Inside television: Life's a beach for Good Wife actress Melissa George

 

Something strange happened while I was watching the new series of
US legal drama The Good Wife (More4) this week. I found myself humming the
theme tune from Australian soap opera Home and Away. It was my unconscious
mind's way of serenading new addition to the cast, Melissa George.

George plays Marilyn, an employee at the Governor’s office who seems sure to tempt the show’s not-so-good husband away from the path of righteousness. It’s not her first role since leaving Home and Away back in 1996, but it might as well be. Eighteen years, a perfected American accent and numerous Hollywood roles later, and George is still just a runaway teen called Angel Parrish. 

In 2012 the 37-year-old actress threatened to storm out of an interview on Australian TV programme The Morning Show, when the host devoted too much time to discussing her most famous role. She was later quoted in Melbourne’s Herald Sun justifying the outburst: “I don’t need credibility from my country anymore; I just need them all to be quiet...I've never spoken out about it because I have to be the loyal good Aussie, who goes away and comes home.”

Our TV screens are full of actors who might sympathise, all trying desperately to ditch the spectres of soap characters past. On Sky 1, Ross Kemp wants you to take him seriously as an investigative journalist. He’s been plugging away at it since 2006, yet you’d be lucky to find a review of his latest documentary Extreme World which doesn’t mention a certain baldie hard-man by the name of Grant Mitchell. The actress, pop princess and now talent show judge Kylie Minogue must be one of soap’s most successful graduates, but even she seemed embarrassed after letting slip a Neighbors reference on The Voice last week. 

That’s not to say there’s no life after soap. The Corrie triumvirate of Sarah Lancashire, Suranne Jones and Katherine Kelly have proved it’s possible, but the shared secret of their success is staying in the UK and sticking with down-to-earth TV roles. Viewers feel they can identify with the ordinary lives portrayed in soaps, so when a favourite star hightails it to Hollywood it can feel like both hubris and a personal betrayal. Lancashire, Jones and Kelly have remained popular because they never fully abandoned their roots.

In America, it’s different. You wouldn’t know it, but the likes of Julianne Moore, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio all started out in soap - that’s the land of opportunity for you. In British culture, however, the compulsion to remind people where they came from is deeply rooted. And, unfortunately for soap stars, the more desperate a person seems to erase their humble past, the more solemn is our duty to remind them of it. All together now, “You know we belong together / You and I forever and ever / No matter where you are...”

Scandi show lacks recipe for success

It’s still January, it’s still cold and according to the Association of British Travel Agents there’s been a ten per cent rise in people booking their summer holidays early. This year’s hot new destination (well, temperate, anyway) is Scandinavia. Why? Because TV told us so. It’s been telling us so for a while and on Sunday TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall presents Scandimania, a three-part programme extolling the many virtues of Sweden, Denmark and Norway. 

Hugh would have us believe that a holiday in the Viking homelands is all New Nordic Cuisine, tasteful minimalism and relaxing saunas, but anyone who’s seen the current series of The Bridge knows better. Yes, the traditional Med destinations are over-run with marauding drunken teens, but rather that than overcast skies and eco-terrorism. A box-set based ‘stay-cation’ has never looked more appealing.

CATCH UP

The Good Wife, Netflix

This slick legal drama starring Julianna Margulies is about to begin a fifth series on More4. If you’re unfamiliar with the goings on at Chicago’s Lockhart/Gardner law firm, or just fancy a quick refresher course, Netflix has series one to four available to stream. The show’s great incidental pleasure is its fabulous array of guest stars, so check out series one, episode 17 for the role that won Martha Plimpton an Emmy.

http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/The_Good_Wife/70143857?trkid=50000009

Broad City, broadcitytheshow.com

Two NYC comics Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson just got their big break; a series on Comedy Central produced by The Greatest Woman in The World (TM) Amy Poehler. Broad City is a hilarious account of two 20-something friends (also called Ilana and Abbi), who make up in chutzpah what they lack ready cash. Think Girls meets Curb Your Enthusiasm. While we wait for the TV version to make it to the UK, you can catch up with the 2-minute webisodes online. Thank you, Internet. 

http://www.broadcitytheshow.com

Britain’s Great War, BBC iPlayer

Jeremy Paxman’s familiar disdainful boom is all over this first world war documentary like cannon fire, but don’t let that put you off. The BBC’s first sally into a four-year campaign of centenary programming is also full of humanising details from the homefront. Details, like those recalled by the remarkable Violet Muers, a 105-year-old who was just seven when the Germans bombed her hometown of Hartlepool. Part two of four, ‘The War Machine’ airs on Monday at 9pm.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p01nprmc/Britains_Great_War_War_Comes_to_Britain/

Wiseguy, YouTube

Jonathan Banks is the kind of American crime character actor I like. Hard-faced, hard-to-place and possessed of a TV credit list as long as the New Jersey Turnpike. What do you mean you’ve never heard of him? This week Banks was confirmed as a series regular in in Better Caul Saul, the Breaking Bad spin-off prequel due to reach Netflix at some point this year known. He’ll be reprising his role as inscrutable P.I. Mike Ehrmantraut, so to celebrate here’s Jonathan/Mike circa 1987, playing a troubled cop in the US series Wiseguy. You won’t recognise him; he’s got hair.  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFzcYvY70Fc

Summer Heights High, YouTube

Sometimes it takes a 39-year-old man called Chris Lilley to really embody the spirit of a spoilt 17-year-old schoolgirl. That’s what we learned from Summer Heights High, the under-watched comedy series which spawned Ja’ime King. Ja’ime: Private School Girl starts on BBC Three next week. In the meantime, the first episode of Summer Heights High is available on YouTube. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AF0ciPrKzH4

Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer is to leave The Apprentice after 10 years

TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice

Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
The Baker (James Corden) struggles with Lilla Crawford’s Little Red Riding Hood

film...all the better to bamboozle us
Arts and Entertainment
English: Romantic Landscape

art
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Strictly
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas