Lady in the Van

Lady in the Van
Opens 13 November in the UK

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Rapunzel

The BBC have announced that "Rapunzel", one of a series of Fairy Tales to be shown on BBC1 will be broadcast on January 10 at 9 pm. The story has been transferred to the world of tennis and Alex plays an ex-tennis player turned pundit.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Cranford - part 3

Penny has put up episode three, so have a look at Penny For Your Dreams

And she's provided some more screen caps:



Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Nine Tailors

After reading the Ashenden stories for BBC7 last week, Alex will be back reading the Book at Bedtime on Radio 4 from December 24. It's Dorothy L. Sayers this time, "The Nine Tailors". As far as I can gather there will be ten episodes. The programme is on at 22.45 on weeknights, and can be heard for a week after the original broadcast through the website.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Cranford - part 2

Penny has put the story of Cranford part 2 up on her weblog, and she has some pictures of Alex in there.

A few more from Penny here:




See Penny For Your Dreams

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Cranford in the USA

"Cranford" is to be broadcast as a three-part miniseries early next year on PBS in the USA. It will be part of the Masterpiece Theatre Classic season to be broadcast in the winter and spring. More details will be given on a new PBS website in January.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Reverend Hutton


The Radio Times Website has a special section on Cranford, with a picture of the Reverend Hutton in there somewhere, as well as episode guides, video clips and pictures.

Radio Times Cranford section


Penny has the story of the first episode and a nice series of screen caps up on her weblog, including a couple of the reverend.

Penny for Your Dreams

Return to Ashenden


Alex will be reading five Ashenden stories on BBC7 radio next week. This is a new commission for BBC7, so different from the 1991 television adaptation. The stories can be heard Monday to Friday at 9.30am, 8.30pm and 1.30am, and will be available on "Listen Again" for a week after the initial broadcast.

BBC7

Monday, December 03, 2007

Coward Readings

The National Theatre will present readings of two short Coward plays in January: The Astonished Heart and Still Life. The plays were originally written by Noël Coward for himself and Gertrude Lawrence and performed in 1936 as part of Tonight at 8.30.

Alex will play Christian Faber in "The Astonished Heart" on Wednesday 16 January and Alec Harvey in "Still Life" on Wednesday 23 January. The readings start at 6 p.m. and will take place in the Lyttelton Theatre.

For more information and tickets check the National Theatre Website at: National Theatre

Thanks to Amber!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Dombey and Son

Alex is described as a "paternalistic Dickens" in the new adaptation of "Dombey and Son", being broadcast from today on BBC4's "Woman's Hour". It is a 20-part adaptation, and the episodes are available for a week after the original broadcast:

Woman's Hour

Cranford, Episode 1

The first episode of Cranford was shown on BBC1 last night. An interesting, and sometimes funny view of nineteenth century English village life. I quite enjoyed it, but I only caught a glimpse of Alex in a couple of scenes. I hope that he will play a larger part in the next episodes. The reviews of the series I've read so far were good, and a lot of people watched it as well. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Cranford Schedule

The first episode of Cranford will be broadcast this Sunday, 18 Nov, from 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm on BBC 1.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Penny's Review

Penny saw "Present Laughter" on Saturday, and her review is on her weblog "Penny For Your Dreams". She's also put up a few new pictures. I think she liked the production, and the lead actor....

"The energy level increased quite dramatically once Alex Jennings made his entrance as Garry. His huge stage filling presence really lifts the production and from that moment, you miss Garry when he's not on stage, because he is making the play tick and providing the intensity and dynamism that's required to make the play work."

...

"Sarah Woodward was great and of course Alex Jennings was utterly marvellous as Garry. He brought out the inherent comedy in lines that are barely comic in the text and is so charismatic that you forgive Garry his womanising, vanity and self importance. He shows you the human under the handsome veneer, the lonely man in his ivory tower (though it leaks a bit in the rain)."

To read Penny's full review: Penny For Your Dreams

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Another PL Review

Ray Bennett for Reuters doesn't much like the production, but: "It's left to Jennings to carry the evening as Essendine, and he does it with great flair. Flouncing, sighing or raining down invective, he pays Coward the highest compliment of acting as if his slick and empty words really mean something."

BBC7, Yet Again

BBC7 is broadcasting a repeat of Midwich Cuckoos, John Wyndham's sci-fi classic about alien impregnation overturning the world of a sleepy English village, which was originally dramatised for radio in 3 parts by William Ingram in 1982. The production stars Charles Kay, Pauline Yates, William Gaunt, Rosalind Adams, Ronald Baddiley, Peter Tuddenham and Alex and was directed by Gordon House for the World Service.

The repeat will be broadcast this Wednesday - Friday at 6pm and midnight in the 7th dimension slot.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Cranford and Fairy Tales


The two series Alex has been filming this year, "Cranford" and "Fairy Tales" are due to start being broadcast in the week of 17-23 November. Alex appears in the episode "Rapunzel" of Fairy Tales. An exact date and time has not yet been given for either, but they will be broadcast on BBC1.

Fame and Fortune

Alex appears in "Fame and Fortune" on BBC Radio 4 today:

"Frederic Raphael's sequel to the television classic, The Glittering Prizes, returns to the group of friends who met at Cambridge University in the early 1950s. The series chronicles English social life and public and private values in the last quarter of the 20th century.

1/6. Adam Morris is now a successful writer, but still as ambivalent as ever about his Jewishness. In their middle years, have the friends fulfilled their promise or sold out?

Adam Morris ...... Tom Conti
Francesca ...... Poppy Miller
M Mike Clode ...... Mark Wing Davey
Alan Parks ...... Alistair McGowan
Ronnie Braithwaite ...... Roger Hammond
Gavin Pope ...... Alex Jennings
Fran Pope ...... Jilly Bond
Tim Dent ...... Stephen Critchlow
Tory Girl ...... Georgina Rich
Rachel Morris ...... Flora Montgomery
Jonty ...... Benedict Cumberbatch
Henrietta ...... Fiona Button
Jack ...... Nicholas Chambers
David ...... Simon Greenall
Denis Porson ...... Nigel Havers
Jill ...... Harriet Walters
Giancarlo ...... Jon Glover

The play is available for listening online for 7 days after the broadcast:
The Saturday Play

Dombey and Son

The BBC will be broadcasting an radio adaptation of Dombey and Son late November. The details:

"Woman's Hour Drama – Dombey And Son Ep 1/20 - Monday 19 to Friday 23 November
10.45-11.00am BBC RADIO 4

Alex Jennings stars as Charles Dickens, with Robert Glenister (Hustle) as Paul Dombey in a radio dramatisation of Charles Dickens's novel depicting the spectacular fall of a major London trading house, dramatised by Mike Walker.

Dombey's hopes for the family firm are centred on his infant son, Paul, and Florence, his devoted daughter. However, Paul dies, Dombey's second marriage ends in disaster and the firm is ruined, and only Florence has the strength and humanity to save her father.

The cast also includes Fenella Fielding, Geraldine James, Pam Ferris, Nicky Henson, Trevor Peacock, Helen Schlesinger, Adrian Lukis, Claire Rushbrook, Katy Cavanagh and Abigail Hollick."

Friday, October 26, 2007

Baldi Repeat

Alex will appear in a (repeat) episode of the radio detective drama "Baldi" on BBC 7 next Wednesday, October 31. The episode will be available online for a week after the broadcast.

"Shelter: The murder of a homeless man links a Dublin squat with the history of art. Starring David Threlfall. Episode 6 of 6."

BBC7 - What's On

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Alchemist Promotion

From our correspondent in Florida:

The promotional trailer for The Alchemist is available on
YouTube

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Lori's Review

As many of the critics note, the success of a production of Present Laughter depends on the strength of its Garry, and Alex is more than up to the challenge. At Friday night's performance (the stalls nearly full), everyone around me was thoroughly enjoying the show and Alex's performance, and signaled it with loud and enthusiastic laughter. In addition, a couple of women next to me were waxing poetic over his clarity of diction -- rightly so, I think!

Everyone else has touched on the greatnesses of Alex's performance, so I'll just include three more. I really enjoyed the subtlety and variety he brought to Garry, a part which could be tiresome in the wrong hands. The righteous anger with Roland Maule (or rather, the anger with the kind of bad theatre Maule stood for); the Act Two loneliness, listening to potent 'cheap music'; the emotional intimacy with Liz and (in a different way) Monica: all of these things anchored and humanised the character.

I appreciated a few touches which seemed like Noel Coward to me, even though Alex wasn't doing an impersonation at all -- for example, his habit of throwing his arms wide to make a point reminded me of one of Coward's characteristic stances in cabaret performances (or at least the clips I've seen).

However, I also appreciated that he wasn't playing Noel Coward -- something which some of the critics seemed to want -- but instead was playing Garry. The seduction scene at the end of Act One was all the more powerful because it wasn't the more effete Coward but a Garry set up by the text. (And it was very powerful indeed!)

A great evening for Alex fans and for fans of Coward's work who don't require the baggage of the great man as well. (I say this, by the way, as a woman who proudly displays three small portraits of Noel in her study and who plays her boxed set of Coward CDs all the time.)
Fabulous stuff, wonderful Alex!

Monday, October 15, 2007

And More Reviews

David Benedict in Variety is full of praise for Alex:

Although not all the cast members are up to their sublime level, the frankly glorious Alex Jennings and Sarah Woodward sweep aside doubts about the play.

...

In a role he was born to play, Jennings makes ease look, well, easy. Despite peacocking about in a series of dressing gowns, Jennings never confuses charm and smarm; he sweeps about the stage like a cross between Rex Harrison and a well-bred wolf.

Exaggeration isn't Garry's mode of expression, it's his way of life. Leaping on top of the grand to observe himself in one of the full length mirrors lining Tim Hatley's boldly turquoise, sharply angled set, he cries "Oh God, I look 98." In fact, he's bordering on 42. Jennings, however, reveals both Garry's boyish bravado and, in the nighttime seduction scene, the mature intelligence usually hidden beneath his entertaining bombast.

Jennings' timing is so flawless he even finds space to stretch punctuation to delicious comic effect. Attempting to extricate himself from last night's love-struck ingenue, he trots out the line, "Don't love me too much, Daphne." But he halts momentarily on the comma to search for her name, indicating just how common an occurrence this is.

Full review:Variety



And Matt Wolf in the International Herald Tribune doesn't much like the play or the production:

But any "Present Laughter" stands or falls on its Garry, a role Jennings bats out of the park. Self-aware but never overly self-adoring, his aspish wit never so astringent so as to turn us off, Jennings gives us a Garry who exists within the confines of farce (Tim Hatley's set contains the requisite doors) only to realize, Feste-like, that life isn't necessarily a laughing matter.

Full review: IHT

Official Pictures

The National Theatre has put some pictures of the production up on the website:


See for more pictures: National Theatre

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Live at the National

Yesterday I got to see Present Laughter for myself. After reading all the reviews a chance to make up my own mind. I had a wonderful time, laughed a great deal, and really enjoyed Alex's performance. After some of the slightly mixed reviews I was getting doubtful, but there was absolutely no need. Alex did take a slight fall towards the end of the performance and fell down the stairs. He hurt his foot in the process.

I got to meet him for a few minutes after the show and he was very friendly, taking time to talk to us in spite of his injury. It was very good to see him again! More news later.

Friday, October 05, 2007

The Stage - Review

The Stage has a favourable review of both the production and Alex:

"The part of Garry Essendine - a successful romantic comedy actor who attracts adoring young women and men in Noel Cowards’ 1942 play - could have been written for Alex Jennings. He gets the over-acting, outrage and moodiness, underpinned by the usual artistic angst, insecurity and querulousness, perfectly. The masterly Jennings can also get a laugh merely by lifting an eyebrow and turns quizzicality into an art form. Essendine is a huge Hamlet-sized role, rarely off-stage but, apparently inexhaustible, Jennings is as riveting in the final minutes as at his first appearance."

Full review: The Stage

Thursday, October 04, 2007

BBC Radio Interview

There was an interview with Alex on BBC radio 4's front row on Monday, you can listen again for 1 week through the Front Row Homepage. Alex talks about "Present Laughter", "The Queen", "Stuff Happens", and about being the voice of BBC2's "The Restaurant".

Thanks Penny!

More Reviews


Michael Billington in the Guardian isnt very happy with the production, but is full of praise for Alex:

Ever since Coward played him in 1942, Garry has been seen as the ultimate matinee idol, whose impenetrable charm compensates for his narcissistic vanity. Alex Jennings, however, offers a superbly executed re-interpretation. Wrapping himself in a new dressing gown as if he were a Roman emperor, Jennings does not stint on Garry's self-esteem; at the same time he suggests he is the only truth-teller in a world of lies. He rounds on a talentless playwright, Roland Maule, with the moral fervour of Molière's Alceste. And, harassed by amorous intrigue on the eve of a tour to Africa, Jennings brutally exposes the sexual hypocrisy of his inner circle. It is a richly funny performance that confirms Coward's innate puritanism.

Full review: The Guardian



Nicolas de Jongh in the Evening Standard is less enthusiastic:

"Howard Davies, not a director whose productions have ever revealed himself to be on close terms with a sense of humour, and Alex Jennings, who clearly adores flouncing around in one dressing gown and several piques, take too old-fashioned, heterosexist and superficial a line.

The interpolation of news bulletins about war manoeuvres makes Present Laughter seem preposterously selfabsorbed. There are interesting psychological and sexual nuances that need exploring rather than concealing as Davies and Jennings contrive: Garry proves randomly bisexual rather than faithfully heterosexual, manifests dread of middle-age and loneliness.

He does break out in genuine erotic desire and anger when his business partner's adulterous wife, Lisa Dillon's vamping Joanna, attempts to seduce him and threatens his cocooned existence. He turns rattled when his male admirer, Pip Carter's unsuitably weird rather than gay Roland Maule, arrives to harass him.

Jennings, a bit mature to play Coward's forty-ish heartthrob, registers no such complexities. His comically pointed performance, like Tim Hatley's set, is sedately grand and imposing. The thin slither of the creaky plot,which shows up like an overdue limousine, does not reach climactic pandemonium."

Full review: Evening Standard



In The Times Benedict Nightingale has some doubts:

"Garry is Coward’s half-mocking, half-admiring portrait of his own sophisticated self, and we’re not in doubt of his narcissism from the moment Alex Jennings, who plays him at the National, leaps on to his piano to preen himself in the giant mirrors that line the odd, tapering, turquoise drawing room that Tim Hatley has designed for him. Nothing finally matters to him but his ego, his career and his impending African tour.

Jennings’s Garry is interestingly different from those we’ve seen in recent years: Ian McKellen, who emphasised the actor’s fear of ageing and self-regarding infantilism; Simon Callow, who suggested a surprising seriousness beneath the thespian extravagance and fruity vox; Peter Bowles, who caught a steely aloofness and an inner melancholy as well as a suave exterior; Tom Conti, who was, well, Tom Conti. For Jennings, Garry is a defensive, harassed man who comes alive when he decides it’s necessary to perform the role of the stricken lover saying farewell, or the much-abused victim of others’ cruelty, or anything that’s not the near-vacuum of himself.

Since the plot has Feydeauesque twists, with Garry using his spare room as a hiding-place for his lays – one a gurgling deb, the others respectively the wife and the lover of his two closest friends – Jennings gets plenty of opportunity to be the man who never knows when, or if, he’s acting.

Some of this is decidedly funny, but doubts intrude. For all the self-criticism, isn’t the portrait fundamentally self-serving, especially when this crypto-Coward is caricaturing and mocking Pip Carter’s Maule, a would-be dramatist of the kind the real Coward was to assail in the kitchen-sink era?"

Full review: Times


David Benedict in Variety is full of praise for Alex:

"In a role he was born to play, Jennings makes ease look, well, easy. Despite peacocking about in a series of dressing gowns, Jennings never confuses charm and smarm; he sweeps about the stage like a cross between Rex Harrison and a well-bred wolf.

Exaggeration isn't Garry's mode of expression, it's his way of life. Leaping on top of the grand to observe himself in one of the full length mirrors lining Tim Hatley's boldly turquoise, sharply angled set, he cries "Oh God, I look 98." In fact, he's bordering on 42. Jennings, however, reveals both Garry's boyish bravado and, in the nighttime seduction scene, the mature intelligence usually hidden beneath his entertaining bombast.

Jennings' timing is so flawless he even finds space to stretch punctuation to delicious comic effect. Attempting to extricate himself from last night's love-struck ingenue, he trots out the line, "Don't love me too much, Daphne." But he halts momentarily on the comma to search for her name, indicating just how common an occurrence this is."

Full review: Variety

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

"Present Laughter" video

The What's On Stage website has some footage shot after the opening night, with some short Alex interviews:

What's On Stage

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Linda's Review

I went to see a preview of Present Laughter last night and it was wonderful. Alex Jennings was born to play this role--he was an absolute triumph. The Noel Coward play had a terrific cast--the story is that he's famous actor and a serial philanderer whose wife left him years ago, but with whom he still works along with his agent and business manager. He is unable to say no to any of the beautiful woman who parade through his life and his ex-wife and colleagues think it is time for him to change. There are always people coming and going through his studio (wonderful set) at all hours.

Liz, the wife, is gorgeous, very witty and deadpan which makes her even more funny. He has a wonderful Miss Moneypenny-type secretary who manages every bit of his life with firm efficiency--she was excellent. Women and men desire him and fall in love with him all the time, and he's actually quite a bit in love with himself but despairing that his looks are going as he reaches middle age (40). He wears wonderful clothes including the most fabulous flowing silk shawl-collared dressing gowns, worn over regular clothes (like long smoking jackets, I guess). He was droll, pouting, selfish, debonair, witty, angry, despairing, howling, laughing--he was on the stage almost the entire time in the best role of his life. His comic timing was impeccable and there were so many subtle moments of understated comedy that you would miss if you weren't watching him so closely (as I was), because the rest of the cast was also so good. He commanded the stage with the ease of a man in his prime as an actor and had the audience in the palm of his hand. It is un-missable--his best role to date.

What a treat is in store for those of you who will be seeing this play. I hope he wins an Olivier for it--I don't see how he could not!

The First Review: The Telegraph - "Impossible to like – or laugh at"



Charles Spencer doesn't like "Present Laughter", the play or the production, but he likes Alex's performance:

"Alex Jennings undoubtedly gives a virtuoso performance, delivering Essendine's great arias of self-pity with aplomb, climbing on top of the grand piano the better to examine how he looks in the mirror, and launching into testy tirades of disapproval and unearned grandeur with palpable relish. Because he is such an attractive and charismatic actor, Jennings almost pulls off the trick of making you like the character, as Coward intended, but even this actor's prodigious charm isn't quite up to that impossible task."

"Too many of the performances lack the precision and panache that Coward demands, and a couple of them are so poor that it is hard to believe this is a National Theatre production rather than the work of a struggling regional rep.

Sarah Woodward shows how it should be done, with her superbly comic performance as the actor's gruff, disapproving secretary, finding laughs that don't seem to exist on the page, and Sara Stewart has exactly the right steely glamour as the wife who finally reclaims the errant Essendine.

Despite their endeavours, the impression remains that this is a botched shot at an overrated play."


For the full review

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Olivier

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Laurence Olivier a statue of him as Hamlet was unveiled on the South Bank just outside the National Theatre on 23 September. Alex took part in the celebration as one of the actors narrating the life of Olivier.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

'I wanted to be Fred Astaire'


The Guardian has published an interview with Alex online, before the opening of "Present Laughter". Just a few bits and pieces:

Everything about him, from his buoyant curls to his crisp jeans, exudes youthfulness. No wonder, turning 50, he went into "a big sulk. I just don't feel it - none of us do. My kids are doing GCSEs and A-levels this year. Where did it go?"
...

Even so, Hytner is unstinting in his praise. "There are actors," says the director, "who are immediately accessible and attractive because they show you everything, and actors who are fascinating because they have secrets. Alex can do both." That's what Jennings is like in interview, too: charming, amusing, yet a touch evasive. There always seems to be something more, hidden behind his penetrating blue eyes.

...

Unfortunately, the thing he covets more than anything is a world that no longer exists: the debonair glamour of cinema's romantic/screwball comedy heyday. "Growing up, I loved golden-age Hollywood. British films of that period, too. Those are my desert island movies. You can still learn from those actors: James Stewart, the passion of his acting, never stops astonishing me. I wanted that. I wanted to be Fred Astaire, that's what I wanted."

...

Jennings recognises that he can be "a bit of a nightmare" when he's building up to a press night or chasing screen work, though his family are no longer so willing to humour him. They won't help with learning lines, for instance: "They're bored to sobs." And they won't tolerate any hint of false modesty. Flicking channels on TV recently, he came across The Queen and "put my head in my hands - and my family just
thought that was pathetic".

...


The full interview in the Guardian

The Disappeared

Alex plays Adrian Ballan in a film called "The Disappeared", due to be released in the UK in 2008. Johnny Kevorkian and Neil Murphy's low-budget film is an edgy horror-chiller shot in London. The film, recently wrapped and just gone into post-production, tells the tale of a missing boy and a father/son relationship, and is described by Murphy as compelling drama with the power of classic horror. The film also stars Greg Wise and Harry Treadaway.

Thanks to Lori!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Stolen

And Alex will be appearing on BBC 7 again next Friday, 24 August:

"When Buddhist treasures from ancient lost towns along the Silk Road are discovered, a German archaeologist becomes involved in deception and intrigue. Starring Siobhan Redmond, Alex Jennings, Sean Baker, David Tse, Ioan Meredith and Stephen Critchlow, and first heard in 1999, the play is written by Ray Jenkins and directed by Janet Whitaker."
Friday at 10.15am, 9.15pm and 2.15am

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Old Curiosity Shop

Alex is the narrator in The Old Curiosity Shop on BBC7. The first five episodes can be listened to again in the Sunday omnibus edition until Sunday 19 August. The following episodes are in the schedule.

bbc7

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Double Take

The Daily Mail has some more picture of Alex meeting Prince Charles last June.

Daily Mail

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Noel Coward Society AGM

The Noel Coward Society have announced that their Annual General Meeting will be held this year on Saturday 15th December. The event includes a flower-laying ceremony at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and a lunch. From their announcement:

"Alex Jennings, who will be starring in ‘Present Laughter’, has agreed, in principle, to perform the flower-laying ceremony for us this year, at 12 noon at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
Lunch will be held at The Ivy, attended by Alex Jennings and his wife, and will be followed by a special Coward cabaret performance by Guest of Honour, Steve Ross."

Thanks to Lori in Maine.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bristol Old Vic

Alex was one of a group of well-known theatre actors to sign a letter to the Times expressing concern for the future of the Bristol Old Vic Company. Other actors to sign are Roger Allam, Judi Dench, Eileen Atkins, Nicholas Farrell, Deborah Findlay, Edward Fox, Stella Gonet, Jeremy Irons, Derek Jacobi, Ian McKellen, Martin Shaw, Maggie Smith, Imelda Staunton, Patrick Stewart and many more.

The letter to the Times

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Perelandra

Alex is reading Perelandra on BBC 7 at the moment. The series started last Monday 23 July and there are 18 episodes. Each episode can be listened to for a week after initial broadcast.


Perelandra on BBC7

Thanks again to Penny!

Present Laughter



The National Theatre has announced more details of "Present Laughter". It begins previewing in the Lyttelton on 25 September before opening on 2 October. Howard Davies is to direct, the cast includes Lisa Dillon, Sara Stewart and Sarah Woodward.

Priority Members booking opens 27 July, Advance Members booking opens 4 August, Public booking opens 15 August

National Theatre Website

Monday, July 09, 2007

Rapunzel

Alex is to appear in BBC One's modern version of Rapunzel later this year. The adaptation is to be set in the competitive world of tennis, and Alex will play an ex-tennis player turned pundit.

For more information: Easier

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Doubles?


Alex met Prince Charles yesterday during a lunch reception at Clarence House. Charles hosted the event for the Actors' Benevolent Fund, of which Alex is a trustee.

For a full report:
Metro

Thanks to Lori in Maine!


Ideal Husband

"An Ideal Husband" will be broadcast Sunday 17 June 2007 from 20:15-22:15 on BBC Radio 3. Alex will play Sir Robert Chiltern.

Radio 3

The play will be available for a week after initial broadcast.

Thanks again to Penny!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Baldi

Alex appeared in a (repeat) episode of the radio detective drama "Baldi" on BBC 7 last Tuesday. The episode is available online until Tuesday 29 May:

Shelter: The murder of a homeless man links a Dublin squat with the history of art. Starring David Threlfall. Episode 6 of 6.

BBC 7 Listen Again

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Death at the Bar

In 1993 Alex appeared in an episode of the Inspector Alleyn mysteries called "Death at the Bar". I just received some pictures from that episode from Lori in Maine. So, some early Alex today.





Thursday, May 10, 2007

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

An Ideal Husband

According to The Stage Alex is to appear in Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband on BBC Radio 3. The production will be part of the summer season of drama and will also star Geoffrey Palmer.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Cranford Chronicles - Continued

Filming on the Cranford Chronicles started last April. David H. Betteridge took photographs when outdoor scenes were filmed in Lacock from 23 April. Alex doesn't seem to be there, he isn't in any of the pictures, but other actors, like Greg Wise, Jim Carter, Imelda Staunton, Barbare Flynn and Deborah Findlay are. The many pictures here do give a good first impression of the series. Lacock is a village in Wiltshire, which has been used for films and tv series before. Filming in Lacock has finished now.

See:   David H. Betteridge

The BBC itself also has some pictures of filming in Lacock on its Wiltshire site. This site also has a short video fragment of filming.

See:   BBC Wiltshire

Filming will also take place at the Shepperton studios in London until September.

And the series apparently already has an "Unofficial Fan Site" at Cranford Chronicles

Cranford Chronicles

Alex is to play the Rev Hutton in a new five-part period drama created for BBC 1 called Cranford Chronicles. The cast includes Francesca Annis, Eileen Atkins, Michael Gambon, Philip Glenister, Lesley Manville, Julia McKenzie, Imelda Staunton, Greg Wise and Judi Dench. The drama is based on three Elizabeth Gaskell novels: Cranford, My Lady Ludlow and Mr Harrison's Confessions.

The BBC press release doesn't give a broadcast date yet.

See:   BBC Press Release

Thanks again to Penny!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Nicholas Nickleby


Alex is taking part in a radio adaptation of Charles Dickens' Nicholas Nickleby on BBC 7 at the moment. He plays the narrator, or Charles Dickens, in the dramatization. The first episode was broadcast on Monday 23 April, the episodes can be heard on the website for a week after initial broadcast. There are 30 episodes.

BBC7

Thanks again to Penny.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

On Chesil Beach

Alex is reading "On Chesil Beach" By Ian McEwan, the Book at Bedtime on Radio 4 this week Mon-Fri at 10.45pm. Episodes are availabe on the website for a week.

Book at Bedtime: On Chesil Beach

Thanks to Penny.

Expand This

Alex played the lead in Mark Lawson's play "Expand This" on BBC Radio 4 Last Monday. The broadcast is available on the Radio 4 website for a week, so that is until April 2.

Expand This

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Radio 3

Alex recently appeared on two Radio 3 shows. On Private Passions, Sunday 4 March 2007 12:00-13:00, he chose his own music:

Sig M. Berkeley: The Wakeful Poet (from Music from Chaucer) (pub. OUP) - Beaux-Arts Brass Quintet

Bart Howard: Fly me to the moon - Frank Sinatra/Count Basie Orchestra

Bach: Schlummert ein (from Ich habe genug, BWV 82) (opening) - Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (mezzo)/The Orchestra of Emmanuel Music/Craig Smith

Marvin Gaye: Mercy, Mercy Me - Marvin Gaye

Walton: This Day is called the Feast of Crispian (from Henry V) - Sir Laurence Olivier/Philharmonia Orchestra/Sir William Walton (rec. 1946)

Britten: The Piano (from The Turn of the Screw, Act II) - Jennifer Vyvyan (Governess)/Joan Cross (Mrs Grose)/Olive Dyer (Flora)/English Opera Group Orchestra/Benjamin Britten

Stravinsky: Contento forse vivere - Con queste paroline (from Pulcinella) - Anna Caterina Antonacci (soprano)/

William Shimell (baritone)/Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/Riccardo Chailly

Ellington: Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue (exc.) - Duke Ellington Orchestra (rec. live at Newport, 1956)

Arnold: Concerto for two pianos (2nd mvt - Andante con moto) - Cyril Smith, Phyllis Sellick (pianos)/CBSO/Sir Malcolm Arnold

The full list of Alex's choices can be found at:
Private Passions

And Alex appeared as one of the readers on: By the Sea on Sunday 18 March 2007 22:30-0:00. Fiona Shaw and Alex read a selection of poetry and prose on a sea theme from Elizabeth Bishop, Michael Longley, Charles Dickens, John Masefield and Hugo Williams, with music inspired by the sea by Charles Trenet, Benjamin Britten, Mozart and Mendelssohn.

Alex read the following pieces:

HUGO WILLIAMS The Sea
OGDEN NASH Pretty Halcyon Days
JOHN KEATS On First Looking Into Chapman's Homer
CHARLES CAUSLEY Morwenstow
TOM PAULIN Sea Wind
CHARLES DICKENS David Copperfield
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE The Tempest (with Fiona Shaw)
JOHN MASEFIELD Sea Fever
MATTHEW ARNOLD Dover Beach

The broadcast is available for seven days after the original broadcast on:
Words and Music

Thanks to Lori!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Present Laughter

Alex is to appear at the National Theatre again in October in Noël Coward’s "Present Laughter", playing Garry Essendine. Howard Davies will direct the play on the Lyttelton stage. The announcement was part of the National's presentation of their new season. No further details of dates or other actors were given.

The State Within in the US

"The State Within" will be shown on BBC America starting this weekend, Saturday night at 9 p.m. For more details see:
BBC America

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Jennings and Hytner

From our correspondent in the US the following link to a short interview with Alex and Nick Hytner on their working together:

Hytner on Alex:

The actors I like - and Alex is this actor more than anybody else I work with - have a speed of thought that matches a willingness to dig deep. There are a lot of actors who can access a deep well of feeling, but it is hard to do that and also keep on top of the lightning-quick changes from image to image and idea to idea that the best plays, particularly Shakespeare's, require of an actor.

The fact that we've worked together so often, and that we're very good friends, means there's nothing we wouldn't say to each other. We can get quite grumpy. But some of the most valuable things to have as a director are relationships
that last for the long term: people with whom you grow up and develop your ideas and your approach.

Alex on Hytner:

And he has given me such varied opportunities - although he rarely gives me parts that let me wear jeans on stage.

Our closeness does come into the rehearsal room. But there's also a lot we don't bring in: the gossip, our shared knowledge about each other's families, our views on other people. I used to think he was harder on me in rehearsals than anyone else. If he is tough with me, it's with good reason: I can be a bit lazy.

Full interview:
The Guardian

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Kenneth Tynan

On February 13 Alex will be taking part in a National Theatre Platform dedicated to Kenneth Tynan's theatre writings. The evening will be chaired by Dan Rebellato and introduced by Dominic Shellard, Tynan's biographer. Alex will do the readings. The performance starts at 6 p.m.

For more information see:
National Theatre

Friday, February 09, 2007

Into 2007

After a break down south the Alex Jennings news service is back on the road. The (old) news I've been able to gather so far:

Alex plays the part of Peer Gynt on a recently released recording of the play. The Guardian's Tim Ashley has the following review to offer:
"2007 marks the centenary of Grieg's death, and you'd be hard pressed to find a better tribute than this new recording of his most popular work. Unusually, it presents the incidental music in its entirety within the context of an abridgement of Ibsen's play, and throughout, you're acutely conscious not only of Grieg's astonishing inventiveness, but also of how Ibsen - finicky about the details of the score - understood exactly when to use music to enhance the drama and when to let it fall silent before the often shocking power of speech.

You have to put up with a few idiosyncrasies: the play comes in English, the vocal numbers in Norwegian; the songs are consequently delivered in an over-operatic manner by classically trained singers rather than allotted to actors as Ibsen and Grieg intended. But it's blazingly conducted by Guillaume Tourniaire. The first-rate cast includes Alex Jennings (an endearing, Irish-accented Peer), Haydn Gwynne (the women in his life) and Derek Jacobi (the various manifestations of the forces that mould his destiny). Funny, exhilarating and at times also unbearably sad, it's a remarkable achievement and very highly recommended."
Reference and review at:
The Guardian

Alex also appeared in a radio 3 play called "Two Men from Delft" on Sunday 4 February. The play was written by Stephen Wakelam. Alex played the part of Christiaan Huygens in a play about Antony Van Leeuwenhoek's discovery of bacteria. Stephen Tompkinson played the part of Van Leeuwenhoek. If you've missed it you can listen to the broadcast until 11 February on:
Radio 3



And on 14 and 15 January Alex appeared on "Waking the Dead", the BBC series, in the story called "Deus Ex Machina". He played the part of James Andrews. More information on this episode on the official BBC-website: Episode Guide Waking the Dead