Friday, 19 April 2019
Four To The Floor returns Friday 26th April at 12:05am on Channel 4
The award-winning, late night music and entertainment series, Four to the Floor is returning for a fifth series on Channel 4 accompanied by brand-new digital first programming across social platforms.
The series (6x30’) will blur the lines between live performance, documentary and animation to give a fresh look at UK music right now. Four to the Floor gives a voice to the alternative mainstream, bringing new perspectives from emerging, and often ignored, young voices from across the nation on themes such as - systems and power, transcendence, quantum physics and universal truths, alongside an eclectic and diverse soundtrack from emerging acts and well-known artists.
This series features the likes of UNKNOWN T, HAK BAKER, JAMIE ISAAC, SAM FENDER, NOVELIST, OCTAVIAN, GEORGIA, RAGZ ORIGINALE, BIIG PIIG, MIRAA MAY, SKINNY PELEMBE and many more.
In addition to the new series, Channel 4 are transforming Four to the Four (FTTF) into a truly digital brand, with a full slate of original ideas on YouTube, Instagram and more.
Inheriting the unique tone and all the innovative storytelling of the main series, the new digital brand will play with well-known tropes and digital formats to play the YouTube and Instagram game through the very special FTTF lens. Launch titles on YouTube will feature “Grime Gran”, a twist on the interview format with the real surrogate gran of the whole grime scene and “Rave Tales” which will bring animated anecdotes from legends of the UK’s DIY club culture.
Thom Gulseven, Channel 4 Commissioner (Digital), says “The FTTF digital project is really exciting and a real leap towards a C4 future of building strong digital communities around our young brands. This expansion gives us the opportunity to reach people that the TV just isn’t by putting the content where they are and playing with forms they recognise, all through a completely unique, unmistakably FTTF mindset and tone. And once we’ve done that, we can work with new partners, develop new ideas and talent and talk to an audience in a new way. It all starts with building that community.”
Wednesday, 17 April 2019
EARNING PLAUDITS galore and described as an ‘electrifying thriller’ by The Guardian, Olivier award-winning playwright Lucy Kirkwood’s stage play Chimerica is set for the small screen treatment, as a powerful and timely four-part series. Airing on Channel 4 this Spring, this unique drama is set to arrive on DVD and digital from Acorn Media International.
Adapted by Kirkwood for TV, this fictional story about true events has been brought up to date using the notorious 2016 US Presidential election as a back drop. It explores the murky borders between fact and fiction, truth and censorship, political manipulation and personal sacrifice.
Award-winning actor Alessandro Nivola (American Hustle, Disobedience) stars as Lee Berger, the photographer behind the seminal Tank Man of Tiananmen Square photo, captured during the deadly 1989 protests in China. Now working as a dedicated photojournalist in America, accusations of fake news are levelled against him, and he sets out to reclaim his credibility by searching for the subject of his most famous picture.
Joining Lee on his frantic search are seasoned reporter Mel Kincaid (Cherry Jones - Transparent, The Handmaid’s Tale), corporate market researcher Tess Kendrick (Sophie Okonedo - Hotel Rwanda, The Hollow Crown) and cynical newspaper boss Frank Sams (F. Murray Abraham - Homeland, The Grand Budapest Hotel). Lee also enlists the help of an old friend, Chinese activist Zhang Lin (Terry Chen - Jessica Jones, Birth of the Dragon), who has troubles of his own. Can he uncover the elusive truth before it is too late?
Exploring not just the relationship between East and West, but also some of the most pressing and important issues affecting society today, the series delves deep into the new world of fake news, censorship and the power of political protest, with the rise of Trump and the suppression of Chinese human rights protests mirroring each other in unexpected and unsettling ways.
As Bane (guest star Shane West) enacts his final plan for Gotham's destruction, Gordon rallies his former enemies to save the city. Meanwhile, Nyssa al Ghul (guest star Jaime Murray) kidnaps Barbara's newborn daughter, with ambitions to raise her as her own. Then, Bruce's decision to leave Gotham points him to his destiny, while devastating Selina in the all-new “They Did What?” episode of GOTHAM airing Thursday, April 18th on FOX.
Tuesday, 16 April 2019
Fri 26 Apr 2019
8.00pm - 8.30pm
Ireland will always mean a huge amount to the comedian John Bishop. It was whilst gigging the small clubs and bars there that he decided to quit his job in pharmaceuticals and give stand-up comedy a proper go - a decision that changed his life beyond recognition.
In this brand new series, John will embark on a once-in-a-lifetime, 600 mile road trip around the Emerald Isle, taking a deep dive into Irish culture.
It’s a rollicking and hilarious voyage that will not only follow John discovering iconic sights and quirky customs, but will also see him perform his comedy along the way, from a small and cramped gig in a Limerick pub, through to the biggest stage in all of Ireland.
In episode one, John goes to watch the All Ireland Gaelic football final. Like an Irish Super Bowl, it’s a match that sees over half the country crowd around the TV in pubs and living rooms for the culmination of a competition involving all of the 32 counties in the north and south. Since winning in 1951, Mayo has lost the final seven times which many put down to a curse – Is this the year they will finally lift the curse?
Next, John travels on to Cork, where he goes to the local university for a lecturer on Folk law and fairies and meets a fisherman, who like him, has met the Queen.
Monday, 15 April 2019
Fosse/Verdon 1x02 Promo "Who's Got the Pain?" (HD) Michelle Williams, Sam Rockwell FX Limited series
Spanning five decades, "Fosse/Verdon" explores the singular romantic and creative partnership between Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon. Bob is a visionary filmmaker and one of the theater's most influential choreographers and directors, and Gwen is the greatest Broadway dancer of all time. Only Bob can create the groundbreaking musicals that allow Gwen to showcase her greatness. Only Gwen can realize the unique vision in Bob's head. Together, they will change the face of American entertainment -- at a perilous cost.
Sunday, 14 April 2019
From the makers of Sky One’s BAFTA winning ‘A League of Their Own’ comes a brand new celebrity panel show, ‘There’s Something About Movies’, launching on Thursday 2 May 2019. The Sky original production, produced by CPL Productions and Motion Content Group, will be anchored by funny man Alan Carr as he invites some of the UK’s favourite actors and comics to test their film trivia and blockbuster knowledge on-screen.
Filmed in front of a live studio audience, ‘There’s Something About Movies’ will be Alan’s first hosting gig with the Sky family. The show promises laughs in abundance with guest stars each week who will battle it out to prove they know the most about the industry that made them, all with a dose of chat, humour and some gentle ridicule from Alan himself.
Phil Edgar-Jones, Head of Entertainment at Sky, says: “We are somewhere over the rainbow with excitement to have Alan Carr taking a leading role in There’s Something About Movies. It feels like a show only Sky could make and we aim to do for films what A League of their Own has done for sport... make it funny!”
Alan Carr says: “Super excited to be hosting ‘There’s Something About Movies’ - with the unique mix of famous comedy faces and actual movie stars on one panel show together it’s going to be must see TV. Grab your popcorn as we test the stars on their cinema knowledge, get all the Hollywood gossip behind the scenes and with some acting master classes I see if I’ve got what it takes to make it in tinsel town (spoiler alert - I haven’t). It’s going to be so much fun”
There’s Something About Movies is the latest in a raft of recent commissions as Sky continues its investment in original content with the best of British talent, such as Helen Mirren (Catherine the Great), Idris Elba (In the Long Run 2), Tim Roth (Tin Star 2) and Romesh Ranganathan (A League of their Own, The Reluctant Landlord 2).
It also follows a record 16 BAFTA nominations for Sky this year, including a nomination for the CPL produced A League of Their Own for Comedy Entertainment programme.
‘There’s Something About Movies’ is a Sky original production produced by BAFTA-winning CPL Productions, a Red Arrow Studios company, and producers of hit US/UK panel show ‘Safeword’, Motion Content Group. The six part series (6 x 60’) will go into production imminently and is due to air 2 May 2019 on Sky One and streaming service NOW TV.
Saturday, 13 April 2019
Starting over isn't easy, especially for small-town guy John Nolan, who, after a life-altering incident, is pursuing his dream of becoming an LAPD officer. As the force's oldest rookie, he's met with skepticism from some higher-ups who see him as just a walking midlife crisis. If he can't keep up with the young cops and the criminals, he'll be risking lives -- including his own -- but if he can use his life experience, determination and sense of humour to give him an edge, he may just become successful in this new chapter of his life.
Wednesday, 10 April 2019
Channel 4 is buzzing to announce that following a cracker second series, which came to an emotional close on Tuesday night, the award-winning hit comedy Derry Girls, has been commissioned for a third series (6x30’) by Ian Katz, Channel 4 Director of Programmes, Head of Comedy Fiona McDermott and Commissioning Editor Jack Bayles.
Derry Girls series two launched with a consolidated audience of 3.2m viewers for episode one, which makes it Channel 4’s biggest UK comedy launch episode for 15 years. In Northern Ireland, the series two launch has been the most watched programme across all channels since series one. The second series has so far part-consolidated at 2.7m viewers (after 4 episodes). Series one averaged at 2.5m viewers. Happy days!
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. While series one saw the gang navigating their teens in 1990’s Derry against a backdrop of The Troubles, series two saw them navigating their parents, parties, love interests and school against the backdrop of a precarious peace process. Northern Ireland is growing up - this gang of eejits certainly aren't anytime soon.
Derry Girls takes a warm and hilarious look at the everyday lives of ordinary people living in extraordinary times. The series follows Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson), her cousin Orla (Louisa Harland) and friends Clare (Nicola Coughlan), Michelle (Jamie-Lee O'Donnell) and Michelle’s tag along English cousin, aka The Wee English Fella, James (Dylan Llewellyn). The series also stars Tommy Tiernan as Erin’s long-suffering father, Tara Lynne O’Neill as Erin’s mother, Ian McElhinney as Granda Joe and Kathy Kiera Clarke as Aunt Sarah. Siobhan McSweeney also stars as Sister Michael, the straight-talking Headmistress of Lady Immaculate College, where the gang attend.
Ian Katz, Director of Programmes at Channel 4, says: “At a time of great uncertainty about the future of the country thank God we have one unequivocally good piece of news to look forward to: the Derry Girls will be back to make our lives a bit brighter and more fun.”
Fiona McDermott, Head of Comedy at Channel 4, says: “It’s no surprise that Derry Girls continues to delight a growing legion of fans – a combination of magical writing and adorable characters make this show both timely and timeless. We’re delighted to confirm a third series - don’t tell Ma Mary, but I’m breaking open the Christmas cupboard in celebration.”
Lisa McGee, writer of Derry Girls, says: “I love writing this show and I'm so thrilled to be able to continue the Derry Girls story, thank you Channel 4, Erin and the eejits live to fight another day!"
Jimmy Mulville, MD of Hat Trick Productions, says: “We’ve been brilliantly supported by Channel 4 on the Derry Girls’ journey and I’m just thrilled we’re still on it and heading for series three.”
Tuesday, 9 April 2019
“Attempted murder and murder is nothing. It’s like going down for a Sunday roast… Easy.” - Joanne Dennehy
In this new documentary in ITV’s Crime & Punishment strand, Susanna Reid gains exclusive access to police evidence from the investigation into one of Britain’s most notorious serial killers, Joanne Dennehy, who murdered three men on a killing spree.
Over two weeks in 2013, 30-year-old Dennehy murdered three men and attempted to kill two others. At trial, she showed no remorse for her victims, and became one of only three British women ever to be sentenced to spend the rest of her life behind bars.
Five years on from Dennehy’s conviction, Susanna Reid speaks to the lead detective, the father of her two children, family members of victims, a man who was present when two of the attacks took place, school friends and experts to paint a picture of how an intelligent and privileged young girl transformed into a dangerous, bloodthirsty psychopath.
The first body to be discovered was that of Kevin Lee, a local landlord, whose body was found in a Cambridgeshire ditch, naked from the waist down with a black sequin dress on his top half. Mobile phone data placed one of his tenantsnear his burning car - Joanne Dennehy. Dr Jeremy Coid, an expert on the minds of psychopaths, says: “His body was placed in that way to degrade him and get excitement and pleasure from humiliation of him even after he was dead.”
Dennehy and accomplice Gary Stretch had gone missing - getting as far as Hereford before forcing a contact of his, Mark Lloyd, into their car. Mark says:“Joanne's gone right in front of me, pulled the knife out of her bra and said, ‘you know Gary, he’s the taxi driver, he dumps the bodies, I go around killing people.’ I was terrified. I had to convince her I was onside. I think she would have killed me without hesitation.”
Dennehy then got out and stabbed two dog walkers at random in the street. Mark says of the second attack: “This one was 20 times worse than the first and she was all over him like a blanket. Bang, bang, bang, bang. And then she grabbed the dog and the next thing she sat in the front seat saying, ‘I’ve got a new dog.’ And the bloke was trying to crawl around the corner, and it was blood everywhere. I thought gosh she’s killed two people and then she got back in the car and Gary went, ‘Let’s go to Tesco’s.’”
Police arrested Dennehy and Stretch in Hereford in the car shortly afterwards, with her new dog on her lap. With exclusive access to custody suite CCTV tapes, Susanna examines Joanne Dennehy's behaviour in extraordinary footage recorded at Hereford police station.
The next day in Cambridgeshire, two more bodies were discovered. Lead detective Det Chf Supt Martin Brunning describes to Susanna the moment he got a call saying John Chapman and Lukasz Slaboszewski had been found dead in a drainage ditch, following the discovery of the body of Kevin Lee three days earlier. He says: “I remember looking out at the team and everybody is looking back at me, thinking 'Crikey, where is this going? What’s happening?'”
The story that emerged after Joanne Dennehy's guilty plea in court was that of an angelic schoolgirl who became a monster. To find out the truth about her past, Susanna tracks down an old friend who reveals that Dennehy's dark side began to emerge in her early teens.
School friend Marika tells Susanna: "There were times when I was at school that when the bullying was really bad, that I could’ve quite easily taken my life. On more than one occasion, she’d be like, ‘You’re better off dead,’ Or, ‘I can help you if you want, and you should just go and kill yourself.’"
Barrister Michael Procter, who represented Dennehy in court, said she developed a kind of charisma which gave him an insight into how she was able to make men do what she wanted. He said: “If you met this lady in a bar, or a social situation you would think she had a personality you were quite drawn to, or that was my reaction. It was so unusual that I initially wondered whether I’d actually gone into the cell with the right client.”
Susanna also speaks to the father of Dennehy's two children, John Treanor, who tells her that a lifetime prison is not punishment enough. He says: "She is not my children’s mother – she gave birth to them, that’s all she is. She is the donor, she gave them over, I don’t really want my kids to have anything to do with this woman."
Thu 18 Apr 2019
Time: 9.00pm - 10.00pm
ITV3 will air a brand new 4 x 60 series from Shiver called The Comedy Years over the Easter weekend.
The Comedy Years will look back at how comedy shaped and defined specific years over the past 4 decades. The four years covered will be 1979, 1984, 1998 and 2003.
Each of the hour-long shows will mix classic comedy archive with social history and pop culture nostalgia. They will show how each year’s comedy reflected a changing Britain – from the Thatcher era of satire of Not The Nine O’clock News and Spitting Image to ground breaking comedy series like The Royle Family, The Young Ones and The Office.
The Comedy Years features interviews with stars of comedy past and present, all revealing the comedy moments that inspired them, as well as telling us about the roles they themselves played in some classic TV series. Highlights include interviews with James Bolam, John Thomson, Omid Djalili, Clive Anderson, Cannon & Ball, Shappi Khorsandi, Joel Dommett, Mark Heap, Peter Egan, Jon Culshaw, Debra Stephenson, Leslie Ash, Brian Conley and Dom Joly.
The 1979 episode will look at the northern club scene, which was dominating telly at the time with the likes of Les Dawson and Cannon & Ball. It’s also the year that saw a new breed of alternative comedians making a name for themselves on screen that included Mel Smith, Griff Rhys Jones and Rowan Atkinson.
Spitting Image and The Young Ones will feature in the 1984 episode against the backdrop of the miners strike. More mainstream comedies like Duty Free and Russ Abbot’s Madhouse are also covered.
In 1998 New Labour were in power and ground breaking new comedies started to appear on TV which included The Royle Family and Goodness Gracious Me.
Trigger Happy TV features in 2003 as TV viewers enjoyed the hidden prank antics of Dom Joly alongside Bruce Forsyth’s hilarious hosting duties on Have I Got News For You and fond farewells to Cold Feet and The Office.
The Comedy Years has been commissioned for ITV3 by Satmohan Panesar and is a Shiver production for ITV3. Stuart Ramsay is the series producer with Kerry Allison as producer/director and Mark Scantlebury as Exec Producer.
Mark Scantlebury, Shiver’s Exec Producer says: “No TV comedy exists in a vacuum. Each is a product of the times, reflecting what is going on in the outside world – whether it’s a satirical sketch show like Spitting Image or a sitcom like The Young Ones.
“In this series we’ll enjoy some classic comedy moments, but we will also explore the circumstances that led to each of them appearing on our screens.
“As we’ll see, politics, world events, changing views on what is and what isn’t acceptable and even technology – like Dom Joly’s use of the mobile phone – all had parts to play in what has made us laugh over the years”.
ITV3 Commissioner, Satmohan Panesar says “The Comedy Years is a great new original commission for ITV3 which will be entertaining, informative and nostalgic for our viewers.”
Previous Shiver productions for ITV3 have included instalments in the ‘Forever’ series which were Rising Damp, Morecambe and Wise, Tommy Cooper and Carry On.
A Shiver production for ITV3.
BBC Two acquires Nick Hornby short-form series State Of The Union, starring Rosamund Pike and Chris O'Dowd
BBC Two has acquired See-Saw Films' short-form comedy series State Of The Union, written by Academy Award-nominated and Bafta-winning writer Nick Hornby.
Acquired from Endeavor Content, the 10x10’ minute episodes star Academy Award and Bafta-nominated Rosamund Pike and Bafta-nominated Chris O'Dowd and directed by Academy Award-nominated, Bafta and Emmy-winner Stephen Frears.
State Of The Union follows Louise and Tom (Pike and O’Dowd) who meet in a pub immediately before their weekly marital therapy session. With each successive episode we piece together how their lives were, what drew them together and what has started to pull them apart. Hornby explores the complexities of marriage with his inimitable honesty and humour.
Nick Hornby says: “I am delighted that State Of The Union will be shown on the BBC - it’s absolutely the right place for it, and it was hard for us to imagine any other home in the UK.”
Patrick Holland, Controller, BBC Two, says: “I am so delighted to bring this to the BBC Two audience. The writing is so fantastic, the performances from Rosamund Pike and Chris O’Dowd are pitch perfect and the direction is the very best in the world. What a treat.”
Sue Deeks, Head of Programme Acquisition, BBC, says: “Wonderfully well-written, directed and performed, State Of The Union is funny, poignant, insightful, engaging and unique. Each 10-minute episode is a polished gem."
Alison and Mike, a cash-strapped young couple struggling to buy their first home, think their prayers are answered when a distant relative bequeaths them a sprawling country estate. The catch? The old house is haunted by the ghosts of its former inhabitants.
The restless spirits, horrified that the new owners plan to turn the peaceful pile into a bustling hotel, make plans to oust the troublesome newcomers. But their bungled efforts have unintended consequences…
Ghosts (6x30’) is a Monumental Television production in association with Them There. Tom Kingsley (Pls Like, Stath Lets Flats) will direct the series, and Matthew Mulot (Dead Pixels, Agatha Raisin) will produce. The creators will also serve as Executive Producers alongside Monumental's Alison Carpenter, Debra Hayward and Alison Owen.
Commissioned by Shane Allen, Controller of Comedy Commissioning and Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content. The Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Kate Daughton.
We meet the multi-awarding winning original cast of Horrible Histories below:
Mathew Baynton, who Thomas, Simon Farnaby, who plays Julian, Martha Howe-Douglas, who plays Fanny, Jim Howick, who plays Pat, Laurence Rickard, who plays Robin & Humphreys head, and Ben Willbond (BW), who plays the Captain.
How did Ghosts come about? What’s the story behind it?
Laurence Rickard: And then we rejected it, because all first ideas are terrible, so we thought there must be something else!
Matthew: We all got really excited about the idea of us playing loads of ghosts! At the time, the idea was that we would play loads of characters each, as we’ve always done. We came up with loads of funny images and characters, but then when it came to writing the stories we realised they don’t need jobs, they don’t fear death… they’re already dead!
It suddenly felt like there was no jeopardy that we could write into it, so we abandoned it and went to work on an alien, sci-fi idea, which is still in progress, but then something clicked and we realised the boredom of eternity and the existential aspects of the ghosts idea was unique. The stories could be really petty! We realised it was a house-share sitcom - and as soon as you stop thinking about those kind of major drama stakes, you unlock a story that is really domestic and petty.
Laurence: All of those house-share sitcoms contain people that are in a situation they are stuck in. Ghosts is the ultimate version of that, they are stuck together for hundreds of years and none of them can leave. Then we realised by having the Mike and Alison characters that they then bring the stakes, the worries about money, life and everything you need for a story.
Pictured: Lady Button (Martha Howe-Douglas)
What’s it like when you’re all in a room, writing and discussing ideas? Is someone doing the talking and someone else writing?
Ben Willbond: We have round-table meetings. Sometimes it’s quite hard because there’s a lot to get through, but I think we’re in a really good place now - it’s delightful to sit around a table and come up with stories and characters.
Laurence: We’d always done that with Yonderland. Everything starts around the table and we’d get to a point of developing characters and individual jokes. Then we’d work out who had particularly latched on to a specific story and they would go away and write that up - some would write solo, some would write in duos. Then when we’d drafted it up, we’d take it back to the table and read it together and everyone would discuss ideas and comments.
Matthew: It’s a writers’ room to some extent, it’s almost arbitrary who’s name ends up on which episode. As Larry said, before we even go away to write it we’d have whole chunks of dialogue already. You’re armed with a bag of tricks already - and then it comes back to everyone at the end and there are rewrites. There’s so much cross-pollination. You sort of forget who came up with what really.
Laurence: We have so many views of the script that by the time we send them off we're certain we've done our homework, that it’s all rigid. But that means that you can play around with it on the day. It's always dangerous to rely on improvisation to save something that’s not quite there - we never do that, but we do allow ourselves some looseness.
Can you talk us through the different ghosts and how you decided who would be best suited to whom?
Simon Farnaby (pictured): That’s quite an easy one - I’ve got the best legs so I get to go in pants!
Jim Howick: I suppose there’s a part of each ghost within us, subconsciously.
Mathew: Who’s that most offensive to?
Laurence: Probably me! I think that’s a thing we’ve found in everything we’ve done to a degree. You start writing a character and within a few lines you kind of have an idea in your head of who it might be for. Normally when we compare notes we’ve all reached the same conclusion. Then with any left over we have to work out who’s best to play them. Or sometimes when there’s three characters there and they all feel like Simon, for example, so you have to give one of them to someone else and work out how that will work.
Matthew: We were thinking along the lines of classic, archetypal ghost figures, but also what was coming very easily was lots of more surprising ones, modern ones, like Jim’s and Simon’s. But it felt good to have the real classic ones in there, like Martha’s - the Edwardian matriarch. In the same way, having the headless one: it felt like we had to have enough of those clear archetypes to allow for the others.
As Jim said, there’s a bit of us in all of them, mine’s a bit of a prick! The failed songwriter in me is very much there as Thomas the failed poet.
Is one of the ghosts the leader?
Ben Willbond (pictured): The captain thinks that he is the leader because he’s a military man. But he’s absolutely not in charge. He thinks he is but he’s not.
Matthew: One of the themes of the show is that it’s all about antagonism. You don’t want just one high-status character, you want two or three to clash. Lady Button is also a leader in a way, she’s a guardian of the high-status family line.
Jim: And then you have Robin, who is the joker of the pack. He has been there the longest so it gives him a sort of status over everyone, but then sometimes he just doesn’t care.
Laurence: He’s realised that nothing matters. We did think it was funny that whenever you see a ghost, they’re from the 1500s up to World War Two. They are never any later and never any earlier. Why do you never see a caveman? So we thought we’d have a caveman. If ghosts are a thing, why does it always start around 1490? We thought we’d have one that’s been knocking around for thousands of years.
Pictured: Robin the Caveman (Larry Rickard)
How the caveman speaks is interesting…
LR: The rationale we have for it, is over the years the caveman has seen so many things that he’s actually incredibly knowledgeable but the speech section of his brain has never fully developed. He sees a lot but has trouble articulating himself so he’s like an old wise sage, but almost put through the filter of a dog!
He can’t quite articulate what he wants to say, which he finds frustrating - that informs his character as well. In some ways he’s very wise and thoughtful, but then he’ll attack! You can take the boy out of the cave, but…
Pictured: Pat (Jim Howick)
Is there physical comedy in this?
LR: There’s very physical comedy in the episode where you see how Jim met his demise. There’s some great stuff there.
JH: My character was shot through the neck by one of the boys in his adventure group. He was shot by one of the boys through the neck. He has to struggle and get to the minivan, but he doesn’t make it and dies on the grounds.
MB: It is a comedy, we promise!
JH: It’s the only flashback we see of one of the ghosts’ demise, but we do learn about others. With Martha’s character, we learn about her death in the first episode. We learn about Mary’s death as well. Mary is played by Katy Wix and she was burnt at the stake.
SF: With the physical stuff there is a different dimension as well, because we can go through walls and look into rooms that you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to.
MB: One of the most fun things was discovering a language that’s really unique to this show that we could play with. That involved cutting between the perspectives of seeing and hearing the ghosts in the room, and the physical plane in which they don’t exist and you can’t hear them. You can play with that language. You’d have scenes where Alison is dealing with having a couple of ghosts behind her and she physically responds to that – and then you see it from the perspective of a living person who can’t see who she’s talking to, she’s just shouted at empty space! She then has to find a way to make herself seem remotely sane and cover those moments and that language begins in episode one.
SF: You can invade people’s space if you are a ghost, there’s no reason why you can’t get in somebody’s face. They can’t see it!
LR: It’s a real trial for some of the actors!
MB: The guy playing Toby Nightingale (Rory Fleck Byrne) – he had to try and do that scene again and again with me shouting in his face.
MHD: Sophie (Thompson) was asking, “Martha can I see you?” “No, no I can’t see you!” They’re all written into the script but the reality is that you can play the scenes entirely with the ghosts in the room and entirely without – and then there’s freedom in the edit to play with that.
MB: Charlotte’s been incredible. She’s held in her head everything that she’s done when we’re around… and then we all clear off she has to retain everything we’ve done and play it again.
LR: It’s brilliant. It’s also so weird to watch. She pauses in the middle of sentences and looks at things that aren’t there.
BW: She’s brilliant.
Saturday, 6 April 2019
You’ve done something extraordinary – you’ve made a consumer affairs show that’s actually funny. Explain about the show.
I would describe it as Watchdog with jokes, or Sexy Watchdog, as I think we refer to it at one point during the show. It takes all of the normal tropes of a consumer show, and just tries to make them funny. But not in a parody way, we’re not trying to undermine the format.
Why did you want to take such unpromising material and make a show like this?
I’ve been doing it on a much smaller scale anyway. But it’s always just been at the email level, it’s never gone beyond that. It’s never become something where I’ve taken to the streets. The whole thing came out of the fact that I once told a story about a parking fine I’d got in York. I challenged it over email, and went back with increasing levels of ridiculousness, and managed to get the fine reversed. I told that story on Cats Does Countdown, and it ended up going viral. It’s become known as my calling card, that parking fine and how I dealt with it, and this show is entirely based on the fact that being arsey and being silly can get results. I didn’t know whether it would work with other people’s issues, but thankfully in some of the cases – obviously you can’t win every time – we’ve got money back or changed policy at companies.
Is it more about making people laugh or righting wrongs? Do they come into conflict?
You have to keep an eye on it at all times, making a show like this, because it’s real people’s real issues, and some of the people have lost a lot of money or had a really distressing thing happen to them. It’s at those points when we generally don’t try and be funny. We might throw in a little light gag here and there, but it’s not the time to be flippant, so we’re quite sensitive to that. But also, these people have got in touch with our show, and it is me hosting it, so they know that the approach that we’re going to take isn’t going to be the most serious.
They’re not getting Anne Robinson.
They’re not getting Anne Robinson, although there are lot of comparisons to draw between me and her. They’re getting me. Often it’s people who have tried loads of other routes – they’ve tried the official routes, they’ve tried going to ombudsmen and things that are available to them, and they’ve got nowhere and no-one’s listening to them. So they’ve come to us, and I’m happy to be that last resort.
You’ve got a special guest on every week. What’s their role, and who have you got lined up?
I’ve got an assistant and a sidekick who’s on the show every week – he’s called Mark Silcox, and he’s one of my favourite people in the world. He’s so funny, and very, very dry. He goes off and does special reports and tests out customer policies and promises – so he does Burger King in episode one. But then the celebrity guest comes on and helps as an extra member of the team, so they help with some of the facts, we get their opinions on stuff, and what they think about whatever the story of the day is. So they provide a human element to it, I suppose. They’ve all been amazing. We’ve got Kathy Burke on show one, then Richard Madeley, Shirley Ballas, Stacey Dooley, Prue Leith and Liza Tarbuck.
What kind of cases do you tackle in this series?
The case in episode one is a meaty one, because we’re taking on a massive bank, and they generally don’t respond to anyone. So that felt like a really mammoth task. And we were dealing with a lot of money that had been stolen from a lovely young woman. She’d gone down all of the routes to get the money back and she wasn’t getting anywhere. So we took on this case. That was obviously a big one for us.
There’s been some really fun ones – serious stories, but fun for me! We looked into how easy it is to steal keyless cars. If you have the right equipment – which is available on the black market – it’s so easy to steal a keyless car, and something like 97 per cent of the cars that were made keyless in the last few years are basically vulnerable to being stolen. So I went out and stole a car, which was fun. If people don’t find it funny, which I think they will, at least learn some ways to protect themselves and their property.
You must have been keeping Channel 4’s lawyers exceptionally busy?
Oh my God, they hate me! Although I tried to get them very drunk on the last night of the shoot. The lawyers were kept very busy on this show, because there are so many things to juggle. I come up with so many ridiculous ideas – like the keyless car thing! I was like “Why don’t we just go and steal loads of cars and drive them off.” And they would say “Yeah, that would be a crime, Joe, you’re not allowed to actually steal people’s property.” So they had to essentially deal with an idiot who was trying to come up with ideas of how to make my programme funny. Their concern is less humour and more making sure nobody goes to jail. Which is so boring, isn’t it?
Does it feel like quite a responsibility? For example, trying to get someone’s life savings back…
Yeah, definitely. Particularly with that case, because I interviewed her, and she was so lovely, and it was clearly so distressing for her. You hear the footage of her receiving a phone call saying she’d lost her life savings, and them saying they’re sorry but it’s unlikely they’ll be able to get it back, and the shock and the horror of her reaction – it’s really upsetting. So you do think “Oh God, I hope we can do this.”
Do you get nervous before the big confrontations?
So nervous! I got better as I went along, but because I wasn’t used to it, I had such a new appreciation for people like Matt Allwright, who turn up to people’s houses and confront them. It’s so unnatural, and I’m not great with any form of confrontation. I really shy away from it. We did a pilot, and I had to doorstep a company, and I was so nervous. But by the end of the series I was loving it, really up for it. By then I’d got angry on behalf of other people, and I was up for it. Like anything that’s frightening, it was so worth it in the end. I remember we did a rave outside a company head office for one of the stunts, it was at 9am, and we all came away at 9am on a Tuesday having had a massive rave in the street, and we were all buzzing, and felt so good.
So the lesson is, we should all start every Tuesday with a rave?
Are you quite dogged about this sort of thing if it happens in your own life?
Yes. I knew this would happen with the show, I now have to deal with the many complaints of friends and family.
Is there anything particular from modern life that you would like to rail against and get overturned?
Lots of people hate waiting on hold for ages. I get frustrated with companies that present themselves as your mates. They use emojis in the messages they send you, and they’re very casual with their back-and-forth. That doesn’t work if they’ve rinsed you of all your money. I don’t want someone to be nice and friendly while telling me my bill’s gone up by 10 per cent because they’ve just decided that. So I get frustrated with the faux pally-ness these places tend to adopt.
Wednesday, 3 April 2019
Set in a Glasgow hospital, Trust Me follows the story of Corporal Jamie McCain, who is recovering from a spinal injury which has left him paralysed.
But he faces a new enemy when patients on the ward start dying unexpectedly around him. Jamie believes the deaths are suspicious - but unable to move, his investigation is dangerous and difficult.
With everyone in the department hiding a secret, catching a culprit seems like an impossible task. But with Jamie’s behaviour becoming increasingly erratic, is the threat real or imagined?
Corporal Jamie McCain, played by Alfred Enoch
Corporal Jamie McCain is both tough and intelligent. His world is one of physical capability, getting on and doing, not talking about it. The kind of person you would describe as a man of action. As the story begins, the man of action finds himself unable to walk. Frozen both physically and emotionally, and suspected of suffering from PTSD, it looks like Jamie might never recover. But when patients on the unit die unexpectedly he becomes obsessed, determined to uncover the truth - and although he doesn’t know it, this is the first step in his rehabilitation. But are patients really being murdered? Or is that just the paranoid conclusion of a man with an unstable mind?
Dr. Archie Watson (clinical lead), payed by John Hannah
Dr Archie Watson is the unit’s clinical lead, whose bad jokes and awkward persona hide a seedier and much more sinister side. Archie is basically hiding in Neuro Rehab, devoting most of his time to minimizing his workload and avoiding trouble. Archie may appear indifferent, but he’s also manipulative and will stop at nothing to save his own skin. Despite his marriage, Archie often oversteps the mark with his female colleagues. His ‘technique’ works very well with a certain type of woman.
Debbie Dorrell (head physio), played by Ashley Jensen
Head physiotherapist Debbie can be sharp-tongued, and often gets on the wrong side of people without meaning to. Debbie is a fantastic physiotherapist, she’s a professional who’s fiercely committed to her patients. Sometimes she pushes a little too hard, but she always gets there in the end.
Dr. Zoe Wade, played by Katie Clarkson-Hill
Zoe has always been smart, but even qualifying as a doctor hasn’t quite pushed down her feelings of insecurity and imposter syndrome. Everyone around her seems so confident that she’s sure she’ll be found out any minute. Up until now, Zoe’s solution has been to try and embrace the conventional. Even in her relationships - she is currently engaged to Alex - she’s played it safe. And the safe option is working, sort of. So why isn’t she happy? Alex has been there for Zoe through dark times, but she’s much better now - or so she’d like him to think.
Dr. Alex Kiernan, played by Richard Rankin
A career neurologist, Alex is training to become a consultant. On the surface he is a fun, attractive and dedicated doctor. But all of this belies his steely ambition, and we sense an undercurrent of threat beneath his professional exterior. Alex’s desire to protect Zoe means that he doesn’t always recognise her boundaries, but if this is a problem for Zoe, then Alex is unaware.
Dr. Laila Karimi (clinical psychologist), played by Amiera Darwish
An exceptionally intelligent and intuitive woman, Laila loves being a psychologist. Sometimes she can come off a bit more like a scientist than a human being - which suggests she’s probably not as ‘stable’ as she’d like to think she is. Her friendship with Zoe is real - an opposites attract dynamic - but does Zoe know the real Laila, or is she hiding behind her clinical persona?
Parveen Shankar (pathologist), played by Manjinder Virk
Parveen is a studious and efficient pathologist and a stickler for the rules. But she is also strong and capable of standing up for herself when she’s faced with difficult situations. Others may assume that they can walk all over her - but it’s often the quiet ones you have to watch out for...
Danny Adams (patient), played by Elliot Cooper
Danny is a handful. His mind fizzes at a hundred miles a minute with technology stats, conspiracy theories and an obsessive love of Doctor Who. When Jamie arrives on the unit Danny self-appoints himself as his best mate, and soon takes Jamie into his confidence. Is Danny just a conspiracy nut, or could he actually be on to something?
Game of Thrones returns for its final season on April 14.
George R.R. Martin's best-selling book series "A Song of Ice and Fire" is brought to the screen as HBO sinks its considerable storytelling teeth into the medieval fantasy epic. It's the depiction of two powerful families -- kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars and honest men -- playing a deadly game for control of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, and to sit atop the Iron Throne. Martin is credited as a co-executive producer and one of the writers for the series, whose shooting locations include Northern Ireland, Malta, Croatia and Spain.
First episode date: 17 April 2011
Final episode date: 19 May 2019
Catch up on Deana's road to the final of The Voice UK 2019!
Music superstars take on the role of coaches to find the UK's next great voice. The singer begins their audition with the coaches turned away. If the judge likes what they hear, they hit a button to spin around and reveal the face behind the voice.
Tuesday, 2 April 2019
Pitching In is released on 8th April
And to celebrate we have a great competition for you and 3 copies to give away.
TV favourite Larry Lamb (Eastenders, Gavin and Stacey) returns to our screens as Frank Hardcastle, a recently widowed Londoner getting to grips with big changes in his life, in the Welsh-set comedy drama Pitching In currently airing on BBC One and coming to DVD and digital courtesy of Acorn Media International on 8 April 2019.
Welcome to Daffodil Dunes Holiday Park in the picturesque village of Glan Mor on the north Wales coast: the heartbeat of this close-knit community, run by salt-of-the-earth cockney Frank for 50 years. When his flighty daughter Carys (Caroline Sheen - Les Miserables) and grandson Dylan (William Romain – Creeped Out) show up at his 71st birthday party and announce they are staying for good, Frank considers whether it might be a good time to sell up and start again. Especially as local estate agent, Iona Driscoll (Hayley Mills - Wild at Heart) has a very tempting offer for him to consider…in more ways than one.
But Carys convinces her dad to let her become the park’s new manager, prompting a flurry of hare-brained schemes as she attempts to attract new customers and appease the long-term residents. Carys must also deal with her feelings for ex-fiancé Danny (Craig Russel - Hollyoaks) who runs the local pub with his new partner. Can she stay away from the man she jilted at the altar?
Telling the story of three generations of the same family, all struggling to make the best of a very unusual set up on the edge of the Irish sea, Pitching In also features Gavin and Stacey co-star Melanie Walters and Taj Atwal (Line of Duty, Stella). This community-spirited drama is touching, funny, and romantic.
Home really is what you make it, so settle in for this cracking coastal comedy.
Click here to buy from Amazon (Opens in a new window)
For your chance to win just answer the question below.
Which actor plays Frank Hardcastle in Pitching in?
Send you name, address and of course the answer to firstname.lastname@example.org
Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 15-04-19
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.
Monday, 1 April 2019
BBC Two has acquired ten-part series, The Looming Tower, based on Lawrence Wright’s Pulitzer Prize-winning non-fiction book about the rising threat of Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda in the late 1990s and how the rivalry between the FBI and CIA during that time may have inadvertently set the path for the tragedy of 9/11.
BBC Head of Programme Acquisition, Sue Deeks, says: “Brilliantly weaving archive footage with tense and compelling drama, The Looming Tower is a fascinating and illuminating deconstruction of the personalities and events that ultimately led to the horror of 9/11.”
Starting in 1998, the series follows members of the I-49 Squad in New York and Alec Station in Langley, Virginia, the counter-terrorism divisions of the FBI and CIA, respectively, as they trawl the world fighting for ownership of information while seemingly working toward the same goal: trying to prevent an imminent attack on US soil.
Jeff Daniels plays John O’Neill, the bull-headed chief of the I-49 Squad convinced that the U.S. has been targeted for an attack by Al-Qaeda. O’Neill and his protégé, Muslim-American FBI agent Ali Soufan (Tahar Rahim) face deliberately insufficient cooperation from their counterparts within the CIA, led by antagonistic Martin Schmidt (Peter Sarsgaard).
Convinced he’s by far the smartest person in the room, Schmidt, along with his Alec Station acolyte Diane Marsh (Wrenn Schmidt), opt to weasel around Presidential orders and hoard information from the FBI, believing that the CIA is the only government agency equipped to battle potential terror threats from abroad.
Members of O’Neill’s team travel overseas to investigate the bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, then the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen, while following leads in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, gathering important intelligence. The professional and personal worlds come to a head as Al-Qaeda operatives in the US, whom the CIA had known about, set their plan in motion.
The Looming Tower is executive produced by Dan Futterman, Alex Gibney, Lawrence Wright, Craig Zisk, and Adam Rapp. The Looming Tower is a Legendary Television production for Hulu in the US.
The Looming Tower will be on BBC Two this spring.
The Looming Tower stars Jeff Daniels (as John O’Neill), Tahar Rahim (Ali Soufan), Peter Sarsgaard (Martin Schmidt), Wrenn Schmidt (Diane Marsh), Bill Camp (Robert Chesney), Louis Cancelmi (Vince Stuart), Virginia Kull (Kathy Shaughnessy), Ella Rae Peck (Heather), Sullivan Jones (Floyd Bennet) and Michael Stuhlbarg (Richard Clarke), guest starring Alec Baldwin (as CIA Director George Tenet).
Stephen Graham (John Corbett)
Why did you want to be part of Line of Duty?
Because I watch it and my mates are in it. Who wouldn’t want to go out and play with their mates?
Jed approached you for the series. What did he say to you during the first phone call? I take it you didn’t need any convincing?
No not at all. I’m a fan of the show anyway; I’ve watched it from the beginning. It was really nice, he just phoned me and said: “I’m writing this character which I think you’d be great for, I’d like you to have a look at it, it would be a pleasure to work with you, I like your stuff and I’m a fan of your work and it would be really nice to have you on board and become a member of the family.” Which was a lovely thing for someone to say, a writer of his calibre and somebody who I admire as a writer and a creator.
To say that they had me in mind when they were writing it is a hell of a compliment. So it was a no brainer. I said: “Yeah sure, I’d love to!” I was already doing it, even if I was only in five pages! But I read it and I thought even in the first four or five pages that I could see me doing this, this is juicy.
You lived in Belfast for the series, with some of your oldest industry friends. Did you have chance to spend time with them outside of filming?
Of course, we went for quite a few dinners which were nice after a hard days graft. We spent quite a lot of time together; we went over lines, we went through scenes together a lot, whether it was at my house or one of their houses. We went to the gym quite a few times together. Every opportunity we got we went out and about looking around - it was really nice! They showed me a few nice restaurants, predominantly curries, because Jed loves an Indian, so we spent a lot of time in a curry house! It was really lovely. I’ve worked in Belfast a couple of times, it’s a beautiful city and I love the people there, they’re really friendly and very welcoming.
You’re a part of some big action sequences - are they fun to do?
Of course, yeah! As a kid we used to play army and would run round the garden. Now, roll on 45, I’ve got an M16 in my hand and been told: “Here’s a load of ammunition, you’re not going to hurt anyone, just point it over there, don’t point it directly at each other, and shoot!” It’s a lot of fun jumping out of cars, shooting guns and rolling around on the grass and everything - it’s brilliant! It’s very exciting.
Were there any memorable moments on set?
Rochenda, Tomi (May) and I used to have a lot of fun on set, and John our director, he’s a bit of a champ. There was one bit when we’d just committed a robbery and we shot off, and we were actually driving through the streets of Belfast with our balaclavas and machine guns in the car and we realised we'd better get back to set! So that was quite funny, but wouldn’t have been too funny if people had seen! It was all a lot of fun; it was a lovely environment to work in.
Rochenda Sandall (Lisa McQueen)
Were you a fan of Line of Duty before you got the part?
Absolutely, I watched it every single year. When I auditioned for the part I watched it all again over two or three days. I was a massive, massive fan. It was the first time auditioning for Line of Duty and I got lucky, hole in one!
Have you found it tricky to stay quiet on the plotlines? Did any of your friends and family try to get the truth from you?
Of course they have tried to bribe it out of me! They love an exclusive. But the truth is, it’s like being told what a present is whilst you’re unwrapping it. It seems like a good idea, but it’s not - it’s underwhelming! I tell them to watch it like everyone else, I’m going to be watching it too as I wasn’t in some parts so they will be a surprise to me too and I want it to be that way. Even my agents haven’t read the scripts as they want to enjoy it as it comes out!
What can you tell us about your character Lisa?
She’s a lone wolf. Massively determined, ambitious, power-hungry and always wants more.
Did you have any action scenes and were they fun to film?
Absolutely, sometimes in the midst of them you can’t believe what’s happening as it’s so realistic - so there’s no acting required! They are set up in such a good way.
From being a fan, was there anything that surprised you about the show/how it’s made?
No real shocks but on a personal note, walking in and working with these amazing actors is mind blowing. It’s shocking how relaxed everyone is, you expect utter chaos but it runs like a well-oiled machine.
Were there any memorable moments on set?
Stephen had a cold one time on a freezing on a night shoot. He asked one of the dressers to put Olbas oil in his balaclava, but I think they put a drop too many in as his eyes just wouldn’t stop running. And he had to wear it all night, so he was just crying the whole time!
How was filming in Belfast?
I totally love that city; it’s in my top five I would say. It’s a nice place to mooch about in, good restaurants, lots of bars and pubs, markets and things to see. The people are really nice.
Jed Mercurio (Writer and Showrunner)
Where did the idea for Line of Duty come from?
I wanted to do a cop show that was different in some way from what was on normal television in terms of regular cops chasing down criminals; so I had the idea of an anti-corruption unit, basically cops verses cops and that became the central concept of the series.
Did you know where you wanted the story to go for series five?
In series five we enter new territory, because we get inside a criminal gang which is something we haven’t done before. The so called ‘balaclava men’, the organised criminal group who’ve been featured on and off through the preceding four seasons, are now featured more prominently in this series.
What about the choice of central character?
Our antagonist this season or our guest lead is John Corbett who is part of the organised criminal group that is the focus of AC-12 activity in series five. He’s played by Stephen Graham who is a fantastic actor and someone that we’ve all wanted to work with and is a great fit with the rest of our cast.
How would you describe his character?
John Corbett is probably our most dangerous and villainous character that we’ve ever featured as an antagonist. He’s involved in serious criminal offences, he’s the leader of a ruthless gang of violent criminals and I would say that he presents probably the biggest ever challenge to AC-12.
What was it like working with Stephen?
It was an absolute pleasure working with Stephen Graham. I’ve admired his work for many years, and what he brings is that real sense of authenticity. He works incredibly hard on the naturalism of the scenes so that when you do a take it feels like its live, feels like it is real.
What can we expect from this new series?
In this series of Line of Duty we enter brand new territory, what we see is criminal activity on a large scale and we’re actually inside the planning and execution of that. So rather than the aftermath being investigated by AC-12, we are actually with the criminals as they commit their offences. That means that there is high jeopardy and big action sequences, in fact probably more action sequences over the first few episodes of the series than were ever done before.
Martin Compston (DS Steve Arnott)
What excited you about a project like Line of Duty? Why does it stand out from other dramas on television?
We’re on our fifth series now and every year it’s the scripts. It was the best drama I’d ever read when I auditioned for it the first time and every year I think "this is the year that Jed maybe doesn’t pull it out of the bag", but he does every time. With the move to BBC One last year and as the show goes on and on, it has to get bigger and a bit more flashy at times, but it’s the gritty realism he keeps in it all the time that makes it stand out. The scenarios are getting more elaborate but the way the police deal with it is still grounded in reality and I think that’s what makes it such compulsive viewing. It’s just nice to be back with Vicky and Adrian and back over here in Belfast - I’m having a blast!
How would you describe Steve’s character?
I really enjoy playing him and that’s one of the beauties of Jed’s writing. It’s a grey area because although Steve is sort of the hero, he’s not instantly likeable and usually the person we’re chasing (especially people like Lennie James in the first series), as a viewer, you find yourself rooting for the bad guy at times. Steve is just a lot of fun to play, he thinks a lot of himself which is why he’s always in a waistcoat, he’s a bit of a smart-arse and thinks he knows better all the time. He’s probably the most in line with Hastings out of all the characters as he’s always after the truth. And he’ll go after anybody, regardless of rank, but maybe he rubs people up the wrong way with the way he goes about it.
Where is Steve emotionally and psychologically at the beginning of the series?
As ever with Jed, everything is not quite as it seems. Steve has had the dramatic experience at the end of series four when he was in the wheelchair after being tossed down the stairs by balaclava man. At the start of the series by all intents and purposes he looks like he’s made a full recovery but as we go through the episodes you start to realise it’s not quite right, there’s stuff wrong with him physically and that’s starting to affect him mentally and this will bleed into the current series. He’s a bit broken at times and the great thing about knowing that we’ve been commissioned for another series is that Jed can delve into character’s backstories more and in this case I think we see that Steve’s just a bit lonely.
Were there any challenges you encountered during production?
I’m not sure how much we can give away, but this series there is a certain problem that Steve has physically, which was a bit of an eye opener when Jed told me about it. When you get down to the seriousness of it and how it affects him and his mental health, it turns out to be a very emotional scene.
What’s been your favourite scene to shoot?
We’ve been very lucky with the guest stars we’ve had over the years and I think that’s been a huge part of the success of the show; from Lennie James to Danny Mays, Keeley Hawes, Thandie Newton and Jason Watkins, but this is probably the most excited I’ve ever been. I’m lucky to call Stephen Graham an old friend of mine but he’s also an inspiration. Vicky’s character has a promotion this series which means Steve gets to be out and about a bit more. He’s doing the dirty work so to speak and I really enjoyed that aspect of it. There are some really intense scenes between Stephen and I and it was great just to be beside him. I think as an actor you always pick up your game around better actors, you always have to be on your toes!
Vicky McClure (DI Kate Fleming)
What excites you about Line of Duty, and what is it that sets it apart from other dramas?
What excites me is getting back together with the gang. Myself, Martin, Adrian and Jed all get on very well and there’s lots of returning crew and cast so that’s always great, but ultimately it’s the scripts which excite me the most. As soon as we get them they’re very much page turners; you want to see if you survive and Jed always seems to up the ante. In terms of it being different to other shows I think dialogue-wise it’s so rich and we rely a lot on the audience picking up on all the acronyms we put in every year. They like the fact they we test them and we challenge them.
How would you describe Kate’s character?
I’d describe her as very honest, maybe a little bit conflicted. She’s one of those people who always want to do what’s right but she can sometimes go with her heart as well. She likes to be there for Steve. He might have other ideas to evolve the case another ways, but she wants to try and do what’s right for the job and then also do what’s right for her friend; so she’s honest but conflicted.
Where is Kate at the start of the series?
She’s feeling pretty good, she’s got a promotion so she’s got a little bit further in her career and taking on more responsibility. She’s back with her fella and the home is a happy place. She’s got a bit more time with her son as her promotion gives her that flexibility so we see her in a good place.
Isn’t there someone special playing your son?
Yes my son is played by nephew Kai. When it was written originally I had a daughter, and I said to Jed it would be great if I could have a son instead because I could use my nephew. It will always be his role now and he really enjoys it; he did really well this year, he did some improvising, I’m very proud of him.
Was there anything you weren’t prepared for or any challenges you encountered?
I think the biggest challenge for me is the lines. It’s in the title… 'Lines of Duty' as I call it now. Sometimes the dialogue can be so complicated and you’ve just got rattle it out as naturally as you possibly can. You are tested on your memory in some ways. Actually trying to get the dialogue out in a certain space in time is always the biggest challenge for me.
Have you had a favourite scene to shoot?
I look forward to scenes where the dialogue is rough and ready. I’m a bit childish, if there’s a swearword or something that’s a little bit off-the-cuff I always enjoy it. There is so much police talk that when it becomes a bit more natural I quite enjoy it!
If there is ever action it’s always good fun; me and Martin have had a few bits where we’ve been running around and it just lifts us and gives us a bit of a buzz for the day.
Has it been interesting having a female director for the first time on Line of Duty?
It’s been amazing, I absolutely love what Sue Tully is doing. I think she’s bringing a different energy to it. John Strickland has obviously been with us some years so he’s an old hand at it. I’m really glad we’ve got a female director on board and I wish we had more, but Sue’s a great representation of being able to come in and know what she wants and gets it shot the way she wants. She is doing some really interesting things with the camera. Plus she’s an actor’s director; being that she was an actor, so she really understands what it is we need and that’s been great.
Adrian Dunbar (Superintendent Ted Hastings)
What excites you about a project like Line of Duty and what makes it stand out from other dramas on television?
As were going into the first series, you just get excited about how the stories’ developing. We’ve got a huge audience out there waiting to hear what’s going to happen to the characters and especially the three central characters; Vicky, myself and Martin who we’ve got to know over the years a bit more and I think the audience has become interested in them.
One of the strengths of the show is the fact that it has a very interesting format, in that you do have these three central characters in AC12, but we do bring in a lead character. A lot of the time it’s their show and we fit in around them. So rather than having a guest lead, it’s a proper lead, so that dynamic is different.
Some shows work on the basis of being procedural but ours is incrementally slow in its delivery of information because it’s genuinely procedural. It’s real; lots of people, police work, working on things very diligently, that brings the results. So I think those things are interesting. And also with the idea of the police investigating the police so we’re always up against people who are really clever.
How would you describe your character?
I think Hastings is a very interesting character; he is struggling to be good. Police work is a vocation to him, he believes in it, believes in the rule of law and he lives his life by that. But like everybody he struggles, so therefore those grey areas are the interesting areas to play with the character. I think he’s a character people respond to because they like to think there is someone out there who believes in the letter of the law and believes it’s worth fighting for. He’s got a very difficult personal life, sadly he doesn’t have any kids and I think that’s something that’s missing in his life.
Where do you think he is psychologically at the beginning of the series?
At the end of the last series, we left a question mark hanging over Hastings as to how much he actually knows about what’s going on regarding the organised crime groups and the institutional links. That’s something that’s going to be teased out throughout the series. I think that’s one of the main storylines and it’s something that people will be interested in because we have to clear up one way or another, if Hastings is tactically or completely involved.
One of the central themes of Line of Duty are the interrogation scenes. How do you approach them?
The interview scenes are difficult. Approaching them you just have to start learning the lines pretty early. They do take a long time and concentration. We shoot them mostly with three cameras over a couple of days so you’re looking not to have them spread out as much as you can so you can get on done and move on to the next one. You have to really work on Line of Duty, because the language is very difficult and what you’re describing is usually very technical and detailed, so you can’t busk it. So it’s just a question of getting your head down.
Written and created by Jed Mercurio and made by World Productions for BBC One, Line of Duty returns at 9pm on Sunday 31 March.
When three police officers are shot dead during the hijack of a seized drugs transport, AC-12 move in to investigate possible police collusion.
Stephen Graham joins the series as John Corbett, the ruthless leader of an Organised Crime Group (OCG), who hijack a seized drugs transport.
AC-12 investigators Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar), Detective Inspector Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) suspect corrupt police officers of leaking information.
As the body count rises, AC-12 realise they’re facing their most vicious adversary yet.
Line of Duty is made by World Productions (Bodyguard, Save Me) for BBC One.
Produced by Ken Horn, executive producers are Jed Mercurio, Simon Heath and Priscilla Parish for World Productions, and Tommy Bulfin for the BBC. The series is directed by John Strickland and Susan Tully. Line of Duty is made with support from Northern Ireland Screen.