The Making of Dad's ArmyBookmark and Share

Friday, 28 August 2015 - Reported by Harry Ward
Dad's Army (Credit: BBC) BBC Two's controller, Kim Shillinglaw, has announced that a new comedy about the making of Dad’s Army is to be made by the channel. The one-off 60 minute special will star Paul Ritter, Shane Ritchie, John Sessions, Sally Phillips and Kevin Bishop.
The Making of Dad's Army (w/t)

The dramatised story of how Jimmy Perry and David Croft overcame BBC management scepticism, focus groups and cast constipation to get the much loved legend onto air.

Running from Perry's initial idea in 1967 until the transmission of the first episode in 1968, this affectionate and witty film shows the beginnings of Perry and Croft's writing partnership and the casting woes, personal clashes and production difficulties that put the show's very existence in jeopardy. It reveals to fans and newcomers alike what went on behind the scenes in the making of Dad's Army and is a true love letter to British creativity.

Cast confirmed so far includes: Paul Ritter to play Jimmy Perry (Friday Night Dinner, The World's End, Quantum of Solace), Richard Dormer as David Croft (Fortitude, Good Vibrations, Game of Thrones), John Sessions to play Arthur Lowe (Filth, Gangs Of New York), Julian Sands as John Le Mesurier (The Killing Fields, The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo, A Room With a View), Mark Heap as Clive Dunn (Friday Night Dinner, Green Wing & Spaced), Shane Richie to play Bill Pertwee (EastEnders), Kevin Bishop as James Beck (The Kevin Bishop Show, Whites), Keith Allen to play Paul Fox (Bodies, Robin Hood, The Comic Strip Presents…), Michael Cochrane as Arnold Ridley (The Archers), Ralph Riach (Braveheart, Hamish Macbeth) to play John Laurie and Sally Phillips as Ann Croft (Smack The Pony, Bridget Jones' Diary, Miranda). Further cast details will be announced at a later date.

The Making of Dad's Army (w/t) is a 1 x 60' episode. It is being produced by DSP, part of Endemol Shine Group. It was commissioned by Shane Allen, Controller BBC Comedy Commissioning and Gregor Sharp, Commissioning Editor BBC Comedy. It was written by Stephen Russell (Hattie, Shameless, Coronation Street, Garrow's Law) and will be directed by Steve Bendelack (Spitting Image, the Royle Family, The League of Gentlemen). The Executive Producers are Charlotte Surtees and Emily Dalton and the Producer is Brett Wilson at DSP. The drama will be filmed in Northern Ireland and has been part funded by Northern Ireland Screen.




First Official Photos Of Dad's Army Film CastBookmark and Share

Monday, 27 October 2014 - Reported by Harry Ward
The first official photos from the film adaptation of Dad's Army have been released by Universal Pictures.

The main cast of the 2015 Dad's Army film - (left to right) Frank Pike (Blake Harrison), Walker (Daniel Mays), Jones (Tom Courtenay), George Mainwaring (Toby Jones), Arthur Wilson (Bill Nighy), Frazer (Bill Paterson), Godfrey (Michael Gambon) (Credit: Universal Pictures/PA Wire) Dad's Army - 2015 Film (Credit: Universal Pictures/PA Wire)

The film, which is written by Hamish McColl and directed by Oliver Parker, sees the group of "Local Defence Volunteers" in search of a spy as journalist Rose Winters, played by Catherine Zeta Jones, is sent to Walmington-on-Sea to report on the Home Guard's exploits.

The cast, who have have been filming the production in Bridlington, East Yorkshire, include Mark Gatiss, Sarah Lancashire, Annette Crosbie, Alison Steadman, Felicity Montagu, Julia Foster, Holli Dempsey, Oliver Tobias and Emily Atack.

The BBC reported the film as being "in the works" in February of this year.




In The Flesh nominated for BAFTAs as series 2 details announcedBookmark and Share

Monday, 7 April 2014 - Reported by John Bowman
The BBC Three zombie drama In The Flesh was nominated for two TV BAFTAs today, including Leading Actor for first-time nominee Luke Newberry as Partially Deceased Syndrome sufferer Kieren Walker.

He faces opposition from Dominic West (Burton and Taylor), Sean Harris (Southcliffe) and Jamie Dornan (The Fall).

The show has also been nominated in the Mini-Series category, with Southcliffe, The Great Train Robbery and The Fall also vying for the gong, and follows creator Dominic Mitchell's nomination for a BAFTA Television Craft Award for Best Writer, which he will be hoping to win against Chris Chibnall (Broadchurch), Sally Wainwright (Last Tango In Halifax) and Dennis Kelly (Utopia).

The BAFTA Television Crafts awards ceremony takes place on Sunday 27th April and the TV BAFTAs will be held on Sunday 18th May.

Series two of In The Flesh, comprising six episodes, is to be shown on BBC Three in the first week of May, the BBC said today. The first series will be repeated on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer on Sunday 12th April.

Critically-acclaimed creator Dominic Mitchell reignites the world of teenager Kieren Walker, a PDS (Partially Deceased Syndrome) sufferer who continues in his struggle to find acceptance in the second series of the award-nominated BBC Three drama In The Flesh.

Over six episodes, In The Flesh propels us back to the hotbed of Roarton nine months on, where the living and the undead have reached a fragile peace. Partially Deceased Syndrome sufferer, Kieren (Luke Newberry) is still struggling to find self-acceptance, and is keeping his head down, squirrelling money into his "escape fund" for Paris. Only problem is, he can't escape himself.

In the wider world, fear is in the air, provoked by radical Pro-Living Party Victus and extremism linked to the Undead Liberation Army. Scarier still, there are whispers about a Second Rising.

When explosive characters from both Victus and the ULA descend on Roarton, Kieren's dreams of escape are thrown into disarray. Victus MP Maxine Martin (Wunmi Mosaku) is stirring up anti-PDS sentiment in the village, while charismatic ULA disciple Simon (Emmett J Scanlan) wants Kieren to stay for different reasons altogether.

As Kieren increasingly finds himself in Maxine and Simon's crossfire, tensions reignite within the Walker family, where schoolgirl Jem (Harriet Cains) is facing her own demons, struggling to come to terms with vivid flashbacks from her time in the HVF (Human Volunteer Force). Kieren's only saving grace is the return of his old hunting partner Amy Dyer (Emily Bevan), but has his happy-go-lucky BDFF (Best Dead Friend Forever) been radicalised by the ULA?

As the series progresses, we follow Kieren, his friends and family, as he wrestles with his identity and his own and other people's beliefs. One thing's for certain: a quiet life is no longer an option.

Video interviews with Newberry and Mitchell to promote series 2 were released by the BBC today:






The BAFTA nominations echo plaudits from other parts of the industry - the series was also shortlisted for the MIND Media Awards 2013, Best Drama Serial at RTS, Best Drama Serial at Broadcast Awards and Innovation in Multiplatform at RTS North West - while Mitchell was named one of the 17 BAFTA Breakthrough Brits last year.

BBC Three controller Zai Bennett said:
Not only is BBC Three the most-watched digital channel in the hours it's on air, we're also the most BAFTA-nominated digital channel this year with six nominations, two of which are for the extraordinary In The Flesh which returns to BBC Three next month. I couldn't be prouder of the team, the producers, storytellers, actors and presenters who make BBC Three the ground-breaking, award-winning, incredible channel it is.




Supermarionation documentary on its wayBookmark and Share

Saturday, 5 April 2014 - Reported by John Bowman
A major new feature film about the life and work of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson has been made by video publishing company Network.

Filmed in Supermarionation - billed as "the definitive documentary about the unique puppetry and animation technique developed by Gerry and Sylvia and their team and utilised in all their programmes throughout the 1960s" - has been directed and co-produced by Stephen La Riviere from his book of the same name.

It is hosted by Thunderbirds characters Lady Penelope and Parker, and features previously unseen archive footage, new interviews with surviving cast and crew, and clips from the shows. In addition, pioneering techniques used in the productions have been accurately re-created for the film, which will be premièred at the BFI later this year ahead of a general release.

Before then, though, a preview of selected scenes together with a question-and-answer session with the film's creative team will be held at Andercon on Saturday 19th April.

In the meantime, Network, which specialises in classic British TV programmes, has released two clips from it:

With Thanks To Tony Clark




Musketeers will ride into action for second seriesBookmark and Share

Sunday, 9 February 2014 - Reported by John Bowman
A second series of swashbuckling drama The Musketeers was announced today by the BBC just three weeks into the 10-episode run of the first.

The contemporary take on the classic Alexandre Dumas characters had a consolidated audience of 9.3 million for episode one, which aired on Sunday 19th January, making it the corporation's biggest new drama launch since Call The Midwife in January 2012. The first three episodes have averaged 6.3 million viewers in the overnight ratings.

Set on the streets of 17th-century Paris, where law and order is more an idea than reality, the series follows the eponymous quartet who are far more than King Louis XIII's personal bodyguards, but ultimately stand resolutely for social justice: for honour, valour, love - and for the thrill of it.

It stars Luke Pasqualino as D'Artagnan alongside Tom Burke as Athos, Santiago Cabrera as Aramis and Howard Charles as Porthos. All four will return in series two, whose length is yet to be confirmed.

Creator Adrian Hodges said:
I'm completely thrilled to be able to continue the journey we have begun on The Musketeers. Writing and helping produce the show has been one of the greatest challenges and joys of my professional life.
Charlotte Moore, the controller of BBC One, commented:
Drama in 2014 has got off to a great start on BBC One and The Musketeers has really brought something fresh and new to the channel. I can't wait to see how things will develop in the next series.
The show is made by BBC Drama Production and co-produced by BBC Worldwide and BBC America. Jessica Pope is the BBC executive producer, Hodges is an executive producer and lead writer, and Colin Wratten is producer.

Kate Harwood, the head of Drama England at BBC Drama Production, said:
I am delighted that Jessica Pope, Adrian Hodges, Colin Wratten and their team are able to go back to 17th-century Paris, round up those superb Musketeers and fight some more good fights for the BBC One audience.
The show was recommissioned by Moore and Ben Stephenson, the controller of BBC Drama Commissioning.

Episode four - entitled The Good Soldier - airs at 9pm tonight.

Guest actors still to come in this series include Sean Pertwee, JJ Field, Vincent Regan, Ashley Walters, Amy Nuttall, Tara Fitzgerald, Annabelle Wallis, Zoe Tapper and Vinnie Jones.




Champions actress Alexandra Bastedo dies at 67Bookmark and Share

Monday, 13 January 2014 - Reported by John Bowman
Alexandra Bastedo as Sharron MacreadyThe actress Alexandra Bastedo who played Sharron Macready in the cult '60s ITV series The Champions died yesterday of cancer at the age of 67.

Born in Hove, the keen animal-lover's original ambition was to be a vet, but showbusiness beckoned and she made her film debut in 1963 as one of the title characters in 13 Frightened Girls - aka The Candy Web.

More films followed, as did TV, which led to the multi-lingual Bastedo being cast as one of the three eponymous Champions - United Nations agents with perfected human abilities given to them by a secret civilisation following a plane crash in Tibet.

The sci-fi/action/adventure series - which also starred William Gaunt and Stuart Damon - was created by Dennis Spooner and Monty Berman and ran for 30 episodes between September 1968 and April 1969. In her biography on her website, Bastedo wrote how being in the show changed her life:
Apart from becoming a household name in England, Scotland and Wales I became an international star, particularly in Spain and South America where they called me "La Bastedo".
Over the course of her acting career, she appeared in many more films and TV series, including Batman Begins, EastEnders, and Absolutely Fabulous. Her real dream, though, was to rescue animals, and she founded the Alexandra Bastedo Champions Animal Sanctuary, which at first was based at Almodington, near Chichester, in West Sussex. She and her husband - the actor, writer, and director Patrick Garland - then moved to nearby West Chiltington, where the sanctuary was also relocated.

A passionate advocate of animal protection, Bastedo wrote a memoir entitled Beware Dobermanns, Donkeys and Ducks plus a number of books on the welfare of cats and dogs. In addition, she was patron to a number of animal welfare organisations, including Compassion in World Farming, the Wildlife Aid Foundation, the National Animal Welfare Trust, Greyhounds in Need, and Naturewatch.

Yesterday, the actor and friend Peter Egan, who along with Gaunt is a patron of the ABC Animal Sanctuary, tweeted:

Garland died last April, aged 78.