Tony! Tony! Tony!

The Tony Awards are Sunday night and although PBS is not airing the ceremony (I believe we carried the first hour for a few years around the turn of the century) a drama geek like me will always find a connection. As I peruse the nominees for this year’s Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence in Broadway Theatre, I am taken by the names I recognize from series I’ve seen on public broadcasting. No surprise, really, as Broadway attracts some of the best actors. The same can be said for the shows on UNC-TV.

So I thought I’d look over a few of the nominees (acting categories only). Consider this a sort of Where Do I Know That Actor (Tony Edition).

Let’s start with Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical. Two names stand out: Renée Fleming (nominated for Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel) and Diana Rigg (nominated for My Fair Lady). Fleming is a world-renowned soprano who has appeared in many operas and other musical performances we’ve shown. She’s been seen on Great Performances and The Metropolitan Opera Presents in numerous roles. Rigg, who’s had a longer career, has been a presence on our airwaves for decades. Currently, she’s the Duchess of Buccleuch on Victoria. She’s also played Adela Bradley in The Mrs. Bradley Mysteries, Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca, Mrs. Golightly in Moll Flanders and Lady Honoria Dedlock in Bleak House. For years, she was the host of Mystery! and, of course, she was Emma Peel on the 1960s spy series The Avengers. Continue reading

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Where Do I Know That Actor?

The thirteenth season of Midsomer Murders kicked off earlier this month and this week’s episode (“The Sword of Guillame” part one) saw a seaside outing turn deadly. It also featured a bevy of guest stars that may just be familiar from other fare UNC-TV has offered. Let’s see if you noticed them all.

Tim McInnerny played property developer Hugh Dalgliesh. True Anglophiles may know him from his work in Rowan Atkinson’s Blackadder series but, sadly, UNC-TV has never aired that wonderful program. McInnerny has, however, appeared as Terry Shields in the 1980s thriller Edge of Darkness and he was Fiennes on A Very British Coup on Masterpiece Theatre in 1989. Other roles of note include Oliver Mace on MI-5 and Sir Eustace Carmichael on Sherlock.

Janet Suzman was Lady Matilda William. She played Margaret, Duchess of Chester, on The Secret Agent and Lady Edwina Mountbatten on Lord Mountbatten: The Last Viceroy, both on Masterpiece Theatre. Continue reading

Where Do I Know That Actor?

This week’s Masterpiece featured a new TV movie titled The Child In Time. It starred Benedict Cumberbatch and Kelly Macdonald as parents forced to go on with their lives after their child goes missing. It was a heartrending tale that eschewed the usual police procedural aspect and ventured more into the psychological. There were also a few familiar faces that UNC-TV viewers may know from other shows we’ve broadcast.

Benedict Cumberbatch is the lead actor in the film (playing Stephen Lewis) and it should almost go without saying that while he is well known for his film roles (Doctor Strange, The Hobbit, The Imitation Game, The Fifth Estate, Star Trek: Into Darkness) the role that brought him recognition from most public television viewers is Sherlock Holmes on Masterpiece‘s Sherlock. Cumberbatch has also played Richard III on The Hollow Crown, Stephen Ezard on The Last Enemy and Edmund Talbot on To The Ends of the Earth. 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

Monday Montage

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

After five years of war in Syria, the remaining citizens of Aleppo are readying themselves for a siege. Through the volunteers known as the White Helmets, experience firsthand the daily struggle for sanity in a country at war. Join POV for Last Men In Aleppo – tonight at 10 on UNC-TV.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is the number one movie in the country. Why is that important? Well, I could say it’s nice to see an Electric Company regular make it big besides Morgan Freeman. But the real reason is to celebrate Tom Holland’s success. The actor (who stars as Peter Parker and Spider-Man) may be recognizable to UNC-TV viewers as Gregory Cromwell in Wolf Hall.

Traverse the Arctic wilderness and African bush as scientific teams utilize new technology to track caribou, zebras and elephants as they overcome obstacles and face fearless predators on their epic journeys. catch the premiere of Nature’s Great Race – Wednesday at 9pm on UNC-TV.

Speaking of Marvel movies, Benedict Cumberbatch took a day off from filming the next two Avengers movies to spend some time in Atlanta with a fine feathered friend.

Monty Python fans, take heed! Michael Palin returns to television in a dramatic turn as an elderly man who becomes the sole witness to a violent death. Tune in for the gripping new mini-series Remember Me – beginning Sunday night at 10 on UNC-TV. [Check out this New York Times article about Palin’s role.] Continue reading

Where Do I Know That Actor?

Thought I’d look at Saturday’s Death In Paradise. In addition to some familiar guest stars this week, the show features regulars that have been a presence elsewhere on UNC-TV. Let’s meet them all.

Kris Marshall stars as DI Humphrey Goodman. Marshall appeared as Pasha Antipov in an early 2000s adaptation of Doctor Zhivago on Masterpiece Theatre, however he’s most likely best known (aside from Death In Paradise) as the eldest son Nick on the sitcom My Family.

Danny John-Jules plays Officer Dwayne Myers. I think it’s safe to say UNC-TV viewers were first introduced to the talented Danny John-Jules when he played the Cat on Red Dwarf. Continue reading

Monday Montage

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

In 1843, the 12-year-old King Edward V and his younger brother were put in the Tower of London by their uncle, Richard. Shortly thereafter, Richard pronounced himself king and his nephews were never seen again. Is Richard III really the greatest villain in English history or has he been the victim of Tudor propaganda? Who Killed The Princes In The Tower? seeks answers. Tune in tonight at 8 on the Explorer Channel.

Congratulations are in order – Charlie Rose will receive the inaugural Dana Public Outreach Award for his commitment to educating the public about the importance of brain research.

As civilians worldwide increasingly become the targets of war crimes, a new series takes an unprecedented look at the evolution of postwar justice in investigating genocide, ethnic cleansing and other atrocities and in prosecuting the perpetrators. Don’t miss Dead Reckoning – Tuesday night at 8 on UNC-TV.

More congratulations are in order – Sherlock‘s Benedict Cumberbatch and his wife Sophie Hunter welcomed their second child earlier this month. Continue reading