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Turner Prize and Specials' Terry Hall head for Coventry

Nativity! sheds some light in the gathering gloom

Coventry-born director Debbie Isitt's Nativity! is one of the first Christmas films out of the traps this festive season. Our own cineaste John Gore had a small part to play in getting it on to the screen, but that's not why he picks it as one of his TV films of the week. It's just fun. Also on the list are such greats as High Society (left), Bridge of Spies, and Monsoon.

This extraordinarily inventive production spans a country churchyard, an expansive
country estate, and even the battlefields of the Western Front. And you can take it all in from the comfort of your home, via YouTube. It's a very welcome return for the stalwarts of the Criterion in Earlsdon.

It's a week to wallow in the classic movies

John Gore dips into this week's bag of films on TV and comes up with some classics - Brief Encounter, for example, The Apartment (the great Billy Wilder comedy) and The Good The Bad and the Ugly (left). Add Matt Damon on Mars and a couple of highly unusual foreign offerings, and...enjoy

Late legend takes centre stage

The late Sean Connery dominates the films coming to TV (from Nov 15): Robin and Marian (left), The Man Who Would Be King, etc. But there's a lot more besides in JOHN GORE'S pick of the week, including the excellent Shoplifters from the Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda.

TV schedules on the war path

There are plenty of war-themed films in the schedule, unsurprisingly, given the time of year, but there's much else besides, says JOHN GORE - the stunning Inception, for example, The Talented Mr Ripley, and some evergreens including The Bodyguard (left).

Best known for the TV quiz The Chaser, Paul Sinha lifted the gloom with his one-man comedy stand-up which charts his extraordinary career ...." funny and poignant, heart-warming as well as witty,"

Silliness, drama, horror...it's all on the TV menu.

John Gore's latest pick of the films on TV covers just about every genre you could think of. Want some horror? There's the scary US remake of The Ring (left). For fun try the classic Blithe Spirit; for something compelling and throught-provoking there's The Children Act. And there's much more besides.

It...may be a good reason for staying in with your TV

We've got a clutch of horror films coming to our TVs, appropriately for the week of Halloween, including It (left), based on a Stephen King story. Our cineaste JOHN GORE picks out the best of the bunch for us.

Timely movies to mark Black History Month

Our cineaste John Gore plots a way through the films and documentaries on the way to TV to mark Black History Month, from the highly acclaimed Hidden Figures, and the James Brown biopic Get On Up starring the late Chadwick Boseman (left), to the great documentary on James Baldwin, I Am Not Your Negro.

Panto missing from Belgrade line-up

Coventry's Belgrade has postponed Beauty and the Beast for a year but there is a line-up of shows coming up in the next few months. All with socially-distanced rules attached, of course.

Grants are huge relief to struggling theatres

Coventry's Belgrade celebrates a whopping windfall thanks to the government's Cultural Recovery Fund. The Albany Theatre has also landed a grant, of £250,000. The money will be a massive relief to theatres forced to close their doors by the pandemic. 

Staying in with some great movies

An iconic Western, Rio Bravo (pictured left), and the delightful Fabulous Baker Boys, head John Gore's line-up of films coming to TV in the week ahead. Throw in The Book Thief, Raging Bull, and many others, and...who needs to go out?

Spanning the years: Our latest guide to films coming to TV

Wartime classics, terrific comedy, Tom Hanks as a spy handler (left), Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield singing Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes...who could ask for more in a line-up of films coming to TV? Don't miss John Gore's latest tips. 

John Gore's latest pick of the films coming on TV

On John Gore's pick of the coming week's TV movies are classics like Nicholas Nickelby (left) and From Here to Eternity. There is also the innovative and puzzling Inception, Clint Eastwood's Sully: Miracle on the Hudson, and much more. 

Albion, BBC iPlayer until Sept 15

Filmed at London's Almeida Theatre, this garden is fertile ground for exploring the thorny issues surrounding Brexit, and much else. And with director, performers (including Daisy Edgar-Jones (left), designers and writer Mike Bartlett all at the top of their games, it's unmissable. Thanks, BBC!

John Gore reaches for the sky for his latest TV film picks

The ethics of drone strikes are explored in one of JOHN GORE'S picks of the films coming on TV: Eye in the Sky (left) with Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman will get you thinking. Don't miss Gravity for nail-biting thrills, and the disturbing but riveting Una.

The great films coming to a box near you

Saoirse Ronan (left) as a troubled teen in Lady Bird is one of the highlights of the coming week's TV movies. Add in some social comment, a helping of gritty violence and a few classic comedies, and you've got John Gore's latest essential list of films worth catching.

Theatres up and down the country are fighting for their lives in the wake of the corona pandemic.

Some have already gone to the wall. Leaders of the Belgrade Theatre have joined in a nationwide "red light'' campaign to convince the government that more help is needed.

Bizarre, funny, weird...it's all on the TV film menu

A parade of eccentrics, the marginalised, feisty females and grumpy old men...and that's just the TV film menu for the weekend. There's much more to come in the next seven days. Don't miss John Gore's essential preview.

Your essential guide to the films coming to a TV near you

Babel starring Brad Pitt (left ) is one of the week's stand-out TV movies, says our resident cineaste John Gore. Other highlights include The Post, Cold Mountain, and Cold War, and to warm you up, the Chaplin classic Shoulder Arms. There's much more in John's unmissable list.

Rich pickings on next week's TV film menu

Some great films coming to TV next week. There's horror - The Shining, Ginger Snaps, and Peeping Tom. There are also a number of classics to watch for: Master and Commander, Hell or High Water, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri. And of course, says John Gore, there's much more.

Classics on John Gore's film menu for the week ahead

Our cineaste picks out some great old movies coming to TV in the week ahead including The Ipcress File and the last film of both Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe, The Misfits (pictured left). But there are plenty of other great items you won't want to miss on his menu for the next seven days.

TV movies to help widen your social circle

There are some much talked-about films coming to TV which you'll need to see to get in on the conversation. Films like The Truman Show (left), Thelma and Louise, and Erin Brokovitch. And there plenty of other goodies coming too, says John Gore.

Our latest round-up of the best movies coming on TV

A great Steve McQueen double bill, 12 Years a Slave (pictured left) and Shame, features in John Gore's pick of the films coming on TV in the week ahead. The classic 1948 Oliver Twist, and the touching Love is Strange are also on the list, along with many more.

John Gore's pick of the best movies coming on TV

On Chesil Beach, starring Saoirse Ronan, is one of the highlights of the coming week, says our resident cineaste. Also on his list are a couple of classic comedies, a timely documentary from the US, a couple of highly acclaimed pieces of European cinema, and more. Something for everyone, in other words.

National Theatre's latest YouTube line-up of free shows

Small Island and A Midsummer Night's Dream are two of the top shows the National Theatre is making available for free on its YouTube channel (although donations are requested). These will be the last in the series.

John Gore's tips for the best films coming to a TV near you

From the unsettling Room (pictured left), to the highly acclaimed The Social Network , the timely Selma, and the timeless Bullitt, the week's TV schedules have some great films coming up. Set your timer, and relax.

Watch two great Belgrade productions on YouTube for free

The Belgrade is making two highly acclaimed productions available online for free. Reasons to be Cheerful is based on the great Ian Dury. It's part play, part gig, and all great fun. The other is the equally well-received and equally unmissable, Made in India. Details on the News pages.

John Gore's latest unmissable picks of films coming on TV

A great documentary shines a light on the tragic life and death of Amy Winehouse, Eric Clapton's life and times get a similar treatment, and there are classics like the timeless African Queen - they and more are on John Gore's latest list of the best films coming up on TV.

This House, Nat Theatre Live (YouTube) until June 4

"A thrilling play that relives history and transcends it" - that's how one newspaper reviewer described This House when it was first staged. Now we can see it for free on YouTube. Is it as good as it's cracked up to be? Yes! Don't miss it!

Great comedies head this week's list of TV movies

There's a (nominally) kids' movie that adults will love, Chicken Run, and Some Like it Hot, a classic that you can never see too often, heading John Gore's tips for the best movies on TV in the coming week. There are plenty of other gems in there as well. It's a list you can't miss!   

Set your timer for some great films coming on TV...and stay in!

A terrific line-up for the coming week includes the classic Citizen Kane, the very funny East is East, super-cool Ryan O'Neal in The Driver, Bryan Cranston in Trumbo, and Tilda Swinton in A Bigger Splash. Don't go out! 

A Streetcar Named Desire, Nat Theatre Live (YouTube), to May 28

Gillian Anderson (Scully in TV's The X Files), is Blanche Dubois in this filmed performance of Tennessee Williams' steamy play. How does she do? Magnificently says our reviewer, making this one to catch.

Dave shows that home is where the art is

Coventry's very own West End star Dave Willetts tried something different - a live but relaxed concert from his own home, and it showcased his musical creativity and vocal charm perfectly.

Our very own cinesaste John Gore returns with his pick of the best movies on TV in the week ahead. From classics to biopix and much in between, there's something for everyone in his list.

TV films to make staying in fun

Our guest cineaste John Gore, founder of Coventry's StokeScreen Film Club, with his latest round-up of the best movies on TV in the coming week.

Coriolanus free - thanks to National Theatre

Tom Hiddleston as Coriolanus, Gillian Anderson in Streetcar, the brilliant political comedy This House, and more - they are all coming on YouTube free, thanks to the National Theatre. Check out the details...

Is theatrical hit a miss on the small screen?

It was a rip-roaring success in a live theatre, but now a recorded version of Wise Children can be seen on the BBC iPlayer. Our reviewer has seen both. How well has, what she calls the "cornucopia of silliness",  transferred to the small screen? Let's find out...

Do big names always mean great theatre?

Having seen the Belgrade production of Frankenstein, our reviewer was keen to catch the glittering National Theatre version with the big names on display and money-no-object visuals. Find out how the two compared...

I met my hero Cliff - and I've regretted it ever since

Elementarywhatson writer Margaret Mather admits to throwing a teenage tantrum when she met the Peter Pan of Pop after an exclusive concert. Find out what happened.

He nose, you know...

Roxanne, an adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac, has Steve Martin as a local fire chief whose whopping conk puts a damper on his amorous ambitions. It's very funny - and it's one of the movies on TV in the coming week that our cineaste JOHN GORE recommends. Check out his list, and set your timer.

The tracks of my years caught on film

From the Beatles opening chord on the soundtrack of  Hard Day's Night to John Barry's testosterone-fuelled Bond themes and Ennio Morricone's iconic score for The Good The Bad and The Ugly,  movie music has shaken and stirred film critic John Gore. Take a hum down memory lane with him as he recalls his favourites.

One-man show was just the ticket for Coventry couple

You should never meet your heroes, so they say...except perhaps when your hero is Sir Ian McKellen. Coventry couple Terry and Sarah Little, fans of the great actor, met him and told him what they thought of his one-man show. Find out what happened next...

City is just the (Italian) job for movie makers

It may not be the Hollywood of the Midlands, but Coventry has had a surprising role in many top movies over the years. And it's not all about Lady Godiva.

The top 10 film adaptations of Shakespeare? See what our expert thinks

Orson Welles as Othello, Branagh as Hamlet. Oh Ralph Fiennes as Coriolanus. Then there's West Side Story and even Lion King. Shakespeare and cinema could have been made for each other. But which great films get into JOHN GORE'S top 10?

Shakespeare on TV - thanks to BBC

Thanks to a "Culture in Quarantine" programme launched by the BBC, we will soon be able enjoy six recent RSC Shakespeare plays on BBC4, including Macbeth starring Christopher Eccleston, Othello and Romeo and Juliet.

The best of British theatre FREE on You Tube

The National Theatre is streaming some terrific shows on You Tube for free during the coronavirus crisis. The series starts on Thursday (April 2) with the brilliant One Man Two Guvnors. The Guardian gave it five stars, calling it "a triumph of visual and verbal comedy". Don't miss it!

Our home is where the art is...surprisingly!

From splendid architecture to treasures like the Holy Trinity Church Doom painting and the St Mary's Hall tapestry; from John and Yoko's gift to the city, to Turner prize nominee George Shaw, Coventry has an amazingly rich art heritage. See for yourself...

How one man came (not very) close to film stardom

Our very own Peter Walters looks back at his all-too-brief movie career and the fleeting but intense moment he was called on to share with "delectable" Faye Dunaway in the film The Wicked Lady. Find out why you've never seen his name in lights...

The Hollywood superstar and the reporter who couldn't spell

When Hollywood superstar Dustin Hoffman was asked by an amateurish journalist how to spell his name, fireworks were bound to follow. Elementarywhatson writer Peter McGarry tells us what happened next

Ding-a-Ling! Coventry's long playing musical history

From the great Chuck Berry to Beethoven (who wasn't rolling over); from 60s heart-throb Frank Ifield to George Eliot;  from Benjamin Britten to the Beatles - Coventry's links to some great names in music will surprise you.

PERFORMANCES HIT BY COVID-19

Theatres in Coventry and Warwickshire have cancelled shows and closed their doors in the wake of the latest government advice on tackling the Covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. Elementarywhatson.com is the only place to get the latest news as it happens.

Lovesong, Criterion Theatre, Coventry, to Mar 21

Where does the time go? That's the question behind this reflective and touching story of a marriage that has survived, sometimes against the odds, for 40 years. It's emotionally charged but the direction and the cast manage to steer around the potential for sentimentality.

My Night With Reg, Warwick Arts Centre, to Saturday

Set in the days when HIV and Aids were a potential death sentence for the gay community, this is a senstive and amusing production with some great 80s music. Interestingly, it's not at all dated, given that we now seem to be living in the shadow of a new existential health threat.

Once, Belgrade, Coventry, to March 14

This musical, based on the 2007 film, is a poignant love story set in Dublin. The folky music is beautiful, and brilliantly performed by the actor-musicians. Don't miss seeing this gift of a show. And Once won't be enough.

A Monster Calls, Belgrade, Coventry, to March 7

The play is powerful - bleak in parts, but ultimately uplifting. With great performances and a clever set, It's thought-provoking, philosophical, yet action-packed and pacy. Our reviewer's verdict? This show is a must-see.

The Caretaker, Loft Theatre, to Mar 7

This production of Harold Pinter’s best-known play lacks reverence, ploughing Its its own path through the intricacies of a deliberate non-plot. The characters are finely observed and a rich vein of comedy is explored. The performances and direction are superb.

A View From The Bridge, Rugby Theatre, to Feb 29

This Arthur Miller classic may date from the 1950s, but the tale of family rivalry which leads to tragedy seems as relevent as ever. And it's all helped by excellent performances all round.

The versatile cast seamlessly play multiple roles across two parallel threads of a
story over a century apart and the pay works on several levels. With a feel-good
ending, this is a great family friendly production.

Revenge, Belgrade, Coventry, to Saturday (Feb 15)

An action-packed but disappointing play is billed as a thriller, but didn't thrill our reviewer. She reports that the first half was flat and the second half which promised more, also failed to deliver.

Crongton Knights, Belgrade, to Feb 22

This bitingly relevant musical drama explores the tough choices a group of teens must make to survive on a gritty inner-city estate. There's some unflinching and convincing violence, but some lighter moments too.

The Whip, Swan Theatre, Stratford, to March 21

Over two and a half hours of intense drama seem to pass in an instant as this historical-political tale explores the parliamentary infighting, personal torments and dodgy dealing that lay behind the abolition of slavery. 

Glorious, Criterion, Coventry, to Feb 1

Jan Nightingale is Florence Foster Jenkins, who was dubbed the worst singer in the world, in this glorious-ly funny production, and she tackles the role with all the confidence and relish required. The supporting cast is strong, and between them they have the audience in hysterics.

Jack and the Beanstalk, Rugby Theatre, to Feb 2

Banish the January blues with this slightly out-of-season panto. It's got all the usual ingredients - music, song and dance, and plenty of slapstick. Don't worry about the story, just enjoy the fun.

Jane Eyre, Albany Theatre, to tonight (Jan 23)

This adaptation has some new dialogue and even music, but it manages to stay true to the classic Bronte story. The four cast members put in some excellent quick costume and character changes - it's an energetic performance, well staged and performed.

Christopher Hampton’s adaptation from a steamy French novel spares no
blushes in its cold-blooded expose of late-18 th century lust and immorality.

The Gift, Belgrade B2, to Jan 25

It's a slow burner, but the play manages to explore such issues as race relations, cultural diversity and what it's like to be in a minority - while being genuinely hilarious, at least in parts. It's a remarkable achievement with some outstanding performances.

Cinderella, Warwick Arts Centre, to Jan 12

This sparkly post-Christmas production from the Three Spires Guildhall theatre group has some great performances, plenty of singing and dancing, and enough excitement to get the kids in the audience screaming with delight. A winner for all the family.

The Sound of Music, Rugby Theatre, to Dec 15

Fifty years-plus on from the much-loved film, the Rodgers and Hammerstein songs have lost none of their appeal. And the performers at Rugby Theatre do them justice with some pitch-perfect singing. This feel-good production is the perfect antidote to Christmas shopping.

Merrily We Roll Along, Loft Theatre, Leamington, to Dec 14

This challenging Stephen Sondheim showbiz musical is carried along by vigorous direction and some fine performances. The music may not be Sondheim's best, but company vocal work under conductor Liam Walker is impressive.

Pictured: Franklin Shepard (Chris Gilbey-Smith), Mary Flynn (Vicky Holding), Charley Kringas (Justin Steer)

"...everything you would expect from a show and more. Superb acting, fabulous singing, sparkly costumes, beautiful stage sets and an abundance of audience participation."

Puss in Boots, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, to Jan 11

Wonderful singing and dancing, great performances by the cast, and a spectacular set - this is another triumph for writer, director and star Iain Lauchlan, his talented sidekick Craig Hollingsworth, and the whole team. Don't miss it!

The Boy in the Dress, RSC, Stratford, to March 8

The story - from the hit David Walliams book - is a bit thin in places, but the performances are terrific, the song and dance numbers brilliant, and the set stunning. Overall, the show packs a potent punch. Recommended.

It's A Wonderful Life, Criterion Theatre, Coventry, Nov 30-Dec 7

This production promises to be a very different take on the classic Christmas story. Director Richard Warren says: "It's an affectionate tribute to the golden age of radio, and the way stories were told before cameras filled in the pictures".

Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story, Belgrade, to Nov 9

This uplifting show is packed with great toe-tapping, hand-clapping rock 'n' roll classics and you won't be able to resist singing along. The singing and musicianship are outstanding.

Chess, Abbey Theatre, Nuneaton, to Nov 9

One of the most ambitious musicals ever staged by The Masqueraders Theatrical Society, Chess has a huge cast and an impressive band. Sometimes the stage seems too small for the action - but it all works amazingly well. 

My Beautiful Launderette, Belgrade B2, to Nov 2.

The 1980s film comes to the stage with its tale of unlikely pals coming together to make a struggling launderette a success, but the Thatcherite ideals of the time rub up against the struggles of an immigrant family. Some of the dialogue seems dated but the performances are strong - and the play is darker than the film was.