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ITV: Jenna Coleman and Rufus Sewell in 8 part drama Victoria

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Jenna Coleman and Rufus Sewell head up the cast in ITV’s ambitious 8 part drama series Victoria, which will tell the story of the early life of Queen Victoria. Filming is due to get underway in various locations in the north of England as this month draws to a close.

The story will begin with Victoria (Jenna Coleman) as a young woman and from her accesion to the throne at the tender age of 18 through to her courtship and marriage to Prince Albert. Victoria went on to rule for 63 years, and was our longest-serving monarch until she was overtaken by Elizabeth II on 9th September this year.

Rufus Sewell stars as Lord Melbourne, Victoria’s first prime minister. The two immediately connected and their intimate friendship became a popular source of gossip that threatened to destabilise the Government – angering both Tory and Whigs alike.

Jenna and Rufus are joined by a stellar ensemble cast including Paul Rhys (The Assets, Borgia, Being Human) as Sir John Conroy, the ambitious controller of the Duchess of Kent’s household, who controlled Victoria’s upbringing, hoping to rule through her, when she came to the throne. Peter Firth (Spooks, Undeniable, World Without End) is the Queen’s conniving uncle the Duke of Cumberland and Catherine Flemming (Simones Labyrinth, No Place to Go) plays the Duchess of Kent, Queen Victoria’s mother.

Eve Myles (You, Me & Them, Broadchurch, Torchwood) plays Mrs Jenkins, the Queen’s senior dresser and Adrian Schiller (Suffragette, Residue, Endeavour) is Penge, the Household Steward. Nichola McAuliffe (Agatha Raisin: The Quiche of Death, Coronation Street) is the ruthless Duchess of Cumberland, Daniela Holtz (Phoenix, Der Verdacht) is Victoria’s governess and confidante Baroness Lehzen, and Nell Hudson (Outlander, Call the Midwife, Les Bohemes) plays the mysterious new member of the household, Miss Skerrett. Tommy-Lawrence Knight (The Sarah Jane Adventures) also joins the royal household as the hall boy, Brodie.

Nigel Lindsay (You, Me and the Apocalypse, The Tunnel, The Fear) is Sir Robert Peel, the leader of the Tory party. Alice Orr-Ewing (The Theory of Everything, Pramface) is cast as Lady Flora Hastings, lady-in-waiting to Victoria’s mother, the Duchess of Kent.

Victoria will be made by Mammoth Screen, producers of Poldark(BBC One) and Endeavour (ITV), and the series is created and written by acclaimed novelist Daisy Goodwin, in her screenwriting debut.

Daisy will serve as executive producer alongside Dan McCulloch (Endeavour, Indian Summers) and Mammoth Screen’s managing director Damien Timmer (Parade’s End, Poldark).

The series will open with a 90-minute episode, followed by 7 one-hour episodes. Tom Vaughan (Doctor Foster, He Knew He Was Right, Starter for Ten) will direct the first three episodes and Paul Frift (Doctor Who, That Day We Sang, Room at the Top) will produce the landmark series.

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

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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

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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

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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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