Simon Round

Enrico Macias: France's megastar comes to the UK

By Simon Round, November 30, 2012

It is not just the Rolling Stones who are celebrating 50 years of musical success this year. French singer Enrico Macias may not be a household name in this country, but he has been a star in France since 1962.
Now his British-based fans will be able to see him in concert, playing songs stretching right back through his career.

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What chutzpah! How Olivia Lee became the queen of prank TV

By Simon Round, November 29, 2012

When you interview Olivia Lee there is bound to be a slight sense of nervousness. This is a woman who has made a TV career out of playing pranks on the unsuspecting, so as I sit down there is a temptation to look for a camera crew secreted behind the potted plant.

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Brett Wigdortz, the Teach First man who is transforming Britain's schools

By Simon Round, November 29, 2012

If you were looking for someone qualified to lead an initiative to improve the standard of education for under-privileged children, Brett Wigdortz would not be that man. At least, 10 years ago he was not that man — he did not have any relevant skills or experience and he was only 28.

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JC Profile: Adam Richman

By Simon Round, November 23, 2012

Adam Richman could eat for America.

In fact that is more or less what Richman's job has been for the past few years. As presenter of the massively popular Man v. Food show, which has aired on Dave, The Food Network and UK TV Food, Richman has become a cult figure for taking on some of the most insane food challenges in a country renowned for unhealthy portion sizes.

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Sera Hersham-Loftus: the seductive interior designer

By Simon Round, November 22, 2012

Sera Hersham-Loftus’s parents must have despaired of her when she was a child. She had two off-putting habits.

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They did their bit - the story of three centuries of heroism

By Simon Round, November 15, 2012

Sadly, there are not many Jews who fought in the Second World War who are still able to march. But those who can will be polishing their medals to parade down Whitehall on Sunday, in honour of their comrades who fell in the 1939-45 conflict and those before and since.

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They did their bit - the story of three centuries of military heroism

By Simon Round, November 15, 2012

Sadly, there are not many Jews who fought in the Second World War who are still able to march. But those who can will be polishing their medals to parade down Whitehall on Sunday, in honour of their comrades who fell in the 1939-45 conflict and those before and since.

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Guest who?

By Simon Round, November 12, 2012

Simchahs come and go, but somehow the cast of characters remains the same. There are types who find their way into just about every bar- and batmitzvah or wedding - people whom you instantly recognise. Here is a small selection.

The Kvetcher

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Amos Oz: When it’s OK to join the boycott

By Simon Round, November 8, 2012

When Amos Oz sits down to write at his desk in the study of his Arad home, he does not use a computer. Rather, he has two pens — a black one and a blue one. Each has a different function, he says.

“I use one pen to tell stories and the other to tell the government to go to hell.”

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You want ratings? I've got 'em

By Simon Round, October 29, 2012

Although I have never pitched a TV show before, I believe I have an idea that would win the ratings war for any channel that picks it up. Below is the proposal that I have sent to the BBC, ITV, Sky and Channel 4. I might even send it to Five.

Dear TV executives,

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Steven Berkoff's East Enders

By Simon Round, October 25, 2012

Steven Berkoff grew up in the East End and lives there now. He was, for a time, “rehoused in north London,” he says, but even then the East End remained his spiritual home. So much so in fact that during the 1960s the actor/writer would travel back to Stepney and Whitechapel with his camera to take photos of a world that was already beginning to disappear.

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TV review: Timeshift

By Simon Round, October 22, 2012

For all of you who think that klezmer is simply Jewish wedding music, this excellent documentary in the Timeshift strand proved that, well, you were absolutely right.

However, what you might not know was that klezmer was possibly the first and certainly the most enduring incidence of the musical mash-up.

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Hebburn: a British sitcom that avoids Jewish cliches

By Simon Round, October 19, 2012

Everyone has been attempting to get Jews into light entertainment and reality programmes recently, What with Grandma’s House, Strictly Kosher, Jewish Mum of the Year and Friday Night Dinner, the stereotypes have been flowing freely.

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Woody Allen's latest picture - made by his biggest fan

By Simon Round, October 18, 2012

Without Woody Allen, Sophie Lellouche’s life would have been very different. She might never have discovered literature, music or philosophy, and she would definitely not be attending the London gala premiere of her movie Paris-Manhattan, which opens this year’s UK Jewish Film Festival — a debut rom-com which features a cameo appearance by Allen himself.

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ITV's Michael Grade: why I love klezmer music

By Simon Round, October 11, 2012

Former ITV boss Michael Grade has revealed his affection for klezmer music ahead of a BBC documentary to be screened on Sunday.

Lord Grade, now a life peer, admitted that he knew little about the music of the shtetl until he was asked to narrate the BBC4 Timeshift programme, Klezmer: Now That’s What I Call East European Wedding Music… As Played by Yiddish Speaking People!

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TV review: Homeland

By Simon Round, October 11, 2012

The multi-award winning American drama Homeland, based on Gideon Raff’s equally superb Israeli series Prisoners of War, has returned for a second series.

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TV review: Friday Night Dinner

By Simon Round, October 11, 2012

In the week in which Jewish stereotypes were spattered all over our screens in the kosher car crash that was Jewish Mum of the Year, Channel 4 presented the flip-side with Friday Night Dinner.
This sitcom, which attracted decent viewing figures in its previous, er, Friday-night slot, is the Jewish show that dare not speak its name.

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Yasmin Levy: one day, I'll make an album with no Ladino on it

By Simon Round, October 11, 2012

When Yasmin Levy was signed up by her manager Paul Burger more than a decade ago, he joked that she would be unlikely to sell more than 128 records. You could understand why. After all, here was an unknown vocalist who specialised in singing half-forgotten songs in the language of Ladino — the Judeo-Spanish of the Sephardi world which is spoken by fewer than 150,000 people.

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Meet Mark Glanville, the ex-football hooligan who sings Schubert in Yiddish

By Simon Round, October 4, 2012

Mark Glanville is nothing if not eclectic. There cannot be many who have sung a Yiddish song cycle at the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC and written a first-hand account of what it was like to be a football hooligan with Manchester United’s notorious Cockney reds.

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Remember me? I'm your dad

By Simon Round, September 24, 2012

A few weeks ago, my daughter Lucy was given a tablet computer for her 10th birthday. Until then, if she wanted to spend all day in front of a screen she had to use my boring old laptop or watch TV. Now, wi-fi permitting, she can get online just about anywhere and anytime.

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