Arthur & George: Martin Clunes

Arthur (Martin Clunes) and George (Arsher Ali).

Arthur (Martin Clunes) and George (Arsher Ali).

“SUCCESS is a terrible mistress.”

Martin Clunes is about to star on screen as Sherlock novelist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

With Arthur & George starting on ITV at 9pm on Monday (March 2).

Adapted from the novel of the same name by Julian Barnes.

Before starting work at the end of March on a seventh series of Doc Martin.

Both TV dramas produced by his wife Philippa Braithwaite.

You might think life is simple for a successful actor like Martin.

Aside from having to answer yet another tedious question about whether Men Behaving Badly will ever return.

I’ve heard him being asked that dozens of times over the years and the answer remains, of course, no.

But despite always putting on an entertaining show during interviews, usually with a bit of edge, he can be – like most actors – a sensitive soul.

So it was no surprise to learn at the ITV launch for the new three-part drama that Martin has previously “bailed out” of other productions.

Even after signing the contract to appear in them. Continue reading

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Poldark: BFI Q&A

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“I hope I’m not intruding…”

Ross Poldark returns to Cornwall – and our television screens – in a new BBC1 (and PBS) adaptation of Winston Graham’s novels.

Some, like me, will be old enough to remember the iconic 1970s’ Poldark TV series starring Robin Ellis and Angharad Rees.

While younger viewers may have no idea what all the fuss is about.

Aidan Turner, who takes the title role in the 2015 series, admits he initially had to enlist the help of Google to find out what Poldark was. Continue reading

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Ant’s Valentine’s Night Surprise

ITV screen grab

ITV screen grab

I’VE been a regular customer of this local chippie for 35 years.

So Ant McPartlin’s Chiswick story on last night’s (Saturday Feb 14) The Jonathan Ross Show on ITV was of particular interest.

Telling of a past Valentine’s Night romantic surprise for his wife, Strictly make-up supremo Lisa Armstrong.

Taking her to Chris’s Fish Bar in Turnham Green Terrace rather than Michelin-starred La Trompette in nearby Devonshire Road. Continue reading

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Robson Green: More Tales From Northumberland

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August 2014 and I’m sitting on a London sofa with Robson Green.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve interviewed him.

We seem to have been meeting up for decades to discuss his various TV projects.

And it’s always a pleasure to talk to a canny lad who was born not far away from me.

Someone who has done much to put something back into the place he came from.

With a real heartfelt appreciation for his homeland and how it shaped him and his family. Continue reading

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The Casual Vacancy: BAFTA Q&A

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“OVER my dead body, Andrew…”

Rory Kinnear as Barry Fairbrother in BBC1’s new three-part adaptation of JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy.

Jo Rowling’s first novel for an adult audience, published in 2012, became a global best-seller with over six million copies sold to date.

The 3 x 60 minute television adaptation, written by Sarah Phelps and directed by Jonny Campbell, begins on BBC1 at 9pm on Sunday Feb 15.

Set in what appears to be the idyllic English village of Pagford.

Those who have read the 500-page book will know that it deals with how we live today, including issues of community and responsibility. Continue reading

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Foyle’s War 2015: Interviews

FOYLES WAR, EPISODE 1, HIGH CASTLE

Jan 12 2015 update: Foyle’s War to end. Scroll down for the full announcement.

“I’M a huge Foyle’s War fan.

“I’ve seen every episode and have given dozens of box sets of it away at Christmas to various relatives and friends.

“Now they’re all just dying to see the new series because they’re big fans too and they know I’m going to be in it. It’s a special thing.”

Frasier star John Mahoney talking to me in the car park of Nantwich Town Football Club in Cheshire on a chilly day in January 2014.

‘The Dabbers’ play in the Evo Stik Premier League. But that’s not why we’re here today.

FOYLES WAR, EPISODE 1, HIGH CASTLE

John and I are sitting in his location base trailer during a break from filming Foyle’s War in a very grand house not far away.

In truth, it’s a special thing for me to finally meet the actor who played Marty Crane in one of the greatest sitcoms of all time.

And astonishing to realise that – at 74 – this is his very first role in a British TV drama.

“It is amazing,” he agrees. “I’ve just never been asked.”

Chicago-­based John plays Andrew Del Mar, a retired Texas oil tycoon and former chairman of Global American Oil.

Now ailing and bedbound in the London home of his son Clayton (Nigel Lindsay).

He appears in High Castle, the first of three new Foyle’s War films – series eight – on ITV at 8pm this Sunday (January 4 2015).

Continue reading

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That Day We Sang: Q&A

Enid and Tubby (Imelda Staunton and Michael Ball)

Enid and Tubby (Imelda Staunton and Michael Ball)

“IT’S letting your dreams literally come true. Which is rather beautiful.

“Ordinary people being extraordinary.”

Imelda Staunton talking about the truly glorious That Day We Sang, written and directed by Victoria Wood.

A TV musical drama destined to become an instant classic.

Screened on BBC2 at 9pm on Boxing Day – Friday Dec 26.

It stars Imelda as “PA not secretary” Enid and Michael Ball as insurance salesman Tubby, two lonely middle-aged people who grab a second chance of life via the power of music.

These fictional characters meet in 1969 at a reunion of the Manchester Children’s Choir which made the iconic million selling recording of Nymphs and Shepherds with the Halle Orchestra 40 years before.

The film moving between events in the late 1960s and the story of a young Tubby, whose real name is Jimmy Baker, and his difficult home life in 1929.

With Harvey Chaisty as the young Jimmy and the always engaging Daniel Rigby as Mr Kirkby, the war veteran who helps him through.

Victoria Wood is also responsible for writing all of the music – Purcell’s Nymphs and Shepherds aside – in the 90-minute film. Continue reading

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