The Friday News Roundup: The "Brrrrrr!" Edition

Happy Friday, Telly Visions readers! That means only one thing - time for the weekly News Roundup! Here in the Washington, DC area, it's actually become quite, well, seasonably cold this week, which probably explains the slightly haphazard organization of this week's post - I had to keep getting up to get something else warm to drink!

But, be brave anyway, and click on through for news about Luther, Sherlock, Doctor Who, Downton Abbey, Skins, The Hour, upcoming new dramas The Girl and Dancing on the Edge, and more!

More New Sherlock Series 2 Photos Released and UK Airdate Announced

It’s official – Series 2 of Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman will air in the UK on New Year’s Day on BBC One. We’re waiting until May 6 to see things for ourselves here in the states, but it’s still very exciting to start seeing more information surface about the new episodes after such a lengthy hiatus.

Along with the UK premiere announcement came a few more new promotional images, including a haunting new poster-style one sheet, new photos of both Cumberbatch and Freeman, and our first Series 2 shots of Andrew Scott as Moriarty and Mark Gatiss as Mycroft Holmes. They’re all under the cut, so feel free to go stare to your heart's content.

The Countdown is On: One Month Until Downton Abbey is Back!

The wait is almost over! Downton Abbey returns for a second series on Masterpiece Classic one month from today, on January 8th!

And, a bit of extra exciting news – if you’ve been meaning to try out Downton, or just want to get in a little refresher before the new episodes begin, you’re in luck! WETA will be airing the entire first season in full, back-to-back-to-back-to back on December 25! So make sure to leave some room in your holiday plans to spend some quality time with the Crawleys.

In the meantime, start getting excited by watching another new promo for Series 2 – it looks really good!

Preview Absolutely Fabulous' Long-Awaited Return!

It’s been a long six years – but break out the bolly and Pop Specs, because Absolutely Fabulous is finally coming back! The beloved cult series has had an exceptionally erratic history – it ran for three seasons on the BBC between 1992 and 1995, had a two-part “finale” television film in 1996, was resurrected for two more seasons from 2001-2003, then had a few one-off specials until it finally (we thought) ended for good in 2005. Absolutely Fabulous (or “AbFab” to those of us who love it) is ranked the 17th greatest British Show of All Time by the BFI, and features Jennifer Saunders as alcoholic, desperate to be hip PR agent Edina Monsoon and her chain-smoking, hard-partying best friend Patsy Stone (played by the always amazing Joanna Lumley). And it is hilarious.

Now, six years after that last appearance, AbFab is returning with a two-part holiday special (as well as additional episodes next year) and though it’s been (gulp!) twenty years since this show first appeared on our screens, almost everyone looks basically like they’ve lived in a cryogenic chamber for the past half-decade, because they don’t appear to have aged a day (see photo). Looking fabulous, indeed, ladies! Click through for some details on the Christmas episodes, as well as a look at the first video clip.

BBC Releases Prequel Video for Doctor Who Christmas Special

The BBC has released a special prequel video for the upcoming Doctor Who Christmas special. Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor finds himself in a bit of a tight spot on an adventure and phones a friend. And, of course, well, we all wonder how the little mini-cliffhanger will resolve itself.

The Who Christmas special will air on Christmas Day on both BBC One and BBC America. If you need more goodies from this episode, Digital Spy has a great gallery of photos from "The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe" available here.

 

Source: BBC America

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.

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