Benedict Cumberbatch Returns for a New Series of 'Rumpole' Radio Plays

Excellent news for Benedict Cumberbatch fans – a new series of radio plays based on Rumple of the Bailey are slated to air this summer on BBC Radio 4!

This is good news for those of us who feel like we maybe have been going through a bit of Cumberbatch withdrawal of late. Yes, a new Sherlock special is headed our way later this year, Marvel’s Doctor Strange is on the horizon and his West End turn in Hamlet is slated for later this summer, but since the Oscar campaign for The Imitation Game wrapped in February, there’s been much less Cumberbatch to go around. Happily, we seem to be done with that for a bit.

The first installment of this four-part series will be Rumpole and the Portia of Our Chambers and will air on Friday, July 3 at 2:15pm. The series will once again be based on the Rumpole of the Bailey books written John Mortimer, adapted by Richard Stoneman and produced by Marilyn Imrie.  


This Giant Chocolate Benedict Cumberbatch is an Actual Thing

Springtime - when everyone's thoughts turn to warmer weather and a proliferation of Easter candy, most notably in the shape of rabbits, eggs and your favorite actor. Okay, so I made that last bit up - except for how I didn't, really. Thanks to some enterprising chocolatiers and the launch of a new Drama channel on British on-demand service UKTV Play, we now know what everyone's favorite It British Actor of the moment - Benedict Cumberbatch - might look like if he were comprised entirely of chocolate. About 40,000 grams (or ~500 bars) of Belgian chocolate, to be exact. 


Watch: Highlights From Red Nose Day 2015

This year has been a monumental one for Comic Relief, the British comedy-based charity co-founded by writer/director Richard Curtis and comedian Lenny Henry three decades ago.

Comic Relief grew out of the success of Bob Geldolf’s Live Aid benefit concerts for Africa. Its efforts have united the people of the UK in raising money for aid organizations primarily in Africa and at home. 


BAFTA 2015: Which is the Best British Film?

If the holidays are wrapping up and the cold, dark winter is truly setting in, it can mean only one thing. It’s awards season! For the UK film industry, the greatest accolade that can be bestowed is from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, BAFTA for short, which also happens to the name of the statuette presented to the winners. 

On this past Friday, the nominees for the 2015 BAFTAs were announced at the Picadilly headquarters of the Academy itself by perennial host Stephen Fry and his cohort Sam Claflin. While there might have been a few snubs, most of the expected names were announced. Of interest to British movie fans, The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game received multiple nods for acting, screenplay, director and best overall film. Ralph Fiennes, Rosamund Pike and Imelda Staunton also earned nominations for their impressive work in The Grand Budapest Hotel, Gone Girl and Pride respectively. A complete list of nominees can be found here.

Though a British organization, most of BAFTA’s awards are not limited to UK produced movies except for one – the Outstanding British Film category. Last year some of the nominees for this award had a tenuous claim to this distinction. In fact it was Gravity starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney that won this honor in 2014.

This year’s batch of outstanding movies are much more identifiably British and a good representation of UK filmmaking overall. Two are biopics of famous scholars, two are based on historical events set in the fairly recent past, one is a Scottish sci-fi thriller and the last is a CGI depiction of a beloved British children’s character. I’ve actually seen four out of the six films on the list and, despite a few disagreements based on my own personal tastes, would concur with a majority of  its candidates.

Let’s take a look at the nominees, shall we?


Listen: BBC Radio 4’s Production of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s ‘Good Omens’ is Online

In case your holidays were a bit too hectic to fully appreciate the fabulousness that was BBC Radio 4’s recent dramatization of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s cult classic novel Good Omens, well you’re in luck. While the radio drama has finished its on-air run, the entire series is available to stream for free – regardless of where you live! – on the BBC iPlayer website.

First published in 1990, Good Omens subtitled The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, tells the story of the End Times. Sort of.  It involves an angel (Aziraphale) and a demon (Crowley) who quite like living on Earth, actually, and take it upon themselves to thwart the plans of the Antichrist, whose name is Adam. It’s kind of complicated. (But it’s awesome.) 


Happy New Year! Here's What We're Looking Forward to in 2015

Happy New Year, Telly Visions readers! From our family here to yours – we hope you all have a wonderful 2015; we're wishing you a year full of love and laughter and, of course, as much great British television as you can possibly cram in to 365 days. Luckily, it appears as though we're going to be quite spoiled for choice in the New Year.

Just a few of the awesome things we have to look forward to include: 


British TV Series Saying Farewell in 2014

When I first decided to write this post about shows ending their runs in 2014, I didn’t realize how complicated it would be. Little did I know that in the fast paced world of modern entertainment broadcasting, rumors run rampant and programming decisions can change on a dime. 


BBC Radio 4’s ‘Good Omens’ Gets an Airdate

Get ready, fans of radio drama, for the apocaly pse is nigh. (In the best way of course.)  The highly anticipated radio adaptation of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s 1990 cult classic Good Omens finally has an official airdate.

The six-part drama is due to begin with a double Monday, December 22 at 11pm and running throughout Christmas week before culminating in an hour-long finale on December 27. (This is a fairly similar rollout to what BBC Radio 4 did for their popular Neverwhere adaptation, stripping the episodes over the course of a week back in March.)


British Celebrity Memoirs to Read This Winter

In case I’ve never mentioned it, I work at a public library. That’s why in some of the pieces I write for Telly Visions I suggest borrowing DVDs from the library when on-line streaming is not an option. At my job when patrons stump my co-workers with a movie or TV series request, I’m often called upon to step in and solve the mystery.  It’s a role I enjoy and I spend a lot of time and effort building up my knowledge to share with others.

But wait, you say. Isn’t a library about books? Indeed it is and all the employees on our staff are expected to read widely in order to help people find an enjoyable or informative book to read. Therefore when I find the time, I’m sure you can hazard a guess at what I read. You‘ve got it, British authors. I’ve just finished the most recent Ian McEwan novel, The Children Act, and I have several more on my bedside table waiting for my attention including one entitled Us by David Nicholls, the author of books such as Starter for Ten and One Day, both of which have been adapted for the big screen.

However, at this point, I must admit my favorite combination is a book written by a British celebrity. It can be a memoir about hitting bottom and finding a home like Craig Ferguson’s American on Purpose or the humorous life lessons of Miranda Hart’s Is It Just Me?

Whenever I see a British actor or comedian announcing a book signing on Twitter, I immediately go to the library’s catalog to see if I can get my hands on the newest star-studded literary offering. Sadly, there are many times my search is unsuccessful. The celebrity has to be famous enough in the US for it to be worth releasing here. Case in point, when James Corden released his autobiography May I Have Your Attention, Please? in 2012, I asked our collection resources librarian if she could order this book for our system. She placed a request to purchase and after a few months informed me it fell through even though the title was available on Amazon. I’m curious to see if once Corden’s latest film Into the Woods is released at Christmas and he begins his run on the Late, Late Show in January, his story might have grown a bigger readership.

Here are a number of memoirs and celebrity musings by British personalities that have been published this fall. If you check with your local library you’re likely to find them there and here are some of the reasons why.


J.K. Rowling to Publish New ‘Harry Potter' Story for Halloween

If Halloween wasn’t already one of your favorite holidays, if you love the Harry Potter books at all, it’s probably about to start moving its way up to Number One on your list in fairly short order.

Why? Well, in the wizarding universe created by J.K. Rowling, Halloween is basically like Christmas for young witches and wizards, but this year it’s Potter fans worldwide that are the ones getting a present. The author has announced that she’ll be releasing a new short story from the world of Hogwarts on October 31. (!!!!!)


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