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Behind-the-scenes with ‘Mapp and Lucia’ from BBC

July 8, 2014

Three E.F. Benson novels about upper-middle-class British people in the 1920s and 1930s, vying for social prestige and “one-upmanship” in an atmosphere of extreme cultural snobbery, known simply as Mapp and Lucia, has begun filming at Lamb House in Rye, East Sussex, the original inspiration for Benson’s fictional seaside town of Tilling. Based on Benson’s novels about social rivals Miss Elizabeth Mapp and Mrs. Emmeline ‘Lucia’ Lucas, the 2014 re-boot comes from the mind and pen of Steve Pemberton (The League of Gentlemen, Psychoville, Whitechapel) who has adapted the beloved stories that will co-star his cohort from the bizarre world that was The League of Gentlemen, Sherlock‘s Mark Gatiss as Major Benjy. The all-star cast also features Pippa Haywood (Brittas Empire, Scott & Bailey) whom you might also remember from her portrayal as the disgraced Miss Bunting in several episodes of the first series of Mr. Selfridge.

Pemberton genuinely seems blown away at his good fortune of filming at Lamb House. “I’m just pinching myself every day, that we are here in Rye in Benson’s house and garden, but also that I’ve not only had the opportunity to play this character (Georgie) but adapt the scripts as well!

Filming has begun with a target transmission date of Christmas 2014 on BBC One. Hopefully, a PBS broadcast in the States isn’t too far behind. Here, Miranda Richardson (Mapp) and Anna Chancellor (Lucia) stroll through the gardens of the National Trust property during filming. With a smile, Pemberton has a warning for viewers. “Benson’s deplorably funny novels and cast of subversive, eccentric characters have been entertaining readers for over 90 years, and I hope to bring Tilling thrillingly to life. But be warned: this is no jolly period romp. This is a series about a war. May the worst-behaved woman win.” One can only hope there’s a little League of Gentlemen-esque nature to Pemberton’s adaptation.
Miranda Richardson and Anna Chancellor at Lambs House during filming of Mapp and Lucia

The original Channel 4 series ran back in 1985-86 and starred Prunella Scales as Mapp, Geraldine McEwan as Lucia with Sir Nigel Hawthorne as Georgie and Dennis Lill as Major Benji Flint.

“I see into your soul, Doctor” says a familiar voice

July 7, 2014

We’re a mere 48 days away from the beginning of the Peter Capaldi era at the helm of the TARDIS. Even though we are now well under two months from the 23 August premiere, sadly, it will seem like an eternity, especially with every day going by having a new teaser trailer introduced to suck you in. This one not only has the obligatory explosions and such, it also features a few electric currents running through the TARDIS, electrocuting the Doctor and exposing his two beating hearts, while over the top an ominous and rather familiar voice says, “I see into your soul Doctor. I see beauty, divinity, hatred.” Sounds an awful lot like Davros, the Doctor’s old archenemy and creator of the Daleks.

It will be all the more brilliant to know that the Daleks will be back battling the Doctor given that we already have word from recent production pics that the second-most-dreaded of the Time Lord’s metallic foes after the Daleks will make an appearance is series 8.
The Peter Capaldi Doctor era encounters Cybermen

What makes it all the more difficult to think about counting down the days is that the self-described ’100% Rebel Time Lord’ took some of his look and inspiration from music icon, David Bowie, as a tribute to Bowie’s Station to Station album cover, according to the recent reports speaking of Capaldi’s involvement in the Howard Burden costume design of the Twelfth Doctor’s white button-down shirt being added to the long black coat.

To quote Renee Zellweger’s character, Dorothy, in the film, Jerry Macguire, “…you had me at hello“. But, feel free to keep those trailers coming….23 August is still a long way off.

Just “What” and “Who” is this Endeavour person?

July 6, 2014

If, for some unexplainable reason, you are just this minute jumping on the Endeavour bandwagon and wondering just “What is Endeavour?” or, you are flipping through the 57 channels coming to the realization that Bruce Springsteen had it right back in 1992 and you stop on PBS and ask yourself, “What is Endeavour?“, have we got just the thing for everyone before tonight’s second episode in the new second series.

Now that you’ve stumbled onto “Endeavour” on PBS’ Masterpiece Mystery series and you have the answer to the “What is Endeavour?” question, the next obvious one is “Who is Endeavour?

Casting Endeavour: Who is Shaun Evans

Tonight’s Masterpiece Mystery presentation of “Endeavour” on PBS is quite timely given that little tournament that is going on in Brazil at the moment. In “Nocturne”, the Oxford Police force is swept up in the 1966 World Cup semifinals, but Endeavour Morse is much more interested in a 100-year-old series of unsolved murders by croquet mallet, and its potential connection to the killing in a local museum of a retiree by ceremonial dagger. Check it out. “Endeavour” airs tonight on PBS’ Masterpiece Mystery series beginning at 8pm CT / 9pm ET.


‘Death Comes to Pemberley’ comes to PBS in October

July 5, 2014

Another day, another ‘Masterpiece’ on PBS. This time, it’s Death Comes to Pemberley, starring Matthew Rhys (The Americans), Anna Maxwell Martin (Bletchley Circle), Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who) and Matthew Goode (The Good Wife). Based on the book by P.D. James, which is a murder mystery continuation of the events of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, the two-part special premieres Sunday, October 26, 2014, 9pm ET as part of MASTERPIECE Mystery! on PBS.

It’s October, 1803, six years after the events in Pride and Prejudice which resulted in the marriage of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennet. One evening, on their way to Pemberley for a ball, an argument breaks out between George Wickham and Captain Denny in the carriage, with Wickham’s wife (and Elizabeth’s sister), Lydia, also present. The two leave the carriage in anger and disappear into the woodland, where two gun shots are heard. Upon hearing the news, Darcy sends out a search party and Wickham is found distraught and hysterical holding Denny’s body, blaming himself for his murder.

Shot on location in Yorkshire and Derbyshire last summer, Death Comes to Pemberley aired in December 2013 on BBC One. Be on the lookout for a few familiar faces to public television viewers this October with Penelope Keith (Good Neighbors, To the Manor Born), James Fleet (Vicar of Dibley) and Trevor Eve (Waking the Dead) also starring in Death Comes to Pemberley.

A first look at “Gracepoint” with an ‘American’ David Tennant

July 4, 2014

Ok, it’s a bit odd to hear the greatness of David Tennant with an American accent, but it works. Did I feel the same way when I first heard that Martin Freeman had signed on to star in the FX series, Fargo? Definitely, but it worked to perfection too with Martin doing a spot-on Minnesotan accent.

If you have been either a faithful or occasional reader of Tellyspotting over the last 5 years, you know my feelings towards American re-makes of British telly. I can count on one hand (and not bother to use my thumb) the ones that have been successful over the years. Much like CBS’ Elementary, the American re-make of the BBC’s Sherlock, the American version of Broadchurch, Fox’s Gracepoint has potential.

David Tennant, who stars as DI Alec Hardy along with Olivia Colman in the ITV series, Broadchurch, also stars in the American re-make that will premiere on Fox in the States this Fall. Tennant, with an American accent in-tow, will star as Detective Emmett Carver, alongside Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad) as Detective Ellie Miller. Colman decided not to make the trip across the pond but will return, along with Tennant for the second series of Broadchurch when it returns to ITV.

In Gracepoint, fans of the UK version will immediately notice the massive similarities between the two as it’s basically Broadchurch with an American accent. Let’s hope Fox lets it stick around for a bit to give it a chance.

Game on! Sherlock returns to 221b Baker Street in 2015!

July 3, 2014

What a difference a day makes! Seems like it was just 24 hours ago that the old adage of “no news is good news” was applicable to any anticipated return of the world’s most famous consulting detective. Now comes the best new of 2014 so far from the BBC.
Sherlock 4

Miss me?Sherlock Returns

Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, will return to television for a not only a one-off special but it will be followed by a series of three new episodes!

The last series saw Sherlock’s life change a lot – he returned from the dead, his best friend John Watson married Mary Morstan and he met his match in Charles Augustus Magnussen. After the briefest of exiles, Sherlock came back only to face one of his biggest mysteries yet. Why is Moriarty’s face being broadcast on every television in the land? Speaking about the return of the series, co-creator, writer and executive producer Steven Moffat said: “A special, plus a new series of three episodes – it’s a record-breaking run!! Of course, it’s far too early to say what’s coming, but we’re reasonably confident that the very next thing to happen to Sherlock and John, is the very last thing you’d expect ….

Co-creator, writer and executive producer Mark Gatiss adds: “Series Four! At last ! It’s always special to return to ‘Sherlock’ but this time it’s even more special as we’re doing…a Special! Not only THAT, we’ll then be shooting three more episodes which will take Sherlock and John Watson into deeper and darker water than ever before…The whole ‘Sherlock’ team are terrifically excited to return for four new adventures. The Game is on – again!
Sue Vertue, Executive Producer, Hartswood Films says: “It’s taken a little while to get the dates sorted as none of the boys are exactly sitting back twiddling their thumbs but there was unanimous goodwill to make this work so we’re thrilled that 221b is going to be inhabited again.

Shooting on the special will begin in January 2015, with the series shooting later next year. Sherlock airs in the U.S. on MASTERPIECE on PBS and on BBC1 in the UK.

No Sherlock until 2016…unless Christmas comes early in 2015

July 2, 2014

While it is certainly something that most all of us probably already knew, it just makes it all the more difficult to grasp when you hear it directly from one of the co-creators. There is no joy in Mudville today as it’s looking more and more likely that the world’s greatest consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes, will not return to the small screen with new episodes of Sherlock until 2016.

Difficult, yes, but totally understandable. Given the insane nature of the schedule availabilities of not only the principal characters, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, the brilliant supporting cast of Rupert Graves, Una Stubbs, Louise Brealey and Amanda Abbington, not to mention the 24/7 schedule for both Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, getting the stars to align for brilliant telly has become next to impossible.

Speaking at a fan Q&A forum in Brazil, series co-creator/writer Mark Gatiss spoke the unthinkable: “Writing three films is quite a lot of work and then getting everyone together… [it's] increasingly difficult to get everyone’s diaries to align, so we couldn’t really do more than three every couple of years I’m afraid. I mean, we’d certainly like to reduce the time, but by the time we’ve finished and then everyone starts gearing up again, it roughly takes that long.

Earlier comments from series co-star, Martin Freeman (John Watson), have long hinted at the same timetable citing the same difficulties of schedule availability. “It’s very hard to get together,” he told Digital Spy. “But it’s one of those things where you have to at some point just go, ‘We’re going to do it now’ – otherwise we could be having this conversation in three years.” While Freeman has recently hinted at the possibility of getting the band back together for a one-off Christmas special in 2015, we’ll just leave that for the time being as I’m not sure I can take the possibility of getting that OR the bike that I asked for.


Mick Jagger on Python: “Who wants to see a bunch of wrinkly old men try to recapture their youth”?

July 1, 2014

Once Mick Jagger finally figures out that their may not be a future for this 50+ year experiment called The Rolling Stones, he definitely has a future in comedy. The leader of the ‘bad boys of Rock & Roll’ appears a bit dismayed that the group that calls itself Monty Python’s Flying Circus wants to get back together tonight at London’s O2 Arena. After all, as Mick explains to an obviously disinterested Charlie Watts…”Who wants to see that again? It was funny in the 60s. A bunch of wrinkly old men trying to recapture their youth! If that wasn’t enough to drive home his point, Jagger added, “The best one died years ago!

Hard to believe but when Python first burst on the scene in the late 60′s with Monty Python’s Flying Circus, they were this bizarre little comedy troupe who took television by surprise and, ultimately, re-wrote the rulebook for TV comedy and inspired a new generation of alternative humor. Because of the obvious comparisons, the Pythons’ comedy legacy will be forever linked to the incomparable influence that The Beatles had on music. “The Beatles never had a ‘last night’, because they didn’t know it was coming,” said Eric Idle, one of the original Python members.

Could it be that Jagger’s wrath is a by-product of the concept that the Python’s were linked forever to the Beatles and not the Stones? Not a chance. First off, I think Mick has done okay for himself over the last half-century and, two, it’s a joke! But, it does make for great copy, doesn’t it?

If you’re headed to the O2 Arena for tonight’s Monty Python reunion, feel free to report back to Tellyspotting. Word is, there are a lot of surprises in-store including an appearance by long-time Python fan, Stephen Hawking.

It’s…Monty Python’s The Ministry of Silly Walks game app

June 30, 2014

Depending on when you read this, the world is approximately 24-36 hours away from the return of Monty Python’s Flying Circus at London’s O2 Arena. On Tuesday, 1 July, as the troupe gets the band back together for one last gig, those that were lucky enough to secure tickets before the :45 sellout, will attempt to see if the parrot is still dead, the Spanish Inquisition remains unexpected and whether or not there might just finally be some cheese in The Cheese Shop.

Should you be like most of the UK and find yourself ticketless and having to wait for the ‘next best thing to being there’ to attend one of the thousands of cinema simulcasts to be shown around the world when the troupe’s final get-together on 20 July , you might want to check out the newest offering from the boys called Python…The Ministry of Silly Walks app to pass the time for the next few weeks. Plenty of time to unleash your silly walk across London dodging dangerous obstacles and collecting gold coins in this stupendously addictive survival game. The Pythons have, historically, been consistently masterful at the ability to reversion their original content over the last half-century. It’s good to see they are able to continue their ways into the 21st century with their new Silly Walks App. Check it out…

New Doctor Who 8 trailer, Moffat hints at DW9 and DW: The World Tour news!

June 29, 2014

It’s shaping up to be a pretty insane weekend of greatness for Doctor Who fans worldwide and it’s only Sunday morning!

First, came a double dose of greatness yesterday with the newest teaser trailer featuring the Twelfth Doctor, Peter Capaldi, and companion Clara, played by Jenna Louise Colemen. With the trailer came the announcement that the first program in the new series 8, “Deep Breath”, which will signal the beginning of the Peter Capaldi era, will premiere on Saturday, 23 August on BBC One.

While it was brilliant to finally see something from series 8 as opposed to participating in wild speculation surrounding leaked photos from the set, it was a bit of a departure to have the transmission date announced so soon, almost two months in advance. In addition to Capaldi and Colemen, series 8 will see the likes of Ben Miller, Tom Riley, Keeley Hawes, Foxes, Hermione Norris and Frank Skinner, who have all been confirmed as guest stars for the new run.

The next bit of greatness came in an interview with current showrunner, Steven Moffat. In his latest column for Doctor Who Magazine, the showrunner revealed that he plans to stick with the BBC sci-fi series for at least one more year. “Sitting here, right now, just before the [series eight] finale shooting block, I’ve figured out the cliffhanger to the penultimate episode of the next series,” he wrote. “And it’s a whopper. Ohh, I don’t think you’ll see this coming!

Finally, there comes more details of the forthcoming Doctor Who: The World Tour heading to a continent near you in August leading up to the series premiere. Doctor Who: The World Tour will begin in the UK on August 7th and finish in Brazil on August 19th. The tour will visit Cardiff and London in the UK before heading to Seoul, South Korea; Sydney, Australia; New York, USA; Mexico City, Mexico; and finally Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. That’s 7 cities, across 5 continents, in only 12 days. THIS is was sets British telly apart from American counterparts.

I SO can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings….