Christopher Foyle enters the world of MI-5
Confirmed at the PBS Annual Meeting this past week in Miami Beach is the return to Foyle’s War to the PBS schedule this Fall as part of the Masterpiece Mystery! series. Beginning Sunday, September 15, Michael Kitchen will return in his new role as Senior Intelligence Officer for a new series of Foyle’s War which will be comprised of 3, two-hour programs set during the early period following World War II. Foyle will now focus his attention on the world of espionage as he transitions from World War to Cold War. It’s a rather big adjustment for Foyle as he is now faced with a British establishment that is rife with communist sympathizers and traitors.
As Foyle now spends his time gathering secret intelligence in support of Britain’s security, defense and the Government’s foreign and economic policies, the first of three mysteries, “The Eternity Ring”, begins in New Mexico in 1945 before switching to London a year later.
Originally part of PBS’ Mystery series in 2004 and running on ITV in the UK since 2002, it’s been three years since we last crossed paths with Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle. According to novelist and screenwriter Anthony Horowitz, who wrote episodes 1 and 3, the new Foyle’s War will begin in a post-war era Britain. Besides Kitchen returning as Foyle, Honeysuckle Weeks returns as Samantha Stewart, Foyle’s driver who provided valuable assistance over the years. You may remember that Sam’s love interest, former Bletchley Park codebreaker and local MP Adam Wainwright, proposed to her in the final episode of the last series. Well, Sam is now happily married and finding her feet as a wife with a daunting role in local politics. Reunited with Foyle, however, also offers a surprising new working role.
While it has seemed like an eternity since we last spent time with Christoper Foyle (3 years to be exact), remember that Foyle ‘retired’ at the end of series 7 (series 6 in the U.S.). Retirement is short-lived, however, as someone is stealing documents from the Soviet Embassy. Folks over at MI-5 (not Harry Pearce) want him to investigate the suspected Russian who defected with the documents and the possible passing of secrets to the Commies. Doing her best to convince Foyle to join the ranks of MI-5 is Ellie Haddington (The Cafe, Spies of Warsaw).
Why Foyle, you’re asking at this point? Because his former driver, Samantha, has been photographed with a suspected Russian agent.
The Twitter universe lit up on Wednesday with the ‘announcement’ that Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs would be joining the cast of Downton Abbey, as the first black cast member.
Diddy had issued teasers throughout Wednesday, with a post saying: “How many of y’all out there are Downton Abbey fans?”, followed by “I’m going to be making a big announcement in the next hour – im excited for yall to hear!” The rapper then wrote: “I have to admit that Downton Abbey is one of my favorite shows – and thats why Im so excited today @DowntonAbbey”.
Having already appeared in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and the most recent incarnation of Hawaii Five-0 one would immediately think that the Julian Fellowes creation would be the next logical step in Diddy’s career on the small screen.
Sadly, Diddy will not be starring in Downton Abbey, in spite of apparently claiming he would be taking a recurring role in the hit costume drama. He furthered the idea by teasing that a 12mid sneak peek would be available showing some of his work as he is introduced to a somewhat bewildered Downton staff. The US rapper turned out to have been promoting a skit on Will Ferrell’s Funny Or Die website. Unfortunately, as you can imagine, there are some strong language issues that prevent putting the clip here, but it’s well worth a look if you want at the Funny or Die website.
Quick to respond, US co-producer, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), was quick to put an end to the rumor with a very simple: “It’s not true.“
The excrutiatingly long wait for the return of Case Histories ends this Sunday, 19 May as BBC One has set the transmission date for the premiere. Jason Isaacs, probably best known for his role as Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies, is back as the dashing, yet troubled private investigator, Jackson Brodie, with three new 90-minute cold cases based on the novels by Kate Atkinson. Even though Isaacs is about 18 months removed from the role since filming ended on series one, he relishes the thought of jumping back into Isaac’s tough-guy exterior who possesses a deeply empathetic heart who never resists the temptation to ‘come to the rescue’ along with some significant emotional scar tissue.
“He seems to be everything a women would want in a man, including how horribly messed up he is,” says Isaacs.”He’s one of those guys who women think they should be able to save. They don’t really want him – if they actually came across someone like Jackson it would be a nightmare. He’s a fantasy figure.”
It’s been just this side of two years since series one transmitted in the UK. At that time, Brodie finally had seemed to be coming to terms with the childhood death of his sister. He was resigned to the fact his young daughter and estranged wife were moving to the other side of the world. Romance was blossoming with DC Louise Munroe, played by Amanda Abbington. Or so it seemed.
While very little is known about the storylines for series 2 other than Victoria Wood will join the cast for the first story, which is adapted from Atkinson’s novel ‘Started Early, Took My Dog’, let’s hope that producers keep the hauntingly great soundtrack as an integral part of Isaac’s life. No word yet as to a possible broadcast premiere on PBS in the States, but as soon as we know something, you’ll be the first to read it here…
With a majority of the commercial networks setting their Fall schedules this week with their respective upfront presentations to advertisers, PBS announced Tuesday at their annual meeting in Miami Beach the date of January 5, 2014 for the long-awaited return of Downton Abbey and the premiere of series 4.
Approximately 8 million viewers tuned in last January for the premiere of series 3 on PBS, which aired a full three months after the UK premiere on ITV1. With a double digit increase in audience for series 3 over series 2, there seemed little reason to break something that isn’t broken and premiere the program closer to the UK premiere which should, again, be in September of 2013.
With the series set for a 2-hour premiere on January 5, it will run for 8 weeks, ending on February 23. With the Oscars now pushed back a week to avoid the closing ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics, the final episode of Downton Abbey will take its chances against the Olympics rather than taking on the Academy Awards.
Other announcements made Tuesday that would be of interest to readers of Tellyspotting were almost too numerous to mention. In a nutshell…
Still on the table is what to do with the upcoming third series of Sherlock. Of particular note, however, is the expressed desire to get the PBS broadcast to align as closely as possible to the UK premiere which is still yet to be determined. That news made the entire trip worthwhile for the some 950+ people in attendance, including Tellyspotting.
Deservedly, the brilliance of Twenty Twelve, the mock documentary comedy series chronicling the organization of the 2012 London Olympics, was rewarded on Sunday with a 2013 BAFTA television award for Best Sitcom. Olivia Colman was also a winner on Sunday taking home the award for Best Female Performance in a Comedy Program up against fellow Twenty Twelve co-star, Jessica Hynes.
Colman, who plays Sally Owen, Ian Fletcher’s personal assistant in Twenty Twelve, is also equally as brilliant as Alex Smallbone in Rev. Even though the 2012 London Olympics have long since past, Twenty Twelve is well worth another look. Along with Colman and Hynes, the series stars a number of familiar faces including Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey, Mr. Stink), Amelia Bullmore (Scott and Bailey) and Karl Theobald (Green Wing, Primeval).
For the upcomming 2012 Olympics, digital is one of the most crucial things for a modern brand manager to get right, so the pressure is on for Siobhan (Jessica Hynes) to explain her strategy. Twitter, Facebook, Mashable and even MySpace all have their part to play in creating the digital legacy for the games. Here, to refresh your own individual mind palace before you set up a marathon viewing session…
Looking to capitalize on Downton Abbey mania, PBS has commissioned a multi-generational American drama with all the hallmarks of the hit British drama — an arranged marriage, class conflict, sweeping vistas and history. Leave it to the New York Post to call it Downton Abbey…with flava.
The PBS pilot, which carries the working title “Alta California”, will be set in 1800s California and revolves around merging family fortunes, one rich Mexican, the other European American. Those themes include class conflict and history as well as great landscapes. “Alta California” will tell the story of an arranged union between two families – one Mexican-Californian and the other European-American.
The proposed series is to be created by Dennis T. Leoni, whose series “Resurrection Blvd” tells the story of three generations of boxers within the East Los Angeles Santiago family. It aired for three seasons on Showtime making it the longest-running Latino dramatic series in the history of American television and starred Tony Plana and Nicholas Gonzalez.
More news throughout the week as Tellyspotting files reports from the PBS Annual Meeting in Miami. Lots of upcoming Masterpiece programming news for 2013-2014 including, hopefully, a hint at possible broadcast plans for Sherlock 3, Downton Abbey 4, Mr. Selfridge 2 and Call the Midwife 3. Stay tuned…..
Ok, I’m having a really hard time with both of these. Harder than my usual rant when it comes to the concept of an across the pond re-do of a successful series. Seems as though the U.S and the UK are getting ready to trade remake attempts of highly successful situation comedy series in the not-too-distant future.
Fox orders full series of U.S. Gavin & Stacey
As we reported some time back, Fox had earlier piloted a U.S. version of the British mega-hit, Gavin & Stacey. Now, according to reports, they have now ordered a full series starring Jason Ritter (Parenthood) and Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls).
Ritter will play city boy, Gavin, with Bledel starring as his small-town girlfriend, Stacey. The comedy/drama, like its UK counterpart, will follow the couple whose burgeoning romance is constantly at the mercy of their friends and family. What does give reason for hope is that, unlike the ill-fated first attempt from ABC, which was not to involve its British creators, James Corden and Ruth Jones, but instead, the writing duties would be by U.S. sitcom writers of According to Jim, the Fox version will not only involve both Corden and Jones, but Steve Coogan, who executive-produced the pilot.
UK’s Everybody Loves Raymond set in Chester
Not to be outdone, BBC1 viewers will soon be able to see a pilot for a British version of the hit U.S. comedy, Everybody Loves Raymond starring Lee Mack (Not Going Out) and Catherine Tate (Catherine Tate Show, Doctor Who). Written by Mack, The Smiths will be set in Cheshire and stick fairly close to the original which follows a successful sportswriter who lives opposite his overbearing family.
While, I’m probably unfairly not crazy about this one either, there is reason for hope here also given the cast but also, as Radio Times points out, ‘much of the comedy for Raymond came from his inability to take anything seriously and penchant for making jokes in the most inappropriate of situations, much like Mack’s alter-ego in his hit sitcom Not Going Out.
That said, the strengths of both the UK Gavin & Stacey and the U.S. version of Everybody Loves Raymond go well beyond the stars for each series. The brilliant ensemble casts played a big role in their respective successes. It’s hard to imagine how you can duplicate the genius of Rob Brydon or Peter Boyle but, I wish them both well as they seem to be starting off the right way so far at least.
I can only imagine the commissioning pitch for Mad Dogs. Probably started off as ‘…it’s somewhat of a Fargo meets Twin Peaks meets Sexy Beast meets Mulholland Drive mash-up’. Thankfully and selfishly, for me, Mad Dogs was commissioned because it is pure guilty pleasure telly greatness.
To start with, it has an unbeatable cast including John Simm (Life on Mars, Doctor Who), Philip Glenister (Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes), Marc Warren (Hustle, and Max Beesley (Hotel Babylon). I’m mean, c’mon, it’s DCI Gene Hunt, the Master in Doctor Who, Danny Blue and Charlie Edwards all together. Mad Dogs starts out as an innocent long weekend for Rick, Baxter, Woody and Quinn with their mate Alvo at his villa in Majorca. Seems as though Alvo has paid for the whole trip, to celebrate with his closest friends the selling his business. That’s about the sanest split second in the entire first three series so far…
If you’re wondering what you are in for before you commit to a marathon catch-up, consider that the series begins with Alvo being murdered by a very small man wearing a Tony Blair mask, catapulting the ‘luxury weekend’ into a ‘holiday in hell’…and that’s being way too kind. The rest is impossible to explain without giving too much away. Actually, it’s just impossible to explain.
With series 3 set to being on Sky in the UK on Tuesday, 4 June at 9:00pm, anyone wanting to play catch up with a series 1 & 2 guilty pleasure telly marathon before June, you won’t regret it. And, if you are worrying that once you plow through series 1 & 2 and then watch series 3 that there will be no more, you can feel safe with the knowledge that a fourth and final series has been commissioned by Sky for transmission in 2014.
For UK readers or anyone else that has seen Mad Dogs, I’d be curious as to whether or not I’m alone in this Mad Dogs as a guilty pleasure thing….
On the virtually impossible outside chance that The Rolling Stones sound a bit off during their current “50 and Counting” tour which began this past week at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, they have a good reason. According to Downton Abbey star, Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith), guitarist Ronnie Wood confessed the Stones’ love of the ITV/PBS period drama to his friend, and her co-star, Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham).
Carmichael further explained: “They met doing charity work and Ronnie told Hugh how much they loved Downton. Apparently they were stopping rehearsals on Sunday nights in time to get back to watch it.”
Carmichael went on to pull Mick Jagger into the telly guilty pleasure mix telling The Sun recently: “It seems Mick Jagger even managed to drop a spoiler on his band mate. When Sybil passed away, Mick said to Ronnie, ‘Sad to hear about the girl’. Ronnie replied, ‘I haven’t seen it yet – I recorded it’”.
I always wondered what the inspiration was for Wild Horses. Ok, I know it was done in 1971, it’s possible…
Ok, maybe not. Sorry for that. Couldn’t resist.
The IT Crowd, which centers around the ragtag employees of a neglected IT department housed in the basement of Reynholm Industries, is getting the band back together to give the characters a ‘proper’ goodbye. Richard Ayoade (Moss), Chris O’Dowd (Roy), Katherine Parkinson (Jen), and Matt Berry (Douglas Reynholm) will all be back with filming set to begin in the next couple of weeks.
Series creator Graham Linehan, the brilliant mind behind Father Ted and Black Books) has long hinted at the possibility of a final episode but until his announcement at the recent re:publica digital conference in Germany, it has only been given two chances (slim and none) since the series ended in 2010. For U.S. fans of the series, look for the possibility of the series to air on public television stations in the not-too-distant future.
For those that may need a brief refresher course on the greatness of the IT Crowd or if you mildly curious as to what the Internet looks like….