Brian Donaldson

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Frank Skinner: 'YouTube has already totally killed the anecdote’

23 Apr 2014

The comedian talks to us about live performance and dirty jokes ahead of his Man in a Suit tour

He may have started in the stand-up game relatively late at the ripe old age of 30, but Frank Skinner can’t be accused of not making up lost ground. The Perrier winner of 1991 has done chat shows, chatted about football with his old flatmate while being…

Glenn Wool prepares 'greatest hits' show The Jokes I’m Most Fond Of

23 Apr 2014

The Canadian comic and sometime lumberjack will be supported on tour by Frankie Boyle

It’s perhaps curious that Glenn Wool should have been so comfortable as part of the Lumberjacks trio: he’s a comic who comes across as both single-minded and maverick. Then again, touring the country with fellow UK-based Canadians Stewart Francis and…

Warren United

22 Apr 20143 stars

Johnny Vegas, Darren Boyd and Morwenna Banks voice ITV4's hit-and-miss cartoon football comedy

The big pitch for this new animated sitcom about football and family from Baby Cow is that it’s here just in time for the Champions League Semi-Finals and Brazil World Cup. My guess is that people looking forward to those particular events won’t need a…

TV review: Mad Men - Season 7

18 Apr 20144 stars

The 60s ad drama returns with the 70s on the horizon

The world of Mad Men has always been rich with visual metaphors. You only have to look at the opening credits to see a central character who has no identity (faceless and blank, his back to us most of the time) falling through the sky and out of…

Review: Fargo - TV series

18 Apr 20144 stars

Coen brothers classic gets a brand new life on TV with Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton

For the first ten minutes you’ll wonder why the heck they bothered. The fears of anyone who couldn’t get through a day during the mid to late 90s without watching, thinking or breathing the Coen brothers snowy cult classic, Fargo, appeared to be…

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New Worlds

31 Mar 20144 stars

Follow-up to The Devil’s Whore ramps up the carnage and injustice

‘It’s a world where you’d be going to one of the new Restoration plays or a lecture at the Royal Society, walking past bodies in gibbets and heads on poles.’ New Worlds co-creator Peter Flannery discusses the inherent tensions of 1680s England ahead of…

Glasgow International Comedy Festival: 5 show titles that require explanation

24 Mar 2014

Featuring 'Do Bananas Dream of Plastic Fruit Baskets?' and 'Zuma + King Rizzler: Bring Sum Beef'

1 Smells Like Shite … Tastes Like Chicken Matthew Finlayson turns 30 and decides to make up his mind what he’s going to do with his life. He had a cat in his publicity pic for last August and has footage on his Facebook page of snakes and squirrels…

Mammon

21 Mar 20143 stars

A gloomy, turgid Scandi TV drama that doesn't measure up to Borgen, The Bridge et al

It was probably only a matter of time. Those clever Danes and Swedes may have dominated the recent Nordic TV explosion towards these shores, but now Norway is giving it its best shot. The seemingly acclaimed Mammon is a sibling drama against the…

My Comedy Heroes: Julia Sutherland on Limmy, Maria Bamford and more

18 Mar 2014

The comedian also idolises Eddie Izzard and the Absolutely sketch crew

When I was young, I never felt like stand-up comedy was for me. But I revelled in the weird and wonderful world of sketch comedy (French & Saunders, The Fast Show and Absolutely) with my school friend Marie and I learning the latter’s sketches off…

Interview: comedian Mike Wozniak on his latest show, Take the Hit

18 Mar 2014

The show focuses on a man browbeaten into domestic torment

Mike Wozniak’s 2013 Edinburgh Fringe success Take the Hit may well be one of the most tightly written stand-up shows in recent times. Ostensibly the story of a man browbeaten into domestic torment by having to share a small house with his in-laws, he…

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Pam Ann: withering wit from the world’s most sarcastic air hostess

18 Mar 2014

The character is the creation of Aussie comedian Caroline Reid

Savage satirist that she is, how tempting will it be for Pam Ann to take on the most bizarrely fascinating air travel story of the day? Or will good taste prevail and the words ‘Flight MH370’ remain unmentioned throughout Fly? This phrase in her blurb…

TV comedy series The Walshes marks new direction for Graham Linehan

12 Mar 20143 stars

Graham Linehan’s new show steers away from the daft and broad work which made his name

After The IT Crowd had turned itself off for the last time, we all wondered what its creator Graham Linehan would do next. Not long after dusting himself down from an ambushed Radio 4 spat with The Guardian’s Michael Billington over his stage adaptation…

Shetland

10 Mar 20144 stars

Dougie Henshall simmers away as a Spanish-Scot crime-solver

Given the Shetland Islands’ close kinship with Scandinavia (it was a Norwegian province until the 15th century) does this returning crime show count as Nordic Noir? When Shetland first arrived last year, it was dubbed ‘the Scottish Killing’, but such…

The Wee Write Family Day provides an opportunity for young readers to engage with books

25 Feb 2014

Debi Gliori, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory & Elmer the Elephant are among this year's highlights

After almost a decade of Aye Write!, this established Glasgow books festival has now spawned Wee Write!, a debut spin-off for children, schools and families. Thousands of children will take part across the festival (which runs from Wed 5–Fri 14 Mar…

Interview: comedian Bobby Mair is Obviously Adopted and clearly talented

25 Feb 2014

'I don’t class myself as a dark comedian, I’m sure other people might, but to me it’s just normal'

Being adopted at birth might not sound like the easiest subject matter for a stand-up debut but Canadian comic Bobby Mair is able to walk any potential line of icky sentiment and crude offence with a winningly vulnerable stage demeanour. Ultimately…

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5 Scottish Comedians of the Year at Glasgow Intl Comedy Festival 2014

25 Feb 2014

Keep your eyes open for Scott Agnew, Mark Nelson, Larry Dean, Jamie Dalgleish and John Gavin

1 Scott Agnew One of the finest comperes in the land, Agnew can also flesh out excellent stories about his crazy old life. This one is entitled I've Snapped My Banjo String … So Let's Just Talk. Probably the tallest of all the Scottish Comedians of…

Interview: Russell Kane on UK tour in 2014 with his show Smallness

24 Feb 2014

Latest show spins around grand ideas and may be his biggest project to date

The comedy world of Russell Kane spins around grand ideas and major theories. He tells Brian Donaldson that Smallness may be his biggest project to date

The Birthday Suit - A Hollow Hole of Riches

21 Feb 20143 stars

Idlewild guitarist Rod Jones has a blast with his other project, which suffers from too much filler

At the end of last year, Rod Jones responded to an online campaign from angst-riddled Idlewild fans who demanded a boycott on their solo projects until the band started recording again. Jones rightly poo-pooed such notions, and no wonder, given that he…

My Comedy Hero: Andrew Doyle on Kenneth Williams

18 Feb 2014

Comedian Doyle pays tribute to the humourist and Carry On star

Kenneth Williams despised himself. Even at the age of 21 he wrote in his diary that he was a ‘suicidalist’ who didn’t ‘believe in existence at all’. And yet at the same time he looked down on virtually everyone else. One of my favourite entries in his…

TV review: The Smoke

18 Feb 20142 stars

A blistering opening sequence gives way to weak non-action segments in this firefighter drama

‘Tell you what: I’d rather have Kev Allison on a bad day than anyone else on a good one.’ This is what purports to be stirring dialogue in the world of The Smoke, a brand new British drama pitched somewhere between Backdraft and London’s Burning. ‘I’m…

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TV review: Fleming

11 Feb 20143 stars

Dominic Cooper is a suave operator as the chap who gave us Bond

You can perfectly understand why a dramatised biography would want to cover its back by declaring that some of the events portrayed might not have happened exactly the way they are being shown. In four-part mini-series Fleming, about the playboy who…

Danny Boyle-directed pilot of Babylon TV show from writers of Peep Show and Fresh Meat is underwhelming

7 Feb 20142 stars

New police comedy-drama from Bain & Armstrong shows no sign of becoming brutal and edgy satire

A fish out of water. It’s one of the oldest storytelling tropes in the book. Babylon drags Liz Garvey (Brit Marling) out of her comfort zone as head of communications at Instagram and plunges her into some murky waters as chief spin doctor for the…

TV review: Hank Zipzer

28 Jan 20143 stars

Henry Winkler stars in the adaptation of his own children's book series for CBBC

Henry Winkler will remain forever in the hearts of those who grew up in the 1970s as The Fonz, the leather-clad cool greaser-dude from Happy Days. To later audiences, he might also be remembered for his roles in Scream and Arrested Development, but away…

5 things you might not know about the I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue crew

28 Jan 2014

Barry Cryer, Graeme Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Jeremy Hardy and Jack Dee take the panel show on tour

1 Graeme Garden’s son John is the keyboard player for the Scissor Sisters. After being introduced to the Bristol Silents society by his dad, John created a new score for trailblazing dino-flick, The Lost World. 2 Tim Brooke-Taylor once directed Orson…

True Detective from HBO stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson

27 Jan 2014

New existential crime drama is TV heaven with a story from hell

On paper, the pitching of True Detective might not have set many pulses racing: two mismatched cops investigate a possible ritualistic serial killer in 1995, with both men having a list of flaws longer than the longest arm of the law. But, like sporting…