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Wednesday, 30 June 2021

First look at new ITV drama Stephen starring Sharlene Whyte, Steve Coogan and Hugh Quarshie - The Murder of Stephen Lawrence

Sharlene Whyte, Steve Coogan and Hugh Quarshie play leading roles in Stephen, the three-part sequel to the groundbreaking ITV drama, The Murder of Stephen Lawrence.

Sharlene Whyte (Small Axe, We Hunt Together) takes the role of Doreen Lawrence with Hugh Quarshie (Breeders, Absentia, White Heat, Holby City) reprising his performance of Neville Lawrence from the original award-winning drama.  BAFTA award winning and Golden Globe nominated actor Steve Coogan (Stan & Ollie, Philomena) takes the role of DCI Clive Driscoll who led the investigation into the murder of the Lawrences' beloved son, Stephen.


Stephen portrays events from 2006, thirteen years after Stephen's death on the evening of 22 April 1993 in a racially motivated attack whilst waiting for a bus in Well Hall Road, Eltham.

Even though Doreen and Neville Lawrence knew the identity of their son's killers, the original investigation had failed to convict those responsible, and their extraordinary campaign for justice led to a public inquiry which branded Metropolitan Police institutionally racist and brought about sweeping changes in the law and police practices and transformed thinking and understanding of racial inequality in the UK.

Yet six years on from the Inquiry no progress had been made into the case. The drama tells the story of the ongoing struggle by Doreen and Neville Lawrence to achieve justice and how a detective, DCI Clive Driscoll – working closely with the Lawrences – puts together an investigation that finally – more than 18 years after his death – secures the convictions of two of the gang who committed the murder of Stephen.

Stephen will air on ITV later this year.



Secrets Of An ISIS Smartphone comes to BBC Three on Thursday 15 July

With extraordinary access to the contents of a hard drive of smartphone material recovered after the fall of ISIS in Syria, award-winning journalist Mobeen Azhar explores this unique insight into the Islamic State group and the journeys of three young British men who went to Syria to fight

Featuring intimate videos and photos - most of them never seen before - Secrets Of An ISIS Smartphone reveals key moments in the lives of British men Fatlum Shalaku, Choukri Ellekhlifi and Muhammad Mehdi Hassan while in Syria. Unlike the gruesome Islamic State propaganda designed to be published online, this material offers a different view of life in the so called caliphate; a disturbing picture of young men joking, posing and weapon training - footage never intended to be seen publicly.

Using this material, and reaching out to the people who really knew them, Mobeen seeks to piece together their stories and explores what made these three men join an estimated 900 Britons who, over a six-year period, went out to Syria and Iraq to fight with ISIS and other similar groups.

Mobeen Azhar says: "I've spent years exploring the question of why someone turns to violent extremism but the footage on the smart phone is like nothing I've seen before.

"When I first watched it, it looked like boys on holiday in Magaluf. Quickly it descended into weapons training and a no-filter version of what it means to become a member of the most notorious extremist group of our time. There are clues about mindset and motivation.  It offers an insight into the last days of these men's lives.  

"I want this film to contribute to the ever-important discussion about what fuels violent extremism and what could be done to stop more lives being torn apart in this way."

The material from the hard drive featured in the programme was sourced by the Sunday Times.

Ruth Madeley to star in factual drama 'Independence Day? How Disabled Rights Were Won' on BBC Two


Marking the passing of the Disability Discrimination Act, Ruth Madeley stars in film based on the remarkable true story of the people behind an irrepressible campaign of direct action that lead to significant steps forward in the battle for disabled civil rights in Britain

Independence Day? How Disabled Rights Were Won (w/t) is based on the remarkable true story of the people behind an irrepressible campaign of direct action that lead to significant steps forward in the battle for disabled civil rights in Britain.

Written by multiple Bafta winner Jack Thorne and award-winning actor-turned-writer Genevieve Barr, the film tells the story through the eyes of Barbara Lisicki (Ruth Madeley) and Alan Holdsworth, two disabled cabaret performers who met at a gig in 1989 and would go on to become the driving force behind DAN - the Direct Action Network, whose fearless and coordinated protests pushed the campaign for disabled rights into the spotlight.

The film will be directed by Bruce Goodison and Amit Sharma. Bruce is a Bafta-winning director whose credits include BBC Three's Murdered By My Father and BBC One's hit drama Doctor Foster. Amit was one of several directors for BBC Four's Prix Italia winning and Bafta-nominated Crip Tales, and has previously been associate director of Graeae Theatre Company.

Eddie Marsan, Harry Treadaway, Sion Daniel Young, Rochenda Sandall and Nathaniel Martello-White join Channel 4 Drama’s Deceit



Channel 4 has announced the cast joining Niamh Algar (The Virtues, Raised by Wolves, Calm with Horses) in Deceit a gripping 4x60' drama produced by Story Films and written by Emilia di Girolamo (The Tunnel). The series examines the controversial honeytrap at the heart of the high-pressure investigation into the devastating murder of Rachel Nickell in 1992.

Examining the complicated and toxic sexual politics of the early '90s and the police's obsession with the wrong man, Deceit enters a dysfunctional world, where a female undercover officer, codename 'Lizzie James', is asked to become sexual bait for a suspected killer.

Five months on from the crime, The Met Police are still no closer to capturing the man they're convinced is responsible. First identified through a BBC Crimewatch appeal, the evidence points to Colin Stagg (Sion Daniel Young – Keeping Faith, Doc Martin). The media feed a national obsession, covering every detail of the case and demanding justice. The police are determined to catch the man who, in their eyes, is guilty before he kills again. In desperation, the relatively young Detective Inspector leading the case, Keith Pedder (Harry Treadaway – The Crown, Star Trek: Picard), engages the nation's most famous criminal profiler, Paul Britton (Eddie Marsan – Ray Donovan, Vice), to help devise a bold undercover operation which will see an attractive, young female officer start a relationship with Colin Stagg.

Growing up under Thatcher's reign, with second-wave feminism, 'Lizzie James' (Niamh Algar) is determined to rise through the ranks. But the early '90s has brought with it an inevitable backlash in the shape of 'Lad Culture', obliterating any feminist gains and putting women firmly back in their place, something felt by both 'Lizzie' and her friend and colleague Lucy (Rochenda Sandall – Line of Duty, Criminal: UK).

Hugely ambitious, 'Lizzie' has found a way to stand out by becoming one of very few female undercover officers deployed in covert operations, in a team which includes her sometime confidant Baz (Nathaniel Martello-White – I Hate Suzie, Collateral, Small Axe: Mangrove) … But then she's offered a central role in the biggest murder enquiry the country has ever seen…

With access to previously unheard audio, video and written materials, Deceit includes scenes of verbatim dialogue as part of a fictionalised retelling of events, taking viewers behind the scenes of one of the UK's most flawed and controversial police investigations.

Sunday, 27 June 2021

ITV launches On Yer Bike



ITV, the channel behind Soccer Aid for UNICEF, announces a brand new one off cycling show – all in the name of charity. On Yer Bike is a co-production between Crackit Productions and Initial TV, in association with Soccer Aid, to help raise money and awareness for UNICEF.

The 90-minute special will be hosted by presenter and cricketing icon Freddie Flintoff with the whole event spearheaded by cycling legend Sir Bradley Wiggins, the UK's most decorated Olympian and first British winner of the Tour De France.  

This one-off, primetime special will ride on the coat tails of the 2021 summer of sport and comes in light of the news that UK bikes sales were up by 63% in the summer of 2020 as the country pedalled its way through the pandemic.

In support of Soccer Aid for UNICEF, which takes place on Saturday 4 September 2021, this cycling spectacle will aim to raise money to help UNICEF deliver 2 billion Covid-19 vaccines around the world and help children get back to school, beat malnutrition and get the healthcare they need both today and long after the crisis is over.

Eight celebrities in two teams, England versus the World, will go head to head over three cycling legs, all set in the gorgeous and dramatic backdrop of rural Yorkshire.

The England team comprises of Coronation Street actress Sair Khan, actor Barney Walsh, Good Morning Britain's Alex Beresford and Emmerdale favourite Rebecca Sarker. The World team will feature comedian Zoe Lyons, actor Joe McFadden, Love Island star Maura Higgins and singer Keith Duffy.

The teams will ride in a peloton for each of the three timed stages and the last celebrity in each team to cross the line, will clock the final time. Who will impress Sir Bradley with their cycling skills? Who will be wheelie bad at keeping up with the pack?

This show will form part of Soccer Aid for UNICEF week on ITV - a whole week of extra programming including bespoke commissions and special celebrity versions of ITV's favourite shows - all in aid of Soccer Aid for UNICEF, as it celebrates it's centenary match. On Yer Bike will air on ITV and ITV Hub later this summer.

Freddie Flintoff said: "This show has it has it all – it's challenging, it's competitive and it's all for a good cause. Seeing celebrities in Lycra tackling the enormous hills of the Yorkshire Dales promises to be a real treat for everyone watching from their sofas!"

Friday, 25 June 2021

Sam Neill plus all-star ensemble cast join Christoph Waltz, Patrick Gibson and Sophie Wilde in upcoming fantasy adventure The Portable Door, a Sky Original

Multi-Golden Globe nominee Sam Neill (Peter Rabbit, Jurassic Park) joins two-time Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained, No Time to Die) and Patrick Gibson (The OA, Tolkien) to star in the new fantasy-adventure-comedy feature The Portable Door, a Sky Original – adapted from Tom Holt's popular 7-book fantasy series. Prolific and award-winning director Jeffrey Walker (Ali's Wedding, Lambs of God) will direct the film from the screenplay adapted by Leon Ford (Griff the Invisible).

Also joining the cast is Miranda Otto (Lord of the Rings, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), Chris Pang (Crazy Rich Asians, Charlie's Angels), Jessica De Gouw (Gretel & Hansel, Pennyworth), Rachel House (Soul, Thor: Ragnarok), Arka Das (Mulan, Lion), Damon Herriman (Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, Mr Inbetween) and newcomer Sophie Wilde (Eden, You Don't Know Me).

A Jim Henson Company, Story Bridge Films and Sky production, The Portable Door, a Sky Original is produced by Blanca Lista from The Jim Henson Company (Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance), and Todd Fellman from Story Bridge Films (Daybreakers, Bait 3D). The Jim Henson Company's Lisa Henson and Chris Lytton are executive producing as well as Arclight Films' Gary Hamilton, Brian Beckmann and Ying Ye, alongside Julia Stuart and Laura Grange from Sky and Stan's Cailah Scobie and Shana Levine.

Julia Stuart, Director of Original Film at Sky comments: "It's very exciting to continue to build our content offering in Original film with such legendary partners as The Jim Henson Company and Story Bridge Films alongside our friends at Arclight Films. The Portable Door is going to be an unmissable adventure with a very British sense of humour that I cannot wait to share with Sky Cinema customers across all our markets."

The film started Principal Photography on 7 June in Queensland, Australia and co-producer Sky will release the film as a Sky Original in the UK & Ireland, Germany and Italy. Additional finance partners include Fulcrum Media Finance, MEP Capital and The Jim Henson Company with support provided by Screen Queensland, Create NSW, and Film Victoria. Arclight Films is handling international rights.

In The Portable Door, a Sky Original Paul Carpenter (Gibson) and Sophie Pettingel (Wilde) are the lowly, put-upon interns who begin working at the mysterious London firm J.W. Wells & Co. and become steadily aware that their employers are anything but conventional. Charismatic villains Humphrey Wells (Waltz), the CEO of the company, and middle manager Dennis Tanner (Neill) are disrupting the world of magic by bringing modern corporate strategy to ancient magical practices, and Paul and Sophie discover the true agenda of the vast corporation where they work.

ITV's The Larkins further casting confirmed

ITV announces further casting on The Larkins, the new television adaption of H.E Bates' novel The Darling Buds of May.

Already announced are Bradley Walsh (Pop Larkin), Joanna Scanlan (Ma Larkin), Sabrina Bartlett (Mariette Larkin) and Tok Stephen (Charley Charlton).

Joining them will be Peter Davison (the Vicar), Kriss Dosanjh (Brigadier), Amelia Bullmore (Miss Edith Pilchester), Seeta Indrani (Miss Chand), Robert Bathurst (Johnny Delamere), Stephen Hagan (Tom Fisher), Francesca Waterworth (Libby Fothergill), Barney Walsh (PC Harness), Tony Gardner (Alec Norman) and Selina Griffiths (Norma Norman).

Completing the Larkin family on screen will be Lydia Page (Primrose Larkin), Liam Middleton (Montgomery Larkin), Lola Shepelev (Victoria Larkin), Davina Coleman (Zinnia Larkin) and Rosie Coleman (Petunia Larkin).

The Larkins is a new six-part television adaptation of H.E. Bates' novel The Darling Buds of May, written by acclaimed screenwriter Simon Nye (Finding Alice, The Durrells, Men Behaving Badly) with the aim of capturing the warmth, optimism and escapism of The Larkin family for a modern generation.  Abigail Wilson (Trollied, Carters Get Rich, Stella) writes one of the episodes.

The book and its sequels were last adapted 30 years ago as The Darling Buds of May and became one of ITV's all time highest rated television comedy dramas winning critical acclaim and audience approval.

Set in the late 1950's, The Larkins is the story of a working-class family led by the golden-hearted wheeler dealer Pop Larkin and his wife Ma, together with their six children, including the beautiful Mariette.

Fiercely loyal to each other and their community, each Larkin family member has a strong work ethic, alongside a disinterest in authority.  

In the idyllic and beautiful Kent countryside, known as the Garden of England, The Larkins have achieved a small patch of paradise where nothing is wasted and they enjoy life to the full.

There's an overwhelming sense of plenty in their lives and a lot of joy and raucous laughter, as Ma Larkin provides a seemingly endless supply of delicious, hearty meals.  And no matter what time of day, The Larkins and their guests aren't averse to enjoying the odd cocktail or two!

The Larkins are fundamentally good-hearted people who are always happy to share what they have with others, despite the fact that what they have is sometimes obtained by unusual means!  In a rather mean-spirited way their good heartedness is not always shared by certain members of the local community.

From government officials and snobbish second homeowners to aggressive urban developers, the Larkins often deal with threats to their idyllic way of life – but they never take things lying down.

Alongside their weekly battles with authority and snobbish villagers, The Larkins will follow the love story between Mariette and village newcomer Cedric 'Charley' Charlton. Charley arrives in the village as an unworldly and officious accountant from the city, there to investigate the Larkins' tax affairs.

He is soon distracted by the beautiful Mariette, with whom he falls head over heels in love.  However, he quickly discovers that he has a romantic rival in the form of the handsome and mysterious Tom Fisher. Mariette, on the other hand, may have plans of her own, which don't involve men.

First-look images revealed and further casting announced for BBC One's highly anticipated adaptation of This Is Going To Hurt

Casting has been announced, and first-look images released, of the highly anticipated adaption of Adam Kay's multi-million copy bestseller This is Going to Hurt, which has just wrapped filming

Emmy, Bafta and Golden Globe-winning lead Ben Whishaw is joined by Dame Harriet Walter, Ambika Mod, Michele Austin, Alex Jennings and Rory Fleck Byrne

Casting has been announced, and first-look images released, on the highly anticipated adaption of Adam Kay's multi-million copy bestseller This Is Going To Hurt, which has just wrapped filming. The co-production with AMC will launch on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

At times hilarious, at times devastating, This Is Going To Hurt is a 7X45' series following Adam (Ben Whishaw - A Very English Scandal, Skyfall, London Spy), a doctor who we find wending his way through the ranks of hospital hierarchy - junior enough to suffer the crippling hours, but senior enough to face a constant barrage of terrifying responsibilities. Adam is clinging to his personal life as he is increasingly overwhelmed by stresses at work: the 97-hour weeks, the life and death decisions, and all the while knowing the hospital parking meter is earning more than him.

Whishaw is joined by newcomer Ambika Mod as Shruti, a young junior doctor just starting in obstetrics and gynaecology. Naturally bright, diligent and caring, she has everything it takes to be a great doctor, but the job still finds ways to throw her into chaos and doubt.

Michele Austin (Meet the Richardsons, The Casual Vacancy) plays Tracy, a confident, sharp-witted senior midwife, and Bafta-nominated Alex Jennings (The Crown, A Very English Scandal, Unforgotten, The Lady In The Van) plays Mr Lockhart, a consultant and Adam's domineering boss. Kadiff Kirwan (Chewing Gum, This Way Up, The Stranger) plays Julian, Adam's colleague and professional rival, and Ashley McGuire (This Country, Malory Towers, It's A Sin) plays Miss Houghton, a formidable and forthright consultant who spots potential in Shruti.

Emmy-nominated Harriet Walter (Killing Eve, The Crown, Succession) plays Veronique, Adam's mother. Rory Fleck Byrne (Harlots, Vita And Virginia, Ghosts) plays Adam's boyfriend Harry, and Tom Durant-Pritchard (Feel Good, The Windsors, Judy, The Crown) plays Adam's best friend Greg, his two closest relationships and the ones forced to face the brunt of the pressures he faces at work.

The series is based on Adam Kay's award-winning international multi-million selling memoir of the same name, which has sold over 2.5 million copies to date and has been translated into 37 languages. The series, which is created, written and executive produced by Kay himself, rejoices in the laugh-out-loud highs, while pulling no punches in its depiction of the gut-wrenching lows of life on a gynaecology and obstetrics ward.

Blisteringly funny, politically enraging and frequently heartbreaking, This Is Going To Hurt remains a stark reminder of the vital role played by the NHS and is a clarion call to support our medics, a message that is more urgent than ever.


Channel 4 and Land Rover to go on epic adventure with star-studded Jason Fox series

Jason Fox is to embark on his most ambitious challenge yet in a new 3-part series commissioned by Channel 4 in association with Land Rover.

The SAS Who Dares Wins star will be joined by three household names, with each episode providing uniquely devised challenges for the celebrity guest. Filmed in the spectacular surroundings of Wales, the series will see Foxy draw on his unique skills honed from his years serving in the British special forces to challenge each guest to their limits.

 With a focus on resilience that is both physical and mental the series, made by BBC Studios Factual Entertainment Productions, will explore the challenges that each of the guests have had to overcome in their own lives and find out where it is they draw their strength from.

Jonah Weston, Commissioning Editor at Channel 4 says: "After a year stuck at home, audiences will love seeing Foxy and our famous faces taking on some terrifying challenges in Wales' wild and wonderful countryside."

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

All episodes of the third series of Sky Original epic and rebellious drama Britannia will be coming to Sky Atlantic and NOW on Tuesday 24th August 2021

Sky today announces that all eight episodes of the third instalment of Sky Original Britannia will TX on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW on Tuesday 24th August 2021.

The series stars David Morrissey, Mackenzie Crook, Sophie Okonedo, Annabel Scholey, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Eleanor Worthington-Cox and Zoë Wanamaker. In a world of mythic Celtic tribes, psychedelic druids and terrifying Romans, series three will see a young girl try to build a rebel alliance with a group of misfits.

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

Created by the multi-award-winning writers Jez Butterworth, his brother Tom Butterworth and James Richardson. Epic, action packed, full of humour and terrifying in equal measure, Britannia is produced by Vertigo Films and Neal Street Productions in association with Sky Studios.

Britannia series three was commissioned by Zai Bennett, Sky's Managing Director of Content with Gabriel Silver as the Executive Producer for the series for Sky Studios. Series three is written by Jez and Tom Butterworth and Mackenzie Crook and produced by Rupert Ryle-Hodges and Matt Carver. Britannia is created by Jez and Tom Butterworth and Vertigo Films' James Richardson who all act as Executive Producers together with Neal Street Production's Nicolas Brown, Pippa Harris and Sam Mendes.

All episodes of Britannia series three will air on the 24th of August on Sky Atlantic and NOW. Viewers can catch up on all episodes of the first two series of Britannia on-demand on Sky and NOW.

New images of The North Water from See-Saw Films, starring Jack O’Connell, Colin Farrell and Stephen Graham


BBC Two has released a gallery of new images from its forthcoming cinematic drama series The North Water, airing this autumn on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer. Adapted for the screen and directed by Andrew Haigh, The North Water is made by See-Saw Films and Rhombus Media for the BBC.


The new photos feature Jack O'Connell as Patrick Sumner, Colin Farrell as Henry Drax, and Stephen Graham as Captain Brownlee, alongside Tom Courtenay as Baxter, seen here in character for the first time. The North Water also stars Peter Mullan, Sam Spruell and Roland Møller.


Set in Hull and on the ice floes of the Arctic in the late 1850s, The North Water's location work took place primarily in the Arctic, shooting on the frozen seas north of the Svalbard Archipelago. The cast and production team sailed as far as 81 degrees north to film sequences in the pack ice, the furthest point north it is believed a drama series has ever filmed before.



Based on the acclaimed novel by Ian McGuire, the five-part series tells the story of Patrick Sumner (O'Connell), a disgraced ex-army surgeon who signs up as ship's doctor on a whaling expedition to the Arctic. But the ferocity of the elements is matched by the violence of his crew mates, with Drax (Farrell), a harpooner and distinctly brutal force of nature. As the true purpose of the expedition becomes clear, confrontation between the two men erupts, taking them on a journey far from solid ground and beyond the safe moorings of civilisation.


Commissioned by the BBC, The North Water (5x60') is made by See-Saw Films for the BBC and is adapted and directed by Andrew Haigh. Executive producers are Jamie Laurenson, Hakan Kousetta, Iain Canning and Emile Sherman for See-Saw Films, Niv Fichman for Rhombus Media, and Jo McClellan for the BBC. The series was produced by Kate Ogborn. The North Water is a co-production with Rhombus Media and is distributed internationally by BBC Studios.

The North Water will air on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer this autumn.



The Misinvestigations Of Romesh Ranganathan

Following the huge success of his Misadventures series, Romesh Ranganathan is turning his skills to solving crime in a brand new 3x60' series, The Misinvestigations of Romesh Ranganathan for BBC Two and BBC iPlayer.

Romesh will aim his razor-sharp wit at a new genre - true crime - and get to the bottom of some of the most mysterious, high-profile deaths that shocked a generation.

He will be diving headlong into the lives and deaths of some of the biggest names of the past 50 years, including Jimi Hendrix and Tupac Shakur, finding out not just how they came to pass away at such a young age but learning about their extraordinary achievements, their enduring legaciesand why their deaths continue to fascinate us.

With the aid of a new assistant in each episode, from criminal psychologists to private detectives. Romesh will leave no stone unturned, meeting friends, colleagues, key witnesses and pathologists in his attempt to unravel the riddle.

Romesh says: "We wanted a spin-off for Misadventures, and after we discussed Misinterpretations, Miscalculations and Misunderstandings we finally settled on Misinvestigations. It's been really interesting to look into these high-profile deaths and I am very excited for people to see the show, unless of course people don't like it in which case I will release a statement explaining how I never really believed in the project."

Britain's Top Takeaways - With Sara Cox

Britain's Top Takeaways is a brand new eight-part series for BBC Two and BBC iPlayer that sees some of the nation's best-loved independent takeaways battling for supremacy in a fast-food showdown that crowns a different winner each week.

Hosted by Sara Cox, this celebration of Britain's booming home delivery scene follows five takeaways from the same sector in each stand-alone episode. Drawn from across the UK, they'll compete in a specially built kitchen set in a former foundry in the heart of Manchester.

There, they'll cook up a storm of delights that will have audiences salivating. Their dishes are biked to households within delivery distance of the Top Takeaway Kitchen, who have the difficult decision of judging that episode's winner.

Each takeaway brings a delicious curated menu featuring a classic dish, chef's special, vegetarian option and sides. Our families and friends choose dishes from the five menus but the takeaways have no idea when or what they'll order. It's a fast and furious service!

As soon the food is ready, it's raced to the door of the people who ordered it who critique the dishes they've chosen. There's no let up for the takeaway teams as the next order comes in, and at the end of a frenetic night, they finally collapse while they wait for the final scores - to see if their business can triumph as that episode's Top Takeaway.

Presenter and broadcaster Sara Cox says: "When I first heard about this show they had me at takeaway! Especially in recent times, the takeaway has become something of an event in our house. We look forward to burgers, noodles, curry - all delicious and delivered to our front door. I'm thrilled to be celebrating the takeaway and finding the very best in Britain, and if that means eating all the left over chips and putting on half a stone, so be it."

His Dark Materials series three commences production with eight-part adaptation of The Amber Spyglass

New worlds beckon for Lyra (Dafne Keen), Will (Amir Wilson), Mrs Coulter (Ruth Wilson), Mary Malone (Simone Kirby) & Lord Asriel (James Mcavoy)

His Dark Materials returns to production with an epic third series of the Bafta Award-winning BBC and HBO co-production based on Philip Pullman's final novel in the trilogy, The Amber Spyglass, produced by Bad Wolf.

This series will see Will (Amir Wilson), the bearer of The Subtle Knife, and Lyra (Dafne Keen), the prophesied child, travel through multiple worlds to find and protect each other.

New cast for series three includes Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Commander Ogunwe and Jamie Ward as Father Gomez. Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Simon Harrison, and Chipo Chung are the rebel angels Balthamos, Baruch and Xaphania; while Ama will be played by Amber Fitzgerald-Woolfe.

Returning cast also include Will Keen as Father President MacPhail, Jade Anouka as Ruta Skadi and Ruta Gedmintas as Serafina Pekkala.

Amit Gupta will lead as director of the opening two episodes, to be followed by Charles Martin and Weronika Tofilska.

Production will once again take place in the sound stages at Wolf Studios Wales and on location throughout Wales and England.

At the end of series two we saw Lord Asriel call upon the angels to help him wage a war against the Kingdom of Heaven, as Mrs Coulter abducted her daughter Lyra to take her to 'safety' in their own world.

Series three opens with Lyra unconscious, having been given a sleeping draught by her mother, as Will, still carrying the Subtle Knife, continues his quest to find her. Will is tracked down by two angels - Balthamos and Baruch - who wish to take him to join Lord Asriel's campaign against The Authority with Commander Ogunwe. But Will is not the only one after Lyra, with Father President MacPhail continuing his mission to destroy the child of the prophecy, employing the help of his most committed follower, Father Gomez.

Meanwhile Oxford physicist Mary Malone reaches another parallel world - that of the Mulefa, a strange animal-like species. They tell her of a cataclysmic phenomenon in their world.

With multiple new worlds, including the Land Of The Dead, returning characters and featuring strange new creatures the Mulefa and Gallivespians, the third series will bring Philip Pullman's masterpiece to a dramatic conclusion.

Monday, 21 June 2021

COMPETITION: Win Innocent - Series 2 on DVD



Innocent - Series 2 - Released on DVD from 28th June

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

Synopsis: 
This dark and thrilling four-part drama, penned once again by dynamic duo writing team Chris Lang (Unforgotten) and Matthew Arlidge (Silent Witness), airs over consecutive nights and Innocent Series Two and arrives on DVD alongside the Innocent Series One and Two Box Set on 28 June 2021, courtesy of Acorn Media International.

When 16-year-old school-boy, Matty Taylor is found dead, brutally stabbed with a broken cider bottle, suspicion falls on his teacher Sally Wright (Kelly), who had allegedly been having an affair with him. 

Following a murder conviction and a lengthy sentence, new evidence comes to light and Sally is released from prison and free once more…or is she?  The case has all but destroyed the life she once had, a stable marriage, a nice home and a good job teaching English at a local comprehensive, now her reputation is in tatters and her life will never be the same again.

Filled with suspicion, secrets and lies, this enthralling drama will have you desperate to know who is guilty.

Pre-order on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2SPbxHV

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

COMPETITION CLOSED

Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 05-07-21
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.

COMPETITION: Win Three Families on DVD



Three Families - Released on DVD from 28th June

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

Synopsis: 
The Abortion Act of 1967, which permitted abortion in the UK, did not extend to Northern Ireland. The critically acclaimed Three Families, set between 2013-2019, tells the true story of three women and their families before the recent change to legislation in Northern Ireland as many voices would fight to be heard.

With a stellar cast including Sinéad Keenan (Little Boy Blue), Lola Petticrew (Bloodlands), Amy James-Kelly (Gentleman Jack) and Genevieve O’Reilly (The Dry), Three Families is a stunning two-part dramatisation, exploring the emotive issues around abortion in Northern Ireland, and the experience of families whose lives have been profoundly affected.

Dazzler Media presents Three Families on DVD and Digital from 28th June

Pre-order on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3xA7L3U

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

COMPETITION CLOSED


Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 05-07-21
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.

Sunday, 20 June 2021

Life & Rhymes returns for a second series

BAFTA Award-winning spoken word series Life & Rhymes will return to Sky Arts, the UK's only TV channel dedicated to arts and culture, later this year. The Sky Original series, hosted by acclaimed British writer and poet, Professor Benjamin Zephaniah, sees some of the country's leading spoken word performers and select members of the audience showcase their lyrical creativity on topics such as racism, gender, sexuality and mental health. The first entertainment show of its kind, Life & Rhymes celebrates the art of spoken word and brings it to a mainstream setting.

 Phil Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts and Entertainment, said:

"Life and Rhymes is a true original – placing performance poetry on the pedestal it deserves. It's vibrant and relevant and provides a powerful platform for many voices to be heard, all under the nurturing gaze of Benjamin Zephaniah who's a God."

The first 4x26 minute series of Life & Rhymes was filmed during lockdown in front of a live socially distanced audience in South London's Battersea Park. The second series will return to Battersea Park and will air this autumn.

Professor Benjamin Zephaniah, said:

"I'm looking forward to presenting a new series of Life and Rhymes. Giving a platform to people to speak their truth through poetry and the spoken word, is a joy. It's a programme with no ego. It's a programme about people. It's the programme I've waited all my life to present. It's good to be home."

Life & Rhymes triumphed at the BAFTA Television Awards earlier this month where it won the award for Best Entertainment Programme, beating off competition from Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway (ITV), Strictly Come Dancing (BBC) and The Masked Singer (ITV).  

Life & Rhymes was commissioned by Zai Bennett, Managing Director of Content for Sky UK and Ireland and Phil Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts and Entertainment. The commissioning editor for Sky is Barbara Lee.  Isaac Nartey, a Sky Academy Leader in the young people department at Sky, also gained Associate Producer and Co-Creator credits on the programme for his lifelong passion to showcase the much-underrepresented genre.

Gok Wan hosts brand new ITV series Bling

Hosted by Gok Wan, the 20 x 60' series delves into the dazzling world of jewellery and beyond; from buying and selling to making and fixing eye-catching pieces, figurines and more.

In the show's very own Bling store, bling is king. It's a one-stop shop with four distinct counters, one dedicated to each process, with charismatic experts on hand to guide, advise and get the best deals.

Heart-warming stories abound as excited couples seek that perfect engagement ring, sell a hidden gem such as a delicate pocket watch, fix a much-loved family treasure, or even create a one-off bespoke item. While customers also share the more emotive stories behind their trinkets; perhaps beloved family heirlooms they hope are not damaged beyond repair or treasured objects belonging to a departed loved one.

Heart and purse strings will be pulled, as some customers look to sell and buy - perhaps even restore and sell - within the same visit.

And it gets competitive as the experts are ready to pounce on a colleague's customer if a piece catches their eye. When a customer hears a big valuation, maybe that cherished heirloom might suddenly seem dispensable!

Meanwhile the craft experts at the fix and make counters will have their skills stretched as they work on everything from necklaces to carriage clocks. All are set to be wowed and surprised with items ranging from costume jewellery to crystal figurines and unique objet d'art.

Join Gok and the team as eye-catching items, emotional stories, hard bargains and quick deals collide under one roof.

Gok Wan said: "Jewellery can mean so much more than simply being just an accessory. And figurines, timepieces and delicate heirlooms often carry a special significance. I can't wait to see some beautiful bling and delve into the stories that really make it sparkle"

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

EASTENDERS NEWS: Janine is back

She's back – Charlie Brooks is back in Walford as she prepares to reprise her role as Janine Butcher. Despite being away from Albert Square for over seven years, one thing viewers can be sure of is that wherever Janine is, drama is never far away…

The infamous Janine has been at the centre of some of EastEnders most unforgettable storylines. Known for her scheming, tumultuous relationships and explosive feuds with nearly everyone that crosses her path, she will stop at nothing one to get what she wants, most memorably pushing her husband Barry off a cliff to his death on New Year's Day 2004. There has been no limit to the scandalous stunts Janine has pulled over the years, cementing her as one the most iconic characters to have passed through E20.

Janine was last seen heading to Paris in 2014 to pick up her daughter Scarlett but her whereabouts have been unknown since then. With Scarlett also set to return, Janine's sudden reappearance will likely send shockwaves around Walford and with enemies to boot around every corner, trouble will no doubt follow her back to E20.

On her return to Albert Square Charlie says, "I am beyond excited to be slipping back into Janine's shoes and returning to the square. The time feels right, and I can't wait to find out what she's been up to for the last seven years! She is and always has been SO much fun to play. Feels a bit like coming home. It's good to be back."

Jon Sen, Executive Producer, EastEnders adds, "Janine is one of EastEnders most iconic characters who is loved, and often despised, in equal measure by viewers and all those in Walford. Charlie's portrayal of Janine over the years has created some of EastEnders most memorable moments and we are all really excited to see Charlie bring her incredible portrayal of Janine back again. We have lots of drama in store for Janine, in fact it may be wise for some of the residents of Walford to invest in some slip-on shoes…"

Production begins on BBC One's third and final series of The Split

Further cast announcements include the return of Barry Atsma as Christie, Chukwudi Iwuji as Zander and Damien Molony as Tyler

Joining the cast will be Lara Pulver, while Dee Koppang O'Leary begins as lead director.

BBC One, BBC America and Sister are delighted to announce that production has started in London on Abi Morgan's returning drama - The Split - for the final part of its trilogy. The series will once again be distributed internationally by BBC Studios.

The highly anticipated series, set in the fast-paced, complex world of London's high-end divorce circuit is created by Bafta and Emmy Award-winning writer Abi Morgan (River, Suffragette, The Hour) and Executive Produced by Jane Featherstone (Chernobyl, Giri-Haji, Utopia), Lucy Dyke (The Split, Black Mirror, Ripper Street) and Lucy Richer (Small Axe, The Salisbury Poisonings, The A Word).

Alongside the returning three Defoe sisters (Nicola Walker, Annabel Scholey and Fiona Button), their formidable mother Ruth (Deborah Findlay) and Hannah's husband Nathan (Stephen Mangan), the production today reveals the eagerly awaited return of Christie, played by Barry Atsma; the catalyst to the breakdown of Hannah and Nathan's marriage in series two.

Also returning to The Split for its final series are Damien Molony (Tyler), Chukwudi Iwuji (Zander), Rudi Dharmalingham (James), Elizabeth Roberts (Liv Stern), Ian McElhinney (Prof Ronnie), Anna Chancellor (Melanie Aickman) and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith (Glen Peters), reprising his role as the Vicar who married Rose and James in season one.

Joining this formidable group is Lara Pulver (Sherlock) playing Kate, a leading child psychologist whose arrival adds a whole new layer of complexity to Morgan's multi-layered examination of divorce and modern marriage. This farewell series, equal parts electrifying, witty and heartbreaking, continues to put the Defoe sisters and their matriarch at its heart; a group of powerful women working together to help their clients, their colleagues and each other as they continue to navigate the messiness of life.

After audiences were left reeling by the collapse of Hannah and Nathan's marriage at the end of series two, we join them again 10 months on, following the two divorce lawyers as they negotiate their way through their own separation. With Dee Koppang O'Leary (Bridgerton, The Crown) boarding as lead director, Abi Morgan will conclude the trilogy with the most heartwarming and heartbreaking series to date, as we watch a divorce lawyer confronted with her own divorce. With Christie making a return combined with a shocking revelation, will Hannah and Nathan repair their broken marriage, or is The Split simply too deep to repair?

Abi Morgan says: "For every writer there are characters that stay with them, long after a show is over. Hannah Defoe and her family are just that, and it's been a welcome balm after a difficult year globally, to reunite this brilliant cast.

"The Split has been building to this exhilarating final act for the Defoes as they navigate their way through the marital make up and break up, both personally and professionally, at Noble, Hale And Defoe. They say you can't have new beginnings without endings, and I want to say a big thank you to the BBC and AMC, and the fans who have kept running by our side."

First Look Picture: Anne Robinson joins Rachel Riley and Susie Dent to become the three ladies of Countdown

Anne Robinson takes up the Countdown reins from Monday 28 June on Channel 4, replacing Nick Hewer as the first female host of Channel 4's longest running series.  She will join numbers whizz Rachel Riley and wordsmith Susie Dent, where together they will be the TV programme's formidable female trio, every weekday at 2.10pm.

On her new all-female team, Anne Robinson, who will become Countdown's sixth host said: "Three Girls Do Countdown - who wouldn't want to watch?"

Reflecting on filming with journalist and broadcaster Anne Robinson, Rachel Riley said: "It's been really fun watching Anne very quickly find her feet in the Countdown studio and seeing the contestants in the new groove with her. She's not shy of asking them funny questions and the responses have ranged from going into their own comedy routines to not looking directly at her and hoping she doesn't see them - it's been very lively!"

Susie Dent added: "I'm so pleased to be able to work with Anne again. She has been a heroine of mine ever since she gently rescued me from an embarrassing moment on my first bit of live TV. With her flair and wit, she's going to be a wonderful addition to the Countdown team."

Countdown, which airs every weekday at 2.10pm, is filmed in Salford and produced by ITV Studios Entertainment.  It was the first programme to broadcast on Channel 4, when the channel launched 39 years ago, in November 1982, making it one of the longest running quiz shows in the world.

COMPETITION: Win The Adventures Of Robinson Crusoe Original TV Soundtrack



The Adventures Of Robinson Crusoe Original TV Soundtrack - Out July 9th on Audio CD

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

Synopsis: 
To many people British television had its heyday in the 1960s, a plethora of entertainment for all ages.

Children's TV was no exception, the many adventure series, educational programmes and puppet shows all had a profound effect on those lucky enough to have grown up in those years.

At 5PM on October 12th, 1965 viewers witnessed a gentle sea rolling over a sandy shore that could just about be anywhere in the world, but in that short twenty seconds or so not only did we discover it was a 'Franco London Film' presentation of The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe', it also gave us that short burst intro to the theme that would stay with us well after the thirteen 25 minute episodes had faded into the mists of time. 

A collaboration between composers Robert Mellin and Gian-Piero Reverberi would give us the wonderful theme and incidental music from this much-loved series.

The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe was a French- German drama series made by Franco London Films as an adaptation of Daniel Defoe's 1719 novel Robinson Crusoe. It was the first, and often quoted as being the best television adaptation of the original story. The series would enjoy a huge European audience in what would be the very first European Television Channel co-production.

Silva Screen's original release from 31 years ago was updated in 1997 when new material came to light and is now reissued once more with a definitive history of the music and series written by Stephen Brown & Lynn Simpson.


Pre-order on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Tzy4bU

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

COMPETITION CLOSED


Terms and conditions
1. Closing date July 9th 2021
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.

Monday, 14 June 2021

COMPETITION: Win Diana At Sixty on DVD



Diana At Sixty - Released on DVD from 21st June

And to celebrate we have a great competition for you and 2 copies on DVD to give away.

Synopsis: 
Diana, Princess of Wales, would have turned 60 on 1st July 2021. To mark what would have been her landmark birthday, her friends, allies, people who worked with her, Royal correspondents, media experts and those touched by her charity work line up to discuss her life, her achievements and look at how she would have been today had she survived the fatal crash in DIANA AT SIXTY, a stunning new documentary from director Robin Bextor (Crown and Country, Hearts of Gold), that pays tribute and celebrates to her life and work. The film will be released on DVD and digital on 21st June 2021 courtesy of Reel to Reel Films.

The film sees Hillary Clinton lead a fascinating line-up of friends and associates, including Diana’s astrologer Debbie Frank and Derek Deane from the English National Ballet to discuss Diana, the Princess of Hearts, the People’s Princess and chronicles the life of Lady Diana Spencer, the young woman who married a Prince, but who went on to become an internationally loved Princess in her own right.  It delves into her life and important work during her 16 years in the public eye and explores her popularity with both the British public and with people all over the world. It follows the moving story of how the People’s Princess touched hearts, made a huge impact and became one of the most adored royals ever. 

DIANA AT SIXTY celebrates the fascinating life of one of Britain’s most beloved figures in recent history. 

Pre-order on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Svmb6o

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

COMPETITION CLOSED


Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 28-06-21
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.

COMPETITION: Win Too Close on DVD


Too Close - Released on DVD from 21st June

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

Synopsis: 
BAFTA-winning actor Emily Watson gives another powerhouse performance in brand new nail-biting psychological drama Too Close.

Based on Natalie Daniels’ best-selling novel, we enter the world of dedicated forensic psychiatrist, Dr Emma Robinson (Watson – Chernobyl, Apple Tree Yard), who has worked with her fair share of high security patients and isn’t easily shocked…Then she meets Connie Mortenson (Denise Gough – Guerilla, Paula)…

Connie is on remand, awaiting trial for a heinous crime.  When Emma is assigned to her case she must explore the woman’s complicated mind to find out what really happened on the fateful night and what was it that made Connie into a monster?

Delving deep into Connie’s psych, she tries to find answers to how her beautiful friend Ness (Thalissa Teixeira – Baghdad Central), fits into the puzzle and why does her husband refuse to visit her? As Emma tries to make sense of everything, Connie starts to show a searing insight into Emma’s deepest insecurities and begins to brutally exploit them.

Their sessions become a complex psychological game with confusing and emotional undercurrents and the more Emma tries to uncover the truth and learn what triggered Connie’s despicable behaviour, the more she realises that her drive to get justice, may be the thing that destroys her.

Pre-order on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3glMS6R

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

Which actor plays Dr Emma Robinson in Too Close?

Send your name, address and of course the answer to competition365@outlook.com

Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 28-06-21
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.

Saturday, 12 June 2021

Janette Manrara to join BBC Two’s Strictly: It Takes Two as new host

Janette Manrara has been confirmed as the new host on Strictly: It Takes Two, joining Rylan Clark-Neal on BBC Two's week-night sister show to Strictly Come Dancing.

She will be share hosting duties with Rylan across the week.

Janette replaces Zoe Ball, who stood down as presenter in May after a decade on the programme, and she shared the news with The One Show viewers this evening.

Janette says: "It's a dream come true to become part of the It Takes Two team! Although it's impossible to fill in the shoes of a legend like Zoe Ball, I hope to make her and all of the Strictly fans proud. I will miss dancing on that iconic dance floor weekly, but forever grateful to continue being a part of the Strictly Come Dancing family!"

The new role means that Janette will be leaving Strictly. New professional dancers for 2021 will be announced in due course.

Strictly: It Takes Two will return to BBC Two week nights in the autumn.

Thursday, 10 June 2021

Jason Watkins, Victoria Hamilton, George MacKay and Jerome Flynn to star in conspiracy thriller The Trick for BBC One

BBC One announces The Trick, a landmark film that tells the real life story of the 'Climategate' affair from 2009

Produced by Vox Pictures, the team behind the critically acclaimed Keeping Faith, and written by Bafta-nominated Owen Sheers (The Snow Spider, Aberfan: The Green Hollow) The Trick tells the story of world-renowned Professor Philip Jones; Director of Climate Research at the University of East Anglia, who back in 2009 found himself at the eye of an international media storm and the victim of cyberterrorism.

With time running out against an unseen enemy, The Trick looks at the potentially devastating consequences to humanity from climate change denial; how a media storm undermined public confidence in the science and how the concept of 'truth' took a back seat causing us to lose a decade of action. The film also charts the unjustified persecution of Phil Jones, his wife Ruth's fierce support of her husband and the fight for the ultimate exoneration of himself and the science.

The powerful single drama will star an ensemble cast including Jason Watkins (Line of Duty, The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies) as respected scientist Professor Phil Jones and Victoria Hamilton (Doctor Foster, Life) as Phil's wife, Ruth.

The cast also includes George MacKay (1917, Pride), Jerome Flynn (Game of Thrones, Ripper Street), Adrian Edmondson (The Pact, Save Me), Aneirin Hughes (Hinterland, Keeping Faith), Pooky Quesnel (The A Word, The Victim), Richard Elfyn (The Pact), Rhashan Stone (Keeping Faith, Finding Alice), Justin Salinger (Hanna), Tara Divina (Line of Duty) and David Calder (Time, The Hatton Garden Job).

Jason Watkins says: "It is rare that a drama marries the personal and the public in such a compelling way - the urgent need to tackle the effects of the earth's warming is not going away and the research into this project has been sobering. It is a privilege to play the brilliant scientist, Phil Jones, whose own private world was so threatened from outside and whose research and efforts have been so vital globally in combating the effects of climate change. I'm delighted to be performing alongside Victoria, the whole exceptional cast and with Pip Broughton, whose singular and beautiful work I so admire."

Victoria Hamilton says: "This project is a call to arms in favour of the climate change cause, and I'm genuinely thrilled to be part of it."

Owen Sheers says: "The Trick is both a story of a particular moment in time, and a story for our times. The events that came to be known as Climategate were a powerful coalescence of forces that have since shaped much of our last decade. At its heart, however, this is also a story about the people caught at the eye of a new kind of storm, and how in the end despite attack from all sides, the integrity and truth of their important work won through."

BBC Three comedy Starstruck set to return for second series

Edinburgh Comedy Award winning comedian, writer and actor Rose Matafeo's romcom Starstruck has been picked up for a second 6-part series by HBO Max and BBC Three.

The announcement comes ahead of HBO Max's series one premiere on 10 June, and shortly after it debuted on BBC Three in the UK where it became the channel's best performing new comedy of the year with over three million requests on BBC iPlayer to date.

Co-written by Rose Matafeo, Alice Snedden, and Nic Sampson, and produced by Avalon, the second 6 x 30 series is set to continue the story of Jessie (Rose Matafeo), a millennial living in East London juggling two dead end jobs and navigating the complications of becoming romantically involved with famous film star Tom (Nikesh Patel; Four Weddings And A Funeral, Hulu; Indian Summers, Channel 4), and follow the couple as they realise they can't keep away from each other. Minnie Driver (Modern Love, Amazon; Good Will Hunting) is set to reprise her role as Tom's agent Cath, while Russell Tovey (Years and Years; BBC One, Him & Her; BBC Three) joins the cast for the brand-new series.

Rose Matafeo, creator and writer of Starstruck says: "Thrilled that Starstruck will be returning to the BBC Three for a second series, because I left my water bottle on set last year and I would love to get it back."

As well as airing on BBC Three in the UK and HBO Max in the U.S., series 1 and 2 of Starstruck will also air on ABC in Australia and TVNZ in New Zealand.

Channel 4 commissions Rachel Nickell; My Mother’s Murder

Channel 4 has commissioned Monumental Pictures, Angel Station & Hatchling Films to make the 1x60 min documentary Rachel Nickell:  My Mother's Murder. This deeply personal authored film looks at the high profile murder of Rachel Nickell from her son Alex Hanscombe's  perspective and will also reveal the impact on the adults around him.  For the first time on television Alex revisits the events around his mother's murder, considering how this shaped the man he is today.

Alex was just two years old when he was the sole witness to his mother's brutal murder on Wimbledon Common.  After Rachel's death in July 1992, press and public alike became obsessed with the 'tragic tot' who witnessed his mother's murder just weeks before his third birthday.  Family, friends and professionals involved in the investigation worried about the impact it had on the young child, and many have not seen him since.

Months after Rachel's death, Alex and his father Andre fled the country to escape the public gaze.  Now, for the first time, they return to the UK and to Wimbledon common together.  Alex revisits this period of his life as he meets key people from the time, some of them friends of the family and relatives, others professionals involved in the case.

Whilst revisiting incredible trauma experienced by a young boy, we get to know Alex Hanscombe the man, offering hope that a life after unimaginable loss is possible.

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Actor and comedian Michelle De Swarte to star in Sister’s darkly comic series The Baby for Sky and HBO

Sky and HBO have today announced the casting of actor and comedian Michelle De Swarte (The Duchess) in the darkly comic horror, The Baby, from debut screenwriter Siân Robins-Grace (Kaos, Sex Education). Michelle, who made her acting debut as a series regular in Netflix series The Duchess is set to play 38 year-old Natasha, with Amira Ghazalla (The Rhythm Section, Sense8) and Amber Grappy also confirmed to line up alongside De Swarte. The Sky and HBO co-production which has begun filming is co-created by Robins-Grace and Lucy Gaymer (credits as Production Manager include Gangs of London, Liar) and produced by global content company SISTER (Giri/Haji, Chernobyl, Gangs of London) and Proverbial Pictures. The eight-part series will air on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW.

Michelle De Swarte plays Natasha, who is the friend who's never made long-term plans. So when she is unexpectedly landed with a baby, her life of doing what she wants, when she wants, dramatically implodes. Controlling, manipulative and with violent powers, the baby twists Natasha's life into a horror show. And as she discovers the true extent of its deadly nature, Natasha makes increasingly desperate attempts to get rid of the baby. But while she doesn't want a baby, the baby wants her.

Making her acting debut Amber Grappy plays Bobbi, Natasha's younger sister, a children's magician and a ball of joy. Bobbi is everybody's favourite. There is nothing Bobbi wants more than to be a parent, to give love and to receive it. She couldn't be more different to Natasha if she tried. So when Bobbi sees her sister with the thing she wants most in the world – a baby – she is blinded by jealousy and unable to see the danger they are all in.

Also joining the cast is Amira Ghazalla who plays Mrs Eaves, the 73 year old enigma who has spent the last 50 years living out of her car. She seems to be everywhere the Baby is. But who is she, and what does she want with Natasha's new arrival?

Questioning who gets to choose and who doesn't, The Baby is a funny, raw examination of motherhood as an institution: a set of unspoken and often horrifying rules that affect women differently depending on how they're viewed by society. If you're not scared by that, you should be.

Stacey Gregg (Here Before, Little Birds) joins the production as the director for episodes two and three, alongside Faraz Shariat (No Hard Feelings, Druck) for episodes four, five and six and Ella Jones (Back to Life S2, Enterprice S2) who is confirmed to direct episodes seven and eight.

Michelle De Swarte said: "Natasha is an emotionally arrested, flawed and 100% relatable character that I find it hard not to fall in love with as I read through the scripts. To be able to play someone I not only understand but am rooting for is a dream come true. Siân has written someone with depth, honesty and an authenticity that is as hilarious as it is heart-wrenching. I feel extremely blessed to be working with so many kick ass women on a project that is deliciously female centred."

Siân Robins-Grace and Lucy Gaymer said: "Our Casting Director Aisha Bywaters has done a phenomenal job in bringing together Michelle, Amira and Amber these three incredible actors to helm the cast. As soon as we met them it felt like the roles were written for them. We're very excited to be working with Stacey, Faraz and Ella as directors across the show – brilliantly talented directors who will bring the episodes to life."

Co-creator and writer Siân Robins-Grace is joined in an all-female writers room by Sophie Goodhart (Sex Education, My Blind Brother), Kara Smith (Apple Tree House), Anchuli Felicia King (White Pearl, Golden Shield) and Susan Stanton (HBO's Emmy-winning Succession) with Bisha K. Ali (Ms.Marvel, Sex Education) as consultant.

"Diana" and "Diana’s Decades" - a definitive portrait of the princess from 72 Films

ITV has commissioned from 72 Films a new feature-length film "Diana" marking what would have been Princess Diana's 60th birthday, aiming to tell the definitive story of the most famous woman in the world.

ITV also announced a second commission Diana's Decades, a 3x60 series, from Spun Gold, taking in each stage of the princess's life as it played out against and influenced the spirit of the times.  

Told in the present tense, the 1x90 film Diana draws on never-heard-before testimony and rarely-seen archive footage to immerse viewers in the most iconic moments of the Princess's life.  

Using a rich tapestry of footage, photos and letters from those who were closest to the Princess, it pieces together her incredible journey from being a teenage Pimlico nursery assistant to finding her voice as the Princess of Wales.

The epic documentary, directed by the Bafta award winning Jemma Chisnall, also goes behind the scenes to provide a vivid insight into the complex woman behind the media image, who was by turns a global superstar, tabloid obsession, a wife in a tumultuous marriage, a devoted mother, a humanitarian icon and arguably the world's most hunted person.

Executive Producer for 72 Films, David Glover, says:  
"There is something a bit magical about Princess Diana – and despite the difficulties in her personal life she managed to use her connection with people to do huge amounts of good. Her 60th birthday feels like the perfect time to re-examine her life and legacy and explore just how she went from a relatively unknown teenager to the most mourned person who ever lived."

The programme is commissioned for ITV by Jo Clinton-Davis, Controller of Factual Entertainment, who says: 
"This year would have been Diana's 60th birthday, and the intention with this landmark documentary is to offer the definitive account of her life - both in front of the cameras and behind the scenes. It is a difficult undertaking to shed new light on the most emotional, dramatic and pivotal elements of the life of Diana, when that light still burns brightly. But by delving deep into her relationships with friends, colleagues and staff, our aim is to provide a vivid portrayal of the woman who became known as the Queen Of Hearts."

Diana's Decades will take a fresh approach to the princess's life – showing how she channelled as well as influenced the zeitgeist at the end of the 20th Century.  Each episode highlights how an era of her life encapsulated the spirit of the age and inspired profound social change. The series tracks down people – some who have never given interviews before - who met her or whose lives intersected hers in some way from her early Royal life as a shy bride, through her high-profile work for HIV charities and much publicised contact with Hollywood and pop royalty in the 1980s, through to her becoming the 'People's Princess' and emblem of a new public emotional candour in the changing face of Britain under New Labour in the 1990s.

The series includes extraordinary, rarely seen archive footage from the Princess's life alongside iconic scenes from the changing social, fashion and economic cultures Diana lived through during the 1980s and 90s – from the "big bang" in the City, the transition from Thatcherism to the Blair era and changing attitudes to sexuality, 24-hour news channels and the confessional TV of Oprah Winfrey, to the rise of the Spice Girls during "Cool Britannia".

Daniela Neumann, MD of Spun Gold TV says: 
"Nearly 25 years on from her tragic death, Diana, Princess of Wales continues to lead our news bulletins and conversations not just in Britain but around the world. Diana's Decades takes a fresh approach to recounting her life and legacy by looking at how she was shaped by the changing world around her and as a result transformed not just the monarchy but also society more widely as her legacy."

Diana's Decades is a Spun Gold TV production for ITV. The series is filmed and directed by Nick Angel, produced by Jim Boyers and executive produced by Teresa Watkins. It was commissioned by Jo Clinton-Davis.

BBC One announces new regular cast member as filming commences on series 11 of Death in Paradise

Rising star Shantol Jackson (Yardie, Sprinter) joins the cast of hit BBC One drama, Death in Paradise as cameras start rolling on the French Caribbean Island of Guadeloupe

Shantol will play ambitious young sergeant, Naomi Thomas, a gifted officer who has arrived from a neighbouring island to join the Saint Marie Police. But having come from a smaller police force, will her lack of experience get the better of her?

Taking on the role, Shantol says: "I'm so grateful for this amazing opportunity to join the cast of this fun-filled, entertaining series. I used to watch Death in Paradise with my dad in Jamaica years ago when it just started and to now be in the show, knowing that he'll be watching me, it's truly a surreal moment. Looking forward to adding to the magic!"

Reprising their roles are series regulars Ralf Little as D.I. Neville Parker, Josephine Jobert as D.S Florence Cassell, Don Warrington as Commissioner Selwyn Patterson, Tahj Miles as Officer Marlon Pryce and Elizabeth Bourgine as Mayor Catherine Bordey. At the end of the tenth anniversary series, which averaged nearly nine million viewers, fans saw JP leave Saint Marie, trainee officer Marlon Pryce become a permanent member of the team, and Neville on the cusp of revealing his true feelings for Florence, leaving audiences on the edge of their seats.

Series eleven will see even more mysterious murders, guest stars galore, huge surprises and plenty of twists. How will Marlon cope without JP? Will Neville disclose how he really feels about Florence and how will she respond to this bombshell? If that's not enough, could the return of familiar faces to the island cause trouble in paradise?

Sunday, 6 June 2021

COMPETITION: Win Parallel on DVD


Parallel - Released on DVD from 14th June

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

Synopsis: 
What if you found a doorway to infinite possibilities? What would you do? How far would you go? 

Thrilling new sci-fi adventure Parallel explores just that. This thrill-ride from director Isaac Ezban (The Incident, Barbarous Mexico), in his English language directorial debut, follows a group of friends who discover a parallel universe and with it the key to limitless power… but with it comes deep darkness and immorality. Premiering at Fantastic Film Festival, Belgium, and subsequently screening at FrightFest Halloween in London, this wild ride of a feature comes to DVD and digital on 14 June 2021, courtesy of 101 Films.

With a cast including Martin Wallström (Mr Robot, Wallander), Georgia King (Devs, Vice Principals) and Kathleen Quinlan (Prison Break, How To Get Away With Murder), this slick what-if thriller sees a close-kit group of 20-somethings stumble upon a portal to the multiverse. As they come to terms with this life-changing discovery, they’re soon playing with fate as they use the knowledge to influence their lives and fortunes.

As they push the limits of possibility, the stakes get higher and higher…with dangerous consequences. Will they become victims of their own success?

This spellbinding suspense drama transcends the boundaries of sci-fi thriller and will have your heart pounding until the very last minute.

Pre-order on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3w11Xjq

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

Who directs Parallel?

Send your name, address and of course the answer to competition365@outlook.com

Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 21-06-21
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.