Was Sarah Lancashire always the choice to play “Julia”? | Television


Rich Heldenfels Tribune News Service

You have questions. I have answers.

Q: We really enjoyed HBO Max’s “Julia” series and thought Sarah Lancashire was exceptional in the title role. Did the producers of “Julia” see her as potential for this role possibly based on other work, or did she just go to a casting call and win the role?

Answer: Lancashire has such an impressive stage and screen resume that Vanity Fair recently called her “Britain’s acting treasure”. (Readers here may know her from the productions “Last Tango in Halifax” and “Happy Valley,” among others.)

The creators of ‘Julia’ had a long list of possible actors to play Julia Child – at one point Joan Cusack was slated – and Lancashire was on the list, sent in the show’s pilot script and asked to audition . As Vanity Fair said, she hadn’t auditioned in decades because as a young actor, “I was so desperate to audition.”

But that part was interesting enough that she flew to Los Angeles for an audition. And she was so good that the show and network concluded “It was Sarah or nothing,” showrunner Chris Keyser said. But it was Sarah, the show is really something, and a second season has been ordered.

People also read…

Q: I am writing to you in the hope that one of my favorite shows, “The Maid”, will return. It ended abruptly. Thanks for bringing it back!

Answer: The Fox drama starring Elodie Yung opted for a cliffhanger ending – as so many shows do these days. But you should get a resolution next season, since Fox has ordered a second run.

Q: I just watched the season finale of “Bull,” and it looks like Jason Bull quit. Does this mean that the series will not return?

Answer: Several readers were surprised by the events of the May 26 episodes of the drama Michael Weatherly. As reported (and mentioned here before), “Bull” ended this season, with this May 26 episode serving as the series finale.

Weatherly said in January “I’ve decided it’s time to take on new creative challenges and close the story (of Bull).” The show had also had several off-camera issues – including the settlement of a sexual harassment lawsuit – and the ratings reportedly declined.

Q: I’m so sad to hear that the reboot of “Magnum PI” was canceled by CBS after four seasons. It’s such a great show. Is there a chance it will be picked up for more seasons by another network or streaming service?

Answer: The series with Jay Hernandez as Thomas Magnum would be sold to other programmers. While the series was popular, as Deadline.com reported, it was “a business decision, not a creative one, after the two parties couldn’t reach an agreement on the licensing fee because the lower overall linear ratings pushed down on the networks ready to spend on shows.

Adding to the problem was that “Magnum” did not come from the CBS studio but from Universal, and the network had “murderous negotiations” with Universal over deals for all three “FBI” and “The Equalizer” series. Those shows were must-watch shows for CBS, Deadline reported. “Magnum”, not so much.

Q: In the late 1960s or early 1970s, there was a “Twilight Zone” type of TV show with an intro featuring a roller coaster ride, accompanied by a theme music that sounded like it was being whistled. Very strange. Do you know what this show was called and if it is available again?

Answer: It was an anthology series made in England called “Journey to the Unknown”, which first aired in 1968-69 for 17 episodes. The series has been compared to Alfred Hitchcock’s television series; Joan Harrison, who has collaborated with Hitchcock on several occasions, was executive producer of “Journey.”

Episodes of the series have also been combined for four TV movies: “Journey to the Unknown”, “Journey to Murder”, “Journey into Darkness”, and “Journey to Midnight”. I couldn’t find an authorized version of the series, but you can find episodes on YouTube.

Do you have a question or comment about entertainment past, present and future? Write to Rich Heldenfels, PO Box 417, Mogadore, OH 44260, or [email protected]

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