What a difference a day makes! Seems like it was just 24 hours ago that the old adage of “no news is good news” was applicable to any anticipated return of the world’s most famous consulting detective. Now comes the best new of 2014 so far from the BBC.
“Miss me?” Sherlock Returns
Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, will return to television for a not only a one-off special but it will be followed by a series of three new episodes!
The last series saw Sherlock’s life change a lot – he returned from the dead, his best friend John Watson married Mary Morstan and he met his match in Charles Augustus Magnussen. After the briefest of exiles, Sherlock came back only to face one of his biggest mysteries yet. Why is Moriarty’s face being broadcast on every television in the land? Speaking about the return of the series, co-creator, writer and executive producer Steven Moffat said: “A special, plus a new series of three episodes – it’s a record-breaking run!! Of course, it’s far too early to say what’s coming, but we’re reasonably confident that the very next thing to happen to Sherlock and John, is the very last thing you’d expect ….”
Co-creator, writer and executive producer Mark Gatiss adds: “Series Four! At last ! It’s always special to return to ‘Sherlock’ but this time it’s even more special as we’re doing…a Special! Not only THAT, we’ll then be shooting three more episodes which will take Sherlock and John Watson into deeper and darker water than ever before…The whole ‘Sherlock’ team are terrifically excited to return for four new adventures. The Game is on – again!”
Sue Vertue, Executive Producer, Hartswood Films says: “It’s taken a little while to get the dates sorted as none of the boys are exactly sitting back twiddling their thumbs but there was unanimous goodwill to make this work so we’re thrilled that 221b is going to be inhabited again.”
Shooting on the special will begin in January 2015, with the series shooting later next year. Sherlock airs in the U.S. on MASTERPIECE on PBS and on BBC1 in the UK.
While it is certainly something that most all of us probably already knew, it just makes it all the more difficult to grasp when you hear it directly from one of the co-creators. There is no joy in Mudville today as it’s looking more and more likely that the world’s greatest consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes, will not return to the small screen with new episodes of Sherlock until 2016.
Difficult, yes, but totally understandable. Given the insane nature of the schedule availabilities of not only the principal characters, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, the brilliant supporting cast of Rupert Graves, Una Stubbs, Louise Brealey and Amanda Abbington, not to mention the 24/7 schedule for both Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, getting the stars to align for brilliant telly has become next to impossible.
Speaking at a fan Q&A forum in Brazil, series co-creator/writer Mark Gatiss spoke the unthinkable: “Writing three films is quite a lot of work and then getting everyone together… [it's] increasingly difficult to get everyone’s diaries to align, so we couldn’t really do more than three every couple of years I’m afraid. I mean, we’d certainly like to reduce the time, but by the time we’ve finished and then everyone starts gearing up again, it roughly takes that long.”
Earlier comments from series co-star, Martin Freeman (John Watson), have long hinted at the same timetable citing the same difficulties of schedule availability. “It’s very hard to get together,” he told Digital Spy. “But it’s one of those things where you have to at some point just go, ‘We’re going to do it now’ – otherwise we could be having this conversation in three years.” While Freeman has recently hinted at the possibility of getting the band back together for a one-off Christmas special in 2015, we’ll just leave that for the time being as I’m not sure I can take the possibility of getting that OR the bike that I asked for.
Once Mick Jagger finally figures out that their may not be a future for this 50+ year experiment called The Rolling Stones, he definitely has a future in comedy. The leader of the ‘bad boys of Rock & Roll’ appears a bit dismayed that the group that calls itself Monty Python’s Flying Circus wants to get back together tonight at London’s O2 Arena. After all, as Mick explains to an obviously disinterested Charlie Watts…”Who wants to see that again? It was funny in the 60s. A bunch of wrinkly old men trying to recapture their youth! If that wasn’t enough to drive home his point, Jagger added, “The best one died years ago!”
Hard to believe but when Python first burst on the scene in the late 60′s with Monty Python’s Flying Circus, they were this bizarre little comedy troupe who took television by surprise and, ultimately, re-wrote the rulebook for TV comedy and inspired a new generation of alternative humor. Because of the obvious comparisons, the Pythons’ comedy legacy will be forever linked to the incomparable influence that The Beatles had on music. “The Beatles never had a ‘last night’, because they didn’t know it was coming,” said Eric Idle, one of the original Python members.
Could it be that Jagger’s wrath is a by-product of the concept that the Python’s were linked forever to the Beatles and not the Stones? Not a chance. First off, I think Mick has done okay for himself over the last half-century and, two, it’s a joke! But, it does make for great copy, doesn’t it?
If you’re headed to the O2 Arena for tonight’s Monty Python reunion, feel free to report back to Tellyspotting. Word is, there are a lot of surprises in-store including an appearance by long-time Python fan, Stephen Hawking.
Depending on when you read this, the world is approximately 24-36 hours away from the return of Monty Python’s Flying Circus at London’s O2 Arena. On Tuesday, 1 July, as the troupe gets the band back together for one last gig, those that were lucky enough to secure tickets before the :45 sellout, will attempt to see if the parrot is still dead, the Spanish Inquisition remains unexpected and whether or not there might just finally be some cheese in The Cheese Shop.
Should you be like most of the UK and find yourself ticketless and having to wait for the ‘next best thing to being there’ to attend one of the thousands of cinema simulcasts to be shown around the world when the troupe’s final get-together on 20 July , you might want to check out the newest offering from the boys called Python…The Ministry of Silly Walks app to pass the time for the next few weeks. Plenty of time to unleash your silly walk across London dodging dangerous obstacles and collecting gold coins in this stupendously addictive survival game. The Pythons have, historically, been consistently masterful at the ability to reversion their original content over the last half-century. It’s good to see they are able to continue their ways into the 21st century with their new Silly Walks App. Check it out…
It’s shaping up to be a pretty insane weekend of greatness for Doctor Who fans worldwide and it’s only Sunday morning!
First, came a double dose of greatness yesterday with the newest teaser trailer featuring the Twelfth Doctor, Peter Capaldi, and companion Clara, played by Jenna Louise Colemen. With the trailer came the announcement that the first program in the new series 8, “Deep Breath”, which will signal the beginning of the Peter Capaldi era, will premiere on Saturday, 23 August on BBC One.
While it was brilliant to finally see something from series 8 as opposed to participating in wild speculation surrounding leaked photos from the set, it was a bit of a departure to have the transmission date announced so soon, almost two months in advance. In addition to Capaldi and Colemen, series 8 will see the likes of Ben Miller, Tom Riley, Keeley Hawes, Foxes, Hermione Norris and Frank Skinner, who have all been confirmed as guest stars for the new run.
The next bit of greatness came in an interview with current showrunner, Steven Moffat. In his latest column for Doctor Who Magazine, the showrunner revealed that he plans to stick with the BBC sci-fi series for at least one more year. “Sitting here, right now, just before the [series eight] finale shooting block, I’ve figured out the cliffhanger to the penultimate episode of the next series,” he wrote. “And it’s a whopper. Ohh, I don’t think you’ll see this coming!”
Finally, there comes more details of the forthcoming Doctor Who: The World Tour heading to a continent near you in August leading up to the series premiere. Doctor Who: The World Tour will begin in the UK on August 7th and finish in Brazil on August 19th. The tour will visit Cardiff and London in the UK before heading to Seoul, South Korea; Sydney, Australia; New York, USA; Mexico City, Mexico; and finally Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. That’s 7 cities, across 5 continents, in only 12 days. THIS is was sets British telly apart from American counterparts.
I SO can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings….
For Downton Abbey fans in the U.S., it is now day 125 since we last visited the Crawley family and were left wondering if Mr. Gregson would be found, who might Lady Mary end up with and just what did Mr. Bates actually do on his ‘day off’ and was he at Picadilly by chance. Not to worry, it is now day 183 if you live in the UK! With filming of series five well underway, bits and bobs will begin to trickle in pretty soon even with creator/writer Sir Julian Fellowes’ tight grip on the potential for storyline leaks.
Not trying to completely be a half-empty glass of water, we bring you the first teaser trailer for Downton Abbey 5 courtesy of the great folks over at ITV. What better place to grab an audience than to premiere the trailer during halftime of England’s recent World Cup match with Costa Rica. Kind of like airing a promo during halftime of the Super Bowl in the States…times ten.
Nothing much to write home about here from a video standpoint but you do have Mr. Carson sounding very half-empty glass of water himself when he says, I feel a shaking of the ground I stand on. The nature of life is not permanence but flux. Things are changing. Luckily, we only have about 85 days in the UK (give or take a week) and exactly 187 days until we begin to find out just what ‘things are changing’ at Downton. Ready?
With the 100th anniversary of World War I just around the corner on 28 July, news comes out of the UK that there actually was a real-life Captain Blackadder and Private Baldrick. According to military genealogy company, Forces War Records, not only that but just by doing a bit of Sherlockian research they quickly discovered a Captain Darling and Lieutenant George also giving rise to the phrase ‘art imitates life’ or vice-versa.
Their ‘fictional’ counterparts rose to fame in the fourth and final series of the brilliant Richard Curtis comedy series, Blackadder, which was set in World War I and followed life in the trenches of Captain Blackadder (Rowan Atkinson), Private Baldrick (Tony Robinson), Captain Darling (Tim McInnerny) and Lieutenant George (Hugh Laurie). According to company CEO, Dominic Hayhoe, there has been a fairly significant uptick in website inquiries tracing family members dating back to the beginning of WWI. “We were uploading new information onto our database when we came across a Captain Blackadder”, said Hayhoe. “As fans of the television show, we wondered if we could find the military records of the other fictional characters’ namesakes. So we challenged our team of professional researchers and military experts, who are all based in the UK so are familiar with the Blackadder series, to find them; which they did. The only person we haven’t been able to track down, so far, from World War 1 is a General Melchett (Stephen Fry). According to the military records we have, he makes an appearance in World War 2“.
The real-life military service records of Acting Captain Robert John Blackadder, MC., RGA, Private James Baldrick, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, Captain John Clive Darling, DSO., 20th Hussars and Lieutenant Athelstan Key Durance George, Dorsetshire Regimen can all be found on the site. If you look close, there are way more than a comfortable number of similarities between fact and fiction. While both the real and fictional Private Baldrick both came from humble backgrounds and from illiterate families, sadly, it also reveals that both the fictional Private Baldrick and his real-life counterpart, Private J. Baldrick, tragically met their end fighting in the trenches.
In addition, both Lt. Georges went to Cambridge, rowed for their college, were unmarried and joined the Army as commissioned officers, both pilots who could draw extremely well. Sadly, both met their respective ends in the trenches. The two Captain Blackadders rose up the ranks and served in the British Army before the outbreak of the First World War, completing their service overseas. Both were bachelors who fought at the Somme in 1916. One extremely notable and important difference between the two is that Captain Robert John Blackadder survived the war unlike his fictional counterpart, played by Rowan Atkinson.
No sign or word as of yet if there is a real-life Lord Flashheart. Not sure I could handle that…
As part of his current Force Majeure U.S. Tour, he put a call out for individuals on his various tour stops to send in and/or post some ‘somewhat interesting and hopefully accurate Historical Facts from Your Hometown’.
As you see above, Wednesday was Dallas’ day to shine. Huge tip of the hat to the greatness that is Eddie Izzard, first of all, but also to Samantha W. who posted on Facebook the true origin of the German Chocolate Cake and its relationship to Dallas.
Up next was Sara on Instagram who has, obviously, listened to far more than her fair share of KERA fundraising drives over the years and was able to verify to Eddie that KERA, the PBS station in Dallas, was the first station in the U.S. to ever broadcast Monty Python’s Flying Circus! FYI, it was back in October 1974 that public television viewers in the U.S. were first introduced to Python.
The third and final factoid came from Tami on Facebook and was also something that seemed to be known to the great Mr. Izzard. Tami’s historical fact referenced the invention of the computer microchip, or integrated circuit, by Jack Kilby when he was at Texas Instruments in Dallas. FYI, Kilby is also credited with inventing the handheld calculator and thermal printer.
In case you haven’t seen the great work of producers Linda Stogner and Tom Pribyl about Kilby’s invention, we bring you The Chip That Jack Built for your viewing pleasure.
One of the greatest things about British television AND one of the most maddening for viewers is the fact that the number of episodes in a series is limited. Unlike their American television counterparts, most British drama and/or comedy series are anywhere between 6-10 episodes max. In some cases like Sherlock or DCI Banks there are only three episodes each season. Three brilliant films but still only three. On the upside, this allows viewers to see their favorite actors in other roles, many times crossing over from drama to comedy or vice versa. I”m guessing there are very few folks that haven’t enjoyed seeing Miranda Hart jump from her hit comedy series, Miranda, to the role of Chummy Browne on Call the Midwife. Or, being able to see Sherlock‘s Martin Freeman in the recently completed greatness that is Fargo on FX.
Early on, it seemed like you had to leave Downton Abbey to break out and get other roles as was the case with Jessica Brown-Findlay (Lady Sybil) in Jamaica Inn and Dan Stevens (Matthew Crawley) in The Fifth Estate and Night at the Museum both of whom found that there was life after Downton Abbey. In recent months, however, current actors who remain employed both upstairs and downstairs at Downton are finding their down time between series filming to be fairly lucrative also. Hugh Bonneville has probably never seen a day off what with the filming in recent years of Twenty Twelve, Mr. Stink and W1A. Then it was Lily James (Lady Rose) who used her ‘free’ time to star in Kenneth Branagh’s live-action Cinderella. More recently, Kevin Doyle (Mr. Molesley) actually got to ‘give orders’ rather than be on the receiving end of Mr. Carson’s firm hand as Colonel Roland Brett in the BBC World War I drama, Crimson Field.
Now, following in their footsteps is Brendan Coyle, who plays Mr. Bates in Downton Abbey. The English-born Irish actor has joined the cast of Spotless, a 10-part drama from French channel Canal Plus that starts filming in London next month. With filming of the fifth series of Downton Abbey winding down at some point later in the summer, Coyle will join Silk actress Miranda Raison, Marc-Andre Grondin and Denis Menochet in what is being billed as an “irreverent, dark, funny, sexy and dangerous” drama, which will follows brothers Jean and Martin as they become entangled in the “deadly dynamics of organized crime.”
Coyle should be ready to step in to his new found role given his prison stint early on in the series. Remember, it was Mr. Bates, the valet turned prison inmate turned valet, who said with a smile, “It’s amazing what you can learn in prison“.
The work of Codebreakers living in Bletchley Park huts and blocks that were built to last only a few years have routinely been credited with shortening World War II by at least two years. What started out in 1938 as a relatively innocent in appearance gathering of members of MI6 and the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) became a secret team of individuals including a number of scholars turned ‘codebreakers’. Their mission was to crack the Nazi codes and ciphers with the most famous of the cipher systems to be broken at Bletchley Park was the Enigma.
Timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary of their efforts will be the release of a much-anticipated, Oscar-worthy film, The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley. Cumberbatch plays Alan Turing, the mathematician and computer scientist who had a major role in the Bletchley Park team that cracked the German Enigma code during the Second World War. Knightley stars as Turing’s close friend and one-time fiancé Joan Clarke with Mark Strong as Stewart Menzies, chief of MI6 and the British Secret Intelligence Service. Downton Abbey‘s Alan Leech also stars as a Scottish spy who worked with the Soviets to plot against Turing
Set for a November 2014 release, the film will deal with Turing’s struggle with homophobia which eventually led him to take his own life in 1954. Because of this, Turing’s ideas and contributions were kept secret and he was never given credit for his incredibly important work during the war. Long considered a mathematical genius, Turing posthumously received a royal pardon from the Queen this past year, nearly 60 years after he committed suicide.
While is has been 75 years, this year, since that original gathering, Bletchley Park was the world’s best kept secret. Up until wartime information was declassified in the mid-1970s, no-one who worked at the home of the GC&CS was allowed to talk about it, not even to each other. Even with this declassification, it was still shrouded in mystery. Sadly, the knowledge of the incredible work done at Bletchley Park has only became much more mainstream over the last couple of years with the broadcast of the brilliant BBC/PBS series, Bletchley Circle and the upcoming release of The Imitation Game.
The Bletchley Park Trust was formed some years back with a mission to preserve and develop Bletchley Park as a world-class museum, heritage site and education center. Designed to enhance the understanding of the critical contribution of Codebreaking and intelligence in World War Two, the birth of computing and electronic security, and how these unique achievements remain relevant today, the museum is now open for all the world to see and hear the incredible story of the inhabitants of Bletchley Park.