Friday, 28 May 2010

GARY COLEMAN (1968-2010)

[21.49 - French Time] Former child star Gary Coleman has died. He was 42.

Gary Coleman became famous at 11 as the star of Diff'rent Strokes (1978-1986) where he played Arnold Jackson, the younger of two brothers adopted by a millionaire.

Coleman, who had health issues his whole life, never repeated this success and had many personal problems as an adult.

« And in situations like these, it's sometimes useful to
think of life as one long continuous evening
that never turns into night.
Hey hey! »
(The Mountain Goats, Song for Dana Plato)

Wednesday, 26 May 2010


[14.27 - French Time] Doctor Who - The Hungry Earth (Series Five, Episode Eight). The Doctor (Matt Smith), Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill) arrive in Cwmtaff, a small village in South Wales, instead of Rio de Janeiro as intended! They are in 2020 and the Doctor notices a big mining complex near the village.

« Not really getting the sunshine carnival vibe. »

Chris Chibnall, writer and producer on Torchwood and writer of Doctor Who series three episode 42 is back on the franchise with this two-parter directed by Torchwood veteran Ashley Way. Very strange things occur in Cwmtaff in parallel of an ambitious drilling operation led by Doctor Nasreen Chaudry (Meera Syal) and her assistant, Tony Mack (Robert Pugh): the dead are taken from their graves from below, and Tony's son-in-law and co-worker vanishes into the ground during his night shift.

Doctor Who is back in awake mode, after the embarassing Amy's choice, with this announced return of the Silurians - villains first seen in 1970. And The Hungry Earth delivers more than what we bargained for after its pre-credits sequence, half bedtime story (The Gruffalo) half a Chibnall post-industrial claustrophobic nightmare.

« Cold blood. I know who they are. »

The episode itself gives a pleasant classic Who feeling (The Green Death and Doctor Who and The Silurians) to the reinvention of the Silurians as a different branch of the species which reacts to the threat caused by the drilling project. When a Silurian female named Alaya (Neve McIntosh) sees her Predator style hunt party turns to her disadvantage, the Doctor puts George Smiley's shoes to start a Cold War negociation during a memorable interrogation scene.

Rory is a reluctant Sherlock Holmes thanks to a delightfully surreal confusion around the TARDIS's police box shape. Amy Pond lies in another sort of box (« Did you just shoosh me? ») while the Doctor plays Professor Quatermass but his self-confidence takes several blows. Matt Smith showcases his instinctive mastery of the role and its heritage, Arthur Darvill brings more deepness to Rory in each episode. And it's refreshing to have two companions instead of one.

Brilliant job by Meera Syal, Robert Pugh, and Neve McIntosh - with a superb Silurian make-up. Pure fun moments, with the Doctor hopping on the graveyard ground (very Patrick Troughton) or doing his Benton Fraser (« Oh please, have you always been this disgusting? ») (1), etc... And some very behind the sofa moments too (particularly the Silurian scientist).

Favourite lines: « Amy, the Doctor. We're not staying. Are we Doctor? » and « Don't diss the sonic! »

Next time: Indiana Jones and the Lost Silurian City.

(1) Constable Benton Fraser was the hero of Due South (1994-1999).

See also:

Monday, 24 May 2010


[14.20 - French Time] Doctor Who remains one of the biggest money maker brands of BBC Worldwide, along with the sale of other hit shows or formats. The Beeb's commercial arm has reported profits of around £140 million this year.

Mark Thompson, director general of the BBC, disclosed the profit figure in a conference speech at Chatham House in London ahead of the publication of the annual report of Worldwide in July. It is well up on last year’s £103 million profit, thanks to the sale of formats of The Office, Top Gear, Strictly Come Dancing, or The Weakest Link.

According to BBC Worldwide, Doctor Who has been sold to more than 50 territories, with over 3.3m DVDs and more than 7m action figures sold in 2009 alone. Ironically, the show is still reputed non-profitable in France where fans are still waiting for a region 2 French DVD box set of series four.

Sunday, 23 May 2010


[18.04 - French Time] Journalist and newscaster John Suchet talks about his wife Bonnie's battle with dementia in a moving must-read article for Mail on Sunday.

Our readers may remember that John Suchet appeared in the essential Kevin Whately on Dementia, a documentary aired in ITV's Tonight on March 2009 and reviewed in this blog.

John Suchet's book, My Bonnie - How dementia stole the love of my life, is published by HarperCollins and will be available on tuesday (

Kevin Whately on Dementia:

Alzheimer's Society:

Saturday, 22 May 2010


[Updated] [May 21 - 23.12] So this is how it ends for the legendary DCI Gene Hunt, portrayed by Philip Glenister in Life on Mars (2006-2007) and Ashes to Ashes (2008-2010).

Tonight BBC One aired the last episode of Ashes to Ashes series three, the show's finale. This episode will surely be discussed, praised or hated till the end of time. Like the finale of Patrick McGoohan's The Prisoner before.

My name is Sam Tyler. I had an accident and I woke up in 1968. At least they were not astronauts.

See also (may contain spoilers): (Brilliant review by Frank Collins on Cathode Ray Tube) (Interview of co-creator Matthew Graham)

Thursday, 20 May 2010


[21.15 - French Time] The CW announced today its 2010-2011 schedule. One of the network's new dramas is Nikita, starring Maggie Q (Mission Impossible III) in the title role.

Originally Nikita was of course a 1990 movie directed by Luc Besson, with Anne Parillaud as a young criminal woman trained to be an assassin by a top-secret government agency. The story (written by Besson) was remade three years later in the US as Point of No Return, with Bridget Fonda.

In 1997 the movie(s) became a television series called La Femme Nikita (aka LFN) and produced in Toronto for USA Network, with Peta Wilson as Nikita. Roy Dupuis (a superstar in Quebec) played Michael, Eugene Robert Glazer was "Operations" - ruthless boss of Section One, Alberta Watson (The Sweet Hereafter) was his right-hand woman Madeline, etc.

The influence of La Femme Nikita is ostensible in series like the underestimated Quebecer drama Haute Surveillance (2000), Alias (2001) or 24 (2001), which owes a huge debt to the show. LFN was adapted by Joel Surnow, who co-created 24 with Robert Cochran. The composer of 24, Sean Callery, worked on the USA series and the early designs of CTU resemble Rocco Matteo's Section One.

The 2010 Nikita is co-exec produced by McG (Charlie's Angels, Chuck) and its pilot is directed by Danny Cannon. Among the other cast members, Shane West is the new Michael, Xander Berkeley is Percy (the new Operations?) and Melinda Clarke is Amanda (the new Madeline?) We have now more details in the CW's schedule press release and a clip is available (

LFN was a dark sophisticated spy thriller with great dialogues and deep characterization. Also, you cannot duplicate the alchemy between Peta Wilson and Roy Dupuis or the subtle presence of Eugene Robert Glazer and Alberta Watson. Beyond La Femme Nikita it's not Nikita, it's a Mission: Impossible.

« In the white room with black curtains near the station » (With Press release)


[5.00 - French time] CBS unveiled its 2010-2011 schedule. 18 programmes return after tuesday's clean up with seven series officially axed: Cold Case, Numbers, Ghost Whisperer, Miami Medical, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Gary Unmarried and Accidentally on Purpose.

Crime and comedy rule on the eye network because you need the latter after watching the former. Among the four new dramas three are police procedurals vs one legal drama.

NBC spared us another pathetic remake of a classic when they passed the 2010 Rockford Files. But CBS sticks to the new Hawaii Five-O, starring Alex O'Loughlin (Moonlight, Three Rivers) as Steve McGarrett - huh? McGarrett is a decorated Naval officer turned cop, who returns to Oahu to investigate his father’s murder and stays in Hawaii. Peter Lenkov, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are exec producers and is THIS ( really the intro?

Blue Bloods (formerly Reagan's Law) is a drama about a multi-generational family of cops dedicated to New York City law enforcement and headed by Chief of Police Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck). Because they could not call it Family of cops or To serve and protect.

Jim Belushi and Jerry O'Connell star in The Defenders as "two colorful Las Vegas defense attorneys who go all-in when it comes to representing their clients". The title sounds sixties and the concept sounds eighties but at least it's neither a cop show nor a franchise, unlike CSI, NCIS and now Criminal Minds - which gets a midseason spinoff starring Forest Whitaker.

On the comedy front, William Shatner stars in $#*! My Dad Says, inspired by... a Twitter feed ( On the paper the idea of the legendary Shatner as an un-pc dad could have been a flash forward of Two and a Half Men's Charlie but from what we can see it looks like "Everybody hates Raymond" (

More details here:

Wednesday, 19 May 2010


[14.16 - French Time] Golden Globe winner James Franco will return to ABC's venerable soap opera General Hospital next month.

When Franco guest starred last winter in GH on a short-term basis many commentators expressed their surprise. But the actor gave us his explanations in a Wall Street Journal article titled A Star, a Soap and the Meaning of Art, and subtitled Why an appearance on 'General Hospital' qualifies as performance art: his role in 20 episodes as « the bad-boy artist "Franco, just Franco" » was... performance art(

James Franco's first airdate in General Hospital is Wednesday, June 30.

See also:


[6.57 - French Time] Entertainment biz blogger Furious D likes to shake and stir his instinctive comprehension of the movie and television industries in a cocktail of wit and wisdom.

Those interested will enjoy a masterclass about TV pilots, in the wake of the recent hoopla surrounding 2010 pilot season and subsequent Upfronts (

You can read also the thoughts of Lee Goldberg, a man who knows a great deal about TV business and a name familiar to the readers of our little blog (

Tuesday, 18 May 2010


[14.49 - French Time] ABC unveils today its 2010-2011 schedule, with six new dramas.

From previous season, FlashForward will never be the next Lost and now viewers thirsty for "high concept" will jump to NBC and The Event. V will never be next to Lost again, we'll see how the struggling remake of Kenneth Johnson's classic fares when its season two starts in November. THR's James Hibberd reports that the network wants to give V enough production time before its premiere, and could use freshman superhero drama No Ordinary Family as a lead-in on tuesday nights once DWTS is finished (

In No ordinary family, Jim and Stephanie Powell (Michael Chiklis and Julie Benz) are trapped in a routine between their work and their two children. During a family trip set up by Jim in an attempt to reconnect, their plane crashes into the Amazon River. After this accident the Powell family members discover that each of them now possesses superpowers. The plane crash idea is very "Fred Silverman's ABC" and sounds like the basis of The Champions (1968-1969). We'll see if it's a live-action The Incredibles without all the fun.

No network television without procedurals and cop shows. Dana Delany (Desperate Housewives) is a former neurosurgeon turned medical examiner in Body of Proof. More interesting, Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos) as a cop in Detroit 1-8-7 because Imperioli was the only watchable element in Life on Mars US. Cops... because CBS can't have them all, can't they?

More details here:

Monday, 17 May 2010


[15.10 - French Time] Yesterday NBC unveiled its 2010 Fall schedule, keeping some ammo like new superhero drama The Cape and David E. Kelley's new - what else? - legal drama Harry's Law, for midseason. Today Fox reveals its 2010-2011 Primetime schedule.

Four new comedies (one live-action and one animated) and three new dramas will join the returning shows, like the surprisingly renewed Human Target - back in spite of its low ratings and a limited interest. Robert Seidman of TV by the numbers gives us an explanation: Fox has the luxury of patience (

On Monday nights House will be followed by an attempt to bring back the supersoap genre on network TV, with Lonestar. Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly describes Lonestar as "a modern Dallas set against the Texas oil industry". We'll see if it ends with such luminaries as Titans (2000) or Dirty Sexy Money (2007), or if it worths the beginning of a comparison with Dallas.

Set for midseason, Ride-Along is a Chicago cop drama created by Shawn Ryan (The Shield). Another US cop show because CBS can't have them all, can't they? The last of the three new dramas is Terra Nova, which follows an "ordinary" family from year 2149 embarking on an a journey back in time to prehistoric Earth as a small part of a massive experiment to save the human race.

Terra Nova is exec produced by Steven Spielberg, Peter Chernin, Brannon Braga and David Fury. The concept furiously recalls Lost in Space, Land of the Lost or Earth II, and costly CGI dinosaurs or other prehistoric threats won't do the trick without good scripts. Remember what happened to BBC's Primeval.

More details here:

See also:

Sunday, 16 May 2010


[21.20 - French Time] We know now what NBC has in store for its 2010 Fall schedule.

Following the Jay Leno debacle, the Peacock came back in the scripted programme territory for its 10pm slot with an impressive development season. Including much talked about pilots like Rex is not your Lawyer, starring former Doctor Who star David Tennant, or a new Rockford Files starring the totally miscast Dermot Mulroney in the role popularized by James Garner.

Thank God common sense prevailed and we will be spared another pathetic remake of a classic. David Tennant has a strong and loyal fanbase which was eagerly anticipating a series order for Rex, but Nellie Andreeva of wrote last thursday that this pilot was not "going forward" ( Should Rex not resurface midseason on NBC and if Tennant is available, this lawyer with panic attacks who coaches his clients to represent themselves would be perfect for USA Network.

Here are the highlights of NBC's 2010 Fall schedule...

Monday Night is all action/adventure: new conspiracy thriller The Event follows renewed Chuck (which takes Heroes's slot). The pick-up of another "high concept show" after the announced demise of ABC's FlashForward is a mystery stronger than the pitch of this new drama. The Event is followed by Jerry Bruckheimer's Chase, about US marshals chasing fugitives. Chuck looks like the only thing enjoyable.

J.J. Abrams's Undercovers gets the Wednesday 8 pm slot with its married spy couple. The forgettable My Own Worst Enemy should have stayed the last attempt of the genre on network television. Undercovers is followed by a Law & Order combo made of the returning Law & Order: SVU and the new franchise avatar, Law & Order: Los Angeles. Maybe they unplugged the original some months too soon.

Thursday Night remains dedicated to comedies, with Community, the two workplace shows plus a new one (Outsourced), and Love Bites at 10pm - a show whose concept evokes Steven Moffat's Coupling. Love Bites is co-produced by Working Title Television, the new division of UK-based Working Title Films and is Working Title Television’s first US commission.

Outlaw (formerly Garza), the legal drama from Conan O'Brien's production company starring Jimmy Smits as a Supreme Court Justice, has been given a deadly Friday 10pm time slot.

More details here:

See also:


[14.23 - French Time] Doctor Who - Amy's choice (Series Five, Episode Seven): In which the Doctor (Matt Smith) forgets to pay his electricity bill and is trapped by Mr. Mxyzptlk in Bizarro Leadworth, with Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill).

« Doctor, I also had a kind of dream thing. »

Written by Simon Nye (Men behaving badly) and directed by Catherine Morshead (Murderland), Amy's choice is regrettably the weakest episode of series five shown to date. It was actually the last to be filmed and in some respects it shows.

There's nothing worse for a genre show relying heavily on VFX than a mysterious and powerful entity (the production accountant?) taking the characters to his personal playground for a low-key adventure. Close to that would be the Doctor and his companions locked in the TARDIS for a whole episode. And even if the blue box is a bigger "bottle" on the inside we almost have both here.

The Doctor visits Amy and Rory some years after their adventures. They live in a picturesque cottage in Upper Leadworth, Amy is pregnant and Rory has stolen a ponytail to a nineties ad exec. Then they wake up in the TARDIS and face the Dream Lord (Toby Jones), who asks our gang to chose between a remake of Village of the Damned with senior citizens and a rerun of Space: 1999.

Toby Jones often channels Frank Gorshin (The Riddler in the 60's Batman) but he wastes class and ambiguity on one of the less convincing villain since the Abzorbaloff. The Dream Lord ends up as an ancient chorus of the script's own defects (« What's this? Attack of the old people. Oh, that's ridiculous ») and exits with the awful « Well done, you got it right » speech, except that he brings back electricity aboard the TARDIS rather than distributing lollipops.

« Because this village is so dull. » Well, if the Doctor himself has noticed...

Next Week: The Doctor vs Anna's Brit cousins.

See also:

Friday, 14 May 2010


[Update 23.40 - French Time] [21.54 - French Time] Since November we note the TV show casualties of the US Network season 2009-2010 in our Countdown to Oblivion feature (The list is updated when necessary):

- The Beautiful Life (CW)
- Southland (NBC)
- Eastwick (ABC)
- Hank (ABC)
- Dollhouse (Fox)
- Ugly Betty (ABC)
- Past Life (Fox)
- Scrubs (ABC)

- According to EW's Michael Ausiello Romantically Challenged, Better Off Ted and FlashForward rejoin Scrubs ( In the case of FlashForward this is absolutely not a surprise for the readers of this blog.

- Mercy & Trauma (NBC) - According to THR, the Peacock pulled the plug on its two freshmen medical dramas (

This is clean up day for NBC, as the network announced today that the original Law & Order will end with the conclusion of its 20th season on Monday, May 24 (

Update (23.40 - French Time): Talking about clean up, it seems that someone at NBC finally remembered to end the too long agony of Heroes (

See also:


[8.58 - French Time] According to's Nellie Andreeva, the pilot of Rex is not your Lawyer "is not going forward" on NBC.

With David E. Kelley's legal drama slated by the network for 2010-2011 midseason and Garza (with Jimmy Smits as a Supreme Court Justice) certainly picked up, it seems that David Tennant as a top Chicaco lawyer with panic attacks would make too much men of law for the Peacock.

In January your humble servant wrote: « Maybe David Tennant (ex-Doctor Who) should wait before moving to Los Angeles as he's starring in a pilot called Rex is Not your Lawyer, or maybe NBC will be crowded with "unconventional" lawyers next season ».

See also:

Thursday, 13 May 2010


[17.45 - French Time] The BBC has unveiled the details of Outcasts, the new eight-part drama series created by Ben Richards (The Fixer) and produced by Kudos Film and Television.

In 2040, the colony of Forthaven is established on planet Carpathia after the survivors of humanity had to leave Earth. Currently filming in South Africa for transmission on BBC One later this year, Outcasts is directed by Bharat Nalluri and Omar Madha.

In the past, Nalluri directed the premiere episodes of Spooks (2002), Hustle (2004) and Life on Mars (2006). He actually got the idea of Hustle and he's the man behind the style of these three hits which established the reputation of Kudos as an indie.

The cast includes Hermione Norris (Spooks), Daniel Mays (Ashes to Ashes), Jamie Bamber (Battlestar Galactica), Ashley Walters (Small Island) and Eric Mabius (Ugly Betty). Jane Featherstone, Simon Crawford Collins, Faith Penhale and Ben Richards exec produce for Kudos and Matthew Read is executive producer for the BBC.

Wonder if there will be a polar bear in it or a female metamorph with sideburns...

More details here:

Wednesday, 12 May 2010


[6.47 - French Time] Yesterday evening on BBC One there was the latest episode of a suspenseful thriller about the tragedy and weight of human emotions. But sadly it was not the second episode of Luther, the Idris Elba starrer created and written by Neil Cross.

DCI John Luther (Elba) investigates the shooting of two uniformed police officers aswering a 999 call but it's only the beginning of a series. Meanwhile, Luther's nemesis Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson) seeks to know the truth about the event that lead to John's suspension and wants a little chat with Zoe (Indira Varma).

Too bad for fans of the great Idris Elba (The Wire) but his formidable on-screen presence doesn't suffice to save episode 2 of Luther. And screenwriters should be fined every time they use the "ex-soldier gone wild" and "the hero provokes the killer on TV" plot elements. Sorry for the rest of the cast too, particularly Paul McGann and Saskia Reeves - Luther's female gov seems escaped from a Lynda La Plante drama.

John Luther is a cop "on the edge" and proves it on the roof. But he's not Sam Tyler.

Tuesday 9pm (British Time) on BBC One.

P.S.: Wonder if international versions of the show will have Paradise Circus by Massive Attack as its theme song (remember what happened with Teardrop on House).

See also:

Monday, 10 May 2010


[21.45 - French Time] US cable channel SyFy has ordered from ITV Studios a pilot for a remake of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased).

The original show, known in America as My Partner the Ghost, was an ITC production and ran on the ITV network for 26 episodes from 1969 to 1970. It was about Jeff Randall (Mike Pratt), a private eye who teamed up with the ghost of his murdered partner Marty Hopkirk (Kenneth Cope). Only Jeff could see and hear Marty, not Marty's widow Jeannie (Annette Andre) - their secretary.

The series was first remade in 2000 by Working Title as Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) and ran for two series. It starred British comedy duo Bob Mortimer and Vic Reeves, Emilia Fox as Jeannie and Tom Baker as Wyvern. Incidental music was composed by future Doctor Who maestro Murray Gold and the theme by James Bond resident composer David Arnold.

The new pilot will be written and executive produced by Josh Bycel (Scrubs) and Jonathan Fener (American Dad). Howard Braunstein, of Jaffe/Braunstein Entertainment, will also executive produce. « Josh and Jonathan have found a great way to update the buddy-cop formula with a supernatural twist. We look forward to working with them, Howard, and ITV to bring new life to this British classic, » said Mark Stern, EVP of Original Programming for Syfy, in a press release.

After the AMC/ITV remake of The Prisoner, another treasure of the ITC Entertainment catalogue, to say that we're looking forward to this second remake of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) would be greatly exaggerated.


Doctor Who - The Vampires of Venice (Series Five, Episode Six): The Doctor (Matt Smith) takes Amy (Karen Gillan) and her fiancé Rory (Arthur Darvill) to a trip in 16th century Venice as a wedding present.

But why is a boat builder named Guido (Lucian Msamati) so anxious to remove her daughter Isabella from the prestigious school for girls headed by Signora Rosanna Calvierri (Helen McCrory) and her strange son Francesco (Alex Price)?

« I like the bit when someone says it's bigger on the inside. I was looking forward to that. »

The last time the Doctor Who cast and crew went abroad was to shoot in Dubai what will remain as one of the weakest episodes of the whole modern Who era. In those days of BBC budget cuts The Vampires of Venice not only had to worth the trip to the beautiful Croatian town of Trogir, but also to be a great 48-minute piece of Entertainment.

And it is. The episode, penned by Toby Whithouse (Being Human), is a cascade of comedic heights ("Cake-crashing", the Doctor discovers the vampire girls, etc), fun one-liners (Francesco's « Did you say something about mummy? ») and nods to the Doctor Who mythology (the library card). But also a clever use of the magnificent Croatian locations.

Filmed by director Jonny Campbell, Trogir marvelously doubles as Venice in 1580 and becomes the perfect place for adventure and a little faux Hammer movie fright with a "fishy" alien menace. Actually Croatia is used twice this year, because another episode set in Provence was filmed there to optimize the investment.

According to Broadcast, The two-episode block costs £400,000 more than a two-episode studio shoot - but was anyway less expensive than shooting in Venice and France ( Broadcast also reported that the decision to fly Toby Whithouse and Matt Smith to Venice for Doctor Who Confidential, the companion show to Doctor Who, angered some unnamed industry sources of the website.

« Doctor Who Confidential is highly successful and is fantastic value for money, » answered the Corporation. Chris Davids, of Kasterborous, offered far better arguments: « So, the BBC producers of Doctor Who Confidential spent around up to £2000 to send its stars and a small crew to Venice for a day or two to film them on location – meanwhile nearly 18 months ago the then Doctor Who production team spent at least 10x this amount to film a bit of sand in Dubai » (

« You should be in a museum. Or a mausoleum. »

All things considered, the most problematic in this episode was the recycling of story elements or ideas from previous episodes like The Shakespeare Code or School Reunion (this one was written by Whithouse).

Next week: Turn Left?

See also:


[9.56 - French Time] The official list of nominations for the British Academy Television Awards 2010 has been published today. Note that Britain's Got Talent has its first ever nomination for a BAFTA Television Award (Best Entertainment programme). Here are some of the categories:

- Best Actress:

Helena Bonham Carter for Enid (BBC One), Sophie Okonedo for Mrs Mandela (BBC Four), Julie Walters for A Short Stay In Switzerland (BBC One) and Mo (Channel 4).

- Best Actor:

Kenneth Branagh for Wallander (BBC One), Brendan Gleeson for Into The Storm (BBC Two) , John Hurt for An Englishman in New York (ITV1), David Oyelowo for Small Island (BBC One).

- Best Supporting Actress:

Rebecca Hall for Red Riding 1974 (Channel 4), Sophie Okonedo for Criminal Justice (BBC One), Lauren Socha for The Unloved (Channel 4), Imelda Staunton for Cranford (BBC One).

- Best Supporting Actor:

Benedict Cumberbatch for Small Island (BBC One), Tom Hollander for Gracie! (BBC Four), Gary Lewis for Mo (Channel 4), Matthew Macfadyen for Criminal Justice (BBC One).

- Best Entertainment Performance:

Stephen Fry for QI (BBC One), Harry Hill for Harry Hill’s TV Burp (ITV1), Anthony McPartlin & Declan Donnelly for I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! (ITV1), Michael McIntyre for Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow (BBC One).

- Best Drama Series:

Being Human (BBC Three), Misfits (E4), Spooks (BBC One), The Street (BBC One).

- Best Drama Serial:

Occupation (BBC One), Red Riding (Channel 4), Small Island (BBC One), Unforgiven (ITV 1).

More details here:,1095,BA.html#jump0.5

The BAFTA Television Awards 2010 will take place on Sunday 6 June.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010


[13.15] Broadcast reports today that John Simm and Philip Glenister, who first appeared together in Life on Mars, are to star in a 4 x 60-minute murder drama called Mad Dogs for Sky1.

Mad Dogs follows a group of school friends who go to Majorca for a retirement party but the holiday rapidly turns into a game of intrigue, deception and murder. It is produced by Left Bank Pictures (Wallander, Zen) and according to Broadcast filming begins this week in Majorca. The series, which also stars Max Beesley (Survivors) and Marc Warren (Hustle), is due to air on Sky1 HD and Sky1 in spring 2011.

Rupert Murdoch's Sky ambitions to be a major player on the British drama front. This evening Sky1 HD and Sky1 air Episodes 1 & 2 of Chris Ryan's Strike Back, starring Richard Armitage and also produced by Left Bank.

See also:


[8.37 - French Time] With Neil Cross (Spooks) as creator/writer and Idris Elba (The Wire) as its star, new BBC crime drama Luther inspired the highest expectations.

DCI John Luther (Elba) is a genius murder detective but he has serious psychological issues and an obvious anger management problem. After several months of suspension because he spared the community some money and time on the case of a child kidnapper, Luther is back on the job.

His first new case is Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson), Oxford graduate and former child prodigy, who survived a slaughter in the family house - dog included. John quickly understands (during the interrogation) that she did it but the beautiful young woman appears to be a very dangerous adversary. She starts a mind game with the detective, tries to seduce him and even threatens the life of Luther's estranged wife (Indira Varma).

Many rather elitist critics consider HBO's The Wire as the ultimate American TV drama and believe British television fiction should use it as an example to follow. For them watching the rightfully successful Idris Elba in this six-part crime series must be a dream come true.

Credit must be given to the BBC for their ambitions. Luther is a dark, stylish, psychological thriller with a fine cast - Saskia Reeves, Paul McGann, etc - and a theme song by Massive Attack (Paradise Circus). Unfortunately and surprisingly, Episode 1 is cliché-ridden: the maverick/tormented cop working on the edge, the brainy and attractive Catherine Tramell type sociopath, the "By the book gov", the hero who scares his wife while he tries to protect her...

Luther is a British answer to the tiresome overdose of US network police procedurals. We'll see next week if it is another generic cop show in spite of Idris Elba's formidable on-screen presence.

Tuesday 9pm (British Time) on BBC One.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010


[21.35 - French Time] Nicolas K., who runs the excellent and well-informed DSD (a website about French-speaking dubbing of contemporary TV series), told our blog that John Barrowman loses his dubbing voice from Torchwood in Desperate Housewives.

John Barrowman appears in the final episodes of DH's sixth season and a lot of French-speaking fans of both Barrowman and Torchwood are eager to know if the actor keeps Captain Jack's dubbing voice. Last month we explained that if the Doctor Who franchise and Desperate Housewives are dubbed by the same company, Dubbing Brothers, the former is dubbed in Belgium and the latter in France. So the probability was thin.

And indeed John Barrowman loses the voice of Belgian actor Sébastien Hébrant on Wisteria Lane. Because according to Nicolas, it is presumably Serge Faliu who has been chosen to dub Barrowman in Desperate. Faliu was the French voice of James Marsters in Buffy and Angel, and the voice of Douglas Henshall in Primeval (dubbed in France by Dubbing Brothers).

Should it be confirmed it would be a rather smart choice even if some will regret this blow to continuity, because Sébastien Hébrant is really good in Torchwood. Cases of dubbing artists crossing the Belgium-France border (or vice versa) for continuity on an actor are rare. Belgian actress and dubbing artist Véronique Biefnot was called in France to dub Hermione Norris in Spooks, after Wire in the Blood (dubbed in Belgium). But Serge Faliu didn't provide his voice to James Marsters in Torchwood. (In French)


[16.08 - French Time] ITV has announced today who will star in the title role of Monroe, one of the three new dramas which will replace The Bill. And it's James Nesbitt (Jekyll, Occupation).

Monroe, a 6X60-minute medical drama created and written by Peter Bowker (Desperate Romantics, Occupation), is about the work of a hospital neurosurgeon. It is produced by Mammoth Screen, the indie producer behind Bowker's adaptation of Wuthering Heights for ITV.

Monroe is a brilliant and unconventional neurosurgeon. "A flawed genius who never lets anyone forget his flaws or his genius", says ITV's press release. This new drama focuses on its main character rather than an ensemble (like in other British medical dramas) and there will be dark humour. In March Peter Bowker told The Guardian that he hoped Monroe would match House in dramatic intensity (

Monroe will start filming in September 2010 in Leeds.

See also:

Monday, 3 May 2010


[7.00 - French Time] Doctor Who - Flesh and Stone (Series Five, Episode Five): The Doctor (Matt Smith), Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), River Song (Alex Kingston) and the paramilitary clerics are trapped on spaceship Byzantium and the Weeping Angels want them no good at all.

« Nobody panic... Just me, then. »

Escalation of pre-watershed psychological terror continues in this conclusion of last week's story (The Time of Angels), thanks to screenwriter and Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat and to director Adam Smith. Let's hope Smith will have some time to direct a Christmas special before a Hollywood studio like Lionsgate lures him with a tempting offer.

As if hide and seek with Angels was not enough, the Moff engages us in a scary walk into the dark and deep woods where the cleric team leader's fate is by far the most indulgent (to have never existed is worse). Octavian faces death both with all the grandeur of the experimented soldier and the conviction and faith of the priest. Iain Glen deserves a BAFTA or something for this scene (« I think sir, you know me on my best »).

« How's life? Sorry, bad subject. » What Matt Smith has achieved in only five episodes is remarkable. It's very refreshing to see his Doctor being sarcastic or angry (« WHAT ELSE HAVE YOU GOT? ») and it's fascinating to see bits of Patrick Troughton, William Hartnell or Peter Davison in such a young actor.

« Amy, listen to me. I am 907 years old, do you understand what that means?
- It's been a while?
- Yeah... No, no, no! I'm 907, and look at me. I don't get older, I just change. »

Steven Moffat dynamites one irritating trademark of modern Who in his vaudevillesque epilogue: the prospective romance between the Doctor and his female companion. Remember Moffat wrote Coupling (2000-2004) and that Karen Gillan was the sexy team member of The Kevin Bishop Show (2007-2008), the provocative Channel 4 sketch comedy show. Best line in this scene: « About WHO I want ».

« Time can be rewritten ». There are cracks everywhere, something about Amy and River Song will kill someone. Experience shows that in contemporary Doctor Who sophisticated story arcs must be handled with extreme care, or this would add to the list of potential threats against the Doctor. With Graham Norton, budget cuts, or The Vampires of Venice at 6.00pm (British time) next saturday.

Saturday, 1 May 2010


In a world similar to ours except that the human race has never evolved the ability to tell a lie, everybody says what they think even if it's harsh or embarassing. Until one day when a strange thing happens to Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais).

The Invention of Lying originated as a draft script from freshman L.A. screenwriter Matthew Robinson. Producer Lynda Obst convinced Robinson's idol, British comedic genius Ricky Gervais - co-creator of TV comedy series The Office and Extras - to read it. Gervais and Matthew Robinson ended up writing and directing the movie together.

Mark Bellison is a struggling screenwriter. In a world where there's no such things as deceit, flattery or even fiction, movies are moments from history read by narrators like an introduction of Masterpiece Theatre. Bellison is mad about the lovely Anna McDoogles (Jennifer Garner) but she dines with him only to please her mother and because she's afraid to spend the rest of her life alone, even if she doesn't find him attractive.

He's fired because his last script was too "depressing" (the Black Plague!) and he is about to be evicted. When at the bank in order to close his account, Mark asks for more than he really has without any kind of suspicion from the cashier. He tests his new power on his friends and in casinos, then realizes he can do some good around him and later sells his former boss (Jeffrey Tambor) the best script ever written. A story with a spaceship, a ninja army and a robot dinosaur... in the 14th century.

Mark Bellison's true moment of glory actually comes involuntarily when he tells his dying mother (Fionnula Flanagan) about the wonderful things that come after death. Now he's a rich global celebrity but still can't conquer Anna's heart, as the young woman is stopped by her genetic prejudices - in spite of her growing feelings for him.

The Invention of Lying is an astute social comedy. In the world of Mark Bellison a homeless man in the street holds a cardboard which states: "I don't understand why I'm homeless and you're not". The retirement home is called "A sad place for hopeless old people". Commercials are honest or disillusioned ("Pepsi, when they don't have Coke").

Gervais is at his best when it comes to human relationships and particularly in workplace: Mark's secretary openly hates him, his boss is a coward and his professional and sentimental rival, Brad Kessler (incredible Rob Lowe) is the epitome of shallow. The film is also an enlightening, moving and poetic philosophical tale with reflections about prejudice, religion or creativity. Its only weakness is certainly the romance between the hero and Anna.

The Invention of Lying is not Ricky Gervais's Liar Liar but his Groundhog Day and the versatile comedian is surrounded by an excellent cast. Louis C.K. as Greg (Mark's best friend), and Jonah Hill as Frank - a neighbour Mark saves from suicide - are fabulous. And there are tasty cameos from Tina Fey, Stephen Merchant, Edward Norton, or Philip Seymour Hoffman. Hoffman is Mark and Greg's bartender in a scene which could be used as an audition for Gervais as Homer in a live action Simpsons movie.

Region 1 DVD contains the very good French-speaking dubbing made in Quebec with the talented Tristan Harvey, who should be the only voice of Ricky Gervais in French. Virtually ignored by US box office, The Invention of Lying is released confidentially in French theaters this week.