April 9th, 2011

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Join me on the Crusiad Walk for Life - Sunday 5 June 2011

Today, I am talking about my contribution to Big Society and a charity that is very dear to my heart - CRUSAID.

For over 24 years, Crusaid has helped adults and children affected by HIV and AIDS and living in poverty, in the UK and internationally. Their vision is a world where people living with HIV and AIDS can live with dignity and have a decent quality of life, whatever their circumstances.

Crusaid was founded in 1986 in response to the worsening levels of poverty and stigma attached to HIV and AIDS. Over the last 20 years they dispersed over 50,000 grants to people living with HIV and AIDS in the UK. The Crusaid Hardship Fund has provided financial support to 1 in 3 people living in poverty affected by HIV and AIDS here in the UK. With around 70,000 HIV positive people in the UK, and an incredible 33 million people living with HIV and AIDS internationally, Crusaid is needed now more than ever.

Crusaid's main fundraising event of the year is their Walk For Life. I have done it twice so far in 2008 and 2009. I have raised over £1000 for them across the two years. Crusaid have just recently confirmed that this year’s Walk For Life will take place on Sunday 5th June 2011. The Walk For Life is one of the largest expressions of public support for HIV and AIDS in the UK, thanks to the dedication and energy of all those who take part. Crusaid are working hard to ensure that the Walk For Life continues not only to raise vital funds in these cash-strapped times, but also to help keep HIV on the national agenda. They can only do this with our help. Plans for this year’s Walk are going well, and they hope to bring us a few surprises in addition to the usual, amazing celebration of life, courage and determination. I will be doing my bit for Big Society on Sunday 5 June 2011 by doing the Walk For Life. If anyone wants to join me they are more than welcome.

Walk For Life is here:

Crusaid merged with the Terrence Higgins Trust on 11 June 2010. Together they can provide even greater support for people living with HIV. Now more than ever people living with HIV need our help. By joining the resources of Crusaid and the Terrence Higgins Trust they are able to reach more people than ever before. The merger has preserved the vital Hardship Fund to ensure that people with HIV who are living in poverty have the ongoing support they urgently need.

Crusaid and the Terrence Higgins Trust help people living with HIV and AIDS in the UK and Africa. I am passionate about their work. I will be there for them on Sunday 5 June 2011. Why don't you join me?
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Dramatic Need: Bringing the Creative Arts to Underprivileged Children

I wanted to get behind Danny and Benedict and Jonny and back what they are doing re Big Society and social responsibility. So here goes.

Frankenstein exclusive late night Q&A in aid of Dramatic Need, Wednesday 20 April 10pm, Olivier, National Theatre.

Join us for a spooky Late Night Q&A session for Frankenstein at the Royal National Theatre with Oscar-winning Director Danny Boyle and star actors Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch discussing the revolutionary interpretation of the Shelley novel. This is the only time that the three will be discussing the project together and to make this event even more MUST SEE, every penny of ticket sales go to Dramatic Need. All tickets to the Q&A are only £10 and include a special surprise! (I am intrigued by this!).

What does Dramatic Need do?

Dramatic Need is a UK-based charity that sends international and local volunteers in the creative arts (such as actors, artists and musicians) to South Africa and Rwanda to host workshops with children living in underprivileged rural communities. Volunteers are billeted within the local community and will usually workshop at two to three different schools during their stay.

Dramatic Need currently has links with 19 schools in South Africa and Rwanda, reaching almost 5,000 school-aged children in some of the most impoverished and isolated parts of rural Southern Africa.

The Dramatic Need programme is very much a cultural exchange, with volunteers learning as much as the children they are working with as the children learn from the volunteers. We are not 'importing' theatre, music and art to South Africa, but simply enabling children who may have very little in life, to utilise and take ownership of their own talents and abilities. In doing so, volunteers will be helping to foster the children's self-confidence and ability to express their emotions in a positive way. Many of these children are familiar with the expression of emotion through violence, be it sexual, domestic, ethnic or gang-related aggression. The provision of a means of self-expression or an outlet for frustration that is non-violent and creative is one of Dramatic Need’s major aims.

Danny Boyle is a Trustee of Dramatic Need. He says "In these rural and township parts of southern Africa - where tragedy is the rule, not the exception - the essential, humanitarian relevance of the arts is unequivocal."

Dramatic Need is here:

This is a great charity, it is helping children and young people in Africa access the Arts, it is Danny's charity, it is his contribution to Big Society. He is taking time out to give back to communities and societies. I think that is highly commendable and I back him 100%.
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Maggies and Benedict

Photo: Courtesy Cumberbatchfans

So we have done Danny and Big Society, Raks and Big Society, and now it is time for Benedict and Big Society.

Last year, Benedict turned out to support the Maggie's London Night Hike which took place on Friday 17 September. The Maggie’s and Open House London Night Hike is a 10 or 20 mile adventure through late night London. With exclusive access to iconic buildings they’ll show you a side of London you've never seen before. And with food and entertainment at each of their featured buildings they’ll make sure you have a fabulous Friday night and are looked after every step of the way.

Find out more and watch the official 2010 film of the event, featuring Benedict here:

This year the London Night Hike will run on Friday 16 September 2011. I think I will do it this year.

So what is a Maggie's Centre?

A Maggie’s Centre is a place to turn to for help with any of the problems, small or large, associated with cancer.

Under one roof you can access help with information, benefits advice, psychological support both individually and in groups, courses and stress reducing strategies. You don’t have to make an appointment, or be referred and everything they offer is free of charge.

It is there for anybody who feels the need for help, which includes those who love and look after someone with cancer, who often feel as frightened and vulnerable as those who actually have the disease.

A Maggie’s Centre will be many things to many people. It is there for anybody to use in the way they want to. There isn’t a one size fits all recipe for how people live with cancer. Everybody needs to find their own way.

Maggie's are here:

Given that many members and/or their families (including myself) have personal experience of cancer and caring for people with cancer I think that this is an important charity for the com.

So I will be doing the London Night Hike this year - join me if you would like!
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Registration is now open for the Maggie's London Night Hike - Friday 16 September 2011

"Beautiful buildings & good friends & hot tea & huge challenge & london at dawn & hope...what will make the London Night Hike special for you?".

I have registered for the 2011 Maggie's London Night Hike. I will be joining up to 3000 people walking the streets of London to help raise money for people affected by cancer. You can register online using the following link:

I have registered a Team. We will be doing the 10 mile walk and we will be starting at 20:15pm. It is £30 to register for the walk and you have to commit to raising £200 for Maggies to take part. Join me and be a part of the London Night Hike!

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact the Event Team on 0300 123 1801 or londonnighthike@maggiescentres.org
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Introducing Mycroft Holmes

This is not my own work. It is cut and pasted from the gospel that is wikipedia. I dedicate this to Mark Gatiss and Stephen Fry, the two modern day Mycrofts.

Mycroft Holmes is a fictional character in the stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle. He is the elder brother (by seven years) of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes.

Possessing deductive powers exceeding even those of his younger brother, Mycroft is nonetheless incapable of performing detective work similar to that of Sherlock as he is unwilling to put in the physical effort necessary to bring cases to their conclusions.

...he has no ambition and no energy. He will not even go out of his way to verify his own solutions, and would rather be considered wrong than take the trouble to prove himself right. Again and again I have taken a problem to him, and have received an explanation which has afterwards proved to be the correct one. And yet he was absolutely incapable of working out the practical points...
—Sherlock Holmes, speaking of his brother in "The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter"

While Conan Doyle's stories leave unclear what Mycroft Holmes' exact position is in the British government, Sherlock Holmes says: that "Occasionally he is the British government [...] the most indispensable man in the country." He apparently serves as a sort of human computer:
The conclusions of every department are passed to him, and he is the central exchange, the clearinghouse, which makes out the balance. All other men are specialists, but his specialism is omniscience.
—"The Bruce-Partington Plans"

Mycroft has appeared or been mentioned in four stories by Doyle: "The Greek Interpreter", "The Final Problem", "The Empty House" and "The Bruce-Partington Plans". While he does occasionally exert himself in these stories on the behalf of his brother, he on the whole remains a sedentary problem-solver, providing solutions based on seemingly no evidence and trusting Sherlock to handle any of the practical details. In fact, Mycroft's own lack of practicality is a severe handicap despite his deductive talents: in "The Greek Interpreter", his blundering approach to the case nearly costs the client his life.

Mycroft resembles Sherlock, but is described in "The Greek Interpreter" as being "a much larger and stouter man". In "The Bruce-Partington Plans", the following description is given:
Heavily built and massive, there was a suggestion of uncouth physical inertia in the figure, but above this unwieldy frame there was perched a head so masterful in its brow, so alert in its steel-gray, deep-set eyes, so firm in its lips, and so subtle in its play of expression, that after the first glance one forgot the gross body and remembered only the dominant mind.

Mycroft spends most of his time at the Diogenes Club, which he co-founded.
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Canon: Sherlock and the Riding Crop

Stamford: "Yes, but it may be pushed to excess. When it comes to beating the subjects in the dissecting-rooms with a stick, it is certainly taking rather a bizarre shape."

Watson: "Beating the subjects!"

Stamford: "Yes, to verify how far bruises may be produced after death. I saw him at it with my own eyes."

From "A Study In Scarlet" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Photo credit: aithine
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Andrew Scott, Jim Moriarty

Mr Scott - I am so so so sorry!!!

I love you truly, madly, deeply and I have not been doing you justice in this community. It is just that you have been keeping so quiet lately.

So, this is a very old article from Digital Spy. It is headed "Moriarty open to interpretation" and says that Andrew Scott has said that the character of Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes is an ambiguous one. Of being a relative unknown in the role, Scott told Metro: "Someone like Moriarty is open to interpretation - he can be lots of different things. Which is why it's good that someone like me can play a part like that. People shouldn't know too much about you."

Talking about choosing roles, he added: "I can totally understand why people say, 'I'm going to do this TV series so that I can buy a flat'. But you've got to see what's of value to you as an actor."


I just love this face!!!

He just makes my heart melt!!!

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Sally: Discussion Time

I think that Sally is one of the most interesting characters in Sherlock and she is one of my personal favourites. I wish GatMoff would scrap the Adler episode and write a Sally one instead!!! I love the fact that she is a strong black woman, working a professional job, living an independent life, and working her way up the career ladder at the Metropolitan Police Service. Give it up for Sally!!!

And, let's discuss Sally!!!

I will state my position upfront, loud and proud. I am firmly in the camp that thinks that there is a backstory between Sherlock and Sally.

Their first interaction when Sherlock arrives at the crime scene is very telling.

I think that either:
a) Sally had a big crush on Sherlock (what woman wouldn’t, let’s be honest) and he was indifferent or more likely rejected her in his haughty manner or
b) they had a brief relationship where Sally invested more than Sherlock and it ended with Sherlock ending the relationship.

After all, how can someone as intelligent as Sally resent/hate Sherlock so much unless there has been something between them in the past? Sally SO acts like a spurned lover - hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and this is most definitely the case with Sergeant Sally Donovan!!!

What reinforces this idea for me is Sherlock describing Sally as an “old friend” in a very sarcastic manner and his pointed – and very ungentlemanly - remarks to her about spending the night at Andersons.

So what do people think?
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Shout out to Soo Lin!

Source of photo: http://niknaksoldpeculiarblog.blogspot.com/2010/08/sherlock-blind-bankers-dancing-men-and.html

Soo Lin is my inspiration. She is a strong independent Asian woman with a professional job, making her own way in the world. She is like me and so many of my Asian friends. I want more representations of Asian women like her on British television.

Asian women are generally only portrayed in a certain way on British television and given very stereotyped roles - arranged marriages, battered wives, domestic abuse, etc etc.

Soo Lin breaks the mould. She is different. She is my inspiration. Shout out to Soo Lin!
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Benedict as Sherlock

Welcome Mr Cumberbatch!

Credit: http://www.benedictcumberbatch.co.uk/

As a young teenage girl reading Canon I fell in love with Sherlock Holmes. He was my Idol and my God. I loved him because he was a genius and so bloody clever. I loved his deductions and the genius quickness of his mind.

To this day, the quality I value most in a man is his brains and his intellect.

Mr Cumberbatch. Sherlock arrived on British screens last summer. You put Sherlock into contemporary London. You had The Coat! I have always followed you and admired your work and your interesting and inspired choices. But when you fronted as Sherlock in Sherlock I fell for you truly, madly, deeply.

I am in awe of you and your towering talent!
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No shit Sherlock, Laurie Penny, New Statesman

Thought I would get some discussion going!!!

I know that the members of this community are capable of engaging in intelligent and informed discussions and conversations on Sherlock.

So I am posting here a very controversial article from the New Statesman which provoked a lot of discussion when it was printed.

The article is titled "No shit, Sherlock" written by Laurie Penny. She says "we need to stop rehashing tired formulations of hierarchy and privilege and start telling some new stories".

The article is here:

This article provoked a very strong reaction in me as I feel very strongly about what she has written.

However, I would like to hear what other people think first before I stick in my two penneth. So read the article, and then post your views/reactions.
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Pilot vs Pink

Time for a discussion!!!

And I am going to start a discussion on Pilot vs Pink. There are no real meaty articles on this but this is something of a taster from Mark Lawson:

And this is what Mark and Steven said at the Q&A at the Clapham Picturehouse:

They discussed the changes that had been made to make it from 60 mins to 90 mins. The flat became messier and – of course – acquired THE WALLPAPER!!! Mark made the comment about Mrs Hudson originally running the sandwich shop next door but that not working out so it was ditched. Steven said that he had no regrets re moving from the pilot to the final version. The pilot he felt had been amazing when he had seen it, but he felt that it was pale and slight next to the screened version. Mark said that the one line that he regretted losing from the pilot was the line “all the rest is transport” as this to him was a line that summed up Sherlock ie a portable brain!!!

So to open discussion:

- Which do you personally prefer and why? - the Pilot or A Study in Pink?
- What do people like about the Pilot? Are there things in the Pilot that are missing from the screened version that you would like to have retained?
- Why is the screened version bigger and better? (to quote Steven)

That should be enough to get people started!!!

I will let the discussion run over the course of the week and chip in my contribution at some point over the weekend.
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Come back soon Sherlock!

Credit: aithine

Sherlock - I miss you truly, madly, deeply. My heart aches for you. I want you back in my life. Please come back soon!

Me and yvaine24 were talking about Benedict and his expressive hands and how he uses them. Benedict in the commentary for The Great Game talks about how he uses Holmesian traits and physicality all the time, directly referenced from Canon. This is one of those instances!
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BFI Southbank

Aside of the theatre, my other main passion is film. I was as upset about The Social Network, Black Swan and 127 Hours losing out at the Oscars, as I was about Sherlock missing out at the NTAs.

What the National is for theatre, the BFI is for film. The National and the BFI are located next door to eachother. The BFI are here:

The BFI do not show what is on at the cinema. They show film seasons. They do preview screenings. They do free Q&As that come with the screenings. They have film notes. They do not run adverts. They do not allow food in to the cinemas. It is a film buff's dream. I love it there. My association with the BFI does not date back as far as my association with the National - I have only been there for the past 5 years.
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Black Swan

Just got back from seeing this (I posted this on my journal a long time ago!). I am shaking. It is pretty mind-blowing.

It is a very dark film that takes you down into the depths.

It has an evil mother. Her own career as a dancer came to an end when she gave birth to Nina. Their relationship is riverting. And terrifying.

I guess all I wanted to say about this film is that it is the most shocking, horrifying, disturbing and terrifying depiction of psychosis I have ever seen on the big screen. There are some key scenes in this where visuals and music combine to give a killer punch in the stomach. There were sharp intakes of breath from across the audience.

I have direct personal experience of psychosis and mental meltdown and this portrayal of it was the most realistic and true to life I have ever seen on the big screen.

A dark, intelligent, adult film. Highly recommended.
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127 Hours

This film completely blew me out of the water!!!

Danny Boyle is a genius. The film is just absolutely amazing - unlike any film I have watched before. You are so close to the action you feel as though you are experiencing that situation yourself. Shots of the canyon and the landscapes in this film are breathtaking - I haven't seen such amazing desert since Lawrence of Arabia (and I LOVE my deserts!!!). The camera sweeps across the landscapes from up on high are a work of art. The use of the split screen at key moments is very clever and incredibly effective. And the colours in the film in the landscapes - wow!!!

Then there is James Franco's performance. He is outstanding in this film - yes not just outstanding, f**king outstanding!!! Colin Firth's performance in The King's Speech, in my humble opinion, is nothing particularly special - I actually think that Geoffrey Rush's performance in that film is stronger. But James Franco in this, is AWESOME. And he has no other actors to bounce off or to inspire him, he is acting against a videocam and a rock for f**k's sake.

Anyway, in conclusion, GO AND SEE THIS FILM!!!

WARNING - There is a 5 minute section in this film towards the end that is absolutely excruciating to watch and I was disappointed, being a woman, to see a few women actually walk out of the film at this point. Come on girls - we should do better than this!!! If you find this section hard to watch, then close your eyes, but please stick with the film.
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Season's Greetings, National Theatre

This was originally posted in early March.

Photo credit: http://www.ntposters.org.uk/image/443980/seasons-greetings

From National website:
Alan Ayckbourn's masterly Season's Greetings offers a seriously entertaining look at the misery and high jinks of an average family Christmas.

Christmas has arrived in the Bunker household along with family and friends. Presiding over the festivities are two warring uncles, one a kindly, incompetent doctor with an interminable puppet show to perform (Bernard played by Mark Gatiss); the other a bullying retired security guard who dominates the TV, brings toy guns for his nieces and determines there’s a thief in their midst (Harvey played by David Troughton).

Markgatiss on Twitter:
Back on stage. Nice to get out from behind the desk after three days. Only ten shows left!

Raks's review:
The best ensemble cast I have seen for a long time. Massively funny - I spontaneously combusted in my seat multiple times during this production. But the play is also incredibly moving, touching, sad and, at some points, heart breaking. I have seen it twice already and am going for the third time on closing night - Sunday 13 March. Season's is outstanding and Bernard's puppet show is priceless. When Harvey (David Troughton) destroys Bernard's (Mark Gatiss's) puppets and Bernard is so visibly upset and shaken, I always just want to get up on stage, give Bernard a hug, make him some tea, and tell him that everything will be ok!!!

Season's is better than Frankenstein!!! - I honestly believe this to be the case - I apologise profusely to Danny, Benedict and Jonny in advance, but I have to be honest and say what I feel in my heart.
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The Last Enemy, BBC

Photo courtesy http://www.benedictcumberbatch.co.uk/

So what the hell is The Last Enemy about? Cut and pasted from Amazon:
"After four years abroad, Stephen Ezard (Benedict Cumberbatch) returns to London for his brother Michael's (Max Beesley) funeral. Following a major terrorist attack, Britain has become a security state and U.K. citizens have their movements tracked by the government. Stephen finds himself in the midst of a conspiracy as he sets out to discover what really happened to his brother."

Raks's says:
This is yet another high quality high end drama from the BBC (Shout out to the BBC!). Like a lot of Benedict's work, it is hugely interesting from the point of view of political and social commentary. It looks at things like 1984, Big Brother, Surveillance State, CCTV, ID cards, biometric fingerprinting, passports, immigration, terrorism ... I could go on and on. It is an intellectual piece - it makes you think. Shout out to Benedict and the BBC! It is what I am working on at the moment - I am working on the Protection of Freedoms Bill which is all about safeguarding civil liberties after a period when a lot of civil liberties were trampled over in the name of protecting Britain against terrorism.

Photo courtesy http://www.benedictcumberbatch.co.uk/

This is one of the few films/dramas where Benedict gets love/sex scenes. They blew me away. You have to watch them. They are intense and passionate. They convey the urgency and desperation of love/sexual attraction that can sometimes be instantaneous. They are unique and unusual. They are, quite simply, mind blowing. I must leave it at that!

The Last Enemy is now available on Amazon for the ridiculous price of £3. This is a stupid price for this. If you don't have it, buy it and watch it now!

This TV drama expains fully why I love the BBC and Benedict.

To the BBC and Benedict - You are genius, you are God, you are my inspiration, you feed my brain, you make me think. THANK YOU!
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Lighthouse Family, Hammersmith Apollo

The Lighthouse Family have reformed and are touring the UK with their greatest hits at the moment.

Photo: http://www.chartstats.com/art.php?release=23214

Personal fact - "Lifted" by The Lighthouse Family was the only track played at my wedding. It was played whilst we signed the register. Before people get too excited, I am now divorced. That does not take away from the fact that Lifted is a genius song.

The Lighthouse Family is a British musical duo that rose to prominence in the mid-1990s. Vocalist Tunde Baiyewu and keyboard player Paul Tucker formed the act in 1993 in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK after meeting while studying at university. Their 1995 debut album Ocean Drive sold more than 1.8 million copies in the UK alone and established them as a popular easy listening duo throughout Europe. They are well known for their songs: "Lifted", "Ocean Drive", "Raincloud" and "High".

What type of music do The Lighthouse Family play?
Happy. Joyful. Uplifting. A Real Tonic.

Welcome back to The Lighthouse Family - I missed you!
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Matthew Fox hits London!

Image from http://uk.eonline.com/uberblog/b24002_lost_stars_big_payday.html

Slightly belatedly, because the play opened on 3 March, I wanted to say welcome to London Matthew Fox!

Matthew is starring in In A Forest, Dark And Deep, which is playing at the Vaudeville Theatre.

I have followed Matthew's work since Party of Five. Obviously he was Dr Jack Shephard in Lost (what a genius series that was). I love him to pieces. I actually prefer him to Benedict (blasphemy I know!). And he is taking the time out to come over to London from the US to play on the London stage for 3 months - welcome to London Matthew Fox - we are very lucky to have you!
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Rev, BBC

Photo: http://www.metro.co.uk/tv/reviews/833221-rev-almost-praiseworthy

Rev is here:

This may seem a strange programme for a confirmed atheist to recommend but I am going to go all out and recommend Rev. It is genius. The writing is sharp and witty. Tom is brilliant. The ensemble cast are outstanding. And it tackles hard-hitting social issues in a light entertainment programme.

So what is its all about?

Rev is a sitcom about a vicar running a modern inner-city church, with a reluctant wife and a depleted, motley congregation. The Rev. Adam Smallbone is a Church of England Vicar, newly promoted from a sleepy rural parish to the busy, inner-city world of St Saviour’s in East London. It’s a world he has little experience of. And it shows. It really shows.

Anybody can and does come into St Saviour’s – and into Adam’s life. From scheming MPs trying to educate their children on the cheap to Colin, a heavy drinking, unemployable lost soul who is Adam’s most devoted parishioner. Then there’s Mick, the local crackhead in need of £20 to visit his ‘dying mother’ in Southend… She’s died three times in the last 12 months. Every day throws up a moral conflict for our vicar. Adam’s door must always be open to urban sophisticates with ulterior motives, the chronically lonely, the lost, the homeless, the poor and the insane. All are welcome at St Saviour’s and Adam can’t turn any of them away. Even if they’re clearly lying, mad or just very annoying. In addition to caring for his flock Adam has to worry about the financial burden of running a huge, decaying building – with a smashed stained glass window – and a dwindling congregation. He has to contend with hopeless volunteers, ambitious church rivals, the sinister attentions of the Archdeacon and the romantic attentions of Adoha, a renowned ‘cassock-chaser’ and church regular. Even his supposedly supportive Lay Reader Nigel is a pedantic careerist who thinks he should be running the place himself.

Here is a high quality feature article on the show:

Rev has been nominated in the Broadcasting Press Guild Awards in the category of Best Comedy/Entertainment. This is my reaction to its nomination "NO BRAINER NO BRAINER NO BRAINER!!! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE LET REV WIN. It is head and shoulders above any other comedy sitcom fronted this year. And it is on the BBC. SHOUT OUT TO TOM HOLLANDER!!!".

Shout out to Rev!
Shout out to Tom Hollander!
Shout out to the BBC!

Rev is being released on DVD:

At £12.99 it is not cheap but the extras are to die for and include blogs, Rev- Tom Hollander’s Production Diary, Behind the Scenes/Making of Documentary, and Commentaries.

Like Sherlock, Rev appeared on UK screens for the first time in 2010. Like Sherlock, it has been commissioned for a second series. Like Sherlock, it is the BBC. Like Sherlock, it is f**king genius. I want to get behind Rev and promote Rev. Go Rev!

The BBC, like the National, will always have a special place in my heart. I grew up on the BBC - Blue Peter, Grange Hill, Eastenders, Panorama, Newsnight. I love the BBC, truly, madly, deeply. It is a national treasure. When I got Sky Plus I quickly realised that well over 90% of the programmes that I was Sky Plusing were BBC output.

If the Government EVER threaten to take the BBC away from us I will be out on the street protesting. Long live the BBC!
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Sherlock: Official BBC Website

Photo: BBC website

Oh my God!!! How embarrassing. This is the first time we are featuring the official BBC Sherlock website which is here:


Co-created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, Sherlock stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the new Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as his loyal friend, Doctor John Watson. Rupert Graves plays Inspector Lestrade.

The iconic details from Conan Doyle's original books remain – they live at the same address of 221b Baker Street, have the same names and, somewhere out there, Moriarty is waiting for them.

Steven Moffat says: "Conan Doyle's stories were never about frock coats and gas light; they're about brilliant detection, dreadful villains and blood-curdling crimes – and frankly, to hell with the crinoline. Other detectives have cases, Sherlock Holmes has adventures, and that's what matters."

Check out the site and the official tie-in websites:

Sherlock's site - The Science of Deduction (www.thescienceofdeduction.co.uk)
Dr John Watson's blog (www.johnwatsonblog.co.uk)
Connie Prince's website (www.connieprince.co.uk)
Molly Hooper's website (www.mollyhooper.co.uk)

Sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry BBC!
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Message from Nicholas Hytner to NT supporters re Arts Council cuts


Message from Nicholas Hytner to NT supporters re: Arts Council cuts

Dear Mrs Patel

As you may know, today the Arts Council has announced its funding plans for the three years from April 2012. The result for the National Theatre is a cut in real terms of 14.9% over the next four years.

The National Theatre has no argument with the Arts Council. We recognise the pressing need to support organisations less well funded than we are, so a 14.9% cut seems to us like a sensible decision in the circumstances.

What it does mean, of course, is that we will be counting on our supporters more than ever and I sincerely thank you for the commitment that you have shown to our work to date. I hope that we can count on your continued generosity.

Nicholas Hytner

YES - The National can count on my continued generosity!
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Baker Street Tube Station

These are my photos - no use of them is permitted without prior permission.

This is the first in a series of "bringing London to the non-London based and overseas contingent"!!! Although I have already done Speedys and The Sherlock Holmes Pub.

Coming soon will be the Sherlock Holmes statue, the Sherlock Holmes Museum, and the South Bank skate park featured in the Blind Banker. I have all these photos already and they are ready to go but I need to make a post a week on this to make the material last!!! (I actually have about 100 shots of the Museum so I think I will do several posts on it - maybe one room at a time!!!).

Anyway, I am starting with Baker Street Tube Station which has several homages to Holmes.

Photographer: Rakshita Patel

If you want to make requests for anything, drop me a comment and I will try and accommodate you.

I am revisiting the Pub on Thursday on Undershaw business and I will take some more photos of it then. At the moment, I only have the three that I have already posted.

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These are my photos - no use of them is permitted without prior permission.

I was on a Sherlock meet in January, organised by Warriorbot.

I had an amazing day. Warriorbot has the most amazing organisational ability and she ran the whole thing like a military campaign - all credit to her - Warriorbot is the Queen of the meet-ups!!!

For those of you who like to live through the internet, I give you my photos of Speedys.

Photographer: Rakshita Patel

I had a meltdown at Speedys. I have never been before. This is the hallowed ground. Cast and crew were here and are coming again. I felt like a Canterbury pilgrim on a pilgrimage!!!

Interesting point - the flat right above the shop is TO LET!!!


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Sherlock Holmes Pub

These are my photos - no use of them is permitted without my prior permission.

One of the places we visited in January on Warriorbot's event was the Sherlock Holmes Pub. So here are a few shots of the Sherlock Holmes Pub.

Photographer: Rakshita Patel

The Pub sign.

Photographer: Rakshita Patel

And finally, the Sherlock Holmes Ale.

I asked the barman if he would recommend this and he said "no - go for the speckled hen!!!" However, I was at the Sherlock Holmes Pub so I felt that I should try out the Sherlock Holmes Ale. It was a bit not good!!! Other meet attendees also tried out my ale and the universal decision was that it was a bit not good!!!

Photographer: Rakshita Patel
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Sherlock Holmes Pub - Continued

These are my photos - no use of them is permitted without my prior permission.

Another one for our series of "bringing London to the non-London based and overseas contingent"!!!

These are more photos from the Sherlock Holmes pub.

To start with, the pub food sign:

Photographer: Rakshita Patel

Conan Doyle window:

Photographer: Rakshita Patel

Holmes window:

Photographer: Rakshita Patel

Outside in the heated seated area:

Photographer: Rakshita Patel

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The world of Mark Gatiss, actor and writer

This is an old interview from The Telegraph that I have just stumbled across - I love it!!!

And finally, Pudupudu picked this up before me and has carried it on markcroft. It is genius!!!

Markgatiss on Twitter:
"Stuck, stuck, stuck! Coffee ritual has not helped. Lunch ritual next. If that fails, banging head against screen ritual is last resort".

I have been there - hell we have all been there!
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The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes DVD

The DVD is here:
At £8.99 for a hour long feature it is pricey.

The mysteries that surrounded Sherlock Holmes were far more easily solved than the question of why his creator killed him off, but Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes aims to do just that. Narrated by Richard Jones, experts offer opinions on clues in Doyle's writing that may answer why Doyle ended his famous character at the height of the sleuth's fame.

Raks's Reaction:
I thought this was really intelligent and informative. It covers a lot of ground, and there is a very detailed biography of ACD in there. It sets out what inspired ACD to create Sherlock Holmes, how the relationship with his creation evolved over time, and ACD's increasing frustration with his creation, which straightjacketed him and stopped him writing his historical fiction, which was what ACD wanted to be remembered for. Whilst I have read Arthur and George, which gives a highly detailed account of ACD's formative years and his life in general, I learnt a lot from this DVD and it is definitely worth watching. Roger Johnson, the Editor of the Sherlock Holmes Society Journal is featured very prominently in the programme. Go Roger!!!

Has anyone else seen it and what did they think?

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Third Star

Third Star is coming to UK screens on 20 May 2011.

Third Star - Four of Britain's finest young actors team up for an unforgettable, tragi-comic buddy movie.

James (Benedict Cumberbatch) invites his three closest friends to join him on a road trip to his favourite place in the world. James is dying of cancer.

Two film reviews of the film from film sites that I trust 100% are:



Finally, there is an AMAZING making of the film video which is 40 mins long and is available over at Cumberbatchfans. The video is stunning (although it needs more Benedict to satisfy me!!!). It can be found here:


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The London Anniversary Meetup - 29 January 2011


I have been waiting for this event since the event was first promoted at Sherlock BBC back in November.


My meets basically involve drinking in a bar/pub prior to going to an official event. Warriorbot had planned out a whole day of walking around London seeing all the key Sherlock sites with a Sherlock BBC slant - so we took in Trafalgar Square, the skate park, the dead body by the Thames, Chinatown etc

I am completely in awe of her organisational ability and the fact that she ran the whole thing like a military campaign!!! All credit to Warriorbot - she puts my meets to shame!!!

Highlights for me.

Meltdown No 1. Speedys. I have never been before. This is the hallowed ground. Cast and crew were here and are coming again. I felt like a Canterbury pilgrim on a pilgrimage!!! I have taken about 50 shots of Speedys from all angles. Interesting point - the flat right above the shop is TO LET!!! I WAS IN HEAVEN - SPEEDYS IS MECCA!!!

Meltdown No 2. In a pub, Clare_nce says I have Sherlock with me. I look under the table. No Sherlock. Then she brings out her phone. All 3 episodes on her phone so she can have Benedict as Sherlock on tap by her side ALWAYS. Raks goes into MELTDOWN. Clare_nce "I think we have lost Raks for the day"!!! I took a few photos of Sherlock playing on Clare_nce's phone.

Meltdown No 3. Trafalgar Square. TurkFox takes PERFORMANCE ART TO A NEW LEVEL. Yes TurkFox brings Jim to Trafalgar Square. She does Jim all over the square. I follow in her stead and take 100 shots of TurkFox doing Jim in the Square - interacting with people, clowning around, and bringing the traffic to a standstill. Genius. Those are my photos and they are going direct to TurkFox for her to do with them as she sees fit.

Meltdown No 4. Crossing the bridge. Major graffitti on bridge. It says JIM. TurkFox points at said graffitti and I take the photo. THIS IS A BIG MONEY SHOT!!! It is going into the next Andrew Scott fanbook with my story of TurkFox doing performance art in the Square.

Metldown No 5. Warriorbot had Criterion coffee cup sleeves, Anniversary badges and a quiz!!!

Meltdown No 6. Laurab1 brought free badges for everyone. They are genius. They are works of art. I got two. A Baker Street one with a Baker Street City Of Westminster sign, and a Sherlock and John silhouette. And a "Have an expensive Coat and flounce about in it" one. I took numerous photos of all the badges. RESULT. Now I have a fully accessorised up Black Sherlockian Coat and I can wear my fandom with pride.

Finally, I was wearing my Benedict as Sherlock t shirt and so was Bolly (we both had it in grey), kalypso was wearing one in red, and someone else was wearing it in black - so not, not two, not three, but four Benedict as Sherlock t shirts!!! Not only that, 2 people liked them so much they gave me their contact details and asked me to send them the link!!!

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Clapham meet which preceeded the Sherlock screening

The first Sherlock meet that I ever ran was on Thursday 6 January 2011, and was a meet that I held at Venn Street Records. The meet preceeded the special Sherlock screening at the Clapham Picturehouse.

This is my write-up of the meet that I organised and ran. It is an original piece of writing.

There are no accompanying photos because I disagree with taking photos of people (fellow fans) and then posting them on the internet. In my humble opinion, this is an invasion of their privacy and so I will not be doing it.

The big day had finally arrived – Thursday 6 January 2011. The day of the special Sherlock screening at the Clapham Picturehouse, followed by Q&A with the series co-creators and co-writers, Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat.

I thought back to roughly a month ago when the email from the Clapham Pciturehouse had arrived in my inbox informing me of the event. I vividly remembered just staring at my computer screen, in shock, and totally in awe. Sherlock on the big screen. That was amazing enough on its own. But followed by Q&A with Mark and Steven? Live? I almost fell off my chair!!!

Needless to say, as soon as the Box Office opened the next morning I booked myself a ticket and promoted the event on Cumberbatchfans and Sherlock BBC. The event sold out super quick. Then everyone coming started exchanging messages about a potential meet before the screening and, as it was my local cinema and I knew the area, I volunteered to organise it.

I was expecting about 5 or 10 people to say they were coming but more and more people started to say they were coming to the meet. The final scores on the doors was 28. Bloody hell!!! What had I done? Paniced, I quickly messaged a fellow Cumberbatchfan (Marie) to ask if she would co-host the meet with me and also if she would consider being the official photographer for the event. Luckily for me, she was thrilled to do so and agreed straight away.

And now the big day had arrived. And I was nervous as hell. 26 new people to meet and greet. Marie was the only person coming to the meet who I had actually met before!!! And, I had never even been to a fan meet before, let alone organised one!!!

12pm. The heavens opened and down came the rain. Tons and tons of it. Still nothing was going to stop me from going to the meet and seeing Sherlock on the big screen and hearing Mark and Steven talk!!!

I got to Venn Street Records, the venue for the meet, at 6pm. The official start time for the meet was 6.30pm. So I waited nervously on my own in our special reserved area. Would anyone actually come? Then Marie turned up with her camera and all was well!!!

Santheum – our first attendee – turned up at about 6.20pm. It was really easy to talk to her and we were soon chatting away. She showed us some of the amazing sketches that she had done of the Sherlock cast, including of course Mark. The party had started!!!

One of the comments that had emerged from a previous meet that I had not attended was that people even at the end of the day did not actually find out who was who. So I had decided on getting badges for our meet. When I got to know Marie, and discovered that she was an artistic genius, I got her on board to help out with the badges. She had been very busy and come up trumps!!! I had a Sherlock badge (well, I should be entitled to some perks for organising the meet!!!), Marie had John, TurkFox had Jim, and everyone else had Sherlock and John. Luckily I am Team Sherlock and Marie is Team John so we didn’t have to fight over who got which badge!!! Marie and I had wondered whether people might be too shy or might not want to wear badges but everyone entered into the spirit of the occasion and wore their badges with pride!!!

There were prizes. I presented gold medals (Ok, so they were made of chocolate!!!) to the following:
- Tea_devotee and troublesize - For being the furthest travelled for the meet. They both came from Australia!!! (OK I admit they did not come from Oz specifically to attend the meet, but they are Aussies who happened to be in London at the right time but it still counts!!!).
- TurkFox - For the genius of Andrew Scott online.
- Applebeing - For having the most brilliant gorgeous scrumptious comprehensive collection of Benedict avatars/icons on the whole of Cumberbatchfans!!! She changes her identity all the time but every single avatar she uses makes my jaw drop.
- Marie - For her fabulous fan art which recently featured on Addicted to Sherlock and here at the forum.

7.30pm. By now the party was in full swing and everyone had turned up. We had taken over the whole of the top section of the bar and everyone was chatting away to everyone else about Sherlock. It was awesome!!! The bar were doing 2 for 1 on cocktails, but you could only have 2 of the same cocktail. So people bought 2 of the same drink and then there was a drinks exchange scheme running so we could all try a bit of everything. I normally don’t drink but I was too tempted by their pina coladas which were sheer heaven. It helped me come out of my shell and I was soon able to mix freely and chat to everyone.

I loved the fact that people had really made a good attempt at Sherlockian dress. I was wearing my long black swishy ankle-length Sherlock coat, and I was also wearing my “Sedimentary, My Dear Watson” Holmes/Watson tee shirt underneath. The winners of the prize for the best Sherlockian dress, aside of TurkFox as Jim of course, were Sarannah and her twin sister. One wore an amazing Sherlockian coat and the other a John jumper so they had our dynamic duo covered between them!!! Second prize goes to applebeing as she had a homage to both Sherlock and John. She was wearing a shiny purple Sherlock shirt and a John jumper skirt!!! Two for the price of one!!! One for the knitting contingent (I have to cater for everyone here!!!). There were quite a few impressive John jumpers on display, some personally knitted by the wearers!!!

TurkFox, especially when in cosplay, bears THE most uncanny resemblence to Andrew Scott - she has the same facial features, the same hair, and even - really scarily!!! - the same facial expressions. Moriarty of course has a brother in Canon, and I personally think that for Sherlock, they should reimagine the brother as a scary evil little sister. And, if they do that, there really is only one person who can play that role and that is our very own TurkFox. I have to say also that her cosplay was pretty stunning, right down to the underpants!!!

TurkFox has more strings to her bow than I can mention and I am completely in awe of her talent. She runs the genius that is Andrew Scott online, she writes amazing fan fiction, she can draw cool sketches and comics, and she is THE best Jim cosplay in town!!! It is a delight to have such a talented forum member and we are very lucky to have her!!!

Bolly showed me a photo on her phone of The Coat - her Coat - hanging up in her room at home - and that almost caused me to pass out!!! God knows what I would have been like if she had actually brought it along with her!!!

It was really great to meet up face to face with people I have just been casually bumping into on the internet through the livejournal communities. There are a few people who you bump into a lot, and there are others who barely cross your path. It was great to put real life faces to screennames and to be able to make a few genuine and real connections.

And all too soon it was over. It was 8.15pm and the Clapham Picturehouse beckoned. But that is a whole new story!!!

I took along my huge red doorstop The Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes (Wordsworth edition) and got Mark Gatiss to sign it for me. So the book, despite not being a Slinger or a Baring-Gould, is now just absolutely perfect and I will treasure it forever. I am one happy bunny. He seemed quite amused that I had brought a huge great red brick with me!!!

Santheum had drawn a brilliant sketch of Mark and got him to sign that for her. I really wish I could draw/sketch!!!

Mark Gatiss comes across as incredibly charming, warm, friendly, approachable and just a genuinely nice person. I have fallen for him big time!!!


Finally, last but not least, I would like to say a huge BIG THANK YOU to Tom, the Director of Venn Street Records and all his wonderful bar staff, who really looked after us on the night and ensued that we had a night to remember.

I highly recommend the venue:
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Andrew Scott, Design for Living, Old Vic

I had not heard of Mr Scott before Sherlock. Then Sherlock aired and his performance in The Great Game blew me away!!! Purely off the back of that, I booked to see Design for Living (in which Mr Scott was starring) at the Old Vic last year.

It turned out to be one of my top three London theatre experiences last year and that was purely down to the strong central performance of Mr Scott. So let us give it up for the genius of Andrew Scott!!!

Firstly, once again, I am going to steal Belle's thunder and put up a photo of Benedict and Andrew at the first night party for Design for Living.

And now, the infamous drunk scene from Design for Living, which was absolutely hilarious!!!

Please use the comments to talk about the genius of Andrew Scott.

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London Walks, Richard IV

I did two London Walks with Richard IV in February. Richard IV is the London Walks's Sherlock specialist. I got to know Richard quite well during the walks and at the end of the second walk he asked me to provide him with some feedback on the London Walks website.

I did so and it has now appeared. Check it out!



From now on, Richard IV will also be promoting Save Undershaw as part and parcel of his regular Friday walk. He will be talking about Undershaw and the fact that it is under threat. He will be directing people to the website and telling them to log their concern. A couple of weeks ago I dropped by to give him his UPT badge, he was one of the first to have one.

Finally, I would like to reiterate that for Sherlock fans, a walk with Richard IV is a MUST!
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Undershaw featured in The Daily Telegraph

I am the London rep for the Undershaw Preservation Trust (UPT) and I am responsible for all UPT publicity in the London area. Mark Gatiss is the Patron of UPT. On Saturday 19 March, UPT was featured in The Daily Telegraph in the Homebuyers' Guide Supplement.

The Telegraph piece is entitled "Could Sherlock Holmes hold the key to Hindhead's future?".

Hindhead has also hit the headlines lately due to controversy surrounding a house built south of the crossroads by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1897. The author, whose wife suffered from tuberculosis, chose the village for its fresh air and wonderful views and helped to design a handsome family home on a three-acre site.

Undershaw - so named because it was downhill from George Bernard Shaw's place - became a hotel in 1924, then fell into disrepair after investors bought the property in 2004. Last June, Waverley Borough Council approved plans to divide the main building into three town houses, and build five further homes on the site.

Both locals and the literary world have raised objections, and in December the Undershaw Preservation Trust (www.saveundershaw.com), founded by Conan Doyle scholar John Gibson, launched judicial review proceedings.

The trust, which is awaiting a date for the hearing, wants to see the house kept as a single dwelling - whether as a home, a hotel or an attraction that could put Hindhead on the map for a better reason other than traffic jams.
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Undershaw Preservation Trust Postcards

Recently the Undershaw Preservation Trust (UPT) auctioned limited edition postcards on ebay. There were 8 postcards depicting 8 of the 12 coat of arms that appear in the larger of the heraldic windows at Undershaw.

The main Arthur Conan Doyle postcard was signed by Mark Gatiss, the Patron of the Undershaw Preservation Trust and depicted Doyle's Coat of Arms.

All proceeds from the sale of the postcards will go to help with UPT's campaigning, printing, stationery and purchasing further merchandise.

Read the full story and see photos of the postcards:

I made the winning bid on the postcards - it was the only way UPT would take any money from me!

New sets of postcards are now up for auction on ebay - get them in now!
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Backstage tours at the National

From the National's website:
"Go backstage at Britain’s largest theatre complex and explore the fascinating history of this iconic building.

Led by experienced guides, visit the unseen parts of the three auditoriums, backstage areas and theatre workshops, where sets and props are created.

South London Press "From the moment the tour starts you know you are in a special place... A backstage tour could leave you with a serious theatre-going habit."

Every year more than 25,000 people from all over the world enjoy the unique experience of a backstage tour at the National – and they all come away with a lasting impression:
‘A one-of-a-kind opportunity to view the inner workings of an international treasure, the National Theatre.’"

I recommend doing the Backstage tour very very highly.

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Sherlock Royal Television Society Win

Sherlock won best drama at the Royal Television Society awards in March and Moffat won a special Judges' award.

Photo: http://celebdomain.com/Mark%20Gatiss-pictures.html



See here for the full story:
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Benedict Cumberbatch: Why we must defend public subsidy of the arts

I wanted to back Benedict's campaign on defending public subsidy of the arts. He has lent his face and his name to put behind the Equity Campaign and has spoken passionately about the need to promote and retain subsidised theatre and to open up theatre to new audiences. That is why he is appearing at the National for 3 months because he wants to get new and diverse audiences in to the National. Go Benedict!

Benedict speaking as a member of Equity at a TUC rally on 19 October 2010 against the government's proposed spending cuts to the arts.

Courtesy: http://www.benedictcumberbatch.co.uk/

Read all about it here:
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The Crimson Petal and the White, BBC2

Photo - Mark in the crimson petal and the white, courtesy of markcroft.

From the BBC website:

"If you dare enter this world," declares Sugar, the heroine of Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal And The White, "you had better tread carefully."

Romola Garai, Chris O'Dowd, Gillian Anderson, Richard E Grant, Shirley Henderson, Amanda Hale and Mark Gatiss star in this four-part tale of love, lust, desire and revenge, adapted from Faber's international best-selling novel.

Revealing the true underbelly of Victorian life in a way never before seen on screen, The Crimson Petal And The White is a bold and original new serial, adapted by acclaimed playwright and screenwriter Lucinda Coxon and directed by Marc Munden.

Evocative and sexually charged, this provocative and riveting emotional tale takes viewers into a hidden world seething with vitality, sexuality, ambition and emotion in which a young prostitute and a prominent businessman embark on a dangerous relationship with epic consequences.

What an outstanding cast this show has - it sounds amazing - can't wait to see it!

This started this Wednesday and continues next week - I have sky plused it and will watch it asap.
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Sherlock Holmes Society of London, Annual Dinner 2006

Roger Johnson, the Editor of the Sherlock Holmes Society Journal, and the Society's monthly newsletter, The District Messenger, had been trying to track down the transcript of the speech that Mark Gatiss gave at the Society's Annual Dinner in 2006. It is the Adventure of the Lost Transcript because he had been unable to locate it. As you all know, it has subsequently seen the light of day.

This is a photo of Mark giving his speech at the Annual Dinner in 2006. The photo was taken by Roger's wife, Jean Upton. It is a lovely photo so thank you to Jean for allowing me to use it on Mycrofting.

Whilst I have the opportunity I want to give a big SHOUT OUT to the Sherlock Holmes Society London. I joined as a new member in December 2010 and they have all been really warm, welcoming and friendly, especially Roger. I can't wait to meet them all at their May events.

Their website is here:

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Tom Hardy wins the Orange Wednesdays Rising Star Award

Oh how embarrassing - Tom I am so so so sorry.

This news came out awhile ago and because of Mr Cumberbatch and Frankenstein I didn't notice. Sorry Tom!

Photo and the amazing accompanying article is here:

All the info in this post is cut and pasted direct from the Orange website.

Orange is proud to announce that the public have voted in their tens of thousands to crown Tom Hardy as 2011’s Orange Wednesdays Rising Star Award winner.

The Orange Wednesdays Rising Star Award is the only publicly voted award presented at the Orange British Academy Film Awards. Tom was one of five international actors and actresses nominated for their exceptional talent and recognised as a star in the making. The other nominees were: Gemma Arterton, Andrew Garfield, Aaron Johnson and Emma Stone.

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Kenneth Branagh's Frankenstein

This film came out in 1994. That means I saw it 17 years ago - bloody hell! Anyway, I just hope that it is as good as I remember it.

What I can guarantee is that Victor is present in this film as the lead character - HOORAY!


Just watched it. I was right about this film. I don't care what the critics said. The film is dramatic, powerful, moving and heart-breaking. It is 99% true to source. I can't recommend it highly enough.

I am so inspired by it that I am going to do a separate Branagh vs Boyle post, comparing and contrasting the two versions. I will put my review under a cut as it will contain major spoilers for both the Branagh and the Boyle versions.

What I will say is this. Nick Dear took my beloved Victor away from me. I love Victor and I missed him so so much - my heart literally ached for the loss of him. Today Mr Branagh gave me my Victor back. Thank you Mr Branagh!!!
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Clybourne Park, Wyndhams

I saw this at the Royal Court with Martin Freeman. It was outstanding. One of the best things I saw last year. Without a shadow of a doubt, the best new play I saw last year.

I randomly decided to go and see it again today. It was actually even better the second time round. It is intelligent, thoughtful, moving and funny. It looks back in time to the 1950s and also to the present day. It is about property, neighbourhoods, race and political correctness, amongst other things. The production is outstanding. Beg, borrow and steal to get a ticket and catch it whilst you can. Highly highly highly recommended.

It is here:

Stephen Campbell Moore replaces Martin Freeman. For what it is worth (nothing!!!), in my opinion, with apologies to Martin fans, Stephen was better than Martin in this role. He plays the part perfectly.
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James Blunt

(originally posted in February).

I have just come back from the James Blunt gig at the Hammersmith Apollo in London. With profuse and heartfelt apologies to Danny, Benedict and Jonny upfront, I have a good awareness of all the arts and culture on offer in London at the moment, and I can honestly say, without a shadow of a doubt, that the person fronting the best show this evening was ... James Blunt!!!

James Blunt is here:

He is currently on a world tour, covering the UK, Europe and the World!!!

I went to the gig as someone who liked his music. I left the gig a hard core fan.

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Me with Red Ribbon

In a Forest: Dark and Deep

Vaudeville Theatre - Box Office: 0844 412 4663

American playwright Neil LaBute returns to the UK to premiere his new play In A Forest, Dark And Deep which he also directs.

In A Forest, Dark And Deep is set on a dark and stormy night when Bobby and his sister Betty meet in a cabin in the woods to clear it out for potential renters. But in this cabin of lies nothing is as it seems and the truth refuses to be packed away. What is she hiding? Does he really want to find out?

A dark comedy of sibling rivalry escalates into a psychological thriller bursting with savage conflict.

In A Forest, Dark And Deep stars Matthew Fox and Olivia Williams. Making his UK stage debut, American actor Fox is best known for his roles in long-running US television series Party Of Five and Lost. British actress Williams is a regular on stages in the UK, having worked at the National Theatre, Donmar Warehouse and Royal Shakespeare Company. Her film work includes The Sixth Sense and recent films An Education and The Ghost Writer.

LaBute is the award-winning playwright of works including Fat Pig, Some Girl(s), The Shape Of Things, In The Company Of Men and This Is How It Goes.

Follow the link:

I love Matthew Fox - and he is coming all the way over from the US to play on the London stage. I obviously already have a ticket to see this - I am going on Saturday 30 April, evening performance.

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National Theatre - American Express Partnership

On 5 March, the National launched a three-year partnership with American Express. It involves AmEx supporting the NT in various ways; including significant financial support and sponsoring one play a year for the next three years. In times of cuts in government funding to the arts, the NT is very grateful that AmEx are keen to be involved in this way. The commitment of their corporate partners is vital in enabling the National to thrive.

One of the benefits to AmEx of the partnership is that the National Theatre will participate in AmEx’s ‘Preferred Seating’ scheme. This will give AmEx card holders a short window of opportunity to book for NT shows ahead of the general public, but after the members’ booking period. The National are keen to emphasise that membership benefits are unaffected.

Nicholas Hytner, Director of the National Theatre, said: “The loyalty and commitment of our corporate partners is vital in enabling the National to thrive; the generosity of American Express will help us to continue programming an exciting and adventurous repertoire for the widest possible audience.”

Basically, this is a HUGE deal and I am hoping that it will mean that the National can keep its ticket prices at their current levels, which effectively mean that they are the best bargain in London. Congratulations to Nick and the team at the National for landing such a great corporate deal!!!
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National Theatre Archive

For anyone interested in theatre, the National Theatre Archive is a goldmine of information. I have not been before but I am going in a couple of weeks.

The National Theatre Archive is the repository for the administrative and technical records of the National Theatre. The collection covers the period from the inception of the company in 1963 to the present day. Material accessible to the public includes programmes, posters, photographs, video and sound recordings of NT productions and platform events, press cuttings, prompt scripts, production drawings, costume, lighting, and sound information. The Archive also holds many deposited collections relevant to the National's history including the records of the Shakespeare Memorial National Theatre Trust (1908) and the South Bank Theatre Board.

The NT Archive is open to everyone by appointment.

The website is here:
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Stagework, National Theatre, and selected regional partners

I am going to recommend a website that I have not visited for a long time. It is called Stagework and it is here:


Stagework is a unique resource designed to make innovative theatre practice at the National Theatre and selected regional partners in England more widely available to new and existing audiences.

It goes behind the scenes to unpack the complex process of making theatre performance for the general theatre-goer, the life-long learner, and curricular audiences. It offers rich media content and curriculum resources based upon key productions for teachers and learners of English and Drama, Citizenship, and other subjects, enabling the use of theatre practice to stimulate and enhance creativity and the learning experience. It aims to increase the understanding of theatre as one of the creative industries, and open up young people to new career possibilities. The issues behind the productions are explored in depth.

And guess what? Rhinoceros is on there!!! (Why the hell didn't I know that?)!!!
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Mark Gatiss, Season's Greetings, National Theatre

Originally posted on 4 Feb

Season's Greetings, staring Mark Gatiss, is currently playing at the National Theatre, London. Full details are available here:

I went today and it was F**KING AMAZING!!!

For many years I have not been near an Ayckbourn because I didn't think it was for me. Bloody hell was I wrong. The writing is genius!!! And this production ROCKS BIG TIME. It is so much fun - in fact, I can't remember the last time I have had so much fun and laughed so much at the National. And the whole audience was the same!!! Forget Frankenstein, I internally combusted in my seat multiple times during this production. There are tickets available on all dates for the rest of its run - go and see it!!! I am seeing it again in a couple of weeks with two of my non-Sherlock friends. I saw it today with TurkFox - it was the last thing I arranged on Sherlocking before the site blew up in my face!!!

Anyway, as soon as I got home, I bought myself a ticket to the closing night of the production. I want to be at the closing night party. I am going to be at the closing night party!!!

Mr Gatiss is outstanding and his puppet show is just priceless. And I have the photos of him doing his puppet show which I now want to keep all to myself!!! (don't worry, I am going to post the photos when I do my write-up of the Mark Gatiss talk happening at the National next Wednesday. The National were kind enough to give me the photos to accompany my piece).

I waited for Mr Gatiss at the stage door (he was completely oblivious to the fact that I was coming and as to who I was!!!). I introduced myself, referenced UPT and we had a good 5 minute conversation about UPT and Sherlock stuff generally (including the Sherlock Holmes Society, London and the Society's editor Roger whom we both know). I am trying to locate the speech that Mr Gatiss gave at the Sherlock Holmes Society, London Annual Dinner a few years ago. Roger, the editor of the Society's Journal, has a transcript but he has builders in at the moment and cannot locate said transcript. This is the Adventure of the Lost Transcript. Mr Gatiss looked embarassed and said that he thinks it is on an old computer!!! So no luck there then. Mr Gatiss also said that it was bound to be in a dusty archive somewhere and I said yes it was, the dusty archive being Roger's house!!!

I showed him my red doorstop the Complete Sherlock Holmes which he had signed for me at the Clapham event. This time I had brought with me Arthur and George by Julian Barnes (if you have not read this, read it now!!!). He told me that he loves that book which made me happy as I love it to pieces too. However, he signed the book before I mentioned UPT so he must have wondered what the bloody hell I brought that book along for!!!

I was mega excited to finally meet my all time Idol and God and so yes I got a bit carried away - there were too many things I wanted to tell him!!! But UPT reps - the one thing that I did foist upon him was the email I sent to you all earlier this week - I just wanted him to know that we went live with the national and international network of UPT reps this week and I also wanted to let him know what we are doing on the Trust's behalf in his name!!!

Anyway, this was the first time I have been to a stage door in 20 years of London theatre going. And Mr Gatiss was an absolute gentleman - really really nice and super easy to talk to. YES I have fallen for Mr Gatiss BIG TIME!!!
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Raks makes the District Messenger!

Originally posted end of Jan 2011

The Sherlock Holmes Society London is the leading Sherlock Holmes Society in the world. The District Messenger is their monthly newsletter. And I have just got a mention in the District Messenger!!! This goes onto their website and is accessible to Holmes fans around the world!!! I am made up!!!

Check it out!!!:

It is an honour and a privilege to be mentioned in the District Messenger. Roger Johnson, the Editor of The District Messenger, has made my day, my month and even my year!!!

Next stop the Sherlock Holmes Society Journal!!!