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Jeremy Clarkson – response to reasons for signing published on Change.org (most popular)

Published 11/03/2015 by crimsonghad

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Given the media outpouring over the Jeremy Clarkson suspension saga (he has not been sacked at time of posting – 17:30 11 March) I thought I’d offer answers to a few of the reasons posted on Change.org for Jeremy Clarkson to be reinstated.

The originals are in italics (spelling and grammar mistakes unchanged) and my response in bold.

“I pay my TV license to ensure that irreverent people can express themselves. If you become boarding and politically correct, you may disappear BBC.”

You pay your TV license because it is the law.

  • Martin Jones BLACKPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM
    • about 23 hours ago
    • Liked 1,483

“A minority of over sensitive people should not ruin one of Britons favourite shows.”

Oversensitive people such as the country of Argentina, India’s high commision, the Mexican senate and anyone offended by the term ‘n**ger’.

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  • Ilya Babansky ST.PETERSBURG, RUSSIAN FEDERATION
    • about 23 hours ago
    • Liked 1,291

“BBC, you don’t wanna piss off 300 million people.”

It worked for Hitler.

“Jeremy is a bastion of light in a dark PC world”

I like PC World. They sell nice computers and usually turn the electric on from my experience.

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  • neil horner STAMFORD BRIDGE, UNITED KINGDOM
    • about 22 hours ago
    • Liked 577

“Clarkson suspended for arguing while Jimmy Savile got away with multiple rapes”

Clarkson has been suspended for alleged assault, actually, which is against the law.

  • Edward Prince LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
    • about 22 hours ago
    • Liked 468

“I’m signing because the far bigger evil is censorship via political correctness which the BBC have been indulging in for far too long”

The BBC has a remit for impartiality

http://www.bbc.co.uk/editorialguidelines/page/guidelines-impartiality-introduction/

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  • Chris Kookie WATFORD, UNITED KINGDOM
    • about 22 hours ago
    • Liked 433

“Freedom of speech, freedom of expression!!!

‘Je suis Clarkson’ !!!”

And the freedom to allegedly punch people? P.S. He was not shot.

  • Nick Leaton LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
    • about 23 hours ago
    • Liked 415

“Because its the only thing left that justifies the license fee.

This is just left wing BBC censoring the only right wing comedy left.”

I think you’ll find the BBC features David Cameron and Nigel Farage regularly.

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“I’m signing because Clarkson is a superb presenter and Top Gear is without doubt one the BBC’s better programmes. The viewing figures support this.”

As they also do with Mrs Brown’s Boys.

Let me just say for the record, I really don’t care either way but the BBC are conducting an investigation at time of posting (11 March) so if you wish to sign the petition supporting Jeremy Clarkson please click the link below.

https://www.change.org/p/bbc-reinstate-jeremy-clarkson?recruiter=88456887

If you wish to sign the counter petition be my guest on this link

https://www.change.org/p/british-broadcasting-corporation-sack-jeremy-Clarkson

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The Returned

Published 21/07/2013 by crimsonghad

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‘Les Revenants’ (The Returned) is a French psychological horror, whodunnit/is alive drama which is astounding on so many levels. The writing is tight with so many questions asked in each episode and yet the viewers do not feel short changed because the multiple stories move along at such a pace. They begin with one character being focused upon in the past and it turns out that they are in fact dead (not really a spoiler so no alert) for that. As we delve in to the character we find many different things about them. The ‘returned’ are many but we don’t know who is alive or who is dead in some cases. By the end of the series (next week) maybe we will discover more. Amongst the most strange of the ‘returned’ are Simon, Madame Costa and Victor – the quite astounding young actor Swann Nambotin.

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Victor is one of the first ‘returned’ we see, along with Camille, and he seemingly has the ability to make all mothers in the world freeze with his gaze of desolation. It is a performance heightened by his inactivity which at times explodes exposing certain talents he has acquired in his death. In fact all of the ‘returned’ have talents. Be it seeing the dead, jumping from windows or immaculate hair. Surely there are more set to be unearthed?

This is all underpinned by a superb score from Scottish rockers Mogwai who add a weird and disturbing soundtrack to this haunted village. Indeed the deserted and isolated nature of the town adds to the atmospheric condition with it being a character that juxtaposes beautifully with the diverse folk inhabiting it.

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What makes this stand out, though, is the characterisation. The alive are not different from the dead. Suspicion abounds as no one character is pure good or pure evil. There are known killers who seem to have more of a positive side than the police or even religious figures in the town. While there are deaths and dead people it has less in common with the high octane approach of AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’ but more with a recent BBC Three show. However, the depth of characterisation sets it apart from BBC Three’s ‘In The Flesh’ which for all its brilliance (lauded in a previous blog) always seemed to have a liberal agenda. ‘The Returned’ teaches us to trust no one in true ‘X-Files’ style and that aides the underlying tension masterfully created by the numerous aspects of sound, vision, setting, writing and characters.

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Channel 4 are to be commended for buying such a drama even if BBC have already broken the mould with a spate of Scandanavian imports. The marketing has also been tremendous with adverts in French and with French subtitles adding to the word of mouth. I, myself, was brought to ‘The Returned’ by Twitter posts talking about the French adverts during the first episode. If you don’t like watching subtitles then maybe this isn’t for you. But then if you don’t watch the TV while viewing a programme then you should just throw yourself in a big bloody bin.

Catch up on 4OD (or youtube for earlier episodes) it is well worth it.

Inspire A Generation: Arrested Development Seasons 1-3

Published 23/05/2013 by crimsonghad

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I’ve made a huge mistake…Arrested Development Season 4 hits Netflix all at once on 26 May. I am going to be at a Wee Brain wedding for Les Cousins Dangereux and my party piece will be walking over a pool of water and setting fire to the bride, again, so I will listen to my hermano and be a Motherboy for a day. *claps like a chicken* yes I know I sound like ‘Frightened Inmate #2’ when I should open my big pink mouth to say, come on! then go and watch The Trial of Captain Hook with a loose seal but ‘family love Michael’ so I must open the family chequebook one more time rather than go to Phoenix, work for Sitwell Enterprises or even use my Aztec Tomb to escape to the Milford Academy where I’m seen and not heard, so I can watch some Caged Wisdom in the peace and quiet of The OC (don’t call it that)… worse still the wedding is in Reno, so it’s a huge, tiny mistake…

…so, yes, if you’ve never seen Arrested Development before that first paragraph is the most convoluted nonsense written since Dan Brown’s Inferno was released the other week *zing* and if you have seen it but thought ‘meh’ then I’m sorry, Ted? Is it Ted? Did Ted make an appointment? No? Well, then, Ted can get the hell out of this office! YOU GET THE HELL OUT!!!! And that’s how you keep out unwanted visitors…so that’s enough of the quotes. I have demonstrated I am a hopelessly obsessed fan of seasons 1-3 and the only people left are you, me and the tumbleweeds.

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Arrested Development is unique. It is written, by Mitch Hurwitz, as a fly on the wall documentary comedy without a laughter track based around rich, spoilt, obnoxious and deeply unlovable characters who have fallen from grace as their greed and power has broken the law in a nationwide scandal that has ruined the company they own. And yet you can’t help but love them. This is because the comedy is so slick that the people you perceive to be arrogant end up as hilarious parodies of the type of individuals you see in real life. It’s like watching The Apprentice in an actual sitcom style and it works wonderfully well. And it is basically a bunch of posh knob gags. And it is impossible to fail with that.

Of course, it would never have been cancelled if this were true. The sad fact is that it requires a lot of attention and patience to watch AD. There are literally hundreds (slight exaggeration) of in-jokes per episode and the sheer amount of call backs demand that you watch each programme in order of broadcast to fully appreciate the comedy that flows. Indeed, I have watched all 3 seasons of AD approximately 6 times now and each episode brings me a new joke that I had not spotted before, whether it be in the dialogue, an extra in-joke, the visual background or a reference that I had previously ignored. The richness and depth of AD makes it an immediate cult classic and that is why I love it so much. It is also why it was cancelled due to a lack of popularity – that and poor marketing.

As well as the brilliant writing the main characters are all fantastic. It is impossible to go in to depth or wax lyrical with enough justification so here is a one line overview of the best of them:

Michael Bluth – fulcrum of the family: reliable, kind and handsome yet selfish, arrogant and vindictive when it’s as plain as the Ann on egg’s face

Lindsay Funke Bluth – Michael’s ‘twin’ sister and supposed activist in a sham marriage to Tobias and an unhealthy obsession with men, money and herself

GOB Bluth – failed magician and self-loathing womaniser with a unique interpretation of how a chicken dances

George Michael Bluth – nervous, obsessive, obedient son of Michael who yearns his father’s approval in exactly the same way as his father seeks his father’s approval. Loves his cousin

Buster Bluth – Motherboy who cannot escape the confines of his childhood due to constant panic attacks, crippling self doubt and various contests with his adopted brother. Dates Liza Minnelli

Tobias Funke – possible closet homosexual, never nude, actor, author, sometime Blue Man, doctor with cat-like reflexes, Analrapist and an insatiable thirst for unwittingly scandalous double entendres

Maeby Funke – compulsive liar and rebellious daughter of Tobias and Lindsay who is probably the most successful and smartest character in the family

Lucille Bluth – drunken matriarch who hates her family but can’t survive without them in spite of her protestations

George Bluth Sr – overbearing selfish patriarch guilty of tax evasion who has committed multiple affairs and attempted escaped from prison on many occasions

Narrator – Ron Howard, an integral character to keep the flow of the show and link each segment

Oscar Bluth – George’s hippy twin brother with fabulous hair like a lion and an obsession with Lucille

Carl Weathers – Carl ‘fucking’ Weathers…baby we got a stew going

Ann Veal – George Michael’s plain, dull Christian girlfriend with a hot mum

Annyong Bluth – Korean adopted by Lucille to teach Buster a lesson

Barry Zuckerkorn – George Bluth’s terrible lawyer with a questionable personal life and even worse ability to practise law

Kitty Sanchez – George Bluth’s crazy secretary who tends to all of his needs and likes to show you her breasts as long as you don’t look at them

Lucille Austero – Lucille Bluth’s best friend. Buster’s sometime girlfriend. Liza Minnelli

Wayne Jarvis – replacement lawyer for Barry Zuckerkorn. What a pro

Bob Loblaw – replacement lawyer for replacement lawyer. Lindsay wants him badly

Marta Estrella – GOB’s Colombian or Mexican or whatever girlfriend. Famous actress

Franklin Delano Bluth – GOB’s puppet. Has much in common with Michael Jackson and likes to knock people out

Steve Holt – STEVE HOLT!!

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In conclusion, Arrested Development is amazing. The writing is uniformly superb. The characters and acting crazy, varied and brilliant. The storylines are surreal, silly and yet so complex they demand repeat viewing. If you’ve never seen it before don’t watch season 4 yet. Go and buy seasons 1-3 (or watch them on Netflix I guess) watch them all at once, laugh yourself silly and then join the cult. If not you will essentially be pulling your own arm off. And that’s why you always leave a note.

Best of British TV – Doctor Who: The Name of the Doctor

Published 18/05/2013 by crimsonghad

The second part of the 7th (33rd) series of Doctor Who has been uniformly good. From claustrophobic haunted house episode, ‘Hide’ to much derided fantastical sentimental ‘The Rings of Akhaken‘ – which I hope is reconsidered as it resonates beautifully with the final episode journey of Clara – they have all been strongly written by Steven Moffat, Neil Cross, Neil Gaiman and Steven Thompson with Matt Smith continuing to be terrific as The Doctor and adding so many dimensions (sorry) to the performance that it does not get repetitive or jarring while Jenna Louise Coleman continues to impress in her burgeoning role as someone The Doctor does not fully understand.

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The final episode ‘The Name of the Doctor’ was terrific. The opening montage of Clara being The Impossible Girl who is meant to ‘save The Doctor’ was poignant and well done. The Doctor was forced in to travelling to Trenzalore – the one place he could never go, his own tomb – to save Vastra, Jenny, Strax and Clara from the Great Intelligence. We were told we would finally get to know his real name. We were excited. We were anticipating a huge reveal. The ONLY way to enter his tomb was to say his real name – or all of his companions would have their hearts tickled to death (we were never quite clear about that) by the Whispermen – henchmen of the Great Intelligence. It had to happen. Then and there. Yes. Finally. The name of The Doctor. Doctor Who? DOCTOR WHO? DOCTOR WHO!?!?!?!?!? We still do not know. We did not get it. A copy of dead River Song post ‘Silence in the Library’ suddenly appeared to say his name off camera to gain access to the tomb of The Doctor (a massive TARDIS by the way). Normally this would create an almighty backlash as the fans would feel cheated. However, this was a terrific episode and lays bigger storylines.

**********SPOILER ALERT**************

The Impossible Girl was impossible. She was a regular girl who saved The Doctor to rescue all of the universe from a vengeful Great Intelligence who had entered The Doctor’s dead body (his entire living history contained in the form of a giant time travelling lava lamp, apparently) to contaminate his past and kill him before he could win his past battles. So all of his history would be rewritten and the universe would be taken over by Cybermen, Daleks and those little pieces of fat in boxes that had Sarah Lancaster as a babysitter. With The Doctor dying in front of her eyes along with history being rewritten and destroyed Clara followed the Great Intelligence and was instantly splintered in to millions of realities to save The Doctor, every single doctor.

*************BIGGER SPOILER ALERT**************

At the end we found out that Clara did not die. River was there and The Doctor (ridiculously) was able to hold her and kiss her despite the fact she did not exist in reality in what was a very moving scene where the hurt of love took its emotional toll on both her and the ‘God’ she could never truly have. So The Doctor followed Clara in to his own dead body (bit weird) and joined her in a reality of all previous 11 Doctors…or so we thought…standing in front of them was the twelfth doctor…John bloody Hurt…as what was implied to be a war-mongering Doctor who murdered his way through life. The darkness begins here…? The speculation certainly will begin furiously as to who, what and how. All I can say is bring on the 188 days (I looked it up ok) until the 50th Anniversary Special.

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More4 [insert hilarious pun here]

Published 22/03/2013 by crimsonghad

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I may never forgive More4 for shamelessly losing the rights to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart – I still cry about it every night – but it has recently started to quietly invest in quality shows. The superb Boss began its unfortunately short run last night (Thursday 11pm More4) with an incredible tour de force in acting by Kelsey Grammer, who plays Mayor Tom Kane of Chicago, suffering from a degenerative illness. Exhilarating and chilling in equal measure his performance is something not to be missed in a show which is scheduled for a film to conclude two seasons that I look forward to completing quickly. The smart, powerful and uncompromisingly brutal writing from Farhad Safinia serves to enhance the programme from being just another political drama or a vehicle for ‘Frasier’.

Nashville (Thursday 10pm More4) is another quality recent addition. TV shows based around music do not always have great reputations for drama (see Glee, Smash, Hannah Montana) but this has excellent pedigree. Written by Callie Khouri, who also wrote Thelma & Louise, it should come as no surprise that the main protagonists are two strong, successful and well rounded women fighting against the patriarchal society that they inhabit. The always excellent Connie Britton plays Rayna James, a faded country music superstar in, you guessed it, Nashville. Her fight is in trying to stay relevant when her family need her, her age is against her and her husband is determined to run for political office with the aid of her tyrannical father. Hayden Panettiere plays Juliette Barnes, the Taylor Swift-like young, arrogant superstar who has the looks, the youth and the following but lacks the respect that she so desperately craves. Add in Clare Bowen as the naive, scared but supremely talented waitress Scarlett O’Connor and there are three women occupying the three main roles on a US TV show not called Girls. Wonderful stuff. (And this song gave me goosebumps)

And then of course you have the mainstays of More4. Father Ted, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Time Team, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Come Dine With Me and wonderful documentaries. I will never complain about seeing Father Ted reruns, you hear me, NEVER. And my mum will never complain about seeing Time Team reruns, you hear me, NEVER (except for last night when she bemoaned the fact that they will no longer be making it). Of course Curb is pretty, pretty, prettay good and Come Dine With Me is always good for a cheap laugh or two. The documentary strands including Cutting Edge, Dispatches and Britain: My New Home (Friday, 9pm More4) are always thought provoking and well made.

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As with any channel there aren’t always programmes to your taste. I’m not a fan of Grand Designs, Location, Location, Location or any of the aspirational property TV but they are big viewer favourites and you always need them to support quality drama. If you like those then good luck to you. And if not, there’s always Kelsey Grammer.

 

Best of British TV: In The Flesh

Published 19/03/2013 by crimsonghad

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In The Flesh is a new zombie drama on BBC Three (Sunday 10pm or repeated a lot). However, it is not about zombies. It is about love, fear, discrimination and intolerance. It has far more in common with This Is England than The Vampire Diaries. It is also not the too awful for words hip ‘yoof’ nonsense you can get on BBC Three. What In The Flesh is is a very good and unique drama something that is to be commended in this day of televisual saturation.

We see the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse and how people are being treated for this illness. In fact that they are not ‘zombies’ but suffer from ‘Partially Deceased Syndrome’ (PDS) an excellent touch of bureaucracy added to political correctness and humanity. This is a wonderful twist to the traditional and, frankly, done to death concept. You don’t see much zombie killing action; instead we are treated to the human side of something which has been portrayed as monstrous in every interpretation up until this point.

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Already the writing has provided some chillingly brutal and moving moments (without giving spoilers away some characters doth protest too much, methinks) where my heart was racing. After just one episode that is some achievement. The writer Dominic Mitchell deserves high acclaim for his script as it has managed to create a range of characters that you can relate to.

The beautifully innocent Kieren Walker (Luke Newberry) is the PDS sufferer who is brought home to his parents after rehabilitation – including copious amounts of brain stimulating drugs, fake tan and contact lenses to make him look normal. His family ratchet up the fear factor superbly well, while The HVF (Human Volunteer Force) could just as easily be seen protesting against immigration, taxes or budget cuts as the ‘rotters’ who are being introduced back in to their community. Their HVF leader Bill Macy (Steve Evets) and Vicar Oddie (Kenneth Cranham) have a menacingly dangerous charisma that will surely only lead to increased problems and danger within the neighbourhood but you are engrossed in how they will do so.

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Only one episode has aired and yet it already has the feel of something which can last far longer than the three parts afforded to it. George A Romero has spent a lifetime making zombie movies and yet a simple twist like that employed by In The Flesh has breathed life in to a stagnant genre.

Dancing on the Edge

Published 09/03/2013 by crimsonghad

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I like Stephen Poliakoff – I really do. And I am a history graduate with a love of the changing race relations and politics of the early 20th century. I should have loved Dancing on the Edge.

I was a big fan of Shooting The Past, Perfect Strangers, The Lost Prince, Gideon’s Daughter and Joe’s Palace to name a few. I even defended him on Twitter after the negative  backlash of the first episode of Dancing on the Edge. I love his lazy, laid back and deliberately slow style. It always makes his work stand out and it feels like you are watching a real event rather than just some show. And for £8.5m budget you would expect so too.

However, even I gave up after the second episode when nothing had happened in 2 and a half hours. Sure he had his normal royal family obsession, Nazis, garden parties, obsession with dark rooms and beautiful cinematography but is this enough? No.

From what I’ve read in the brilliant Guardian episode by episode blog nothing happened in the last 3 and a half hours either.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/series/dancing-on-the-edge-episode-by-episode

Please return to form soon Mr Poliakoff.