March 2013

Let's Talk Mr. Selfridge: Recapping Episode 1

New Masterpiece drama Mr. Selfridge is here – and it has all the makings of a great series. Of course these things include elaborate sets, fancy costumes and a bevy of characters whose names you will have no hope of remembering for at least a week. Welcome to period drama, people. Selfridge tells the story of the famous Oxford Street department store and the people who work there, and there looks to be plenty of romance, intrigue and poor life decisions to keep us entertained in a world without Downton Abbey. At the very least, it’s going to be fun to talk about.

Join us below for a rundown of events from the Mr. Selfridge premiere – and tell us what you think of the show so far in the comments! (Fair warning: The premiere was two hours tonight, so this is a bit on the long side. Get comfy!)

Life After Downton: Jessica Brown Findlay in Labyrinth

Though people may leave Downton Abbey, they never really leave Downton Abbey, if you know what I mean. Meaning that, even though we may not see certain actors around the estate anymore, it doesn’t mean that we stop caring about what they are up to these days and where we can see them in future.

Jessica Brown Findlay, otherwise known as Downton’s Lady Sybil, has a brand new project coming to UK TV in the not-too-distant future. She’ll be starring in a television adaptation of Kate Mosse’s global best-selling novel Labyrinth for UK network Channel 4, alongside John Hurt, Merlin’s Katie McGrath, Great Expectations’ Vanessa Kirby and Harry Potter star Tom Felton (who is sporting some…interesting hair).

A two-part fantasy series, Labyrinth interweaves the stories of two women born centuries apart. Present day archaeologist Alice discoverers two shattered skeletons and a labyrinth-engraved ring in a cave, while 800 years ago in medieval France, a young herbalist named Alais is entrusted with hiding the secrets contained within three sacred books. All of these things do connect eventually.

Watch the trailer for Labyrinth below.

The Shopping Will Go On: Mr. Selfridge Already Renewed for Series 2

While the Masterpiece premiere of new period drama Mr. Selfridge doesn’t happen until this Sunday here in the US, there’s already some good news for interested fans about the future of the show. ITV has already renewed the costume drama for a second series, as a result of its consistently high ratings (averaging somewhere around 8 million viewers) across the pond. The UK network also said that Mr. Selfridge has been the channel’s most watched new drama since detective series Scott & Bailey premiered in 2011. Woo and hoo. (Apparently this information was announced a couple of weeks ago – did I miss it while I had the flu? Who knows? It’s still good news!)

Sherlock Series 3: First Guest Star Revealed and More

Thanks to the official start of filming on the long-awaited third series of Sherlock, we’re finally getting some real information about what the new episodes of the drama might hold in store for fans. We already know that the first episode of Series 3 will be called The Empty Hearse and will feature (at least in part) some sort of take on the How-Sherlock-Holmes-Comes-Back-From-the-Dead plot from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Empty House.

Now with the advent of the series first bit of public shooting this week, further details about the new episodes have started to surface and a few filming photos have started to appear. (This is all going under the jump to protect anyone who’s trying not to find out anything about the new season before it airs, but other than official casting news, it’s spoiler free.)

Rumor Has It: Will Doctor Who Fans Get a Regeneration for Christmas?

Another new series (well, half-series) of Doctor Who is almost upon us, so it seems about time for another rumor about star Matt Smith leaving the show to crop up. This isn’t anything new – it certainly feels like we’ve had at least three or four separate trips through this particular rumor mill since Smith took over the TARDIS – but it seems worth chatting about a bit, if only because everyone’s answers on the subject seem extra vague this time.

For this particular trip round the rumor track, the Sun has reported that Smith is set to depart his Doctor Who role this Christmas, As with just about everything that originates The Sun, let’s take this with approximately a boulder of salt. (They’re not exactly as bad as the Daily Mail, rumors-wise, but they aren’t that far off either.) But, let’s be honest, if there were a perfect time for a regeneration, it probably would be either right around the 50th anniversary or just after, wouldn’t it? Let's discuss.

ITV Previews Series 3 of Scott and Bailey

Fans of female detective drama Scott & Bailey – a recent addition to our WETA UK lineup here in the Washington, DC area – will be pleased to know that an official trailer for drama’s third series has been released. The show follows the personal and professional lives of two female detective constables who are close friends with very different personalities.

Series 3 will be comprised of eight new episodes. Actresses Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp are both returning and they will again be joined by Amelia Bullmore, who has also apparently written two installments of the upcoming series. We're currently only on Series 1 on our air here - and we'll probably have to wait a bit for Series 3 to become available - but it's stll nice to see! Give it a look below.

Watch the Prequel Clip for Doctor Who’s “The Bells of Saint John”

Doctor Who returns to kick off the back half of its seventh season next weekend on both BBC One and BBC America and – has seemingly become tradition over the past few outings – a new mini-prequel has been released that gives us a glimpse of what’s been happening during the gap since The Snowmen aired in December. Written by showrunner Steven Moffat, the clip features a moment in the Doctor’s search for Clara and the secret of who or what she is.

Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith is at his quirky, adorable best in this clip, though it’s likely many will guess where we’re going with this two-minute snippet before it gets there, it’s still pretty fun.

Amazing Internet Things: Downton Abbey Meets The Walking Dead

Since we’ve seen virtually other sort of parody imaginable about megahit Downton Abbey, something like this was probably inevitable. In today’s really quite amazing internet thing: Downton Zombey mashes up the costume drama with AMC’s horror hit The Walking Dead.

After all, what could possibly go better together than Downton and zombies? (Honestly, hasn’t the body count begun to feel like the equal of a zombie thriller lately?) Surprisingly, this actually works, other than the unfortunate absence of English accents, mostly because it’s very funny.

Plus, who knew the Crawleys had brain tongs in the kitchen?

(If you still haven’t seen Series 3 of Downton yet for whatever reason, there be spoilers below.)

Get Your First Look at the New Foyle's War

Popular mystery series Foyle’s War is returning with new episodes for the first time in three years and fans everywhere are eagerly awaiting the chance to see stars Michael Kitchen and Honeysuckle Weeks back in action again.

The new season will be comprised of three new feature-length episodes, the first of which is apparently called The Eternity Ring. The trailer for the new series of Foyle’s War has just been released by ITV, giving us our first real look at footage from the new episodes as well as a sense of what the show will be like now that Christopher Foyle has become a Senior Intelligence Officer for MI-5.

This trailer is, quite frankly, awesome. And just judging from what we can see in this minute-long clip, it doesn’t look as though the drama is going to have any problems transitioning to a post-war setting.

Sherlock Series 3: First Episode Title Revealed!

As previously mentioned, after what feels like a waiting period of basically my entire life, filming has officially begun on the highly anticipated third series of Sherlock. And now, straight from the horse’s mouth – or rather, from its computer, thanks to the Twitter account of co-creator Mark Gatiss – we know the official name of the first episode of the new season.

[Insert drumroll and fanfare here.]

We’ll Miss You, Captain Peacock: “Are You Being Served?” Star Frank Thornton Passes Away at 92

Fans of British comedy will be saddened to hear of the passing of Frank Thornton, the remarkable character actor who was probably best known for his portrayal of Captain Peacock on long-running, popular Britcom Are You Being Served?.

Thornton, who was 92, died peacefully in his sleep at his home on London on Saturday, March 16, according to his longtime agent David Daley. He is survived by Beryl, his wife of 67 years, their daughter Jane and three grandchildren.

"He was a great friend and consummate performer who was the glue who really held Are You Being Served? together," said co-creator Jeremy Lloyd.

Click through for the BBC report on his passing, as well as clips and links.

Sherlock Series 3 Starts Filming Today: Take a Tour of 221b Baker Street

Fans have been waiting for this day for so long, it probably ought to be some sort of official international holiday, but at last, it is finally here – filming on the highly anticipated third series of Sherlock begins today.

Set designer Arwel Wyn Jones has been tweeting up a storm during the past few weeks of pre-production and has recently shared what is possibly his best behind-the-scenes photo yet. With filming imminent, Wyn Jones has tweeted a pretty fantastic complete panoramic view of the full set for the 221b Baker Street flat, all dressed and fancy and up close and personal.

The Best of Red Nose Day 2013: The Office, The Vicar of Dibley and More!

The BBC’s annual Red Nose Day charity telethon to benefit Comic Relief took place yesterday (March 15) and, just like every year, there were many hilarious gags and skits featured, all for a good cause. While my favorite Red Nose Day sketch of recent years is still probably the amazing Uptown Downstairs Abbey, there were some real winners this time around as well, most notably the returns of both The Office and The Vicar of Dibley, and a particularly hilarious mashup of Call the Midwife and Doctor Who.

Watch clips from my three favorite bits under the jump.

Get a Behind the Scenes Look at Mr. Selfridge!

We're getting close to the premiere of new Masterpiece drama Mr. Selfridge. This period drama stars Jeremy Piven as visionary American entrepreneur Harry Gordon Selfridge and chronicles the founding of the famous Oxford Street department store that still bears his name today. I mean, of course it'll still be packed with loads of secondary characters and drama and intrigue and fabulous outfits, but that's the basic central theme of the thing.

Selfridge was particularly successful at restructuring the public's attitude toward shopping in the early 1900s, and turned it into a fun and desirable social activity for high society ladies. It seems like it ought to be pretty fun.

Get a look behind the scenes of this new series - including new footage and some backstage dish from the cast and producers, as they talk about the history of the period, including Selfridge's many accomplishments and rather dramatic personal life. Give it a look below.

New Doctor Who Companion Jenna-Louise Coleman Sticking Around for Series 8

Jenna-Louise Coleman, who will be the latest companion to Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor full time when Doctor Who returns for the back half of its seventh season on March 30, is apparently going to be sticking around the TARDIS for a while. Coleman has confirmed that she – and her alter ego Clara/Oswin Oswald – will be returning for Series 8.

Coleman revealed this news during an interview on Radio 5 Live with Richard Bacon. Unfortunately, she also confirmed that we might be waiting a bit to see Series 8 because the show will take a four month filming break following production on the 50th anniversary special (whatever that turns out to be) in order to accommodate Smith’s role in upcoming film How to Catch a Monster. Filming on the new episodes will resume in September, likely on the Christmas special episode for 2013 – so it seems a safe guess that we probably won’t see any of the actual Series 8 episodes before 2014.

Benedict Cumberbatch Confirms Sherlock Series 4!

Congrats to everyone for surviving the horrifying ten month wait with little-to-no Sherlock news to speak of whatsoever, because apparently we have reached the promised land and the floodgates of Series 3 information have opened. Following the announcement of the official start of production on Series 3 and first episode read-through yesterday, there’s actually even better news to share. (Yes, really.)

[Normally I feel a bit bad about doing two posts on the blog in a row about the same topic, but since this news really is pretty exceptionally awesome, I hope everyone will forgive me.]


Sherlock Series 3 Production is Finally Underway!

Nope, that’s not a typo in the headline – the event we’ve all been waiting for is finally happening – production on the highly anticipated third series of Sherlock is officially underway! While actual filming doesn’t commence until next Monday (March 18), the cast assembled for a read-through of the script of the first episode slated to be shot for the new season. No idea what episode they read today, but since co-creator Mark Gatiss has traditionally been the fastest writer to finish his Sherlock scripts, the smart money is on this being the one based on reunion story The Empty House, whatever they choose to call it. (Start stockpiling your tissues now, maybe?)

The best part of all of this is that finally there is actually some new Sherlock information to report – carry on reading for some new production details, casting tidbits and a slightly larger version of what is possibly the best new photo ever (which you can see to your left).

The BBC is Making a Zombie Show. Really.

With the rampant success of AMC’s The Walking Dead, it’s apparent that zombies and post-apocalyptic everything are pretty much all the rage right now. Therefore, it shouldn’t really be that surprising that another network is taking a crack at making a zombie show, though I have to admit that I certainly didn’t expect that the next one would be coming from England, even if BBC Three is famous for their edgy sci-fi fare.

While I’m still annoyed at BBC Three for cancelling the excellent drama The Fades after just one season, this actually looks interesting enough that I’m going to have to get over that.

It’s called In the Flesh and it’s a three-part miniseries that seems to be more Warm Bodies than Walking Dead. (Though really it visually looks a lot like 28 Days Later. I watch too much zombie stuff, I think.) What makes this series interesting is its unexpected premise – instead of a horror-based zombie outbreak overrunning the world kind of thing, it’s more exceptionally creepy character piece. Because the zombies are the main characters.

The Office’s David Brent Returns For a Good Cause

For the many people who love British comedy, The Office is often awarded a spot on their top ten lists of favorite programs (oh, let’s be real, for most of us it’s probably top five). While many of us also love the American remake of The Office, the US version has nothing on the awesomeness of the British original. Sadly the UK version only ran for two series originally, and it’s been ten years since we’ve seen David Brent (the original Michael Scott) and company on our screens.

Luckily, that wait is apparently over. Star Ricky Gervais has confirmed that he will be reprising his most famous role for this year’s Comic Relief on BBC One. The character will return in a special “mini-episode” called The Office Revisited for Comic Relief’s annual Red Nose Day charity telethon next week on March 15.

Rumor Has It: Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Speculation Runs Wild

We all know that the second half of Doctor Who Series 7 will premiere on March 30 on both BBC One and BBC America, let’s be real Whovians, what we really want to know is what exactly is going on with plans for the series’ landmark 50th anniversary this year?

As expected, this is an extremely popular topic among fans of the show, and while plenty of people seem to have loads of opinions about how they think everything out to be handled down, but there’s not much official information out there, as (unsurprisingly) this everything’s being kept under incredibly tight wraps by the folks at the BBC. If you can dream it as a possible anniversary scenario, though; there’s probably been a rumor that that’s what’s going to happen this year. The basic situation is – no one really knows anything for certain and since the internet abhors a vacuum, everyone has a theory about everything.

But what do we know?

Amazing Internet Things: Classic Sherlock Holmes Saturday Night Live Skit

Fans of Sherlock Holmes, whether your particular poison is of the Benedict Cumberbatch, Jeremy Brett, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Downey Jr or Basil Rathbone variety, you’ll still probably really enjoy this particularly amazing internet thing.

Apparently way back in 1991, Saturday Night Live did a Sherlock Holmes skit. Yes, really. Yes, that same SNL that nowadays considers the Harlem Shake to be about as much deep thought as they can expect their audience to engage in. Surprise! Anyway, yes, SNL did a Holmes parody, called Sherlock Holmes’ Surprise Party and the best part is that it stars the fabulous Jeremy Irons as the great detective, which is of course absolutely perfect. Phil Hartman plays Watson and Mike Meyers is Lestrade and it’s worth a watch.

Downton Abbey: Series 4 Casting News You Can Use

Though the end of Downton Abbey Series 3 is only a couple of weeks in our collective rearview mirrors, most everyone has already moved on to speculating/panicking/ardently wishing for the arrival of Series 4. Sadly, the new season of Downton has only just started filming in England, and won’t make its way to America until January of next year. (Is it too early for a countdown calendar? Probably not, right?)

The waiting game has brought us one bright spot, however – with the start of production on Series 4, this means that we’ve finally got some news about what the next season of everyone’s favorite costume drama will look like – and who we’ll see in it (as well as some tidbits about who we won’t).

Here be spoilers, obviously, so proceed at your own risk.

Go Behind the Scenes on the New Series of Foyle’s War (Including a Look at Some New Footage!)

Popular mystery series Foyle’s War will return to Masterpiece this summer with its first new episodes in three years and fans everywhere are understandably quite excited.

That excitement is likely to increase significantly now that we can finally get out first look at the highly anticipated new season for ourselves. A brand new behind-the-scenes featurette has been released that tells us a great deal about the show and how it came together and – probably most importantly – there’s a great deal of new footage interspersed amongst the interviews. It’s certainly enough that we can all begin to get a feel for what Foyle’s War will be like now that the show has shifted its focus to espionage and spycraft in post-war Britain.