The IT Crowd, which centers around the ragtag employees of a neglected IT department housed in the basement of Reynholm Industries, is getting the band back together to give the characters a ‘proper’ goodbye. Richard Ayoade (Moss), Chris O’Dowd (Roy), Katherine Parkinson (Jen), and Matt Berry (Douglas Reynholm) will all be back with filming set to begin in the next couple of weeks.
Series creator Graham Linehan, the brilliant mind behind Father Ted and Black Books) has long hinted at the possibility of a final episode but until his announcement at the recent re:publica digital conference in Germany, it has only been given two chances (slim and none) since the series ended in 2010. For U.S. fans of the series, look for the possibility of the series to air on public television stations in the not-too-distant future.
For those that may need a brief refresher course on the greatness of the IT Crowd or if you mildly curious as to what the Internet looks like….
From 30 Rock to The Office to The Chris Matthews Show to, most recently, Iron Man 3, the cultural impact of Downton Abbey knows no boundaries. We all know about the talented efforts of Sesame Street, The Colbert Report, Saturday Night Live and Latenight with Jimmy Fallon as they paid tribute to the likes of Downton, but the pop-culture status of the mega-hit from ITV and PBS has entered a new galaxy with the recent release of Iron Man 3 starring Robert Downey Jr.
In the movie, ex-boxer Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), Iron Man’s former bodyguard, is hospitalized after a big blast at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood leaves him in a coma. So what does Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) request as entertainment for his unconscious friend? Downton, naturally! Stark claims: “It’s his favorite show.”
Executive producer Gareth Neame had yet to see the film when he chatted with Entertainment Weekly prior to its release this past weekend, but did explain that it came together rather simply. ”They just approached us,” he said. “The Iron Man producers just said, ‘We think the character should be watching Downton in the hospital bed.’ And we looked at the context and thought ‘That’s good. We’ll do it’”.
The scene was of particular interest to both Jon Favreau (Happy Hogan, Iron Man 3) and Alan Leech, who plays Tom Branson in Downton Abbey, as they recently tweeted…
For those few that may not remember the Downton Abbey reference from 30 Rock here is the greatness of (Avery Jessup) Elizabeth Banks and Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) scheduling a play date to watch their favorite telly….
Normally, if I heard that an actor or actress was attempting to follow in the footsteps of Benedict Cumberbatch, I would say just move on and get in another profession. In this case, however, I think Downton Abbey‘s Michelle Dockery will be ok, even though when the star of the BBC’s Sherlock (and just about every worthwhile movie that has been released in 2013) appeared on Fox’s The Simpsons, he pulled brilliant double duty by voicing both a Grant-like British Prime Minister and Severus Snape from Harry Potter.
With that in mind, Michelle Dockery, known for playing the do-whatever-you-have-to-do-to-save-Downton aristocrat, Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey, heads to Family Guy and stretch out by lending her voice and appearing in a cutaway gag on the Griffins’ television set playing an aristocrat in – you guessed it – a British period drama. According to Entertainment Weekly, her brief cameo will air in an episode next season.
Between this, the return of series 4 of the real Downton Abbey (not just a reasonable facsimile thereof on the Griffin’s TV set) and the longer than long-awaited series 3 return of Sherlock, 2014 is already shaping up as a good telly year.
There are times that social media can be a wonderful thing. Besides Twitter, Tumblr can be particularly addictive. Take the Let’s Draw Sherlock tumblr page dedicated to organizing creative group projects about Sherlock Holmes. Thanks to Sherlockology, we were able to quickly sift through the hundreds, if not thousands, of entries so far and bring you what has to be one of the best so far from Consulting Piskies, a brilliant piece based on Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks. Once you begin to dig your way through some of the other submissions, you’ll quickly see that the current challenge is to reinterpret famous works.
Time for you to unlock the inner artist and submit something from your own artistic Sherlock mind palace. The rules are quite simple. According to the organizers, choose a famous image be it artwork, photograph, or sculpture, and then reinterpret it as Sherlock. You can draw a picture, sculpt, cosplay, photo manip, pretty much any medium you are comfortable with. Deadline is 3 June.
Finding out earlier this year that the brilliance of Neil Gaiman was tapped to write another Doctor Who episode for the second half of series seven and with the knowledge that it was about the Cybermen was almost cause for more excitement than the law allows. Gaiman’s first episode for the series, the 2011 episode “The Doctor’s Wife”
Clear this Saturday on your calendar….Now!
Titled “Nightmare in Silver”, Neil Gaiman’s contribution to the current set of Doctor Who and next to last episode before the 50th anniversary celebration kicks off in November will include guest stars Warwick Davis (Willow, Harry Potter, Life’s too Short), Tamzin Outhwaite and Being Human’s, Jason Watkins.
Adding to the excitement this week will be the transmission of a special mini episode of Doctor Who, a prequel to the series seven finale, which will be available to watch via the BBC’s interactive Red Button service (p.s. not sure what this is, but I’m guessing UK Tellyspotting readers will understand). Shot in a dreamlike style and set in a dusty old museum, “He Said, She Said” will see the Doctor and companion Clara talking directly to camera as they reflect on how little they really know about one another.
“The Name of the Doctor”, the series 7 finale, promises to resolve the ongoing mystery surrounding Clara, the girl the Time Lord has encountered in different forms throughout the series, while showrunner Steven Moffat has also claimed that the episode will “…change the course of Who forever” and “…it’s full of surprises and questions that have never been answered in the history of Who, including the Doctor’s greatest secret“.
For those watching this Saturday on BBC One, you should be able to access the three-minute prequel between 7:40pm and 12 midnight by ‘pressing the red button on your remote control and selecting Doctor Who‘. At this point, not sure if the finale prequel will be viewable in the States so if any enterprising Who fan feels like posting a link to a clip, we’d be happy to post for everyone to see (including me!).
Apparently, there is very little that Hugh Laurie cannot do. From his brilliant comedy work in Blackadder, A Bit of Fry & Laurie and Jeeves and Wooster to playing everyone’s favorite TV curmudgeon, Dr. Gregory House, to his best selling author effort with The Gun Seller (1996), it’s time for Laurie, yet again, to conquer the musical world.
Hugh Laurie: Didn’t it Rain, the follow-up to his 2011 collection of blues standards, ‘Let Them Talk’, follows a similar format of blues and jazz arrangements with numerous high caliber guest musicians, including Taj Mahal, who have lent their talents to support Laurie’s blues piano.
After listening to both ‘Let Them Talk’ and ‘Didn’t it Rain’, which will be released on Monday, it’s crystal clear that Laurie isn’t anywhere near that long line of television or movie stars who, for whatever reason, believe they have an birthright entitlement to record a CD and tour regardless of talent. Laurie has been a student of music history for much of his life. At a recent Queen Mary party to celebrate the release of his upcoming CD, Laurie explained that in 1975 a personal hero, the late New Orleans singer and pianist Professor Longhair, played in the very room he was performing in at a party thrown by Paul McCartney and Wings. The resulting album, ‘Live on the Queen Mary’, had a profound impact on the 19-year-old Laurie. “…It changed everything for me“, Laurie said.
Laurie’s first exposure to the blues came when he was aged 11 or 12. According to Laurie, Willie Dixon’s I Can’t Quit You Baby ‘made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up’. The first album he bought was Muddy Waters’s Live At Mr Kelly’s. He was hooked. With ‘Let Them Talk’ and now Didn’t it Rain’, it’s clear that Laurie is dedicated to making music that is alive and that could stand on its own.
Didn’t It Rain will be released on Warner Music on Monday, 6 May. Hugh Laurie and the Copper Bottom Band will tour throughout the UK beginning 13 June. Let’s hope he finds his way to this side of the pond in the not-too-distant future.
For years, there has been endless talk and wishful thinking about the possible merging and/or mashups of both Doctor Who and Star Trek and also Sherlock and Doctor Who. Even Red Nose Day got into the game this past year with a spoof that merged the likes of Doctor Who and Call the Midwife.
When two formidable series collide like this it’s almost too much for anyone’s mind palace to imagine so, virtually 100% of the time, merges like this are better left for the imagination. There are some, however, that you wish could happen just for fun. Given the photo below, while the U.S.S. Enterprise won’t officially be ‘boldly going where no man has gone before’, it would be pretty classic to see Captain Kirk at Downton. Stranger things have happened…
With Star Trek Into Darkness director, JJ Abrams’ recent visit to the Crawley household during the filming of series 4, temporarily, the worlds of futuristic spaceships, intergalactic battles and a murderous terrorist played by Benedict Cumberbatch met the Downton world of British social hierarchy, polished silverware and endless Dowager Countess’ classic one-liners. Unfortunately, before too much time elapsed, Abrams was caught whipping up some eggs in the kitchen by a very stern-looking Mrs Hughes. Thank goodness Mrs. Patmore wasn’t around.
Abrams was in the UK as part of the publicity tour for one of the most anticipated films of 2013, Star Trek Into Darkness, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch. Star Trek Into Darkness in theaters worldwide on May 16.
While it’s often been said by those involved both in front of and behind the camera, whether it be comedy or drama, the strength of a supporting or ensemble cast is right up there in setting British television output apart from the rest of the world of telly. Besides the writing, casting is spot on virtually 110% of the time in British drama and comedy. All you have to do is resurrect visions of the Dibley Town Council in the Vicar of Dibley and it’s case closed.
Perhaps the two most-anticipated series on both side of the Atlantic, BBC’s Sherlock and ITV’s Downton Abbey have announced cast additions for their upcoming 2013-2014 series. Equally as anticipated in the States given that both series have early 2014 tentative target dates for broadcast on PBS, news of the additional cast means only one thing….both series are deep into principal filming meaning every day is closer to broadcast.
Downton Abbey adds Death in Paradise’s Gary Carr
As most of you know, there will be lots of new faces along with a number of familiar faces both above and below the stairs for Downton Abbey 4. Series regulars Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery and Jim Carter will have more than enough to deal just with the return of Shirley MacLaine as Martha Levinson. Joining Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Tom Cullen, Julian Ovenden, Nigel Harman, Joanna David and Dame Harriet Walter will be Gary Carr (Fidel, Death in Paradise) as ‘charming and charismatic’ young jazz singer, Jack Ross.
Sherlock adds My Mad Fat Diary’s Sharon Rooney
A name and face probably more known to UK viewers given her time on My Mad Fat Diary, Sharon Rooney is to join the cast of Sherlock – most likely for the series three finale according to reports. In keeping with the necessary tight-lipped security around the series, Rooney will play a character named Laura, but that is all that is known.
My Mad Fat Diary is a six-part drama that aired on Britain’s digital channel, E4, which looks at life from the perspective of funny, music-mad 16-year-old Rae, based on My Fat, Mad Teenage Diary, the real-life diaries of Rae Earl.
While Alan Partridge fans eagerly await the premiere of Alpha Papa, the Die Hard-like hostage thriller that has North Norfolk Digital’s finest facing off against a fellow DJ gone postal, Steve Coogan fans can rejoice in the fact that The Trip, with Coogan and fellow British comedian Rob Brydon playing fictionalized versions of themselves, will return for a second series in 2013-2014. This time, they have set their sights on Italy.
While the BBC hasn’t ‘officially’ confirmed the commissioning of a second series, Coogan did confirm by saying: “We are going to Italy. I went there three weeks ago to meet Rob and Michael to go for dinner and talk about what we were going to do. We’re supposed to be retracing the footsteps of the Romantics, of Shelley and Byron and Keats, and I don’t know enough about it. I’m damned if Rob’s going to come across as an authority on it. It’ll be a great motivation for me to read up on it so that when we improvise, I can drop some information on him.”
In the original 2010 series The Trip, which was released as a feature film in the States, Coogan stars as, well, Steve Coogan. Alongside co-star Rob Brydon, Coogan does his best Larry David and/or Rick Spleen imitation in a multitude of never-ending phone conversations with his agent turning down roles in second-rate movies while giving serious consideration to an HBO drama series. In, perhaps, the most ironic line ever uttered in a movie that I can remember, Coogan emphatically tells his agent, “I don’t want to do British TV“.
Lest you think this is just an extended length Curb Your Enthusiasm or Seinfeld, the actual storyline of The Trip has Coogan and Brydon, playing themselves, sort of, traveling across the north of England on a food and wine, fine-dining, tour of country inns. It is brilliant, and well worth the time.
Throughout ‘the trip’, Coogan and Brydon provide some brilliant interchanges, one of them, in particular, discussing how to rally the troops for their impending battle….
Look out Italy. You’ve been warned…