Coming Soon to WETA UK: MI-5

Up next in our series of little mini-introductions to some of the great programming you can expect to see on WETA UK, the popular and critically acclaimed spy thriller MI-5. The series follows the work of a clandestine team of British Security Service agents that battles terrorism, organized crime and other threats to national security.

The drama originally ran for ten seasons in the UK and just aired its finale last October. It’s dark, gritty and suspenseful, with a wonderful cast and unpredictable storytelling. Click through for some basic details and a look at Series 1.

Get a Sneak Peek at Tonight’s Finale of Masterpiece’s “Birdsong”

World War I drama Birdsong concludes tonight on Masterpiece Classic! Did you enjoy part one last weekend?

I actually meant to write up a review of this film, but unfortunately didn’t get the chance yet. (Maybe I’ll do a cumulative one?) So, I will merely say in brief that Eddie Redmayne is really quite a good actor! He’s doing an excellent job.

Anwyay, get in the mood for part two - click through for a sneak peek at a scene from tonight’s conclusion, then tune in for the rest at 9pm!

The Great Doc Martin (Re)Watch Concludes! – Series 4, Episodes 7 and 8!

The great Doc Martin viewing marathon reaches its destination this week here at Telly Visions because I am all caught up! I feel so accomplished! And now, I am in the same boat as everyone else and will have to watch week-to-week on my television. Despair! (Not really. I’m going to be so glad to be able to converse with people without having to caveat it with “But I’m only on Series 4!” or something like that.) And, because of my impeccable lucky timing, I’m wrapping up my Series 1-4 viewing just as Series 5 starts tonight! Talk about no wait time, right?

Because some of you have asked, I do plan to keep this series going through the new episodes – though I suppose it may evolve into a regular “watch” now instead of “rewatch,” since we’ll all be at the same point. The only caveat is this series will probably move off of Saturdays, given that I have to catch the regular broadcasts, but we’ll see. I haven’t quite figured that bit out yet. But, never fear, this series isn’t going away just yet! (Though if you do have suggestions for future things that there should be series “watches” of, do let me know! I’m looking!)

Anyway, onward! We wrap up Series 4 this week, with “Do Not Disturb” and “The Wrong Goodbye.” Click through and come chat with me and feel free to leave your thoughts, favorite moments, funny lines, general rants, whatever, in the comments.

Take the Doc Martin Ultimate Fan Quiz and Get Excited for Series 5 Tonight!

The long awaited Doc Martin Series 5 premieres tonight on WETA! Though, take note of the fact that new episodes will air at 9:30pm, a special time, after two repeats from Series 4. (If you’re so inclined you can actually watch four episodes of Doc Martin back to back tonight, which I imagine many of you will be excited about.)

Anyway, to celebrate the arrival of the new season, we’ve created our very own brand new Doc Martin Ultimate Fan Quiz. And honestly, some of these questions are pretty challenging, so you should feel very proud of yourselves if you do well!


Take the Doc Martin Ultimate Fan Quiz Now!

Go ahead and put your Doc Martin knowledge to the test. Will you rank as a high-flying Surgeon or a lowly Med Student? Do you really remember the name of Elaine’s boyfriend in Series 1? Let us know how you score!


The Friday News Roundup: The Catching Up Edition

Welcome to the triumphant return of the Friday News Roundup! Well, triumphant may be a stretch but nevertheless – we’re back with all the news that’s fit to type in the world of British entertainment, culture and/or generally fun things. The list is a bit lengthy this time out, since we took last week off; so there really is something for everyone, I think.

Click through for tidbits and goodies on a variety of programs, including Doctor Who, Sherlock, Merlin, Hunted, Twenty Twelve, Red Dwarf, Parade’s End and more, as well as news of upcoming series Hunted, The Bletchley Circle and Good Cop.

“Upstairs Downstairs” Remake Won’t Get a Third Series

The BBC has decided to close the doors at 165 Eaton Place for good, as it’s been officially announced that Upstairs Downstairs will not return for a third series. The period drama, which aired the final episode of its second series in the UK last month, struggled with low ratings and behind-the scenes setbacks.

Unfortunately, despite the popularity of the original Upstairs Downstairs series, the new residents of Eaton Place never really made it out of the shadow of ITV ratings behemoth Downton Abbey, which more than doubled the BBC drama’s numbers. The shows aired close to one another and their similar settings and lovely Edwardian dress made it nearly impossible for viewers (and critics) to avoid comparing the two. In fact, the British press seemed to have something of a field day comparing the series’ ratings – in the UK, the two air on different networks. Audience numbers for Upstairs Downstairs declined steadily during its six week run, despite the addition of Doctor Who star Alex Kingston to the cast and several attempts to spice up the plot with more “controversial” storylines.

Upstairs Downstairs’ first series – though only three episodes long – was generally deemed a success. But then Dame Eileen Atkins quit the series last summer, citing her dissatisfaction with the scripts, and co-creator Jean Marsh suffered a stroke that forced her to scale back her involvement in the production. It could be argued that the series likely never recovered its footing after these events and may have lost its way a bit.

It’s a shame – while if I had to choose a side in the Period Drama Wars, I would have to say that I generally preferred the Crawleys, but I would also argue that Upstairs Downstairs had quite a lot to recommend it, including more balanced pacing. It’s unfortunate that apparently there can only be one left standing in this costume drama fight to the death, because I would have happily continued to make room for them both on my viewing schedule.

Americans will still get the chance to see Upstairs Downstairs Series 2 for themselves; its final set of six episodes is slated to premiere on Masterpiece this Fall.

Coming Soon to WETA UK: Doctor Who

Continuing along with our series of little mini-introductions to some of the great programming you can expect to see on WETA UK, let’s talk about my all-time personal favorite television series of anything that has ever aired, ever. Which we are airing. Which I plan to campaign extensively to convince you all to try. (Fair warning. Just so you know.)

It’s a little science fiction program 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 in time and space called Doctor Who.

Click through for a brief (I promise) intro and a fantastic fan-made trailer that will help give those of you who’ve never seen this show a better idea of what it’s about.

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.

Coming Soon to WETA UK: Life on Mars

The most fantastic part about WETA UK coming to a TV near you very soon is that fact that there’s so much great programming in the line-up, I’m actually a bit spoiled for choice in terms of what to talk about first.

There’ll be many series-specific posts about WETA UK programs coming up here at Telly Visions over the next few weeks, mini series introductions like this one, as well as general why-you-should-watch-this campaigns for some of my personal favorites. Some of these programs have aired on WETA at some point in the past, some have not, but they're all great television and I hope everyone will find something to get excited about as we go along.

In the meantime, click through for our first series mini-introduction – get the basic details and take look at some footage from the fantastic drama Life on Mars!

Watch a Scene from “Birdsong,” Airing Tonight on Masterpiece!

Premiering tonight on Masterpiece Classic, watch Part One of Birdsong, an adaptation of Sebastian Faulkes’ best-selling novel of the same name.

Eddie Redmayne (My Week with Maryiln, The Pillars of the Earth) and Clémence Poésy (Harry Potter, In Bruges) star in this World War I drama, which tells the story of Stephen Wraysford's all-consuming love affair with Isabelle Azaire and the enduring effect their relationship has on him as he fights in the trenches.

Click through for a sneak peek at a scene from Birdsong and get a feel for the film before you tune in tonight!