The Friday News Roundup: How is There Still So Much Downton Abbey News Edition

It’s Friday - everyone’s favorite day of the week! While this is obviously due to it being the start of the weekend and all – it’s one of my favorite days of the week because it means News Roundup time! The day I get to cram in all the fun random things that didn’t – at the very least, haven’t yet – merited a post of their own, but are too interesting to never mention at all. (This explains the incredibly eclectic nature of the things you’ll find here, by the way.)

Anyway, click through for some of the best tidbits from the world of British entertainment news this week, including loads of Downton Abbey goodies (what hiatus?), Doctor Who, puppet chat shows, Richard Hammond’s next show about cars, Coronation Street, all those upcoming American remakes, and more!  

Former Doctor Who Companion Freema Agyeman has joined the cast of the CW’s Sex and the City prequel The Carrie Diaries. Well. That was unexpected. I just…what.

More details on the puppet chat show that’s currently being developed by the Jim Henson Company for BBC One. Some network in America – please rip this British show off!

The Daily Mirror reports that Downton Abbey producers are concerned that Dame Maggie Smith and Dan Stevens may quit the show after the third season. Reporting this only because I figure you all would want to know – I’ve seen this story in both the Mirror and the Daily Mail, so I wouldn’t stress just yet, as those are hardly the most reliable sources.

The Guardian blogs about the possibility of Downton Abbey without Maggie Smith or Dan Stevens

Even though filming on Series 3 has started, Downton creator Julian Fellowes admits that the script isn’t finished yet.

Ted Danson wants to be on Downton Abbey. Seriously, it’s probably easier now to just start listing the celebs who don’t want to cameo on this show.

The Mail has some behind the scenes filming pictures from Series 3. This could be considered moderately spoiler-ish (speculation is that these photos are from an important plot moment) if you’re trying to avoid all that sort of thing.

Rob James-Collier, better known as the scheming Thomas on Downton Abbey, says that working class actors are squeezed out of jobs in the UK.

Upstairs Downstairs star Adrian Scarborough will guest star in Doctor Who Series 7.  Farscape star Ben Browder is also doing a guest spot in the new season. (So many exciting guest stars this season already!)

The Daily Mail has some behind the scenes Doctor Who filming photos – the gang is in Spain, filming what looks to be a Wild West episode!

Who Companion Karen Gillan says that her exit from the series “will have a strong impact.”

Scott & Bailey’s Suranne Jones to star in haunted house drama The Secret Of Crickley Hall for BBC One.

The Queen and the Duchess of Cambridge (both looking smashing) kick off the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and UK train tour.

UK network Channel 4 is launching 4seven, a new “catch-up” channel whose schedule will feature the “buzziest” shows of the past week, driven by internet chatter and social media. The Telegraph opines on why this move is an ambitious one.

Bridesmaids star Wendi McLendon-Covey  has been cast in the US remake of Only Fools and Horses. She’ll play Ruby, ex-wife of John Leguizamo’s Del Boy.

Aidan Quinn has joined the cast of CBS’ modern-day Sherlock Holmes adaptation, Elementary as Captain Gregson.

Top Gear star Richard Hammond’s new series Richard Hammond’s Crash Course will debut on BBC America April 16.

If you’re going to be in London any time in the near future, this is cute and fun: Speedy’s Café, the shop that’s next door to 221b Baker Street in Sherlock is now making a special “Sherlock Wrap”. (It sounds quite tasty!) 

They’re making a sequel to that Gnomeo & Juliet cartoon movie and I would not be at all interested in this except apparently it’s going to be called Gnomeo & Juliet: Sherlock Gnomes. I guess even gnomes need a Sherlock to solve crimes? (I can’t even, this is too adorable.)

A bit more information on Russell Brand’s upcoming late night talk show – apparently it’s meant to rival Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show.

Royle Family’s Sue Johnston is in talks to join the Coronation Street cast.

Neat: The British Film Institute has discovered the earliest known movie footage featuring a character from a Charles Dickens work. The one minute film is called The Death of Poor Joe and relates to the same character from Bleak House.

The Independent presents their second annual list of the 100 most influential British people on Twitter.

More for the history buffs – or at least Titanic buffs – the BBC is planning a wide range of programming to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking.

Singer Adele is a popular choice among fans to record the next James Bond theme for Skyfall.

Blog Britscene interviews Sheree Folkson, who directed David Tennant’s latest film The Decoy Bride.

The BBC is reported to be planning to create an iTunes competitor for TV shows, basically an online hub where users can download current and classic programs. No sign as to whether this service is meant to be UK-only or not, but for whoever may be out there listening, I would pay for this so fast. Just saying!

And finally, a question for those of you who’ve made it down this far – there’s been a not insignificant amount of coverage of the new season of Upstairs Downstairs currently in the UK. I’ve left the bulk of it out of recent News Roundups because most articles are positively overflowing with spoilers. Would enough of you be interested in seeing this stuff – crazily flagged with spoiler warnings, obviously – that it should make the list for next week?