Sue Johnston to join Downton Abbey as lady’s maid

Sue Johnston Sue Johnston’s TV credits include Lapland, The Royle Family and Coronation Street

The Royle Family actress Sue Johnston is the latest star to join series five of ITV’s Downton Abbey in a guest role.

She will play Denker, a lady’s maid to Dame Maggie Smith’s character, the Dowager Countess of Grantham.

Johnston, who has also appeared in Waking the Dead and Coronation Street, joins new stars Richard E Grant and Anna Chancellor, both of whom will play guests of the Granthams at Downton.

The hit period drama will return to screens this autumn.

Series four of the show, which followed the wealthy Grantham family and their servants, achieved an average of 11.9 million viewers in the UK.

Dame Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey Johnston will play a new lady’s maid for Dame Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess

The very British drama has also been a huge hit in the US, winning both Emmy Awards and Golden Globes.

More than 26 million viewers watched series four on Masterpiece on PBS, making it one of the highest rating shows on American television.

Previous high profile guest stars include Shirley Maclaine who played Martha Levinson, Lady Grantham’s mother, and Oscar-nominated actor Paul Giamatti who appeared in last year’s Christmas special as her “maverick, playboy” son.

Series five will also feature 24 star Rade Sherbedgia as a Russian refugee who has fled the revolution after World War 1.

Earlier this year, executive producer Gareth Neame promised it would have “all the usual highs and lows, romance, drama and comedy”.

AMC Sets Premiere Date For ‘Hell On Wheels’ Season 4 * USA

The fourth season of AMC’s western drama will premiere on Saturday August 2nd at 9/8c, the network announced today.

Created by Joe and Tony Gayton, Hell On Wheels revolves around Cullen Bohannon, a former confederate soldier who travels west to the construction site of the first transcontinental rail road. However, Bohannon’s journey is not that of a former soldier looking for work. He is on a mission to avenge the death of his wife and son who were murdered by Union soldiers, whom he has tracked to the construction of Union Pacific’s railroad. The drama series is produced by eOne and stars Anson Mount, Common, Colm Meaney, Dominique McElligott, Tom Noonan, Ediie Spears, Ben Ester and Phil Burke.

In the show’s fourth season civilization makes its way west with the railroad, bringing with it men who attempt to do with their pens what rougher men did in seasons past with their guns.  Conflict between government and big business, ranchers, homesteaders and the railroad will continue to define the drama as all of those interests compete with one another for control of Cheyenne, Wyoming, the “Magic City of the Plains,” and the most important railroad hub in the country

The network said that the fourth season will run in two parts, with this first ten episodes airing through October 4th. The drama will then take a brief hiatus and return with the final three episodes from Saturday November 8th. “We’re thrilled to bring ‘Hell On Wheels’ back for another season. Its success on Saturday night reflects the strength and broad appeal of the show, and we’re incredibly excited to share the continuation of this story with the millions of loyal ‘Hell On Wheels’ fans,” said Joel Stillerman, AMC’s executive vice president of original programming, production and digital.

Outfitting ‘Outlander’ for 18th Century Scotland

 

Gary Lewis, Caitriona Balfe and Graham MacTavish in “Outlander.”

Photo By Nick Briggs/2014 Sony PicturesTelevision

The Starz cable network has become known for lavish historical dramas like “Spartacus” and “Magic City.” Its latest, “Outlander,” presented a greater challenge, at least for the costume designer, in that its setting is 18th century Scotland.

 

 

Set to air Aug. 9, the Sony TV-produced series is based on the popular bestselling “Outlander” novels by Diana Gabaldon, which have developed a cult following worldwide. The story line follows Claire Randall, an independent and modern nurse who mysteriously goes back to a century where women were treated as property. In what ignites into a passionate relationship, she is forced to marry the Scottish warrior Jamie Fraser in order to save her life. But here lies the dilemma: Her heart is torn between two very different men — the suave English husband she left behind and the romantic Scot.

Costumed by Terry Dresbach, who is married to executive producer Ronald D. Moore, the series aims to stay true to authentic Scottish apparel as well as hairstyles of the era. Asked what her biggest challenge was prepping for her role, Caitriona Balfe, who plays Randall, replied, “Getting my hair permed, because the character had very curly hair. Oh, and the costumes were so heavy, really heavy wool, almost the equivalent of wearing a heavy blanket. Scotland is such a cold, wet place.”

Balfe described her costumes for the freshman 16-episode series, which finishes filming its second season in Scotland in August, as ranging from “stylish, comfortable clothes of the Forties to a real pain of being all tied up in unacceptable corsetry” of the 1700s.

Learning how to wrap a kilt the Highlander way was the biggest challenge for Sam Heughan, who plays Fraser. He said getting the authentic kilt formula was serious business for the series.

“She went back to the original materials and used berries to create the colors and tartans,” Heughan said, referring to designer Moore. “Different clans didn’t go out of their way to create specific colors. They just used the plant life around them, and it all blended very well with the background. It was great camouflage.”

The garments had other strategic uses as well. “Kilts were used as a shield wrapped around the arm, and the wool would keep you warm. Even when the wool would get wet, it didn’t get you wet,” the actor continued. “Highlanders used to soak their tartans in water, and it would freeze on them and act like a protective igloo.”

The historically accurate costume design created difficulties for the actor as well.

“I had to go to a few weeks of boot camp to learn how to wear a kilt and ride horses,” Heughan said. Still, “Riding in a kilt is far more comfortable than riding in trousers, because of all of the padding.”

 

Martin Clunes to play Sherlock Holmes creator in ITV drama

 

ITV has commissionsed a new adaptation of Julian Barnes’s novel, Arthur & George, based on an intriguing series of genuine events in the life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Set in 1903, the three part drama will star Martin Clunes (Doc Martin) as the novelist and physician who created the detective Sherlock Holmes.

The official synopsis reads: “Conan Doyle recaptures his zest for life by pursuing and challenging a notorious miscarriage of justice.   It is the case of George Edalji, a hard-working solicitor and the son of Hampshire vicar, Reverend Shapurji Edalji and his wife Charlotte.  George has served seven years in Pentonville Prison for allegedly mutilating animals and sending threatening letters, a series of offences which have become known as The Great Wyrley Rippings.

“Following the death of his wife, Louisa, Conan Doyle has become a “bore and a sulk” by his own admission.  All around him do their best to bolster Arthur from his grief and mourning including his beloved ‘Mam’ who implores him to “sink his teeth into something.  If not a book then some new pursuit.””

Arthur & George also follows Conan Doyle’s relationship with Jean Leckie, a much younger woman, with whom he enjoyed a ‘platonic’ relationship whilst his wife was alive.  Jean eventually became his second wife.

ITV’s Director of Drama, Steve November commented: “Arthur & George explores what we think we know about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s life.  It’s a fascinating insight into the man who was to become one of the most famous of his age. We’re delighted to be working with Martin and the production team at Buffalo Pictures on such a clever and complex adaptation of Julian Barnes’s acclaimed novel.”

Written by Ed Whitmore (Silent Witness, Waking The Dead), Arthur & George begins filming in Greater London and Staffordshire this autumn.

84 Charing Cross Road * 1987


84 Charing Cross Road

is a 1970 book by Helene Hanff, later made into a stage play and film, about the twenty-year correspondence between her and Frank Doel, chief buyer of Marks & Co, antiquarian booksellers located at the eponymous address in London, England.

n 1949, Helene Hanff, in search of obscure classics and British literature titles she has been unable to find in New York City, notices an ad placed by Marks & Co., antiquarian booksellers located at the titular address in London, in the Saturday Review of Literature. She contacts the shop and its manager, Frank Doel, fulfills her requests. In time, a long-distance friendship evolves, not only between the two, but between Hanff and other staff members as well, with an exchange of Christmas packages, birthday gifts, and food parcels to compensate for post-World War II food shortages in England. Their correspondence includes discussions about topics as diverse as the sermons of John Donne, how to make Yorkshire Pudding, the Brooklyn Dodgers, and the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Anne Bancroft, Judi Dench

Anne Bancroft won BAFTA Best actress award

IMDB

I loved this film. I guess I keep bring it up on this site because of that. Everyone should see it just once.

credit

Age of Innocence * 1993

Society scion Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis) is engaged to May Welland (Winona Ryder), but his well-ordered life is upset when he meets May’s unconventional cousin, the Countess Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer). At first, Newland becomes a defender of the Countess, whose separation from her abusive husband makes her a social outcast in the restrictive high society of late-19th Century New York, but he finds in her a companion spirit and they fall in love.

( Written by Marg Baskin IMDB)

 

Based on an Edith Wharton novel

Directed by Martin Scorsese

Won 1994 Oscar for Costume Design