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post #98761 of 98771 Old Yesterday, 11:25 AM
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Jeremy Lloyd: Actor and screenwriter who was co-creator of popular TV comedies such as Are You Being Served? and ’Allo ’Allo
By The Guardian Staff - Dec. 27, 2014

Jeremy Lloyd, who has died aged 84, is best remembered for co-creating with his fellow comedy writer David Croft the television shows Are You Being Served? and ’Allo ’Allo. Both were innuendo-laden, populated with pantomime grotesques and were accused by sniffier critics of being sexist, racist, misogynist and homophobic. The former ran on the BBC from 1972 to 1985 and was set in the ladies’ and gents’ clothing departments of Grace Brothers department store, a kind of dilapidated retailing equivalent of British Leyland. It starred Mollie Sugden as a stereotypical battleaxe, Mrs Slocombe, John Inman as a gay (in both senses) assistant, Mr Humphries, and Wendy Richard as Miss Brahms, the focus of heterosexual male interest.

’Allo ’Allo was set in a wartime cafe in occupied France, run by a proprietor ostensibly trying to help the allied war effort but really more concerned with groping his waitresses in the broom cupboard. It starred Gorden Kaye as René Artois, Carmen Silvera as his long-suffering wife, Edith, and Vicki Michelle as Yvette Carte-Blanche, one of the objects of his weekly thwarted lust. ’Allo ’Allo was accused of trivialising war, but that did not mar its popularity nor prevent it running, again on the BBC, for a decade, from 1982 to 1992.

But Lloyd easily might not have lived long enough to co-write these enduring and politically incorrect British sitcoms. In the 1950s, while working as a paint salesman, he was sent to investigate a buoy bobbing in the Thames estuary at Dead Man’s Reach. He stepped off the boat and stood on the buoy to study its anti-rust coating at close quarters. The buoy started to roll very slowly under his feet, so he started to walk to keep pace with it. At that moment, the boat due to return him to Greenwich disappeared over the horizon. Gangly, 6ft 4in, dressed in bowler hat and suit, with an umbrella hooked over his arm, Lloyd doubtless looked as though he was walking on water – or like an especially natty pelican.

As Lloyd recalled in his memoir, Listen Very Carefully, I Shall Say This Only Once (1993), a German cargo vessel’s crew reported seeing a bowler-hatted English gent walking very slowly for his life. Lloyd called across the waves: “I say, hello there.” British comedy would have been the poorer if they had not rescued him.

After eluding a watery grave, the salesman resolved to take up writing. “As a result of my life on the road and the increasing number of rainy afternoons in cinemas, I began to get the idea that I might write a film,” he recalled. He started a film script about the Loch Ness monster called What a Whopper! Two weeks later, he drove up to the gate of Pinewood Studios, Buckinghamshire, with the finished manuscript, demanded to see its executive producer, Earl St John, and convinced him to buy the script. The film was made, even though it was not that good and a team of writers was needed to turn it into a vehicle for Adam Faith in 1961. Lloyd parlayed its existence into a gag-writing career, first for Jon Pertwee and then for many other BBC light entertainment funnymen, such as Dickie Henderson and Morecambe and Wise.

He combined acting and writing for popular BBC light entertainment shows. “I knew I had arrived,” wrote Lloyd, “when taxi drivers would say, ‘You’re that twit on the Billy Cotton Show, aren’t you?’” That was an understatement: he was also that twit in School for Scoundrels (1960), Doctor in Clover (1966), and two Beatles films, A Hard Day’s Night (1964) and Help! (1965). What’s more, he was a transatlantic twit: he was lured to Hollywood to write for Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.

His career could have been different had he listened to the director Joseph Losey. When Losey was looking for an aristocrat to play opposite Dirk Bogarde in the Harold Pinter-scripted movie The Servant (1963), he sought Lloyd, who was playing a twit opposite Kenneth More in a film called We Joined the Navy (1963). “Ever played a homosexual?” asked Losey. “You’d be good.” Lloyd declined and James Fox got the part.

Lloyd once suggested he might never have been fortunate enough to have become a writer had he not been lucky enough to be such a failure at everything else. He was born in Danbury, Essex, son of an army colonel, Eric Lloyd. and a dancing Tiller Girl, Margaret (nee Lees). “My first failure was to be born a child not wanted by his father or mother, as they parted shortly after I was born.” He was packed off to boarding school (“quite the unhappiest days of my life”) where, underweight and puny, wearing spectacles with one glass blacked out and with a nose so prominent he was nicknamed Beaky, he became bully fodder.

He was raised by his grandmother in Didsbury, Manchester. Now and again, granny would point out his elusive mother as she passed by on a Manchester bus – her image was used in bus advertisements for Craven A cigarettes. After the second world war, Lloyd Sr invited his 15-year-old son to live in Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, where he was in the habit of introducing Jeremy to friends as “Dead Loss, the son of dance-band leader Joe Loss”.

He became a plumber’s mate, then a light-bulb inspector. He then made the historically significant decision to apply for the post of, as he put it, “junior slave in the Gents’ Natty Suiting department” at Simpsons in Piccadilly, London. It was there he first heard the future catchphrases “I’m free!” and “Are you being served?” His father visited and, even though Lloyd got him a discount on some trousers, told his son it was not a proper job. Which is why he became a paint salesman. During this time, he married a model, Dawn Bailey; the couple divorced in 1962.

Once embarked upon his writing career, velvet-suited and happy, Lloyd swung through the 60s. He was briefly engaged to the actor Charlotte Rampling. He drove a Rolls-Royce and a Lotus. He wrote a Dracula movie for David Niven (typical scene: Niven holds up a Playboy centrefold and says: “My word, what a splendid pair of jugulars!”). Lloyd was friendly with Terence Stamp, Roger Moore, Twiggy, Peter Sellers, Diana Rigg and other 60s stars. In Hollywood, he became friends with Sharon Tate and her husband Roman Polanski. In his memoir, he recalls that Tate invited him for tea one Saturday, but he – fortunately – forgot to go. On that evening, 9 August 1969, she and four guests were murdered at her Los Angeles home by followers of Charles Manson.

In 1970 he married the actor Joanna Lumley (their marriage lasted from May to September). She suggested he write a sitcom based on his experiences at Simpsons. And he dropped a line to Croft – co-creator with Jimmy Perry of Dad’s Army, then running on the BBC – suggesting writing what turned out to be Are You Being Served?, the sitcom that ran for 69 episodes. It was so global in its bawdy reach that, legend has it, the opening of the Israel’s parliament once had to be delayed as it clashed with the show Knesset members loved.

Lloyd also wrote a detective series called Whodunnit? (1973-74), the sitcoms Oh Happy Band (1980) and Come Back Mrs Noah (1977-78), and a sequel to Are You Being Served?, Grace and Favour (1992-93), as well as a Mittyesque novel, The Adventures of Captain Dangerfield (1973). Lloyd was, though, most proud of creating Captain Beaky and his band of animal adventurers (including Hissing Sid, Batty Bat and Timid Toad). He wrote poems and lyrics for the stage show and books, with illustrations by Keith Michell (the actor best known for his portrayal of Henry VIII) and music by Jim Parker. Thanks to being played incessantly on Radio 1 by Lloyd’s friend Noel Edmonds, the song Captain Beaky peaked at No 5 in the UK singles chart in 1980, and the stage show was a great popular, if not critical, success.

But it was another Croft-Lloyd collaboration, ’Allo ’Allo, that would prove even more successful than Are You Being Served? Some disliked its jaunty attitude to Hitlerian occupation and racial and sexual stereotyping; others enjoyed its unremittingly daffy characters, such as the tall gendarme who, for reasons that don’t bear an instant’s scrutiny, spoke to everybody in scarcely comprehensible Franglais, offering apercus such as: “It’s a gid loof, if you don’t wicken.”

Lloyd had such fun on the show that he became briefly engaged to Carole Ashby, who played the demented Louise of the Communist Resistance. Michelle of the De Gaulle Resistance, played by Kirsten Cooke, had the catchphrase that Lloyd took for the title of his memoir: strictly speaking, it should have been spelled Leesten Vairy Carefully, I Shall Say Zees Arnly Wernce. ’Allo ’Allo was such a triumph that it ran to nearly 90 episodes. The BBC managed to sell the show to the Germans, who may have liked how its Nazis were depicted as harmlessly pervy and bumbling.

In 2011 Lloyd’s lineup for a Royal Albert Hall revival of Captain Beaky included Lumley and Roger Moore. The following year he was appointed OBE for services to comedy.

In 1992, Lloyd married the actor Collette Northrop. Earlier this year he got married again, to the interior designer Lizzy Moberly, who survives him.
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post #98762 of 98771 Old Yesterday, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post
TV Notes
Cable cranks out midseason debuts
By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Dec. 26, 2014

Jan. 24: “Black Sails” (9 p.m. Jan. 24, Starz).
Got my dvr set tomorrow starting 3:00pm starz is playing season 1 all 8 episodes.
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post #98763 of 98771 Old Yesterday, 11:58 PM
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TV Notes
On The Air Tonight
SUNDAY Network Primetime Options
(All shows are in HD unless noted; start times are ET)

7PM - America's Funniest Home Videos
(R - Oct. 12)
8PM - Revenge
(R - Nov. 16)
9PM - Revenge
(R - Nov. 30)
10PM - Revenge
(R - Dec. 7)

7PM - NFL Football: Regional Coverage (from 4:25PM, LIVE)
7:30PM - 60 Minutes
8:30PM - Undercover Boss
9:30PM - The Mentalist
10:30PM - CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

7PM - Football Night in America (80 min., LIVE)
8:20PM - Sunday Night Football: Cincinatti Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (LIVE)

7PM - NFL Football: Regional Coverage (from 4:25PM, LIVE)
7:30PM - 60 Minutes
8PM - The Simpsons
(R - Oct. 5)
8:30PM - Brooklyn Nine-Nine
(R - Sep. 28)
9PM - Family Guy
(R - Oct. 19)
9:30PM - Bob's Burgers
(R - Nov. 24, 2013)

(check your local listing for starting time/programming)
7PM - Vicious: Holiday Special
7:30PM - Downton Abbey Rediscovered
(R - Nov. 30)
8PM - The Great British Baking Show: Cake (Season Premiere)
9PM - Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey Season 4 (120 min.)
(R - Feb. 23)

7PM - Aquí y Ahora
8PM - La Rosa de Guadalupe: Amigas por Siempre (Special)
9PM - Sal y Pimienta: Musica, Muerte y Tragedia (Special, 120 min.)

6:30PM - Movie: The Smurfs (2011)
8:30PM - Movie - The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)
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Business Notes
Aereo To Sell Off Technology In Bankruptcy Deal
By Patrick Hipes, - Dec. 26, 2014

Aereo has reached a deal with broadcasters in U.S. Bankruptcy Court that will allow the former streaming service to auction off its TV technology — as long the the networks be allowed to monitor the process and examine any potential deal. The latest news comes after Aereo filed for voluntary Chapter 11 reorganization last month following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June that Aereo must pay broadcasters to retransmit their free, over-the-air signals.

According to the order (read it here, along with the auction guidelines) filed Wednesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York, the final bidding deadline is February 15, 2015 “for all or substantially all of its assets, pursuant to Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code (the “Sale”), as an entirety or in one or more lots,” wrote U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean H. Lane. The court said the auction will be held February 24, with a deadline of sale approval set for March 11. The creditors — including the parent companies of the Big 4 networks– will receive weekly updates on the sales process and be allowed to attend the auction.

The doc also says Aereo retains the right to seek approval of a stalking horse and stalking horse bid “consistent with the Bidding Procedures,” including payment of any break-up fee.

That Supreme Court case ended pretty much all hope that Aereo could continue as a TV service, which broadcasters opposed because it violated networks’ copyrights. In October, a U.S. District Court imposed a nationwide injunction. The company also hoped that the FCC or the U.S. Copyright Office might deem it the equivalent of a cable company, which might have opened opportunities to negotiate programming deals or offer local broadcast signals for a relatively small fee.

At the time of the bankruptcy filing, Aereo said it was to preserve its value “without the extensive cost and distraction of defending drawn out litigation in several courts.”
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post #98765 of 98771 Old Today, 12:05 AM
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TV Review
‘Branson Famous’
By Brian Lowry, - Dec. 26, 2014

There’s bad, there’s fabulously bad, and then there’s “Branson Famous.” What TruTV is billing as the first “reality musical” – and quietly unleashing, understandably, between Christmas and New Year’s – achieves a certain level of hilarity, though how much of that is intended proves difficult to discern. In this half-hour soap built around a performing family and their Branson, Mo., stage/variety revue, the characters don’t just deliver their direct-to-camera thoughts but sing their feelings, with one silly line rhyming with the next. As for the participants, they’re due to receive a measure of fame, all right, although probably not the kind they envisioned.

At the center of the series is the Mabe family, which performs in the long-running Baldknobbers Jamboree. The act consists of the extended family, minus one sister who desperately wants to escape her lot working in the gift shop but, alas, sings like someone who wouldn’t get invited to Los Angeles on “American Idol.”

Jumping right in, the show picks up with the son, Brandon, and his parents Tim and Patty auditioning new singers in an effort to help fill empty seats. They quickly settle on the pretty and perky Heather Gentry (who is dramatically introduced in silhouette), much to the chagrin of Brandon’s girlfriend and co-star, Megan McCombs, who doesn’t get along particularly well with Patty, mostly because she broke up Brandon’s marriage.

OK, so all that’s equal parts country-and-western song and “Nashville.” Where “Branson Famous” wildly goes off the rails is during the between-drama interludes, where Brandon sings, “I’m chasin’ Branson fame,” and his mom follows that with, “I’m savin’ my family’s name.” Or Brandon’s crooned reassurance that “I ain’t no cheatin’ man,” while Megan sings back at him, rolling her eyes. There’s even a sort-of split-screen duet at one point involving Megan and Patty, which is every bit as silly as that sounds.

Like a lot of reality shows, enjoying “Branson Famous” – or at least, accepting it as “real” in any way – requires ignoring the existence of the show itself, which, presumably, might help solve some of the family’s money troubles, not just through program fees but the attention (good or ill) this exposure will bring to them. Then again, dwelling on such matters would appear to be giving the show more thought than those responsible (and especially those who wrote the lyrics) ever did.

TruTV is undergoing a kind of creative evolution, having relied on heavily staged unscripted shows, and now morphing into a more comedy-driven version of the same. There will be, inevitably, some trial and error during that process.

For sheer kitsch value, “Branson Famous” is so absurdly goofy it might not be a total loss, and if so, it wouldn’t be the first time Southern-fried reality has reaped dividends.

That said, there’s a fine line between being laughed with and laughed at, and if the Mabes wanted to escape this exercise with their dignity, then like many an old-fashioned country song, the producers and TruTV have done them wrong.

'Branson Famous'
TruTV, Mon. Dec. 29, 10 p.m.
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TV/Nielsen Notes (Cable)
CNN Scores Youngest Audience Age of 2014 Due to Network’s New Original Series
By Jordan Chariton, - Dec. 26, 2014

CNN’s median audience age in primetime dropped by two years in 2014, making it the youngest cable news network.

According to Nielsen, the median age of the CNN viewer during primetime dropped from 60 in 2013 to 58 in 2014. That’s the lowest viewer age since 2008, which was the network’s lowest since 1992.

CNN’s chief competition — Fox News and MSNBC — were both older: Fox by a decade, at 68, and MSNBC at 61; up a year from 60 in 2013.

The two-year drop for CNN might not seem that significant to the naked eye, but it’s helpful for the network while shopping its programming to advertisers and sponsors. The drop in audience age is in large part attributable to the network’s investment in original series like “Anthony Boudain: Parts Unknown,” “The Hunt” with John Walsh, “This is Life” with Lisa Ling,” and “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” with Mike Rowe.

The advantage of these shows is two-fold: they offer speciality programming that serves a variety of audiences interested in travel, culinary and cultural programming while also being DVR-friendly.

Shows like this were part of the reason CNN landed on TheWrap’s top 5 media winners of 2014 list, along with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, The Blaze’s Glenn Beck, Lebron James, and ABC News.
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TV Review
'The Great British Baking Show'
Mouth-watering desserts and well-mannered judges? Smash U.K. series rises to the challenge
By David Hinckley, New York Daily News - Dec. 26, 2014

“The Great British Baking Show” could be subtitled “The Anti-Gordon Ramsay Show.”

“Great British Baking” is as cheerful, polite and well-mannered as Ramsay is impetuous, loud and confrontational.

It's also become quite the hit in the U.K., and now PBS has brought it here. Not by coincidence, it launches a week before another show featuring good British manners, “Downton Abbey.”

In principle, it’s not terribly different from other baking shows. A dozen contestants have to create a specific baked good, and the results are judged by people with famous palates — including, in this case, renowned British baker and author Mary Berry.

One of the challenges the first week is to bake a cake from a Berry recipe. The twist is that the contestants don’t get the whole recipe, just the ingredients and a general sense of what it should look like.

Yet even when some of the results are rather shoddy, there is no humiliation. The judges limit themselves to a sympathetic, albeit honest, assessment.

True, that contrasts with most reality competition shows these days. No pain, no ratings gain.

But this show doesn't seem to mind being different, which is underscored by the fact that it’s filmed in a tent in the middle of a lush meadow.

For the first round, the sun shines brightly into the tent, which may lead weather buffs to ask who stole Britain and replaced it with this imposter.

No matter. The filming is superb, and the baked goods look delectable. Plus, cooking for Mary Berry is a lot easier on the digestion than cooking for Gordon Ramsay.

'The Great British Baking Show'
Network/Air Date: PBS, Sunday at 8 p.m.
Rating: ★★★ (out of five)
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Critic's Notes
Great TV 2014: Not a List, Not in Order
By Emily Nussbaum,

For four years, I’ve refused to write a top-ten list. My motives were suspect. A good chunk of it was principle, but it’s hard to deny that there’s an element of entitlement. After all, I was lucky enough to be working at a venue outside the journalistic list mines. I’ve written my share of lists, and they make me itch—so reductive, so mathematical. Also, like all TV critics, I haven’t watched everything.

On the other hand, it’s hard to deny that some shows are better than others—and I’m hardly immune to arguing. So this year I thought I’d begin my annual refusal to make a list with some comparisons. Among other things, statistically speaking, Amazon’s “Transparent” is 27.5 times better than FX’s “Fargo.” (I measured.) Yes, they are very different. “Fargo,” which has topped several best-TV lists, is a stylized drama that strips the Coen brothers’ movies for parts. The series includes some truly beautiful scenes, including a dazzling shootout in the snow. But it is the same old, same old: just another of cable drama’s nicely tailored empty suits. In contrast, “Transparent,” Jill Soloway’s new series about a bunch of L.A. Jews, feels new. It swings. It’s funny, sad, loose, dirty, humane without being corny—it opens doors. It changes the viewer. “Fargo” ’s stylish looks are certainly seductive, but they’re a charade: the show is less auteurist than auteurist-ish. “Transparent” shakes up the system.

NBC’s “Hannibal” is another show like that: a gorgeous, radical, unsettling horror series, a joint vision of empathy and cruelty. It is fifteen times better than HBO’s “True Detective,” for all of the latter’s manly charms. “Jane the Virgin” is thirty times better than ninety per cent of all network shows. Fiona Apple’s theme song to “The Affair” is way better than “The Affair.” Watch “Outlander,” not “Downton Abbey”!

O.K., I’ll drop the fake math and rude comparisons. The truth is, this is an oddly difficult year to boil down. Everything is in flux, in the best way: the TV seasons have dissolved, and so has the distinction between comedy and drama. Directors have begun to flood a medium that used to be run by writers. New variations on television keep pouring through odd outlets, from Netflix and Amazon and probably, soon, your coffee maker. Online TV is blossoming for real.

First up, here are some shows that feel new—the ones that shake up the idea of what TV can be. They’re not in order. I recommend, however, that you skip to HBO’s “Getting On,” which, like “Hannibal,” I never got around to reviewing—my biggest regret of the year. Set in a geriatric unit, with a genius ensemble (including Niecy Nash and Laurie Metcalf), it’s “Enlightened” all over again: an odd-sounding HBO sleeper that never got press but is unlike anything you’ve seen. Pray for a third season.

Amazon’s “Transparent.”

HBO’s “Getting On.”

NBC’s “Hannibal.”

Vimeo’s “High Maintenance.”

Channel 4’s “Black Mirror,” a sci-fi series to resurface your brain.

HBO’s “The Leftovers,” a weepy oddity with miraculous force.

Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black.”

HBO’s “Olive Kitteridge,” a stealthy, slow-fuse literary adaptation.

Comedy Central’s “Broad City,” shaggy, salty, and crazy confident.

Of course, new isn’t all that’s interesting. Below are the shows I recommend when people are looking for a drama, once I figure out whether they’re looking to cry, solve a murder, or are simply one of all the people who live on earth, to whom I recommend “The Good Wife.” Again, they are not in order.

FX’s “The Americans,” especially after its near-perfect Season 2.

CBS’s “The Good Wife.” Please go back and watch it all.

BBC’s “Sherlock,” which stars Benedict Cumberbatch.

ABCFamily’s “The Fosters,” a warm, intelligent, and deep family series.

CW’s “Jane the Virgin,” the best new show of the year, if I made lists.

Showtime’s “Homeland,” which had a memorable comeback season.

Netflix’s “Happy Valley,” a gritty, affecting crime drama.

BBC’s “Call the Midwife,” a satisfying British historical medical procedural.

AMC’s still-trippy “Mad Men.”

HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” most likely—though because time is non-infinite, I never managed to catch up on the whole season.

(Full disclosure: I’m entirely caught up on “Nashville,” although it is objectively twenty-three times more terrible than “Game of Thrones.”)

If I were really doing this in order, my whole non-list might be comedies—and half the shows listed above are very funny. Anyway, in no order, these are some favorite half-hour series that contain jokes, although there are a bunch missing (like “Review” and “Peep Show”) that I need to catch up on.

FXX’s “Always Sunny,” now and forever.

HBO’s “Girls,” endlessly critiqued, now entering Season 4, in which Hannah gets critiqued.

FX’s “Louie,” which hits and misses in the best way.

FXX’s “You’re the Worst,” the best new sitcom of the year, if I made lists.

Fox’s “The Mindy Project,” the rare network sitcom with bite and idiosyncrasy.

FX’s “Archer,” good counter-programming for every horrible thing in the news.

ABC’s “The Middle,” the perfect family sitcom.

“The Comeback,” a caustic skeleton key to television.

IFC’s “Portlandia,” Comedy Central’s “Key & Peele,” and Comedy Central’s “Inside Amy Schumer”—fantastic sketch shows.

FOX’s “Bob’s Burgers,” which has a cult following for good reason.

Comedy Central’s “Drunk History,” from which you’ll learn more than you realize (although I regret not catching up with “The Roosevelts,” which I would almost certainly have somewhere on this non-list).

HBO’s “Veep” found its feet in Season 2 and has been kicking ever since.
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