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Writing for a pop culture institution like long-running British sci-fi series "Doctor Who," you're bound to feel a certain degree of pressure. Generations of children (of any age) have grown up on the series, it's now bigger than ever, with a growing audience in the U.S, and capable of making headlines at home and abroad. But to write a special episode to mark the 50th anniversary of the series (making it by far the longest running science fiction show in the world)—one that would be broadcast simultaneously around the globe (including special 3D screenings in movie theaters), one that would satisfy fans both new and old, casual and hardcore, and one that would justify the acres of hype that have led up to the screening last night—requires even more delicacy. Well, round of applause for Steven Moffat. The writer, also responsible—at least in part—for "Coupling, »
- Oliver Lyttelton
Review Simon Brew 23 Nov 2013 - 22:39
This article contains spoilers. Lots of them.
The Day Of The Doctor
The last time a special anniversary episode of Doctor Who was screened on the show's birthday, we got the Sylvester McCoy-headlined Silver Nemesis. With no disrespect to the Seventh Doctor's battle with the Cyberman - nor to Ace and her catapult - The Day Of The Doctor was in a different class. Back in 1988, the show was struggling, suffering in plain sight despite one or two excellent stories. In 2013, Steven Moffat promised us a story that would change the Doctor forever. And that's pretty much what we got.
"This Has All The Makings Of Your Lucky Day"
From the off, it was clear that this had labour of love stamped throughout it, »
Anniversary episode set 'in present-day London, the 16th century and outer-space' to be screened in 90 countries
A common way of marking a 50th birthday is to go somewhere special. But a famous figure marking his five decades of existence today has an unusually wide range of travel options. The Doctor, a Time Lord from the planet of Gallifrey, will celebrate by visiting present-day London, the 16th century and outer-space.
Or, at least, we think he will. Those details of the 50th birthday edition of Doctor Who come from a brief synopsis in Radio Times. In a repeat of the media blackout which prefaced the on-air announcement in August that Peter Capaldi will succeed Matt Smith in the role, the anniversary edition is not being shown to anyone before transmission of Saturday's 75-minute special at 7.50pm on BBC1.
There are also five cosmically unrevealing trailers on the official Doctor Who website. »
- Mark Lawson
It's pretty hard to fathom now that BBC One is on the verge of celebrating the show's 50th anniversary in spectacular fashion, but there was a time when (whisper it) Doctor Who wasn't on television.
If you ignore that one night in May 1996 when Paul McGann lit up our screens, Who was in absentia for 16 years, but that doesn't mean that the BBC weren't looking for another sci-fi or fantasy hit to replicate the show's success...
This week's Friday Fiver takes a look at a few such attempts - not programmes like The Tomorrow People inspired by the show's original run, or series like Primeval and Merlin which launched in the wake of the new show's success.
These are the shows that tried - with varying degrees of success - to fill that Doctor Who-shaped hole in our hearts between 1989 and 2005.
> Doctor Who: 11 golden moments from 50 years of »
Doctor Who's 50th anniversary episode is BBC Drama's biggest event ever. Showrunner Steven Moffat's daunting mission: to come up with a special that will blow up everyone's space-time vortex. Can 'the Grand Moff' pull it off?
"The anxiety is unbearable," said Oscar Wilde, one of history's great should-have-been Doctors. "I can only hope it lasts for ever." Such is the case for lovers of Doctor Who. For months they've both avoided and vacuumed up any scrap of information about this Saturday's 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor, torn between curiosity and the self-denying desire to see the show play out as intended. You want to know, and you don't want to know.
The special could well be BBC Drama's biggest event ever, with a worldwide simulcast, 3D cinema screenings and a security blackout. It features current incumbent Matt Smith, his pin-up predecessor David Tennant, Billie Piper »
- Andrew Harrison
The good news? If you’re planning on traveling during Thanksgiving week, you won’t be missing any of the amazing Doctor Who programming that BBC America has announced for the 50th anniversary, including several new specials. The bad news? You’re going to need to take an extra week of vacation the week before Thanksgiving, in order to watch it all. Or maybe you feel some illness coming on?
We’ll have all of this on the SciFiMafia.com calendar, but here it all is in one convenient place, along with descriptions of everything. Also included is a confirmation of the Dw:datd simulcast time: 2:50pm Eastern, November 23.
If you’re new to Doctor Who, Now Is The Time to join us. BBC America has included an excellent catch-up summary of the entire show, under “About Doctor Who” in the press release below, so you’ll be ready. You won’t really know, »
- Erin Willard
The incredible horror comedy Grabbers (review) is finally on its way home Stateside so grab a brew and drink in the details. Look for it in stores on November 12th!
From the Press Release
On Erin Island, an idyllic fishing village off the coast of Ireland, charming inebriate Ciaran O'Shea (Richard Coyle; Pusher, "Coupling") is tasked with showing strait-laced police officer Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley; "Primeval," In Her Skin) her new beat. Not that there's much to police, as most of the community's troubles are caused by O'Shea himself. But strange doings are afoot: The crew of a fishing boat disappears, dead whales wash up on the shore, and a local lobsterman catches a mysterious tentacled creature in his trap.
Soon it becomes clear to O'Shea and Nolan that some unnatural creatures are out there, and they're hungry. But it turns out the alien monsters terrorizing the town are allergic »
- Uncle Creepy
BBC One has confirmed the broadcast date of Ripper Street's second series premiere.
The period drama returns for its second run on Monday, October 28 at 9pm.
Taking place in the East End of London, the second series moves forward to 1890, and will feature the return of Matthew MacFadyen, Jerome Flynn and Adam Rothenberg as crime-solving trio Reid, Drake and Jackson.
The Elephant Man has also been confirmed to be making an appearance in the first two episodes of the series.
Speaking about series two, MacFadyen recently said: "It's fantastic to be reunited with much of the wonderful cast and crew from last year. »
Interview Louisa Mellor 4 Oct 2013 - 07:00
There’s something about talking to old-school Rada-trained actors - you know the ones, glossy-vowelled stalwarts of the stage and screen from whose necks you can always hear the rustle of tissue paper from the backstage make-up chair - that brings out my inner Frasier Crane. French vocab and sycophancy belch out in equal measure. Words like habitué and soupçon have to be swallowed down and replaced by less ostentatious fellows. I say things like ostentatious. And fellows.
There was every chance when speaking to David Bamber - a proper English actor if ever there was one - about his role in recent BBC Two drama What Remains that my sherry-swilling Mr Hyde would emerge to call him ‘my »
NBC’s upcoming pirate drama Crossbones has mostly existed on my peripheral radar, but Coupling and Covert Affairs hottie Richard Coyle has been cast in the lead role, according to Deadline. He’ll play an assassin who infiltrates a pirate haven in order to kill Blackbeard.
when he was on Covert Affairs. Not that I minded.
I was lucky enough to see Ken Jeong‘s comedy act before he hit it big. Back then, he went by Dr. Ken and a lot of his comedy focused on his patients and the transition from medicine to comedy. I enjoy him on Community, but the Dr. Ken routine was a different side of Jeong and one I miss sometimes because it was also entertaining. That’s the long way of saying that I was pretty excited to »
- Lyle Masaki
Though Netflix and an increased cable presence have allowed for British comedies to cross the Atlantic, find new audiences, and vice-versa, that exchange still hasn't stopped the practice of ungodly U.S. remakes from happening. “Coupling” turned into a ghastly form in 2003, while the McG-produced remake of “Spaced” never even made it past an embarrassingly botched pilot. The latest case sits with “The Inbetweeners,” an E4 comedy that gained a massive U.K. following and a successful film adaptation. And while a 2012 MTV remake only ran stateside for one season, but that hasn't stopped the forces that be from attempting another version. Deadline reports director Jim Field Smith has been tapped by Paramount to front the remake, promisingly titled “Virgins America,” after directing mid-level comedies such as 2011's “Butter” and “She's Out of My League.” A cast is yet to be attached, but—so as not to draw associations to the failed MTV. »
- Charlie Schmidlin
Us remakes of British sitcoms have been a mixed bag. For every award-scooping Office, there's been a shocking Spaced, an ill-advised It Crowd or a cruddy Coupling that have transplanted the original idea with all the skill of a local butcher conducting an organ surgery. So how will that quartet of secondary school scamps The Inbetweeners fare when they’re transformed into Virgins America, Paramount’s big-screen redo of The Inbetweeners Movie? Director Jim Field Smith is the man charged with making sure it’s the former rather than the latter.The She’s Out Of My League and Episodes director is the man in charge, according to Deadline’s scoop. The ungainly growing pains of that 2010 rom-com no doubt played into the studio’s thinking, even if Jay Baruchel’s shy twenty-something does eventually wow Alice Eve’s hottie in a way that Will, Simon, Neil and Jay would »
Costabile joins as Daniel Judge, the older brother of Jackson (Rothenberg), and will appear in the two-part finale.
Molony joins as new H Division constable Albert Flight, while Mawle is cast as the corrupt Inspector Jedidiah Shine. Newcomer Leanne Best will appear as Jane Cobden, the first woman elected to the London County Council.
Based around the East End of London, »
Trailer Louisa Mellor 24 Jul 2013 - 07:42
Meet Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Dracula, a shagging, arm-ripping-off, bloody-toothed monster with stage illusionist facial hair. Marvel at his horrific exploits in Victorian London, as he stalks about meeting reincarnations of his past love and irking Van Helsing to the sound of Depeche Mode. New Depeche Mode, not the good stuff.
Dracula comes to NBC this October adapted by comic book and screenwriter Cole Haddon (The Strange Cases of Mr Hyde, Space Gladiator). Coupling's Ben Miles, Arrow's Jessica De Gouw, Mr Selfridge's Oliver Jackson-Cohen and more star alongside Rhys Meyers. Take a look at the music video trailer below:
Dracula premieres on NBC on the 25th of October.
Please, if you can, buy our charity horror stories ebook, Den Of Eek! »
Feature Simon Brew 28 Jun 2013 - 07:11
Ever watched a big movie, and stopped with a jolt when a star of a British sitcom pops up? Us too...
This feature is all the fault of the late Richard Marner. As the incompetent Colonel in 'Allo 'Allo, he built a performance that was indelible in our eyes. Thus, when he turned up in a big Hollywood thriller as the President of Russia, we unsuccessfully stifled a guffaw. A big guffaw.
And it got us thinking: what other times has a British sitcom star appeared out of the blue in a big movie, causing a sedentary double take from the comfort of our local Odeon? Glad you asked.
Two things. Firstly, this isn't designed to be a complete list, and also, we've covered films made after the actor or actress confirmed rose to prominence in a sitcom. Oh, and another thing: none of »
News Louisa Mellor 21 Jun 2013 - 09:30
When will the twelfth Doctor be announced? What's the story with those missing episodes? A round-up of this week's Doctor Who rumours...
Though the TV series is currently in hibernation, or, as this is summertime, in aestivation (thank you 1997 Gcse Biology coursework), there've been no shortage of Doctor Who stories to ponder.
Most pressing of course, is the matter of who'll be filling Matt Smith's Prada boots after this year's Christmas Special. The Radio Times says the actor's identity will be revealed in August or September to plug any potential leaks during the filming of the festive episode. The Christmas story is thought to be Eleventh Doctor-led with the Twelfth Doctor only being introduced in the closing regeneration, though as we all know with Doctor Who, surprises can happen.
In addition to last week's potential candidates (or more properly, the actors and actresses »
Green Wing's Julian Rhind-Tutt is in the running to replace Matt Smith in Doctor Who, claims the Sun. The paper says the actor – who was also in The Hour and movie Notting Hill – he was considered for the part when David Tennant quit, but lost out to Smith. Skyfall actor Rory Kinnear is the 2/1 favourite to win the role, the Sun says, with Torchwood's Burn Gorman, Threesome's Emun Elliott and Coupling's Richard Coyle also in the running. Sadly there seem to be no women in the Sun's shortlist – or could there be a surprise of galactic proportions?
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Rhind-Tutt was reportedly one of the last few contenders to be The Doctor after David Tennant left in 2010, according to The Sun.
Rory Kinnear is now said to be the favourite to take on the role, according to the tabloid.
There’s no other way to put it: Grabbers is simply, delightfully Irish. The film may have a slim plot, but it lends itself to great results, relishing in its unique sense of humor, and as befitting a remote Irish island, offering a wide net of kooky, drunk characters.
Twas a dark and stormy night…when a father, son and shipmate get sucked up by an alien creature while on a fishing trip. Rats. Well, actually, they’re “Grabbers.” Welcome to Erin Island.
It could just as easily been any of the other drunken townsfolk, but we open on Ciarán (Coupling and Covert Affairs’ Richard Coyle), a Garda (Ireland’s national police), who’s clearly hung over, with a bottle in hand. He polishes it off and then heads off to work. Once there, he’s dealt a stubborn needle in his side: that of peppy, pretty and sober Lisa Nolan »
- Andy Greene
ABC‘s Mistresses aims for UK gold, but we all know the dangers involved with the “Americanization” of British television. For every The Office, there are four or five Couplings. There’s even a show (Episodes) based on the often misguided, or downright ludicrous, decisions involved in trying to take something that works for British audiences, and turn them into something that appeals to those across the pond. Sometimes the theory is to tweak the way things work, sprinkle in notes of American culture, and hopefully deliver the spirit of things. Once in a while, as with the horrible failure that was the American Coupling (based on one of the best shows ever, by the way), the idea is to try to keep the show intact as much as possible, all the way down to only the most minor of changes to the script. Both theories have their hits and misses. »
- Marc Eastman
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