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‘DCI Banks’ set for UK & U.S. return with new episodes

January 14, 2014

Perhaps the most intense individual on the small screen, DCI Alan Banks, is set for a return in the not-too-distant future. The third series of DCI Banks, starring Stephen Tompkinson, Andrea Lowe and Caroline Catz, will transmit soon on ITV and then follow with a public television broadcast in the States beginning in April 2014. As with the previous two series, the new set of programs are based on the internationally successful novels from the mind palace of author and Banks creator Peter Robinson. The first story, “Wednesday’s Child”, which revolves around a strange and sinister child abduction apparently undertaken by a man and a woman claiming to be social workers, is written by lead writer Robert Murphy.

The series sees the return from maternity leave of DS Annie Cabbot, played by Andrea Lowe, who is immediately thrown into an unbelievably intense case for a new single mother. Having acknowledged their feelings for one another in the last series, the new episodes introduce the added tension as to whether a romantic relationship between Banks and Annie can ever be a reality. However, there are inevitable complications as the pair come to acknowledge their own unique and challenging roles as colleagues and parents.

Caroline Catz, who seemingly takes a page out of the Doctor Martin Ellingham playbook, returns to the series playing DI Helen Morton, the disarmingly blunt and often socially inept (sound famliar?) detective who joined Banks’ team when Annie left for maternity.

The upcoming series 3 will also sees the surprise introduction of Banks’ university dropout daughter, Tracy. Although on the surface, Banks and Tracy have a good relationship, it becomes clear that neither father nor daughter really know each other as well as they pretend. The distance between the pair means Banks cannot see the real danger Tracy soon throws herself into until it is too late.

Episode 2 will be “Piece of My Heart”, where the body of a journalist in a remote village connects Banks to a death in the 1980s revolving around the surviving members of a pop band. Having read this particular Robinson novel, I cannot wait to see how they pull this off and I’m already in on buying the soundtrack. In the final story “Bad Boy”, which is adapted by Catherine Tregenna (Lewis, Law & Order: UK), a terrible chain of events is set in motion by the discovery of a loaded gun in a young girl’s bedroom, that ultimately puts Banks’ daughter in mortal danger.

‘Sherlock’ producers hint at quick series 4 turnaround…

January 13, 2014

Much like the feeling that engulfs America the day after the 7th game of the World Series, the UK will wake up Monday morning struggling with the knowledge that Sherlock 3 has come to a close. In the U.S., no matter who wins the final game of the October classic, the only thing that is assured is that the following day, there will be no baseball game that night. Last night on BBC One when the final credits faded to black on ‘His Last Vow’, the final episode in series 3 of Sherlock, the only thing that was abundantly clear is that tonight, there was to be no new episode featuring the world’s greatest consulting detective.
Sherlock 3

Following last night’s series finale on BBC One, co-creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, along with producer Sue Vertue were in the BBC studios answering questions before a live studio audience. Predictably, one of the first questions that was probably on the minds of all UK fans and, most likely, every fan in the U.S. come the morning of February 3, was: “Should we expect a similar sort of wait for the next series or are you tempted to try and get it done in a year this time?

As Moffat toyed with the audience referencing the crazy insane feature film work schedules of stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, not to mention that series co-creator, Mark Gatiss, splits his time between writing and acting while Moffat, himself, is also current Doctor Who show runner, it was producer Sue Vertue that stepped in and tamed the crowd with, “We’re working on it. We’re working on dates“. New to series 3 star, Amanda Abbington, in referencing the previous scheduling nightmares, let it be known that should producers be keen on starting up series 4 soon, now would be ok in the Freeman/Abbington household by proclaiming, “Martin’s free for now.”

Unfortunately, ‘quick’ would still mean 12 months before any new episodes, but better than the excruciatingly long 24 months between series 2 and 3. Good news for those not knowing what to do today in the UK and those in the U.S. that know what lies ahead for them on February 3.

Must See TV: PBS to ‘Unlock Sherlock’ tonight after ‘Downton Abbey’

January 12, 2014

As PBS ‘unlocks Sherlock’ at 10pET, following the second episode of Downton Abbey, we move inside of one week until the long, long, long-awaited return of Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. The one-hour special explores how writers Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss created the BBC/PBS series. In addition, the special goes behind-the-scenes on the set and includes interviews with actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman and Lara Pulver, who talk about the reinvention of their fictional characters.

When we last left Sherlock, he was executing a ‘perfect 10′ Olympic dive off the roof of St. Barts in order to ‘save’ all those close to him from Moriarty’s assassins. Next weeks series 3 premiere picks up approximately two years later. 221b Baker Street is vacant and Watson has moved on.

Thinking about a move to 221b Baker Street? Better get out your checkbook.

With the most famous address except maybe for 10 Downing Street or 165 Eaton Place ‘on the market’, the folks over at Sherlockology and Confused.com got together and put pen to paper to see just what it might be listed for. Might as well put away your checkbook…Sherlock is moving back in on Sunday, January 19 at 10pET on PBS.
The cost of 221B Baker Street infographic

Downton Abbey, S4, Ep 1 Facebook re-cap

January 11, 2014

Going virtually unnoticed what with the entire U.S. eagerly awaiting the return of Downton Abbey this past Sunday on PBS, was the realization that what was to also return were the drop-dead funny Facebook recaps of each episode over at happy place.com. Aside from actually watching the episode to frantically catch up before the next installment on Sunday, this is a perfect way to power download the highlights of everything that happened in the 2-hour premiere episode. Here are some quick bits and bobs from everyone’s timeline.


Downton Abbey S4, Ep1 – O’Brien bails out of Downton

Downton Abbey Facebook Recap - S4, Ep1

Downton Abbey S4, Ep1 – Edith gets a Valentine, Mary not so lucky

Downton Abbey Facebook Recap - S4, Ep1.2

Downton Abbey S4, Ep1 – Mary can only vote once

Downton Abbey Facebook Recap - S4, Ep1.3

Downton Abbey S4, Ep1 – Nanny West updates her timeline

Downton Abbey Facebook Recap - S4, Ep1.4

Downton Abbey S4, Ep1 – Lady Mary is a college freshman

Downton Abbey Facebook Recap - S4, Ep1.5

Click through for a full Downton Abbey series 4, episode 1 Facebook recap and get ready for Sunday. Thank goodness electricity has come to Downton. First the electric mixer, the toaster and now, the ability for everyone upstairs and down to post on Facebook. How great is this series!

‘AbFab’ movie gets go-ahead…maybe

January 10, 2014

Eddy and Pats headed to the big screen?

It’s official. Well, about as official as any announcement on The Jonathan Ross Show can make something anyway. AbFab creator, Jennifer Saunders, revealed to Ross recently that an Absolutely Fabulous big screen version is on the way. ‘On the way’ is a bit relative, however, as pen has yet to hit paper but, according to close friend and AbFab co-star, Joanna Lumley, “Jennifer tends to work to deadlines,” she said, “…so we’ve got to create a deadline and then get her there. I think with a little bit of not-too-painful pressure, a little bit of vice-like grip and a Chinese burn on the arm, it’ll happen.
AbFab - The Movie

Long-time friend and former comedy duo partner, Dawn French, added a bit of fuel to the fire as Saunders told Ross, “Yes, well I have to do it now because I’ve threatened it a lot. And then Joanna Lumley kept announcing it and saying, ‘Yes, she’s going to do it, she’s going to do it’ and then Dawn French on our radio show at Christmas said, ‘I bet £100,000 that you don’t write it.’ So now I have to write it, otherwise I have to pay her £100,000.”

A full-length big-screen feature has been rumored for some time so this might fall into the “I’ll believe it when I see it” category, but it sounds like there is enough desire now on all sides to make it happen that this time it may actually see the light of day. Thoughts?

‘Downton Abbey’ gets the Lego treatment…

January 9, 2014

Downton Abbey… in Lego?

Hey, if it’s good enough for the Winchester Pub and 221b Baker Street, it has to be good enough for Downton Abbey, right? After all, with last Sunday’s series 4 premiere topping 10 million viewers, making it the biggest drama series premiere in the history of PBS, it was only a matter of time.

Here’s how things got to where we are. Apparently, a weekly visit to Downton isn’t enough for one fan who is so fixated with the upstairs/downstairs lives of the Crawleys and their downstairs support staff. Enter, one Eric Stevens of Rochester, New York. Stevens has painstakingly recreated the British Edwardian drama out of thousands of Lego bricks. You see, Stevens loves Downton Abbey. So much so that when he found there was no existing Downton Abbey Lego set, he built one for his girlfriend as a Christmas present. You know what they say, nothing says Christmas like a custom-made Lego replica of Downton.
Downton Abbey in Lego

Besides Downton, everyone who is anyone is there…well, almost. There’s the Earl and Countess of Grantham, Bates, Branson, Mr. Carson, Lady Mary and, of course, the imposing Dowager Countess are all brought to life in brick form in his truly one-of-a-kind Lego set. Surprisingly, no Anna. What’s Downton without Anna? Heck, even Matthew and Lady Sybil are included so there should be an Anna, don’t you think?
Downton Abbey Lego family photo

The design took about 15 hours, altogether, and about four hours to actually put it together,” Stevens told the UK’s Daily Mail. “All of the characters are Lego-designed parts, rather than custom printed pieces,” he continued.

According to Stevens, he built the set using a digital designer, basing it on ground and aerial photos of the real Highclere Castle, where Downton Abbey is filmed, as well as floor plans of the building he found online. The detail is pretty amazing right down to the barely-perceptible sneer on Lego Thomas’s face. If only Nanny West could have hung around for a few more episodes….
Lego Thomas

Every mystery needs a leading lady – Miss Fisher back for more in 2014

January 8, 2014

Look out, United States, the Honourable Miss Phryne (pronounced Fry-nee) Fisher is coming back to America in 2014.

For all those who have seen series one, you understand that Miss Fisher is definitely not your parents’ Miss Marple. Phryne Fisher is a fashionably beautiful investigator with a penchant for murder cases that take her through back alleys, jazz clubs and shady neighborhoods all with a twinkle in her eye that fits right in to the risque world of 1920′s Melbourne. Phryne Fisher is equally at home solving murders with her pearl-handled Smith & Wesson as she is with a cocktail in hand, charming a long line of potential paramours in her full-length white silk coat.

Series 1 premiered last Fall on public television with a second series set for a late Spring release. Tellyspotting caught up with series star, Essie Davis, while on the set of filming the second series for a bit of a Q&A to talk about Miss Phryne Fisher. Based on author Kerry Greenwood’s novels Dead Man’s Chest, Unnatural Habits and various short stories, series 2 premiered this past Fall on ABC1 in Australia and concluded with a special Christmas episode in December.

Aside from the obvious star of the series, Essie Davis, right up there is the costume designer for Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Marion Boyce. In addition to stellar costuming and set design, series 2 features 700 extras, 130 guest stars, 76 vintage vehicles, 49 filming locations and 35 stunt actors.

While Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries still may not make you abdicate your undying allegiance to Sherlock, it is, without a doubt, worth checking out the new series episodes in the coming months on public television.

Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery is….Connie Tough in TNT’s ‘Tough Justice’

January 7, 2014

Well, our one-day departure from dishing about Downton Abbey has ended. Before we talk about Sunday’s premiere of series 4, you may be wondering just what Michelle Dockery has been up to during the hiatus between series 4 and series 5 filming. Aside from her guest appearances with fellow Downton star, Elizabeth McGovern, for several Sadie & The Hotheads gigs in London, she’s landed a part in the new TNT series, Tough Justice, with former Shield great, Michael Chiklis. Ok, just kidding, but you have to admit, she pulls it off pretty convincingly. Given some of the new offerings on, as they say, ‘other networks’, I may be interested in seeing this once Downton ends its run. WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE AHEAD

Downton Abbey S4, Ep 1 – Spoiler talk!

Now….let’s talk about Downton Abbey S4, Ep1. Where to begin, where to begin. How about that Nanny West, huh? I kind of hate to see her go even though she sealed her fate with that ‘I was just having a go’ comment of hers that Lady Cora overheard. And, how many who watched last night howled when the Dowager threatened to call for a nanny to put Robert to bed without his supper? Finally, I so can’t wait to see how the Thomas, Edna, Anna and Bates drama plays out.

Bletchley Circle returns tonight on ITV1 and April 2014 to PBS

January 6, 2014

At great personal peril, and at the risk of being the lone ranger in the U.S. today that has put aside last night’s 4th season premiere of Downton Abbey on PBS for the moment, I bring you word of the second series of the brilliant Bletchley Circle, which premieres tonight at 9pm on ITV1 in the UK.

Rest assured, U.S. fans, the series will return to the PBS schedule in April 2014. How about this for a Sunday night line-up on PBS in April? At 8pET, the 3rd series of Call the Midwife continues from its March 30 premiere, followed at 9pET by the second series of Mr. Selfridge which also returns on March 30 and, to cap off the night, the second series of Bletchley Circle which is set to premiere on April 13! Now THAT’s appointment telly.
Bletchley Circle returns for a 2nd series

Series 1, which aired in 2012, was set in 1952 and tells the story of four women who used to work as codebreakers at Bletchley Park. A series of murders take place that seem to have a pattern. The police apparently overlook the pattern, so the women start investigating themselves.

Series 2, which premieres tonight on ITV1 in the UK, is set a year later in 1953 and sees Jean (Julie Graham), Susan (Anna Maxwell Martin), Millie (Rachael Stirling) and Lucy (Sophie Rundle) ‘getting the band back together’ when former Bletchley Park colleague Alice Merren, played by Outnumbered‘s Hattie Morahan, is accused of murder.

Series 2 will be comprised of 4 new episodes, made up of two, 2-part stories. If you haven’t seen, check it out. Well worth the time….

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