Comedy

‘Vicious’ Finale Special to Air This Summer on PBS

Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi in "Vicious" (Photo: Courtesy of Gary Moyes / © Brown Eyed Boy Ltd 2016)

Comedy series Vicious will air its last episode this summer.

The news the show would not be returning for a third season was announced by ITV late last year, though the cancellation blow was somewhat softened by the fact that it was given a final, extended one-off episode to wrap everything up. And, at last, now we have an official airdate for the series’ swan song.

The comedy will officially bow out with a one-night, series finale special that’s set to air on Sunday, June 19 on PBS stations nationwide. 

Dated or Delightful? 'A Fine Romance'

How well do British TV series from the past hold up? Are they classic gems that transcend the generations or are they old-fashioned and representative of a particular period in time? Check out our Dated or Delightful series to see how Judi Dench's A Fine Romance rated with us.

Patricia Routledge as Hyacinth in "Keeping Up Appearances". (Photo: BBC)

Nostalgia Telly – Vintage BBC Sitcoms Are Making a Comeback

For those who follow British entertainment, you will have noticed a decided trend towards reviving TV shows of bygone days. And no wonder, the fondness for and popularity of such classic series remain fairly constant. For example, Dad’s Army, a UK comedy institution from the 60’s and 70’s, was recently adapted for the big screen and featured a star-studded ensemble as members of the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard.

In fact, it was recently revealed that Keeping Up Appearances is still the most-bought BBC program by international broadcasters. (Apparently middle class snobbery is universally and cross-generationally amusing!) So beloved is Mrs. Bucket and her crew, The Telegraph has reported that a “new version of Keeping Up Appearances has the working title Young Hyacinth, and follows the character as a 19-year-old. The classic sitcom is being resurrected as part of a celebration of the corporation’s most popular comedies that is due to air this year.”

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. 

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