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‘Shaun the Sheep’ Movie – Join the Flock in 2015!

April 17, 2014

Reason #(pick a number) as to why I continue to tout the brilliant output from the UK whether it be the large or small screen. Today’s reason has to do with the large screen and the forthcoming project from Aardman Animations, creators of the Wallace and Gromit franchise. Next up from Aardman is Shaun the Sheep Movie, coming to theatres in 2015.

When Shaun decides to take the day off and have some fun, he gets a little more action than he has bargained for. Unfortunately, Shaun’s mischief accidentally causes the Farmer to be taken away from the farm, so it’s up to Shaun and the flock to travel to the Big City to rescue him. The only thing between Shaun and returning the Farmer safely to the green grass of home is a very steep hill leading them all to the Big City.

Will Shaun find the Farmer in the strange and unfamiliar world of the City before he’s lost forever? Sadly, we’re going to have to wait until 2015 to find out!

Bill Nighy returning in the Worricker trilogy on PBS this Fall

April 16, 2014

While there will be the inevitable comparison to the Cornetto Trilogy, the Worricker Trilogy may just have a minor leg up given the greatness of Bill Nighy and Christopher Walken. As we reported earlier this month, The Worricker Trilogy, which began with Page Eight, is set to continue with Bill Nighy reprising his role as MI5 spy Johnny Worricker in Turks & Caicos and Salting The Battlefield, the second and third installments of David Hare’s Emmy-winning spy trilogy.

The initial installment, Page Eight, aired on BBC Two and on PBS in 2011 and starred Nighy, Rachel Weisz, Ralph Fiennes, Judy Davis and Michael Gambon. The forthcoming installments will premiere on PBS’ Masterpiece series early this Autumn. This behind-the-scenes clip shows not only the greatness of Bill Nighy but the equally as brilliant, Christopher Walken.

Produced by Carnival Films (Downton Abbey, The Hollow Crown, Any Human Heart) and filmed in London and on the Caribbean island of Turks & Caicos, this first follow-up to the award winning Page Eight, Turks & Caicos, will star Bill Nighy, Christopher Walken, Winona Ryder, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Rupert Graves, Ewen Bremner, James Naughton, Dylan Baker and Zach Grenier. Johnny Worricker (Nighy) has walked out of his job at MI5, going to the airport apparently to choose his destination at random. But his presence on the obscure islands of Turks & Caicos brings him a new problem: he is being forced by the CIA to deal with a group of ambiguous Americans who are on the islands for a high-level conference on the world financial crisis. At the same time, an old girlfriend, Margot Tyrell, is being asked to betray her boss in London in order to establish an illicit connection between the prime minister and dark goings-on in the ‘war on terror’.
Bill Nighy and Winona Ryder in Turks & Caicos

Up next is Salting The Battlefield which again stars Bill Nighy, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes and Rupert Graves alongside Felicity Jones, Olivia Williams, Saskia Reeves, Judy Davis, Kate Burdette, Ewen Bremner and Malcolm Sinclair. Filmed in London and Germany, Salting The Battlefield follows Johnny Worricker and Margot Tyrell on the run across Europe, with MI5 hard on their heels. But life in exile is proving much harder than either of them expected. Worricker knows that his only chance of resolving the issues in both his personal and his professional lives is if he returns home to confront the powerful Prime Minister, Alec Beasley. In a duel of wits between the two men, there will be only one winner.

Hands down, the real winner will be the PBS Masterpiece viewer this Autumn…

Oh, Geez! It’s ‘Fargo’ time

April 15, 2014

Oh Geez! Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Fargo…

On the surface, even a remote passing thought of trying to translate Coen brothers big screen perfection to the small screen seems crazy. On paper, however, tonight’s premiere of Fargo on FX has all the makings of ‘Must-See-TV’. Written by Noah Hawley (Bones) and starring Martin Freeman (Sherlock, The Hobbit), Billy Bob Thornton, Bob Odenkirk (Breaking Bad), Colin Hanks (Dexter, Good Guys), Key & Peele, and Oliver Platt (The Big C), Fargo, the biggest ‘Ah Ha’ moment, to quote Alan Partridge, is that the FX series has the blessing of the Coen brothers, who serve as executive producers. For Hawley, how can you possibly say no to someone asking if you want to adapt a Coen brothers feature for the small screen?

The important (and smart) thing about the series is that while it keeps the Coen’s quirky dark characteristics of the film, giving brief nods throughout to its brilliance, it tries to distance itself enough to be judged on its own merits. Reading various reports, it sounds like it was Hawley’s desire to pay tribute to the original just enough, but not too much, to try and avoid the ultimate comparisons that will come anyway.

Responding to the one question on the minds of everyone that is a fan of the big screen version of Fargo needs to be asked as to whether or not the new Fargo has its own woodchipper moment, Hawley replies: “All I’ll say is that the Coens kill people in some very creative and memorable ways and it was my obligation to come up with ways of my own. I hope I rose to the standard.”

Let’s hope so…Fargo premieres tonight on FX in the States and on Sunday, 20 April at 9pm on Channel 4 in the UK.

‘The Escape Artist’ heads to PBS this June

April 14, 2014

David Tennant (Doctor Who, Broadchurch) is a talented junior barrister, Will Burton, specializing in the ability to get people out of tight legal corners, hence his nickname of the Escape Artist. He’s known for never losing a case which leads him to apply for the title of QC. Unfortunately, he meets Liam Foyle along the way, the prime suspect in a brutal and high-profile murder trial. Thinking this case will solidify his QC appointment, he lives up to his nickname in the ensuing trial but the consequences are more than chilling to say the least.

Created, produced and written by David Wolstencroft, best known for creating the brilliant Spooks or MI-5, The Escape Artist will premiere in June as part of PBS’ Masterpiece series.

Sir David Suchet heads to the West End as….Lady Bracknell?

April 13, 2014

The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde’s classic comedy of false identities and true love has a brilliant history on stage. Over the years, the iconic role of Lady Bracknell has been played by what seems like a who’s who of British greatness as Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Penelope Keith have all uttered the immortal words of “A handbag?” on the stage.

Beginning July 2015, Sir David Suchet will don Lady Bracknell’s heels for a London West End revival run of Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest to be directed by Adrian Noble, who was artistic director and chief executive of the Royal Shakespeare Company from 1990-2003. Suchet, coming off a quarter-century gig playing Hercule Poirot, said: “I always knew it would be a challenge to find another character as extraordinary to play. I also wanted comedy. Lady Bracknell is both.

After filming every book that Agatha Christie wrote around the Belgian detective over the last 25 years, Suchet, who said farewell to Poirot this past Autumn in “Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case”, said “…couldn’t resist trading in my moustache for her heels“.

Any thoughts?

Post ‘Miranda’, Tom Ellis heading to Los Angeles for USA’s ‘Rush’

April 12, 2014

Jessica Brown-Findlay recently discovered that Jamaica Inn is not next door to Downton Abbey. Kevin Doyle found out it’s actually more fun to give orders on The Crimson Field than take them from Mr. Carson in Downton Abbey. Now, you have Tom Ellis, who is finding that his new role in the upcoming USA Network series, Rush, is light-years away from his character of Gary Preston, Miranda Hart’s love interest on the situation comedy, Miranda.

When you’re the best doctor money can buy, you just need to make sure you don’t sell your soul…

In Rush, Ellis stars as Dr. William Rush, a first-class Harvard graduate and once-successful ER doctor whose addiction to pills and other drugs leads him to set up alone as a bad boy doctor-for-hire. My thought is that this is definitely not the type that Miranda and Stevie would be chasing after. Ellis, who became a name and face with as the dashing Dr Oliver Cousins in EastEnders said, “He’s not a bad guy… he just does bad things sometimes. It’s set in Los Angeles so, medically we’ll see it all. He doesn’t say no to any clients, as long as they can pay his fee.

No broadcast date as to yet on USA Network, but word is that it will be in the next several months.

Post ‘Death in Paradise’, Ben Miller becomes The Doctor’s newest villain

April 11, 2014

Prior to the third series premiere, Ben Miller decided to vote himself off the Death in Paradise) island. As DI Richard Poole, Miller used his skills as a London Metropolitan Police detective to overcome his obvious distaste for deplorable tropical weather to make the Caribbean island of Saint Marie a safer place. Miller decided it was time to put DI Poole out of his misery and head back to London in search of a proper cup of tea.

This Autumn, the former star of Armstrong and Miller, Worst Week of My Life, Primeval and Death in Paradise will finally get a chance to apply his PhD studies in physics at Cambridge University to good use when he becomes the newest villain opposite Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor debut. Capaldi will be a busy Doctor in his first full series as The Doctor given earlier announcements that both Tom Riley and Keeley Hawes will also see time as villains.

Miller said: “As a committed Whovian I cannot believe my luck in joining the Twelfth Doctor for one of his inaugural adventures. My only worry is that they’ll make me leave the set when I’m not filming.” Showing as much excitement as Miller over the announcement was Steven Moffat, lead writer and executive producer, who added: “Mark Gatiss has written us a storming villain for his new episode, and with Capaldi in the TARDIS, we knew we needed somebody special to send everybody behind the sofa. And quite frankly, it’s about time Ben Miller was in Doctor Who!

Don’t know about you but I’m totally ready to be sent behind the sofa this Autumn. You?

The boys from the ‘Small Rouge One’ are back for series XI!

April 10, 2014

While there hasn’t been confirmation of this as of yet on reddwarf.co.uk, it’s worth putting this out there because news is traveling fast around the Internets…and everything you read on the Internets is true, right?

Almost three years to the day since Dave’s announcement that there was to be a Red Dwarf X in our collective future comes official ‘unofficial’ word from What Culture that the boys from the ‘small rouge one’, as Robert Llewellyn affectionately calls Red Dwarf on his popular Llewblog, are coming back. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. Red Dwarf XI was confirmed this past week during a Red Dwarf panel by none other than Chris Barrie (Rimmer), Danny John-Jules (Cat) and Robert Llewellyn (Kryten) at the Sci-Fi Scarborough convention.
The boys make their way to Shepperton studios for RDX taping

According to Philip Frazier over at What Culture, it was John-Jules who let ‘the cat out of the bag’ back in January when he tweeted that a new series of the science-fiction comedy classic was being written by co-creator, Doug Naylor, and who also confirmed that shooting is scheduled to get under-way in October 2014 with the series an eye on Autumn 2015 for a possible  transmission on Dave, the home of witty banter.

Jessica Brown-Findlay’s Jamaica Inn address is a far cry from Downton Abbey

April 9, 2014

Just as Kevin Doyle (Mr. Molesley) found that there is life beyond Downton Abbey with his current gig as Colonel Roland Brett in the World War I drama, The Crimson Field, such is also the case also for Jessica Brown Findlay, who played Lady Sybil in Downton. While Doyle has the security of knowing he will still be berated weekly by Mr. Carson during the upcoming series of Downton Abbey, Brown-Findlay exited during series 3. Like co-star Dan Stevens, both left the the drama juggernaut for the glitz and glamour of what is called ‘unchartered waters’.
Downton Abbey's Jessica Brown-Findlay stars in Jamaica Inn

With Downton Abbey firmly in her rear-view mirror, Jessica Brown-Findlay takes on the role of Daphne du Maurier’s spirited heroine Mary in the BBC’s new adaptation of Jamaica Inn. Set in 1821 on the Cornish coast, Jamaica Inn tells the story of Mary Yellan, played by Brown-Findlay, who lives with ghostly Aunt Patience (Joanne Whalley) after her mother died. Mary finds Aunt Patience under the spell of her husband (and Mary’s criminal uncle), Joss Merlyn (Sean Harris), after she arrives at Jamaica Inn. She soon realizes that the inn has no guests which is where it starts to get a bit strange as Mary is drawn into a world of smuggling and romance.
Jamaica Inn stars Jessica Brown-Findlay

Like Kevin Doyle, who is relishing his role in The Crimson Field where he gets to give orders as opposed to take them, Brown-Findlay was excited at the prospect to step away from the ‘fluffy, girly, boring stuff’ of Downton and be a part of Jamaica Inn, where the lead was a heroine, a woman.

Written by Emma Frost (The White Queen) and filmed in and around Cornwall (Holywell Bay and Bodmin Moor), Yorkshire and the Cumbrian town of Kirkby Lonsdale, Jamaica Inn will premiere later this month on BBC One and, tentatively, on public television in America in 2015.