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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Lucky star Bridgit Mendler

Posted: 04 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST

Bridgit Mendler is a multi-hyphenate and she's only just turned 21.

It's Monday morning and Disney star-turned-pop singer Bridgit Mendler appears to be a little under the weather. She is nursing a cup of tea as she explains that having too much salmon so early in the day is probably what is making her feel queasy.

The star of Emmy-nominated sitcom Good Luck Charlie looks great despite her discomfort. Dressed in a chic black fitted top and a cute pair of black and white printed shorts, Mendler has nary a hair out of place.

Mendler was bitten by the acting bug at the age of eight and had been working steadily since she was 11, landing parts in General Hospital, The Clique, Wizards Of Waverly Place and Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. But her world really began to change when she landed the starring role on Good Luck Charlie.

"I was really excited to get the role of Teddy in Good Luck Charlie. It was something that I had dreamed of for so long and it was amazing to actually have that a reality," Mendler reveals.

"I think that I didn't want to let myself get too excited until I found out that the show was actually going to get picked up. Usually what they do is shoot one episode and they call that a pilot and they'll wait a few months before letting you know if it's actually going to turn into a real show and do a whole season of it.

"So I was really excited but at the same time felt the pressure of having to prove that the show was worth going on television. Once it got picked up, then I was freaking out."

The 21-year-old actress admits that she and Teddy "care about the same things – school, family and friends".

"She's probably more organised than I am in real life," she adds with a laugh. "But I think we're both a little bit nerdy and goofy so that's fun."

When this writer points out that she looks very put together, she waves it off easily and says, "Oh, it's all a front."

In Good Luck Charlie, Teddy is the second oldest of the five Duncan children and things can get a little crazy on the family sitcom. Thankfully, her life is not quite like that off-screen.

"I have one younger brother so it doesn't get quite as hectic as having five siblings but I think in any family, there's just so much to do, especially when my parents both work and they take care of us so I think that they definitely have their hands full," she clarifies. "We've had a few rushes to the airport like in the Good Luck Charlie movie where we're about to miss the flight but you know, we make it work."

The Disney comedy is ending its run after four seasons – the series finale is set to air in the United States this month – but production on the show wrapped in July last year.

"Yes, there were tears for a while," Mendler confesses when asked if there were no dry eyes on the last day of shooting. "It's been so great to work with the same people, not only the cast, but also the writers and producers and directors and all of the crew."

But she also personally feels that the show has run its course.

"I think we just enjoy working together so much that we could have done that forever but in terms of the story of the Duncans, it was kind of always intended to go through four years and have Teddy graduate high school and go off to college at the end because that's kind of the end of her video diaries and living with her family.

"So as much as we love each other and it's been an amazing experience, it's kinda nice to know that we've done 100 episodes and we can be proud of that," she discloses.

Mendler could not resist taking with her a few mementos from the set after production completed.

"I got a lot of furniture to furnish my new home," she divulges. "I have some stuff from the Duncan living room and Teddy's room. (The furniture) will be a little reminder all the time."

The young star fully intends to continue acting after this although she launched her singing career in 2012 with debut album, Hello My Name Is… and her radio-friendly singles Hurricane and Ready Or Not charted on the Billboard Hot 100.

In fact, she is recording new music for her sophomore effort presently.

"Music has always been a part of my life so I think you can say that to people as much as you want but until they hear it is really when they learn more about you," she says.

She cites Bob Dylan and Adele as among her musical influences. She has not had the chance to meet either of them but she did attend one of Adele's concerts and loved it.

"Adele did an amazing job," she reports happily. "I actually learned a lot from how she put on her concert because she's not a dancer and she really is just a vocalist/singer and storyteller. So, the experience of being at her concert was just so cool because she really made everybody feel like they were just hanging out in her living room with her.

"She'd tell her stories and interact with the crowd. She made it personal and that made it cool. It was one of the best concerts I'd ever been to."

As if her plate is not full enough with music and acting projects, Mendler has enrolled at the University of Southern California and somehow, finds the time to indulge in another passion of hers – cooking.

"I love to cook so I always say that's my back-up career," the blonde-haired brown-eyed star reveals. "Being a chef, that's my dream number two; some sort of televised chef maybe."

Now that she has legally turned 21, she's going to be taking her culinary flair to the next level: "Here's what I'm going to do. Whenever I'm cooking and I need to have some sort of liqueur in there, like hazelnut liqueur or raspberry liqueur – I could never buy myself because it has alcohol. And so now, I'll be able to do like a one-stop shop and don't need to ask any favours. I can do it all myself."

Good Luck Charlie (Season Three) airs every day at 4.30am on Disney Channel (Astro Ch 615).

Sherlock is back from the dead

Posted: 02 Jan 2014 09:05 PM PST

Benedict Cumberbatch returns to the small screen as the famous detective.

Benedict Cumberbatch made his long-awaited comeback as Sherlock Holmes on Wednesday, but the hit BBC series still left fans scratching their heads over how the super-sleuth managed to cheat death.

The show's creators teased fans by depicting some of the more far-fetched ways Holmes may have survived, in a nod to the speculation that has swept the Internet since he leapt from a rooftop a year ago in an apparent suicide bid.

The BBC series, starring Cumberbatch as a modern-day version of the 19th century British detective, has been broadcast in more than 200 countries since 2010.

When British Prime Minister David Cameron set up a page on China's Twitter-like website Weibo in November, one of the most popular questions he was asked was, "When is the third series of Sherlock due for release?"

There were plenty of surprises for fans in the first episode of the new series, including a cameo appearance by Cumberbatch's own parents.

But some viewers complained that the storyline, centering on a terrorist plot to blow up the British parliament, was difficult to follow.

Fans delighted and disappointed alike flooded the Internet with comments and reactions. The Times newspaper gave the episode four stars, but complained: "You wait two years to find out how Sherlock dunnit, and three solutions come along at once."

The series has helped both Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, who plays his loyal sidekick Doctor Watson, to Hollywood stardom. Both actors star in the current movie hit, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug; Freeman plays Bilbo Baggins the hobbit while Cumberbatch is the voice of the dragon.

Cumberbatch starred last year as the villain in the latest Star Trek film and as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate. — AFP Relaxnews

Latest Doctor Who bids farewell

Posted: 31 Dec 2013 08:00 AM PST

Looking back at a quirky, cool Doctor Who.

MATT Smith has wrapped up his tenure as the star of Doctor Who after three years playing the time-travelling alien. His time as the ever-regenerating hero was marked by complicated puzzles of time and space, alien quirks such as a fondness for fish fingers and custard, and insisting, despite raised eyebrows from his accomplices, that "bow ties are cool".

"Every day, on every episode, in every set of rushes, Matt Smith surprised me," said executive producer Steven Moffat. "The way he'd turn a line, or spin on his heels, or make something funny, or out of nowhere make me cry, I just never knew what was coming next. The Doctor can be clown and hero, often at the same time, and Matt rose to both challenges magnificently."

To celebrate Smith's run, we look back at some of his most memorable moments as the Doctor.

Making a magical debut in The Eleventh Hour:

When Smith first stepped on board the Tardis, it was with a new creative team, a new leading lady and an audience still mourning 10th Doctor David Tennant's departure.

"We really had to have such a charm offensive in The Eleventh Hour to sell the idea both that you like this guy who's taken David Tennant's place, and that somehow the same man is looking out of those eyes," Moffat said.

The result was an episode that was part fairy tale and part superhero story, introducing Smith's mop-haired Doctor and a little red-headed girl named Amelia Pond, who would grow up to be the Doctor's travelling companion and best friend.

As he dipped fish fingers in custard, Smith's Doctor began to work his own quirky brand of magic, enchanting viewers and Amy Pond alike.

Adding to a pile of good things in Vincent And The Doctor:

In this excellent Season Five episode written by Richard Curtis, the Doctor and Amy befriend Vincent Van Gogh, the eccentric artist whose life was marked by loneliness and mental illness, eventually ending in suicide. He was convinced his art was worthless and would be forgotten when he died.

After dealing with an other-worldly monster, the Doctor and Amy whisk Van Gogh off to the future to visit an exhibition of his work at the Musee d'Orsay, where the docent (a bow-tie-wearing Bill Nighy) tells the Doctor, within Vincent's earshot, "That strange, wild man who roamed the fields of Provence was not only the world's greatest artist, but also one of the greatest men who ever lived."

The moment is a tear-jerker, but after taking the artist home, Amy is heartbroken to discover the time-travelling experience didn't alter Van Gogh's suicide. The Doctor consoles her with a beautiful lesson applicable to those of us without a Tardis.

"Every life is a pile of good things and bad things," he tells her. "The good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant. And we definitely added to his pile of good things."

Donning his iconic fez in The Big Bang

In the second part of the Hugo Award-winning Season Five finale, the Doctor uses a vortex manipulator and some timey-wimey cleverness to save all of his friends and reboot the dying universe. In the process, he dons a red fez ("I wear a fez now. Fezzes are cool."), a device that helps audiences keep track of the complicated time-travel plot. Though the fez falls victim to River Song's gun, it's become an iconic cosplay element for fans of the series, and it exemplifies Smith's ability to make insane goofiness seem, well, cool.

Changing a man's heart in A Christmas Carol

Smith's Doctor became the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future for a miserly man (Michael Gambon) whose heart needed to be warmed in order to save a crashing spaceship. The Doctor zips back in time, visiting the man when he was a boy and filling his past with holiday memories to make him a kinder adult.

The Christmas special is filled with time travel antics, flying sharks and fish and a beautiful song performed by Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins, who plays a woman who is woken from cryogenic sleep – first introduced as "Nobody important".

The Doctor sums up one of the show's recurring themes in his response. "Nobody important? Blimey, that's amazing," he says. "Do you know that in 900 years of time and space, I've never met anybody who wasn't important before."

Meeting the Tardis in The Doctor's Wife

Neil Gaiman's Hugo Award-winning episode places the Doctor face-to-face with his oldest companion – his Tardis. A sinister entity steals the time-and-spaceship's matrix and places it in the body of a woman named Idris. As the Doctor converses with his beloved Tardis (aka "Sexy"), he learns that when he "borrowed" her from Gallifrey hundreds of years prior, she chose him as much as he chose her. "I wanted to see the universe, so I stole a Time Lord and I ran away," she tells him. "And you were the only one mad enough."

Tying the knot in The Wedding Of River Song

This finale unravelled several mysteries that were wound over the course of a suspenseful Season 6, beginning with the Doctor's apparent death and ending with the true identity of River Song. When all seems lost, River tells the Doctor, "I can't let you die without knowing you are loved, by so many and so much, and by no one more than me." The Doctor reveals to River his plan to fake his death at her hands, and they share a universe-saving wedding kiss. Later, he tells an ally that pretending to die is "the only way, then they can all forget me. ... Time to step back into the shadows." His friend asks if River will spend all her days in jail to pay for the apparent murder. "Her days, yes," the Doctor responds. "Her nights ... well, that's between her and me." Hello, sweetie.

Facing his grave in The Name Of The Doctor

The Doctor, companion Clara Oswald and several more of his friends are brought unwillingly to Trenzalore, the site of the Doctor's grave. In an enormous, deteriorating future version of the Tardis, they discover the Doctor's remains – a column of electric light. "Time travel is damage," he explains to his companions. "It's like a tear in the fabric of reality.

That is the scar tissue of my journey through the universe – my path through time and space, from Gallifrey to Trenzalore." In order to save the Doctor after a foe infiltrates that time stream, Clara dives into it, creating copies of herself throughout time and space in order to save the Doctor in all his iterations. The episode was one of many in which the Doctor himself needs saving, and humans prove themselves heroes. — Los Angeles Times/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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