International Television (15)
In another one of those stories that seems perfectly tailored for 2020, the UK broadcaster Sky History has been forced to temporarily pull episodes of its new reality competition series The Chop: Britain's Top Woodworker, following complaints from viewers that some of the tattoos worn by one of the show's contestants include racist and right-wing symbols.
Some viewers noted that contestant Darren Lumsden has an "88" tattooed on his face and that those numbers are used by Nazi groups to symbolize Heil Hitler, based on 'H' being the eighth letter of the alphabet.
Initially the network dismissed the allegations, releasing a statement that Lumsden’s tattoos "denote significant events in his life and have no political or ideological meaning whatsoever." The network also said that it stood by the extensive background checks carried out by the production team, which it said "confirmed Darren has no affiliations or links to racist groups, views or comments." The statement also explained that Lumsden's "88" tattoo referred to 1988, the year his father died.
But late Tuesday, Sky History issued another statement announcing that it was pulling the show in order to further investigate his tattoos. In part because a British newspaper posted an interview with Lumsden's father, who turns out to be very much alive.
Production Of 'The Essex Serpent' Halted After Keira Knightley Exits Project Over 'Child Care Concerns'
Production on the upcoming Apple TV+ project The Essex Serpent has reportedly been shut down, after star Keira Knightley exited the project, citing "child care concerns."
The project was set to begin filming in six weeks.
Based on a novel by Sarah Perry of the same name, The Essex Serpent is set in 1893 and details the story of a widow called Cora (played by Knightley) who moves to Essex after an abusive relationship. The character then becomes engrossed in rumors of a mythical serpent that is said to still roam the Essex area. Knightley was also one of the producers of the project.
Knightley and husband James Righton have two daughters: 5-year-old Edie and one-year-old Delilah. A representative for the actress told the Daily Mail that she "had to unfortunately pull out' of the project for family reasons'."
The spokesman said that because Covid cases were increasing in the UK – and additional lockdown and restriction rules are potentially being imposed – "there wasn't a comfortable scenario for Keira that could be put in place for an extended period of childcare required for the four-and-a-half-month production."
According to the Daily Mail, her role will be recast.
The BBC has released the first information about the upcoming Dr. Who Christmas Special, which was able to wrap production before the coronavirus shut down television work earlier this year.
As you may recall, the Doctor was teleported to a remote prison by the Judoon at the end of season 12 with no trial.
The new images show the Doctor still stuck in prison and based on the marks on her prison wall, she's been there a long time.
Here is the official logline that was released by the BBC:
The Doctor is locked away in a high-security alien prison. Isolated, alone, with no hope of escape.
Far away, on Earth, her best friends, Yaz, Ryan and Graham have to pick up their lives without her.
But it’s not easy. Old habits die hard. Especially when they discover a disturbing plan forming.
A plan which involves a Dalek. How can you fight a Dalek, without the Doctor?
Thanks to a deal with Channel 4 and the show's producers, Netflix is able to offer its U.S. subscribers new episodes of The Great British Bake Off only three days after they air in the U.K. And other than name change (it is renamedThe Great British Baking Show in the U.S.), the episodes generally run on Netflix unchanged from their Channel 4 premiere.
But that was not the case this past Friday, which was also the premiere episode of the season. Netflix cut a short sketch done by new host Matt Lucas, in which he lightly mocked British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
In the sketch - which opened the show in the U.K. - Lucas' Johnson stood at a lectern featuring the slogan: "Stay Alert, Bake Cake, Save Loaves." He rambled on for a bit in classic Johnson-esque fashion: "We are now approaching phase 46, which means that from Tuesday morning or Wednesday evening, depending on your height, we are seeing, with regards to baking… If you must bake in a tent, bake in a tent, but please don’t bake in a tent."
The 1:40 minute segment ended with Lucas/Johnson arguing with over the pronunciation of "scone" with Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood, before Lucas whipped off his wig and announced: "Welcome to the Great British Bake Off."
Japanese actress Yuko Takeuchi is dead at age 40.
According to The Japan Times, her body was found by her actor husband Taiki Nakabayashi at their home in Shibuya Ward at about 2:00 am Sunday morning. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department has launched an investigation and suspects that Takeuchi committed suicide.
If that is indeed the cause of her death, it will be the latest in a troubling series of suicides committed by well-known Japanese celebrities. Those include actress Sei Ashina earlier this month, actor Haruma Miura in July and wrestling star Hana Kimura in May.
Takeuchi is best known to American audiences for her leading role in the TV series Miss Sherlock, a 2018 HBO Asia production which later ran in the Unites States on HBO. But she was very well-known and respected actress in her home country and won the Japanese Academy Award for best actress in a leading role for three years in a row from 2004 to 2007. She appeared in a number of television dramas and movies, including the 1999-2000 morning drama series Asuka, Hayabusa, 1,778 Stories of Me and My Wife, and Golden Slumbers.
Sky TV announced on Thursday morning that BAFTA and Academy Award nominated actress Sophie Okonedo (Ratched, Death on the Nile) is joining the cast of the drama Britannia for its third season, which is currently filming in the U.K.
Britannia is an epic genre-bending tale of clashing civilisations and religions set in a wold of mythic Celtic tribes, psychedelic druids and terrifying Romans, as a young girl tries to build a rebel alliance with a group of misfits. It was created by the multi-award-winning writers Jez Butterworth, his brother Tom Butterworth and James Richardson.
Sophie will star as Hemple, the wife of General Aulus (David Morrissey), who arrives in Britannia to find out why her husband has failed with Lokka’s mission to capture the chosen one, Cait. If he isn’t up to the job, she certainly is. Season three also sees the return of actors David Morrissey, Mackenzie Crook, Annabel Scholey, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Eleanor Worthington-Cox, and Zoë Wanamaker.
Sophie Okonedo said in a statement: "I’m so glad to be plunged into the weird and wonderful world of Britannia. I was already a fan of the show and its writers Jez and Tom Butterworth, so I jumped for joy when they offered me the wonderful character of Hemple. Without giving too much away I’ll just say this woman has a huge appetite…"
James Richardson added: "Sophie is one of the UK’s greatest actors and we all feel very privileged to have her play our new and particularly malevolent force for series three. She is an actor with an enormous range and manages to make you laugh whilst being completely terrifying. A perfect fit for Britannia! We feel very fortunate to be able to continue making such an ambitious show about a time when everything changes."
Britannia series three was commissioned by Zai Bennett, Sky’s Managing Director of Content and Cameron Roach, Sky’s Director of Drama at Sky Studios with Gabriel Silver as the executive producer for the series for Sky Studios. Season three is written by Jez and Tom Butterworth and Mackenzie Crook and produced by Rupert Ryle-Hodges. Britannia is created by Jez and Tom Butterworth and Vertigo Films’ James Richardson who all act as Executive Producers together with Neal Street Production's Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris and Nicolas Brown.
Filming has begun on new Sky original Bloods.
Starring BAFTA nominated Samson Kayo (Famalam, Truthseekers) and Golden Globe nominated Jane Horrocks (Absolutely Fabulous, Little Voice), the series follows a pair of seemingly mismatched paramedics and their fellow ambulance station colleagues through the life-saving world of a south London emergency service.
The cast also includes Lucy Punch, Julian Barratt, Adrian Scarborough, Kevin Garry, Sam Campbell and Aasiya Shah.
Made for Sky by Bafta award-winning Roughcut TV, Bloods will air on Sky One and NOW TV in 2021.
The drama Doc Martin has set an end date.
ITV has just ordered a tenth and final season, which will begin filming in early 2021.
In the series, Martin Clunes plays the title character, who treats patients in the sleepy Cornish fishing village of Portwenn, where he spent holidays as a child.
In a statement, Clunes and producer Philippa Braithwaite explained: "We have loved making nine series of Doc Martin. When we launched the series in 2004 we could never have imagined how much our loyal viewers would take to the grumpy Doc like they have. The series has avid fans both in the U.K. and throughout the world and we are thrilled that Doc Martin has topped the ratings every time. However, after sixteen years we now feel that the time has come to say goodbye to Portwenn. We will be making the tenth and final series in 2021 and we are very much looking forward to returning to Cornwall to film it."
"I just want to thank Martin and Philippa and everyone involved in Doc Martin because it’s a brilliant, beautifully made series that has delighted audiences for many years," said ITV’s head of drama, Polly Hill, in a statement. "I am pleased that we are making series ten and sad this will be the last, but respect their decision to bring it to a close.”
Series regulars Martin Compston, Adrian Dunbar and Vicky McClure will all return, alongside Line Of Duty newcomers Shalom Brune-Franklin, Perry Fitzpatrick, Andi Osho and Prasanna Puwanarajah.
Line of Duty showrunner, Jed Mercurio, said in a statement: "We know Line of Duty fans are desperate for series six and we hope we can get it on air as soon as possible. Thanks so much for your patience in these difficult times."
Martin Compston (DS Steve Arnott), said: "It’s been a long few months and it will be a different way of working from when we stopped, but I’m delighted to be back on the case with the Line Of Duty team!"
Vicky McClure (DI Kate Fleming), said:"Been sitting on these incredible scripts for some time now, so I’m really looking forward to getting back to it and seeing the Line Of Duty family."
Adrian Dunbar (Supt. Ted Hastings), adds: "Even with the imposition of Covid restrictions I can't hide my excitement at getting the team back together. So many people wondering… what happens next?"
Simon Heath, Executive Producer for World Productions, said: "It’s been almost six months since we stopped shooting, but following our implementation of all the industry Covid protocols, we’re delighted to be able to resume filming series six safely."
Together with independent health and safety consultants, in full consultation with industry partners, and in accordance with all current government guidelines on Covid-19, the Line Of Duty production team will adhere to comprehensive protocols to ensure that the new series is produced in a safe and responsible manner.
Line Of Duty is written and created by Jed Mercurio, and made for BBC One by World Productions. The new series will be directed by Daniel Nettheim, Gareth Bryn, and Jennie Darnell, and the producer is Ken Horn. Executive producers are Jed Mercurio, Simon Heath for World Productions, and Tommy Bulfin for BBC One. International distribution of the sixth series of Line Of Duty is handled by ITV Studios.
Host Jeremy Clarkson revealed on Thursday that the long-time game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? will crown its first top-prize winner in 14 years in an episode that will air in September.
The unidentified contestant correctly answered all 15 questions and Clarkson described the contestant as "probably the best" in the show's history. They will be the sixth top winner in the show's U.K. history.
In May, retired doctor Andrew Townsley, from Glasgow, nearly became the sixth £1 million winner but walked away with £500,000 after playing it safe rather than answering a final question on motorsport.
The most famous contestant in Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? history was Major Charles Ingram, the winner who "won" the grand prize but never received it after he was accused of cheating in an infamous coughing scam.
The new episodes were produced under new COVID-19 guidelines that included following guidelines about social distancing as well as doing the shows without an audience.
Each contestant still has four lifelines - 50:50, Ask The Host and two opportunities to Phone A Friend, rather than Ask The Audience.
Another season of The Great British Bake Off is on the way.
A tweet from the show’s official Twitter channel said this on Wednesday: "Filming has wrapped on the new series of The Great British Bake Off. More news soon..."
The new season will see the return of judges Paul and Prue Leith, and host Noel Fielding, who will be joined by new host Matt Lucas, following the departure of Sandi Toskvig after three series on Channel 4.
In an interview with Broadcast, the show's producers revealed the "mammoth sacrifice" made by the cast and crew to ensure the series could take place.
The new season began filming in a secret location in July in a hotel which housed all cast and crew alongside 20 hotel staff members, 80 production staff and around 20 "children, chaperones and dog walkers". Everyone had to self-isolate for nine days and take three COVID tests before entering the hotel.
The show usually gets filmed on weekends to accommodate the bakers’ real lives and jobs, but this season was filmed over six weeks on a schedule that included "two days on & two days off." To make up for the bakers not being able to practice at home on the off days, producers built 12 test kitchens for the contestants.
One thing that apparently didn't change in the new season was the Paul Hollywood handshake he doles for exceptional efforts. "In these strange times, producers want the 2020 series to be as close to normal as possible and they feel that it wouldn’t be the same without a Hollywood handshake."
No airdate has yet been announced for the new season.
Filming has begun on a "Call The Midwife" Christmas special, which will air in the U.K. and U.S. this December.
The 90-minute special is set in December 1965. Returning cast include Jenny Agutter (Sister Julienne), Linda Bassett (Nurse Crane), Judy Parfitt (Sister Monica Joan), Fenella Woolgar (Sister Hilda), Ella Bruccoleri (Sister Frances), Helen George (Trixie), Laura Main (Shelagh Turner), Leonie Elliott (Lucille), Stephen McGann (Dr Turner), Cliff Parisi (Fred), Annabelle Apsion (Violet), Georgie Glen (Miss Higgins), Max Macmillan (Timothy), Daniel Laurie (Reggie) and Zephryn Taitte (Cyril).
Here is the logline of the special, provided by the BBC:
"Everyone at Nonnatus House is looking forward to traditional celebrations with all the trimmings, but nothing goes quite to plan. Sister Monica Joan is rushed to hospital, and Trixie is incensed to receive a subscription to a Marriage Bureau as a Christmas gift.
Meanwhile, a surprise reunion for Shelagh involves her in a deeply moving birth, and the circus arrives in Poplar, bringing new friendships, new experiences, and an exciting adventure for Nurse Crane."
Dame Pippa Harris, Executive Producer, said in a statement: "Alongside the rest of the country, we have all been devastated to see how Covid-19 has affected people around the world. Our midwives and nurses may not be the front-line heroes of today’s NHS, but by getting back to work, they, and we, hope to bring some joy and respite into people’s lives.
"In such difficult times, the values of Call The Midwife seem more resonant than ever. In series ten we will continue to celebrate the skill and bravery of the UK’s NHS whilst bringing laughter and love into our homes."
Heidi Thomas, Creator, Writer and Executive Producer, said in a statment: “Everyone is overjoyed to be whisking the dust sheets off Nonnatus House and getting back to filming after lockdown.
"It is a particular thrill to be able to deliver the Christmas Special on time, just as we promised at the start of the pandemic. We are very much a family at Call The Midwife, and like families everywhere, we have missed each other. We will now be putting more love and energy into our work than ever and can't wait to share Series 10 with our fantastic, loyal audience."
Mona Qureshi, Executive Producer for the BBC, added: "We are so delighted that the Call The Midwife team are able to re-assemble to bring us Series 10 for the new year, and that they will also be gifting us a Christmas special for 2020 - the warm embrace of the nuns and midwives of Poplar feels especially needed this year!"
Given the Borg-like dominance of American intellectual property in global markets, it can be easy to forget that we live in a big world, with important brands and products that are unknown to the American public. But despite our somewhat self-important provincial nature, there are times when it's clear that we have a lot to learn about regional markets. Even when it comes to the entertainment industry. For instance, take a look at this headline:
Disney+ To Partner With Woolworths On Exclusive Line Of Ooshies.
As an American, there are a lot of things to unpack about that sentence. We already know what Disney+ is and that the streaming service is available in a number of countries, including the US, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, India, and the United Kingdom.
As it turns out, in this case Woolworths isn't the U.S. drug store chain F.W. Woolworths, the South African retail store chain of the same name or even the defunct U.K. Woolworths business. Woolworths is also the name a major grocery store chain in Australia and along with rival Coles it controls about 80% of the Australian grocery market business.
Ooshies are miniature plastic animals that were first sold in 2017. But Woolworths created a limited-edition line in 2019 to tie in with the release of the live-action Lion King movie. They were also designed to complete with a similar item sold by Coles, called "Little Shop." Woolworths customers were able to claim an Ooshie if they spent $30 in the store and the success of the initial offerings has led to a series of limited-run Ooshies tied into various pop culture characters. The Woolworths line of Ooshies has became a cultural sensation in Australia, with some of the rarer figures selling on auction sites for up to $10,000.
Now Woolworths is teaming up with Disney+ to offer a line of limited-edition Disney+-themed characters, including Elsa from Frozen, Captain Marvel, Woody from Toy Story and the Mandalorian, from the Disney+ series of the same name. The deal was announced earlier this week and it has sparked a frenzy of interest from Ooshie collectors and based on what I've read, there are a lot of them in Australia.
So now you know what a Disney+ Ooshie is and why it matters.
Mike Hobson, Executive Producer, said in a statement: "It’s been a long process of preparing the set, the crew and actors, to make sure we are working in the safest environment possible. We have been chomping at the bit to get back filming, especially as the audience loved our special Zoom episode."
"We are looking forward to picking up where we left off, and continuing to create great storylines full of humor, while raising awareness of serious issues, and of course, creating a bit of drama!"
The Doctors’ production team at BBC Studios have developed comprehensive production protocols to ensure that the series is produced in a safe and responsible manner. Social distancing will be adhered to in accordance to current government guidelines.
The crew will be picking up where, they left off, and audiences will finally get to see whether The Mill’s resident midwife, Ruhma, will still be suspended after she was caught kissing a patient’s husband.