New British TV Show
June 1, 2014
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("Trainspotting") directed this Channel 4 pilot about an American
consultant brought in to help a dysfunctional police station that is
being filmed by a reality show. Written by Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain
(Peep Show), this satire features Paterson Joseph, Daniel Kaluuya,
Nicola Walker and James Nesbitt.
Comedy Playhouse: Over To Bill (6/14)
this BBC pilot Hugh Dennis (Outnumbered) stars as Bill, a recently
unemployed TV weatherman who goes to humiliating lengths to get back on
telly. His best friend Jez (Neil Morrissey) is about to get married,
but also knows an influential producer. Bill's misadventures at Jez's
wedding demonstrate just how desperate Bill is and what he has to do
afterwards to save face and maintain his friendship. Written by Doug
Naylor (Red Dwarf).
The Crimson Field (6/14)
drama series set in a British army field hospital in 1915 France and
focusing on the nurses and female volunteers. Kitty Trevelyan (Oona
Chaplin from "Game of Thrones") is a headstrong young volunteer who
nearly gets sent home for disobeying orders from the strict Matron
(Hermione Norris). Suranne Jones plays Sister Joan (nurses were all
ranked as Sisters) who has come to France aboard a motorcycle but with
a hidden secret. There are casualties of the week along with the
ongoing stories of the women and the soldiers they work with. Written
by Sarah Phelps.
Edge of Heaven (6/14)
B&B in Margate is the setting for this ITV family comedy/drama
starring Blake Harrison, Camille Coduri, and Adrian Scarborough. In
the first episode, Alfie (Harrison) is one day from getting married
when things go very wrong in his life.
Harry and Paul's Story of the Twos (6/14)
the 50th anniversary of BBC Two, Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse
recreate famous scenes and proceed to parody the history of the channel
with various impersonations. They mock the fact that nearly the same
documentary about WWI can be done 50 years apart, and over the years
all viewers really want is "Bruce Forsyth, Doctor Who, and Coronation
Street." This culminates in the ultimate celebrity panel show with
impressions of Angus Deayton, Paul Merton, Boris Johnson, Ian Hislop,
David Mitchell, Sarah Millican, "Uncomfortable Journalist," and Stephen
Fry. The more you know about the history of British TV and the
personalities, the funnier this is to watch.
How To Get Ahead... (6/14)
this BBC Four documentary series by Stephen Smith, he presents the
step-by-step tips to success in various historical periods including
Medieval Court, Renaissance Court, French Court, etc by behaving the
correct way, knowing the right people, and other tricks of the trade.
He also interviews folks like David Tennant who was then playing
Richard II for his take on staying on top.
Ian Hislop's Olden Days (6/14)
latest three-part documentary for the BBC explores British nostalgia
and how much of it was invented. Walter Scott for example
single-handedly created many traditions of Scotland with his novel "Waverly"
(originally written to suppress ideas of Scottish rebellion), and then
chivalry with "Ivanhoe." This doesn't mean this mythology is any less
valid, but it's fascinating to see its sources and how quickly it was
adopted by societies at the time to advance their goals.
Inside No. 9 (6/14)
An anthology comedy/horror series on BBC2 by Steve Pemberton &
Reece Shearsmith where each episode is set in a different locale (e.g.
a house, apartment, building, dressing room) but it's always at number
9. More in tone with their Psychoville than The League of Gentlemen,
the humor is always dark-edged and unexpected, with a neat twist at the
end. The best episode is completely silent about two burglars
(Pemberton and Shearsmith) trying to steal a painting from a rich
collector (Denis Lawson). A number of big name guest stars appear in
stories including Anne Reid, Katherine Parkinson, Timothy West, Oona
Chaplin, Tamsin Greig, Helen McCrory, and Julia Davis.
Jamaica Inn (6/14)
three part BBC adaptation of the Daphne du Maurier novel set in
Cornwall in the 18th Century caused a huge stink in Britain when
viewers complained in the thousands about not being able to understand
the actors due to excessive mumbling. Though the Cornish accents are
pretty strong throughout, it is only Sean Harris as Mary's cruel uncle
Joss who gives in to muttering some of his lines, but he's no worse
than some of the asides Popeye the Sailor used to throw out in his
early cartoons. Besides, every TV in the world is now equipped with
subtitles, there's no reason for viewers to get so cranky if they can't
understand every word spoken, just turn on the captioning! Jessica
Brown Findlay (Downton Abbey) plays the heroine Mary, sent to the
desolate inn on the Cornish moors after her parents die, to be looked
after by her aunt (Joanna Whalley) and uncle. It's not long before Mary
(who thinks smugglers killed her father and has a pathological hatred
of them) discovers that smuggling might be going on right under her
nose. Matthew McNulty plays her uncle's brother, a horse thief that
Mary takes a shine too, despite her best efforts. In the nearby village
is a friendly vicar (Ben Daniels) and his assistant (Shirley Henderson)
that Mary tries to turn to for assistance, but who is the criminal
mastermind in charge of the smuggling ring?
drama about a police detective (John Simm) who is framed for the murder
of his wife and son, and goes on the run to prove his innocence. Along
the way he will have to turn enemies into allies and a few friends will
turn into enemies (it's a bit like watching a British version of "24"
except without the torture scenes). And like Jack Bauer, Simm is the
clock that keeps on ticking no matter how many times he is shot, beat
up, or hit by a car.
37 Days (6/14)
Despite what the history books tell you, Archduke Ferdinand wasn't
assassinated in Sarajevo and the next day WWI broke out. In fact there
were 37 days before the war actually started, and this three-part BBC
drama attempts to break down the diplomatic efforts of Sir Edward Grey
(Ian McDiarmid), the British Foreign Secretary, to try to prevent the
war from happening during that time. He might have been successful
if it hadn't been for some elements in Germany who were so gung-ho for
a war that they sabotaged Grey's every move. But Grey isn't helped
by his instinctive sense of British superiority and overconfidence that
his subtle hand on the levers of power will be all it takes to solve
the crisis. Eventually things spin out of the control by the various
powers and their allies who jump into the fray, and Austria and Russia
(who were the original instigators of the trouble), end up being the
last countries to actually declare war on each other once the fighting
Tommy Cooper, Not Like That, Like This (6/14)
Nye wrote this ITV biopic of legendary British comedian Tommy Cooper
(here played by David Threlfall) whose gimmick was wearing a fez and
appearing to be a terrible magician. He originally toured extensively
with his wife Dove (Amanda Redman) but when she decided to stay home to
raise their children, Tommy took Mary Kay (Helen McCrory) as an
assistant. They began a decades-long affair, kept secret by Cooper's
long-suffering agent. Everyone wants Tommy to settle down and just do
his highly popular television series from London, but Tommy lives to
tour and perform live in front of audiences, and he can't do it without
Mary. Dove eventually finds out about Mary and throws Tommy out but
eventually they reconcile and Mary's presence is tolerated because it
keeps Tommy going. Finally on April 15, 1984, Tommy agreed to perform
on a live TV special, Live From Her Majesty's. Despite not feeling
well, he goes out on stage, does his act to a tremendous response, and
then collapses on stage and dies of a heart attack. Viewers at home,
used to Tommy's tricks failing, assumed his slumping was part of a gag
and didn't realize at first that anything was amiss.
The Trip To Italy (6/14)
Brydon and Steve Coogan hit the road, as they did in The Trip, only
this time as the title tells you, across Italy. They eat in fine
restaurants and drive around in a fancy convertible playing Alanis
Morissette songs on CD. Of course the real reason to watch is their
banter and hilarious attempts to one-up each other's impressions.
Michael Caine gets another ribbing, but so is an imagined conversation
between Christian Bale and Tom Hardy on the set of "The Dark Knight
Rises" where nobody can understand what they are saying, and Roger
Moore as Tony Blair confronting Saddam Hussein as Frank Spencer.
A sequel series to Twenty Twelve
with Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville), after successfully "delivering"
the Olympics, now in a new post at the BBC as "Head of Values." The
same satirical eye is turned towards the BBC with its no-office open
plan "hot seat" desks, bureaucracy, cock-ups, and middle-management yes
men (and women). The title refers to the postal code in central London
where the BBC now has its headquarters after abandoning Television
Centre. Also along for the ride is Jessica Hynes returning as dimwitted
brand manager Siobhan. Fletcher is ritually humiliated by the press
(and we get a resolution to his romance with his former assistant
played by Olivia Colman) but by the end he gets the upper hand as he
finally figures out how to beat the system and get what he wants.
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Written and maintained by Ryan K. Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org).
June 1, 2014