Showing posts with label ITV. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ITV. Show all posts

Saturday, 6 September 2014


written by Rob Williams | directed by Christopher Menaul

DS Sean Stone claims "serial killers" only exist in Hollywood, and the proper term is "multiple murderers"; and yet, ironically, he's a detective on the autistic spectrum, which is arguably even more of a fictional invention. After all, when you're dealing with grieving families and need to get into the mindset of criminals, how could it possibly help to be a social misfit who can't even car-share? Where are the sleuths with almost preternatural empathy, beyond Hannibal's Will Graham?

Friday, 1 August 2014

ITV spent £1 million on X FACTOR trailer, but only uploaded it in 480P

Things are about to get loud.
THE X FACTOR is returning on 30 August, with Simon Cowell back as head judge, joined by returning pop star Cheryl Cole Fernandez Versini, new judge Mel B, and old hand Louis Walsh. ITV spent £1 million on this Game of Thrones-inspired trailer for the new series (where each judge is the general of their own bellicose army, unleashing hell), but for some reason they only uploaded it to YouTube as a 480P stream. What a bum note.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

What are the best British TV panel shows?

One of the most common and popular formats on British television is the venerable "comedy panel show". The UK has cornered the market with this genre, largely because it's the only country that makes so many. It probably helps that they're so cheap and relatively easy to produce.

Oddly, the panel show is almost unheard of in America nowadays, although the US is credited with originating the genre and it was very popular in the '50s and '60s. But the comedy panel show sub-genre never really took hold across the pond, perhaps because there was no radio tradition of "parlour games"? Anyway, here endeth the history lesson. Below are my favourite UK-made comedy panel shows, of those currently in existence... do you agree with my choices?

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

ITV developing JEKYLL & HYDE and BEOWULF adaptations

The BBC has almost cornered the market in family-friendly fantasy in the UK, although ITV had some success with Primeval. But that wormhole/monster silliness couldn't hold a candle to Doctor Who or Merlin. The BBC's telefantasy has stumbled with Atlantis (although some people enjoy it), but they still reign supreme when you remember another of ITV counter-attacks was Demons. Remember that sub-Buffy calamity?

Thursday, 13 February 2014

MSN TV: ITV's MIDSOMER MURDERS - 'The Killings of Copenhagen'

Over at MSN today: I've reviewed the special 100th episode of ITV 'whodunut?' MIDSOMER MURDERS, which involved a case that took the detectives to Denmark's capital Copenhagen, home of The Killing...
Midsomer Murders is one of those workhorse dramas that feels like it's been around forever, but is only now celebrating its hundredth episode. I remain convinced that it’s missing an extra zero. Debuting in 1997, this murder-mystery drama (based on a novel by Caroline Graham) has produced 16 series, and shows no sign of stopping. It has endured following the departure of John Nettles, the original lead; he bowed out as DCI Tom Barnaby in 2010 and Neil Dudgeon succeeded him as cousin DCI John Barnaby.

Continue reading at MSN TV...

Wednesday, 12 February 2014


  • Judy Davis quit 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY last week, but it's now been revealed the Australian actress has been replaced by Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark in Game of Thrones, above-right). She will now play Margo, the British widow of an infamous terrorist, and I'm sure she'll do a fantastic job. [via EW]

Monday, 11 November 2013

MSN TV: ITV's DOWNTON ABBEY - series 4 finale

Today over at MSN: I've reviewed the series 4 finale of DOWNTON ABBEY (so beware of major spoilers!), where some of the year's storylines were resolved, and others nudged into the Christmas special's agenda...
Downton Abbey overcame a misguided second series with a general return to form last year, culminating in the shock death of Matthew Crawley (actor Dan Stevens decided he wanted out, forcing an eleventh hour EastEnders-style dose of Christmas misery when he crashed his car). The real test of series four was seeing if the show could overcome the loss of Stevens - whose character was the dapper heir to the Crawley family fortune and one-half of the show's key romantic coupling. The answer is a resounding yes, although the potential suitors for widowed Mary haven't left much of an impression, making Lady Mary look a little marginalised, despite the fact she was on equal footing with her father in terms of managing the family estate. As finales go, I expected better - particularly as it was an extended episode, and Julian Fellowes tends to write better with doubled screen-time. Downton was as cosy as one expects for a Sunday evening on ITV, but I'm beginning to find it rather frustrating how this show fumbles good ideas. Or rushes them for no good reason.

Continue reading at MSN TV...

Sunday, 27 October 2013


left-to-right: Norton, Ross & Carr; brothers-in-chat

British chat shows don't elicit much discussion online, where the genre is dominated by US late-night talk shows. That's a shame, because US talk shows are almost interchangeable and their formats haven't changed much since the 1970s, while UK chat shows tend to experiment more. I also find them more enjoyable because they're (a) less scripted (no "pre-interviews"), (b) ply guests with booze, (c) don't drag on all year, and (d) the guests are allowed to swear (which tends to please Americans in particular).

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

David Tennant reprises BROADCHURCH role in US remake

I never expected this! David Tennant has been cast in the US remake of hit ITV drama Broadchurch, which also found an audience and critical acclaim in the US during its broadcast on BBC America. A remake of the show is already planned for Fox (which creator Chris Chibnall is writing the pilot for), and it's just been revealed that Tennant will be hopping across the pond to play the lead detective!

Friday, 20 September 2013

WHITECHAPEL, 4.3 – episode three

Whitechapel isn't a show I'm reviewing weekly, but I thought I'd share my thoughts about this week's third episode. The interesting thing is how this hour was written by Steve Pemberton, who plays local crime historian Edward Buchan on the show, but is still best-known for co-writing/starring in horror comedies The League of Gentlemen and Psychoville. I was interested to see how Pemberton would tackle a relatively straight crime drama like Whitechapel, as someone whose horror expertise is beyond reproach, but usually has to ensure there's something funny happening between the lines.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

WHITECHAPEL, 4.1 - episode one

"There are some who believe that the Gates to Hell can be found in the shadow of Christ Church; that this is the reason why Whitechapel is plagued with terrors. So beware: for when the Gates open, who knows what will crawl out, and who will become the next chapter in my History of Murder in Whitechapel" – Buchan
Fourth series of ITV's horror crime drama Whitechapel, with DI Chandler (Rupert Penry-Jones) and DS Miles (Phil Davis) attempting to solve more grisly crimes with unexpected links to the past.

It began as a lurid miniseries about a modern-day Jack the Ripper copycat, but telling a finite story didn't mean the end of ITV's popular Whitechapel. Even the absurd follow-up about clones of the Kray twins didn't cause the axe to fall, resulting in the show being overhauled and its targets broadened. Now it's one of TV's oddest dramas; a grisly murder-mystery where every bogeyman's an echo of something from London's blood-curdling history. It's a fun cocktail, but Whitechapel tends to overcook matters and gets progressive stupider as the minutes pass.

Sunday, 1 September 2013


Over at MSN TV today: I've reviewed the premiere of ITV's new five-week dancing competition STEPPING OUT, where six celebrities perform a variety of dances with their real-life partners. Hosted by Davina McCall with judges Mel B, Wayne Sleep & Jason Gardiner.
As if to fill the Strictly Come Dancing-shaped gap before its return later this month, new ITV series Stepping Out's been pushed on to the dance floor for a brief five-week run. It feels like ITV is hedging its bet by testing audience reception first in order to save money in case it's an embarrassing flop. It's interesting comparing Stepping Out and Strictly Come Dancing; clearly the creators think the BBC show has flaws and/or areas for improvement, hence this vehicle.

Continue reading at MSN TV...

Friday, 16 August 2013

My never-ending catch-up pile

I've scaled back blogging to spare my sanity in the past year, but I'm actually watching more TV than ever before. How ironic! The shows I review weekly are either long-standing favourites I can't bring myself to stop writing about after so many years, or things that are just fun to let off steam about (True Blood). There aren't that many new shows that have become regular fixtures for review this year, actually—beyond Hannibal. But I still manage to review lots of US pilots and premieres along the way, so things will get much busier in the autumn. However, I thought I'd quickly go through some of the shows I am watching but haven't blogged about much, if at all...

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Trailer: WHITECHAPEL - series 4

ITV have largely shoddy promos for their home-grown dramas (maybe because few UK shows come with enough 'trailer-bait' moments?), but they appear to have put effort into this tease of WHITECHAPEL IV. It's much less generic than we've come to expect from ITV, at any rate. There's a bit of thought and creativity evident here, even if the pay-off to Steve Pemberton's speech isn't all that strong.

As for Whitechapel itself: I still find it odd a miniseries about a modern-day Jack the Ripper copycat was tweaked to become a horror-themed crime thriller, but series 3 was much better than that horrendous 'Kray Twin clones' idea behind series 2... so I'm interested in another trip to Whitechapel with odd couple detectives Chandler (Rupert Penry-Jones) and Miles (Phil Davis). Are you?

Friday, 2 August 2013

Fox remaking ITV's BROADCHURCH

The murder-mystery drama Broadchurch was a huge hit for ITV earlier this year (peaking with 8.9 million viewers for the finale), which didn't escape the attention of Fox bosses over in the US. They're lining up an American remake for 2014/15, in partnership with its British production company Kudos, with the premiere written by series creator Chris Chibnall (who will also serve as executive-producer).

Sunday, 30 June 2013


Over at MSN TV today: I've reviewed ITV's new entertainment reality show YOUR FACE SOUNDS FAMILIAR, where six celebrities impersonate famous pop acts.
Britain's Got Talent and Saturday Night Takeaway have finished for the year, and X Factor is still a few weeks away, so ITV have bought the format to a Spanish show that essentially just adds an element of random choice to a Stars in their Eyes celebrity special. Wouldn't it make more sense to just revive Stars in Their Eyes and tinker with the format?

Continue reading at MSN TV...

Sunday, 9 June 2013


It was the Britain's Got Talent final last night on ITV, which was somewhat overshadowed by a bizarre act of sabotage from 30-year-old orchestra member Natalie Holt (also of musical group Raven Quartet, who didn't make it through BGT last year). The violinist invaded the performance of Richard and Adam's opera singing, to throw eggs at Simon Cowell while smiling happily, before being escorted off-stage by security. The hilarious/outrageous moment can be seen in the embedded video above. The incident occurs at 1:45.

Sunday, 2 June 2013


Over at MSN TV today: I've reviewed the UK premiere of FX's 1980s espionage thriller THE AMERICANS, which is ITV's first US acquisition in five years.

Monday, 13 May 2013


Over at MSN TV today: I've reviewed the two-hour ITV crime drama THE SUSPICIONS OF MR WHICHER, a follow-up to their 2011 adaptation of Kate Summerscale's novel, starring Paddy Considine as the eponymous Victorian sleuth...
British drama has a tendency to produce Victorian-era dramas or murder-mysteries, so the temptation to mix the two must be hard to refuse. Just recently the BBC found success with Ripper Street, but ITV's The Suspicions of Mr Whicher actually pre-dates it by a few years. The 2011 TV adaptation of author Kate Summerscale's award-winning book (itself inspired by the real-life Constance Kent murder enquiry of 1860) was enough of a success for ITV to commission a follow-up. Only this time, the story is an original creation, as there are no literary sequels. In The Murder in Angel Lane, we catch up with Jack Whicher (Paddy Considine) after the events of The Murder at Road Hill House. He's now working as a 'private enquiry agent' after leaving the police force in disgrace.

Continue reading at MSN TV...

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Competition Result: PLEBS DVD

Thanks to everyone who entered my competition to win one of three copies of ITV2's sitcom Plebs on DVD. I asked the question '... what is the name of the [show's] gormless slave character?' and everyone correctly answered 'Grumio'.

The three randomly-chosen winners are:

Kim Plant, Shropshire
Pete Aighton, Cullompton
Dean Gerstel, Barnsley

Congratulations! You will each receive your DVD shortly. Many thanks to all who entered!