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?

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 …

One more day until the election and UNC-TV is here to help. Tonight at 10, Frontline presents an encore presentation of The Choice. Tuesday night at 8, PBS Newshour brings you complete coverage and up-to-the-minute results of Election Night 2016.

Doctor Strange is the #1 movie in cinemas and that means Benedict Cumberbatch is box office boffo! Marvel’s Master of the Mystic Arts took in nearly $85 million in its opening weekend. And the Sherlock star even hosted Saturday Night Live.

High Point University President Dr. Nido Qubein speaks with former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. Tune in Thursday night at 10 on UNC-TV.

Radio is not usually a visual medium but check out YouTube video of Poldark‘s Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson on The BBC Radio1 Breakfast Show with Nick Grimshaw.

Friday night on UNC-TV, the PBS Arts Festival continues with London’s hit revival of the Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim’s classic musical Gypsy. Imelda Staunton (Is It Legal?) is the indomitable Momma Rose. Peter Davison (Doctor Who) and Lara Pulver (Sherlock) co-star.

And do you want to meet Benedict Cumberbatch’s feline namesake? Of course you do. Benedict Cumbercat is one sweet cat daddy! Continue reading


Where Do I Know That Actor?

There’s a new-ish face Saturday nights in UNC-TV. The Mrs. Bradley Mysteries are now airing Saturdays at 11 and while the show itself is neither new nor a stranger to our airwaves (the program originally aired as part of the Mystery! series) it does present a fun opportunity to showcase a few stars and guest stars that will be known to regular viewers.

The Mrs. Bradley Mysteries stars Diana Rigg – excuse me, Dame Diana Rigg – as the titular sleuth. Rigg will be best known to longtime viewers as the host of the aforementioned Mystery! (taking over the reins from Vincent Price in 1989) and/or as John Steed’s partner Emma Peel on the classic 1960s spy-fi The Avengers. She’s also been in several Masterpiece Theatre productions and was Lady Honoria Dedlock in Bleak House, Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca and Mrs. Golightly in Moll Flanders.

Among the notable guest stars in last Saturday’s episode (“Death At The Opera”) were two actors well known to Doctor Who fans. Peter Davison (The Fifth Doctor) played Inspector Christmas and David Tennant (The Tenth Doctor) played Max Valentine. Of course, both actors have other credits on shows UNC-TV has aired. Davison was in All Creatures Great And Small, Campion and Distant Shores. Tennant, in addition to hosting Masterpiece Contemporary, has been seen in Casanova, He Knew He Was Right and The Escape Artist.

Also of note were guest actors Annabelle Apsion and Roy Barraclough. Apsion, who played Mona Bunting in the episode, was Violet on Call The Midwife and Jennifer Cardew on series six of Doc Martin. Barraclough, who was Dr. Simms, played Maurice on Last Tango In Halifax.

The Mrs. Bradley Mysteries continue Saturday night at 11 on UNC-TV.

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.


Where Do I Know That Actor?

I noticed several faces on Rosemary and Thyme this week that you might know from elsewhere. The episode (wonderfully titled “The Italian Rapscallion”) saw our gumshoes practicing their green thumbs on the Ligurian coast of Italy and working on a restaurant garden. Let’s see if you know the guest stars.

First, we have Suzanne Bertish, who played restaurateur Emma Standish. She’s been seen in roles on shows like Mr. Bean, Red Dwarf, Poirot and Inspector Morse. However, she was most recently part of the marvelous ensemble on PBS’ own Civil War-era series Mercy Street where she played Matron Brannan.

Next, Oliver Ford Davies was Sir Basil Slavinski. A veteran actor, Davies has been seen in everything from The Citadel and Maigret to Foyle’s War and My Uncle Silas. Some of the more meatier and more memorable roles include Polonius in Hamlet (with David Tennant in the title role), Mr. Longstaffe in The Way We Live Now, Mr. Wickfield in a late 90s David Copperfield (with Daniel Radcliffe as a young Copperfield), J.D. Casswell in Cause Célèbre and Tweed in A Very British Coup. Continue reading


Happy Birthday To Who

Today is actor David Tennant’s birthday! He’s been seen in various Masterpiece series (He Knew He Was Right, Casanova, The Escape Artist). He played Hamlet opposite Patrick Stewart’s Claudius on Great Performances. He’s even guest starred on programs like Foyle’s War and The Mrs. Bradley Mysteries. Any of those roles would be enough to get him a mention here, but let’s face it – David Tennant is best known as the Tenth Doctor on Doctor Who and that puts him in rare company. He’s even married to Peter Davison’s daughter, which makes him the son-in-law of a Doctor, and that’s pretty awesome!

So happy birthday, David Tennant. You’re the apotheosis of cool!


Awards Season Continues

I’m always keen to point out when any shows or actors you watch on UNC-TV are up for awards. That’s why I’m pleased to note the nominations for this year’s Laurence Olivier Awards were announced last week and several actors you know from PBS programming were nominated.

In the Best Actor category, Kenneth Branagh (Wallander) received a nomination for The Winter’s Tale, Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) received a nomination for Hamlet, and Mark Rylance (Wolf Hall) received a nomination for Farinelli and the King – straight off his Oscar win.

In the Best Actress category, Gemma Arterton (Tess of the D’Ubervilles) received a nomination for Nell Gwynn, and Janet McTeer (Precious Bane, The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard) received a nomination for Les Liaisons Dangereuses.

In the Best Actor in a Supporting Role category, Mark Gatiss (Sherlock) was nominated for Three Days in the Country, and David Suchet (Poirot) was nominated for The Importance of Being Earnest.

In the Best Actress in a Supporting Role category, Judi Dench (As Time Goes By, Cranford) was nominated for The Winter’s Tale, Michele Dotrice (Bramwell, The Way We Live Now) was nominated for Nell Gwynn, and Catherine Steadman (Downton Abbey, Breathless) was nominated for Oppenheimer. Continue reading