You know you’ve arrived when even one of the following happens:
So, imagine the weight that Downton Abbey carries these days having now secured all three of the above….
Reprinted from the genius minds that we call The Onion: America’s Most Trusted News Source:
LONDON—Fans of the wildly popular period drama Downton Abbey were delighted Friday when producers announced that, following another successful run on British television this fall, the show has been renewed for a fourth season, which they confirmed will be set in the Roaring 2120s.
Series creator Julian Fellowes told The Hollywood Reporter that while many details of the upcoming season have yet to be finalized, fans can look forward to more “salacious scandals, romantic intrigues, and social transformation” as Intergalactic Warlord Ransom Glomphus III, his headstrong daughter Empress Zampthor, and other descendants of the Crawley family struggle to adjust to life on their colony in deep space following the First Interplanetary Strife.
“Downton fans around the world will be thrilled with what we have in store for the Crawley offspring and their service drones as they navigate life in the 22nd century,” Fellowes said of the new season, which features eight new episodes and a film-length Christmas special set on a distant vacation crater. “Robert, Earl of Grantham, once saved Downton by marrying the American heiress Cora. Now, new and old worlds collide again as their progeny vie for territory against a proud lineage of space clones who have forcibly invaded the family’s colony.”
“Meanwhile, Warlord Ransom’s service drones struggle to reconcile their egalitarian sympathies and resentments toward the intergalactic elite with their pre-programmed instructions to fulfill directives at any cost, even if it means initiating shutdown procedures and deactivating,” Fellowes continued.
Fellowes acknowledged the new episodes may be a departure from previous seasons, but said fans can expect the same attention to period detail—including meticulously designed costumes, elaborate sets, and exhaustively researched shooting locations—that Downton viewers have always enjoyed. For example, season four opens with the impeccable service drone Carlson 24 serving food pills to Ransom as the warlord paces the deck of his transport ship, which producers confirmed was reconstructed from conceptual drawings of actual ships “as they may one day appear.”
According to producer Liz Trubridge, the new season will feature British actress Imelda Staunton as Empress Zampthor’s redoubtable holographic nursemaid Zoolee 1114, who will add some comic relief to a narrative fraught with intergalactic violence and futuristic psychological warfare that is “very disturbing at times.”
“Scenes involving the harvesting of organs, for example, are very tough to watch,” said Trubridge, referencing the season’s second episode. “But one thing we know is that from wormholes to magnetic force fields to unfeeling cyborgs and heartless automatons, Julian [Fellowes] knows how to create an ensemble cast of memorable characters that will really feel like part of your family.”
The concept of independent film productions and/or books trying to aggregate the necessary funds amongst a world-wide fan base in exchange for certain on-screen ‘perks’ has been around in the States for some time. With a Kickstarter campaign, fans can pledge money towards a project they want to see made in exchange for stated ‘perks’ such as getting your name in the credits or in the book. Late last month, the website was launched to UK creators and, in less than a month, has now birthed the first British situation comedy to be fully-funded.
While the concept of a comedy series getting it’s start on radio is massively foreign to American audiences past the 1950′s, this is still commonplace today in the UK. The cool thing about adding the Kickstarter concept to the mix, however, is that projects can now get off the ground more quickly as opposed to getting lost in ‘will it get commissioned’ hell.
According to producers, A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME TRAVEL is an audio series in the classic Radio 4-style tradition, which draws its influence from classic British science fiction/sci-fi comedies such as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Red Dwarf and Doctor Who. The series follows the adventures of Eric Street, a time-displaced accountant; Miles Wanderlust, a mad inventor; and Special Agent Nina Seventeen, as they blunder their way through a variety of historical settings in a broken time machine, trying not to cause too much damage and hoping that they’ll eventually make it back to the future – assuming there’s still a future left when they get there..
Created by James Hunt and Seb Patrick, the series will be comprised of six 30-minute episodes that will now go into production having passed its initial target goal of £3,000. So far, as of Monday afternoon, 120 people have pledged a total of £4547. Those who donate will receive various perks ranging from an MP3 download of episode one (£1 donation) to the opportunity to be named series producer (£500 contribution). While this doesn’t include any level of creative control, it does allow you, in true producer-speak, “…to get to prove to everyone that you made a difference with your name on the credits“.
There’s still time to contribute before the 30 November cutoff date should you find yourself with a spare £500 coupled with the desire to be a ‘producer’ by going to the series’ Kickstarter page. Lending his support to the series is Robert Llewellyn (Red Dwarf, Scrapheap Challenge), who will narrate the show.
According to our friends over at the British Comedy Guide, a number of British comedy projects are now being added to Kickstarter. Others current seeking funding on the site include The Fitzroy, an ambitious live action, black comedy feature-film set in an alternative post-apocalyptic 1950s on a submarine hotel; and The Barstewards, a late-night animated sitcom based around a family who have taken over a bar at a seaside town.
Given some recent comments from creator/writer, Doug Naylor, and several inhabitants of the ‘small rouge one’, it looks like things are leaning decidedly more in favor of another series of Red Dwarf becoming a distinct possibility in the not-too-distant future. Aside from the fact that not only is Naylor keen on making more of the science-fiction comedy classic, but recent days have seen Craig Charles (Lister), Chris Barrie (Rimmer) and Danny John-Jules (Cat) all express a desire to do more. I’m guessing that our favorite Series 4000 mechanoid, Kryten, would be in favor of another opportunity to showcase a bit of fussiness and pomposity. Of course, the fact that RDX averaged 1.5 million viewers for its’ six week run on Dave doesn’t hurt its chances with UKTV either.
Naylor, who recently spoke with Den of Geek as the tenth series was coming to a close, said “…You can never absolutely guarantee it because UKTV have to commission it, the boys all have to want to do it, then there’s the contractual obligations. But in terms of how this series has been received, it’s been very, very positive and the ratings have been terrific.”
Judging from the actor’s comments, one can only surmise that the cast had a great time, returning to the series for the first time since 1999 (ok, so I’m still in denial about the existence of the 2009 ‘series’, Red Dwarf: Back to Earth). Charles, who may have to ask for a little more time off from his role of Lloyd Mullaney in Coronation Street, said, “…We’d certainly like to do it. I think they (Dave) want to do it. So it should happen“.
Barrie, however, admitted to a bit of nerves when returning to the series that had such a large cult following. “You don’t want to turn up with something that’s not quite on the mark, and as it’s turned out, I’m really pleased with the way it’s gone down. I think there’s a lot more in the tank“, Barrie said.
And, Danny John-Jules, who I’m come to very much enjoy seeing more recently in the BBC crime drama/comedy, Death in Paradise, which stars Ben Miller, sounded a bit more ‘Cat-like’ in his comments saying, “.…they haven’t seen nothing yet. I know what everyone in this show can do, I know what we’re capable of“.
Don’t know about you, but this is enough for me. Hey, Dave…..as I see it, the ball is in your court! All the cool kids want to do it….
As the United States braces for the Downton Abbey arrival of Shirley MacLaine in the premiere of series 3 (January 6, 2013 on PBS’ aptly named Masterpiece), word from the UK on Friday was that Christmas was to come early to all around the planet. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!
ITV has given us all reason to be thankful this holiday season by announcing that there will be a series 4 of Downton Abbey. Gareth Neame, executive producer of the series, promises there will be “…more drama, comedy, love, hatred, jealousy, rivalry, ambition, despair and romance” in the fourth season. Sounds like creator/writer, Julian Fellowes, is just starting to get revved up for another can’t miss season with the Crawleys. With this years Christmas special plot line just announced yesterday, I’m guessing the only plot line for series 4, at this point, is in Julian Fellowes’ mind palace. Could the Dowager Countess finally learn what a weekend is by this time? Hey, it could happen.
The fourth series will be comprised of eight episodes, in addition to another stellar Christmas special. Filming will begin in February 2013 with the series, again, targeting a fall premiere in the UK on ITV. No word yet as to PBS’ plans for a scheduled broadcast date and time, but here’s hoping that there’s a way to close the interminably lengthy gap between the UK premiere and the US premiere.
Given that this year’s Call the Midwife Christmas Special will be seen on Christmas Day on the BBC and then turned right around and broadcast on Sunday, December 30 on PBS, there’s a good chance of this happening with Downton’s 4th series in the Fall of 2013. Who knows, maybe Christmas will come early again in 2013.
Downton Abbey Revisited. Set. DVR. Now. PBS. 8pET/7pCT.
U.S. fans of Downton can settle in tonight for the PBS broadcast of Downton Abbey Revisited knowing that there will be a fourth series of Downton Abbey! Tonight’s program, which airs at 8pET/7pCT on PBS, will serve as not only a look back at series 1 and 2 but will also feature cast interviews, rare behind-the-scenes footage and a sneak peek at what’s in store for the Crawleys as they enter the Roaring Twenties in series 3 which is a mere six weeks away!
Once again, thanks to the Radio Times, Christmas comes early with the storyline revealed for the Downton Abbey 2012 Christmas special set for transmission on Christmas Day on ITV. In a nutshell, the 140 characters or less Twitter version is – what do servants do when there’s no-one to serve?
To: Downton Abbey fans worldwide
From: Downstairs residents at Downton Abbey
Re: Party at Downton!
When: December 25, 2012, 9:00pm
Where: The Yorkshire estate of Downton Abbey (enter upstairs)
***Downton Abbey 2012 Christmas Special Spoiler Alert***
While one would hope a warm welcome awaits the Crawleys during their annual trip to the Scottish Highlands, remember, the Dowager Countess is in tow so tensions between the family and their hosts soon become apparent. Will Lord Grantham return sooner than planned to find they’ve had a massive party and smashed up the Abbey? Carson is of course determined to prevent this. However, with the excitement of the approaching Thirsk Country Fair, it’s possible some of the staff could be tempted to push their luck.
***Editors note: Why does this all of a sudden remind me of high school where your parents (The Crawleys) go out to a movie, you (the downtairs) decide to have a few friends over for an innocent party and, come to find out, the movie was sold out and parents come home early. Hits a bit too close to home for me, what about you?***
According to the Radio Times, viewers are being promised “…salacious scandals, clandestine courtships and heartbreaks of seasons past“. According to Laura Mackie, Director of Drama at ITV, “…best have the tissues ready”.
Unfortunately, much of this special will make little sense if you’re in the States and haven’t seen series 3 yet. As was the case last year, the ‘Christmas’ episode, which will be broadcast on Christmas Day in the UK, will be the final episode of series 3 when it plays out on PBS’ Masterpiece meaning this episode will be seen on PBS on Sunday, February 17, 2013. If you’re in the UK, settle in for an amazing night of telly on Christmas Day.
Today’s From the Vault segment pays tribute to those having to work retail on Black Friday.
The Friday after Thanksgiving has long been hailed as the busiest shopping day of the year in America. Only in the United States can the aptly named Black Friday start at 8:00pm pm Thursday. In recent years, the competition for consumer dollars has done nothing but get about ten shades of bizarre. Retail outlets went from opening at 6a on Friday to 5a then to 4a and then 3a in an effort to one up one another. Last year it was 12midnight and now, word is, some retailers opened at 8p on Thanksgiving Thursday for ‘pre-Black Friday’ specials.
From coast to coast, the concept of Black Friday is a simple one. Scores of crazed consumers storm the malls looking for that elusive ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ deal. Of course, those making the decision to open stores at these increasingly ridiculous hours are never actually in the store working overnight. That bit of joy is left up to the retail outlet staff that, I’m sure, are nothing short of ‘overjoyed’ to have to deal with the controlled chaos that is inevitable. Surprisingly, year after year, most seem to enjoy the task in front of them or so it would appears. I’m willing to bet that there is just a bit of Bernard Black or Basil Fawlty hidden somewhere in the deep recesses of your own personal retail mind palace.
So, at Tellyspotting, we salute you, the retail employee, on this Black Friday with a bit of video brilliance so you can live vicariously today, even if it’s during your 3am break for just for a few minutes.
Bernard Black in Black Books
Basil Fawlty in Fawlty Towers
It’s hard to believe that it’s already Thanksgiving here in the States and, as mind-numbing as it may be, Christmas is right around the corner. That said, it’s important to remember today as a day where it’s important to take a moment and think about family and friends and all the things you are truly thankful for.
Before we begin, however, this must be repeated. Please, everyone, as you prepare the Thanksgiving turkey this year, remember, the person in this video is a professional. Do not try this at home.
Beyond the obvious thanks for family and friends here at Tellyspotting, there are a few additional thanks that I need throw out there before we settle down to a day of overeating. What are we thankful for? That’s easy.
Fawlty Towers – classic British comedy
– where would we be without Basil Fawlty and all the wonderful inhabitants of Fawlty Towers, the fictional hotel located in the seaside town of Torquay on the “English Riviera”. Yes, he’s a rude and snobbish hotel owner who’s lot in life is to be pleasant to people he despises, but, when it comes to comedy, there is no equal. This is comedy perfection compressed in only 12 episodes (yes, there are only 12 episodes that exist).
Downton Abbey – classic British drama
– While millions saw the 2011 U.S. premiere of ITV’s Downton Abbey as part of PBS’ Masterpiece series, the period drama, written by Julian Fellowes, was immediately recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the ‘most critically acclaimed television show’ of the year. Season 2 didn’t disappoint as it was obvious that the Dowager Countess was just getting warmed up. Season 3 premieres on PBS Masterpiece, Sunday, January 6, 2013.
Sherlock – classic British mystery
– The brilliance of creating a contemporary version of the Arthur Conan Doyle detective lies at the feet of co-creator/writers, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman star as Sherlock and Dr. John Watson. While the move from Victorian England to the 21st century was a leap for Holmes purists, both Moffat and Gatiss were able to keep much of the traditional elements of the character while putting present day technology in the hands of the worlds greatest consulting detective. This is genius, plain and simple.
Red Dwarf – classic British science fiction
– Many will, no doubt, cringe at the notion that I am offering no public display of giving thanks for Doctor Who in the sci-fi category. The fact is, the boys of the ‘small rouge one’ deserve the nod this year as they came back (after 13 years, 3 if you count Red Dwarf: Back to Earth) on a mission to not only reclaim their rightful spot atop the British science fiction scrapheap but to make everyone worldwide forget that there was actually a ninth series back in 2009.
You, the classic reader and contributor to Tellyspotting
– Without you, Tellyspotting would be nothing. You’re the reason it began and you’re the reason it is still going strong after three+ years attracting British television fans around the world on a daily basis. You’re the reason we’ll continue to strive to be the #1 British television site in the U.S. every day. So, as we head towards the dinner table, thank you for being a part of Tellyspotting over the years. 2013 is going to be a great year for telly. Hope you come along for the ride.
The brilliance behind the likes of This is Spinal Tap, Best in Show and Waiting for Guffman, among others, will be turning his talents to the BBC for the upcoming comedy series, Family Tree. Guest will executive produce and co-write the eight-part series, which will premiere on BBC 2 and HBO in the Spring of 2013. The series will star Chris O’Dowd (IT Crowd, Moone Boy and Bridesmaids), Nina Conti (For Your Consideration) and be a bit of a reunion of earlier Christopher Guest projects, reuniting the talents of Michael McKean and Fred Willard.
According to the BBC, Guest’s Family Tree, a single-camera, improvisational, documentary-style comedy, will follow the world and journey of 30-year-old Tom Chadwick (Chris O’Dowd). Having recently lost his job and girlfriend, Tom has a rather unsure sense of his own identity. But when he inherits a mysterious box of belongings from a great aunt that he never met, he starts investigating his family lineage and uncovers a whole world of unusual stories and characters and a growing sense of who he is and who his real family are.
Chris O’Dowd added: “I’m terribly excited and monumentally under-qualified to work on an improvised show with Chris Guest. I call him Chris ‘coz we are friends. He calls me George. I don’t know why.”
Anything involving Christopher Guest is well worth setting the DVR for. Add in a bit of Chris O’Dowd and it’s a no-brainer. Agreed?
Don’t tell anyone, but it looks like Downton Abbey is headed to a 4th series in 2013 (insert deep sigh of relief here). As the U.S. eagerly awaits the initial crossing of the paths of Shirley MacLaine and Dame Maggie Smith, the thought that there will, most likely, be a series 4 allows everyone west of the Atlantic to breathe a bit easier as we move ever so close to the January 6 premiere of series 3 on PBS’ Masterpiece.
Writer Julian Fellowes lent his support to this notion when he told The Telegraph his thoughts on his creation coming back for more, “I would hope there will be more because of the response to this series, but you know ITV are always pretty close to their chest in terms of an actual commission. I’d be surprised if there was not a fourth series,”.
For those that have seen series 3, you know that some people go and new characters have been introduced which suggests another series is in the offing. Personally, I don’t think anyone involved on the production side are ready to walk away just yet. I’m guessing that neither is anyone on the viewing end either.
In response to the critics of Downton Abbey who have expressed concern that the series does not contain any black characters, the writer said it would be “rather nice to open it up ethnically a bit”. He further explained in an interview with The Daily Telegraph, “Oh I think that’s rather a good idea. You have to work it in in a way that is historically believable, but I am sure we could do that. The show certainly ought to have an Indian character from that period.”
***Spoiler Alert Warning*** For those that just can’t wait for January 6, here’s quick look at what’s in store on PBS’ Masterpiece beginning January 6, 2013 in this BBC Breakfast report.