Monday, 26 March 2012


We have received the French R2 DVD of Julian Fellowes's Titanic two days ago, thanks to the wonderful people at Koba Films. If you follow us on Twitter you have already read our praises while we were discovering yesterday afternoon the first part of the 2 X 90-minute version (Titanic is aired in four parts on ITV1).

Titanic is a great piece of television with a superb cast. And of course it's filled with Fellowes's trademark one-liners and his sense of social commentary as showcased with such brilliance in Downton Abbey. Fans of Downton will adore, the performance of Toby Jones is definitely BAFTA-worthy and Jenna-Louise Coleman is an excellent choice for Doctor Who.

We'll do a review of the French R2 DVD which will be available on both of our blogs (in English and in French) given the event and the quality of the programme. Titanic had a deserved strong start on ITV1 yesterday night.!/thierryattard

Thursday, 22 March 2012


Midsomer Murders - Series 15, Episode 2. Convicted killer Grady Felton comes back to his childhood home after 18 years, much to the anger of the family of his victim, Daniel Denning. A barrister involved in his trial is murdered that same night but Grady has a solid alibi.

Since 1997 the residents of Midsomer County obligingly experiment in rotation the most various ways to be murdered without any complaint of the international community. The formula of Midsomer Murders survived the departure of its original star (John Nettles as DCI Tom Barnaby) in 2011. It even survived a so-called controversy after some uninspired words of its longtime producer Brian True-May (1), now replaced by Jo Wright (Lovejoy, 55 Degrees North) for this fifteenth series which started last month on ITV1.

Introduced a couple of series ago alongside his cousin Tom, and fully in charge of Midsomer's bodycount registry since last year, DCI John Barnaby (played by Neil Dudgeon) is back with DS Ben Jones (Jason Hughes). Grady Felton (Jack Pierce), a convicted murderer, returns home to Midsomer after serving time for the murder of village youngster Daniel Denning. Felton hopes to sell his old cottage but a welcoming commitee of the angry kind shows him how much he shouldn't have been allowed to come back.

When his former defence barrister is murderered Grady becomes the chief suspect. However, he has the strongest of the alibis thanks to the people who hates him and waited him. Meanwhile, John reluctantly considers the perspective of the Chief Constable's fitness test as his wife Sarah (Fiona Dolman) wants him to attend military-style workouts run by Gareth Dunbar, a Scottish trainer (Jamie Michie). And Jones's life could be in jeopardy.

Written by Elizabeth-Anne Wheal (Dalziel and Pascoe, The Bill), this endless Murder of Innocence - ad breaks don't help - morphs Midsomer Murders into a more traditional ITV crime drama with rather mixed results. Ben Jones gets a girlfriend, the best line of the episode (« Is anyone here stupid enough to commit arson with their own fuel, sir? »), but also the worst (« You need to watch less television. ») His boss is oddly not up to Neil Dudgeon's talent and the fitness situation sounds a bit written for John's cousin. But it's a trick to help a solution really far-fetched, even by Midsomer's standards.

Too much of everything, even a court scene where we learn that Midsomer County is actually so small that it costs poor Jones a case. This second episode, overall weaker than the series opener, is directed by Renny Rye. Midsomer Murders is produced by Bentley Productions, part of the All3Media Group, for ITV1. On a side note, series 14 recently ended a successful run in France on pubcaster France 3 (2).

(2) (In French)

Tuesday, 20 March 2012


Distributor DRG has recently secured a third season format deal with French prodco Ego Productions for TF1's adaptation of ITV1's ratings juggernaut Doc Martin.

The French Doc Martin stars Thierry Lhermitte as Dr Martin Le Foll, the curmudgeonly GP of a picturesque Breton village called Port-Garrec. Private channel TF1 aired the first 6 x 52-minute series of its Doc Martin in january 2011, with an average of 7m viewers. Then Dr Le Foll returned from november to december of the same year with a second six-part series whose ratings suffered against Castle, aired by pubcaster France 2. The first two episodes caught 6.2m and 5.3m viewers (23%) (1), below the launch of series one (2), and the final two got 5.9m and 5.6m (22%) (3).

While the pleasant first series of Doc Martin succeeded in delivering an enjoyable French transplant, series 2 took a number of liberties with its Brit equivalent, using the original episodes more as a "toolbox" and getting closer to TF1's usual monday night comedy series. The format sold by DRG has been adapted locally by ZDF in Germany (Doktor Martin), Antena 3 in Spain (the excellent Doctor Mateo), and most recently on Mega in Greece as Kliniki periptosi. It could also be adapted in Russia.

The original Doc Martin, starring Martin Clunes and Caroline Catz, will be back on ITV1 for a sixth series in 2013. In the meantime Catz will join the cast of DCI Banks as the new sidekick of the character played by Stephen Tompkinson.


See also:

Friday, 9 March 2012

MEK 8... MIA?

MEK 8 is an action drama produced by German prodco action concept (Alarm für Cobra 11: Die Autobahn Polizeï) for private channel RTL II. Filmed from october to november 2010 in Cologne, it premiered last month... on V-me, a small US pubcaster in Spanish.

Centered on a secret elite German police unit, MEK 8 is written by Markus Müller, Philipp Sidhu and Gregor Eisenbeiss. It is directed by Nico Zavelberg and Roland Leyer, and stars Stefan Richter, Felix Lampe, Ricardia Bramley, Marc Richter, Jan Stapelfeld and Tanja Lanäus.

The 16X22-minute series was to start possibly in spring or summer 2011. In summer 2011 it was announced that MEK8 would air during the German 2011-2012 TV season. The excellent points out that this season ends in 11 weeks and doesn't see RTL II airing the action concept production in the meantime. Although the channel explained them that MEK 8 was to be aired this year, without giving a TX date.

Alarm für Cobra 11, action concept's flagship series, returned yesterday night on RTL for a new series and still does more than well in the ratings.

See also (In German):

Thursday, 8 March 2012


6 Passi nel Giallo is a thriller collection aired by Italian private channel Canale 5 since February 22. Those six 100-minute TV movies are helmed by the heirs of two cult filmmakers: Lamberto Bava, son of the legendary Mario Bava, Fabrizio "Roy" Bava (Lamberto's son) and Edoardo Margheriti, son of prolific director Antonio Margheriti (aka Anthony M. Dawson).

6 Passi nel Giallo ("Six steps in Giallo") is produced by RTI (Mediaset) with Leader Film Company and distributed globally by Dolphin Entertainment. Filmed in English and entirely in the Maltese islands, thanks to financial incentives from the Malta Film Commission, the movies star an international cast including Kevin Sorbo (Andromeda, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys), Craig Bierko (Cinderella Man), Rob Estes (Melrose Place), Erica Durance (Smallville), Tomas Arana, Clayton Norcross, or Paolo Seganti (Largo Winch).

Lamberto Bava directs Presagi, which opens the collection, Omicidio su misura, and Vite in ostaggio (The final film, to air March 28). Edoardo Margheriti directs Sotto protezione and Souvenirs (aired yesterday), and Roy Bava directs Gemelle. Purists will rather dust off their classics in DVD and some French viewers will remember of a similar collection of French TV thrillers called Vertiges (1997-2003), filmed in Romania and aired by M6. (In Italian) (Review of Presagi - In Italian)

Monday, 5 March 2012


Ill. Back ASAP.

Loved Inside Men and the second series of The Indian Doctor. Disappointed by Kidnap and Ransom Series 2.

In the meantime you may find me here:!/thierryattard