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Tag Archive: BBC


Not to be outdone by the dozens of movie and television trailers released in San Diego at this weekend’s annual Comic-Con, BBC’s Doctor Who panel Sunday previewed “Twice Upon a Time,” the annual Doctor Who Christmas special–what will likely be Peter Capaldi’s last full episode of the series, plus a few surprises.  It was major international news last week that Jodie Whitaker will be taking over the reins from Capaldi to become the 13th Doctor at the end of this year’s Christmas special.  That is, unless her first episode is part of the next season premiere, expected to air either in the March-April 2018 timeframe or August-September 2018 depending on production schedules.  A new trailer has no mention of the Doctor’s regeneration into the 13th Doctor, but does show another Doctor will be appearing in the Christmas special, so plan to see at least two, and maybe three, Doctors on Christmas Day.

The panel was held at Hall H at the San Diego Convention Center on the last day of Comic-Con yesterday.  Doctor Who show runner Steven Moffat appeared with Capaldi, Mark Gatiss, 2017 season regulars Matt Lucas and Michelle Gomez, and 2017 season companion actress Pearl Mackie.  This may be the last Comic-Con appearance for Doctor Who for all of these creators as a new team takes over for 2018.

Best known as Filch in the Harry Potter movies, David Bradley will return for his third stint playing the First Doctor, originally played in 1963 by actor William Hartnell.  A ringer for Hartnell, Bradley previously played Hartnell and the First Doctor in An Adventure in Space and Time, a BBC drama about the First Doctor, and again in this season’s finale.  Also, Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat’s long-time production and writing partner in projects including the BBC’s Sherlock (and Mycroft on the series) will play a World War I captain in the special.

But that’s not all.  Doctor Who fans will be surprised to see Pearl Mackie’s Bill Potts one more time on the series, as she has an appearance in the Christmas special.  By all counts fans didn’t expect to see Bill return after this season’s finale.  It doesn’t look like Mackie will be back in 2018, so get ready for much speculation over the next year on the choice for the next Doctor Who companion.

Check out the Comic-Con preview of “Twice Upon a Time,” the Doctor Who Christmas special: Continue reading

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You really can’t beat waking up to the biggest entertainment news of the year.  Yesterday the BBC teased that we’d see a reveal of the next Doctor on Doctor Who, the 13th Doctor, to take over for the lead role of the iconic 54-year science fiction franchise currently played by Peter Capaldi.  After the men’s Wimbledon final today, the BBC released the big news:  Finally, the BBC is breaking new ground, for the first time casting an actress as the next Doctor–a woman in the role played previously by 13 men on television (counting unnumbered War Doctor John Hurt), and not only a woman, but a great genre actress at that–35-year-old Jodie Whittaker, who hails from West Yorkshire.

Whittaker is best known for her starring role along with Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ John Boyega in the science fiction cult classic Attack the Block.  She also was featured in the great British ghost story series Marchlands and most recently in the drama Broadchurch.  Replacing Doctor Who’s showrunner Steven Moffat is the previously announced Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall.  Whittaker said in an announcement today, “I’m beyond excited to begin this epic journey – with Chris and with every Whovian on this planet….  It’s more than an honour to play the Doctor.  It means remembering everyone I used to be, while stepping forward to embrace everything the Doctor stands for: hope.  I can’t wait.”

When David Tenant regenerated into Matt Smith for Smith to become the eleventh Doctor on the series, Smith’s Doctor initially thought he was female because of his hair, teasing fans a bit and planting the seed for a gender change to be coming in the near future.  “I’m a girl!” he shouted.  Also, the addition of a female Master (Michelle Gomez) in recent seasons helped prepare viewers for the change.

Check out yesterday’s teaser, followed by the big reveal:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

So many books chronicle seasons of hit television series, but a new release for BBC’s Orphan Black takes viewers beyond the norm.  Like the incredible behind the scenes access we saw in Firefly–A Celebration, Abbie Bernstein’s new book The DNA of Orphan Black shows how the unique science fiction series creates its magic.  In 2013 we first saw Sarah Manning watch her doppelganger step out in front of a train.  Who knew how many clones we’d meet in the series, and how many roles Tatiana Maslany, last year’s Best Actress Emmy winner, could play in a single scene?  It’s not so difficult to wrap your head around the characters of the series because Maslany plays them all so well.  But when you try to list your favorite characters on the series, you momentarily forget “they” are a single actress portraying so many incredible people, and none like anyone you’ve seen before.

In The DNA of Orphan Black fans get unprecedented access to the development process, as told by the show’s creators John Fawcett and Graeme Manson.  We learn how Maslany sees each character and created the nuances of each personality.  And we learn from the supporting cast, plus makeup designer Stephen Lynch, hair designer Sandy Sokolowski, costume designer Debra Hanson, art director Jody Clement, and production designer John Dondertman, and more.  Wrapping up its series finale in only four weeks, Orphan Black doesn’t have anything left to hide.  So we learn the tricks of the trade, and how the sleight of hand by the production team has created such complex scenes like Helena’s dream sequence and the clone dance party.  How do viewers know we’re not seeing Maslany’s Rachel, but her Krystal posing as Rachel?  Makeup designer Stephen Lynch explains how.  You’ll learn great tidbits about the show, like how the hair designer created only one “hero” wig for each of Maslany’s characters (each cost $5,000 to $8,000).

The DNA of Orphan Black is not just another TV show souvenir book.  It’s full of behind the scenes images, but it also includes surprisingly detailed interviews, thanks to author Abbie Bernstein (whose last book, The Great Wall–The Art of the Film, was one of the best film art books we’ve reviewed at borg.com).  You’ll see from the table of contents (below) that not only does Maslany provide a few pages of content as lead actor, as found in many TV books, each of her characters gets separate discussion as they would if they’d been played by different actors on any other series.  So as a fan you can get right to your favorite performance by Maslany.  Equal to Bernstein’s handling of the sestra clones is her attention to the key secondary characters: Felix (Jordan Gavaris), Art (Kevin Hanchard), Donnie (Kristian Bruun), Siobhan (Maria Doyle Kennedy), Delphine (Evelyne Brochu), the Castor clones (Ari Millen), and probably most significantly, Maslany’s acting double, Kathryn Alexandre.

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While we’re waiting around to find out if we’ll see more of the BBC’s Sherlock, here’s something worth watching.  This weekend Benedict Cumberbatch posted on Facebook a link to the unaired pilot for the series.  If you’re a diehard fan, here’s a way to catch a different look at the beginning of Cumberbatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman’s John Watson as they created the chemistry the show is celebrated for across the globe.

“A Study in Pink” was re-shot from the 2009 pilot, tightening up bits and pieces only slightly and in subtle ways so you may think you notice a big difference from the version that first aired in the U.S. on October 24, 2010.  It’s been available on the DVD and Blu-ray releases, but only now has the show’s star pointed out the availability of the free streaming version.  This version never aired in the U.K. and wasn’t part of the original airings on PBS in the States.

This early poster shows the look of the actors you’ll find in the pilot:

The now familiar music wasn’t yet integrated in such a boisterous manner.  Mark Gatiss’s Mycroft Holmes–and any reference to Moriarty–are both absent from the unaired pilot.  Cumberbatch’s first run at Sherlock seems to be more cheery, charismatic, slightly less blunt than the version that ended up in the series. 

Or is it?

Watch the original pilot, streaming free now on Vimeo:

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The one-two punch of the third season of the 12th Doctor on BBC’s Doctor Who plus the new spin-off Class is the two-hour TV block sci-fi fans won’t want to miss this season.  Last week witnessed the first episode of Peter Capaldi’s final season on Doctor Who, with Pearl Mackie as the new companion, a vibrant and refreshing character named Bill Potts.  It also saw the premiere of Class, full of intrigue, exceptional actors, and great characterization for an introductory episode.  Aliens and time travel fans should take note, as a fun ride is ahead this season.

It’s the 36th season for Doctor Who and tenth season since the 2005 reboot.  Whovians who have fallen in love with Karen Gillan and Jenna Coleman and their predecessors will find how easily Mackie slips into her role.  After the sweetness and syrupy music over the past few seasons that supported Clara Oswald, the series was due for some fun and a break from the weight of emotion that Oswald’s plight brought to the Doctor.  And Mackie’s Bill looks great, with a cool jean jacket full of flair and a wild shirts that fit in with the past styles of Doctor Who garb.  And that hair!  Bill provides a full character study in her first episode, “Pilot,” where an alien race of space oil beings seek out a star pilot in a woman who is the eye of Bill’s affection.  The result is another creepy and brilliant Doctor Who villain that will hopefully surface again.  Matt Lucas–who is hard to forget as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland–returns as Nardole, a part that is also quickly folding nicely into the show.

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In the United States we had been offered up only the briefest teaser preview for the new Doctor Who spinoff TV series Class. With two stars of the Jeremy Piven star vehicle Mr. Selfridge in lead roles–the brilliant actress Katherine Kelly and the up-and-coming actor Greg Austin–the series was primed to be good, and episode one, “For Tonight We Might Die,” did not disappoint.  As we had speculated earlier this year, the series seemed to be revealing what Doctor Who would look like with a woman playing the lead role.  Katherine Kelly went head-to-head with Peter Capaldi’s Doctor and proved she has the right stuff for the part.  She’s perfect as a headstrong leader, and the younger leader played by Austin fills the niche that the companion would serve in the Who-niverse.

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class-kelly

What if your planet was massacred and you were the sole survivor?  What if a legendary figure out of space and time found you a place to hide?

In the United States we have been offered up only the briefest teaser preview for the new Doctor Who spinoff TV series Class.  With two stars of the Jeremy Piven star vehicle Mr. Selfridge in lead roles–the brilliant actress Katherine Kelly and the up-and-coming actor Greg Austin–the series was built for success.  We are hard pressed to come up with an actress who might make a better first female Doctor than Kelly.  Maybe Sherlock’s Lara Pulver?  So getting Kelly into this universe is great for Whovians everywhere.

Class is the second spinoff series of Doctor Who, following the successful Torchwood, which sparked new phases of the careers of John Barrowman, Eve Myles, and Burn Gorman.  Class is steeped in good British and Doctor Who tradition: For 54 years viewers have heard of the school at Coal Hill.  So who are the students attending classes there these days?  Class is going to show us just that, including one student who is an alien.  Class is a teen-centric series, not aimed at the typical young end of the Doctor Who audience.  So this series is for a wider audience and is to explore broader themes.  The several BBC trailers that so far have only aired in the UK are exciting and fun, dotted with fun characters, and even a fan favorite villain from Doctor Who.  

class-show

Class, written by A Monsters Calls’ Patrick Ness and executive producer Steven Moffatt, follows Katherine Kelly’s Miss Quill and four students, played by Austin and newcomers Sophie Hopkins, Vivian Oparah, and Fady Elsayed.  Even Peter Capaldi’s Doctor makes an appearance at the beginning of the first season.  Moffat called the series dark and sexy and has labeled it a British Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Ness agreed, saying, “Adults watch Buffy because it’s a great show, but the POV and the agency are all teenage, and that’s what we want to do with Class.

Unfortunately, Class may not make it to the States before being cancelled back home.

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More frequently we in the States see British television series via either Masterpiece on public television or BBC America.  The new eight-part TV series Taboo is being featured on cable channel FX, no doubt for its level of R-rated language, nudity, and violence.  The historical drama airs Tuesdays and stars Tom Hardy as James Delaney, a son believed by everyone but his father to be dead who returns to England from Africa.  But he arrives too late–his father is dead, and he sets about discovering who murdered him.  Along the way his path is interwoven with an underworld of the strange and supernatural, and the intrigue of a vile early 19th century England, a dark, dirty, loathsome world where powerful leaders of the East India Company are in conflict with the shipping company Delaney is now inheriting.  The unexpected arrival of Delaney circumvents the inheritance by a sister, played by Oona Chaplin, who the East India Company had been negotiating with for the ownership of a segment of land in Canada.  In the first episode we learn that she and Delaney have their own dark secret.

Where is the series heading, and what is the nature of the “taboo” of the series’ title?  What is Delaney and his sister hiding?  And what did Delaney bury upon returning to England?  The first episode, airing this week, leaves too many hints and clues to be able to speculate just yet where the series is heading.

Programme Name: Taboo - TX: n/a - Episode: Taboo - Generic (No. Generic) - Picture Shows: Zilpha Geary (OONA CHAPLIN) Zilpha Geary (OONA CHAPLIN) - (C) FX Networks - Photographer: Courtesy of FX Networks

The brainchild of Steven Knight, Tom Hardy and his father Edward Hardy, Taboo is also produced by Ridley Scott.  What stands out most of all in the series is the talent of the actors.  Hardy, known best for his lead action roles in Mad Max: Fury Road, Star Trek: Nemesis, Inception, and The Dark Knight Returns, is equally known for the quality of his work in The Revenant, Layer Cake, Black Hawk Down, and Band of Brothers.  He was also the best actor in what was an all-star cast in the remake of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.  Co-star Oona Chaplin, raised in the dramatic world of mother Geraldine Chaplin, grandfather Charlie Chaplin, and great-grandfather Eugene O’Neill, is a brilliant actress in her own right, owning every scene she appears in no matter the production.  Her work includes The Hour, Quantum of Solace, Sherlock, and Game of Thrones. 

Here is a preview of the series Taboo:

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sherlock-hound

Only with the BBC would you have a season of television that had two back-to-back episodes an entire year apart.  If you weren’t aware we were currently in Season 4 of Sherlock, you’re not the only one.  Apparently “The Abominable Bride” was episode one of Season 4 and the season will continue in January 2017.  Curiouser and curiouser.

The good news is that three episodes will air in January.  On January 1, 2017, “The Six Thatchers” premieres, followed by “The Lying Detective” on January 8, and “The Final Problem” on January 15.  Sherlock is one of those series that is brilliant when the episode is well done, and enormously disappointing for the rest–a classic “hit and miss” series.  Since each episode is its own mystery, each is like a mini-movie, so fans who love the series may be happy to hear the Season 4 finale is coming to the big screen for two days.

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January 16 and 18, “The Final Problem” will be heading to theaters as part of the Fathom Events series, including bonus content not seen on television.  The shows will be screened at 7 p.m. local time across the U.S.

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Tickets for “The Final Problem” can be purchased online by visiting www.FathomEvents.com or at participating theater box offices–nearly 350 movie theaters are participating.  For a complete list of theater locations visit the Fathom Events website.

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It has been a Christmas tradition in the UK on and off again for more than fifty years.  The Doctor Who Christmas Special returns for another episode this Christmas Day, available in the states on BBC America.  This year Fathom Events has teamed up with BBC to bring the show to movie theaters, for two days only.  So you can watch it in television in traditional style and/or see it a few days later on the big screen.  One of several Doctor Who screenings held by Fathom Events over the past three years, it’s as close as Doctor Who fans can get to experiencing a full-fledged Doctor Who movie.

Superheroes is the theme of this year’s entry, as revealed in the trailer below.  “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” features the 12th Doctor played by Peter Capaldi, but without his normal companion Jenna-Louise Coleman.  The good Doctor teams up instead with a journalist played by Charity Wakefield (Wolf Hall, Sense & Sensibility, Jane Eyre), and the duo teams up with a new superhero to defend Earth from another alien threat.  The show co-stars Justin Chatwin (Orphan Black, War of the Worlds), Matt Lucas (Alice in Wonderland, Doctor Who, Galavant, Community), Adetomiwa Edun (The Hour, Bates Motel, Law & Order UK), and Aleksandar Jovanovic.

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The theater screenings will take place at 7 p.m. local time December 27 and 29, 2016.  Check out the Fathom Events website here for theater locations and to purchase tickets.

Here is a preview of “The Return of Doctor Mysterio:”

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doctor-who-and-companion-fourth

If you have someone who is awesome enough to make Adam Baldwin’s famous, cunning, Jayne Cobb knitted hat from Firefly (as we did back in 2013 here at borg.com) then you may have a chance to go back to that special person another time to get your Doctor Who fix and add some convention-appropriate garb to your stash for future events.  With the Jayne hat, it’s double the fun to have your mother (or other relative or friend) hand-knit the hat, since it was Jayne’s mother who created the hat for him as part of the TV episode.

This time, it’s the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker, and his famous knitted scarf, worn by every fourth fan at every respectable Comic Con you’ve ever attended.  And Petronella Osgood in “The Day of the Doctor.”

Baker, who appeared on BBC’s 50+ year, sci-fi classic Doctor Who from 1974 to 1981 as the Fourth Doctor, is currently crossing franchise streams, voicing the large, wise creature called the Bendu on the DisneyXD animated series Star Wars Rebels.

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Wil Wheaton at a Con in his own copy of the Fourth Doctor’s scarf.

But Baker has become synonymous with that scarf.  Unlike the pattern that has become the accepted duplicate of Jayne’s hat throughout the land of knitters (the original wasn’t production-made so no original instructions exist although an accepted version is easily available on the Web), the BBC actually handed out the pattern instructions to knit your own Tom Baker scarf back in the 1980s.  Thanks to an article from Tor and two bloggers posting their memories over the past several years, below you can download the instructions that the BBC gave out to what must have been a routine inquiry from fans over the years.

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