Monthly Archives: February 2015

Leonard Nimoy dies

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Star Trek star Leonard Nimoy has died from complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at the age of 83.
Nimoy is of course famous for playing Mr Spock in the original series of Star Trek on TV and in the films.
His portrayal of the logical first officer who was half human and half Vulcan made him a household name across the world and his unique hand salute and the phrase “Live Long and Prosper” will forever be associated with the character he made famous.
As well as Star Trek he made many appearance in other series such as The Outer Limits.
I particularly remember him in a 1973 episode of Columbo called “A Stitch in Crime” where he played a brilliant surgeon, turned murderer, eventually caught by the crumpled raincoat wearing detective.
He was in two seasons (1969-1971) of the long running TV series, “Mission Impossible” playing magician “The Great Paris”, a character introduced when Martin Landau left the series.
Aside from acting he was an writer and director, directing the comedy “Three Men and a Baby” and the third and fourth Star Trek films, “The Search for Spock” and “The Voyage Home”, and writing the story for the third film and co-authoring the fourth with Harve Bennett.
Nimoy was also executive producer on Star Trek VI “The Undiscovered Country”.
After Star Trek VI, Nimoy went on to mainly work behind the camera writing and producing. He did find time to appear in two episodes of The Simpsons as himself in, what I consider to be two of the best episodes, season 4 episode “Marge vs the Monorail” in 1993 and season 8 episode “The Springfield Files” in 1997.
Most recently, he played the re-occurring character of Dr William Bell in cult sci-fi show “Fringe” (2009-2012).
However, Mr Spock continued to be associated with him and he played him again in the first and second installments of the rebooted version of the Star Trek franchise in 2009 and 2013.
He is survived by his wife Susan and children Adam and Julie from his first marriage along with a stepson and grandchildren.
A true star and icon. RIP.

New Tricks axed

Dennis Waterman, Nicholas Lyndhurst, Tamzin Outhwaite & Denis Lawson. Image BBC

Dennis Waterman, Nicholas Lyndhurst, Tamzin Outhwaite & Denis Lawson. Image BBC

The BBC have announced that the police “cold case” show New Tricks is to end after its upcoming 12th series later this year.
In a joint statement, BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore and BBC drama controller Ben Stephenson said:
We are incredibly proud of New Tricks and would like to thank Roy Mitchell the brilliant creator, Wall to Wall and Headstrong, and all the cast and teams involved across the 12 series.”
“However, on BBC1 it’s important to make room for new series and continue to increase the range of drama on the channel, so it won’t be returning after the next series airs this summer.”
This is a slightly surprising decision. The cast line-up had been undergoing a series of changes for the last few series with actors leaving and new ones joining. At the end of the 2014 series only Dennis Waterman remained from the original line up, and he announced he was leaving after the series finished its run. If they were going to end the series I would have expected maybe a shorter last series with just Tamsin Outhwaite, Nicholas Lyndhurst and Denis Lawson, but soon after the announcement of Waterman's departure they announced that ex-Eastender Larry Lamb would be joining the cast. There was no mention of this being the last series.

Not cakes, dancing or music

It's a big reality and music night on Wednesday. On BBC1 we've got two Comic Relief programmes, The Great British Bake Off, followed by The People's Strictly. On ITV is music awards show The Brits. All these programmes will likely score well in ratings, so I wanted to mention a documentary over on BBC2 which will probably get lost among these big rating hitters.
Historian Amanda Vickery, pictured below, takes us through the 300 years of campaigning for political and sex equality for women.
Amanda Vickery.       Image BBC.

Amanda Vickery. Image BBC.

Labour's recent controversial “pink bus” initiative to get women to vote may have annoyed some, but it is important to know of the women, and men, who campaigned, suffered and in some cases even died for this cause. With the general election coming up, it is important to remember how hard fought the vote was, and the quest for sexual equality was and still is.

This is a 3 part documentary, called “Suffragettes Forever! The Story of Women and Power” starting on Wednesday at 8pm on BBC2, and will be on iPlayer.

Horrible Histories is back!

Ben Miller as King John.                 Image BBC.
Ben Miller as King John. Image BBC.

Fancy watching something funny, witty and informative with guest star appearances? then watch a kids show!

When Horrible Histories ended its fifth series in 2013 that seemed to be the end, of the TV series anyway. The cast went off to do “Yonderland” for Sky and other projects and the Horrible Histories theatre tour continued with a new cast.

But no, it’s back, albeit with a slightly different format. The original series was various unconnected comedy sketches and musical numbers dealing with facts introduced under names such as “Measly Middle Ages”, “Rotten Romans”, “Terrible Tudors” and the like. The sketches were connected by our host “Rattus” a talking puppet rat. This time round, each episode focuses on one historical figure, rather than unconnected events. This sounds a good idea and looks like it can provide more time to deal with the events surrounding the historical figure of the episode. Rattus the rat is back to provide extra detail.

First up is King John, and is a Magna Carta special marking 800 years since its signing. Ben Miller (pictured), best known for Death in Paradise and Primeval will be playing King John. Coincidentally, he played the Sheriff of Nottingham in a recent Doctor Who episode too!
Some of the original cast make a welcome return. Jim Howick is back as Winston Churchill and Napoleon and Simon Farnaby as George III and Sarah Hadland as Queen Victoria. Other historical figures featured will be Mary Queen of Scots and Oliver Cromwell.

The big news however is that Blackadder and Mr Bean star, Rowan Atkinson, who is very rarely seen in anything these days will be guest starring in one episode as Henry VIII! I assume he will have some padding as Atkinson doesn’t have the portly figure normally associated with the Tudor monarch!
So it all sounds very promising. Let’s hope the standard of the previous series is maintained.
The first episode is available now on iPlayer ahead of its first terrestial showing on CBBC at 5pm this Friday. There are 15 episodes.

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Note. The documentary mentioned in the last post is on at 9pm not 8pm as originally stated. That post has been updated.

Reserve your seat in the House!

Sir Robert Rogers. Image BBC.

The title wasn’t that enticing really “Inside the Commons”. I can hear the yawning.

Really though, it was very interesting. Reporter Michael Cockerell (who is heard not seen) informed us that they’ve spent a year following the people and day to day running of the House of Commons.

The rituals of the house are fascinating. For instance, as there are 427 seats and 650 MPs there are not enough spaces to sit on the famous green seats, so unless you’re a front bencher you have to reserve your seat for the day.
This is a bit like reserving your sun-lounger at the beach. The Commons’ day starts with 3 minute morning prayers so to get a seat you have to get a piece of card known as a ‘Prayer card’, write your name on it and place it in a card holder on the back of the seat you want. You have to be up early as doors open at 8 o’clock and if you leave it till 08:30 all the good spots are gone! Also, if you’re not there for the prayers, the Commons officials will tear up your card! Being there for the prayers ensure you that seat for the day.

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