The Thick Of It Back On 8th SeptemberBookmark and Share

Saturday, 25 August 2012 - Reported by John Bowman
The award-winning political comedy The Thick Of It returns to TV screens in the UK on Saturday 8th September for a seven-part series.

Previously described by creator Armando Iannucci as a cross between Yes Minister and The Larry Sanders Show, the satire, starring Peter Capaldi as foul-mouthed spin doctor Malcolm Tucker (pictured), will be on BBC Two at 9.45pm for the start of its fourth series.

The show is set to feature government embarrassments, ministerial mistakes, Coalition rows, backroom deals, policy U-turns, spin-doctoring, political back-stabbing, wild media speculation - and more time spent with one's family.

Roger Allam is back as MP Peter Mannion, the new Secretary of State for The Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship (DoSAC), supported by his team of special advisers who are headed by Number 10's Director of Communications Stewart Pearson (Vincent Franklin), and thwarted by his new Coalition partner, DOSAC's Junior Minister Fergus Williams MP (Geoffrey Streatfeild).

Also returning is MP Nicola Murray, played by Rebecca Front. Both she and Tucker are now consigned to Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition but are still desperately hoping for a return to power. Front and Capaldi won BAFTAs for their roles at the 2010 awards, with the show also being named Best Situation Comedy.

The ensemble cast is completed by Chris Addison, Joanna Scanlan, James Smith, Olivia Poulet, Will Smith, Ben Willbond, and Rebecca Gethings.

Tensions are running high in DoSAC. It is launch day for "Silicon Playgrounds", the Coalition's new digital youth policy masterminded by Junior Minister Fergus Williams. Number 10's spin doctor Stewart Pearson delivers the bombshell that the PM wants digital-illiterate Peter Mannion to launch the policy, rather than Fergus. What could possibly go wrong with that? All Fergus gets left with is drawing up the list of staff redundancies, and Terri Coverley [Joanna Scanlan] is pretty sure she can make his hit list if she plays her cards right, finding help from an unexpected direction.

The Thick Of It
began life on BBC Four in 2005, and a feature film spin-off, In The Loop, was released in the UK in April 2009. As well as the four series there have also been two TV specials, which aired in 2007.

A US remake of The Thick Of It, announced in October 2006, didn't get beyond a pilot episode, despite networks such as ABC, HBO, Showtime, and NBC having originally expressed an interest in the series. In 2009, Iannucci entered into fresh talks with HBO over the possibility of an American adaptation and since then the series Veep, although not a direct spin-off, has been written, directed, and produced by Iannucci for HBO.

Sherlock Series 3: Teaser wordsBookmark and Share

Friday, 24 August 2012 - Reported by Harry Ward
Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss today revealed the three "tease" words for Series three of Sherlock at the Edinburgh International Television Festival.

Moffat tweeted: "So. The three tease words for the next run of Sherlock ... Rat. Wedding. Bow.". Gatiss had early jokingly posted false teaser words to his Twitter account: "Off to Edinburgh for #Sherlock event at the TV festival. I'm revealing the 'three words' for S3 early. Pipe. Slippers. Bed. There you go."

The three words for series two were "Woman. Hound. Fall". The "Woman" referred to the character of Irene Adler. "Hound" was The Hounds of Baskerville and the "Fall" was The Reichenbach Fall.

The YouTube channel for the festival released a video of highlights from the Sherlock event.

New commissions for BBC One, Two, Three and FourBookmark and Share

Friday, 24 August 2012 - Reported by Harry Ward
The BBC has announced new commissions for its TV channels at the Edinburgh International Television Festival.


Speaking today at the Edinburgh Television Festival, Controller Danny Cohen talks about BBC One, why it matters, and the channel’s plans for the future, including a host of new commissions.

Danny Cohen says: “It’s a huge privilege to run Britain’s most-watched channel, and I’m greatly enjoying my time at BBC One. There’s always plenty to do though and my focus in the coming months is on consolidating BBC One’s position as the home of the biggest and best programmes - whilst at the same time continuing to develop the channel as a place where we take experimental risks and develop new talent.

"The new programme commissions I am announcing today across Comedy, Drama, Factual and Entertainment underline this creative strategy - with its aim to combine the biggest programmes with the kind of commitment to risk and new talent not normally associated with mainstream channels."

2012 has already been a huge year for BBC One. Extraordinary major events have seen the channel bring the nation together for its biggest moments. The Olympics and Diamond Jubilee helped draw massive audiences and put BBC One right at the heart of the action.

It’s also been a year of record breaking hits, Call The Midwife and The Voice UK are the biggest new drama and entertainment series (respectively) on BBC One in over a decade (since records began in 2001), both with new series to look forward to in 2013.

Alongside these major hits, Danny Cohen has been working to foster a spirit of risk and experimental creativity on BBC One through projects including the week of improvised drama, True Love; the prime-time public service season on ageing When I’m 65, and next week the start of BBC One’s first Asian sitcom, Citizen Khan.

Danny Cohen adds: “The raft of exciting new programmes I’m announcing today are at the heart of what I believe BBC One stands for: combining the biggest names and the most ambitious programmes with a major new commitment to creative risk and innovation. New comedies written by Britain’s biggest names sit alongside an exciting new Drama Talent Scheme for emerging writers and directors.”

“Two masters of British comedy have created brand new sit-coms especially for BBC One, namely Ben Elton with Slings And Arrows and David Walliams with Autumn Leaves (w/t). Comedy is incredibly important to BBC One and it’s been brilliant to see such great talent being so passionate about working on the nation’s favourite channel.”

Ben Elton says: "All my happiest television memories concern BBC comedy and in particular BBC sit-coms. It's an honour and a privilege to get the chance to be a part of that tradition again and I'm as excited today as I was when the Young Ones was commissioned 30 years ago.”

David Walliams says: “I am delighted to be back at the BBC, writing and acting in a new sit-com. My co-writers, the Dawson Brothers are brilliant. I met them when they wrote sketches for 'The One Ronnie', and I have loved collaborating with them. The read-through of the first episode attracted a stellar cast, and I hope the series will too.”

BBC One is also committed to delivering an ambitious range of popular and original British drama, and announces today two new distinctive drama series. The Ark and Quirke are major new dramas from exceptional writing talent that reflect the scale and quality of the channel’s output. Both are In-House BBC Drama productions.

The Ark is a new series written by Sarah Phelps (Great Expectations) which tells the story of the First World War’s frontline medics, focusing on the British nurses and volunteers working in France to save the lives of injured and traumatised soldiers. Quirke is a new series adapted by screenwriters Andrew Davies and Conor McPherson which will bring John Banville’s acclaimed novels to the screen, starring Gabriel Byrne in the title role.

Quirke is the chief pathologist in the Dublin City Morgue – a charismatic loner whose job takes him into unexpected places as he uncovers the secrets of sudden death in 1950s Dublin.

Alongside these pieces, Danny Cohen also today announces a major new Drama Talent Scheme for emerging writers and directors. The aim of the scheme is to develop the next generation of star writers and directors, through a strip of original mid-week pieces that will broadcast on BBC One. Each production will be mentored by a current master of the genre, and will be ambitiously cast. This fresh approach to storytelling will bring entirely new voices to the screen in a bold and entertaining drama event.

In Entertainment, a new live Saturday night game show has been ordered, where contestants from all walks of life will battle it out to become The Brightest Briton (w/t).

Finally, Seasons is BBC One’s new Natural History commission – a definitive portrait of our country’s dynamic and spectacular nature over the course of one year. The series will reveal why Britain’s climate is unique on Earth, and why our relationship with its wildlife is so enduring and special.

Danny Cohen concludes: “We’ve got an exciting Autumn on BBC One to look forward to, with a star-studded new series of Strictly, a massive injection of Original British Drama and landmark factual series from Andrew Marr and Michael Palin. And I hope the new commissions I’ve announced today for 2013 express the range and creative ambition of BBC One. There are great opportunities here for big names, a real commitment to new talent and opportunities, and top quality programmes.”

Full details on all the new commissions can be found here.


BBC Two Controller Janice Hadlow today announces a wealth of new commissions encompassing major dramas; comedy drama series from Sue Perkins, Ade Edmondson and Rik Mayall, and Mitchell and Webb; an exploration of women in art; and a year-long celebration of the genius of British inventions.

Janice Hadlow says: “BBC Two has had a really successful year with stand-out dramas from The Best Of Men to Line of Duty, the channel’s best performing drama series since 2002; fantastic comedy including Twenty Twelve and The Sarah Millican Show; ground-breaking documentaries and current affairs films from The Men Who Made Us Fat to Britain In A Day; and our contribution to the Cultural Olympiad from the acclaimed The Hollow Crown adaptations of Shakespeare’s history plays to a major exploration of the life and work of Lucian Freud.

"Looking ahead, I want to ensure that the channel’s sense of confidence and scale continues, and I believe that these commissions, from a major year-long celebration of British inventiveness and ingenuity to new dramas and comedies from some of our brightest and best talent demonstrate the range and ambition we have for BBC Two.”

Full details on all the new commissions can be found here

BBC Three

During his Controller session at the Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival today, Zai Bennett, Controller, BBC Three, announced a wealth of new commissions for the channel, including a season of programmes around the subject of birth, as well as new comedy, entertainment and drama series.

BBC Three is currently the MGEITF’s Digital Channel of the Year and is nominated again this year.

Zai said: “At BBC Three we’re never afraid to try new things and we’re the only channel that brings such a rich and diverse offering specifically to young audiences in the UK.

“BBC Three is having an incredible year. We’re proud to have just co-hosted the biggest sporting event on the planet to great critical acclaim and unprecedented viewing figures. Coming out of that we’ve just launched a season of exciting new programmes on the channel, proving that quality, relevant, meaningful television isn’t only the domain of the terrestrial channels. BBC Three is currently in a fantastic place and I’m delighted to be announcing this raft of new commissions to help us continue on this path. I’m confident there’s something for everyone in amongst them.”

Full details on all the new commissions can be found here

BBC Four

BBC Four Controller Richard Klein today announces a range of exciting new commissions, from a major partnership with the Royal Institute of British Architects to a celebration of the golden age of the album from Danny Baker, and seasons exploring the curious world of insect life and Britain’s foodie history.

Richard Klein says: “This, the tenth birthday year for BBC Four, has been a great one for the channel: we’ve taken a Scrapheap Orchestra to the Proms and left a model house to rot in Edinburgh Zoo; explored the rich cultural heritage of 20th century America in the Art of America season; shined a spotlight on women with series from Dr Helen Castor and Dr Lucy Worsley; and celebrated an eclectic range of music - from Bowie and Punk to Symphony and The Story of Musicals; all united by the channel’s trademark wit, intelligence and spirit.

"BBC Four is the BBC’s best-loved channel and it’s continuing to grow. Looking ahead, there’s much more to come and the announcements I’m making today show the confidence and ambition of the channel.

Full details on all the new commissions can be found here

Wizards Vs Aliens Preview To Be HeldBookmark and Share

Friday, 24 August 2012 - Reported by John Bowman
A preview screening of two episodes from the forthcoming new CBBC series Wizards Vs Aliens is to be held in London.

The family TV show was created by Russell T Davies and Phil Ford as a successor to The Sarah Jane Adventures, following the untimely death last year of Elisabeth Sladen. The show's premise sees aliens called the Nekross intent on devouring all magic on Earth, with one 16-year-old boy - Tom Clarke, played by Scott Haran - standing in their way. Tom seems ordinary but is, in fact, a wizard, and he is helped by his friend Benny Sherwood, played by Percelle Ascott.

Guest stars in the 12-part series include Annette Badland, Michael Higgs, Jefferson Hall, Gwendoline Christie, and Ruthie Henshall, with Don Gilet and Nina Sosanya making guest appearances as Benny's parents.

Writers for the series include Clayton Hickman, Joseph Lidster, and Gareth Roberts, and last month Ford tweeted:
Just watched a cut of @OldRoberts953 [Gareth Roberts's] Wizards vs Aliens eps. Completely and utterly awesome.
The preview takes place at the BFI Southbank on Friday 5th October at 6.15pm and will also feature a question-and-answer session with special guests including Ford.

There is currently no direct link via which to buy tickets. However, as well as the usual post, phone, and in-person methods, tickets can also be bought by going to the BFI website, then clicking on the "What's on at BFI" button at the top of the home page, hovering your mouse over the "Events" tab, and selecting the "Previews and in-conversations" option.