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TV-News: Red Dwarf Returns – Twice!

Somehow this completely slipped by me this weekend – the amazing british science-fiction comedy Red Dwarf is going to return for not one, but two series in 2016 and 2017! The announcement came on Saturday at the Dimension Jump convention and had also been heavily hinted at by series’ co-creator and current show runner Doug Naylor on his Twitter stream, which I didn’t even notice because I had no idea he even was on Twitter. Not much is known about the new two series, especially the number of episodes, but the return of the original cast and shooting in front of a live audience has been mentioned. Given the enormeous success of Red Dwarf X back in 2012 they will probably go back to a very similar and classic format.

The series will be again produced by UKTV and will be aired on Dave like the Back to Earth special and Series 10 – the BBC apparently does not want to be involved anymore with their former hit show. This unfortunately means we won’t be able to see it officially in Germany until the DVDs and Blu-Rays are released because the channel does not broadcast on the Freesat platform. Nevertheless, this is absoultely fantastic news and the lead up to the first new Red Dwarf episodes since 2012 will be very exciting!

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TV-News: Stargazing Live 2015

This year, the BBC has delayed the fifth Stargazing Live series until March to coincide with Friday’s solar eclipse. Brian Cox and Dara O Briain will be joined at the Jodrell Bank Observatory by Rosetta lead scientist Matt Taylor and none other than Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who has already arrived in England according to the program’s Twitter stream. As before, this will be very much worth watching and every bit as interesting as in the previous four years. Because there will be a live broadcast of the eclipse on Friday morning, the schedule will be a bit different this time with one additional program.

Wednesday March 18th
• 20:00-21:00 GMT: Episode 1 on BBC2
• 21:00-21:30 GMT: Back to Earth 1 on BBC2

Thursday March 19th
• 20:00-21:00 GMT: Episode 2 on BBC2
• 22:00-22:30 GMT: Back to Earth 2 on BBC2 (note the different time)

Friday March 20th
• 09:00-10:00 GMT: Eclipse Live on BBC1 (note the different station)
• 21:00-22:00 GMT: Episode 3 on BBC2 (note the different time again)
• 22:00-22:30 GMT: Back to Earth 3 on BBC2

Unfortunately the series has, typically for a BBC live production, never been released on DVD, but all episodes from 2011 and 2012 are still up on Youtube at these links:

Stargazing 2011Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3
Stargazing 2012Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3

Update: The highlight of this year’s series, the view of the total eclipse from the plane that the Stargazing Live team sent up, has been uploaded by the BBC on its own channel and Episode 1 and the first after-show chat Back to Earth have also been uploaded by somebody else, albeit in a bit of an unusual fashion with a large border around the image. Although if even the ESA links to this video in a Google+ post, it should not be a problem here too!

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TV-News: David Attenborough’s Life Story

The BBC continues to be amazing this fall and winter. David Attenborough returns this week with a new six-part series called Life Story, chronicling the life cycle of animals starting on Thursday, October 23rd at 9pm British time on BBC One and a repeat on Sunday afternoon. This is actually fairly similar to his previous series The Trials of Life, but an update seems a good idea – David Attenborough has never shied away from embracing new technologies and the jump from 16mm in 1990 to 4K high definition in 2014 should be worth watching.

There’s already a wonderfully whimsical trailer available on Youtube and the BBC’s press release about their next natural history efforts also reveals that Attenborough also has three other one-off documentaries about ostriches, dinosaurs and birds of paradise coming, although their airdate is still unknown. He is also working with the BBC on a new documentary about the Great Barrier Reef – it’s great to see that his age isn’t stopping him in the least.


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TV-News: QI Returns with Series L & More

Okay, fingers on buzzers everyone, I’ve just noticed that Stephen Fry’s and John Llody’s amazing television quiz show QI is returning soon! This year it’s a bit later than usual, but starting on Friday, October 3rd at 22:00 GMT / 23:00 CEST the twelfth series with the letter L is going to start broadcasting on BBC2. As in previous years, the half-hour versions will apparently be shown on Fridays and the 45-minute XL edits will follow on Sundays. Wikipedia already has a preliminary episode list and judging from the guests it should be again a lot of fun even for the 12th time.

You can read more about QI on the official website, the Facebook-Page and the Twitter-Stream. Since this spring there has also been the podcast No Such Thing as a Fish by the QI research elves which already has spawned 25 episodes and is an amazing audio companion for the series. The QI radio sister series Museum of Curiosity will also be back this fall with more episodes on Radio 4 with John Lloyd and his new co-host Phil Jupitus, but no air dates have been announced yet, so keep watching their Curiositwitty stream!

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TV-News: Stargazing Live 2014

There was already a short trailer and some mentions on Twitter, but it seems I missed the official announcement: Brian Cox’ and Dara O Briain’s Stargazing Live is going into round  4 next week on January 7, 8 and 9 at 8pm UTC/GMT or 9pm CET on BBC2. The three one-hour broadcasts are as usual followed by an additional half-hour talk called Back to Earth – and of course the Stargazing HQ is again the Jodrell Bank Observatory. Considering the great success of the previous year’s broadcasts, this will be definitively worth watching.

Unfortunately the series has, typically for a BBC live production, never been released on DVD, but all episodes from 2011 and 2011 and the first one from 2013 are still up on Youtube at these links:

Stargazing 2011Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3
Stargazing 2012Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3
Stargazing 2013Episode 1

Note: The website is still on semi-hiatus, so unfortunately no new reviews until the beginning of February.

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RIP Dieter Hildebrandt

He was one of the truly great ones of Germany’s political cabaret – last night, Dieter Hildebrandt sadly died at the age of 86. Only yesterday there were reports that he was gravely ill, before he seemed almost indestructible and had been on stage until quite recently. Although his presence was limited to German-speaking audiences, I’m writing this article in English to give everyone an impression how great his influence had been. So far there has been only one English-language obituary about him, but he also deserves to be recognized outside of Germany.

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TV-News: The Sky at Night saved

About a month ago, the BBC was talking about closing down Britain’s longest-running and only regular astronomy television program, The Sky at Night – less than a year after its creator Sir Patrick Moore had died. Since then the show was moderated by the longtime co-hosts Lucie Green and Chris Lintott, who had actually done a very good job of keeping the program alive – but that doesn’t seem to have been good enough for the BBC bosses. The outrage over the possible cancellation was huge, including a petition with over 50,000 signatures and pleas from just about everyone to continue The Sky at Night with success: Tuesday, the BBC had announced that the program will continue in 2014.

The rescue comes, however, at a cost – the show will not be broadcast on BBC1 anymore, instead the first showing is relocated to BBC4 with a later repeat on BBC2. Given that The Sky At Night is broadcast on Sunday after midnight at the moment, this may be an improvement and the home on BBC4 is not altogether bad, because the repeats of the 30-minute-version have already aired on this channel for some time. The shorter 20-minute version, which was always broadcast first, will also be abandoned in favour of the 30-minute format. This can be a great chance for The Sky at Night hopefully the inevitably lower ratings will not prompt the BBC to cancel the program for good.

The announcement was also paired with the news that The Sky At Night will make a pause in January to make way for a fourth round of Stargazing Live with Brian Cox and Dara O Briain, which has been credited to create a huge public interest in astronomy and will surely be as amazing as in the previous years.

The next regular episode of The Sky at Night with the Moore Moon Marathon, will be aired this Sunday (actually Monday) at 0:30 GMT on BBC1 with the 30-minute-version first airing on BBC4 on Thursday at 19:30 GMT. For more repeats check the official website of the program.

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TV-News: BBC Autumn Season

The autumn and winter season on the BBC has already kicked off with new episodes of QI, but there are two more interesting series starting next week and one is already running.

This almost completely went by me – it seems that Brian Cox has been very busy filming a new three-part series called Science Britannica about the history of british science. The first episode airs on Wednesday, September 18th at 21:00 GMT / 22:00 CET on BBC2 and there’s also a very short trailer on Youtube. This series promises to be very interesting, because Brian Cox has always had a huge interest in the beginnings and evolution of science and often referenced to it in his previous programs.

David Attenborough is also back with a new two-parter called Rise of the Animals: Triumph of the Vertebrates starting on Friday, September 20th at 21:00 GMT / 22:00 CET on BBC2. It’s about the evolution of the vertebrates and takes a similar approach as First Life, utilizing CGI in addition to real footage to show how extinct species evolved.

And there’s also Sound of Cinema: The Music that Made the Movies, a three-part series presented by author, composer and silent film music expert Neil Brand about the history of music in movies. The first episode has already aired on BBC4, but the last two episodes are aired Thursdays at 21:00 GMT / 22:00 CET and there’s also a repeat of the first episode later tonight on 22:35 GMT / 23:35 CET.

There is, however, no definitive word yet on an airdate for the long-awaited third season of Sherlock, the brilliant contemporary adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s victorian detective. A short teaser trailer has been posted by the BBC on Youtube and was also shown after a repeat of series 2 recently. There are rumours that the series will be broadcast at the beginning of 2014, which is quite possible considering that the BBC has said that the series’ production was only finished on September 1st.

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TV-News: QI returns with Series K

The autumn season on british television is starting earlier and earlier each year and I almost had not noticed that Stephen Fry’s and John Lloyd’s brilliant quiz show QI is starting again next week on BBC2 with the new Series K. The weekly broadcasts start next Friday on 22:00 GMT / 23:00 CET, with the extended 45-minute XL version now following on Sunday at the same time – but watch the schedule, the BBC often likes to stir up the program at the last minute. That’s why nobody had noticed that the “lost” episode of Series J (you know, the one with Jeremy Clarkson) was broadcast on Tuesday, but the XL repeat is shown tonight at 22:15 GMT / 23:15 CET.

You can read more about QI on the official website, which was totally overhauled and greatly improved last year and there’s also the Facebook-Page and the Twitter-Stream. Fingers on buzzers! :-)

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