9 reasons to watch Peaky Blinders

Peaky Blinders is back and it’s as magnificent as ever.

Continuing two years after we last saw the Shelby family, the period gangster drama will follow Thomas and the rest of the gang as they expand onto the perilous streets of London and, as expected, things don’t run quite as smoothly as they’d hoped.

Here’s why you should tune in as the drama returns:

1. Welcome to the 1920s

The second series picks up two years since we last saw the gang and their business continues to boom. As they look to expand both their legal and illegal operations the Peaky Blinders head to London, but they aren’t welcomed upon arrival.

2. Gangster development

As the Peaky Blinders develop as a gang in series two expect lots of action and plenty of gore as they discover that as you gain more power your actions have bigger consequences (and your enemies become much more brutal).

3. What happened to Inspector Campbell and Grace?

The dramatic series one finale ended with a cliff-hanger that left viewers wondering what became of Inspector Campbell and Grace. Our questions will finally be answered as the show returns.

4. Strong female presence

Women played a key role in the first series of Peaky Blinders and they’re set to be even more prominent as the show returns.

The fantastic Helen McCrory returns as Aunt Polly who will be contending with her own problems as she faces up to issues from her past. Natasha O’Keeffe, Sophie Rundle and Aimee-Ffion Edwards are also back as Lizzie, Ada and Esme.

5. Cillian Murphy

There’s no denying that Cillian Murphy is an extraordinary actor. His portrayal of the complex anti-hero Tommy Shelby is completely compelling and he steals the show.

We can’t wait to see what he does with the character next.

6. Tom Hardy

The brilliant Tom Hardy will appear in the second series as a charismatic leader who’s set to square up against the Shelbys.

If there’s one thing we know, it’s that Tom Hardy makes a mean gangster.

7. More casting coups

Noah Taylor will play the head of an organisation that stands in the way of the Peaky Blinders while Charlotte Riley joins as an aristocrat who crosses paths with Thomas, adding to the already impressive casting line-up.

8. Sleek style

The cast all went under some big transformations to replicate the style of the Peaky Blinders. Not only do they wear suave herringbone tweed jackets and flat caps, the male members of the cast also had to have a directional haircut.

Apparently Cillian Murphy wasn’t too keen on the look, but we think he pulls it off.

9. Stylish cinematography

The show continues to be filmed on a grand scale and looks amazing on screen.

We can expect to see more large-scale sets, explosions and a fair few fights in series two.

It’s going to be amazing…

Published work – September 2014

Metro iconAs it’s almost October, I thought I’d share some of the articles that I’ve written for Metro Blogs throughout September.

After going to the launch of Glue, E4′s latest drama, I’ve written a couple of pieces about the show – which has since become one of my favourite programmes on television at the moment.

I also celebrated the 20th anniversary of Friends by selecting my choices of the sitcom’s best episodes and revealed some of my favourite Derren Brown shows – an article that was then shared on the illusionist’s Facebook page.

Check out the following blogs:

Friends turns 20: 20 episodes you need to watch

7 reasons I’ll be watching Strictly for the first time this year

9 best moments from the McBusted Tourplay announcement

11 types of students you’ll meet during freshers’ week

9 reasons why E4’s Glue is an unmissable yet shocking drama

Bad Education is back: 10 reasons Jack Whitehall is top of the class

9 reasons to be excited about Disney Infinity 2.0

13 things you need to be a convincing pirate on Talk Like A Pirate Day

11 lessons learned from Educating the East End (including how to run an election)

7 best moments from Our Girl series opener

Our Girl: Can anybody compete with Downton Abbey?

8 times Derren Brown blew our minds

Glue: 8 biggest shocks from episode two

8 reasons why How I Met Your Mother should’ve used its alternative ending

Giant spiders vs crane flies: Who wins?

And there’s plenty more to come in October…

8 reasons why How I Met Your Mother should’ve used its alternative ending

As a HUGE ‘How I Met Your Mother’ fan I felt so many emotions following the airing of the sitcom’s final episode earlier this year.

It’s painful to admit, but I was hugely disappointed as the credits rolled for the final time.

I’d stuck with the show through thick and thin, celebrating the brilliant storylines and gimmicks (Robin Sparkles, the pineapple, Slapbet – it was all great) and also persevered through the last few seasons where the comedy seemed forced and over the top.

The last 10 minutes of the finale came as a huge disappointment. It belittled everything that the final season seemed to create and encourage and it didn’t feel like the characters got the happy ending that they deserved.

That’s why I was over the moon to discover the alternative ending that features on the complete box set DVD release of the show.

I’ve written a little bit about the finale for Metro.co.uk, sharing my opinion that the alternative ending should’ve been used instead of the original one.

Check out my article - 8 reasons why How I Met Your Mother should’ve used its alternative ending - and feel free to share!

In The Club: 6 things that need to be revealed in the finale

Will Chris propose to VickyKay Mellor’s done it again. In The Club, her latest compelling drama, has hooked the nation.

The series, which follows six expectant mothers and their partners, has been captivating week upon week, but now that In The Club is reaching its conclusion, there’s still so much left to be revealed.

We’re due a Vicky-centric episode this week, which will see the midwife suffering with excruciating stomach pains, but there’s still plenty of loose ends to be tied up with the other characters as well.

Here are six things that we need to find out as drama comes to an end:

1. Will Chris propose to Vicky?

Vicky’s been not-so-subtly dropping hints to Chris that she wants to get married, but he’s made his feelings clear and, at the moment, it looks like Vicky’s going to raise her baby alone. However, as the midwife starts to have unexpected pains will Chris accept some responsibility for the child and finally propose?

2. Will Kim choose Susie or Neil?

Since getting pregnant Kim has struggled with her feelings for friend and sperm-donor Neil, much to the annoyance of her partner Susie. After Neil assisted Kim during the birth of their child she moved into his flat, but then returned to Susie at the end of last week’s episode. Things are likely to be tense as Kim continues to have conflicting feelings, but who will she choose as the series ends?

3. Will Rick go to prison?

Rick’s still not found out his sentence for robbing a bank and, as his court case looms, he’ll finally discover whether he’s being sent to prison or not. With new-born twins, two other children and their finances in a dire situation, Diane’s hoping that her husband will get a suspended sentence, but will he be that lucky?

4. Does Simon’s dad have feelings for Rosanna?

Now that Rosanna and Simon are living with his parents things have been tense to say the least. Since playing the role of Rosanna’s birthing partner Simon’s mother has been more than happy to stick her oar in but, more intriguingly, as Rosanna met Simon’s dad the pair shared a knowing look. Do they have a history together? If not, sparks were definitely present during their introduction.

5. Has Jasmin got her confidence back?

It’s fair to say that, of all of the expectant mothers attending Parent Craft, Jasmin was the most apprehensive. After last week’s paternity scandal is she feeling better about motherhood? And will her relationship with Dev remain strong following their emotional heart-to-heart?

6. Will Kim continue to support Rosie?

As Kim decided to return to Susie she left Rosie staying with Neil and Jude, but will Rosie cope without her biggest supporter so far? And how will Neil manage with his son, Rosie and his granddaughter staying under his roof? If Susie decides to support Jude and Rosie, Kim could remain an active role model for the young mother – she certainly needs one now that her father isn’t fit to care for her.

Who were the real winners and losers of the 2014 MTV VMAs?

MTV VMAs

If there’s one award show that guarantees drama each year it’s the MTV Video Music Awards.

The celebration has been the host of a number of infamous incidents in the past – Madonna controversially kissed Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera on stage in 2007, Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech in 2009 and last year Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke shocked audiences with their risqué performance of Blurred Lines.

Lorde, Ed Sheeran and 5 Seconds of Summer were amongst those to walk away with a moon man trophy this year, but who were the real winners and losers of the night?

Winners…

Beyonce

The verdict from Twitter was that Beyonce ruled the night with her extravaganza of a performance and emotional acceptance of the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. However, she may have been slightly overshadowed by her adorable daughter…

Blue Ivy Carter

After announcing her pregnancy at the 2011 VMAs, Beyonce brought Blue Ivy along to this year’s awards. The toddler stole the show with her adorable dancing and even Katy Perry tweeted that her “life is over” because the child waved at her.

Miley Cyrus

Following last year’s catastrophic performance of Blurred Lines with Robin Thicke, all eyes were on Miley Cyrus at the 2014 VMAs.

After winning the Video of the Year award the singer sent a homeless teenager named Jesse onto the stage to collect the moon man trophy. Jesse then directed viewers to Cyrus’s Facebook page, where the star encouraged people to donate to My Friend’s Place, a homeless shelter in Hollywood.

Sam Smith

Sam Smith’s incredible stripped-back rendition of Stay With Me wowed the VMA audience, who could be heard singing along with him during the captivating performance.

Katy Perry

Katy Perry decided to channel Britney Spears with her VMA outfit by rocking double denim alongside Riff Raff, her collaborator on This Is How We Do. She admitted that her look was inspired by ‘nostalgia’ and her ‘Tumblr addiction’ and Britney even tweeted that she thought Katy looked great.

Losers…

Amber Rose

Amber Rose’s outfit was inspired by another VMA trendsetter, Rose McGowan, but she turned heads at this year’s awards for all of the wrong reasons. There’s having fun with a throwback outfit and then there’s being nearly nude.

The Kardashians

When rapper Common requested that the audience should have a minute’s silence as a tribute to the Ferguson conflict, Kim, Kylie and Kendall appeared to be looking at their phones. In fact, the sisters were frequently on their phones throughout the night and viewers were unimpressed by their lack of respect.

Nicki Minaj

After it was revealed that her backing dancer had been bitten by a snake during rehearsals it was clear that Nicki Minaj had grand plans for the VMAs. However, many were unimpressed with her suggestive dancing when performing Anaconda and then she had that dress malfunction on-stage with Jessie J and Ariana Grande.

Pretty Little Liars – A Pretty Little Television Adaptation

 

Pretty Little Liars has become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon in the US. The show’s third season has just finished and is going from strength to strength with ABC picking it up for another two seasons. There’s also a spin-off show, Ravenswood, in the works.

Based on the captivating book series by Sara Shepard, the show follows four girls who are tormented by the disappearance of their best friend Alison. Aria (Lucy Hale), Emily (Shay Mitchell), Hanna (Ashley Benson) and Spencer (Troian Bellisario) are all stereotypical teenagers with different interests. The girls are fundamentally different yet pulled together by Alison, the glue of the group. They share secrets like all best friends do, but Alison seems to have dirt on everyone in town so when she disappears and is never seen again there are many suspects who could have been involved.

Alison’s disappearance causes the girls to drift apart and they believe their secrets are buried with her… until a mysterious person starts sending them intimidating messages revealing things only Alison knew, signing off the messages with “-A.” Initially the girls think Alison is still alive but when her body is found buried under the gazebo of her old house, the girls regroup to find the perpetrator.

The original book series has proved to be extremely popular, with twelve novels published as well as a companion novel. Two more books are planned for release by the end of this year.

Due to the loyal fan base of the novels, there has been a lot of controversy about the production of the television adaptation. Whilst certain elements remain the same, such as the characters names and the general plotline, some viewers have complained about more major differences. For example, some truly sinister characters in the book series have been transformed into love interests and well-received characters are still featured in the television series despite being killed off or leaving in the novels.

Whilst it’s fair that dedicated fans get frustrated about the differences in the adaptation, it’s clear to see why the production of the show doesn’t follow the same narrative as the original series. Most of the novels only span a timeline of a few days, which wouldn’t transfer easily onto a weekly television show of 20 or so episodes a series. New plotlines need to be introduced, or drawn out, to have enough material. The pilot episode, for example, was based entirely on the first book. If the show continued at this pace, there wouldn’t be enough material to make one series.

The show features many shocking scenes full of suspense.

The show features many shocking scenes full of suspense.

The issue with television adaptation is that suspense needs to be built in every episode, which usually only focuses on a few plot points. In the case of Pretty Little Liars, with four main characters, it is essential to address a number of different plotlines in each episode. Due to the amount of content that needs to be addressed, fans often become frustrated when questions remain unanswered and sub-plots are forgotten about.

Marlene King, the executive producer for the show, constantly comes under fire on social networking websites for the show’s direction. Fans either criticise her for digressing away from the books or for leaving too many unanswered questions. But that’s surely what good television is all about – Intrigue, suspense, shocks and debate.

Fidelity to the source text is important to some extent, but with television adaptations, you never know how long the show is going to run for. To remain popular, producers will respond to what audiences want.

It can be frustrating as a viewer when questions remain unanswered and characters disappear for a number of episodes and it can be annoying when promos are edited to suggest viewers will receive answers when they don’t – but is fidelity in adaptation as important when it comes to television?

With Pretty Little Liars’ incredible fan base, and the go-ahead for at least two more seasons, it’s likely that producers will be able to plan ahead for what needs to be revealed and when. They have many hours of content they need to fill with plots so it is clear they will need to bring in new ideas rather than remaining entirely faithful to the books.

After all, if the show followed the exact plot of the book series surely we’d all be passive viewers, never excited about character developments and never intrigued about what would be happening in the next episode. It’s far more exciting to be an active viewer, continually being shocked by characters and wondering what will be revealed next. Pretty Little Liars is, in my opinion, a great example of how adaptation should be done for a continuing series.

What is your opinion on adaptation for television? Is fidelity less important for a continuing series?

 

Preview: Gavin and Stacey’s US Remake – Us and Them

Cast of 'Us and Them' [Image: Independent]

Cast of ‘Us and Them’ [Image: Independent]

The pilot of the American Gavin and Stacey adaptation, Us and Them, has officially been picked up by Fox TV.

I previously wrote about the remake, originally under the working title of Friends and Family, over on Yuppee Magazine but the trailer for the pilot has finally arrived:

Some things are clear from the trailer, there are new jokes but the general plot remains the same – a pair of young lovers start a relationship whilst dealing with their eccentric families. Gavin (Jason Ritter) is now a city slicker from New York and Stacey (Alexis Bledel) is from small town Pennsylvania.

Whilst adaptations are always exciting to watch, part of the beauty of Gavin and Stacey was the simplicity of its scripting. Catchphrases from the show weaseled their way into common phrasing and whilst the representations of characters were stereotypical, they were always relateable.

I think the main contribution to the success of the remake in America will be how viewers warm to the characters. In the original version of the show all of the characters were likeable and hilarious so hopefully with Ruth Jones and James Corden on board as executive producers this will be the case with the remake.

I’m excited to see the show when it airs but as a huge fan of the original I can’t help but be dubious about how it will translate on American television and whether it will do the show justice. I know that this has been the general feeling amongst UK viewers (and even American fans who have watched the original series) but others have expressed their excitement on social media at seeing the show being reinvigorated, stating it will fill the void left when Gavin and Stacey finished.

What are your thoughts based on the trailer? Will it be a tidy remake or a big mistake?