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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.

TARDIS’ discovered on the streets of Glasgow

April 8, 2014

In 1963, when Doctor Who began, hundreds of blue police phone boxes were scattered all over the UK. They served a very important purpose in the days before the Internet and smartphones (I know, just after the Ice Age). Inside these iconic blue boxes were actual telephones in which passers-by could alert the police if they saw something on the fair streets of Britain that didn’t look quite right.

Doctor Who fans around the world have built refrigerators based on them, added a faux-fronts to their homes that resembled them and even made their kids’ room so TARDIS life-like, The Doctor would be proud. While these are great tributes, the have nothing on the city of Glasgow in Scotland where fans worldwide can see the real thing. Thanks to Radio Times Travel, a number of these ‘official’ blue police boxes that survived destruction at the hands of local authorities who had nary a clue that the Doctor Who phenomenon would outlive the rapidly deteriorating boxes.

Thanks to Ward Westwater, Glasgow has preserved a handful of these original, Tardis-style, police call boxes. Westwater bought some of the remaining boxes and restored them for Doctor Who fans to enjoy on the streets of Glasgow, Scotland without having to pay museum prices. Interestingly, two of them used to be coffee huts, selling homemade beverages. I wonder if it was take-away only or if, in true Tardis form, it had endless seating inside away from the cold Glasgow winters.

Buchanan Street, Glasgow G1
Buchanan Street, Glasgow G1 Tardis

Cathedral Square, Glasgow G4
Catheral Square, Glasgow G4 Tardis

For more original Tardis-style police boxes in and around Glasgow and the UK, check our more at Radio Times.

Mr. Molesley finally gets to give orders in ‘The Crimson Field”

April 7, 2014

The Crimson Field premiered last night on BBC One. For Kevin Doyle, his portrayal of Colonel Roland Brett in the World War I drama is a far cry from his recent demotion to footman at Downton Abbey and his interminable suffering at the hands of Carson. “It’s nice to be giving orders rather than receiving them,” he told RadioTimes.com. “It took me a while to get used to being a figure of authority – to have someone with quiet authority who is rather placid.”

Kevin Doyle, Mr. Molesley in Downton Abbey, stars in The Crimson Field on BBC One

Set in a field hospital on the Western Front, The Crimson Field is not so much the usual war story of soldiers in the trenches but more of the tented field hospitals where the injured found themselves in the care of military doctors and nurses.

The Crimson Field begins in 1915 with the Voluntary Aid Detachments, or VAD’s, and their arrival as the first volunteer nurses at the field hospitals on the coast of France. Starring Hermione Norris (Ros Meyers in Spooks), Oona Chaplin (The Hour, Sherlock, Game of Thrones) and Suranne Jones (Scott and Bailey, A Touch of Cloth), The Crimson Field tells a WWI story that is not that widely known, especially not one taught in school.

The VAD’s were young women primarily from the middle and upper classes and were unaccustomed to hardship and discipline. Dealing daily with the injuries, casualties and, ultimately, death, took its toll. Every dying man at a field hospital would have had a nurse with him to the end, and it was her responsibility to write to the family, always stating, whether it was true or not, that the loved one died peacefully and without pain.

The six-part series continues each Sunday on BBC One and will make it’s way to public television stations via PBS in the not-too-distant future.

R.I.P. – Bob Larbey

April 6, 2014

These are getting harder and harder to write with each passing but they seem to come more frequently these days than any of us would like. The British comedy world, actually, the comedy world, lost a good friend this past week when Bob Larbey passed away.

While you may not be familiar with the name, you unknowingly have spent countless hours smiling at his work over the years. Bob co-created and co-wrote with writing partner John Esmonde, The Good Life (known as The Good Neighbors in the States) and wrote As Time Goes By. Even Bob knew and seemed to relish not being recognized in public for his work. But As Time Goes By co-stars Dame Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer certainly recognized his brilliant work in this brief clip from PBS’ Behind the Britcom: From Script to Screen.

In 2010, we had the great good fortune to spend time interviewing Bob for our PBS production, Behind the Britcom: From Script to Screen. In this clip, Bob talked about the casting of Judi Dench in the role of Jean Pargetter (Hardcastle).

As hosts and As Time Goes By co-stars Philip Bretherton and Moira Brooker point out, it’s rare when a writer gets the opportunity to end a series as they had planned it out in their minds. Sometimes, series can end abruptly because of an ‘Are You Being Served?-style boardroom decision’. Such was the case for Larbey with Mulberry. But with The Good Life, Larbey and co-writer, John Esmonde, had the opportunity to bring the series to a close on their own terms.

Thank you, Bob, for the past smiles and for the years of smiles ahead. We will forever miss you.

Post-Fargo, Martin Freeman heads to West End to play Richard III

April 5, 2014

Shakespeare’s Richard III. Seems like a logical next step after Fargo, right? Not sure Martin Freeman will be pulling much from his performance as Lester Nygaard but he will be following in the footsteps of fellow Sherlock co-star, Benedict Cumberbatch, and head to the Trafalgar Studios in London’s West End beginning this summer to tackle Shakespeare’s doomed Richard III as part of the Trafalgar Transformed upcoming season.
Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock

Many people always wonder what sets British actors apart from their American counterparts. Consider the simple fact that, in recent years, you’ve had David Tennant playing Hamlet and Richard II, Jude Law as Henry V, and Tom Hiddleston as Coriolanus. No need to even mention the usual suspects of the greatness of Kenneth Branagh, Sir Patrick Stewart, etc. Combining this with the historically deep, albeit declining, tradition of regional theatre that exists in the UK and I think you have your answer.

Given that Cumberbatch’s Hamlet already scheduled to be staged at the Barbican Theatre from August to October 2015 and Freeman’s Richard III will run from the 1 July to 27 September 2014, I’m thinking an October start to a Sherlock 4 production cycle would be perfect, but what do I know?

‘Sherlock’ tops Captain America’s “to-do” list in the UK

April 4, 2014

This is beyond cool.

After missing nearly 70 years of pop culture due to being frozen in ice, Captain America has a lot of catching up to do. With so much to do and so little time to do it in, the iconic Marvel superhero was going to need a lot of help. We all know how much an ice coma can play havoc on your memory recall. Thankfully, RadioTimes.com stepped in to help out.

As events unfolded back in January, RadioTimes.com gave readers the chance to vote for what British TV show should get the chance to be featured in the UK version of Marvel sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Winning with 38% of the vote, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock narrowly beat Doctor Who (which got 37%) to be one of the historical events that Steve Rogers has on his list of things to check out in the modern world.
Captain America UK to do list

Just to amp up the coolness factor a bit, audiences around the world will see a bit of a different list in the opening scene depending on where you are located. UK audiences will be Sherlock, The Beatles, World Cup Final (1966) and Sean Connery while U.S. audiences will see I Love Lucy, Berlin Wall, Steve Jobs and (ugh) Disco. Almost enough of a reason to wait and see the British version on DVD.
Captain America US to do list

According to Slashfilm, Captain America: The Winter Soldier movie goers in Australia will see AC/DC, Skippy: The Bush Kangaroo and Steve Irwin (Crocodile Hunter and French fans will see the 1998 World Cup and The Fifth Element.

Already out in the UK, Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens in U.S. theaters Friday, April 4 (that’s today for those who have been in an ice coma!).