Category Archives: Celebrities

Telly for Anglophiles | Teachers

Image from http://www.channel4.com/programmes/teachers and Content from Wikipedia

Teachers is a British television sitcom, originally shown on Channel 4. The series follows a group of secondary school teachers in their daily lives.

While the first series centers heavily around probationary teacher Simon Casey (Andrew Lincoln), later series have a more balanced ensemble approach. The cast changes dramatically over time, with few original characters remaining by the fourth series. While some of these disappearances are explained, others happen between series without explanation.

The first three series are set in the fictional Summerdown Comprehensive, which merges with another school in the fourth series to form Wattkins School. The series was filmed at the former Lockleaze school, and other locations around Bristol, England.

Teachers was nominated for six BAFTA awards between 2002 and 2004, and was nominated for Best British Comedy Show at the British Comedy Awards in 2003.

In January 2005, after a muted reception to the fourth series, Channel 4 announced that Teachers would not continue for a fifth series. A short-lived U.S. version was aired in 2006.

British Celebrity Spotlight | Shaun Evans

Shaun Evans (born 6 March 1980 in Liverpool) is an English actor.

His first major role was that of gay French teacher John Paul Keating in the Channel 4 comedy-drama Teachers during its second series in 2002. The following year he made his feature film debut in The Boys from County Clare, starring alongside Bernard Hill, Colm Meaney and Andrea Corr. Additional screen credits include Being Julia, The Situation, Cashback, Gone, Boy A (film), Telstar, Princess Ka’iulani and Clive Barker’s horror, Dread.

On television, Evans was featured in the 2002 docudrama The Project and was seen as the Earl of Southampton in the miniseries The Virgin Queen, which premiered in November 2005 on Masterpiece Theatre on PBS in the U.S. before airing on the BBC in January 2006. His stage work includes a UK tour of the award-winning play Blue/Orange by Joe Penhall. Recent television appearances include, Murder City, BBC’s Ashes to Ashes, Gentley’s Last Stand and four-part drama The Take from the novel by Martina Cole on Sky1. Evans also starred in Sparkle alongside Bob Hoskins and Stockard Channing (2007). He also portrayed Kurt Cobain in the Roy Smiles play Kurt and Sid, at the Trafalgar Studios, opposite Danny Dyer as Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious.

In August 2011, it was announced that he would be playing the young Inspector Morse in Endeavour, which would focus on the detective’s early career.

An initial episode was to be broadcast on 2 January 2012 which, since successfully received, has been re-commissioned for four new episodes by the ITV, with filming expecting to start summer 2012.

In 2012, Evans also played the role of new pupil, Daniel, in BBC Legal Drama Silk alongside Maxine Peake.

Radio | Cabin Pressure

Image for Cabin Pressure

Image from http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00lmcxj and Content from Wikipedia

Cabin Pressure is a radio situation comedy series written by John Finnemore. Its first series was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2008. The show follows the exploits of the oddball crew of the single aeroplane owned by “MJN Air” as they are chartered to take all manner of items, people or animals across the world. The show stars Stephanie Cole, Roger Allam, Benedict Cumberbatch and John Finnemore.

Critical reception to the series was positive and three series have currently been produced, the most recent broadcast in July, 2011, along with a special 2010 Christmas Day episode. Cabin Pressure will return for a fourth series in 2012. The theme tune of the series is the Overture to Ruslan and Lyudmila by Mikhail Glinka.

As part of her last divorce settlement, Carolyn Knapp-Shappey (Stephanie Cole) received a mid-size jet aeroplane named “Gertie” (a “Lockheed McDonnell 312”, registration G-ERTI). As a result, she founds her very own single plane charter airline, “MJN Air” (“My Jet Now”), which is crewed by an oddball mixture of characters who fly to various cities around the world, encountering a variety of odd situations.

The airline’s only Captain, Martin Crieff (Benedict Cumberbatch – except for series 3 episode 3, in which Tom Goodman-Hill stood in for Cumberbatch), has wanted to be a pilot since he was six years old (before which he wanted to be an aeroplane). He suffers, however, from a distinct lack of ability in that department. He was rejected by at least one flight school, and had to put himself through the required coursework, barely qualifying for his certification – on his seventh attempt. He took the job with MJN for no salary at all, as long as he could be Captain. He appears to have no outside interests beyond flying. He is a stickler for procedures and regulations, but is more prissy than pompous. At the end of series two he tells Douglas that he survives financially by running a delivery service using the van he inherited from his father (running two different jobs largely explaining the lack of hobbies). This was his only inheritance because his father believed he would waste any money he received trying to become a pilot.

First Officer Douglas Richardson (Roger Allam) is, on the other hand, a quite competent pilot who worked for Air England – until he was fired for smuggling. He chafes at his subordinate position to Martin, and misses no opportunity to flaunt his superiority in the younger pilot’s face. In later episodes, it is revealed that Douglas, ashamed of his second-rate job, dresses in Captain’s uniform for his wife Helena’s benefit, changing to First Officer’s uniform before he gets to work. Douglas is, however, something of a smooth operator who knows all of the dodges available to airline officers, and enjoys taking part in all of them.

Carolyn’s son Arthur (John Finnemore) is an eager dimwit aged 29, who is supposed to be the flight attendant but usually manages to get in everyone’s way. Arthur is a relentless optimist, whose biggest claim to fame is being the inventor (or at least discoverer) of fizzy yoghurt (the recipe for which is yoghurt plus time).

The cockpit crew frequently pass their time by engaging in word games, such as naming Brians [sic.] of Britain, making bets that Douglas always wins or playing ‘Simon says’. All crew members also make humorous cabin addresses, inserting e.g. limericks or titles of Hitchcock films, generally when there are no passengers on board.

Fashion | Very.co.uk

The Very Style Experts are here to show you how. They want you to wave goodbye to nothing-to-wear days forever, so you can look and feel fashion forward – whatever you’re up to.

They’ll define the ‘style staples’ in your wardrobe (like your maxi and denim shorts), and show you how to style them for this season’s hottest trends.

However you feel about your wardrobe now, you’ll love it with Very!

Very are giving you £10* off your first credit order of £25 or more when you enter 25CWB at the checkout.

Very launched on 5th July 2009 and was the first Shop Direct brand to utilise social media.

Designed with internet savvy customers in mind, the website gives customers the opportunity to shop across a variety of product areas, from fashion and footwear to home and electrical there really is something for everyone.

Very offers stylish clothing from a wide range of designers and celebrities including Holly Willoughby, Fearne Cotton, Steve Jones, Jasmine Guinness and Diana Vickers to name just a few.

Very talks to its’ customers via a variety of innovative social media marketing tools including facebook, twitter, VBlog and an interactive online magazine, VStyle, which are full of fashion tips and style advice. Very also uses paper to showcase their product ranges and to inspire customers by bringing them the latest looks direct from the catwalk, the must-have brands and special offers.

It’s easy to shop online by simply clicking Very Clothing 24 hours a day, or by calling 08448 222 321, 7 a.m. – 11 p.m., 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Sources: very.co.uk

British Celebrity Spotlight | Rupert Penry-Jones

Penry-Jones was born in London in 1970 to Welsh actor Peter Penry-Jones, and actress Angela Thorne. His brother Laurence Penry-Jones and sister-in-law Polly Walker are also actors.

He was educated at Dulwich College in south-east London, until age 17 when he was enrolled at Bristol Old Vic, only to be expelled in his second year for being a bad influence.. His bad influence was a result of a broken relationship in which Rupert stated he tried to get over it by “shagging everything in sight” . Being dyslexic, he struggled at school, eventually leaving with no A-levels.

In 1995 he appeared with his mother on television in Cold Comfort Farm.

Penry-Jones trained for the stage at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. He made his London stage debut at the Hackney Empire in 1995 playing Fortinbras to Ralph Fiennes’s Hamlet in an Almeida production of Hamlet.

He was cast as Richard in the premiere staging of Stephen Poliakoff’s Sweet Panic at Hampstead Theatre in 1996. The following year he appeared in both The Paper Husband at Hampstead Theatre and as the upper class Pip Thompson in a prestigious revival of Arnold Wesker’s Chips with Everything on the Lyttelton stage at the Royal National Theatre.

In 1998 he created the role of the Boy in Edward Albee’s The Play About the Baby at the Almeida Theatre. In 1999 he joined the RSC at Stratford-upon-Avon, playing the title role in Don Carlos at The Other Place and Alcibiades in Timon of Athens at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Both productions transferred to the Barbican Centre in 2000, where his performance as Don Carlos won the Ian Charleson Award.

At the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds in 2001 he was cast as Robert Caplan in J. B. Priestley’s thriller “time-play” Dangerous Corner opposite Dervla Kirwan, who played Olwen Peel. The production then successfully transferred for a four-month run at the Garrick Theatre in London’s West End.

From July to October 2003 at the National’s Cottesloe Theatre he played the leading role of Louis XIV in Nick Dear’s historical drama Power.

He returned to the theatre at the end of 2009 playing the role of Carl in Michael Wynne’s new play The Priory at the Royal Court Theatre, London, from 19 November 2009 to 16 January 2010.

On television, he has played barrister Alex Hay in C4’s 10 part serial North Square in 2000, Donald McLean in the BBC’s 4-part production of Cambridge Spies in 2003 and Grimani in Russell T. Davies’ production of Casanova in 2005.

In 2004, he joined the cast in series 3 of the BBC’s BAFTA-winning series Spooks. He played the lead role of section leader, Adam Carter for 4 series before leaving the show in 2008. He won ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards for his role in Spooks in 2008. He also went on to play the role of Captain Wentworth in ITV’s adaptation of Persuasion.

In 2008, he starred with Bradley Whitford and Neve Campbell in Burn Up playing an oil executive who becomes embroiled in the politics surrounding global warming and oil stocks.

He played Richard Hannay in the BBC adaptation of The 39 Steps which was screened at Christmas 2008.

In 2009, he was cast as the lead in the unaired ABC pilot The Forgotten but was unceremoniously replaced when the pilot was picked up and replaced by Christian Slater. Penry-Jones was apparently devastated and proceeded to give a number of interviews in the UK in which he attacked the US television industry. His charms appear lost on Americans, however, with Rupert being unceremoniously dumped from a major TV series. He has since described American television as a “factory”.

In February 2009, he took the lead in an ITV drama, Whitechapel, a three-part thriller based on a the copycat killings of Jack the Ripper. Whitechapel was the highest performing new drama in 2009. A second series of the show based around the Kray twins was broadcast in autumn 2010; the third series began in January 2012.

He was scheduled to appear alongside other celebrities in Soccer Aid 2010, but broke a bone in his knee during training, putting him in a plaster cast and ruling him out of the final match on 6 June 2010.

Rupert was also recently cast opposite Maxine Peake in a legal drama Silk created by Peter Moffat. The show revolves around two barristers, played by Penry-Jones and Peake who are competing to become QCs.

Rupert also joined the cast of the film Manor Hunt Ball. Filming commenced in late 2010/early 2011.

Rupert is notable for being passed over for membership for the BAFTA, nevertheless he was a presenter at the BAFTA TV Awards in 2009 and 2012.

Rupert is known to be very critical of the British television and film industry. He stated that Doctor Who is a “very good children’s show…but has low production values.” He also said the Harry Potter films are “shit”. He admitted walking out of the first three films.

News | David Bowie and Queen… in Lego form? [Daily Mail]

British artist Aaron Savage has unveiled his greatest bricks – legendary album covers made out of Lego.

The 21-year-old gave the yellow Lego men different haircuts, clothes and facial expressions to make them look like his idols for his musical project.

He then spent days arranging the figures and bricks to recreate his favourite LPs – including classics from Queen, David Bowie and Blur.

Amazing creations! Here’s a sneak peek:
Arctic Monkeys' LP is given the Savage treatment with a special lego cigarette used
Arctic Monkeys' LP is given the Savage treatment with a special lego cigarette used
The lego figure was given a pretty pink dress to mimic Lilly Allen's Its Not Me It's You record
The lego figure was given a pretty pink dress to mimic Lilly Allen's Its Not Me It's You record

British Celebrity Spotlight | Sting

Image from http://www.sunsetbeachclub.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Sting.jpg and Content from Wikipedia

Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, CBE (born October 2, 1951), known by his stage name Sting, is an English musician, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, activist, actor and philanthropist. Prior to starting his solo career, he was the principal songwriter, lead singer and bassist for the rock band The Police.

Sting has varied his musical style throughout his career, incorporating distinct elements of jazz, reggae, classical, New Age, and worldbeat into his music. As a solo musician and member of The Police, Sting has received sixteen Grammy Awards for his work, receiving his first Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance in 1981, three Brit Awards — winning Best British Male in 1994, a Golden Globe, an Emmy Award, and several Oscar nominations for Best Original Song. He is a member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

A high point in his many contributions to the human rights cause came in 1988, when he joined a team of other major musicians – including Peter Gabriel and Bruce Springsteen – assembled under the banner of Amnesty International for the six-week Human Rights Now! world tour commemorating the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Fun facts:

  • Sting occasionally has ventured into acting.
  • An avid chess player, Sting played Garry Kasparov in an exhibition game in 2000, along with four bandmates: Dominic Miller, Jason Rebello, Chris Botti, and Russ Irwin. Kasparov beat all five simultaneously within 50 minutes.
  • Formerly eating only animals that he raised himself, Sting now adheres to a macrobiotic diet.
  • In 1969 Sting read the Gormenghast trilogy by Mervyn Peake and became a passionate fan. He later bought the film rights to the books, and also named household pets, a race horse, his publishing company, and even one of his daughters (Fuchsia) after characters from the books.
  • Sting is a supporter of Newcastle United, and in 2009, backed a Newcastle United Supporters campaign against the controversial plan of owner Mike Ashley to sell off the naming rights to St James’ Park.
  • Sting is agnostic.

Telly for Anglophiles | New Merlin Series 5 Trailer

British Celebrity Spotlight | Fearne Cotton

Fearne Cotton (born 3 September 1981) is an English television and radio presenter who is known for presenting a number of popular TV programmes such as Top of the Pops and the Red Nose Day telethon. In 2007, she became the first regular female presenter of BBC Radio 1’s Chart Show. She currently presents Radio 1’s weekday mid-morning programme, having replaced long-time host Jo Whiley, and is a team captain on the comedy panel show Celebrity Juice.

Cotton was born in Northwood, London to Lyn and Mick Cotton; she has a younger brother, Jamie. Her father was a signwriter for events such as Live Aid and her mother worked in alternative therapy. She grew up in Eastcote, Hillingdon and was educated at Haydon School. She is a pescatarian and an animal lover. She runs 5 km at least three times a week, and has participated in several half marathons for charity. Former BBC executive Bill Cotton (1928–2008) was her paternal grandfather’s cousin. He was the son of the well-known entertainer and band leader Billy Cotton.

She began her presenting career in 1998, at the age of 17, with early morning GMTV children’s programme The Disney Club, after she was discovered in a nationwide talent search during the show.

Cotton studied art at A level,a skill she made much use of whilst presenting the series Draw Your Own Toons. She also enjoys body art and claimed on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross that she has eleven tattoos over her body, the most notable of which is a fern leaf, covering her right hip up to her rib cage.

Cotton has been romantically linked to several celebrities including Lostprophets frontman Ian Watkins, Fame Academy‘s Peter Brame, and Channel 4 presenter Steve Jones. Her long-term, on-again-off-again boyfriendis skateboarder Jesse Jenkins; he proposed on her 29th birthday. The engagement was called off and the couple split 9 months later.Cotton is currently dating Jesse Wood, son of The Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood.

She is good friends with fellow TV presenter Holly Willoughby, with whom she has co-presented several shows.Cotton and Sarah Cawood acted as two of the bridesmaids at Willoughby’s wedding to Dan Baldwin on 4 August 2007.

Fran Reviews | Hugh Laurie and the Copper Bottom Band (July 31st, 2012)

(link to previous post on Hugh Laurie and the band: https://musingsofananglophile.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/music-for-anglophiles-let-them-talk-by-hugh-laurie/)

Jazz lovers, music lovers, Hugh appreciators – this is a show you don’t want to miss.

If you are waiting for Gregory House, you will be disappointed. If you are expecting a flamboyant, non-run of the mill jazz session, you’ve got another thing coming. This is jazz meets blues in New Orleans, a pure Buddy Bolden (et al) extravaganza.

The great classics are covered, from ‘Six Cold Feet’ to ‘St. James Infirmary’, and all of these are accompanied by a little story of its origin and who has covered it in the past and all you can think of, courtesy of Mr. Laurie, who proclaims he doesn’t want to come across as a “music nerd”. The band is absolutely bang on, joining Hugh’s piano skills blissfully. I have to say, the band just blew me away. One might even say that they were… ‘Red Hot’? See what I did there?

I wish I could say the venue was packed. It wasn’t – at all, in fact. I have to say that, although it wasn’t full, it certainly felt that way. The audience clapped and clapped for minutes on end at some points, we all sang along and displayed our singing skills when urged to. The venue took a life of its own and suddenly we were all jazz saxophonists, pretending to be Vincent Henry.

Hugh reported, once he had got to Portugal, that Lisbon was a romantic city he yearned to explore. Well, according to the man himself, he did love it. And the love was reciprocate – Portuguese people love him just as much as he loved our capital city.

This is it, folks – the aftermath of the gig. It was magical, it was smokin’. Grab those tickets fast!

(I shall leave you with the video of the aforementioned interview +a picture I took at the concert (I’ve been trying to upload them all but my connection is a tad sluggish today – apologies for that). Also, don’t forget to check my friend’s Tumblr page, who was with me throughout my little adventure and who I absolutely loved to meet for the first time! Good times! – http://londonphile.tumblr.com/)

Taken by yours truly. Give credit where credit is due, pretty please? 🙂