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Alan Partridge is…Alpha Papa!

March 29, 2013

It’s been far too long since the end of Alan Partridge’s Mid Morning Matters on North Norfolk Digital radio. Some of you might remember Alan’s brilliant stint as a disc jockey on North Norfolk Digital, following the failure of his television career which, many think, peaked in the 90′s with his chat show, Knowing Me Knowing You.

Now comes Alan Partridge’s long awaited big-screen adventure, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, a Die Hard-like hostage thriller that sees North Norfolk Digital’s finest facing off against a fellow DJ gone postal….could it be Side-kick Simon?

We’re putting him into a situation,” says Steve Coogan, who created the Alan Partridge persona along with The Thick of It and Veep creator, Armando Iannucci. “We had to make it filmic without throwing away the DNA that makes him Alan-like. So we kicked around a lot of ideas and ended up with something that’s a bit Dog Day Afternoon and a bit Network. There is a threat level.

The notion of Alan being caught up in a hostage situation is outlandish, but how it happens is perfectly believable,” says director Declan Lowney, veteran of Father Ted. “Steve strives for stuff to be real, even with all the gags. That said, there’s quite a bit of action. We’ve got violence, guns and heavy kissing.

Look for Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa at a big screen near you later this summer beginning 7 August. After all the supposed summer movie ‘blockbuster’s’ come and go, what better way to close out the summer than with true big screen brilliance. Can’t wait to see how Partridge defends Norfolk’s Nakatomi Plaza.

Until then, enjoy a bit of Alan Partridge’s Mid Morning Matters

Jonathan Creek solved mystery of Sherlock’s fall from St Barts rooftop back in 1998

March 28, 2013

Since early 2012, the world (minus Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, of course) has been left wondering just how Sherlock Holmes survived the rooftop fall from St Barts Hospital at the end of series 2 of Sherlock. Not to worry, according to Alan Davies, who stars as the part-time magicians creative consultant, part-time sleuth, Jonathan Creek. Seems as though a similar stunt, although not exactly the same, was part of a 1998 Jonathan Creek episode, ‘The Problem at Gallows Gate’. In the episode, a young man leaps from a second-floor balcony in front of stunned guests at a house party in the country. He’s pronounced dead at the scene and his body is taken away in an ambulance, but he’s later seen strangling a woman to death. So, clearly, his own death was faked. Check out Jonathan’s explanation about 28:30 into the video below.

Fast forward 14 years to the rooftop of St Barts Hospital as Sherlock Holmes leaps from the building with Dr. John Watson waiting below across the street. More genius from the brilliant minds over at the Radio Times as they put together what seems to be a plausible explanation comparing the 1998 Creek episode with the present-day Sherlock series 2 ender. Any thoughts?

For your own comparison purposes, here’s a fan recap of the final scenes from Sherlock “The Reichenbach Fall”. Faking a bit of pavement might be a bit more difficult than a patch of grass. And, it was a rooftop and not a second floor balcony. Still, eerily cool, isn’t it?

A brief glimpse behind-the-scenes on the set of Sherlock 3 in Bristol

March 27, 2013

While we are in the mode of bringing you ‘currently in production’ news of your favorite British telly such as Downton Abbey, Doctor Who and Doc Martin, we would be remiss if we didn’t post few ‘official’ pics from current filming of the third series of Sherlock. As with much of the first two seasons, lots of long nights of latenight location filming which should lay to rest the grand illusion of a glamorous lifestyle while on the set of your favorite series or film. In most cases, we’re talking 15+ hour days in miserable weather with just enough time at the end of the days shooting to get ready for the next day.

As reported spoiler-free by This is Bristol, there was quite a stir in Bristol on Monday as Portland Square was the backdrop as Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes) and the cast and crew of Sherlock were in town to film several scenes for the long-awaited series return.

A great shot of Benedict Cumberbatch getting ready for the next scene…

Cumberbatch and new cast member, Amanda Abbington, were filmed in front of what appears to be a large bonfire. The only ‘spoiler’, I guess is that Sherlock is alive but I guess we all kind of knew that at this point.

Sherlock 3 filming in Portland Square – with LOTS of standing around

Interestingly, many of the folks who turned up early after hearing the news that the series was setting up in Portland Square to film ended up to be extras in the following scene which shows both Benedict and Amanda Abbington running towards the bonfire with ‘Sherlock’ shouting “Move, Move“.

A first photographic look at Downton Abbey 4

March 26, 2013

With word that Doc Martin begins filming in April, combined with the knowledge that Sherlock has begun filming series 3 already, one almost forgets (I said, almost) that Downton Abbey is currently in production on series 4. Early 2013 brought a number of rumors of new additions to the cast, several subtractions to the cast and bits and bobs of a storyline for the 4th series of the goings on at Downton.

***Spoiler Alert*** If you haven’t seen the conclusion of Downton Abbey 3

While Downton star Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith) told the Independent in Ireland that while the beginning of the new series will be sad following Matthew Crawley’s death, viewers are in for an exciting ride in series 4 Carmichael said: “Well, everyone is a bit blue as you can imagine at the beginning of the series. But there’s lots of exciting things that are happening and I think it’s going to be a great series.

Hearing that series 4 is going to be great is brilliant, but what everyone wants to see are photos and videos from the set to tide them over until the return of the inhabitants of Downton above and below the stairs. Fortunately, everyone has a camera these days so the ability to share set photos is not too difficult a task. First up to the left and right, as you can imagine, come from the beginning of Downton Abbey 4 which finds Lady Mary mourning her husband Matthew, who died six months earlier in a tragic car crash.

Most of the rest of these are from earlier in the month during filming in both Bampton and at St. Pancras International Station Kings Cross, London.
Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith) and Charles Edwards (Edith’s Editor Michael Gregson) walk through St. Pancras Station Kings Cross, London

Lady Rose moves in with the Crawleys

A future for Isobel and Dr. Clarkson in Downton Abbey 4?

A happy Bates now that he’s out of prison for series 4

Creator, Julian Fellowes, recently told the New York Times: “One of the main themes is the rebuilding of Mary. Mary has to rebuild her life in a society which is changing.” Fellowes continued: “We would see women’s roles in the ’20s as being very much behind women today. But it was a big advance on what it had been 30 years before. And that’s all explored.

I’m so ready….You?

Doc Martin’s Portwenn surgery set to re-open next month for series 6 filming

March 25, 2013

This just in, the long-awaited return of Doctor Martin Ellingham’s surgery to the fictional village of Portwenn is just around the corner. As many Doc Martin fans already are aware, series 6 begins filming in April for a new set of eight episodes for ITV that should premiere in the UK this Fall and Spring 2014 on public television stations in the States. The Cornwall village of Port Isaac will be transformed into the fictional village of Portwenn with cast and crew making the trek from April through July of this year.

Should you decide to make the journey to ‘Portwenn’, a quick walk around will take you past many of the immediately recognizable filmed locations in Doc Martin as seen on the map below, including the Doc’s surgery, Bert’s Restaurant, the Chemist, The Platt, the Quay, the School, Louisa’s old and new houses and Wenn House.

1 Doc Martins Surgery….7 Louisa’s Old House
2 Berts Restaurant…….8 Louisa’s New House
3 Chemist………………9 Wenn House (The Bay Hotel)
4 The Platt……………..10 Funeral Parlour (series 5)
5 Quay………………….11 Garage (series 5)
6 School

Should you decide to make the trip, check out The Bay Hotel, which doubles as Wenn House in the series. If you do, don’t forget to say hi to The Bay Hotel’s resident Great Dane, Gino, Port Isaac’s official RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) mascot. Owned by The Bay Hotel’s proprietor, Gino even has his own RNLI-branded lifejacket equipped with two saddlebags which have been embroidered and donated for him to wear on his daily village patrols.

Lots of questions to be answered in series 6, the main one, obviously, is whether or not the Doc and Louisa finally get married. When asked recently as to what news he might be able to share with Doc Martin fans around the world, series star Martin Clunes said, “…“I’m thrilled to be going back to the beautiful North Cornish coast to shoot series six of Doc Martin. Our challenge this season will be to force Louisa (Caroline Catz) and the doctor to live together with baby James, which as far as I can see has disaster written all over it. And then there’s the dog and Dame Eileen, but not necessarily in that order!”.”

Unfortunately, at this point, not too much is known about what’s in store for the residents of Portwenn in series 6 but what we do know is that Dame Eileen Atkins will return as Martin’s Aunt Ruth along with Ian McNeice as local restaurateur Bert, Joe Absolom as Bert’s son Al and John Marquez as local police officer PC Joe Penhale.

The rumor is that this will be the final series of Doc Martin but we refuse to even think the unthinkable at this point in time….

The prequel to Doctor Who 7.2 – what happens before the WiFi goes bad?

March 24, 2013

It seems that twice, now, there was this girl named Clara Oswald, who shared an adventure with The Doctor. And twice that same girl died, several galaxies and centuries apart. It has been a bit since we last saw The Doctor and curious minds everywhere want to know what the Time Lord has been up to since he last saw Clara at the end of the Christmas special, ‘The Snowmen’. Enter show runner, Steven Moffat, who has created this prequel to the long-awaited return of Doctor Who on Saturday, 30 March, on BBC One and BBC America.

Taking a break on Earth and more than a bit despondent that he can’t find Clara, whom he has lost twice now, The Doctor stops off to have a go on the swings in a children’s playground. He meets a new friend and pours his heart out to a young girl about the friend he has ‘lost’. His new found friend gives him some pretty good advice.

Shame he didn’t think to ask her name…

Fear not, in Saturdays ‘Bells of Saint John’ return, The Doctor is reunited with the mysterious Clara Oswald, where they discover what happens when Wi-Fi goes bad…FYI, it isn’t pretty, but it’s brilliant.

As filming begins, talk a walk in Sherlock’s footsteps…and revisit some of Spooks’ favorite haunts while your at it!

March 23, 2013

Whether you are in London, near London or will be going their in the foreseeable future and are in need of a virtual walk wherever you are this weekend, this is a cool walking tour that will give you a chance to walk in the shoes of Sherlock Holmes and Harry Pearce at the same time. Total distance is about 6 miles and will take a couple of hours (not taking into account the obligatory stop at any number of locals you find along the way).

From the brilliant minds of that staff over at the Radio Times


Trafalgar Square is the quintessential London location. It was the scene of some bomb-based brinkmanship for Erin and Dimitri in the final series of Spooks, and also featured in Sherlock’s ‘The Blind Banker’. FYI, to start your journey, Trafalgar Square’s nearest Tubes are Charing Cross (Northern, Bakerloo) Embankment (Circle, District) and Leicester Square (Piccadilly, Northern).

Leave the square via Whitehall towards Big Ben. Pass Parliament on your left and walk through Victoria Tower Gardens to the steps up to Lambeth Bridge. From the top of the steps, Thames House — the real MI5’s headquarters — used for some night shots in series eight of Spooks, is on your right, over the other side of the roundabout, and from the bridge you can look upstream to the genuine Secret Intelligence Service HQ, aka MI6, which has also featured a few times. After crossing the Thames, turn left downstream along the Thames Path. Shortly before Westminster Bridge are some benches facing the Houses of Parliament — where Harry met the CIA’s Jim Coaver.


The South Bank is a favored haunt for Spooks, especially for its characters’ low-tide rendezvous, but Sherlock locations also abound. The shore in front of the Oxo Tower was where a gallery security guard was found in ‘The Great Game’, and Hungerford Bridge and the skate park under the Queen Elizabeth Hall were both used in ‘The Blind Banker’.


Pass under Blackfriars road and rail bridges and cross the Millennium Bridge — another popular Spooks location — to St Paul’s. Turn left and walk down Ludgate Hill to its junction with the Old Bailey. Walk up past the court to the traffic lights, cross over into Giltspur Street, past some offices and the building on your right is St Bartholomew’s Hospital — the meeting place of Holmes and Watson and where Sherlock met his end (or did he?) in the story ‘The Reichenbach Fall’. Follow the hospital buildings as the road sweeps round to the right and in front of you will be a half- timbered building on top of an arch. Through the arch is the church of St Bartholomew the Great, where Tom killed Herman Joyce in series three of Spooks.

Retrace your steps down Giltspur Street, then turn right onto Holborn Viaduct. Proceed ahead up Holborn and High Holborn to Holborn Tube. You have just walked over a complex of cold-war telecommunications switches hidden in tunnels with room for 8,000 people 100 feet underground.


Turn left down Kingsway, then second right onto Great Queen St to the Freemasons’ Hall, which, in Spooks, doubles as the exterior of MI5’s HQ, Thames House. Head west down Long Acre, past the Freemasons’ Arms on your right — where Sir Harry, Malcolm and Connie met Davie King — to shake off your tail in the crowds of Covent Garden, or make your way, via Long Acre and St Martin’s Lane, back to Trafalgar Square.


Echoing the sentiments of the individual that commented on the original Radio Times piece — ‘No tour is complete without a trip to Speedy’s Sandwich Bar & Cafe, 187 North Gower Street’. Couldn’t agree more. Was there recently and I strongly recommend, besides getting the Sherlock wrap, that you try the Leek and Potato Soup. Unbelievable.

Post ‘House’, a re-planting of the Union Jack on U.S. telly…and film, too

March 22, 2013

Ever since Hugh Laurie gave up his designation as the most popular Brit on American telly when House ended its eight-year run on Fox this past year, a number of British actors have tried with limited success to crack the American television world. While it has been quite painful over the years to watch repeated efforts to re-create brilliant British comedy and drama on American soil, British actors have fared a great deal better over the years, although none with the popularity of Laurie’s character, Dr. Gregory House. The announcement just this week that two more series are in the works just may change that.

From David Shore, the creator of House

Steve Coogan, of Alan Partridge fame, is reportedly signed up to star in the upcoming pilot, Doubt, from House creator, David Shore. Coogan will play Vincent in the drama, a former policeman-turned-lawyer who uses his street smarts to work the system for his clients, while at the same time wrestling with his own demons and trying to win back his ex-wife. Coogan’s character, which is described as “handsome, charming, charismatic, quick-witted and extremely smart – and cocky,” is said to be so concerned for his clients that he’ll do anything to save them, even at the expense of his own professional reputation. Sounds a bit of a far cry from the socially awkward Norwich-based DJ Alan Partridge that Coogan is famous for.

CBS orders up pilot starring Stephen Fry and Rupert Grint

Super Clyde, which is being created by Gregory Thomas of My Name is Earl fame, will see Stephen Fry in what will be his first American series co-starring role paired with Harry Potter star, Rubert Grint. Known more for his movie roles in the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes and his on-going guest role on Fox’s drama Bones, this will be Fry’s first American series with a co-starring role. In Super Clyde, Fry has signed to play Randolph the butler, Super Clyde’s sidekick, according to Deadline Hollywood.

The comedy centers on Clyde (Rupert Grint), a meek, unassuming fast food worker who decides to become a super hero after inheriting $100,000 a month from his late eccentric uncle.

Star Trek Into Darkness – Have I got your attention now?

Saving the best for last, a name very well known around the telly and big screen globe, Benedict Cumberbatch, will soon be seen in the upcoming film, Star Trek Into Darkness. The first trailer has just been released and it’s a whole new side of Benedict that Sherlock fans haven’t seen before.

Anyone else get chills hearing Benedict say…Have I got your attention now?

The Archbishop, Call the Midwife, The Office and Vicar of Dibley! It’s Red Nose Day 2013 – A look back!

March 21, 2013

Red Nose Day 2013 has come and gone. On the positive side, the broadcast on 15 March raised more money that ever before in its’ 25 year history. On the downside, the BBC received more complaints that ever before, mostly due to a very funny sketch with Rowan Atkinson as The Archbishop of Canterbury. Unfortunately, most of the full-length videos of this sketch have been taken down due to ‘copyright reasons’ so the clip below is somewhat poor quality shot off the telly as it aired last Friday.

Following the Archbishop clip are some amazingly brilliant sketches which highlighted the 2013 Red Nose Day broadcast including the cast of Call the Midwife, which also attracted a fair share of complaints, the return of the Dibley Town Council in The Vicar of Dibley, the always uncomfortable David Brent back in The Office some 10 years removed from Wernham Hogg Paper Company and, finally, the boys from One Direction and a cover of Blondie’s ‘One Way or Another’.

Rowan Atkinson as The Archbishop of Canterbury

Call the Midwife meets Doctor Who with a touch of Downton Abbey

Vicar of Dibley gets the band back together for Red Nose Day 2013

Brent is back!

One Direction sings ‘One Way or Another’ and introduced by Miss Piggy

Doctor Who 7.2 is a ‘proper London thriller’

March 20, 2013

With all eyes focused on Saturday, 30 March, and the series 7.2 premiere of Doctor Who in “The Bells of Saint John”, the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith, has promised fans they “…absolutely will not be disappointed” by the new series storyline. Showrunner Stephen Moffat described the 2013 run up to the 50th as a “proper London thriller“. The ‘storyline’ has the Doctor and his mysterious new companion Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman) battling an evil entity in the world’s wifi networks. Why mysterious? Well, for starters, the Doctor has previously met her as two different people in two different time periods.

Other highlights to look forward to in the new series which, again, begins 30 March on BBC One and BBC America: another episode written by sci-fi and fantasy bit of brilliance, Neil Gaiman; a guest appearance by Diana Rigg; the return of the Cybermen and the first 21st Century appearance of classic ‘Who’ villians, the Ice Warriors.

Matt Smith on upcoming Doctor Who 50th: It’s vast, it’s epic and it’s in 3D..

…and, he clapped at the end after reading the script. Smith recently told BBC News about the 50th, “I read it and I clapped at the end. I think it’s hilarious, it’s epic and it’s vast.”

Regarding the 50th, I’m not sure I would, personally, put any stock in the fact that it’s being touted as being in 3D. Seems nothing more than just a gimmick given the fact there are probably three tellys out there capable of seeing a program in 3D but it’s also probably all they can talk about at this point with regards to the 50th without getting into deep you-know-what.