The Friday News Roundup: The Out of Town Edition

Happy Friday Telly Visions readers! And welcome to our first News Roundup brought to you from out of town! (Hi from North Carolina, everyone! It’s very windy here, in case you were curious.)

Hopefully , your weeks have all been lovely! Apologies in advance for the short and sweet news update this week, but there’s still some good tidbits about a variety of fun things to be had!. Click through for the latest news on Downton Abbey, Sherlock, Bedlam, Blackout, and more!

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!

Watch the First PBS Preview for Inspector Morse prequel Endeavour

Coming this July to Masterpiece Mystery, Shaun Evans stars in Endeavour, a detective drama that serves as a prequel to the beloved, long-running Inspector Morse series.

Set in 1965, Evans plays a much-younger Constable Endeavour Morse at the very beginning of his career on the force in Oxford, when he is given the career making opportunity to investigate the murder of a fifteen year-old girl.

Have to say, the photo of Evans leaning on a car that exactly mirrors an earlier image of John Thaw and his red Jaguar? Pretty awesome. Click through for a look at the first PBS promo for the mystery special, as well as an update on what we might expect to see after Endeavour’s conclusion.

First Look at Doctor’s Matt Smith and New Companion Jenna-Louise Coleman

The BBC has released the first official photos of Doctor Who star Matt Smith on location with brand new companion Jenna-Louise Coleman. Now we can actually get a look at Smith and Coleman together – if not strictly in action –and, I have to admit, this did sort of stoke my excitement for the series’ return. Shooting is well under way on the Doctor’s latest adventure and the second read-through featuring Coleman’s character took place this week at the BBC’s Roath Lock Studios, according to the network.

Doctor Who Series 7 is set to premiere this Fall, with Coleman taking over as the new companion in the TARDIS starting from the Christmas special. It’s been previously revealed that current companions Amy and Rory Pond (played by the fabulous Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill) will be departing the show during a “heartbreaking” storyline in the season’s fifth episode. For me, the jury’s out on Coleman until we see some actual footage. She looks adorable, but I can’t get anything about her character from a couple of pictures (other than the fact that I seriously covet that red bag she’s sporting). She looks awfully young, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, nor is it even particularly new ground for this show as far as casting goes. We’ll all have to wait and see.

One snap judgment I do have to share though: I love Eleven's new outfit! Click through and take a look for yourself!

Friday News Roundup: Hello, Summer Edition

Happy Friday, Telly Visions readers! Welcome to summer – well, only sort of, I suppose, as summer technically, doesn’t officially begin for a couple weeks according to the calendar, but I know most of us in the States tend to track it with the passing of Memorial Day weekend. And I don’t know about your part of the world, but it’s been stunningly lovely in the DC area – a few freak/sudden storms aside. Everyone get outside and enjoy it, before it gets too hot!

Friday also means that it’s News Roundup time around here! Click through for loads of updates from around the world of British entertainment, including Sherlock, Doc Martin, Downton Abbey, Misfits, Bedlam, Red Dwarf, last weekend’s Diamond Jubilee festivities and more!

Benedict Cumberbatch Alert: The Last Enemy” is the WETA UK Movie This Saturday!

While we're waiting (ever so patiently and apparently for such a very long time) for Series 3 of Sherlock to both get filmed and appear on our TVs, why don't we take some time to appreciate the extensive back catalogs of the series’ stars? Luckily, we can all get started this weekend on this obviously very important project.

This Saturday on the WETA UK Movie, get your Benedict Cumberbatch fix - we’re airing The Last Enemy, a thriller set in the not-too-distant future which explores how technology and fear can create a dystopian society. It also stars Once Upon a Time’s Robert Carlyle, as well as Annamaria Marina and Hotel Babylon’s Max Beesley, but let’s face it, aren’t we really all most interested in the Cumberbatch Connection? (I may be projecting a bit, but still. I don’t think I’m too far off the mark.)

In The Last Enemy, Cumberbatch plays Stephen Ezard, a reclusive and brilliant mathematician who returns home to England to attend the funeral of his brother Michael, an aid-worker who was killed by a landmine in Afghanistan. Stephen’s kind of spent a lot of time on his own in China, and struggles to reconcile the isolated world he left behind with the brother he barely knew, a London that is now practically a police state and a government seriously obsessed with being able to monitor its citizens’ every move. Creepy!

It’s hard to explain a lot more about this without giving to much away, but the gist is that while trying to make sense of his brother’s death, Stephen starts to uncover a lot of secrets – about his brother’s life and the work he was doing, as well as some government secrets and the kind of society that its trying to create. Conspiracy theories and lots of plot twists ensue. Click through to check out a promo for yourself!

Amazing Internet Things: What if Sherlock Were an Animated Series?

Now that the Endless Sherlock Hiatus is upon us, it’s time to start stockpiling random fun and/or interesting things to keep us all occupied until Series 3. So, bless the internet for constantly providing gems like this creative bit of genius and I hope you guys are ready to watch me work out my separation issues through application of interesting and/or funny videos. (I’m already twitchy with waiting, and we’ve got a loooong way to go still.)

Anyway, in case you’ve ever wondered what Sherlock might look like as a cartoon, well, now you have an answer. And one that’s way, way better looking than that creepy cartoon where John Watson was a robot even if it is less than a minute long. (See, guys, I did finally find out the answer from my query on this subject ages ago!)

Some industrious fan has created an animated opening credits sequence for Sherlock that imagines the cast as fairly amazing Japanese anime characters, complete with voiceovers and Sherlock’s dramatic coat swooshing about.

Click through and have a look for yourself – it’s brief, but the cartoon will probably leave you wishing that we could see a little bit more of it. (Animated!John Watson is adorable!)

Five Reasons You Should Watch Doctor Who Tonight

There’s a little science fiction program premiering tonight on WETA UK that some of you might have heard of at some point or other. It’s a show about an alien, some humans, a blue police box and their adventures through time and space called Doctor Who. It’s the best show in the world, in my obviously not at all biased opinion, and I desperately want each and every one of you to give it a try.

Doctor Who’s set to celebrate its 50th anniversary next year. It’s basically a national treasure in Britain. Half the country’s grown up watching it. And right now, tonight, is the absolute perfect time for you to jump into this show if you’ve never seen it. WETA UK begins Doctor Who with the first episode of what is *technically* Series 28 (I think?), but that doesn’t matter, because this is also the episode that marks the series’ return after a 16 year hiatus. Referred to by fans as the “reboot,” the series was reinvented and restarted for a new audience in 2005 with the introduction of the Ninth Doctor, played by Christopher Eccleston. Its initial episode, Rose, basically serves as a second pilot of sorts and explains all the history you’ll need to know to feel completely up to speed on the show’s premise and the Doctor’s backstory.

I promise this system works. Nine is “my” Doctor – fan code for the particular incarnation of the character that gets you hooked on Who – so I didn’t go back and start watching earlier installments (like those featuring Tom Baker, William Hartnell and Peter Davison’s Doctors) until well after I was already a die-hard Whovian. This is a perfect entry point to the series and to the “Whoniverse” as a whole.

But why should you bother? Well, I thought you’d never ask. Doctor Who is not only my favorite television series – of any type, genre or era – it’s a wonderful example of how television can remain smart and interesting and brave and relevant over an extended time frame, without condescending to its audience. It is, quite simply, one of the best television series ever made, and certainly one of the best things airing on any network right now. Great writing, fun adventures, scary monsters and characters that will make you laugh and cry at the same time. TV doesn’t really get a lot better than this.

Click through for some specifics about why, if you’re a person that loves quality television programming, you should give the WETA UK premiere of Doctor Who a chance tonight. And I promise I won’t even say I told you so afterward.

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?)

Friday News Roundup: Diamond Jubilee Edition

Happy Friday, Telly Visions readers! It’s a big weekend for anglophiles, as the UK gears up to officially celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee. Sixty years on the throne! So, if you see a bit more Britishness around the internet this weekend, it’s because we all want to celebrate with her. I know I plan to get up very early on Sunday to watch the Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the Thames and I imagine many of you may be doing something similar. (You can find details how how/where to watch all the pomp and pageantry in today’s roundup. Just FYI.)

So, today’s News Roundup is in honor of Her Majesty, long may she continue to reign. (She’s a bit under four years away from becoming England’s longest reigning monarch!) Click through for the best tidbits from around the world of British entertainment this week, including Sherlock, Downton Abbey, Black Mirror, Doctor Who, the always amazing Eurovision song contest, a sprinkling of early Diamond Jubilee coverage and more!