11 items from 2016
This week, Neil Calloway looks at the state of TV coming from the UK at the moment…
This week, Jane Lush, the new head of BAFTA, accused British TV companies of losing their nerve and subjecting viewers to a tsunami of nostalgia. Quite a brave move from someone whose job it is to promote British TV; it’s almost a Gerald Ratner moment, when the chairman of the eponymous jewellery stores described one of their products in less than glowing terms – he was, of course sacked and the company collapsed a few years later.
Lush has a point. More than a point. While you’ve all been binging on Stranger Things and House of Cards, the BBC have been remaking sitcoms from the 1970s such as Are You Being Served? and Porridge and ITV have been producing an update to Cold Feet. It’s hardly inspiring. Nobody (apart from my »
- Neil Calloway
It may have adorable hair, divine pugs and nasty drunks, but there’s no depth to any character in Doctor Thorne. It’s becoming a habit for Uncle Julian
The broad brushstrokes of Uncle Julian strike again. Yes, the suspense was not disastrously bad here and we very much want to know what happens next. But there’s too much plot and too much laying bare the bones of the narrative without deepening any of the characters. That is a huge problem. Bring back Cranford!
At least Louis (Edward Franklin), the invisible son and heir, finally turned up. This was not an easy role to carry off – he seemed poised between comedy drunkenness and an impending sex crime. “Nobody knows more about women …” Nasty, mean, drunk Louis with his nasty, mean hipflask! This was Thomas from Downton Abbey with a higher position in society and unfettered access to brandy. “Maybe »
- Viv Groskop
Stick him in any show – Doctor Thorne, Deadwood, Game of Thrones – and you’re standing behind a jet engine. But there’s a part of me that will never stop seeing him as Lovejoy, the antiques-loving scamp from the 90s
Ian McShane is one of the best actors working today. If you saw Doctor Thorne on Sunday, you will have noticed that his presence single-handedly elevated the entire production by several thousand notches.
It felt as if McShane had decided to star in a completely different show to everyone else. Without him, Doctor Thorne was a humdrum, soggy piece of Sunday night fluff. But as soon as he turned up as Sir Roger Scatcherd, rolling his eyes and swinging his jaw around, the show crackled to life. It might have taken McShane chomping off great mouthfuls of scenery then gobbing them back into poor Tom Hollander’s face at every opportunity, »
- Stuart Heritage
Uncle Julian is back! And, just like Downton Abbey, his new period drama is awash with heaving-bosom action and cut-glass accents
Uncle Julian’s back! And he’s brought Lovejoy with him! If you’ve been missing Julian Fellowes’s Downton Abbey scripts (yes, I know you haven’t, no one has), here’s your chance to get more scheming aunts, rich heiresses, downtrodden husbands and country estates peeling around the edges ... They were all here. As was an awful lot of explanatory detail and very little action or depth of emotion.
Our plot is simple. Or is it? Actually, it’s not at all. The sister of Lovejoy (the always brilliant Ian McShane) got pregnant by Doctor Thorne’s brother. Then Lovejoy killed Doctor Thorne’s brother by hitting him too hard. The baby, Mary, was adopted by Doctor Thorne (Aka Rev). Lovejoy doesn’t know about this and »
- Viv Groskop
After overcoming various hurdles during development, Neil Gaiman’s celebrated fantasy tale is headed to the small screen. Starz’ TV adaptation of American Gods hails from Hannibal creator Bryan Fuller, who’s set to showrun and direct several episodes, and today brings word of the latest casting addition. Deadwood alum Ian McShane climbs aboard this epic series as the enigmatic Mr. Wednesday.
Gaiman’s sprawling novel takes place across America, following the adventures of ex-con Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) after he’s sprung from prison by a mysterious man. That figure is Mr. Wednesday, who enlists Moon into his world to help him in a battle between ancient and modern gods. Casting McShane in the role ought to appease fans of the novel, because let’s face it, he always delivers. Here’s Gaiman’s enthusiastic response to the news:
“When you write a beloved character (beloved with, or despite, »
- Gem Seddon
Bryan Fuller’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods for Starz has been picking up a lot of steam lately. Recently they cast The 100’s Ricky Whittle as the main character Shadow Moon and now Fuller and Gaiman have announced Ian McShane has taken the other main role as Mr. Wednesday, aka the Norse god Odin.
Author Neil Gaiman had this to say regarding the casting:
“When you write a beloved character (beloved with, or despite, or because of all his faults) like Mr. Wednesday, you get to watch the internet trying to cast the role. I’ve seen a hundred names suggested, but few make me grin like Ian McShane does. I’ve already been lucky enough to have him in one film (he was bright blue in it, animated, and probably Polish). Now I count myself even luckier: he’s made the journey from ‘Lovejoy’ to ‘American Gods. »
- Ricky Church
Louisa Mellor Rob Leane Sep 6, 2016
In the series' war between the old gods and the new, Jesus qualifies as the latter variety according to his official character description:
"Resurrected on Ostara’s feast day, Jesus has always been generous in sharing the Easter holiday with the ancient goddess. But the overly empathetic Son of God would be crushed to know that Ostara harbors some deeply buried resentment over the issue.”
American Gods start date
American Gods is expected to »
Starz and FremantleMedia North America announced today that Ian McShane (“Deadwood,” “Ray Donovan”) has been cast as Mr. Wednesday in the upcoming adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed contemporary fantasy novel, American Gods. The series will begin shooting in April.
Neil Gaiman said
“When you write a beloved character (beloved with, or despite, or because of all his faults) like Mr. Wednesday, you get to watch the internet trying to cast the role. I've seen a hundred names suggested, but few make me grin like Ian McShane does. I've already been lucky enough to have him in one film (he was bright blue in it, animated, and probably Polish). Now I count myself even luckier: he's made the journey from ‘Lovejoy’ to ‘American Gods.’ Yesterday was Super Tuesday. Today is Wonderful Wednesday.”
“Actor. Icon. And now god. It is a goddamn delight to »
- Kellvin Chavez
“Yesterday was Super Tuesday. Today is Wonderful Wednesday," Neil Gaiman said today in response to the casting of Ian McShane as Mr. Wednesday in Starz’s series adaptation of Gaiman’s acclaimed contemporary fantasy novel American Gods. Deadwood and Lovejoy alum McShane will star opposite Ricky Whittle in the straight-to-series drama, set to begin filming in April, with Bryan Fuller and Michael Green as writers/showrunners. McShane previously voiced Mr. Bobinsky in Coraline… »
Celebrated British screenwriting duo Ian La Frenais and Dick Clement will write the script of “Sheene,” a feature film biopic about charismatic motorcycling ace Barry Sheene. The film, a U.K.-Australian co-production is based on the book “Barry: The Story of Motorcycling Legend Barry Sheene” by Sheene’s team mate Steve Parrish and MotoGP commentator Nick Harris.a
Sheene was a cockney playboy who twice won the world motor cycling championships and survived a couple of near-fatal bike crashes, before dying of cancer at age 52.
Production is by by Will Stoppard of the U.K.’s Deep Springs Pictures, and Rod Morris of Australia’s I. O. Films. The pair is currently handling rights ahead of the appointment of an international sales agent.
“To have a British sporting icon who cheated death, »
- Patrick Frater
Robert Banks Stewart, who has died at the age of 84, was a writer and producer whose knack for casting and determination to break the mould made two of television’s most enduring detective series, Shoestring and Bergerac, big ratings winners for the BBC.
Knowing that the corporation was, in 1979, looking for a new crime show, Stewart decided to jettison the idea of traditional cops-and-robbers drama, instead conceiving – with the playwright Richard Harris – a series about a private eye, Eddie Shoestring, who works for a local radio station. With its Bristol setting (chosen by Stewart to be a welcome change from the London suburbs hitherto ubiquitous to such dramas), distinctive score by George Fenton, and breakout performance from the then little-known Trevor Eve, Shoestring became a ratings hit. It ran for two series and was nominated for a Bafta.
Continue reading. »
- Toby Hadoke
11 items from 2016
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