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Wednesday, 29 January 2020

BBC Sounds launches 20 new podcasts and music programmes

This spring BBC Sounds is launching 20 new podcasts and music programmes.
The new hosts of BBC Sounds podcasts include Fearne Cotton, comedian James Acaster, 1Xtra’s Dotty, Matt Lucas and 1Xtra’s Sideman.

Listeners will be able to enjoy more true crime and investigations, entertaining comedy and chat, original journalism and brilliant storytelling, as well as great new voices on BBC Sounds.

Jonathan Wall, Controller of BBC Sounds, says: “Sounds is growing and growing with 3 million people now coming to us for music, radio and podcasts each week. We keep upping the ambition for our on demand audio and I’m delighted with the variety of great podcasts and music we’ve got coming up. Whether people want laughs and entertainment, or insight and intrigue, Sounds has something relevant for everyone. It lets us give new voices a platform to talk about what matters as well as bring the best of what the BBC does to new listeners.”

In the coming months on BBC Sounds there are:

Seven new podcasts in which younger voices explore the subjects that matter to them, such as United Zingdom in which Zing Tsjeng figures out whether to become British; gaming journalists Julia Hardy and Aoife Wilson present This Game Changed My Life; in new series Jacob Hawley: In Love the comedian looks at different aspects of relationships and he returns with more episodes of Jacob Hawley: On Drugs too; in Them Ones three best mates from Birmingham reveal their Whatsapp chat and, consequently, the inner workings of their lives; and 5 live’s Hope High follows the families of secondary school students in Huddersfield. Power Out is a pacey thriller from Radio 4 about young people taking power in their own hands; and Asian Network launches new podcast Bollywood Uncovered

New podcasts from BBC news and current affairs: The world’s longest running current affairs programme Panorama launches a podcast; and Americast with Emily Maitlis and Jon Sopel will share the latest drama from the race for the White House. The most popular podcast on Sounds at the end of last year - Brexitcast - is evolving into Newscast taking listeners behind the scenes for an inside look at the biggest news stories

Three true crime podcasts including Manhunt: Finding Kevin Parle from Radio 5 live and hosted by Peter Bleksley; Where is George Gibney? in which journalist Mark Horgan investigates the internationally-renowned Olympic swimming coach; and Mortem which tells the story of three bodies through forensics science

Matt Lucas, 1Xtra’s Sideman and Dotty bring listeners brand new comedy chat. There will be jaw dropping conversation on The Dotty Podcast; on Weird Flex But OK, Sideman meets people with weird but wonderful habits; and on Bitch Bitch Bitch, Matt Lucas brings guests together to gossip about the unpleasant side of jobs many might wish they had

More great music content including Sounds Of The 90s with Fearne Cotton, a nostalgia drenched celebration of the best music and pop culture from the decade; and in podcast James Acaster’s Perfect Sounds the comedian proposes that 2016 is the greatest year for music of all time, sharing his obsession with fellow comedians. BBC Sounds is also launching four brand new music mixes including 1Xtra R&B Chill from Nadia Jae and Radio 1’s Movie Mixtapes from Ali Plumb

Saturday, 25 January 2020

Stirling Gallacher joins the cast of Casualty as Ffion, the longstanding wife of paramedic Jan

Stirling Gallacher joins the cast of BBC One’s Casualty as police officer Ffion, who is wife of the well-loved paramedic Jan, played by Di Botcher.

Stirling is best known for playing Georgina Woodson in the BBC daytime series Doctors. She also memorably played the Prime Minister’s wife in Little Britain and has most recently been seen as Paula Martin in Coronation Street.

Stirling Gallacher says: "I am entirely delighted to be joining the longest-running emergency medical drama television series in the world… what’s not to be thrilled about! The added bonus is of course the folk that work on this fantastic show, I could not have felt more personally welcomed or professionally supported in what is often a bit of a nerve wracking build up to your first days filming. I look forward to many happy hours on Ffion Morgan's pretend beat.”

Simon Harper, Executive Producer of Casualty and Holby City, says: “The audience may recall a single, somewhat loaded reference last year from Jan’s son Ross to her wife Ffion and the kids back home - so we’ve had her off-screen marriage up our sleeve for some time now and are really excited to explore it - not least with an actor as distinguished as Stirling, whom we are thrilled to welcome to the Casualty company, playing alongside the brilliant Di Botcher. Jan has a huge and terrifying story coming up in the next series where Ross comes into her life again - and given that Ross is pretty dodgy and Ffion is a police officer, it’s all going to get pretty turbulent!”

Stirling has started filming and will be on screens in Casualty from late Spring.

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Top Gear Series 28 returns to BBC Two on Sunday 26 January at 8pm

Fresh from the success of their first series together, Top Gear’s new line up of presenters - Freddie Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness, and Chris Harris - get up to ever more mischief as they travel the globe in pursuit of hijinks and motoring mayhem.

Expect to see bungee jumping in a car, an epic race between a fighter jet and the latest McLaren hypercar, a spectacular roadtrip through Peru plus top celebrity guests in the studio, and lots of laughs. Having taken the world’s biggest motoring entertainment show to a whole new level in 2019, audiences will be on the edge of their seats in 2020.

Episode one

A summer holiday in (very) cheap convertibles
The average cost of a summer holiday is £600. Per person. Six hundred quid to sit in a smelly metal tube for a couple of hours, all for a bit of sun on your face. But what about if, instead of spending £600 on a holiday, you spent it instead on a second-hand convertible? A far nicer way to get a bit of sun on your face, surely?

To find out, the presenters each bought themselves a very cheap cabrio - Chris a Merc SLK, Paddy a very nineties Escort, and Fred a monstrosity called the Chrysler LeBaron - and set out on a glamorous journey from Bognor Regis to Essex. During which they were squirted with a ‘low-friction synthetic sweat substitute’, pelted with golf balls, and marooned in the sea.

Power Test: Ariel Atom 4
See, the new Ariel Atom costs about 40 grand, and accelerates from zero to sixty in 2.8 seconds. But in freefall, an object - for example a Rover Metro cabrio-shaped object - will accelerate from zero to sixty in 2.7 seconds. Supercar acceleration for free! Provided, that is, you can stop your Rover Metro before it hits the ground.

Chucking a car off a dam
Yes, Top Gear is attempting to bungee-jump a car. A Rover Metro cabrio, to be precise, with a Freddie Flintoff at the wheel. Off a massive Swiss dam. This has never been done before, at least not successfully.

You might ask ‘why’. Freddie did, quite a number of times, while suspended 400 feet above an unyielding valley floor. The answer? Not merely a bid to discover if Mr Flintoff has any function remaining in his fear-gland (spoiler alert: definitely a bit), but also Chris’s latest money-saving tip.

Get ready for one of the most palm-sweat-inducing bits of telly of the year.

The Windermere Children - The remarkable true story of a group of child Holocaust survivors

August, 1945. A coachload of children arrive at the Calgarth Estate by Lake Windermere, England. They are child survivors of the Nazi Holocaust that has devastated Europe’s Jewish population. Carrying only the clothes they wear and a few meagre possessions, they bear the emotional and physical scars of all they have suffered.
From Bafta-nominated screenwriter Simon Block and Bafta and Emmy-winning director Michael Samuels, The Windermere Children is the first dramatisation of a remarkable true story about hope in the aftermath of the Holocaust, based on the powerful first-person testimony of survivors who began their new lives in the UK.

The drama is led by a stellar cast including Thomas Kretschmann (The Pianist), Romola Garai (The Miniaturist), Tim McInnerny (Strangers) and Iain Glen (Game Of Thrones).

Charged with looking after the children is child psychologist Oscar Friedmann (Kretschmann). Along with his team of counsellors, including art therapist Marie Paneth (Garai), philanthropist Leonard Montefiore (McInnerny) and sports coach Jock Lawrence (Glen), they have four months to help the children reclaim their lives.

By the lake, the children learn English, play football, ride bikes, express their trauma through painting - and begin to heal. Some locals taunt them, but they are embraced by others. Haunted by nightmares, they yearn for news of their loved ones. When the Red Cross arrives with letters about the fates of their families, none of them receive good news. But in the absence of relatives, the children find family in each other.

The Windermere Children is the stark, moving and ultimately redemptive story of the bonds the children make with one another, and of how the friendships forged at Windermere will sustain them as they rebuild their lives in the UK.

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

ITV commissions true crime drama The Pembrokeshire Murders starring Luke Evans

Acclaimed actor Luke Evans will take the lead in true crime drama The Pembrokeshire Murders, a three-part mini-series depicting the pursuit of a cold-blooded serial killer.

Commissioned by ITV’s Head of Drama, Polly Hill, the drama is from the makers of Line of Duty and Bodyguard, World Productions, and will be executive produced by Simon Heath, the company’s CEO. World was awarded Best Independent Production Company at both the Broadcast Awards and the Edinburgh TV Festival in 2019. The mini-series is written by Nick Stevens (In Plain Sight) directed by Marc Evans (Manhunt, Safe House) and produced by Ed Talfan (Hinterland, Hidden) for Wales-based Severn Screen.

The drama is adapted from the true crime book Catching the Bullseye Killer, written by Senior Investigating Officer Steve Wilkins and ITV news journalist Jonathan Hill. Luke Evans (Dracula Untold, The Alienist, The Great Train Robbery) takes the role of Steve Wilkins.

Luke Evans: 
“It is a privilege to be playing the role of Steve Wilkins in The Pembrokeshire Murders and working again with Simon Heath, his team at World Productions and ITV. It’s a huge responsibility for me as the drama depicts a true crime which to this day still affects the families of those whose lives were tragically taken.”

Two unsolved double murders from the 1980s cast a shadow over the work of the Dyfed Powys police force. In 2006, newly promoted Detective Superintendent Steve Wilkins decided to reopen both cases. Employing pioneering forensic methods, Wilkins and his handpicked team found microscopic DNA and fibres that potentially linked the murders to a string of burglaries committed in the 80s and 90s. The perpetrator of those robberies was nearing the end of his prison sentence, but if Steve Wilkins was right, he was also a serial killer ... Could Steve and his team find enough forensic evidence to charge their suspect before he was released  to potentially kill again?

Blake Harrison, Barbara Flynn and Meera Syal will join Brenda Blethyn and Jimmy Akingbola in ITV's new upcoming comedy Kate & Koji.

Kate & Koji is a brand new 6 x 30 studio sitcom from Hat Trick Productions that will air Spring 2020 on ITV.

Golden Globe winner Brenda Blethyn stars as Kate, the owner of a seaside cafe who forms an unexpected and sparky friendship with Koji, an African asylum seeker, played by Jimmy Akingbola.  Although from very different worlds, they are similar in ways which they do not recognise, including a dogged determination to never back down! When the fur does start to fly, Kate's resourceful nephew 'Medium' acts as peacemaker.

'Medium' is played by Blake Harrison, Barbara Flynn stars as Councillor Bone, Kate's lifelong arch enemy.  Meera Syal will guest star as a GP who might represent a threat to Koji.

Brenda Blethyn (Vera, Secrets and Lies, Pride and Prejudice)
Jimmy Akingbola (Arrow, In The Long Run)
Barbara Flynn (Cracker, The Durrells, Killing Eve)
Blake Harrison (The Inbetweeners, A Very English Scandal)
Meera Syal (The Split, Goodness Gracious Me)

The National Television Awards 2020

David Walliams is the brand new host of the National Television Awards in the event's 25th Anniversary year as hundreds of stars and thousands of fans gather for the biggest night in British TV.

Broadcast live on Tuesday 28th January from The O2 London, the NTAs celebrate television’s best-loved shows and stars in the only TV awards ceremony where the winners are chosen entirely by the British public.

The event is rammed to the rafters with TV Royalty from Graham Norton to Tess & Claudia and Ant & Dec. Nominees making their NTA debut include Derry Girls, Gentleman Jack, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, Chernobyl, Jesy Nelson with her BBC3 record-breaking Odd One Out, The Capture, A Confession and Ricky Gervais with his hit show After Life.

Sir Tom Jones is also a first time nominee in the TV Judge Category, alongside will.i.am, RuPaul, Simon Cowell and reigning champion – and NTA host – David Walliams.

And the stars of Gavin & Stacey will be out in force as the NTAs mark the hugely successful return of the much-loved comedy to our screens at Christmas.

DO you suffer with insomnia? Well Channel 4 announces LIVE: THE LABOUR LEADERSHIP DEBATE

If you have been having trouble sleeping and need something to help you fall into a deep slumber, well the solution is here as Channel 4 have announced that they will host the first live debate between the candidates vying to become the next Labour Leader.

All five contenders have confirmed to take part; Rebecca Long Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips, Sir Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry

The show will be hosted by Krishnan Guru-Murthy with a live audience asking questions of the people aiming to lead the opposition. It will take place on Monday February 17th at 8pm. The leadership contest will be decided by ballot. Voting begins just a few days after the debate, with the result announced in early April.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Anarchic Sky original drama Britannia set to return for a third series

Critically acclaimed Sky original drama Britannia has been recommissioned for a third series on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV. Starring David Morrissey, Mackenzie Crook, Annabel Scholey and Eleanor Worthington-Cox and created by the multi-award-winning writer Jez Butterworth, Tom Butterworth and James Richardson, Britannia brings a moment of our history to life like never seen before on TV. Produced by Vertigo Films in association with Neal Street Productions, it’s a genre-bending, psychedelic tale of clashing faith systems, torn apart families, mystic men, powerful women, all told with humour, heart and violence.

Britannia series two launched in November to widespread praise with The Guardian calling it “…one of those shows you just have to imbibe, celebrating that it has the sheer cheek even to exist. Praise the capricious TV gods!” Whilst The Times said it’s “… ethereal and wonderfully odd” and “…...few shows embrace their own preposterousness quite as wonderfully as Jez Butterworth’s drama about the Roman conquest of Britain”.

In the first series of Britannia we followed the story of the Roman invasion led by General Aulus (David Morrissey) who sought to crush the Celtic heart of Britannia, a mysterious land led by warrior women and powerful Druids. In series two we joined General Aulus two years on from invading Britannia romanising willing Celt tribes with the help of Celtic Queen Amena (Annabel Scholey), and crushing those who tried to resist. The only form of hope for the Druids and Celts was Cait (Eleanor Worthington-Cox), a young girl being trained by outcast Druid Divis (played by Nikolaj Lie Kaas), to fulfil a prophecy that would save Britannia from the Romans. But an epic battle of wills divided the druids in the form of two Druid brothers – Veran and Harka (Mackenzie Crook) putting the prophecy in jeopardy.

Series three sees a radical transformation in Cait’s journey as the Chosen One with a decision that will tie her to the future of her war-torn people and their ravaged land. Aulus comes under pressure from a new and dark force - otherwise known as his wife, whilst Amena finds herself in a lethal Ménage à trois with both of them. Divis gets a new job which he despises, and Veran goes to the underworld and sees the future.

Cameron Roach, Director of Drama, Sky Studios said: “We are incredibly proud to be able to continue to grow the Britannia franchise bringing ‘Jez and the team’s unique and distinctive vision to life for a third series”.

Jez Butterworth added: We’re very excited to be continuing our mythic journey through Ancient Britain. This year was a particularly good vintage for mushrooms here in the West Country, so we strongly suggest you hold on to your hats.”

Filming commences on the fourth series of award-winning ITV drama, Unforgotten starring Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar.

London, January 2020: BAFTA nominated actors Nicola Walker (Last Tango In Halifax, The Split) and Sanjeev Bhaskar (Yesterday, Goodness Gracious Me) reprise their roles as DCI Cassie Stuart and DI Sunny Khan as production begins on the highly-anticipated fourth series of critically acclaimed drama, Unforgotten.

Produced by independent production company Mainstreet Pictures (Gold Digger, Age Before Beauty) in partnership with Masterpiece, and devised and written by acclaimed screenwriter Chris Lang (Innocent, Dark Heart), the new six-part series charts a fresh investigation into another emotionally-charged cold case murder.

The main cast will be joined by Sheila Hancock (New Tricks, Delicious), Susan Lynch (Killing Eve, Apple Tree Yard), Phaldut Sharma (Hanna, EastEnders), Liz White (Life On Mars, Ackley Bridge), Andy Nyman (Wanderlust, Peaky Blinders), Clare Calbraith (Baptiste, Little Boy Blue) and Lucy Speed (Marcella, National Treasure), along with returning actors Peter Egan (Downton Abbey, Hold The Sunset), Alastair Mackenzie (Deep Water, Cold Feet), Carolina Main (Blood, Grantchester), Lewis Reeves (Uncle, Inspector George Gently) and Jordan Long (Prime Suspect 1973, SS-GB).

The fourth series opens with the discovery of a dismembered body in a scrap metal yard, which the team believe has been stored in a domestic freezer for thirty years. A unique Millwall Football Club tattoo leads to the victim being identified as Matthew Walsh, a young man in his mid-twenties who went missing in March 1990.

The team quickly track the purchase of the freezer to Robert Fogerty, but they are disappointed to learn he’s recently died a lonely, broken man. On looking further into his past, they discover a drink driving conviction on the same night their victim, Matthew Walsh, went missing, and intriguingly there were four passengers in the car with him at the time.

As the investigation progresses, we are introduced to Ram Sidhu and his wife Anna who are expecting their first baby together in London; Liz Baildon and her fiancée Janet who live in Cambridge; Fiona Grayson, her partner Geoff and their children in the Peak District; and Dean Barton and his wife Marnie who live in Rochester with their disabled son, Jack, and his younger sibling, Casper. All in their late forties, they appear to be in a good place, but the investigation has the potential to shatter their reputations, family relationships and the lives they’ve built over the last 30 years. 

Meanwhile, after making the decision to retire from the police force for her own sanity and wellbeing, Cassie faces an impossible dilemma when she learns she isn’t entitled to her full pension payment unless she completes her thirty years of service. Disappointed and angry with her superiors and the system, Cassie has to make the gut-wrenching decision to return to work. Whilst her relationship with John is going strong, she also faces difficult times with both her son, who has moved back home, and her father, Martin, who is struggling with early dementia.

Mainstreet Pictures’ Sally Haynes and Laura Mackie said, "We are proud to be making a fourth series of Unforgotten. Chris has created yet another memorable and emotional story that we are sure will delight the series’ loyal viewers."

Writer Chris Lang added, “I am so excited to be bringing back the Unforgotten team for a fourth series, as Cassie and Sunny take on perhaps their most challenging case to date. Once again, we have assembled an astonishing cast, and I cannot wait to see how the very finest actors of their generation, start bringing my characters to life.”

Unforgotten has gone from strength to strength since its first outing in 2015, proving hugely popular with viewers and critics alike. The series has received two BAFTA wins and a further nomination for its compelling performances, whilst the finale of the third series received average consolidated figures of 6.9m and a 28% share.

The series has been commissioned by ITV’s Head Of Drama, Polly Hill, with Mainstreet Pictures’ Sally Haynes and Laura Mackie as Executive Producers, along with creator Chris Lang and Rebecca Eaton for Masterpiece. Andy Wilson (World On Fire) returns to direct, whilst Guy de Glanville (Gold Digger) will produce the series. The series will be distributed internationally by BBC Studios and is a co-production with Masterpiece.

Second series of hit comedy Shrill acquired by BBC Three

BBC Three has acquired the UK rights for the new 8x25’ series from Warner Bros. Television. The second series will be available as a boxset on BBC iPlayer from Saturday 25 January.

Aidy Bryant (Saturday Night Live) returns as Annie, who’s feeling pretty good after having faced her demons - her mom (Julia Sweeney), her boss (John Cameron Mitchell) and her troll... With boyfriend Ryan (Luka Jones) and best friend Fran (Lolly Adefope) by her side, she’s ready to take on the world.

But was hastily quitting her job and jumping into a relationship with someone a little less than career-focused the best idea? Annie’s on a path to self-discovery, joined by both Fran and her mother, as they figure out what they really want in life.

And while Annie doesn’t always find it easy - she’s no longer the doormat she once was. Annie’s determined and she’s only just getting started...

Sue Deeks, Head of BBC Programme Acquisition, says: “We are delighted that Shrill’s mix of sharp social commentary, engaging characters and relatable situations have proved to be such a hit with BBC Three viewers.”

Shrill is a 8x25’ series produced by Broadway Video and Brownstone Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. It was acquired by Sue Deeks, Head of BBC Programme Acquisition, and Fiona Campbell, Controller BBC Three. The series is executive produced by Lorne Michaels, Elizabeth Banks, Aidy Bryant, showrunner Ali Rushfield, Lindy West, Andrew Singer of Broadway Video and Max Handelman of Brownstone Productions. Ali Rushfield, Lindy West, and Aidy Bryant serve as co-writers.

Two brand new entertainment programmes coming to the BBC fronted by Gordon Ramsay and Oti Mabuse

Following a jam packed year of entertainment on the BBC, Kate Phillips, Controller of BBC Entertainment, has today announced two brand new BBC One programmes Gordon Ramsay’s Future Food Stars and Oti’s South African Odyssey, alongside the return of BBC Two’s The Ranganation and BBC Three’s Angels Of The North.

The world’s most famous chef, Gordon Ramsay, fronts a brand new eight-part competition series to hunt down the UK’s most exciting and innovative new food and drink entrepreneurs; while Oti Mabuse returns to her country of birth eight years after she left, to show us her South Africa, a country she feels is often misunderstood.

Kate Phillips says: “It’s key for me to keep growing the entertainment story at the BBC as a much loved, talked about, shared experience. Our programming is big and bold across all channels, and we continue to keep the greats great and grow the new greats.

"In 2019, Strictly Come Dancing was the biggest entertainment show in the UK across all channels with a series average of 10.4m viewers. We also saw a huge number of younger viewers coming to the BBC for entertainment programming with The Apprentice being the top entertainment series for young audiences on BBC One, Top Gear being BBC Two’s highest rating show for young audiences (across all genres), and RuPaul’s Drag Race becoming the second biggest BBC Three show of 2019 (behind Killing Eve) with 64% of requests from 16-34yrs.

"We’ve also succeeded in targeting underrepresented areas with shows like Angels Of The North which skewed considerably towards the North East and Cumbria, and we saw new quiz show The Wall perform strongly across all our underserved audiences.

"Of course, all these shows will be returning to the BBC this year, and I’m excited to announce two new shows to complement our 2020/21 BBC One entertainment programming. Outspoken and world famous Gordon Ramsay is coming to BBC One with his brand new show Gordon Ramsay’s Future Food Stars - Gordon is hugely popular with audiences of all ages and promises to put 12 entrepreneurs through their paces as they compete for Gordon’s investment in their food and drink ideas.

"We’re looking forward to taking BBC One’s dancing sensation Oti Mabuse back to her home in South Africa, to show us the country she believes is often misunderstood, in Oti’s South African Odyssey.

"We will also be seeing the return of Romesh Ranganathan’s topical comedy show The Ranganation, which was BBC Two’s biggest new entertainment show for under 45s and 16-34s since 2016 (Robot Wars), and Angels of the North returns to BBC Three for a no holds barred insight into Sammyjo’s hair extensions super salon in Tyneside.

"With all these great shows alongside the soon to come Little Mix: The Search and Peter Crouch’s Euro Fest 2020, the year ahead is ready to entertain the nation, and there really is no greater public purpose than entertaining people.”

Monday, 13 January 2020

Competition: Win Seven Worlds One Planet (BBC TV Series Audio CD Soundtrack)

Seven Worlds One Planet Soundtrack is out on CD on 17th January.

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

Millions of years ago incredible forces ripped apart the Earth's crust, creating seven extraordinary continents. Seven Worlds, One Planet presented by Sir David Attenborough, reveals how each distinct continent has shaped the unique animal life found there.Hans Zimmer has scored more than 200 projects across all mediums, which, combined, have grossed more than 28 billion dollars at the worldwide box office.

Hans Zimmer says: "Following up Planet Earth II and Blue Planet II was no easy task, but the BBC have outdone themselves yet again with the magnificent Seven Worlds, One Planet. It was a true honour to return to the series to compose the theme with Jacob Shea for Bleeding Fingers Music. These stories of nature are so important for us to show and preserve for future generations, and I am honoured to be a part of spreading this message".

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


Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 27-01-20
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.

Saturday, 11 January 2020

New Ragnarok Trailer - The Gods Are Coming

This is where it all begins! Today Netflix debuts the main trailer for Ragnarok. The series is written by award-winning writer Adam Price (Ride Upon The Storm, Borgen) and will be released exclusively on Netflix worldwide on January 31st 2020.

Ragnarok is a coming-of-age drama building on and contributing to a new and surprising angle on Norse mythology. The series is set in the small, fictitious town of Edda, situated in the grand, breathtaking Norwegian nature. The story revolves around the inhabitants of Edda, who are perhaps not all who they claim to be. With them, we experience a drastically changing world: melting glaciers, warm winters, violent downpours. Some might say we’re headed for yet another Ragnarok. Unless someone intervenes in time...

The six part Norwegian language series is produced by SAM Productions, a Danish screenwriter-based production company. Adam Price functions as creator, writer and executive producer, executive producer Meta Louise Foldager Sørensen (Antichrist, Melancholia), producer Stine Meldgaard Madsen (Pros and Cons, Something’s Rockin’), script executive Emilie Lebech Kaae and director Mogens Hagedorn.

The cast of Ragnarok includes David Stakston (Magne), Jonas Strand Gravli (Laurits), Theresa Frostad Eggesbø (Saxa), Herman Tømmeraas (Fjor), Emma Bones (Gry), Henriette Steenstrup, Tani Mathias Hansen (Oscar), Danu Suntharasigamany (Iman)  Odd-Magnus Williamson, Synnøve Macody Lund, Bjørn Sundquist and Gísli Örn Garðarsson.

All-star cast join Keeley Hawes in new ITV drama Finding Alice

Joanna Lumley, Nigel Havers, Jason Merrells, Gemma Jones, Kenneth Cranham, Sharon Rooney join six-part drama as production begins in London this week

10 January 2020: ITV today announced an all-star line-up joining award-winning actor Keeley Hawes in new contemporary drama Finding Alice. The six-part drama created by Roger Goldby, Keeley Hawes and Simon Nye, and written by Roger and Simon, follows a woman whose husband’s sudden and accidental death unearths a trail of secrets, debt, suspicion and criminality.

The series will be produced by RED Production Company (a STUDIOCANAL company) in association with Bright Pictures TV, Buddy Club Productions and Genial Productions.

BAFTA-nominated Hawes (The Durrells, Bodyguard, Line of Duty) plays the role of Alice, and will be joined by a star-studded cast including Joanna Lumley (Gangster Granny, Absolutely Fabulous) and Nigel Havers (Benidorm, Coronation Street) as Alice’s parents Sarah and Roger, and Jason Merrells (Agatha Raisin, Safe House) as her husband Harry.

Also joining the cast are Gemma Jones (Gentleman Jack, Unforgotten) and Kenneth Cranham (Hatton Garden, Bancroft) as Minnie and Gerry, Alice’s in-laws. Rounding out the core cast is Isabella Pappas (Paranoid) as Alice and Harry’s 16-year-old daughter Charlotte, and Sharon Rooney (The Capture, No Offence) as Harry’s sister Nicola.

The series (6 x 60’) focuses on Alice’s honest, raw, blackly comic journey of grief, love and life after the death of her husband Harry. After moving into their newly finished dream house, Harry dies after falling down the stairs. Having designed the weird and wonderful, yet impractical house before he died, the move is one more disorientation for Alice, alongside her sense of loss and abandonment. Her beloved partner of 20 years is no more, and now she can’t even find the fridge. If that were her only problem… men have a habit of hiding stuff that they don’t want to deal with, and Alice discovers that Harry was worse than most.

Nicola Shindler, RED Production Company CEO and executive producer added; “To have such a strong calibre of actors join the cast alongside Keeley to breathe life into these complex characters is incredibly exciting, and I look forward to audiences meeting them.” 

Warren Brown and Matthew McNulty to star in Doctor Who

Following Doctor Who’s explosive return to screens on New Year’s Day, stars of television Warren Brown and Matthew McNulty are set to guest star in an upcoming episode as team TARDIS work to solve a mystery which threatens the entire planet...

Best known for his roles in Versailles, The Bay and more recently Deadwater Fell, Matthew McNulty says: “I had such a blast filming the episode and couldn’t ask for anything more for my Doctor Who debut.”

Ahead of his debut role in Doctor Who, Warren Brown who has starred in a variety of television roles including Luther, Liar and Strike Back says: “I was on such a high when I got the call from my agent, then such a low when I had to keep it top secret and couldn’t tell anyone! I can honestly say though it was and has been one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever had to date!”

Matt Strevens, Executive Producer, says: “We are totally thrilled to be welcoming Matthew and Warren to the cast. Their talent and versatility sets this action adventure alight.”

Doctor Who continues on BBC One on Sunday 12 January at 7.10pm.

Jodie Whittaker reprises her role as the Thirteenth Doctor alongside Tosin Cole (Ryan) Mandip Gill (Yaz) and Bradley Walsh (Graham) who are all returning for their second series.

BBC Two announces Tigers: Hunting The Traffickers, an investigation into illegal tiger farms in South East Asia

Later this year BBC Two will screen Tigers: Hunting The Traffickers, a one-hour documentary from Grain Media in which former Royal Marines Commando Aldo Kane exposes the shocking secrets of the illegal tiger trade in South East Asia and those who profit.

It’s estimated 96% of the world’s wild tigers have disappeared since the turn of the 20th century. With fewer than 4,000 tigers left in the wild, Tigers: Hunting The Traffickers also highlights the plight of a majestic species on the brink of extinction. It explores how tiger farms continue to drive consumer demand for tiger products perpetuating the illegal trade and fuelling poaching.

There are up to 8,000 tigers held in captive facilities across China, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. Captive tigers are often bred and trafficked to meet demand for illegal products like tiger-bone wine and tiger bone glue, which are believed to have medicinal values in parts of Asia, mainly in China and Vietnam.

Working alongside fearless wildlife crime investigators and covertly filming tiger traffickers, Aldo embarks on a perilous journey along key trafficking routes connecting Malaysia, China, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. From tiger wine breweries in China, to small backyard holdings in Vietnam, the programme uncovers shocking evidence of demand for tiger parts that threatens to wipe out wild tigers entirely. Evidence includes footage of frozen tiger cubs in freezers at a breeding facility in Laos; tigers held in high security holding pens in Thai zoos; a trader openly selling tiger products in Laos with a street value higher than cocaine; and caged tigers fattened in a dark basement in Vietnam to be killed and cooked to order.

Armed with the secret filmed evidence from the investigation Aldo travels to Geneva where it is presented to international decision-makers at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to act on.

Aldo’s fascination for wild tigers and conservation started during his military training in the South East Asia jungles, home to a declining number of wild tigers. In recent years he has also used his specialist military skills to train anti-poaching units in Africa.

Aldo Kane says: “I have spent years in the fight against wildlife poachers and this has given me an unique insight into a criminal underworld, where wild animals are worth more dead than alive. Nothing could have prepared me for what I uncovered about the illegal tiger trade in South East Asia. Here tiger trafficking is big business, often controlled by organised crime units, and yields huge profits. It’s ruthless and cruel and wild tigers pay the ultimate price. The growth of illegal tiger farms across South East Asia is threatening the survival of one of nature’s most beautiful creatures, where a premium is paid for its wild provenance. I hope this film raises awareness of the complex issues that surround the trade and the threat it poses to endangered wild tigers mainly amongst those who ultimately have the power to stop the trade and protect them.”

Thursday, 9 January 2020

New Trailer for Leslie Jones Time Machine

Comedian, actress and Emmy Award-nominated SNL alum, Leslie Jones, is all about having fun. Through the years that fun has encompassed wild times, crazy experiences, celebrity encounters and a few awkward mishaps.  Now older, and enlightened, the comedian imparts her hilarious wisdom on all ages. Strap in, because you’re headed on a wild side-splitting ride from young adulthood to the present with Leslie Jones.

Leslie Jones: Time Machine is directed by award winning directors David Benioff and D.B. Weiss

Leslie Jones: Time Machine launches globally on Netflix on January 14, 2020.

Trailer released for Sky original The End starring Dame Harriet Walter and Frances O’Connor

Sky Atlantic and NOW TV’s bold new drama The End is about three generations of a family with separate but intersecting obsessions – trying to figure out how to die with dignity, live with none and make it count. The trailer released today features deeply moving and surprisingly funny moments from the upcoming Sky original series produced by Oscar® and Emmy®-winning See-Saw Films and created and written by Samantha Strauss (Dance Academy).

O’Connor plays Dr Kate Brennan, an Australian-based specialist in palliative care, Euthanasia is a hot-button topic in Kate’s field of work and she is passionate in her opposition. On the other side of the world, Kate’s mother, Edie Henley (Walter), feels just as strongly about her right to die. Kate has little choice but to ship Edie out from England and deposit her in a nearby retirement village in the Gold Coast – Edie’s worst nightmare. While Kate struggles with her own problems, her children are trying to work out who they are, and who they want to be. What follows is a story about mothers and daughters, ethics and emotion, and mostly how it’s never too late to start again.

Celeste wins BBC Music’s Sound of 2020

Celeste has been crowned the winner of BBC Music’s Sound Of 2020.

The British-Jamaican singer was chosen by a panel of 170 influential music experts, including alumni artists Billie Eilish and Lewis Capaldi as well as DJs, radio and TV producers, journalists, streaming experts and festival bookers.

Celeste started her journey with BBC Music in 2014 when she uploaded her track North Circular to the BBC Music Introducing website. She was recently named as BBC Music Introducing Artist of the Year 2019 after performing on Introducing stages at Glastonbury and SXSW festivals in 2019, and she’s set for an even bigger 2020 as she embarks on a headline tour across the UK.

Celeste says: "2019 was an incredible year for me and I could never have predicted half of the things that happened. Some of my favourite memories have been the live shows. From performing Strange for the very first time at the Lexington for BBC Introducing, going live with Annie Mac from Maida Vale, to Jools Holland. I’m so grateful for every opportunity I’ve had so far and am looking forward to what 2020 will bring.”

BBC Radio 1’s Annie Mac says: “Celeste is a phenomenal talent - a voice that does not come around often and, when you are exposed to it, is impossible to ignore. I have received countless emotional texts from listeners who have had to sit in their car and lose themselves to her song Strange before carrying on with their evening. Her songwriting is personal and poignant but with universal appeal. I think she could easily join the longlist of Sound Of winners who went on to be global stars. I can’t wait to hear more from Celeste and all of our longlist in 2020.”

The top five artists for Sound of 2020 are:

1. Celeste
2. Easy Life
3. Yungblud
4. Joy Crookes
5. Inhaler

Monday, 6 January 2020

BBC marks Holocaust Memorial Day and the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau

The BBC is marking Holocaust Memorial Day (27 January 2020) and the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau with a special televised Holocaust Memorial Day event, as well as a range of content across TV and radio.

The BBC is producing the national Holocaust Memorial Day event on behalf of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust with the theme of Stand Together. Other programme highlights include a major new drama telling the story of the Windermere Children, child survivors of the Nazi Holocaust; Robert Rinder helping second and third generations of families who experienced the Holocaust retrace their relatives’ footstep; David Baddiel investigating the history and modern face of Holocaust denial; a moving documentary exploring the untold story of the infamous Bergen-Belsen concentration camp; a special edition of Words And Music on BBC Radio 3.

Tony Hall, Director-General of the BBC, says: "This is an important moment to stop and reflect on a period in our history which showed both the worst, and the best, of the human spirit. That's why we've invested in drama, documentary and events to mark the 75th anniversary. We'll be telling new stories, as well as sharing first-hand testimonies from those who lived through the horror of the concentration camps.

"It's our responsibility as the nation's public service broadcaster to bring these stories to new generations - and I'd like to thank the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, and our European media partners, for their invaluable support. Together, we're offering everyone the chance to reflect on the consequences of prejudice and hatred, and in doing so we'll ensure that the millions of lives lost in the Holocaust are not forgotten."

Olivia Marks-Woldman, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, says: "We are delighted to be working with the BBC to enable millions of people across the country to learn more about the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and more recent genocides through the broadcast of the national ceremony for Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD), as well as additional factual programming.

"At a time when identity-based prejudice and hostility is worryingly prevalent in the UK and internationally, HMD is an opportunity to learn about the consequences of hatred when it is allowed to exist unchecked. At this important moment, 75 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, we are asking people to Stand Together against prejudice, and in memory of those who were murdered during the Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution and in genocides which have taken place since."

Thursday, 2 January 2020

‘Big up the Cotswolds!’ - Charlie Cooper announces BBC screening of This Country

Fans of BAFTA award-winning comedy This Country can get a sneak preview of the new series at a one-off screening.

BBC Three is bringing the series back to its Cotswold roots on Thursday 23 January - and tickets are completely free.

Fans will get to see the first two episodes of the new series followed by a Q&A with sibling stars Daisy and Charlie Cooper, producer Simon Mayhew-Archer and director Tom George.

It will be hosted by BBC Points West Gloucestershire reporter Steve Knibbs.

Tickets to the event at Bingham Hall, Cirencester, will be allocated though a random ballot. You can apply for tickets from 10am on Friday 3 January to 10am on Friday 10 January.

To apply go to the BBC Shows and Tours website.

Charlie Cooper, who plays Lee 'Kurtan' Mucklowe says: “We are so excited to have the screening of series three here in our hometown Cirencester, where the show was created. Some would call it a homecoming but the problem is we’ve never left. Big up the Cotswolds!”

This Country follows cousins Kerry and Lee 'Kurtan' Mucklowe through their quiet country lives.

At the 2018 BAFTAs This Country won the award for Best Scripted Comedy and Daisy won Best Female Comedy Performance. More than 33 million people have requested the show on iPlayer.

The new series airs in early 2020.

Stephanie Marshall, Head of the BBC in the West and South West, says: “We love bringing national series like This Country back to where they were made. It’s a way of thanking people in the area by giving them a sneak peek before the rest of the UK.

“Amazingly more than 4,000 people applied for tickets to the This Country screening last year.

“The BBC is committed to make more and more of its TV, radio and online content outside of London. In fact, more than 50% of all our shows are now made outside of the capital.”