As spelled out by our Sunday findings from Centives, the TARDIS can be quite expensive when it comes to upkeep and maintenance (about £15 million, to be exact). With the economy continuing to slowly move towards a recovery, even the most current Traveling Time Lord is not immune to a bit of a cutback on expenses. On May 21 (BBC America), Matt Smith follows in the footsteps of two of his predecessors, Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant, to trade in the TARDIS for a reasonably priced car on Top Gear even if only for a short time.
David Tennant, the Tenth Doctor, in a Reasonably Priced Car
Christopher Eccleston, the Ninth Doctor, in a Reasonably Priced Car
More Doctor Who cast videos and Top Gear BBC America schedule info here.
One of the hits of our recent trek to Liverpool for the 2012 BBC Showcase was the opportunity to screen the hit new kid on the BBC drama block, Call the Midwife. The series, which follows a group of midwives working in London’s East End in the 1950s and stars the likes of Jenny Agutter, Pam Ferris, Miranda Hart and Jessica Raine has just been commissioned for a second season having finished its first series tho past Sunday.
With Call the Midwife already heralded as the most successful drama on the BBC since 2001, BBC One controller, Danny Cohen, has targeted the runaway hit for a long-term commitment with the thought that it could become the future Sunday evening franchise that the BBC needs much like Downton Abbey was for ITV this past Fall.
Sunday’s finale was seen by just over 9 million people. With recorded viewings on both DVR and iPlayer numbers still yet to be counted, the hope is that the numbers will exceed 11 million, surpassing Downton Abbey numbers.
The series should be working its way to America soon, hopefully, with a home on PBS stations nationwide.
There are times when the Internets expose those who have way too much time on their hands. There are other times when it is greatness when you find the results of their free time and can share it with the world.
Fresh on the heels of determining the cost of building the Death Star, those crazy folks over at Centives are hard at work developing an answer to the question that I know has been on everyone’s mind for, I don’t know, the last 48+ years, perhaps….the cost to rent the TARDIS for a year. I know, you gave up the thought of renting it because you thought it was priceless. But, at just over £15 million pounds ($23 million), it’s a bargain. A quick look at some of the equivalent costs when considering your rental….
Next up for Centives? How Big is The Matrix, of course.
While we’ve been tracking what Downton Abbey writer, Julian Fellowes, is up to next, one can’t help but wonder what’s inside ITV1′s bag of tricks that will, hopefully, build upon the success of the series that has taken the world by storm?
Easy. A simple 10-part drama profiling the place that, in 2010, won the distinction of being named the best department store in the world, Selfridges. Mr. Selfridge will trace the life of the flamboyant and visionary American entrepreneur, Harry Gordon Selfridge, who created the famed London department store Selfridge’s. Set in London in 1909 at a time when ‘upstairs’ women were enjoying a new sense of freedom and based on the book Shopping, Seduction And Mr Selfridge by Lindy Woodhead, the series will focus on the hidden moments surrounding the history of women through fashion, cosmetics, technology and domestic affairs.
Created by writer Andrew Davies (Brideshead Revisted, Bridget Jones’ Diary), Mr. Selfridge is set in London in 1909 and will be produced in-house thus avoiding the Downton Abbey scenario where the series was produced by NBC Universal’s Carnival Films.
According to Deadline.com, casting has just begun and the 10-part series will begin production in April of this year with a UK target transmission date of mid-late 2013 and following, hopefully, on PBS in the States.
Manchester born, Davy Jones, died Wednesday in Florida of an apparent heart attack at the age of 66. Many of us remember Jones as the British front man for The Monkees, the American Beatles alternative band put together in 1965 for a television series following the 1964 release of the Beatles’ Hard Day’s Night feature film.
Tributes have been pouring in from all corners of the music world including his former Monkees bandmates.
Mike Nesmith, guitarist
– “So many lovely and heartfelt messages of condolence and sympathy, I don’t know what to say, except my sincere thank you to all. I share and appreciate your feelings. David’s spirit and soul live well in my heart, among all the lovely people, who remember with me the good times, and the healing times, that were created for so many, including us. I have fond memories. I wish him safe travels”.
Peter Tork, Monkees bass guitar player
– “It is with great sadness that I reflect on the sudden passing of my long-time friend and fellow-adventurer, David Jones. His talent will be much missed; his gifts will be with us always. Adios to the Manchester Cowboy”.
Mickey Dolenz, Drumer and singer
– Talking to CNN, Dolenz said the band had left a tour last year on a huge high note. “He was the brother I never had and this leaves a gigantic hole in my heart.”
Jones’ family, his wife, four daughters and three grandchildren released this statement:
– “While we are deeply saddened by our loss, we give thanks and find comfort in our memories.
Davy loved to laugh each day, and we know he would want his fans to remember him with laughter and not tears. You all meant such a lot to him.”
Jones acting career began on the British soap opera, Coronation Street in 1961. Interestingly, on 9 February 1964, Jones appeared with the Broadway cast of Oliver! on The Ed Sullivan Show, the same episode on which The Beatles made their first appearance. For me, who can ever forget Jones playing himself in that memorable episode of The Brady Bunch as Marsha Brady’s heartthrob.
A number of public television stations will be re-broadcasting the 2011 produced 60′s Rock, Pop and Soul: My Music special in which Jones both performs and hosts, along with Herman Hermits’ Peter Noone, during their fundraising campaigns. A great time to remember someone we all grew up with and support public broadcasting at the same time.
As we close down another BBC Showcase, time to take a quick look back at our time in Liverpool. With over 2500 hours of comedy, drama, natural history and documentary from the BBC catalogue available to view, just over 40 hours of screening were logged over the past 4 days looking for that hidden gem to bring to public television in 2012-2013.
While we were screening away in Liverpool, the great Shirley MacLaine has landed at Downton Abbey. One can only imagine the first words from the Dowager Countess as ‘why does every day involve a fight with an American”? Not a lot is known about Ms. MacLaine’s character other than the fact that she plays Countess Cora Grantham’s mother, Martha Levinson. Here’s a shot from early filming of Downton Abbey 3 of Shirley MacLaine and her ladies’ maid, Miss Reed, played by Lucille Sharp.
While the regular cast seemed to be quite excited about her arrival for filming, given some recent tweets from Shirley MacLaine, she seems pretty excited too.
I so can’t wait for this. You?
By the way, I must admit, I did finally succumb to the extreme pressure and used the last 90 minutes of the screening on Wednesday for the upcoming Sherlock 2 premiere of “A Scandal in Belgravia”. All I can say is you haven’t seen anything yet. This is the best 90 minutes you will see on television for some time….at least until you see the next episode the following week.
Even though it’s all things BBC all the time this week, there is still quite a bit of ‘industry shop talk’ going on in an around the convention centre and the hotel. Couple of things we’ve been able to pick up this week while taking a quick break from screening that seem to be making the rounds both on the Internets and in the screening center….
Sherlock to meet Doctor Who in Nov ’13?
Ok, it’s not quite Sherlock that would meet the Doctor, but the big rumor making its way around BBC Showcase in Liverpool late yesterday afternoon was the possibility of Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) being cast as The Master for the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. While, thankfully, the most recent rumor to circulate through Twitter, the death of Rowan Atkinson, turned out to be a monumental hoax, let’s hope there is some major validity to this rumor as, I’m guessing, everyone in attendance here in Liverpool would line up to acquire this program once it becomes available.
I can usually make anything work in my head so with the 50th anniversary just over the horizon in November 2013, this makes sense on all counts. Both Sherlock and Doctor Who are headed by the brilliance of Steven Moffat, so they know each other well. Benedict will have ample time to master the art of the villain following his current role as the main villain in the upcoming Star Trek feature.
CBS’ Elementary adds Lucy Liu as ‘Dr. Watson’
This just continue to defy logic more and more by the day. It was announced earlier in the day that former Charlie’s Angels and Southland star, Lucy Liu, has been cast opposite Jonny Lee Miller in the new CBS present-day Sherlock Holmes series, Elementary, beginning this Fall. Personally, I’ve never known a series that jumps the shark prior to its premiere, but I’ve recently learned to never say never.
BBC Showcase screening update
I can’t let you get away thinking we took the day off from screening today and without a quick glimpse of a couple of shows we were able to get a sneak peek at today. More great drama, one on its way to PBS this Fall and another that might make its way to public television in the coming year…
Silk starring Rupert Penry-Jones
DCI Banks with Stephen Tompkinson
One thing was quite clear after day two in Liverpool at the 2012 BBC Showcase. While it’s been an exceedingly good year for the BBC with regards to drama with the premiere of Call the Midwife, the return of Whitechapel, the continuation of Upstairs Downstairs and the brilliant end to Spooks (MI5), it’s clear that it’s not all drama at the BBC. There’s plenty of comedy in the pipeline in the coming year…which is always a good thing.
The greatness of BBC Showcase every year is the ability to get a quick sense as to what is in the pipeline for the next year or two and what could possibly make its way to the States in the not-too-distant future. Here are some of the best of what we were able to see on Monday…
Bleak Old Shop of Stuff
Other comedies screened for possible acquisition by public television stations were Watson and Oliver, Gavin & Stacey, Little Britain and the new season of Rev. Tonight is “Crime Night dinner at the Convention Centre with special guests Steven Moffat, Sue Vertue, Una Stubbs (Mrs. Hudson, Sherlock), Andrew Scott (Moriarty, Sherlock), Stephen Tompkinson (DCI Banks), Nathaniel Parker (Inspector Lynley Mysteries) and Phil Davis (Sherlock, Whitechapel, Ashes to Ashes). Expect a full report on Wednesday….
It’s now down to business at the 2012 BBC Showcase and the opportunity to screen the best of the best when it comes to telly from the BBC. As we make the grueling 50 yard trek over bitter terrain from the hotel lobby to the screening booths for the 2012 BBC Showcase, it’s immediately clear to all delegates that we will be presented with an over-abundance of great television the next few days. Sunday was all-drama, all the time.
Sunday was supposed to end with a private screening with Michael Palin and his new series, Brazil with Michael Palin but it was delayed due to a train derailment from London to Liverpool. Life was almost good.
The first screening icon in the on-demand catalogue for Sherlock 2. Not sure I will be able to resist the temptation to watch before I leave here. This, however, is definitely not good. Here are a few examples of what telly watchers in the States could be seeing in the not-too-distant future on public television…
Call the Midwife
Scott and Bailey
Death in Paradise
Up Monday, comedy, comedy, comedy.
Any pre-conceived impressions of Liverpool that I had prior to arriving yesterday at Liverpool Lime Street train station were completely blown away today by spending a bit of time talking to residents of all ages about their city. I have never met a collective group of people that are more proud of their city than the residents of Liverpool. Put aside the obvious of the being the home of the Beatles and Liverpool FC, you have a city that is the second most filmed city in England (Sherlock, Harry Potter), is home to Europe’s longest established Chinese community, possesses the 5th largest Anglican church in the world (the biggest in Britain) and is home to the fastest growing airport in Europe, John Lennon Airport.
On tap this morning, a little Beatles early morning tour prior to the beginning of the BBC Showcase. For even the casual Beatles fan, this is well worth the three+ hours that is a combination of Beatles history, music history and Liverpool history. With stops at the birthplaces of the birthplaces at each of the Fab Four, the tour also included multiple stops which are referenced throughout the Beatles catalog, such as Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields, the grave of Eleanor Rigby and a seemingly non-descript field behind St. Peters Church where, on a fateful day in July 1957, a young John Lennon and The Quarrymen met a young 15-year old Paul McCartney.
After that, hours of screening on tap in the comedy, drama and light entertainment genre’s that we’ll be reporting on with clips, hopefully, over the next several days. Stay tuned!