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Sunday, 30 September 2018

Take That celebrate 30th anniversary with special programme on BBC One


One of Britain’s most successful and well-known bands will be celebrated in a special one-off programme coming to BBC One later this year as Take That celebrate their 30th anniversary.

Take That and Us will feature fans from all over the country and beyond sharing their stories of how the most successful boy band in UK chart history touched their lives - and in some cases, changed their world completely.

Made by Indigo Television, Take That and Us (1x60') will film the boys reacting to stories, adding their own favourite memories into the mix, and reflecting on moments as they share some early footage of their own - a hoard of exclusive previously unseen material shot by the band across the years.

Take That fans are also being encouraged to share their own stories for possible inclusion in the programme by visiting www.mytakethatstory.com. On the site, anecdotes about meeting the band and stories about how Take That had an impact on people’s lives can be securely uploaded via video and considered for inclusion in the programme.

Kate Phillips, Controller of Entertainment Commissioning at the BBC, says: “This entertaining programme will shine a light on how everything changes as we celebrate the band and the music they’ve created over an incredible career.”

Producers Indigo TV said: “It's incredible to think that Take That and their music have been part of our lives and entertaining us for nearly three decades.  As we - and the band - will discover in this close–up 30th anniversary special, Take That have influenced a generation of fans and sometimes in ways you might not expect..!"

But the final word goes to Take That themselves who said: “Has it really been 30 years? There’s only one way to find out we said, as we accepted the offer of taking a closer look at our three decades in music. We’ve handed over our own personal camcorders from the 90s, we’ve asked fans to share their stories from over the years and we’re bringing the story up to date by sharing some behind the scenes from our lives today as we prepare for the launch of our Greatest Hits record"

Take That and Us will be broadcast on BBC One later this year.

Take That and Us is an Indigo Television production for BBC One. The producer is Andy Bates and the executive producer is Kim Turberville. The programme was commissioned for BBC One by Kate Phillips, Controller Entertainment Commissioning. The Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Rachel Ashdown.


The She Word - A new women’s discussion TV programme for Africa


The She Word - a new pan African BBC discussion TV programme - launches today and will explore the life experiences of women in today’s Africa.

The new show will present stories told in an honest and engaging way. The She Word will ask questions like: what is special about being an African woman? Is an African woman understated? How do we break down gender stereotypes? Can we celebrate the successes of female entrepreneurs in a way that will inspire others?

Nisha Kapur, BBC Commissioning Editor, says: “For the first time an international broadcaster is offering a pan-African discussion programme targeted specifically at African women. Each edition will be hosted by a number of contributors across Africa - key influencers within their community and business. The common thread that links them is their fascinating stories and observations about life which everyone - women and men - can relate to.”

Audiences will see stories told in person, through films or via live broadcasts with one aim - to spark debate and discussion. Discussion will continue via social platforms after the show using #TheSheWord hashtag.

The Panellists who take part in the programme are (only 4 will be seen on a weekly basis)
Adesuwa Onyenokwe
Benie Amandine aka Lady Mandy
Christine Yohannes
Chiki Kuruka
Farhana Oberson
Ingrid Nantege
Scheaffer Okore
Sharon Machira
Valentine Njoroge

Friday, 28 September 2018

Louis Theroux returns to BBC Two with Louis Theroux’s Altered States


Louis Theroux will return to BBC Two later this year with a new series exploring the unusual ways modern America deals with birth, love and death. Changing social attitudes and radical new laws have transformed how Americans can experience some of life’s most intimate moments - how we raise children, how we love and even how we die.

Twenty years since Louis first hit our screens with his pioneering series Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends, the award-winning documentary-maker is back with three gripping new films.

Louis Theroux says: “I have always been interested in how people conduct the most intimate aspects of their lives. For this series we looked at the new ways Americans are approaching some of humanity’s oldest dilemmas: pregnant mums who feel unequipped to keep their babies and so pick new parents for them; the world of polyamory aka 'ethical non-monogamy'; and people with debilitating conditions who opt to hasten their own deaths.

"All of these stories have something a touch utopian about them, involving a kind of idealism and forward thinking that brings new opportunities but also new risks. I have been given extraordinary levels of access to courageous people and families across the United States, many of them enduring unbelievable levels of stress and anguish, and it was a privilege to be allowed into their lives in this most personal way.”

Patrick Holland, Channel Controller, BBC Two, says: “Louis is a unique talent on BBC Two and it is always a very special moment when a new series lands. Altered States is a hugely challenging, disturbing and illuminating trilogy, taking us into some extremes of experience, all guided by Louis’ exceptional empathy and humanity."

Clare Sillery, Head of Commissioning, Documentaries, says: “Louis’ documentaries are some of the most fascinating, contemplative and honest on television. It is always a pleasure to have him on our screens tackling the subjects that many documentary makers would shy away from.”

Louis Theroux’s Altered States was commissioned by Patrick Holland, Controller, BBC Two and Clare Sillery, Head of Commissioning, Documentaries. The films are made by The Documentary Unit, BBC Studios. The Executive Producer is Peter Dale and the Series Producer is Arron Fellows.

Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Vanessa Reed top the fifth Woman’s Hour Power List on BBC Music Day


Woman’s Hour has revealed their fifth Power List, profiling the 40 most powerful women currently working in the music industry. The list was revealed live in a special programme hosted by Jenni Murray and broadcast from the BBC’s Maida Vale studios on BBC Music Day.

2018’s Woman’s Hour Power List celebrates women who are demonstrating power in the music industry - innovators and groundbreakers supporting and championing the work of other women or changing the industry from within, making it more equal, diverse and creative.

The top five women on the 40-women list are:

Beyoncé
Taylor Swift
Vanessa Reed, CEO of the PRS Foundation
Adele
Stacey Tang, Managing Director of RCA UK

This year’s judging panel is chaired by BBC journalist and presenter Tina Daheley. Joining her on the panel are music TV producer and columnist Jasmine Dotiwala, classical music writer and novelist Jessica Duchen, UK producer of the year 2018 Catherine Marks, and Brit Award-winning singer, songwriter and musician Kate Nash.

Karen Dalziel, Editor of Woman’s Hour, says: “I am delighted to celebrate and champion the 40 remarkable women on the Woman’s Hour Power list 2018. All are experts in their chosen field and each individual has demonstrated the leadership and perseverance to change the music industry from the inside. Their passion and commitment is truly inspiring and inclusion on this prestigious list acknowledges their role in paving the way for other women to have opportunity, profile and power in this exciting industry.”

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Danger Mouse is up there with Macbeth, says Christopher Eccleston


Christopher Eccleston has revealed that his forthcoming role in iconic children’s animation Danger Mouse means as much to him as playing Macbeth at the RSC.

The Emmy winning and Bafta nominated Eccleston, one of the UK’s leading actors, plays the dastardly J Woolington Sham in No More Mr Ice Guy, an episode from the hilarious action-packed new series of Danger Mouse broadcast on CBBC on Monday 1 October at 6pm.

“Listen, I’m playing Macbeth at the RSC at the moment. Danger Mouse is just as important to me - and I’m not kidding!” Eccleston said as he revealed himself at the voice record to be a long-time fan of the show.

“I first started watching it when I was about 19 - what was a young man doing watching Danger Mouse?!” he recalls. “I don’t think I’d ever heard northern accents in an animation before and that meant a huge amount to me, plus it captured perfectly the humour I understood. I just always loved it.”

Eccleston is passing his love of the show on to his children too: “I’ve indoctrinated my children,” he laughs. “You will like Danger Mouse! They are a bit worried and scared though because I’m playing a bad guy, and I think they think that everybody will think I am a bad guy.”

His character, J Woolington Sham, at first seems like a nice, gentlemanly teashop owner who befriends a dejected Penfold when he is usurped as Danger Mouse’s sidekick by The Snowman. He offers Penfold a new job at the teashop and at first things go splendidly - but trouble is soon brewing when Sham, along with the sinister Snowman, begins to show his true colours.

The star-studded cast also includes fellow special guest Richard Ayoade as The Snowman along with regulars Alexander Armstrong (Danger Mouse), Kevin Eldon (Penfold) and Stephen Fry (Colonel K).

Eccleston’s other leading roles include The Ninth Doctor in the relaunch of Doctor Who, plus Shakespearian heavyweights Macbeth and Hamlet.

Danger Mouse burst back on to CBBC in 2015. The high-octane comedy animation follows the adventures of the eponymous secret agent and his ever-faithful sidekick Penfold as they engage in all manner of mind-blowing missions aided, abetted and aggravated by a menagerie of old and new allies and adversaries. The second series of Danger Mouse returned to CBBC screens this year, with a third series currently in production.

As the summer sun sets the drama rises: Made in Chelsea's back


The Croatian sun may have set but the drama is rising and things are hotting-up in SW3, as the Made in Chelsea boys and girls reunite on their home turf for an unforgettable series this autumn. Expect scandalous secrets, rocky romances, frosty friendships and…an engagement (or three) from the Chelsea favourites, with the 11x60’ series bursting onto screens on Monday 8th October at 9pm on E4.

Can old relationships be resuscitated? Will broken friendships be repaired? Are seemingly solid couples strong enough to weather the Chelsea storm? This series will chart the highs and lows of the cast as they quaff champagne in the Royal Borough’s most sought after hot spots.

Returning for series 16 will be MIC favourites Jamie Laing, Ollie Locke, newly engaged Louise Thompson and her fiancé Ryan Libbey, Mark Francis, Victoria Baker Harber, Sam Thompson, Olivia Bentley, Oliver Proudlock, Sophie Herman, Alex Mytton, Harry Baron, Melissa Tattam, , Digby Edgley, Sophie Habboo (Habbs), Miles Nazaire, James Taylor, and Emily Blackwell. Ollie Locke’s fiancé, Gareth Locke, will also be make an appearance.

There may also be a surprise appearance or two along the way….

The series is produced by Monkey and commissioned by Controller of E4, Karl Warner and Commissioning Editor for Factual Entertainment, Lee McMurray. The series is executive produced by Monkey’s Kelly Lynn and David Granger.

Lee McMurray said: “We’re as delighted as ever to be welcoming Made in Chelsea back to E4, deploying its trademark fun and flair to delve into the complex love lives and friendships of the cast. Not one, but three marriage proposals are among the many high points of romance and drama viewers can expect, in what promises to be an exciting and eventful new series.”

Kelly Lynn, Executive Producer at Monkey comments: “What happens in Croatia certainly doesn’t stay in Croatia and with the full cast back together, the drama is at an all-time high. I’m excited for viewers to tune in and catch-up with the gang on familiar territory, and with three Chelsea engagements, there is even more reason to celebrate.”

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Butterfly - October on ITV


International Emmy award winning actress Anna Friel (Marcella, Broken), is joined by Emmett J. Scanlan (Harlan Coben’s Safe, The Fall), Alison Steadman (Orphan Black, Gavin and Stacey), Sean McGinley (Paula, On a Clear Day) and child actor Callum Booth-Ford in the new ITV mini-series Butterfly, produced by RED Production Company. 

Created and penned by BAFTA award-winning screenwriter Tony Marchant, Butterfly is a heartfelt and sensitive drama about the complex relationship between separated parents, Vicky (Anna Friel) and Stephen (Emmett J. Scanlan), and their division in opinion over how to support their youngest child, Max (Callum Booth-Ford). From a young age, Max has identified as a girl but has tried to suppress these feelings in an attempt to earn Stephen’s approval.

When Max’s feelings become increasingly distressing, Stephen seizes the opportunity to return to live at the family home, hoping to encourage male bonding and prove himself to Vicky. What unfolds is the greatest challenge and test of love and understanding imaginable. The social transitioning of Max to Maxine is initially thwarted because of the clear division of opinion between Vicky and Stephen.

Despite puberty looming over her, as Maxine grows in confidence she becomes increasingly certain that she’s in the right skin – will this be enough to get everyone else on board? Both parents want to protect Maxine but are completely split on the best way to do that. Stephen is still clinging to the idea that it’s still a passing ‘phase’ and doesn’t want to take such a leap with the ensuing emotional upheaval, if it isn’t ultimately going to be followed through.

Whilst for Vicky, it’s about making sure that Maxine’s mental health is kept intact at all costs. Butterfly embraces the story of a three-generational family and exposes the truly extraordinary demands made by everyone in the family. Across three episodes viewers will see how they all prosper or fall as the string of challenges unfold over time.

Nicola Shindler established the multi award winning RED Production Company in Manchester in 1998 to work with the best writers producing modern and innovative programming, and has executive produced Butterfly with Tony Marchant. Caroline Hollick, Creative Director at RED, is also an executive producer. Adam Kemp is executive producer and his boutique indie company AENON (Our Zoo) a co-producer.

ITV’s Senior Commissioner, Victoria Fea, has overseen the drama from the broadcaster’s perspective.

RED Production Company is part of  STUDIOCANAL’S  international production network of companies. 

Emmerdale’s original bad girl is back for a cheeky cameo


Emmerdale’s original bad girl is back for a cheeky cameo

Kim Tate is back and she wants revenge.

It’s been almost 20 years since iconic super bitch Kim left the Emmerdale village in a dramatic exit which saw her escape in a helicopter after attempting to kill her stepson, Chris Tate. In all her glory, Kim is set to make an explosive surprise comeback in a week of high drama at a Home Farm masquerade ball airing this October.

Kim still has unfinished business in the village and there are several characters who will find themselves at the receiving end of her vindictive ways. 

On her character’s return Claire King said:  

“As a Yorkshire lass myself, I’m absolutely thrilled to be back in Yorkshire for a fun-filled cameo, once again reaping havoc in the Dales! As there are still some familiar faces from 20 years ago it’s felt like coming home and I couldn’t have had a more lovely welcome from such a talented cast and crew, so thank you everyone! It’s literally been a blast!”

Producer, Kate Brooks said:

“Kim Tate is such a hurricane of a character, notorious for wreaking havoc wherever she goes. Kim's explosive return shakes the very foundations of the village as she swaggers back into Home Farm, leaving a devastating trail of destruction in her wake.

We are delighted to welcome Claire back to the show; an actor exuding charisma and ebullience. It is testament to Claire's immense talent that her portrayal of such an iconic soap villain is so convincing. We are all absolutely thrilled that she's filling Kim Tate's designer shoes once again.”

Kim played by Claire King first arrived in the village in 1989 and soon earned her name as a ruthless gold-digger. She attempted murder, faked her own death and stood by while her husband died. It seemed Kim didn’t have many redeeming qualities but her love affair with Dave Glover brought out her softer side, until he tragically died saving Kim’s baby in a fire at Home Farm.

The Apprentice - Meet the candidates


Alex Finn
Age: 21
Occupation: IT Analyst
Lives: The Wirral

Alex believes his ‘gift of the gab’ is his best skill but admits that he can sometimes be too headstrong. Alongside his granddad, who invented the ‘Finn Chocolate Coater’ (a machine mould to coat chocolate bars and biscuits), Alex credits Elon Musk amongst his role models because ‘in business, he reaches for the stars, rather than everyone else who just aims to conquer the earth’.

He says: “I know everything. Call me ‘Google’... it's my middle name.”


Camilla Ainsworth
Age: 22
Occupation: Owner, Nut Milk Brand
Lives: Lancashire

Camilla admits to being an adrenaline junkie and loves to try anything new and exciting; from skydiving to swimming with sharks. She believes her people skills are her biggest strength, although feels her openness and willingness to overshare can sometimes work against her. She says she will be ‘keeping her cards close to her chest’ in the process.

She says: “I’m a bundle of energy and creativity and certainly a one off… ain’t no Vanilla Camilla”


Daniel Elahi
Age: 28
Occupation: Owner, Lifestyle Brand
Lives: London

Daniel set up his business in 2017 and likens himself to Jordan Belfort, the main character in ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’, because of his entrepreneurial skills and lavish, party lifestyle.

He says: “I have the beauty and the brains, typically people only have one. I was blessed with both in abundance.”


David Alden
Age: 32
Occupation: Tax Advisor
Lives: East Yorkshire

David claims that he can speak to anyone about anything, though he gets frustrated when others don’t share his unwavering positivity.  He also admits that being too trusting has been his downfall in the past.

He says: “My friends and family call me the Duracell bunny as I take on so much and never stop. I just keep going.”


Frank Brooks
Age: 27
Occupation: Senior Marketing Manager
Lives: London

Frank is a self-proclaimed ‘trendsetter’ who says he likes to push boundaries with his humour. He claims to use charisma and charm for both negotiating and building morale within a group. Frank admits he can sometimes play people off against each other to get what he wants. He says he can be brutal when he needs to be and does not stand for people who are lazy or shirk responsibility.

He says: “There’s no need to watch your back when I’m already two steps in front.”


Jackie Fast
Age: 34
Occupation: Sponsorship Consultant
Lives: London

Having sold her company in 2016 and published a business book in 2017, Jackie says she is a trailblazer within the sponsorship industry and wider business community and credits her success to her positive attitude. She admits she can be very opinionated and isn’t good at taking criticism, but hopes her commercial mind will see her through the process.

She says: “I'm not intimidated by anybody, or anything.”


Jasmine Kundra
Age: 34
Occupation: Learning and Development Manager
Lives: West Midlands

Jasmine has built her career on training others to better themselves and develop their skills and says that she loves enabling and empowering people. She credits American philanthropist and life coach Tony Robbins as her role model and admires how he has built a global empire and success whilst also improving people’s lives. Jasmine admits to being very stubborn and says she likes to get her own way, however aims to use her charm and charisma to see her through the process.

She says: “All is fair in love and war… and business is war.”


Kayode Damali
Age: 26
Occupation: Professional Speaker
Lives: Cheshire

Professional speaker Kayode delivers talks to inspire young people all over the country. Brimming with ideas, Kayode throws himself into new ventures. With his name meaning ‘he brings us joy’, he believes his positive personality and natural likeability will lead to success in the boardroom.

He says: “I’m not here to razzle dazzle and hit you with buzzwords like ‘I’m so motivated, passionate’… anyone can say those things and I’m not anyone, I’m Kayode Damali. If you’re not your own biggest fan, who do you expect to be it for you?”


Khadija Kalifa
Age: 28
Occupation: Owner, Eco Cleaning Company
Lives: Lincolnshire

Having run her own eco-friendly cleaning business for the past three years, Khadija considers her people skills to be her best business asset. She says her friends would describe her as being quick-witted, motivational and genuinely wanting to help others but she can have a bit of a ‘hot head’. Khadija looks up to Richard Branson in business for ‘his success and willingness to assist others’ and plans to be likeable but focused, though says she can be cut-throat when required.

She says: “Whatever I say I’m going to make happen happens. I’m a serious Mumpreneur who doesn’t have time for timewasters and idiocy.”


Kurran Pooni
Age: 22
Occupation: Law Graduate
Lives: London

Kurran believes he has a keen creative eye and is confident that he’ll cope well with ‘managing egos’. He is inspired in business by his father who started his own airline. Kurran gets irked by people who are out for themselves rather than working collectively for the team and gets especially rattled by people who lie. He says that simply being himself will help him to breeze through the process.

He says: “I’ll be honest, I don’t eat, sleep, breathe business but I do eat, sleep and breathe success.” 


Rick Monk
Age: 33
Occupation: Quality Controller
Lives: Lancashire

Rick says that one of his best qualities is his confidence and assertiveness and that being able to separate business from pleasure means he is good at getting the best from others. Rick believes befriending all the contestants will set him in good stead to get their backing in a task but warns he is a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ and will use this to his advantage.

He says: “I won't pussyfoot and waste time, as time is of the essence in everything. People will have to like it or lump it.”


Sabrina Stocker
Age: 22
Occupation: Owner, Tennis Events Company
Lives: Middlesex

Sabrina has had her eye on making money from the age of 14, when she set up a business selling retro sweets as part of a Young Enterprise Scheme. She cites Emma Watson as one of her role models because she’s ‘always clear-headed and makes good decisions, whilst still having elements of fun’. Sabrina says she can walk into a room and capture an audience but admits to sometimes making ‘silly comments’ before thinking. She plans to throw herself feet first into the process and use her positive energy to get involved in everything.

She says: “I am a mix of Willy Wonka drinking an espresso martini… classy and sophisticated on the outside; inside, a little bit crazy and wacky but full of brilliant ideas.”


Sarah Byrne
Age: 29
Occupation: Owner, Children’s Acting Academy
Lives: Manchester

Sarah owns and runs an acting academy for children. Sarah says she wants to be a role model to her young daughter and hopes her hard work and life experience will aid her in the process. She admits she’s not good with business terminology and is angered by people in business who turn their noses up at the working-class demographic. Sarah hopes her charm and persuasive skills will see her through to the end and believes her creativity will be her biggest strength.

She says: “I am me, I don’t have a posh accent or pretend to be anyone else. My personality sells me, my passion to succeed and work ethic.”


Sarah Ann Magson
Age: 37
Occupation: Solicitor
Lives: Teesside

Alongside her role as Director at a law firm, Sarah Ann has also run her own nursery furniture business since 2016. Although she says timekeeping and organisation aren’t her greatest strengths, Sarah Ann believes her loyalty, commitment and ability to remain calm under pressure are her best qualities and thinks that her skills and charm will outwit any of her competitors.

She says: “I am used to laying down the law in the courtroom, but now I’m going to lay down the law in the boardroom.”


Sian Gabbidon
Age: 25
Occupation: Owner, Swimwear Brand
Lives: Leeds

Sian owns and runs a swimwear fashion brand, with clients including celebrities and celebrity stylists. She identifies with Coco Chanel as a role model in business, as she ‘came from nothing and worked her way to the top’. She believes she has been brought up to win and every task will see her being calculated, collaborative and ruthless where necessary.

She says: “I bring both the passion and the fire - in the boardroom, I will be merciless.”


Tom Bunday
Age: 28
Occupation: Owner, Tree Surgery Firm
Lives: Southampton

Having struggled at school, Tom now runs a successful arboricultural (tree care) business. He says he’s drawn to situations that intimidate him and believes he can rise to any challenge. Tom believes his loyalty is one of his best qualities along with the fact he loves not knowing what is around the corner but admits he finds it difficult to ‘switch off’.

He says: “There are very few people that can genuinely say they’re going to make it - but I know that I’m going to.”

The Apprentice is back Lord Sugar is searching for his next business partner…


A fleet of four black cars, sixteen wheelie suitcases, early morning phone calls and a bunch of bold claims. It can only mean one thing…

The Apprentice is back! Returning to BBC One at 9pm and airing weekly on Wednesdays from 3 October 2018, and available live and on-demand on BBC iPlayer.

This year’s series sees sixteen budding entrepreneurs put through their paces by business heavyweight Lord Sugar as the search for his next business partner begins.

Baroness Brady and Claude Littner resume duties as Lord Sugar’s trusted advisors and his ‘eyes and ears’ on the tasks, reporting back on the candidates’ every decision in the boardroom.

This year, the award-winning series will be bigger and better than ever, as Lord Sugar ups the ante right from the start and warns the candidates to “expect the unexpected”. For his first challenge, Lord Sugar immediately sends the candidates abroad - with a strong word of warning ringing in their ears; “Remember, this is NOT a holiday”.

Straight from the first boardroom, the business hopefuls jet off to Malta tasked with buying nine items at the lowest possible prices. How will they cope sourcing, negotiating and buying in a global business environment?

It’s not just foreign tasks that Lord Sugar has up his sleeve. For this series he is also sending the candidates around the UK; to Glasgow to sell art, Birmingham to clinch deals at a Body Building Expo and back to London to launch a budget airline.

To highlight the number of different locations of this year’s tasks, eagle-eyed fans will also notice that the photography of Lord Sugar, Karren, Claude and the candidates features a skyline including Malta, Birmingham and Glasgow alongside London.

The candidates come from a broad range of backgrounds; from Law, Tax and Arboriculture (tree surgery) to Fashion Design, Marketing and Sport. However, they all have one thing in common, a passionate desire to secure a £250,000 investment in their business plan and win a partnership with Lord Sugar.

Over the past seven years, Lord Sugar has invested a staggering £2m into eight fledgling businesses. Last year’s shock decision, which saw him partner with both finalists, each receiving a £250,000 investment, proves that anything can happen in the boardroom.
Comedian Rhod Gilbert returns to host The Apprentice: You’re Fired, analysing each week’s events at 10pm on BBC Two, immediately after the main show. Joining Rhod each week will be a panel of business professionals and celebrity fans, sharing their opinions on the highs and lows of each task.

Two special episodes, The Final Five and Why I Fired Them, will also return to reveal the stories behind the series. The Final Five shares the journey of the five strongest candidates, just before they battle it out to secure their place in the final. As the series reaches its climax, Lord Sugar will reveal further insight into his boardroom decisions in Why I Fired Them.

The official website for The Apprentice will also host additional content for viewers to enjoy. BBC Radio 1’s Matt Edmondson returns with his inimitable preview of this year’s business hopefuls in the iPlayer exclusive Meet the Candidates. From weekly highlights, to a peek behind the curtain at audition tapes and the ever-popular Honest Subtitles, the website features a wealth of additional content for series devotees.

Brand new for this year is the launch of the official The Apprentice Instagram channel - sharing even more social media goodness and behind the scenes action, including Instagram Stories and IG:TV with new vertical video content.

Fans can also find all the latest Apprentice news on Facebook and Twitter, and share their views with #TheApprentice.

Official Instagram details will be announced on Facebook and Twitter when the channel launches on 25 September.

The Apprentice is a Boundless production for BBC One. Paul Broadbent and Paula Fasht are Executive Producers; Cal Turner is Head of Popular Factual for Boundless; Neil Smith is MD for Boundless; Sarah Clay is Commissioning Editor for the BBC.

The Apprentice will air weekly on Wednesdays at 9pm on BBC One, from Wednesday 3 October, followed by You’re Fired at 10pm on BBC Two. Watch live and on-demand on BBC iPlayer.


Casting announced for BBC Two’s The Luminaries


BBC Two has announced that leading actresses Eve Hewson (Robin Hood, The Knick, Bridge of Spies) and Eva Green (Casino Royale, Penny Dreadful, Sin City, A dame to Kill For) will join the cast of six-part drama series, The Luminaries.

Eve, will play Anna Wetherell together with Eva, who will play Lydia Wells. New Zealand actor Marton Csokas (The Equalizer, Lord of the Rings, Into the Badlands) also joins as Francis Carver.

The series is an adaptation of the Man-Booker Prize winning novel of the same name and will be coming soon to BBC Two in the UK and TVNZ1 in New Zealand. Produced by Working Title Television, it is being adapted for the screen by novelist Eleanor Catton and director Claire McCarthy (Ophelia, The Waiting City).

Eva Green says: “I’m thrilled to be joining Working Title and this wonderful team. Eleanor has written a series of brilliant screenplays. I loved her original novel and it’s so exciting that her own screen adaptation reveals yet more exquisite material.”

The Luminaries tells an epic story of love, murder and revenge, as men and women travelled across the world to make their fortunes. It is a 19th century tale of adventure and mystery, set on the Wild West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island in the boom years of the 1860s gold rush. The story follows defiant young adventurer Anna Wetherell, who has sailed from Britain to New Zealand to begin a new life. There she meets the radiant Emery Staines, an encounter that triggers a strange kind of magic that neither can explain. As they fall in love, driven together and apart by fateful coincidence, these star-crossed lovers begin to wonder: do we make our fortunes, or do our fortunes make us?

Eleanor Catton, screenplay writer and novelist, says: “I've had tremendous fun adapting this novel for the screen and feel incredibly lucky to be working with such fantastic people across different art forms. Writing a novel is a solitary business, but writing for the screen is emphatically collaborative, and to see the world of The Luminaries enlarged and enriched in ways that go far beyond the scope of my own imagination has been a humbling and hugely exhilarating experience. I couldn't be happier that the brilliant Claire McCarthy is at the helm, and I can't wait to see this incredible cast bring the story to life."

Claire McCarthy, director, says: “Ever since I read Eleanor’s incredible novel I’ve been completely captivated by the rich world she has created. What an honor to bring this beautiful and original work to the screen. I’m delighted to be joining forces with such wonderful actors and dynamic creative team.”

Patrick Holland, Controller of BBC Two, says: “The Luminaries is an astonishing novel exploring love and greed on the New Zealand frontier, and we are delighted that Eleanor and the team at Working Title has brought this brilliant adaptation to BBC Two. With Clare McCarthy directing and a formidable cast led by Eve Hewson, Eva Green and Marton Csokas, this promises to be truly stunning and hugely ambitious series.”

Mona Qureshi, executive producer at the BBC, says: “We’re so excited to have Eva, Eve and Marton join the cast of this extraordinary debut of Eleanor Catton’s. With Claire McCarthy directing it promises a wonderfully rich and unique piece of television, full of spirit and heart.”

Andrew Woodhead, executive producer and MD at Working Title Television UK, says: “It is such a privilege to work with Ellie, Claire and our New Zealand partners at Southern Light on this unique and magical story. To now have such an amazing cast led by Eva, Eve and Marton joining us on our Luminaries journey is also truly exciting and a testament to the beauty and brilliance of Ellie’s writing.”

The Luminaries (6x60’) will be produced by Working Title Television - a joint venture between NBCUniversal International Studios, Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner and Southern Light Films for BBC Two, in association with TVNZ, Fremantle and Silver Reel. The series will be executive produced by Mona Qureshi for the BBC; Eleanor Catton, Andrew Woodhead, Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner for Working Title Television; Christian Vesper for Fremantle, Claudia Bluemhuber for Silver Reel and Tim White for Southern Light Films with Producer Lisa Chatfield. The series will be sold internationally by Fremantle. The Luminaries has been supported by the New Zealand Film Commission.

On publishing, The Luminaries was met with worldwide critical acclaim. Most notably it won the 2013 Man Booker Prize, with Eleanor Catton being its youngest ever recipient. Filming for the adaptation is taking place from November in New Zealand and further casting will be announced in due course.

The Bisexual: Interview with Brian Gleeson who plays Gabe


Explain a little bit about The Bisexual – what’s the story about?

It’s about Leila (played by co-writer and director Desiree Akhavan), a woman from New York who ends up in London. The show starts with her breaking up with her girlfriend and business partner after a long-term relationship. As a result, she moves out of their house and moves in with a guy called Gabe, who I play. The two of them get to know each other, and we follow her journey as she navigates the dating scene in London. That’s the basis of the show.


Tell us about Gabe – how do you see him?

Gabe is a novelist who, when we meet him in the story, hasn’t had anything published for about 10 years. He kind of became quite successful in his 20s, and it’s been a few years since that. He’s teaching in a college, and getting by, but he’s on the wane a little bit. He’s quite neurotic. What’s great about the show is that your understanding of him deepens as episodes go on and you kind of get to learn more about his background and why he’s in London, and his relationship with his sister (played by Eva Birtwhistle). You get an understanding of a different kind of trauma that he’s experienced in the past.


Is it fair to say he thinks Leila is quite exotic because she’s bisexual?

Yeah, yeah! Gabe is very intelligent, but he wouldn’t be exactly up-to-date or ‘woke’ in the sense that most people are these days. He puts his foot in it a lot! But he learns a lot from Leila about her life, and her thoughts about identity and being bisexual. And what’s great about the show is also that she learns a lot, about him as well.


Do you think he and Leila are just friends because of circumstance, or do you think they would actually like each other anyway?

They definitely don’t seem compatible. Leila moved out of the flat with her girlfriend and had to find somewhere quickly. I’m sure if she’d had more time to think about it, she’d have chosen someone different to live with. But that’s kind of the point of the idea of their friendship – the idea that you learn more from being around different types of people.


Do you like Gabe?

Yeah, I’m very fond of him. I think he was written with such care and love, and there’s nothing but empathy for him in the writing. He was a joy to play.


Why do you think he was written as an author on the wane?

I don’t know. I wouldn’t want to get into big themes too much, I think that’s for Desiree (co-writer-/director/star) [Akhavan] to answer. But for me it was a great dissection of modern masculinity, I suppose. Just in terms of a certain type of man who’s in the world now, who’s trying to adjust and trying to change. What’s great about it is that we don’t let him off the hook – he puts his foot in it a lot and is admonished, but what’s different about him is that he tries to learn.


Was he written as Irish, or did he just become that because you came along?

As far as I know, he wasn’t written as Irish.


Does the fact that he is Irish nevertheless add an element of him and Leila both being outsiders?

Maybe. There’s a lot of Irish in London, and have been for years – they’re very much a part of the city. But when you get to know Gabe’s background – that he left Ireland with his sister for a particular reason – I think him being Irish adds pathos to that.


He’s in something of a dysfunctional relationship, isn’t he?

Yeah. He’s dating a girl called Francisca, who’s one of the students in the college where he teaches. She’s quite formidable, she’s wise beyond her years, and is definitely a handful for him. You get the sense that maybe they’re not entirely compatible, and maybe they’re not together for the right reasons. It’s definitely an unorthodox set-up they have.


You’ve done some big Hollywood films of late – what drew you to a comedy on Channel 4?

Channel 4 always do really great stuff, they do great comedies. And when I met Desi I’d read two episodes and thought they were great. I found them funny and acerbic, but also full of humanity and love for fellow man. And then I went to the read-through two-weeks before, and the rest of the episodes had been written, and it got better and better. And Gabe was such a good character, so well written.


What are the main differences between working on something like Mother or Phantom Thread and working on The Bisexual? Does it feel like a different profession, or just the same stuff in a slightly smaller trailer?

I think it depends on who’s in charge. You can do a big blockbuster, but if there’s a very particular vision behind it, then it’s exactly the same as working on a TV series. You have a director and a writer with a particular vision, there are producers to help realise that particular vision, and that’s your job as well, but if the director and writer behind a project are in it for the right reasons, and it’s not a committee-driven movie, then it’s exactly the same as a TV show.


Desiree is combining writing, directing and starring in the series. What was it like to watch her work?

She had so much to do all the time, and never lost her cool once, which I thought was quite amazing. She’s writing it, acting it, directing it and she kept her sh*t. And more than that, she gave great notes, and was always there for the actors. I’ve got nothing but good things to say about her. There were two producers, Naomi de Pear and Katie Carpenter, who were great on set – they helped guide it as well. I’m sure Desiree would say it takes a lot of people to get the job done, and we had a really good team.

The Bisexual: Interview with Maxine Peake who plays Sadie


Explain a bit about The Bisexual – what’s the story?

The story is about Leila (Desiree Akhavan), who’s a young woman who’s living in East London, right in the centre of Hipsterville. She’s running a company with her long-term girlfriend. And then she starts to have feelings that she’s maybe not ready to settle down, and also that she might want to start dating men as well. It’s about her coming- of-age journey, and how the lesbian community responds to that, and how Leila and those close to her respond to that. And it’s about a group of friends who she meets along the way. Desiree says it’s seen as sort of the last taboo, a lesbian coming out as bisexual.


What was it that attracted you to the role of Sadie?

I think it was Desiree, if I’m honest. I read it, and I’d seen her film Appropriate Behaviour, and I just thought she was extraordinary. And then she’s over here, writing, directing and starring in something, and I thought “I want to be a part of this.” They approached and asked if I’d be interested, and Desiree wrote me a lovely letter saying “I really don’t know your work, but people keep saying you should be playing Sadie.” And we did a little Skype interview, and I thought she was amazing. And we just clicked, and I thought “I really want to be part of this.” It felt like nothing else I’d seen on British telly when I read it. And I felt like it was very different to stuff I’d done previously.


Sadie isn’t the most straightforward of characters – how do you see her?

There’s quite a bit of an age gap between Leila and Sadie, so I think that’s part of the complication. Sadie got a lot of things out of her system before she settled down with Leila. Leila says to Sadie: “I gave you my 20s,” but Sadie says to her “Well, I gave you my 30s,” and that’s quite interesting. As a woman, the 20s are when you're having fun, and 30s are the time when you’re thinking about family and settling down. That’s what we’re led to believe is what we should be thinking, as women.

Sadie hasn’t necessarily had the easiest life. She alludes to what it was like growing up as gay in Burnley in the 1980s. Yeah, she’s not had it easy. She’s come from a working-class background, from the north, and Burnley’s a small town in the northwest of England. It was difficult for her. At school she had to hide it. And then she’s come to London, catapulted into a very high-flying middle class world, where she’s trying to battle and fit in and keep her head above water. And I think she’s shut herself off quite a bit to survive, just got her head down and got on with it, and maybe lost a little bit of herself along the way. So it’s a bit of a catalyst for both of them, I think, when Leila says to her “Look, I’m off to explore.” I think it opens up a lot of what Sadie’s been doing for the last 20 years. You fight to get to where you want to be, but you never really arrive, you just dock for a bit. So she’s just trying to take in what she’s got, and what she’s looking for.


Do you think it’s worse for Sadie because Leila is dating a man?

Oh yeah. I think it makes her think about herself as a woman – was she not able to give her what she wanted? Was Leila ever really in love with her? Now she’s looking at the opposite sex for satisfaction and love. I think whether you’re straight or gay or whatever your sexual preference, it’s about rejection. When someone says “I don’t actually know if you’re enough for me at the moment, so I’m just going to go and find out,” that’s quite a hard thing to deal with.


The Mine! office that Sadie and Leila co-own looks like an achingly trendy media company where nothing ever quite seems to happen. Is that fair?

Yeah, and I think it’s very reminiscent of a lot of media places I’ve encountered. It’s like it was created by Chris Morris – it feels straight out of Nathan Barley. He [Morris] is such a soothsayer, isn’t he? When it came out, everyone was like “What is this?” And then it all ends up actually happening. Our company is a sort of pastiche of that East London, Hoxton, Old Street media circus. It’s a bit like a fashion Disneyland when you go down there. I think the humour comes from the fact that Desiree has really captured the essence of those places and those people.


Desiree writes, directs and stars. That’s something you can relate to, from the theatre. How did it feel watching her work?

It was amazing, because she was always a team player. It never felt like she was going “This is my show! I have many different roles to play on this show and I am the most important person here.” And it was so interesting watching her switch heads, which she did seamlessly. She kept her cool all the time. And it was interesting watching her, she’d go off every now and again and make little changes to the script. And she was really open and collaborative, and she’d let us try different things, and do bits of improvisation. There was absolutely no dictatorship going on.


Having done something similar in the theatre, would you like to write and direct and star in your own TV series at some point?

I’m not sure. I’ve written plays, but I’ve never been in a play that I’ve written, and I haven’t wanted to be. I get a lot of pleasure watching other people create the characters that I’ve written. And I have directed stuff, but I didn’t write that, so it’s all a bit different. I’ve not done the multiple roles thing. I think maybe writing and directing. But then, if I wrote a good enough part, maybe I’d want to be in it! But I do enjoy bringing other people’s words to life. But definitely I’d be interested in writing/directing. That has a lot of pull to me. But it’s so hard to juggle all those disciplines at once. Desiree’s calmness and professionalism all the way through was a real lesson.


Looking at your CV, you have the most incredibly varied body of work, encompassing Twinkle, Hamlet and almost everything in between. Do you consciously change the type of work you do in order to avoid being pigeon-holed, or is it more just a case of following what interests you?

I think it’s a little bit of both. I work on what interests me, but I think it’s a little bit of a hangover from being at drama school, being Northern, and people telling you you’d only ever play certain roles. People think if you’ve got a northern accent, that’s it. Like there’s only one character type that comes out of the North. Like we’re all one and the same person, in a way. So I think I’m always keen to show that I can do something else. I like doing different and interesting projects, and it’s about stretching yourself as an actor.

The Bisexual: Interview with writer, director and star Desiree Akhavan


The Bisexual is your new comedy for Channel 4 – can you explain a little bit about the show?

The show is a bisexual dating comedy about a woman who has identified as a lesbian for her whole life then comes out as bisexual and starts seeing men for the first time in her 30’s.


Inevitably, there are more than a few echoes of your own experiences in there. How autobiographical is it?

It’s not autobiographical in its plot- I’ve never identified as a lesbian and came out as bisexual from the start, but the characters in it are inspired by the people Cecilia and I know and love, so it comes from a very personal place. It’s a look at London and particularly Hackney as we know it.


You describe ‘bisexuality’ as the last taboo. Do you think that’s the case?

It sure feels like it. There are worse taboos out there, but this one’s tricky because by the very nature of it being bisexual is invisible: if I’m walking down the street holding a woman’s hand I’m gay, if it’s a man’s I’m straight. That’s how a lot of people side-step the label. It has a lot of stigma to it.


At one point, Leila says the word “bisexual” makes her f*cking skin crawl. Is that how you feel?

For sure. That’s the genesis of the whole series for me- that discomfort with the truth. Saying the words, “I’m bisexual,” makes me deeply uncomfortable and I want to explore why.


Your film Appropriate Behaviour also begins with a break-up, as does The Bisexual. What is it about that situation that interests you?

When I was writing Appropriate Behaviour, I was coming out of a relationship, and managing that, and that’s where it came from. I was trying to figure out how it went wrong, still living in it. For this, it was more about what Leila would have to sacrifice and establishing everything she was leaving behind.


I’m told it was a predominantly female crew. Was that a conscious decision, and if so, what does it mean for the atmosphere on set?

I don’t think it was a conscious decision, I think I just gravitate towards the right people for the jobs and who knew how to build this world of Hackney through a queer lens. Many of the crew members were openly gay, which brought a lot of attention to detail. Set can be a very macho, male-dominated space and this was predominantly female, which was much more conducive to the kind of show we were making.


What brought you to London? Do you consider yourself a Londoner now?

I don’t know whether you can officially give yourself that title. I would love to consider myself a Londoner. I consider myself a little bit of a nomad. That was how I felt in New York as well, an outsider. That said, London feels like home and I’ve been really happy here. I think it’s a good city for outsiders.


How different do you think the series would have been if you’d made it in the US?

Oh God! I don’t think I would have had any of the freedom I had. I was given such a long leash. Between Sister Pictures and [Executive Producer] Naomi de Pear and Channel 4, it was incredible. They were constantly saying: “We want you to take it further.” They were my enablers. I just feel like I’d never have been able to take the risks that I took if I’d made this show anywhere else.


You wrote the show with your longtime collaborator Cecilia. What is it about writing as a pair that appeals to you?

We share a shorthand, a shared sense of comedy, a shared perspective on what matters and deep mutual adoration. She is my partner in all things except the romantic. I adore her and her taste. She makes me better and braver and smarter. Sometimes it’s seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes that helps you understand who you are.


You began writing aged 10. That’s not a particularly common thing for that age – why did you want to do that?

A lot of kids write stories but I wrote scripts, which I think is what’s uncommon. I specifically wrote them so that I had people to play with at lunch. I could assign roles to people and put them in my play, and I think it was just because I was very lonely and I wanted to play. I wasn’t very good at making friends.


You’ve said that TV was your third parent, and taught you about US culture. What shows do you think shaped you?

The Brady Bunch – I watched a lot of The Brady Bunch. And I watched Saved By the Bell, Full House, really saccharine, melodramatic shows about families, which was so strange, because my family didn’t look like anything I saw on television. Tracy Ullman and Mel Brooks were two of my comedy heroes. His movies and her television series – those were shows that I watched with my family, all of us together, and we all laughed. It was very rare that we could agree what channel to put on, and what programme was good, but those shows could make us all laugh, and that was exciting and special.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

BBC One’s Bodyguard ends on a high and breaks BBC iPlayer records


BBC One’s Bodyguard ended with its highest overnight audience of the series, concluding with an average of 10.4m viewers/47.8% share, and a peak of 11.0m viewers.

This makes Bodyguard the #1 non-World Cup programme of the year across all channels. It also means the episode is the biggest drama across all channels since 2011, and the biggest BBC drama since 2008.

Bodyguard, written and created by Jed Mercurio, and made by World Productions for BBC One, additionally attracted the highest young audience for any drama on any channel this year, with the finale attracting 1.3m 16-34 year olds (42.3% share).

On BBC iPlayer, Bodyguard has broken records with episode one being the biggest episode of any programme ever on iPlayer with 7.3m requests so far. The series currently has over 24.2m requests across all six episodes, while the series finale helped drive BBC iPlayer’s biggest ever day of over 12.6m requests on Sunday 23 September. Bodyguard will remain on BBC iPlayer exclusively in the UK as a box set for the next six months.

Charlotte Moore, Director BBC Content says: “The finale of Bodyguard gripped the nation and has got everyone talking with a staggering peak audience of 11m on BBC One in a display of masterful storytelling from Jed Mercurio; while episode one is already the biggest ever episode on iPlayer and still growing."

Bodyguard’s showrunner Jed Mercurio says: “I’m completely stunned by the exceptional response to Bodyguard which reflects the star quality of our brilliant cast led by Richard Madden and Keeley Hawes and our outstanding crew led by producers Priscilla Parish and Eric Coulter and directors Thomas Vincent and John Strickland.”

Simon Heath, CEO & Creative Director of World Productions says: “At a time when we’re told that linear TV is dying, it’s been thrilling to see the number of viewers flocking to watch Bodyguard live. We’re so grateful for all their support”.

Bodyguard is executive produced by Jed Mercurio, Simon Heath for World Productions and Elizabeth Kilgarriff for BBC One. It is produced by Priscilla Parish and Eric Coulter, and directed by Thomas Vincent and John Strickland.

Series Overnight Ratings
Ep 1 - 6.7m average / 6.9m peak / 35% share
Ep 2 - 6.4m average / 6.6m peak / 30.1% share
Ep 3 - 6.6m average / 7.0m peak / 33% share
Ep 4 - 7.0m average / 7.2m peak / 34.1% share
Ep 5 - 8.0m average / 8.3m peak / 38.2% share
Ep 6 - 10.4m average / 11.0m peak / 47.9% share

Blue Peter celebrates 60 years with a big birthday extravaganza



From milk bottle tops and sticky back plastic to feats of derring-do and famous Tracy Island ‘makes’, 37 presenters, 25 pets and one million badges, the longest running children’s TV show in the world - Blue Peter - celebrates 60 years on the BBC with a Big Birthday extravaganza on Tuesday 16 October 2018.
In a one-hour live special, CBBC’s flagship programme is set to remind the nation how it has come to transcend six decades and countless generations and why it still manages to inspire kids to send in more than 100,000 letters and pictures each year with nearly 200,000 under 16s owning at least one Blue Peter badge.

The special diamond anniversary programme will encapsulate all that has made the show unique over the past 60 years.

Past presenters will be joining the celebrations including Valerie Singleton, Peter Purves, Anthea Turner, Konnie Huq and Tim Vincent, some of who have been saving their washing up liquid bottles and toilet rolls for a live studio ‘make’ with a difference; Ed Sheeran will be honoured with the highest Blue Peter accolade, a Gold Blue Peter badge; there will be music from Jonas Blue feat. HRVY, The Vamps, and Sophie Ellis-Bextor all accompanied by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra; the Diamond Time Capsule will be sealed in The National Archives which, as a non-governmental record, is a very rare event; and there will be an announcement about the return of the show’s hugely successful Bring and Buy Sales campaign in support of BBC Children in Need this November.

There will, of course, be presenter challenges of epic proportions with current presenters Lindsey Russell taking on a solo hot air balloon flight across a frozen lake in the Arctic Circle and Radzi Chinyanganya boarding Royal Navy Aircraft Carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, where he gets to grips with life at sea taking part in ‘man overboard’ drills, steering the ship from the bridge and sleeping in a bunker. Finally, Radzi will be winched high above the aircraft carrier in a helicopter for one last big birthday surprise that will see the famous Blue Peter Ship riding the ocean waves in all its glory.

Blue Peter Editor, Ewan Vinnicombe says: “Blue Peter is a very special club to be part of and the Big Birthday show will be a moment to remember and one to watch for all generations of Blue Peter fans. We are celebrating in style so if you’ve got a Blue Peter badge wear it with pride on our big day.”

Blue Peter launched its milestone 60th birthday in October last year with its Gold Badge Walk at MediaCity, Salford, and over the past 12 months has marked the anniversary with some incredible moments including: a special Blue Peter Strictly Come Dancing for BBC Children in Need; a visit to the Blue Peter studios by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge who were awarded their own Gold Badges; welcoming guest editors for the first time including the likes of author Jacqueline Wilson; celebrating its 5000th episode with the launch of its Diamond Badge designed by international fashion designer, Henry Holland; flying with the Red Arrows for the RAF’s 100th Anniversary; giving people the chance to see the Millennium Time Capsule - dug up 33 years too early - on a UK tour; giving fans a chance to step into an interactive virtual version of the Blue Peter garden in 360 video, where they can explore the environment and try to find classic clips from the last 60 years; and a competition for viewers to design the new 2018 Diamond Time Capsule.

Blue Peter’s Big Birthday will broadcast on CBBC on Tuesday 16 October, 5-6pm and will be repeated on BBC Two (TX tbc). Blue Peter then continues in its regular slot on Thursdays at 5.30pm on CBBC.

Channel 4 Daytime commissions second series of The £100k Drop


Remarkable Television, part of Endemol Shine Group, today announced that Channel 4 Daytime has commissioned a second series of The £100k Drop.

Davina McCall will be back as a host of new contestants will step up and attempt to win a jackpot of £100,000.

Host Davina McCall says “I couldn’t be more ecstatic that we are back for a second series! The first series was such a thrill ride, and we had the biggest win of the series with £75,000 so l can’t wait to see if a lucky pair will get to take home the full £100,000 this time round! It’s all for the taking in series 2!”

At the top of every game, a pair of contestants start with £100,000. Just seven questions stand between them and the money. To take it home, they must hold their nerve by placing their money on the trap doors containing the correct answers. Give a wrong answer and they will see thousands of pounds of cash drop through the floor before their very eyes.

The 100K Drop Series One averaged at a 5.2% share of individuals and the series attracted a 6.9% share of 16-34 audiences which was +72% up on the weekday 4pm slot average.

A huge amount of money has been won across the first series, and it was best friends David and Jonathan managed to scoop an incredible £75,000, the biggest win of the series. But there is still a chance for players to beat that big win in the new series...

Syeda Irtizaali, Channel 4 Commissioning Editor, Entertainment said: “We’re thrilled that Davina is back for another series of the nail-bitingly tense £100K Drop. Last series saw big life changing wins and I’m hoping this is the series we see at least one pair walk away with the whole jackpot.

Richard Hague, Head of Entertainment at Remarkable Television said: “It’s a testament to the brilliance of Davina and such a compelling format that we are returning for another rollercoaster ride on Channel 4.”

The format made its international debut on Channel 4 in the UK in May 2010. Since then, it has become a runaway hit selling to an impressive 55 territories including the USA, Germany, Russia, Australia and Mongolia.

The £100K Drop will air on Channel 4 in 2019. It was commissioned by Syeda Irtizaali, Commissioning Editor, Entertainment for Channel 4 and will be executive produced by Richard Hague at Remarkable Television.

If you are brave enough to take on The 100k Drop then apply here: http://www.channel4.com/4viewers/viewers-voice/take-part

Channel 4 opens up the phone lines to the Celebrity Call Centre


Channel 4 is set to open the phone lines at a call centre like no other - staffed entirely by celebrities, it’s a helpline for the nation, where a team of all-star agony aunts will come together in aid of Stand Up to Cancer to advise the great British public on dilemmas, large and small.

Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh, Made in Chelsea’s Georgia “Toff” Toffolo, comedians Mo Gilligan, and Joel Dommett, TV’s Queen of Clean Kim Woodburn, Pineapple Dance Studios’ Louie Spence, Countdown maths whizz Rachel Riley and Cuckoo actor Tyger Drew-Honey will be manning the lines at the Celebrity Call Centre, never knowing who’ll be at the other end of the phone or what problem they’ll be faced with.

They’ll be advising on everything from how to get through a break up, to extra-marital affairs, and the perils of online dating. In the process they’ll be opening up about their own life experiences and the challenges and heartache they’ve faced.

Celebrity Call Centre was commissioned by Channel 4 Formats Commissioning Editor Lee McMurray and Head of Formats Dom Bird. The one-off Stand Up to Cancer special will be made by Kerfuffle TV, with Steven D Wright as Executive Producer.

Lee McMurray said: “As well as serving up a fascinating, funny and often moving snap shot of the modern-day dilemmas that trouble the nation, the beauty of the format is that it also encourages the celebrity agony aunts to open up, talking to members of the public in a way they never have before, and providing Channel 4 viewers with surprising revelations and touching insights into their real lives and personalities.”

Steven D Wright added: “We’re delighted to be producing Celebrity Call Centre as part of Channel 4’s Stand Up to Cancer season this year. As well as contributing to a worthy cause, the format entertainingly gets under the skin of what’s vexing Britain, and cleverly brings some of our favourite stars down from their pedestals. Expect shocks, surprises and revelations as the celebrities open up to tackle the Great British public’s problems and predicaments.”

The Big Audition - ITV


Fri 05 Oct 2018
9.00pm - 10.00pm

Series overview
The Big Audition is a brand new factual entertainment series goes behind the scenes of the casting world.

We will witness real people being cast for real jobs, which have the potential to be life-changing. The casting panels will be searching to fill all sorts of roles and anyone can audition, from seasoned professionals to first-timers. This fixed rig programme will uncover the decision-making process of the panels and will transport us through each audition to reveal what really goes on in the casting studio.

Through intimate interviews, we’ll hear heart-warming, funny and touching backstories. There will be highs and lows along the way, but who will have what it takes to land the job of their dreams?

Episode 1
This brand new series uncovers the secret world of real auditions and each week three jobs are up for grabs. From West End lead to stunt double and everything in between, the series celebrates the highs and lows as real people give their all to impress the panel and land their dream job.

The Big Audition Studios opens its doors for the very first time with three very different jobs on offer: dog model, tv shopping presenter and King Henry VIII.

The waiting room is filled with barking, as a pack of pooches compete for a contract worth £12,000 and the chance to be the cover star of leading dog magazines Dogs Today and Dogs Monthly. The wannabe dog models include a Chihuahua with a wardrobe to die for, a Mexican hairless often mistaken for a hyena, a rescue dog with one eye and a sausage dog who can balance a jaw-dropping array of objects on his head.

TV shopping channel ‘Ideal World’ are looking for a new fitness presenter. A panel from the company are searching for someone engaging, unflappable and skilled at selling. Olympic bobsledder Toby, nervous Liverpudlian Holly and Wigan window cleaner Barry are amongst the hopefuls out to prove they’ve got what it takes.

The final king-sized casting is for the prestigious role of playing Henry VIII at Hampton Court. Several of the potential Henrys arrive in full royal regalia, from the bling to the tights. But who will be crowned King? Will it be historical novelist Tony? Or perhaps bus driver James, who believes he’s destined to succeed because his route takes him past Hampton Court every day?

As each panel gathers to make their decision and with tension mounting in the waiting room, the decisions are finally revealed. Meet best dog, new TV talent and your King.

Monday, 24 September 2018

COMPETITION: Win Designated Survivor -The Complete Second Season on DVD


Designated Survivor -The Complete Second Season is out on DVD on 1st October 2018.
And to celebrate we have a great competition for you and 2 copies to give away.

Synopsis
The inimitable Kiefer Sutherland returns as the all-powerful, accidental Commander-in-Chief, Tom Kirkman, for the enthralling Second Season of the award-winning hit series Designated Survivor, from renowned US network ABC.

Following on from the thrilling first season – where lower-level cabinet minister and ‘Designated Survivor’ Tom Kirkman (Sutherland – 24), is suddenly appointed President of the United States, when a devastating attack on the US Capitol wipes out most of the government – we join the new leader one year into his presidency.

With the support of his devoted wife First Lady Alex Kirkman (Natascha McElhone – Californication), President Kirkman is starting to find his feet  as the most powerful man in the world. The terrorists who took down the Capitol are still at large and the President will stop at nothing to bring justice to the people they killed, even if it means making personal sacrifices.

Click here to buy from Amazon (Opens in a new window)

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

Which actor plays the part of President Kirkman in Designated Survivor?

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


Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 08-10-18
2. No alternative prize is available
3. When the competition ends as indicated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.
4. Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Interview with Ewen Leslie - Star of The Cry, A new four-part thrilling, psychological BBC One drama


Joanna (Jenna Coleman) and Alistair (Ewen Leslie) are a young couple forced to face unthinkable circumstances under the white light of public scrutiny, changing their lives and their relationship forever.

Ewen Leslie plays Alistair


How did you become involved in The Cry, what attracted you to it?

I loved the script and then read the novel by Helen FitzGerald and I found it a compelling read - it was a page turner, filled with complicated characters in a complicated moral dilemma. I thought it would make a really great drama. And I worked with director Glendyn Ivin a year ago on a TV show called Safe Harbour - so the producers spoke to Glendyn about me playing Alistair in this.


Can you tell us a bit more about Alistair, your character?

Alistair works as an advisor for a political party in Scotland. He’s someone who likes to be in control. He is very good at making quick decisions under very high pressure situations, someone who is very used to working behind the scenes and pulling the strings, but through the course of the story, he finds himself on the other side of that. Suddenly he is very much under the glare of the press and public opinion… and he starts to unravel.


What have you enjoyed about playing him?

He is a tricky character. I imagine he will be a tricky character for the audience. He’s a tricky character to play because he’s not very sympathetic. Is he controlling, manipulative and narcissistic? Absolutely. But if he were just those things, it would actually make him easier to play. If I just have to show up and play this guy who has these qualities and not imbue him with any emotions then that would be easy - but if you want to give him grief and pathos, that is tricky. Hopefully he is a complicated character for the audience.


What did you find challenging?

Playing someone like this, you have to empathise with him. You have to find a way of getting inside his head and to see something completely from his point of view. He’s trying to do his best to make the right decision every step of the way - but they’re not always the right decisions. I think he is coming from a good place ultimately, trying to keep his head above water and make the best decisions in a horrible situation.


How would you describe the series?

The show sets up a compelling moral dilemma at the centre of it. I hope that what we’re creating is a compelling, exciting, surprising and ultimately moving drama. I think what the show hopes to do is deconstruct a lot of the myths of motherhood. There’s a lot of people - men included - that have babies and really struggle. It’s such a life changing situation. It’s a taboo - people don’t want to bring up the fact that they are struggling. You see people handling it so wonderfully that it makes you feel horrible about the fact that you’re not doing so well yourself. I hope there’s a lot of people who will find it very relatable.


What do you think audiences will get from the series? 

I think it’s a show that holds its cards very close but as it starts to reveal them, I think audiences are going to find it really thrilling. I hope that people will watch it and understand the characters find themselves in a complicated and horrible situation - a lot of what makes it really compelling is watching these characters make decisions… some of which make you think “I would never make that decision myself but how are they possibly going to find their way through this…”

Interview with Jenna Coleman - Star of The Cry - A new four-part thrilling, psychological BBC One drama written by Jacquelin Perske


Joanna (Jenna Coleman) and Alistair (Ewen Leslie) are a young couple forced to face unthinkable circumstances under the white light of public scrutiny, changing their lives and their relationship forever.

Interview with Jenna Coleman who plays Joanna


How did you first get involved with The Cry?

It’s quite ironic because I was actually on a plane when I was first sent the script [which is where we find Joanna on Episode One, on a plane journey from Glasgow to Melbourne]. I was sent the first episode and it really reeled me in - it kept me guessing and kept me on my toes. I thought it was really captivating and clever. I was on a long haul flight on the way back from LA. It was as I was landing and the tension of the episode was building and building - it’s a good way to read a script!


What can you tell us about your character?

I play a character called Joanna, who, as we meet her, is a new mum and has a baby of about three months. We find her struggling with the change. Struggling, I suppose, with new motherhood. She feels exhausted. She feels like she’s lost her identity and she’s struggling to connect with Noah. That’s where we begin. Then they get on a plane to Australia and Joanna goes through some extreme changes in her life. We explore her psychological breakdown through these unique set of circumstances, which gets teased throughout the series.


What did you enjoy about playing Joanna and what did you find challenging?

The psychological thriller aspect of how much you give to the audience has been really challenging - probably more than any other role before. You are constantly living within a double-bluff. You’re playing the truth of the scene but also thinking about how much you want to give to the audience each moment to keep the mystery and to keep drawing on the strings. You’re living constantly within a vortex, that’s what we kept calling it on set. It’s a double bubble.


What were the differences between filming in Melbourne and Scotland?

Melbourne was a lot more laid back. The sun is shining… But in Glasgow when you arrive, it’s the humour… I feel very at home in Glasgow. I don’t know if it’s because my grandad’s Scottish and there’s something quite homely there for me. The big differences are the weather and landscape! Our director was praying for the grey drizzle, the dreich Scottish weather!


What do you think audiences will take away from this series?

I hope the audiences take away what I took from it when I first read it. It’s a show that keeps turning on its head. It keeps the mystery taut. I kept talking about a tightrope; you’ve got to keep the tightrope taut. It keeps you guessing a lot. I hope they enjoy the turns of the story.


How was working with Ewen Leslie? How did you build that relationship on screen?

What’s been really remarkable about filming - given the emotional marathon for everyone involved - is how light it has been in between scenes. It’s been absolutely necessary.  We just had a real laugh. Ewen has been extremely clever at switching - in some ways, Alistair is charming and generous, you could see him as the ideal partner in many ways, but yet you could also see Alistair as controlling, manipulative. It takes a skilled performance to have all those aspects of that character and be delivering that very delicately.


Are you going to miss playing Joanna?

I’m going to miss the babies! We’ve had five weeks filming with the gorgeous Noah and Oliver twins (playing Noah). It’s been lovely. But it’s been emotional.


What is your secret to working with the babies?

We’ve been unbelievably lucky. The babies were like these magic, genius actor babies who seemed to know what the word ‘action’ means and what the scene required! They’ve made my job very easy. Genius babies.


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.”