"a recherché treat"

TV Screen Plays: The Theatre Plays on British Television Database has soft launched, a searchable resource collecting information about plays broadcast on television between the last thirties and mid-60s (the full data will be available by the summer). Luke McKernan has a review:
"Nowadays theatre on television is a recherché treat, generally reserved for the occasional outing on BBC Four. In the first three to four decades of British television, theatre was a mainstay of broadcast output. In part this was due to a BBC that believed that theatre was elevating, something to be transmitted to the masses because it was good for them. Television was a looking glass through which to discover the better arts."
Of course I've gone straight in and found appearance from the Doctors.

William Hartnell - Seagulls over Sorrento [excerpt] (1953)

Patrick Troughton - four whole pages worth of productions starting in 1947 with Edward II.

Jon Pertwee - Toad of Toad Hall (1946), The Wandering Jew (1947), Ranch in the Rockies [excerpts] (1952), Dick Whittington and His Cat (1958).

Tom Baker - The Millionairess (1972)

Everyone else is to young. We'll return to this when the full database has been posted.

On Deadpool.

Film Under usual circumstance I only produce these enthusiastic post-film reactoposts for productions of the MARVEL cinematic universe but now The X-Men cinematic universe has finally found its feet (give or take a four stick) and with Deadpool being what it is I thought I'd apply some random thoughts to a computer screen. This is not a review, especially since it's going to include spoilers of the kind you really wouldn't want to read before seeing the film. So if you the person I was this morning still planning on waiting for the shiny-disc release for various reasons before intoning "oh fuck it" very loudly and going anyway, keep this bookmarked for six months. Or add it to your Google Calendar as an alert because you will have forgotten I've written by then. Hell, I will have forgotten I've written by then.


As ever my original plan was to see Deadpool at Picturehouse at FACT in Liverpool, but having skipped the release week because of half term, being a 15 certificate and all, then checking on waking this morning I discovered it had been supplanted from a lunchtime screening this week to late afternoon when I'm usually half asleep due to hunger and replaced on the biggest screen by Triple 9 which has wait for the Amazon Prime UK stream in six months written all over it thanks to its 56% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  The only other alternative in central Liverpool is the Odeon and given that pretty much every previous visit to the Odeon has been a rotten shame, I decided that I'd wait for the dvd or blu-ray just as I have for every X-Men related film film The Last Stand (and pretty much every other film released in the past ten years to be fair).

Then after eating my breakfast of porridge whilst watching Billy Wilder's The Lost Weekend and before sitting to check my emails, I made the previously mentioned audible expletive and decided to take the train to the Vue cinema at Birkenhead to sample its charms.  It was perfectly fine.  Tickets cost an old school £4.99 in the afternoon, half the price of the FACT and Odeon.  The auditorium was adequate although the seats are amazing close to the screen and the safety lights directly above the first three rows were on all the way through the film which meant the dark scenes had a slightly beige hue.  Otherwise it was well projected and the sound was loud enough to make the chairs vibrate.  There were about ten of us in the screen including a group of youngsters (!) who talks loudly through the preamble adverts and trailers but sushed for the film apart from the moments when they weren't supposed to.

Wade Whimsey

One of the key elements of the pre-publicity for the Deadpool, the viral marketing, the press interviews all of that, has been about the extent to which the meta-fictional post-modern elements would be reproduced on the big screen with some worrying that it would become blunted too much by the needs of being a film within a much larger franchise and also being inclusive for as wide an audience as possible.  Despite not having read Deadpool comic from cover to cover in my life (something which will now change as the graphic novels section of Liverpool Central Library embraces me again), I understood that this is what made the character unique and liking that element a lot in other films because of its theatricality, I was keen to see just how far Reynold et al would stretch things.

As far as they could, I think is the answer, to an extraordinary degree actually given that for all its budget and certification this is a relatively wide release.  His revealed level of awareness seems to stretch to knowing that he's a comic book character in a film adaptation within a franchise which has taken a few continuity knocks over the years with enough in-verse jokes about the treatment of the character in the past to be satisfied enough that the spirit of the very first trailer of Deadpool sat in the chair making jokes has been carried into the film.  To a large extent much of the heavy lifting is done by the opening "credits" sequence which masterfully points out all of the tropes of the kinds of things you'd expect to find in one of these films.  That's about as close as Deadpool gets to having Randy from Scream show up to explain everything while it's happening.

But there is a sense of film pulling back slightly on the more avant-garde elements, this isn't A Cock and Bull Story with superheroes, Deadpool doesn't stop the action in the middle in order to address the audience perhaps through an insert within an insert and it doesn't address within itself the fact that it's presenting yet another origin story perhaps because Kick Ass and its ilk have staked out that territory.  Plus it has to modulate itself: too "inside", too many jokes and you risk alienating the large percentage of the audience who haven't read the comics and there was certainly a potential version of this film which would have had Deadpool winking at the comics fans in particular at the expense of the people who'd wandered in because of the superb viral marketing campaign.  I think it walked the line beautifully, the post-credit sequence being the perfect example.  Wow.

Ryan Reynolds

Glancing backwards through his back catalogue about the only two films in which Ryan Reynolds is physically on screen for any length of time that aren't Blade:Trinity I've enjoyed have been Definitely, Maybe and The Proposal and it's entirely possibly it was because of his co-stars.  He's not an actor I've particularly understood, and in the case of Fireflies in the Garden, I stopped watching precisely because he was so expressively bad.  Perhaps I needed to see more of his earlier work, the Van Wilders, his eighty-one episodes of Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place to understand what he was trying to do.  But he persists in appearing in films which I'd actively avoid in the past.

Now here he in Deadpool, in a passion project and he's blood brilliant.  We all know the story of his disappoint about not being able to do the character justice in the Wolverine film (see above) and I do love that like Russell T Davies in relation to Doctor Who, it took someone with a certain notoriety to turn a much loved pop culture icon finally into the thing it's supposed to be.  Initially the expressive line-readings feel a bit Ross, but eventually you realise that he's speaking in comic speech bubbles, that there's an imaginary exclamation mark at the end of most of the dialogue and that he quite specifically dials it down whenever he's out of the mask so it's very much part of Deadpool's act.

Morena Baccarin

Morena Baccarin is extraordinary.  It's often said that film actors and actresses aren't what they once were, but it's also forgotten that many of them, especially in the studio system, appeared in many more different types of roles and films across their careers.  Katherine Hepburn or Rosalind Russell would appear in three or even four projects; some worked in quality terms, some didn't, but both of those actresses turned out enough classics for them to be well thought of all these years later.  Plus there was an even greater amount of product which meant that there were more actors working and even more of those were considered "stars".  As films have become more expensive and there are less of them, there are less opportunities for what could be well thought of actors to be given the opportunity to appear in more places as the same actors tend to appear.

Meet Morena Baccarin, who as Deadpool demonstrates has all the makings of a major actor, notably comic actor but tends to spend her time on television playing either frosty villain types or as per Homeland the grieving wife figure.  Whilst it's true that's somewhat where she is in Deadpool, the canvas is much larger and for whole sections she's able to demonstrate the comic timing I don't think she's been allowed to since Firefly (though I notice now she was in Spy last year which I'm waiting to see).  Her comic instincts here are really special and is more than able to hold screen on the few occasions when Deadpool isn't there and I'd argue is the reason so many of those earlier romcom scenes are so watchable.  In an ideal world she would have headline Joss Whedon's Wonder Woman as well has appeared in a string of thrillers and romcoms.  As it is I'm now considering returning to Gotham.

Feminist Film Theory

Best break this out separately.  For all that said, Morena's is the girlfriend role and is dressed very fashionably in a great many scenes often in leather.  But I'd argue that the amount of skin on display is balanced between both of the leads at least in that middle portion with Reynolds looking pumped.  Um.  In the riotously meta-fictional version of the film, Deadpool himself would possibly have addressed the inevitable damseling of Vanessa, but ultimately she does break out of her captivity, albeit with the help of Deadpool's sword, which is then she ultimately uses to save him, as far that goes when he's practically unkillable.  It is notable that Vanessa is herself a mutant in the comics though given everything else happening in the film, that might have been considered overkill.  Plus she's a shapeshifter as per Mystique and a power borrower like Rogue so that's another reason why they wouldn't have pursued it.

The Cinematic X-Verse

Remarkably, ignoring Fan4stic in a way I think we must do (despite Deadpool's likeness appearing therein), apart from epilogue to Days of Future Past, this is the first new film set in the rebooted X-verse although that's somewhat complicated by having what amounts to a totally different Colossus walking around, Daniel Cudmore having been replaced after all these years by a figure who's visually and audibly closer to the comics if not necessarily in temperament, a directorial decision which the rights owners went with.  Cudmore was apparently offered the role but turned it down because he was going to be dubbed anyway which is understandable given that he's such a busy actor capable of opening films (buuurrrnnnn) but makes a hash of things a bit.

Are we now supposed to assume they're the same bloke?  Is he seeing Kitty now?  The business is slightly complicated by the fact that the DoFP epilogue is supposed to be set at the same point in the future as the stuff in the past (as per the holographic alarm clock) which makes Deadpool a prequel to that.  As a Who fan, I'm all for working for the needs of the story rather than having to deal with creative choices of someone else when creating your own work, and this version of Colossus does at least have a personality but you sort of do feel that if the X-verse is going to be a thing moving forward, a Kevin Feige figure has to step in, even on projects like Deadpool, just as they do with Guardians of the Galaxy or Ant-Man and make it cohere now.

Success, My Lord.

What are we to draw from the film's success.  For a start it's another example of the audience proving that it's desperate for clever entertainment and is entirely capable of watching something which doesn't head towards the lowest common denominator.  As expected said studios have interpreted this success the audience wanting more R-rated comic book films rather than realising that the sex and violence and swearing aren't the only motivation for people turning up, it's the intellectual stimulation amid the sex and violence and swearing.  Expect the next Wolverine film to be R-rated.  Still don't expect any of the MCU too, with the Netflix material quite happily covering the mature end of that universe with SHIELD as the more mainstream family orientated counterbalance (sort of).

Irrelevant sidebar:  that's not true in any way of course and I still wishes that MARVEL would produce the MCU equivalent of The Sarah Jane Adventures of The Clone Wars perhaps starring Squirrel Girl or Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur (even if that books in its early days) or ideally Power Pack.  A series of half hour live action episodes, twenty-minutes with commercials, produced for Disney XD.  They do make all of those cartoons of course, but the difference here would be that there'd be the potential for the show to crossover and reference the rest of that universe and narratively interact with it as per SHIELD and the rest.  Logistical nightmare to be sure, but it would be an excellent way of including these younger characters who don't quite fit elsewhere.

Back at the X-verse, the upshot of Deadpool's success is that Fox can happily move forward with projects which don't have X and the name of a particular gender in the title opening up access to the range of characters like Negasonic Teenage Warhead who don't otherwise fit those other kinds of films, at least in a form which fits.  The other implication is that they're also unlikely to do a Sony and lease the mutants back to the MCU so they'll be moving on with The Inhumans as the methadone like substitute, which is fine because with the X-Men in the MCU there'd be no particular reason to create a film which features LockJaw.  If you'd told me in my mid-teens that by the time I was in my mid-forties that would actually exist, I would not have believed you.

The End

So yes, I enjoyed it to bits and so much so I considered going to see it again straight afterwards, especially at that price but decided to let it marinate during the months wait until the BD release.  I've seen a couple of people online argue that without the Deadpool schtick that it's an otherwise quite average comic book film, but just as classic musicals often have weak stories supporting brilliant songs and people watch murder mysteries because they want to enjoy the deductive process even though it's really just the same process of collecting clue and asking secondary characters questions, so Deadpool is about giving a stand-up comic in spandex material to work with, setting up those pretty genric situations but having someone who's aware of just how pretty generic those situations are and poking fun at them.

Romola on the cover of the Radio Times.

TV For I think the first time since Emma. Churchill's Secret feels like something Channel 4 might have produced in the late 90s or BBC Two any time in the past few decades so it's quite odd to find it on ITV home of the psychological drama and cop show.  Presumably at this rate the next time Romola will be on the RT cover it'll be for the launch of the 2018 series of Doctor Who.

Hello Again, All Saints.

Music Here we go then, the first track from the All Saint's second comeback album and the single, One Strike. As PopJustice notices it sounds like the All Saints without sounding dated. But more than that, unlike Rock Steady, the last attempt which was the grower which didn't grow quick enough (on reflection it was probably ahead of its time), this manages, I think, to feel like a cohesive piece of work and party of the legacy.  Even if the first bit of the vocal sounds like Lily Allen's Smile.

Melvyn Bragg on Small Museums.

Radio Here, here. The best response we can have to this is to support them and to visit them and draw everything we can from them.

My Favourite Film of 1958.

Film Mon Oncle or My Uncle is the first non-English language film I ever watched. I think. Although the BBC imported plenty of European television series during the 70s and 80s, Heidi and the like, dubbed into English from their given languages, I can't think of a space or reason why I would have watched something feature length in my childhood or indeed even remember doing so.  So it's probably more accurate to say that Jacqui Tati's comedy is the first foreign film I remember watching.

Inevitably this was at school.  We'd be sat at the back of the language laboratory in a ring of chairs huddled around the department's own television during one of the double period of French towards the end of the year.  Do school's still have language labs?  This consisted of wooden cubicles and headsets with tape decks controlled from a console at the front of the class, attempting to drill languages into us through isolation techniques.  Not that it worked for me.  I was set four French then dropped both that and Spanish altogether at GCSEs.  I wasn't destined to be a protocol droid.

Unlike in English class, the film wasn't introduced to us in any meaningful way, we didn't really know what we were watching.  I didn't even know it was directed by Tati until years later.  But I do know we watched it several times so it's entirely possible that either (a) it was the French teacher's favourite film or (b) the only film on video the language department owned.  Either way it was probably the right choice since it doesn't contain an awful lot of dialogue even if it didn't really go much way to reflecting contemporary French society.

I haven't seen it since.  Always meant to, but somehow have ended up viewing Playtime on numerous occasions instead.  Nevertheless, for the purposes of this project it's important to note the milestones and here it is, Mon Oncle, my first piece of world cinema.  Which now leads me to trying to remember what was next.  Could it have been La Dolce Vita?  Really?  I must have seen something before heading off the university especially with BBC Two and Channel 4 unafraid to show world cinema.  I'll have a think and get back to you.


Film  Unfriended is the 2014 horror film from Russian director Levan Gabriadze, in which the entirely narrative unfolds across the laptop screen of a teenage girl as she navigates through browsers and apps and interacts with her friends through Skype.

Although critical reaction was mixed, I appreciated the verisimilitude of how the action unfolded, with the director and writers utilising the kinds of glitches and such which all of us encounter when using computers in order to create suspense and sympathy for characters who're not much different to the usual cyphers who appear in these sorts of films.

Plus I was scared, which is rare for me when watching horror films.  My hand was over my mouth for quite a lot of the duration.

My recommendation is that you watch it on a small television or even a laptop in the best resolution available to maximise your suspension of disbelief (which must be incredible on a Mac).

Intrigued to see just how accurate the film is in utilise the web, I decided to plough through the film again, checking if the content existed in the real world and in what form and the results with some commentary is below.  Presumably if I'd done this exercise months ago the results would have been different.  But the ephemeral web is ephemeral.

For further information and an even deeper rabbit hole, visit the film's wiki which has in-depth biographies of all the characters and such.  The imdb trivia page is voluminous too.

Anyway, onwards.  Needless to say there are spoilers so I'd recommend you only look further if you've seen the film.

[Updated 7/5/2017: The film is now on Netflix in the UK which is why you may have stumbled here.  Please note that some of the links below are no longer working.  But I'll keep everything intact just in case they crop up again.]

Websites visited:

Live Leak: Laura Barns suicide:


Facebook: Laura Barns

Unexplained Forums: Do Not Answer Messages From The Dead:

Facebook: Reporting a hacked account for deceased friend?

Facebook: Memorializing accounts of deceased people.

Facebook: Memorializing an Account:

The Fresno Star: Cyberbullying: Suicide of Laura Barns linked to anonymous online attacks

Facebook: Jess Felton

Facebook: Blaire Lily and Laura Barns:

Instagram: Val Rommel chat window:

YouTube: fuck everyone

Radio Labs - Police Scanner Codes

Facebook: RIP Laura Barnes

Facebook: You and Laura Barns


YouTube: NSFW: Adam & Blaire



A sampling of searches for the YouTube sidebar suggestions indicates that none of them are real which should be obvious from their ludicrously high view count for what they are.

The first appearance of the LAURA BARNS KILL URSELF video has a URL which now goes to a page which says "This video has been removed for violating YouTube's Terms of Service."  See below for notes on the second instance.

There is also a Twitter account for @billie227 with a Skype icon as the avatar created three months before the US release date which posted mostly on the 15th January.

The Facebook link above is to a deleted page which was apparently online during the original festival screenings and friended guests.  Instead there's now a memorial page [https://www.facebook.com/Laura-Barns-850524571676524/] of such peak plausability it's impossible to tell which user accounts are real or fake and features a lot of confused people in the comments.

The Unexplained Forums isn't there but has a pending WHOIS page here.  Searching for some of the content text sent me to some very strange places.

When Blaire tries the Google search "report dead person facebook hacked" the results page is a pretty accurate fake.  In the real world currently it also leads to a top result called "Deceased friend account was hacked? How do I report it ..." which leads to a forum entry for someone with the same question but different content to onscreen.  Curiously the link she then uses with the URL "https://www.facebook.com/help/103897939701143/?ref=u2u" leads to this page and you have to click several times before you get the page for actually memorialising an account.   It's clear that Facebook's design has changed several times since 2013, with none of the URLs (as seen above) otherwise working now.

The Sarah Stoudemire profile offered is an example in the film's version of the memorialization application has a Facebook profile.  Her account was added in June 2013.  Make of that what you will.  A reverse image search on TinyEye doesn't show that the photos were copied from anywhere.

Googling "laura barns fresno suicide" presently has this Quora page as the top result.

You'll be unsurprised to know The Fresno Star doesn't exist.  I even looked at the Wayback Machine.  The link above leads to a holding page.

Jess Felton's Facebook page has gone.

When Blaire clicks on the Instagram link in the email it curiously redirects to a different image URL on Instagram.  Neither of them lead to an image.  The Billiee227 Instagram account as it appears in the Chrome tab has gone, but this is here without anything posted on it.  This tweet apparently shows images that were on the Instagram account when it was set up.

Amongst the usernames of people who comment on the photo is a "ricksalvarro" who was an accounting clerk on Angels and Demons.  The onscreen graphics must be filled with these kinds of in-jokes.

The Laura Barns "fuck everyone" video is now set to private.

If I was being especially thorough (hum) as well as checking the veracity of every single user name, I would have created a timeline or chronology for when all this stuff was supposed to have been posted to see if matches, just watch the attention to detail was like.   But there are just some things you have to let go.

The Police Scanner Codes page doesn't match the one in the film.  On screen it says:

10-55 Suicide
10-56 Coroner case

But on the actual page it says:

10-55 Coroner case
10-56 Suicide

Was the graphic changed to cover up an error during filming?

The Laura's surname is misspelled in the URL for the memorial page which is then corrected when Mitch (or whoever) is talking to Blaire in Messages - although clicking that link https://www.facebook.com/riplaurabarns goes to a different page with Laura's image on which has a timeline stretching back to late 2009, with odd screengrabs from Christmas themed computer games.  I wonder what those are.

The "You and Laura Barns" page has similar content in terms of photos to the earlier similar joint page but doesn't exist now.

The second appearance of the LAURA BARNS KILL URSELF video says "Published on Apr 3, 2013" in the film and is 1:11 minutes long.  The version in the real world which has the exact same URL is 2:30 long and was published 27 June 2014.  It's channel "laura exposed" has 3 videos in the film, in meatland its the only video.  That channel says it joined 26 June 2014.

The "NSFW: Adam & Blaire" URL from the film is now private.  But the actual video is here under a different URL which has a channel icon matching the Billie one from Skype in the film.  There are three channels called "bill ie" of different vintages.  Usual smattering of confused people in the BTLs.  This later instance was uploaded 21 Aug 2015.  Presumably a lot of this stuff was reposted as part of the viral marketing campaign although it's pretty spoilery.

All of the results on the  "random chat video site" search exist.  Chatroulette doesn't feature in the top ten results any more, with RandomSkip, something specifically calling itself a "chatroulette alternative" taking its place.  Chatroulette was presumably chosen for the film because it's the one everyone knows.  Blaire must already be registered and logged in.  When I tried it for the purposes of this it asked me for all kinds of permissions and log-in details which is far cry from when it first started and there were simply a couple of windows and a chat box.  The person who agrees to help Blaire is Christa Hartsock (imdb, Twitter, official).

I haven't been able to find the final video.

Bookmarks and Open Tabs:

Forever 21
Free People
Teen Wolf
Lyrics Mode: Johnny Cash - Spiritual 


"Dasha Zelkin" whose name appears in Blaire's Gmail contacts along with the film's characters was a post-production intern of the film.  Was she signing her work?

When Billie opens the Laura video in multiple windows, the favourites on the bookmarks bar have changed.  The FaceBook and the Wikipedia have joined and there aren't any open tabs.  I initially thought it was because they'd switched to Safari, but it includes the Google apps icon.


Cute Bohemian Accessories for Women at Free People 
Necklines - Accessories at Free People

Jewelry - WOMEN - Forever 21
Dresses - LOVE21 - Forever 21
Contemporary Flounced Watercolor Print Cami Dress - LOVE 21 2049258930

SongMeanings:  Johnny Cash - Spiritual lyrics


There's a potential continuity error in the on-screen graphics.  Blaire's Google history shows her search for the meaning of Cash's Spiritual and clicking on Song Meanings, but the open tab on Chrome indicates that she visited Lyrics Mode instead.

The necklines page at Free People now reroutes to the necklaces (and isn't clickable in this order) and yes, that is the very same dress Blaire (or the SFX people) will have visited - the product number and title are the same should you want to buy it for some obscure Unfriended cosplay.

Apps used:



Whilst the characters are all asking who the anonymous box is in Skype, when everyone hangs up the second time in order to get rid of them, the username "billie227" is still shown or already shown as connected, even while Blaire is asking Mitch who they are and long before everyone expresses surprise when that username pops up.

Not sure what she's uploading to BitTorrent, "Saturd..." ay Night Fever?  ay Night Takeaway?  The Stockhausen Opera?  Some suggestions.

Trojan Destroyer doesn't exist.

When the screen alights on the trash bin, under SHARED items, "Bazelev's iMac" is seen.  This is Unfriended's production company.  Also listed "Indar's Mac" - Indar Dzhendubaev was storyboard artist on Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, from the same production company.  Also "Nelson Grea..." which has to be Nelson Greaves, the writer.  Deliberate in-jokes or were these sequences actually produced by the art department on one of their own macs?

Torrented episode of Saturday Night Live which keeps getting stuck from deletion in Blaire's trash because she's partially watching it on Quicktime (until she quits out) is Season 39, Episode 4, which did indeed have Miley Cyrus as guest host.  The AV Club gave it a C-.  Here's the wikipedia page for the season. Here's a handy playlist of the featured sketches on YouTube:

Blaire has a HP LaserJet P2055dn Network Laser Printer.

The IMdb goofs page has many more continuity errors.

Music played:


Not able to find the original playlist on Spotify, this is a reconstruction. There isn't an album called Everybody Talks on Spotify. The Marley remix isn't in UK Spotify so I've included the original.  This is a really strong collection for what it's worth.

How You Lie, Lie, Lie isn't on The Very Best of Connie Conway vol.1 but Hidden Treasures. Which was released in 2015, which is unsettling. Also, it's not 3:01 as it says on screen but 1:43. That Spotify window looks odd anyway - its an album view but has the same song 35 times. There is a Tony Hernandez (as featured in the Who To Follow) section of that window who's an Executive Producer though he's not credited for Unfriended on the imdb. There are dozens of people called Tony Hernandez with profiles on Spotify.

Shakespeare Walk visits Liverpool!

Theatre Amazing news. The Complete Walk, a collection of ten minute chunks of Shakespeare plays filmed by the Globe is to visit Liverpool and they're currently searching for potential venues. From Liverpool Confidential:
"Each film will be shown in venues throughout Liverpool city centre and Culture Liverpool is inviting anyone who wants to stage one to get in touch.

"A full list of venues, opening times and the locations of each play will be released in March. If you are venue and are interested in hosting a film please email cultureliverpool@liverpool.gov.uk no later than 5pm Friday 26 February." it says."
Hello new blogging project, new blogging project hello.