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Scar Tissue: Screening Q&A

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Wed, 30/07/2014 - 20:20

By Jessy Williams

The Scar Tissue Q&A took place after a special screening at London's Prince Charles Cinema, and featured writer/director Scott Michell, stars Danny Horn and Charity Wakefield, and composer Mark Ayres...

Mark: I've known you for many years Scott, but where did that come from?

Scott: They say it's always the quiet ones. I don't know, is the short answer. Somwhere deep buried within my psyche, there is obviously some very dark thoughts. Thankfully, I've been kind enough to put it on to paper. But, that story has been in development for 12 years in various guises and I think it got darker and darker.

Mark: I read a few drafts and it started off as more of a pure sci-fi.

Scott: It did. It mutated over a few years and got darker and more character-driven, probably more cerebral.

Mark: And you were lucky enough to get Charity (Charity Wakefield) involved in this.

Scott: Absolutely. We had quite a long search for our Luke and our Sam. We had many auditions, but we were delighted to find Danny who hadn't done that many films. I just felt that he had that duality and touch that would bring both the instant likeability to the character, but also that little bit of darkness. You're going to have a little sense of wonder about him; was he as straightforward and likeable as you think? With Charity, well we needed someone who could capture both elements of the Sam character well; the strength and toughness and scariness, but at the same time, vulnerability, warmth and the pathos making you really feel for this character.

Mark: When Mark said he cast you (Charity) I was like, "that's good" because I remember you, we all remember you, from the costume dramas Sense and Sensibility and such.

Charity: Yeah, it was an amazing opportunity to play something completely different to anything I've done before. I didn't really have very long to get ready for it either *laughs* I had boxing lessons two weeks before getting the job. It's quiet strange watching it, because I don't feel like it's me up there at all.

Audience Question 1: Can I ask Scott, where did you see the film being set? You seem to have avoided all identifiable landmarks and such. Was that intentional; was it supposed to be hyper-real, almost like comic book?

Mark: I think you've answered your own question!

Scott: Yes, that's very perceptive of you. I did very consciously avoid setting it in a particular location. We avoided seeing any London landmarks; we shot the entire thing in London, but didn't want to go down that whole road of shots of the Gherkin, etc etc. I wanted that feeling of decay in society, I didn't want to pin that down, I wanted it to be a world that existed within itself. It's a story that can happen anywhere. The whole style of the film was slightly hyper-real with a very slight comic-book element to it.

Mark: We did that very much with the sound design, as well. We tried to avoid British police sirens, to try and take things out of the space as much as we could. We didn't want a very obvious number 9 bus going by or anything like that. So, Danny, what did you think when you got this part?

Danny: With Luke, a lot of things happen to him. He starts of in a very naïve place and that's how I approached it. A series of ridiculous things start happening to him and from the get-go he's in shock, really. He wakes up to find his friend dead! He doesn't really have time to focus on anything that's going on around him, because something else is always being thrown at him.

Mark: You've come soon out of playing the young Michael Gambon in Doctor Who. Was there a very different approach to this, in-terms of set-up of the film?

Danny: It was quite a different part, yeah. I hadn't done anything like this before or since. I remember reading the script and thinking it was creepy. It's one of those things where you read it for the first time and you try to take it all in. Then you get to the end and you realise that this guy's been clowned from this serial killer and you have to re-read everything. Everything that has come before that has a different meaning. I don't believe in the nature side of things, you decide your own fate. So, I don't think that he is the same as the killer. Nevertheless, he's going to have something there and I tried to work that in in the most subtle way possible.

Audience Question 2: I think there was a bit of Blade Runner in this, perhaps in one of the police characters.

Scott: I would be very happy if you thought that and any allusion to Blade Runner is one to be welcomed. There were a whole host of films that were influential when I was putting this together; Se7en was one of them which also had that thing of not being set in particular time or place. I was impressed by that element and the incredible claustrophobic, seedy flavour of the whole thing. Blade Runner, absolutely, with the hyper-real feeling and the colour palette. Although, we couldn't quite match the value of Blade runner *laughs*. I suppose The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is another influence, with the strong female lead character and the overwhelming darkness and twisted humanity.

Mark: One of the things where I think we were really lucky was with our art department. They were just astonishing. Luke's flat is actually the morgue a couple of days later, that's how good they were at doing an enormous amount with very little.

Scott: Absolutely, at times they were working 24 hours a day. They were sleeping on-set and building things through the night. They did an absolutely phenomenal job.

Mark: Alarmingly, the fetish club was rather how we found it.

Scott: Yes, as part of the prep for the film we had to tour some seedy London clubs, which was interesting. That probably wasn't one of the seediest. There were much, much worse ones.

Audience Question 3: Does the music come after you've seen the film the first time or are you writing the music as you read the script?

Mark: It's a bit of both. Scott and I have worked together over a number of years and I've read this script in various incarnations. I did some writing in response to the script, but only about 10 minutes in total. I knew early enough where we thought it was going and that saves me a lot of time. Most of it was written afterwards. What I had written had to be, pretty much, re-written anyway as the synchronisation changes. I like working with a director from the start. All you can really do is react to the film, if you've actually been involved with it. If I've been on-set when Scott has been shooting a scene, I don't have to ask him what he's trying to do with the scene, because I already know.

Audience Question 4: Scott, how difficult was it to you to go to the producers and go, "Hey! This is my film, can we make this?"

Scott: Pretty much everything in the British film industry is tough. Right in the beginning we tried to get off the ground and get the money. There's not many things in life where you go, "Give us...well, in our case, not a lot." It's a heck of an ask for something that's just come out of your head. So yeah, it's a long and difficult process. But, obviously, this is a fairly low-budget production and we managed to get it off the ground. Once we got started it barrelled along pretty quickly, we only had about 2 months prep and it was all madly coming together at the last minute. It actually moved quite quickly which is very very unusual for the film industry. Making the film is only half the problem. Once you've finished post-production you've got the other task of getting it out there and persuading people that this is something that they should buy or ship around the world. We really really wanted to get it in to cinemas. All the way through we very strongly tried to make it a cinematic project, so we tried for very long to try and get a distribution deal that, at least, got us in to some cinemas. Finally we're here, it's long road.

Audience Question 5: Were there any real serial killers that you got inspiration from?

Scott: No, thankfully I don't spend my days studying serial killer reports. It's more more of an overarching sense.... When you read newspapers or watch the news reports will come on and you will be just be watching them open-mouthed being like, "How on Earth does someone do something like that to another human being?" You just cannot relate to it. You just can't get in to that type of mind. I think that that general sentiment, what does make people do these things or turn them in to monsters was important. There wasn't one typ eof inspiration, just more of an over-arching sad feeling about the stories you see every day. Not just serial killers, everything you read every day.

Audience Question 6: Were trying to to get this in to a major film distribution or were you trying to aim this to an independent market? Awards like Sundance, Cannes etc.

Scott: That's an interesting question. I guess we sometimes thought that the British Film Industry sometimes feels a bit small, The cinematography is a little bit grey sometimes, the soundtrack is a little bit muted. So yes, I think we were thought, we'll push this and we'll try and make this a big, loud, cinematic experience. Just go that little bit further. At the same time, to expect a small British film like this to make a massive sum of money..you never expect this. But we were aiming for it.

Mark: We don't really have a British Film Industry. Every film is a start-up and the start of a new business. We do the best we can with the best we can get, really.

Audience Question 7: Charity, your character is a bit unstable, as you call it. How did you prepare, thinking about your previous roles as well?

Charity: Yeah it was very different. I found myself being quite angry on-set all the time. She's in a constant state of anger and wanting to fix things, that she's totally unable to. A) because she's not really capable and B) she doesn't have the information. All the way through the script they can't work it out and it's an obvious concern that she's making everything up in her head. All she's been thinking is killing this guy and getting revenge fr years and years. It wasn't very unenjoyable in a weird way, it was very hard for her. I quite enjoyed playing a character that doesn't let everything out all the time, I've done lots of really emotional parts and she keeps everything back. I really enjoyed the switch of gender stereotypes. It's really rare to get a part where you lead the action and the male character is left running behind. It's quite unusual and odd to play, and you realise that that very rarely happens on-screen. That was great. I suppose she sort of did get rescued sort of at the end, but that was kind of played around with.

Mark: Both of you, do you find it hard to leave a part like this at work when you go home at night?

Charity: Not hard at all, no. *laughs*

Mark: I find writing music for something like this, when I go to bed it's still churning around in my head.

Charity: I think did have some nightmares when I was shooting, because we spent all day in these grimy scenes that you saw. Even though they were sets, they were based around all the same parts of London.

Mark: It was only in a little art studio off Cable Street where we shot it, so it was really run-down area. There were lots of little studios in this one courtyard and yeah, it was a run-down area.

Danny: We shot quite a lot of it in an abandoned hospital, as well. Occasionally you;.'ll walk down a corridor and there'll be a few fake kids. *Laughs* It was a creepy place and we spent about a fortnight shooting there, didn't we?

Mark: There was a dungeon area we actually shot in, in that hospital and it wasn't very nice.

Scott: It felt like it had ghosts, so it was a great place to film something like this. We invested the day in that sort of spooky, menacing feel that maybe came through on-screen. It was an ideal place to shoot something like this.

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Win a copy of Ironclad 2: Battle for Blood on Blu-ray

Posted by Competitions | Tue, 29/07/2014 - 20:50

Ironclad 2: Battle for Blood, the bloodythirsty sequel to 2011’s Ironclad, storms onto Blu-ray and DVD on July 28. And thanks to Warner Home Video, we have THREE copies of Ironclad 2: Battle for Blood on Blu-ray to give away.

A tale of honour, Ironclad 2: Battle for Blood follows Celtic raiders who, scorned by the loss of their land and the abuse of their people, wreak their bloody revenge on the British – one village at a time.

When the raiders set their sights on The De Vesci castle walls and patriarch Gilbert De Vesci (David Rintoul) is gravely injured, he sends son Hubert (Tom Rhys Harries) to call on his battle-weary and reluctant cousin Guy (Tom Austen) – a survivor of the 13th Century Great Siege of Rochester Castle – for aid.
 
As the conflict escalates and Gilbert dies, his desperate wife Joan (Michelle Fairley) begs Guy to take any action necessary to defend her beautiful young daughters from the scourge of the Celts. Stirred by loyalty and love for the young Blanche De Vesci (Roxanne McKee) can Guy finally put the past behind him in order to save his family?

For a chance to win, just follow @Screenjabber on Twitter and tweet the following text:

Follow @Screenjabber and RT for a chance to win Ironclad 2: Battle for Blood on Blu-ray.

For an extra entry, just pop over and LIKE the official Screenjabber Facebook page.

The competition will close at NOON on Sunday August 10, 2014. The judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

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US Box Office Report

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Tue, 29/07/2014 - 14:59

Lucy shows more muscle than Hercules

By Rich Matthews

Feminine thrills beat out masculine machismo this weekend at the US box office as Scarlett Johansson's sci-fi-boosted heroine Lucy debuted to $44m while Dwayne The Rock Johnson's mythic Hercules came second with $29m.

Lucy is now something of a triumph for director Luc Besson, and represents a return to La Femme Nikita and Leon form. Produced by Besson's EuropaCorp and distributed by Universal, Lucy is the latest in a string of female-focused movies that have out performed expectation, including Angelina Jolie as Disney's Maleficient. Whether it can match La Jolie's legs or will decline quickly, like The Fault In Our Stars, will be one of next weekend's points of interests.

Meanwhile, Paramount and MGM's Brett Ratner-helmed $100m-plus swords'n'sandals epic, Hercules, did reasonable business, and is the first true test of Johnson's leading man potential post-Fast & Furious. Following the increasing trend, Hercules has already grossed $28.7m internationally for an opening global gross of $57.7m.

However, the success of both films still hasn't stemmed the summer's overall decline, which now stands at 20 per cent down from last year. The other two new releases landed a distant eighth and tenth, with Rob Reiner's silver surfer rom-com And So It Goes starring Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton grossing $4.6m and A Most Wanted Man, starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, $2.7m, respectively.

At three, Fox's Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes declined 55 per cent with $16.4m, taking its domestic tally to $172m and its worldwide haul to $354m. Spots four to six were populated by some of the low grossers that have contributed to the summer's malaise – horror sequel The Purge: Anarchy ($9.9m, $51.3m), Disneytoon sequel Planes: Fire & Rescue ($9.3m, $35.1m, $56.1m global) and Cameron Diaz/Jason Segel disappointment Sex Tape ($6m, $26.9m, $37.1m).

At seven, Michael Bay's not-really-a-reboot Transformers: Age Of Extinction took in another $4.6m for a US tally of $236.4m, which remains a good $60m less than the first Transformers at the same point (not adjusting for inflation) and a hefty $100m-plus behind the two atrocious sequels. However, globally, the fourth entry in the franchise is already nearing the $1bn mark (with $966.4m) thanks in no small part to being the first film to gross more than $300m in China. That makes it the biggest film of the year by more than $200m, while domestically it remains $20m off the top spot, behind Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The LEGO Movie. Finally, nestled in between the two low-performing new releases at nine, Melissa McCarthy's Tammy laughed up a further $3.4m for a homegrown tally of $78.1m.

We can be pretty certain that Lucy's rise to the top will be halted next weekend, with Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy pretty much a sure thing to take number one – the question is by how much? Something of an unknown quantity, even to many comic-book fans, Guardians is one of Marvel's biggest gambles yet, so it's not likely to hit sequel numbers, but anticipation is pretty high, especially with hopes that it will be one of the few "good" summer blockbusters on offer this year.

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Guardians of The Galaxy: London press conference

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Tue, 29/07/2014 - 07:48

Listen to the hilarious London press conference for Guardians of The Galaxy, and learn why Chris Pratt wants his character, Star Lord, to kill Iron Man. And whether the lovely Zoe Saldana found it easy being green ...

Listen to and download the press conference

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel as the voice of Groot, Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan and Djimon Hounsou, with John C Reilly, Glenn Close as Nova Prime Rael and Benicio del Toro as The Collector. James Gunn is the director of the film with Kevin Feige producing. Guardians of the Galaxy is out in UK cinemas on July 31.

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Win a copy of Cheap Thrills on Blu-ray

Posted by Competitions | Mon, 28/07/2014 - 15:56

What doesn’t kill you makes you richer! From the producers of You’re Next comes Cheap Thrills, one of the blackest comedies you are ever likely to see. And thanks to Koch media, we have TWO Blu-ray copies of Cheap Thrills – out now to buy on Blu-ray and DVD – to give away.

Unemployed and down on his luck, Craig (Pat Healy) finds himself drowning his sorrows in an attempt to forget the mounting debts threatening to tear his family apart. When a chance meeting with an old friend (Ethan Embry) leads to one drink after another, the pair find themselves drawn into an innocent game of dare by a thrill-seeking couple with money to burn – Violet (Sara Paxton) and Colin (David Koechner).

As the night progresses both Vince and Craig become the victims of their own greed, as the initially fun game escalates into something far more sinister. When the money is on the table, how far will two friends go to ensure their futures?

For a chance to win, just follow @Screenjabber on Twitter and tweet the following text:

Follow @Screenjabber and RT for a chance to win Cheap Thrills on Blu-ray.

For an extra entry, just pop over and LIKE the official Screenjabber Facebook page.

The competition will close at NOON on Sunday August 10, 2014. The judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

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Win a copy of Noah on Blu-ray

Posted by Competitions | Sun, 27/07/2014 - 21:14

Darren Aronofsky, the Academy Award-winning director behind Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan, takes the helm of the epic re-telling of the biblical tale, Noah.

And thanks to Paramount Home Media Distribution, we have FIVE Blu-ray copies of Noah to give away. But that's not all. One lucky winner will also recieve a copy of the Noah Graphic Novel!

Oscar-winner Russell Crowe stars in the film inspired by the epic story of courage, sacrifice and hope. In addition, the supporting cast features such talents as Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins, Logan Lerman and Ray Winstone.

Mankind – led by Tubal-Cain (Winstone) – has spread like a cancer across the world, consuming all in their path and living in smoggy, ashen cities. "The Creator", in his infinite wisdom, decides to send a great flood to cleanse the earth of his creation and start anew. He does, however, choose to save Noah (Crowe), last patriarch of the antediluvian age, and his family, who must build an ark that will house two of every living creature.

With Noah, director Aronofsky has crafted a daring, phantasmagorical interpretation of the Old Testament tale as we've never seen it before.

For a chance to win, just follow @Screenjabber on Twitter and tweet the following text:

Follow @Screenjabber and RT for a chance to win Noah on Blu-ray.

For an extra entry, just pop over and LIKE the official Screenjabber Facebook page.

The competition will close at NOON on Sunday August 10, 2014. The judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

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Trips of the Week

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sun, 27/07/2014 - 19:33

By Stuart O'Connor

Each week, the Screenjabber inbox gets overloaded with emails containing new film trailers, or clips of films or upcoming Blu-ray/DVD/VoD releases. Here are a few of those trailers and clips (hence trips) that caught our eye this week ...

 

Mad Max - Comic-Con First Look

The Simpsons/Family Guy Crossover

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 Red Band Trailer

Let’s Be Cops clip: Controlling The Situation

LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham trailer

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sun, 27/07/2014 - 15:14

By Jenny Priestley

The first one's not even out yet, but Marvel has announced a release date for Guardians of the Galaxy 2. James Gunn will return to write and direct the sequel, which is due for release on July 28, 2017. The first film arrives in cinemas in the UK and US this Friday and it absolutely rocks!

Marvel's also been busy putting the finishing touches to the forthcoming Ant-Man movie. The film's problems (aka Edgar Wright dropping out) have been well documented. Wright had also been followed off the film by cast members Matt Gerald, Kevin Weismann and Patrick Wilson. However, there is some good news for fans – Evangeline Lilly and Corey Stoll have now joined the cast. Lilly will play Hope Pym, the daughter of Michael Douglas's character, while Stoll has been signed up to play the film's baddie, Yellowjacket.

Meanwhile, Edgar Wright is busy lining up two new projects. He's expected to direct Baby Driver for Working Title which is described as "a collision between crime, action, music and sound", which I would say would be right up his street. He's also set to make Grasshopper Jungle, a coming-of-age story that focuses on an Iowa teen who manages to unleash a deadly genetically engineered plague that leads to an army of six-foot-tall praying mantises. He signed on to the project after being approached by the writer on social media.

Marvel is launching a new set of Star Wars comics set just after the end of A New Hope. Marvel has taken over the licence for Star Wars comics and plan to launch the new titles in January. The story is set a couple of weeks after the destruction of the Death Star and sees Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2 still trying to size one another up. 

Very exciting news for all Lord of the Rings fans: Peter Jackson has revealed he has yet more footage that he might release in a further-extended version of the story. "There are a few scenes that haven’t been seen from Lord Of The Rings, but not many," he revealed at Comic-Com. "We might try to put them back in. It’s a big logistical thing which haven’t wrapped our heads around. But if there’s enough interest…". Trust me Pete, there's interest!!

★ Jonathan Pryce is among the new members of the Game of Thrones cast. He'll be playing the High  Sparrow in season five – fans of the books will know he's a devout and pious man. Other new cast members include Keisha Castle-Hughes as Obara Sand, daughter of Prince Oberyn. Castle-Hughes is probably best known for her Oscar-nominated role in the 2003 film Whale Rider.

★ George Clooney and Jodie Foster are teaming up on a new thriller. Foster will direct and Clooney will star in Money Monster. The film follows a TV pundit who is taken hostage live on air by a man who followed his advice on the stock market. The hostage-taker threatens to kill Clooney’s character if the cameras are turned off. Filming is expected to begin in the spring.

★ Michael Caine is to co-star with Vin Diesel in the supernatural action film The Last Witch Hunter. The story follows Diesel’s witch hunter who joins forces with his enemy, a female witch, to stop a plague on humanity unleashed by the covens of New York City. Game of Thrones' Ygritte, Rose Leslie, co-stars.

★ Alan Alda, Amy Ryan and Eve Hewson (aka Bono's daughter) are expected to join the cast of Steven Spielberg's next film. The Cold War thriller will star Tom Hanks as an attorney who finds himself at the centre of the Cold War when the CIA sends him to negotiate the release of a captured American U-2 pilot. Filming's due to begin in September. 

★ Ed Helms, Hilary Swank and Ed Harris are expected to star in a new TV drama from director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. One Percent follows a husband and wife struggling to keep their organic farm from going under. Harris is expected to play the family patriarch.

Meanwhile, Anthony Hopkins is headed to TV signing on for the pilot of new HBO drama, Westworld. Evan Rachel Wood has also been cast in the drama which is "inspired by" Michael Crichton's story about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin. James Marsden is also in talks to join the cast.

★ Andy Samberg and Kit Harrington are to play rival tennis stars in a new mockumentary. They'll be joined in the comedy by Lena Dunham, Karen Gillan, Michael Sheen, Fred Armisen, Will Forte, Mary Steenburgen and June Squibb. Samberg is expected to play a superstar bad boy while Harrington's character will be more "Andy Murray-esque". I can't wait to see it!

★ Denzel Washington and Will Ferrell will be picking up special awards later this summer. Washington is being presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at this year's San Sebastián Film Festival. Washington's new film The Equalizer is opening the annual event on September 19. Ferrell is being honoured by the Deauville Film Festival in France for his comedic work. Jessica Chastain and James Cameron are also being feted at the festival, which runs September 5 to 15.

Fresh from his guest appearances with the Pythons last weekend, Eddie Izzard will appear at this year's Edinburgh Fringe. He's co-hosting a special gig alongside Dylan Moran which will showcase some of Europe's best comics. Comedy Sans Frontiers will take place at the Pleasance Courtyard on August 5. It's a one night only event so book now if you want to go!  

The stars of The Inbetweeners will be at the Apple Store on Regent Street this week to promote their forthcoming film. Simon Bird, James Buckley, Blake Harrison and Joe Thomas will be at the event on July 31. They'll also walk the red carpet at the world premiere of The Inbetweeners 2 on August 5.

★ Robert Pattinson will also be at the Apple store on August 7 to promote his new film, The Rover.

★ David Duchovny is turning author with the publication of a novel next year. Holy Cow: A Modern Day Dairy Tale follows Elsie Bovary, a cow who sees a television programme about an industrial meat farm. She joins forces with Jerry, a cranky, Torah-reading pig known as Shalom after his recent conversion to Judaism, and Tom, a turkey who can’t fly but can work an iPhone with his beak. It sounds like a lot of fun! The book will be published in the UK and US in February.

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Screenjabber Podcast: No guts, no glory

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sun, 27/07/2014 - 14:30

Join David Watson, Amon Warrman and host Stuart O'Connor for an aural workout as they take a look at a few of this week's UK cinema releases: The Purge: Anarchy, The House of Magic, Joe, Earth to Echo and Hercules.

You can listen to and download the podcast – or subscribe to it on iTunes ... plus you can follow us on Twitter and join us on Facebook.

PubQuest: We're looking to take the Screenjabber Pubcast on the road, and want your input. Know a great pub in London we should visit to record the show? Drop us a line and let us know.

WriterQuest: We're seeking some more writers, particularly those who want to cover video games for us. Please get in touch if you're keen.

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Small-Screen Jabber | 26 July – 1 August

Posted by Louise Bolotin | Sat, 26/07/2014 - 08:39

By Louise Bolotin

Big changes afoot, dear viewers – this column is shortly to get a huge visual overhaul but we also decided the time is ripe to change what and how we cover the best TV for the week ahead. Firstly, I’ll be including satellite channels for the first time – Sky and co have been pumping out great drama for some time now and it’s right to be selecting the best for your delectation. I might even occasionally flag up a new binge-package on Netflix. And from this week on, instead of listing everything by day, I’ll be grouping my choices by type – best dramas, best factual, etc. I’ll still be bringing you the very best TV to your attention – do feel free to comment below on the changes.

Drama
This weekend’s box-set binge is State of Play (Sat/Sun, Drama, 9pm) – all six episodes across two evenings of Paul Abbott’s 2003 BBC thriller about a newspaper’s investigation into a corruption conspiracy. Bill Nighy stars as the cynical and world-weary editor who tries to convince junior reporter Della (Kelly Macdonald) that the death of a young woman who worked as a researcher for an MP (played by David Morrissey) is not worth bothering with. However, her persistence uncovers an oil industry scandal that penetrates deep into the heart of the government. Co-starring John Simm, Polly Walker and James McAvoy, it was a classic of its time and picked up a slew of awards, including a Best Actor Bafta gong for Bill Nighy.   

Factual
There’s a rare look behind the scenes of daredevil flying in Red Arrows: Inside the Bubble (Sunday, BBC2, 9pm). Their aeronautic stunts are a guaranteed crowd-puller and on their 50th anniversary they let the cameras in to show just how they create those stunning displays. War reporter Lyse Doucet investigates the appalling plight of young refugees in Children of Syria (Monday, BBC2, 9pm). Over half a year she follows the traumatic experiences of six youngsters in camps in Homs, Damascus and over the border in Turkey. Displaced, injured, families torn apart, these kids are just a snapshot of the tens of thousands like them as civil war rages in Syria.

Art critic Andrew Graham-Dixon gets to grips with The Art of China (Wednesday, BBC4, 9pm) in a new three-part series. He journeys across this vast country to the Silk Road, Yellow River and ancient tombs to view some of its oldest artworks such as the fabled Terracotta Army and put it in context – exploring how history has also shaped modern art there. Kids and Guns (Thursday, C4, 10pm) uncovers a shocking statistic: more than 3,000 children in America die or are injured in accidental shootings every year – and that’s not including murders. In a nation that views the right to bear arms as sacred, many kids are taught at a young age how to shoot in what is considered to be a fun family experience. Three families share their stories in this moving film.

Music
Tribute is paid to The King in Elvis: That’s All Right Mama (Friday, BBC4, 9.10pm) to mark the 60th anniversary of the recording of his first single. Presenter Sam Palladio, a musician himself, traces Presley’s rise from poverty the moment he stepped into the legendary Sun studios to record That’s All Right Mama at the end of a rather casual jam session. On hand with Sam are soul legend Candi Staton, LA duo the Pierces and country star Laura Bell Bundy, who sing some classic Elvis tracks.

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