This week, in TV news: Doctor Who makes some new enemies, old favourites return to the small screen and it’s a sad day for BBC3
Matt Lucas needs a Doctor this Christmas
While fans are still stinging from the pain of Clara’s feathery demise last week, Doctor Who has at least found some replacements to fill the void, albeit temporarily. Comedy stars Matt Lucas and Greg Davies have joined the show’s upcoming Christmas special.
The yuletide offering finds Peter Capaldi’s Doctor in a typically miserly state of mind, shunning the universe’s festive delights by hiding on a remote human colony. His “Bah! Humbug” squalor is disrupted, however, when a crashed spaceship calls for his help, throwing the Doctor into a fast and frantic chase across the galaxy.
Davies has signed up to face the brunt of the Time Lord’s ire as the episode’s big bad King Hydroflax, a furious alien whose giant robot is out of control and coming for them all, while Little Britain’s Lucas will play Nardole, a marooned alien caught in the robot’s crosshairs.
And if that’s not enough for you, the episode also heralds the return of the brilliant Alex Kingston, as Capaldi’s Doctor meets River Song for the very first time.
Doctor Who’s Christmas special will air, as per usual, on Christmas Day. Until then, you’ll have to make do with the final two episodes of series 9, which continues with tomorrow’s dramatic single-hander Heaven Sent on BBC1.
Tremors resurfaces on the small screen
Looks like Kevin Bacon is finally about to get his wish as 90s creature feature Tremors is coming back as a new TV series. Bacon will reprise his role as Valentine KcKee, a huckster repairman who leads a fight for survival against a rampaging man-eating worm, as well as producing the series. While NBC Universal has stumped up the cash for the pilot, there’s as yet no network attached to the series – though several parties are reportedly interested.
In other TV-Shows-Based-On-Movies news, Vin Diesel has announced a Riddick spinoff titled MERC CITY, which will apparently follow the Mercs and Bounty Hunters of the movie universe. The ever-busy star also announced a fourth chapter in the Chronicles of Riddick, entitled FURIA, and will soon be back behind the wheel of a preposterously fast sports car for Fast & Furious 8, another film franchise he’s reportedly considering turning into a TV show.
That’s right, Football Head: Hey! Arnold is coming back
Children of the 90s – prepare to feel old. Nickelodeon has announced plans to remake many of its classic shows, starting with Hey! Arnold.
Yes, apparently enough time has passed for the original series to be considered so old-fashioned it’s in need of an update and the new TV movie will pick-up where the series left off in 2002 by solving the mystery of what happened to Arnold’s parents. The likes of Rugrats and Ren & Stimpy are just some of the other classic franchises in Nickelodeon’s library being considered for revivals.
And if you’re wondering why now is considered a good time to revisit these shows, it’s because Nickelodeon’s Senior Vice President of Content Development Chris Viscardi thinks “kids who grew up watching these characters are now of the age that they are having kids or families themselves”. Excuse us while I go and drastically rethink all my life choices.
Michael Kelly joins Taboo
Having survived three years alongside House of Cards’ scheming President Frank Underwood, Michael Kelly now feels ready to pit himself against the might of Tom Hardy. He’s just signed on to join the star in Steven Knight’s Taboo.
Based on an original story by Hardy and his father, Edward ‘Chips’ Hardy, the eight-part series follows James Keziah Delaney (Hardy), who returns to 1814 London after ten years in Africa to wage war against the East India Company after discovering he has been left a mysterious legacy by his father.
Kelly will play American doctor Dumbarton in the show, joining a star-studded cast that includes Jonathan Pryce, Oona Chaplin, David Hayman, Jessie Buckley, Ashley Walters and Jefferson Hall. Filming kicked off in London this week under the direction of The Killing’s Kristoffer Nyholm, with Taboo expected to air sometime next year on the BBC.
BBC3 to close next year
In sad news for supporters of BBC3, The BBC Trust has formally approved plans to move the broadcast channel online in March 2016.
Despite a number of stars, including Jack Whitehall, Daniel Radcliffe and Olivia Coleman, speaking out against the move, there will now be a phased migration online from January next year. The cost-cutting measure has been driven by the increasing numbers of young viewers watching TV online making the traditional broadcast channel less valuable.
BBC3 controller Damian Kavanagh has promised the move online will be great, saying: “Today is just the beginning for BBC3 and our plans to transform our offer for young people.”
Fans of BBC3 programming will still be able to catch their favourite shows on the TV, though, with the BBC committed to airing new content on BBC1 and BBC2 after it debuts online.