Thursday, 29 April 2010


[13.14 - French Time] Rupert Murdoch's Sky ambitions to be a major player on the British drama front, beyond one-off coups such as Skellig or short serials like Martina Cole's The Take. Chris Ryan's Strike Back starts next week and definitely wants to match US heavyweights of the action genre on TV.

Based on the multi-million best-selling book by former SAS man Chris Ryan, the 6 x 60-minute series stars Richard Armitage (Spooks, Robin Hood) as John Porter and Andrew Lincoln (This Life, Teachers) as Hugh Collinson. On the eve of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a Special Forces unit lead by John Porter is on a daring hostage rescue mission into the heart of Basra. But the operation turns into a disaster for Porter and Collinson and haunts Porter for years, until the discharged veteran finds an occasion to return to Iraq and redeem himself.

Shot in South Africa, Strike Back has been adapted by Jed Mercurio (Bodies) and is directed by Daniel Percival (The State Within) for the first four hours, and Edward Hall (Spooks) for the last two. It is produced by Left Bank Pictures (Wallander) for Sky1 HD and Sky1 and internationally distributed by BBC Worldwide.

The impressive cast includes Toby Stephens, Jodhi May, Orla Brady, and Colin Salmon. Author Chris Ryan is the co-creator of ITV's hit action/drama series Ultimate Force (2002-2008), which starred actor, author and journalist Ross Kemp.

Chris Ryan's Strike Back starts May 5 on Sky1 HD and Sky1.

See also:

Wednesday, 28 April 2010


[6.50 - French Time] Cough, cough, sneeze, etc.

Thank you very much for your patience, your interest, your fidelity and your trust.

Monday, 26 April 2010


[Updated] [April 25th, 10.59 - French Time] Doctor Who - The Time of Angels (Series Five, Episode Four): In which the Doctor is reunited with Her Indoors and faces familiar enemies. While poor Amy gets stoned.

It begins like a scene from an episode of The Avengers, goes on like an ITC show. Then the Doctor does his Indiana Jones while the action continues (« Hello Sweetie ») like in a Spooks episode and finishes James Bond style (« Like I said on the dance floor, you might want to find something to hang on to. ») And this is only the pre-credits sequence!

Once again there are shades of series one in The Time of Angels. Remember when you could have a political conspiracy, a pre-watershed horror movie, and a nod to Love actually all in a single episode. Here you've got 42 minutes of Aliens, Moonlighting, Ring (« It's just a recording ») and Predator, directed by Adam Smith - the best candidate to direct a Christmas special. And writtten by His Excellency Steven Moffat, modern master of psychological terror and Patron Saint of every furniture shop in the UK: because with him sofa sales go through the roof (you definitely need one to watch the show).

« She's the future, my future. » Cry him a river... Played by Alex Kingston, archaeologist Doctor River Song (Silence in The Library/Forest of the Dead) is back, which means trouble for the Doctor (Matt Smith) and his companion Amy Pond (Karen Gillan). This time she (apparently unwillingly) "scouts" for troops of paramilitary priests hunting a much familiar menace: « Doctor, what do you know of the Weeping Angels? »

Fun scenes between Mr and "Mrs Doctor" (the blue stabilizers) and an experiment in terror with the aptly called Maze of The Dead are some of the highlights of this instant classic: « I didn't escape sir, the angel killed me too. It snapped my neck. Sorry for the confusion. » Nice to see Simon Dutton, and the cliffhanger was riveting. Not sure for the Graham Norton as Darrin Stephens cameo...

Favourite lines: « I'm nobody's taxi service and I'm not going to be there to catch you every time you feel like jumping out of a spaceship » and «, I mean he had two heads ».

Update (7.55 - French Time): Superb review in Cathode Ray Tube (

Sunday, 25 April 2010


[Updated] [14.15 - French Time] It started with a nice idea: an ident made by the beloved Aardman Studios to celebrate BBC One's Saturday night lineup. But then an animated version of presenter Graham Norton popped up during one of the most exciting Doctor Who climaxes ever to promote reality show Over the Rainbow...

In the final 30 seconds of the episode The Time of angels, which featured the return of Who fan favourites River Song (Alex Kingston) and the Weeping Angels, a cartoon version of Graham Norton appeared on screen to promote the reality series aired directly after Doctor Who on BBC One ( Fans are furious and expressed their feelings on the internet.

« I take it everyone else was livid that the Beeb put a gurning cartoon Graham Norton across the exciting cliffhanger climax of Dr Who, » wrote Ashes To Ashes exec producer Matthew Graham on Twitter ( « Please BBC - you're not a US network, you're so much better than they are. Don't cheapen yourself. The public know what's up next » added Graham.

Simon Brew, of the excellent Den of Geek website, published a most eloquent open letter to the BBC (

The Beeb has yet to comment on the "Darrinesque Norton" incident.

Update (19.07 - French Time): « The BBC often promotes programmes in this way but the corporation has acknowledged that in this case the scheduling was inappropriate. A BBC spokesman said: "We apologise for the timing of Saturday night's trail." » (

Saturday, 24 April 2010


[9.11 - French Time] Rex is not your lawyer, the NBC one-hour pilot for a legal dramedy starring David Tennant, is not totally dead.

In Rex Tennant plays Rex Alexander, a top Chicago lawyer who begins suffering panic attacks and takes up coaching clients to represent themselves in court. According to Nellie Andreeva in, producers did more work on the pilot, including adding voiceover.

Andreeva adds that the reworked pilot tested well, and that the project has received an order for two back-up scripts. But this raises two questions: should Rex go further will David Tennant stay aboard as he wisely searched other gigs like BBC's dramedy Single Father. And will two shows with eccentric lawyers can cohabitate in the same space and time? Because NBC has Kindreds the latest David Kelley project.

Anyway the voiceover thing and the reworking don't actually bode well for Rex is not your lawyer. The idea of watching David Tennant playing Doctor 10 in a law firm with an American accent is moderately exciting and this title is awful. In continental Europe "Rex" evokes an Austrian cop show starring a German shepherd dog.

Friday, 23 April 2010


[11.28 - French Time] Director of BBC Vision Jana Bennett answers to questions from readers of The Mirror about all the hot topics concerning the Beeb.

About Doctor Who she acknowledges, like showrunner Steven Moffat recently(, that there are budget cuts. « We try to make savings so we can invest in other programmes », explains Bennett in a piece by Mark Jefferies.

She assures the BBC will not "cash in or trade off" quality. Last month, Steven Moffat said « Budget cuts are tough: I don't like them, but they force you to be creative » (

From what we have seen until now Doctor Who's production values are safe and subtle tricks allow the producers to save some money in order to reinvest elsewhere on the show. The TARDIS is bigger (on the inside...) and more beautiful than ever, there's a spectacular new title sequence with a great rearranged theme by Murray Gold, and some sets like the Cabinet War Rooms in Victory of the Daleks are really impressive.

See also:

Thursday, 22 April 2010


[17.48 - French Time] Legal affairs blog THR, Esq. has read a first draft of the script for the pilot of Tilda, a HBO half-hour comedy series from Oscar-winning writer/director Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters, Dreamgirls) and Cynthia Mort (Tell me you love me).

Tilda is about "a powerful female online showbiz journalist with a no-holds-barred style". This description is considered by many in Hollywoodland as a portrait of our dear She Who Must Be Read, aka Nikki Finke, founder and Editor in Chief of

According to Michael Ausiello of EW, Diane Keaton is in talks to play Tilda ( Tilda Watski (Watski?!) is the powerful founder and editor of The Daily Circus, an influent Hollywood website, explains THR, Esq.'s Matthew Belloni in his article. And the common idea among many Entertainment websites is that Nikki Finke could sue HBO over this new sitcom should the Tilda character too closely resembles her.

But the excellent Nellie Andreeva, who first reported about Tilda in THR (and works for Nikki now), pointed out that Nikki Finke isn't the only female "Hollywood blogger", so the character could be a composite. In the sitcom Murphy Brown (1988-1998), Candice Bergen starred as a strong, uncompromising reporter based on several star female journalists of the time.

The worst Nikki, and us, could fear about Tilda is "Veronica's Closet meets Entourage" but Belloni says the script is "sharp and funny", so Condon and Mort could well deliver the 21st century Murphy Brown. And they have already free publicity, plus the guarantee that all Hollywood will watch their show.

Tilda Watski?! Could Nikki could sue for that?


[6.05 - French Time] According to THR, American network Fox has decided not to pursue a US version of Torchwood.

Last January came the news that Russell T. Davies, former Doctor Who franchise boss, was cooking a stateside version of Who's spin-off with Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner - BBC execs now working in Los Angeles. And the fan response to this idea was far from enthusiastic.

BBC Worldwide said they are currently in discussion with several interested networks. Jane Tranter added that there would be no US version of Doctor Who: « It may well be confusing to have a British Doctor and an American Doctor at the same time ».

Series five of Doctor Who just set a deserved rating record on BBC America with its premiere (

See also:

Wednesday, 21 April 2010


[19.37 - French Time] We have received the French-speaking dubbing cast list of The End of Time 1 & 2 (the last Doctor Who special starring David Tennant).

Very appreciated by French-speaking fans, David Manet is of course The Doctor. Daniel Dury is Wilf and the talented Franck Dacquin, who dubs John Simm since Life on Mars, is The Master. Claudio Dos Santos (Greg in Survivors) is Joshua Naismith, and Raphaelle Bruneau is Abigail Naismith.

Geraldine Frippiat, Philippe Allard, Carole Baillen, Mélanie Dermont and Nathalie Hons are respectively Rose, Mickey, Donna, Martha and Jackie. Ioanna Gkizas is Sylvia, Cécile Boland is Lucy Saxon and Jacqueline Ghaye is Sarah Jane Smith.

The excellent Sébastien Hébrant is, as always, Captain Jack, and many fans are asking themselves if Hébrant is dubbing John Barrowman in Desperate Housewives. But if the Doctor Who franchise and DH are dubbed by the same company, Dubbing Brothers, the former is dubbed in Belgium and the latter in France so it's far from guaranteed.

Some parts are dubbed by the following artists: Nicole Shirer (Woman+Minnie) Romain Barbieux (Oods+Ood Sigma), Robert Guilmard (Ood elder+Winston), Alexandre Crepet (Shaun), Fanny Roy (Adams), Fabienne Loriaux (Verity), Gauthier de Fauconval (Luke), Jean-Paul Landresse (Oliver) and Frederic Meaux (Mr Danes).

Amusingly President Obama is dubbed by Jean-Marc Delhausse, who was the voice of Davros in series four! Frédéric Haugness, who told David Tennant's first lines ever in Doctor Who (before decision makers decided to keep David Manet) is Rossiter. The supremely talented Philippe Résimont, one of the finest Belgian stage actors, is the Chancellor.

Patrick Donnay, voice of James Nesbitt in Murphy's Law, is the Narrator/Lord President and, last but not least, Marc Weiss is the regenerated Doctor - as we revealed last month. David Macaluso directs this French-speaking version, with dialogues written by François Dubuc.

See also:

En Français:


[18.05 - French Time] DI Lewis (Kevin Whately) and DS Hathaway (Laurence Fox) are back on ITV1 for series four of Lewis .

Lewis and Hathaway investigate more murder mysteries in Oxford. Produced by ITV Studios, Lewis (shown as Inspector Lewis on PBS in the US) is now watched in more than 120 territories around the world following last fall sales by ITV Studios Global Entertainment.

The four episode series starts with The Dead of Winter on Sunday, 2 May 2010. Author Colin Dexter, who created ITV’s BAFTA award winning Inspector Morse, is once again consultant on Lewis.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010


[10.03 - French Time] Regional newspaper Le Télégramme has an interview of Thierry Lhermitte, star of the French adaptation of Doc Martin produced by Ego Productions for TF1.

The 6 X 52' series raises a lot of interest and curiosity both in France and in the United Kingdom where the original Doc Martin, starring Martin Clunes and aired by ITV1, is a huge hit. (In French)

See also:


[6.05 - French Time] EON Productions Ltd, producer of the long-running James Bond 007 franchise, announced yesterday through PR Newswire that development of Bond 23 is suspended.

« Due to the continuing uncertainty surrounding the future of MGM and the failure to close a sale of the studio, we have suspended development on BOND 23 indefinitely. We do not know when development will resume and do not have a date for the release of BOND 23, » stated Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli.

Nikki Finke and Mike Fleming explain in that this hiatus is actually a move from Broccoli and Wilson to avoid anything that would further complicate ownership of Bond 23 or bind them to MGM during the current difficulties of Leo the Lion (

This was also the reason why Sam Mendes was hired as a "consultant", not as the director of Bond 23. Because once EON hires a director on their Bond films, it triggers a first payment from MGM, as Nikki scooped in January (

This announcement comes after rumours that screenwriter Peter Morgan has left the project ( Now the questions 007 fans will ask themselves are: how long will last this hiatus? Will Daniel Craig still be James Bond in Bond 23? Should the "indefinite" suspension lasts 4 or 6 years will there be another "reboot", "relaunch" or whatever you call an extreme makeover on the franchise.

Taylor Lautner as James Bond Junior, anyone?

Monday, 19 April 2010


« All eyes on me, in the center of the ring just like a circus » (Britney Spears)

[14.03 - French Time] Simon Cowell's Britain's Got Talent returned last saturday night on ITV1. The talent show, now in its fourth series, came back with his trio of judges: Amanda Holden, Piers Morgan and Cowell himself.

Presenters Anthony "Ant" McPartlin and Declan "Dec" Donnelly were of course aboard for what many British media describe as the quest for the next Susan Boyle, the Scottish singer revealed by series three. Boyle gave the programme an unprecedented global coverage which prompted producers of the French version of the Got Talent franchise to revamp their show.

What makes BGT "The Greatest show in the Galaxy" is that it has it all: variety, music, dance, eccentricity, talent, humour, drama, action, pathetic, bad taste, spectacular, suspense, etc... And all sorts of animals, real or not. It's the ultimate Entertainment show, it even survived a sharp parody from comic genius Peter Kay: Britain’s Got The Pop Factor and Possibly A New Celebrity Jesus Christ Superstar Strictly On Ice.

Britain's Got Talent Series Four Episode One almost looked like a rerun of a global edition of Got Talent. The London auditions started with Simon Cowell taking a crash course about the difference between a timbrel and a tambourine but concluding: « This is a tambourine with Christmas decorations attached ».

This was not his roughest moment. « I can't do this anymore. I'm fifty years old! » said Cowell after a lady named Persephone Lewin played trumpet with her penguin puppet. Maybe the "balloon" act and the parrot before her didn't help. More interesting was Kevin Cruise with his Broadway meets The Love Boat act that didn't charm Simon (« We'll call the ship Titanic ») but seduced Amanda and Piers.

Dance group Diversity won BGT 2009 so expect more dance numbers this year (it was an heavy trend in France recently). Street dancer Tobias Mead got another opportunity to shine after an appearance in another talent show in 2008. But the real event of these auditions was Louis Walsh, of The X Factor, replacing Simon Cowell - on sick leave.

Walsh justified his salary by enduring a jungle animal impersonator, a stripper, a stand-up comic, a bagpipe player or a poet. But he had his X Factor moment with the wonderful Chloe Hickinbottom, 10-year old, singing Vera Lynn's White Cliffs of Dover. And perhaps the 75-year old Irish gardener dancing dressed as a leprechaun was not a coincidence.

But Simon Cowell came back (« Hello I'm Simon Cowell, I'm from London... ») and things returned to "normality". Talking about returns, young drummer Kieran Gaffney (aged 13) came back with mum and dad as a band, after a solo stint in 2009. Only Kieran got a second chance, and subsequently a third as he won his three yesses.

Except annoying montages sometimes zapping a performance which could interest viewers, and the usual cliché soundtrack, it was a rather good BGT episode for a series starting slowly. Like the judges and no wonder why Simon Cowell went ill as he was the only one of the trio to provide the best lines.

Sunday, 18 April 2010


[16.04 - French Time] Even Simon Cowell, cherished with reason as the 8th wonder of the world by ITV, couldn't save the ITV/AMC remake of The Prisoner starring Sir Ian McKellen and Jim Caviezel.

Announced for the Winter/Spring 2008-2009 ITV1 season, the overhyped and unnecessary remake of the classic created by and starring Patrick McGoohan, finally started yesterday evening in the UK with spectacularly lacklustre ratings considering that Britain's Got Talent was astutely placed as a lead-in programme.

BGT had its best launch ever with 10.6 million viewers for series four premiere, but The Prisoner attracted only 3.2 million viewers from 9.30 pm. The mini-series did not fare better in the US, where it was aired in November 2009 by cable channel AMC, or in France on pay tv Canal Plus.

Be seeing you... Not.

See also:


[9.23 - French Time] The Doctor (Matt Smith) and Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) arrive in London under the Blitz. The Doctor has been summoned by an old friend, Prime minister Winston Churchill (Ian McNeice), who wants to show him a new secret weapon created by Professor Bracewell (Bill Paterson) and called the Ironsides. Except that these robotic future saviours of the British Empire are nothing less than the Doctor's deadliest enemies: The Daleks.

Victory of the Daleks (Series Five Episode Three) [Minor spoilers]

Who else than Mark Gatiss could contribute so wonderfully to the restoration of the Doctor's glory launched by Steven Moffat and the new Doctor Who production team? The actor, screenwriter and novelist is a long-time devoted Who fan. And retrospectively the fact that Russell T. Davies had to abandon the idea of shooting Gatiss's World War II script for series four is certainly a blessing in disguise. His script for Victory of the Daleks is a gift.

« Can I be of assistance? »

The psychorigid pepperpots are back... with a twist. Cremated to the point of migraine at the end of previous series, the Daleks really needed a very good excuse to come back and what better way to reintroduce Terry Nation's creations than during the Blitz as the last hope of the British Empire!

« What does Hate look like, Amy? It looks like a Dalek and I'm going to prove it. » The Doctor almost goes batty when he sees his first "Ironside", a camouflaged, Union Flag wearing Dalek. Matt Smith does a fantastic work as a mix of William Shatner in Terror at 20000 feet (a classic Twilight Zone episode) and The Invaders's David Vincent. We damn know the Daleks are evil and the Doctor paid to know they are, they have a plan (they always have) but what about a little foul play first?

This game of hypocrisy and paranoia is complicated a little more when it occurs that Amy has not the single beginning of a notion of what happened to Earth in The Stolen Earth and Journey's End (we wish we could forget too). And Churchill doesn't care if the Ironsides were Gengis Khan's schoolmates in a past life, as long as they give him victory against the nazis: « If Hitler invaded Hell I would give a favourable reference to the devil ».

But they say "Better the devil you know" and when the Doctor yells « I am the Doctor, and you are the Daleks! » before kicking the camouflaged so-called Ironside out of Bracewell's lab, he triggers more than he could imagine. The Dalek forgets his Jeeves gig and reverts to its true nature, shooting two Marines in pure Dalek style. Evil is back and in living colours.

« A new Dalek paradigm ». There's already a lot written about the colourful Dalek "Master race" but the new creative forces behind Doctor Who seem to be huge fans of the two movies starring Peter Cushing and there were coloured Daleks in the classic series. Anyway keep in mind that modern Doctor Who is a lucrative franchise and the new design will not harm Dalek toy sales. And the advert for the new Who video game aired right after the episode gave us a clue that we are not solely in artistic license territory (« Now from the makers of Doctor Who »).

Mark Gatiss's script is the perfect illustration of the renewal through tradition and invention initiated by showrunner Steven Moffat. Invention with that incredible space battle between WWII Spitfires and the Dalek spaceship. And tradition in a spirit of continuity with previous classic Dalek stories or even with the Christopher Eccleston episodes.

Ian McNeice is brilliant as Winston Churchill, with a special mention for his TARDIS key scenes. Far from his usual authority figures, Bill Paterson is really interesting and moving as Bracewell and thank goodness Law & Order: UK didn't send another cast member. Karen Gillan will enter in the Top Five of the Doctor's companions if if her character is not ruined like Donna under the Davies/Tennant era. Murray Gold's score is superb, particularly the "Wagnerian" sequence with the new Daleks. And Andrew Gunn's direction is excellent.

Matt Smith IS the Doctor, the Daleks are in colour, another victory. More to come, so... Don't blink.

Episode Two:
Episode One:

Thursday, 15 April 2010


[11.50] C21 reports that France 3 wants to launch a new entertainment strand in Sunday primetime, in a slot previously devoted to European drama - particularly British crime dramas.

Programming director Laurent Corteel told Marie-Agnes Bruneau that France 3's European drama slot in Sunday primetime had not performed particularly well. ITV's Midsomer Murders did well last fall but its share eroded and the channel ran out of episodes. Another UK crime drama, A Touch of Frost, was tried recently with its 14th series but "did not really work out".

In the past France 3 even aired new episodes of Taggart after a long absence of the Scottish drama on French TV but it didn't last and the crime series never came back. Interestingly, Corteel also explained to C21 that European drama won't disappear from the channel but it will probably be scheduled in the second part of the evening, or in daytime.

We'll observe how it could affect a drama like Midsomer Murders, which relies on international sales to the point that they will carefully replace DCI Tom Barnaby by his cousin DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon, introduced on ITV1 in a February episode) when John Nettles retires at the end of series 13. Because in many country the show's title bears the name of its character (in France it's called Inspecteur Barnaby).

The Sunday primetime slot on France 3 was also the home of Lewis.

See also:


[6.53 - French Time] She Who Must Be Read, aka our dear Nikki Finke of, and her new recruit the brilliant Nellie Andreeva explain why BBC Worldwide Productions changes talent agencies. reports that BBC Worldwide Productions dropped ICM after taking several meetings with other agencies, and hired CAA. And according to Nikki Finke it's because CAA agreed to represent not just the company but also Mark Thompson, Director-General of the BBC, and John Smith, Chief Executive of BBC Worldwide.

« The reason is that both top execs are convinced they're about to lose their high-powered jobs. I'm told they want CAA to act as their personal head-hunters and find their next executive positions -- hopefully with a media company in the U.S. Of course, that's a whopping conflict of interest » writes Nikki.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010


[20.40 - French Time] Regional newspaper Ouest-France has an interesting article by Pierre Wadoux about the shooting of the French Doc Martin, with even a video.

Filming of Ego Productions's adaptation of Doc Martin has begun in Brittany - in Doëlan (South Finistère), for French network TF1. The six-part series stars Thierry Lhermitte as Martin Le Foll, a misanthropist surgeon from Lyon whose hemophobia forces him to become GP in a village called Port-Garrec. Justine Bruneau plays Clémentine, his secretary.

The French version is the result of a deal between Digital Rights Group, which distributes ITV1's Doc Martin (starring Martin Clunes), and TF1. Ego Productions is a subsidiary of Carrere Group. (In French)


[14.15 - French Time] German production company action concept is filming season 2 of Lasko - Die Faust Gottes (Lasko - The Fist of God) for private broadcaster RTL.

Hermann Joha's company is in Berlin and its area since today to shoot eight new episodes of the action/adventure show starring Mathis Landwehr as Brother Lasko of the Pugnus Dei order, the first kick ass monk since Kwai Chang Caine.

Lasko - Die Faust Gottes came last year almost as a miracle (pun intended) for German television fiction. Ratings and market shares were more than spectacular in a country where television viewers tend to favour US shows like House, but a second season was not guaranteed regarding financial considerations.

According to the excellent website, for season 1 the production budget was around 1 million euros per episode, so RTL wisely asked a cautious script development process before a go for season 2 ( Quality has a cost and Lasko is one of the best shows produced in Germany these last five years, with extraordinary action sequences, effective scripts, fantastic locations, a great soundtrack and a very good cast.

Stephan Bieker is back as the hilarious and loyal Brother Gladius, heir of a long string of faithful acolytes from Friar Tuck to Obelix and Bud Spencer.

Elke Schubert, of action concept, told us that filming will go on until August.

Lasko Season 1:

(C) Thierry Attard


[11.06 - French Time] According to Michael Ausiello in EW, Diane Keaton is in talks for the title role in HBO’s Tilda, a half-hour comedy series by Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters, Dreamgirls) and Cynthia Mort (Tell me you love me).

The show is about "a powerful female online showbiz journalist with a no-holds-barred style", a description considered by many in Hollywoodland as a portrait of our dear She Who Must Be Read, aka Nikki Finke, founder and Editor in Chief of

See also:


[Updated][April 10th, 9.50 - French Time ] Controversial Scottish comedian and TV personality Frankie Boyle has had a confrontation with the mother of a Down’s syndrome child during a show of his I Would Happily Punch Every One of You In the Face stand-up tour.

The former Mock The Week panelist made fun of the voices, haircuts and clothes of people with Down’s syndrome. Then Boyle spotted Sharon Smith and her husband looking uncomfortable in the audience and asked why they were talking during his show. When they told him about their five-year daughter, who has Down's, the comedian tried to laugh off his remarks, asking: « But it's all true, isn't it? Everything I have said is true, isn't it? » (

After the incident, Sharon Smith wrote a calm, balanced and moving post on her blog about it (, which received a lot of support on social networking sites such as Twitter - with celebrities like comic actor Mathew Horne backing her. And The Down's Syndrome Association has issued a statement regarding Frankie Boyle's gig (

We will not discuss of Boyle's comic merits, we'll just humbly recall that to be born with a disability is not a laughing matter. Especially in these hard times that we share which can easily make a health issue worse, whatever its degree is.

Update (7.21 - French Time): Interesting reaction from 18-year old college student and blogger Jayne Burnett, who has Down's syndrome and is a self-advocate with ENABLE Scotland (


En Français:

Monday, 12 April 2010


[19.42 - French Time] After the Tudors and the Borgias, here come the Medici. C21Media reports that Italy's most powerful political and banking dynasty of the Renaissance is the center of an Anglo-Italian eight-part series.

The Medici will be coproduced by pay-TV operator Sky Italia, BBC Scotland, Kudos Film and Television (owned by Elisabeth Murdoch's Shine Group) and Italian company WildSide, which is co-developing the project. Co-written by Adrian Hodges (Primeval), The Medici is executive produced for Kudos by Jane Featherstone and Derek Wax.

The current economic climate favours international coproductions. Italian group Mediaset coproduces detective series Aurelio Zen, based on the novels by Michael Dibdin, with Left Bank Pictures (Wallander) and, again, BBC Scotland. Aurelio Zen will start shooting in Italy this spring.

It will not take long before the Beeb gives us a remake of I, Claudius.

Sunday, 11 April 2010


[14.10 - French Time] Where else on TV can you find Britain in space, a political cover-up, some thoughts about the upcoming general election, a sexy tarantinesque queen and scary fairground automatons? Yes... Doctor Who.

[Minor spoilers]

A glass of water, the Queen wearing a mask to investigate on a conspiracy, nasty fortune tellers with a smile (or not), a voting booth with a terrible secret, and a tongue (!) are some of the intriguing elements of The Beast Below, the excellent second episode of series five. The Doctor (Matt Smith) and his new companion Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) arrive on Starship UK, last refuge for the citizens of the United Kingdom.

« We are observers only. »

As usual the Doctor breaks his own rule about non-intervention in the affairs of people he visit when he spots a little girl crying. And the troubles begins for Amy and him in an episode whose atmosphere recalls series one episodes The End of the World and The Long Game. Last week, showrunner Steven Moffat properly introduced the regenerated Doctor and his companion. Now he goes back to the essence of Doctor Who: the adventures of a space and time traveler and his "plus one".

Starship UK, the giant colony ship looks like Manhattan except that the skyscrapers bear names of counties (Yorkshire, Devon, Surrey, etc.) The Beast below pre-credits sequence opens with a view of what sounds like a good old model from "classic" Who or The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (« There's a girl in a nightie »). But it goes on with a perfect "behind the sofa" experience from the man who gave us The Empty Child and The Weeping Angels - which means something.

A child boy pupil has a bad mark to the disapproval a "Smiler" (« Bad boy, Timmy »). He tries to use elevator which doubles as a public transportation system - two of the most annoying things of modern life in one - and a descendant of the Test card F little girl tells a strange poem. Steven Moffat combines tradition and invention, goes on funnily his so-called "Scottish agenda", and delivers more than you'd expect with food for thoughts ahead of general election and a character who steals the episode.

« I’m the bloody Queen, mate. And I rule. » Sophie Okonedo is absolutely brilliant as Liz 10, Queen of Starship UK investigating secretly on a conspiracy against the throne. And why is the video about the truth almost as painful as a Zik-Zak Corporation commercial in Max Headroom (except that you don't explode)?

Matt Smith is stunning as the Doctor. Younger than Davison's incarnation, but sometimes reminiscent of Patrick Troughton or William Hartnell, particularly in the Tower scene. Tradition and invention again... And thank God and The Moff, for the moment Karen Gillan's Amy is not a groupie but a smart and lucid assistant with an attitude.

The phone rings (hey, the TARDIS is a phone box) and Prime Minister Winston Churchill wants to talk to the Doctor. But why is there the shadow of a much too familiar figure on the wall of his office and why is there another crack, on Starship UK this time.

Next week: Return of the pepperpots...

Series Five Episode One:

See also:

Friday, 9 April 2010


Back ASAP. Our two-year old consultant and analyst in children's programmes is ill.

Thanks for your interest, your fidelity and your trust.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010


[15.48 - French Time] "Six" finds his way to the UK.

After US cable channel AMC in November 2009 and French pay TV Canal Plus in February, ITV1 announces that it will air the first episode of The Prisoner miniseries (an ITV/AMC co-production) on Saturday, 17 April 2010.

This remake of the classic ITC series stars Ian McKellen as Two and Jim Caviezel as Six.

Our opinion:


[12.50 - French Time] Thanks to the ITV Press Centre we know a little more about the cast of Primeval Series four and five (actually 13 new episodes split in two).

As we thought, new cast member Ciarán McMenamin's Matt will be the new ARC field team leader. It's not specified if Jason Flemyng will find some time to appear as Danny Quinn in the new series, shot in Ireland since last month.

Ruth Kearney is Jess, who runs operations from the ARC Control Centre. The anomaly operation is now a public/private partnership, part-owned by the government, and partly by scientist Philip Burton (newcomer Alexander Siddig) after the sarcastic James Lester (Ben Miller) is disavowed.

Hannah Spearritt (Abby), Andrew Lee-Potts (Connor), and Ben Mansfield (Capitaine Becker) return.

See also:

Monday, 5 April 2010


[08.00 - French Time] The expression "starting from scratch" has never been so true, so relevant, than with The Eleventh Hour, the first episode of Doctor Who Series five.

[Minor spoilers]

The End of Time Part Two left Matt Smith as the new Doctor in a bloated and self-indulgent show, deprived of the freshness and enthusiasm of its beginnings. And Russell T. Davies's successor Steven Moffat delivers the first effort of the new production team at a time when economic pressure and budget cuts weigh on both BBC and ITV dramas.

But Doctor Who is the Beeb's most lucrative franchise, sold to over 50 territories and selling millions of DVDs and action figures. « Budget cuts are tough: I don't like them, but they force you to be creative. You've seen that trailer. Does it look like we've had a budget cut? » said Moffat as Malcolm Tucker to BBC News. We can't tell from a single trailer but this trailer had something interesting: it had the spirit of 2005.

And yes it is 2005 again. Written by the great "Moff" himself and directed by Adam Smith, The Eleventh Hour truly introduces Matt Smith as the regenerated Doctor in a devastated TARDIS about to crash on London. But the blue box falls in the backyard of a young orphaned girl named Amelia Pond (Caitlin Blackwood), while she was praying for someone to repair a huge crack in one of the walls of her room.

« Who are you?
- I don't know yet. »

Matt Smith flying over London is Eleven in Ten's suit and shoes but from the very moment he escapes of Ten's TARDIS, he IS The Doctor (« Can I have an apple? ») Smith becomes 47 years of the legendary character and the legitimate owner of the legacy left by ten Doctors, with a little part of everyone in his acting. He's definitely the "Madman in a box" who eats fish fingers with custard in the anthological kitchen scene, and revives this eccentricity David Tennant lost in the middle of his tenure.

Soon after the flamboyant showcase of Matt Smith's newly conquered legitimacy, it's Steven Moffat's turn to shine. There's something behind the crack, something inside the little girl's house and only a zany young looking man out of a blue police box can help her. « Give me five minutes, I'll be right back » says the Doctor, but this is our good ol' Doctor and when he comes back "five minutes" later he's struck by an all grown-up Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) with a cricket bat! He's just, well... 12 years and four psychiatrists late.

The alien menace looks like a Jagrafess painted in blue but who cares as it's far more frightening in human form. Anyway, it's a piece of cake compared to the fate some other aliens reserve to Earth if we don't we return them the only "Avatar Jagra" in the village. And is the giant eye in the telly of the wonderful Annette Crosbie the ghost of Victor Meldrew?

The Eleventh Hour is a brilliant return all in panache and subtlety to the Doctor Who we all know and love with fantasy, humour, adventure and action served by a great cast: Arthur Darvill as Nurse Rory, Tom Hopper as the "captain awesomesque" Jeff (I want to see more of him), etc. The episode mixes nods to History (Jon Pertwee for the hospital) with original elements like what Doctor Who erudite Frank Collins calls "the Doctor's mind's eye sequence" in his review (

« Bow tie is cool. » The manner Eleven choses his new costume is absolute class. The new titles, the new theme music and the score are perfect. The new logo looks better in this intro sequence than in publicity material, and the new TARDIS is beautiful. The Eleventh Hour is a fantastic premiere full of promises.

You know the number, you know the name.

Saturday, 3 April 2010


[10.46 - French Time] What a better way to start a glorious Easter TV weekend than episode one of the third and final series of Ashes to Ashes on BBC One.

1983, Alex Drake (Keeley Hawes) is comatose - inside her coma! - after Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) accidentally shot her during the events which happened three months ago and made him an "accidental tourist" (« The Isle Of Wight. But that was shit, so I tried the Costa Brava. ») But the Gene Genie desperately needs her to clear his name.

« They said I tried to kill you, Bolls, but I know you wouldn't let me down, we're a team: Bodie and Doyle. I'm the one in the SAS, you can be the one with the girl's hair. Now get your knickers on, we're leaving. » Woken up in the most typical Hunt way, Alex rapidly goes business as usual with a kidnap case. But is it really business as usual?

Ray "Raymondo" Carling (Dean Andrews) sits now in Gene's office as Detective Inspector (« It's not that incredible »), Shaz (Montserrat Lombard) and Chris (Marshall Lancaster) have split up and Gene Hunt must settle things with Discipline and Complaints officer DCI Jim Keats (Daniel Mays). But Keats visited Alex in hospital when she was in coma and knows a great deal about Gene's past (« I know what you did three years ago. »)

This weekend marks the end of an era, of the most recent cycle of quality in British television fiction. A cycle which started with the new Doctor Who in 2005, and even before with the remake of Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) or Kudos Film's first hit Spooks in 2000 - Kudos co-produces Ashes to Ashes.

Ashes, like Who, stars a larger than life character. Politically incorrect, testerone-fuelled copper and dodgy German import car driver Gene Hunt is the last British hero, the last "Gov". The final countdown (as yelled Europe in the excellent BBC promo) of his last chapter has begun and from what we've seen yesterday we can only expect the Gene Genie to leave in style.

Daniel Mays, one the finest British contemporary actor, is a wonderful addition to the regular cast as Keats (« It's about you, Hunt ») right after an exquisite performance in an episode of Hustle Series six. During Alex's "Russian doll" coma Keats tells her: « He did this to you and I don't want history to repeat itself. I don't want you to end up like... »

Sam Tyler? « My name is Alex Drake. And, quite frankly, your guess is as good as mine » says Alex in the new intro sequence, which sums up previous series. David Drury's direction is brilliant and Matthew Graham's script is superb. Watching something written by Graham is like reading a good book.

If there are budget cuts it doesn't show in this series opener. Anyway we're too busy with the story, the characters and the dialogues to notice. Your humble servant's favourite line: « Ray – if you come in here again dressed like a maths teacher, I will paint your balls the colour of hazelnuts and inform a bag of squirrels that winter's coming. »

Great soundtrack too: Wagner's Ride of the Walkyries (hilarious!), Sweet Dreams, Under Pressure... And one of the best use of Every breath you take ever (powerful).

And now... Doctor Who. By the way, read Frank Collins's review of this Ashes to Ashes episode in his quintessential blog Cathode Ray Tube:

Thursday, 1 April 2010


[15.15 - French Time] ITV has officially confirmed that its comedy drama hit Doc Martin has been recommissioned for a fifth series.

Martin Clunes will be back as grumpy Dr Martin Ellingham, GP in Portwenn, a picturesque Cornwall village. Clunes announced last month that Doc Martin would return for a fifth series next year (

8x 60-minute episodes will be produced in 2011, as the series goes into production every two years due to Martin Clunes commitments to other projects like the BBC's Reggie Perrin. France will have its own version of the show's format, adapted by Ego Productions for TF1. Docteur Martin will star Thierry Lhermitte and filming begins next week in Brittany.

Doc Martin is produced by Buffalo Pictures in association with Homerun Productions for ITV1. (Press Release) (Docteur Martin)

See also:


[13.30 - French Time] It was a great day for America yesterday, everybody! Scottish-born American comedian (I know!) Craig Ferguson, host of The Late Late Show on CBS, has won a Peabody Award.

The Peabody Award is the most prestigious award acknowledging "broadcasting excellence in news and entertainment" and Ferguson won for an enlightening March 2009 episode with Archbishop Desmond Tutu as guest.

Of course CBS has the best Late Night combo with veteran host David Letterman (Late Show with David Letterman) and Craig Ferguson. But it must be noticed that Ferguson is not only a funnyman and innovative host, he's also a great interviewer. And he proved it again two months ago in his one-on-one interview with Renaissance man Stephen Fry, one of the finest moments of television ever.

"Crocodile-alligator" puppet Wavy Rancheros announced the award in Craig Ferguson's yesterday show (« It makes the Emmy looks like... an Emmy! »), much to the joy of Ferguson's "highly-paid hobo" audience and members of his "Robot-skeleton army" (as he calls his followers on Twitter).

The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson is produced by David Letterman's company Worldwide Pants for CBS.

Complete list of recipients of the 69th Peabody Awards here: