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Friday, 14 May 2021

Brand new Comedy Threesome Please Help Me comes to BBC Three

Written by and starring Lucy Pearman (Red Dwarf, The Mind of Herbert Clunkerdunk, Mister Winner) Please Help Me follows the story of a normal girl living and working on an isolated farm in Oxfordshire who is trapped in a mundane and claustrophobic life as her grandmother's only carer. As life becomes increasingly fraught she develops bizarre and inexplicable magical powers that make her absolutely NOT normal anymore.

The episode, which has just finished filming on location in Oxfordshire, also stars Anna Calder-Marshall, Harry Peacock, David Mumeni and Edward Bluemel and will be broadcast later this year on BBC Three on BBC iPlayer.

Lucy Pearman says: "I'm very excited and also scared to be writing and creating a project for the BBC with Tiger Aspect. I can't believe how much admin is involved in making 15 minutes of TV but I'm having the time of my life. I've got an amazing cast and crew and I finally get to work with a Shetland pony, what more could a girl ask for."

David Simpson, Head of Tiger Aspect Comedy, says: "Lucy is a true original. Her script is brilliantly crafted and simultaneously warm and charming and wildly funny. We can't wait for people to see it."

Ben Caudell, Commissioning Editor for the BBC says: "Lucy is an absurdist auteur who has given us a thrilling slice of comic magic realism that defies categorization, even though I just called it comic magic realism. It's been an absolute joy to be tangentially involved with it, not least because I get to send emails where the subject line is 'PLEASE HELP ME' and it be a straightforward work email rather than my regular desperate cry for urgent assistance."

James McAvoy and Sharon Horgan to star in Together

Directed by the Academy, Emmy and Bafta Award-winning director, Stephen Daldry (The Crown, Billy Elliot, The Reader) the film is set in the UK from the first days of the Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020 until present day. Together is produced by Guy Heeley (Locke, Denial, London Spy) and the multi-award-winning West End and Broadway theatre producer Sonia Friedman (TV credits include: Uncle Vanya, The Dresser, Wolf Hall).

This is the story of a family, like so many, who found a way to survive - together. It is the hilarious and heartbreaking story of a husband and wife who are forced to re-evaluate themselves and their relationship through the reality of lockdown.

James McAvoy says: "Dennis writes so wittily for these characters and his script had me within the first few pages. When I heard Sharon was involved with Stephen Daldry directing it was a no brainer. It's a hilarious, heartfelt, entertaining and unconsciously funny exploration of a relationship and a couple facing real tragedy across a year we have all lived through."

Sharon Horgan adds: "I think everyone who got involved in this film had no intention of doing a Covid drama but then we read Dennis' script and changed our minds. We shot this in 10 days so it was a beautifully stressful experience. Working with Dennis again - and Stephen Daldry and James McAvoy, both of whom I've admired for years, was a joy. But it also felt like we were making something important. And the fact that it feels like news means that the Covid death toll, the tragedy of so many lives lost unnecessarily has not been talked about enough."

Writer Dennis Kelly says: "Together is about a couple who totally hate each other, but have somehow found a way of existing together by not talking to, thinking about, noticing, communicating with or being in the same room as each other - then lockdown happens. It's about how humans negotiate their shared experiences when they think they have nothing in common other than staying alive, and it's about how you can hate what you love and love what you hate. And Sharon Horgan and James McAvoy are brilliant in it."

Piers Wenger, Director BBC Drama and Rose Garnett, Director BBC Film, say: "While rooted in the experience of one family, Together tells the story of us all - Dennis has created a script which will powerfully resonate with audiences, at once funny and uncomfortable whilst warm and deeply moving. With Stephen at the helm and James and Sharon on screen, this is gold-standard drama which we're proud to be part of."

She, played by Horgan, is a charity worker, a co-ordinator for all of Europe at a refugee charity. She's the daughter of a dentist father and an 'old socialist' mother - the only grandparent still around.

He, played by McAvoy, is a self employed, self-made man who runs a boutique computing consultancy. He's been forced to furlough his staff and take up growing vegetables - something he's very proud of.

Athur/Arty is their 10 year-old son, and the one thing that has kept his parents relationship together. Until lockdown.

Producers Guy Heeley and Sonia Friedman add: "We feel hugely fortunate that when a story this powerful and timely comes together with talent of this calibre, we can call the BBC and have it on the screen less than six months later. With Dennis' tender, brutally honest and piercingly funny writing, and Stephen's visceral directing, James and Sharon have brought this story to life with an astonishing, exhilarating charge which touches on our collective experience of the last very challenging year."

The Pact - Trailer - The Pact | Streaming from 17 May at 9pm

Following the story of a group of friends, a sudden death and a web of lies, the six-part thriller brings together a stellar cast and crew that has worked on some of TV's best-loved dramas.

When a young brewery boss is found dead, a chain of events is triggered that draws four of his employees - Anna (Laura Fraser; Breaking Bad), Nancy (Julie Hesmondhalgh; The A Word, Broadchurch), Louie (Eiry Thomas; Keeping Faith) and Cat (Heledd Gwynn; Ordinary Lies) into a fragile pact of silence, bound by a secret that will change their lives forever.

Also starring Eddie Marsan (Ray Donovan), Jason Hughes (Three Girls), Aneurin Barnard (Dunkirk), Rakie Ayola (Noughts + Crosses), Abbie Hern (The Twilight Zone), Mark Lewis-Jones (The Crown), Adrian Edmondson (Save Me), Gabrielle Creevy (In My Skin) and Aled Ap Steffan (Gangs Of London).

Made in Wales, The Pact is a gripping, cinematic contemporary thriller written and created by Pete McTighe (Doctor Who, A Discovery Of Witches) and directed by Eric Styles (Hidden) & Rebecca Johnson (Honeytrap, The Flash) for the BBC. The series is the first commission for Cardiff-based Little Door Productions.

Thursday, 13 May 2021

Sky releases official trailer for David Schwimmer and Nick Mohammed’s returning comedy Intelligence 2

At the end of the first series of Intelligence, we saw NSA agent Jerry Bernstein (David Schwimmer) narrowly avoid being extradited back to the States to face charges of treason. Indebted to his boss Christine (Sylvestra Le Touzel) for stepping in to protect him at the last minute - albeit with ulterior motives - we start series 2 with Jerry on the back foot. However when it’s revealed that the Russians have got their hands on a cyberweapon that Jerry was instrumental in developing, his intel suddenly becomes vital to national, if not international, security. Facing some demons from his past along the way, by the end of episode 1 he is firmly back in his alpha male comfort zone and heralded a hero.

Meanwhile Joseph (Nick Mohammed) has romance on the cards since sparking up an online friendship with Charlotte from the GCHQ offices in Bude. Romance blossoms and not even Jerry’s meddling nor Christine’s ban on cross-departmental relationships can get in the way.

As the series progresses, however, it soon becomes clear that while the initial cyber attack has been thwarted, the Russians are able to mutate the cyberweapon and Jerry’s personal security comes under serious threat…

Intelligence 2 features brand new cast members Morgana Robinson (Hilary) and Diane Morgan (Charlotte) who will be joining the cast. Alongside Robinson and Morgan, new additions include Vivian Oprarah, Nick Helm and Alastair Roberts.

Created, written and executive produced by Nick Mohammed, Intelligence is a production by Expectation TV in association with Sky Studios. Executive producers also include Nerys Evans and Morwenna Gordon for Expectation TV. Commissioned by Jon Mountague, Director of Comedy at Sky Studios and Zai Bennett, MD of Content for Sky UK. Intelligence 2 will be distributed by NBCUniversal Global Distribution on behalf of Sky Studios.

Actress Joyce Falconer resumes her iconic role in BBC Scotland soap River City as Grant Stott also joins the cast

Roisin McIntyre - one of River City's most loved characters - is set to make a dramatic return to BBC Scotland's popular weekly soap, with actress Joyce Falconer resuming the role last seen on screen in 2008.

Loud, brash and generally outspoken, Roisin arrived in 2002 and fast became one of the show's most iconic characters, with her unmistakable Doric accent and no-nonsense attitude towards life.

An employee of the Lazy Rays tanning shop on Montego Street, some of Roisin's most memorable storylines included her love affair with boss Raymond (Paul Samson), winning the lottery, her over-the-top wedding to Raymond and reunion with her secret love child Alanna (Jade Lezar), among others.

Actress Joyce Falconer recently resumed her role as Roisin and started filming again at River City's BBC Dumbarton Studios for scenes which will air on the BBC Scotland channel, BBC One Scotland and BBC iPlayer in August this year.

The Aberdeenshire actress is relishing her return to Shieldinch: "I'm delighted to be back in the River City family. No matter what else I've done in my career Roisin never really left me, so it's a joy to step back on to Montego Street and get to know her all over again.

"She's always been a brilliant role to play and I'm excited about the storylines she'll embrace. Roisin's a tough quine with a big heart who knows what she wants and how to get it! She's still bold and brassy but expect to see another side to her too."

Another new arrival is broadcaster and actor Grant Stott, who joins River City as a new character who will stir up the past for some of Shieldinch's residents. Grant starts filming on the drama in June for scenes which will air later in 2021.

A close friend of the late Andy Gray, who played loveable rogue Pete Galloway in the Scottish soap, Grant says: "Andy and I often joked about me joining the River City cast and imagined the scenarios we'd get into on screen. But life got in the way and it never quite happened. So to find myself part of the show which was so special to Andy - which showcased his incredible acting ability - means a great deal to me. It feels right and it's almost like a parting gift from my dear friend Andy. It's a massive comfort to follow in his footsteps and walk into Montego Street. I can't wait to get started on River City."

Joyce and Grant join the cast alongside other new faces Brian James Leys who plays Ash, the absent father of troubled teen Ruby McLean (Zindzi Hudson) and Caitlin's ex (Gayle Telfer Stevens); Sammy Hayman as Darren Foulkes, the charming older brother of local criminal Tyler (Cameron Fulton); and Claire Dargo who takes on the role of Karen McAllister, the estranged ex-wife of Alex (Jordan Young) and mother to Jessie (Kirsty Pickering).

Martin McCardie, BBC Studios Series Producer for River City, is thrilled to welcome Joyce back to the Shieldinch-set soap: "Joyce Falconer is a fantastic actress and her portrayal of Roisin McIntyre has always stuck in the minds of fans of the show. We are delighted to have her back in Shieldinch, Roisin still has a lot of living to do in River City and Joyce is an absolute delight to have as a returning member of the team, the other actors gave her a round of applause when we all met up in our first zoom call for the series, and that says it all really!

"We are also delighted to have the fantastic Grant Stott joining the cast, he will have a huge impact on some of our regular characters and will hopefully enjoy being on the show. The late, great, Andy Gray - who played Pete Galloway in River City - was always recommending Grant as an actor and as a team player to the show, we are happy to say that we listened to him."

BBC Four acquires Swedish Crime Drama, The Hunt For A Killer

Set to transmit later this summer, the series is set in southern Sweden in the late 1980s and revolves around the real-life disappearance and subsequent murder of a 10 year-old girl. It follows the 16-year investigation into the murder and the determination of the local police force to solve the case.

Critically-acclaimed as unique in its genre by the Swedish press, the series is a co-production between Banijay-owned Swedish production company, Yellow Bird, Swedish public broadcaster, SVT, and Film I Skåne.

Sue Deeks, Head of Programme Acquisition, BBC, says: "'The Hunt For A Killer is a chilling, authentic and evocative true crime drama that BBC viewers will find completely absorbing."

Chris Stewart, SVP UK & Eire, Banijay Rights, says: "The Hunt For A Killer has been described as Sweden's answer to Manhunter, compared with True Detective, and is worthy of the accolades. Brutally authentic and masterfully directed by Mikael Marciman, it's a true crime drama that's guaranteed to get under the skin and we can't wait to share it with the BBC audience."

BBC reveals youngest ever Dragon in Den’s history

The BBC has announced that 28-year-old entrepreneur and Sunday Times best-selling author Steven Bartlett is set to join current Dragons Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden, Touker Suleyman and Sara Davies for the 19th series of Dragons' Den.

Bartlett is founder and former CEO of social media marketing agency The Social Chain which he set up from a bedroom in Manchester. He dropped out of university and built the group's two flagship companies, Social Chain and Media Chain, when he was just 22 years old before taking his company public at 27, with a current market valuation of over £300m.

He begins filming in the Den this summer for the 19th series of the entrepreneurial TV hit, which is currently in the middle of its 18th series run and debut on BBC One.

Racking up accolades such as Forbes 30 under 30 and the Entrepreneur Rising Star at the Black British Business Awards, Bartlett found himself being inducted into Manchester's Hall of Fame by the Mayor of Greater Manchester in 2019. As well as finding time to become a best-selling author with the release of his recent debut book Happy Sexy Millionaire, he also acts as a speaker, investor and content creator - and hosts a top charting podcast, The Diary of a CEO.

Sarah Clay, the BBC's Commissioning Editor of Entertainment says: "As well as being our youngest ever Dragon, Steven's unique approach to business will bring a whole new dynamic to the Den. He brings a wealth of experience from the social media, technological and brand building worlds. I'm so excited to see him in the next series."

Steven Bartlett says: "I've been watching Dragons' Den since I was 12 years old - it was my first window into the real world of business and investing. It's a tremendous honour to join the Den, hopefully representing a new generation of entrepreneurs, inspiring young and specifically under-represented entrepreneurs to follow in my footsteps."