BBC News

BBC Annouces 'Luther' Will Return for a Fifth Season

Idris Elba as John Luther (Photo: BBC)

In rather unexpected, but completely fantastic news, the BBC has announced that gritty crime drama Luther will return for a fifth season.

The critically acclaimed series will be back for a new four-part season, once again starring Idris Elba in the role for which he received a Golden Globe, SAG and Critics Choice Award. (Not to mention an enormous career boost.) Series creator and writer Neil Cross will also be back as well, and basically anything feels possible right now.

"Last Tango in Halifax" to Return for a Fourth Season

This may seem surprising news to American fans, who haven't even seen Season 3 yet, but popular romantic drama Last Tango in Halifax has already been given the green light for a fourth season! The BBC officially announced the renewal via their Twitter account, following the conclusion of the show's third season run in the UK.

The series stars Sir Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid as an older couple who found a second chance at love with one another thanks to the power of social media, fifty years after they first met. Sarah Lancashire and Nicola Walker play Alan and Celia's grown children, who lead rather drama-filled lives of their own.

‘Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden to Star with ‘The Borgias’ Holliday Grainger in ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’

The King in the North returns! Well, sort of. Game of Thrones star Richard Madden has signed on for his next big post-Westeros project, and will be starring opposite The Borgias Holliday Grainger in a splashy new BBC adaptation of classic novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

Granger, who played the infamous Lucretzia Borgia in Showtime’s The Borgias, will play Lady Constance Chatterley, a young woman whose handsome, upper-class husband has been paralyzed from the waist down due to a war injury. Faced with emotional as well as physical neglect, Constance’s frustration leads her into an affair with gamekeeper Oliver Mellors, played by Madden in what will surely be a significant shift from his recent role as a real-life Prince Charming in Disney’s forthcoming live-action Cinderella (in which he stars opposite Downton Abbey’s Lily James). James Norton – who recently appeared in Death Comes to Pemberley and Happy Valley – plays Constance’s husband, Sir Clifford Chatterley.

Popular Drama 'Last Tango in Halifax' Renewed for a Third Season!

Good news: romantic family drama Last Tango in Halifax has been officially recommissioned for a third series by the BBC!

The drama, which just wrapped its second season in the UK over the Christmas holidays, has grown in popularity over the course of its run, achieving its highest ratings ever at over 7.6 million viewers for one episode. The show won the BAFTA for Best Drama Series following its first season in 2012.

Halifax follows the story of widowed couple Alan and Celia (played by Sir Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid), a pair of high school sweethearts who are reunited after sixty years thanks to the power of Facebook and bring together their respective dysfunctional families. Nicola Walker and Sarah Lancashire play Alan and Celia’s respective adult daughters, who both have their own dramatic and emotional personal; problems to deal with.

"I'm so happy we've got a third series, it's so exciting to be able to take these characters further and to find out loads more stuff about them, “ creator Sally Wainwright, who has also penned such hits as Scott & Bailey and At Home with the Braithwaites. “What's so great about writing for characters like Celia and Alan is that there is a wealth of back story to explore. Series three will be a whole new emotional ball game.”

The Hour’s Time is Officially Up: Newsroom Drama Canceled by the BBC

Upsetting news for fans of the BBC’s 1950s drama The Hour – we won’t be going back to the newsroom for a third series. The Radio Times has confirmed that the award-winning period piece starring Dominic West, Romola Garai and Ben Whishaw as the staff of a fictional BBC current affairs program has been axed by BBC2 and will officially join the ranks of great shows left unfinished. (Cue wailing and gnashing of teeth from everyone who saw the Series 2 finale. Seriously, that’s unfair.)

“We loved the show but have to make hard choices to bring new shows through,” the BBC said in a statement. The Hour was nominated for an Emmy and a Golden Globe for Best Miniseries last year and its second series received a fair amount of critical acclaim. Sadly, the drama’s ratings weren’t particularly strong, especially as compared to its first series totals, and it struggled to find an audience last winter.

This news is especially disappointing given the fact that Series 2 ended on a cliffhanger and left a number of significant plot points unresolved. While The Hour’s news team successfully broke the organized crime story that served as Series 2’s central mystery, we’re going to be left forever wondering whether Whishaw’s Freddie survived a brutal beating at the hands of gangsters, what exactly was meant to happen with West’s Hector and his wife’s marriage and whether Freddie and Garai’s Bel Rowley ever worked out all their relationship issues or not (the show’s centerpiece will they/won’t they romance had finally managed to confess their feelings in the series’ final episode). Seriously, the last shot of Series 2 was gutwrenching – Freddie’s broken body lying in front of the BBC offices while he struggled to say Bel’s name – and it’s even more so now that this will serve as the final image for the show, too.

Obviously, I’m quite heartbroken at this news, as I quite loved The Hour’s smart writing, fantastic cast and commitment to presenting viewers with intelligent television (that you actually had to pay attention to). Given the way the last episode of Series 2 concluded, it would seem that there was no way that those involved in producing the drama expected that they wouldn’t get a third series (you don’t leave a major character in jeopardy like that if you don’t think you’ll get to tell people what happened afterward).

Apparently thousands of fans have already started a petition to convince the BBC to resuscitate the show. You can sign it here – in all honesty, it’s unlikely that any petition like this would do anything to move the needle once the network’s decision has been made, but if you’re a fan of The Hour it might make you feel a bit better. (Over 7,000 people have already signed it – so clearly those of us who are in mourning for the show are not alone!)

How about you all - will you miss The Hour?

J.K. Rowling Novel The Casual Vacancy to Get BBC Adaptation

While it’s still a bit strange to talk about news involving J.K. Rowling that isn’t tied to boy wizards or Quidditch, fans of the Harry Potter author will be pleased to know that her latest novel (and first for adults) The Casual Vacancy will be adapted for television by the BBC and broadcast in 2014.

Little is known at this juncture about what a Casual Vacancy series will look like – things like number and length of episodes are apparently going to be sorted out along the way as the development process gets going. Rowling is said to be “consulting closely” with the BBC on the upcoming adaptation, so odds that it will remain fairly faithful to the novel are high.

"I’m thrilled that the BBC has commissioned 'The Casual Vacancy,'" Rowling said in a statement. "I always felt that, if it were to be adapted, this novel was best suited to television and I think the BBC is the perfect home."

The Casual Vacancy is a social satire centered on a local election following a sudden death in the small English town of Pagford The novel received mixed reviews upon its release last Fall, but was an instant global best seller nevertheless. Personally, I’ve not read it yet, but it’s on my list of things to get to at some point. (Got reviews? Tell me!)

There are no plans as yet to currently air The Casual Vacancy in the United States as yet, but thanks to the sheer size of author’s fanbase, it would seem a fairly safe bet that we’ll see this series here at some point in the future.