Cult News Wrap; Doctor Who, Merlin and Primeval

A round-up of all the latest cult news stories including a new supernatural drama for BBC Three, another episode title for Doctor Who revealed, Merlin gets a full 13 episodes for its fourth season and Watch announces the premier date for the fifth season of Primeval.


Warning: May contain mild spoilers.


Filming has begun on new BBC Three drama The Fades

BBC ThreeFilming begins on The Fades, a new supernatural horror made by BBC Drama Production for BBC Three by 2011 RTS Award-winning writer, Jack Thorne (This Is England ’86, Skins, The Scouting Book For Boys, Cast Offs). Iain De Caestecker (River City, Coronation Street) is Paul, a young man who is haunted by apocalyptic dreams that neither his therapist or best friend, Mac, can provide answers for. Worse still, Paul is starting to see the Fades – the spirits of the dead – all around him.


They’re everywhere but they can’t be seen, smelt, heard or touched by living beings. But now an embittered and vengeful Fade has found a way to break the barrier between the dead and the living and Paul, Mac and their friends and family are all right in the eye of the storm. But the most terrifying twist is yet to come – the fate of humanity rests in the hands of the two friends who already have enough trouble getting through a day in one piece, let alone saving the world.


“The Fades was born from a trip into executive producer, Sue Hogg’s office – she asked me what drama of the last ten years I wished I’d written – I said the American cable show Freaks & Geeks – I was wearing a Ghostbusters t-shirt, she said ‘what about Freaks & Geeks meets Ghostbusters’. And I smiled and nodded enthusiastically. But the further we’ve gone along, and it’s been five years since that meeting, the more seriously we’ve taken the fantasy and the mythology and so the comedy is subtler and a newer, fresher, hopefully more exciting show has emerged. I feel so lucky to be part of the team that’s bringing it to the screen – everyone from our location manager to our FX supervisor are so committed and we have such an amazing cast – I’m quite literally in dreamland right now.” – Jack Thorne


Key cast also include: Daniel Kaluuya (Skins, Psychoville, Sucker Punch) playing Mac. Tom Ellis (Miranda, Harley Street, Merlin) is Mark, a teacher under suspicion when his ex-wife Sarah is missing, feared dead. Johnny Harris (This is England ’86, Spartacus) is Neil, a lone warrior against the forces of darkness, who becomes Paul’s unlikely mentor. Daniela Nardini (This Life, A Street Car Named Desire) is Helen; like Paul she also has an extraordinary ability which will prove useful in the fight to save mankind. Lily Loveless (Skins) is Anna, Paul’s twin sister, fierce and uncompromising, she finds being related to someone like Paul rather annoying; Claire Rushbrook (Ashes To Ashes) is Meg, Paul and Anna’s mum; Theo Barklem-Biggs (Age Of Heroes, Miranda, EastEnders) is PC Phillip Firth; Jenn Murray (Day Of The Triffids) is Natalie and Sophie Wu (Kick-Ass, The Other Man) plays Jay.


“The minute I read Jack Thorne’s script I realised we were in exciting new territory. This is a vision of great imagination and I am thrilled that we have such a talented cast and that we have director Farren Blackburn and a brilliant team who can bring this vision to life… or half life!” – Kate Harwood, BBC Controller of Drama and Serials.


Currently in production for transmission later this year, The Fades (previously titled Touch) is a co-production with BBC America. The 6×60 minute series from BBC Drama Production was commissioned by Danny Cohen in his previous role as Controller, BBC Three and Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning. The director is Farren Blackburn (Episodes 1-3) and Tom Shankland (Episodes 4-6); the producer is Caroline Skinner and executive producer is Susan Hogg.

New Doctor Who Trailer to air tonight

Doctor Who logoA new and longer trailer for the forthcoming series of Doctor Who is to air tonight on BBC One, originally it was due to air last night but was pushed back. The new 60 second trailer will offer viewers a longer insight into what the sixth series of Doctor Who, starring Matt Smith & Karen Gillan, will hold.


A 15 second trailer for the first episode of the new series, The Impossible Astronaut, aired last week and a two minute “prequel” for the episode premiered on the official Doctor Who website last Saturday. At present no time has been given for today’s 60 second trailer though it is expected to air in a prime-time slot. A shorter version will air on the CBBC Channel; this version will remove some of the scarier elements from the full length trailer.

New Doctor Who Episode Title Revealed

Suranne Jones in Single FatherAnother episode for the next series of Doctor Who has been revealed. The latest story to be named is the fourth episode penned by Neil Gaiman which will be called (SPIOILER BE HERE) The Doctor’s Wife. The episode will guest star Suranne Jones and Michael Sheen and previously revealed information about the episode stated the character of Idris (Suranne Jones) may be an “old acquaintance with a new face” and also would feature something “not seen since The War Games”. The 1969 story was the last to feature Patrick Troughton in the regular role of the Second Doctor and fully introduced the Time Lords to the series.


In related Doctor Who news John Barrowman’s Saturday evening show Tonight’s the Night has been re-commissioned by the BBC, see more here >>. Meanwhile current Tardis regular Karen Gillan has been cast in a new BBC Drama and you can read more on that here >>


Merlin goes 13!

MerlinBBC One’s fantasy drama series Merlin, starring Bradley James and Colin Morgan, will have 13 episodes for its fourth series after all. When the BBC re-commissioned the drama for a fourth year it originally only ordered 10 episodes because the shows budget had been cut and producers did not wish to compromise the quality of the show. However, there was some speculation that the missing “three episodes” would be made up via specials such as at Christmas.


However, it has now been revealed the BBC has bumped up Merlin’s fourth year to a full 13 episodes. The drama will air also in the Autumn cast member Colin Morgan reveals. There was some debate over when Merlin would air as Doctor Who will air the second half of its sixth season across the Autumn. The two shows maybe paired up together on Saturday evenings which would, most likely, bump up the ratings for Merlin. In 2009 when the Doctor Who Easter special Waters of Mars aired on BBC One it boosted ratings for Robin Hood which followed. In fact it gave Robin Hood its best ratings for its third series as the series suffered against Primeval on ITV1 and was cancelled by the BBC when ratings dropped below 3 million viewers.

Primeval Fifth Season Premier Revealed

PrimevalDigital channel Watch has revealed the premier date for the fifth season of Primeval. The fourth season aired on ITV1 earlier this year and averaged over 4 million viewers per episode. Under the deal which saw Primeval re-commissioned following its cancellation at the end of season three, the fifth season premiers on Watch first before airing on ITV1 later this year or early next year.


The fifth season of Primeval will launch on Watch on May 24th. Andrew Lee Potts, Hannah Spearritt, Ben Miller and Alexander Siddig will return for the fifth season.