Fresh with the news that Colin Firth and The King’s Speech will be bringing home the Oscar statue in the 2011 Academy Awards, its day #2 of the 2011 BBC Showcase. Even though we are 6000 miles away from the Oscar red carpet, it was a star-studded evening Sunday night at the BBC Showcase in Brighton. After an afternoon of screening where we were able to see previews episodes of the upcoming PBS Masterpiece series, “Upstairs Downstairs”, the new British comedy, Rev, and Single Father starring David Tennant, it was time for what was billed as the ultimate talent showcase dinner in the Grand Hotel. Again, the BBC didn’t disappoint.
You may or may not remember the Grand as being the answer to the trivia question of “…which Brighton hotel been bombed years ago during the Margaret Thatcher era?” For those that don’t, it was an IRA bombing attempt on then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s life during a Conservative party conference in 1984.
Not to worry. All is well now and the ‘talent’ was arriving just as planned for dinner so we had our own mini-Oscars last night. At the dinner was Rupert Penry-Jones (MI5, Whitechapel, 39 Steps) starring in the BBC’s newest legal drama, Silk; Philip Glennister (Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes) and Marc Warren (Hustle) from the new series, Mad Dogs, which was appropriately described as Fargo meets Sexy Beast; much of the cast from Upstairs Downstairs, including Dame Eileen Aitkens, Jean Marsh, Keeley Hawes (MI5, Ashes to Ashes), Ed Stoppard (The Pianist, Brideshead Revisited) and writer, Heidi Thomas (Cranford, Return to Cranford); and, finally, from Primeval, Andrew-Lee Potts and Hannah Spearritt.
From a screening standpoint, we resisted the temptation of going right to the new season of MI5 (set 9) and went directly to the required program list that included the best of the BBC from all genres including comedy, drama, natural history, factual and documentaries. Two targeted for this afternoon that are coming in the near future to PBS as part of the Masterpiece series…Zen, the Italian detective series based on the books of Michael Dibdin, starring Rufus Sewell and South Riding, starring Anna Maxwell Martin. More on these tomorrow…
Finally, an unforeseen plus of being in the UK this week…having the opportunity to see the likes of Mrs. Brown’s Boys, Lead Balloon and QI on latenight television back at the hotel. Cheers from the frozen tundra that we refer to as Brighton.