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Twenty Twelve takes home BAFTA for Best Sitcom

May 14, 2013

Deservedly, the brilliance of Twenty Twelve, the mock documentary comedy series chronicling the organization of the 2012 London Olympics, was rewarded on Sunday with a 2013 BAFTA television award for Best Sitcom. Olivia Colman was also a winner on Sunday taking home the award for Best Female Performance in a Comedy Program up against fellow Twenty Twelve co-star, Jessica Hynes.

Colman, who plays Sally Owen, Ian Fletcher’s personal assistant in Twenty Twelve, is also equally as brilliant as Alex Smallbone in Rev. Even though the 2012 London Olympics have long since past, Twenty Twelve is well worth another look. Along with Colman and Hynes, the series stars a number of familiar faces including Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey, Mr. Stink), Amelia Bullmore (Scott and Bailey) and Karl Theobald (Green Wing, Primeval).

For the upcomming 2012 Olympics, digital is one of the most crucial things for a modern brand manager to get right, so the pressure is on for Siobhan (Jessica Hynes) to explain her strategy. Twitter, Facebook, Mashable and even MySpace all have their part to play in creating the digital legacy for the games. Here, to refresh your own individual mind palace before you set up a marathon viewing session…

PBS greenlights California style ‘Downton Abbey’ set in the 1800′s

May 13, 2013

Looking to capitalize on Downton Abbey mania, PBS has commissioned a multi-generational American drama with all the hallmarks of the hit British drama — an arranged marriage, class conflict, sweeping vistas and history. Leave it to the New York Post to call it Downton Abbey…with flava.

The PBS pilot, which carries the working title “Alta California”, will be set in 1800s California and revolves around merging family fortunes, one rich Mexican, the other European American. Those themes include class conflict and history as well as great landscapes. “Alta California” will tell the story of an arranged union between two families – one Mexican-Californian and the other European-American.

The proposed series is to be created by Dennis T. Leoni, whose series “Resurrection Blvd” tells the story of three generations of boxers within the East Los Angeles Santiago family. It aired for three seasons on Showtime making it the longest-running Latino dramatic series in the history of American television and starred Tony Plana and Nicholas Gonzalez.

More news throughout the week as Tellyspotting files reports from the PBS Annual Meeting in Miami. Lots of upcoming Masterpiece programming news for 2013-2014 including, hopefully, a hint at possible broadcast plans for Sherlock 3, Downton Abbey 4, Mr. Selfridge 2 and Call the Midwife 3. Stay tuned…..

U.S. and UK trading remakes with a UK Everybody Loves Raymond and a U.S. Gavin & Stacey

May 12, 2013

Ok, I’m having a really hard time with both of these. Harder than my usual rant when it comes to the concept of an across the pond re-do of a successful series. Seems as though the U.S and the UK are getting ready to trade remake attempts of highly successful situation comedy series in the not-too-distant future.

Fox orders full series of U.S. Gavin & Stacey

As we reported some time back, Fox had earlier piloted a U.S. version of the British mega-hit, Gavin & Stacey. Now, according to reports, they have now ordered a full series starring Jason Ritter (Parenthood) and Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls).

Ritter will play city boy, Gavin, with Bledel starring as his small-town girlfriend, Stacey. The comedy/drama, like its UK counterpart, will follow the couple whose burgeoning romance is constantly at the mercy of their friends and family. What does give reason for hope is that, unlike the ill-fated first attempt from ABC, which was not to involve its British creators, James Corden and Ruth Jones, but instead, the writing duties would be by U.S. sitcom writers of According to Jim, the Fox version will not only involve both Corden and Jones, but Steve Coogan, who executive-produced the pilot.

UK’s Everybody Loves Raymond set in Chester

Not to be outdone, BBC1 viewers will soon be able to see a pilot for a British version of the hit U.S. comedy, Everybody Loves Raymond starring Lee Mack (Not Going Out) and Catherine Tate (Catherine Tate Show, Doctor Who). Written by Mack, The Smiths will be set in Cheshire and stick fairly close to the original which follows a successful sportswriter who lives opposite his overbearing family.

While, I’m probably unfairly not crazy about this one either, there is reason for hope here also given the cast but also, as Radio Times points out, ‘much of the comedy for Raymond came from his inability to take anything seriously and penchant for making jokes in the most inappropriate of situations, much like Mack’s alter-ego in his hit sitcom Not Going Out.

That said, the strengths of both the UK Gavin & Stacey and the U.S. version of Everybody Loves Raymond go well beyond the stars for each series. The brilliant ensemble casts played a big role in their respective successes. It’s hard to imagine how you can duplicate the genius of Rob Brydon or Peter Boyle but, I wish them both well as they seem to be starting off the right way so far at least.

My telly guilty pleasure known as ‘Mad Dogs’

May 11, 2013

I can only imagine the commissioning pitch for Mad Dogs. Probably started off as ‘…it’s somewhat of a Fargo meets Twin Peaks meets Sexy Beast meets Mulholland Drive mash-up’. Thankfully and selfishly, for me, Mad Dogs was commissioned because it is pure guilty pleasure telly greatness.

To start with, it has an unbeatable cast including John Simm (Life on Mars, Doctor Who), Philip Glenister (Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes), Marc Warren (Hustle, and Max Beesley (Hotel Babylon). I’m mean, c’mon, it’s DCI Gene Hunt, the Master in Doctor Who, Danny Blue and Charlie Edwards all together. Mad Dogs starts out as an innocent long weekend for Rick, Baxter, Woody and Quinn with their mate Alvo at his villa in Majorca. Seems as though Alvo has paid for the whole trip, to celebrate with his closest friends the selling his business. That’s about the sanest split second in the entire first three series so far…

If you’re wondering what you are in for before you commit to a marathon catch-up, consider that the series begins with Alvo being murdered by a very small man wearing a Tony Blair mask, catapulting the ‘luxury weekend’ into a ‘holiday in hell’…and that’s being way too kind. The rest is impossible to explain without giving too much away. Actually, it’s just impossible to explain.

With series 3 set to being on Sky in the UK on Tuesday, 4 June at 9:00pm, anyone wanting to play catch up with a series 1 & 2 guilty pleasure telly marathon before June, you won’t regret it. And, if you are worrying that once you plow through series 1 & 2 and then watch series 3 that there will be no more, you can feel safe with the knowledge that a fourth and final series has been commissioned by Sky for transmission in 2014.

For UK readers or anyone else that has seen Mad Dogs, I’d be curious as to whether or not I’m alone in this Mad Dogs as a guilty pleasure thing….

Wild Horses couldn’t drag them away….from ‘Downton Abbey’, that is

May 10, 2013

On the virtually impossible outside chance that The Rolling Stones sound a bit off during their current “50 and Counting” tour which began this past week at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, they have a good reason. According to Downton Abbey star, Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith), guitarist Ronnie Wood confessed the Stones’ love of the ITV/PBS period drama to his friend, and her co-star, Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham).

Carmichael further explained: “They met doing charity work and Ronnie told Hugh how much they loved Downton. Apparently they were stopping rehearsals on Sunday nights in time to get back to watch it.

Carmichael went on to pull Mick Jagger into the telly guilty pleasure mix telling The Sun recently: “It seems Mick Jagger even managed to drop a spoiler on his band mate. When Sybil passed away, Mick said to Ronnie, ‘Sad to hear about the girl’. Ronnie replied, ‘I haven’t seen it yet – I recorded it’”.

I always wondered what the inspiration was for Wild Horses. Ok, I know it was done in 1971, it’s possible…

Ok, maybe not. Sorry for that. Couldn’t resist.

Turned off ‘IT Crowd’ turns back on again and reboots for farewell episode

May 9, 2013

The IT Crowd, which centers around the ragtag employees of a neglected IT department housed in the basement of Reynholm Industries, is getting the band back together to give the characters a ‘proper’ goodbye. Richard Ayoade (Moss), Chris O’Dowd (Roy), Katherine Parkinson (Jen), and Matt Berry (Douglas Reynholm) will all be back with filming set to begin in the next couple of weeks.

Series creator Graham Linehan, the brilliant mind behind Father Ted and Black Books) has long hinted at the possibility of a final episode but until his announcement at the recent re:publica digital conference in Germany, it has only been given two chances (slim and none) since the series ended in 2010. For U.S. fans of the series, look for the possibility of the series to air on public television stations in the not-too-distant future.

For those that may need a brief refresher course on the greatness of the IT Crowd or if you mildly curious as to what the Internet looks like….

‘Downton Abbey’ reaches new heights with ‘Iron Man 3′ reference

May 8, 2013

From 30 Rock to The Office to The Chris Matthews Show to, most recently, Iron Man 3, the cultural impact of Downton Abbey knows no boundaries. We all know about the talented efforts of Sesame Street, The Colbert Report, Saturday Night Live and Latenight with Jimmy Fallon as they paid tribute to the likes of Downton, but the pop-culture status of the mega-hit from ITV and PBS has entered a new galaxy with the recent release of Iron Man 3 starring Robert Downey Jr.

In the movie, ex-boxer Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), Iron Man’s former bodyguard, is hospitalized after a big blast at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood leaves him in a coma. So what does Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) request as entertainment for his unconscious friend? Downton, naturally! Stark claims: “It’s his favorite show.

Executive producer Gareth Neame had yet to see the film when he chatted with Entertainment Weekly prior to its release this past weekend, but did explain that it came together rather simply. ”They just approached us,” he said. “The Iron Man producers just said, ‘We think the character should be watching Downton in the hospital bed.’ And we looked at the context and thought ‘That’s good. We’ll do it’”.

The scene was of particular interest to both Jon Favreau (Happy Hogan, Iron Man 3) and Alan Leech, who plays Tom Branson in Downton Abbey, as they recently tweeted…

Alan Leech tweet…

Jon Favreau tweet…

For those few that may not remember the Downton Abbey reference from 30 Rock here is the greatness of (Avery Jessup) Elizabeth Banks and Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) scheduling a play date to watch their favorite telly….


‘Downton Abbey’s’ Michelle Dockery to cameo on Fox’s ‘Family Guy’

May 7, 2013

Normally, if I heard that an actor or actress was attempting to follow in the footsteps of Benedict Cumberbatch, I would say just move on and get in another profession. In this case, however, I think Downton Abbey‘s Michelle Dockery will be ok, even though when the star of the BBC’s Sherlock (and just about every worthwhile movie that has been released in 2013) appeared on Fox’s The Simpsons, he pulled brilliant double duty by voicing both a Grant-like British Prime Minister and Severus Snape from Harry Potter.

With that in mind, Michelle Dockery, known for playing the do-whatever-you-have-to-do-to-save-Downton aristocrat, Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey, heads to Family Guy and stretch out by lending her voice and appearing in a cutaway gag on the Griffins’ television set playing an aristocrat in – you guessed it – a British period drama. According to Entertainment Weekly, her brief cameo will air in an episode next season.

Between this, the return of series 4 of the real Downton Abbey (not just a reasonable facsimile thereof on the Griffin’s TV set) and the longer than long-awaited series 3 return of Sherlock, 2014 is already shaping up as a good telly year.

Unlocking your artistic Sherlock mind palace…

May 6, 2013

There are times that social media can be a wonderful thing. Besides Twitter, Tumblr can be particularly addictive. Take the Let’s Draw Sherlock tumblr page dedicated to organizing creative group projects about Sherlock Holmes. Thanks to Sherlockology, we were able to quickly sift through the hundreds, if not thousands, of entries so far and bring you what has to be one of the best so far from Consulting Piskies, a brilliant piece based on Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks. Once you begin to dig your way through some of the other submissions, you’ll quickly see that the current challenge is to reinterpret famous works.

Time for you to unlock the inner artist and submit something from your own artistic Sherlock mind palace. The rules are quite simple. According to the organizers, choose a famous image be it artwork, photograph, or sculpture, and then reinterpret it as Sherlock. You can draw a picture, sculpt, cosplay, photo manip, pretty much any medium you are comfortable with. Deadline is 3 June.

Just in case you don’t remember Hopper’s most famous painting from 1942 from which ‘consulting piskies’ drew upon….

Doctor Who 7 finale prequel set to follow long-awaited Neil Gaiman ep this Saturday

May 5, 2013

Finding out earlier this year that the brilliance of Neil Gaiman was tapped to write another Doctor Who episode for the second half of series seven and with the knowledge that it was about the Cybermen was almost cause for more excitement than the law allows. Gaiman’s first episode for the series, the 2011 episode “The Doctor’s Wife”

Clear this Saturday on your calendar….Now!

Titled “Nightmare in Silver”, Neil Gaiman’s contribution to the current set of Doctor Who and next to last episode before the 50th anniversary celebration kicks off in November will include guest stars Warwick Davis (Willow, Harry Potter, Life’s too Short), Tamzin Outhwaite and Being Human’s, Jason Watkins.

Adding to the excitement this week will be the transmission of a special mini episode of Doctor Who, a prequel to the series seven finale, which will be available to watch via the BBC’s interactive Red Button service (p.s. not sure what this is, but I’m guessing UK Tellyspotting readers will understand). Shot in a dreamlike style and set in a dusty old museum, “He Said, She Said” will see the Doctor and companion Clara talking directly to camera as they reflect on how little they really know about one another.

“The Name of the Doctor”, the series 7 finale, promises to resolve the ongoing mystery surrounding Clara, the girl the Time Lord has encountered in different forms throughout the series, while showrunner Steven Moffat has also claimed that the episode will “…change the course of Who forever” and “…it’s full of surprises and questions that have never been answered in the history of Who, including the Doctor’s greatest secret“.

For those watching this Saturday on BBC One, you should be able to access the three-minute prequel between 7:40pm and 12 midnight by ‘pressing the red button on your remote control and selecting Doctor Who‘. At this point, not sure if the finale prequel will be viewable in the States so if any enterprising Who fan feels like posting a link to a clip, we’d be happy to post for everyone to see (including me!).