PBS imported 'Downton Abbey' from across the pond and it quickly became one of their most successful programs. Now, the American station is hoping to cull some more success from British series, having obtained the rights to 'Vicious' from ITV, Deadline reports.
'Vicious' is a traditional sitcom style comedy with a very special cast: the show is about a long-time couple played by Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Derek Jacobi (that's right: they've both been knighted). These men are classically-trained Shakespearian actors with more pedigree and awards than I could possibly write about here. They are two of the most respected and revered actors on the entire planet... and here they are, yukking it up on a multi-camera sitcom. It's a strange scenario to say the least, but one that PBS is hoping will intrigue American audiences.
'Vicious' aired its first season of six episodes back in April, to high ratings. The series features the two Knights as a constantly-bickering couple who have been together for over four decades. They live together in a small Covent Garden flat. The comedy seems styled on a 'Honeymooners' sort of humor, where the couple fight but love each other deeply.
Ian McKellen is the better-known of the duo on this side of the ocean, thanks to his recurring feature roles as Magneto in the 'X-Men' films and Gandalf in the 'Lord of the Rings' series. He has always balanced large, money-making pictures with smaller, passion-project performances. His starring turn in 'Gods & Monsters' remains one of the most remarkable performances by a film actor I have ever seen. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for 'Gods & Monsters' in 1999.
Derek Jacobi is known recently for his roles in 'The King's Speech' and 'Gladiator,' however he was a star of the British stage for decades. His performance as The King in Kenneth Branagh's 'Hamlet' is particularly impressive and noteworthy. Jacobi has won two Primetime Emmy Awards and has been nominated for a Golden Globe.
A second season of 'Vicious' is coming to ITV; here's hoping the show performs well enough in the USA to bring that second season over this way.