Culture

Category:Culture

Watch Sainsbury’s Tear-Jerker of a Holiday Ad

Remember this adorable, sniffle-inducing John Lewis holiday advert featuring a boy, his penguin and a lesson on the meaning of friendship? Remember how it seemed like there was no way that any other Christmas commercial could possibly top its heartwarming perfection?

Well, it turns out that prediction might have been a bit premature. It would seem that UK supermarket chain  Sainsbury’s has decided to also go for the emotional jugular this year, with an five-Kleenex-alarm holiday ad built around the Christmas Truce of 1914 , a series of unofficial cessations of hostilities that occurred along portions of the Western Front during World War I. German and Allied soldiers, hearing Christmas hymns being sung, both stepped out of the trenches and met in no man’s land that day to exchange gifts, take pictures, sing hymns and, supposedly, play football (soccer, to us Americans).

Fair warning: You probably want to make sure you have some tissues handy before you push play. 

Category:Culture

Is This New John Lewis Spot the Best Holiday Advert Ever?

Seeing as it’s only early November, it seems as though it should be premature to crown an ultimate winner in the race for this year’s best holiday ad, but it’s time for some real talk.

Literally nothing is going to be better than this completely adorable advert from British department store chain John Lewis. Nothing

Category:Culture

The Tower of London Poppies Installation is Completed on Remembrance Day

On November 11, the multi-month effort to plant a ceramic poppy within the moat of the Tower of London in honor of the hundreds of thousands of lives lost during World War I was completed.

Officially titled Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, the installation features hundreds of thousands of ceramic poppies – the ceremonial flower traditionally used to remember war veterans in Britain – arranged in and around the Tower moat. Known colloquially as the “Tower Poppies” this exhibit has been drawing crowds for weeks, as visitors came to admire the impressive artwork and pay their respects to those who lost their lives in combat.  Each poppy – planted by veterans, celebrities, public figures and volunteers – represents a British military fatality in World War I. 

Category:Culture

Long Lost Silent 'Sherlock Holmes' Film Discovered After Nearly 100 Years

Rejoice, Sherlockians of the world – there’s been a rather amazing discovery in the world of Sherlock Holmes over the past week. A nearly 100 year-old silent film version of the great detective has been discovered in the vaults of the Cinémathèque Française, the Paris-based archive that houses one of the world’s biggest film collections.

Entiltled Sherlock Holmes, the film stars the well known American actor-manager William Gillette and is an adaptation of the play that Gillette was famously associated with. This play – and subsequently the film – is something of an amalgamation of elements featured in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories, including A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of Four, The Boscombe Valley Mystery and The Greek Interpreter.

The supposedly lost film was uncovered while staff were working on an ongoing project to catalogue the 80,000 boxes of nitrate films in its collection. It had previously been catalogued incompletely and mistakenly put with other Holmes films. 

Category:Culture

Yes Scotland or Better Together: Trying to Make Sense of the Scottish Independence Referendum

In less than one week, the Scottish public will be going to the polls to make a very important decision about the future of their country; whether to remain a part of the United Kingdom or leave to become an independent country.

If you haven’t heard about the impending Scottish Referendum, here’s a short informational video the BBC put together last year which covers the basics, in less than sixty seconds, followed by our attempt to break down what’s going on. 

Category:Culture

Witness a Record Breaking Gathering of Sherlocks, All for a Good Cause

For being a fictional character and all, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s great detective Sherlock Holmes sure does seem to be involved with a lot of real-world records and record attempts.  Holmes already holds the Guinness World Record for most frequently portrayed literary human character in television and film – note the human quantifier because otherwise he’d lose out to Dracula – and has now been involved in a very different sort of record in Yorkshire, of a slightly greater order of magnitude.

A group of fans in Leeds decided to attempt to gather the most Sherlock Holmes-es in one place at the same time, in order to break the world record for doing so (you get a cookie if you would have ever even guessed there was a world record for that) and, more importantly, to raise money for the Yorkshire Brain Research Centre at St. James’s Hospital, Leeds.

And so, that’s how over four hundred people turned up in nearby Temple Newsam to participate on August 31, dressed in their best deerstalkers and scarves, and armed with pipes, magnifying glasses and violins. 

Category:Culture

‘Sherlock’ Waves the Flag for British Telly at 2014 Primetime Emmys

With over two dozen British actors, writers, directors and productions nominated for Emmys this year, less than a handful brought home the gold earlier this week during the 2014 Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony. A disappointing result for an telly addict like me to be sure, but with the rising popularity of UK television in the States you’d expect a little bit better showing from our talented performers across the pond.

Well, with one notable exception, anyway. Read on for a full report and highlights of how our favorite nominated Brits did this year. 

Category:Culture

A Field of Poppies Marks the Anniversary of WWI at the Tower of London

A gorgeous new installation opened today (August 5) at the Tower of London, to make the centenary anniversary of the start of World War I.

Called Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, the display by ceramic artist Paul Cummins will feature hundreds of thousands of ceramic poppies – the ceremonial flower traditionally used to remember war veterans in Britain – arranged in and around the Tower’s moat.

The official Twitter account for the Historic Royal Palaces – the charity that oversees locations such as the Tower, Hampton Court, Kensington Palace and others – has been sharing photos of the event this week, as well as behind-the-scenes looks at how such a massive undertaking will be completed. Take a look at some of the most impressive below.

Category:Culture

Watch the Queen’s Guards Play the ‘Game of Thrones’ Theme Song at Buckingham Palace

So, Queen Elizabeth probably doesn’t have a Ser Barristan the Bold of her own outside Buckingham Palace, but the Queen’s Guards are apparently big fans of fantasy drama Game of Thrones anyway.

We know this because during a recent Changing of the Guards ceremony at Buckingham Palace, the band suddenly burst into a rousing rendition of the HBO series’ incredibly recognizable theme tune. (For those that don’t know the band traditionally performs a song during the ceremony, which takes place daily in the summer at 11:30am.)

It’s awesome. And thankfully a quick bystander recorded it and put it on YouTube

Category:Culture

'Downton Abbey', 'Sherlock' Lead British Invasion as 2014 Emmy Nominations Are Announced

The 66th Primetime Emmy Award nominations were announced this morning (July 10) so I thought it a good time to take an inventory of how some of our favorite actors from the UK fared with the Television Academy. If you're curious - the answer is - quite well, and in a few unexpected categories to boot! Let's take a look. If you’d like to see the complete list of nominees, regardless of their nationality, click here.

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