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‘Downton Abbey’ gets the Lego treatment…

January 9, 2014

Downton Abbey… in Lego?

Hey, if it’s good enough for the Winchester Pub and 221b Baker Street, it has to be good enough for Downton Abbey, right? After all, with last Sunday’s series 4 premiere topping 10 million viewers, making it the biggest drama series premiere in the history of PBS, it was only a matter of time.

Here’s how things got to where we are. Apparently, a weekly visit to Downton isn’t enough for one fan who is so fixated with the upstairs/downstairs lives of the Crawleys and their downstairs support staff. Enter, one Eric Stevens of Rochester, New York. Stevens has painstakingly recreated the British Edwardian drama out of thousands of Lego bricks. You see, Stevens loves Downton Abbey. So much so that when he found there was no existing Downton Abbey Lego set, he built one for his girlfriend as a Christmas present. You know what they say, nothing says Christmas like a custom-made Lego replica of Downton.
Downton Abbey in Lego

Besides Downton, everyone who is anyone is there…well, almost. There’s the Earl and Countess of Grantham, Bates, Branson, Mr. Carson, Lady Mary and, of course, the imposing Dowager Countess are all brought to life in brick form in his truly one-of-a-kind Lego set. Surprisingly, no Anna. What’s Downton without Anna? Heck, even Matthew and Lady Sybil are included so there should be an Anna, don’t you think?
Downton Abbey Lego family photo

The design took about 15 hours, altogether, and about four hours to actually put it together,” Stevens told the UK’s Daily Mail. “All of the characters are Lego-designed parts, rather than custom printed pieces,” he continued.

According to Stevens, he built the set using a digital designer, basing it on ground and aerial photos of the real Highclere Castle, where Downton Abbey is filmed, as well as floor plans of the building he found online. The detail is pretty amazing right down to the barely-perceptible sneer on Lego Thomas’s face. If only Nanny West could have hung around for a few more episodes….
Lego Thomas

Every mystery needs a leading lady – Miss Fisher back for more in 2014

January 8, 2014

Look out, United States, the Honourable Miss Phryne (pronounced Fry-nee) Fisher is coming back to America in 2014.

For all those who have seen series one, you understand that Miss Fisher is definitely not your parents’ Miss Marple. Phryne Fisher is a fashionably beautiful investigator with a penchant for murder cases that take her through back alleys, jazz clubs and shady neighborhoods all with a twinkle in her eye that fits right in to the risque world of 1920′s Melbourne. Phryne Fisher is equally at home solving murders with her pearl-handled Smith & Wesson as she is with a cocktail in hand, charming a long line of potential paramours in her full-length white silk coat.

Series 1 premiered last Fall on public television with a second series set for a late Spring release. Tellyspotting caught up with series star, Essie Davis, while on the set of filming the second series for a bit of a Q&A to talk about Miss Phryne Fisher. Based on author Kerry Greenwood’s novels Dead Man’s Chest, Unnatural Habits and various short stories, series 2 premiered this past Fall on ABC1 in Australia and concluded with a special Christmas episode in December.

Aside from the obvious star of the series, Essie Davis, right up there is the costume designer for Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Marion Boyce. In addition to stellar costuming and set design, series 2 features 700 extras, 130 guest stars, 76 vintage vehicles, 49 filming locations and 35 stunt actors.

While Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries still may not make you abdicate your undying allegiance to Sherlock, it is, without a doubt, worth checking out the new series episodes in the coming months on public television.

Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery is….Connie Tough in TNT’s ‘Tough Justice’

January 7, 2014

Well, our one-day departure from dishing about Downton Abbey has ended. Before we talk about Sunday’s premiere of series 4, you may be wondering just what Michelle Dockery has been up to during the hiatus between series 4 and series 5 filming. Aside from her guest appearances with fellow Downton star, Elizabeth McGovern, for several Sadie & The Hotheads gigs in London, she’s landed a part in the new TNT series, Tough Justice, with former Shield great, Michael Chiklis. Ok, just kidding, but you have to admit, she pulls it off pretty convincingly. Given some of the new offerings on, as they say, ‘other networks’, I may be interested in seeing this once Downton ends its run. WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE AHEAD

Downton Abbey S4, Ep 1 – Spoiler talk!

Now….let’s talk about Downton Abbey S4, Ep1. Where to begin, where to begin. How about that Nanny West, huh? I kind of hate to see her go even though she sealed her fate with that ‘I was just having a go’ comment of hers that Lady Cora overheard. And, how many who watched last night howled when the Dowager threatened to call for a nanny to put Robert to bed without his supper? Finally, I so can’t wait to see how the Thomas, Edna, Anna and Bates drama plays out.

Bletchley Circle returns tonight on ITV1 and April 2014 to PBS

January 6, 2014

At great personal peril, and at the risk of being the lone ranger in the U.S. today that has put aside last night’s 4th season premiere of Downton Abbey on PBS for the moment, I bring you word of the second series of the brilliant Bletchley Circle, which premieres tonight at 9pm on ITV1 in the UK.

Rest assured, U.S. fans, the series will return to the PBS schedule in April 2014. How about this for a Sunday night line-up on PBS in April? At 8pET, the 3rd series of Call the Midwife continues from its March 30 premiere, followed at 9pET by the second series of Mr. Selfridge which also returns on March 30 and, to cap off the night, the second series of Bletchley Circle which is set to premiere on April 13! Now THAT’s appointment telly.
Bletchley Circle returns for a 2nd series

Series 1, which aired in 2012, was set in 1952 and tells the story of four women who used to work as codebreakers at Bletchley Park. A series of murders take place that seem to have a pattern. The police apparently overlook the pattern, so the women start investigating themselves.

Series 2, which premieres tonight on ITV1 in the UK, is set a year later in 1953 and sees Jean (Julie Graham), Susan (Anna Maxwell Martin), Millie (Rachael Stirling) and Lucy (Sophie Rundle) ‘getting the band back together’ when former Bletchley Park colleague Alice Merren, played by Outnumbered‘s Hattie Morahan, is accused of murder.

Series 2 will be comprised of 4 new episodes, made up of two, 2-part stories. If you haven’t seen, check it out. Well worth the time….

One final Downton Abbey S3 recap before tonight’s S4 premiere

January 5, 2014

Downton Abbey series 4 premieres on PBS

With everyone west of the Atlantic gearing up for tonight’s long-awaited American premiere of the 4th season of Downton Abbey, there have been a myriad of recaps surface over the last several days to help those out at the last minute. By this time most, I would hope, are caught up with the goings on from the Dowager Countess down to Baby Sybie. We all know who’s in and who’s out for season 4…or do we? On the oft chance that there is one last lone individual out there who is doing their best imitation of cramming the night before what was that originally far off final exam, this recap is a must.

Special thanks and a tip of the hat to DramaGirls509 for this brilliant recap of series 3 of Downton Abbey. Now I’m ready for tonights series 4 premiere, how about you?
Downton Abbey series 3, episode 1 recap

Downton Abbey series 3, episode 2 recap

Downton Abbey series 3, episode 3 recap

Downton Abbey series 3, episode 4 recap

Downton Abbey series 3, episode 5 recap

Downton Abbey series 3 finale recap


‘Downton Abbey’ recap courtesy of The Grantham Gazette

January 4, 2014

Sunday, all eyes will be on PBS and the return of Downton Abbey. In the wake of newspapers and print journalism giving way to the age of the Internets, fortunately, there still exists a small-town newspaper with a brilliant nose for news even though Lady Edith has her sights set a bit higher. While the Grantham Gazette may suffer from relatively poor circulation figures as compared to the likes of the New York Times, thankfully, the folks down at Houston Public Television retained their subscription long enough to share a quick recap of Downton Abbey series 1-3 prior to Sunday’s broadcast. Enjoy. Let us know what you think of Sunday’s return…

Downton Abbey series 1-3 recap from the Grantham Gazette

In true “you can’t tell the players without a scorecard” fashion, you’ll also need a bit of a refresher course from the Dowager all the way down to baby Sybil when it comes to the Crawley family tree before Sunday’s premiere.
Downton Abbey Crawley family tree

If ‘Downton Abbey 3′ took place entirely on Facebook…

January 3, 2014

Are you ready for a bit of Downton Abbey this Sunday?

Are you one of the few remaining individuals on Planet Earth that is frantically trying to catch up on Downton Abbey before the Sunday premiere of series 4 on PBS? If so, here’s an easy ‘Cliff Notes’ way. Click the corresponding links for the ‘official complete full episode Facebook recaps’ of each program in Downton Abbey 3 and in just a matter of minutes you’ll be totally ready for Sunday.

Downton Abbey S3, Ep1 full episode Facebook recap
Downton Abbey Facebook Recap | Happy Place

Downton Abbey S3, Ep2 full episode Facebook recap
Downton Abbey Facebook Recap Season 3 Episode 2 | Happy Place

Downton Abbey S3, Ep3 full episode Facebook recap
Downton Abbey Facebook Recap Season 3 Episode 3 | Happy Place

Downton Abbey S3, Ep4 full episode Facebook recap
Downton Abbey Facebook Recap Season 3 Episode 4 | Happy Place

Downton Abbey S3, Ep5 full episode Facebook recap
Downton Abbey Facebook Recap Season 3 Episode 5 | Happy Place

Downton Abbey S3, Ep6 full episode Facebook recap
Downton Abbey S3, Ep 6 Facebook recap.jpg

Downton Abbey S3, Ep7 full episode Facebook recap
Downton Abbey Facebook Recap Season 3 Episode 7 | Happy Place-3

Downton Abbey Facebook Recap Season 3 Episode 7 | Happy Place

Downton Abbey Facebook Recap Season 3 Episode 7 | Happy Place-1

Downton Abbey Facebook Recap Season 3 Episode 7 | Happy Place-2

Drama – 2014 is looking up for British telly in the U.S.

January 2, 2014

Just in case you thought that, even for a fleeting moment, telly couldn’t get any better after a fairly stellar 2013, the BeeB and ITV bring the following to public television in 2014…

Downton Abbey 4

Sherlock 3

Doc Martin 6

New Tricks 10

Call the Midwife 3

Mr. Selfridge 2

Death Comes to Pemberley

Last Tango in Halifax 2


As if this wasn’t enough for you, that’s just the beginning. The last half of 2014 will see the likes of DCI Banks 3, Scott & Bailey 4, Endeavour 2, Death in Paradise 3 and Father Brown 2. 2014 is going to be a good year. Any questions?

10 Reasons Why We Love ‘Downton Abbey’…according to ‘Garden & Gun’ magazine

January 1, 2014

As we have mentioned over the last several years, series like Downton Abbey don’t grow on trees. While we all may understand and recognize its greatness, you know you’ve arrived when you become the subject of not one, but several brilliant Latenight with Jimmy Fallon parodies, when you actually make the cut on Saturday Night Live and, make it to Funny or Die on several occasions. That said, you REALLY know you’ve arrived when you make it in an issue of Garden & Gun magazine.

According to Garden & Gun, the series is a perfect fit for their readers. It’s tailored for a Southern audience, has fabulous interiors, beautiful hunt scenes, and a love of land that strikes a chord with everyone in Dixie. In advance of the series four premiere this Sunday night on PBS, they have put together their top ten reasons for loving the show…no, really.

With a tip of the hat to writer, M.K. Quinlan and thanks to everyone over at Garden & Gun for a fabulous list, here are the top 10 reasons why you, and everyone in Dixie, must tune in this Sunday for the 4th season premiere of Downton Abbey on PBS’ Masterpiece series.

  1. They drink a lot, but never have to drive anywhere.

  2. Lord Grantham makes the women at G&G weak in the knees, especially when he does his “custodian of the land” spiel.

  3. We like to look good when we hunt, too, whether it’s top hat and riding jacket or neon orange and camouflage.


  5. They love their dogs as much as we do. If only ours never had to go to the bathroom…or made any noise whatsoever.

  6. They call a valet with a limp and a criminal record “eccentric”. We call it Southern gothic.

  7. Lady Mary is like a British Scarlett O’Hara: beautiful, spoiled and determined. Let’s just hope she leaves the drapery on the windows.


  9. Carson’s pride of place is rivaled only by that of a Southern hostess.

  10. We’ve loved Shirley MacLaine ever since her tomato-loving turn as Ouiser in Steel Magnolias.

  11. We’ve all got a Dowager Countess in our lives, whether it’s our mother or mother-in-law—manipulative, tough as nails, and always ready with a one-liner.

  12. No one loves—or plans—a wedding like we do in the South. Except maybe the British.

Wishing you a very Happy New Year from Tellyspotting! As if you didn’t have enough reasons already to settle in on Sunday, January 5 at 8pm CT / 9pm ET on PBS for the 4th season premiere of Downton Abbey! Now you have 10 more, thanks to Garden & Gun magazine! Cheers.

‘Sherlock 3′: Let’s talk…then, let’s meet Arwel Wyn Jones

December 31, 2013

As the UK inches closer and closer to that magical ‘do not disturb’ moment on 1 January with the long-awaited premiere of Sherlock, fortunately, there are daily bits and bobs to keep us occupied until broadcast. Following the Christmas Day release of “Many Happy Returns”, the Sherlock prequel mini-episode, comes today’s bit of greatness with cast and crew talking about ‘what’s in store for Sherlock in series 3′. Joining Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are series co-creators/writers, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, along with series producer, Sue Vertue to discuss the forthcoming series and hint at what audiences can look forward to with Wednesday’s premiere on BBC One and on January 19 on PBS.

While it’s common knowledge and certainly no spoiler to say that everyone knows that Sherlock ‘survives’ his Fall from the rooftop of St. Barts, there looms the overall question as to how and, also, how will John take the news. My money is on ‘not well’. What do you think?

Production designer, Arwel Wyn Jones – “I made…Sherlock
Sherlock behind the scenes

Getting Sherlock from script to screen is a big task. One person responsible for part of that is production designer Arwel Jones. He looks after all aspects of set design, set dressing, props & the overall look of the show. Here’s a really cool BBC Academy interview to tide you over for the last remaining hours.