Rogues & Vagabonds

theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013…

Look Back in Languor • Lynne Harvey • 4 November 2001

Graham Norton, Irish actor, comedian and telev...

Graham Norton, Irish actor, comedian and television presenter. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was a Sci Fi film in the fifties that had aliens looking and behaving like us mortals in every way, except for limited facial movement. The only way you could tell they were aliens was by looking behind the ears for line marks.

Looking at Cher on So Graham Norton I wonder if this film was a premonition. There’s something awry with a woman who can’t move the top of her face, show any emotion except surprise and looks in a constant state of shock. C’mon, what’s going on here?

Cher is rich in who she is, what she’s about and what she’s capable of, but she now has the look of a 70s showroom dummy, when she’s evidently no dummy. There’s clearly not much movement above the mouth but she could probably knit a jumper with her scalp.

What has happened to her voice? Her last two records sound as if she was burping through a vacuum cleaner. She’s one person who doesn’t need any electronic enhancement or effect as she has such an individual voice. I’m sure Graham Norton would have loved a facial reaction to his jokes and his warmth towards her, not just a dilation of the eyes.


There’s a new computer programme out that senses when your cat has walked over the keyboard, a message pops up saying “Cat-like typing sensed” to save your work from being deleted or corrupted. Manufacturers please note – we desperately need one that senses when the next insipid drama series is being written. It could say “Airwaves full of mediocre pap already, this programme will terminate”.

The first computer it should be fitted to is Chris Webb’s, who is credited for writing Doctors on BBC1 lunchtime. I thought things were pretty bad in TV drama land until I saw this and realised just how bad they are. Can it get any worse than this? The writing is lacklustre and uninteresting – and what doesn’t help is that some of the acting is pitiful. This is not drama, it’s TIE for Grown Ups. It takes something that is happening in the medical world and makes it into a drama exercise, not a drama. Are we all so used to this pap now that we just sit and take it? Is this what happens in drama schools now?


Principal Edward Tourniquet interviews Joanna Stellar for the new term’s intake.

Principal Tourniquet: So Joanna, you want to train here at Black Leggings in the craft of acting.
Joanna: Yes, it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.
Principal Tourniquet: Good. We will of course train you in all disciplines; theatre, film, television and radio, but you do realise that everything you learn, every skill you pick up, all vocal training and the summer term on characterisation is now no longer needed and just there for old times’ sake?
Joanna: No, I…
Principal Tourniquet: You see it’s like this. Actors have become the natural wastage of the entertainment industry. It’s nice to have these skills, of course; like learning macramé, you never know when you might need it, and it’ll be nice for you to be in plays and use your skills whilst at drama school, but in the real world, you won’t be needing them. In fact, anyone who can act might just be a threat to the BBC drama department, so my advice is to keep it to yourself and just emote, empathise and laugh in the right places, it’s all that’s required now. Don’t go for depth, it’s out of fashion, and you might just make the producer insecure. He has to feel he’s commissioned the right project, shallow, mediocre, offending no one and saying nothing – otherwise no award. Can’t have that can we? Welcome to Black Leggings.


If the above isn’t happening, it soon will. What this present climate of shallow talent has given us is the spot-the-actor game – you know, the ones who can actually do it – even making something out of an unpromising script.

The actor that stands out for me in the last two weeks is Adrian Lukis, who played the part of a stiff and starchy officer husband in Back Home (21 October ITV). Another starring part for Sarah Lancashire, of course, who was miscast – but hey, there are only two actresses in England, the other one being Pauline Quirke, so in that respect it was good casting.

Lukis took away some of the sugary sweet feelgood factor of the piece and made you want to watch him. An incredible feat, given what he had to work with. Although I can’t imagine him picking up any awards or getting leading roles as his name isn’t John Thaw or David Jason, but I suppose it shows there’s a small hope for the people who can do it.


Quiz question of the week: What does the category Most Popular Actor mean in an award ceremony? Popular [a] with the public or [b] with narrow-minded casting directors?

Lynne Harvey © 4th November 2001

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Food & Wine

Coffee fuels my photography!

~ my everyday life through the lens of my camera ~

Polly's Paper Studio

Vintage Inspired Paper Crafts & Digital Design

Life on La Lune

A journey through life in Southwest France

Vanessa Couchman

Historical Fiction with a French Flavour

Disability & Determination

Living life in the in-between with a slightly visible disability

Nicholas Andriani Rankin

Writer. Poet. ELearning Instructor & Narrative Designer: Researching Fandom Through Literature, Folklore, Game Studies, Pop Culture & Visual Media.

Joe Ruggiero at Home

Daily Reflections from My Home and Garden

Mitch Teemley

The Power of Story

Genealogy Jude

Unlocking the Door to Your Past


by Jack Monroe, bestselling author of 'A Girl Called Jack'

Stevie Turner

Realist, writer, reader, reviewer and rocker.

The Stuff They Won't Include in Any Tourist Guide: The Real England

The Real England is a concise, direct, and not-so-gentle window into the depths of the leftovers of the world’s once greatest empire. It is told from the perspective of one lone (or not so lone) long term visitor. It informs one of the dregs of the country and helps to explain quaint British oddities such as the crack addicted chav.

S.O.U.L. S-P-A-C-E

Artists, Writers and Visionaries Blog on the Unique and Ordinary

The Lady Sews

Collected works and other excuses from a textile obssessive


Defending Scientism


has random thoughts

Criminal Historian

Working with dead people


Writing - Loving What I Do and Doing What I Love!


the darker side to sedge808

Off Center & Not Even

Photographs, music and writing about daily life. Contact:

Reina Cottier Art

Creative Intuitive from New Zealand

Tenafly Road

Family Saga Fiction by Adrienne Morris


Burgers, Books, Music, Movies, Offbeat Adventures & Pop Culture!

Etan Smallman

Freelance journalist

Assemblage Art

theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013...

Candia Comes Clean

Candid cultural comments from the Isles of Wonder


Horror, Science Fiction, Comic Books and More

The Wandering Empath

Traveling the World Through Others

I didn't have my glasses on....

A trip through life with fingers crossed and eternal optimism.


Art, Literature, Poetry, Politics and a little History

Jet Eliot

Travel and Wildlife Adventures

Judith Barrow

Writer & Author

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Tropical Affair

Observations of the illusion through the eyes of wonder...


Adventures in Watercolor Painting and Sketching, Watercolour Magazine, with Charlie O'Shields

Life in Russia

The Bridge between two countries

London Life With Liz

A lifestyle blog with a little bit of everything.

Brotherly Love

A personal exploration of autism from a brother’s perspective, including family relationships, philosophy, neuroscience, mental health history and ethics

Alex Raphael

Entertainment, travel and lifestyle blog

Teagan's Books

Founder of the Three Things Method of Storytelling

%d bloggers like this: