Fresh from winning a Golden Globe for his portrayal of media tycoon Logan Roy, the actor talks about class, cannabis and an odd royal encounter
Doing an interview over the phone can be a thankless job: lines get crossed, you awkwardly interrupt one another and, without the intimacy of a face to face encounter, it’s hard to get a sense of the other person. But doing a phone interview with Brian Cox – the acclaimed actor, that is, not the pop-star-turned-particle-physicist with the same name – is such a hoot that if we met in person I would have probably dissolved into a puddle of hysteria.
“No, no, not now, I’m having an important conversation!” he barks when someone has the temerity to try to enter his hotel room 45 minutes into our chat. “So where was I? Ah yes …” And he launches back into the anecdote about the time Princess Margaret felt him up. The man has so much charisma – and so many anecdotes – to burn, I can practically feel my phone melting against my face. Continue reading →
Billy Connolly: Life, Death and Laughter and Billy Connolly: Made In Scotland are both airing on BBC tonight. Heaven for fans of the comedian
BBC is dedicating an entire night to ‘The Big Yin,’ better known as Billy Connolly.
Starting at 10pm tonight, Billy Connolly: Life, Death and Laughter follows the iconic comedian as he returns to Glasgow’s famous Kings Theatre – where his journey into comedy first began – to talk life, death and laughter.
The feature looks back on Connolly’s past and ahead to the future, covering all elements of his unusually packed existence – how he got started, his approach to comedy, his Scottish roots and how Parkinson’s disease is the latest thing he is having to laugh at.
Later on this evening, Billy Connolly: Made in Scotland airs at 11.05pm with part one taking a uniquely ‘Billy’ approach to biography – part shaggy dog tale, part self-portrait, with a lot of jokes, personal archive and a few famous faces thrown in between.
The second part of the documentary – which airs immediately after the first episode finishes – finds the comedian back in the Scotland of his childhood, where he reveals that knitted woolly swimming trunks were not a figment of his imagination.
That’s a good night in if you’re a fan of the legendary comedian.
Dundee-born actor Brian Cox has won his first Golden Globe, with his hometown playing a part in securing the prestigious award. Cox won the best actor award for his role as media company mogul Logan Roy in the HBO series Succession
Brian Cox, actor who stars in HBO’s “Succession” as Logan Roy, the aging patriarch of a global media conglomerate. He also stars as President Lyndon B. Johnson in the Broadway play “The Great Society,” which opens Oct. 1.
Vox: “The rise of Succession, TV’s new must-watch show” — “Things have gone from bad to worse to worse to worse for Kendall Roy, the would-be tycoon and formerly most trusted son of Logan Roy, the media titan whose family sits at the center of HBO’s marvelous Succession.
“Kendall’s efforts to oust his dad from the CEO chair unraveled multiple times. He started using again, feeding a drug addiction that became a tabloid scandal when he last was consumed by it. His former marriage is now completely broken, and his kids seem to barely know him. And just when he thought he might be able to stand up to his domineering father, tragic circumstance conspired to draw him ever closer to the family he longed to shed like an ill-fitting skin.
“And that was just in season one. The moment that crystallizes how far Kendall has fallen comes halfway through season two. After a night of genuine connection with another person with addiction, he wakes up to find the sheets of his bed caked in his own shit. As a visual metaphor, it’s perhaps a bit too cheeky — Kendall shits the bed again! But the way he simply sighs and gets on with his life is telling.”
Slate: “Being Laughable Doesn’t Make Succession’s Characters Any Less Dangerous” — “With only one win for creator Jesse Armstrong’s writing, HBO’s Succession was a relatively minor presence at this past Sunday’s Emmy Awards. That likely won’t be the case next year. With its 2019 season opening to record ratings, laudatory reviews, and a greater presence in social media conversations, Succession has clearly come into its own in its sophomore year and is all but certain to be a leading contender in most drama categories at the 2020 Emmys. At which point an old argument is likely to resume: Should Succession be competing as a drama at all? Isn’t it actually a comedy?
“Succession’s proper categorization has been the subject of much discussion since its debut last year. The story of the Roy family, the primary owners of the corporate empire Waystar Royco (which comprises a Fox News–like media network as well as amusement park and luxury cruise divisions), seems at first glance to be a prestige-drama staple: the King Lear–style power struggle. Four adult children—shrewd-but-broken Kendall (Jeremy Strong), even-more-shrewd-but-self-sabotaging Shiv (Sarah Snook), miserably-self-aware jackass Roman (Kieran Culkin), and irrelevant doofus Connor (Alan Ruck)—vie against one another over which will succeed their powerful-but-fading father, Logan (Brian Cox), as the head of the kingdom-corporation. Blue-chip prestige helmers like Mark Mylod direct scenes in multiple gorgeously art-directed locations, and the storylines delve into family trauma and power brokering in smoke-filled rooms. All of that seems to add up to a show that belongs in the drama category.
“At the same time, though … it’s hilarious. The Roy children are constantly equivocating their way through situations where they’re clearly out of their depth. Audience-favorite supporting characters Tom Wambsgans (Shiv’s husband, played by Matthew Macfadyen) and Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) are already a bickering double act for the ages. Recapping sites and podcasts are spoiled for choice of withering put-downs to celebrate. More than one viewer has pointed out that Succession often plays like a bizarrely somber take on Arrested Development, with an analogous version of nearly every character from that celebrated sitcom. Considered on a macro episode-by-episode level, Succession is a dark tragedy about the abuses of the super-rich and the legacies of family dysfunction. But the minute-to-minute experience of watching it isn’t that different from Veep or Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
New York Times: “‘The Great Society,’ About L.B.J., Is Coming to Broadway” — “As soon as the Tony-winning ‘All the Way’ closed on Broadway, the playwright, Robert Schenkkan, turned his attention to the sequel.
“Five years, endless rewrites and several productions later, that new play, ‘The Great Society,’ is coming to Broadway.
“The producer Jeffrey Richards announced on Thursday that he would present a 12-week run of the play, starting Sept. 6, at the Vivian Beaumont Theater (which, although located at Lincoln Center, is considered a Broadway house).
“The play will star Brian Cox (“Succession”) as President Johnson, and the production will be directed by Bill Rauch, who also directed ‘All the Way.’ “
The bird, fitted with a satellite tag while breeding in Scotland, made the extraordinary journey late this autumn.
A Scottish Short-eared Owl has made it to North Africa, according to British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) researchers.
The breeding female, satellite tagged at her nest site on Arran on 11 June this year, is currently wintering near Oualidia in Morocco. The bird left Arran to visit Bute and Kintyre from 15 to 17 July, returning to Arran for 10 days and then moving to mainland Ayrshire on 27 July. She remained here (near Dalmellington) until the end of October.
She then moved to Devon, where she was present on 8 November, leaving the following evening to head south. With the help of a strong tailwind, she travelled some 495 km into France in just six hours – an average of 82.5 km/h. Continue reading →
JK Rowling has come out in support of a researcher sacked in a landmark case after tweeting transgender people cannot change their biological sex.
Maya Forstater lost her job in March after she posted tweets opposing government proposals to reform the Gender Recognition Act to allow people to identify as the opposite sex.
Ms Forstater, 45, who worked as a tax expert at the Centre for Global Development, an international think tank campaigning against poverty and inequality, took her case to an employment tribunal on the grounds her dismissal was discrimination against her beliefs.
Employment Judge James Tayler dismissed her claim saying her views are “absolutist in her view of sex” and “incompatible with human dignity and fundamental rights of others.”
Responding to the ruling, Harry Potter author Rowling tweeted: “Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you.
“Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real?”
She added the hashtags #IStandWithMaya and #ThisIsNotADrill.
Rowling’s name trended on Twitter prompting debate.
Many people claimed Rowling is a “transphobe”, and the phrase “JK Rowling is a Terf” – referring to the term trans-exclusionary radical feminist – also trended on the platform.
A Terf describes feminists expressing ideas other feminists consider transphobic, including trans women are not women.
However, others welcomed the author’s comment, with many joining her in using the hashtag #IStandWithMaya.
Olympic gold medal winning swimmer Sharron Davies, MBE, tweeted: “The Sex we are Is a biological reality. A scientific fact. Where as Gender today is a social construct, an ideology, a feeling, totally changeable. I believe we cannot change sex but can Live happily expressing ourselves outside of any stereotypes.
Ms Forstater has raised £83,000 via crowdfunding for her legal fees and is considering appealing the judgement.
Judge Tayler concluded Ms Forstater was not entitled to ignore the legal rights of a transgender person and the “enormous pain that can be caused by misgendering a person”.
The dispute was a test case on whether a “gender critical” view – a belief there are only two biological sexes – is a protected “philosophical belief” under the 2010 Equality Act.
Ms Forstater argued “framing the question of transgender inclusion as an argument that male people should be allowed into women’s spaces discounts women’s rights to privacy and is fundamentally illiberal (it is like forcing Jewish people to eat pork)”.