Fish Out of Water Telly: A Very British Phenomenon

There’s a three part mini-series that aired in the UK recently called Very British Problems. Based on, believe it or not, a Twitter feed of the same name, this show gathered a host of British celebrities to talk about social awkwardness as a national character trait.

Topics such as avoiding others, confusing doubletalk and the complicated process of saying goodbye are addressed in a humorous manner. At the same time, it’s acknowledged that straight forward communications would be simpler, but it’s just not the British way.

All this self-conscious discomfort got me to thinking about how the British have the perfect sensibility for fish out of water stories. That universal feeling of embarrassment in an unfamiliar situation is apparently a constant state of being for our friends across the pond so it’s not surprising that it’s a well-utilized device in British telly. Think Life on Mars, Doc Martin or even An Idiot Abroad’s hesitant world traveler, Karl Pilkington. Therefore I thought it might be worthwhile to look at a few more examples. Shall we?

So That ‘White Queen’ Sequel is Maybe Really Happening After All?

You guys remember The White Queen, right? It was this BBC miniseries that adapted several of Philippa Gregory’s popular historical novels about the Wars of the Roses. It aired here in the States on the premium cable network Starz and a lot of people liked it and were pretty sad to learn that it was a one-and-done sort of series, particularly when there’s so much story leftover after King Henry VII is crowned.

Anyway, despite the fact that the BBC announced that they were finished with the property, back in 2013 Starz seemed really into the prospect of doing some sort of sequel, most likely based on Gregory’s novel The White Princess. The novel follows the story of Elizabeth of York, daughter of White Queen Elizabeth Woodville, focusing on her marriage to Henry Tudor and their life together, which included the birth of multiple children, several rebellions and various other dramatic incidents.

That post has remained pretty popular on this site for the past year and a half, so it would seem the interest in this property is still there, despite the fact that no more news – or even confirmation that the project was in the works – seemed forthcoming. Many fans (probably) had given up on ever hearing anything else about The White Princess. (I may have been one of those people.)

Well, get ready, people, because it looks like The White Princess might just be happening after all.

Martin Clunes Doing Five Very Un-'Doc Martin'-like Things

As you probably already know, Martin Clunes will be coming back to PBS next month! Hold on, the broadcast of Doc Martin Series 7 is unfortunately still some time off in the future. But beginning Sunday, September 6, Clunes will be starring as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the three-part mini-series Arthur & George.

And while true Clunatics are well acquainted with the varied roles Martin has embodied over the years, I thought it would be good preparation (and entertaining as well) to look at Mr. Clunes through a decidedly less Dr. Ellingham-ish prism. The following are states of being and actions that would be quite contradictory to the persona of the Port Wenn GP we’ve come to know and love despite his prickly manner.

Watch James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe in 'Victor Frankenstein' Trailer

The trailer for upcoming film Victor Frankenstein features several things that are awesome – including James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe as the titular mad scientist and his loyal sidekick, a pretty terrifying monster (even if you only see it for like three seconds), and the most amazing hair cinematic hair accessory you’ve seen in years.

Plus, it also just looks like an interesting twist on the Frankenstein story. (But, seriously! This wig!)

ITV Commissions New Episodes of 'Scott and Bailey'

ITV has ordered a new three-part special series of popular detective drama Scott & Bailey.

Stars Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp are back as Rachel Scott and Janet Bailey, the odd couple-ish crimefighting partnership forged over four previous series. This new season will feature a single crime story told over the course of all three installments, and will be “one of the biggest and darkest cases” that the detective duo has ever had to face.

The new three episode order marks a fairly significant format switch for the show, whose previous seasons clocked in at between six (Season 1) and eight episodes (Seasons 2-4) each. Of course, those episodes were all standalone installments in the sense that they lacked an overarching case between them – though I’d argue that many thematic and character beats carried over each week – instead of a serialized narrative.

World War II Drama ‘Home Fires’ to Air on PBS This Fall

Good news for those who like period drama - PBS has announced that World War II-set series Home Fires will be part of the Fall Masterpiece lineup this year!

Acclaimed British actresses Francesca Annis (Cranford, Jane Eyre, Wives and Daughers) and Samantha Bond (Downton Abbey, the Pierce Brosnan era of Bond films) lead an impressive ensemble cast that includes Ruth Gemmell, Mark Bonnar, Claire Rushbrook, Mark Bazeley, Frances Grey and Ed Stoppard.

The six-part series follows a group of inspirational women in a rural Cheshire community with the shadow of World War II casting a dark cloud over their lives. The isolated village couldn’t feel further away from the impending bloodshed and battlefields and yet it is not immune from the effects of war.

As the conflict takes hold, and separates the women from their husbands, fathers, sons and brothers, the characters find themselves under increasing and extraordinary pressures in a rapidly fragmenting world.

‘Downton Abbey’ Cast Documents the Last Days of Filming

The end of an era is upon us.

Filming wrapped up this week on the final season of beloved, megahit costume drama Downton Abbey, which has been something of an emotional affair for all involved. And will doubtless be an extremely emotional affair for fans when Series 6 finally broadcasts. (And by the way, it’ll be airing here in the US beginning January 3, 2016 if you missed that memo).

Several members of the series’ cast and crew have been sharing the experience on social media as they bid farewell to the world of the Crawley clan, using the hashtag #LastDaysofDownton. And, fair warning, even just scrolling through that hashtag is likely to make you a bit sniffly.

'The Great British Baking Show' Returns to PBS This Fall!

Get excited, America – it’s time to start baking again! Another season of The Great British Bake Offor The Great British Baking Show, as it’s known here in the US - will kick off on Sunday, September 6.

For our lucky friends in the UK the latest season of Bake Off actually got under way last week. It’s technically their sixth season – the one we aired earlier this year was their fifth. However, you should know that the season PBS stations are about to air is not this latest effort – it’s definitely a bit confusing, but because since we’ve only aired a season of the cooking competition thus far, basically everything is new to us. Hence, it’s a new season! But, not the newest season, if that makes sense. (It just means we have more to get through in the end, is how I’m looking at it.)

Anyway, so here’s the deal: PBS will be broadcasting what aired as the fourth season of Bake Off in England– and calling it “Season 2” here in the States. Feeling confused? I hear you. But, luckily, we’re Anglophiles, so we’re used to the occasionally strange labeling tactics that get used when programs cross the pond. (Looking at you: Inspector Lewis and Foyle’s War.)

Colin Morgan to Star in BBC Drama ‘The Living and the Dead’

Merlin’s Colin Morgan and Line of Duty’s Charlotte Spencer have been cast as the leads in upcoming BBC supernatural thriller The Living and the Dead.

The six-part drama will take place in Somerset in 1894 and follow the story of a brilliant young couple who inherit a farm that’s almost as old as the countryside itself. The two move in, determined to start a new life together. But their presence in this isolated corner of England starts to unleash strange, settling and dangerous supernatural phenomenon that will start to threaten their marriage.

Woooo, ghosts, right? (It’s gotta be ghosts, yeah?)

Are You Ready for Some Football? Five Soccer Movies You Can Stream Today

This Saturday (August 8) is the beginning of the Premier League football season. The Premier League is the top level of England’s professional men’s football association and it’s comprised of twenty clubs.

For those new to the concept of the English football system (and I’m not far ahead, I can tell you) here are a few of the very basics you should know.

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