Current British TV

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Current British TV

Postby Polynikes » Tue Sep 20, 2011 3:33 pm

Current popular drama series on British TV, which may interest overseas viewers.

Downton Abbey began its second series on ITV on Sunday night. I am one of the few people in the UK not to have been watching this. It has a big audience, and almost universal public and critical acclaim. Mrs Polynikes (the wife) loves it, as does Mrs Polynikes (the mother). The only widespread criticism of the first episode was not of the drama itself, but of the number of advert breaks, and of the choice of adverts therein. ITV not unsurprisingly packed in the maximum number of breaks allowed (five in 90 minutes), including some depressing ones about insurance (a large insurance company sponsors the programme). Press criticism was rife, and a record number of viewers complained to the broadcaster. Do other nations complain about this? From my excursions to other countries, I reckon their advert breaks are more frequent and intrusive, so we in Great Britain are relatively fortunate, even when watching commercial TV rather than the BBC.

BBC started its final series of Spooks in direct competition at the same time on the same night. Perhaps it was almost resignation as a way of justifying the end of Spooks. This is an enjoyably daft (maybe intentionally so) series where three or four MI6 officers save the UK every week from some kind of threat. However, in its sixth (?) series now, and well past its sell by date, so time to finish it. The lead actors tend to duck out after a series or two, but their replacements continue to save us from disaster every week. Another favourite of Mrs Polynikes (the wife) and my other female acquaintances, particularly when Rupert Penry-Jones had a leading role.

Dr Who is nearing the end of a run, so it should have made it to channels in the US and elsewhere by now. My wife and children still watch, but I gave up some time ago, so I can't comment on it.

The best of the US drama is being snatched over here in the UK by cable and satellite TV to whom one has to subscribe, and I only have free-to-air channels, so I have not seen series such as Game of Thrones or Mildred Pierce. Did the recently finished Camelot make it to the overseas market? It was a retelling of King Arthur described as a "Game-of-Thrones-lite" made on the cheap (relatively speaking), but a second series was not commissioned. Bit raunchy in places, and as my younger son loves Merlin (coming back to the BBC in the autumn) and Arthurian legends, we let him stay up to watch. As a result, his sex education is well under way. Although it was slow at times, I quite enjoyed it, and as you might expect from a cast including Joseph Fiennes and Eva Green, the acting is generally good. Shame we will not get a second series.
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Re: Current British TV

Postby JoshRode » Tue Sep 20, 2011 5:30 pm

I enjoy Inspector Lewis and am a Dr. Who fan from long ago, but other than season 1, I haven't had time to catch up on the current versions of the series.
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Re: Current British TV

Postby Chris_Sax » Fri Sep 23, 2011 7:55 pm

Peep Show is one of the best comedies of the last decade. Real talk.

It is not about peep shows, incidentally.
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Re: Current British TV

Postby HGervais » Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:29 pm

Chris_Sax wrote:Peep Show is one of the best comedies of the last decade. Real talk.

Agreed. I thought it ran out of a little steam with series five but the past couple of series have been as brutally funny as ever. I'm a big fan of both That Mitchell & Webb Look & The Mitchell & Webb Sound.
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Re: Current British TV

Postby molly1216 » Sun Sep 25, 2011 1:50 pm

just figured out that the Expatshield also works on ITV streaming site
http://www.itv.com/itvplayer/video/?Filter=273819

so i can catch downton abbey..

now if i can only find Chris Hardwick's Nerdist show streaming somewhere....
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Re: Current British TV

Postby Kenneth Morgan » Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:11 am

I recently caught a couple of episodes of "Law & Order: UK" on BBC America. The shows were straight remakes of episodes from the original series, with a couple of minor tweaks here and there. It was generally OK, I guess. My main reaction was a bit of surprise at Peter Davison essentially playing Adam Schiff.

By the way, we only started getting BBC America within the last couple of weeks. Maybe this has already been commented on, but for a channel supposedly showcasing TV "from the other side", they sure show a lot of American TV. "Battlestar Galactica"? "The X-Files"? "Star Trek: TNG"? And the biggest question from me: why show "Crimson Tide", about as American a movie as you're going to get, on BBC America?

Sorry, I thought I'd ask.
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Re: Current British TV

Postby mavrach » Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:13 am

I've been catching up on a lot of Star Trek: TNG lately on BBC. Seems odd.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: Current British TV

Postby HGervais » Mon Sep 26, 2011 10:15 am

I just watched the first episode of The Fades, which I liked a lot and Misfits & the real Being Human should be coming back soon.
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Re: Current British TV

Postby Polynikes » Tue Sep 27, 2011 3:02 pm

If you get a chance to catch either of the first two series of Outnumbered, I think most people will like it. A third series is being shown on BBC (about three weeks in), so that may be crossing to other countries at the moment. Still very good, but as discussed under molly1216's "short-run TV icons" thread, once you get beyond a dozen or so episodes of a top class comedy, it is difficult to sustain the very highest standard, particularly in this case, because of the ageing of the children whose childhood perceptions and values are so central to the humour. It looks slightly more forced than it did - but it still makes this miserable old British g*t laugh, which is no mean feat. It has a nice line in throwaway asides for which you have to listen carefully.
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Re: Current British TV

Postby molly1216 » Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:09 pm

i found that ExpatShield works on ITV as well as BBC Iplayer... I caught the 1st episode of Downton Abbey S2.
and i 'm catching up on The Body Farm the UK simulacrum of Bones.
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Re: Current British TV

Postby J.M. Vargas » Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:28 pm

Kenneth Morgan wrote:By the way, we only started getting BBC America within the last couple of weeks. Maybe this has already been commented on, but for a channel supposedly showcasing TV "from the other side", they sure show a lot of American TV. "Battlestar Galactica"? "The X-Files"? "Star Trek: TNG"? And the biggest question from me: why show "Crimson Tide", about as American a movie as you're going to get, on BBC America?

Sorry, I thought I'd ask.


Ever since Cameron and his party made noise about (then actually did) slashing the BBC's operating budget the mandate came to the American arm of the channel to maximize its profits as much as possible ('quality be damned' wasn't actually uttered but it might as well) so the profits could be diverted back to the UK to make-up for the government-imposed budget cuts. Out went the BBC Morning/Afternoon news or the only-UK-shows mandate, in came the "X-Files" and "Star Trek: TNG" repeats along with plans for BBC America to launch original USA-made programming (scripted and reality). Basically BBC America has become an American channel its UK parent company hopes can squeeze a few extra pounds/dollars out of anything it can get its hands on to be sent back to the motherland for much-needed fund replenishment.
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