Outnumbered Renewed for a Fifth Series and Christmas Special

Award-winning sitcom Outnumbered is officially set to return for a fifth series, the BBC and producers Hat Trick have confirmed.

The comedy’s fourth series was rumored to have been its last, given the fact that its child stars are rapidly growing up. However, Outnumbered will return for a Christmas special later this year, followed by a full six-episode run sometime in late 2013.

The series stars Hugh Dennis and Claire Skinner as two stressed-out parents who are often overwhelmed by the chaos caused by their three children. The series is known for its semi-improvised scripts, most particularly the bulk of the parts of its three child stars Tyger Drew-Honey, Ramona Marquez and Daniel Rouche. Ostensibly this move was meant to get more realistic performances from the child actors, and, to be fair, it has generally worked a treat. Though, this style is probably the main reason that Outnumbered is certainly one of those series that you either love or you hate, almost instantly.

Tyger Drew-Honey, who plays eldest child Jake, will be 17 when the series starts filming next year. The young actor had previously speculated that he didn’t think the comedy would go much further than a fifth series, if that, because it will lose some of the “madness” that comes naturally to a show centered around the children’s school lives. To be honest, I sort of agree, and am hopeful this fifth series will be an opportunity to wrap things up and give the show the proper send-off it deserves.

Outnumbered won Best Comedy at this year’s National Television Awards, and has also scored prizes from the Royal Television Society and British Comedy Awards. It was the 16th most popular program on BBC One last year.

We’re currently airing Outnumbered Fridays on WETA UK, if you’ve never seen this series before. While it’s the sort of show that won’t be everyone’s cup of tea – I think it’s rather hilarious and worth giving a try, if you haven’t yet.

Amazing Internet Things: A Very British Quiz on a Very American Holiday

Happy Fourth of July to us Americans! Hope everyone has a safe and happy celebration today, whatever your plans are. I wondered a bit about what I should post today, but ultimately decided - what would be a more appropriate post on this very American holiday than an exceptionally British edition of Amazing Internet Things?

While we may have rejected the monarchy on this day in history, it's certainly true that we're still fascinated by the British Royals and Royal traditions to this day. (As evidenced by the huge ratings for things like William and Kate's wedding last year.) So, why not head on over and take the British Royal Family Quiz at PBS.org and see how much you really know about the Windsors and their history. It’s a pretty simple quiz – and to be honest, it won’t challenge the serious Royal enthusiasts among you too greatly – but it’s pretty fun.

 

Plus who doesn’t want the validation of being called a “Monarch”? (That was my score, by the way. And I'm apparently vain enough that I was super pleased about it!) Let me how you do!

Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery Joins the Cast of Restless

Downton Abbey star Michelle Dockery is set to join Rufus Sewell, Michael Gambon, Charlotte Rampling and Hayley Atwlell in the BBC’s upcoming two-part adaptation of William Boyd’s best-selling novel Restless.

Dockery will play Ruth, a young girl who discovers that her mother Sally is really a spy named Eva, who was recruited by the British Secret Service at the start of World War II and has been living a double life on the run ever since. Rambling and Atwell will both play Eva, thirty years apart. Sewell and Gambon will also pull double character duty, both playing Lucas Romer, Eva’s former handler and lover. It all sounds quite complicated – but very interesting too!

Acclaimed theater director Ed Hall has signed on to run things behind the scenes, and Boyd – whose Any Human Heart aired on Masterpiece last year – will be adapting his own novel for the small screen.

"To have the chance to film a novel like Restless over three hours is the sort of opportunity that only a television adaptation can provide,” Boyd said.

"It represents the most enticing and alluring of possibilities - not only to tell an enthralling story of wartime espionage, love and betrayal but also to lift the lid on one of the last secrets of the Second World War."

Restless is due to screen on BBC One in late 2012. No hard date has been established for when we might see this drama here in the States, but the Hollywood Reporter says the project will broadcast in the US “later this year” as well.

Watch the New Trailer for Wallander Series 3

Exciting news - the BBC has released the first trailer for Wallander Series 3!

Kenneth Branagh returns to his BAFTA-winning role as Inspector Kurt Wallander in three new feature-length episodes, based on Henning Mankell’s best-selling novels. In the newest set of mysteries – entitled An Event in Autumn, The Dogs of Riga and Before the Frost – the somber detective’s hard-won and fragile new hope will be put to the test when he encounters the most brutal of crimes that force him to confront his own demons. (Poor Wallander; he’s got enough personal demons to start a Halloween shop.)

Click through for a first look at the new series, set to a wonderfully haunting rendition of Simon & Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence. (BBC One just seriously puts out the best trailers sometimes, I swear.)

Watch a Scene From Morse Prequel Endeavour, Airing on Masterpiece Tonight!

Tonight at 9pm on Masterpiece Mystery, Shaun Evans stars in Endeavour, a prequel to the long-running Inspector Morse series.

Set in 1965, Evans stars as a much-younger Endeavour Morse, back when he was a rookie Detective Constable cutting his teeth on his first cases in Oxford.

Click through for a sneak peek at a scene from tonight’s mystery special and get a bit of a feel for Evans’ performance in the role of Morse. What do you think? Will he be able to live up to John Thaw?

The Great Doc Martin Watch Does Doc Martin: The Movie

Housekeeping note: Technical issues waylaid the Friday News Roundup yesterday. (Hurray, storms!) It’ll be back next week. Hope everyone in the DC metro area is safe and sound – and staying cool!

Before Doc Martin the series existed, the character that would become Martin Ellingham made his first appearance in a 2000 film called Saving Grace. Thanks to the success of this film, two made-for-TV prequels were made, both featuring Martin Clunes playing the doctor who was then known as Martin Bamford. The character is a bit (lot?) different, the villagers aren’t the same, and the town’s called something else, but you can still see a few similarities to the show we all enjoy so much.

We just aired the first of these – called, simply, Doc Martin: The Movie –last weekend, and I thought it might be fun to try and dig into a little bit – both on its own merits and how it stacks up against Doc Martin: The Series. Plus, I’ll be honest, I’m missing the Great Doc Martin Rewatch and its fabulous discussion threads, and I’m already feeling cranky about the fact that they don’t even start filming Series 6 until next year. (Why does being a TV fan involve so much waiting?) So, please, indulge me.

Click through and come chat with me about Doc Martin: The Movie and, as always, feel free to leave your thoughts, favorite moments, funny lines, general rants, whatever, in the comments.

Time for a Sherlock Post: What Do We Know About Series 3 So Far?

Don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m already having serious Sherlock withdrawal. (Ha, just kidding - I totally know about the rest of you, and I am willing to bet that you are too!) So I figured, since I desperately need an excuse to talk about it we have to do something to entertain ourselves during the Great Hiatus, why not have a semi-regular feature that rounds up all the news of importance and mildly tangential interest to Holmesians in one place?

Over the last month or so the first tidbits about Sherlock Series 3 have begun to make their way into the news – and though there’s not a ton to work with here in terms of official announcements, well, it’s still water in the desert people. Let’s cling to it.

Click through for the latest official word on Series 3 filming, what the first episode will be, whether we could be seeing Sherlock continue past the third series, and general series-related flailing. (I know it's nothing y'all hardcore types haven't seen already, but, indulge me, okay?)

Four-Part Series Queen and Country Starts This Sunday Night on WETA!

Since this is pretty much the Summer of London – thanks to Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee festivities earlier this month and the Summer Olympics right around the corner – we’re airing some great British and British-themed programming to celebrate, as part of PBS’ British Summer Holiday event.

New four-part series Queen and Country will premiere this Sunday, July 1. Veteran newsman Sir Trevor McDonald offers viewers a look at the traditions and institutions surrounding the monarchy, from Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace through the Queen's royal visits to some of the greatest historic royal palaces, and more.

Click through for a preview and an episode-by-episode guide to what’s coming up on the series.

Hugh Bonneville’s Olympic Mockumentary Twenty Twelve Comes to BBC America This Week

Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville returns to American televisions this week with Twenty Twelve, a very contemporary, exceptionally dry comedy about the organizing committee charged with putting on the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

Bonneville stars as Ian Fletcher, the harried Head of Deliverance for the London Games. He is joined by a strong ensemble cast, including Peep Show’s Olivia Coleman, Spaced’s Jessica Hynes, I’m Alan Patridge’s Amelia Bullmore, The Thick of It’s Vincent Franklin and Green Wing’s Karl Theobald. It’s also narrated by David Tennant, a guy you may have seen once or twice on Doctor Who.

Twenty Twelve premieres this Thursday, June 28th at 9pm on BBC America with three back-to-back episodes – but here’s where the scheduling gets tricky. The comedy will be moving to its regular timeslot of Saturdays at midnight, where it will join the network’s Ministry of Laughs comedy block starting June 30. BBC America will air both series of the show (13 episodes in total) over the next few weeks.

Click through to take a look at two trailers that ought to give you a pretty good feel for the comedy and its style of humor, as well as an interview with Bonneville in which he tells American audiences what they can expect from the show.

Downton Abbey Series 3 First Look: Shirley MacLaine Faces Off with Maggie Smith

Everyone's eager for Downton Abbey to return to our televisions in January – but let’s face it, what we’re really all looking forward to in Series 3 is seeing Dame Maggie Smith’s indomitable Dowager Countess go head-to-head with new addition Shirley MacLaine’s Martha Levinson. Right? Luckily, we can now get our first tiny sneak peek at what the confrontations between these two veteran actresses will be like!

The American Film Institute honored MacLaine with their 40th “AFI Life Achievement Award” last night and various celebrities paid tribute to the accomplished actress during the ceremony. One of the presenters was Downton’s Elizabeth McGovern, who introduced a brand new clip from Series 3, featuring MacLaine and Smith indulging in the sort of verbal sparring that makes you want to cry because we’re still over six months away from seeing this for ourselves.

When faced with Lady Violet upon her arrival at Downton, Maclaine’s Martha snarks, “Oh, dear. I’m afraid the war has made old women of us both.”

Yup, it’s pretty much exactly how you pictured it in your head, and exactly how we all wanted their interactions to turn out. She called the Dowager Countess old, y’all. Get the popcorn ready. It's on.

Click through to get your first look at MacLaine in action, and leave your initial impressions of Lady Cora’s mother in the comments.

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