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

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Tahar Rahim to take lead role in brand new thriller The Serpent for BBC One and Netflix

Award-winning French actor Tahar Rahim (The Looming Tower, A Prophet, The Eddy) will star as Charles Sobhraj in the brand new drama series The Serpent, based on the astonishing true story of how one of the most elusive criminals of the 20th century was caught and brought to trial.
Commissioned by BBC One, The Serpent will be produced by Mammoth Screen (Poldark, World On Fire) and is a co-production between BBC One and Netflix. The eight-part limited series is written by Richard Warlow (Ripper Street) and Toby Finlay (Ripper Street) and directed by Tom Shankland (Les Miserables).

Charles Sobhraj was the chief suspect in the unsolved murders of up to 20 young Western travellers across India, Thailand and Nepal through 1975 and 1976. Psychopath, con man, thief and master of disguise, having slipped repeatedly from the grasp of authorities worldwide, by 1976 serial killer Sobhraj was Interpol's most wanted man and had arrest warrants on three different continents.

When Herman Knippenberg, a junior diplomat at the Dutch Embassy in Bangkok, unwittingly walks into Sobhraj’s intricate web of crime, he sets off an extraordinary chain of events that will see these two diametrically opposed men engaged in a chase across the porous borders of the Hippie Trail, as Knippenberg seeks to bring Sobhraj to justice for his terrible crimes.

Tahar Rahim says: “I am thrilled to play Charles Sobhraj in The Serpent, a role I have dreamed of portraying since I read a book about him when I was seventeen years old. I couldn’t be happier than to make it under the direction of Tom Shankland and writers Richard Warlow and Toby Finlay.”

Preethi Mavahalli, Executive Producer at Mammoth Screen, says: “It is an absolute honour to have Tahar Rahim, one of France’s finest actors, join us in bringing this extraordinary story of the notorious French serial killer Charles Sobhraj to screen.”

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, says: “We are delighted to have the brilliant Tahar Rahim play our leading man in The Serpent and for him to unravel Sobhraj’s dark web of deceit, crime and murder in this fascinating true story for BBC One.”

Brian Pearson, Vice President, Content Acquisition, Netflix adds: “We’re excited to grow our partnership with the BBC alongside Mammoth Screen and bring this gripping story led by the brilliant Tahar Rahim to our members around the world.”

The Serpent is an 8x60’ limited series produced by Mammoth Screen for BBC One and Netflix. It is written by Richard Warlow and Toby Finlay, directed by Tom Shankland and executive produced by Richard Warlow, Tom Shankland, Preethi Mavahalli and Damien Timmer for Mammoth Screen, Lucy Richer for the BBC and will be handled by Carolyn Newman for Netflix. Mammoth Screen is part of ITV Studios and the deal was made through ITV Studios Global Entertainment.

The series will premiere on BBC One in the UK and on Netflix outside of the UK.

Tahar Rahim
Tahar Rahim, likely best known for his performance in Jacques Audiard’s Oscar-nominated French crime drama A Prophet, has seamlessly made the transition into American cinema as one of the most respected international actors of his generation.

Rahim was most recently seen in the critically acclaimed miniseries The Looming Tower, which aired on BBC Two in the UK, and will next star in La La Land director Damien Chazelle’s Netflix series The Eddy. The Paris-set musical is written by Jack Thorne and will focus on a French Club owner, its band and the everyday chaos of the live music venue.

In 2009, Rahim received critical acclaim for his role in A Prophet, in which he played a young French man of Algerian descent, sentenced to six years in prison for attacking police officers. Rahim received the César Award for Best Actor, and the film won the Bafta for Best Film Not in the English Language, in addition to nine César Awards, plus an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.

Other notable credits for Rahim include the Sky series The Last Panthers, plus the films Mary Magdalene, Les Anarchists, The Past, Day Of The Falcon and The Eagle.

Monday, 15 July 2019

Competition: Win Beecham House on DVD

Beecham House is out on DVD on July 22nd.

And to celebrate we have a great competition for you and 3 copies on DVD to give away.

LOVE, HONOUR, secrets, betrayal…welcome to Beecham House. Bend it like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha pens this lavish ‘Dehli Downton’ drama, set amongst British nobles in India during the cusp of the 19th century. Airing this Summer on ITV, the stunning six-part series is set to arrive on DVD and digital from Acorn Media International.

Tom Bateman (Vanity Fair, Murder on the Orient Express) stars as John Beecham, an Englishman who resigned from the East India Company to make an honourable life for himself in Delhi, but he leaves Calcutta under a shadow. How long can he survive before his secret past is revealed, and what does this past mean for his descendants in generations to come?

John’s widowed mother Henrietta (Lesley Nicol – Downton Abbey) finds life in India a difficult adjustment, but is helped by her spirited companion Violet (Bessie Carter – Howard’s End), who has feelings for John. Australian-Indian actress Pallavi Sharma (Lion) plays the regal Chandrika Kumari, a princess seeking refuge at Beecham House, who clashes with Henrietta over the running of the household.

The staff also have a part to play: the loyal head of servants Baadal (Viveik Kalra – Blinded by the Light) would do anything for naïve nursemaid Chanchal (Shriya Pilgaonkar - Fan), who accompanies John to look after his mysterious olive-skinned baby. But who is the child’s mother, and what exactly is John hiding?

This sumptuous period drama provides a new perspective of British rule in India, from the mind of the iconic British-Indian filmmaker behind Bhaji on the Beach, Viceroy’s House and the upcoming Blinded by the Light.

Buy from Amazon by clicking here (Opens in a new window)

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

Which country is Beecham House set in?

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

Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 29-07-19
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.

Competition: Win Year of the Rabbit on DVD

Year of the Rabbit is out on DVD on July 22nd.

And to celebrate we have a great competition for you and 2 copies on DVD to give away.

Fresh from the success of What We Do In The Shadows, Matt Berry makes a welcome return to our screens in Year of the Rabbit,  a brand new original comedy for Channel 4 set in Victorian London.

This hilarious six-part series is set to turn the detective genre on its head with a brand new crime fighting trio, that sees Matt Berry’s (Toast of London, The IT Crowd), Detective Inspector Rabbit, teaming up with Freddie Fox (King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Cucumber) and Susan Wokoma (Chewing Gum, Crazyhead). They are joined by a stellar line-up of great British acting talent including Line of Duty favourites Keeley Hawes (The Durrells, Bodyguard) and Craig Parkinson (Misfits, Four Lions), plus Sally Phillips (Smack The Pony, Miranda), Jill Halfpenny (Three Girls, In the Club), Alun Armstrong (The Cane, Frontier) and Paul Kaye (Wanderlust, Afterlife).

Detective Inspector Rabbit is a hardened booze-hound who’s seen it all, his new partner is hapless and by-the-book…when they’re called in to investigate a local murder, they are joined by the lewd, but insightful adoptive daughter of the chief of police, she’s also the country’s first female officer. Together, the mismatched team must fight crime while rubbing shoulders with street gangs, crooked politicians, Bulgarian princes, spiritualists, music hall stars and the Elephant Man.

Directed by BAFTA-nominated Ben Taylor (Catastrophe) and written by Emmy and WGA Award-winners Andy Riley and Kevin Cecil (Veep), with Matt Berry contributing with his offbeat wit and talent Year of the Rabbit is the must-see comedy of the summer.

Buy from Amazon by clicking here (Opens in a new window)

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

What is the name of the character played by Matt Berry?

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

Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 29-07-19
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.

Friday, 12 July 2019

Grantchester will return to ITV for a fifth series

Grantchester, starring Robson Green and Tom Brittney, will return to ITV for a fifth series.

In series four, which aired on ITV earlier this year, young, new parish priest Will Davenport (Tom Brittney) became DI Geordie Keating's (Robson Green) new crime-fighting partner.

Series five picks up a year later, in Cambridge in 1957, the year Prime Minister Harold Macmillan told the British people that they had 'never had it so good'. For many of the residents of Grantchester, it really will feel like they're in a delightful new Eden, but for all the talk of paradise on earth and faith-in-action, Geordie Keating knows that trouble is never far away.

Kudos Executive Producer Emma Kingsman-Lloyd says:

"We are very excited that Grantchester is returning for a fifth series. The audience has taken the pairing of Robson Green and Tom Brittney to their hearts and we are delighted to be able to continue the story of Geordie and Will with Masterpiece and ITV. "

Grantchester will start shooting this summer in Cambridgeshire, with further casting news set to be announced in due course. The series will be Executive Produced for Kudos by Emma Kingsman-Lloyd and by writer/creator Daisy Coulam. The Executive Producer for MASTERPIECE is Rebecca Eaton at WGBH Boston. Series five will be produced by Richard Cookson and directed by Gordon Anderson, Christiana Ebohon-Green and Rob Evans. Adapted from the Grantchester Mysteries novels by James Runcie, the series was developed for television by Daisy Coulam and written by Daisy Coulam and John Jackson, Carey Andrews, Jake Riddell and Joshua St Johnston.

Tez Ilyas joins Channel 4 with brand new satirical news show

One of the most exciting break out stars in British comedy, Tez Ilyas, joins Channel 4 this summer with The Tez O'Clock Show, a late-night satirical comedy show.

Comedian Tez Ilyas presents a fast-paced mix of stand-up, sketches and studio antics. Filmed in Manchester with a combination of comedians and celebrity guests, this hilarious and subversive show will blow the cobwebs off TV satire and prove once and for all that it's possible to joke about anyone and anything without getting cancelled.

The show is a topical mix of sketches and studio antics, including provocative monologues and celebrity interviews.

Crashing into the studio show will be parodies, sketches and news bulletins from the Pakistani Broadcasting Corporation (PBC), starring Man Like Mobeen's Guz Khan and comedian Sindhu Vee, which will provide a satirical take on the news and show Britain (and the West) in a very different light.

The studio show sees Tez take part in a briefing room – just like the ones that happened when he worked at the Home Office - on the hot topics of the day. Here he'll be briefed by his fellow fast rising comics and Uncivil Servants, Sophie Willan and Adam Rowe, who will each try and sway him to their way of thinking.

He'll then be joined by his co-anchor Sindhu Vee, in the on set shisha café, where they'll be joined by funny, opinionated, big name guests.

The fast paced 3 x 60' show, airing at 11pm each Thursday from 25th July is made exclusively for Channel 4 by Expectation and Ilyas' own company Pious Productions. It will be filmed each week at Manchester's MediaCityUK in front of a live studio audience.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

First look images and trailer from upcoming original comedy Brassic

Sky’s new original comedy Brassic has released its first look trailer and images today.

Definition: “Brassic: Broke, penniless, without means, boracic lint -skint, on the bones of yer arse.”

Joe Gilgun (This is England), Michelle Keegan (Our Girl) and Damien Molony (Ripper Street) star in Brassic, an edgy new original comedy from Sky co-created by Joe Gilgun and BAFTA-winning writer Danny Brocklehurst (Safe). With a distinct northern flavour, Brassic is about a group of working-class friends finding unconventional ways to win at life in northern suburbia. Ruth Sheen and Tim Key are also set to star. You can read more about the show here.

All episodes will be available to watch from 22nd August on Sky One and streaming service NOW TV

In For A Penny is commissioned for a second series and Christmas Special

Stephen Mulhern will be back travelling the UK as In For A Penny is commissioned for a second series and Christmas Special.

ITV has commissioned ITV Studios and Mitre Television to produce a second series and a Christmas Special of the popular on the street gameshow, In For A Penny.

Host Stephen Mulhern will once again be let loose in towns and cities across the UK challenging the Great British public to take part in a series of hilariously silly games.

Nowhere is safe as Stephen will pop up at a host of brand new locations all over the UK asking shoppers for a penny to take part - there is no contactless on this show. 

The people of Great Britain beware, Stephen could be heading to your town – are you ready to open your suitcases, get soaked with water or balance fruit and veg on your body in the hope of winning a cash prize?   The world famous ‘stop watch game’ will also be making a return giving shoppers the chance to bag £1000. 

Stephen Mulhern said: “It’s humbling to know that people enjoyed watching the show as much as we enjoyed making it.  We met some incredible people on the first series and I can’t wait to get back out on the streets of the UK meeting the great British public and challenging them to take part in some silly games.  It’s the best job in the world.”

Ant & Dec (co-creators of the format) said: “Another series? You've got to be kidding! That’s brilliant news because that means when he's out on the street filming this, he isn’t bothering us.  Pennies at the ready Great Britain.”

ITV’s Head of Entertainment, Siobhan Greene said: "A laugh out loud hit from the get go... it was a no brainer to do it again. Britain watch out. We are back!"

Ding dong! Stacey Dooley, Val Garland and Dominic Skinner reunite for a second series of BBC Three’s Glow Up

Following the success of series one earlier this year, BBC Three has announced a second series of Glow Up: Britain’s Next Make-Up Star - with Stacey Dooley returning to host the competition alongside industry icons and series judges Val Garland and Dominic Skinner.

Casting now, the second series will give aspiring make-up artists the chance to brush up on their skills and impress some of the biggest names in the business through a range of real-world professional assignments and themed creative tasks, which last year included working on looks for the cast of Kinky Boots and supermodel Leomie Anderson. Contestants were taken into the worlds of film special effects, fashion magazines, the catwalk, drag and social media, among others, where they had the chance to showcase their talents to Val, Dominic and guest judges such as online make-up sensation NikkieTutorials, drag queen Kim Chi and world-renowned photographer Rankin.

The first series, in which Ellis Hill was crowned the winner, was incredibly popular and saw fans take to social media to recreate their favourite looks each week. Since winning Ellis has gained experience with some of the world’s top make-up artists, including joining Val Garland’s team at Cannes Film Festival to assist with the red carpet looks for a-list celebs.

Stacey Dooley says: “We had so much fun filming the last series of Glow Up, so to be back for another with the legends Val and Dominic is a dream come true. I was blown away by the talent and creativity last time and it was a pleasure to be part of the journey. I can’t wait to get to know the new MUAs!”

Val Garland says: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be back for the second series. I’m looking forward to all the creativity and drama, and of course I can’t wait to work with Stacey and Dom again! I’ll be looking for skills, imagination and professionalism in the MUAs, as well as how they work in a team and how they react and resolve when things go wrong. Glow Up is a life changing experience and I wish each and every one of the hopefuls the very best of luck.”

Dominic Skinner says: “I’m so excited to get back into the Glow Up HQ with Val and Stacey and to see what incredible looks will be created. The new artists coming through those doors will really have to bring it, as last year’s MUAs blew me away with their talent and set the bar so high.”

Fiona Campbell, Controller of BBC Three, says: “The first series of Glow Up was a real hit with our audience and brought something fresh and new to BBC Three. It was filled with creativity and had a spirit of fun and self expression. Developing formats that can return is part of our DNA and it was a no brainer to bring this back for more.”

If you have what it takes to be Britain's Next Make-Up Star, you can apply now.

BBC announces Holocaust Denial: A History With David Baddiel

The Holocaust is one of the most documented, witnessed and written about events in history, so why is Holocaust denial back on the political agenda? What has happened in the 75 years since the liberation of the camps to have so skewed the picture? And, if it matters, why does it matter?

In this timely and important film, Holocaust Denial: A History With David Baddiel (w/t), for BBC Two, David will be investigating the history and modern face of Holocaust denial. He will talk to academics and historians to trace how denial has evolved since the end of the second world war and try to discover how and why people are still denying the Holocaust today.

David Baddiel says: "I’ve always had a dark fascination with Holocaust denial. The fact that since it happened (indeed whilst it was happening) forces have tried to undermine one of the most well-documented truths of history seems to me a key battleground in the fight between truth and lies, a battle made more complex by the emergence of new technology, a post-truth world and more insidious, ‘soft core’ forms of denial.

"As the last survivors, including those in my own family, begin to pass away, and with them, living memory of The Holocaust, I’m grateful to the BBC for allowing me to explore this complex subject, in all its difficulty and darkness."

Abigail Priddle, Commissioning Editor, says: "There could not be a more important and pressing subject for us to tackle through the religion and ethics slate. David Baddiel's intelligence and integrity make him the perfect person to author this film and underlines our commitment to our audience to tackle the most challenging and complex subjects"

Over the course of the film David will encounter people who’ll cause him to question deep-rooted opinions, others who might lend extra weight to beliefs he’s grown up with from childhood - and some he really would rather not meet at all. He’ll broach taboos and find himself in often uncomfortable situations. At the heart of the film are his attempts to answer some fundamental questions: Why does a desire to deny the events of the Holocaust even exist? Why is it growing? What does it tell us about anti-Semitism? Is there a version of Holocaust Denial that is becoming respectable? And how can we best counter these ideas?

Finally he’ll emerge with a new perspective on an issue that goes beyond the events of the Holocaust - and sheds light on a very 21st century malaise - the denial of historical fact. For many, even to explore the phenomenon of Holocaust Denial is to unlock a box marked “do not open”. But this film will suggest that exploring this archetype of lies, conspiracy theory and fake news could deepen our understanding of our post truth world.

Keeping Faith - Interview with Eve Myles (Faith Howells)

Eve Myles returns as Faith Howells, the much-loved lawyer, wife and mother whose life was turned upside down by the unexplained disappearance of her husband, Evan (Bradley Freegard).
Now, 18 months later, Faith is drawn into a new mystery as she takes on the case of Madlen Vaughan (Aimee-Ffion Edwards), a local farmer accused of murdering her husband in cold blood. The murder trial, the prospect of Evan’s imminent release from prison, and her conflicted emotions towards former criminal Steve Baldini (Mark Lewis Jones) push her to breaking point.

She puts her children, her business and her life on the line to search for the truth and finally emerges scarred yet stronger.

Again the themes are family, love, loyalty and trust; the West Wales coastline provides that unique contrast of beauty and darkness and the acting is raw and intimate: all the trademarks of the first series that broke BBC iPlayer records.

Eve Myles returns as Faith Howells, the much-loved lawyer, wife and mother whose life was turned upside down by the unexplained disappearance of her husband, Evan.
How do things start for Faith in series two? What’s in store for her?

This series catches up with Faith eighteen months since the first series ended. It’s a really difficult time for her. After the turmoil of series one, she’s still trying to make sense of what happened, and work out what she wants. She’s under pressure from every angle, but tries to keep a lid on it and desperately wants normality to resume for her and her children.

How do Faith’s relationships with Evan and Steve develop?

After the events of series one, Faith’s relationship has become bitter and full of resentment towards Evan. She still loves him, but she’s hurt and is trying to unpick the web of lies. Meanwhile the relationship with Steve is impossible, but inevitable.

What’s your favourite thing about your Faith?

My favourite thing about Faith is her loyalty. Despite everything she’s been through, she’s working hard to be the best mother, lawyer and friend she can be and she’s loyal to the people she loves. She’s flawed but her core values of honesty, justice and fair-play underpins everything she does.

How does series two feel different?

In many ways series two doesn’t feel very different to series one; it’s the natural progression of the story. The life Faith has in this series is one of pure survival for her and the children. The scars of the events of the first series are evident. She doesn’t take it laying down, she comes back fighting... literally.

Sum up Keeping Faith in a few words

Survival, survival, survival.

What are your memorable moments on set?

I have many favourite moments on set, but the warmest feeling is when one of the crew independently gives me a hug and tells me that the scene we’ve just done got them in the feels... I’ll always be grateful and humbled by those moments... always.

GameFace series 2: Interview with writer, creator and star Roisin Conaty

Game Face is back for series two. For those who missed it (and might want to watch it on All 4) what is the show about?

It’s about Marcella, a struggling actress who starts to see a lifecoach, she is heartbroken because Simon, her partner of 12 years, married someone else two weeks after they’ve split up.

Where do we pick things up in season 2?

We pick it up pretty much from the end of season one. It’s not much later, just a few weeks. Marcella is taking her driving test, and gets herself into a bit of a situation. It picks up her relationship with Jon [her driving instructor] she’s working at the London Dungeon, and desperately trying to move on with her career. Meanwhile Simon her ex has moved in with her mum, and is going to be living with her brother. So her ex is very much still in play. It’s an interesting family dynamic and, as usual, Marcella’s impulses are getting her into trouble.

How did you find writing series two? Was it easier, because you had all the characters established, or the more difficult ‘second album’ syndrome?

A bit of both, I think. It’s easier in that whenever you get those “I can’t do it” moments, there’s evidence that you can, in the form of a series. You’ve been there before, you got through it, and it worked out okay. But there is also the challenge of trying to move it on in a believable way, and make it interesting and surprising

It’s got a great cast – did you manage to get everyone back for series 2?

I have, yeah. I was so pleased, everyone’s really brilliant. They’re such an amazing cast, and so enjoyable to watch. Once you’ve performed with them, it’s easier to write for them, you know their cadences, and you know much more how to write for each character. So that becomes easier.

Are there any new characters prominent in this series?

Yes. The therapist now has a student called Frances, who is very young and earnest and doesn’t like the chaotic sessions where Marcella’s not really trying to help herself and he’s not trying to help Marcella. So she’s trying to bring a bit of order to it, and actually does.

Do you like performing your own sitcom, or is it too stressful to actually enjoy?

I love it, getting the chance to write and perform your own stuff, with a huge team of people creating that world for you, is truly magical. You might have casually written down “She’s drinking a Tizer” and the art department have gone out and started panicking “Oh my God, Tizer doesn’t exist anymore.” It’s mad, a whole production going through these scripts making them happen. I really enjoy it. The characters are all my babies, and I feel protective of them all. There’s nothing like watching it all come together in an edit, and thinking “Oh my God, this thing that I wrote in my pyjamas now seems real.”

You are executive producer on the show as well as writing and starring. Does it ever feel like too much?

I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t true. It’s an ambitious show, I write very visual scenes, and we want the show to look amazing, so that means time is always hard, we’re always chasing our tail because it’s not just all set in a house. There’s loads of locations. And midway through a shoot a location might fall through, and I’m across all the decisions, so if a location falls through or we have to move a scene, I’m involved in that. I have to be really focussed, and whenever you’re extraordinarily focussed, you’re not really having fun. You’re making decisions all through the day. That’s not exactly enjoyable, but I love it. At the end you can enjoy it. It’s very hard work. It’s hard to enjoy that pressure, but you just have to thrive off it.

Marcella seems to have a problem being serious – she makes jokes all the time, sometimes in inappropriate situations. Is that something you can relate to?

Yeah. I think with someone like Jon, Marcella is quite scared of opening up again after the Simon relationship, so they dance around each other making jokes. I think it’s quite sweet. I’d say I’m more direct than Marcella, but I get the whole thing about making jokes. That’s my natural disposition. If something’s awful, I find it funny. If something’s funny, I find it funny. It’s my natural, go-to place.

She’s incredibly resilient, and fundamentally pretty strong. Do you admire her?

Oh yeah, I love her. I think she’s got blind spots about her actual flaws which is frustrating sometimes but I think that’s like all of us. She makes things more difficult than they need to be sometimes, but I think she’s an optimist, and I think she’s got a life in her head that she really wants, and she’s trying to push herself to. Her impulses let her down, but I do admire her...

Received wisdom has it that happiness isn’t funny. Do you feel you have to keep Marcella struggling a little bit? Is that frustrating?

I’m not sure that happiness isn’t funny. There are happy scenes in it. She enjoys her friends. But I guess life isn’t always happy, in one day you can feel 50 emotions, so I just want the show to be truthful. I think the constant being told that we should all be happy is making us all unhappy, I don’t think it’s a healthy thing. It’s good to accept that life can sometimes be hard. But she gets wins in this series.

Have you learned to drive yet?

Nope, I still can’t. I’m going to learn to drive an automatic. Forget about learning ‘stick’ as they say in the States.

Were you tempted to have lessons as research for this?

Oh I’ve had lessons, mate! I have lessons galore! I’ve had more driving instructors than I can count. I’ve had lessons, don’t you worry!

Is it true that the show went out on Hulu in America? What’s that like?

Yeah. It was really lovely, the reaction to it was really nice. It wasn’t a huge show over there, but people who liked it really, really liked it. I have tried to write truthful characters, so it shouldn’t matter where you’re from. I watch stuff from all around the world. We all grow up watching American TV, so the idea that I might have teenage American girls watching my show is kind of funny!

When do you get most nervous? Before filming, before the previews, before it transmits?

This is the thing, I don’t really have much middle ground. Everything is a ten. There’s not one bit where I feel like it’s easier. The script bit I’m in hell, then when you start filming its really high stakes, can we cut it together, does it make sense? Then in the edit, then first week of rushes is so nerve-wracking, I couldn’t watch it for four days because I was so frightened. I wish there was one bit I took lightly, but I’m always all over everything, trying to make it okay.

How do you find watching yourself?

It’s really awful, actually. It’s not so bad in the edit, I’ve got used to that now, but at the screening was weird. It’s really unnatural to be in a room full of people watching you on screen. It’s exposing. Your little imaginary world is up on screen. They can see what I’ve been thinking about! It’s very odd.

Monday, 8 July 2019

Competition: Win Chernobyl - (2019 Sky Atlantic Drama)

Chernobyl is out on DVD & Blu-ray on July 15th.

And to celebrate we have a great competition for you and 2 copies on DVD to give away.

‘ENTHRALLING, QUIETLY spectacular, meticulously researched’ (The Observer) Sky Original drama Chernobyl explores the truth surrounding the disastrous nuclear power plant explosion in 1986 – a story of incredible heroism and sacrifice, but also shocking lies and conspiracy.

The result of extensive research, Chernobyl seeks to tell the stories of those directly involved in causing the catastrophe, and those affected by the nuclear fallout felt across the world. Jared Harris (Mad Men, The Crown) stars as Valery Legasov, a nuclear physicist who is one of the first people to grasp the scope of the nuclear disaster. Ulana Khomyuk (Emily Watson – Apple Tree Yard, The Theory of Everything) is a scientist committed to getting to the bottom of the cause, while Lyudmilla Ignatenko (Jessie Buckley – Wild Rose, Beast) is the wife of a firefighter who was first on the scene. Stellan Skarsgård (Mamma Mia, Thor) plays Soviet Deputy Prime Minister Boris Shchergina, leading the government commission from a safe distance.

Directed by The Walking Dead’s Jonas Renck, the series is committed to a realism that refuses to shy away from the horrors, both physical and psychological, inflicted upon the victims of this uniquely horrifying event. A deeply moving story about how individuals act when faced with something inexplicable, this drama seeks to honour the spirit of those who helped stop the devastation from spreading even further.

Investigating the lengths to which governments will go to cover up atrocities and suppress the spread of information, Chernobyl also acts as a timely warning: the truth will out.

Buy from Amazon by clicking here (Opens in a new window)

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

Who stars as Valery Legasov in Chernobyl?

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

Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 22-07-19
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.

COMPETITION: Win Romance on Blu-ray

Romance is out on Blu-ray on July 15th.

And to celebrate we have a great competition for you and 3 copies to give away.

Controversial. Groundbreaking. Daring. Extraordinary. Explicit. Shocking. Romance, directed by Catherine Breillat, is all this and more. And now one of the most provocative films of modern cinema is coming to UK Blu-ray for the first time in a newly restored version, courtesy of Second Sight.

A teacher, Marie (Caroline Ducey) is happy living with her boyfriend, but their relationship lacks intimacy and, desperate for physical affection, she sets off to find it elsewhere, in a series of ever-more extreme encounters with strangers...

The film, originally released in 1999, drew as many shocked gasps from critics as it did plaudits when it first opened. It also troubled censors in the UK and around the world as it blurred the lines between art and pornography with its searingly honest depiction of a woman embarking on an odyssey of increasingly explicit sexual experiences.

Described by Empire as a ‘daring study of sex and sensibility’ it arrives on Blu-ray with a brand-new scan, complete with a host of special features on 15 July 2019.

Buy from Amazon by clicking here (Opens in a new window)

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

Who directs Romance?

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

Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 22-07-19
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.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

8 Days: To The Moon And Back - Q&A - Anthony Philipson, Director

Eight days, three hours, 18 minutes, 35 seconds. That’s the total duration of the most important and celebrated space mission ever flown - Apollo 11 - when we first stepped foot on the moon.
8 Days: To The Moon And Back, a feature-length drama documentary marking the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, will bring the untold story of the mission to life.

With access to hours of declassified cockpit audio recorded by the astronauts themselves, the film uses cutting-edge digital effects and dramatised performances to create a stunning 21st century visual journey, taking us inside the capsule and closer to the three astronauts than ever before.

8 Days: To The Moon And Back (1x90’) is made by The Science Unit, BBC Studios, co-produced with PBS and The Open University, in association with Canal +.

Q&A - Anthony Philipson, Director

You weren’t born when the Apollo 11 landed on the moon. When did you first hear about it?
Growing up, space travel was very much something that captured our imagination. A magical, almost superhuman endeavour encapsulated by the birth of the Space Shuttle programme.

Launches were broadcast live and our school would gather to watch these incredible machines blast off into space. As children this fired our imagination and peaked our interest in the origins of space exploration, from the original Sputnik programme right through to majestic Apollo programme. Although I was only born in 1971 the original moon walk was still very much alive, most notably in the Saturn V rockets I coveted in toy shop windows!

What attracted you to this project?
Quite simply the opportunity to tell the story of one of the most famous moments in human history, from a completely new perspective.

What did you set up to achieve?
I wanted to bring the audience inside the Saturn rocket to experience the entire mission as if they were the fourth crew member.

To understand how it felt on a personal level for all three astronauts to undertake such a momentous mission, to see what they saw and to feel what they felt. Using the flight logs and data we wanted to ensure every moment depicted was true to the real mission. Ultimately I wanted to make sure nothing was heightened or overly dramatised. It’s all as it happened, as never seen before.

What challenges did you encounter?
The challenges were two-fold. Firstly getting our cast to manage the huge demand of lip-synching the original recordings, and the second was pulling off our ‘Hollywood’ ambitions on a fraction of their budget.

My incredible cast managed to pull off the first challenge beyond even my ambition. They were simply incredible at bringing the three iconic astronauts to life. The second was achieved through a combination of the incredible talents of the Matthew Button’s designer team, the Director of Photography Tim Cragg, and the VFX team at BDH. Without them we would never have been able to create the environment both inside and outside the rocket to simulate space flight.

How did you bring your vision to life?
A combination of incredible actors pulling off the lip-synching and the hugely talented and dedicated graphics team at BDH. With painstaking attention to detail they mapped out the exact flight plan to make sure the visual elements of the mission were accurate at every point of the journey. The distance to the moon, the trajectory of approach, and the landing were all analysed to ensure what the audience sees is as it was for Aldrin, Collins and Armstrong. These graphics elements, combined with the immersive performances from my actors within the lifelike sets, made for the perfect combination.

What made you decide to use the actual cockpit audio recorded by the astronauts themselves?
It was never in doubt to use the actual recordings. It would have been far more straightforward transcribing the recordings and have our cast perform the words as recorded, but nothing can compare to hearing the real voices themselves. That’s what unique about the film. Hearing Aldrin, Collins and Armstrong in their own voices makes the viewing experience undeniably more engaging and provides a perspective on the story that hasn’t been seen before.

Why should people watch 8 Days: To The Moon And Back?
That’s why I hope people watch 8 Days: To The Moon And Back. It’s a familiar story told in an entirely unfamiliar and unique way. We all know the iconic moments of the mission, the famous quotes that will live forever in human history, but what most people haven’t heard is what was said in the lead up to and after these moments. It’s three men hurtling towards the moon in a tin can whilst the whole world watches on in awe. Hopefully this film re-engages our wonder at this amazing human achievement and the prospect of further space exploration.

First images of Dracula unveiled, as further cast join the series

The first pictures of Claes Bang as Count Dracula have been revealed, as filming continues on the forthcoming three-part series.

Announced today as joining the reinvention of Bram Stoker’s iconic tale are Lyndsey Marshal (Trauma, The League Of Gentlemen), Chanel Cresswell (The Bay, This Is England), Matthew Beard (An Education, The Imitation Game), Lydia West (Years & Years), Paul Brennen (Wild Bill, Happy Valley), Sarah Niles (Catastrophe, Beautiful People), Sofia Oxenham (Poldark, Grantchester), John McCrea (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, God’s Own Country), Phil Dunster (Humans, Save Me) and television newcomer Millicent Wong.

They will appear opposite Claes Bang in the role of Dracula, and a cast which already includes John Heffernan, Joanna Scanlan, Dolly Wells, Sacha Dhawan, Jonathan Aris, Morfydd Clark and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett.

As previously announced, Jonny Campbell (Informer, Westworld), Damon Thomas (Killing Eve, Penny Dreadful) and Paul McGuigan (Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool, Sherlock) will direct Dracula’s three feature-length installments.

Dracula (a Hartswood Films production) was commissioned for BBC One by Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content and Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, and is a co-production with Netflix. It is written and created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss; executive producers are Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat and Sue Vertue for Hartswood Films, Ben Irving for the BBC and it will be handled by Larry Tanz and Carolyn Newman for Netflix.

The series will premiere on BBC One in the UK and on Netflix outside of the UK and Ireland.

Channel 4 marks Apollo 11 anniversary in moonumental style

July 16th marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11, the first mission to land men on the Moon.  It was a monumental event, when the world came together to see if we could accomplish our greatest adventure ever. Channel 4 will air two documentaries with incredible news archive from around the world, as well as exclusive NASA footage to re-tell the extraordinary bravery, anticipation and achievement of this iconic moment.

The digital highlight of the multi-platform event will be a live stream of the Apollo 11 mission minute-by-minute, from the moment of blast off on July 16th until the astronauts leave the moon on July 21st. The mission will play out in real time, 24 hours a day on the Channel 4 YouTube channel. The broadcast will be made up of six days of NASA recorded audio communications between Mission Control and the spacecraft, footage and still images taken by the Apollo 11 crew, along with specially-created graphics and reconstruction where needed to tell an immersive story entirely from the crew’s point of view.

The documentaries and YouTube stream will be supported by further bespoke social media content, written in the imagined style of how mission control would have posted if they had Twitter and Instagram in 1969.  The Channel 4 Instagram Story will be taken over for the five days between launch and landing complimented by real time Twitter commentary at key points throughout the mission. Capitalising on the mystery and excitement of the mission there will be ‘Moonbuster’ videos to explore some of the biggest conspiracies and theories about the moon mission, bringing to life this extraordinary feat for a new generation.

Additionally, 6 x short films will go out after Channel 4 News on the week of the mission, the Monday before Tuesday’s launch and then everyday leading up to the landing on Saturday, with a daily mission update from the astronauts and Mission Control.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Interview with Jason Stojanovski

Jason Stojanovski talks about his early TV experiences – working on soaps like “All Saints” – and his most recent, the mini-series “The Bench”.

Q: What inspired you to become an actor? 
I got forced into taking an acting class! My brother had won a free acting class as a prize in a competition. He was far too shy to ever even consider taking it and my mother wasn’t about to let it go to waste. So, she didn’t take no for an answer and made me take the class. Glad she did obviously, because I fell in love with it from the first moment.

Q: Was TV’s All Saints your first on-camera experience? What can you tell me about it?
It actually wasn’t! All Saints was my first experience working in the world of network television. It was amazing. I’m so lucky that it was there I got my first taste of TV. It was an incredibly successful long running TV show starring some of Australia’s best and it ran like a well-oiled machine so I got to learn how to work with the much faster pace than I’d previously experienced in the film world.
My FIRST on camera experience was a film called Subterano. That was a real case of being thrown in the deep end! At the time, it was Australia’s biggest budgeted feature film ever and I was fortunate enough to be cast as a support lead and got to work beside some Australian film greats! I couldn’t have even dreamed of a better start to my career as an actor.

Q:  As you’ve gotten older, have the types of roles you’ve gone in for changed?
I don’t know if changed is the right word for me to use but they’ve definitely broadened. There seems to be a much wider variety of roles that id be considered suitable for as I’ve gotten older and I think that’ll probably continue to open up for the next little while at least.

Q: Does it go without saying that you’re a fan of dramas- - a lot of your work seems to gravitate towards a good, meaty character piece
Absolutely yes! I’m a graduate of the Meisner technique of acting and much of my time in acting school was spent working on my emotional maturity, range and depth so that I would have a base set of skills to really dig in to those meaty character roles, hopefully allowing me to continue to learn and grow throughout my career.

Q:  Which of your projects has opened the most doors for you?
That’s a really tough question to answer! I guess because you never really know what leads to what in this industry, so looking back, I’m equally as grateful for every opportunity that I’ve been presented with. But if I was pressed to pick one, I’d probably go with Subterano that I mentioned earlier. Being put in that position at the very beginning of my journey really solidified my choice to stay on this path in such a difficult industry and having such a big credit attached to my name that early certainly lead to some other opportunities even years after.

Q. Can you tell us about your work on the stage?
My most recent theatre appearance was at the hugely successful San Francisco Playhouse where I happily lead a wonderfully talented group of actors in a new, beautifully written drama piece called Colossal that is about a star collage football athlete who is wheelchair bound after a serious on-field accident and now has to struggle with his inner demons to find himself again so he can hopefully find the strength and will to heal, both physically and mentally. It was an incredibly well received play and an amazing overall experience for me. I was so happy to be on stage again. It’s a very different skillset that I think every screen actor should revisit from time to time.

Q. What is The Bench? And can you tell us a little about the plot and the role you play in it?
We’re still in pre-production on this one so I’ll have to be cautious with my words. But the official Log line for the miniseries is;

“A high-profile attorney falls to police bullets. A decorated police officer’s life is ended by a sniper. A young transient Native American girl is caught in the convergence of it all.”

As that log line suggests, we are going to be exploring some of the current social issues we’re experiencing in the world today. I play one of the central characters in the series, Officer Michael Benedetto.

Q: Where was it shot?
As I mentioned we are still in pre-production, but at this stage we are set to be filming in San Francisco and surrounding areas so I’m excited to be heading up north to the beautiful Bay Area again.

For everyone interested on keeping up to date with the project as is progresses, search for @TheBenchPilot on Facebook and give it a like!

Q: Is directing something you’d like to do?
It’s not something that I’ve actively considered pursuing at this point if only because I like to keep my creative energy focused on my acting, but let’s not rule anything out, shall we? Who knows what the future holds!

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Dark Mon£y A family accepts a substantial pay-off in a thought-provoking new drama from Bafta-winning writer Levi David Addai

Bafta-nominated Babou Ceesay (Damilola, Our Loved Boy, Best Of Enemies) and Jill Halfpenny (Three Girls, In The Club) lead the cast of a new thought-provoking four-part drama, Dark Mon£y, for BBC One.

Written by the Bafta-winning writer of Damilola, Our Loved Boy, Levi David Addai, and directed by Lewis Arnold (Broadchurch, Humans), Dark Mon£y tells the fictional story of The Mensahs, an ordinary working-class family from North London whose youngest son has recently finished filming a major Hollywood movie role.

But Manny (Ceesay) and Sam's (Halfpenny) world is shattered when Isaac reveals he was abused whilst out in America by a renowned filmmaker. Although guilt-ridden, the family decide to accept a substantial pay-off to keep silent, believing the money will help start a new life, enable them to heal, and avoid the publicity hell of pressing charges against a celebrity. But the damage runs deep, and the cost of remaining silent may be too high.

Other cast are Rebecca Front (War and Peace, Poldark), Susan Wokoma (Crazyhead, Chewing Gum), Olive Gray (Home from Home), Ellen Thomas (Teachers, EastEnders), Arnold Oceng (The Good Lie), Joseph May (Resident Evil), Rudi Dharmalingam (Our Girl) and Gary Beadle (EastEnders).

Monday, 1 July 2019

Maisie Williams stars in new Sky original comedy Two Weeks To Live (W/T)

Emmy Award® nominee Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones) is to star in the latest Sky original, Two Weeks to Live (W/T), a comic tale of love and revenge born from a seemingly harmless prank that goes terribly wrong.

Written by Gaby Hull (Cheat), the six-part series will be produced by Kudos, part of Endemol Shine UK, and revolve around Kim Noakes (Williams), a strange young misfit who was just a little girl when her father died in murky circumstances. Following his death, her mother whisked her away to a remote rural life of seclusion and bizarre survival techniques.

Now all grown up, Kim sets out into the real world for the first time to begin a secret mission of honouring her father’s memory. Meanwhile, socially awkward Nicky isn’t good at impressing girls, and when Kim walks into his and brother Dave’s local pub, it sets in motion a chaotic series of events that puts all their lives in danger. Who would have thought a few drinks and an ill-judged prank could go so violently wrong?

The unlikely trio soon find themselves on the run from a murderous gangster and the police with a massive bag of stolen cash. But Kim is no ordinary fish out of water – she’s more like a great white shark who knows how to strip a Smith & Weston SDVE pistol in 6 seconds flat, skin a deer to make a sleeping bag, and perform all the routines from Dirty Dancing. With her in their team, they might all just survive….

Maisie Williams said: “Looking forward to getting into something new, I think Two Weeks To Live has really great potential and I want to make something incredible with this wonderful team!”

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Speed Freaks on ITV4

Buckle up and enjoy the high-speed ride with Keshet Productions’ new car show for ITV4

ITV today announced a brand new car show, Speed Freaks, which will air on ITV4 later this summer.

From Keshet Productions, this 6 x 60’ series will see entrepreneur and daredevil Zef Eisenberg take on his toughest challenge yet - to break the British land speed record in a car he plans to engineer himself.

With over 40 land speed records currently to his name, he’s already done it on a bike at the iconic Pendine Sands in Wales. Now Zef wants to finish what Sir Malcolm Campbell started in 1927 and break the 200mph barrier in a car and, in doing so, become the only person to hold the British land speed records on both two and four wheels.

In order to prepare for this dangerous feat, Zef is scouring the nation to meet fellow motoring mavericks and glean essential engineering know-how from their incredible “franken-machines”.  Whether they’ve fitted a 24,000cc W12 aero-engine into a car, or built from scratch a full Dakar off-road racer, Zef’s going to get behind the wheel and under the bonnet of Britain’s fastest cars, bikes and boats.

Inspired by these extraordinary machines, Zef will challenge his own team of mechanics to take a different vehicle each week and make it as fast as humanly possible. Currently in production, each 60 minute episode will feature fantastic vehicles, adrenaline-filled action from behind the wheel, and incredible engineering.

The knowledge they gain will play a crucial part in helping this real-life Tony Stark and his team prepare Zef’s crazy 1200hp specially built road-legal Porsche 911 Turbo S for the series finale - his death-defying record attempt at Pendine Sands. Will Speed Freaks see Zef succeed and achieve a life-long ambition to take his place amongst the British legends of land speed?

Speed Freaks has been commissioned for ITV4 by Paul Mortimer, Head of Digital Channels and Satmohan Panesar, Commissioning Editor, Factual Entertainment. Executive Producers are Stephanie Fox and David G Williams from Keshet Productions.  The series is distributed by Keshet International.

David Williams, Keshet Productions said, “This high-octane series features a feast of items and VTs geared up to indulge anyone with an interest in cars, motorsports and engineering.  Zef’s need for speed and desire to break that land-speed record is infectious and makes for compelling viewing.”

Friday, 28 June 2019

Guest hosts announced for Sky One's A League of Their Own series 14

As James Corden takes a break from full time hosting duties this year due to work commitments, friends of the show will be sharing the reigns on Sky One’s BAFTA-winning original show, A League of Their Own.

With James set to host two episodes of the series, a host of famous friends will be taking to the hot seat for the remaining episodes. These include comedian and former panelist, Jack Whitehall; presenter extraordinaire, Clare Balding; A League of Their Own regular, David Walliams; queen of showbiz, Amanda Holden; British sprinter, Dina Asher Smith and the show’s very own Romesh Ranganathan.

The fourteenth series will also see the return of all the regular players. Jamie Redknapp will be welcoming Romesh Ranganthan back to his team and Freddie Flintoff will hold his position as blue team captain.

Zai Bennett, Director of Programming, Sky, said: “We’re delighted that James is hosting two of the shows this series but appreciate he has other work commitments this year. Therefore, we’ve got a brilliant line up of guests to keep his seat warm and we have no doubt that our new guest hosts will ensure that the laughs continue”

Among the fun planned for this year’s series, Freddie, Jamie and Romesh will take a two-day trip to Dartmoor, joining up with marines where they will be taken through an assault course and tasked with abseiling down a treacherous cliff face. Further VT’s to be announced.

Guests taking part in the series include boxing superstar, Tony Bellew; skiing sensation, Chemmy Alcott; comedians Rob Beckett and Tom Davis; I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here winner, Harry Redknapp; gymnast, Max Whitlock; speed skater, Elise Christie; former footballers, Alex Scott, David Ginola, Robin van Persie, Jermaine Jenas and Joe Cole; cricket legend, Jimmy Anderson; presenter, Helen Skelton and gold medal winner, Sam Queck.

Stellar line-up announced for Children in Need: Got It Covered

BBC One and BBC Children in Need announce the launch of Children in Need: Got It Covered, a brand new venture for 2019 which involves some of the UK’s biggest names from stage and screen as they band together to produce an entire album of cover songs, whilst helping to make a positive difference to the lives of disadvantaged children and young people throughout the UK.
A whole host of critically-acclaimed actors have volunteered their time to play a special part in this incredibly exciting project for BBC Children in Need this year. Among them are Helena Bonham Carter CBE (The King’s Speech, Sweeney Todd), Jim Broadbent (Iris, Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince), Olivia Colman CBE (The Favourite, Fleabag), Shaun Dooley (Gentleman Jack, Gunpowder), Luke Evans (Beauty And The Beast, Fast & Furious 7 & 8), Suranne Jones (Gentleman Jack, Doctor Foster), Adrian Lester OBE (Trauma, Hustle), Himesh Patel (Yesterday, EastEnders), David Tennant (Good Omens, Doctor Who) and Jodie Whittaker (Doctor Who, Trust Me).

A special 60-minute programme will follow the entire recording process and explore all the behind-the-scenes action, as the actors face the challenging task of laying down their bespoke tracks at the legendary recording studios Rak and Abbey Road Studios in London. Each of the actors will handpick a song that is most significant to them and receive expert guidance from Brit and Mercury award-winning record producers and songwriters Guy Chambers and Jonathan Quarmby.

Renowned vocal coach Mark De-Lisser will also be at hand to assist the actors with producing their tracks. The programme will also shine a light on the projects funded by BBC Children in Need, with a selection of the actors visiting projects to see first hand the difference their support will make to young lives.

Celebrity line-up revealed for Channel 4 and Stand up to Cancer's Sink or Swim

With one in five British adults being unable to swim and one in three children leaving school without being able to swim, Channel 4 and Twofour, part of ITV Studios, today reveal the line-up for the new large-scale celebrity series, Sink or Swim (w/t) in support of Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C).

Joining the previously announced Olympic gold medallist Linford Christie and Coronation Street star Sair Khan will be Sky News anchor Kay Burley, The Last Leg’s Alex Brooker, TOWIE stars James ‘Arg’ Argent and Georgia Kousoulou, Blue singer Simon Webbe, Love Island’s Wes Nelson, Hollyoaks actress Rachel Adedeji, television presenter Diane Louise Jordan and Linford Christie’s fellow Olympic gold medallists, Tessa Sanderson and Greg Rutherford.

Sink or Swim (4 x 60’) attempts to erase the stigma of being a non-swimmer and follows the progress of our cast  some complete non-swimmers, some who just need to polish up their skills as well as those with a fear of open water or those who have been taught to swim as children but now struggle to do so for health reasons – as they are pushed to their absolute limits.

The celebrities will be teamed with a group of leading figures and professionals from the world of swimming including Olympic silver medallist Keri-anne Payne and adventurer Ross Edgley (best known for being the first person in history to swim around Great Britain).  Keri-anne and Ross will be lead-trainers, with support from Paralympic champion Ellie Simmonds. Together, the trainers will offer vital training and support to transform the celebrities into strong swimmers, capable of taking on a series of challenges. Each episode will culminate in a punishing qualification swim and the celebrities left standing (or in this case, swimming) at the end of the gruelling training process will take part in the ultimate open water challenge together as they attempt to swim the English Channel.

SU2C – a joint national fundraising campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4 has to date raised over £62 million for research into cancer which will accelerate new cancer treatments to UK patients and save more lives.

Sink or Swim was commissioned for Channel 4 for by Commissioning Editor for Entertainment, Steven Handley. It will be executive produced by Mel Leach, Andrew Mackenzie and Caroline Davies for Twofour.

Steven Handley, Commissioning Editor for Entertainment at Channel 4 says: “Sink or Swim promises to be one of the most perilous Stand Up To Cancer Celebrity Challenges we have ever attempted. It will push the boundaries of what Celebrities will endure and overcome to raise money and awareness for charity and we are delighted to be working with TwoFour on this ambitious project. I’m thrilled to announce such an incredible and diverse cast for the series.  They all have truly captivating stories behind why they find swimming terrifying and I cannot wait to see them embark upon this epic challenge.”

Mel Leach, Executive Producer for Twofour added, “Swimming the Channel is a monumental feat for even the very best swimmers, let alone those who can’t even swim a length. Our brave celebrities will have to overcome their fears and embark on a huge mental and physical transformation to complete this epic challenge.”

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Sarah Payne: The Untold Story

Thursday 4th July 2019
9.00pm - 10.00pm

“When I think about her, I think of her playing with her brothers and her sister. If those were her last moments on this earth, then that’s what I would have chosen for her… That must have been a lovely afternoon for them. Both the boys are dads now. I can live with her not being here any more. I can’t live with them not being able to live their lives because she’s not. And I can’t have him [Roy Whiting] take any more than he took. He took enough that day and I won’t give him any more.” - Sara Payne
In this new documentary for ITV’s Crime & Punishment strand, Susanna Reid speaks to Sara Payne about the murder of her eight-year-old daughter Sarah, reflecting on the devastating impact it has had on her family, and the lasting legacy of her death nearly 20 years on.
The abduction and murder of Sarah Payne from a field near her grandparents’ home in Sussex in July 2000 shocked the nation, particularly when it was revealed the culprit Roy Whiting was a convicted paedophile who had committed a similar crime - though not murdered the girl - some years previously. 
Sarah’s mother campaigned to change the law, allowing concerned parents access to the sex offender register, and succeeded in changing the criminal justice system. A decade on, as she turns 50, Sara Payne gives Susanna a vivid insight into her daughter, her family and the effects the murder and ensuing court case had on those left behind in their wake.
Featuring interviews with Sarah’s brothers and sister, as well as her grandparents, who have never spoken before, the documentary explores the case from the Payne family’s perspective, going behind the headlines to explore how they coped at the time, and the long-lasting impact it has had on all of them.
This is an Optomen production for ITV

ITV have commissioned a new two part drama, Honour, starring Keeley Hawes.

Keeley Hawes is to star as the real-life detective who brought five killers to justice in the heartbreaking true story of Banaz Mahmod, the young Londoner murdered by her own family for falling in love with the wrong man.

Written by Gwyneth Hughes (Vanity Fair, Dark Angel, Remember Me), Honour tells the powerful story of Detective Chief Inspector Caroline Goode’s passionate search to discover the fate of missing 20-year old Banaz.

DCI Goode, played by Keeley Hawes, discovered that Banaz had been to the police five times to report threats to her life from members of her own family. Appalled that her own colleagues had missed multiple chances to save a young woman’s life and prevent a so-called “honour” killing, Caroline vowed that she would not rest until she finally got justice for Banaz. It was a promise that quickly became personally consuming. This tense and emotionally vivid drama brings Caroline’s long and unwavering quest to life.

Commented Gwyneth Hughes: 

“Banaz Mahmod met her brutish death on the orders of her own father and uncle, which I find profoundly unsettling. That this story is ultimately so uplifting is down to the sheer heroism and dedication of the police officers who hunted down her killers. Caroline Goode and her team felt real love for this girl they’d never met. I found their unusual warmth and humanity deeply moving.”

Commented Keeley Hawes:

“It is a privilege to be working on Honour as Buddy Club's first ever project. In a time where honour killings are still rife, it is critical to shine a light on such an important subject. Banaz Mahmod's story, and DCI Goode’s subsequent investigation, is certainly one that needs to be told and I am proud to be a part of it.”

Filming will begin in September. 

Monday, 24 June 2019

Competition: Win London Kills - Series 1 on DVD

London Kills - Series 1 is released on DVD on July 1st

And to celebrate we have a great competition for you and 3 copies on DVD to give away.

From the creator of Suspects comes gritty, gripping new police drama London Kills. London's best detectives take on its worst crimes in this slick and thrilling mystery series which sees the world’s most exciting city as the backdrop for a string of killings – all investigated by an elite murder squad.

Hugo Speer (The Full Monty, Britannia) stars as the brooding head of department DI David Bradford, who returns to work after three months compassionate leave, after the disappearance of his wife. Tensions arise as he clashes with the ambitious DS Vivienne Cole (Sharon Small – The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Trust Me) who has been running the murder squad in his absence. The crack team includes seasoned detective DC Rob Brady (Bailey Patrick – Bodyguard, Eastenders) and big-hearted trainee TDC Billie Fitzgerald (Tori Allen-Martin – Unforgotten, Pure), whose inexperience may get her into trouble. Guest stars include: Jennie Jacques (Vikings), Glynis Barber (Night & Day), Laurie Brett (Eastenders) and Frances Tomelty (Catastrophe).

Delving into the gruesome metropolitan murders that are all part of his day job, David  must grapple with the constant pain of not knowing what has happened to his loved one. As suspicions are raised, he has to put his personal issues aside to focus on his job and learn to trust his colleagues….but can he solve the case closest to him?

Created by crime TV don Paul Marquess, known for his work on The Bill, M.I.T.: Murder Investigation Team, Crime Stories and Suspects, London Kills is the perfectly polished result of the passion and expertise of a true police procedural aficionado. Shot documentary style on hand held cameras, this nail-biting drama will keep you on the edge of your seat.

London Kills will be available on DVD and digitally to download and keep from iTunes, Amazon Prime Video and Google Play.

Buy from Amazon Here (Opens in a new window)

For your chance to win just answer the question below.


Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 08-07-19
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.

Competition: Win Inspector Montalbano - Collection 9 on DVD

Inspector Montalbano - Collection 9 is released on DVD on July 1st

And to celebrate we have a great competition for you and 3 copies on DVD to give away.

OUR FAVOURITE Sicilian detective Inspector Montalbano returns for his final enthralling series of intrigue, drama and fine food, set against a stunning sun-drenched backdrop.

The final episodes of the hugely popular, long-running drama will be served up on digital and DVD as Inspector Montalbano Collection 9 courtesy of Acorn Media International, following its run on BBC4.

Based on Andrea Camilleri’s bestselling books, the show is a TV ratings hit and stars Luca Zingaretti as the eponymous much-loved icon of contemporary detective drama.  The series has all of the thrills of Scandi-noir, but with fine food, Sicilian culture and the warmth of the Mediterranean sun.

Salvo Montalbano is a sharp, unconventional detective who must fight to succeed within Italy's precarious justice system, alongside his trusted colleagues. The final two feature length delights find him amidst a refugee crisis, tying up some murderous loose ends and tackling a triple blast from the past.

Buy from Amazon Here (Opens in a new window)

For your chance to win just answer the question below.


Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 08-07-19
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.

Competition: Win Joe Stilgoe - The Heat Is On! - Swinging The 80s on Audio CD

On 28th June, Silva Screen Records will release Joe Stilgoe - The Heat Is On: Swinging The 80s, Joe Stilgoe’s album of 80s movie hits arranged in a 50s big band style.

And to celebrate we have a great competition for you and 3 copies on CD to give away.

"This album basically is my childhood. Mixing the movies I was obsessed with and the big band music I felt such an affinity when everyone else was listening to A-Ha." - Joe Stilgoe

The album continues Joe's much loved and critically acclaimed style of combining great songs from the past with an exciting and relevant new spin. Connecting the dots between the 50s and 80s, THE HEAT IS ON! shines a spotlight on some of the greatest movie songs from 80s blockbusters - Beverly Hills Cop, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Batman, Short Circuit, The Karate Kid and many more.

Using the great arrangers of the 1950s as inspiration - Nelson Riddle, Robert Farnan, Sammy Nestico - these classic songs are almost unrecognisable in their new guise as perhaps the lost standards from the decade of swing and rock 'n' roll.

Says Joe - "Growing up in the 80s in Southern England wasn't much like the movies, but on the daydreamy days I would imagine I was Tom Hanks in Big, Michael J Fox in Back To The Future, Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club and sometimes even Mary Stuart Masterson in Some Kind Of Wonderful. I fell in love with the music from American films, as they seemed to have everything I longed for - the wide streets with white clapboard houses, perfect front lawns and strangely amenable older residents with hoses, the bikes with armchair seats ridden by the kids in ET, the sense of adventure and stories in Stand By Me, the massive drums and massive choruses from those ballads that only the 80s knew how to deliver. All that was missing for a boy who would go on to dream of singing with a big band was that - big bands. I don't remember any big band music from the 80s, or at least, none that reached me. So, for this album, I thought we'd bring it all together."

What if all these songs from all these life-changing movies were actually big band classics?

Joe Stilgoe is a true modern-day entertainer, known globally as a performer of wit, style and a level of musicianship which has seen him be recognised as one of the best singer

Buy from Amazon Here (Opens in a new window)

For your chance to win just answer the question below.


Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 08-07-19
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.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Sky announces upcoming original Christmas special, Cinderella: After Ever After, starring David Walliams

Sky announced upcoming original Christmas special, Cinderella: After Ever After, starring David Walliams, Sian Gibson, Celia Imrie and Sir Tom Courtenay

This Christmas, Sky One turns the classic Cinderella story on its head, thanks to new Sky original comedy Cinderella: After Ever After starring David Walliams. Sian Gibson, Celia Imrie and Sir Tom Courtenay also join the all-star line-up in this King Bert Productions special.

All fairy tales end with ‘happy ever after’ but what happens after ever after? The anarchic 60-minute Christmas special begins where the fairy tale ends; Cinderella (Sian Gibson) has just married her Prince Charming (David Walliams), but soon has a rude awakening when she realises married life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be when you have an image-obsessed, floss-dancing, hip-hop rapping husband. Perhaps a glass slipper fitting your foot is not sufficient grounds for a lifelong commitment after all?

This heart-warming festive show follows Cinderella (Sian Gibson) as she fights to save The King (Sir Tom Courtenay) from the traps of her evil stepmother Madame Blackheart (Celia Imrie) and her conspiring and moronic stepsisters Dumbella and Rubella.

David Walliams, said: “When you read a story to a child and it ends ‘they lived happily ever after’ the child often asks what happened next? Now, for the first time in history, we will reveal what happened next for Cinderella, Prince Charming and the Wicked Stepmother. What happened, ‘After Ever After’? We have assembled a magnificent cast and crew for this one-off family comedy film. It promises to be a real treat for TV viewers this Christmas. I want to say a huge thank you to Sky for making it possible”.