The Tellyvangelist: September 27 – October 3

This is your Tellyvangelist – your Monday guide to all that’s British on U.S. TV in the upcoming week. Last week, we unmasked the sleeper cell of stealth UK actors who’ve invaded America’s fall TV schedule. This week, Turner Classic Movies brings you a night of Vivien Leigh classics, Top Gear enters Season 15 on BBC AMERICA, and Andrew Garfield, the new British Spider-Man, gets grilled by the ladies of The View. Note: times in EST and are subject to change.

Monday, September 27

 Sci-fi/fantasy fans will enjoy tonight’s films on Encore: there’s The Fifth Element (9:40 pm), featuring Ian Holm and a bad-ass Gary Oldman rocking an asymmetrical hairdo, and 2009′s Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (11:50 pm), the third installment of the franchise which features an all-star UK cast: Michael Sheen, Bill Nighy, Nip/Tuck‘s Rhona Mitra, and Luther star Steven Mackintosh.

Fox Movie Channel has a pair of non-Bond Sean Connery classics: 1973′s futuristic John Boorman classic Zardoz co-starring Charlotte Rampling (10 pm) and Rising Sun (12 am), the 1993 cop drama co-starring Wesley Snipes.

And if you love Kelly Macdonald‘s Irish accent on Boardwalk Empire, check out her Texas drawl in the Coen Brothers‘s Oscar-winning No Country For Old Men (Spike, 9 pm EST).

Of course, you just might want to tune in to tonight’s BBC AMERICA premiere of Top Gear Season 15, which features host Jeremy Clarkson quite awkwardly driving a three-wheeled Reliant Robin through stretches of England. Let’s just say that Clarkson is lucky to be among the living right now.

Tuesday, September 28

 Fans of British films should really call in sick Tuesday and chill in front of the telly all day. But you’ll have to start early, with Emily Blunt as the no-nonsense Queen Victoria in The Young Victoria (Starz, 5:10 am), Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam doing Dickens in Nicholas Nickleby (SHO2, 8:45 am), and Harvey Keitel as a Yankee cop chasing a gangster in London in The Young Americans (IFC, 9:15 am) . At 10 am, Colin Firth fans can watch the Oscar-nominated hunk in Bridget Jones’s Diary on E! and DVR his breakout role as a Marxist in 1984′s Another Country (TMC, 10:30 am).

Meanwhile, while you refill your Bloody Mary, Fox Movie Channel digs out two classics from the vaults for lunchtime. At 12:30 pm, they’re showing Do Not Disturb, the 1965 Doris Day romantic comedy featuring the great English character actress Hermione Baddeley. And at 2:30 pm, you’ll see James Mason in the 1954 adaptation of the comic strip Prince Valiant.

Casual cinephiles may only know Vivien Leigh from her iconic Oscar-winning roles – Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind and Blanche du Bois in A Streetcar Named Desire. But Turner Classic Movies offers a night of the British acting genius’ other gems, starting with 1961′s The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (8 pm EST), moving through 1948′s Anna Karenina (10 pm) and 1946′s Caesar and Cleopatra (12 am), and ending with 1965′s Ship of Fools, Leigh’s last role before her untimely death from tuberculosis in 1967. Here’s the trailer for that film:

Wednesday, September 29

You have two movie choices for the 7 pm hour – there’s Daniel Craig‘s second outing as 007 in Quantum of Solace (7 pm, SHO2) or Hugh Grant‘s critically rubbished rom-com opposite Sarah Jessica Parker, Did You Hear About the Morgans (7:20 pm, STARZ).

Or you can skip both and wait for TCM’s 10 pm showing of the 1960 Deborah Kerr classic The Sundowners, which featured Kerr as a reserved Aussie outback mom opposite Robert Mitchum‘s wolfish wildman father.

On to the late night talkers: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno will welcome Seal as its musical guest. The British Mr. Heidi Klum will likely perform a song from his new album, Commitment. Here’s the first single, “Secret”:

Thursday, September 30

IFC’s playing Daniel Craig‘s 007 practice run in Layer Cake at 10:30 pm, and in a nice bit of counterprogramming, Roger Moore‘s inaugural 007 appearance in Live and Let Die airs on Encore at 11:10 pm. However, B&W lovers won’t want to miss Turner Classic Movies’ 10 pm showing of 1948′s The Heiress, the film that won Olivia de Havilland her second Best Actress Oscar, putting her one ahead of her sister and rival Joan Fontaine. Oh suh-nap.

Meanwhile, The Late Show with David Letterman has the rock supergroup Tired Pony slotted for Thursday. If you’re unfamiliar, the band is comprised of Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody, singer-songwriter Iain Archer, Belle & Sebastian drummer Richard Colburn, R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck, indie rocker Scott McCaughey, and music producer Jacknife Lee. Here’s their video for “Dead American Writers,” which features This Is England star Joseph Gilgun:

Friday, October 1

The Brits will be busy on the chat show circuit Friday: British actor Andrew Garfield joins his Social Network co-stars Justin Timberlake and Jesse Eisenberg on The View. (If you aren’t already numb from the ads, Friday’s opening day for the fictionalized account of Facebook’s founding.)

As mentioned earlier today, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling will appear on Friday’s Oprah for a “revealing sitdown.” Be sure to tune in to watch two billionaires shed many tears.

And for late night, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson has actress Carey Mulligan, who has two movies to promote: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and the art film Never Me Let Go. Mulligan, of course, played Sally Sparrow, who fought the Weeping Angels on the third series of Doctor Who. This won’t slip past Ferguson, one of the biggest celebrity Whovians alive.

Saturday, October 2

IFC is airing one of the great British films of the past 30 years, Terence Davies‘s 1988 film Distant Voices, Still Lives (7 am EST/12:35 PM), which is an intimate evocation of the director’s youth in 1950′s Liverpool.

Starting Saturday, BBCA begins its “Ghoul Britannia” month-long stunt devoted to “cinema’s scariest, most vile monsters, both human and alien.” It all starts at 9 pm EST with Star Trek: First Contact and ends with the original 1981 Clash of the Titans, featuring an ensemble of British legends: Laurence Olivier, Dame Maggie Smith, former Bond girl Ursula Andress, and that unsung goddess, Claire Bloom. (How is that woman not a Dame yet?)

Sunday, October 3

IFC will air Kevin MacDonald‘s 2003 documentary Touching the Void (10 am EST), which tells the true story of two British mountaineers who scaled an Andes slope with almost fatal consequences. And the Movie Channel’s playing the original film version of Billy Elliot (4:30 pm EST).

Sunday night will bring you the U.S. premiere of Law & Order UK on BBC AMERICA, featuring OutcastsJamie Bamber and Doctor Who star Freema Agyeman. It’s sorta like the U.S. version but with wigs.

PBS’ Masterpiece Mystery is airing the first episode of Wallander Series 2, Faceless Killers, on Sunday. Check your local listings for info.

What are you most looking forward to on TV this week?

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

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