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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.

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)


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.

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)


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 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

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.


Sunday 14 June 2020


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.

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)

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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

Hollyoaks will be resuming production this week in Liverpool

Channel 4 spokesperson:

"Hollyoaks will be resuming production this week in Liverpool ahead of a return to recording on set in July.  The Channel 4 drama, which is shot differently to other soaps with single-camera, will increase in episodes from its current two nights a week to four nights a week from September, the current plan being to return to five episodes in 2021.

To safeguard the health, safety and welfare of all involved in the production of Hollyoaks, new work protocols will be in place. All cast and crew will attend a safety induction to familiarise themselves with the revised way of working prior to production re-starting."

Saturday 6 June 2020

"Lovecraft Country" Official Teaser - HBO

Based on Matt Ruff 's novel of the same name, Lovecraft Country follows Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors) as he meets up with his friend Letitia (Jurnee Smollett) and his Uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) to embark on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father (Michael Kenneth Williams). This begins a struggle to survive and overcome both the racist terrors of white America and the terrifying monsters that could be ripped from a Lovecraft paperback.

Lovecraft Country is executive produced by Misha Green, who also serves as showrunner, J.J. Abrams, Jordan Peele, Bill Carraro, Yann Demange, Daniel Sackheim and David Knoller; based on the novel by Matt Ruff.

Drama Series "Perry Mason" Debuts June 21 Exclusively On HBO

1931, Los Angeles. While the rest of the country struggles through the Great Depression, this city is booming! Oil! Olympic Games! Talking Pictures! Evangelical Fervor! And a child kidnapping gone very, very wrong. Based on characters created by author Erle Stanley Gardner, drama series PERRY MASON, starring Emmy(R) winner Matthew Rhys, debuts SUNDAY, JUNE 21 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT) exclusively on HBO.

The series follows the origins of American fiction's most legendary criminal defense lawyer, Perry Mason. When the case of the decade breaks down his door, Mason's relentless pursuit of the truth reveals a fractured city and just maybe, a pathway to redemption for himself.

PERRY MASON stars Matthew Rhys as Perry Mason, a low-rent private investigator who is living check-to-check and is haunted by his wartime experiences in France and suffering the effects of a broken marriage; John Lithgow as Elias Birchard "E.B." Jonathan, a struggling attorney and a semi-regular employer of Mason; Juliet Rylance as Della Street, E.B. Jonathan's creative and driven legal secretary; Tatiana Maslany as Sister Alice McKeegan, the leader of the Radiant Assembly of God, preaching to a hungry congregation and a radio audience across the country; Chris Chalk as Paul Drake, a beat cop with a knack for detective work; and Shea Whigham as Pete Strickland, who is hired by Mason as an extra set of eyes on his various investigations.

Monday 1 June 2020

Coronation Street to recommence filming

Press Release from ITV
Coronation Street’s cast and crew have returned to work after an enforced production break due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier today (Monday 1 June) the production team began a health and safety induction to familiarise themselves with the new protocols that are now in place throughout the studios and on the Coronation Street set. The new safety measures are in accordance with the recently issued TV production guidelines which will be observed whilst filming the top ITV soap.

The crew are also undertaking the preparatory work necessary to recommence filming next Tuesday, 9 June 2020 at the programme’s studios in Trafford, Manchester.  The pattern of recording will initially produce three episodes per week.

The return to filming will ensure the soap, which celebrates its 60th anniversary in December, stays on air in July. The new episodes will be scheduled following the instalments recorded earlier this year before the coronavirus pandemic halted production. 

New safety measures, implemented to make filming possible, include a fixed cohort system with crew members designated to a specific studio or the Coronation Street exterior lot. The filming units will be maintaining safe social distancing with cohort managers in place to ensure this takes place. Cast and crew will have their temperatures checked on a daily basis by an external company, who are specialised medical advisors.

Intensive cleaning and sanitisation of areas where filming is taking place will occur on a daily basis, crew members will use their own assigned equipment, props will be sanitised with the design team working at a safe distance, make up and costume will work remotely with members of the cast and office staff will continue to work from home to ensure fewer people in the building.

Members of the cast and crew who are over the age of 70 or have an underlying health condition won’t be on set in the initial period of filming. For those members of cast and crew who fall into a Clinically Vulnerable category, we will follow an individual risk assessment process, which will enable them to return to work if it is safe for them to do so.

Managing Director of Continuing Drama and Head of ITV in the North, John Whiston has overseen the return to filming alongside Head of Production for Drama and Continuing Drama, Matt Cleary, Series Producer Iain MacLeod and Production Manager, Lee Rayner.

Commented John Whiston:
“Getting to this point has taken a huge amount of work and goodwill from a huge number of people, not least our cast and crew. With the peak past, all indications are that the time is right for a return to filming. And with the extensive protocols we have put in place, we have made our workplace as safe as possible. I’m sure our audience will appreciate having the show they love continue on air. For many who have written in it is a vital escape from all the fears and stresses this virus brings in its wake.”

Commented Iain MacLeod:
“The whole team at Coronation Street has pulled together to generate an ingenious, intricate set of protocols, to allow filming to restart as safely as humanly possible. We are really pleased to able to resume making the nation’s favourite soap at a time when people need the reassurance of their regular Corrie fix more than ever. Safety remains our number one priority and we are under no illusions about the challenges still facing us and the nation as a whole. However, I can assure viewers that Corrie’s ever-present humour and brilliant storytelling will be there in abundance in the episodes due to begin filming next week and beyond.”

The Salisbury Poisonings

In March 2018 Salisbury became the site of an unprecedented national emergency. This three-part dramatisation focuses on the extraordinary heroism shown by the local community.

Introduction by writers Adam Patterson and Declan Lawn
At the heart of our retelling of the events that occurred in Salisbury in 2018, is a story about the internal mechanisms of a public health crisis response. It follows the work of a public servant called Tracy Daszkiewicz, the Director of Public Health of Wiltshire Council, as she works with colleagues to try to combat a lethal and invisible enemy that has appeared out of nowhere. The public health response team of which Tracy is a part instigates a lockdown. They close a local economy. They set up an elaborate system of contact tracing and testing. They source and distribute Personal Protective Equipment for use on the frontlines. And they deal, every day, with a terrified and frustrated public. They all wonder - both Tracy and the people she is trying to protect - whether life will ever be the same again. The answer, in the end, is that catastrophe forces us to look in the mirror, and to confront who we really are. After that, things are never really the same.

We arrived in Salisbury in the autumn of 2018. The nerve agent attacks on the Skripals had occurred in March, and local woman Dawn Sturgess lost her life in July, having become contaminated by nerve agent in a perfume bottle found by her boyfriend Charlie Rowley. The wounds from these events, both individual and collective, were still very raw, and we knew that there was a chance that it simply might not be right to tell this story at this time. But when we began researching individual accounts of what happened, we uncovered multiple stories of remarkable courage, resilience, and heroism. Individuals who put themselves at great risk. A community that came together in all sorts of unexpected ways to fight not only the invisible toxin in their midst, but also the fear that they all shared. We were inspired by what we were hearing, and we began to feel that now, soon after the event, was a good time to try and bring these stories to light. Internationally, the events in Salisbury had been cast as an affront to the UK, even an embarrassment. Locally though, we were hearing stories that pointed towards people at their best.

We set about contacting the people who had been most directly affected by the events. The Sturgess family, who had lost their daughter Dawn. Charlie Rowley, Dawn’s boyfriend, who almost died from his own exposure to Novichok. Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, who was contaminated during the course of his own work and who also ended up in a fight for his life. All of them told us their stories and co-operated with the drama. We spent many hours with them, over many months, trying to get the stories right, and we feel a huge debt of thanks to them for taking part.

Naturally, we have watched the recent events around COVID-19 with fascination, because there are so many resonances with the story we tell in Salisbury. Many of the things we observed there have subsequently played out across the country.

The Salisbury Poisonings is not always an easy watch. It deals with real trauma, experienced by real people, not very long ago. So why show it now? Because it is a story of people coming together in remarkable ways, finding strength in family and community. It’s a story that reflects the internal reality of an emergency public health response, with all of its critical decisions. But perhaps most of all, because it reflects a kind of heroism that we have all come to recognise recently. A heroism that is quiet - ordinary even - and that is wrapped up in a simple sense of civic duty that we had wrongly assumed was on the wane, but that really had only been lying dormant. An everyday kind of heroism that nonetheless changes the world.