The Sky At Night wins reprieveBookmark and Share

Thursday, 31 October 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
Record-setting astronomy TV series The Sky At Night is to continue following a campaign to save the BBC show.

However, it will lose its 20-minute slot on BBC One and will move to BBC Four, where it is currently repeated in a 30-minute format.

Following the death last year of presenter Sir Patrick Moore, it was feared that the programme - which was first broadcast on 24th April 1957 - would be axed when last month the BBC said its future was being reviewed. That sparked a massive protest, with an online petition garnering more than 52,000 signatures.

Now the BBC has announced that the monthly programme will first air on BBC Four in a half-hour slot from February 2014, with repeats on BBC Two.

Kim Shillinglaw, the head of commissioning for BBC Science and Natural History, said:
Sir Patrick Moore inspired generations of astronomers and I hope that alongside the BBC's other astronomy content, such as BBC Two's Stargazing Live, The Sky at Night will enthuse further generations about the wonder of the night sky.
Cassian Harrison, BBC Four's editor, commented:
I'm delighted that we are continuing with such a treasured BBC brand, and look forward to welcoming the programme to its new home on BBC Four, where it will join a rich mix of other science content.
Moore presented the show from its start to his death and only missed one edition in July 2004 - because of food poisoning - making it the longest-running programme with the same presenter in TV history. The series has been fronted by a team of presenters since Moore's death, including Jon Culshaw, Dr Chris Lintott, Dr Lucie Green, Dr Chris North, Dr Paul Abel, and Pete Lawrence. It is yet to be decided who will present it when it comes back.

Following the announcement of its reprieve, Culshaw tweeted:
Grand news, The Sky at Night is saved and will stay. Huge thanks to @Saveskyatnight and to everybody who signed and spoke up so passionately
The next edition will be on Monday 4th November at 12.30am (except Scotland, when it will air at 1.15am). It will be off air in January, when the slot will be taken by the BBC Two astronomy show Stargazing Live, hosted by Professor Brian Cox and Dara O Briain.




Last Tango In Halifax dancing back on to screensBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 30 October 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
The second series of BAFTA-winning BBC One romantic drama Last Tango In Halifax will be back on TV screens next month.

Made by Red Production Company and once again comprising six episodes written by Sally Wainwright, it will see Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid returning as the love-struck septuagenarians Alan Buttershaw and Celia Dawson, who rediscover their love for each other 60 years after they first met.

Series one, which aired between 20th November and 19th December 2012, was the BBC's highest-rating new mid-week drama of 2012, regularly attracting more than seven million viewers.

Also starring in it are Sarah Lancashire as Celia's daughter Caroline Elliot and Nicola Walker as Alan's daughter Gillian Greenwood, plus Nina Sosanya as Caroline's lover Kate and Tony Gardner and Ronnie Ancona as, respectively, Caroline's husband John and John's lover Judith.

The first episode of the new series is currently unplaced in the BBC One schedule for Saturday 16th to Friday 22nd November.
We pick up from where we left off with Alan regaining consciousness from his heart scare, much to Celia's relief and delight. She promises to never fall out with him again and, reflecting that life's too short, they decide to get married - in just a fortnight's time.

Things between Caroline and John become fractious when Caroline returns home to find John and Judith drunk and in her bed. To retaliate, she invites Kate to move in - she won't be made a gooseberry in her own home. And finding out that he slept with Gillian adds to her disdain.

Gillian and Alan's relationship takes a hit when he finds out she's slept with John. It's one disappointment after another. In the heat of the moment he reveals to Celia that Gillian had an abortion when she was 15. Two weeks later, Gillian finds the register office card with a reminder of the wedding date and it's today! Why hasn't she been invited? Gillian grabs her keys, but can she get there in time?
Directed by Euros Lyn, filming took place over the summer across the north of England, and Wainwright said:
The inspiration for Last Tango in Halifax was deeply personal so I am delighted that it also resonated with so many viewers – both young and old. The second series will bring even more dramatic twists, trials, and tribulations for the characters, with Alan and Celia's love story continuing to be the beating heart of the series.
Nicola Shindler, the executive producer and founder of Red Production Company, commented;
When we started developing Last Tango in Halifax we wanted to make a love story first and foremost. The audience instantly warmed to the simple and sincere affection between Alan and Celia, which endured despite the dramatic events that transpired around them. Series two promises even more ups and downs, putting even the strongest bonds to the test.
The first series won the Best Drama Series award at this year's TV BAFTAs, and Wainwright was named Best Drama Writer at the 2013 British Academy Television Craft Awards.


UPDATE - 11th NOVEMBER: The new series will start on Tuesday 19th November at 9pm, the BBC has confirmed.





Cool Gothic at the BFIBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 29 October 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
The BFI Southbank will be looking closely at the emergence of Cool Gothic And The New Vampire next week with a host of special guests plus illustrative clips from TV series such as Being Human, In The Flesh, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The Fades, and True Blood.

Taking place on Monday 4th November at 6.30pm, it will feature a panel discussion hosted by film critic Danny Leigh, who will be joined by actors Anthony Head (Buffy), Damien Molony (Being Human) and Lily Loveless (The Fades), creators/writers Toby Whithouse (Being Human) and Dominic Mitchell (In The Flesh), and director Farren Blackburn (The Fades).
Ever since Anne Rice gave the vampire a conscience in Interview with the Vampire, the Gothic myth has been reinterpreted for a new generation. Here, the creative teams behind such "new Gothic" works as Being Human, In the Flesh, The Fades, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer are assembled to discuss the resurrection of Gothic myths on our TV screen and their vast appeal to today's generation. Illustrated with clips of these vastly successful shows and others, our panel will examine the whole "Cool Gothic" phenomenon.
Tickets can be bought via this link.

The event is part of the BFI's blockbuster project Gothic: The Dark Heart of Film.

UPDATE: THURSDAY 28th NOVEMBER: A clip of Buffy and Angel creator Joss Whedon talking about vampires - taken from the BFI's Joss Whedon In Conversation event of 12th June 2013 - was uploaded to the BFI's YouTube channel two days ago:


The full conversation can be seen here.




Atlantis recommissioned for second seriesBookmark and Share

Saturday, 26 October 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
The BBC's new fantasy drama Atlantis has been recommissioned for a second series, it was announced today - after just four episodes of the first run.

Created by Howard Overman, Johnny Capps, and Julian Murphy - part of the team behind Merlin, whose gap it is filling - the first episode, which aired on BBC One on Saturday 28th September, drew an audience of 8.4 million viewers (including catch-up over seven days), making it the biggest new Saturday-night drama series launch in the UK since Robin Hood in 2006, and also up on the launch of Merlin in 2008. Across the first three episodes, the show - made by Urban Myth Films - has averaged a consolidated audience of 6.7 million, and is averaging 7.4 million viewers in Live+7.

BBC One controller Charlotte Moore said:
Atlantis delivers original British drama with the kind of scale and ambition that we've come to expect from the cinema. It feels very much at home on Saturday nights on BBC One. It's been wonderful to watch Howard and the team create a whole new world, brilliantly inspired by Greek mythology, which is proving a hit with all the family, and a second series is richly deserved.
Ben Stephenson, the controller of BBC Commissioning, commented:
Atlantis has quickly made its mark and established itself as the new weekly fantasy drama fix for all the family on BBC One. The show is packed with creative ambition which is a credit to the team involved, and a second series will ensure the show builds and grows with the audience.
In a joint statement, Capps, Murphy, and Overman said:
We are all thrilled at Urban Myth Films that Atlantis has been recommissioned and look forward to continuing the legend next year.
The 13-part series follows the adventures of Jason (Jack Donnelly), Hercules (Mark Addy), and Pythagoras (Robert Emms), who battle against some of the most famous names of Greek legend, often in unexpected guises. The show also stars Jemima Rooper (Medusa), Aiysha Hart (Ariadne), Sarah Parish (Pasiphae), and Juliet Stevenson (The Oracle). All of these characters will return in series two. The number of episodes of the second series is yet to be confirmed, though.

Previously unannounced guests still to come include Robert Lindsay and John Hannah, who have forthcoming roles in the current series, which continues on BBC One until late December.

Tonight's episode - White Lies - airs at 8.15pm.




Hitchhiker's stage show cancelled mid-tourBookmark and Share

Saturday, 26 October 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
Poor ticket sales have led to the sudden cancellation of the touring production of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy Radio Show Live!

It was pulled ahead of a performance due to be held at The Hawth in Crawley last Monday, with ticket-holders being told to contact venues for refunds. The show was due to continue touring until the end of November.

A notice on the production's website reads:
The Radio Theatre Company deeply regret to announce the immediate cancellation of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy Radio Show 2013 Tour. Tonight's performance at The Hawth, Crawley, and tomorrow's at the Watford Colosseum will not take place, nor will any of the remaining scheduled shows in October and November. Ticket-holders are being contacted and should contact venues for refunds.

Although a well-loved show, Hitchhiker's Live has been subject to the same extreme economic pressures as many productions touring the UK this autumn. Ticket sales across the board have been lower than average and we have not escaped this trend. A difficult financial environment for such a large and technical show means that covering operating costs has become impossible. As a result, in the last 24 hours we have had no option but make the extremely hard and painful decision to stop the tour.

We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and share the extreme disappointment and frustration felt by many who were looking forward to seeing the show. we sincerely hope that it can be brought back in the future.
Simon Jones, who had been reprising the role of Arthur Dent, posted the following joint statement with director Dirk Maggs on his Facebook page:
With infinite regret, despite happy audiences and 5-star reviews, we have been forced to curtail this tour ahead of schedule due to economic adversity. Having worked so hard to put on a show worthy of Douglas Adams and his devoted fans, we are utterly devastated.

It has been a pleasure to be a part of a company, band and crew who have become a close-knit family. We know people hoping to see the show will be as horribly disappointed as we are, and offer our heartfelt apologies for any inconvenience this has caused.
The show first toured last year, reuniting many of the original radio and TV cast members and with guest performers such as Neil Gaiman providing the voice of The Book.




Sherlock Series 3 approachesBookmark and Share

Thursday, 24 October 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
A confirmed start date for the third series of Sherlock has been announced - for the USA.

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Dr John Watson, it will be shown on PBS as part of its Masterpiece strand, beginning on Sunday 19th January at 10pm. It is the first time that its US première has been announced ahead of the UK's. However, regarding its UK transmission, co-creator Steven Moffat was reported to have told Cheltenham Literary Festival last week:
I would place good money on it being at the very end or the very beginning of the year.
His wife, Sue Vertue, said in a statement:
We are hugely excited about this next series of Sherlock, and have worked closely with our partners, Masterpiece and PBS, to bring these episodes to US audiences in January. We promise our fans that Season 3 is worth waiting for.
Fellow co-creator Mark Gatiss tweeted yesterday:

Rebecca Eaton, the executive producer of Masterpiece, told Entertainment Weekly that the new episodes were "fantastic" and "jaw-dropping", adding:
They are like small movies. Benedict and Martin are so in their Sherlock-Watson groove. They are so comfortable with that relationship it's like being in the room with them.
The first instalment of the three-episode run is called The Empty Hearse, with the second entitled The Sign of Three, and the third The Last Vow.







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