The Friday News Roundup: Happy Early St. Patrick's Day Edition

Happy Friday, Telly Visions readers – and happy early St. Patrick’s Day! Though, honestly, for my fellow DC residents – what happened to all the nice weather, huh? Let’s try and escape the gloom, shall we, with some of the best tidbits from around the world of British entertainment this week.

Click through for this week’s News Roundup – featuring bits and bobs from Downton Abbey, Friday Night Dinner, EastEnders, Doctor Who, Britain’s Got Talent, The Only Way is Essex and lots more!

Rumor has it that NBC actually passed on the opportunity to air Downton Abbey. I bet someone somewhere is reaaaaaallllly regretting that decision right now.

Shirley MacLaine is apparently the great peacemaker of the Downton set, and has been taking to Twitter to calm rumors of cast unrest following all those stories last week that Maggie Smith and Dan Stevens may not return to the show for Series 4 (should one be commissioned).

Great chat with MacLaine about filming Downton Series 3 via The Telegraph –worth the read!

Downton Abbey stars Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern were among many British celebs and dignitaries who attended a State Dinner at the White House this week, in honor of Prime Minister David Cameron.  More on the event from NPR.  And more photos from Huffington Post UK.

Speaking of Elizabeth McGovern, the actress is slated to perform on the main stage as part of the Isle of Wight Festival.

Interesting “What Might Have Been” contemplation of the week: Gillian Anderson, star of BBC’s recent Great Expectations adaptation, was originally offered the role of Downton Abbey’s Lady Cora.

In other Downton-related news, series creator Julian Fellowes has been tapped to write the screenplay for a new movie adaptation of Gypsy.

Friday Night Dinner is set to return for a new six-part series this Fall, as well as a Christmas special.

Bryan Kirkwood steps down as EastEnders executive producer.

Steven Moffat drops more hints about Amy and Rory’s exit in Doctor Who Series 7.

Adorable pictures in the Daily Mail of Matt Smith and Karen Gillan out shopping while filming Doctor Who on location in Spain.

Repeated rumors continue that a former Doctor Who guest star may return in a more permanent role – as the Doctor’s new Companion.

Eighth Doctor Paul McGann says he would “love” to be a part of the series’ 50th anniversary activities.

Girls Aloud star – and former The X-Factor judge – Cheryl Cole is rumored to be plotting her return to television – as a BBC chat show host.

First pictures of Javier Bardem as the new Bond villain in Skyfall have surfaced online!

Saturday Night Live star Andy Samberg is set to star in a new BBC Three comedy called Cuckoo, opposite The Inbetweeners’ Greg Davies.

Oh dear, why – it looks like The Only Way is Essex is the next British production in line for an American remake.  I’m vaguely ashamed by how much I actually love TOWIE (I know, I’m sorry.), but I mean, wasn’t this show just basically a remake of, say, Laguna Beach in the first place? This is all very meta.

The trailer for the return of Britain's Got Talent is hilarious. Seriously, I just love it so much.

In more adaptations news, BBC America is set to make a US version of landmark documentary series Go Back to Where You Came From.

Entertainment Weekly interviews Being Human creator Toby Whithouse. (Note: this does contain spoilers for most recent episode “The Graveyard Shift.”)

Bob the Angel Tube Cat apparently not only got a book deal, but is even doing book signings now.  (Why is this so awesome? Cats and the internet, I guess.)

Extended trailer for BBC America’s new unscripted reality series No Kitchen Required

Check out some gorgeous photos of the new King’s Cross station concourse in London.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller jointly nominated for an Olivier award for Frankenstein. Full list of nominees here – there are some good ones!

British adventurer Bear Grylls, star of Man vs. Wild, was fired by TV network Discovery after a contract dispute.

In technology news, the BBC has confirmed that they are working on a direct download service, seen by many as a competitor to iTunes. Called “Project Barcelona” internally, there’s no word yet on when this service will launch or if it will be available internationally.  All my extremities, however, remain crossed.

I hope Metro is taking notes: London’s Tube is getting Wifi in time for the Olympics this summer.

The BBC is developing a new alien invasion comedy (??) called V Sign.

Upstairs Downstairs star Neil Jackson joins the cast of NBC pilot Notorious.

Luther star Idris Elba is in talks to join cast of TV adventure series Ascension, currently being shopped to UK broadcasters.

Apparently a TV series about Scottish hero William Wallace (i.e. the Braveheart story) is in development.