Monday, July 6, 2009

Eleven Doctors, Torchwood and Wossy!

A work colleague, who knows I'm a big fan of the British science fiction series Doctor Who, and is a fan herself, recently sent me a link to this article in the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph. I was excited to read that a special fifteen-minute episode of Doctor Who was planned to be shown for Children in Need, a big TV charity event, similar to America's Telethon. Apparently, it was to feature David Tennant, the eleventh person to play the Doctor (part of the plot has The Doctor regenerating periodically) and all the Doctors' past. That includes parts from actors no longer with us, using clips from old shows. As a fan, this got me very excited! Doing a little more research, I found the article was based on this "exclusive" from another British newspaper, The Daily Mirror. The comments on this particular article are quite revealing! The Mirror piece, quoting unnamed sources, is almost identical to a story the newspaper ran when Christopher Eccleston, the previous actor who played The Doctor, was still playing the part. My guess is that the episode won't happen, but I can dream, can I not?

Seeing this story did remind me of some more tangible news for American fans of British shows, however. Torchwood, which is a spin-off of Doctor Who, is coming back to BBC America. This year, the BBC made a five-part mini-series version of the show, called Children of Earth, and it will be aired in the UK starting tonight. Here in the US, it will be shown on five consecutive evenings, starting on Monday, July 20th. BBC America is currently showing the previous season, which might help you catch up, if you are interested.

I was very pleased to see that Friday Night with Jonathan Ross has started showing on Friday nights on BBC America. It's one of the few shows on BBC America that airs pretty close to its original broadcast date (I think it's about two weeks behind the UK). The first episode that aired featured Dustin Hoffman, Hugh Laurie and soccer player turned actor, Eric Cantona. While you might think that would be a great lineup, unfortunately, all the guests were a little subdued on this occasion. Ross (or @wossy as he is known on Twitter) had a real struggle to keep the show going. That was such a shame for the introduction to the US of this show, and probably put some off. It is worth sticking with, though. Subsequent episodes have been excellent, featuring Jack Black, and Take That, among others. Like The Graham Norton Show, also on BBC America, Ross's show delivers chat with a good dose of British humor.

Do you have a favorite British TV show airing in the US? Do you have a favorite Brit show that you wish would come to America? Brits: what goodies are we missing? Make a comment and let us all know.


Cindy O said...

I'm probably giving typical American answers here, based on the television channels available to me (mostly PBS)and time of day that shows are aired here in the states.

Two shows I watched late night were "Keeping Up Appearances" and "Are You Being Served."

I also really like Mystery - Agatha Christie's Poirot (David Suchet) and Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett)!

And, of course, I also loved "The Benny Hill Show."

Carrie B said...

Although not a mystery, we did get to watch AbFab when we lived in Atlanta. The best!

Graham said...

@Cindy O: It would be remiss of me not to mourn the recent passing of Mollie Sugden, who played Mrs. Slocombe on "Are You Being Served?" Sporting vibrant hair colors and double-entendres to match (who didn't look forward to the ubiquitous "pussy" references?), she was a big favorite. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to mention this.

Talking of double-entendres, I never did get the popularity of Benny Hill in the US, long after his style of humor had fallen out of favor in the UK.

@Carrie B: Good to see you here! Just recently I saw a marathon of great Absolutely Fabulous episodes on BBC America. Unbelievably perhaps, I never saw it in the UK. I enjoyed it though.

Jade said...

Last of the Summer Wine -- we watch it every week! And Mystery, when it is Poirot or Miss Marple. Often watch As Time Goes By as well.

Graham said...

@Jade - "Last of the Summer Wine" is a classic. One great thing about that show is that it's a "Who's Who" of British actors. Many of the favorites (Kathy Staff, Bill Owen, Thora Hird) have died in recent years, sadly. It's also the longest running sitcom in the world!

Anonymous said...

Any Dream Will Do, a 2007 Andrew Lloyd Webber creation to pick the next West End star of the musical Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, was a favorite in our much so that I'm now on a fan forum for the young lad who came in 3rd (he was robbed! - shoulda been first or at least second), Lewis Bradley. Now the 2006 show that started it all, How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? is on BBC America. The point is to pick an unknown actress to star in the West End in the Sound of Music. I warn you the last episode airs this Sunday. I would love to see the follow up to both, When Joseph Met Maria, and the sequel, I'd Do Anything. Having said my family is hooked I must reveal that I B, Graham's wife :).

Graham said...

And following what my lovely Wife said, It looks like BBC America is going to be showing "When Joseph Met Maria."