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Be the envy of your neighborhood with a TARDIS fridge and/or helicopter!

April 26, 2013

With the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who just around the corner this November, now is the time to begin planning that ultimate, not-to-be missed, Doctor Who anniversary party that will make you the envy of the neighborhood. You can stock up on all you want on Doctor Who action figures, mugs, t-shirts, floating TARDIS’s, or desktop Daleks, but the real party will be where the TARDIS inspired fridge is!

Thanks to the resident geeks over at the pop culture blog Geekologie who tracked this down, the Doctor’s police box on the outside, time machine on the inside can be yours for a nominal fee of under $200 (approximately £122). The TARDIS refrigerator decal was made by artists and engineers B.E.Johnson and Joy Alyssa Day. The customized refrigerator kit will turn your fridge into a very special Police Box. The top section is a separate structure that includes the sign, the peak roof and a working beacon.

According to Geekologie, the skin integrates best with a French Door refrigerator, because of the way the fridge doors better match the Police Box. A single door, with or without a separate freezer, also looks cool; it just doesn’t open in the manner of a Police Box.

Unfortunately scientists have not yet figured out how to make it bigger on the inside so you’ll have to make do with a standard sized TARDIS fridge for now.

A TARDIS Fridge not in your immediate future? How about a Doctor Who Remote-Control Flying TARDIS?

Just a thought….FYI, it’s coming in July from the Nerd Approved Shop.

James Corden’s ‘The Wrong Mans’…a first look

April 25, 2013

Newly married and now headed to the outback to judge Australia’s Got Talent, everyone’s favorite vicar, Dawn French, is set to co-star in James Corden’s The Wrong Mans, airing later this year on BBC Two in the UK and Hulu in the States. In addition to Corden (Gavin & Stacey) and Mathew Baynton (Horrible Histories, Spy), the series also features French as Corden’s mother.

The comedy/drama thriller is about two lowly office workers who become caught up in a criminal conspiracy after one of them discovers a ringing phone at the scene of a major car crash. Producer, Jim Fields further explains that the show “…is a drama-action-thriller; it’s just that these two idiots are stuck in the middle of it.” …

In addition to Corden, Baynton and French, the all-star cast also includes Silent Witness star Emilia Fox, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels actor Nick Moran, Prometheus star Benedict Wong, The Thick of It actress Rebecca Front and Dougray Scott from Mission Impossible II, My Week with Marilyn and Desperate Housewives

Definitely one to keep an eye on…

Sherlock 3.1 finishes filming; Sherlock 3.2 begins filming; Sherlock 3.3 adds Doctor Who director

April 24, 2013

Lots of rumors swirling the Internets these days as Sherlock fans seek separation anxiety comfort for their continued efforts to find out what’s happening with series 3, which is headed our way, most likely in early 2014.

Up until now, technically, all we ‘officially’ know about the third series of Sherlock was that it would be comprised of three 90-minute films. The opening installment ‘The Empty Hearse’, written by Mark Gatiss, began finished principle filming in March. The second episode, written by Steve Thompson (a.k.a. the man who ripped your heart out in last season’s finale, “The Reichenbach Falls”) will be titled ‘The Sign of Three’. Now to the good stuff….

It’s only Wednesday, but this week has been like a trip to Disneyland for Sherlock fans worldwide. Monday was a day unlike any other day as filming for episode 2 began in the wee hours of the morning with a very cryptic tweet from series producer, Sue Vertue. Proof positive that a picture really is worth a thousand words…

Now, thanks to the great folks over at Digital Spy we have big news to share regarding the, yet untitled, episode 3. Written by series co-creator, Steven Moffat, the series 3 finale will be directed by Nick Hurran. Another name you may or may not know, but you definitely are familiar with his work. Best known for his Doctor Who episodes. In 2001, Hurran directed both the ‘The Girl Who Waited’ and ‘The God Complex’. In 2012, he helmed ‘Asylum of the Daleks’ and ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’. Hurran recently returned to the Who franchise for a fifth time where he is currently shooting the 50th anniversary special.

If this isn’t enough for one short week, before you ask, we’ve had more confirmations of a fourth series of Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Stay tuned….

‘Buttleflies’ creator, Carla Lane, returns to the world of comedy

April 23, 2013

Carla Lane, the creator of Bread, Butterflies and The Liver Birds, has decided to return to television following a self-imposed 17-year ‘retirement’. According to the Telegraph, her new sitcom will be set in Liverpool, which was the setting for many of her most popular comedies. Since retiring, Lane has spent years running an animal sanctuary in West Sussex and has long been a strong supporter of animal rights.

I’ve started writing again now,” Lane said. “My mind is working on an idea. I’ve been seriously thinking of writing more about something here in Liverpool. It’s where I was born and I understand it best of all. It will be about a street, that I can tell you, because everything that happens in life happens in a Liverpool street.

We first met Lane in September of 2009 when we interviewed her as part of PBS’ Behind the Britcom: From Script to Screen program. She spoke of how she unknowingly crashed the predominantly male-dominated world of British comedy, shared with us her writing style and also her extreme fondness for actor, Geoffrey Palmer, whom she had not seen in over 10 years until we engineered their being together for the interview. Palmer starred as Ben Parkinson in Lane’s late 70′s, early 80′s series, Butterflies.

Lane spoke at great length about being one of the early female pioneer writers of British situation comedy and how everything that she’s ever written stems from drama and sadness. She always began with a sad story, built a drama around the characters and then made it funny. Because of that there was some thought that it was tough for critics to wrap their heads around her life’s work. Even the BBC felt that there was something about that first Butterflies script that was just ‘not quite right’.

Let’s hope both critics and the BBC will wrap their heads around her next project.

Wallace and Gromit’s ‘grand day out’ at Blackpool’s Pleasure Beach

April 22, 2013

Blackpool is the place to be this Wednesday when Wallace and Gromit, the stars of a Oscar-winning series by Aardman Animations, are set to attend the launch of the world’s first theme park ride based on their adventures in the films A Grand Day Out, The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave. Creator, Nick Park, will be on hand to witness Pleasure Beach visitors as they try out the Thrill-O-Matic, the newest ‘jewel in the crown’ of the Blackpool amusement park. The Blackpool ride, which took three years of planning by Aardman and the amusement park staff, will take passengers, seated in a giant slipper, through key scenes from the films, including A Matter of Loaf and Death and The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

The cracking new £5.25 million ride puts the absent-minded, cheese loving inventor and his uberintelligent canine companion in good company fronting a campaign to encourage people to holiday at home in the UK. The Visit Britain campaign also includes Julie Walters, Judi Dench, Jamie Oliver, Stephen Fry and Harry Potter actor Rupert Grint. Over the next month, Wallace and Gromit will ‘travel’ around England in their trademark motorbike and sidecar on a road trip intended to highlight tourist attractions. Following Blackpool, the two will visit the National Space Centre in Leicester, reflecting Wallace’s interest in space travel, while other destinations are expected to emphasize the importance of the British cheese industry.

Wallace and Gromit’s ‘Great Adventure’ is part of the overall campaign designed to inspire Britons to schedule a ‘staycation’ this year.

The Bletchley Circle is a must see tonight on PBS!

April 21, 2013

Sunday night continues to be appointment telly on PBS tonight with the premiere of The Bletchley Circle. The three-part series follows the lives of several women who were code-breakers at Bletchley Park, the decryption facility that played a significant role in ending World War II. The four returned to civilian life following the war, but are reunited when a string of grizzly murders baffle the police and presents the ladies with a different sort of deadly pattern to solve.

Tonight’s episode begins during World War II showing the women as part of the U.K.’s code-breaking team that deciphered encrypted messages who also did other secret work for the Allies during World War II. Following the war, the Official Secrets Act prevents her and everyone at Bletchley from telling anyone, even her husband, that she worked at the facility. Unfortunately, the women’s incredible talents for spotting and breaking codes are buried during their post-war lives where their talents are soundly rejected by British society.

Watch Preview on PBS. See more from The Bletchley Circle.

Anna Maxwell Martin (South Riding, Bleak House) is brilliant as Susan, is an ‘ordinary’ housewife with extraordinary talents (and with two children), who has begun to collect data on a series of recent murders. After she unsuccessfully tries to convince the police that another is imminent, Susan gets the Bletchley Park band back together by reuniting Millie, Lucy and Jean to crack the murders and bring the culprit to justice. Putting her best Bletchley Park mind to work, Susan tells her old friends: “He’s making a pattern and he doesn’t realize he’s doing it. If we can crack it, we’ll be able to see what his next move will be. Just like knowing where the German army will be in three days’ time. We can get ahead of him and stop him before he kills again.

A sneak peak at the 2013-2014 comedy / drama pipeline

April 20, 2013

Aside from the known commodities of Sherlock and Downton Abbey, that PBS, the BBC and ITV are hanging their collective ratings hats on in 2013-2014, there is cause for optimism in the comedy/drama output pipeline in the not-too-distant future…

The Guilty

Tamsin Greig (Black Books, Friday Night Dinner, Green Wing, Episodes), Katherine Kelly and Darren Boyd (Whites, Spy, Dirk Gently) are set to star in this 3-part drama produced by Hartswood Films and written by Debbie O’Malley (Law & Order: UK, Silk). Currently in production, the drama is set across two timelines, 2008 and present day, and tells the story of DC Maggie Brand (Greig) who investigates the disappearance of a young child. Given that this will have both ITV and Hartswood Films fingerprints all over this, for me, makes me think it will be one to watch. All you have to do is think Sherlock, Scott & Bailey and DCI Banks and you know where I’m coming from…

The Job Lot

Led by Sarah Hadland (Miranda) and Russell Tovey (Being Human, Him & Her), The Job Lot is set in a busy West Midlands job centre, and focuses on the relationships between the people that work there, the people that don’t work there and anywhere else for that matter. On the ‘have a job’ side, you have a very neurotic Trish (Hadland), who runs the Brownall job centre, reluctant and truculent Karl (Tovey), their overly sour co-worker Angela and plain speaking Danielle, who has just returned to work after giving birth.

On the ‘finding a job’ side, you have Graham (Martin Maudsley) and Bryony (Sophie McShera, who plays Daisy in Downton Abbey). Thankfully, you have fraud officer George, a lone wolf who takes his undercover surveillance work very seriously and two security guards; diminutive Janette and her colleague, cheeky charmer Paul, protecting the staff of the Brownall job centre.


This new medical drama follows the lives of a group of doctors and nurses working in a London hospital. According to the ITV Press Centre, Breathless opens in 1961, a time when Britain was on the brink of the ‘60s revolution – abortion is illegal and the contraceptive pill is only just available to married women. Set in and around a busy gynaecology unit, medicine becomes the perfect stage to play out the shifting and complex moral codes of early 1960s society.

Fairly or unfairly being touted as ITV’s answer to the BBC’s Call the Midwife, the series will sport an all-star cast headed by Jack Davenport (Pirates of the Caribbean, Coupling) with Pippa Haywood (Mr Selfridge, Scott & Bailey), Zoe Boyle (Downton Abbey, Sons of Anarchy), Oliver Chris (One Man Two Guvnors, Green Wing), Catherine Steadman (The Tudors, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen), Sarah Parish (Hatfields & McCoys, Monroe) and Iain Glen (Game of Thrones, Prisoners Wives).

Patricia Routledge ‘Facing the Music’ in Newtownabbey

April 19, 2013

Even the most casual Keeping Up Appearances fan of the woman who makes no bones about having a sister whose house has a swimming pool, sauna, and room for a pony, will no doubt ever forget her singing prowess designed to impress next door neighbor, Emmet Hawkesworth. To this day, I’ll never forget interviewing Ms. Routledge back in 2008 for the PBS special, Funny Ladies of British Comedy, when she mentioned how in order to sing off-key, you had to be able to sing on-key first.

While Patricia Routledge is probably best known for her unforgettable character Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced ‘Bouquet’) in Keeping Up Appearances, she has had an award-winning career in both drama and musical theater which included winning a Tony for her Broadway performance in the musical ‘Darling of the Day’ and a Laurence Olivier Award for Leonard Bernstein’s ‘Candide’. In ‘Darling of the Day’, a young Patricia Routledge starred as the sparky Putney widow Alice Challice alongside Vincent Price. Her rendition of “Not on Your Nellie” received a lasting standing ovation and prompted legendary New York Times critic Walter Kerr to give Patricia a wonderful review: “…the most spectacular, most scrumptious, most embraceable musical comedy debut since Beatrice Lillie and Gertrude Lawrence came to this country.

Even though admitting to being rather choosy about the theater work she takes on, Ms. Routledge is currently on the road showing no signs of slowing at age 84. If you’re in the area, Ms. Routledge will be at the Theatre at The Mill, Newtownabbey on Thursday, 25 April to tell the full story of her life in musical theater in ‘Facing the Music’.

Photo by Hattie Miles for Clive Conway.

‘Facing the Music’ will feature Routledge in conversation with writer and broadcaster Edward Seckerson, talking about this very special part of her career. The night will also include some rare and treasured recordings. Sounds like a night not to be missed whether you are a Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced Bouquet) or Patricia Routledge fan.

The Rutles: A Look Back at Dirk, Nasty, Stig and Barry

April 18, 2013

The early 60′s were not especially kind to The Rutles. Languishing in the Rutland Cavern for years, it wasn’t until 1975 when this relatively unknown British pop group fronted by Neil Innes appeared on Rutland Weekend Television singing “I Must Be In Love” from their 1965 album, A Hard Days Rut, that The Rutles began their assault on the world. Innes had recently left the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, a 60′s British rock band made up of a group of British art-school lads. Innes’ band had already reached the pinnacle of success when they appeared in the 1967 Beatles film, Magical Mystery Tour.

Unlike the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Dirk, Nasty, Stig and Barry (The Rutles) had nowhere to go but up. Created by former Monty Python members Eric Idle and Neil Innes, the band was originally to be named The Rutland Stones, taking their name from Rutland, the smallest county in England, however Idle and Innes settled on The Rutles and the rest, as they say, is history.

Following their appearance on Rutland Weekend Television, interest in The Rutles began to skyrocket. In 1976, Eric Idle appeared on Saturday Night Live in the U.S. gaining the attention of producer Lorne Michaels who placed the world at The Rutles’ feet with the suggestion of a long-form mocumentary film, All You Need Is Cash. It was at that point in 1978, three years after that fortuitous RTW appearance and subsequent later meeting with Michaels that The Rutles achieved overnight success. The album from the film was nominated for a Grammy award for Best Comedy Recording of the Year in 1978 and later became the inspiration for Rob Reiner’s comedy film, This Is Spinal Tap, in 1984.

All You Need Is Cash, which featured 19 songs written by Innes, illustrated The Rutles story from start to finish. Also featured in the film was Dan Aykroyd as the man who turned down The Rutles, John Belushi as Ron Decline, Bill Murray as Bill Murray The K, Gilda Radner as a reluctant street interviewee, George Harrison as a TV interviewer, Michael Palin as a member of Rutle Corps, Ron Wood as a biker, Lorne Michaels as a man who wants to merchandise The Rutles, Al Franken and Tom Davis as Ron Decline employees and both Mick Jagger and Paul Simon as themselves. If you haven’t seen this it’s a must see, even though it’s been 35 years since it was filmed.

Early Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band appearance on Do Not Adjust Your Set

I think I have a new favorite band. I wonder what a Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band created station on Pandora would sound like….


Remembering Dalek designer, Ray Cusick

April 17, 2013

Ray Cusick joined the BBC as a staff designer in 1960. A name you may or may not have run across over the last 50+ years, but you definitely are familiar with his work. Arguably, his most important contribution was to give form to Terry Nation’s Dalek concept. While the job of designing the Daleks originally fell to another BBC in-house designer, future film-maker Ridley Scott, scheduling conflicts saw the job handed to Cusick. While you may think it was the scientist Davros who created the Daleks, it was script writer Terry Nation who created the concept of the Daleks and Ray Cusick who created both their design and appearance. Cusick was responsible for bringing to life a great many of the early Doctor Who stories with his set designs between 1963 and 1966.

Back in 2008, Ray Cusick, the man who designed these tank-like robots that first appeared in the 1963 Doctor Who serial “The Daleks”, visited the BBC Props Department as part of the series, Doctor Who Confidential, to see the Daleks and TARDIS of today. The brilliantly cool factor on this video is to listen to Ray discuss his original reasoning behind the Dalek design and witness the merging of Doctor Who set designers from two different generations.

Cusick so over-simplified his design brilliance on Confidential: “When I’m asked what I was inspired by I suppose it was really a system of logic because I realized that you’ve got to have an operator to operate them. If you had anything mechanical, 10 to one on the take it would go wrong, so you’ve got a human being in there who would be absolutely totally reliable. I then thought ‘Well, the operator’s got to sit down’, so I drew a seat, ergonomic height, 18in, got the operator down, and then drew round him. That’s how the basic shape appeared.

Sadly, Ray Cusick passed away in February at the age of 84 but he will definitely be remembered during this years Doctor Who 50th anniversary celebration and for years to come.

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