Hit crime drama Broadchurch was a triple winner at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) TV Awards on Sunday (18May14). The detective series picked up the Leading Actress prize for Olivia Colman, Supporting Actor for David Bradley and the top honour of the night for Best Drama.
Colman's win marked the star's third TV BAFTA prize, after claiming two trophies last year (13) for her roles in Twenty Twelve and Accused.
Overwhelmed with emotion upon receiving the award, Colman said through tears, "Well, Broadchurch, I'm so pleased everyone likes it. Chris Chibnall is a f**king genius, thank you for writing it! And (co-star) David Tennant, standing opposite you is a joy and a treat."
Double winners also included veteran presenters Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, who were feted with both Entertainment Performance and Entertainment Programme for Ant And Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, while comedy The IT Crowd earned both Katherine Parkinson and Richard Ayoade the Female and Male Performance in a Comedy Programme, respectively.
Other awards were handed to Southcliffe star Sean Harris for Leading Actor, Sarah Lancashire for Supporting Actress in Last Tango in Halifax, U.S. drug drama Breaking Bad for the International prize and Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor earned the Radio Times Audience Award.
Veteran TV star Cilla Black was lauded for her decades of work with the Special Award, while Julie Walters was given BAFTA's highest honour, the BAFTA Fellowship, for her contribution to film and TV.
During her acceptance speech she said, "When I told my mother I wanted to be an an actress in 1969, she said: 'She'll be in the gutter before she's 20'. But what a gutter, and I shared that gutter with some of the most amazing and talented people without whom I would not have a career."
Talk show host Graham Norton hosted the event for the second year in a row at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
A host of famous faces turned out to help Michael J. Fox raise awareness of Parkinson's disease at his foundation's annual gala in New York City over the weekend (09-10Sep13). The Back to the Future star, who has been battling the debilitating condition since the early 1990s, was joined by the likes of Blake Lively and her husband Ryan Reynolds, Julianna Margulies, Seth Meyers and Tina Fey at the glitzy bash at Manhattan's Waldorf-Astoria hotel on Saturday night (09Nov13).
Fox joined Coldplay star Chris Martin on guitar for a musical performance, while Reynolds, whose own father is battling Parkinson's, admitted he was impressed by the work of The Michael J. Fox Foundation, saying, "You meet the people who work with this foundation, and so many of them have absolutely no affiliation with the disease whatsoever other than their job, and they were brought to it by a common denominator, which is Michael, and he's so inspiring and you just see the people that work with this foundation and how tirelessly they give everything they have to it and you start to forget that you're only here because someone you care about has Parkinson's. I was really blown away by the whole operation."
Marguiles insisted she turned out at the event to help raise cash for the cause, saying, "When you raise awareness, you raise money. I mean, it's the brutal truth."
Fellow guest, actor John Slattery, added to The Hollywood Reporter, "We're trying to find a cure. Research is expensive, and the more people know about it, that's everything, so that's what he's doing."
Fans of British sitcom The IT Crowd have been waiting three years for this. The show is returning — after a hiatus that would make the wait between Mad Men seasons feel like a commercial break — for a one-off finale on Sep. 27. We're dying to see what the Reynholm Industries IT department have been up to (and what they think about the iPhone 5c launch). While we wait these last few agonizing days for the return of Roy (Chris O'Dowd), Jen (Katherine Parkinson), and Moss (Richard Ayoade), let's take a look back at some of their best moments.
"This, Jen, is the Internet."
Roy and Moss lend tech-virgin Jen "the Internet" for her Employee of the Month presentation, but only after a blessing from the "elders" and a de-magnetizing by Stephen Hawking, of course.
Looking normal: easier said than done.
Jen, thrilled to be dating a "proper normal," is less than thrilled to have to invite her work mates to a couples dinner party. But, socially-challenged nerd or not, who doesn't feel awkward in situations like these?
"Wow. A gun!"
Reynholm heir Douglas (Matt Berry) finds a hidden note and emergency handgun in his father's old desk and tests it out in the safest way possible.
0118 999 881 999 119 725…3
Of course the easier-to-remember phone number for England's new-and-improved Emergency Services shows up in another episode. It's so catchy!
Roy describes humanity, concisely and accurately.
Well, he does.
Moss accepts a challenge.
Street Countdown is much the same as the regular British game show Countdown, except we play it on the street. And it can get awfully chilly. Moss has his thermals on though, so he's ready to roll.
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Caught up with Downton Abbey, Sherlock, and Doctor Who and looking to scratch that lingering itch for the dry wit and impeccably plotted story that only British television can provide? Netflix and Hulu have a collective treasure trove of Anglo-centric masterpieces just waiting for your eyes and ears. Check out our recommendations in comedy, drama, and sci-fi, but don't blame us when you get addicted. Cheers.
Call the Midwife
Don't fret if you missed the PBS airing of this critically acclaimed drama. The first six episodes are available on Netflix Streaming and the second series of eight should be up soon. But we must warn you: Call the Midwife, based on the memoirs of Jessica Worth who served London's poor East End as a nurse in the 1950s, will likely break your heart a few times. But, as with most British series, it'll be worth it.
Your plans for next weekend are sorted. Gather your pop-culture obsessed friends; load up on some truly terrible junk food; and marathon all 14 episodes of Spaced on Netflix. The reference-laden slacker comedy marks the first time Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and director Edgar Wright worked together. See if you can spot all the Spaced cameos and in-jokes in their big screen collaborations Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and summer release The World's End.
Torchwood: Children of Earth
The run of Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood has its share of highs and lows. The season that's most worth your hard-earned free time is the masterfully bleak and self-contained Children of Earth. It's a far cry from the cheeky, innuendo-heavy first and second series, but the seemingly hopeless spot the Torchwood team finds themselves in will keep you glued to your TV until the final seconds.
The IT Crowd
The IT Crowd is a gift to nerds and the people who love them. The laugh track is jarring at first, but you'll quickly tune it out and concentrate on the antics of computer experts Roy (Bridesmaids' Chris O'Dowd), Moss (Richard Ayoade), and their clueless boss Jen (Katherine Parkinson). Catch up on all four short seasons on Netflix to be ready for its one-off finale (and first new episode in three years), which is debuting at the end of September.
Where Heroes failed, Misfits succeeds. The premise: a strange electrical storm imbues a group of teenage deliquents with a variety of superpowers while they're completing their community service. The series seamlessly blends comedy, drama, and sci-fi with striking visuals to come as close to feeling like a filmed comic book than a TV show has ever been. The first four seasons are on Hulu Plus, and the fifth and final season is on its way.
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Widening the thematic scope without sacrificing too much of the claustrophobia that made the original 1979 Alien universally spooky Prometheus takes the trophy for this summer's most adult-oriented blockbuster entertainment. The movie will leave your mouth agape for its entire runtime first with its majestic exploration of an alien planet and conjectures on the origins of the human race second with its gross-out body horror that leaves no spilled gut to the imagination. Thin characters feel more like pawns in Scott's sci-fi prequel but stunning visuals shocking turns and grand questions more than make up for the shallow ensemble. "Epic" comes in many forms. Prometheus sports all of them.
Based on their discovery of a series of cave drawings all sharing a similar painted design Elizabeth (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green) are recruited by Weyland to head a mission to another planet one they believe holds the answers to the creation of life on Earth. Along for the journey are Vickers (Charlize Theron) the ruthless Weyland proxy Janek (Idris Elba) a blue collar captain a slew of faceless scientists and David (Michael Fassbender) HAL 9000-esque resident android who awakens the crew of spaceship Prometheus when they arrive to their destination. Immediately upon descent there's a discovery: a giant mound that's anything but natural. The crew immediately prepares to scope out the scene zipping up high-tech spacesuits jumping in futuristic humvees and heading out to the site. What they discover are the awe-inspiring creations of another race. What they bring back to the ship is what they realize may kill their own.
The first half of Prometheus could be easily mistaken for Steven Spielberg's Alien a sense of wonder glowing from every frame not too unlike Close Encounters. Scott takes full advantage of his fictional settings and imbues them with a reality that makes them even more tantalizing. He shoots the vistas of space and the alien planet like National Geographic porn and savors the interior moments on board the Prometheus full of hologram maps sleeping pods and do-it-yourself surgery modules with the same attention. Prometheus is beautiful shot in immersive 3D that never dampers Dariusz Wolski's sharp photography. Scott's direction seems less interested in the run-or-die scenario set up in the latter half of the film but the film maintains tension and mood from beginning to end. It all just gets a bit…bloodier.
Jon Spaihts' and Damon Lindelof's script doesn't do the performers any favors shuffling them to and fro between the ship and the alien construction without much room for development. Reveals are shoehorned in without much setup (one involving Theron's Vickers that's shockingly mishandled) but for the most part the ensemble is ready to chomp into the script's bigger picture conceits. Rapace is a physical performer capable of pulling off a grisly scene involving an alien some sharp objects and a painful procedure (sure to be the scene of the blockbuster season. Among the rest of the crew Fassbender's David stands out as the film's revelatory performance delivering a digestible ambiguity to his mechanical man that playfully toys with expectations from his first entrance. The creature effects in Prometheus will wow you but even Fassbender's smallest gesture can send the mind spinning. The power of his smile packs more of a punch than any facehugger.
Much like Lindelof's Lost Prometheus aims to explore the idea of asking questions and seeking answers and on Scott's scale it's a tremendous unexpected ride. A few ideas introduced to spur action fall to the way side in the logic department but with a clear mission and end point Prometheus works as a sweeping sci-fi that doesn't require choppy editing or endless explosions to keep us on the edge of our seats. Prometheus isn't too far off from the Alien xenomorphs: born from existing DNA of another creature the movie breaks out as its own beast. And it's wilder than ever.
Every once in a while, Netflix adds a goodly amount of content to their Watch Instantly lineup. With slightly less frequency, they will add scores of new content. And once a year they will open the streaming content floodgates and a tidal wave of new instant viewing options comes crashing into your eyeballs. January 1 marked just such an occasion as over 450 new titles were added. If you’re anything like me, you will spend the next several months tearing into the new releases and spending far more time watching movies than should be legally permissible. But try not to get too distracted by your marathon sessions of Shaft’s Big Score and Robocop 3 that you fail to discover The IT Crowd.
If you’ve ever worked in a big office, or are currently working in a big office, then you are familiar with the delicate dance that commences whenever you are forced to call upon the IT department. It’s one of the few times in life that the nerds have the upper hand and they intend to make the most of it. I’m generalizing of course, but one constant that does seem to exist is the infuriating initial question: “have you tried turning it off and on again?” British television series The IT Crowd is a comedy that takes you deeper into the dungeon-like lair of those in the technical support department than anyone would care to be.
Unlike most British comedies, The IT Crowd does not rely on dry humor. The comedy comes from cartoonish characters that exist as hilarious exaggerations of people you may very well recognize from your daily life. But the brilliance of The IT Crowd over something like, say, The Office is that they are given an environment to be as ridiculous and uber nerdy as possible with little regard as to how true to life it seems. The fact that their IT department is sequestered from the rest of the employees in the building gives the show an opportunity to explore and satirize the more outlandishly absurd aspects of the corporate world.
The show focuses on Jen (Katherine Parkinson), a hapless but well-intentioned young woman who manages to bluff her way into a management position at Reynholm Industries only to discover she’s been assigned to the unpopular and completely neglected IT department residing in the basement. Her new underlings, Roy (Chris O’Dowd) and Moss (Richard Ayoade) are the most unrepentant geeks one could ever hope to meet. Moss sports a half-ro, high-rise pants, and coke bottle glasses while Roy’s carousel of nerd culture tee-shirts is awe-inspiring. The two of them engage in activities that both demonstrate their oddly compatible friendship and illustrate the cause of their social alienation.
The first series (not season, it is British after all) has them mostly dealing with interoffice fiascos—dating, stress, Jen’s special lady time—but the subsequent seasons see our heroes branching further and further away from the office. This allows them to wreak as much havoc on the citizenry of London as they do on their own coworkers. The show really hits its stride in the second series when Douglas (Matt Berry), the son of Reynholm Industries’ president, shows up. Berry is absolutely unhinged and even the preposterous trio from the IT department can’t make heads or tails of his antics.
The writing is sharp and wickedly clever and the characters are all instantly likeable for one reason or another. While some of the in-jokes are perplexing at first, drawing from British pop culture, the broader gags are sidesplitting. There are movie, music, and techno references taken to the nth degree in a glorious testament to the geekiness of the show’s writers. What really impresses me is the incredible and masterful slapstick employed with precision and impact. It’s not often seen in sitcoms and it blends well into the comedic stew that is The IT Crowd.
Series 1, 3, and recently 4 are available on Netflix Watch Instantly and Series 2 is available through their mail service. As you will certainly be hooked by the end of Series 1, waiting for the second through the mail will be well worth it.
Producer-director-top dog Steven Spielberg has a new title: Sir.
The helmer, whose works include the "Indiana Jones" franchise, "Schindler's List" and "Saving Private Ryan," is set to be knighted by Great Britain, Reuters reports.
Specifically, the 54-year-old Spielberg will receive the honorary Insignia of a Knight Commander of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (um, of course) for his contributions to England’s film industry at a Jan. 29 ceremony at the British Embassy in Washington D.C.
"It’s an honorary knighthood because knighthood per se is just for British citizens," Spielberg spokesman Marvin Levy told Reuters.
"It’s an extraordinary honor," Levy continued. "He has great affection and respect for the British film industry and the British people. He has always enjoyed every moment he’s spent in the U.K. -- or anywhere where the British flag flies."
Spielberg has also been tapped to receive his very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
KATE HUDSON WEDS?! Don’t have anything planned for New Year’s Eve? Might we suggest crashing Kate Hudson's wedding?
The New York Post is reporting that the "Almost Famous" starlet will allegedly tie the knot with Black Crowes rocker Chris Robinson on New Year’s Eve in Aspen, Colo.
According to the tab, Robinson proposed to the 21-year-old actress in August, and she's currently sporting a big rock.
Due to the holidays, our calls to Hudson’s people have yet to been returned.
YEAR OF THE FOX: Ex-"Spin City" star turned Parkinson’s disease activist Michael J. Fox has been named by US Weekly as its celebrity of the year, The Associated Press says.
The 39-year-old first made the announcement in November 1999 regarding his battle with Parkinson’s disease. He left the ABC sitcom in May and created the Michael J. Fox Foundation to combat the neurological disorder.