Many of the BBC comedies and dramas that are popular with Americans present the best of actors, good stories, and beautiful cinematography. Further, many BBC television series, which are available for Americans on PBS, include many other fine qualities: fascinating history; no gratuitous foul language; artistic use of language and dialects; no crude humor; consequences to what is right and wrong; and justice prevailing.
On July 25, Bill Young for Telly Spotting, the “British TV Pub” announces that American actress, Sigourney Weaver, is filming a guest role for the popular BBC comedy series, Doc Martin for its seventh season that will likely air this fall on ITV and early 2016 on public television stations in America. In this delightful series, Dr. Martin Ellingham, a brilliant and successful vascular surgeon from Imperial College London who has developed a fear of blood and as has had to stop practicing surgery.
He obtains a post as the sole general practitioner (GP) in the provincial Cornish village of Portwenn, where has spent childhood holidays with his aunt. The show revolves around Ellingham’s awkward interactions with the local Cornish villagers. Despite his medical brilliance, Ellingham is gruff and ill-mannered, and lacks social skills. He has no hesitation in pointing out the risks of unhealthy behaviors, both in private and in public gatherings. However, as in many good BBC television series, he grows and develops in engaging and endearing ways.
Another comedy series of the caliber of Doc Martin, with an array of Scottish and British dialects is Monarch of the Glen. The first five seasons of Monarch of the Glen tell the story of young restaurant owner, Archie MacDonald, trying to serve his family and community as he works to restore his childhood home in the Scottish Highlands. The final two seasons focus on new Laird Paul Bowman trying to modernize the estate, while continuing to serve the family and community.
Another dramatic television series of the same caliber has been Downton Abbey. This series is set in the fictional Yorkshire country estate of Downton Abbey. It presents the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the post-Edwardian era in the midst of great historic events that have profound effects on their lives and on the British social hierarchy. This series has won many awards and has been nominated for an American Emmy award for 2015. After the finale of its upcoming sixth series there has been news of a movie version of the story in this series.
Foyle’s War is going into its ninth season. It is a British detective drama television series set during and shortly after WWII. The series is set in Hastings, Sussex, England. Here Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle catches criminals who are taking advantage of the confusion the war has created. Foyle is methodical, competent, and honest. His foes usually underestimate him.
Many such fine BBC comedy and drama series have been available on Masterpiece Theater on PBS, on DVDs, and online streaming. (There are other British television series, however, like American ones that are not of the same caliber with no sense of moral boundaries, with limited cinematography, and more offensive content. Viewers need to research BBC series, like American ones, to decide what is best for their viewing.) There are many ways in which viewers can enjoy the classy artistry of many of the best of BBC television series for many years to come.
Written by Diane Howard, Ph.D. (Performance Studies), dianehoward.com