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Bits and Bobs (Vol. 7): 'Skins,' 'Gavin & Stacey,' 'Vivienne Vyle'

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It’s been a crazy week. While organizing my piles of Bits and Bobs files, I noticed all the boffo stateside premieres on the horizon. Billie Piper’s newest Sally Lockhart adaptation, The Shadow in the North, hits Masterpiece Mystery! on September 28th. Masterpiece Contemporary is finally bringing the Benedict Cumberbatch-led political thriller, The Last Enemy, across the pond this fall. Plus, BBC America will air Peter Kosminsky’s BAFTA-winning miniseries Britz, which features another excellent turn by The Road to Guantanamo‘s Riz Ahmed, in November.

Then, as if to kill my buzz, Jonas Armstrong announces he’s leaving Robin Hood after season 3. Wha-ha? Someone remind me the name of the show again and tell me how it will go on without its star? My Richard Armitage love aside, this series needs Robin! Yet, the creators promise Jonas’ final episode will be a stunner, and that’s something to hold onto. And how can I stay too sad after BBC Radio 4 announced its plan to broadcast an exclusive Torchwood set in the European Organization for Nuclear Research on September 10th—followed by interviews with Ben Miller, Eddie Izzard, and John Barrowman by celebrity physicist Brian Cox? Then I thought about David Tennant’s rave reviews in Hamlet and how Little Britain USA will premiere on September 29th (check out some of the new characters here), and I cheered up.  A bit.

In that spirit, I decided to dedicate this column not to what we’re losing (Jonas; The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, which ends on Sunday) but to what we’re gaining in the next few weeks—namely the U.S. debuts of Skins (on BBC America), Gavin & Stacey (also on BBCA), and The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle—and to treat you to some clips from each. All three are amazing. I hope these get you watching!   

1. Skins, premieres Sunday, August 17th, at 9pm on BBC America. Don’t just think of this teen soap as an English Gossip Girl with a sizable wallop of dark British humor. Think of it as a better Gossip Girl with a huge dollop of Brit smarts. And it stars About a Boy‘s Nicholas Hoult, all grown up and acting his pants off. Literally. 

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2. Gavin & Stacey, premieres Tuesday, August 26th at 8:40pm.A show so successful, the Cardiff Airport considered renaming itselfafter it. Which kinda makes sense: This romcom (from Steve Coogan’sBaby Cow Productions) centers around the long distance engagementbetween a standup guy from Essex (Matthew Horne, The Catherine Tate Show) and a sweet girl from Barry (Love Actually’sJoanna Page). Did I mention they meet on the phone and only spend twonights together before he asks her to marry him? Trouble…brewing…

3. The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle, premieres Sunday, September 7th on the Sundance Channel. What can’t Jennifer Saunders do? The AbFabco-creator is uproarious as a fictional talk show host (think SallyJessy Raphael) experiencing sordid, exploitative success in thisblacker than black comedy. Miranda Richardson co-stars as herchainsmoking, pottymouthed producer.

So, which (and what) are you most excited for? Do you think you’ll betuning in? Or will you still be crying about Jonas come next week? And,last, but not least, what are you dying to see come over to the U.S.?

And now, your anglophile calendar for the week:
Monday (August 11th): Tune in to the Brit radio mystery The Lost Stradivarius on BBC 7 at 5:30pm. Stick around to hear Primeval‘s Juliet Aubrey read Love for Lydia
Tuesday: DVR Damian Lewis in Keane on Sundance at 2:05pm. All four seasons of Hustle drop on one DVD set, as well as the third series of the girl mystery Blue Murder. Also on DVD:  The Anton Chekhov Collection. The extras include five short stories read by Ewan McGregor, and Ralph Fiennes in the radio version of Ivanov
Wednesday: Check out the Guardian’s podcast from the Gilded Balloon at the Edinburgh Festival.
Thursday: Watch these clips from the Life on Mars creators’ new BBC series Bonekickers.
Friday: The skit show Star Stories debuts on BBC America at 9:20pm.
Saturday: Download the soundtrack to the Steve Coogan vehicle Hamlet 2 from iTunes. 
Sunday: Skins premieres on BBC America at 9pm!

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