Sounds Familiar

“What do you think? I have given my life to Downton. I was born here and I hope to die here. I claim no career beyond the nurture of this house and the estate. It’s my third parent and my fourth child.” – Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville), Downton Abbey


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

Monday Montage

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

Tuesday night, the Victorian Slum House is open for business. Part reality competition, part time travel adventure, watch as participants tackle the challenges of life in the Victorian era. The journey kicks off with the 1860s – Tuesday night at 8 on UNC-TV.

Are mobile phones ruining the theatre? Andrew Scott (Moriarty, Sherlock) blames the middle-aged and not Millennials.

Nature gets back into the spy cam business with a two-part look at some spellbinding cetaceans. Tune in for part one of Dolphins: Spy in the Pod – Wednesday at 8pm on UNC-TV.

Could Downton Abbey be coming to a city near you? Quite possibly. A new touring exhibition launches in Singapore this summer and hits the United States next year. Continue reading

Monday Montage

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

Learn how WWI transformed America through stories of African-American and Latino soldiers, feminist activists, Native-American “code talkers” and others whose participation in the war to “make the world safe for democracy” has been largely forgotten. American Experience relives The Great War – a six-hour, three-night event, beginning tonight at 9 on UNC-TV.

Could there ever be more Sherlock? Despite the finality of season four, rumors of another series persist. But Steven Moffat warns us that more Sherlock, while possible, won’t happen for some time.

Doc Martin star Martin Clunes embarks upon a fascinating journey through 16 of Australia’s 8,000 islands to explore a true cross-section of Australia’s diverse people, terrain and history. Don’t miss Martin Clunes: Islands of Australia – premiering Sunday night at 8 on UNC-EX.

Speaking of “more” … Maggie Smith isn’t too keen on a Downton Abbey film. Continue reading