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Tonight's terrestrial TV tips

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Mon, 07/12/2009 - 09:27

As Christmas rapidly approaches, today's tips have a very seasonal flavour. When you were a child you almost certainly had a game as a present and if you've now got kids of your own it's odds on you'll be buying games for them for Christmas. Games Britannia (BBC4, 9pm) is a historical exploration of the nation's love of games, with a delve into the kind of play our ancestors in the Middle Ages and Victorian times liked to indulge in. This is wonderful stuff, from why the Church used strategy games to instil religious doctrine to how the Cold War influenced market choice in the post-war period. This is the first of a three-part trip into the past and also the future.

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Tonight's terrestrial TV tips

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Fri, 04/12/2009 - 07:40

Comedy dominates the ether tonight, with a good selection of stars gracing the screen. Top billing surely goes to the fabulous Eddie Izzard - Circle, here doing a classic stand-up gig in New York in 2000. Izzard is renowned for his surreal and whimsical riffs on whatever grabs his attention and he doesn't disappoint here. He covers everything from half-speed whalesong to God being married to an elf via a dinosaur who resembles his cousin. Catch him on More4 at 11.10pm, perfect for when you get back from the pub.

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You won't need a wand to get Harry Potter on Blu-ray - just a wristband

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Fri, 04/12/2009 - 07:31

By Siobhán O'Brien

Harry Potter enthusiasts these days tend to fall into the same category as Lord Of The Rings fans and Star Trek obsessives, that category being "people who like a film franchise a bit too much". Never missing an opportunity to dress up, Harry Heads - or Potties - love nothing more than donning their favourite character's costume and hitting the town. And let's face it, the Harry Potter films offer a wealth of creative fancy dress options. Slap on some fur and go as Fenrir Greyback, pop on a black cape and be a dementor, or if you're feeling especially unimaginative, draw a lightening bolt on your forehead. Easy.

But you might want to put a bit more effort into your ensemble this weekend if you want to be in with a chance of meeting some of the the cast of The Deathly Hallows, the film version of the final book in the series to be released as two films. On Sunday, Potter fans can come face to face with some of the stars of the film for a Christmas Blu-Ray signing. Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince, released in cinemas earlier this year, will be available to buy on DVD from Monday and will contain footage from The Deathly Hallows. But eager fans can get their hands on a signed Blu-Ray edition by turning up to HMV in Oxford Street in London on Sunday.

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Tonight's terrestrial TV tips

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Thu, 03/12/2009 - 11:18

How much energy have you used logging into Screenjabber to read this? Most of us probably don't think about such trivia, but on the eve of the Copenhagen summit, a special edition of Bang Goes the Theory should jolt you out of any complacency. Subtitled the Human Power Station, the BGtT team have set up an experimental house that has no grid power. The guinea pigs are the Collins family, who merrily go about their domestic activities totally unaware that all their electricity is being supplied by a few cyclists using pedal power to charge up dynamos. At an hour, it's slightly too long but

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Tonight's terrestrial TV tips

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Wed, 02/12/2009 - 11:50

Once upon a time there was a magnificent golden hare, bedecked with jewels and lying under an ancient spreading oak tree. The hare was created by artist Kit Williams, who published a cryptic book about it and sparked a massive treasure hunt 30 years ago. The Man Behind the Masquerade (BBC4, 9pm) tells the tale of Williams, who lost his artistic credibility and became a recluse as a result. It's a fascinating look at the vagaries of fame and talent and the choices people make. This documentary also captures the intensely emotional moment when Williams is reunited with the jewelled hare he created and last saw when he buried it under the tree.

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Tonight's terrestrial TV tips

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Tue, 01/12/2009 - 09:38

You just know Christmas is not far off when the BBC wheels out Delia Smith to tell us how to throw a festive dinner together effortlessly. And so it goes in Delia's Classic Christmas (BBC2, 9pm), when the nation's favourite kitchen cheat demonstrates a host of traditional recipes and plenty of useful tips for avoiding the stress of cooking for family relatives you normally wouldn't spit on. It's hard to believe she's not done a Christmas special since 1991, but her food looks good, especially her panettone trifle. Don't miss Delia if you need help, as the timing of the screening is deliberate to give you the maximum time to prepare...

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Tonight's terrestrial TV tips

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Mon, 30/11/2009 - 08:33

BBC4's The Women We Loved season draws to a close tonight. After delivering two excellent, in-depth biopics on Enid Blyton and Gracie Fields, tonight Margot Fonteyn goes under the microscope at 9pm. Anne-Marie Duff mesmerises in the title role as the ballet star torn between respectable marriage and a tempestuous pairing with Rudolf Nureyev (Michael Huisman), their chemistry spilling off the stage into bed with often disastrous results. There's a fine supporting cast - Lindsay Duncan, Penelope Wilton, Derek Jacobi. Watch it and weep - with pleasure.

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Tonight's terrestrial TV tips

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sun, 22/11/2009 - 11:20

It’s all about themed seasons at the moment on telly. We’ve recently had the BBC’s Modern Beauty season, and Channel 4’s 3-D Week. Now, Channel 4’s going thematic again with their Coming of Age: Life Begins at 60 season. Tomorrow night we’re going to have to endure Gok ‘The Gok’ Wan telling women over 60 how to make the best of their assets, and there’ll be plenty of inappropriate comments like: “My girl’s baps look great in this shift dress” to keep you cringing. But far from easing us into the season gently, Channel 4 is crashing in tonight with Embarrassing Old Bodies (9pm), in which lovely, unflappable doctors Christian Jessen and Pixie McKenna have consultations with elderly patients about all sorts of problems that commonly befall the elderly; we’re talking bowels, genitals, incontinence ...

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Armchair Viewing: Carlito’s Way (1993)

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sun, 22/11/2009 - 10:13

“A favour gonna kill you faster than a bullet”

What’s it about?
Al Pacino plays Carlito Brigante; a Puerto Rican gangster who has just been released from a thirty year prison sentence early, due to a technical loophole. Determined to go straight and escape New York with his girlfriend, Carlito takes over the running of a nightclub to fund his departure, but this pushes him right back into the paths of the criminals and lowlifes he’s trying to leave behind.

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Tonight's terrestrial TV tips

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sat, 21/11/2009 - 10:28

It might be a little mean, but while I’m looking through the TV guides each day I do usually strike through the entire Five listings column. I just don’t even want to be able to see it, so pathetic is the stuff on offer, so I’d rather scribble it out of view completely. Take tonight, for example. Everything is a repeat of a series with a title made entirely of crime-related gobbledygook. NCIS, CSY: NY, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (yes, for some reason this one is spelt out in full where the NY one isn’t??!?), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Crime Scene Academy. Looking down this list, I feel that Five is somewhat in a rut.

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