Friday, 5 July 2013

New drama: The Wipers Times, Burton and Taylor and Top Of The Lake

It's summer so the TV schedules aren't exactly heaving with new drama right now, but thankfully there are some hints about what we can expect to find in the warm glow of our TV/laptop/tablet screens in the near future.

So, here are three drama offerings coming up from the BBC...

This week saw the announcement of The Wipers Times, arriving on BBC Two soon. I'd never heard of The Wipers Times before, but have since found it on Wikipedia so it *must* be true. To save you clicking around the 'net, The Wipers Times was a satirical newspaper printed virtually on the front lines during World War One after a printing press was discovered in the bombed ruins of Ypres.

An eye-catching cast has been drafted in for this one-off drama including Michael Palin, Emilia Fox, Ben Chaplin, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Steve Oram. It's written by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman and as far as I'm aware it's the first time that Hislop has written a drama, but as the editor of the satirical news magazine Private Eye it's perhaps not a massive surprise to see his name attached. Bletchley Circle fans may be interested to hear the director of that series – Andy de Emmony – is in the chair for The Wipers Times.

Sticking with one-off dramas, BBC Four has Burton and Taylor, which concerns – you guessed it –  the lives of one Elizabeth Taylor (played by Helena Bonham Carter) and Dominic West (as Burton). Taylor and Burton's tempestuous relationship is well documented, to say the least. This drama, however, wisely focuses on one period in the early '80s when the two starred together in the West End in 'Private Lives' a play with a few parallels in the lives of the actors. Safe to say there will some comment on the nature of celebrity and privacy in that one, I expect.

Top Of The Lake is a bit of a coup, co-written by non other than Oscar-winning Jane Campion (The Piano, Portrait Of A Lady) and Gerard Lee. Campion also co-directs the 'haunting mystery' with Garth Davis. Set in the remote mountains of New Zealand, currently housing Hobbits and Dwarves, Top Of The Lake sees a 12-year old girl walk into a freezing cold lake before disappearing. The daughter of a local drug lord, the girl is discovered to be five months pregnant. A detective is brought in to investigate the disappearance and as the case progresses, the detective finds echoes of her own life.

Other programmes heading for your collective screens include Paul Abbot's new cop comedy drama, another outing for The Bletchley Circle, a new version of Poldark, 'Dickensian' and 'Our Zoo'. Better get some new blank videos in. Ah, those were the days.

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