Much like both Benedict Cumberbatch and Bill Nighy, I believe Sir Ian McKellen could read the phone book and I would be in the front row. So just the thought of the possibility of a comedy series that stars Sir Ian along with Sylvester McCoy (Doctor Who), Frances Barber (Silk) and Jonathan Hyde (Titanic) gives one hope that the comedy pipeline is on the rise. While the mockumentary-style pilot was recorded back in 2009, the series has been revived by DLT Entertainment (As Time Goes By, My Family) and 2act Productions for possible series pick up. As hard as this style is to perfect, given the stellar cast and the recent success of another similarly styled British comedy, Twenty Twelve, not to mention the historical successes of The Office and People Like Us, I really hope this gets a chance.
The Academy is based around the fictional Clapham Academy of Creative Arts (CACA). The show follows the story of the struggling South London drama school, which is run by Murray McKellen (Sir Ian’s fictional brother, played by McKellen). CACA used to be an excellent, if small, establishment, but in recent years, especially following a global recession, it has started to fall into disarray. The faculty has come up with ‘an ingenious plan’ to allow a documentary film crew to capture the behind the scenes activities and events in a “typical” British drama school with the hope this will bring notoriety and much needed funding.
In true mockumentary fashion, McKellen said: “I am delighted that my brother Murray McKellen is at last able to do something positive about the frankly dire financial mess at his acting Academy in Clapham… yet another victim of the global financial situation disaster. He and his staff deserve the highest praise for their dedication and professionalism which bring joy and light to their students and to their neighbours in Clapham.“
The Doctor, the time-traveling humanoid alien Time Lord with two hearts, has been exploring the BBC universe in the TARDIS since November 1963. While there have been a fair number of companions (35 to be exact) that have shared his adventures in saving civilizations, helping everyday inhabitants of Planet Earth, and right more wrongs that the law allows. The one constant through the entire 49+ years of existence has been the presence of the foe, villain or antagonist to the Doctor. Some 400+ villains have tormented the Doctor in some form or fashion over the years with the Dalek toping the list of most appearances, the first dating back to 1963.
Remember when I commented awhile back on the fact that there are times where you are really glad that some people have way too much time on their hands because they make really good use of the ‘spare time’? A perfect example comes from the folks at Many Eyes where they have catalogued every villain and created an amazing visualization showing every foe to have crossed paths with the Doctor right up until this past weeks broadcast of “A Town Called Mercy”.
The ridiculously amazingly cool graphic can be accessed via the Many Eyes website or here at The Guardian and will provide you with hours upon hours of activity. Just click the ‘click to interact‘ button on the above graphic and be prepared for some serious geek out. Cheers.
Looking around at some of the retail outlets in September, there may be a point in time where you say it’s a bit early to start thinking about the December holiday season, but personally it’s never too early to start thinking about your holiday shopping list and that includes preparing your own wish list. NEVER.
Not to worry. At tellyspotting, we are here to help you with your holiday shopping. Remember Clue? For those that don’t, the murder/mystery board game was created in the late 1940′s in Leeds, England by Anthony E. Pratt. The object of the game was for players to strategically move around the game board (a mansion), in the guise of one of the game’s six characters, collecting clues from which to determine which suspect murdered the game’s perpetual victim, Dr. Black (Mr. Boddy in North American versions), and with which weapon and in what room. Personally, I can’t begin to add up how many hours we would agonize over trying to figure out the whodunit. Was it Colonel Mustard in the Library with a Lead Pipe? Or was it Miss Scarlett with a Dagger in the Ballroom?
Fittingly, fast forward to the 21st century for the official Sherlock tie-in edition of Cluedo’s whodunit murder mystery board game which will be released in late October in the UK (again, not to worry. Amazon UK delivers to the U.S.!) Who killed Moriarty? Was it Mrs. Hudson, in the Tower of London with the Wrench, or Irene Adler, in 221B, with a Candlestick?
Now that your in a holiday giving and/or receiving mode, how about checking out the 50th Anniversary Doctor Who Monopoly game for that ultimate Doctor Who fan in your household (ok, it might be for you, admit it). It features all 11 Doctors, Daleks, companions, villains, monsters and even Captain Jack. There are also special Doctor Who tokens to use.
Just stick with tellyspotting the next few months (and beyond, of course) and see how easy holiday shopping can be.
Prepared by Mrs. Patmore, served by Mr. Carson and enjoyed by the Crawley family and their guests, meals at Downton Abbey were extravagant, to say the least. When watching the series, there were times that you’d wish for the these are professionals, do not try this at home graphic to appear on the screen. While not a problem for the downstairs staff at Downton, the mere thought of an 8-course meal featuring the likes of Lady Mary’s Crab Canapes, Lady Sybil’s Poached Salmon with Creamy Hollandaise Sauce, Lobster Thermidor, Guard of Honor Lamb with Mint Sauce, Squab with Fig Fois Gras, Potatoes Lyonnaise, not to mention, the Dowager Countess’ Dark Chocolate Trouffles was just a bit too much to tackle on the home front.
While the long-awaited series 3 of Downton Abbey premieres tonight on ITV1, wherever you are on the planet, it’s time to channel your inner-most Mrs. Patmore with The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook, which releases on Tuesday, 18 September. With more than 150 recipes, all prepared with the ‘downstairs’ passion of those that took great pride in their food prep, you can add a bit of sophistication and style to your Downton Abbey watching parties in the months to come. The great thing about the book is that it is not only laid out by meal course from Hor D’Oeuvres to the Finishing Touches of Sweets and Desserts, there are also some bits and bobs that will help you prepare Afternoon Tea, course pairings, tips for table seatings and etiquette guidelines.
If you’re feeling a bit ‘downstairs’ at mealtime, not to worry. The second half of the book is filled with some spot on recipes that, while a bit less extravagant, would make the likes of Mr. Carson, Mr. Bates, Anna and Daisy proud. I can speak to this personally as I did make the Shepherd’s Pie (page 222) recently. Have to say that I did take Mrs. Patmore’s suggestion and substituted minced lamb for the beef and it was pretty darn good. Gordon Ramsay, here I come.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab the nearest Mr. Carson, secure the services of your favorite Daisy and be the best Mrs. Patmore you can be. I’m betting you won’t hear Lady Grantham saying: “Oh, is her cooking so precisely timed? You couldn’t tell.” And, don’t forget to share. Would love to see photos of your latest Mrs. Patmore creation!
Bound and determined that The Paradise will not become a carbon copy of last years, Upstairs Downstairs, the BBC has pulled forward the broadcast of its department store drama, The Paradise, to a 9pm, Tuesday 25th September broadcast on BBC One. As it was originally targeted for transmission in early 2013, the schedule change screams the desire by the BBC to not have another Downton Abbey vs. Upstairs Downstairs clash on their hands when the BBC period drama was eclipsed in audience numbers by the ITV giant when it was released after the Downton premiere. It’s pretty clear that the BBC is keen not to be upstaged by ITV who have Mr Selfridge with Jeremy Piven waiting in the wings.
BBC One’s The Paradise
ITV1′s Mr. Selfridge
In what has all the makings of the ultimate UK version of the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s, the BBC has fast-tracked its answer to the upcoming ITV drama, Mr. Selfridge, with a department store drama of its own based on the classic French novel, The Ladies’ Paradise, by Emile Zola. Adapted by Bill Gallagher (Blackout), the 8-part BBC One drama will transfer to a department store in 1890s northern England and will focus on the story of a love affair set against the backdrop of the opening of the first department store.
Remembering the Upstairs Downstairs vs. Downton Abbey train wreck from several seasons back when the revival of the classic 70′s drama suffered greatly when the ITV juggernaut, Downton Abbey, hit the airwaves ahead of the BBC’s updated Up/Down, the BeeB definitely doesn’t want to test Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity where you do the same thing over and over again and expect different results.
Sarah Lancashire (Lark Rise To Candleford, Five Daughters) and David Hayman (Trial and Retribution) will star in The Paradise and will be joined by Elaine Cassidy (Harper’s Island, Fingersmith), Matthew McNulty (The Syndicate, Misfits), Joanna Vanderham (The Runaway, Dancing on the Edge) and Emun Elliott (Lip Service, Game Of Thrones).
According to initial reports, Vanderham will play the smart and ambitious Denise Lovett, who arrives in the city to seek work in her uncle Edmund’s shop. When he’s unable to help her, she turns to the Paradise and her eyes are opened to a whole new world of possibilities. It then turns into the traditional rags-to-riches story where she falls in love with the charms of the modern world and the store’s owner John Moray. With some classic ‘upstairs downstairs’ tension, also in pursuit of Moray’s affections will be the upper class daughter of a rich banker, Katherine, played by Elaine Cassidy. Obviously, a far cry from, if my memory serves me correctly, the last department store hit, Are You Being Served?.
That said, The Paradise seems to be part of a much greater overall BBC initiative whereby a growing number of dramas, comedies and children’s output will film across northern England. Filming on The Paradise began in June and will be the biggest drama to date to be filmed BBC Drama Productions with BBC North.
The good news out of all of this is, whatever the reasoning, viewers on both sides of the pond will be the beneficiary of some pretty killer drama as evidenced by the output from both the BBC and ITV over the past several years.
Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on what side of the 21st century Sherlock debate you are on, there’s no stopping CBS’ Elementary which is still on the schedule for a September 27 premiere here in America. Given that it hasn’t even aired yet and as much as I want to like this and give it an opportunity to succeed, seems as though those that are charged with promoting the series keep shooting themselves in the foot and fall over themselves trying to reload as fast as possible.
First it was a series of promo teasers that seemed to highlight portions of the script that were…elementary. Too many cliches, too many lines by both Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) and Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) that made you cringe just a bit too much. Personally, it made it clear that, unlike the brilliant British version from the minds of Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss (which it will forever be compared to), the CBS version was definitely not created by lifelong fans of the Arthur Conan Doyle creation. The Moffat/Gatiss passion for the product and knowledge of all-things Sherlock, along with some amazing production techniques made the BBC Sherlock the mega-hit that it is. I just don’t see this in the early promotion for Elementary.
Now, comes the newest promotional poster which make the video trailers look brilliant. Holmes Sweet Holmes and My Dear Watson. Can the bad puns get any worse? Unfortunately, both the promo trailers and promotional posters do nothing to temper the ill feelings that many viewers already have for the series that has a two strikes against it before it even premieres. I’ll still give it a shot given that Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu star, but it’s on an awful short leash already.
Foyle’d one more time
ITV, Acorn Media, and Eleventh Hour Films confirmed early yesterday a new series of Foyle’s War starring Michael Kitchen in his new role as Senior Intelligence Officer. According to ITV, the new series of 3, two-hour programs will be set during the early period after World War II with Foyle focusing his attention on the world of espionage, gathering secret intelligence in support of Britain’s security, defense and the Government’s foreign and economic policies.
The series is now in production in Ireland and has been tentatively targeted for a 2013 broadcast on ITV1 and PBS as part of the Masterpiece series. Originally part of the Mystery series on PBS in 2002, it’s been three years since we last crossed paths with Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle. According to novelist and screenwriter Anthony Horowitz, who will write episodes 1 and 3, the new Foyle’s War will begin in a post-war era Britain. Besides Kitchen returning as Foyle, Honeysuckle Weeks is also expected to return playing the established character of Samantha Stewart.
Sounding genuinely excited over the prospect of returning to the world of Foyle, Horowitz said: “I have returned to Foyle’s War because there are still some amazing stories I want to tell. The war may be over but Foyle’s career goes on.”
Thanks to the great folks and good friends of Tellyspotting over at Acorn Media, who acquired the rights to the entire Foyle’s War library back in November 2010 and have been working closely with producer Jill Green and Anthony Horowitz to develop the new episodes, and both ITV and Eleventh Hour, here are a couple of stills from the current series ‘in-production’ to tide you over until 2013. Enjoy!
While the Daily Express is reporting that the upcoming series of Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman could be the last due to extremely busy schedules of the two lead actors, let us stop and remember that this is television and anything can happen. Remember that this is the same production team that was able to keep the news of a commissioning of a third series of Sherlock for upwards of a year when the BBC commissioned series 2 and 3 at the same time. This is roughly the same team that kept quite the news that new Doctor Who companion, Jenna-Louise Coleman, would appear in the first episode of the new season and not during the Christmas episode. Also, remember this is the Daily Express.
Me? I’m holding on to an interview that Benedict did back in June when asked how long he would be able to keep up his rigorous schedule. “I’ll always do Sherlock — it’s something I’m not going to give up on. I love it too much. It’s hard work, but it’s so rewarding and such a lovely bunch of people who do it.
Also mentioning that he’d be keenly interested in playing Sherlock for another 15 years largely due to the fact that writer Steven Moffat started the series from a younger beginning than previous incarnations of Sherlock., he said: “We love our fans and we love what it’s created. It’s an incredible thing to be part of; it doesn’t happen that often. Don’t worry; it’s not going to disappear.”
So, again, anything is possible, and I’m sticking to that thought. Time to put my head in the sand until we get the news of Sherlock 4 being commissioned by the BBC and PBS. Anyone with me?
It was probably more than enough for Sherlock Holmes purists back in 2010 when they were forced to handle the thought that the world’s greatest consulting detective could be transformed into the 21st century, not to mention with an iPhone of all things. I think we all know how the Steven Moffat/Mark Gatiss creation caused even the hardest of hardcore Jeremy Brett fans to reconsider their position when faced with the telly brilliance that starred Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the BBC/PBS production of Sherlock.
Giving fans another option to pass the length of time between now and late 2013 when the world will be treated to a third series of Sherlock, it’s time again to test the razor-thin resolve of Sherlock Holmes fans worldwide when Kadokawa’s Young Ace magazine will debut a manga adaptation of “A Study in Pink”, the original episode in the series co-created and written by Moffat and Gatiss. While not the first time that Sherlock Holmes has inspired a Japanese manga (there’s even been a canine version, Sherlock Hound) it is a first for the BBC/PBS 21st century adaptation.
The Sherlock manga issue of Young Ace magazine will be released on 4 October.
Back in 1995, The League of Gentlemen was formed. The world, as we know it, has not been the same since….and, in this particular case, this is a good thing. The quartet of British dark comedy writers/performers, Jeremy Dyson, Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith set up shop in the fictional village of Royston Vasey for their three-series bit of brilliance, The League of Gentlemen, in 1999.
While they probably cringe at the thought that some think of them as a 21st century Monty Python troupe (probably because Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith play a number of different characters, both men and women), they are credited with the revival of the sketch comedy show format. With the first series of League of Gentlemen, there’s a new road being built through the town of Royston Vasey. Unfortunately, with new roads come the possibility of great numbers of strangers visiting the town. The road development ends when local shop owners, Tubbs and Edward, discover that the construction manager is their long lost son, David, and convince him to end construction and live “locally”. Here, the police question Tubbs about the disappearance of a boy…
Following League of Gentlemen, Pemberton and Shearsmith teamed up for an even darker comedy, Psychoville. It’s a mysterious blackmailer that brings together of a serial killer-obsessed man-child who lives with his mother, an embittered one-handed children’s entertainer, a blind millionaire who collects stuffed toy animals, a midwife who treats a practice doll as if it is her real child and a little person who believes he has the power of telekinesis with a simple note saying, “…I know what you did.” The blackmailer sends another message with three simple words that leads everyone to believe the “did” was to murder Ravenhill Hospital nurse Edwina Kenchington (Dame Eileen Aitkens), the blackmailers mother. Here, David and Maureen have something bulky to hide when an inspector (Mark Gatiss) calls.
Next up, it’s Happy Endings, described by both Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith as both funny and terrifying. The self-contained six stories, commissioned by the BBC will air in 2013. I already cannot wait. While Gatiss has passed the time since the end of Psychoville by writing and appearing in Doctor Who and Sherlock, Pemberton was creepily brilliant in the Whitechapel series as a present-day authority on Jack the Ripper. While all have been busy, it’s time to get the band back together again….soon.