New Sherlock Series 2 Promotional Photos!

As it appears everything is gearing up for premiere of the second series of Sherlock in the UK (though there’s still no airdate that’s been finalized there as yet), this means it’s time for fun promotional things to start cropping up in drips and drabs online. And so all win!

Click through for the first three promotional photos for Series 2, featuring the first two images of Lara Pulver as Irene Adler, as well as a shot of Sherlock and John. And start X-ing the days off of a calendar until May.

Christmas Telly in the UK: Downton Abbey Squares Off Against EastEnders

There’s basically no better time to be in Britain than Christmas – yes, the decorations are lovely (Regent Street!), the mince pies are delicious, the panto is usually pretty funny, and the Boxing Day shopping is great. But, the best part about Christmas there is, of course, the wonderful assortment of great television that’s just lined up back-to-back for your viewing pleasure.

We don’t really have an American equivalent of the British “Christmas Special” – most of our original programming tends to go on hiatus or into repeats sometime around Thanksgiving, give or take a week or two, and it’s a wasteland for new episodes of most major network properties until the New Year. The Brits take a much more sensible approach (if you ask me), and schedule new special episodes from many of their most popular programs over the holidays.

This year there will be Christmas specials from many British favorites – including Doctor Who, Absolutely Fabulous, Strictly Come Dancing, Coronation Street, an All-Star Family Fortunes in which The Only Way is Essex will compete against a team from the sitcom Benidom to win money for charity, and the BBC’s new Great Expectations adaptation (more to come on that this week), among others.

But, the big news for TV fans is that ITV has scheduled a Christmas installment of their hit costume drama Downton Abbey opposite beloved soap opera EastEnders. Both series have huge fanbases, both have loads of drama and romance, and both will be airing at 9pm on Christmas Day. It’s a pretty bold move by ITV to schedule Downton against a perennial holiday ratings heavyweight like Eastenders, which has become a Christmas tradition for a lot of people. Who will emerge victorious in the holiday ratings battle between Team Downton and Team Eastenders? What would YOU be watching if you had the choice?

Fantastic New Downton Abbey Promo for Series 2

If for some reason you've yet to hit Maximum Anticipatory Excitement over the new series of Downton Abbey that's premiering in just 38 days, this new promo will get you there pretty quick. It's that awesome.

Is it embarrassing if I admit I got a little bit emotional watching this? Oh, and if you're curious, the truly excellent U2 cover song used here is by Scala and Kolacny Brothers.

Scotsman Ewan McGregor Joins HBO's The Corrections

Scottish film star Ewan McGregor is officially set for his first major television role. He’ll be starring in HBO’s upcoming adaptation of the 2001 Jonathan Franzen novel The Corrections, which tells the story of three decades in the lives of the highly dysfunctional Lambert family – a Midwestern couple and their three children. The novel culminates in a final Christmas visit in which the children learn that their father is losing his mind to dementia.

McGregor is known primarily for his performaces in popular film roles, including the Star Wars prequels, Moulin Rouge, Velvet Goldmine, and more. He will play middle child Chip, an academic who has an affair with a student, to disastrous results (he ends up working for a crime boss). The Lambert parents will be played by Chris Cooper and Dianne Wiest, so this is already shaping up to be an all-star cast with at least two big roles still left to be filled - eldest son Gary, a depressed banker, and Denise, an unlucky-in-love chef.

Admittedly, I’m curious about how Franzen’s story will adapt to the small screen. The Corrections is an exceptionally dense novel, so it should definitely work better as a series than a one-shot feature film, but I also don’t know how long I think it’s necessarily viable, in terms of multiple TV seasons, without going a bit past the parameters of the story.

The project is still in the pilot stage, which means it may never actually see the light of day as a full series, but with a cast already full of “names” (with likely more to come), it seems to have a pretty good shot.

Happy Birthday Martin Clunes!

Happy birthday to Doc Martin star Martin Clunes, who turns 50 today! Best known for his portrayal of the curmudgeonly, cranky Doctor Martin Ellingham in the ITV comedy/drama, Clunes has also starred in Men Behaving Badly, William and Mary, and Reggin Perrin, among other things. He was seen most recently in the fifth series of Doc Martin, which just wrapped up its run across the pond a few weeks ago and will be airing here in the States in 2012 – most likely in the spring. (WETA viewers who love this show to pieces: the minute we know a confirmed airdate, we’ll share it. Pinky swear. But it’s coming, promise!)

Clunes is one of the few British television actors where virtually everyone seems to absolutely love him to bits – so he must be doing something right. We’ll be doing our best here at Telly Visions to make the wait for new episodes interesting for you – join me in the coming weeks as I confront a rather significant personal lapse (embarrassing Anglophile confession alert), namely that I’ve never really seen Doc Martin. Well, an episode or two, here or there. But, still. Most of the series = complete, unforgiveable gap in my British TV knowledge base. Obviously, this means it’s time for a viewing party.

So, whether you’d like to take a walk down memory lane in Portwenn with me while we’re waiting for the new series, or just laugh at my reaction to a surprise character or storyline that everyone knows about except yours truly – stick around! Feel free to leave a rundown of your favorite episodes in the comments, just to give a sense of which you all might have the most interest in revisiting.

Tonight on Masterpiece Contemporary: The Thoroughly Charming “Framed”

Tonight at 9pm, catch Framed on Masterpiece Contemporary, starring Waking the Dead’s Trevor Eve and Torchwood’s Eve Myles and based on the book by Frank Cottrell Boyce. It’s a fanciful, lighthearted, thoroughly charming story, in which the National Gallery is forced to move its priceless collection of artworks to a remote Welsh village while a massive plumbing leak is fixed.

While this premise is an event that would probably never actually occur nowadays (though something similar did happen during World War II when Winston Churchill was concerned about the possibility that British treasures might be damaged in the Blitz), the story is fun enough that you won’t care so much that it’s not entirely plausible. The colorful array of local village residents – especially the children – are quirky and entertaining and the film strikes a perfect fun holiday tone to round off your long weekend.

This film also marks a bit of a personal first for me, as it’s the first time I’ve ever really loved Eve Myles in anything. Her character on Torchwood has always struck me as just this side of annoying, but she’s really quite charming and adorable in this, so perhaps I’m finally starting to see her appeal as an actress.

The News Roundup: Black Friday Edition

Happy (Black) Friday! Hope everyone had a great day yesterday, whether you were feasting on turkey or not. Welcome to this week’s edition of the Friday News Roundup, as we try to cover all things interesting in British entertainment news. Click through for news on Doctor Who, Absolutely Fabulous, Downton Abbey and the new Great Expectations, as well as celebrity updates on Colin Firth, Ben Whishaw, Benedict Cumberbatch, Adele, Ricky Gervais and more!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, Telly Visions readers! Thanksgiving is a quintessential American holiday, I know, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take the opportunity to just say thank you.

Thank you for reading, and commenting, and tweeting, and liking, and just being here in the early days of our blog’s life. We’re really excited about what’s ahead around here, and we’re thankful that you’re along for the ride with us.

Have a wonderful, thoroughly American day (or a just a really great Thursday, if you don't celebrate it), and we’ll be back to covering all things British tomorrow.

Happy 48th Birthday, Doctor Who!

On November 23, 1963 at 5:16pm, Doctor Who premiered on the BBC, starring William Hartnell as the very first Doctor in “The Unearthly Child.” With nary a Dalek in sight, mind, as those weren’t introduced to the series until a little bit later on. (I actually meant this post to go up right at 5:16. Missed it by that much.)

Forty-eight years later, the series is the longest-running science fiction television show in the world, according to the Guiness Book of World Records, and arguably is more popular now than it has ever been, on the Eleventh incarnation of the Doctor.

Want more Who trivia today? This list of 48 Facts for the 48th Anniversary over at the Radio Times is pretty fantastic. And if you’re feeling really nostalgic you can watch classic clips and a great many of the Doctor’s regenerations at the official BBC site. How many of you are big Who fans? And who’s “your” Doctor?

 

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