December 31, 2013

Sherlock - BBC

Sherlock Season 1, Ep. 1 "A Study in Pink" 

Sherlock Season 1, Ep. 2 "The Blind Banker"

Sherlock Season 1, Ep. 3 "The Great Game" 


Sherlock Season 2, Ep. 1 "A Scandal in Belgravia" 

Sherlock Season 2, Ep. 2 "The Hounds of Baskerville" 

Sherlock Season 2, Ep. 3 "The Reichenbach Fall" 

Sherlock season 3: funny first episode may surprise fans on New Year's Day

Spoiler-free preview: Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are back on BBC1 with a lighter touch says Mark Jeffries 

Sherlock season 3: funny first episode may surprise fans on New Year's Day
Watching a preview of Sherlock: The Empty Hearse with super fans made it hard to judge exactly what up to ten million people will think on New Year's Day.
But based on the reaction of the audience at London's BFI earlier this month, Steven Moffatand Mark Gatiss, writers and creators of Sherlock, are laughing all the way to the bank.
Without ruining it, the pair have gone for a surprisingly light script to launch the trio of episodes. 
I found myself laughing quite a few times, the Cumberbitches giggled every few minutes, and it was only after an hour that the storyline turned more serious and emotional.
It feels slightly different from previous episodes and some fans will love it and some won't, but that is inevitable when you have a drama this popular and so hugely anticipated. 
What else takes two years to make three episodes and even has a pre-episode handed out on the BBC website like a Christmas present for fans?
The big question on everyone's lips is how did Sherlock, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, fake his own death.
Fans should know by the end of the first episode, and this mystery takes up a decent chunk of the opening. Andrew Scott, who played Moriarty, even gets a nice cameo in the explanation.
The other part, which works brilliantly, is the reunion of Sherlock and John Watson, played by Martin Freeman.
Benedict describes this perfectly in an interview on the BBC website when he says: "I thinkSherlock completely thinks that John will understand what he has done, and be fine with it. I think he is expecting a wry smile, a handshake and maybe a laugh or two and then off on a case. He gets it so wrong, so so wrong."
John's reaction and the scenes that follow between the pair are the highlight of the episode for me. They have great chemistry and Sherlock's lack of emotion and deadpan delivery is a recipe for much humour.
Benedict says of Martin "his reaction and comic skill is always exceptional" and that is certainly the case in The Empty Hearse.
There is also a new lead character in play, in the form of Watson's new girlfriend, Mary Morstan.
She gets involved in what Watson and Sherlock do and I wouldn't be surprised if she becomes even more integral as the series goes on.
Perhaps wary of not starting off too dark and serious, which could turn viewers off, the writers appear to have solved this problem by starting softly with gags in the script allowing them to turn up the tension a notch later on.
Benedict says: "They have some extraordinary adventures in the first and second episodes and then in the third they are challenged by a situation and a master villain who brings him to his knees. What’s exciting about this series is we see Sherlock in real peril."
So enjoy the lightness at the start of this first episode and prepare for things to get a whole lot meaner and tougher for Sherlock as the series reaches its conclusion, all too soon for fans.
Mark Jefferies is Showbiz Editor at the Daily Mirror

Sherlock season 3 

episode ONE 

episode TWO 

episode THREE

December 29, 2013

Downton Abbey Extras


“Violet, the Dowager Countess: ‘I have plenty of friends I don’t like.”

“Matthew: Shall I remind you of some of the choicest remarks you made about me when I arrived here? Because they live in my memory as fresh as the day they were spoken.

Mary: Oh, Matthew. What am I always telling you? You must pay no attention to the things I say.

When they kiss, it is a long kiss, all the more passionate for being delayed far longer than it should have been.”

Jessica Fellowes, The World of Downton Abbey

“Violet, the Dowager Countess: “I mean, one way or another, everyone goes down the aisle with half the story hidden.” 

“Lord Grantham: ‘My dear fellow. We all have chapters we would rather keep unpublished.”

“Mary is a very well-written typical eldest child in that she puts her own needs at the forefront... She's not as inclined to conciliate or placate. Cora is fascinated by Mary”

“It took a while to shoot the scene by the coconut stall at the fun fair, so Michelle (Mary) and I had a competition. I think she beat me 10-1 - she was uncannily good. The crew were very disappointed in me. To be beaten by a woman is bad enough, but one in Edwardian dress is really highlighting something.”

“There's an independence about Mary - she's not influenced by anyone and she's very much her own person, she makes her own decisions. I understand her because I'm one of three girls too and I've always been defiant that I didn't want to do what they did.”

“Mary feels she should have been a boy and then everything would have been so much easier. She fights against her femininity in a way.”
Jessica Fellowes, The World of Downton Abbey

Susannah Buxton, costume designer: This dress (above) was made of original beading so delicate that it couldn't be worn again. The red dress (right) is made from a turn-of-the-century Spanish evening dress. We sourced beautiful silk chiffon and had it pleated for the cap sleeves and bands across the front. We built layers for the final effect, with embroidered lace laid over the deep-red satin under-dress. We used evening gloves from the costume house selection, which are "dipped down" - that is, run through with dyes to take the brightness out of the fabric.” 
Jessica Fellowes, The World of Downton Abbey


“Should the girls decide to go for a walk, they would need to change into a different outfit, a light woollen tweed suit and sturdier boots - but on simpler days, such as for the garden party, they make mercifully few changes. Cora, like many married ladies in her position, takes the opportunity on quiet afternoons to take off her corset and wear a teagown for an hour or two before getting into her evening dress. Its huge advantage was that it was always ornately decorated but simply cut, meaning it was the only garment a woman could conceivably get in and out of alone, as it could be worn without a corset underneath. Worn between five and seven o'clock, it gave rise to the French phrase 'cinq a sept'. This referred to the hours when lovers were received, the only time of day when a maid wouldn't need to be there to help you undress and therefore discover your secret. Lady Colin Campbell's divorce had hinged on the fact that her clothes had clearly been fastened by a man who didn't know what he was doing; when her lady's maid saw her for the next change, the fastenings were higgledy-piggledy. But for Cora, the teagown is not for any illicit behaviour, just for respite from her underpinnings.”
Jessica Fellowes, The World of Downton Abbey

“Cora, the daughter of Isidore Levinson, a dry goods millionaire from Cincinnati, arrived in England in 1888, when she was 20 years old, with her mother as chaperone. By this time, even respectable rich American girls preferred to find their husbands amongst the nobility. Thanks to the successes of the earlier Buccaneers and a fashion for all things European, from interiors to dress designers such as the House of Worth, pursuing an English marriage had now become desirable. For these families, the many years in which Americans had fought to escape the clutches of colonial rule and create their own republic appeared to have been forgotten.”
Jessica Fellowes, The World of Downton Abbey

“Allen Leech is Tom Branson: The car I drive is a 1920 Renault and it is an absolute nightmare with all the double declutching. The owner drives it first, then I get in and the gears start clunking. Once I heard a massive clunk and I looked back and a huge piece of metal had fallen out into the road - he had to go back and get it. He'd driven that car to France and back, so I blame the owner for losing half the gearbox, not my gear changing! It's a hand-crank start and you have to be careful how you do it because once it starts spinning you can lose your thumb.”
Jessica Fellowes, The World of Downton Abbey
“Laura Carmichael is Edith: During the war, Edith learns to drive the family car. "I haven't got a driving license, so I think production were a bit nervous! But in some ways it was an advantage that driving isn't second nature to me because I wasn't so surprised about where the things were. My heart was in my mouth - the car is one of the last of its kind and worth half a million pounds. The gears are all in a straight line and neutral is a tiny point in between, you have to do double declutching - so I just kept it in first. On the second take I thought I was thought o kill the cameraman! We were filming in Bampton so all the locals were watching, just to add to the pressure...”
Jessica Fellowes, The World of Downton Abbey

“Michelle Dockery is Mary: There was one scene where I had a corset visible, so it was made for me. After we had filmed it, we removed all the details - flowers and ribbons - to make it a plain corset and then I could wear that as it was a perfect fit. I'm taller than most actresses, so most corsets tend to be to short in the body.”
Jessica Fellowes, The World of Downton Abbey

“Susannah Buxton, costume designer: These three dresses demonstrate well the different ways in which we brought the costumes together for the show. Mary's dress was made for her, Edith's was hired - it was previously used in the Merchant-Ivory production of A Room With A View - and Sybil's is an original Edwardian summer dress.”
Jessica Fellowes, The World of Downton Abbey

December 28, 2013

Death Comes To Pemberley

Death Comes To Pemberley

Elizabeth and Darcy, now six years married and with two young sons, are preparing for the lavish annual ball at their magnificent Pemberley home. The unannounced arrival of Elizabeths wayward sister Lydia, however, brings an abrupt and shocking halt to proceedings when she stumbles out of her chaise screaming that her husband Wickham has been murdered.

Darcy leads a search party out to the woodlands, and when they discover the blood-smeared corpse, not of Wickham, but his traveling companion, suspicion is at once aroused. The dramatic and unnerving events of the evening have shattered the peace, both of the Darcys and of Pemberley, and as the family becomes caught up in the ensuing murder investigation, a mysterious web of secrets and deceit will threaten all that the Darcys hold dear.

Matthew Goode, Matthew Rhys, Anna Maxwell-Martin and Jenna Coleman (credit: BBC/Origin)
Murder mystery follow-up to Pride and Prejudice. Six years after their wedding, preparations for the Darcys' annual ball are brought to an abrupt halt by an unexpected visitor.

Episode ONE

Death Comes to Pemberley. P.D. James. Book Review: The life of the Darcy family—Elizabeth, Fitzwilliam, and their two children—is idyllic, with the beloved Bingley family close at hand. But preparations for the annual autumn ball are suddenly interrupted by the shocking arrival of Elizabeth's sister Lydia, shrieking that her husband, Wickham, long banned from Pemberly, has been murdered. The best thing about this book is that it is based on Pride and Prejudice. The worst thing is that it is not Pride and Prejudice.

Episode TWO

Episode THREE

December 27, 2013

How to be Attractive

For my daughter.

December 26, 2013

Earl of Grantham & 'Mr. Stink'

Earl of Grantham ... is that you?!
Last night (Dec. 22), U.S. "Downton Abbey" fans got quite the shock when Hugh Bonneville appeared in PBS' TV movie "Mr. Stink."
Check out Bonneville's drastically different look in the photos below:
mr stink
mr stink 2
hugh bonneville
mr stink 3
"Mr. Stink" centers on the touching story of Mr. Stink (Bonneville), a homeless man who uses his foul odor as weapon of sorts, and Chloe (Nell Tiger Free), a teenage girl who befriends him. Although Chloe attempts to conceal Mr. Stink in her backyard, her smelly friend becomes a bit of a phenomenon.
"Mr. Stink" originally aired on Sun. Dec. 22. Watch it now below!!


Elizabeth McGovern as Cora and Hugh Bonneville as Robert, Earl of Grantham in Downton Abbey Christmas Special


or watch HERE


Downton Abbey Season 4 Christmas Special Recap: 'Tis the Season

This time last year we were barely able to see beyond our own runny noses, our eyes were so puffed from tears shed over the corpse of Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens). But here we are, a full 365 days later, and things are looking up. The Season 4 Christmas Special premiered today in the UK and it didn’t disappoint.

Lady Edith Went to Geneva And Nobody Told Us!

Lady Edith in Season 4 Christmas Special
Credit: © Copyright ITV plc 2013
The episode begins with the news that Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael) has just returned from Geneva where get this, she’s been away for eight months. That means she’s had her baby! As she explains to a concerned Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith), she was away so long because it was considered best for the baby, a girl, to “be weaned by her real mother.”
Seeing as it’s been more than a year now since the baby’s father and Edith’s lover, Michael Gregson (Charles Edwards), has disappeared things aren’t looking good that he’s still alive. We grow even more concerned once Edith hears he got into a fight his first night in Germany with a gang of “brown-shirted toughs” whom we can assume are Nazis in the making.
With Edith in line to inherit Michael’s possessions because of the power of attorney he granted her before his departure all those moons ago, she feels compelled to give at least half to the child they had together. Aunt Rosamund (Samantha Bond) discourages Edith from this plan, wanting the whole sad business behind her and her niece. And so the heartache continues.
By the end of the episode, however, Edith has decided to take her heartache by the horns. She reverts to her original plan: to secretly give the baby to a tenant family at Downton so she can see her daughter grow up. Without telling a single member of her family her true plan, Edith sets her sights on Switzerland. 

Time for the Season!

Rose and the Prince of Wales in Season 4 Christmas Special
Credit: © Copyright ITV plc 2013
Since so much time has passed since we last visited the Abbey, it means we’re in high summer and right in time for the London Season. Everything is, to use Cora’s (Elizabeth McGovern) words, “in a kerfuffle” getting ready for Cousin Rose MacClare’s Lily James big debut.
Seemingly fully recovered from her broken engagement to American jazz singer Jack Ross (Gary Carr), Rose flits from nightclub to nightclub. On one such outing she happens to meet the Prince of Wales (Oliver Dimsdale) and makes quite an impression on the famous playboy. The year’s 1923 so this is long before the Prince will give up the throne for one Mrs. Simpson. That, however, doesn’t mean he’s immune to getting into trouble as the episode’s main plotline proves...

A Royal Affair

Tiara in Season 4 Christmas Special
Credit: © Copyright ITV plc 2013
The family’s run-ins with the Royal Family continue throughout the episode with Rose being presented at Buckingham Palace. Also in the crowd of partygoers, a new face: Freda Dudley-Ward (Janet Montgomery), whom it becomes very clear has more than a friendly relationship with the Prince of Wales. When a certain letter goes missing (stolen by that one klepto of an acquaintance we met earlier inSeason 4, Mr. Terence Sampson) Ivy is in a tizzy trying to get it back.
Once Rose goes to Uncle Robert “Diehard Monarchist” Crawley (Hugh Bonneville), he calls in the whole family to reclaim the letter.Mary is (Michelle Dockery) deployed to grab the letter — “I don’t mind lying” she tells her family — once she’s gained entry to his flat thanks to a forgery worked up by Mr. Bates (Brendan Coyle).
The breaking and entering plan, however, doesn’t work with only the ex-con Bates realizing where Sampson would keep such a valuable letter: on his person. While helping Sampson put on his quote after an impromptu poker game, Bates, a man of many talents, snags the letter and once again saves the family Crawley.

Tom’s Latest Stop on the Drive to Love

Tom Branson and Sarah Bunting in Season 4 Christmas Special
Credit: © Copyright ITV plc 2013
After “accidentally” bumping into the town’s pretty schoolmarm, Tom Branson (Allen Leechfinally asks Sarah Bunting (Daisy Lewis) out on a date. It only took him months to get around to it, making Sarah feel he’s been “avoiding” her. But those days are done with Tom even giving Sarah a tour of the nearly deserted Downton.
Unfortunately for Tom, there is one person still left at Downton: Thomas Barrow (Rob James-Collier). When the conniving underbutler spots Tom and Sarah on their tour while lurking in the shadows, it can’t mean good things for the former chauffeur particular since Thomas has more than a chip on his shoulder about taking orders from a former servant, no matter how kind and considerate said former servant may be.
So it isn’t exactly a surprise that upon arriving in London, Thomas promptly tells Robert of his discovery “quite late” on the bedroom gallery, setting Tom’s father-in-law on edge. Bad boy Barrow’s at work once again with the consequences of his little tattle-tale yet to be realized.

Ethan, The Surprising American Valet

Harold's Valet Ethan at the Beach in Season 4 Christmas Special
Credit: © Copyright ITV plc 2013
Joining Martha Levinson (Shirley MacLaine) and Harold Levinson (Paul Giamatti) on their grand tour of Europe/Harold’s lie low after financial lawbreaking trip is Ethan (Michael Benz), who turns out to be a truly delightful new character full of surprises. The puppy-like blond immediately takes a shine to the little loved Daisy Mason (Sophie McShera), for which we love him. His curiosity and eagerness comes as a stark contrast to the rather dour kitchen’s maid who, she tells him, is “never excited.”
That same straightforwardness gets Ethan a little bit on prim and proper Mr. Carson’s (Jim Carter) bad side with Downton’s main man sternly telling the peppy young American, “You’re a footman, not a traveling salesman.” And Ethan explaining to Carson that he wants to talk “man and man” — priceless.
Ethan’s interested in chatting mono y mono with Carson to make sure Daisy doesn’t already have a suitor. She doesn’t, as we all know too well after this season, and so Ethan begins his mission to add a little excitement to Daisy’s life. And boy, does he! Daisy does such a good job cooking, Harold wants to hire her outright and have her join them in America thanks to more than a nudge from Ethan in that direction. Daisy defers, however, leaving Ivy Stuart (Cara Theobold) to jump at the chance to head west across the Atlantic.

Meet Uncle Harold

Harold Levinson and Madeline in Season 4 Christmas Special
Credit: © Copyright ITV plc 2013
As previously mentioned, joining the “American contingent” this Christmas is Uncle Harold, a very rich man who doesn’t like the very rich. Shortly after his arrival, Harold meets Rose’s friend and fellow English beauty Madeline (Poppy Drayton). It’s not exactly a surprise theymeet; Madeline’s father, the plotting Lord Aysgarth (James Fox), makes sure his lovely daughter is thrust into Harold’s way as often as possible.
“I’m use to it,” the jaded American tells Madeline while they twirl around a ballroom. “Use to what?” she naively asks. “Fathers wanting me to dance with their daughters.” But Harold’s brashness eventually offends Madeline, who seems sweet if often cowed by her overbearing father. To make up for it, Harold invites her for a picnic in the park, also bringing along mother Martha and Lord Aysgarth, who has gold-digging schemes of his own.
But where Martha is able to outstep Lord Aysgarth, Harold finds himself falling for Madeline. Thankfully, the young socialite’s intentions seem pure enough with her own feelings for the world-wary American businessman appearing to grow throughout the episode. They leave things on a letter-writing business but, as we’ve seen before, the written word can do wonders on Downton Abbey.

The Fight for Lady’s Mary Heart Continues

Lady Mary Crawley Season 4 Christmas Special
Credit: © Copyright ITV plc 2013
In one corner, we have Lord Gillingham, Anthony Foyle (Tom Cullen). In the other,Charles Blake (Julian Ovenden). Both continue their fight for Lady Mary’s heart, a prize the widow isn’t giving up easily. Often during the Christmas Special, the trio keep crossing paths with Tony and Charles barely able to keep from engaging in fisticuffs.
Eventually, both men get dragged by the heartstrings into the family’s plan to save the Royal Family. Despite their help, however, Mary continues to keep both at arm’s length. “Oh Tony, I wish I knew. I feel so cruel,” she tells Lord Gillingham of how she’s “dangling” him, Charles, and, yes, even Evelyn Napier (Brendan Patricks) gets a shoutout.
“My destiny is to save Downton for George,” she continues, prompting good man Gillingham to reveal that Charles isn’t an upper class outsider as Mary has always thought. He will, in fact, inherit one of the largest estates in the land and, Tony says, “be more eligible than I.” When Mary asks Charles about his shared background with her, he says he kept it all under wraps because “I wanted to win you by myself.”
So has he? Mary simply tells the men to “let battle commence.” Or, you know, enter yet another round.

Mr. Green Continues to Cause Trouble From the Grave

Mr. Green (Nigel Harman) may be dead and gone —and good riddance! — but his ghost continues to haunt the lives of those at Downton. When Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan) finds a ticket stub to London in Mr. Bates’s coat pocket from the day Mr. Green was killed in Piccadilly, she becomes suspicious that he was indeed behind the twisted valet’s fatal accident.
For some inexplicable reason — blame a lifetime of service and loyalty — she goes to Mary with the latest development. Although Mrs. Hughes insists she stands behind anything Mr. Bates may have done for his wife, legal or not, Mary struggles to keep the suspicious secret. Surprising, we know.
Only after Bates gets the family out of the jam with the Royal Family does Mary realize she must stay loyal to the valet and his wife. And so she tosses the incriminating ticket stub into the fire and, we hope, ends the Mr. Green chapter of life at Downton Abbey.

Let’s Go to the Beach!

Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes in Season 4 Christmas Special
Credit: © Copyright ITV plc 2013
Early in the episode, Cora charges Mr. Carson with arranging an exciting outing for the staff to thank them for their hard work in London. Of course, Mr. Carson doesn’t exactly have his finger on the pulse of what’s fun, listing museum after museum to go visit. Of course, the dusty ideas don’t inspire enthusiasm among the staff.
Finally, though, Carson settles on taking the group to the beach after some careful prodding and postcard placement by Mrs. Hughes. It’s there that we conclude this episode’s Christmas Special, out in the bright sunshine and fresh air, far from the miasma of death and destruction cast during Season 3’s same episode. Perhaps Julian Fellowes had some metaphor about the everlasting nature of the sea he wished to impart this Christmas Day. Personally, we’re just happy everyone’s still alive.

Random Notes

  • More power to Isobel (Penelope Wilton) and Lord Merton (Douglas Reith) as they continue their dance around one another. Although surprisingly demure when it comes to the blooming romance, Isobel does seem intrigued by Lord Merton’s advances. If only Matthew could see his mama now.
  • Let’s give a Golden Globe to that two woman sparring match that occurs between the Dowager and Martha. In a face-off between the new world and the old, the heavyweight acting legends perfectly capture the struggles society faced in the 1920s as centuries-old traditions faded away as a new world grew stronger. A round of applause for Dame Maggie Smith and her equally talented American counterpart, Shirley MacLaine!
  • Quote of the episode: “Suppose I fall over,” a trouser-wearing Mr. Carson says as he grabs Mrs. Hughes’s hands and wades into the sea.

What did you think to the Downton Abbey Christmas special?