February 2014

Category:Drama

Get a Ten Minute Sneak Peek at Series 2 of ‘Mr. Selfridge’

Period drama Mr. Selfridge is returning for a second season on Masterpiece this Spring and the little shopping drama that could promises to feature even more intrigue, poor relationship decisions, patented pep talks, fabulous outfits and catty commentary than last year.

Jeremy Piven is back as the titular Selfridge and it appears most of the series’ main cast members are returning as well, including Katherine Kelly, Aisling Loftus, Amanda Abbington, Ron Cook, Gregory Fitoussi, Amy Beth Hayes and Francis O’Connor. (There are also a handful of new faces, as you'll see below.) The drama’s second season will be set in 1914, during the onset of the First World War. Yes, this does mean that we’re jumping ahead five years from where we left things in the Series 1 finale, so it’s certainly possible that there will be more than a few dropped plot threads and/or characters.

Still, the prospect of having the show back is exciting. It quite grew on me over the course of the first series. Series 2 will premiere on March 30 on PBS stations around the country on Masterpiece Classic. Mark your calendars now.

To help get us through the wait until then, PBS and Masterpiece have released a sneak peek first look at the upcoming return of Mr. Selfridge and it should be plenty to get you excited for the new season. 

Category:Culture

Sherlock Holmes: The Theme Park is a Thing That Might Happen in Portsmouth

Now that we’re all back to our regularly scheduled programming of waiting for new Sherlock episodes following the conclusion of eries 3, the natural progression of life as a Sherlockian is to start looking for interesting Holmes-related things to pass the time until we get to Series 4.

And this is certainly one of the more interesting Holmes-related things we’ve seen in a while.

Would you visit Sherlock Holmes: The Amusement Park? Because that’s something that’s actually in the works right now. No, really. That’s not a typo. 

Category:Sci-Fi

Another New Face in Peter Capaldi’s TARDIS? Samuel Anderson Joins ‘Doctor Who’

It looks like Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi won’t be the only new face on our television screens when Doctor Who returns for Series 8 later this year.

The BBC has announced that actor Samuel Anderson will be joining the cast as “recurring character” Danny Pink, a teacher at Coal Hill Secondary School and colleague of companion Clara Oswald. Anderson has done quite a bit of British TV, including a stint on popular soap Emmerdale opposite current Who companion Jenna Coleman as well as roles in Gavin & Stacey and The History Boys. 

Category:Drama

Meet the New Faces Arriving for ‘Downton Abbey’ Series 5

We only finished Downton Abbey Series 4 a couple of days ago here in America, but it seems a pretty safe bet that many people are already experiencing the classic symptoms of withdrawal and sadness that characterizes the deadly dull time that is the hiatus.

Luckily, Downton was renewed for Series 5 well before the season aired here in the US and filming officially got under way this week in England, so we are not completely without diversion at this most crucial of times. The start of production has not brought us much (yet) by way of storyline or character-related details, but Carnival Films, ITV and Masterpiece have announced that the new season will bring with it a handful of new and familiar faces.  

Three fabulous and well-known actors will be joining the cast of the mega-hit costume drama when it returns for its fifth season. 

Category:Drama

‘Call the Midwife’ Series 3 to Bow March 30: Watch the First PBS Trailer

The highly anticipated third series of heartwarming period drama Call the Midwife is officially set to premiere on PBS stations nationwide beginning Sunday, March 30.

Midwife’s third season will be comprised of eight new episodes and will run from March 30 - May 18. Stars Jessica Raine, Helen George, Pam Ferris and Miranda Hart are all back, with plenty of drama left from last season to deal with. After the dramatic events of the 2013 Christmas episode, Series 3 finds everyone’s favorite midwives in 1959 on the eve of the Swinging Sixties, and facing big changes on all fronts. 

Get details and watch the first PBS trailer below. 

Category:Drama

'Downton Abbey': Let's Discuss the Series 4 Finale

Previously, on Downton Abbey: Ivy gets a proposal from Alfred, because no one can ever leave this show, but she turns him down. Daisy makes her peace and says goodbye to him. We see Awesome Mr. Mason again for like five minutes. Baxter and Molesley are surprisingly adorable together. Violet figures out Edith’s pregnancy secret and offers to bankroll her trip to Switzerland to “learn French” and/or hide her illegitimate child. Bates takes a mysterious daytrip that is so obviously going to end badly. Anna tells Mary who really attacked her. Rose gets engaged to Jack Ross, but Mary convinces him to call it off, the local church bazaar happens, Robert comes home from America and Mary’s veritable army of boyfriends is still hanging around. Oh, and Green the Horrible Rapist appears to have mysteriously died. Whoops.

How have we already arrived at the Series 4 finale? Sheesh. Lots of ground to cover – and things to discuss – so let’s get on with it. 

Category:Drama

'The Bletchley Circle' Series 2 Comes to PBS Stations Beginning April 13

It’s official: Series 2 of popular female-led mystery series The Bletchley Circle will premiere on PBS stations nationwide beginning Sunday, April 14

The drama follows the story of four women in post-World War II England, who all possess the extraordinary ability to break codes, a skill honed when they worked undercover at the famous Bletchley Park. Now, after the war, they use their unique ability to see patterns to help them solve crimes.

Series 2 will be comprised of four episodes, rather than three, and will tell two self-contained stories, each spread across two of the sixty-minute installments.  Stars Anna Maxwell Martin, Rachel Stirling,Sophie Rundle and Julie Graham are all set to return. 

The new episodes will be set a year after the events of Series 1. 1. Per the official press release, here’s what we can expect:

Category:Reality

Get a Behind the Scenes Look at Tom Hiddleston’s Trip Around the ‘Top Gear’ Track

What happens when you mix internet darling Tom Hiddleston with global phenomenon Top Gear? Something awesome, obviously. (We're only just past the second episode, but let's hear it for Series 21, yeah? Applause all around for the celebrity line-up thus far in my book.) 

The Thor and The Hollow Crown star recently appeared as the Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car on the mega-popular driving series and did a lap of the Top Gear race track in a 1.6 Tech Line Vauxhall Astra. Sadly, this did not occur in a Loki costume, but I guess we can’t have everything.

There are glasses though, if that’s your thing.

Watch for yourselves below. 

Category:Movies

Some Highlights from the BAFTA 2014 Film Awards

With two weeks to go until the Oscars are presented, the British Academy Film Awards had their say this past weekend at London’s Royal Opera House with resident host Stephen Fry presiding. While you can check out the entire list of winners here, it would be a bit dull to go through each and every award and appearance of note. Therefore I have condensed the event into a few of my favorite moments.

Read on for more. 

‘Sherlock’s' Benedict Cumberbatch Talks Fame, Social Media and Having a Weird Face in Hour-Long ‘In Conversation’ Q&A

What better way could there be to spend your long weekend than listening to Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch talk for an hour? (Spoiler: The answer is there isn’t one.  Yes, even you, House of Cards binge watchers. Take a break. This is worth it, I promise.)

Cumberbatch sat down for an in-depth Q&A session with The Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Fienbeg last week, to discuss all manner of topics. His appearance served as the kick-off for a new series called “In Conversation,” a forum sponsored by BAFTA New York and The Hollywood Reporter, intended to provide artists with an outlet through which to discuss the creative process in depth.  

This inaugural “Conversation” was held in front of a live audience comprised of BAFTA members and journalists last week in New York at The Standard High Line hotel. The event was recorded and THR released a full version of the event this weekend.

Category:Drama

'Downton Abbey': Let's Dish the Drama in Series 4, Episode 7

Previously, on Downton AbbeyRobert has to go to America to help Cora’s  Plot Point Brother with some business no one cares about, Mary finds out what happened to Anna, Edith decides to have an abortion, but can’t go through with it at the last minute. Mary and Blake finally start liking each other after they spend a night saving pigs and getting covered with mud, the Dowager gets sick but luckily gets better fast, Tom met a girl at a political meeting. Super Stalker Lord Gillingham and his Horrible Rapist Valet return to Downton for a visit, and Bates looks like he’s totally figured out the Horrible Rapist bit.  Oh, and there’s some more pointless drama with Alfred, Daisy and Ivy, but I’m just going to pretend it’s not happening because we all hate it.

What will happen this week? Who can even say. Onward and let’s find out. 

Category:Online

Take Our 'Doc Martin' Personality Quiz!

Fans everywhere love quirky British comedy Doc Martin – it’s consistently one of our most popular series around here – because it’s packed with great actors and interesting, layered characters.

Series 6 of this beloved series is currently airing on many PBS stations around the country (and if it’s not yet, it probably will be soon!) and, to celebrate, we put together a little character quiz based on a handful of our favorite Portwenn characters past and present.  

Answer the questions and see who you get – and let us know what character you got in the comments!

Take the quiz at weta.org.

Category:Theater

Benedict Cumberbatch Does Tom Stoppard For National Theatre 50th Anniversary

Britain’s National Theatre celebrated its 50th anniversary last year – much like several other  well-known British institutions, including the Rolling Stones and, of course, Doctor Who. For those that don’t know, the NT is one of the UK’s two most prominent publicly funded theatre companies, alongside the Royal Shakespeare Company. It presents a varied program, staging everything from Shakespeare and international classic dramas to new and modern works by contemporary playwrights.

In honor of this landmark birthday for a national institution, a star-studded celebration was held last Fall and broadcast around the country. This once in a lifetime event featured excerpts from many of the plays and musicals put on by the National Theatre over the past fifty years, performed by a wide array of British acting greats, as well as loads of archival footage. And by "wide array", we mean basically every fabulous British actor you can think of - including Dame Maggie Smith, Dame Judi Dench, Dame Helen Mirren, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Rory Kinnear, Christopher Eccleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Peneleope Wilton, Andrew Scott and lots more.  
Category:Comedy

Watch: The First Trailer for 'Moone Boy' Series 2

Quirky comedy Moone Boy has recently began airing on many PBS stations around the country and if you’ve not checked this series out for yourself yet, you can find a handy guide to it right here. While us Americans are experiencing the show’s first season, the UK is gearing up for the launch of the comedy’s second outing, which is set to premiere on February 17 on British cable network Sky One.

Developed from one of Sky's Little Crackers comedy shorts, the Chris O'Dowd and Nick Vincent Murphy-written series tells the story of loveable lad Martin Moone, and his travails growing up in late eighties/early nineties Ireland with a houseful of sisters and an imaginary friend (O'Dowd).

The first trailer for the comedy’s Series 2 return has been released, and from all appearances, we’re in for a lot more awkard secondary embarrassment, but hopefully an equally large amount of great guest starts , fun animated bits and general charm.

Watch for yourselves below. 

Category:Drama

New Series of 'Inspector Lewis' Commissioned by ITV

Good news for mystery fans! Despite the fact that many assumed last year’s seventh season of hit series Inspector Lewis would be the show’s swan song – it turns out that’s not actually true.

ITV announced that an eighth series of Lewis has been officially commissioned, and stars Kevin Whatley and Laurence Fox will both be back! Furthermore, the new episodes will flip the dynamic between the famous duo around quite a bit. 

Category:Reality

Go Behind the Scenes with ‘Downton Abbey’s’ Hugh Bonneville on ‘Top Gear’

Just in case you were wondering where Hugh Bonneville got off to during that episode of Downton Abbey where Robert was off-screen – well, it looks like he went straight to the Top Gear track.

The Downton star – best known for his role as uber-posh Earl of Grantham Robert Crawley – recently appeared on mega-popular driving series as the Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car and did a lap of the Top Gear race track in a 1.6 Tech Line Vauxhall Astra.

Seems a bit of a comedown from the vehicles Lord Robert might have expected, but it’s likely that even a reasonably-priced car from today goes a great deal more quickly than their Edwardian era counterparts.

Here’s a look at a fun behind-the-scenes segment documenting Bonneville’s track experience, which is incredibly fun to watch. Bonneville is possibly even more charming than you might have otherwise expected, and his glee at just getting to drive a car really fast is palpable.

He also manages to drive the car off the course quite a lot. 

Category:Other

The Challenges of British Telly Love

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching so of course that signals the obligatory loving couples of television; Musing over my own marriage of two and half decades, I decided I wanted to highlight British telly relationships that had some barriers to their success.

Staying in love long term is hard work after all and overcoming hardship can bring a couple closer.  And after reading this list you may thank your lucky stars living with a slob or a neat freak is your biggest complaint.

Category:Drama

'Downton Abbey': Let's Discuss Series 4, Episode 6

Previously, on Downton Abbey: Evelyn Napier and his horrible boss Mr. Blake arrive at Downton for a visit, Alfred learns he did make it into Top Chef School after all, which means Molesley gets a job at last, the only story they can think of to do with the Dowager Countess is about whether she’s being robbed by a staff member, Rose brings in Jack Ross’ band to play for Robert’s birthday and then sneaks a kiss with him in the basement, Bates and Anna go on a date and, oh, Edith’s pregnant.  Dun dun dunnn.

Never a dull moment on Downton, am I right? Onward to this week! 

Category:Online

‘Sherlock’ the Musical is So Much Fun You’ll Wish It Was Real

Popular mystery series Sherlock has wrapped things up for another season, so that means the game is officially back on in terms of finding things to entertain ourselves with during the wait for Series 4. (Which, by the way, is already planned, even if there’s no official announcement about it yet.) I mean, honestly, didn’t we just do with?

Luckily, this clip is a pretty good place to start our hiatus with.  YouTube stars AVbtyte have put together an amazing fan-made musical tribute to everyone’s favorite consulting detective and his best friend, complete with remarkably accurate costumes and Sherlock getting punched in the face by John. (Thankfully, there’s no horrendous Watson moustache to contend with in this particular reunion.)

Sure, the clip has Travis Kent and Newsies alum Andrew Keenan-Bolger doing the singing honors, rather than Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, but they’ve got the main duo’s mannerisms pretty much down. Plus, it’s so much fun you’ll wish they’d managed to do a whole musical mystery.

Watch for yourselves below:

Category:Reality

'Top Gear' Series 21 Set to Premiere in America on February 10

Believe or not, the twenty-first series of modern classic automotive show, Top Gear, is airing this month. (It started this week in the UK and will make its way Stateside beginning February 10 on BBC America. And, yes,Top Gear is really that old.) 

According to the 2013 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records,the series is “the most widely watched factual TV programme”; however; the Top Gear of today is a far cry from its regional motoring magazine beginnings. Did you know, for example, that the show originally began in 1977? And that it used to look quite a bit different from it current incarnation?

In fact, you might be surprised by just how much has changed

Read on for a bit of a history lesson - and a look at some of the show's best moments!

Category:Online

Benedict Cumberbatch and the 'Sesame Street' Muppets are Your Must See Clip of the Day

In case you thought the conclusion of Sherlock Series 3 would mean seeing less of star Benedict Cumberbatch in your life, well, here's some good news - that's apparently never going to happen. And - bonus - this particular bit may be one of Cumberbatch's absolute best appearances yet. It's even educational!

In a truly awesome moment that appears to have been put together during Cumberbatch's appearance at the recent Television Critics Association Press Tour, Cumberbatch hangs out with the Count and Murray, a couple of the beloved Muppets from iconic children's show Sesame Street.  Murray manages to get in some Sherlock jokes, including a funny reference to finale episode His Last Vow. A battle of wits over - what else - counting ensues, the Count is called in to assist, and the result is basically perfection. Plus, you know, there's a lesson about math in there too. So, it's fun for the whole family.

Category:Drama

'Sherlock' Series 3: Let's Talk "His Last Vow"

Previously, on Sherlock: John got married, though since most of the episode consisted of Sherlock and John affirming the epic and lifelong nature of their relationship, you might be surprised to find out it was to Mary. Sherlock gave the best Best Man Speech in the history of time, complete with soppiness, awkwardness, and an attempted murder. Everyone lectured Sherlock about how Marriage Changes Everything at every possibly opportunity, we all got sad, and now we’re a bit anxious about what the future will look like for our boys. Especially since Mary’s pregnant and Sherlock left the wedding reception early and alone, because he couldn’t figure out where or how he fit in at the party.

Sadly, as soon as it seems we’ve got Sherlock back again, it’s over. Yup, His Last Vow is the Series 3 finale and then we’re all back on hiatus again even though it feels dreadfully unfair. But, first we’ve got to get through this episode. And there’s an awful lot to talk about. Let’s get to it. 

Category:Drama

'Downton Abbey': Let's Discuss Series 4, Episode 5

Previously, on Downton AbbeyBates bullies Mrs. Hughes into telling him what happened to Anna. Mrs. Hughes does, but also lies a little bit because we’re all afraid that Bates might go on a rampaging murder spree at the drop of a hat.  Cora gets a new ladies’ maid who seems to owe Thomas a favor. Robert does some complicated financial lending to help a tenant keep their farm. Alfred takes his Top Chef test.  Evelyn Napier from Series 1 reappears and is a much more attractive boyfriend option for Mary than Stalker Tony. Edith makes a secret trip to the doctor, so you know bad stuff’s probably about to happen, because, Edith’s life.

So, this week should be interesting, huh? Onward! 

British Actors You Should Know: James Nesbitt

Today’s “actor you should know” owns half a prize winning race horse, has acted as a UNICEF UK ambassador since 2005 and is the current Chancellor of the University of Ulster, no less.  A proud Northern Irishman, James Nesbitt is a big fan of sport (particularly Manchester United and his hometown team, Coleraine) and has recently started presenting travel programs including one entitled James Nesbitt’s Ireland.

You may wonder how this charming, talented fella finds time for his main job – acting.  But Nesbitt’s been working steadily since the early 90’s and it doesn’t appear that he’s planning on letting up anytime soon.

Let’s look at a small sampling of his many excellent roles over the years. 

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