Portrait of a Goon: A Day With Spike Milligan

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The Crown, Season 2: How True Is It?

It sure seems real, sumptuously produced and beautifully acted. But how much truth? How much fiction?

Season 2 of the successful Netflix series The Crown that premieres Friday, December 8,  kicks off with a taboo subject: the rumored infidelity of the British monarch’s husband, Prince Philip, with a fictional ballet dancer (which is based on rumors at the time of an affair with the actress Pat Kirkwood.)

At the same time, some biographers like Sarah Bradford in her book Queen Elizabeth II: Her Life in Our Times, present his infidelity as a fact, adding that she talked with two women who had been romantically involved with the royal consort.

The answer about how close is The Crown to the real life of the British royals, though, is very nuanced. After all, throughout its history the royal family has become quite adept at keeping secrets.

“The series is incredibly accurate and true to the history,” Robert Lacey, a historical biographer and consultant for the series who just published his new book, The Crown: The Official Companion, Volume 1: Elizabeth II, Winston Churchill and the Making of a Young Queen (1947-1955), told royal correspondent Tom Sykes. “If you go into the Left Bank offices—Left Bank being the company producing the series for Netflix—the first thing you see is a huge newsroom with eight full-time researchers working away, and that’s just the start, the raw material.” | Read More at : The Crown, Season 2: How True Is It?

Movies You Might Have Missed: Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life

Terry Gilliam recently spoke movingly about his namesake and Monty Python colleague Terry Jones. The latter has been suffering with dementia and Gilliam said: “You see a friend, somebody you know really well, kind of disappearing … It’s really sad because there’s nothing one can do about it.”

The pair co-directed Monty Python and the Holy Grail before Jones took on sole directing duties with Life of Brian and the troupe’s final movie The Meaning of Life (1983). While not as acclaimed as its predecessors, perhaps as a result of its sketch format, The Meaning of Life still contains some of the funniest scenes ever committed to film.

The writing process was far from easy. The two previous Python films had employed loose structures but retained a narrative of sorts. With their final film, Michael Palin has said they opted to “give it the loosest structure, the meaning of life” since they had lots of material but no obvious through line. John Cleese believes the film was “a bit of a cock-up” and the other Pythons have also suggested it was not up to their previous big-screen efforts. Despite this, it was awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival and has several iconic moments.[ . . . ] Read More at: Movies You Might Have Missed: Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life

Gary Oldman Has Been Voted The Best Actor To Never Win An Oscar

His career has seen him play roles in ‘Léon: The Professional’, ‘The Dark Knight’ and ‘True Romance’

When you think of British actors in Hollywood, you won’t find many better than Gary Oldman, a man recently recognised by Ranker as the best actor to never win an Academy Award.

But what about his life? Well, growing up in south London, as a teenager he studied with the Young People’s Theatre in Greenwich while he worked jobs on assembly lines, as a porter in an operating theatre, selling shoes and beheading pigs in an abattoir.

He has been a fixture on the acting scene since he broke through on stage with roles in the late 70s as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company [ . . . ]

More at: Gary Oldman Has Been Voted The Best Actor To Never Win An Oscar