Jonathan Creek series 5 trailer releasedBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 18 February 2014 - Reported by John Bowman
The BBC has released a trailer for the new series of Jonathan Creek.

The 30-second promo sees Creek - having relinquished his windmill home now that he's married - scathingly comparing the new community in which he lives to Twin Peaks.


As previously reported, series 5 starts on BBC One on Friday 28th February at 9pm with The Letters of Septimus Noone. A clip from the episode has been made available on the Radio Times website, in which the BBC One series Sherlock is parodied.

The second episode of the three-episode run is entitled The Sinner and the Sandman. Its broadcast date and time are yet to be confirmed.
In The Sinner and the Sandman, a retired local psychic inadvertently makes the most amazing and impossible prediction of his career.

As Creek and Polly strive to settle into rural life, they find their apparently serene country village is riddled with all manner of strange and disturbing undercurrents . . .

Trouble is already brewing in the nearby community centre - recently reopened after a major facelift - where a sordid sex scandal is about to break, casting a pall of gloom over the celebrations.

And at the vicarage, the arrival of a new baby is overshadowed by tales of a "weird hump-backed beast" that has been seen prowling in the garden by night and foraging through the rubbish bags for foodstuffs.

Even the Creek residence is struck by misfortune, as the prospect of a plague of deadly Japanese knotweed threatens to trigger widescale panic throughout the village. And after a whole slew of other unfortunate events, there are fears that some strange parochial apocalypse is about to dawn.

Jonathan Creek, meanwhile, finds himself paying a charitable call on the eccentric Mr Eric Ipswich - aka "The Amazing Astrodamus" - an ancient and reclusive former psychic magician who will shortly bring the village to a standstill by pulling off the most baffling act of clairvoyance in history.

And what is behind the macabre recurring dream that continues to haunt Creek's wife Polly, in which the kindly children's nursery character The Sandman is transformed into a dark and chilling figure of evil?
Creek is played by Alan Davies, and Polly by Sarah Alexander.




BFI to mark BBC2's 50th anniversary and hold Missing Believed Wiped specialBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 18 February 2014 - Reported by John Bowman
The BFI is to mark the 50th anniversary of BBC2 with two special screenings.

Set up to offer alternative programming to the two other mainstream channels then on offer (namely, BBC1, which was renamed from BBC tv, and ITV), BBC2 was originally meant to open on Monday 20th April 1964, but a fire at Battersea Power Station caused a major power failure in the area that meant the schedule had to be postponed to the next day. Since then, says the BFI:
The channel has carved out a special place in the cultural TV landscape – from in-depth science and documentary to groundbreaking comedy and drama. Across these two screenings we take a look at the first fascinating week of BBC2 via surviving archive programmes that show an astonishing range of subjects and ambition, and which laid the foundations for the channel we all know and love today.
Both screenings take place on Wednesday 23rd April, and they start at 6.10pm with The Opening Week + Sir David Attenborough In Conversation With Alan Yentob.
This selection of archive clips aims to capture the flavour of the opening week (including the first night's power cut, and the hilarious newsreader forced to stay on air with nothing to cut to!). Clips include light entertainment shows such as Jazz 625: Duke Ellington in Concert, comedy from The Alberts' Channel Too and Arkady Raikin (the Soviet Union's leading comedian), and drama with Julius Caesar (the National Youth Theatre production with original jazz score).
BBC executive Alan Yentob will be discussing BBC2 past, present and future with Sir David Attenborough, who was the channel's controller from 1965 to 1969.

This will be followed at 8.45pm by the production of Kiss Me Kate - featuring Howard Keel, Patricia Morison, Millicent Martin and Eric Barker - that formed part of the opening schedule.
This lavish production of the famous Cole Porter Broadway musical was commissioned to kick the channel off with a bang, and to showcase the better picture offered by BBC2's brand-new 625-line system (until then, all UK television had only been 405 lines). Add to this a superb cast (Howard Keel and Millicent Martin), some spirited dance routines and numbers - including, appropriately enough to open a new national TV channel, "Another Op'nin', Another Show" – and we guarantee you a toe-tapping televisual extravaganza!
A fanfare for the channel based on the Morse code translation of "BBC2" was composed by Freddie Phillips. He later composed the theme music for the "Trumptonshire trilogy" of children's TV programmes comprising Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Chigley, for whose characters he also wrote songs.

And earlier in the month, the BFI will be holding a Missing Believed Wiped special entitled Maximum Access: The Complete and Utter History of Britain, with Michael Palin as a special guest.

This event takes place on Wednesday 2nd April at 8.50pm.
The BFI's Missing Believed Wiped initiative exists not only to highlight recovered TV material but to provide a showcase for the public. These screenings serve multiple purposes: to allow enthusiasts to see the titles; to inform cataloguers and archivists of the survival status of the material; and - perhaps most importantly - to alert schedulers, programme-makers and commercial distributors to the finds, leading to greater exposure.

To that end, this Missing Believed Wiped special will focus on the zany, pre-Python comedy series The Complete and Utter History of Britain - Michael Palin and Terry Jones' 1960s precursor to the much-loved TV show Horrible Histories. Here, we find sketches such as Richard the Lionheart relating his exploits in the Crusades in the manner of a laddish holidaymaker, and William the Conquerer engaging in post-match analysis.

Fans will be delighted that all the surviving material from this seminal series, along with new complementary material from Palin and Jones, will now be made available on DVD (thanks to Network Releasing).
Palin is to introduce the event.

Tickets to all the above will go on sale in due course.




Jonathan Creek series 5 start date and time confirmedBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 12 February 2014 - Reported by John Bowman
The new mini-series of Jonathan Creek will start on Friday 28th February at 9pm, the BBC confirmed today.

The BBC One drama, starring Alan Davies as the eponymous mystery-solver and Sarah Alexander as his wife, Polly, returns for three episodes, beginning with The Letters of Septimus Noone.
When a classic locked-room novel is turned into a West End musical, one of its stars falls victim to a real-life "impossible crime".

The Mystery of the Yellow Room, based on a 19th-century story by Gaston Leroux, is currently thrilling London theatre audiences with its enticing blend of music, romance and sizzling Gothic melodrama.

But events take a sinister turn one night when the show's glamorous singing sensation Juno Pirelli is found horribly stabbed inside a locked dressing room, from which no assailant could possibly have escaped.

No weapon or any other evidence of an intruder can be found, nor any rational explanation for the victim's wounds.

As the actress's life hangs in the balance, her producer and colleagues remain baffled. And attention once again turns to the lateral-thinking Jonathan Creek for a solution to the whole grisly puzzle.

But can Creek - now a happily-married man - even be persuaded to embark upon the investigation? As he and his wife, Polly, struggle to come to terms with a sudden personal tragedy, a series of dark and disturbing family secrets is about to emerge that will throw the couple's whole world into turmoil . . .
Davies recently revealed to Radio Times that the episode will parody BBC One stablemate Sherlock, with fast cutting and close focusing on clues as a Creek admirer and criminology student called Ridley, portrayed by Kieran Hodgson, gets things hopelessly wrong when he imitates Sherlock while attempting to work out the recent travels of Creek and his wife.

The episode will co-star Ali Bastian as Juno Pirelli, Paula Wilcox as Hazel Prosser, Simon Thomas as Christophe Holtz, and Raquel Cassidy as Sharon.





Musketeers will ride into action for second seriesBookmark and Share

Sunday, 9 February 2014 - Reported by John Bowman
A second series of swashbuckling drama The Musketeers was announced today by the BBC just three weeks into the 10-episode run of the first.

The contemporary take on the classic Alexandre Dumas characters had a consolidated audience of 9.3 million for episode one, which aired on Sunday 19th January, making it the corporation's biggest new drama launch since Call The Midwife in January 2012. The first three episodes have averaged 6.3 million viewers in the overnight ratings.

Set on the streets of 17th-century Paris, where law and order is more an idea than reality, the series follows the eponymous quartet who are far more than King Louis XIII's personal bodyguards, but ultimately stand resolutely for social justice: for honour, valour, love - and for the thrill of it.

It stars Luke Pasqualino as D'Artagnan alongside Tom Burke as Athos, Santiago Cabrera as Aramis and Howard Charles as Porthos. All four will return in series two, whose length is yet to be confirmed.

Creator Adrian Hodges said:
I'm completely thrilled to be able to continue the journey we have begun on The Musketeers. Writing and helping produce the show has been one of the greatest challenges and joys of my professional life.
Charlotte Moore, the controller of BBC One, commented:
Drama in 2014 has got off to a great start on BBC One and The Musketeers has really brought something fresh and new to the channel. I can't wait to see how things will develop in the next series.
The show is made by BBC Drama Production and co-produced by BBC Worldwide and BBC America. Jessica Pope is the BBC executive producer, Hodges is an executive producer and lead writer, and Colin Wratten is producer.

Kate Harwood, the head of Drama England at BBC Drama Production, said:
I am delighted that Jessica Pope, Adrian Hodges, Colin Wratten and their team are able to go back to 17th-century Paris, round up those superb Musketeers and fight some more good fights for the BBC One audience.
The show was recommissioned by Moore and Ben Stephenson, the controller of BBC Drama Commissioning.

Episode four - entitled The Good Soldier - airs at 9pm tonight.

Guest actors still to come in this series include Sean Pertwee, JJ Field, Vincent Regan, Ashley Walters, Amy Nuttall, Tara Fitzgerald, Annabelle Wallis, Zoe Tapper and Vinnie Jones.