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Saturday, 30 March 2019

The Final Season of Easy is Coming May 10

Creator Joe Swanberg’s “Easy,” returns for a third and final season on May 10, only on Netflix. This season of the anthology series consists of nine episodes and will feature some new faces as well as many returning fan favorite characters, all of whom are navigating the modern maze of love, sex, technology, and culture in Chicago.

From Creator, Director and Executive Producer Joe Swanberg: “EASY has been the most exciting and important project of my career. The anthology format allowed me to explore a range of stories and characters, but small moments of incidental overlap, or deep relationships between characters, connected the episodes enough that we were able to build a fictional community rooted in a real Chicago.

The support, flexibility and trust that Netflix provided, combined with their global reach, made this a completely unique experiment. The fact that I was able to collaborate with so many of my favorite actors took an already dreamy experience to the next level. I couldn't be more proud of the new season and I can't wait to share it.”

The new seasons stars Elizabeth Reaser (The Haunting of Hill House), Michael Chernus (Orange is the New Black), Jake Johnson (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) , Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Black Mirror: San Junipero), Marc Maron (GLOW), Jane Adams (Sneaky Pete), Melanie Lynskey (Togetherness), Kate Micucci (Another Period), John Gallagher, Jr. (The Newsroom), Megan Ferguson (Casual), Sophia Bush (Chicago P.D.), Kiersey Clemons (Lady and the Tramp), Jaz Sinclair (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), Jacqueline Toboni (Grimm), Zazie Beetz (Atlanta), Aya Cash (You’re The Worst), David Franco (The Disaster Artist), Evan Jonigkeit (X-Men: Days of Future Past), Danielle MacDonald (Dumplin’), Kali Skrap, Lindsay Burdge (Her Smell), Cliff Chamberlain (Altered Carbon), and Nicky Excitement (Win It All).

Irini Tzortzoglou Crowned MasterChef 2019 Champion after first ever all-female final

After competing in the first ever all-female MasterChef final, retiree Irini Tzortzoglou (61) has been crowned MasterChef 2019 Champion becoming the fifteenth amateur cook to claim the title.
Facing competition from 54 other determined contestants, through seven gruelling weeks of culinary challenges and a close final cook-off, Irini was awarded the MasterChef 2019 trophy by judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace.

On winning, and after asking if she could share the trophy with her fellow finalists, an emotional Irini said: “I’m trembling, I’m floating on air, I don’t think my feet are touching the ground right now. What an experience, I just don’t have the words to say how thrilled and grateful I am.

She added: “I can finally say I believe in me; I believe it takes something tough at times, but that strength can surface, and when it does it can achieve wonders.”

John Torode said: “Taking the food that she knows from the island of Crete and putting it into a modern context – that’s what Irini does and it’s stunning. She has a magic in her finger tips and a fire in her belly. She wanted to make her grandchildren proud – she’s done that!”

Gregg Wallace said: “Irini’s little touches of Greek flavours and Greek ingredients are nothing short of inspired. You can learn cooking technique, what you can’t put into somebody is absolute love and passion, and Irini is just bursting with it. It’s from the heart every time she cooks.”

On Irini’s winning menu Gregg said: “Every little morsel of Irini’s three courses was beautiful.”

John added: “She’s introduced us to things we’ve never seen before, flavours we’ve never tasted before. She is able to take these flavours she loves so much and take them to a completely different food. It’s magical.”

Ahead of John announcing the winner, a tearful Gregg said to the finalists: “Watching you grow, watching you achieve your personal goals, I’ve found uplifting. I think today was a proper celebration of culinary art done by people who are obviously completely in love with what they do. It’s joyous.”

Speaking about this year’s competition, Gregg said: “I have loved loved loved this year’s competition. We’ve had lawyers, engineers, digger drivers, estate agents, flight attendants, sculptors, nurses – people from all walks of life.”

John added: “Some of the food has been mind-blowing, some daring food, experimental food... there’s been drama, there’s been tears, there’s been laughter.”

Irini fought her way from 54 amateur cooks through to the final week and, along with the other incredibly talented finalists, teacher, Jilly McCord (42) and police officer, Delia Maria Asser (28), was pushed to show the judges the skills, creative flair and perseverance needed to succeed at the highest level in the intense final challenges.

In an extremely demanding final week, MasterChef fans have seen Irini cook a fine dining tasting menu for some of the team who took part in the Transglobe Expedition - the first and only longitude circumnavigation of the world. The event celebrated the 40th anniversary, and diners included expedition leader, and the world’s greatest living explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes. Irini has travelled on a trip of a lifetime to Hong Kong to learn from dim sum master Chef Tak, at Lung King Heen at the Four Seasons - the first Chinese restaurant in the world to be awarded three Michelin stars. She has also cooked at Tate Dining Rooms under one-Michelin star chef patron Vicky Lau, before heading back to London to be mentored by and cooking for two-Michelin star chef, Raymond Blanc, one classic dish from the menu at his famed restaurant Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.

The final task was to prepare a three-course meal for judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace. Irini’s winning menu, inspired by her childhood and Greek heritage, started with Red mullet with a squid risotto, confit tomatoes, a rosemary and garlic sauce, with bottarga (grey mullet roe) and an aged balsamic foam. Irini’s main course was Griddled rosemary lamb chops with trahanas puree (cracked wheat cooked in soured milk), peas, confit herb tomatoes, pearl onions, crumbled feta and a lamb and tomato jus. She finished the meal with a Fig and hazelnut baklava with roasted honeyed fig topped with Chantilly cream and candied fig, a fig leaf ice-cream and syrup, on a hazelnut crumble.

When her father passed away unexpectedly at age 48 her life took a different route, which brought her to London and to a career in banking.

On her reasons for entering the competition, Irini said: “I decided to enter because I was driven by what felt like a higher force, which was telling me that my life had yet to start and that I still had work to do. Over the years, I felt I was not here to work in banking, and having discovered my passion for food and all it signifies I knew that this was my calling.”

On her future plans she said: “My biggest ambition is to continue learning, researching, experimenting and show casing Greek food and ingredients. I would love to get published a lifestyle book with memories and recipes which I have been writing for the past year, and would love to film a programme all around Greece which combines cookery, travel, diet, health, environmental and historical topics. With its diverse land and climate Greece provides for a variety of produce and food.”

Looking back on her time in the competition, Irini said: “I feel a totally different person from only three months ago; I feel I have grown massively. What MasterChef has given me is deep seated confidence. It’s been a long road but I have enjoyed every second.”

Irini grew up in Crete in Greece, and now lives in Cartmel, Cumbria with her husband, John. She has three step-children and three step-grandchildren.

Friday, 29 March 2019

Chernobyl (2019) - Official Trailer

Chernobyl, a five-part miniseries co-production from HBO and Sky, dramatizes the story of the 1986 nuclear accident, one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history — and of the sacrifices made to save Europe from unimaginable disaster.

Premiering in May, Chernobyl stars Emmy-nominee Jared Harris (The Crown, Mad Men), Stellan Skarsgård (Melancholia, Good Will Hunting) and Oscar-nominee Emily Watson (Hilary and Jackie, Breaking the Waves).

Chernobyl is written and executive produced by Craig Mazin (The Huntsman: Winter’s War) and directed by Johan Renck (Breaking Bad). Produced by Sister Pictures and The Mighty Mint as an HBO/Sky co-production, Emmy-winner Carolyn Strauss (Game of Thrones) and Jane Featherstone (Broadchurch) serve as executive producers while Johan Renck and Chris Fry (Humans) co-executive produce. Sanne Wohlenberg (Black Mirror) also produces.

On April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, Soviet Union suffered a massive explosion that released radioactive material across Belarus, Russia and Ukraine and as far as Scandinavia and western Europe.

Jared Harris portrays Valery Legasov, a leading Soviet nuclear physicist. As part of the response team, he was one of the first to grasp the scope of the unparalleled disaster that occurred. Stellan Skarsgård plays Soviet Deputy Prime Minister Boris Shcherbina, who is assigned by the Kremlin to lead the government commission on Chernobyl in the hours immediately following the accident. Emily Watson portrays Ulana Khomyuk, a Soviet nuclear physicist committed to solving the mystery of what led to the Chernobyl disaster.

The miniseries also features Paul Ritter (Lovesick) as Chernobyl deputy chief engineer Anatoly Dyatlov; Jessie Buckley (Beast) as Lyudmilla Ignatenko, a Pripyat resident married to a firefighter on the first response team; Adrian Rawlins (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) as Chernobyl chief engineer Nikolai Fomin; and Con O’Neill (Harlots) as plant director Viktor Bryukhanov. Sam Troughton (The Ritual), Adam Nagaitis (The Terror), Barry Keoghan (Dunkirk), Ralph Ineson (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince), Mark Lewis Jones (Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi), Fares Fares (Westworld) and David Densik (McMafia) also star.

Chernobyl was filmed on location in Vilnius, Lithuania, with a creative team including director of photography Jakob Ihre (Thelma); production designer Luke Hull (Howards End); editors Jinx Godfrey (The Theory of Everything) and Simon Smith (Endeavor); costume designer Odile Dicks-Mireaux (Brooklyn); two-time Emmy-winners Nina Gold and Robert Sterne as casting directors (Game of Thrones); and composer Hildur Gudnadóttir (Trapped).

Thursday, 28 March 2019

The Victim - In law, there is the accused and the victim. In life, it’s not that simple.

In law, there is the accused and the victim. In life, it’s not that simple.

The Victim is a thriller told through the eyes of the plaintiff and the accused. Set within Scotland’s unique legal system, the drama asks the question: who really, is the victim?

Kelly Macdonald plays Anna Dean, whose son was murdered 15 years ago. She is accused of revealing his killer’s new identity online and conspiring to have them murdered. Has the anger of a grieving mother turned her into a criminal? What is she capable of doing in her son’s name?

Hard-working family man Craig Myers (James Harkness) is viciously attacked after being identified online as a notorious child murderer. Should Craig keep his head down or try to prove his innocence? Is he a convicted murderer, or simply the tragic victim of mistaken identity?

The Victim follows the progress of a trial in Edinburgh’s High Court, while covering the events leading up to the legal proceedings, and the criminal investigation led by DI Steven Grover (John Hannah) - who has his own reasons for wanting to crack the case.

Craig and Anna are pitted against each other, but our sympathies will be divided. New potential suspects will be revealed and long buried secrets unearthed as the story builds to a final, devastating climax.

The Victim is an STV Production through BBC Scotland for BBC One.

All 4 acquires AwesomenessTV’s Emmy-nominated Light as a Feather

All 4 has acquired the American supernatural thriller Light As a Feather from AwesomenessTV. The 10-episode series will be made available, in its entirety, on April 1.

Originally released in the US on Hulu, Light as a Feather centres on four best friends who invite the shy new girl out on Halloween, but they soon regret their decision when she suggests they play a seemingly innocent game of ‘Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board’. The game goes awry when the five girls start dying off in the exact way that was predicted, forcing the survivors to figure out why they’ve been targeted – and whether the evil force hunting them down is one of their own.

Described by Teen Vogue as “Pretty Little Liars meets The Craft, with a dash of Final Destination,” Light as a Feather stars Liana Liberato (The Best of Me, Sons of Anarchy), Haley Ramm (X-Men: The Last Stand, Red State), Ajiona Alexus (13 Reasons Why, Empire), Brianne Tju (Scream: The TV Series) and Peyton List (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Jessie). It was developed by AwesomenessTV, a best in class media company serving the global Gen Z audience.

The series has been nominated for four Daytime Emmys, including Outstanding Lead Actress in a Digital Daytime Drama, Outstanding Supporting Actress, Outstanding Writing and Outstanding Director.

Light As a Feather was acquired as part of a deal with Viacom International Media Networks that includes three further Awesomeness title – Sleep Tight, All Night and Love Daily – to be released on All 4 this summer.

Charlie Palmer, Managing Editor All 4 said: “We’re thrilled to bringing Light as a Feather to All 4. Be sure to have your night light handy.”

Zachary Slatter, Head of Distribution for Awesomeness said, “Our partnership with Channel 4 is a huge milestone in our global expansion, and we can’t wait for fans to fall in love with Light as a Feather.”

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Mission Ignition - Howard and Dario interview

Mission Ignition is the exciting new competition that follows two teams of amateur car enthusiasts as they put their wrenching skills to the ultimate test and race to re-build and win a dream car.

The teams are championed by Take That legend, classic car collector and amateur racing driver Howard Donald and motor racing superstar and four-time IndyCar series winner Dario Franchitti.

Mission Ignition starts Saturday 30 March at 8:30pm on Channel 4

Howard Donald interview

Tell us what Mission Ignition is all about.

It’s basically two teams of mechanics who are all friends, and who obviously love their pastime. It’s what they do. Each team has a classic car revealed to them, but it’s in bits and they have no manual or anything like that. The first team to put it back together and successfully start it, gets to keep it.

It’s a new career direction for you. What made you want to go down this route? How did you become involved?

The producers found out I was into cars from my car racing and asked me to do a pilot for the show for Channel 4. With it being a presenting job I was umming and ahhing over it because I’d never done presenting before. But I thought if I’m going to do it I’m going to do it about something that is my passion - which is cars - and something I know a bit about. I don’t know everything there is to know about them, but I know a bit. I thought, well, I’m going to challenge myself. I’ve never done it before. That’s kind of why I did it, for my own personal challenge.

You and Dario seem to hit it off pretty well. What was it like filming with him?

It was great. Dario I knew a little through seeing him at Goodwood a few times. I knew what his achievements were, which are amazing. I met with Dario a couple of times before we started filming the show because obviously it’s better to get to know the people that you’re going to be working with. We got on like a house on fire. It was great. He does a lot of stock interviews on Goodwood, bits and bobs, so he’s had the experience whereas I haven’t. He’s got a lot more knowledge about cars, but we’re probably into cars as much as each other.

Presumably different cars present different problems. Do they broadly try to ensure are similar in terms of how difficult the job is?

Yes they do. One car may be difficult to put doors on, the other car might be difficult to put the engine in. For instance we had a Rolls Royce and when you think about the weight of this car - hoisting up and down the engine, keeping it in place to put the engine in and bolting it all together - and then the doors are super heavy as well. But I think on the other team it was difficult because usually you put the engine in from underneath, but what they didn’t know was the engine had to be dropped in from above. They realised once they had got it in they forgot to connect one of the other parts, the gearbox, up to the engine before they started plugging it in. Things like that have to be then redone which sets them back another hour.

The prize these guys are competing for, it’s something they love so much. That must have really added to the tension in the place… On one occasion they play Scissors, Paper, Stone for who got it, didn’t they?

That’s right! For who got to keep it at their house. It varies from team to team. I know one wasn’t so keen on one of the cars which was, I think, a dark-pinky Jaguar. She really did not like the car. Straight away in their head they knew that when they could put the car back together they were either going to sell it on eBay or track day it or keep it and drive around Europe in it. That’s the thing of having three of them having to share it out; who’s going to store it, who’s going to sell it and how do we share this out between the three of us if they don’t want to keep the car?

Where does your love of cars come from? Where did it all start?

I think my love of cars came from when I was a child. Even though my dad didn’t have great cars I used to always love his cars. I used to love pretend driving with him, so he’d sit me on his lap while he drove me around, and he’d sometimes let me steer the car for him. Obviously not going down the main roads, just on small streets or whatever it may be. But really from when I first started to getting into Take That and you start earning a little bit of money and realise you can afford these dream cars that you dreamt of having in the 80s then you can start to collect them.

Does anyone else in the band share your love of cars?

They all love cars. Jason or Mark got a classic before I ever got one. Mark got an MGB and Jason got a Mercedes 280SL, I think a 1968 version. They got them in the really early days of Take That whereas I was a later starter for collecting. I’ve probably always been into cars more so than anybody else in the band. Much as I love my modern cars I don’t really buy them as they’re not as value for money as the classics and nowhere near as much fun.

Are you a collector now?

I’d say yes. When I say ‘collector’ I’ve probably reached my peak. I can’t really go further on it. It’s all down to space and all down to money as well. I have a family of four and they have to come first. I’m looking forward to having them all my cars under one roof and being able to look at them. Unfortunately they’re all spread out at the moment.

How many have you got and what’s your pride and joy?

I’ve got fifteen which is nowhere near as much as proper collectors. I’ve got a Mercedes 300SL which is a 1955 car which is known as a Gullwing. Probably my pride and joy more than any of the others is the Pre A Porsche 356 which I raced at Goodwood last year. That’s a 1953 car which is absolutely awesome. It’s obviously race prepped, race engine. I can drive that on the streets, it’s still road legal which is kind of how I like my cars, road legal and race legal.

What have you done in the way of racing?

I started my first race in 2017, which was a Silverstone Classic, in an Austin a35, which I didn’t really like. That was in the rain, so my first race was in the rain in one of these cars I really didn’t like! I started there. Before that, maybe three to four years before that, I was track day-ing at different places; Donnington, Silverstone, Brands Hatch. I was taught by this guy, Simon Hadfield, who’s a well-known historic car racer and a very good car racer as well. I was taught by him in a couple of Porsche’s I’ve  got. He was always telling me I was ready for racing and I was never so sure. Maybe lack of confidence. So eventually when I got offered this celebrity Silverstone car race at the Silverstone classic, I thought why bloody not?

How does the buzz of going around a race track compare to the buzz of performing?

Oh, God. Your nerves are so much worse when you’re racing. Especially when you’re going around the track to get on your position and get ready to race, it really does get your nerves – not knowing where you’re going to go, whether you’re going to be knocked off, whether you’re going to crash… especially when it starts raining and you know you’re under difficult circumstances. Nerve wracking. Of course I’ve not had as much experience as a racer. I’ve only been racing two years. In those two years I’ve managed to get my UK Licence and get an International Licence so I could race abroad. Totally different.

Do you have a favourite car from the series?

Favourite car… I think it would have to be the BMW 635 CSI.

When you look at these classic cars, do you think we’ve lost something with the modern cars and how they’re built with all the technology in them?

I think when you’re talking about modern racing then no, because it’s absolutely gone up in safety. When somebody has a crash now at 180 miles per hour the more likely they are to survive. Whereas if you were to do that in a classic car, and some cars can reach 200 miles per hour, it’s doubtful whether you’re going to. The difference between historic and modern racing is the fact you don’t have any of those aids. You’re changing the gears, you’re pressing the brakes and you haven’t got brakes that are going to slow you down into corners and stop you revving too high. You’re really racing the car. That’s what I really love about historic racing. With modern cars on the road then obviously you don’t get that. The buzz about it, believe it or not, is not knowing whether you’re going to get from A to B. When you do get to B you’re so thankful and so appreciative whereas when you’re in your modern car you can just sit in it, put the stereo on and just keep your foot on the pedal. It’s an all-automatic car that pretty much does everything and you know you’re going to get there.

Lastly, how do you think you would do if you took part in this show?

Not like these guys. I would be being told what to do! I’m not one of these guys that knows the insides and outsides of an engine. I’ve got only the basic knowledge of an engine. When you start talking putting it all together and all that, I wouldn’t have a clue!

Dario Franchitti interview

Your new series is Mission Ignition – what’s it all about?

The concept is two teams of amateur mechanics – three people on each team – and they get essentially a day to rebuild a classic car. The car is stripped down into kit form and laid out, so it looks something like a Lego set. And it’s laid out ready to be built. They don’t know what kind of car they’re going to get before they start, and they don’t have any instruction manual. Whoever builds the car first and starts it, they get to keep the car. Throughout the build process there’s safety checks along the way, so they’re kept in line a bit. And Howard and I are each assigned a team, and we follow their progress, give them a bit of encouragement, and on a couple of occasions actually got on the tools ourselves.

So you were allowed to get stuck in?

Well, we were at certain points. Throughout the process Howard and I would be saying “Can we go in?” And they’d be like “No!” And then in certain episodes they’d be like “Go on, they need a bit of help.” And we’d get involved. Anybody that knows me knows that my job was making cars go fast, and mostly breaking them as opposed to fixing them, so it was good fun to get involved and to help the teams. I’m not sure how much we actually helped, though.

What had you done in the way of TV work before this?

Obviously I’d done various interviews and stuff through racing. But then when I retired, I did Goodwood Classic cars show, I fronted that up for a couple of seasons. And then I did the Goodwood live coverage for a couple of seasons as well. And I do the worldwide commentary for the Formula E series. Various little bits and pieces like that since I retired. And then Mission ignition came along.

Is it something you enjoy? Would you like to explore presenting further, going forward?

Yeah, I had a great time making the show. Doing the various different shows is fun. At Goodwood, each day was a different type of classic car, from something quite humble like an Austin A35, to something that was several million pounds. You’d get to drive all these different cars, so that was a lot of fun. Mission Ignition was really brilliant. Each show was made in a day. It wasn’t staged, we made each show in a day, and it was fairly intense. Working with Howard was really a lot of fun. He’s a proper petrol head as well, so we spent most of our time off camera talking about cars. And then when we were on camera, there was a lot of pushing our teams because we wanted to beat each other.

You said each show was filmed in a day. How long did it normally take the teams to put the cars back together?

I think the longest was probably about 14 hours, and the shortest was maybe eight-to-ten. Each episode, the cars varied in complexity. But what was key was to make the competition fair, so each team was working on a car with a similar level of complexity. That was really important.

The prize these guys are competing for is something they love so much – could you feel the tension in the place?

Oh yeah, massively. You could always tell when one of the teams got a car that they really wanted. When the reveal happened at the start of the show, something would just light up. There were a couple of situations at the end of the show where you had both teams trying to start their cars, and so much riding on it. That’s when you really saw the tension. Sometimes it boiled over. It wasn’t always sweetness and light. Some of the guys lost their tempers a wee bit with teammates. You could tell it meant a lot. There was a lot at stake.

Where does your love of cars come from?

I think my love of cars came from my dad, when I was much younger. Before my dad spent all his money on my racing, he had some nice cars. And my grandfathers had nice cars. I’ve always loved cars. From the time I was a kid I’ve adored cars, and I still have that passion.

Are you a collector?

Oh yeah. It’s a disease. I’m absolutely a car collector. I’m a car fanatic. I wouldn’t want to speak for Howard, but I think he’[d describe himself in similar terms. I don’t collect cars to have them, I collect them to drive them.

What’s your pride and joy?

Ooh, that’s a tough one.

Is that like asking someone to choose their favourite kid?

Yeah, it’s a tough one. Every car that I’ve got does something a little bit different for me. Whether it’s an out-and-out performance supercar like a Porsche Carrera GT, or something a bit older, like a Ferrari Daytona Spyder, each one’s a little bit different. People say “Oh, there’s only so many cars you could use.” I could have a garage of a hundred cars and I’d still want more. Each car does something a little bit different in a slightly different way.

Do you have a favourite car from the series?

They were very different cars in the series, and I don’t want to give too much away about what there was. But we covered all the avenues. The good thing was, Howard and I got to take the cars to a track and drive them, so we had a bit of a laugh doing that. That was really good fun. We really went from the sublime to the ridiculous with some of the cars that were rebuilt. I think there may be a few shocks in there. One particular episode I couldn’t believe that we were going down that route. It was a shock when I saw what the teams were going to have to rebuild that week. Not an easy build.

Looking at these classic cars, do you think we’ve lost something with modern cars?

Oh yeah. If you drive an old car, it’s so much more involving and rewarding than driving a new car. The feedback, the noise, the smell. Going forward, every car that comes out is better, quieter, faster, more powerful, handles better – but when you take a step back and drive these old cars, they’ve got tremendous character, and you realise that maybe we’re missing something. I love driving old cars.

Do you miss the thrill of competition?

Yes. Yeah I do, absolutely. I’m lucky though – I still work for the team that I raced for in America, so I still get to be involved with the competition side. But nothing will replace the buzz of competing, and the feeling of winning. Nothing I’ve done will replace that buzz.

How would you do if you took part in this show? And would you be better or worse than Howard?

Ha! I like to think I’d be better than Howard, although he does tell me he used to work in a body shop. As in a car repair shop, not the place that sells soap. Over the years I’ve started tinkering around with some of my older cars, specifically the ones that are worth less so it won’t break my heart if I damage them. I think now I might do alright. Working with the people I’ve worked with in racing, I’ve watched how real mechanics do it. How they plan a job, how they organise and execute. I think I’ve taken on board a bit of that. As long as I know more than Howard, I’m happy!

We're addicted to Mae and George

Mae and George (working title) is a new semi-autobiographical 6 x 30 comedy series for E4 and Netflix, produced by Objective Fiction, from exciting new talent Mae Martin. The series follows recovering addict and comedian Mae, who is trying to control the addictive behaviours and intense romanticism that permeate every facet of her life. Life is further complicated by a new and all consuming relationship with her new girlfriend George...

Mae and George is a deeply personal, darkly hilarious and poignant story about the unique pressures of navigating the modern-day fluid landscape of gender and sexuality.

Starring Mae Martin, Mae and George is co-written by Mae and Joe Hampson.

Mae Martin, writer and star, says: “We cannot wait to make this show with E4, Netflix, and Objective Fiction - WHAT A DREAM. I’m especially pumped to be co-writing Mae and George with my best friend Joe Hampson. He has such an incredible head of hair. We are excited to make a show that is both funny and sad, like our lives, and I hope they’ve factored therapy into the budget because I’m already hanging by a thread.”

Fiona McDermott, Head of Comedy at Channel 4, says: “We’re so thrilled to back Mae on this project. Her comic voice fantastically captures the inelegancies of being young, now. She riffs from vulnerable to intense to hilarious and it all feels so real and refreshing. Mae and George is totally unique and totally accessible.”

Kelly McGolpin, Objective Fiction’s Head of Development says: “Mae’s stories are unique and yet utterly relatable – we hope that viewers will fall in love with her, as her live comedy audiences have. She and Joe Hampson are huge talents and we are very proud to be helping create their world.”

Mae Martin is an award-winning Canadian comedian and writer whose most recent stand-up show, Dope, focused on addiction and was nominated for the main Edinburgh Comedy Award while earning four and five star national reviews. The show has since been turned in to a stand-up special for Netflix as part of their first global stand-up series, Comedians of the World. Mae’s first non-fiction book, Can Everyone Please Calm Down? A Guide to 21st Century Sexuality will be released in May 2019.

Joe is a comedy writer who started writing and performing with the Bristol Revunions sketch group and has gone on to write for TV and radio. Credits include Skins, The News Quiz and Newsjack. His darkly comic, debut stage play Rabbits premiered at the Park Theatre and has been performed internationally. He is currently developing original projects for television both in the UK and the US.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Soccer Aid for Unicef is back for 2019 with new famous faces and a move to London

Today, Unicef UK and ITV announced Soccer Aid for Unicef is back and better than ever before with the star-studded football match of super celebs and football legends, taking place at Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge in London on Sunday 16th June.

Leading the line-up for the Soccer Aid World XI is Chelsea FC legend Didier Drogba, who will be returning to Stamford Bridge for the first time since 2015.  Drogba will be managed by  I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here winner Harry Redknapp who will be joined on the touchline by co-manager Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan. Usain Bolt has confirmed his return to the Soccer Aid World XI team alongside Drogba.

Managing England will be ‘Big Sam’ Allardyce, looking to repeat his penalty-kick inspired triumph of 2018, and Susanna Reid, the first female manager of Soccer Aid for Unicef, who will be going head-to-head with her Good Morning Britain co-host Piers. Their team will consist of football legends and celebrities including Jamie Redknapp, Mark Wright, Ben Shephard and Joe Wicks.

The match will be broadcast live on ITV and STV on Sunday 16th June and the money raised will go towards Unicef’s vital work protecting children in danger around the world and will help every child grow up happy, healthy and safe to play.  Soccer Aid for Unicef is produced by Initial, part of Endemol Shine UK, for ITV.

This year’s Soccer Aid for Unicef match falls on Father’s Day, meaning father-son duo Harry and Jamie Redknapp will spend this special day on opposing teams with Jamie reprising his role playing for England and Harry returning to co-manage the Soccer Aid World XI.

To mark the occasion, and to celebrate the importance of childhood play in all of our lives, Harry and Jamie have released a #ThenandNow picture of themselves.

Jamie Redknapp said: “Even though we’re on opposite teams, it’s an honour to be able to play against my dad in Soccer Aid for Unicef this Father’s Day. Some of my best memories of my childhood are playing with my dad and being with him at the football, and it’s an incredible feeling to know we’re making more playtime possible for kids around the world by getting together for this special game.”

Soccer Aid for Unicef co-founder and Unicef UK Ambassador Robbie Williams has spoken of the importance of protecting all children’s right to play this Father’s Day.

Robbie Williams said: “The ability to play is one of the most important things in any child’s life. It’s how they make friends, how they learn who they are and about the world around them, it’s so vital. I’ve seen first-hand the important work Unicef does around the world helping to make sure every child can have a happy, healthy and safe childhood, to be able to play like all children should. I dread to think what my children would be like without play, they’re so bright and happy and its absolutely everything to them. I hope everyone gets involved this summer with Soccer Aid for Unicef, we can all play our part to help kids around the world just be kids.”

Long-term Soccer Aid for Unicef supporter and show host Dermot O’Leary said: “I’ve been so lucky to see some of the work made possible by Soccer Aid for Unicef, helping children in really tough situations be able to just be children again. The game is going to be incredible this year, we’ve got a massive line-up, we’re back in London for the first time in 10 years, sadly not at my beloved Arsenal (the Kings of London) and Drogba is playing, which has already brought back nightmares. Whoever you support, it’s going to be one hell of a night at Stamford Bridge, and the money we raise really will make a huge difference to kids everywhere. What better reason to get involved than that?”

Soccer Aid for Unicef is not only for the stars on match day. Unicef UK is calling on the nation to come out to play and help raise funds for children by taking part in The Great Big Kickabout between 14th to 16th June. For those at school, the Soccer Aid Playground Challenge on Friday 14th June will see pupils design and take part in obstacle courses, getting the whole school active whilst generating vital donations for Unicef’s work protecting children around the world.

100% of all public donations to Soccer Aid for Unicef will go towards supporting the vital work protecting children in the UK and globally. The money raised through profits from ticket sales and viewer donations during the match will add to the incredible £30 million that has already been raised through Soccer Aid for Unicef since its inception.

Visit www.socceraid.org.uk to find out more and follow @SoccerAid on Twitter and Instagram, ‘Soccer Aid’ on Facebook and use the hashtag #SoccerAid for regular player and match updates.

Filming commences on third series of critically acclaimed drama Marcella starring Anna Friel

Hugo Speer and Amanda Burton join the cast of the hugely successful series

Innovative and gripping ITV crime drama Marcella, from leading UK independent content production company Buccaneer Media, returns to production this month. Filming will take place entirely on location in Belfast, Northern Ireland during spring and summer of 2019.

Created by internationally renowned screenwriter and novelist Hans Rosenfeldt (The Bridge) and Nicola Larder; Marcella stars Emmy® award winning Anna Friel (Broken, American Odyssey) in the title role. Also set to join the cast this series are Hugo Speer (The Musketeers, Britannia, The Full Monty) and Amanda Burton (Waterloo Road, Silent Witness) whilst Ray Panthaki (Colette, One Crazy Thing) returns to the series as Rav Sangha.

Following on from the dramatic conclusion of the previous series, the new eight-parter sees Marcella in Belfast as an undercover detective. She has taken on a new identity, Keira, and has infiltrated the infamous Maguire crime family but as she investigates their activities, questions come to the fore about how much she’s embraced the Keira personality and left Marcella behind. 

In true Marcella style, the series has interweaving storylines with strands focusing upon the Maguires’ criminal operations.  As she inhabits the character of Keira, Marcella’s quest for the truth puts her in danger and others in harm’s way.  Her undercover role makes her take risks, but will her old life eventually catch up with her? 

Actor and executive producer Anna Friel commented: 
"I'm absolutely delighted to be taking on the role of Marcella again and am very grateful to ITV and Netflix for giving me the chance to delve into her unsettled world once more. Everyone has been so supportive of the show and I am loving being so widely welcomed by the great city of Belfast. I can't wait for the viewers to see what this series has in store."

An array of new cast members are welcomed to the series including Amanda Burton (Waterloo Road, Silent Witness) who takes on the role of Katherine, the matriarch of the Maguire family; Aaron McCusker (Bohemian Rhapsody, Fortitude, Shameless) plays her son, Finn Maguire; whilst Hugo Speer (The Musketeers, Britannia, The Full Monty), who made a brief appearance in the final scenes of series two, reprises his role as Frank Young, Marcella’s undercover handler. Kelly Gough (The Fall, Broadchurch) also joins the cast, taking the role of Stacey, Katherine’s daughter; Martin McCann (Death & Nightingales, The Frankenstein Chronicles) plays Stacey’s husband, with Eugene O’Hare (The Fall, Death & Nightingales) as local police officer Eddie. Michael Colgan (X Company, My Mother and Other Strangers) plays Rory Maguire, whilst Paul Kennedy (Death & Nightingales, No Offence) plays Lawrence, Marcella’s initial contact within the crime family and Glen Wallace (River City, The Secret) is Matt, a past acquaintance.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Riviera Season II Trailer

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 (Grégory Fitoussi).

The second season of Riviera will air on 23rd May on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV

Doc Martin returns to Cornwall

Martin Clunes returns to Cornwall to play the nation’s favourite grumpy medic in a brand new series of Doc Martin for ITV.

Filming begins this week with Martin Clunes starring as Dr. Martin Ellingham, the GP with a brusque bedside manner and a phobia of blood, in eight new episodes of the hugely successful drama produced by Buffalo Pictures, and set in the idyllic hamlet of Portwenn in Cornwall.

Picturesque Port Isaac provides the beautiful backdrop for the popular series, with all regular members of the cast reprising their roles.

Caroline Catz plays Doc Martin’s wife, Louisa Ellingham, who has resigned from her job as headmistress at the local school to pursue a new career in child counselling.

Returning to this ninth series, Dame Eileen Atkins plays Doc Martin’s formidable Aunt Ruth. Ian McNeice is back to play Bert Large, with Joe Absolom as his son Al. John Marquez is PC Joe Penhale, Jessica Ransom is the doctor’s receptionist Morwenna Newcross and Selina Cadell is pharmacist Mrs Tishell.

Martin says:
“We love going to Cornwall to make Doc Martin, and we miss it when we are not there. The county is so beautiful, and the people have been so warm and welcoming to us.  It is the best job in television.”

In this new series the Doc’s career is hanging in the balance. His future as a GP is under scrutiny from the General Medical Council following complaints about his irascible approach to patients.

Doc Martin has been filming in picturesque Port Isaac, and the surrounding areas of the north coast of Cornwall since 2004. The huge popularity of the ITV drama has brought thousands more tourists to the pretty hamlet. This boost to tourism was recognised by Cornwall Tourism which presented a special award  for outstanding contribution to tourism to the Doc Martin team at a grand ceremony held at Truro Cathedral.

Producer Philippa Braithwaite says the Doc Martin team was delighted to receive such a prestigious award.

BBC Young Dancer returns as 2019 category finalists announced

BBC Young Dancer 2019 today unveiled the 20 talented young dancers who have made it through to the Category Finals of the prestigious competition.

Presented by Ore Oduba and Anita Rani, the Category Finals will be broadcast on BBC Four throughout April and May in the lead up to the Grand Final, which will be broadcast live for the first time from Birmingham Hippodrome on BBC Two on 18 May.

One winner from each category will be selected to receive a specially commissioned trophy, £1,000 towards furthering their dance studies and a place in the Grand Final - together with one ‘wild card’ from across the Category Finals who impressed the judges with their potential, despite not winning their category.

As well as being a contest and showcase, BBC Young Dancer 2019 is committed to providing all the finalists with a rich experience that stands them in good stead for the future as they continue their dance education. This year’s BBC Young Dancer has once again been working in collaboration with Sadler’s Wells to provide expert advice and support across the competition’s four categories.

Emma Cahusac, Commissioning Editor, Arts and Music Television, says: 
“BBC Young Dancer 2019 has taken the search for the next generation of dance talent to new heights. We are genuinely excited for audiences to see for themselves the stellar standard reached by all our incredible finalists this year.

"BBC Arts provides a platform for new talent and previous Young Dancer winners Connor Scott and Nafisah Baba’s dance careers continue to go from strength to strength. The BBC Young Dancer 2019 trophy awaits what will be another exceptional winner.”

Paul Bullock, Executive Editor, BBC Young Dancer, says: “We’re thrilled to be returning with a third series of BBC Young Dancer and once more showcasing the very best young dance talent from across the UK.

"Since launching BBC Young Dancer back in 2015, we’ve been committed to providing a platform for these dedicated and talented young people, whilst also providing an environment in which they can develop and thrive. The creativity and passion that all the dancers bring to the competition is always inspiring and it’s exciting to see them working with some of the UK’s leading dance professionals and going from strength to strength.

"The talent this year has been extremely high and we can’t wait to provide a platform for them to be seen in the coming weeks.”

Jonzi D (Cross Category Judge) adds: 
“It’s been a joy to witness the future of UK dance! The finalists performed with great skill, purpose and imagination. All the dancers were focused and worked diligently on their solos and duets. They expressed a deep understanding of their chosen technique, and proudly represented it on stage.”

Presenter Ore Oduba says:
“I can’t wait to take to the stage again for BBC Young Dancer, and reunite with my friend Anita to present this amazing competition. Dance has become such a huge part of my life, and for our finalists this is an opportunity that could change theirs. To watch the best young talent in the country competing for the top prize... well, it’s going to be both exhilarating and inspiring at the same time!”

Presenter Anita Rani says:
"I’m so excited to be returning to host BBC Young Dancer and I feel honoured to be able to witness first-hand the amazing young dancing talent we have in this country. Ore and I are big fans of dance and I can’t wait to see what this year’s BBC Young Dancer competition has in store for us. I’ve got a sneaky suspicion we’re going to be blown away! It’s a privilege to watch talented young people who are dedicated to their art form.”

Category Finalists

Chloe Keneally - age 18 (London)
Hollie Smith - age 18 (West Yorkshire)
Louis Fukuhara - age 20 (Glasgow)
Danila Marzilli - age 19 (Glasgow)
Keiko Tsuchiya - age 17 (London)

Max Cookward - age 19 (Leeds)
Adanna Lawrence - age 20 (London)
Hannah Connor - age 21 (Leicester)
Matthew Rawcliffe - age 19 (Manchester)
Hana Kato - age 19 (London)

South Asian:
Aishani Ghosh - age 18 (Birmingham)
Mahika Gautam - age 18 (London)
Sundaresan Ramesh - age 19 (London)
Tulani Kayani-Skeef - age 19 (London)
Shree Savani - age 20 (Loughborough)

Street Dance:
Thomas Carsley - age 22 (Neath)
Louie Juster Age - age 21 (Derbyshire)
Christian Griffin - age 20 (Birmingham)
Kate Morris - age 20 (Mid Glamorgan)
Max Revell - age 20 (Cornwall)

Friday 19 April, BBC Four - South Asian Category Final
Friday 26 April, BBC Four - Contemporary Category Final
Friday 3 May, BBC Four - Ballet Category Final
Friday 10 May, BBC Four - Street Dance Category Final
Saturday 18 May, BBC Two – LIVE GRAND FINAL

Competition: Win Babylon Berlin - Series 1 and 2 on DVD

Babylon Berlin - Series 1 and 2 is released on 1st April

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

THE CRITICALLY acclaimed, multi award winning hit German period drama Babylon Berlin follows a young police inspector uncovering a tangled web of corruption amongst the political, social and sexual extremes of the Weimar Republic. Making waves at home and internationally after its run on Sky Atlantic, and with its third series due later this year, Babylon Berlin Series One & Two Box Set is set to arrive on DVD courtesy of Acorn Media International.

The lavish, $40m series is Germany’s most expensive drama to date, and explores a metropolis in turmoil: growing poverty stands in stark contrast to the excesses and indulgence of the night life in 1929 Berlin.

Gereon Rath (Volker Bruch), an ex-soldier from Cologne, is transferred to Berlin to investigate one of Berlin’s biggest pornography rings, together with stenotypist Charlotte Ritter (Liv Lisa Fries) and his partner Bruno Wolter (Peter Kurth). Rath is forced into an existential conflict, torn between loyalty and uncovering the truth as an even greater conspiracy unfolds: Soviet rebels confronting the rise of National Socialism. Berlin’s police headquarters increasingly become the melting pot of a democracy whose days are numbered.

The social climate and political factors that coalesce into a growth in power of the populist far-right has striking political relevance even now, 90 years after the show is set. With a rare 100% critics consensus on Rotten Tomatoes, Babylon Berlin is perfect for your next box set binge.

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 08-04-19
2. No alternative prize is available
3. When the competition ends as indicated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.
4. Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Little Mix’s Jesy Nelson shares her struggles with mental health in new BBC documentary

Jesy Nelson, a member of the world’s biggest girl band Little Mix, will explore body image and mental health in a brand new documentary for the BBC.

Jesy Nelson: My Story will look at how growing up in a social media-fuelled age of selfies, body shaming and trolling is having a profound impact on the mental health of young people.

Having lived in the spotlight and under the intense scrutiny of the media for the past seven years, Jesy will bring this unique insight and passion to the documentary, as she shares her very personal experiences and talks to young people who have been affected.

Jesy says: “This is a project really close to my heart, and I’m delighted to be working with the BBC on a documentary that will both challenge me personally and also highlight a hugely important issue affecting young people today.”

First-look image of Eva Green in BBC Two’s The Luminaries

BBC Two has released a first-look of Eva Green (Casino Royale, Penny Dreadful, Sin City, A Dame To Kill For) as Lydia Wells in The Luminaries, the adaption of Eleanor Catton’s 2013 Man Booker Prize-winning novel of the same name.

Currently filming in New Zealand, the six-part series also stars Eve Hewson (Robin Hood, The Knick, Bridge Of Spies) as Anna Wetherell, Himesh Patel (The Aeronauts, EastEnders) as Emery Staines and Australia’s Ewen Leslie (The Cry, Top Of The Lake: China Girl) as Crosbie Wells.

They are joined by an ensemble of antipodean acting talent, including Marton Csokas as Francis Carver (The Equalizer, Lord Of The Rings, Into The Badlands), Erik Thomson (The Code, Packed To The Rafters), Benedict Hardie (Hacksaw Ridge, The Light Between Oceans), Yoson An (Mortal Engines, Dead Lucky) and New Zealand newcomer, Richard Te Are.

The series will be broadcast on BBC Two in the UK and TVNZ1 in New Zealand. Produced by Working Title Television and Southern Light Films, it is being adapted for the screen by novelist Eleanor Catton and director Claire McCarthy (Ophelia, The Waiting City).

The Luminaries tells an epic story of love, murder and revenge, as men and women travelled across the world to make their fortunes. It is a 19th century tale of adventure and mystery, set on the Wild West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island in the boom years of the 1860s gold rush.

The story follows defiant young adventurer Anna Wetherell, who has sailed from Britain to New Zealand to begin a new life. There she meets the radiant Emery Staines, an encounter that triggers a strange kind of magic that neither can explain. As they fall in love, driven together and apart by fateful coincidence, these star-crossed lovers begin to wonder: do we make our fortunes, or do our fortunes make us?

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

The series will be sold internationally by Fremantle. The Luminaries has been supported by the New Zealand Film Commission.

Second series of Abi Morgan’s original BBC One drama The Split begins production

Joining Nicola Walker (River, Last Tango In Halifax), Stephen Mangan (Episodes), Deborah Findlay (Leaving), Fiona Button (Lip Service), Annabel Scholey (Being Human), Rudi Dharmalingam (Our Girl), Barry Atsma (Hector And The Search For Happiness), Chukwudi Iwuji (Zander) and Ellora Torchia (Maggie Lavelle) are Donna Air (Hotel Babylon) and Ben Bailey Smith (Cleaning Up, Doctor Who) as the second series of BBC One’s The Split enters production in London.
Production has started in London on series two of The Split, helmed by award-winning writer Abi Morgan (River, Suffragette, The Hour) and executive producer Jane Featherstone (Broadchurch, River, Humans).

Set in the fast-paced, messy world of London’s high-end divorce circuit, The Split is an authentic, multi-layered, witty examination of modern marriage and the legacy of divorce. Exploring the often complex realities that bind families together, and tear them apart, the series follows the three Defoe sisters, Hannah (Nicola Walker), Nina (Annabel Scholey) and Rose (Fiona Button) and their formidable mother Ruth (Deborah Findlay).

At the end of the first series, which averaged 5.7 million viewers , Hannah’s formerly rock-solid marriage was beginning to crack following the devastating revelation of Nathan’s (Stephen Mangan) affair. For the rest of the family, and Hannah, joy had turned to tragedy as estranged father Oscar (Anthony Head) passed away the night of Rose and James’ (Rudi Dharmalingam) wedding. Struggling with the grief of losing her father for the second time in her life and with Christie (Barry Atsma) having made his feelings for her clear, Hannah was torn between her past and the promise of a different future.

Now the Defoes are back, at newly merged law firm Noble Hale Defoe, and as former rivals now find themselves on the same side of the table, Hannah’s latest case is set to put NHD firmly on the map.

Locked into an aggressive NDA by her controlling husband Richie Hansen (Ben Bailey Smith) when she was young and naive, Fi Hansen (Donna Air), one half of the UK’s most powerful celebrity couples, now wants out of her marriage. Hiring Hannah to help prepare to leave her dangerously coercive and manipulative partner, their divorce is set to be all the things the press love: public and messy. As the curtain is pulled back from the glossy veneer of their meticulously constructed public image, the pain that lies behind Brand Hansen is slowly revealed and Hannah must invest more than just her billable hours in helping Fi reclaim her life.

Meanwhile, Rose and James return from their honeymoon with ambitions to start their own family and Nina teeters on the edge, as the consequences of her erratic behaviour finally catch up with her. With the merger now complete, Ruth forced out from her role as head of the family firm, must search for a new purpose in life. And, as Hannah fights one of the most public cases of her professional career, the fight to save her own marriage is a deep, intensely, private battle.

Conducting a passionate affair with Christie, Hannah feels trapped; struggling to forgive Nathan, whilst ridden with guilt about her own infidelity. Will she take a course which could result in the end of her marriage, or can she in fact have it all?

On the joy of returning to this gorgeous world Abi has created, and Donna Air and Ben Bailey Smith joining the cast, Executive Producer and Founder of Sister Pictures, Jane Featherstone says: “I love these characters so much and can’t wait to spend time with them again as we watch them struggle through life’s complicated relationships.”

Abi Morgan says: “Sitting on set on the first day of filming I am always reminded what a joy and privilege it is to do what we do - tell stories. Returning for the second series of The Split, the world of high end law and the stories of love, marriage and divorce in the metropolis ricochet through the lives of Hannah and her sisters. Relationships are challenged, friendships are tested and the lines between work and home blue. It’s great to be back."

Created and written by Abi Morgan, The Split is produced by Sister Pictures for BBC One, co-produced with SundanceTV, and was re-commissioned by Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, and Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content. Series Two is executive produced by Sister Pictures Founder Jane Featherstone (Broadchurch, Humans, River), writer and creator Abi Morgan (River, Suffragette, The Hour), Lucy Dyke (Black Mirror, Ripper Street) and Lucy Richer for the BBC. Paula van der Oest boards as director with Natasha Romaniuk producing.

David Dimbleby to guest present Have I Got News For You for the first time

The first episode of the brand new series of Have I Got News For You (airing on BBC One at 9pm on Friday 5 April 2019) will see journalist and broadcaster David Dimbleby make his HIGNFY guest presenting debut, in what will also be his first presenting role on the BBC since retiring from his role as chair of Question Time.
Topical pabel show returns to BBC One on 5 April 2019
David Dimbleby to guest present opening episode
Joining Dimbleby and regular team captains Paul Merton and Ian Hislop as the opening episode’s guest panelists will be journalist and documentary filmmaker Stacey Dooley and comedian Henning Wehn.

On guest presenting the programme for the first time, Dimbleby says: “It is an intriguing invitation. When chairing Question Time I became used to dealing with difficult panellists - but Ian Hislop and Paul Merton are another matter. They have turned disruptive subversion into an art form. It will be quite a challenge to keep the show on the road but whatever happens it will be fun.”

The new series (nine episodes) will air weekly on Friday nights from 5 April at 9pm. The extended version of the programme, Have I Got A Bit More News For You, will air on Mondays on BBC One, from 8 April.

Have I Got News For You is produced by Hat Trick Productions for BBC One. The Series Producer is Jo Bunting, the Producer is Mike Rayment, the Executive Producer is Richard Wilson and the Executive Producer for the BBC is Pinki Chambers.

Have I Got News For You returns to BBC One on Friday 5 April at 9pm, guest presented by David Dimbleby.

Stormzy joins cast of BBC drama Noughts + Crosses

British musician Stormzy has joined the cast of the much anticipated BBC One drama Noughts + Crosses, a Mammoth Screen adaptation of Malorie Blackman's award-winning young adult book series currently being filmed in South Africa.
Stormzy will play newspaper editor Kolawale, a character created for the TV series, and admits: "As a diehard fan of Malorie's novels, being a part of this important show is a dream come true."

Malorie Blackman says: "The first time I met Stormzy he informed me he was a huge fan of my Noughts and Crosses series of books. I’m thrilled he will now be a part of the Noughts + Crosses TV production. It's so exciting!”

Executive producer Preethi Mavahalli adds: "As an icon of black British culture, we are honoured to have Stormzy play a part in this adaptation of a novel he's such a fan of."

A gripping story of first love in a dangerous, alternate world where racism divides society Bafta Cymru winner Jack Rowan (Peaky Blinders, Born to Kill) will play Callum McGregor and newcomer Masali Baduza has been cast as Sephy Hadley. Other cast include Helen Baxendale, Paterson Joseph and Ian Hart.

Mammoth Screen is part of ITV Studios. International distribution is handled by ITV Studios Global Entertainment.

Channel 4 confirms full line up for SAS: Who Dares Wins - SU2C Celebrity Special

This year SAS: Who Dares Wins has partnered with Stand Up To Cancer for its very first celebrity special. The team of ex-Special Forces operators, led by Chief Instructor Ant Middleton have put 12 brave celebrities, both male and female, through an intensive seven-day course to see if they’ve got what it takes to pass this unique version of SAS Selection.

Channel 4 has today announced the final five celebrity names completing the line-up. They are, former premier league and England footballer, Wayne Bridge; television presenter, AJ Odudu; War Horse and Mama Mia actor Jeremy Irvine; broadcaster and life coach Jeff Brazier; and Heather Fisher, an English rugby union and rugby sevens player.

The other names already announced, include Olympic Gold Medallist Victoria Pendleton; England Rugby International Ben Foden, former MP, Louise Mensch; Loose Women’s Andrea McClean, BBC Radio 1’s Dev Griffin, Love Island’s Camilla Thurlow and Made in Chelsea’s Sam Thompson.

Instructor Jason ‘Foxy’ Fox says, “We took great pleasure bringing these celebrities into our world and giving them as hard a time as we give anyone.”

There’s been no allowance made for fame or status, the celebrities have had to push themselves to the limit and reveal themselves like never before. We’ve learnt about each Celebrity’s strengths and weaknesses, hopes and fears, and come to an understanding of who they really are.

Chief Instructor Ant Middleton says, “Celebrities go through their lives showing the public a front and face they want them to see but this process stripped all that away. They've importantly turned up to raise money for SU2C but also to learn something about themselves by facing extreme experiences.”

Danny Dyer, Miriam Margolyes among those exploring the world of sex education

With sex education becoming mandatory for all secondary school children in England from September 2020, Channel 4 are sending a cast of parents and their children including Danny Dyer and his 11-year-old daughter Sunnie and Ulrika Jonsson and 14 year old Martha back to the classroom in Let’s Talk About Sex. 

The 3 x 60’ series from Spelthorne Community Television will take the most outrageous, unexpected and unintentionally hilarious sex education videos both past and present and show them to a diverse range of pupils and parents. Others sharing their candid opinions and fascinating anecdotes of their own personal experiences are Miriam Margolyes OBE, Stephen Mangan, Alastair and Grace Campbell, Phil Wang, London Hughes and Kieron Richardson.

Together they’ll discuss what works and what doesn’t and what they think should be on the syllabus next year as they have some very frank conversations about what each of them knows about sex. From watching how sex educators have handled erections and managed menstruation to how they’ve dealt with the LGBT+ issues and the challenges of masturbation – no subject will be off limits.

From September 2020 relationship and sex education will for the first time become mandatory for all school children in England. To coincide with this, next year the government plans to release new statutory guidance to replace the current “outdated” regulations last updated at the turn of the century in 2000. Using a wealth of video archive, this informative and entertaining series examines what young people have been taught to date an uncovers exactly what school children today do and don’t know about relationships and sex.


Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Stranger Things 3 | Official Trailer [HD]

One summer can change everything. Watch the official trailer for Stranger Things 3. Premiering July 4. Only on Netflix.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

New Series of Victoria | First Look | Sunday 24th March | ITV

Victoria is a British television drama series created and principally written by Daisy Goodwin, starring Jenna Coleman as Queen Victoria. The series premiered in the United Kingdom on ITV on 28 August 2016 with eight episodes, and in the United States on PBS on 15 January 2017; PBS supported its production as part of the Masterpiece anthology.

In December 2017, Victoria was renewed for an eight-episode third series, which premiered on PBS on 13 January 2019, and is set to premiere on ITV on 24 March 2019.

First look at the new series of Victoria. Starts Sunday 24th March on ITV.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Competition: Win The Miracle Series 1 on DVD

The Miracle is released on 25th March

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

From the makers of hit drama The Young Pope comes Sky Italia original series The Miracle. Visionary, award winning writer Niccolò Ammaniti (The Crossroads, As God Commands) pens this intense and intriguing tale of politics, mob violence, and the awesome power of belief. After its acclaimed run on Sky Atlantic, The Miracle Series One is set to arrive on DVD and digital courtesy of Acorn Media International.

A fearsome mafia boss, a naïve young Prime Minister, a priest who has lost his path, an ill security general, and a haematologist with an ailing mother – these people from disparate walks of life are tied together by something inexplicable: a miracle. During a raid on a mafia base in an abandoned army swimming pool, a statue of the Virgin Mary is discovered in a pool of blood – not from any violence, but wept from her stone eyes. There is no answer to the mystery, but it has the power to change all of their lives forever.

This secret is capable of sending a man mad, driving a scientist to the very limits of reason and destabilising a country already hanging on a delicate balance. Pragmatism, national interest, faith and science are the paths taken to find an answer to this incomprehensible phenomenon, but the search for answers only uncovers more questions…and the statue’s isn’t the only blood spilled.

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Sunday, 17 March 2019

Babes in the Wood – Trevor McDonald

Thu 28 Mar 2019
9.00pm - 10.00pm

"This programme looks into the harrowing case of the murder of two nine year old girls through the eyes of the family and police officers involved in the case. The film shows how justice finally caught up with killer Russell Bishop, 32 years after the murders in what is a real testament to everyone involved never giving up." Sir Trevor McDonald

“Some people won’t believe the truth until it hits them right in the face. This is the truth and the truth is he murdered two little girls, he tried to murder another little girl. He is now wallowing in prison where he should be.” Barrie Fellows (victim Nicola Fellows’ father)

Told through first hand testimonies from the one of the families and officers and with access to exclusive police footage, presented by Sir Trevor McDonald; ‘Babes In The Wood’ follows the chronology of events. Starting in 1986 with nine year old girls, Karen Hadaway and Nicola Fellows being reported missing, through to the discovery of their bodies in Wild Park, the arrest and failed first prosecution of Russell Bishop, his acquittal and ‘The March For Justice’ with the families demanding that Sussex Police reopen the case. The frustration the officers faced knowing that a guilty child murderer had gone free. 

Barrie Fellows reacts to the accusations made against him that he had watched a video of his own daughter being raped by his lodger and the defence accusing him of murdering his own child, allegations that were fully investigated and dismissed by Sussex Police.

The assault, kidnapping and attempted murder of seven year old, Claire in 1990 at Devil’s Dyke, the successful prosecution and arrest of Russell Bishop, the repeal of the double-jeopardy law and the DNA forensic breakthroughs that brought Bishop back to face justice at last.

Sir Trevor McDonald explores and discusses the facts of the case from start to finish. Conducting interviews with Susan Eismann and Barrie Fellows parents of Nicola Fellows.

Chief Superintendent Jeff Riley talks us through the intricacies of the ‘new and compelling evidence’ that is required for a double jeopardy case to be brought to retrial and how finally against all odds he brings a child killer to justice.

Friday, 15 March 2019

The country is on the verge of a national emergency in new Sky original drama COBRA

Ever wondered what happens in the corridors of power during a time of national emergency?

Starring Robert Carlyle (Trainspotting, The Legend of Barney Thomson) as Prime Minister Robert Sutherland and Victoria Hamilton (The Crown, Deep State) as his Chief of Staff Anna Marshall, COBRA, is a new Sky original production set in the heart of government during a major crisis.

The high stakes six-part British drama for Sky One and NOW TV deals with an unfolding national emergency that threatens to engulf the country as the COBRA committee, a team comprised of Britain’s leading experts, crisis contingency planners and most senior politicians fights to ensure the protection of the people of Great Britain

The Prime Minister and his Chief of Staff must contend with impossible political decisions, whilst also wrestling with ferociously pressured personal lives. Not only do they bear the weight of public expectation and their family’s needs; they must also be mindful of their political opponents who will use any sign of weakness as an opportunity to strike.

Written by Ben Richards (The Tunnel Sabotage; Strike: The Cuckoo’s Calling) and produced by New Pictures (The Missing and Catherine The Great) for Sky, the drama hurls us into the eye of the political storm, both inside the corridors of power and on the ground, as catastrophic events pull the nation further and further into the abyss.

Additional cast include Richard Dormer (Game of Thrones, Fortitude) as Fraser Walker, Head of the Civil Contingencies Secretariat, David Haig (Killing Eve, Penny Dreadful) as Archie Glover-Morgan, Home Secretary, Marsha Thomason (Better Things, White Collar) as Francine Bridge MP and Lucy Cohu (Broadchurch, Forgiven) as Rachel Sutherland, the Prime Minister’s wife.

Award winning actor Robert Carlyle said:
 “I am really looking forward to stepping into the role of the Prime Minister in a story that feels almost too true to be fiction. COBRA is a palpably thrilling and witty take on a political drama but with a humanity at the heart of the series.”

Sky Arts series Urban Myths returns featuring eight new incredible tales inspired by the worlds of art and culture

Series three of the International Emmy Award nominated comedy series Urban Myths, returns to Sky Arts, the UK’s only TV channel dedicated to arts, music and culture.  The series features eight raucous episodes fictionalising some of the most peculiar stories to have ever leaked out of Hollywood, the music industry and the world of art and culture.

Stories include the unlikely decades-long friendship between Princess Margaret and Mick Jagger; the bizarre night out shared between Freddie Mercury and Princess Diana; the day a burglar stumbled upon Grace Jones and artist Jean-Paul Goude’s New York apartment; Madonna’s short but passionate and influential relationship with Jean Michel Basquiat; the infamous trial of Joan Collins vs. Random House; how Paul McCartney was inspired to write Yesterday; how Andy Warhol came to judge a cheerleading competition for Donald Trump and the prolonged visit of Hans Christian Andersen to ‘friend’ Charles Dickens’ family home.

All episodes will be available on demand on Sky Arts and TV streaming service NOW TV from 10 April

Each of the eight episodes puts its own unique spin on extraordinary events, taken with more than a pinch of salt, and are performed by a selection of great actors, including Mat Baynton, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Hugh Dennis, Kelly MacDonald, Stephen Mangan, Jack McBrayer, Gloria Onitiri and David Walliams. Following the previous two series, new episodes of Urban Myths continue to wryly re-imagine how certain events unfolded, through the eyes of some of Britain’s most talented writers and directors.

Phil Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts, says: 
“You might regard our Urban Myths series as a bit of “Fake History” but as all history is totally made up anyway we should regard these eight perfectly formed comedies as films of historical record, sort of. This series is one of the jewels in the crown of Sky Arts and with totally true (ish) tales from everyone from McCartney and Madonna to Dickens and Trump - our loyal band of discerning viewers are in for a treat.”

The Voice UK introduces the Lifeline giving viewers a say in who makes the live Semi-Final

This weekend The Voice UK will move into The Knockout rounds. During this stage of the competition each superstar Coach will select two of their acts to go through to the live Semi-Final, which means 16 acts will be knocked out of the competition. However, one of those 16 will now be saved with the introduction of the Lifeline vote, allowing the public to vote their favourite into the Semi-Final.

Following the second Knockout show (on Saturday 23rd March) the vote will open via the official app for the public to have their say on who to give the Lifeline to, out of the 16 performers who didn't make it through. Emma Willis will open the vote just before the show closes and the public will have until 11.30pm that evening to vote. Voting is free and viewers can vote up to five times via the app; they can spread those votes however they wish, sharing them out or voting multiple times for the same act. The successful solo singer or trio will be revealed at the live Semi-Final the following weekend.

Jennifer Hudson said: “I’m happy about the addition of the Lifeline. I feel like it gives the contestants even more hope. It allows for a second chance.” 

Olly Murs said: “I think it’s great, it’s another glimmer of hope and I think it makes the contestants work that little bit harder to show the people at home watching the show – look, this is what I can do. Olly didn’t pick me but give me a chance! Of course, I hope I’ll have three in the final! It’s a great change this year.”

Sir Tom Jones said: “The Lifeline is an exciting new addition this year. Saying goodbye to people at The Knockouts can be tough, it’s the biggest cut we see in the competition and giving the singers a second shot, from a public vote, means there’s a great opportunity up for grabs.”

Will.i.am said: “The Lifeline is good. I’ve felt the benefit of it before because we had it in Australia and then I had more people on my team go through to the final.”

The Voice UK continues this Saturday on ITV in the earlier time slot of 7.30pm. The Knockouts start this Saturday (16th March 2019) and conclude the following weekend, determining who the Semi-Finalists will be when the series goes live on Saturday 30th March.

ITV announces a brand new ITV2 reality show, Singletown

From Keshet Productions, this 15 x 60 series will see five couples press pause on their relationships and spend one incredible summer experiencing single life in the most glamorous city in the world, London.

Each couple will have a different reason for putting their relationships on ice  – from school sweethearts who’ve never dated other people properly, newer relationships that have hit the rocks, or maybe two people who just want a summer of self-discovery before they settle down.

The cameras will be there to capture the story of their summer of fun – living in luxury apartments in London these new singletons will go on dates with hand-picked suitors at the hottest venues in town, get to experience out of this world parties and unforgettable moments – it’s going to be their best single life.

But at the end of the summer will they choose to go back to their partner or stick to flying solo? For the five couples going through this experience, the stakes are high and the jeopardy is real.

Paul Mortimer, Head of Digital Channels said 
"Hot on the heels of Love Island, we're thrilled to be partnering with Keshet on this unique series. Singletown is a fun relationship show featuring a diverse mix of young couples from all over the UK brought together in the most aspirational urban setting - London in the summer. ITV2's young audience will hopefully be hooked on the dating dilemmas, twists and turns and the fresh and re-kindled romances that emerge from this exciting new format.”

David Williams, Keshet Productions said 
“Singletown has a unique starting point – it begins with an end – and I can’t wait to watch these freshly minted singles have an unforgettable summer in the city.”