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Tuesday, 21 August 2018

The Great British Bake Off Series 9: Interviews with judges

Paul Hollywood Q&A

* It’s your second series filming together and how has that been, more laid back?

If we were more laid back we would be lying flat. There was a big pressure last year on the move to C4 but this year we have all relaxed into our roles and we have had a really good time filming this time round, everyone has found their niche quite easily and naturally.

*And the Hollywood Handshake?

I don’t know when the Hollywood Handshake really started, I shook a baker’s hand once to say well done, and it’s followed on from there. It’s normally given out when they are pretty much perfect. This series I have had moments when I have given out 3 in a challenge, and I have given one out in a Showstopper.

Even Prue now says ‘go on, give them a Hollywood Handshake’, but I won’t unless I feel they have really earned it.

*It’s very rare to get a foursome who gel so well how would you describe why the 4 of you work

I don’t know why it works so well. We are a dysfunctional family and it shouldn’t work but it does. The camaraderie is very tight, it’s very natural and genuine and we enjoy each others’ company. At Christmas last year we even had our own Christmas Bake Off lunch at Sandi’s for a Danish roast which was delicious and some excellent wines. I think it’s my turn this year!

We spend so much time together, and we are all very different personalities. It’s naturally happened, nothing is forced. Noel and I share an arty side, and the comedy element across all 4 is the binding thing, we share the same sense of humour.

*And the chemistry between you and Prue?

I am similar to Prue as we have such a love of food. We hit it off from the first moment we met, I knew there was something there. She is so natural and very easy to work with. She knows her stuff, what is right and what’s wrong. Prue is great and steps up to the mark every time.

*Paul you always knew that it would work with Prue – how do you feel when it was received so well last August?

Justified! Initially we did a lot of casting with a variety of different people, and they were all fantastic. But I just felt with Prue that she was the one, and the way we were chatting off camera - I just knew it would work. I did help her at the beginning of last series, a bit of initial hand holding, but I don’t need to do any of that now.

*Why and when did you first get the baking bug?

I think it was when I was standing on a chair watching my mum on a Sunday making apple pie or ginger biscuits. It was invariably after a roast chicken dinner, the apples would be from the garden and the pastry would be crispy and perfect.

*From this year’s series are there any trends from the Bakers that have come through?

There is a lot of spice this series, and there has been a lot of frangipane used this year. The ideas and flavour combinations this year are excellent.

*How skilled are the Bakers this year?

The baking standard overall is fantastic, they are a really talented bunch. I can honestly say that the bakers have been exceptional this year. They are highly skilled in flavour combinations and they have worked outside the box and have ignored the fact that I like citrus flavours, which is fine.

*Do you both pretty much agree when it comes to judging the Bakers?

We do from the beginning to the end, and we give marks at the end of each bake, and they are always within half a point of each other.

*What’s your favourite Bake Off moment?

I loved Lee Mack on Celebrity Bake Off earlier this year, the exchange between us talking about his wife’s sponge. He cracked me up, the same with Harry Hill talking about Camilla Parker-Bowles when they were on a desert island. They both made me laugh so much, it was hard to keep it together.

*You are referred as bad cop always getting the pantomime villain role, how do you react to that?

Everyone has always tried to wrap me up as that role inside and outside of Bake Off. I am not a villain, I am straight down the line. When it comes to judging I am always fair.

*Anything you wouldn’t eat?

Not really. The only thing I wouldn’t want to eat is tripe, and I don’t really get that offered on Bake Off.

*Describe Prue, Sandi, Noel in 3 words

Prue – Charming, Beautiful, Knowledgeable

Sandi – Intelligent, Small, Humourous

Noel – Odd, Funny, Artistic

*The show is very popular amongst young people why do you think that is and what are they like when they meet you?

They are very complimentary. A lot of the younger bakers in the tent like Selasi and Liam end up having a fan club. Younger people are baking more, and I think Bake Off really has got people baking and made it popular, and there is a genuine interest. The last series we doubled the youth viewing figures and I think that is predominantly down to Noel!

*What’s next in your baking or anything else world?

Next for me is a series of US Bake Off, then another series of Celebrity Bake Off. And I will be filming a road trip across America for UKTV.

Prue Leith Q&A

* It’s your second series filming together and how has that been, more laid back?

Absolutely. It’s so much more relaxed, we are so settled into our roles now. Paul and I have a really good relationship, I followed his lead at the beginning but now it’s very even handed. He has been absolutely sweet and so professional to work with.

*What do you think you brought to the show?

I am a huge admirer of Mary, she is an expert cake maker. Paul is a brilliant bread maker, but I am more of a cook, so I am much more light hearted about the judging and I can tease Paul about banging on about crumb. I just feel it’s about the essence, the balance of flavours, what makes your mouth water, and it has got to taste fantastic.

*And the chemistry between you and Paul?

Sometimes I think we are like schoolkids, he can say some mad things to get a rise out of me. He is constantly teasing me. I think we have a great natural chemistry and we both respect each other’s baking knowledge.

*What was the audition process like the first time?

When I started I had no idea that Paul had been auditioning with other people, which of course because of the kind of show it is, there would have been. When I was asked to meet Paul Hollywood to see how we would get on, I thought we might meet and have an informal chat in a pub. When I got there it was makeup, clothes and cameraman. I did get a bit of a shock, but Paul made me feel really relaxed about it, and I felt less nervous. He told me to go for it and not just follow him. He knew I had more oomph and experience than I was showing, and encouraged me to show more of myself.

*Why and when did you first get the baking bug?

The very first time I made a cake was at school - a Christmas cake and come Christmas Day - my father tried to cut in to the cake but because I hadn’t put any glycerine in the icing it was then rock solid. As my father hit the cake, the knife which was a family heirloom split in two, so in the end we turned it over and scooped out the cake, with a half inch thick bowl of icing left.

*What's your favourite recipe that you would bring to the table

Pavlova with pineapple and passion fruit, the family always love it.

*From this year’s series are there any trends from the Bakers that have come through?

Cardamom and coconut are popular and a citrus flavour Yuzu has been big this year.

*How skilled are the Bakers this year?

They are exceptional, and skilled in different ways. I can’t talk about them separately but they all bring something individual and different to the table. Some bring strong and exotic flavours, and others bring intricate flavours with delicate icing.

*Any recipes you have taken from the show?

I loved Steven’s caramel cake from last year. And last year one of the home economist’s made an amazing moist chocolate sponge cake which I now make at home regularly using her recipe. And I have pinched a few from this series too.

*Do you both pretty much agree when it comes to judging the Bakers?

Yes we do, it’s a bit uncanny but we are pretty much together from beginning to end even though we come from such different baking backgrounds. There might be occasional shades of difference, we tend to rank every baker in the same order.

*Anything you wouldn’t eat.


*Paul - how has he helped you?

He helped me find my feet and I have learned such a lot from him. He is an absolute genius when he sums up the judging with few words…..it’s straight to camera, no errms or arrhs , he is so succinct. Whereas I go round the houses with lots of words so I have tried to pick up on his critique and absorb it! I am not as good as him, but I think I am getting there now.

*Describe Paul, Sandi, Noel in 3 words

Paul - Soft-centred, professional, masculine

Sandi - Humourous, loyal, caring

Noel - Quirky, daft, clever

*Being around a show that has so much noise around it, was that daunting?

I have had such a great experience on this series, and I haven’t found any of it daunting as everyone has been so professional and welcoming. The crew and production team are so brilliant, I really admire them all. Working with Paul, Sandi and Noel - it’s a pleasure to do. The only downside is that I just don’t want any of the bakers to leave!

*The show is very popular amongst young people why do you think that is and what are they like when they meet you?

They absolutely love Noel, and I think that they love the show because it’s unthreatening and happy. Everyone is lovely when they meet me, supportive about the show, and it’s wonderful to be asked to pose for a selfie!

*What’s next in your baking or anything else world?

Next I’m bringing out my first cookbook in 25 years, Prue: My All-Time Favourite Recipes, and I’m also working on another cookbook with my baker niece Peta to come out next year. I have just finished my eighth novel, to be published in the Spring, The Lost Son, the third book in a trilogy.

The Great British Bake Off starts Tuesday 28th August at 8pm on Channel 4

Channel 4 commissions Jack Thorne's new 4-part series The Light

BAFTA-winning writer Jack Thorne (National Treasure, Kiri, Cast Offs) will return with the third in his trilogy of compelling, penetrating and timely 4-part dramas for Channel 4. The Light (w/t) will look at disability and focus on the repercussions of a catastrophic disaster that befalls a community in a small Welsh town which has seen more prosperous times.

The disaster claims the lives of many, children included and, as personal and communal grief gives way to a torrent of anger and blame, the community finds itself torn apart.

The Light (w/t) will explore the complex web of decisions and circumstances, both political and personal, that led to the fatal event. The community feels powerless in the face of seemingly inexorable political and business forces but the drama asks to what extent they are complicit in their own fate.

Like Kiri and National Treasure, the drama will look at how the media spotlight in the wake of such a disaster can affect a community. And if National Treasure was about shame and Kiri was about blame, The Light (w/t) will be about justice and will focus on the repercussions of a catastrophic disaster that befalls a community in a small Welsh town which has seen more prosperous times. It will also take a searching look at our attitudes to disability in the wake of the tragedy.

Beth Willis, Head of Drama at Channel 4, says: “We are delighted to be working once more with the immensely talented Jack Thorne. Jack has a singular ability to explore some of the most complex and challenging topics facing modern Britain today with warmth and empathy, and also with sharp insight and fearless scrutiny. The Light (w/t) promises to be another powerful examination of guilt, blame, responsibility and culpability.”

Jack Thorne, writer, says: “I cannot believe Channel 4 has afforded us this opportunity. At the beginning of National Treasure we started talking about the possibilities of a trilogy which peeked behind the curtains of this country and tried to ask difficult questions about who we are and how the media paints us. I am so delighted we are going to get to finish that trilogy off. I’ve loved working with Beth, Channel 4 and The Forge on this.”

George Ormond, Executive Producer, says: “Jack’s a thrilling writer to work with not only because of his ability to put his finger on the pulse of what is worrying us as a nation, but because he manages to do so with characters that take our breath away, make us laugh, and then leave us wrung dry as we travel with them through the story. We’re over the moon to be getting the chance to complete the trilogy with The Light (w/t).”

Channel 4 to get high at The Drugs Café

Set in a Dutch coffee shop, The Drugs Café will invite adults of all ages and backgrounds to take marijuana, sometimes for the first time. Testing the theory that cannabis could bring about more harmonious human relationships, every visitor will have a clear and heartfelt motivation for trying the high, whether they’re looking for a peaceful way to settle a dispute, hoping to take the sting out of a surprising revelation or simply looking to strengthen an existing bond.

From parents aiming to connect more with their child in 24 hours than twenty-four years, to a group of grandmas wanting to tick the adventure off their bucket list, the range of visitors will be a fascinating cross section of British society. Their experiences and interactions over the course of their visit will be captured in intimate detail by a fixed rig.

The 2x60’ series will be made by Tuesday’s Child and was commissioned by Channel 4 Head of Formats Dom Bird and Formats commissioning editor Lee McMurray. Steph Harris will executive produce The Drugs Café.

Lee McMurray said: “This Channel 4 series aims to explore the taboos around cannabis at just the moment when societies around the globe are questioning their attitudes towards the drug. Shot through with wit, warmth and humour, it will also be a fascinating study of human relationships.”

Steph Harris added: “We're bringing the hotly debated topic of UK drug policy into the mainstream and opening the conversation in homes across Britain with this frank, informative and legitimate new relationship format which is sure to be very revealing, entertaining and wholly unpredictable.”

Trailer released for Mike Bartlett's BBC One drama Press

BBC One has released the first trailer for Mike Bartlett's drama Press.

Set in the fast-paced and challenging environment of the British newspaper industry, Press will immerse viewers in the personal lives and the constant professional dilemmas facing its characters.

The series follow their lives as they attempt to balance work and play, ambition and integrity, amid the never-ending pressure of the 24-hour global news cycle and an industry in turmoil.

Casting announced as filming begins on new drama thriller Giri/Haji

BBC Two and Netflix announce Takehiro Hira (Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai), Bafta and Golden Globe nominee Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire, T2 Trainspotting), Japanese Academy award winner Yosuke Kubozuka (Go, Silence), Bafta nominated Will Sharpe (Flowers), Japanese Academy Award winner Masahiro Motoki (Departures), Justin Long (New Girl, Live Free or Die Hard) and Charlie Creed-Miles (Ripper Street, Peaky Blinders) as the first cast joining the ambitious, global drama Giri/Haji (translating as Duty/Shame) as filming begins this week in London.

Written by Bafta nominee Joe Barton (Humans), directed by Bafta winner and Emmy nominee Julian Farino (Entourage, Marvellous) and produced by Jane Featherstone’s Sister Pictures (The Split, Broadchurch, Cleaning Up) the production introduces an exceptional array of Japanese talent alongside an acclaimed cast from UK film and TV. The drama will play out across eight episodes in both Japanese and English as the action moves between London and Tokyo, traversing the narrative’s multiple time frames.

Giri/Haji, an intricate and soulful thriller that explores the butterfly effect of one murder over two cities, sees celebrated Japanese stars Takehiro Hira and Yosuke Kubosuka leading the Japanese cast. They play Kenzo (Hira), and Yuto (Kubosuka), once devoted and now estranged brothers, driven to opposite sides of the world by the spiralling consequences of one violent split-second decision. They are joined by Masahiro Motoki, Yuko Nakamura, Aoi Okuyama, Mitsuko Oka, Togo Igawa, Kazuyuki and Yoshiki Minato. The UK cast sees Kelly Macdonald, Justin Long, Will Sharpe, Charlie Creed-Miles and Tony Pitts (Jamestown, Peaky Blinders) line up across a bitter divide as the ramifications of the murder erupt across the globe from London to Toyko.

Kenzo (Hira), a Tokyo detective and family man, is abruptly dispatched to London by his superiors in the police department to search for his missing younger brother Yuto (Kubosuka), the honour of his family at stake. Arriving, he becomes drawn into the shadowy world of Abbott (Creed-Miles) and Vickers (Long), a once lucrative business partnership now under threat, as the former looks now to the East to expand his empire. Distant from everything familiar to him, Kenzo unexpectedly finds hope in a remarkable makeshift family of Londoners, each in turn confronting the tumultuous, spiralling effects of fateful past decisions.

Among them is charismatic rent boy Rodney (Sharpe) and Sarah (Macdonald), a Met detective investigating the London murder, who begins to present a delicate threat to Kenzo’s marriage.

Commissioned by Netflix and Piers Wenger and Charlotte Moore for BBC, the 8x60’ is directed by Julian Farino, is created and written by Joe Barton (Humans), is executive produced by Jane Featherstone (The Split, Utopia, Broadchurch, Humans) and Chris Fry (Humans, The Smoke) and Joe Barton for Sister Pictures, Ben Irving for BBC Two and produced by Susie Liggat.

Creator and screenwriter Joe Barton says: “Developing this show with Sister Pictures, Netflix, and the BBC has been an amazing creative experience and now I’m incredibly excited to see it come to life with such a diverse and brilliant cast and crew. They’re all ridiculously talented which has the added bonus of making me look better. Which was my goal all along, frankly.”

Jane Featherstone of Sister Pictures says: “Joe is an amazing talent and I am thrilled to be working with him at Sister on this series which plays with genre in such a sophisticated way. In Giri/Haji he has created gripping, truly rule-breaking scripts, visually and narratively rich, and when paired with this extraordinary ensemble cast and Julian's beautiful direction, they will, I believe, result in something pretty fabulous.”

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, says: “Giri/Haji is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before on British TV. It’s unique blend of suspense, pathos and wit is a testament to Joe Barton’s astonishing imagination and talent as a writer. It’s thrilling to see the series come to life in Julian’s hands and in the hands of this unique and extraordinary cast.”

Cindy Holland, Vice President, Original Content at Netflix adds “Giri/Haji is a unique series that crosses cultures in a way that we think will appeal to Netflix members around the world. We’re excited to partner with Joe and Julian, and to see their combined vision come to life on screen”

Giri/Haji will make its world premiere on BBC Two and Netflix will stream the series globally outside of the UK.

Susannah Constantine is the fifteenth celebrity contestant confirmed for Strictly Come Dancing 2018

Susannah Constantine is the fifteenth and final celebrity contestant confirmed for the brand new series of Strictly Come Dancing.

The 16th series of the NTA and Bafta award-winning entertainment show produced by BBC Studios will return in the autumn on BBC One putting the sparkle back into Saturday and Sunday nights.

Susannah says: “I hope to prove pigs can fly (dance). Sick with nerves and jangling with excitement.”

Susannah Constantine is a television presenter, fashion journalist, style advisor, author and designer. Susannah began her career working in fashion for Giorgio Armani and John Galliano before she met Trinny Woodall in 1994, with whom she proceeded to write a weekly fashion column for the Daily Telegraph which ran for seven years. The pair went on to co-host the hugely successful BBC One show ‘What Not to Wear’ from 2001 to 2005 and then moved to ITV to make Trinny & Susannah Undress, and Undress the Nation, they also frequently appeared as makeover stylists on The Oprah Winfrey show. It is estimated that Trinny & Susannah’s various style advice books have sold in excess of 2.5 million copies in Britain and the United States. Susannah's debut novel, After the Snow, was published to great acclaim last year and the paperback is out this autumn, she is currently writing the sequel which is due out in 2019.

The news was revealed this morning on ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

James Martin’s American Adventure - 07 Sep 2018 Finale Preview

Episode 10 - New York
James ends his epic, coast-to-coast exploration of the great USA with a visit to one of his all-time favourite foodie hotspots: New York City. After a bite of pizza at a popular pizzeria in Greenwich Village, James cooks on one of New York's famous piers. James also tries the city's fine dining ahead of reminiscing on his journey of over three thousand miles.

Series overview
Following the success of his French Adventure, chef James Martin is setting off on the next leg of his journey - the U S of A.

This is a trip that James has been longing to take and it’s a road trip as road trips are meant to be! He’ll travel with a range of different machines - including a 70s Pontiac and a vintage Porsche.

Starting in Napa Valley, James and his trusty crew will head to LA, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, New Orleans, The Hamptons and more, all culminating in New York.