If you watched the Rowan Atkinson brilliance during the Opening Ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympics, hopefully, you have the performance etched somewhere in the deep recesses of your personal mind palace as it seems as though the copyright police have systematically wiped the video from its virtual existence on the planet.
I guess the idea of the potential of millions of views around the world would severely diminish those same millions from buying the DVD of the Opening Ceremonies since they would have already seen Atkinson lending his musical and comedic talents to a very funny Chariot’s of Fire segment so let’s not let anyone see it. Personally, my thought is not a good decision in the 21st century.
Thankfully, however, there are individuals out there that understand the promotional value of videos that go viral and understand that the upside far outweighs the downside. Probably not news to most Blackadder fans, but to some, it may be surprising that there exists an unaired pilot episode that, while featuring Rowan Atkinson as Edmund Blackadder and Tim McInnerny as Lord Percy Percy, does feature a different Baldrick (Philip Fox), a different Harry (Robert Bathurst), a different King (John Savident). Recorded in 1982,
Fortunately, for us all, aside from the brilliant additions of Tony Robinson and Brian Blessed for the actual series, both Atkinson and co-writer, Richard Curtis, were there from the beginning. With all the unsubstantiated rumors of a possible Blackadder V series, seeing this unaired pilot makes me want to savor the comedy greatness that is Blackadder I-IV again and again.
Following up on the successful 2008 re-do of Hitchcock’s 1935 film, The 39 Steps, which starred Rupert Penry-Jones, Lydia Leonard and David Haig, the BBC has announced plans to tackle Hitchcock’s 1939 classic, The Lady Vanishes. Targeted for Christmas release on BBC One, the film is set to begin filming in Budapest at the end of August and will star Keeley Hawes (Ashes to Ashes, Upstairs Downstairs), Stephanie Cole (Waiting for God, Coronation Street, Doc Martin) and Julian Rhind-Tutt (The Hour, Green Wing).
As is usually the case with the brilliant drama that comes out of the UK, you will recognize a lot of names and faces in the ensemble cast. In addition to the above, the Fiona Seres-adapted script will also star Gemma Jones (Spooks) as Rose Flood-Porter, Selina Cadell (Doc Martin) as Miss Froy, Tuppence Middleton (Spies of Warsaw) as Iris and Tom Hughes (Silk) as traveler Max Hare. Alex Jennings (Whitechapel), Sandy McDade (Lark Rise To Candleford), Pip Torrens (Pride and Prejudice) Emerald Fennell (Any Human Heart), Charles Aitken (Bonkers) and Daisy Lewis (Doctor Who) round out an incredible collection of talent.
Finding it difficult to curb her excitement, Kate Harwood, the BBC’s head of series and serials, commented: “Fiona’s adaptation of The Wheel Spins deftly weaves together the intriguing stories of a psychologically complex group of characters – with the mysterious disappearance of Miss Froy on a packed train – played out against the tense backdrop of the Balkans in the 1930s. adding, I am delighted with the incredible cast and crew we have assembled for the project. The Lady Vanishes will be a thrilling treat for BBC One audiences this Christmas.”
Stateside, one can only hope that this finds its way to the Masterpiece line-up on PBS as soon as possible. Until then, here’s the original 1939 Hitchcock trailer for The Lady Vanishes to pass the time.
Just when I thought it was safe to go back into the water comes the news from Deadline.com regarding ABC plans to give the British situation comedy, Spy, a ‘facelift’. Admittedly, this is not ABC’s wording, but it might as well be given the track record of the American broadcast networks when they repeatedly attempt to grab British imports and ‘do them better’.
Not only is Spy, which stars the great combination of Robert Lindsay (My Family) and Darren Boyd (Whites, Dirk Gently), next up on the hit list, but remember that we are also waiting with baited breath for American versions are Only Fools and Horses, Footballers Wives, InBetweeners and White Van Man. On the upside, many of these will never see the light of day beyond the pilot stage or, at best, one season. Let’s not forget Coupling, IT Crowd, Red Dwarf, Worst Week of My Life or Prime Suspect. Yes, I know, there’s The Office, but I think the statute of limitations of being able to mention this one as an example of success is about to run about.
Based on the strong audience numbers that Sky 1 received for series one, a second series was commissioned for an additional 10 episodes with a Christmas special, a big commitment from a British standpoint. On the potential upside, the British producer of the series, Hat Trick Productions, and the show’s creator and writer, Simeon Goulden, is in negotiations to write the American version. No guarantee, but as Lloyd Christmas said to Mary Swanson in Dumb and Dumber, “…So you’re telling me there’s a chance…YEAH!.
Having recently mentioned both the Sherlock Holmes Pub in our recent post about the brilliant Sherlock walk through London and then always having The Nags Head on my mind (just because), I started thinking about the greatness of the British pub and how it is such a part of the British way of life. Sadly, there is no American equivalent and we seem to be more intent on going to an indoor shopping mall than making the short walk down to a ‘local’ and discussing world events.
There are some great ones throughout the UK, many with great history, great names and great atmosphere. There may be a few you haven’t tried so here’s a brief top-10 most unusual pub list put together by the folks over at Visit Britain for you to try when you can in no particular ‘more unusual than the other’ order…
9. Ye Olde Mitre Tavern, London, England
2. Haunch of Venison, Salisbury, England
For a more detailed explanation as to why these pubs would be considered ‘unusual’, check out Visit Britain’s brilliant reasoning complete with more information on each pub from their respective websites.
Personally, a few London pubs that I may have frequented more that once for research purposes that should be on the list of just great pubs are The Nags Head, of course, Prospect of Whitby, Ye Old Cheshire Cheese, Lamb & Flag, Red Lion (Mayfair location) and the Windsor Castle. Any others I need to check out would be greatly appreciated…again, for research purposes only. Cheers.
p.s. BTW, don’t even consider turning on your cell phone in The Nags Head. Just trust me on this one.
Yesterday, we saw a hint of what’s in store for BBC drama output with the upcoming premiere of Ripper Street but now is the time to focus on some upcoming comedy projects that will make their way to telly in the not-too-distant future. Given that new series for Trollied, Spy and Rev are already lined up, this is a good time for comedy on the tube in the coming months. Here are a few others on the horizon….
Father Figure with Jason Byrne (BBC One)
Coming to BBC One and based on Jason Byrne’s existing Radio 2 series of the same name, Father Figure will also star Pauline McLynn (Father Ted), fellow stand-up Michael Smiley and Dermot Crowley from BBC’s Bleak House. Byrne will play Tom, a father of two sons whose good intentions are ruined by bad luck and his extended family. Thankfully, BBC Radio continues to step up to the plate to pilot new comedy in a day and age when not so much is being done on the telly side
Charlie Brooker’s A Touch of Cloth (Sky 1 HD)
Broadcasting later this month, Charlie Brooker’s A Touch of Cloth is part Naked Gun, part A Touch of Frost and all Charlie Brooker. Having already confused some viewers who aren’t quite sure whether or not this is a spoof of the classic dark police procedural programs or an actual detective series, A Touch of Cloth has done nothing to simplify the issue having secured the services of director Jim O’Hanlon (Waking the Dead) and Suranne Jones (Scott and Bailey). In addition, viewers of two brilliant series, Luther and The Killing, may immediately recognize just how rife both series are for a bit of mockery.
Bad Education with Jack Whitehall (BBC Three)
In Bad Education, Jack Whitehall stars as Alfie, the worst teacher ever to grace the British education system. He’s a bigger kid than the kids he teaches. The teacher your kids would love but parents would hate! The ensemble cast also includes Mathew Horne (Gavin And Stacey) as Fraser, the school’s headmaster, who tragically longs to be as cool as Alfie. He’s the teacher who just wants to be everyone’s ‘best mate’ and is prone to massive and very public mishaps. Sarah Solemani (Him And Her) plays Miss Gulliver, the school’s biology teacher. She’s the apple of Alfie’s eye and she cares deeply about the school and the students. Michelle Gomez (Green Wing) plays Pickwell, the deputy head, is an ‘old school’ teacher who can’t stand the other younger teachers. She’s a disciplinarian who wants Creationism put back on the syllabus and, actually, would prefer a school without children at all.
Finally, word is that a Royle Family Christmas Special has been confirmed by Sue Johnston (Barbara Royle) that there will be a new Christmas special in 2012. Let’s hope that, along with the return of Craig Cash, Ricky Tomlinson and Caroline Aherne, plans call for a fitting send off to Twiggy, played by the late Geoffrey Hughes.
As the sun sets on the Olympics, darkness rises on Ripper Street, so says the BBC trailer that ran during the closing days of the London 2012 Games. The newest installment to an amazing upcoming line-up of BBC drama, stars Matthew Macfadyen (Spooks, Pride and Prejudice) and Jerome Flynn (Game of Thrones).
With filming having just been completed on location in Dublin, the Richard Warlow series is set in and around Whitechapel in London’s East End in 1889, during the aftermath of the Jack The Ripper murders. The storyline centers on the infamous H Division, which has the simple task of restoring and keeping some assemblance of order in the chaotic streets of East London. Ripper Street explores the lives of characters trying to recover from the Ripper’s legacy, from crimes that have not only irretrievably altered their lives, but the very fabric of their city. At the drama’s heart our detectives try to bring a little light into the dark world they inhabit.
BBC AMERICA’s SVP of Programming, Richard De Croce said: “…To this day, audiences continue to be fascinated by Jack The Ripper and the events in Whitechapel in the late 19th Century. This script and cast are going to take us for a great ride. We’re excited to be involved in such an ambitious production with Tiger Aspect and Lookout Point.”.
Even though this may be an ‘apple and oranges comparison’ given that this is period drama and the recent brilliant series Whitechapel with Rupert Penry-Jones was set in present day, they both have the same incredibly intense look and feel. This is definitely one to set your DVR for.
As a Sherlock fan, any day walking in London could be considered ‘perfect’ if you begin at Speedy’s Sandwich Bar and Cafe and end at the Sherlock Holmes Pub. Even though it’s non-Sherlock related. I’m afraid my ‘perfect’ day would have to end at The Nags Head in Knightsbridge but, I digress.
Seemingly overcome with TeamGB-mania, The Jet Lagged Vagabond has put together a brilliant walk through London thanks, in large part, to the vast Sherlock resources available from the folks over at Sherlockology, using their locations compiled from the first two series of what is still the best television on television (sorry, Downton fans).
The Jet Lagged Vagabond Sherlock Walk starts at Speedy’s Sandwich Bar and Cafe, again, as all walks in London should. Why Speedy’s you ask? One, you probably will want the now infamous Sherlock Wrap to build up your strength for the 3+hour walk through the streets of London and, two, obviously, is the fact the next door to the left of Speedy’s is the most famous address on the planet, 221B Baker Street (even though you are actually at 187 North Gower Street).
From Speedy’s, it’s a short 2.1 mile walk to St. Barts Hospital via Russell Square Gardens. Sherlock fans will recognize Russell Square Gardens which was used in the “A Study in Pink” episode from series 1 and the life changing scene for John Watson as he runs into an old friend who in turn introduces Watson to Sherlock Holmes at his place of work, St. Bart’s Hospital. Look up and the average Sherlock fan will immediately recognize the rooftop of St. Barts from the ridiculously brilliant final sequence from series two, “The Reichenbach Fall”.
From St. Bart’s head south to St. Paul’s Cathedral and keep going until you come to the Millennium Bridge. Cross the Thames to the South Bank and look for a text message from Sherlock as Irene Adler did. In case you haven’t deduced by now, you are heading towards the iconic Battersea Power Station, which figured prominently in “A Scandal in Belgravia”. From the power station, it’s a short 30-minute walk to 44 Eaton Square in Belgravia or Irene Adler’s home. Note to self: Try to resist the temptation of ringing the doorbell and acting like you’ve been mugged and need to use the phone to call the police. You remember what happened to Holmes.
At this point, the Jet Lagged Vagabond realizes that you are now about 3-hours into your Sherlock walk and, perhaps, in need of a pint which is where the Sherlock Holmes Pub enters the picture. Feel free to have one for me. I’ll have one for you at the Nags Head later.
Any walk through London is a great walk, but the Sherlock Walk as put together by the Jet Lagged Vagabond with help from Sherlockology is a brilliant one. Unfortunately, it would have been more than perfect if one could get to the Bristol South Swimming Pool, perhaps the site of the best series cliffhanger ever, that is until the St. Barts rooftop scene in series 2, obviously. Unfortunately, might be a bit of a walk to Bristol. But, for the adventurous, head over to Paddington Station and take the train to Bristol Temple Meads Station and then a bus to the pool.
For a more detailed breakdown of the walk, visit the Jet Lagged Vagabond who, by now, has veered off to Tapas Brindisa which was also featured in “A Study in Pink” to look at all the cool photos taken along the way today.
Never mind the countdown calendar for Downton Abbey 3, Sherlock 3 or Doctor Who 7. The real countdown is now a mere 467 days away from the magic date of 23 November 2013 and the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, the series that director Steven Spielberg once commented on by saying that “the world would be a poorer place without Doctor Who.“.
Originally broadcast on 23 November 1963, the premiere was delayed for several minutes due to extended BBC news coverage of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on the previous day.
One can only guess (or hope) that BBC’s overall plans for the series’ 50th will rival recent milestone events in London such as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympics. Up first, the BBC has just announced plans to explore the origins of the series telling how the show came to be as of that fateful day in November 1963. “An Adventure in Space and Time” will tell the story of the genesis of ‘Doctor Who,’ the BBC said. “Exploring all aspects of the longest-running science fiction series to date, the special one-off 90-minute drama will also look at the many personalities involved in bringing the series to life.”
Current showrunner, Steven Moffat will executive produce with his Sherlock co-creator, Mark Gatiss, who has frequently written for the series, tagged to write the special. “This is the story of how an unlikely set of brilliant people created a true television original,” Gatiss said. “And how an actor – William Hartnell – stereotyped in hard-man roles became a hero to millions of children. I’ve wanted to tell this story for more years than I can remember! To make it happen for Doctor Who’s 50th birthday is quite simply a dream come true.”
Just think, when Monday rolls around, there will only be 466 days until the 50th.
Yet another tip of the hat to long-time tellyspotting reader (and now, I’m thinking, contributor), Patty Winter, for sending in this bit of video brilliance. There are times that you look at things and wonder why and how people have so much time on their hands to do something. Then you see something this creative and labor intensive and it’s all you can do to just take a moment and salute the genius way people take advantage of the idle time on their hands. So, whoever is responsible for this bit of greatness, thank you on behalf of Sherlock fans worldwide.
Have to admit, I did feel a bit like one of the people that commented on the video who said, “I can’t believe I just cried over Legos“. That said, everyone keep telling yourself that it’s getting closer to 2013 and series 3 every waking moment. If you watch one other video this weekend, re-watch the ending to The Reichenbach Fall and you will realize just how genius this is.
For Doctor Who fans worldwide that are still in orbit over last week’s newest bit of trailer greatness, last Saturday’s broadcast of The Science of Doctor Who special on BBC America did nothing to curb any enthusiasm for the upcoming series this Fall. Attempting to answer the burning question, How much of the science fiction in ‘Doctor Who‘ is science fact? were the likes of theoretical physicist Dr. Jim Al Khalili, space scientist Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock and, looking a bit like the first Doctor, William Hartnell, the brilliant physicist, Dr. Michio Kaku. Here a bit of heavy discussion about Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity and how it relates to time travel.
Whether or not the series is science fiction or science fact, experts almost universally say that a series like Doctor Who is good for science, especially if it influences children. “Shows like Doctor Who are not meant to be educational … but very often it will inspire particularly young viewers to get interested in science early on,” notes theoretical physicist Dr. Jim Al Khalili. One certainly can’t argue with the show’s effect on a young fan years ago named Steven Moffat who became showrunner and lead writer for the series back in 2009. He may not have a handle on time travel, but he sure can write.