British Television

Watch TV Like a Brit: BAFTA Winners You Can Stream

On Sunday evening the UK television industry honored their own at the Virgin TV British Academy Television Awards. Broadcast on BBC One, the BAFTA ceremony was held at the Royal Festival Hall in London and was hosted by former Great British Bake Off  (or Great British Baking Show to us Americans) presenter Sue Perkins. The complete list of winners, featuring access to all the acceptance speeches, can be found here

Considering American viewers may not be familiar with many of these programs, it seemed more appropriate to highlight those we can access rather than post the entire list of winners. Fortunately, with the creation of new streaming platforms and a proliferation of American partnerships with UK broadcasters, availability of British content in the US continues to grow every year. And I for one couldn’t be more pleased.

And now on to the winners…

Binge Watch Many of Your British Favorites: ‘Doctor Who,’ ‘Sherlock’ and More are Headed to Hulu

Good news for fans of British television – we’re about to get even more online streaming options for many of our favorite shows! The Wall Street Journal reports that Hulu has closed a substantial deal with BBC Worldwide North America to add 144 different BBC titles to its streaming service within the next year. And “substantial” pretty much translates to “amazing” in this instance.

While this deal is non-exclusive (i.e you can find many of these titles in other places), high profile hits like Doctor Who, Sherlock, Luther and more are included. So far they’ve announced sitcoms like the ever popular Absolutely Fabulous, Twenty Twelve, and Fawlty Towers; dramas like Whitechapel and New Tricks; classics like the original House of Cards trilogy, and sci-fi hits like Life on Mars and Torchwood. While many of these programs are destined for Hulu’s subscription-only “Hulu Plus” platform, many will still be available for free streaming on its basic site.

BAFTA TV Nominations 2013: The Good, the Bad, the What Were They Thinking?

Nominations for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTAs) TV Awards were announced this morning and, for the second year in a row, the list of nominees features a combination of great performances and truly bizarre omissions that makes one wonder whether the nomination process boils down to drawing names from a hat.

Leading the field this year were Olympic-themed comedy Twenty Twelve, Alfred Hitchcock biopic The Girl and drama Last Tango in Halifax, which all picked up four nominations apiece. The 2012 London Olympics also fared well, taking 3 out of 4 nominations in the “Sporting and Live Event” category, and Danny Boyle’s Isles of Wonder Opening Ceremonies will also compete for the Audience Award.

Some of these nominations are spot-on: it’s lovely to see Last Tango in Halifax getting nominated; both because of its unconventional love story and the fact that stars Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid are fantastic. Twenty Twelve was hysterical. Ben Whishaw did amazing things with a traditionally under-performed Richard II in The Hollow Crown. Boyle surely deserves every award he’s about to win for his stunning work on the Olympics. Even though I thought The Girl was boring, Toby Jones is always a capable performer.

And yet, much like 2012, there are just some really weird picks and obvious snubs. Click through for a look at the full list of nominations, and then let's discuss what they got right and what they got wrong in the comments. The awards ceremony is scheduled for May 12.

The British Invade the 2012 Primetime Emmys, But Only Dame Maggie Smith Triumphs

It was a British Invasion at the 2012 Primetime Emmy Awards this year, with sixteen nominations for Downton Abbey and thirteen for Sherlock, along with several other UK series grabbing nods, including Page Eight, Great Expectations, The Song of Lunch, Luther and The Hour.

Sadly, while many of our favorite British stars were nominated for a variety of awards, only the Dowager Countess emerged victorious, as Dame Maggie Smith won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama. Smith was not present to pick up her statue, which is extra sad when one imagines how fantastic her acceptance speech probably would have been. Oh, well.

(And to be honest, I’m being a bit unfair – Damian Lewis also took home a Best Actor statue, but since his win was for his performance in American series Homeland, I therefore can’t in good conscience add him to the official Brit TV winners list. )

Click through for a full list of Emmys winners and a little ranting about how certain nominees (cough Benedict Cumberbatch cough) got completely robbed were sadly over looked in their respective categories. Let’s discuss this travesty the results in the comments!

2012 Emmy Nominations – Lots of Love for Downton Abbey, Sherlock and Other British Hits!

I have returned from the magical land known as San Diego Comic Con International. I am still kind of jet lagged and tired and, yes, I may have slept on the ground more than once a bit over the course of the long weekend, but I saw some amazing stuff – so much that I’m not entirely sure what to write up first. Keep an eye out for Comic Con stories starting later today. But, first, - EMMY NOMINATIONS!

The 2012 Primetime Emmy Award nominations were announced this morning – and it’s basically a great day to be a fan of British television, as some of our favorite series from the past year were all honored.

All that controversy surrounding Downton Abbey’s graduation from the Miniseries to the full Drama Series category now seems much ado about nothing, as the move seems to have completely paid off for all involved. The period drama scored sixteen nominations this morning, including nods in the Best Drama, Best Actor (Hugh Bonneville), Best Actress (Michelle Dockery), Best Supporting Actress (Joanna Frogatt and Dame Maggie Smith), Best Supporting Actor (Jim Carter and Brendan Coyle) and Best Writing (Julian Fellowes) categories.

Sherlock also finally got some love from the Emmys – the series was nominated for Best TV Miniseries or Movie. (Weird Emmy categorization strikes again, but I’ll take it this time!) Everyone’s favorite consulting detective Benedict Cumberbatch snagged his first nomination for Best Actor in a TV Miniseries or Movie. (In case you didn’t know, today is the Sherlock star’s birthday – so, I suppose someone’s basically having the Best Day Ever.) His co-star Martin Freeman also received a Best Supporting Actor nod, though BAFTA winner Andrew Scott was shut out. Sherlock also scored nods for Best Writing and Directing ((Steven Moffat and Paul McGuigan respectively, for A Scandal in Belgravia) among its thirteen total nominations.

Other British series getting some recognition include Luther, The Song of Lunch, Great Expectations, Page Eight, Frozen Planet, and The Hour. Click through for a full list of nominations, and let us know what you think of this year’s awards field in the comments.

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!

WETA UK Is Here!

After months of planning, WETA UK, our brand-new, all British TV all the time channel launched last night at midnight. We’re so excited to present quality British programming 24/7 for the Washington, DC area, and we really hope you guys enjoy it.

Our Premiere Weekend Marathon continues today and tomorrow with pilots from 28 of the series which comprise the initial WETA UK line-up. Plus, our first installment of the WETA UK movie airs tonight, Place of Execution. (Watch a preview for that right here if you’ve never seen it.)

The regular WETA UK line-up starts tomorrow afternoon. Keep an eye out this week for more as series settle into their standard timeslots.

We’re so pleased to be able offer this channel to everyone. We hope you like it! Let us know what you think – and if you try any new shows you’ve never seen before. (I saw Monarch of the Glen earlier! It was so sweet! I may be a little embarrassingly flaily about this for a bit everyone. Sorry I'm not sorry?)

WETA UK is Almost Here! Get the Details on Our Special Premiere Weekend Schedule Now

We’re officially under 48 hours until the launch of our new all-British channel WETA UK this weekend. I am so excited for this, you guys don’t even know. (Or maybe you do know, as I don’t think that I’ve been terribly subtle about my epic joy over this since we announced it.)

Anyway, to celebrate the launch of the new channel, there’s some special programming going on for the majority of the weekend, which I think some of you may want to check out. WETA UK will officially go live at midnight tomorrow night/12am Saturday morning. We’ll be kicking things off with the pilot episodes of 28 series in the line-up airing back-to-back-to-back. The June 2 schedule actually features 20 straight hours of pilot eps once it gets underway – and that’s before we do it all again on Sunday (get full details on that below).

This way, you can all sample a wide variety of the types of series WETA UK will offer, see what you like and plan your coming week accordingly. (Personally, I don’t think my DVR is equipped to handle this in any way, but I’m going to make a valiant effort.) The full schedule will go live on wetauk.org late tomorrow, so you can see when things will be airing in their regular timeslots. Or you can just shoot me your questions all weekend long and I’ll do my best to answer them for you.

Click through for a look at the full Premiere Weekend pilot marathon schedule for both Saturday and Sunday and start getting your viewing plan of attack ready now.

The BAFTA TV Awards: No Love for Benedict Cumberbatch or Maggie Smith as Appropriate Adult Basically Wins Everything

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) TV Awards ceremony was held yesterday to honor the best in television performances from the past year.

ITV mini-series Appropriate Adult, the dramatization of the life of serial killer Fred West, scored three of the biggest awards of the night, with Dominic West taking home Lead Actor, Emily Watson winning Lead Actress and Monica Dolan grabbing the statue for Supporting Actress.

Sherlock’s Andrew Scott took home the trophy for Supporting Actor for his performance as James Moriarty, edging out co-star Martin Freeman.

The Fades, BBC Three’s recently cancelled supernatural drama, won Best Drama Series, while Mrs. Brown’s Boys took home the Best Comedy honors.

Sherlock and Doctor Who head honcho Steven Moffat was presented with the Dennis Potter Special Award for his television writing contributions and his award was handed out by Benedict Cumberbatch and Matt Smith, in one of the only actually funny sequences of the evening. (It’s really pretty adorable, so click this link and give it a watch.)

Given the dominance of Appropriate Adult in the acting categories a couple of notable (and personal favorite) performances were passed over, including Sherlock star Cumberbatch – currently on his fourth nomination without a win – and Downton Abbey’s Dowager Countess, Dame Maggie Smith.

Sherlock also lost out in the YouTube Audience Award vote to (seriously?) Celebrity Juice. Travesty seems too weak a word in this particular instance.

For a full list of this year’s BAFTA winners, click through and take a look!

BAFTA TV Nominations Announced: Is This Bizarre To Anyone Else?

Nominations for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTAs) TV Awards were announced this morning and, quite frankly, the list features some truly bizarre omissions that slightly mar what was, otherwise, a stunningly good year for British TV.

Leading the field with four nominations is Appropriate Adult, the ITV mini-series based on the life of serial killer Fred West, starring Dominic West and Emily Watson. The drama received nods in the Best Mini-Series, Leading Actor (West), Leading Actress (Watson) and Supporting Actress (the fabulous Monica Dolan) categories.

The second series of Sherlock was close behind, with three nominations – Benedict Cumberbatch will compete in the Leading Actor category, while Martin Freeman and Andrew Scott face off against each other in the Supporting Actor arena. This is England '88 also received three nods - tying Sherlock for the second most nominations this year.

But, perhaps the biggest surprises of the morning are the nominations that didn’t happen. Sherlock, the winner of last year’s Best Drama Series prize, snagged multiple acting nods this time out, but is conspicuously absent from the Best Mini-Series competition, in a move that seems, well, crazy. This likely had something to do with the ridiculous internal reorganization the BAFTAs underwent this year, creating Golden Globes-esque separate categories for Best “Mini-Series” (2-5 episodes) and Best “Series” (6-19 episodes). Yet, whatever the reason, the omission is jarring, given the overall superb quality of Sherlock’s second series.

In other surprise non-nominations, international smash Downton Abbey received exactly one nod for its second series, for Dame Maggie Smith in the Supporting Actress category. While I’m as willing as anyone to admit that perhaps Downton’s sophomore effort did not quite live up to the brilliance of its first series, even sub-par Downton is as entertaining and generally moving as anything on television and, judging by the chatter online, has to have been better than the final series of Spooks/MI-5.

Click through for a look at the full list of nominations, and leave us your thoughts on all this in the comments. The awards ceremony is scheduled for May 27.

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