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Legend Dave Gibbons Becomes UK’s First Comics Laureate

Bestselling graphic novelist Dave Gibbons is to become the first Comics Laureate, it has been announced today (17th October) by internationally acclaimed comics authority and graphic novelist Scott McCloud at the launch of new charity Comics Literacy Awareness (CLAw) at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival.

The role of Comics Laureate is to be appointed biennially to a distinguished comics writer or artist in recognition of their outstanding achievement in the field. Their role is to champion children’s literacy through school visits, training events for school staff and education conferences. Dave Gibbons has won universal praise for his comics and graphic novel work for Marvel and DC Comics including the ground-breaking Watchmen (with Alan Moore), as well as the UK’s own 2000AD and Doctor Who Weekly (now Doctor Who Magazine).
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Stellar Line-up for Black Mirror Xmas Special

Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Oona Chaplin (Game of Thrones) and Rafe Spall (One Day) have been confirmed to star in Charlie Brooker’s feature length Black Mirror to air over the Christmas period.

At 90-minutes, Channel 4 have promised that the special could be the most mind-bending yet, as it interweaves three stories in a similar way to the great Amicus Horror Anthology movies, such as Tales From The Crypt and The House That Dripped Blood. These movies have been loved by creator Charlie Brooker and mentioned as his inspirations.

Jon Hamm’s character is the only one that appears in all three stories and he said:
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Another Iconic Roger Moore Bond Villain Passes

Live and Let Die was the film that put Roger Moore on the map as 007 and had McCartney and George Martin on soundtrack duties. The film had so many memorable moments and not least Bond’s arch nemesis Baron Samedi, which was down to the talents of the great Geoffrey Holder, who has sadly died aged 84, reports BBC News.

Geoffrey was a Tony-award winning actor, a dancer and choreographer, some of which is readily apparent in the film’s graveyard sequences. He was also a celebrated painter and composer.

Born in Trinidad and Tobago, his other notable roles were in the films Annie as Punjab, as well as roles in Doctor Dolittle alongside Rex Harrison and Woody Allen in Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask).

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Lewis – Returns this Friday on ITV1

It has been almost two years since the popular Inspector Morse spin-off series Lewis had seemingly finished. It left the central character looking to retirement and his colleague abandoning the police force completely. But with the news that ITV has now returned one of television’s most enduring detective characters back to the screen, we pick up the pieces and return to both Lewis and Hathaway in Oxford.

With over a year contemplating things, Hathaway has decided that in fact a policeman’s career and life is something he wanted to commit to, after all. Now, fast-tracked, he’s an Inspector in his own right. But being Hathaway, in just four weeks into his career, our DI finds himself already on a second Sergeant in the shape of DS Lizzie Maddox (Angela Griffin), following an acrimonious split from the first and things aren’t looking any rosier.

Hathaway’s removed and introverted personality blocks Maddox who is desperate to learn and to prove herself. But with manpower issues, Innocent (Rebecca Front) has only one solution… The return of Lewis to the ranks.

Entry Wounds (Part One, concludes the following week)

There’s something missing in Lewis’s life. It’s not Hobson’s fault, but retirement plainly doesn’t suit him. So when the call comes from Innocent to take up his badge and rejoin the force, he jumps at the chance.

Meanwhile Hathaway (Laurence Fox) is wading into his first murder mystery – a tricky case that bridges the worlds of neurosurgery, blood sports and animal rights. It started with an arson attack on a hunting lodge, but soon enough Hathaway and DS Maddox (Angela Griffin) have a dead neurosurgeon on their hands. Alastair Stoke (Jonny Phillips) was shot in the head on the farmland he co-owned with his troubled business partner Tom Marston (Aden Gillett), but as Hathaway delves into the network of fear and loathing that surrounds the surgeon, the case begins to careen out of control.

What is Alastair’s glamorous widow Erica (Kara Tointon) hiding, and what is the nature of her relationship with Alastair’s younger rival in the operating theatre, Simon Eastwood (Leo Staar)? Does the original owner of the farmland, Gillian Fernsby (Anna Carteret), harbour homicidal urges? What of her daughter Lorraine (Elizabeth Rider), Alastair’s loyal scrub nurse, and chippy grandson Chris (Michael Peavoy), a porter at the hospital? What plans does student activist Jessica Tallison (Francesca Zoutewelle) have for Alastair and Tom’s failing business empire?

It soon becomes clear that the case has everything to do with Alastair’s failure to save a badly injured teenager, Nabeel Sira, in the operating theatre; but the hospital staff seem to be closing ranks and the boy’s parents Ayesha (Thusitha Jayasundera) and Rizwan (Ace Bhatti) are considering their options – some of them not entirely legal…

What follows is a second murder, an unfolding tragedy, and the unraveling of a long-running hate campaign… But can Innocent’s experiment – throwing Hathaway and Lewis together again – be sufficient to solve the mystery and stop the killings?

Lewis returns this Friday, 10th October 2014 at 9pm on ITV1

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Don’t Miss Worzel Gummidge Live On CD!

Remember Jon Pertwee’s stupendous performances as Worzel Gummidge? Did you know that there was a live musical show of the TV adaptation, which also starred Una Stubbs and Geoffrey Bayldon?

Following the successful UK television series based on Barbara Euphan Todd’s children’s classic, writers Keith Waterhouse, Willis Hall and composer Denis King created a new stage musical adaptation of the story of Worzel Gummidge. The naughty, petulant, greedy, yet always lovable scarecrow was reimagined for the stage with all the familiar characters: Aunt Sally, The Crowman, Sergeant Beetroot and Sue and John.

News today is that a new CD  (£7.99 on Amazon) is slated for release in November of Worzel Gummidge – The Musical (Original London Cast) which is accompanied with the ‘The Worzel Gummidge Christmas Maxi Single’ featuring songs from the 1980 Christmas TV spectacular ‘A Cup Of Tea And A Slice Of Cake’.

Full details can be found at Kasterborous.com

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New Drama: Ordinary Lies – Casting and Details

We all tell little white lies everyday, be it for self-protection, success or love. But what happens when a spur-of-the-moment mistruth snowballs out of hand? Will the liar get away with it, or will the lie inevitably come undone, to devastating effect?

After the superb start to the David Morrissey and Ian Hart drama The Driver, details of the next project by writer Danny Brocklehurst Ordinary Lies has been released. Described as a ‘thrilling and darkly humorous drama about how a simple lie can spiral out of control and change a life forever’.

Set on the shopfloor and in the offices of a motor showroom, Ordinary Lies tells the story of how desperation can lead to drastic solutions, even in the most everyday of workplaces. Following an ordinary group of colleagues and friends, the witty drama reveals the extraordinary, gradual unravelling of each individual’s torrid lies and secrets which, on occasion, lead to life-shattering consequences.

As the series progresses, the tangled web of tall tales result in revelations, shocks and stunning confessions, revealing some difficult dilemmas that the characters must face up to. Do this team, who see each other every day, really know each other at all?

Cast OneAmbitious showroom boss, Mike (Max Beesley) is the driving force behind the business, but his marriage to Alison (Belinda Stewart-Wilson) seems to be in less-than-perfect working condition, and his actions suggest an interest in Head of Sales, Beth (Jo Joyner) which goes above and beyond the call of professionalism.

Beth, however, is still reeling from the disappearance of her husband and she is not one to suffer fools gladly, which is just as well considering her sales team: happy-go-lucky family man, Marty (Jason Manford) who proves he will hide his disparagement with his job at all costs; hypochondriac and former gambler Paracetemol Pete (McKenzie Crook) and joker Fat Jason (George Bukhari) whose ‘funny’ sales pitches don’t always hit the mark with customers.

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Meanwhile, Kathy (Sally Lindsey) is Mike’s PA and the mother figure of the team, who loves a good gossip. This doesn’t extend to her own private life though, which would be the talk of the office if anyone knew the truth. Young party girls and wannabe WAGs, Tracy (Michelle Keegan) and Viv (Cherrelle Skeet), work on reception but dream of living the life of luxury. What extremes will they go to to achieve their fantasies? Head of Online Sales Grace (Rebecca Callard) is desperate to be part of their gang, but lurks on the sidelines lacking the confidence to join in – a problem that Rick (Shazad Latif), the showroom garage grease monkey, certainly doesn’t suffer from as he regales the team with tales of his party lifestyle.

Writer and creator, Danny Brocklehurst says: “I’m delighted to have attracted such an amazing cast to Ordinary Lies. This is a show I’m truly passionate about and it’s a dream come true to be making such a bold series for BBC One. Red Production Company has a track record of making brilliant, powerful, life affirming drama and I hope Ordinary Lies continues that trend.”

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Jessica Raines and David Walliams are Partners In Crime

As part of the celebrations of the 125th celebratory year for Agatha Christie, the BBC have announced the return of the popular husband and wife crime-solvers Tommy and Tuppence. The series of Partners In Crime novels were originally a popular series which first aired in 1983 for LWT and starred  James Warwick and Francesca Annis as the Beresfords. This time it’s the turn of David Walliams (Little Britain, Big School) and Jessica Raines (An Adventure in Time and Space, Call The Midwife) for BBC One in conjunction with Endor and Acorn Productions.

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It’s often down to Tuppence, with her adventurous and passionate spirit. She is always looking for mysteries to solve, to uncover truths and right wrongs. As a result, she pulls in her reluctant and cautious husband Tommy. The new series has been described as “an adventure series with espionage and humour at its heart”. Based in the 1950’s, it echoes a very different post-war Britain, gripped by a new Cold War. The beekeeping couple are thrown into a world of conspiracy and undercover spies.

“Finally Tommy and Tuppence can take their rightful place alongside Poirot and Marple as iconic Agatha Christie characters” said David Walliams. He then explains what drew him to the characters…
“That delicious notion of a married couple solving crimes together, and the more I read of the Tommy and Tuppence novels and short stories, the more I realised they are among Christie’s very best work.” he said.

Partners In Crime is the first of two major new dramas for 2015, the second of which is a new production of And Then There Were None, one of Christie’s most popular novels of all time. Exec Producer (and founder of Endor Productions) Hilary Bevan Jones is excited to be able re-introduce Tommy and Tuppence to a whole new generation. Ed Hall (Downton Abbey, Restless) is in the director chair. Whilst, Author/Director/Playwright Zinnie Harris (Spooks, Born With Two Mothers) has adapted the first three episodes and Claire Wilson (Twist, Where There Is Darkness) has written the concluding three episodes of the series.

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Newsjack Is Back!

On September 25th, BBC Radio 4 Extra welcomes the return of topical comedy show Newsjack, now presented by Romesh Ranganathan.

The series will continue for six weeks, and each edition can be contributed to by new writers, either in one-liner or sketch format! Think The News Huddlines (but with modern performers. And fewer trumpet-accompanied punchlines) or Weekending.

Over the years, Newsjack has been hosted by Miles Jupp (Rev, or if you grew up in the noughties, Archie from Balamory) and latterly Jeremy Edwards. Ranganathan has been the host since the March 2014 run.

Next week is the first episode of Series 11. In the meantime, you can listen to the best bits from Series 7 below…

If you’re interested in contributing, head to the Newsjack show page and click on Submit.

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New Sadie Jones Drama Adaptation in Production

Filming has started in Buckinghamshire for a new adaptation by Sadie Jones of her own novel ‘The Outcast’ which will broadcast in 2015.

The Outcast is described as ‘a deeply romantic, uncomfortably honest coming-of-age story set in booming post-war Britain’. The novel has been published in 22 countries and was awarded the Costa First Novel Award as well as being an Orange Prize for Fiction finalist.

outcastThe cast of this drama spanning two ninety minute episodes includes George Mackay, Greg Wise, Hattie Morahan and Jessica Brown Findlay and is directed by Iain Softley (The Wings of the Dove).

Lewis (George Mackay – Pride) is 10 years old when Elizabeth (Hattie Morahan – The Bletchley Circle) his beloved mother dies, leaving him alone with a father, Gilbert (Greg Wise – Sense And Sensibility), he barely knows after years away at war. When Gilbert remarries the fragile Alice (Jessica Brown Findlay – Jamaica Inn), ill-equipped for her new life, Lewis relies on his friendship with neighbouring children Tamsin and Kit (Daisy Bevan – The Two Faces Of January and Jessica Barden – Far From The Madding Crowd). But despite their own father Dicky (Nathaniel Parker – Stardust) not being all he seems, Tamsin and Kit negotiate a safe childhood whilst a grief-stricken Lewis sets about destroying his. All but abandoned by his father, events in Lewis’s teenage years begin to spiral out of control and take him further and further away from the help that he needs.

Christine Langan, Head of BBC Films, said: “The Outcast is a captivating and heart-breaking story of a young man’s desperate situation. I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to work with BBC One to bring a two-part adaptation to screen to retain the essence of Sadie Jones’s award-winning novel.”

The Outcast was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Controller, BBC One and Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama. The executive producers are Christine Langan and Beth Pattinson for BBC and Pete Czernin and Graham Broadbent for Blueprint Pictures. The producer is Celia Duval.

 

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Interviews with Cast and Details of BBC Drama ‘The Driver’

Exec Produced by David Morrissey for his own production company (who also stars as Vince), this new drama by Danny Brocklehurst (Shameless, Accused, Exile) promises something bold and v different for UK drama.

The Driver is part thriller, part family drama. There are no black and whites. Everyone’s morality is complex.

“I have always created lead characters that walk the fine line between good and bad. They are interesting to me. I like difficult characters who tell lies, keep secrets and have flaws. Vince in The Driver is most definitely NOT a hero and most definitely NOT your standard lead character.” explains writer Danny Brocklehurst

The themes remain universal. People trying to escape the boredom of day to day life. People with difficulties within their families. This is a drama that quite rightly, Danny is most proud of:

“The fact that we have come out with a show that can both break your heart with emotion, then have a kick-ass car chase…” he added.

Morrissey“I think it’s about a man who is struggling emotionally inside his family, because his son is missing, and we don’t know where he is. His wife doesn’t want to talk about it and Vince needs to talk about it. When we first meet Vince, he’s not only in a financially troubling place – he’s in an emotionally troubling place” offers David Morrissey.

“He’s been given this opportunity which he knows is the wrong side of the law. His motivation is to do with the rush that he gets in this world that he doesn’t get anywhere else.”

ClaudieClaudie Blakeley (Pride and Prejudice, Lark Rise to Candleford) explains what drew her to the project:

“Obviously it’s a very tense, edgy, action-packed drama – but at its heart there is a very true, very normal, very real family, who are very loving and very close. That did attract me because within all the chaos, this craziness, there’s this stable, domestic, functional, real life going on. It’s a great juxtaposition and I think that’s why it has such a strong impact.” said Claudie.

SachaSacha Parkinson (The Mill, Mad Fat Diary) expands further on the project and what it meant to her:

“For me personally, what I love about it is that it’s very true to home in a sense. It’s set in Manchester and some elements of the drama are a mirror image of some families I know – my family included – working class family, people being quite content in their marriage, things going at a steady pace and people just wanting a bit of excitement in their lives.” said Sacha

The drama also brings together long-term friends Ian Hart and David Morrissey. They’ve known each other since they were children.

“We were best friends since we were about 14 but I’d known him slightly before that at junior school. We worked together once when we we’re about 17 on a TV show called One Summer, and we have never worked together since!” said Ian.

“The great thing about it was I’ve been trying to work with Ian for ages, but he’s always been busy in America doing great TV and films over there. Then this came up, and because it was about two guys from years ago, I was able to say to him ‘look this is so us’ and he loved it.” said David.

“Usually you sit down with the actor and talk about your lives together and draw up a story of what happened between these two men from when they were kids – with Ian I didn’t have to do that because it’s all already there. There’s a great shorthand between us. It was a delight really I have to say.”

Ian’s roles in the drama are a unique challenge, because he has to play Colin and Colin’s twin brother Vince. He speaks of how he approached that:

“It’s just tiny littIanle differences and it’s basically about mindset. Craig is the other version of Colin, and it’s what external signifiers you put on that – a different bit of body language because we express non-verbally a lot of what we are trying to project of ourselves. When a scally walks, he walks a different way to how a business man walks. They are both capable of moving in the same way, but they don’t. Colin and Craig both came from the same background, same parents, same environment but they chose to do different things with it”.

The Driver promises to be an exciting and deeply emotional thriller.

“It has all of the elements of action films, all of the stuff that gets your heart pumping, your adrenaline going with excitement, but then it’s also with the added element of the family lifestyle that people can relate to. So it’s got so many positives, it’s a great mix.” Said Sacha.

David Morrissey agrees:

“It’s an exciting thriller, that’s the bottom line. It’s a thriller about what’s going to happen to this man and his family. The exciting ride about everyday people in extraordinary circumstances, but one that is totally relatable. I think it’s about the moral choices people make in their lives today.” He said.

The Driver comes to BBC One on Tuesday 23rd September at 9.00pm on BBC One.