Monthly Archives: June 2014

ITV Encore’s Drama Poll is Here!

We all know that the nation loves a good drama to get their teeth into. The brilliantly crafted characters, intricate plotlines and twists and turns in the narrative are what keep us captivated by the genre, and while other channels have been known to throw up a classic or two, it’s surely ITV that is the home of truly great British drama.

From crime series such as A Touch of Frost, The Sweeney and Whitechapel to cosier shows like Fat Friends, Wild at Heart and At Home With the Braithwaites, and not forgetting period pieces, including Upstairs, Downstairs, Lost in Austen and Brideshead Revisited, ITV seldom disappoints when it comes to cracking drama. Surprisingly, though, none of the aforementioned shows were nominated in either of the categories in the poll; Best Drama Moment and Favourite Drama Character.

The other nominees, however, more than warranted their places in the poll. So, here they are. First up, we have Best Drama Moment.

Broadchurch – The Murderer is Revealed'Broadchurch' - The Murderer is Revealed

In spring last year, the nation was captivated as Chris Chibnall’s Broadchurch had us all guessing who was the murderer of tragic teen, Danny Latimer. My money was always on Mark, Danny’s dad, and in the end it was revealed to be…no, I won’t spoil it. The final episode attracted a staggering 10 million viewers – and that’s excluding audiences for ITV+1 and ITV Player, and with series two due to be filmed imminently, Broadchurch fever looks set to grip Britain once again.

Collision – The Car Crash'Collision' - The Car Crash

Starring Douglas Henshall, this metafictional series ran for five consecutive nights in 2009 and regularly attracted viewers of around 7 million. As the title suggests, the series told the story of a car crash which causes a group of strangers’ lives to become intertwined, leading to the exposition of numerous secrets involving smuggling, government cover-ups and murder. To remind yourself of the spectacular, and very costly, crash, take a look at this report from ITV’s Anglia Tonight.

Doc Martin – Martin and Louisa’s Wedding

One of the most popular ITV shows of recent years is undoubtedly Doc Martin – the story of'Doc Martin' - Martin and Louisa's Wedding a haemophobic doctor who, having quit his job as a surgeon in London, relocates to Cornish village, Portwenn and struggles to tone down his stubbornness and improve his people skills to fit in with the close-knit way of life. Running throughout the six series, which we have enjoyed since 2004, has been the will-they-won’t-they relationship between Martin and local headmistress, Louisa Glasson. It took them three series to even go on a date, Martin called off their wedding in 2009 and then in the last minute of the show’s returning episode in 2011, Louisa revealed that she was pregnant! So, with baby James bringing them closer than ever, Martin and Louisa finally made it down the aisle in the sixth series last year. In true Doc Martin style though, even the wedding was plagued by complications: Louisa was late, the couple had a tiff at the reception and the villagers’ gift of a honeymoon resulted in a shotgun being pointed at the newlyweds by a madman whose life Martin eventually saved when a caravan collapsed onto him. ‘Twas quite an episode!

Downton Abbey – Matthew and Mary’s First Kiss

When Matthew Crawley first arrived at Downton Abbey'Downton Abbey' - Matthew and Mary's First Kiss with his mother, Isobel, sparks flew as he was reluctant to marry one of the Crawley daughters and be the new air of the Abbey. However, when he saw Lady Mary, he instantly fell in love with her – it’s just a shame that she didn’t feel the same, as she displayed open hostility towards the twenty-something solicitor. The Dowager Countess felt quite the same about Isobel – and while the two women continue to be acerbic with one another four years on, Matthew and Mary thankfully got together, with the unlikely kiss that was nominated as Best Drama Moment.

Downton Abbey – The Death of Lady Sybil

Over its four year tenure, Downton Abbey has seen many much-loved characters come and go –'Downton Abbey' - The Death of Lady Sybil sometimes temporarily, sometimes permanently. An example of the latter occurred in October 2012 when, during the third series of the show, almost twelve million viewers mourned the death of feisty Feminist, Lady Sybil. Having qualified as a nurse and married Irish chauffeur, Tom Branson, in late 1919, Sybil found herself pregnant – but sadly died during childbirth, making that episode one of the most poignant and best-written of the four series.

Foyle’s War – The End of World War II'Foyle's War' - The End of World War II

Having been axed by ITV Director of Programmes, Simon Shaps, in 2008, it was widely believed that this episode of Foyle’s War, entitled ‘All Clear’, would be the last. The series eventually returned in 2010 and continues to run today, but it is this episode from the sixth series that was nominated for Best Drama Moment.

Law & Order: UK – Ronnie Tries to Save Matt Devlin

Its future may be unsure, as Bradley Walsh has recently stated that he is leaving the show, but for  the past five years, Law & Order: UK has regularly'Law & Order: UK' - Ronnie Tries to Save Matt Devlin attracted and intrigued millions of viewers with the cases that down-to-earth cop Ronnie Brooks comes across. The moment that finds Law & Order: UK in the poll is from the final episode of the fifth series, in which Ronnie attempted to save his colleague and surrogate son, Matt Devlin after he was shot twice by a masked gunman. In a gripping and emotional scene, Ronnie ran to the ailing Matt and placed his coat over him in a desperate attempt to stop the bleeding, before the screen faded to black. It would be almost five months until British viewers discovered whether Matt lived or died.

Mr Selfridge – Selfridges Opens For the First Time

Based on the book, Shopping, Seduction and Mr Selfridge, the first episode of Andrew Davies’s  critically acclaimed period drama depicted just some of the trials and'Mr Selfridge' - Selfridges Opens For the First Time tribulations that Harry Gordon Selfridge faced when he came to London to create his now famous Oxford Street store. Having had success in Chicago with his transformation of the department store, Marshall Field’s, Selfridge came to England in an attempt to do the same, but unfortunately his business partner pulled out at the last minute. Undeterred, Selfridge soldiered on, recruited the help of Lady Mae Loxley and saw his store built in record time. Of course, many other obstacles would stand in Harry’s way over the coming months and years but this moment, when Selfridges opened for the first time, was a truly great one.

Mrs Biggs

Five-part factual drama, Mrs Biggs aired in 2012 and received instant critical acclaim for its'Mrs Biggs' alternative look at the infamous Great Train Robbery. Told from the perspective of Ronnie Biggs’s wife, Charmian (who helped writer Jeff Pope with some of the scripts), the series saw Daniel Mays nominated for a National Television Award, while Sheridan Smith was recognised by not only the NTAs but also BAFTA and the Royal Television Society. The use of Biggs’s wife to tell the story of the raid was ingenious and offered an insight into her trauma and turmoil that much of the nation had previously not considered. Whereas it could not match the impeccable timing of the BBC’s The Great Train Robbery last year (the first episode of which aired on the same day as Ronnie Biggs’s death), Mrs Biggs was a truly great drama which provided numerous memorable moments.

Poirot – The Death of Hercule Poirot

Last year, after a quarter of a century on our screens,'Poirot' - The Death of Hercule Poirot Belgian detective Hercule Poirot solved his last-ever case. Entitled ‘Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case’, this final instalment saw the immobilised sleuth and his old friend Captain Hastings return to their first case in order to prevent a looming murder. In Styles Court, where the pair first met thirty years ago, Hastings acted as Poirot’s eyes and ears, attempting to uncover, from a long list of possibilities, the killer in their midst. It was a gripping conclusion to the story of Hercule Poirot and more than satisfied the super-sleuth’s fans, even delivering the twist in the tale to which they had become so accustomed. Incidentally, ‘Curtain: Poirot’s Final Case’ will be the first programme shown on ITV Encore at 7:00pm tonight.

Scott & Bailey – Janet Scott is Stabbed'Scott & Bailey' - Janet Scott is Stabbed

Based on an idea by two of the show’s stars, Suranne Jones and Sally Lindsay, and written by Last Tango in Halifax and Happy Valley scribe, Sally Wainwright, Scott & Bailey has been entertaining ITV audiences since 2011. It was in the penultimate episode of the first series that this moment happened; when Janet Scott was stabbed and critically injured after Rachel discovered who killed 46-year-old mother, Lynn Stott. Of course, Janet soon recovered and in the next episode returned to work but she would later interview Geoff Hastings – the man who stabbed her – in series two.

The Widower – Malcolm Webster Drugs His First Wife'The Widower' - Malcolm Webster Drugs His First Wife

The most recent drama on the list, The Widower told the true story of nurse, Malcolm Webster who  is currently imprisoned for the murder of his first wife and attempted murder of his second, and gripped viewers when it aired in March of this year. The scene in which Webster drugged his first wife, Claire, was an amazing piece of television. Reece Shearsmith showed the character’s manipulation, determination and ruthlessness perfectly, making for a fantastic miniseries.

Titanic – RMS Titanic Strikes an Iceberg

Broadcast in 2012 to coincide with the centenary of the maiden voyage of the tragic Titanic,'Titanic' - RMS Titanic Strikes an Iceberg Downton Abbey writer, Julian Fellowes’s four-part miniseries was met with a mixed reception, with critics seeming undecided as to whether or not it was worth the £11m it cost to make and nearly three million viewers fleeing after the opening episode. ITV Encore clearly believed it to be worthy of a place on this list, however, so the iconic moment of the Titanic hitting the iceberg was nominated for Best Drama Moment.

So those are all of the moments, surprisingly spanning only six years of ITV drama. My favourite had to be the reveal of the murderer on Broadchurch – Olivia Colman and David Tennant’s performances in that episode were exceptional, and Chris Chibnall’s writing made it inevitable that the show would have numerous awards heaped upon it. It seems that the 2,000 people polled agreed with me, as Broadchurch was indeed voted the Best Drama Moment, with 25% of the vote! Poirot was in second place, with the wedding of Martin and Louisa in Doc Martin and the death of Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey joint third.

ITV Encore also wanted viewers to vote for their Favourite Character. Those in line for that accolade included:

Broadchurch – Alec Hardy (David Tennant)

Broadchurch – Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman)

Broadchurch – Beth Latimer (Jodie Whittaker)

Broadchurch – Mark Latimer (Andrew Buchan)

Doc Martin – Martin Ellingham (Martin Clunes)

Doc Martin – Louisa Ellingham (Caroline Catz)

Downton Abbey – Lady Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery)

Downton Abbey – Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens)

Downton Abbey – The Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)

Downton Abbey – Violet, Countess of Grantham (Maggie Smith)

Endeavour – Endeavour Morse (Shaun Evans)

Foyle’s War – Christopher Foyle (Michael Kitchen)

Foyle’s War – Sam Stewart (Honeysuckle Weeks)

Law & Order: UK – DS Ronnie Brooks (Bradley Walsh)

Lewis – DI Robbie Lewis (Kevin Whately)

Lewis – DS James Hathaway (Laurence Fox)

Marple – Jane Marple (Julia McKenzie)

Midsomer Murders – DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon)

Midsomer Murders – DCI Tom Barnaby (John Nettles)

Mr Selfridge – Agnes Towler (Aisling Loftus)

Favourite Character Nominees

Those were just some of the nominations for Favourite Character – many more were available. Doc Martin (Martin Clunes) and Hercule Poirot (David Suchet) tied in first place for Favourite Male Character, with 25% of the vote each, while DI Alex Hardy (David Tennant, Broadchurch) secured second place and DS Ronnie Brooks (Bradley Walsh, Law & Order: UK) and DI Robbie Lewis (Kevin Whately, Lewis) tied in third position.

As for the female characters, unsurprisingly, Downton Abbey‘s Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham (Maggie Smith) was most popular, with 32% of the vote. Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman, Broadchurch) and Louisa Ellingham (Caroline Catz, Doc Martin) were second, and DCI Vera Stanhope (Brenda Blethyn, Vera) came third.

Don’t forget to tune into ITV Encore from 6:45pm tonight, when the last-ever Poirot will be followed by a double-bill of Broadchurch and the first episode of The Ice Cream Girls on Sky channel 123.

All images included in this article courtesy of ITV

‘Britain’s Got Talent’ 2014 – Final Review

With more talent than we’ve seen in a long time and more camp than you can shake a feather boa at, the Final of the eighth series of Britain’s Got Talent arrived tonight and saw musical theatre act, Collabro be crowned the winners. Here are my thoughts on the acts we saw, in ascending order of success.

Yanis Marshall, Arnaud and MehdiYanis Marshall, Arnaud and Mehdi

This trio of high-heels-donning dancers were never going to win, were they? They just had too much  competition. Talent, they had. A hope in hell, they did not. Still, at least they can say that they were the first act ever to be buzzed in the Final – and by Simon to boot!

The Addict InitiativeThe Addict Initiative

I love The Addict Initiative’s ingenuity, blending stunning dance with a recognisable fairytale narrative. I don’t quite know where they can go from here – there certainly isn’t a platform out there for an act like themselves but I hope that they do well, no matter what they do.

Paddy & NicoPaddy & Nico  

I was really surprised that Paddy and Nico didn’t do better tonight! They of course had the backing of Amanda but also seemed to be loved by the public. Perhaps they were just unlucky to be in a show with so many other talented performers – as it certainly wasn’t a lack of talent that let them down!

Lettice Rowbotham 

I adore Lettice! I want to be her best friend! Seriously, though, her personality isLettice Rowbotham just a small part of her act, as her violin-playing is exceptional. I loved her singing, too, although it was a shame that we only got a little burst of it – it seemed a bit out of place, really. I think it would have made much more sense for her to sing the ‘Wake me up inside’ line, rather than simply leaving a gap. She’s still an exceptional talent, though, and I really do hope that she does well in the future.

Jon CleggJon Clegg 

Thank God Jon Clegg was given the Wildcard! He is such a talented impressionist; there isn’t one of his voices that isn’t absolutely spot on and it’s a shame that he didn’t win. That’s 50p that I’ll never see again! I’ve little doubt that Jon will do well – we’ll probably see him popping up on some show or another in due course.

James Smith 

I love James! His charisma shines in his performances, he has such charm andJames Smith is not bad looking either. I’m sure he’ll have had the teenage girls of the national fawning over him tonight. Oh, and his voice is amazing too – I mustn’t forget about his voice. I just hope my boyfriend isn’t reading this review, else I’m going to be in a bit of trouble…

Darcy Oake 

Darcy’s an amazing illusionist – probably one of the best we’ve Darcy Oakeever seen on Britain’s Got Talent. I have to be honest, I thought that his audition and semi-final performances were much better and more impressive than tonight’s; the fact that ITV were allowing such a trick to be broadcast in a live pre-watershed slot removed the danger of him being seriously injured somewhat. I’m sure this show will have given him the platform to be recognised and celebrated across the world – not just in his native Canada.

Jack Pack 

Whether or not they actually stole MichaelJack Pack Buble’s crown, as Amanda claimed they did, I’m not sure but one thing’s for certain: they are brilliant! Not only do they look great, they sound it too. I said it when I reviewed their semi-final performance and I’ll say it again: they are a true breath of fresh air and I’m sure Simon will snap them up straight away.

Bars & Melody 

There’s no doubt that these youngBars & Melody singers/songwriters are talented, but I just can’t get over their sycophancy. Last week, they made a huge deal of telling Alesha that she looks beautiful. On This Morning on Thursday, they told Holly Willoughby the same – and had no qualms about stressing the point. A lot. Then tonight, when Simon said that he hoped that his son, Eric, grows up to be like them. Now, to that lovely comment a simple ‘Thank you’ would have sufficed but instead, Leondre (the youngest of the two) gushed that he hopes that he turns out like Simon when he’s older. Don’t get me wrong: I know that that’s better than them being miserable, unappreciative and insincere but…oh, it was all just a bit too much, in my opinion.

Lucy KayLucy Kay 

Isn’t Lucy’s voice just amazing? I’m so pleased that people managed to see past the “sob story” and recognise that Lucy is very, very talented. She more than warranted second place – no doubt we’ll see her topping the classical charts later this year. Watch out, Katherine Jenkins: you have stiff competition.

Collabro

If only some bitter madwoman hadCollabro started chucking eggs at Simon Cowell during  Collabro’s slot tonight, we’d have had a truly traditional Britain’s Got Talent performance! I was very surprised that Collabro won – yes, they have an abundance of talent and are incredibly popular and likeable but I thought that Bars & Melody, James Smith or even Jon might have just pipped them to the post. I am of course very pleased for them, though, and can’t wait to see where they go from here. Worthy winners!

 All images thanks to ITV, ©Thames TV/SyCo

Britain’s Got Talent will of course be back in 2015

If you still need your BGT fix, though, Stephen Mulhern looks back at the past seven years of auditionees in Britain’s Got More Talent Best & Worst on Monday at 8:00pm on ITV2

What did you think of tonight’s Britain’s Got Talent Final? Do you agree or disagree with my review or the judges? Feel free to comment below or tweet me about this or any other TV show –@UKTVReviewer

‘Britain’s Got Talent’ 2014 – Final Review

With more talent than we’ve seen in a long time and more camp than you can shake a feather boa at, the Final of the eighth series of Britain’s Got Talent arrived tonight and saw musical theatre act, Collabro be crowned the winners. Here are my thoughts on the acts we saw tonight, in ascending order of success.

Yanis Marshall, Arnaud and Mehdi

This trio of high-heels-donning dancers were never going to win, were they? They just had too much competition. Talent, they had. A hope in hell, they did not. Still, at least they can say that they were the first act ever to be buzzed in the Final – and by Simon to boot!

The Addict Initiative

I love The Addict Initiative’s ingenuity, blending stunning dance with a recognisable fairytale narrative. I don’t quite know where they can go from here – there certainly isn’t a platform out there for an act like themselves but I hope that they do well, no matter what they do.

Paddy & Nico

I was really surprised that Paddy and Nico didn’t do better tonight! They of course had the backing of Amanda but also seemed to be loved by the public. Perhaps they were just unlucky to be in a show with so many other talented performers – as it certainly wasn’t a lack of talent that let them down!

Lettice Rowbotham

I adore Lettice! I want to be her best friend! Seriously, though, her personality is just a small part of her act, as her violin-playing is exceptional. I loved her singing, too, although it was a shame that we only got a little burst of it – it seemed a bit out of place, really. I think it would have made much more sense for her to sing the ‘Wake me up inside’ line, rather than simply leaving a gap. She’s still an exceptional talent, though, and I really do hope that she does well in the future.

Jon Clegg

Thank God Jon Clegg was given the Wildcard! He is such a talented impressionist; there isn’t one of his voices that isn’t absolutely spot on and it’s a shame that he didn’t win. That’s 50p that I’ll never see again! I’ve little doubt that Jon will do well – we’ll probably see him popping up on some show or another in due course.

James Smith

I love James! His charisma shines in his performances, he has such charm and is not bad looking either. I’m sure he’ll have had the teenage girls of the national fawning over him tonight. Oh, and his voice is amazing too – I mustn’t forget about his voice. I just hope my boyfriend isn’t reading this review, else I’m going to be in a bit of trouble…

Darcy Oake

Darcy’s an amazing illusionist – probably one of the best we’ve ever seen on Britain’s Got Talent. I have to be honest, I thought that his audition and semi-final performances were much better and more impressive than tonight’s; the fact that ITV were allowing such a trick to be broadcast in a live pre-watershed slot removed the danger of him being seriously injured somewhat. I’m sure this show will have given him the platform to be recognised and celebrated across the world – not just in his native Canada.

Jack Pack

Whether or not they actually stole Michael Buble’s crown, as Amanda claimed they did, I’m not sure but one thing’s for certain: they are brilliant! Not only do they look great, they sound it too. I said it when I reviewed their semi-final performance and I’ll say it again: they are a true breath of fresh air and I’m sure Simon will snap them up straight away.

Bars & Melody

There’s no doubt that these young singers/songwriters are talented, but I just can’t get over their sycophancy. Last week, they made a huge deal of telling Alesha that she looks beautiful. On This Morning on Thursday, they told Holly Willoughby the same – and had no qualms about stressing the point. A lot. Then tonight, when Simon said that he hoped that his son, Eric, grows up to be like them. Now, to that lovely comment a simple ‘Thank you’ would have sufficed but instead, Leondre (the youngest of the two) gushed that he hopes that he turns out like Simon when he’s older. Don’t get me wrong: I know that that’s better than them being miserable, unappreciative and insincere but…oh, it was all just a bit too much, in my opinion.

Lucy Kay

Isn’t Lucy’s voice just amazing? I’m so pleased that people managed to see past the “sob story” and recognise that Lucy is very, very talented. She more than warranted second place – no doubt we’ll see her topping the classical charts later this year. Watch out, Katherine Jenkins: you have stiff competition.

Collabro

If only some bitter madwoman had started chucking eggs at Simon Cowell during Collabro’s slot tonight, we’d have had a truly traditional Britain’s Got Talent performance! I was very surprised that Collabro won – yes, they have an abundance of talent and are incredibly popular and likeable but I thought that Bars & Melody, James Smith or even Jon might have just pipped them to the post. I am of course very pleased for them, though, and can’t wait to see where they go from here. Worthy winners!

Britain’s Got Talent will of course be back in 2015

If you still need your BGT fix, though, Stephen Mulhern looks back at the past seven years of auditionees in Britain’s Got More Talent Best & Worst on Monday at 8:00pm on ITV2

What did you think of tonight’s Britain’s Got Talent Final? Do you agree or disagree with my review or the judges? Feel free to comment below or tweet me about this or any other TV show –@UKTVReviewer