Posts by Carmen Croghan

British Actors You Should Know: James Nesbitt

Today’s “actor you should know” owns half a prize winning race horse, has acted as a UNICEF UK ambassador since 2005 and is the current Chancellor of the University of Ulster, no less. A proud Northern Irishman, James Nesbitt is a big fan of sport (particularly Manchester United and his hometown team, Coleraine) and has recently started presenting travel programs including one entitled James Nesbitt’s Ireland.

You may wonder how this charming, talented fella finds time for his main job – acting. But Nesbitt’s been working steadily since the early 90’s and it doesn’t appear that he’s planning on letting up anytime soon.

Let’s look at a small sampling of his many excellent roles over the years.

Celebrate Robert Burns Night with Some Scottish Telly

You don’t have to be a poetry fan to be familiar with the work of Scottish national poet, Robert Burns. In fact if you’ve ever sung Auld Lang Syne at a New Year’s Eve party, you have performed a piece of Burns’ work.

So beloved is Burns to his fellow countrymen that he was named the greatest Scot of all time in a STV poll in 2009. In fact, Burns’ birthday is celebrated as an unofficial Scottish holiday with suppers held in his honor on or around January 25th. These traditional gatherings are organized around the world, in people’s homes and in swanky halls. No matter where it’s held or how fancy the event, however, there are certain elements that are a part of all Burns’ suppers.

Just a quick look around YouTube will demonstrate the range and scope of these celebrations in honor of Scotland’s favorite son.

British Actors You Should Know: Robert Sheehan

Sometimes when you watch a young actor on screen you just know they’re something special. They have charisma, a presence, something that makes them shine beyond their cast mates.

Irish actor Robert Sheehan is just shy of his twenty-sixth birthday and he’s already made a pretty big name for himself - and not just because he’s got the loveliest green eyes and tousled dark hair. He’s got acting chops aplenty. Let’s look at some of Sheehan’s performances over his already decade long career to see why he’s on so many up-and-coming lists.

Meet the 2014 BAFTA Nominees for the British Film of the Year – What Makes These Films Qualify?

Award season 2014 is in full swing and new nominations seem to be announced nearly every day. So far we’ve heard pronouncements from the Golden Globes, SAG awards, Critics Choice, and Independent Spirit…all leading to the Holy Grail of statuettes, the Oscar.

BAFTA, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, has also announced its film nominations for the year just gone by and it’s a very international hodgepodge indeed. While Hollywood is still the Mecca of all things show business, the multi-national trend of moviemaking continues to gain momentum. Determining the actual country of origin of any given film is an increasingly complicated task. BAFTA and the British Film Institute have their own convoluted guidelines, including a culture test, which determine a movie’s Britishness. Let’s take a closer look at the BAFTA category of Outstanding British Film of the Year to discover what it takes to qualify.

Escape the Cold with Some Sunny Telly Holidays

Does the current deep freeze have you wishing for warmer climes? Have you and yours succumbed to cabin fever yet? If so, I have some suggestions for British television series that will transport you with their sunny seascapes and tropical breezes.

Yes, you read that correctly. I am talking about Britain, that rainy island just across the Atlantic. The following shows are British through and through even when the setting is not. So slather on your sun cream and set up your deck chair because this list has been compiled to help you thaw your poor frozen mind and body.

In Memoriam 2013

It’s a sad occasion whenever we are faced with bidding farewell to actors and other creative types who have enriched our lives with their outstanding talents. What follows is a list of some of the British actors/personalities who passed in 2013. Fortunately for us, they left behind a generous body of work for us to enjoy for years to come.

The Most Interesting British Telly Families We Met in 2013

Few people would refute that the holidays are a time for family. Whether it fills you with anticipation or dread, reuniting with loved ones is a big expectation of the season. I personally enjoy getting together with my relatives to reminisce and catch up with one another. A nice meal, a heartfelt exchange of presents and a hug on the way out the door? What’s not to like?

However, when I think about some of the clans I’ve met while watching telly this year, I have to concede that family matters can be complicated. By now you must know that I have compiled a list of some recent shows that have featured family scenarios, both loving and dysfunctional.

You just might rethink how mad, or just dramatic, your relatives really are…

Naughty and Nice British Television Shows of 2013

Father Christmas sure must have his work cut out for him. With all that business of trying to determine who’s been naughty and who’s been nice, it surely must do his head in a bit. How do I know? Because I’ve been attempting to do the same with the British TV shows of the past year and have found it to be more difficult that I originally thought.

First of all, there is no way I could watch every series broadcast in the past twelve months, even if I lived in the UK and did nothing but sit on the couch with my eyes glued to the tube 24 hours a day. Therefore, I reviewed the list of programs I had watched, sorted them into quick first-impression categories, ruminated on the line-up I had assembled and then narrowed down both lists to the naughtiest and the nicest British shows of 2013.

Beyond Television: A Look at 'Making Masterpiece'

As the blog’s name suggests, we normally talk telly here at Telly Visions, but today I’d like to share with you a book I’ve been reading that I believe is an appropriate subject for this forum. It chronicles a television program near and dear to my heart and yours, I’m sure.

In Making Masterpiece: My 25 Years behind the Scenes at Masterpiece and Mystery! on PBS Rebecca Eaton, the executive producer of Masterpiece, tells two stories you’ll want to read if you’ve been a fan of the Masterpiece brand in recent years. The history of Masterpiece and Eaton’s personal memoir intertwine to create a compelling narrative about the ups and downs of a cultural institution and the woman who has been at its helm for the past quarter century.

Read on for more details.

British Telly Chefs: Who Would You Trust to Make Your Thanksgiving Feast?

In case you’ve lost track of time, Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, a holiday which holds many fond memories and a lot of anticipation for me.

It’s a great celebration for several reasons. As the name suggests, it reminds us to be thankful for all the good things in our lives. I find Thanksgiving to be less stressful than Christmas; one single day designated for families to gather together and gorge on the most delicious meal of the year. We also get to watch a parade that features giant character balloons and Broadway musical numbers. Only in America, right?

I don’t know if the Brits are jealous of our feast-based holiday, but I do know Americans miss the holiday terribly when they’re away from home. Let’s say you found yourself in the UK over the Thanksgiving holidays, no family and no kitchen facilities of your own. Who would you choose to prepare this most important repast, the meal that would make you feel less homesick on this special day?

Jamie? Gordon? Nigella, you say? They’re all fine and good and granted they are real food preparation professionals. Nonetheless, the telly chefs I have in mind tend to be a tad more amusing.

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