We’ve taken a highlighter to this year’s Christmas and New Year TV schedules and circled what we’ll be watching this festive season…
Amid the cosy repeats and cranberry-stuffed cookery shows on TV over the next few weeks are a few gems. There’s no Sherlock or Charlie Brooker’s TV Wipe this year, but there are plenty of treats, not least the return of The League Of Gentlemen for a three-part anniversary series and Peter Capaldi’s last hurrah in the Tardis in the Doctor Who Christmas episode.
See related 26 new TV shows to watch in 2017
Over on Netflix, six new episodes of Black Mirror are coming to usher in the New Year, two days into which we welcome the return of Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton’s genius anthology Inside No. 9.
Not to gloss over a spooky M.R. James night on BBC Four,
Edinburgh International Film Festival announced Glasgow-born screenwriter Nicole Taylor, whose Three Girls recently aired on BBC1, as the new Eiff Screenwriter-in-Residence.
Taylor will receive a bursary of £7,500 and access to the four Edinburgh universities between now and June 2018, when the 72nd edition of the festival will take place. During this time she will have the opportunity to develop project ideas with science and humanities researchers.
Nicole Taylor Taylor's three-part Three Girls, about the Rochdale grooming scandal, garnered a strong critical response and a consolidated audience of 8.1 million on BBC1 and more than 9.3 million requests for the series were made on BBC iPlayer.
Prior to that Taylor’s multi-bafta nominated single drama, The C Word, starring Sheridan Smith, was produced for the channel. She has also written on numerous series, including Indian Summers for Channel 4, The Hour for BBC2, and Ashes to Ashes for BBC1.
“The Barking Murders” will be a new three-part factual drama from Jeff Pope (“Philomena”) and Neil McKay, the team behind “The Moorside,” which broke BBC viewing records for a new drama earlier this year. “The Moorside” (pictured), starring Sheridan Smith, dramatized the 2008 search for a missing British schoolgirl. “The Barking Murders” will tell the story of convicted serial killer Stephen Port from the point of view of the families of his four victims, focusing on the fight to uncover the truth about the deaths.
McKay said of the project: “Four young men with their entire future ahead of them lost their lives in a
Toby Kebbell has been cast as twin brothers in sci-fi film Extrasensory from Genesius Pictures.
Lesley Manning directs from an original screenplay by Bafta-winning writer Stephen Volk.
The duo worked together on Ghostwatch, the infamous drama-mockumentary presented by Michael Parkinson that received over 30,000 complaints when it aired on BBC1 in 1992.
Kebbell plays twin brothers who are recruited for a top-secret experiment by Soviet Russia to test the power of telepathic communication.
Harry Gregson Williams (The Martian, Prometheus) will write the score. Produced by Debbie Gray (Northern Soul) and Myf Hopkins, former head of production at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, Extrasensory has been developed with and is supported by Film Cymru Wales.
Shooting will commence in late October 2017.
Genesius has also announced that Elbow front man Guy Garvey and I Am Kloot’s Peter Jobson have written the score for upcoming comedy drama The More You Ignore Me, starring
Funny Girl theatre review by Paul Heath, New Victoria Theatre, Woking.
Funny Girl theatre review // Image: Paul Coltas
Following a stunning revival in 2016 at London’s Savoy theatre, Funny Girl takes to the road in 2017 taking in 22 venues along the way. Touring until August, the show features two actresses stepping into the role of Fanny Brice, Sheridan Smith and Natasha J. Barnes, the latter of which takes centre stage for its current run at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking, which we caught on Tuesday evening.
Originally staged on Broadway in 1964 before moving onto the West End just two years later, Funny Girl is based on a remarkable true story, revolving around New York stage star Fanny Brice, originally played by screen and theatre legend Barbra Streisand both on Broadway
Doctor Who series 10 remains in fine form with Smile - and we've been hunting for nerdy Easter eggs and spots in the episode. Spoilers!
This article contains lots of spoilers.
See related Better Call Saul season 3 episode 2 review: Witness Better Call Saul season 3 episode 1 review: Mabel The subtle rise of good prequels
Smile, folks - it’s that time of the week again where we take tonight’s episode of Doctor Who and shake it repeatedly until all of its hidden secrets fall out of its pockets - as well as callbacks and generally interesting observations. And if you think we’ve missed something, let us know in the comments below!
Happiness Will Prevail
If you’re reading this, you’re likely to fit into one of two categories – those of you who love and understand emojis and those of you (myself included) who have resigned
We caught up with the film’s producer Jonathan Sothcott to talk about his new film, reuniting the cast,
The Moorside (BBC1) | iPlayer
Roots (BBC4) | iPlayer
Apple Tree Yard (BBC1) | iPlayer
The Good Karma Hospital (ITV) | ITV Hub
Karen Matthews was presented with a “good parent certificate” from her local Dewsbury council, which perhaps tells us all we need to know about such good-citizenry guff, an unsavoury melange of censorious preaching and all-must-have-tickboxes acclaim for low achievement. Karen Matthews, as we all now must know, was the mother who hoaxed the kidnapping of her nine-year-old daughter, Shannon. For three weeks in 2008, Shannon lay drugged and hidden in the base of a divan bed in the nearby home of Karen’s dreadful boyfriend’s dreadful uncle, while the Sun ramped the reward money up to £50,000.
Roots is angry and beautiful, shameful and shaming, bloody and leathery and viciously vital
The Moorside, a drama billed by the BBC as the untold story behind the Shannon Matthews mystery, has its detractors, not least Shannon’s grandparents. They feel that, to a young woman who has been voluntarily under the care of a local authority since 2008, who has quite literally lost her identity and is having to navigate her teenage years with a false one, this raking over of the coals – her deliberate kidnapping by her mother and a male accomplice, in the hope of tabloid reward money – might have a deleterious effect.
The first episode aired on Tuesday night. The producers, I’m sure, would argue that their consciences were clear. They showed a community that was, in the words of the local reverend, Kathy Robertson (speaking on the Today programme), “quite resilient, quite compassionate, coming
The BBC has admitted that some of the real-life characters depicted in a controversial dramatisation of the fake abduction of the schoolgirl Shannon Matthews were paid for their cooperation.
ITV Studios, the production company behind The Moorside, which aired on BBC1 on Tuesday, paid “small fees” to some people who had been involved in real life, a BBC spokeswoman told the Guardian.
Related: The Moorside review – Sheridan Smith finds a new way into the familiar, awful Shannon Matthews story
Related: BBC defends TV drama about search for Shannon Matthews
With the new year’s gym crowds dwindling by the second, the ever-enthusiastic Anna Richardson and Amar Latif – a blind entrepreneur-turned-tv personality who will be a familiar figure to viewers of The Last Leg – present this introduction to all of the exciting forms of exercise you could be doing in 2017. A nice idea, although obviously the pair can’t provide the motivation to get off your sofa and go and do it all. Hannah J Davies
The only boring thing about The Moorside, a BBC drama that will surely already have TV awards judges twitching, is its title.
It’s easy to imagine other networks opting for something like 24 Days in Captivity: the Kidnapping of Shannon Matthews – immediately reminding potential viewers of a major UK news story from 2008, when a nine-year-old from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire was reported missing by her mother, Karen.
Should the BBC opt for Colman, it would be the first time a female has portrayed the character – something long overdue in the eyes of many fans. Other actresses in the betting including Phoebe Waller-Bridge (14/1), Hayley Atwell (20/1), Sheridan Smith (20/1), Vicky McClure (20/1), Gemma Arterton (25/1), Helena Bonham Carter (25/1), Tilda Swinton (33/1) and former companions Billie Piper (33/1) and Catherine Tate (33/1).
Other candidates who the bookies seem to think have a chance include James Norton (10/1), Reece Shearsmith (10/1), Richard Ayoade (10/1), Rory Kinnear (12/1) and Andrew Scott (16/1). And if you want to waste some cash, you can also back the likes of
We celebrate the work of M.R. James, whose eerie ghost stories were made into a festive tradition by the BBC...
A shadow lurking just beyond the edge of the vision. Dusty manuscripts bearing fragments of ancient testimony, conflicting and confounding. The sickening touch of a decayed hand, grasping at us from the darkness. The imagery of the ghost story may differ between cultures, but the sense of creeping dread left by the most effective tales remains universal.
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One name stands out in the grim roster of English purveyors of the form: Montague Rhodes James, an eminent medievalist with a sideline in
It’s not a very scintillating title, Passengers, is it? Especially for a film about a kilometre-long ship hurtling through space with the two romantic leads trapped inside it. Love’s Labour's Lost In Space might have suited it better, had Futurama not beaten screenwriter Jon Spaihts to the punch by about 17 years. So Passengers it is: the latest film from Norwegian director Mortum Tyldum, who previously brought us the superb Jo Nesbo-adapted thriller Headhunters and Oscar-nominated Alan Turing drama, The Imitation Game.
See related Jonathan Creek review: The Clue Of The Savant's Thumb Alan Davies interview: Jonathan Creek, Qi, "Creek Geeks" & more... Rik Mayall interview: Jonathan Creek, Bottom, Hooligan's Island, & more... Sheridan Smith interview: Jonathan Creek & more... David Renwick interview: Jonathan Creek, One Foot In The Grave,
With Alan Carr’s Happy Hour acting as a less obnoxious version of Tfi Friday over on Channel 4, there’s a retro feeling to Friday night television, and David Walliams’ primetime sketch show Walliams & Friend (BBC1) is chipping in with 70s-style ribaldry. In place of Matt Lucas, the comedy partner with whom Walliams became a household name and catchphrase merchant in Little Britain, is a rotation of guests who each take on an episode’s worth of co-starring. After Jack Whitehall and Harry Enfield, it’s Sheridan Smith’s turn, and there’s a Variety performance showmanship to her that complements Walliams’ “ooh matron” leanings nicely.
Related: Why is almost nobody making TV sketch comedy any more?
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