If the noise of someone driving a tank down a street paved with cats sounds like music to your ears, be sure tune in to Eurovision this weekend, for what is sure to be a real treat for the senses. Witness the coming together of such artists as Alyona Lanskaya, Ivad Von Glooberchev and Roberto Bellarosa—singers who are able to make caterwauling to a backing track seem easy. Marvel at our own hopeful, Bonnie Tyler, who won’t win, not simply because the song is awful, but also because Europe hates us. Then have a drink and fall asleep before the winner has been announced.
But before all of this, here are some of the very best entries this year’s completion has to offer—by which I mean the very worst this year’s completion has to offer.
It looks as if it’s still the 1990s in Latvia, home of the androgynous pop trio PeR, whose music would likely have won the competition, if we were still living in the decade of Sugar Ray and Zig and Zag. “Here we go!” the band sing repeatedly throughout their energetic entry, never stopping for so much as a breath and looking incandescent in their glittery suits. But in spite of their enthusiasm, their cheery song soon begins to grate, until it becomes less “Here We Go” and more “Please, Just go”.
“I’m the man on the moon—call me Andy Kauffman!” raps the lead singer, as if driven to rap badly by an unmaskable disdain for all urban music. “Saga-ho! Saga-woo!” he continues, giving his faux-hawk-wearing band mate the special gesture to unleash PeR’s secret weapon: a blistering keytar lick with facial spasms to boot. Certainly, it’s a fair effort from the boys in PeR, but I doubt it’ll be enough to win the competition.
Our next hopeful may stand more of a chance. With his unashamedly suggestive eyebrow jolts, Andrius Pojavis of Lithuania apparently aims to win Eurovision by seducing music itself, courting it gently before defecating on its chest. At least this is what one can only deduce from his frankly terrifying rehearsal performance of his song Something—not to be confused with the Beatles song of the same name.
“I’m in your head! I’m in your heart!” he sings during the number, staring into the camera with all the psychotic intensity of a man who eats hearts for breakfast and heads for lunch. Still, you can’t argue that the passion isn’t there, as it quite clearly is. The problem is Andrius displays the wild passion of a drunk grasping his erect penis on the bus rather than the passion of a possible Eurovision winner.
Cezar of Romania is the most inspirational artist to appear on Eurovision this year: a man who has silenced his critics by actually finding a song that’s more ludicrous than his voice. In spite of his peanut-sized testicles and piercing vocal pitch, which is only audible to bats and certain breeds of dogs, he’s hoping to score big with It’s My Life: a song that regrettably shares its name with the song that it is so blatantly ripping off—i.e. the one by Dr. Alban rather than Bon Jovi or Talk Talk.
But you can’t accuse Cezar of plagiarism. Looking like a seal struggling to free itself from a bin bag, the man is obviously an original.
Cascada is likely the only Eurovision hopeful that most Brits will actually have heard of, largely due to her music being a staple of ringtone adverts and a sort of unofficial soundtrack to British drinking culture. It’s the sound of boob tube-wearing drunks puking into the gutter outside Oceana. It’s music that the producers of Hollyoaks might play if Tony were to gas himself with hose. It’s the sound of a headache in a clothes shop: a gaudy, overcompressed mess that makes ones ears feel as if they’re being operated on with a bit of rusty coat hanger.
All of which is why Cascada, with her inappropriately titled song Glorious, is unfortunately bound to win the competition. Still, on the bright side, at least it’s not this, which remains to this day the worst thing ever to happen to Israel:
Continuing to look at the genres anime and manga have themselves created, this week I am covering the world of “magical girls”. This is a fantasy genre which feature young girls (and on rare occasions boys) who have magical superpowers.
Most magical girl series follow a pretty standard format. With many, one girl discovers that she has some sort of power, and often undergoes a rather lengthy transformation (called a “Henshin” in Japanese) into their superpowered form. As the series goes on they often find more magical girls and form partnerships or groups. Most of these series are rather fun and light-hearted.
However, in 2011 this was all turned on its head with one of the most critically acclaimed anime series ever made. While most magical girl series are friendly and jolly Puella Magi Madoka Magica (usually shortened to Madoka Magica) is a tragedy, supposedly telling what “really” happens to magical girls.
Set in the futuristic-looking Mitakihara City, the series focuses on 14-year-old Madoka Kaname. She and her best friend Sayaka Miki come into contact with a small alien creature called Kyubey, who says it will grant them any wish they desire. In exchange they will turn into magical girls and will have to fight and kill evil monsters called “witches” who spread sadness amongst humanity.
Madoka is tempted by the deal, but there are conflicting forces at work. There is a new transfer student at her school, the cold Homura Akemi, a time-manipulating magical girl who tries everything she can to persuade Madoka not to go ahead with the deal. Then there is gunslinger Mami Tomoe, a veteran magical girl who wants Madoka to take the deal and help her. Lastly there is the gluttonous spear-wielder Kyoto Sakura, who only uses her magical powers to help herself.
During the series Madoka keeps pondering the decision, but it gets increasingly problematic as time moves on. She learns that rather than being friendly, the magical girls are not only fighting the witches but also each other. She also learns about the danger involved in the work, and some of the horrifying truths and sacrifices that magical girls have to make to survive, which are often in vain.
There are plenty of reasons why you should watch Madoka Magica. The main one is that it is it is just so prolific. It gained huge praise from critics both inside and outside of Japan when it was shown because it was so different from all the other magical girl anime that came before it.
It also has won loads of awards. The anime magazine Newtype held an award ceremony in 2011. Out of the 21 awards given out, Madoka Magica won 12 including “Title of the Year”, “Best Direction”, “Best Scenario”, “Best Art”, “Best Soundtrack.” Homura won “Best Female Character” and Kyubey won “Best Mascot Character”.
The award winning art is certainly a draw. One of the best parts in any episode is the battles with the witches. These all take place in hidden “labyrinths” created by the witches, which are all rather disturbing to look at. Then there are the witches themselves, which are not like the witches we are used to seeing. These monsters take on any number of vile guises. Watching these scenes is a bit like watching a cartoon created by Salvador Dali, complete with surrealist images all morphing and melting into one nightmarish visage.
If it is drama, tension, and perhaps even a little cry that you are after, then this is one of the most powerful anime series that you can watch. The entire 12-part series is on DVD and Blu-Ray.
Film of the week: Children of Men
ITV1, Sunday May 19, 10:15pm
Hollywood has had many half-decent stabs at depicting dystopian futures. Problem is, most of these attempts at showing us society on the brink of collapse have been so stylised they end up looking like the sort of worlds that only exist in big-budget blockbusters. Alfonso Cuarón’s masterstroke with Children of Men was to give it an air of documentary realism, employing hand-held cameras and lengthy single-shot sequences at locations in London and the South Coast to place us in the heart of the action.
It resulted in one of the most vividly convincing yet utterly nightmarish visions of human disorder since Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. There might be plenty of artistic licence in having global female infertility threatening to bring about the extinction of our species as a major plot point, but most of it is not much more than one step removed from the world we live in today. In Children of Men, Britain’s response to its societal breakdown is to round up immigrants and deport them, a policy you could easily imagine the Conservative Party toying with as it veers right in a bid to head Ukip support off at the pass.
It is little surprise that the film appeared in so many critics’ top ten lists in 2006; in fact it is easily one of best made since the turn of the century. Clive Owen is superb as a cynic drawn inexorably to resistance, as are Julianne Moore, Chiwetel Ejiofor and the rest of the cast. Michael Caine gives quite possibly the best performance of his career. A buzz of excitement is already building for Gravity, Cuarón’s first film since Children of Men. Seeing just how brilliant the latter is, it’s not hard to understand why.
Set the recorder for:
Film4, Thursday May 16, 9pm
Thematically, boxing movies generally fall into one of two camps: Rocky or Raging Bull. Given that Micky Ward, the boxer on whose career The Fighter is based, is far more Rocky Balboa than Jake La Motta (i.e. likeable) David O. Russell’s sports biopic sits firmly in the former. It’s far more complex, however, thanks to Christian Bale’s Oscar-winning performance as Ward’s crack-addicted brother, faltering as he seeks to join his sibling on the road to redemption.
The Simpsons Movie
E4, Sunday May 19, 8pm
The Simpsons is undeniably one of the best TV shows ever made. But by 2007 it had started descending the slippery slope from consistently wonderful to consistently inconsistent. This was largely due to many of the original writers having moved on to pastures new. Fortunately, many of them returned to help creator Matt Groening draft the screenplay for the The Simpsons Movie. And guess what – it is consistently wonderful too.
The Social Network
Film 4, Sunday May 19, 9pm
David Fincher’s ‘Facebook movie’, as it was dubbed whilst still in production, sounded more than a little silly at first. I mean, who could make a narrative film about the virtual place we go to convince everyone we’re all so happy and living such wonderful lives, without it ending up as a Tron for the iPhone generation? You can’t, of course, so instead Fincher got Aaron Sorkin to knock up a belter of a script based on its creator, Mark Zuckerberg. A definite Like.
Despite being Head of Police in a town of around 30,000 people (according to Wikipedia), Clancy Wiggum has little to no understanding or respect for the law. Routinely ignoring emergency calls, arresting people on the flimsiest of excuses, and being too fat to function, it’s terrifying to think that he’s been entrusted with a gun.
To be fair, he does have his good qualities. His relationship with Lou and Eddie is a perfect model for friendships everywhere, and if Springfield can manage not to descend into anarchy with only 3 police officers, then he must be doing something right.
A snappy dresser, flamboyant libertine, and someone who checks whether guns are loaded by putting them in his mouth and pulling the trigger. He’s a great comic character, but not the best boss.
Proudly carrying on his dead father’s legacy, he’s created a toxic office environment of sexual harrassment and open bullying, yet somehow remains in the top position.
He’s incredibly incompetent, but his tailoring skills and fantastic collection of cowboy boots keep him from the top spot.
Head honcho at Sterling Cooper, functioning alcoholic, and clearly a very rich man. How did he get to such a position of power? By being the best drinker, smoker and philanderer in New York. If you work for Roger Sterling, he’s either about to have sex with you or fire you. There’s no inbetween.
Since the end of Mad Men series 5, he’s become a recreational LSD user, so who can tell what he’ll end up like as he moves onto harder stuff. SCDP wouldn’t last a day with a coked-up Roger Sterling wandering about the office, that’s for sure.
Arrested Development’s long-suffering CEO of The Bluth Company, somehow an even worse boss than his father, who spends most of the series in jail for tax fraud. Michael, despite his good-guy exterior, is actually fairly devious. He’s constantly playing his family off against each other, and when he’s not manipulating various women into sleeping with him, he’s consumed with impotent self-pity over how awful his family are.
Then again, you’d be a bit messed up if your brother was actually your cousin and your dad was too busy cheating on your mum to raise you.
A boss so terrible that it’s actually physically painful to watch him at work. Egotistical, untalented and woefully awkward, his name has become a byword for total incompetence. The Office is a comedy in the loosest sense of the word, because it can actually become a bit depressing to watch the sheer bleakness that he casts over the whole show.
The constant bullying he endures from his workers and superiors is a bit pitiful, but his sheer bull-headedness doesn’t make him that sympathetic a character. He’s also played by Ricky Gervais, so what’s not to hate?
You’ve seen them on the display stands in Waterstones. Photo montages of Matt Smith, Daleks and Spirograph designs. Nice present for a Doctor Who-obsessed niece maybe, but inessential. Tie-in books have never garnered the most respect. If looking cool on the Tube with a dog-eared copy of On the Road is at one end of the scale, getting crammed up against the doors with a near-mint edition of War of the Daleks is the other.
But hold on, hipster. Most people who care know Doctor Who is the longest-running science-fiction series in the world, but it also holds the record for the most novels published about one (fictional) character. These aren’t mere cash-ins; they’ve had an important, reciprocal and occasionally fraught relationship with the parent series. And when the show went off air in 1989, the books kept on going.
“This was during what Doctor Who fans call ‘the Wilderness Years’,” said Doctor Who scriptwriter Paul Cornell at this year’s Sci-Fi London festival. “But I call [them] ‘the Theme Park Years’ – they’re full of great, fun ideas.” Cornell’s just one of the current generation of Doctor Who scriptwriters who cut their teeth on the novels – Russell T Davies, Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Gareth Roberts and Matt Jones all made similar early starts.
Many franchises are dismissive of their tie-in media, but for Doctor Who, its time off air proved a petri dish for emerging talent. The young, fan authors who came onboard with Virgin’s “New Adventures” range were not only cheap and eager; they had new ideas and fresh tones to bring the series. The back cover of each yellowing novel proudly proclaimed it a story “too deep and too broad for the small screen”.
The tie-in comics and later audio plays would follow suit. Forget 2005, Rose Tyler and Christopher Eccleston. This was where Doctor Who did so much of its growing up. This was where the Doctor came to meditate on his own monstrousness, where his companions fell in love with him and where he broke their hearts. He even blew up Gallifrey.
Cornell’s own “Human Nature” – in which the Doctor becomes the human schoolmaster John Smith and inconveniently falls in love – started life as fan fiction, before becoming a book in 1995 and finally, in 2007, a two-parter on television. “Something I wrote at school ended up on TV!” he said. “What am I going to do with the rest of my life?”
Alright, so not everything from the books made it to TV. In one adventure, the Doctor took hallucinogenic drugs so he could battle the baddie on the astral plane, in another a character was threatened with a forced abortion, and Russell T Davies’ “Damaged Goods” saw the Doctor’s companion getting a blowjob in the back of a taxi.
But weren’t we all a bit like that growing up? Too enthusiastic about the newfound darkness in the world? But it was also when we wriggled into adulthood. For many, the Nineties will always be “the Wilderness Years” for Doctor Who, but it turns out that what Britain’s longest-running television series really needed was not to be on TV at all.
Continuing with the theme of genres which exist in anime but not in the west, one of these genres is known as “harem”. It sounds salacious, and sometimes it is, but the most basic form involves one character being surrounded by others of the opposite genre.
In most cases, it is a man surrounded by lots of women. However, in some cases you can also have harem in which a woman is surrounded by lots of men, often referred to as a “reverse harem”.
One of the best harem anime is Ouran High School Host Club, a romantic comedy broadcast in 2006 which is very pleasurable for us in Britain because it deals with one theme common in both British and Japanese culture: class.
Ouran High School is an educational establishment so well-off that it makes Eton look like a run-down comprehensive that has been successfully fire-bombed. The school’s unofficial motto is: “Lineage counts first, wealth a close second.” Every student there comes from a well-off family with lots of money – except for one, the androgynous Haruhi Fujioka, who got in via brains and a scholarship.
On the first day, while attempting to find somewhere quiet to study, Haruhi goes to “Music Room 3”, only to find it already occupied by one of the school’s many clubs. Oddly for a school however, it is a “Host Club” in which, “handsome boys with too much time on their hands entertain and charm girls, who also have too much time on their hands.”
The club consists of six boys, each fulfilling a different niche to cater for every passing girl. These include the club’s narcissistic and jealous president Tamaki Suou (the prince charming), manipulative bespectacled vice-president Kyoya Otori (the cool kid), mischievous and somewhat homoerotic identical twins Hikaru and Kaoru Hitachiin (the devilish duo), small and adorable cake lover Mitsukuni “Honey” Haninozuka (the cute one), and his big, quiet best friend Takashi “Mori” Morinozuka (the strong, silent type).
While trying to get away from them Haruhi accidentally breaks an expensive vase. As a result of this Tamaki and the other club members order Haruhi to pay off the debt by becoming a member of the club. However, after Haruhi is inducted, they discover a major problem: Haruhi is a girl. As a result the club has to spend the entire time hiding Haruhi’s real gender. As the series goes on however Tamaki becomes increasingly protective of his new charge and it appears that the newbie and the president might have a loving spark between them.
Much of Ouran, which as you can now tell is a reverse harem, is written as a parody. For starters real host clubs, and hostess clubs which feature women doing a similar service, are more a form of nightclub entertainment. They’re a slightly less seedy version of a strip club, as there is no nudity.
Also, each character is a parody of a different romantic genre, but you don’t need to have seen a lot of romantic anime to enjoy it. We can easily identify the series mocking almost every romantic cliché.
What is funnier for us in Britain is the subject of class. Other than Haruhi everyone in the school is upper or upper-middle class. As a result everyone is fascinated by things Haruhi, and indeed most people, consider normal. For example, Haruhi buys some instant coffee to serve at the club and the rest of the school is so intrigued by it that it becomes a craze.
The best thing about Ouran however is the ensemble cast. Because each character represents a different romantic take, you are almost guaranteed to end up with a favourite one that you will find funny, lovely or both. Each character has the own unique qualities to make a wonderfully enjoyable programme.
The entire 26-episode series is available on Region 2 DVD. The original manga, which is even bigger, is available in English over 18 volumes.
FILM OF THE WEEK: Somers Town
BBC2, Sunday May 12, 11:30pm
Ever wondered why you leave the cinema with numb buttocks so often these days? Perhaps it’s because movie studios, desperate to offer punters maximum bang for their bucks in the age of austerity, keep making films such long, drawn out affairs. For example, anyone who took in Iron Man 3 recently remained seated for 130 minutes, while those rushing to see the latest installment of Star Trek this week have 132 minutes to endure. Add in adverts and trailers and that’s a hell of a long time to be stuck on your arse.
Fortunately, it is perfectly possible to entertain audiences without giving them a dose of derriere-deadening pins and needles at the same time, as director Shane Meadows proves admirably with Somers Town. In little over an hour and ten minutes, he takes us from territory approaching the harsh social realism of the work for which he is best known, This Is England, to an uplifting tale of love and friendship in multinational London.
With fine performances from regular Meadows collaborator Thomas Turgoose alongside fellow young performers Piotr Jagiello and Elisa Lasowski, its depiction of unlikely companionship in the face of cultural divides will leave all but rabid BNP and UKIP voters feeling all warm and glowy inside. The film was funded entirely by Eurostar, which may very well have been a masterstroke of marketing – if a trip through the Channel Tunnel can make you even half as happy as watching Somers Town, we should all be booking our tickets this instant.
Set the recorder for:
Film4, Tuesday May 7, 11:50pm
With Side Effects apparently signalling time on Steven Soderbergh’s career behind a movie camera, from now on we will have to look back over his body of work to be reminded of what a prodigious talent the man really is. In between big hits like the Ocean’s Eleven franchise and Erin Bockovich, Soderbergh made more personal projects, of which The Limey is a great example. Featuring Terence Stamp as aging East End gangster investigating the death of his daughter in the seedier side of Los Angeles, its reflective nature brings something fresh to the revenge drama.
Film4, Friday May 10, 9pm
In 2009 a young director by the name of Duncan Jones emerged with a rather excellent film called Moon that invoked the serious science fiction films of the Seventies. Turns out he’s only the son of original starman David Bowie. Source Code, his follow-up and first major studio picture, mixes Groundhog Day, Murder On The Orient Express and Quantum Leap to make an exceedingly entertaining thriller. It is two scenes too long to be perfect, but before then you’ll have a lot of fun watching Jake Gyllenhaal repeatedly re-living the same eight minutes whilst trying to foil a train-based terrorist plot.
Channel 4, Saturday May 11, 7.45pm
When James Cameron spent over $200m to make a film about on a film about 10-foot tall blue aliens, there must have been many who thought he couldn’t repeat the success of Titanic and make lightning strike twice. They were wrong, of course, as sci-fi epic Avatar went on to make over $200bn and become the highest grossing film of all time. While its mythology is all a bit L.Ron Hubbard, Avatar’s phenomenal commercial success was no mean feat, given the underlying anti-imperialist, anti-military-industrial complex message that it carries.
For the next few columns I want to look at some anime genres that we do not have in the UK, of which there are a fair few.
The largest and most influential of these is “mecha”, a sci-fi genre involving machines, usually humanoid or bipedal in shape, piloted by a human and operating like a giant legged tank.
This should not be confused with something like Transformers which are basically just intelligent robots. But to make things more confusing there are seen as two kinds of mecha subgenre that use the word “robot”: realistic and mature “real robot” versions, and the more fantastical “super robot” versions.
The series I am covering this week fits into the “real robot” subgenre. Gundam is a meta-series, which began with one series called Mobile Suit Gundam in 1979, and has since become so complex that it has sprouted seven different timelines and is still going to this day. Thus you could compare it to Doctor Who or Star Trek in terms of scale and influence.
Mobile Suit Gundam is set in the far future, at a point where humans have since begun to leave Earth and live in space colonies under control of the “Earth Federation”. One of these, Side 3, declares independence, calling itself the “Principality of Zeon” and starts a war against the Federation. In a month half the total human population is killed. In eight months it has become a stalemate.
Another colony however, Side 7, has been developing a new weapon to win the war for the Federation. During a Zeon attack one of the colony’s residents, nerdy teenager Amuro Ray, gets caught up in the fighting. He then comes across an instruction manual for the new weapon, finds the weapon and uses it to defeat his attackers. The weapon is the “mobile suit” RX-78 02 Gundam, a giant white humanoid shaped machine armed with guns, a “light sabre” and a “light mace” for want of better terms.
After using the Gundam, Amuro is called up to join the Federation warship White Base as the official Gundam pilot. The crew are relatively inexperienced; the ship is full of refugees and they are being chased by the Zeon forces constantly, in particular by Zeon’s own ace mobile suit pilot, the masked Char Aznable, nicknamed the “Red Comet” due to his speed in battle and his the colour of his mobile suit and uniform.
Now, as I discussed in last week’s column about Astro Boy, this series is hugely influential, but not without its flaws. The flaws in this case refer to bits of the plot that are somewhat unbelievable, whether in terms of technology or just plain common sense. For starters, the idea of a man learning to operate anything from the instruction manual is pretty laughable, and even more so when you are in the middle of a warzone, just having seen people being killed and under constant enemy fire. Also, for some bizarre reason, Char Aznable is named after French singer Charles Aznavour.
There is however much to draw from this series. Many anime critics have compared Zeon to Nazi Germany. I personally feel that in this original series Zeon is more like World War One Germany, in terms of uniform and some of the characters (“Red Comet” being akin to the “Red Baron”). But signs of Nazi similarities reveal themselves later on. One Zeon character admits to being influenced by Hitler and leads his followers to chants of “Seig Zeon”.
But the big impact of this series was made later on. Almost every mecha anime afterward has been influenced by Gundam. Nearly every series has a teenager as the main protagonist like Amuro for one thing.
In terms of availability, the original 1979 series is available in Region 1 but not Region 2. However, a new manga adaption, Mobile Suit Gundam: THE ORIGIN, which retells the original story, is being animated later in the year.
In recent months, there have been numerous soap villains on the box who have been getting away with far too much in recent weeks.
Whether it’s their bad manners, shady dealings, blackmail, or even murder, it has been quite unpleasant to see these characters walk around like they’re a chosen saint one minute, and then behaving like they’re the devil’s spawn the next.
Here at On The Box, we’ve selected five soap characters we feel deserve their comeuppance this year.
In absolutely any way possible.
5. Phil Mitchell
There have been many villains during EastEnders‘ 28 year run, some nastier than others. But while Phil Mitchell has been more anti-hero than villain these past few years, he’s still done things in the past that have made us viewers really red in the face.
His treatment of other Square residents haven’t exactly earned him a nice word of mouth, as well as the fact that he has several times jeopardised Lola’s chances of getting baby Lexi back, covering up his son Ben Mitchell’s murder of the much loved Heather Trott.
Seriously analysing Phil Mitchell really puts his character in perspective. You’ll see someone who’s traumatised, lonely, and mentally damaged from years of feuding, manipulation, violence, and abuse.
But to many mainstream soap viewers, he is summed up in one word: bully.
4. Kylie Platt
Kyle started off in Corrie as a bit of a wild child, but ultimately grew more mature and wise, eventually settling into a marriage with former wild child David Platt. But it seems her crazy antics have cost her a huge deal.
Kylie ended up having a one night stand with Nick Tilsley, following an argument with David, as well as Nick being jilted at the altar by Leanne (They’re together now).
Now Kylie’s pregnant and the child could either be Nick’s or David’s. It’s a classic soap dilemma, and one that had Corrie viewers hooked instantly. Whoever the father is, Kylie’s life is sure to unravel in the worst possible way.
3. Will Savage
In a way like Kylie, Will entered Hollyoaks a very different character: Geeky, shy, and very insecure. However, during his tenure, his character has taken many dark turns that have ultimately made him a weirder, psychotically disturbed character. He has deceived his family, and manipulated many more. Including most recently Texas Longford, who he’s trapped in a web of lies, which are only getting deeper and deeper.
With an upcoming wedding on the horizon, it stages the perfect opportunity for Will to get his just deserts. But with the events that will transpire following his wedding, will the village see the true Will manifest, and turn him into an village outcast? And will that includes his family too?
2. Karl Munro
I always knew Karl would be a sly character, but I didn’t know it would take this long to reach this low.
As his obsession of winning back Stella grew, he resorted to burning down The Rovers Return in order to make some form of play back into Stella’s good books.
This led to a tragic turn of events, where Sunita Alahan (Karl’s ex mistress) caught him in the act of torching the cellar of the Rovers, threatening Karl’s Grade A plan in the process. A scuffle later and Sunita is out cold surrounded in flames, as Karl escapes into the street, leaving Sunita to die.
Karl then somehow stoops even lower by turning off Sunita’s life support, killing her in the process. This dreadful act has sadly – but not surprisingly – lead Karl & Stella getting back together. But, as ever in soaps, an act like this will ultimately come back to haunt Karl when the time is right. And in true soap fashion, it may just be at the wedding altar.
1. Cameron Murray
Carl King may not have been the nicest villain on Emmerdale Farm, but he surely didn’t deserve a gruesome end by Cameron Murray of all people.
Since smacking Carl in the head with a bloody brick, Cameron has resorted to new lows in order for his grubby secret to stay hidden. So much that he murdered again. Alex Moss was the next character to meet Cameron’s deadly hands, and ended up in a muddy grave in the Emmerdale woods.
Serial Killer stories rarely end well for the killer themselves, so it’s obvious to note that Cameron Murray will finally meet his maker when the time is right. Whether it’s this summer, Christmas, or maybe even 2014, if the writers can make this storyline as exciting as when it commenced, we’re in for an absolute treat.
David Tennant & Emily Watson star in the multi-part political drama “The Politicians Husband” from writer Paula Milne. The miniseries’ main focus is on the characters of Aiden & Freya Hoynes, a rising political power couple in the Palace of Westminster.
However, things take a drastic turn when a leadership bid by Aiden backfires, and leaves him isolated in the House of Commons. This leaves Freya to take her husband’s place in cabinet, which ultimately begins to strain their marriage, as well as their careers.
Speaking to On the Box is the producer of The Politician’s Husband, Hal Vogel. He was also responsible for The Trial of Tony Blair and A Very Social Secretary.
Tell us a bit more about The Politicians Husband and how you got involved in it?
Well, the genesis of the story came from Paula, who many years ago had written The Politicians Wife. I think people for many years had asked her to do a sequel or a follow up, but I don’t think she was particularly interested.
Yet somehow in the back of her mind, she had been conceiving the idea of exploring a marriage which allowed her to see a woman being more successful than her husband. There’s always been a political marriage where the woman can be much more successful than her husband and that must have triggered something in Paula.
The idea sort of emerged from different conversations me and Paula had, in which we found and developed a story of a marriage under pressure. it was something we really got excited by. The BBC also got excited by the idea and had worked with Paula before. They just loved it, and got really behind it
David Tennant & Emily Watson star in the project. How did you get them involved?
They came in very early and both responded really well to Paula’s writing. Her work is so unique and brilliant if you look at it as pieces of writing, so they really responded to that, but had different reasons for signing on.
David was drawn to the idea of a character that wasn’t a friendly face that we’re used to seeing. This is a more darker, grown up, complex figure. He’s not particularly likable and does a lot of bad things throughout the story.
For an actor, that’s always interesting and allows him to explore dimensions of his rage which he isn’t usually able to do on TV. I think that’s what really drew him to the script and in a way it allowed him to play a very unlikeable political figure.
Emily I think quite mischievously loved the idea of playing a woman who finds her ambition and begins to relish it and starts becoming the dominant figure in the home. That for her was an exciting role to play. It’s a really modern part and really speaks for our time.
The thing I get watching it is that they are a really believable couple played by phenomenal actors who are very classy and bought stuff to the role. I feel that you’re watching a real married couple, going through the swings and roundabouts as they unravel throughout the rest of the series.
One of your characters has got Aspergers Syndrome. Can you tell us a bit about how you researched that aspect?
Paula many years ago developed a series about Aspergers which looked at the effects it had on the family. That series never got commissioned, so she chose to implement it into this series.
I think one of the important things was that we didn’t want to tell a dry, boring, Westminster story which is just about politicians obsessed with their political lives. So giving the Noah character Aspergers was really a way of bringing him to the fore.
Its an interesting condition we feel hadn’t been explored a lot on television. It really allows us to look at the family that have to deal with something that creates additional pressures and just ratchets it all up. Its something that Paula had a lot of experience in when researching for the other drama. She was in touch with a number of people when writing it, as well as doing a lot of additional research.
We also did certain preparations for it as well. We put the actor who played Noah in touch with someone we knew had Aspergers, and him and the director spent a lot of time together to get the character right. We spent a lot of time getting a realistic depiction of it before shooting.
There are also real life couples within Westminster, Did you talk to any of them to get a better idea of what the show would be?
No. Obviously that is something that is clearly out there, but we didn’t speak to them directly.