Sounds Familiar

“Oh, Doctor, you didn’t forget.” – Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen), upon receiving an unexpected gift from her Time Lord friend on K-9 And Company (a 1981 Doctor Who spin-off)

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Where Do I Know That Actor?

If you’re a fan of Midsomer Murders, I hope you know that UNC-TV is now presenting two episodes of the fan favorite every Saturday night (one at 8pm and one at 9pm). That means you don’t have to wait a whole week to discover whodunit – just stay tuned.

And speaking of Midsomer Murders, if you caught Saturday’s two-parter (“The Creeper”) then you saw DCI Barnaby out to catch a highly skilled cat burglar. You may also have spied quite a few special guest stars that may have been recognizable from other shows we’ve broadcast. Let’s see who’s who.

Paul Shelley portrayed Chief Constable Richard Lovell. The veteran actor has guested in dozens of series over the decades (Blake’s 7 and Inspector Morse, for example) but I think if you know him it’s from one of several roles. Shelley played Fred Simcox on Paradise Postponed, a 1980s Masterpiece Theatre series. He was also Persuasion on the classic Peter Davison Doctor Who serial “Four To Doomsday” and was Duncan on a Great Performances presentation of Macbeth (starring Patrick Stewart). Continue reading

Where Do I Know That Actor?

Once again, Midsomer Murders presents a few notable and noticeable guest stars. Arguably not A-list celebs but that’s the fun, isn’t it – seeing that face and asking yourself, “Where do I know that actor?”

Saturday night’s episode (“The Glitch” part one) saw Barnaby and Jones investigating the Bucketman of Midsomer. It also featured a trio of actors you may recognize from elsewhere.

First, there was Shaughan Seymour who portrayed Norman Wayland-Smith. The veteran actor has appeared in numerous Masterpiece Theatre offerings. He was Lewis Eliot in Strangers and Brothers (1985), Benedict Bligh in After the War (1989), Lord Hollingford in Wives and Daughters (2001) and the Judge in The Jury (2003).

Next, Philip Jackson played garage boss Daniel Snape. Although Jackson has appeared in numerous guest roles (DCI Banks, Death in Paradise, Foyle’s War, Murder Most Horrid, to name a few), he will be best known for the role of Inspector Japp on Agatha Christie’s Poirot. Continue reading

Monday Montage

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

Get the inside story of Vladimir Putin’s conflict with the US as Frontline investigates Putin’s mounting grievances and his efforts to exact vengeance leading up to the presidential election. Don’t miss part one of Putin’s Revenge – Wednesday night at 10 on UNC-TV.

Watch Ken Burns and Lynn Novick as they appear on CNN’s Amanpour to discuss The Vietnam War.

Join Bob Garner as he explores North Carolina’s culinary traditions with a UNC-TV classic that’s equal parts cookbook, essay and dining guide. Tune in and savor Foods That Make You Say Mmm-Mmm – Thursday at 10pm on UNC-TV. Continue reading

Where Do I Know That Actor?

If you turned on Midsomer Murders on Saturday night (“Secrets and Spies” part one) you saw DCI Barnaby encounter a family of former espionage agents. You also caught sight of several familiar faces you may have recognized from other British programming we’ve aired on UNC-TV. Let’s see who’s who, shall we?

Veteran actor Benjamin Whitrow played eccentric, retired spymaster Sir Malcolm Frazer. His decades-long career (which sadly ended a few weeks ago when he passed away at 80) boasted guest roles in dozens of shows (Wolf Hall, Doc Martin, The Pallisers, Danger UXB, Poirot and Partners in Crime, just to name a few) but he had larger roles in a few Masterpiece Theatre presentations – he was Bailiff Francis la Palotte on Island at War and Thomas Boleyn on Henry VIII.

Peter Davison played Sir Malcolm’s son, Nicky Frazer. He should be immediately known for two roles – that of veterinarian Tristan Farnon on All Creatures Great and Small and that of the fifth Doctor on Doctor Who. However, he too has appeared in a bevy of other roles. Going back to the late 1970s, Davison was Tom Holland on the Masterpiece Theatre series Love for Lydia. In the 1980s, he played Margery Allingham’s gentleman detective Albert Campion on Mystery! In the late 1990s, he portrayed Joseph Lockwood on a Masterpiece adaptation of Wuthering Heights. About that time, Davison played Inspector Christmas on the Diana Rigg vehicle The Mrs. Bradley Mysteries. More recently, he starred as Dr. Bill Shore on the delightful fish-out-of-water series Distant Shores. Continue reading

Monday Montage

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

Kent Gavin has spent more than 30 years photographing the British Royal Family. From royal tours abroad to magical moments at Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, this prolific photographer has captured it all. See for yourself as we experience Royalty Close Up: The Photography of Kent Gavin – Tuesday night at 8 on the Explorer Channel.

Congratulations, Dame Helen! The Film Society of Lincoln Center is honoring Helen Mirren with the 45th Annual Chaplin Award. Continue reading

Where Do I Know That Actor?

Just a quick two-fer this week regarding guest actors on Father Brown (Fridays on UNC-EX) and Luther (Saturdays on UNC-TV).

Last week’s Father Brown (“The Penitent Man”) saw the prying padre aiding his old adversary Flambeau when the latter is incarcerated for murder. It also featured Ian Reddington as Samuel Jacobs. Reddington is not a household name by any means but he had a memorable run in the 1990s on EastEnders as Richard Cole, one of the soap’s leading heels. Going back a bit, Reddington played one of Doctor Who‘s finest villains (at least, as voted by readers of Doctor Who Magazine) – the Chief Clown on the Sylvester McCoy 25th anniversary serial “The Greatest Show In The Galaxy.”

On the Idris Elba detective series Luther, Nicola Walker guest starred as Linda Shand. Walker, too, may not be a household name but I guarantee you’ve spotted her if you’ve been watching UNC-TV programs long enough. Most recently, she played Gillian, Derek Jacobi’s daughter on Last Tango in Halifax. However, I think many people first noticed her for her regular role as Ruth Evershed on MI-5. Along the way, she was DC Sue Upton on A Mother’s Son, Sally on Oliver Twist, DI Susan Taylor on Touching Evil and Lucy Diver on Moll Flanders.

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