Upcoming Things of Interest

BBC Adaptation of The Lady Vanishes to Air on Masterpiece This August

More good news for mystery fans this summer: BBC One’s recent one-off film The Lady Vanishes will be coming to Masterpiece Mystery in August. This 90 minute drama is a new adaptation of the classic thriller, made famous by Alfred Hitchcock’s 1938 film and based on Ethel Lina White’s classic 1936 novel The Wheel Spins.

In this version, The Spies of Warsaw’s Tuppence Middleton plays Iris Carr, a young socialite who suspects foul play after a woman she befriends on a train journey home disappears and her fellow passengers deny she ever existed. Upstairs DownstairsKeeley Hawes, MI-5’s Gemma Jones, Silk’s Tom Hughes and Doc Martin’s Stephanie Cole and Selina Cadell are all part of the all-star cast.

Watch the BBC trailer for The Lady Vanishes below:

Finally: Crime Drama DCI Banks Officially Renewed for a Third Series

Good news for fans of gritty contemporary mystery series DCI Banks – ITV has officially renewed the show for a third series! While this bit of information has long been assumed/expected, it’s still nice to have an actual formal announcement that Series 3 is indeed going to happen.

The crime drama will return for a new six-part series starring Stephen Tompkinson, Andrea Lowe and Caroline Catz. Series 3 will based on three of Peter Robinson’s novels, and two episodes will be devoted to each of the three stories entitled Wednesday’s Child, Piece of My Heart and Bad Boy.

“DCI Banks has become a firm favorite amongst the ITV Drama audience and I’m very pleased we have commissioned a third series,” said ITV’s Director of Drama Steve November. “The new stories will pose searching questions for Banks as ultimately he’s forced to take extreme action to keep his team together.”

Per the official press release the new series will see DS Annie Cabbott return from maternity leave, explore whether a romantic relationship between Annie and Banks can ever be a reality, and introduce Banks’ university dropout daughter Tracy. DI Helen Morton is also returning and she, Annie and Banks will have to sort out how to work together as a team.

Want more specifics? Read on.

Foyle's War to Return to Masterpiece Mystery in September!

It’s official: Foyle’s War will be back on PBS stations this Fall as part of the new season of Masterpiece Mystery!

Both Michael Kitchen and Honeysuckle Weeks are back for a new series of three feature-length episodes, set during the early years following World War II. The first episode is called The Eternity Ring and will premiere on September 15, followed by The Cage (September 22) and Sunflower (September 29).

Even though Foyle technically “retired” at the end of the last series, retirement is obviously short-lived, as he’s now a Senior Intelligence Officer with MI-5 and must track down spies, traitors, Communist sympathizers and other threats to Britain’s security.

Other things have changed as well: Foyle’s loyal assistant Samantha Stewart is now a married woman juggling her new role as a wife with her own burgeoning political career. And of course she’s going to have to figure out a way to fit working with Foyle in there, too, somehow.

Watch the ITV trailer for the new season below and put a big red circle around September 15 on your calendar.

Get an Extended Look at The White Queen, Premiering This Summer on Starz

Feeling an itch for some medieval-style political intrigue, awesome ladies, epic battles and great costumes? Then upcoming costume drama The White Queen is probably for you.

Based on a series of novels by Philippa Gregory, the ambitious ten-part drama attempts to tell the story of the Wars of the Roses through the eyes of three very different women, who were all intimately involved in the battle for the English crown. Elizabeth Woodville, the titutlar White Queen and wife of King Edward IV, Margaret Beaufort, mother of the man who would become King Henry VII, and Ann Neville, daughter of Warwick the Kingmaker and eventual wife of King Richard III. (In other fun facts, Elizabeth Woodville and Margaret Beaufort are the grandmothers of King Henry VIII.)

The Starz website describes the show as “a riveting portrayal of one of the most dramatic and turbulent times in English history. A story of love and lust, seduction and deception, betrayal and murder, it is uniquely told through the perspective of three different, yet equally relentless women. In their quest for power, they will scheme, manipulate and seduce their way onto the English throne.”

This extended official trailer from Starz is much, much better than the teaser trailer offered last month, which seemed to focus primarily on the fact that everyone in the cast was attractive. This clip not only shows almost every major character, it gives you a pretty good idea of the basics of the series’ plot – or, at least before everything gets really messy later on.

Luther Series 3: First Trailer and Broadcast Dates!

Exciting news for fans of quality crime dramas – or really just great British television in general – Luther is returning for a third series later this year!

In this suspenseful (okay, often downright dark) drama, Idris Elba plays Detective Chief Inspector John Luther, a brilliant but haunted homicide detective who works for the Serous and Serial Crime Unit, tracking down the worst sorts of offenders. Elba won a Golden Globe in 2011 for his performance as the obsessive Luther, who can’t quite shake the darkness of the crimes with which he deals.

The four new episodes will see Luther faced with two conflicting crimes to investigate and a ruthless cop determined to bring him down. Warren Brown is back as the loyal DS Ripley and Ruth Wilson will reprise her role as serial killer Alice Morgan, who has a rather complicated relationship with Luther. Resident Evil’s Sienna Guillory will be introduced as a new love interest for the detective, so it seems Luther might be finding a bit of personal happiness for once, as strange as that sounds.

Take a look at the BBC trailer below.

Courtroom Drama Silk Headed to Masterpiece This Summer

Move over, detectives – we’re getting a different kind of procedural this summer on Masterpiece Mystery! Legal drama Silk will premiere in the US in August and it will put barristers (that’s British for lawyer) front and center for once.

The series is focused on a group of barristers who are all rather competitively obsessed with attaining the highest rank in their profession, being appointed a Queen’s Counsel. This promotion is known as “taking the silk” and refers to the fact that Queen’s Counsel wear a distinctive silk gown (and a full-bottomed wig) when they appear in court. Obviously, it’s also what gives the show its name.

The story largely follows the rivalry between Maxine Peak’s Martha Costello and Rupert Penry-Jones’ Clive Reader, two rising stars who attempt to backstab, outwit and outdo one another because they’ve both applied to be Queen’s Counsel. Natalie Dormer and Tom Hughes play the chamber’s two new young pupils attempting to learn how to navigate the this complicated world.

Take a look at the BBC trailer for Silk below

Need Another Shopping Drama? The Paradise Comes to Masterpiece This Fall

If the end of Mr. Selfridge (for now) has left you with a department store sized hole in your heart, well, you won’t have to wait too long to get your shopping-focused period drama fix. The BBC’s The Paradise, based on the classic French novel by Emile Zola will be coming to Masterpiece this Fall. And guess what, it’s also set in a luxuriously posh department store.

The Paradise is a rags-to-riches drama set in the first department store in Northern England in the late nineteenth century. It will follow the many stories of the store’s owner and his staff and the various entanglements in which they find themselves. There will – of course – be love affairs and plenty of gorgeous clothes and exploration of the inevitable class issues that arise from someone getting involved with a person they shouldn’t.

The eight-part series features a sprawling cast that includes Joanna Vanderham, Emun Elliott, Sarah Lancashire, David Hayman, Elaine Cassidy, Matthew McNulty and more.

Take a look at the BBC trailer for The Paradise below.

Watch Out, Jane Austen Fans: There’s a New Mr. Darcy in Town

For many people, when considering Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and the novel’s prickly yet dreamy hero Fitzwilliam Darcy, one thing immediately comes to mind. One thing associated with this story above almost all others these days, despite the fact that the novel is celebrating its 200th birthday this year. And that thing is Colin Firth. The actor sparked a love of Austen, an interest in classic literature and an appreciation for white shirts and bucolic scenery among a generation of women, who all swooned over his portrayal of Mr. Darcy in the 1995 BBC adaptation. He is in the minds of a great many people, the definitive Darcy.

Well, he’s about to get some competition. The BBC has ordered a three-part adaptation of the novel Death Comes to Pemberley, a Pride and Prejudice sequel written by P.D. James, which tells the story of Austen’s famous couple six years into their marriage. But the question everyone wants to know is – who’s playing Mr. Darcy this time?

Answer: It’s Matthew Rhys. You may have seen him on ABC’s Brother’s and Sisters, the Masterpiece adaptation of The Mystery of Edwin Drood or FX’s The Americans. And he’s aware of the inevitable Firth comparisons headed his way.

New Trailer Released for The White Queen and It’s Pretty Awesome

A new trailer has been released for upcoming ten-part series The White Queen and if this sort of drama is in any way your thing, it’s going to get you pretty excited for its debut. Based on Philippa Gregory’s bestselling Cousins War series of historical novels, the series will tell the story of the Wars of the Roses from the perspective of the women involved, primarily Elizabeth Woodville, the titular White Queen and wife of King Edward IV, Margaret Beaufort, mother of the man who would become King Henry VII, and Ann Neville, the daughter of Warwick the Kingmaker and eventual wife of King Richard III.

Even though this trailer shows us zero actual footage from the series itself, it’ll probably leave you feeling way more excited to see it than the Starz promo that seemed to focus almost exclusively on the fact that King Edward IV was a womanizer, rather than the actual feud between the Lancasters and the Plantagenets. And also, really, the series is called The White Queen – and ostensibly about the ladies of the Wars of the Roses – and you make the teaser trailer all about King Edward. Feeling a bit judge-y about that still, even if it was enjoyable to watch.

Seriously, this one is so much better, even though all it shows us is ladies in armor. Go watch. The best thing this clip does is highlight that while this mini-series is arguably about a (series of) war(s), much of the conflict didn’t actually take place on a battlefield and that these particular politically savvy women were just as influential as their male counterparts in determining the outcome of events. Take that, King Edward.

Star-Studded Shakespeare Mini-Series The Hollow Crown Comes to PBS This Fall!

Get excited: The Hollow Crown – a star-studded quartet of several of William Shakespeare’s most famous history plays – finally has an American airdate. The films will premiere on Great Performances this September on PBS stations around the country, running weekly from September 20 – October 11.

The Hollow Crown is a four-part miniseries that assembles four of Shakespeare’s history plays – Richard II, Henry IV Part One, Henry IV Part Two and Henry V – into a single chronological narrative, complete with relevant cast members popping up as the same character across the different plays. It’s beautifully acted, gorgeous to look at and, really, just some stunningly all-around good Shakespeare. So excited that it’s finally going to screen in the US!

Ben Whishaw, Jeremy Irons and Tom Hiddleston star as King Richard II, King Henry IV and King Henry V, respectively, with a supporting cast of such notable British stars as Patrick Stewart, Simon Russell Beale, Rory Kinnear, John Hurt, Julie Walters, David Suchet, Michelle Dockery, David Morrissey and more.

(Both Whishaw and Beale just won BAFTAs for their performances in this production. So you know it’s legit.)

Watch the BBC Two trailer for The Hollow Crown below. (Spoiler: It's really good!)

Pages