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Terrestrial TV Highlights 1-7 March

Posted by Louise Bolotin | Fri, 28/02/2014 - 15:39

By Louise Bolotin

There’s a touch of class for Saturday night with Darcey Bussell’s Ballerina Heroines (Saturday, BBC2, 8.15pm). Inevitably, there’s a lengthy look at the work of her role model, Margot Fonteyn, but there’s also a peep behind the scenes of the Royal Ballet as Bussell explores the centuries-long history of the dance form and how it has changed. Bussell is a knowledgeable presenter, as you’d expect, and this is a highbrow follow-up to her delightfully whimsical …Dances Hollywood from 2011. The Cube (ITV, 8.20pm) returns for an eighth series. For my money, it’s the best of the weekend game shows – it’s original, it’s clever and its tension is properly breathtaking. Award-winning standup Stewart Lee’s eponymous series, Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle (BBC2, 10pm) is also back. An acquired taste, given he rarely tells any actual jokes, preferring instead to provoke and offend. A dramatised version of The Mayor of Casterbridge (Drama, 7pm), starring Ciaran Hinds and Juliet Aubrey, gets a fresh airing after 11 years. Made in 2001 and first shown in 2003, it’s in two parts, each of two episodes.

Three years after High Fearnley-Whittingstall exposed the worst practices of the fishing industry and took his anger over stock depletion to the EU, he looks at what has changed since then in Fish Fight: Hugh’s Last Stand (Sunday, C4, 7pm). His campaign has seen success with the EU ban on discards but he also reveals new worries. In Britain’s Bronze Age Mummies (C4, 8pm), the Time Team go on a dig at a burial mound in Northumberland. They must race against the clock as the recent severe storms threaten to destroy the site.

In Austerity Britain, it’s not just the unemployment figures and cost-of-living crisis. There’s stark evidence that the nation’s wealth has almost universally shifted to the capital. The two-part Mind the Gap: London vs the Rest (Monday, BBC2, 9pm) looks at how and why London is thriving economically while the rest of the UK struggles with council cutbacks and a broken jobs market. Meanwhile, Panorama’s Hungry Britain? (BBC1,8.30pm) examines the rise in the use of food banks by the severely impoverished. Not everyone’s starving though – Mary Berry Cooks (Monday, BBC2, 8.30pm) in a new six-part series that, unsurprisingly, starts with cake but goes on to explore all kinds of dishes. Berry has a refreshing down-to-earth style and oodles of useful kitchen tips. Mandela Remembered from Westminster Abbey (BBC2, 11.30am) is his UK memorial service. Led by SA president Jacob Zuma with an address by Desmond Tutu and tributes from anti-apartheid campaigners including Peter Hain. David Dimbleby anchors with suitable gravitas.

Another dance documentary looks at How World War Two Made British Ballet (Wednesday, BBC4, 9pm). David Bintley, director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet, examines how the war meant British dancers had to up their game when it was no longer possible for foreign ballet stars to perform here. Dame Ninette de Valois, who despite her name was British, took her Sadler’s Wells troupe on tour, opening up this elitist art form to the masses, and created new classic productions. Rare archive footage helps reveal the story.

Political thriller 37 Days (Thurs-Sat, BBC2, 9pm) depicts the chain of events unfolding in the month before Britain declared war in the First World War, from the perspective of our government and other European cabinets. The opening episode launches with news reaching the Foreign Office of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. What happens next is endlessly well known but 37 Days plays it out as a taut and tense cat and mouse game of international diplomacy as Europe’s leaders alternately monger for conflict or try to broker peace. Mark Hayhurst’s writing is clean with fantastic dialogue, delivered with aplomb by a heavyweight cast that includes Ian McDiarmid, Tim Piggott-Smith, Sinead Cusack and Kenneth Cranham. Coronation Street: A Moving Story (ITV, 9pm) is a lighthearted documentary about shifting the famous cobbles from their Manchester city centre set three miles across town to their new home in MediaCityUK in Salford, opposite the BBC. It’s a phenomenal operation as filming must continue amid chaos and there are teary eyes aplenty as cast and crew say their farewells to Granada’s iconic site.

With the Winter Olympics over, it’s time for the Paralympics Opening Ceremony (Friday, C4, 3.30pm) in Sochi. You might want to set your PVR given the early start that accounts for the four-hour time difference. The appropriately named Jon Snow anchors the live coverage of the spectacle, with 700 athletes due to compete in 45 events at what promises to be the biggest ever paralympic games. (There’s also a timely repeat of excellent drama The Best of Men on BBC2 at 11.05pm, which tells the story of the origins of the Paralympics and stars Eddie Marsan.) Darcey Bussel pops up again to introduce this week’s third ballet special. Fonteyn ’59: Sleeping Beauty (BBC4, 8pm) is a cut-down production of the 1959 broadcast starring Margot Fonteyn and Michael Somes. As rock documentaries go, Muscle Shoals: the Greatest Recording Studio in the World (BBC4, 9pm) is lengthy and occasionally patchy but earns its sofa time for the many good bits. The legendary studios in Alabama were (and are) the heart of a racially mixed music scene in the town that gave its name to them. A hotbed of creativity, the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin (above), Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge and many others recorded their hits at Muscle Shoals, run by Rick Hall, a man who overcame appalling circumstances to triumph here. There’s a host of famous contributors and archive footage galore to tell the story of why the studios were so important and why they remain influential today.

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Win Dolphins: Spy In The Pod on Blu-ray

Posted by Competitions | Fri, 28/02/2014 - 12:38

From the creators of Earthflight and Penguins: Spy In The Huddle comes an awe-inspiring new two-part series, Dolphins: Spy In The Pod. And thanks to Acorn Media, we have TWO copies of Dolphins: Spy In The Pod on Blu-ray to give away.

Narrated by David Tennant, this fascinating series shows some of the most captivating and clever animals on the planet as never before. It recently aired on BBC One is now available to buy on DVD and Blu-ray.

From Spy Dolphin to Spy Tuna and Turtle, for the first time 13 camouflaged spy creatures infiltrate the secret underwater world of dolphins. Swimming right alongside them, these new spies reveal unique moments in the dolphins’ lives – catching the waves with surfing bottlenose dolphins, discovering a megapod of superfast spinner dolphins and narrowly escaping the amorous advances of a turtle.

The Pacific is a dolphin playground. Here, spinner dolphins throw themselves into the air, corkscrewing up to seven times, and travelling up to 250 miles a day. On the other side of the world, off Mozambique, bottlenose dolphins eye up a giant clam, out of which rise the strangest spy creatures of all. The ever-curious dolphins locate them with their sonar, allowing the spies to then make their first discovery – a tiny five-day-old dolphin, still wrinkled from birth.

From the team at John Downer Productions, Dolphins: Spy In The Pod shows one of the world’s favourite animals in a whole new light.

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

Follow @Screenjabber and RT for a chance to win Dolphins: Spy In The Pod on Blu-ray.

As this competition is so good, we're going to give an extra entry for those who LIKE the official Screenjabber Facebook page. And please make sure you read our terms & conditions before entering. The competition will close at NOON on Friday March 14, 2014. The judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

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Win an astronomical Gravity goody bag

Posted by Competitions | Thu, 27/02/2014 - 12:38

To mark the release of Gravity – available to experience at home on digital download from March 2 and on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD from March 3 – we’re giving you the chance to win a Gravity goody bag.

Dr Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) – in command of his last flight before retiring.

But on a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone – tethered to nothing but each other and spiralling out into the blackness.

The deafening silence tells them they have lost any link to Earth ... and any chance for rescue. As fear turns to panic, every gulp of air eats away at what little oxygen is left. But the only way home may be to go further out into the terrifying expanse of space.

The lucky winner will receive the ultimate Gravity goody bag – including a T-shirt, journal, key ring, pen, mouse mat, carabiner and astronaut stress reliever. Two runners up will also win a T-shirt each.

To be in with a chance of winning, just answer the following question:

In Gravity, which well-known Hollywood actor accompanies Sandra Bullock into space?

a) Brad Pitt
b) George Clooney
c) Johnny Depp

d) Trevor Slattery

As this competition is so good, we're going to give an extra entry for those who LIKE the official Screenjabber Facebook page (but don't forget to also email us with the answer to the question above – and please don't post the answer on the Facebook page).

Send your answer (plus your name, address, phone number) to sj.competitions@yahoo.co.uk, with Gravity in the subject line. And please make sure you read our terms & conditions before entering. The competition will close at NOON on Friday March 14, 2014. The judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

• For more on Gravity join us at www.facebook.com/GravityMovieUK or follow us at Twitter on @GravityMovieUK 

© 2014 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved.

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COMMENT: Portrait of a heroin addict

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Thu, 27/02/2014 - 09:27

By Hannah Smith

If there's to be any positive in the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, then let it be what he tells us about addiction. Who would have expected talented, intelligent, family man Hoffman to be a heroin addict before he himself talked about it? Who would have expected the headline "Philip Seymour Hoffman dead of suspected overdose" until the news outlets began reporting it? Maybe Jack Nicholson, maybe Lindsay Lohan, maybe some junkie on benefits, maybe some waste of space scumbag who dabbles in petty crime to feed his dirty habit. But Philip Seymour Hoffman?

For one, he had a sizeable midriff – not a look usually associated with your average junkie. He had three young children. He worked seemingly non stop, as his relatively short career and extensive CV testifies. His performances belied a deep intelligence. His ability to switch through emotions, lifestyles, class and psychotic behaviours showed a deep understanding of the human condition. Clearly, empathy was as easy to Hoffman as breathing is for the rest of us. So how does a man like Hoffman end up dead of an overdose?

Well, that's the question and the point. We like to assume that addiction is so far removed from our comfortable lives that it's almost impossible to accept a successful, talented, hard working man could fall into such a dumb trap. Because it's dumb, isn't it? Everyone knows not to do drugs, don't they? Everyone knows heroin is amongst the worst of drugs. Everyone knows that taking it in the first place is just plain stupid. Especially intelligent people such as Hoffman.

He wasn't on benefits. He didn't grow up on a council estate. He had a loving and supportive family and later went on to create his own with his partner and three children. He could talk about all sorts of world issues, make us laugh, make us cry and put any actor on screen next to him in danger of being acted off screen. So why would he do heroin?

Well let's start at the beginning. When Hoffman began taking drugs he was young, fresh out of drama school and high on life. He admitted himself that he had absolutely no interest in drinking in moderation, a fact he believed to be true even during his sober years. If he were to drink it would be explosive. So that's not just the folly of youth. That's a destructive trait. Why? Who knows. Maybe he was born with it, maybe he developed it, maybe that was how he coped with life. How can anyone know what makes one person destructive and another able to go to the pub and stop at three or four drinks?

But Hoffman decided he was going to kill himself if he didn't stop and checked himself into rehab. Let's not underestimate how difficult a decision that is and how, in fact, unlikely it is to work. To successfully kick heroin and alcohol and all their friends for 23 years is a huge achievement. One that most people who have never known an addict, and even those who do, find extremely hard to acknowledge or understand.

But what makes someone who's been off heroin for 23 years take that next dangerous hit? Have you ever smoked? Known a smoker? Known a smoker who gave up while pregnant and started again? Or gave up for years and started again? Any idea why they started smoking again? Why you did?

I once spoke to a heroin addict who had been clean for a few months before spiralling back into addiction; the reason they gave for taking that fatal next hit? Boredom. They found themselves alone and bored. Doesn't sound like a very good reason does it? Although, let's not forget that boredom often belies an emptyness, a void that we're a little too scared of in case the silence might send us spiralling down into it.

Have you ever gone out to the pub and got a little more drunk than you should have because you were bored? I know I have. Boredom has sent me on some of the funniest and craziest nights out I've ever had. Lucky for me I've never had a devil on my shoulder telling me to drink to oblivion or to take drugs. Hoffman did. And he battled against that voice for 23 years.

Who knows what triggered his relapse? Maybe it was boredom, maybe it was a difficult patch in life, maybe it was simply that he couldn't fight that urge to self destruct for one more day. The frightening lesson to us is that being an addict never ever goes away. And for those battling their own addictions, few have society's support or help. Few are respected amongst their peers. Few get to throw their energy into a creative outlet.

Now picture Hoffman and then picture the image you normally see when you think of a heroin addict. Think of how much you enjoyed Hoffman in whatever film you last saw him in or first saw him in. Think about what you think about the stereotypical heroin addict. What reaction they garner in you and what reaction Hoffman does. Is there a difference? If so, why? Is it snobbery? Is it something else?

Because underneath they are no different. There is a man in a suit going to an office every day and taking heroin in secret. There is a petty criminal, stealing to feed his habit, there is an addict in and out of prison, there is an actor, artist, singer, writer, physicist, politician, solicitor, judge, waiter, father, mother, grandmother taking heroin today. Tomorrow. Yesterday. There is no recipe for why someone chooses heroin as their drug, or alcohol, or cigarettes. Except maybe cigarettes and alcohol are much more readibly available and we assume heroin comes from somewhere dark. In fact, some drug dealers look highly respectable. There are dealers for all walks of life. There are drugs for all walks of life.

For Hoffman's family, until last year they would have assumed that chapter in their lives must be over. That he had kicked it. To watch him spiral so quickly to his death must be a shock and extremely painful for a family who undoubtedly had the pleasure of feeling proud of everything he had achieved. Not least kicking his habit. I'm sure none of them can comprehend how, after all that, they find themselves where they are today.

It's the fear of every family member of an addict. The relapse. And the relapse is the thing that tells you everything about the addiction in the first place. An addict in recovery doesn't have the naivety of the first time heroin user, that maybe it won't catch me. They've been caught. They've lost everything and come close to losing their lives. So why on Earth would they use again? Its the exact same question. Is it nature? Are some people born with a tendency to addiction, a little destructive valve that tells them to do it and then do more?

I don't know. You don't know. They don't know. I know I've never been tempted to try drugs; I don't like losing control. Hang on, let's look at that. As a person, I don't like losing control. What if I didn't have that fear? What if I loved to be out of control? At the moment, I don't like heights, would never jump out of a plane or swim with sharks. These are things I can control. I avoid getting close to people because I've been hurt and out of control. If I didn't have that personality trait I would be a different person, willing to try different things. Maybe I would be a skydiver. Maybe I would have embraced the acrobatics classes I had to do at drama school instead of screaming and then opting to sit out?

I can't answer. I can tell you this much. I'm not Philip Seymour Hoffman and I have no idea what drove him, what drives you, what drives anyone. I don't even truly know what drives me. But I do know that no one's life and life choices are uncomplicated. And no addict, in recovery or never having found the strength to get recovery does not deserve to be mourned.

And that is what I hope Philip Seymour Hoffman's death has taught us – that drug addiction has many faces and even a man you admire can be stupid enough to take heroin. Not just the guy on the street corner you find easy to judge. We'd do well to remember that.

So far I haven't seen any of the "bought it on himself" comments that we had with Amy Winehouse because, I assume, people liked him, respected him even. Maybe we should afford that courtesy to everyone struggling with the disease of addiction, with the button inside them that begs for them to push it, the little bomb they've decided to detonate inside themselves for what ever reason. A reason we will never know, maybe even they will never know.

All I know is that my life has been touched by addiction and I can say that an addict struggling to get clean is stronger and braver than you and I can ever know. And the addict without enough faith in themselves to try and battle the little demon that wants them to destroy themselves is worthy of our pity. Imagine hating yourself so much that you don't believe you are worth fighting for. Then imagine feeling like that when everyone else also doesn't believe you are worth fighting for.

Does Hoffman's death take away from his incredible life and the career we all enjoyed? If not, why do we dismiss so many others that have walked some of his path?

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Showbiz Simon Says ...

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Wed, 26/02/2014 - 09:27

By Simon Thompson

★ Ghostbusters III WILL still go ahead despite the death this week of Egon Spengler himself, Harold Ramis. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the late actor-director would have only had a cameo in the threequel, but that will now be reworked. There were plans for Ghostbusters III, which will focus on a new generation of Ghostbusters with cameos from the original stars, to shoot in Cleveland this year, but that was already looking shaky. This latest sad turn of events might mean further delays.

★ Marc Webb is “doing a Raimi” and hanging around for a third Spider-Man movie – although whether he’ll go “full Raimi” and leave that tally there has yet to be decided. The Amazing Spider-Man 3 has a release date of June 2016. Also returning are Andrew Garfield and *POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT* Paul Giamatti, who appears as Aleksei Sytsevich, aka The Rhino, in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Giamatti has said that he’d be up for another one. We already know there will be a fourth in the franchise – it’ll hit cinemas in 2018 – but exactly who will be back for that one has yet to be seen. With spin-off movies such as Venom and The Sinister Six, Sony is promising a new Spider-Man movie every year for the foreseeable future.

★ Syfy has called time on its remake of the BBC Three show Being Human – meaning that the upcoming six-episode second part of season four will be the end. A spokesman for the network has been quoted as saying: "Showrunner Anna Fricke and the talented producers, writers, cast and crew have done an amazing job bringing this show to life over the past four seasons and we sincerely thank them and the series' production company Muse Entertainment for their hard work. They've saved the best for last with the final six episodes that revisit the story's beginning, leading to a not-to-be-missed send-off for Aidan, Sally, Josh and Nora."

★ The Conjuring spin-off, the first one at least, will hit cinemas in October this year. Right now it still has the working title of Annabelle, the name of the doll that scared the crap out of most people at the beginning of the original movie last summer, but that could change. As far as a straight sequel to of James Wan’s movie, Warner Bros has confirmed that an October 2015 release for The Conjuring 2. Either way, you have enough time to buy extra underwear...

★ HBO has its eye on Peter Dinklage for a new “grounded” sci-fi series. The Beasts of Valhalla would be based on the novels by author George C Chesbro and see the actor play a detective named Mongo. Filming is due to start in 2016 – that’s when Dinklage’s commitment to Game Of Thrones allows him to do it. Justin Monjo, the writer hired to adapt the novels for the US network, has said: "HBO and [production company] Red Hour think [Dinklage is] the perfect guy for the part and are very excited about the project."

★ There won’t be any human stars in The Smurfs 3. Whereas the first two films have been a mix of live action and animation, according to Variety, Sony Pictures is fast-tracking the follow-up and it will be entirely animated. It’ll hit cinemas in August 2015. And there’s nothing we can do to stop it...

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Win a digital subscription to SOFILM magazine

Posted by Competitions | Tue, 25/02/2014 - 20:00

To celebrate the latest issue of the UK's newest film magazine, SOFILM, we're giving away THREE digital subscriptions to the magazine.

Created for those looking for a cool and unique perspective on film culture, SOFILM is a monthly magazine celebrating the maverick side of film and television.

Offering a wry and fast-paced mix of behind-the-scenes stories, in-depth interviews and short, irreverent segments, SOFILM is the place to read about the most interesting people and stories in the world of film.

This month's magazine features exclusive interviews with Hollywood survivor Mickey Rourke, the visionary director of Brazil and The Zero Theorem Terry Gilliam, horror legend George A Romero, and Sin City director Robert Rodriguez.

PLUS there are investigations into cinema in North Korea, the Mexican border town of Tijuana, the world of Christoph Waltz ... and the subversive world of The Muppets.

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

Follow @Screenjabber and RT for a chance to win a subscription to @SoFilmUK

AND we're going to give an extra entry for those who LIKE the official Screenjabber Facebook page.

• SOFILM Issue 5 is available in newsagents now, as well as on tablets. Download the app and read the first issue for free. And stay tuned to SOFILM on Facebook & Twitter.

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US Box Office Report

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Mon, 24/02/2014 - 20:54

LEGO still on top; 3 Days To Kill fails to kill; Pompeii is a disaster

By Rich Matthews

Holding the US weekend box office firmly in its yellow, fingerless grip, Warner Bros’ The LEGO Movie took an AWESOME $31.5m to raise its US gross to $183.2m and $275.7m worldwide. It was followed, not even remotely closely, by the week’s two new entries, with Kevin Costner directed by McG in a Luc Besson spy script in 3 Days To Kill and Paul WS Anderson’s German-financed $100m Pompeii at three, with $12.3m and $10m, respectively.

Anderson’s disaster flick, produced by Constantin Films, will now have to perform superbly internationally to come close to get its hefty indie budget back, so its global gross of $32.8m is crucial.

Sony’s RoboCop remake stood guard at number four, adding $9.4m to its coffers, which now stand at  $43.6m in the US – but a substantial $143.6m globally. George Clooney’s The Monuments Men rounded out the top five with $8.1m, $58m and $84.5m.

In the rest of the top 10, the big headline was once again grabbed by Disney’s monumental hit Frozen at number 8 with $4.4m, which raised its worldwide gross to a mammoth $980.4m, making it the second-biggest animated film ever, behind Toy Story 3’s $1.1bn.

Otherwise, Kevin Hart tied up sixth and seventh with About Last Night and Ride Along ($7.4m, $38.2m; $4,7m, $123.2m, $127.2m), while ABL’s fellow 80s remake Endless Love looks pretty near the end at nine, with $4.3m ($20.1m, $26.6m). Limping at the back, is Love’s Valentine’s bedmate, A Winter’s Tale, with a limp $2.1m for a flaccid US total of $11.2m.

Next week Liam Neeson sees if he can take back the cash with Taken-on-an-airplane thriller Non-Stop, while The Bible gets repackaged as Son Of God.

IN OTHER NEWS

Harold Ramis Dies at 69 | Variety

Netflix agrees Comcast streaming deal | The BBC

TV lacking satire, says Spitting Image creator John Lloyd | The BBC

Dame Judi Dench defies failing eyesight to continue filming | The BBC

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sat, 22/02/2014 - 18:48

By Jenny Priestley

★ Jennifer Lopez is the latest Hollywood star to head to TV. She's going to star in and produce a new drama series called Shades of Blue. Lopez will play a single mother who is recruited to work undercover for the FBI's anti-corruption task force. The show is expected to debut as part of the 2015-16 TV season, so it won't be on screens until around September or October of next year. One of the show's other producers is Lopez's American Idol co-star, Ryan Seacrest. I sincerely hope there are no plans for him to film a cameo.

All four of last year's acting Oscar winners will be back to present at this year's ceremony. Daniel Day Lewis, Jennifer Lawrence, Christoph Waltz and Anne Hathaway will present the winners with their trophies on March 2nd. The Academy has also revealed that Bette Midler and Pink are going to perform during the show (though not together). We don't know yet what either of them will be doing (well, other than singing). Surprisingly this will be the first time Midler has ever performed at the ceremony.

Viggo Mortensen is Captain Fantastic. Unfortunately, he's not starring in a biopic of the great Steven Gerrard. Instead the artist formerly known as Aragorn has signed on to lead the cast of a drama about a man who returns to civilisation after years of living in the forests of the Pacific Northwest (maybe he was looking for teenage vampires). Filming's expected to begin this summer.

In case you missed it, Jada Pinkett Smith is to play the villain in new TV drama Gotham. The show stars Benjamin McKenzie as a young Inspector Jame Gordon. Pinkett Smith will be playing an entirely new character called Fish Mooney (yes, really). Apparently she's a nightclub owner and sadistic gangster boss. Who knew?

Producing genius Judd Apatow is the recipient of this year's Paleyfest Icon Award, which recognises individual creative achievements in television. Apatow a producer of Lena Dunham's much acclaimed TV series, Girls. He'll be presented with the award in Beverly Hills on March 10.

Everything is awesome again! In news that I doubt will surprise anyone, a sequel to The LEGO Movie has been announced. It'll be in cinemas in May 2017, so we have a little while to wait.

Ray Parker Jr of Ghostbusters fame is the latest recipient of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He'll be honoured with the 2518th star on the Hollywood attraction on March 6. Just remember, he ain't afraid of no ghosts!

Maybe my favourite story of the week: the producers of Dallas are planning to launch their own brand of whiskey. JR Ewing Bourbon is helping to promote the third season of the recently returned show. It'll be on sale in the US at the end of March and is apparently a four-year-old, 80-proof light amber-colored bourbon, whatever that means!

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Screenjabber Podcast: All that glitters is not Goldsman

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sat, 22/02/2014 - 18:09

Join David Watson, Andrew Jones, Amon Warmann and host Stuart O'Connor for a chat about this week's new release movies: Stranger By The Lake, Stalingrad, Only Lovers Left Alive and the truly, truly awful A New York Winter's Tale.

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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Terrestrial TV Highlights 22-28 February

Posted by Louise Bolotin | Fri, 21/02/2014 - 21:10

By Louise Bolotin

Possibly the most controversial games yet, the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony (Sunday, BBC2, 4pm) is gearing up to be a three-hour spectacle. The live coverage is being steered by Clare Balding and Hazel Irvine. If you tune in a little earlier, at 2.30pm, Clare Balding will also be presenting the highlights of the last 17 days and totting up Team GB’s medal tally. The Edwardian Grand Designer (C4, 8pm) is a Time Team special from Dartmoor. Castle Drogo, now a National Trust property, was the last castle to be built in the UK and it’s a mere 100 years old. There are not many secrets for it to give up but this is a fine homage to its architect, the celebrated Edward Lutyens.

Legal drama Silk (Monday, BBC1 9pm) returns for a third series of six episodes. Maxine Peake (above) turns in another flawless performance as QC Martha Costello, constantly on her toes as a woman in a male-dominated profession despite her talent being head and shoulders above the rest of her chambers. The last series got interesting with the arrival of Frances Barber as her friend and rival Caroline Warwick, who is now joining the chambers too. Forget the Oscars, Here Are the Kermodes (BBC2, 10pm) is a light-hearted look by film critic Mark Kermode at all the good stuff going on in Hollywood last year that hasn’t been nominated for an Academy Award. Kermode’s list of nominees hasn’t been revealed but it should be an interesting one.

A century on from the outbreak of the First World War, journalist Max Hastings fronts a poignant documentary about The Necessary War (Tuesday, BBC2, 9pm). Hastings argues that joining the conflict was the right thing to do, asking why we still have pride in standing up to Hitler but feel shame and embarrassment about taking on the Kaiser. He talks to historians about the issues.

Danny Baker is all over BBC4 at the moment. His new series of Brushing Up On… (Thursday, BBC4, 8.30pm) is another romp through the archives for quirky footage on some the nation’s weirder things and strange obsessions. This week, he’s poking fun at miniatures – model villages, complex trainsets in the attic, even Subbuteo. The Storms That Stole Christmas (C4, 9pm), a look at the devastating weather that struck much of England last autumn. This year already, the rain and winds have been far worse but the met experts talk us through why we’ve had such a battering and there’s lots of amateur footage of the disastrous results.  

The revival of the once-splendid Jonathan Creek (Friday, BBC1, 9pm) last Easter was annoyingly patchy – it had the fiendishly complicated plots, the guest stars and the comic timings but it didn’t quite gel and it was too long. It was a ratings hit, though, so there are three new episodes. This opener is almost too knowing, as a glamorous actress starring in a Lloyd Webber-style musical about a locked room mystery, gets murdered in her locked dressing room. En route to solving the case, there are lots of Creek treats to enjoy, scriptwriter David Renwick’s little visual jokes and plot offshoots. The nuanced debate about the First World War continues in The Pity of War (BBC2, 9pm). This time historian Niall Ferguson takes an opposing view to Max Hastings, namely that Britain made a grave error joining a conflict that turned out to be so futile and in which millions died. In this film he explores why the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand, the result of a territorial crisis in the Balkans, triggered a global war. Ferguson’s analysis puts the war into historical context.

| Terrestrial TV Highlights 22-28 February | | delicious | digg | reddit | newsvine | google | technorati- | Louise Bolotin's blog | login or register to post comments |
 
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