Thursday, July 30, 2020

Telly Tidbits

• Here’s a spot of good news: British TV broadcaster ITV’s new Van der Valk, a three-episode reboot of the same-named 1972-1992 British crime drama, is scheduled to premiere in the United States on September 13 as part of PBS’s Sunday Masterpiece series. (The show already ran in the UK last spring.) This series reset is based on characters created by London-born novelist Nicolas Freeling. It stars Marc Warren (Beecham House, Hustle) as street-savvy Amsterdam police detective Simon “Piet” Van der Valk, with the magnetic Maimie McCoy (DCI Banks, Endeavour) playing Van der Valk’s partner, Lucienne Hassell. Mystery Fanfare features a fine trailer for the series.

Van der Valk will be followed on this fall’s Masterpiece schedule by two other inviting British dramas: Flesh and Blood (October 4), a four-part yarn packed with “resentment, envy, emotional turmoil, potential nemeses and suspicions,” and starring both Imelda Staunton and Francesca Annis; and the Hugh Laurie political thriller Roadkill (November 1).

• Coincidentially, Chris Murray, who scripted those three new, 90-minute Van der Valks, is also behind an eight-part Acorn TV crime series called Cannes Confidential. Deadline describes it as “a romantic procedural that blends comedy, mystery and crime detection with a heart-warming love story—all against the backdrop of [France’s] Côte d'Azur,” and touts it as “the first English-language procedural drama to be produced and set on the Côte d'Azur since the 1970s action-adventure comedy The Persuaders!, starring Roger Moore and Tony Curtis.” Cannes Confidential should debut in 2021.

• I mentioned in my last news round-up that Anthony Horowitz’s terrific 2017 whodunit, Magpie Murders, is being turned into a six-part series, scripted by the author himself. As Deadline notes, that venture is an Eleventh Hour Films production for Masterpiece in the States and BritBox in the UK. Now comes word, via In Reference to Murder, that Magpie Murders is part of a larger BritBox collection of soon-forthcoming series worth anticipating:
The new additions include an adaptation of the 1938 novel, The Beast Must Die by Nicholas Blake (the nom de plume of poet Cecil Day-Lewis, father of Daniel Day-Lewis). The story follows a grieving mother who infiltrates the life of the man she believes killed her son and stars Jared Harris, Cush Jumbo, Billy Howle, and Nathaniel Parker.

Also on the BritBox slate is
Crime, the first TV adaptation by Trainspotting writer Irvine Welsh, which is based on his own book. The six-part series will star Mission: Impossible 2 actor Dougray Scott as Detective Inspector Ray Lennox, who is investigating the disappearance of a schoolgirl while battling cocaine addiction and a mental breakdown.
• Finally, I noticed earlier today that the 1973 NBC-TV pilot film Savage, starring Martin Landau, can be watched in full on YouTube—at least for the time being. As Lee Goldberg explains in his book Unsold Television Pilots: 1955-1989, Landau played Paul Savage, “an investigative reporter with his own television show that examines the political world. Landau’s then-wife Barbara Bain played his producer. In the pilot, they investigate a scandal involving a [U.S.] Supreme Court nominee. This was the last TV movie Steven Spielberg directed before going into motion pictures.” Columbo creators Richard Levinson and William Link penned the script; Gil Mellé provided the score.

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