Autumn TV Picks

September 2012:

With the Autumn TV battles now upon us, the BBC have announced a series of new commissions for the year ahead, and for comedy some tried and tested faces will be returning.

Ben Elton returns to pen his first sitcom since The Thin Blue Line sixteen years ago. David Haig will play council officer Gerald B Meakin in Slings and Arrows. Haig will play a recently divorced single parent fighting the “petty irritations” of modern life. The Blackadder co-writer is pleased to be returning to the world of sitcom, saying  “All my happiest television memories concern BBC comedy and in particular BBC sitcom, I’m as excited today as I was when The Young Ones was commissioned 30 years ago.”

Little Britain’s David Walliams writes and stars in Autumn Leaves, set in a secondary school staff room. More Come Fly With Me is also planned.

Three popular sitcoms from the past are also scheduled to return after successful theatre runs. Birds of a Feather will return with the original line up of Pauline Quirke, Linda Robson and Lesley Joseph. Rik Mayall & Ade Edmondson revive popular grotesque duo Ritchie & Eddie for a new series of Bottom based on the successful Hooligan’s Island stage show.

Perhaps most hotly anticipated of all will be the return of Yes Minister with an all new cast, the stage version of which has been a huge success.

Two major new dramas are also in the pipeline. Quirke, based on the novels of John Banville, stars Gabriel Byrne as a pathologist in 1950s Dublin.
Sarah Phelps, the writer of the recent BBC adaptation of Great Expectations, will bring us The Ark, about the experiences of medics in World War 1.
Elsewhere, two former BBC stalwarts look set for spectacular returns elsewhere.
After much speculation, it’s been confirmed that Steve Coogan will revive his signature character Alan Partridge for the big screen after some successful outings on Sky recently.

No doubt hoping to emulate the enormous success of Doctor Who’s reboot, plans are afoot for another classic BBC science fiction series to receive the 21st century reinvention. After several false starts over the years, Blake’s Seven looks set to be remade for the SyFy channel in America. New Zealand born Martin Campbell, director of amongst others, Goldeneye, Casino Royale and Edge of Darkness looks set to direct. With the original early Blake’s Seven episodes having a very dark and adult theme, it will be fascinating to see how it’s handled.

Finally, as Doctor Who returns to our screens, a few details of plans for the show’s historic fiftieth anniversary are starting to emerge. Mark Gatiss, of League of Gentleman & Sherlock fame, is writing a drama about the creation of what has become the longest running and most successful science fiction series in the world.
The BBC is promising a significant celebration of their most successful franchise, with live events planned around the country. Speculation will also continue regarding a special anniversary episode. With previous “Doctors” returning for the tenth and twentieth anniversaries, it would seem likely that we will be treated to something similar. Precisely who will return as it were is anyone’s guess, but with David Tennant recently confirming he still owns all his costumes and praising the show, Doctor Ten is probably a safe bet!


By: TVdr

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