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


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.

Cast 2

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.”


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.









Two Recent Losses From The World of 007

As reported in the press in the past week, actor Richard Kiel who played Bond’s iconic nemesis Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker sadly passed away on the 11th September, aged just 74. He passed at the Saint Agnes Medical Centre, Fresno, California. No further details were given, but it was known that Richard had been in for some recent surgery on his leg. Whether this was in some way connected is unclear.

Bond to his Jaws, Sir Roger Moore led the tributes for the actor, following his passing and said:

“I am totally distraught to learn of my dear friend Richard Kiel’s passing. We were on a radio programme together just a week ago. Distraught.”

The radio programme in question was ‘The Reunion’, which was repeated on BBC Radio 4 on the following Friday and still available on iPlayer. It reunites them with fellow Spy Who Loved Me star Britt Ekland

“He was one of the loveliest sweetest men. I play heroes but I’m rotten, he played bad but was a really good man. He was a big man with an even bigger heart.” Added Sir Roger.


Despite being best known for his role as Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, Richard Kiel was a prolific actor with credits in 65 TV series including The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Wild Wild West, The Falll Guy, Gilligan’s Island and The Land of the Lost. He was the original actor to portray the Hulk in TV’s The Incredible Hulk, before the role was re-cast with Lou Ferrigno (some footage of Richard as the Hulk was still used in the TV pilot). He also starred in 20 feature films, which included starring opposite Adam Sandler in Happy Gilmore as well as Silver Streak, Tangled, Pale Rider and Inspector Gadget.

It was Richard’s talent that made Jaws such a key character in the Bond franchise and his impact secured two starring roles. But he was also the only baddie to be given a journey and in the end acted as Bond’s ally against Drax and finds love with the character Dolly in Moonraker. Infact, it wasn’t due to end there, as a third outing for the character and Jaw’s marriage was originally planned in For Your Eyes Only.

In the novelisation of the film, we learn that Jaws was born in Poland and a result of the union of a circus strong-man and the Chief Warder at the Women’s Prison in Cracow. His real name was Zbigniew Krycsiwiki.

Jaws success meant he made it to all sorts of other spin-offs and media, including being a regular in the 1990’s James Bond Jnr and an appearance The Jackie Chan Adventures animation series. He was immortilised in the games Goldeneye, Nightfire, Everything or Nothing, James Bond Legends, Duel and even appeared as the character Chuck Ferdon in the 2006 game Rugby 06. Whilst Mel Brooks High Anxiety spoofed the character (called braces) with metal braces on his teeth.

Richard is survived by his wife Diane, four children and nine grandchildren.

Less covered in the press was the death of German actor Gottfried John, aged just 72, on September 1st . His death was reported by JBIFC and confirmed his passing was following a battle with cancer.

Gottfried is better known to Bond fans as General Arkady Grigorovich Ourumov from the movie Goldeneye. This was Peirce Brosnan’s first outing and the franchise return after a significant break from the cinema. Whilst Ourumov was a key character and nemesis to Bond, he was a coup for the series as a classically trained actor of some repute, who’d studied at Berlin’s Dramatic Art Schoool and known for his Shakespearian roles. He’d worked with Reiner Werner Fassbinder on five highly acclaimed German film projects, and went on to carve out a reputation as one of Germany’s most distinguished actors.

Gottfried also appeared in the movies Proof of Life and The Gathering Storm.

His Bond, Pierce Brosnan left this tribute:‘RIP. Gottfried John. My dear friend, we played in the world of James Bond and travelled the world together to celebrate the success of Goldeneye. I am so proud to have worked alongside you. My prayers go out to your family at this sad time in life… Peace be with you. Pierce’.



(with thanks to Andrew Badley)


New Samantha Bond/Francesca Annis WW II drama

Home Fires is inspired by the book Jambusters by Julie Summers (who makes a Hitchcockian cameo in the drama). She is thrilled to be appearing as a WI county organiser and said “my grandmother, a life-long WI member, would undoubtedly approve.”

The ITV1 drama is created and written by Simon Block (Lewis, The Shooting of Thomas Hurndall, Attachments) with episodes written by Mark Burt (Coronation Street, The Dumping Ground), and Tina Pepler (Downton Abbey, Princes in the Tower).

It follows a group of inspirational women in a rural Cheshire community with the shadow of World War II casting a dark cloud over their lives. The isolated village couldn’t feel further away from the impending bloodshed and battlefields and yet it is not immune from the effects of war. As the conflict takes hold, and separates the women from their husbands, fathers, sons and brothers, the characters find themselves under increasing and extraordinary pressures in a rapidly fragmenting world.

By banding together as the Great Paxford Women’s Institute, they will help maintain the nation’s fabric in its darkest hour, and discover inner resources that will change their lives forever.

“We’re really delighted to have commissioned Home Fires,” said Steve November (ITV Director of Drama). “Great writing from Simon has given Julie Summers’ wonderful book a fictional life. The women are real and engaging and have fantastic spirit and attitude. With World War II on the horizon, multiple strands of plot interweave to create a period drama full of jeopardy and intrigue, but also great humanity and modernity,” he added.

Fran and Sam

The drama will also feature Rachel Hurd-Wood (Return of Sherlock Holmes), Leila Mimmack (Law & Order: UK), Claire Price (Doctors), Daniel Ryan (Mount Pleasant), Will Attenborough (Utopia), Clare Calbraith (Vera), Chris Coghill (The Driver), Brian Fletcher (The Passing Bells), Fenella Woolgar (Case Histories), Leanne Best (Lucan), Mike Noble (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time), Jacqueline Pilton (The Royal), Mark Umbers (Eternal Law), Jodie Hamblet (My Mad Fat Diary 2), Adam Long (Happy Valley), Paul Barnhill (Foyle’s War), Anthony Calf (Upstairs Downstairs), Nicola Sloane (Dancing on the Edge), Jim Whelan and Daisy Badger.

Executive Producer Francis Hopkinson commented: “Thanks to Simon Block’s brilliant script, inspired by Julie Summers’s book, this series will take a fresh look at life on the Home Front, showing both the tragedies and the triumphs, and offering some wonderful roles for Britain’s top actresses. We are delighted that ITV share our enthusiasm for the project.”

Directing duties for episodes 1-3 is down to Bruce Goodison (Our World War, My Murder, 10 Days to War), whilst Robert Quinn (Death in Paradise, Primeval) will direct the final 3 episodes.

Home Fires is produced by the ITV Studios department overseen by Francis Hopkinson (Wallander, Lucan, Chasing Shadows). The drama has been developed by Catherine Oldfield (Collision, Fingersmith, Foyle’s War) who executive produces alongside Francis. The producer is Sue de Beauvoir (Shetland, Strike Back, Merlin). It has begun filming in Cheshire.

Maggs etc

Gaiman and Pratchett’s Good Omens Comes to Radio 4!

According to the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday in fact. Just after Any Answers on Radio 4.Events have been set in motion to bring about the End of Days. The armies of Good and Evil are gathering and making their way towards the sleepy English village of Lower Tadfield. Atlantis is rising, fish are falling from the sky, the Four Horsepersons are assembling; everything seems to be going to the Divine Plan.Everything that is, but for the unlikely duo of an angel and a demon who are not all that keen on the prospect of the forthcoming Rapture. In fact the prospect of Armageddon is all really rather inconvenient for them actually. But if they are to stop it taking place they’ve got to find and kill the one who will bring about the Apocalypse: the Antichrist himself. There’s just one small problem: someone seems to have mislaid him.

This is the synopsis for Good Omens, released in 1990 and listed among the BBC’s Big Read Nation’s 100 favourite books. It has just been announced that the co-authors, no less than Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett are now creating the first ever dramatisation of their joint classic for BBC Radio. It comes from the Producer Dirk Maggs, famous for the Hitchhikers, Dirk Gently and many other dramas for the network, including The Amazing Spider Man, Superman, Batman series and more recently Gaiman’s own Neverwhere.

Recording has already started and the cast include Mark Heap (Spaced, Green Wing, Stardust) and Peter Serafinowicz (Guardians Of The Galaxy, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Shaun Of The Dead) will be taking the central roles as angel and demon, Aziraphale and Crowley. Whilst Merlin himself Colin Morgan is Newton Pulsifer. Josie Lawrence (Skins, EastEnders) plays Agnes Nutter and the Doctor Who that so nearly was Paterson Joseph (Peep Show, Green Wing) is Famine. The rest of star-studded cast also includes Clive Russell (Game Of Thrones, Ripper Street), Julia Deakin (Spaced, Hot Fuzz), Louise Brealey (Sherlock), Simon Jones (Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy), Arsher Ali (Four Lions, Complicit, Beaver Falls), Phil Davis (Silk, Whitechapel, Being Human) and Mark Benton (Waterloo Road, Land Girls). In addition to that, there are a host of delightful cameos, from the Gardeners’ Question Time team to Neil and Terry themselves. Other secret cameos are set to delight listeners..

Good Omens will air in December.


Michael Palin Narrates Brand New Clangers

It’s been announced that not only is there a new version of the Master’s favourite children’s show The Clangers, but the new narrator is Award-winning actor, writer, presenter and comedian Michael Palin.

52 brand new episodes of the iconic 70’s children’s show have been made. It is co-produced by CBeebies, Coolabi Group, Smallfilms and Sprout, and will air in the UK in Spring 2015.

Michael said: “The world of the Clangers is delightful and irresistible. It’s a real pleasure and a great privilege to be a part of its return to television.”

The Clangers marks the multi-award winning entertainer’s first foray into children’s animation, having previously authored a collection of children’s books. His humour, insight and warmth have made him a firm favourite both in the UK and abroad and he is now turning his talents to yet another sphere, observing and commenting on the charming, surprising and wonderful activities of the Clangers.

Palin takes up the mantle from the late Oliver Postgate, creator and narrator of the original series, who is often cited alongside original Clangers co-creator, Peter Firmin, as one of the founding fathers of UK animation.

Oliver’s son, Daniel Postgate, who will be executive producing the new series alongside Peter Firmin, commented: “Michael Palin was my first and favourite choice, so of course I’m absolutely delighted. Among other things, he’s been a warm and charming guide for us all in his extensive travels around this world, so it seems wonderfully appropriate that he should pack his bags once more, go off across the starry expanse of space and do the same for the world of the Clangers.”

Peter Firmin said: “As an old stick-in-the-mud I don’t often change my mind and from the very beginning I wished and hoped that Michael Palin would agree to be our narrator. Once in a blue moon wishes come true. This is once in a blue moon. I hope Michael enjoys his voyage to our little Blue Planet.”

The Clangers
originally launched on the BBC in 1969 and are pink, long-nosed, inventive and loveable mouse-shaped creatures who live on a small blue planet, out in the starry stretches of space, not far from Earth. Its surface is peppered with holes topped with metal dustbin lids, which flip open with a ‘Clang!’ to reveal steps down to their home beneath the surface of the planet – containing a series of interconnecting tunnels and caves. Kind and generous creatures, they communicate with distinctive whistles and a narrator comments on the thrilling and often hilarious events which occur in every episode.

The Clangers are a family. The cast of characters consists of Major, Mother, Small (a boy), Tiny (a girl) and Granny. Other favourites returning to the new version are the Soup Dragon, the Iron Chicken, the Sky Moos, the Glow Buzzers and the mischievous Froglets. These and many other peculiar creatures, create a warm and harmonious world of fun, imagination, exploration and invention.

The new series is produced in stop-motion animation by specialists Factory Transmedia (Strange Hill High, Raa Raa The Noisy Lion), and award-winning puppet makers, Mackinnon and Saunders (Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox, Mars Attacks). Peter Firmin and Daniel Postgate are actively involved in the new series as executive producers. Firmin is also part of the design process and Postgate is writing storylines and scripts.

Unfamiliar with Clangers? Here’s an episode from the original series…