Hey, It’s Photo Friday!

Say what you want about public broadcasting but one thing is indisputable – we got great swag! I am often amazed at the awesome gift baskets I see around the building that I assume will be given out as prizes at special events. Below are a couple of these baskets containing t-shirts, DVDs, plush toys and other chotchkes.

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I don’t know if these were prizes or something just made up for decoration but I’m sure this would be a welcome gift for any UNC-TV viewer (or staffer).

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Downton Downtown?

Downton Abbey is coming back! Well, sort of. The show isn’t returning but an exhibition based on the beloved series opens in New York next week for a limited engagement. Then the exhibit makes its way across the US, maybe even to your town (I’ve not seen any tour dates but fingers crossed it will come to North Carolina).

Here’s a description based on Masterpiece promotion:

The first-ever fully immersive Downton Abbey experience is coming stateside! Downton Abbey: The Exhibition will make its US debut in New York City on Saturday Nov. 18, before traveling throughout the US. Tickets are now available to purchase at www.downtonexhibition.com. Continue reading

Monday Montage

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

Michael Portillo (Great Continental Railway Journeys) crosses the Atlantic for an epic trip down the East Coast. Don’t miss a new eight-part series – Great American Railroad Journeys – premiering Tuesday night at 9 on the Explorer Channel.

Monty Python’s John Cleese will be in the Tar Heel State this week for lively discussion and a screening of the classic comedy film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The good news? Tickets are still available for Wednesday’s DPAC event. The bad news? I can’t make it – so tell him Sparky says “hi.” Continue reading

Where Do I Know That Actor? (Dunkirk Edition)

Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan’s World War II tale, is the #1 film at the box office. In full disclosure, I haven’t seen the film yet (although it’s on my summer cinema must-see list). However, I have seen the trailer several times and I always lose count of the familiar faces I spy from shows we’ve broadcast on UNC-TV. So I thought it might be fun to see how many I could find. Some were obvious, others less so.

Mark Rylance (Mr. Dawson) was the actor I first recognized. He won an Academy Awards for Bridge of Spies a few years back but I knew him instantly as Thomas Cromwell from Wolf Hall. And if we go back 20 years, Rylance also played King Henry V on a 1997 Great Performances.

Tom Hardy (Farrier) is probably most associated with blockbuster films like Inception, The Dark Knight Rises and Mad Max: Fury Road yet Hardy has a couple of Masterpiece roles of note. He played Heathcliff on Wuthering Heights and Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, on The Virgin Queen.

Kenneth Branagh (Commander Bolton) portrayed Swedish detective Kurt Wallander for four seasons on Masterpiece Mystery. Going back a bit, Branagh starred as Shakespeare’s Henry V in the Masterpiece Theatre presentation of that feature film – and he played Guy Pringle on Fortunes of War, another Masterpiece Theatre series. Continue reading

Where Do I Know That Actor?

If you caught the most recent Midsomer Murders, you may have spied a trio of familiar faces from elsewhere on UNC-TV. The episode in question (“Blood Wedding” – part two) saw Barnaby investigating the death of a bridesmaid while getting caught up in the drama of his own daughter’s impending nuptials.

We’ll start with Charles Edwards, who portrayed newlywed Sir Edward “Ned” Fitzroy, and Mark Umbers, who was his younger brother Henry “Harry” Fitzroy.

Edwards most recently was seen as Alfred Wood in the Masterpiece presentation Arthur & George where he played a pal of Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. (Interestingly enough, Edwards also played Doyle in a 2001 series called Murder Rooms: Mysteries Of The Real Sherlock Holmes.) He also played Lady Edith’s love interest Michael Gregson on Downton Abbey. Continue reading

Where Do I Know That Actor?

Another week, another Masterpiece – and some familiar faces I bet you’ve seen before.

Joanne Froggatt starred in Dark Angel, a dramatization of real-life Victorian serial killer Mary Ann Cotton. Of course, Froggatt should be immediately recognizable as Anna Bates from Downton Abbey. Going back about a decade, she played Angelique Mahy in Island At War, another Masterpiece offering. More recently, Joanne Froggatt has supplied the voice of Wendy on the kids series Bob The Builder.

Alun Armstrong co-starred as Mary Ann’s stepfather George Stott. Armstrong has also been seen in a few Masterpiece presentations over the years. He was Flintwinch in Little Dorrit, Henry Fox in Aristocrats, Mr. Fleming in Oliver Twist, Dan Peggoty in David Copperfield and Bucket in Bleak House. Along the way, Armstrong played retired copper Brian Lane in the series New Tricks. Look for him in June on the upcoming Prime Suspect prequel, Prime Suspect: Tennison. Continue reading