Comedy

The cast of "Gary: Tank Commander" (Photo: BBC)

The Surprising New Place for Scottish Comedy is Netflix!

Or McNetflix, more like. Lately I’ve noticed a flurry of Scottish comedy programs have popped up on the streaming service’s listings and I have to say I’m thrilled. For one thing, I’ve tried to watch some of these series before, but without proper subtitles I was lost in a world of Scots dialects and unfamiliar slang. With the very helpful Netflix subtitles, I now know “pish” from “sannies” and “bam” from “ken.”

A word of warning, these shows don’t resemble Monarch of the Glen or Hamish Macbeth. In fact, I haven’t seen a bagpipe, castle or kilt yet. Most of these series take place in the gloomy, working class environs of Glasgow, not the picturesque lands of lochs and glens. Nevertheless, if you take the time to get used to their unique cadences and what The Guardian journalist Jenny Colgan described as, “the self-deprecating humor of the self-declared underdog”, you’ll be sure to find something you like from this list.

The "Cold Feet" cast. (Photo: Granada TV/ITV)

Flashback Friday: ‘Cold Feet’ Is Set to Make a Comeback in 2016

It was rumored back in August of this year that the late 90’s relationship dramedy Cold Feet might be coming back for a new series. Today ITV made it official! The show will go into production at the beginning of next year in Manchester and the eight part series is tentatively scheduled to be broadcast near the end of 2016.

For those of you not familiar with Cold Feet, it debuted seventeen years ago this week. It ran for five series and won a number of comedy and drama awards including the 2002 BAFTA for best drama series.

The show centered around three thirty-something couples and examined the joys and frustrations inherent in the different stages of their romantic relationships.  We witness the joys of events like marriage, the birth of children and reconciliations as well as the sorrows and hurt caused by illness, miscarriages, infidelities, separations and even death.

‘Sherlock’s’ Martin Freeman Does ‘Star Wars’ Skit for BBC’s Children in Need

Martin Freeman, channeling his inner Jedi Master. (Photo: BBC)

One of the best things about Fall is the return of the BBC’s annual Children in Need charity telethon, which generally features celebrity appeals, comedy sketches and musical performances, all in the name of raising money for a good cause.

The UK tends to do these sort of specials fairly often see also: the annual Red Nose Day and Sport Relief events. Thankfully, they usually turn out pretty great, and this year appears to be no exception.

Sherlock star Martin Freeman appeared in what was probably the evening’s best bit – a Star Wars-themed sketch in which Warwick Davis, with assistance from robotic friends C3PO and R2-D2 was charged with locating the film’s biggest fan in order to trigger the first Children in Need totalizer of the night. (This means they get to push a big button that reveals how much money has be raised so far, so it’s actually pretty cool, if you ask me.)

A production still from "Keeping Up Appearances" Season 1 (Photo: BBC)

Flashback Friday: ‘Keeping Up Appearances’

Two weeks and twenty-five years ago, Keeping Up Appearances debuted on the BBC. Created by acclaimed comedy writer Roy Clarke (Last of the Summer Wine and Open All Hours were also his) and directed by Harold Snoad, this fan favorite ran for five series with a total of forty-four episodes.  In many PBS viewers’ minds, Keeping Up Appearances epitomizes the term “Britcom” and it’s still regularly shown in re-runs in the UK and the US.

Throwback Thursday: ‘Mr. Bean’

A quarter of a century ago TV viewers met Rowan Atkinson’s Mr. Bean for the first time and he’s been a beloved buffoon around the world ever since.

But did you know Atkinson actually started developing Bean well over a decade before he debuted on television in 1990? This idea of a man-child with a unique way of looking at the world came to Rowan when he was an electrical engineering student at the University of Oxford. He honed the character in front of audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe and comedy festivals in places like Montreal. 

Get Your First Look at ‘Doc Martin’ Season 7

Fans of curmudgeonly doctors everywhere, rejoice – the trailer for Doc Martin Series 7 has arrived! (Yes, really!)

This news is exciting on several levels, not the least of which being that there’s just been so little news released about Season 7 generally up until this point. (I’m not even sure that ITV even announced the show had been renewed prior to the news that filming was under way.)

The new season will be comprised of eight episodes. Star Martin Clunes will reprise his role as Britain’s grumpiest medical professional, and all regular members of the cast will also be returning, including Caroline Catz, Dame Eileen Atkins, Ian McNeice, Joe Absolom, John Marquez and Jessica Ransom.

‘Vicious’ Season 2 to Premiere on PBS Stations This August

The highly anticipated second season of Vicious, the ITV sitcom starring acting legends Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Derek Jacobi as a bickering, co-dependent gay couple is coming to America at last!

This is great news, since we’ve been waiting quite a while for the show to continue – Season 2 was commissioned way back in September 2013 and originally aired here in the US last summer. Due to the very busy schedules of both its leads, it took quite a bit of time for new episodes to be produced, but now we can finally see the continuing adventures of Freddie and Stuart for ourselves.

Five Instances Where US Remakes of British Shows Weren’t Such a Bad Idea

In case you haven’t heard the news, fan favorite Doc Martin is being adapted for American television. Believe me. I can imagine your collective grumbling and indignant protests as I write this post.

I guess we’re supposed to feel hope for this venture because the project is in the hands of Marta Kauffman, one of the co-creators of Friends. We know she can write a phenomenally popular American sitcom. Unfortunately that doesn’t convince me that she can achieve the elusive feat of turning a quintessentially quirky British dramedy into something typical US viewers will embrace. (You and I are not in the aforementioned demographic, by the way.)

Every time I turn on my computer these days it seems that a pilot has been commissioned by Hollywood execs in hopes that it will translate to big ratings just because it’s been successful in the UK. If this scenario sounds familiar it may be because the Showtime series Episodes mocks this very trend.

An American Version of ‘Doc Martin’ is Apparently Happening

For some reason, American networks can’t seem to get enough of making their own versions of popular British programs. Recent examples include FOX’s Broadchurch remake Gracepoint, HBO’s Getting On, MTV’s attempts at re-doing The Inbetweeners and Skins, and several others. A US version of The IT Crowd was rumored to be happening for the longest time. An American Luther is in the works, apparently.

So, it probably shouldn’t come as that big of a surprise that someone’s finally decided to take a swing at one of the most popular Britcoms on-air currently. But, it’s official: Marta Kauffman, one of the co-creators behind mega-hit US sitcom Friends has decided to have a go at making an American version of Doc Martin, the British hit that chronicles the adventures of a curmudgeonly London doctor who sets up a practice in the quaint and quirky small town of Portwenn.

Yes, really. That wasn’t a typo. An American Doc Martin could legitimately be a thing on our TV screens within the next year or so.

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