Review of the Year: October 2013

This was the month when we welcomed into our lives some long lost Doctor Who episodes - and Danny Dyer became the Queen Vic's new landlord. But don't mention The Fifth Estate's box office figures to Benedict Cumberbatch....


This was the month when the return of (drum roll) The Clangers was announced.  But for most of our readers (and for all Doctor Who fans) it will be best remembered as the month when revealed that recently recovered Patrick Troughton Doctor Who episodes were to be made available for the first time in nearly five decades.


There was excitement of an altogether more cockernee complexion when it was revealed – Bleedin ‘eck, lawks alive etc. – that Albert Square’s Queen Vic was to get a new guv’nor. Yes, October opened with news that the star of The Football Factory Danny Dyer was being recruited by Easties’ bosses to play Shirley Carter’s younger brother Mick – a patriot, we were informed, with a dog.

Getting to the heart of the matter as we often do at RT Towers, we examined the question of precisely what kind of dog he should take with him (it turned out to be a bulldog) and whether Danny’s colourful Twitter outpourings be censored by his new BBC bosses.

Fellow Laaahndaner Ray Winstone reveals that he thinks a lot of films are “crap” and that we’re still not in a “golden age” for the small screen. Thanks for that Ray.

But the prize for weirdest story of the month has to be split three-ways.

First there was our exclusive that Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch harboured a real life murder mystery within his own family (his great great uncle was put on trial for murder but finally acquitted).

Second in the weirdness stakes was the denial by Strictly sources that celebrities had been told to laugh at Bruce’s jokes.

And third was James McAvoy issuing a denial that he had told author Irvine Welsh that he would be up for playing Jimmy Savile – a stretch, one would have to agree, and a potential risk for any actor.

Another Scot who would very definitely be abandoning his Scots brogue for his acting work, however, was David Tennant who announced he was to be doing his very best Yank in the US remake of Broadchurch. And he wasn’t the only former Doctor to adopt a Transatlantic twang – as Matt Smith revealed that he was to do a stage version of American Psycho.

Also calling in the changes in luvvieland was actor Timothy Spall who, revealed, had become quite an enthusiastic fine art painter in his preparation for playing the great JMW Turner in Mike Leigh’s film about the great man.

Elsewhere in showbiz world, the John McCririck tribunal continued to throw up embarrassing revelations for Channel 4, not least the fact that it wanted to use Gok Wan (yes, Gok Wan) in its racing coverage. McCririck, 73, later lost his action. 

But there was better news for C4 as we hailed a winning sitcom in C4’s Man Down.

We also got to meet Breaking Bad Walter White’s Columbian equivalent Walter Blanco in October. We loved Breaking Bad by the way here at RT and we were in pretty good company. Anthony Hopkins was so taken with it he wrote its star actor Bryan Cranston a fan letter.

Fans of schlocky cheese took to Jonathan Rhys-Meyers’ Dracula which was launched by Sky this month. But it was a bad month for Miranda Hart who lost “precious, creative projects” when a laptop was stolen from her London home in a burglary. It was also a shocker for Nick Grimshaw who continued to shed his audience and for Benedict Cumberbatch, as his film The Fifth Estate bombed in the US box office with the worst opening weekend of the year so far.

Newsnight editor Ian Katz appears in that film in his old job as Guardian deputy editor so it was probably a doubly disappointing October for him after he made the headlines for his headline-grabbing antics on the BBC2 news show. Katz’s nadir (or triumph of comic ingenuity depending on your point of view) was this cringe-inducing interview between Emily Maitliss and….the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street.

Still, it was a good month for the team behind BBC dramas Atlantis  and Peaky Blinders both of which were recommissioned.

And The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was also coming back – details of which were provided for you in yet another super soar away Radio Times exclusive….