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  1. Five things to watch on BBC iPlayer this week

    Tuesday 18 November 2014, 15:15

    Sophie Maden Sophie Maden Researcher

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    Because sometimes life’s not about learning to dance in the rain, like nobody’s watching – it’s about entertaining yourself with top telly while you wait for the storm to pass.

    Helpfully, you can now view a range of on-demand programmes to suit the amount of time you have to spare. Whatever your excuse for indulging in a spot of TV watching, our top picks will help you to pass the time.

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    BBC iPlayer, always there when you need it

    If you’re overly keen and arrive too early for your date
    Original comedy shorts: Matt Berry, Lone Wolf

    Ever wonder what a nature documentary would sound like, when voiced by comedian and general megamouth Matt Berry, instead of David Attenborough? With eloquent descriptions like “Elks stink to high heaven”, it’s an informative way to spend those awkward five minutes.

    Matt Berry: Lone Wolf Comedian Matt Berry employs some fruity language in this alternative documentary
    If you’d just like another half hour in the warmth of your bed, please
    Sweat the Small Stuff

    Have you noticed how moaning about the things that grind your gears actually makes you feel happier? Nick Grimshaw and his motley crew of Rochelle Humes and Melvin Odoom more than understand, and have created...

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  2. Peaky Blinders: Filming with a PJ Harvey trilogy

    Tuesday 4 November 2014, 16:35

    Colm McCarthy Colm McCarthy Director

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    One of the things that I liked very much about the first series of Peaky Blinders was the use of atmospheric contemporary music within the palette of the soundtrack. This was something that I was keen to develop and refine as part of my approach to directing series two. I loved the use of Nick Cave's songs and along with show creator Steven Knight and the music producers, we all discussed that the track Red Right Hand was part of the brand and we decided to keep this. We use it playfully throughout the series with several other versions and different contexts changing its meaning and feel.

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    Listen to Flood’s remix of Red Right Hand by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

    One thing that changed this year around the overall tone of the show was Steve's notion that the first series was opium and this second series was cocaine. I took this mostly to represent the hunger and ambition of Tommy Shelby as well as the loosening grip on reality and emotional peaks and troughs of the other characters. Therefore I wanted this year to have a different voice within the music and to blend the original tracks into the score in a way that would make the music more cohesive in its voice.

    My fantasy from...

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  3. The Missing: Finding the location for a dark journey

    Tuesday 4 November 2014, 16:22

    Tom Shankland Tom Shankland Director

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    One of the many things that excited me about directing Jack and Harry Williams' scripts for The Missing was the clever use of two time zones to tell their twisty-turny thriller. I loved the idea of really contrasting the bright, colourful atmosphere of a family holiday in France, with a bleak, wintry present when all our characters are more estranged from each other.
    The Hughes family Tony (James Nesbitt) and Emily Hughes (Frances O’Connor) in the town square with Oliver
    For 2006, the year Oliver Hughes goes missing, I kept thinking of summer holidays I’d had as a kid, when we actually did break down a few times in France. I remembered the exotic sounds of mopeds and cicadas, the bursts of colour in a market, the way everyone seems to live on the streets and in town squares. After Oliver’s disappearance, I wanted to make those same sensations feel threatening. The woods around a beautiful outdoor pool would now exude menace. Cheering voices in the Grand Place would suddenly sound abrasive and threatening.
    James Nesbitt in The Missing Tony searches the same town square after his son Oliver has just disappeared
    In the wintry present, we used many fewer extras so streets would be almost deserted, making Tony Hughes ...

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  4. Five creepy things to watch this Halloween

    Thursday 30 October 2014, 13:38

    Sophie Maden Sophie Maden Researcher

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    From nightmare-inducing horror films to so many creepy crawlies you’ll be too scared to leave the sofa – carve out those pumpkins and brace yourself for a screamfest of a Halloween night in…

    Halloween pumpkin Are you all set for some spooky telly this Halloween?

    Spider House

    Available to watch now in BBC iPlayer

    If the thought of spiders makes you run away in fear – look away now… 

    Alice Roberts and Tim Cockerill Alice Roberts and scientist Tim Cockerill hang out with the house spiders

    Spider House might sound like the title of an undiscovered Alfred Hitchcock film, but it’s actually a scientific experiment – complete with...

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  5. The Missing: Building intrigue by shooting each actor differently

    Monday 27 October 2014, 10:31

    Tom Shankland Tom Shankland Director

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    One challenge about shooting The Missing’s two time zones was that we were shooting the present first, so the actors and I had to make sure that their performances were haunted by a past which we hadn’t yet shot.

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    Tony returns to Chalons Du Bois with evidence he hopes will lead him to his missing son.

    Me, Frances O’Connor and Jimmy Nesbitt were lucky enough to have a few days of rehearsal before the hectic shoot kicked in. I decided that during that period, we would only focus on all the 2006 scenes, that way when we went into shooting the present, we’d really experienced the past...

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  6. The Apprentice: Four cringey lessons in business

    Monday 13 October 2014, 08:59

    Matt Hewitt Matt Hewitt Researcher, TV Blog

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    When Lord Sugar first exercised his dreaded index finger in The Apprentice on 16 February 2005, Daniel Bedingfield was heading into the top 20, Grange Hill was still on TV, London was bidding to host the Olympics and Lord Sugar was plain old Sir Alan.

    Lord Sugar, flanked by his aides for the first five series, Margaret Mountford and Nick Hewer Lord Sugar, flanked by his aides for the first five series, Margaret Mountford and Nick Hewer


    Music tastes and news stories may come and go.

    But year after year, Britain seems to produce a crop of razor-sharp business minds bursting with more entrepreneurial talent than the last, able to give of themselves hundreds more percent than mathematicians...

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  7. Cat Watch 2014: Urban cats with bags of personality

    Tuesday 7 October 2014, 16:33

    Sophie Maden Sophie Maden Researcher

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    Cat Watch 2014: The New Horizon Experiment is a three-part follow up to 2013's The Secret Life Of The Cat. This time the Horizon team tracked and monitored 100 cats from varying urban environments in a further scientific exploration of the behaviour of Britain's felines. Using the latest in GPS and movement technology, Professor Alan Wilson, and his team from the Royal Veterinary College, set out to discover how cats from the town, village and farm differ in their characteristics.

    And these feline subjects in particular proved that when it comes to personality, no two moggies are the same...

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  8. Never Mind The Buzzcocks: Meet new host Rhod Gilbert

    Monday 6 October 2014, 17:03

    Rhod Gilbert Rhod Gilbert Comedian

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    What do you think you’re going to do that’s different to the two permanent hosts on Never Mind The Buzzcocks before you?
    All I can do is be myself and not let it keep me awake at night even though inevitably, it keeps me awake at night. I think my way is pretty sarcastic, dry, argumentative, competitive, bossy, piss-taking but ultimately inclusive, and I think that’s why they’ve asked me to do it.

    I’ve made a couple of suggestions and most changes have been taken on board. One of them is I don’t like it when I see people on the show just there to be just ridiculed. So everybody there...

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  9. QI: A day in the life of a QI Elf

    Friday 3 October 2014, 09:36

    Alex Bell Alex Bell QI Elf

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    This year is QI’s 12th series, which means that we’re looking at all things L. I’m a researcher, otherwise known as a QI Elf, and along with the other elves I’ve spent the past nine lunar months leafing through large literary lexicons, learning long lost languages, lurking in lugubriously lit libraries, leering at lewd likenesses of Lucretius, lambasting loose logic, listing this ludicrous litany of L-words... you get the idea.

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    Puffer fish impressions: Episode one looks at the largest and littlest of animal life

    A typical day of making QI starts early. The studio has to be transformed...

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  10. The Driver: Acting again with my childhood friend

    Monday 29 September 2014, 10:37

    David Morrissey David Morrissey Actor

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    In The Driver I play Vince McKee, a taxi driver working in Manchester. He is struggling in life, not necessarily financially, but emotionally.

    His eldest son has left home prematurely, and Vince can’t cope with life without him.

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    Watch the trail: Vince McKee is an ordinary man who makes a terrible decision


    His wife Ros (Claudie Blakley) isn’t prepared to talk about it, and Vince is only holding onto his sanity by his fingertips.

    One night he picks up an old friend in his cab. Col (Ian Hart) has just got out of jail after six years.

    He has fitted back in with his old gang and manages to put some...

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