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Thursday 30 May 2019

ITV2 recommissions Don’t Hate The Playaz and The Stand Up Sketch Show

Don’t Hate The Playaz
The anarchic Hip Hop comedy show will return to ITV2 in Autumn 2019.

The first series proved hugely popular with ITV2 viewers and was nominated for a Royal Television Society Award this year in the Entertainment category.

Filmed in a gig-environment and hosted by Jordan Stephens, two teams made up of comedians, Hip Hop legends & celebrity Hip Hop lovers battle it out in front of a live audience for the ultimate prize: bragging rights!

Maya Jama and Lady Leshurr will once again lead the two teams alongside new guests each week.

The Stand Up Sketch Show
The comedy format that combines both stand up and sketch will return to ITV2 in early 2020.

From established stand up routines by some of the nation’s best loved comedians, to brand new material from Britain’s most exciting up and coming talent.  The Stand Up Sketch Show is doing what no comedy has ever done before.

Each sketch begins with a comedian telling their story on stage in front of a live audience, before shifting into a surreal reconstruction of the material.  Using some of the circuit’s funniest material, the reconstructions will feature visual jokes, supporting performances, ridiculous props and absolutely killer comedy. 

Comedians in the first series included Joel Dommett, Felicity Ward, Dane Baptiste, Darren Harriot, Tom Allen, Russell Kane, London Hughes, Suzi Ruffell, Seann Walsh, Fern Brady and Tom Allen.

ITV’s Head of Digital Channels, Paul Mortimer said “Don’t Hate The Playaz and The Stand Up Sketch Show were creative and original commissions for ITV2 and we’re delighted both shows resonated with our younger audience.”

Saskia Schuster, ITV’s Comedy Controller added “The Stand Up Sketch Show quickly established itself as a fast paced format that delivered the laughs from well known and up and coming comedy talent.  Don’t Hate The Playaz put its unique spin on panel shows and the producers have some great ideas lined up for the second series.”

Wednesday 29 May 2019

Competition: Win Good Omens Soundtrack by Composer David Arnold on CD

On 31st May, Silva Screen Records will release Good Omens, David Arnold's exciting soundtrack to the highly anticipated TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s 1990 comic fable.

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

Composer David Arnold’s soundtrack to the highly anticipated TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s 1990 comic fable that packs a punch.

Following the odd couple, angel Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) and demon Crowley (David Tennant) in their quest to sabotage the end of the World, Amazon Prime's six episode mini-series delivers a tongue in cheek adaptation of this powerful and funny story.

From the Award-winning composer of Sherlock and Casino Royale comes a soundtrack that perfectly complements the Good Omens’ drama and visual sensibilities. At times nostalgic and eerie but always varied, beautiful and full of excitement, this robust, yet funny music entity has become another character in the story. Here, Arnold has created a contemporary soundworld for heaven and hell.

The closing song is Tori Amos’ version of A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square, a British wartime favourite referenced at the end of the book, conjuring feelings of separation and pining for untroubled times, and including the lines "There was magic abroad in the air. There were angels dining at the Ritz. And a nightingale sang in Berkeley square".

Watch Good Omens on Amazon Here (Opens in a new window)

For your chance to win just answer the question below.


Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 13-06-19
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.

Channel 4 Commissions Whisper to Make Champions League Documentary

Channel 4 has commissioned Whisper Films to make a fast-turnaround documentary focusing on two leading football managers, Jurgen Klopp of Liverpool FC and Mauricio Pochettino of Tottenham Hotspur, ahead of the UEFA Champions League Final this Saturday, 1 June.

Against all the odds, Klopp and Pochettino have guided the two English clubs through the most dramatic Champions League competition in living memory, to the final showdown in Madrid, Spain.

Titled ‘Klopp vs Poch – Battle of the Supermanagers’, the insightful documentary will preview the hotly anticipated final with an in-depth look at two of the World’s leading football managers and aims to feature fascinating opinions from a raft of football personalities, such as John Barnes, Jermaine Jenas, Steven Gerrard, Jurgen Klinsmann, Glenn Hoddle, Gabby Logan, Les Ferdinand, Neil Ruddock, Matthew Syed and Chelcee Grimes.

Featuring interviews with a host of managers, players, fans and club legends, the documentary will look at how the German and Argentine managers have gained cult status at their clubs through their unique methods and management techniques.

The one hour documentary will shine a light on what makes both men tick and, in an era of managerial mind games in football, reveal how these two managers have achieved success on football’s biggest stage, where others have failed.

The documentary was commissioned by Channel 4’s Head of Specialist Factual, Fatima Salaria, who commented:

“On eve of a seminal final that sees European football dominated by two remarkable English clubs, this programme takes the opportunity to examine the art of the manager in the modern game. Who are these hugely charismatic and influential executives who are able to make millions for their employers and transform lives of fans through success on the pitch? How do these two very distinct personalities and coaching styles get the very best from their players?”

Whisper Films CEO, Sunil Patel, said: ‘It’s fantastic to be producing something associated with such a huge sporting moment and to be uncovering unique insights about the two central characters. It’s a fascinating subject; story-telling is an intrinsic part of we do and we feel privileged to have the opportunity to tell the story of Klopp vs Pochettino, two world-renowned sporting managers.”

The documentary airs at 10pm on Thursday 30 May on Channel 4.

Tuesday 28 May 2019

Channel 4 announces cast of Lucy Kirkwood drama Adult Material

Hayley Squires (I, Daniel Blake, The Miniaturist) to play lead character Jolene Dollar in Lucy Kirkwood’s upcoming Channel 4 drama, Adult Material. She is joined by Siena Kelly (Vanity Fair, Temple), Kerry Godliman (Afterlife, Save Me), Joe Dempsie (Game of Thrones, Deep State), Julian Ovenden (Downton Abbey, Knightfall), Phil Daniels (A Very Very Very Dark Matter, Sliced) and Rupert Everett (Another Country, My Best Friend's Wedding, The Happy Prince).

Set in modern Britain, the 4 x 60’s drama from Fifty Fathoms delves inside the porn industry from the perspective of a woman who has been working in it her entire adult life and has seen it grow from an illegitimate backroom enterprise to a mainstream and highly profitable arm of the telecommunications industry. Adult Material will interrogate what’s real, what’s fake, what’s up for sale and the impact that these things have on the individuals involved.

Squires plays Jolene Dollar, a regular mother of three, who is proudly the breadwinner of the family. But Jolene doesn’t have the most conventional of careers: she is one of the top porn performers in the UK. Adult Material ventures into Jolene’s world - to a place that influences all of our lives, whether we know it or not, but none of us ever truly see.

One day on set, Jolene is introduced to Amy (played by Siena Kelly). Amy is 19, not much older than Jolene’s oldest daughter, Phoebe (played by Alex Jarrett). Jolene looks after Amy the way that she looks after every new girl on set, but she can’t protect Amy from her own choices, and soon her relationship with this unstable young woman will see Jolene’s own career and home life start to unravel.

Rupert Everett plays Jolene’s long-term friend, producer and businessman, Carroll Quinn. Carroll has been in the business a long time and has seen the porn industry change to a multi-million-dollar proposition.  He’s constantly trying to keep up with the times and technology.  Joe Dempsie plays Rich, Jolene’s loving and dedicated long-term partner. Julian Ovenden plays the US porn Kingpin, Tom Pain, a man from porn’s most extreme quarter, for whom ‘no’ doesn’t exist. Kerry Godliman plays MP, Stella Maitland, whose life becomes intertwined with Jolene’s when they form an unlikely friendship. Stella comes to her defence when Jolene’s career, family, and reputation are in tatters.

Hayley Squires commented; “I am so excited and incredibly grateful to be playing Jolene Dollar, she is like the wildest dream. Lucy has written the most complex, multi-faceted and morally challenging story. Throughout each episode you are constantly forced to question your own judgement and beliefs and that makes for the very best drama. I’m very lucky to be part of a female-led crew and an incredibly talented cast.”

Monday 27 May 2019


Mohamed Hefzy

Amsterdam. 27 May 2019 - Netflix, the world's leading internet entertainment service, announced PARANORMAL, its new original Middle Eastern series. Based on Paranormal the best selling books in the Arab world by late author Ahmed Khaled Tawfik, that sold more than 15 million copies. PARANORMAL will be produced by both Mohamed Hefzy and Amr Salama, who is also the showrunner and the director, PARANORMAL is Netflix's first foray into Egyptian drama.

Set in the 1960s, the series, packed with mystery and suspense, depicts the adventures of PARANORMAL leading character Dr. Refaat Ismail, a single hematologist who finds himself faced with a series of supernatural events.

"We are so excited to be investing in more Middle Eastern productions by adapting the highly acclaimed PARANORMAL series of novels into an exciting show. We’re also pleased to collaborate with prominent producer Mohamed Hefzy and director Amr Salama whose creative vision we look forward to bringing to our international audience" said Kelly Luegenbiehl, VP of International Originals at Netflix.

This third Middle Eastern Netflix original show reflects the company's commitment to exploring more stories and talents in the region. This will give filmmakers and audiences in the Middle East presence on a global platform to both tell and enjoy a variety of exciting new stories.

Show producer, Mohamed Hefzy, commented, "I’m proud to be working with Netflix on bringing to life the PARANORMAL series, which I hold dear to my heart. I’m also excited to be cooperating again with long time collaborator and friend, director Amr Salama. Together with Netflix, we aim to present a show of international quality and that lives up to the promises and ambitions of Egyptian and Arabic drama."

"I’m very excited about this project, It was my dream to adapt PARANORMAL of the late author Ahmed Khaled Tawfik and turn it into a drama since I ever wanted to be a filmmaker. I’m proud to present the books in a new light while still keeping the essence of PARANORMAL. I can't wait to introduce these exciting stories to the Netflix public in 190 countries around the world" said producer, director, and showrunner Amr Salama.

Expected to be filmed in Egypt, PARANORMAL is the third Middle Eastern Netflix original show after Jinn, which features a cast of emerging Jordanian talents and is set to be released on June 13, 2019, and Al Rawabi School for Girls, which was announced last April. These productions reflect Netflix's dedication to investment in Middle Eastern Arabic content.

Thursday 23 May 2019

Rob Lowe stars in new ITV drama Wild Bill - Trailer

Internationally renowned actor, Rob Lowe, in new ITV drama Wild Bill, in which he takes the leading role and executive produces.

Joined by stage and screen actress Rachael Stirling (The Bletchley Circle, Detectorists) who takes the role of Lady Mary Harborough, and Angela Griffin (Ordinary Lies, Brief Encounters) who will play local journalist, Lisa Cranston. Tony Pitts (Peaky Blinders, Line Of Duty) will play Crime Commissioner Keith Metcalfe and rising star Bronwyn James (Harlots, The ABC Murders) takes the role of DC Muriel Yeardsley.

Also joining the cast are Anjli Mohindra (Bodyguard, Dark Heart) as Deputy Chief Constable Lydia Price, Steffan Rhodri (A Very English Scandal, Apple Tree Yard) as DS Alex Blair, Divian Ladwa (Lion, Detectorists) as PC Drakes, Anthony Flanagan (Versailles, Humans) as PC Sean Cobley and Vicki Pepperdine (The Windsors, The Woman In White) as pathologist, Broadbent.

Rob Lowe’s character is Bill Hixon, who has been appointed Chief Constable of the East Lincolnshire Police Force. Landing in Boston, Lincolnshire with teenage daughter Kelsey, he’s hoping they can flee their recent painful past. However, this unfamiliar, unimpressed community will force Bill to question everything about himself and leave him wondering if it's Boston that needs Bill, or Bill that needs Boston?

Wild Bill is a co-production between 42 (Traitors, Watership Down), Anonymous Content (13 Reasons Why, Maniac) and ITV Studios label, Shiver (Come Dine With Me, Piers Morgan’s Life Stories) and marks the first occasion the companies have collaborated to produce a drama series for ITV. Created by David Griffiths (The Hunted, Collateral Damage), Kyle Killen (Halo, Awake), Dudi Appleton & Jim Keeble (Silent Witness, Thorne: Sleepyhead & Scaredycat), it will be written by lead writers and show-runners Keeble and Appleton.

As an Executive Producer on Wild Bill, Rob Lowe will work alongside Eleanor Moran (Rome, Being Human, Watership Down) and Rory Aitken (Watership Down, Traitors) who are Executive Producers on behalf of 42, and fellow Executive Producer, Tim Carter, (Traitors, Garrow’s Law, Privates) Managing Director of ITV Studios label, Shiver. Writers Dudi Appleton and Jim Keeble, creator David Griffiths, Kyle Killen, Scott Pennington and Keith Redmon from Anonymous Content also join the team as Executive Producers.

They’re back! The Judoon are returning to Doctor Who to face the Thirteenth Doctor!

When Jodie Whittaker returns to Doctor Who next series, the Thirteenth Doctor and her friends won’t be the only familiar faces.

The show, currently filming, is set to welcome back The Judoon as one of the Doctor’s fearsome adversaries.

More than twelve years after they stampeded onto screens to terrorise the Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones on the moon in 2007’s Smith and Jones, the rhino-headed, brutish intergalactic police are returning to cause havoc and thrill children and adults alike.

These ruthless enforcers are on a deadly mission: But what for? And why has it brought them to present-day Gloucester?

The episode will also star acclaimed actor Neil Stuke. Neil has an established career on stage, television and films, and is a two times Bafta nominee. Neil’s recent credits include Doctor Foster, Silk and Silent Witness.

Chris Chibnall, Showrunner says: “No! Sho! Blo! The Judoon are storming back into Doctor Who in full force, and the streets of Gloucester aren’t safe. If anyone has anything to hide, confess now. The Judoon are taking no prisoners, and will stop at nothing to fulfil their mission! The whole team on Doctor Who are delighted and scared in equal measure to welcome them back: One of many treats we’ve got in store for viewers next series. And we’re over the moon (with Judoon), to be welcoming the wondrous Neil Stuke as guest star. We can’t wait to show you what happens when his path crosses with the Thirteenth Doctor."

The Crystal Maze unveils brand-new Eastern Zone

The Crystal Maze will return in 2019 with all new celebrity episodes and an all new zone: The Eastern Zone. Influenced by the historic art, architecture and monuments of East Asia, the zone will feature five games rooms for eight new games, set around a lily pond, cherry blossom trees and ornate vases. The new zone will join the Futuristic, Aztec and Industrial Zones, with all four featuring a host of challenging new puzzles in the forthcoming series. It’s the first time a new realm has been added to the show since the Ocean Zone was introduced in the fourth series of the original 1990s run.

Richard Ayoade as Maze Master will be again welcoming teams of five celebrity contestants, who will take on a host of skill, physical, mental and mystery challenges, in the hope of winning crystals that can be exchanged for time in the iconic Crystal Dome. The celebrity specials will once again see the teams aiming to win a prize sum for Stand Up To Cancer. The production of 13 new episodes will include a Christmas special, with filming taking place at the 30,000 sq. ft. studio space at The Bottle Yard Studios, Bristol.

The Eastern Zone has been designed by production designer, James Dillon, who has designed all the zones featured on the series since its original run in the 1990s. He and the programme’s team of games designers have come together to create a fantasy microcosm of pre-modern East Asia complete with challenging themed games.

James Dillon comments: “It’s very exciting to be asked to design a new zone for The Crystal Maze. The challenge, to create a zone referencing such an ancient and beautiful part of the world, and to bring those intense, rich colours and textures to the mix of zones that make up the Maze, has been most enjoyable.”

Neale Simpson, Executive Producer at Fizz adds: “We’re thrilled to be back with more maze-based madness and especially excited to share our new zone, all-new games and some frankly ridiculous new nonsense involving an over-sized crystal.”

The Crystal Maze is executive produced by Neale Simpson for Fizz, a Banijay Group company and is a Banijay Group format. The series is commissioned for Channel 4 by Tom Beck and Karen Murdoch, Commissioning Editors, Entertainment.

The Crystal Maze will return to Channel 4 later this year.

Ground-breaking animal science for Channel 4

Channel 4 have commissioned My Gay Dog and Other Animals (w/t) (1 x 60 min) from Arrow Pictures, the film explores something that traditional evolutionary theory cannot explain -  gay behaviour in animals.  With more than 1,500 animal species displaying same-sex  behaviour, the programme highlights recent research from leading scientists in the field to find out more about this largely unexplained phenomenon.

Challenging many pre-conceptions about animals and procreation the documentary features a wide range of experts, who specialise in Evolutionary Anthropology, Sexuality, Sex-differences and Gender-differences, and scientists leading the pioneering study of the genetics of homosexual behaviour in animals. In addition, the documentary also hears from non-academic experts including zoologists, farmers and more.

Siobhan Sinnerton, Commissioning Editor, Channel 4 News and Current Affairs, says: “This hugely enjoyable film explores the complex science and associated controversies around same sex behaviour in animals in a totally refreshing way."

Nick Metcalfe, Executive Producer, Arrow Pictures, says: “Even though  it was observed by the ancient Greeks and Egyptians, same-sex behaviour in the animal kingdom has since largely gone unreported and unanalysed.  From domestic pets to the kings of the jungle, it was thought that the animal may just be showing its dominance or higher social status.  British scientists now believe that they are close to identifying the combinations of genes that explain why there may be evolutionary advantages to an animal being gay.  This documentary builds on Arrow’s reputation of presenting pioneering science in an accessible and compelling way, so we are delighted to be working with scientists to bring this ground-breaking discovery to the screen.”

My Gay Dog is Exec Produced by Nick Metcalfe for Arrow Pictures and commissioned by Siobhan Sinnerton at Channel 4.  It is distributed internationally by Blue Ant Media.

Tuesday 21 May 2019

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance will launch on Netflix Aug. 30

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance will launch on Netflix Aug. 30

The 10-episode show is a prequel to the beloved Jim Henson and Frank Oz-directed 1982 puppet fantasy-adventure film, The Dark Crystal.

The show is once again set on the world of Thra and concerns three Gelflings who discover the horrifying secret behind the Skeksis' power and set out on an epic journey to ignite the fires of rebellion and save their world. The Gelflings are voiced by Taron Egerton, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Nathalie Emmanuel.

Monday 20 May 2019

Westworld Season 3 Trailer - Coming 2020

Set at the intersection of the near future and the reimagined past, explore a world in which every human appetite can be indulged without consequence.

Westworld will premiere in 2020

Saturday 18 May 2019

Netflix launches the trailer for its latest drama series, Leila

Netflix have released the trailer of its upcoming drama series Leila.

Based on author Prayaag Akbar’s award-winning book of the same name, Leila stars, in pivotal roles, actors Huma Qureshi, Siddharth, Rahul Khanna, Seema Biswas, Akash Khurana, Sanjay Suri, Arif Zakaria, amongst others, and is helmed by Creative Executive Producer, Deepa Mehta. The series has been directed by Deepa Mehta, Shanker Raman, and Pawan Kumar and is based on the book (also called Leila) by Akbar.

India's first dystopian story, Leila is set in an imagined world, Aryavarta in which there is great suffering, extreme and totalitarian rules of engagement and fictional extremes constructed around an obsession with purity, communal and divisive societal dramas and grit.

Leila is the story of a mothers’ imperishable maternal love for her daughter set in the political and emotional dystopia of Aryavarta.

The series is set to release on the service worldwide across 190 countries on 14 June, 2019

First look trailer from upcoming Sky original British drama Temple

Find out just how far one man will go for love in the first look trailer for Temple, an emotionally complex and riveting Sky original drama.

Starring Mark Strong (Kingsman), Carice Van Houten (Game of Thrones) and Daniel Mays (Line of Duty), Temple tells the story of Daniel Milton (Mark Strong) a talented surgeon whose world is turned upside-down when his wife, played by Catherine McCormack (Braveheart), develops a life-threatening illness. Conventional options for treatment run out, yet Daniel refuses to accept the cards he’s been dealt. He partners with the obsessive yet surprisingly resourceful misfit Lee (Daniel Mays), to start a literal ‘underground’ clinic in the vast network of tunnels beneath Temple tube station in London.

They are soon joined by Anna (Carice Van Houten), a guilt-ridden medical researcher whose past is entangled with Daniel’s, and Jamie, played by Tobi King Bakare (Cursed), a young fugitive bank-robber. Daniel does his best to juggle this dysfunctional family as his moral boundaries between being a husband, friend and doctor are challenged. But it soon becomes apparent that it may be him and his desperate actions that finally bring the whole thing crashing down. Just how far will Daniel Milton go for love?

Additional cast include Wunmi Mosaku (Damiola Our Loved Boy), Craig Parkinson (Line of Duty), Lily Newmark (Pin Cushion) Chloe Pirrie (The Victim) and Ryan McKen (The State). 

Written by Irish playwright Mark O’Rowe (Boy A) and produced by Hera Pictures, Temple is executive produced by Liza Marshall, Mark Strong and Mark O’Rowe for Hera Pictures and Gabriel Silver for Sky. Luke Snellin (Wanderlust), Shariff Korver (Fenix) and Lisa Siwe (Modus) direct. Barney Reisz (Black Mirror) produces. Temple is based on the critically-acclaimed Norwegian drama Valkyrien. The eight part series was commissioned by Cameron Roach, Sky’s Director of Drama and Sky Studios and Zai Bennett, Director of Programming for Sky Entertainment UK & Ireland. The series is co-funded and distributed internationally by Sky Vision.

Temple will air on Sky One and streaming service NOW TV this autumn.

Wednesday 15 May 2019

Statement from ITV regarding The Jeremy Kyle Show


Statement from ITV regarding The Jeremy Kyle Show

Carolyn McCall, ITV's CEO, announced today: "Given the gravity of recent events we have decided to end production of The Jeremy Kyle Show.

"The Jeremy Kyle Show has had a loyal audience and has been made by a dedicated production team for 14 years, but now is the right time for the show to end.

"Everyone at ITV's thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of Steve Dymond."

The previously announced review of the episode of the show is underway and will continue.

ITV will continue to work with Jeremy Kyle on other projects.

Tuesday 14 May 2019

The Hunt for Jihadi John: Interview with the producer Richard Kerbaj

You’ve made a film about the terrorist known as Jihadi John [real name Mohammed Emwazi]. Explain a bit about the programme. 

The wider picture is that this is about the formation and collapse of Isis, and the impact that the ISIS ideology had on the recruitment of young men and women who left heir countries, particularly in the West, to go out and fight on the front lines in Syria and Iraq. They were given numerous promises about the caliphate, what it represented, and the religious underpinnings that it had. That’s the base outline if the story. But I wanted to tell the story through a particular character, and of course Jihadi John became such an enormous, symbolic character for Isis. Not because of the military value that he had, but because of the propaganda war that he helped wage. He became a very beneficial propaganda tool for them.

I think the very first video of him beheading the US journalist Jim Foley became such a great hit for them. It created such an enormous wave and generated so many headlines. It was an experiment that worked. So they replicated that on a number of occasions, with the beheadings of several other journalists and aid workers, and that helped them drive the propaganda machine. I’d made a couple of films before this. My Son the Jihadi was my first film, and again, I told the story of the radicalisation of young men through a single perspective, the perspective of a mother who’s longing for the return of her son who converted to Islam and went on to become a terrorist. The second film I made was about the hunt for Litvinenko’s killers. I always try to tell the story from a single perspective, and I think we’ve done that here by using the Jihadi John story. It’s not just about him, it’s telling the wider story about the threat of Islamist extremism and Islamist terrorism. It in no way glamourises him. In every element of his story there is analysis from experts or people who knew him, including his teachers, including his hostages. It’s the story of a kid who went from being fairly ordinary, on the fringes – in one case he was described as ‘a passenger in life’ – to becoming this symbolic figure for the world’s most brutal terrorist organisation. It’s about the transformation that took place, (a) because of his inclination but (b) because of the radicalising influences he encountered. And also because of some of the admitted failures within the systems of the security services. 

Looking at his back story, do you think it’s a fairly typical story of jihadi recruits? Is there a typical back story, or a type? 

It’s typical in the sense that what ISIS managed to do by creating this so-called caliphate was that they were able to draw thousands of people over to it. So typical in that sense that yes, they were fighting a war which initially started off for different purposes. Initially they were fighting the Assad regime. That was their initial purpose, which then expanded and they went on to fight the West. So from that perspective yes, he was typical – many young men and women were going at around the time that Jihadi John went out there, around 2013. At that time there were many people going out to fight, but also people going out there for humanitarian reasons. So it was a difficult thing for the security services and the police to determine who was going out for what reason. In some cases, they were able to stop people. In others, they weren’t. But what’s not typical about him is the transition he made from being a fairly ordinary and low-level radical – and there are many of them – to becoming such a poster boy for the brutal organisation that is ISIS. That’s not typical. There was only one of him. So in that sense, he was extraordinary. And what made him extraordinary was the power of the propaganda campaign he was able to launch. He was given the resources to do this by ISIS, as were some others. But with him, he had the most number of hits on social media.

Why did they alight on him? Obviously it was partly because he was British, but was it because he was eloquent or brutal or what? 

I don’t think eloquence is his thing, he wasn’t necessarily eloquent. But he was willing to be brutal. He brandished his credentials early on. He was loyal and he was brutal. And he was there at a time when they had taken about 300 people hostage, and he was carrying out acts of brutality. So he definitely demonstrated that he was able to be brutal, but also demonstrated that he was able to assemble these videos. And that’s why they decided he was quite effective. But I think, in a way, it was an experiment. Before his video came out, the most iconic video that had been released by ISIS featured three men from Cardiff. It was almost the world premiere of the caliphate, telling everyone to come and join. That went around the world and generated a lot of interest. But it was the sheer brutality of the first jihadi john video that was so shocking. You could hear the voice of this British man, and there was something familiar about it. And also, it was the way he conducted his terrorist act, and the person that he was conducting it on. He was one of us, a journalist. That caught the attention of news outlets. 

I presume you’ve seen these videos in full. Is that a difficult thing to do? 

Totally. We went through hundreds and hundreds of hours of brutal imagery. The problem with that imagery is that over time, it all ends up looking the same, it’s just brutal. It’s there to dehumanise the victims. There’s only so much that you can do for the sake of taste and measure, in terms of how you reflect them in a film like this. It’s quite harrowing, going through that footage.

In some senses, is being a Jihadi just an extreme form of being in a gang? 

That’s something that has been expressed by some people. There are many similarities between gangsters and Jihadis, but I think the one thing that really drives jihadis is ideology. Ideology is much more radicalising than, say, the need for profile, or the need for financial growth. The way gangs operate, it’s all about street cred, whereas for a Jihadi it’s all ideologically driven, to the point of blindness. To go out there and carry out brutal acts because they believe in their warped interpretation of their religion. They believe they’re doing it for the right reasons, in the name of god. 

You’ve attracted the most extraordinary roll call of talking heads for the documentary. That must have taken some doing… 

Yeah. I’ve been covering national security now for about fourteen years now, having started in Australia, before I moved to the Sunday times. So naturally my contact list is fairly wide. But the difference between a print newspaper and a film is that in a newspaper you might get a soundbite or you might get a quote on or off the record, for a film, you’re hoping to get people to actually sit down in front of a camera. So that took some doing. I started working on this film in June 2017, and I had a number of people who were committed to it, and as we continued filming, more and more people came on board. And they really were the people who had skin in the game. These are people who were involved in the hunt of Jihadi John, and what was fascinating about their revelations was that they were so honest – even when it came to them taking a look at their own performance. And they were so self-critical, whether it was from a military perspective, about Britain’s unwillingness or failure to properly fund the right part of the militant movement there, or whether it was about the missed opportunities by the police and security services to allow the likes of Jihadi John to be able to get to Syria. That raises its own questions, because if you look at the way the counter-terrorism police were operating, they had, in some cases, up to 50 people leaving a month. To track each one of them down is a very difficult thing. So they had a lot on their plate. But even by their own admission they made some errors, and I think that’s going to be quite revealing. 

One of the subjects then film touches on is whether the actions of the security forces may have alienated and further radicalised Emwazi. Do you believe that to be the case? 

By Richard Walton’s own admission, and he was the then head of counter terrorism at Scotland Yard, he says it’s a fine line between trying to recruit someone and pushing them over the edge. If you don’t successfully recruit them, then what you do is contribute to their world view and the conspiracy theories they have about western security Services. I think, in Emwazi’s case, certainly he knew he was being approached by the security services, and he opposed it. Would he have become a terrorist had he not been approached? Everything in his pattern of behaviour suggests that he would have become a terrorist, because the reason he came on to the security services’ radar to begin with was because he was raising funds for jihadists in Somalia, and then subsequently he was arrested when he went out to fight in Somalia. He pretended he was going out to check out animals on a safari. So he had every intention of becoming a terrorist because of the people he mixed with. 

Did you try and get any of his family to talk? 

Yes, we did try. We had no success, they didn’t want to discuss it. 

Among those who you do talk to are some of the hostages who were held by ISIS. How do you think they are coping in the aftermath of what happened to them? 

I think what you see of them in the film is very much unfiltered. It had an enormous emotional impact on them, and that’s affected them to this day. They were beaten, tortured, forced to beat each other up, starved in some cases, made to feel almost like animals. That had a massive impact on them. So I suppose from a PTSD perspective, it must be quite debilitating for them. However, what’s really fascinating is how they’ve managed to turn it around, in a way. They’ve decided to tell their story. It’s gives you an insight into the brutal nature of those who had taken them hostage.

What’s your motivation for telling this story as a film. Rather than sticking with the print medium? 

My entry into documentary film making comes from my studies many years ago. I studied script-writing and film back in Australia. It’s a fairly familiar world, even though I didn’t go into documentary-making until later on. The one thing that films present that newspapers don’t is that you’ve got time to tell a big story. A big story of this nature requires numerous things like cultivating the right relationships and building the right amount of trust. And there are certain things you can express visually on the screen that you could never express in writing. There are certain facial expressions or reactions that you just need to be able to see. There are moments like that in the film with the hostages, and there’s a moment like that with Diane Foley [who’s son James was a journalist who was killed by Emwazi]. There’s a moment when she’s lost for words, and it’s about three seconds, and that kind of tells you everything about what she’s feeling in that moment. So, from that perspective, that’s why film-making is very appealing. 

The Hunt for Jihadi John, Monday 20th May at 9pm on Channel 4

Monday 13 May 2019

Competition: Win Chimerica on DVD

Chimerica is released on DVD on May 20th

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

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.

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 27-05-19
2. No alternative prize is available
3. When the competition ends as indicated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.
4. Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.

Competition: Win Sharkwater Extinction on DVD

Sharkwater Extinction is released on DVD on May 20th

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

Following its highly praised theatrical bow, the eye-opening, feature documentary Sharkwater Extinction from Rob Stewart the award-winning director of Sharkwater and Revolution, is out now on digital on Amazon, Sky Store, iTunes, Virgin On Demand and Google Play.

More than 150 million sharks are being killed every year. The oceans are in danger. Sharks play a hugely important role to the environment. Who is the real enemy: shark or human? Sharkwater Extinction takes us on one man’s mission: to protect sharks from extinction and save the oceans before it’s too late.

We join the courageous filmmaker and renowned activist on a hugely inspirational, thrilling but hazardous journey, as he dives deep into oceans and travels across four continents to investigate the eye-watering scale of corruption, destruction and danger that the multi-billion-dollar pirate fishing industry and vast illegal shark fin trade bring.

This action-packed story takes us from the seas of West Africa to Spain via Panama, Costa Rica, France, and even North America as Stewart exposes a shocking truth that is leading the oldest remaining predator to extinction. Shark finning is still rampant, shark fin soup is still being consumed and endangered sharks are now being used to make products for human consumption.

Sharkwater Extinction stands as Rob Stewart’s legacy as he was tragically killed in a diving accident, in the final stages of shooting the film in January 2017, his parents Brian and Sandy Stewart have dedicated themselves to completing the film.

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 27-05-19
2. No alternative prize is available
3. When the competition ends as indicated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.
4. Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.

Thursday 9 May 2019

ITV announces AEW “DOUBLE OR NOTHING” wrestling event for ITV Box Office

All Elite Wrestling's highly anticipated PPV show will ignite the screen with Kenny Omega, Chris Jericho, The Young Bucks, Cody, SCU, and more

ITV, the largest commercial television network in the UK, announced a partnership today with All Elite Wrestling (AEW), the new wrestling promotion headlined by members of The Elite, to broadcast the highly anticipated DOUBLE OR NOTHING event on its ITV Box Office channel.

Fans across the UK can look forward to seeing all the drama, action and entertainment live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on the night of Saturday 25 May going into Sunday 26 May.  DOUBLE OR NOTHING, which sold out in under 30 minutes, features an electrifying card packed with stars including the headline clash between Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho.  The wrestling world will rock as Cody takes on his brother Dustin Rhodes, The Young Bucks battle the Lucha Bros for the AAA World Tag Team Championship, Hangman Adam Page clashes with PAC, and Britt Baker, Nyla Rose and Kylie Rae compete in a three-way match.

Additionally, before the live pay-per-view event begins at 1:00 a.m GMT, Sunday, May 26, the hourlong live pre-show special  BUY-IN will air for free on ITV4 at midnight.  BUY-IN includes the first ever "Casino (Battle) Royale," which will see 21 competitors including Jimmy Havoc, Billy Gunn, MJF, Michael Nakzawa, Jungle Boy, Glacier, Sonny Kiss, and Joey Janela entering the ring in waves of five wrestlers every three minutes followed by one final entrant, lucky number 21, all fighting it out in the ring until there is one winner, whose reward will be a future title shot against the first ever AEW World Champion.  BUY-IN will also feature a pair of high-flyers squaring off one-on-one as the UK's own Kip Sabian will face Sammy Guevara.

"We're delighted to announce this partnership with AEW, whose entry into professional wrestling is already making a massive impact on the industry and promises to deliver an electrifying event later this month, and a fantastic experience for our viewers and wrestling fans in the UK," said Niall Sloane, Director of Sport, ITV.  "Joining forces with AEW for this event is faithful to ITV's More Than TV strategy to develop direct relationships with viewers through big events available on its platforms."

"We've stated since our launch that we want to make this the greatest time ever to be a professional wrestling fan, and part of this plan is to make our product as accessible as possible to a global audience," said Tony Khan, President/CEO of AEW.  "Since our launch in January, we've signed the best talent, sold out our debut show in record time, and we've built relationships and formed bonds with the best media partners like ITV.  This collaboration with ITV is so important to AEW, ITV is the best in the UK, they were always my first choice to be our international PPV partner for DOUBLE OR NOTHING, and we're looking forward to a great show."

In addition, a special pre-event show "Before the Bell" will air for free on ITV4 and ITV Box Office in the build up to the DOUBLE OR NOTHING broadcast.  Details about how to access DOUBLE OR NOTHING on ITV Box Office can be found at www.itvboxoffice.com

ITV2 announces brand new chat show - Shopping With Keith Lemon

ITV2 announces brand new chat show - Shopping With Keith Lemon

Celebrity guests include…Mel B, Amanda Holden and Busted

ITV2 has commissioned Shopping With Keith Lemon, from Talkback, part of Fremantle. The brand new 8x30' series will see the irrepressible Keith Lemon (Celebrity Juice) let loose on his own chat show…but one with a difference.

Shopping With Keith Lemon will see the chat show format move away from the constraints of a studio setting and will instead see Keith and his celebrity guests taking to the streets and hitting the shops, where along the way they will be interviewed by the host in his own inimitable style. 

Airing on ITV2 in June 2019, each of the eight episodes will see Keith meeting up with two famous faces, before getting to know them better - as only Keith could - as they go about their respective shopping trips.

Keith will join celebrities including: Spice Girl Mel B, as she heads off on her weekly food shop, pop-punk band Busted, who are on the hunt for a new guitar, and Britain's Got Talent judge Amanda Holden, who Keith interviews as she travels over the Channel to France on a booze cruise.

Providing the perfect opportunity to delve into the shopping habits of the rich and famous, whilst having a good old gossip, Keith and his celebrity friends will be let loose in shops around the UK and overseas, where viewers will get to see how the other half love to spend their money, on everything from beds to cars to hummus.

Host Keith Lemon says: "I'm a shopper-holic that likes gossiping! What better way to spend my day than shopping and gossiping with famous people? Perfect job for me!"

Other celebrities off shopping with Keith, include: Fearne Cotton, who will re-unite with Keith for the first time since leaving Celebrity Juice, Caroline Flack, comedian Rob Beckett, Emily Atack and David Dickinson, with more star shoppers to be announced.

Tuesday 7 May 2019

Chernobyl Official Trailer (2019) Stellan Skarsgård

Brave men and women act heroically to mitigate catastrophic damage when the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant suffers a nuclear accident on April 26, 1986.
Director: Johan Renck

Monday 6 May 2019

Competition: Win Flack - Series 1 on DVD

Win Flack - Series 1 is released on 13th May

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

Meet Robyn, a sharp and witty high-flying publicity guru who can make her clients bad situations better with some expert spin, but when it comes to her own life things aren’t quite so straightforward.

Hollywood star Anna Paquin (The Piano, True Blood, X-Men) takes the lead in Flack, a brand-new darkly comedic drama that delves deep into the wild world of high stakes public relations.

Robyn is a senior publicist at Mills Paulson PR, under the tyrannical, but awe-inspiring boss Caroline, played with relish by  Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda, Wanderlust, Chimerica). Then there’s the rest of the team: the tirelessly hedonistic yet brilliant PR powerhouse Eve, in a hilarious turn by Requiem’s Lydia Wilson, and the endlessly willing intern, Melody (Rebecca Benson – Game of Thrones).

Damage limitation is Robyn’s game, as she’s tasked with babysitting her clients and dealing with a litany of scandals that threaten their careers. Whether it’s bringing a footballer’s hook-up back from an overdose, saving a teenage pop singer’s career with a fake sex-tape, rescuing a comedian’s sell-out tour after an ill-judged performance that’s gone viral, or the influencer who needs to borrow a baby, Robyn and the agency will do anything to keep their clients’ reputations intact.

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


Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 20-05-19
2. No alternative prize is available
3. When the competition ends as indicated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.
4. Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.

Competition: Win Deutschland '86 on DVD

Deutschland '86 is released on 13th May

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

Deutschland ’83 saw viewing figures in excess of 2.5 million, exceeding that of the seminal Nordic noir hit The Killing and putting Germany at the forefront of must watch television. This epic coming-of-age story is set against real events, culture wars and the political realities of Germany in the early 1980s and sees Jonas Nay (Line of Separation) as a spy at the centre of this suspenseful Cold War thriller. The series also features an era defining 1980s pop soundtrack that hits all the right nostalgic buttons (99 Red Balloons anyone?).

Deutschland ‘86 is an epic 10-part drama that catapults audiences into the tumultuous political landscape of 80s East Germany. We join Martin Rauch (Nay) in 1986 and East Germany is broken, Perestroika is real, terrorism plagues Europe, the AIDS crisis intensifies and the struggle against apartheid rages on. Banished for his sins in 1983, Rauch wallows in limbo until his Aunt Lenora (Maria Schrader – Aimée & Jaguar, The City and the City) conscripts him into her plan to drum up hard currency abroad. They set off on an adventure through Africa, Western Europe and finally home to East Germany. Can mafioso-style Capitalism save Communism just in the nick of time?

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


Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 20-05-19
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.

Wednesday 1 May 2019

Yellowstone Season 2 Trailer (HD) Kevin Costner series

Yellowstone Season 2 starring Academy Award winner Kevin Costner returns Wednesday June 19th on Paramount Network.

Yellowstone follows "the Dutton family, led by John Dutton, who controls the largest contiguous ranch in the United States, under constant attack by those it borders—land developers, an Indian reservation, and America's first National Park. It is an intense study of a violent world far from media scrutiny—where land grabs make developers billions, and politicians are bought and sold by the world's largest oil and lumber corporations. Where drinking water poisoned by fracking wells and unsolved murders are not news: they are a consequence of living in the new frontier. It is the best and worst of America seen through the eyes of a family that represents both."

Kevin Costner as John Dutton, the 6th generation patriarch of the Dutton family which controls the largest contiguous ranch in the United States. He is confronted with challenge of defending his land from those who would seek to take it from him while also overcoming the recent death of his son and a recent diagnosis of colon cancer. Josh Lucas portrays a young John Dutton in a recurring role.