Ran across a brilliant piece which combines one of my favorite series with one of my favorite times of the year. Searching half the night trying to find the appropriate person to attribute this to and give credit where credit is due, all I could come up with was that it looks like it was brilliantly penned last Christmas by ‘kronette‘ and placed on a Beta site called Archive of Our Own. All I can say is, kronette, wherever you are, this is a genius piece of work.
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – Red Dwarf style
‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the ship
There was nothing on scanners, not even a blip
Kryten was bustling to spit-polish and shine
Every inch of Red Dwarf, from deck 4,000 to nine.
Rimmer was crashed out all snug in his bunk,
Twelve whiskey sour balls curing his holiday funk
Lister soon followed with marijuana gin
Thumb in his mouth and drool on his chin.
Cat strutted his stuff on the dance floor with glee,
While disco lights bounced off the (fake-arsed) green tree.
Stacks of presents underneath leaned dangerously right,
But Kryten’s new mop handle hindered their flight.
While alarm sirens blared through the whole of the ship,
“Just three minutes more,” a snoozing Rimmer did quip,
“Whassat?” Lister slurred and half fell from his bunk
Crying out in pain and cradling his junk.
As Kryten rushed in, Lister was curled on the floor,
Tears filling his eyes and looking quite pale and poor.
Kryten flailed about exclaiming, “What on Earth is the matter?”
Lister said in a high-pitched voice, “Cracked me love spuds on the ladder.”
Kryten helped Lister to bed, then fretted about,
“We’ll all soon be dead!” he wailed with a shout.
Sweat on his brow, Lister grumbled a threat,
“If you’re wrong about this, I’ll beat your smegging head.”
“Mr. Lister, it’s true,” Kryten brought up the screen,
“Sensors show nine figures aiming straight toward us, it seems.
A humanoid life form in an odd ship configuration,
Plus eight non-human entities leading the formation.”
Rimmer awoke with a groan and a sneer,
“Kryten, are you telling us Father Christmas is here?”
Kryten glared at him sharply, “I don’t know who you mean.
I’m only reporting facts as they’re shown on the screen.”
Lister’s eyes widened comically, “You can’t be serious, Krytes.
The big man, the main man, on Christmas night!
He brings presents to all who’ve been good rather than bad.
He brought me my first guitar; it was totally rad!”
“That’s a lie,” Rimmer piped up, dampening Lister’s good cheer,
“Aged nine, no skates and I’d been good all damn year.”
“Yeah, but Rimmer,” Lister said, his eyes all a-twinkle,
“You’re a twonk who doesn’t even believe in Kris Kringle.”
“That’s besides the point!” Rimmer huffed and tried not to care.
“He should lob presents at everyone good or bad, to be fair.”
“That’s not how it works,” Lister tried to employ sane reason.
“You’re supposed to care for your fellow man this season.”
Kryten implored, “I believe there are more pressing matters at hand,
Like which landing bay to tell the gentleman to land.”
Rimmer smirked with arms crossed, “He’s not coming aboard this ship.”
Lister flicked him off with a curt but firm, “Shut it, ya twit.”
They sped to the docks, meeting up with Cat on the way,
And stared in amazement at eight reindeer and one sleigh.
“It really is Santa!” Lister proclaimed, eyes starting to glisten.
Cat sidled up to him and asked, “Bud, who is this person?”
“It’s Father Christmas,” Lister sang, full of cheer and great glee.
“And he’s come to give presents to all of yous and me.”
“He’s giving presents?” exclaimed Cat, perking up with eyes alight.
“Dearest Cat,” Santa said, “I’m known to all this night.”
“He’s a right smegging bastard,” Rimmer grumbled and groused.
Santa sighed, “I’m sorry, Arnold, but your parents moved house.”
To Rimmer’s surprise, Santa pulled from the sleigh,
a pair of roller skates that sparkled silver, black and gray.
Rimmer was speechless, his voice lost to the void
as he cradled his gift as one would a newborn child.
“And for you, my mechanical friend,” Santa said with a wink,
“New scrubbers for your floors, walls, dishes and sink.”
Kryten beamed, “Oh, sir, they’ll do the trick just fine!”
Cat shoved to the front and demanded, “Where’s mine?”
Santa shook his head with a patient, kindly smile
and retrieved seven suits and three ties, all in style.
The Cat preened and sniffed his new things with a purr,
“My four favorite things: silk, satin, lace and fur!”
Lister’s happy face while watching his friends in delight,
started to fade, as no present for him was in sight.
Lister tried to buck up as he knew he ought do,
But Santa was all knowing, all seeing and saw through.
“Lister, my lad, I know your heart’s fondest wish.
I can’t give you that, but I can give you this:
You’re the richest man alive, in both word and in deed.
For it’s not the material things that you crave or most need.
Good friends loyal and true, these you already know,
Health and long life will follow wherever you go.
While it may not seem like it through times good and bad,
Good luck and great fortune are yours to be had.
So cherish your friends, as they’re your family most dear,
Happy Christmas to you, Dave, and always good cheer.”
Rare silence settled over the Red Dwarf’s small crew,
Taking the sentiment to heart (even Rimmer; who knew?).
“Happy Christmas, Mr. Lister,” Kryten smiled brightly and gay.
“Yeah, bud, Happy Christmas,” Cat quietly echoed the same.
Rimmer looked to Lister, tears welled in his eyes.
“Guess I was wrong about Christmas,” he surmised.
“Happy Christmas to all,” was his heartfelt decree.
Kryten replied chirpily, “Happy Christmas, smee-hee.”
Lister’s eyes were shining, but his smile was miles wide,
For Santa was right; he was the richest man alive.
With good friends, food aplenty and lager on tap,
All that was left was, “Happy Christmas ya smegheads,
From Dave, Arn, Krytes and Cat!”
Ever wonder just what it takes to create a sitcom series? Think it’s as easy as just putting words on paper and getting actors to ‘read them funny’? How about one that has been wildly successful for two seasons and, as with the case of Miranda, you learn that your series that you both write and star in has been commissioned for a third series to air on BBC One, no less. No pressure there, right?
In the case of Miranda, the process started for series creator Miranda Hart over a year prior to her knowledge of a series 3 broadcast premiere date of Boxing Day 2012.
Armed with an endless supply of blank post-it notes, Hart has detailed her journey from that fateful day at her kitchen table staring at a blank notebook to the blank laptop screen some 10 months out from broadcast, to rehearsal and, ultimately, taping before a live studio audience in October.
Some quick bits and bobs in Miranda’s own words chronicling her journey from BBC Two to BBC One this Boxing Day….
For a full lights-out chronicle from Miranda Hart of her blow-by-blow efforts to make funny telly, this is a great read that will help you fully appreciate comedy brilliance when you sit down on Boxing Day this year and watch Miranda on BBC One.
The 21st century world of Twitter and Facebook, in most cases, can be a good thing unless an innocent bit of information leads to an endless amount of speculation that has no basis in reality. Such was the case recently when it was announced by the producers of Sherlock that production filming, originally scheduled to begin in January 2013, would now begin in March, due to the fact that the two principle stars, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, seem to be involved with most films currently in production on the planet. The delay heard round the world caused widespread panic and thoughts that with production delays come transmission delays, pushing the proposed Fall 2013 transmission to 2014, most likely. Finally taking to Twitter where the point of the message was easily composed in under 140 characters, Sherlock producer, Sue Vertue, had this to say to clarify the situation and end rampant speculation…
As was pointed out by Patty, longtime reader of Tellyspotting and one who consistently keeps me on my toes every day, Sherlock, as brilliant as it is, is not The Hobbit or Star Trek, both of which need a year of CGI post-production. Sherlock is brilliant because of the writing, the editing, the direction and the cast…no need for a year of CGI post-production. So, until I hear differently, I’m believing Sue and setting my DVR for Fall 2013 for the premiere of Sherlock 3.
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.