Wednesday, October 31, 2007

CAROLINE CATZ ON DOC MARTIN

Caroline Catz found the perfect way to unwind after a day’s filming on Doc Martin by joining the Port Isaac rowing team.

“I went out with the Port Isaac rowing team in the gig in the evenings after work which was great. We rowed out from the harbour right out to sea.

“I had to be right at the back so I didn’t smash my oar with someone else. I am an absolute learner and I was petrified by these giant pieces of oak- the oars.

“When someone pushes the boat off you have to hold your oar up in the air before you put it in the sea. But I was so scared I was going to bash someone over the head with my oar. They are so heavy, it feels like you are holding a tree.

“It is really hard work, tough on your arms and wrists. It is fantastic exercise, but it is also very relaxing. The first time I went I was so petrified I was just looking at the oar all the time, trying to keep it in rhythm, so not looking around.

“I had always wondered what Port Isaac looked like from the sea, and to travel along the coast on the sea. I had never done rowing before.

“When it is flat and still it is fine, but when there is any kind of choppiness in the sea that makes it really difficult, you are fighting to keep the oar in the water.”

“The sea needs to be respected. I felt really safe with the rowing team. Those people know the water so well they really know what they are doing. You knew you were in really safe hands.

“The rowing team is made up of local people and has been going since the late 80s. There has always been a tradition of each fishing village having a gig. Traditionally they were like pilot boats to steer the boats into harbour.

Caroline’s invitation to join the rowing team came when she was shopping in the surfers’ shop in Port Isaac.

“It was a beautiful evening and someone came into the shop to say they were short of people for the gig, and the owner of the shop asked if I wanted to go.

“I had watched the team go out and admired them, so I jumped at the chance.”

Caroline also caught the surfing bug while she was in Cornwall. She joined members of the crew on their evening trips to the surfers’ paradise of Polzeath. But the first time she went out on the waves nearly proved disastrous.

“I bought a wet suit and a wooden boogie board. The first time I went out I got myself into a bit of a muddle and went out a bit too deep.

“A giant wave came up from behind me and knocked me over. The boogie board jammed into the sea bed and I got smashed on top of it, right across my middle.

“The crew who were with me were looking at me with absolute horror on their faces. They said I went white and got up spluttering and crawled to the shore. It didn’t put me off, but I did buy a nice new foam board to replace the old wooden one.”

Caroline says part of the joy of filming Doc Martin is being able to enjoy a whole new life style.

“It was great spending three and a half months living by the sea. I enjoyed being out of London. It is just such a different existence. It has a completely different rhythm to it, driven by what the sea is doing rather than whether the Tube has broken down. The house I stay in when I am filming looks right out to sea

“I couldn’t envisage living somewhere like Portwenn though, it’s a bit too small for me.”

Caroline was however wooed by the different lifestyle, and was persuaded to sell her car and buy a camper van for family holidays.

“I’ve enjoyed being out of London so much and being near the sea, and I had seen these fantastic camper vans driving around Cornwall, so I decided to sell the car and buy one.

“The idea is we can leave London for a holiday when we want to. It is very exciting.”

Caroline’s character in Doc Martin, headmistress, Louisa Glasson, is highly unlikely to leave the Cornish hamlet of Portwenn. Her dreams remain focussed on a future with Dr Martin Ellingham.

Despite the doctor’s curmudgeonly manner and complete lack of romance, Louisa is still determined to have a relationship with him. Her persistence appears to be paying off at last.


“I admire her determination. She is determined because she is genuinely in love with him and she thinks it is not happening because of something about his personality that somehow she will change.
“I think there is a slight belief that she might be able to do that; that he will become more what she wants him to be when they are together. It is a classic mistake that people make: that belief you can change people.

“She wants to have a relationship with him, and she has accepted he is socially inept. But whenever she takes steps to get them together something goes wrong. It is heartbreaking for her.”

The arrival of a glamorous new woman in Portwenn who is vying for the Doctor’s attention galvanises Louisa into action. She invites the doctor to a romantic evening of classical music.

Prompted by the sense of romance in the air Louisa seizes her chance to demonstrate how she feels.

“The date at the concert goes very well. It is very romantic, the doc takes Louisa’s hand and it’s all looking quite promising. She initiates a kiss. After the kiss the doc starts to say something. Louisa urges him not to ruin the moment, but of course he manages to. For Louisa that is a really heartbreaking moment because that is when she realises she has been attempting to chase something that is never going to work.”

Louisa storms off believing there is no hope for their relationship. But she’s in for a big surprise when the doctor proposes to her just after he has saved her friend’s life.

“Louisa is in awe at how Martin has been able to bring her friend back to life. As he is leaving her house he stops in the doorway, and out of the blue asks her to marry him.

“She says yes, of course. She has been waiting three years for this moment. A drink would have done!

“It would be great to see them get together at last. We will have to see what happens…..”

Since filming the Doc Martin Christmas special last year, Caroline has taken the opportunity to spend time her baby daughter Honor and son Sonny.

Caroline’s recent television credits include The Vice, In Denial of Murder, Real Men, The Bill, Preston Front, Look Me In The Eye and The Guilty.

BAFTA HISTORY

HISTORY OF BAFTA

Notable Occurances
Notable hosts- Stephen Fry, 6 years (2001-06)
Jonathan Ross, 2 years (1999, 2007)

• The classic 1962 film Lawrence Of Arabia was voted the best Bafta winner from the last 60 years by members of the academy
• The first awards, designed by Henry Moore, were statues in the form of a large, bronze, seated lady valued at UK £550 each at the time, but of great value today
• In 1955 a small work, a trophy mask, was commissioned by Andrew Miller-Jones of the [then] Guild of Television Producers, which later merged with the British Film Academy to become BAFTA

First Presenter- Edith Evans, 7 years (1954-51)
In 1992 a controversial selection was made in the Best Drama Serial category, when Prime Suspect beat G.B.H. to win the award. Following the ceremony, four of the seven voting members of the jury signed a public statement declaring that they had voted for G.B.H. to win. Irene Shubik, who as chairman did not cast a vote, refused to publicly comment on the affair, but BAFTA Chairman Richard Price stated that the ballot papers passed on to him by Shubik had shown four votes for Prime Suspect and three for G.B.H.. Price claimed that the ballot papers could not be recounted as they had subsequently been destroyed. No blame was ever attached to Shubik by the four judges, and it was to her that they had initially turned to raise the apparent discrepancy with BAFTA.


Brief History of BAFTA

• Formed 1947 as The British Film Academy by Sir Alexander Korda, Carol Reed, Charles Laughton, Roger Manvell, Anthony Asquith, Michael Balcon, Frank Launder, Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger and Paul Rotha, with fellow founder David Lean becoming the first chairman

• Merged with The Guild of Television and Film Producers and Directors in 1958 to form The Society of Film and Television Arts

• In 1976 became known as The British Academy of Film and Television Arts

• BAFTA/LA holds its own awards show each year

Important dates of BAFTA

1. 1947, British Film Academy founded (BFA)

2. 1953, Guild of Television Producers and Directors founded (GTPD)

3. 1958, BFA and GTPD merge to become The Society of Film and Television Arts

4. 1962, Prince Philip becomes the academy’s first president

5. 1971, Alfred Hitchcock is awarded first academy fellowship

6. 1973, Princess Royal becomes new president

7. 1976, SFTA becomes The British Academy of Film and Television Arts

8. 1976, Richard Cawston appointed new chairman

9. 1998, First year of separate awards ceremonies for TV and Film

10. 2000, Television Craft Awards has first year as a separate event

11. 2001, Lord Attenborough is appointed new president


BAFTA Participants

This year’s BAFTA awards are celebrating their 60th birthday and to commemorate this they have invited a host of past and present BAFTA winners who represent the decades of BAFTA gone by.


The Noughties

The Kumars at No. 42
The Kumars at no 42 is an innovative combination of the sitcom and the chat show. It follows The Kumars who are an Asian family that host a variety of guests from their front room. Sanjeev Bhaskar and Meera Syal were both nominated in 2003 for Best Entertainment Performance and the show was nominated twice for Best Programme or Series in 2002 and 2003.

Halle Berry
Multi-award winning Hollywood actress Halle Berry was nominated for a BAFTA for her role as widowed waitress Lecticia Musgrove in the film Monster’s Ball in 2003.

The musical/film Billy Elliott
Billy Elliot tells the emotional story of a young, working class boy who secretly chooses ballet slippers over boxing cloves, unbeknownst to his father. The film was nominated for, and won, several BAFTAs and its leading actor Jamie Bell won Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role.

Ricky Gervais
Comedian Ricky Gervais is best known for his dry humour and wit. His stand-up shows are sell-outs and his writing and directing talents, along with friend and colleague Stephen Merchant, are behind the success of the TV series The Office and Extras. He’s been nominated for a massive 10 BAFTAs and won seven of those for both his performances and writing skills.

The 80s, 90s and Noughties

Victoria Wood
Comedian Victoria Wood possesses a host of talents from actress and writer to composer and producer. She has been nominated for a record 12 BAFTAs to date reflecting her many roles in both drama and comedy.

Coronation Street – programme
Fifteen times nominated soap Coronation Street has been presented with the award for Best Continuing Drama and Best Soap more than just a few times and this years Happy Birthday BAFTA celebration will see cast members from the previous five years reunited.

The 80s and 90s

Sir Ben Kingsley
Critically acclaimed actor Sir Ben Kingsley has been nominated four times for a BAFTA. He was awarded both Best Actor and Best Newcomer for his debut film role in Ghandi (1982).

The 70s
Stanley Baxter Glaswegian comedian and impressionist Stanley Baxter is a three times BAFTA nominee in the Best Light Entertainment category winning in 1975 with his series The Stanley Baxter Moving Picture Show.

Ronnie Corbett (OBE)
Ronnie Corbett, stand-up comic, actor, presenter and one half of comedy genius double The Two Ronnies, won his first BAFTA in 1971 for Best Light Entertainment Performance in No, That’s Me Over There! He shared a further four nominations with Ronnie Barker for The Two Ronnies for Best Light Entertainment Performance. They won the BAFTA for this category in 1972.
Morecambe and Wise/Armstrong and Miller
Comedy duo Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise collected five consecutive BAFTAs (1970-1974) for Best Light Entertainment Performance for their sketch show The Morecambe and Wise Show. At Happy Birthday BAFTA funnymen Armstrong and Miller will be performing a classic Morecambe and Wise tribute sketch.

Upstairs Downstairs, as a programme.
1970s filmed period drama Upstairs, Downstairs was set in a London Edwardian town house in the 1930s and depicted the lives of the servants ‘downstairs’ and their superiors ‘upstairs’. The TV series was nominated for an impressive nine BAFTAs for the time that it ran for and won the awards for Best Drama Production in 1972 and Best Drama Series/Serial in 1974. This years BAFTAs will see 11 of the cast re-united, including Jean Marsh and Pauline Collins.

Cabaret – film
Following the 1966 legendary Broadway production of Cabaret, the musical film version was released in 1972 and was a huge success. The film starred Liza Minnelli as the leading lady Sally Bowles and was directed by Bob Fosse and was nominated for an astonishing 11 BAFTAs in 1973, winning 7 of those which included Best Film, Best Soundtrack and Best Actress.

Liza Minnelli
Liza Minnelli has graced both the stage and the big screen during her career and has numerous successful albums to her name. Her part as ‘Pookie’ Adams in The Sterile Cuckoo earned her a BAFTA nomination for Best Promising Newcomer and in 1973 she won the BATFA for Best Actress for her lead role in the smash hit musical Cabaret.

The 60s

Rita Tushingham
Rita Tushingham, British actress and 60s icon, has three BAFTA nominations to her name winning Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles for A Taste of Honey in 1961.

JOANNA LUMLEY ON HOSTING THE BAFTAS

What are you looking forward to about the evening of BAFTA celebration?

“It’s going to be a fabulous night of entertainment, which I can’t wait to be around and of course I get to work with the absolutely lovely Michael Parkinson.

“The event itself is going to be spectacular but myself and Michael will just be these (hopefully entertaining) links between wonderful acts and variety pieces. I’m so excited to be working with Michael; I adore him and his show.”

Who are your favourite BAFTA winners?
“I don’t think people should measure themselves by award ceremonies, it’s absolutely lovely to get an award but we have so much great talent out there not everyone can win which is such a shame. It’s an honour to win an award but you shouldn’t be upset if you don’t.

“Sometimes I watch ceremonies and if they have 6 strong contenders you just wish everyone could win an award as all the performances are top notch. Don’t get me wrong it’s such a huge honour to win but you shouldn’t be bitterly disappointed if you don’t. Winning is like a Christmas star on your head.”

With tributes to classic programmes like Upstairs Downstairs what other programme would you like to see remade?

“All the shows I would love to get re-made are the classic shows that sadly no longer have the cast members alive. I would love to see a Porridge reunion but the lovely Richard Beckinsale and Ronnie Barker are no longer with us.

“I always think that sometimes the audience like to remember us as we were as opposed to now - much older – I’d hate the thought of someone saying to me “Didn’t you used to be Joanna Lumley,” which thankfully hasn’t happened yet!”

What does it mean to win a BAFTA?
“As I mentioned before, it’s such a huge honour to win a BAFTA but you shouldn’t be sad or disappointed if you don’t as they only have a limited amount of awards and not everyone can have their fantastic work honoured at once.

“I keep my BAFTA in my study, I won three awards: a special achievement for The Avengers and two for Ab Fab. I adore them and it’s such an honour to have them.

“I think the most amazing thing about British Television is the archive collection. We properly have the best television in the world in our archives – such amazing shows – Porridge, Morecombe and Wise, Jewel in the Crown, old Parkinson etc.

“I think television has changed so much now in the sense that people can watch it in such different ways (online, phone, DVD etc) that we’ve lost that ‘event feel’ to shows, in which the whole family sit down and watch together, those great 28 million viewers that Morecombe and Wise you used to get and then the day after everyone would talk about shows. It is such a shame but things change and move on.”

What have you got coming up?
“I’ve just finished a lovely film called Boogie Woogie, which was a joy to film. I play Christopher Lee’s wife, we also had Gillian Anderson, Alun Cumming starring to name a few.
“I’m also about to go off to India with my gorgeous husband to write a special feature for a magazine which I’m very excited about.”

7 NEW GIVEWAYS

Just posted over at our parent site Memorable TV we have seven great new giveaways for your delectation and delight.

The Adventures of Aquaman
Monty Python's Life of Brian The Immaculate Edition
Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl
Voyagers The Complete Series
Nicole Kidman in Fur
Who the $%^& is JAckson Pollack
Jimmy Carr Comedian

Don't miss them!!

THE GREEN GREEN GRASS Season Three Episode Two

Hard to believe that this show is now in it's third season, it's like a throwback to the dark days of the mid 1980's, if it wasn't a spin off from the venerable Only Fools and Horses then it is doubtful this would have even got as far as episode three. The series returns 2 November but here we look ahead to episode 2 broadcasting 9 November on BBC1 @ 8.30pm.

For once, Boycie and Tyler are united in their desperation to avoid a visit to Marlene's mum, Dora, as John Sullivan's hit comedy continues. "I'd rather superglue my face to the table," complains Boycie, who knows that Dora can't stand him. Poor Tyler is also sick of his grandma treating him like a two-year-old.

But Marlene is insistent, as it's three years since she's seen her mum. So, while Boycie and Tyler reluctantly join her in the car for the drive to Bournemouth, they leave behind a moping Bryan and a worried Elgin, Jed and Mrs Cakeworthy.

It's the anniversary of his fourth engagement to Myrtle, meanwhile, and Bryan is heartbroken. Elgin, Jed and Mrs Cakeworthy recognise the signs – Bryan is singing to the cows. They decide to try and help and sign Bryan up to an online dating agency – farmersfanciers.com – packed with "beautiful, charismatic, vivacious and desperate women." He soon turns out to be an instant hit with Steamy Stella.

Later, on arrival in Bournemouth, Dora is furious that Marlene has brought Boycie with her, as she was hoping for a weekend with just her daughter and grandson. While Marlene cooks up a storm in the kitchen, Dora soon cooks up a plan to get rid of Boycie.

John Challis plays Boycie, Jack Doolan plays Tyler, June Whitfield plays Dora, Sue Holderness plays Marlene, David Ross plays Elgin, Peter Hepplethwaite plays Jed, Ella Kenion plays Mrs Cakeworthy and Ivan Kaye plays Bryan.

THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES - Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane

The start of another excellent two part story on BBC1 Monday 5 November @ 5.00pm, Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane. In this fourth tale (broadcast as usual over the course of two episodes) Sarah Jane mysteriously disappears – just as a huge meteor threatens to crash straight into Earth. When Maria wakes up one morning it's as though Sarah Jane – and Luke – never existed. Living across the road in Sarah Jane's house is a woman called Andrea. And, with the attic empty and Mr Smith nowhere to be seen, every other trace of Sarah Jane has vanished – and Maria is the only one able to remember her.

With the mysterious, hooded figure of the Trickster haunting Bannerman Road and the alien Graske meddling in time, Maria sets out to discover whatever happened to Sarah Jane. But as her journey takes her back to 1964, will she be able to find Sarah Jane in time to stop the meteor from destroying the world?

Sarah Jane Smith is played by Elisabeth Sladen, Maria Jackson by Yasmin Paige, Luke Smith by Thomas Knight and Clyde by Daniel Anthony. Jane Asher guest stars as Andrea Watson.

ROBIN HOOD SEASON TWO EPISODE FIVE

Airing this Saturday on BBC One is the fifth episode (can't believe we are upto episode five already) of the great fun that is this new take on an old favourite.

In it a horrified Robin realises that his plan to capture the Sheriff's spy, Henry of Lewes (played by David Bamber), has failed because he has a traitor in his gang. Fearing for Marian's safety in the castle, Robin sets about rooting out the turncoat. His only clue is supplied by Marian: the spy's meeting place is located at the Trip To Jerusalem Inn, where the traitor outlaw sells his secrets to Gisborne.

With two missions to complete Robin is relieved when Henry of Lewes arrives at the castle unconscious, his vital information about the King's landing sites remaining a mystery. Robin infiltrates the castle to silence Henry, but help arrives in the shape of harridan wise-woman Matilda, tasked by the Sheriff to nurse Henry to health. Asking Robin to look after her heavily pregnant daughter, Matilda promises that she'll silence Henry using special herbs, but doesn't bargain upon the Sheriff making the connection with Robin Hood and putting her life in mortal peril...

Robin returns to the forest with Matilda's daughter, to a confused and hurt gang: they resent being suspected of treachery and it takes all of Robin's leadership skills to rally his outlaws into helping Rosa.

But then Marian arrives, reporting that Matilda is about to be tried for witchcraft. The race is on to rescue her before she drowns. Can Robin trust his gang to save the lives at stake as well as silencing Henry? As Robin well knows, there is a spy in his gang who needs catching before this day is out.

THE ADVENTURES OF AQUAMAN - THE COMPLETE COLLECTION

This children's animated fantasy from the great Filmation company is just released on DVD by Warner Home Entertainment. Over on the main site we have three copies to win

After being born to a woman from Atlantis and a lighthouse keeper Aquaman controls all the creatures of the sea. Aquaman's adventures formed part of the Superman-Aquaman hour. Aquaman was known as "King of the Seven Seas" and initial segments of this show were seen within Superman during 1967 before this starring show emerged.

Aquaman could live underwater and used brainwaves to communicate with the creatures of the sea, he even had his own Seahorse called Storm. Aquaman was married to Mera and had a son called Aqualad aka Tadpole.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

THE LAST DETECTIVE SEASONS TWO AND THREE

Seasons two and three / reg 4 / out now
Based on the character created by Leslie Thomas this new release from Time Life stars Peter Davison as Detective Constable Dangerous Davies, a middle aged copper who only gets the cases nobody else wants. Season one had mostly been based on Thomas's original novels but season two and three are fresh stories.

This is a surprisingly good series that whilst obviously having to make changes to the Davies character to bring it up to date still manages to stay true to the flavour of Thomas’s original material, combining as it does, proper who-dunnit material and humorous moments.Especially worthy of note is the relationship between Davison’s Dangerous and Sean Hughes’s Mod who is Dangerous’s best friend, in the books Mod is a chubby middle aged Welshman whilst here he becomes a rake thin Irishman, obviously this doesn’t detract in any way from the series as most viewers won’t necessarily be aware of the source material.

Guest stars include the likes of Emma Amos (as Dangerous’s ex wife), Rob Spendlove, David Troughton, Joanne Froggatt, Ingrid Lacey, Sian Phillips, Stephen Tompkinson, Tony Slattery and Hugo Speer. More sedate than some of today's overly violent crime drama fare Dangerous Davies is a very welcome addition to the detective drama ranks.

ROSEMARY AND THYME Seasons 1 to 3

Time Life / region 4 / out now
This fun and unusually premised detective series is being released on DVD by Time Life.

Mixing gardening tips (the series was filmed at some of the most beautiful gardens to be found in Surrey and Hampshire) and murder investigations the show stars Felicity Kendal as plant biologist Rosemary Boxer and Pam Ferris as ex policewoman Laura Thyme.

The two have teamed up to start their own garden design business but manage to find murder and mystery at every turn.

The series is great fun, easy on the eye and easy on the brain too, it doesn’t take itself too seriously (the criminals are never that difficult to spot). Also Kendal and Ferris work well together and the characters they play are certainly more interested in the gardens they are working on than sleuthing but find that murder just follows them around.Besides looking good there are also some quality guest stars appearing too including the likes of Abigail Cruttenden, Eamon Boland, Michael Cochrane and Beatie Edney. Also worthy of mention is the beautiful rendering of the theme tune (yes of course it’s Scarborough Fair) performed by the world class guiatrist John Williams. Definitely a case of Murder Most Floral.



Extras include a nice behind the scenes featurette.

JEEVES AND WOOSTER SEASON ONE

Time Life / reg 4 / no extras

Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Robert Daws

When ITV first announced that it was making a big budget series based on P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves books and it would be starring so called alternative comics Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie fans were apprehensive to say the least but of course no one need have worried as the series turned out to be one sublime joy from start to finish.

Time Life are now releasing the series on DVD, series one now available. It's the 1920's, the roaring twenties in fact, a time when the wealthy set spent their time generally living it up and giving Paris Hilton a run for her money. Bertie Wooster (a role Laurie was made to play, which he does to perfection) is not overly blessed in the braincell department and seems to lurch from one crisis to another, more often than not inspired by Aunt Agatha's plans to get him married off, of course he can always rely on his butler Jeeves (an equally superb performance from Stephen Fry) to get him out of the trouble.

A wonderfully enjoyable series, marvellously shot and a top notch cast, its quite funny to note how over the run of the series the supporting characters would more often than not be played by different actors from episode to episode, not that that matters a jot of course.

In a word - sumptuous.

WATERLOO ROAD SEASON THREE EPISODE FIVE

Waterloo Road continues with its third season, episode five sees a day of heartbreak at Waterloo Road with Donte is on the warpath after finding Chlo and Brett in bed together. Unable to find Brett, Donte takes out his frustrations in the school car park.

News of Chlo and Brett travels fast and Chlo is desperate to tell Mika about her and Brett before someone else does – but she's too late. Donte confronts Chlo and Mika and he reveals the awful truth. Chlo feels sick – what has she done? Mika and Donte hate her and her friends won't talk to her.

Donte pays Brett a visit and beats him up. Chlo finds Brett nursing his wounds and pleads with him not to report Donte to the police. Feeling isolated, Chlo returns home and packs her bags – life just can't get any worse.

Meanwhile, Jack takes Davina out for lunch. He's determined to "do the right thing" and confess about his one-night stand with Steph, but loses his nerve.

He can't tell Davina the truth; she means too much to him. Unfortunately for Jack, a misunderstanding in the staff room takes matters out of his hands and Davina finds out. Can Jack hold on to the true love of his life?

Tom returns home to find Mika in a distressed state and Chlo nowhere to be seen. It's soon clear Chlo has run away. Mika says she couldn't care less – as far as she's concerned it's good riddance.

Chlo, meanwhile, is in a café being "befriended" by Lucy, who is only too happy to look after Chlo in her hour of need...

Donte is played by Adam Thomas, Chlo by Katie Griffiths, Brett by Tom Payne, Mika by Lauren Drummond, Jack by Jason Merrells, Davina by Christine Tremarco, Steph by Denise Welch, Tom by Jason Done and Lucy by Emma Hartley-Miller, with Neil Morrissey as Eddie Lawson and Lauren Thomas as Aleesha.

BRITZ

Written and directed by BAFTA award-winning Peter Kosminsky, Britz is a gripping two-part thriller about a young brother and sister, both British-born and Muslim, who are pulled in radically different directions by their conflicting personal experiences in post 9/11 Britain.

Part one follows the story of Sohail (Riz Ahmed - The Road to Guantanamo ). A young Muslim Brit, Sohail is ambitious and university educated. His desire to assimilate into every aspect of contemporary British culture sees him driven into the open arms of MI5 where his first assignment is to help track down a terrorist cell linked to the July 7th London bombers. The enquiry leads him back to his own community in Bradford where no one, not even his closest friends, is above suspicion. Unsure if he is being used to entrap his own, Sohail is forced to question where his loyalties really lie, with the Pakistani Muslim community or with the country of his birth, England.

Part two follows the story of Nasima (Manjinder Virk). Unlike her brother, Nasima, a medical student in Leeds, is deeply suspicious of the British establishment and spends much of her time campaigning against repressive government policies.

She witnesses at first-hand the relentless targeting of her Muslim neighbours and finds herself increasingly alienated by the British Government's domestic policy. The turning point is when her best friend kills herself after being abused while under arrest for innocently falling foul of the new anti-terror laws. Nasima is not only forced to question her liberal views, she is left feeling so angry at and estranged from the country of her birth, that she embarks on an extraordinary journey that eventually takes her to a terrorist training camp in north-west Pakistan.

Britz airs 31 Oct and 1 Nov on Channel 4 @ 9.00pm each night.

DANIEL RADCLIFFE ON MY BOY JACK

Daniel was not only drawn to the powerful story at the heart of My Boy Jack, but also the chance to play a character who represents such a tragic and human part of World War I history, a period he has always been fascinated by.

“The story was the first thing that attracted me to this project. It’s tragic and beautifully written. I think the strength of the story is the key thing that draws anybody to a drama. You can have a good character to play, but it doesn’t amount to anything if it’s a weak story.

“On this occasion I was lucky enough to get that combination - an amazing character to play in just a phenomenal story. I’ve also had a relatively long-running fascination with World War 1. I think this comes from growing up surrounded by films and books inspired by that time – I consumed everything including the last series of Blackadder.

“All war is, to a certain extent, beyond anyone’s imagination, but particularly what it must have felt like to be ‘in the trenches’. These were probably some of the worst conditions any human has had to deal with, certainly in the 20th century. You feel compelled to learn about it so that the people who went through it don’t just fade away into the past, and hopefully this will help ensure that people never experience those dreadful conditions again.

‘Those conditions’ were recreated to the last detail in Ireland’s County Wicklow, as Daniel and his co-stars spent six days in trenches filled with mud, smoke and rats, lashed by powerful rain machines. Over the top was No Man’s Land, scattered with explosives and eerily realistic prosthetics of soldiers who hadn’t quite made it to safety.

“To recreate the WW1 trenches was an amazing experience. The moment we drove up to this field in Ireland and opened the door, we were suddenly in No Man’s Land - it was really haunting and strange and eerie. Maybe I’m romanticising, but there’s a certain energy that develops when you’re standing, filthy and absolutely soaked to the skin, in a trench: the camaraderie that developed between everybody was so great you can only imagine what it must have been like in the real thing.

“It was actually incredibly exhilarating to be in the middle of it. We’d all be sitting there in the rain and mud chatting to each other before a take and then we’d get up and dash through explosions, which were going off on all sides of us. There were markers dotted across this battlefield where the explosions were and then we’d start filming and they’d take them away and start the rain machines, so our vision would be reduced by about 70%. Also, the rain does something to performance. Bryan Kirk, the director, says that when it’s raining that heavily there’s a level of intensity that almost can’t be gained any other way. When you have to compete with the rain and still be able to communicate with each other, the level of intensity in your performance soars. And the water in those rain machines seems a lot colder and a lot harder than the rain you get from normal clouds.

“It wasn’t so much the physical side of filming which was difficult - you just get on with it - it was having the mental stamina to deal with the cold and the rain. It was pretty intense. People were offering blankets and tea and we were loath to take them because, in a strange way, all of that cold and discomfort really, really helps the performance.

“It helps you to get into character, experiencing an element of what they must have felt. I suppose the hardest thing about it was being able to keep up with the pace of filming as well. It’s a pace of filming that I’m totally not used to. On Harry Potter, which is obviously the main thing I’ve been doing for the past seven years, we’ll do maybe two scenes a day, most likely just the one, whereas on My Boy Jack we’d be doing about five or six.

“When I was in all of them, they were very long days. But I quite like throwing myself into things and if you’re prepared and you turn up on time and learn the lines for all the scenes that day then you shouldn’t really have a problem. The only time I struggled was on one particular scene where we all had to do press-ups and Jack, as the leader of his platoon, has to do press-ups to the last while everyone falls down around him. It meant that some people would do two press-ups in a take and then fall down, some people would do five and then fall down, some would maybe get up to ten…but I had to do about 20 each take! I know that doesn’t sound like a lot but after 10 or so takes your arms are absolutely wrecked.”

Jack Kipling’s determination to join the forces in the face of adversity is what Daniel likes most about his character, especially as it has enabled him to follow Jack’s rites of passage journey with a maturity he has not yet himself played on screen.

“Jack is rebuffed twice by two different medical boards but he doesn’t give up hope. If his dad hadn’t found a way in for him I have no doubt he probably would have tried to join the ranks, although in Jack’s social class that’s probably almost as bad as not going to war at all. Jack does go through a great deal but one of the things which makes him such a loveable character is that he isn’t deterred.
“I hope people realise Jack is not just going because his father wants him to go - he is absolutely going for himself and he genuinely wants to be in the thick of it. He wants the navy more than anything because he and his father were totally obsessed with the navy but, more than that, he just wants to be out there fighting, as I think most people did. To be at home and to be viewed as unfit to fight was such a deeply humiliating experience.

“Obviously we can’t speculate too much as to Jack and Rudyard’s relationship, but my impression is that Jack looked up to his father and was proud to be his son, not for his celebrity but for who he was with Jack. There’s a line in the film where Jack says he’s never read The Jungle Books, which are his father’s most celebrated works. I suppose he just took it for granted that he was his dad and that was that: being a writer was just his job.

“Equally, though, I think Jack felt suffocated by his dad and by their house. He just desperately wanted to get away and prove to himself that he could become his own man. On one level you’re tempted to say that Jack and Rudyard are very similar but on another you feel that Jack really wants to break away from those similarities.

“There’s something very appealing about the character of Jack. He’s very likeable: he wasn’t particularly academic at school but he was very, very charismatic and he was a really great leader. I had to work hard though to get into Jack’s skin because the concept of a teenager didn’t really exist then as it does now. I think you were either an adult or you were at school. But Jack’s in quite a unique place in that he suddenly goes from being a boy, who is a great supporter of his father, to wanting to become his own man. He certainly becomes a man, commanding and leading men a lot older than him, and I had to show how he suddenly developed that maturity and make it believable.

“That was quite hard for me because I still haven’t grown up to the extent that Jack has in the film. I had to act older than I am, which is much harder than acting younger I think. But when you like a character, no matter how hard it is to get under his skin, it becomes a lot more enjoyable because it’s a pleasure getting to know him better. As long as I keep doing work like this and having a good time doing interesting things, I think you’ve got to give everything a go and just see how you fare. Sometimes it will come off and it will be great and sometimes it won’t and it’ll be horrible but at least I’ll have tried. I think, and hope, this is in the former category though.

“Although Jack was still really only a boy, he could command real authority. That’s just the way it was then. If you were of a certain class, you went to military college and you’d be expected to be an officer by the time you were about 18. I don’t know about the military today but presumably it’s pretty similar. You still have 18-year-old boys leading men and going to war. It’s fairly shocking, but equally that’s the way it was then and I suppose nothing changes in war, so it’s to be expected in a sad way.”

As well as being a challenge, My Boy Jack also gave Daniel a greater understanding of war, although he admits he will only ever understand a fraction of what it means to those in the thick of it.

“War, especially the First World War, is such a huge experience that no one now can hope to have a true understanding of what it was like. Even now, having done this film, I feel a closeness to WW1 and to the people who fought in it, but I don’t think I could ever have a real understanding of what they went through.

“I tried to think my way into Jack’s head but there’s only so far you can go. There was a moment during filming where it did suddenly occur to us that the film is so relevant, given the current situation. And so I hope it will be able to touch people and move them. We don’t point the finger at Rudyard for sending his son to the front, we just show that terrible paradox within any family during a world war. No one ever wants anyone to have to go to war, but then if no one ever does, what terrible powers could rise up?

“There is no wrong or right answer, unfortunately. But I think the story will certainly resonate with people, people possibly serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. I’m not sure there are any countries which have not been involved in wars at some point in history. I think somewhere along the line young men from every country around the world have gone off and died for whatever cause, so I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t appeal to people in America or Australia or Japan or Canada or anywhere else.”

The amount of research that went into the film’s characters, the closeness between the leading actors, and the fact that Daniel did the very same walk Jack Kipling himself did when he left Bateman’s to go to France, made the experience all the more real.

“I think what David (Haig) has done is just amazing - it’s a labour of love and he has been labouring at it for such a long time. He knows every character, particularly Rudyard, inside out, and I have to say he was an absolute pleasure to work with. Especially when we’d suddenly look at each other and realise we could actually pass for father and son.

“The amount of research Kim (Cattrall) did since becoming involved could possibly even rival David’s - she was amazing. But the best thing was that there was a genuine family atmosphere between me, David, Kim and Carey (Mulligan), which was lovely to be around as it made the whole experience feel very, very real.

“On the last day of the shoot we filmed the scene where Jack leaves home to go to war, which we filmed at Bateman’s on what would have been, had he lived, Jack’s 110th birthday. To be filming that scene on the day he was born was amazing. What was more significant was to do what would have been the same walk Jack did up the same pathway to leave for war. In the archway of the door of the house, Jack had inscribed his initials and every time I walked out of the door to do a take, I walked right past them. That was a particularly moving moment for me. To see those initials was so sad and poignant, especially knowing what we know now.”

COMEDY SHOWCASE: FREE AGENTS 5/6

Alex (Stephen Mangan) has a lot to be thankful for. His health, for example. Growing up in Twickenham rather than, say, Baghdad. And the tiny sofa in his poky office, he's pretty thankful for that as he's been calling it home ever since he left his wife and children. Stuck in the middle of a painful divorce, Alex is clinging on to his job at successful talent agency TMA, run by his sex-obsessed, cocksure and roguish boss, Stephen (Anthony Head).

He's penniless, homeless and last week he burst into tears in Sainsbury's because for a second he imagined he saw his kids by the meat counter. Helen (Sharon Horgan) is coping really well with the after-effects of her own personal trauma. It's almost a year since her boyfriend dropped dead, just months before their wedding. But time has passed, she has a nice flat and, unlike Alex, she's successful at her job in the talent agency. She's getting her act together. She's just wishing she hadn't celebrated the anniversary of her fiance's death by sleeping with Alex.

Free Agents is a dark, poignant comedy, an on-but-mostly-off romance about a couple who might just have a future if they can ever shake off their pasts. Starring Stephen Mangan, Sharon Horgan, Anthony Head, Frances Tomelty and Nick Barber.

Channel 4 / Friday 9 November @ 10.30pm

RIVER COTTAGE: GONE FISHING 1/3

Fish 'n' Chips. Where would the British seaside be without this iconic meal? Fish is one of the UK's favourite foods and the benefits of eating it regularly are widely reported. From sardines to smoked salmon to scampi, fish takes pride of place on Britain's menus and still rates as one of the UK's favourite dishes. Yet with diminishing fish stocks, there's a crisis at sea.

So what's a fish lover to do? Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall begins an investigative culinary journey around the British Isles to tackle this in River Cottage: Gone Fishing . Hoping to discover alternative, delicious and sustainable seafood that fishmongers should be selling and we should be eating, Hugh's fish fact-finding foray begins in the Channel Islands. Aside from the fish that he tempts fans with, he too nearly becomes dinner to one hungry shark. Armed with rod, line and an adventurous palate, and with plenty of help from local fish fanciers, Hugh discovers a vast array of underrated seafood and some great ways of making it taste fantastic.

Producer: Ben Roy / Channel 4 / Thursday 8 Nov @ 8.00pm

DID BARRY GEORGE KILL JILL DANDO?

In 2002 Channel 4's Cutting Edge broadcast the first programme raising doubts about the conviction of Barry George for the murder of television presenter Jill Dando. He was convicted in July 2001 and lost an appeal a year later. Following the programme his family and supporters submitted an application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission to have the case re-examined.

Five years later, with Barry George still protesting his innocence, the CCRC has referred the case back to the Court of Appeal. Their ground is that a much-remembered microscopic piece of forensic evidence - a gunshot particle allegedly in the pocket of his coat - cannot carry the evidential weight given it at George's trial. On the eve of a new appeal which could set him free, the team behind the first Cutting Edge returns to the case to tell the story behind the latest dramatic twist in one of Britain's greatest murder mysteries ever.

Director: James Cohen / Channel 4 / Sunday 4 November @ 9.00pm

SCRAPHEAP CHALLENGE 1/6: Earth Movers

Sunday 4 November / Channel 4 @ 5.45pm

Robert Llewellyn and Lisa Rogers are back after a summer break with the semi-final showdowns. After the mechanical mayhem of the early knockout rounds, only four teams remain in this year's competition, all of them dreaming of being crowned Scrapheap Challenge Champions. Large-scale construction projects are the inspiration for the first of this year's semi-finals.

Devon surfers The Beach Bums and Norfolk fire-fighters The Extinguishers will need every ounce of strength and enthusiasm as they take on one of the biggest builds in Scrapheap history. They have just ten hours to build giant earth-moving machines capable of shifting hundreds of kilos of soil and gravel. It's a mammoth task, but which team will claim victory?

Producer: Ian Thomas

DOC MARTIN SEASON THREE FINAL EPISODE

This entertaining comedy drama series comes to close on ITV1 on Monday 5 November @ 9.00pm and it's the wedding day for Dr Martin Ellingham (Martin Clunes) and Louisa Glasson (Caroline Catz).

It’s business as usual for Dr Martin Ellingham (Martin Clunes), even though it's his wedding day. He opens the surgery as normal to a stream of patients, including one of the bridesmaids.

Louisa Glasson’s (Caroline Catz) best friend Isobel (Amanda Abbington), who is heavily pregnant, is hit in the eye with a party popper as Roger Fenn (Jeff Rawle), who is giving Louisa away, raises a toast to the bride to be. The doctor prescribes eye-drops, and a patch to cover the injury. An eye patch with a bridesmaid’s dress is not a good look.

Martin manages to offend the local vicar (David Ryall) who is due to conduct the wedding ceremony by suggesting he has a drink problem. But when he goes to the church to try to placate the vicar, Martin catches him red handed with a bottle of whisky.

The vicar stumbles as Martin tries to take the bottle away from him, falls over, and fractures his pelvis. As the ambulance takes the vicar to hospital, Martin is left with the dilemma of finding a replacement vicar with just three hours to go to the wedding.

Pauline (Katherine Parkinson) suggests he could try contacting the former vicar of Delabole, Mr Porter (David Bamber). The retired cleric now lives on a farm, and is almost as curmudgeonly as the doctor. Mr Porter strikes a deal with the doctor. He will conduct the wedding ceremony if Martin will examine his sick pig. There’s no choice for Martin as he dons his surgical gloves.

Bert (Ian McNeice) and Al Large (Joe Absolom) are putting the finishing touches to the wedding banquet when disaster strikes. A burst pipe floods the restaurant where the reception is to be held. Bert appeals to an old mate to help him to save the day and loan him a marquee. The only problem is the marquee looks more like a circus tent.

Could anything more go wrong with the preparations? Portwenn’s zealous policeman PC Joe Penhale (John Marquez) locks up the village florist, Charlie Briggs (Andy Pointon), for trying to steal a bike. But his enthusiasm for cracking crime means that all the flowers for the wedding are locked up in the florist’s shop. Aunt Joan appeals to the police constable to free Charlie, but he refuses. But in a surprising move PC Penhale, breaks open the shop door himself, allowing Aunt Joan to collect the flowers.

With less than an hour to go to the ceremony, Isobel goes into labour. Martin is summoned by Louisa and, on a windswept hill top above Portwenn, he delivers a healthy baby boy.

Now it’s a race against time for Martin and Louisa to get to the church on time. Dressed in their wedding finery in their respective homes, they reflect on the commitment they are about to make. Meanwhile the vicar and the guests are at the church awaiting their arrival…..

THE GREAT PRETENDER

From Monday 5 November 2007, weekdays @ 5.00pm

Chris Tarrant will be hosting his first daytime quiz show ,The Great Pretender. It's a test of general knowledge, but it’s also a battle of bluff and pretence.

The Great Pretender is a test of general knowledge, but it’s also a battle of bluffing, double bluffing, masking your own intelligence, discerning others’, and keeping up the great pretence.

In The Great Pretender one person will win the prize money before they’re even The Great Pretender is part quiz, part psychological face-off, a game of nerves where winning is only half the battle.

Six ordinary members of the public compete in each show, they all look trustworthy, but looks can be deceptive.

The question rounds start the show with correct answers gaining cash for the prize pot, but the contestants don’t know if they or the others have answered the question correctly, only the viewers will have the full picture.

At the end of the question rounds, Chris reveals to the players individually whether they are the winner or not. The winner then has to persuade the others that someone else has won. With paranoia raging and contestants searching for any little clue, it’s a huge challenge.

Each show climaxes with the players voting for the person they think has won. If correct, they share the prize pot and the winner leaves with nothing. But if they get it wrong, then winner takes all.

From the moment contestants start playing, they’d better start pretending…

ANDREW DAVIES ON A ROOM WITH A VIEW

Andrew Davies was inspired to create a new layer of narrative in his new adaptation of A Room With A View (ITV1 Sunday 4 November) after discovering EM Forster’s rethinking of his story.

“Forster himself wrote a little postscript in 1958, 50 years after writing the book, imagining what might have happened to the characters. He imagined George Emerson visiting Florence after the Second World War, looking for the Bertolini boarding house. That got me thinking and, since it's so much Lucy's story, I imagined Lucy revisiting Florence after the First World War, to recapture her happiest memories. So the whole thing becomes Lucy's memory of that crucial point in her life and it also gives us the opportunity to add a new ending, after the ending in the book.”

Another inspiration that came to Andrew during the writing process was the casting of the Emersons.

He explains: “I'm so pleased with myself for thinking of Tim and Rafe Spall as Mr Emerson and his son George. The idea came to me when I was about halfway through the script when I suddenly realised I was imagining them in the parts as I was writing, and this is something that rarely happens to me. I'd worked with Rafe before - he was brilliant in the Chatterley Affair - and, of course, I had long admired Tim's work and hoped I'd have him in something of mine one day.

We were very lucky to find them both available at the same time. It was a joy to see them together. They'd never worked together before, but they are a very close dad and son, and that comes through so powerfully in the performances.”

PARKINSON

Good old Parky is apparently hanging up his interviewing hat after this series (Saturdays @ 10.45pm) and this week he is joined by Emmy award-winning actor, Ray Winstone, who will be talking about the release of his latest film ‘Beowulf’, while
legendary comedy sketch duo, Dawn French & Jennifer Saunders, will be reflecting on their 20 years together.

Completing the line up, and best known for his role as Harry Potter, is film, television and stage actor Daniel Radcliffe, who will be talking about his latest role in ITV1’s drama ‘My Boy Jack’. Providing this week's music is American soul singer, Jamie Davis.

During his last series Parkinson spoke to luminaries including Gene Wilder, Joan Rivers, Orlando Bloom, Robin Williams, Patrick Stewart, James Nesbitt, David Attenborough, Piers Morgan and George Michael.

Parkinson has also proved to be the show of choice for many of the world’s best music talents. The previous series saw exclusive performances from some of the biggest names in the business including, Michael Buble(who actually surprised us with his sense of humour), Russell Watson, Travis, Joe Cocker, Scissor Sisters and Amy Winehouse.

SATURDAY NIGHT DIVAS

This one off special, hosted by Myleene Klass, showcases some great female singing talent and brings viewers a sassy, sexy and spectacular television event. Airing on ITV1 on Saturday 3 Nov @ 9.10pm the show features Celine Dion (still there are some good acts on too!), Alicia Keys, Jennifer Lopez, Girls Aloud, Leona Lewis, Jameila, Natasha Bedingfield and Chaka Khan. In the show, the divas will celebrate all things ‘woman’ by performing some of their classic tracks that we all know and love.

In association with four of the UK’s top Breast Cancer charities, Saturday Night Divas marks the conclusion of Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a specially invited audience of fundraisers and campaigners coming together for this unique celebration.

The studio sets will look to the originality and sexiness of Moulin Rouge to ensure the production value of the show brings a completely fresh look to Saturday night TV.

Viewers can expect a jaw dropping performance from Girls Aloud in their sexiest outfits yet, Celine Dion to prove what makes her one of the most popular and biggest selling artists in the world, and Alicia Keys to bring style and sass to the proceedings.

ALL STAR FAMILY FORTUNES

Good to see there is still life in this old chestnut, even if it is having to rely on the vapid world of celebrity for its kicks these days. The show is on ITV1 Saturdays @ 8.25pm. Still hosted by Vernon Kay, who does a surprisingly good job of it actually, this series sees celebrities and their families competing for the top prize of £30,000, but only if they get more than 200 points and all of the top answers.

This series also adds a ‘through the keyhole’ element where the viewer gets to see around the celebs’ houses and guess whose home it is. Episode two (which airs 3 November) is the battle of the TV presenters – Dancing On Ice’s Holly Willougby versus This Morning’s Eamonn Holmes. Holly, who is playing for the James Baldwin Trust, teams up with her Mother, Father, husband Dan and her sister Kelly. Eamonn thinks that an all male team will take him to victory and picks his four brothers from Belfast to play. Eamonn is playing for The Bubble Foundation charity.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

BLOOD RUSH

A promising twist on the standard crime drama is what new two part BBC drama Blood Rush, now in production, promises to bring us. Starring Louise Lombard, Lyndsey Marshal and Danny Dyer and created by Waking the Dead's Barbara Machin Blood Rush follows a crime teams attempt to track down a killer.

What makes this different though is the way the drama shifts and unfolds through multiple perspectives and forwards and backwards in time. Lombard plays Kay Rousseau who is in charge of the crime team and dealing with some strong personal issues in her home life. Lyndsey Marshal plays the forensic scientist assigned to the case and Dyer is Rousseau's loyal second in command. The case becomes personal when the killer becomes obsessed with one of the team.

Blood Rush is filming now in Bristol.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

RICHARD COYLE ON TWHISTLEBLOWERS

Richard Coyle is very quietly setting about becoming one of the best known actors on UK TV these days, here he talks about the character he plays on ITV1 The Whistleblowers.

When we meet Ben he is unhappy in many ways with his life and the way things have turned out. He’s unfulfilled. He’s volatile and excitable and always has been: that’s his nature. But I think his personality has clashed with his job as a personal injury lawyer. Being a lawyer requires a cool and collected head. Ben kicks against that, and when he sees Mohammed Agiza it drives him to do the first truly spontaneous thing he has ever done.

Ben’s a man who needs to flower, and I think he does that throughout the series. The whistleblowing agency is a way for him to start to live. It’s like he suddenly finds a conscience. He finds something inside himself, a curiosity and a sense of belonging – and that’s what drives him.

I was attracted to the fact that it was a Tony Marchant script and I love his work. And I hadn’t read anything like it. It reminded me of those great 1970s conspiracy movies. Those are my favourite films and that’s my favourite period in film-making, so to get a sense of that from the script was terrific. When I met the director and he said that was how he wanted to shoot it too, I was really excited. I’ve tried to show the dilemma you would face as a human being in Ben’s situation – what would you do if you met a terror suspect? I was interested in examining the prejudices and preconceptions we have. If you read in the media about a terror suspect, do you immediately write them off as a terrorist?

I would like to think I’d be open-minded enough to challenge that prejudice myself. Then the question is why do you do something heroic - is it to be good or is it because you get something out of it? Are you only ever brave if there is a payout or if there is a reward for being brave? Or is truly being brave when you do it with no expectation of reward? I think that’s getting to the core of who you really are. Hopefully, I would have done the right thing. But that’s what Tony writes so well - he puts you right on the line between what’s right and what’s wrong.

All of the moral dilemmas in the series are, in one way or another, pretty gut wrenching. For Ben, I think part of his journey is learning how to empathise with the whistleblowers and not to see it just as an exciting game. I think it particularly hits home when one of them tries to commit suicide to escape their situation – it becomes very real all of a sudden. I think you’d have to be so hard-hearted not to be a little bit wrenched by all of the situations. The key has been to understand why Ben and Alisha fight each time, because they are not superhuman. But in each case there is something which triggers them and makes it appeal on some personal level.

In the face of impossible odds they pursue these cases because it is personal, whether it’s because one of them has been physically attacked or because they can identify with someone’s actual situation. I’m glad that sometimes the outcome is ambiguous. I think it’s right that the cases don’t always have a happy ending. We don’t have all the answers, and we do make mistakes. Some people do get away with it - it’s realistic. You can’t suddenly bring down the whole education system or an environment agency but you can score a small victory in some way. I think that is part of the message - that it’s important to make these small victories. Without sounding too cynical, the good guys don’t always win – and sometimes the bad guys do ruin good people’s lives.

There are a lot of detectives in television who try to be very wry and knowing and a bit too clever for their own good. I don’t want to be po-faced and earnest - it’s not real and I don’t buy it. We can empathise with Ben and Alisha because they are real. They are clearly very much in love, and they compliment each other. Ben is a bit more gung ho than Alisha but I think that’s a good thing for them. Add to Ben and Alisha’s relationship the subject matter, and the whole tone of the series is quite different. It would be easy to sideline Ben and Alisha in favour of the whistleblowers each week, but we see that their journey continues and that they are learning from their mistakes throughout the series. I like the fact that they are not superhuman. You can admire Jack Bauer and look up to him, whereas I think you identify with Ben or Alisha as ordinary people. You can actually put yourself in their situation.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

COMING UP

Coming Up, the anthology series for emerging talent is now in it's seventh year would you blieve, a new batch of 8 half hour dramas airs this November on Channel 4.

This year’s films range from quirky love stories and dark comedies to emotional dramas and modern ghost stories. Highlights include The Spastic King written by Jack Thorne, directed by Peter Mackie Burns; Man in a Box written by Alecky Blythe, directed by Yann Demange and Imprints written by Kate Hardie, directed by Amanda Boyle. Cast includes Peter Capaldi, Jason Watkins, Neil Dudgeon and Heather Craney.

Coming Up is the only talent scheme in the UK for emerging writers and directors with a guaranteed network TV broadcast. The careers of Coming Up alumni show how much can be achieved: Andrea Arnold (Bed Bugs, Coming Up 2003) went on to win a BAFTA for Red Road and the Best Short Film Oscar for Wasp, and Paul Andrew Williams (Naked, Coming Up 2003] went on to write and direct the award-winning film London to Brighton.

DON'T BLAME THE BUILDERS

Coming to Channel 4 in November is Don't Blame The Builders and we all know getting the builders in – like your wedding day or having a baby – can be one of the most stressful experiences of your life. Each year, more than 100,000 building jobs in the UK go horribly wrong. As a nation we’re always quick to blame the builders, but is it always their fault?

Don’t Blame the Builders explores how domestic building problems arise when builders from hell meet their match in homeowners from hell. In each episode, building expert Jeff Howell, mediates between a builder and a client at war. His aim – to bring the two sides together and get the job back on track.

What do you do when your builder stops taking your calls, has walked off with your £45,000 renovation project, or left your dream home uninhabitable?

With the owners at breaking point, it’s down to Jeff to help overcome their problems and get the job finished.

THIS IS CIVILISATION

Channel 4 / coming soon

Inspired by Lord Clark’s landmark TV series, Civilisation, this new four-part series follows artist and critic Matthew Collings as he makes a personal selection of the greatest artistic moments and monuments of history – from the ancient Greeks to modern times – to examine how they have shaped our world.

Collings embarks on an epic journey, to stunning locations across Europe, Egypt, China and the United States, to explore the changing and often complicated ways in which cultures of the past have shaped our civilisation. In doing so, he offers a unique perspective on today’s social and political issues.

Programme One looks at the classical past and the influence that religion has played in all aspects of art. Programme Two explores the changing ways that artists have expressed human emotions through their canvases and creations. The penultimate film examines the impact of the Industrial Revolution on ideas about art, nature and society; while the series concludes with the story of modernism – bringing civilisation through to the present day.

COUNTDOWN'S 25TH BIRTHDAY

In honour of Countdown's 25th anniversary we bring you a collection of slightly interesting facts about the daytime quiz show.

With the words 'as the countdown to the launch of a new channel ends, a new Countdown begins', Richard Whiteley was the first person to appear on Channel 4 as it went to air on 2 November, 1982. The late Richard Whiteley presented Countdown for 23 years, from its launch in 1982 until 2005.

Carol Vorderman was the first woman to be seen on Channel 4, as she also made her debut on 2nd November 1982 as Countdown's resident statistician.

Since 1982, the Countdown clock music has played over 27,000 times

Countdown was voted Channel 4's Best Show of All Time by viewers in a 2003 poll published in the Radio Times.

Countdown was honoured in July 2004 with a House of Commons reception in recognition of the series' contribution to promoting literacy and numeracy.

James Squires was only eight years old when he became a Countdown winner and Bertha Bourne was 87 when she had her moment of glory in 1993.

Harvey Freeman was the ultimate Countdowner - undefeated after nineteen games.

Recordings were once delayed when an over-exuberant male member of the audience decided to perform a streak across the studio floor.

The lowest winning word ever scored is 3, By Lester Mark in 1999, and the lowest winning score is 21 points, achieved by Peter Hutchings, also in 1999.

One of the most extraordinary 9-letter words ever was myoglobin, a red protein which stores oxygen in muscle cells - which Scotsman Michael Calder got

in the first round of his series final - he went on to become champion.

THE MAKING OF THE RELIEF OF BELSEN...

Channel 4's major new drama documentary about the relieving of one of the most notorious concentration of world war II is truly compelling and heartbreaking.

Award-winning historical-drama director Justin Hardy doesn’t believe in the re-hashing of literary classics as a basis for television drama. He is a firm believer in the notion that truth really is stranger than fiction and that in all our collective pasts are stories that are rich enough to make us laugh and make us cry.

“I’ve always believed that history throws up fantastic stories and that they can be brought shockingly to life for television by paying close attention to original primary sources,” says Justin.

In this case, the original sources are the diaries, news footage, records and personal testimony of the key personnel behind the relief of Belsen.

“The Belsen story has been told hundreds of times but has never really focused on the unsung heroes behind the relief effort,” explains Justin.

“These were ordinary people, thrown into an extraordinary and horrific situation, who had to overcome enormous hurdles and dilemmas in order to save thousands of lives.

“I was fascinated by the accounts. They showed people doing their best to make a difference against the odds and being heroes before the rest of the world even knew there was an emergency unfolding”.

But what were the challenges of making a film about such an incredibly sensitive and emotive subject and featuring real people?

“I felt a huge burden of responsibility,” admits producer Sue Horth. “Not only to the facts of the story – which are controversial enough – but to the survivors and personnel whose experiences we’d be putting on screen. It was critical that we stay true to the spirit of the sources and their authors, and hat we defer to the original archive as often as we could.

“But our biggest problem was that we had eight boxes of primary sources to choose from and hundreds of potential characters to squeeze into a two hour film.”

“We knew Lt Col Johnston was at the centre of all the decision-making, but when we realised his five medical reports took us right through the critical month after liberation, climaxing with the burning of the huts and his exhausted units being relieved, we knew we had our structure, and our hero.”

The Relief of Belsen has a distinctly modern visual feel. What was the thinking behind this?

“The archive was really the key”, explains Justin. “Once we’d taken the decision to avoid recreating the horror camp itself, we knew we’d need a style that would complement the original footage. And I realised that we could apply the real cameramen’s observational style to our own film.

“We asked ourselves: What if one of those real-life cameramen had chosen to stay behind at camp 2, and follow the behind-the-scenes story instead? We gave our fictional cameraman a name – Aidan – and throughout the scripting process, kept asking ourselves, what would Aidan have seen?

“It gives the film an immediacy and authenticity that it deserves”, adds Sue Horth. “But we were only following the model set by those original army cameramen, whose rushes can still be viewed at the Imperial War Museum.”

The film goes into fascinating detail about the medical and nursing care. Were the Wellcome Trust involved in this aspect of the story?

“We couldn’t have made this film without the assistance of the Wellcome,” says Sue. “After our partnership on ‘Trafalgar Battle Surgeon’ we were keen to make another battlefield emergency film and they came on board immediately for Belsen. Not only are many of the primary sources held at the Wellcome archives, but many of the key scientific personnel, particularly the nutritionists, were connected with the Wellcome Trust.”

Dr Anthony Woods, Head of Medicine Society and History Grants at the Wellcome Trust adds: "We are delighted that this collaboration has proven such a huge success in telling the untold stories of those involved in groundbreaking events at Belsen. The Wellcome Trust remains committed to funding projects to encourage public interest in the history of medicine, this film is no exception."

Justin Hardy has carved an award-winning niche in the field of factual drama, combining an eye for dramatic story-telling with a passion for historical truth. His critically-acclaimed films include A Harlot’s Progress, Trafalgar Battle Surgeon, Invitation to a Hanging, The Peterloo Massacre, Princes in the Tower, Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance, The Great Plague, Georgiana: The People’s Duchess and The Last Dragon.

LOTS OF NEW REVIEWS AND GIVEAWAYS

Over on the parent site Memorable TV We have a whole heap of new giveaways from the Ultimate X-Filesbox set to Avatar, from classic movies to an acting masterclass from Australia's finest. We also have plenty of new DVD Reviews to look at.

THE BIG FAT ANNIVERSARY QUIZ

Channel 4 are celebrating their 25 anniversary this November and have a whole range of themed programmes airing, one of the highlights is sure to be THE BIG FAT ANNIVERSARY QUIZ showing on Friday 2 November @ 10.00pm, Host Jimmy Carr and celebrity team-mates Frank Skinner, Jack Dee, Alan Carr, David Mitchell, Carol Vorderman and Richard Ayoade get on board for a special edition of Channel 4's legendary annual star-studded entertainment fest, The Big Fat Anniversary Quiz .

As the celebrities battle it out to see who remembers most about the last 25 years of Channel 4, they'll be visited by a string of secret and seriously A-list guests to help them along, including Ricky Gervais, Jonathan Ross, Quentin Tarantino and Vic Reeves. Which team will be crowned the champions, winning not only the trophy but the chance to prove themselves worthy in the return of one of the most fondly remembered climaxes to a Channel 4 show? So sit back with your friends and family, play along at home and see how your scores measure up!

Executive Producer: Jonathan Ross / Producer: Jane Goldman / A Hot Sauce production for Channel 4

Sunday, October 21, 2007

THE WHISTLEBLOWERS - STARTERS

Season one continues with episode five of this pacey action drama series on ITV1 this Thursday 25 October @ 9.00pm.
In Starters The story starts for Ben and Alisha when they are visited by Thorpe, an MP and ex-alcoholic who is chairing a select committee calling for a ban on all alcohol advertising and targeting big drinks companies like Griffin Distillers. He wants their help coaxing out a whistleblower. He has a name of a Griffin employee, James Connolly but wants them to check out if he will be a good witness for the committee.

They decide to meet Connolly and disappointed when he turns out to be a conspiracy theorist who is more interested in telling them how the alcohol industry destroyed the rave scene than giving them any concrete evidence about Griffin’s bad marketing practises. He also tells them he has just been sacked. However he does give them another name of someone who had a problem with Griffin’s marketing, Helen Errol.

Alisha and Kenny track Errol down and find that Errol now runs an alcohol research centre, with a rehab facility for teenagers. Alisha is challenges her about Griffin but Errol says she doesn’t know anything and she has nothing to do with them anymore.

Meanwhile with so much at stake for Griffin they send their top lobbyist, Chris Clayson to neutralise Ben and Alisha. Clayson takes Ben out for lunch and it is clear from his not so veiled threats that Griffin is worried. Hacking into Errol’s email Ben, Alisha and Kenny are shocked to discover that Errol and Clayson are going out. Even more intriguingly Kenny tells them that someone else is hacking into Errol’s emails; they discuss who would be interested in her data about teenage drinking…and realise Griffin are using it to market alcohol to them more successfully.

Clayson is also putting the pressure on Thorpe, threatening to close a large bottling plant in his constituency if he goes ahead with his select committee. Does he really want to be responsible for mass unemployment in his area? When Thorpe stands up to him it is clear that Clayson is rattled, as he is under an enormous amount of pressure from Griffin. He is also experiencing problems in his personal life as he has discovered that his 13 year daughter is drinking. And things are about to get even worse for him when Ben and Alisha tell Errol about Griffin stealing her data and they all come round to confront him.

Ben and Alisha realise that they need proof that Griffin are passing Errol’s data onto their advertising agency and with Kenny’s help bug the agency boss’s office. With evidence on tape they return to Thorpe and give it to him to use in his select committee. However once they have left, Clayson delivers his final blow and blackmails Thorpe over a hit and run incident in his past. Thorpe backs down and Ben and Alisha feel totally betrayed.

Events are turned on their head when Clayson is called to the hospital and finds Emma having her stomach pumped. When Ben confronts him about what Griffin are doing Clayson tells him that he thinks what happened to Emma is his fault, no one else’s but it is clear Ben’s attack against Griffin has had an effect

Next day Clayson starts his new job as a manager at Griffin, meeting his boss on the stairs it is clear they are extremely happy for him. Clayson leaves the building to go to lunch and we reveal Ben, Alisha and Kenny are there and Clayson has brought files that will prove that Griffin is marketing to underage drinkers. He is their insider.

DOC MARTIN SEASON THREE EPISODE FIVE

Former Coronation Street actress Denise Black dyed her hair bright red to star in tonight’s episode of Doc Martin.

“I play Dawn Lamb, the mother of the doctor’s receptionist, Pauline. Dawn is brash and boho, so I dyed my hair red exclusively for the role,” Denise explains.

But the dramatic colour change didn’t go quite as Denise had planned.

“I volunteered to come on set a day early because after I had dyed my hair the colour was rather robust. The make up artists looked stunned.

”A Corrie fan who saw me when I was walking around Cornwall during filming screamed when she saw the colour of my hair.”

In the fifth episode of the third season which airs tonight on ITV1 @ 9.00pm will the course of true love run smooth for the star crossed couple Dr Martin Ellingham (Martin Clunes) and school headmistress Louisa Glasson (Caroline Catz) as they go on their first date?

It is the perfect spot for romance: being serenaded with classical music at a concert in the stunning grounds of a country house. It all looks so promising; they are even holding hands in front of everybody! Surely Louisa must win her man.

Louisa seizes the opportunity of a quiet moment away from the crowds for a romantic kiss. But the clumsy doctor manages to ruin the moment with an inappropriate remark.

It is the final straw for Louisa. She has tried so hard to win the doctor, but he doesn’t have a romantic bone in his body. She ends their affair, leaving Martin shell shocked.

The break -up hits Martin harder than he anticipated. He can’t concentrate on anything. But there’s one more chance to redeem himself when he gets an urgent call for help from Louisa to treat her friend Holly (Lucy Robinson).

Holly has injured her back when out walking in Portwenn and has been forced to recuperate at Louisa’s house. Defying doctor’s orders she gets out of bed, and collapses, cutting herself badly on a bottle.

Holly’s condition takes a dramatic turn for the worse when she has an allergic reaction to morphine, and the doctor has to act quickly to save her life.

Louisa cannot hide her admiration for the doctor’s professionalism and composure. He is her hero again.

As Martin leaves Louisa’s house he realises he could lose Louisa for ever. He pauses on the doorstep and asks her to marry him. The proposal is a bolt out of the blue for Louisa who had given up all hope of a relationship. But she says yes.

Meanwhile Al Large (Joe Absolom) is increasingly worried about his girlfriend Pauline (Katherine Parkinson). Her addiction to gambling is having disastrous repercussions, and the first casualty is her beloved shiny red moped. She’s heartbroken to see it re-possessed because she can’t meet the repayments. Her problems are made worse by the arrival of her disapproving mother Dawn (Denise Black). Martin tells Pauline she has to get help for her addiction or risk losing her job.

NEIL PEARSON ON FRANKENSTEIN

Neil Pearson has to be one of the UK’s best known and most popular actors whose varied C.V includes roles across a variety of genres from comedies such as Trevor’s World of Sport, and the classic Drop the Dead Donkey to heavyweight thrillers such as the Kindness of Strangers and The State Within. Now with Frankenstein, he turns his hand to horror. Speaking about his latest on screen role Pearson says:

“Waldman runs the lab at which Victoria is conducting her research; a brilliant scientist, she is pushing at the limits of what is ethically acceptable and he is very much there to supervise and be supportive.

However he is always mindful of the fact that he has a job to do and that’s where the difficulty lies for him. On the one hand he’s keen to see where the work of his most brilliant scientist will lead and on the other hand he has to look over his shoulder at his own employers and make sure that he keeps both sides happy. Waldman is very much caught between the proverbial rock and hard place.”

Having read Shelley’s original what would he say are the over-riding themes explored in the novel that have ensured its longevity and our continued fascination with it?

“I think it’s a work which transcends its own time and speaks to successive generations. Obviously with scientific advances taking place at the speed they are today it remains just as relevant now as at the start of the nineteenth century. The Victorians were making so many advances in so many fields; the arts, engineering, medicine and of course science.

It was an extraordinary time in history, and then as now, there was curiosity and wonder but also a deep rooted concern about where these huge scientific advances would lead. And I think that really comes across in Jed’s adaptation.”

He goes on to explain,

“Of course, there should be a healthy review of where science is going at any particular juncture but ignorance breeds fear. The assumption by the lay community at times that scientists are evil geniuses with nothing but bad in their hearts is clearly ridiculous, but what Shelley is writing about still persists today.

Whenever a tabloid reports on a scientist whose research they disapprove of, the word Frankenstein comes up. It’s a word that’s passed into our language and we know what it means and there are very few of those, Orwellian is another one. We know what we mean when we talk about Frankenstein scientists and the word itself taps into something into the psyche of our species that makes us afraid.”

Discussing this modern telling of Shelley’s classic, when asked if he feels with Frankenstein now a woman, a natural creator of life, and the nature of the research on which this is based, does he feel it somehow makes the possibility of the monster seem more plausible?

“Well I don’t think the sex of the geneticist has anything to do with it really. I think that war is won; there are brilliant minds and less than brilliant minds and they exist in both sexes. But in terms of the research, yes I do. For instance, I’m looking at the front page of The Guardian today and it says ‘Human-animal embryo study wins approval.’

With cloning, the deconstruction of the genome and with these tremendous advances in genetics, I think yes, Jed’s setting absolutely makes you feel that what Victoria creates is entirely feasible.

And of course where there is such advancement, there is also an ethical consideration and with that comes fear. So I really can’t think of a more timely moment for this drama. And the thing is I don’t think Jed has merely adapted the original, he’s completely updated it and placed it within our own social media and consequently, I think it works extremely well.”

He continues:

“This is a recognisable world, set only slightly in the future. Unfortunately it seems to be a world where no ones has read Frankenstein which could have saved a great deal of unpleasantness but apart form that obvious omission, I think Jed’s done a fabulous job” he laughs “I had a good time on it, apart form the fact that I had to spend an entire bank holiday getting pissed on by torrential rain, red rain in the middle of the night!”

When asked about the red rain, Pearson goes on to explain:

“As this version set not too far in the future, the climate has gone even stranger than it has so far! As it comes down, the rain is interacting with the dust in the atmosphere from a huge volcanic eruption. So when the heavens open, all looks extremely filmic and horribly portentous!”

Not only will visual effects be used to portray dramatic shifts in our climate on screen, but the all important monster, will be in part, a CGI creation. How did Neil find working with the effects team?

“With visual effects, unless you’re being suspended in mid-air in front of a blue screen or something, it really doesn’t affect the cast. Its only special effects like explosions, setting things on fire and car chases that have a real impact on the way you work.

When it comes to CGI stuff it’s not really a work of self-preservation but a work of imagination. You need to have a clear idea of what the final frame will look like because an awful lot of the composition of each frame goes on after you have gone home. But these guys are incredibly skilled and Jed had an extremely clear idea of what everything was going to look like so it makes the whole process easier.

When I saw the prosthetics that Julian Bleach, the actor playing the monster was hidden under I was astonished. I’ve never actually seen him outside of the prosthetics; I’m assuming they’re extensive, but since they were so well done it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he really was that misshapen!

I think he came in at about four in the morning and was ready to work at noon and then it took another two hours to get it off him, so time to change your agent I think Julian!”

FRANKENSTEIN

Not to be missed this Wednesday (24 October @ 9.00pm on ITV1) is this fantastic scifi tinged near future retelling of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

In 1816, the Year Without Summer, a volcanic eruption filled the sky with ash. The world became dark and cold. That year Mary Shelley conceived of a story of a scientist who created a monster…

At an unspecified time in the near future, the earth’s climate has changed and as water mixes with the volcanic ash in the atmosphere, the rain runs red.

While a storm rages overhead, Dr Victoria Frankenstein sits by the hospital bed of her dying son William, where doctors tell her to prepare for the worst.

Brilliant and committed, Frankenstein is a scientist conducting highly controversial work in the field of stem cell research and medical biotechnology at The Windmill Research Building. Overseen by Professor Andrew Waldman (Neil Pearson) her latest research programme, the Universal Xenograft Project is pushing her and her assistant Ed Gore (Benedict Wong) to the very limits of their abilities. But their efforts are not going un-noticed.

So ground breaking are the possible results, their work is attracting attention from a number of quarters: the mysterious Professor Pretorius (Lindsay Duncan) meets with Waldman and Frankenstein to get an update on the stage at which the project is at. During the meeting it is clear that she has ultimate control over the research and has the power to close it down. Frankenstein is also approached by another party, someone who has a more personal interest in the Dr and her work; her ex-husband Dr Henry Clerval (James Purefoy).

Handsome, intelligent and deeply flawed, Clerval also works within the field of stem cell research. But where his ex-wife conducts her research for the public sector, his motivation is purely monetary and results are handed over to the private sector. Still harbouring a deep love for his ex-wife, he is genuinely concerned for Victoria and their terminally ill son; she feels, however, that his interest stems from a desire to sell her findings to the highest bidder and rejects his pleas to help her.

Convinced that the UX project is William’s last chance for survival and maddened by grief and desperation, Victoria secretly takes a sample of his blood and incorporates it into the programme. She tells no-one of what she has done.

In the confines of a purpose built tank in the Graft Lab, the cells grow at an extraordinarily accelerated rate. As the cells diversify, mutate and re-form, Ed is
astonished by their progression. When he notes the presence of what can only be a human tooth within the tank, he alerts Waldman. The two men confront her and the three then view X-Rays of the internal activity. They reveal a large mass of organs and tissue and as she peers into the tank an eye opens inside. Victoria realises with horror that she is no longer in control of the experiment; that the UX is breeding its own bio-organism and it’s alive!

At the same time, a late night call from the hospital delivers the news she has so feared; William has passed away and she is too late. As Clerval and Victoria bury their son, Waldman tells the exhausted scientist to take time off to grieve. With the experiment out of control she asks that he and Ed terminate the UX project in her absence.

Waldman ignores Victoria’s plea’s and brings in Pretorius. She immediately acknowledges the extraordinary significance of Frankenstein’s experiment. A scientist too, she is unable to resist the possibilities; ignoring all protocol she instructs the men to continue with the UX project in Victoria’s absence.

When Frankenstein finally returns to work, she is horrified to see that her experiment is still live. As she argues with Waldman in his office about the termination of the UX, fate intervenes. While a storm rages overhead, the lab experiences a power cut and as the machinery powers down, the tank empties it’s highly secret contents on to the floor of the lab. In amongst the mess of blood and tissue a deformed figure escapes unseen into the night.

POPPY SHAKESPEARE

Naomie Harris and Anna Maxwell Martin are to star in Poppy Shakespeare, a darkly comic single drama for Channel 4. Based on the best-selling novel by Clare Allan, Poppy Shakespeare is a ninety minute dark comedy drama for Channel 4 from the producer of Film4’s Oscar winning film The Last King of Scotland, Charles Steel.

Poppy Shakespeare is a candid look at life from the perspective of a patient on the psychiatric ward of a North London day hospital.

Friday, October 19, 2007

TORCHWOOD SEASON TWO NEWS

More news on the second season of this Who spin off, Freema Agyeman will appear midway through the season for three episodes as Martha Jones, teaming up once more with Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) to investigate some strange deaths in the heart of Cardiff.

Time has moved on a little since Martha journeyed with the doctor and she is now a fully qualified doctor herself and is able to use her medical skills and skills learnt with the Doctor to the Torchwood hub.

Pictured here as she steps into the Hub for the first time, a more grown up and worldly-wise Martha brings her medical knowledge and the expertise learnt during her travels with The Doctor to help Torchwood do battle against an alien threat. Martha will reappear in the TARDIS though duiring season four, although the extent of her role is not yet known.

Besides Freema the Torchwood producers have lined up quite a raft of high quality guest stars for the second season including Richard Briers as a sinister milionaire called Parker, also set to appear are Alan Dale and James Marsters (of Buffy).

Season two is set to debut on BBC-2 in the early part of 2008.

THE ADDAMS FAMILY SEASON THREE

One of the better remembered sitcoms of the 1960's was The Addams Family with its gruesome tales of the seriously ooky family, 20th Century Fox are currently releasing the series on DVD and season three is released on 31 October, to celebrate we have four copies of the box set to give away. The 3 disc set not only includes all 21 episodes from the season but some fun scene commentaries from Thing and Cousin Itt, an audio commentary from The Addams Chronicles author Stephen Cox and some tombstone trivia.

For full details on the comp have a look at
Addams Family Season Three Giveaway

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

MIND YOUR LANGUAGE

Network DVD are releasing the whole three seasons of Mind Your Language in a 4-disc set containing all 29 episodes complete and uncut.

Barry Evans (Doctor in the House) stars as hapless English teacher Mr. Jeremy Brown in this classic LWT sitcom. The series follows Mr Brown’s often frustrated attempts to teach English as a foreign language to a diverse class of adult students. MIND YOUR LANGUAGE features an energetic and likeable cast, which includes Zara Nutley (Never the Twain) as stern principal Miss. Courtney and Robert Lee (The Chinese Detective), Jamila Massey (EastEnders), Francoise Pascal (Eastenders) and Anna Bergman (Fanny & Alexander) are amongst the students.

Created by well established comedy writer Vince Powell (Bless This House, Love Thy Neighbour) and directed by Stuart Allen (On the Buses), MIND YOUR LANGUAGE was incredibly popular throughout its three series run and gained a huge worldwide following.

The show has languished in the vaults for years despite being on many peoples favourite shows list because of what has been deemed its stereotyped foreigners so hopefully this release will give everyone the opportunity to simply enjoy the humour of the show once more.

THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK

One of the most heart rending tales of the second world war has to be that of The Diary of Anne Frank, the 13 year old Dutch girl who was forced into hiding with her family when the Nazi's occupied the country. BBC One have a new adaptation in the works that will be shown in the early part of 2008 across five consecutive nights.

The respected Deborah Moggach is writing the script and Anne will be played by young actress Ellie Kendrick. Anne Frank started to write her diary on her
13th birthday in June 1942 – just two weeks before she and her family were forced to go into hiding in Nazi occupied Holland.

Written from the cramped conditions of an annexe in her father's spice warehouse, Anne's poignant, feisty and often very funny account of her life over a two year period has become the most widely read piece of non-fiction apart from the Bible.

The cast also includes Iain Glen, Tamsin Greig, Felicity Jones and Lesley Sharp