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.