ITV: Where Drama Lives 2013
Ordinarily, I’m not a big fan of trailers as, in many cases, they contain all the good bits. Admittedly, in most cases, this is directly related to movie trailers more so than television series promos. However, a promo comes along once in awhile that is just plain brilliant that just has to be shared. Such is the case with the newest ITV campaign, Where Drama Lives, for their always stellar drama line-up. After last weeks BBC Original Drama promo, it’s plain to see that it’s going to be an all-out war in 2013-2014 between the drama heavyweights and the winner is going to be the viewer every time.
As you can see, an incredible amount of creative effort and thought went into the production of this spot. Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham, Downton Abbey), Paddy Considine (Mr Whicher, The Suspicions of Mr Whicher), Katherine Kelly (Lady Mae Loxley, Mr Selfridge), Martin Clunes (Dr Martin Ellingham, Doc Martin), Jeremy Piven (Mr Selfridge), Anna Maxwell Martin (Susan Gray, The Bletchley Circle), Jim Carter (Carson, Downton Abbey), Shaun Evans (Detective Constable Endeavour Morse, Endeavour), Rupert Penry-Jones (DI Chandler, Whitechapel), Phil Davis (DS Miles, Whitechapel) Brenda Blethyn (DCI Vera Stanhope, Vera), David Leon (DS Joe Ashworth, Vera) Aisling Loftus (Agnes Towler, Mr Selfridge) and Joanne Froggatt (Anna Bates, Downton Abbey) were filmed for these specially shot scenes for the new Where Drama Lives campaign. Viewers will also see Sebastian’s beloved teddy bear, Aloysius, from Brideshead Revisited, although as, quite possibly, the subject of the next episode of Whitechapel.
As you can see, there’s an incredible history to ITV drama. Current series cast members are joined by Inspector Morse (John Thaw, Morse), DCI Jane Tennison (Helen Mirren, Prime Suspect), Sebastian Flyte (Anthony Andrews, Brideshead Revisited) and Hercule Poirot (David Suchet, Poirot) all of whom were added through post production techniques and all representing some of the channel’s defining, iconic characters.
BBC: Original British Drama 2013
Last weeks release of the annual BBC Original Drama campaign pieced together some amazing scenes (and sometimes a first glimpse of more brilliant drama such as The Musketeers, Sherlock, The Great Train Robbery, Quirke, The Escape Artist, Ripper Street, What Remains and By Any Means. Consider the fact, too, that there was no Doctor Who or Call the Midwife anywhere to be see just yet and imagine yet another stellar year from the BBC.
With the brilliant drama output from both BBC and ITV, 2013-2014 is shaping up to be a great year for all of us.
Michael Palin, Monty Python legend and longtime TV adventurer, returns to the small screen and his comedy acting roots in the World War One drama The Wipers Times this Wednesday on BBC2. The one-off special tells the uplifting and true tale of a group of British soldiers who stumble across an abandoned printing press in 1916 and decide to have a little fun in the misery of war by publishing their own satirical newspaper using both black humor and satirical swipes at allies and enemies.
For some reason, I fully expect Baldrick to turn up at some point and can’t help but think of the never to be equaled final scene in Blackadder Goes Forth.
The Wipers Times was named after a general inability to pronounce Ypres, the Belgian town where the British soldiers were stationed. The drama of the same name comes to the small screen courtesy of Ian Hislop, editor of Private Eye who also made a radio documentary some 10 years ago after first discovering an original Wipers Times manuscript, and scriptwriter Nick Newman. While Palin is no stranger to the small screen given his endlessly brilliant travel adventures, it is his first comedy role in 22 years. Lets hope it makes its way to the States soon. Until then, maybe a few UK readers will give us a review. Hint, hint.
According to USA Today, U.S. fans of the highest rated drama series in the history of PBS, will be able to keep the magic alive and extend their viewing experience following the end of series 4 by getting a first hand look at the likes of Edith’s wedding gown, the scarlet dress that Lady Mary wore when Matthew proposed (the second time) and one of the highly recognizable purple gowns donned by the Dowager Countess, herself.
In all, 40 costumes will be on display at the Winterthur Museum and Library in Wilmington, Del., from March 1, 2014 through Jan. 4, 2015 as part of the ‘Costumes of Downton Abbey’ exhibition. While much of the exhibit will feature the fashion from the first three series, rumor has it that there will be costumes from the forthcoming series 4 also.
Winterthur historian Maggie Lidz combs through racks of clothing looking for specific dresses from Downton Abbey. (Photo: Gannett/The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal)
The museum, which is home to the estate of stylemaker Henry Francis du Pont, planned the exhibit to put the historically accurate outfits in the context of British and American country homes such as the fictional Downton Abbey and real-life Winterthur.
Winterthur’s director of collections and senior textile curator, Linda Eaton, points to the historical accuracy of the series’ fashions as being one of the reasons the outfits connect so well to Winterthur and duPont’s taste. “He was living in Downton Abbey clothing, and he was a real dandy, a very snappy dresser,” Eaton says. “He would have recognized the clothing in the Downton Abbey show and judged it according to his criteria of beauty. That is what he would have been interested in, and he would have been aware of all the nuance of status and fashion.”
And you were wondering what on Earth you were going to do to pass the time for the 10 months between the end of series 4 and the beginning of series 5…
Ever since 2010 when Benedict Cumberbatch entered the world of Sherlock Holmes, if anyone would have dared mention to me that there was to be even a hint of another small screen adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation, I would have immediately written it off as a wasted effort. I am softening a bit with Jonny Lee Miller’s portrayal in CBS’ Elementary series, but not much.
One such name, however, that has surfaced as entering the world of Sherlock has me getting ready to change my admittedly closed-minded Sherlock outlook. None other than Sir Ian McKellen is set to become the latest in a long line of celebrated British actors to portray the world’s most famous fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes.
According to reports, The Hobbit star will play a retired Holmes, haunted by an unsolved case, in a new British film, “A Slight Trick of the Mind”, from BBC Films and AI, the production arm of Icon Films in the UK.
Directed by Bill Condon, who recently directed Benedict Cumberbatch in the WikiLeaks movie, “The Fifth Estate”, the movie is adapted from Mitch Cullin’s novel of the same name, which sees a retired and aged Holmes spending his remaining years in a remote Sussex farmhouse, keeping bees and grappling with his waning mental powers, until a 50-year-old unsolved case returns to haunt him.
In keeping with our new Friday tradition of getting you ready for the weekend…it’s time for the Tellyspotting Friday Funnies. This week, Ripping Yarns. Happy weekend!
After Monty Python’s Flying Circus ended in 1974, it seemed like a no-brainer that the BBC was eager to find new projects for the now ex-Pythons. Turning first to the brilliance of Terry Jones and Michael Palin, ‘Tomkinson’s Schooldays’, a spoof of Tom Brown’s Schooldays, where young Tomkinson’s attempts to escape a school where pupils are shot for disobedience and regularly nailed to the walls for fun, was a huge success when it premiered in 1976.
Within a week of it being aired Palin and Jones were at the BBC being quizzed about prospects for more shows along the same lines. At that point, Ripping Yarns was ‘officially’ born. Heavy on the satire and overall outright silliness, the series lasted for two short seasons, ending in 1979.
In “Escape from Stalag Luft 112B”, Major Errol Phipps, played by Michael Palin, is a legend among prisoners of war, having attempted over five hundred escapes, two hundred of them before he left England. One day, he is transferred to the most infamous prison camp: Stalag Luft 112B. He tries eleven escapes en route and one just after arriving, but is stopped by fellow British officers. They are comfortable where they are, bossing the Germans around. One of the officers is called “Attenborough”, alluding to Richard Attenborough’s role in the film The Great Escape, which the episode parodies very successfully given that escape attempts have to be organized by a special committee which only meets very irregularly…
EYEWTK. as in Everything You Ever Wanted To Know. Time for yet another infographic that will give you endless witty banter at your next get together when Benedict Cumberbatch, any of his countless movies that are set to premiere or the obligatory, ‘when is Sherlock set to premiere’ question arises.
The fact that he taught English in a Tibetan Monestary during his gap year will probably win you something if you phrase it right. Couple that bit of trivia with the knowledge that his first acting role, at the age of 13, was that of Titania: Queen of the Fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream has to be worth a free pint or two, don’t you think?
Given that since 2011, Benedict Cumberbatch has been a part of War Horse, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Parade’s End, Star Trek Into Darkness, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, 12 Years a Slave, The Fifth Estate, August: Osage County, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, it’s no wonder there have been 825,624 (and counting) Twitter mentions of Benedict in the last 12 months. One can only imagine what will happen when Sherlock hits the telly in 2014.
ITV’s Whitechapel, stars Rupert Penry-Jones and Phil Davis, detectives in London’s Whitechapel district who deal with murders which replicate historical crimes. Joined by Steve Pemberton, the popular drama returns to ITV this Wednesday at 9pm with six new episodes, told in three two-part stories. Personally, I have to admit that it really took me bit to get into Whitechapel. Once I got past series one with the yet another Jack the Ripper copycat murder investigation storyline, I found the series to be brilliant and really come in two its own with excellent writing and superb performances by Penry Jones, Davis and The League of Gentlemen member and Psychoville co-creator (with Reece Shearsmith), Steve Pemberton.
Produced by Carnival Films, who also produce that little series we call Downton Abbey, Whitechapel debuted in 2009 dramatizing the search for a modern copycat killer replicating the murders of Jack the Ripper. The second series, dealt with copycat Kray Brothers who were English gangsters and the foremost perpetrators of organized crime in the East End of London during the 1950s and 1960s. Deviating a bit from its original format, series 3 still dealt with copycat crimes from some 200+ years prior but featured three separate stories.
As in all previous series, series 4 will have DI Chandler (Penry-Jones) and DS Miles (Davis) continue to retain the services of Ed Buchan (Steve Pemberton) as the team’s historical adviser. The new series, which premieres Wednesday on ITV1, will touch on historical crime precedents such as witchcraft, cold war espionage, ghoulish Victorian surgeons, cryptozoology and hidden horrors in the East End’s underground tunnels. Look for a U.S. broadcast sometime in 2014 on BBC America.
One of the bits of brilliance about the Internets is that it gives really creative people blessed with time on their hands the ability to create really great things that have relatively little use beyond the fact that it’s just bloody cool.
With the forthcoming Doctor Who 50th anniversary coming up in the not-too-distant future, it’s the perfect storm for this type of thing. Is the case of this Doctor Who infographic from Direct Select TV, the First and Eleventh Doctors are compared. The most disturbing info on the graphic shows there to still be in excess of 100 episodes ‘lost’ with the BBC adhering to the routine practice of recording over tapes and not saving.
Until the Christmas episode airs in 2013 and the world is introduced to Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor, William Hartnell, the First Doctor in 1963 when the series premiered, was the oldest Doctor at 55 years of age. At 27, Matt Smith became the youngest when he took on the role of the Eleventh Doctor. At 55, Capaldi will tie Troughton so, hey, it’s almost time to update that infographic when you have free time.
In the United States, Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement, dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country.
As we settle in for the final day of a 3-day weekend, we pause to pay tribute to some of the hardest working people in U.K. retail…the staff of Grace Brothers Department Store.
Captain Peacock – Floorwalker, Grace Brothers
Mrs. Betty Slocombe – Head of Ladies’ Intimate Apparel
Miss Shirley Brahms – Junior Assistant, Ladies’ Intimate Apparel
Mr. Wilberforce Claybourne Humphries – Senior Assistant, Menswear
Mr. Lucas – Junior Salesman, Menswear
Mr. Cuthbert Rumbold – Floor Manager
Mr. Ernest Grainger – Senior Salesman, Menswear
Having had the great good fortune over the years being part of the PBS productions of Celebrating Mollie Sugden, Funny Ladies of British Comedy and Funny Blokes of British Comedy, it’s hard to believe that, with the exception of Nicholas Smith, virtually the entire cast of Are You Being Served are no longer with us. They will, however, continue to make the world smile for years to come each day they report to work at Grace Brothers.