The Complete Sherlock: Coming This November to WETA UK

For those of you in the DC area who are also suffering the indignities of Severe Sherlock Withdrawal –here’s a little bit of news to help with some of that pain. As part of our ongoing series of special Saturday night programming on WETA UK – we’ll be airing the Complete Sherlock this November. That’s right, that means we’ll be broadcasting both Series 1 and 2 over the course of three weekends starting November 17. Mark your calendars and plan accordingly, because as I am sure you all know, there’s never a good reason to not watch Sherlock when it’s on, even if you’ve seen every episode approximately eighteen times. (Not that I speak from experience or anything.)

The BBC’s modern Sherlock Holmes adaptation stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Andrew Scott, Mark Gatiss, Rupert Graves, Una Stubbs and Louise Brealey and has garnered a dedicated (rabid?) fanbase all over the world, for a reason: it’s excellent. Personally, it’s the best drama I’ve seen in a very, very long time (yes, including Game of Thrones) and I think it should basically be required viewing for everyone who claims to appreciate quality television. If you’d like to read more specifics on this, just click here.

Bonus, if you still have that one random holdout friend that you’ve been trying to convince to sample the brilliance that is Sherlock or possibly know some Elementary enthusiasts who should also be exposed the superior BBC interpretation of Holmes, well now’s your chance to get them onboard. Plus, watching the complete series to date will give us something to do (and tweet about) while we wait for Series 3 filming to get started early next year.

I, Claudius: Coming To WETA UK in September!

Exciting news about a bit of upcoming programming on WETA UK – I, Claudius, one of the most popular British mini-series of all time, will premiere on our all-British sub-channel channel starting September 1st.

For those of you who don’t know, I, Claudius is a thirteen-part series produced by the BBC in 1976 and it’s still one of the network’s most successful efforts. The drama stars Sir Derek Jacobi as Claudius and features a supporting cast that is stuffed full of awesome talent, including Sian Phillips, Brian Blessed, John Hurt, Patrick Stewart, George Baker, Margaret Tyzack, John Rhys-Davies and more.

Narrated by an elderly Claudius, the story follows the history of Rome from the death of Marcellus, nephew and son-in-law of Emperor Augustus, in the first episode, to Claudius’ own death in its last. (This is somewhere around from 24 BC or so to 54 A.D in Roman history. Ish.) The plot focuses on Augustus’ attempts to find an heir, the machinations of his wife Livia who wants to elevate her own son Tiberius, and what turns out to be several decades’ worth of plotting and double-dealing that culminates with Cladius’s own unlikely rise to power.

If you’ve never seen it before, I, Claudius is so well worth a look! WETA UK will be airing all thirteen parts in two separate blocks – we’ll be running four episodes at a time on Saturday nights starting September 1st. If you would prefer to see your Roman intrigue at a slightly more stately pace, we’ll also be running the whole thing on Mondays, one episode at a time (i.e. Episode 1 will air Monday, September 3 and continue on from there). Pick whichever airing schedule works best for you and mark your calendars now.

Thoughts? Have you always meant to try this classic out? Or are you looking forward to seeing the series again? Let us know!

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!

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?)

WETA UK is Almost Here! Get the Details on Our Special Premiere Weekend Schedule Now

We’re officially under 48 hours until the launch of our new all-British channel WETA UK this weekend. I am so excited for this, you guys don’t even know. (Or maybe you do know, as I don’t think that I’ve been terribly subtle about my epic joy over this since we announced it.)

Anyway, to celebrate the launch of the new channel, there’s some special programming going on for the majority of the weekend, which I think some of you may want to check out. WETA UK will officially go live at midnight tomorrow night/12am Saturday morning. We’ll be kicking things off with the pilot episodes of 28 series in the line-up airing back-to-back-to-back. The June 2 schedule actually features 20 straight hours of pilot eps once it gets underway – and that’s before we do it all again on Sunday (get full details on that below).

This way, you can all sample a wide variety of the types of series WETA UK will offer, see what you like and plan your coming week accordingly. (Personally, I don’t think my DVR is equipped to handle this in any way, but I’m going to make a valiant effort.) The full schedule will go live on wetauk.org late tomorrow, so you can see when things will be airing in their regular timeslots. Or you can just shoot me your questions all weekend long and I’ll do my best to answer them for you.

Click through for a look at the full Premiere Weekend pilot marathon schedule for both Saturday and Sunday and start getting your viewing plan of attack ready now.

Announcing WETA UK: Bringing You The Best in British Programming 24 Hours a Day

We’re very proud to share some extremely exciting news here today– starting June 2, WETA Television will be launching WETA UK, an innovative channel devoted to presenting British television programming at its best, around the clock, seven days a week. The new, local channel will feature classics, new favorites, and contemporary series currently airing in Britain.

“British programming has long proven popular with our audience on our principal channel, WETA TV 26,” said Kevin Harris, vice president and television station manager of WETA. “WETA UK will offer television viewers throughout Greater Washington the opportunity to watch even more of the British drama and comedy that they enjoy. The channel will be a nice complement to our existing television services: WETA TV 26, WETA Kids and WETA HD.”

WETA UK will present a full schedule of great British programming options – from dramas, to comedies, to mysteries, to science fiction series. The channel will be a top destination for viewers seeking the finest television offerings — from an array of major U.K. producers — including classics from the BBC.

WETA UK will be available free over the air on Channel 26.2 in Greater Washington. On subscription services, the channel can be found on Comcast 265, Cox 800, FiOS 474 and RCN 39. There will be reminders about all this technical stuff when we get a bit closer to launch. :)

I can barely express how excited I am for the launch of this new channel and all the amazing programs we’ll get to watch together. My personal all-time favorite television series ever – the sci-fi hit Doctor Who – will be among the programs in our initial line-up, alongside other television gems, both classic and contemporary.

Settle in for the next few weeks – we’ll be featuring regular updates and profiles of shows you can expect to see on WETA UK, along with a few long-winded diatribes from me about my particular favorites among this lot.

Today, just celebrate with us and our big news! But let us know - are you excited about the upcoming WETA UK channel? What would you most like to see on it, program-wise, in the future?