Press clippings

An evening celebrating the laconic Irish comic begins with this 2014 documentary, which includes fond testimony from family and friends including Steven Berkoff and Dame Maggie Smith. It's followed by last year's biopic Dave Allen at Peace and clip show The Immaculate Selection.

Gwilym Mumford, The Guardian, 30th March 2019

Madden's twinkly comedy takes an A-list of Brit thesps - Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy and all - and plonks them in a crumbling hotel in Rajasthan, seeking a cheaper retirement. The contrived antics don't quite do the illustrious cast justice, but it charmed its way to a sequel.

Paul Howlett, The Guardian, 2nd December 2017

Maggie Smith is a marvel as Miss Shepherd, the eccentric elderly woman who parked her campervan in Alan Bennett's drive for a few weeks, and stayed for 15 years. Alex Jennings is a joy as Bennett, but this is Smith's film: her comically cantankerous exterior masking an inner sadness. There's fun, too, in the neighbours' perplexed reactions to her mucky presence. This small but big-hearted comic drama is a great alternative to the talking animations and blockbusters that fill the festive TV schedule.

Paul Howlett, The Guardian, 24th December 2016

Third helping of repatriated ribaldry from Ullman's new series, and the recurring characters continue to bed in. Tonight's treats include Dame Maggie Smith's new green screen-ready showreel, events unfolding inside the HQ of a corporation stamping twee slogans on to premium earthenware, Dame Judi Dench's ongoing crime spree, and a raucous rock opera documenting Rebekah Brooks's return to the Chipping Norton set. Ullman's impressive ability to inhabit contrasting personas again outshines a patchy script.

Mark Gibbings-Jones, The Guardian, 25th January 2016

The lovable collection of silvery expats returns for an inevitable sequel. Dev Patel's Sonny is expanding his Jaipur hotel business, with the help of Maggie Smith's Muriel; foxy old Richard Gere may be able to help them with that. Meanwhile, Judi Dench and Bill Nighy dither around romance, while Celia Imrie's Madge has her choice of men. Twinkly charm is guaranteed, but that's enough now.

Paul Howlett, The Guardian, 22nd January 2016

Radio Times review

After two cracking episodes, it's time to see if Tracey Ullman has any other comic gems in her locker apart from her fabulous turns as Angela Merkel and theatrical Dames Maggie Smith and Judi Dench. The doofus American couple who love all things English is easily her weakest sketch of the series so far.

Fortunately, the show is rescued by a triumphant song-and-dance routine in which she plays former Sun editor Rebekah Brooks. If the red-haired Murdoch executive isn't popular with some of the other members of the Chipping Norton set, here she's dealt a pretty rough time - proving that our Trace isn't afraid of tweaking some powerful noses.

Ben Dowell, Radio Times, 19th January 2016

Due to the promotional clips I watched of Tracey Ullman's Show I expected it to be a sketch show featuring the comedienne performing a number of impressions. However Ullman only impersonated three famous faces with the sketches in which she played acting Dames Maggie Smith and Judi Dench not feeling particularly original. I certainly didn't find Dench's secret kleptomania or Smith auditioning for sci-fi roles to be that funny and the supposed jokes from these two sketches fell flat. Conversely I felt that Ullman was in her element when portraying German Chancellor Angela Merkel who was on her way to and from a conference in Cardiff. The scenes between Ullman's Merkel and her assistant played by Samantha Spiro were the funniest moments during the half hour as the imagined conversations between the pair felt oddly realistic. In fact I would've loved to have seen a Veep-style sitcom starring Ullman as Merkel as I feel it would've been funnier than about 95% of the sketches here. Everything else Ullman did provoked little laughter from the female MP whose decision to go topless impressed the male electorate to the female beautician who almost set her massage parlour on fire. Even the sketches involving a woman who had been freed from an East Asian Prison after thirty years all featured obvious gags including one scene in which we were delivered a rather sad list of all the iconic British retailers that had shut their doors during her incarceration. Aside from the Merkel material the only other part of Ullman's show that raised more than a titter was the closing satirical song and dance number about the closure of a Welsh library. Unfortunately this finale came a little too late to change my opinion of a sketch show that had plenty of opportunity but didn't really deliver in terms of laughs. Whilst I like Ullman and many of her supporting players I won't be returning to this show again as nothing apart from the Merkel sketches really left an impression.

Matt, The Custard TV, 15th January 2016

This quirky comedy, based on Deborah Moggach's novel, takes an A-list of aged Brit thesps - Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson - and plonks them in a crumbling hotel in Rajasthan, as economic migrants seeking a cheaper retirement.

Paul Howlett, The Guardian, 18th December 2015

Radio Times review

Maggie Smith doesn't need to do chat shows, so she usually doesn't. The latest coup for Graham Norton is that he's persuaded Smith to grace a TV sofa for the first time in 42 years, to discuss her new film, Alan Bennett's The Lady in the Van - and to discuss the end of Downton Abbey, no doubt.

Alongside the Dame are her co-star Alex Jennings; Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller, the two leads in new chef drama Burnt; and the ever-regal Cindy Crawford, who's 50 next year and has a coffee-table photo-memoir out. Justin Bieber more or less provides music.

Jack Seale, Radio Times, 30th October 2015

Dame Maggie Smith to appear on The Graham Norton Show

It's been 42 years since Dame Maggie Smith has appeared on a British chat show, but the Downton Abbey star has now announced she will go on The Graham Norton Show this October.

Daisy Bowie-Sell, What's On Stage, 13th October 2015

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