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Doctor Who 50th – Lego style!

July 17, 2014

There was a time, back when the Earth was cooling, that an entity had arrived when you were parodied on a Saturday Night Live sketch. Once they lost their way, your stamp of approval came at the hands of Jimmy Fallon with parodies or spoof sketches on Latenight with Jimmy Fallon. Now, it seems the most important benchmark as to if you have achieved pop culture greatness is when you are immortalized in Lego.

Such is the case with Doctor Who‘s 50th anniversary episode, “The Day of the Doctor”, which has been transformed into a Lego special by Bookshelf Productions along with Stupendous Films. While it won’t take the sting out of the fact that there is still just over a month until the 23 August worldwide premiere Doctor Who S8, it does pass the time rather well. Matt Smith, David Tennant and John Hurt’s Doctors are given miniature Lego makeovers, complete with top-notch outfits and set pieces, including the TARDIS. The dialogue from the original episode is played on top of the action, which builds up to the epic moment where all the Doctors team up, including a look at the new Doctor, Peter Capaldi!

Just think, after you watch, you’ll be 5 and 1/2 minutes closer to the beginning of the Peter Capaldi era.

Giant Dead Parrot invades London!

July 16, 2014

The dreaded giant Norwegian Blue has descended on London’s Potters Fields yesterday. The 50 foot fiberglass bird was hung upside down by a crane to mark the forthcoming final time the Monty Python band will get back together, Sunday 20 July at London’s O2 Arena and the subsequent UKTV Gold live simulcast. “We are all Monty Python fans so we were delighted to receive the brief from Gold to recreate the mythical Norwegian Blue on a giant scale,” explained lead sculptor Iain Prendergast, who helped build the enormous model bird, which took more than two months to make. “The key challenge for us was capturing the comedy value of the dead parrot, keeping the realism of the bird whilst also adding touches like the bloodshot, stunned eyes,” he explained.

The huge bird will be delivered to the O2 Arena for Sunday’s final performance of Monty Python Live (mostly). Given the history of the sketch, let’s hope British Rail isn’t involved in getting the prize ex-parrot to the arena on Sunday for the finale. Chances are you won’t be in the audience on Sunday where the Cleese/Palin sketch is scheduled to be performed one last time. For those that can’t make it, I’m not sure it’s the next best thing to being there, but it is classic.


‘Death in Paradise’ lines up all-star guest list for S4

July 15, 2014

Seems as though we are in the middle of everyone’s favorite British drama production season. As many know, Tellyspotting is currently on the production set for Father Brown in the Costwolds as they continue filming series 3, Doctor Who S8 is still filming with Kumars at No 42 star, Sanjeev Bhaskar, added to the series finale and Rupert Graves (Sherlock, Scott & Bailey) has been added to series 3 of Last Tango in Halifax. Speaking of Scott & Bailey, the brilliant police procedural is currently in production with series 4, set to finish principle filming in August.

Now comes more news than the law allows that every British drama fan simply cannot live without with regards to one of their favorite telly drama, Death in Paradise. Downton Abbey‘s Amy Nuttall, Call the Midwife‘s Leo Staar, Outnumbered‘s Tyger Drew Honey, The Fast Show‘s Simon Day and Broadchurch‘s Will Mellor will join DI Humphrey Goodman on the gorgeous but crime-ridden island of Saint Marie for series 4 of Death in Paradise. You may not recognize the names, but you’ll definitely remember their breakthrough iconic roles with Nuttall portraying housemaid Ethel Parks in Downton Abbey and Leo Staar last seen in series three of Call the Midwife as Jenny Lee’s boyfriend Alec.

Kris Marshall and Sara Martins star in Death in ParadiseThe new line-up of guest stars will join an already stellar series regular cast, headed by Kris Marshall (DI Goodman) alongside Sara Martins and Danny John-Jules. In addition, Hetti Bywater of Eastenders fame and Natalie Gumede (Coronation Street) will also guest star.

The new series of Death in Paradise will see DI Goodman struggle to contain his feelings for Detective Superintendent Camille Bordey (Martins), while officer Dwayne Myers (John-Jules) will attempt to run the police station by himself following the departure of Sergeant Fidel Best, played by Gary Carr. Look for S4 of Death in Paradise to make its way to BBC1 in early 2015 with a U.S. broadcast on public television to follow not too long after.

New ‘Doctor Who’ trailer introduced during World Cup finale

July 14, 2014

Short of premiering an overpriced spot during the Super Bowl, the next best thing, bar none, is to premiere an overdue, long-awaited trailer for the longest running science-fiction series in the history of television during the finale of the Fifa World Cup telecast. This year’s finale between Germany and Argentina didn’t escape notice with the first, long-form trailer for series 8 of Doctor Who airing during halftime on BBC1.

The most chilling moment? Definitely when The Doctor’s companion Clara asking him where they are going and the Time Lord’s answer of, “Into darkness” has to be at the top of the list. While previous all-too-short trailers have had more explosions and rampant electrical currents running through the TARDIS than the law allows, the newest trailer ramped up the anticipation quotient ten-fold. While we already have reports that S8 will feature Daleks and Cybermen, last night’s full-length trailer shows a T-Rex which appears to be rampaging past a blazing Houses of Parliament.

Who else can’t wait for 23 August?

Script leaks aside, Sanjeev Bhaskar added to ‘Doctor Who’ cast for finale

July 13, 2014

As Doctor Who showrunner, Steven Moffat, the BBC and fans of the series around the world are seething over the apparent script leak from the forthcoming Peter Capaldi era, comes word that a rough cut of the first episode, “Deep Breath”, has surfaced courtesy of video pirate websites. Since the first five scripts from the upcoming season hit the Internets following a security breach at BBC, the network issued a plea to fans of the show to look away from potential spoilers. According to reports, the scripts were leaked after being sent via email between BBC bureaus. Speaking at the London Film & Comic Con on Saturday, Steven Moffat described the leaks as “…horrible, miserable and upsetting for Doctor Who team.

Script leaks and pirated rough cuts aside, the BBC has confirmed that Kumars at No 42 star, Sanjeev Bhaskar, has been added to the cast for the finale of series 8. The actor and comedian was understandably elated saying: “I’m thrilled to have made a small contribution to and now be part of the Doctor Who universe. Another dream box ticked!” Moffat then issued a sanctioned leak saying that Bhaskar’s character would play a very important role in the S8 finale. “I’m completely thrilled that Sanjeev Bhaskar is coming to the aid of the Doctor,” said the showrunner of his latest cast member. “The danger is never deadlier than in a finale episode, and the Time Lord is going to need all the help he can get!

Bhaskar’s addition to the cast continues the S8 tradition of having a strong cameo line-up of guest stars including Keeley Hawes, Hermione Norris, Frank Skinner, Ben Miller, Tom Riley, Michelle Gomez and Grammy award-winning British pop singer/songwriter, Foxes. Leaks or no leaks, the Peter Capaldi era begins worldwide on Saturday, 23 August.

Ophelia Lovibond to join cast of ‘Elementary’ for 2014

July 12, 2014

When it comes to the never-ending comparisons between the BBC/PBS version of Sherlock and its American counterpart, CBS’ Elementary, the old adage of imitation is the sincerest form of flattery rings very true. When Elementary hit the air, Sherlock had already been a staple in people’s homes around the world for two years. The imitation/coindicence game began with both storylines revolving around Sherlock Holmes finding himself in the 21st Century and Jonny Lee Miller, Benedict Cumberbatch’s buddy from the National Theatre production of Frankenstein, was cast in the title role. While Miller’s character centers around a much more out-in-the-open with his addiction battles, the series does attempt to distance itself from its BBC predecessor with John Watson becoming Dr. Joan Watson and James Moriarty suddenly surfacing as Jamie Moriarty.

The inevitable similarities took another hit this past year with CBS’ Sherlock amping up the British quotient by not only traveling back to London for the series two premiere only but also adding a bit of a British flair to the cast with Welsh actor, Rhys Ifans (Spike in Notting Hill), as Sherlock’s older brother, Mycroft, who spends his time trying to convince Sherlock to return to London and Sean Pertwee as Gareth Lestrade, Sherlock’s Metropolitan Police counterpart from his pre-NYC days. For series 3, the critically acclaimed series will become a bit more British with the addition of Ophelia Lovibond (Mr. Sloane and Guardians of the Galaxy) to the cast.

Mr. Sloane's Ophelia Lovibond cast in CBS' Elementary.

Mr. Sloane’s Ophelia Lovibond cast in CBS’ Elementary.

While UK audiences are already well-aware of Lovibond, who brilliantly played Robin, Jeremy Sloane’s (Sloane with an ‘E’ just like the Square) post-separation love interest, played by Nick Frost, in Mr. Sloane, the series has yet to broadcast in the U.S. with several options remaining open including a possible public television airing at some point.

The British actress will join the series as recurring character Kitty Winter, Sherlock’s protégé and a rival to her predecessor Joan (Lucy Liu). At this point, the two series won’t be battling on air at the same time with the third series of Elementary set for an October 30, 2014 return and the BBC/PBS Sherlock not returning to production on its next four features until January 2015. Herein lies the difference. One is a television series and one is a series of four feature films that happen to air on television. In this, there can be no comparison. You’re going to have to trust me on this one.

Father Brown gets back on his bike for series 3

July 11, 2014

The hugely successful crime drama Father Brown, based on the stories by GK Chesterton, has begun filming series 3 in the Cotswolds. The BBC One Daytime series, produced in collaboration with BBC Worldwide, will return in 2015 with 15 episodes starring Mark Williams as the crime-solving Roman Catholic priest, Father Brown. Also returning will be series regulars, Sorcha Cusack as the award-winning scone maker and parish secretary, Mrs. Bridgette McCarthy, Nancy Carroll as the ultimate bored socialite, Lady Felicia Montague, and Alex Price, who can also be seen in Penny Dreadful on Showtime, as former small-time crook and current Father Brown go-to criminal activity person, Sid Carter.
Father Brown

As you head into the weekend wherever you are, Tellyspotting will be heading to the Cotswolds to visit the set of Father Brown during filming. In addition to numerous interviews and pics that we’ll be able to share between now and the premiere of series 3, the end result will be a one-hour special on the ‘making-of’ Father Brown which will look back on the first two series and a sneak peak as to what will be coming your way via public television stations for series 3.

If you have any questions for the cast, let us know and we’ll do our best! Click on the ‘contact’ button just below the search function above and drop us an email…we’ll be here all week.

Did you catch the ‘Doctor Who’ Easter-egg in ‘Sherlock’ credits?

July 10, 2014

Periodically, you run across things on the Internets that make you realize there are people who have jobs where they have more fun than the law allows. You are also so thankful for those individuals because of what they create. Such is the case with Sherlock co-creators/writers Mark Gatiss and current Doctor Who show runner, Steven Moffat.

Case in point. It seems as though the Sherlock series 3 opener, “The Empty Hearse”, had a bit of a Doctor Who Easter egg in the credits of PBS’ Masterpiece Mystery version airing in the States. Because the credits are an add-on to the series production credits, the self-proclaimed Sherlock Holmes fanboys had a little fun adding a few well-placed red letters to the all-white letter credits.

As the video spells out, the red letters spell out “Weng-Chiang”, which is the name of the evil god in “The Talons of Weng-Chiang” from the Tom Baker era. Why Weng-Chiang you ask? That particular 1977 Who episode is the only adventure in which the Fourth Doctor is seen without his trademark scarf, opting instead to wear a very Sherlock Holmes style outfit, deerstalker and all.

If you didn’t catch the subtle tip of the hat back in January when Sherlock premiered on PBS, not to worry. Not sure anyone did outside of YouTuber, James Kardatzke, who created the video explanation above.

Rupert Graves joins cast for ‘Last Tango in Halifax 3′

July 9, 2014

In years past, fans of a British comedy or drama series would traditionally be left hanging for months not knowing whether or not their favorite series would be commissioned for another season or be unceremoniously axed for no apparent reason. With few exceptions, the fate of most series are not known when the final episode is transmitted as to whether or not there will be another. In the case of Spooks and Hustle, writers knew before the final series was completed that it would be the last one and they could write an ending that befitted the brilliance of both series. Others, like the brilliant BBC series, The Hour are crafted with a massive cliff-hanger ending to a season thinking there will be more only to hear after the fact that it will cease to be.

Monster hits like Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife have had new series commissioned before the previous one sees the light of day but that seems to be the exception rather than the norm. Such in the case also for Last Tango in Halifax. As PBS viewers in the States are settling in to enjoy the current series 2, filming has begun in the UK on series 3. The Sally Wainwright-written drama, which stars Sarah Lancashire, Derek Jacobi, Anne Reid and Nicola Walker, was spotted filming in Market Arcade, Borough Market and the Upstairs Downstairs Café in Halifax this week. Filming will continue in Yorkshire throughout the week. Although no story lines have surfaced as of yet, Wainright, who also writes Scott & Bailey and Happy Valley promises the best is yet to come. “What’s so great about writing for characters like Celia and Alan is that there is a wealth of back story to explore. Series three will be a whole new emotional ball game“, said Wainwright. Let the dysfunctional games begin!

Joining the cast, which already boasts the likes of Sir Derek Jacobi, Anne Reid, Sarah Lancashire, Nicola Walker, Tony Gardner and Dean Andrews, for series 3 will be Sherlock and Scott & Bailey star, Rupert Graves. Graves will play a character called ‘Gary Jackson’ in series 3 but no details as to what the character will add to the dysfunctional table as of yet.
Last Tango in Halifax begins filming series 3

Targeted for a December 2014 transmission, the winner of the Best Drama Series in the 2013 British Academy Television Awards, Last Tango in Halifax tells the story of two widowers, (Jacobi and Reid), reunited after 60 years via Facebook.

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.