Drama

First Preview for the BBC’s New Great Expectations!

As the centerpiece of their 2011 Christmas schedule, the BBC is presenting a new three-part, star-studded adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic Great Expectations.

The X-Files’ Gillian Anderson – who has already done fantastic work in a Dickens adaptation in Bleak House – stars as Miss Havisham, and is joined by Ray Winstone, Vanessa Kirby, Douglas Booth and Poirot’s David Suchet.

The first official promotional trailer was released last week and it looks wonderfully creepy. (And Anderson certainly looks the part of Miss Havisham, that’s for sure!)

Take a look for yourself via the clip below and let us know what you think. Great Expectations will be coming to Masterpiece and WETA in the Spring of 2012.

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!

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.

Tonight on Masterpiece Contemporary: The Thoroughly Charming “Framed”

Tonight at 9pm, catch Framed on Masterpiece Contemporary, starring Waking the Dead’s Trevor Eve and Torchwood’s Eve Myles and based on the book by Frank Cottrell Boyce. It’s a fanciful, lighthearted, thoroughly charming story, in which the National Gallery is forced to move its priceless collection of artworks to a remote Welsh village while a massive plumbing leak is fixed.

While this premise is an event that would probably never actually occur nowadays (though something similar did happen during World War II when Winston Churchill was concerned about the possibility that British treasures might be damaged in the Blitz), the story is fun enough that you won’t care so much that it’s not entirely plausible. The colorful array of local village residents – especially the children – are quirky and entertaining and the film strikes a perfect fun holiday tone to round off your long weekend.

This film also marks a bit of a personal first for me, as it’s the first time I’ve ever really loved Eve Myles in anything. Her character on Torchwood has always struck me as just this side of annoying, but she’s really quite charming and adorable in this, so perhaps I’m finally starting to see her appeal as an actress.

Reminder: Our Two-Day Inspector Morse Marathon Starts Tomorrow!

What says Happy Thanksgiving more than British mysteries? Nothing, that’s what! So, have some quality sleuthing along with your turkey and stuffing over the next two days!

We’ll be airing full-day marathons of Inspector Morse episodes both tomorrow and Friday, from 8am-6pm, and digging into some classic episodes from early in the series’ run. (And, remember WETA Mystery night will be happening as usual on Thanksgiving night, with Sherlock Holmes, Poirot and Foyle’s War.)

Click through for a full list of all the episodes that will be playing on both days during our Morse Marathon and enjoy the long weekend!

Tune-In Tonight: Sherlock’s “Great Game” is Most Definitely On

We’re wrapping up our rebroadcast of Sherlock tonight at 8pm with “The Great Game,” which is the best and most exciting installment of the three episode lot, and other than the shock of its very last minutes is basically perfect television. Watch it tonight, even if you’ve never seen it – you really can jump right in, even if the extent of your Sir Arthur Conan Doyle knowledge is that you know Sherlock Holmes and John Watson exist. It’s absolutely worth it.

In the spirit of conducting appropriate Sherlockian levels of research I took it upon myself to watch the DVD commentary for this episode to try and come up with some impressive new insights into the way this particular story is put together, rather than just massive amounts of adoration. Alas, the only thing that appears to have stuck in my brain from it is that Benedict Cumberbatch loves clothes, and also the acting process, and does a mean impression of Alan Rickman. So, prepare for the adoration.

Click through for the best things about this particular episode, which are actually far more legion than could possibly have fit in this post, and then feel free to leave me reminders of the things I’ve left out in the comments.

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