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The Jump: Comedian Mark Dolan Second to be eliminated

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In the high-octane second episode of The Jump the thirteen remaining competitors faced one of the most exciting winter sports innovations in recent years, Snow Cross.

In this event, up to four competitors went head-to-head in a no-holds-barred battle to reach the finish line first. But with a winding course including turns, jumps and obstacles to negotiate, simply getting the bottom was a huge challenge and with contact between racers par for the course, it wasn’t just be the obstacles trying to stop them finishing first!

The stakes were high as the loser of each race would face the ski jump eliminator. The winner of each race took on the course again to take home the Snow Cross Mini Cowbell Trophy and the runners up raced again with all but the winner facing The Jump.

Race One: Spencer Matthews v Jason Robinson v Gareth Thomas
It was a scrabble from the start as the old rugby enemies vowed to take down the Chelsea boy. Jason was quick out of the gates but Spencer managed to take the lead at the first turn. But it wasn’t long before Jason and Gareth caught up and took him down leaving the rugby boys to fly down the course sending Spencer to The Jump eliminator as planned.

Race Two: Lydia Bright v Emma Parker-Bowles v Kadeena Cox
Kadeena got the quick start that that she’d planned and looked strong until she fell halfway down allowing Lydia to speed past her to victory. Kadeena managed to stay ahead of Emma ‘The Beast’ Parker -Bowles, but a fall from both just meters from the finish line left them both desperately scrabbling to make it to the end. With a photo finish in the end it was Kadeena who took second place sending Emma to The Jump.

Race Three: Mark Dolan v Robbie Fowler v Sir Bradley Wiggins v Louis Smith
As Bradley damaged his leg in Snow Cross training, the medics ruled that he could not race tonight.
Talking to Davina McCall in the studio Bradley said: “I’m disappointed, I’d love to be up there with the boys and you know as a sportsman we all want to be competing but you know I’m just hopeful I can stay in the competition and be back next week.”

The rules of The Jump state that any competitor injured is allowed one buy through in the series to the next event and so Bradley remains in the competition.

In this now three competitor race, there was one clear winner from the start, Louis, no one stood a chance of matching his speed or skill as he flew down the course. This left Robbie ‘fall over Fowler’ who’d not managed to stay on his feet for long during training and Mark to battle it out for second place. For once Robbie managed to star upright finishing second, leaving Mark to crawl over the finish line and head to The Jump.

Race Four: Jade Jones v Caprice Bourret v Amy Willerton
No one wanted to be taken down by Jade ‘the head hunter’ Jones in this race, but from the off it looked like she wouldn’t need to rely on her Taekwondo skills as she set the pace leaving Amy and Caprice behind. Amy wasn’t as fast as expected but a screaming Caprice still couldn’t catch her, so she faced The Jump.

In the first round of Jumps of the night, Spencer looked confident, he knew he’d jumped well last week and just had to remain focussed. Landing an impressive 14.75m, the other competitors knew they would have to dig deep to beat him. Emma was up next reaching 10.55m, putting Spencer in the safe zone and through to next week. Third to jump was Mark and with a jump of just 9.2m it looked like he might be heading home from the slopes for good.

Runners Up Race: Amy Willerton v Robbie Fowler V Gareth Thomas v Kadeena Cox
Kadeena took part in a hard fought heat and following that suffered from some symptoms associated with her MS. She was seen immediately by the medics who asked her to rest and not to race again tonight. She will be back to compete in the Skeleton next week.

Robbie and Gareth were down early on and Amy cruised past, but Gareth managed to make up ground overtaking her and gliding to victory. This sent both Amy and Robbie to face The Jump.

Winners Race: Jason Robinson v Lydia Bright v Jade Jones v Louis Smith
This race was purely for the glory and for the kudos of taking home a Mini Cowbell Trophy. This race was all about the boys and Jason was gunning for Louis and took him down straight out of the gates, it didn’t take long for Louis to take his revenge though sending Jason to the floor leaving him to fly down the course and take his second victory of the series.

The final three jumpers of the night knew all they needed to do was beat Mark’s 9.2m. Caprice was up first and saved her place in the competition with a 11.58m jump. Up next was Robbie who managed a respectable 13m leaving Mark to hope that Amy wouldn’t be able to better his distance. However, it wasn’t the comedians night as Amy jumped 11.43m knocking Mark out of the competition.

Mark said: This is the best thing I’ve done in my life.

The Jump returns next Sunday at 7:30pm on Channel 4 when the competitors will take on the Skeleton.

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BBC-2, Feud: Bette and Joan to air this Christmas

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The fabulous 8 part series Feud: Bette and Joan will get an airing on BBC Two this Christmas. Created by Ryan Murphy and starring Susan Sarandan as Bette Davis and Jessica Lange as Joan Crawford, the series is a gorgeously realised glimpse into the golden age of Hollywood and the long running rivalry that developed between the two stars. The stellar cast also features Alfred Molina as film director Robert Aldrich, Stanley Tucci as mogul Jack L. Warner, Catherine Zeta-Jones as Olivia de Havilland, Judy Davis as gossip columnist Hedda Hopper and Kathy Bates as Joan Blondell.

They are joined by Jackie Hoffman as Mamacita, Crawford’s housekeeper, and Alison Wright as Pauline, Aldrich’s assistant. The series also stars Dominic Burgess as Crawford and Davis’ co-star Victor Buono, Sarah Paulson as Geraldine Page, and Kiernan Shipka as Bette Davis’ daughter, B.D.

Beginning with Davis and Crawford’s collaboration on What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? and continuing long after the cameras stopped rolling, Feud: Bette and Joan explores with great style and wit how the two stars endured ageism, sexism and misogyny while struggling to hang on to success and fame in the twilight of their careers.

Speaking of playing such an icon as Bette Davis, Susan Sarandon said ” it was intimidating because Bette was so eccentric in terms of the way she talks, idiosyncratic in the way she does and says everything. It wasn’t just about getting the accent – she stressed very odd words all the time and she also had a very odd walk. I had to think, how do you take that character that everybody is acquainted with the most extreme version of, and how do you ground her and make her a real person? That’s what was scary. You can learn an accent but when you’re paying attention to that – and Jessica felt the same way – you know, how do we make these real women, who were so over the top, seem like real people and not just a caricature? And that’s what terrified me. But then, I’m always drawn to things that terrify me.”

Feud Susan Sarandon

And on wanting to play Joan Crawford, Jessica Lange said “I knew that it would provide a lot of opportunity and Ryan Murphy knows me well enough at this point to know what I like to do and what my strong points are as an actor and the kind of part that I gravitate toward. I trust him. I wouldn’t have been involved in television the way I am, I only did that because of him.”

Episode one starts in 1962, Hollywood legend Joan Crawford (Jessica Lange) realises that good roles are not being written for women of her age, so she decides to find one for herself. Coming across the novel What Ever Happened to Baby Jane by Henry Farrell, she knows that she has found the perfect part. She convinces director Robert Aldrich (Alfred Molina) to champion the movie, but now she needs to bring her bitter Hollywood rival and star of equal magnitude Bette Davis (Susan Sarandon) on board the project.

Sparks are about to fly.

The full series of Feud: Bette and Joan will be available to watch as a full series on BBC iPlayer from Saturday 16 December at 10pm, after episode one premieres on BBC Two at 9pm.

Ryan Murphy serves as Executive Producer along with Executive Producers Tim Minear, Alexis Martin Woodall and Dede Gardner of Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment. The series is produced by Fox 21 Television Studios and distributed by 20th Century Fox Television Distribution.

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HBO, Big Little Lies to get Season Two

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Big Little Lies HBO

No surprises here as it was one of the best dramas of the year but HBO will be giving the Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon starring, Big Little Lies a second run of episodes.

It will again be a limited series of just 7 episodes with Kidman and Witherspoon both starring and exec producing. David E. Kelley will be writing scripts. The first season was based on the novel by Liane Moriarty and season two will again be based on a concept by Moriarty. Andrea Arnold will direct.

Casey Bloys, president of HBO programming said: “I’m excited to announce the return of Big Little Lies, David Kelley wrote beautiful scripts and Reese and Nicole were, once again, a force to be reckoned with, reuniting the cast and recruiting the talented Andrea Arnold to direct. We look forward to working with this amazing group of artists.”

Reese Witherspoon said “I’m thrilled to be bringing back this talented team of artists. It gives us the opportunity to delve deeper into the lives of these intriguing and intricate Monterey families and bring more of their stories back to the audience who embraced and championed them. I’m beyond excited to be working with talented and acclaimed director Andrea Arnold, who will be at the helm. Andrea’s unique storytelling style will be a welcome addition to the filmmaking team.”

Nicole Kidman also added: “This is inspired by the overwhelming response by audiences around the world, conceived once again by Liane Moriarty, realized by David Kelley and now in the hands of visionary filmmaker Andrea Arnold. What a journey this has been.”

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Netflix, The Crown Season 2 Premieres Fri 8 Dec

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The Crown Season 2

Season 2 of acclaimed Netflix drama The Crown premieres on Friday 8 December. Beginning with soldiers in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces fighting an illegal war in Egypt, and ending with the downfall of her third Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan after a devastating scandal, the second season bears witness to the end of the age of deference, and ushers in the revolutionary era of the 1960s.

The Crown continues to chronicle the major political and global events that have defined and shaped the second half of the twentieth century – a series that is unprecedented in its scale, ambition and creative vision.

The series, created by Peter Morgan, tells the inside story of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, as the fragile social order established after the Second World War breaks apart. The series reunites creator/writer Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon) with director Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, The Hours) and producer Andy Harries (The Queen). Claire Foy and Matt Smith star.

The Crown is a Left Bank Pictures/Sony Pictures Television production for Netflix.

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