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.
A picture is worth a thousand words refers to the notion that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single still image. With that phrase in mind, the announcement the world has been waiting for was made on the official Downton Abbey Twitter account last night proclaiming that as of Saturday, there were a mere 22 days left until “Downton Day” with the premiere of Downton Abbey 4 set for Sunday, 22 September on ITV1. Calm down U.S. readers, we’re talking to UK readers only at this point.
Before all non-UK readers attach themselves to the ceiling and refuse to come down until 2014, here for all the world to see is the first full trailer for Downton Abbey 4! Guess we now know who the Dowager Countess was talking to in last week’s teaser.
No need to say anything more, is there…unless you’d like to know that, coincidentally, on the same date in 1955, in the UK, the television channel ITV went live for the first time. And you thought it was just Downton Day.
While not quite the day that the whole of Planet Earth has been waiting almost a year for, it is just about the next best thing to sliced bread with the highly-anticipated release of the first video from Downton Abbey 4. This past week, if you were to look up the word ‘tease’ in the dictionary, I have to think you would merely see a link to the first video look at the forthcoming series.
As you can see, actually only hear, the Dowager Countess has some words of wisdom for another character. “You have a straightforward choice before you. You must choose either death or life,” says the Dowager Countess. Unfortunately, we don’t actually see who she’s talking to so we can only assume that it’s probably Lady Mary in light of Matthew’s death. But, since we all know what happens when you assume, let’s recognize she could be speaking to virtually anyone at Downton who are all struggling with the loss along with the entire Downton Abbey viewing nation.
A full series 4 trailer is set to be released today (31 August). Rest assured we’ll add as soon as it becomes available. Hopefully, along with the eagerly-awaited trailer will be the official UK transmission dates in September. With PBS dates set for the premiere on January 5, 2014, and the fact that Sunday is the beginning of September, it’s only a matter of time before the UK will be setting their collective DVR’s. Come to think of it, you’re probably already setting it for Monday’s series 6 premiere of Doc Martin so just hang out a bit, it won’t be long now…
Finally! It’s Friday. It’s Friday before a long weekend in the States. What better way to end the work week and get ready for the 3-day weekend than to go behind the scenes of one of the funniest sitcoms that have come along in some time. Moone Boy, co-written and starring Chris O’Dowd (IT Crowd) as imaginary friend, Sean, and David Rawle as Martin Moone comes from Steve Coogan’s Baby Cow Productions who sports a pretty extensive and equally impressive track record of creating funny telly, (e.g. Hunderby, Hebburn, Gavin & Stacey, Mighty Boosh and the entire Alan Partridge empire to name just a few).
In Moone Boy, Seán is the imaginary friend of 12-year-old Martin Moone, the youngest child of a family living in a small town in the rural Ireland. Martin, aided by his imaginary friend, has a unique perspective on life. His imagination comes into play both in his childish drawings, which come alive through animation, and in the ridiculous schemes he comes up with, mostly against Seán’s better judgement. At the same time, with Seán’s help, Martin negotiates life as the youngest in a chaotic, scatter-brained family.
Meet the Moones
The good news for comedy fans is that before series one had seen the air, a second series had been commissioned by Sky with a third series now being written. Series two will transmit later this Fall in the UK with series one coming to public television in early 2014. In the interim…Happy Friday!
Behind-the scenes with Moone Boy
It always seems like this time of year, when films begin to emerge for Oscar consideration, there are an endless number of films that come out where the description begins with ‘if you see one movie this year, see this one’. 99.9% of the time, those are promotional words that aren’t worth the time it took to write the sentence. In the case of the forthcoming documentary, Hawking, it falls into the .01% and is definitely true.
Hawking is the new documentary film about the notoriously private and, at the same time, world’s most celebrated physicist, Stephen Hawking, the author of ‘A Brief History of Time’. Hawking’s story, from his early days as a student through his battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, to his status as a bestselling author, is narrated by the man himself, telling his own life story in his own words. Given unprecedented personal access to the physicist, filmmaker Stephen Finnigan delves into memories of Hawking’s student days, recounts his astonishing scientific discoveries, and portrays his struggle against Motor Neurone Disease, with which Hawking, now 71, was first diagnosed at age 21. It’s an intimate and inspiring portrait of a truly remarkable man.
Someone with more than a passing knowledge and interest in Stephen Hawking is Benedict Cumberbatch. Back in 2004, before Sherlock and, actually, pre-most everything in his career with the exception of Fortysomething, Benedict Cumberbatch played Hawking in a relatively obscure but extremely well-done drama series. In the forthcoming documentary, Cumberbatch talks about playing the theoretical physicist in his early struggles with motor neurone disease.
“I felt a huge onus of responsibility to get that part of his life right,” Cumberbatch says. “It’s a terrifying prospect to have a completely functioning mind inside a body that locks you in, that keeps you stationary. One of the things I wanted to get right was to show the progression of his condition and show where the instability and fear came from.”
Cumberbatch was nominated for a BAFTA for his portrayal of Hawking as a PhD at Cambridge University, when he was diagnosed with the debilitating condition.
A Darlow Smithson Production in association with Channel 4 and PBS, Hawking will be released in the UK on 20 September with a tentative January 2014 small screen broadcast in the U.S on PBS. No word yet on a theatrical release in the States or a Channel 4 broadcast in the UK. Whenever it is, ‘if you see one movie this year, see this one’.
Not wanting to be the last one invited to the Doctor Who 50th anniversary party, the Royal Albert Hall decided to host to a very special evening of their own with a guest list to top all guest lists including Daleks, Cybermen, the Tardis and, of course, Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman. Being that it was Royal Albert Hall and it was the Proms, it is fitting that the night belonged to Murray Gold and a celebration of his amazing musical score. Those not in attendance were treated to the televised version this past week on BBC One.
Given the success of the Doctor Who Prom, one can’t help but think that a Sherlock Prom is not to far behind. With the same, if not a more rabid fanbase (yes, it is my iPhone ringtone) and an equally as brilliant score by Sherlock composer David Arnold, it could happen. RadioTimes.com caught up with Arnold at the Edinburgh TV Festival, and immediately put the question to him as to whether or not there could ever be a Sherlock Prom.
“There’s a lot of music in Sherlock,” Arnold told Radio Times. “I do it with Michael Price so it’s a proper two-hander and we did an orchestral suite, an eight-minute thing which we did in Manchester with Birmingham Symphony Orchestra a few weeks ago, and it does take quite well to the concert hall. As fans are acutely aware, the music in Sherlock should be listed in the credits right up there with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Arnold, who has also composed the score for five Bond films and was the musical director of last year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games, definitely believes there’s enough material already in the first two series of Sherlock. “There’s so much music in the show, there’s an hour and ten minutes in every episode of music. You’ve got 230 minutes of music per season so now we’ve got 460 minutes of music.”
All you have to do is remember the hauntingly brilliant theme to be able to visualize what an amazing night this would be. While I wouldn’t head over to Kensington Gore just yet, my guess is that a Sherlock Prom is not too far off from being a reality in the not too distant future.
When the initial pitch for Doc Martin came from series star Martin Clunes and wife, television producer Philippa Braithwaite, through their production company Buffalo Pictures, early thoughts from ITV were along the lines of, “Well, it doesn’t sound promising, does it? We’ve got a show about a cranky doctor who doesn’t like anyone and no one likes him.” 10+ years, 5 series and some 39 episodes later, the series about ‘the cranky doctor who doesn’t like anyone and no one likes him’ has become one of the hottest television properties coming out of the UK alongside the likes of Downton Abbey, Top Gear and Doctor Who with 208 countries including, most recently, Iran have either bought rights to the original series or are making their own versions.
And…beginning Monday, 2 September, Doc Martin returns with the premiere of series 6 on ITV1. At this point U.S. fans who watch on public television can expect the series to premiere in a January/February 2014 time frame.
As production began this past Spring on series 6, Clunes, who brilliantly portrays the curmudgeonly medic with a blood phobia and zero bedside manner, eluded to the fact that the upcoming series would be the last. “Well, that’s the kind of thing that happens when they let me out on my own,” said Clunes.
Thankfully, that sentiment was short-lived as welcome news came this week for Doc Martin fans in all 209 countries (including the UK), gives cause for celebration as Clunes announced, “No, we’re not talking about ‘last series’ any more. I love being down in Cornwall and I love being rude and rough to the elderly and to children, too. It’s my dream job!”.
You’ll have to exercise a bit of patience if Clunes’ dream job, as he calls it, is to continue for a seventh series. Given Clunes’ commitment to family and other projects, down time between series have averaged in the neighborhood of 12-18 months. We all know it will be well worth the wait.
Since the beginning time, even though you have the Earl of Grantham, Matthew Crawley, Mr. Carson, Bates and Thomas, Downton Abbey has been all about the ladies for its first three seasons. As the Dowager Countess goes, so goes Downton, electricity or no electricity. Audiences can’t get enough of Ladies Mary, Edith and Sybil. Downstairs has ladies of its own with Anna, Daisy, Mrs. Patmore and Mrs. Hughes.
With series 4 just around the corner, it’s time to meet the men of Downton Abbey. Executive producer, Gareth Neame, attempted to set the stage for those counting the days to the premiere of series 4. “As much as people were devastated by the loss of Matthew, with some people almost grieving as they would for a real person, those are the dynamics of this show. No one is suffering more than widowed Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery). We do see quite a bit of the Mary she was before she met Matthew, that icy iron-maiden quality,” says Neame. “It’s going to take an awful lot to get her back to life.”
Series 4, which begins six months after the still unbelievably shocking death of Matthew at the end of series 3, will bring three new faces all willing to do what they can to ‘get Lady Mary back to life’. William Keck over at TV Guide put together a quick synopsis for those fans that can’t tell the players without a scorecard.
Up first is the dashing Lord Gillingham, an old family friend. Lord Gillingham (Tom Cullen) comes to Downton for a lavish house party in the second episode and offers Mary advice on inheritance taxes. “Mary is not looking for anyone to replace Matthew, but she is, of course, a beautiful, eligible young widow, so inevitably there is going to be quite a lot of male interest,” Neame says. “Gillingham is a very useful friend to Mary at a time when she’s not able to make decisions.”
In episode three, Mary’s loved ones convince her to leave the house. She accompanies Branson, Rose and Aunt Rosamund to London’s Lotus jazz club, where they meet Jack Ross, a suave singer from Chicago played by Gary Carr (Death in Paradise). “The spine of the new season is how Mary moves from total bereavement into turning to life again,” Neame says. “Ross is very positive, ambitious and charming. And we get to see him perform.”
Finally, in episode four, Evelyn Napier returns to Downton for the first time since his Turkish friend Kemal Pamuk died in Mary’s bed back in Season 1. He brings along a new associate, Charles (Julian Ovenden), to help Downton run more efficiently. Mary and Charles instantly dislike each other — kind of like how Mary first viewed Matthew. “There’s a bit of a difference,” Neame says. “Mary objected to the law making Matthew the heir to Downton. Blake is someone she just doesn’t like. He’s modern-thinking but does not share the family’s sentimentality about the past.”
Don’t know about you, but I am so ready for this….
Excellent news out of the UK Friday with the announcement by ITV that the brilliant Sally Wainwright police procedural series, Scott and Bailey, has been commissioned for a fourth series. Production will begin in Spring 2014. Based on an idea by Suranne Jones and Sally Lindsay, who plays Bailey’s sister Alison in the drama, Scott and Bailey follows two female detectives who are part of the Major Incident Team (i.e. murder investigation, etc.) in Manchester.
Wainwright, who also wrote Last Tango in Halifax, which will have its U.S. premiere on PBS beginning September 8, will also executive produce the new series which has not only become one of ITV’s most popular dramas (ok, it’s hasn’t entered Downton Abbey territory just yet) but has also become a favorite in the States as being authentic, pure and simple. It’s dark, gritty and humorous, at times. This is neither Luther, which is the definition of dark and gritty, nor is it Rizzoli & Isles. It’s real.
For series 4, Lesley Sharp and Suranne Jones will reprise their roles as Janet Scott and Rachel Bailey with the great Amelia Bullmore not only returning as DCI Gill Murray but expected to write four of the scripts for the new series. While series 3 has already transmitted in the UK, it has yet to premiere on public television in the States, so we’ll begrudgingly resist the temptation to talk about it other than to say it only massively ramps up the real factor and that guest star Nicola Walker (Spooks, Last Tango in Halifax) is off the charts brilliant. But, we can show the promo…
So, if in the UK, sleep well with the knowledge that there will be more come Autumn 2014, most likely, while U.S. fans of the series get set for series 3 also knowing there will be more S&B greatness.