Diane Morgan To Reprise Philomena Cunk Role For BBC & Netflix’s ‘Cunk On Earth’

UK comedian Diane Morgan’s beloved Philomena Cunk character is returning to the BBC and Netflix for mockumentary Cunk on Earth.

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UK comedian Diane Morgan’s beloved Philomena Cunk character is returning to the BBC and Netflix for a mockumentary unlocking the mystery of human civilization to discover humankind’s greatest achievements.

Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones’ indie Broke & Bones is behind Cunk on Earth, which will see Morgan reprise the role that placed her on the comedy map with BBC2’s Cunk on Britain.

Long-time Brooker collaborator Morgan was most recently seen in Broke & Bones’ Netflix comedy special Death to 2021 and Cunk on Earth is the first time the Motherland star’s show has been co-produced for the BBC and Netflix, with the U.S. streamer taking rights outside of the UK and Ireland.

From virtually nothing to virtual reality, Cunk will comically tell the story of our greatest inventions such as the wheel, the Mona Lisa and nuclear power. Along the way, she will ask experts hard-hitting questions about humanity’s progress, as well as standing near impressive old ruins, or inside museums.

Brooker is co-writing and exec producing, with Ben Caudell, Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris also writing and Jones and Ali Marlow also exec producing. Death To 2021 lead writer Caudell is shortly to take up a Commissioning Editor role in Jon Petrie’s BBC comedy team and had a stint working temporarily in the team last year. Sam Ward is producing and Christian Watt is directing.

“A huge thank you to Diane and the incredibly talented team at Broke & Bones for braving everything from Ancient Rome to the wilds of Silicon Valley in this fantastic new series,” said BBC Head of Comedy Tanya Qureshi, who is commissioning editor on the show.

Source: Diane Morgan To Reprise Philomena Cunk Role For BBC & Netflix’s ‘Cunk On Earth’

Once More, Unto The Brits: ’63 Up’

The Hobbledehoy recently caught-up with the latest installment of Michael Apted’s “Up” series. Heartbreaking, yet life-affirming and brilliant throughout. Below, a review by Ella Taylor


Michael Apted’s latest installment of his extended documentary/social experiment — revisiting a brace of British children every seven years — finds them ruminating on life, death and Brexit.

 

By Ella Taylor

For better and worse, class pride has always run a deep vein through British society, upstairs and down. Not so the United States, where the mere mention of social class often triggers strenuous manifestos about meritocracy and equal opportunity. Which may be why attempts to reproduce Michael Apted’s long-running Up anthology — inquiring into the persistence of social hierarchy in post-World War II Britain — have so far failed this side of the Atlantic. For those who think Downton Abbey is pretty much a documentary, the Up series is the perfect antidote.

Beginning in 1964 with 7 Up, directed for British television by Paul Almond with Apted initially on board as a researcher, the series tracked a cross-section of 14 children from England’s famously rigid class system, with Apted checking in every seven years thereafter to document what and how they were doing. I’m roughly the same age and grew up lower middle class in London, so I’ve followed the series obsessively from soup to nuts. But you don’t have to have been as hooked as I on the anthology (now available as a boxed set) to find your way around the latest, 63 Up, which is studded with flashbacks to catch you up on how the group has fared since we first met them, mingling to frolic and brawl in a grim-looking adventure playground.

Inevitably a quiet tempo has settled on the hopes and dreams of these sexagenarians as they answer questions from Apted or go about their business with varying degrees of discomfort under cameras that have dogged them for decades. Some have retired; others contemplate their own mortality as they tell of parents passing away. One is seriously ill; another has died since 56 Up. Most seem content with what they have and express few regrets about what might have been. Luck, love, and loss, triumph and defeat, have beveled the edges of even the most pugnacious and intrepid.

Through every installment, Apted has peppered (some say, resentfully, pestered) the group with questions about whether England’s class divisions have grown more permeable. For some the short answer has become versions of “for the love of mike, Michael, quit asking, we are so much more than our station in life.” Apted deserves credit for including their protests.

The long answer to his probing is: It’s complicated. Take Tony, the charming, infuriating Cockney child of London’s East End, and the only Upper who frankly enjoys the limelight. As a teenager Tony predicted some of his future with astonishing accuracy, becoming first a jockey and then (“If I’m not good enough”) a cab-driver. Both jobs came to pass, but what Tony couldn’t dream of was that he would one day buy a handsome holiday home in Spain for his growing family and plan to build a resort there. What followed had more to do with the global economy than with his business chops, but today Tony, a proud husband, father, and grandfather who moonlights as a cabbie in TV crime shows, has switched his working-class-Tory affiliation for fear of Brexit, and may cast in his lot with the Green Party.

At the other end of the social spectrum we revisit John, at 7 and 14 a snobby, upper-crust brat and easily the least likable of the Up children. Now tweedy and balding, a considerable mellowed John (who also guessed right that he would become a barrister) is happily retiring to devoting himself to charity work in the Balkans with his wife. Our early assumptions about John’s wealth and blue blood turn out to be mistaken, though there’s no doubt that his pricey education has given him more financial security than most of the Uppers.

Certainly John hasn’t had to struggle like Symon, the group’s only mixed-race member, who grew up in a children’s home with his friend Paul. At 7 Symon wanted to be a movie star; at 21 he worked a sausage factory assembly line. Without functioning parents, Symon has had a checkered life. What he and Paul (now settled in Australia) have achieved with the support of two good women is by any measure remarkable, as is the fact that they’ve stayed friends. And after some difficult years as a divorced single parent, the congenitally cheerful Sue — one of three East End women who, at 21, gave Apted a brisk mouthful for asking them only family-oriented questions — heads a career counseling unit at London University.

And what of Neil, at 7 a bonny lad in a duffel coat skipping down a suburban Liverpool street and by any measure the most beloved of viewers? At 28 we saw him homeless and roaming the British countryside. All I will say is that after a lifetime battling his biology and a less than idyllic childhood, at 63 Neil is not without faith, friends or resources.

Every chapter of the Up series has seen its dropouts, and with the exception of Tony, those who remain express reservations with varying degrees of vehemence. For John, whose early arrogance so antagonized viewers, each new episode has brought “a little pill of poison.” Over time Apted’s questions have grown more personal, but he still queries them about whether they still believe Britain to be a class society. All agree that inequality persists, but they worry less for themselves than for their children, who face cuts to the country’s generous welfare state services, further concentration of wealth in the top tier, the decline of full-time jobs, and most of all the potential ravages of a looming Brexit deal.

Like Nick, the farm boy who became a professor in the United States, and Apted, who attended Cambridge University but now lives in America, I found far more career opportunities in the United States than I would have enjoyed in England despite a fancy education. Yet I’ve been struck by the nervousness that any discussion of social stratification inspires among students I’ve taught down the years in American universities. And I miss the stout class solidarity that, however diluted by upward mobility, remains strong among the English working class.

British cinema has always had a far more robust tradition than U.S. of narrative films about the relations between the classes. Documentary offers the same satisfactions of family drama, the common hurts and losses endured and surmounted in movies by Mike Leigh or Ken Loach or the classic post-War Angry Young Men films, while permitting no facile class stereotypes. No one in 63 Up sounds like anybody above or below the salt in Downton Abbey. We don’t see them gulping endless cups of industrial-strength tea or spending every waking hour down the pub or at the private club.

As Apted narrows his focus to the personal more than the overtly political, he has also learned from the Uppers that there is no such thing as an ordinary life; that money and education may carry you far, but that accent and income bracket have little to do with intelligence, wit, or goodness of heart. What’s striking is not just the sturdy durability of family and community, but (camera or no camera) the fundamental decency of just about every participant in this long cultural experiment. Rich or poor, all have ended up devoting themselves to helping others. So ‘bye for now, dear Uppers, and with luck and longevity, see you at 70 Up.

Source: Once More, Unto The Brits: ’63 Up’

Ingraham, Arroyo and the WOKE measles

The Hobbledehoy couldn’t give either one of these numpties the time of day usually, but this exchange last night on Fox News between Laura Ingraham and EWTN ‘s Raymond Arroyo was absolutely hilarious

Worzel Gummidge finds himself in trouble in trailer for new Guy Forks special

Mackenzie Crook is back as the titular scarecrow in an upcoming episode guest starring Toby Jones and Paul Kaye.

By Lauren Morris

Mackenzie Crook’s Worzel Gummidge is taking on ‘Guy Forks’ in an exclusive trailer for the upcoming BBC One special.

The family drama, which is based on Barbara Euphan Todd’s classic books, is returning for a Bonfire Night special this Saturday, which sees the titular scarecrow’s cousin Guy Forks come to Scatterbrook.

In the trailer, which can be exclusively shared by RadioTimes.com, we’re introduced to After Life‘s Paul Kaye as Guy – the scarecrow cousin of Worzel who’s taken his rightful place at the top of the Scatterbrook bonfire when Worzel stops by to say hello.

“You should think about retiring, come out to the fields and scare some crows,” Worzel tells Guy, who replies: “Ha! Standing still all day?”

Guy then manages to convince Worzel to swap places with him, with Worzel telling John and Susan: “Anything he can do, I can do too!”

Of course, Worzel doesn’t seem to realise what he’s signed himself up for and finds himself stuck at the top of the bonfire, with Susan heard saying: “Worzel’s in danger. We have to find Guy Forks!”

Source: Worzel Gummidge finds himself in trouble in trailer for new Guy Forks special

Television Review: “Sex Education,” Season 3 – Growing Up Grand

Amid the political point-scoring, Netflix’s Sex Education remains effervescently charming.

Sex Education, now in its third season, has always been a show that kicks at boundaries, so it should surprise no one that the third season starts off with some bangs (literally — the first episode opens with a montage of people engaged in sexual acts). The series has always been risqué, but season three takes it even further. The upside is that this move toward the more explicit comes with heartfelt, humorous and, at times, informative storytelling.

Season three starts with a new school year at Moordale High. Otis (Asa Butterfield) is having casual sex with the most popular girl in school, Ruby (Mimi Keene), while Eric (Ncuti Gatwa, always a standout) and Adam (Connor Swindells) have become an official couple. Meanwhile, trouble is a-brewing at Moordale, fallout from the staging of a raunchy musical — a reimagined version of Romeo and Juliet (complete with tentacles). The original headmaster of Moordale, Adam’s father, Mr. Groff (Alistair Petrie), has been fired, so a new headmaster is brought in, Ms. Hope Haddon, played by Girls’ Jemima Kirke.

It’s fascinating to see Kirke in such a different role, a complete contrast to her free-spirited character in Girls. The actress is downright frightening here; Kirke plays Hope to snarky perfection, pettily micromanaging and sneering with aplomb. At first, she manages to win over the student body with a song and dance routine, but quickly we see that she has troubling plans for the school. Hope is far more focused on building up Moordale’s brand than on what her students and staff actually need. She quickly introduces uniforms as well as a homophobic and abstinence-only sex education course that denies resources to nonbinary students. A powerful political message is being delivered here, one that demands that secondary schools refuse reactionary policies. The ironically named Hope reflects the cultural dangers posed by sexism, transphobia, and homophobia, prejudices that, unfortunately, still run rampant in America’s schools. (The satire could be seen as part of the growing pushback to the demonization of Critical Race Theory, the near ban on abortion in Texas, and the continued lack of proper sex education given to high school students.)

Even worse, Hope pits Head Boy Jackson (Kedar Williams-Stirling) against Head Girl Vivienne (Chinenye Ezeudu). It’s very frustrating to watch Hope attempt to tear apart what had become a moving friendship, one that blossomed over the course of the last season. Hope also instills fear into her teachers, who are now terrified to answer their students questions about their sexuality. Thankfully, a few teachers rebel and recommend that students go to a local health clinic with their concerns — but it’s absurd that would need to be done in the first place. Real life students, trapped in abstinence-only programs, may find it worth tuning into Sex Education because the series will honestly and accurately answer some of their own burning questions about sex and relationships.

Much of what makes Sex Education distinctive as a series drama is its ability to subvert its viewers’ expectations. Ruby was introduced as a stereotypical mean girl, but she turns out to be vulnerable and caring in her relationship with Otis. Aimee (Aimee Lou Wood), who started off as Maeve’s rather vapid-brained friend, seeks therapy from Otis’s mother, the enchanting Jean (played by the equally enchanting Gillian Anderson), regarding a sexual assault she experienced in the previous season. The sessions encourage Aimee to embrace who she truly is and she learns to become more independent. Adam, who began as the bully of the series, has become more comfortable with his own sexuality and even pursues additional help to improve his academics. As the episodes go on, each of the characters is becoming increasingly complex, which makes the world of Sex Education more involving. Even Jean, who is now pregnant with her former boyfriend’s child, grows substantially in the third season.

Despite moving into more melodramatic plot realms, Sex Education remains as funny as it was in its first season. There are plenty of amusing moments: Aimee and her boyfriend procure a goat and bring said animal to school; Eric dancing and singing when he learns that he is about to have sex with his boyfriend. Amid the political point-scoring, Sex Education remains effervescently charming, an appeal that will continue, even deepen, with the hoped-for arrival of a fourth season.


Sarah Mina Osman is a writer residing in Wilmington, North Carolina. In addition to writing for The Arts Fuse, she has written for Watercooler HQThe Huffington PostHelloGigglesYoung Hollywood, and Matador Network, among other sites. Her work was included in the anthology Fury: Women’s Lived Experiences in the Trump Era. She is currently a first year fiction MFA candidate at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. When she’s not writing, she’s dancing, watching movies, traveling, or eating. She has a deep appreciation for sloths and tacos. You can keep up with her on Twitter and Instagram: @SarahMinaOsman

Source: Television Review: “Sex Education,” Season 3 – Growing Up Grand – The Arts Fuse