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Ben Miller votes himself off the island for new season of Death in Paradise

April 12, 2013

Even paradise can be hell

For two series of BBC One’s Death in Paradise, Ben Miller (Worst Week of My Life, Primeval) was in heaven. Unfortunately, DI Richard Poole, the character that Miller portrays, is in hell. ‘Heaven’ for Miller because the series is filmed on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. “Hell’ for DI Poole because he is trapped on the stunning beautiful but fictional Caribbean island paradise of Saint-Marie battling sun, sea and sand while solving murders and just trying to find a proper British cup of tea.
 

For UK viewers on BBC One, principal production filming begins on series three this month with both new and returning faces. As with series two, which saw guest stars the likes of Lucy Davis (Dawn Tinsley, The Office, Mathew Horne (Gavin from Gavin and Stacey, James Fleet (Vicar of Dibley) and Primeval star Hannah Spearritt, series three will see a number of familiar guest stars visiting the island. Out, sadly, is Ben Miller as DI Richard Poole. Miller said of his departure: “I have absolutely loved my time on Death in Paradise and am sad to be leaving such a successful show, however DI Poole has made no secret of his struggle with the Caribbean heat, so I felt now was a good time to put him out of his misery!“.

In, however, and replacing Miller will be Kris Marshall (My Family, Love Actually, Citizen Khan) starring as DI Humphrey Goodman. Described as bright, but rather disorganised and gawky, Goodman is stuck in a mid-life rut and is looking to find a new life and fresh start. Returning will be Sara Martins (DS Camille Bordey), Danny John-Jules (police chief, Dwayne Myers), Gary Carr (young investigator, Fidel Best) and Don Warrington (police commissioner. Selwyn Patterson).

Belinda Campbell, EP for Red Planet Pictures, had high praise for both the outgoing and incoming DI’s: “Ben Miller is an excellent actor and has played the part of DI Richard Poole magnificently for two series, and we’re very sad to be saying goodbye. However we’re thrilled to be welcoming Kris Marshall on board who we know will be brilliant in the role of Humphrey. He will bring with him disheveled charm, sparkle, quick wit, and a razor-sharp intelligence in solving crimes.

Series one and two have attracted sizable audience figures in the UK. Sizable enough to warrant the commissioning of a third series. In the U.S., a number of public television stations have begun running the series with more set to come on in the not-too-distant future. Check it out if you haven’t yet. Well worth your time.

Equal time: Failed British re-makes of American telly

April 11, 2013

If you been with Tellyspotting as a P1 since day one or if you have joined the conversation at any point over the course of the last three years you are probably acutely aware of my lack of tolerance for poorly done American television remakes of British television output. This holds true mostly in the comedy and drama genres as one can’t really argue with the American versions of the likes of Antiques Roadshow or any of the unscripted reality re-makes such as Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, America’s Got Talent, etc. They are what they are…

That said, it never dawned on me that when the tables are turned, the track record is not much different when you look at UK attempts to re-make American situation comedies that were considered quite popular from an audience standpoint. Here are a four examples I found to easily illustrate my point….

Days Like These (That 70′s Show in the U.S.)
 

 
The Fosters (Good Times in the U.S.) with a young Lenny Henry!
 

 
Married for Life (Married with Children) with Downton Abbey‘s Hugh Bonneville!
 

 
The Brighton Belles (Golden Girls in the U.S.) with Wendy Craig from Butterflies!
 

 
I rest my case. I’m sure there have been exceptions to the rule just as there have been with American re-makes of British television but other than Law and Order UK, I haven’t found any.

The TARDIS lands in Trafalgar Square for Doctor Who 50th filming

April 10, 2013

After spending the day on Monday filming at the Tower of London, cast and crew of the Doctor Who 50th anniversary, including the TARDIS, moved to another historic London landmark on Tuesday, Trafalgar Square. Even though storylines are being kept close to the vest, large crowds gathered to watch the stars of the longest running science fiction in history in action as they filmed alongside a group of actors dressed as armed police officers and a crane which lowered the Doctor’s trusty police box to the ground. Sontaran commander Strax explains…
 

 
Already dangerously close to being intrigued beyond belief, those in attendance watched as the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith, was hoisted into the air by a crane alongside Nelson’s Column with companion Clara Oswald (Jenna-Louise Coleman) standing in the doorway of the TARDIS as her traveling companion clings on beneath her.
 

Photo copyright 2012 News Group Newspapers Ltd

In addition to Tenth Doctor David Tennant and his companion Billie Piper, Joanna Page (Stacey, Gavin and Stacey) and Jemma Redgrave (Frankie) have been added to the growing cast list for the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special. According to bleedingcool.com, seen amongst the characters on the ground were Ingrid Oliver, of Watson and Oliver fame wearing the fourth Doctor’s scarf. Oliver’s character can also be seen scanning the eleventh Doctor with something. Kate Stewart of UNIT (the daughter of The Brigadier in ‘The Power of Three’) is present also, with some of her UNIT back-up, and in one sequence she appeared to be handing The Doctor a sealed letter from Queen Elizabeth the First (Joanna Page).
 

T-minus 227 days. Are you ready for some Doctor Who greatness?

PM Margaret Thatcher’s 2nd job as comedy sketch writer for Yes Prime Minister

April 9, 2013

With yesterday’s passing of Margaret Thatcher, at the age of 87, I remembered reading a number of years ago that both Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister were favorite programs of the former Prime Minister. On more than one occasion, she praised Yes, Minister for “…its clearly-observed portrayal of what goes on in the corridors of power has given me hours of pure joy“.

While the thought of Margaret Thatcher and comedy probably wasn’t widely used in the same sentence too often during her 11.5 years as Prime Minister, unless you remember her Spitting Image puppet, the ‘Iron Lady’ did once write a comedy sketch herself for her favorite series.
 

Thatcher wrote the sketch in honor of the show being presented with an award from Mary Whitehouse’s National Viewers’ And Listeners’ Association at an event commemorated on the cover of the satirical magazine Private Eye. Being the PM at the time and writing the sketch, of course she made sure that it co-starred herself…as herself.

Over the years, authorship of the sketch remains unclear. In Britain’s Best Sitcom, Bernard Ingham, Margaret Thatcher’s chief press secretary, said that he wrote it while other sources give Thatcher sole credit. British broadcaster and longtime political documentary producer, Michael Cockerell, says that he wrote it with Ingham’s help. Another source gives credit to Charles Powell, key foreign policy advisor to PM Thatcher.

Eddington and Hawthorne, who were both starring in separate West End plays at the time, were not overly enthusiastic at the idea and, according to reports, had asked series co-creator/writer Jonathan Lynn to “get them out” of it. Neither Lynn nor Antony Jay were consulted about both the sketch or the invite so, obviously, it was not up to him to take action.

Hawthorne said on more than one occasion that he and Eddington resented Thatcher’s attempts to ‘make capital’ from their popularity. Upon accepting the award, Lynn commented: “I’d like to thank Mrs. Mary Whitehouse for this award“. Lynn, being the quick-thinking brilliant writer he is, added: “I’d also like to thank Mrs. Thatcher for finally taking her rightful place in the field of situation comedy.” After a bit of an gasp from the press, the room erupted in laughter with the exception of one person in attendance…guess which one.

Whatever the case and no matter who wrote it, here is Paul Eddington, Sir Nigel Hawthorne and PM Margaret Thatcher in Yes Prime Minister from 20 January, 1984.

Final five Poirot’s with David Suchet will not disappoint

April 8, 2013

When ITV announced the go-ahead on production of the final five small screen adaptations of the Hercule Poirot stories written by the late Agatha Christie, it was not only met with mixed feelings by Poirot fans worldwide, but also from the actor who has invested 22+ years of his career playing the infamous Belgian detective, David Suchet. When filming is completed this summer, Suchet will have played Poirot in every Agatha Christie story every written for the title character. As you can imagine, Suchet is, understandably, a bit ‘gutted’ at the thought of bringing Hercule Poirot to a close. Gutted, yes, but incredibly proud of his association with the character, which begin almost a quarter of a century ago back in 1989.

As we reported in 2012 when ITV announced production would begin in October, the titles of the final five adaptations of the 13th and final series were to include Labours of Hercules, Dead Man’s Folly, The Big Four, Elephants Can Remember and Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case. With production set to wrap up in the next couple of months, we’ve learned that with Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case, even though it was the final chapter for Poirot written by Christie in 1940 but not released until 1975, it was to be the first targeted for completion in the production cycle.
 

In Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case, Poirot (David Suchet) and Captain Hastings (Hugh Fraser) are together again for the first time since 2001 where they will return to Styles Court, the scene of their first case together, where Poirot declares that one of the guests is in fact a serial killer. ‘Guests’ included Helen Baxendale (Friends, Cold Feet, Dirk Gently, Inspector George Gently), Anne Reid (Coronation Street, Ladies of Letters, Last Tango in Halifax) and Alice Orr-Ewing (Blandings).

In The Big Four, Poirot, sidekick Captain Hastings, secretary Miss Lemon and Scotland Yard’s Inspector Japp will return for the Mark Gatiss / Ian Hallard adaptation set in the world of global espionage which sees Poirot investigate murder against the backdrop of the impending Second World War.

While the world will, collectively, be ‘gutted when currently tentative UK transmission plans call for a Fall premiere on ITV1 and a 2014 premiere on PBS in the States, ITV’s producer, Michele Buck, said: “We can promise the final five Poirot films will be a fitting tribute to a much-loved literary character. When the ending comes it’ll be very dramatic and incredibly emotional. We’ve been on a remarkable journey with Poirot.

Remarkable, indeed. But, I’ll still be gutted.

Endeavour set for 14 April return in the UK and July 7 on PBS!

April 7, 2013

While it was 25 years ago that Inspector Morse hit the telly in the UK, it was just over a year ago that PBS Mystery series fans of Inspector Morse were treated to Endeavour, a prequel to the long-running television adaptation of the Inspector Morse novels by Colin Dexter. Endeavour starred Shaun Evans, who you will also see in Silk beginning in September on PBS, as the police detective in the early throws of his career. Interestingly, Abigail Thaw, daughter of John Thaw, who brilliantly played Inspector Morse, plays the part of Dorothea Frazil in the scene at the Oxford Mail local newspaper.
 

Set in 1965, the series one-off centered around the early career of Endeavour Morse who, after leaving his Oxford college without taking a degree, spent a short time in the Royal Corps of Signals, and then joined the police.

Based on the strong audience response to the pilot, Christmas will be coming early on both sides of the pond as four new films written by Lewis creator and Morse writer Russell Lewis have been filmed with the first premiering next Sunday (14 April) at 8:00p on ITV1. The series will have its U.S. premiere on PBS’ Masterpiece series beginning July 7 t 8:00p CT/9:00p ET. Also returning will be Roger Allam (The Jury, Parade’s End, The Thick of It) as Endeavour’s senior partner, Detective Inspector Fred Thursday.

ITV Studios has just released the first trailer from the four-feature length films showcasing the talents of Mark Davis and Barnaby Robson. Episode 1, “Girl” will air next Sunday on ITV1 and premiere July 7 on PBS in the States. Set. DVR. Now.
 

 
What do you think? Are you ready for some Endeavour?

How can you possibly put a pricetag on Fawlty Towers?

April 6, 2013

Ok, maybe the TARDIS was a bit pricey. But, have you ever wanted to abandon the rat race and chuck it all to buy (and run) a cozy little B & B with a view? Worked for Bob Newhart years ago, why not you?

More from the real estate bloggers over at Movoto (based on an idea from Andrew Liszewski at Gizmodo) where they have found a way to combine their fondness for British television with their periodic down time during the work day. This time they attempt to put a price tag on what has to be the most recognizable fictional hotel on the planet, Fawlty Towers. While the hotel that the series was loosely based on, the Hotel Gleneagles, is now a Best Western in Torquay, the method of determining the actual asking price was the well-known, amongst real estate folks at least, Comparison Model which compares hotels in the area to determine the cost of $/room. The much easier but highly questionable Mini-Fridge Method of determining what a hotel charges for a can of Coke and multiplying by $10,000 was abandoned when it was discovered that The Gleneagles Hotel doesn’t sell Cokes. Go figure.

First up – assign a value to the location, which is the primary selling point for most, if not all, property. How can you possibly put a price tag on the English Riviera? Second, revenue potential. With 26 rooms in total, 22 to those lovely seaside guests such as the Major, Miss Tibbs and Miss Gatsby and 4 reserved for ‘staff’, asking price was calculated based on potential occupancy of the 22 bookable rooms. Based on similar hotel listings in the Torquay/Buckinghamshire area, the average per room cost is approximately $46,000. So, doing simple math, to acquire the iconic Fawlty Towers will cost you only $9,942,000. Sounds like a lot, but a far cry from the $2.58+ billion that the TARDIS would cost.

Up tomorrow, if you’re wanting something in-between your dream B&B and the ultimate time machine/spacecraft, maybe putting in an offer for Downton Abbey will be more to your liking.
 

In the market for the TARDIS as a second home?

April 5, 2013

Better get our your big boy checkbook….

According to the self-proclaimed crazy novelty bloggers over at Movoto where the lighter side of real estate rears its head every once in awhile, it’s going to cost you anywhere from just a little over $50K to just over $2.5 billion for the likes of the TARDIS as a potential second home. On the upside, depending on how you look at it, you might be able to ‘steal’ the TARDIS for a mere $50,000, but, that’s just for the outside. To get the inside, you’re going to have to shell out a little over $2.58 billion more. Let’s take a look from a real estate perspective….

Location, Location, Location

When you look at it from a pure real estate perspective, the Time and Relative Dimension In Space or TARDIS, is both a time machine and a spacecraft, all-in-one. To begin with, the Movoto folks abide by the real estate golden rule that location is one of the most important aspects of determining price. Given the fact that the TARDIS is a spaceship where location and view are pretty much destined to be perfect at any time, this gives the property a leg up on any other property available as the view, according to the listing, never has to be a brick wall.

Size does matter in real estate

While it’s virtually impossible to determine just how big the TARDIS is (on the inside, of course). Fortunately, in the episode, “The Invasion of Time”, the TARDIS was described as being the size of the Empire State Building, or 2,248,355 square feet. As you can see from the infographic below, at an average London per sq foot price of $1,147.65, the inside and of the TARDIS would cost $2.580,324,616.75. That, coupled with the cost of the outside, which would be $50,497, makes the TARDIS a very affordable $2,580,375,113. Any takers?

 

Check back tomorrow for another, possibly more attractive, real estate listing that I think you just might be interested in. It’s certainly more affordable. How about putting in an offer on Fawlty Towers?

Planning a Doctor Who 50th soiree? How you can look and sound like a Dalek!

April 4, 2013

With the 50th anniversary of everyone’s favorite Time Lord looming on the horizon, how can you not be already thinking of how to plan that ultimate watching party come November 2013.

As I’m sure you are fully aware, the Daleks are those cranky cyborgs that seem fixated on the concept of universal domination. Created by Terry Nation, they first appeared on Doctor Who back in 1963 and were quickly established as one of the Doctor’s deadliest enemies, if not THE deadliest, as supported by numerous surveys over the years. For almost 50 years, viewers have watched Time Lord after Time Lord battle these evil beings whose singular goal is to “Exterminate! Exterminate!”
 

While nobody should want to see the world through a Dalek’s point of view…on the outside chance you do, the Doctor Who: Eyestalk app, which is available through the App Store, is a pretty simple but intriguing photo-filter app. Essentially, you take a photo or video and then run it through one of seven filters that correspond to different Daleks that have appeared on the show. The app is pretty easy to use, and your Dalek-eye photos and videos are easy to share on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.
 

Should you tire of the Doctor Who: Eyestalk app, you may want to check out the iAmaDalek app from the BBC. This lets you actually sound like a Dalek. You record a message, and the app plays it back with your voice all harsh and mechanical-sounding.

So, amaze your friends, be the first on your block to see through the eyes of a Dalek AND, sound like one during your ultimate, don’t want to miss, Doctor Who 50th anniversary watching party.

A bit of Scott & Bailey brilliance on both sides of the pond in April!

April 3, 2013

A bit of a two part post today, both having to do with a brilliant series from ITV1, Scott & Bailey.

Starting west of the Atlantic, Scott & Bailey has begun or is getting ready to premiere on a number of public television stations in the States this April (Heads up, North Texas. KERA Channel 13 premieres the series this coming Saturday, April 6 at 9:00pm). This is brilliant telly. This is neither Luther nor Cagney & Lacey. This is authentic, pure and simple. It’s dark, gritty and humorous, at times, but overall, it’s real.

Written and co-created by Sally Wainwright, who also wrote BBC’s Last Tango in Halifax, Scott & Bailey stars Suranne Jones (A Touch of Cloth) and Lesley Sharp (Starlings, Afterlife) and follows two female detectives who are part of the Major Incident Team (i.e. murder investigation, etc.) in Manchester.

Scott and Bailey series 1 trailer
 

 
*****MAJOR SPOILER ALERTS BELOW IF YOU ARE ANYWHERE BUT THE UK*****

East of the Atlantic and beginning tonight (3 April) on ITV1, series 3 of Scott & Bailey returns on ITV1 with both Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp reprising their roles as the crime-fighting duo, DC Rachel Bailey and DC Janet Scott. They are joined by Tracie Bennett (Coronation Street), Nicola Walker (Spooks), Danny Miller (Emmerdale) and George Costigan (Homefront). The new series also sees the return of Amelia Bullmore (Ashes to Ashes) as Detective Chief Inspector Gill Murray. Interestingly, Bullmore has also written episodes 6 and 7 of the new series. Tonights episode, which will air at 9pm on ITV1, begins when a worried neighbor knocks on Janet’s (Lesley Sharp) door concerned about a smell coming from a ‘creepy’ house down the street, she can only guess at the horrors to come. Meanwhile, newly wed Rachel (Suranne Jones) longs to be single while Janet realizes her own marriage to Ade is over.

Scott and Bailey series 3 trailer – premieres 3 April on ITV
 

 
Everytime a series like this comes along the temptation is to cry marketing and promotion wolf one more time and say “…if you watch one new series this year, make it Scott & Bailey“. This time, I mean it.

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