May 2013

New British Thriller The Fall with Gillian Anderson Already Streaming on Netflix

Americans won’t have to wait very long to watch Gillian Anderson’s latest project, the psychological thriller The Fall. In fact, you can watch it right now.

Popular entertainment service Netflix is already streaming the five-part drama – before it’s even finished airing in the UK! And since everyone you know has probably already gotten a Netflix subscription thanks to the return of Arrested Development, why not take the time to try out some excellent-looking British drama while you’re at it.

The five-part drama stars Anderson as DS Stella Gibson, a talented detective on the trail of a serial murderer named Paul Spector (played by Jamie Dornan) in Belfast. The story follows the police investigation, uncovering an intricate web of lives entangled by the killings.

Watch the trailer below.

Amazing Internet Things: Even P. Diddy Wants into Downton Abbey

Apparently, there really is no upper limit when it comes to Downton Abbey parodies. We’ve had clips featuring musicals, Sesame Street, One Direction, a Nintendo game and the zombie apocalypse, so it would stand to reason that this latest addition to the Downton Parody Pantheon isn’t even that that far outside of the realm of normal.

Except possibly when you consider the guy that made it. It turns out that P. Diddy (otherwise known as Puff Daddy and/or Sean Combs), the business mogul-rapper-actor-designer-whatever, is a fan of the show. Enough that he staged a (kind of really weird actually) Twitter hoax claiming he’d joined that cast, which turned out to be a promotion for his new clip the always hilarious site Funny or Die. In this particular spoof, Diddy proclaims himself the actual first black actor to be part of the show – rather than Death in Paradise star Gary Carr, who’s joining the cast for Series 4.

Anyway, P. Diddy sets out to prove this assertion by way of a spoof called Downton Diddy, in which he repeatedly calls it “Downtown Abbey” and has cleverly inserted himself into existing footage from the show by way of some sort of CGI-fueled wizardry. It’s pretty clever, even if some of the jokes are going to make you roll your eyes a bit.

Need Another Shopping Drama? The Paradise Comes to Masterpiece This Fall

If the end of Mr. Selfridge (for now) has left you with a department store sized hole in your heart, well, you won’t have to wait too long to get your shopping-focused period drama fix. The BBC’s The Paradise, based on the classic French novel by Emile Zola will be coming to Masterpiece this Fall. And guess what, it’s also set in a luxuriously posh department store.

The Paradise is a rags-to-riches drama set in the first department store in Northern England in the late nineteenth century. It will follow the many stories of the store’s owner and his staff and the various entanglements in which they find themselves. There will – of course – be love affairs and plenty of gorgeous clothes and exploration of the inevitable class issues that arise from someone getting involved with a person they shouldn’t.

The eight-part series features a sprawling cast that includes Joanna Vanderham, Emun Elliott, Sarah Lancashire, David Hayman, Elaine Cassidy, Matthew McNulty and more.

Take a look at the BBC trailer for The Paradise below.

Watch the Trailer for The World’s End with Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Martin Freeman

The US trailer for The World's End final installment in Edgar Wright’s Cornetto trilogy has arrived. Co-written with star Simon Pegg, the follow-up to popular comedies Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz is packed with notable British talent and dry humor, just like its predecessors. Pegg is reunited with frequent co-star Nick Frost and joined by a few other familiar faces, including Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan and Rosamund Pike.

The story focuses on Gary King (played by Pegg), a 40 year old man who still isn’t quite over his teenage years. He recruits four of his childhood friends to re-attempt a marathon pub crawl from their youth, ending at the fabled World’s End pub. Of course, nothing goes as planned and the gang experiences that all-too familiar scenario of returning to your hometown only to find that it seems as though everything has changed without you. In this case, however, the reason for that feeling is because an army of robots has taken over the town’s residents, but whatever. Suddenly our pub crawlers are mankind’s only hope for survival and it’s suddenly more important that they make it to the World’s End than ever.

In short: This movie looks like a blast. (Though you probably already knew that if you’ve watched either Hot Fuzz or Shaun of the Dead.) Take a look at the trailer below.

Watch Out, Jane Austen Fans: There’s a New Mr. Darcy in Town

For many people, when considering Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and the novel’s prickly yet dreamy hero Fitzwilliam Darcy, one thing immediately comes to mind. One thing associated with this story above almost all others these days, despite the fact that the novel is celebrating its 200th birthday this year. And that thing is Colin Firth. The actor sparked a love of Austen, an interest in classic literature and an appreciation for white shirts and bucolic scenery among a generation of women, who all swooned over his portrayal of Mr. Darcy in the 1995 BBC adaptation. He is in the minds of a great many people, the definitive Darcy.

Well, he’s about to get some competition. The BBC has ordered a three-part adaptation of the novel Death Comes to Pemberley, a Pride and Prejudice sequel written by P.D. James, which tells the story of Austen’s famous couple six years into their marriage. But the question everyone wants to know is – who’s playing Mr. Darcy this time?

Answer: It’s Matthew Rhys. You may have seen him on ABC’s Brother’s and Sisters, the Masterpiece adaptation of The Mystery of Edwin Drood or FX’s The Americans. And he’s aware of the inevitable Firth comparisons headed his way.

Your Weekend Dose of Benedict Cumberbatch-Related Ridiculousness

Warning: This is possibly (probably?) the most shallow post in the world. Please feel free to just skip right on by this one, unless you’re one of the multitude of newly converted members of the apparently immense Benedict Cumberbatch online army. Then you’ll enjoy it. So you know, there’s that.

If you haven’t been online in the past week, you may have missed the fact that the internet has basically lost its mind over the Sherlock star, whose turn as the villain in Star Trek Into Darkness has won raves from both critics and fans and made him an even bigger online rockstar than before. (He sort of deserves it, though, so it’s okay.) Besides that, filming on Series 3 of Sherlock was also going on this week, and since it was the last bit of shooting before the team takes a two-month break there’s been a fair bit of end-of-term style silliness from that side, as well.

Basically, it’s been a good week to be a Cumberbatch fan, is what I’m saying. Click through for what are clearly the two best bits.

New Trailer Released for The White Queen and It’s Pretty Awesome

A new trailer has been released for upcoming ten-part series The White Queen and if this sort of drama is in any way your thing, it’s going to get you pretty excited for its debut. Based on Philippa Gregory’s bestselling Cousins War series of historical novels, the series will tell the story of the Wars of the Roses from the perspective of the women involved, primarily Elizabeth Woodville, the titular White Queen and wife of King Edward IV, Margaret Beaufort, mother of the man who would become King Henry VII, and Ann Neville, the daughter of Warwick the Kingmaker and eventual wife of King Richard III.

Even though this trailer shows us zero actual footage from the series itself, it’ll probably leave you feeling way more excited to see it than the Starz promo that seemed to focus almost exclusively on the fact that King Edward IV was a womanizer, rather than the actual feud between the Lancasters and the Plantagenets. And also, really, the series is called The White Queen – and ostensibly about the ladies of the Wars of the Roses – and you make the teaser trailer all about King Edward. Feeling a bit judge-y about that still, even if it was enjoyable to watch.

Seriously, this one is so much better, even though all it shows us is ladies in armor. Go watch. The best thing this clip does is highlight that while this mini-series is arguably about a (series of) war(s), much of the conflict didn’t actually take place on a battlefield and that these particular politically savvy women were just as influential as their male counterparts in determining the outcome of events. Take that, King Edward.

Sherlock Series 3: Filming Wraps on Episode 2, Airdate Rumors Debunked

Well, it’s official: Filming on the second episode of the highly anticipated third series of Sherlock wrapped this week, according to co-creator Mark Gatiss. Good news: We’re two-thirds of the way to done! Bad news: Production is about to take a two month hiatus to accommodate the busy schedules of leads Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, who have a bunch of movies to make. They’ll reconvene to shoot Episode 3 – whatever it’s going to be called – later this summer. Welcome back to the waiting game, gang!

Gatiss also took to Twitter to clarify that all the rumors surrounding a potential airdate for Series 3 are just that – rumors. “Incidentally, anything online about transmission dates etc is entirely bogus. Nothing will be decided for months yet,” he wrote. (Oh, and he also shared that rather artistic – and teasingly lit – photo of Cumberbatch you see to your right.)

So, there we have it – official confirmation that none of the wild speculation – and sometime outright declaration – that Series 3 would premiere in whatever XX timeframe are all false. The internet has been abuzz with constant chatter on this topic ever since filming started, since pretty much everyone is dying to see the world’s only consulting detective back on our screens as soon as possible. There have been supposedly confirmed reports touting UK airdates in August, September, and November making the rounds for months, even though none of these claims were sourced from anyone who might actually know something about the situation.

But, when might we actually expect to see the third series actually air? Of course, the answer is that this depends. Putting our best deductive earhats hats on, let us consider the facts.

Star-Studded Shakespeare Mini-Series The Hollow Crown Comes to PBS This Fall!

Get excited: The Hollow Crown – a star-studded quartet of several of William Shakespeare’s most famous history plays – finally has an American airdate. The films will premiere on Great Performances this September on PBS stations around the country, running weekly from September 20 – October 11.

The Hollow Crown is a four-part miniseries that assembles four of Shakespeare’s history plays – Richard II, Henry IV Part One, Henry IV Part Two and Henry V – into a single chronological narrative, complete with relevant cast members popping up as the same character across the different plays. It’s beautifully acted, gorgeous to look at and, really, just some stunningly all-around good Shakespeare. So excited that it’s finally going to screen in the US!

Ben Whishaw, Jeremy Irons and Tom Hiddleston star as King Richard II, King Henry IV and King Henry V, respectively, with a supporting cast of such notable British stars as Patrick Stewart, Simon Russell Beale, Rory Kinnear, John Hurt, Julie Walters, David Suchet, Michelle Dockery, David Morrissey and more.

(Both Whishaw and Beale just won BAFTAs for their performances in this production. So you know it’s legit.)

Watch the BBC Two trailer for The Hollow Crown below. (Spoiler: It's really good!)

Recapping Mr. Selfridge: Episode 8

Previously, on Mr. Selfridge: Fellow obnoxious American F.W. Woolworth arrives in London, looking to open a store and introduces Selfridge to the concept of sales, Agnes and Henri have date night, Ellen Love is now dating Vile Tony, Roddy the Hipster Painter is now making eyes at Rosalie, and Miss Mardle finally catches the hint that a guy who will cheat on his wife with you for ten years is probably not a guy who will marry you. It’s also possible something happened with Victor, but as no one actually cares about his storyline it’s mostly irrelevant.

So, here we are! It’s time for the season finale of Mr. Selfridge and all the obvious drama that contains. Don’t worry though; the show’s already been renewed for Series 2, so it’s not the end of our shopping journey. (The next season is currently filming as we speak!) But, we still have a finale to chat about, so, onward! Click through to leave your comments, thoughts and general snark about this episode – and the season in general – in the comments.

So You Just Saw Star Trek: Six Things to Watch for the Newly Benedict Cumberbatch-Obsessed

Summer movie season is officially upon us and with it the highly anticipated sequel Star Trek Into Darkness, which boasts a raft of British talent of various stripes, but has mostly picked up buzz for featuring Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch in what is sure to be his big breakout Hollywood role. (He’s playing [SPOILER]. Ha – as though one would ever risk the wrath of the internet for writing that out this weekend.)

Real spoiler this time: Cumberbatch is fantastic in the film and is getting showered with lots of well deserved kudos and review mentions and general accolades and the next time you see his name in a trailer, you’re going to know who he is. It’s that kind of performance. (For those of us who’ve been fans of his work for some time, this is a pretty awesome week!)

So, welcome to Cumberbatch mania, all you folks who have stumbled online after seeing Star Trek and are wondering who that rather posh looking bloke with the great hair and amazing cheekbones happens to be. We’re here for you. We know the deal. We’re happy to help. You want to know where to go next? Here are a few suggestions.

BAFTA-Winning Drama Last Tango in Halifax Coming to PBS Stations This Fall!

Our PBS Annual Meeting took place in Miami this week – complete with lots of new programming announcements, previews, and other goodies. One of the most exciting bits of news to emerge from our annual conference is that acclaimed British drama Last Tango in Halifax will be coming to a PBS station near you this Fall! The series, which just won the 2013 BAFTA Award for Best Drama last weekend, has been quite popular in the UK, ranking as one of 2012’s top ten highest rated dramas.

The six-part series stars Sir Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid as childhood sweethearts Alan and Celia, who are both now widowed and in their 70s. The two rediscover one another via the magic of the internet and fall in love all over again. It also stars Nicola Walker, Tony Gardner, Dean Andrews and Nina Sosanya, among others. The series was written by Sally Wainwright, who was inspired by witnessing the happiness her mother's second marriage brought her late in life. Read on for more details.

'The Bletchley Circle' to Return for Series 2

In a bit of news that will surely make a lot of fans very happy, ITV has announced that period mystery series The Bletchley Circle will return for a second – and longer! – series later this year. The drama follows the story of four women who are former Bletchley Park codebreakers and who use their skills at deducing patterns to solve crimes. It’s a fantastic show and well deserved a second season.

Series 2 will be comprised of four new episodes and stars Anna Maxwell Martin, Rachael Stirling, Sophie Rundle and Julie Graham are all set to return. Written once again by creator Guy Burt, the second series will feature two self-contained stories spread across two of the sixty-minute episodes. Want to know more about what Series 2 will look like? Read on.

Downton Abbey Series 4 Premiere Date Set for PBS

It’s official: the highly-anticipated fourth series of blockbuster costume drama Downton Abbey has an American premiere date! The series is set to return to Masterpiece on Sunday, January 5, 2014 and will run for eight weeks, concluding on February 23. So, if you’ve been waiting for confirmation to get started making your elaborate Series 4 countdown calendars, party hats or other paraphernalia, well, now you know.

Series 4 will feature the return of series regulars Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Jim Carter, Joanne Froggatt, Brendan Coyle, the indomitable Dame Maggie Smith and more. Several new guest stars are also set to join the fray as well, including Gary Carr, Tom Cullen, Nigel Harman, Joanna David, Julian Ovenden, Dame Harriet Walter, and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. Oh, and Shirley MacLaine will also be back as Cora’s mother Martha and newcomer Lily James is sticking around as wildchild Cousin Rose. So you know, looks like there’s still plenty of drama in store for us this year.

Recapping Mr. Selfridge: Episode 7

Apologies that this recap is just a bit late – apparently my conviction I could get this up before I got on a plane yesterday was incorrect! So, go forth, read and enjoy!

Previously, on Mr. Selfridge: The Selfridges are back to being lovey-dovey in the wake of Harry’s accident, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle visits the shop and makes everyone have a séance, Kitty gets a secret admirer, Agnes gets a new job in Fashion *and* gets to kiss Henri, Doris the Accessories Girl Whose Name You Didn’t Know tries to help the previously fired Miss Bunting, and maybe Miss Mardle should think about whether Mr. Grove was worth waiting around a decade for. (Doubtful?) Oh, and I think I’m Team Henri and Agnes now, just so you know.

Loads more drama happening this week that I am just itching to chat about – leave your thoughts and/or favorite moments and/or general snark in the comments!


Telly Visions in London!

A quick housekeeping note – I’m headed off to London for the next week to see a bunch of theater, do a spot of shopping and have a proper geek out in Anglophile heaven. Try not to miss me too much.

I’m super excited, obviously, and plan to take a lot of pictures and do a lot of dorky things that I’m sure you all will enjoy. I’ll do my best to post ant relevant and/or awesome photos as I can – though Twitter is the most likely home for them until I get back.

So, if the blog is a bit quiet for the next week, this is why. The next recap for Mr. Selfridge will still go up next week, but other than that there probably won’t be much around here. Have a great week and please tweet me if anything exciting happens in the world of British TV!

Oh, and if you have any suggestions of things I ought to make sure to do in London, please let me know!

Recapping Mr. Selfridge: Episode 6

Previously, on Mr. Selfridge: To the shock of no one who knows history, Selfridge spends most of the episode unconscious, but survives his run-in with Chekov’s Motorcar. Mr. Grove’s invalid wife passes away and we’re reminded that his relationship with Miss Mardle is more than a bit creepy. Ellen Love is also not dead, somehow still on this show and contemplating career rebirth as serious actress. Henri and Agnes talk about their feelings through the Worst Metaphor Ever, Mr. Crab awesomely saves the store from the wrath of militant suffragettes and Victor is sleeping with Lady Mae. Oh, and Selfridge has a daughter named Violette that you forgot about and she’s awesome.

So, this show’s gotten extra dramatic the past couple weeks, yeah? Onward and let’s talk about it.

Downton Abbey Creator Weighs in on the Dan Stevens Thing

Though it's now several months later, the exit of popular leading man Dan Stevens still has Downton Abbey fans reeling the world over. Even Downton creator Julian Fellowes doesn’t seem to be doing a lot better, since even he doesn’t seem too thrilled by the way that certain events at the end of Series 3 shook out.

In a new interview with UK paper The Express, Fellowes contends that he did everything he could to get keep Stevens on the show, but, alas, it was just not to be.

Dame Maggie Smith Gets a National Portrait Gallery Painting: What Do We Think?

Dame Maggie Smith, the indomitable Dowager Countess of Downton Abbey and general luminary of stage and screen who has won seven BAFTA awards and two Oscars is certainly deserving of an official portrait in Britain’s National Portrait Gallery. It’s a great honor, and one which she has certainly earned.

So, it’s definitely a fantastic thing that the great actress has been so honored – Smith’s portrait was revealed at the London museum on April 9. However, well, it could be said that this particular bit of artwork is not quite the equal of the lady it’s depicting. (In my ever so humble opinion of course. Someone convince me I’m wrong!)

Have a look for yourselves below.