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Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Comedian Bert Kreischer is back, and shirtless once again, in his second Netflix Original comedy special

Comedian Bert Kreischer is back, and shirtless once again, in his second Netflix Original comedy special, Bert Kreischer: Hey Big Boy. Bert candidly shares hilarious stories about his daughter’s period party, a pushy arms dealer, and an inside joke with a Starbucks barista.

Ever the stand-up party animal, comic Bert Kreischer riffs on parenting and family life, being a gun and pet owner, his dad discovering pot, and more.

Bert Kreischer: Hey Big Boy premieres globally on Netflix on March 17, 2020.


The Iliza Shlesinger Sketch Show | Official Trailer | Netflix Comedy Series

Hold on to your top knot and grab your remote for the upcoming six-part sketch series, The Iliza Shlesinger Sketch Show. Executive produced and starring comedian Iliza Shlesinger who leads her ensemble cast in this hilarious satire filled series packed with insane original characters who inhabit the landscape of all the content we love to consume and make fun of. From bizarre exercise plans to the over-simplified DIY shows to “reality” TV at its best/worst, The Iliza Shlesinger Sketch Show celebrates/skewers the TV stereotypes that fill our screens big, small, and tiny.

Kim Gamble, Kara Baker, David Martin, Richard Allen-Turner, and Jon Thoday also executive produce.  The series is directed by Laura Murphy (Girl Code; Adam Ruins Everything)

The Iliza Shlesinger Sketch Show premieres globally on Netflix on April 1, 2020.


Code 404, a Sky original comedy, launches on Sky One and NOW TV on 29 April

Starring Stephen Graham, Daniel Mays and Anna Maxwell Martin

Sky has confirmed that new original comedy, Code 404, starring Stephen Graham, Daniel Mays and Anna Maxwell Martin will air on Sky One and streaming service NOW TV, with all episodes available from Wednesday 29 April.

Detective Inspectors DI John Major (Mays) and DI Roy Carver (Graham) are the top crime fighting duo in the Unit. But when an undercover sting goes horribly wrong, Major is gunned down on the job and killed. Full of guilt and regret about Major’s untimely death, Roy turns to the only person who understands him, John’s wife, Kelly (Maxwell Martin). However, John gets a reboot. Chosen by the police as the prototype for a new A.I. driven initiative, John is brought back from the dead – much to the surprise of Roy and Kelly. He’d like to believe he’s better than ever, but something isn’t quite right…

The 6 x 30-minute police comedy is directed by Al Campbell and written by Daniel Peak. Executive producers include Tom Miller and Sam Myer for Water & Power Productions, Phil Temple for Kudos, part of EndemolShine UK and Morwenna Gordon for Sky. The series was commissioned by Jon Mountague, Director of Comedy at Sky Studios and Zai Bennett, MD of Content at Sky UK & Ireland

Alma’s Not Normal - Q&A with Sophie Willan

Alma’s Not Normal follows Boltonian wild-child, Alma Nuthall and her family of eccentric, unruly women.
After a recent break-up, Alma tries to get her life back on track. But with no job, no qualifications and a rebellious streak a mile wide, it’s not going to be easy. Meanwhile her mum, who is battling a heroin addiction, has been sectioned for arson and her vampish Grandma Joan wants nothing to do with it.

Alma’s Not Normal offers a bitingly funny and unflinching take on class, sexuality, mental health and substance abuse. It celebrates women dealing with the hands they’ve been dealt while doggedly pursing their dreams.

Alma’s Not Normal is an Expectation Entertainment production for BBC Two written and Executive Produced by Sophie Willan. The Executive Producer for Expectation is Nerys Evans and the Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Kate Daughton.

Q&A with Sophie Willan

Can you tell us a bit about your journey from winning the BBC’s Caroline Aherne Bursary to creating Alma’s world for the pilot?

Oh it’s been fabulous! I’ve wanted to write this sitcom for years, so as soon as I won the bursary I went straight into planning mode! I remember sitting with Kate Daughton, Commissioning Editor for BBC Comedy, just after I’d won it and excitedly talking her through my ideas; playing her bits of music, talking her through the characters, even acting bits out! It must’ve been quite intense for her to be honest! I then started to work with producer Nerys Evans at production company Expectation and script editor Andrew Ellard on a pilot script. After that we did a rehearsed reading for the BBC in front of an invited audience and Patrick Holland, Controller of BBC Two. The cast were amazing and the show was surprisingly raucous and anarchic for a random Tuesday afternoon in a brightly-light church hall. After the read through Patrick decided to give us an on the spot pilot commission for it to be filmed and bobbed on BBC Two! It was a wonderful moment! BBC and Expectation then worked hard to find me a fantastic team to go into production with. I had the shit-hot Gill Isles producing it and the super talented Andrew Chaplin directing it - and a full production of truly brilliant people, not to mention a stellar cast! So I felt in great hands going into production. I absolutely LOVED filming it and editing it. I learnt so much whilst also having the autonomy to make sure it came out exactly how I wanted it to. The perfect scenario really!

Have you always wanted to write for television?

Yeah - since I was a kid. But I found being from my background and experience has a glass ceiling. I couldn’t seem to break through to television until this award. It got me in the room with commissioners so I could tell them directly who I was and what I wanted to make. I didn’t have to know the right people, speak the right way, have the bank of mum and dad on my side. It was a direct line to people who could make my ideas happen. Amid an elitist industry where working class people are underrepresented, and often misappropriated by middle-class careerists, this award was a beacon of hope for me!

Can you tell us a bit about the lead character Alma, is she based on you? What do you admire about her?

Alma certainly shares a lot of my characteristics and life experiences but there are differences too. She is actually more like me when I was younger. Or who I could’ve been if I’d made different choices; stayed with the ex, not moved to Manchester, not been to therapy, etc.

What I like about her is her undiluted enthusiasm and optimism. She hasn’t quite come to that point in life where she doesn’t suffer fools, and there’s something lovely about that. She is incredibly raw, whole-hearted and unapologetically herself. She wants to be loved, wants to be normal, wants to be understood and wants to connect. I think we can all relate to that on some level. I certainly can.

Can you tell us a bit about the vibrant female characters in Alma’s inner circle?

I’m really excited by the female leads in this show! Alma’s Mum and Grandma are not the type of characters you’ll have seen women play on telly often - if ever. I certainly haven’t. They don’t fit into the boxes we often provide for women. Alma’s mum, Lin for instance who is battling a heroin addiction - she is a constant contradiction. She is as rough and dodgy as she is eloquent and creative. She’s funny and smart and her vulnerability is palpable. But she’s also dangerous, selfish and manipulative. You’re not sure how to love her, but you do. Siobhan Finneran plays Lin and just absolutely nails it - she’s an incredible actress with great comic timing and I think this pilot really shows that off. Alma’s Grandma, Joan, is played by Lorraine Ashbourne and Alma’s best friend Leanne is played by Jayde Adams. Both of them play strong unapologetic characters beautifully - with balls, comedy, honesty and nuance. I have absolutely loved seeing my strong female characters brought to life by incredible, strong female actors.

The show is set in Bolton where you are from - how important was it for you that this story took place in the North of England?

Very. It’s my home. It’s what I know! The North (particularly Bolton in my opinion) has its own humour and way of coping - it always has had. We’re naturally funny people. It’s in the DNA. We have a strong sense culture and I’m proud of that. But also, that culture has evolved a lot and I personally haven’t seen any modern, cutting edge comedy in the North since Shameless... and that first aired nearly twenty years ago! I want to remind people that we can tell interesting, important, intelligent stories, whilst being funny and Northern too!

Do you feel there’s a gap for more regional voices in UK comedy?

Yes. And for more regional female voices - definitely yes. It’s about time we saw strong, funny, dark, female-lead stories, outside of London and/or the middle/upper class. I’m not saying those shows don’t have a place too - they do. In fact, Fleabag is one of my favourite sitcoms of all time, but we need variety. We need to represent more people. In my 2017 stand up show, Branded, I talked about how the conversations around feminism feel dominated by the voices of white, middle class women, who set the ideals for all of us based on their own experience and what’s been made possible for them. I want to explore feminist issues without judgement or even final, decisive points. I want to ask questions and tell stories through people like Alma. People like me. People who don’t often get asked their perspective on these issues.

Your stand-up has often been informed by topics personal to you, and your pilot has also drawn from these experiences. What was different about how you wanted to approach these topics for television?

The topics around women, class, mental health, relationships and growing up through the care system are the same - most of the stories shared are too. But because you’re setting up a whole world and a character based on your past experiences that lives now, it immediately becomes fiction. And finding the fiction was what really freed me up when writing the pilot. Also, when you do stand-up about someone you know, you act out them out yourself as you remember them. With a sitcom, actors bring new things to characters that you never imagined and that’s very exciting.

The programme tackles a lot of tough topics from substance abuse to mental health challenges - do you think humour can play a valuable role in helping start discussions on these areas?

Definitely. 'You’ve got to laugh' as my Great Granny Alice always used to say, in a slightly dark way, never quite finishing the sentence. But it’s true. You do. Humour is honest. It allows us to say the boldest, bluntest things without pissing people off. It keeps us sane when life has gone to shit. I think my ability to laugh and be funny has genuinely saved my life at times.

How did it feel seeing your words come to life on set with your co-stars?

Fabulous! I couldn’t ask for a more talented, brilliant and supportive group of actors to work with.

Did you have people in mind for those roles?

Yeah - Leanne. That role was very clearly written for Jayde Adams. I’d seen her years ago doing a comedy performance with opera and just thought she was fantastic! This role taps into all Jayde’s strengths as a comedian, but also shows off her acting chops too. We have a great chemistry together on screen - you can tell we’re friends and we’ve been pissed together!

Did you have any stand-out moments from the filming process?

Yeah. One of my favourite scenes to do was with Lorraine (Lin), Siobhan (Grandma Joan) and Nick (Jim) in the park. Lorraine was just beautiful in that scene. So was Siobhan. It was dead funny and full of heart. And also, in the scene, I’d written in that we all ate pasties from my favourite pasty shop in Bolton so we ate them continually for an hour. Another scene though, me and Jayde had to eat cold kebabs for an hour of filming in the freezing cold and that was not so nice. You wouldn’t know though - we look happy as Larry chomping down on those kebabs. Jayde is fantastic as Alma’s best mate - such a natural actor, great support to me and bloody funny throughout.

What would you say is at the heart of this story?

I think love, resolve and humour. It’s about celebrating women dealing with the hand they were dealt while doggedly pursing their dreams and making people laugh while they do it.

What should audiences expect from Alma’s Not Normal? What makes this programme different?

Considering the topics of the show and the complex characters, it doesn’t take itself too seriously or miss out on laughs. It’s funny and Northern and optimistic. It’s loud, unapologetic and full of heart - just like Alma.

CLIP: The Steph Show launches on Channel 4 from Steph McGovern's living room!

Watch the opening moments of The Steph Show, live from Steph McGovern’s home in Yorkshire

Channel 4’s new daytime programme, The Steph Show, launched today, broadcast live from the home of its presenter Steph McGovern.

Steph opened the show in her living room in Yorkshire, saying: “This is my actual house where for a long time I’ve just been living here, in a lot of chaos because of the baby and now we’re doing a show from here.”

She went on to say: “Like a lot of people I’m now working from home, and these are strange times so I wanted to create a show from my front room that’s a power hour of positivity where we celebrate the brilliant people out there... whether it’s a key worker grafting on the frontline or someone helping the neighbours out with their shopping, we want to come together to say thank you. So let’s have a laugh, get inspired and maybe learn a few things as well.”

Steph also showed viewers around the make-shift studio in her front room, which contains cameras but no operators.

She said: “It’s just me in this room with camera. So this is like the Yorkshire Big Brother with just one contestant and hopefully no evictions otherwise it will be really awkward.”

There are five cameras being operated remotely, with the production team work in her garage and some trucks outside.

Steph said: “We really are doing this with the minimum people we safely can so please forgive us if things are a bit rough around the edges. But that’s how I’ve been described from most of my career!”

The first episode of The Steph Show featured guest appearances, via Skype, from Keith Lemon and his mum and Strictly Come Dancing star Anton du Beke who gave viewers a cha cha cha lesson.

Steph also spoke to a Dundee family with 10 children to find out how they’re getting on with home schooling, as well as an advisor from debt charity Step Change who offered guidance to those worried about their finances at the moment. And in the first ‘Steph Show Shout Outs’, Steph paid tribute to heroes on the front line of the coronavirus crisis.

Watch The Steph Show daily at midday on Channel 4. Catch up on All 4.

Monday, 30 March 2020

Competition: Win London Kills - Series 2 on DVD

London Kills - Series 2 is out on DVD on 6th April.

And to celebrate we have a great competition for you and 2 copies on DVD to give away.

Following the huge success of the first series of London Kills, the hit police drama returns to the BBC for its second exciting instalment. The crack team of detectives take on more of the capital’s worst crimes, as they struggle with their own demons and are forced to address shocking concerns in their most difficult case to date.

London Kills Series 2 is set to arrive on digital 31 March and DVD on 6 April 2020 from Acorn Media International alongside London Kills 1 & 2 Complete box set, following its run on BBC One.

This slick, thrilling mystery series sees the world’s most exciting city as the backdrop for a string of killings – all investigated by an elite murder squad. The team is lead by long serving, brooding Detective Inspector David Bradford (Hugo Speer – Britannia, The Full Monty), alongside ambitious Detective Sergeant Vivienne Cole (Sharon Small – Flesh and Blood, The Inspector Lynley Mysteries), seasoned crime-solver Detective Constable Rob Brady (Bailey Patrick – The Nest, Good Omens) and warm-hearted Trainee Detective Constable Billie Fitzgerald (Tori Allen-Martin – Unforgotten, Pure).  Jennie Jacques (Vikings) returns as Amber Saunders.

Buy from Amazon by clicking here (Opens in a new window)

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

Who plays Detective Inspector David Bradford in London Kills?

Send your name, address and of course the answer to competition@jonn.co.uk

Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 13-04-20
2. No alternative prize is available
3. When the competition ends as indicated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.
4. Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.

Competition: Win The Windsors Series 3 on DVD

The Windsors Series 3 is out on DVD on 6th April.

And to celebrate we have a great competition for you and 3 copies on DVD to give away.

BRITAIN IS divided, everyone’s down in the dumps, so who better to cheer us up than The Windsors?

Returning to Channel 4 for a third series, the satirical sitcom takes us beyond the palace gates for a hilarious inside peek at the riotous royals to see what really goes on. The Windsors Series Three and
the Complete Series One – Three Box Set (including Wedding & Christmas Specials) arrive on DVD and digital 6 April 2020 from Acorn Media International.

Ever wondered what the real reason behind Megxit was? Or whether David Beckham has a shot at a knighthood? All is revealed as The Windsors take on family feuds, pay disputes, uncomfortable truths and royal weddings with their usual panache.

Meghan (Kathryn Drysdale – Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps) and Harry (Tom Durant-Pritchard – Judy), who is looking like a new man after an alcohol-free retreat, might break up the Fab
Four and head to America…but why are they so angry at Wills (Hugh Skinner – Fleabag) and Kate (Louise Ford – Crashing)? And who is really pulling the strings?

Meanwhile, Charles (Harry Enfield – Harry Enfield and Chums) is on strike with his siblings demanding higher pay, and Beatrice (Ellie White – Stath Lets Flats) and Eugenie (Celeste Dring – Wanderlust) set
up a disastrous drinks brand ahead of Beatrice’s big wedding, where Fergie (Katie Wix – Agatha Raisin) might have to take on more responsibility than expected after all the “unpleasantness” with Andrew.

Buy from Amazon by clicking here (Opens in a new window)

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

Who plays Meghan in The Windsors?

Send your name, address and of course the answer to competition@jonn.co.uk

Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 13-04-20
2. No alternative prize is available
3. When the competition ends as indicated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.
4. Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.