The Making of Dad's ArmyBookmark and Share

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

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

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

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

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




BFI to mark BBC2's 50th anniversary and hold Missing Believed Wiped specialBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 18 February 2014 - Reported by John Bowman
The BFI is to mark the 50th anniversary of BBC2 with two special screenings.

Set up to offer alternative programming to the two other mainstream channels then on offer (namely, BBC1, which was renamed from BBC tv, and ITV), BBC2 was originally meant to open on Monday 20th April 1964, but a fire at Battersea Power Station caused a major power failure in the area that meant the schedule had to be postponed to the next day. Since then, says the BFI:
The channel has carved out a special place in the cultural TV landscape – from in-depth science and documentary to groundbreaking comedy and drama. Across these two screenings we take a look at the first fascinating week of BBC2 via surviving archive programmes that show an astonishing range of subjects and ambition, and which laid the foundations for the channel we all know and love today.
Both screenings take place on Wednesday 23rd April, and they start at 6.10pm with The Opening Week + Sir David Attenborough In Conversation With Alan Yentob.
This selection of archive clips aims to capture the flavour of the opening week (including the first night's power cut, and the hilarious newsreader forced to stay on air with nothing to cut to!). Clips include light entertainment shows such as Jazz 625: Duke Ellington in Concert, comedy from The Alberts' Channel Too and Arkady Raikin (the Soviet Union's leading comedian), and drama with Julius Caesar (the National Youth Theatre production with original jazz score).
BBC executive Alan Yentob will be discussing BBC2 past, present and future with Sir David Attenborough, who was the channel's controller from 1965 to 1969.

This will be followed at 8.45pm by the production of Kiss Me Kate - featuring Howard Keel, Patricia Morison, Millicent Martin and Eric Barker - that formed part of the opening schedule.
This lavish production of the famous Cole Porter Broadway musical was commissioned to kick the channel off with a bang, and to showcase the better picture offered by BBC2's brand-new 625-line system (until then, all UK television had only been 405 lines). Add to this a superb cast (Howard Keel and Millicent Martin), some spirited dance routines and numbers - including, appropriately enough to open a new national TV channel, "Another Op'nin', Another Show" – and we guarantee you a toe-tapping televisual extravaganza!
A fanfare for the channel based on the Morse code translation of "BBC2" was composed by Freddie Phillips. He later composed the theme music for the "Trumptonshire trilogy" of children's TV programmes comprising Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Chigley, for whose characters he also wrote songs.

And earlier in the month, the BFI will be holding a Missing Believed Wiped special entitled Maximum Access: The Complete and Utter History of Britain, with Michael Palin as a special guest.

This event takes place on Wednesday 2nd April at 8.50pm.
The BFI's Missing Believed Wiped initiative exists not only to highlight recovered TV material but to provide a showcase for the public. These screenings serve multiple purposes: to allow enthusiasts to see the titles; to inform cataloguers and archivists of the survival status of the material; and - perhaps most importantly - to alert schedulers, programme-makers and commercial distributors to the finds, leading to greater exposure.

To that end, this Missing Believed Wiped special will focus on the zany, pre-Python comedy series The Complete and Utter History of Britain - Michael Palin and Terry Jones' 1960s precursor to the much-loved TV show Horrible Histories. Here, we find sketches such as Richard the Lionheart relating his exploits in the Crusades in the manner of a laddish holidaymaker, and William the Conquerer engaging in post-match analysis.

Fans will be delighted that all the surviving material from this seminal series, along with new complementary material from Palin and Jones, will now be made available on DVD (thanks to Network Releasing).
Palin is to introduce the event.

Tickets to all the above will go on sale in due course.




Episodes gets a fourth seriesBookmark and Share

Thursday, 12 December 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
A fourth series of the BBC Two comedy Episodes has been given the green light - with the third one yet to air.

Starring Tamsin Greig as Beverly Lincoln, Stephen Mangan as Sean Lincoln, and Matt LeBlanc as a stylised version of himself, the co-production between the BBC and Showtime - an American TV company - will start shooting next year. As with the second and third series, it will comprise a run of nine episodes.

The show is about British husband-and-wife comedy-writing duo Sean and Beverly who travel to Hollywood to remake their successful British TV series, with disastrous results.

Series three - which sees the couple back together following Beverly's fling with Matt - will begin in the USA on Sunday 12th January. A date for its start on BBC Two is yet to be announced. The second series aired in the UK between 11th May and 6th July 2012.




Only Connect on the moveBookmark and Share

Saturday, 19 October 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
The BBC Four quiz show Only Connect is to move to BBC Two next year.

Hosted by Victoria Coren Mitchell and currently in its eighth series, the programme - in which teams compete to find connections between seemingly unrelated clues - will stay on BBC Four for another series next spring before hopping channels.

Janice Hadlow, the controller of BBC Two and BBC Four, said:
BBC Four has a proud tradition of growing successful shows and I'm delighted Only Connect is making the move to BBC Two, where I hope it will connect with an even broader audience.
Coren Mitchell commented:
I and the rest of the Only Connect team are hugely excited about our Icarus-like flight towards the sun of mainstream broadcasting. If our wings start melting, I'll just flap harder.
Alan Tyler, the BBC's executive editor for entertainment commissioning, added:
Victoria and the Only Connect team have set the gold standard in quizzes. We are all really looking forward to seeing the show in its new home, whilst the hunt is already under way for a successor on BBC Four.
Only Connect is made by Parasol Media Ltd and RDF Television, produced by Jenny Hawker, and executive-produced by Chris Stuart and Mark Hill. The show regularly attracts more than a million viewers, making it one of the most-viewed programmes on BBC Four.

The channel has tendered for a replacement show and, following short-listing, is currently seeing run-throughs of three contenders: The Knowledge from BBC In-House Entertainment, Enigma from RDF-Parasol, and Eliminate The Impossible from Victory Television.




Dave Allen's Life And Career To Be CelebratedBookmark and Share

Thursday, 14 March 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
The life and career of comedian Dave Allen is to be celebrated by a documentary for BBC Two.

The one-hour programme, entitled Dave Allen Night, will feature rare and often previously-unseen archive footage plus interviews with family, friends, and colleagues.

Together with Allen's family, other interviewees include Dame Maggie Smith, Stephen Frears, and Steven Berkoff. It will also feature archive interviews with Bill Cotton - the former head of light entertainment at BBC TV who went on to become the controller of BBC1 - conducted shortly before the television executive's death in 2008.

In addition, the cast and crew of the triple-BAFTA-winning Dave Allen At Large - the comic's best-known, long-running BBC show - unite to talk about their memories of working with Allen, who often courted controversy with his views on politics and religion.

The documentary - whose broadcast date is yet to be confirmed - is a Vera production and has been executive-produced by Geoff Atkinson. It was commissioned by BBC Two controller Janice Hadlow and entertainment commissioning executives Gilly Hall and Mark Linsey. Hall said:
We are delighted to be celebrating the life and work of the inspired and extraordinary comedian Dave Allen on BBC Two. He was an entertainer ahead of his time and an acclaimed actor too.
Allen - who won the Variety Club's ITV Personality of the Year Award for his comedy/chat series Tonight With Dave Allen - died in March 2005 at the age of 68.




Third Series Of Episodes CommissionedBookmark and Share

Saturday, 22 September 2012 - Reported by John Bowman
A third series of the award-winning comedy Episodes has been commissioned by BBC Two.

The show - starring Tamsin Greig as Beverly Lincoln, Stephen Mangan as Sean Lincoln, and Matt LeBlanc as a stylised version of himself - will enter production in London and Los Angeles next year and will again be written by David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik. As with the second series, it will comprise nine episodes.

In the second series we saw the aftermath of Beverly's one-night stand with Matt. Her marriage was over and Matt's friendship with Sean was beyond repair but all were forced to work together as their sitcom, Pucks, was about to premiere.

As the series progressed we were plunged deeper into the twisted world of making television and were given an insight into the hilarious and bitter-sweet portrait gallery of megalomaniac network executives, surgically-enhanced actresses, and naked stalkers. The final episode of series two saw all the skeletons come out of the closet as affairs were uncovered and true feelings revealed.
BBC Two controller Janice Hadlow said:
I'm delighted that the critically-acclaimed Episodes is returning for a third series to BBC Two. The last season ended with a thrilling finale and like the rest of the audience I can't wait to find out what happens next.
Gregor Sharp, executive editor for comedy, said:
David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik are supremely-talented comedy writers and we're thrilled they'll be bringing their amazing cast back to the BBC for another series of Episodes.
Series 2, which aired in the UK between 11th May and 6th July 2012, averaged a consolidated audience of 1.1 million (5.17 per cent share).

In January this year, LeBlanc won a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance By An Actor In A Television Series - Comedy or Musical for the seven-part first series of Episodes, which was shown in the UK from 9th January to 20th February 2011. The programme was nominated for Best Television Series - Comedy or Musical but lost out to Modern Family.

The show, which is a Hat Trick/Crane Klarik production for the BBC and Showtime Networks, will be executive-produced by Jimmy Mulville, Crane, Klarik, and Sharp.







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