Sunday was the first full day of screening at the 2013 BBC Showcase in Liverpool. For your Tellyspotting reading planning, the entire day focused on BBC drama output for 2013-2014. Comedy on Monday and Doctor Who on Tuesday, which culminates with the 50th anniversary celebration dinner on Tuesday evening. Hard to believe that having just had a year of brilliant drama on PBS such as Call the Midwife and Downton Abbey and with the likes of Mr. Selfridge, Endeavour and the final series episodes of Inspector Lewis just around the corner, it seems impossible to believe that it can get any better. In a nutshell, it is.
Father Brown Mysteries
Set in the 1950’s and based on short stories by G.K. Chesterton, Father Brown stars Mark Williams (Harry Potter) as the kindly Catholic priest who solves crimes on the side. After screening a couple of episodes, the storyline seems plausible enough given that after years of hearing parishioners’ confessions, giving Father Brown an uncanny ability to investigate a crime using intuition, psychology and insight into the inner workings of the criminal mind. Currently airing on the BBC in the UK, look for Father Brown on public television stations in the States the beginning of 2014.
BBC One’s answer to ITV1’s Mr. Selfridge, The Paradise is set amidst the Victorian splendor of Britain’s first department store. It’s the rags-to-riches story of a young girl who falls in love with the modern world starting out as a ‘lowly shopgirl’ and, ultimately, navigating her way to the top dodging power struggles, intrigue and affairs. Look for The Paradise later this year as part of PBS’ Masterpiece series.
Others definitely worth mentioning but, unfortunately, still too early in production stages to have video available are Quirke, written by Andrew Davies and adapted from the books of novelist John Banville, stars Gabriel Byrne and Michael Gambon. Quirke is a consulting pathologist in the Dublin city morgue in the 50’s. Set against the Dublin backdrop of whiskey-soaked bars and ‘houses brimming with sexual tension’, Quirke is fascinated by the thought of unlocking the secret of cadavers’ deaths and turns to a life of part pathologist, part accidental detective. And, Last Tango in Halifax starring Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid as childhood sweethearts, Alan and Celia, who are reunited some 60 years later when both are widowed and in their 70’s. From seeing the first episode, the Sally Wainwright (Scott & Bailey story is nothing but an uplifting tale about romance and second chances.
More tomorrow with a look behind-the-scenes at comedy coming your way in 2013-2014. For UK readers, let me know what to check out while here. At this point, I have 3 more days and 30 hours in which to screen the best of the best to bring back to the States.