The moment that U.S. fans of Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have been waiting for since May 20, 2012 at 10:30pm ET has arrived. Ever since Sherlock took that leap off the rooftop of St Barts Hospital, rapid fans of brilliant telly have accessed the Internets daily for any production news or broadcast date update. Who can blame them after having witnessed what many have called one of the most shocking cliffhangers in television history. Well, that day has arrived.
PBS has just announced the following schedule for Sherlock 3 as part of the ongoing series, Masterpiece.
Trying to curb her enthusiasm for the upcoming new set of episodes, Masterpiece Executive Producer, Rebecca Eaton calmly said: “These new episodes are as wildly-imaginative and brilliantly-produced as all the others. These people are GOOD!”
An equally subdued Sue Vertue, executive producer for Sherlock and Hartswood Films, which coproduces Sherlock with MASTERPIECE and BBC Wales for BBC One said: “We are hugely excited about this next series of Sherlock, and have worked closely with our partners, MASTERPIECE and PBS, to bring these episodes to U.S. audiences in January. We promise our fans that Season 3 is worth waiting for.”
U.S. fans of Downton Abbey will immediately recognize that this places Sherlock right in the wheelhouse of the new 4th series of Downton which premieres at 8p CT/9p ET on January 5, 2014. Doing the math, that will make Sunday the most definitive night for appointment television since NBC’s Must See TV night back in the 80′s anchored by Friends, Seinfeld and ER.
The countdown begins now until January 2014. Need we say more?
The London Evening News called Irish comedian/actor/writer, Dylan Moran, ‘The Oscar Wilde of comedy‘. Just minutes into the interview I understood why. His swing through Texas on the final leg of his current North American tour (tonight at the Paramount Theater in Austin and Thursday at the Lakewood Theater in Dallas), is the comic’s first venture into the state. It may be the first time he has set foot on Texas soil but public television viewers in both North Texas and across the U.S. will immediately recognize Moran from either his brilliant Black Books sitcom or the Simon Pegg/Edgar Wright zombie classic, Shaun of the Dead.
Tagged awhile back as ‘the greatest comedian, living or dead‘ by French newspaper, Le Monde, Moran routinely does a bit of localizing of his stand-up material by doing some fairly extensive research about the area. Where most comedians or visitors to the area tend to, sadly, binge watch the entire 1980′s series, Dallas, or feel the need to connect with a JFK assassination story, Moran is light years beyond that and quickly referenced a recent story in Time Magazine as the starting point for his Lone Star State research…
Tellyspotting: First time in Texas?
Dylan Moran: First time. I know nothing.
TS: You seem to do a bit of research prior to a tour stop about the city or area you are in and tailor your stand-up a bit to where you are. How on Earth did you research Texas?
DM: My general policy wherever I’m going is to look into what’s going on, what are the recent local political stories, all trying to get a sense as to what people are talking about. There was a big story in Time Magazine the last couple of days about how people are using ‘the Texan model’, how economically people are moving into the state, it’s cheaper to live, you can buy yourself a big house for the amount of money it would cost to buy a small apartment in a bunch of other cities. There’s obviously a lot going on here, it’s a dynamic time in the state. Historically, there has always seemed to be a feeling of separatism and a very strong local identity.
TS: In the middle of your U.S. tour, have you figured out America yet?
DM: No, not at all. I think that might be pushing it and would take some doing. I’m overwhelmed at the vastness of the country. It was interesting coming here from Eastern Europe because so many people came over here on the Red Star Line and other big ships. People who really got involved in the construction of America, the people who were fleeing Naziism.
TS: Having performed virtually in all parts of the globe, does comedy travel as well as you’d expected?
DM: You’d be very surprised. It’s really hard to tell how it’s going to go. I’ve been surprised at how quick AND slow people are on the uptake. There are certain countries that people want to join the world party, to improve their own lot for their families, learning English. Luckily, I happen to be doing this at a time in a period of history where English is hovering around the peak point as sort of a false language for people that don’t understand each other but will use English so you can sort of sail along on the tailwind of that.
TS: Personally, you seem to be in a constant state of learning and very much enjoy the art of conversation. Where does that come from?
DM: I grew up in Ireland where the most popular form of entertainment or passing the time is talking because that’s always free. You’re always swapping stories with people about where they’re from, what’s going on, etc.
TS: Have you been able to pick up in either certain areas of the country or certain areas of the world things that you thought would connect but didn’t or vice versa?
DM: Tracking the immigrant experience from Eastern Europe was really interesting to see what those people were coming from and why those people are vociferously patriotic, nationalist types and as Americans from that part of the world are very appreciative of what was made available to them here. Traveling around the different territories in America, it’s very interesting to see there are so many nations within the nation. When you’re in a territory as big as Texas with 25 million people or a huge city like New York, everyone is really self-referential. People will track national politics in the big cities but for the most part, people’s concerns or focus are quite local.
TS: In writing ‘Black Books’, did you find it tougher to write for yourself in a sitcom as opposed now writing for yourself doing stand-up?
DM: That’s a good question. With ‘Black Books’, I wanted to make an ensemble show. I was very lucky to have Bill Bailey, an amazing comic phenomenon and Tamsin Greig who is an absolutely world-class actor. To be honest with you, I just wanted to write a show that made time go by quickly. In terms of writing stand-up, it’s as hard as you want it to be. If you don’t want to just phone it in, it does get harder. You can talk about certain stuff any where in the world and you’ll get laughs but if you want to try and push it a bit, be more exploratory, then it takes more work.
TS: When you look at the individual characters of a Bernard Black, Basil Fawlty or Edmund Blackadder, is it the writing that can take a very unlikeable human being and, essentially, deliver a character that the audience desperately wants to succeed?
DM: It’s not so much writing as it is a question of voice. When you are very familiar with a character’s voice in your head or a particular type of human being, they resonate with people and what happens is that it’s not so much that they want them to succeed as it is that they love the fact that they can vicariously live through these characters who get to say and do all kinds of things they wouldn’t dare.
TS: What makes you laugh today?
DM: I think there is lots of good comedy around. I prefer small stories that are more like literature where its from someone’s mind. This particular thing happened on this particular Sunday in this particular small town. They tend to hook me more. What I really love is ‘The Kids Are Alright’ which comes to mind recently. You get a real sense of the person who had written it and the characters. What works best for me is something that has a really strong voice rather than something that is simply trying to get as many laughs as possible.
After letting me in on a bit of inside information that he favors both The Long Hall and Doheny & Nesbitt‘s in Dublin (two really great pubs, BTW), it was time to head out to find a bite to eat in Austin before Tuesday’s show and, from what I could surmise, to continue to tweak and put the final touches on what promises to be an evening you’ll definitely regret if you are not in attendance. If you miss Wednesday’s show at the Paramount Theater in Austin, get in your car and head 200 miles north to the Lakewood Theater in Dallas on Thursday to catch the show. If you’re in Dallas, you need to be at the Lakewood on Thursday. All the cool kids will be there. You can thank me later…
A new series of sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf has been ordered by Dave, the Home of Witty Comedy Banter in the UK.
Writer and series co-creator Doug Naylor is currently working on scripts for RDXI, with filming due to commence in 2014. The news has been widely expected for the past eleven months, following huge ratings in the UK for the sitcom’s 10th series, which was broadcast during October and November 2012 on Dave, the home of witty banter.
Robert Llewellyn, who has played the neurotic Series 4000 service mechanoid Kryten (full name Kryten 2X4B – 523P) since the sitcom’s third series, wrote on his blog Sunday: “We are officially making another series but we don’t know when. UKTV, the company behind Dave, who broadcast Red Dwarf X, want another series and we’d love to make one. It will be sometime in 2014, but I can’t be any more accurate that because we simply don’t know yet.
“As far as the main cast are concerned, Chris, Danny, Craig and myself are all very committed to making another series, Doug Naylor is working on it like a man possessed but beyond that it’s in the lap of the GELFS.” Hopefully, we’ll be seeing something along the lines of Kryten’s RDX message from back in 2010 posted in the not-to-distant further with news about RDXI.
Fans of the series calling North Texas home might remember that KERA, the PBS affiliate in North Texas, was the first and only station in the U.S. to air the series back in July of this year. Those in attendance will no doubt remember Kryten’s message to fans of ‘The Small Rouge One’ in North Texas.
Stay tuned to this space for word on RDXI when more information becomes available about taping and transmission dates, etc.
A familiar face to British television watchers will coming to a telly new near you in 2014…
Amanda Abbington, real-life partner of Martin Freeman, has confirmed that she is to play Mary Morstan in the third series of Sherlock. Abbington, having been spotted in numerous on-location production stills and cell-phone videos, had long been rumored to be portraying Morstan, John Watson’s love interest and eventual wife in the Arthur Conan Doyle books.
Already a familiar face and name to UK and U.S. small screen watchers as DC Louise Munroe, the dour Edinburgh cop in a perpetual love/hate relationship with private eye Jackson Brodie, played by Jason Isaacs, in the haunting BBC One drama, Case Histories, Abbington will also be back behind the counter as the formidable and lovelorn Miss Mardle, head of accessories, in the 2nd series of Mr Selfridge.
Abbington recently told The Scotsman that while she auditioned for the parts in both Case Histories and Mr Selfridge, Sherlock was a slightly different story. It seems that writers Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat wrote the part of Mary Morstan, Watson’s love interest, specifically for Abbington.
“We were at Mark Gatiss’s house when ‘The Hounds Of Baskerville’ first came on the telly. Afterwards they went into the kitchen and were sitting talking about the next series. I went in and sat with them. It had been mooted that I would be in it, might have a little part in it. They were talking about who might play Mary and I was like, ‘So, who are you thinking of?’ and they said ‘You’.”
Abbington might just be up against herself on Sundays in the UK as rumor continue to fly that Sherlock 3 will premiere in early 2014 on BBC One while Mr. Selfridge 2 with Jeremy Piven in the title role might just find itself opposite the long-awaited series on ITV1. No confirmed dates for either as of yet in the UK or the States on PBS but look for both in early 2014.
As 99.9% of Planet Earth is keenly aware, An Adventure in Space and Time, the 50th anniversary biopic written by Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss and starring David Bradley as the first Doctor William Hartnell, charts the sci-fi drama’s early years.
In addition to Bradley, also cast are Claudia Grant as Carole Ann Ford, who played the Doctor’s granddaughter Susan Foreman, Jemma Powell and Jamie Glover who portray Jacqueline Hill and William Russell, the First Doctor’s companions Barbara and Ian. Sasha Dhawan as director Waris Hussein and Jessica Raine (Call the Midwife) portraying producer Verity Lambert. Brian Cox also appears as Sydney Newman, Head of Drama at the BBC in 1963.
In addition to Gatiss’ drama, the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special ‘The Day of the Doctor’, starring Matt Smith, David Tennant, Jenna Coleman, Billie Piper and John Hurt, will air worldwide on November 23, 50 years to the day after the first transmission of the series back in 1963. While the trailer, which premiered last night on BBC One following Strictly Come Dancing, brilliantly shows all of the Doctors as they first appeared on screen, including William Hartnell in colorful grandeur for the very first time, it does not include any actual footage of the 50th anniversary episode. Departing Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith reminds us all that “I have been running all my lives. Every second of every minute of every day for over 900 years. Our future depends on one single moment of one impossible day. The day I have been running from all my life. The Day of the Doctor.”
Now more than ever, the world is more poised to #SAVETHEDAY for 23 November 13. How about you?
With a huge ‘tip of the hat’ to the Radio Times…
Television is better than cinema, according to Steven Moffat and both Sherlock and Doctor Who prove his point….in pictures. As the RT pointed out, there may be a bit of a vested interest from the current showrunner of both series, but his point is well taken, regardless.
“Television is better than the movies. Yes it is – it’s just better,” Steven Moffat said at a Radio Times-sponsored event at the Cheltenham Literature Festival last week.
As we leave The Big Easy in the Southwest jet’s rear view mirror, this year’s BBC Syndication Showcase was no different than any in recent memory. Nothing but good telly to choose from to bring to public television in the States for 2014. Here are a few of the comedy highlights that many of you can look forward to in the coming year….
Starring Darren Boyd (Whites, Dirk Gently), Rebekah Staton and Mathew Baynton (The Wrong Mans), Spy tells the story of Tim Elliot, a divorced and single father disliked by his precocious son Marcus and ex-wife Judith. He decides to quit his job as a sales assistant in a computing store learning of a data processing position in Westminster. Unknown to him, he is taking an exam for MI5, and passes to be a spy. When the bosses, including the Examiner (Robert Lindsay) learn of the misunderstanding, they still offer him the position anyway, and Tim accepts.
2. Twenty Twelve
Sporting an all-star cast, headed by Hugh Bonneville, Amelia Bullmore and Jessica Hynes, Twenty Twelve chronicles the work of the management of the fictional Olympic Deliverance Commission (ODC) as they plan the logistics of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Shot in the mockumentary style of both The Office and People Like Us, Twenty Twelve ‘organizers’ must overcome logistical difficulties, production errors, infrastructure problems and troublesome contributors.
3. Moone Boy
This Irish comedy features Chris O’Dowd as Seán, the imaginary friend of 12-year-old Martin Moone, the youngest child of a family living in a small town in the rural Ireland. Martin, aided by his imaginary friend, has a unique perspective on life. His imagination comes into play both in his childish drawings, which come alive through animation, and in the ridiculous schemes he comes up with, against Seán’s better judgement. With Seán’s help, Martin negotiates life as the youngest in a chaotic, scatter-brained family.
We’ll hit the dramas and docs tomorrow. Combined with the offerings coming directly from PBS and the BBC, it’s going to be a great telly year on public television.
As we sit through the first day of some outstanding BBC program offers at the 2013 BBC Syndication Showcase in New Orleans, the big news wasn’t only the brilliant comedy, drama, natural history and documentary programming that will be available to public television stations in 2014. There was news for fans of a current police procedural that has to represent some of the best television on television.
A fourth series of the brilliant detective show SCOTT AND BAILEY has now been commissioned. While no information has been released about storylines, we do know that series 4 will consist of 6 episodes (as opposed to earlier series which had 8 episodes). In addition, filming is tentatively set to begin in Spring 2014 with a potential delivery date of Autumn 2014 with all the main cast returning.
Besides reprising her role as the no-nonsense DCI Gill Murray who keeps the team under control in spite of the pressures she faces at work and in her home life, Amelia Bullmore will write four of the scripts for the new series.
Back to news from The Big Easy
In the comedy genre, the offerings were both laugh-out-loud funny and plenty. Fans of British comedy on public television can look for the possibility of Twenty Twelve, Spy and Moone Boy coming your way in 2014. From a drama standpoint, the standout offering already running on a number of stations is the quintessentially English mystery/drama series, Father Brown, starring Mark Williams of Harry Potter fame. Also in the drama pipeline, new seasons of Scott and Bailey, DCI Banks, Death in Paradise and newcomer, Frankie, starring Eve Myles from Torchwood.
If you are a fan of British telly, 2014 is looking good on both sides of the pond.
When the BBC recently announced that two Doctor Who episodes that were thought to have been ‘lost’ forever had been found, there was joy not only in Mudville, but across the Doctor Who Nation. Unseen by audiences for some 45 years since their original broadcasts in 1967-68, “The Web of Fear” and “The Enemy of the World” both featured Patrick Troughton as the Doctor, were recently discovered Phillip Morris of Television International Enterprises Archives (TIEA). With the discovery, Morris has earned the nickname of the ‘Indiana Jones’ of the film world for his recovery of missing episodes of the longest running science fiction series in the history of television.
It’s Morris and his team’s job to assist overseas stations with the storage and migration of their materials and, on the outside of that, they recover lost British television programs.
On finding two missing episodes of Doctor Who “The Enemy of the World” and “The Web of Fear” Morris revealed to Radio Times that simple masking tape played rather a crucial role in the discovery.
“These episodes were discovered on a project we were working in Nigeria. And they were found in a TV station in Jos. Just sitting on the shelf, which I can remember now seeing a piece of masking tape, which said Doctor Who on it.
“I thought ‘Oh, that’s interesting’, pulled the cans down I read the story codes. Instantly, of course, recognized what the stories were and realized they were missing from the BBC’s archive. A lot of Doctor Who fans around the world are going to be happy”, Morris added.
He continues: “These episodes had come from Hong Kong and they’d been on what’s called a bicycle system. So they travelled from this country to the next country to the next country and they came to be in Nigeria through this bicycle system. Not at the station in Nigeria they were actually sold to. They were at a relay station. The condition that those programmes were in when we found them, we were quite lucky, considering the temperatures we can be in the upper 40 degrees, luckily they’d been kept in the optimum condition.”
As many of you know if you’ve been either a regular or even a casual follower of Tellyspotting over the past 4+ years, October is the annual BBC Syndication Showcase. Each year, public television programming representatives descend upon New Orleans to sit in a hotel conference room for two days screening non-stop the best of the best when it comes to British drama, comedy and documentaries to determine what to add to each station’s PBS programming line-up. From a timing standpoint, most of what we screen this year will become available for broadcast beginning in early 2014. In years past, fans of British telly have seen the likes of MI-5, Hustle, DCI Banks, Scott & Bailey, New Tricks, Black Books, Lead Balloon, History of Science and much more come out of this meeting. This year will be no exception given the strong line-up in all genres that will be offered.
Mind the Gap — 270 times
So…with Tellyspotting becoming your eyes and ears this week in New Orleans for acquiring the best in British drama, comedy and documentaries on public television, we bring you a bit of across the pond travel-related brilliance to share amongst your friends as we make our way to The Big Easy.
If you are in the UK and you want to try to hit all 270 Tube stations to check the math to see that singer Jay Foreman didn’t miss any, you may not break any Guinness Book of World Records, as Geoff Marshall, 41, from Ealing, West London, and Anthony Smith, 28, did recently by completing the record in 16 hours, 20 minutes and 27 seconds but you can certainly give it a shot.
Your choice. Watch either video and decide your course of action. You can ‘virtually’ Mind the Gap 270 times in under 3 and 1/2 minutes or physically try for yourself to break the Tube Challenge record in under 17 hours. Your choice.