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BBC’s New Tricks returns this summer with a new ‘old dog’

April 29, 2013

The Metropolitan Police Service’s Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad (UCOS) is made up of retired police officers who have been recruited to reinvestigate unsolved crimes – or ‘Cold Case’. While the upcoming series of New Tricks will, sadly, be the last for long time regular ‘old dogs’, Amanda Redman and Alun Armstrong, there’s a new ‘old dog in town’ for series ten. Nicholas Lyndhurst (Only Fools and Horses, Goodnight Sweetheart, After You’ve Gone, Rock & Chips) joins the UCOS for the tenth series as former copper, Dan Griffin. Word is that Lyndhurst will join the cast about half-way through the new series replacing Alun Armstrong (DI Brian Lane). Amanda Redman (DS Sarah Pullman) will also exit towards the end of the upcoming series to be replaced by a new female boss.

While nothing has been leaked as of yet with regards to a storyline for series ten, P1 New Tricks fans will no doubt remember the original ‘final’ episode of series nine where Gerry Standing (Dennis Waterman) and Steve McAndrew (Denis Lawson), who replaced James Bolam last year, head to Glasgow, where a new UCOS section is being set up. Seems as though police in Scotland want to set up their own version of UCOS and Gerry is just the man to tell them all about it. While in Scotland, the pair of ‘old dogs’ end up unofficially investigating the 1993 murder of a bookie which leads to the discovery of a child abuse scandal in a care home spanning two decades. The episode ends with Gerry admitting, “Scotland is beginning to grow on me.” UK viewers will remember the episode as being the one that was postponed a week from its original transmission in the wake of the Jimmy Savile investigation.

Principle filming began last Fall in Gibraltar where the series will kick off with a special two-part opening episode this Summer when BBC One begins transmitting, tentatively. Look for series ten to air in the States on public television stations in early 2014.

Could it be? A Tony for Downton Abbey?

April 28, 2013

Throw all the genius of the Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Fallon, Red Nose Day and Downton Arbys parodies out the window. What better way to put a bright spot on the Crawley’s world and begin to heal a tearful Downton Abbey nation than a Downton musical! Yes, it’s time for Downton Abbey: The Musical.

Filmed at 54 Below, the legendary Studio 54′s secret VIP room in New York, actor and comedian Colin Andrew Mochrie (Whose Line Is It Anyway?) is brilliant as Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, who explains his decision to create a Downton musical in between cuts of songs that would fit perfectly into Edwardian England.

Clear a space on the shelf, this has ‘Tony’ written all over it. After all, Carson sings about tea, Mrs. Hughes tries to get him to embrace a newfangled way of making his favorite drink and Mary and Tom sing sad songs while they hold their babies. if that’s not award worthy, Mary Stout, who portrays Mrs. Patmore, reveals it’s been a lifelong dream of hers to play Mrs. Lovett from Sweeney Todd. FYI, Mrs. Hughes is Randy Graff, who won a Tony Award for her performance in City of Angels.

Mr. Selfridge open for business as filming begins on series 2

April 27, 2013

Given that there are still a few episodes left in the first series of Mr. Selfridge for U.S. audiences, there may be more spoilers than the law allows in today’s post so read on at your own peril if you are in the U.S.

It’s safe to say that in both the U.S. and the UK, Mr. Selfridge can be considered an audience hit even with several episodes to go as part of PBS’ Masterpiece series. Given the response, ITV was fairly quick to commission a second series, which began filming this past week in London. The ten new episodes, based upon the life of flamboyant American entrepreneur Harry Gordon Selfridge, played by Jeremy Piven, picks up the story in 1914 as the store celebrates its 5th anniversary of trading.

While Harry is understandably proud of the success of Selfridges, there is no time to rest on his laurels. I say understandable because, personally, I’m not sure Harry Gordon Selfridge ever ‘rested on his laurels’. Ever. With rumors rampant and talk of war in Europe imminent, Harry prepares his staff for challenging times ahead. The store must play its own part in the war effort and help keep morale high on the home front. As with Downton Abbey, the war plays an integral part in the storyline as it will, obviously, affect the lives of everyone in the store.

Lots of characters returning to Mr. Selfridge with several new characters to be added to the mix for series 2. Stirring the pot will be the flamboyant new Head of Fashion, Mr Thackeray, played by Cal Macaninch (Downton Abbey, Wild at Heart) and Polly Walker (John Carter, Clash of the Titans), who plays Delphine Day. Day is a Bohemian novelist and owner of the infamous Delphine’s Club in Soho and, now, Rose’s new best friend whom she met on the boat home from New York. Lord Loxley also unexpectedly returns creating tension and animosity throughout Selfridges with his unsettling presence that threatens to drive a wedge between Harry and Lady Mae.

Series 2 of Mr. Selfridge is set to transmit this Fall on ITV1 and beginning late March 2014 on PBS in the States. If you’re keeping score at home for series 2 potential, you have a beleaguered Harry, an empowered Rose, a returning Lord Loxley and a flamboyant new Head of Fashion and that’s just episode 1!. Oh, yeah, there’s World War I that’s getting ready to begin too. I’m liking this already….

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.