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What's the Deal with British Movie Stars These Days?
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Screenshot 2014-11-13 02.58.21Do you remember the old days when British movie stars were often Cockneys like Michael Caine or ex-coffin polishers like Sean Connery? Nowadays, they all seem to be Old Harrovians, such as Benedict Cumberbatch.

In this century, personal news about celebrities, such as Kim Kardashian’s engagement to Kanye West, is typically bartered for publicity or even cash.

Screenshot 2014-11-13 03.24.13However, Cumberbatch, who played Sherlock Holmes on British TV, announced his engagement the way Phileas Fogg would have in 1873 upon returning from going around the world in 80 days: by placing an ad in The Times (it’s not the London Times, it’s just the The Times.) “It’s what we do,” he explained for the benefit of those who need explanation.

Until 1966, The Times didn’t let anything as gauche as news intrude upon the front page, which was wholly devoted to classified ads. These served as a sort of jungle drums for the moneyed classes. Here’s a sample of Personal Ads from the March 2, 1966 front page, the last edition with only ads on Page One. The more cryptic, the better:

Mrs. Tzumaio (formerly Miss Sophie Selby-Lowndes) has cancelled all her engagements for Whitsun.

I don’t know what that means, but, presumably, Mrs. Tzumaio (formerly Miss Sophie Selby-Lowndes) was confident that the Right People would be scanning the ads on the front page of The Times daily and could be counted upon to take suitable action.

Here’s a write-up of the BBC production of a crypto-psychedelic Alice in Wonderland — with Peter Sellers, John Gielgud, Michael Redgrave, Peter Cook, Eric Idle, and Malcolm Muggeridge — mentioned in Jonathan Miller’s ad looking for an “enormous corridor.” (That reminds me: we’re supposed to believe that Life Before Diversity was crushingly unvibrant and boring, but 1960s London, which I visited in 1965 when I was six, always seemed pretty Austin Powersish to me.)

I imagine that the lack of news on the cover implied that The Times was not intended to serve readers so vulgar as to only take an interest in Imperial and Court affairs at some times but not at others. Your valet made sure your copy of The Times was on your breakfast tray every morning because you were were a gentleman and gentlemen read The Times.

 
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  1. British actors (not American actors of British descent) are vastly overrepresented in Hollywood compared to their share of the general U.S population.

    America no longer has a large British immigrant population, yet Hollywood has a lot of British actors. Is the salaries in The United Kingdom for film actors not that high, is that why so many of them come to America for the fatter paychecks ?

    • Replies: @slumber_j
    @Jefferson


    America no longer has a large British immigrant population, yet Hollywood has a lot of British actors.
     
    True, but at least when I lived there in the early nineties, LA did have an inordinately large number of UK immigrants. I always assumed they'd come for the climate and stayed for the dentistry or something... Anyway, it was a noticeable Westside phenomenon.
    , @dearieme
    @Jefferson

    "is that why so many of them come to America for the fatter pay checks ?" That's the usual reason for anyone to go to America.

    , @syonredux
    @Jefferson


    British actors (not American actors of British descent) are vastly overrepresented in Hollywood compared to their share of the general U.S population.

    America no longer has a large British immigrant population, yet Hollywood has a lot of British actors. Is the salaries in The United Kingdom for film actors not that high, is that why so many of them come to America for the fatter paychecks ?
     
    Hollywood is the world center of television and movie production. As Frost remarks in Frost/Nixon, America is the Big Show; if you make it there, you've made it everywhere.Hence, British actors have a real incentive to come to the States and try to make it in Hollywood.American actors, in contrast, have little need to go to the UK, unless they like being a big fish in a small pond (cf Kevin Spacey and Gillian Anderson).

    Another thing to bear in mind is that British actors can have a bit of an advantage in terms of casting; oftentimes, a director will want a fresh face for a production. A British actor can be a well-established veteran in the UK but still be unknown in the USA (cf Hugh Laurie, who was virtually unknown in America before being cast in House; indeed, Brian singer thought that he was a NY stage actor when he viewed his audition tape).
    , @Dain
    @Jefferson

    I noticed this in 12 Years a Slave. For such immensely American subject matter, the movie was full of Brits. Protagonist and Antagonist both Brits (ok latter Irish). Of course the director is British, but that only pushes the whole question back a notch.

    , @NickG
    @Jefferson

    There are plenty. For instance 67 Brits were killed on 9/11.

    The UK foreign office estimate that thre are 838,000 UK subjects in the US.

    Of course the numbers with British ancestry is way higher. Likely more than the current UK population. Remember the American war of independence was a civil war, at the time the vast majority of white American settlers were of British stock.

  2. The preponderance of upper crust male actors from England is more due to the social ambitions of the producer, director or casting director than down to any shortage of talent in the USA.

    A good example is Aaron Taylor-Johnson who plays a lead US Marine in the new Godzilla. From Buckinghamshire he has already played young Americans in a string of other big films.

    Alothough only 24 he has been married for some years to the unbelievably fashionable London photography artist and hostess Sam Taylor-Wood who is a fixture at the finest parties in the land. She is aged 47.They have two children.

    Being on friendly terms with Sam Taylor-Wood guarantees an entry to the finest circles in London.
    A fact, doubtless to say, not lost on the Hollywood types who employ Aaron.

    • Replies: @WhatEvvs
    @Fred Kite

    Bearding. Did "they" have these kids the formerly normal cisgender privileged way? Or did they acquire them by surrogacy, ART, etc?

  3. The Times is not really The Times any more and hasn’t been at least since Murdoch took it over and possibly before. Odd that Cumberbatch would say that. The elites took an instant disdain to the Murdochized Times.

    The paper is far more downmarket these days, both in content and form. About 10 years ago, Murdoch changed it to tabloid format–it used to be the broadest of broadsheets, like a king size comforter.

  4. Every now and then my father would shout with exasperation that The Times was written only for those who lived in London and the Home Counties. So he’d cancel it and take The Scotsman instead. Then after a few months he’d shout with exasperation that it was written only for those who lived in Edinburgh. So he’d cancel it and take The Glasgow Herald instead. After a few months of that it would be back to The Times.

    In my teenage view, of the three The Scotsman was the best; it continued to be into my thirties. It may still be, for all I know; I don’t see any of them nowadays.

  5. The New York Times used to have such cryptic classifieds sort of scattered throughout the paper – I had forgotten all about that. They’re not there any more, but I have no idea when it stopped, and it’s one of those things that’s real tricky to google – at least I haven’t had any luck.

    • Replies: @Jimbo
    @ziel

    Yes! I remember back when I used to read the print NYT (haven't looked at it in years) you'd always have these odd little one-liner ads in small print, usually one obscure person talking to another, at the bottom of one of the columns of the first page. Do they still do that?

  6. “Mrs. Tzumaio (formerly Miss Sophie Selby-Lowndes) has cancelled all her engagements for Whitsun.” Presumably Mrs. Tzumaio was pregnant, and not feeling too chipper. Have a look at the Births announcements over the next few months. Or even Deaths.

    Other common decryptions of code from the era included “died after a long illness” = cancer; “died suddenly” = heart attack. Evidently not all decryptions would be accurate.

    • Replies: @Sean
    @dearieme

    Obituary codes -'never married' - gay.
    'Did not suffer fools gladly - irritable old bastard

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    , @Soviet of Washington
    @dearieme

    Whitsun is an English and Irish term for Pentecost Sunday (the 7th Sunday after Easter). She's cancelling engagements for a religious holiday (In today's UK, it would probably be to celebrate Eid al-Fitr). But, perhaps it was a virgin birth...so OK...

    Replies: @dearieme

  7. Don’t all British actors with embarrassing accents just move to America and play superheroes or TV geniuses or something? You only think that the all British actors are posh because only the posh get to keep their accents.

  8. Connery and Caine were unusual for British actors in being very working class, which had a great cachet in the sixties. Posh English actors back them complained at getting typecast as army officers ect.

    In America learning on the job is the accepted way to become an actor. British actors typically are expected to have had years of formal training, and going to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art is a more acceptable thing for a child of middle class parents. However, Cumberbatch is the child of actor parents and that is not at all typical.

    • Replies: @slumber_j
    @Sean


    Connery and Caine were unusual for British actors in being very working class, which had a great cachet in the sixties.
     
    Yes, which I would guess was an extension of the Angry Young Men phenomenon in the theater world of the fifties.
    , @IBC
    @Sean


    Connery and Caine were unusual for British actors in being very working class, which had a great cachet in the sixties. Posh English actors back them complained at getting typecast as army officers ect.
     
    And yet one of Michael Caine's first big roles was as a snooty upper class army officer in Zulu. I guess it's easier to fake your way up the social hierarchy than down it.

    In America learning on the job is the accepted way to become an actor. British actors typically are expected to have had years of formal training, and going to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art is a more acceptable thing for a child of middle class parents. However, Cumberbatch is the child of actor parents and that is not at all typical.

     

    There were at least a few earlier British (or at least British-born) actors who came from humble backgrounds and learned to act in music halls or gained experience in places like the circus, e.g. Carey Grant, Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel, Boris Karloff (although he was orininally from a well-to-do family).
    , @Clyde
    @Sean


    In America learning on the job is the accepted way to become an actor. British actors typically are expected to have had years of formal training, and going to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art is a more acceptable thing for a child of middle class parents. However, Cumberbatch is the child of actor parents and that is not at all typical.
     
    I check out the wikipedia entries for British actresses and actors. They just about always have attended a drama school during their "university years". Many have graduated university such as Rosamund Pike>>
    After being turned down by every stage school she applied to, she gained a place to read English Literature at Wadham College, Oxford from which she graduated.
    , @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    @Sean

    Of course, Sir Roger Moore also attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art so it doesn't necessarily mean that graduation from a noted acting school translates into a great amazing actor.

  9. “Two reporters to see you, milord, and a gentleman from The Times.”

  10. @dearieme
    "Mrs. Tzumaio (formerly Miss Sophie Selby-Lowndes) has cancelled all her engagements for Whitsun." Presumably Mrs. Tzumaio was pregnant, and not feeling too chipper. Have a look at the Births announcements over the next few months. Or even Deaths.

    Other common decryptions of code from the era included "died after a long illness" = cancer; "died suddenly" = heart attack. Evidently not all decryptions would be accurate.

    Replies: @Sean, @Soviet of Washington

    Obituary codes -‘never married’ – gay.
    ‘Did not suffer fools gladly – irritable old bastard

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Sean

    Walter Isaacson's bestselling 2011 biography of Steve Jobs starts off a paragraph about his designated successor Tim Cook: "Never married, ..."

    Replies: @Sean

  11. @Sean
    @dearieme

    Obituary codes -'never married' - gay.
    'Did not suffer fools gladly - irritable old bastard

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    Walter Isaacson’s bestselling 2011 biography of Steve Jobs starts off a paragraph about his designated successor Tim Cook: “Never married, …”

    • Replies: @Sean
    @Steve Sailer

    Yes it is a code. Someone who has never married but is believed to be heterosexual (or a bit asexual) like Paul Allen, would not be referred to like that. What is it about Paul Allen that causes people to assume he isn't gay?

    Simon, Regional accents by RADA trained actors like Bean and Spall are for-TV accents. Spall's is nothing like real Birmingham, which he is not from.

  12. Sean Bean might be working class-ish? But I have a very upper-middle-class actor cousin famous for playing the working class policeman Sergeant Lewis on Inspector Morse, then on his own show – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_%28TV_series%29 – I believe he’s an Inspector now (don’t know, never watched the show!) 🙂
    He does a working-class TV accent, his actual accent when I met him many years ago was close to Received Pronunciation.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    @Simon in London

    for playing the working class policeman Sergeant Lewis on Inspector Morse
    --
    They leave that ambiguous. The fictional Lewis is presented as a more vernacular character than his partners Morse (Oxford dropout, signal corps veteran) and Hathaway (Oxford graduate, seminary dropout), who both speak RP, do not have a television, and enjoy long-haired music. Lewis speaks Geordie, but he never visits his home town and nothing is said of his family of origin; he's also irritated by 'professional northerners'. It emerges in the latter series that he went through 6th form and completed two A-Levels; his high school girlfriend appears in one episode; she speaks RP. The writers later pair him off with the coroner (an haut bourgeois spinster who plays the violin in her spare time), but they never have the chemistry he has with the Scots woman they abortively pair him off with earlier (who retired from the police to run a ship-repair business, hands on).

    Colin Dexter was most impressed with Kevin Whately's rendering of his character, saying it was better than the original.

    I think he uses Geordie in interviews and in commercials for the Labour Party. Don't know whether that's a put on or not.

    Replies: @Jacobite

    , @Old Palo Altan
    @Simon in London

    "Sergeant Lewis" is Laurence Fox, like Cumberbatch an Old Harrovian, as of course was his father James and his uncles Edward and Robert. The Foxes are one of the most stylishly upper middle class acting dynasties in England, while the Cumberbatches are a consular and naval family of distinction. The professional acting came in only with BC's father and mother.
    Public school types are still quite thick on the ground as actors in England: Cary Elwes (Harrow), Rupert Everett (Ampleforth), Hugh Laurie (Eton), Damian Lewis (Eton) for the present, Basil Rathbone (Repton), Nigel Bruce (Abington, and the son of a baronet), Laurence Olivier (St Edward's School Oxford), Edward Hardwick (Stowe), C. Aubrey Smith (Charterhouse), Jeremy Brett (Eton), and many, many more. Perhaps the grandest of all was James Villiers, who descended paternally from the Earls of Clarendon and, in the First Churchills (1969) played King Charles II - his own direct ancestor.

  13. @Steve Sailer
    @Sean

    Walter Isaacson's bestselling 2011 biography of Steve Jobs starts off a paragraph about his designated successor Tim Cook: "Never married, ..."

    Replies: @Sean

    Yes it is a code. Someone who has never married but is believed to be heterosexual (or a bit asexual) like Paul Allen, would not be referred to like that. What is it about Paul Allen that causes people to assume he isn’t gay?

    Simon, Regional accents by RADA trained actors like Bean and Spall are for-TV accents. Spall’s is nothing like real Birmingham, which he is not from.

  14. Tracey Ullman who is a British Gentile actress, knows how to do a perfect Jewish mother from New Yawk/New Joizy accent.

    She is also good at doing the generic American accent from the Midwest flyover states as well as the Southern belle accent.

    Perfecting other accents are to Brits like what basketball is to Blacks.

    • Replies: @DavidB
    @Jefferson

    You live and learn. I always assumed Tracey Ullman was Jewish, but I see from Wikipedia that neither of her parents were Jewish. Though I do wonder if a Polish Catholic called Ullman might tend to be a pork-dodger.

    , @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    @Jefferson

    This was not always the case. Up to the 90s on BBC shows most Brits, when called upon, simply couldn't do an American accent whatsoever in any convincing fashion. There were a few exceptions but they tended to be those who worked in Hollywood and learned on the job since they were going to stay here for a long while. Apparently the Royal Academy didn't teach their charges very well on how to do an American accent. Thank goodness for the internet and MTV to show them the way.

    Irony: Those Brit actors who immigrated to Hollywood during the 20s thru the 50s tended to retain their accent (e.g. Cary Grant, Errol Flynn, etc) and yet they managed to stay employed for a long long time.

    One thing Americans can do is different accents quite well, including our own.

    Replies: @syonredux

  15. @Sean
    Connery and Caine were unusual for British actors in being very working class, which had a great cachet in the sixties. Posh English actors back them complained at getting typecast as army officers ect.

    In America learning on the job is the accepted way to become an actor. British actors typically are expected to have had years of formal training, and going to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art is a more acceptable thing for a child of middle class parents. However, Cumberbatch is the child of actor parents and that is not at all typical.

    Replies: @slumber_j, @IBC, @Clyde, @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Connery and Caine were unusual for British actors in being very working class, which had a great cachet in the sixties.

    Yes, which I would guess was an extension of the Angry Young Men phenomenon in the theater world of the fifties.

  16. @Jefferson
    British actors (not American actors of British descent) are vastly overrepresented in Hollywood compared to their share of the general U.S population.

    America no longer has a large British immigrant population, yet Hollywood has a lot of British actors. Is the salaries in The United Kingdom for film actors not that high, is that why so many of them come to America for the fatter paychecks ?

    Replies: @slumber_j, @dearieme, @syonredux, @Dain, @NickG

    America no longer has a large British immigrant population, yet Hollywood has a lot of British actors.

    True, but at least when I lived there in the early nineties, LA did have an inordinately large number of UK immigrants. I always assumed they’d come for the climate and stayed for the dentistry or something… Anyway, it was a noticeable Westside phenomenon.

  17. Jefferson, Robert Mitchum could do a variety of British regional accents.

    Hmm, Rafe (son of Timothy) Spall played Yann Martel in the film Life of Pi. ‘Rafe’ that is an odd name( I think Roger Moore’s character in ‘Wild Geese’ is the only time I’ve heard of someone called that.)

    OK, I think the deal with British movie stars is they are descended from actors who gave them such silly first names to live up to they had to go to RADA.

    And that trend is not going away Benedict is engaged to theatre and opera director Sophie Hunter. Rafe is married to an actress. The kids will get sillier first names and better looking with every generation.

  18. @Jefferson
    British actors (not American actors of British descent) are vastly overrepresented in Hollywood compared to their share of the general U.S population.

    America no longer has a large British immigrant population, yet Hollywood has a lot of British actors. Is the salaries in The United Kingdom for film actors not that high, is that why so many of them come to America for the fatter paychecks ?

    Replies: @slumber_j, @dearieme, @syonredux, @Dain, @NickG

    “is that why so many of them come to America for the fatter pay checks ?” That’s the usual reason for anyone to go to America.

  19. There don’t seem to be many posh accents on British TV these days which, together with their stalinist PC orthodoxy has rendered British television unwatchable. I saw a snippet of some new costume drama – the Three Musketeers – with a black Porthos.

  20. Funny, Cumberbatch used to set off my gay-dar.. And he´s famous for opening up about his public school sexual romps: “It was just boys and their penises, the same way with girls and vaginas and boobs. It wasn’t out of desire.”

  21. I’ve read that the Times used print a single copy of each day’s paper on parchment for Buckingham Palace.

  22. @Jefferson
    British actors (not American actors of British descent) are vastly overrepresented in Hollywood compared to their share of the general U.S population.

    America no longer has a large British immigrant population, yet Hollywood has a lot of British actors. Is the salaries in The United Kingdom for film actors not that high, is that why so many of them come to America for the fatter paychecks ?

    Replies: @slumber_j, @dearieme, @syonredux, @Dain, @NickG

    British actors (not American actors of British descent) are vastly overrepresented in Hollywood compared to their share of the general U.S population.

    America no longer has a large British immigrant population, yet Hollywood has a lot of British actors. Is the salaries in The United Kingdom for film actors not that high, is that why so many of them come to America for the fatter paychecks ?

    Hollywood is the world center of television and movie production. As Frost remarks in Frost/Nixon, America is the Big Show; if you make it there, you’ve made it everywhere.Hence, British actors have a real incentive to come to the States and try to make it in Hollywood.American actors, in contrast, have little need to go to the UK, unless they like being a big fish in a small pond (cf Kevin Spacey and Gillian Anderson).

    Another thing to bear in mind is that British actors can have a bit of an advantage in terms of casting; oftentimes, a director will want a fresh face for a production. A British actor can be a well-established veteran in the UK but still be unknown in the USA (cf Hugh Laurie, who was virtually unknown in America before being cast in House; indeed, Brian singer thought that he was a NY stage actor when he viewed his audition tape).

  23. Jason Statham is definitely working class. Daniel Craig at least looks and moves like he’s held a shovel at some point in his life.

  24. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I really don’t know about the current proliferation of ‘toffs’ amongst the cream of Britain’s acting talent.
    Saying that, the extremely versatile, if not potato faced Timothy Spall, is probably the UK’s most successful male actor at present, and he’s as working-class as they come, the son of a scaffolder turned postman from Battersea and a RADA graduate to boot. Spall with his baggy face and growly voice is king of character actors.
    Sad to say that Warren Clarke, another popular character actor in the mould of Timothy Spall died yesterday.
    I will maintain that the late John Thaw, an actor who mainly appeared on TV and is probably unknown in America was perhaps the best actor of his generation, and he was another working class man and strong Labour Party supporter, as was Harry H. Corbett.
    Anyhow, we now have Benedict Cumberbatch and his public school ilk dominating the profession. Actually the stage, as distinct from TV and variety work, was always quite a posh reserve in Britain, Cumberbatch is merely turning the clock back. Also, a theatrical career has, lately, gained a bit more kudos with the upper classes.

  25. @Sean
    Connery and Caine were unusual for British actors in being very working class, which had a great cachet in the sixties. Posh English actors back them complained at getting typecast as army officers ect.

    In America learning on the job is the accepted way to become an actor. British actors typically are expected to have had years of formal training, and going to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art is a more acceptable thing for a child of middle class parents. However, Cumberbatch is the child of actor parents and that is not at all typical.

    Replies: @slumber_j, @IBC, @Clyde, @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Connery and Caine were unusual for British actors in being very working class, which had a great cachet in the sixties. Posh English actors back them complained at getting typecast as army officers ect.

    And yet one of Michael Caine’s first big roles was as a snooty upper class army officer in Zulu. I guess it’s easier to fake your way up the social hierarchy than down it.

    In America learning on the job is the accepted way to become an actor. British actors typically are expected to have had years of formal training, and going to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art is a more acceptable thing for a child of middle class parents. However, Cumberbatch is the child of actor parents and that is not at all typical.

    There were at least a few earlier British (or at least British-born) actors who came from humble backgrounds and learned to act in music halls or gained experience in places like the circus, e.g. Carey Grant, Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel, Boris Karloff (although he was orininally from a well-to-do family).

  26. @Fred Kite
    The preponderance of upper crust male actors from England is more due to the social ambitions of the producer, director or casting director than down to any shortage of talent in the USA.

    A good example is Aaron Taylor-Johnson who plays a lead US Marine in the new Godzilla. From Buckinghamshire he has already played young Americans in a string of other big films.

    Alothough only 24 he has been married for some years to the unbelievably fashionable London photography artist and hostess Sam Taylor-Wood who is a fixture at the finest parties in the land. She is aged 47.They have two children.

    Being on friendly terms with Sam Taylor-Wood guarantees an entry to the finest circles in London.
    A fact, doubtless to say, not lost on the Hollywood types who employ Aaron.

    Replies: @WhatEvvs

    Bearding. Did “they” have these kids the formerly normal cisgender privileged way? Or did they acquire them by surrogacy, ART, etc?

  27. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Without a shadow of doubt ‘The Sweeney’ was the by far the best TV drama ever produced in the UK.
    I doubt if it has ever, at all, been broadcast on any US network, but basically, The Sweeney was a 1970s British cop show that relied mostly on violence, nasty cockney villainry, sexual salaciousness, bad languages and macho swaggering dick swinging all done with big collars, flares and some rather nifty motors.
    It’s re run frequently on the UK satellite channels. Still bears up well, something which you definitely cannot say for most shows of the period.
    Suffice to say, the only time women ever appeared on the show they were either strippers, brasses, temptresses or old bags.
    The 1970s were definitely the golden age of British TV drama. Never before or since have producers had so much money or artistic freedom tossed at them. A lot of good drama was made in those days, including the ‘gentle bearded leftwinger, angry’ ‘Play for Today’ BBC strand. But The Sweeney was defo cream of the crop.

  28. WhatEvvs [AKA "Cookies"] says:

    “Do you remember the old days when British movie stars were often Cockneys like Michael Caine or ex-coffin polishers like Sean Connery? ”

    Old days? Your old days don’t go back that far….

    Laurence Olivier
    Vivien Leigh
    James Mason
    Leslie Howard
    Errol Flynn (Aussie, father a noted scientist)
    Trevor Howard
    Alec Guinness

    That’s the real old days. I could go on and on. A lot of them were middle class. A lot of Oxbridge. We have a local TV channel that plays a lot of old movies. Recently I saw the actor who played the Duke of Norfolk in MFAS, Nigel Davenport, in a cult sci fil film, and looked up his Wiki entry:

    ” His father was a bursar at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. He grew up in an academic family and was educated at St Peter’s School, Seaford, Cheltenham College and Trinity College, Oxford. Originally he chose to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics but switched to English on the advice of one of his tutors.[4]”

    Not an uncommon background. I think somewhere after WWI acting changed from the common street trollope prostitution to more high class procurement, with Oxbridge theater being the bridge.

    Hollywood has degenerated to a complete meat market, with most actors never having gotten any true acting chops on stage. The documentary about Hollywood sex abuse is all about these sad characters, whose stupid stage mothers actually take them to Hollywood and offer them up to pederasts. No one goes to Hollywood age 14 to become an actor. They go to become a star.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3677412/?ref_=nm_flmg_dr_5

    • Replies: @syonredux
    @WhatEvvs


    Not an uncommon background. I think somewhere after WWI acting changed from the common street trollope prostitution to more high class procurement, with Oxbridge theater being the bridge.

     

    Henry Irving's knighthood (the first actor to be so awarded) was the rubicon in terms of respectability and the acting profession.

    Hollywood has degenerated to a complete meat market, with most actors never having gotten any true acting chops on stage.
     
    Stage training can be problematic; what looks great on stage can look quite hammy on the silver screen.Olivier talks about how William Wyler had to keep telling him to rein it in when they were filming Wuthering Heights ("What dimension were you trying to reach with that one, Larry? That one was visible on Mars," etc).
  29. WhatEvvs [AKA "Cookies"] says:

    “Hollywood is the world center of television and movie production”

    Correct, but there are still some TV shows produced and filmed in NYC:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_television_shows_filmed_in_New_York_City

    I don’t watch a lot of TV but I’ve formed the impression that one can really sense the difference in acting quality between them and the ones produced & filmed entirely in Hollywood, because the acting talent pool is totally different. I’m not referring to the stars (only) but to the supporting casts and featured bit parts. A signal example of this would be Law & Order with the late Jerry Orbach, which was mostly acted by NYC character actors.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @WhatEvvs

    Law & Order had a healthy relationship with the community of New York stage actors since each episode had several small, but vivid Witness roles for which the series employed good local stage actors, who enjoyed the money and exposure.

  30. Thank god for British movie actors. Otherwise I’d be stuck looking at untalented yet connected shlubs like Seth Rogan or repellant dweebs like Michael Cera. Too many home grown actors can’t act, are short, are gay/un-masculine (or lesbian/not feminine that can’t sell a romantic interest with the male lead. Ellen Page and Kristen Stewart are two that come to mind), and are Jewish (which isn’t bad by itself but it’s nice to look at other ethnicities for a change of pace).

    • Replies: @WhatEvvs
    @AnonAnon

    "Ellen Page and Kristen Stewart are two that come to mind), and are Jewish

    I didn't know that Ellen Page and Kristen Stewart are Jewish.

    The top actress in Hollywood today by an order of magnitude is JLaw - is she Jewish? (Well, she does resemble Ellen Barkin's kid sis....) Before her, Julia R. Jewish?

    Emma Stone, Cate Blanchett....Jewish?

    "(which isn’t bad by itself but it’s nice to look at other ethnicities for a change of pace)."

    I don't know too many men who complain about looking at Scarlett J. or Natalie Portman.

  31. @Simon in London
    Sean Bean might be working class-ish? But I have a very upper-middle-class actor cousin famous for playing the working class policeman Sergeant Lewis on Inspector Morse, then on his own show - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_%28TV_series%29 - I believe he's an Inspector now (don't know, never watched the show!) :)
    He does a working-class TV accent, his actual accent when I met him many years ago was close to Received Pronunciation.

    Replies: @Art Deco, @Old Palo Altan

    for playing the working class policeman Sergeant Lewis on Inspector Morse

    They leave that ambiguous. The fictional Lewis is presented as a more vernacular character than his partners Morse (Oxford dropout, signal corps veteran) and Hathaway (Oxford graduate, seminary dropout), who both speak RP, do not have a television, and enjoy long-haired music. Lewis speaks Geordie, but he never visits his home town and nothing is said of his family of origin; he’s also irritated by ‘professional northerners’. It emerges in the latter series that he went through 6th form and completed two A-Levels; his high school girlfriend appears in one episode; she speaks RP. The writers later pair him off with the coroner (an haut bourgeois spinster who plays the violin in her spare time), but they never have the chemistry he has with the Scots woman they abortively pair him off with earlier (who retired from the police to run a ship-repair business, hands on).

    Colin Dexter was most impressed with Kevin Whately’s rendering of his character, saying it was better than the original.

    I think he uses Geordie in interviews and in commercials for the Labour Party. Don’t know whether that’s a put on or not.

    • Replies: @Jacobite
    @Art Deco


    Hathaway (Oxford graduate, seminary dropout)
     
    Hathaway is a graduate of Cambridge. One gets the impression that he looks down on Oxford as a trifle degenerate (all those murders!)
  32. The only thing I’ll add is that I hate the horizontal orientation of modern newspapers (The redesigned Financial Times being the latest example). Horizontal is for images.

  33. @Jefferson
    Tracey Ullman who is a British Gentile actress, knows how to do a perfect Jewish mother from New Yawk/New Joizy accent.

    She is also good at doing the generic American accent from the Midwest flyover states as well as the Southern belle accent.

    Perfecting other accents are to Brits like what basketball is to Blacks.

    Replies: @DavidB, @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    You live and learn. I always assumed Tracey Ullman was Jewish, but I see from Wikipedia that neither of her parents were Jewish. Though I do wonder if a Polish Catholic called Ullman might tend to be a pork-dodger.

  34. @Sean
    Connery and Caine were unusual for British actors in being very working class, which had a great cachet in the sixties. Posh English actors back them complained at getting typecast as army officers ect.

    In America learning on the job is the accepted way to become an actor. British actors typically are expected to have had years of formal training, and going to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art is a more acceptable thing for a child of middle class parents. However, Cumberbatch is the child of actor parents and that is not at all typical.

    Replies: @slumber_j, @IBC, @Clyde, @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    In America learning on the job is the accepted way to become an actor. British actors typically are expected to have had years of formal training, and going to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art is a more acceptable thing for a child of middle class parents. However, Cumberbatch is the child of actor parents and that is not at all typical.

    I check out the wikipedia entries for British actresses and actors. They just about always have attended a drama school during their “university years”. Many have graduated university such as Rosamund Pike>>
    After being turned down by every stage school she applied to, she gained a place to read English Literature at Wadham College, Oxford from which she graduated.

  35. Isn’t the influx of upper-crust Brits into acting a result of the relaxing of traditional reservations about the theater, namely, that it was linked to prostitution, disease, violence, and petty crime?

    Not to mention the million-dollar paychecks.

  36. Off-topic, but notice this meme lately: “Obama to Protect 5 Million from Deportation.”

  37. The rise of the rich-kid-actor-from-Britain should tell us all about where the upper crust views power and influence are.

    In the last millenium, the rich kept their kids away from “trades” so that they were gentlemen-farmers (with vast estates) or else military men. Then the industrial revolution happened, and the robber-baron came into power—and the old rich followed suit, marrying into robber-baron families and went into industrial work, becoming the executive V.P.’s to the Henry Fords. Then the computer age kicked in, and the same followed suit—the rich kids became the executive V.p.’s out in silicon valley and 128 and wherever else they could (Bill Gates is the son of a major white shoe firm’s named partner).

    Now the rich are moving into celebrity, which is the power base these days in America. Hollywood’s outsized dominance is combined with the fact that the great computer age is over and that shame no longer drives people into the shadows; both Paris Hilton AND Kim Kardashian kicked off their public careers by releasing porn tapes, and it only rewarded them, never punished.

    Infamy is currency. these days.

    P.s. if you’re really falling for cumberbatch’s little humble-brag announcement as trying to be subtle, I have a bridge to sell you.

  38. @ziel
    The New York Times used to have such cryptic classifieds sort of scattered throughout the paper - I had forgotten all about that. They're not there any more, but I have no idea when it stopped, and it's one of those things that's real tricky to google - at least I haven't had any luck.

    Replies: @Jimbo

    Yes! I remember back when I used to read the print NYT (haven’t looked at it in years) you’d always have these odd little one-liner ads in small print, usually one obscure person talking to another, at the bottom of one of the columns of the first page. Do they still do that?

  39. America is an evil nation now. It throws psychotic tantrums over Sterling’s silly sexual gripe but is perfectly okay with Adelson’s idea of nuking a country(that is falsely accused of being a nuclear power).
    A sane nation doesn’t work like this.

  40. What freaks me about the Cumberpatchkid(and Olstein) is he looks like the child of ‘gay sex’ between Liberace and some space alien.

  41. The Times is not what it was. I only see the odd paper copy here and there and since the online edition is cowering behind a paywall I never bother with it. And as far as I can tell, nor does anyone else. No one ever links to it or references it since one can’t assume anyone has a subscription.

    Before Amazon ruined Alexa I was checking rankings for assorted British newspapers, the poor old Times was slugging it out with Chicken Fanciers Monthly or something while The Telegraph and Daily Mail had global reach.

  42. p.p.s. also cumberbatch’s marriage is clearly a sham, which is surprising these days, given gay rights and the fact that his fame is utterly due to gays and gay-loving women promoting him. This gay actor clearly wants to move beyond his BBC-ness and become the Big British Villain in major Hollywood productions.

  43. While Cumberbatch’s father’s family is definitely that of the aristocratic elite, having Viceroys and all that, his MOTHER played … Col. Virginia Lake in UFO! If you’ve never seen that series, its definitely worth a watch, basically replaying the Battle of Britain in secret. Against UFOs. When it was made, WWII and its memory was about as distant as the Reagan Administration is to us today.

    Cumberbatch is apparently boggled by middle aged strangers accosting him and telling him how hot they found his mother. So there is the collision right there between the old way of doing things, and the white-hot celebrity culture of no boundaries whatsoever.

    As for the plethora of British actors, particularly male ones, on US television and movies, my opinion, backed by posters on my site, was that the US casting director positions are mostly filled with gays and women. Who prefer a more gay-friendly vibe among (White) male actors, and thus the lack of masculine presence. Though FWIW a relative thought Elementary’s Johnny Lee Miller was flagrantly gay (he’s married with two kids). But guys like Homeland/Life’s Damien Lewis, Jacob Isaacs (Harry Potter, Awake), even a minor guy like Nick Blood (Agents of Shield’s Lance Hunter, the funny guy) have more masculine presence than American actors because they don’t get funneled through the female/gay casting process like the US actors do.

    There might also be a secondary issue — British actors generally play a broader range of characters, and outside the NYC Broadway market, LA-based actors quickly get typecast (Ed O’Neil played cops and crooks for years before Married with Children, afterwards his part in a Few Good Men famously got cut because the audience just started laughing when seeing him on screen) in a way that British actors moving from plays to movies to TV don’t.

  44. Speaking (heh) of accents/dialects, I have been wondering for a few days what became of the way a lot of American women used to talk in the 1960’s-70’s? Let me explain. I watched an old Jane Fonda movie last weekend and noticed that her intonation reminded me of Elizabeth Montgomery’s and Sally Field’s and Carrie Fisher’s… and suddenly I realized I no longer hear American women, actresses or no, talk like that. I don’t know the name of the dialect or the proper way to describe it. Steve, do you know any more about this?

  45. OT: Proof that misogynistic searchers are keeping women away from STEM.

    https://twitter.com/roseveleth/status/532538957490561024

  46. @Simon in London
    Sean Bean might be working class-ish? But I have a very upper-middle-class actor cousin famous for playing the working class policeman Sergeant Lewis on Inspector Morse, then on his own show - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_%28TV_series%29 - I believe he's an Inspector now (don't know, never watched the show!) :)
    He does a working-class TV accent, his actual accent when I met him many years ago was close to Received Pronunciation.

    Replies: @Art Deco, @Old Palo Altan

    “Sergeant Lewis” is Laurence Fox, like Cumberbatch an Old Harrovian, as of course was his father James and his uncles Edward and Robert. The Foxes are one of the most stylishly upper middle class acting dynasties in England, while the Cumberbatches are a consular and naval family of distinction. The professional acting came in only with BC’s father and mother.
    Public school types are still quite thick on the ground as actors in England: Cary Elwes (Harrow), Rupert Everett (Ampleforth), Hugh Laurie (Eton), Damian Lewis (Eton) for the present, Basil Rathbone (Repton), Nigel Bruce (Abington, and the son of a baronet), Laurence Olivier (St Edward’s School Oxford), Edward Hardwick (Stowe), C. Aubrey Smith (Charterhouse), Jeremy Brett (Eton), and many, many more. Perhaps the grandest of all was James Villiers, who descended paternally from the Earls of Clarendon and, in the First Churchills (1969) played King Charles II – his own direct ancestor.

  47. @dearieme
    "Mrs. Tzumaio (formerly Miss Sophie Selby-Lowndes) has cancelled all her engagements for Whitsun." Presumably Mrs. Tzumaio was pregnant, and not feeling too chipper. Have a look at the Births announcements over the next few months. Or even Deaths.

    Other common decryptions of code from the era included "died after a long illness" = cancer; "died suddenly" = heart attack. Evidently not all decryptions would be accurate.

    Replies: @Sean, @Soviet of Washington

    Whitsun is an English and Irish term for Pentecost Sunday (the 7th Sunday after Easter). She’s cancelling engagements for a religious holiday (In today’s UK, it would probably be to celebrate Eid al-Fitr). But, perhaps it was a virgin birth…so OK…

    • Replies: @dearieme
    @Soviet of Washington

    "She’s cancelling engagements for a religious holiday": no she's cancelling engagements for what used to be a Bank Holiday weekend that occurred at Whitsun. It's since been moved.

  48. What’s a nice girl like Selby-Lowndes doing with a Tzumaio?

  49. Goodness me, here’s a family tale of the husband of an earlier Sophie Selby-Lowndes.

    http://www.mkheritage.co.uk/hdhs/tragedy/background.html

  50. @Sean
    Connery and Caine were unusual for British actors in being very working class, which had a great cachet in the sixties. Posh English actors back them complained at getting typecast as army officers ect.

    In America learning on the job is the accepted way to become an actor. British actors typically are expected to have had years of formal training, and going to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art is a more acceptable thing for a child of middle class parents. However, Cumberbatch is the child of actor parents and that is not at all typical.

    Replies: @slumber_j, @IBC, @Clyde, @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Of course, Sir Roger Moore also attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art so it doesn’t necessarily mean that graduation from a noted acting school translates into a great amazing actor.

  51. @Jefferson
    Tracey Ullman who is a British Gentile actress, knows how to do a perfect Jewish mother from New Yawk/New Joizy accent.

    She is also good at doing the generic American accent from the Midwest flyover states as well as the Southern belle accent.

    Perfecting other accents are to Brits like what basketball is to Blacks.

    Replies: @DavidB, @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    This was not always the case. Up to the 90s on BBC shows most Brits, when called upon, simply couldn’t do an American accent whatsoever in any convincing fashion. There were a few exceptions but they tended to be those who worked in Hollywood and learned on the job since they were going to stay here for a long while. Apparently the Royal Academy didn’t teach their charges very well on how to do an American accent. Thank goodness for the internet and MTV to show them the way.

    Irony: Those Brit actors who immigrated to Hollywood during the 20s thru the 50s tended to retain their accent (e.g. Cary Grant, Errol Flynn, etc) and yet they managed to stay employed for a long long time.

    One thing Americans can do is different accents quite well, including our own.

    • Replies: @syonredux
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi


    Irony: Those Brit actors who immigrated to Hollywood during the 20s thru the 50s tended to retain their accent (e.g. Cary Grant, Errol Flynn, etc) and yet they managed to stay employed for a long long time.
     
    Flynn was Australian.Cary Grant's accent was sui generis, a unique blend of West Country (he was born and raised in Bristol), RP, New York, and California.
  52. Totally off this thread topic, but reading this yahoo comment from “Michael Brown”, do any isteve commenters claim this? If so, thanks for putting a smile on my face.
    “Poor Michael Brown. Doesn’t anyone understand this poor “gentile giant” of a teenager. This young man was having a terrible day, first he was violently attacked by a vicious 4 foot tall Hindu store keeper and humiliated by being accused of stealing, right in front of his best friend. Then, in a daze, the poor boy was walking down the street, minding his own business when this racist cop pulls up and starts hassling him and even tries to pull the poor lad through the window of his car! The cop was probably too lazy to get out and talk to him, right? So poor Michael backs away and the mean vicious cop gets out of his car, murder on his mind. Red faced with rage because Michael wouldn’t climb in and sit on his lap, the mean old policeman pulled his gun on poor Michael. Michael, frozen in terror, raised his hands and in his best Buckwheat drawl said, “Please ossifer, don’t shoots me! My momma will come down and vouch for me sir, really!” The vicious racist cop raised his pistol and with deadly accuracy, shot poor Michael down in cold blood right there in the street. It was murder, plain and simple.
    This message courtesy of the Southern Poverty Lie Center.

  53. “Simon, Regional accents by RADA trained actors like Bean and Spall are for-TV accents. ”

    Having lived in Yorkshire for years, Sean Bean’s accent sounds pretty genuine to me.

    British public schools like Harrow and St Paul’s generate an increasing amount of creative talent because they offer top-notch classes in music and theatre which regular state schools don’t because of the expense. What’s also important is the parents of those trying to break in can generally afford to subsidise them (letting them live for free at home etc.) while they get their careers off the ground. That’s especially important if they live near London which is the centre of the British creative world.

    So you get a crop of highly intelligent, hard-working and fantastically trained young talent who are exceptionally hard to compete against.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/film-news/10565842/Hollywood-beckons-for-former-public-school-pupils.html

    For example Tom Hiddleston (Loki in the Marvel movies) went to the Dragon School in Oxford, Eton and Cambridge where he graduated with a double First in Classics (magna cum lauda in a joint degree) and went on to RADA. So by the time he finished his education he’d basically spent half his life acting.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/10561842/Tom-Hiddleston-interview-from-Thor-to-a-sell-out-Coriolanus.html

  54. We always used to read the Times in our family – this is going back to after Murdoch had bought it in the 80s.

    I still read the Sunday Times but the daily paper just bores me – it’s just anodyne, grey and utterly lacking in personality.

    I’m starting to read the Telegraph more although the target audience appears to be middle-aged NIMBY estate agents living in Surrey.

  55. Do you remember the old days when British movie stars were often Cockneys like Michael Caine or ex-coffin polishers like Sean Connery?

    Interesting to note that Michael Caine had gypsy ancestry, as did many other Hollywood actors including Charlie Chaplin, Yul Brynner, Bob Hoskins. Other famous actors claimed to have gypsy ancestry include Elvis Presley (others claim he was a tri-racial melungeon) and Rita Hayworth.

    http://the-talks.com/interviews/sir-michael-caine/

    I love going on a movie because it’s like the circus. My father was half gypsy so there’s the gypsy thing in it. I’m never happier than packing and taking off for a new adventure. I’m a nomad and the unit is the tribe and you travel from here to there in caravans and you set up shop and you work and it’s wonderful.

    And Sean Connery, who looks quite a bit like the late Ayatollah Khomeini, was probably (I am guessing) selected to play the first James Bond partly because he looked the most like Porfirio Rubirosa, the famous mixed-race/part-black Dominican playboy, spy, diplomat, assassin, sportsman on whom the fictitious character was based:

    http://panachereport.com/channels/sensual%20intelligence/Sexpionage%20Gallery/MostNotoriousGigoloPlayboy_000.htm

    http://knightsandarmours.wordpress.com/2012/01/07/the-real-james-bond-00/

    http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2002/11/porfirio-rubirosa-200211

  56. British culture has become increasingly dominated by public school poshos over the last couple of decades. Politics, too (famously, Thatcher was a grocer’s daughter, Jon Major the son of a music hall performer, but people of that background aren’t so common anymore, in any major party).

    Many possible reasons/contributing factors, although maybe Labour party waging a social justice jihad against grammar schools is the biggest one.

    There have been several articles about this in the press over the last few years, (I’m sure I’ve seen some discussion of it here too? Though that might just be my brain getting scrambled). Two ones just from a quick Google;

    ‘A working-class hero is something to be … but not in Britain’s posh culture’
    http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2014/jan/26/working-class-hero-posh-britain-public-school

    ‘Dominance of public school actors is a ‘real worry’, says artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe’
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/william-shakespeare/10011301/Dominance-of-public-school-actors-is-a-real-worry-says-artistic-director-of-Shakespeares-Globe.html

  57. @WhatEvvs
    "Hollywood is the world center of television and movie production"

    Correct, but there are still some TV shows produced and filmed in NYC:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_television_shows_filmed_in_New_York_City

    I don't watch a lot of TV but I've formed the impression that one can really sense the difference in acting quality between them and the ones produced & filmed entirely in Hollywood, because the acting talent pool is totally different. I'm not referring to the stars (only) but to the supporting casts and featured bit parts. A signal example of this would be Law & Order with the late Jerry Orbach, which was mostly acted by NYC character actors.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    Law & Order had a healthy relationship with the community of New York stage actors since each episode had several small, but vivid Witness roles for which the series employed good local stage actors, who enjoyed the money and exposure.

  58. ” Other famous actors claimed to have gypsy ancestry include Elvis Presley (others claim he was a tri-racial melungeon) and Rita Hayworth.”

    That is false, Elvis Presley never claimed to have Gypsy ancestry. There were not exactly a lot of Gypsies living in 1930s Jim Crow Mississippi, which is the time period when he was born. Heck even today in 2014 there is still no large Gypsy presence in Mississippi, let alone in the 1930s.

    • Replies: @Bliss
    @Jefferson

    Gypsies are known to hide their ancestry. A DNA test can easily confirm or deny claims of Elvis having gypsy and/or melungeon ancestry. His beloved mother does look kinda gypsy to me:

    http://www.elvispresleymusic.com.au/pictures/img/elvis/presleys/vernon_elvis_gladys_tupelo.jpg


    Btw, Sandro of Argentina, aka the Latin Elvis, was of known gypsy ancestry:

    https://www.google.com/search?q=latin+elvis+argentina+sandro&espv=2&biw=1280&bih=598&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=blplVMnULcidygTyt4HgDA&ved=0CCwQsAQ#tbm=isch&q=sandro+elvis

  59. WhatEvvs [AKA "Cookies"] says:
    @AnonAnon
    Thank god for British movie actors. Otherwise I'd be stuck looking at untalented yet connected shlubs like Seth Rogan or repellant dweebs like Michael Cera. Too many home grown actors can't act, are short, are gay/un-masculine (or lesbian/not feminine that can't sell a romantic interest with the male lead. Ellen Page and Kristen Stewart are two that come to mind), and are Jewish (which isn't bad by itself but it's nice to look at other ethnicities for a change of pace).

    Replies: @WhatEvvs

    “Ellen Page and Kristen Stewart are two that come to mind), and are Jewish

    I didn’t know that Ellen Page and Kristen Stewart are Jewish.

    The top actress in Hollywood today by an order of magnitude is JLaw – is she Jewish? (Well, she does resemble Ellen Barkin’s kid sis….) Before her, Julia R. Jewish?

    Emma Stone, Cate Blanchett….Jewish?

    “(which isn’t bad by itself but it’s nice to look at other ethnicities for a change of pace).”

    I don’t know too many men who complain about looking at Scarlett J. or Natalie Portman.

  60. Those British have ridiculous names.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Paul Walker Most beautiful man ever...

    It would be interesting to look into which British names didn't make it to America. Greg Clark probably has the data to do this. My vague perception is that upper class British names are less common here, since they liked it fine back home in England. On the other hand, lots of ambitious Americans have adopted toffish Norman names, so the most famous English aristocratic names are probably here via name-changing.

  61. WhatEvvs [AKA "Cookies"] says:

    I think Sean Bean is a total stud, and I’m sorry he never became an A-list Hollywood movie star, but them’s the breaks. Hollywood is a disgusting place and maybe he never quite learned to play the game.

    I never watched L&O much, having been a victim of street crime, I just don’t want to watch fictional representations of it. But I got the impression from snippets here and there that what you said is correct.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @WhatEvvs

    It wouldn't totally surprise me if Sean Bean winds up with Liam Neeson-style late-in-life stardom.

    By the way, I finally saw another Brendan Gleeson movie, The General (a comedy biopic about the leader of a Dublin gang of jewel thieves), and, yeah, not only does Gleeson kind of look like my late father in law, but in all his best roles he's playing somebody with my father-in-law's unusual personality.

    , @Anonymous
    @WhatEvvs

    Check out Sean Bean in Bravo Two Zero and the Essex Boys.

  62. @Paul Walker Most beautiful man ever...
    Those British have ridiculous names.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    It would be interesting to look into which British names didn’t make it to America. Greg Clark probably has the data to do this. My vague perception is that upper class British names are less common here, since they liked it fine back home in England. On the other hand, lots of ambitious Americans have adopted toffish Norman names, so the most famous English aristocratic names are probably here via name-changing.

  63. @WhatEvvs
    I think Sean Bean is a total stud, and I'm sorry he never became an A-list Hollywood movie star, but them's the breaks. Hollywood is a disgusting place and maybe he never quite learned to play the game.

    I never watched L&O much, having been a victim of street crime, I just don't want to watch fictional representations of it. But I got the impression from snippets here and there that what you said is correct.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Anonymous

    It wouldn’t totally surprise me if Sean Bean winds up with Liam Neeson-style late-in-life stardom.

    By the way, I finally saw another Brendan Gleeson movie, The General (a comedy biopic about the leader of a Dublin gang of jewel thieves), and, yeah, not only does Gleeson kind of look like my late father in law, but in all his best roles he’s playing somebody with my father-in-law’s unusual personality.

  64. @Jefferson
    British actors (not American actors of British descent) are vastly overrepresented in Hollywood compared to their share of the general U.S population.

    America no longer has a large British immigrant population, yet Hollywood has a lot of British actors. Is the salaries in The United Kingdom for film actors not that high, is that why so many of them come to America for the fatter paychecks ?

    Replies: @slumber_j, @dearieme, @syonredux, @Dain, @NickG

    I noticed this in 12 Years a Slave. For such immensely American subject matter, the movie was full of Brits. Protagonist and Antagonist both Brits (ok latter Irish). Of course the director is British, but that only pushes the whole question back a notch.

  65. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Speaking (heh) of accents/dialects, I have been wondering for a few days what became of the way a lot of American women used to talk in the 1960′s-70′s? Let me explain. I watched an old Jane Fonda movie last weekend and noticed that her intonation reminded me of Elizabeth Montgomery’s and Sally Field’s and Carrie Fisher’s… and suddenly I realized I no longer hear American women, actresses or no, talk like that. I don’t know the name of the dialect or the proper way to describe it.

    I have also observed this.

  66. WhatEvvs [AKA "Cookies"] says:

    “It wouldn’t totally surprise me if Sean Bean winds up with Liam Neeson-style late-in-life stardom.”

    Hope so. He deserves it; and this is a more satisfying career path than 10 years in the sun, then indies, and Hawaii 5-0. (That’s what happened to Stephen Boyd, who is forgotten, and was once a young British up and comer. For those of you who don’t know who he is, rent Ben Hur.)

    Re: Jane Fonda’s accent, google Larchmont or Locust Valley Lockjaw. (It’s extinct.)

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @WhatEvvs

    "Auntie Mame" has a great Locust Valley Lockjaw accent for Mame's prospective daughter-in-law.

    , @syonredux
    @WhatEvvs


    Re: Jane Fonda’s accent, google Larchmont or Locust Valley Lockjaw. (It’s extinct.)
     
    Fonda (born 1937) is a product of the Greenwich Adademy, the Emma Willard School, and Vassar.
    , @Old Palo Altan
    @WhatEvvs

    Well, not entirely extinct. Five of my East Coast first cousins all have it - and they actually grew up in Locust Valley, the girls went to Miss Porters, and their country club was The Creek. Admittedly, like me they are all in their sixties, so extinction is only a matter of time, and not a great deal of that.

  67. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    @Jefferson

    This was not always the case. Up to the 90s on BBC shows most Brits, when called upon, simply couldn't do an American accent whatsoever in any convincing fashion. There were a few exceptions but they tended to be those who worked in Hollywood and learned on the job since they were going to stay here for a long while. Apparently the Royal Academy didn't teach their charges very well on how to do an American accent. Thank goodness for the internet and MTV to show them the way.

    Irony: Those Brit actors who immigrated to Hollywood during the 20s thru the 50s tended to retain their accent (e.g. Cary Grant, Errol Flynn, etc) and yet they managed to stay employed for a long long time.

    One thing Americans can do is different accents quite well, including our own.

    Replies: @syonredux

    Irony: Those Brit actors who immigrated to Hollywood during the 20s thru the 50s tended to retain their accent (e.g. Cary Grant, Errol Flynn, etc) and yet they managed to stay employed for a long long time.

    Flynn was Australian.Cary Grant’s accent was sui generis, a unique blend of West Country (he was born and raised in Bristol), RP, New York, and California.

  68. @WhatEvvs
    "It wouldn’t totally surprise me if Sean Bean winds up with Liam Neeson-style late-in-life stardom."

    Hope so. He deserves it; and this is a more satisfying career path than 10 years in the sun, then indies, and Hawaii 5-0. (That's what happened to Stephen Boyd, who is forgotten, and was once a young British up and comer. For those of you who don't know who he is, rent Ben Hur.)

    Re: Jane Fonda's accent, google Larchmont or Locust Valley Lockjaw. (It's extinct.)

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @syonredux, @Old Palo Altan

    “Auntie Mame” has a great Locust Valley Lockjaw accent for Mame’s prospective daughter-in-law.

  69. OT, Drunk girl cat-calling video is fake

    http://www.barstoolsports.com/boston/super-page/that-drunk-girl-getting-taken-advantage-of-video-was-a-fake/

    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/drunk-girl-viral-hoax-video-785463

    Its kind of funny, ever since the original NYC cat-calling video which seems to be legit and did not create the impact the creators intended, various social engineers continue trying to manufacture the message that men and in particular white men are evil. And, time and time again their videos keep coming out as fake and scripted.

  70. @WhatEvvs
    "Do you remember the old days when British movie stars were often Cockneys like Michael Caine or ex-coffin polishers like Sean Connery? "

    Old days? Your old days don't go back that far....

    Laurence Olivier
    Vivien Leigh
    James Mason
    Leslie Howard
    Errol Flynn (Aussie, father a noted scientist)
    Trevor Howard
    Alec Guinness

    That's the real old days. I could go on and on. A lot of them were middle class. A lot of Oxbridge. We have a local TV channel that plays a lot of old movies. Recently I saw the actor who played the Duke of Norfolk in MFAS, Nigel Davenport, in a cult sci fil film, and looked up his Wiki entry:

    " His father was a bursar at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. He grew up in an academic family and was educated at St Peter's School, Seaford, Cheltenham College and Trinity College, Oxford. Originally he chose to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics but switched to English on the advice of one of his tutors.[4]"

    Not an uncommon background. I think somewhere after WWI acting changed from the common street trollope prostitution to more high class procurement, with Oxbridge theater being the bridge.

    Hollywood has degenerated to a complete meat market, with most actors never having gotten any true acting chops on stage. The documentary about Hollywood sex abuse is all about these sad characters, whose stupid stage mothers actually take them to Hollywood and offer them up to pederasts. No one goes to Hollywood age 14 to become an actor. They go to become a star.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3677412/?ref_=nm_flmg_dr_5

    Replies: @syonredux

    Not an uncommon background. I think somewhere after WWI acting changed from the common street trollope prostitution to more high class procurement, with Oxbridge theater being the bridge.

    Henry Irving’s knighthood (the first actor to be so awarded) was the rubicon in terms of respectability and the acting profession.

    Hollywood has degenerated to a complete meat market, with most actors never having gotten any true acting chops on stage.

    Stage training can be problematic; what looks great on stage can look quite hammy on the silver screen.Olivier talks about how William Wyler had to keep telling him to rein it in when they were filming Wuthering Heights (“What dimension were you trying to reach with that one, Larry? That one was visible on Mars,” etc).

  71. @Jefferson
    " Other famous actors claimed to have gypsy ancestry include Elvis Presley (others claim he was a tri-racial melungeon) and Rita Hayworth."

    That is false, Elvis Presley never claimed to have Gypsy ancestry. There were not exactly a lot of Gypsies living in 1930s Jim Crow Mississippi, which is the time period when he was born. Heck even today in 2014 there is still no large Gypsy presence in Mississippi, let alone in the 1930s.

    Replies: @Bliss

    Gypsies are known to hide their ancestry. A DNA test can easily confirm or deny claims of Elvis having gypsy and/or melungeon ancestry. His beloved mother does look kinda gypsy to me:

    Btw, Sandro of Argentina, aka the Latin Elvis, was of known gypsy ancestry:

    https://www.google.com/search?q=latin+elvis+argentina+sandro&espv=2&biw=1280&bih=598&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=blplVMnULcidygTyt4HgDA&ved=0CCwQsAQ#tbm=isch&q=sandro+elvis

  72. The personal adds feature in the Sherlock Holmes story “The Adventure of the Red Circle”, where Holmes keeps an archive of all the London papers, and uses them to solve a case.

  73. @WhatEvvs
    "It wouldn’t totally surprise me if Sean Bean winds up with Liam Neeson-style late-in-life stardom."

    Hope so. He deserves it; and this is a more satisfying career path than 10 years in the sun, then indies, and Hawaii 5-0. (That's what happened to Stephen Boyd, who is forgotten, and was once a young British up and comer. For those of you who don't know who he is, rent Ben Hur.)

    Re: Jane Fonda's accent, google Larchmont or Locust Valley Lockjaw. (It's extinct.)

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @syonredux, @Old Palo Altan

    Re: Jane Fonda’s accent, google Larchmont or Locust Valley Lockjaw. (It’s extinct.)

    Fonda (born 1937) is a product of the Greenwich Adademy, the Emma Willard School, and Vassar.

  74. cumberpatchkid

  75. Jane’s tragic mom was an A-list socialite whose 1st marriage was to Claire Booth Luce’s ex. Marrying an actor was something of a step down for her, and marrying her was a step up for Fonda.

    Jane’s older half sister was half sister to CBLuce’s only daughter. It’s complicated.

  76. Patrick Stewart and Edward Woodward also came from working class backgrounds.

  77. @Cookies

    If you want to hear a forgotten New York accent, google some videos of Robert Forster.

    • Replies: @WhatEvvs
    @Name Withheld

    this Robert Forster?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Forster

    I actually met him once. He was a big 60s star.

  78. Hmm, Rafe (son of Timothy) Spall played Yann Martel in the film Life of Pi. ‘Rafe’ that is an odd name( I think Roger Moore’s character in ‘Wild Geese’ is the only time I’ve heard of someone called that.)

    Actually, I believe that Rafe is just a more phonetically-spelled version of the upper-class way of pronouncing “Ralph.” Actor Ralph Fiennes’ name is pronounced “Rafe.”

    the Three Musketeers – with a black Porthos.

    That’s probably one of the more benign examples – as Alexandre Dumas was himself, I believe, of mixed black/white heritage. Of course, maybe they got the idea from the mascots for the candy bar.

  79. Drunk girl catcalling video may be fake but the scenario posed happens every day as portrayed in the video, Hannah Graham, for example.

    Sean Bean should have played James Bond, not a Bond villain. He is a God among men and his masculinity is never in doubt. He is mouthwateringly delicious. As for Cumberbatch and Hiddleston, they are magnificent creatures. They are brilliant, educated, multi-talented, sleekly handsome, and cheeky, with wonderful senses of humor. There are many examples of their fabulousness to be found on YouTube. They are in the mold of Peter O’Toole, being slightly effeminate thin white dukes with elegant diction. I also love it that I can understand every word they say.

  80. Since we’re now talking about handsome Englishmen, Christian Bale is up there. Despite all temptations to belong to other nations, he is an Englishman, he is an Englishman. And he can act, although I wasn’t a fan of the Bat-tard movies.

  81. @Name Withheld
    @Cookies

    If you want to hear a forgotten New York accent, google some videos of Robert Forster.

    Replies: @WhatEvvs

    this Robert Forster?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Forster

    I actually met him once. He was a big 60s star.

  82. the late John Thaw, an actor who mainly appeared on TV and is probably unknown in America

    Surely you jest.

  83. @Art Deco
    @Simon in London

    for playing the working class policeman Sergeant Lewis on Inspector Morse
    --
    They leave that ambiguous. The fictional Lewis is presented as a more vernacular character than his partners Morse (Oxford dropout, signal corps veteran) and Hathaway (Oxford graduate, seminary dropout), who both speak RP, do not have a television, and enjoy long-haired music. Lewis speaks Geordie, but he never visits his home town and nothing is said of his family of origin; he's also irritated by 'professional northerners'. It emerges in the latter series that he went through 6th form and completed two A-Levels; his high school girlfriend appears in one episode; she speaks RP. The writers later pair him off with the coroner (an haut bourgeois spinster who plays the violin in her spare time), but they never have the chemistry he has with the Scots woman they abortively pair him off with earlier (who retired from the police to run a ship-repair business, hands on).

    Colin Dexter was most impressed with Kevin Whately's rendering of his character, saying it was better than the original.

    I think he uses Geordie in interviews and in commercials for the Labour Party. Don't know whether that's a put on or not.

    Replies: @Jacobite

    Hathaway (Oxford graduate, seminary dropout)

    Hathaway is a graduate of Cambridge. One gets the impression that he looks down on Oxford as a trifle degenerate (all those murders!)

  84. “Veracitor says:
    November 13, 2014 at 8:03 pm GMT

    Speaking (heh) of accents/dialects, I have been wondering for a few days what became of the way a lot of American women used to talk in the 1960′s-70′s? Let me explain. I watched an old Jane Fonda movie last weekend and noticed that her intonation reminded me of Elizabeth Montgomery’s and Sally Field’s and Carrie Fisher’s… and suddenly I realized I no longer hear American women, actresses or no, talk like that. I don’t know the name of the dialect or the proper way to describe it. Steve, do you know any more about this?”

    I never noticed that before, but you are right. It was a very attractive way of speaking as well. Perhaps the earliest exemplar of that dialect was Debbie Reynolds. Contemporary actresses speak with no art, and about half an octave too low.

    It used to be that a lot of actors had highly distinctive voices – Burt Lancaster, James Mason, Kirk Douglas, John Wayne, etc. That often made their delivery much more interesting. A well-written piece of dialogue became even better when spoken by James Mason. Actors now seem pretty much interchangeable. Given that the writing in movies is indifferent, I suppose it should come as no surprise that the reading of the lines is indifferent too.

    • Replies: @Sean
    @Mr. Anon

    The average actress today uses a freakishly low voice. John Wayne had a naturally high voice which he was still using in his early films. In the 60's Wayne advised Michael Caine 'talk low, talk slow, and don't say too much'. Now all actors do that. The Politicians and lawyers too. In a few decades people will be laughing their head off.

    Anthony Hopkins certainly copied Laurence Olivier's odd way of talking.

  85. Gerard Depardieu was basically a street thug as a kid, but in his prime, could act rings around most of the above. Sure, now he’s a fat, wine swilling git, but I’ve never seen any actor with more of an utterly uncontrived, born to do it style. He has to be viewed speaking his native French to fully appreciate his talent. His English speaking movies are awful. But watch his face in Le Colonel Chabert, as he describes to his lawyer what it’s like to be shot, fall into a pit, and climb your way out of the writhing, dying bodies. Natural acting genius. All the RADA classes in the world can’t bestow it.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Beach

    Depardieu was the greatest movie actor in the world in the 1980s.

  86. @Beach
    Gerard Depardieu was basically a street thug as a kid, but in his prime, could act rings around most of the above. Sure, now he's a fat, wine swilling git, but I've never seen any actor with more of an utterly uncontrived, born to do it style. He has to be viewed speaking his native French to fully appreciate his talent. His English speaking movies are awful. But watch his face in Le Colonel Chabert, as he describes to his lawyer what it's like to be shot, fall into a pit, and climb your way out of the writhing, dying bodies. Natural acting genius. All the RADA classes in the world can't bestow it.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    Depardieu was the greatest movie actor in the world in the 1980s.

  87. @Mr. Anon
    "Veracitor says:
    November 13, 2014 at 8:03 pm GMT

    Speaking (heh) of accents/dialects, I have been wondering for a few days what became of the way a lot of American women used to talk in the 1960′s-70′s? Let me explain. I watched an old Jane Fonda movie last weekend and noticed that her intonation reminded me of Elizabeth Montgomery’s and Sally Field’s and Carrie Fisher’s… and suddenly I realized I no longer hear American women, actresses or no, talk like that. I don’t know the name of the dialect or the proper way to describe it. Steve, do you know any more about this?"

    I never noticed that before, but you are right. It was a very attractive way of speaking as well. Perhaps the earliest exemplar of that dialect was Debbie Reynolds. Contemporary actresses speak with no art, and about half an octave too low.

    It used to be that a lot of actors had highly distinctive voices - Burt Lancaster, James Mason, Kirk Douglas, John Wayne, etc. That often made their delivery much more interesting. A well-written piece of dialogue became even better when spoken by James Mason. Actors now seem pretty much interchangeable. Given that the writing in movies is indifferent, I suppose it should come as no surprise that the reading of the lines is indifferent too.

    Replies: @Sean

    The average actress today uses a freakishly low voice. John Wayne had a naturally high voice which he was still using in his early films. In the 60’s Wayne advised Michael Caine ‘talk low, talk slow, and don’t say too much’. Now all actors do that. The Politicians and lawyers too. In a few decades people will be laughing their head off.

    Anthony Hopkins certainly copied Laurence Olivier’s odd way of talking.

  88. Diversity before diversity.

    Middle class English girl married to a Chinese gentleman in 1966 UK.

  89. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The late Leo McKern was an Australian actor perhaps best known for the excellent TV series ‘Rumpole of the Bailey’, based on the John Mortimer books, which was made by Thames TV, UK, back in the 1980s. I don’t know if the show was ever broadcast in the USA, but so well did McKern’s persona fit in well with the fictious Horace Rumpole QC, that the old cliche was the part was written for him.
    Anyway, so distinctive was Leo McKern’s physiognomy, that writers, critics, reviewists etc writing pieces, interviews etc about McKern would always throw in a few choice sentences into the piece physically describing McKern, perhaps to show off their verbal floursity if nothing else. McKern, collected these descriptions and filled a book with them. ‘Bun-faced’, was the favored epithet of choice, ‘having a nose with the size and sheen of a ripe aubergine’ was another.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @Anonymous

    Rumpole of the Bailey was great. Leo McKern was born to be Rumpole. They were all pretty much the same, but the dialog was superb.

    I sent John Mortimer, Rumpole's creator, a fan letter in the 90s and received a nice hand-written reply. He was an avowed socialist, but a gentleman nonetheless.

  90. @Soviet of Washington
    @dearieme

    Whitsun is an English and Irish term for Pentecost Sunday (the 7th Sunday after Easter). She's cancelling engagements for a religious holiday (In today's UK, it would probably be to celebrate Eid al-Fitr). But, perhaps it was a virgin birth...so OK...

    Replies: @dearieme

    “She’s cancelling engagements for a religious holiday”: no she’s cancelling engagements for what used to be a Bank Holiday weekend that occurred at Whitsun. It’s since been moved.

  91. @Jefferson
    British actors (not American actors of British descent) are vastly overrepresented in Hollywood compared to their share of the general U.S population.

    America no longer has a large British immigrant population, yet Hollywood has a lot of British actors. Is the salaries in The United Kingdom for film actors not that high, is that why so many of them come to America for the fatter paychecks ?

    Replies: @slumber_j, @dearieme, @syonredux, @Dain, @NickG

    There are plenty. For instance 67 Brits were killed on 9/11.

    The UK foreign office estimate that thre are 838,000 UK subjects in the US.

    Of course the numbers with British ancestry is way higher. Likely more than the current UK population. Remember the American war of independence was a civil war, at the time the vast majority of white American settlers were of British stock.

  92. Bad acting is just one of the reasons why Jews have been thrown out of every country they have graciously been allowed into.

  93. “Do you remember the old days when British movie stars were often Cockneys like Michael Caine or ex-coffin polishers like Sean Connery? ”

    The working class population has been undergoing a stealth genocide for the last 60 years.

    The way it works is mass immigration is mostly young male and they tend to congregate in ethnic enclaves. This creates an imbalance between the young males and young females which leads to a lot of violence and gang violence as the males compete**. It’s not all one way and not all immigrant vs native. i.e. the violence can be between immigrant males or native males over a girl. The key point is simply the imbalance between supply and demand.

    The vast majority of the victims of this violence are in the 11-24 age group weighted say 14-24 among the males and 11-18 among the females. The euphemism is “bad schools”.

    The problem isn’t dealt with because the media don’t report it and they don’t report it because although the violence is *caused* by the imbalance between the males and females it is *correlated* with immigration and particular immigrant ethnic groups so the locals blame it on immigrants and particular ethnic groups and so the liberal minded people in the media assume it’s simply racism and censor the news.

    As the violence is never reported it’s never dealt with and so the native population with school age children in that area are effectively driven out of their homes.

    At this point the native population in that area are effectively dead. They might still be the majority at this point and it might take another 60 years for the last of them to pass on but once the roots are cut away (no children) the population is dead.

    Rinse and repeat this process from one area to the next for 60 years and the original native population slowly withers away – although so far this has mostly only effected the native working class population in the big cities hence fewer working class actors and musicians.

    The same thing is happening in the US and elsewhere.

    **you get the gangs and lots of male-male violence if the incoming population are as or more aggressive than the native population. when the incoming population are less aggressive then you get less of the male-male violence but you still have a supply and demand problem which results in gangs targeting native females for forced prostitution so it’s either male-male and male-female violence or mostly male-female violence but either way it leads to people with school age children moving away.

  94. I don’t know if the show was ever broadcast in the USA, but so well did McKern’s persona fit in well with the fictious Horace Rumpole QC, that the old cliche was the part was written for him.

    When McKern was cast as Rumpole, John Mortimer described him as a “gift from heaven.”

  95. @WhatEvvs
    "It wouldn’t totally surprise me if Sean Bean winds up with Liam Neeson-style late-in-life stardom."

    Hope so. He deserves it; and this is a more satisfying career path than 10 years in the sun, then indies, and Hawaii 5-0. (That's what happened to Stephen Boyd, who is forgotten, and was once a young British up and comer. For those of you who don't know who he is, rent Ben Hur.)

    Re: Jane Fonda's accent, google Larchmont or Locust Valley Lockjaw. (It's extinct.)

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @syonredux, @Old Palo Altan

    Well, not entirely extinct. Five of my East Coast first cousins all have it – and they actually grew up in Locust Valley, the girls went to Miss Porters, and their country club was The Creek. Admittedly, like me they are all in their sixties, so extinction is only a matter of time, and not a great deal of that.

  96. “Anonymous says:
    November 14, 2014 at 1:24 pm GMT

    The late Leo McKern was an Australian actor perhaps best known for the excellent TV series ‘Rumpole of the Bailey’, based on the John Mortimer books, which was made by Thames TV, UK, back in the 1980s. I don’t know if the show was ever broadcast in the USA, but so well did McKern’s persona fit in well with the fictious Horace Rumpole QC, that the old cliche was the part was written for him.”

    It was indeed shown in the US, and it had quite a following. McKern was always interesting. He was at his best playing sleazy, Machivellian characters, like Cromwell in “The Man for All Seasons”, one of the more memorable “Number 2” ‘s in “The Prisoner”, and Basil Zaharov in “Reilley, Ace of Spies”.

  97. @WhatEvvs
    I think Sean Bean is a total stud, and I'm sorry he never became an A-list Hollywood movie star, but them's the breaks. Hollywood is a disgusting place and maybe he never quite learned to play the game.

    I never watched L&O much, having been a victim of street crime, I just don't want to watch fictional representations of it. But I got the impression from snippets here and there that what you said is correct.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Anonymous

    Check out Sean Bean in Bravo Two Zero and the Essex Boys.

  98. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous
    The late Leo McKern was an Australian actor perhaps best known for the excellent TV series 'Rumpole of the Bailey', based on the John Mortimer books, which was made by Thames TV, UK, back in the 1980s. I don't know if the show was ever broadcast in the USA, but so well did McKern's persona fit in well with the fictious Horace Rumpole QC, that the old cliche was the part was written for him.
    Anyway, so distinctive was Leo McKern's physiognomy, that writers, critics, reviewists etc writing pieces, interviews etc about McKern would always throw in a few choice sentences into the piece physically describing McKern, perhaps to show off their verbal floursity if nothing else. McKern, collected these descriptions and filled a book with them. 'Bun-faced', was the favored epithet of choice, 'having a nose with the size and sheen of a ripe aubergine' was another.

    Replies: @Anonymous

    Rumpole of the Bailey was great. Leo McKern was born to be Rumpole. They were all pretty much the same, but the dialog was superb.

    I sent John Mortimer, Rumpole’s creator, a fan letter in the 90s and received a nice hand-written reply. He was an avowed socialist, but a gentleman nonetheless.

  99. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Everything about Rumpole was great.
    The casting was great, the acting was great, the dialogue was great, the characterization was great, John Mortimer casually dropping little arcane secrets about the machinations of the English legal system was great. Even the theme music and opening titles, which suited the show down to a ‘t’ was great.
    Rumpole of the Bailey started as a single one off drama on BBC1’s celebrated ‘Play for Today’ strand, way back in 1975. Play for Today, basically epitomized the BBC agenda of the 1970s. It was shown, prime time on a Monday evening. Basically it was an outlet for bearded, angry, left wing playwrights to vent their hatred for British society, John Mortimer was an exception, of course. But saying that some great edgy, innovative drama was made eg Abigail’s Party and the iconic ‘Gotcha!’, in which a disturbed teenager holds two schoolteachers hostage and threatens to incinerate them by setting fire to a motorbike petrol tank – sounds trite, but it was a great commentary on the Britain of the time.
    The high-brow nature of Play for Today, whilst written in defence of the proles, largely pissed the proles off as they found it impenetrable and ‘boring’, but the BBC of the time never gave a damn about audience ratings, only ‘artistic integrity’.
    Today’s BBC is a different kettle of fish. It gives the proles what they want ie complete and utter dog shit like ‘EastEnders’. It’s a worse ratings chaser than old commercial TV ever was.

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