Category Archives: Set your Sky+ for this

TV News – Torchwood: Death to death

“Where do you go after Children of Earth?” Eve Myles asks in a BBC interview. Apparently one place you go is Los Angeles, as the forthcoming series of Torchwood is partly filmed there.

Where you go conceptually is a mind-blowing idea – what happens if death stops? Russell T Davies has got ten episodes to explore the social and economic consequences. “We’re built on a world that’s destined to die,” he says. “We’re supposed to have three score years and ten and then pop off. Our culture and our economy is based around that.” He says he’s “very, very proud” of the series, which has all the Torchwood trademark elements of running around, shouting, shooting, drama and humour. And everything will be resolved at the end of the ten episodes and not left dangling, promises Russell T.

John Barrowman loves playing Captain Jack Harkness because “He’s a hero, but he’s been a bad guy in his time. People like to see characters who are a little flawed.” Maybe not quite as flawed as the baddie of the series, who is played by Bill Pullman. His character is a convicted child killer – who survives his own execution. With preview photos showing Gwen’s father on his deathbed, the stage is set for some huge moral and emotional themes to be played out.

Torchwood: Miracle Day airs in July in the US and later in the summer in the UK.

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Filed under Dr Who, Set your Sky+ for this, TV News

Lie To Me: How to spot a bank robber

First posted last year but re-posted now as Sky1 have generously decided to start the series from the beginning again.

(Series 3, Ep.1)  I think I may have a new favourite programme. I can’t think how Lie To Me has escaped my attention so far, considering it stars Tim Roth, who is one of my all-time favourite actors, but I’m glad I’ve belatedly found it (I might have to hunt down DVDs of the first two series now as well).

Dr Cal Lightman is an expert in body language and reading people’s faces. He uses this skill to help solve crimes – not only can he tell if you’re lying, he can tell if you’re really smiling at him even if you’re trying hard not to. It would be hard not to smile at Lightman – he’s rude, obnoxious, twitchy and completely charismatic. His work colleagues find him exasperating and a little bit scary – think of a blend of Malcolm Tucker, Alan Shore from Boston Legal, House, Al Pacino and Damon Albarn (looks- and accent-wise) and you’ve got something close.  I like that the character has an English accent though it’s an American programme.

The whole area of body language and non-verbal communication is fascinating, and it makes for a good twist on the standard crime-solving drama, and Tim Roth is fantastically watchable. I’m looking forward to the next episode already.

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Lustbox: The very versatile Steven Mackintosh

I first noticed Steven Mackintosh in a four part BBC drama called Undercover Heart, back in 1998. He played an undercover cop who gets so involved with the case he’s working on that he risks his career, his marriage and his sanity. In a strong cast (Daniela Nardini, Lennie James), Steven Mackintosh’s performance was amazing – his character looked like an angel who’d been plunged into hell.

He’s not a very bulky bloke, but he has an amazing physicality – his characters are often at least a bit on the dark side, and he’s brilliant at understated menace and pent-up tension. He did a show-stopping turn in Prime Suspect 5, as Manc gangster The Street, all arrogant swagger and completely immoral.

Steven Mackintosh seems to be drawn towards difficult or controversial roles. He’s played a transgender person in Different for Girls, and won numerous awards for his heartbreaking portrayal of a sexually abused boy in Care. He also recently played Peter Mandelson in Mo, and a bigoted cop in Criminal Justice.

What I love most about him is his voice. You’ll have heard it hundreds of times on ads and doing voiceovers for documentaries – it’s a perfectly pleasant voice-over voice (he’s also wonderful reading audiobooks – check out his reading of The Beach). But when he’s playing a role that requires a bit of menace, that voice gets a fabulously threatening, sexy edge to it.

His next TV role is in the crime show Luther, which starts next Tuesday. I’ve already got it on series link.

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Waterloo Road: look who’s the new headmaster!

tom-chambers-waterloo-road It’s only Sam Strachan from Holby! No wonder he didn’t rush back to Maria’s bedside when she had her accident – he was busy retraining to become a teacher for Rochdale-based school soap Waterloo Road.

Tom Chambers (for it is he) will play executive head Max Tyler.  “I think if I was a headmaster, I’d be a complete pushover, hanging out with the kids and playing pranks on the other teachers” he says, but his character is going to be one of those ruthless types, by the look of it. And the bad news is that Max is going to be attracted to the tedious Kim Campbell in another “opposites attract” scenario (didn’t we have that in the first series, with Andrew the deputy head?).  I don’t have anything against Angela Griffin, but I can’t bear the hideously worthy Kim Campbell.

The new series  starts on 28 October.


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Set the Sky+: Richard Armitage in new Sky drama

richard-armitageOh thrills! Not only do we have a new series of Spooks to look forward to in the autumn (just one more reason to love autumn), but there’s news today of another series for Richard Armitage.

Strike Back is an adaptation of a Chris Ryan novel about a race to save a kidnapped Sky TV reporter from terrorists. Nail-biting action!

But the bad news is we have to wait till spring to see it.

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I’ll be setting my Sky+ box for this…

aidan-gillenApparently he’s in The Wire (I’m one of the 6 people who’s never seen it), but I’ll always love Aidan Gillen for his star turn in Queer as Folk. And now he’s about to star in a new BBC2 drama called Freefall.  It’s about high-flying city executives (men in suits! Excellent) who are chopped off at the knees by the global economic downturn.  And Sarah Harding from Girls Aloud is in it! How fabulous is that? “It’s a gritty role and a gritty film,” she says.

The film is semi-improvised to give it a proper air of authenticity. “For an actor, improvising is liberating,” Aidan Gillen says. ” It’s not easy, it doesn’t always work, but if you’re prepared to risk looking stupid it can be rewarding. It can result in great, spontaneous performances, but it depends what you bring to it. It is a very powerful way of making a film.”


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