June 2013

British Actresses You Should Know: Olivia Colman

Welcome to a new series we’ll be doing here at Telly Visions – introductions to some of our favorite British actors and actresses and their work. (Yes, this means a Cumberbatch post along these lines is absolutely going to show up at some point in the future. But you probably already knew that.) This also marks Carmen’s first Telly Visions post, so stop in and say hello!

As a binge watcher of British television I’ve come to appreciate many fine actors who are unfamiliar to most American TV viewers. As a person who writes about British television, I’m eager to share my “discoveries” with like-minded Anglophiles. I have always been, first and foremost, a fan. Be warned! I have a tendency to gush, sometimes to an embarrassing degree, when discussing my favorites.

So for my very first Telly Visions post ever, I’d like to highlight a most brilliant and delightful actress, one I think every telly fanatic should know - Olivia Colman. If her name sounds familiar, you may have read about her recent double win at the 2013 BAFTA Television awards where she picked up one statuette for a comedic role and the other for a dramatic one.

If she hasn’t made an impression on you yet, no doubt she will she will very soon. Colman’s most recent project, the popular ITV crime drama Broadchurch, aired this spring in the UK and will be coming to BBC America in August. She co-stars with David Tennant, Arthur Darvill (Doctor Who’s Rory Williams) and Andrew Buchan (Garrow’s Law). I can’t wait!

But I digress…

If I’ve piqued your curiosity, you might want to watch some of the television shows and film clips provided below. They serve as my introduction to the talented and versatile, Olivia Colman.

British Hit Broadchurch Comes to America This August

Broadchurch, the murder mystery series that basically took over the UK for several weeks earlier this year, is officially coming to America later this summer. The eight-part drama will premiere on August 7 at 10pm, as part of BBC America’s Dramaville block and will run through September.

The show delivered record ratings for ITV, was the most tweeted about British drama ever, and was pretty much all anyone was talking about in the world of entertainment while it was on. This is a fact of which you are probably already aware if you have spent any time at all trying to avoid Broadchurch spoilers online in recent weeks. It’s rough out there. (But it’s so worth it if you can make it through without finding out the ending!)

The series stars Doctor Who’s David Tennant and Twenty Twelve’s Olivia Colman as two detectives investigating the shocking murder of an eleven year old boy in a quiet seaside resort town where everyone is suddenly a suspect. BAFTA winner Vicky McClure, Who alum Arthur Darvill and Harry Potter actor David Bradley are all also part of the stellar cast.

The first American trailer for the series was just released by BBC America, and it does a great job of conveying the drama’s overwhelming sense of tension while flashing through a great many of the characters who may or may not be murder suspects.

This Fan-Made Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Trailer is So Awesome You’ll Wish It Was Real

The big question on every Doctor Who fan’s mind – well, other than constant wondering about the identity of the person playing the Twelfth Doctor – is what the upcoming landmark special to mark the iconic series’ 50th anniversary will entail.

We know that former Who stars David Tennant and Billie Piper are both back for the anniversary installment, but beyond that plot details are sparse. And following the events of the Series 7 finale and the surprise introduction of John Hurt as, well, “the Doctor,” anything seems possible.

Subsequently, fans are desperate for any tidbits of anniversary information, so it’s not surprising that this particular trailer - purported to be a leaked first look at the highly anticipated installment - spread like wildfire around the internet, with many claiming that it was the real deal. Sadly, that's not the case. We’re going to have to keep waiting for any sort of real Doctor Who teaser, because this one (which you can see below) is a fake.

That said, while yes, this trailer is fan-made, it’s so well done you won’t mind.

Surprise: Downton Abbey Wine is Going to Be a Thing

By the time Series 4 of Downton Abbey premieres in America next January, you may be able to sit down and watch the adventures of the Crawley clan with a glass of wine inspired by the show itself. Yes, really.

According to Licensing.biz, Knockout Licensing has teamed with Wines that Rock to create a range of wines inspired by the megahit costume drama. The firm – which already makes Grateful Dead and Rolling Stones wines (apparently that is also a thing?) – will recreate a collection of “vintage” wines meant to emulate the French blends which would have been served by the British aristocracy in the early 1900s.

"We are working with The Dulong Grands Vins De Bordeaux vineyards, which have been in the same family for five generations," Bill Zysblat, co-owner of Wines That Rock, said in a statement. "They have over 130 years of experience in creating the world's best wines so these are wines the Crawley family would have been proud to serve at Downton."

The wine will even be created from grapes in same area that the Crawleys might have imported their own stock from. “Bordeaux Clarets and Bordeaux Blancs bearing the Downton Abbey name will come from grapes grown on the same vines and from the same soil as those from wines in the era depicted in Downton Abbey,” says the press release.

The wine does not have an official release date and will be sold in individual bottles as well as packaged gift sets. While there is no sign that we’ll get what we all really secretly want – which obviously is a bottle with Dame Maggie Smith’s face judging us from the label and pithy quotes from the Dowager Countess emblazoned on the cork – Downton wine should certainly perk up everyone’s viewing parties this January.

Would you drink Downton-branded wine? Or is there something else you’d rather see with the Downton Abbey name on it?

A Bit of Housekeeping: Welcome Carmen to Telly Visions!

Somehow, Telly Visions is rapidly approaching its second birthday – yes, our little blog will turn two years old this September. Time really does fly, huh? Thanks as always to everyone who is party of our little community here, and for reading and tweeting and sharing and commenting, even on the silliest of posts.

But, as we’re getting a bit older, we’re working on expanding the voices here at the blog, to bring all of you a wider variety of content on as many different shows and topics as we can. So, over the next couple of months we’ll be introducing a few new regular bloggers who will be helping to make the site even better. (And if you have shows or topics – contemporary or classic - that you’d like to see us cover? Leave us a comment below!)

The first new addition to the Telly Visions family is Carmen Croghan. She writes her own blog over at Everything I Know About the UK, I Learned from the BBC, and is obviously a big fan of all things British. She organizes an Anglophiles United program at her local library, is slightly obsessed with the Beatles and Monty Python, and is a dedicated fan of all manner of British television series, particularly comedies, which will add a nice balance to the content offerings around here. She’s also a huge Call the Midwife fan, which I expect will make several of our regular readers very happy.

Just in case anyone was wondering – and you probably weren’t - but, yours truly isn’t going anywhere, so you’re all still going to be stuck with my Benedict Cumberbatch obsession and thousand-word recap posts on a variety of shows too. (The Great Doctor Who Rewatch really is coming, I swear.)

Keep an eye out for Carmen’s first post in the next couple of days – in the meantime why not leave her a comment here and say hello?

Paul Giamatti Joins the Cast of Downton Abbey Series 4

There sure are going to be a lot of new faces in Series 4 of everyone’s favorite costume drama Downton Abbey! Multi-award winning actor Paul Giamattiyou may know him from such films as Sideways and Cinderella Manwill be joining the cast next season.

Giamatti, who won both an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his performance in HBO miniseries John Adams, will play Harold Levinson, the maverick, playboy brother of Cora and uncle of Mary and Edith. The character is set to appear in the Series 4 finale (that’s Christmas special to you Brits) alongside his mother Martha, played by returning guest star Shirley MacLaine.

Giamatti joins a fairly long list of new cast members and guest stars set to appear in the new season, including Lily James, Gary Carr, Tom Cullen, Nigel Harman, Dame Harriet Walter and more.

Downton executive producer Gareth Neame said that Giamatti's character is "free-spirited" and that Harold and Martha will "upset the Grantham’s apple cart" in the finale. It’s doubtful anybody has any idea what that means, so it’s time to get the speculation wheels turning. What sort of event would bring the Crawleys’ American relatives back across the pond? What do we know – if anything – about Cora’s brother from previous episodes? (Has he been mentioned before?)

And, more importantly, are you excited to see Giamatti on the show?

Doctor Who’s Matt Smith Says Goodbye in a Special Video Message

Doctor Who fans around the world are still reeling from the recent announcement that Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith will be leaving the show following its 2013 Christmas special.

Smith, who is clearly aware of the emotional devastation this news has wrought, has decided to make a public statement on the topic for the first time since the news broke.

Looking strikingly different since he shaved all his hair off for his role in Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut How to Catch a Monster, Smith recorded a special video message for Who fans while shooting his new movie in Detroit. If you can get past the fact that Smith now bears an uncanny resemblance to former Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston thanks to his new hairdo, the video is quite sweet and a lovely gesture to all the fans who are already mourning his absence.

Finally: Crime Drama DCI Banks Officially Renewed for a Third Series

Good news for fans of gritty contemporary mystery series DCI Banks – ITV has officially renewed the show for a third series! While this bit of information has long been assumed/expected, it’s still nice to have an actual formal announcement that Series 3 is indeed going to happen.

The crime drama will return for a new six-part series starring Stephen Tompkinson, Andrea Lowe and Caroline Catz. Series 3 will based on three of Peter Robinson’s novels, and two episodes will be devoted to each of the three stories entitled Wednesday’s Child, Piece of My Heart and Bad Boy.

“DCI Banks has become a firm favorite amongst the ITV Drama audience and I’m very pleased we have commissioned a third series,” said ITV’s Director of Drama Steve November. “The new stories will pose searching questions for Banks as ultimately he’s forced to take extreme action to keep his team together.”

Per the official press release the new series will see DS Annie Cabbott return from maternity leave, explore whether a romantic relationship between Annie and Banks can ever be a reality, and introduce Banks’ university dropout daughter Tracy. DI Helen Morton is also returning and she, Annie and Banks will have to sort out how to work together as a team.

Want more specifics? Read on.

Filming Officially Begins on Call the Midwife Series 3

Filming officially kicked off on the third series of beloved drama Call the Midwife this week!

The cast, led by Jessica Raine, Helen George and Pam Ferris, will be back for another holiday installment this Christmas, followed by an eight-part third series that’s currently slated to air at some point in early 2014. Four female directors will also call the shots behind the camera this season, with The Hollow Crown’s Thea Sharrock and Miranda’s Juliet May joining the returning China Moo-Young and Minkie Spiro.

Written and created by Heidi Thomas, Call the Midwife has been the BBC’s biggest new drama series of the last decade, and its second series (which aired across the pond back in January) is still the UK’s highest rated drama of 2013 to date on any channel. Per the official press release, Series 3 will take us to 1959 and the eve of the “Swinging Sixties”. The winds of change that are blowing through the country will impact Nonnatus House as well, as its residents all wrestle with their own momentous changes.

And, in case you were worried about whether Miranda Hart would be back as fan favorite Chummy, well, it looks like you can rest easy...

Dan Stevens Talks About His New Movies and His New Look on The One Show

Dan Stevens has been keeping pretty busy since his departure from Downton Abbey – he’s been cast as a hacker opposite Benedict Cumberbatch, a drug dealer opposite Liam Neeson, he’s done some theater opposite an Academy Award nominee, and he’s scored a new TV gig for later this year (in the new adaptation of Swallows and Arrows).

And also apparently he's undergone a rather drastic makeover. He’s lost a significant amount of weight – somewhere in the range of thirty pounds so he says – and has also done something rather jolly with this hair. (It be fair, it’s not as dark as he had originally had for that film with Neeson, called A Walk Among the Tombtones, but it’s kind of a seriously dramatic shift.).

Stevens appeared on the BBC teatime chat show The One Show last week to promote his new movie Summer in February in which he plays a character who is freakishly like Matthew Crawley, but since we’re all going to go swoon over this movie as soon as it manages to get released in America, let’s ignore that.

Stevens talks a bit about saying goodbye to Downton, his upcoming film roles and has a rather adorable exchange with one of his former teachers, who also happens to be the guy that wrote the book Summer in February. And before you ask, yes, the One Show hosts are generally always like this.

Foyle's War to Return to Masterpiece Mystery in September!

It’s official: Foyle’s War will be back on PBS stations this Fall as part of the new season of Masterpiece Mystery!

Both Michael Kitchen and Honeysuckle Weeks are back for a new series of three feature-length episodes, set during the early years following World War II. The first episode is called The Eternity Ring and will premiere on September 15, followed by The Cage (September 22) and Sunflower (September 29).

Even though Foyle technically “retired” at the end of the last series, retirement is obviously short-lived, as he’s now a Senior Intelligence Officer with MI-5 and must track down spies, traitors, Communist sympathizers and other threats to Britain’s security.

Other things have changed as well: Foyle’s loyal assistant Samantha Stewart is now a married woman juggling her new role as a wife with her own burgeoning political career. And of course she’s going to have to figure out a way to fit working with Foyle in there, too, somehow.

Watch the ITV trailer for the new season below and put a big red circle around September 15 on your calendar.

Get an Extended Look at The White Queen, Premiering This Summer on Starz

Feeling an itch for some medieval-style political intrigue, awesome ladies, epic battles and great costumes? Then upcoming costume drama The White Queen is probably for you.

Based on a series of novels by Philippa Gregory, the ambitious ten-part drama attempts to tell the story of the Wars of the Roses through the eyes of three very different women, who were all intimately involved in the battle for the English crown. Elizabeth Woodville, the titutlar White Queen and wife of King Edward IV, Margaret Beaufort, mother of the man who would become King Henry VII, and Ann Neville, daughter of Warwick the Kingmaker and eventual wife of King Richard III. (In other fun facts, Elizabeth Woodville and Margaret Beaufort are the grandmothers of King Henry VIII.)

The Starz website describes the show as “a riveting portrayal of one of the most dramatic and turbulent times in English history. A story of love and lust, seduction and deception, betrayal and murder, it is uniquely told through the perspective of three different, yet equally relentless women. In their quest for power, they will scheme, manipulate and seduce their way onto the English throne.”

This extended official trailer from Starz is much, much better than the teaser trailer offered last month, which seemed to focus primarily on the fact that everyone in the cast was attractive. This clip not only shows almost every major character, it gives you a pretty good idea of the basics of the series’ plot – or, at least before everything gets really messy later on.

Naomi Watts Plays the People’s Princess in Trailer for New Diana Biopic

British actress – and Academy Award nominee – Naomi Watts will be playing Princess Diana in an upcoming feature film. Titled simply Diana, the movie will explore the two years leading up to the sudden and tragic death of the “People’s Princess” in a car crash in France.

eOneFilms acquired the biopic at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and will also be distributing it in the US, though no release date has been announced yet beyond “late 2013”. They released a trailer for it this week, which you can watch below:

The Question of the Summer: Who Should Play Doctor Who’s Twelfth Doctor?

Naturally, all Doctor Who fans are feeling a bit sad about the news that star Matt Smith has decided to hang up his sonic screwdriver. At the same time, it’s hard to not also feel the tiniest, teeniest bit excited, because change is what this show is all about in many ways and a large part of the reason it’s been able to survive and stay fresh for so long.

So, yes, we’re losing Smith and Eleven – and we’ll obviously miss them both – but it’s also a bit thrilling to think about the next person who will take control of the TARDIS. What kind of performer will he or she be? What kind of character will that person’s interpretation of the Doctor be?

But the question of the moment remains – who will play Twelve? Despite a media rumor mill spun up to full force the second Smith said he was leaving – and a surprisingly active market among bookies – no one has any idea. It could be anyone – and subsequently, literally everyone seems to have a top three (Or five. Or seven.) list of actors they think would be perfect to play the Doctor.

Now, it seems pretty unlikely that an actor hasn’t already been chosen for this part – the casting process was probably conducted (and multiple Non-Disclosure Agreements secured) well before anyone ever thought of officially announcing Smith’s exit. But, it’s fun to speculate about what different actors could bring to the role, and everyone else is doing it, so why not.

Click through for ten individuals who would all be stellar Doctors and leave your dream casting choice in the comments.

Watch - First Trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug!

The trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the second installment of Peter Jackon’s rather immense trilogy of films based on the beloved J.R.R. Tolkien novel, has been officially been released – and yes, you finally get to see the dragon, along with what appears to be half the working actor population of England.

When last we left our heroes in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, our intrepid crew comprised of dwarves, a wizard and a hobbit hadn’t even made it to the Lonely Mountain yet. So there’s still a lot to cover – and this trailer is packed full of all sorts of goodies sure to make Tolkien lovers swoon worldwide.

Back for another go-round are stars Martin Freeman, Sir Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Aidan Turner, Lee Pace, Sylvester McCoy, James Nesbitt, Peter Hambleton and many more.

The new trailer also gives us our first looks at Luke Evans’ Bard the Bowman, Evangeline Lily’s elf warrior princess Tauriel, and the return of a familiar face as Orlando Bloom puts the blonde Legolas wig on once again. (And seriously looks as though he has not aged at all. How?) And of course, Freeman’s Sherlock co-star Benedict Cumberbatch also shows up for the final shot – as a giant, scaly reptile that sleeps on top of a Scrooge McDuck-style pile of gold. (Cumberbatch is the voice of Smaug, but also provided the motion capture used for the dragon’s animation, much as Andy Serkis did with Gollum.)

Basically, it looks awesome.

Watch Helen Mirren Play the Queen Again in The Audience, Broadcast to Cinemas Worldwide

Dame Helen Mirren is famous for many things, but most people (especially in America) probably know her best from her Academy Award-winning turn as Queen Elizabeth II in the 2006 film The Queen. So it probably shouldn’t surprise anyone that when Mirren took up the crown again. reprising her role as the British monarch for a new West End production called The Audience, tickets sold out pretty quickly.

Written by British playwright Peter Morgan – who also wrote the script for The QueenThe Audience centers on the weekly meetings (audiences) given by Queen Elizabeth to her prime ministers, from her accession in 1952 to the present day. These audiences are private and strictly confidential, and the play imagines what those conversations might have been like. Since the Queen has had twelve Prime Ministers thus far during her reign – there are certainly plenty of stories to go around. From Winston Churchill to David Cameron, each Prime Minister has used these meetings differently, and while politicians come and go through the revolving door of electoral politics, the Queen remains constant. Mirren won Best Actress at the 2013 Olivier Awards for her performance in this role, which requires her to play Queen Elizabeth both as a fresh-faced twenty-something monarch new come to the throne, an octogenarian with six decades of experience under her belt, and everything in between.

National Theatre Live will be broadcasting the June 13 performance of The Audience live to various cinemas around the world. Many American theaters – who tend not to show the live broadcasts the day they air – are offering encore presentations at various dates in June and July.

Watch a trailer for the production below.

The Final Series of Skins Gets a UK Airdate and a Trailer at Last

Finally! More details have been released at last about the final series of E4’s groundbreaking teen drama Skins. The show is set to bow out with three two-hour specials entitled Skins Rise, Skins Fire and Skins Pure that are now officially set to air in the UK in July.

With the broadcast date looming, we’re finally starting to get a proper taste of what the final season will look like – E4 has released the first official trailer for Series 7. Like virtually every other Skins trailer that has come before it, the clip promoting the show’s last hurrah is kind of strange, a bit ethereal and features no actual scenes from the show but has a great soundtrack.

The minute-long clip features returning stars Kaya Scodelario, Hannah Murray and Jack O’Connell and, despite the aforementioned lack of any actual new footage, clearly illustrates the themes being tackled by this final set of episodes now that the teens are young adults dealing with real-world problems. “Time changes everything,” says the new Series 7 tag line.

Get your first look at the new trailer below.

Luther Series 3: First Trailer and Broadcast Dates!

Exciting news for fans of quality crime dramas – or really just great British television in general – Luther is returning for a third series later this year!

In this suspenseful (okay, often downright dark) drama, Idris Elba plays Detective Chief Inspector John Luther, a brilliant but haunted homicide detective who works for the Serous and Serial Crime Unit, tracking down the worst sorts of offenders. Elba won a Golden Globe in 2011 for his performance as the obsessive Luther, who can’t quite shake the darkness of the crimes with which he deals.

The four new episodes will see Luther faced with two conflicting crimes to investigate and a ruthless cop determined to bring him down. Warren Brown is back as the loyal DS Ripley and Ruth Wilson will reprise her role as serial killer Alice Morgan, who has a rather complicated relationship with Luther. Resident Evil’s Sienna Guillory will be introduced as a new love interest for the detective, so it seems Luther might be finding a bit of personal happiness for once, as strange as that sounds.

Take a look at the BBC trailer below.

Morse Prequel Endeavour Renewed for Series 2, Masterpiece to Air Series 1 in July

Inspector Morse fans certainly have reason to celebrate – prequel series Endeavour, which stars Shaun Evans as a young Endeavour Morse, has been renewed for a second season by UK network ITV. Both Evans and his co-star Roger Allam, who plays DI Fred Thursday, will return for four new episodes, which are slated to go into production in Oxford later this year.

Endeavour follows the story of a young Endeavour Morse during the early days of his career, after leaving his Oxford college without taking a degree and joining the police force. The first series was a ratings success for ITV, averaging around 7 million viewers per episode and ranking alongside the network’s biggest 2013 hits, alongside Broadchurch and Mr. Selfridge.

Click through for more details - and a look at Series 1, which will premiere on PBS's Masterpiece Mystery this July!

Zombie Drama In the Flesh Gets Second Season, BBC America Premiere

BBC Three’s odd little zombie drama In the Flesh comes to the US starting tonight (June 6) on BBC America, which is airing the series as a special event over three consecutive nights this weekend.

Yes, zombies are basically the new vampires. With the massive success of AMC’s The Walking Dead and upcoming summer blockbuster World War Z about to hit theaters any day now, you can’t turn around without tripping over a member of the undead. So, it’s not really that surprising that even British telly wants to get in on the whole post-apocalyptic zombie thing. What makes In the Flesh stand out, however, is its unexpected premise.

The drama tells the story of 18-year-old Kieran, who is suffering from Partially Deceased Syndrome – also known as PDS or basically, being a zombie. Thanks to the magic of modern medicine, Kieran’s zombie condition has been successfully treated enough to allow him back out into society and so he must return home to his small Northern village and face the things he did as a mindless monster. He also has to deal with the small problem that he kind of wanted to be dead in the first place.

Get a sneak peek at the first episode below.

Keira Knightley Looks Set to Join Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game

The Amazing Cheekbones Battle of the Century may soon be upon us – actress Keira Knightley is apparently in talks to join Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch in upcoming biopic The Imitation Game, reports the Hollywood Reporter. Based on a biography by Andrew Hodges, the film is focused on the life of Alan Turing, the British mathematician, cryptographer and all around genius who helped crack the German enigma code during World War II.

Cumberbatch has been attached to this film for some time, probably because he seems to have a knack for playing slightly tortured, high octane intellectual types (see also: Sherlock Holmes, Vincent Van Gogh, Stephen Hawking, etc) , so his casting as Turing is basically the definition of perfect.

Knightley – who is probably most well known for her role in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and as Lizzie Bennett in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice remake – is apparently in talks to take on the role of a very conservative woman who develops a “complicated” relationship with Turing and is “there with him until the end.” Given that the end of Turing’s life was packed with tragedy – he was prosecuted by the British government for being homosexual, chose to undergo a hormone treatment known colloquially as chemical castration rather face prison and eventually committed suicide because he was so haunted by his decision – there ought to be plenty of messy emotional material for both Knightley and Cumberbatch to work with. (Protip: Pack tissues)

Kenneth Branagh’s Macbeth to Stream to Cinemas Worldwide

The upcoming Manchester International Festival production of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth has been causing considerable buzz – thanks to its limited run, unusual setting and basically perfect cast. The great Sir Kenneth Branagh will play Macbeth, joined by Doctor Who’s Alex Kingston as Lady Macbeth, Merlin's Alexander Vlahos as Malcolm and Coronation Street’s Ray Fearon as Macduff.

Seriously, England gets the best theater. It’s just unfair.

This production marks Branagh’s first Shakespeare performance in over a decade, which seems a bit strange when you remember how well he was once known for Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing and that epic four-hour Hamlet. So, it probably comes as no surprise that tickets to this extremely limited run sold out in record time.

Directed by Rob Ashford and Branagh himself, Shakespeare’s tragic tale of ambition and treachery will unfold within the walls of a deconsecrated Manchester church. Seriously. How cool is that? If this were happening anywhere near here, wouldn’t we all be lining up for the chance to see this play? Well, luckily, even though we’re not in Manchester, we don’t have to miss out on this production completely. Read on for details.

Courtroom Drama Silk Headed to Masterpiece This Summer

Move over, detectives – we’re getting a different kind of procedural this summer on Masterpiece Mystery! Legal drama Silk will premiere in the US in August and it will put barristers (that’s British for lawyer) front and center for once.

The series is focused on a group of barristers who are all rather competitively obsessed with attaining the highest rank in their profession, being appointed a Queen’s Counsel. This promotion is known as “taking the silk” and refers to the fact that Queen’s Counsel wear a distinctive silk gown (and a full-bottomed wig) when they appear in court. Obviously, it’s also what gives the show its name.

The story largely follows the rivalry between Maxine Peak’s Martha Costello and Rupert Penry-Jones’ Clive Reader, two rising stars who attempt to backstab, outwit and outdo one another because they’ve both applied to be Queen’s Counsel. Natalie Dormer and Tom Hughes play the chamber’s two new young pupils attempting to learn how to navigate the this complicated world.

Take a look at the BBC trailer for Silk below

It’s Official: Matt Smith to Leave Doctor Who Later This Year

Well, Whovians, it looks like we’re getting a regeneration for Christmas.

The BBC announced today that Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith will hang up his sonic screwdriver following Doctor Who’s 2013 Christmas special.

Rumors about the possibility of Smith’s departure have been swirling for some time, but now it’s all properly official, it almost feels a bit unreal.

Smith, who has been playing the Doctor since 2010, shared some thoughts about his time on the show in a statement. “Doctor Who has been the most brilliant experience for me as an actor and a bloke, and that largely is down to the cast, crew and fans of the show,” he said. “I'm incredibly grateful to all the cast and crew who work tirelessly every day, to realize all the elements of the show and deliver Doctor Who to the audience. Many of them have become good friends and I'm incredibly proud of what we have achieved over the last four years.”

More after the jump.