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‘Mr Bean’ to become more animated in 2014

January 24, 2014

While there won’t be any renewed efforts to create more live-action episodes of the iconic Mr. Bean, the word on the street is that Rowan Atkinson and Tiger Aspect, UK production company behind the original television series which is now Endemol Beyond, is set to revive the internationally famous Mr. Bean character with a new animated series designed for initial distribution via the internet on the Mr. Bean YouTube channel and possible television broadcast this Fall.
Animated Mr. Bean

One would guess that the extent of the international name recognition and success of the character, created by Rowan Atkinson, would be the driving force behind the development of the new series. The official Mr. Bean Facebook page recently passed the 50 million ‘likes’ milestone (yes, that’s not a typo, that really is 50 MILLION). And, who can forget that memorable appearance by Rowan Atkinson during the 2012 London Olympic Games opening ceremony, which was watched by an estimated worldwide television audience of nearly 1 billion people.

So, while nothing will ever replace or live up to the greatness of live-action Mr. Bean, it’s sad to think there will, most likely, be no more, but the thought of new animated ‘Bean’ softens the blow just a bit, but only a bit.


Dishing on ‘Death in Paradise 3′ and going behind-the-scenes

January 23, 2014

***Death in Paradise series 3 spoiler alert***

Lots of Twitter chatter the past week or so after last Tuesday’s UK series 3 premiere which saw DI Richard Poole, played by Ben Miller, exit the island rather abruptly. Even though it was no secret that Poole wanted to leave this island paradise the moment he set foot on the sands of his own private hell, I’m guessing that this wasn’t the way he was planning on leaving.

Main questions from fans were ‘why so quick’ and ‘why this way’ along with a general feeling that viewers would have liked to have seen the relationship play out between Detective Sergeant Camille Bordey (Sara Martins) and DI Poole. When Miller decided to leave the show after two seasons, it was not to be, however. Replacing Miller for series 3 is Kris Marshall (My Family) as Detective Inspector Humphrey Goodman.
Death in Paradise

Fans of the series, and of Miller’s performance, were admittedly a bit skeptical as to Marshall coming on board, but from the looks and sound of things, he’s done a brilliant job so far. Reminiscent of Poole’s arrival on Saint-Marie, Goodman must quickly adjust to his new environment and hit the ground running following the clues left by Poole, himself, to solve the murder case of a fellow British policeman. Here, the ‘outgoing’ Ben Miller and ‘incoming’ Kris Marshall discuss the shocking first episode of Death In Paradise 3 whereby Miller gives some spot-on advice as to how Marshall might need to remain on the show.

Death in Paradise also stars Danny John-Jules and Gary Carr, aka Fidel and Dwayne, who recently took a break from filming the third series to take fans on a behind-the-scenes tour of Saint Marie’s Honore police station, debating the most famous prisoners they’ve ever had in their cells and, then, revealing why the scenery is so distracting that they forget their lines.

Carr, who also plays Jack Ross in the new season of Downton Abbey, recently wrote about the ‘perils’ of playing a detective in the Caribbean. Come to find out, Carr looked within his own immediate family when researching the role as his uncle has been a policeman for over 20 years in Trinidad and Tobago.

All in all, Death in Paradise has been a fun series to watch for two seasons and Marshall deserves a chance to take it to the next level for a few more.

OFAH: It’s Beckham in Peckham for Sport Relief

January 22, 2014

Voted Britain’s favorite sitcom in the 2004 Britain’s Best Sitcom poll, Only Fools and Horses will return for a one-time-only special on 21 March on BBC One as part of Sport Relief.

While original creator and sole writer on the series, John Sullivan, passed away in 2011, the new Sport Relief sketch has been written by his sons, Jim and Dan Sullivan, based on notes their father left behind. While the task of re-creating brilliance was a daunting one, they were helped along from interest by retired ex-England footballer David Beckham to be a part of the Sport Relief sketch. Beckham will be seen joining Del Boy and Rodney in a greasy spoon café in Peckham. Filmed last week, the sketch will reportedly see market trader Del marking his 65th birthday.
Beckham in Peckham

Even though the series has been a part of endless conversations and rumors of a return, its been over a decade since anyone has witnessed south London market trader Del Boy and his brother Rodney’s hourly attempts to strike it rich. The 2003 Christmas Day finale, “Sleepless in Peckham”, was seen by over 16 millions viewers.

It’s not surprising that there would be interest in resurrecting the most-popular British situation comedy of all-time given the recent success story of another Sir David Jason vehicle, Still Open All Hours, which aired on Boxing Day this past year to the delight of over 10 million viewers. The Sullivan brothers have, on numerous occasions however, stated just the opposite. Jim Sullivan reconfirmed the brothers feelings recently, “…we would like to make it clear that it is just this once, and that we are not, and never have been, looking to write any new episodes. There was only ever one writer of Only Fools And Horses, and it is going to stay that way“.

Become part of Sherlock’s ‘Homeless Network’ with new iPhone app

January 21, 2014

We used to say that you know you’ve arrived when you are subject of a Jimmy Fallon parody, a Saturday Night Life sketch or featured in a segment on Red Nose Day. Owners of all three, Downton Abbey went one step further when Lady Mary, herself, participated in a game of antler toss to promote the upcoming 4th series on PBS. But, there’s a new sheriff in the pop-culture town these days…
Michelle Dockery on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

The coolness factor has been seen and exponentially raised by Sherlock with the introduction of an official ‘iPhone app’, Sherlock: The Network. Developed by digital production company, The Project Factory, in association with series producer, Hartswood Films, the app features all-new footage with the characters of Sherlock, John and Mycroft directly addressing the user, who instantly becomes part of Sherlock’s digital savvy ‘Homeless Network’.

With Sherlock: The Network app, you’ll can assist Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch), John (Martin Freeman) and Mycroft (Mark Gatiss) on ten new cases, virtually navigating your way around London on foot, by tube or by taxi – speaking to witnesses and gathering evidence.
Sherlock - The Network iPhone app

App writer, David Varela explains, “As the story progresses, you go from being Sherlock’s eyes and ears, just doing legwork, to becoming somebody who is much more of a detective, doing much more deduction“. Ultimately, the user will be called upon to decrypt scrambled audio messages, decode secret letters and more.

Rob Barnes, Creative Director at The Project Factory, explained the lengths to which the creators went to take this to the level that would be expected by even the most ardent Sherlock fans, “There’s some video in there that was filmed by Martin Freeman, himself, we did actually use an iPhone to record some of the pieces to camera“.

The app premiered on the UK App Store on Monday and will soon be available in the U.S. Unfortunately, not soon enough as the America only has two weeks left before series 3 ends…just sayin’.

Downton Abbey’s Mrs. Patmore to guest on Fox’s ‘Raising Hope’

January 20, 2014

I’m thinking it will probably be futile to write anything that could possibly be of interest following last night’s premiere of Sherlock 3 on PBS, as you’re most likely still trying to digest everything thrown at you in “The Empty Hearse”. So, I’m afraid it’s back to Downton Abbey for just a bit. You remember that little series, don’t you?
Downton Abbey's Mrs. Patmore

Lesley Nichol, a.k.a. Mrs. Patmore, will make a guest appearance on Fox’s Raising Hope. The Crawley’s cook, who’s in charge of Downton’s kitchen, will bring her endless cheekiness and biting tongue as Eleanor, a former maid of Nana’s, played by Tippi Hedren, who comes back to work after major surgery. The episode is slated to air this Spring in the U.S. In 2013, Nichol took advantage of her Downton down time by guesting on ABC’s Once Upon a Time as Johanna, the personal maid of Queen Eva with a special connection to both her and her daughter, Snow White. I’m seeing some casting similarities here…
W1A cast

Nichol isn’t the only Downton Abbey cast member that has been busy filming prior to this February when residents of both upstairs and downstairs of Downton get the band back together and begin filming on series 5. Hugh Bonneville, Lord Grantham himself, has been filming W1A, the ‘unofficial’ sequel to the hit comedy series, Twenty Twelve. Bonneville, former Head of the Olympic Deliverance Commission, begins his new position as the Head of Values at the BBC.

Ok, enough of this. Back to Sherlock. That was a mind-blowing episode of epic proportion. While we discuss the three versions of Sherlock’s his faked suicide, here’s a trailer for episode 2, “The Sign of Three”, set to air as part of PBS’ Masterpiece series on Sunday, January 26. Obviously, do not watch if you haven’t seen episode 1.

Happy #SherlockLives Day! & Sherlock: The Musical!

January 19, 2014

#SherlockLives Day in the U.S.

Yes, I know, it’s Sunday. Must be Downton Day in America. While that may be true, I’m afraid it just might be a simple case of ‘move over Downton’ because it’s officially Sherlock Day today! A day that American audiences have been (im)patiently waiting for since that fateful day in May 2010 when series 2 ended.

Before you settle in tonight for an evening in front of the telly tuned to your favorite local (PBS, that is), let’s revisit the Sherlock co-creators gift to the UK this past Christmas Day. The Sherlock series 3 prequel mini-episode, “Many Happy Returns”, an excellent primer for tonights premiere.

Yesterday, we looked at several potential scenarios for Sherlock’s survival from his rooftop swan dive one, even, from Sherlock himself. Now, comes one brilliantly created fan-vid right out of Steven Bochco’s 1990 playbook for Cop Rock. We present…

Sherlock – The Musical

So…are you ready for some Sherlock?

Theories abound on ‘Sherlock’ return this Sunday

January 18, 2014

The Sherlock countdown has officially begun. In just under 48 hours, America will officially be on the ‘do not call’ list for approximately 2 hours beginning at 8:00p CT/9:00p ET when the third series of Sherlock transmits on PBS. It’s no secret that Sherlock has survived his series 2 ending swan dive off the rooftop of St. Barts Hospital, but actually how he survives is still a mystery (to most of the U.S. anyway). There have been countless internet theories as to how from the worldwide fanbase, some more plausible than others. Early on, there was even talk for a brief moment that you could find out in a 1998 episode of Jonathan Creek.

To both the amusement and delight of the producers of Sherlock, never has a series garnered such speculation and fan interest since, maybe, the infamous 1980 “Who Shot JR” episode of Dallas. Here, the Sherlock creators talk about fan theories on Sherlock’s return.

Could this be the closest to the truth? Find out Sunday on PBS

And, Sherlock, himself, reveals how he survives….sort of

However he does it, come Sunday, #SherlockLives. Don’t forget to stick around following the conclusion of “The Empty Hearse” for a 1/2 hour ‘making of’ segments entitles Sherlock Uncovered. It’s all there on your local PBS station. ENJOY!

R.I.P. – Roger Lloyd Pack

January 17, 2014

Maybe not a household name, but to those that have been long time or recent fans of British comedy, Roger Lloyd Pack was a friend. The accomplished actor passed away yesterday, losing his battle with pancreatic cancer. Lloyd Pack was known to millions of fans as Trigger on Only Fools and Horses, local farmer and a parish council member, Owen, in Vicar of Dibley and a more recent co-starring role with Keeping Up Appearances star, Clive Swift, in The Old Guys.

In Only Fools and Horses, Lloyd-Pack’s tenure of the long-running character of Trigger was surpassed in number of episodes appeared in by only Sir David Jason (Del Boy) and Nicholas Lyndhurst (Rodney).

In remembering their time together on OFAH, Sir David Jason commented: “Although he played the simple soul of Trigger in Only Fools And Horses, he was a very intelligent man and a very fine actor capable of many roles. I shall remember him with fondness and for all the good times we had together.” Nicholas Lyndhurst also commented: “I’m so saddened to hear about Roger. He was the most accomplished actor and loved by millions, I will miss him greatly.”
Rodger Lloyd Pack in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Though he will forever be known for his role as Trigger, Lloyd-Pack’s first television appearance was in an episode of The Avengers in 1965. His acting career wasn’t limited to the small screen with frequent appearances at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London and also appearing in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and, more recently, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

Roger-Lloyd-Pack2-300x225On a personal note, we had the great good fortune to be able to interview Roger for our PBS production of Behind the Britcom: From Script to Screen back in 2010. I will forever remember his welcoming us into his home in Kentish Town in North London and actually being most worried that we had not been able to eat breakfast while we took over his home and set up as opposed to wanting to know more about the interview. His house was filled wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling with art and memorabilia from a lifetime of acting…and living. He was also quite interested and amused at the possibility of a The Vicar of Dibley return as The Bishop of Dibley as was referenced in the local newspaper the morning we were there. Finally, all of us remember his words of encouragement for keeping public television going. He was a big believer in public media and the importance it played in educating the world. I will forever be grateful for the chance to meet him that day and say thank you.

Roger Lloyd Pack will be terribly missed, but never forgotten for giving millions a lifetime of laughter. In this clip from our 2010 interview, Roger talks about what it meant to him, personally, to be a part of something that has made the world laugh.