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Thursday, 31 January 2019

Channel 4 commissions Deadwater Fell

Written by Daisy Coulam, this 4-part series is a forensic examination of a tragedy and its effects on a small Scottish community, and an exploration of the evil which can reside behind closed doors

The series examines the ripple effect of the crime on each person who knew and loved the family. From the best friends of the victims, to their parents, and the children who have to go to school the next day.

Deadwater Fell is also a dissection of two marriages. Best friends Jess and Kate were closer than sisters, they worked together at the local school and went on holiday together. But when Kate and her three children are found murdered, and her husband Tom is suspected of the crime, Jess’ world is upended in her search for answers. She is desperate to understand what caused this tragedy, and what secrets lie at the root of this horrific act. Meanwhile, her own already-fragile relationship with her husband Steve is driven to the brink of collapse amid the chaos.

Beneath the shadow of this murder, once strong relationships become fractured, respect gives way to recriminations, and friendship is replaced by suspicion. The community is now irrevocably associated with death, while those that are left behind desperately try to make sense of a tragedy that simply makes no sense at all.

Caroline Hollick, Head of Drama at Channel 4, says: “I’m so proud that Deadwater Fell (w/t) is my first commission at C4. Daisy’s writing is warm and full of heart, while boldly tackling epic themes of extreme violence with psychological acuity. She is turning the norms of family drama on its head, with a story that’s deeply shocking yet always relatable.”

Emma Kingsman-Lloyd, Executive Producer for Kudos, adds: “Daisy’s beguiling new drama dissects a community in crisis and examines the human psychology behind a horrific and hard to comprehend crime.  But with her signature warmth and humanity, Daisy leads the audience on a journey to examine not just the nature of evil but also love and forgiveness.”

Daisy Coulam says: “With Deadwater Fell (w/t) I wanted to look at the notion of evil. We're very quick to call something evil - to dismiss it out of hand as something inhuman or monstrous. But it is humans who commit these acts. Deadwater Fell (w/t) is an unflinching look at a community we might live in, families we might know and what happens when tragedy befalls them.”

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Netflix announced the cast of its latest Mandarin Original The Ghost Bride

Singapore, January 30 - Netflix announced the cast of its latest Mandarin Original The Ghost Bride today. The six-episode drama will be directed by award-winning Malaysian directors Quek Shio-Chuan and Ho Yu-Hang, written by an international team of screenwriters led by American-Taiwanese TV writer Kai Yu Wu, and stars Wu Kang Jen, Huang Peijia, Ludi Lin and Kuang Tian.

The Ghost Bride is an adaptation of a New York Times bestseller of the same name created by Yangsze Choo. The series takes a refreshing production approach of featuring dual directors and a team of international screenwriters with established Hollywood American-Taiwanese TV writer Kai Yu Wu as head writer. She is known for her work in smash hits such as Hannibal and The Flash. Quek Shio Chuan, one of the directors, has moved the hearts of thousands with his autobiographical film Guang The Movie, a story of his relationship with his high-functioning autistic brother. Ho Yuhang’s brilliant direction of At the End of Daybreak featured female lead Kara Hu and was awarded the Best Actress in eight Asian film awards.

Along with the joint force from Hollywood, Malaysia and Taiwan, The Ghost Bride also casts a diverse lineup of talents across the east and the west. Wu Kang Jen, named Best Actor at the Golden Bell Awards and Taipei Film Festival for his outstanding performances in Wake Up and White Ant, will be joined by Malaysian actor and Mandarin musical and theatre artist, Kuang Tian, and Canadian-Chinese Hollywood star Ludi Lin, who is known for playing the Black Ranger in Power Ranger 2017 and recently seen in his role as Murk in Aquaman as the male leads. Rounding out the cast is Huang Peijia, an emerging actress who won the Best Actress from 2018 Golden Bell Awards with her performance in Roseki and from the Taipei Film Festival for her role in Cha Cha for Twins.

The Ghost Bride is set in 1890s Colonial Malacca. Li Lan has been offered a marriage proposal from the wealthy Lim Family to become the “ghost bride” to their recently deceased son. Her family will be saved from a lifetime of debt, but she’ll spend the rest of her life being haunted by the Lim family’s son. Desperate to get out of this ghastly arrangement, she soon finds herself wrapped up in a murder mystery and embroiled in other-worldly affairs much bigger than she could have ever imagined.

The series has started production in collaboration with Ideate Media. It is Netflix’s first Mandarin original series that is shot in Malaysia including locations at Johor Bahru, Penang and Ipoh.

ITV Studios label, Silverprint Pictures, produces four part drama, Flesh and Blood, written by Sarah Williams

Press Release from ITV

ITV Studios label, Silverprint Pictures, produces four part drama, Flesh and Blood, written by Sarah Williams

ITV’s Head of Drama, Polly Hill, today announced the commission of family drama, Flesh and Blood, written by Sarah Williams and produced by Silverprint Pictures.

Flesh and Blood is the modern story of three adult siblings  - Helen, Jake and Natalie - who are thrown into disarray when their recently widowed mother Vivien declares she's in love with a new man.

This is no ordinary relationship drama, as someone in the family will be dead by the end of the story - but the question of who dies and who is the killer keeps us guessing right up to the last moment. 

As she nears her 70th birthday, the siblings’ suspicions are heightened when retired GP Mark sweeps their mother off her feet, shifting her priorities away from her children. The happiness of her 45-year marriage to their father, Terry, is called into question, which sends a seismic shock through the lives of the siblings. Years of secrets, lies, rivalries and betrayals come to the surface and threaten to blow apart everything they’ve held dear.

With their large family home overlooking the Kent coast, their inheritance and the happy memories of their childhood all suddenly threatened by the arrival of Mark, the siblings attempt to find out more about him.  But will their long-buried grudges and complicated personal lives allow them to pull together?

Commented Polly Hill:

“Sarah Williams perfectly captures the messy personal lives of the three siblings, and all is not what it seems. There’s so much more going on behind closed doors as we explore themes of relationships, trust, loyalty and love. Sarah cleverly weaves together this truthful family drama, through a compelling investigation that doesn’t reveal the victim until the very end.   It’s a very original story, and we are delighted to have it on ITV.”

Sarah Williams (The Long Song, Case Sensitive, Poppy Shakespeare) executive produces Flesh and Blood alongside Silverprint Pictures, Creative Director, Kate Bartlett (Dark Heart, Shetland, Vera).  Letitia Knight (Dark Heart, Vera) will produce the show.

Commented Kate Bartlett:

"Flesh and Blood is an original contemporary drama exploring family and romantic relationships in a way which is both darkly sharp and witty as well as deeply touching. Sarah Williams has written compelling and atmospheric scripts, which we are thrilled to be bringing to the screen for ITV."

Commented Sarah Williams:  

“Coming from a big family myself, I’ve always been fascinated by sibling dynamics.  Our brothers and sisters can be our closest allies or our sworn enemies – often in the space of a heartbeat.  There’s a bond between siblings that was formed before we were fully conscious beings – something bone-deep and instinctual.  No one can make us laugh as hard or wound us as deeply as our family - and that seemed to me incredibly rich territory for a drama.”

The series will begin filming in June in London and on the Kent coast.

ITV Studios Global Entertainment will distribute Flesh and Blood internationally.

Keeley Hawes, Sally Phillips, Jill Halfpenny join Year of the Rabbit

Channel 4’s up-coming comedy, Year of the Rabbit, has gone in to production with an outstanding guest cast.

The new 6x30 comedy, which is produced by Objective Fiction out of OMG Scotland with international partners IFC and all3media international, sees BAFTA-winning actor Matt Berry play Detective Inspector Rabbit, a hardened booze-hound cop in Victorian London. He's aided and abetted by his new partner Wilbur Strauss (Freddie Fox) and the country’s first female police officer, Mabel Wisbech (Susan Wokoma), as they bring justice to the streets of the east end.

Alongside the crime-fighting trio, Keeley Hawes (Bodyguard, Misbehaviour) stars as the mysterious Lydia, Sally Phillips (Veep, Bridget Jones) is Princess Juliana of Bulgaria, and Jill Halfpenny (Three Girls, In the Club) features as Rabbit’s ex, the deadly Flora.

Within the turmoil of the Whitechapel police station, Alun Armstrong (The Cane, Frontier) plays Chief Inspector Wisbech – who suffers two ways, as Rabbit’s boss and Mabel’s father – while Paul Kaye (Game of Thrones, Afterlife) plays Rabbit’s nemesis, D.I. Tanner.

Also starring in the series are David Dawson (Last Kingdom, Ripper Street), Ann Mitchell (Call The Midwife, Widows), Alistair Petrie (The Night Manager, Sex Education), Matthew Holness (Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, Toast of London) and Craig Parkinson (Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, Line of Duty).

Keeley Hawes said: “It’s great to be working with Matt, Susan and Freddie on such a brilliantly original show. Lydia is such an enigmatic character. It’s been a thoroughly enjoyable, bonkers experience.”

Sally Phillips commented: ““I can report that there is literally nothing more pleasurable than playing a haughty, 19th Century, pansexual, Bulgarian autocrat with access to guns. I may have peaked.”

Jill Halfpenny added: “I’m thrilled to be a part of Year of the Rabbit. It's an amazing creative team and I’ve had the best time making it.”

Year of the Rabbit is directed by BAFTA-nominated Ben Taylor (Catastrophe, Sex Education) and written by Emmy and WGA Award-winners Andy Riley and Kevin Cecil (Veep, Black Books), with additional material from Matt Berry.

Ben Farrell and Toby Stevens will executive produce for Objective Fiction and Objective Media Group Scotland, with Hannah Mackay producing. The show was commissioned for Channel 4 by Fiona McDermott, Head of Comedy, and Jack Bayles, Commissioning Editor.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Jamie Heaslip and John Barclay join BBC’s 2019 Six Nations Championship line-up

Former British and Irish Lions and Ireland player Jamie Heaslip along with Scotland captain John Barclay are the latest rugby union stars to join the BBC’s line-up for the upcoming 2019 Guinness Six Nations Championship.

*Former British and Irish Lions captains Martin Johnson, Sam Warburton and Paul O’Connell return to line-up
*Scotland captain John Barclay and former Ireland player Jamie Heaslip join BBC team
*Gabby Logan and John Inverdale to front live games on the BBC
*Women’s Six Nations Championship games streamed live
*Live commentary from every home nations game on Radio 5 live and 5 live sports extra
*Comprehensive coverage available at all times on BBC Sport’s digital channels

Bringing viewers live TV coverage of all of Wales, Scotland and France home games, the Six Nations Championship opens with France v Wales in Paris on Friday 1 February on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Other key matches on the BBC include Wales v England, Scotland v Ireland and last year’s runners-up, Wales against last year’s winner, Ireland on March 16.

Gabby Logan and John Inverdale will lead the BBC’s TV coverage and will be joined by some of the biggest names in rugby union to offer their expert analysis and insight, including, Sam Warburton, Martin Johnson, Paul O’Connell, Jamie Heaslip, John Barclay, Jeremy Guscott, Jonathan Davies, Martyn Williams, Chris Paterson, Thomas Castaignede, Jake Polledri, Andy Nicol and Brian Moore.

TV commentary will be provided by the experienced Eddie Butler, Andrew Cotter and Sara Orchard. Sonja McLaughlan and Lee McKenzie will be pitch side at every TV game delivering viewers all of the updates as they happen on and off the field.

A highlights show will be available on BBC Two every Sunday afternoon during the competition where John Inverdale will be joined by guests to look at how all six nations performed that weekend as well as covering all the major talking points and incidents.

The Women’s Six Nations Championship returns to the BBC for 2019 with selected games available to watch on the BBC Sport website, app and Connected TVs. A highlights show will also be shown each Sunday night on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer so viewers can catch up on the action from every game.

Live radio commentary from every home nations game will be available on 5 live and 5 live sports extra throughout the competition. Also, all of England’s Women’s Six Nations games will be covered on 5 live sports extra and the BBC Sport website. World Cup winner and former England player Danielle Waterman will be part of the commentary team for the women’s games.

Joining the 5 live commentary team for the 2019 Six Nations are Shane Williams, Rory Lawson, Shane Horgan, Gavin Hastings, Denis Hickie and Paul Grayson.

Matt Dawson’s Rugby Show returns to 5 live every Thursday night before a Six Nations game weekend and the Rugby Union Weekly podcast will be available to listen to every Monday - Ugo Monye and the BBC’s new rugby union correspondent Chris Jones will cover all of the latest happenings in the Six Nations.

A comprehensive digital service enables fans to share in all the excitement of the men’s and women’s Six Nations through the BBC Sport website and via the BBC Sport app on mobiles, tablets and connected TVs.

Selected men’s and women’s live matches will be streamed via the website, app and Connected TVs and there will be in-play highlights of BBC games and match highlights of others after the final whistle.

BBC Live pages will also cover every minute of every match day with live text commentaries, video streams, clips, stats and social media content.

BBC Sport’s social media accounts, which have over 20 million followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube will provide all the latest breaking news and some of the best clips from the tournament catching the most crucial, dramatic and shareable moments in all their glory.

Every Friday ahead of each Six Nations weekend, the BBC News Channel will preview all of the action and major talking points with special guests and features in Sportsday from 6.30pm.

Pure: Interview with director Aneil Karia

What was it that attracted you to the idea of working on Pure?

When I read the Pure script, it was immediately apparent the show wanted to do something bold and different - but crucially, not just for the sake of being different. Its difference was an intrinsic part of it, much like Marnie’s difference is a difficult but immovable part of her. Its blend of humour and pathos, and its ability to handle mental illness with both a deep respect and brilliant irreverence, was a pretty rare and impressive blend. Beyond its portrayal of mental illness it was, more broadly, exploring something more universal - the process of moving to a new city and having to figure out who you are versus who you think you’re supposed to be. There was a lot to like.

It’s quite unusual to give the lead role to someone making their screen debut. Why was Charly given the opportunity?

Finding the lead for a new show like this was a challenge for various obvious reasons - it’s kind of like you don’t know 100% what they’re supposed to look or sound like until you see or hear them. And that was the case with Charly….we’d seen a lot of really talented actors who read brilliantly for the role but I suppose just didn’t quite feel right. Then we saw Charly and that slightly corny click-moment happened….she seemed to have this blend of youth, wisdom, optimism and dryness that suddenly took the character off the page and made her three dimensional, human and very very watchable. The fact it was Charly’s screen debut was more exciting rather than concerning. We just spoke a lot and did a lot of work before we started; on the process of shooting; blocking, light, multiple takes, the good stuff, the tedious stuff…we chatted a lot about all that.

The cast as a whole is pretty youthful. Do you like working with young actors?

Yeah I do. Young actors on the whole are excited to be working. They’re keen to discuss things, try different approaches… I was really lucky to work with this cast. They’re extremely talented and are either already going or about to go on to big things.

One of the challenges you had to face was to visually recreate what it’s like to experience an intrusive sexual thought. How did you go about that, and who did you take advice from?

I was very keen from the get-go that the intrusive thoughts were grounded in reality, and resisted the temptation for them to become too heightened visually speaking. When we have these thoughts (while I’m lucky enough not to suffer from Pure O I was very familiar with the concept of intrusive thoughts and had a lot as a teenager) there is nothing stylised about them, aesthetics-wise. The distressing image we imagine looks a lot like the reality would like; that’s why it’s disturbing. The thoughts are little bursts of another reality for the sufferer, so to then shoot it in a way that was ‘cinematic’ to the point of artificiality would really defeat the point. We obviously consulted with Rose a lot - and also the charities we worked alongside (MIND and OCD Action). In post-production we ended up giving the intrusive thoughts a slightly different grade, more for clarity than anything. We also played with focus a little, as a way of honing in on the distressing part of the scene - the mind’s eye is not 16:9 widescreen, so it was a good way of isolating the thought.

A lot of your scenes involve mass nudity – that must be interesting to direct!

Yeah it was quite nuts, so to speak. Having fifty naked SAs crammed into a tube carriage and trying to retain some kind of order is a challenge though it’s amazing how quickly the nudity and graphic acts became very normal - especially as the SAs were people who were very comfortable with nudity. The nature of shooting, whatever you’re on, tends to be that you’ve got a shit ton to do in not-enough-time so you just get on with choreographing the scene as you would with 50 clothed folk at the end of the day. While it’s a slightly absurd scenario you’re in, these mass nudity scenes are the intrusive thoughts, which are so integral to the portrayal of the illness (and so tragically un-absurd to Marnie) that you quickly just put aside the madness and concentrate on getting the shot as best you can.

In a comedy drama about mental illness, how do you ensure you don’t cross a line into mockery and bad taste?

I think the comedy in Pure is never at the expense of the illness. The comedy is used as a coping strategy; as a way of laughing through the pain it brings and the perceived isolation it causes Marnie. Pure hopefully allows us to laugh at the surface-absurdity of an illness while appreciating the deeper torment it brings. 

Shipwrecked - Vick Hope interview

You’re the voice of the new series of Shipwrecked. What appealed to you about being part of the show?
It’s exciting! I watched the show when I was younger, and I remember thinking of all the reality shows around at the time that Shipwrecked would be the one I’d most like to take part in. Because it’s an adventure, and travelling on your own and meeting people with the same sense of adventure when you’re young is a dream that we all have. I feel really honoured to be a part of the new series.

What can you tell us about the new series?
There are two rival tribes – The Sharks and the Tigers - on two rival tropical islands competing to win over new arrivals, with £50k prize available for the largest tribe at the end. You’ll see beautiful friendships formed, some sweet summer romance, some explosive arguments, betrayals and island swapping. And that’s just in the first week!

Did you get to go to the Cook Islands?
I was on the dancefloor when Shipwrecked was being filmed and I didn’t come on board until it had all finished filming. I think it takes a few flights to get to the Cook Islands from the UK, but it certainly looks like paradise once you’re there and that shows on screen. They look absolutely stunning on the show. The contestants were all so lucky to have gone and had that experience. I’m very jealous of them because it looks absolutely gorgeous – better than Instagram!

Why do you think the show was so relatable to you?
It’s something I would have wanted to do when I was younger, for sure. Even taking away the TV show part, it’s an incredible life experience to go to the other side of the world and build a life and new friendships in paradise. But also, the idea of working out who your tribe are was so important to me when I was younger. I think that’s the same for all of us. The idea of what forms your identity and whether you fit in as one thing or another is something that we all think about, and something that’s definitely been a preoccupation of mine. I’m from Newcastle and went to Cambridge University and I worried whether I’d fit in; I’m mixed race, so my mum grew up in Nigeria and my dad grew up in England, and I’d sometimes wonder which culture I felt I identified with better. That whole thing of being young and working out which group of people you identify with and what things you have in common is very relatable to everyone and you see that play out in the new series as well.

What are the contestants like?
There are loads of great characters right from the start and coming through throughout the series. You have people who wouldn’t necessarily see on other shows. They all come from different walks of life – there’s somebody who grew up in Chelsea and someone who grew up on a housing estate in Manchester; Somebody who works as Prince Charming at Disneyland and somebody else who works in a charity shop. But nobody is defined by where they come from; they all learn about each other on their own terms.  And because the tribes grow as the series goes on, you get a chance to learn more about their traits and how becoming a tribe moulds them as individuals.

How do you think you would get on as a castaway?
I like to think that I’d be quite practical. My mum’s from a very rural village in Nigeria, she grew up in a war, and for her it was really important that my brothers and I knew how to fend for ourselves. My dad bought me a Swiss army knife for my 13th birthday and we used to go camping and he showed me how to light fires. I climbed Kilimanjaro when I was 18. This said, my friends and brothers would probably say, although I just like to get stuck in and mean well, I’m quite clumsy and often more of a hindrance than a help. I would light a fire, but it may spread!

How do you think it differs from other reality shows?
Shipwrecked was the OG reality series, before Big Brother, before The Island, before Love Island, this one started it all, so it definitely feels special in that way. I think because the aim of the game isn’t falling in love, the characters that come through and the conversations they have are very different to what you may see on similar shows. I won’t go into too much detail, but there’s a really moving conversation that happens between some of them where they talk about bereavement and I shed a tear watching it. Also the fact that they aren’t being whittled down means we get to learn more about them as the series goes along.

You mention that it’s quite competitive. How does that affect the tribes?
As the series goes on, they become more tribal. The Sharks become SHARKS and the Tigers become TIGERS. They get very competitive to the point that some of them are using techniques to try and sabotage the rival island’s chances. Because they have this fire in their belly and a shared goal to win, both islands become really strong units. The bonds the castaways form and the ups and downs of their friendships is really touching to watch. But as well as being an amazing experience, they always have to keep in mind that it’s a game. Anything can happen. There are lots of twists and lots of turns. Loyalties will be tested and nobody’s place is safe on either island.

What’s your process when it comes to narrating the show?
I have a routine now. I get sent an advanced version of the episode and I run myself a big bath with a glass of red wine. I have my laptop on my laundry basket in the bathroom and watch the whole episode fully to get a sense of where their emotions are and what the big stories are, and I watch it without making any notes. Then the second time I watch it, I watch it through part by part to write my script around it. Then I’m in the booth and recording. But I’ve really looked forward to my Shipwrecked bath and wine time every week!

This is your next big TV project after doing Strictly Come Dancing. What was it like competing on such a huge entertainment show?
It’s incredible to be on a show that’s so loved by so many people. It was such a huge privilege to be asked, because until then the TV stuff I’d done had mainly been on youth programmes and specialist music programmes. To be on the biggest TV show was mad. For me the best part was getting messages from little girls and their mums saying that they were enjoying watching me dance. It was so touching to have that connection with that audience. But also, as a presenter, it was a real honour to be able to work with Tess and Claudia and all the team backstage who are just the best in the business and watch what they do.

Are you still dancing?
I always dance! As soon as the mics are down in the studio on Capital Breakfast, I’m dancing around to Little Mix.

What would your luxury item be?
I would want to take a camera, just to be able to collect my own memories. I know it’s obviously all being filmed, but to be able to save your own mementos of being there would be special.

Shipwrecked starts (28/01) and continues weeknights at 9pm on E4

Agents of SHIELD Season 6 - Official Teaser Trailer

Agent Coulson may be dead, but it looks like Clark Gregg isn't done with Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, judging by the action-packed new teaser trailer for Season 6. Could we be meeting an alternate universe, potentially evil, version of Coulson? Agents of SHIELD returns to ABC this summer, with a premiere date yet to be announced.

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Sky One Commissions Series Three and Four of the Russell Howard Hour

The Russell Howard Hour has been commissioned for a further series three and four whist the second series is currently on air until Thursday 28th February on Sky One. The first series of the topical entertainment show, which sees Russell Howard offer his unique and acclaimed perspective on news and current affairs, was the most successful new non-scripted entertainment series to launch on the channel since 2010 and had over 100 million views across social media. The third, fourteen-part series (14 x 60’) will go into production in autumn 2019.

Phil Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts: “Russell has established himself as one of the foremost satirical voices on TV and online. We are happy as hell that he has a home on Sky One where he can bring our audiences his unique and hilarious take on our messed up world.”

James Taylor, Executive Producer for Avalon said: “We’re delighted that, for at least another 2 years, we’ll be bringing The Russell Howard Hour to Sky One where Russell can continue to navigate through and make us laugh at what must be the bleakest and most terrifying news cycle in living memory.”

Russell Howard said: “I absolutely love doing this show. It's such a ridiculous privilege that I get to write jokes as the world spins out of control.

Riviera returns with first-look image for the second season of the highly anticipated Sky original production

(L – R: Roxanne Duran/Adriana Clios, Dimitri Leonidas/Christos Clios, Lena Olin/Irina Atman, Julia Stiles/Georgina Clios, Juliet Stevenson/Lady Cassandra Eltham, Poppy Delevingne/Daphne Eltham, Alex Lanipekun/Raafi Al-Qaadi, Jack Fox/Nico Eltham) 

It’s recognised as the perfect combination of wealth, power and glamour, but underneath the murky waters of the Cote d'Azur lies a turbulent world of deceit, murder and manipulation. It can only be the return of Sky original production, Riviera, coming soon to Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW TV on the 23rd May, 2019.

Season one of Rivera was Sky’s most successful original drama to date, and the first look image gives fans a taste of what to expect from season two with more glamour, intrigue, and betrayal: all set against the gorgeous backdrop of the playground of the super-rich.

About the show:
Behind every great fortune is a great crime, and the second season of Riviera sees Georgina ( Julia Stiles) focused on trying to get away with murder as she fights to retain power within the Clios household and her position at the top of the elusive art world.

Picking up immediately from the shocking ending of season one, with the Clios family still reeling from the devastation caused by Constantine’s mysterious death, Georgina continues her battle for dominance and control with Irina Clios ( Lena Olin ) and her children Christos (Dimitri Leonidas) and Adriana (Roxanne Duran).

She must also contend with new arrivals, the Eltham family. A dynasty who sail in to the shores of the Cote d'Azur, with secrets of their own. Juliet Stevenson takes on the role of Lady Cassandra Eltham and is joined on the Riviera by her children, the impossibly stylish Daphne (Poppy Delevingne) and the brooding Nico (Jack Fox) and Daphne’s husband Raafi (Alex Lanipekun).

Meanwhile, Georgina is reunited with her charismatic uncle Jeff (Will Arnett) and we learn more about the troubled past she left behind in America.  She also becomes entangled with the handsome and mysterious Noah (GrĂ©gory Fitoussi).

Riviera is a Sky Original Production in association with Altice Studios. Produced by Archery Pictures and Primo Productions, the Executive Producers are Kris Thykier, Paul McGuinness and Cameron Roach for Sky. International distribution is being handled by Sky Vision.

Soft Border Patrol returns to BBC One Northern Ireland

“We patrol the border, but we’re here to let you through.” So say the crack team of Soft Border Patrol officers (SBP), who return with a new five-part series on BBC One Northern Ireland, hitting the highways and byways of Northern Ireland with their very own special brand of ‘border patrolling’.
Such is their strong professionalism and determination to adhere to the law, the teams continue to scour the countryside for anyone or anything found to be unofficially crossing the border by land, sea or along the coast between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Headed up by CEO Lisa McCoy, the SBP teams are a force to be reckoned with - or at least they like to think so.

However all is not as it would seem, as viewers will discover when they tune into Soft Border Patrol.

Beginning on Friday 8 February on BBC One Northern Ireland at 10.35pm, the series has been filmed and set in a version of Northern Ireland where Brexit has meant a soft border.

Once again the new series centres round the antics of teams, patrolling the often twisting highways and byways of the border on push bike and by car, as they try to help commuters cross the border smoothly and swiftly, but not always successfully.

The series features cameo appearances by Nadine Coyle, Hugo Duncan, and Barra Best and country star Lisa McHugh.

Made by the Glasgow-based Comedy Unit, it was developed as part of the BBC Writersroom initiative with BBC NI Comedy.

Most of the dialogue in the series is largely improvised, performed by a cast including Karen Hassan, who plays Soft Border Patrol CEO Lisa McCoy, with Neil Delamere as Niall Sweeney, Head of Virtual Border, and Shane Todd as Laurie Lyle - Head of PR.

The series also features the patrol teams: Diona Doherty (Tracy Jones) and Patrick Buchanan (Connor Lafferty) - the Road Patrol team; Alan Irwin (Sandy Donaldson) from Ground Patrol; Chris Patrick-Simpson (Kris Davis) and Michael Condron (Ben McGregor) - the Rural Patrol team; Faolan Morgan (Derek O’Hara) - Lough Patrol, and Julie Maxwell (Charlene Dunn) and Caroline Curran (Kirsty McDonald), the Coastal Patrol team.

There are additional performances from Michael Redmond, Jack Docherty, Keith Singleton, Elaine Malcolmson and Michael Stranney.

This is multi-territory hilarity featuring a team caught between a rock and a soft place.

Soft Border Patrol is produced by Marie McDonald, executive produced by Justin Binding for BBC Northern Ireland, and by Rab Christie for The Comedy Unit.

Pictured: Julie Maxwell (Charlene Dunn) and Caroline Curran (Kirsty McDonald) are the Coastal Patrol team

BBC One commissions new documentary The Murder Of Jill Dando

In April 1999, one of Britain’s most celebrated and loved television presenters and newsreaders, Jill Dando, known for her work on the 6 o’clock news, Crimewatch and Holiday, was shot and killed on the doorstep of her home in the middle of the day.

It was a crime that reverberated across the country, from the millions of television viewers used to seeing Jill in their living rooms, all the way up to the heart of government - even Her Majesty the Queen commented on Jill’s death.

On the 20th anniversary of her murder this landmark documentary tells the full story behind one of Britain’s most high-profile unsolved killings, as told by the people at the heart of the case.

With access to never-before-seen material from inside one of the largest and most complex murder inquiries ever conducted by the Metropolitan Police, viewers will discover how events played out in real time.

By gathering together the perspectives of detectives, Jill’s colleagues, friends and close family, plus previously unseen archive and photographs, this film goes behind the headlines and speculation to offer unique insights into Jill’s life and the hunt for her murderer.

Did Jill’s celebrity status hinder the chances of her murder being solved? Did the heavy weight of scrutiny hamper detectives as they worked frantically to deliver answers? This film explores the forensics, theories and decision-making behind one of Britain’s most notorious cases, and 20 years on asks whether it will ever be solved.

David Brindley, Head of Commissioning, Popular Factual and Factual Entertainment, says: "Jill was one of the BBC’s most talented and well-loved presenters. Her death sent shockwaves through the country and sparked one of the biggest investigations the Metropolitan Police had ever launched. Twenty years on, with the crime still unsolved, this film will reveal in detail the process of that investigation from those who were closest to it."

The Murder Of Jill Dando (w/t), a 1x60 for BBC One, is made by BBC Studios. The Executive Producer is Joe Mather and the director is Marcus Plowright. It was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Director, TV Content, and David Brindley, Head of Commissioning, Popular Factual and Factual Entertainment.

Thursday, 24 January 2019


Taipei, January, 2019 - Netflix has announced the official production of its original Mandarin series Triad Princess in Taiwan today.

Partnering up with talented playwright-director Neal Wu, known as a leading representative of Taiwanese popular literature and for his acclaimed movie At Cafe 6, Netflix’s original title stars Jasper Liu from More Than Blue, the No. 1 Mandarin blockbuster in Taiwan last year, and upcoming actress Eugenie Liu for her performance in Mon Mon Mon Monsters. The filming will take place in Taipei and Kaohsiung.Triad Princess is the second Mandarin drama series Netflix has invested in Taiwan, following Nowhere Man .

Neal Wu shares, 
“I am a storyteller. You may have known my literary works, music and movies, yet participating in this drama series is a next-level challenge for me. I am excited to work with a global partner such as Netflix, and I believe our creative co-efforts will inspire unexpected chemistry.” Erika North, Director of International Originals at Netflix, adds, “We are very excited to share the unique love story of Triad Princess with audiences around the globe.”

The brand new pairing of Jasper Liu and Eugenie Liu already stirred discussion among fans before production even started. Stepping away from his usual style and taking on an inspired new look to play Xu Yi Hang, an easy-going yet quirky superstar, Jasper Liu says, “When I first read the script, I was both charmed and perplexed by the distinctiveness of the character. I look forward to playing this role and seeing what kind of chemistry will spark working with Netflix and Director Neal Wu.”

Eugenie Liu plays Angie in Triad Princess, a triad boss's daughter-turned-bodyguard who fearlessly pursues her passion, independence and true love while stepping out of the life that was laid out for her. Liu is excited to take this challenge to new heights in a role that is not only physically demanding but also filled with sophisticated performances. She has already started intense training in the hopes of showing off her agility and versatility in front of the camera.

Triad Princess tells the story of sweet but fierce Angie (by Eugenie Liu), who, after growing up under the shadow of her mafia-affiliated father, defies his wishes and takes on a gig as a bodyguard of a famous actress Ling-Yun in an elaborate plan to get closer to her love interest, superstar Xu Yi Hang (played by Jasper Liu), despite the rumours of Ling and Xu’s romantic coupling.

Triad Princess is written by a team of talented screenwriters led by director Neal Wu himself.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Dean Andrews joins the cast of Emmerdale

ITV have announced that Acclaimed actor Dean Andrews is to join Emmerdale this Spring.

The details of Dean’s character are to be kept under wraps by the programme, but it is safe to say he will be stirring up trouble in the village and will soon find himself head to head with Cain Dingle (Jeff Hordley).

Dean is known for his roles in Life On Mars, Ashes to Ashes, Marchlands and Torvill & Dean.

Dean Andrews said: “I have always loved Emmerdale and am thrilled to be joining the cast. As a Yorkshire lad I have always watched the show and think that everything from the acting to the stories are consistently great and I can’t wait to get stuck in.”

Executive Producer, Jane Hudson said:  “We are absolutely delighted that Dean is joining the show. He is a superb actor and his character is certainly going to shake things up for some of our villagers. And as a Yorkshireman he is going to fit into Emmerdale perfectly.”

Winterwatch returns to BBC Two, coming live from its new location at the Cairngorms National Park

Winterwatch will return to BBC Two this year, broadcasting live from its new location in the wildest part of the UK, the Cairngorms National Park: the new, year-round home for The Watches.

Presenters Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Gillian Burke will host the wildlife extravaganza, kicking off the year in the depths of winter in one of the toughest places in the country for our animals. The freezing temperatures and blanket of snow make this an extreme environment to call home, and the team will explore how the local wildlife adapts to get through this toughest of seasons. Naturalist and presenter Iolo Williams also joins the team in the Cairngorms to investigate some of the mysteries of the season.

Winterwatch is just the start however, as 'The Watches' will come back to the Cairngorms throughout the year to cover the changing seasons in Springwatch and Autumnwatch, catching up with some of the year-round residents such as golden and white-tailed eagles, red squirrels and pine martens, as well as meeting the seasonal arrivals as they flock to this wild landscape in spring and summer.

By staying for a full year, the team will get to know the area like never before, exploring the snow-capped mountains, ancient forests, raging rivers and deep, silent lochs in intimate detail, and building up a fuller and more rounded picture than a single visit allows.

As ever, the Watches will reflect the wildlife stories and spectacles across the UK in a series of pre-recorded films - showcasing the diversity of habitats and species that make this group of islands a truly unique place for wildlife.

This Winterwatch there is also a ‘Live Lesson’ run by BBC Teach - a live show broadcast into schools up and down the country based around the habitats and animals that the team will be looking at in the Cairngorms.

And this year, The Watches are thrilled to launch their biggest ever citizen science project - a year of action where viewers of the programme will be tasked with helping our conservation partners build the most comprehensive record of the nation’s wildlife ever assembled in a year.

New international dramas announced for BBC Four

BBC Four has announced new international drama series and returning favourites to the channel.

Safe Harbour - a four-part series from Australia - and returning series Trapped, Follow the Money and Cardinal.

Cassian Harrison, BBC Four Channel Editor, says: 
“As the original home of contemporary international drama on British television, BBC Four continues to fire on all cylinders, bringing choice new titles and returning favourites back to its established Saturday night slot. Ranging from the open seas of the South Pacific to the back-woods of Canada, with - of course - some Nordic wilderness stop-offs along the way, we hope audiences will enjoy our thrilling Spring selections as much as we do.”

Safe Harbour was produced by NBCUniversal International Studios’ Matchbox Pictures and acquired from NBC Universal International Distribution. The powerful four-part psychological thriller begins when six friends set sail on a yacht trip from Brisbane to Indonesia. What begins as an enjoyable holiday adventure unexpectedly changes when they come across a fishing boat only a day’s sail from their destination. The friends come to the aid of a group of asylum seekers on the broken-down boat, but this encounter leads to a series of events that change their lives irrevocably.

After the success of the first series on BBC Four, series two of the acclaimed Icelandic crime drama Trapped returns. Outside Parliament in Reykjavik, a man throws himself at the Minister for Industry, setting fire to them both. Andri Olaffson, now working in Reykjavik, is assigned to the case and quickly learns the attacker was the minister’s twin. Their family’s roots are in the North, in the very area Andri had hoped to leave behind, where his old colleague Hinrika is now Chief of Police. Trouble is brewing in the town, with widespread anger at a power plant, drilling and a proposed aluminium plant. Shortly after Andri’s return the power plant’s foreman is found dead. Are the two incidents - the murder and the attack in Reykjavik - connected? Trapped is produced by RVK Studios and has been acquired from Dynamic Television

Jeppe Gjervig Gram (Borgen) is the showrunner behind Follow the Money (acquired from DR Sales) which returns for a third series. Across the course of the ten episodes, the series shifts from white-collar crime in the world of high financing to the more gritty and rough world of street crime and drug dealing, and focuses on two characters from the previous seasons: Nicky and Alf. Nicky has become a heavy-weight kingpin in the Danish underworld, while Alf is in a new job with one of the Police’s gang units, which The Fraud Squad lends out employees to when the narcotics investigators need to crack the kingpin’s accounts and finances. Alf and Nicky are in direct opposition to each other - and when one of them pulls a clever manoeuver, the other counteracts. A new main character is also introduced, Anna, who is the centre of her own arena - a bank. Anna is the proficient but overlooked bank employee, who is suddenly recognized for her abilities in alternative ways. Throughout the season, she will become an important accomplice in the laundering of the criminals’ money.

Acquired from co-producer and worldwide distributor Entertainment One (eOne), Cardinal also returns for a third series. Series three picks up in autumn and finds a grieving Cardinal torn between obsessive questions about his wife’s death and his loyalty to his partner, Delorme, when a spiralling double murder investigation turns Algonquin Bay into a danger zone, and pushes the two detectives to their limits.

Mark Bonnar and Jamie Sives cast in Guilt - BBC Scotland

Scottish actors Mark Bonnar (Catastrophe, Line Of Duty and Unforgotten) and Jamie Sives (Chernobyl, Frontier, Game Of Thrones), will star in Guilt, a new four-part drama series written by Neil Forsyth (Eric, Ernie And Me, Bob Servant) - the first drama commission for BBC Scotland’s new digital channel.

Guilt is a stylish, contemporary drama with riveting plot twists and a strong vein of black humour throughout. The series will premiere on BBC Scotland’s digital channel and follow on BBC Two later this year.

The story follows two disparate Scottish brothers Max (Bonnar) and Jake (Sives) who, while driving home from a wedding together one night, accidentally run over and kill an old man on a darkened street. After making the panicked decision to cover their tracks, the brothers seem to get away with their crime.

However, as neighbours and relatives of the dead man begin to suspect his death wasn’t as innocent as it initially seemed, the brothers find their lives rapidly falling apart, as their actions begin to catch up with them. Their increasingly desperate attempts to conceal their guilt lead them further into a world where everyone seems to have a hidden agenda and they discover they can trust no-one, ultimately including each other.

Mark Bonnar says: 
"I am hugely excited to be a part of Guilt and to be working with Neil again. The moment I read the first scene I was totally hooked. Neil has managed to write a captivating and breathless thriller which, even in its darkest, most dramatic moments, maintains a pitch black sense of humour. I don’t want to resort to hyperbole, but IT IS a total rollercoaster ride!

Added to that, to be standing shoulder to shoulder with Jamie Sives, whom I’ve known since we were at Leith Academy together aged 11, is joyful beyond words. In fact, Edinburgh plays a central role itself and I’m looking forward to revisiting some old haunts... I can’t wait to get started!”

Jamie Sives says: 
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be involved in what I’m sure will be a cracking drama. Neil has written brilliant scripts for Guilt and I can’t wait to get tangled up in the web he has so expertly woven. Our director Rob McKillop is a special talent and everyone I’ve met so far on this project has been so enthusiastic about it.

I’m also over the moon at the prospect of working with Mark Bonnar. Mark and I went to high school together. It’s really quite surreal to think that he and I sometimes walked to school together and now we’re about to lead up a terrific new drama together, and in the year of the launch of BBC Scotland’s brand new channel. It doesn’t get any better. I’ve been wanting to work with Mark for ages.”

Gavin Smith, Commissioning Executive, Scripted for BBC Scotland, says: 
“To be filming our first original drama locally for the new channel, and have Mark and Jamie starring with Robbie directing, highlights our commitment to Scottish talent. We’re thrilled to be working with Happy Tramp North and Expectation to bring this ambitious project to life.”

Gregor Sharp, Commissioning Editor for BBC Comedy, adds: “We’re delighted to be supporting this hugely exciting project. Neil Forsyth’s scripts are packed with tension, moral ambiguity and off-beat humour, and we can’t wait to see this fantastic array of talent bring them to life.”

Happy Tramp North Executive Producer Neil Webster says: “We’re very excited and proud to be co-producing the first drama for the new BBC Scotland channel. Neil Forsyth has crafted an incredibly gripping story with a brilliantly off-kilter sensibility that puts everyone - the characters and the audience - well and truly through the ringer.”

Kirstie Macdonald, Creative Director for Drama, Expectation, adds: “As soon as I read Neil Forsyth’s script, I was bowled over by the dynamic world he had created and the brilliant characters of brothers Max and Jake. I am delighted to be working with Happy Tramp North on the first drama commission for BBC Scotland’s new channel and to be bringing two of Scotland’s most talented actors Mark and Jamie home to film the project.”

Guilt will be internationally distributed by BBC Studios.

Michelle Keegan to reprise her role as Georgie Lane in BBC One’s Our Girl

You can get Series 1 & 2 from iTunes by clicking here
Series 3 if available on iTunes here

Written and created by Tony Grounds, Michelle Keegan (Our Girl, Tina And Bobby, Brassic) will return to BBC One to lead the fourth series of Our Girl. Made by BBC Studios, this six-part commission will take place one year on from 2 Section’s last tour in Bangladesh.

A positive Georgie is making leaps in her career, having been promoted to Sergeant, and now training a new bunch of medics. Happily living back in Manchester with her family, Georgie is insistent to her friends in 2 Section that she’s happy settled in her new job and will not be joining them on their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan, no matter how much they want her to.

However, when a night on the town results in a near-fatal incident, she can’t deny that the painful memories of losing the love of her life, Elvis, to a Taliban attack, is the real reason she doesn’t want to go back. Georgie realises that she needs to return to Afghanistan to face her own fears.

Michelle Keegan says: “Being in Our Girl has been one of the highlights of my career so far. I feel very lucky to be part of the show and I’m really excited that it's coming back. The audience response has been so positive and I think Georgie is a character who resonates with viewers. I absolutely love playing the role. Be prepared for another incredible series - Georgie’s still got unfinished business.”

Tony Grounds, writer and creator, says: “I’m absolutely delighted that Michelle Keegan will be reprising her role as Georgie Lane for another tour of Our Girl. 2 Section are deployed to Afghanistan as part of Nato’s Resolute Support Mission to develop the military capability of the Afghanistan government’s armed forces. But with the Taliban controlling large swathes of the country and Georgie Lane’s haunting memories of Elvis lost last time she was in the country, this mission was never going to be easy."

Hilary Salmon, Executive Producer for BBC Studios, says: “The new series of Our Girl is an opportunity for us to see Georgie in a new stage of her life, as she comes to terms with life without Elvis and reassesses her relationship to the army and the emotional toll it has taken. We are thrilled that Michelle Keegan will once again star in this new six-part story that is both exciting and moving and contains unexpected twists.”

Mona Qureshi, Executive Producer for BBC One, says: “We’re thrilled to have Michelle Keegan return to BBC One for a new Our Girl tour. Tony’s storylines for this series bring fresh and exciting challenges for Georgie as she battles personal demons, and for 2 Section, who have some new members to accommodate.”

Filming will take place in April for four months in South Africa and other details will be announced in due course.

Our Girl is a 6x60’ BBC Studios production for BBC One. The producer is Yvonne Francas (Love, Lies And Records, Death In Paradise) and executive producers are Tony Grounds, Roberto Troni, Hilary Salmon for BBC Studios and Mona Qureshi for BBC One.

Fred & Rose West The Real Story with Trevor McDonald

Airing Thursday 31st Jan 2019

"Coming back to this story 25 years later, it's still as shocking as it ever was, if not more so". Sir Trevor McDonald
Presented by Sir Trevor McDonald this brand new and very powerful documentary features exclusive interviews and insights into one of most disturbing murder cases in British criminal history – Fred and Rose West and the Gloucester House of Horrors. 
A quarter of a century on from the discovery of the Wests' extraordinary crimes, in which they murdered young women and girls and buried the human remains under their home at 25 Cromwell Street in Gloucester, people at the heart of the story speak for the first time.
Exclusive contributors include former Cromwell Street lodger Jayne Hamer who speaks of hearing screams from the cellar, and tells Sir Trevor how she feels lucky to have left the house alive. We also hear from families of murder victims, including two sisters of Juanita Mott in their first documentary interview. Their sister went missing in 1975, aged eighteen, and her remains were among the nine found at Cromwell St in 1994. Three more sets of human remains were found elsewhere bringing the total number of victims to twelve. 
Trevor McDonald asks the key questions: how did these crimes go undetected for so long, and what role did Rose West play? Viewers will see fresh evidence indicating that at times Rose may in fact have been the driving force in these horrific crimes. Returning to Cromwell Street with Sir Trevor McDonald, contributor and programme producer Howard Sounes explains, “The Wests terrorised their children into not saying anything — "You mustn’t go to the police, or something terrible will happen.’”
A host of other exclusive interviewees include odd-job man Fred West’s former bosses Derek and Wendy Thomson, who had no idea of their employee’s dark side; and John Fitzgerald, the senior social worker who investigated child care issues in the case, as he sheds new light on how the Wests got away with it for so long. Sasha Wass QC, who helped defend Rose in court, gives her first media interview on her client’s sensational 1995 trial. The film also features a powerful exclusive interview with a West family member who has never spoken before on camera.
This programme uncovers new evidence that Rose West was often as violent, if not more violent, than her husband. Although Rose was only fifteen when she met Fred, who was 27 and had already killed, psychologist Professor David Canter suggests in the film that Rose may have played a leading role in the relationship from the outset. 
He says: “I think it’s very probable that she was already very manipulative and she saw in Fred somebody she could manage in some way to achieve what she wanted.”
Although Fred West confessed to the killings in 1994, Rose denied it all – as she still does. Rosemary West was convicted of 10 murders and is one of the very few female prisoners with a whole life tariff meaning she will die in prison. 
A Blink Films production for ITV

Monday, 21 January 2019

Competition: Win Delicious Series 1-3 Complete on DVD

Delicious Series 1-3 Complete Boxset is released on  28th January

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

Passionate cook Gina (Dawn French) was once married to Leo Vincent (Iain Glen), a successful entrepreneur, chef and hotel owner in Cornwall. Now married to the glamorous Sam (Emilia Fox), Leo's business has continued to thrive. When Sam has suspicions that Leo is having an affair she confides in Gina, confident that she'll recognise the signs.

But the secrets and scandals that spill out are proof that sleeping with another woman's husband is never a good idea even if he was your husband first. As Sam and Gina try to fix their broken families, can a friendship rise from the ashes of betrayal? Also starring Sheila Hancock and Vincent Regan, Delicious is an honest and compelling story of love, sex, lies, betrayal and food - where things are never as they seem.

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

For your chance to win just answer the question below.


Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 04-01-19
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.

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Pitching In screening brings the stars to Bangor

Gavin and Stacey stars Larry Lamb and Melanie Walters return to Wales for new family drama on BBC One Wales and BBC One Daytime. Fans have been given a first glimpse of the star-studded BBC Wales and BBC network family drama, Pitching In.

Larry Lamb and Melanie Walters were among the stars of the show who took to the red carpet for the special screening in Pontio Arts Centre, Bangor. The packed-out audience was given an exclusive first look at the programme in an event hosted by BBC Cymru Wales, Bafta Cymru, LA Productions and Wales Screen.

Set in a caravan park on the north Wales coast, Pitching In tells the story of Frank, a widower getting to grips with big changes in his life. It is due to air on February 12 on BBC One Wales, and on BBC One Daytime later this spring, and also stars Hayley Mills, Caroline Sheen and Ifan Huw Dafydd.

Larry Lamb says: “Pitching In was a joy to be a part of. Frank is a lovely character trying his best in a difficult situation, and it was wonderful to be back in Wales to play this part. Although the north Wales coast was as far away as possible from Barry where we filmed Gavin and Stacey, the Welsh welcome was as warm as ever.”

BBC Cymru Wales Head of Commissioning Nick Andrews says: “Pitching In is a wonderful comedy drama which brings together some of the UK’s best-loved actors. It’s superb to see Larry and Melanie together again in Wales for yet another heartwarming story of family and friendship.”

Dan McGolpin, BBC Controller of Programming and Daytime, says: “I can’t wait for people to see Pitching In. It’s packed with lovable and funny characters, played by an exceptionally talented cast.”

Channel 4 logs into The Circle for a second season

Channel 4 has commissioned a second series of ground-breaking reality gameshow series, The Circle with an extended run and a weekly live episode.

The first series – the biggest fixed rig, fast-turnaround show on British tv* – was Channel 4’s most popular new factual entertainment series for young viewers in 2018, proving a massive hit with young audiences on social and critics alike, becoming Channel 4’s youngest profiling show since 2012 with an average of 49.4% profile of 16-24s.  On All 4, The Circle was the biggest new original commission launch since 2012, with over 10 million views.

Produced by Studio Lambert and Motion Content Group, The Circle is the first reality show where players communicate via a social network.  Contestants live in separate apartments in a single building and play games and chat with each other through a unique voice-activated social media platform, called The Circle.  They rate each other frequently, unpopular players are ‘blocked’ and ultimately the most popular player wins a cash prize. 

The second series will see The Circle become more mischievous increasing the gameplay, drama and jeopardy.  Viewers will also be given greater control and increased interactivity with the game.  They will be able to influence how the contestants play – leading to unexpected and surprising consequences…

Kelly Webb-Lamb, Channel 4 Deputy Director of Programmes and Head of Popular Factual commented: “It was a genuine risk to take on such an innovative new reality format, but The Circle absolutely struck a chord with young viewers who were utterly gripped by the drama and relationships that unfolded on screen – even though the players never met.  The second series will have more of what the viewers loved – warmth, humour, more live elements and even more surprises. I’m excited to see how it will build on the success of series one.”

“We were blown away by the love on social media for our entertaining cast and the nightly drama of the show,” says Studio Lambert creative director, Tim Harcourt.  “This year we have some thrilling twists and turns in both our casting and the gameplay. We will also have a weekly live show that offers our audience more chance to engage and make a big impact on the narrative.”

“We have partnered with producers of some of the world’s biggest formats,” says Richard Foster, CEO of the Motion Content Group. “We believe The Circle is one of the most innovative formats for many years and with the support of Channel 4 and Netflix has a bright future in the UK and around the world.” 

In the live final last year, catfishing Alex Hobern, who took on the persona of Kate throughout the series, won a total prize of £75,000.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Netflix reveals the new series Space Force:

Workplace comedy centered around the people tasked with creating a sixth branch of the armed services… Space Force.

Steve Carell, who co-created the series, will star and executive produce

Greg Daniels (The Office (U.S.), King of the Hill, Parks and Recreation), is the co-creator of the series and will serve as showrunner and executive producer

Howard Klein/3Arts (The Office (U.S.), The Mindy Project, Parks and Recreation) will also serve as executive producer

Robert James-Collier & Charlie Hardwick join Ackley Bridge

Robert James-Collier (Downton Abbey) and Charlie Hardwick (Emmerdale) are joining the teaching staff at Ackley Bridge College and are bound to ruffle some feathers.

With the school being taken over by The Valley Trust it’s a new era with deputy head teacher Martin Evershed (Robert James-Collier) and director of behaviour Sue Carp (Charlie Hardwick) being brought in to whip the pupils into shape. Mandy (Jo Joyner) just about remains at the helm of the school and is once again joined by returning cast members Sunetra Sarker, Poppy Lee-Friar and Amy Leigh-Hickman. Series 3 of the Channel 4 8pm drama has begun filming in Halifax and will return to screens for 8x60 new episodes later this year.

RTS Yorkshire Award winning Ackley Bridge was created by Ayub Khan Din (East is East), Kevin Erlis (Shameless) and Malcolm Campbell (Shameless, What Richard Did). The series will be directed by Penny Woolcock (Tina Goes Shopping, Mischief Night, The Death of Klinghoffer, 1 Day), Sarmad Masud (My Pure Land, Hollyoaks), Rachna Suri (Snatches, Our Lad) and Dominic Leclerc (Babs, The A Word, From Darkness). Executive Producers are George Ormond (National Treasure, Kiri, Great Expectations), George Faber (National Treasure, Shameless, Skins), Alexander Lamb (EastEnders, Waterloo Road), Ayub Khan Din (East is East) and Hugo Heppell on behalf of Screen Yorkshire with Jo Johnson (Casualty, EastEnders) serving as Producer.

Robert James-Collier says, ““I am thrilled to be asked to play the part of Martin Evershed, the new Deputy Head At Ackley Bridge. Such fearless and talented young actors bring a special spirit and energy on set and I hope I can learn from that and add to it in my own way.”

Charlie Hardwick commented, “I'm absolutely over the moon to be joining Ackley Bridge, I was already a fan.  It has fantastic characters and brilliantly sharp story-telling which tackles the desires and concerns of a diverse school of young people and their community head on, in full-beam.  It's funny and moving in equal measures and has a huge heart.  Unlike the new director of behaviour Sue Carp.   She is belligerent and unwilling, and instead of dedicating her time to the well-being and development of her teenage students, she appears to be solely concerned with counting down the next ten years to her retirement.   She is unwittingly witty though, and somewhat unintentionally anarchic, which gets the school into deep doodoo and herself into dangerously sackable situations.  I can't wait to play her!  “

The Channel 4 Drama Commissioning Editor for series 3 is Manpreet Dosanjh. It is produced by The Forge in association with Screen Yorkshire.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Danny Dyer discovers he has the blood of a saint in new BBC One documentary

On Who Do You Think You Are? Danny Dyer discovered he was descended from King Edward III - but in new two-part series, Danny Dyer’s Right Royal Family, Danny uncovers an ever bigger family tree with even more royal, aristocratic and saintly ancestors.

In episode one, Danny kicks off his journey by eating sheep’s tongue and fighting like his Viking 35 x great-grandfather, Rollo. Following in the footsteps of his ancestor William the Conqueror, Danny tries his hand at hunting on horse and foot, Norman-style, and finally, Danny heads to Paris to learn about his 26 x great grandfather King Louis IX - also known as Saint Louis of France.

Medieval historian Dr Emily Guerry meets Danny in Pigalle to tell him more about the saintly King Louis IX, who came to the throne in 1226. Emily explains: “He was very religious, very devout. He was anti-bad behaviour. He became a man who actually modelled himself on Jesus Christ and lived to imitate Christ.”

In an attempt to live like Louis IX for a day Danny dresses in a humble robe, and walks the backstreets of Paris barefoot. Emily explains: “The reason Louis IX dressed in this humble manner was to honour his reception of the relic of the crown of thorns of Christ himself, which he was meant to have worn before his crucifixion. He led this jubilant procession through the city of Paris and the people marvelled at the appearance of their king, as he looked like a monk or friar.”

Danny remarks: “I can be told all sorts of information but to actually walk in King Louis IX’s footsteps, to think that he did this as a King... I admire him because he does exactly as he preaches and is showing everybody. He walked for six miles barefoot, in pain, and that you’ve got to respect. Considering the money and power he had and the life he could have lived, I think it’s very brave. Bless him.”

Danny and Emily then visit the Sainte-Chapelle, which was Louis’ personal chapel.

Noting the splendour of the gothic royal chapel, Danny marvels: “When you first walk in here, it made me feel a bit sick. All this beauty. This overwhelming, guttural feeling of *gasps*. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a building that’s more god-like where you think you could see God plotting up in here. If God was gonna have some windows, they’d be his windows [points towards the chapel’s stained glass windows].”

Emily then reveals to Danny that his ancestor was much more than just a king: “There’s actually one more thing I need to tell you about Louis IX. He wasn’t just a king… he was a Saint. Twenty-seven years after his death, the Pope canonised him Saint Louis. There are very few saints that aren’t virgins or martyrs, so to have the blood of a saint in your blood is an extraordinary thing.”

Astounded, Danny says: “It is isn’t it. It’s just so much to take in. I’m related to a saint.”

Emily tells Danny: “That blood is sacred blood. It works miracles in the church.”

Danny replies: “And I’ve got it coursing through my veins.”

Danny Dyer’s Right Royal Family - begins Wednesday 23 January 9pm on BBC One.

Stath Lets Flats returns to C4 for your viewing pleasure

Britain’s worst letting agent Stath will once again be unleashed on the London property market, as writer-performer and rising star Jamie Demetriou's (Fleabag, Paddington 2) Stath Lets Flats is recommissioned by Channel 4 for a brand new 6 x 30 series.

The hopeless Greek-Cypriot lettings agent will face his biggest challenge yet at the family business Michael & Eagle Lettings.

Having been denied the manager’s position by his own father, Vasos (Christos Stergioglou), Stath (Jamie Demetriou) - along with Carole (Katy Wix) and the rest of the team - is forced to work under his arch rival Julian (Dustin Demri-Burns) - and re-think his life goals. His sister Sophie (Natasia Demetriou) is also searching for a new direction after failing at Dance College and publicly denying her feelings for Al (Alistair Roberts).

Stath Lets Flats has been nominated for Best Comedy Programme at the 2019 Broadcast Awards.

Fiona McDermott, Head of Comedy at Channel 4, says: “We did originally say no to this, but he just kept turning up, trying to get into the building.  Sometimes it’s just easier to give in isn’t it?  In all seriousness, we’re thrilled to back Jamie and this gem of a show again.”

Ash Atalla, Managing Director, Roughcut TV, adds: “So happy to be going again on Stath Lets Flats. Jamie is a star. And we’ve all felt the pain of terrible flat viewings, so this is our revenge."

Jamie Demetriou commented: “Lovely to have been given a series 2, mate. Thank you Channel 4 for the ongoing support and faith, and thank you everyone who worked on it. I would formally like to announce that series 2 MIGHT be about Stath and Peter Andre trying to make it in Miami.”

Stath Lets Flats was commissioned by Fiona McDermott, Head of Comedy at Channel 4 and will be overseen by and Jack Bayles and Jon Petrie as Commissioning Editors at Channel 4. Roughcut TV is the production company. The series will be executive produced by Ash Atalla and Jamie Demetriou and produced by Seb Barwell. Series 2 will be written by Jamie Demetriou and the Script Editor will be Robert Popper (Friday Night Dinner).

Stath was developed from Channel 4’s Blaps, the online comedy showcase that uncovers the brightest new comedy stars and freshest TV ideas.

Monday, 14 January 2019

BBC Four announces new programmes that celebrate British diversity

BBC Four has announced a season of new programmes that celebrate British diversity and explores the secret tribes and communities that have helped shape modern British history.
The new programmes which will air on BBC Four across February include A Very British History, a new series unpacking the untold stories of communities across the UK, a series of monologues produced in collaboration with Sir Lenny Henry and The Young Vic, Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle, new contemporary dance piece titled Windrush: Movement Of The People by Phoenix Dance Theatre that celebrates its arrival in the UK in 1948 and Don McCullin: Looking for England which follows the celebrated photographer on his journey to document the country.

Cassian Harrison, Channel Editor, BBC Four, says: "BBC Four is a unique proposition within British TV and we’re always proud to celebrate voices and stories that are less known and often unheard. This season of programming will take viewers into a whole series of hidden corners of our nation and its story. It’s a treat to be working with both established voices such as Sir Lenny Henry and Don McCullin and introducing a new generation of talent to our screens."

A Very British History explores key moments in the 20th century for minority communities across Britain - including the Jewish community in Leeds, Afro-Caribbeans in Birmingham, Romany Gypsies around the home counties and Ugandan Asians in Leicester and beyond. Produced in collaboration by BBC England productions and fronted by presenters from those communities, the series explores the harsh reality many people faced when searching for a new life in Britain. We hear untold stories, from the joyful to the tragic, and follow emotional journeys back in time. Each film is a quest to discover more about the history of communities in multi-cultural Britain.

In association with BBC Arts and in partnership with Sir Lenny Henry’s production company Douglas Road and the Young Vic Theatre, Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle, is eight 15-minute heartfelt monologues set in the front room of an Afro-Caribbean home. The monologues follow the highs and lows of one family from their arrival in England in the 1940s up to the present day as they explore their hopes and desires, challenges and shattered dreams.

They have been curated by the Young Vic’s Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah (Elmina’s Kitchen) and feature some of the UK’s finest acting talent including Sir Lenny Henry (The Long Song), Vinette Robinson (Doctor Who), Montserrat Lombard (Upstart Crow), Danielle Vitalis (Attack the Block), Clifford Samuel (McMafia), Gamba Cole (Damilola: Our Loved Boy), Elliot Barnes-Worrell (Jericho), Jonathan Jules (Invasion Earth), and Olivia-Mai Barrett (Penny On M.A.R.S). The series is produced by Douglas Road and follows similar partnerships - Queers (2017, curated by Mark Gatiss) and the highly-acclaimed Snatches (2018, curated by Vicky Featherstone of the Royal Court Theatre).

The eight films are written by a team of leading writers for television and stage: Carmen Harris (EastEnders), Angie Le Mar (Funny Black Women on the Edge), Roy Williams (Clubland), Juliet Gilkes Romero (Creative Fellow at RSC), Carol Russell (The Story Of Tracy Beaker), Clint Dyer (Sylvia Plath for Royal Court), Nathaniel Martello-White (Blackta for Young Vic), and Kwame Kwei-Armah .

Windrush: Movement of the People is a timely new contemporary dance piece by Phoenix Dance Theatre which celebrates the arrival of the SS Empire Windrush which brought the first large numbers of Caribbean migrants to the UK. The work marks not just the story of the 492 people who arrived from Jamaica at Tilbury dock on 22 June 1948, but also the subsequent stream of migration from former British colonies and the rise of multicultural Britain. It tells the collective history of the immigrants’ dreams, hopes and pain, while celebrating the complexities of their struggle for identity, equality and belonging. The story is retold for the first time through dance on film and performed by Phoenix Dance Theatre’s 10 Company dancers.

The show is the first narrative work created by Artistic Director, Sharon Watson and is underscored by a soundtrack that spans the 70 years with calypso, jazz, blues, ska, gospel, reggae and pop: the music that accompanied the lives of the Caribbean British people and the wider black British communities.

Also from BBC Arts for BBC Four is Don McCullin: Looking For England. It follows the 83 year-old photographer, on a journey to document his country from inner cities to seaside towns. Sixty years after starting out as a photographer, he returns to his old haunts in the East End of London, Bradford, Consett, Eastbourne and Scarborough. Along the way he encounters an array of English characters at The Glyndebourne Festival and Goodwood Revival and photographs a hunt and a group of sabateurs aiming to disrupt them. McCullin’s journey is punctuated by scenes in his darkroom, a place he is allowing cameras into for the first time.

A Very British History is a 4x60' production for BBC Four. It was commissioned by Cassian Harrison, Channel Editor, BBC Four, and Commissioning Editor, Clare Paterson. Executive Producer is Tony Parker.

Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle is a 8x15' production by Douglas Road Productions, in partnership with BBC Arts and the Young Vic theatre for BBC Four. The Executive Producers are Sir Lenny Henry, Kwame Kwei-Armah and Angela Ferreira. Lamia Dabboussy is the Commissioning Editor for the BBC.

Windrush: Movement Of The People was devised by Phoenix Dance Theatre’s Artistic Director Sharon Watson with musical compositions by Christella Litras. The Executive Producers are Emma Cahusac (BBC), Helen Spencer (The Space), and Mark Hollander (Phoenix Dance Theatre). The Producer is Martin Collins and Ross MacGibbon is the Director.

Don McCullin: Looking For England is a 1x60' Bright Yellow Films/Oxford Films production for BBC Four. It was commissioned by Cassian Harrison, Channel Editor, BBC Four, and Mark Bell, BBC Commissioning Editor, Arts. The Executive Producers are Sam Hobkinson and Nicolas Kent.

Rick and Morty get schwifty on Channel 4, E4 and All 4

The brand new and highly anticipated fourth series of Emmy, Critic’s Choice and IGN award-winning Rick and Morty will make its UK premiere on Channel 4, with the first three series airing on E4 from February - the first time ever on free-to-air UK television. This is part of a new brand partnership that will also see hundreds of hours of Adult Swim content being made available to stream for free on All 4.

Described as “the world’s most ingenious animation” (Guardian), and “one of the best shows on television” (Vulture), UK viewers can get up to speed with the duo’s universe-hopping antics on E4. Series 1 to 3 will have the UK flying around Anatomy Park, turning into sentient pickles and bingeing on Interdimensional Cable with our favourite terrified grandson and maniacal genius grandfather from February.

Ian Katz, Channel 4 Director of Programmes, said “Rick and Morty is one of the most anarchic, ingenious and original shows around and the breakthrough animated hit of recent years. I’m thrilled that it’s coming to Channel 4 and E4.”

Rick and Morty will be accompanied by the UK premiere of the Robot Chicken: The Walking Dead Special on E4. This will be the first of a regular new ‘Adult Swim hour’ block on E4, showcasing episodes from different Adult Swim shows that will be available to stream, as full series boxsets, exclusively on All 4 in the UK.

Karl Warner, Controller E4 said, “Adult Swim’s amazing mix of original ideas and anarchic comedy is the perfect brand partner in E4’s evolution.”

Charlie Palmer, Managing Editor All 4, said, “Adult Swim is a fantastic brand with a clear proposition and a devoted fan base. I’m delighted to have it join VICE and Walter Presents as a featured channel on All 4.”

Over 300 episodes of Adult Swim content will be made available at launch, with hundreds more being added over the next three years, sitting in an Adult Swim-branded ‘Featured Channel’ alongside VICE and Walter Presents. The Adult Swim channel will be available on the All 4 app across Channel 4 owned and operated platforms including iOS and Android devices, on big screens such as Amazon Fire TV, Freeview Play and Samsung TVs, as well as games consoles and online at All4.com