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Friday, 31 December 2021

"All of Us Are Dead," a highly anticipated Zombie Series, is set for a worldwide release.

Netflix has set January 28 as the premiere date for All of Us Are Dead, and has released a teaser poster and video for the upcoming thriller.

Director Lee JQ and writer Chun Sung-il have become a remarkable hit-making duo.

In 2022, the world will witness a daring teenage zombie escape.

The Netflix original series All of Us Are Dead follows a group of teenagers stuck in a high school who find themselves in desperate situations as they try to save their school from a zombie invasion.

A teaser poster and date announcement clip were released, heralding the start of yet another K-zombie syndrome.

Park Ji-hu, Yoon Chan-young, Cho Yi-hyun, Lomon, Yoo In-soo, Lee You-Mi, and Lim Jae-hyeok are among the young, brilliant performers who offer a youthful atmosphere to the show.

The intriguing teaser poster depicts a school engulfed in horror and anarchy. The blood-stained schoolyard, burning building, and innumerable children imprisoned in the frantic school pique the audience's interest, hinting at the bizarre scenario set in a school where a mystery zombie virus has taken hold.

The teaser for the release date offers a compelling view into the tense conflict between zombie-infected pupils and survivors attempting to flee. It begins with a kid in a school lab encouraging the audience to learn more about the virus that is wreaking havoc. The terrifying images of children infected with the strange zombie virus, as well as the beautiful action set in various parts of the school, are also worth seeing. Students, trapped in a zombie-infested school with no smartphones, food, or one to look after them, grasp for desk lamps, bookshelves, and bows to protect themselves from zombies. In a desperate bid to stay alive.

With a storey about courageous teens who manage to discover love and friendship even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, All of Us Are Dead will open up an entirely new chapter in the history of zombies.

All of Us Are Dead, the first-ever Korean teenage zombie survival challenge, will be launched exclusively on Netflix on January 28.

Tuesday, 28 December 2021

The Language of Love - Interview with Davina McCall

The Queen of Reality is back! Davina McCall hosts new dating experiment The Language of Love on Channel 4 alongside her Spanish co-host Ricky Merino.

We caught up with Davina to find out more about the new series, her lessons from Dora the Explorer and her thirst for adventure.

The Language of Love starts 4 January at 10pm on Channel 4 and All 4.

In your own words, tell us a bit about how the show works.
The idea of the show poses the question is it possible to find love just through body language and instinct and intuition and a vibe off someone? Is it possible to find love if you don't speak the same language? And is love at first sight a real thing? Can you maintain love if you are culturally different and you don't speak the same language? It's a dating show and an experiment all rolled into one.

How did the daters initially get along with the challenge of not knowing each other's languages? What were your initial impressions of how things went?
I think the most important thing to say is that this show is surprising in that it's different from so many other dating shows in a lot of ways. Firstly, the contestants are different from the usual types of contestants you would find on a dating show. They are all invested in finding love. There's no cash prize to be won. There's no huge holiday off anywhere. The prize is love. So they're incentivised to find love and not fame and success. The other thing is, because of the cultural differences, it's so flipping funny. It's so unexpectedly hilarious at times. Because we British behave in a certain way, and the Spaniards behave in a certain way, and me and Ricky – my Spanish co-host – we learnt so much about the Brits versus the Spanish.

What type of things did you learn about cultural differences between the British and the Spanish?
Ricky and I would watch the daters on the monitors and discuss what was happening and sometimes I might say to him, "Why is she upset about that situation?" and he would explain to me what it means to Spaniards when something goes wrong, or how much it meant to the Spaniards if somebody made an effort trying to learn Spanish. Or how reticent some of the Brits were to make that effort to learn Spanish, even if they really fancied someone. Or how music brings people together, no matter what language. Music is the universal language. Love and music. So culturally it was a real eye opener. And there were a few really massive eruptions of lust: real love at first sight stuff where somebody would walk through the door and they were like "wow!", but you'll just have to watch and see how that goes.

What type of activities did the daters do to get to know each other?
One of my absolute favourites was soul gazing. I thought it would be quite boring, because you're just gazing, and nobody is talking – what is the point? But oh my god, it was so amazing and so intense! It made me immediately want to go and soul gaze with people. There were lots of interesting things they did to get to know each other, but some of them were really very brilliant and very deep. What was also interesting to watch is how Spanish people are very liberated physically. They're not embarrassed. We're quite self-conscious as a nation we Brits, and that's not a criticism, it's just an observation. I think that's what the British daters enjoyed about this: that feeling of being released; Not having to feel so self-conscious about themselves or their bodies or their looks. They were freed up a bit.

What do you think the daters found the most challenging about getting to know someone who doesn't speak the same language?
I think the really frustrating thing is when there's so much you want to say to someone and there's so much you want to convey and yet you don't have the words to do it.

I also think when things got a bit hot in there with disagreements or moments of confrontation between the Spanish and the British, not being able to express yourself in anger is also extremely frustrating. There was a remarkable argument between a Spanish guy and an English guy where, bless him, the Spanish guy just had a dictionary and was trying to find his angry word as quickly as he could to try and express himself. It's hugely frustrating not being able to just vent it and then it's over. So overall it's a frustration that builds up – and that can be sexual tension or that can be anger – but it's really annoying not being able to say what you feel.

You'll see in the show that they will the opportunity to go on translated dates, as a treat, but only one couple at a time, and these end up being the most prized possession you can get, because you get an hour of uninterrupted total understanding of the other person. It's like a gift of being able to understand every word that person is saying in real time because they each have an earpiece and every word they say is being translated in their ears. It's brilliant!

Did you think the British men or British women would fare better in the experiment?
I think it's not even a battle of the sexes. It was more a question of whether they were willing to immerse themselves in it and throw themselves in at the deep end. At the start, there were people of both nationalities and both the men and the women who really threw themselves in and you could see straight away that they were going to get a lot from the experiment.

How did you get on with your co-host Ricky? It seems like you two really hit it off.
I love him so much! Anybody who works in television will know that double headers – presenting with somebody else – are so luck of the draw. You've either got chemistry with someone or you haven't. I obviously had looked at Ricky's Instagram page before and thought 'He is fabulous, he has an amazing singing voice, he's very glamourous – he's exactly my type of guy', but you never know until you meet someone in the flesh and OH. MY. GOD. We had the best laugh! I have never laughed so much. He is so lovely. He is coming over to stay with us in the New Year with his partner. We just absolutely clicked. I love him. When I see pictures on his Instagram of him with other women he's working with, I get a bit jealous.

Did you find you had anything surprising in common with Ricky?
We're both extremely camp! We're very similar. We love music. We love the Spice Girls. He loves singing. I love listening to him singing. We are both really extrovert. He is extremely good at his job, which I really admire. I really respect him. There was a lot of love going on and he made me laugh a lot. We both got to watch what's going on, on some monitors and discuss it. Those were probably some of my favourite bits of the show.

Obvious question: How is your Spanish?
Oh my god, Ricky speaks such good English, so I have downloaded Babbel. I am determined by the time he comes to the UK that I'm going to speak more Spanish than I did the last time I spoke to him, which was embarrassing. I understand a little bit of Spanish because I understand French and there are quite a lot of similarities between them, but in terms of formulating sentences and feeling brave enough to just do it, I'm not quite there yet.

Do you know any other languages besides English and French?
No… I know bits of a thousand languages. I can speak a bit of Swedish, I can speak a bit of Arabic, I can speak a bit of Hebrew. I can speak a tiny bit of everything.

Will we see you practising some of the Spanish lingo yourself in the show?
I do try. I try and pick up a few bits and bobs as the show goes along. I realised that Dora the Explorer has taught me a lot! "Feliz cumpleaños" – happy birthday. I learnt that from Dora. "Mi abuela" – my grandmother. I learnt that from Dora. So, there are bits and bobs that I picked up from Dora the Explorer that really helped me in this show.

The series is shot in a beautiful countryside finca in Andalusia – did you get much time to enjoy the surroundings?
It was quite funny, I seemed to get lulled into a false sense of security the first two or three days, when I had a bit more time on my hands, and then it got brutal and we were filming non-stop, listening and learning. Me and Ricky really immersed ourselves in it, because we were so invested in making it the best show we possibly could. It was the best team. I really really loved the team I worked with. There were some old old friends of mine from Channel 4 out there. It was really intense and a lot of work, but it was so fun. There was a bit of rain, but it was a blessed relief because, when it's hot and sunny out there, it can a bit unbearable. We did a lunch selección – where the daters would choose who they wanted to pair up with for the next few days – and we were almost burning to a crisp, because it's outside, so we were all in factor 100 looking like white ghosts trying not to burn.

This show is all about finding love overseas. Do you think holiday romance is something of a rite of passage?
Totally! What I think is really interesting is a holiday romance is always fabulous when you're on holiday, but it's taking that person to your country of origin that's the true test of a romance. So it's all well and good falling in love with somebody in France, but when you bring that French person back to Britain, how does that feel? We did this brilliant bit on the show where the daters got to meet their other half's family, which was hilarious and amazing – you'll see why.

Would you say it's important for English-speaking Brits to take up a second language?
I feel very grateful that I speak another language. When I was younger, I didn't want to speak it but because I grew up around it, it just soaked in by osmosis. It's very very hard to learn another language, unless it's taught rigidly in school to everybody. It's much harder to learn another language when you're older. Sadly, the time when you do want to learn another language is when you're older. That's the cruel thing about it. I think it would be good if more Brits made the effort – I think we are universally known for not making an effort in other people's languages because so many people speak ours. They are so grateful when we do try.

Would you ever consider moving abroad and embarking on a new life there?
I would say I'm getting to a stage of my life where I think, once my kids have left home, I would consider doing anything – I'd go anywhere. I feel quite adventurous, and I've got more adventurous as I've got older. I wouldn't say no to anything. I love the idea of adventure.

You've hosted a few shows over the years that have taken you overseas. Does it really feel like work?
No! They don't because the thing is when a bunch of us Brits go away to film something together, it does feel like, even though we're all working, it's got a holiday vibe to it. It's a lot more bonding compared to doing a normal job where you're going home at the end of every night. Everybody's together 24/7, so it's got such a good fun feel to it. And because the show we were producing was so fun and funny to make, by the end of it, when we'd gone back to the UK, we were all pining to go back. We all got a bit homesick for the finca.

Do you believe love is more than just the words we say?
Love is action! The words you say in love are empty unless it's followed by action. If you don't show your love by actions, then loving words mean nothing.

Monday, 27 December 2021

Martin Clunes Islands of the Pacific

Airing Thursday 13 Jan 2022
9.00pm - 10.00pm
ITV

Series overview:

Martin Clunes embarks on an epic ocean wide adventure in search of the real Pacific in a new documentary series for ITV.

His voyage is inspired by reading a book given to him when he was a child by his father about the Kon-Tiki expedition across the Pacific. Martin has always yearned to follow in those explorers' footsteps.

The Pacific Ocean, the largest ocean on the planet, covering 63 million square miles, is strewn with tens of thousands of islands with coral atolls, jungle clad mountains, and lava spewing volcanoes. It is rich in animal life and has an astonishing kaleidoscope of humanity.

Episode 1

Martin begins this new adventure in French Polynesia, flying into its biggest island,Tahiti, for a traditional welcome of a floral garland around his neck as he walks through airport arrivals.

French Polynesia is a collection of 118 islands and atolls spread over a distance of 1.5million square miles. The French influence is everywhere - from the currency of francs, to the baguettes sold in the local bakeries. There's even a vineyard on the island, established by a Frenchman. Martin visits the estate where the owner is developing a new grape suited to the unique growing conditions of Tahiti, and tastes the wine he produces.

Martin travels onto Rangiroa, one of the largest atolls in the Pacific, with a reputation for having the best sea life anywhere in the world. Accompanied by a guide, Martin swims in the 'aquarium' in Rangiroa Lagoon, before heading to 'Shark City" to swim with black tip reef sharks.

Martin finishes his visit to French Polynesia with a trip to the furthest island - the Marquesas Islands, where he meets a local horseman who tames and trains the local wild horses. Martin rides with the horseman, and watches as he trains a horse in the sea.

Tributes paid to DJ Janice Long, who has died

Janice Long, best known as a presenter on Radio 1, Radio 2, Top of the Pops and most recently on Radio Wales has died after a short illness at home on Christmas Day with her family, her agent has confirmed. She was 66 years old.

Janice Long became a household name when she joined BBC Radio 1 in 1983. Following time as cabin crew and in telesales, Janice became a station assistant at BBC Radio Merseyside in Liverpool in 1979.

When she joined Radio 1 in 1983, she was the first female to have her own daily show on the station and later became the first woman to be a regular presenter of Top of the Pops where she hosted the show for five years. She was also one of the main presenters of the epic Live Aid concert in 1985.

Since 2017, Janice hosted the evening show on BBC Radio Wales. She also hosted A Long Walk with… Janice Long, which was first broadcast in August 2017 on BBC Radio 2.

In between her journey from Radio 1 to Radio 2, Janice also presented the Dream Ticket for BBC 6 Music, the GLR breakfast show and XFM breakfast show.

Friday, 24 December 2021

Jon & Lucy’s Christmas Sleepover – Interview with Jon Richardson & Lucy Beaumont

Jon Richardson and Lucy Beaumont are hosting a Christmas getaway for some of their closest friends on Monday 27th December at 9pm on Channel 4. In this one-off seasonal special, Jon and Lucy are joined by comedy pals to eat, drink and get very merry during a night away from the post-Christmas, pre-New Year lull as they look back at the year gone by.

Here, Jon and Lucy tell us about their comedians' office party, who's better at gift buying and drinking advocaat with lunch.

Tell us about the Christmas Sleepover and what we can expect from it.

Jon: I think Channel 4 wanted a hard-hitting, topical review of the year but because we haven't seen anyone, we wanted to have a few drinks with friends. It's ended up being a sort of hostage situation where we've taken Channel 4's money and locked our friends in a cottage and made them drink with us. I hope people will get a warmth from it, it is almost like watching a family reunion – there's some tension, some people who are late, people who are angry about the food, people who want to play games and people who don't. There's a real traditional family Christmas vibe.

Lucy: That's a dig at me when he says people who don't want to play games. His family are like The Waltons, it's not about presents or whatnot, it's about them just playing board games with each other. Whereas I want to sit and watch telly on my own. I find it hard how nice they are to each other, that's not what Christmas is about, you're meant to be stressed and anxious and drink a lot on Christmas Eve then have a hangover and an argument.

Like Jon says, you very rarely get to do stuff with your mates, so it was like a love-in. We've all known each other for a long time, Jon and Roisin used to gig together when they started out and me, Rob and Romesh did. With comedians, you don't get a works night out, so this was like an office party.

You're joined by Rob Beckett, Romesh Ranganathan and Roisin Conaty, are they well behaved guests?

L: No, not really. Rob Beckett is naughty and always wanted to lower the tone.

J: Rob Beckett was like the naughty toddler who'd clearly got really excited when he arrived, didn't want to eat his veg and only wanted to play with his toys. Romesh was sort of the grumpy dad who was trying to keep it all together.

L: Roisin was like the auntie that's treating it like a night out and wants to let her hair down.

J: I feel like I was the stereotype of the mother who's running around trying to get everyone's food ready but everyone was ungrateful so I started having a strop and threw my pinny on the floor.

L: I was a bit like the distant father who was thinking about being somewhere else.

What sort of hosts are you? This wasn't in your own home so did that pile on the pressure to keep things orderly?

J: I think it's worse when you're not in your own house because you're more paranoid about breaking things. I'm more relaxed in my own house because when guests come round, I only give them cheap crockery or glasses. You can tell how much I respect you by what glass you get given. If certain people ask for a whiskey, they'll get a cut-glass tumbler and certain people might get an old, plastic Batman mug. In someone else's house, if someone breaks something it goes on your deposit. I'm very paranoid about my Airbnb reviews, I have to get a good review for being a good guest. I was fairly tense all the way through to be honest.

So you were having his big reunion with your mates, but on camera. Did that change anything?
L: You totally forgot about the cameras, which is not necessarily a good thing.
J: We deliberately didn't plan a lot as well. There was a comfy lounge and a kitchen and we did just mill about and chat, it has a very natural feel. I kept trying to get people to talk about the news from the year and they didn't want to.

The show looks back at some of the big moments in 2021. What has this year been like for you both?

J: We've been luckier than most, we managed to film our sitcom through the summer when things were a bit more relaxed. Our daughter's been able to go to school as normal, she's in reception, we've certainly been luckier than most. It is that social side of it you miss, the thing we haven't done is go for meals with each other or have mates over. I think we've all got used to a new system where you don't do those things and suddenly it feels like quite a big step to have people round for drinks.

L: We've done alright, we've worked a lot.

J: You can split Covid and lockdowns into people who are lucky enough to have a spare room where the partner who snores and has got on everyone's tits that day can go and people who don't have that. We've got that and there's a TV and we've got separate Netflix accounts which I would really recommend at this time of the year.

What is a typical Christmas in the Richardson household?

J: We're still getting to grips with that. We got together and got married the next year, then we had our daughter the year after that and we've moved house twice since we got together and every Christmas sort of feels different. This Christmas, we've moved again and this was going to be our big National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. We invited all of Lucy's family and all of my family and it turns out a lot of them don't want to come, so it's going to be quieter than we thought. But there'll be the ongoing tension, I'll just want to play Boggle all the time and Lucy will want to have a snowball then fall asleep in front of Scrooged. You've gone mad on Christmas lights though…

L: I was wanting that Hygge thing. When it started to get dark nights, I was feeling a bit down… Tell you what, they're expensive fairy lights. And I've bought the ones with batteries… It takes about an hour now before we go to bed to turn them all off. If I feel tired, I have to start getting ready for bed then. I've also put a lot outside; I want the neighbours to say your lights look nice but they haven't so I keep buying more.  

Have you planned what you're getting each other for Christmas or are presents a surprise?

J: That's a tension that comes up in this show, we discuss what I got Lucy for her birthday, which was exactly what she wanted but she still wanted to send it back. I've done the same thing again, I've bought Lucy the thing she texted me so if it goes back this time, this will literally be the last time I ever buy her a gift. And I just want darts toys, it's like buying for a 14-year-old boy.

L: I've bought Jon everything he wants, there's nothing left to do. I've bought him everything to do with beer and Leeds United and he wants to buy his own pile cream. I've bought him toe-nail clippers. I've run out of things to buy him.

J: I always thought I'd dread getting to that age where people buy you a few beers and a pair of socks but, actually, if someone gets me a few nice beers and some new socks, I'll be delighted.

Are you difficult to buy for, Lucy?

J: Yeah.
L: I like something to open, but it's just easier if I buy my own things really. The thing is… Yeah, I am hard to buy for. But I'm good at buying for other people.
J: She buys good Christmas presents which makes it all the more annoying. You buy her something and it's wrong but she'll buy you something amazing.

The show is airing on December 27th, what is that sort of dead time between Christmas and New Year usually like for you?

J: That's the bit I'm looking forward to this year. We're visiting my family before Christmas, we've got a few people coming here for Christmas Day then we're going to Lucy's family on Boxing Day. So the 27th will be the first day we're at home. I love that bit when you've got to eat all the food. It goes from not opening things and saving it for Christmas to suddenly on the 27th having to eat it all before everyone goes back to work, so you start having stilton and sausages on toast for breakfast. That's when I really come to life, when there's a deadline. I'll be having eight advocaats with my lunch.

Do you ever argue over what to watch on TV at Christmas?

L: It's the only thing we don't argue over, we've got the same tastes. Anything that's working class we like. We like Bargain Brits in Blackpool and Bargain Brits Abroad, Gogglebox because it reminds us of people we know.

J: We don't argue but we don't watch the things we want to watch. It was up to me I'd watch sport every night and Lucy would watch Selling Sunset is it called? You would watch exclusively property and lifestyle programmes and I would watch sport - it's the true meaning of marriage. We watch a lot of Gogglebox and First Dates.

We're expecting to see a bit of piss up with your mates in the Christmas Sleepover. Does it get messy?

L: It does get messy, I'm drunk from the beginning. They all catch up. Roisin doesn't drink but you'd probably think she's the most drunk out of everybody, she doesn't really need to drink. I properly treated it as my end of year…

J: Roisin doesn't drink and everyone else has young kids so there became a kind of mania to it quite early one. Romesh made some cocktails when we arrived and that combination of booze and sugar and tired parents is lethal. We have a sugar high, then a booze high, then we have some food and by then it's sort of madness.

Jon & Lucy's Christmas Sleepover, Monday 27th December, 9pm, Channel 4 & All 4

Thursday, 23 December 2021

Oti Mabuse confirmed as new judge on Dancing On Ice

Oti Mabuse is to join the Ice Panel when Dancing On Ice returns to ITV and ITV Hub in January 2022. She'll be alongside fellow judges Ashley Banjo, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean. Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby will return to present the greatest show on ice.

Commenting on taking on this new role, Oti said: "As a professional dancer I have always had so much respect for the skating professionals on Dancing On Ice. It is an exceptional skill that is also so beautiful to watch. I'm feeling really enthusiastic about joining the panel alongside the legendary Torvill and Dean and Ashley Banjo. I can't wait to see the celebrities thrive as they learn how to ice-skate and to champion the professional skaters as they create incredible choreography. Having been on both sides of the table, I know a little bit about how they'll be feeling. It's more than an honour and I already can't wait to join the family."

Katie Rawcliffe, Head of Entertainment Commissioning, ITV said:

"Oti is not only a supremely talented dancer and choreographer but she brings enormous fun and energy to all that she does. It's fantastic to be welcoming her to our Ice Panel."

The celebrities taking to the ice this year are Coronation Street legend Sally Dynevor, Happy Mondays dancer Bez, Paralympian Stef Reid, Love Island's Liberty Poole, rugby star Ben Foden, Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt, Paul Gascoigne's son, dancer Regan Gascoigne, pop star Rachel Stevens, professional dancer Brendan Cole, presenter Ria Hebden, BMX Olympic silver medalist Kye Whyte and The Vamps' Connor Ball.

Expertly guiding the celebrity novices from their shaky first steps to spectacular routines are their professional partners. Matt Evers, a part of Dancing On Ice since it launched on ITV in 2006, returns to the show alongside fellow series favourites Alexandra Shauman and husband Łukasz Różycki, Andy Buchanan and wife Robin Johnstone. Mark Hanretty, Brendyn Hatfield, Vanessa Bauer, Karina Manta and Joe Johnson all return. Reigning champion pro Angela Egan who lifted the trophy with Sonny Jay last series is also back. Completing the pro team are three brand-new additions to the 2022 line-up as world class competitive figure skaters Morgan Swales, Tippy Packard and Colin Grafton all make their Dancing on Ice debuts.

In the new year the celebrity contestants and their professional partners will be skating live each week in a bid to impress both the panel and the viewers at home who will ultimately decide who wins the show.

Q&A with Fred Sirieix and Dianne Buswel

Hosted by Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, the festive foursome on the judging panel are, Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Anton Du Beke, and head judge Shirley Ballas.

Taking to the dancefloor this year is Adrian Chiles with his professional partner Jowita Przystal; Anne-Marie and Graziano Di Prima; Fred Sirieix and Dianne Buswell; Jay Blades and Luba Mushtuk; Mel Giedroyc and Neil Jones; Moira Stuart and Aljaž Škorjanec.

The Christmas special will start with a sensational group routine featuring the celebrities and their professional partners, alongside some of their fellow Strictly professionals.

And, as well as dancing, there's plenty of music, with two very special performances from Jamie Cullum and Gary Barlow.

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Christmas Day at 5.10pm.

Q&A with Fred Sirieix and Dianne Buswel

How are you feeling about being a part of the Strictly Christmas special?

Fred: I am feeling very excited and grateful, it is an unbelievable experience to be part of Strictly, to be dancing with a pro like Dianne, and to challenge myself in a way I never thought I could. I can't wait for the big day!

Dianne: I love it, it's great to be back teaching and doing what I love. Being out on the Strictly floor with Fred is going to be a lot of fun.

What made you want to take part?

Fred: Fear! When I got the call I was as excited as I was scared, I can't let fear rule me. Because I was so scared I thought, I had to do it. It's about finding that headspace, with myself and Dianne, ignoring everything around us, which is a challenge and I can't wait.

What did your friends and family say?

Fred: They think it's really cool, they have seen the progress we have made from videos. They have seen how far we have come and they are proud.

Tell us about your partnership, what's training been like?

Fred: Training has been great, I'm not a dancer, so it's been hard. It is physical and mental, you have to put the time in. Dianne has been great, she has been honest and she doesn't sugar coat it, and I love that.

Is Fred a good student?

Dianne: He is very good, we met in the studio, within a minute and 30 seconds, about as long as our dance, I felt like I had known Fred forever! When we were learning it, we'd do one step and he was so eager to learn the next one. It was refreshing and so great to have someone so keen to learn the dance. I couldn't ask for anything more! As well as having a good laugh along the way, it was great to have a partner who was so keen to learn how to dance.

How do you feel about being 'Strictly-fied' festive style?

Fred: I'm not normally into spray tans or make up, you're not going to turn me into Brad Pitt so what's the point?

Dianne: Your outfit is pretty out there though…

Fred: I am a Turkey, and she's got me flying through the air!

What would you buy each other for Christmas?

Dianne: I would buy him some more red hair dye! So even when he isn't with me, he can keep dying that hair.

Fred: I would love to get her that glitterball!

How do you rate your chances of being crowned Christmas champions?

Fred: I think we have a good chance!

Dianne: You've got to believe haven't you?

Fred: We will do the best we can, and hope for the best!

How do you rate yourself as a dancer?

Fred: I've been practising this one dance for three weeks, it isn't perfect, but it's as good as it can be. I'm not a dancer, my level of dancing is standing on tables as Christmas parties with my top off!

What song gets you up dancing at festive parties?

Dianne: Probably Rockin Around The Christmas Tree, it's a good one

Fred: *sings* Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?

Dianne: That's not a Christmas song!

Brussel sprouts - yay or nay?

Dianne: Yay! I love them

Fred: If they are cooked properly, with fat and bacon, then perfect!

Best and worst Christmas present you ever received?

Dianne: Not my best, but what I remember most is this little toy pet shop. On the commercials it had all these pets in, but they came separately, so I just got an empty pet shop and I never got any pets for it. I never forgot that!

Fred: When I was a kid I got a BMX for Christmas, it was snowing so much I couldn't ride it as it was sliding, but I loved that

Dianne: When I was a kid I used to wrap up my brothers socks that they already had and give them to them as their Christmas presents, they humoured me bless them.

Which judge are you most keen to impress?

Fred: All of them! But of course if Craig gives us a 10 then I will punch the air.

What are the Christmas traditions in your household? How will you be spending Christmas Day this year?

Dianne: I normally spend it with my family and we always go to the beach on Christmas Day. But this year will be different, I will be here in the UK for a cold Christmas.

Fred: I am hoping my parents can come visit, and we can have a big day with all the family. We do seafood, oysters and mussels, french fries, it's delicious.

Any New Year's resolutions?

Fred: My New Year's resolution each year, is more! More of everything, live more, enjoy myself more and have more fun. Next year I turn 50, so it is going to be twice as more. I would love to take dancing into the new year.

Dianne: I think I need to get through December first and then I will think of something!

Interview with Jodie Whittaker (The Doctor)

New Year's Eve. Sarah (Aisling Bea) is working - again. Nick (Adjani Salmon) is her only customer - again. Same old same old. Except this year, their countdown to midnight will be the strangest and deadliest they've ever known.

Why is an Executioner Dalek targeting these two people, in this place, on this night? Why are they having to live through the same moments again? Can the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker), Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Dan (John Bishop) save them and survive into the New Year?

Interview with Jodie Whittaker (The Doctor)

What can audiences expect from Eve Of The Daleks?

I think the festive special is a wonderful high octane contained story, so if you haven't seen the series, including the Flux, you can start this episode and be taken on a rollercoaster through a scenario where the Doctor, Yaz and Dan are stuck in a time loop. Not only are they stuck in a time loop, they're being pursued by the Doctor's biggest enemy, which is the Daleks. For the Doctor it is her worst scenario.

This is all set on New Year's Eve and we've two fantastic guest stars, Aisling Bea and Adjani Salmon who are not only hilarious but also wonderful actors that provide so much energy and brilliant chemistry. Audiences can expect lots of comedy, lots of fun, high stakes, huge amounts of jeopardy and an energised rollercoaster ride.

Can you introduce us to Sarah and Nick? How was it working with Aisling Bea and Adjani Salmon?

In the New Year's Day special we were really lucky to work with Adjani Salmon and Aisling Bea. I had met Aisling before - and had never met Adjani - so I knew how lovely Aisling was going to be and how hilarious she is! My first introduction to Adjani was when we did the read through on Zoom and he was absolutely hilarious and I couldn't wait for his energy and Aisling's energy, they're so different and they complement each other so well. Because they're both from a world of comedy which I'm not from or Mandip's not from (but obviously John is!) it was like comedy gold dust just being on set with them, they were making us laugh the whole time. What they brought to the characters and what they brought to the episode was really fun, a lot of high energy, a lot of farce, high stakes in this very groundhog, Russian Doll environment.

What was it like filming this time loop story from an actor's perspective?

From the actor's perspective, filming a repetitive moment or the replaying of the same moment in time – the Groundhog Day sequences where we exit the TARDIS and you realise that time is playing a loop - it's actually really fun to shoot because you end up shooting really quick. So because you set it up, you're covering so many moments that it's only slightly different. It's a little bit tricky sometimes because it all does turn into one in your head and then you'll turn a corner and realise you're shooting a different moment and it's unexpected.

I have to say being on set the episode feels like it's going at a million miles an hour even though you're hitting the same moment every time, so I found that fascinating. It was brilliant because it's contained, it's in one location, there's a real brilliant use of comedy with the Daleks as well which was really interesting to do. But also there was just five of us the entire time and that was so much fun.

What was it like filming the scenes where you're exterminated?

When I read this episode for the first time and in one of the opening moments get exterminated I genuinely thought, "Somebody has decided to write me out a bit sooner than I thought!" It's brilliant to play because the first time, for the Doctor, it's as if you're grasping at those seconds and that realisation that it could be your last moment. And for you to be killed by a Dalek would be so horrendous! But then once you realise you're in this time loop the anticipation of the pain and the fun that can be had with that... it's the first time in my career I've died so many times in an episode, there's always a first!

What makes the Daleks so frightening?

What makes a Dalek so frightening is no matter how many times you think you've defeated them they always come back. And it's that never-ending game of tennis, terrifying tennis.

How has the Doctor and Yaz's relationship developed since they first met each other?

I think what's been great is the amount of time that's played out, I think obviously (our) first season was in real time... but with season twelve and season thirteen what happens is we have these elongated gaps between seasons and the time spent away, like the months that the Doctor's in prison. In this season, there's the time where Yaz has absolutely no idea if she's going to see the Doctor again.

So the Doctor has given Yaz a hologram of information and Yaz continually plays it as her one connection to the Doctor when they're parted in time. I think what's brilliant is that these two, have had out of everyone - for my Doctor - the most amount of time together. And so it grows from Yaz's perspective from somebody who is finding her feet to leading and confidence. What the Doctor loves is seeing Yaz's independence and confidence grow, but she never falters in always being there for the Doctor and vice versa as well.

Tuesday, 21 December 2021

Tom Daley to deliver the 2021 Alternative Christmas Message

Olympic champion Tom Daley will address the nation with a message of inclusion in Channel 4's prestigious Alternative Christmas Message which airs on Christmas Day.

In the heartfelt address, Tom talks about the pride he's felt representing his country but how sometimes didn't feel good enough. He applauds the athletes that have opened up about their struggles this year who've encouraged him to talk about his mental health more often.

Tom reveals how "incredibly lucky" he is that his sport has supported him to live as an openly gay man, but he acknowledges not everyone in sport has the same backing. Using the platform to raise an issue close to his heart he speaks of homophobia in sport, particularly football.

In October Australian footballer Josh Cavallo became the first and only topflight male player to come out as gay. Tom praises Josh's courage but uses this startling example to question why in the world's most popular sport, with 65,000 professional players, just one top male footballer felt comfortable enough to come out and talk openly about their sexuality.

Tom talks about the need for a culture change in football, adding, 'if I had one Christmas wish it would be that next year that changes. That one impossibly brave Premier League player steps forward and says, 'I am gay'. That person would inspire gay people everywhere, give hope to thousands of teenagers struggling with their sexuality and save the lives of countless young people who don't currently feel like they have a place in this world.".

To emphasise the problem Tom raises "In 2022 the World Cup is being held in the second most dangerous country for queer people, Qatar. Why are we allowing places that aren't safe for ALL fans and ALL players to host our most prestigious sporting events?"

Tom applauds how this year's Olympics saw its first trans athletes competing referencing Quinn, the first out trans Olympic medallist who won gold for the Canadian women's soccer team. Tom applauds the impressive achievements of trans athletes, "especially in the current climate of fear and panic around trans people" and adds that "there is no LGB without the T.".

Tom closes with a call for inclusivity and equality saying "We can make this country the most accepting, the most inclusive, the most progressive country on Earth. What if in Britain anybody could be anything regardless of where they started? What if we all started from the same place. Now wouldn't that be something to be proud of?"

Taskmaster's New Year Treat - interviews with Greg Davies, Alex Horne

TASKMASTER'S NEW YEAR TREAT - 1ST JANUARY, 9PM  

INTERVIEW WITH GREG DAVIES & ALEX HORNE

Let's talk through the contestants for this special, starting with Adrian Chiles.

Greg: He's absolutely hilarious, Chiles. I didn't expect him to be as hilarious as he was.

Alex: There was a bit in the pole task where Adrian really lost it and giggled like a baby for about a minute. I really enjoyed seeing him look so happy. He really lost it. It was great. Normally, slightly older gentlemen get teased for being slow by Greg, but he bonded with Adrian a lot.

Greg: We bonded over being middle-aged men. Speaking as a man in his 50s I can confirm our lives are made miserable by gastric problems, as Adrian said in the vinegar task when he got heartburn. He's my type of older gentleman.

You invited him to go camping with him, didn't you?

Greg: Yes, and I stand by that. I know that Adrian thought it was a joke, but I will go camping with him at a time and place of his choosing.

Alex: We also really enjoyed pitting him against one of our greatest Paralympians.

What about Baroness Warsi?

Alex: She was very TV savvy, and comedy savvy as well. And she made jokes that weren't bad. She really got stuck in with trying to persuade Greg that Claudia had done something not awful, which I enjoyed.

Greg: She tried to turn something into a contentious issue, saying I was out of touch with modern Britain. Which I dealt with. She was feisty.

And surprisingly came out with quite a few innuendos as well.

Greg: The Bawdy Baroness. She accused Alex and I of flirting with each other.

Alex: She was probably keen to make sure the stereotype of a fusty old Baroness was destroyed. She was there to show what she's really like, which is good thing. I really liked her. I thought she was plucky and spunky.

Greg: Regardless of where you are politically in life, it'd be difficult to deny that.

Alex: Yes, but she really tried to pull the heartstrings as well. She was playing the game at the beginning, which was very clever.

Greg: With anyone else that may well have worked, but I find that stuff grates with me. I know when someone's ploughing the furrow.

Alex: She definitely understood Taskmaster, she wasn't out of her depth in any way.

There was another surprising moment where she said that she could identify a drug by sniffing it.

Greg: Because of her legal background, yes. I didn't realise that's what goes on in Her Majesty's Courts. Law makers sniffing stuff.

What did you think of Lady Leshurr?

Alex: I'm not sure how much she knew about the show beforehand. She's one of our smallest ever contestants. Greg: I thought she was fun. She doesn't really care what anyone thinks, and I always admire that, especially in a young person. And as Alex points out, she's pint-sized. I was really pleased because the audience got behind her right away, which is good. I didn't think she was as well-known as Claudia Winkleman, but she held her own. Then I looked her up on YouTube, and one of her clips has got 65 million views.

Greg, she told me that you have such a way with words that you would make a good grime rapper.

Greg: Did she? Wow. Well, let's hope that this interview means that the right people get in contact with me at last.

You'd be up for that?

Greg: Of course! They say you should change job every seven years so I'm long overdue a change, and why not to grime?

Alex: Probably, annoyingly, you'd be quite good at it. Greg wore a big orange jacket yesterday for a bit. I couldn't believe it. It caught me by surprise.

Greg: It really fascinated you, my new jacket, didn't it? I often criticise Alex for his dress sense which is, across the board, pretty awful. And because I was wearing a bolder coat than I normally would, it drew his eye.

What about Claudia?

Alex: She was a bit like Mel Giedroyc, in that she was very keen to get in and do things quickly. She wasn't hanging around. She's a pro. She's done a lot of telly, and she's very, very funny.

Greg: She's very funny. I also think she's very used to being in charge. She did that thing that Victoria Coren Mitchell did, which is march into a room and say, "Right, let's get a few things straight right now. This is the way things are going to be." But then she remembers that she's the one being told to do things.

She shouted at Alex quite a lot to "shut up" and "stop talking". Has anybody ever spoken to you like that before, Alex?

Alex: Not for a good while. She was a bit of a whirlwind. I'm still slightly in awe of her. It's Claudia Winkleman! She's got that star quality. Having her in the Taskmaster house was quite incongruous. It felt like we were in the middle of Strictly and I watch Strictly with my kids, so I didn't know what to do with myself.

Greg: I thought she was great. She entered into Taskmaster in the way you hope people will enter into it – without any clear plan for victory. From the very beginning I don't think she could have cared less how many points she ended up with, and I greatly admire that. She was excitable though. She enjoyed it without caring much about the outcome.

And finally, Jonnie Peacock.

Alex: He showed off his athleticism a couple of times. The Peacock family are big fans of the show, so I think he's done them proud, which is good. It's his mum's favourite programme apparently, so he was mainly doing it for her.

Greg: I didn't meet Jonnie because I wasn't there during the tasks and he couldn't come into the studio as he was ill. But watching the tasks I can see he was quite canny, quite cerebral. In a couple of them he thought, "Oh, there must be another way of doing this," which a lot of the other contestants didn't do at all. I thought it was a good combination: the visuals of Johnny's athleticism, and then going back to the studio for the contrast of Alan Davies. It worked a treat. I think those guys should work together more.

Alex: He took it seriously. He took it like an athlete would, I think. He was competitive and ambitious. He had that thing that athletes do of being really focused. Straightforward, I suppose. He's used to training all day by himself. Jonnie and Sayeeda were the most competitive. They're the ones who wanted to win the most.

Greg: His technique was genuinely impressive.

Will there be more celebrity specials?

Alex: We both felt it was great having people outside of comedy on the show. Maybe there's room to have three comics and two non-comics in the same series, or just one, or mixing it up. It would be good to have an athlete or a historian or something. Someone like Mary Beard. She was my lecturer at university. She was amazing, really inspiring. She's a good one. Quite scary.

Greg: I really enjoy involvement from non-comics. I don't know what it means going forward, but it's really exciting.

Monday, 20 December 2021

Trailer and first look images of Josh Hartnett in brand new Sky Original thriller The Fear Index coming to Sky Atlantic and NOW in February 2022

 

Sky today revealed an exclusive first look at brand new Sky Original thriller The Fear Index, starring internationally renowned actor Josh Hartnett (Penny Dreadful). Produced by Left Bank Pictures in association with Sky Studios, The Fear Index will air on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW in February 2022.  

Josh Hartnett will star as Dr Alex Hoffman, a technology genius who experiences a waking nightmare of the worst 24 hours of his life; alongside Arsher Ali (The Ritual, Informer) as Hugo, his hedge fund business partner and best friend; Leila Farzad (I Hate Suzie, Innocent) as Gabby Hoffman; and Grégory Montel (Call My Agent) as Detective Leclerc.

 The fast-paced four-part limited series is adapted by Paul Andrew Williams (Broadchurch) and Caroline Bartleet (Ticking) from Robert Harris’s novel, and is directed by David Caffrey (The Alienist, Peaky Blinders).

Dr Alex Hoffman is launching VIXAL-4 to investors - an AI-driven system that exploits fear in the financial markets and operates at lightning speed to make big returns. The promise is billions, the rich are ready to get richer... but this is not the day Alex and Hugo had planned. What follows is a terrifying journey through the worst 24 hours of Alex’s life - cutting across reality, memory and paranoid fantasy,  forcing him to question everything he sees with his own eyes. 

In the pulse of Geneva’s financial district, Alex’s sanity is shaken after he is viciously attacked at his home by a man who knows all of his security codes.

After more unexplained occurrences, Alex becomes convinced he’s being framed. But as secrets surface from his past, will anyone believe that he isn’t just losing his mind?

Detective Leclerc (Montel), assigned to Alex’s case, struggles to work this former CERN scientist out. Hoffman’s talented artist wife, Gabby (Farzad) might just be losing patience this time, whilst Hugo’s only concern is the billion-dollar business on the line. Invention can be lonely, and in a modern world of AI, capitalism and technological breakthroughs, Dr Alex Hoffman is about to learn the hard way how destructive his creation might be…

The series was commissioned by Zai Bennett, Managing Director of Content, Sky UK and Ireland, Gabriel Silver, Director of Commissioning, Drama, Sky Studios and Paul Gilbert, Commissioning Editor, Sky Studios. The Fear Index is produced by Left Bank Pictures in association with Sky Studios. The Executive Producers are Andy Harries and Sharon Hughff for Left Bank Pictures, and Paul Gilbert for Sky Studios. The Fear Index is produced by Nuala O'Leary and directed by David Caffrey (Love/Hate, Peaky Blinders). 

Friday, 17 December 2021

ITV release first look for Royal Carols: Together At Christmas


ITV released today a first look at festive special, Royal Carols: Together At Christmas, which is due to air on Christmas Eve on ITV. 

Voiced by James McAvoy, the short promotional teaser features a whole host of festive performances, readings and carols introduced by The Duchess of Cambridge. 

Recorded at Westminster Abbey, the promo teases a number of familiar faces in appearance, including Kate Garraway, Tom Walker, Ellie Goulding and Leona Lewis. 

Hosted and spearheaded by The Duchess, and supported by The Royal Foundation, the event will pay tribute to the incredible work of individuals and organisations across the UK who have supported their communities through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Royal Carols: Together At Christmas will air on Christmas Eve at 7:30pm on ITV and ITV Hub




Interview with Jimmy Carr for his brand new quiz show, I Literally Just Told You

What can you tell us about I Literally Just Told You? What attracted you to the premise?  

The more Richard Bacon (who created the show) told me about it, the more I thought it might work. It reminded me a little of one of the first things I've ever did on TV called Distraction which featured me and four members of the public – it was crazy, and it felt like it was the most exciting thing I could possibly do. I sort of like to think of TV being like a trainset: you've got this incredible trainset and these brilliant producers that all help you play, and you've got to come up with the most fun game to play with. It's such an unusual, weird and wonderful show. I think it's the best thing I've ever done.

That's a big claim!

It's not that big a claim! It genuinely was a joy to make.  

My main job is I'm a stand-up comedian, I go out there on my own and decide what I say, what I don't say, that's how it goes and that's great. TV is like a team sport – who came up with the idea, who's the creative producer, who are the people behind it? Richard Bacon was amazing, as were Adam Hutchinson the producer and the guys at Expectation (production company.) I'm in the show, I host it but really if you haven't got good contestants, this show wouldn't be anything. The contestants are crazy good, I don't know where we found these people, but we searched high and low!  

The show has an enormous play-at-home factor which most game shows don't have. Most game shows are binary, you either know the answer or you don't. All you have to know for this show is what's just happened, you just have to pay attention, and you can get the whole thing. We had real fun with the fact that anything could happen – 15 second celebrity cameos, false ad breaks, you can really mess with people's minds. It felt really exciting as a premise for a show.  

How would you do on this show? Are you observant? Do you pay attention?  

I think I was pretty good. I suppose there was a feeling of when I was on set, I was kind of playing along but I was also in work mode. I'm used to being on stage and having to remember someone's name from fifteen minutes ago so I can do a call-back to that guy on stage so my memory's not bad. If you're a one liner guy, and I'm a one liner guy, you need to remember 300 jokes in a row every night, so you work that muscle a lot.  

Random things happen – we'll show them a film and I'll say 'Dave, roll VT' and then the question ends up being 'what was the name of the VT operator?' It's tangential, weird, wonderful stuff – we messed around a lot. It feels like a really fair, level playing field for everyone playing the game. My favourite is the final round – I've never seen another game show do that where you go 'oh, you're setting each other questions.' The records were really long because we were shutting down at each end of every part and went 'right, we need to write some questions for the next part.' We had a bank of people writing questions live which is time consuming and crazy but for the viewer at home, that's fantastic.  

How does it feel to know that Richard Bacon selected you to front the show? Have you known him for a while?  

I've known Richard for years! He's having a bit of a run at the moment. Obviously he was on Blue Peter and he was amazing on Five Live – I was a big fan of him as a broadcaster. He's got no attention span so is constantly interesting because he's always on to the next thing. He's been quietly coming up with these TV show ideas over the last five or six years and suddenly there's a glut of them coming out. I was so flattered that he asked me to host as he's a pretty good host himself. He hosted the try-outs for this, and I really badgered, begged, cajoled and pleaded to be allowed to do this because great ideas for TV shows don't come along very often and you grab one when you can. I knew I would have fun working on it which I hope comes across in the show. It feels like properly exciting telly – very Channel 4 – a bit transgressive, a bit different, edgy and weird – all the things I love about Channel 4.  

How does it feel to be back in a TV studio making a brand new show after the past two years? And what sort of effects has the pandemic had on you personally?  

Making a TV show is always quite a lot of work – these were long records and we did two of them in a day – but we were having a ball.  The contestants had a brilliant time, the audience, albeit a small socially distanced one, were amazing and we just had such fun. We were all so emotionally engaged with the show in the end and genuinely cared about who was going to win.  

As for the lockdown, I went off and wrote a book. It seemed like every comedian was given an ultimatum by management – you either do a podcast or write a book. I think I took the gentleman's approach and wrote the book plus I was a full time dad! I had a good one, I never would have had that expanse of time with my child and I liked it an awful lot.  

Is it easy to keep your cool when you're having to repeat the phrase, I Literally Just Told You, over and over again?  

No! I found that so fun. I bored all my friends to tears telling them about the show. I'd be going I've got this new show, I Literally Just Told You, and you'd be amazed how many times people go what? You say, I Literally Just Told You, and they go 'woah, you're being rude.' I had to say, 'no, no, it's called I Literally Just Told You.' It makes me giggle every time but maybe that's just my daft sense of humour – I loved it. I think the show came out of Richard Bacon going to see Brian Cox, the wonderful physicist, give a talk, and he was sitting there thinking 'I wonder how much of this the audience will remember in five minutes' so he noted down something Brian said and thought 'there's no way anyone will remember that.' I don't think you can double screen with this show, that's something I really love about it. I'm as guilty of that as anyone – I'll sit down and watch something amazing, one of my favourites shows, and be checking the news on my phone at the same time.  

I can already imagine an exciting celebrity version with lots of celebrities making complete tits of themselves. Is there anything in the pipeline?  

We've already made it! I'm not going to spoil it, but my dream line up would be hosts of other TV quiz shows. I always think when you're the host of a quiz show, you've got all the answers and there's a bit of smugness that comes with that. I'd want Philip Schofield, Jeremy Clarkson and Anne Robinson - that's the dream.  

We see in the first episode you use a fake ad break to really throw the contestants. What other cunning tricks do you have up your sleeve?  

The fake ad break was a lot of fun. Once you start the show, literally anything can be a question. So I might be having a chat with autocue, the warmup, the guy on the rig – and anything within those chats could be a question.  

Have you ever forgotten something really important? Perhaps someone told you something minutes previously and it completely slipped your mind?  

Well I lost a pair of sunglasses when I was 14. That's the last thing I lost. Oh and hang on, I did forget to pay my taxes for a while there. I'm not going to fucking forget that again.  

You're much loved for your humour and your near the knuckle jokes, but much has been made of cancel culture recently. Has it made you want to make risky jokes even more?  

I think it's always existed hasn't it? It's always been a thing. I do what I do – I have a duty to my audience as people have booked tickets to see an edgy comic do edgy jokes so I'm going to do that, performing to an audience who've paid to be there. We have a lot of fun and somewhat ironically, a comedy show feels like a safe space, it feels like that's where transgressive comedy should live.  

If we're doing the sums correctly, you turn 50 next September. How are you feeling about the milestone? Are you embracing it? Any worries about it?  

I mean I've had a reasonable amount of work done! They say you can't avoid death and taxes and I've done my best to dodge both. I'm trying to Benjamin Button this shit, I look fucking terrific, look at that skin – iridescent, beautiful. No, I'm good with it. I think it's about life stage, not age – I've got a young kid and I'm running around with him. I've never felt better.  

The Big Fat Quiz of the Year is back again this year – a highlight of the Christmas telly schedule. Do you still enjoy doing it? And see yourself presenting it for years to come?  

Oh yeah, and looking good too… I adore it. Because it's once a year, it always just feels a little bit special. Those shows have a life of their own – people all round the world are watching bits of it online. The idea with The Big Fat Quiz is that you could sit down and not have to chat to your family for two hours - you've probably been with your family for three or four days at that point, everyone's in the same house and it's all a little bit tense. It's in the finest traditions of public service broadcasting!  

Channel 4 Commissions The Artists, Brand New Digital Short- Form Comedy Sitcom Created and Written by Huge Davis

Channel 4 has commissioned a brand-new short form scripted comedy series, The Artists, created, written by and starring Edinburgh Best Newcomer Award nominee, Huge Davies.

Produced by Spirit Studios, the three-part series to be showcased on across Channel 4's social media platforms and then on All 4, follows the lives of a group of eccentric street performers set in the mythical busker's paradise of Wybridge, a fictional U.K town. It features an ensemble cast of exciting new comedy talent including Helen Bauer, Sunil Patel, Sinead Parker, Neil O'Rourke and Travis Jay.

The characters treat the town as an underground artistic haven, the perfect place for them to perform their 'culturally significant' and 'ground-breaking' street performances in what they perceive as a legendary ongoing artistic festival. In reality, its residents are utterly indifferent to the talent in their midst.

This unlikely ensemble of "street artists" come together as they jostle to attract attention from real and unsuspecting members of the public, performing a mix of musical comedy, scripted scenes and semi-improvised street performances much to the onlookers' bemusement.

Channel 4 Digital Commissioning Executive, Thomas Pullen said: "We're really excited about this new series with its blend of scripted comedy and discreet filming, shot almost like a nature doc where our buskers are like rare endangered species. We are always looking for new ways to play with the form of established genres in our digital content and Spirit Studios and Huge have really delivered, taking us into the world of these quirky, comical characters."

Huge Davies said: "I've loved every minute of making this show with some of my best friends in front and behind the camera. Thanks to Spirit Studios who had my back from the start and thanks to Channel 4 for taking the plunge. I was across 99% of all of this so if it's no good, there almost no one else to blame"

Matt Campion, Creative Director of Spirit Studios said: "We're thrilled to be working with the brilliant Huge Davies on The Artists.  The blend of discreet filming and scripted comedy, all taking place in front of an unsuspecting town feels genuinely innovative and exciting. I can't wait to see how the audience receives it."

The full series will premiere on Channel 4 Comedy YouTube from 30th December and be available later on All 4.

Channel 4 commissions Geordie Hospital from Curve Wales

Channel 4 has commissioned a brand-new popular documentary series, Geordie Hospital, which is a Curve Wales production.

A 6 x 60 series, based in Newcastle, home to one of the biggest and best Hospital Trusts in the UK. This series follows Newcastle Hospitals' incredible staff through a shift, from world class medics saving and transforming lives, to the support teams who make it possible.

Featuring a joyful, returning cast from porters to surgeons, dental nurses to sewing room ladies, as they pull together to deliver excellent care with their unique Geordie warmth and sense of humour.

Channel 4's Commissioning Editor, Rita Daniels said. "This is an exciting brand new 8pm series that features an incredible collection of inspiring, passionate and dedicated hospital staff.  In each of the six episodes you can clearly see their dedication, deep felt connection and enthusiasm for the patients they meet every day."

"It was incredibly humbling to film with the fantastic staff who are at the heart of Newcastle Hospitals. Through their eyes we experience the beauty and complexities of their patients and the NHS." Camilla Lewis, CEO Curve Media.

Thursday, 16 December 2021

Severance - From Director and Executive Producer Ben Stiller - Teaser Trailer

 

Apple TV+ has unveiled a teaser trailer and a premiere date for its highly anticipated new drama series, “Severance,”  from director and executive producer Ben Stiller (“Escape at Dannemora,” “Tropic Thunder”), and creator Dan Erickson, which will launch globally on Apple TV+ with the first two episodes on February 18, 2022, followed by new weekly installments, each Friday during its nine-episode season.

In “Severance,” Mark Scout (Adam Scott) leads a team at Lumon Industries, whose employees have undergone a severance procedure, which surgically divides their memories between their work and personal lives. This daring experiment in ‘work-life balance’ is called into question as Mark finds himself at the center of an unraveling mystery that will force him to confront the true nature of his work… and of himself.  

“Severance” reunites Emmy and DGA Award winner Ben Stiller with Academy Award and Emmy Award winner Patricia Arquette (“Escape at Dannemora,” “Boyhood”), who stars alongside Adam Scott (“Parks and Recreation,” “Step Brothers”), Emmy Award winner John Turturro (“The Plot Against America,” “The Night Of”), Britt Lower (“High Maintenance,” “Casual”), Zach Cherry (“You,” “Succession”), Dichen Lachman (“Jurassic World: Dominion,” “Altered Carbon”), Jen Tullock (“Before You Know It,” “Bless This Mess”), Tramell Tillman (“Hunters,” Dietland”), Michael Chernus (“Orange is the New Black,” “Patriot“) and Academy Award winner Christopher Walken. 

The series is written and created by Dan Erickson. Mark Friedman, Chris Black, John Cameron and Andrew Colville are executive producers alongside Erickson. Ben Stiller, Nicky Weinstock and Jackie Cohn executive produce through Red Hour Productions, and both Patricia Arquette and Adam Scott serve as producers. Endeavor Content serves as the studio. 

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

COMPETITION: Win All Creatures Great & Small Series 2 Soundtrack CD



All Creatures Great & Small Series 2 Soundtrack on CD  - Released from 17th December

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

Synopsis: 
On 17th December, Silva Screen Records will release Alexandra Harwood's original music for All Creatures Great & Small - Series 2. The album includes musical highlights from the second series with the last 2 tracks, Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot and All Creature Great And Small - Christmas, featuring in this year's Christmas special.

Since their first publication in 1970, the beloved books of James Alfred Wight, published under the pen name James Herriot, have held a special place in people's hearts throughout the world. Chronicling the heartwarming and humorous adventures of a young country vet, the books introduced readers to his unconventional mentor and the cast of farmers and townsfolk who lived and worked in the Yorkshire Dales in the 1930s. 

Channel 5's new adaptation preserves the rich spirit, tone and values of Herriot's iconic characters and stories and has been an instant hit with viewers. Alexandra Harwood is a BAFTA Cymru Award-winning composer, whose films have screened worldwide. Previous to her work on All Creatures Great And Small she has composed scores for Mike Newell's feature film, 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society' starring Lily James, Michiel Huisman, Glen Powell and Sir Tom Courtenay, the Ballet 'Geisha' for the Northern Ballet and 'Thatcher: A Very British Revolution' BBC Documentary Series.


Pre-Order from Amazon at https://amzn.to/31UzcLf

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

COMPETITION CLOSED

Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 03-01-22
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.
5. Entries that come directly from other websites will not be accepted.


Factual drama Four Lives to premiere in January on BBC One and BBC iPlayer

From Jeff Pope and Neil McKay, the award-winning team behind The Moorside and Appropriate Adult, the new factual drama will go beneath the headlines to shed new light on this story by telling it from the point of view of the families and friends of the four young men - Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor - who were murdered by Stephen Port. Four Lives focuses on the fight to uncover the truth about what had happened to their lost sons, brothers and loved ones in the face of a now widely condemned police investigation.

The three-part series will begin at 9pm on Monday 3 January on BBC One, continuing at the same time on Tuesday 4 January and Wednesday 5 January. All three episodes will be available on BBC iPlayer from 9pm on Monday 3 January.

Written by Neil McKay, Four Lives (3x60') is directed by David Blair, produced by Serena Cullen and executive produced by Jeff Pope for ITV Studios, Neil McKay and Lucy Richer for the BBC.

The drama was commissioned by Piers Wenger, Director of BBC Drama, and Charlotte Moore, BBC Chief Content Officer. It is a co-production with BritBox North America, where it will premiere in the US and Canada, and is distributed internationally by ITV Studios.

Friday, 10 December 2021

Ghosts is back for a fourth series

The critically acclaimed and much-loved sitcom Ghosts will be back for a fourth series.

From the creators and stars of Yonderland and Bill, and the original stars of Horrible Histories, the popular comedy will start filming the new series in the new year and it will once again be broadcast on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

When we return for Series 4, Button House is open for business, well, the gatehouse is. Can Alison (Charlotte Ritchie) and Mike (Kiell Smith-Bynoe) make a success of the humble B&B or will the interfering ghosts once again scupper their plans?

The third series of the BAFTA nominated series launched in summer 2021 with 4.3million viewers watching the first episode - the biggest audience of the regular series to date - and the biggest audience for a comedy among 4 to 15-year-olds in 2021 so far, thus cementing the show as a firm family favourite. Ghosts stars writers and creators Mathew Baynton, Simon Farnaby, Martha Howe-Douglas, Jim Howick, Laurence Rickard and Ben Willbond. The cast also includes Lolly Adefope and Katy Wix.

The creators say: "We are thrilled to be returning to Button House for a fourth series. We are already working on new stories and can't wait to share the next chapter."

Alison Carpenter, Executive Producer at Monumental Television, says: "It's wonderful to see audiences enjoying Ghosts more with every series. We can't wait to get back to Button House with our incredibly talented team of writers, cast and crew to bring a fourth series to the screen."

Jon Petrie, Director of Comedy at the BBC says: "We can't wait to return to Button House for series 4. Ghosts is a true jewel in BBC Comedy's crown, and we're delighted to be working again with the cast and creators, and Monumental, who never fail to deliver a faultless combination of big laughs and loads of heart."

Celebrity Coach Trip is back on E4 with a line up of fresh celebrity faces

After nearly two years, it's finally time for international tour guide Brendan Sheerin to hit the road again in a brand-new series of Celebrity Coach Trip.  Brendan's coach will be bursting with a fresh batch of celebrities, all eager for an action-packed European adventure.

The new series will kick off its run on the 3rd January 2022 on E4 at 8pm with the coach touring sunny Portugal. Brendan will welcome a host of famous faces who will travel in pairs to keep their place on the coach, and at the end of the tour be crowned the winners.

The first of our celebrity travellers boarding the coach and topping up their tans are: Presenter and stand-up Matt Richardson and actor and presenter Will Best; actors Linda Robson and Lesley Joseph; Geordie Shore stars Sophie Kasaei and James Tindale, members of girl band, The Honeyz, Celena Cherry and Mariama Goodman; and Olympian Ashley McKenzie with actor Paul Danan.

The celebrity pairs will enjoy a mix of excursions and cultural outings across the series. But, as ever, at the end of each day the pairs will vote on who they least enjoy travelling with. The pair who receives the most votes will get a yellow card; two yellow cards will see them given a red card and be sent home on the next flight, only to be replaced by a new celebrity pair to fill up the coach.

 Matt Richardson said: "I can't wait to spend a holiday on a coach filled with Celebs. It's what I normally do, so filming it just makes sense!"

Will Best said: "The chance to go on holiday with a mate, meet the icon that is Brendan, AND clear my rent arrears, all in one fell swoop? Yes please! Although if no one from Bananarama is on board I'm kicking off."

Linda Robson said "Me and Lesley had the most exciting, wonderful time - loved every minute of our trip and am missing Brendan and all the trippers! Can't wait for my family to see our adventure."

Lesley Joseph said "I love travel, and travel with a friend is even better, so the chance to go on holiday with Linda was too good to miss.  Not only that, we got to meet the wonderful Brendan – he is a legend.  We had such good fun, I hope the viewers enjoy it too. After months of lockdown it made it such a special experience."

Sophie Kasaei said: "I have always been the biggest fan of Coach Trip from when I can remember. Forget all the other reality tv shows my dream was to do coach trip! I have been such a massive fan of Brendan, watching him with my family on weekday afternoons! The experience of travelling around Portugal with a bunch of celebs? Yes please! It was everything I could have imagined and more."

James Tindale said: "I love meeting new people and getting out of my comfort zone and pushing myself so Coach Trip is right up my street."

Celena Cherry said "After being housebound for so long due to Covid, I couldn't wait to get out there and touch and meet new people! Plus Brendan was an added bonus, always wanted to meet him!"

Mariama Goodman said "I jumped at the chance to get away for some sunshine, silliness and adventure, and of course to meet Brendan!"

Ashley McKenzie said "I'm used to travelling the world as part of the Great Britain Judo squad, but never have a chance to really experience or enjoy the places I visit, as I'm always there training or competing. Coach Trip gave me the opportunity to see new places and meet new people, which is why I decided to take part."

Paul Danan said "I've watched the show for years and always loved it, and thought it would be amazing to go on a road trip after doing a road trip with Calum Best and Fran Cosgrave on our own show back in the day. I'd never been to Portugal and wanted to be part of an iconic show and bring some Danan TV gold back again!"