Category:Culture

A Field of Poppies Marks the Anniversary of WWI at the Tower of London

A gorgeous new installation opened today (August 5) at the Tower of London, to make the centenary anniversary of the start of World War I.

Called Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, the display by ceramic artist Paul Cummins will feature hundreds of thousands of ceramic poppies – the ceremonial flower traditionally used to remember war veterans in Britain – arranged in and around the Tower’s moat.

The official Twitter account for the Historic Royal Palaces – the charity that oversees locations such as the Tower, Hampton Court, Kensington Palace and others – has been sharing photos of the event this week, as well as behind-the-scenes looks at how such a massive undertaking will be completed. Take a look at some of the most impressive below.

Category:Drama

'Last Tango in Halifax' Recap: How the Second Half of Series 2 Went

Can you believe Last Tango in Halifax Series 2 is over already? I guess it’s true what they say -time flies when you’re engrossed in a proper family drama. Since we last talked, quite a lot of time has passed and life for the newlywed Buttershaws and their kin has been eventful to say the least. While estrangement was rife earlier in the series, by the finale, reconciliation abounded. Loss was tempered with the promise of new life and love definitely trumped angst in the end.

Let’s get on with the recap, shall we? 

Category:Drama

‘The Paradise’ Season 2 Comes to America This September

So…there’s some good news and bad news for fans of period drama The Paradise.

I’m pretty sure that the number one question I get asked on the blog – regularly, repeatedly, and almost a year after Series 1 concluded in the US – is about The Paradise. When is Series 2 airing? How can we find it? Will there be a Series 3? What’s going on with all that?

Well, I can’t answer everything, but there is finally some news to share about the show’s US airdates and future prospects. Rejoice! 

Category:Movies

Five Reasons You Should See 'Cuban Fury'

If you’re anything like me many of the British films you hear about and are excited to see never come to your local cinema. My nearest art house theater is about an hour away so I often find myself forgoing that trek and waiting for the DVD release instead. One example of such a motion picture is Cuban Fury which I finally got to watch via digital download.

This film tells the story of Bruce Garrett (Nick Frost) who, as a young man, was a salsa dancing phenom.  However, after a vicious beating by some bullies, Bruce retired his sequins and quit the competitive dance circuit.

Flash forward to present day and we find that Bruce works for an industrial equipment company and lives a joyless, lonely existence. His sister and former dance partner, Samantha (Olivia Colman) and his golf buddy, Gary (Rory Kinnear) are his only support system. Then one day Bruce’s new boss Julia (Rashida Jones) arrives from America and his cautious life is changed forever.

Category:Movies

Watch: The First Trailer for ‘The Hobbit’ Trilogy’s Epic Conclusion

Hi guys! I’m home from Comic Con – exhausted, sore, seriously jetlagged and super happy. I had a great con. More on that later, but first I have to catch up on the apparently millions of things I did not read or watch over the last week. Bear with me!

One of the (many, many) fantastic bonuses to come out of San Diego Comic Con International is a positive explosion of new trailers for things. Having a captive audience, so to speak, the biggest studios and networks in the world want to make as big of a splash with as many properties as possible.

Thus, it’s no surprise that Warner Brothers rolled out the red carpet for the final appearance of The Hobbit – and likely the final Comic Con for fanboy god Peter Jackson for a very long time (if ever). The director has filmed six Tolkien-based movies over the past fourteen years, and unless he somehow manages to wrest the rights to The Silmarillion away from the author’s estate (unlikely), we’re approaching a true end of an era.

The studio hosted a star-studded panel on Saturday morning in the convention center’s Hall H, featuring stars Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Lee Pace, Orlando Bloom, Elijah Wood, Evangeline Lilly and more, and dropped the first trailer for the trilogy’s highly anticipated final installment, subtitled The Battle of the Five Armies.

Spoiler alert: If you are at all in any way a fan of Jackson’s vision of Middle Earth, get your tissues ready now. Just trust me.

Category:Comedy

Monty Python Live (Mostly): A Good Laugh and a Fond Farewell

Disclaimer: I am a life-long Monty Python fan so this post is very unlikely to be an objective account of the simulcast I am about to tell you about. That being said, yesterday I had the privilege of witnessing a very special event indeed – Monty Python Live (Mostly): One Down, Five to Go.

As you’ve undoubtedly heard, the legendary Monty Python’s Flying Circus comedy troupe reunited after over 30 years away from the stage for a limited run of ten live shows at London’s O2 arena. For those of us who weren’t in the vicinity or couldn’t get their hands on a ticket, the Pythons kindly consented to turn their very last show into a worldwide party by live streaming the event to cinemas around the world and to UK residents on the Gold channel as well.

It was great to gather in a movie theater with other Python fans, people who know, love and, in many cases, can recite the sketches verbatim. If you’ve ever watched Monty Python with the uninitiated you may well know the confused scowls and the bewildered lament of “I don’t get it.” There was none of their ilk in the seats yesterday. Who’s going to pay $18 to watch a bunch of septuagenarians being silly on stage without being obsessively familiar with their body of work after all?

Category:Other

Telly Visions at San Diego Comic Con 2014

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Yes, the dog days of July are upon us, when entertainment enthusiasts everywhere gather in Southern California for the best weekend of the year, when we all put on costumes and revel in whatever various forms of geekery we most enjoy. Yes, I’m headed back to San Diego Comic Con International this weekend, so bear with us if the blog is a bit quiet this weekend.

While I’m technically going for fun once again this year (and with the hopes that it’ll take my mind off things to be quite honest), there’s no reason that I still can’t report back to everyone about all the relevant and exciting Brit-related news from this year’s convention.

Sadly, there are no Doctor Who or Sherlock panels to be had this year, but rumor has it a host of British celebs will be in San Diego promoting their latest projects, which will include appearances by such famous faces as Colin Firth, Daniel Radcliffe and more – including, yes, even Benedict Cumberbatch.

Expect a full report next week, but in the meantime make sure you're following the blog on Twitter, because if I manage to see or do anything exceptionally awesome, that's likely where you'll see it first. (If you just want to see photos of my TARDIS dress and me sitting in various massive lines for things, you can find my personal account here.)

Category:Movies

Get Your First (Two) Look(s) at Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley in ‘The Imitation Game’

World War II biopic The Imitation Game – which tells the story of British codebreaker, genius and general hero Alan Turing - has been a buzzy project for months now, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the release of the film’s first trailer has been met with rapturous reviews.

Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch – well known for his ability to portray complicated genius types like Stephen Hawking, Vincent Van Gogh and Julian Assange – plays Turing, joined by an all-star cast comprised of British acting heavyweights, including the Oscar-nominated Keira Knightley, Game of Thrones’ Charles Dance, Downton Abbey’s Allen Leech, Mark Strong, Rory Kinnear, Matthew Goode, Matthew Beard and more. 

Learn  - and watch both (fantastic) new trailers – below. 

Category:Culture

Watch the Queen’s Guards Play the ‘Game of Thrones’ Theme Song at Buckingham Palace

So, Queen Elizabeth probably doesn’t have a Ser Barristan the Bold of her own outside Buckingham Palace, but the Queen’s Guards are apparently big fans of fantasy drama Game of Thrones anyway.

We know this because during a recent Changing of the Guards ceremony at Buckingham Palace, the band suddenly burst into a rousing rendition of the HBO series’ incredibly recognizable theme tune. (For those that don’t know the band traditionally performs a song during the ceremony, which takes place daily in the summer at 11:30am.)

It’s awesome. And thankfully a quick bystander recorded it and put it on YouTube

Five Benedict Cumberbatch Performances You Can Stream Online - That Aren't 'Sherlock'

Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes. But we've all already seen that, right? (Photo: Hartswood Films for MASTERPIECE) The actor who plays everyone's favorite consulting detective is turning 38 today (July 19), and but why restrict yourself to celebrating Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch on just one day? (Confession time: I certainly do not.) We’ve already covered Cumberbatch’s extensive acting catalogue in our British Actors You Should Know series (which, honestly, is already a bit out of date thanks to his grueling movie making schedule), so it seemed more appropriate to spend today highlighting the ways you can most easily get your celebratory Cumberfix. Which, of course, means the stuff you can watch on the internet.

[Serious time: If you really want to do something special for Cumberbatch’s birthday besides dehydrate yourself watching Third Star, stop by the Batch of Kindness hashtag on Twitter (#batchofkindness) and take part in a global effort to do something nice for someone else. It’s pretty cool.]

Now, back to binge watching.

But, I’ve seen Sherlock, you say. It can’t possibly get better than that. Well, that’s wrong, and we’re here to give you five options of Cumberbatch-filled films and TV programs that you can stream online right now. (Yes, yes, there are a lot more than this, but they aren’t all online, so they’re not as easy to locate.)

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