Is 'Prey', John Simm's best work yet?
John Simm is a very, very good actor. We know that. Though many would argue that he's struggled to find the right television material since Life on Mars. Now, with ITV's 'Prey', Simm may have something on his hands. He plays Manchester Detective Marcus Farrow, who, when accused of a terrible crime, attempts to proves his innocence while being hunted for his former friends and colleagues.
John Simm as Marcus Farrow in ITV's 'Prey'
"We're attempting something different with Prey," said Nicola Shindler of Red Production Company when the show was announced in 2013.
Continue reading: John Simm Shows His Class in Bloody, Breathless 'Prey'
The director, known for poignant films and series throughout the past two decades, has lost her battle with cancer.
Antonia Bird, the director behind many high-profile film and television productions in the past decade, has died at the age of 54, according to a statement by her agent, made public by BBC News. 1994's Priest, 1997's Face and 1999's Ravenous, all starring Trainspotting actor Robert Carlyle. The actor mourned her death over Twitter earlier today.
Before moving on to television, Bird worked at as a theatre director at London's Royal Court. She made the move to the new medium in the late 80s, by writing several episodes of EastEnders and Casualty. In 1993, she won BAFTAs for Safe - a story about homeless teenagers written for BBC Two's Screenplay series - and Care, broadcast in 2000, which dealt with sexual abuse in a children's home. Some of her other achievements include a Bafta children's award for the 2009 BBC documentary Off By Heart, about a national poetry competition for schoolchildren, as well as the best film distinction at the Berlin International Film Festival and the People's Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival - both for Priest.
A statement by Bird’s husband announced that Antonia had passed away peacefully in her sleep, after struggling with a rare form of thyroid cancer for several months. Bird had an operation in April to remove the tumor, however that proved unsuccessful. In the end, Bird’s husband claimed that she had come to terms with the worst possible outcome.
The BBC may have struck gold once again with their fantastic new series The Village gaining mass approval after it was aired this weekend.
The Village, which aired on BBC 1 this Easter Weekend (March 30), has received an almost constant flow of praise since the first episode began to detail the trials and tribulations of a small Derbyshire village at the turn of the 20th century. The show delivers much more high drama than that lousy summarising sentence lets on though, as the BBC may have produced one of it's finest series in recent times with this historical series.
Maxine Peake delivers the goods as the domineering mother of young Bert Middleton
Writer Peter Moffat, the man behind the crime dramas Criminal Justice and Silk, has produced a show that gives it's audience a set of characters that you can instantly sympathise with, or begin to detest already, and by naming the central characters the Middletons (most likely after those Middletons), made them seem almost recognisable without even a glimpse into their back story. The titular Village is place halfway between Manchester and Sheffield in the Derbyshire countryside and although it's central character is not a direct descendant of the future Queen of England, he and his family still have plenty to tell, as it recollects the memories of England’s second-oldest man, 112-year-old Bert Middleton. The first tale to be told on Middleton's life is a love story and also one of technical innovation as the first omnibus to visit the small community arrives down the High Street, carrying the town's newest inhabitant Martha Lane (Charlie Murphy), with whomBert and his brother Joe (Nico Mirallegro) instantly fall for. Grance (Maxine Peake) and John Middleton (John Simm) are the boy's strict, lord of the manor parents.
An impressive cinematic experiment, this film is worth seeing for its big concept and documentary touches, even if the narrative is frustratingly underdeveloped. We can actually see the passage of time, as the cast and crew shot this fly-on-the-wall drama over five years. So it's a shame there's so little going on to hold our interest.
The story takes place in rural Norfolk, where Karen (Henderson) is struggling to take care of her four young children (played by the four Kirk siblings, using their own names). Her husband Ian (Simm) is in prison, and taking the kids to visit him is a big outing. Things get easier when he's transferred to a lower security location and given weekend passes to visit his family. But as the years pass, the children grow up and Karen and Ian's relationship begins to shift. And for help, Karen befriends a local man who fills Ian's upcoming release with mixed emotion.
Winterbottom assembles this as an intriguing blending of the kitchen-sink drama (most notably portrayed through Michael Nyman's surging score) and a grainy, hand-held documentary. There is no shape of a plot to speak of, and few significant events along the way. Essentially, the film is merely examining these four children as they age over five years, which is rather astonishing as we've never seen it captured on film like this. Their scenes with Henderson and Simm are especially well-played, beautifully revealing the affection and tension between parents, children, spouses, brothers and sisters. Even though we never find out why Ian was imprisoned, Simm gives him a quiet realism that plays nicely opposite Henderson's superbly underplayed exhaustion.
Continue reading: Everyday Review