ArtsHub’s Performing Arts Editor, Richard Watts, has been a dyed-in-the-wool Doctor Who fan ever since discovering Jon Pertwee’s take on the character as a child in the early Seventies. It’s little wonder then, that the TV show he’s most looking forward to over the Christmas-New Year period is the latest season of the popular British sci-fi program.
‘Named Spyfall, the first episode of Doctor Who series 12 is screening as a New Year’s Day treat in the UK instead of the once-traditional Christmas special. Here in Australia it drops on ABC iview at 6:55am on Thursday 2 January, airing that night at 7:30pm on ABC1. Officially recognised as the longest-running science fiction TV program in the world, Doctor Who now stars Jodie Whittaker as the titular Time Lord, whose adventures through time and space have enthralled viewers since the program made its UK debut in November 1963,’ said Watts.
‘The new series – once again starring Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill as the Doctor’s erstwhile companions, Graham O’Brien, Ryan Sinclair and Yasmin Khan – starts with a homage to the spy genre popularised by Ian Fleming’s James Bond. We don’t know much about the episode yet, other than the name (which references the 23rd Bond film) and the fact that it stars Lenny Henry and Stephen Fry. I’m looking forward to a rollicking adventure and some thrills and chills – after all, it is traditional to watch Doctor Who from behind the sofa!’
Subsequent episodes of the 10-part series will be available on ABC iview straight after the UK broadcast, screening on ABC television that night (time TBC).
Screenhub’s Rochelle Siemienowicz says she’ll be going hard on Stan this summer holidays, checking out the local streamer’s new Australian content, which includes The Commons (Christmas Day), The Gloaming (Jan 1) and Justin Kurzel’s True History of the Kelly Gang (Australia Day).
She says: ‘I won’t get to it on Christmas day when it drops, but I’m looking forward to The Commons, an eight-part relationship drama set in a near future dystopic Sydney, where a woman (Downton Abbey’s Joanne Froggatt) struggles to become a mother in the shadow of environmental and social catastrophe. These are big issues that are literally floating in the air right now, and I’m interested to see how they’re dealt with here.’
This three-season Spanish series comes recommended by Artshub/Screenhub CEO Sol Wise, who says he’s two seasons in and loving it. The story follows a criminal mastermind known as ‘The Professor’ who plans to pull off the biggest heist in history: to print billions of Euros in the Royal Mind of Spain. He enlists eight people with various abilities and nothing to lose. The group takes hostages, and meanwhile on the other side, the authorities strategise to capture The Professor. Wise says it has a great storyline, delivers unexpected twists, with acting and direction A Grade all round.
Alana Morris, our Membership and Classifieds Manager, has been watching and loving this documentary series that takes us into territory rarely seen. She says: ‘Hosted by Levison Wood, a former British Army Officer turned traveloguer, the series takes us with him on his walk from Sochi to the Caspian Sea in Iran, snaking his way over four episodes through the majestic Caucas Mountains. It’s a charming show and Levison lets the show’s stars shine: the mountains! Featuring a cast of locals from old village men to a plethora of local dogs, it’s a great watch that lets you holiday in exotic places from the comfort of your hot couch.’
Gemma Eades, our Membership and Classifieds Growth Officer says, ‘In the Christmas spirit I must give a call out to Klaus, lovely new animated holiday family film about a selfish postman and a reclusive toymaker. This is a great take on the classic Christmas story and it’s both entertaining and heart warming. A thoroughly enjoyable film for the whole family to watch together this Christmas.’ Voiced by Jason Schwartzman, J.K. Simmons and Rashida Jones, Netflix makes no bones about advertising it in the ‘Sentimental’ category.
Content Director George Dunford has been listening to Riot Act. He says: ‘This darkly satirical 8-parter takes a potshot at commercial radio’s race baiting and flirtation with extremism for ratings and relevance. Campbell Parkes (voiced by Mark Humphries) is a mild radio host with the graveyard shift and big ambitions. His producer Michelle (Anjali Rao) encourages Campbell to be more controversial to boost listeners all the while spruiking Vacunose, a nasal draining extraction device aimed at the older listeners. Things get out of hand when Campbell fronts a ‘memorial’ to the Cronulla Riots.
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