Sherlock Series 3: Publicity ImagesBookmark and Share

Friday, 27 December 2013 - Reported by Chuck Foster
A selection of publicity images are available to promote the forthcoming return of Sherlock to our screens on New Years Day.

Martin Freeman as John Watson. Image: BBC/Robert ViglaskyLouise Brealey as Molly. Image: BBC/Robert ViglaskyAmanda Abbington as Mary Morstan. Image: BBC/Robert ViglaskyUna Stubbs as Mrs Hudson. Image: BBC/Robert ViglaskyBenedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes. Image: BBC/Robert ViglaskyBenedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock. Image: BBC/Robert ViglaskyBenedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock with Martin Freeman as John Watson. Image: BBC/Robert ViglaskyMartin Freeman as John Watson. Image: BBC/Robert ViglaskyRupert Graves as Lestrade. Image: BBC/Robert ViglaskyBenedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock. Image: BBC/Robert ViglaskyAmanda Abbington as Mary Morstan. Image: BBC/Robert ViglaskyMartin Freeman as John Watson. Image: BBC/Robert ViglaskyBenedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock. Image: BBC/Robert ViglaskyBenedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock. Image: BBC/Robert ViglaskyLouise Brealey as Molly with Ed Birch as Tom. Image: BBC/Robert ViglaskyBenedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock with Martin Freeman as John Watson. Image: BBC/Robert ViglaskyRupert Graves as Lestrade. Image: BBC/Robert ViglaskyUna Stubbs as Mrs Hudson. Image: BBC/Robert ViglaskyLouise Brealey as Molly. Image: BBC/Robert ViglaskyBenedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock. Image: BBC/Robert ViglaskyMartin Freeman as John Watson. Image: BBC/Robert ViglaskyMark Gatiss as Mycroft. Image: BBC/Robert ViglaskyBenedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock with Martin Freeman as John Watson. Image: BBC/Robert ViglaskyBenedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock with Martin Freeman as John Watson. Image: BBC/Robert Viglasky

FILTER: - BBC - Sherlock

The legacy of Buffy The Vampire Slayer is examinedBookmark and Share

Thursday, 26 December 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
The legacy of cult TV series Buffy The Vampire Slayer is being examined today by the BBC Radio 4 arts strand Front Row - ten years after the supernatural drama finished in the UK.

The American-made show, which spanned 144 episodes over seven series, aired on BBC2 between 30th December 1998 and 18th December 2003, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar as the eponymous heroine, with Anthony Head as her Watcher, Rupert Giles, and aided by her "Scooby Gang" of friends. It won three Emmys, spawned the spin-off TV series Angel, and proved to be hugely influential on TV plotting and scripting.

Author and novelist Naomi Alderman has made the radio special to examine its impact and, as she puts it, "why there are so few 'daughters of Buffy': strong and complex fictional creations, who aren't simply the sole female lead in a predominantly male cast."

Interviewed for the half-hour programme, which goes out at 7.15pm, are the show's creator Joss Whedon, along with Anthony Head, writers Neil Gaiman and Rhianna Pratchett, TV executives Jane Root and Susanne Daniels, and fans Blake Harrison and Bim Adewunmi.

The show will be available to listen to live worldwide via the BBC Radio 4 site and afterwards via the specific programme site.

FILTER: - BBC - Buffy The Vampire Slayer - Radio

12 days of Big-Finish-masBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 25 December 2013 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Big Finish are running a number of special offers over the next twelve days as part of the festive celebrations, selected from a many of their range of series.

Today's offering is the Dark Shadows story, A Collinwood Christmas, which is available to download at a special price.

Dark Shadows: A Collinwood Christmas (Credit: Big Finish)A Collinwood Christmas
Starring Jamison Selby as Jamison Collins, and Lizzie Hopley as Ivanka Romano

“I am your worst nightmare, Jamison Collins, for I am the woman who will make you live."

Jamison Collins is a lost and broken man. His wife has died, leaving him to bring up his children, Roger and Elizabeth, alone.

Ivanka Romano lives in the Old House on the Collinwood estate. Abandoned by her gypsy tribe, she is also alone.

But, on this dark and stormy night, ghosts from the past are returning. Ghosts from the past are threatening to end the lives of these lost and broken people.

It's Christmas Eve but the only present that the children of Collinwood will receive is death...

FILTER: - Special Offers - Big Finish

Sherlock mini episode broadcast details revealedBookmark and Share

Sunday, 22 December 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
More details about the forthcoming Sherlock mini episode Many Happy Returns have been released.

Lasting seven minutes and acting as a prequel to the third series, it will be available on the BBC iPlayer from 2pm on Tuesday 24th December and will then be on the BBC's Red Button service periodically from Wednesday 25th December to Thursday 2nd January - the day after the first episode of the new series starts.
A series of seemingly unconnected crimes stretching from Tibet to India to Germany. Sherlock Holmes has been gone for two years. But someone isn't quite convinced that he's dead . . .
The Red Button schedule page currently lists the mini episode's broadcast times as follows:
  • Wednesday 25th December - 8.25pm-5.30am
  • Thursday 26th December - 8pm-5.30am
  • Friday 27th December - 8pm-5.30am
  • Saturday 28th December - 8pm-5.30am
  • Sunday 29th December - 8pm-1.05am
  • Monday 30th December - 8pm-5.30am
  • Tuesday 31st December - 8pm-5.30am
  • Wednesday 1st January - 10.20pm-5.30am
  • Thursday 2nd January - 8pm-5.30am
Cast details for it have not been released.

UPDATE - 26th DECEMBER: The mini episode is currently available to watch below until 2pm on 24th December 2015. (NB: May not play outside the UK.)

FILTER: - Online - Sherlock

Sherlock series 3 interviews releasedBookmark and Share

Thursday, 19 December 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
A video interview with Sherlock co-creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss plus question-and-answer sessions with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman were released today ahead of the start of the third series.

The show returns to BBC One on Wednesday 1st January at 9pm with The Empty Hearse, written by Gatiss. Before then, though, a prequel entitled Many Happy Returns will go live on BBC iPlayer on Tuesday 24th December.

The new series will feature Freeman's real-life partner Amanda Abbington as Watson's love interest Mary Morstan, plus Lars Mikkelsen as the main villain Charles Augustus Magnussen. It will also see Gatiss returning as Holmes's brother, Mycroft.

The question on everyone's lips will finally be answered when Sherlock returns with three brand-new action-packed adventures. How did he do it? And how will John take the news that his best friend faked his own death? What will Sherlock think when he finds out John has fallen in love with Mary Morstan? She's sensible, quick-witted and not at all taken in by Sherlock's posturing. Once again, the game is on for Sherlock and John.

How did it feel reading the first script of the new series?

It's always a kind of cold-faced thrill because you get the first enjoyment of it. It's like being the first audience of the finished product, so it was a real treat. We knew what the rough trajectory was over the three films, but when you get the full script it's just a delight. The first thing I go to is the big scenes, and every one of those scripts is a terrific read. It's such a joy to read them for the first time - you get that thrill that hopefully the audience will get when they sit down and watch it.

What was it like getting back into character after a two-year break?

I would say it was easier than the second series, but it's never completely easy because of the break and because of how extraordinary a character he is. No matter what comparisons people draw between me and him he is very different in his temperament, he is more mercurial, his rhythms are faster and more aggressive than mine are, and that goes for his intelligence and speed of talking - I feel like I have to ramp up a gear, which takes a bit of time to get used to. But you know, I love it, and however hard it gets, and it is a tricky one to pull off, it's a character I love playing and I always feel sad saying goodbye to him.

What do viewers have in store for series 3?

Without giving too much away there is a fantastic trajectory in Sherlock's character arc which is going from a position of not really fitting in and then doing incredibly well and forming a bond again with John.

They have some extraordinary adventures in the first and second episodes and then in the third they are challenged by a situation and a master villain who brings him to his knees. What's exciting about this series is we see Sherlock in real peril. We know from the end of series two he staged his death, he was out of the game but calculating every move and therefore in charge. With this challenge he really is out of control. He really does lose his authority on the situation and it's really exciting to see a hero in that much jeopardy and it's very interesting to see what it does psychologically to him.

As far as plot goes, Sherlock and John reunite, there is an explanation and there is a new character in the shape of Mary Morstan - it's really about how the three of them kind of co-exist. It doesn't become a trio, but she is a leading figure in it. She's not just a stay-at-home wife, she is someone who is very involved in both of the boys' realities, but it's a wonderful new dynamic to play with.

What do you think Lars Mikkelsen brings to the series?

An incredibly steely reality which is harrowingly possible. He is a businessman - he's not a mad chaotic villain, not like the award-winning performance Andrew Scott gave as Moriarty. He is something of great calm and measure that has a depth to it which is an even bigger challenge than the chaos of Moriarty. He is so measured and precise - he is like a shark, a terrifyingly perfect predator of our age.

He will chime with people who know what a bully is - he is the archetypal bully, and his means and methods are chillingly everyday in our culture. He's a smart creation, very real and not fantastical. He's got a foreign perspective on the English culture which Holmes so perfectly personifies and the fact that he fights on the side of the angels. He sort of reduces what Holmes protects.

Do you think Sherlock will understand John's reaction to the news that he is in fact alive?

I think he completely thinks that John will understand what he has done, and be fine with it. I think he is expecting a wry smile, a handshake and maybe a laugh or two and then off on a case. He gets it so wrong, so so wrong. He's rusty, he regresses and it takes him a little while to get on form, to smell out London and understand that again and also to get back to being best friends - you empathise with him because you know ultimately he did what he did to save his best friend's life. But John being quite a strait-laced ex-soldier is not too happy.

Do you think there is an evolution in their relationship?

They start from a point where they are almost strangers again, they have to have that moment of trust re-established. It's quite a thing to do to a friend to fake your own death to save a friend, and it takes time.

They rile each other and amuse each other and excite one another and do everything that good friends do but to extremes because of the situation, and the friendship just grows through very heightened circumstances and drama.

It's just a glorious thing to play out, and having such a skilled actor as Martin Freeman to play off - the verisimilitude is bar none and his reaction and comic skill is always exceptional. But the real heart of what he does and why he is so funny is because it's from a place of truth.

In Sherlock you've got this ridiculously theatrical, sometimes manipulative but very real friend which makes for a tempestuous but brilliant odd-couple friendship with all the dynamics of series one and two, just playing out in very different circumstances.

Do you think we will see any changes with Sherlock's relationships with Mycroft in this series?

There's a lovely arc there which gives a lot more insight into them as brothers and where they came from. There is a really interesting glimpse of the hold they have over each other which hasn't really come to light until this series.

It's great, Mycroft becomes the bigger brother in every sense - both intellectually and in terms of power. They are brothers in a family, they are blood relatives and that's explored in more detail which is exciting - funny, but not trite. It's quite profoundly moving I think.

You find out a bit more about both characters, but the most interesting thing is that you find out a lot more about why he is the way he is, you have little hints of back story which just remind people that he grew up - he wasn't just born Sherlock.

Sherlock was somebody who may have been a little bit different as a child but he is very much self-styled; he wasn't born the way he is, there's a lot of conditioning that's made him this genius, thrill-seeking, adventurous, crime-solving hero that he is.

If you could have one of Sherlock's attributes what would it be?

His mental focus, which comes with its faults as well, it's very hard-earned. What I love about him is he is a hero for people who are different and a role model for people who are different, because he acquires a status through his skill that is bar none and I would love to have his mental agility and focus. I just think it is exceptional. And his memory, if I can have two!

What was it like being back together for the first read-through?

It was good - it had a kind of familiarity about it, we had new people joining which was lovely. Given that it was our third time, or fourth including the pilot, it just feels nice and familiar. It's always exciting because the scripts are so good.

Two years have passed since Sherlock faked his death. How do you think this has affected John and how has he moved on?

His best friend has died horribly in front of him, which took a long time to get over, but the way that his life has moved on is that he has fallen in love with Mary. He is leading a functional, normal-ish life really which doesn't have the highs and lows of his life with Sherlock but is certainly a bit more steady. But there is a sadness with John which will always be with him when you lose someone that you love - he is slightly dulled by life.

Could you empathise with John's reaction to Sherlock's reappearance?

I can completely empathise. If someone came into your life after you thought they were dead it would be a major event, and given that Sherlock is the way he is, he winds John up a lot, and that is when they are getting on! But coming back from the dead - John is hit very hard by that.

What do viewers have in store for this series?

Lars Mikkelsen is fantastic, he is a brilliant villain. For those who will miss Moriarty, which is totally understandable, we have another fantastic nemesis for Sherlock and John - he does it superbly. Of course, having Mary Morstan around is good because that adds another dynamic to Sherlock and John's relationship and another dimension to John's life. It was great having Amanda Abbington on board - she was brilliant, I like working with her!

Are you surprised by the massive online reaction to the show?

I don't think any one of us could have dreamt that there would be that sort of reaction. Never mind online, but the entirety of the success that it has had we could never have dreamt about. People used to ask me about The Office. They would say "Did you know it would be this huge thing?" and there was certainly no way we could have known how big Sherlock could have been. I would have settled for it being a really good show that some people really loved. But the fact that it has been feted and honoured - we could never have spotted that coming.

And the online thing is certainly a thread of our fanbase – and it's a very vocal one. I think what's important not to forget is that it's not the only one, there are so many people who just watch it on BBC One when it comes out and love it. But the online thing is surprising in a way because they have almost created another world, especially if you are over 30 because it still seems like that stuff is really new. Especially the sort of reaction we have had, I mean other shows do get it as well, but we are one of those shows that people go absolutely barmy for. And it's nice! I'd much rather that than people ignored it!

What do you think it is that has made Sherlock such a global success?

I guess we were lucky in that we already had Sherlock Holmes, who is one of the most famous fictitious characters in literature. Every incarnation of Sherlock Holmes has been of interest to somebody. And it has been a while since it has been updated. The last time I can think of was Basil Rathbone. So it's a contemporary look at it which hasn't been done for a while, written by three of the best writers around, thought up by two of the best writers around. It's beautifully shot, beautifully designed, rather well acted. It's one of those rare things you can be in where you think every single department is storming it. It looks beautiful, it's written beautifully and it's well cast.

What is it about Sherlock that inspires such loyalty from John do you think?

He's a pretty magnetic bloke. He's very intelligent and there is something mesmeric about his obsessiveness as well. He's the cleverest bloke that John has ever met and he likes that challenge and the share of the danger as well. Because John is ultimately into danger as well, he is a soldier and a doctor so he is around situations that are perilous and a bit tasty, so he responds to that in Sherlock and he just wants to be around him - I sometimes don't even know why!

What's been your favourite episode to date?

I have to say the ones that we have just filmed have been brilliant. Before that, probably Reichenbach was my favourite one to do because when we read it I was really, really excited and I thought the finished product was amazing. It was one of the best things that I've ever done and am likely to do for a while.

But then I found that about the episodes we have just done. It's particularly important you end on a fantastic third one and the third episode in the third series is stellar. Everyone's work on it is great and it's a Steven Moffat special which is always good, but they are all so good! I was very, very excited when I read this one - it's one of the best scripts I've ever read.

The new series will start airing in the USA on Sunday 19th January at 10pm ET as part of PBS's Masterpiece strand.

FILTER: - Online - Sherlock

The Tomorrow People UK start date announcedBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 18 December 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
The revived series The Tomorrow People will start in the UK on Wednesday 8th January, it has been announced.

The US-made sci-fi drama is based on the ITV series of the same name that ran between 1973 and 1979, and features the next evolutionary leap of mankind - a generation of humans born with paranormal abilities.

Episode one of the 22-part series - which stars Robbie Amell as Stephen Jameson, Luke Mitchell as John Young, Peyton List as Cara Coburn, Aaron Yoo as Russell Kwon, Madeleine Mantock as Astrid Finch, and Mark Pellegrino as Dr Jedikiah Price - will air on the digital channel E4 at 9pm.
Teenager Stephen Jameson has been hearing voices and teleporting in his sleep, never knowing where he might wake up. Now his mother is worried about his strange behaviour, most of his school friends have abandoned him, and he is beginning to question his own sanity. In desperation, Stephen decides to listen to one of the voices in his head, and it leads him to his first encounter with the Tomorrow People: John, Cara, and Russell - members of a genetically-advanced race who are capable of telekinesis, teleportation, and telepathic communication.

Stephen learns from his new friends that the Tomorrow People are being hunted down by a paramilitary group of scientists known as Ultra, led by Dr Jedikiah Price. Tempted by the idea of joining the Tomorrow People, but unwilling to turn his back on his family, Stephen sets out on his own path in an attempt to uncover the truth about the mysterious disappearance of his own father years earlier.
The show began in America on The CW on 9th October and is currently on a mid-season break after the ninth episode, returning on 15th January. The first of the one-hour instalments is known only as a pilot episode, but episodes two to 11 are understood to have the following titles:
  • 2: In Too Deep
  • 3: Girl, Interrupted
  • 4: Kill Or Be Killed
  • 5: All Tomorrow's Parties
  • 6: Sorry For Your Loss
  • 7: Limbo
  • 8: Thanatos
  • 9: Death's Door
  • 10: The Citadel
  • 11: Rumble

FILTER: - E4 - The Tomorrow People