In what seems like a lifetime ago, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, both of Doctor Who fame, discussed plans for a Sherlock Holmes adaptation during numerous train journeys to Cardiff where Doctor Who production was taking place. Huge Arthur Conan Doyle fanboys, both Moffat and Gatiss were encouraged to develop the idea of introducing a television audience to a 21st century Sherlock Holmes despite the existence of several mediocre efforts attempting to do the same. Along with Steve Thompson, Gatiss and Moffat have created some of the best television that has appeared on television in recent memory.
A little over two years ago, October 2010 to be exact, we had the great good fortune to interview Benedict Cumberbatch while in the UK just prior to the first series of Sherlock airing on PBS as part of the Masterpiece Mystery series. In these never before segments from the interview, Cumberbatch talked, early on, about what immediately attracted him to Sherlock, the BBC/PBS series from Moffat and Gatiss.
Next, in answering Sherlock purists who couldn’t bare to see the world’s most famous consulting detective have a smart phone, he talked about the challenges of incorporating new technology into the 21st century Sherlock while attempting to remain true to the classic nature of the story.
Finally, it was quite evident even in the early days of Sherlock, that he and co-star Martin Freeman had already developed a great friendship and on-screen chemistry that has been clearly apparent since day one.
Bearing out what Cumberbatch alluded to in the 2010 interview, Paul McGuigan, who directed two episodes of Sherlock, continued the defense of the adaptations from Sherlock purists saying that this is in keeping with Conan Doyle’s character, pointing out that “In the books, he would use any device possible and he was always in the lab doing experiments. It’s just a modern-day version of it. He will use the tools that are available to him today in order to find things out.”
The town of Springfield has long been ‘on the map’ as a destination city because of its’ most famous family, the Simpsons. Springfield, however, is also known as the home of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, owned by Montgomery Burns, the Kwik-E-Mart, run by Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Barney’s Bowl-A-Rama and The Leftorium in Springfield Mall.
Visitors can also take a tour of Krustylu Studios (where the Krusty the Klown Show is filmed) or stop off at the likes of Moe’s Tavern, The Guilded Truffle and Krusty Burger.
In the day and age of ‘what have you done for me lately’, Springfield continues to be on the cutting edge with an attraction that will solidfy Homer’s hometown as the tourist destination. With its name sppropriately changed to Simpton Abbey, who knew that Downton Abbey was actually set in Springfield?
Matt Groening’s Simpton Abbey
The Simpsons became the latest TV show to spoof ITV/PBS period drama hit Downton Abbey with last nights season finale on Fox. It not only featured Family Guy creator, Seth MacFarlane, but the episode, titled ‘Dangers on a Train’, featured MacFarlane’s character Ben falling in love with Marge Simpson and bonding with her over their shared love of a Downton-esque period drama called Upton Rectory.
The Doctor turns 50!
More news coming out daily regarding the upcoming November 2013 50th anniversary special that resides in Doctor Who showrunner, Steven Moffat’s mind palace. According to BBC Controller of Drama Commissioning, Ben Stephenson, the centerpiece of the BBC’s blockbuster celebrations to mark the Doctor turning 50 will be such that the Time Lord and current companion, Clara Oswald will be seen like never before – in 3D!
Moffat added: “It’s about time. Technology has finally caught up with Doctor Who. It’s the only show with a box that’s bigger on the inside, so if you have the ability to make your television bigger on the inside, it goes with Doctor Who, surely?”.
To give you a sense of what the Doctor might be like in 3D, here’s a season five trailer featuring the Doctor and new companion, Amy Pond. FYI, you’ll need those 3D anaglyph red/cyan glasses for this one that you’ve been saving since the premiere of Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder waiting for just the right time to get them out of the vault. Unless you are one of the handful of those on the planet that possesses a 3D telly, the rest of the planet will have to wait for the home Blu-ray video release down the line to fully experience The Doctor in 3D.
P1 Doctor Who fans will remember that during the Doctor Who 30th anniversary in 1993, “Dimensions In Time” was shown in 3D – using the anaglyph glasses. This time around, however, given advances in technology, you might be able to leave those glasses at home.
Christopher Foyle enters the world of MI-5
Confirmed at the PBS Annual Meeting this past week in Miami Beach is the return to Foyle’s War to the PBS schedule this Fall as part of the Masterpiece Mystery! series. Beginning Sunday, September 15, Michael Kitchen will return in his new role as Senior Intelligence Officer for a new series of Foyle’s War which will be comprised of 3, two-hour programs set during the early period following World War II. Foyle will now focus his attention on the world of espionage as he transitions from World War to Cold War. It’s a rather big adjustment for Foyle as he is now faced with a British establishment that is rife with communist sympathizers and traitors.
As Foyle now spends his time gathering secret intelligence in support of Britain’s security, defense and the Government’s foreign and economic policies, the first of three mysteries, “The Eternity Ring”, begins in New Mexico in 1945 before switching to London a year later.
Originally part of PBS’ Mystery series in 2004 and running on ITV in the UK since 2002, it’s been three years since we last crossed paths with Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle. According to novelist and screenwriter Anthony Horowitz, who wrote episodes 1 and 3, the new Foyle’s War will begin in a post-war era Britain. Besides Kitchen returning as Foyle, Honeysuckle Weeks returns as Samantha Stewart, Foyle’s driver who provided valuable assistance over the years. You may remember that Sam’s love interest, former Bletchley Park codebreaker and local MP Adam Wainwright, proposed to her in the final episode of the last series. Well, Sam is now happily married and finding her feet as a wife with a daunting role in local politics. Reunited with Foyle, however, also offers a surprising new working role.
While it has seemed like an eternity since we last spent time with Christoper Foyle (3 years to be exact), remember that Foyle ‘retired’ at the end of series 7 (series 6 in the U.S.). Retirement is short-lived, however, as someone is stealing documents from the Soviet Embassy. Folks over at MI-5 (not Harry Pearce) want him to investigate the suspected Russian who defected with the documents and the possible passing of secrets to the Commies. Doing her best to convince Foyle to join the ranks of MI-5 is Ellie Haddington (The Cafe, Spies of Warsaw).
Why Foyle, you’re asking at this point? Because his former driver, Samantha, has been photographed with a suspected Russian agent.
The Twitter universe lit up on Wednesday with the ‘announcement’ that Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs would be joining the cast of Downton Abbey, as the first black cast member.
Diddy had issued teasers throughout Wednesday, with a post saying: “How many of y’all out there are Downton Abbey fans?”, followed by “I’m going to be making a big announcement in the next hour – im excited for yall to hear!” The rapper then wrote: “I have to admit that Downton Abbey is one of my favorite shows – and thats why Im so excited today @DowntonAbbey”.
Having already appeared in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and the most recent incarnation of Hawaii Five-0 one would immediately think that the Julian Fellowes creation would be the next logical step in Diddy’s career on the small screen.
Sadly, Diddy will not be starring in Downton Abbey, in spite of apparently claiming he would be taking a recurring role in the hit costume drama. He furthered the idea by teasing that a 12mid sneak peek would be available showing some of his work as he is introduced to a somewhat bewildered Downton staff. The US rapper turned out to have been promoting a skit on Will Ferrell’s Funny Or Die website. Unfortunately, as you can imagine, there are some strong language issues that prevent putting the clip here, but it’s well worth a look if you want at the Funny or Die website.
Quick to respond, US co-producer, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), was quick to put an end to the rumor with a very simple: “It’s not true.“
The excrutiatingly long wait for the return of Case Histories ends this Sunday, 19 May as BBC One has set the transmission date for the premiere. Jason Isaacs, probably best known for his role as Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies, is back as the dashing, yet troubled private investigator, Jackson Brodie, with three new 90-minute cold cases based on the novels by Kate Atkinson. Even though Isaacs is about 18 months removed from the role since filming ended on series one, he relishes the thought of jumping back into Isaac’s tough-guy exterior who possesses a deeply empathetic heart who never resists the temptation to ‘come to the rescue’ along with some significant emotional scar tissue.
“He seems to be everything a women would want in a man, including how horribly messed up he is,” says Isaacs.”He’s one of those guys who women think they should be able to save. They don’t really want him – if they actually came across someone like Jackson it would be a nightmare. He’s a fantasy figure.”
It’s been just this side of two years since series one transmitted in the UK. At that time, Brodie finally had seemed to be coming to terms with the childhood death of his sister. He was resigned to the fact his young daughter and estranged wife were moving to the other side of the world. Romance was blossoming with DC Louise Munroe, played by Amanda Abbington. Or so it seemed.
While very little is known about the storylines for series 2 other than Victoria Wood will join the cast for the first story, which is adapted from Atkinson’s novel ‘Started Early, Took My Dog’, let’s hope that producers keep the hauntingly great soundtrack as an integral part of Isaac’s life. No word yet as to a possible broadcast premiere on PBS in the States, but as soon as we know something, you’ll be the first to read it here…
With a majority of the commercial networks setting their Fall schedules this week with their respective upfront presentations to advertisers, PBS announced Tuesday at their annual meeting in Miami Beach the date of January 5, 2014 for the long-awaited return of Downton Abbey and the premiere of series 4.
Approximately 8 million viewers tuned in last January for the premiere of series 3 on PBS, which aired a full three months after the UK premiere on ITV1. With a double digit increase in audience for series 3 over series 2, there seemed little reason to break something that isn’t broken and premiere the program closer to the UK premiere which should, again, be in September of 2013.
With the series set for a 2-hour premiere on January 5, it will run for 8 weeks, ending on February 23. With the Oscars now pushed back a week to avoid the closing ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics, the final episode of Downton Abbey will take its chances against the Olympics rather than taking on the Academy Awards.
Other announcements made Tuesday that would be of interest to readers of Tellyspotting were almost too numerous to mention. In a nutshell…
Still on the table is what to do with the upcoming third series of Sherlock. Of particular note, however, is the expressed desire to get the PBS broadcast to align as closely as possible to the UK premiere which is still yet to be determined. That news made the entire trip worthwhile for the some 950+ people in attendance, including Tellyspotting.
Deservedly, the brilliance of Twenty Twelve, the mock documentary comedy series chronicling the organization of the 2012 London Olympics, was rewarded on Sunday with a 2013 BAFTA television award for Best Sitcom. Olivia Colman was also a winner on Sunday taking home the award for Best Female Performance in a Comedy Program up against fellow Twenty Twelve co-star, Jessica Hynes.
Colman, who plays Sally Owen, Ian Fletcher’s personal assistant in Twenty Twelve, is also equally as brilliant as Alex Smallbone in Rev. Even though the 2012 London Olympics have long since past, Twenty Twelve is well worth another look. Along with Colman and Hynes, the series stars a number of familiar faces including Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey, Mr. Stink), Amelia Bullmore (Scott and Bailey) and Karl Theobald (Green Wing, Primeval).
For the upcomming 2012 Olympics, digital is one of the most crucial things for a modern brand manager to get right, so the pressure is on for Siobhan (Jessica Hynes) to explain her strategy. Twitter, Facebook, Mashable and even MySpace all have their part to play in creating the digital legacy for the games. Here, to refresh your own individual mind palace before you set up a marathon viewing session…
Looking to capitalize on Downton Abbey mania, PBS has commissioned a multi-generational American drama with all the hallmarks of the hit British drama — an arranged marriage, class conflict, sweeping vistas and history. Leave it to the New York Post to call it Downton Abbey…with flava.
The PBS pilot, which carries the working title “Alta California”, will be set in 1800s California and revolves around merging family fortunes, one rich Mexican, the other European American. Those themes include class conflict and history as well as great landscapes. “Alta California” will tell the story of an arranged union between two families – one Mexican-Californian and the other European-American.
The proposed series is to be created by Dennis T. Leoni, whose series “Resurrection Blvd” tells the story of three generations of boxers within the East Los Angeles Santiago family. It aired for three seasons on Showtime making it the longest-running Latino dramatic series in the history of American television and starred Tony Plana and Nicholas Gonzalez.
More news throughout the week as Tellyspotting files reports from the PBS Annual Meeting in Miami. Lots of upcoming Masterpiece programming news for 2013-2014 including, hopefully, a hint at possible broadcast plans for Sherlock 3, Downton Abbey 4, Mr. Selfridge 2 and Call the Midwife 3. Stay tuned…..
Ok, I’m having a really hard time with both of these. Harder than my usual rant when it comes to the concept of an across the pond re-do of a successful series. Seems as though the U.S and the UK are getting ready to trade remake attempts of highly successful situation comedy series in the not-too-distant future.
Fox orders full series of U.S. Gavin & Stacey
As we reported some time back, Fox had earlier piloted a U.S. version of the British mega-hit, Gavin & Stacey. Now, according to reports, they have now ordered a full series starring Jason Ritter (Parenthood) and Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls).
Ritter will play city boy, Gavin, with Bledel starring as his small-town girlfriend, Stacey. The comedy/drama, like its UK counterpart, will follow the couple whose burgeoning romance is constantly at the mercy of their friends and family. What does give reason for hope is that, unlike the ill-fated first attempt from ABC, which was not to involve its British creators, James Corden and Ruth Jones, but instead, the writing duties would be by U.S. sitcom writers of According to Jim, the Fox version will not only involve both Corden and Jones, but Steve Coogan, who executive-produced the pilot.
UK’s Everybody Loves Raymond set in Chester
Not to be outdone, BBC1 viewers will soon be able to see a pilot for a British version of the hit U.S. comedy, Everybody Loves Raymond starring Lee Mack (Not Going Out) and Catherine Tate (Catherine Tate Show, Doctor Who). Written by Mack, The Smiths will be set in Cheshire and stick fairly close to the original which follows a successful sportswriter who lives opposite his overbearing family.
While, I’m probably unfairly not crazy about this one either, there is reason for hope here also given the cast but also, as Radio Times points out, ‘much of the comedy for Raymond came from his inability to take anything seriously and penchant for making jokes in the most inappropriate of situations, much like Mack’s alter-ego in his hit sitcom Not Going Out.
That said, the strengths of both the UK Gavin & Stacey and the U.S. version of Everybody Loves Raymond go well beyond the stars for each series. The brilliant ensemble casts played a big role in their respective successes. It’s hard to imagine how you can duplicate the genius of Rob Brydon or Peter Boyle but, I wish them both well as they seem to be starting off the right way so far at least.