Graham Crowden, character actor, has died at 87 after a 52 year career on stage, television, and film. In the United States he may be best known for playing the whimsical Tom Ballard alongside Stephanie Cole's cynical Diana in the BBC series Waiting for God, often shown on PBS. Born in Edinburgh in 1922, he had a distinguished career on stage, particularly at Olivier's National Theatre, undertaking (among other roles) The Player King in Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. In 1974, citing an inability to commit to a single role, he turned down the part of the Fourth Doctor, which eventually went to his friend Tom Baker. A few years later, in 1977, he played in Terry Gilliam's Jabberwocky. He had another star turn on television in a previous BBC series, A Very Peculiar Practice, as the physician Jock McCannon. His last role was in 2008 in an episode of Foyle's War, "Broken Souls." Said his agent Sue Grantley to the BBC, "We will all miss him enormously."
Plans are afoot for a US version of Spaced the seminal British zeitgeisty eve-of-the-Millennium sitcom that packed in huge numbers of film homages while turning the traditional man-and-woman-in-flatshare sitcom scenario on its head. The makers went on to make Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. [more inside]
Brass Eye is a hilarious & much missed British parody of "issue" news programs such as 60 Minutes in the U.S. It ran for one year, in 1997 (minus the 2001 special), and only six episodes were produced. Thanks to the miracle of the internets, all six (Animals, Drugs, Science, Sex, Crime & Moral Decline) are available in their entirety via Google Video. If you're unfamiliar with the series, trust me, it's not to be missed. Previous mentions on Metafilter. Discovered Via the good mr hodgman's blog.
The recent post that revived the rude ‘Rainbow’ kids show sketch reminded me of the our (that is, British) obsession with comic double entendre - the ability to accept the filthiest things as long as there is a parallel innocuous interpretation. I think it is something to do our love for wordplay and subtext, our innate hypocrisy and the belief that sex is, in fact, rather naughty. Perhaps the prime example are the Julian and Sandy sketches that ran on the BBC Radio show ‘Beyond Our Ken’ from 1964-69. Over Sunday lunch, millions (there was ONLY the BBC in those days) listened to two very camp characters saying outrageous things in Polari (underground gay slang). A much earlier prime example is the great dirty joke (it’s the one in blue at the bottom of the page) that got comedian Max Miller (died in 1963) banned from the BBC for 5 years. A more recent case of innuendo is, of course, Mrs. Slocombe’s pussy. Of course the double entendre can also be unintentional.
bring out your clips! a decent website where it is possible to get hold of some of the very best of british humour including a large dollop of monty python, not bad eh!