Category:Drama

Confirmed: The Upcoming ‘Sherlock’ Special Will Be ‘Victorian’

You may have noticed the blog’s been quite quiet for the last few days – this is because yours truly has been a bit busy at the annual SXSW Interactive festival in Texas. I learned a lot, including the tidbit referenced below.  It was awesome – but I am very glad to be home, and catching up on the tons of stuff it looked like I missed!

Sherlock fans everywhere are already counting the days until the release of the series’ new one-off special later this year – you know, the one that is totally, probably a Christmas special that no one is willing to call a Christmas special yet? Yeah, that one.

Anyway, the real point is that stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman will definitely be back on our screens at some point in 2015, and that’s enough to make every kind of fan happy, right?

Another little tidbit sure to intrigue fans is that we now have official confirmation that the upcoming special isn’t going to be exactly what you’d call a normal episode. Executive producer Steven Moffat has confirmed that the special will be set in the Victorian period. 

Category:Other

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. 

Category:Comedy

Retirement Is a Laughing Matter (on British Telly)

Whether you call them senior citizens, retirees or OAPs (old age pensioners), people of advanced age certainly have a sizable presence in British entertainment. Popular series such as Last Tango in Halifax, Vicious, The Old Guys and Boomers feature seniors as main characters, not just someone’s colorful grandfather or an eccentric old auntie to provide a laugh or wise word when called upon.

Think back to 2011’s The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel wherein a group of British retirees make the trek to India to live out their golden years. Their reasons may have varied –the warmer climate, cheaper cost of living, an opportunity to reconnect with the past and as a means for getting a needed operation much sooner – but they all found a sense of community.  The success of this film is a prime example of the bankability of stories focused on elderly characters and their concerns.

This showcase of British acting legends was so popular that a follow-up, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, was just released. With a cast of respected and award winning veterans who range in age from 62 (Celia Imrie) to 80 (Dames Maggie Smith and Judi Dench), this highly anticipated sequel demonstrates that there is a significant audience for stories that don’t involve perfectly pert bodies, martial arts fighting sequences or pyrotechnics.

That’s not to say that aging is a cozy, gentle process. Ask anyone who’s approaching AARP membership eligibility (that includes me) and they’ll tell you there’s nothing easy about getting old or about adjusting to retirement. Fortunately, British telly strives to makes us laugh at an issue we all have to face sooner or later.

Category:Movies

Watch: Ian McKellen in the Teaser for 'Mr. Holmes'

Despite the fact that there are currently three versions of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's great detective in popular culture at the moment - Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock, Jonny Lee Miller in Elementary and Robert Downey, Jr in Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes series of films (Yes, I am determined to believe a third installment is going to happen. One day.) - there's always room for one more.

Especially when that one more is being played by acting legend Sir Ian McKellen

Category:Movies

'Downton Abbey's" Dan Stevens to Star in Live Action 'Beauty and the Beast'

Have you been missing Dan Stevens being all dreamy and perfect on Downton Abbey? Okay, maybe you haven't been missing him THAT much, given that he's kept himself pretty busy with a variety of film roles The Guest, A Walk Among the Tombstones, Night at the Museum) and even a bit of stage work (The Heiress) since leaving HIghclere Castle behind. But, that's okay, because he's just landed the dream role we have all known he was perfect for since way back when Downton first began - an actual Disney prince!

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Stevens has officially been cast to play the Beast in Disney's upcoming live adaptation of the Oscar-nominated animated classic Beauty and the Beast. He will star opposite Brit Emma Watson, who was cast as Belle several weeks ago. (Rumor has it that another up and coming British thespian - Luke Evans - is in talks to take on the role of the nefarious Gaston, but that hasn't been confirmed quite yet. 

Category:Drama

Maggie Smith Might Be Done with ‘Downton Abbey’ After Season 6

Oh, dear. Downton Abbey fans, brace yourselves, it looks like big changes could be headed our way – star Maggie Smith has indicated that the next season of the world’s most popular costume drama will be her last with the show.

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph promoting her upcoming film The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Smith commented a bit on the next season of Downton Abbey, and her words definitely seem to imply that she doesn’t plan to have much of a future with the show beyond next season. 

Category:Drama

'Broadchurch' Series 2: Meet the New Characters

Think back to August 2013. Besides the fact that the weather was likely much warmer than it is right now, you may recall that was also when the very first episode of Broadchurch aired on BBC America. An eleven-year-old boy’s body was found on the beach and his death was ruled a homicide. And our minds (for the next eight weeks at least) were occupied with the question, “Who killed Danny Latimer?”

In the course of the investigation DI Alec Hardy (David Tennant) and DS Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) pursued leads involving friends and neighbors of the Latimer family. Even Danny’s dad, Mark (Andrew Buchan) was considered a suspect at one point.

In the end, however, Ellie Miller’s own husband, Joe (Matthew Gravelle), confessed to and was arrested for the child’s murder. This bombshell shattered both of the families involved and shook all Broadchurch citizens, not to mention the viewing audience, to their core.

In case you weren’t aware, the US premiere of the next installment of Broadchurch is nigh. It’s Wednesday, March 4th at 10 pm on BBC America to be exact.

I’ve not watched any of the new episodes in advance but I as I understand it, old cases will be revisited rather than jumping into a whole new murder investigation. I also gather from the UK ratings that the series two started strong, dropped sharply in the middle and rebounded for the finale. Having read that series creator Chris Chibnall envisioned the story as a trilogy; it’s understandable that the narrative could have gotten bogged down in the middle. Hopefully an exciting conclusion is on the horizon, especially considering that series three has recently been commissioned.

Despite my stringent desire to avoid spoilers, I thought it might be helpful to introduce you to some of the new faces you’ll be getting to know in the weeks to come. 

Category:Drama

'Downton Abbey' Recap: Series 5, Episode 9

Previously, on Downton Abbey:  Rose and Atticus get married amid drama that includes: Rose’s awful mother’s existence, her awful mother’s attempt to frame her future son-in-law for an affair he wasn’t having, her awful mother telling her future in-laws that she’s divorcing and bringing scandal upon them in an attempt to stop the wedding. In short: Lady Flintshire is THE WORST.  Edith spends a lot of time mooning over Marigold and doing a terrible job of pretending that’s not her kid. Robert figures it out and is surprisingly not a jerk about it. Tom has decided to go to America, and Tony Gillingham has decided to marry Mabel Lane Fox. Mary is depressed over both these developments. The London cops literally have no other crimes to solve (poorly) other than Green’s murder and have arrested Anna, because this show hates the Bateses (and its viewers, possibly). Need more details or just want to squee about it? See last week’s recap.)

It’s season finale time! Hasn’t this season gone by in a blink? What will happen? Read on and let’s find out. 

Category:Drama

Watch: The Extended PBS Trailer for ‘Wolf Hall’

We’re a little over a month away from the US premiere of the highly anticipated Tudor-era series Wolf Hall and PBS has released a new, extended trailer with a ton of heretofore unseen footage from the period drama.

Based on the Booker Prize-winning novels by Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall tells the story of Thomas Cromwell, a blacksmith’s son who rose to greatness in the court of Henry VIII, ultimately becoming one of the most powerful and influential men in England. Cromwell, among many other things, was one of the primary architects behind the Protestant Reformation in England and helped engineer the dissolution of King Henry’s marriage to Katherine of Aragon so that he might wed his mistress Anne Boleyn.

Tony and Olivier Award-winning actor Mark Rylance plays Cromwell, Homeland’s Damian Lewis plays Henry VIII and Claire Foy plays Anne Boleyn. They’re joined by a rather fantastic array of British talent, including Jonathan Pryce, Jessica Raine, Mark Gatiss, Joanne Whatley and more. 

Category:Movies

British Actors Excel at Playing Real People: They’ve Got the Oscars to Prove It

British actors aren’t strangers to Academy Award acclaim. Last weekend Eddie Redmayne, star of The Theory of Everything in which he gave a radiant performance as world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, joined the company of almost thirty of his fellow countrymen and women in winning a Best Leading Actor or Actress statuette since the honors were first bestowed 87 years ago.

Vivien Leigh won twice for her portrayal of some very famous fictional characters; in 1940 for Gone with the Wind and in 1952 for A Streetcar Named Desire. Laurence Olivier was recognized in 1949 for his interpretation of one of the most famous of Shakespeare’s characters, Hamlet.

Today, however, I want to focus on those actors, like Mr. Redmayne who have taken on the daunting challenge of playing a person who actually existed and were rewarded with a little bald golden man for their trouble. The biopic trend has been on the increase since the 1980’s but that’s not to say that people weren’t bringing history to life long before that time. 

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