Ken Russell, who sadly died on Sunday, is best known for directing Women in Love in 1969. It is a masterpiece in which his sensibilities dovetailed so well with those of D.H. Lawrence and the burgeoning sexual revolution that few Americans realized how personal Ken Russell’s vision was. British audiences familiar with his earlier films (as seen in Ken Russell at the BBC) would have witnessed his iconoclasm from the beginning. These films, centered on the lives of composers and painters and quite unforgettably dancer Isadora Duncan, laid the groundwork for his later impassioned but irreverent theatrical films. His highly personal montages to the rhythms of classical music thrilled some and enraged others, who must have breathed a sigh of relief when he took his visionary style from symphony composers to the film of the rock opera Tommy.
Hmmm… the title of this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special sounds a bit Narnia-inspired. From the trailer we posted last week, it also looks a bit Narnia-inspired, especially with that line about a “forest in a box.” That’s Claire Skinner (Outnumbered, Sense & Sensibility , Lark Rise to Candleford [S1]) as the widow, and some of you may have spotted Bill Bailey (Black Books, Spaced). Christmas certainly came early for Bill Bailey, who is a lifelong fan of Doctor Who. Check out his brilliant Belgian jazz version of the Docteur Qui theme.
Colin Firth fan alert: Imagine attending the premiere and after party of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy as the guest of Mr. Firth himself. Click here to find out more about this charity auction on ebay. But time is of the essence, the bidding ends today, November 23rd, at 6 pm ET.
As BritCom fans, we often return to our favorite Christmas specials for holiday viewing, but we concede that it can be a hassle to track those down in multi-disc sets, not to mention trying to glean several favorites out of several collections for a full night’s entertainment. This year we decided to take the guesswork out, and pack these specials together into comedy and drama collections.
Behind that tinted windshield is Richard Hammond, testing the durability of the 10-ton Marauder in conditions typical to South Africa. Meanwhile Clarkson celebrates the 50th anniversary of the legendary Jaguar E-type, with a party checklist that includes live music, classic fighter planes and a group of Royal Marines. In James May’s challenge (evocative of the minis-in-the-ice-rink sequence famously cut from The Italian Job), the latest Mini rally car pits its reputation in a downhill race with gold medal winning British Olympian Amy Williams on her skeleton sled. And that’s just Episode One of Top Gear 17. Stars in a Reasonably Priced Car include rock legend Alice Cooper, LiveAid’s Bob Geldof, Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel and Rowan Atkinson (Blackadder,Mr. Bean), who is very much a racing enthusiast in private life. Special Features include extra chats and laps plus a sample episode from the American version of Top Gear. Look for Top Gear 17 to arrive on DVD and Blu-ray before Spring 2012.
Doctor Who fan alert! BBC America is looking for talking heads to appear in its next Doctor Who Special, The Best of the Christmas Specials, set to premiere on December 24th. This is an exclusive, can’t-miss chance to be featured on-air in the program alongside the musings of celebrity Whovians.
First, check out this video:
Then, grab your camera and record your wittiest, most festive answers to the any of the Christmassy questions listed below – and submit it as a response video on YouTube! Your video might just appear in the “Doctor Who: Best of the Christmas Specials” show on BBC America, or online.
Would you rather go sleigh riding with a Dalek or make snow angels with an Ood?
Would you rather ride with Santa in his sleigh or The Doctor in his TARDIS?
Would you rather find yourself under mistletoe with a Weeping Angel or The Silence?
Would you rather spend Christmas traveling with the Doctor or relaxing at home with Amy and Rory?
Would you rather eat fish fingers and custard or a traditional Christmas dinner?
Would you rather see Santa Claus come down your chimney or the Doctor land in your yard?
Would you rather find a Sonic Screwdriver in your stocking or a TARDIS under your Christmas tree?
The deadline is November 23rd. Click here for full instructions on how to submit a video response on YouTube.
This is the year when Primevalnot only came back from extinction, but finally entered the hi-def age. That means that Primeval: Volume 3 (which combines Seasons 4 and 5) will be available on Blu-ray as well as standard DVD. Since Season 4 ended last February, we have been eagerly awaiting Season 5, which premieres next Saturday, November 12th on BBC America. In Canada the premiere is Thursday, November 10th on Space.
Primeval: Volume 3 offers thirteen episodes packed with creatures plucked out of their comfort zones, plus New Dawn (a two-part “Making of” feature) and the five prequel webisodes which you may have caught on BBCAmerica.com. Our favorite prequel includes tantalizing cell phone footage of a stocky dinosaur rampaging through the Members Bar of the House of Commons. We’re glad it’s a keeper now.
As we have seen in previous seasons, the business of working with monsters and unstable geniuses creates a steady turnover at the ARC, second only to that of teachers of the Dark Arts at Hogwarts. This year’s new faces include: Ciaran McMenamin (David Copperfield-1999) as the enigmatic newly recruited field leader; Ruth Kearney as the perky team coordinator; and Alexander Siddig (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) as a charming, rich and famous genius we can’t quite trust. Primeval Volume 3 will crash through an anomaly near you on January 10, 2012.