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Friday, 21 September 2018

Celebs set to patrol streets in Famous & Fighting Crime

A group of famous faces are set to take on the challenge of their lives, as they work on the front line of British policing with one of the country’s busiest police forces in Channel 4’s Famous and Fighting Crime.

TV presenter Katie Piper, Loose Women panellist Penny Lancaster, Made in Chelsea’s Jamie Laing, Gogglebox star Sandi Bogle and comedian Marcus Brigstocke are the five well-known rookies being given the chance to see what it’s really like to be at the sharp end of policing.

Our famous crime fighters will be with Cambridgeshire Constabulary, responding to real 999 calls, working in custody, and even CID, as well as taking part in high risk drugs raids and keeping order in rowdy city centres at the weekend.

After years of budget cuts, police forces are under more pressure than ever and the five will be joining an army of 12,000 volunteer officers who police towns and cities all across the UK. Volunteers known as ‘Special Constables’ have all the powers of a warranted police officer and work alongside their regular colleagues on the frontline but do so in their spare time, often working around their own careers and personal lives.

Lee McMurray, Commissioning Editor for Formats at Channel 4 said, “We’re delighted to have secured such a smart, diverse cast of famous faces for this once in a lifetime opportunity, which will not only provide Channel 4 viewers with fascinating insights into the realities of modern policing, but also allow them to see some of their favourite household names in a new and surprising light.”

Edmund Coulthard, Executive Producer from Blast! Films adds, “As police budgets go down, and the pressures on police forces go up, our celebrities are joining the thousands of volunteers risking everything on the frontline of policing today. It’s certain to be a life changing experience – no one can predict the criminals or the crimes they’ll encounter”.

Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s Assistant Chief Constable Dan Vajzovic says “This is a great opportunity to showcase the valuable work of the Special Constabulary and give viewers a chance to see some of the excellent work our officers do day in day out, but which often remains hidden. The series promises to be entertaining and impactful, offering the viewer a unique view of the role volunteers play in policing their own communities, and I hope it will inspire many others to volunteer for their police force.”

Have I Got News For You returns for its 56th series on BBC One from 5 October at 9pm.

Have I Got News For You returns for its 56th series on BBC One from 5 October at 9pm.
Team Captains Ian Hislop and Paul Merton answer Emma Cox's questions about the popular satirical news quiz.

What is the secret to Have I Got News For You’s longevity?
Paul: "You have five people on the screen every week, three of whom weren’t there the week before.

"So there’s a freshness immediately to what you’re seeing and what you’re hearing.

"And because the subject matter is the news, which is always changing, you’ve got a freshness of approach there too.

"If we just did the week’s two top stories every time in the first bit of the recording, that would get boring.

"But the first story doesn’t have to be the biggest one. When we did the hummus shortage, that was a huge middle-class story!

Ian: "I don’t think there was a bigger middle-class story in the whole year!"

Paul: "Ian is very good at what he does because he does both the comedy and also the serious stuff. He says what he thinks about stuff. But that’s not me."

Ian: "And also every recording is a different atmosphere because of the people there and it’s a different audience and you’ve got a different set of reactions to people who may or may not get on, who may or may not find each other funny.

"I don’t know about Paul, but I still get nervous. Our audience is very sharp.

Paul: "Ian gets nervous because he does it twice a year but there’s a gap of several months when he’s not doing it. Because I’m doing it with The Comedy Store Players all the time I don’t really get nervous. I get ready but not nervous."

And how do you prepare?
Ian: "I remember Paul once said he was accused of preparing for the show by someone and he said he was going to sue.

"I think that was probably the only time I’ve agreed with a writ - I thought that was absolutely monstrous to suggest that either of us would do anything to prepare!

"No, the whole point is we turn up and create the show there. The one thing we’ve realised that our audience don’t like is a feeling that this is prepared."

Paul: "Ian’s right. There is a sort of lightness and the audience can tell the difference immediately between somebody saying, ‘Okay there’s a big story this week so I’m going to write five jokes about it and trot them out’."

If a big story breaks on a Tuesday or Wednesday, is your first reaction, ‘Oh this will be good for the show’?
Paul: "It depends what it is.

"If it’s a terrible disaster or a terrorist action, no. You think, ‘Are they going to include this, how are we going to do it?’"

Ian: "Usually I find if a really large story breaks, (a) it gives you something to say but also (b) it may be that everyone else has already been there and done it before we film. So, there’s a slight imperative to be better [than the competition]."

Paul: "If it breaks at 6 o’clock on a Thursday night, an hour before filming - which has happened a couple of times - then it’s a completely different thing."

Ian: "What we really like is when the story breaks when we’re on air and then Steve (the floor manager) has to come on and tell us - the last election show where everyone resigned, Steve had to come on and update us every 10 minutes!

"It’s a perfect improv because there isn’t any time to think so often that’s when the show feels really fresh."

If you’re sitting at home and Theresa May is dancing in front of South African children do you sort of think, I wish she’d just waited four weeks until we were back on air?
Paul: "No, because you can still say ‘This is a bit like watching Theresa May dance in front of a load of African children’. It can still be funny later."

Ian: "I’m very keen on that round but usually it’s Prince Charles who has to do the dancing.

"I think from my point of view, it’s an interesting political shift in that it used to be the heir to the throne who had to look absurd in foreign countries.

"Now it’s our Prime Minister. What’s happening? It is harder when the news doesn’t change. When it’s fresher it’s better."

Paul: "Trump is something I find it hard to be funny about, I can’t say anything that’s fresh about him."

Ian: "The week of Trump’s election, the big story for Paul was the fact that Toblerone were increasing the space between the wedges. I’ve rarely seen such genuine passion."

Paul: "It was my childhood!"

What makes a really great guest for you? What qualities do they need to have?
Paul: "The ability to listen and join in."

Ian: "I have a specific interest in unwary politicians who agree to come on and are amazed at what happens next. They’re my favourite.

"But also there are people, like Ross Noble, who are regulars who come on and they’re just always good and it’s just such a pleasure when you know they’re there."

So who are some favourite ever guests then?
Paul: "Spike Milligan, Peter Cook. Janet Street Porter’s always funny."

Ian: "I liked Conrad Black, Alistair Campbell. Well, I liked having them on.

"Conrad Black was a cracker. He was quite uncomfortable. I suggested that the fact that he was guilty of fraud was quite interesting. He kept saying he was innocent. I kept saying, ‘That’s not what the jury said’. That was very entertaining.

"Who else? Victoria Coren Mitchell used to be a regular favourite guest, but she now hosts it and is always good.

"Lucy Prebble, she was great, she’s now done it twice."

Paul: "Yes, very good, very confident. It’s people that, so long as they’re trying, and they remember that they’re not watching the show, they‘re in it."

Ian: "The great thing our producers do is just find new people. I liked Lucy Prebble because she was a playwright and we hadn’t done that before.

"And we’ve had people like Robert Harris on and he was great and he’s a novelist. You get people from other worlds."

Paul: "They don’t even have to be funny, just interesting."

Who is the dream guest?
Ian: "Well I’d like Blair. I think he’d be terrific."

Paul: "And I think Lionel Blair’s an excellent choice [laughs].

"So that can be both our answers. Tony Blair and Lionel Blair.

"It might be confusing to have them on the same show though. I could swap them half way round and not tell anybody."

And what would you ask Blair?
Paul: "Well, how long have you been a dancer? That sort of thing (laughs).

"Actually, that would be the funny thing. You could ask Tony Blair about dancing.

"And then you ask Lionel, ‘So, these weapons of mass destruction…’"

Ian: "Where are they, Lionel? Come on.

"The show with Bruce Forsyth has got to be one of the oddest things that’s ever happened on TV and probably, I think it was Paul’s favourite show, wasn’t it?"

Paul: "Yes, just about, I would say so, yes. It shouldn’t work but he was so good at what he did, and he had nerves of steel. He was used to going out in front of 2,000 people at the London Palladium.

"He was very nervous before we went on, when I was standing backstage with him, because he didn’t know how the audience would react.

"So, he’s not going on thinking ‘Okay, they’ll love me they’ll think I’m fantastic’ and falling flat on his face.

"He’s thinking, ‘I hope this is going to be all right’, and as soon as he went out - whoosh, he was away!

"He was incredibly charismatic and skilful so somehow made it work when he started doing Play your Iraqi Cards Right…"

So going back to Tony Blair - has he been asked?
Ian: "Yes, I think he has been asked but I haven’t seen the written response [laughs].

"And presumably we can’t afford the fee because he’s very busy doing the Kazakhstan toilet industry’s federation evening which obviously sets him back."

Paul: "I did wonder who got that gig. They said there was one guy ahead of me…"

Ian: "No, I just think [Blair] would be very interesting.

"The great thing about having those sorts of guests on, and it happened when we had Paxman on and it happened when Campbell came on, they’re used to being in charge.

"But when you’re recording a television show as live, essentially no-one’s in charge, including the person in the chair."

Paul: "Jeremy Paxman particularly, the first time ever in his television career, he said something, and I said, ‘Well that’s a load of old rubbish’.

"And he can’t come back to me and say, ‘Yes but what about your education qualifications?’. I haven’t got that! And you can’t give me a starter for 10 because I don’t care. I don’t want to get the question right."

Ian: "I think ‘You patronising git’ was the phrase to Paxman which no-one’s said to him for a while. It was Steph McGovern. It was very funny."

What happens in the Green Room afterwards?
Paul: "Drinks afterwards, a sort of quick chat with producers sometimes when you say, ‘You’re going to keep the bit about the onion aren’t you?’"

Ian: "I always go to the Green Room thinking, ‘Are the guests going to be there?’, because sometimes people leave, and they don’t come and have a drink afterwards.

"Sometimes it’s a bit frosty. John Prescott was not thrilled after the show he was on. He found it less funny than I did.

"So, there’s always a bit of that for me, who’s going to be there and will they have left or will they be having a drink through gritted teeth?"

Paul: "Most people do come up, most people do. Most people are game for a drink afterwards. We certainly are.

"After two hours of thinking on your feet, you want to unwind afterwards."

Can you make any predictions about what you’ll be talking about in this series?
Paul: "The big American elections, the mid-terms happen in November so that’ll be a story one way or the other for us."

Ian: "Domestically we’ve got a situation where all three parties are full of people who want to split, which is quite new and none of the party leaders are safe.

"So, you’ve essentially got parties accusing each other saying ‘Well, you’re pretty divided’ and the other going, ‘Not compared to you we’re not’.

"So, it’s an extraordinarily chaotic period and there’s not much evidence that anyone’s changed their mind."

It’s not just Trump that talks about ‘fake news’ now - people trust news sources less and less than they ever did. How does that affect your programme?
Ian: "I think one of the most cheering things about Have I Got News For You is quite a lot of people get their information from us, which should be terrifying in a proper functioning society!

"I walked in through the door of this hotel today and a man came up and said, ‘I absolutely love Have I Got News For You’ and I said ‘That’s really nice of you’.

"He said, ‘I’m from Israel, he said, it’s the only sensible news we get’. And you just think, ‘Oh’.

"We’ve got a very big fan base among immigrants and people from backgrounds where they can’t believe you’re allowed to be this rude, which is a thrill compared to the countries they’ve come from. But also, they get a version of the news which they’re not used to, which is a rather more subversive take."

Paul: "People certainly do that, that’s certainly part of the element of its longevity is that people come to it for the news.

"But I feel that people trust it. That if Ian says something or we say something, we show something - our view is trusted implicitly.

"I think they trust Ian. Seriously, they do."

Are there any advances in technology that have had an effect on the show, such as social media?
Ian: "The news cycle has speeded up but there is a very good movement called Slow News, which is just suggesting it takes a bit longer to digest it and have anything interesting to say, which I agree with.

"People do say, ‘Why isn’t Have I Got News on every day?’.

"Well if you look at programmes that react to something every day, there’s very little to say because you don’t know anything yet.
It’s literally like ‘Well we’ve got this footage and there’s some guys in uniform running about but we don’t know what’s going on’.

"And that’s no use to anyone and (a) you can’t work out what’s going on but (b) you certainly can’t offer any jokes about it because you don’t know what’s happening. You need time."

Paul: "We’re not a big enough island to have a whole plethora of news happening every day.

"You could try to run a topical satirical show from Monday to Friday and it’d fail because there isn’t enough material (a) to inspire you, (b) to get a good script in time."

Are you on social media?
Paul: "There used to a man pretending to be me on Twitter, but he only ever posted one tweet, and it was round about May and he said, ‘Oh well, time to fire up the old barbecue’. That was it!

"Why not say, ‘I met Stephen Fry at the Groucho Club, went round to Ian’s, he’s just come back from holiday in Thailand’ - why not make up something interesting?

"I’ve never fired up a barbecue in my life."

By not being on Twitter, you’re missing Piers Morgan knocking ten bells digitally out of Alan Sugar.
Paul: "Not as good fun as in a real boxing match."

Ian: "I’d enjoy seeing that."

How would you describe your relationship?
Paul: "I’ve always respected Ian. From the first time I met him really and knowing the job that he does as the editor of Private Eye.

"So, I realise he does both and so sometimes Ian doesn’t get the credit for the comic stuff he does as well on the show which is very funny.

"We are similar in the respect of how we view what we are doing, and we want it to be the best that we can do at any particular time."

Ian: "Whatever our differing attitudes to life and in the early days, I think I had to prove myself to Paul because you know, he just thought, ‘Stuck-up twit’, which is perfectly reasonable."

Paul: "Stuck up Oxford twit."

Ian: "Stuck up Oxford twit. All of that was perfectly acceptable and true. But also, we realised that what we both enjoy doing was this show and doing it in our different ways. And the basic thing is, Paul makes me laugh and you can see it on the show. I enjoy myself. It’s a real pleasure and that hasn’t gone at all."

"We have had a drink after every show for the entire 28 years."

Paul: "Sometimes we tell the same joke at exactly the same time. There was one last series. We’re so comfortable in each other’s presence, it can be almost telepathic when it’s going well."

Ian: "What I really like is when Paul says stuff that I haven’t even thought of and wouldn’t. That’s the pleasure of someone else’s mind."

Paul: "Whenever we’re off air people say, ‘When are you coming back?’.

"It’s good to be missed. You’ve got to get away from it and then come back to it renewed and refreshed.

"We have a run of ten from October to Christmas which is always the best period with lots happening."

Can you tell me something about the other person that would surprise me?
Ian: "When I first met Paul, I thought I knew quite a lot about classical music, for example, but now Paul knows more about that and indeed most other subjects than I do.

"I feel that I’ve atrophied somewhat. He is much, much better read than he pretends."

And you don’t stay in touch in between series?
Paul: "Occasionally we might go out for a meal, but we do see each other four months of the year, every week."

Ian: "And people do think we’re like Eric and Ernie. I think for a lot of people they genuinely think we share a flat and that’s how we live."

Paul: "But we see each other 20 times a year already."

Ian: "Which is more than most friendships. It’s certainly more than most marriages."

Sue Johnston joins the cast as Hold The Sunset returns

Shooting has started on the second series of the BBC One comedy Hold The Sunset, written by Oscar-nominated writer Charles McKeown. The show, made by BBC Studios, was the most successful comedy launch on BBC One since 2014, with over six million viewers turning in.

The end of the first series saw Edith (Alison Steadman) and Phil (John Cleese) still planning to move abroad, but with Edith’s 50 year-old son Roger (Jason Watkins) showing no signs of leaving home or reuniting with his estranged wife Wendy (Rosie Cavaliero), is their dream of a sunset happy ever after slipping ever further away?

Joining the cast this series are actress Sue Johnston as Edith’s impossible sister Joan; Christian Brassington as hopeless estate agent Percy; and Shauna MacDonald as Bob’s irrepressible and individual daughter Georgie.

Alison Steadman says: “I am delighted to be back working on Hold The Sunset, I had a great time working on the first series and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Edith and Phil.”

Sue Johnston says: “I'm thrilled to be working with such a great cast of actors. Some are new friends and some are old friends - it is a joy to be joining them all.”

John Cleese says: “I really enjoyed making the first series. It was great to be able to do so much sitting-down acting. I look forward to seeing our lovely cast again.”

Shane Allen, Controller Comedy Commissioning at the BBC says: “We’d like to see the sun to rise on another series of this hugely popular family sitcom which shimmers with legends of British comedy.”

Chris Sussman, Head of Comedy, BBC Studios, says: “It's been a dream working with such a cast of comedy legends, and I'm thrilled that we're getting the chance to bring them back together again.”

Hold The Sunset is a BBC Studios production. It is written by Charles McKeown, Oscar-nominated co-author of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil and subsequent films. The Executive Producer is BBC Studios Head of Comedy Chris Sussman, the Producers are Moira Williams, Humphrey Barclay and John Cleese, and the Director is Sandy Johnson.

Peston launches new Wednesday show

Robert Peston’s political magazine show moves to Wednesday nights next week - to provide viewers with a fresh, intelligent and lively perspective on the big matters of the day in a brand new slot.

Promising a stellar line-up of guests from across the political spectrum as well as cultural figures, Peston will feature major interviews with Westminster heavy hitters, topical guests and the very latest political gossip from inside the bubble.

The hour-long programme will be broadcast live on Twitter in a first for British terrestrial TV, as well as on the ITV News website while it is recorded from 8pm before it airs on ITV at 10.40pm. Peston will be getting his own Twitter emoji, which triggers when #Peston is typed by users.

Co-presenter, The Guardian's political editor Anushka Asthana will help Peston fuel the conversation in the studio and online, with updates from social media taking in perspectives from viewers, experts and key-players throughout the programme.

As Autumn nights darken and the political temperature rises, with Brexit looming and politicians returning to work after a long hot summer off, Peston aims to shine a light on the stories you might have missed and to be at the heart of national debate.

Pictured on his brand new set at BBC Studioworks, Peston says: “Britain is on the verge of making history. The stakes could not be higher, but so too are the uncertainties. What kind of Brexit will we have? Is Brexit certain? Can the divisions in the Conservative and Labour Parties be healed or will one or both parties split? How long will Theresa May remain as PM? How many Labour MPs will be thrown out by disgruntled members? Perhaps most important of all, can hope be restored that the UK will become a richer, fairer, less divided country?

“Rarely has there been such a need to hold our political leaders and our elected representatives to account. Which is why I am so excited by the launch on Wednesdays of Peston, which will continue the tradition of Peston on Sunday with agenda-setting interviews, a digital conversation with the audience, cutting-edge graphical analysis, informality and fun.

“And for those of you unaware why the show moved from Sunday to Wednesday, it was for no other reason than that the repeat of Peston on Sunday on Sunday nights was watched by twice as many people as the morning live show. So I and ITV thought we should convert it into a proper night time show. I could not be more pleased to be broadcasting after News at Ten on arguably the most important political day of the week."

Jennifer Hudson, Olly Murs, Sir Tom Jones and will.i.am all to return for new series of The Voice UK

The Voice UK’s stellar panel of coaches – Jennifer Hudson, Olly Murs, Sir Tom Jones and will.i.am -are all confirmed to return to their iconic red chairs for the new series. They will be seeking the very best solo singers, duos and, in a competition first this year, trios. The four music superstars will commence filming the Blind Auditions next month with the series launching on ITV early next year.

Grammy, Oscar and BAFTA winning singer and actress, Jennifer Hudson was recently cast in the film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s smash musical Cats and is set to star as the young Aretha Franklin in the upcoming biopic about the Queen of Soul. Continuing as a coach on The Voice on both sides of the Atlantic, Jennifer also recently performed the title anthem ‘I’ll Fight’ by Diane Warren on documentary feature, RBG. Returning to the UK, Jennifer said: “I'm so happy to be re-joining my coaches at The Voice UK. I’m ready and excited to discover some beautiful voices.”

With five multi-platinum albums and countless sold out arena tours, Olly Murs made his debut as a coach earlier this year.  Since then, he has been putting the finishing touches to his hotly anticipated sixth studio album. His new music set to be released later this year, Olly said: “Now I’ve got one season under my belt, I can’t wait to see what my second season has in store for me. Last year I managed to get seduced and picked some entertaining performers. The other coaches might think they have worked me out but I’m coming back with a bang, just you wait!”

The legendary Sir Tom Jones, with a phenomenal 6 decades in showbusiness, will be back following a tour of the UK and Europe this summer. Sir Tom said: “I’m raring to go on the search for some talented new singers.  Bringing in the trio element will present a new sound that could shake everything up.  We’ll have to see of course, but whether it’s a solo singer, a duo or a trio, I’m hoping to find someone with that special spark. I’m so proud and excited about my winner, Ruti, who is in the studio doing some very impressive work, she’s developing into a true artist and I can’t wait for you all to hear her!”

Entertainer, innovator and seven-time Grammy award winner, will.i.am returns as Black Eyed Peas celebrate 20 years together and are prepping to perform across Europe with their Masters of The Sun Tour this autumn.  will said: "The UK always surprises me with some of the freshest artists and this keeps me coming back for more. By adding trios, we’re raising the bar, so bring it on UK!”

Alongside the powerhouse coaching panel, Emma Willis is also back to present, she said: “I’m so happy we’re about to get going all over again. I’ve learnt to expect the unexpected with performances, some make me wanna bust a move, some give me goosebumps, and some make me cry like a baby! No day is the same, I’m forever wondering ‘where have YOU been?’ and with trios signing up this year, it gives us an added layer.”

The winner will be set on the road to realising their artistic ambitions with the ultimate prize of a recording contract with music giants Polydor Records.

The Voice UK is an ITV Studios production of a Talpa format and the new series will air on ITV early next year.

ITV greenlights a fourth series of hit drama, Unforgotten

ITV has announced today that critically acclaimed drama, Unforgotten, will return for a fourth series.

Produced by Sally Haynes and Laura Mackie’s Mainstreet Pictures, the new series will see BAFTA award nominees Nicola Walker (Last Tango In Halifax, The Split) and Sanjeev Bhaskar (Goodness Gracious Me, Paddington 2) reprise their roles as DCI Cassie Stuart and DI Sunny Khan as they investigate another emotionally charged and compelling cold case.

Praised for its realistic portrayal of a police procedural, empathetic approach and powerful performances, each series of Unforgotten follows the unravelling of a historical crime. Attracting a high calibre of acting talent, previous series have starred stellar names including Tom Courtenay who won the Best Supporting Actor BAFTA for his performance in 2016, Trevor Eve, Ruth Sheen, Mark Bonnar, Wendy Craig and Lorraine Ashbourne. The latest series which aired earlier this summer featured moving performances from Alex Jennings, Kevin McNally, Neil Morrissey and James Fleet.

The new six-part series will once again be penned by creator Chris Lang (Innocent, Dark Heart) and directed by Andy Wilson (Ripper Street, Endeavour), both of whom have worked on all three of the previous series. Guy de Glanville (Unforgotten, Age Before Beauty) will also return as producer.

Writer and Executive Producer Chris Lang said:

“I am so delighted to have been asked to make a fourth series of Unforgotten. The reaction to series 3 was better than I could ever have expected (with more people watching the last episode than any other in all three series) and I cannot wait to discover what lies ahead for Cassie and Sunny, and to create a whole new cast of characters for them to grapple with.”

The commission follows the huge success of the third series which aired on ITV earlier this year. Proving immensely popular with viewers and critics alike, the drama was hailed as “television’s best crime drama” by The Daily Telegraph and “the year’s most addictive thriller” by The Independent Online. The series finale received average consolidated figures of 6.9m and a 28% share.

The new series has been commission by ITV’s Head of Drama, Polly Hill, who said:

“We have been delighted with the reception of the first three series of Unforgotten and are thrilled to commission a fourth instalment. Chris Lang’s writing is incredibly powerful and his storytelling utterly compelling, so we have no doubt that the new case will have viewers gripped again.”

Executive Producers Laura Mackie and Sally Haynes added:

“Unforgotten has gone from strength to strength and we were so pleased to see the audience grow for the third series.”

Series 4 of Unforgotten will see Mainstreet Pictures’ Sally Haynes and Laura Mackie as Executive Producers alongside creator Chris Lang and will be distributed by BBC Worldwide.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

I Feel Bad (NBC) First Look Preview HD - Sarayu Blue comedy series

Emet is the perfect mom, boss, wife, friend and daughter. OK, she’s not perfect. In fact, she’s just figuring it out like the rest of us. Sure, she feels bad when she has a sexy dream about someone other than her husband, or when she pretends not to know her kids when they misbehave in public, or when she uses her staff to help solve personal problems. But that’s OK, right? Nobody can have it all and do it perfectly. From executive producer Amy Poehler comes a modern comedy about being perfectly OK with being imperfect.

BBC One announces major staff changes at Holby City Hospital

The BBC today announced that Dawn Steele and Nic Jackman will become two of the latest recruits to tread the wards of BBC One’s long-running medical drama Holby City. They will also be joined by fan favourite Camilla Arfwedson, who is due to reprise her role as Zosia March for a period in the spring.

Dawn, who is best known for her roles in River City, Wild At Heart and Monarch Of The Glen, joins Holby as new General Surgeon Ange Godard, who arrives at the hospital to open a brand new unit.

Nic Jackman will also become a regular, continuing his role as Cameron Dunn, the son of Bernie Wolfe (Jemma Redgrave), who returns to the hospital for a year to finish his training as an F2.

Since audiences have last seen Zosia March played by Camilla Arfwedson, the registrar has been making a name for herself at a hospital in the United States. Zosia will temporarily return to Darwin Ward to catch up with old colleagues after a turbulent time in America.

Dawn Steele says: "I am utterly delighted to be joining the cast and crew on Holby City. Ms Godard is such a great character with lots to tell and I am really looking forward to getting on that Keller Ward and bringing her to life. I have been a fan of Holby and so pleased I get to be at Elstree studios with this wonderful team. Can’t wait!"

Nic Jackman says: "I am delighted to be returning to the brilliant team at Holby City. Cameron is a fun character to play and it’ll be exciting to see what he gets up to next."

Camilla Arfwedson says: "Really pleased to come back and revisit Zosia. The last few years playing her have been absolutely brilliant, wonderful and challenging in equal measure. Can’t wait to see all the cast and crew again too and get back into the fold. I’ve missed it and I'm looking forward to seeing what’s in store for her."

Simon Harper, Executive Producer of Holby City and Casualty, says: “Dawn is a fabulous addition to the cast as Ange. Her TV star pedigree speaks for itself. She’s a brilliant, charismatic actor and I can’t wait to see her bring this beguiling new character on screen in a story of explosive secrets that will send shockwaves through the whole hospital.

"Nic has already won the audience’s hearts with his previous guest appearances as cheeky, loveable Cameron so it only seemed right to turn him into a fully-fledged regular! He’s an absolutely fantastic young actor and new star. Cameron has never settled down and has got by on his charm - he needs the strong women of Holby to lick him into shape professionally and otherwise and bring him out of the shadow of his mum Bernie.

"And what a joy to welcome Camilla back for a stint by popular demand! The complex and troubled Zosia is massively popular, particularly with our young audience, who I know have missed her desperately and will be hungry to know why she’s running back to Holby. Matched against Frieda on Darwin - will they be friends or foes? We’ll have to see!”

Holby City is made by BBC Studios for BBC One. The Executive Producer is Simon Harper and Kate Hall is the Series Producer.

Pictured: Nic Jackman, Dawn Steele, Camilla Arfwedson

BBC opens public song submissions for Eurovision 2019

The BBC has confirmed the United Kingdom’s participation in the 64th Eurovision Song Contest held in Tel Aviv, Israel next May; as well as opening the public song submissions to find the UK’s entry.

As last year, all public entries will be carefully considered and shortlisted by a representative panel of official UK Eurovision Fan Club (OGAE UK) members. At the same time, entries are also being sought from leading professional songwriters, with guidance from songwriter, publisher and new Music Consultant for the BBC, Greig Watts.

Greig Watts says: “The Eurovision Song Contest just gets bigger and better and more exciting for me each year, and I’m sure Israel will deliver another amazing contest. I’m so happy to be involved this year for the UK; it really is a dream come true, and I’m looking forward to working with the team to get the strongest possible song and result we can for the UK, like we do on the world music stage. There’s no guaranteed song-writing formula for Eurovision as each year something different wins. I’m looking for melodic songs with impact for the arena as well as on TV. Songs that instantly hit you and never leave your brain!"

A final shortlist of songs, from either route of entry, will again be showcased to the UK public, who will have the chance to vote for their favourite in Eurovision: You Decide on BBC Two, details of which will be announced later this year.

Kate Phillips, Controller Entertainment Commissioning at the BBC says: “I’m delighted that You Decide will be returning to BBC Two as the UK’s song search for Eurovision 2019 begins. We want to ensure that we cast the net far and wide to find the best entry possible, so we are really keen to hear from anyone who feels they have a song that has what it takes to do our country proud and bring Eurovision home!”

The closing date for submissions is Friday October 26, 2018.

Full information on how to submit a song for consideration can be found at bbc.co.uk/blogs/eurovision

The 64th Eurovision Song Contest will take place at the Expo Tel Aviv in Tel Aviv, Israel with the Semi Finals broadcast on 14 and 16 May 2019 on BBC Four and the Grand Final will be broadcast on 18 May 2019 on BBC One.

As one of the 'Big Five' countries (UK, Spain, Germany, France, Italy) plus last year's winner Israel, the United Kingdom does not have to compete at the semi-final stage of the competition and will gain automatic access to the Grand Final in 2019.

The OGAE is the largest independent Eurovision fan club in the world and its UK branch has around 1,000 members.

Eurovision: You Decide is made by BBC Studios Production, home to some of the UK’s most loved entertainment and music programmes, including Strictly Come Dancing, Glastonbury and Children in Need.

The Great British Bake Off: No baker leaves the tent in Ep 4

In Tuesday night’s episode of The Great British Bake Off on Channel 4, Dan was named Star Baker and none of the bakers left the tent.

Dessert Week saw the bakers tackle a meringue roulade signature challenge, Prue’s blancmange and langues du chat technical and a large melting chocolate ball showstopper.

As Sandi revealed Dan was Star Baker, Noel said: “The person who is going home this week is nobody. The judges felt it wouldn’t be fair to send someone home with Terry not being here… but the downside to that means that next week there is a strong possibility two people might be going home”.

Noel followed up by sending himself home: “And on that note… it feels weird sending no one home so I’m gonna go. See you later guys.”

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Bad Move - Episode 2 Preview

Series overview
In this second series of Bad Move, the rose-tinted fantasy of an idyllic country lifestyle proves to be further away than ever from Nicky (Kerry Godliman) and Steve (Jack Dee). Their crumbling wreck of a house continues to throw problems at them - they have to deal with everything from an infestation of moths to a septic tank that's 'backing up' as Ken charmingly puts it.

Episode 2
Steve is about to land a big contract for his web design business. It would provide Nicky and Steve with a much needed financial lifeline.

Imelda, the potential client, is a highly successful interior designer. A meeting at her  office goes well – but in an attempt to impress her, Steve foolishly brags about the amazing renovation job that he and Nicky have done to their idyllic country cottage. It's a lie that comes back to haunt him when Imelda announces that she wants to come out and see it. The chances of landing the contract seem slim – especially as Nicky has just discovered that the drain smell in the house is being caused by a septic tank that's 'backing up' as her father Ken charmingly puts it.

Football Genius - West Bromwich Albion v Wimbledon

Series overview
Stand up comedian Tim Vine hosts the comedy quiz in which two teams of football supporters, managed by The Chase’s Paul Sinha and Olympic Gold medallist Sam Quek, play against each other in a game of virtual football by answering football related questions. 

Episode 1 - West Bromwich Albion v Wimbledon
In this week’s big match, Paul Sinha’s team of AFC Wimbledon supporters take on Sam Quek’s side of West Bromwich Albion fans but which team manager will be lifting the Football Genius trophy at full time?

Tue 25 Sep 2018
10.00pm - 10.30pm
Channel: ITV4

Take The Tower - Starring Dolph Lundgren

Series overview
Hollywood action hero Dolph Lundgren of Rocky, Universal Soldier and The Expendables blockbusters as well as upcoming films Aquaman and Creed 2, will challenge members of the public to a combination of physical challenges and quiz questions. Contestants who manage to make their way to the top of the ‘tower’ will whisk their mates off on holiday.

Episode 1
Iconic Hollywood villain Dolph Lundgren challenges team captain Jake, along with his dad Ron, brother Levi and boyfriend Tomas, to a series of games based on classic action movies. The boys from Caerphilly must fight their way up 53 storeys and make it all the way to the Penthouse… alive. But fail a task and there’s only one way down. Through the window.

There’s a luxury holiday to New York city and a bundle of cash on the line but only if they can beat Dolph and Take the Tower.

Tue 25 Sep 2018
9.00pm - 10.00pm
Channel: ITV4

Monday, 17 September 2018

Black Lightning Season 2 "Guess Who's Back" Promo (HD)

As a father and principal of a high school that also serves as a safe haven in a neighborhood overrun by violence, Jefferson Pierce is a hero to his community. He’s also a hero of a different sort. Gifted with the superhuman power to harness and control electricity, he keeps his hometown safe as the masked vigilante Black Lightning.

Buy Season 1 from Amazon by Clicking Here (Link opens in a new window)

Saturday, 15 September 2018

The Flash Season 5 "Shadows" Promo (HD)

The fifth season of the American television series The Flash, which is based on the DC Comics character Barry Allen / Flash, is set to debut on The CW on October 9, 2018 and will consist of 22 episodes.

Viv Campbell to present new rock show on BBC Radio Ulster

The Belfast-born guitarist Vivian Campbell launches a new six-part series on BBC Radio Ulster. Vivian is best known as the guitarist with 100 million album selling rock act Def Leppard, who are currently on a world tour.

Over the course of the series, beginning on Tuesday 18 September at 10pm, Vivian plays the music that has inspired him throughout his life, as he shares stories from his journey with Dio, Whitesnake and Def Leppard.

Listeners can look forward to hearing the greatest rock music in the world, along with some Irish classics, which have caught Vivian’s ear and those of his colleagues.

Vivian says: "I'm thrilled and honoured to be doing this series of radio shows for BBC Radio Ulster. It's been a wonderful reminder to me of the joy and power of music and how it's shaped my life. Like pieces of a puzzle, each song completes another part of the picture and that excitement is felt all over again.”

Viv Campbell, BBC Radio Ulster, Tuesday 18 September at 10pm and online at: www.bbc.co.uk/radioulster

Friday, 14 September 2018

BBC Four acquires hit drama Mystery Road

BBC Four has acquired six-part drama Mystery Road, based on Ivan Sen’s acclaimed feature film. The series will air weekly as a double-bill on BBC Four, starting from 9pm on Saturday 22 September.
Mystery Road was produced by by Bunya Productions for ABC Australia in association with all3media international, six-part drama Mystery Road has been acquired by BBC Four from all3media international.

Set against big landscapes and stunning scenery, Mystery Road stars Aaron Pedersen as detective Jay Swan, who is sent to the remote outback town of Patterson for what he thinks will be a simple investigation into the disappearance of two young jackaroos. Partnered with tough local cop Emma James (Judy Davis), their investigation will gradually unpeel the layers of the town, as Jay’s ability to hunt beneath the surface reveals crimes and miscarriages of justice that stretch back into Patterson’s history. In solving the mystery of the missing boys, Jay and Emma - and the town - will learn a hard lesson - that you have to be truthful about your past to understand your present, and to have any sort of future.

Sue Deeks, BBC Head of Programme Acquisition, says: “Mystery Road is set in a uniquely stark and beautiful landscape and features a cast of some of the best acting talent around. We’re thrilled to be bringing this compelling and visually stunning drama to BBC viewers”

Caroline Stephenson, SVP at EMEA North at all3media international, adds: “Mystery Road is a perfect show for BBC Four - its distinct Outback setting and Australian Noir approach to the crime genre will be relished by the channel's discerning drama audience.”

Written by Michaeley O’Brien (Underbelly) and directed by Rachel Perkins (Redfern Now, Jasper Jones), Mystery Road is produced by David Jowsey and Greer Simpson, alongside executive producers Sally Riley and Ivan Sen.

Larry Lamb leads cast of TV favourites for new BBC drama Pitching In

Gavin and Stacey stars, Larry Lamb (Michael Shipman) and Melanie Walters (Gwen West) are set for a television reunion in a new Wales-based drama which will hit television screens in spring 2019.
They are set to take centre stage in Pitching In, a new family drama for BBC One Wales and BBC One Daytime.

Set around a caravan park on the north Wales coast, Pitching In tells the story of three generations of the same family, all struggling to make the best of a very unusual - and sometimes very difficult - situation.

Pitching In will be made by the highly acclaimed LA Productions (Broken, Moving On). It will also feature an all-star cast including Hayley Mills, Caroline Sheen and Ifan Huw Dafydd.

Larry Lamb says: “Eleven years after Gavin and Stacey burst onto the scene I’m heading out west again, switching Barry Island for Anglesey this time! I’m delighted to be playing the role of Frank in Pitching In - it’s a touching, funny and romantic story and a fascinating glimpse of life on the north Wales coast.”

BBC Cymru Wales' Head of Commissioning, Nick Andrews says: “We all need more ‘feel good’ in our lives and this warm family drama promises to be just that. Pitching In is a comedy drama about family, friendship and community, which will showcase the beauty of north Wales.”

BBC Controller of Programming and Daytime, Dan McGolpin says: “Hot on the heels of their RTS award for Moving On, this is a new drama from LA Productions and also a new collaboration with BBC Wales. It’s a welcome addition to the BBC Daytime drama slate and our audience are going to enjoy getting to know these naturally funny characters and their life struggles in the beautiful countryside of north Wales.”

Colin McKeown from LA Productions says: “Pitching In provides an audience with a lovely feeling of wellbeing and hopefully provides a warm smile.”

BBC Radio 2 announces Paul Weller for Radio 2 In Concert

BBC Radio 2 have announced Paul Weller as the first act confirmed for this year’s star-studded line-up for this autumn’s In Concert series.

Paul Weller was announced in a special Chris Evans’ Breakfast Show from Weller’s studio in Woking today. The line-up in full will be announced by Jo Whiley & Simon Mayo between 5-8pm on Radio 2 on Wednesday 19 September.

Paul Weller says: “It’s brilliant to be doing another In Concert for Radio 2. It’s always a great show and will be extra special doing it this time round with an orchestra.”

With a career spanning over 40 years, frontman of The Jam and The Style Council, Paul Weller will perform tracks from his new album True Meanings as well as classic tracks. With 14 solo albums under his belt and no sign of stopping, Weller is amongst the most revered British songwriters and performers of the past four decades.

Taking place at 7.30pm, the series of intimate performances will be broadcast live from the BBC Radio Theatre on BBC Radio 2 as well as in vision via the BBC Red Button, to be produced by BBC Studios. All performances will be available on BBC iPlayer for thirty days after transmission. The concerts with also be broadcast on either BBC Two or BBC Four later in November.

Jeff Smith, Head of Music, BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music, says: “As Radio 2 listeners have loved his music over the last four decades, I’m delighted to announce Paul Weller as the first artist to be confirmed for Radio 2 In Concert 2018. Paul is the voice of a generation who continues to evolve and grow as a musician, songwriter and live performer, attracting whole new audiences as the years go by.”

Radio 2 In Concert is a yearly series of live performances which in previous years has featured artists including Paloma Faith, CHIC featuring Nile Rodgers, Van Morrison, Take That and Kylie Minogue

Ticket applications for the events are online at bbc.co.uk/radio2. Applications open at 8pm on Wednesday 19 September and close at 8pm on Monday 1 October. Tickets are free, and successful applicants will be selected at random once the registration period has closed.
Notes to Editors

BBC Radio 2 is the UK’s most listened-to radio station with a weekly audience of 14.93 million (RAJAR Q2, 2018). The network’s Chris Evans Breakfast Show is the UK’s most popular radio programme, and has 9.04m listeners each week. Radio 2 offers highly distinctive, entertaining mix of pop music programming and speech-based content. BBC Radio 2 features the broadest range of music, including the biggest pop songs of all time and unique specialist music shows for fans of country, soul, funk, rock, jazz, blues, folk, dance and show-tunes. BBC Radio 2 is also committed to encouraging and highlighting young musical talent, supporting music at grass roots level with Young Chorister, Young Brass Soloist and the Young Folk Award initiatives.

Radio 2 In Concert is made by BBC Studios Entertainment & Music Productions, which delivers some of the UK’s most loved entertainment formats and music programming.

BBC Two reveals first look at new season of Horizon programmes

BBC Two has today announced a range of dynamic new commissions as part of its award-winning science strand Horizon, featuring some of the UK’s most respected science broadcasters; from Hannah Fry and Giles Yeo to Ella Al-Shamahi and Michael Mosely.

Horizon has a long and illustrious history of ground-breaking science journalism and film-making. Announced today, the new programmes will speak to some of the most pressing issues of our time, deliver cutting-edge science and provide extraordinary access and new expert voices to the ever-curious BBC Two audience.

Tom McDonald, Head of Commissioning, Natural History and Specialist Factual, says: "Horizon sits at the very heart of the BBC's science offer. These new titles reflect our huge ambition for the strand. From setting off an avalanche to keeping a willing adventurer in a bunker for 10 days as well as creating our very own supermarket with a twist, Horizon is the place for the most audacious science content in British television. At the heart of every film is new journalism and world class expertise combined with imaginative storytelling and superlative filmmaking”.

Highlights from the new Horizon season include, Michael Mosley embarking on Britain’s largest ever trial to investigate the placebo effect in The Placebo Experiment - Can My Brain Cure My Body?, while evolutionary biologist Ella Al-Shamahi investigates our daily rhythms with the help of former Commando Aldo Kane, who is concealed in an abandoned nuclear bunker with no way of telling the time in Body Clock - What Makes Us Tick?

An international team of scientists trigger an avalanche to reveal the mysteries behind this force of nature in Avalanche - Making a Deadly Snowstorm. Our everyday health comes under the microscope as The Honest Supermarket investigates the truth about what’s really in our favourite foods, while the science behind vitamin supplements is under investigation in Vitamin Pills - Miracle or Myth? (w/t).

The Pill (w/t) investigates the future of birth control, debunking myths and looking at cutting-edge breakthroughs; Cannabis - Dangerous Drug or Miracle Medicine? goes in search of the truth about the medicinal value of the controversial drug; and Proton Beam - The New Cancer Killer (w/t) takes viewers behind the scenes of a pioneering engineering project to bring a new form of cancer treatment to Britain. Alastair Campbell also explores if radical new treatments can stop his depression in previously announced film, Depression and Me.

The programmes will air on BBC Two as part of the new season of Horizon, which will broadcast over consecutive weeks beginning in October.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Manifest (NBC) First Look Preview HD - Josh Dallas Mystery Thriller

When Montego Air Flight 828 landed safely after a turbulent but routine flight, the crew and passengers were relieved. Yet in the span of those few hours, the world had aged five years and their friends, families and colleagues, after mourning their loss, had given up hope and moved on. Now, faced with the impossible, they’re all given a second chance. But as their new realities become clear, a deeper mystery unfolds and some of the returned passengers soon realize they may be meant for something greater than they ever thought possible. From Robert Zemeckis and Jack Rapke comes an emotionally rich, unexpected journey into a world grounded in hope, heart and destiny.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Bad Move - Episode 1 Preview

Series overview
In this second series of Bad Move, the rose-tinted fantasy of an idyllic country lifestyle proves to be further away than ever from Nicky (Kerry Godliman) and Steve (Jack Dee). Their crumbling wreck of a house continues to throw problems at them - they have to deal with everything from an infestation of moths to a septic tank that's 'backing up' as Ken charmingly puts it.

Episode 1: Country Pile
Nicky and Steve's dream of an idyllic country life is proving further away than ever as they struggle to find a builder willing to fix the gaping hole in their roof.

Wed 19 Sep 2018
8.00pm - 8.30pm
Channel:  ITV

New series of teen talent competition Got What It Takes? to be presented by social media star Anna Maynard

CBBC’s Got What It Takes? returns for a fourth series, with a brand new presenter - YouTube star and online influencer Anna Maynard.

Eight talented 11-14 year-old hopefuls – and their mums – undertake challenges against one another in a musical boot-camp, each one hoping to be crowned the star of the show and make it through to the finals. There are brand new challenges, and of course the mums are back again taking on the roles as the judges in the tense sing-offs.

During each 30-minute episode, the young singers will also learn important lessons about the realities of the music industry and life as a ‘pop-star’ behind the glitz and glamour. Industry professionals and pop sensations are sprinkled across the series to deliver an inside scoop into the music business, and mentor contestants in the build up to the series finale.

Celebrity mentors include Olly Murs, John Newman, Max and Harvey, Sophia Grace and Bars & Melody.

After some seriously competitive stages, the series’ finale will see four finalists competing in front of a panel of professional judges; they must stay on top of their game to win the ultimate opportunity of rubbing shoulders with the stars, and performing at Radio 1’s Big Weekend.

Anna Maynard says: "I can't say how excited I am to be the new presenter of Got What It Takes?. It's an amazing experience. It's such an inspiring show, with so many talented young singers, giving it their all. You've got so much to look forward to!"

Cheryl Taylor, Head of Children’s Content says: “The CBBC audience will be delighted that Got What It Takes? is back for another season, showcasing a group of courageous and musically gifted kids. We’re delighted to welcome Anna Maynard too - she’s a really relatable and sparky addition to the team.”

The Great British Bake Off: The third baker leaves the tent

In Tuesday’s night’s episode of The Great British Bake Off on Channel 4, Rahul was named Star Baker for the second week and Antony, 29, was the third baker to leave the tent.

Banker Antony’s first Bread Week challenge of Chelsea Buns caught him out on numbers, he struggled to rise to the Technical of Garlic Naan, and the Tiered Korovai finished him off.

“Bread has never been my strongest baking strength. The first bread that I baked was only this January, so I am a relative newcomer to it. I went into that tent pretty nervous knowing this, and without enough practice. So I was fully aware this could be the week that I was going to go.

“Although I knew bread week might be my doomsday, I wouldn’t change the experience for the world. To have met the most amazing bakers and made new best friends has been incredible for me. Also the whole production team behind the programme helped make this an amazing three weeks of my life.

“Putting the sign of the cross on a Chelsea bun as a prayer didn’t work, there was no saving grace for me! The stress of the tent changes you completely as a person, you are so concentrating on the bake in hand, that I couldn’t think of the maths when counting the Chelsea buns, it’s madness I know! But you forget you are being filmed, and I forgot about the day job.

“The judges were great and I really wanted to impress them both the same. Paul prowling around the tent made me stupidly nervous as he is the Bread King, so that wrecked my nerves as I wanted to try my best in bread week.

“The region I am from in India we make rotis, which are simple flat breads, and not naan breads. So where I am from nobody would make naan bread, so it was all new to me.

“My best bit was biscuit week when Paul said it was a melt in the mouth regional biscuit (Chilli Jam Goosnargh Cookies) and Prue came back for second helpings. My worst bit was leaving, I was really sad to go as I knew it was the end of my baking in the tent with all the other bakers.

“My bond with all the other bakers was superb, and we gelled from the start. More often than not it would be at the bar after a long day of filming - there was definitely a bit of unity at the bar!

“The Himalayas featured a lot in my bakes, as I love the mountains. I love climbing them, and the peace it gives you. Next month I am attempting to climb Mount Elbrus, Europe’s tallest mountain, I am just doing it for myself with a group of friends. It’s something I have really wanted to do, from when I first fell in love with the mountains when I climbed the Himalayas for the first time as a young man.

“The reaction has been wonderful at work, lots of bankers who I didn’t think would be interested in baking have really got involved in the show. I have turned them from football watchers into bake off watchers, so I am pretty chuffed with that.

“It’s unexpected to think that bankers make good bakers, but maybe because it’s something we do to relax and unwind at the end of a busy working day. To be at home in your own kitchen, where you don’t have the time constraints of the tent or Paul and Prue judging you, it’s stress free and pure enjoyment!

“My family in India are pretty elated about the whole experience. They are so proud of me, and the support and love that I have had from India through family and even social media has been immense, a huge ego boost.

“Each week while the show has been airing I have made a challenge from each week - biscuits, wagon wheels, and a cake - and I will continue to bake along with the show each week.

“I will carry on baking, I am not sure what the future holds for me, but I know it will include baking.

The smile doesn’t go away, it just gets bigger, I can’t believe I was still smiling as I finished the bake as I felt an emotional wreck.

Antony will join Jo Brand on The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice on Friday 14 September Channel 4 at 8.00 pm.


Describing himself as a “Bollywood baker, Antony grew up in India, where he learned to bake with his father. It is his father who remains his inspiration – it’s thanks to him that Antony got serious about baking. Antony’s adventurous attitude to flavour profiling is the result of a willingness to try new foods, his determination to ask probing questions of established bakers, and – in particular – his cultural roots and his travels around the world. His bold, inquisitive nature has enabled him to collect ideas and techniques that he is unafraid to use in his own creations, making his bakes at times unconventional and always interesting. He takes his research very seriously: he once tasted 50 choux buns during a single trip to Paris.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Killing Eve - An MI5 security officer and a talented killer go head to head in an epic game of cat and mouse

Introduction by Phoebe Waller-Bridge

"I’d love to explain personally a little about why I love this project, why I was so drawn to the books and, most significantly, these incredible characters.

Luke Jennings, the writer of the novellas on which this series is based, has created two fascinating women in a world of espionage and conspiracy. I want to honour his story, but I also long to ground it in a genuine female narrative. We’ve seen the TV and film ‘idea’ of these women before - the cold-blooded assassin, the brow beaten cop. So much so that I was desperate to get my hands on them and make them proper, rounded heroines for the modern man and woman.

Both Eve and Villanelle are equally as flawed and disarmingly insane as the rest of us; they have simply had lives sprung on them that we have happened to avoid. Outside of their adventures, I’m interested in the sides of them that make these women human, however spectacular their lives become.

Villanelle is a psychopath, but a real one. The kind that psychoanalysts dedicate their lives to investigating. Lacking in empathy, deluded by their own egos, but often functional and normal to the naked eye. Eve is her opposite - warm, insecure, frustrated - but they are as funny and as ambitious as each other and together they will take us down a rabbit hole of a psychological thriller.

I want to subvert the genre, the expectations and every cliché that is tied up in the spy-action-thriller. And even more so, in the female characters that populate them. This is NOT an 'oooo badasswoman show' where everyone’s clothes fall off after an impossibly long fight scene. Nor is it a humourless, plot-driven show about a mystery. This is a meditation on murder, on loneliness and the potential for a world without conscience. It’s funny and frightening.

Killing Eve is a character study on two lives, two women and their circumstances, their homes, their wants, their fears and what keeps them from ending it all. It’s just that one happens to be an assassin and the other a spy. If I’ve done my job right, the audience should feel equally chilled as they are excited by the determination of these woman, their journeys and how drawn they are to one another.

I hope this show will bring a new dimension to the spy-like romp with designer scarves we have seen before. At its heart, it’s about the depths of the people as much as it will be about the thrill of the plot.

I hope you enjoy it!



Series synopsis and production credits
The BBC’s new eight-part thriller, Killing Eve, has been adapted by Bafta Award-winning writer and actor Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag) from the novellas Codename Villanelle. Produced by Sid Gentle Films Ltd (The Durrells, SS-GB), Killing Eve centres on two very different women.

Eve is a bored, whip-smart, pay-grade MI5 security officer whose desk-bound job doesn’t fulfil her fantasies of being a spy. Villanelle is a mercurial, talented killer who clings to the luxuries her violent job affords her. Killing Eve topples the typical spy-action thriller as these two fiercely intelligent women, equally obsessed with each other, go head to head in an epic game of cat and mouse.

Starring Sandra Oh as Eve, and Jodie Comer as Villanelle, the series - a combination of brutal mischief making and pathos - is filled with sharp humour, originality and high-stakes action.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge - Lead Writer and Executive Producer
Sally Woodward Gentle - Executive Producer
Lee Morris - Executive Producer
Clin Wratten - Producer

BBC One drama Gold Digger starts filming

Julia Ormond (Sabrina, Legends of the Fall) and Ben Barnes (Westworld, The Punisher) have begun filming the distinctive domestic noir drama Gold Digger, produced by Mainstreet Pictures coming soon to BBC One.

They are joined by an impressive line-up of British talent in this six-part series about a woman falling in love with a much younger man and the effect it has on her already damaged family.

Written and created by Marnie Dickens (Thirteen) Gold Digger tells the story of the wealthy 60-year old Julia Day (Julia Ormond) as she falls in love with Benjamin (Ben Barnes), a man 26-years her junior. As the series progresses the impact their unconventional relationship has on her family is explored and the secrets of their past are revealed. Has Julia finally found the happiness she's always deserved? Or is Benjamin really the gold digger they think he is?

Playing Julia's family are Sebastian Armesto (Poldark, Broadchurch) as the high achieving eldest son Patrick always trying to be a good man, Jemima Rooper (Lost in Austen, Trauma) as Della, the middle child whose finger is permanently on the self-destruct button and Archie Renaux as Leo, the baby of the family who still lives with his mother and idolises his father.

Also starring are Alex Jennings (Unforgotten, The Crown) as Julia's ex-husband Ted, Nikki Amuka-Bird (NW, Hard Sun) as Julia's former best friend Marsha and Julia McKenzie (Agatha Christie's Marple) as Ted's mother, Hazel.

Gold Digger is being co-produced by Ani Kevork (Age Before Beauty, Unforgotten). Vanessa Caswill (Little Women, Thirteen) will direct the first three episodes. David Evans (Preacher, Jamestown) will direct the rest of the series. The series will be shot around Devon and London.

Gold Digger Executive Producers are Laura Mackie, Sally Haynes and Guy de Glanville for Mainstreet Pictures; Elizabeth Kilgarriff for BBC One, and Marnie Dickens.

Mary Beard returns to Front Row Late with debate about older people on screen

As part of the BBC’s autumn arts offer, everyone’s favourite Cambridge classicist and cultural broadcaster Mary Beard returns this September as presenter for BBC Two’s topical arts discussion programme Front Row Late.

Beginning on Friday 14 September at 11.05pm on BBC Two the new series will run for seven programmes and now feature a studio audience.

In the first programme Mary Beard and her panel of studio guests - actor and director Richard Wilson, veteran broadcaster Joan Bakewell and cultural critic, activist and Crossbench peer Baroness Lola Young - will discuss whether older people are fairly represented on stage and on screen, and consider whether new poetry by Clive James might help promote a wider conversation about illness and mortality. The programme will also feature a rare television interview with Clive, who talks to Mary about his life, work and legacy.

Other episodes of Front Row Late will explore the impact of architecture on our lives and the role of drama and photography in helping us understand our history, whilst also offering discussion around weekly topical arts and culture.

Mary Beard, presenter Front Row Late, says: “I am very pleased to have been let loose on Front Row Late again. We've got some special treats coming up in this new series - from an interview with Clive James in episode one to later in the run a visit to a battle re-enactment (which prompts all kinds of questions about how we imagine history). This programme really gets out and about throughout the UK to bring viewers the best in topical arts and culture, from Dundee to Margate and Birmingham, to all points around and in-between!”

Jonty Claypole, the BBC’s Director of Arts, says: “I am delighted to welcome Mary Beard back to Front Row Late. Her fearless intellect, critical eye, warm wit and great sense of humour are the perfect ingredients for lively and frank debate about arts and culture today.”

Front Row Late was commissioned by Patrick Holland, Controller, BBC Two and Jonty Claypole, Director of Arts. It is produced by BBC Studios and is Executive Produced by Tanya Hudson. Alice Feinstein is the Editor of Front Row on all platforms.

Kevin McCloud Interview

How do you think the houses we are building have evolved since Grand Designs first aired?
We started making Grand Designs 21 years ago. We were still at the end of the 20th Century and we were still in a little bit of an insecure relationship with that century in many ways. It was the century of modernism, of international architecture, of functionalism, of brutalism, of trying to design for modern use. And actually, back then we were still building houses with dining rooms in them. It seemed at odds with the way that we had been living for 30 or 40 years, I think we’ve moved on.

If you went back and watched the first episode of Grand Designs, would you notice significant differences from today’s format?
I refuse to watch myself on television, so I wouldn’t know! I think it has changed. We talk about this quite a lot, about the identity of the programme which is determined by a number of people who all collaborate. One of the things you can detect now is that TV was much slower back then, editing speeds have since increased.

Has what you’re looking for changed? Is sustainability more important, for example?
It was a more unusual thing back then. Sustainability and the ecological performance of buildings was a fringe interest back then. We’d have our token eco-home in each series. Now, all of them are super-insulated, all of them are way beyond building regulations, because if you’re going to build a house for yourself why would you not want a zero-energy build. All of them have some form of managed ventilation or innovative heating source or solar panels. It’s become less of a fringe benefit and more of a core value to what we film. In terms of what I’m looking for, I’m hoping they’re not going to be grotesque consumers of resource, but actually quite efficient. I’m always looking for great stories and projects that deliver something unusual, that we haven’t seen before. If a project comes in and it’s so similar in story and design to something we’ve done, then we probably won’t do it. And I think that’s helped with the longevity of the series.

Is the build selection process extremely stringent?
We do a lot of due diligence and research and we always tell a story which is the truth. Of course, there are many projects that don’t come our way, we have people say - I really wanted to do it but my architect said, “No way!” or vice versa. I visit lots of wonderful buildings where I think; “I’d have loved to have filmed this!”

What is the most common mistake self-builders make?
Of the people we’ve filmed, I think the most common mistake is one which is so bound up with human nature and over-confidence. Those of us who are blessed with a degree of normal self-doubt are hugely nervous of the idea of embarking on a project like this. And so those that do, tend to be pretty well-empowered individuals. The majority of people we film have a degree of self-belief, that’s what’s got them there in the first place. That brings with it a belief that I hear again and again, which is; “This project is going to come in on time and on budget.” And my answer is; “I’ve never really seen a project do that.”

Would you ever do a Grand Design for your own home?
I have done, but I don’t talk about it. Firstly, because talking about your own build is a very different thing from guiding the viewer through someone else’s project. Secondly, I value a degree of privacy. Filming can be stressful and personal, so hats off to all the people who let us into their homes and into their lives. I think they do it because they recognise the significance of the process and they want to have it recorded for them, for their family and for posterity.

This series seems to contain some genuinely remarkable builds. One of them will resonate with people of a certain age because there’s a Ferris Bueller link…
So many people know that movie. This project is in Padstow and draws its inspiration from the house featured in the film, a real house in Illinois. Our couple, originally from London had never gone to Illinois to visit it, so this programme ends up as an interesting lesson on what happens when you pursue an idea on a whim.

Can you tell us more about Grand Designs’ first ever ‘healthy house’ that will be featured in this series?
It’s a really interesting case where two of the children are very allergic and have to be regularly treated at hospital. I’m interested in this personally because I’m an asthmatic, so I’m very careful about the air quality where I live and anywhere where I like to stay. But for these guys it’s a totally different ball game. For example, the majority of domestic carpets in the UK use glue that lets off gases. What these owners have built for their boys is a house using carpet with no solvent-based glue on the back. They’ve used solvent-free, low-VOC paint, they’ve used a minimum number of glues, the MDF in the building only contains trace elements of formaldehyde and no varnishes. What they’ve done is produce a house that’s beautiful – glorious – it just also happens to have been built with health in mind. It’s a house where the fresh air is filtered coming into the building due to a mechanical ventilation heat recovery system. Tests were undertaken that showed the building was performing up to 70% better than a new build in terms of VOC emissions. The mother said that the kids had only experienced one or two mild allergic reactions in the last six months since living in the house, compared to every other week (minimum) before they moved in. The family believe that the building acts as a respite for the children, helping them to live a normal life.

This series also features identical twins with identical lives?
Nik and Jon are interesting guys, they drive identical cars, work in business together, in a design practice and they also run an event space in Sheffield. They’re very design-conscious, it’s what they do for a living. And they’ve built two very similar houses next to each other. But there are some key differences. It’s an exercise in getting stuff right, having two tries instead of one. Two minds are better than one, a joint creative strategy, and trying to get the best out of a pretty low budget that they both have. I like that very much.

Lastly, chefs often say that people never like cooking for them. Do you find that people are terrified of having you over in case you don’t like the curve of their bannisters?
I’m such a pussycat. People are immensely self-conscious about their homes. A mate of mine isn’t a Dad, but he’s got about 15 god-children. I asked him what that was like, and he said it’s great, because every time he sees them, they’re on their best behaviour. That’s kind of how I feel about houses, I really like it when I go round to someone’s house and they have bothered to tidy up!

Monday, 10 September 2018

Tall Story Pictures and ITV announce further casting details for The Man

Tall Story Pictures and ITV today announced further casting on The Man as principle photography commences on Mike Bartlett’s (Press, Trauma, Doctor Foster) new three-part drama.

Already confirmed to star is Ken Nwosu (Christopher Robin, Killing Eve) in the lead role of Thomas Benson. Joining Nwosu are Ben Miller (Johnny English Strikes Back, Paddington 2), Sean Sagar (Our Girl, Top Boy), Susannah Fielding (This Time With Alan Partridge, Black Mirror), Gwilym Lee (Bohemian Rhapsody, Jamestown), Phoebe Nicholls (Downton Abbey, Fortitude), Ritu Ayra (Humans, The Good Karma Hospital), Alexandra Roach (Black Mirror, No Offence), Michael Cochrane (The Archers) and Debbie Chazen (Sherlock, Doctor Who). This contemporary workplace drama will be directed by Julia Ford (Safe) and produced by Colin Wratten (The Witness for the Prosecution, Killing Eve).

The three-part psychological drama explores the corrosive effects of bullying. Set against the backdrop of the competitive world of middle management in a business park in Reading, The Man centers on the personal and professional life of Thomas Benson; a hard-working father and husband. Reliant on bonuses and winning pitches, Benson often finds himself leading the team when trying to win new business.  When he freezes during a pitch the fall out is monumental.

Determined to win back the client Thomas goes to increasingly desperate lengths to remain successful. But as he does, he begins to feel undermined, under attack and out of control. Has he lost his confidence or is his own team, and maybe the wider world, now out to get him?

Executive Producer, Catherine Oldfield, said, "Mike has created a fantastically taut, contemporary thriller about bullying and Julia (Ford) has assembled a hugely talented cast headed up by Ken Nwosu. Given the current climate, it feels exactly the right time to explore something that affects so many people.”

ITV’s Head of Drama, Polly Hill said, “The Man is another gripping story by Mike, that explores the complex subject of workplace bullying. It brilliantly moves between being very funny to very painful, and will have viewers hooked. I am also delighted that the very talented Ken Nwosu is playing Thomas and that Julia Ford is directing. Together with Tall Story Pictures, this is a fantastic team that promises to make an unmissable drama.”

The Man is a Tall Story Pictures production for ITV. Catherine Oldfield (Trauma, Tutankhamun) will executive produce the new series alongside Mike Bartlett. The Man has been commissioned for ITV by Head of Drama, Polly Hill. ITV Studios Global Entertainment is handling international distribution. Tall Story Pictures is part of ITV Studios.

Filming begins on the fifth and final series of Poldark

The fifth and final series of Poldark starts filming this week for BBC One and writer Debbie Horsfield can at last reveal how she will be approaching the new season.

The Poldark saga was created over 12 novels by Winston Graham. After the seventh novel, The Angry Tide, on which series four was based, Winston Graham left a gap of 10 years before the eighth novel, The Stranger from the Sea, begins. Following the cliffhanging end to series four, in which Elizabeth Warleggan (Heida Reed) died, there has been international speculation as to where the next series will take the Poldarks.

Debbie Horsfield, who has written every episode of the four series, can now divulge the next chapter: “In The Stranger from the Sea Winston Graham made many references to developments that happened in the 'gap' years. Much can also be inferred. There are, of course, also historical events and people of the time, both in Cornwall and in London. Series five will draw on all of these to follow the lives of the Poldarks, George Warleggan, the Enyses, and the Carnes in this intervening period.”

Karen Thrussell, executive producer for Mammoth, says: “At Mammoth we’re all fans of the Poldark books and we hope our audience will continue with us on the next stage of the journey. We are confident that fans of the novels will appreciate the care with which Debbie Horsfield is continuing to adapt Winston Graham’s saga. This will be the last series in the Poldark chronicle... for now. Who knows what the future may bring.”

Andrew Graham, son of Poldark author Winston Graham and series consultant on behalf of the Winston Graham Estate, says: "No-one can know what my father would have felt about the forthcoming series, let alone what he might have written. However, Debbie Horsfield has demonstrated such an extraordinary affinity with his work and shown such remarkable skill in bringing his Poldark characters to the screen that we know we are in safe hands. Indeed, without her, the Estate would not have agreed to series five in this form.”

Charlotte Moore, Director BBC Content, says: "BBC One viewers are set for an unmissable final series from Debbie Horsfield when Poldark returns next year."

Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson will return as Ross and Demelza Poldark for the fifth series. Also back are Jack Farthing (George Warleggan), Luke Norris (Dr Dwight Enys), Gabriella Wilde (Caroline Enys), Ellise Chappell (Morwenna Carne), Harry Richardson (Drake Carne), Tom York as Sam Carne, and Beatie Edney as Prudie.

It is a new century and with it comes the promise of a hopeful future, but the past casts a long shadow over Cornwall. Following the death of Elizabeth, Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner) resolves to put Westminster behind him and spend more time with the people he loves. However, when an old friend emerges with a plea for help, Ross is compelled to challenge the establishment again. As the Enyses (Luke Norris and Gabriella Wilde) rally to join the cause, Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson) must contend with dangers close to home, while George (Jack Farthing) courts corrupt powers whose influence spans the Empire.

A number of new cast members are joining Poldark for series five, including Lily Dodsworth Evans (Genius), Kerri McLean (Electric Dreams) and Sofia Oxenham (Grantchester). Vincent Regan (300), Peter Sullivan (Entebbe) and Freddie Wise (Maleficent 2), although the parts they are playing have not yet been disclosed.

Poldark series five will film in Cornwall, Bristol and surrounding areas for transmission in 2019.

Poldark is adapted by Debbie Horsfield (Age Before Beauty, Cutting It, The Riff Raff Element) produced by Michael Ray (Poldark) and directed by Sallie Aprahamian (Doctor Who ) and Justin Molotnikov (Stan Lee's Lucky Man). Debbie Horsfield continues to serve as executive producer alongside Karen Thrussell and Damien Timmer for Mammoth Screen and Elizabeth Kilgarriff for the BBC.