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Tuesday, 16 October 2018

I'm A Celebrity... Extra Camp returns to ITV2

ITV2 today confirms that Scarlett Moffatt, Joel Dommett and Joe Swash will all be returning to host I'm A Celebrity…Extra Camp this Autumn.

The show will be hosted live every night by the straight talking Jungle fanatics who will each bring their own unique take on what's happening in camp. They'll get all the latest behind the scenes gossip with unseen clips, exclusive interviews and the insiders guide to the dreaded Bushtucker Trials.

Viewers are invited to join the lively debates via social media and the app as well as putting their questions directly to the campmates live in the studio once they've left the Jungle. The hosts will also be joined in Australia by various celebrity guests.

Scarlett Moffatt said "I'm so excited to be back working with Joe and Joel for another year on Extra Camp, I absolutely adore them both. We have such a laugh doing the show together, I can't wait to get back out there and meet our new celebrity jungle campmates."

Joel Dommett said "So excited to see my jungle family again! Scarlett is like the sister I never had and Joe is nothing like the brother I already have.  Plus I left a 2p coin under a log on set. Can't wait to see if it's still there."

Joe Swash said "Good times! Me, Joel and Scarlett are going to be reunited again on Extra Camp. I loved working with them last year, we had such a laugh both on and off screen! I can't wait to see what celebrities are going into the jungle."

I'm A Celebrity…Extra Camp has been commissioned for ITV2 by Paul Mortimer Head of Digital Channels and Acquisitions and ITV's Head of Entertainment Siobhan Greene. The show will be Executive Produced by ITV Studios Entertainment Creative Director Richard Cowles and Toni Ireland.

I'm A Celebrity…Extra Camp is an ITV Studios Entertainment production for ITV2.

Trevor McDonald and the Killer Nurse

In Sir Trevor McDonald's first year reading News at Ten, he covered the extraordinary case of one of Britain's worst serial killers: a young, female nurse.

In 1991, 22-year-old nurse Beverly Allitt murdered four children in her care, and attacked a further nine, at Grantham Hospital in Lincolnshire.

Now, 25 years since he reported on her conviction, Trevor is able to shed new light on a case that has fascinated him ever since.

Trevor is given access to the original police interviews with Beverly Allitt, and tracks down several of her surviving victims, some of whom are speaking for the first time about their traumatic experiences, and the impact it has had on their lives.

Bradley Gibson was 5 years old when Allitt tried to kill him, in the children's ward of Grantham Hospital.

Now 32, Bradley tells Trevor how his heart stopped beating for thirty-two minutes, long after many doctors would have given him up as dead.

"They had to use adult doses of shock for me because I was not coming round at all."

When Trevor plays Bradley the police tapes of Allitt's interview, he says, "She’s trying to get away with it any way she can. To me that screams out almost psychotic."

Kayley Asher was just fifteen months old when Beverly Allitt attacked her. She was already suffering from a serious disability affecting her development.

Her adoptive mother Sharon tells Trevor that "Kayley was injected with air underneath her armpits that made her lungs collapse".

She says that Beverly Allitt is still a major presence in their lives: "Kayley has...flashbacks of what happened. She sort of looks under her bed, in drawers looking for Nurse Allitt although (she’s) told time and time again she’s not there, she still looks the whole time."

When Trevor asks Kayley what it is that frightens her now, Kayley replies, "in case she comes back for me."

Trevor also meets the detective that caught Beverly Allitt, and hears the extraordinary story of an investigation against the odds.

Former Detective Superintendent Stuart Clifton tells Trevor how he pushed on with his enquiry, despite pressure to give up: "One very senior officer said to me, 'you’re chasing rainbows'. Detectives develop a sixth sense, I think, and particularly experienced detectives, and there was something that just rankled with me that didn’t seem quite true."

Trevor also sits down with the officers who interviewed Beverly Allitt, and plays them the interview tapes. They talk him through this extraordinary archive material, in which a soft-spoken 22-year-old woman flatly denies allegations of murder, smiling and joking with the officers.

Trevor also investigates Beverly Allitt's detention and punishment.

He uncovers a document that suggests Beverly Allitt was faking the original symptoms that had her transferred from jail to hospital while on remand, and he hears from experts who suggest she should be in prison, rather than Rampton Secure Hospital.

Trevor finds Beverly Allitt's surviving victims troubled by her apparent lack of confession, but in the course of making this film he discovers a document which shows that she has in fact confessed to all of the crimes of which she was convicted.

Victim Michael Davidson says, "I didn’t know about that. It makes me feel better, but it was more in her self interest. It would mean more if she'd pleaded guilty at trial".

Kayley Asher's father agrees: "Too little, too late".

Wed 24 Oct 2018
9.00pm - 10.00pm

Monday, 15 October 2018

ITV commissions six-part drama, A Confession, starring Martin Freeman and Imelda Staunton

ITV’s Head of Drama, Polly Hill, has announced commission of six-part drama, A Confession, from acclaimed screenwriter, Jeff Pope, starring Martin Freeman and Imelda Staunton to be co-produced by ITV Studios and Urban Myth Films.

The series tells the story of how Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher, played by Martin Freeman (StartUp, The Hobbit, Sherlock, Fargo), deliberately breached police procedure and protocol to catch a killer, a decision that ultimately cost him his career and reputation.

Set in Swindon, Wiltshire, ‘A Confession’, details the disappearance of 22-year-old Sian O’Callaghan in March 2011.  On a night out with girlfriends, Sian left a nightclub in Swindon Old Town to walk the 15 minutes home to boyfriend Kevin Reape, played by Charlie Cooper (This Country). Worried for her safety, Kevin reports Sian missing when she fails to come home in the early hours or respond to his increasingly frantic texts. 

With the police investigation underway, officers arrive on the doorstep of Sian’s mother, Elaine O’Callaghan, played by Siobhan Finneran (Cold Feet, The Moorside, Happy Valley), who at first thinks her daughter must have stayed overnight with a girlfriend. Described as a ‘family girl’, it was uncharacteristic of Sian to be out of touch with her loved ones. 

Senior Investigating Officer Steve Fulcher leads a team which begins to piece together Sian’s last movements, scouring CCTV footage from the club and re-tracing her steps home. Cell-site analysis reveals her mobile phone signal bouncing off a mast 14 miles away in Savernake Forest.  With the missing person’s enquiry in full  swing Fulcher, orders a full-scale search operation.

Believing Sian may still be alive, Fulcher operates on the premise that Sian is being held somewhere against her will. If she is, he knows it will be a race against time. Through diligent and painstaking police work Fulcher and his team discovers CCTV footage of her in the High Street, which leads to vital clues in the investigation.

Meanwhile, Karen Edwards, played by Imelda Staunton (Maleficent, Paddington, Harry Potter, Vera Drake, The Girl), the mother of Becky Godden, a 20-year-old who disappeared a decade previously in 2003, is watching the investigation unfold on the local news and in the town centre.  Reminded of Becky’s disappearance, she becomes gripped by fear that her daughter will somehow be involved in what is unfolding before her eyes as the search for Sian goes on.

A known drug addict and prostitute, Becky had disappeared many times before and although Karen had tried to help her daughter, staging interventions and paying for rehabilitation, sadly Becky continued to lapse back into addiction.

Coincidentally, the property where Karen lives with her second husband, Charlie, backs on to the home of Elaine O’Callaghan and her then partner.  Although they don’t know one another, their lives become tragically intertwined when Fulcher and his team edge closer to their chief suspect, local taxi driver Christopher Halliwell, played by Joe Absolom (Doc Martin, The Level, Suspects).

The investigation culminates in a standoff between Fulcher and Halliwell at a remote location, before Halliwell is taken back to the police station and given a solicitor. Just as Fulcher is about to give up, Halliwell suddenly makes a startling confession. But this moment of apparent triumph takes on sinister consequences and steers the investigation in a completely unforeseen direction.

A Confession will be filmed in Wiltshire and the Home Counties with Paul Andrew Williams (Strangers, Broadchurch) directing each of the six episodes. The drama will be executive produced by Jeff Pope (Little Boy Blue, writer and executive producer, The Moorside, executive producer, Cilla, writer and executive producer) for ITV Studios, Johnny Capps (Merlin, Atlantis and Sugar Rush) and Julian Murphy (Atlantis, Merlin and Demons) for Urban Myth Films with Tom Dunbar as Producer.

Commented Jeff Pope: 
“I found this is a fascinating story to tell on a number of levels. On one hand it is a brilliant piece of detective work, but in order to find both girls Fulcher felt he had to deny Halliwell his rights as a suspect. It brings into question how we want our police to behave when someone goes missing. Should Fulcher have been praised as a courageous officer fighting for the life of a girl, or lose his career for riding rough shod over the law?”

Commented Polly Hill:
“It is wonderful to be working with Jeff Pope again on this compelling and important true story.  I’m delighted that the brilliant Martin Freeman and Imelda Staunton are leading the cast, making this an unmissable drama for next year.”

ITV Studios Global Entertainment announces pre-sales of The War of the Worlds to multiple territories

ITV Studios Global Entertainment (ITVS GE) has arrived in Cannes with pre-sales for one of its key drama launches, The War of the Worlds, secured across over 80 territories.

The drama is a Mammoth Screen production for the BBC co-produced with Creasun Media in association with Red Square, and has pre-sold across Europe, including France, Spain and Russia, as well as in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and across Africa.

Adapted by Peter Harness (Wallander, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell), The War of the Worlds will air in Europe on TF1 (France), Movistar+ (Spain), LaF via Sky Italy, Channel 1 (Russia) RUV (Iceland), YLE (Finland) and on Epic Drama, in key territories across CEE.

It has also been picked up by Foxtel in Australia, TVNZ in New Zealand and Blue Ant Media in Canada, while a deal in Africa with M-Net, means the show will be available in over 50 countries across the continent.

Ruth Berry, Managing Director, ITV Studios Global Entertainment, said: “The War of the Worlds is an internationally recognised story and this is the first British television adaptation of H.G Wells’ classic tale. It is an incredible and truly ground-breaking production full of mood and atmosphere, which is bringing to life some of literature’s most notorious foes. It is event television at its best that viewers won’t want to miss.” 

Set in Edwardian England, the 3x60 series stars Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark, Loving Vincent) and Rafe Spall (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, The Big Short) alongside Robert Carlyle (T2: Trainspotting, Once Upon A Time) and Rupert Graves (Swimming with Men, Sherlock).

When Horsell Common in Surrey, England, is struck by a huge meteor, the inhabitants of Earth slowly fall victim to a vicious alien invasion. The War of the Worlds follows one couple's attempt to escape the ruthless Martians who are determined to destroy all human life as they attempt to conquer the earth.

This new adaptation of H.G. Wells' seminal tale - the first alien invasion story in literature - follows George (Spall) and his partner Amy (Tomlinson) as they attempt to defy society and start a life together, and face the escalating terror of an alien invasion, fighting for their lives against an enemy beyond their comprehension.

The War of the Worlds is directed by award-winning director Craig Viveiros and produced by Betsan Morris Evans (NW, The City and The City).  The executive producers are Damien Timmer, Preethi Mavahalli, Peter Harness and Craig Viveiros for Mammoth Screen, part of ITV Studios, and Tommy Bulfin for the BBC. The Executive Producer for Creasun is Minglu Ma and for Red Square, Jamie Brown.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

BBC announces Why Slavery? Season

The BBC has today announced a series of powerful films about slavery in the modern age for the Why Slavery? season.

Timed for International Anti-Slavery day on 18 October, and in collaboration with The Open University, the BBC has commissioned and produced six new films for BBC Two, BBC Four and BBC iPlayer and has resurfaced films for BBC Three and BBC World News that will uncover aspects of the various forms of slavery that exist today. With an estimated 40.3 million people living in some form of slavery today, these films will provide a heart-breaking insight into human struggles, but also look at the systems that allow modern slavery to exist.

Patrick Holland, Controller, BBC Two, says: "The Why Slavery? season is a hugely important range of films illuminating and questioning slavery in our modern world. Films like the extraordinary factual drama Doing Money reveal how coercion and control operates in plain sight, demanding that we look and listen harder. I am proud that BBC Two sits at the heart of this season and for our partnership with the Why Foundation and the network of global broadcasters committed to highlighting this issue."

Mandy Chang, Editor, BBC Storyville, who oversaw the season says: "These programmes are important because they shine a light on slavery in our contemporary times. The overall picture painted by these films is a terrible indictment of the systems that allow slavery to take place. Slavery is a human rights abuse that is more common than we realise and the films we commissioned go some way to addressing why and how such misery is inflicted on the human beings who find themselves enslaved. From children forced into sexual and manual slavery across the rapidly developing Indian continent, to domestic servants, in places like the Middle East and EU countries like Hungary, we wanted the message of the existence of slavery in today's world to be shared with our British audiences, to highlight the suffering of victims and the exploitation perpetrated by those who enforce it."

As part of the season, BBC Two will be showing the previously announced drama, Doing Money, which focuses on the true story of Ana, who was snatched in broad daylight from a London street, trafficked to Ireland and used as a sex slave in a series of 'pop up' brothels. Whilst Maid in Hell exposes the secretive inner workings of the Kafala System, a set of laws governing migrant labour in the Middle East that binds labourers to their employers.

On BBC Four, award-winning documentary strand Storyville, will present two films, A Woman Captured and Selling Children. A Woman Captured focuses on the story of Marish, a 52-year-old Hungarian that has been kept by a family as an entirely unpaid domestic slave for a decade. In Selling Children, Pakaj Johar travels India to try and understand how, in the world's largest democracy, it is possible for vulnerable children to be bought and sold with such ease.

Also on BBC Four is Jailed in America, where filmmaker Roger Ross Williams goes on an a deeply personal journey into the heart of the US prison system to try and understand how it works and to evaluate the human cost and impact prison has on families on the outside. Whilst I Was a Yazidi Slave tells the story of Shirin and Lewiza, two Yazidi women captured by IS who were forced into slavery.

Dollar Heroes will be available on BBC iPlayer and tells the story of one of the world's largest forced labour systems, the 'Work Brigades' in North Korea.

Additionally, films from across all four BBC channels that have been resurfaced for the season. These include Simon Schama: Rough Crossings on BBC Two, Making a Slave on BBC Three and Britain's Forgotten Slave Owners on BBC World News.

The Why Slavery? season follows the two previous, award-winning (Peabody, Oscar and Emmy awards) global documentary seasons Why Democracy? (2007) and Why Poverty? (2012), both shown by the BBC. The BBC has collaborated on a partnership with the Open University to fund and oversee the films and they will also be broadcast by eight International Public Service Broadcasters who have co-produced the project. The broadcasters include DR Denmark, SVT Sweden, EO The Netherlands, CBC Canada, NHK Japan, NRK Norway and SRF/RTS Switzerland as well as the BBC. The global broadcasts will be timed for International Anti-Slavery day on 18 October.

Dr Avi Boukli, Lecturer in Criminology at The Open University, says: "The ever-expanding notion of slavery tests our legislation, and it is fascinating to see how notions of freedom and slavery are being redefined and for what political purposes. You may agree or disagree with the series, but you will find the ways in which the series questions what 'slavery' is today thought provoking".

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Emmerdale's Kim Tate. She’ll be back and this time she’s here to stay

Kim Tate has duped us all. Having ordered the death of Joe Tate, this Emmerdale bad girl will be back to wreak more havoc early next year and this time she's set to stay.

Having left chaos in her wake, Kim will spend the next 6 months behind bars but having already ruffled a few feathers, there won't be many celebrating her return. With her claws soon to be firmly back in Home Farm, what does Emmerdale's super bitch have in store for the rest of the village?

On her character's return Claire King said:  

"You knew she wasn't going to go away quietly, so I'm so pleased to announce Kim will be back. It's been great fun keeping it under wraps but now she can really get down to business!"

Executive Producer, Jane Hudson said:

"Although Kim's initial return was fleeting, she caused such mischief and chaos that we simply couldn't resist bringing her back. Kim Tate is just getting warmed up for an explosive 2019 which will see her hell-bent on getting exactly what, and who, she wants."

ITV commissions crime drama, Wild Bill, starring and executive produced by internationally renowned actor Rob Lowe

New drama produced by 42, Shiver and Anonymous Content introduces high-flying US cop who will shake up the East Lincolnshire force

ITV's Head of Drama Polly Hill today confirmed commission of six-part crime drama, Wild Bill, starring Emmy and Golden Globe nominated actor, Rob Lowe as high-flying US cop, Bill Hixon, who is appointed Chief Constable of the East Lincolnshire Police Force.

The drama is the first time 42 (Traitors, Ironbark, Watership Down) Anonymous Content (13 Reasons Why, Maniac, Mr. Robot) and ITV Studios label, Shiver, have collaborated to produce a drama series for the channel.  Rob Lowe is internationally renowned for his work in film and television including The West Wing, Parks and Recreation, Code Black and St. Elmo's Fire.  His iconic career spans four decades in film, television and theatre. He also is an acclaimed author and has been awarded two Screen Actors Guild Awards during his illustrious career. 

When high-flying US police chief Bill Hixon lands in Boston, Lincolnshire, with his 14 year-old daughter Kelsey in tow, he's hoping they can flee their painful recent past. But this unfamiliar, unimpressed community will force Bill to question everything about himself and leave him asking whether it's Boston that needs Bill, or Bill that needs Boston? 

Commented Rob Lowe: 

"As an actor, Wild Bill is a larger than life character who's outrageously articulate, has nothing to lose and revels in being an American fish out of water. As a Executive Producer, I'm excited to work with such talented partners and to come back to work in the UK, which I always love."

With a first class degree in Criminology, a Masters in Psychopathology and a Doctorate in Statistical Mapping, Bill Hixon is impressively qualified to tackle the county's crime figures with his graphs, charts, algorithms and a tapestry of digits. Whip-smart, acerbic and unstoppable, Bill is very good at what he does. America's Top Metropolitan Police Chief three years running is the ideal candidate to make his mark on the East Lincolnshire Force, not least by driving through drastic cuts. From the outset Bill isn't about making friends. He's here to get the job done and get the hell out as quick as his spin-class-toned legs will carry him.

But Bill discovers the people of Boston are just as smart-mouthed, cynical and difficult to impress as he is. They don't suffer fools, authority or algorithms gladly. And the man who's spent his life keeping the messiness of human intimacy at arm's length is reluctantly propelled into frontline policing and forced to reconsider his relationship with those closest to him. It's funny and dangerous in equal measure. 

Writers and creators Jim Keeble and Dudi Appleton said: 

"Wild Bill gives us an chance to write about modern Britain and modern crime through unique eyes. We wrote this for Rob Lowe, for his smart-talking, anarchic, soulful voice. Displacing Rob in Brexit Britain and specifically in Boston, Lincolnshire allows us to tell stories that are leftfield and unexpected. We wanted to write something that couldn't take place anywhere else, or at any other time."

Commented Polly Hill: 

"I'm delighted to have Wild Bill on ITV, as it's a really fresh take on police procedure and introduces a brilliant new cop to be played by the wonderful Rob Lowe. It's a fantastic team and an exciting new drama for next year."

The drama will be directed by Lead Director Charles Martin (Marcella, Skins, Wallander) and produced by Chris Thompson (Emerald City, The Fear, Eric and Ernie).


Eleanor Moran and Rory Aitken of 42 commented: 

"Wild Bill is a sharp-witted and original take on the police procedural show which audiences have yet to see in this genre. Rob Lowe has a magnetic screen presence which is perfectly suited to bring the character of Bill Hixon to life: a blunt, take-no-prisoners police chief who shakes up the Lincolnshire Force. We can't wait to get started."

Commented Tim Carter, Managing Director of ITV Studios label, Shiver, and Executive Producer: 

"Wild Bill is Shiver's first scripted project and brand new territory for the label. Having been fortunate to partner with the innovative and inspiring 42 on other scripted projects before coming to ITV Studios, I am delighted to be working with them again and hope this collaboration will be the first of many. Add the peerless track record of US super-producer Anonymous Content into the mix, genius show-runners in Jim and Dudi, and of course a Hollywood legend …it's beyond exciting." 

Filming will take place around London and in Lincolnshire from November 2018.  Further casting details will be available prior to filming commencing. 

Amber and Dolly: 9 to 5 - starring Love Island winner Amber Davies 

Love Island winner Amber Davies has landed the role of a lifetime in Dolly Parton musical 9 to 5, and ITVBe's cameras are on hand to capture every moment, from audition to opening night.

As Amber achieves her dreams of West End stardom in the hotly anticipated stage show, ITVBe has access all areas, following Amber as she heads to Nashville to meet Dolly Parton herself, and sets about preparing for the biggest moment of her life.

Having trained in musical theatre before embarking upon her Love Island journey, Amber is going back to her first love, to rekindle her passion for the stage, working '9 to 5' to make her big dream come to fruition.

This one off special will feature appearances from Amber's co stars Louise Redknapp and Brian Conley, both of whom will perform alongside Amber in the musical when it opens at the Savoy Theatre in January 2019.

Chronicling every step of the journey, from vocal coaching to a rigorous rehearsal schedule, to curtain up itself, ITVBe viewers have a front row seat as Amber prepares to make 2019 her biggest year yet, with an intimate insight into the goings on in Amber's professional and personal life.

Amber said "Performing on the West End has long been a dream of mine, and something I have been working towards my whole life. There really is no better role to play and having the opportunity to meet and work with Dolly Parton is another lifetime's ambition fulfilled. I can't wait to share this dream come true with ITVBe's viewers."

Amanda Stavri, Commissioning Editor, Factual Entertainment said "It's very exciting to follow Amber as she takes her first bold steps as a West End leading lady, and having the legendary Dolly Parton on board for this one off special is a huge treat."

Dolly and Amber: 9 to 5 is an ITV Studios production for ITVBe. The show was  commissioned by Paul Mortimer, Head of Digital Channels & Acquisitions and Amanda Stavri, Commissioning Editor, Factual Entertainment. 

C4 commissions drama anthology series by Dominic Savage

From writer-director Dominic Savage and starring a trio of Britain's leading female actors –Samantha Morton (Minority Report), Vicky McClure (This is England) and Gemma Chan (Crazy Rich Asians)- comes a dramatic anthology series (3x60').

Created by BAFTA winning filmmaker Dominic Savage (The Escape), the stories for each film has been developed and co-authored with the leading actors, with themes including relationships, identity and empowerment. The trilogy explores the experience of three women in moments that are emotionally raw, thought-provoking and utterly personal.

Channel 4 has commissioned Me+You Productions with Richard Yee and Dominic Savage acting as executive producers, and Manpreet Dosanjh and Beth Wills from Channel 4 overseeing. Series producer is Me+You co-founder Krishnendu Majumdar with co-producers John Pocock (Chewing Gum) and Faiza Tovey (Uncle). The series was co-funded by Sky Vision, who will also handle global distribution.

Krishnendu Majumdar, Series Producer and co-founder of Me+You Productions, says: "Dominic Savage's work always speaks to the most contemporary and urgent of questions, taking a scalpel to modern life. We are thrilled to produce Dominic's latest series of films and to help realise his unique vision which fits into Me+You's remit of making authored cinematic work."

Richard Yee, Executive Producer and co-founder of Me+You, says: "This is exactly the sort of contemporary risk-taking drama that embodies C4's DNA. Everyone at Me+You Productions is very appreciative of the support from Channel 4 and Sky Vision in bringing this timely series of films to the screen."

The series was shot over the summer and autumn of 2018 with TX and further casting details to be announced at a later date.

Friday, 12 October 2018

BBC acquires second series of spy thriller Killing Eve

BBC Press Release

BBC has acquired the second series of the critically acclaimed female-led spy thriller Killing Eve. Series one made its debut on BBC One and as a boxset on BBC Three on BBC iPlayer last month and has become a massive hit with audiences - there have been over 26 million requests for the series so far.

The eight-part action thriller has also been hugely popular in attracting younger viewers, with over a third of those watching aged under 35.

Emmy-nominated and Bafta-winner Phoebe Waller-Bridge adapted the first series of Killing Eve and will return for the new series in an executive producer role with writer-actor Emerald Fennell (Monsters, The Drifters) taking over as lead writer. Based on the Codename Villanelle novellas by Luke Jennings, Killing Eve is a Sid Gentle Films Ltd production for BBC America and was financed by and acquired from Endeavor Content.

Sandra Oh (Grey's Anatomy) and Jodie Comer (Doctor Foster) resume their cat-and-mouse game in the next series along with Fiona Shaw (Harry Potter) - and joining them are Nina Sosanya (Good Omens), Edward Bluemel (A Discovery Of Witches) and guest star Julian Barrett (Mindhorn).

The first series of Killing Eve was shot across Europe, with the second series currently shooting in locations including Amsterdam, London and Paris.

Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content, says: "A truly genre-busting series that's had viewers hooked and craving more, thanks to the distinctive voice of Phoebe Waller Bridge brought to life by an incredible cast. We're really excited to have it back on the BBC next year."

Damian Kavanagh, Controller of BBC Three, says: "The first series of Killing Eve has been a huge success for us on BBC Three. The writing is exceptional, the performances first-class and our young audiences have loved and binged right through it - we can't wait to see what series two has in store."

Sue Deeks, BBC Head of Programme Acquisition, says: "We are thrilled that Killing Eve will be returning for series two. The series has beguiled our viewers with its distinctive take on the spy drama and we cannot wait to see what Killing Eve's brilliant team has in store for us next!"

Sally Woodward Gentle, CEO of Sid Gentle Films Ltd, adds: "We are thrilled by the audience reaction to series one and are so excited to be back on this adventure with Eve and Villanelle, alongside such an extraordinarily talented cast and creative team. With Emerald Fennell leading the writing team, series two is set to be just as wickedly addictive and naughty as the first."

BBC One announces Blue Planet Live

BBC Press Release:

Across a week in March 2019, BBC One will celebrate marine life great and small, as we take the audience on a deep dive into the world's oceans in Blue Planet Live.

Broadcasting live from three different locations across the planet: East Coast, USA; the Bahamas; and Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

Charlotte Moore, BBC Director of Content, says: "Blue Planet Live will thrill the millions of viewers who discovered so much from last year's ground breaking series that shocked the nation. BBC One continues to lead that conversation as we travel live around the globe to witness first hand the magnificent marine life within our oceans and wake up to one of the biggest environmental crisis of our times."

Tom McDonald, Head of Commissioning, Natural History and Specialist Factual, says: "Blue Planet Live promises to bring spectacular encounters with some of the most extraordinary marine life on the planet whilst also giving the BBC One audience a new appreciation of the wonders of and the challenges facing our oceans"

In 2017, the multi-award winning Blue Planet II wowed over over 62% of the UK population (37.6m people) with never seen before footage of life in our oceans, revealing its complexity and the extraordinary variety of creatures that inhabit them.

Across four live shows, we'll be on location with many of the exciting marine animals that breed and feed at this time of year, bringing the audience closer than ever before to different species of turtles, sharks, whales and much more.

We'll also be exploring the last oceanic frontier that is 'The Deep' live for the first time on television - the beating heart of our planet.

On the East Coast of America, Chris Packham will be at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, meeting with scientists, experts and conservationists on the front line of new research. Here he will be uniquely positioned to delve into the ocean's little explored 'Twilight Zone', to find out what secrets the deep holds for the future of our blue planet.

He will also be assessing the health of the world's whales at a time of year when many are breeding, and finding out why these gentle giants are such important bell weathers of ocean health. Deploying a helicopter will give him an eye in the sky over this wildlife spectacle, as whale mothers and babies come together.

Over 1,000 miles south, one small island in the Bahamas is known for its extraordinary shark gatherings. Here Steve Backshall will undertake a series of live missions to bring us closer to the ocean's top predators which gather here in their masses to breed and feed.

On the other side of the world in the Pacific, dawn breaks over the Great Barrier Reef where Liz Bonnin is helping to monitor how new life is faring in this fragile place. Turtles and birds are nesting, and on the coral reef an underwater metropolis is alive with colourful and charming characters. This busy nursery provides plenty of drama that unfolds live before our presenter at this bustling location. Following her recent investigation into the damage plastic is having on the oceans, Liz will also be reporting on the challenges facing all marine life and the efforts being made to save our oceans.

Across the series we will be revisiting some of the key locations and animal characters from Blue Planet II as well as encountering new ones. At all three locations, we'll uncover in real-time the health of our marine life, while wildlife films from across the world will give us a truly global picture.

Interview with Alan Carr for Stand Up To Cancer

Stand Up To Cancer is back again. It feels like it's become a real TV fixture in a relatively short time, doesn't it?

Yes, it seems to have struck a chord with everyone, sometimes dealing with cancer or having a friend or family member with cancer – it can often feel isolating and that you're dealing with it all by yourself – the Stand Up To Cancer campaign says you're not on your own – you can do this! Plus winning an RTS award and getting BAFTA nominated just shows how much of an impact it's made. Obviously winning awards isn't what the night's about but it's a lovely sign that we are doing something right.

What kind of preparation will you do beforehand?

Research is important – last time I went to the UCL Cancer institute to meet with the amazing doctors who are coming up with some innovative ways to fight cancer – now I'll be honest some of it does go over my head but you do get an idea of the amazing things that can be achieved and are being achieved in cancer research. And obviously I donate too – which is important, when I'm asking the cash strapped public to put their hands in their pockets I want the personal satisfaction that I'm doing my bit too.

Do you get nervous before a huge live event like this? Do you think your background as a stand-up helps?

I always get nervous, you just want to do a good job and raise lots of money obviously. Doing stand up helps – thinking on your feet definitely comes in handy when it's a live show. The autocue went down mid show last time so I had to adlib – but no-one seemed to notice so I must have done alright.

How far into the evening do you feel you can relax and start to enjoy it?

Never! The shows are always jam-packed plus it's an emotional rollercoaster - you're either laughing your head or sobbing with a massive snot bubble.

Are you looking forward to working with Adam again?

Yes, I love Adam and also met Maya recently for the photo shoot – she's great – such a positive energy and just perfect for hosting the night. We all need to support each other and keep our peckers up.

And Maya Jama is presenting as well. What advice will you give her before the show?

Fasten your seatbelts it's going to be a bumpy night!

What have been your favourite bits of Stand Up To Cancer in the past?

Noel Gallagher singing "Half The World Away' – it was proper goose bumps stuff – he was of course singing it in memory of Caroline Aherne who had sadly passed away earlier in the year. Personally I like it when random celebrities just pop down to help out – it feels nice and that people want to muck in – we've had all sorts – Bradley Cooper, Steve Coogan, Lindsay Lohan – people just wanting to come down and try and raise some money.

How do you keep it together, during the personal stories that people film?

I don't! Have you seen the show?!

What can you tell us about what's in store on the night itself?

I can't at the minute – rehearsals start imminently.

Of course, as ever, you will be maintaining your dignity at all times, won't you?

Dignity? I lost that years ago.

How has your own life been affected by cancer?

That's the sad thing as you get older and hit your 40's, (as well as all the wrinkles and the creaking joints) cancer becomes more and more prevalent. Friends start getting diagnosed with it, family members start getting diagnosed with it – cancer all of a sudden seems to be stalking your nearest and dearest and sometimes yourself. It seems the older I get, I hear about cancer more and more but not to get too totally depressed about it all – on a positive note you do hear about people surviving it more – thanks to the fantastic work done by the Stand Up To Cancer campaign.

Do you find presenting the show makes you think about your own health?

As well as the fun, uplifting bits and of course the heart wrenching stories and battles – there are the important educational bits where you tell people how to check for lumps, look for symptoms – because lets face it the best way to fight cancer is to get there early before it spreads.

You've seen, first hand, how the money is spent, haven't you? Explain why it's so important for people to donate.

The great thing about Stand Up To Cancer is that every penny goes to research – EVERY penny goes to the wonderful men and women in the white coats, so when you donate I can guarantee you are helping to save someone's life. How good does that make you feel!?

To give £20 or £10, text twenty or ten to 70404 
+ 1 standard rate message. UK mobiles 16+ only. Get bill payer's permission. channel4.com/terms 
100% of your donation goes to Cancer Research UK in support of the SU2C campaign. 

Stand Up to Cancer 2018 is on Channel 4 on Friday 26th October from 7pm.

Interview with Maya Jama for Stand Up To Cancer

You're going to be presenting Stand Up To Cancer on Channel 4. How are you feeling about taking the helm on such a massive show?

I'm so excited – it literally doesn't feel real that they've asked me to do it. I can't believe it. It's such a massive deal and such an incredible cause. It's something really close to me as my Nan had breast cancer and I know how important this campaign is to so many people. I'm really ready and really excited; I just hope I can do it justice.

What will you do in the way of preparation?

I'll be watching the previous shows to get an idea of how things flow – I haven't really done anything on this scale before! But I work pretty much every day, so I get a lot of presenting practise in.

Do you like doing live TV, or do you prefer the safety net of pre-recording?

I actually prefer live TV a lot more as you get the adrenaline from it, you're in the moment, it's all guns blazing and you just go for it. It gives off an energy you just don't get from pre-records. Being able to see the crowd's reaction and doing things in that moment is just so much better so live is definitely my favourite!

What can you tell us about what's in store on the night itself?

There will be some great celebrity specials – really good celebrity guests, some amazing musical performances including Tom Walker, Freya Ridings and Labrinth which will be incredible as his voice is insane. Of course there's Celebrity Gogglebox and loads of different sketches from people you'll know and love. There's plenty to keep you entertained throughout the evening.

Have you seen much of the previous shows?

Yes, I watched the last live show (in 2016) and last year's Celebrity Gogglebox with Big Narstie and Ed Sheeran was hilarious. Davina is one of my favourite people in the world and someone I really look up to. I've watched her a few times on previous shows and just been like 'she's so amazing.' It's definitely a pinch me moment. We've never met and I really want to meet her! I've spoken about her so much that she probably thinks I'm a bit of a weirdo fan.

Are you looking forward to working with Adam and Alan?

Yes! Alan is another absolute hero. We were at the photoshoot together and he's so hilarious and amazing at what he does. I've met Adam before when I was a guest on The Last Leg and he's obviously a top G. I'm really looking forward to working with both of them.

Have they given you any advice?

Alan was like, 'It'll be fine babe. We have loads of rehearsals, it's very emotional but you've got all of us with you together.'

Do you get nervous before live shows?

I think naturally if it is something I haven't done before then yes I do but then it gets a mix between the adrenaline taking over and you just feeling like 'okay, just go!' and you're moving like Sonic at 100 miles an hour.

How will you cope with the emotional side of things – the films and personal testimonies?

I feel like whenever you watch it, you do naturally get sad because they are real stories and often heart-breaking to watch. If I do end up crying, then I'll just have to roll with it.

How has cancer affected your life?

My Nan had breast cancer and that was the closest immediate member of my family affected in my life so far. My mum's uncle also passed away from cancer so it's something that's been in our family and something that's affected us. It's ridiculously common and I'm super passionate about getting one step closer to ending it forever.

There are so many important and worthy causes out there – why should people give to Stand Up To Cancer?

1 in 2 people will develop cancer in their lifetime – it's so common. We're all going to be affected by it, whether it's directly or someone we know and we can put a stop to it. So I feel like raising money for the Stand Up To Cancer campaign to help end it is something we should all support.

To give £20 or £10, text twenty or ten to 70404 
+ 1 standard rate message. UK mobiles 16+ only. Get bill payer's permission. channel4.com/terms 
100% of your donation goes to Cancer Research UK in support of the SU2C campaign. 

Stand Up to Cancer 2018 is on Channel 4 on Friday 26th October from 7pm.

Interview with Adam Hills for Stand Up To Cancer

Stand Up To Cancer is back again. It feels like it's become a real TV fixture in a relatively short time, doesn't it?

It does, it feels like it's become one of those things that's just part of the TV landscape. What I love most about it is that my daughter came home from school a few months back and said they'd had a cake sale to raise money for Stand Up To Cancer. But she said it in a way that was so matter-of-fact, like "You know, Stand Up To Cancer. We all know what that is!" It's become one of those names, one of those brands or whatever you want to call it, that sounds like it's been around forever.

As with a lot of live TV, it's pretty anarchic. What kind of preparation will you do beforehand?

I've learned the secret of hosting a great live TV show – stand directly next to Davina McCall. Everything I've learned about doing Stand Up To Cancer I've learned from her. And Alan, to be fair. The preparation is: watch the clips, and be ready for anything. Have a plan mapped out, and be prepared to ditch it at any moment. At one point, a couple of years ago, Davina and I had to talk off the back of one of the short films, and she said to me "You need to watch this. Make sure you're watching it. Be aware of what's going on." And it was such a heart-wrenching clip. We were meant to do a comedy clip after it, and Davina just looked at me and said "We can't do comedy, just follow me." And we were both just genuine off the back of it. So I guess the only way to prepare for that kind of show is to be prepared to throw your plan out of the window at any second.

So do you find it difficult to keep it together during the personal stories that people film?

Yeah, and what I've learned from Davina is to own that. Don't try and pretend you're not affected by it. I figure when I'm doing something like this I'm as much an audience member as the people at home. If you see a clip that has left you in tears, don't pretend that it hasn't, because that's what people at home are like as well. So just go with that emotion, don't try and cover it over, and don't just jump straight to a comedy sketch. As a host on this show, you go through the same rollercoaster of emotions as the viewers do.

You've talked about moments when comedy doesn't seem quite the right response, but in general, do you see humour as an important way of dealing with some of the issues raised in the show?

Oh, absolutely. That's why we have a sense of humour. I think it helps us deal with horrific things going on in the world, like natural disasters or like losing loved ones to cancer. You deal with it with a sense of humour. That's what we provide on the night. Obviously the show is all about raising money, and we need to tell those stories, you want people to be moved, but you want them to find a way through it, so as much as we're raising money, we're also a bizarre coping mechanism. We want it to be funny and moving and real.

Do you think your background as a stand-up helps with the live element of the show? Does that make you less nervous about going into the bear pit, because you've done it so many times before?

Oh, absolutely. In a way it's a bit easier than stand-up, because the script is right there in front of you on the autocue. But it's harder because you've got a whole different range of emotions to deal with. There was an amazing moment the last time we did Stand Up To Cancer. I was standing next to Alan, and he launched into a comedy routine when all of a sudden the autocue just blanked out. And he did not skip a beat, he still nailed it word-for-word. I think that's where the stand-up skills come in, when something goes wrong – the ability to think on your feet and make it look seamless.

You'll be without Davina this year, but are you looking forward to being reunited with Alan?

Oh, absolutely. We've all formed a real bond doing these shows, because you go through such a rollercoaster of emotions. There aren't too many people I've stood next to on live TV whilst I've been in tears. In fact, Davina and Alan might be the only two. And I know Maya [Jama, co-presenter this year]. She's been on The Last Leg, and she was absolutely brilliant. She absolutely knows what she's doing, when it comes to presenting and being in front of the camera, and it'll be good to have a fresh set of eyes on the whole thing as well. I think it'll be a really bonding experience for the three of us.

What have been your favourite bits of Stand Up To Cancer in the past?

Oh wow! I just have weird flashes popping into my head, of me nude, out the front of Channel 4, Noel Gallagher singing a tribute to Caroline Aherne, me playing the drums on John Legend's bum. The striptease on stage with Alex and Josh. A bit that Steve Coogan did a couple of years ago. It's just little flashes that pop into my head of things that have happened over the last few years. All of these little moments intermingled with the short films that we've shown – I still remember moments of those. Those moments really burn into your memory. The highs and the lows. The rollercoaster. The beautiful stuff and the touching stuff and the ecstatic stuff all rolled into one.

Everyone's lives have been affected by cancer, and you're no exception, are you?

Not at all. The first year that I did it, I did a piece to camera about my dad who had passed away. He had stomach cancer when he was in his 50s, and he had it treated, and then he got leukaemia in 2011 as a result of the treatment. It was really raw for me, when I first did Stand Up To Cancer, and it still is. Everyone associated with the show has a personal connection to cancer in some way.

What can you tell us about what's in store on the night itself?

Oooh. I can't really give too much away. There will be another Celebrity Gogglebox, as per… and lots of surprises, lots of celebrities. We're trying to balance the entertainment and the heartstrings, and the clips that we show will be really effective and powerful. And in between, what I want to make sure we get across is the positivity. People can feel hopeless about cancer. I want people to donate because they can see that we are achieving something, and they can see that there is a light at the end of this tunnel. So for me it's not just about the heart-wrenching stories, it's about celebrating what we've achieved, and what we can achieve with something like Stand Up To Cancer.

Will you be wearing your rather attractive red union jack G-string just in case a large enough donation comes in?

I hadn't considered it, but now you say it, I might just do it for luck anyway. I think everyone should wear an attractive Union Jack G-string at all times, because you never know when you'll need it.

As well as stripping, you've also shaved your head for Stand Up To Cancer. Is there anything you wouldn't do for a big enough donation?

I'll be honest, I've suggested a live prostate exam on air, and it seems to have been shot down, but if there's enough of a groundswell behind it, if people donate enough money, I will have a live prostate exam

To give £20 or £10, text twenty or ten to 70404 
+ 1 standard rate message. UK mobiles 16+ only. Get bill payer's permission. channel4.com/terms 
100% of your donation goes to Cancer Research UK in support of the SU2C campaign. 

Stand Up to Cancer 2018 is on Channel 4 on Friday 26th October from 7pm.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Sheridan Smith: Coming Home - ITV

Coming soon to ITV

ITV has been given an intimate insight into the life of the award-winning singer and actress Sheridan Smith for a one-off TV documentary.

Sheridan Smith: Coming Home gives viewers a revealing look into the person behind the headlines.

For the first time and in her own words, Sheridan talks about her life addressing personal battles, revealing her love for her family, and lifelong passion for music with the launch of her brand new album.   

Following the success of Sheridan’s debut album, the new album sees Sheridan delve into her own life experiences to co-write a heartfelt and deeply personal collection of songs.  “A Northern Soul” will be released later this year.

Shot by renowned director, Tim Pope the film follows the star as she embarks on some of her toughest personal and professional challenges.

The cameras will capture intimate moments as the award-winning actress heads back to her hometown of Doncaster for the first time since losing her father where she performs a very special emotional one-off homecoming gig back on the stage where she sang with her parents as a child. 

Sheridan Smith said:

“Filming this documentary has been an incredible emotional rollercoaster. Re- visiting old haunts and finally performing at the Bentley Top Club where my parents featured regularly has been a very therapeutic experience and has made me realise just how important my roots, family and friends are…”

Siobhan Greene, ITV’s Head of Entertainment said:

“We are chuffed to bits to be working with Sheridan again in ‘Sheridan Smith: Coming Home’. She’s a very special and talented girl whose honesty and heart burns brightly through the screen. It’s a never before seen insight into her real life and how that’s inspired her music. And how fab that viewers are going to see it all in Doncaster too.”

Sheridan Smith: Coming Home is a FirePit/Black Label co-production for ITV.

Interview with Dom Joly and Vicky Pattison for Celebrity Hunted

How did this pairing come about?

Dom: I had to pick a girl and I really wanted a winner! I've done a couple of shows where I thought I was going to do quite well and I didn't. I mean, I only came fourth in the jungle and she won it! I'd watch Geordie Shore. I knew she was about the only person to have been to university, she’s the intellectual of Geordie Shore! Then she bloody won the jungle. She's funny and mischievous. I just thought when I watch Hunted, what makes me laugh is when they tease each other and take the piss. I thought it would be quite interesting because we’re chalk and cheese really.

What did you think when you got the call?

Vicky: To be honest with you, I was absolutely buzzing. It's really funny, we've just been talking about this in the car. There's been a talk of us doing it with so many different partners and it just never quite panned out. When I got the call about Dom, I just said…

Dom: She said, ”He’s an idiot but it might work!” We're both fans of the show. The one thing I think we know, this is what I love about Vicky, she's analysed it as much as I have. Having said this, we'll probably get caught on the first day. But what we’ve learnt from watching the show before is that you really need to be as unpredictable as possible and you need to keep away from patterns. I'm 50. She's 30. She's a Geordie. I'm from the Cotswolds. We couldn't be more different. We have no idea where either of us are going to go. I think that's going to confuse things slightly! So we make a good team!

Why did you both want to do a show?

Vicky: To start off, we’re both major fan girls for Hunted.

Dom: Fanboy!

Vicky: Fangirl, fanboy. I am a huge…I don't think it's adrenaline junkie?

Dom: Drinker?

Vicky: Yes, drinker, that's fair! But I am an adrenaline junkie, if there's anything I can do where I'm going to test myself or there's potential for growth or even just…

Dom: Growth? Come on!

Vicky: I tell you honestly, Dom. I'm such a cliché.

Dom: She really is! She was giving me quotes on how to improve myself. She's brilliant at getting people's names right. I always forget people's name. I'm terrible. She does that thing where she repeats someone's name four times when she meets you. She got that from Simon Cowell's book. She’s been reading books about people like him to help her to grow!

So if Vicky’s doing it to ‘grow’, why are you doing it Dom?

Dom: I like shows which even if you're Richard Branson, you wouldn't be able to get that experience unless you robbed a bank. It's possible Richard Branson might get bankrupt, go on the run and get chased, but I doubt it! I love the idea that we're doing something you'd never have the chance of ever doing. My kids watch this show. It's the only show we watch together. They said, "If you get asked to do that, you've got to do it." We watched it with Spencer and Jamie last year. We were like, "Oh, I've got to do that!”

So what is your strategy?

Dom: There is no strategy. That's our strategy! That's what's cool, everyone else seems to have a plan. They've all thought about what they're going to do. Now, we're not sure if it's because we're lazy, but we have no plan.

Vicky: We're a fly by our pants kind of team. I think that is going to be one of our greatest strengths. Our little journey will be littered with things that we think are going to be memorable, fun, really going to piss the Hunters off!

Dom: We're really going to go for the Hunters. That's our main thing. We want to tease them. She wants to ask one of them out constantly. I found their Twitter page where they put out the reward thing and on it, it's got the number you ring in. I'm like, "Hello." We're going to be ringing in quite a lot with various requests and ordering pizzas and stuff.

Vicky: I just want to butter them up so he'll date us.

Dom: Yes, she wants to butter him up and I want to tear him to bits! She hates the little blonde hunter though. You've got a real issue with her.

Vicky: Oh, God. You know the little blonde ground hunter? Nicola. If she grabs us, there's trouble. One of the strict instructions is that if you get tapped on the shoulder that’s it, game over, you’re essentially out. There'll be none of that happening, just try and take a Geordie down!

So basically you’re planning to torment the Hunters!

Dom: That's sort of my job, really. That's what I do. I'm good at lying and dressing as a squirrel and annoying people. I'm not sure where we going to get the squirrel in but he’ll feature somewhere!

Are you two competitive?

Dom: Crazy competitive! We're also sort of inherently lazy because we quite like to drink. It's quite a weird combination. We’ve already been on the wine. Everyone else has been ordering tea. We're like, “More wine please!” Maybe we're doing this wrong?

It sounds like you’re going to be the Steph and Dom of this series and drink all the time!

Vicky: They looked like they were going on the run with a fucking mini-fridge! I loved Steph and Dom!

Dom: We're not like them. We're going to drink hard but we're going to run hard. I don't feel they ran very hard.

Vicky: Yeah, what is it? Work hard, party harder?

Dom: Yes. We're going to be mortal, I believe is the Geordie Shore term. Get mortal.

So basically you'll be drunk for next two weeks?!

Dom: What else is there to do when you're being chased by the state? Also, it's another way of keeping your thoughts from being logical and something that they can plan for or predict. If you're so drunk that you make bad decisions, they won't guess those!

Vicky: I never know where I'm going to end up when I’m drunk so how will the Hunters?

Dom: You have to have a psych test to do this show, we both passed, apparently! Anyway, the psych guy gave me one bit of advice. He said people who are somewhere on the spectrum tend to do a lot better because they're totally illogical. Now, I don't think we're on the spectrum but we're definitely illogical!

Is there anything you’re worried about?

Dom: We've got a communication problem. That's the only thing because obviously, we speak two languages!

Vicky: Dom doesn't understand my accent!

Dom: I will do in a couple of days but at the moment, there's a sense of panic when she shouts an order. I've not got a clue what she’s saying!

You’re both used to roughing it in I’m A Celebrity or on The Island so will you be hitting the countryside?

Dom: Yes, definitely. She's bought a tent that splits into two so we each carry half our tent. How good is that? I died on the island. All I know is the first night, nothing will be worse than the island so I'm fine.

You mentioned the squirrel outfit, so have you got loads of disguises?

Dom: Yes! I tell you the best thing about Vicky. The moment we knew she was doing it, she sent me a WhatsApp, which we've obviously deleted since, which just said, "Just to let you know, Dom, I'm prepared to shave my head." I loved that commitment!

Vicky: He's a natural man of mystery, isn't he? He's a master of disguise. It's right up his street.

Dom: I’ve got someone from my Trigger Happy days who’s going to be helping us, you’ll just have to wait and see but it’s going to be fun! Aside from the disguises my wife's given me a present to give to Vicky because I snore really badly. She gave me a really nice box of earplugs, so she should be all right.

Vicky, you’re saying that you're happy to shave your head, but you're getting married soon?

Vicky: I might be one of those really edgy birds who pulls it off! Maybe a bit of Sinéad O’Connor or Demi Moore. I could go a little bit Jessie J, if I have to. Hair grows back. This is for charity guys. I'm going to rock it!

Are you going to call on any celeb pals to help you?

Dom: We both know Jamie Laing.

Vicky: We got advise from Jamie Laing already.

Dom: It didn't help much. He couldn't remember doing it, as far as I could see! No, he was quite helpful. He said the first four days is really brilliant, then fifth, sixth, seventh you get really depressed. When you get to the second week, you think you want to win and that's when you lose. That's what he said and he's probably right. You're always going to have a bad day on these shows. You just don't want both of us to have a bad day on the same day. That would be the problem.

Do you think you might fall out and split up?

Vicky: Oh, my God, can you imagine?!

Dom: I think it's actually a good thing we don't know each other. We've got no previous history. None of us has bored each other with our stories yet. My wife is like, "Thank God, someone else is going to listen to your crap for two weeks.” We’ll have plenty of booze though. I've got camel bag you know one of those backpacks with a straw that comes over your shoulder and you suck on. We’re going to fill it with wine or cider!

Do you see the other teams as real competition?

Vicky: They are lazy arrogant, like ‘we just got this’.

Dom: Kay and Johnny, they've not seen the troughs of reality, they are like a mean couple, it's quite sweet. love Johnny Mercer because what's great about him is, he's an MP, he is ex-army. He told me that the reason he became an MP and he just looked at them all and excuse my language but it's what he said and he said he just thought they're ‘all a bunch of ***** and I can’t be any worse’ and I thought that's amazing. My favorite thing is the government could actually fall while we’re on the run. He could come back and be the only MP left in camp! The designated survivor!But we are definitely going to beat them!

Vicky: We'll definitely crush those two! Dom has mentioned this before. I'm stupidly competitive, like, it's a problem! I'm not going to be taking any prisoners. I feel like there's a lot who probably underestimate me and Dom.

Dom: We want to win. We really do.

In terms of the general public, are they a help or a hindrance?

Vicky: You have to ask Dom because he is the famous one.

Dom: No, this is an issue here because she just announced casually in the car, "Oh look, I've got over 4 million followers on Instagram." I'm like, "Well I've got 13,000, so f*** you!”

Vicky: It's going to be a difficult one. We’ll have to ask them to post it and say they saw us in a different location to where they did. I guess we’ll just have to trust that they're gonna help us and not stitch us up!

Your partners will be will be grilled by the Hunters at some point. Can they stand up to a grilling?

Dom: It's not really a problem because there are two people at home for me, I've got an 89-year-old mother who is so contrary. I told her, she said, "Absolutely, right. Absolutely, I'm up for it." I said, "You can't tell them anything you know." She is so contrary, where as my wife, she's Canadian, they can't lie. Their honesty is like a Christian camp. I said, "You're going to lie." She said, "I won't directly lie." -

Vicky: Well, I feel like John's got a major problem with authority so he’ll stand up pretty well.

Dom: Also, I've got two quite aggressive pigs. Our plan is that my wife is going to let the pigs out when the Hunters’ car comes in, the postman won't come in because they ram the thing so I'm hoping the pig is going to take that car out!

How big are these pigs?

Dom: They're huge! I rescued them because they were what people thought were micro pigs and then they grew to be monsters and I've got a farm so we took them in. I just took them because I'm really into pigs. It would be great if we can get on film that the Hunters were disabled by my pigs, Francis Bacon and Stanley!

It sounds like you are looking forward to this experience, is there anything that you're nervous about?

Dom: Rain.

Vicky: I'm not bothered by the rain. I'm from Newcastle, mate!

What is your message to the hunters?

Dom: F*** you! You won't catch us! If they were really good at what they were doing, they wouldn't be doing this show, they’d be actually still working for the security services. So it seems to be clear that these Hunters are actually rejects. They've been mopped up by TV companies.

Vicky: I will just like to make it really clear that me and Dom have separate messages on that front!

Interview with Kay Burley and Johnny Mercer MP for Celebrity Hunted

Why did you two want to do this show?

Johnny: I wanted to do this show because every year I do something for charity. I use my incredibly privileged position as a member of parliament to raise money for charity. Last year I did something for Helping Heroes, Justice of Women, cycling around Europe, and this year I'm going on the run with the brilliant Kay Burley to raise money for Stand Up To Cancer.

Kay: I'm doing it because I have a very strong connection with several cancer charities, and I always try and raise their profile if I possibly can. I think it's not just about raising money, I think it's about raising the profile of the charity as well. So when I was approached to do Hunted I was delighted. I approached Johnny and said, "Please will you come with me?" He's brilliant, he's talented, he was a former commando so I know he's going to look after me and hopefully we'll have a lot of fun along the way as well.

You’ve spoken in the past about your own cancer scare so it must be an issue close to your heart?

Kay: Since I was first approached to do this show three of my very closest girlfriends have all died from brain tumours, it's a bloody wretched disease. My girlfriends were in their fifties and sixties and each one of them has suddenly died of a brain tumour, either as a result of breast cancer or secondary cancer. Actually, one of them died very quickly, so I'll be thinking about them a lot as we walk towards the finish line.

What would they think of you doing this?

Kay: I can hear them all saying to me, you know, “you’re a daft bat, but thank you!”

Obviously, given your background, your military background, this must be a walk in the park?

Johnny: Well, this is a bit of a mess because my skill in the military was coordinating aircraft to drop bombs and, fortunately no-one lets you do that in London anymore, so I'm not sure what skills I bring, but I will certainly try and keep Kay's spirits up and, look you know, she's a great woman and I think we'll keep each other going and we will hopefully be successful and raise as much money as we can for Stand Up To Cancer.

You both must be so well connected, so what is the strategy?

Kay: Well our strategy is to go on the run, to have some fun, to try and evade the Hunters and to use our network as best we can. We've got quite a strong network between us, and we may use some of them, we may use all of them, we may use none of them, but we're safe in the knowledge that they're there if we need them.

Johnny: There's an element of planning in there, but I think also we're just going to use Kay's brilliant capability to speak to people randomly in the street and ask for stuff! I think that's going to come in really, really handy actually, and so I'm looking forward to hanging on her coat tails on occasion. I'm slightly more shy in that regard, although now I have to talk to people about weird stuff like politics, so maybe I should be better at it, but I'm hoping that she'll lead the way.

Kay: He's hiding his light under a bushel. It's not true at all. You know, we spent quite a lot of time together over the last few weeks, getting to know each other a little bit better ahead of going on the run and sleeping in a tent. So you know, he's very personable, he's very easy going and he's quite easy on the eye, so I think he'll be all right.

How are you feeling about the Hunters?

Kay: Johnny's very rude about them!

Johnny: Well they're just TV props, essentially, aren't they? So, no I'm not bothered about them at all. I think we're going to have a lovely two weeks on the run, catch a bit of sun, chill out and raise a lot of money for charity.

Kay: I am hoping that they don't hear what he said until after we've finished!

You two will be the ones that they really want to get…

Kay: Yes, I know.

Johnny: Probably, but that's fine, they can try as hard as they like. Could be interesting.

Kay: We have a bit of a challenge to start with because Johnny has some commitments which mean that, you know, he needs to do his day job and so that's going to be a bit of a challenge getting in and out of parliament, but we've got a strategy and we're hopeful that it will stand us in good stead.

How are you planning to get into parliament to vote?

Johnny: Well luckily the Hunters are so bad that I can just waltz my way back into London, do my job and waltz back out, so I don't really see it as being particularly difficult! I think it's going to be harder, you know, as we get further around the country. It's going to be good fun.

It’s a crazy time in world news and politics, as two people embedded in both areas how are feeling about taking yourself out of that?

Kay: It's going to be so hard, actually, because the first thing I do in the morning is check my phone and check Twitter and, you know, check the internet to see what's happening news wise. There’s never been a better time as far as politics is concerned, and the first election I covered was in 1979 when Margaret Thatcher won, so it's an incredible time to be covering politics. So yes, I'm going to miss that, but I want to do my bit for charity and I want to just decompress, reset and be ready for the challenge.

Are you looking forward to almost going back to basics, forgetting about work and all the pressures that come with that?

Johnny: I'm really looking forward to it. It's been such a tumultuous time, I think, and it's such an extraordinarily busy job, and you are dictated to by events outside of your control so It's going to be nice to have a bit of time away from that.

Dom Joly has been joking that if the government falls while you're away that you could be the designated survivor and end up Prime Minister!

Johnny: As in I'll be the only one left? Yes! I think that's the only way I'd ever get anywhere, unfortunately!

Kay: I think if it was at the beginning of the year it might be a very different story, but we're limping towards recess. It's going to be fun.

Are you worried you might have a blazing row and split up?

Kay: No, we won't split up. I think we are both quite volatile, on occasion, but I think we're quite solid as well, and I think if we need to stomp around the field and then come back again, we will, and then we'll come back and have a good laugh and continue onwards.

Do you have a plan or strategy?

Johnny: Well, I think, you've got to be flexible. You've got to use what comes up. I think, certainly initially, in the initial getaway you've got to do that, but I think then you've got to be prepared to go on the hoof.

Some of the others have got disguises to help them, have you?

Johnny: No, I'm pretty sure no-one will recognise us, well, certainly not me!

Kay: Well I'm hoping that they do recognise us and then hopefully help us!

This series always throws up the conversation around our CCTV culture and whether it’s too intrusive, what do you think?

Johnny: I haven't got a problem with CCTV culture I've always thought there's nothing wrong with it. I understand, yes, people have privacy concerns and so on, but with our generation growing up the way we are now, I think, it's just one of those factors at play within the lives we lead. Generally speaking, when I go out and speak to people they understand that we're doing nothing wrong, and it's there to look after people.

Kay: I completely agree. I mean, I haven't had a problem with CCTV culture especially you know, in the age that we're living at the moment. The concerns about terrorism, it’s a necessity. But for the purposes of this program, I wish all the cameras would go dark for a couple of weeks!

The Hunters will grill your loved ones about you, will they be able to withstand all that?

Kay: My loved ones are generally in the profession, so they will be charming and they'll make them a cup of tea and they will give absolutely diddly squat away!

Johnny: My wife appears very jovial, et cetera, but she knows what she's doing, and she won't give anything away either!

Have you set any like red herrings, any traps for them?

Kay: We have set one or two challenges. We won't call them traps. We set one or two challenges for the hunters and we'll see if they're up to the challenge!

How competitive are you two when you look at the other teams on the run?

Kay: Oh we're not competitive at all, are we Johnny?!

Johnny: No, I'm pretty relaxed about going out on the first day, actually! Of course we're competitive. But the Hunters seem desperate to get us first so I don't think we're going to win.

Kay: We have spoken about what happens at the extraction point if one of us falls and whether we'll wait for the other one. I suggested I would wait and he said would climb over me to get there!

Throw one of you at the Hunters while the other gets to the extraction point?

Johnny: Exactly!

Kay: Don't give him any ideas

Johnny: Like bait, I’ll feed her to the sharks!

Who do you think is your biggest rival to getting to the end?

Kay: We've got on really well with everybody, actually, so we don't think that anybody's a rival. We'd be delighted if we see everybody again at the extraction point.

Johnny: AJ and Louis are clearly strong, but we want to see everyone again.

You mentioned earlier about the general public. Do you think they'll be a help or a hindrance?

Johnny: They'll be a help to Kay but once they find out that I'm a member of parliament, I think they'll be falling over themselves to phone us in!

Kay: I think they would be very much a help, unless they are Peter Andre fans, if they are then I'm screwed!

Johnny: She made him cry!

Finally, what is your message to the hunters?

Kay: Catch us if you can!

Johnny: Get a proper job!

Interview with AJ Pritchard and Louis Smith for Celebrity Hunted

Why did you two want to go on the run and be Hunted?

Louis: It's a challenge.

AJ: It sure is. Obviously it's for a fantastic cause, but the main reason, other than that, is that it's like being big kids, it's like a giant game of hide-and-seek around the whole country with no rules. Who wouldn't want to do that?

Why did you two decide to partner up for it?

AJ: Obviously we know each other. We thought that competitive mentality, that need to win we both have is what really did it for me. That's going to help us so much.

Louis: There are a lot of people you know you wouldn't want to be stuck with in a situation like this but me and AJ have the same kind of work ethic, same background...

AJ: The same crazy brains. We think outside the box!

Talk us through your strategy...

AJ: Our main strategy for day one is not to get caught! The main things is to get out of London as quick as possible.

Louis: We don't want to be the first ones to get caught for sure.

AJ: Sprint as fast as possible to a nice car, get a car to an airfield and get out of the area. That's pretty much day one sorted in our heads. Louis doesn't like flying he told me this, so I made sure we get in a plane!

Louis: I don't like getting on the big planes let alone, little propeller planes. I'm still waiting for them to find out if they got me a parachute.

AJ: We're all laughing at him but he's been deadly serious. He's like, 'I want to have a parachute on when we get in the plane!"

Louis: I won't wear it but you feel ten times better knowing that there is a parachute on board. If your plane is going down you whack it on. You pull the string somewhere, the shoot blows out and you save your life!

Once you're out of the city are you going to rough it?

AJ: Yeah, get out of CCTV in London, get out as soon as possible and then just literally go off grid. We'll use people we don't know. We're ready to camp even though I did say to Louis, I've got the tent it's great and then he told me he's never camped before in his life!

Louis: I've never slept outside. I almost slept in a tent once then I went inside the house. The closest I've ever been to sleeping outside is that I slept in my car once. I had an argument with my first ever girlfriend. That was as closest I ever got to sleeping outside. Our plan is to use people's houses but there is the tent as a last resource. AJ was like, "We need to just be upping the stakes. Just walking through the forest staying away from people, and cameras, and stuff like that". I'm totally up for it. I've just never put myself in this situation before.

Obviously we know how competitive you two are. Do you think that's going to really kick in when you head out?

AJ: It's at the forefront of our brain, to win is everything. Obviously, when we are on the run the adrenaline kicks in, it is real, so your heart just beats so much faster!

Louis: That is the point. Also You must try and put yourself in the Hunters' shoes, I need to think what would they be doing? Where would they be looking for us, if they did know where we were? Where would they try and find us? I think we need to stay off the grid and be spontaneous, keep the Hunters on their toes!

How does this stress of being on the run compare with stepping out on the Strictly dance floor?

Louis: It's too easy!

AJ: For me this is chill out time, this is relaxing, a social retreat. You will go into this for the challenge. So it is that challenge of, A, the first four days getting into the swing of it and B, when it comes to that final point, trying to get to the extraction site without being caught.

Louis: The mind games will go through the roof! I could be so paranoid and I've never been paranoid about anything in my life before. This will the first time!

AJ: Especially the first day getting out of London, every camera you look at, every person you look at, you should be thinking, "Are they going to dob you in or say something?" The funny thing is when we were filming some pre run scenes with a helicopter above us, even just hearing the helicopter it suddenly made your heart beat faster. You start to sweat just thinking, "Well if that's there, how would you actually get away from it? It would be impossible.

Louis: I live in Peterborough and you sometimes see the police helicopter out with the searchlight. It is a nice feeling knowing that it's up there but it's not after you but this time it's going to be a bit different!

Have you got any or plan to call on a celeb house during the run?

AJ: I think we've got friends in different locations, the problem is most of them live in London, so that's a complete life we want to stay away from. The thing is you never know what's going to happen, it depends where we are.

Louis: I want to try and use as many of my friends as decoys, as I can.

Will you use the general public to help you?

AJ: I think we are going to rely on their generosity. The good thing is that we're mostly known for Strictly and that audience is older, they're the ones that want to bring you in, "Have a cup of tea, have some cake". Sounds like a dream! That's what we're going to go for.

Maybe you could trade a place to sleep for some Strictly dance training?

AJ: Yeah! It'll be a case of, "I'll teach you a dance move, we can do that and maybe get you a ticket to Strictly if you've really helped me a lot here!" It's not really bribery, is it? But if it helps us win this, then than competitive streak will show.

Which pair do you think is your biggest rival?

Louis: I honestly don't look at it like that. I honestly feel it's us against the Hunters. If we saw another team then I would never dob them in to the Hunters. Don't get me wrong, if there was one team to make it, I'd like it to be us.

AJ: I think probably Vicky's the best suited for this. She's the one that's roughed it and done challenges. I think she'll get on very well.

AJ: They seem to want to drink their way through it, sometimes it's the best way in an unfamiliar scenario situation, Dutch courage and all that!

Once you are on the run the Hunters will grill your family. How do you think they're going to stand up to being interrogated by them?

Louis: My mum can say what she wants to say because I've told her nothing! I don't trust my mom. I've watched the programme, I did my research, and the Hunters are manipulative. They'll say, "Look, Louis is in danger, we need to find them" My mum is such a sucker, she's a worrier, so she'll be like, "My god yes he's at this place, please look after him, bring him back safely". So I've given her nothing!

AJ: I'm pretty much in the same boat. Mum and Dad don't really know much so they can't really give anything away.

Have you set any traps for the Hunters?

Louis: We've done one or two but we haven't decided if we're going to use them yet. I've got a secret text message code. I know what to say to my friends, what words I'll use, the secret fake text or real text so if I need him to go somewhere.

How are you feeling about losing social media and all your creature comforts?

Louis: It'll be refreshing to be honest. You've got your phone and you think, "I can't live without it," but then your battery runs out and you can't use it even if you wanted to and it is just so peaceful. I mean that's what it's going to be like, I'm looking forward to it.

AJ: It'll be nice and easy. It's nice to have only one focus for two weeks, there is only one thing - do not get caught!

How do you feel about the Hunters?

Louis: They are ruthless. I was watching the programme while I was doing my research, they are relentless. We've been doing our research on what gets people caught, things for us to avoid.

AJ: They are savage. The shit that they have come up with to try and manipulate the public, like say lies! There was an episode of dad and his autistic son. He got a lift with this woman and then the Hunter said to the woman, "He doesn't even have a son, he is just lying". That's so bad!

Finally, what is your message to the Hunters as you prepare to run?

Louis: Our message is just wait to be surprised.

AJ: My message would be feel free to investigate the others before us!

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

The Royal Variety Performance 2018

Greg Davies to Host This Year’s Royal Variety Performance

Actor and one of the UK’s best loved comics Greg Davies, is to host The Royal Variety Performance, in the presence of members of the Royal family.

The event will come from the iconic London Palladium Theatre, which is hosting the event for the 42nd time.

The show promises to be an unforgettable evening of the best UK and international musical performers, extraordinary theatre and brilliant comedy as well as a number of surprises along the away.

Stars lined up to appear include one of the UK’s biggest bands, the multi-award-winning Take That, the West End cast of the phenomenal hit musical Hamilton, chart topper George Ezra, award winners Clean Bandit, West End cast of Tina – The Tina Turner Musical and the legendary Andrea Bocelli & his son Matteo.

Also taking to the stage are, Britain’s Got Talent winner, comedian The Lost Voice Guy, a special performance from Rick Astley, comedian Rhod Gilbert, the mesmerising Cirque Du Soleil, plus music from Sigrid and cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason.  Circus 1903 will be unveiling their unique and beautifully crafted performances with their extraordinary elephant puppetry, and there will be more comedy from stand up comedians Gad Elmaleh and Rod Woodward.

Greg Davies said: “I am delighted to host the Royal Variety. It is a role that I am wildly unsuited to and I will no doubt offend a great many people, but my Mum has a voracious appetite for meeting members of the Royal family and this seems a reasonable price to pay for the gift of life.”

The event is staged in aid of the Royal Variety Charity, whose patron is Her Majesty The Queen. The money raised from the show helps those people from the world of entertainment in need of care and assistance.

The star studded spectacular will take place on Monday 19th November and will be screened on ITV in December. It will be produced by ITV Studios.

The Royal Variety Performance has been commissioned by ITV’s Commissioning Editor Asif Zubairy. Executive Producers for ITV are Fiona Clark and Lee Connolly & Executive Producers for the Royal Variety Charity are Laurie Mansfield, Giles Cooper and Phil Dale.

Prince, Son and Heir: Charles at 70

BBC One will broadcast a brand new special 60-minute documentary next month, Prince, Son and Heir: Charles at 70, to mark the Prince’s 70th birthday.

For this observational documentary, the film-maker John Bridcut has had exclusive access to the Prince over the past twelve months, both at work and behind the scenes, at home and abroad. He speaks to those who know him best, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, and his sons, the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex.

By the time HRH the Prince of Wales reaches his 70th birthday in November, he will have been involved in public affairs for more than fifty years, championing issues that once were unfamiliar but are now mainstream such as global warming and youth opportunity.

What emerges is a revealing and intimate portrait of the longest-serving heir to the throne, who still feels he has a lot more to do.

Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content, says: “It’s a real privilege to be given access to the Prince of Wales and those closest to him to mark his 70th birthday. This intimate documentary will offer a unique insight into his life and work and those who know him best.”

John Bridcut has previously worked with HRH The Prince of Wales on The Passionate Prince (2008) and The Prince and the Composer (2011), as well as on two film portraits of the Queen, Elizabeth at 90 (2016) and A Jubilee Tribute (2012) for the BBC.

Prince, Son and Heir: Charles at 70 (1x60') is a Crux production for BBC One and was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Director of Content and Alison Kirkham, Controller, BBC Factual Commissioning.

The programme is to be distributed internationally by BBC Studios.