Game of Thrones prequel: what can we learn from the first images?

The first stills from House of the Dragon, the new series within George RR Martin’s fantasy universe, promise more of the same but also a tease of something new Game of Thrones currently has a bit of an image problem. The sense that George RR Martin will never actually complete his saga has taken all […]

‘Tarnished for ever’: why don’t great TV shows ever end well?

Line of Duty, Game of Thrones, Lost, Dexter … so much TV goes from fan favourite to laughing stock the second its finale ends. Has any show ever stuck the landing? If Sunday night’s Line of Duty really was the last ever, there’s a sense that the entire programme has been tarnished by its finale. […]

‘You love me? I can’t take that to the bank’: Johnny Vegas on money, fame and grief

Lockdown and the loss of both parents have transformed the entertainer. He talks about the disappointments of TV, outgrowing his comic persona – and his move into the glamping business I remember the buzz around Johnny Vegas at the Edinburgh fringe in 1997. Everyone knew a star was being born – but a star of […]

‘A David and Goliath battle’: how Superstore became TV’s most subversive workplace comedy

The US sitcom about retail workers refusing to let their company crush their souls – or get them deported – is surprisingly revelatory Spoiler alert: this article contains spoilers for all six seasons of Superstore. The workplace sitcom is more popular than ever. During the coronavirus lockdowns of 2020, US audiences streamed 57 billion minutes […]

Marcel Stellman, creator of daytime TV classic Countdown, dies aged 96

Carol Vorderman leads tributes to the composer and TV producer known as Mr Countdown The musical composer and creator of the hit daytime TV series Countdown, Marcel Stellman, has died at the age of 96. Belgian-born Stellman produced songs for the likes of Cilla Black and Charles Aznavour, and was also known for bringing the […]

‘You’ll be whooping from your sofa!’ 25 hilarious standup sets to make everything better

From classic Chris Rock to Sarah Millican at her bluntest, these are the routines that have got comedians, readers and Guardian writers through a difficult year French comic Fary Lopes caused a stir at the Molière theatre awards in 2019 by addressing the crowd with “Salut les blancs!” (Hey, white people!). I love that his […]

How we met: ‘When Hillary Clinton lost the election we decided to leave America’

Rebecca Roldán Gordon, 37 and Nick Reynolds, 38, met online as teenagers. They have endured ill-health and homelessness together, and have supported each other to transition to non-binary and male. They live in Andalucía Like many teenagers, Rebecca Roldán Gordon loved spending time on the internet. In 1999 they began writing to Nick Reynolds, who […]

Iran’s treatment of Zaghari-Ratcliffe amounts to torture, says Raab

Foreign secretary says it is ‘difficult to argue against’ suggestion the dual national is being held state hostage Iran’s treatment of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe amounts to torture, the British foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, has said, as the Foreign Office downplayed an Iranian state TV report saying Britain would pay a £400m debt to secure her release. […]

Bid to stop Paul Dacre taking over at TV regulator

Industry and government figures stage 11th-hour effort to prevent former Mail editor being appointed chair of Ofcom A last-ditch campaign to stop former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre becoming chair of Britain’s national broadcasting regulator is being waged in Whitehall, the Observer understands. After a final shortlist of candidates was interviewed last week, industry and […]

Oscar-winning actor Olympia Dukakis, star of Moonstruck, dies aged 89

Dukakis won best supporting actress Academy Award Film, TV and stage actor also starred in Steel Magnolias Olympia Dukakis, the Oscar-winning actor whose hit films included Moonstruck and Steel Magnolias, has died. She was 89. Related: Olympia Dukakis: ‘My character is described as a foul-mouthed lesbian Walther Matthau? I love that!’ Continue reading…

‘I was addicted to the high’: I became an influencer as a joke – then it nearly broke me

Comedian Bella Younger thought wellness Instagrammers were ripe for parody. Soon she was drawn in herself. Could Deliciously Stella find her way back to reality? I have always wanted to be a comedian or television presenter, but never knew how I’d make it happen. After years of working in TV production, pestering executives to put […]

‘God, I never thought we’d be this old!’: Miquita Oliver and Simon Amstell on Popworld turning 20

Celebrating the seminal ego-pricking teen TV show, its original hosts talk friendship, grilling musicians and why the show wouldn’t work in 2021 “Oh God, this whole thing is like what we used to take the piss out of on the show!” groans Simon Amstell, horrified by my question. I am sitting in my garden with […]

Noel Clarke shows dropped as allegations shake TV industry

ITV and Sky halt programmes featuring actor accused of sexual harassment and bullying ‘Sexual predator’: actor Noel Clarke accused of groping, harassment and bullying by 20 women How Bafta spent two weeks grappling with Noel Clarke dilemma Allegations of sexual harassment and bullying made against the actor-producer Noel Clarke have shaken the film and television […]

‘It’s currently 1991’: why old Top of the Pops reruns continue to enchant

Fifteen years after it was axed, the iconic show is drawing in nostalgia junkies by offering eclectic music, dodgy lip-syncing … and lockdown escapism For many of us, it was the soundtrack to our childhood. The opening riff of Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love still inspires an atavistic excitement in full-grown adults decades on. On […]

From Line of Duty to Lost: 10 of the best TV twists

Office romances, festive misery, an almighty family fall-out – here are some of the small screen’s most audacious rug-pulls Modern Toss on plot twists Jessica Raine’s arrival in the cast of Jed Mercurio’s anti-corruption police drama was at the heart of the publicity leading up to the show’s second series. The opening episode constructed DC […]

Why stars should think twice before calling out their critics

From Lizzo to Lana Del Rey, celebrities have taken umbrage with reviews online. But arguing with journalists only warps the public’s view of the media, and puts writers under siege In 2018, while working as a freelance writer, I travelled three hours outside of London on a train, and then a coach, to review a […]

Don Warrington: ‘I wanted to be heroic like the Lone Ranger’

The Rising Damp and Death in Paradise actor recounts his love of doggy adventure TV and how his current show seeks to inspire the same sense of wonder When I was a child, the television was mainly for me and my siblings. Our parents weren’t too keen on it themselves, probably because they were busy […]

Channel 5 pulls ‘immoral’ plastic surgery show about Charlotte Crosby’s appearance

Broadcaster says sorry over episode that dissected changes in reality TV star’s appearance Channel 5 has apologised and pulled an episode of its controversial celebrity plastic surgery series from its streaming service after condemnation from its subject, Charlotte Crosby. Last Thursday’s episode of Celebrities: What Happened to Your Face? featured medical professionals dissecting how the […]

German actors face backlash over ‘cynical’ Covid lockdown videos

Dozens of high-profile actors feature on website making fun of Germany’s coronavirus restrictions Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage For half a century, the police procedural Tatort (“Crime Scene”) has provided a rallying point for Germany’s culturally diverse regions, gathering viewers around their television sets every Sunday night to watch detectives from […]

Talking to yourself: a good antidote to loneliness – or the sign of a real problem?

During the pandemic, I have gone from uttering a few words of encouragement to myself to full-blown arguments. I’m not the only one. I asked psychologists what purpose this serves “We should probably go out now,” I say to Danny as I vegetate in front of the TV. “Yeah, we should, but I can’t be […]

Hobbit forming: how Dominic Monaghan became obsessed with scorpions

Dominic Monaghan has starred in Lord of the Rings and Lost. But neither compare to the joys of gardening in LA – and raising deadly creatures To be part of one cultural phenomenon could be considered fortuitous. To be central to two looks downright spooky. Such is the life of Dominic Monaghan, the puckish Mancunian […]

Oscars 2021: timetable, predictions and what to expect

The 93rd Academy Awards have finally arrived – here’s what you need to know, when you need to know it by and who (we think) will win the key prizes Two months late, the Oscars have finally arrived. Covid has wreaked its havoc in the film industry just like everywhere else, with cinema closing, shoots […]

‘The butt of all jokes’: why TV needs to ditch stale immigrant stories

The lead character in United States of Al is a bumbling, one-dimensional cliche whose sole purpose is helping his white peers. How sad that shows like this still get made It feels sad, amid a wave of such positive, nuanced, complex depictions of immigrants on TV, that United States of Al had to launch this […]

Tell us: what standup comedy set has been making you laugh lately?

It hasn’t been the liveliest year for live comedy. For the sake of sharing some laughs, we want your stand-up recommendations There might not have been many opportunities to go and watch live stand-up comedy in the past year, but with most of us in need of a good laugh, that hasn’t stopped us reaching […]

Few tears likely to be shed as plan for No 10 TV press briefings dropped

Analysis: Insiders say plan had been ‘kicked down the road for so long’ it was inevitable it would be dropped When the decision was finally taken to scrap the much-delayed televised press briefings that No 10 had hoped would provide greater control of the media agenda, there was a quiet sigh of relief among some […]

‘Let yourself be quirky’: Oprah Winfrey’s life coach on how to be much happier

Martha Beck survived abuse, went to Harvard, left her husband – then began working with the world’s biggest TV star. She discusses self-help, nonconformity and the power of truth “This has almost been like a global meditation. What isn’t working in your life rises to the surface. Going back to the way it was? It’s […]

Shadow and Bone star Jessie Mei Li: ‘Fans find out everything’

The actor is about to hit the TV big time as a girl with special powers in Netflix’s new young adult fantasy. And the internet is in a frenzy Jessie Mei Li currently inhabits a weird stratum of celebrity. At 25 years old, her biggest screen credit to date has been a single episode of […]

We must end ‘qualified immunity’ for police. It might save the next George Floyd | Killer Mike

Unless we do, police violence will rage on, and Black communities will continue to live in fear of the people ostensibly sworn to protect them On the night of 30 May last year, I was standing at the mayor of Atlanta’s podium, wondering what I might say to keep my home town from burning itself […]

Power grab in a pandemic: how absence of fans gave greedy owners their chance | Barney Ronay

The European Super League shows that football club owners don’t care about suppporters, even more so after a year when they realised they can exist on TV income alone Selling England by the pound, part 94. The European Super League may be many things: a structural inevitability, an exciting new format, a great sweating orgy […]

Nadiya Hussain: ‘I never even dreamed of being a part of all this’

For Observer Food Monthly’s 20th anniversary, the TV presenter and cook recalls baking cakes for her GCSEs 20 years ago – and the worst thing about cooking at home in a pandemic In 2015, Nadiya Hussain’s life changed completely after she won the sixth series of The Great British Bake Off. She remains the most […]