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Monday, 31 January 2022

New comedy show Peacock from Big Talk, coming to BBC Three

Written by Steve Stamp and Ben Murray, Peacock is the story of Andy, a personal trainer at Sportif Leisure in the midst of an identity crisis.

Peacock is a film written by Steve Stamp and Ben Murray about Andy, a personal trainer at Sportif Leisure who is going through an identity crisis. Selfies, swagger, and gym memberships are all part of his life, and vanity and achievement are frequently horribly entwined. Andy realises he's a man out of time after he loses a work promotion to a younger, better-looking PT. He must demonstrate that he is more than his nice looks and carefully crafted dating profile. He sets out to demonstrate that he is capable of being regarded seriously. But can he do it?

Allan 'Seapa' Mustafa (People Just Do Nothing) stars as Andy Peacock, Lucien Laviscount (Emily in Paris) as Jay, Thomas Gray (Absolutely Fine) as Spooner, Susan Wokoma (Year of the Rabbit) as Liz, Callie Cooke (The Stranger) as Carly, Mandeep Dhillon (After Life) as Georgia and Sophia Di Martino (Loki) as Blue.

Steve Stamp says: "Clearly I am not someone qualified to write about going to the gym so it's actually mostly about a bunch of flawed messes struggling to function in the modern world."

The series is currently filming in Liverpool and will air later this year.

Life And Death In The Warehouse coming to BBC Three

Life And Death In The Warehouse is an authentic exploration of working conditions in distribution centres, a world shrouded in secrecy where warehouse workers are subjected to a gruelling work regime and obsessive monitoring, from the Bafta-winning team behind Killed By My Debt and Murdered By My Father.

It chronicles the fictional storey of warehouse worker Alys, whose childhood friend Megan works as a trainee manager at the same distribution centre. Megan encourages pregnant Alys to increase her 'pick-rate' in order to keep her new job, putting Alys and her baby in danger.

A boom in online shopping has led to an explosion of warehouse jobs, with around a million people working in distribution centres across the UK. In many towns, warehouse work is now one of the few options available to young people.

In the 'customer-fixated' culture of distribution centres, 'idle time' (toilet breaks and conversations) and 'pick' or 'aspirational' rates (number of items picked per hour) are constantly measured with 24-hour surveillance, which can lead to disciplinary hearings and ruthless 'off-boarding' (sacking.) Pregnant women routinely fall below their target 'pick-rate' and are subjected to constant CCTV and algorithmic surveillance, 'self enhancement plans' and monitoring.

Written by new screenwriter Helen Black, the drama brings together an exciting cast of fictional characters which include Aimee-Ffion Edwards as Megan (Peaky Blinders, The Left Behind, Luther), Poppy Lee Friar as Alys (In My Skin, Ackley Bridge, My Name Is Leon) and Craig Parkinson as Senior Manager Danny (Line Of Duty, Doctor Who, Four Lions). Additional cast include Kimberley Nixon as manager Donna, Aled ap Steffan as warehouse worker Devon, and Sion Daniel Young as manager Sean.

COMPETITION: Win Soulmates Season One on DVD


Soulmates Season One DVD  - Released from 7th February

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

Synopsis: 
Written by Emmy® Award-winner and co-creator Will Bridges (Stranger Things, Black Mirror) with co- creator and producer Brett Goldstein (Ted Lasso, Adult Life Skills), Soulmates is a thrilling sci-fi anthology, exploring an entirely new science that unequivocally tells you who your soulmate is. One test. True love guaranteed...

Delving into six standalone stories of love, loss and betrayal, Soulmates arrives on DVD and digital 7 February 2022, courtesy of Acorn Media International – just in time for Valentines viewing. 

Approximately 15 years in the future, a company called Soul Connex has developed a test that can determine the person you were most meant to love...with 100 percent accuracy. Each self-contained, star-studded episode explores the results of this new test and its impact on a myriad of complex relationships. 

The line-up includes: Bill Skasgård (Stephen King’s It, Deadpool 2), Nathan Stewart Jarrett (Misfits, Utopia), Sarah Snook (Succession, Steve Jobs), Kingsley Ben-Adir (One Night in Miami, Peaky Blinders), JJ Feild (Lost in Space, Turn up Charlie), Malin Åkerman (Chick Fight, Watchmen), Shamier Anderson (Wynonna Earp, Destroyer), Betsy Brandt (Breaking Bad, Life in Pieces) and Charlie Heaton (Stranger Things, The New Mutants). 

From crumbling marriages, the exciting possibility of new love, the grief of mourning a soulmate you never knew, and the leap of faith required to jump into a life with someone new, Soulmates asks the ultimate question: is love destiny or choice? 

Pre-Order from Amazon at https://amzn.to/3ob6deg

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

COMPETITION CLOSED

Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 14-02-22
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.


Friday, 28 January 2022

Celebrity Mastermind 2022 line up revealed

This year's Celebrity Mastermind lineup was announced today, with 56 daring celebs taking on the renowned black chair with their chosen expert themes. When the series returns to BBC One on Saturday, February 5th, Clive Myrie will take over as host.

Episode one features former England goalkeeper footballer, David James, comedian and actor, Ellie Taylor, popstar Antony Costa, and the most famous parish councillor in the country, Jackie Weaver.

Clive Myrie says: "I can't wait to reveal how some of the nation's best loved celebrities deal with the black chair! It'll be fun for viewers, though maybe less for our celebs, but win or lose, they'll be helping their favourite charities. So bring it on!"

The full line-up is as follows:

Week one
David James, former England goalkeeper on Roy Lichtenstein
Antony Costa, singer on Grease the musical
Jackie Weaver, council officer on The Chronicles of Riddick
Ellie Taylor, comedian on Geri Halliwell

Week two
Ruthie Henshall, actress on the film musicals of Gene Kelly
Chris Mason, BBC political correspondent on The Yorkshire Dales
Poppy Jay, broadcaster on Cardi B
Rufus Hound, comedian and actor on Jim Henson

Week three
Janette Manrara, former Strictly professional dancer and tv presenter, on Disney's renaissance era
Nish Kumar, comedian on Jimi Hendrix
Olly Smith, BBC Saturday Kitchen's wine expert on Withnail and I
John Altman, actor (EastEnder's Nick Cotton) on The Isle of Wight

Week four
Roger Black, former Olympic athlete on The Princess Bride
Snoochie Shy, BBC 1Xtra Presenter & DJ on Giggs (the rapper)
Anna Soubry, commentator and former Conservative MP on Fawlty Towers
Natalie Anderson, actress (Emmerdale's Alicia Metcalfe) on Coco Chanel

Week five
Maria McErlane, presenter and actress on the history of women on bicycles
The Vivienne, Ru Paul's Drag Race superstar on Cher
Martine Croxall, BBC News presenter on Nellie Bly
Ace, DJ and broadcaster on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air

Week six
Philippa Dunne, actress (BBC2's Motherland) on Stanley Kubrick's The Shining
Phil Wang, comedian on the wines of New Zealand
Keith Brymer Jones, judge on Channel 4's Great Pottery Throwdown, on Dame Lucie Rie
Dani Harmer, actor (Tracy Beaker) on Ru Paul's Drag Race

Week seven
Nina Conti, comedian and ventriloquist on the short stories of Stephen King
Brenton West, from BBC1's The Repair Shop on Formula One 1977-87
Fatima Manji, journalist and Channel 4 news presenter on Queen Victoria
Martel Maxwell, TV presenter (BBC1's Homes Under The Hammer) on Freddie Mercury

Week eight
Anne Diamond, broadcaster on the birth of British radar
Shivi Ramoutar, TV chef on Sex and the City
Eilidh McIntyre, Olympic sailing gold medalist on Karl Lagerfeld
Chris McCausland, comedian on Pearl Jam

Week nine
Jeremy Edwards, actor on Carrie Fisher
Sonali Shah, TV Presenter (BBC2's Escape To the Country) on George Michael
Dave Rowntree, musician (Blur drummer) on Nikola Tesla
Camilla Tominey, journalist and broadcaster on the Back to the Future trilogy

Week ten
Sian Williams, journalist and Channel 5 news host on Anna Freud
Sophie Duker, comedian and writer on The History Boys
Sonny Jay, radio presenter (Capital FM) on One Direction
Kellie Shirley, actress (Sky's The Long Run) on Abigail's Party

Week eleven
Pat Nevin, former professional footballer on the Jeeves & Wooster Stories of P.G. Wodehouse
Anna Nightingale, actress (Emmerdale's Andrea Tate) on Oasis
Tom Malone Jr, TV personality (Channel 4's Gogglebox) on Ricky Hatton
Roo Irvine, TV antiques expert (BBC1's Bargain Hunt) on pedigree cat breeds

Week twelve
Martin Offiah, former England rugby international on the battle of Britain
Shazia Mirza, comedian on George Carlin
Owain Wyn Evans, BBC TV weather presenter on the music of Britney Spears
Amelle Berrabah, singer (The Sugababes) on the exploration of Mars

Week thirteen
Charlie Higson, actor and writer on classic Westerns of the 1950s and 60s
Adele Roberts, BBC Radio 1 DJ and broadcaster on the planets of the solar system
Ed Gamble, comedian on 30 Rock
Paul Cooper, actor (BBC3's This Country) on the 1966 World Cup

Week fourteen
James Acaster, comedian on the history of ice cream
Michelle Gayle, singer and actress on the early years of Def Jam recordings
Jean Johansson, TV presenter (Channel 4's A Place In The Sun) on Kylie Minogue
Charlotte Worthington, BMX Olympic gold medlaist on Michael Jordan
Celebrity Mastermind will air on Saturday nights on BBC One from Saturday 5 February at 7.15pm.

Faroe Islands crime drama Trom coming to BBC Four

The six-part series, which was filmed in the Faroe Islands and is based on Jógvan Isaksen's crime novels, follows journalist Hannis Martinsson (Ulrich Thomsen), who receives an unexpected message from Sonja, his estranged daughter, stating that her life is in danger.

Hannis unwillingly goes to the Faroe Islands to investigate, and Sonja's death is discovered in the gory waters of a whale hunt. His quest for answers quickly lands him in hot water with the local cops, and he finds a network of secrets inside the tight-knit community.

The series is created by Torfinnur Jákupsson and co-written with Donna Sharpe (West Of Liberty) and stars Ulrich Thomsen (The New Pope), Maria Rich (Follow The Money) and Olaf Johannessen (The Exception).

REinvent is producing the series with Kyk Pictures and Truenorth. Kasper Barfoed (Crime Reporter) and Davíd Óskar Ólafsson (The Valhalla Murders) have directed the series.

BBC Three’s Gassed Up - To Star Nicola Adams, Joel Dommett, Chelcee Grimes, Spencer Matthews, Big Narstie and Ryan Thomas

Mist, a MOBO award-winning artist and Brummie petrolhead, takes on six celebs in some of the UK scene's toughest challenges in Gassed Up. Nicola Adams OBE, a double Olympic gold medalist in boxing, comedian and TV presenter Joel Dommett, Grammy-nominated songwriter and footballer Chelcee Grimes, TV personality and entrepreneur Spencer Matthews, grime MC and TV presenter Big Narstie, and actor Ryan Thomas will all take the stage.

Mist will compete against one of his famous guests in a high-octane battle each episode, aided by professional driver and Drift Queen Becky Evans, pro BMXer and joker Ryan Taylor, and Supercar Dealer Rob Kelly.

Mentored and judged by specialists from the scene, Mist and his guests will learn the tricks of the trade, equipping them to create and commandeer crazy vehicles, leading to an ultimate head-to-head track challenge.

Nicola Adams OBE says: "I am a big adrenaline junkie so becoming a drone expert and taking on Mist and Ryan in the ultimate game of hide and seek for this episode of Gassed Up was epic! Watch out BBC Three…you've never seen a show like this!"

Chelcee Grimes says: "Gassed Up is something so different, and for me such a great experience. From where I started to where I finished it was worlds apart and I'm excited to see all the other celebrities to see how they got on. Also the viewers should watch just for Bex and Mist because they are just the best duo to be around and I learned so much in such a short time! I can definitely say after the whole experience I'm now well and truly, GASSED UP!!!!"

Spencer Matthews says: "Vin Diesel wasn't available for BBC Three's Gassed Up so naturally I stepped up."

Big Narstie says: "If you like cars, this is the show for you. If you don't like cars, that's your business."

Ryan Thomas says: "I loved getting the opportunity to take on Mist in Gassed Up for BBC Three, and on his home turf no less! Audiences can expect drifting, donuts and general chaos as we go head to head – I can't wait for everyone to see this brilliant new series. Expect big stakes, big energy, big competition and big laughs."

Coming Soon.





Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Interview with Amara Karan - Hope Street

The ten-part drama will be set in the fictional town of Port Devine on the coast of Northern Ireland, and will centre on the town's police department and the mysterious arrival of English Detective Constable Leila Hussain, played by Amara Karan (The Night Of), the town's first Muslim police officer.

The series will chronicle the ups and downs of individuals working in the police department as they cope with everyday policing in the picturesque seaside town, with each episode having a self-contained criminal scenario.

--

Amara Karan plays DC Leila Hussain

What attracted you to the role?

The money!! Haha... just kidding... I loved that this character is in a compromised situation in terms of her personal safety from the outset and so she has to assimilate, hide, duck and dive personal questions, and yet she sticks out in her new environment like a sore thumb.

What research did you do?

None! The wonderful writers did the work for me. Also my character is discovering the people and the place as she goes.  

How did you find filming in Donaghadee?

It was so fun because the people in Donaghadee were so proud of their town and went out of their way to make us feel welcome. And many were heavily involved in the show, like Brian, who runs the sailing club. It's a magical spot on the Irish Sea, which is very cold but can be extremely calm like a lake. You can see different weather systems in the distance over England, Scotland and the Isle of Man and enjoy rainbows on the horizon.

What do you hope the audience will take from this drama?

I hope the audience enjoys the warmth and wit of all of these small town characters, who might have their disagreements, but in the end, always have each other's back.  

Was there a particular moment during filming which stands out?

Doing the boat scenes while having a bad tummy was a very unpleasant experience! Thankfully my modesty just about remained intact! Also my scenes with Karl O'Neill were very memorable and he has become a friend!

BBC acquires short-form comedy-drama series Cheaters from Clerkenwell Films

Clerkenwell Films' innovative new short-form comedy-drama Cheaters has been acquired by the BBC.

Cheaters is an eighteen-episode comedy-drama about morality and monogamy, and everything in between, told in ten-minute chunks.

Oliver Lyttelton (The Listener) wrote and devised the series, which is directed by Elliot Hegarty (Ted Lasso, Lovesick) and produced by Alex Walsh-Taylor (In The Long Run, Lovesick).

Cheaters follows the storey of Fola and Josh, two strangers in their late twenties who meet after a cancelled flight and have an unexpected night of drunken airport-hotel sex. Fola is married to Zack, and Josh is in a long-term relationship with Esther. The next morning, as they hustle to make the rescheduled flight, they both disclose they are with other people — Fola is married to Zack, and Josh is in a long-term relationship with Esther.

The series stars Susan Wokoma (Enola Holmes, Truth Seekers) as Fola and Joshua McGuire (Industry, The Duke) as Josh. Callie Cooke (Rules of the Game, Britannia) plays Esther, and Jack Fox (Sanditon, Riviera) plays the role of Zack. Further cast includes Andrea Valls (Waffle the Wonder Dog), Shiloh Coke (Pirates) and Jay Lycurgo (Titans).

Harder, hotter and tougher - The Bridge is back

The Bridge, Channel 4's gruelling reality competition, returns for a second season in a fresh tropical locale. There's double the drama and double the prize money on the line as two teams compete to be the first to win a £200k jackpot.

The eight-part series is hosted by AJ Odudu, and it follows 16 strangers who join together for the possibility to win a large financial award, but are unaware of the epic struggle that would be required to take the money home.

To take on the ultimate test of physical ability, mental talent, and teamwork, the candidates must set their egos and differences aside. In a race to reach the riches kept on top of 'Fortune Rock,' the teams must build a bridge over 1,000 feet of water in just 12 days. Will the first person to reach the money opt to share it with their teammates?

Coming soon.

The first look image for the second series of Sky Original comedy Bloods has been released.

Sky has released a sneak peek at the second season of the critically acclaimed comedy BLOODS. The quirky dream team Wendy and Maleek, played by BAFTA-nominated Samson Kayo and Golden Globe-nominated Jane Horrocks, return as we follow them and their paramedic colleagues in the life-saving realm of a south London emergency service. The series will be broadcast in two parts on Sky Comedy and the streaming service NOW, with the first five episodes premiering in March 2022.

The second season introduces a new source of friction for Wendy and Maleek in the form of Wendy's obnoxious son, Spencer (Nathan Foad). Katherine Kelly (Innocent, Liar) joins the cast as the acting therapist and listening ear at the ambulance station.

Coming in March

Monday, 24 January 2022

KIN: the gritty Irish gangland drama - Starring Charlie Cox, Clare Dunne, Ciarán Hinds & Aidan Gillen

 

Kin is a powerful, enthralling and slick new eight-part Irish gang drama, from AMC Networks that’s set for its UK Premiere exclusively on Sundance Now via Amazon Prime Video Channels on 24 February 2022.

This thrilling, critically acclaimed drama follows the Kinsella clan – who, when their boy is killed – set off a gangland war with an international cartel – a war that is impossible to win. As the violence escalates, the in-fighting begins and the body count rises. There will be blood… lots of it.

With a sterling cast including Charlie Cox (Daredevil, Spiderman, Boardwalk Empire), Clare Dunne (Herself, Spiderman: Far From Home), Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones, The Wire) and Ciarán Hinds (Game of Thrones, The Terror) and Peter McKenna (The Last Kingdom, Red Rock) as showrunner/executive producer, writer, and creator, alongside Ciarán Donnelly (Altered Carbon, Vikings) who also serves as executive producer, this hard-hitting drama packs real punch.

In a tale of David versus Goliath the Kinsellas are out-numbered, out-financed and out-gunned.  They find themselves holed up in their Dublin stronghold while their businesses fail, and family members and associates are picked off by one by one…. But the Kinsellas have something the cartel does not… the unbreakable family bond and the power of their brood.

Kin is a dark and thrilling tale of gangsters who on the surface appear to live ultimate celebrity lifestyle with a world of power, glamour and riches, but underneath lurks a deadly world of drugs, guns, undercover assassins and murder.

Is blood truly thicker than water in Kin?

Sundance Now, the streaming service from AMC Networks, is available as an Amazon Prime Video Channels add on in the UK.

Exclusive Premiere: Thursday 24th February

Episodes: 8

Saturday, 22 January 2022

Star Trek: Picard Season Two Trailer


The official trailer for season two of ViacomCBS's successful original series Star Trek: Picard was released today by ViacomCBS's streaming service, Paramount+. Season two of Star Trek: Picard will release exclusively for Paramount+ subscribers in the United States on Thursday, March 3. Following the launch, new episodes of the 10-episode second season will air on Thursdays every week. The teaser also features a first look at Academy Award winner Whoopi Goldberg, who reprises her beloved role as Guinan from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The renowned Jean-Luc Picard and his crew go on a bold and exciting new voyage in Season 2: into the past. Picard must recruit the help of old and new friends to tackle the dangers of 21st-century Earth in a desperate race against time to safeguard the galaxy's future – and face the ultimate test from one of his greatest adversaries.

Patrick Stewart reprises his legendary role as Jean-Luc Picard, which he played for seven seasons on Star Trek: The Next Generation, in Star Trek: Picard, which follows this iconic character into his next chapter.


Friday, 21 January 2022

BBC One will air a whole new Wallace & Gromit adventure.

The as-yet-untitled new Wallace & Gromit film, directed by Nick Park and the first since the BAFTA-winning and Oscar-nominated A Matter of Loaf and Death in 2008, focuses on Gromit's concern that Wallace has become over-reliant on his inventions, which is justified when Wallace invents a "smart gnome" that appears to develop its own mind.

As events spiral out of control, Gromit must set aside his reservations and fight evil forces, or Wallace may never be able to invent again!

The BBC has had a long and fruitful partnership with Aardman Animations, and this news comes on the heels of the success of the newest Shaun The Sheep adventure, The Flight Before Christmas, which broadcast on BBC One during the holidays.

Sean Clarke, MD of Aardman, says: "Wallace and Gromit are so loved by everyone at Aardman – they're like family to us, and we couldn't be more excited to be creating a brand-new film for them to star in. When Nick came up with the concept for a 'smart gnome', we all agreed that Wallace would find the idea irresistible – despite warnings from Gromit, who is wise beyond his (dog) years. We're sure audiences will find the story irresistible too."

Reese Witherspoon, an Oscar winner, will read a CBeebies Bedtime Story.

Hollywood actress Reese Witherspoon will read Extraordinary by Penny Harrison on CBeebies Bedtime Stories, making her the first Best Actress Oscar winner to do so.

The book, created by Katie Wilson, demonstrates how lovely and fascinating things can be found almost anywhere if you look closely enough.

Opening the story Reese says: "Sometimes, when we're busy, it can be hard to find time to notice the world around us. The things we see every day can seem a bit… ordinary. But if you stop, and look closer, you'll see that our world is extraordinary!

As she sends the young audience off to bed, Reese encourages them to look closely at something the following day that may at first appear ordinary and they might also discover something magical!

Reese follows a raft of other famous faces to read a Bedtime Story including Ryan Reynolds, Tom Hardy, actor Chris Evans, Regé-Jean Page, Felicity Jones, David Schwimmer, Alesha Dixon, Eddie Redmayne, Orlando Bloom, Sir Elton John and Dolly Parton.

CBeebies Bedtime Stories is on each weekday at 6.50pm on the CBeebies channel and is also available on BBC iPlayer. Reese Witherspoon's CBeebies Bedtime Story will air at 6.50pm, Friday 28 January.

The BBC's award-winning Storyville strand, which showcases the best in international documentaries, has announced a fresh slate of eight films for early 2022.

The films, which will begin airing on BBC Four and BBC iPlayer on Wednesday, January 26th, have already received international acclaim: Writing With Fire has won a number of honours, including The Sundance International Film Festival's Audience Award for World Cinema Documentary and The World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award, and President has been nominated for the 2021 Gotham Awards.

Final Account
To coincide with International Holocaust Memorial Day, Storyville brings viewers the acclaimed film, Final Account, filmed, directed and produced over 10 years by the late Luke Holland. The documentary is a portrait of the last living generation of everyday people to participate in the Third Reich.

Raising vital, timely questions about complicity, authority, national identity, and responsibility, men and women, ranging from former SS members to civilians, by-standers speak for the first time about their memories and perceptions of some of the greatest crimes in human history.

Misha And The Wolves
Misha And The Wolves is the dramatic tale of a woman whose Holocaust memoir took the world by storm, but a fallout with her publisher - who turned detective - revealed an audacious deception created to hide a darker truth.

In the early 1990s, Misha Defonseca began to tell friends in the Jewish community of Massachusetts of her terrible experiences as a young girl during the Holocaust: stripped of her identity, and 'hidden' in the house of a Catholic family, she decided to run away, walking east across Europe, eating earthworms and insects, befriending wolves, evading the Nazis and living by her wits in search her deported parents.

On hearing this incredible account, local publisher Jane Daniel persuaded Misha to write her story as a memoir. Before the book was even written, the buzz began. The press picked up the story and film and translation rights were being sold around the world. By the time the book was finished, Oprah's Book Club came calling, and their involvement guaranteed an international bestseller.

Then something strange happened. Misha grew uncooperative and refused to go on the live TV show. Thus began a three-year feud between Misha and her publisher that ended in court, with her publisher accused of stealing the copyright and withholding royalties. The publisher was ordered to pay damages of $22 million. In an effort to rebuild her reputation, Jane Daniel delved deeper into Misha's story.

Misha And The Wolves is a cinematic documentary about truth and lies, about history and imagination and how and why we believe the stories we're told.

President
When Dictator Robert Mugabe was ousted by his own party, Zimbabwe's new leaders promised a democratic Presidential election - the first since the start of Mugabe's rule almost 40 years earlier. Against a backdrop of economic crisis, food shortages, and political violence, the stakes could not be higher.

Working to defeat the ruling party, which has controlled Zimbabwe since independence, is the young and charismatic Nelson Chamisa, who draws comparisons to a young Nelson Mandela. The campaign will set the course for the future of the country. After decades of corrupt elites using any means necessary to retain power, can a free, fair, and transparent election be truly possible?

With this sequel to her widely acclaimed documentary Democrats (2014), which followed the political battle to establish Zimbabwe's first democratic constitution, Director Camilla Nielsson brings viewers into the heart of an epic struggle for power.

Try Harder
The super smart, mostly Asian-American students at San Francisco's Lowell High School are stressed out.

They are in the midst of applying to college, and under pressure to get a prized spot at one of the country's most elite institutions. It's an emotionally draining process. The students scrutinize how every element of their application, from their classes to their extra-curricular activities to their racial identities, might be read by admission officers. At Lowell it's cool to be a nerd, and nearly everyone has an amazing talent; the things that usually make a student stand out, can feel commonplace perhaps...

With humour and heart, director Debbie Lum takes us to the reality of the American college application process and the intersection of class, race, and educational opportunity as experienced by high school seniors living through it. Try Harder! is a portrait of young adults in the most diverse American generation ever as they navigate a quintessential rite of passage and make it their own.

Writing With Fire
In a cluttered news landscape dominated by men, emerges India's only newspaper run by Dalit women. Armed with smartphones, Chief Reporter Meera and her team of journalists break with tradition to work on the frontlines of India's biggest issues.

Writing With Fire is set in the heart of Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state (200 million inhabitants), known for its levels of corruption, violence against women and oppression of its minorities. It is against this backdrop that we are introduced to the work of Khabar Lahariya (KL), India's only digital news agency run by Dalit women, who belong to the lowest caste (characterised as 'untouchable').

With exclusive access to the personal and rapidly changing professional worlds of Meera and her journalists, we see them negotiate obstacles and inch closer to their dream of becoming a relevant independent regional news agency.

This is the first-time modern Dalit women are seen on screen, not as victims of their circumstances but as writers of their own destiny. It is an essential portrait of the fight for press freedom.

Tango With Putin
In 2008, Natasha Sindeeva, marries a wealthy banker. The former music radio producer dreams of becoming famous and decides to build her own independent TV station, Dozhd (Rain) in Putin's Russia. The plan was to be light and have fun with a focus on pop culture, but it soon turned into something different. Building an open-minded team of outcasts, many of them gay and opponents of the President, Dozhd began covering the biggest stories of the day - from the war in Ukraine, to anti-corruption investigations and the unveiling of state propaganda, profoundly changing both the station, and Natasha's life and values.

Natasha and her team find themselves trying to protect independent journalism in their country. As the channel shifts from a station about glitz and glamour to one that tackles the hard-hitting issues Putin's Russia doesn't want people to know, the government puts up more roadblocks to stop them. Natasha doesn't give up easily.

GORBACHEV. HEAVEN
In this intimate portrait of the former leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev reflects on his life, and how he changed the world. Gorbachev's time in power was marked by the collapse of the Soviet Union - labelled 'the Evil Empire' by the then US President, Ronald Reagan. Gorbachev was the architect of Glasnost and Perestroika and tore down the Berlin Wall, giving the Soviet Union a chance to be free.

But at the same time, under his watch, the Soviet authorities tried to cover up the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, whilst in Tblisi, soldiers wielding shovels brutally suppressed protesters and Soviet tanks killed peaceful demonstrators in Baku. The Soviet Empire collapsed under him. Today, his own people condemn him - a lonely old man living the last days of his life in an empty mansion in the suburbs of Moscow.

Truffle Hunters
Deep in the forests of Piedmont, Italy, a handful of men, 70 or 80 years young, hunt for the rare and expensive white Alba truffle - which to date has resisted all of modern science's efforts at cultivation. They're part of an eccentric world never seen, guided by a secret culture and training passed down through generations.

Working alongside the noses of their cherished and expertly trained dogs, they live a simple, slow way of life, in harmony with their loyal animals and their picture-perfect land, seemingly straight out of a fairy tale. They're untethered to their mobile phone screens or the internet, opting instead to make their food and drink by hand and prioritizing in-person connections and community.

The demand for white truffles increases year after year, even as the supply decreases. With climate change, deforestation, and a lack of young people taking up the mantle, the truffle hunters' secrets are more precious than ever. In this scrumptious cinematic journey, it soon becomes clear that these ageing men may just hold something much more valuable than even the prized truffle: the secret to a rich and meaningful life



Thursday, 20 January 2022

Interview with Martin Freeman - (Chris Carson - The Responder)

What is a responder?

Responders are the coppers who literally respond to emergency calls coming in. In Chris' case he works nights, and during the course of a night shift he could be called to all sorts of situations - whether it's a report of an old woman who's died or someone has set fire to something or a burglary. It could literally be anything and everything.

What was your reaction when you read Tony Schumacher's scripts?

When Laurence Bowen first sent me the scripts he was very excited and after reading the first few pages, and I felt this was really something else. It wasn't a drama that was written by committee, it was unfiltered Tony Schumacher, and I really liked that he put whatever he wanted on the page. Tony has been writing for a long time but the fact that this is his first television drama means he is far from having gotten into a comfortable groove or formulaic. He just put on the page whatever the hell he thought needed to be there and that is really exciting.

What stood out to you about the character of Chris Carson?

The reason I wanted to play Chris is that he is a great mixture of vulnerability and strength. I think there is something about a man of few words that is attractive. There's a reason why people like characters that don't have to over-explain themselves and I think Chris is one of them.

He's very intelligent, he's emotionally smart, but he's a copper. He finds it hard to be open at home and with his counsellor, and in his job it's probably wise not to be open, so he picks his moments when he can let off steam and talk to people. But those are few and far between and the amount of plates he is spinning is frightening. So much so that if he drops even one of those plates he could wind up dead.

What is The Responder about?

The story takes place across five nights, one night per episode. There's a lot packed into each episode and there's a lot packed into each night for dramatic effect as well. In fact, a lot goes on across a 12-hour night shift and Chris being the solitary figure he is, he doesn't want to work with a partner - but that's where he finds himself, against both his and Rachel's wills.

How did you find playing Chris with a Scouse accent?

I haven't played a character with a Scouse accent before and I was incredibly mindful of that when I was reading the script. It read pure Liverpudlian to me and I knew Tony was from Liverpool. He always said to me that the character didn't have to be from Liverpool - that not all coppers in Merseyside are from Merseyside, but I really felt Chris had to be from the city. I also knew that if I couldn't do it properly then I wouldn't do the accent, I would just have done my own version of my own voice.

I was really pleased when I heard that some of the Scouse actors asked if I was from Merseyside - it was like I'd passed some sort of test. I worked really hard at it because there was no way I was prepared to go on telly doing a terrible Scouse accent in Liverpool with a load of Liverpudlian actors. There's just no way. I'd get taken to the cleaners and rightly so. Coming from where I come from, you have to earn your stripes no matter where you are and you just can't be doing a bad Liverpool accent.

What is the character facing when we meet him?

Chris has got himself mixed up in activity that he shouldn't be involved in, and he's been partnered with a new trainee police officer who doesn't like him and who suspects him of being bent. He's got very little time for some trainee who judges him on what he's been doing these past 20 years so there's a lot going on. Plus, his marriage is falling apart. He wants to be a good dad and I like his dynamic with the family, he's such a loving person but he just can't seem to make it work. I've not played many cool characters before - not that Chris is cool, but I don't often play characters without problems. I never seem to play the guy getting off the yacht with a mojito in his hand. It would be nice to wear linen and sunglasses, but no I always seem to put myself in situations where I'm trying to stay alive.

I shouldn't love him but I do. Who amongst us hasn't messed up at some point? Perhaps not to the same extent that Chris has, but who amongst us wouldn't do some of the things he does if faced with the same circumstances? His family situation is precarious and his marriage is hanging by a thread. I think both he and his wife, Kate, are trying to make it work in that way that sometimes you can see each other through a fog but you've grown too far apart to see each through the crisis. He speaks to a counsellor at work, who is herself overworked and not functioning at full tilt because she's seeing loads of people. As a result, Chris is being underserved and isn't firing on all cylinders at home as either a dad or as a husband. He knows it and feels wretched about it but can't really break that cycle.

What sort of relationship does Chris have with his police partner Rachel?

Neither of them wants to be each other's partner because Chris knows that Rachel doesn't respect him. She gets a bad vibe off him and he believes it's likely to do with the fact that he has a bit of a sketchy past on the job and she knows it. There's a barely disguised antipathy between them for much of the series. However, as the series progresses Rachel begins to find out more and more about Chris and discovers he may not be as bad as he's been made out to be. We see a mentee/mentor relationship begin to develop between them and they begin to thaw each other out.

Even if you see a tiny glimmer of light, it's still very hard for them because they're really not at ease with each other at all. They're coppers and they are not going to be best mates. They're both very defensive and neither want to open up to the other for their own reasons which is fair enough.

What sort of world does Chris find himself being drawn into?

Chris knows his own city and is familiar with his beat, so he has got to know lots of the characters he relies on for local information. His contacts Casey and Marco are just trying to make their way through any means they can, they're not violent or horrible people. They've just got caught up in either their addictions or thieving or whatever their vice is.

Chris is quite a softie really and wants them to be ok and get by. He wants to take people like Casey, a street kid with a heroin addict under his wing, and if he can help her, he will. Having said that he can be cruel too. People like Chris are called into situations that are not going to play out well and that tension has to build up somehow. There are a lot of mental health issues, homelessness, addiction, violence and a lot of humour as well. That gallows sense of humour is prevalent across all the emergency services where responders are dealing with life and death situations. He deals with a lot of people who are forgotten, neglected or ignored and that has to have an effect on him.

What insight do we get to Chris in the therapy sessions?

I always feel that without vulnerability, you're useless. You're useless as an actor, and drama without vulnerable characters is very boring because it's just a lot of cardboard cut-outs of people being heroic. There are versions of coppers being heroic but the job does take a massive toll on people.

Chris is just one of them, and the one whose story we follow. He isn't connecting with his wife, even though we see him trying, so his counselling sessions are his only means of letting go. We get the sense that he really wants the therapy to work but a), it's finite and he will only get a certain number of sessions and b) the therapist herself is completely overwhelmed by her workload and despite everyone trying to do their best, it's never enough. Chris is a hard person and he can handle himself as well as dole out the punishment when necessary. But he's really not in a good way at all. We have tiny little glimpses of enjoyment in his life and we know the things that he values - his wife and child above himself - but he just doesn't know how to make that work.

Describe Chris' relationship with Carl?

Chris and Carl have known each other since their school days and grew up in the same area and had the same life. As often happens in life with school pals is that they go their separate ways and their lives take them in different directions. Chris could easily have gone the same way as Carl but he just didn't. Something took him down a straight path in life. Carl is the local mid-range drug dealer who's doing alright for himself. As Carl himself says, he's not Pablo Escobar and there are more powerful people than him up the drug chain but he has become a massive pain for Chris, which we see from the very first episode when Chris won't take his calls when he's on duty. It's all angels with dirty faces - one brother becomes a gangster and another becomes a priest. They still love each other but they find themselves on either side of this chasm.

Chris and Casey have a unique relationship. What was it like to work with newcomer Emily Fairn, who plays Casey?

I saw Emily's audition tape and her strength was that we didn't know what she was going to do next - that was genuinely exciting. She came out with actions and reactions that were completely unexpected and I really wanted to play with that. Emily brought a real lightness and freshness to the part of Casey that could have been played in the usual depressing, heavy and earnest way, which isn't necessarily the wrong way to play it, but Emily's instincts were different.

She plays Casey as very much alive, funny, irreverent and surprising and that's her skill as an actor, to be surprising. I hardly ever give advice, but I did say to her to hang on to that wonder and that instinct to surprise, because it's the right instinct to have, and not everyone has it.

Does that sense of 'wonder' come back to you when you read a script like this?

I'm lucky in that I do still get to play great parts and I get to choose when to work and when not to work. So yes, I do have that sense of enthusiasm when I read a great script like The Responder. I haven't read anything like it before and I love being excited by scripts because every time you get a script you do want it to be The Godfather. You do want it to be amazing and you live in eternal hope. Then very occasionally when your ability aligns with other people's skills and when someone has such faith in you, it's lovely.

I have a reasonably healthy ego but there were several times in the run up to filming that I asked Tony, Chris and Lawrence if they were sure they had the right man for the job and couldn't they get someone better than me? Then Tony said that he'd had me in mind when he wrote it and kept seeing me in scenes when he was writing it, so that really relaxed me.

Actors often say they have to find something likeable in a character in order to play them - do you agree with that?

With most protagonists you have to want to follow their story and stay with them for the whole film or series so in some way you have to like them or find something about them that is at least interesting to play. I think Chris is likeable and I have to root for him as the protagonist and follow him into battle for the next five episodes so I'm very pleased to have been the person they chose to play him.

What was it like to work with lead director Tim Mielants?

Tim Mielants is a poet with an artist's soul, and he really puts his heart into every shot. In some ways he is like a big kid with a beard and I mean that in the nicest possible way. He has a great enthusiasm for making work that we all have when we're children. He is a very smart 'big kid' and he doesn't mind being vulnerable which I really like. He has no ego and is a lovely human being. I thoroughly enjoyed working with him and I think we had a lot of respect for each other. We also had a lot of laughter too, which is vital when shooting something that is so serious.

What is unique about this show?

I think it's a drama that doesn't offer answers but asks a lot of questions. There is nothing neat about it - it's chaotic and unsettling and there's an underlying authenticity to it. We all wanted to make something different that was exciting and unformulaic.

The Responder is a unique new crime drama from Dancing Ledge Productions, the creators of The Salisbury Poisonings.

The Responder, written by ex-police officer Tony Schumacher for his first original television series, puts a mirror up to the emotional extremes of life on the front lines of British policing - at times darkly humorous, at times achingly heartbreaking, and always demanding.

Chris Carson (Martin Freeman) is a crisis-stricken, ethically compromised, unconventional emergency response officer who is sent to a series of night shifts on the beat in Liverpool. Chris is forced to take on a new rookie partner Rachel while fighting to keep his head above water both personally and professionally (Adelayo Adedayo). Both quickly learn that their life in this high-pressure, never-ending nighttime environment depends on them either aiding or killing each other.

Coming Soon

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

The last series of Happy Valley begins filming, with new and returning cast members announced.

Sarah Lancashire reprises her legendary role as Sergeant Catherine Cawood in six new episodes, which Sally Wainwright and Sarah Lancashire have long regarded as the final chapter in the Happy Valley saga.

As previously revealed, James Norton and Siobhan Finneran will reprise their roles as Catherine's antagonist, Tommy Lee Royce, a murderer and sex offender, and Catherine's sister, Clare Cartwright, a recovering addict.

Con O'Neill will also return as Clare's recovering alcoholic lover Neil Ackroyd, it was announced today. Nevison Gallagher will be played by George Costigan, with Catherine's police colleague Ann played by Charlie Murphy. Derek Riddell as Richard Cawood, Karl Davies as Daniel Cawood, Susan Lynch as Alison Garrs, Rick Warden as Mike Taylor, Vincent Franklin as Andy Shepherd, and Rhys Connah as Catherine's grandson Ryan Cawood will all return to Happy Valley.

For series three, Amit Shah (The Other One, The Long Call), Mark Stanley (The Girl Before, White House Farm), and Mollie Winnard (All Creatures Great And Small, Four Lives) join the ensemble and will play crucial roles in Happy Valley's last chapter.

Celebrities confirmed for BBC Three's Eating with My Ex

Being a celebrity doesn't make breakups any easier, and closure can be difficult to come by in any relationship. That's why, when the BAFTA-nominated show Eating with My Ex (produced by Thames, a Fremantle property) returns to BBC Three, it'll feature a bountiful crop of 12 ex-couples in six celebrity specials.

Chloe Veitch and Kori Sampson from Too Hot To Handle, Maeva D'Ascanio and Miles Nazaire from Made in Chelsea, Chloe Brockett and Harry Lee from The Only Way Is Essex, Lesia and D Live from The Rap Game UK, and Priya Gopaldas and Brett Stanland from Love Island are among the celebrities who have sat down to discuss their relationships in the brand-new series. Suzi Ruffell, Amy Tapper from Gogglebox, Hollyoaks actress Malique Thompson-Dwyer, Tia Kofi from RuPaul's Drag Race UK, Bethan Kershaw from Geordie Shore, The Apprentice contestant Souleyman Bah, and Ibiza Weekender's Callum Izzard will join them in confronting their ex-partners.

Eating With My Ex, airs on the BBC Three launch night on Tuesday 1 February 2022.

The Chelsea Detective - Official Trailer

 


In this brand-new Acorn TV Original drama produced and co-written by Peter Fincham, Adrian Scarborough (Killing Eve, Gavin & Stacey, The King's Speech, 1917) takes the lead. This four-part series premieres exclusively on Acorn TV in the United Kingdom.

After divorcing from his art dealer wife Astrid (Anamaria Marinca – 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days; Sex Traffic), Detective Inspector Max Arnold (Scarborough) lives on a houseboat on the Thames in Chelsea, mere yards from some of Europe's most precious real estate. The lovely borough is full of lovely people, but there is a dark underbelly of poverty, violence, greed – and murder. Max's dedication and acumen ensure that he will find a way to uncover the truth and bring those responsible to justice, regardless of their riches or prestige.

DC Arnold and his trusted colleague, Streatham-born D.C. Priya Shamsie, played by Sonita Henry (Luther, Krypton), investigate a slew of intriguing cases ranging from the bizarre to the complex, including the death of a lonely stonemason on the London Underground, which appears to Max to be a real-life haunting. Could they come up with a more practical explanation when they learn more about his life?

Tuesday, 18 January 2022

The teaser for Sky's highly awaited documentary on Janet Jackson, has been released, along with the premiere date.

Sky has released a trailer for Janet Jackson's eagerly awaited documentary. The four-part documentary, produced by Workerbee (a Banijay UK company) and co-produced by AEC (Associated Entertainment Corporation), explores the life storey of icon Janet Jackson in her own words, and will air on Sky Documentaries in two double bills on consecutive nights, with all four episodes available on NOW from Monday, January 31.

This will be the definitive report on Janet Jackson, one of the best-selling and highest-earning artists in music history, as we commemorate the 40th anniversary of her debut album. Janet has had a lot of success, but she's also witnessed a lot of sadness. In the face of intense public scrutiny, she has had a difficult private life. Janet Jackson for the first time ever raises the curtain on her private life and unveils the most intimate moments of the diva ever caught on camera, leaving no stone untouched.

Janet returns to her hometown of Gary, Indiana, for a two-night, four-hour documentary event to witness where her extraordinary adventure began. She begins to dwell on her own life and her ascension to the top. Janet covers everything from her Superbowl appearance with Justin Timberlake in 2004, to the controversies surrounding her brother Michael Jackson, to becoming a mother later in life in a way she's never done before.

The film explores difficult topics such as family connections, drug addiction, race relations, sexuality, and the Jacksons' rags to riches storey, all while using great archive footage from Janet's long and illustrious career.

Janet Jackson is coming to Sky Documentaries and streaming service NOW Monday 31 January.

David Attenborough to reveal The Final Day Of The Dinosaurs in new BBC One Show

Dinosaurs: The Final Day, starring David Attenborough, a brand-new landmark documentary from BBC Studios Productions for BBC One and BBC iPlayer, will air later this year, according to BBC Factual.

Everyone believes they know what happened to the dinosaurs: An asteroid struck the globe 66 million years ago, near the conclusion of the Late Cretaceous period, and wiped them out. But that isn't the entire tale. While the asteroid impact itself is well documented, no concrete proof of how the dinosaurs were destroyed has yet been discovered.

A new dig site, however, promises to change that. Tanis is a secret prehistoric graveyard hidden in the low hills of North Dakota. There, buried in a peculiar crumbly layer of rock, are fossilised species from the very end of the Late Cretaceous. And they've been maintained in such detail that they could be able to help us get a better image of that period than we've ever had before.

David Attenborough says: "Dinosaurs were among nature's most extraordinary creatures, dominating the planet for over 150 million years before they became extinct."

"Tanis could be a place where the remains can give us an unprecedented window into the lives of the very last dinosaurs, and a minute-by-minute picture of what happened when the asteroid hit."


Wednesday, 12 January 2022

Ridley, an Adrian Dunbar detective series, begins filming in Lancashire.

Ridley, an ITV detective drama featuring Adrian Dunbar as the titular character, has started filming in Lancashire. The retired detective, who is now working as a consultant, reunites with his former protégée, DI Carol Farman, who is now in command of investigations and is played by Bronagh Waugh (Unforgotten, The Fall).

Filming across the North of England the Ridley cast also includes Terence Maynard (Time, Coronation Street) as DCI Paul Goodwin, George Bukhari (Years and Years, The A Word) as DC Darren Lakhan, Georgie Glen (The Crown, Call the Midwife) as pathologist Dr Wendy Newstone. The regular cast will also include Bhavna Limbachia (Citizen Khan, Coronation Street), Aidan McArdle (The Trial of Christine Keeler, The Fall) and Julie Graham (Shetland, Penance).

Adrian Dunbar:
"Ridley has begun shooting and we really couldn't be off to a better start. Despite the wintry weather, everything from cast and crew right down to the catering is excellent. Bronagh Waugh has stepped into her character's shoes seamlessly and we have been joined by some great actors with more to come."

Images from the new EastEnders set have been released for the first time.

As filming on the new EastEnders set begins today, first look photographs of the redesigned Albert Square and the historic Queen Vic have been revealed (11 January).


The new set replaces the former Albert Square, which was erected in 1984 with the aim of only being used for two years and is now obsolete.

The BBC's longest-running TV serial drama and the wider BBC Elstree Centre have been upgraded to provide better HD for their fans and more filming choices. EastEnders writers, producers, and directors now have more latitude to explore new places on screen, allowing them to be more creative.

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Versus The World

On Tuesday, February 1st, BBC Three will broadcast an international Drag Race Extravaganza! RuPaul invites nine internationally recognised Drag Race Queens from throughout the Drag Race sisterhood to compete for the ultimate title in this brand new mega battle.

Michelle Visage, Alan Carr, Graham Norton, and a slew of extra-special celebrity friends will join RuPaul on the world stage and the primary judging panel.

They are:
BBC Radio 1 and BBC Three presenter, Clara Amfo
Comedian and This Country star, Daisy May Cooper
Bridgerton heart throb, and Laurence Oliver Award winner, Jonathan Bailey
Little Mix star and winner of the 2021 Gay Times Allyship Award, Jade Thirlwall
Superstar Spice Girl and recording artist, Melanie C
Award-winning actress, Michelle Keegan

Johannes Radebe, a Strictly finalist and champion dancer, will also be on hand to assist the queens with their choreography for a maxi-challenge. Katie Price, a pop culture star, will join Michelle Visage in playing the Snatch Game.

Restaurants to go head-to-head in a new Channel 4 daytime show "Come Dine With Me: The Professionals"

In an all-new twist on the iconic series commissioned for Channel 4 daytime, Come Dine With Me is going professional.

Teams of professional chefs and restaurateurs will compete in Come Dine With Me: The Professionals for the title of greatest independent restaurant in their town, county, or city.

Three local restaurants will compete for the renowned CDWM:TP award and a monetary reward shared among the winner restaurant's staff in each self-contained episode. Each restaurant will be represented by a duo — for example, the owner and the head chef – who will host their competitors for a meal designed to wow. The meal will take place during a regular service, giving people the opportunity to observe the ambience, food, and service. The visiting restaurant partners will score the evening out of 20 at the end of each dinner, with the highest total score taking home the prize. As the narrator of each programme, legendary CDWM voiceover Dave Lamb will bring the action together.

In 2022, Channel 4 and All 4 will premiere Come Dine With Me: The Professionals.

Tuesday, 11 January 2022

Rose Matafeo's hit BBC Three Romcom Starstruck Reveals sneak peak at Series 2

The tale of Jessie (Rose Matafeo), a millennial living in East London juggling two dead end jobs and negotiating the pitfalls of becoming romantically linked with famous film actor Tom, will be continued in the second 6x30 series. Jessie must deal with the real-world ramifications of her great gesture after deciding to stay and seek a relationship with him. Russell Tovey (Years And Years; BBC One, Him & Her; BBC Three) joins the cast for the brand-new series, while Minnie Driver (Modern Love, Amazon; Good Will Hunting) will reprise her role as Tom's agent Cath.

An international hit, series 2 will air on BBC Three in the UK and HBO Max in the U.S., series 2 of Starstruck will also air on ABC in Australia and TVNZ in New Zealand. Full transmission details to be revealed in due course.

Scarlett Moffatt will look into the development of tics and Tourette's in youngsters.

Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital and Guy's and St Thomas' have noted a considerable increase in the number of teenagers presenting with Tourette's syndrome or tic disorders during the course of the pandemic. Scarlett Moffatt is now on a mission to discover what is causing this medical enigma.

Scarlett Investigates... (1x60') will be an unexpectedly intimate journey for Scarlett, who was diagnosed with facial tics at the age of 12. Scarlett was plagued with tics for the first two years of her life due to Bell's Palsy.

Doctors used to only get four to six referrals per year for acute onsets in teenagers; now they get that many every week. Experts believe that worry is one of the main causes of the growth of tics, with three out of every four 13–19 year olds experiencing mental health concerns since the start of the pandemic.

Scarlett will meet some of people who have recently been diagnosed with the disorder, as well as scientists coping with this new problem, a group of Tourette's TikTok influencers, charity activists, and neurologists treating the surge of teens as she travels across the country.

Scarlett will leave no stone unturned as she finds herself in the heart of the dispute and investigates every possible cause - is it simply a symptom of the pandemic? Is there a role for social media? Is it possible that it's a case of mass hysteria?

Scarlett Moffatt said, "I am so grateful to Channel 4, Firecracker and all of our incredible contributors for allowing us to focus a lens on the topic of Tourette's and tics in teenagers. This show is something I personally feel incredibly passionate about as I suffered with facial tics when diagnosed with Bell's Palsy as a child and wish there was this kind of information and education available back then as it's something so many young people have to deal with."

Friday, 7 January 2022

BBC Northern Ireland has announced new comedy series for 2022.

Dry Your Eyes, a new comedic sketch programme on BBC One Northern Ireland, will premiere on Monday, January 10th at 10.35pm.

Dry Your Eyes, produced by the Hole in the Wall Gang, features an up-and-coming group of performers and writers who are new to our screens.

With the original edition of the show, the Hole in the Wall Gang first brought several memorable characters to the screen 15 years ago.

Niamh McAllister, Michael Stranney, Bernadette Brown, Diona Doherty, and Cailum Carragher make up the new on-screen lineup, bringing audiences a freshly baked batch of cringeworthy masterpieces that address modern reality in their own strange way, yet speak with our own local voice.

The award-winning comedian Paddy Raff comes to BBC Northern Ireland in January with a new four-part series, The Paddy Raff Show, to help you get through the winter blues.

Granny Raff, Father Pat, and Malone's most well-known citizen Nigel, who is looking for love, appear in Paddy's comedic sketches about family life. While new character Kara-efforts Lynne's to find the perfect career bring a few laughs.

Nice One Productions produces The Paddy Raff Show for BBC Northern Ireland.

Ma, Da, Cal, Uncle Andy and all the gang are back as Give My Head Peace runs across three episodes beginning on Friday 7 January on BBC One Northern Ireland at 10.35pm.

And BBC Northern Ireland has also commissioned a new comedy drama written by and starring local comedy duo Grimes and McKee.

The action revolves around the fictitious GAA club of St Mungo's. It is currently in production with the makers of 'Hope Street' Long Story TV, and will air later this Spring.

The Blame Game, produced by Moondog Productions and hosted by Tim McGarry, with panellists Diona Doherty, Neil Delamere and Colin Murphy, makes a return later this year with a new series following a successful run at the end of last year recorded in venues across Northern Ireland.

All programmes will be available to watch live on BBC One Northern Ireland and afterwards to watch anytime on BBC iPlayer.

Stuck, a brand new comedy series for BBC Two and BBC iPlayer, is written and starred by Dylan Moran.

Stuck (5 x 15), produced by Hat Trick Productions and filmed in Belfast, is a dark, surreal sitcom about Dan (Dylan Moran) and Carla's relationship (Morgana Robinson).

Carla and Dan are at a fork in the road. Dan was recently laid off, and Carla is beginning to wonder if this is all there is to life. It's no surprise that they're stuck, given their age difference and Carla's ex-girlfriend Maya's re-emergence onto the scene.

Dylan Moran says: "I'm delighted to be working with the smartypants comedy wonks at Hat Rack, going to Belfast to shoot our crazy little series. Morgana is a one woman army of comic power, and the little gang of loons we found make a very lumpy talent piñata. Terrifying. I'm only ok with this because I know our brilliant director Ian FitzGibbon specialises in coaxing magic even from clumps like me who breathe through their foreheads and bang into the walls. Check us out."

Filming commences in January 2022

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

Philomena Cunk returns to BBC Two and BBC iPlayer with brand new series Cunk On Earth

Made by Broke & Bones, Cunk On Earth (5 x 30') will see Philomena Cunk (played by Diane Morgan) attempting to unlock the mystery of human civilisation and discover humankind's greatest achievements.

From virtually nothing, to virtual reality, she'll tell the story of our greatest inventions, like the wheel, creative masterpieces, like the Mona Lisa, and mind-blowing concepts, like enlightenment and nuclear power.

Along the way, Philomena will be asking experts hard-hitting questions about humanity's progress, as well as standing near impressive old ruins, or inside museums, before the shot cuts away from her to some archive of the bits that don't exist anymore.

The series will examine cultures, science, art and ideas that have enriched the world as well as some of the people that produced and inspired them. It's a journey through time from the stone age to the space age, and also the future age of tomorrow that hasn't been named yet.

Philomena says: "This series it's in my contract to go somewhere better than just Britain so I'm hoping I at least go to Italy as that seems a safe bet. I'm looking forward to getting out of the house and tracing humanity's progress and also finding out exactly what a 'civilisations' is."

Charlie Brooker, Creator, Writer and Executive Producer, says: "I am delighted to be working with Philomena again, even though she is a fictional character who, like me, has never experienced the emotion of 'delight' and has only a limited understanding of what constitutes 'work'. In pursuit of nothing less than the definitive story of human civilisation, she's going to visit every corner of the globe our budget and official pandemic travel restrictions will allow. Globes don't have corners but you know what I mean. Diane Morgan is very funny. I have run out of things to say in this quote. Stop reading. Go away."

Tanya Qureshi, Head of Comedy at the BBC says: "We couldn't be more excited that Philomena Cunk is returning to the BBC. A huge thank you to her and the incredibly talented team at Broke & Bones for braving everything from Ancient Rome to the wilds of Silicon Valley in this fantastic new series. Who better to educate us all on the history of civilisation as we know it?"

Cunk On Earth will debut on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer in 2022 and on Netflix outside of the UK and Ireland.