Over the past decade Steve Coogan has been steadily raising his profile in North America in films like Tropic Thunder, Night at the Museum and In the Loop, but we can’t help thinking that these supporting roles reveal only a small percent of his talent. This year’s The Trip, which made its mark on the indie circuit and Owen Gleiberman’s Ten Best list, is a more proper showcase for Coogan’s writing as well as acting gifts, but its audiences might still be surprised to learn that Coogan created one of most popular British comedy icons in the past two decades, Alan Partridge, and that his much anticipated concerts sell out all over Britain.
Steve Coogan Live brings together three of those concerts for the first time on North American video: Live ‘n’ Lewd from his pre-Partridge days in 1994; The Man Who Thinks He’s It (1998); and Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge and Other Less Successful Characters (2009). DVD extras include highlights from Coogan’s Australia tour, Paul and Pauline Calf animations and “Steve Coogan: An Inside Story.” The Trip is coming soon to the shop, and Steve Coogan Livewill be available on February 7, 2012.
The essential Absolutely Fabulous ensemble – Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha, June Whitfield and Jane Horrocks – is reuniting for three 20th Anniversary specials. These are the first new episodes since “White Box” aired seven years ago, and we can hardly wait to see which of the world’s latest obsessions will spawn the next classic one-liners from Jennifer Saunders. Most of all, we’re looking forward to more of Patsy and Edina. As Jennifer described their special chemistry in a Radio Times interview: “When I’m being Edina and Joanna [Lumley, of course] becomes Patsy, I think there’s no happier place to be, because it’s total escape. It must be, for us, like meditation is for other people.”
BBC America will run the first special on Sunday, January 8. (Canadian broadcast details are not yet known.) The DVD will have to wait until after the summer to include the third special, which is inspired by the 2012 Olympics hosted in London. Until then, the next best thing isAbsolutely Fabulous: Absolutely Everything, whether you’re catching up on the whole hilarious saga, or snagging the perfect gift for the fashionista or fashion victim on your list.
Thanks to all of you who have posted holiday memories and greetings on our Facebook page!
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.
Karl Pilkington needs no introduction to fans of The Ricky Gervais Show on HBO, or fans of Ricky Gervais’s XFM London radio show and podcasts. His plain, often ill-informed but always honest observations have kept Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant laughing for a number of years, and last year they decided to send him on a dream trip round the world to see seven wonders: the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, Petra, Chichen Itza, the Pyramids of Giza, Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janiero and Macchu Picchu.
Spectacular as these attractions would be to most people, Pilkington is not so keen, especially whenever the accommodations, food, language and facilities take him out of his comfort zone. The inevitable result is dismay, disbelief and dissing the two masterminds who put him up to it. Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant make brief appearances, usually to set up some not-to-be-missed treat like this encounter with an Amazonian tribe of reformed cannibals. When the series aired on Discovery’s Science channel (and on Canada’s Discovery Channel) last winter, it rose to become the highest viewed program in the Science Channel’s history. The DVD (which comes out January 10, 2012) also includes The Preview Show with Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, deleted scenes and a photo gallery.
Has it really been ten years since Ricky Gervais and company brought the mockumentary to the forefront of TV comedy? People Like Us had paved the way in its fly-on-the-wall approach, but its only recurring character was off screen most of the time. The weekly change in cast (even with guest stars of the caliber of David Tennant and Bill Nighy) offered little chance for depth of the bonding that occurred between audiences and the staff of Wernham Hogg.
Considering the phenomenal influence of The Office in the ensuing decade, the time is right for a 10th Anniversary Special Edition of The Office. In addition to the extras included on the original Collection DVD, we have mined the BBC Archive for the original 20-minute pilot and a 2007 Comedy Connections program tracing the series’ origins. Also included are specially recorded wraparound introductions for each Season One episode that aired on the BBC’s Night of The Office on August 30, 2009, as well as 40 more minutes of cast and celebrity interviews on the impact of The Office on life, the universe and everything. Special guests include Matthew Perry, Ben Stiller, Richard Curtis, Hugh Jackman and more! The Office Special Edition will come out on November 22 (the Tuesday before Thanksgiving), but you can pre-order it now.
If you like Little Britain and hate airports, Come Fly with Me will mark a welcome return of the talented duo from the individual projects that kept them apart for the past couple of years. As in Little Britain, Matt Lucas and David Walliams play most of the parts. This time they are all the irritating people who make air travel a coach-class experience from curb to takeoff. The show is the first new series to be launched in the Ministry of Laughs, the new Saturday night comedy block on BBC America. (The Canadian broadcaster has not been announced.) Check out the hilarious trailer below and link here for a treasure trove of clips from the show. The DVD is expected next year.
This Saturday night marks the launch of Outcasts on BBC America and, in Canada, on Space. You have to see the first episode if you want to see guest star Jamie Bamber (Law & Order UK). Preceding Outcasts, BBC Americans will be also able to see Battlestar Galactica, the series that established Bamber as a television name over here and placed him in the ever swelling ranks of the Secretly British.
Secretly British is a slippery term, of course. Some of you may have already spotted Jamie Bamber in Horatio Hornblower and Daniel Deronda before he went to America. Longtime viewers of BBC America would have known Andrew Lincoln from Afterlife before he became Deputy Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead. Some of us first became aware of Jason Flemyng (Primeval: Volume 2, Doctor Finlay) when he played Brad Pitt’s father in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Hugh Laurie was so well established on British TV (Blackadder […the Third, …Goes Forth, …Back and Forth], Jeeves & Wooster) that his long term fans were happiest when his fame in House M.D. led to the long awaited release of A Bit of Fry & Laurie on DVD. Even so, when Laurie was recently on The Graham Norton Show with Reese Witherspoon, she conceded that he was still secretly British to her mother: “I think she thinks you’re really a doctor, too!” If you missed that program, and have enjoyed Laurie’s musical interludes through the years, watch the clip below for a number he sang on the show.
Avid royal watchers will be setting their alarm clocks to catch some, or all five and half hours, of the BBC’s live, commercial-free coverage of the Royal Wedding on BBC America, but we know some of you are already wondering: will there be a DVD? We are happy to announce that on May 24th we are releasing The Royal Wedding – William & Catherine, the official BBC DVD of the full wedding ceremony at Westminster Abbey, plus an hour of outdoor highlights. These will certainly include Catherine’s arrival at the Abbey, the post-wedding carriage procession along Whitehall and the Mall, and William and Catherine’s appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, when the Mall fills up with well-wishers as far as the eye can see. The BBC has staked out 70 camera positions along the route, and 30 cameras in the Abbey. The DVD will also include William & Kate – A Royal Engagement, the 48-minute documentary which was broadcast last November on the BBC and NBC Dateline.
BBC Worldwide will donate all proceeds of the distribution rights (after deduction of its own acquisition and distribution costs) from TV, DVD and download-to-own sales of The Royal Wedding to The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry (charity registration number 1132048). This is expected to be in the region of £150,000.
Two years ago we released Gavin & Stacey: Season One, and ever since requests for the later seasons have streamed in. We thank you for your patience, and at long last, we can confirm that the remaining two seasons of this BAFTA-winning comedy will be released later this year. That’s 435 more minutes with your favorite English-Welsh hyphenate couple. If you already own Season One, you can pick up Season Two and Season Three in double-disc DVDs. If you’ve been holding out for the complete series, the DVDs will also be boxed in a convenient set as well. And we haven’t forgotten the beloved Christmas Special from 2008, which can be found on the Season Three DVD. Among the extras are commentaries, behind-the-scenes featurettes, a visit to the set from local Welsh TV and Cast’s Favorite Moments.