The Thick of It’s Peter Capaldi to play 12th Doctor Who – he’s a bit of a sweary man isn’t he Mummy?

I can’t work out whether this is the most inspired choices for Doctor Who in the world ever. Or one of the worst? Certainly it’s been pretty darned effective generating publicity.

Already on Twitter most people are fed up with swearing Doctor Who tweets like the one below because, as we all know kids, Peter Capaldi played a sweary man in a political comedy (note to self – Peter Capaldi is an actor and therefore capable of playing a role where presumably swearing is less of an essential requirement).

“Knock knock” “Who’s there?” “Doctor” “Doctor who?” “Come the fuck in, or fuck the fuck off”

Or perhaps this more visual joke from Time Out (amusing nonetheless):

Peter Capaldi as doctor doctor

But my first thought was isn’t he a bit old to play the 12th Doctor at 55. Like policeman and, er, real Doctors it seems that the Doctors Who are getting younger and younger. And although I seem to remember John Pertwee being quite old when I was a kid, he was probably only 27 or something – people just looked older back then.

Anyway here’s a clip of Peter Capaldi swearing an awful lot in The Thick of It. Probably not great to watch in front of your 8 year old Doctor Who loving son.

The 11 Doctors

1. William Hartnell (1963-1966)

2. Patrick Troughton (1966-1969)

3. Jon Pertwee (1970-1974)

4. Tom Baker (1974-1981)

5. Peter Davison – pictured (1982-1984)

6. Colin Baker (1984-1986)

7. Sylvester McCoy (1987-1996)

8. Paul McGann (1996)

9. Christopher Eccleston (2005)

10. David Tennant (2005-2010)

11. Matt Smith (2010 – 2013)

RIP James Gandolfini. The giant actor who played Tony Soprano dies of heart attack at 51

Simon Poulter of WWDB pays tribute to James Gandolfini, a great actor best known for his role as Tony Soprano in The Sopranos.

Talk to any actor famous for a particular part and they will, more than anything else, do their level best to divorce fiction from reality. Star Trek’s Leonard Nimoy even named his first autobiography I Am Not Spock to get some distance from fans who found it hard not to think of him as the pointy-eared Vulcan.

James Gandolfini – who died today at the age of 51 while on holiday in Italy – was a serious actor, with the Broadway chops to prove it. But when The Sopranos came along in 1999, and effectively rewrote series television drama as anyone had known it,

Gandolfini’s casting as the show’s central character – a New Jersey mob boss balancing suburban family life with the complex politics of his business – appeared to be an uncannily perfect fit. And as the series progressed, through six seasons, it became clear that creator David Chase had produced something extraordinary. I would even argue that The Sopranos was television’s greatest ever series. And Anthony John Soprano its greatest ever character.

Gandolfini was born in 1961 to Italian-American parents in Westwood, a town in north-eastern New Jersey and close to where he was living up until his death. After graduating in communications from New Jersey’s Rutgers University, Gandolfini moved to New York and working as a bartender, amongst other jobs, until his acting career took off with a Broadway production of A Streetcar Named Desire in 1992. The following year he appeared in Tony Scott’s True Romance as Virgil, an enforcer working for Christopher Walken’s mobster Vincent Coccotti. It was a part that drew attention to Gandolfini when The Sopranos began casting.

There was, of course, far more to Gandolfini’s canon than just Tony Soprano: at 6’1″ and a substantial frame, Gandolfini filled the screen with presence in films like Get Shorty, The Mexican and most recently in Zero Dark Thirty as a Pentagon general.

This was a role he’d played before, in Armando Iannucci’s big screen version of The Thick Of It, in which Gandolfini stole the show as a thunderously profane, Norman Schwarzkopf-style general who puts the equally potty-mouthed Malcolm Tucker firmly in his place for possibly the first time ever.

However, it was the role of Anthony John Soprano, crew boss in the fictional DiMeo crime family (said to be based on the real DeCavalcante family of New Jersey), who grew up in Newark’s tough Ironbound neighbourhood the son of Johnny Boy Soprano before enjoying the comforts of life at 633 Stag Trail Road, North Caldwell in Jersey’s considerably more upmarket Essex County…….

The Sopranos was more than just another crime show. Part Shakespearian drama, part Greek tragedy, like The Godfather’s depiction of the American dream, it depicted the American dream as suburban life.

Yes, it riled some Italian-Americans for being yet another portrayal of crime in their community, but it also held a mirror to modern day America, of modern American family life.

And that was the premise of Tony Soprano: a modern American dad balancing family life and ‘family life’, with random violence and moral ambiguity ever-present throughout.

“The Sopranos was ambiguous to the point where, to this day, I’m not really sure whether it was a drama or a comedy,” it’s creator told Vanity Fair last year.

If it was a comedy – and there were numerous funny moments (the best being the episode Pine Barrens, with Paulie Walnuts and Christopher Moltisanti lost in the New Jersey woods) – it was certainly humour of the darkest shade.

Gandolfini’s portrayal of Tony Soprano drove that darkness to its core. Through all six seasons it’s there, played out in the Soprano kitchen, at the ‘Bing or Satrale’s, at Vesuvio, and most critically in Dr. Melfi’s counselling room.

“We lost a giant today. I am utterly heartbroken,” Lorraine Bracco – who played Melfi – said today at news of Gandolfini’s death. It’s a sentiment that has been shared by many.

“We’re all in shock and feeling immeasurable sadness at the loss of a beloved member of our family,” a statement on the HBO website for The Sopranos said. [James] was a special man, a great talent, but more importantly a gentle and loving person who treated everyone no matter their title or position with equal respect. He touched so many of us over the years with his humor, his warmth and his humility. Our hearts go out to his wife and children during this terrible time. He will be deeply missed by all of us.”

Since The Sopranos ended Gandolfini tried to put a little distance between him and his best known alter-ego. Acting, however, and particularly roles like Tony, had been useful. Last year he told the Associated Press that acting had become a means to deal with an inner rage.

“I don’t know what exactly I was angry about,” he said. “I try to avoid certain things and certain kinds of violence at this point,” he added. “I’m getting older, too. I don’t want to be beating people up as much.”

Sopranos creator David Chase said today: “[James] was a genius. Anyone who saw him even in the smallest of his performances knows that. He is one of the greatest actors of this or any time. A great deal of that genius resided in those sad eyes.”

Those sad eyes. In Tony Soprano, truly the window of the soul. And in James Gandolfini, a brilliant actor whose life has been cut so short. RIP. The Guardian: James Gandolfini – Remembered by Mike Figgis

In the Loop – Don’t Call Me English

Post originally appeared here.

BBC announce Doctor Who biopic

The BBC have confirmed that they are planning a biopic about the origins of the Doctor Who TV series. The show will be along the same lines of the BBC 4 Road To Coronation Street drama, which told the back stage story of the development of Corrie.

The 90-minute show, tentatively titled An Adventure In Space, will air on BBC 2 in 2013, to coincide with Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary

The show will be written by long-term Doc Who scribe Mark Gattis and produced by Stephen Moffat and Caroline Skinner. Gattis said: “This is the story of how an unlikely set of brilliant people created a true television original, and how an actor – William Hartnell – stereotyped in hard-man roles became a hero to millions of children. I’ve wanted to tell this story for more years than I can remember! To make it happen for Doctor Who’s 50th birthday is quite simply a dream come true.”

Moffat added: “The story of Doctor Who is the story of television, so it’s fitting in the anniversary year that we make our most important journey back in time to see how the TARDIS was launched.”

Withnail enters the Tardis: Richard E Grant to star in Doctor Who

The BBC have announced that star of Withnail & I Richard E Grant will appear in the upcoming new series.

Grant had been touted as a possible Doctor himself before Mat Smith’s appointment an even provided the voice of the time traveller in an animated version of the show. Now the BBC are saying that he is the ‘iconic star’ they have been trailing on Twitter.

Little more is known about Grant’s appearance on the show except that it will be the Christmas special, which also features the first appearance of new companion Jenna-Louise Coleman.

Here’s a trailer for the new series of Doctor Who, which starts this month.

Karen Gillan ‘cried for two weeks’ after leaving Doctor Who

Outgoing Doctor Who companion Karen Gillan has told fans at San Diego’s Comic-Con that she cried for two weeks after shooting her final scenes on the show.

Karen, who has played ‘Tardis Totty’ Amy Pond for the last 2 series, will leave the show during the next run, as will co-star Arthur Darville who plays Amy’s boyfriend Rory. She said: “I cried for two weeks. Everything set me off, I couldn’t hold it together at all. (The show) has changed my life in so many ways. And even thought I don’t want to say it, I’ve made two really good friends.”

When asked about Karen and Arthur’s departure Matt Smith, who plays the Doctor, said: “I will miss them. I miss these cats. It’s been three years on set. You develop a language with these people. It’s like two older brothers who bully their sister and I miss being able to bully Karen.”

Benedict Cumberbatch deliberately renamed Bandersnatch Cummberbund by Washington Post – goes viral on Twitter

Benedict Cumberbatch. Or should that be Bandersnatch Cummerbund!

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch was at the centre of an unlikely internet storm after it appeared a newspaper had spelled his name drastically and comically wrong – as “Bandersnatch Cummerbund”. Commentators took to Twitter in their thousands to ridicule the Washington Post for the apparent error, debating whether it was down to a faulty spell check.

The discussion proved so popular the name became a trending topic on the social networking site with some hailing it “outstanding”, “epic” and “the best typo ever”. But any sarcastic commentators were left red-faced after it emerged the author had misspelt the name deliberately. Journalist Lisa de Moraes was forced to write a separate piece, far longer than her original article, explaining her choice.

She clarified: “It has come to our attention that there is raging debate, whether we intentionally referred to Benedict Cumberbatch as Bandersnatch Cummerbund in The TV Column and blog. The nickname “Bandersnatch Cummerbund” originated with one of the serious students of television who join me each Friday to chat about all things TV.”

In a short article entitled “Sherlock vs Downton”, the journalist originally used the correct spelling of Cumberbatch in her introduction, before using the bizarre alternative in the third and final paragraph.

The so-called “error” was then picked up by website Poynter, before spreading like wildfire on Twitter. One user wrote: “Amazing Washington Post typo renames Benedict Cumberbatch: Bandersnatch Cummerbund. This needs to be his new name. Amazing.”

A second said: “Holy cow – did not realise that Washington Post ACTUALLY PRINTED ‘Benedict Cumberbatch’ as ‘Bandersnatch Cummerbund’. Another said simply: “Ouch.”

Hours later, the tide of commentary turned as users realised it was a deliberate joke.After placing a bet with a colleague, who leapt to the defence of de Moraes, Poynter writer Craig Silverman is now said to “owe him a beer”.

“De Moraes can also enjoy one on me if we should ever find ourselves in the same place at the same time with alcohol on offer,” he added magnanimously.

This is the second time Cumberbatch has become an unlikely internet hit this year, after a blog comparing him to an otter went viral.

Cumberbatch was also voted the World’s Sexiest Man in a recent newspaper poll for The Sun. The British star beat off stiff competition from second placed David Beckham to secure the coveted top spot, while The Only Way is Essex star Joey Essex came third.

The One Direction boys did very well in the poll, with Harry Styles and Zayn Malik coming in fourth and fifth, Niall Horan sixth, Louis Tomlinson eighth and Liam Payne 11th.

Via The Telegraph

Q&A with Vince Gilligan as Breaking Bad season 3 hits the UK

Despite the fact US audiences have already seen seasons one, two, three AND four of cult TV show Breaking Bad, audiences in the UK haven’t been quite so lucky. Until now. This weekend the first three seasons will be available from the online streaming service and to celebrate we had the chance to interview the show’s creator, Vince Gilligan.

For those not in the know, Breaking Bad is a US TV show that’s received widespread critical acclaim and follows the tense story of Walter White, a high school teacher who after being diagnosed with lung cancer turns to a life of crime.

We sat down with Vince Gilligan to find out more about the show, Walter’s character and how it all might end…

Can audiences still sympathise with Walter?

Although the whole Breaking Bad cast is outstanding, a large part of our conversation with Gilligan was about Walter White, a truly fascinating character played by the very talented Bryan Cranston.

Gilligan explained that from the start Breaking Bad has been “a story about both change and transformation” and how Walt’s moral dilemmas and decisions shape the character he becomes.

One of the main things we wanted to know about Walt is whether Gilligan feels the audience will still be able to identify with him as he gradually becomes darker and darker. Gilligan said, “Oh, he’s definitely a Jekyll and Hyde kind of character.” However, he believes that because the audience has empathised with him so much from the start, they’re now being taken along on his journey and continue to root for him as his choices become even more questionable. He doesn’t think there’s a problem with that though, “as long as he remains interesting and his decision making process remains relatable” he said.

Who’s your favourite character?

Gilligan spoke in great depth about the supporting characters too and admitted that he LOVES Saul Goodman because he finds he’s one of the most genuine characters on the show, “he’s the only one who has made peace with who he is […] I’d love to see a spin-off, the Saul Goodman show!” He also said that Gustavo Fring is “one of the most interesting bad guys” he’s ever come across and there’s some fascinating Fring back story to come…

Have you decided on an ending?

Unfortunately all good things must come to an end, and although we’ll be sad when it does, we’d hate to see Breaking Bad just fizzle out slowly.

When asked about the ending of the show, Gilligan admitted he’s got a lot of ideas floating around and has some “big hopes and dreams for the main characters”.

According to Gilligan, the writers have been toying with ideas about how the show will end for months now. Although they all have a “pretty good idea” about what’ll happen, it’s still not set in stone despite the fact season 5 has begun filming, which is pretty exciting if you ask us.

Which other TV shows do you rate?

Gilligan was keen to talk about his love for TV, particularly the talent over here in the UK, “there’s so much British television I love”, he admitted, “The Office is one of the best pieces of television ever made.”

Season 3 of Breaking Bad will be launching exclusively on Netflix from the 1st of April and the first two seasons will also be available for those who are a bit behind and need to catch up.

[Image via Press Association]

Benedict Cumberbatch reveals car-jack terror

Sherlock Holmes star Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch has revealed he “argued” his way out of an attempted kidnap.

The Sherlock actor was left in fear of his life when he was attacked by gun-toting car-jackers who tried to bundle him into their vehicle, but he was able to persuade them to let him go.

Recalling the incident – which took place in South Africa while he was filming mini-series ‘To The Ends of the Earth’ with actress Denise Black – he told the Daily Star newspaper: “These six men appeared suddenly from the eucalyptus plantation. They said, ‘Put your hands on your head, don’t look at us,’ and were frisking us for drugs, money, weapons.Then they bundled us into the car.

“I could see the headlight beams bumping over the dirt track and I thought of shallow graves.

“They pulled over, pulled the stuff out of the car. They dragged me up and put me in the boot of the car.

“But I argued my way out. I said, ‘If you leave me in here, it’s not the lack of air, it’s the small space. There’s a problem with my heart and my brain.’

“I just tried to explain to them, ‘I will die, possibly have a fit, and it will be a problem for you. I will be a dead Englishman in your car. Not good.’

“They shut the boot and had an argument, and then pulled me out.

“So I kind of thank God I had the presence of mind to give them the idea that it would be better to keep me alive. And the other two hadn’t been harmed.”

The gang fled, leaving the trio tied up, and Benedict says the experience changed his outlook on life.

He said: “It taught me that you come into this world as you leave it, on your own. It’s made me want to live a life slightly less ordinary.”

Does Jonathan Creek pilot from 1997 show that BBC knew about phone hacking?

By Marc Moninski

The BBC was fully aware that hacking into people’s answerphone messages was a widespread journalistic practice as long ago as 1997.

If proof is needed, just watch this clip from the pilot episode of Jonathan Creek called ‘The Wrestler’s Tomb’ – produced by the BBC’s own in-house entertainment department, and aired on 10th May 1997.

In the episode, Caroline Quentin plays the role of a freelance investigative journalist called Maddie Magellan.  In one scene  she taps into the answerphone of a character she is investigating, by entering combinations of the possible message retrieval code until she gets the right one.

For activities such as this to make it to a drama series, it has to have been pretty widespread and well-known.  Hacking into phone messages (albeit mobile ones) is at the heart of the current furore.  Which makes all the denials we are hearing during the Leveson Inquiry seem like complete hypocrisy.  It seems to me that it’s time for the BBC – and David Renwick (who conceived and wrote the series) – to explain where they got the idea from and how widespread the practice was.  After all, we’re talking 14 years ago.

I wonder how many of the 9.31 million* people viewing the episode thought they were watching something that was wrong, let alone that it would lead to the demise of The News of the World.

(*and that’s just the first airing of this episode, which has also been aired on several PBS stations in the U.S. and on BBC America, as well as countless repeats on Watch in the UK.  Which begs the question as to whether there isn’t a touch of hypocrisy in the public’s surprise and outrage at such practices.)


A time-travelling trilogy of Doctor Who games heading to PS3, PS Vita

Budding time-lords will get a console-gaming Doctor Who fix next year, as developers SuperMassiveGames have just revealed they’re working on a trio of time-travelling games for the PS Vita, PS3 and PC.

SuperMassiveGames, whose previous work includes DLC packs for LittleBigPlanet, will launch Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock as their first title.

Written by the team at BBC Wales and featuring the voice-over talents of Matt Smith and Alex Kingston (AKA the Doctor and River Song), the game bosts ‘Photo-real’ graphics and ‘television quality scenes.’

No word yet on what to expect in terms of gameplay, but we’d expect a light mix of exploration and point-and-click style puzzle solving, with liberal dashings of sonic screwdrivering.

While Sony has initially bagged console exclusivity rights for the early 2012 launch, it’s thought that an Xbox 360 port will follow shortly afterwards.

Via Tech Digest