hollywood where the drama series is filmed.

"This is like 12,000 writers and ultimately way more people because it affects all the actors, it involves all the crew and many of us who can't actually strike," said Sandra Oh, who plays sharp-tongued Dr. Cristina Yang on the popular drama. "This is our lunch hour right now, we're lending our support and eventually for me I would love to be able to join them and strike along with the writers."

The Writers' Guild of America represents a large population of screenwriters, some of whom make millions of dollar a year and others who barely make enough to pay union dues. The guild membership is at odds with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers over their share of supplemental payments, known as residuals, for programming runs on the internet and other forms of "new media."

Patrick Dempsey, who since joining the show has seen a stunning career boost, emphasized the writers' critical role in the production process. "This is our last show, it could be it for the season," he said. "It puts a lot of people out of work, which is a real shame here, you know, obviously you can't do it without the writers, it's very important that the writers get a piece of the pie and it's only fair."

Other "Grey's" cast members showing union solidarity were Katherine Heigl (Dr. Izzie Stevens), James Pickens Jr. (Dr. Richard Webber), Brooke Smith (Dr. Erica Hahn) and Sara Ramirez (Dr. Callie Torres).

The most recent WGA strike, in 1988, lasted 22 weeks and drained an estimated 500 million U.S. dollars from the industry.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

UK COMEDY AWARDS - NOMINATIONS NOW IN

There's a real whiff of controversy in the air with the British Comedy Awards this year, ITV have said that they will not be broadcasting the event, which takes place on 5 December, thanks to the irregularities discovered over the Phone in votes during the 2005 ceremony. Viewers were urged to keep phoning in with their votes even though the live segment had finished. Jonathan Ross is still hosting and it is being recorded by production company Unique.

The other big news is that Ant and Dec have been snubbed and for the first time since 2002 haven't been nominated for a single award.

Ant and Dec have failed to pick up a single nomination for the British Comedy Awards for the first time in five years. The big hitter this year is BBC Three sitcom Gavin and Stacey which has garnered seven nominations.

The Full list of nominations is

BEST TELEVISION COMEDY ACTOR 2007

DAVID MITCHELL
Peep Show (Objective Productions for Channel 4)

JACK DEE
Lead Balloon (Open Mike for BBC Four)

KEVIN BISHOP
Star Stories (Objective Productions for Channel 4)

LEE MACK
Not Going Out (Avalon for BBC One)


BEST TELEVISION COMEDY ACTRESS 2007

CATHERINE TATE
The Catherine Tate Show (Tiger Aspect for BBC Two)

LIZ SMITH
The Royal Family: The Queen of Sheba (Granada Productions for BBC One)

RUTH JONES
Gavin & Stacey / Saxondale (Baby Cow for BBC Three / Baby Cow for BBC Two)


BEST COMEDY ENTERTAINMENT PERSONALITY 2007

ALAN CARR & JUSTIN LEE COLLINS
The Friday Night Project (Princess Productions for Channel 4)

SIMON AMSTELL
Never Mind the Buzzcocks (Talkback Thames for BBC Two)

STEPHEN FRY
QI (Talkback Thames for BBC Two)


BEST MALE COMEDY NEWCOMER 2007

JAMES CORDEN
Gavin & Stacey (Baby Cow for BBC Three)

MATHEW HORNE
Gavin & Stacey (Baby Cow for BBC Three)

MATT BERRY
The IT Crowd (Talkback Thames for Channel 4)


BEST FEMALE COMEDY NEWCOMER 2007

JOANNA PAGE
Gavin & Stacey (Baby Cow for BBC Three)

RUTH JONES
Gavin & Stacey (Baby Cow for BBC Three)

SHARON HORGAN
Rob Brydon’s Annually Retentive / Pulling (Jones the Film for BBC Three / Silver River for BBC Three)

BEST NEW BRITISH TELEVISION COMEDY (Scripted) 2007

GAVIN & STACEY
Baby Cow for BBC Three

LEAD BALLOON
Open Mike for BBC Four

NOT GOING OUT
Avalon for BBC One



BEST TELEVISION COMEDY 2007

GAVIN & STACEY
Baby Cow for BBC Three

PEEP SHOW
Objective Productions for Channel 4

STAR STORIES
Objective Productions for Channel 4



BEST NEW COMEDY ENTERTAINMENT PROGRAMME 2007

Al MURRAY HAPPY HOUR
Avalon for ITV1

FONEJACKER
Hat Trick for E4

THE GRAHAM NORTON SHOW
So Television for BBC Two



BEST COMEDY ENTERTAINMENT PROGRAMME 2007


HARRY HILL’S TV BURP
Avalon Television for ITV1

NEVER MIND THE BUZZCOCKS
Talkback Thames for BBC Two

THE FRIDAY NIGHT PROJECT
Princess Productions for Channel 4


BEST LIVE STAND UP 2007

ALAN CARR

DARA O’BRIAIN

SIMON AMSTELL



BEST INTERNATIONAL COMEDY SHOW 2007

CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM
HBO Entertainment for More 4

THE OFFICE: AN AMERICAN WORKPLACE
NBC Universal for ITV2

THE SIMPSONS
Twentieth Century Fox for Sky One / Channel 4

BEING HUMAN - NEW BBC DRAMA NOW FILMING

Being Human is a new one off, hour long comedy drama, for BBC Three, that focuses on the lives of three outsiders who just want to fit in, only problem is, one's a vampire, one's a werewolf and the others a ghost.

Mitchell (Flanagan) and George (Tovey) are two 20-something lads who, like any of their peers, would love to hit the town, pull girls and spend evenings down the pub.

Mitchell is a hospital cleaner, good looking, laid back and a hit with the ladies. Oh, and he's a blood-sucking vampire.

Mitchell's friend George works in the same hospital as a porter. He's an awkward but loveable geek who was befriended by Mitchell two years ago.

George was heartbroken after he had to move away from the love of his life; he had to leave before she discovered that at every full moon, he sprouts a snout, grows a very hairy back and transforms into a werewolf.

Having had enough of sleeping in hostels and temporary accommodation, Mitchell and George decide to get a flat together where they can indulge in their love of beer, pizza and watching TV. They just want to have a go at being normal – being human.

Annie (Riseborough) is their uninvited lodger. When the guys moved into their new creepy abode they were not expecting to share it with a ghost with a confidence crisis.

Annie used to live in the flat with her boyfriend but following a fatal accident, and now suffering from a distinct lack of self esteem, she can't move on. So, she spends her time wandering around the house, making cups of tea she can't drink and scaring away anyone who dares try to move into her home.

But when George and Mitchell move in Annie's surprised to find two new friends who are as unusual and weird as she is.

Starring a cast of bright up-and-coming actors: Guy Flanagan (Totally Frank), Andrea Riseborough (Margaret Thatcher: The Long Walk to Finchley), Russell Tovey (The History Boys) alongside Adrian Lester (Hustle), Being Human explores what it's like trying to find where you fit into the grand scheme of things when you live with an unusual affliction...

Written by Toby Whithouse and currently filming in Bristol to air sometime next year. BBC Three have six new dramas in production including this one, the others are Phoo Action, West 10 LDN (working title), The Things I Haven't Told You, Mrs In-Betweeny and Dis/connected.

FRANCESCA ANNIS ON CRANFORD

Cranford is all set to the big BBC period drama smash of the year, an epic tales of a year in the life of a village, Cranford features an all star cast, one of whom, Francesca Annis, we caught up with recently.

Francesca Annis plays Lady Ludlow in the five part drama and perhaps more than any character in Cranford, embodies the desire to maintain the old order, but progress is threatening the status quo.

"She represents old conservative paternalism," says Francesca Annis.

"Lady Ludlow is almost feudal but, at the same time, she's very aware of her responsibilities towards the huge number of people she employs.

"She has 64 indoor servants alone and takes great care of them all, refusing to countenance cutting back because she doesn't want to see any of them end up in the workhouse.

"She's determined to keep her estate intact but times are changing and she can no longer afford to. She is offered the possibility of raising money by selling land for the coming railway, but is determined not to."

Lady Ludlow's sense of duty towards her staff is given an added poignancy because, in some ways, they are the family she never had.

"She's a rather tragic figure, really," explains Francesca.

"She had seven children, but only has one surviving son who lives in Italy for his health, so he is also sickly, and we don't learn what happened to her husband.

"I read Gaskell's My Lady Ludlow, and (Cranford writer) Heidi Thomas's characterisation is quite faithful to her but she obviously had to leave out a huge amount of detail that I found completely fascinating.

"But then this serial isn't called Lady Ludlow... unfortunately!"

Cranford joins a long list of classic period dramas on Francesca's CV, most recently Wives And Daughters (another Gaskell adaptation) and going all the way back to a 1967 TV version of Great Expectations.

"It's not so much the dressing up, but I love the idea of moving and existing in a different time," she says.

"The wonderful thing of being in a location like this, in costume, is that after a day or two I begin to feel like I own the place. I start to think 'This is really pleasant, this is mine'.

"It was quite fun putting myself together as Lady Ludlow because she is completely different visually to me. I had this big high wig, all grey, which I called 'Marge' as in Marge's hair in The Simpsons.

"When I put Marge on, grey Marge, I started to feel like Lady Ludlow and, equally, when I took her off I'd have a shriek and become myself."

In fact, Francesca's only regret about her role and Lady Ludlow's aristocratic isolation in Cranford is that it meant she never got to act with most of its almost unrivalled ensemble cast.

"It was different, being in such a huge classic series and yet actually having virtually nothing to do with the majority of the other actors and actresses in the show," she says.

Most of her scenes are shared with Philip Glenister, who plays Lady Ludlow's loyal but reformist estate manager Mr Carter.

They clash when he takes a young boy (Alex Etel) from a local poor family under his wing and seeks to educate him.

"Lady Ludlow has her own charity school but only wants the lower classes to be taught their prayers and how to serve," Francesca explains.

"She thinks that's all they need in life, and that teaching them to read is a definite no-no, but Mr Carter believes they should be educated."

It could be said their clash encapsulates the collision of the old and the new in Cranford, modernity confronting a world that cannot be sustained.

"It's hugely interesting," Francesca adds. "Yes, Cranford is very political but it's also about the minutiae of life, everyday life. Its characters, language and storytelling are all very rich."

CHANNEL 4 - 25 YEARS OF HIGHLIGHTS

Channel Four celebrates an amazing 25 years on the air this November, over the years they've stirred up controversy but also provided us with some of the most stimulating and unforgettable shows of all time. Here we take a look at some of the best bits.

25 years ago, Autumn 1982 highlights
Channel 4 opened with Countdown, with Richard Whiteley the first face to be seen on the new channel and Carol Vorderman the first woman. The first voice heard was continuity announcer, Paul Coia. Channel 4 News started with Peter Sissons and Trevor McDonald as anchors. Brookside also formed part of the launch night line-up.

Comedy came from The Paul Hogan Show and The Comic Strip Presents… Five Go Mad in Dorset. Commissioned features included Walter and P’Tang Yang Kipperbang. Twenty Twenty Vision was launched as the channel’s flagship current affairs programme, alongside A Week In Politics. What the Papers Say debuted on Channel 4 after a 26-year run on ITV. The Tube launched with unknowns Paula Yates and Jools Holland presenting. The RSC’s adaptation of Nicholas Nickelby introduced Channel 4’s drama output. The Avengers and The Munsters made an idiosyncratic return to British TV, while American Football was introduced to the British public. The channel experienced its first controversy with The Animals Film, a look at vivisection. Opinions provided 30-minutes of no frills polemic. Keith Allen embarked on his ill-fated chat show Whatever You Want. Black on Black was a magazine show for the black community. Natural History strand Fragile Earth started with a film by Phil Agland.


20 years ago, Autumn 1987 highlights
Saturday Live continued making stars of Ben Elton, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Harry Enfield, Julian Clary and Paul Whitehouse. The satirical revue show Who Dares Wins also continued – the first major comedy exposure for Rory McGrath and Tony Robinson. Equinox investigated how snack foods were created and examined safety conditions on board a Polaris nuclear submarine. Jonathan Porritt concluded his challenging series Battle for the Planet about the future of the environment. But the documentary highlight was the transmission of Claude Lanzmann’s nine-hour epic film Shoah about the Holocaust. Shoah was broadcast over two nights with no commercial breaks. Drama included Peter Bowles in The Irish RM. Minority sports receiving their 15 minutes of fame included The British Speed Chess Championship, while the more mainstream Channel 4 Racing continued with John McCririck and Derek Thompson settling in for an ongoing run. Angela Carter talked about her novels, including The Company of Wolves recently filmed by Channel 4, in Off the Page. The Eleventh Hour – from 1982 the outlet for Channel 4’s experimental filmmaking – continued with The First Betrayal, a history of the British Labour Movement. Dispatches debuted, replacing Diverse Reports as the flagship current affairs strand. Jonathan Ross continued reinventing the chat show with The Last Resort, while Anneka Rice’s bottom achieved small screen immortality in another series of Treasure Hunt.

15 years ago, Autumn 1992 highlights
A revolution in early morning television occurred as The Big Breakfast launched, hosted by Chris Evans and Gaby Roslin, and backed up by Paula Yates, Bob Geldoff and Mark Lamarr. It would run for nine years. The sporting highlight was Kabbadi – the Indian sport where players hold their breath between turns. Four-Mations, Channel 4’s animation strand, continued in this period. Desmond’s continued and a new series of Black Bag started with an investigation into policing in Brixton. Without Walls asked “Was Michelangelo gay?” and Jimmy Savile explained why he was on the road to Hell in The Obituary Show. Channel 4’s commitment to short films – continued today through the Film Four Lab – was amplified by a new series of Short and Curlies. Jonathan Ross Met Madonna in an hour-long special and discussed her scandalous new book, Sex. Clive Anderson rounded off Friday night with an interview with Michael Palin. Equinox investigated chaos theory and crop circles, while new documentary strand Cutting Edge followed a psychiatric “crisis unit”. Critical Eye followed the fortunes of English, Scottish and German football fans at the European Championship in Sweden. The Word returned on Friday nights, hosted by Terry Christian and Dani Behr.

10 years ago, Autumn 1997 highlights
Rory Bremner started a new series and quickly got his teeth into the new Labour Government. The satirical theme continued in the evergreen Drop the Dead Donkey. ER led a host of top quality US imports including NYPD Blue, Frasier and Friends. A drama based on Anthony Powell’s novels, A Dance to the Music of Time, approached its climax, while Cutting Edge slipped into the murky world of life at The Daily Sport in Sex, Lies and Aliens. The Ba Ba Zee, the channel’s experimental black programming strand continued with documentaries on reggae producer Lee “Scratch” Perry and racism in Brazil. Chris Evans continued his meteoric rise with TFI Friday. Channel 4’s triple Emmy award-winning children’s series Wise Up investigated racial prejudice in a south London bowling club, while ethics strand Witness questioned whether Myra Hindley should remain imprisoned. New flagship arts documentary strand Art House started with a look at Van Gogh fakes. Meanwhile, on Football Italia, a young Ronaldo appeared for Inter Milan…

5 years ago, Autumn 2002 highlights
The Osbournes took up residence at Channel 4, Celebrity Big Brother returned and Jamie Oliver attempted to transform a group of unemployed youths in Jamie’s Kitchen. Molly Dineen documented the historic departure of the hereditary peers from the House of Lords in The Lord’s Tale, while acclaimed director Mike Figgis followed the artist Jeremy Deller as he staged an ambitious re-enactment of The Battle of Orgreave. Feltham Sings provided a completely new perspective on Europe’s largest young offender’s institution, with young criminals expressing their lives and thoughts through musical collaboration. Marrying a Stranger followed young Muslims trying to reconcile their parents’ traditional views with their own modern desires, and Hermione Morris and Mark Strong starred in Falling Apart, which used real-life testimonies as the basis for a disturbing drama about domestic violence. Writers Aminatta Forma and Peter Godwin attempted to find out What’s Wrong With Africa?, while David Starkey brought us the story of two of England’s Tudor monarchs in Edward and Mary.

IRONSIDE SEASON TWO GIVEAWAY

One of the all time great shows is Ironside, the 1960's crime drama that starred the brilliant Raymond Burr as the wheelchair bound Robert T. Ironside, chief of detectives for the San Francisco Police Department.

Shout! Factory are releasing the second season (26 episodes over seven discs) and we have a copy of the box set for you to win. For full details visit Memorable TV

THE SIMPSONS GAME

We all know how brilliant the Simpsons are, well now thanks to the new game from EA we have the chance to be them.

With parodies of the video game industry (neverquest, medal of homer), pop culture and current events, The Simpsons Game has the same subversive humor and delightfully smart wit as the critically acclaimed TV series. Play along as your favorite yellow, dysfunctional TV family members, Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie, battle to break free of the video game world and save Springfield. We have X-Box and Wii games to win. full story...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

CHRISTINA COLE ON SOLD

Christina Cole loved the sexy, sassy look of her character, Mel, in Sold so much that she bought the costumes.

Christina explains: “Mel’s look is very sexy and sassy. Naturally I was daunted at first because the clothes Mel has to wear are so figure hugging and I had to get used to tottering around in high heels. I’ve played roles in the past where I’ve had to wear a corset, but these clothes left nothing to the imagination.

“I usually buy my clothes from high street shops, but I fell in love with some of the designer pieces. I couldn’t resist buying a few outfits once filming had finished to fill up my wardrobe at home.”

Christina believes Mel’s clothes say a lot about her character: “They are almost like a military uniform for her - she dresses the way she does because it gives her a greater presence in the work place. The clothes sum up her sexual femininity and ruthless attitude to selling houses.”

In her next role Christina will be swapping her sexy look for corsets and bonnets to play Caroline Bingley in the new ITV drama Lost in Austen.

“Lost in Austen is about a girl obsessed with Jane Austen who swaps places with Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice. I really enjoyed the script - there’s a lot more to the character Caroline Bingley than in any other Pride and Prejudice. She’s more fun and incredibly naughty.”

In Sold, Christina plays Mel, a ruthless estate agent determined to outdo the men in her office in any way she can.

“Mel is a hard-faced bitch. At least, that is how she portrays herself. In a predominately male environment she prides herself on being as ruthless as the men around her. She is very sexy and thrives on the attention she gets from the men, using it to her advantage to steal their sales.”

Christina, who is no stranger to playing sexy characters having starred alongside Daniel Craig in Casino Royale as a sexy receptionist, explains she accepted the role because of Mel’s fearlessness.

“I love the fact that she is so bold, sexy and ruthless. I had to try to bring out a compelling charm and sexuality that could woo the boys, and potential buyers, in a way I would never do as it’s far too scary. She is fearless and you have to admire that.

“You can see her fearlessness in the way she toys with her manager Matt, played by Kris Marshall. He has an obvious attraction towards her and she uses that to undermine him. Mel is perceptive. She understands Matt is quite stupid and only about ‘the job’. His tunnel vision means he doesn’t realise that she is using him until it’s too late.”

During the series Mel feels a growing attraction to Danny, played by Bryan Dick. Danny is not her usual type but she can’t help being intrigued by him.

“Mel’s ideal man is someone with money who can offer her a good quality life and all the material things that go with it. Early in the series, she has her heart broken by a client she thinks is ‘the one’. She puts her barriers up again and doesn’t expect another relationship to come along.

“When she first meets Danny she thinks he is a bit tragic - he owns one suit and just seems far too nice. I think he begins to intrigue her because he seems impervious to her charms. Even though Mel tries to be emotionally detached, Danny breaks down those walls and starts to chip away at who Mel really is. He does this in a way no other man has done before.

“They make a lot of mistakes along the way in their relationship, but I don’t think there are any closed doors as to what might happen.”

Christina has just moved into a new home in London and has been busy decorating. So, is this Christina’s first step to creating her idea of the perfect home?

“Decoration is part of making a home your own. When you walk into a house you get a sense of whether it’s going to be the one for you, but when you arrive it’s about making your own choices. Atmosphere is important. I love having candles around the house, my personal belongings on show, and pictures of my family. Home is where the heart is.”

Christina Cole can also be seen next year in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and Lost in Austen.

SOLD / ITV1 Thursdays @ 9.00pm