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Telly News From Blighty: Doctor Who, Sherlock, Luther, Case Histories

Yes, I'm back from my holiday-slash-birthday-weekend-extravaganza and catching up on what I missed while I was gone, including news about three of my favorite series, all of which happen to hail from the other side of the pond, and a fourth that is likely to become a new favorite when it launches next year. (Hint: it involves the creators of Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes and novelist Kate Atkinson.)

Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat has indicated that Season Six of the time-travel drama series will be split into two separate segments, with seven episodes to air in the first half of 2011 and six episodes to air in fall 2011.

What comes between? Well, a "game-changing cliffhanger," according to Moffat, speaking at the Edinburgh International Television Festival. (You can watch video of the session over at The Guardian as well.)

"Looking at the next series I thought what this show needs is a big event in the middle," said Moffat. "I kept referring to a mid-season finale. So we are going to make it two series – seven episodes at Easter building to an earth-shattering climax, a cliffhanger we could never normally do because it would be too long before it came back. An enormous game-changing cliffhanger that will change everything. The wrong expression would be to say we are splitting it in two. We are making it two separate series."

"What I love about this idea is that when kids see Doctor Who go off the air, they will be noticeably taller when it comes back," he continued. "It's an age for children. With an Easter series, an autumn series and a Christmas special, you are never going to be more than few months from the new series of Doctor Who. Tart that I am, we will now have two first nights and two finales, twice as many event episodes as we had before."

Let the guessing games begin about just what the cliffhanger might be...

Sherlock.Moffat, meanwhile, might have his hands full already with Doctor Who but that hasn't stopped Auntie Beeb from rightly commissioning a second season of the truly fantastic mystery series Sherlock, created by Moffat and Mark Gatiss.

(It's not a surprise as the first season of Sherlock--which consisted of three feature-length mysteries--lured approximately 9 million viewers in the U.K. It launches Stateside next month on PBS' Masterpiece Mystery.)

BBC One has ordered another three feature-length cases for Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Watson (Martin Freeman), set to launch in fall 2011. The creators have promised "baffling new puzzles, old friends and new enemies" when the series returns. (Holmesians will be happy to note that I put in a request for Irene Adler when I met with Moffat and Gatiss a few weeks back.)

Luther.BBC One has ordered two hour-long specials for psychological crime drama Luther, which wrapped up its sixth episode run earlier this year in the UK and which will launch this fall on BBC America. A co-production between BBC One and BBC America, Luther stars Idris Elba; the two specials will air in 2011.

Case Histories. Elsewhere, Monastic Production's Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharoah--the creators of Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes--have announced their new project: an adaptation of Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie novels, beginning with "Case Histories." I'm a huge fan of Atkinson's novels and Graham and Pharoah, so I can't wait to see how they tackle her books and adapt them for television.

The duo will adapt all three novels--"Case Histories," "One Good Turn," "When Will There Be Good News," for the first season of Case Histories, with Pharoah set to adapt the first, Graham to adapt the second, and an as-yet-unnamed writer to tackle the third. Project, which will be produced by Ruby Television with Monastic, is set to air in 2011, with production slated to begin in Edinburgh this autumn.

But the best bit is who the guys have got to play Jackson Brodie: none other than Jason Isaacs (Brotherhood) himself. Isaacs was attached to play the lead in FOX drama pilot Pleading Guilty (an adaptation of Scott Turow's novel), which was overseen by Bones creator Hart Hanson, but the project was not ordered to series.

FOX's loss is Case Histories' gain. Congrats to Ash and Matt for the commission and for landing Isaacs. Can't wait to see him as Jackson!

What do you make of the news? What's behind the splitting up of the next season of Doctor Who? Anxious for more Sherlock? Ready to have Luther put you on the edge of your seat again? Head to the comments section to discuss.


Step said…
All I want in life is Romola Garai as Irene Adler.
Russ said…
I LOVED Sherlock, I cannot wait to see the new episodes next year. I have yet to watch Luther but I enjoyed Idris Elba in the Wire as Stringer Bell.

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