International Television

International Television (67)

Review: 'Hostages'

Written by 14 October, 2021

If the premise for Topic's new series Hostages sounds familiar, it's because it is based on a show that was originally produced in Israel (which was also the basis for a short-lived CBS series of the same name starring Toni Collette).

This version of the premise is one that was produced in 2019 for the Indian streaming service Hotstar and all three versions of the premise share a lot of the same details.

In this case, four masked men break into the home of a well-known surgeon and hold her family hostage. She is set to operate on the Prime Minister and she is told she has to make sure he dies if she hopes to save her family. She figures out a way to briefly delay the surgery as she struggles to figure out a way to save both her patient and her family. 

It's easy to see why this idea has been so popular globally. The stakes are high, there are plenty of opportunities to flesh out the many hidden secrets of the family and of course, the motives of the gunmen are more complex than you might first suspect. 

The challenge for viewers is that the season sometimes feels a bit padded as the show is forced to go on a couple of sidetracks to keep everything up in the air until the final moments of the season finale. And there are moments that can feel a bit ludicrous as various family members seem poised to contact the outside world or escape but decide not to do so for reasons that don't make a lot of sense.

But if you are a fan of procedurals that will keep you guessing until the very end, you'll enjoy Hostages. The acting is solid overall, with Tisca Chopra (Dr. Mira Anand) and Ronit Roy (SP Prithvi Singh) dominating every scene they're in. The tension remains high the entire season and while the direction of some scenes isn't ideal, there is nothing jarring enough to knock the viewer out of the moment. 

Hostages isn't the most amazing series you'll watch this year. But it's the perfect show if you're in the mood to just sit back and get caught up in a high-stakes battle of the wills.

Hostages premieres Thursday, October 14th, 2021 on Topic.

Last modified on Thursday, 14 October 2021 10:03

Sony Pictures Television Set To Acquire Bad Wolf

Written by 11 October, 2021

Sony Pictures Television is set to acquire the production company Bad Wolf in a deal worth an estimated £60m.

Bad Wolf was co-founded in 2015 by Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner. Its productions include His Dark Materials, A Discovery Of Witches, Industry and I Hate Suzie. Bad Wolf was also recently named as a partner on BBC Studios’ series Doctor Who, following the end of the Chris Chibnall era.

According to Broadcast, existing minority shareholders Access Entertainment and Sky/HBO are expected to have their respective 24.9% and 10% stakes bought out as part of the agreement, leaving Sony as sole majority shareholder.

A higher bid was reportedly rejected by the company, whose executives felt Sony was a better cultural fit. It likely also helped that Tranter and SPT president of international production Wayne Garvie had worked together in the past.

The pair worked together at the BBC in the early 2000s in drama and entertainment respectively, and again at BBC Worldwide (now BBC Studios) in 2009, after Tranter began heading up the production arm's US operations.

Last modified on Monday, 11 October 2021 08:17

Trio Of 'Sopranos' Stars Unveil 20th Anniversary UK Tour Dates

Written by 08 October, 2021

A trio of actor from The Sopranos have announced a UK tour to celebrate the TV drama's 20th anniversary.

Michael Imperioli (aka Christopher Moltisanti), Steven R Schirripa (aka Bobby Bacala) and Vincent Pastore (aka Big Pussy) will be appearing on stage at venues throughout the UK next year in a Q&A stage presentation being called "In Conversation With."

During the events, no questions will be screened ahead of time and the tour's promoters promise that "no topic is off-limits."

The tour was originally announced two years ago, but it was postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

"I was so disappointed that we had to postpone our planned UK tour but I cannot wait to make it up to you," Imperioli said in a statement to Sopranos fans.

"I can't wait to finally get to the UK to meet our fans there... and answer any questions. See you next year," Pastore added, with Schirripa also saying: "Watch out UK we are coming for you."

Tickets for The Sopranos 20th Anniversary: In Conversation stage shows are available 24 hours a day by calling 0844 249 2222.

June 10, London The Palladium

June 12, London The Palladium – Sold out

June 13, Nottingham Royal Concert Hall

June 15, Newcastle O2 City Hall

June 16, Hull Bonus Arena

June 18, Birmingham Symphony Hall

June 20, Leicester De Montfort Hall

June 21, Edinburgh Festival Theatre

June, 22, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall – Sold out

June, 23, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

June 25, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

June 27, Southend Cliffs Pavilion

June 29, Manchester Bridgewater Hall

Last modified on Friday, 08 October 2021 15:56

Spanish Language Streamer Pantaya Now Available On YouTube TV

Written by 08 October, 2021

The Spanish-language streamer Pantaya is now available on YouTube TV as a premium $5.99 add-on to the basic programming package.

Pantaya is subscription streaming service offering massively popular first run series such as El Juego de las Llaves and De Viaje con los Derbez as well as an unparalleled collection of Spanish-language blockbuster movies, critically acclaimed films, documentaries, concerts, and children’s programs. 

Pantaya’s varied catalog includes world-class original titles from Pantaya’s production arm, Pantelion, as well as titles from major producers and distributors, including Hemisphere, Lionsgate and Televisa. 

"We are committed to being where our viewers are and are delighted to expand our overall partnership with Google by joining forces with YouTube TV, who share our values of serving Hispanic consumers with high-quality, culturally relevant content," said Alan Sokol, President and CEO of Hemisphere Media Group, Inc., Pantaya’s parent company. "We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to bring our audiences the shows they love anytime, anywhere, now via YouTube TV."

The Pantaya app is also available for Roku and Apple TV, Android, Chromecast and iOS.

Last modified on Friday, 08 October 2021 06:33

Amazon Launches IMDb TV In The UK

Written by 29 September, 2021

Amazon launched its free ad-supported streaming service in the UK this week and company executives are already planning on launching some UK-produced content.

IMDb TV launched in the UK on Wednesday, September 29th and it includes several thousand licensed TV shows and movies. The service is also premiering three IMDb TV original documentaries to the UK: the music docuseries Luke Bryan: My Dirt Road Diary, the sports true crime doc Moment of Truth and the basketball docuseries Top Class: The Life and Times of the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers.

In an interview with Broadcast, Lauren Anderson and Ryan Pirozzi, co-heads of content and programming for IMDb TV told the magazine that the logical next step would be to consider some IMDb TV originals that originate in the UK.

In the last year, IMDb TV has launched two UK-centric series in the US: Alex Rider and the ITV comedy Timewasters.

"Our priority is launching the service here and helping customers familiarize themselves with our content offering, but as we all know UK content and storytelling performs well in the US," said Pirozzi.

According to the executives, IMDb TV will include a wide range of genres, but the service does plan to "lean into" both scripted and unscripted crime and investigative programming.

"We’ve really seen reality start to pop in the UK in a major way," Anderson explained. "We wanted to make sure we were a service that had that content right away. Audiences are really calling for that, and it’s bringing younger and female customers in."

Available to Amazon Prime and non-Prime members in the UK, audiences will be able to access the IMDb TV content via the Prime Video app, with a standalone IMDb TV app coming to Fire TV in the coming weeks.

Last modified on Wednesday, 29 September 2021 10:43

'Strictly Come Dancing: Tom Fletcher And Partner Amy Dowden Test Positive For COVID-19

Written by 27 September, 2021

Less than 24 hours after kicking off Strictly Come Dancing's live show, McFly's Tom Fletcher as well as his Strictly partner Amy Dowden have tested positive for coronavirus.

The BBC announced the results on Sunday, issuing a statement saying in part "The pair are now self-isolating separately following the latest government guidelines."

"While they will both miss Saturday's live show, Strictly Come Dancing protocols mean that, all being well, they will return the following week."

"Strictly has and will continue to follow government guidelines in order to keep everyone safe."

According to COVID-19 guidelines established by the show, the pair will not be able to rehearse for ten days, which means they will miss next week's live show.

Strictly Come Dancing has already dealt with several COVID-19 challenges, including reports that at least two of the show's professional dancers have refused to get vaccinated. That decision reportedly led to the show shifting around some of the celebrity partner assignments before they were announced.

The BBC declined to address any of those stories directly, but it did issue this statement on Friday in response to the coverage in the press:

"A lot has been written about vaccinations and Strictly in recent days. The BBC has never commented nor confirmed the vaccination status of anyone on the show. It’s not our place to."

"It is not the case that concerns have been raised with the BBC or the Strictly production team from dancers or celebrities about vaccination, or that they have threatened to quit."

"We have in place strict procedures to protect those on the show and the wider production. Among the many measures in place on Strictly, the dancers are tested regularly to be in close contact with their partners."

Last modified on Monday, 27 September 2021 09:50

Two 'Strictly Come Dancing' Dancers Reportedly Refuse COVID-19 Vaccinations

Written by 18 September, 2021

The long-running British dance competition series Strictly Comes Dancing returns on Saturday, but the show is already the focus of a bit of controversy.

According to The Guardian, two of the show's professional dancers have refused to get vaccinated for COVID-19, which has reportedly led to some celebrities refusing to dance with them.

This news comes after the show producers revealed on Wednesday that one of the professional dancers had tested positive for COVID-19.

That positive test result won't affect Saturday's show, since it is prerecorded. That episode will introduce the pair-ups between this season's celebrities and professional dancers, before the competition begins with the September 25th episode.

The celebrity partner of the professional dancer tested negative, but health guidelines for the show state anyone with a positive test result has to quarantine for 10 days. So the pair won't be able to practice together again before the competition begins.

A spokesperson for the BBC One series said: "We do not comment on speculation of somebody’s Covid vaccination status. Strictly Come Dancing production has, and will, continue to follow strict government guidelines to ensure the safety of all on the show."

The new season of Strictly Come Dancing will have a limited live audience, after last season was done without an audience. But the lack of a crowd didn't keep away the audience at home, when a record 13.2 million viewers tuned in to watch the comedian Bill Bailey win the 2020 trophy with his his professional dance partner Oti Mabuse.

The celebrities participating in the show this season are Adam Peaty, AJ Odudu, Dan Walker, Greg Wise, John Whaite, Judi Love, Katie McGlynn, Nina Wadia, Rhys Stephenson, Robert Webb, Rose Ayling-Ellis, Sara Davies, Tilly Ramsey, Tom Fletcher and Ugo Monye.

Four new professional dancers join the show this season. They include World Junior Latin American Champion 2010 and former Dancing With The Stars Ireland professional Kai Widdrington; six-time Latin and Ballroom National Champion in Italy and former Let’s Dance Germany professional Nikita Kuzmin; reigning South African Latin Champion Cameron Lombard; and Polish Open Latin Champion 2014 and winner of BBC One’s The Greatest Dancer 2020, Jowita Przystal. They join the dazzling professional dancers already revealed for the upcoming series: Aljaž Škorjanec, Amy Dowden, Dianne Buswell, Giovanni Pernice, Gorka Marquez, Graziano Di Prima, Johannes Radebe, Karen Hauer, Katya Jones, Luba Mushtuk, Nadiya Bychkova, Nancy Xu, Neil Jones, and Oti Mabuse.

Last modified on Saturday, 18 September 2021 13:00

Discovery+ Launches In The Philippines

Written by 01 September, 2021

The streaming service Discovery+ is launching on a limited basis in the Philippines on September 2nd, in partnership with Globe Telecom

While the general public won't be able to subscribe to Discovery+ until October, select Globe customers can, for a limited time, exclusively enjoy 1-year of access and offers immediately.

The partnership gives Globe’s customers on select plans exclusive access to the web version of discovery+ from September 2. For a limited time, Globe Postpaid and Platinum GPlan customers will be able to exclusively purchase and enjoy a 1-year subscription to discovery+ for just P99. Globe At Home customers who purchase a Globe Streamwatch 2-in-1 Entertainment Box will be eligible for a year of access to discovery+ at no additional cost. Globe at Home Prepaid WiFi customers who load HomeSURF999 or HomeSURF1499 exclusively via the Globe At Home app will also be eligible for this 1-year of access, which can be claimed once per user.

"The launch of discovery+ in the Philippines represents another step forward in the platform’s global expansion and further strengthens our direct-to-consumer proposition across Asia Pacific," said Simon Robinson, President, Asia Pacific, Discovery, Inc. "All Filipinos will soon be able to enjoy direct access to a world-class selection of real-life entertainment anytime, anywhere, and we couldn’t be more excited to partner with Globe at launch to give their customers early access and exclusive offers to this premium content."

"In the past year and a half, we’ve seen tremendous change in how people consume content and keep themselves entertained. Many are hungry for new things to watch and to create shared experiences with their family and friends. As Globe continues to help uplift the everyday lives of Filipinos and elevate their experiences at home, we are thrilled with this partnership as it provides our customers with a chance to enjoy a wide range of exciting and popular content," says Ernest Cu, President and CEO, Globe.

At launch, the service is also home to more than 45 unmissable discovery+ Original titles, with more than 200 episodes of exclusive content, including 90 Day Journey – a curated series featuring the ultimate collection of stories focused on fan-favorite couples – as well as an all-new 90 Day Fiancé tentpole series and additional titles, including 90 Day: The Single Life. Other original shows available at launch include Say Yes to the Dress: In Sickness and In Health, Ghost Adventures: Top 10 and Buddy Vs Duff, with an additional 100+ new original titles dropping on the service before the end of the year.

Discovery+ is operated offshore by Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific Pte Ltd, a company incorporated in Singapore.

Last modified on Wednesday, 01 September 2021 21:44

Sky TV Releases First Images From 'Django'

Written by 27 August, 2021

Sky TV has released a set of first-look images from Django, the high-concept reimagining of the classic Western, as production continues in Romania. Matthias Schoenaerts stars as the eponymous Django, along with Nicholas Pinnock as John Ellis, Django’s antagonist, and Noomi Rapace in the role of Ellis’ powerful and merciless enemy Elizabeth, along with Lisa Vicari as Django’s long lost daughter Sarah.

Loosely based on the Sergio Corbucci feature film Django, the highly-anticipated, prestigious English-language series (10 x 60 minutes) is being produced for Sky Studios and CANAL+ by the award-winning French production company Atlantique Productions (Midnight Sun, The Eddy), part of Mediawan, and Cattleya (ZeroZeroZero, Gomorrah the Series), Italy’s leading independent film and TV drama producer and part of ITV Studios, along with co-producers Sky Studios and CANAL+ and in collaboration with Odeon Fiction and StudioCanal.

The story is set in the Wild West in the 1860s and 1870s. Sarah and John have founded New Babylon, a city of outcasts, full of men and women of all backgrounds, races and creeds, that welcomes everyone with open arms. Haunted by the murder of his family eight years earlier, Django is still looking for his daughter, believing she may have survived. He is shocked to find her in New Babylon, about to marry John. But Sarah, now a grown woman, wants Django to leave, as she fears he will put New Babylon in jeopardy if he stays. However, Django, believing the city is in danger, is adamant that he will not lose his daughter twice.

Award-winning actor Matthias Schoenaerts is acclaimed for a multitude of stellar roles including those in The Danish GirlThe Mustang, Bullhead and Rust and Bone; award winning actor Noomi Rapace is well known for her roles in films PrometheusThe Girl with the dragon tattoo and What Happened to Monday as well as independent films Daisy Diamond and the Cannes Festival film Lamb; while actor and founder of Silver Milk Productions Nicholas Pinnock, who has appeared on the big screen in films The Last Tree and Dark Encounter, is known on television from popular dramas Counterpart, Top Boy, Fortitude, Marcella and most recently For Life; talented German rising star Lisa Vicari, is recognized for her performances in the film Luna and, more recently, in the popular series Dark.

Loosely based on the Sergio Corbucci feature film Django, the highly-anticipated, prestigious English-language series (10 x 60 minutes) is being produced for Sky Studios and CANAL+ by the award-winning French production company Atlantique Productions (Midnight Sun, The Eddy), part of Mediawan, and Cattleya (ZeroZeroZero, Gomorrah the Series), Italy’s leading independent film and TV drama producer and part of ITV Studios, along with co-producers Sky Studios and CANAL+ and in collaboration with Odeon Fiction and StudioCanal.

The first episodes of Django are directed by Francesca Comencini (Gomorrah the Series), who is the series’ artistic director with subsequent episodes directed by David Evans (Downton Abbey) and Enrico Maria Artale (Romulus).Django was created and written by Leonardo Fasoli (Gomorrah the Series, ZeroZeroZero) and Maddalena Ravagli(Gomorrah the Series, ZeroZeroZero), who, together, also co-wrote the series treatment with Francesco Cenni and Michele Pellegrini, with two episodes written by Max Hurwitz (ZeroZeroZeroManhunt).

Django, made with the support from the Romanian Government, is currently being filmed on location over six months in Racos, Bucharest and the Danube area.

Django is a highly ambitious production, set to deliver a contemporary and psychological twist on the Western genre through an engaging narrative and an accurate representation of the period. The Sky Original series and CANAL+ Creation Originale Django will be broadcast on Sky’s services in Italy, the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Switzerland and on CANAL+ channels in France, Switzerland, Benelux and Africa.

StudioCanal has worldwide distribution rights.

Last modified on Friday, 27 August 2021 09:36

Netflix UK Announces New Unscripted Shows

Written by 24 August, 2021

Netflix UK unscripted heads Ben Kelly and Daisy Lilly announced a slate of new programs during an appearance at the Edinburgh Television Festival on Tuesday.

The new shows are the result of a nearly two-year search for new unscripted pitches by the streamer, Kelly told the crowd.

Here is a rundown of the three shows:

Synopsis: Snowflake Mountain is a funny, warm-hearted reality show which takes a bunch of clueless kidults who aren’t yet living to their full potential and puts them through their paces at a wilderness survival retreat to try and kickstart them into standing on their own two feet. The back-to-basics camp is a rude awakening to just how pampered their lives have been so far. At stake is a transformative cash prize for the lucky winner. There’s no running water, no parents to wait on them, and, worst of all, no Wi-Fi. But, by connecting to nature, they’ll learn to graduate as fully-functioning adults. The series, which was filmed in the Lake District (North West England), features an international cast.
Production company: Naked (a Fremantle label)
Executive Producers: Cal Turner and Jo Harcourt-Smith
Series Producers: Andy Cullen, Nick Walker, Cherry Sandhu

Synopsis: Dance Monsters is a large-scale dancing competition with a monster twist, giving a colourful global stage to people passionate about dance, as they compete in a way they’ve never been able to before. Through the power of VFX, live motion capture and facial recognition, competitors will transform into loveable and fantastical dance monsters that come to life in front of an expert panel of judges and a live studio audience. It’s hugely ambitious, with a heartfelt journey at its core as we see what happens when you really can dance like no one’s watching. For their time on stage they get to escape reality, become something truly extraordinary and stand out from the crowd. Recorded in Hampshire, UK.
Production company: Lime Pictures
Executive producers: Sarah Tyekiff, Andrew Jackman and Tamsin Dodgson.

Synopsis: Imagine having to think about your sibling dating - how they flirt, how they treat their partners, and what their signature moves are. In this brand-new reality dating series, pairs of siblings will be seeing each other’s love life up close and personal as they search for ‘the one’ together. Having the person who knows you better than anyone should help you navigate the tricky world of dating. But will they act as the ultimate wingman and help you find love? Or scupper your plans and call you out on all your bullsh*t? Either way it might just be Awkward. As. Hell. Filmed in France with an international cast.
Production company: Great Scott Media and Main Event Media (All3Media labels)
Executive Producers For Great Scott Media: Leon Wilson, Ed Sleeman and Saul Fearnley For Main Event Media: Jimmy Fox (EP) and Emily Bon (co-EP)

Last modified on Tuesday, 24 August 2021 10:07
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