Periodically, you run across things on the Internets that make you realize there are people who have jobs where they have more fun than the law allows. You are also so thankful for those individuals because of what they create. Such is the case with Sherlock co-creators/writers Mark Gatiss and current Doctor Who show runner, Steven Moffat.
Case in point. It seems as though the Sherlock series 3 opener, “The Empty Hearse”, had a bit of a Doctor Who Easter egg in the credits of PBS’ Masterpiece Mystery version airing in the States. Because the credits are an add-on to the series production credits, the self-proclaimed Sherlock Holmes fanboys had a little fun adding a few well-placed red letters to the all-white letter credits.
As the video spells out, the red letters spell out “Weng-Chiang”, which is the name of the evil god in “The Talons of Weng-Chiang” from the Tom Baker era. Why Weng-Chiang you ask? That particular 1977 Who episode is the only adventure in which the Fourth Doctor is seen without his trademark scarf, opting instead to wear a very Sherlock Holmes style outfit, deerstalker and all.
If you didn’t catch the subtle tip of the hat back in January when Sherlock premiered on PBS, not to worry. Not sure anyone did outside of YouTuber, James Kardatzke, who created the video explanation above.
In years past, fans of a British comedy or drama series would traditionally be left hanging for months not knowing whether or not their favorite series would be commissioned for another season or be unceremoniously axed for no apparent reason. With few exceptions, the fate of most series are not known when the final episode is transmitted as to whether or not there will be another. In the case of Spooks and Hustle, writers knew before the final series was completed that it would be the last one and they could write an ending that befitted the brilliance of both series. Others, like the brilliant BBC series, The Hour are crafted with a massive cliff-hanger ending to a season thinking there will be more only to hear after the fact that it will cease to be.
Monster hits like Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife have had new series commissioned before the previous one sees the light of day but that seems to be the exception rather than the norm. Such in the case also for Last Tango in Halifax. As PBS viewers in the States are settling in to enjoy the current series 2, filming has begun in the UK on series 3. The Sally Wainwright-written drama, which stars Sarah Lancashire, Derek Jacobi, Anne Reid and Nicola Walker, was spotted filming in Market Arcade, Borough Market and the Upstairs Downstairs Café in Halifax this week. Filming will continue in Yorkshire throughout the week. Although no story lines have surfaced as of yet, Wainright, who also writes Scott & Bailey and Happy Valley promises the best is yet to come. “What’s so great about writing for characters like Celia and Alan is that there is a wealth of back story to explore. Series three will be a whole new emotional ball game“, said Wainwright. Let the dysfunctional games begin!
Joining the cast, which already boasts the likes of Sir Derek Jacobi, Anne Reid, Sarah Lancashire, Nicola Walker, Tony Gardner and Dean Andrews, for series 3 will be Sherlock and Scott & Bailey star, Rupert Graves. Graves will play a character called ‘Gary Jackson’ in series 3 but no details as to what the character will add to the dysfunctional table as of yet.
Targeted for a December 2014 transmission, the winner of the Best Drama Series in the 2013 British Academy Television Awards, Last Tango in Halifax tells the story of two widowers, (Jacobi and Reid), reunited after 60 years via Facebook.
Three E.F. Benson novels about upper-middle-class British people in the 1920s and 1930s, vying for social prestige and “one-upmanship” in an atmosphere of extreme cultural snobbery, known simply as Mapp and Lucia, has begun filming at Lamb House in Rye, East Sussex, the original inspiration for Benson’s fictional seaside town of Tilling. Based on Benson’s novels about social rivals Miss Elizabeth Mapp and Mrs. Emmeline ‘Lucia’ Lucas, the 2014 re-boot comes from the mind and pen of Steve Pemberton (The League of Gentlemen, Psychoville, Whitechapel) who has adapted the beloved stories that will co-star his cohort from the bizarre world that was The League of Gentlemen, Sherlock‘s Mark Gatiss as Major Benjy. The all-star cast also features Pippa Haywood (Brittas Empire, Scott & Bailey) whom you might also remember from her portrayal as the disgraced Miss Bunting in several episodes of the first series of Mr. Selfridge.
Pemberton genuinely seems blown away at his good fortune of filming at Lamb House. “I’m just pinching myself every day, that we are here in Rye in Benson’s house and garden, but also that I’ve not only had the opportunity to play this character (Georgie) but adapt the scripts as well!
Filming has begun with a target transmission date of Christmas 2014 on BBC One. Hopefully, a PBS broadcast in the States isn’t too far behind. Here, Miranda Richardson (Mapp) and Anna Chancellor (Lucia) stroll through the gardens of the National Trust property during filming. With a smile, Pemberton has a warning for viewers. “Benson’s deplorably funny novels and cast of subversive, eccentric characters have been entertaining readers for over 90 years, and I hope to bring Tilling thrillingly to life. But be warned: this is no jolly period romp. This is a series about a war. May the worst-behaved woman win.” One can only hope there’s a little League of Gentlemen-esque nature to Pemberton’s adaptation.
The original Channel 4 series ran back in 1985-86 and starred Prunella Scales as Mapp, Geraldine McEwan as Lucia with Sir Nigel Hawthorne as Georgie and Dennis Lill as Major Benji Flint.
We’re a mere 48 days away from the beginning of the Peter Capaldi era at the helm of the TARDIS. Even though we are now well under two months from the 23 August premiere, sadly, it will seem like an eternity, especially with every day going by having a new teaser trailer introduced to suck you in. This one not only has the obligatory explosions and such, it also features a few electric currents running through the TARDIS, electrocuting the Doctor and exposing his two beating hearts, while over the top an ominous and rather familiar voice says, “I see into your soul Doctor. I see beauty, divinity, hatred.” Sounds an awful lot like Davros, the Doctor’s old archenemy and creator of the Daleks.
It will be all the more brilliant to know that the Daleks will be back battling the Doctor given that we already have word from recent production pics that the second-most-dreaded of the Time Lord’s metallic foes after the Daleks will make an appearance is series 8.
What makes it all the more difficult to think about counting down the days is that the self-described ’100% Rebel Time Lord’ took some of his look and inspiration from music icon, David Bowie, as a tribute to Bowie’s Station to Station album cover, according to the recent reports speaking of Capaldi’s involvement in the Howard Burden costume design of the Twelfth Doctor’s white button-down shirt being added to the long black coat.
To quote Renee Zellweger’s character, Dorothy, in the film, Jerry Macguire, “…you had me at hello“. But, feel free to keep those trailers coming….23 August is still a long way off.
If, for some unexplainable reason, you are just this minute jumping on the Endeavour bandwagon and wondering just “What is Endeavour?” or, you are flipping through the 57 channels coming to the realization that Bruce Springsteen had it right back in 1992 and you stop on PBS and ask yourself, “What is Endeavour?“, have we got just the thing for everyone before tonight’s second episode in the new second series.
Now that you’ve stumbled onto “Endeavour” on PBS’ Masterpiece Mystery series and you have the answer to the “What is Endeavour?” question, the next obvious one is “Who is Endeavour?”
Casting Endeavour: Who is Shaun Evans
Tonight’s Masterpiece Mystery presentation of “Endeavour” on PBS is quite timely given that little tournament that is going on in Brazil at the moment. In “Nocturne”, the Oxford Police force is swept up in the 1966 World Cup semifinals, but Endeavour Morse is much more interested in a 100-year-old series of unsolved murders by croquet mallet, and its potential connection to the killing in a local museum of a retiree by ceremonial dagger. Check it out. “Endeavour” airs tonight on PBS’ Masterpiece Mystery series beginning at 8pm CT / 9pm ET.
Another day, another ‘Masterpiece’ on PBS. This time, it’s Death Comes to Pemberley, starring Matthew Rhys (The Americans), Anna Maxwell Martin (Bletchley Circle), Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who) and Matthew Goode (The Good Wife). Based on the book by P.D. James, which is a murder mystery continuation of the events of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, the two-part special premieres Sunday, October 26, 2014, 9pm ET as part of MASTERPIECE Mystery! on PBS.
It’s October, 1803, six years after the events in Pride and Prejudice which resulted in the marriage of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennet. One evening, on their way to Pemberley for a ball, an argument breaks out between George Wickham and Captain Denny in the carriage, with Wickham’s wife (and Elizabeth’s sister), Lydia, also present. The two leave the carriage in anger and disappear into the woodland, where two gun shots are heard. Upon hearing the news, Darcy sends out a search party and Wickham is found distraught and hysterical holding Denny’s body, blaming himself for his murder.
Shot on location in Yorkshire and Derbyshire last summer, Death Comes to Pemberley aired in December 2013 on BBC One. Be on the lookout for a few familiar faces to public television viewers this October with Penelope Keith (Good Neighbors, To the Manor Born), James Fleet (Vicar of Dibley) and Trevor Eve (Waking the Dead) also starring in Death Comes to Pemberley.
Ok, it’s a bit odd to hear the greatness of David Tennant with an American accent, but it works. Did I feel the same way when I first heard that Martin Freeman had signed on to star in the FX series, Fargo? Definitely, but it worked to perfection too with Martin doing a spot-on Minnesotan accent.
If you have been either a faithful or occasional reader of Tellyspotting over the last 5 years, you know my feelings towards American re-makes of British telly. I can count on one hand (and not bother to use my thumb) the ones that have been successful over the years. Much like CBS’ Elementary, the American re-make of the BBC’s Sherlock, the American version of Broadchurch, Fox’s Gracepoint has potential.
David Tennant, who stars as DI Alec Hardy along with Olivia Colman in the ITV series, Broadchurch, also stars in the American re-make that will premiere on Fox in the States this Fall. Tennant, with an American accent in-tow, will star as Detective Emmett Carver, alongside Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad) as Detective Ellie Miller. Colman decided not to make the trip across the pond but will return, along with Tennant for the second series of Broadchurch when it returns to ITV.
In Gracepoint, fans of the UK version will immediately notice the massive similarities between the two as it’s basically Broadchurch with an American accent. Let’s hope Fox lets it stick around for a bit to give it a chance.
What a difference a day makes! Seems like it was just 24 hours ago that the old adage of “no news is good news” was applicable to any anticipated return of the world’s most famous consulting detective. Now comes the best new of 2014 so far from the BBC.
“Miss me?” Sherlock Returns
Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, will return to television for a not only a one-off special but it will be followed by a series of three new episodes!
The last series saw Sherlock’s life change a lot – he returned from the dead, his best friend John Watson married Mary Morstan and he met his match in Charles Augustus Magnussen. After the briefest of exiles, Sherlock came back only to face one of his biggest mysteries yet. Why is Moriarty’s face being broadcast on every television in the land? Speaking about the return of the series, co-creator, writer and executive producer Steven Moffat said: “A special, plus a new series of three episodes – it’s a record-breaking run!! Of course, it’s far too early to say what’s coming, but we’re reasonably confident that the very next thing to happen to Sherlock and John, is the very last thing you’d expect ….”
Co-creator, writer and executive producer Mark Gatiss adds: “Series Four! At last ! It’s always special to return to ‘Sherlock’ but this time it’s even more special as we’re doing…a Special! Not only THAT, we’ll then be shooting three more episodes which will take Sherlock and John Watson into deeper and darker water than ever before…The whole ‘Sherlock’ team are terrifically excited to return for four new adventures. The Game is on – again!”
Sue Vertue, Executive Producer, Hartswood Films says: “It’s taken a little while to get the dates sorted as none of the boys are exactly sitting back twiddling their thumbs but there was unanimous goodwill to make this work so we’re thrilled that 221b is going to be inhabited again.”
Shooting on the special will begin in January 2015, with the series shooting later next year. Sherlock airs in the U.S. on MASTERPIECE on PBS and on BBC1 in the UK.
While it is certainly something that most all of us probably already knew, it just makes it all the more difficult to grasp when you hear it directly from one of the co-creators. There is no joy in Mudville today as it’s looking more and more likely that the world’s greatest consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes, will not return to the small screen with new episodes of Sherlock until 2016.
Difficult, yes, but totally understandable. Given the insane nature of the schedule availabilities of not only the principal characters, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, the brilliant supporting cast of Rupert Graves, Una Stubbs, Louise Brealey and Amanda Abbington, not to mention the 24/7 schedule for both Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, getting the stars to align for brilliant telly has become next to impossible.
Speaking at a fan Q&A forum in Brazil, series co-creator/writer Mark Gatiss spoke the unthinkable: “Writing three films is quite a lot of work and then getting everyone together… [it's] increasingly difficult to get everyone’s diaries to align, so we couldn’t really do more than three every couple of years I’m afraid. I mean, we’d certainly like to reduce the time, but by the time we’ve finished and then everyone starts gearing up again, it roughly takes that long.”
Earlier comments from series co-star, Martin Freeman (John Watson), have long hinted at the same timetable citing the same difficulties of schedule availability. “It’s very hard to get together,” he told Digital Spy. “But it’s one of those things where you have to at some point just go, ‘We’re going to do it now’ – otherwise we could be having this conversation in three years.” While Freeman has recently hinted at the possibility of getting the band back together for a one-off Christmas special in 2015, we’ll just leave that for the time being as I’m not sure I can take the possibility of getting that OR the bike that I asked for.
Once Mick Jagger finally figures out that their may not be a future for this 50+ year experiment called The Rolling Stones, he definitely has a future in comedy. The leader of the ‘bad boys of Rock & Roll’ appears a bit dismayed that the group that calls itself Monty Python’s Flying Circus wants to get back together tonight at London’s O2 Arena. After all, as Mick explains to an obviously disinterested Charlie Watts…”Who wants to see that again? It was funny in the 60s. A bunch of wrinkly old men trying to recapture their youth! If that wasn’t enough to drive home his point, Jagger added, “The best one died years ago!”
Hard to believe but when Python first burst on the scene in the late 60′s with Monty Python’s Flying Circus, they were this bizarre little comedy troupe who took television by surprise and, ultimately, re-wrote the rulebook for TV comedy and inspired a new generation of alternative humor. Because of the obvious comparisons, the Pythons’ comedy legacy will be forever linked to the incomparable influence that The Beatles had on music. “The Beatles never had a ‘last night’, because they didn’t know it was coming,” said Eric Idle, one of the original Python members.
Could it be that Jagger’s wrath is a by-product of the concept that the Python’s were linked forever to the Beatles and not the Stones? Not a chance. First off, I think Mick has done okay for himself over the last half-century and, two, it’s a joke! But, it does make for great copy, doesn’t it?
If you’re headed to the O2 Arena for tonight’s Monty Python reunion, feel free to report back to Tellyspotting. Word is, there are a lot of surprises in-store including an appearance by long-time Python fan, Stephen Hawking.
While the world carefully watches the historic “Yes Scotland” vs. “Better Together” vote this coming Thursday that will determine if Scotland is to remain part of the United Kingdom or become an independent country, there is another extraordinarily critical issue on the table that is just around the corner and, most likely, going virtually unnoticed. The 2016 BBC Charter Renewal is inching ever so close with the ultimate outcome quite possibly in the hands of Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville), the BBC’s Head of Values. Fletcher will, once again, solicit the help of Siobhan Sharpe’s PR agency Perfect Curve and their “high standards of clarity and presentational skills when it comes to the key issues facing the Corporation.” As the former Head of the Olympic Deliverance Commission, Fletcher brings immeasurable skill and talents to his position as Chair of the The Way Ahead Task Force BBC’s Head of Values when W1A returns for a second series.
A very ecstatic Fletcher commented on his return, “I am very happy to have the cameras back. Being Head of Values is all about re-setting the dial for the BBC and perhaps about shining a new light on that dial, or at least shining the old light but with a new bulb, so none of us can be in any doubt where the dial is or can have any excuse for not being able to read what it says.”
While series 1 will finally find its way to public television beginning in January 2015, Series 2 will begin filming around that same time and will again be made up of four episodes, comprised of one hour long program and three, thirty-minute programs as was series 1. For those trying to do the math in your heads, not to worry as should there be a series 6 of Downton Abbey, filming will end in plenty of time for Bonneville to shift gears and head back to the mid-1920′s in his role as Lord Grantham.
Already lined up for the series 2 return will be Bonneville, Hynes, Sarah Parish (Breathless) and Jason Watkins (Being Human, Trollied). Everyones favorite Traveling Time Lord, David Tennant, will return to narrate. Look for W1A on both BBC2 and public television in the States in 2015.