Could Moriarty return for series 3?
Early on, Sherlock co-creator/writer duo, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, had an idea just how Sherlock Holmes’ arch nemesis, Jim Moriarty, would appear. Moffat explained, “Moriarty is usually a rather dull, rather posh villain so we thought someone who was genuinely properly frightening. Someone who’s an absolute psycho.” ‘Absolute psycho’ is a gross understatement when you see the end result of Andrew Scott’s brilliant portrayal of Moriarty. Those who have seen series 1 & 2, know that Moriarty will go to great lengths to lure Holmes into his web and, in most instances, exhibits pure enjoyment when Sherlock figures things out and pure outrage when he takes too long. Moriarty truly believes he and Sherlock are mind palace buddies and are at a level no one else will ever match. Because of this obsession and, because he is an absolute psycho, this leads me to believe what I witnessed recently as proof positive that Moriarty survives, Holmes knows it, and that they both return for series 3.
Just for fun, let’s both start and fuel the rumor that it’s possible that Moriarty could come back for series 3. We know for a fact, however he may do it, that Sherlock Holmes will survive the fall from the rooftop of St Barts. So why couldn’t Moriarty survive a little gunshot wound to the head on the same rooftop? Why fuel speculation? Easy. Two clues from a recent drive this week through New Mexico. One being that Moriarty, so in need of having to match wits with Holmes, is leaving clues as to where he is and how far away he is.
So, is it just me or do you agree that these are proof positive clues that telly viewers are in for something amazing with series 3 of Sherlock and that both Moriarty and Sherlock are a part of it? Or, do I just have too much time on my hands and need to pay closer attention to the road while driving….
Downton Abbey I & II – 16 hours in 5 minutes
It’s hard to believe that a mere two years ago, the world had never heard of Downton Abbey, the Dowager Countess, Matthew & Mary, Carson or Bates. It was January 2011 that the Julian Fellowes penned drama series crashed the U.S. television party as part of PBS’ Masterpiece series. Heading in to series 3, which begins on January 6, the British period drama has amassed a total of 27 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most critically acclaimed English-language television series of 2011 and became the most watched television series on both ITV and PBS, making it the most successful British costume drama series since the 1981 television serial of Brideshead Revisited.
While millions upon millions of viewers have become part of the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the post-Edwardian era sinking of the RMS Titanic, the beginning of World War I, the outbreak of the Spanish influenza pandemic and the Marconi scandal, surprisingly, there are still a few that are new to the Downton Abbey phenomenon. It’s hard to know who might be suffering more anxiety at the moment. On one hand, we have those ardent fans that have patiently waiting for just shy of a year for series 3. On the other hand, there are those just now surfacing from a two-year sleep not having seen any Downton episode at this point and are desperate to catch up in the short time we have left before the series 3 premiere.
Fortunately, Tellyspotting can help both groups as we find ourselves only FOUR weeks from the long-awaited premiere and the crossing of paths of Maggie Smith and Shirley MacLaine. Anyone else out there think January 6 can’t come soon enough?
Downton Abbey 1 & 2 – 16 hours in 5 minutes
Downton Abbey III: The Wait is Over….well, almost!
Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Joe Frazier….Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey?
First, there was the Rumble in the Jungle in 1974. Then came the Thrilla in Manilla in 1975. Now, some 37 years later, the new ‘Fight of the Century’ will occur on Christmas Day and feature the Call the Midwife Holiday Special in one corner and the Downton Abbey Holiday Special in the other. While they won’t appear in the same ring opposite each other, there has been plenty of “Rope-a-Dope” between their respective managers in the ring, the BBC and ITV, the past few days.
At the first ‘press conference’ in which both fighters appeared just over a month ago, ITV bosses declared that Downton Abbey would transmit at 9pm on Christmas Day. In a bold, non-American style television move, the BBC One bosses announced their intention to accommodate fans of both period dramas and send Call The Midwife into the ring from 7.45pm-9pm on Christmas Day to avoid any conflict.
In a surprise move and barely an hour before the television schedules were signed off on earlier this week on Tuesday, ITV went all-southpaw and altered the Downton Abbey start time to 8.45p. Having no choice but to counterpunch before the final bell, the BBC decided to move Call The Midwife into a 7.30pm – 8.45pm slot.
Much like their fight of the century predecessors, the true winners will not be those in the ring, but those watching on the telly. When the country tunes in Christmas Day in the UK, they will be able witness two of best programs on telly back-to-back as opposed to going toe to toe in the ring.
U.S. viewers get their chance in the ring beginning on Sunday, Dec 30 with the Call the Midwife Holiday Special followed by round 2 and the Downton Abbey Holiday Special on Sunday, February 17…both on PBS.
‘Doing porridge’ is British slang for serving a prison sentence, partly due to the fact that porridge was once the traditional breakfast in UK prisons.
Voted number seven in the 2004 BBC poll of the 100 greatest British sitcoms, this mid-70′s series, Porridge, starring Ronnie Barker and Richard Beckinsale, tells the story of one, Norman Stanley Fletcher, a prisoner at the fictional HMP Slade Prison in Cumberland. Fletcher’s sole purpose in life, at this juncture, is to make his daily life in prison more bearable by beating the system in any way possible. Described by his sentencing judge as “an habitual criminal”, Fletcher takes his cellmate under his wing, showing the ‘first timer’ the ropes.
The creative partnership behind Porridge was Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, who were also responsible for Lovejoy and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. Interestingly, Clement and La Frenais also wrote, with Roddy Doyle, The Commitments, the story of Jimmy Rabbitte who aspires to manage the world’s greatest band, with only one music in mind: soul.
From a production standpoint, scenes within the prisoners cells and prison offices were filmed at the BBC’s London studios. The prison exterior in the title sequence and some of the episodes were shot at Maidstone Prison, which was also featured in the BBC comedy series Birds of a Feather. The BBC was forced to look around for locations shooting because the Home Office refused permission for any production filming in or outside a real prison.
Following Porridge, Barker went on to the classic Open All Hours, written by Roy Clarke (Last of the Summer Wine, Keeping Up Appearances), which finished 8th in the above mentioned pole of the greatest British sitcoms.
Another day, another day that Christmas will be coming early to those that have been patiently awaiting the news about broadcast plans for the upcoming Call the Midwife Holiday Special on PBS. The BBC recently announced that the 75-minute special would be broadcast Christmas Day at 7:30p, The BBC broadcast has been scheduled at the earlier time thus avoiding the potential of going up against the juggernaut that is the Downton Abbey Christmas Special which now begins on ITV at 8:45pm.
That said, PBS viewers can now rest comfortably with the knowledge that the special will be broadcast on PBS stations nationwide in the U.S. on Sunday, December 30 at 7:30pET/6:30pCT. This is significant folks. What it means is that U.S. viewers of PBS will be able to see the program a mere five short days after BBC viewers in the UK. In a 21st century world, this will seriously eliminate having to avoid the Internet for months and the Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest world of spoilers.
Having had the opportunity to screen an early version of the special, this is at least a two-box of Kleenex special that you are not going to want to miss. In the special, newly married Chummy (Miranda Hart) and Nurse Jenny Lee (Jessica Raine) are hard at work during their first Christmas in Nonnatus House. As nurses and nuns minister to an abandoned newborn and search for the mother, and Jenny tries to find the children of an elderly vagrant, Chummy plans an ambitious nativity play. In true Chummy fashion, mishaps ensue.
In addition to the announcement of the broadcast day and time of the holiday special, PBS also has announced that the combination of overwhelmingly positive viewer response and strong audience numbers, the second series of Call the Midwife will premiere on Sunday, March 31, 2013 at 8:00pET/7:00pCT leading in to the premiere of Mr. Selfridge, which stars Jeremy Piven.
Combined with the premiere of the third season of Downton Abbey on January 6, 2013 is going to be a great year for drama on both sides of the pond.
BBC announces new Jonathan Creek special in 2013
Full Jonathan Creek disclosure here. I flat out love this series….
The new special, which the BBC is targeting for an Easter 2013 premiere, will be written by original series writer David Renwick and will be titled “The Clue Of The Savant’s Thumb”. The episode will see Creek and Joey Ross (Sheridan Smith) drawn into a complex case involving a secret society, seemingly supernatural events at a girls’ boarding school, and the miraculous disappearance of a body in front of three witnesses.
Davies expressed his excitement at the thought of returning to the role he began almost two decades ago: “The new story has more than the usual amount of twists and surprises, and I’m very much looking forward to sleuthing again. I can’t wait to join Sheridan Smith on set again; we’re very lucky to have her. It’s nearly 17 years since I first auditioned for the part; the duffle coat is always on standby, even if the periods of duffle-hibernation are quite long these days.”
Pete Thornton, the Creative Head of BBC Comedy, says: “A new Creek script from David [Renwick] is always a joy, and this one is especially brilliant. With the dream team of Alan Davies and Sheridan Smith back on board, we’re looking forward to delivering a really special Easter treat for BBC One audiences next year.”
Let’s hope this special makes it way to public television not too long after Easter 2013.
On one hand, you’d think there would be the potential to view the recent announcement of the commissioning of series 4 of Downton Abbey and think, “…our work here is done“. Not so, however, if you are ITV and have your sights set on taking over for the BBC in the world of drama output. Already on the books for 2013 for ITV, in addition to Downton Abbey, comes Mr. Selfridge, starring Jeremy Piven, The Bletchley Circle, which is based on the lives of four fictional women whose brilliant work at top security HQ Bletchley Park during World War II helped break codes used by the German military and Endeavour, the Inspector Morse prequel that stars Shaun Evans as a young Inspector Endeavour Morse set in 1960′s Oxford.
Throw in new series of Scott and Bailey, DCI Banks and Doc Martin and it’s really time to sit back and just enjoy the ride. More recent commissions from ITV include what looks to be a very promising comedy sitcom, Vicious, starring two screen legends, Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi. Vicious tells the story of ageing partners, Freddie (McKellen) and Stuart (Jacobi), two men who have lived together in a small Covent Garden flat for nearly 50 years. Freddie was a budding actor and Stuart a barman when they first met but their careers are now pretty much over and their lives now consist of reading books, walking their dog and bickering.
Also, The Job Lot, is set in a busy West Midlands Job Centre and will focus on the relationships between the people that work there and the people that don’t work there, or anywhere else for that matter. Starring Sarah Hadland (Miranda) and Russell Tovey (Being Human, Him & Her), the comedy tells the story of neurotic Trish (Hadland) who runs the Brownall Job Centre aided by her staff, including reluctant and truculant Karl (Tovey).
Let’s not forget the previously mentioned Julian Fellowes’ Historical Houses where the Downton Abbey creator/writer takes viewers on a journey through the extraordinary history, upstairs and downstairs, of his favorite great houses of England. He provides a fascinating insight into the detail behind these incredible houses and the people who lived and worked there.
All told, 2013 looks like another banner year for ITV. The great thing about being a telly watcher on either side of the pond is that we are going to be treated to some stellar drama, comedy and factual programming from both the BBC and ITV. Much of the output from both broadcast outlets should find their way to PBS stations in the States in the coming year.
By all accounts, 2012 was a pretty stellar year for drama output from the BBC and ITV. Downton Abbey, Sherlock, Endeavour, DCI Banks, Scott and Bailey, Call the Midwife and Upstairs Downstairs to name a few. In 2013, it only gets better as both the BBC and ITV are getting ready to rumble for drama supremacy on the telly.
Just last week, BBC Controller of Drama, Ben Stephenson, announced several new drama series set to come our way in 2013 headed by What Remains, a state-of-the-nation whodunit in which the neighboring residents are the chief suspects in the apparent murder of a 30-year-old single woman found decomposed in the loft above her flat two years after her death and The Escape Artist, which follows a talented junior barrister who manages to get a notorious prime suspect acquitted in an horrific murder trial.
The BBC followed that announcement with the news that they have just commissioned three additional dramas, one of which will be written by best-selling author David Nicholls for Carnival Films, producer of that little hit, we call, Downton Abbey.
The 7.39, written by Nicholls, is a romantic drama that follows two lovers who meet on their daily commute to work.
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, is based on the novel of the same name by Susanna Clarke. The 6-part series is set in England during the Napoleonic Wars and will be adapted for television by Peter Harness (Wallander).
Finally, Being Human creator/writer Toby Whithouse has written The Game, a Cold War thriller set in the world of 1970s espionage from BBC Wales.
Come back tomorrow for some news of new commissions on the ITV side of the ball. Everyone is already breathing again after the news of a fourth season of Downton Abbey being commissioned, but there is a lot more great drama coming your way from ITV in 2013. We’ll profile what they have in store on Wednesday.
Amidst the periodic pleas of continuance and subsequent rumours that usually follow about the return of Blackadder, nothing much has materialized beyond the once a year thought that a Blackadder reunion set in the 60′s with Sir Edmund fronting a Dave Clark Five type band with ‘Bald Rick’ as the drummer was once a possibility. Recently, as part of the must-have book for this holiday season, The True History of the Blackadder: The Unadulterated Tale of the Creation of a Comedy Legend by Jem Roberts, even a ‘lost’ Blackadder script was handed over by creator/writer Richard Curtis which had Edmund Blackadder in Bethlehem as the owner of the Blackadder Inn where Joseph and Mary seek a bed for the night on 24 December.
As pleas fall by the wayside and rumours remain just that, rumours, our friends over at the British Comedy Guide come to the aid of Blackadder fans worldwide with an actual Blackadder moment which took place at last weeks Prince’s Trust get together. The performance sketch also featured some well known names and faces to fans of British television around the globe with Miranda Hart (Miranda, Call the Midwife), Sanjeev Bhaskar (Kumars at No. 42) and Helen Lederer (The Young Ones, Absolutely Fabulous).
Written by Ben Elton and featuring both Rowan Atkinson and Tony Robinson (Baldrick), the sketch has Sir Edmund being called before a parliamentary committee (Hart, Bhasker & Lederer) inquiring into the banking crisis.
Blackadder & Baldrick – image copyright The Princes Trust
According to the British Comedy Guide, the video below is footage shot on an audience member’s camera at We Are Most Amused, the Prince’s Trust gig. It briefly shows Rowan Atkinson return as Blackadder. This time Edmund is Sir Edmund Blackadder, the chief executive of bailed-out bank Melchett, Melchett and Darling Bank. The sketch was 13 minutes long but, sadly, this is footage of just the first 4 minutes.
Whatever the case may be, it’s 4 minutes longer than any true Blackadder sketch since the millennium special, Blackadder: Back and Forth back in 1999. Fortunately, the Telegraph has provided a bit of the script dialogue for those that weren’t in the audience of 5000 at last week’s annual charity event.
Blackadder: “The task of this inquiry is to identify those responsible and if necessary to apportion blame. To help I would like to call a witness to the inquiry. I would like to call my gardener… Mr Sodoff Baldrick.”
Enter Baldrick in grubby overalls.
Madam Chair [to Baldrick]: “I’m sorry, could you tell me your first name again?”
Madam Chair: “Well, I was only asking. Your witness, Sir Edmund.”
Blackadder: “Thank you, Madam Chair. Before we begin, Baldrick, kindly assure the inquiry that you are here of your own volition.”
Baldrick: “I can’t do that, my lord.”
Blackadder: “Why not?”
Baldrick: “I don’t know what ‘volition’ means.”
Blackadder [long-sufferingly]: “Did you come here on your own initiative?”
Baldrick: “No, my lord. I came on my bike.”
Madam Chair: “Why is the witness calling you ‘my lord’, Sir Edmund?”
Blackadder: “Because I bought a peerage at the parliamentary gift shop on my way in. There’s a selection of honours for sale next to the Big Ben snow globes. So, Baldrick…”
Baldrick: “I wish to address the chairwoman!”
Madam Chair: “I’m afraid she’s busy polishing the Speaker’s gavel.”
Female deputy chair: “Doesn’t Mrs Bercow normally do that?”
Madam Chair: “Yes, but not this morning. She’s got an FHM calendar shoot followed by a meeting of Attention-Seekers Anonymous with Mrs Mensch and that mad cow that went into the jungle. Don’t you follow Twitter?”