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PBS’ Masterpiece will leave you ‘Breathless’ this August

August 21, 2014

Call the Midwife meets Downton Abbey?

Ok, so Breathless IS a period drama set in a hospital but that’s probably where the similarities end. I guess it partly makes sense given there are a couple of Kevin Bacon connections between the newest addition to the PBS drama line-up and Downton Abbey. Breathless will have two former Downton Abbey alumni walking the hospital halls in Zoe Boyle, who played Lavinia, Matthew Crawley’s sickly fiance, in the second series of Downton Abbey and Iain Glen (Game of Thrones), who played Lady Mary’s one-time fiance, newspaper mogul Sir Richard Carlisle.

Breathless, which stars Jack Davenport (Coupling, Pirates of the Caribbean), follows the lives of a group of doctors and nurses working in a London hospital, a world in which everything and everyone has their place. The series opens in 1961, a time when Britain was on the brink of the Sixties revolution. Abortion is illegal and the pill is only just becoming available to married women. Set in and around a busy gynaecology unit, medicine becomes the perfect backdrop to play out the shifting and complex moral codes of early 1960s society.

Like all good telly dramas, Breathless is full of lies, deception and guilty secrets, all conveniently driven by love, ambition and sex. Breathless premieres on a number of PBS stations this coming Sunday as part of PBS’ Masterpiece Mystery! series. With the August fundraising campaign winding down, a number of stations will be premiering on Sunday, August 31. As they say, check local listings for the station in your area.

Ever wondered what the Oxford Circus tube station tastes like?

August 20, 2014

From the Telegraph:

The latest and, perhaps, greatest  Tube map spin-off is a particularly tasty little number. James Wannerton, a 54-year-old systems analyst from Blackpool with synaesthesia (a neurological condition in which your senses get mixed up) has recreated the iconic map with how he thinks each of the Tube stops taste. Mr. Wannerton, who is also president of the UK Synaesthesia Association, has been coming down with his mother to London for school since the tender age of 4 and has spent virtually his entire life creating the Tastes of London map. For a larger version, click here for the Telegraph story and then click on the accompanying map.
The Taste of the London Tube

In what seems like somewhat of a gross understatement given this project has been 49 years in the making, Mr. Wannerton said: “This actually became a bit of an obsession – not unlike standing on breezy railway platforms collecting train numbers.

From now on, I’ll try to think about the Notting Hill Gate Station (sausage, potato and bacon) in the AM, the Charing Cross Station for apple pie in the afternoon and, finally, Highbury and Islington Station for Dr. Pepper. Think I’ll stay away from any thoughts about Bond Street, Kilburn, Arsenal and Bermondsey. When you look at the map, you’ll understand why. FYI, if anyone can find a tube station that tastes like Guinness, let me know ASAP.

BTW, the Oxford Circus Tube Station tastes like….Oxtail Soup.

Could the Doctor’s first year be his Companion’s last?

August 19, 2014

One can only imagine the rumors that are circulating the globe days prior to the premiere of Doctor Who on Saturday. The ushering in of the Peter Capaldi era has already suffered from script leaks followed by the unfathomable leak of what now seems to be the first three episodes of series 8 on video pirate sites.

Now, just days before the premiere, comes the massively unsubstantiated rumor of the demise of the Doctor’s current companion, Clara Oswald, at series end. According to the Mirror, Jenna-Louise Coleman will vacate her role in a ‘sensational Christmas storyline’. The oft-quoted ‘unnamed source’ told the paper, “The conversations about Jenna’s exit have started, and a plan is in place which is being ironed out. By the time she leaves she will be one of the longest-standing companions ever. She has been absolutely brilliant in the role, but everyone agrees it is a part that should change after a period.

While it’s quite possible that there might just be a bit of Mark Twain (as in, “The report of my death was an exaggeration”) in the Clara Oswald story, the BBC is being understandably quiet on the subject, as is series showrunner Steven Moffat. Quite frankly, rumors of this nature do nothing more than sell papers.

If Jenna-Louise Coleman leaves, it won’t be the first time a companion leaves and definitely won’t be the last. Click here and check out this amazing infographic that was created at the time of the last companion to vacate the TARDIS (Amy Pond) which gives a brilliant history of the Doctor’s companions since the series premiere over a half-century ago.

‘Big School’ 2nd term opens 29 August on BBC One

August 18, 2014

Greybridge Secondary School (a.k.a Big School) is back. Returning staff at Greybridge for series 2 are David Walliams as Deputy Head of Science, Mr. Church, Catherine Tate, Greybridge School’s new French teacher Miss Postern, Philip Glenister, PE teacher and the alpha male of the Greybridge staff room and Frances de La Tour as Head Teacher Ms Baron, who sees both staff and pupils at Greybridge as hindrances to her life.

Written by Walliams and ‘The Dawson Brothers’ (Steve Dawson, Andrew Dawson and their childhood friend Tim Inman), Big School was filmed at Bishopshalt School, Hillingdon, West London with real pupils giving up their school holidays to come to the school during filming and be extras. Series 2 will continue to see the socially inept Mr. Church try to impress Miss Postern who humbly says, “ I can’t help it if every male member of staff and one female member of staff finds me attractive” while the pupils remain mainly interested in social networking, texting, partying and being bored by the attempts of Mr Church and Miss Postern to engage with them.

Series 2 is set to premiere on BBC One on Friday, 29 August. With two series in essentially in the books, it shouldn’t be long before it hits the States.

Water Bottle-Gate continues at ‘Downton Abbey’

August 17, 2014

Where’s Sherlock when you need him?

It’s day two of Water Bottle-Gate and still no clear sign that points to which resident of Downton brought their 21st century water bottle to the 1920′s photo shoot. The cast of Downton Abbey has further clouded the situation by sticking together so as to not ‘grass’ on the guilty party. Where’s O’Brien when you need her? Why does Thomas all of of a sudden have tight lips? If you haven’t picked up a paper or watched any telly for the past several days, Water Bottle-Gate revolves around a Downton Abbey series 5 publicity photo that mysteriously featured a 21st century water bottle behind the Earl of Grantham and Lady Edith. Who could have possibly left it there and, was it on purpose?
Downton-Abbey water bottle in the 20s?

The cast, sans Dame Maggie Smith, took a break from series 5 filming to grab their favorite water bottle in response to the now famous ‘water bottle photo’ in support of the international charity, WaterAid, whose work highlights the need in the world’s poorest communities to have access to safe, clean water and sanitation.
Stars of Downton Abbey show their support for WaterAid - News - WaterAid UK

Barbara Frost, Chief Executive of WaterAid, was understandably beside herself at the unplanned attention, “It brought a really big smile to my face when the cast of Downton Abbey said that they wanted to support WaterAid’s work. How fantastic that the attention created over one water bottle ends up benefiting some of the world’s poorest communities through access to safe, clean water today. Thank you so much to the cast and the producers of Downton Abbey.”

An ITV spokesperson said, “After seeing the reaction the picture caused earlier this week, the cast and crew came up with the idea of turning some of this attention towards an issue around water that really matters. They hope that by posing for this picture they will be able to raise awareness and amplify the work of international charity – WaterAid.”


‘Death Comes to Pemberley’ premieres Oct 26 on PBS’ Masterpiece

August 16, 2014

It’s quite possible that Death Comes to Pemberley just might take your mind off the fact that when it premieres on PBS in the States this Fall, the new season of Downton Abbey will be airing in the UK. Possible, but not likely. Starring Matthew Rhys (The Americans), Anna Maxwell Martin (Bletchley Circle), Trevor Eve (Waking the Dead), Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who) and Matthew Goode (Match Point, A Single Man, The Good Wife), Death Comes to Pemberley comes to PBS’ Masterpiece series beginning Sunday, October 26 at 9pET/8pCT.
Death Comes to Pemberley

In 1813, Jane Austen gave Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennet a ‘happily ever after’, picture-perfect storybook ending. On October 26, author P.D. James takes it all away with Death Comes to Pemberley, the two-part British period drama that continues the events of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice novel. It’s now October 1803, six years after the events which resulted in the marriage of Mr. Darcy and Lizzie. Unfortunately, it’s death that comes to Pemberley as one evening, on their way to Pemberley for a ball, an argument breaks out between George Wickham and Captain Denny in their carriage. We’ll stop there to avoid spoilers…

As you watch, look also for two familiar very faces to British comedy fans in the cast in James Fleet (Vicar of Dibley) as Elizabeth Bennet’s father and Penelope Keith (Good Neighbors, To the Manor Born) as Mr. Darcy’s aunt, Lady Catharine de Bourgh.

Ok, who left their water bottle at Downton Abbey?

August 15, 2014

When we last left the residents of Downton Abbey, it was the Summer of 1923. It’s common knowledge that we are jumping forward just a bit with the beginning of series 5 set for a 1924 backdrop. As we get closer and closer to the rumored Sunday, 14 September premiere in the UK, ITV has released a few promotional photos for all the world to see. Unfortunately, doesn’t look like Downton Abbey‘s historian Alastair Bruce was on the set when the pics were taken. Talk a close look at this one in particular. We did give you a little help…
Downton-Abbey water bottle in the 20s?

Even though everyone tried to convince Benjamin Braddock to invest in ‘plastic’ in The Graduate, the material wasn’t really mass produced until the mid-20th century. The making of the material was so expensive and with the Crawley’s financial woes just trying to pay for the upkeep on Downton, there’s little chance that even the Crawleys would have been able to get their hands on any to have water bottles hanging around. In all likelihood, I’m guessing that no water bottles and no rooftop antennas will find their way to the forthcoming series as, thank goodness, Alastair Bruce will now be on the case 24/7 until the series premieres on 14 September.

New ‘old dogs’ set for ‘New Tricks’ series premiere

August 14, 2014

What started as a simple one-off special back in March 2003 has morphed into one of the best series on television in 2014. With a mere 10 seasons and 87 episodes under their belts, New Tricks has weathered the kitchen sink of reality and talent competition shows thrown at them to become one of the BBC mainstays when it comes to police procedurals. In addition, the series has overcome almost a complete cast overhaul with Amanda Redman, Alun Armstrong and James Bolam all having left the series this past year and new ‘old dogs’, Dennis Lawson, Nicholas Lyndhurst and Tamzin Outhwaite, joining the UCOS (Unsolved Crime and Open Case) Unit.
New 'old dogs' hit the streets in new New Tricks

Outhwaite, who joined UCOS as DCI Sasha Miller at the end of series 10, had her work cut out for her given she was coming in as the lead ‘old dog’, replacing DS Sandra Pullman, played since the beginning of the series by Amanda Redman. Immediately faced with having to be ‘accepted’ by Gerry, DCI Miller ultimately earns the respect of the unit by cracking their first case, albeit, amidst a bit of a tense atmosphere.

The UCOS sets their sites on a new set of unsolved crimes when New Tricks S11 begins Monday at 9p on BBC One with a U.S. broadcast targeted on public television in 2015. New cast members aside, one thing doesn’t change. The theme song “The End of the Line”, which was written by George Harrison, is still sung by cast member Dennis Waterman. Thank goodness as, sometimes, you can only teach an old dog so many new tricks at one time.

Take a “Deep Breath”. ‘Doctor Who’ is almost here…

August 13, 2014

The countdown to 23 August begins with the newest bit of trailer gold released by the BBC yesterday. With a dinosaur, a new Tardis interior and Peter Capaldi in a nightgown, how can you not be beside yourself with anticipation. “Deep Breath” is the first episode of the eighth series of Doctor Who which will usher in the Peter Capaldi era as he takes over as the Twelfth Doctor. In “Deep Breath”, the Doctor lands in Victorian London.

Don’t fret if you’re not within visual range of a telly on the 23rd. The episode will be beamed globally to over a thousand cinemas in the UK and the U.S. According to the great folks over at Den of Geek, there will be 12 theatrical events in 12 cities in the States at 12am/midnight to celebrate the launch of the new season on Saturday, August 23. For U.S. theaters that will be participating, click here to find one near you. Then, on Monday, August 25, the celebration will go nationwide with two showings at 7:00pm and 9:30pm (local time) to over 550 theaters in the U.S. UK fans can see the premiere at cinema chains Odeon, Empire, Cineworld, Vue, Omniplex and Picture House on August 23.

Why go to the cinema, you ask? Hello. It’s the big screen. And, there will be an exclusive 5-minute prequel scene preceding the premiere, and a 10-minute “making of” documentary immediately following. Need we say more?