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
Stewart Lee (Gavin Evans)

comedy

Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Far Right and Proud: Reggies Yates' Extreme Russia

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West was mobbed in Armenia after jumping into a lake

music
Arts and Entertainment
The show suffers from its own appeal, being so good as to create an appetite in its viewers that is difficult to sate in a ten episode series

Game of Thrones reviewFirst look at season five contains some spoilers
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey on the Red Carpet for 2015's Olivier Awards

Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awards

Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Proving his metal: Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner in the BBC series) epitomises the risk-taking spirit of 18th-century mine owners

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne is reportedly favourite to play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars in dystopian action thriller Mad Max: Fury Road

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh, 22, made his first million from the game MinoMonsters

Grace Dent

Channel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
News
Disgraced Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game face: Zoë Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Ethan Hawke in ‘Good Kill’

film review

Arts and Entertainment
Living like there’s no tomorrow: Jon Hamm as Don Draper in the final season of ‘Mad Men’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
Yaphett Kotto with Julius W Harris and Jane Seymour in 1973 Bond movie Live and Let Die

film
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment

film
  • Get to the point
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.

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own