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Thursday, 30 July 2020

Taskmaster - New Cast Revealed!


Alex Horne’s International Emmy and triple BAFTA nominated show Taskmaster has revealed the latest quintet of contestants who will feature in the brand new series set to launch this Autumn in its new home on Channel 4.

Perched on their gleaming thrones will be Greg Davies as the incomparable and all-powerful Taskmaster, and Alex Horne as his faithful sidekick and general dogsbody, scoring the efforts of five top comedians as they tackle perplexing and extraordinary challenges in the name of critically acclaimed entertainment.

Hoping to impress the Taskmaster and be crowned the next champion are: BAFTA winning actress and writer Daisy May Cooper (This Country, BBC Three), acclaimed comedian, writer and director Johnny Vegas (Benidorm, ITV), BAFTA winning actress Katherine Parkinson (IT Crowd, Channel 4), comedian and actor Mawaan Rizwan (Live At The Apollo, BBC Two), and comedian, multi-award-winning podcaster and writer Richard Herring (RHLSTP). Wax seals will open, dreams will be made and/or broken, and Little Alex Horne will be wrapped around his master’s little finger providing stats and moral support in the most ridiculous and ferociously fought game show on television.

Semi-Detached - Interview with Lee Mack (Stuart)

Made by Happy Tramp North and written by David Crow and Oliver Maltman, each episode of Semi-Detached (6x30') plays out in real time and is exactly like 24, except instead of following a government agent as he saves the planet, the series follows a perennial loser called Stuart (Lee Mack - Not Going Out, Would I Lie To You?) as his life goes down the pan in a suburban cul-de-sac. Each episode of Semi-Detached will give viewers an incredibly fast moving, half-hour window into Stuart’s world.

All Stuart wants is a quiet life as a wedding DJ but his family seems to have other ideas. On top of barely coping with a (much younger) partner April (Ellie White - Stath Lets Flats, The Other One) and a new born baby, Stuart also has to look out for his jailbird brother Charlie (Neil Fitzmaurice - Peep Show, Mount Pleasant) and his promiscuous, drug-taking Dad Willie (Clive Russell - Happiness, Game Of Thrones). Then there’s the ex-wife Kate (Samantha Spiro - Sex Education, Grandma’s House), who lives across the cul-de-sac with their teenage daughter Madonna (Sarah Hoare - Chewing Gum, Black Mirror) and Kate’s husband Ted (Patrick Baladi - The Office, Stella) who thinks he’s better than Stuart because he sells fish to sushi restaurants.

Interview with Lee Mack (Stuart)
What can you tell us about Semi-Detached?

It’s about a man who lives with his much younger girlfriend and he’s living opposite his ex-wife who lives with her new fella. It’s very claustrophobic in the sense that he lives on a Cul-De-Sac and he’s only a few steps away from his ex-wife across the road.

I think mid-life crisis is the way I’d look at it, his age has never been specified so I have to assume he’s my age because he looks like me, and I’m 51. He’s pretty pathetic I think. What makes this show unusual is that 99 percent of the time the camera is following my character around. It’s all real time. If I walk down the stairs the camera follows me. In a normal sitcom, if I leave the bedroom they’d just have the next shot of me being over the road, but on Semi-Detached the camera follows me down the stairs, out the door… everything is real time.

Every step is filmed to give a feeling of thirty minutes in a man’s life. And that’s the essence of what the show is, thirty minutes in a man’s life that’s falling apart.

Are there any challenges about filming in real time?

The main challenge is that I’m in every single scene. I think there was one scene, the only time in the whole series, where the camera follows someone else. I’m not in every shot so sometimes it’s cut between different characters, but my character is in every scene. I used to complain that actors say ‘I’m tired’ but now I’m like, ‘I’ll keep my mouth shut when actors complain it’s tiring.’

I’m lucky because in Not Going Out I write it, so I turn up and know all the words already, suddenly I had to remember all these lines which I hadn’t written which sounds really obvious but that’s not what I’ve done in the past. This time I had to be a proper actor. Well, I’ll let the viewers decide that!

How did you get involved with the series?

One of my oldest friends who I went to university with, Neil Webster, we’ve known each other for years and have worked together over the years, actually not as much as we probably should’ve done, we’ve known each other for a long, long time but he’s busy doing his own projects.

He’s got his own production company and he sent me the script, I think more out of, ‘What do you think?’, and I said, ‘Not only do I really like it, but I want to play the part of Stuart’. So I got involved with trying to get it made, went to the BBC and just said, ‘I’d really like to do this, I think it’s a great script and I’m keen to start doing some acting in other people’s projects , not just my own.’

I’m very lucky I get a lot of offers to do things, but not in the acting world, that’s the bit where I’m not on that list or part of that world. I want to do more of that so this was my opportunity, I really liked the script, I liked the character and no one had the part yet. Before you know it we’ve made a pilot and they liked it and booked a series.

Is it different to not be writing?

Absolutely. I’ve spent the last fifteen years writing my own sitcom, every episode I write with someone, and it’s so labour intensive. Most of my work life on that show is the writing, probably 90 percent of the hours is writing it, not actually performing in it. So to let go of that and let someone else do that is both great and a bit of a challenge. I had suggestions for scripts and I came up with ideas but only a small amount. I loved letting go.

I always try and remember something Jack Nicholson said which is if he has a choice between doing what the director says or doing what he thinks is right, he’ll tend to come down on the side of doing what the director says because he likes letting go and relinquishing control. The problem with stand-up and being yourself is you end up with so much control. On Would I Lie To You? I say whatever I want because it’s my mouth, or in Not Going Out, I can put whatever words I want into my mouth because I write the scripts with someone else. But on this, someone else is making the decisions and the danger of me getting too involved is I’d be saying what I would do as a performer in the situation when the whole point is to play someone else.

How would you describe your character?

Pathetic is probably the best way.

I’m from a background of stand-up and basically playing and being myself, even in Not Going Out which is my main acting thing I’ve done in the last ten years, it’s a version of me. It’s not a massive leap, shall we say, to do Not Going Out. But for this, this was the first time I’ve ever inhabited another character to any great length and Ben Palmer, the director, was constantly saying to me, ‘Back foot’. Every time we’d do a scene, he’d say, ‘Can we do it again, you need to be more on the back foot’ and it got to the point where I was literally leaning on my back foot!

Everything Stuart does is apologetic, guilty or feeling like he’s to blame or is responsible, he’s basically just trampled on by everybody and lets it happen. That’s the way his life has ended up the way it is, everyone around him telling him what to do and blaming him. One of the most used words in the script is “Stuart!” with an exclamation mark.

In the new series, Stuart and April are parents, how are they finding it?

Stuart’s not coping very well, he’s clearly been lumbered with most of the work. The new series starts with April coming back from a weekend in a health spa because she felt she needed a bit of me time.

The more you learn about her the more you realise that she gets a lot of me time while Stuart is left looking after the baby, as well as trying to hold down a job. He’s taken the role of a stay at home dad and as we see in the show, he’s struggling to get it all together. On top of all that, he feels like his relationship is breaking down. He’s doing everything he can to prove he can cook her a nice meal. There’s a threat that she might not stay with him and that’s what we deal with in the first episode of the series, which isn’t great as the baby is only a few months old and already April is questioning the relationship.

What was it like working with the other cast?

They really were an amazingly good cast. I was surrounded by people that are far more experienced actors than me, especially in the world of comedy acting. I was nervous, I turned up thinking, ‘Can I do this? These guys are much, much better than me,’ and they were brilliant.

Each individual character is so well defined and that’s what I love about it. I basically go round introducing all these characters, so I run across the road and introduce my ex-wife played by Sam Spiro, and she’s such a funny character. She’s now an MP and you just question how they were ever together as she’s so opposite to Stuart. She’s trying to make something of her life and Stuart is just a pathetic DJ who hasn’t really got the dress sense to be with her, let alone the personality. Then her new husband Ted, who’s played by Patrick Baladi, and he’s Stuart’s arch enemy. But he’s so funny with the way he plays it and off camera he’s just forever trying to have a laugh. He’s really good fun to be with on set, same with Sam, so was everyone on set. It was just a really good laugh, Ellie was brilliant too, as was Clive Russell. There wasn’t one person who wasn’t a good laugh. They’re all actors who didn’t take themselves too seriously, that’s the way I felt being with them.

Would you like to do more acting?

It’s something I’m very keen to do as it’s not traditionally what I’ve been about. Most of my work comes from me being myself as a host or stand-up, but this is an area of life I’m trying to get involved in.

I made a decision a few years ago and said to my agent I’d like to start doing more acting. I’ve been very lucky as I always wanted to be in Doctor Who and I got a part in Doctor Who, I got a part in Horrible Histories the movie and I did a bit on National Treasure. I’m certainly interested in more dramatic roles, I think comedy-drama is the way I’d describe what I’d like to do more of. I’m working on something at the minute with the Dawson Brothers who are great, it’s a little project we’re trying to get going but it would be comedy-drama.

BBC One confirms Emily Mortimer’s adaptation of The Pursuit Of Love, starring Lily James, Dominic West, Emily Beecham and Andrew Scott

The all-star cast includes Dolly Wells, Assaad Bouab, Shazad Latif, Freddie Fox, Emily Mortimer and Beattie Edmondson

Filming has begun on Emily Mortimer’s adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s celebrated novel The Pursuit Of Love, from executive producers Charles Collier, Matthew Read and Frith Tiplady for Open Book and Moonage Pictures. The show has been commissioned for BBC One by Charlotte Moore, BBC Director of Content and Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama. Amazon Studios is co-producing within the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and the series will be produced by Rhonda Smith.

Written and directed by Mortimer, The Pursuit Of Love is a romantic comedy-drama about love and friendship. Set in Europe between the two World Wars, the story follows the adventures and misadventures of the charismatic and fearless Linda Radlett, played by Lily James (Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Rebecca, Cinderella, Baby Driver) and her best friend and cousin Fanny Logan, played by Emily Beecham (Little Joe, Cruella).

Consumed by a desire for love and marriage, the two women are on the hunt for the ideal husband. Their friendship is put to the test as Fanny settles for a steady life and Linda decides to follow her heart, to increasingly wild and outrageous places. As social and political divisions split the nation, their diverging choices raise personal questions that remain intensely relevant today – questions about freedom, about love and sex, and the mystery of the human heart.

Further cast includes Dominic West (The Wire, The Affair, Les Misérables) and Dolly Wells (Dracula, Doll & Em) as Linda’s parents, Uncle Matthew and Aunt Sadie Radlett, Andrew Scott (Fleabag, Sherlock) as Lord Merlin, the Radlett’s wealthy and eccentric neighbour, Emily Mortimer (Mary Poppins Returns, The Sense of an Ending) as Fanny’s mother, The Bolter and Beattie Edmondson (Josh, Patrick) as Louisa Radlett.

Linda and Fanny’s suitors include Assaad Bouab (Messiah, Call My Agent) as Fabrice de Sauveterre, Shazad Latif (Penny Dreadful, Star Trek: Discovery) as Alfred Wincham and Freddie Fox (White House Farm, The Crown) as Tony Kroesig.

Emily Mortimer, says: 
“I’ve always loved Nancy Mitford so when I was asked to adapt The Pursuit Of Love it was impossible to say no. It’s an outrageously funny and honest story, whose central character - the wild, love-addicted Linda Radlett - still reads as a radical. I feel privileged to be directing this show and working with the brilliant teams at Open Book, Moonage Pictures, Amazon and the BBC.”

Lily James, says; 
“It’s great to be working with Emily. Her brilliant scripts bring new life to this story - full of love, full of friendship, very moving and sad in places, but also funny and true to life."

Dominic Savage’s BAFTA-Nominated Anthology Series I Am to Return to Channel 4

Suranne Jones to star in I Am Victoria, along with Ashley Walters

I Am, the critically acclaimed, female-led drama anthology series from award-winning writer-director Dominic Savage has been recommissioned by Channel 4.

Produced by Emmy winning Me+You Productions, the brand new 3x60” series enters production in early August, with BAFTA-winning actress Suranne Jones (Doctor Foster, Gentleman Jack) confirmed to star in I Am Victoria, alongside co-star Ashley Walters (Top Boy, Bulletproof). Further names are yet to be announced.

Each episode of the three-part series will be developed and written by Dominic Savage in collaboration with the leading actor – for whom, in each case, the story will have personal resonance.

This will be an authentic and thought-provoking series exploring contemporary female experiences and themes, including trust, relationships and mental health.

Suranne Jones said: 
“I’m delighted to be involved in the next series of I Am. Dominic always tells important stories with great sensitivity and the process so far has been wonderfully collaborative and open which is something I thrive on. I can’t wait to make what will be a very personal and thought-provoking piece and I’m thrilled to be telling this story with Ashley. I hope it really speaks to people and helps continue the important discussions around mental health.”

Monday, 27 July 2020

COMPETITION: Win My Brilliant Friend - Series 2 on DVD

My Brilliant Friend - Series 2 is out on DVD on August 3rd

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

The award-winning, beloved Neapolitan Novels by Italian author Elena Ferrante tell an epic, riveting tale of love, loss, hardships and the enduring power of female friendship.

Elena Greco is an elderly writer whose best friend Lila has disappeared without a trace, so Elena begins to write the story of their lives growing up together in a mob-ruled, poverty-stricken neighbourhood in 1950s Naples. As children, Elena (Elisa Del Genio) and Lila’s (Ludovica Nasti) friendship is put to the test as financial disparities provide them with very different opportunities in life. Lila’s writing genius is stifled after her parents can no longer afford further education and put her to work, while Elena flourishes in school, no longer in the shadow of her friend’s brilliance.

The second series follows the Elena (Margherita Mazzucco) and Lila (Gaia Girace) as adolescents into the Swinging Sixties, where this fierce, complex friendship must endure romantic rivalry and shocking violence, as the notorious Solara gangster family becomes harder to avoid entanglements with. Both growing into beautiful young women, they draw the attentions of a powerful gang-leader’s son, a grocer, a mechanic, a schoolboy and his father, all while navigating the trials and tribulations of marriage and university, abuse and motherhood, and critical acclaim for a novel that sparks jealousy between these women whose lives are so closely intertwined.

This dramatic and deeply moving story of a lifetime shared is deftly directed by celebrated Italian filmmakers Saverio Costanzo (Hungry Hearts) and Alice Rohrwacher (Happy as Lazzarro). Delve into this decades-long, push-and-pull friendship filled with secrets kept, and trust built and broken. Will Elena ever unveil the mystery of Lila, her brilliant friend, and her worst enemy?

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

For your chance to win just answer the question below.


Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 10-08-20
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, 25 July 2020

Sky original psychological thriller The Third Day to launch on 15th September on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV

Gripping Sky original, psychological thriller The Third Day, starring Jude Law and Naomie Harris, will launch on Tuesday 15th September on Sky and NOW TV. Set on an alluring and mysterious British island, this six-part visceral drama will take viewers into its captivating and distortive world where all is not as it seems.

Created by Dennis Kelly and Felix Barrett, the ground-breaking series from Sky Studios in collaboration with HBO, Plan B and Punchdrunk will be told by three, stand-alone but interconnected stories, not only on screen but also in an innovative live broadcast of an epic theatrical event.

The series’ first three episodes – ‘Summer’, written by Dennis Kelly and directed by Marc Munden, sees Sam (Law), drawn to a mysterious island off the British coast. Isolated from the mainland, Sam is unable to leave the idyllic and dangerously enchanting world he has discovered, where the secretive rituals of its inhabitants bring him to grapple with experiences of loss and trauma hidden in his past through the distorted lens of the present. As boundaries between fantasy and reality fragment, his quest to unlock the truth leads the islanders to reveal a shocking secret.

Following ‘Summer’, viewers will be immersed in the world of The Third Day through a theatrical live event – ‘Autumn’ - to be broadcast live on Sky Arts and online. Featuring members of The Third Day cast including Jude Law, viewers will follow the events of a single day in real time. Capturing events live and in one continuous take, this cinematic broadcast will invite viewers deeper into the mysterious and suspenseful world of The Third Day, and will blur and distort the lines between what’s real and what’s not. It is created by theatrical innovators Punchdrunk and directed by founder and artistic director of Punchdrunk Felix Barrett.

Naomie Harris stars in ‘Winter’ which concludes The Third Day over a further three episodes, written by Kit de Waal, Dean O’Loughlin, Dennis Kelly and directed by Philippa Lowthorpe. Helen (Harris) is headstrong outsider who finds herself inextricably drawn to the island in her pursuit to seek answers. As the lines between fantasy and fact are distorted, Helen and her family are caught between the island’s splintered forces, which gives rise to a fractious battle to decide its fate.

The three episodes of Summer will begin weekly from the 15th September on Sky Atlantic. Autumn, the theatrical live event, will broadcast on 3rd October on Sky Arts and online. The three episodes of Winter will then begin weekly on 6th October on Sky Atlantic. All of The Third Day will also be available through NOW TV.

Sky releases official Lovecraft Country trailer launching on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV on 17 August

Sky releases the official trailer for upcoming horror drama Lovecraft Country featuring Jonathan Majors, Jurnee Smollett, Wunmi Mosaku, Michael Kenneth Williams and Courtney B. Vance, due air on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW TV from Monday 17 August.

The one-hour HBO drama series based on the 2016 novel by Matt Ruff, follows Atticus Freeman as he joins his friend Letitia and his Uncle George to embark on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father. What follows is a struggle to survive and overcome both the racist terrors of white America and the terrifying monsters that could be ripped from an H.P. Lovecraft paperback.

Created by executive producers Jordan Peele (Get Out) and J.J. Abrams (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker). Also including showrunner Misha Green (Underground), director Daniel Sackheim (Game of Thrones and True Detective), Ben Stephenson and Bill Carraro.

The 10 part series is produced by Bad Robot Productions and Monkeypaw Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.

His Dark Materials - Brand new images and season 2 teaser trailer

The teaser includes footage of new series two cast members Andrew Scott (John Parry), Jade Anouka (Ruta Skadi), Terence Stamp (Giacomo Paradisi) and Simone Kirby (Dr. Mary Malone) as well as the very first glimpse at the mysterious city of Cittàgazze.

In the second series of His Dark Materials, Lord Asriel (James McAvoy) has opened a bridge to a new world, and, distraught over the death of her best friend, Lyra (Dafne Keen) follows Asriel into the unknown.

In a strange and mysterious abandoned city she meets Will (Amir Wilson), a boy from our world who is also running from a troubled past. Lyra and Will learn their destinies are tied to reuniting Will with his father but find their path is constantly thwarted as a war begins to brew around them. Meanwhile, Mrs. Coulter (Ruth Wilson) searches for Lyra, determined to bring her home by any means necessary.

His Dark Materials will air later this year on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

Filming commences on series ten of Death In Paradise

Cameras are rolling on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe for the tenth anniversary series of BBC One’s hugely popular Death In Paradise, making it one of the first BBC single camera dramas to start filming since lockdown.

Red Planet Pictures have worked closely with industry bodies, other production companies and the BBC to develop a detailed Covid-19 protocol policy, implementing various safety measures including social distancing, face coverings and temperature and Covid-19 testing to minimise any risk of infection. There is also a full-time Covid-19 Supervisor on set to make sure the protocols are being implemented correctly and the latest guidance is incorporated into the policy. The health and safety of our cast and crew is paramount and production is working in line with the Guadeloupe advice as well as the industry guidelines.

Returning to the sun-soaked island to reprise their roles are Ralf Little as D.I. Neville Parker, Don Warrington as Commissioner Selwyn Patterson, Tobi Bakare as D.S. JP Hooper and Elizabeth Bourgine as Mayor Catherine Bordey.

As well as the usual baffling murders, intriguing puzzles and famous guest stars, viewers can expect some huge surprises as the show celebrates a decade as one of the most loved British dramas - and these surprises begin with the return of D.S. Florence Cassell, played by audience favourite Josephine Jobert. Florence thinks she’s ready to get back to work after her fiancé’s death two years ago - but she hasn’t banked on her new boss, Neville. As she tries to understand his peculiarities, sparks are bound to fly…

Neville soon realises he is existing in the Caribbean, rather than embracing life there. With Florence’s help, he determines to seize the day and finds himself starting to reveal some of his secrets - including of a romantic nature. But is Neville really built for a life in the tropics? And is a romantic relationship ever going to be possible for him?

After two series bringing law, order, and joy to the streets of Saint Marie, we’re sad to say goodbye to Ruby Patterson who made such a massive impact in such a short time! DS Madeleine Dumas will also be departing Saint Marie’s sunny shores and we would like to thank Shyko Amos and Aude Legastelois-Bidé for bringing Ruby and Madeleine to life and wish them all the very best for the future.

We are excited to welcome a brand-new face to the team, in the shape of Tahj Miles. His character, 18-year-old petty criminal Marlon Pryce, is a ball of energy and thinks he knows it all. But when he runs into JP, his life takes an unexpected turn and he finds himself looking at a very different future to the one he expected.

The arrival of twins is the least of JP’s challenges as he finds Marlon - and some shocking developments at work - testing him to his limits. Selwyn’s frustrations with his new detective take a back seat when he finds himself in the firing line and Catherine’s life is turned upside down when the death of a friend pulls her into grave danger.

Jonathan Ross’ Comedy Club coming to ITV later this year

The experience of enjoying live comedy from exciting new talent in an intimate space is unbeatable.

With venues currently closed, Jonathan Ross’ Comedy Club - a Hotsauce TV Production - will showcase the very best new talents performing in a recreation of the vibe and atmosphere of a small comedy venue, all filmed within Covid guidelines.

Jonathan is always the first to champion up-and-coming talent and this new series will see him get behind fresh new comedians on the cusp of their big break, offering them a stage upon which to make people laugh.

All destined to be household names of the future, these acts will perform to an audience under the watchful eye of comedy and broadcasting talent, Jonathan. Each new 30 minute episode - which will air on ITV later this year - will see four new faces perform their short but memorable set while more established names will get the opportunity to try out new material.

Jonathan says:
“Apart from the excuse to wear make-up, my favourite part of this job has always been giving exciting new talent a platform to show off their skills. The excitement and joy in seeing a new face come out and deliver memorable comedy is a wonderful feeling, and we want to make sure as many people as possible get to experience it. There’s so much incredible comedy talent around at the moment with all too few opportunities to do what they do best. I’m very much looking forward to giving these acts the exposure they deserve, having a good laugh and finally leaving my front room.”

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Paddy McGuinness to host new BBC One entertainment series I Can See Your Voice

Much loved TV presenter and comedian Paddy McGuinness has today been announced as the host of the brand-new mystery music game show I Can See Your Voice, set to broadcast on BBC One in 2021.

With a whole new take on the singing gameshow genre, Paddy will be guiding teams of two to win a cash prize by bringing his own unique comedic style to the show which promises music, laughs and play along fun for all the family.

Having been on our screen for two decades, Paddy has cemented himself as one of the UK’s most popular TV entertainment hosts. From his appearances in Phoenix Nights to hosting the hugely popular dating show Take Me Out, his comedy background and northern charm has helped entertain millions of households up and down the country. Paddy most recently presented BBC One’s Catchpoint and Total Wipeout: Freddie and Paddy Takeover. He is currently presenting Top Gear for the channel as well as being part of the presenting line up for both Sport Relief and Comic Relief.

Paddy McGuinness says: "A show like this doesn’t come along very often so I am thrilled to have been asked to host I Can See Your Voice. It’s bonkers, silly and the ultimate family night in! Everyone can play along at home and I’m looking forward to welcoming the good and the bad to our stage. The show has been a huge success around the world so here’s to making it the one to watch in the UK in 2021."

I Can See Your Voice will see the two players aiming to win a cash prize by guessing who can and can’t sing from a group of mystery singers standing before them. But there’s a catch… can they predict who has the voice of an angel or who will leave them covering their ears in horror all without ever hearing them sing a note? Helping the players will be our panel of celebrity experts, who are joined each week by a different singing superstar.

As the singing sensations or musical masqureaders navigate through a round of lip sync challenges, they will be offering entertaining hidden clues to the panel of celebrity experts who will help the players whittle down the group until there’s only one singer left. The chosen one will then perform a duet with the singing superstar to reveal whether they can or can’t sing. If the players have picked a good singer then they will take the prize… but if a bad singer is revealed, the imposter will pocket the cash.

I Can See Your Voice will prove that when it comes to singing talent, what you see isn’t always what you get!

For details on how to apply head to www.bbc.co.uk/takepart

BBC One releases first look image of Hugh Laurie in Roadkill

BBC One has released a first look image of Hugh Laurie (The Night Manager, House) in Roadkill, a major new political thriller created by David Hare.

Peter Laurence (Hugh Laurie) is a self-made, forceful and charismatic politician. Peter’s public and private life seems to be falling apart - or rather is being picked apart by his enemies. As the personal revelations spiral, he is shamelessly untroubled by guilt or remorse, expertly walking a high wire between glory and catastrophe as he seeks to further his own agenda whilst others plot to bring him down. However events show just how hard it is, for both an individual and a country, to leave the past behind. With enemies so close to home, can Peter Laurence ever out-run his own secrets to win the ultimate prize?

Other cast includes Helen McCrory (Peaky Blinders, MotherFatherSon), Sidse Babett Knudsen (The Accident, Westworld), Saskia Reeves (Us, The Child in Time), Sarah Greene (Dublin Murders, Normal People), Patricia Hodge (A Very English Scandal, Miranda), Ophelia Lovibond (W1A, Hooten & the Lady), Iain De Caestecker (Us, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D), Katie Leung (Chimerica, Strangers), Olivia Vinall (The Woman in White, Apple Tree Yard), Pippa Bennett-Warner (Harlots, MotherFatherSon), Shalom Brune-Franklin (Our Girl, Bad Mothers), Pip Torrens (Poldark, Preacher), Millie Brady (The Last Kingdom) and Danny Ashok (Deep Water, Capital).

BBC Two announces Louis Theroux: Life On The Edge

BBC Two today announced Louis Theroux: Life On The Edge, a four-part series looking back at a body of work spanning 25 years, and over 60 hours of some of the most distinctive and celebrated documentaries on British television.

Award-winning film-maker Louis Theroux has become synonymous with documentaries involving subcultures, people on the fringes of society, those who engage in life-endangering lifestyle choices, and subjects who live with mental health issues.

The series will feature interviews with Louis, as well as new conversations and catch-ups between him and some of his most notable contributors - many of whose stories have since unfolded in unexpected ways. Louis has also plundered his own home movie footage and news archive to tell stories about human psychology, the myriad of ways in which people behave or deal with adversity, and how the world has changed over the last three decades.

Louis says: “For years I’ve wanted to go back and make sense of the programmes I’ve made, find out what happened to some of the contributors, update their stories, and see what all these many hours of making TV might add up to.

"Lockdown gave me the time and space to do this. It’s been a strange and fascinating couple of months working on this, and especially fun to dig through old episodes of Weird Weekends - programmes I made in the mid-90s, when the world was a very different place.

"I’m really proud of what we’ve been able to do with this new series. I think we’ve been able to make the whole add up to more than the sum of the parts and to bring out surprising themes and commonalities. And, if nothing else, it was an interesting review of how my haircuts and glasses have changed over the years."

Casting announced for BBC Two comedy series Mandy

Mandy is a brand new comedy series written directed and starring Diane Morgan (Cunk On Britain, Motherland, After Life).

Mandy is a woman with dreams. Big dreams. Most of all she dreams of breeding Doberman Pinchers. But there are hurdles to overcome before that dream can become a reality. In the series we’ll see her go on a health kick, rent out her small back bedroom on Airbnb and attempt a series of short-lived jobs in the modern gig economy.

The cast features guest stars including Tom Basden (Plebs, After Life), David Bradley (Game Of Thrones), Natalie Cassidy (EastEnders), Sean Lock (15 Storeys High, 8 Out Of 10 Cats), and Maxine Peake (Peterloo, Anne, The Bisexual).

They’ll join the regular cast of Michelle Greenidge (After Life, Code 404), Alistair Green (Flowers, Stath Lets Flats), Mark Silcox (Man Like Mobeen, Rovers), Michael Spicer (The Mash Report, The Room Next Door), and of  course Diane Morgan herself as Mandy.

Mandy also stars Jackie Clune (Motherland), Emily Dean (The Day Of The Triffids), Masashi Fujimoto (47 Ronin), Akemnji Ndifornyen (Famalam, Shrill, Leonardo), broadcaster Iain Lee and Tony Way (Giri/Haji, Edge Of Tomorrow).

Hollyoaks announce new series ‘Hollyoaks@25’ to air on E4 this summer

Hollyoaks@25 will be counting down five of the C4 flagship continuing drama’s must-watch weeks, to celebrate the upcoming 25th Birthday this October

Following the success of Hollyoaks Favourites, from Monday 27th July on E4 at 7pm, Hollyoaks@25 will showcase the most talked about storylines – one must-watch week for every five years it has been on air. The first era will be looking at the years 1995-2000, the next will be looking at 2001-2005, and onwards.

The show kicks off with the soaps first ever huge stunt, and its first ever villain, Rob Hawthorne, as it journeys back to 1999. A young Tony, Lewis, Ruth and Lucy are in serious danger as they are being held captive in a huge water tank. How will they escape Rob’s evil plan of vengeance…

The first week of episodes will be presented by longest-serving cast member, Nick Pickard (Tony Hutchinson) and Jennifer Metcalfe (Mercedes McQueen). Together, they discuss the episodes to come ahead of the Birthday, whilst socially distancing on the show’s set. Viewers will be getting an exclusive look at Jen and Nick introducing Hollyoaks@25 after tonight’s E4 episode, following the #HollyoaksComingSoon trailer.

Talking about the new series, Nick Pickard said:

“It is so lovely being back on set, and seeing all of my fellow co-stars, and what better way to return than to host a new special birthday series with the lovely Jennifer Metcalfe?  Although it’s been so difficult to remember my scripts after all this time, I’m a bit rusty…!

“I can’t believe it’s been as long as 25 years. After my first call back for Tony Hutchinson, I would never have guessed that I would still be here all these years later.

“Things are a lot different on set – the change is definitely noticeable, but there’s no better feeling than being back -  it’s home. There are lots of exciting throwbacks in store for Hollyoaks@25, so keep your eyes peeled.”

Jennifer Metcalfe added:

“I for one am proper excited for Hollyoaks@25, and to get to do the first set of intros with the legendary Nick, who plays Tony, was just brilliant. It was lovely to see Nick again, even if we were two metres apart.

“I was made up that Hollyoaks Favourites was so successful and loved that it kicked off with Dr Browning and Mercedes - one of my favourite couplings ever. I’m glad to be announcing Hollyoaks@25 as I’m really looking forward to seeing week long sets of episodes, era by era, and it’s going right back to the start too.”

Hollyoaks@25 will be aired during the usual weekday Hollyoaks slot Monday to Friday on E4 at 7pm, from 27th July for five weeks this summer.

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

COMPETITION: Win Vagrant Queen Season 1 on DVD or Blu-ray

Vagrant Queen Season 1 is out now on DVD and Blu-ray.

And to celebrate we have a great competition for you and a copy on DVD and a copy on Blu-ray to give away.

She’s a royal gone rogue! Based on the comic of the same name, this colourful, trend-setting “space opera” adventure series follows Elida, child queen turned orphan who scavenges the galaxy, attempting to stay hidden from the Republic government. She must embark on a dangerous quest across the galaxy with an old friend, facing cannibalistic aliens, dangerous planets, shootouts and karaoke. Get ready for your new favourite sci-fi show!

Features all 10 episodes on 3 discs.

Buy the DVD from Amazon by clicking here (Opens in a new window)
Buy the Blu-ray from Amazon by clicking here (opens in a new window)

For your chance to win just answer the question below.


Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 03-08-20
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.

Sunday, 19 July 2020

The Emily Atack Show is coming to ITV2 later this year

The actress, writer and TV personality will star in her own show - which is set to see her perform her relatable standup comedy and mischievous sketches and skits about life as a young woman. The comedian will also show off hilarious impressions of well-loved celebrities, from Gemma Collins to Holly Willoughby.

The 6 x 45-minute series will air this autumn on ITV2. Each episode covers a different theme, including Dating, Going Out, Friends, Family, Image and Adulting. Each show topic will allow Emily to not only have real fun with her comedy but also explore her own life experiences and showcase her loveable, unfiltered self.

Emily Atack says:
“I am thrilled to be announcing this. I want to create and write a sketch show that gives snap shots into the weird and hilarious world of everyday life as a young (ish) person. I can guarantee whatever age you are you will relate in some way! It’s a dream come true, since I was a child this is the kind of television I’ve wanted to make and be part of. I can’t quite believe it.”

Thursday, 16 July 2020


After weeks of fan speculation, E4 has today revealed the celebrities joining the agency in the brand new series of 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 Chloe Ferry, Levi Davis, Pete Wicks and Shaughna Phillips cope 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?

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

Upon joining the virtual dating agency TOWIE heart-throb Pete Wicks said “I’m excited to be heading back to the agency. Anna, Paul and Tom give great advice, and I’m looking forward to getting a slightly different Celebs Go Dating experience this time around. Lockdown has really made me realise that I am ready to have someone to share my time with, instead of just my dogs! Hopefully this time I can leave the agency with a girl on my arm, not another Sam Thompson!”

Geordie Shore lass Chloe Ferry said “I am absolutely buzzing to join the agency! So many of my friends have been through the Celebs Go Dating process and absolutely loved it. I can’t wait to see what advice the agents can give me, and if they can help me find me a worldie.”

Professional rugby player and Celebrity XFactor star Levi Davis said “After being single since I was 18, I am so ready to meet somebody I can hopefully spark a romance with. I’ve heard great things about the agency, and that Anna, Paul and Tom give sound advice. I’m the biggest overthinker in the world, so looking forward to seeing what advice the agents can give me. I can’t wait to see what happens!”

Love Island favourite Shaughna Phillips said “I’m so excited to join the Celebs Go Virtual Dating agency, I’m feeling hopeful that the experience won’t be as bad as my previous dating fails! I’m really looking forward to learning more about myself, and hopefully becoming a pro-dater. I just can’t wait to see who the agents set me up with, hopefully they might open my eyes to more guys who might tickle my fancy!”

Tune in to E4 every Monday at 10pm from 27th July, to see if the agency manages to match the ‘perfect pair’ on Celebs Go Virtual Dating!

Derren Brown returns with a daring live stunt to celebrate a night dedicated to his most memorable moments

Derren Brown returns to Channel 4 this summer with a live stunt and a viewer-voted retrospective. Celebrating twenty years on Channel 4, the multi-award-winning trickster will surprise one unsuspecting viewer as part of Derren Brown, 20 Years of Mind Control: Live, a dedicated night honouring some of his most jaw-dropping moments on TV.

The audacious psychological illusionist will perform his latest mind-blowing feat as well as revealing some of the heart-pounding moments of the stunts he has performed over the years. In the two-hour special Derren will  reveal the incredible stories behind each one and talk through the meticulous logistics involved.

From headline-grabbing moments like Russian Roulette Live and correctly predicting the National Lottery result, to hypnotising a member of the public into attempting to assassinate Stephen Fry, this celebratory night will have viewers stuck to their sofas – again. Immediately after the show, Derren will also introduce the nation’s favourite Derren Brown special, as voted by viewers.

Viewers will be able to choose from a shortlist of five of Derren’s favourites and the vote will open in the weeks prior to transmission.

Russian Roulette
The Heist
Hero at 30,000ft
Pushed to the Edge
Derren Brown said, “Twenty years! That was quick. And what a treat to be given this night by the broadcaster that have been so very supportive and nurturing over that time. I can’t imagine two decades with anyone else. It’s going to be a fun night.”

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Rockfield: The Studio On The Farm - World TV Premiere on BBC Four on 18th July 2020.

Rockfield: The Studio On The Farm, the riveting new feature-length music documentary from award-winning Welsh production company ie ie Productions, and director  Hannah Berryman (The Brick in the Wall Kids), in her feature debut, produced by Catryn Ramasut (American Interior, Queerama), is set for its World TV Premiere on BBC Four and simultaneously on BBC Wales on 18th July 2020.

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

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

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

A starry cast, including Ozzy Osbourne, Liam Gallagher, Chris Martin, Robert Plant, Dave Brock, Jim Kerr, Tim Burgess and James Dean Bradfield, give us the inside story of their wild – and hugely creative – sessions in the middle of nowhere in Wales. The course did not always run smoothly, for the bands or the family at the helm, and the film tells the tale of struggles stuck on this isolated farm. But  maybe this was the key to creating these moments of musical genius, this isolation surrounded by awe-inspiring nature: “It’s about being a part of something way bigger than you…Very important for rock stars!” says studio front-of-house Lisa Ward. Now this slice of musical history is set to entertain from the comfort of your own home as it premieres on BBC Four and BBC Wales on Saturday 18 July 2020 at 9.15pm, it will also be available to view on BBC iPlayer.

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

Principal Cast
Ozzy Osbourne and Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath)
Liam Gallagher and Paul “Bonehead” Arthurs (Oasis)
Chris Martin, Guy Berryman and Will Champion (Coldplay)
Robert Plant
Dave Brock (Hawkwind)
Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill (Simple Minds)
Tim Burgess, Mark Collins and Martin Blunt (The Charlatans)
James Dean Bradfield and Nicky Wire (Manic Street Preachers)
Martin Carr (The Boo Radleys)
John Leckie, Producer (The Stone Roses and Simple Minds)
The Ward Family - Kingsley, Charles, Ann and Lisa

Monday, 13 July 2020

Michael McIntyre to host brand new entertainment series The Wheel on BBC One

A Saturday night revolution is on its way to BBC One as The Wheel (10x60’), a brand new feel-good game show from Hungry McBear Media is set to debut on the channel.

Hosted by the Bafta award-winning Michael McIntyre, each episode sees a mixture of great contestants, celebrity guests and laugh out loud moments as The Wheel brings a brand new spin to Saturday nights on BBC One.

Michael McIntyre says: “I am thrilled to be hosting a show that does reinvent the wheel! Contestants will be competing to win big money, celebrity experts will have their knowledge put the test, and I will desperately be trying to avoid too many puns. I simply can't wait to get behind the wheel, I'm dizzy with excitement!”

Kate Phillips, Controller Entertainment Commissioning, says: “Michael is the perfect ringmaster for this unique game that will get celebrities in a right old spin and everyone at home playing along.”

Dan Baldwin, Managing Director Hungry McBear, says: “We are delighted to be teaming up with Michael and the BBC on The Wheel. Think of the most exciting funfair ride, put the world’s best comedian at the centre of it and throw in a collection of brilliant celebrity experts... welcome to The Wheel. Truly amazing fun, laughter and tension for the whole family.”

The Wheel (10x60') was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content, and Kate Phillips, Controller, Entertainment Commissioning, and produced by Hungry McBear Media. The Executive Producers for Hungry McBear Media are Dan Baldwin and Tom Blakeson. The Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Kalpna Patel-Knight.

Broadcast dates for The Wheel will be announced in due course.

Channel 4 commissions Girl Powered: The Spice Girls

Channel 4 has commissioned Girl Powered:The Spice Girls (w/t), a documentary series from 72 Films.

Using hundreds of hours of archive footage and revealing interviews, the series tells the complete story of the best-selling girl band of all time.

Starting from the group’s formation in the mid ‘90s amidst the backdrop of ‘ladette culture’, right through to the recent world tour during the time of the #metoo movement, this series examines how modern feminism has evolved through the life story and events that have surrounded the five members of the group.

Alisa Pomeroy, Channel 4 Commissioning Editor Documentaries said: “The idea of using the story of the supremely popular and mould-breaking Spice Girls to make a multi-layered social history series was too good to pass up. The Spice Girls mirrored and influenced a generation of women and now, nearly 30 years since their formation, their story sheds light on the coming of age of modern feminism in ways we can fully appreciate for the first time.”

The series will be made by the directing team behind the multi award winning Jade: The Reality Star Who Changed Britain, Rob Coldstream and Clare Cameron.

Clare Cameron, Series Editor 72 Films added: “Little did I know when I saw them perform live in Sheffield as a teenager, that I’d have the opportunity to make a series about one of the most iconic pop groups of our time and their impact on young women all over the world.   Following the incredible stories of the band members is an exciting way of exploring the changing story of feminism over the last 25 years."

Girl Powered:The Spice Girls (w/t) was commissioned for Channel 4 by Alisa Pomeroy, Commissioning Editor, Documentaries.  For 72 Films, Rob Coldstream will be the Executive Producer, and Clare Cameron Series Editor.

Competition: Win The Luminaries on DVD

The Luminaries is out on DVD on 20th July.

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

AN EPIC tale of star-crossed lovers, destiny, gold and greed, The Luminaries is a lush six-part period drama based on the Man Booker prize-winning novel by Eleanor Catton. After its run on BBC One this summer, this stunning story of fate and fortune arrives on DVD and digital on 20 July 2020 from Acorn Media International.

1865, New Zealand: welcome to the Gold Rush. Fresh-faced young woman Anna Wetherell (Eve Hewson – The Knick, Robin Hood) sets out for a new life, and has a romantic encounter with fellow passenger Emery Staines (Himesh Patel – Yesterday, Eastenders) on the voyage to New Zealand. But fate has other plans for them…and so does scheming fortune-teller Lydia (Eva Green – Penny Dreadful, Casino Royale), who takes Anna under her wing; while naive Emery falls in with ex-convict Francis Carver (Marton Csokas – Into the Badlands, Æon Flux).

Nine months later, the cruel George Shepard (Callan Mulvey – Avengers: Endgame, Zero Dark Thirty) is investigating the murder of the mysterious Crosbie Wells (Ewen Leslie – The Nightingale, The Cry)…and Anna is the prime suspect. With help from vengeance-seeking opium war veteran Sook Yongsheng (Yoson An – Mulan, Mortal Engines) and Maori greenstone-hunter Te Rau Tauwhare (Richard Te Are – The Dead Lands, Danger Close), will the truth out?

As the lovers try to find their way back to each other, they are confronted with magic and murder, romance and revenge, all fuelled by the gold-lust that seems to infect everyone around them. Both looking for a fresh start in this new land of opportunity, the pair are soon caught up in events beyond their control, and start to question: do we make our fortunes, or do our fortunes make us?

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

For your chance to win just answer the question below.


Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 27-07-20
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.

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Maigret’s Night at the Crossroads

Sun 12 Jul 2020
8.00pm - 10.00pm

Maigret’s Night At The Crossroads features the legendary French fictional detective Jules Maigret, played by the globally-renowned actor Rowan Atkinson.

Night At The Crossroads adapted from the novel by Georges Simenon is a complex tale of murder, deceit and greed in an isolated country community. Maigret has been interrogating a mysterious Dane, Carl Andersen, for hours without a confession. Why was the body of a diamond merchant found in his car at his isolated mansion? He's either innocent or a very good liar. What does his beautiful but vulnerable sister know? And what compels everyone at the Three Widows Crossroads to be so secretive? Maigret sets out to find his killer.

Buy Maigret - The Complete Collection for Just £11.69 - Amazon link opens in a new window

Maigret - Rowan Atkinson
Madame Maigret - Lucy Cohu
Janvier - Shaun Dingwall
Lapointe - Leo Staar
Judge Comeliau - Aiden McCardle
Grandjean - Kevin McNally
Andersen - Tom Wlaschiha
Else - Mia Jexen
Thierry Bertinet - Stephen Wight
Moers - Mark Heap
Lognon - Colin Mace
Madame Michonnet - Robin Weaver

Harry Hill’s World Of TV comes to BBC Two

Without any formal training the multi-award winning Harry Hill (Famous for Harry Hill's TV Burp) will be taking the lid off a different genre of TV each week in his brand new series for BBC Two, Harry Hill’s World Of TV.

Made by NIT TV, Harry Hill’s World Of TV (6x30) is not just a hilarious lesson in TV history but also a demonstration of what is required to make each of the main TV genres including…

Soaps - From 1954’s The Grove Family through to Crossroads, and Albion Market, to Coronation Street and EastEnders.

Medical Dramas - From Dr Finlay’s Casebook through to Emergency Ward 10 and 1975’s Angels to Holby City and Casualty.

Police Dramas - From Dixon of Dock Green through to Z Cars, Softly Softly to The Sweeney, The Bill and Line Of Duty

Home Improvement Shows - From 1963’s Barry Bucknall’s DIY through to Toolbox, 60 Minute Make Over and Changing Rooms to Grand Designs.

Historical Documentaries - from Kenneth Clarke’s Civilisation through to AJP Taylor, James Burk and Mary Beard all the way to Who Do You Think You Are and Danny Dyer’s Right Royal Family.

Cookery Programmes - from Fanny Craddock, through to Delia, Mary Berry, Jamie Oliver’s Naked Chef to Ainsley Harriot ,MasterChef and Bake Off.

All done through Harry and his team’s ingenious and laugh-out-loud use of clips. Rich Pickings indeed!

Harry Hill says: “It’s about time someone blew the whistle on how these TV shows are put together and it looks like I’m the man for the job. Watching TV will never be the same again! I predict this series of programmes will be required viewing for all students of TV. We’re talking TV landmark… jus’ sayin’.”

Joe McFadden returns to Holby City as Raf Di Lucca for special episode

Joe McFadden will reprise his role as Raf Di Lucca and will grace the Holby City wards once again for a special episode which will air later this month on BBC One.

It may come as a surprise to viewers, to say the least, since Raf was shot… and died… in 2017.

Raf comes back to Holby in a very special way when his widow Essie (played by Kaye Wragg) continues to struggle with her cancer diagnosis and searches for answers from a comforting place.

On his return to Holby City, Joe McFadden says: “I’ll always look back on my four years on Holby with such fondness as it was one of the happiest jobs I’ve done and it was a real pleasure to get to wear Raf’s scrubs one last time in order to offer his wife Essie some guidance in such a touching episode.”

The episode will air later this month on BBC One. Holby City is a BBC Studios production.

Channel 4 commissions Damilola: The Boy Next Door

To mark the 20th anniversary of Damilola Taylor’s violent murder on the North Peckham Estate, Channel 4 has commissioned 1x60 mins  documentary from Acme Films.  This poignant and reflective film will be presented by Yinka Bokinni DJ, radio presenter, writer and former resident of the estate and childhood friend of Damilola.

The horrendous and lonely death of ten-year-old Damilola Taylor in the dank stairwell of an estate in Peckham in November 2000 stunned the nation. It seemed to encapsulate a nation mired in moral crisis and a society that was fundamentally broken.

In the aftermath of Damilola’s death, the estate was demolished and the families dispersed. Now, twenty years on, Yinka Bokinni explores the devastating impact Damilola’s death had on her community, her area, and the lives of almost everyone she knew, confronting for the first time the impact of a tragic event which the children from the area have never felt able to discuss.

In this film, Yinka will attempt to reconcile the two versions of her past and try to understand how the warm, loving and happy community she remembers so fondly from her childhood was presented in the media as a crime-ridden “sink estate” that was somehow to blame for the tragic loss of a young life.

The “notorious” North Peckham Estate, once hailed as the finest estate in the whole of Europe had been shorthand for gangs, drugs and violence since the 1980s. But there was another side to life there. For the families who lived there, the North Peckham Estate was home to a warm and loving community.

Fozia Khan, Commissioning Editor, Documentaries said; “This deeply personal and important film, authored by Yinka Bokinni, makes us look at a story we think we know with fresh eyes. Although Damilola Taylor died 20 years ago, the questions Yinka asks and reflects on in the film have never felt more timely.”

Yinka Bokinni added; “ I've never spoken about the murder of my childhood friend until now, I have lived my life with so many questions about what happened and why it happened in the place that I called home. To finally be telling the story feels both therapeutic and scary but I am ready to share this side of the story. Hopefully everyone will get to know the real Damilola, as he lived, a bit better.”

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Award-winning drama Guilt set to return for a second series on BBC Two and BBC Scotland

Following the success of the acclaimed award-winning drama Guilt, BBC Two and BBC Scotland have announced that it will return for a second four-part series.

Written by Neil Forsyth (Eric, Ernie And Me, Bob Servant) and co-produced by Expectation and Happy Tramp North, Guilt aired on both BBC Two and on BBC Scotland in 2019. To date, the joint commission has been watched by over three million people across the UK, with more than half a million of those in Scotland and was one of the top-three most-requested BBC Scotland titles on BBC iPlayer.

Guilt will air on both BBC Two and BBC Scotland in 2021 with filming on series two (4 x 60) expected to start in Scotland later this year, following government guidelines around coronavirus.

Brand new mystery music game show I Can See Your Voice set to debut on BBC One in 2021

BBC One has commissioned Thames and Naked (both part of Fremantle) to produce I Can See Your Voice - a brand-new primetime mystery music guessing game that promises a whole new take on the singing gameshow genre as well as lots of music, comedy and play-along fun for the whole family to enjoy.
Each episode of the 8 x 60-minute series will see a team of two players aiming to win a cash prize by guessing who can and can’t sing from a group of mystery singers standing before them. But there’s a catch, can they predict who has the voice of an angel or who will leave them covering their ears in horror all without ever hearing them sing a note? Helping the players will be our panel of celebrity experts, who are joined each week by a different singing superstar.

As the singing sensations or musical masqueraders navigate through a round of lip sync challenges, they will be offering entertaining hidden clues to the panel of celebrity experts who will help the players whittle down the group until there’s only one singer left. The chosen one will then perform a duet with the singing superstar to reveal whether they can or can’t sing. If the players have picked a good singer then they will take the prize… but if a bad singer is revealed, the imposter will pocket the cash.

I Can See Your Voice will prove that when it comes to singing talent, what you see isn’t always what you get!

Charlotte Moore, Director BBC Content says: “This addictive, fun and immersive new entertainment series will offer BBC One viewers jaw-dropping reveals and gives the whole family a chance to get involved in this compelling new guessing game.”

Kate Phillips, Controller Entertainment Commissioning for the BBC says: “I Can See Your Voice is a riot, a funny and captivating show with so many incredible moments within a carousel of reveals. It’s addictive viewing.”

Amelia Brown, Managing Director, Thames, says: “I Can See Your Voice is the ultimate play-along game the whole family can take part in. It’s fun, comical and full of heart and we can’t wait to get stuck in and work with the BBC to bring this successful format to the UK.”

Diane Min, Head of Format Sales at CJ ENM adds: “I Can See Your Voice is one of the most powerful original formats with various local versions. With seven seasons since its 2015 premier in Korea, we are happy to have new countries to adapt the show to continue it’s success of travelling the world. We hope that I Can See Your Voice can continue to be the international format that represents Korean music entertainment.”

I Can See Your Voice will be broadcast on BBC One in 2021.

Bears About The House: Q&A with Giles Clark

Conservationist Giles Clark is embarking on his biggest mission to date: taking on the illegal wildlife trade and helping to build a pioneering new bear sanctuary in Laos, Southeast Asia.

How did this series come about?
Matt Hunt (the CEO of Free The Bears) and I have a longstanding, 15-year friendship, and we'd talked about the possibility of me assisting him and the organisation on numerous occasions.

I hadn't been in a position to take up the offer until last year, but with the expansion of operations in Laos I took up the role of technical advisor for a 12-month period. I discussed filming my time at the sanctuary with the Natural History Unit, and what that journey would involve - for both myself and the bears.

What was your role at the sanctuary?
I was there as a technical advisor to help raise the skills and capacity of the sanctuary staff, using my experience of animal husbandry and welfare. I helped oversee the construction of new animal facilities as well as hand-rearing young and vulnerable bear cubs that needed specialist care. We worked alongside the local and national authorities to build a working relationship that would support them in their efforts to enforce and implement measures for wildlife conservation.

Why did you decide to tun your attention to bears in south east Asia?
South east Asia has always been a special place for me. It has some of the most biodiverse terrestrial ecosystems in the world which is heavily under threat. The conservation pressures and challenges that bears face of habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as the demand for the wildlife trade, is similar for most endangered species. I felt that my skills and experience could really make a difference.

What challenges did you face hand rearing vulnerable sun and moon bear cubs?
Like all small mammals that would be completely reliant on their mother at such a young age, the first challenge is making sure they not only get enough food (milk) but also the right type. This involve hours of preparation then encouraging and coaxing, cleaning up etc. You must provide an environment that feels safe and secure, both physically and psychologically.

As they gain strength and confidence the challenge is then providing them with stimulation and opportunities to allow the development and honing of their skills to become a bear. As they grow in the wild, sun and moon bears will eat hundreds of different type of food, which presents unique challenges. This means bears have complex brains and are very intelligent.

Can you tell us a bit more about the bears that are rescued and are looked after at the Sanctuary?
All the bears at the sanctuary are rescued from the illegal wildlife trade, which means they would have been born in the wild and many of them would have been present when their mothers were killed.

The cubs are then traded and kept as exotic pets, nearly always in very poor conditions. We've rescued numerous bears from these circumstances who have been kept in cages that are just a few square metres, without any stimulation or a good diet. Other bears have been rescued from the 'bear bile' trade, where the animals are kept in barbaric conditions and the bile from their gall bladder is harvested for use in traditional Chinese medicines.

Your dedication and commitment to wildlife and its protection is second to none. How does it feel like when something as horrible as the theft of bear cubs Jane and David, who we meet in the documentary, happens?
There is no way to put into words the devastation the whole team and I felt after the theft of David and Jane, and we hope that someday we will receive information that leads to their rescue again.

We're confident that the increased security measures at the sanctuary will prevent another situation like this in the future, but the incident highlights the how ruthless these individuals are, and the lengths that organised criminal networks will go to.

We'll continue to work with partners - including the Laos government - in the fight to protect and rescue bears. Since the loss of David and Jane we've rescued nearly a further 20 bears in Laos, half of which are cubs.

What do you hope viewers will take away from this programme?
I hope that the programme engages the audience to think about the way in which humanity interacts with natural world. Mary (and all the other bears and wildlife) is an ambassador, not only for her wild counterparts but for conservation in general. It's imperative that we demonstrate an understanding, kindness and compassion for the natural world and its wildlife. Bears are charismatic and endearing, they are the perfect flagship species for combatting the wildlife trade and encouraging support for conservation.

A last thought on moon and sun bears in the wild and their future……
Whilst I was based and working in Laos, we not only rescued bears but dozens of other animals from the wildlife trade. One of the great privileges I have had is to return some of these back to the wild. I can’t wait for the day when this will be possible with at least some of the bears that will be rescued in the future. Bears are vital in the their ecosystem and we owe it to them to make sure they have a future in the wild, where they belong.