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Thursday, 28 February 2019


February 28, 2019, Seoul, Korea – Netflix Inc., the world’s leading internet entertainment service, announced today that it is bringing two new Kids & Family Original Series from Korea in March.

On March 1st, season 2 of the widely beloved animated series Larva Island will debut globally. The zany adventures and slapstick humor of Red and Yellow continue with 13 new episodes. Larva Island, a spinoff of the globally beloved animated series ‘Larva’ - produced by Korean studio TUBAn - was first launched on Netflix in 2018, and has been massively popular by audiences all over the world.

YooHoo to the Rescue, based on the popular Korean brand ‘YooHoo and Friends’, is also launching globally on March 15th. YooHoo to the Rescue, originally created by Korea’s Aurora World, follows five animal friends who live in the magical land of YooTopia. They travel around the world using a wide variety of gadgets to help other animals in trouble. A total of 26 eleven minute episodes will feature characters based on endangered species.

Larva Island Season 2 and YooHoo to the Rescue will only be available on Netflix.

Paddy McGuinness to join ITV2’s Celebrity Juice as the new team captain

After much anticipation, ITV2 and Talkback (part of Fremantle) today confirmed that Paddy McGuinness (Take Me Out, Top Gear) will be the new team captain on the award-winning panel show, Celebrity Juice. Stacey Solomon (Loose Women) will also join the team as a series regular.   

Joining host Keith Lemon and fellow team captain Holly Willoughby, Paddy takes over from Fearne Cotton who, at the end of last year, announced she was leaving the show after ten fun filled years.

Paddy McGuinness says: “I was a guest on the first ever episode and I’ve done every series since so I’ve always felt like part of the Juice family. Keith’s one of my best mates, I love Holly and we all have a natural rapport. I’m looking forward to the chaos!”

Stacey Solomon added: “I’m so bloomin’ excited to be joining the Juice family. I have loved the show since it began and always enjoyed being a guest so to get to be part of the furniture is a dream come true. So here goes nothing. Wahoo.”

Viewers will be able to see the exciting new line up on the most outrageous show on the telebox when Celebrity Juice returns to our screens in March. Across the 10x45 min series, viewers can expect the usual mix of hilarious games, stunts, challenges and celebrity guests.

Other celebrity panellists across the new series include Amanda Holden, Emily Atack, Will Mellor and Johnny Vegas with more guest stars to be announced. 

Jonno Richards, Talkback’s Director of Programmes said: “We can’t wait to get started with Paddy, Holly and Keith on a brand series of Juice. With this line-up, anything could happen!”

Saskia Schuster, ITV’s Comedy Controller added: “We welcome Paddy and Stacey to the Celebrity Juice gang.  All we can predict is unpredictability as they take their seats for the new series. Bring it on!"

The brand-new series of Celebrity Juice was ordered for ITV2 by Saskia Schuster, Controller, Comedy. It is made for ITV2 by Talkback (part of Fremantle) and executive produced by Leon Wilson, Jonno Richards and Dan Baldwin. The Series Producer is Jessie Swanson.

Miley Cyrus, The 1975 and Little Mix announced for Radio 1’s Big Weekend 2019 in Middlesbrough

BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend 2019 - the station’s annual flagship live music event - will be in Middlesbrough this May. Announced on Radio 1 Breakfast with Greg James, Radio 1 will be joined by Miley Cyrus, The 1975, Little Mix, Zara Larsson, Mabel and Khalid.

Taking place at Stewart Park on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 May, an audience of 64,000 BBC Radio 1 fans can expect a huge line-up of over 50 artists comprised of the biggest UK and international artists.

Now in its 16th year, Radio 1’s Big Weekend kicks off the UK’s festival season, as well as taking artists to the cities that may not otherwise host a large scale event like Big Weekend, shining a light on the host city and providing a major boost to the local economy.

Following her recent collaboration with Mark Ronson on ‘Nothing Breaks Like a Heart’, award winning Miley Cyrus will be performing. As will Brit Award winners The 1975, who will play some of their classics, as well as new hits from their recently released album A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships. With four UK number ones and 13 UK Top 10’s under their belt, audiences can also expect show-stopping performances from Little Mix.

With 5 Grammy nominations and his most recent single Talk produced by Disclosure, Khalid will be performing, whilst pop sensation and chart hit Zara Larsson and Brit Award nominee Mabel will be entertaining crowds with their hottest tracks.

Miley Cyrus says: “I’ll be playing Big Weekend in Middlesbrough this year. Hope you’re ready to party, cause I’m bringing my fans their favourite songs and possibly some new ones. See ya in the summer!”

The 1975 say: “We’re delighted to come to the North East for the first UK show of Music For Cars. Radio 1 has been a massive part of our story over the years and this will be our fourth time playing Big Weekend. It’s great to be coming back, this time as headliners.”

Little Mix says: “We are so excited to play Radio 1’s Big Weekend and performing for our beautiful fans. Middlesbrough, we are coming for you!”

Zara Larsson says: “So excited to play Radio 1’s Big Weekend! It’s one of our first UK shows in a while and I can’t wait to play my new songs for you all! The line-up looks sick too! See you in Middlesbrough!”

Mabel says: “I’m so excited to be performing at Radio 1s Big Weekend again this year. The line-up is always sick, so to be a part of it is really amazing!”

Khalid says: “Can’t wait to see you all at Radio 1’s Big Weekend. So excited to play new music for all you guys - hope you’re all ready for this new era.”

Greg James, Radio 1 Breakfast Show Host says: “The listeners are the most important thing about Radio 1 and we think they’re brilliant. Without them, we’d just be a collection of weirdos talking to ourselves in a room so we like to say thanks by pulling in some of the world’s biggest artists to do an enormous music festival for them. We traditionally take Big Weekend to a part of the UK that doesn’t normally get these sorts of events and I can’t wait to take some of the best acts on the planet to Middlesbrough."

Ben Cooper, Controller, BBC Radio 1 says: “Mix together the BBC, the biggest artists in the world and the listeners of Middlesbrough and you’re going to have an amazing Radio 1’s Big Weekend - I can’t wait.”

Dave Budd, Mayor of Middlesbrough says: “The announcement that the 2019 Radio 1 Big Weekend is coming to Stewart Park is a major coup for Middlesbrough - this really promises to be a Brilliantly Boro Big Weekend and we look forward to welcoming the world to Middlesbrough.”

Last year, as part of The Biggest Weekend - the BBC’s biggest ever celebration of music across four sites in four nations - Radio 1 travelled to Singleton Park in Swansea, where they hosted performances from Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Florence & The Machine, Sam Smith and Thirty Seconds to Mars.

The full line-up and ticketing information will be announced on Radio 1 in the coming weeks.

Live sets from Radio 1’s Big Weekend will be broadcast on BBC Radio 1 all weekend. All performances will be available to watch live and on demand on Radio 1’s BBC iPlayer channel.

Emmy-winning international hit The Handmaid’s Tale returns for third season

The third series of multi-Emmy, Golden Globe and BAFTA Award-winning US drama The Handmaid’s Tale returns to Channel 4 in 2019.

At the end of last series, we finally saw the strength of Gilead failing as the women started to rise up and collaborate against the dictatorial regime. Aunt Lydia received the comeuppance she deserved. Amidst the chaos, Serena helped June and Nichole escape – only for June to send Nichole away with Emily in the hope she will have a better life, leaving her to return to Gilead to save Hannah. What will the future hold for June, and will the revolution finally take place? Did Aunt Lydia survive? Will June ever see her daughters again?

The Handmaid’s Tale has won nearly 50 awards, including the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (Elisabeth Moss), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Ann Dowd) and Writing for a Drama Series; Golden Globe for Best Television Series – Drama, and Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama (Elisabeth Moss); and a BAFTA for Best International Programme.

Season three stars Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski, Alexis Bledel, Madeline Brewer, Amanda Brugel, Ann Dowd, O-T Fagbenle, Max Minghella, Samira Wiley and Bradley Whitford. The series was created for television by Bruce Miller (The 100), who serves as the series’ showrunner. The Handmaid’s Tale season three is executive produced by Miller, Warren Littlefield, Elisabeth Moss, Daniel Wilson, Fran Sears, Ilene Chaiken, Eric Tuchman, and Mike Barker. Margaret Atwood is a co-executive producer for the third season of the series. The Handmaid’s Tale is produced by MGM Television and internationally distributed by MGM.

Sunday, 24 February 2019

MotherFatherSon - Tom Rob Smith's original eight-part drama for BBC Two

MotherFatherSon is a new eight-part drama for BBC Two, written by Tom Rob Smith and starring Richard Gere, Helen McCrory, Billy Howle, and Sarah Lancashire.

Max (Richard Gere) owns one of the world’s most influential media empires. Information is his trade: he holds dark secrets on everyone, and uses his power ruthlessly.

His son Caden (Billy Howle) is the youngest ever editor of Max’s prized newspaper, The National Reporter. But Caden is crumbling under the pressure of his father’s expectations, numbing his pain with drugs and excess. When Caden suffers a massive stroke, he’s left like a helpless child, battling to rebuild his life.

For Kathryn (Helen McCrory) - Max’s estranged wife - this is a second chance to be a mother to her son. A respected former journalist from a wealthy British family, she’s determined to reconnect with the sensitive boy Max ripped away from her.

As Max and Kathryn fight for the soul of their son, another fight is about to begin. Caden knows secrets that could bring Max’s empire crashing down. And Caden’s silence can’t be bought. This is a fight for family, a fight for truth - a fight for the heart of the nation.

Cast and Creative Team
Max Finch - Richard Gere
Kathryn Villiers - Helen McCrory
Caden Finch - Billy Howle
Lauren Elgood - Pippa Bennett-Warner
Angela Howard MP - Sarah Lancashire
Maggie Barns - Sinéad Cusack
Nick Caplan - Paul Ready
Scott Ruskin - Joseph Mawle
Jahan Zakari - Danny Sapani
Orla Maguire - Niamh Algar
Kali Elgood - Karen Bryson
Andrew Bentham - Steven Cree

His Dark Materials: Teaser Trailer - BBC

His Dark Materials is an upcoming 2019 British fantasy adventure series based on the novel series of the same name by Philip Pullman. It is being produced by New Line Cinema and Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner of Bad Wolf for BBC One. Before airing, the show was renewed for a second series of eight episodes.

Also, HBO boarded the series as a co-producer, for American airing and international distribution.

Dafne Keen as Lyra Belacqua
Lin-Manuel Miranda as Lee Scoresby
James McAvoy as Lord Asriel
Ruth Wilson as Marisa Coulter

"We’re keeping our daemons close."

Here’s an early sneak peek of His Dark Materials.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Favorites Renée Elise Goldsberry and Chris Conner Return to ALTERED CARBON

Currently in production on Season Two, ALTERED CARBON, the compelling and sophisticated sci-fi drama starring Anthony Mackie as Takeshi Kovacs confirms the return of fan-favorites Renée Elise Goldsberry as Quellcrist Falconer and Chris Conner as Poe.

Also joining the cast: Simone Missick as Trepp; Dina Shihabi is Dig 301, Torben Liebrecht as Colonel Carrera; and James Saito is Tanaseda Hideki. Additional cast to be announced.

A former Protectorate CTAC soldier who became a revolutionary Envoy, and then a mercenary for hire, Kovacs swears allegiance to no man or woman except one: Quellcrist Falconer. His undying quest to reconnect with her spans multiple centuries, planets and sleeves.

A fierce revolutionary leader with a deep bond to Takeshi Kovacs, Quell is driven by her desire to reset the balance between life and death.

A centuries-old, highly-evolved A.I. and loyal companion to Takeshi Kovacs, Poe strives to understand what it means to be human.

An expert bounty hunter, Trepp is known for her ability to track down anyone in the Settled Worlds, for the right price.

An out-of-work A.I. programmed to assist human archeologists, Dig finds a new purpose when she meets Poe.

The dogged leader of a Protectorate Special Forces unit known as the “Wedge,” Colonel Carrera is on the hunt for Takeshi Kovacs.

A centuries-old Yakuza boss, Tanaseda controls organized crime on the planet of Harlan’s World and shares a history with Takeshi Kovacs.

Based on the classic science fiction novels by Richard K. Morgan, ALTERED CARBON is from Skydance Television. Alison Schapker, Laeta Kalogridis and James Middleton serve as executive producers for the series, alongside David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Marcy Ross for Skydance.

Friday, 22 February 2019

BBC Comedy announces six part series for BBC One - The Goes Wrong Show

BBC Comedy, Mischief Screen, Big Talk Productions and Lionsgate UK, have announced a brand new six-part series for BBC One.

The Goes Wrong Show is commissioned by BBC’s Controller of Comedy Commissioning Shane Allen, and Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content and is based on the The Play That Goes Wrong, the internationally successful, award-winning Mischief Theatre brand.

The Goes Wrong Show, will be written by and star the original founding Mischief Theatre members; Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields alongside Nancy Zamit, Charlie Russell, Bryony Corrigan, Greg Tannahill, Dave Hearn and Chris Leask. With their unique brand of physical theatre, the Mischief team will bring all aspects of their globally recognised talents to the television version which will be filmed in front of a live studio audience.

The series sees The Cornley Drama Society undertaking another (overly) ambitious endeavour, held back by prolific over-actor Robert Grove, the screen-hogging Sandra Wilkinson and the artistically mistrusted Dennis Tyde. Six brand new, hand-crafted, half hours of theatrical catastrophe include the gripping courtroom drama 'A Trial to Watch' and World War II spy thriller 'The Pilot' (which is not the pilot). The Goes Wrong Show is simply Mischief’s biggest disaster yet.

Henry Lewis, co-writer and co-founder of Mischief Theatre, says: “Ever since we first began to make things go wrong all the way back in 2012 it has been a dream of ours to bring a series based on this joyful brand of humour to the screen and so when the BBC commissioned The Goes Wrong Show it was a dream come true. We’re so grateful for this incredible opportunity and we can’t wait to get started on making some truly terrible programmes. We are still very short on equipment - if you have a camcorder we can borrow (in any condition) please do fax us.”

Mischief Screen is part of the recently launched Anthology Studios, part of the Anthology Group founded by Bob Benton and run by Hilary Strong. They are working on The Goes Wrong Show with Lionsgate who will be representing the show globally and separately with YTD HK which has acquired Chinese rights directly from Mischief Screen.

Mischief Screen CEO and Executive Producer, Hilary Strong, says: “Mischief has long demonstrated that they have a unique voice in comedy, with a hugely successful global theatre brand, as well as a growing reputation in television. Their particular style of physical humour transcends boundaries in a way that most humour simply cannot do and I am thrilled to be working with them and our partners Big Talk, the BBC, Lionsgate and YTD HK.”

Kenton Allen, CEO and Executive Producer, says: “Everyone at Big Talk Towers have been huge fans of the brilliant comic inventiveness of Henry, Jonathan, Henry and Team Mischief for a very long time, so we are delighted to help them make an entire BBC television series go wrong. The scripts are truly terrible and we haven’t got a clue what we’re doing, so what’s the worst that can happen?”

Shane Allen, Controller of BBC Comedy, says: “The two Christmas specials we’ve backed showed a huge audience appetite for this ensemble’s superbly inventive brand of family friendly comedy. BBC One has a unique role for viewers as the country’s sole provider of mainstream British comedy and it’s particularly gratifying to also be the only UK broadcaster still flying the flag for the studio sitcom with these fast rising stars.”

Lionsgate will sell global television rights mirroring the co-partnership the studio had with the BBC on the award winning, critically acclaimed Motherland. Of the partnership CEO Zygi Kamasa says: “Lionsgate has a reputation for supporting and partnering with the best of British talent. We’re thrilled to partner with our friends at the BBC again on this superb project. We’ve admired all that the Mischief team do for such a long time making this a dream-come-true collaboration.”

Filming begins March 2019 in Manchester.

First look images for upcoming four-part drama Chimerica

Produced by Playground (Wolf Hall, Howards End, Little Women), Lucy Kirkwood’s Chimerica is a powerful and timely four-part thriller about a photojournalist who tries to salvage his career when he’s accused of doctoring one of his award-winning photographs. The series is due to launch on Channel 4 in the spring.

SAG Award-winning Alessandro Nivola (American Hustle, A Most Violent Year, Face/Off) stars as Lee Berger, a dedicated American photojournalist and passionate idealist who has lost his way after years of working in war zones while trying to live up to his early success with the electrifying photograph he took as a young man nearly 30 years ago in Tiananmen Square – an image of a man in a white shirt, a carrier bag in each hand, standing up to the might of the Chinese military, referred to as the Tank Man. But when accusations of fake news are levelled against him, his world falls apart. Desperate to reclaim his credibility, and remember the photographer he used to be, Lee sets out on a journey to find the Tank Man, convinced he is alive and well and living in New York City.

Emmy Award winner Cherry Jones (Transparent, The Handmaid’s Tale, 24) stars as Mel Kincaid, Lee’s old friend and colleague, fiercely intellectual and recently sober. Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe-nominated Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda, The Hollow Crown, The Slap) stars as Tessa Kendrick, a corporate-minded Market Analyst who crosses Lee’s path in China and at home in NYC. Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham (Homeland, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Inside Llewelyn Davis) stars as Lee’s long-time mentor, News Editor Frank Sams, and Terry Chen (Jessica Jones, Unreal) is Zhang Lin, a friend from Lee’s time abroad in China. Young Lee Berger is played by Ty Simpkins (Jurassic World, Iron Man 3).

Based on Lucy Kirkwood’s critically-acclaimed and Olivier Award-winning stage play, Chimerica is a powerful 4 x 60’ thriller that explores not just the relationship between East and West, but also some of the most urgent issues affecting society today. Set against the run-up to the 2016 US Presidential election, the original play has been updated to reflect the giddying political changes of the last two years. The fictional series will bring into even sharper focus vital issues such as fake news, the criminalisation of political protest, our growing ease with the manipulation of fact and image, and the battle between present and future superpowers.

Chimerica is directed by BAFTA nominee Michael Keillor (Line of Duty, Strike, Critical), with Colin Callender and Sophie Gardiner as Executive Producers. Lucy Kirkwood also serves as an Executive Producer. The producer is Adrian Sturges (Fearless, The Enfield Haunting, The Disappearance of Alice Creed).

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Warren - Six-part Martin Clunes comedy beginning on 25 February on BBC One

Created and written by Jimmy Donny Cosgrove and Paul McKenna, this original six part comedy series from Hat Trick Productions centres around the life of Warren Thompson (Martin Clunes), a pedantic driving instructor who thinks the world is against him.

Warren suddenly finds himself in his mid-fifties, forced to move from the south up to Preston when his partner Anne’s (Lisa Millett) father falls ill.

Warren’s living in an area he doesn’t like, doing a job he’s not emotionally cut out for and looking after two teenage stepsons, Charlie (Tim Preston) and Danny (Oscar Morgan) he never wanted.

Never blessed with any sort of patience or a paternal instinct, Warren just wants an easy life. He’s happy with a clean house, a neat garden, and a nice cup of tea. But thanks to his naturally difficult personality, Warren is constantly finding himself in sticky situations. He’s always making life hard for himself and often on the verge of losing it. There are no happy endings for Warren as he grapples against the problems and misunderstandings of his own making.

Trailer for new comedy Home

Trailer for new Channel 4 comedy Home, created and written by Rufus Jones. Sami, an asylum-seeker from Syria arrives in Britain and finds himself living with a family in Dorking, Surrey. Over the next few months, while Sami waits for his application to be processed, he learns more than he expected about the people he’s living with, himself, and his own family somewhere in Europe.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

BBC Two commissions The Hairy Bikers Ride Route 66

The Hairy Bikers (Si King and Dave Myers) are about to embark on their most iconic road trip to date: America’s Route 66, spanning over two thousand miles of tarmac from Chicago to California. The boys will motor through eight different states, all with their own distinct landscapes, history, flavours and people.

Coming to BBC Two later this year, The Hairy Bikers Ride Route 66 is a brand new 6 x 60’ episode series produced by Twofour.

The Bikers' journey will be carved into six legs, in which they’ll visit destinations like Chicago, St Louis and Las Vegas, and travel through incredible landscapes from vast prairies in Oklahoma to the staggering scale of the Grand Canyon. The breadth of food on offer will allow them to experience everything from the very latest L.A. trends to regional specialities that only the locals know about.

Si King says: “America has a multicultural food scene and is the home of some outrageous food. We’re all accustomed to the supersized portions and all-you-can-eat challenges that the USA has become known for, but we’ll be seeking out the best and most diverse cuisine this fascinating country has to offer.”

Dave Myers says: “Route 66 is a bucket-list trip for us and it truly is an American dream to take in the sights and scenery of this part of the world - all whilst enjoying some delicious local delicacies along the way.”

David Brindley, Head of Popular Factual and Factual Entertainment, says: “It’s always a joy to have the Hairy Bikers on our screens, and they are sure to bring the excitement and thrill of this iconic cross-country road trip to audiences on BBC Two later this year.”

Dan Adamson, Director of Programmes at Twofour, says: “This will be the ultimate American road trip and a real treat for fans, celebrating the greatest food, characters and locations along the ‘Mother Road’ of the USA. In this epic adventure the boys serve up plenty of delicious looking food and definitely not just the usual burgers, brisket and BBQ.”

Colin Farrell boards Andrew Haigh’s BBC Two series The North Water for See-Saw Films

Golden Globe-winner Colin Farrell has boarded the BBC Two four-part thriller The North Water, being adapted and directed by multi award-winning Andrew Haigh (Lean On Pete, Looking, Weekend).

Based on the critically acclaimed novel from Ian McGuire, the series will be produced by See-Saw Films for BBC Two and has been commissioned by Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, and Patrick Holland, Controller of BBC Two.

Set in the UK and the ice floes of the Arctic in the late 1850s, The North Water tells the story of Patrick Sumner, a disgraced ex-army surgeon who signs up as ship’s doctor on a whaling expedition to the Arctic. On board he meets Henry Drax (Farrell), the harpooner, a brutish killer whose amorality has been shaped to fit the harshness of his world. Hoping to escape the horrors of his past, Sumner finds himself on an ill-fated journey with a murderous psychopath. In search of redemption, his story becomes a harsh struggle for survival in the Arctic wasteland.

Andrew Haigh says: “Casting the right leads is the most important part of any project and I’m thrilled to have Colin Farrell on board. I am a huge admirer of his work and can't wait to see him bring Drax vividly to life.”

See-Saw Films’ COO Hakan Kousetta and Head of Television Jamie Laurenson, say: "The North Water is a thriller, a survival adventure, and searing study of character and man’s place in the world. We are so proud to have the compelling talent of Colin Farrell on board to bring Andrew Haigh’s vision of Ian McGuire’s novel to the screen.”

This gripping and original novel of murder, mystery and survival has topped critic’s lists around the world and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and named A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice. The story is being brought to life by See-Saw Films, firmly established for delivering multi award winning mini-series and working with extraordinary writers and directors such as Jane Campion for Top Of The Lake and Top Of The Lake: China Girl.

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, says: “Colin Farrell will bring a blend of brutality and humanity to Andrew Haigh’s superb adaptation of this savage novel. The North Water is a brooding and resonant story which is set to grip BBC Two viewers.”

Irish actor Colin Farrell rose to fame in 2003 with his portrayal of Danny Witwer in Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report. Since then, Farrell has acted in a wide variety of roles, winning a Golden Globe in 2009 for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical for In Bruges. Farrell was also nominated for a Golden Globe in the same category for his performance in the critically acclaimed The Lobster. Recently, he starred in the box office success and Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them and the critically acclaimed The Beguiled and The Killing Of A Sacred Deer. Farrell can be currently seen in See-Saw Film’s Widows directed by Academy Award-winner Steve McQueen and starring Viola Davis. He will also star in Disney’s forthcoming live-action remake of Dumbo.

Director, writer and producer Andrew Haigh shot to international acclaim following his heart-wrenching portrait of married life in the Academy Award nominated 45 Years. Adapted and directed by Haigh, the film premiered in Competition at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival where stars Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay won Silver Bears for their performances. 45 Years received numerous awards and nominations including an Academy Award nomination for Rampling and a Bafta nomination for Best British Film. Haigh’s other credits include the breakout hit Weekend (2011) and HBO TV series Looking. Andrew’s latest film Lean On Pete debuted at the Venice, Telluride and Toronto film festivals and has recently been nominated for 4 Bifas including for Best Director. At Venice Film Festival, Lean on Pete star Charlie Plummer received the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best New Young Actor or Actress.

Filming will begin in this autumn.

Sleeping with the Far Right: Interview with Alice Levine

Explain a little bit about what your new documentary is all about.

In what must be the strangest school exchange ever, I went and lived for seven days with Jack Sen, who is a British Nationalist and former member of UKIP and the BNP. I lived with him and his family – his wife, his daughter and his mother – and I went about his business with him in an attempt to understand and dissect his motivations for being drawn to the far right wing of political thought.

Why did you want to make this programme?

It felt like a really pertinent time. The opportunity arose, first of all, which felt like an opportunity that isn’t extended to you very often. And it felt important because of what’s going on in the world around us. The far right seem to be edging closer to mainstream politics in lots of different parts of the world – Brazil, Hungary, America of course – and I suppose people would think of me as being in a leftie bubble, with my job in media, living in Central London, doing a podcast about porn – so it kind of felt like my curiosity got the better of me. I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and see what leads people to these views. I also wanted the challenge of trying to extract as much humour from this bizarre set up as possible and believe it or not there was some.

Why Jack Sen, and how did it come about?                                     

I wouldn’t have known who Jack Sen was before making this film. When we were looking at the far right, the producers were talking to a lot of people in the nationalist movement and beyond, and one name that kept coming up was Jack Sen. He’s not a household name, but he’s someone who’s very connected to power players across the nationalist movement. He’s in regular contact with Dr David Duke, former leader of the KKK. We have an electrifying moment with Nick Griffin, who he does his radio show with. And generally, he is a very, very intriguing man, because he doesn’t really fit the portrait of what perhaps you would think a British nationalist would look or sound like. He’s got an American accent, he’s part-Indian, he’s got a Ukrainian wife, so he felt like a really fascinating subject. And it’s not really a film about politics, it’s film about identity at the heart. So this wasn’t just a chance for someone to recite their manifesto or have a platform to repeat their rhetoric, it had to be about two people getting to know each other. We’re an odd couple, to say the least, so the film is entertaining, and has these strange moments of dark humour. He is a fascinating character, but also somebody who has opinions that are obviously troubling and dangerous, it’s makes for a tense and unique hour.

Why do you think he agreed to it?

I think he hoped that it was going to be an opportunity to disseminate his beliefs on a large scale, a national broadcast platform for him to preach on. I think anybody who has political aspirations, or anyone who has previously been in politics, probably sees it as a great moment to reach some new ears. However, this film definitely isn’t a soapbox for Jack Sen, what we do manage, is to peel back some of the layers of that bravado to see what he is really all about.

He also thought that I was going to be quite a soft touch – there was one point at which he did say he was glad it was me, and he was glad I was a woman, because he thought I’d be maternal. I’m not sure he thought of me in that motherly role by the end though.

How did you get on with the family?

You’re in this really, really strange position, because you’re a houseguest on one level, and you want to be polite and you want to help with dinner, and you want to make sure you’re abiding by all the rules of being a good guest. On the other hand, we’re talking about some incredibly heavy things that you don’t agree with, that you know that you’re going to ultimately end up arguing over. Jack’s mum Faye is a very sweet woman in spite of her beliefs, and we spent some nice time together. She made me cups of tea and a hot water bottle and generally made sure I was okay. But the house was claustrophobic, there was a real tension in the air, and I think that put a pressure on us all.

Faye, in particular, is an enigma, isn’t she?

Yeah, she really is an incredibly intriguing woman. She’s a polyglot, she’s a poet, she watches Fox News on a loop most of the day, she was in a interracial marriage, she’s lived in America and Germany, she is a Nationalist.

She was very kind to us, firstly letting us live in her house for a week but also just the courtesy and patience that she extended to us in conversation. She identifies as a nationalist, but I think our discussions were a lot calmer and a lot more empathetic than those I had with Jack.

Jack is very security conscious – you had a 7pm curfew so he could put on the alarm each night. Is that paranoia, or are there elements out to get him?

As the week progressed, everything became less clear, more smoke, more mirrors. Was there an alarm that was automatically activated at 7:07pm every evening, and deactivated at 9:09am so we were confined to the house? That had a direct call out to the police, which he couldn’t override except with 48 hours’ notice?  I’m not sure, I think almost definitely not. That was just another intriguing part of that week, another attempt for control, another power struggle. A lot of things changed and moved and shifted, so it was always quite hard to pin Jack down and pin the facts down.

Were you ever scared?

I wouldn’t say I was scared for my safety. There were moments when the hairs on my neck stood up because we were in very, very heated conversations, and his mood changed quite dramatically. I was there with the director, we stayed together in the house, I was never on my own. And we had protocols if we needed to step out somewhere else, and the production team rented a house nearby, should we need to go there. That scene where he shouts in my face and calls me an extremist, it was really unpleasant but actually quite rewarding as I felt he showed his true colours, we saw past the supposedly rational veneer.

Towards the end, that very, very electric scene where we talk about Jack’s birth name, I definitely felt the most discomfort then, because he was raging, furious and I think probably a little bit scared in truth. Although I wouldn’t say I ever felt physically in danger, he can do some shocking things online, as we discussed in the film. I told him I was worried that he might disseminate false information about me on the internet that was false, but that could be damaging. I know he has the power and the contacts to make a real impact, reputationally, online. Which is perhaps a more relevant fear in 2019. Not that he’s going to ‘get me’ but that he can push out some vicious things about you on the internet. And also mobilise some nefarious characters to do it for him.

What was the biggest surprise for you, in this whole experience?

I didn’t really expect to make a breakthrough. I didn’t actually think that would happen. He’s so well-rehearsed, he’s made tonnes of speeches before. I didn’t know if we’d ever break through that Nationalism rhetoric, and see Jack, the man. I never really wanted to make a film about the far right, I wanted to make a film about Jack Sen, and use him to see how this happens.

And actually, by the end, we do make a breakthrough, we’re sat on his sofa, and he’s essentially saying to me he felt persecuted, he felt isolated, he felt like he didn’t belong and he didn’t like that feeling. And I thought “That, in itself, is a valid point. We’ve all felt lonely, all felt like we weren’t part of a greater group, felt excluded.” I just don’t think that that’s race-based. I didn’t expect us to ever bond, because I knew we were too politically and ideologically opposed, but actually, at that moment, I thought maybe I understood him a little bit. I thought his framework for breaking down those feelings was flawed, but I understood the core feelings. But not everyone who feels excluded or isolated comes to such extreme views.

So did you finish off the project more or less concerned about the rise of the far right?

It would be easy to dismiss these opinions as niche. People feeling isolated or disenfranchised, or the feeling that this is a very hard moment to be a white man, that is a genuine feeling out there, whether I think it’s valid or not. If you can find a belief system that explains that for you, that is a very powerful thing. And if that framework has hate woven into it, that is a very dangerous thing.

Is Jack going to take over the world single-handedly or become the leader of a huge party – maybe not. But I think all of these conversations, these micro-movements, are really concerning. So it did make me worry about what can catch light. Traditional political forums aren’t the only place that these conversations can have an impact. It doesn’t need to be legitimised members of the establishment on television, making speeches anymore. Social media can be an incredible tool but also a really troubling one.

This is a very different direction for you from a lot of your work. Did you enjoy it, and would you like to do more factual stuff?

I really enjoyed it, once I was out of there. At the time, it was incredibly intense. I think what we’ve ended up with is a really fascinating film. I think it’s a really different take on the far right, on British nationalism. I haven’t seen a film like this before. There’s a lot of places where you can go to understand and to learn what it is that British nationalists believe and feel, and to see them in a political setting. That’s not what this was about. That’s why I was in there. I’m not a journalist or a politician or an activist. I really loved the challenge of it, so I think the next thing I do will be something different.

Lastly, do you ever think Jack has listened to My Dad Wrote a Porno?

I think Jack would be absolutely repulsed by My Dad Wrote a Porno. I think he’d think that it was the beginning of the end. He struggled with me identifying as a feminist, so I’m not sure how he’d cope with My Dad Wrote a Porno. He had very traditional ideals of family life. I think a young woman talking openly about sex? No! He’s quite the prude. He actually said that to me.

In The Line Of Fire With Ross Kemp

Thu 28 Feb 2019
9.00pm - 10.00pm

“It’s so difficult - you’re looking into a darkened car, it’s night-time conditions, you’ve got a little light on the end of your gun, and you’re searching the entire people in that car to make sure they’re all reacting as they should. And if they’re not, what are they doing? Are they hiding something, or are they reaching for a weapon to shoot you with it? And you’ve got to make that split-second decision.” - Pc Clive, South Yorkshire Police armed officer

Part of ITV’s Crime & Punishment strand, this new documentary fronted by Ross Kemp, goes inside tactical firearms teams and out on the beat with officers to investigate whether or not all police should be armed.

For last year's ITV documentary Ross Kemp And The Armed Police, he was given exclusive access to specialised armed police units, and in this follow-up film he goes on the frontline with officers whose experiences of being confronted with lethal weapons have been captured on their body cameras to ask whether police at any level can be left unarmed today.

With armed officers now a more regular presence on Britain’s streets, in stations and at airports, Ross goes out on a raid with a mobile undercover unit used to tackle new dangers with pre-emptive and confrontational tactics. He also gains exclusive access to their military-style training facility.

First, he sees how two unarmed officers deal with a violent man who is threatening them with a kitchen knife, revisiting the scene with two constables, Alex and Debbie, of Northamptonshire Police. After pepper spray proved ineffective against the man who they suspected had taken cocaine, he was restrained with the use of batons. Debbie says: “I honestly thought that Alex was going to be killed, and I tried everything within my power to protect Alex and get some kind of control over this male. At the end of the day Alex and I have worked together a long time, he’s like family to me… If it came to having to use a firearm or wanting to leave the force, I would take the firearm.”

Ross goes out with a covert MASST (Mobile Armed Support To Surveillance Team) on the trail of an individual they suspect has a gun in the West Midlands. After waiting several hours for the raid, then arresting the man using aggressive tactics, one of the anonymous officers says: “We’ll get intelligence from that tonight, and it puts them on the back foot, because they don’t know when the next strike’s going to come, and occasionally we get the intelligence and we get lucky, we get a good seizure of drugs and or firearms and then we’re able to put them in prison and protect the public, which is what we’re here to do.”

Ross asks Dave Sturman, West Midlands Police’s detective superintendent in charge of the team, whether using aggressive tactics and 15 armed officers on one raid is overkill. He says: “Firearms tactics can on the face of it seem to quite aggressive but that is designed with a purpose to get control quickly. You need that domination effect to make it absolutely clear to the opposition that we are in charge and we are going to take them into custody. One of the key factors here is to put the fear back on to them that they are going to get caught and convicted, we must do that if we are going to suppress this problem properly.”

Det Supt Sturman also says the problem is escalating and that the force has had 16 firearms discharges in the last month. Ross visits a counter-terror police training base for the first time - designed to instil military-style tactics into everyday police officers. Ross watches as officers use explosives to gain access to a building and acts as a hostage in a practice raid. Before the officers burst in using stun grenades, Ross says: “It’s actually tense doing this, I mean I know what’s about to happen. Can you imagine what in a real hostage situation they’d actually feel?”

Ross asks one of the officers if he had imagined ever doing such extreme training. The anonymous officer says: “This is a very high-end tactic that you’ve seen us do. The very next day we could be dealing with relatively low-level gun crime, and we go into places that have got plenty of innocent people in there - friends, family, associates - and we still need those policing skills to be able to deal with those people as well. So it’s not always at that level.”

Ross joins Pc Jemma Follows on the beat in Northampton, who says she doesn’t believe all police should be armed - despite an almost daily barrage of assaults. She tells him about the time in late 2017 when she faced down a man who pointed a gun at her - later discovered to be an imitation firearm. Ross asks her if she would have shot him if she was carrying a firearm. She says: “I would have most likely have shot him. That would have been purely because at that moment that gun was pointed at me and I thought for a moment that I’m going to be shot.”

Ross interviews Simon Chesterman, the national lead on armed policing, who says he believes if the threat level continues to increase, all officers could end up being armed, partly down to public and media pressure to act. He says if there are more armed police, it will inevitably lead to more police shooting incidents. He says: “Ultimately, they don’t discharge firearms very often, these are not trigger-happy people. However if you put more armed officers out there, inevitably we’re going to get to more high-risk incidents quicker, and the chances are we will see more police shootings.”

Ross also interviews constables Rob and Gary from Northamptonshire Police, who were involved in an incident that left Rob fighting for his life after being stabbed in the leg with a sword, piercing his femoral artery, which was depicted on their body cams. The man was arrested - but Rob says it could have ended differently if they had been armed. He says: “Certainly colleagues that I have spoken to on the armed response units have said if that had been any one of us there on that night, and received the injury in that way, we’d have drawn our pistols and shot.”

But he explains he wouldn’t want all officers to be armed - just more to be trained in using guns. He says: “The number of incidents that we’re now seeing involving gang violence, they’re carrying guns and yet we’re still deploying with a small can of pepper spray and a baton.”

Ross also meets constable Laura, who has just qualified as an armed officer after ten years on the South Yorkshire force, and is going on her first patrol with her colleague Clive, which results in a dramatic arrest. Ross asks how her family cope with her new role, and Laura says: “My son understands that mummy’s got a gun at work, and I don’t think it’s really sunk in that much at that age, but there will come a point where it will.”

This is a Renegade Pictures/Freshwater Films programme for ITV

Monday, 18 February 2019

Steve Pemberton Joins Cast of Sky One's Hit Comedy Bounty Hunters

Steve Pemberton (The League of Gentlemen, Happy Valley) joins the all-star cast in the second series of Sky original production Bounty Hunters, written by writing duo Freddy Syborn and Jack Whitehall (Bad Education) and produced by Tiger Aspect.

Series two of the Sky One comedy thriller from writing team Jack Whitehall and Freddy Syborn will see Barnaby Walker (Jack Whitehall) and Nina Morales (Rosie Perez) return with a bang ready for more adventures and scrapes in the second instalment of this hit show.

The five-part drama which was filmed in Spain and in the UK, is scheduled to air weekly from 14 March 2019 exclusively on Sky One and TV streaming service NOW TV in the UK and Ireland.

Steve Pemberton joins the stellar cast as Colin McQueen, a history teacher at Eton College whose interests lie more in the ‘specialist’ end of the antiques market which had previously brought him into contact with Nigel Walker (Robert Lindsay). Now, with the freewheeling Nigel dead, Colin wants to get his hands on that final, elusive piece of art and Nigel’s son, Barnaby, might be the man to help him.

Steve Pemberton said: “It was a thrill to be asked by Jack and Freddy to play a sinister private-school teacher with an unhealthy interest in Nazi memorabilia - frankly they had me at ‘sinister’ - and it proved a peach of a role which I devoured (apart from the stone, that would be unhealthy).

A link to the first look trailer can be found here:

The first series, which launched in 2017 to an audience of 1.38 million, became Sky One’s biggest sitcom launch for six years. Series one, which is currently available to watch On Demand on Sky and NOW TV, ended with  Barnaby (Jack Whitehall) and Nina (Rosie Perez) restraining Angel (Christian Ochoa) and abducting him, whilst Leah Walker (Charity Wakefield), ended up in her own predicament as she found herself locked up in a Mexican prison.

Bounty Hunters writers Freddy Syborn and Jack Whitehall said: “We are thrilled to be given an opportunity to delve deeper into the characters we had such fun with in series one. The second series of Bounty Hunters allows us to build on the characters and also gives the audience a glimpse into other storylines.”

Bounty Hunters is produced by Tiger Aspect, the makers of The Other One, Man Like Mobeen and Jack Whitehall: Travels With My Father and part of The Endemol Shine Group. Executive producers are Pippa Brown and Ben Cavey. The series is written by Freddy Syborn and Jack Whitehall with Jeremy Dyson and Keith Akushie joining the writing team for series two.

Both series of Bounty Hunters have been commissioned for Sky by Commissioning Editor Morwenna Gordon and director of programmes for Sky entertainment UK & Ireland Zai Bennett and are internationally distributed by Endemol Shine International.

Star-studded cast join Inside No. 9 for fifth series

With filming underway for the fifth series of the award-winning and critically-acclaimed Inside No. 9, a host of talented actors are set join masterminds Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton as they create six brand new stand-alone stories which promise to bring more exceptionally twisted tales to BBC Two.

The new series follows last year’s live Hallowe’en special Dead Line, which has been cited by The Guardian’s TV reviewers as the best TV episode of 2018. Season five will stay true to the show’s anthology format, with each episode bringing an original story, a cast of new characters and surprising twists in the most unexpected of places. Combining horror, thriller, drama and comedy, Inside No. 9 never fails to amaze, delight, unnerve and amuse in equal measures, with series four treating audiences to an episode written entirely in iambic pentameter and a murder mystery told in reverse chronological order.

As ever, there will be a stellar cast joining Reece and Steve: the line-up includes Maxine Peake (Silk, Three Girls), Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who, Victoria), David Morrissey (The Missing), Dipo Ola (Baghdad Central), Phil Davis (Vera Drake, Whitechapel), Ralf Little (The Royle Family, Two Pints of Lager), Jill Halfpenny (Three Girls, In The Club), Steve Speirs (Star Wars, Upstart Crow), Tom Goodman-Hill (Ideal, Mr Selfridge), Fionn Whitehead (Dunkirk, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch), Kadiff Kirwan (Chewing Gum, Black Mirror: Nosedive), Debbie Rush (Coronation Street) and Ioanna Kimbook (recently cast opposite John Malkovich in the new David Mamet play Bitter Wheat).

Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton say: “We’re delighted to announce a guest cast brimming with both emerging and established talent, all judiciously chosen to make us look a bit classier by association.”

Shane Allen, Controller, BBC Comedy Commissioning, says: “Reece and Steve consistently dazzle and delight with what is undoubtedly the most inventively prolific storytelling series on television. Their ability to subvert and surprise makes each show a unique experience for the viewers. It’s the antidote to a world of familiar cosy TV formats.”

Last year, Reece and Steve won the Writer: Comedy Bafta Award for The Bill (from series three), with series four winning the South Bank Show Award for Comedy. This year, Inside No. 9 scooped up two wins in the Comedy.co.uk Awards, Best Comedy Drama and Comedy of the Year for 2018, following on from the same double win the previous year and breaking records as the first time a show as had a double consecutive win in the award's 13 year history. These awards add to the growing list of wins that include the Writers’ Guild Award for the Best TV Situation Comedy in 2017, the Rose d’Or Television Comedy Award (2016), the RTS Programme Award for Comedy Performance (2015), and two major prizes at the Banff World Media Festival (2014).

One of the six new films in this series will be directed by Steve Pemberton, returning to the role after Cold Comfort and Nana’s Party from the 2015 series. Guillem Morales (Julia’s Eyes, Decline and Fall) returns to direct three further films, with the two remaining films directed by Matt Lipsey (Psychoville, Upstart Crow)

This Time with Alan Partridge - Q&A

Alan Partridge is returning to the BBC to fill in for regular presenter John Baskell as Jennie Gresham’s co-host on the popular magazine show This Time. Alan took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to tell us what we can expect...

Alan Partridge, it’s been 25 years since your last BBC presenting job.
It has. But very soon I’ll be parking ma backside on the This Time sofa, just inches from regular host Jennie Gresham, a broadcaster I genuinely admire. If it’s not verboten to say this in the current climate, she’s the thinking man’s thinking woman and provides not just eye candy, but ear candy and even brain candy too at times. She’s that good.

How did your return to live TV come about?
Well, as you may have read, regular presenter John Baskell has become rendered unwell - it’s not my place to divulge the nature of his illness but I believe it’s to do with his heart, brought on by good living and his almost heroic refusal to ever exercise. So with a few days’ notice, I got the call. And although my schedule is as clogged as John’s arteries (get well, John) I consider it my public duty to stand in for as long as John is away. Anyway, it won’t be for long. If John can fight this with a fraction of the vigour he uses to fight for presenting work he knows has already been promised to other people, he’ll be on his feet again in no time.

You’re used to helming your own shows. Have you co-presented before?
I’ve presented daytime radio alongside a man called Simon Denton for several years. But that’s not co-presenting. In relation to me, Simon’s position contractually is one of total subordination. He’s a sidekick - at best. And he knows that.

So no, co-presenting is not a dynamic I’m used to, but I’ve been working on a few things. So when Jennie’s reading the autocue I might turn my head to face her to simulate listening, or frown solemnly if she mentions ‘cancer’, or wait until it’s my turn to speak and then prefix it with ‘That’s right, Jennie.’ Loads of things you can do.

How do you and Jennie get along?
Gotta say, we’ve only just met but already we have a chemistry that sizzles like liver in a hot pan and crackles like a genuine house fire. We joke about it ourselves! I said to her, “Jennie, in the words of Grease, we go together like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong.” And did she laugh! (Yes.)

What can you tell us about the show? Are you a fan of This Time?
If I’m honest, I’m not super-clued-up on the show itself? I’m not an avid watcher of BBC One, since I don’t like documentaries about supermarkets or period dramas featuring bonnets. But I’ve circled a bit on a This Time press release here that describes it as a '30-minute mixture of studio chat, rigorous interview, hard-hitting VTs and a generous helping of fun, covering news, issues and consumer affairs'. Whereas I’m more of a Nazi Megastructures man.

It’s a little more serious-minded that the rest of your output.
I’m cool with that. I pull no punches, push the envelope and punch my weight when push comes to shove - if that makes sense.

How would you sum it up?
Ha! Believe me, I don’t have the time to sit around thinking up marketing taglines for the show. Wish I did! But I suppose if pushed I’d say something like: if you’ve got time to give This Time your time, then it’s time to let This Time spend time making your time a good time on This Time with me, Alan Partridge and I’m sorry I’ve forgotten the woman’s name,

Jennie Gresham.
Thank you.

What changes can we expect with you in the hot seat?
And it is a hot seat. There’s an exposed bit of metal frame that cooks under the studio lights and if you sit right back and your shirt rides up, it scalds you on the back. So you just have to sit forward and/or make your shirt stays tucked in.

And what changes can we expect?
Fear not, I’m not going to eff with a winning formula. But I do have a phalanx of fresh ideas that’ll benefit the show no end, including the introduction of my longtime radio sidekick Simon Denton. Adept at reading out tweets and providing a sideways look at news, he’ll be our social media reader-outer.

Anything to add?
Not really, just please please please please please please please watch the show.

BBC One's Ambulance confirmed for a heart-stopping fifth series

BBC One and Dragonfly Film and Television, part of Endemol Shine UK, have today announced that a fifth series of the Bafta award-winning observational documentary Ambulance has been commissioned.

Renowned for its unflinching but humane insight into the frontline of emergency health care in the UK, Ambulance is expanding its coverage across the North West, featuring the work of paramedics in Liverpool and across the whole of Merseyside, a whole new set of faces will feature in this latest instalment (12x60’).

With unprecedented access to the crews, and the decision takers in the control centre the new series will also keep audiences up-to-date with the North West Ambulance Service’s work across Greater Manchester, as winter throws everything it has got at the service, pushing it to its limit.

Cameras will remain into spring, as the brand new teams in Merseyside face the complexities of making the life or death decisions that come with providing emergency medical care in their area.

Beejal-Maya Patel, BBC Documentaries Commissioning Executive, says: "I'm really excited that Ambulance will be returning to BBC One for a fifth series, this time filmed in the North West during a crucial time for the emergency services. The programme's dramatic 360 storytelling will reveal the pressures they are under as well as explore the bigger picture of the challenges facing society."

Richard Bond, Creative Director of Dragonfly, says: “With the NHS facing unprecedented demands, this new series could not be more timely, and we’re privileged that NWAS have allowed our cameras back in to capture their extraordinary work on the frontline of the winter crisis.”

Last year Ambulance delivered an average audience of 3.8million viewers and a 16.5% audience share.

The executive producers for Dragonfly will be Tom Currie and Simon Ford. It was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Director, BBC Content and Clare Sillery, Head of Commissioning, Documentaries. The BBC Commissioning Executive is Beejal-Maya Patel.

Nadiya Hussain returns with new BBC Two series, Time To Eat With Nadiya

We’re a nation that loves to cook and eat delicious food. But… we don’t always have the time. Unsociable working hours, active lifestyles and complicated family routines mean it’s not always easy to make Time To Eat.

And Nadiya Hussain’s life is no different. However, her clever time-saving kitchen hacks ensure she can always make meal times special, no matter how hectic her life is. And in this series she’s revealing her secrets by showcasing simple but delicious recipes that won’t break the budget, and can be slotted into our busy lives.

Nadiya will cook up delicious time-saving recipes for the end of a busy day, bakes that can be rustled up in a rush, effortlessly impressive meals, and simple sweet treats that take no time at all.

Trying out these scrumptious dishes will be the people who work in the 24-hour non-stop world of food production to make the time-saving ingredients Nadiya loves to cook with. And she won’t just be feeding the workers either - in each episode she’ll be put to work so that she can get an appreciation of the process - what goes into picking, collecting or making one of her shortcut ingredients. There’ll be early morning milking, late night mushroom picking, and she’ll be on the production lines helping to create everything from yoghurt to chocolate bars and golden syrup.

Nadiya says: “We’re a nation that loves to cook and eat delicious food but we don’t always have the time with our busy working hours and family routines. Busy lives deserve delicious meals.”

Nadiya will also go to the rescue of British households who struggle to find the time to cook. She’ll meet everyone from firefighters to truckers to busy working mums and dads, and she will teach each of them a tasty, time-saving recipe that can fit seamlessly into their hectic lives.

Competition: Win A Place to Call Home - Series 6 on DVD

A Place to Call Home - Series 6 is released on  25th February

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

In the final series of the critically acclaimed, award-winning drama, Marta Dusseldorp resumes her role as resilient nurse Sarah Nordman, finally marrying wealthy landowner George Bligh. But as Sarah takes her place as Lady of Ash Park, George's mother, Elizabeth, feels pushed out of the household that she ran for decades. George s son, James, returns from abroad to start a new business in Sydney, while his daughter, Anna, lives in Hawaii with her sister-in-law, hiding a secret from the rest of the family. As the Blighs journey back to each other, they face tragedies, betrayals, and new beginnings that will challenge their relationships and change the courses of their lives. Set in 1959 Australia, A Place to Call Home blends A-Grade period drama (The Guardian) with Pointed social critique (The New York Times).

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

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

Competition Closed

Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 04-03-19
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, 16 February 2019

Filming begins for second series of psychological thriller Hidden/Craith

BBC Cymru Wales and S4C have confirmed that filming has begun for the second series of the hit psychological crime drama Hidden/Craith.

The BBC Cymru Wales/S4C co-commission, which aired as Craith on S4C first and then as Hidden on BBC One Wales and BBC Four - will return to TV screens this autumn on S4C and on the BBC at a later date. The series is also backed by distributors All3media.

Cadi John (Sian Reese-Williams) and Owen Vaughan (Sion Alun Davies) return for the second series, as this time another murder leads them into the shadows of the slate-strewn mountains of Blaenau Ffestiniog to unlock more dark secrets.

Hidden/Craith is the latest in the Cymru noir genre that has captivated audiences since Y Gwyll/Hinterland first aired in 2013. Made by Severn Screen, Hidden/Craith brings together the same production team as the first series, including Executive Producer Ed Talfan and Series Producer Hannah Thomas. Gareth Bryn and Chris Foster will direct, whilst award-winning author Caryl Lewis returns as part of the writing team.

BBC Wales Head of Commissioning, Nick Andrews, says: “Hidden proved to be a real hit with audiences in Wales and right across the UK, so it’s no surprise that we wanted to commission a second series. This wonderfully dark crime series is made all the more menacing because it’s set against the rugged backdrop of north Wales. The second series will take us to Blaenau Ffestiniog and I’m sure audiences will be as excited as I am to see this captivating drama return.”

Amanda Rees, S4C’s Commissioning Director, says: “We are thrilled to bring this hugely popular drama co-production back to the screen. The first series of Craith proved to be a big success here in Wales and across the world and its local universal appeal attracted international audiences. The unique, relevant and current stories that’s part of the second series will leave our viewers at the edge of their seats, and we hope that audiences will enjoy Craith once more.”

Maartje Horchner, EVP Content at All3media, says: “We are delighted to be working with such fantastic team on this series and are so thrilled by the positive reception we’ve received for Hidden from our overseas partners.”

Series producer, Hannah Thomas, says: “It's great to be able to bring so many members of the production team and cast back together for a second series and we can't wait to introduce another intense story to the audience. Blaenau Ffestiniog is an amazing place to film and shows yet another facet of the spectacular north Wales landscape that was so central to our first series.”

Graham Norton and Alan Carr confirmed as celebrity judges for RuPaul’s Drag Race UK - series to air on BBC Three in 2019

BBC Three has confirmed two of TV’s best loved presenters and personalities, Graham Norton and Alan Carr, will be joining RuPaul and Michelle Visage on the judging panel for RuPaul’s Drag Race UK.

Eight-time Bafta TV award-winner Graham Norton is no stranger to RuPaul’s Drag Race, having already appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars season two in the US as a guest judge in 2016. Whilst comedian Alan Carr is a long-time fan of RuPaul, having made his acquaintance when Ru appeared on his chat show Alan Carr’s Chatty Man.

Both Graham and Alan share a passion for the drag scene and RuPaul’s Drag Race.

The first UK adaption of the global hit will showcase the most fabulous drag queens that the UK has to offer, and Graham and Alan will appear as rotating resident judges. Each week, they will join RuPaul, Michelle Visage and a celebrity guest judge.

For the grand finale, Graham and Alan will both appear on the judging panel alongside previously announced judge Michelle Visage, where together they will assist host RuPaul in crowning the UK's Next Drag Superstar.

Graham Norton says: “Becoming part of the drag race family makes me ridiculously happy! I can’t wait to see what the UK drag queens bring to the party, but they better weeeeerk!!!”

Alan Carr, says: “Wow! To be sat next to Michelle Visage and Mama Ru as a guest judge on possibly one of my all-time favourite shows EVER is a dream come true. I can’t wait to see what the UK Queens have got in store - it’s going to be sickening! *does death drop*”

RuPaul, says: "I was both shocked and delighted when Graham and Alan told me they’d be wearing tucking panties when sitting at the judges' table. I told them it was not necessary, but they insisted. Now that’s what I call dedication!"

Kate Phillips, Controller, Entertainment Commissioning, says: “I am so excited that self-confessed Drag Race fans Graham and Alan have agreed to join Ru and Michelle on our judging panel. Their immense wit and wisdom will be invaluable in ensuring the most deserving Queen sashays away with the title.”

Stephen Jardine to present flagship debate programme on new BBC Scotland channel

Stephen Jardine will take the presenter’s chair on Debate Night - the flagship current affairs debate show on the new BBC Scotland channel which launches on 24 February.

The first of 24 episodes will air on Wednesday 27 February at 10.45 pm during the channel’s launch week. Each hour-long programme will allow a studio audience to lead the agenda and put their questions to those in positions of power in Scotland. Stephen will be joined by a panel made up of politicians, leaders of public bodies and opinion formers to get answers to the questions which Scotland is asking.

Audiences and the panellists will be drawn from right across the spectrum of Scottish public opinion, and they will have the chance to debate issues at the top of the agenda, from Scotland or around the world, in a lively and enlightening format.

Stephen said: “I’m delighted to be hosting Debate Night. At this time in particular, Scotland should have a programme bringing politicians and the people together and that is what I want this to be. It is a privilege and a responsibility to be tasked with such a big show and I look forward to making Debate Night a great forum for Scotland to share views and opinions in an open and civilised way”.

A graduate of Edinburgh University and the journalism course at University College Cardiff, Stephen started his career with Radio Tay before joining GMTV as Scotland Correspondent and then Europe Correspondent based in Paris. In 2000 he moved to STV to present the nightly news show Scotland Today and a raft of other programmes including the Sunday politics programmes Sunday Live and Seven Days. For his work, Stephen was presented with a Royal Television Society Awards. Stephen currently presents programmes on BBC Radio Scotland.

Daniel Maxwell, Executive Producer, BBC Scotland, says: "Stephen has a first class track record in broadcast journalism and we’re delighted he will be in the chair for Debate Night. He is an excellent communicator and facilitator with a sure grasp of all the key political, cultural and social issues that resonate in Scotland."

Tony Nellany, BBC Scotland Channel Manager, says: "One of the key aims of the channel is to produce content that will engage our audiences and give them a say on the big issues of the day. Debate Night will do just that under the expert stewardship of Stephen whose authoritative and inclusive presenting style is ideally suited to this format."

Virtual reality special of Doctor Who coming soon from the BBC

Doctor Who fans will soon be able to step inside a virtual reality version of the TARDIS in an upcoming immersive VR adventure called Doctor Who: The Runaway.

The new original story set in the TARDIS will see Jodie Whittaker reprise her role as the Doctor in animated form. It will run for around 12 minutes and will be available on selected VR headsets in the coming months.

Viewers will join the Thirteenth Doctor on board the TARDIS in this animated interactive story from the BBC and Passion Animation Studios. Fans will get the chance to be the Doctor's champion and help her on this exciting adventure, as they find themselves at the centre of the action facing a deadly threat.

Jo Pearce, creative director for the BBC's digital drama team, says: “Fans will experience the TARDIS like never before in this thrilling new interactive story. As ever, the Doctor is full of warmth, wit and charm - helped by a wonderful performance from Jodie - which puts fans at the heart of the story as they immerse themselves in this beautifully animated world.”

Zillah Watson, head of BBC VR Hub, says: “Our team at the BBC VR Hub has been creating new experiences with the goal of helping to usher virtual reality into the mainstream, and Doctor Who is exactly the sort of series that can help more people to try this new technology. The show has been pushing boundaries for over 55 years, and VR enables Doctor Who to explore a whole new dimension of storytelling.”

Featuring new original music from series composer Segun Akinola, Doctor Who: The Runaway has been written by Victoria Asare-Archer and directed by Mathias Chelebourg, whose previous VR films include Alice, the Virtual Reality Play and The Real Thing VR. It has been produced by the BBC’s digital drama team, BBC VR Hub and Passion Animation Studios.

Cillian Murphy to join BBC Radio 6 Music for a run of shows

Actor Cillian Murphy is set to join BBC Radio 6 Music for a run of shows as Guy Garvey takes an extended break to work on his next album.

Cillian Murphy on 6 Music is on Sundays, 2-4pm, from 3 March until Summer 2019, also available on BBC Sounds.

Well known for his role as Tommy Shelby in the Bafta award-winning drama, Peaky Blinders - which will transfer to BBC One for its fifth season - the Irish actor is also celebrated for his roles in the films Dunkirk, Inception, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Breakfast on Pluto and 28 Days Later. And from 25 March - 13 April, Cillian stars in Grief is the Thing with Feathers on stage at The Barbican.

Cillian Murphy says: "As a music lover, mixtape obsessive and long-time 6 Music fan I couldn’t be more chuffed to be asked to sit in for Guy on his hiatus. His show has been a constant companion for me and my family on Sunday afternoons for many years now, and it will be an honour to pick the tunes in that slot for a while. 6 Music is the best radio station in the world and I look forward to becoming a temporary houseguest!"

Paul Rodgers, Head of 6 Music, says: “We’re delighted Cillian will be joining 6 Music for the next few months. His music selections are always interesting and I think listeners will love hearing him on 6 Music on Sunday afternoons.”

Guy Garvey says: "I am taking a couple of months off to concentrate on the final stages of Elbow’s next record. Murphy is a bit too good actually, I’ve heard him before and he knows his onions. I obviously have to watch my back, but he’s nowhere near as good looking as me so I’ll win on that front."

Cillian has previously presented several one-off shows on 6 Music since 2013 - The Sound of Cinema, Cillian Murphy’s 6 Music Playlist (2016), two weeks standing in for Iggy Pop (2018) and a special show last Christmas when he played his favourite artists which featured the best of 2018 plus Irish musicians new and old.

He has a love of music, beginning his performing career as a rock musician. After turning down a record deal with renowned label Acid Jazz, he began his acting career in theatre with his professional debut in the play Disco Pigs in 1996. He also directed the music video for the track Hold Me Forever by Money in 2013

Holby City and Casualty to air special crossover episodes

For the first time since 2005, the cast of Holby City and Casualty will join forces for a two-part crossover special on BBC One, as the staff of the emergency department and the wards come together when Holby City Hospital is plunged into chaos.

Characters from both series will interact as their storylines are intertwined across the two dramatic, action-packed episodes.

A major cyber-attack plunges Holby into blackout and disables most of the hospital’s automated monitoring equipment. At the same time Sacha (Bob Barrett) is in a car crash which injures his daughter Bekka (Francesca Barrett) and Ric’s (Hugh Quarshie) granddaughter Darla (Naomi Katiyo), one of whom might be pregnant.

Fighting a different battle among the chaos, Connie (Amanda Mealing) is left to save the life of a member of her own team with surgery. As Sasha’s injuries become apparent Jac (Rosie Marcel) comes to his rescue and is ready to operate but with only one theatre available in the blackout, Connie and Jac have to make the impossible decision - which of their friends to try to save first.

Simon Harper, Executive Producer of Holby City and Casualty, says: “We’ve known for some time there’s been major audience appetite for a mega crossover between these sister shows, so that’s exactly what we are serving up! You’ll see both the Casualty and Holby teams striving heroically against the odds in two episodes of pure, nail-biting, taut, emotional medical drama.

"I’m quite literally in awe of Michelle Lipton’s writing achievement and Steve Brett’s direction in pulling off this double, and so proud of both the Cardiff Casualty and Elstree Holby crews and casts in making the mind-boggling logistics work, quite aside from their creative wizardry. There’s so much to relish in the cross-show character interactions: an especially poignant thematic resonance between two regulars, Connie and Jac, in delicious conflict, and perhaps most vitally, who from Casualty has been secretly carrying on with whom from Holby!”

The crossover will begin during Casualty on Saturday 2 March and will conclude during Holby City on Tuesday 5 March on BBC One.

Throughout 2019, Holby City is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a host of guest appearances from previous Holby characters and fan favourites across the year. Amanda Mealing will be the latest returner in the crossover, coming back to her old stomping ground in Holby as Connie Beauchamp.

Ardal O’Hanlon to join the Derry Girls for Series 2

The Derry Girls have a new fella joining the family - celebrated Irish comedian and actor Ardal O’Hanlon (Father Ted) is set to appear in Series 2. O’Hanlon will make a special guest appearance as Eamonn; the awkward, middle-aged mummy’s boy of the Quinn/McCool extended family.

Series 2 of the hit Channel 4 comedy has wrapped filming and will return to screens with 6x30’ new episodes in March 2019.

Fans will have to wait and see what shenanigans the gang get up to, but rest assured, Erin Quinn (Saoirse Monica Jackson), her cousin Orla McCool (Louisa Harland) and friends Clare Devlin (Nicola Coughlan), Michelle Mallon (Jamie-Lee O'Donnell) and Michelle’s tag along English cousin, aka The Wee English Fella, James Maguire (Dylan Llewellyn) will be back, navigating their teens in 1990’s Derry in their hilarious, unique, yet all too familiar fashion.

Derry Girls is the creation of acclaimed writer Lisa McGee who has mined her own experiences to create a candid, one-of-a-kind, family-centred comedy set against the backdrop of The Troubles.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

The All New Monty Ladies Night: Who Bares Wins

Coleen Nolan and Victoria Derbyshire took part in the first female show last year (Image: ITV)

As the men prepare to reveal all for ITV’s The All New Monty 2019: Who Bares Wins, a group of brave women celebrities are getting ready to outdo their male counterparts in baring all for The All New Monty Ladies Night: Who Bares Wins.

Legendary tennis icon Martina Navratilova, EastEnders star Laurie Brett, Love Island’s Megan Barton-Hanson, So Solid Crew’s Lisa Maffia, TOWIE’s Danielle Armstrong, and Benidorm’s Crissy Rock are gearing up to put their inhibitions aside and lay their bodies and emotions bare, to boost awareness of women’s cancers.

Planning a brand-new routine for this award-winning show, Coleen Nolan, Victoria Derbyshire and Ashley Banjo will be showing the ladies the ropes and providing support and motivation to inspire them to put on the performance of their lives and, in doing so, encourage women to examine their breasts, have regular cervical smear checks and be more health aware regarding their bodies.

This year Coleen and Victoria are determined that their women, for all of whom women’s cancers are close to their hearts, will make Ladies Night bigger and better than ever before and are planning to out-dance and out-perform the men to prove She Who Bares, Wins!

Coleen Nolan said:

"I can't quite believe I'm putting myself through this again! But the response last year from millions of women feeling empowered to check themselves was so incredible that I’m absolutely thrilled to be back leading our new line-up of fabulous ladies help break down barriers and get women talking about health checks. Having seen first-hand how critical finding cancer early can be, I really hope we can reach and encourage as many women as possible to check their breasts as last time, which ultimately can save lives.”

Victoria Derbyshire said:

“I’m so, so proud of how many women took on board our message of checking themselves after last year’s show that I’m totally thrilled to be part of it again.”

Ashley Banjo said:

“Helping last year’s incredible set of women pull together their performance really was one of my proudest moments; that makes me nervous but also extremely excited to be on this journey with this year’s brave group of women.  They have got a lot of hard work in front of them but they know it will be worth it in the end, raising awareness of women’s cancers to millions. With Victoria and Coleen back, leading the team, I think it’s going to be another very special moment. I can’t wait!”