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BBC: Arena celebrates 40 incredible years



Arena, the BBC’s, more often than not unmissable, art strand is an incredible 40 years old this year and the Beeb have revealed that there will be a 90 minute special full of material from the show’s 600 film strong archive. Not only that but there will be an online “experience” that runs for a full 24 hours!

From the first edition on 1 October 1975, which featured Laurence Olivier in conversation with Kenneth Tynan, Arena has never failed to attract the great names. For many of the most significant figures in the arts and contemporary culture – Bob Dylan, Orson Welles, Paul McCartney, Louise Bourgeois, Tammy Wynette and Nelson Mandela, to name but a few – Arena has held a special place.

Now in its 40th year, Arena have produced an unprecedented audio-visual experience that runs for 24 hours – an unbroken account of night and day. Arena: Night And Day will be designed to run continuously online on any device, synchronised to real time, with an accompanying app to provide further information about the individual sequences as they unfold. It can also exist as a cinema screening, gallery installation or television transmission.

A 90-minute version of Arena: Night And Day directed by Anthony Wall (who created the series along with Emma Matthews) and Alex Jones, which will also follow the 24-hour cycle, will be transmitted on BBC Four on Sunday 22 November at 9pm. Introduced by John Lloyd, it will also feature some of the great stars and moments that have made Arena so distinctive.

Anthony Wall, Editor of Arena, says: “The fact of the matter is that the only place that these films could have been made over such a long period is within the BBC and I regard it as a great honour to have had that privilege.”

Jonty Claypole, Director of Arts at the BBC, says: “Over the last 40 years, Arena has produced many of the greatest documentaries in broadcasting history. Endlessly inventive, provocative and insightful, the Arena archive is a priceless cultural artefact in its own right. This 24-hour digital experience brings you face-to-face with many of the icons of modern art and culture, but with the ambition and creative flair we associate with the brand. It is a fitting testament to the collective brilliance of the many producers, directors and teams who have made Arena great.”

The Arena archive is a treasure trove of the lives and work of the greatest artists and thinkers of the last century. The films come from all over the world, dealing not only with art itself but the events which forged it. In Arena: Night And Day, the day begins with Dylan Thomas reciting ‘to begin at the beginning’, the sun rising on Mandela’s Robben Island, Van Morrison’s Ulster, Eric Sykes’s London, Sonny Rollins’ New York, Bluefields Nicaragua, the Mali desert and the Iron Curtain – all scenes from Arena films. At lunch time, Burroughs and Warhol enjoy Lapin au Moutarde in the Chelsea Hotel, while Elvis’s relatives catch squirrel in Mississippi. So the day goes on through the afternoon to the strange and beautiful hour of the gloaming – to the attractions of the night to the dreams of Edna Everage, Jean Genet and David Bowie, before returning to the darkest hour and to dawn with Dylan Thomas.



ITV, Kate Beckinsale to star in The Widow, a Harry and Jack Williams series




ITV Logo

ITV have announced that Kate Beckinsale will take the leading role in ITV and Amazon Prime Video Drama, The Widow, from acclaimed writers Harry and Jack Williams. The series will be produced in conjunction with Amazon Prime Video.

In The Widow Kate will play Georgia Wells who has her life turned upside-down with a phone-call in the middle of the night. Her husband of over 10 years, Will, has been reported dead after a plane crash in the Congolese jungle.

Three years later, with her old life now a thing of the past, Georgia learns something shocking. Something that will take her to Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, looking to uncover the truth about his disappearance.

Still haunted by the past, Georgia is grieving for the man she loved and the life they’ve lost, but she hasn’t given up hope.

The Widow has been commissioned for ITV by Head of Drama, Polly Hill, who said: “I’m delighted to announce Kate Beckinsale’s casting in The Widow. She is perfect for the role of Georgia in what is, as always, brilliant, compelling and surprising storytelling from Harry and Jack Williams. We’re very pleased to have secured the series which is an ITV original commission and co-production with Amazon Prime.”

On behalf of Amazon Prime Video, Brad Beale, Vice President, Worldwide TV Content Acquisition said: “We are thrilled to continue our existing relationship with Kate Beckinsale on the heels of her incredible performances in Amazon Studios’ critically acclaimed films.”

“Harry and Jack Williams have created a powerful story, which will be brought to life by one of the world’s most talented actresses, and we are excited to bring this thrilling series to Prime members around the world,” he added.

Commented Harry and Jack Williams: “Kate Beckinsale is a brilliantly talented actress and we’re thrilled she’s joining us on this journey – we couldn’t imagine anyone more perfect for the role. The Widow is our most ambitious and cinematic piece to date and we can’t wait to bring the dark heart of the Congolese jungle to the screen.”

The Widow will be produced by Eliza Mellor (Liar, The Living and the Dead, Poldark, Death Comes to Pemberley) and will be directed by lead director Sam Donovan (Humans, Liar, Utopia) and Olly Blackburn (Donkey Punch, Glue) who is also directing four episodes of the series. Jack and Harry Williams will executive produce the drama.

The series will go into production in January 2018 in South Africa, Wales and Rotterdam.

The Widow will premiere on ITV before airing as an Amazon Prime Original in the US. The series will be available exclusively on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories for members to watch via the Prime Video app for popular smart TVs, Fire TV, Fire Tablets and Android and iOS phones and tablets.

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Channel 9, Married At First Sight 2018 New Series Premieres 29 Jan




What started as something of a social experiment but is now more or less straight reality (but still calling itself a social experiment), Married At First Sight will premiere it’s new series on Channel 9 on Monday January 29 at 7.30pm.

Once again the team – relationship expert John Aiken, neuropsychotherapist Dr Trisha Stratford, and dating and relationship expert Mel Schilling – aim to put relationships to the test in a unique experiment designed to determine if science can predict true love in couples who will get married at first sight.

The experts will undertake the mammoth task of pairing 20 brave singles to create their perfect match as 10 brides and 10 grooms undergo the most intense experiment yet.

The experts will match all our couples on the basis of extensive psychological and neurological testing and profiling.

Married At First Sight 2018 Davina

Each couple meet for the first time on their wedding day, and from the moment they exchange vows their relationships are thrust under a microscope as they experience the highs and lows of marriage at full speed – alongside other couples riding the same rollercoaster.

Once again, the couples will reside under the same roof as relationships are tested like never before.

They’ll get the chance to compare their experiences at often explosive dinner parties – and put their relationships to the test at the most confronting commitment ceremonies we’ve ever seen.

But while some couples will struggle with all the complexities an intense relationship experiment brings, others will find true joy as their fairytale blossoms from first glance.

10 brides. 10 grooms. 10 weddings. Who will find true lasting love?

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Netflix, German Supernatural drama Dark given Second Season




Dark Netflix

Netflix has renewed its first German original production, DARK, for a second season. The acclaimed drama created by Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese has resonated with audiences in Germany and around the world, including the U.S., Brazil, Italy, Turkey, Spain and France among other countries. DARK, a family saga with a supernatural twist, is now one of the most-watched entirely non-English shows on Netflix, a German series that transcends borders to connect with audiences in every country.

Kelly Luegenbiehl, Vice President of International Originals for Netflix, said: “When we first heard about DARK, we realized very early on that we hadn’t seen anything like this show before — in Germany or anywhere else in the world. DARK is a testament that great storytelling transcends geography. We’re excited that our members around the globe are captivated by the mysterious world of Winden, and will now be able to continue to see how the story unfolds.”

Showrunners Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese about the audience reception and the renewal of season two added: “We are overwhelmed by the response to DARK and are thrilled that our story has been a success with a global audience. Viewers have been captivated by the secrets of our protagonists and have taken delight in unravelling the various puzzles that the story presents. To know that we will now embark on our next journey is, for us showrunners, a dream come true. And our fans can be sure that we have plenty of surprises in store for the second season of DARK.”

Producer Quirin Berg concludes: “Jantje Friese, Baran Bo Odar, our wonderful actors and our fantastic team have put an incredible amount of energy into making DARK a unique and gripping series. We thank all of those who have accompanied us on this path. And we thank Netflix for their trust and for the excellent cooperation. We are extremely happy that DARK has by now received such an overwhelming response, both in Germany and around the world, and we are particularly thrilled about the quick decision by Netflix to take it into a second season. We can hardly wait to continue telling the story!”

DARK is now streaming on Netflix, it is set in a German town in present day where the disappearance of two young children exposes the double lives and fractured relationships among four families. In ten, hour-long episodes, the story takes on a supernatural twist that ties back to the same town in 1986.

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