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Thursday, 2 July 2020

Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm - Official Trailer


Rockfield: The Studio On The Farm, the riveting new feature-length music documentary from award-winning Welsh production company ie ie Productions, and director  Hannah Berryman (The Brick in the Wall Kids), in her feature debut, produced by Catryn Ramasut (American Interior, Queerama), is set for its World TV Premiere on BBC Four and simultaneously on BBC Wales this July.

Black Sabbath, Queen, The Stone Roses, Oasis, Coldplay, Simple Minds, Robert Plant, Manic Street Preachers are some of the greatest bands and musicians of our time, but what is the one thing these titans of music have in common?

They’ve all created music at Rockfield, a recording studio on a farm in Wales, run by two farming brothers who had a dream…a dream that led to Rockfield becoming the birthplace of some of the biggest hits ever made. It's where Queen recorded their seminal Bohemian Rhapsody and featured in the Hollywood blockbuster of the same name, but Rockfield’s own story has never been told…until now.

Rockfield: The Studio On The Farm features the studio’s founders, Kingsley and Charles Ward, recounting how their humble farm became the stuff of legend. They’re joined by a cast featuring some of the biggest names in rock history through the ages, from heavy metal and psychedelic rock, punk and new wave, to Madchester,  Britpop and beyond. The film takes us to this unlikely inner sanctum of rock n roll history, where songs everybody knows and loves were made, songs such as I Am The Resurrection, Wonderwall, Yellow, If You Tolerate This, to name but a few…

A starry cast, including Ozzy Osbourne, Liam Gallagher, Chris Martin, Robert Plant, Dave Brock, Jim Kerr, Tim Burgess and James Dean Bradfield, give us the inside story of their wild – and hugely creative – sessions in the middle of nowhere in Wales. The course did not always run smoothly, for the bands or the family at the helm, and the film tells the tale of struggles stuck on this isolated farm. But  maybe this was the key to creating these moments of musical genius, this isolation surrounded by awe-inspiring nature: “It’s about being a part of something way bigger than you…Very important for rock stars!” says studio front-of-house Lisa Ward. Now this slice of musical history is set to entertain from the comfort of your own home as it premieres on BBC Four and BBC Wales on Saturday 18 July 2020 at 9pm, it will also be available to view on BBC iPlayer.

Synopsis
This is the unlikely tale of how two Welsh farming brothers turned their dairy farm into one of the most successful recording studios of all time, producing four decades of legendary rock music.

Fifty years ago, deep in the Welsh countryside, brothers Kingsley and Charles Ward were starting out in the family dairy farming business. But they yearned to do something different – they wanted to make music. So they built a studio in the attic of their farmhouse and started recording with their friends. Kingsley’s new wife, Ann, left her job in the local bank to do the books, and they continued farming all the while. Animals were kicked out of barns and musicians were moved into Nan’s spare bedroom. Inadvertently, they’d launched the world’s first independent residential recording studio: Rockfield.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Netflix confirms that there will be a second season for Into the Night.


Into the Night tells the story about retaining humanity in the face of a cosmic disaster, as a flight departs Brussels.

Netflix have confirmed that there will be a second season of this high-concept thriller.

Creator and writer Jason George:
"We’ve been thrilled by the global response to Into the Night, and I’m excited to share that we’ll be doing a second season. It’s been amazing to see how fans across the world have connected with the multinational passengers and crew of BE Airways Flight 21. We are excited to continue their journey."


There She Goes - Q&A with David Tennant and Jessica Hynes


There She Goes is a comedy-drama based on the real life experiences of writers Shaun Pye and Sarah Crawford, whose daughter was born with an extremely rare and, to date, undiagnosed chromosomal disorder.

The series follows the day-to-day life of Rosie Yates (Miley Locke), a severely learning disabled girl and her family; dad Simon (David Tennant), mum Emily (Bafta Award-winning Jessica Hynes) and older brother Ben (Edan Hayhurst), as they cope with everyday situations like encouraging her to talk and persuading her that not every day is Christmas.

Series one, which debuted on BBC Four in 2018, chronicled the dual timeline of Rosie as a newborn and aged nine. This new series will be set around 18 months on and will focus on Rosie at the ages of three and 11.

There She Goes begins on Thursday 9 July, 9.30pm on BBC Two.


Q&A with David Tennant

The new series picks up 18 months after the first series, can you tell us what’s in store for the family?
We are back with the family as they continue to try to cope with everything life, fate and Rosie throws at them.

Viewers saw some pretty tense moments in Simon and Emily’s relationship in the earlier timeline in series one, what was it like to film those scenes?
I think Jess and I were always very aware that we were telling Shaun and Sarah’s story. It’s pretty much autobiographical, and knowing that you are retelling often quite painful moments in the life of someone who is sitting round the corner watching on a monitor feels like a big responsibility. But that very truthfulness is what made the scripts so powerful and drew me to the story in the first place.

How was it being back on set with all the cast again?
Great. It felt like we’d never been away. I feel like we summon up the feeling of a genuine family quite readily.

We meet Simon’s father (played by Gregor Fisher), what was it like working with him?
I first worked with Gregor on Rab C Nesbitt about 400 years ago. I’ve always thought he is an exceptional actor and he has been a bit of a hero of mine. I was so pleased he agreed to play my dad. He was as delightful and brilliant as I’d hoped and creates a distinctive and memorable character.

What reaction did you get to the first series?
I think people were surprised, moved, shocked and charmed. Families with similar challenges were often particularly delighted to see an honest depiction of the unique difficulties and particular mixture of experiences they face.

Where you surprised at the reaction you got?
Not at all, when I first read the script I knew it was something special and not really like anything I’d seen before. I just hoped we could make the show as it was written and preserve that unique voice.

There She Goes has a perfect balance of making the viewers laugh one minute and crying the next. Do you think it’s important to show the humour as well as the drama?
I think it’s important that the story is told truthfully and honestly. There is very little in the show that hasn’t happened to Shaun and Sarah’s family, so it’s not about manufacturing comic moments or emotional scenes, it’s just about honestly reflecting what happened.

What is it about Shaun and Sarah’s writing that makes this show so appealing to you?
I think the reason this works is all down to Shaun and Sarah’s honesty. Their willingness to be completely candid about their own shortcomings and difficulties, and indeed their achievements and victories, is what makes this story so identifiable.

What do you hope viewers will take away from the series?
For those who didn’t see series one, I hope they’ll take the chance to meet the Yates family. For those who know the show already I hope they’ll be as keen to return to them as I was. I’m very proud to be part of There She Goes and want as many people as possible to see it.


Q&A with Jessica Hynes

Jessica, firstly congratulations on winning the Bafta* for best There She Goes - how did it feel?
It was a wonderful night. I laddered my tights right before the ceremony began so I had to go up on stage bare-legged which I felt a bit self-conscious about. A very very kind old friend texted after the show and said her husband had just said "Legs!" in a slightly Sid James way when I went up - I was pathetically grateful and happy when she told me this. I was also extremely grateful to get a Bafta for the show. It is one of the shows I'm most proud of being in.

Can you tell us what’s in store for the family this series?
More fun, frolics and sleepless nights. Ben and Rosie are growing up and Emily and Simon meet those challenges in their own inimitable way: wine, jokes, Game of Thrones, wine more jokes and wine.

Emily had some pretty emotional scenes in the first series, what was it like filming those scenes?
It was challenging in the best possible way - I wanted to do the brilliant script, story and character justice. I tried to do my absolute best work.

How was it being back on set with all the cast again?
Great - I love them. Simon the director was incredible with the children. He has the patience of a saint.

What’s it like working with Miley Locke who plays Rosie?
She's a brilliant actress and a wonderful girl. I am devoted to her.

What reaction did you get to the first series?
Overwhelming - it was extremely moving and humbling to be part of a comedy that reached people that felt they'd never had a voice before. I well up just thinking about it.

Where you surprised at the reaction you got?
I knew Shaun and Sarah Pye had created something special. Simon and the team at Merman put the whole thing together so brilliantly that when I first saw it I did have an inkling that people would take to it and I was so happy that they did.

There She Goes has a perfect balance of making the viewers laugh one minute and crying the next. Do you think it’s important to show the humour as well as the drama?
The truth is never all sad or all funny - it's usually a mix of the two.

What is it about Shaun and Sarah’s writing that makes the show so appealing to you?
The honesty, bravery, intelligence and wit.

What do you hope viewer will take away from the series?
That love is the only reality.

*Jessica won Best Female Performance in a Comedy Programme at the 2019 Baftas.


Monday, 29 June 2020

COMPETITION: Win Agatha Raisin Series 3 on DVD


Agatha Raisin Series 3 is out on DVD on 6th July.

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

Synopsis
INTERNATIONAL STAR Ashley Jensen (Catastrophe, After Life) returns as the titular, beloved amateur detective Agatha Raisin, in the hit series, that sees her solve murder mysteries in a sleepy Cotswolds village, all while sporting a fabulous wardrobe and dangerously sharp wit.

Based on the best-selling novels by M.C. Beaton, the third series of Agatha Raisin airs this June on Sky One and new streaming service AcornTV, and consists of four brand-new, feature-length mysteries. Agatha Raisin Series Three arrives on DVD and digital alongside the Agatha Raisin Complete Series One – Three Box Set on 6 July from Acorn Media International.

Glamorous PR-executive Agatha Raisin turns sleuth in the picturesque Cotswolds after her planned retirement to the country sees her become the prime suspect in a murder investigation. Armed with her trademark tenacity and fashion flair, along with help from her assistant Roy (Mathew Horne – Gavin & Stacey) and her trusty roster of friends: ladies’ man Sir Charles Fraith (Jason Merrells – Waterloo Road), cleaner Gemma (Katy Wix – The Windsors), nosy neighbour Mrs Boggle (Marcia Warren – Don’t Forget the Driver) and paramour James (Jamie Glover – Waterloo Road), Agatha takes up the detective mantle to uncover the perpetrators of a series of heinous and strange murders,  lurking in the quaint village of Carsely.

The new series sees Agatha drumming up business for her new detective agency by investigating a legendary haunted house and even enrolling in dance lessons after disaster strikes a young woman’s engagement party. She must put her detective skills to the test when she investigates the death of a woman James is seen arguing with, in an attempt to clear his name, and when a roast pig at the Winter Fayre turns out to be a human corpse, DC Bill  Wong (Matt McCooey – Invizimals) must lead the investigation under strict instructions to keep Agatha out of it…luckily for him, Agatha’s not so easy to keep away from the action!

Buy from Amazon by clicking here (Opens in a new window)

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

What is the name of the actor that plays Agatha Raisin?

Please send you name, address and answer to the question to competition@jonn.co.uk

Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 13-07-20
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 Code 404 - Series 1 on DVD


Code 404 is out on DVD on 6th July.

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

Synopsis
BRITISH ACTING greats Stephen Graham and Daniel Mays join forces as the ultimate dream team, taking the buddy cop genre to another dimension in hilarious new sci-fi mash-up Sky Original comedy series Code 404, which arrives on DVD and digital 6 July 2020 from Acorn Media International.

Detective Inspectors DI John Major (Mays – Temple, Good Omens) and DI Roy Carver (Graham – Line of Duty, The Irishman) are the top crime fighting duo in the Met's Special Investigation Unit, but when an undercover sting goes horribly wrong, Major is gunned down on the job and killed. How will the SIU function without him? Well, it doesn't have to.

As an 'asset' considered too valuable to lose, his body is fast-tracked into an experimental Artificial Intelligence project to bring him back from the dead. The only problem is, Major 2.0 may look like and sound like the original, but something has been lost in translation – quite a lot actually. His arrogant demeanour and gung-ho approach remain, but his crimefighting instincts have completely deserted him.

Somehow, Major's error-strewn hunches and Carver's scrambling to make good allow them to just about scrape by. But while the experiment might be hailed as a scientific success, on the front line Carver is left dealing with an increasingly deluded partner, hellbent on revenge for his own death. Not to mention in the year since his death, Major’s wife (Anna Maxwell-Martin – Motherland, Line of Duty) has moved on, and her new boyfriend could cause Major problems...

Get ready for a rollicking ride, Code 404 will crack you up.

Buy from Amazon by clicking here (Opens in a new window)

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

What is the name of the character played by Stephen Graham in Code 404?

Please send you name, address and answer to the question to competition@jonn.co.uk

Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 13-07-20
2. No alternative prize is available
3. When the competition ends as indicated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.
4. Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.

Friday, 26 June 2020

Trailer released for Brave New World, a Sky original, coming this autumn to Sky One and NOW TV


Based on Aldous Huxley’s groundbreaking 1932 novel, Brave New World imagines a utopian society that has achieved peace and stability through the prohibition of monogamy, privacy, money, family, and history itself. The series features an all-star cast including Alden Ehrenreich (Solo: A Star Wars Story), Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton Abbey), Harry Lloyd (Game of Thrones), Kylie Bunbury (When They See Us), Nina Sosanya (Killing Eve), Joseph Morgan (The Originals), Sen Mitsuji (Origin), Hannah John-Kamen (Ant-Man and the Wasp) and Demi Moore (Ghost).

As citizens of New London, Bernard Marx (Harry Lloyd) and Lenina Crowne (Jessica Brown Findlay) have only ever known a rigid social order, a perfect pharmaceutical called Soma, and a culture of instant gratification and ubiquitous sex. Curious to explore life beyond the strictures of their society, the two New Worlders embark on a vacation to the Savage Lands, where they become embroiled in a harrowing and violent rebellion. Bernard and Lenina are rescued by John the Savage (Alden Ehrenreich), who escapes with them back to New London. John’s arrival in the New World soon threatens to disrupt its utopian harmony, leaving Bernard and Lenina to grapple with the repercussions. The three become entwined in a fraught relationship that awakens them to the dangers of their own conditioning.

Brave New World is produced by UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group, in association with Amblin Television. David Wiener (Homecoming, The Killing) executive produces the series and serves as showrunner. Darryl Frank (The Americans) and Justin Falvey (The Americans), co-presidents of Amblin Television, as also serve as executive producers. Owen Harris (Black Mirror: San Junipero, Black Mirror: Striking Vipers), who directs the first two episodes, and Grant Morrison (Happy!) also executive produce. Brian Taylor executive produces on the pilot episode.


First trailer released for sensual new Sky original drama Little Birds, coming to Sky and NOW TV on 4 August


Today, the first trailer has been released for the bold and gripping Sky original Little Birds, brought to screens by BAFTA-nominated Warp Films (The Virtues) and starring Juno Temple, Yumna Marwan, Hugh Skinner, Nina Sosanya, David Costabile, Raphael Acloque, Rossy de Palma and Amy Landecker. All episodes of the brand new drama series will be available on Sky and NOW TV from 4 August.

Little Birds springboards from the erotic vignettes of Anais Nin into the Tangier International Zone of the 1950s. We arrive there with New York heiress Lucy Savage (Juno Temple) fresh off the transatlantic steamer and ready for love and marriage in exotic climes. But when her husband Hugo (Hugh Skinner) does not greet her in the way she expected, she spins off into the surprising, diverse and degenerate world of Tangier in 1955.

Period drama about an ingénue abroad this is not. Instead, Sky original Little Birds is a contemporary and daring tale of a woman losing and then finding herself down a mesmerising rabbit hole. What Lucy discovers is a world in flux, a country quivering on the cusp of independence, populated by a myriad of characters including a scandalous dominatrix, Cherifa Lamor (Yumna Marwan) who particularly captures Lucy’s imagination.

A bold and subversive re-invention of melodrama for modern times, Little Birds takes the audience and all the characters on a witty, moving and distinctly provocative journey towards freedom and independence.

Cameron Roach, Director of Drama at Sky, said: 
“Little Birds is an utterly unique and original series. Today’s trailer demonstrates not only an astonishing visual ambition but also announces the series as an audacious signature piece in our portfolio. We’re incredibly proud to bring this experiential contemporary take on 1950s Tangier to our customers and leave them with a feeling of intrigue, and a desire to live their life their way!”

Channel 4 goes west with Sarah Beeny's New Life in The Country


Outline Productions is in production for Channel 4 with a new series following property expert Sarah Beeny and her family as they swap the urban jungle for a new life in the country.

Sarah Beeny’s New Life In The Country (8x60’) follows Sarah, her husband Graham Swift and their four sons as they quit their lives in London to start anew in what they hope will be a rural idyll. The family has bought a semi-derelict former dairy farm in Somerset where, surrounded by 220 acres of farmland, they’re planning on building the house of their dreams; a modern, carbon neutral mini stately home. Sarah and Graham also have ambitious plans to landscape the grounds as well as rewild sections of the farm.

The series accompanies the family as they begin landscaping work on the farm while waiting nervously for the result of a planning application that could scupper their dreams if it’s not granted.

Alongside the building project, Sarah wants to create an idyllic yet purposeful country life for the family – introducing bees and collecting hens, as well as road testing rural businesses from cheesemaking to cider making and chilli growing.           

Sarah Beeny says: 
“I think I’ve always quite enjoyed the buzz from change and mountainous challenges and moving our whole family lock stock and barrel from city to country and re-inventing our whole life has certainly been that.  I am so aware of how lucky we are to be able to do something like this, but it’s been a life changing experience.  But ultimately I do believe you only live once and if you can make a dream real you should try and journey down that path if you can.”

E4 TO TAKE ON LOVE AFTER LOCKDOWN WITH CELEBS GO VIRTUAL DATING


E4 is to put the dating skills of four celebrities to the test in brand new series Celebs Go Virtual Dating. This new spin off to E4’s flagship reality series Celebs Go Dating, will bring all the dating drama of its sister show, but with the added challenges of video vetting love matches and trying to find that spark on a socially distanced date. How will our frisky four fare when getting up close and personal is off the table? Will they still excel in turning on the charm, or buckle under the remote pressure?

Since the beginning of lockdown in March, the UK’s pool of singles have been spending an average of seven hours a week ‘virtually dating’. With an even greater need for human interaction during this time, will the Celebs Go Dating agents successfully find our famous four somebody they could see themselves isolating with?

Brought to you by Extra chewing gum, the series will see expert dating agents, Paul C Brunson and Anna Williamson return to the celebrity dating agency, ably assisted by junior Client Coordinator and celeb confidante, Tom Read Wilson. The trio will guide the celebs through the unchartered and potentially choppy waters of online love and distanced dating. Rob Beckett will also be back delivering his trademark wit as voiceover.

The celebrities will be set up on a series of dates, either remotely from home, or outdoors adhering to social distancing guidelines.

Paul C Brunson said: 
“I can’t wait to throw the agency doors “virtually” wide open. This series will be an exciting experiment to see how our celebs deal with dating as well as the added restrictions they wouldn’t normally have to navigate.”


Monday, 22 June 2020

Interview with Claire McCarthy - the Director of The Luminaries


What drew you to The Luminaries?
I am a big fan of the book and thought it was such a rich, beautiful world and Eleanor has written such an incredible, textured story. So, when I found out that they were planning to make a TV series I was determined to somehow get in the mix. I had been in London doing post-production on a project and was reading The Luminaries for the second time on the tube on my way into the edit room. I read it again and kept on thinking about how visual the world was and how wonderful it would be to stage it. I was lucky enough to meet with Working Title whilst in London and they allowed me to pitch on it, and I just threw everything at it and fortunately it worked!

Tell us about that pitch and your initial ambitions for the drama?
It's such a rich world, the world of The Luminaries, and in thinking about bringing it to life I really wanted to capture the cinematic quality that's on the page. The characters are so rich, we have a world that's in this intrepid part of history where people would travel from the four corners of the globe and come to New Zealand to find their fortune and to start a whole new life. So I was thinking about what was the language of the show - what was it to look like? What was its colour palette? What was the visual language that would speak to the theology of the book in a way that could be faithful to the book, but also take it somewhere where it would be digestible within six episodes? What could we ground in the scripts and in the journeys of the characters so that we could go on this rollercoaster ride?

I was intrigued by Anna Wetherell's character and I was really excited that the first script of The Luminaries was very much about Anna's journey and vested much more in the love story between her and Emery Staines, as well as the female friendship between Anna and Lydia. I thought that was really interesting. In the book, Anna is much more of a cipher for their experiences. In our retelling, Anna is more the subject than the object; it's her experiences and we tell the story through her eyes. These are all the complexities that the book also has but we're retelling it in a different way. It was about simplifying and thinking about how to make that world feel cinematic and truthful to the book and also bringing a visual language that would draw an audience in, in an entertaining way.

How would you describe the world of The Luminaries to people who are expecting a version of the book?
It is a re-telling and a different version of The Luminaries. It's almost like we've reframed the story from a different point of view by vesting it in Anna's character. There is so much richness in the book to draw from, and so many intricate details. The audience who are already fans of the novel will see that it's Eleanor's book but retold. The complexities and the richness of the book are intact.

What I really love about Eleanor's rewriting of the story is that it’s a very bold retelling and it could have only been Eleanor to write this screenplay. It might have felt a little irreverent for somebody else to rewrite it. In some ways, the story is constructed like a piece of clockwork, its architecture is so intrinsic to the pleasure of reading that book. Eleanor was cognisant of that, and we spent a long time figuring out how to translate that world; the things that we wanted to take over as well as the things we felt worked better in the book and were maybe too conceptual to put into the television series.

Another thing that I found really delightful about Eleanor's retelling is that we're set in a period, in New Zealand in the gold rush of the 1800s, but there is a sense of play and a tongue-in-cheek, roguish quality in Eleanor’s writing where she delightfully brings these rich characters to life.

With the 1800s setting also comes this Victorian 'sensation' idea, the Victorian novel where you would commonly see the innocent ingénue who moves through the world and is corrupted by the forces of that world. In some ways Eleanor has lampooned the Victorian sensation idea, which makes this feel contemporary. Anna Weatherell is not an ingénue and she's not an innocent: she is a woman with a past. We don't find out exactly what it is that she is running from, but we understand that she is playing by her own rules, that she's resilient and that she’ll last the distance.

Would you describe this as a period drama?
Yes, The Luminaries is set in the 1800s during the New Zealand gold rush, which at that time was the frontier. It was a pioneering settlement which people were rushing to from all around the world, to try to make their fortune. We have such a vast collection of interesting people from all across the globe, and these kinds of disparate ideas and different cultural relationships. Within that world we're telling a story that's an intriguing murder mystery as well as a story of female friendship and also of star-crossed lovers; we have a rich world in which all these large, textured, rich themes are being explored.

We are aware that it's a period setting but the narrative drive has an energy to it and there's a muscularity to the way we're telling the story. We didn't want it to feel slow or languid, or to feel like we're in a dusty, musty period piece. The characters have a sense of humour, they have flaws and they make mistakes. It's sophisticated in the sense that we're not dumbing it down for an audience but we're asking them to get involved, to get their hands dirty and to ask them to think while they watch.

What did Eve Hewson bring to the role of Anna Wetherell?
Eve Hewson is an incredible actor and has so much depth to her and such soulful eyes. Her stillness is as interesting as when she starts to inhabit the character with words. She's an actor that you believe would survive the things that her character had to go through and has brought so much to this piece.

Anna Weatherell is not an innocent in a classic Victorian sensation idea. She's not corrupted by the world around her, she comes with her own past, and we wanted a richer idea of what a woman could be within the story and within this historical context. Anna has sent herself to the gold rush, she has her own secrets and her own sense of dynamism and power within the story. She's playing her own game.

Casting an actor that has an in-built sense of strength and resilience, who isn't just flimsy or tossed about in that world, was really important in casting Anna Weatherell, and Eve is incredible. She's just absolutely amazing. It’s a big ask for a young actor to shoulder the scope of a whole series, and it was a difficult and a long shoot at times and Eve was incredible, so dedicated to making sure that she gave her all day after day.

How do the planetary elements of the story how themselves through the characters?
Anna Weatherell’s planetary association is the Moon and so she's absorbed light, reflected light. In many ways, in the story we see her retreat to her shadow-self and a lot of the story reflects the idea of aspects of the Moon. These are ideas that float in the story, they're not in the forefront. Emery Staines is the Sun and he's ever the optimist. He always finds the glass half full and has a beautiful benefit of the doubt about the world around him.

What did Himesh Patel bring to the role of Emery Staines?
Casting Emery Staines was a real challenge. Himesh has extraordinary comic timing, he's a great dramatic actor and but he brings a beautiful, soulful quality. He's also really funny, incredibly smart and brings an interesting viewpoint about masculinity to the story. Emery is not your typical alpha male, and Himesh brings a lightness of touch, positivity and optimism to the role.

Tell us about the character of Lydia Wells and that Eva Green brought to the role?
Eva Green plays Lydia Wells, and she's so delightful. Lydia is a villain in a classic sense, but she has this charm and ability to really wrap everyone around her finger. She's such an unusual woman and we were excited about the idea of showing women in different lights, women who are flawed, women who make mistakes and women who will do anything to get what they want. It was intriguing to see the way that Eva filled those boots. She is so wonderful, such an incredible actor and such a consummate professional. Eva is an intricate planner and I just loved working with her. She has such a presence on screen, she's a real dynamite and I just adore her both as a comrade and also as a friend.

It must have been a huge challenge to create this world - where do you start?
It was a huge team effort by all the creative heads of department. I was very fortunate to be working with Felicity Abbot, who's an incredible production designer; our cinematographer, Denson Baker, who is my long-term collaborator and is an incredible artist; and Dan Birt, who's the set decorator.

It's a period film so we had to make a lot of things from scratch. We didn't have existing locations that we could just walk into. We probably had about 10,000 historical references from museums, we visited Hokitika a number of times, we'd collect and reference pictures from the era as well as reference pictures from other gold rushes from a similar point in time to investigate the details of things like equipment, the way people looked and just the whole aspect of what it was like to be digging gold. It's such a filthy, dirty, visceral world, you've literally got your hands in the dirt and you see pictures of people covered from head to toe, caked in mud. We really wanted this world to feel filthy, textured, grounded in the earth, and we wanted to feel like people were inhabiting that world as opposed to just being ornamental or just placed in sets.

I was working with a fantastic team. The colour palette is more gothic and grounded in the shadows. We wanted a sense of mystery and intrigue and a kind of burnished golden world inside the interiors. We were very influenced by gold and not only did we have to research how gold could be filmed, and how it would appear on screen, but also just the way that we would light largely through flame, candlelight and natural light. We were trying to inhabit a specific kind of world and the resources that they would have at that time, so we were embraced that as a visual aesthetic. We wanted there to be a visceral quality to the show, rather than it to feel typically period or dusty, and so there needed to be an energy and a dynamism to the way the camera captured the world.

What did Edward K. Gibbon and Jane O’Kane bring to the look of the series?
Costume and hair & make-up designers are incredibly crucial appointments, particularly where there are so many characters who need to look distinct from one another. We were very lucky to have Edward K. Gibbon join our team as the costume designer. And also very lucky to have Jane O'Kane join us as well who is an incredible make-up and hair designer. The things those two did, in such an effortless way, and the way they led their teams just was remarkable.

Edward didn't have a costume store that he could grab period clothing from. We ended up having a small consignment of period costumes sent over from the UK, but other than that, the Kiwi team made everything from scratch. The cutters, pattern makers, the recycling and sourcing of fabrics, the workmanship and craftsmanship is world-class. There is a lot of intricate detail and thought that has gone into the look of the sets and these characters. There are little hidden treasures that if the audience knows the book, they will understand.

Can you tell us about the incredible work that went into creating these sets?
Building sets from scratch is quite amazing. We shot at a location called Jonkers Farm, which is a big hunk of beautiful farm just outside of Auckland. We had ambitions for it to be a 360-degree set where you could walk through and film from any angle, and we almost achieved that, it was probably about 280 degrees in the end.

We built - from scratch - the Hokitika town, which included the main township and all the elements that are within that: the jail, the cemetery, the opera tent, as well as 10 or 12 workable buildings plus additional components of buildings. I can’t even put into words the amount of work they did. If you don't have a believable world, and the effort's not put into creating that world, no matter how hard you try it just won’t feel real. It needed to be a living, breathing, visceral experience for the actors and it was.

We were trudging around in the mud and slipping around the rain. We were constantly wetting-down and it was certainly hard going for everyone, but it really translates to the screen. I'm sure I haven't made many friends in that process! But it was a labour of love to get that texture and a commitment to the creative ambition of the show.

Within the interior of The House Of Many Wishes, which is Lydia Wells' world, there are so many whimsy and delightful ideas in there about Kiwiana and the intersection of the world of that time. There are things that are now extinct, images and pieces of New Zealand’s history. Each set is a little jigsaw puzzle of delightful storytelling that speaks to both the world of the story as well as the world of New Zealand at that time.

The one thing that as a visual idea in the show that comes from the book is the idea of the planets, there's this idea of orbiting and shadowing and circles, which is quite a feminine symbol. The book covers the phases of the moon and each chapter gets shorter and shorter as you read the book. We weren't able to mimic that structural approach in the series, but as a symbol and as a motif visually we used a lot of circles in our design. We have the astrological and the lunar ideas in the show, and also the stars and the constellations, but we have translated them into architectural ideas and sets.

The House Of Many Wishes is one of the biggest sets. We did a lot of research into how Dunedin looked, and we were struck by this strange, gothic, Victoriana, mish-mash building that was situated near this rocky outcrop in Dunedin that we found in old maps and discovered it was called The Hotel Oriental. It had this really salacious past and had burned down three times. There'd been a sole female lease holder and it was a house of ill repute. We read about some terrible things had happened within those walls. It became our reference point for The House Of Many Wishes. Although it's Victoriana, there is collectivism to the world which comes from the cultural diversity of the people living there at that time. Lydia’s world is one of dream weaving and magic and sleight of hand, and there is a gothic glint in the eye. We used a lot of mist and atmosphere to make the series feel painterly, rather than crisp or brittle.

Had you spent much time in New Zealand before coming to this project?
It’s been a great honour to be in another culture, in another country. Although, as an Australian, we are very closely affiliated, there are lots of things politically and artistically that resonate for me in New Zealand’s culture. My husband, Denson Baker, who's also the cinematographer on The Luminaries, is a Kiwi and he's part Māori. My son was able to go to school in New Zealand whilst we were filming, and go to Kapa Haka, and connect to his Māori roots which has been one of the great privileges of this project.

One of the things that The Luminaries is exploring is the cultural tensions and relationships of that era, which was a huge thing at that time. The Chinese community was completely vilified and shut out, and it was hard for anyone that wasn't white to survive in that world. Territories and treaties were being written at that time, wars were being fought and there's a cultural discussion that's happening which we don't necessarily put a pin in, but it's felt within the story.

We have the character of Tauwhare played by Richard Te Are. He’s a wonderful Māori actor and his character really is a moral compass for the story in a lot of ways. He really brought mana and his own artistic sensibility to that character. He went to Hokitika and he met with Ngāti Waewae and all the community there who were so kind to us and really honoured our process.

When we started filming, we had representatives of the Hokitika Māori community who came to visit the set and gifted us a really beautiful piece of greenstone. They blessed our production and were there the whole time to consult with us on all the Māori content and of the show and also supply us all the pounamu (greenstone) for the show. So, there was an integrity to it and there was a discussion and a discourse about the way the work was being done between the team. So, even though I am a foreigner, and I'm not from the culture, I felt very connected to it.


Thursday, 18 June 2020

Doom Patrol: Exclusive Season 2 Trailer


Check out an exclusive new trailer for Doom Patrol: Season 2, which gives fans their first look at upcoming new villains like The Candlemaker and Red Jack. This trailer also teases the debut of the only team even stranger than the Doom Patrol themselves - the SeX-Men. That's right.

Doom Patrol: Season 2 will debut simultaneously on DC Universe and HBO Max on Friday, June 26.

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Ben Whishaw cast as lead in BBC Two’s adaptation of This Is Going To Hurt


Ben Whishaw (A Very English Scandal, Skyfall, London Spy) will star in the new series This Is Going To Hurt, produced by global content company Sister (Giri/Haji, Chernobyl, Gangs Of London) in association with Terrible Productions.

Based on Adam Kay’s award-winning international multi-million selling memoir of the same name, Whishaw will play the screen version of Adam in the series which has been adapted by creator Kay himself. AMC is on board as co-producer and director Lucy Forbes (In My Skin, The End Of The Fucking World - series two) is confirmed as the series lead director. The international distribution will be handled by BBC Studios.

Kay’s diaries, scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, tell the unvarnished truth of life as a doctor working in obstetrics and gynaecology. Whishaw is set to play the fictional version of Adam, who we find wending his way through the ranks of hospital hierarchy - junior enough to suffer the crippling hours, but senior enough to face a constant barrage of terrifying responsibilities. The series sees Adam clinging to his personal life as he is increasingly overwhelmed by stresses at work: the 97-hour weeks, the life and death decisions, and all the while knowing the hospital parking meter is earning more than him.

This Is Going To Hurt is a show about trying to be a good doctor in a system which can sometimes feel like it’s working against you. Like the book, the series will depict life on and off the hospital ward with frank and often shocking honesty. The series rejoices in the highs, while pulling no punches in its depiction of the gut-wrenching lows, and celebrates the everyday superstars of the health service who keep our hospitals running.

Blisteringly funny, politically enraging and frequently heart-breaking, Kay’s adaptation continues to be a stark reminder of the vital role played by the health service and is a clarion call to continue to support our medics, at a time when that message is more urgent than ever.

Ben Whishaw says: “I am proud to join this exciting adaptation of Adam Kay’s terrific book This Is Going To Hurt based on his experiences working in the NHS. It’s an honest, hilarious, heart-breaking look at the great institution and the army of unsung heroes who work there under the most stressful conditions. The COVID-19 crisis has now shed even more light on their great work and underlines the necessity to support the NHS and its workers. I look forward to telling this story with director Lucy Forbes and the great team at Sister to bring Adam’s words to life and I am really grateful to be a part of it.”

Lucy Forbes adds: "This hilarious and heart-breaking view of the NHS, that we have so long taken for granted, feels more relevant than ever - and what better person to play Adam than the wonderful Whishaw! So looking forward to working with Ben, and the Sister team to bring Adam Kay’s painfully funny book to life.”

BBC One announces Anthony, a drama about Anthony Walker by Jimmy McGovern


Anthony Walker was a Liverpool teenager with a devout Christian faith and a love of basketball. Known to his family and friends for his humour, intelligence and compassion, Anthony was halfway through college with dreams of visiting America and studying Law at university.

On 29 July 2005 in Huyton, Merseyside, Anthony was murdered in a racist attack.

He was 18 years old.

Anthony (1x90’) is the story of the life he could have lived.

Inspired by conversations with Gee Walker, Anthony's mother, about the boy Anthony was and the man he was to become, Anthony is written by multi-Bafta winner Jimmy McGovern (Broken, The Street, Cracker) and made by LA Productions for BBC One.

Anthony Walker will be played by Toheeb Jimoh (The Power, Ted Lasso) and Rakie Ayola (Shetland, Noughts + Crosses) will portray Gee Walker.

They will appear alongside Julia Brown (World On Fire), Bobby Schofield (Knightfall), Stephanie Hyam (Bodyguard), Shaniqua Okwok (Small Axe), Robinah Kironde (The Widow), Dominique Moore (A Confession), Phina Oruche (Taken Down), Siobhan McSweeney (Derry Girls), Ade Ajibade (Intergalactic), Wesley Bozonga (Sliced), Leo Wringer (Black Earth Rising), Lorna Gayle (Carmilla), Jay Lycurgo (I May Destroy You), Josh Bolt (Last Tango In Halifax) and James Ledsham (Levelling The Score) who all play key roles in the film.

Gee Walker, Anthony Walker’s mother, says: “I went to Jimmy because I couldn't think of anyone more suited who could depict, highlight and draw attention to the hard messages of a life not lived - Anthony's unfilled dreams, his potentials and the many lives he would have impacted on - which now will never be realised.”

Jimmy McGovern adds: “I'd known Gee Walker for many years and every time I had needed to write about loss or grief I had gone to her and she had always been generous with her time and her profound wisdom. But one day SHE came to ME and asked me to write about her beloved Anthony. I said, "Gee, if you're asking such a thing, I feel I have a God-given duty to do it." And so I did it.”

Toheeb Jimoh, who plays Anthony Walker, says: “Anthony's story is a painfully tragic one but it's also full of hope, joy, promise and love. Jimmy's script captures that perfectly. I hope this film will serve as a tribute to Anthony and I feel truly honoured to have been asked to play him.”

Channel 4 orders The Circle series three and The Celebrity Circle in aid of Stand Up To Cancer


Channel 4 has recommissioned award-winning The Circle for a third series alongside an additional celebrity series, The Celebrity Circle, as part of the Stand Up To Cancer campaign.

The previous series of the reality format where ‘anyone can be anyone’, created by Studio Lambert and co-produced by Studio Lambert North and Motion Content Group, was a huge hit for young audiences. In 2019 it was Channel 4’s highest rating 10pm series for 16-34-year-old viewers since 2010 and was one of All 4’s top 10 most viewed titles of the year.

Host Emma Willis will return, and comedian Sophie Willan will resume her role as the inimitable voiceover in the brand-new third series, which will kick off with a special week-long celebrity edition in 2021.

Returning to Salford, Greater Manchester, the large-scale production is planned to begin later in 2020 and the search for new players is on.  Filming will proceed in line with Covid-19 filming guidelines prompting a change to the format that will see the UK series closely reflect the international versions of the show which are pre-recorded. Accordingly, there will be no studio audience or live shows.

The most talked about apartment block in Britain will welcome a new set of residents who will live in separate apartments and befriend each other using only a social media platform called The Circle. In the popularity game where anyone can be anyone players rate each other based on whom they like – and dislike. Competing against each other, the most popular players gain power and unpopular players get blocked. Once blocked, and before leaving the show, the eliminated players will get to meet other players in person for the first time.

In addition, a set of famous faces will move in for a separate week-long celebrity edition where they will be invited to play the game in aid of Stand Up To Cancer, a joint national fundraising campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4 that brings the UK together to speed up progress in life-saving research.

Presenter Emma Willis said: 
"The Circle is just brilliant, unmissable television. I loved every minute of being a part of it and I'm delighted to be returning to it for another series where I'll be right at the centre of all the mischief and drama! To add to that, we’re also doing a celeb version - I can't wait to see who’ll be in the line-up and whether they’ll play as themselves or as another celebrity, it’s going to be incredible.”​


Praised for its diverse and inclusive cast in previous series, applications are open for those across the UK aged 18+ to take part in the new series. Potential contestants can apply to take part at www.thecirclecasting.com

Married at First Sight Australia comes to E4 for the first time and its better and bigger than ever!


The 4th series of Australia’s most controversial ground breaking social experiment is coming to E4 later this month and it’s the most explosive yet. In a five week event, E4 is bringing you Married at First Sight Australia as you’ve never seen it before.

In this reformatted 4th series, the ante is upped as the experiment goes super-sized, extending to include 10 couples, including the marriage of the first ever middle-aged couple. And for the first time, this series will see all the couples living under the same roof as relationships are tested like never before.

20 singles will marry a stranger who they will meet for the first time at the wedding ceremony. The couples will be brought together by expert matchmakers - relationship psychologist John Aiken, neuropsychotherapist Trisha Stratford, and dating expert and psychologist Mel Schilling.

This unique experiment is designed to determine if science can predict true love in couples who will get married at first sight. The experts will undertake the mammoth task of pairing 20 brave singles to create their perfect match as 10 brides and 10 grooms undergo the most intense experiment yet attempted. Their relationships will be put to the test as we see the couples marry, go on honeymoon, live together, meet the in-laws and decide if they will stay married or go their separate ways.

The experts will match all the couples on the basis of extensive psychological and neurological testing and profiling.

10 brides, 10 grooms, 10 weddings. Who will find true love? Married at First Sight Australia will air for 25 episodes on E4 in June.

Trailer

Sunday, 14 June 2020

COMPETITION: Win Save Me Too on DVD


Save Me Too is out on DVD on 22nd June.

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

Synopsis
Lennie James makes a welcome return to our screens for the hugely anticipated second series of his gripping, gritty thriller Save Me.  The hit Sky original drama is set to have audiences enthralled once again with this DVD release alongside Save Me Series 1 & 2 DVD Box Set from Acorn Media International.

From the multi-award-winning producers of Line Of Duty this unflinching British drama is written by and stars the multi-talented Lennie James (The Walking Dead, Line of Duty) as our favourite yellow jacket wearing East End charmer Nelson “Nelly” Rowe, who will stop at nothing to save his loved ones.

The new series sees the stunning ensemble cast of great British acting talent return, including Suranne Jones (Doctor Foster, Scott & Bailey), Stephen Graham (White House Farm, The Irishman) Susan Lynch (Killing Eve, Happy Valley) , Kerry Godliman (Adult Material, After Life), Jason Flemyng (The Missing, A Christmas Carol) and Adrian Edmonson (Eastenders, Bancroft). They are joined by award-winning actor Lesley Manville (Mum, Phantom Thread), who takes a pivotal role in the thriller.

Save Me Too picks up 17 months after the close of season 1. The furore over Jody's disappearance has subsided, but Nelly's desperation to find his daughter drives him relentlessly on. Gideon Charles (Adrian Edmondson) has been put on trial for the sexual grooming and exploitation of Grace, the young woman Nelly rescued while searching for Jody. Could Grace provide clues to Jody's fate, or will she derail Nelly's quest? New suspects will be revealed and long buried secrets unearthed as Nelly is torn between protecting Grace and keeping alive his search for Jody. Also starring Lesley Manville & Stephen Graham.

Buy from Amazon by clicking here (Opens in a new window)

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

COMPETITION CLOSED

Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 29-06-20
2. No alternative prize is available
3. When the competition ends as indicated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.
4. Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.

Friday, 12 June 2020

Dating Around Season 2 - Official Trailer - Netflix


The new season follows six singles on their dating journey as they go on five different blind dates in New Orleans.

Dating can be awkward... but it's time to believe in love again. In this oh-so-real dating show, Dating Around: Season 2 follows 6 singles on their dating journey as they go on 5 different blind dates in New Orleans. Who will get a second date?

Watch Dating Around: Season 2, only on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/datingaround

Interview with Davina McCall for Big Brother: Best Shows Ever



Ahead of Big Brother: Best Shows Ever, we sat down (virtually) with Davina McCall to discuss this new show celebrating Big Brother's 20th anniversary.

1) It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since Big Brother first landed on UK screens, what do you miss most about presenting it?

DM: I know, god I can’t believe its 20 years. Over the 11 years that I did, it developed a lot and changed a lot. The beginning few years, I loved the anarchy and the fact we didn’t know what was going to happen or how it worked. The first couple of series, we didn’t know how anything would pan out or how people would react. Then in the next few series, people used to say ‘oh it’s a set up’ or ‘the producers are fixing it’ but actually, we never knew what was going to happen. We might have put two people in that we thought ‘they definitely will fancy each other’ and then they don’t fancy each other at all. Free will is such an amazing thing. I remember there was a task where my producer said that we were going to put them all in cardboard boxes. I asked ‘are you sure, that is going to be the most boring bit of telly ever’ and he went, ‘yes, we’re going to do it’. It turned out to be the best thing I’ve ever seen. I’ve never laughed to hard! You just never knew what was going to work or be brilliant!

2) You hosted Big Brother for a total of 11 years, so it must have been a job you loved to do?

DM: Oh my god, I loved it so much, so so much. It is one of those programmes if you invest in it, it gives back. It is like a soap opera, if you invest in a soap opera and you watch it for a week, it will give back to you in so many ways because you get totally engrossed in the plot and the cast – you know everything about it. There was the cult of Big Brother where a certain group of people were as obsessed as me and we could talk about it for ever. The nuances and the little things you would notice. Would the housemates notice that Big Brother had put something in the garden? Had the people at home? It became sort of a clique that we were all a member of. So that’s so nice to be back with the obsessives! Also live television, I LOVE live television.  There is no point in filming something live, if there is no danger of something going wrong, which it often did in Big Brother – it was so very exciting – that’s what people were watching for.

3) Fans seem to be really engrossed on Social Media? Was social media a big thing in the original run of Big Brother?

DM: It’s so great that fans are excited! I’m loving it. Social did exist towards the end, as I used to watch every night whilst following on Twitter. I joined Twitter in 2009 and tweeted along which was amazing. It completely elevated my viewing of Big Brother because to be able to watch it in real time and all of us discussing what was going on. It also massively helped with my interviewing of people as I knew what people wanted me to ask, it made me know what the public outcry or love was for a certain housemate.

4) What was your initial reaction when you first got the call about these Big Brother specials?

DM: Well they said, ‘Big Brother’ and I just said ‘yes’. I didn’t even know what it was. They asked if I wanted to know what it was and I said, ‘no its fine, I’ll do it’.  Stuff that I do now is very sensible, so it will be nice to watch back some irreverent TV again.

5) What can we expect from this show? Can you give us any hints?

DM: I think a lot of them will be bits that everyone will remember that we can’t not include. Trying to think of favourite series is quite a difficult one to think about because there were so many that played a special part in my life. I mean some of my favourite moments are Mikey eating a Scotch Bonnet Chilli – I was in agony laughing. I had forgot that Alison Hammond and Adele Roberts were Big Brother housemates – and now they are mega famous. It’s so good to be back!

6) Big Brother has a loyal and dedicated fan base, do you have anything you’d like to say to those fans who have stuck with it all these years?

DM: Aw – from my perspective, especially for the first 11 years, thank you for being the backbone of the show.  It was a show that went in waves. There is a very hardcore group of people who have stuck with it through all the ups and downs, all the dramas, evictions and ejections. They stuck with it through thick and thin. Most importantly keeping the interest in it alive. So, thank you for sticking with us.

7) Some of the audiences who will be watching on E4 might not have seen the original Big Brother on Channel 4, how would you describe the show to them? 

DM: At the beginning, it was very basic. I think it would be very interesting to show the first series again. To show how they did nothing. They sat around and only had chickens to look after and they just talked – there was hardly any tasks – and that’s what’s quite funny about it, how did anybody watch this? It was really funny. It was side-splitting, desperately funny. I have never laughed as much as I did when watching Big Brother. People just think it’s all alcohol, sex and rows but the challenges and the tasks that they did were so brilliantly done and thought out, so just remember that it is also a massive comedy.

8) You’re going to be hosting this show along with Rylan, are you looking forward to working with the ultimate Big Brother Superfan?

DM: He is an absolute genius. He is so passionate about Big Brother and that Is what I love about him.  He is a Big Brother nerd. So to be able to do it with him (remotely of course) is so lovely.

9) You said that you often quote Big Brother at least once a week – what are some of your favourite Big Brother quotes?

DM: If ever my kids say ‘can you pick me up from the station’ I say ‘I’M COMING TO GET YOU’ and slightly laugh to myself. Some of the housemate’s quotes were amazing.

10) This really will be a walk down memory lane not just for the fans, but for you too, what do you hope viewers can take away from it?

DM: I hope it’s going to be a walk down memory lane for them and a little bit of nostalgia. I think it will be nice to look back at something funny that was part of our lives in happy times.

11) Who is your favourite house mate EVER from the show?

DM: That is a very difficult question. But I would possibly say because it meant so much to her, Nadia. I did love Brian and he’s a very close second, but it meant more to Nadia. It was more of a surprise. Nadia went in there having never being accepted for who she was, Big Brother gave her an opportunity to be someone completely new, no past, no history and no judgment and people totally accepted her for who she was.  I think that meant so much to her. It meant a lot to the trans community too, Britain opened their eyes, I learnt a lot. I learnt about what it is to be trans and how you feel. I learnt so much from Nadia and she had such an important story to tell. She was an amazing housemate. I also love fiery tempers!

12) If the roles were reversed, would you have ever gone in the Big Brother house?

DM: Absolutely not. Never. I definitely think it is an extremely difficult place to be, you’re in a melting pot. In lockdown this is the best example of what it would feel like to be stuck in that house! You must become very good at conflict resolution as you’re all stuck together in a small space! I don’t think I’d be able to hack it!

13) Finally, what is next for you Davina?

DM: I’m doing more Long-Lost Family, I’m doing (hopefully) the Masked Singer whenever we can. Obviously, my online fitness platform ‘Own Your Goals’ has also been very busy, which is fantastic. 


Wednesday, 10 June 2020

First look pictures of the return of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads are revealed, as BBC One launch date is announced


Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads will air on BBC One from Tuesday 23 June with a double bill. All twelve Talking Heads will then be available to stream on BBC iPlayer, with the series continuing on BBC One across the following weeks.

*Talking Heads will air on BBC One from 9pm on Tuesday 23 June with a double-bill
*All twelve films will be available to stream on BBC iPlayer from the same date

Starring Jodie Comer, Monica Dolan, Martin Freeman, Tamsin Greig, Sarah Lancashire, Lesley Manville, Lucian Msamati, Maxine Peake, Rochenda Sandall, Kristin Scott Thomas, Imelda Staunton and Harriet Walter

Talking Heads is produced by London Theatre Company and BBC One transmission dates for the remaining Talking Heads will be announced in due course.

Jack Whitehall's Father's Day


Jack Whitehall’s Father’s Day is a celebration of a special day when so many people are not going to be able to spend time with their loved ones this year.

In the show Jack will visit Michael by setting up on the pavement outside his parents’ front door to spend some quality time together. They’ll reminisce over old family photos, awkward home video footage and tell some classic Whitehall tales. They’ll also be catching up with some famous faces, taking part in a special Father's Day edition of MasterChef and surprising key workers who can’t be with their loved ones this year.

We caught up with Jack and Michael (with a few comments from Hilary) to hear about their relationship and how they plan on making this year’s Father’s Day a truly memorable one.

Q&A

Tell me about the show, what have you got in store?
Jack: The show is our attempt at trying to have some Father’s Day fun but from the comfort of our own homes, we’re going to have some Father’s Day surprises for Michael which I have arranged and which he will not know about until the day itself. And then a few things which we’re going to film in advance like our stint on the lockdown version of MasterChef, which we’re doing because I’ve been doing a lot of cooking in lockdown and I thought that would be a fun thing to do as it’s a show that we both love. And we’ll be having some guests and some of our usual ummm… chat.

Michael: Wondered what you were going to say then. Usual… chat.

How did this come about?
Jack: This came about from us sort of twiddling our thumbs, sitting at home and thinking about what we may be able to do to give people a bit of light-hearted distraction from their lockdown. We worked with the BBC when we did Backchat, though obviously that’s not something we had done for a couple of years, so we contacted them to say: "Would you be up for doing something?" We’ve talked about a lot in the past about doing something for Father’s Day but it felt like now was a great time to do it with everyone in lockdown. And there will be a lot of people that won’t be able to spend Father’s Day with their dads and hopefully this will be a fun way to show that it’s possible to have a close relationship with your dad even when you can’t be in the same room as him.

Will filming this show be the first time you see each other in person?
Jack: I have jogged past their house a couple of times so from a distance we have seen each other, but in terms of seeing each other from a two metre distance this will be the closest we have been in a while.

Have you missed each other?
Jack: Yes I’ve missed seeing my dad, we’re a very close family and spend a lot of time together so it has been quite weird to adjust but we’ve found a way, and we’ve done lots of Zoom calls and the family WhatsApp group has been really up and running. And in a way that’s where this all came from, trying to do what we’ve been doing as a family but for other people’s entertainment.

Michael: What is amazing is all this technology, which obviously I don’t understand, but it is amazing that you can actually talk to people on this basis. I talk to Jack and then I think that I have seen him, I never think: "Oh, it would be lovely to see Jack", as I think I’ve just seen him. Of course in reality I haven’t seen him physically but it’s a jolly good back-up to not seeing somebody. In the old days if someone went abroad for a month you lost them, you wouldn’t hear from them, they may write you a letter but it wouldn’t arrive for weeks; I mean I’m going back a few years now obviously. Whereas now you can keep in touch with anyone, anywhere, at any time which is just extraordinary. I mean it’s not the same but it’s a lot better than just not seeing them at all.

Why do you like working with each other so much?
Jack: I guess it’s because it doesn’t feel like work, it’s always just very natural and given that we’re father and son there’s a surprising lack of stress to any of the stuff we do together because it’s always so enjoyable. And it’s nice to be doing stuff with each other, and you know interacting and having fun.

Michael: Yes I think, going back historically, because I didn’t have children until my mid to late forties, and I had sort of got my career well organised by then I was able to spend a lot more time with Jack, Molly and Barney than most fathers would with their small children because they’d be away in an office somewhere. But because I was running my own show I could take time off and go to their schools. I mean obviously Hilary was the one who ran the whole family brilliantly, and still does. But I think that’s one of the reasons I am so close to Jack and his two brothers. Sorry his brother and sister!

Jack: Yes my secret brother

Hilary: Your secret brother Winston?!

Michael: I just love hanging out with Jack.

What was your father like Michael?
Michael: My father sadly died when I was in my late twenties and I never really got to truly know him. He wasn’t very well as he had emphysema and he died in his late fifties. I was close to him and loved him, and he loved me. He had a very good sense of humour, he was very funny and he was called Jack. So Jack Whitehall was a very funny man. But I wish he had lived longer, and today emphysema is something that can be managed with but in those days they didn’t have any cures. I’m pretty hopeless on the family department because they’ve all now gone so when Molly my daughter got married just before the lockdown it was very difficult to dredge up any relation of mine.

Do you have fond memories of Father’s Day growing up?
Jack: I do. Obviously because I was at boarding school Father’s Day would be one of the weekends that you always came home for, so it would be one of the occasions you got to spend time with your mum and dad. They had no excuse not to come and collect us, there was no getting out of it. On other weekends they had excuses, but Father’s Day they were committed to. We would have a Sunday roast; that will be the sad thing about this year - not having one of my mum’s Sunday roasts which I have missed greatly. It just isn’t the same when you make it at home yourself. It’s the one thing you cannot recreate; I reckon you can recreate any restaurant dish but not your mum’s roast.

Michael: Can I just nail something down about Jack and boarding school?

Jack: Oh here we go!

Michael: The truth is we wanted our children to go to London day schools so we could see them every day of the week, but the problem is that those schools are academic and it’s quite difficult to get into a London day school unless you’re very academically gifted. I say no more.

Jack: I would add that I did actually see a lot of them, most weekends I would come home, which was because when I was 13 I told daddy that every weekend you came home they would take a percentage off the school fees so he thought that would drive the price down. So most weekends I was back home Friday to Sunday because he’s so tight and wanted to get some sort of bargain basement deal on my education.

I hear you missed your 80th birthday party of lockdown. How would you have been celebrating in normal circumstances?
Michael: It was true. Apparently Hilary had big plans but I knew nothing about the big plans. All that had to be cancelled and it was just cheese on toast in the kitchen in the end with a glass of water.

Jack, have you got any presents for your dad in mind?
Jack: I have got lots of presents up my sleeve, none of which I can discuss but many of them will be revealed on the show. I have some big surprises some of which he’ll like, some of them less so. Some of them he won’t like and some of them his neighbours will like even less. You’re going to be a pariah in Putney after Father’s Day…

Have you had to go over family memories that you are going to bring up in the show, and finding pictures?
Jack: Yes there’s always a deep dive into the family archive, and mother manages to dredge up some very embarrassing family videos most of which I then veto because I don’t want the world to see them. Some of them are vetoed on account of some of the opinion and sentiment that comes out of Michael’s mouth and some of them because I look like such a weird child and I don’t want people to see that. So I’d say a lot gets found and then a lot gets retracted.

Michael: Quite a lot has been redacted because Jack had a habit as a child of taking all his clothes off, which I didn’t think would be very appropriate for an 8.30pm audience on BBC One.

Jack have you taken parenting tips from your dad for the future?
Jack: Yes. Get them to boarding school as soon as possible. Nannies first, then boarding school and then university. Keep them at arm’s length.

Michael: University worked well didn’t it Jack. We were so proud of him when he got his degree and had his gown and mortar board.

Jack: Two metres from daddy is fine because as a child it was 66 miles the distance between us. Not that anyone is counting.

Can you tell us a bit more about Lockdown MasterChef?
Jack: Me and daddy are obsessed with Gregg Wallace, and on our family WhatsApp group we always send each other Gregg Wallace memes, Gregg Wallace quotes. I love Gregg Wallace innuendos, he’s one of my favourite people on television and we share a love of MasterChef. Obviously I have been cooking a lot during lockdown, so when we came up with the idea of this show my first thought was perhaps we can do something with MasterChef and thankfully they’ve been very up for it. So we’re going to do a very special edition of Lockdown MasterChef with Gregg and John. Food packages are going to be dropped on our doorstep and we’re going to cook a meal and bike them over to Gregg and John and they’re going to decide who wins.

Michael: Slight problem is that Mrs Whitehall is a brilliant cook, Jack is a brilliant cook, Barney is a brilliant cook, Molly is a brilliant cook. I cannot cook anything except for scrambled egg and I can do boiled chicken where you put a chicken in a big thing full of boiling water but apparently you’re not allowed to call it boiled chicken, it’s poached. Give me a steak and it will come back to you black and completely tasteless and if you cut it open it will be pale grey inside.

Jack: Which is why you should definitely watch him doing MasterChef.

Hilary: He burnt a burger on the barbeque the other day that was wrapped in cling film.

Make Me Famous - Reggie Yates's new drama explores the consequences of fast fame on reality TV contestants


Tom Brittney, Amanda Abbington, Aiysha Hart, Nina Sosanya, Emma Rigby, Trieve Blackwood-Cambridge and Tilly Keeper star in Make Me Famous, a new 60- minute drama written by Reggie Yates, which explores the impact and consequences of fast fame on reality TV contestants.

When Billy (Tom Brittney) succeeds in impressing the producers of a fictional constructed-reality show, he believes his life is set to change forever.

A year after the show has aired, while some of Billy’s co-stars’ careers are thriving, Billy struggles to balance the afterglow of fame, social media and tabloid kiss & tells, and the resulting assumptions people have made about his character - forcing deep vulnerabilities to the surface.

Can Billy escape the reputation that now precedes him?


Interview with Reggie Yates

Why did you want to make this film?
Billy (our lead character) has a place close to my heart. I’ve spent my whole career working in television and seen everything it has to offer - the best of it, the worst of it, how much it can be a force for good, and the way it changes lives.

Reality TV is loved by those in it and those who watch it, but there are issues that come with that and this felt like an opportunity to tell a story which explores the relationship between reality TV, social media and fame. It’s been a year in the making but it’s great to finally share this film with the BBC Three audience, who I feel have grown up alongside me. Now, more than ever, it feels like this story needs to be told.

What is the film about?
It’s about a young guy in his mid-20s called Billy, who was a star on a reality TV show. A year after he’s been on screen, Billy’s fame is starting to fade. We’re not pointing the finger. We’re asking questions.

Tell us about the main character, Billy.
Billy is in a unique space, as there’s a new series of the show on air with, as he puts it, “younger and better looking versions of himself” getting a lot of love on camera. It makes him see himself in a different light and it forces him to face a lot of decisions.

He’s trying to work out who he is, off the back of being told who he is for a year, by strangers in the street, people he used to work with, or people who DM him on social media... with complex emotions like these, you can only fully explore this when you’ve got an actor like Tom Brittney, who is able to deliver those necessary layers and nuance.

How has your relationship with fame changed over time?
I’ve been on screen for 29 years this year, which makes me feel like a very old man! My relationship with fame, and the audience’s relationship with celebrity, have both changed. This is why this film has come at the best time for me. I understand my relationship with the audience so much more now than ever before because of social media.

Is it all bad?
To be really honest I don’t think it is all bad. I do think there is something lovely about people seeing you on the street and having a conversation with you, like they are your friends, because they have grown up with you. I have a unique relationship with that audience, because it has been over such a long time. This project has caused me to reflect on myself in a lot of ways.

What research did you do before writing the script?
To make the film feel authentic I did a series of interviews with people involved in some of your favorite reality shows - the contestants as well as the people who make the shows. Everyone was incredibly open about their experiences on camera and what their lives were like afterwards. Thanks to their honesty I was able to build characters who reflected elements of their experience.

I also took the time to talk to my younger siblings, cousins and friends who really engage with reality TV. I’m hoping we’ve achieved a nuanced, respectful and complicated version of what it means to be in that world.

How does it feel to be back on BBC Three?
BBC Three was and is a huge part of my career, without a doubt. When I decided to pivot to documentaries, I was able to do more because of BBC Three. This film will be the first thing that I’ve written and produced that will air in the drama space. BBC Three is important in so many ways because of who it speaks to and how it does that.