Thursday, February 14, 2008

Untitled Van Helsing Project

Philip Glenister (Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes) returns to ITV in a fantastical new drama series: a contemporary spin on the legacy of Bram Stoker’s Dracula set above and beneath the streets of modern-day London. Glenister plays Rupert Galvin, a larger-than-life American with a tragic past and a zero tolerance policy to the rabble of mythical “half-life” entities that exist all around us.

ANIMAL PLANET MEETS AARDMAN

Animal Planet International, is announcing the launch of its latest initiative, Animals Save the Planet – an innovative, informative and engaging series of short films focused on celebrating and protecting the natural world. Produced by Academy Award-winning studio Aardman Animations (Wallace & Gromit) and narrated by comedienne Dawn French these funny and engaging short animations feature animals, in their own habitats providing tips on greener living.

NEW GIVEAWAYS NOW LIVE

More than a dozen new giveaways posted at Memorable TV
Everything from classic TV like Thriller, The Young Doctors, Dr Who's Davros Collection and Sons and Daughters to great new TV like Dexter, wonderful children;s tv like The Beatrix Potter Collection, Bob the Builder, Pingu and Barney. Plus lots more besides.

Monday, February 4, 2008

ASHES TO ASHES - YES THERE IS LIFE ON MARS

Life on Mars was quite simply one of the best shows of recent times but after two series it came to a natural end, however, there was too much fun to be had with the character of DCI Gene Hunt, we are moving on though from the 1970's to the early 1980's. In fact it's 1981: the year of the Royal Wedding, the Brixton riots, Bucks Fizz winning the Eurovision Song Contest – and the year that Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) takes the Met by storm.

Gene Hunt, the politically incorrect, loud-mouthed, sexist DCI from the hit TV drama Life On Mars, was, on the surface, an unlikely cult figure. However, the combination of his winning personality and somewhat "traditional" approach to policing helped to firmly establish him in the national consciousness.

Jane Featherstone, joint MD of Kudos Film & Television and executive producer of both Life On Mars and Ashes To Ashes, explained the genesis of the new series.

"As Life On Mars was drawing to an end, the BBC approached us and asked if we thought there could be a sequel or follow-up with the character of Gene Hunt, but a few years later," explains Jane. "We sat down and all realised that it could be brilliant to bring Gene into the early-Eighties – a fascinating time of cultural, musical and political transition."

From the start, the production team knew that Ashes To Ashes had to offer viewers a totally new journey, and say new things about the much-loved Gene Hunt. Life On Mars had offered very little information on Gene's past and personal life, making him something of an enigma.

The introduction of a female DI, Alex Drake (Keeley Hawes), meant that a totally new dynamic could be created without garnering comparisons to the good cop/bad cop, "buddy" relationship experienced by Sam and Gene.

"The relationship between Gene Hunt and Alex Drake is critical to Ashes To Ashes," continues Jane. "It is tumultuous, sexy, intellectual, instinctive and totally different to his relationship with Sam."

As the creative process continued, it became clear that the sexual tension between the two characters would be one of the key hooks to the series.

Jane explains: "Gene has never come across a woman like Alex before and she rocks his world. How is it possible to work with someone so incredibly confident and attractive, not to mention posh and from London, and, bloody hell, a woman?! Through Alex's presence at the station, we see a different side to Gene – a more complex, gentler side, a man with dreams, hopes and fears."

Despite a new era and leading lady being added to the mix, it's not all change and Gene Hunt still offers his unique take on the ghost of England's past. Beth Willis, the show's producer, says:

"We thought we'd bring him to London where his northern views would come into sharp conflict with 'the southern ponces' he finds there. And, of course, he should take his A-team of Ray Carling and Chris Skelton with him."

With the series set in the early Eighties, the production team recognised a great opportunity to display the change in policing since 1973 – changes which have, perhaps, had an impact on the once supremely cock-sure Gene.

Writer and co-creator Ashley Pharaoh explains: "All the research we did indicated that the police knew the Scarman Report was on its way, and they knew it wasn't going to be good news, so the threat of that hangs over the whole series.

"A very specific era of policing is coming to an end. I think there's a slight sense of melancholy to Gene at times – he misses the North and the old days, but he's a fighter and refuses to give up."

The next challenge was how to take Alex Drake – a police psychologist and thoroughly modern woman of the 21st century – into the world of Gene Hunt, a world she knows about only through her sessions with the now deceased Sam Tyler.

Matthew Graham, co-creator, writer and executive producer for Monastic Productions, realised that the premise would have to be water-tight to work on screen: "Through Sam, Alex has learnt all about Gene Hunt, Ray Carling and Chris Skelton.

"Alex is called to an intense hostage crisis involving a drug dealer who shoots her in the head at point-blank range. Next thing she knows, she's in 1981."

As if waking up dressed as a prostitute in the early Eighties with Ultravox ringing in your ears isn't bad enough, Alex is forced to confront a much larger problem.

Matthew continues: "Alex is horrified to discover that sharing her delusion are the very characters she heard about from Sam Tyler, in particular a certain DCI Gene Hunt! Furthermore, 1981 was the very year her parents were killed in a car bomb – is that somehow connected to her presence there?"

But, in the meantime, Alex must find a way to get on with her new boss, concludes Jane: "Alex finds that Gene is a compassionate man, fighting for justice and what he thinks is right, despite his incredibly dated views of womanhood. The result is funny, electric and surprising."

It's time to dig out that Rubik's Cube – 1981 here we come!

Friday, February 1, 2008

DIG OUT THE PUGIL STICK

Gladiators is back. The iconic US format which last appeared on British screens in the 1990s is to be relaunched by cabsat channel Sky One. It will be produced by Shine, the fast-growing indie producer led by Elisabeth Murdoch.

DVD NEWS

This section will lead you to all our pages covering DVD news.

A
American Gangster (Region 2)

AMERICAN GANGSTER REGION 2 DVD NEWS

Directed by Ridley Scott and starring two cinema giants in the shape of Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington, American Gangster comes to Region 2 DVD on 10 March 2008 in a specially extended by 17 minutes version that comes in a two disc and single disc version.

American Gangster tells the epic and true story of notorious drugs’ lord Frank Lucas. Starting out as a humble chauffeur, Frank Lucas is a man with a mission. Rising from quiet apprentice to mentor Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson, a gangster who runs much of Harlem, to become the richest of businessmen Lucas has a steely work ethic, intelligent determination and a deadly, ruthless streak. Following Bumpy’s death, he seizes the opportunity to build his own base of power and wealth. Hitting on a heroin importation scheme stretching from New York to war-torn Vietnam, Lucas personally travels to South-East Asia. With the help of his cousin, an Army Senior NCO, he successfully negotiates a deal with a Thai general. So begins the importation of “pure heroin, “a product that’s better than the competition at a price that’s lower than the competition”.

Federal investigator Richie Roberts works on the other side of the law. Incorruptible, dedicated and shunned by his department after he turns in nearly $1 million in unmarked bills, Roberts is a rare being in 1970s New York, an honest cop. An outsider who operates by his own rules and has a work ethic which mirrors that of Lucas, Roberts is tasked to investigate and stop drug trafficking in New York City. When Lucas abandons his deliberate conservatism for one fateful night, Roberts’ watchful eye takes in that he not only mixes with but appears more powerful than the highest level criminals. As Roberts’ attention focuses and his grip tightens on his worthy adversary, it’s only a matter of time before predator catches up with prey…

American Gangster is a captivating, ultra-slick and well-crafted insight into the true story of one of America’s most powerful men and the man set on bringing him down.

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