American Culture

British Telly Families I’d Like to Invite to Thanksgiving Dinner

I don’t have to tell you that Thanksgiving is not a holiday in the UK; however, as a British entertainment and culture blogger, a great deal of my attention is dedicated to how I might merge the traditions of my homeland and the island country with which I am quite honestly infatuated. Besides we’d all like a few British accents present at our family gathering, wouldn’t we?

Therefore I actually took the time to consider the following proposition – if I could invite a British TV family for a big holiday dinner (like Thanksgiving) who would I choose? Let me clarify – I’ve never cooked a Thanksgiving meal in my life so I obviously wouldn’t be hosting, but inviting myself to their gaff instead.

I’ve narrowed my picks narrowed it down to a short list and here are my top five.

Celebrate Independence Day by Imagining If The British Had Won

As every American knows, on July 4 the United States celebrates its independence. We watch fireworks, eat barbecue, go to baseball games, and basically spend the day generally rejoicing in our Founding Fathers’ successful thrashing of the British Empire.

I never know what to write about on this particular day here on the blog – it’s such an American holiday and we cover all things British and it’s probably not best to cross the streams and all that kind of thing. But luckily, the marketing team at beer manufacturer Newcastle has helpfully provided us with the perfect post topic this year.

Will Julian Fellowes Give America Our Own Downton Abbey? And Will Americans Watch It?

Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes is currently developing an American period drama for NBC, focused on New York City in the 19th century. Tentatively known as The Gilded Age, it would appear that the drama is set to give Manhattan society in the 1880s the American version of the Downton treatment.

Per the press release, the series is described as “an epic tale of the princes of the American Renaissance, and the vast fortunes they made—and spent—in late nineteenth-century New York.” The Gilded Age will doubtless present the many professional challenges and personal tribulations of America’s first millionaires who helped shaped the city and pioneered innovations in business, transportation and industry.

"This was a vivid time," Fellowes said,"with dizzying, brilliant ascents and calamitous falls, of record-breaking ostentation and savage rivalry; a time when money was king." Per the Daily Mail online (which, as always take with a grain of salt), The Gilded Age could screen as early as Fall 2013. The Mail further speculates that Fellowes’ new drama could include fictionalized versions of famous figures like J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie or Cornelius Vanderbilt.

The concept sounds intriguing – but is it something that Americans will watch?

Why Americans Love British TV: Our First Guest Post at British Council USA!

Many thanks to the lovely folks at British Council USA for letting me natter on about Americans and our current love affair with British television on their blog. Thoughts? Head over and let me know what I left out!

Americans can’t seem to get enough of all things British. On US television networks in the past year or so, we’ve seen the debut of several remakes of British television series, some successful (Showtime’s Shameless, Syfy’s Being Human) and some less so (MTV’s Skins). Twenty-three million Americans got up exceptionally early to watch the Royal Wedding last spring and several million more got up not quite so early this past weekend to watch coverage of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations from London.

Americans seem ravenous for imported British television. PBS stations nationwide have been achieving record-breaking ratings with hits from across the pond like Downton Abbey and Sherlock (5.4 and 3.2 million viewers, respectively). I think we’ve all probably experienced a friend (or possibly ourselves) under the influence of some form of Downton mania – the viewing marathons, the lack of sleep, the sudden obsession with Dan Stevens or interest in watching every film Dame Maggie Smith’s ever made. At a Sherlock premiere event for the show’s second series in New York, the cheers and screams for star Benedict Cumberbatch and creator Steven Moffat sounded like those at rock concert. It was pretty incredible.

Masterpiece (and Masterpiece Theatre before it) has always been fairly successful at captivating America with British programming. But lately, it seems that more people than ever are seeking these sorts of shows out. But, why? And why now?

[Insert cruel Steven Moffat/Mark Gatiss-style cliffhanger here, mwhahahaha]!

Want to read the rest? Click here to visit this post over at the British Council’s site and let me know what you think!