Sadly, what was a half-century in the making was over in a short span of one late-November weekend. The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Celebration came to a close with Saturdays broadcast of “The Day of the Doctor”.
Saturday’s mega-broadcast received a Guinness Book of World Records nod for the largest ever simulcast of a TV drama after being broadcast in 94 countries across six continents. This is the second record setting mention in the GBofWR, with Doctor Who receiving its first Guinness Book recognition when it was named the most successful and longest running science fiction series on television in 2007. In addition to the TV broadcast, the long-awaited episode was screened in more than 1,500 cinemas worldwide, including in the UK, U.S., Canada, Latin America, Germany, Russia and Scandinavia.
An Adventure in Space and Time BTS
This past weekend began with Mark Gatiss’ brilliant drama, An Adventure in Space and Time. Because we can’t let go of the fact that the 50th is now squarely in our rear-view mirror, here’s a bit of behind-the-scenes greatness to keep the celebration alive.
So as to not be forever pegged as someone that holds on to the past too long, let’s look ahead to the forthcoming Christmas special..short as it is, it is pure Doctor Who greatness. Take a look, then discuss amongst yourselves.
America’s Test Kitchen meets Downton Abbey as Chris Kimball takes on Mrs. Patmore.
Last year, Chris Kimball, host/founder/editor of public televisions signature culinary series, America’s Test Kitchen, and a card-carrying fan of Downton Abbey, created a menu inspired by the 1920s. He says the kitchen scenes in particular always catch his eye, as food was such an important part of Edwardian society. While declaring to being old enough to remember the first run of Upstairs, Downstairs as well as the incomparable The Duchess of Duke Street, he readily admits, in his own words, to “…the appeal of an enormous manor house with a kitchen harboring a coal stove the size of a small locomotive is undeniably appealing. Food was, indeed, the center of high-end Victorian and Edwardian living and a first-rate cook was in high demand.”
To get you ready for the premiere of series 4 on PBS, Kimball has put together a menu inspired by the time period of the series. Start the night off with Shrimp cocktail, followed by Crown Roast of Pork with Smashed Minty Peas and Parker House Rolls. Top it off with Tipsy Squire, a brilliant sponge cake trifle. Click here for the complete menu and accompanying recipes with traditional ATK tips and suggestions.
He promises that this menu is quite approachable, adding that you won’t need a staff of 10 to clarify stock, make elaborate pastries, or pull feathers from a pheasant! So, it’s time to channel your inner-most Mrs. Patmore and get to work planning that Downton Abbey season 4 premiere party. I’m betting you won’t hear Lady Grantham saying: “Oh, is her cooking so precisely timed? You couldn’t tell.”
If you need a few hints from the these are professionals, do not try this at home folks over at Downton Abbey, take a look behind-the-scenes at ‘dining at Downton’.
As a PBS viewer in the States (I wanted you to read it here first and not in a supermarket tabloid in the checkout line) when you tuned in Sunday and saw Carol Burnett receive the 2013 Mark Twain Prize, you were faced with the sad truth that it’s after hours for the PBS Masterpiece presentation of series 1 of The Paradise. It has shut its doors…for now.
For series 1, fans west of the Atlantic have, over the past 7 weeks, vicariously lived the life of a bright-eyed country girl, Denise Lovett, who finds more than just shop-girl work when she brings her clever ideas and ambition to Britain’s glamorous first department store, The Paradise. Denise, on the other hand, has come to know first hand the power struggles, intrigues and romance of retail as she catches the attention of the store’s dashing and enigmatic owner, John Moray. The Paradise revolves around the lives of the people who live and work in the store, each bound in their own way by the power of the world they live in, and the pasts that follow them there. It’s a love story, a mystery, a lavish costume drama and a social comedy all in one.
As you can see, series 2 takes place a year after the dramatic events (and all that entails) which occurred in the series 1 finale. Unfortunately, no spoilers here so you’ll have to wait until the series 2 premiere to find out what’s in store (sorry) for Lord Glendenning, Katherine, Denise and Moray. It promises to be more of the same…power struggles, intrigues and romance. Can’t wait.
While series 2 began on BBC One back in October of this year and is set to conclude on Sunday, 8 December, no U.S. broadcast date has been set as of yet on PBS.
Ok, I know we may be treading on thin ice here by not continuing to talk Doctor Who 50th less than 24 hours after the ‘official’ anniversary, but this is Sherlock folks. According to Marshall McLuhan, the medium is the message. In the case of Sherlock, PBS is the medium. #SherlockisNotDead and #SherlockLives is the message. January 19, 2014 is when medium and message collide.
The newest trailer has been released by PBS’ Masterpiece series and it says more than the law allows in 31 seconds without saying a word. John Watson’s face says it all. You be the judge. Are you ready for some Sherlock?
Just a reminder if might be thinking of buying that 2014 calendar on Black Friday this week and grab for that red pen out to begin circling dates for some appointment telly.
Word is that each episode will air in a two-hour slot and consist of the full BBC One broadcast version followed by a full on ‘making of’ mini-sode. Is it January 2014 yet?
50 years ago today, history was made in the UK at 5:16:20pm with the first ever broadcast of the British science fiction series, Doctor Who, with the episode “An Unearthly Child”. The 80-second delay from the advertised start time was due to extended news coverage of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
The first episode introduced the science fiction world not only to Doctor Who, but to William Hartnell as the Doctor and original companions Carole Ann Ford as Susan Foreman, Jacqueline Hill as Barbara Wright and William Russell as Ian Chesterton. ‘An Earthly Child’ deals with Ian and Barbara’s discovery of the Doctor and his time-space ship TARDIS in a junkyard in contemporary London.
The original serial, which was actually supposed to be the second set of episodes, was filmed in September 1963. Because the episodes were predominantly videotaped as live, there was little to no time built in for re-takes or breaks in recording. While this created a production scenario that allowed for quick completion, left room for the many mistakes that were glaring in the early days. Following several technical problems and errors made during the “An Earthly Child” performance, the serial was re-filmed in October with changes made to costuming, effects, performances, and the script and was subsequently premiered on 23 November 1963.
The initial episode in 1963 came to be known as the unaired “pilot episode”. Oddly, since the practice of producing pilot episodes really didn’t come into play in Britain in the 1960s so this particular episode was never intended as such. You be the judge as to which one is better….
Doctor Who “An Unearthly Child, Pilot Episode”, part 1
Doctor Who “An Unearthly Child”, part 1
So, Happy 50th Doctor Who. You don’t look a day over 49…
If anyone ever needed a reason to find the time to look on the bright side of life, that moment in time arrived Thursday morning following the little get together at London’s Playhouse Theatre. In announcing their forthcoming reunion that will take place in London at the O2 Arena on 1 July, the surviving Python members, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones said, in true Python fasion, that they wanted to see if they “…were still funny“.
Long overdue in my book, since it has been more than 30 years since the Pythons last performed together (Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, September 1980) and 40 years since they last performed on stage in the UK, the show, according to John Cleese will include both popular sketches such as the classic Dead Parrot sketch and “some new material“. Eric Idle, who will direct, said that the audience should expect “comedy, pathos, music and a tiny piece of ancient sex“.
What was abundantly clear after listening to the press conference is that they will not be performing any new Neil Diamond songs. See? I told you to always look on the bright side of life. Tickets go on sale on 25 November.
As if the 2014 telly drama cabinet wasn’t full enough with new series of the likes of Downton Abbey, Sherlock, Call the Midwife, Mr. Selfridge, Endeavour, Last Tango in Halifax, DCI Banks, Scott & Bailey, New Tricks and Poirot along with new series premieres of Death Comes to Pemberley and Breathless, comes the absolutely brilliant news today from across the pond.
Acorn Productions, ITV, and Eleventh Hour Films confirmed Wednesday a new series of Foyle’s War starring Michael Kitchen as Senior Intelligence Officer for the secret service-MI5 and Honeysuckle Weeks as Samantha Stewart, Foyle’s most trusted associate and ally. Created and written by noted novelist and screenwriter Anthony Horowitz, the three new episodes will be filmed in Liverpool, which doubles for post-war London, and will again be inspired by real events in the early Cold War.
According to Acorn, the new series will explore powerful American and German industrialists, the latter from the chemical giant I G Farben, accused of fueling Hitler’s War Machine, and reflect on the tangled web of promises to the Jews to create a state of Israel in British Palestine. The major blight of post war Britain, the Black Market, will also feature with the focus on some of the darkest secrets from operations conducted by the British secret service during WW2.
Trailer for Foyle’s War 8
Long-range plans for the new episodes call for a 2015 transmission on ITV1 and, hopefully, soon after on PBS’ Masterpiece Mystery! series in the States.
Nick Frost’s dancefloor comedy Cuban Fury hits the cinema on Valentine’s Day 2014. In 1987, Bruce Garrett (Frost) was a salsa prodigy with ‘fire in his heels and snakes in his hips’ and the UK Junior Salsa Championships in his sights. A freakish bullying incident on the incredibly mean streets of London robbed him of his confidence, enough to where he finds his life diverted down a very different path, that of being a slobby man in a dead end job. Having fallen head over heels for his American boss, played by Rashida Jones (Parks and Recreation, The Office), Frost decides to quit coasting through life and reignite his passion for salsa dancing in order to win her over.
He begins to practice again though he faces stiff competition in the form of Chris O’Dowd (IT Crowd, Moone Boy, Family Tree who plays a real smug piece-of-you-know-what.
Written by Jon Brown (Misfits) and directed by James Griffiths, Cuban Fury resembles a who’s who of British acting talent. Besides the principles of Frost and O’Dowd, the film also stars Ian McShane (Lovejoy), Olivia Colman (Twenty Twelve, Broadchurch) and Rory Kinnear (Count Arthur Strong), all in supporting roles.
Before you make a snap judgement, a word from Nick Frost for his fans worldwide: “Even though it’s about dancing, it’s a comedy. I don’t want people to think because it’s got dancing in it…’ohh we don’t want to see it then’.”
Fans of the iconic British comedy series, Monty Python’s Flying Circus awoke this morning to news that has to have at least equaled King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table’s feelings when their search for the Holy Grail was complete. It’s as if the dead parrot that was bereft of life has been given a second chance. It’s like the cheese shop owner suddenly had even a bit of stilton for sale.
An invite for a London press event this Thursday (as in this Thursday!) was sent to reporters early Tuesday and was cryptically labeled “Monty Python Press Conference.” “John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin invite you to join them,” it said. Word is, the reunion project that is being rumored could be a live show, tour, film or other creative project and would be the first full-time collaboration in three decades for the surviving members of the troupe. Terry Jones did confirmed the forthcoming reunion by saying, “We’re getting together and putting on a show – it’s real. I’m quite excited about it. I hope it makes us a lot of money. I hope to be able to pay off my mortgage!“.
While a reunion effort has been pretty much ruled out since the 1989 death of original Python member, Graham Chapman, the surviving members did briefly reunite both in 1999 and 2009 to commemorate the 30th and 40th anniversaries of the series’ BBC premiere in 1969. Not able to wait any longer for Python members to reunite on their own, Matt Stone and Trey Parker of SouthPark fame did their own tribute back in 1999 with their classic “Dead Friend Sketch”.
Longtime viewers of North Texas’ PBS station, KERA-TV, may remember that fateful day in March 1975 when four of the Monty Python troupe appeared in the Channel 13 studios for a PBS fundraising effort. KERA-TV was the first station in the U.S. to air Python setting the stage for the British comedy invasion in the U.S. that continues today.
Stay tuned to Tellyspotting for an update on any upcoming Python reunion plans!
Set your DVR now for Friday, February 14 on PBS at 8pm CT / 9pm ET on PBS. Great Performances “National Theatre: 50 Years on Stage” is coming to your local public television station (8:00pm on KERA Channel 13 in North Texas).
Founded in 1963, the Royal National Theatre has provided London residents and visitors with some the most thrilling productions in contemporary theater. It has also served as an influential wellspring of talent and creativity, breathing new life into theater classics as well as launching new plays, playwrights, directors and stars on an international stage. On November 2, 2013, the National Theatre celebrated its 50th anniversary with a special gala performance, welcoming home an all-star cast of its alumni to perform excerpts from landmark productions, complemented by archival excerpts from its many groundbreaking productions. The laundry list of alumni performers is stunning to say the least. Guests include Benedict Cumberbatch, Dame Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Dame Maggie Smith, and Sir Derek Jacobi. National Theatre Artistic Director Nicholas Hytner directs.
On Friday, February 14, 2014, this once-in-a-lifetime performance will air as part of PBS’ Great Performances series.
Having had the extreme good fortune of being at the National Theatre for the Danny Boyle production of Frankenstein that starred Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller and also getting to see several of their live productions that were simulcast broadcast in theaters around the world, this is a do not miss event on February 14. Set. DVR. Now. PBS.