Sounds Familiar

“What is all this agitation? Are the summer gloves coming?” – Mrs. Jamieson (Barbara Flynn), CRANFORD on MASTERPIECE


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, 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?

Life Born of Fire, the episode of Lewis which ran on Saturday night on UNC-EX, featured a couple of actors from other programs UNC-TV airs. You may have spotted them if you watched. If not, here are the details.

The character of Reverend King was played by Ian McNiece. A household name? Definitely not. But fans of Doc Martin surely know him as Bert Lange, Portwenn’s plumber turned restaurateur. He’s also guested in everything from Inspector Morse to Cadfael. Plus, he was Mayor Sapsea in The Mystery of Edwin Drood on Masterpiece Classic, Gustave in the sitcom Chef and even Winston Churchill in Doctor Who!

Also, Rachael Stirling was in the Lewis episode, playing Zoë Kenneth. She may not have as extensive a career as McNiece but she portrays Millie in The Bletchley Circle – so she’s definitely a UNC-TV presence.

Lewis continues Saturdays at 10pm on UNC-EX. Doc Martin airs Saturday nights on UNC-TV and the new season begins January 9. You can catch The Bletchley Circle in its entirety beginning in February on UNC-EX.

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.

Where Do I Know That Actor? (Day Four)

Welcome back! Familiar faces all week. Today? The Guilty.

I meant to mention this last week after the first episode but it’s still not too late to get on board this drama. (The Guilty is a 3-part mini-series.)

Tamsin Greig stars as DCI Maggie Brand. You may know her from the 2009 adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank on Masterpiece Classic. She played Edith Frank in that.

Katherine Kelly is Claire Reid on The Guilty. Recently, she was Lady Mae on Mr. Selfridge.

But the face that made me do the biggest double take is Darren Boyd, who plays Daniel Reid on the series. He was Tite Barnacle Jr. in Masterpiece Classic‘s Little Dorrit back in 2009 but the place I knew him from almost immediately was Spy. In that Britcom, Boyd played well-meaning dad and bumbling MI5 agent Tim. That’s quite a different role than the one he has on The Guilty, that’s for sure.

The second episode of The Guilty encores Saturday morning at 4am on UNC-TV. Part three airs Sunday at 10pm on UNC-TV and Tuesday at 10pm on UNC-MX.

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.