True Blood will air its seventh and final season this summer. The good news is that FOX has moved True Blood from its usual Autumn slot to premiere this July in the UK, just a couple of weeks after it launches in the US.
Mixing romance, suspense, mystery and humour, True Blood takes place in a world where vampires and humans co-exist, after vampires have come out of the coffin, thanks to the invention of mass-produced synthetic blood that means they no longer need humans as a nutritional source.
The series follows waitress and part-faerie Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), who can hear people’s thoughts, vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) and vampire Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgård).
Alan Ball created the show, which is based on the bestselling Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris.
Filming on the BBC One Sunday night hit drama, The Musketeers, has got underway in Prague this week for a second series, with Marc Warren (Hustle, Mad Dogs) joining the cast to play the Comte De Rochefort, a dashing and persuasive aristocrat with a talent for sword fighting and a taste for adventure.
Marc Warren’s character, Rochefort, is a man nursing many secrets and a very dark past. As the series progresses the true nature of his plotting is revealed and everyone around him is drawn into his sinister web. Ultimately only the Musketeers and their loyal allies and friends stand between him and a desperate act that will change all their lives forever.
Marc Warren says: “I’m delighted to be part of the BBC’s stylish and exciting take on the Dumas classic. Once I’ve overcome my fear of horses I’m sure it’ll be a walk in the park.”
The first series premiered in January this year and attracted an average of 6.3 million viewers across the ten episodes.
Returning for series two is Luke Pasqualino (Skins, The Borgias) as D’Artagnan, Tom Burke (Great Expectations, The Hour) as Athos, Santiago Cabrera (Merlin, Heroes) as Aramis and Howard Charles (Royal Shakespeare Company) as Porthos.
In Georgia, Dancing with the Stars is filmed inside a circus tent due to lack of studio space.
In 2011, President Obama rescheduled a major speech on Libya to avoid clashing with Dancing with the Stars on television in the US.
In Italy, a member of Royalty won series five of Ballando con le Stelle (Dancing with the Stars, 2009) as Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy scooped the glitter ball trophy with Russian professional dancer Natalia Titova.
In the UK, professional dancer Flavia Cacace married the British actor Jimi Mistry in December 2013, after they danced together on Strictly Come Dancing in 2010.
Aged 80, American astronaut Buzz Aldrin remains the show’s oldest contestant (Dancing with the Stars U.S, 2010)
In Finnish the show’s name translates to Tanssii Tähtien Kanssa, in Polish it’s Taniec z Gwiazdami, in Vietnamese it’s Bước nhảy hoàn vũ.
In one series of Strictly Come Dancing in the UK, an average of 504 cans of hairspray are used and with those 252 litres, you could fill six Mini Cooper petrol tanks.
The world-famous Indian Bollywood star Madhuri Dixit has judged two seasons of Dancing with the Stars in India, known as Jhalak Dikhhla Ja.
Following American professional dancer Derek Hough’s musical tribute in the 2013 series of Dancing with the Stars in America, the dancer was awarded an Emmy for ‘Outstanding Choreography’ from his routine which honored hit TV shows including Breaking Bad and Mad Men.
1.5 million people applied for audience tickets for Strictly Come Dancing in the UK in 2013.
ITV has commissioned classic game show Celebrity Squares for a late 2014 broadcast to be hosted by Warwick Davies.
The game is based on the classic ‘Noughts and Crosses’ with a grid of nine boxes. Inside each box are celebrities who answer questions. The contestants have to say if they ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ with the celebrity’s answer. If they are correct they win that square and if they win three boxes in a line – vertically, horizontally or diagonally – they win the round and money, before the winning contestant goes on to play the end game for the star prize.
Warwick said “Celebrity Squares is one of those special television shows that everyone remembers – I grew up watching it, and I’m thrilled to be presenting this updated version of a TV classic.”
It has been a year since this column began and during that time several events have occurred. This column is a quick list of updated information, as well as some corrections (well, not all of them. I’m not covering any spelling or grammar errors otherwise we’d be here for about a week).
Some of the anime covered have been given new series since their articles were published. Here is a quick list of shows that are returning.
- Junjo Romantica (No. 5) – A third series is currently in production.
- Black Butler (No. 10) – A third series is to be broadcast in June, with an OVA (Original Video Anime) also due out.
- Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club (No. 17) – A second series is currently in production.
- Sword Art Online (No. 34) – Following the special episode (the “Extra Edition”) around New Year, it was revealed a second series will be broadcast in July.
Many of the series I mentioned were only on Region 1 DVD or licenced by companies that are no longer in the English speaking market. However, you can watch some of these series via other legal streaming services or on official YouTube channels. Here is a list of those that were not mentioned originally.
- Astro Boy (No. 1) – The original 1960s series is on the Manga Entertainment YouTube channel. The 1980s series is on Viki.com.
- Junjo Romantica – On the Manga Entertainment YouTube channel.
- Fullmetal Alchemist (No. 13) – The original series is on the Funimation YouTube channel.
- Bleach (No. 15) – On Crunchyroll.
- Martian Successor Nadesico (No. 23) – On the Manga Entertainment YouTube channel.
- Pokemon (No. 25) – Older episodes on the Pokemon World HD YouTube channel.
- Hetalia: Axis Powers (No. 26) – First four series on the Funimation YouTube channel.
- The Irresponsible Captain Tylor (No. 30) – On the Manga Entertainment YouTube channel.
- Aria (No. 35) – On the Manga Entertainment YouTube channel.
Corrections and Amendments
In the article covering The Slayers (No. 31), I wrote that the original light novels were not available in English. This was wrong. The novels were published in English by TokyoPop, but this company no longer publishes books in English and thus it is out of print. You can still find second-hand copies however.
Also, concerning Danganronpa (No. 44), following on from a discussion on Twitter with Funimation they told me the reason why the series was not streamed in Britain was: “We do not have rights to stream outside our region of North America. You need to contact a distributor in your area.” Therefore, if anyone from a British anime streaming service is reading this, please take note of this fact.
Similarly, I wrote that the manga version of The Rose of Versailles (No. 18) had never been given a proper English release. However, the first two volumes were translated into English in 1983, making it the first commercially translated manga in North America. The full series still remains un-translated.
Jermain Jackman was crowned winner of The Voice UK beating Sally Barker, Christina Marie and Jamie Johnson to win a recording deal with Universal Music.
When presenter Marvin Humes announced the result, Jermain, coached by will.i.am, was visibly shocked and overwhelmed.
Jermain Jackman said: “I want to thank Will for everything he has done for me over the course of the last few months, you have been the best coach ever. I want to thank God for all the opportunities that I’ve had. I want to thank all my family and friends. This is not just an achievement for me but an achievement for every single person round the world, especially in the UK, who has had a dream, worked hard for that dream and achieved that dream. I want you guys to know, work hard for that dream and you will achieve it.”
Noah Taylor and Charlotte Riley will join the cast of BBC Two drama Peaky Blinders.
Taylor has starred in films as diverse as Submarine, Lawless, Almost Famous, The Proposition, Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and TV’s Game of Thrones. He joins as the head of an organisation that stands in the way of the Peaky Blinders’ plans for expansion.
Riley, who will soon be seen alongside Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt in the film Edge of Tomorrow and in BBC One’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, will play an aristocrat who crosses paths with Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) as he moves into a more exclusive world.
Producers also confirmed the return of series one stars Paul Anderson, Joe Cole and Sophie Rundle, who will reprise their roles as Arthur Shelby, John Shelby and Ada Shelby respectively.
It was announced that Finn, the youngest Shelby sibling, will be played by newcomer Harry Kirton, who was discovered at an open casting call in Birmingham in January.
Producers also confirmed today that all six episodes in series two will be directed by Colm McCarthy, whose previous credits include Sherlock, Doctor Who and Endeavour.
Series two of Peaky Blinders will air on BBC Two in autumn 2014.
There was a time when America got everything first, from the automobile and men on the moon to Scientology and the cheeseburger crust pizza. But when it comes to televisual phenomenon Game of Thrones, that head-start has well and truly gone.
During the season four premiere at London’s appropriately medieval Guildhall, Sky Atlantic revealed that as American audiences sit down to enjoy Game of Thrones on Sundays at 9pm ET, it will simultaneously broadcast the hit fantasy show in the UK on Monday mornings at 2am GMT. For the less dedicated and the employed, Sky Atlantic will also screen episodes at the more agreeable time of 9pm on Mondays.
OnTheBox was amongst a select few to attend the star-studded premiere event, which featured a Q&A with cast members John Bradley-West (Samwell Tarly), Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth) and Sansa Lannister/Stark herself, Sophie Turner. Although barely necessary after watching the thrilling first episode, Cunningham confirmed that season four had many more “WTF moments” to follow.
Game of Thrones season four starts on Sky Atlantic on Monday, April 7 at 2am, repeated at 9pm.
Pop sensation Cheryl Cole is to return to The X Factor judging panel, reuniting her with her ‘frenemy’, X Factor creator Simon Cowell.
One of the UK’s most successful female recording artists, Cheryl has notched up an impressive three number one singles, two number one albums, and a sold out arena tour. As a member of Girls Aloud, Cheryl achieved 20 top ten singles, four number ones and five platinum albums as well as winning a BRIT award.
Cheryl was a judge on The X Factor from series five to series seven, winning the nation over with her heartfelt and honest style, whilst securing victory in two consecutive years – in 2008 with Alexandra Burke and 2009 with Joe McElderry.
Speaking of her return Cheryl Cole said, “I’m very happy and excited to be returning to The X Factor. I’m inspired and ready to find new talent and potential pop stars. It’s going to be a fun series.”
Simon Cowell, who confirmed his return to the UK show last month, said, “I am so happy that Cheryl has agreed to join The X Factor again. The last time we worked together in the UK was incredible and produced some really successful artists. Obviously the plan is to do the same again… so it’s back to work!”
Critically-acclaimed comedy Louie Season 4 will be premiering in the UK on Thursday 8th May on FOX.
Here’s what you should have already seen: