Welcome to JONN.CO.UK, the UK's best website for all things TV, Gaming and Music.

Monday, 10 December 2018

I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! final peak of 12.1 million

I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! final peak of 12.1 million

The I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! final attracted a huge peak audience of 12.1 million/56% share tuning in to see Harry Redknapp crowned King of the Jungle - the highest peak audience of the series.

The final show of the series averaged 10.9 million/48.2% share - an increase of 1.7 million viewers on the audience to last year's final, and the highest rating final since 2013.

Series 18 has averaged 9.1 million viewers/44% share based on overnights ratings data.

Based on 7 day consolidated data the series is averaging 12.2 million viewers, making it the highest rating series in the show's history, based on available consolidated data after 14 episodes.

BBC Music announce their Sound of 2019 longlist

BBC Music Sound Of 2019 today revealed its longlist of artists who are tipped for success next year. The longlist has been chosen by a panel of industry experts including Stormzy, BBC Radio 1’s Annie Mac, Emily Eavis and Olly Alexander.

Last year saw 22 year old Norwegian singer Sigrid be placed Number One, beating the likes of Khalid, Sam Fender, Jade Bird and Tom Walker who also featured on the coveted list.

The BBC Music Sound of 2019 longlist (in alphabetical order) is:

Dermot Kennedy
Dublin born  Dermot Kennedy has not stopped since the release of his 2017 EP Doves And Ravens, winning him acclaim from across the industry. The clash of urban, electronic beats against the intimate guitar-led storytelling has made him an exciting act to follow.

Ella Mai
Ella Mai got her big break after uploading videos to her Instagram account and being spotted by DJ Mustard.

South London MC Flohio’s energy has earned her spot on the longlist as an exciting talent to follow in 2019.

Grace Carter
Growing up with musical influences like Alicia Keys, Lauryn Hill and Adele, Grace Carter started making music aged 13 and has just finished her first headline UK tour.

King Princess
Born and raised in Brooklyn, KP is a vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer whose break came after the release of 1950, which explores how LGBTQ people once had to keep their love hidden, and why that still affects modern relationships.

British rising star Mahalia has enjoyed an incredible year, becoming one of the UK’s most exciting female artists to hit the scene.

Born in France and raised in London, his turbulent upbringing has seen him homeless and drop out of the Brit School. Forward a few years later and the rapper now counts Drake as one of his fans.

Also in the running is Spanish singer Rosalía, whose modern interpretations of flamenco music fused with electronica and nu-R&B has won her praise from the likes of Pharrell Williams.

Sea Girls
London four-piece Sea Girls have had a busy summer touring several festivals, and are set for an even busier 2019 with an almost sold out UK tour.

Last but not least is SlowThai, the rapper from Northampton who started out freestyling with the older kids from his estate and has now cemented himself as one of the most exciting new rappers in Britain.

Previous Sound Of nominees include 50 Cent (2003) Adele (2008), Florence +The Machine (2009), Frank Ocean (2012), Sam Smith (2014), Dua Lipa (2016) and Rag‘n’Bone Man (2017).

The daily countdown of the Top 5 will kick off on Monday 7 January 2019 in Annie Mac’s show on BBC Radio 1 (7pm-9pm). The winner will be announced on Friday 11 January.

Sigrid says: “BBC Music’s Sound Of 2018 helped me so much with reaching a new audience and giving my music some extra exposure on the radio. I’m still very thankful for being chosen as this year’s Sound Of, and I am so excited to see who this year’s winner will be!”

Annie Mac says: “The Sound Of longlist is filled with incredibly talented people and is a real reflection of where music is heading in 2019. So many of the artists are truly innovating in their fields. It’s exciting to champion new music across the BBC and share these artists with the audience. 2019 is going to be a very special year.”

James Stirling,Head of BBC Music & BBC Music Introducing, says: “For 17 years the BBC Music Sound Of list has been celebrating exciting up-and-coming talent and this year we are proud to recognise the work of such an eclectic mix of musicians.  There’s a wealth of talent coming through and I look forward to seeing the artists build their reputations in 2019.”

A range of music, videos, interviews and biographies from each of the Top 10 acts can also be seen on the BBC Music Sound Of 2019 website and a playlist will be made available on BBC Sounds.

Sound Of… started in 2003. The previous winners are: Sigrid (2018), Ray BLK (2017), Jack Garratt (2016), Years & Years (2015), Sam Smith (2014) HAIM (2013) Michael Kiwanuka (2012), Jessie J (2011), Ellie Goulding (2010), Little Boots (2009), Adele (2008), Mika (2007), Corinne Bailey Rae (2006), The Bravery (2005), Keane (2004) and 50 Cent (2003).

The list was compiled using recommendations from 136 influential music experts, who were asked to name their three favourite new acts.

The music experts included radio DJs and producers, TV producers and music supervisors, newspaper critics, magazine and website editors and respected bloggers.

All participants were asked to name their favourite three new acts, who could be performers from any country and any musical genre, whether or not they are signed. They cannot have been the lead artist on a UK top 10 single or album before 22 October 2018.

They must not already be widely known by the UK general public (for example, a member of a hit band going solo or a soap star, a winner of a national talent search show such as X Factor or The Voice in the last three years).

Further details of the panel and how the list was compiled are available on the BBC Music Sound Of 2019 website.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! - Fill Your Face

I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! - Fill Your Face

Emily Atack undertake tonight's Bushtucker Trial - Fill Your Face

Sunday 9 December at 9pm on ITV

I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! is back which can mean only one thing… the time has come for a brand new cast of celebrities to head down under and battle it out in TV’s toughest entertainment challenge.

Leaving their plush pads and luxuries far behind, our celebrity campers will spend up to three weeks taking on the harsh surroundings of the Australian Jungle, with a whole host of brand new nasty surprises created just for them.

Declan Donnelly and Holly Willoughby will present all the big stories live from the Jungle every night.

The celebrities heading into the Jungle for the new series are:

Football manager – Harry Redknapp
Corrie star– Sair Khan
TV presenter – Nick Knowles
Singer – Fleur East
Popstar – James McVey
TV’s ‘The Governess’ – Anne Hegerty
Hollyoaks actor –Malique Thompson-Dwyer
Comedy actor – Emily Atack
Actor & entertainer – John Barrowman MBE
Actor – Rita Simons
TV Legend - Noel Edmonds

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Frank Skinner and David Baddiel to reunite with the Lightning Seeds at BBC Sports Personality Of The Year

Twenty two years after the ultimate football anthem Three Lions was released, Frank Skinner and David Baddiel are reunited with the Lightning Seeds at BBC Sports Personality Of The Year 2018 for an unmissable performance.

The never-before-seen live rendition, featuring a host of special performers, will provide the soundtrack to a special moment in the show: a look back to the England team’s remarkable World Cup performance this summer, one which captured the nation's imagination.

The song was originally created to mark the England football team's hosting of the 1996 European Championships, its first major football tournament since the 1966 World Cup, and has since become a popular chant for England fans sung in the streets, pubs and the stands. It is also the only song in history to reach number 1 four times with the original artists.

The music was written by Ian Broudie of the Lightning Seeds, and comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner - then presenters of the football-themed comedy show Fantasy Football League - provided the inspiring lyrics.

BBC Sports Personality of the Year will take place at Resorts World Arena in Birmingham on Sunday 16 December, live on BBC One from 7pm.


Friday, 7 December 2018

Fiona Bruce announced as new Question Time presenter

Fiona Bruce has been announced as the new presenter for BBC One’s Question Time.

Fiona has been a regular presenter of the BBC’s News at Six and News at Ten since 1999, and has reported on and presented news and current affairs at the BBC for 25 years.

She has also presented Antiques Roadshow on BBC One for 11 years, as well as hosting the successful arts series Fake Or Fortune? since 2000.

Fiona Bruce says: “It is an honour to be asked to take on one of the great political programmes of the BBC. Particularly at a time of such historic change for the UK and tumult at Westminster.

“For many years Question Time has been presented by one of my television heroes, so I am thrilled and not a little daunted to be stepping into his shoes. But it is a programme I have watched for as long as I can remember and have long wanted to be part of. I can’t wait to get started.”

Fran Unsworth, Director of BBC News and Current Affairs, says: “Question Time is one of our flagship political programmes, giving people across Britain the chance to hold the powerful to account. David Dimbleby has done an extraordinary job as chair over the last 25 years.

“David is a tough act to follow, but Fiona impressed us all - with her authority, warmth, and ability to connect with the audience and champion their concerns. We’re delighted to have her at the helm.”

Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content, says: “The role of Question Time host has a unique place in British political life, bringing together the public and politicians every week in front of millions of viewers on BBC One.

“David has been a wonderful host for many years. Fiona’s huge experience and long-established relationship with audiences make her the ideal person to follow in his footsteps.”

Fiona will take up her role on Question Time when the new series returns on 10 January 2019.

The selection process for the role included candidates each hosting a pilot episode of the programme, including panellists and a live audience.

Further Biography
Fiona has been a journalist at the BBC since 1990. Starting as a researcher on Panorama, she soon progressed to become a reporter on prime time current affairs series, including Newsnight and Panorama. For four years she reported on her own investigative current affairs series, Real Story, which won five awards from the Royal Television Society.

Fiona presented Crimewatch from 1999-2007.
In 2001, Fiona became the first woman in the BBC’s general election studio team.
Fiona has also written and presented BBC documentaries about Lord Alan Sugar, Bill Gates and Cherie Blair respectively as well as numerous arts documentaries.
She has also been part of the BBC’s live events team, including for the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Fiona will continue to present the main news bulletins regularly and will still present Fake Or Fortune? and Antiques Roadshow.

Paras drop into ITV for landmark series on elite regiment

ITV will show a brand-new landmark documentary series on the Parachute Regiment in 2019 after its doors were opened to a UK network broadcaster’s cameras for the first time since the early 1980s.

For The Paras: Men Of War [WT], producers Avanti Media, commissioned by ITV, were granted unprecedented access to the elite regiment and spent 12 months filming months filming all aspects of this closed world which turns raw recruits into elite soldiers trained to kill.

Across the 3x60 series, viewers will see young men, many still in their late teenage years, pushed to the extremes of their endurance and learn vital skills - as they give their all to pass through the highly pressurised and often brutally demanding recruitment stage and be accepted into the regiment.

Only a few of those who join up will make it to the end.

The Paras: Men Of War [WT] will offer a unique perspective and unflinching account of what it takes to make the grade, as well as providing an intimate insight into the characters of the young men and the officers charged with transforming them into battle ready paratroopers, who are the first in to any conflict.

Throughout the series they talk openly about their experiences both in training and in combat - and reflect on the challenges they face, providing an often disarming and enlightening view into the mindset of the soldiers and the reality of the unique culture of the Paras.

And the series will follow the recruits who make it into the regiment, filming them up close and personal on their first major assignments as they prepare for new military threats. 

The Paras: Men Of War [WT] is commissioned for ITV by Tom Giles, Controller of Current Affairs and produced by Neil Grant [Executive Producer] and Nick Betts [Series Producer/Director] for Avanti.

Tom said:

“At a moment when the armed forces are under more scrutiny than ever, this new series presents a unique opportunity to see inside the world of the Parachute Regiment, which is usually firmly closed to outsiders, and get a powerful understanding of the people and culture within an elite, sometimes controversial, regiment that we all know of, but about which we have little real inside knowledge.”

Neil Grant, Executive Producer said:

“This is no ordinary and predictable army access documentary. This is raw, honest and revealing - sugar coated it isn’t.  Uniquely this series goes inside the Para mindset of what it takes to succeed and the personal consequences of failing to make the grade. It’s an intimate portrait of loyalty and honour, of the kill or be killed mindset and being a member of the Regiment entitled to wear the coveted maroon beret.” 

Nick Betts, Series Producer / Director said:

“The Paras are trained killers who’ve courted secrecy, controversy and admiration in equal measure, and who largely view all ‘media’ with extreme caution. The dialogue with the Regiment involved a long period of just listening, without filming - but then slowly the real men behind their identities as soldiers emerged. The ambition of the series was to show the raw, often brutal truth of why young men from all backgrounds desire to become Paratroopers. And in order to do this they must strip away the person they are, to become capable of killing.”

House of Talent renewed for second season

The first season of House of Talent will end on December 28th in the Netherlands, and a second season has already been commissioned by Talpa Network. Season two will air later in 2019 and just like the first one, it will kick-off with the launch of the professional music careers of eight talented musicians. With reality tv, music and social fully integrated in the multi-platform format, the artists are visible everywhere. They connect with the audience via all channels, resulting in a large number of followers and fans on TV, YouTube and social media.

The first season will end with a spectacular finale determining who will be the winner of House of Talent 2018. This artist wins 10.000 euros to invest in his or her career and two singles that will be released by record label 8Ball.

The daily reality show targets the young and difficult to reach audience across different platforms. The strength of the format lies in the strategic multi-channel approach; each of the more than 40 social channels creates its own ripple effect that amplifies the other channels, resulting in an extensive reach and fanbase amongst youngsters.

In House of Talent, eight aspiring artists live together in a well-equipped former TV and radio studio and work hard on their music careers as professionals. They have to build a fanbase, perform throughout the country and release a new track every 6 weeks. If the artists don’t generate enough income or online engagement in every 6-week period, they will be nominated for elimination. The viewer decides who has to leave and make room for new talent.

House of Talent offers an exceptional opportunity for every young artist and a unique way for a viewer to witness the road to fame and success.

Vick Hope joins E4's Shipwrecked

The broadcaster and presenter will narrate the latest series of the pioneering paradise reality show on E4 in 2019

Broadcaster and presenter Vick Hope will be the voice of the all-new series of Shipwrecked, the pioneering paradise island reality show returning for a new 15-part prime-time series on E4 in early 2019.

The new series will see a batch of adventurous young castaways competing in the ultimate popularity contest on two uninhabited paradise islands in the South Pacific. The two tribes – Sharks and Tigers – will battle it out to win over new arrivals to their respective islands, with a £50k prize fund at stake for the largest tribe at the end of the competition.

Vick comments: “I’m chuffed to be voicing the all new series of Shipwrecked. I was such a fan of the show back in the day on T4, and my friends and I would be so invested in all the tribal twists and turns on Shark and Tiger Island, so it’s a real honour to get to have the first sneak peek at winter’s hottest reality show. There are some amazing characters, epic bombshells and lovely waves of nostalgia ahead.”

Neale Simpson, Executive Producer, Fizz comments: “Vick is the perfect voice for the Shipwrecked and we're thrilled that she is joining us to tell the remarkable story of our island adventures. We've loved seeing Vick become instantly hooked on the mischief and mayhem that ensues as the Tigers and Sharks battle it out in the ultimate popularity contest in paradise.”

Abigail Adams, Executive Producer, Motion Content Group adds: “We’re delighted to once again be working with Vick Hope.  Her humour and warmth shine through the series.”

Karl Warner, Controller of E4 adds: “Shipwrecked changed the game, and we’re very excited about the new series that confidently shakes up reality TV once again. Thanks to the amazing creative team behind the camera, a diverse cast of characters and the brilliant talents of Vick Hope, the new series has all the ingredients for a fresh blast of sunshine and surprises to kick off a hugely exciting year ahead on E4.”

The 15 x 60’ brings Shipwrecked back to our screens for the first time since 2011. Shipwrecked is executive produced by Neale Simpson and Kate Bates for Fizz, part of the Banijay Group and Abigail Adams for Motion Content Group. The series is a commission for E4 by Channel 4 Formats and Features.

Shipwrecked begins early 2019 on E4

I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! - Rep Vile Centre

I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! - Rep Vile Centre

Harry Redknapp undertake tonight's Bushtucker Trial - Rep Vile Centre

Friday 7 December at 9pm on ITV

I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! is back which can mean only one thing… the time has come for a brand new cast of celebrities to head down under and battle it out in TV’s toughest entertainment challenge.

Leaving their plush pads and luxuries far behind, our celebrity campers will spend up to three weeks taking on the harsh surroundings of the Australian Jungle, with a whole host of brand new nasty surprises created just for them.

Declan Donnelly and Holly Willoughby will present all the big stories live from the Jungle every night.

The celebrities heading into the Jungle for the new series are:

Football manager – Harry Redknapp
Corrie star– Sair Khan - Voted Out
TV presenter – Nick Knowles - Voted Out
Singer – Fleur East
Popstar – James McVey
TV’s ‘The Governess’ – Anne Hegerty - Voted Out
Hollyoaks actor –Malique Thompson-Dwyer - Voted Out
Comedy actor – Emily Atack
Actor & entertainer – John Barrowman MBE
Actor – Rita Simons - Voted Out
TV Legend - Noel Edmonds - Voted Out

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Twenty One Pilots crowned Hottest Record of the Year

Jumpsuit by Twenty One Pilots has been crowned the Hottest Record of the Year announced in Annie Mac’s show tonight on BBC Radio 1.

They beat the likes of The 1975, Arctic Monkeys, Florence + The Machine, and Drake to win the award, following last year’s winners The Killers with The Man.

Known for breaking some of the biggest and newest music on the planet, Annie features her Hottest Record in the World every Monday to Friday at 7.30pm, the time and place to find out what is the biggest track right now.

Listeners were able to vote for their favourite tracks via the BBC Radio 1 website and via the Radio 1 twitter account.

The 2018 Top 20 Hottest Records in the World voted by the listeners are (in order):

Twenty One Pilots - Jumpsuit
The 1975 - Give Yourself A Try
Years & Years – Sanctify
Arctic Monkeys – Four Out Of Five
Calvin Harris Ft. Dua Lipa - One Kiss
George Ezra - ShotGun
Christine and the Queens – Girlfriend
Bring Me The Horizon – MANTRA
Florence + The Machine – Hunger
Mabel Ft. Not3s - Fine Line
Robyn - Missing U
BROCKHAMPTON - 1999 Wildfire
Calvin Harris Ft. Sam Smith – Promises
Peggy Gou - It Makes You Forget (Itgehane)
A$AP Rocky Ft. Skepta – Praise The Lord (Da Shine)
Janelle Monáe - Make Me Feel
Post Malone – Psycho
Travis Scott Ft Drake - Sicko Mode
Theophilus London Ft. Giggs – Bebey (SN1 Road Mix)
Drake Ft Michael Jackson - Don't Matter To Me

Twenty One Pilots say: “I knew all that voting we did would pay off. It’s one of our favourite songs to play live and favourite songs in general so to hear it’s an important record to our fans is pretty awesome.”

Annie Mac says: "Hottest Record Of The Year is a chance to celebrate the incredible array of music I have the pleasure of launching every single week night at 7.30pm on Radio 1. It’s a great cross section of the best music of the year and a chance for us to really engage with the many passionate music fans that listen to our show. It was so exciting to play Jumpsuit for the first time , there were people locked in form all over the world and it felt like a truly exciting and inclusive radio moment. It’s such a deserved win, I’m delighted for them."

I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! - Ding Dong Merrily Up High

I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! - Ding Dong Merrily Up High

Fleur East and James McVey undertake tonight's Bushtucker Trial - Ding Dong Merrily Up High

Thursday 6 December at 9pm on ITV

I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! is back which can mean only one thing… the time has come for a brand new cast of celebrities to head down under and battle it out in TV’s toughest entertainment challenge.

Leaving their plush pads and luxuries far behind, our celebrity campers will spend up to three weeks taking on the harsh surroundings of the Australian Jungle, with a whole host of brand new nasty surprises created just for them.

Declan Donnelly and Holly Willoughby will present all the big stories live from the Jungle every night.

The celebrities heading into the Jungle for the new series are:

Football manager – Harry Redknapp
Corrie star– Sair Khan - Voted Out
TV presenter – Nick Knowles
Singer – Fleur East
Popstar – James McVey
TV’s ‘The Governess’ – Anne Hegerty - Voted Out
Hollyoaks actor –Malique Thompson-Dwyer - Voted Out
Comedy actor – Emily Atack
Actor & entertainer – John Barrowman MBE
Actor – Rita Simons - Voted Out
TV Legend - Noel Edmonds - Voted Out

Tess Daly guest stars in new CBBC comedy drama Almost Never

Tess Daly is to swap the Strictly dance floor for The Spotlight, a TV talent competition which sees a brand new boy band pitted against an all-girl group. The Spotlight is a fictional talent competition featured in new CBBC comedy drama, Almost Never.

Emily Atack and Fleur East also star

Tess plays the host of the talent competition which sees boy band, The Wonderland, fiercely compete against girl band, Girls Here First, with the fortunes of The Wonderland then being followed as they try to make it big in the business.

The star-studded cast also includes Kimberly Wyatt as ambitious and unscrupulous manager of the girl band, Sasha Small.

Emily Atack (The Inbetweeners and currently starring in I’m a Celebrity) plays Meg, mum to Oakley and Harry from The Wonderland, whilst Colin Hoult (Murder in Successville) plays their dad. Nate’s mum is played by Zina Badran (A Very English Scandal) and his sister Molly by Simran Rakar.

Michelle Gayle (EastEnders) takes the role of Coleen, a record company manager. Also appearing in a cameo role is Emily’s fellow I’m A Celebrity campmate, Fleur East.

Tillie Amartey (Ratburger) takes the role of Chloe, a vlogger who befriends The Wonderland and helps them to build their social media profile.

Almost Never follows The Wonderland as the brief spell of fame they enjoyed on the talent show starts to fade.

It charts their comedic ups and downs as they try to grow their fan base and find the best songs to record. As the boys try to make it in the music business, they also have to juggle home life, school and relationships alongside their dreams of pop stardom.

The Wonderland are played by Oakley Orchard, Harry Still and Nathaniel Dass. Girls Here First are Mya-Lecia Naylor, Miriam Nyarko, Lola Moxom and Lilly Stanion.

Almost Never is due to broadcast on CBBC in the new year. The series is produced by Saltbeef TV’s Jeremy Salsby creator of Sorry I’ve Got No Head and Friday Download.

Channel 4 to host the real Brexit Debate


Channel 4 will host The Real Brexit Debate on Sunday 9th December at 7pm. The live, hour long programme will see four high profile politicians reflecting the main divisions in the House of Commons on this issue – Theresa May’s Deal, a softer Brexit, a harder Brexit and People’s Vote/Remain,  just days before MP’s historic vote on 11th December.

The Real Brexit Debate will be chaired by Channel 4 News’ Krishnan Guru-Murthy. It will tackle the key issues people across the country care about and consider the genuine options left open for the United Kingdom, as opposed to just debating the viewpoints of the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition.

Channel 4 director of programmes Ian Katz said: “On the eve of one of the biggest decisions in Britain’s modern history it’s a great shame that the leaders of our main parties have refused to take part in a televised debate that reflects all positions on the Brexit issue so Channel 4 is staging the debate the British public deserves.”

The debate will take place in front of a carefully selected live audience of 100 people with diverse perspectives on Brexit.

The format of the debate will see each panellist give a overview of their position followed by the debate, and a summary from each to close.

The programme will be produced by ITN Productions.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Bradley Walsh & Son: Breaking Dad

Bradley Walsh & Son: Breaking Dad

“We’re getting you out of your comfort zone, we’re making memories together, that’s what it’s all about!” Barney Walsh

“Ah guys. I’m not looking forward to this. I’m really not looking forward to this at all. I’ve got itchy bits now. That’s all I need.”  Bradley Walsh

Actor Bradley Walsh and his 20-year-old son Barney are hitting the road together for a brand-new four-part series, travelling over 2000 miles from Los Angeles to New Orleans. They might be father and son but when it comes to travelling they are worlds apart, with Bradley keen to relax while Barney wants to live life a little more on the edge. Worried his old man is too stuck in his ways, Barney has decided to take matters into his own hands with an adventurous trip that his dad will never forget.

With Barney about to turn 21 and leave home, he has convinced Bradley this is the perfect time for a father and son road trip in the US. Starting in the showbiz capital of the world, LA, they will travel through Arizona and Texas to New Orleans in the deep south, with plenty of surprises along the way. Adrenaline junkie Barney is determined to push Bradley to his limits with alligator feeding, cowboy training, intense space simulators, driving and firing tanks AND - Brad’s worst nightmare - a small spot of sky diving all on the secret agenda. It’s sure to be one hell of a ride.

The trip begins in the City of Angels, Los Angeles, where the duo collect their enormous 36-foot, 7.5 tonne RV - their home for the trip. Barney does his best to put Bradley at ease by kitting it out with all of his dad’s favourite creature comforts, from Hob Nobs and Branston Pickle to board games and an Arsenal duvet cover.

They set off for Venice Beach but with the legal driving age set at 25, anxious Bradley is stuck behind the oversized wheel for the long haul, and is less than pleased: “Have I really got to drive this? How am I going to get it out of here? It’s like driving a block of flats!”

First on the agenda is getting Bradley in better shape with a game of volleyball on Venice Beach followed up with a workout on the infamous Muscle Beach with two burly personal trainers. Horrified Bradley tells them: “I frequent the gym quite a bit, as you can tell.”

The day ends with Barney hitting the piano and Bradley hitting the beer, for a singsong with some of their fellow RV neighbours. But while day one might have ended on a high note, Bradley is terrified to hear that the agenda for day two involves the small matter of jumping out of a plane, at 12,000 feet.

After driving to Banning airport in California, Barney does his best to reassure his dad: “Mum thought it was a great idea. You’re going to love it…You’ve got to do something that scares you every day.”

As he gets fitted with a harness and prepares to climb onboard the light aircraft, Bradley’s nerves reach fever pitch: “Ah guys. I’m not looking forward to this. I’m really not looking forward to this at all. I’ve got itchy bits now. That’s all I need.”

Barney might be able to lead his father to 12,000 feet but can he convince him to jump?

“You got it. You’re gonna be good…How many fathers and sons get to do this? Families that jump together, stay together!”

Produced by Hungry Bear Media for ITV.

The Cruise: Shanghai to Sydney

Series overview
The Cruise returns with a brand new six-part documentary series travelling through Asia, Australia and New Zealand - following the lives of almost 5,000 passengers and crew.

Set on board the Majestic Princess - the biggest, newest and most luxurious ship in the fleet - during her maiden voyage from Shanghai to Sydney, the ship visits destinations exotic and familiar from the Asian megacities of Hong Kong and Singapore to the stunning coastal scenery and fjords of New Zealand and the iconic Sydney harbour.

Passengers are expecting the holiday of a lifetime, but the captain and 1,500 crew have their work cut out facing the navigational challenges of chaotic harbours teeming with boats, perilously low bridges and the highly unpredictable typhoon season weather – as well as surviving a legendary party to mark crossing the equator.

Familiar faces include Geordie hotel engineer Scott, while there’s a host of new characters including charismatic Italian captain Dino, fastidious hotel general manager Jasper, unflappable Scottish food and beverage manager Karen and the charming Cynthia – deft diffuser of any passenger complaint.

Episode 1
In the first episode the captain and his team have to manoeuvre under a tight suspension bridge on the way out of one of the world’s busiest ports - Busan in South Korea. It’s a tough call with only metres to spare between the billion dollar ship and the bridge.

Food and beverage manager Karen is pushed to the limit when typhoon rains, a load of spilt milk all over the quayside and a rising tide threaten to stop her loading all the provisions on board in time.

Scott returns with momentous news – since he last appeared in the show, he has married the girlfriend he met on board and they’re expecting a baby. At the end of his contract he’ll be going home for the birth of his new baby daughter. But first there’s a tricky musical manoeuvre to complete with a new piano – with swells of up to six metres expected Scott and his team will need to fix it to the floor to avoid a tuneless collision.   

Meanwhile, in the world of on-board entertainment, assistant cruise directors Robbie and Sandra are desperate to impress their new department director Mark – hatching competing plans for passenger activities from treasure hunts to improvisation workshops to put themselves ahead of the game in the race for promotion. But when they’re called to work together for a German Bierfest under the watchful eye of their boss, can they put their rivalries aside?

And twentysomething Australian Truckers Jess and Kent, who say they accidentally booked the cruise while under the influence, discover they’re the youngest guests on board and Kent enlists the help of Cynthia in guest services to try and make Jess’s birthday one she’ll never forget. But when he produces a box from the on board jewellers, is she expecting a bit more than Kent can deliver?

Multi-season, multi-year deal for The Voice franchise in India

Talpa and Star India have signed a multi-season, multi-year deal for The Voice franchise, comprising The Voice and The Voice Kids. This deal is the base of a bigger partnership with Star. By bringing The Voice franchise to Star, the number one stage in India, the shows can now unlock their full potential. After two successful seasons, the third season of the regular version will air in February 2019 on Star Channel, which reaches an average of over 500 million households in India. The new series will all be produced by Banijay Asia, a Banijay Group company.

Says Maarten Meijs, COO Talpa Media & Managing Director Talpa Global, “We believe that with Star we have found an excellent home to continue the growth of The Voice franchise, and to let it flourish to its full potential in India.”

Gaurav Banerjee, President Hindi, GECs-Star India adds, “Star Plus has always been at the forefront of bringing the best of the world content to Indian television. We love The Voice, we hope to make it immensely loved across the country and unearth awesome talent that can enthrall!”

“As a world-renowned and highly successful franchise, The Voice has huge potential to perform incredibly well in India. We have the perfect partner in Star and are confident we can take the show to new audiences and new heights", says Deepak Dhar, Co-Founder and CEO at Banijay Asia.

The Voice and The Voice Kids are some of the world’s most sustainable talent shows, with rock solid results in all territories where they are on air. They are being watched on every continent. The entire franchise, consisting of The Voice, The Voice Kids and The Voice Senior, has a combined number of 110 versions across the globe, making it the most successful format brand in the non-scripted global market place to date. The Voice already received numerous awards, including 4 Emmy's and 5 People’s Choice Awards.

The Voice, first on air in 2010 in the Netherlands, is the purest vocal talent competition ever. In this innovative primetime vocal contest looks don’t play a role. This show is all about real talent; it’s all about the voice! Four of the country’s top recording artists must select some of the nation’s most promising unknown vocalists to coach. But the selection process won’t be easy. Because the coaches must make their decisions based on the voice. And voice alone. In 2012 the kids’ version followed, The Voice Kids. This format features the same thrilling blind auditions and electrifying battles, except now the nation’s best young vocalists try to impress three of the country’s top recording artists! It’s fun, family oriented feel-good entertainment of the highest order!

Click & Collect - Interviews with Stephen Merchant, Asim Chaudhry & (Writers) Lloyd Woolf & Joe Tucker

Stephen Merchant

What is Click & Collect all about?

It’s a one-off comedy film in which my character, Andrew, and his overbearing neighbour, Dev, have to take a road-trip on Christmas Eve to collect a toy unicorn for my young daughter. Everything that could go wrong, does go wrong. It’s very funny, but sweet too. Asim Chaudhry and I have a great rapport.

Describe your character, Andrew

I play an uptight middle-aged man with glasses - it’s a real stretch for me.

Are there any similarities between you and Andrew?

I’m a bit like Andrew, in that I can be intolerant if someone rubs me up the wrong way. I like meeting new people, but I don’t want to be stuck with someone unless I’ve vetted them first, and know I like them. I dread the idea of being stuck on a long journey with a bore.

Andrew doesn’t appear to be the biggest fan of Christmas. Do you share the same feelings about Christmas?

Andrew gets antagonised by Christmas - whereas I like this time of year. Andrew is sick of the same old songs on the radio, whereas I love hearing Stop The Cavalry for the hundredth time. (I really do). He thinks we should just wait until the New Year sales to buy gifts, when they’re cheaper, whereas I understand it’s just not the same. I like seeing my niece and nephew excited about what Santa has bought them on Christmas morning.

What about Dev? What’s he like?

Dev means well, but he is exhausting company. He is so child-like and over-excited.

What was it like working with Asim Chaudhry on Click & Collect?

I was excited to work with Asim because I suspected he and I would have a great rapport, and we do. He’s hilarious. I love his show People Just Do Nothing. Of all the The Office rip-offs, it’s one of the best.

Would you ever go to extreme lengths to get a present for someone?

I find the secretive nature of gift-buying very stressful. Wracking your brains trying to guess what someone might want, then surreptitiously buying and hiding it from them, then waiting nervously to find out if they actually like it when they open it. And if they don’t, they then have to hide the fact from you. So much lying and deceit involved in gift giving. I much prefer it when people tell you what they want. Even better if they buy it for themselves and just ask for the money.

What’s the best Christmas present you’ve ever received?

I received a Lego airport when I was a kid and played with it for years. I loved creating entire stories surrounding that airport. There were hijackings, crash landings and pay disputes among ground staff. It was very exciting.

What’s the best Christmas present you’ve ever given?

It’s not for me to say what the best gifts were that I’ve given, but I think I’ve been surprisingly thoughtful over the years. I once got my dad a flight in a Spitfire, which he was thrilled about.

Have you ever been on a crazy road trip?

I was acting in a film being shot in Atlanta, in the US. One night, me and few other actors weren’t needed, so we went out to dinner. I had a Georgia guidebook with me, and on the cover was a picture of a beautiful, leafy avenue of trees. I happened to ask the waitress where it was, she guessed it was somewhere in Savannah, so on a whim the other actors and I borrowed a car and set off on an impromptu road trip to find that exact avenue of trees. We drove through the night, got pulled over for speeding by a traffic cop, sweet-talked our way out of a ticket, arrived in Savannah, found the one hotel with rooms, then next morning kept asking locals until we tracked down the exact avenue of trees. We took a picture just like the one on the cover of the guidebook, drove all the way back to the same restaurant, and showed it to our same waitress from the night before. She didn’t seem that excited. But we were very pleased with ourselves.

What are your plans for Christmas this year?

I’ll spend Christmas with family. I love cooking, so I’ll probably collaborate with my mum on the Christmas lunch. Maybe I’ll brine the turkey. I feel that’s what Nigella would do.

Have you ever had a disastrous Christmas?

I’ve been very lucky. No disasters at Christmas. Although I do remember one year my family were having Christmas dinner, and my sister and I started arguing about whether Jesus is really the son of God. My mum got cross and said: “Stop talking about Jesus! Christmas Day is not the time for it!”

Asim Chaudhry

How would you describe Click & Collect?

It’s a tale about unrequited friendship, loneliness, pain, and CHRISTMAS JOY!

Describe your character, Dev

Dev is one of the most annoying people you will ever meet yet also one of the most loveable. It’s a weird combination but ultimately, he is a loveable loser and his intentions are always good.

Did you draw any inspiration for your character from anyone you know?

I had a neighbour who literally lived opposite me in an apartment complex. One of my deliveries got sent to his flat and he knocked on my door to give it to me. As he opened the door, he recognised me off the telly and his face lit up. This was the start of my real life Click & Collect experience. He could see me from his living room window, so every time I was in my kitchen he would wave to me. It was all very intense. I started putting my blinds down to avoid him. He was a lovely guy but I did seriously consider moving.

Do you share any similarities with your character, Dev?

Definitely. I can be VERY annoying at times but I’m somewhat self-aware (only somewhat).

What was it like working with Stephen Merchant on Click & Collect?

Working with Stephen was a joy. He’s one of my comedy heroes and he became like the really tall, white, Bristolian brother I never had!

Have you ever gone to extreme lengths to get a present for someone?

My ten year old sister wanted one of those Hatchimals a few years ago and I remember getting a £65 Uber in rush hour to go to an Argos. It took me three hours. It’s like Click & Collect but like a really boring, lazy version.

How would you cope with spending that much intense time with someone as annoying as Dev?

I avoid intense, annoying people at all costs. If I see someone I know who annoys me I will go out of my way to avoid them. I will miss trains and buses, I am that committed.

What’s the best Christmas present you’ve ever received?

The best Christmas present I’ve ever received was a WWF ring with Bret The Hitman Hart and The Ultimate Warrior. I would spend hours playing with myself, not like that. I would create intricate back stories for the toy figures. I was a weird kid.

What’s the best Christmas present you’ve ever given?

The best Christmas present I’ve ever given was that bloody Hatchimal for my sister. She played with it for a week and then she was done with it! That’s three hours of my life I’ll never get back.

Have you been on any disastrous road trips before?

I regularly tour with Kurupt FM and I’ve had many hellish road trips. The worst gig we ever did was in Swansea. We showed up and there were 40 people at this pub. They didn’t know who we were and the mics didn’t work. I had to do an impromptu stand up set and got a drink thrown at me. The promoter didn't even pay us and when we left the venue and on to the street there were three police cars, two fights happening and a woman crying on a bench. It looked like a renaissance painting.

What are your plans for Christmas this year?

I have a white side of my family, so we have an Asian/British fusion Christmas. My cousin does a turkey and my uncle does a spicy leg of lamb. We have crackers and poppadoms - it's very progressive.

What’s the best Christmas you can remember and what made it so special.

The best Christmas ever was when I was quite young. I really wanted a Sega Saturn, I was moaning about it for months. My dad, who worked as a taxi driver at the time, did a night shift from 9pm-6am to earn some extra cash and when I awoke there was a Sega Saturn under the Christmas tree!

Lloyd Woolf & Joe Tucker (Writers)

What is Click & Collect all about?

Click & Collect is about Andrew, an uptight father, who finds it increasingly difficult to get in the Christmas spirit. He fails to buy his six year old daughter’s main Christmas present - Sparklehoof the Unicorn Princess - only to discover, on Christmas Eve, that the shops are all sold out. Step in Andrew’s insufferable neighbour Dev - a man so enthusiastic about Yule that he’s taken it upon himself to festoon both his and Andrew’s houses in neon lights. Dev manages to buy, by click and collect, what may well be the last Sparklehoof in the UK - but here’s the rub: it’s 300 miles away. With no other options, Andrew and Dev embark on the road trip of a lifetime. For Andrew it’s a nerve-testing nightmare; for Dev it’s the beer they never got to round to.

How did you come up with this storyline? Is it based on any personal experience?

This really did happen to us! The only difference is - it wasn’t a ford, it was a millpond.

So you’ve been on a crazy road trip?

See question two. Other than that, I once drove up the west coast of North America but it was just a pleasant holiday. (Fully recommend everyone take the Pacific Coast Highway from Carmel to Mendocino).

Did you draw any inspiration for the characters from anyone you know?

The characters are loosely based on a couple of friends of ours: Andrew and Dev. There are of course potential legal implications here but we’ve covered ourselves by changing their surnames.

What made you choose Stephen and Asim for these roles?

Stephen and Asim both had that magic combination of very funny, publicly adored and available for the shooting dates.

What would you do if you ended up with neighbours like Dev or Andrew?

If you lived next door to Andrew it probably wouldn’t be too bad - you’d never hear much from him - but you might get the occasional anonymous note to trim your hedge. Dev on the other hand would be a very different beast - probably a case of embrace wholeheartedly or move county.

Could you spend that long in a car with someone like Dev?

We both practice TM (transcendental meditation) but, even with that in our kit bag, it would be a real test of trying to hold on to the notion of “future anecdote”.

Have you ever gone to any extreme lengths to get a present for someone?

We once made a TV producer a large Battenberg which we cabbed across London from the poor bit to the rich bit (top tip there on how to get ahead in the industry). Otherwise, we consider any trip to a major department store in December ‘extreme lengths’.

Click & Collect - Christmas Eve, 9pm, BBC One

Stephen Merchant (The Office, Extras, Hello Ladies) and Asim Chaudhry (People Just Do Nothing) star as two mismatched neighbours driving across the country to pick up the one toy that will make a little girl’s Christmas dreams come true.

But will they get there before the shops shut for the festive season? Can they make it back in time for Christmas? And will they manage to avoid driving each other crazy along the way?

It's Christmas Eve and Andrew Bennett (Merchant) has somehow failed to buy the one present his six-year-old daughter really wants - Sparklehoof the Unicorn Princess. Unfortunately, it also happens to be the must-have toy of the season, and he can’t track one down in London for love nor money. Step forward his irritating, over-friendly neighbour Dev D’Cruz (Chaudhry), who reveals he’s managed to track down the last one in the whole of the UK. The only problem? It’s 300 miles away, up in Carlisle. And it’s click and collect on Dev’s credit card.

Andrew has little choice but to set off with his annoying neighbour on a long-haul drive as he desperately tries to save his daughter's Christmas and redeem himself as a dad. For Andrew, it's a nerve-fraying nightmare; for Dev, it's the best road-trip of his life.

Throw in a whole load of unexpected obstacles along the way, and if they want to make it back in time with the toy in hand, it’s going to take a proper Christmas miracle.

Click & Collect (1x60’) is a BBC Studios/Mondo Deluxe co-production for BBC One, produced by Sam Ward and Executive Produced by Chris Sussman on behalf of BBC Studios and Joe Tucker and Lloyd Woolf on behalf of Mondo Deluxe Productions. The Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Gregor Sharp.

An all-star cast announced for The Trial of Christine Keeler

Sophie Cookson, James Norton, Emilia Fox and Ben Miles lead stellar cast in Bafta award-winning novelist Amanda Coe’s six-part drama for BBC One.

Sophie Cookson (Kingsman: The Secret Service, Gypsy, Red Joan) leads the cast in the role of Christine Keeler. James Norton (McMafia, War and Peace, Happy Valley) stars opposite Cookson in the role of Stephen Ward together with Ellie Bamber (Les Miserables, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Nocturnal Animals) as Mandy Rice-Davies. Ben Miles (The Crown, The Last Post) will play John Profumo and Emilia Fox (Silent Witness, Delicious) stars as Valerie Profumo. Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (Angels in America, Mope) plays Johnny Edgecombe and Anthony Welsh (Journeyman, Black Mirror, Starred Up) plays Aloysius “Lucky” Gordon.

Written by Bafta award-winning novelist and screenwriter Amanda Coe (Apple Tree Yard, Room at the Top, Life in Squares) and directed by Andrea Harkin (Come Home, Clique), The Trial of Christine Keeler takes a fresh look at one of the most infamous British stories: the chain of events in the 1960s that came to be known as the Profumo Affair.

At the centre of the storm was 19-year-old Christine Keeler (Cookson) - a young woman whom the powerful, male-dominated establishment sought to silence and exploit, but who refused to play by their rules.

The Trial of Christine Keeler takes us behind the headlines to tell a human story about the sexual and cultural politics of one of the most revealing and iconic stories of modern times.

Filming began this week in Bristol.

Sophie Cookson says: “I'm delighted to be playing Christine Keeler in this new drama. Amanda Coe has written an illuminating script about a vivid, complex woman who has previously, it seems, been reduced and misunderstood. Now feels like the perfect time to reconsider her life, and redress the balance.”

James Norton says: “I’m delighted to be working with the BBC on this fantastic drama. The opportunity to play Stephen Ward alongside this stellar cast and crew is something I’m really looking forward to.”

Kate Triggs, Executive Producer for Ecosse Films, says: “I am thrilled that Amanda’s wonderful scripts have attracted such an exciting and stunning cast. They all bring something unique and fresh to the story and will be so compelling to watch. Sophie Cookson is the perfect Christine, embodying all her complexity and incredible spirit”.

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, says: “Casting actresses who could authentically convey the age and experience of the young women at the centre of this piece was key to achieving Amanda’s vision for this story. I’m delighted that we have two actresses of such calibre in the roles of Christine and Mandy, and actors of real skill and complexity in James and Ben, to play alongside them.”

The Trial of Christine Keeler is an Ecosse Films and Great Meadow co-production for BBC One. The executive producers are Kate Triggs and Douglas Rae for Ecosse Films, Amanda Coe and Lucy Richer for BBC. Rebecca Ferguson will produce.

The series is commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content, and Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama.

Keshet International will distribute internationally, while working alongside Endeavor Content to co-distribute the six-part series in the US.

The Trial Of Christine Keeler is the first title to benefit from financial support from the KI Content Fund. Launched earlier in March this year by Keshet International with several of Israel’s largest holding and asset management companies, KI’s five year content fund aims to bring high-profile projects with global appeal to a wider audience by also utilising KI’s worldwide distribution prowess.

Start your engines, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK is coming to BBC Three

BBC Three and World of Wonder announced today that a UK version of the award-winning global hit RuPaul’s Drag Race is coming to the channel in 2019.

In the first UK adaptation of the show, RuPaul will be on the lookout to crown one of the UK’s top drag artists the ‘Queen of Great Britain’. But, it will take more than just a wig and pair of heels to win as ten contestants take part in weekly challenges and face off against each other to keep themselves in the competition.

RuPaul, says: “It is a dream come true to extend our royal family to the United Kingdom with our partners at BBC Three. I am beyond excited to celebrate the massive charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent of the Queen’s queens. And before anyone asks, yes, we would be thrilled to have Meghan Markle join us, as we are already preparing a ‘Royal-Mother-To-Be’ runway challenge.”

Contestants will compete in individual or team challenges that test a specific drag queen skill before taking on the Maxi Challenge, the headline moment of each show where they may be required to perform, model in a photo shoot, prepare a runway look for a themed challenge before having to face the judges, with one contestant each week eliminated and asked to “Sashay Away”.

Damian Kavanagh, Controller BBC Three, says: “Needless to say, we’re delighted that BBC Three will be the home of a new UK version of Drag Race. It is one of the biggest entertainment titles in the world and anticipation levels for a UK version have been at feverish levels. With heart, humour and the un-imitable RuPaul, Drag Race is going to take BBC Three to a whole new level.”

Kate Phillips, Controller, Entertainment Commissioning, says: “I’ve been a huge fan of this funny, frank and fierce format for a long time. I also know there is a wealth of very talented and very competitive drag artists in the UK and I can’t wait for them to sashay onto the BBC!”

Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, World of Wonder Co-Founders and Executive Producers, say: “World of Wonder Productions began in the UK, and the many Queens of England have always been an inspiration, so bringing RuPaul’s Drag Race to BBC Three is a very special home coming”.

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK is an 8x60' World of Wonder production for BBC Three. It was commissioned by Damian Kavanagh, Controller BBC Three and Kate Phillips, Controller, BBC Entertainment. The Executive Producers are RuPaul Charles, Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Tom Campbell, Sally Miles and Bruce McCoy, and the BBC Commissioning Editor is Ruby Kuraishe.

Michael Winterbottom’s Greed starring Steve Coogan wraps production

Today, Sony Pictures International Productions (SPIP) and Film4 announced they have wrapped production on BAFTA-winning director Michael Winterbottom’s Greed. The film stars Oscar nominee and BAFTA winner Steve Coogan (upcoming Stan & Ollie, Alan Partridge, Philomena), alongside Isla Fisher, BAFTA-winner David Mitchell with Sophie Cookson , Shirley Henderson, Asa Butterfield, Sarah Solemani, Shanina Shaik, Dinita Gohil, Asim Chaudhry, Pearl Mackie, Jonny Sweet, Ollie Locke and Stephen Fry. The satire is co-written by Winterbottom and two-time Emmy Award winner Sean Gray (“Veep,” “The Thick of It”), and is produced by Melissa Parmenter (The Trip film & series, The Look of Love) for Revolution Films and DJ Films’ Damian Jones (Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, Dad’s Army).

Greed is the fictional story of a retail billionaire, set in the glamorous and celebrity-filled world of luxury fashion, which is centered around the build up to a spectacular 60th birthday party in an exclusive hotel on the Greek island of Mykonos. Sony Pictures International Productions will release the film worldwide in late 2019.

“We couldn’t be more delighted to be teaming with Film4 for this picture,” said Laine Kline, Head of Sony Pictures International Productions. “Damian, Melissa and Michael have done an astronomical job assembling a brilliantly talented comic ensemble for this hilarious satire.”

Film4 Head of Creative Ollie Madden adds, “We can’t think of anyone better to take on the excessive world of business moguls and the super-rich than Michael Winterbottom and Steve Coogan. Together with Sean Gray, a great production team and brilliant ensemble cast, we know they’re going to make something both funny and with a genuine sting in the tail.”

Winterbottom and Coogan are long term collaborators, with the pair most recently working together on the critically acclaimed third instalment of The Trip series, The Trip to Spain co-starring Rob Brydon. The improvised three season comedy series was inspired by Coogan and Brydon’s semi-fictionalized versions of themselves as portrayed in Winterbottom’s A Cock and Bull Story. Their other collaborations include 24 Hour Party People and The Look of Love, both biopics tracking the rise and fall of entertainment moguls.

The film marks the sixth collaboration between Winterbottom and Film4 who have backed an eclectic range of films from the director’s repertoire including Genova, Welcome to Sarajevo, With or Without You, 24 Hour Party People, and The Look of Love.

Laine Kline and Luke Scrase are overseeing for SPIP. Sony Pictures International Productions is the local production arm of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Motion Picture Group. SPIP’s latest film Slaughterhouse Rulez is currently on release in the UK.  SPIP is also in production on an adaption of Alan Warner’s novel The Sopranos, directed by Michael Caton-Jones.

Daniel Battsek and Ollie Madden are overseeing for Film4. Current and forthcoming Film4 releases include Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Favourite, Steve McQueen’s Widows and Mike Leigh’s Peterloo.

First look at CURSED The Series!

A teaser has just been released from the pilot episode for a new paranormal comedy titled CURSED, from Head Above Water creator Connor Fairclough and award-winning producer Tristan Barr.

Ever been interrupted by an interdimensional force of evil whilst on the toilet? Or had to take responsibility of a possessed doll when you haven’t even mastered personal responsibility? Had to distance yourself from a clingy demon spirit in the form of a clown? Isaac and Ned have, and they're not overly thrilled about it.

CURSED is a horror-comedy series that parodies the clichés and techniques typically found in the horror genre, similar in style to Shawn of the Dead. Shot with the intention of an online release, CURSED draws influence and satirises such horror films as The Conjuring, IT, The NUN, and Annabelle.

The story follows Isaac (Kyle McCallion), who releases a curse on himself after fiddling with a Ouija Board one drunken night. Through each episode, he and his useless housemate Ned (Omar Al-Sobky) must deal with countless paranormal hauntings whilst managing their daily mundane lives.

“The show was born out of my amusement when watching various horror movies and placing myself in scenes, begging the question, what would I do if faced with different entities of evil?” creator and writer Connor Fairclough says.

Connor reunites his “Head Above Water” cast that can be seen on Channel 9 and Stan, including Elliot Loney who plays ‘Perry’ an unassuming but aspirational entity and Neel Kolhatkar who plays “Charles D” a pompous real estate agents assistant.

Official premiere date of CURSED to be announced soon via the CURSED social accounts on Twitter and Instagram at @cursedshow and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CursedShow

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Care - Interviews with Sheridan Smith (Jenny), Alison Steadman (Mary) and Sinead Keenan (Claire)

Who is your character?

I play Jenny. She’s a single mum of two girls, and when we meet her at the start of Care she’s still married to her ex-husband, Dave, but they have been through a messy breakup. They’re still in regular contact because of their daughters, but you can tell it’s awkward for her.

In the opening minutes of Care, Jenny’s lovely mum Mary - who helps her with the girls - suffers a stroke and goes on to develop dementia. Jenny must then decide how she’s going to look after her mum - with the NHS and continuing healthcare.

In a nutshell, Care is an incredibly powerful film about a young mum struggling with her two girls - and what her and her family do when her mum develops dementia.

How did you research the role?

I spoke to a quite a few people. A number of my friends have had parents and grandparents with dementia, and speaking with them taught me about a lot about it and was really helpful. Jenny and her family don’t know how to react. When something that massive happens - you do think, how would a family react to that?

Alison Steadman, who plays my mum, was hugely helpful. She had done a lot of research herself to allow for as accurate a performance as possible, so a lot of the time I am purely reacting to her performance.

What first attracted you to Care?

Obviously Jimmy McGovern… he’s written the script with Gillian Juckes and it is amazing. I’m a big fan of Jimmy. I worked with him years ago on The Accused, when I did an episode of that. When Jimmy got in touch and said he was working on this script I was very excited. I jumped at the chance. He’s a genius when it comes to writing. Everyone knows Jimmy. I’m very honoured to be back working with him.

When I realised what the script was about and I read it - I cried all the way through it. It really moved me. I thought it was such an important subject matter. It’s a really important story to tell. Lots of people will be going through the same situation. They’re just a real family and it could happen to anyone, up and down the country. It’s very important. That’s what Jimmy is great at - he always tackles a subject that needs to be discussed.

Was there an especially challenging scene to film?

One of the more challenging scenes was the scene at the start, when my character Jenny’s mum has the accident and Jenny’s then out looking for her and her daughters. Jenny only hears the crash on the phone, so she doesn’t actually know what’s happened. She jumps in the car and she doesn’t know where her kids are… Gosh I’m getting all panicky just thinking about it! I was really shaking after that scene, and I was crying a lot.

It was a really great scene to play - so well written - and I loved doing it. It took me a while to come down afterwards. On set it looked so real, with the girls and the smoke from the accident. The two girls who play Jenny’s daughters are great and so fantastic to work with. They were always hanging round my neck - and they made me birthday cards and everything! I got on great with them. In the scene, when they run towards me crying… the whole thing was a lot. I’m getting emotional just talking about it! I really enjoyed the whole drama and adrenaline of the scene.

Tell us about Mary… what does the film have in store for her?

Initially we see the character as very lively - Mary is a lady who is full of life. She loves her grandkids and spends a lot of time with them. She’s a fun granny to be with. She sends them up and pulls their legs. She’s a very bright, strong lady. And then the rug is pulled right from under her in a flash.

The terrifying thing for me is that it could happen to any of us at any time… and when it does happen, as a human being you have no control. There’s nothing you can do to help yourself. You are totally dependent on medical staff and doctors and family. Suddenly this woman who is full of life and zest and chat… she can’t speak. She can’t communicate.

What attracted you to the film?

Several things… Jimmy McGovern… who is a brilliant writer. Sheridan Smith… who is such a talented actress… filming in my home town… playing a Liverpool woman, which I don’t do very often. It ticked all the boxes.

I’ve never worked with Jimmy McGovern before. He just gets under the skin of the characters. They are so believable. His stuff is always so heart-warming yet heart-wrenching. He ticks all the boxes. Never having worked with him before, when it came up I knew I had to do it. I knew it would be so great. He and Gillian Juckes have written the most wonderful script.

How did you prepare for the role?

I went from what was in the fantastic script and I also spoke to a doctor who specialises in dealing with people who have had a stroke. I had a long chat with him.

I also know someone, a contemporary of mine, who had a massive stroke about six months ago. It’s so hard to see how it can change someone’s life entirely. Just to be in the stroke unit and to observe people… I chatted to quite a few of the patients or just exchanged smiles… I saw what was going on in the unit. That was really helpful to me.

It really makes me appreciate that at the end of the day I can get dressed, put my lipstick on and go and have a gin and tonic - as some people aren’t so lucky.

It’s not an easy role to play… did you have any reservations about taking it on?

I didn’t have any reservations. I knew it would be a terrific challenge. I didn’t have reservations but knew it would be something that I was going to really have to work at to get into Mary’s brain and understand fully what had happened to her, in order to understand what she was going through. In that sense it was challenging but it was also good to know that I had this challenge and that I could achieve it.

How was working with Sheridan Smith again? What is she like to share a scene with?

Sheridan is 100% committed. There’s no nonsense with her. She really goes for it. She’s so lovely because we have a lot of emotional scenes together that were very taxing. When we finished a take, if it had gone well she would take my hand and grip my hand - she wouldn’t say anything but it was great to have that support. We felt that we were really communicating together. It was so good to have that.

Did you talk about what your characters relationship would have been like before the stroke?

Yes - we had rehearsal time. We knew that the three of them (Jenny, Mary and Sinead Keenan’s character Claire) were strong characters - particularly Sheridan’s character. Perhaps it wasn’t always an easy relationship. Life was tough for them all… relationships, bringing up kids and one thing or another… But you knew that they were supportive. When this sort of thing happens, suddenly it shines a spotlight on life and what’s important. I think it’s great for their mother to know that those two girls were going to support her and be there for her.

Is there anything that has stayed with you since filming?

Definitely. Once you’ve played a part like this, it stays with you. In life we hope that we don’t get ill and of course we don’t dwell on things like that because you’ve got to carry on living. I’m touching wood as I say this, but I’ve got a very active and happy life - and I’m very grateful for that. But it does make you think. When I do see people who have experienced similar to Mary or are having difficulty communicating, I think I have even more empathy than I did before. It has really made me think.

What do you hope viewers will take from watching Care? Why should viewers tune in?

Like any good drama, it will be compelling but it will also raise awareness and raise consciousness. It will increase people’s empathy. It will make people realise that they should appreciate life and realise if this does happen in life we should give people the best chance. Most health services do their best, but they can’t always do what they want to do because they have not got the resources. Care homes have not got the resources to do what they should be doing. I think raising awareness of that is very important.

What made you want to be a part of Care? 

From the moment I clapped eyes on Cracker I have long since been a huge fan of Jimmy McGovern’s. The opportunity to work with Jimmy was a golden one - the fact that the brilliant Alison Steadman and Sheridan Smith were both involved meant I could in no way say no.

The story is also quite close to my heart. My nana and papa lived in Belfast and both went through the NHS system in their final years. My nana had Alzheimer’s and although the care she received was administered wholeheartedly by those we came in contact with on the front line of the NHS, battling our way to get that care was challenging, to put it politely.

The journey that Jenny and Claire make to get their mother the care she needs and is entitled to is one that all too many will be familiar with.

Please tell us about your character. Where do we meet Claire at the start of the film, and what was she like to play?

Claire is the daughter who ‘lives away’, which brings with it its own complications when dealing with a sick parent. For her own reasons, Claire can’t be there in the same way as Jenny can with the day-to-day caring for her mother. This serves to make Claire feel guilty, so that when she does come home and tries to advocate for her mother, she does so a lot more fervently and aggressively than her sister.

As a daughter who lives away from home, I was keen not to portray Claire as the villain of the piece, as can sometimes be the case when you see dramas like this. Living away from home does not necessarily mean that you care less about your family, it can just mean you have made different choices in life which have led you down a different path and to a different place. Geography and circumstance don’t necessarily mean a lack of love for a parent, which is certainly the case with Claire.

Was there a particularly memorable scene or moment to film?

The first scene I filmed with Sheridan and Alison was a fairly memorable one, for me at least. It was the scene where Claire finds Jenny and her mum in the hospital, and finds out she’s had a stroke. To be in a room working with two actors you have admired for years and years on a piece written by a writer you have admired for years and years, is quite the thing. I had to dig deep into my acting boots that day to give some sort of semblance of professionalism and not betray my inner fan girl!

This is your second time in as many years playing a Liverpudlian, and filming in the city. What makes Liverpool such a great location to film?

No word of a lie, Liverpool is my favourite city in the UK. This was my second time filming in Liverpool and I cannot tell you how nice it was to be back. There is a buzz and a pride in Liverpool that you will be hard pushed to find anywhere else in the UK, which makes it a great city not just to work in but to spend time in.

Why should BBC One viewers tune in to Care?

The journey that Jenny and Claire make to get their mother the care she needs and is entitled to is one that all too many will be familiar with. Every viewer will be able to identify with some part of Care, it’s co-written by Jimmy McGovern with Gillian Juckes, and starring Alison Steadman and Sheridan Smith - that’s a fairly tempting proposition right there!

Care - A new 90-minute drama from Jimmy McGovern, co-written with Gillian Juckes

Sheridan Smith, Alison Steadman and Sinead Keenan star in Care, a new 90-minute drama from Jimmy McGovern, co-written with Gillian Juckes whose real life experiences formed the inspiration for the story.
Sheridan Smith is Jenny, a mother of two raising her girls alone after the departure of her husband. Her one lifeline is Mary (Steadman), Jenny’s widowed mother, whose help with childcare allows Jenny to hold down her full-time job at the supermarket. When Mary suffers a devastating stroke and develops dementia, their world comes crashing down and everything changes for Mary, Jenny and her sister Claire (Sinead Keenan).

Finding herself torn between her own life and the wellbeing of her mother, Jenny soon discovers that another way could be possible - but she’ll have to fight for it.

Care (1x90’) was made by LA Productions for BBC One and is directed by David Blair, produced by Colin McKeown and Donna Molloy (Broken, Moving On). Executive Producers are Colin McKeown and Jimmy McGovern for LA Productions and Lucy Richer for the BBC. Care was filmed in and around Liverpool.

An introduction by co-writer Gillian Juckes
I am delighted that the BBC and LA Productions have given me the opportunity to get this important story out there. Most of all I’d like to thank the amazing writer, Jimmy McGovern for wanting to collaborate with me and having faith in my work.

Care is not just one story, but a story of the strength and resilience that many families of dementia patients need to find, to tackle not only the emotional, physical and practical consequences that this disease brings with it, but also the complex social, financial and political issues that need to be dealt with at a time when they are at their most vulnerable.

I think Sheridan, Alison and Sinead have all done an incredible job and delivered outstanding performances.

I wanted the story to focus on women, because it is another issue that impacts disproportionately on the lives of women. Not only is it a disease that directly affects more women in older age groups, but also, in the UK the majority of carers for people with dementia are women. In addition, I know that a significant number of female carers have gone from full-time to part-time employment as a result of their caring responsibilities.

Caring is going on behind closed doors. Carers are sacrificing their careers, financial independence and mental health to carry out this work. Dementia patients cannot fight for themselves so it’s up to us as a society to fight for them and to treat dementia with the dignity it deserves.

Jess Glynne, Rita Ora, Clean Bandit and George Ezra revealed as part of Top Of The Pops Christmas and New Year specials

Top of the Pops - the biggest pop party on TV - announced the line-up for the two Christmas Day and New Year’s specials hitting BBC One screens this festive period, hosted by Fearne Cotton and BBC Radio 1’s Clara Amfo.

The one hour specials will celebrate the biggest hits and hottest names in British pop and from around the world, performing exclusively. The Christmas Day special will celebrate all things pop, reviewing 2018’s year in music. Audiences can watch performances from:

Clean Bandit
Freya Ridings
George Ezra
Jax Jones & Ina Wroldson
Jess Glynne
Jonas Blue with Liam Payne & Lennon Stella
Rita Ora
Rudimental with Jess Glynne & Dan Caplen
Tom Walker
Zara Larsson

The show returns for a New Year’s special, broadcasting all the biggest hits of the year culminating with the last Number 1 of the year, artists will include:

B Young
Christine and the Queens
Clean Bandit
George Ezra
Jess Glynne
Jonas Blue and Jack & Jack
Lewis Capaldi
Tom Grennan
Tom Odell & Rae Morris
Years & Years

Fearne Cotton says: “Top of the Pops has become a special annual tradition for many and I can’t wait to be back with Clara watching some of the biggest names in pop perform their big hits of the year!”

Clara Amfo says: “Getting to present the television that we’ve all watched as kids will never not be a joy for me and I’m so very happy to be back with Fearne for TOTP this festive season, see you from your sofa!”

George Ezra says: “It's an honour and a pleasure to be playing this year's festive Top of the Pops. I watched it as I was growing up and so excited to be getting involved myself, expect all the bells and whistles. Big smiles over here. See you there!"

Top of the Pops Christmas will be on BBC One on Tuesday 25 December at 12.30pm, Top of the Pops New Year will be on BBC One on Saturday 29 December at 5.10pm.

BBC NI invites audiences to Christmas TV preview screenings in Belfast

BBC Northern Ireland is continuing its tradition of BBC Christmas Preview Screenings in Belfast, and this year there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

There will be a sneak preview of some of the latest BBC network television dramas, including Call The Midwife Christmas Special, The Midnight Gang, The Dead Room and the first episode of a detective story featuring Hercule Poirot called The A.B.C. Murders.

All screenings will take place in Blackstaff Studio A and Broadcasting House in December. For further information and to apply for tickets go to bbc.co.uk/showsandtours. Tickets will be restricted to two per applicant and. Admission to all events will be on a first come, first served basis.

The Dead Room
Wednesday 12 December at 6.45pm

The Dead Room is a short drama by Mark Gatiss for BBC Four. It tells the story of what happens during the recording of a horror story for radio and focusses on veteran actor and voiceover artist Aubrey Judd - played by Simon Callow. As Aubrey discovers the calm and quiet of the radio studio isn’t quite what it seems…

The Dead Room is a ghostly tale in a long-established Christmas tradition and the screening will take place in BBC Broadcasting House’s suitably spooky Studio 1.

The screening will be introduced by film critic Mike Catto who will help to set the scene for what follows - and try his best to settle everyone’s nerves as the house lights dim and Mark Gatiss’ new ghost story begins!

The Dead Room was set and filmed in the BBC’s historic Maida Vale studios. It was used by the BBC from the 1930s until 2018 and was the regular location for many music and radio broadcasts.

Mark Gatiss’ film has been produced by Can Do productions for BBC Four and also stars Anjli Mohindra, Susan Penhaligon and Joshua Oakes-Rogers.

Limited capacity in Studio 1 means ticket allocation will be restricted to two per applicant. Tickets and venue admission for this event will be on a first come, first served basis.

Call The Midwife Christmas Special
Monday 17 December at 6.45pm

Call The Midwife Christmas Specials are hugely popular with BBC audiences in Belfast. It’s a proper festive treat and allows us to catch up with all that’s been happening at Nonnatus House. There are familiar faces and some new characters, including Miriam Margolyes as Sister Mildred, who arrives with four young orphan refugees.

As Poplar makes its own preparations for Christmas, Sister Julienne has some decisions to make, Trixie returns from Portofino and Valerie leads the baby ballet performance. Expect laughter, tears and the usual brilliant storytelling - all of which anticipates a brand new series of Call the Midwife in 2019.

Call the Midwife is produced by Neal Street Productions for BBC network television.
Tickets will be restricted to two per applicant and allocated by random draw. Admission to these events will be on a first come, first served basis.

The ABC Murders
Tuesday 18 December at 6.45pm

The ABC Murders is the latest Agatha Christie detective story to be adapted for BBC television. It features Hercule Poirot (played by John Malkovich) and his pursuit of a serial killer whose crimes take place at locations across the country with a railway guide being left beside each victim. It’s a tense and thrilling story and reflects Agatha Christie’s genius for plot and puzzle. It also provides an early and testing challenge in the career our favourite Belgian detective and conveys a vivid sense of English life in the mid-1930s.

The ABC Murders has been adapted for BBC television by Sarah Phelps and features a stellar cast including Rupert Grint as Inspector Crome (who doesn’t have a particularly high opinion of Poirot) and Tara Fitzgerald as Lady Clarke.

There will be a screening of episode one of this three-part series, allowing some extra sleuthing time before the identity of the mystery killer is revealed on television. It’s an opportunity to enjoy this programme in a cinema-style setting in the company of other murder mystery enthusiasts.

The ABC Murders has been produced by Mammoth Screen for BBC network television.

The Midnight Gang
Wednesday 19 December at 2pm and 5.45pm

The Midnight Gang is one for a younger audience. It’s the much anticipated television adaptation of David Walliams’ 2016 novel about a group of children who leave their hospital ward each evening in search of magical night-time adventure. It’s a fast-paced story about friendship, dreams that come true and what happens when Big Ben chimes midnight and everyone else is fast asleep.

The Midnight Gang has all the page-turning drama and excitement of David Walliams’ original book. It is also great fun. David Williams makes a cameo appearance as the headmaster, and he’s joined by Alan Davies as a porter whose real name nobody seems to know, and Haydn Gwynne as the Matron who doesn’t like children at all.

The Midnight Gang is about secrets shared, challenges overcome and putting your friends first. It promises to be a family viewing highlight of the Christmas television schedules and we’re delighted that it’s also Stephen Nolan’s Book Club Choice for December (in association with Libraries NI). This means that extra copies will be available in your local library and that you can hear all about it on his weekday programme on BBC Radio Ulster.

Those coming to the screening are encouraged to bring a copy of the book with them for big Studio A selfie.