Alohomora! A Behind the Scenes Visit to Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts Exhibit at The Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood! By Juliette Boland

[Hollywood, CA] Calling all Potterheads! Summer is coming and do I have a great “must see” for your LA Superfan “to do” list! Did you know there is a Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts exhibit located right in our very own backyard? It’s true and I had the opportunity to visit it up close and personal!

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The Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood has created a magical visit to everything Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts that would make J.K. Rowling proud! The exhibit features original costumes and props from the whole Harry Potter film series and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. For SoCal fans and visitors, this tour is the next best thing to visiting The Making of Harry Potter at Warner Bros. Studio  Tour in London.

Like receiving that much sought-after letter from Hogwarts, I was so excited to get my invitation to check out the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts exhibit and learn all the behind the scenes stories of this cool collection. I had the pleasure of being led around this exhibit by my uber-knowledgeable studio tour guide, John Kourounis.

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Ready to visit the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts Exhibit with my UBER- knowledgable tour guide, John Kourounis! 

 

We started where it all began at 4 Privet Drive and the Dursley’s fireplace in Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone’s. The very fireplace where the storm of Hogwarts acceptance letters came hurling out, informing Harry that he had just been accepted to his new home for the next seven years, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It took everything in me NOT to grab one of those letters for my very own private collection.

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So many…they wouldn’t miss ONE letter, would they? 🙂

As you get deeper into the exhibit, you get to explore the amazing concept art that eventually became the final designs used on the set – iconic sets that are now recognized by fans around the world.

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Incredibly talented artists created the concept art that eventually became the sets we see on the big screen. The tour explains the whole process to us and it’s fascinating!

Even more exciting was the original props (like Harry’s wand and glasses!) and costumes actually worn in the Harry Potter films. From Molly Weasley to Cedric Diggory to Voldemort – this exhibit has them all, including the original Hogwarts uniforms worn by Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), and Emma Watson (Hermione Granger). I wanted to touch them so badly…or at least try them on! John told me that, Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) visited the exhibit and got to see everything that I was seeing! Tom Felton stood under the same roof as me! Wicked!

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I’m pretty sure I’d fit into one of these robes…

At the end of the Harry Potter section of this exhibit is a “Great Hall” display. All of our favorite Hogwarts professors stand in one line over-looking a small stool holding the legendary Sorting Hat. Visitors actually have the opportunity to get sorted into a house! So, naturally I wanted to take my turn. John placed the hat on my head, and I immediately felt as if I were being transported into the magical world of J.K. Rowling. The familiar Harry Potter theme music by John Williams, that is piped throughout the exhibit, helps put you in the mood! The hat announced that I was in Gryffindor! Whoohoo! You can see which house you’re in too, when you visit this amazing exhibit.

From J.K. ROWLING'S WIZARDING WORLD: The Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts Exhibit at Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood

Get sorted into your house at the WB Studio Tour Hollywood! (Photo credit: Live For Film)

Once you get sorted into a house you bid farewell to the Harry Potter section and journey back in time to the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them exhibit.

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Where or where is Eddie Redmayne? Or at least a danish from Kowalski’s!

John guided me through some of the costumes and props that were used in the film, and let me tell you, they are worth seeing. The beautiful beaded dresses and period costumes designed by Academy award winning Colleen Atwood and worn by Alison Sudol (Queenie) and Katherine Waterston (Tina) in the film, were even more impressive in person. 

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Academy award-winning Colleen Atwood designed an amazing collection for Fantastic Beasts. 

Hot Topic recreated a Fantastic Beasts line including a version of the pink dress for Fangirls like me! And yes, I bought the whole collection! (The dress I’m wearing on this tour is from the FB collection!)

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Channeling my inner-Queenie in Hot Topic’s Fantastic Beasts dress at the BAFTA/LA Tea!

You can also stop by and gawk at the delicious danishes from Kowalski’s Quality Baked Goods – warning, however, they’re NOT edible! 

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You can even take a selfie in front of Jacob Kowalski’s bedroom! What can be better than that?

Well, maybe Newt Scamander’s famous blue coat can top it all! That’s right, you heard correctly. This exhibit holds Newt Scamander’s coat! The ACTUAL coat worn by Eddie Redmayne in the film! His costume has its own separate display, and when you walk up to it, it gives you chills! It’s almost like you’re meeting Newt Scamander in person! I half expected him to break out into Fantastic Beasts mating dance! Simply magical!

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You’ll have to visit the exhibit to actually see Eddie’s coat up close an d personal! You’ll love it!

There are a lot of fantastic photo ops at this exhibit and you even have an opportunity to ride a broomstick through London!

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If you’re a Potterhead, Muggle, No-Maj, Witch, or Wizard, you are invited to journey through an unforgettable experience at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood. There are many other attractions as well, sure to please any Superfan, like visiting the actual set of the NBC hit series, Friends, and tour the backlot where Gilmore Girls was filmed! Since there’s not a lot of Harry Potter collectibles I don’t own – I grabbed a Luke’s Diner mug from the supercool gift shop on my way out…

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It’s LUKES DINER!! Where is Luke! Bring me my coffee!!

The Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood is the perfect place to geek out and reminisce about your favorite fandom moments! I had the most amazing time. I already want to go back! Thank you to my awesome tour guide, John Kourounis and to Carly Yates, Warner Bros. PR and Social Media Administrator, for organizing this memorable day. 

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You are my Hobbit…and I shall call you Hobbit! Another fun attraction on the WB Studio Tour Hollywood! 

WATCH my WHOLE visit to the WB Studio Tour Hollywood here and find out how you can WIN TWO TICKETS to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood! ENJOY! 

Did you watch the video? Don’t forget to ENTER to WIN! The winner will receive TWO tickets to this magical exhibit!

I’ll be posting MORE in my “Timey Wimey Fandom Summer ‘MUST SEE’ List”, so check back often! Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to me on YouTube and Follow me on Twitter @JulietteBoland

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WIN TWO TICKETS to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood! WATCH my video to learn how!

For more information on the Warner Bros Studio Tour Hollywood visit: Warner Bros. Studio Tour

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Allons-y! Tour Guide extraordinaire, John Kourounis drives me around the Warner Bros. backlot!

Thanks for watching and reading! 
xo, JBo

 

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Juliette Boland is a two-time Los Angeles Press Club, National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award-winning Jr. Journalist and hosts the Timey Wimey Fandom Show. Check out her other videos on her webpage here: Juliette’s Timey Wimey Fandom Show

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Wedding Bells in Berkshire: Pippa Middleton Marries James Matthews!

Wedding bells in Berkshire! The picturesque 12th-century St Mark’s Church in Englefield, Berkshire hosted the society wedding of the year on 20 May 2017 as Pippa Middleton wed James Matthews!

The heavy downpour that started minutes after the beginning of the ceremony fortunately ended a few moments before the church doors opened, allowing the newlyweds to emerge into the sunshine as husband and wife!

After exchanging their vows surrounded by family and friends, the newlyweds waved to the crowds as they drove away from the church in a Jaguar E-Type. Later in the day, guests gathered inside a sparkling glass building erected on the grounds of the Middleton family home for a glittering Scottish-themed reception.

Prince George and Princess Charlotte joined the bridal party as a pageboy and a bridesmaid, adding a royal dose of cuteness to Aunt Pippa’s special day!

The Duchess of Cambridge took on the role of shepherding the group of young and excitable bridesmaids and pageboys into the church ahead of her sister’s nuptials, and could even be seen quieting the adorable children before the ceremony!

A stunning gown for a radiant bride! Pippa wore a bespoke creation by British designer Giles Deacon for her special day…

Said Designer Giles Deacon: “I was thrilled to work with Pippa on her wedding dress. The dress is constructed with a cap sleeve, high neckline and features a corseted bodice with draping to the front and a heart-shaped detail at the back. The bespoke silk cotton lace was hand appliquéd to create the illusion of the dress having ‘no seams.’ The lace bodice is embroidered with pearl detailing over an organza and tulle underskirt, which has layer upon layer to enable a floor-sweeping movement. It’s a privilege to show the craftsmanship that my team produces in London and a real testament to Pippa’s support of British fashion.”

Just as Pippa carried her sister’s train into Westminster Abbey for her 2011 wedding, Catherine appeared delighted to return the favor and assist Pippa on her special day!

Best wishes to the newlyweds for a wonderful life together!

 

 

 

Meghan McKillop is American by birth but British at heart. Endlessly fascinated by British culture, entertainment, history, royalty, literature, and travel, she aspires to indulge her curiosity while sharing her passions and discoveries with Anglophiles everywhere.

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Once Upon A Time: Should Season 6 Be Their Happy Ending?

Once Upon A Time: Should Season 6 Be Their Happy Ending?

by Juliette Boland

Once Upon A Time fans have had mixed feelings over the news that OUAT producers confirmed a season seven just as a mass exodus was happening with a majority of their leading actors. How is this series going to go on without their main stars? Do we even want it to? Should season six just be their much sought after happy ending?

Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz have created such a magical, imaginative show, one that has captured the imagination of fans around the world. From the Enchanted Forest to Neverland to Oz, OUAT fans have tuned in every Sunday to join in the adventures of their favorite fairy tale characters. But has season six had all the fans tuning in with the same enthusiasm as previous years?

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Once Upon a Time TV ratings have definitely dropped in recent years, with many storylines being stretched out over an entire season. When the show started passing around the Dark One and Savior baton amongst the cast, we knew they were running out of story ideas. In recent episodes I’ve felt many choices seemed out of character for our Storybrooke friends. For example, when Hook was sent to another realm just a few moments after finally proposing to Emma then having a little quarrel with her – she wallowed for an entire episode because she thought he left her. In my opinion, I don’t feel like her character would respond that way. These two lovers have literally gone through hell together and she thought he would actually leave her after a quarrel over his killing Charming’s father…200 years ago…when he was still a villain? For me, some parts of the season are not believable. But don’t get me wrong; there have been amazing moments with Emma, especially her emotional solo in the musical episode  – albeit some people thought this was their “jumping the shark” episode. 

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Emma finally gained the strength she always had and proved to the Black Fairy that she has what it takes to win the Final Battle!

I also cannot deny that the CaptainSwan wedding was everything we wished for!

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Emma’s gown was designed to look exactly like Grace Kelly’s wedding dress when she married Prince Rainier of Monaco. I couldn’t get over how much Jennifer Morrison actually looked like Princess Grace. Fabulous job!

Another storyline that I felt happened quite fast was the whole return of Robin Hood. Just as fans were mourning Robin’s death- he returns again! Yeay! But he doesn’t stay for dinner. Boo! 

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Outlaw Queen fans were devastated to see Robin go, blasting the hashtag #BringRobinHoodBack all over Twitter.  I, being one of those fans, actually got to interview Sean Maguire (Robin Hood) and asked him if he would ever return to OUAT…after all his lover needed him. Here’s what he told me: 

 

The fans were incredibly happy over his return, even though it wasn’t really Robin Hood, just a different version of him. But, he came and went so quickly that we never really got our Outlaw Queen moment. His character did resolve the Evil Queen storyline, but Regina never actually got to say farewell to this version of Robin Hood. All of a sudden, it was mentioned that he went back to his realm, and I was sitting on my couch screaming, “Wait, what? Were did Robin go?!”

The majority of this season was spent with only one Charming awake at a time. It got to the point where I forgot that they were under this curse. 

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I feel like the writers have a closet… Let’s call it “The Closet of Forgotten Storylines”… in it we have Merida, Mulan, Maleficent, Cinderella, Emma’s red jacket, and anyone under the age of three.  You never know when you’ll be shanghaied and thrown into this closet… beware of this closet… this closet does not lead to the magical land of Narnia… only to the unemployment line for the poor actors that portrayed those lost characters. 

Many fans have asked what happened to some of these characters? Like the Brady Bunch dog, Tiger or Richie Cunningham’s brother, Chuck, that just disappeared after a few seasons…people in Storybrooke just vanish. I guess the writers must have reasons for shoving these characters into a tiny closet, but we – the fans – never get closure. Where do they go? Is Storybrooke really big enough to hold all of these characters?

May I also ask, what on earth is going on with Rumple and Belle? One minute they love each other, and the next minute Belle is sending Rumple over the town line. In earlier seasons, this relationship kept me on the edge of my seat, but now I am completely off the chair and on the ground counting how many tiles are on the floor. Will this Twilight series ever end?

I do, however,  think Gideon (Giles Matthey), who is Rumple and Belle’s son, is a great addition to their story. Finally an element that forces Rumple and Belle to work together, their son.

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This was a perfect way to bring Rumbelle back together, but is it going to last? Where will Rumbelle be in the season six finale?

Kitsis explained in an interview, “I will say the final battle will be thematic for everybody and that Rumple, as a man who is a difficult man to love, I think he will have a very difficult choice to make again. Belle and Rumple are going to be tested, and everything that they ever wanted is going to be very temptingly close for Rumple. But like everything, it comes with a price.”

But, will it be too little too late?

Many cast members have already confirmed that they are leaving the show after this season, including Emilie de Ravin, who portrays Belle. What does this mean for Rumbelle? Will they ever get a true happy ending? And what about CaptainSwan? They finally got married and their happy beginning!

Six cast members have been announced as leaving the show, while OUAT has confirmed a seventh season. Jennifer Morrison (Emma Swan), who is making one cameo in the new season, Josh Dallas (Prince Charming), Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White), Emilie de Ravin (Belle), Rebecca Mader (Zelena), who posted she is not leaving by choice, and Jared S. Gilmore (Henry), who is being replaced by an older actor.  But, what do the fans think?

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There are many furious Oncers, but there are also hopeful ones.

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In the end, I guess hope is what Once Upon a Time is all about.

“Believing in even the possibility of a happy ending is a very powerful thing!”– Mary Margaret Blanchard

There are Oncers who are incredibly glad to see Regina (Lana Parrilla), Hook (Colin O’Donoghue), and Rumple (Robert Carlyle) lead OUAT into a seventh season. But what does this mean for their characters?

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I am quite interested in the paths that these characters are going to take in the upcoming season. The show is going to look completely different. Are Oncers ready for that? Hook without Emma, Regina without Henry, and Rumple without Belle.

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Will they all return to being villains? Will they still be chasing the elusive ‘happy ending’? Will season seven ever measure up, or should the creators just end the story at the Final Battle? Should season six be their happy ending?

What do you think? Leave your comments below!

Juliette Boland, Timey Wimey Fandom Blog

Watch my interviews with celebs on The Anglophile Channel! Juliette’s Timey Wimey Fandom Show

xoxo, JBo 

 

 

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Doctor Who: Season 10 Premiere Starring Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie In Cinemas for Two Nights This April

Doctor Who: Season 10 Premiere Coming to Cinemas!

By Juliette Boland

Attention All Whovians!

Catch The Doctor Who Season 10 Premiere at the cinemas PLUS get 25% off of Whovian merch at Hot Topic!!  Doctor Who on the big screen AND shopping? Count me in! 

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Peter Capaldi returns as The 12th Doctor with Pearl Mackie as the NEW companion Bill Potts and the returning Nardole played by Matt Lucas.

Tickets are now on sale for BBC AMERICA’s Doctor Who: Season 10 Premiere, “The Pilot”, presented by Fathom Events, playing in movie theaters nationwide for TWO NIGHTS ONLY on Monday, April 17 and Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. local time, following BBC AMERICA’s television premiere on Saturday, April 15 at 9/8c.

Whovians around the world are sad that season 10 will be Peter Capaldi‘s last season as The 12th Doctor (say it isn’t so!),  so let’s have a great turn out and show our support for this amazing actor who has brought so much depth and life to The Doctor.  Season 10 promises to be an exciting final season for Capaldi, especially with the introduction of brand new companion Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts and the return Nardole played by Matt Lucas. Season 10 is also going to be the final season for DW Executive Producer/Writer, Steven Moffat who promises to deliver laughter, danger and lots of fantastic adventures.

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Check out the latest Season 10 SNEAK PEEK HERE:

 

Whovian Perk: As a special bonus for catching Doctor Who in cinemas, audiences will also enjoy the premiere episode of the Doctor Who spinoff series Class, featuring a guest appearance by the Doctor himself and starring a super cute cast, Vivian Oparah, Sophie Hopkins, Greg Austin and Fady Elsayed.

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Cast of Class: Vivian Oparah, Sophie Hopkins, Greg Austin and Fady Elsayed (Photo by: Ray Burmiston)

PLUS a never-before-seen bonus feature “Becoming the Companion”, in which fans will travel with new companion Pearl Mackie from the London stage through the doors of the TARDIS to a once-in-a-lifetime role, or as Pearl says, “the most insane thing that’s ever happened to me.” Oh to be in that TARDIS with her!!! The bonus feature includes exclusive interviews with Mackie, Capaldi, and Moffat, and is narrated by Ingrid Oliver.

Another COOL Perk: Hot Topic has teamed up with BBC and Fathom to bring you some cool discounts on Doctor Who merchandise! Attendees can bring in their ticket stub or proof of purchase to Hot Topic retail locations for 25% off Doctor Who merchandise, valid March 10 – May 6, 2017. Nobody loves shopping at Hot Topic more than me!

I have this DW backpack! I wore it out! Going to use the Hot Topic 25% off to get a new one!

More Whovian Perks: Fans who purchase tickets through Atom Tickets will receive three free Doctor Who digital comic books from Titan Comics and ComiXology, delivered to purchasing email address on event date.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your tickets today by visiting www.FathomEvents.com or at participating theater box offices. For a complete list of theater locations visit the Fathom Events website (theaters and participants are subject to change).

See ya at the cinema, Whovians! 

Allons-y!

Juliette Boland, The Timey Wimey Fandom Show

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How did 11th Doctor, Matt Smith react to Steven Moffat Leaving Doctor Who? Check it out here:

MORE Doctor Who & Other Fandom Interviews at The Timey Wimey Fandom Page:

https://theanglophilechannel.com/juliettes-timey-wimey-show/

 

 

 

 

 

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Journey to Poldark: How PoldarkDish Got Invited to Poldark

In one week the award-winning, zany American recap/chat-show hosts, Marlise Boland & Elyse Ashton – known affectionately to many Poldark fans as “The Cornwall Cougars” – will be arriving Bristol, England to visit the set of the hit BBC/Masterpiece series, Poldark.  To visit the set – and perhaps engage in some other exciting activity not normally afforded the average visitor.  So, what is PoldarkDish, who are the Cornwall Cougars and how did this visit to Poldark come to be? The Anglophile Channel gives you an inside peek…

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To Dish or Not to Dish! 

Who knew when The Anglophile Channel decided to produce PoldarkDish, a recap show dishing on the popular Mammoth Screen produced series – adapted from the Winston Graham novel, Poldark – that we would one day wind up being invited to the actual set in England – and not only that, but invited to appear on the show as well? Certainly not the Los Angeles-based Cornwall Cougars.

So, how did it all begin? Well, to start with, Poldarkdish nearly didn’t happen. TAC had just finished a rather challenging run of producing OutlandDish, our weekly web-series recapping the Starz original series, Outlander. Our team was rather burned-out from the frenetic pace of producing a weekly show recapping episodes which we did not get in advance, but still managed to upload within a day of each Outlander airing. It took dedication by our team, to say the least – along with some very creative producing. One episode was actually filmed while our hosts were in Los Angeles and director, Paul Boland, was on a cruise ship in the middle of the Caribbean directing via Skype! Our young Timey Wimey Show host, Juliette, (only 12 yrs old at the time and luckily a whiz at Final Cut Pro!), was given the task of editing the episode-which was STILL uploaded on time!  With great fan support but no major sponsors, and little to no acknowledgement from the team at Starz, it seemed highly unlikely we’d go down the Dish road again.

Creative producing – Directing OutlandDish via Skype!

Our US Fans began asking if we were going to “Dish” on Poldark,  the hit BBC One series taking the UK by storm thanks, in no small part, to a brilliant cast, the great writing of Debbie Horsfield and some sexy shirtless scenes by its star, Aidan Turner (The Hobbit, Desperate Romantics). The show was scheduled to air on PBS/Masterpiece as a summer series. However, the thought of putting on another period frock and committing to another 8-week dish show, that may or may not find an audience, did not have us jumping for our corsets. We had hit the wall – to say the least.  If it wasn’t for our trusty director-cameraman-editor, urging us to do a dish on Poldark saying, “I’ve seen it. This one is really up your alley and it’s British!”, we would have never looked up from our scones. With no pressing invitations from Buckingham Palace requesting our presence for tea with The Queen – our schedules were wide open for the whole of the 8-week run. We finally acquiesced and thus began the summer of PoldarkDish in June 2015.

What’s In A Dish

The Dish shows began as a fun way to review and chat about our favorite British shows. Our first show, The Downton Dish, was a straight forward chat show dishing about Downton Abbey. Over tea and scones – and donning our best Downton-esque fashions – Marlise and Elyse would talk about the previous night’s episode.

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We would read Tweets and Comments from fans, do some fun giveaways and share red carpet interviews we’d gotten with various Downton Abbey cast members. Our biggest support came from Downton Abbey Executive Producer, Gareth Neame and Creator/Writer Julian Fellowes – who loved what we were doing.

Because DowntonDish didn’t come on to the scene until Downton Abbey’s 5th Season – we never really found an audience.  But the few viewers – outside our immediate family – that did watch, were extremely loyal. The occasional ‘vignettes’ we did became our favorite part of doing the show. We started brainstorming on how we could make our recaps more creative. By the time we figured it out – the series was coming to an end!  

Still, our work on DowntonDish was recognized by the Los Angeles Press Club with nominations as Best Anchor/Hosts. 

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LA Press Club President and NBC Journalist, Robert Kovacik poses with the Cornwall Cougars and Timey Wimey Show host, Juliette!

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We were actually excited about dishing on Poldark because the new series featured a slew of familiar British faces including some of our favorites: Ruby Bentall (Lark Rise to Candleford, The Paradise), Beatie Edney (The Coroner, In the Name of the Father),  Phil Davis (Bleak House, Sherlock) and the star of the original 1975 Poldark series, Robin Ellis. 

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Original Poldark hottie, Robin Ellis

We always like to film an opening title sequence that parodies the series we’re covering. With OutlandDish, Marlise & Elyse ran around looking for stones to touch so that we would get transported into arms of our very own 18th century Scottish hottie. For PoldarkDish we found our “Cornwall” just down the road from TAC Studios, on the lovely coastline of Southern California. Because it’s LA- the sunbathers on the beach that day didn’t even look twice when we showed up wearing our period frocks and capes! We enlisted the help of Elyse’s husband, Robert, to act as our Ross Poldark. Add our new original theme music, composed by Richard Allen, and we had our opening sequence. 

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Build It and They Will Come!

We worried that without our usual bonus features of cast interviews and lots of giveaways, we wouldn’t have much to offer our viewers. But we figured, even if we didn’t have a huge audience – we were going to have fun creatively. When you think nobody is watching, it’s easy to go balls out. So we went for it: silly cheers, song parodies, melodrama re-enactments and naughty nicknames for our favorite characters – and The Cornwall Cougars were born.

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To our surprise, PoldarkDish found an audience!  The comments and Tweets started rolling in almost immediately, and from all over the world. South America, New Zealand, Far East, Europe…we couldn’t believe it! An even bigger surprise was finding out that our audience included members of the cast…and the producers! We began seeing Tweets from cast members that literally blew us away, and also fueled our enthusiasm! 

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Verity likes us!

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Purdue likes us! ‘Tis right, tis fair, tis fit, tis proper!

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“Essential viewing” they said!! We LOVE Mammoth Screen!

We even had a visit from British comedian, Micky Flanagan, who brought his film crew to our set and, donning a tricorn hat and cape, talked about all things PoldarkDish with us! 

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Costumes ARE required as British comedian Micky Flanagan discovered when he visited the PoldarkDish set!

The first season of PoldarkDish could not have gone better. When Poldark Season 2 was announced we knew we’d be all in – 100%. 

 

They Like Us! They Really, Really Like Us!

One day, we received a message from Mammoth Screen inviting us to lunch during a trip to London. We assumed the meeting would be with the Poldark social media team to talk about “Tweeting” – since we Tweet about Poldark – a lot. As Executive Producer, Marlise attended the meeting solo. We had NO idea that lunch would actually be with Mammoth Screen Managing Director, Damien Timmer and Poldark Executive Producer Karen Thrussell. That’s like getting a lunch in Hollywood with Steven Spielberg and Tina Fey. Ain’t gonna happen.  First thing Marlise thought was, “Oh crap. We’ve offended them by calling Karen Daniels a ho! They’re going to ask us to stop doing PoldarkDish!” But it was the exact opposite. They were fans. FANS of us! When it became clear that it was BOTH Cornwall Cougars they had hoped would be at the lunch, Marlise texted Elyse, (now at a museum 1.3 miles and 21 minutes away),  and said, “How quickly can you get to SoHo?”   Elyse, who has never made claim to any athletic ability whatsoever – suddenly became a track and field star as she bolted – in heels – making it to the restaurant in 13mins flat! Now, that’s Cornwall Cougar dedication! 

I’m sure our mouths were on the floor through most of that first meeting as we listened to Damien and Karen (because, by now, we were on first name basis…) tell us how much they liked us – they really really liked us. We were having an honest-to-God-real-life Sally Field moment. They told us how they would stop working in order to watch the latest episode of PoldarkDish. WHA-WHAT? They quoted PoldarkDish nicknames back to us like “Maggie the Ho” and “Dr. Eye Candy” and even wanted to take a SELFIE ….with US~!  We could NOT have been more stunned than if they said, “We’d like you to co-star in our next series…and you have to kiss Colin Firth….” 

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Clockwise: Karen Thrussell, Damien Timmer, Elyse & Marlise. RWAR!

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And, unlike many Hollywood meetings we’ve had (not with Spielberg or Fey of course…) they could NOT have been nicer or more supportive of our work. They were also curious about why we uploaded our recaps so much later than it aired in the UK. We explained that our recaps coincided with the US airing – usually months later. They suggested we do Season 2 to coincide with the UK airing. We loved that idea. Hopefully the British audience would love the idea to, and take to our crazy bawdy humor.  We were invited to attend the Poldark Season 2 premiere in August, and we were also taken to their post-production facility to get a SNEAK PEEK of Poldark Season 2! As you all know by now, it looked glorious. 

Just as we were about to ask our new BFF’s if they wanted to catch a movie or go get mani-pedis, Damien had to go do ADR with Jenna Coleman on Victoria. As one does.  But we were on Cloud Nine leaving Mammoth and our first meeting with Damien and Karen.

Pop the Cork, A Cornwall Cougar Is Here!

A few months later we were back in London, covering The Queen’s 90th Birthday celebrations at Windsor Castle. Marlise asked Damien if we could pop over and film some interviews with him and Poldark writer, Debbie Horsfield. And they agreed! We arrived at Mammoth Screen and were met with the most amazing hospitality of champagne and cake. Seriously, Spielberg would NEVER have pulled out the stops like this. Just saying.

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Cute! And the pillows aren’t bad either 😉

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Are these the nicest people in show business? Champagne and sweeties! Damien and Debbie can teach a lesson or two to the Hollywood elite.

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Nobody does the Cornwall Cougar Rwar cuter than Debbie Horsfield.

We had a great chat about the process of making Poldark and the insights into Debbie’s process as a writer. At that time we ‘joked’ about the idea of the Cornwall Cougars appearing on the show. We NEVER actually believed it would happen…. We also asked Damien and Debbie to retell the story of how they discovered the PoldarkDish:

In August Elyse represented The Anglophile Channel and PoldarkDish at the London premiere of Poldark S2, getting to chat with many members of the cast and, she reported back, was treated like royalty. Can we just move to London and only work with Mammoth from here on out?

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No sexy scything at the Poldark Season 2 premiere but Aidan Turner was every bit a gentleman.

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Unrecognizable is the beautiful Beatie Edney who plays Prudie.

Hold On and Suck In!

Before you know it we were planning the trip to visit the set of Poldark, currently filming in Bristol at The Bottle Yard Studios. We brought up the ‘joked about’ idea of us appearing in a scene and Damien immediately answered back positively! (Perhaps this was a good time to ask about that new show and said kissing scene with Colin Firth?)

The wheels were set in motion. The Cornwall Cougars would be appearing on an episode of Poldark Season 3!  Before you ask if we’re going to be cougars on the prowl for Ross or Dr. Eye Candy – we are not. It’s a secret as to which scene we’ll actually be in, but we can say that things got rather real when we had to send in our measurements to the costume department. Yikes! With Thanksgiving landing in-between the sending of the measurements and our arrival at The Bottle Yard Studios – perhaps we should have padded those numbers a bit. We shan’t be having scones until our Journey to Poldark is behind us….

Pinch Us!

Needless to say Elyse and Marlise have been giggling like schoolgirls for months. Mostly out of shock. You work for years in an industry that gives very little back in terms of validation or respect. For an artist and producer – it has to be about the work and the journey – not the reward. You learn that early on. So when acknowledgment comes in the form of amazing validation from people that you highly respect, it’s like an out of body experience. We’re rather used to hearing ‘no’ – or not hearing anything at all – but, hearing “we like you” is still – a shock. But, a welcome shock. 

So here we go. Our Journey to Poldark begins! We will bring you all along for the ride via blog posts, Spot On videos, Tweets and FB post. So follow us everywhere!

Thank you to all the PoldarkDish fans that have supported our Journey to Poldark via our crowdfunding campaign. We’re not the BBC (yet) and do not have major sponsors on board (yet) and therefore, like a PBS, rely on the support of our audience and a few small businesses such as The Rose Tree Cottage, who recently hosted a PoldarkDish Afternoon Tea  and helped us raise the funds needed to make our Journey to Poldark! To Mary and Edmund Fry – we love you and we thank you for always believing in our “little engine that could” over at The Anglophile Channel!

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All our PoldarkDish supporters! HUGE fans of Poldark – every one of us!

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Thank You to our New BFF’s

We are forever grateful to Damien and the team over at Mammoth Screen for giving us this amazing opportunity – not only for us, The Cornwall Cougars, but for the Poldark fans that have supported us and are coming along for the ride. Thank you for believing in us and not thinking we’re just crazy American lunatics out to grope Aidan Turner!

Here we go….

The Cornwall Cougars! RWAR!

Visit The PoldarkDish Crowdfunding Page!

WATCH The PoldarkDish Recaps Here:

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On Pleasure Bent Again: Amba Hotel Charing Cross

By Elyse Ashton

I’ve been a guest at a lot of hotels in London and yet had never had that ONE hotel which was the “must stay”. I was looking for that place that felt like a home away from home with that little bit of added pampering which makes it ideal to stay for business or pleasure. Budget or itinerary always seem to be deciding factors and I am always up for trying someplace new.ambaBut now, finally, I have a clear favourite. Amba Hotel Charing Cross is where I want to stay. My husband and I enjoyed this hotel even when staying during their renovations over a year ago. When you really want to return to a place after being jolted awake by the sound of construction crews, it must be something special. We were able to return in May and really appreciate the changes. We entered from the madness and crowds that surround Charing Cross Station and suddenly, almost surreally, everything is serene. amba-hotel-charing-cross

The staff is the kindest, most welcoming and competent we’ve come across in our travels. When my husband asked them if our room had a bath (which he forgot to verify when booking) they upgraded us to a mini-suite.

When we couldn’t figure out some of the very up to date tech in the room, a member of staff showed up in minutes to sort it out for us. He even had freshly baked cookies on a plate as an offering and stayed an extra moment to discuss a little English football.20161120_214030 The mini suite was fabulous, roomy and incredibly comfortable. Snuggly robes and slippers awaited, as did the obligatory, most welcome kettle (when will the USA adopt this custom!?!) and complimentary mini bar. There was an ipad in the room to help sort out London plans, book theatre seats or make restaurant reservations.20160825_115454 Special lounges are set aside for the guests staying in suites, but there were several areas in the lobby, public areas, bar or restaurant where you could have an informal business meeting or invite a friend to meet you. The whole hotel is wired for the twenty first century and I never had a problem with wifi connections. We saw that the tradition of sending up a treat for a special occasion like a guest’s birthday continued.20140508_171953-1 The renovations have kept intact the character of this historic hotel while giving it a modern and fresh ambiance. The glorious sweep of the central staircase still lures me to choose it over the lifts even when my feet are begging for mercy.staircase-amba

The day begins fabulously as soon as we head into the restaurant’s terrace for breakfast. I’m not usually a breakfast person and just want to gulp down some tea and head off. At Amba, I look forward to spending a bit of time over breakfast every morning. The view over The Strand from the terrace, even in the rain, sets a luxurious tone for the day. We were so pleased to see the lovely Isabel preside over the breakfast room just as she did on our previous visit, making everyone feel welcome, catching up with the regulars and sharing a laugh. 20160825_115522I will paraphrase Jane Austen and aver that I have never seen a place–at least a London hotel– so happily situated. It stands smack up against Charing Cross Station, so transport is easy. West End theatres and The National are an short walk away as are Soho, Southbank and so many other fun neighbourhoods. I have strolled “home” down the Mall from Buckingham Palace after visiting Clarence House. The National Gallery and Portrait Gallery are just opposite Trafalgar Square and just a quick hop over the road.20160510_220909

Dining options seem endless. St Martin-In-the-Fields, one of my regular haunts, is just across the street boasting the Cafe In The Crypt and a great selection of concerts. Rules, the oldest restaurant in London, is just around the corner. Or you could dine well without leaving the hotel. One feels that being a guest at Amba is a privilege and that you, as a guest, are valued.  Everything about our stay felt a just little bit special. Departure day was sad, even though I was traveling on from London to see a bit more of Britain. I have to admit that now, I truly have a favourite London hotel. I can’t wait to return.

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Cheap & Easy! My Flight On Norwegian.

By Elyse Ashton

Last minute plans had me scrambling to book a ticket in August. After many years of travel from LAX to London solely on British Airways, I followed the advice of friends and flew back to LA on Norwegian. Norwegian boasts a more fuel efficient aircraft which they say translates into lower prices and quicker flight times. The price of a coach ticket was comparable to the price one would pay in taxes alone plus I would have been using up my Avios points.  Because the Norwegian ticket price was so reasonable and I knew I would be lugging back suitcases, I upgraded to the premium cabin. An upgraded ticket also gets you two free checked bags, earphones, a blanket and meals as well as lounge privileges at Gatwick. Yes, I know. Gatwick. It was actually much nicer than I remembered.

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Gatwick was shiny and fun.

The Gatwick Express got me there in plenty of time from Victoria Station and I was able to purchase discounted tickets in advance online. Gatwick Airport was bright, modern and filled with great shops I certainly don’t remember from the last time I flew in decades ago. The lounge was a little crowded but comfortable enough without being plush and lots of power points to charge up the gadgets, plus a generous buffet, drinks both cold and hot, as well as delicious looking, complimentary meals you could order individually. DO THIS. Really– eat something! I beg you. But, more on that later….

On some of the lower cost airlines, I just haven’t felt as safe (and you know who you are with your crazy rules, your ridiculous weight limits and your sadistic, plastic seats) but Norwegian felt—solid. First impressions weren’t great. It was all very DIY. You have to check in at a kiosk, print your own baggage tags which you attach yourself before lugging the bags to the person manning the conveyor belt who backs up to let you heave your bags onto the scale before he decides if you have done everything correctly or must be punished. My stickers weren’t on properly but the luggage person, smiled, took his time, fixed my stickers and assured me all was well. He humanized the experience and calmed my nerves. My fears of being greeted at the aircraft by robot attendants sporting viking helmets were unfounded. The plane itself was spotlessly clean, modern and the crew was welcoming and professional. Norwegian’s premium cabin doesn’t compare with the little luxuries of other airline’s business class, but, for space, comfort and price, it beats premium economy hands down. I loved the cool touches like the windows tinting automatically “sunglasses style” to help ease you into the next time zone and a steady flow of fresh air to avoid the effects of jet lag. What was unusual is that I was never shivering as I often am on flights.  The cabin temperature was well regulated. A blanket came with my upgraded seat, and although I love to snuggle in a blanket, I would have been warm enough without it.

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Streamlined for speed and fuel economy.

I had a wide bulkhead seat with so much legroom my feet didn’t touch the partition. There are limited entertainment choices on the personal screens, but I found something amusing to help pass the time. There are complimentary newspapers and magazines to grab before you board, including unusual choices like Conde Nast Traveler and The Lady. It helped that my seatmate was a lot of fun and our chatter helped the time pass quickly. The flight attendants were all friendly and capable.

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Lots of legroom. Spread out! Relax!

This was the first flight on Norwegian for both my seatmate and I, and we were, overall quite pleased with the experience and the price, but we were hungry. We each had pre-ordered vegetarian meals. Maybe that was the problem. The non-vegetarians seemed quite pleased. Our meals arrived in little boxes and were sufficient, if not completely filling. There was a tiny salad and a hot entree portion. Conforming with my constant complaint of most airline meals, Norwegian included the inevitable sad little fruit cup instead of proper dessert. I’m a vegetarian, not a follower in a cult of self-denial. Is that carrot cake made with pork chops? No? Then I want some! The offer of Baileys or brandy, tea and coffee after the meal was lovely.

Snacks were available to purchase with a credit card from your individual screen. My seatmate, though tiny, claimed the appetite of ten men so midway through the flight she ordered a veggie wrap which arrived quickly and icy, icy cold but tasty. We in the premium cabin were offered water regularly, but it was also available for purchase by the bottle. I sat back and fantasized about the breakfast to come. I got a dream-dashing breakfast salad and another fruit cup of despair. By this time, my seatmate and I could only giggle and talk longingly about the lapdog sized burritos we planned to gorge ourselves on when we landed. I should have investigated the snacks on offer more thoroughly and bought something despite my reluctance to eat between meals.

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Just a fantasy…

But the flight was smooth, we landed at LAX safely, even earlier than scheduled and I hit the ground running. Those jet-lag avoiding tactics used by Norwegian really worked. Would I fly Norwegian again or recommend the airline? Absolutely! Check them out if they fly from your city. Words to the wise: use the UK site to book your travel and save some money, use that money to upgrade, and for the love of Jamie Oliver, bring or buy snacks!

Posted in Bats In My Bonnet By Lady Elyse Ashton, Home Page Posts | Tagged , | 2 Comments