Wednesday Trivia Question

What Doctor Who actor starred as Giacomo Casanova in a Masterpiece Theatre presentation?

The two-part serial was broadcast in 2006 during Masterpiece Theatre’s 36th season (its last before the name change) and featured the legendary lover’s tale told anew for a twenty-first century audience. Peter O’Toole played a septuagenarian Casanova looking back on his life, his adventures and his loves. Several actors played much younger versions of the character but the star of the show was an actor best associated with the longest-running science fiction television series in the world. Who was it?

David Tennant was Casanova. The mini-series was written by onetime Doctor Who producer Russell T. Davies who eventually cast Tennant to be the Tenth Doctor primarily because of his turn in Casanova..

Where Do I Know That Actor?

For the time being, Sunday nights belong to Masterpiece as the evening consists of My Mother And Other Strangers, Grantchester and, now, Prime Suspect: Tennison. It’s the latter Masterpiece Mystery! series that I’ll tackle this week because there were several familiar faces that viewers may know from other programs.

We’ll start with our star, Stefanie Martini. She plays the young Jane Tennison, a role made famous by Helen Mirren in the original series. Martini has only a few credits to her name at this point (Prime Suspect: Tennison may indeed be her breakout role) and there’s nothing major you may know her from on UNC-TV. However, since this is all about connections, I’ll note she did appear on a season three episode of Endeavour (“Prey”) as Georgina Mortmaigne.

Alun Armstrong was career criminal Clifford Bentley. You may recognize the name since I mentioned him a few weeks back when he portrayed Joanna Froggatt’s stepfather in Dark Angel. Armstrong has also appeared in several Masterpiece presentations over the years – Little DorritAristocratsOliver Twist, David Copperfield and Bleak House. Armstrong also played retired copper Brian Lane in the series New Tricks.

Nancy Carroll played Mary Collins but she’ll be best known to UNC-TV viewers as Lady Felicia on Father Brown.

Tennison’s parents were actors Nicholas Sidi and Geraldine Somerville. He was CS Ron McLaughlin on DCI Banks and she portrayed Lady Emily on Aristocrats.

Andrew Brooke plays Sergeant Harris. He was P.C. Alan Clacy on the Masterpiece Contemporary presentation of Collision.

Ruth Sheen is Renee Bentley. She played Nurse Ethel Carr on Bramwell.

Sam Reid plays DI Len Bradfield. He has a few guest appearances here and there but I found it interesting that he portrayed a younger version of Peter Firth’s Harry Pierce on MI-5 for a few episodes.

Finally, Blake Harrison is DS Spencer Gibbs. He’s also the voice of Scoop on Bob the Builder.

Prime Suspect: Tennison continues Sunday night at 10 on Masterpiece Mystery!

Got a face you can’t place from one of the plethora of programs UNC-TV airs from the UK? Email me at and I’ll try to help out.

Monday Montage

What’s happening, what’s on and what’s interesting this week …

Singer Andrea Bocelli performs at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy as the Landmarks series continues. Tune in Friday night at 10 on UNC-TV for Andrea Bocelli – Landmarks In Concert: A Great Performances Special.

As anyone with a love for TV knows, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss breathed new life into a character from the 19th century with Sherlock. Now the BBC wants the duo to tackle literature’s most famous vampire.

Now that summer’s here, take a dip in one of the Tar Heel State’s unusual resort communities. Catch the waves at White Lake: Remembering The Nation’s Safest Beach – Thursday night at 10 on the North Carolina Channel.

On the off chance you’re in London next month, you might want to take in a special performance by Monty Python’s John Cleese. All proceeds go to benefit Denville Hall, a retirement home for those in the theatrical profession. Continue reading

Where Do I Know That Actor?

The Tunnel is back. The gripping crime drama kicked off season two Saturday night and continues into August. Adapted from the Danish/Swedish crime series The Bridge, the program follows two detectives (one French, one English) as they tackle crimes that span international boundaries. The show also boasts a few familiar faces. See if you caught them.

Let’s  start with the two leads – Stephen Dillane and Clémence Poésy – who play police detectives Karl Rosebuck and Elise Wassermann. Both actors, who return from the first series, have appeared in programs UNC-TV has broadcast before. Poésy was Isabelle in Birdsong on Masterpiece and Queen Isabella in Richard II on Great Performances in The Hollow Crown series. Dillane was Jonathan Byrne in The Rector’s Wife, Karenin in Anna Karenina, Edward Cazelet on The Cazelets and Schmidt in God On Trial, all on Masterpiece. Continue reading