Category:Other

British Celebrity Memoirs to Read This Winter

In case I’ve never mentioned it, I work at a public library. That’s why in some of the pieces I write for Telly Visions I suggest borrowing DVDs from the library when on-line streaming is not an option. At my job when patrons stump my co-workers with a movie or TV series request, I’m often called upon to step in and solve the mystery.  It’s a role I enjoy and I spend a lot of time and effort building up my knowledge to share with others.

But wait, you say. Isn’t a library about books? Indeed it is and all the employees on our staff are expected to read widely in order to help people find an enjoyable or informative book to read. Therefore when I find the time, I’m sure you can hazard a guess at what I read. You‘ve got it, British authors. I’ve just finished the most recent Ian McEwan novel, The Children Act, and I have several more on my bedside table waiting for my attention including one entitled Us by David Nicholls, the author of books such as Starter for Ten and One Day, both of which have been adapted for the big screen.

However, at this point, I must admit my favorite combination is a book written by a British celebrity. It can be a memoir about hitting bottom and finding a home like Craig Ferguson’s American on Purpose or the humorous life lessons of Miranda Hart’s Is It Just Me?

Whenever I see a British actor or comedian announcing a book signing on Twitter, I immediately go to the library’s catalog to see if I can get my hands on the newest star-studded literary offering. Sadly, there are many times my search is unsuccessful. The celebrity has to be famous enough in the US for it to be worth releasing here. Case in point, when James Corden released his autobiography May I Have Your Attention, Please? in 2012, I asked our collection resources librarian if she could order this book for our system. She placed a request to purchase and after a few months informed me it fell through even though the title was available on Amazon. I’m curious to see if once Corden’s latest film Into the Woods is released at Christmas and he begins his run on the Late, Late Show in January, his story might have grown a bigger readership.

Here are a number of memoirs and celebrity musings by British personalities that have been published this fall. If you check with your local library you’re likely to find them there and here are some of the reasons why.

Category:Drama

Watch: George Clooney Visits ‘Downton Abbey’

UK network ITV will air their annual Text Santa telethon on December 19. Much like the BBC’s annual Children in Need event, it features standard telethon fair like TV presenters doing random and/or weird things, pop stars performing songs you’re probably already tired of hearing, celebs dropping by to encourage viewers to donate and all manner of skits and parodies based on popular programming.

And there’s not much in the way of more popular programming than Downton Abbey these days. But, when someone’s already done a musical parody and a full on two-part skit featuring Absolutely Fabulous stars Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley, how do you top that? By adding George Clooney, of course.

Yeah, that’s not a typo. 

Category:Drama

‘Wolf Hall’ to Premiere on Masterpiece in April 2015

Wolf Hall, the highly anticipated adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize winning-pair of Tudor-era novels, has an official American airdate! The drama will debut as part of the upcoming Spring schedule on PBS’s Masterpiece, and will premiere on April 5.

The six-part series will follow the meteoric rise of Thomas Cromwell, from lowly blacksmith’s son to chief advisor to King Henry VIII. Among other things, Cromwell was a chief architect of the English Reformation, helping to engineer the annulment of Henry VIII’s marriage to Katherine of Aragon, in order to allow the king to marry his mistress Anne Boleyn. He was also instrumental in Anne’s later fall from grace, negotiated Henry VIII’s fourth marriage to Anne of Cleves and instituted widespread (and extensive) religious reforms.

Category:Drama

Natalie Dormer to Lead Cast of BBC’s ‘The Woman in Red’

Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer has been tapped to lead the cast of upcoming BBC Two production The Woman in Red, a factual drama meant to explore the scandalous life of Lady Seymour Worsley, a woman whose very virtue was put on trial in 1782 when she dared to leave her husband and elope with his best friend.

The ninety minute drama will focus on the very public court case brought on by Lady Seymour’s first husband, Sir Richard Worsley, which became something of a forum to debate a woman’s worth and challenge the idea that a wife was merely an extension of her husband’s property. 

 

British Actors You Should Know: Eddie Redmayne

The major film festivals have taken place and now Hollywood is releasing the trailers for its 2015 Oscar contenders. If you pay attention to that sort of thing, you may well have heard the buzz around our latest featured actor – Eddie Redmayne.

He’s receiving accolades for his performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. The film follows the life of the world famous scientist from his days as a student at Oxford through his devastating ALS diagnosis and out the other side to the triumph of his career and his determination to outlive the dire predictions of his doctors. He does all this with the love and full support of his fiancé, and later, wife, Jane (Felicity Jones) by his side.

(Curious about The Theory of Everything? Watch the trailer.)

Long before this breakout lead role, however, young Mr. Redmayne had been getting noticed for his acting skills on both sides of the pond. He’s won the Olivier and the Tony for his supporting role in the play Red as well as other theatre and film award nominations. So if you’re not familiar with this talented performer, here are just a few examples of Eddie’s past television and film work which you can view, in most cases, tonight if the mood strikes you.

Category:Drama

The First Image from the ‘Sherlock’ Special Has Arrived

So, apparently I should write more features about Sherlock because it seems to invite some kind of cosmic magic wherein I have to write another new piece within 24 hours because some new bit of information has surfaced.

I mean, I’m okay with that if y’all are.

Anyway, what’s up today is that it looks like the first read through of the “Possibly Non Christmas” Christmas Special (there appears to be some debate about this) took place, and in honor of this momentous occasion the first official photo from the forthcoming one-off special has been released.

And it’s… rather not what anyone expected.

Category:Movies

Watch: Carey Mulligan and Michael Sheen in Trailer for ‘Far From the Madding Crowd'

Who’s up for a little Thomas Hardy at your local multiplex? A big screen adaptation of Far From the Madding Crowd is headed our way next year, offering those of us who like our period drama with a bit of classical literary flavoring an option beyond Jane Austen.  Also, this just looks pretty awesome in general, if you ask me.

The film’s cast is top notch, as is really to be expected in dramas such as this, featuring The Great Gatsby’s (or Doctor Who’s if you’re really fond of the episode “Blink”) Carey Mulligan as our heroine, opposite Masters of Sex’s Michael Sheen, The Hollow Crown’s Tom Sturridge and dishy Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts.

Category:Drama

‘Sherlock’ Special Will Solve Moriarty Mystery, Series 4 Will Feature ‘Tragedy’

Just because we’ve got a ways to go before we see any new Sherlock on our screens doesn’t meant that there isn’t a pretty near constant stream of new things to talk about, as far as the show itself goes. This is what happens when you sign on for a Steven Moffat/Mark Gatiss production – as Doctor Who fans well know – because the show runners (and cast members, come to that) came seem to stop talking about the upcoming episodes at every available opportunity.

(It also helps that both Moffat and Gatiss are both great at saying a lot without actually giving you any real information at all, which helps keep the first of fan excitement well stoked.)

At any rate, thanks to a pair of recent interviews with Gatiss in the Radio Times, we now have some new official tidbits to pick over and endlessly speculate about, as concerns both the upcoming one-off special, which we’ll see at some point in 2015, and in Series 4 proper.

Let’s break it down, shall we? 

Category:Drama

British Telly Families I’d Like to Invite to Thanksgiving Dinner

I don’t have to tell you that Thanksgiving is not a holiday in the UK; however, as a British entertainment and culture blogger, a great deal of my attention is dedicated to how I might merge the traditions of my homeland and the island country with which I am quite honestly infatuated. Besides we’d all like a few British accents present at our family gathering, wouldn’t we?

Therefore I actually took the time to consider the following proposition – if I could invite a British TV family for a big holiday dinner (like Thanksgiving) who would I choose? Let me clarify – I’ve never cooked a Thanksgiving meal in my life so I obviously wouldn’t be hosting, but inviting myself to their gaff instead.

I’ve narrowed my picks narrowed it down to a short list and here are my top five.

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. 

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