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Sunday, 18 November 2018

Radio 4 presents the world premiere of Alex Mackendrick’s Mary Queen of Scots featuring Glenda Jackson


Narration from multi award-winning actor Glenda Jackson; Bafta Breakthrough Brit director, Hope Dickson Leach; and a performance from rising star, Ellie Bamber - late film director Alex Mackendrick’s unmade movie Mary Queen of Scots airs on Radio 4 on Saturday 8 December.

The screenplay follows the tragic life of 16th century monarch, Mary Stuart; from exile to reign, to demise, and was developed with Jay Presson-Allen (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Marnie, Cabaret). Originally Mackendrick imagined Mary Queen of Scots as a western, a portrait of a woman trying to survive internecine battles for power between rival clans; but he also described the screenplay as "a gangster study".

Mackendrick first began the film’s development whilst at Ealing Films in the 1950s, but studio head Michael Balcon vetoed it as "too disrespectful of royalty." Later, at different points, Mackendrick worked on drafts of the script with Gore Vidal and Anthony Burgess. By 1969 Mary Queen of Scots was due to start production, backed by Universal Studios and with Sandy Lieberson producing. When this was derailed Mackendrick followed a new opportunity in a teaching position at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). Whilst he never completed his final film project Mackendrick will be remembered for pivotal cinematic works including The Ladykillers and Sweet Smell of Success.

For this radio adaptation, director Hope Dickinson Leach and producers Dancing Ledge Productions have collaborated with the film’s intended producer, Sandy Liberson, and the Mackendrick estate. Glenda Jackson narrates, providing a theatrical parallel given her role as Elizabeth I in the 1971 BBC Two television drama series Elizabeth R. Bridging the generations of acting talent, Jackson is joined by stage and screen actor Ellie Bamber in the role of Mary Stuart. The cast for Radio 4’s production also includes Mark Bonnar as Scottish politician William Maitland, Emun Elliot as Bothwell and Kerr, and as Darnley, Edward Holcroft.

Alison Hindell, Radio 4’s Commissioning Editor for Drama and Fiction says: “Once again Radio 4 brings a script to life which may have otherwise languished in the archives. Mackendrick’s Mary Queen of Scots has a notable trio of brilliant women both in front of and behind the microphone and follows other unmade movies successfully adapted into radio dramas, including those by Arthur Miller, Orson Welles, Harold Pinter and Dennis Potter.”

Laurence Bowen, Producer, Dancing Ledge Productions, says: “Alexander Mackendrick’s very personal take on Mary Queen of Scots, set over just one treacherous year, presents us with an extraordinary portrait of the young twenty three year old Queen. Isolated, pregnant, betrayed yet still with a steely intelligence and instinct for survival that, for a moment, seems to triumph over the two warring gangs of men that surround her. It’s been an honour to bring it all to life.”

Glenda Jackson says: “I love radio, it’s my favourite medium - because you never have to learn your lines or wear make-up.”

Unmade Movies: Alex Mackendrick’s Mary Queen of Scots
Saturday 8 December, 2.30-4pm
Narrator… Glenda Jackson
Mary Stuart… Ellie Bamber
Maitland… Mark Bonnar
Bothwell/Kerr... Emun Elliott
Darnley… Edward Holcroft
Murray/Rizzio/Taylor/Scout… Kevin Guthrie
Morton… Bill Paterson 
Ruthven/Du Croc/Knox/Erskine… Struan Rodger
Paris/Porter… Jamie Quinn
Mary Seton/Mary Fleming… Katharine O’Donnelly

Saturday, 17 November 2018

BBC Children in Need’s 2018 Appeal raises a whopping £50.5 million


People from across the UK have come together once again to raise a phenomenal £50,595,053 for BBC Children in Need’s 2018 Appeal. The money raised during the evening means that the charity has now raised over £1 billion since the first major Appeal in 1980, all to help make a difference to the lives of disadvantaged children and young people around the UK.

Live on BBC One and Two from 7.30pm on Friday until the early hours of Saturday morning, the 2018 Appeal show marked the crescendo of this year’s fundraising activities for BBC Children in Need with a special night of family entertainment to help raise money for disadvantaged children and young people in communities across the UK.

TV favourites Ade Adepitan and Tess Daly kicked off proceedings, before Mel Giedroyc and Graham Norton took over ahead of Rochelle and Marvin Humes, who were later joined by Rob Beckett. All seven presenters saw the stage came to life with performances from Boyzone, Jamie Cullum, Jonas Blue featuring Liam Payne, and Lennon Stella, Anne Marie and Sheridan Smith. A standout performance on the night saw Jamie Cullum take to the stage for a beautiful and emotive performance of the 2018 official single for BBC Children in Need, Love Is In The Picture. Jamie wrote the single especially for the 2018 Appeal and it is available to buy now.

A very special highlight came from the cast of EastEnders, who spread some movie magic across Albert Square with a delightful Disney medley which celebrated Mickey Mouse’s 90th Anniversary. In what was the most dazzling EastEnders medley yet, the cast took on roles inspired by classic Disney characters whilst performing in The Square. There was also an added sprinkle of Disney animation and special effects bringing extra magic to the scenes.

The 2018 show also saw Boyzone bidding to win the Pudsey Glitter Ball trophy in the Strictly Come Dancing BBC Children in Need special. The special saw the band taking to the dancefloor with the Strictly pros, with Shane Lynch and professional partner Luba Mushtuk lifting the 2018 Pudsey Glitterball trophy.

In a fitting tribute to the charity’s Life-President, the show also saw the presentation of the third Sir Terry Wogan Fundraiser Of The Year Award. The accolade recognises the charity’s fundraisers, of whom Sir Terry was a huge champion, and went to Keeley Browse who has fundraised for BBC Children in Need for many years, putting on charity gala nights for the whole community.

The show also saw the finale of The One Show’s Rickshaw Challenge, as the team arrived at the finishing point in Salford. During the challenge Matt Baker and six inspirational young people who have beneffited from BBC Children in Need funding, cycled the rickshaw 423 miles, from Calais to Salford, raising an amazing £4.3 million along the way.

Another very special moment on the show saw an incredible young girl who has been supported by a BBC Children in Need funded project visit the Doctor Who film set. On the visit she entered the TARDIS and met the entire cast before being surprised by the Doctor herself, Jodie Whittaker.

The 2018 Appeal show also saw world-famous music artists come together for deserving project workers funded by BBC Children in Need. The Project workers being surprised by some of the biggest names in music including Olly Murs, Craig David, Little Mix, Sheridan Smith and Alfie Boe. The artists joined the project workers in song, giving them the opportunity to duet with their musical idols.

Actor and comedian Stephen Mangan hosted a special episode of Mastermind in support of BBC Children in Need. For the first time ever the questions were tackled by pairs made up of four children who have been supported by a BBC Children in Need funded project, alongside a celebrity partner. The celebrity partners included David Bradley, Tony Clay, Steve McManaman and John Thomson.

During the evening, Michael Ball and Jo Whiley came to the stage to announce the Radio 2 fundraising total for 2018, which was led by Chris Evans. The Radio 2 team raised an absolutely phenomenal £9.2 million. The staggering amount of money was raised after a series of fundraising activities including Chris Evans’ extraordinary auction prizes, Carfest, and some of the station’s biggest names lending their support to raise money for the charity.

Celebrities including Rob Brydon, Alesha Dixon, Sue Johnston, Little Mix, Naomie Harris, Keeley Hawes, and Katie Piper reminded viewers about where their money goes with stories of the children and young people who have received support from BBC Children in Need funded projects, thanks to the generosity of people across the UK and their fundraising efforts.


Other highlights of the evening included:
Over 1,400 children came together across ten different UK locations to sing in unison in the Children’s Choir performing A Million Dreams, from the musical The Greatest Showman.

Actors Eddie Redmayne and Zoë Kravitz undertook an interview with Alex Jones for The One Show which took a surprising turn when they were fed answers through an ear-piece by three cheeky school-children.
School Of Rock opened the show with a spectacular medley of exclusive songs.

Call The Midwife stars Jenny Agutter, Helen George and Jennifer Kirby came together onstage to give an exclusive first-look at the Call The Midwife 2018 Christmas special.

Audiences were given an exclusive first-look at Doctor Who’s forthcoming episode.

Straight from London’s West End, there was a fantastic musical performance from the cast of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.

The total raised for Children in Need Rocks 2018 was announced, an incredible £632,000.
Countryfile presenters John Craven and Ellie Harrison announced this year’s total for Countryfile, a phenomenal £2.9 million.

A whole host of stars including James Argent, Nadine Coyle, Spencer Matthews, Vogue Williams, Greg Rutherford and Georgia Toffolo joined Marvin, Rochelle and Rob for fun and games towards the end of the evening.

Thank you messages to fundraisers and schools across the UK who have pulled out all the stops in their fundraising this year and are currently on track to raise £4.75 million and £5.5 million respectively.


Simon Antrobus, Chief Executive of BBC Children in Need, says: “Once again, people across the UK should be feeling incredibly proud of what has been achieved. The remarkable generosity shown this evening will go on make a lasting difference to the lives of disadvantaged children and young people all across the UK who really do need our help. Thank you!”

Tonight’s total represents an exciting culmination of fundraising activity for BBC Children in Need - but this evening’s total will continue to rise as the money pours in from the thousands of events already held, or scheduled to happen, across the UK. And it's not too late to get involved! Organise a fundraising event or donate at bbc.co.uk/Pudsey or 0345 733 2233.

The BBC Children in Need Appeal Show is a BBC Studios production, executive produced by Clare Pizey and Leanne Witcoop.

Jamie Oliver interview on Jimmy & Jamie's Friday Night Feast


Jimmy & Jamie's Friday Night Feast starts Friday 7th December at 8pm on Channel 4



Tell us a bit about the new run of Jamie & Jimmy's Friday Night Feast…

It’s the sixth series and feels like it’s getting better and better as time goes on. People are getting creative in how they consume TV content - on Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, catch-up, in all sorts of weird, wonderful and dynamic ways - but I think actually many of them want regular, trusted programmes at certain times of the week. And on Friday evenings, it just fits. It’s a nice balance of cooking, celebrities and campaigning. It’s great to have that seven-minute soapbox campaign slot, rather than an hour-long documentary. The show has achieved amazing, important things because of a light-hearted little Friday night rant. And we genuinely work hard to make the audience happy.

Are the slots to be diners in the café still vastly over-subscribed?

It’s always a  massive response. The series is just a joy to make: the right show at the right time. People have a little extra spring in their step on Fridays. They shop and cook differently at weekends, when it’s more about comfort good and indulgence. We celebrate food in the same way. Plus we’re getting amazing superstar guests.

You’ve got some fantastic guests this series, including Danny DeVito. How was he?

Hilarious. He’s a Hollywood legend and he came especially to see us - at the end of Southend Pier, two hours out of London, for a six-hour filming. That isn’t normal. On Jonathan Ross, you can get in and out in two hours, so our show is a major time commitment. But people come because they like what we do and they love food. Danny calls everyone baby - “hey baby, thanks baby”.

What do you cook for him?

You’re going to love Danny’s story. We go back to his roots in Basilicata, where his grandparents came from. He’s never been there himself but that particular part of southern Italy was tough and full of poverty, especially after the war. We get pictures in front of his grandparents’ old house with the town’s mayor. The mayor’s also the local baker and the deputy mayor makes olive oil and wine. Every morsel of food cooked in the café that day was from the town where his family comes from. We got a traditional pasta shape and recipe that his grandparents would definitely have cooked. We had archive pictures on the walls. He was genuinely moved. The mayor wrote him a letter saying the town was so proud of everything he’d achieved, how they always seen him as one of their own and giving him the keys to the city.

Harry Hill is another guest this series. How was he?

Brilliant. As funny and chaotic, as you’d expect. His story was an interesting one. He used to be a doctor, spent some time working out in India and talked about his memories of how good the hospital canteen food was. Our job was to try and relive that for him. So we found the hospital and one of the chefs from Harry’s time was still there. We got the actual recipes from him, then we recreated this thali, which is like a platter of different curries, with the bread that he remembered. On Southend Pier.

What about Stephen Fry?

He was on banging form. I don’t know how we’re going to edit that show because it was too funny. Utterly brilliant. We talked about everything from cake decorating to personal hygiene.

And Jodie Whittaker, aka the new Doctor Who?

She was wonderful. What you see is what you get with Jodie. She’s a grafter, she’s enthusiastic and she’s everything you want her to be. Just like Jessica Ennis, who’s also on this series. Gold standard. Our first Dame on the show. As a dad of girls, it’s amazing to have these extraordinary female role models on the show.

How’s your old mate Jimmy Doherty?

He’s so good. I’m so lucky to work with Jimmy. I’ve got the advantage of having grown up with him since the age of two, so I know him inside out, frontwards and backwards. Jimmy’s always got a few shows on the go and he does more days’ filming than anyone I know, so technically he’s on fire but still loads of fun and beautifully daft. He’s a farmer, a butcher and nobody on the planet travels to as many farms and food businesses around the world as he does. Combine that knowledge with my cooking and we’re a really good twosome.

Is he going to be your best man? Because you’re getting married again…

Yeah! Me and Jools are going to renew our vows to celebrate our 20th anniversary. We don’t get out much or have too many parties, so we thought we’d give it a go. She loves the idea and thinks it’s romantic. I think 20 years is a massive achievement. And if we get to 40 years, we’ll do it again.

What have you learnt in 20 years of marriage?

Bloody good question. To never hold grudges. Move on. And just hang about. Don’t go anywhere. It’s genuinely a wonderful thing and I’m so grateful to her. I couldn’t do what I do without her nailing all the kids and family stuff. We’re a good team. She keeps me on my toes, doesn’t take any shit, she’s kind, she’s funny… At some point in life, you have to go “I did good there. Lucked out and punched well above my weight.”

Friday, 16 November 2018

I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! - Trailer


Sneak peek at I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! Trailer

This is the first look at Dec & Holly in the Jungle, this new on air promo will be seen during tonight's (Friday 16th November) Coronation Street.  I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! starts this Sunday at 9pm on ITV.

Britain’s Youngest Football Boss


Britain’s Youngest Football Boss (w/t) follows top flight football club West Ham United women’s team and their 19-year-old Managing Director Jack Sullivan.

As women’s football explodes into the mainstream in the run-up to next summer’s World Cup, Jack’s dad David Sullivan, one of the richest men in Britain and the Chairman of West Ham United, has tasked Jack with transforming the club’s fortunes.

Filming on and off the pitch across the season, the series will follow the progress of a squad of female players as they debut in the professional Women’s Super League. Having leap-frogged two divisions from the part-time third tier into the newly-revamped league, West Ham United women’s team will now, for the first time, compete at the highest level of the sport, against some of the toughest teams in the world.

Jack’s first full-time job since leaving school at 16 will be overseeing a squad of 18 outspoken, powerful women, and trying to raise the profile of a growing sport often dismissed and derided by male fans. With exclusive access to the club, players and backroom staff, as well as to Jack and his larger-than-life family, this is a revealing and inspiring behind-the-scenes story of what it takes to be a professional female footballer in today’s game, and whether a loveable but inexperienced teenager can change the face of women’s football.

Britain’s Youngest Football Boss (w/t) is made by Curious Productions for BBC Three. Charlie Russell and Dov Freedman are the Executive Producers. It was commissioned by Damian Kavanagh, Controller of BBC Three and David Brindley, Head of Commissioning, Popular Factual and Factual Entertainment. The BBC Commissioning Executive is Michael Jochnowitz. The first two episodes will be released on BBC Three on Wednesday 5 December 2018.

Jamie and Jimmy's Friday Night Feast is back and jam-packed with celebrity guests


BFFs Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty return to Channel 4 with a brand new series of Friday Night Feast to help motivate the nation to cook up a storm every weekend this winter. Over twelve weeks, and housed in their pop-up caff at the end of Southend Pier, the boys will be joined in the kitchen by a host of famous faces from Hollywood film heavy-weights and British TV Royalty to top notch comedians and world-class athletes.

From across the pond, Jimmy and Jamie welcome Hollywood icon, Danny DeVito and Academy Award ® winning actor Jessica Chastain to join them in the kitchen during the series.

British talent flexing their culinary muscles will include Hollywood stalwart - star of stage and screen, Sir Patrick Stewart, Black Panther and Sherlock actor Martin Freeman, and new ‘Doctor’ and Broadchurch star, actor Jodie Whittaker. Also doing their utmost to impress the lads are actor / writer / presenter / activist Stephen Fry, actor Stephen Mangan, and the boys welcome their first Dame into the Southend bolthole, Olympian Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill.

And trying their best to distract Jamie and Jimmy are funny people Harry Hill, Russell Howard and ‘serial guest’, comedian / actor Romesh Ranganathan, who will no-doubt laugh off any cooking mishaps and distract, or impress the café customers with their gastronomic skills.

Across the series Jamie and Jimmy will also be back on the campaign trail to highlight a range of food issues and Jimmy will using his DIY prowess to create some imaginative solutions to foodie dilemmas. 

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Children in Need Rocks 2018: Q&A with Rita Ora


Presenters Fearne Cotton and Clara Amfo and performers All Saints, George Ezra, Jess Glynne, Nile Rodgers & CHIC, Olly Murs, Tom Odell, Rita Ora and Sir Rod Stewart will take to the stage for a spectacular night of entertainment in Children in Need Rocks 2018 coming to BBC One, 15 November at 8.30pm.

A glittering array of covers and classic songs will feature as part of the concert, recorded on Wednesday 7 November at The SSE Arena, Wembley, including a performance of George Michael's iconic song Freedom, performed by Rita Ora.

Rita Ora Q&A

What is your favourite example of an artist covering a song and why?

I think it’s every artist, when you sing something that isn’t yours, and you get to do your own thing on it, it’s really fun because the pressure is off, you can be as creative as you like and pay homage to the artist and the song.

Why have you chosen to cover George Michael’s song Freedom and what inspires you about George Michael?

George Michael and the song Freedom changed my life, it made me feel like I was able to do anything, take over the world. He is an icon, I hope my cover honours him and reminds people of his incredible talent.

What song means the most to you?

The song that means the most to me is pretty much every Adele song. Like the rest of the world, they always bring me to tears. She really is the best, and her lyrics really resonate with me.

What artist, past or present would you most like to duet or collaborate with?

I would love to do something with an icon like George Michael of course, but for the present, I think there are so many artists from the UK which are doing such a great job, we really are representing, especially the girls and the pop-stars, so it would be hard to pick, but I am definitely down for a big-collab!

Who is your favourite artist in the charts at the moment and why?

I love everyone, but Sam Smith is my boy, and I love his song Promises, with Calvin Harris.


Other covers being featured include:
An exclusive performance by All Saints of The Police's much-loved hit  Message In A Bottle
Jess Glynne’s interpretation of soul music legend Otis Redding's Hard To Handle, especially for Children in Need Rocks 2018
A re-imagination of George Michael's iconic song Freedom, performed by Rita Ora
George Ezra will cover Rudimental's 2018 hit These Days
Viewers will see Olly Murs cover Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop The Feeling and Rock Your Body
Tom Odell will treat the audience to his version of True Colours by Cyndi Lauper
Classic songs performed on the show will include Sir Rod Stewart’s Maggie May and Nile Rodgers & CHIC’s Le Freak.

The spectacular show is in aid of BBC Children in Need and will be broadcast on BBC One, 15 November at 8.30pm.