50th Anniversaries as done by the British

Last month, the Brits celebrated two art and culture 50th Anniversaries, Doctor Who and the National Theatre. As most people who read anything to do with entertainment this last month, the 50th Anniversary episode of Doctor Who was shown at the same time in the UK, USA and Australia and was also shown in 3D in the cinema. I watched it at home, on my couch, in my PJs with a cup of coffee.  In the lead up to the episode there were mini webisodes that set up the story and built anticipation for what was to be revealed. Of course, if you went hunting there were spoilers, but why ruin it. Have patience and be rewarded with the thrill of seeing something without knowing what is going to happen. The episode was a lot of fun, with shout outs to fans who know a lot about the history of the show as well as the casual viewer. Like the London Olympics last year, the episode showed off London, British humour and the joys of wearing a great winter scarf. I could have done without making Elizabeth I a love sick woman, but it was lovely to see some fan favourites again. 

This last weekend, I went to the movies to watch the National Theatre, 50 Years on Stage, which is part of the NT Live initiative, that films and distributes  the year's top plays staged at the National Theatre in the UK to other countries. The National Theatre, 50 Years on Stage actually happened on 2 November and was broadcast live on the BBC, so I am sure it was available through less formal means prior to the screening at the movies. However, getting the opportunity to see this special night, with all that talent on the big screen was amazing. The night inter-cut interviews with live performance and archive footage by past and present actors from the National Theatre company (basically most of the great British actors of all time). It was an example of how to make an excerpt from a play work in isolation, as part of a celebration, without sucking the life out of the auditorium. I recommend watching the two hour 30 minute celebration as well as catching up on the NT 50 in Conversation, series of interviews for a more in depth look at plays, performances and actors.