Where Do I Know That Actor?

For a change of pace we’ll eschew MIDSOMER MURDERS for a week and focus on another whodunit series with a high guest star quotient: DEATH IN PARADISE. (Hey, I guess when your agent calls with a job offer on a sunny Caribbean island, only a fool declines.) This week’s episode saw the isle of Saint Marie’s Day of the Dead celebrations interrupted by the usual murder and mayhem. It also gave DI Jack Mooney and team a chance to meet a trio of guest stars you might have recognized.

Danny Rahim played Finn Anderson, husband of the victim. He’ll best be known to UNC-TV viewers for his role as DC Tariq Lang on DCI Banks. Continue reading

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Where Do I Know That Actor?

And once again, as the thirteenth season nears its conclusion, MIDSOMER MURDERS shows us you can’t be a real actor in the UK if you don’t guest star at least once on this series. This week’s episode (“Fit for Murder” part one) saw the Barnabys taking in a spa weekend at upmarket Swavely Manor. Of course, the bodies pile up quickly (else the story wouldn’t last long) and we get to see a bounty of guest stars, some immediately recognizable, others less so. Let’s meet them, shall we?

We’ll start with Lesley Manville who was spa owner Phoebe Archbold. The Oscar-nominated Manville has appeared on two Masterpiece presentations worth noting – she portrayed Mrs. Rose on Cranford and Villy on The Cazalets.

Geraldine James, who played spa neighbor Miranda Bedford, has deeper PBS roots. She’s been seen as Sarah Layton on The Jewel in the Crown, Beatrice on Rebecca, Joyce Malfin on White Teeth, Lady Rowley on He Knew He Was Right, Hilary Rees-Benton on The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard and Barbara Turney on The Last Enemy. Continue reading

Where Do I Know That Actor? (Mamma Mia! Edition)

Every now and then, I like to veer slightly away from the small screen to make a big screen connection and, right now, there seems only one film deserving of such a look. The ABBA-inspired sequel Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again took in around $34 million in its opening weekend, placing it number two at the box office. Although I’ve not seen it myself I couldn’t help but be taken by all the familiar names and faces I spied viewing the trailer during a recent cinematic outing. Some may be obvious, but let’s take note of them all as best we can.

The hit movie stars Lilly James in the role of Young Donna in 1979. James may not be the biggest name in the cast but she should be among the best well-known of PBS-related stars since she played Lady Rose on Downton Abbey.

Meryl Streep, of course, plays Donna, reprising her role from the first film. Offhand, you might think Streep hasn’t been a presence on public broadcasting and, for the most part, you’d be right. However, imdb.com credits her with two roles on Great Performances – Edith Varney on Secret Service (1977) and Leilah on Uncommon Women… and Others (1979). Moreover, the acclaimed actress had appeared on American Masters, Live From Lincoln Center, the documentary series Freedom: A History of Us and the Ken Burns’ series The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, among others. So I think it’s safe to say Meryl Streep has a long and healthy PBS association. Continue reading

Where Do I Know That Actor?

Another week, another MIDSOMER MURDERS. This time, the episode in question (“Not In My Back Yard” Part One – in which members of the Midsomer Conservation Society are hunted by a mysterious killer) saw no less than nine special guest stars. Let’s get to them, shall we?

Peter Egan played retired accountant Norman Swanscombe. Going back to the late 1970s, Egan portrayed Oscar Wilde on Lillie, a Masterpiece Theatre presentation. In the 80s, he was Fothergill on Reilly: Ace Of Spies, Henry Simcox on Paradise Postponed, Magnus Pym on A Perfect Spy and David Braithwaite on Ever Decreasing Circles. There were some guest spots here and there (My Family, Grantchester, Inspector Lynley) but, more recently, Egan has been seen as Martin Hughes on Unforgotten and Hugh “Shrimpie” MacClare, Marquess of Flintshire on Downton Abbey. Continue reading

Where Do I Know That Actor?

On Saturday night, MIDSOMER MURDERS wrapped up a two-parter (“The Noble Art”) in which the residents of Midsomer Morchard celebrated the success of a local boxer. Along the way, there were the usual shenanigans and a handful of guest stars (well, handful if you have six fingers) that UNC-TV viewers might have recognized from other shows. Let’s meet them, shall we?

Kevin McNally was avuncular manor owner Gerald Farquaharson. About ten years ago, he played Mr. Earnshaw on a Masterpiece adaptation of Wuthering Heights. Going back a few more decades, McNally was Drake Crane on the original run of Poldark and Castor on I, Claudius.

Daniela Denby-Ashe played Camilla Farquaharson. If you recognize the name, I guarantee it’s from one of two shows: Denby-Ashe was Sarah Hills on EastEnders and Janey Harper on the Britcom My Family. Continue reading

Where Do I Know That Actor?

Fans of ENDEAVOUR on MASTERPIECE MYSTERY may have noticed a few familiar faces while watching this week’s episode – “Cartouche” (in which the investigation of a poisoning leads Morse and Thursday to a local cinema). Let’s see if you noticed them all.

We’ll start with the regulars.  Some have a heftier public television presence than others but let’s see where you may have spotted them all.

Shaun Evans stars as DS Endeavour Morse. He played the Earl of Southampton on The Virgin Queen, a Masterpiece Theatre presentation circa 2006.

Roger Allam is Morse’s superior DCI Fred Thursday. Allam has appeared in guest roles a-plenty over the years on programs like The Old Guys, MI-5, Inspector Lynley, Midsomer Murders and Foyle’s War. He even had one on the original Inspector Morse. However, I found it most interesting that he played Javert from the 1985 cast on a Les Miserables in Concert 25th Anniversary Special. Continue reading

Where Do I Know That Actor?

Saturday night’s episode of DEATH IN PARADISE (in which the leader of a spiritual retreat met an untimely end) presented a few guest stars worth mentioning. By no means are these household names but that’s the point – you see a face on a TV show you vaguely recognize from somewhere and you ask yourself, “Where do I know that actor?”

Sam Hoare played Daniel Friend, the owner of the spiritual retreat. (And, yes, that’s the same Sam Hoare who’s having a birthday this week.) Hoare has appeared as James Robinson in Dark Angel, he was Eric in Dancing on the Edge and played Lynn Brother in a 2007 Masterpiece adaptation of Jane Eyre. Continue reading