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With Moriarty ‘out of the way’, Sherlock finds a new evil playmate

August 1, 2013

At the risk of spoiling series 3 of the BBC/PBS ‘masterpiece’, Sherlock, I think it’s safe to say that Sherlock Holmes does survive his series 2 ending leap off the St Barts rooftop. What isn’t officially known, however, is whether or not his evil running buddy, Moriarty, is officially dead. Conventional wisdom says yes, but remember, this is not only Moriarty, it’s also Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, the two people that love to play mind games about as much as Moriarty.

What started out as a good old-fashioned cat and mouse game with Moriarty forcing Sherlock to solve mysteries within a time limit and taking hostages to ensure that Sherlock is properly motivated, continued with Moriarty trying to justify his existence by telling Sherlock, “Every fairytale needs a good old-fashioned villain. You need me, or you’re nothing.” It ended with a final rooftop confrontation that saw Moriarty shoot himself in the head and Sherlock leaping to his ‘death’ to activate the fail-safe.

Exit Moriarty, enter Charles Augustus Magnussen
 
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As filming began this week on the final episode of series 3, it was announced that Danish actor, Lars Mikkelsen, who appeared in the original version of The Killing and Borgen, will play Sherlock’s new nemesis, Charles Augustus Magnussen. While Executive producer Sue Vertue did confirm the casting, not much is being known as to the storyline beyond the title of the series 3 finale, “His Last Vow”. However, the thought is that Magnussen is, most likely, based on the character of Charles Augustus Milverton, who appeared in a 1904 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle short story, ‘The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton’ which saw Holmes and Watson confront the title character, a murderous blackmailer.

Moriarty or Charles Augustus Magnussen…let the games begin.

New Tricks adds a new ‘old dog’ for series 10

July 31, 2013

The Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad (UCOS) are back as New Tricks series 10 returned Tuesday night with a two-part special that took them abroad for the first time. The investigation leads the team, headed by DS Sandra Pullman (Amanda Redman), to the port of Gibraltar where they have to work hand in hand with the local police force to solve two separate murders linked by the same gun.
 
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New Tricks 10 facing an uphill battle

While ex-DCS Gerry Standing (Dennis Waterman) will remain in the UCOS, making him the only original cast member still standing, the 10-year old series faces an uphill battle having had to deal with the earlier departure of James Bolam and now, will be faced with both Amanda Redman and Alun Armstrong set to leave during the series’ 10th series.

To combat the losses, Denis Lawson (Bleak House, Holby City) was added to the cast during the ninth series to replace the departing ex-DCS Jack Halford (Bolam). Then, New Tricks 10 will also see the addition of Nicholas Lyndhurst (After You’ve Gone, Goodnight Sweetheart, Only Fools and Horses) as Dan Griffin, a former diplomatic protection officer. Dan is an interesting character with an inscrutable face and an air of mystery surrounding him. While the old dogs, Standing, in particular, are a bit suspicious of the ‘new dog’ early on, he soon proves his worth to the team bringing with him the combination of a smart, analytical brain and a dark and dry sense of humor. One final cast update has Tamzin Outhwaite (Eastenders) replacing Amanda Redman as boss of the UCOS team.
 
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It’s still up in the air as to whether or not New Tricks can survive such a monumental cast changes. While history might dictate that abrupt, major cast changes are survivable (e.g. Doctor Who, Spooks), it’s going to be an uphill battle for the 10-year old series that began last night on BBC One. Fans in the States can look forward to seeing series 10 in 2014 on public television stations nationwide. When the New Tricks UCOS team works its final investigation, lets hope it’s due to the end of fresh script ideas and not that the stellar cast being assembled was never given a chance.

New pics from ‘Downton Abbey 4′

July 30, 2013

With each passing day, Downton Abbey fans worldwide are a day closer to the series 4 premiere of Planet Earth’s favorite period drama. Thanks to Jace Lacob of Buzzfeed who supplied these exclusive photos from DA4 giving us a first glimpse of both Baby Sybil and George (no, not that George). With series 4, both Lady Mary and Branson find themselves in similar single parent situations thanks to the hand of series creator/writer, Julian Fellowes. Don’t feel too bad for them, however. Remember that there will continue to be an army of servants downstairs at Downton to help along with the rumors that both will find a new love interest this series.
 
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Image by © Nick Briggs/Carnival Film and Television Limited 2013 for PBS MASTERPIECE

Cast additions for series 4 will immediately go to work to upset the Crawley world as we know it. Gary Carr, who will shake up the storyline by being the first black character, jazz musician and singer Jack Ross, in the period drama. Daisy Lewis’s conniving governess to baby Sybil, who sources say, will attempt to begin an affair with the her widowed father Tom Branson and Paul Giamatti joins the cast as as Harold, the ‘maverick playboy’ son of Martha Levinson (Shirley MacLaine) and brother to Lady Cora (Elizabeth McGovern).
 
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While most of the ‘upstairs’ were filming the Christmas special at Downton for one of Martha’s society picnics, ‘downstairs’ inhabitants spent the day shooting in Central London. Nothing screams Downton Abbey like a 1920′s traditional red London bus on set, does it?
 
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23 November – The Day the Earth Stands Still for Doctor Who 50th

July 29, 2013

While we wouldn’t have expected anything less from the greatest Traveling Time Lord of all-time (yes, including both Gort and Klaatu), this is perhaps the coolest thing on the planet since…(nothing to insert here). Designed to avoid plot leaks or spoilers that with the technology that exists today is virtually impossible, the 50 years in the making special 3-D episode of Doctor Who will be globally simulcast in approximately 200 countries around the world on November 23. The BBC announced its plans last week for the long-awaited episode of Doctor Who, which will air at 7:00p on BBC One in the UK with an 2p ET/1p CT/11a PT start on BBC America in the States.

It’s always been our ambition to work with our broadcast partners so that international ‘Doctor Who’ fans can enjoy the 50th Anniversary special at the same time as the UK. We’ll have more details soon about our very exciting global plans for November“, said BBC Worldwide, the BBC’s commercial arm, in a statement.
 
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The planned global telly simulcast, expected to reach more than 100 million viewers, is being billed as the biggest global drama simulcast in history. It will also be screened in cinemas in the UK.

Somewhat fittingly for a show about a time lord, it looks like ‘Doctor Who’ fans around the world are going to have to set their alarm clocks to make sure that they catch the series’ 50th Anniversary Special this November,” The Hollywood Reporter notes. Somehow, any true Doctor Who fan won’t need an alarm clock. We all know they won’t be going to sleep the night before…

Queen’s cousin joins cast of ‘Downton Abbey 4′

July 28, 2013

Flora Oglivy, 45th in line to the throne joins cast of Downton Abbey 4As production continues on Downton Abbey 4, given recent cast additions, there will probably be a telly or two in Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Kensington Palace, Clarence House and Balmoral Castle tuned in when the series returns in September on ITV1 in the UK (January 5, 2014 in the States). According to Royal Central, the leading independent source for the latest news on the British Royal Family, Flora Ogilvy, who is the first cousin twice removed of Her Majesty The Queen will be given a role in the new series of Downton Abbey.

The 18-year-old granddaughter of Princess Alexandra, 45th in line to the throne, is to take the role of an extra in the cast as opposed to a main character on set. She recently joined cast and crew filming for the show while on her gap-year after finishing at Rugby School, one of the oldest independent boarding schools in Britain. Flora is due to start at St Andrews University in September when Downton will return for its fourth series.

Ogilvy is the daughter of James Ogilvy, who is the son of HRH Princess Alexandra. Princess Alexandra is, in turn, a first cousin of Her Majesty The Queen through George V.

Rest assured, Miss Ogilvy will not miss any royal engagement responsibilities…she doesn’t perform any, living as a private citizen. She does attend the annual Trooping the Colour and the balcony appearance at Buckingham Palace thereafter.

What? Blackadder at German prisoner-of-war camp, Colditz Castle?

July 27, 2013

Unfortunately, we’ve all heard the endless rumors before. The last one was the idea of setting Blackadder in the swingin’ 60′s as a Dave Clark Five-type band with a drummer by the name of Bald Rick. The newest addition to the rumor mill making its way around the Internets has Blackadder in the German prisoner-of-war camp, Colditz Castle. This, however, may be a bit more of an idea than a rumor after an appearance by producer John Lloyd as he revealed on BBC Breakfast that he and star Rowan Atkinson had the idea of making either a new series of the show, or a feature film, based around the World War II setting.
 
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Rowan and I had this great idea, because we’re all getting a bit old now, of doing a ‘Dad’s Army’, that they are a platoon in Walmington-on-Sea, and they get kidnapped by a German submarine and taken to Colditz and they all have to escape.” While he did admit that all those involved in the program have their own projects to concentrate on so it may never advance beyond the idea stage but, he added that “Tony Robinson is probably very nearly 70 now and it would be just about the right age, and I think quite funny, don’t you?

Ok, while it would be a bit difficult to ‘get the band back together’ from a scheduling standpoint, one of the primary hurdles of getting Hugh Laurie to carve out time has gotten a boost now that Dr. Gregory House has hung up his stethoscope. Even though his time and efforts have shifted to focus on his first love of blues music, I’m just sayin’ there could be a chance…

Now empty, BBC Television Centre bits up for auction

July 26, 2013

As we reported in a recent Tellyspotting report, the classic BBC Television Centre is like the parrot in a Monty Python sketch. It has ceased to be. It’s an ex-Television Centre. Bereft of life, the Centre has gone to meet the choir invisible. Like Elvis, production staff and crew have left the building.

Now that staff has gone, the auctioneers have moved in, selling off everything that’s not nailed down (and some things that were) and left behind in the old office space (unfortunately, no red staplers that I could find). Phase 1 of the auction, which focused on the BBC Canteen, closed on 27 June. The remainder of Phase 2, which features office and memorabilia, closes within the next 24 hours so make your first bid your best bid.

Just in case you think there’s nothing you can’t live without, there are over 1200 lots of items that are up for sale. While some have closed, there are still an endless number of items that no home should be without. Unfortunately, one of the must-have items from my standpoint just closed last night…a replica Kryten head from Red Dwarf. Would have looked great on anyone’s mantle, don’t you think?
 
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Another item that might be of particular interest to British comedy fans, beyond the Orville Redenbacher popcorn machine that was in the Television Centre’s breakroom, obviously, that also sadly closed just last night was a quite fashionable Exorcist head from French and Saunders. That said, even though a lot of the cool memorabilia is gone, there’s lots of cool retro furniture from Television Centre and an endless quantity of ‘various BBC sound effects on Vinyl’ available. Remember, you can’t win if you don’t bid.

‘Spaced’: The beginning of ‘The World’s End’?

July 25, 2013

Having been one of the ‘chosen ones’ to have been able to see a pre-screening of the Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg film, The World’s End, my mind immediately began to wander (no comments, please) as I left the cinema to just how much I love the earlier Channel 4 comedy series, Spaced. Brilliantly conceived and written by Jessica Hynes (Twenty Twelve) and Simon Pegg, co-starring the greatness of Nick Frost and directed by Edgar Wright to perfection, it’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 15 years since Spaced premiered.

Thinking back on their prior efforts before they made the leap to the big screen with Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and now, The World’s End, there is obvious cinema-love going on here. With Spaced it was brilliant. Thankfully, one of the beauties of the Internet is that, most likely, when you think of something, someone has already compiled everything together in brilliant fashion. In this case, the Digital Spy folks have done just that with Spaced. A huge tip of the hat to them for putting my post-screening thoughts into words and video.

Spaced “Robot Fight Club”
 

 
The first rule of Robot Club is, you do not talk about Robot Club!” With a ‘what if’ nod to what would happen if the worlds of Philippa Forrester, host of Robot Wars and Brad Pitt, star of Fight Club crossed paths, this episode featured Tim (Pegg) and Mike (Frost) attempt to reclaim their masculinity by constructing their own Robot Wars-style machine and do battle in an underground fight club. What happens? In a word, carnage.

Spaced “Star Wars: Team Briefing”
 

 
Here, Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back nods all around as the Colin rescue briefing scene below, complete with role assignment and a a bit of a tricked up John Williams remix.

Spaced “The Matrix: Say Hello to my Little Friend”
 

 
This clip is actually better than any The Matrix sequel to be honest. In the premiere of series 2, Daisy returns to find herself targeted by a pair of sharp-suited ‘agents’ played by Mark Gatiss and Kevin Eldon. The standout moment happens in a pub (maybe a precursor to The World’s End perhaps?) and a fast-paced fight scene.

Spaced “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: Kitchen Nightmare”
 

 
Daisy (Hynes) takes a job in a restaurant kitchen only to have her soul crushed by boss Tina, (Cuckoo’s Nest’s Nurse Ratched) played by Joanna Scanlan. The usual Edgar Wright attention to detail plays out with the near-perfect aligning of other characters in the scene to their movie counterparts to pay tribute to this Jack Nicholson classic.

Spaced “Pulp Fiction: Pop Fiction”
 

 
Jessica Hynes is Bruce Willis and Nick Frost is John Travolta in this great bit saluting Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 masterpiece. While Pulp Fiction has been parodied endlessly over the past two decades, nobody has really tackled this moment before or since Spaced.

Thanks again to Digital Spy for their compilation, thanks to those that made the original movies and special thanks to Simon Pegg, Jessica Hynes, Edgar Wright and Nick Frost for their deep appreciation of cinema. The World’s End premieres Friday, August 23 in theaters across the U.S.

Sherlock 4 confirmed as we get title confirmations for Sherlock 3!

July 24, 2013

The great thing about every day that passes is that it means we are one day closer to when Sherlock 3 transmits no matter where you hang your hat on Planet Earth. On the heels of the minimal teases and spoilers that came out of last weeks San Diego Comic-Con regarding any hint as to how Holmes survives the fall off the rooftop of St Barts, we now have titles for the three feature films (still can’t bring myself to call them ‘episodes’ as they are ‘feature film’ good) that will comprise the upcoming series 3. Drum roll please…

The Empty Hearse, The Sign of Three & His Last Vow

Written by Steven Moffat, filming is set to begin on Monday, 29 July, with the title being a bit of a play upon the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle short story entitled, ‘His Last Bow’, which is the final chronological story written to feature Sherlock Holmes and Doctor John Watson.
 
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AND, the big Sherlock news coming out of San Diego….

No, not how he survives the rooftop fall. Even better. While Benedict Cumberbatch did let it slip earlier this year that he had signed up for another bit of telly greatness, producer Sue Vertue confirmed the news by saying that both Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman had been ‘optioned’ for a fourth series! “There is definitely going to be a fourth series,” she said. “We just haven’t decided when we’re going to do it…I think as long as everyone wants to keep doing it, we’ll keep doing it.

Don’t know about you, but that’s enough for me to take it to the bank and start looking for clues in series 3 as to what series 4 will be about.

First glimpse of Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate

July 23, 2013

In 2006, an Iceland-based outfit called The Sunshine Press launched the website WikiLeaks.org. The site’s mandate involved regularly publishing top-secret documents and covert information, often regarding governments and their respective military operations. By creating a platform that allowed whistleblowers to anonymously leak covert data, a huge debate ensued between those who admired the organization’s courage and resourcefulness, and those who argued that the dissemination of data regarding such events as the U.S. war in Afghanistan could put untold numbers of lives at risk.

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Australian Internet activist, Julian Assange, The Fifth Estate is based on real events and adapted from the book by and told from the point of view of Assange’s friend Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl). It follows the journey of Assange and his colleagues as the controversial website and its founder become their own media story and WikiLeaks’ popularity sparks a conflict between the two Internet sleuths.
 

 
As you can see from the first trailer that has just been released, the story begins as WikiLeaks founder Assange and Domscheit-Berg team up to become underground watchdogs of the privileged and powerful. However, when Assange and Berg gain access to the biggest trove of confidential intelligence documents in U.S. history, they battle each other and what has become the defining question of our time: what are the costs of keeping secrets in a free society—and what are the costs of exposing them?

With a targeted release date of October 11 in the States, look for Downton Abbey-ex, Dan Stevens, playing the role of Ian Katz, former deputy editor of The Guardian and one of the newspapers original contacts with WikiLeaks. Katz left the Guardian this month and has joined the BBC as editor of BBC 2′s Newsnight beginning in September. Also, Peter Capaldi (The Thick of It, The Hour) stars as Guardian editor, Alan Rusbridger.

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