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Emma Thompson joins the cast of Upstart Crow Emma Thompson joins the cast of Upstart Crow


Emma Thompson is the new Queenie in BBC’s Upstart Crow



Ben Elton’s Upstart Crow has added Emma Thompson to the cast for it’s Christmas Special. In the special, which is currently filming, Thompson will play Queen Elizabeth I. Noel Fielding (The Mighty Boosh) will also join the cast to play Thomas Morley in one of the second series episodes.

The comedy started as a highlight of the BBC’s Shakespeare festival last year and follows the quest of William Shakespeare to make it as a playwright in London, whilst juggling family life with his loved ones in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Upstart Crow is written by Ben Elton and sees David Mitchell (Peep Show) return as William Shakespeare for series two. The new series includes referenced to Shakespeare masterpieces such as Othello, Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night and many more.

In the new series Will is still striving to make his mark in the theatre whilst battling the commute from London to Stratford-Upon-Avon to see his family, a journey made all the harder by typical Tudor problems like a strike by the coaching staff, coach cancellations and unusually wet leaves. But while the London elite sneer at country-boy Will at least he has the help of his servant Bottom (Rob Rouse), trusty friend Kate (Gemma Whelan) and not-so-trusty friend Marlowe (Tim Downie).

This series reveals some of the surprising stories behind Will’s plays, including a brush with an African general (Steve Toussaint) who takes a shine to Kate; a cut-price trip to Verona to look for inspiration; a collaboration on a new comedy with madrigal maestro Thomas Morley (Noel Fielding); a shrewish teenage daughter who may or may not need some ‘taming’; and a very frantic visit to Stratford that reveals the original inspiration for Falstaff. We also meet Simon Hunt (Geoffrey Whitehead), the schoolmaster who made Will’s life a misery in his boyhood and looks likely to do the same again; and at Christmas Will finds himself summoned before the Queen to present a special performance of the early draft of Twelfth Night, working title Eighth Night; and of course along the way there’s a great deal of wit, ale, pies and women dressing as men…

The rest of the cast includes Harry Enfield (Harry & Paul) as Will’s dad, John Shakespeare; Paula Wilcox (Mount Pleasant) as Will’s mum, Mary Arden; Liza Tarbuck (Linda Green) as Will’s wife Anne Hathaway; Helen Monks (Raised By Wolves) as their daughter Susanna; Gemma Whelan (Game Of Thrones) as Kate; Rob Rouse (Grownups) as Bottom; Mark Heap (Friday Night Dinner) as Will’s nemesis Robert Greene; Jocelyn Jee Esien (Little Miss Jocelyn) as Lucy; Dominic Coleman (Peaky Blinders) as Condell; Steve Speirs (Big School) as Burbage; Tim Downie (Toast) as Kit Marlowe and Spencer Jones (Big Babies) as Kempe.

David Mitchell comments: “Perhaps the hardest part of being in a new series of Upstart Crow is the challenge of improving on the quote I gave for the press announcement of the first series – a challenge which I have come to the conclusion I am unequal to.”

Shane Allen, Controller, Comedy Commissioning, says: “This is the dream combination of masterful comedy penmanship from Ben Elton, a cast littered with well-loved comedy actors both old and new, who lampoon the life and work of this cultural giant we were all taught to revere in school. It’s British comedy at its finest.”

Chris Sussman, Head of Comedy, BBC Studios adds: “It’s great to welcome back our merry band of players – and if David Mitchell manages to learn all the soliloquies Ben’s written for him then he should be instantly knighted.”



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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