Channel 4’s Head of Comedy, Shane Allen, has commissioned a 5 x 30min series from brand new comedic talents Morgana Robinson, Tom Davis and Terry Mynott. 

After receiving a taster tape of Morgana’s material, Allen commissioned a non TX pilot. On the strength of this, the relatively unknown, up-and-coming comic has been offered her own comedy show in Channel 4 peak time. The series is produced by John Noel’s Running Bare Pictures, and executive produced by John Noel and James De Frond. 

Shane Allen said, “Discovering, supporting and nurturing new talent is at the heart of Channel 4 comedy’s remit, and in Morgana we really feel we’ve found a fresh performer with a huge amount of potential. Warm, daft and infectious, Morgana’s range of charismatic characters somehow lodge in your head, and her style of performance is reminiscent of Kenny Everett in his prime, but without the beard”. 

The Morgana Show is a splashy, sketch-based comedy show jam-packed featuring a host of Morgana’s unique, original, endearing, and beautifully crafted characters; playing to her strengths as a superb mimic.

Character creations include Madolynn, a past-her-prime Hollywood siren; Gilbert, a well-meaning but socially inept teenage boy who is making his own web-based show with the not-so-expert help of his granddad; and Verity the over-privileged, uber-cool teen who speaks in riddles. 

Other characters include a rival pair of television news reporters who are vile to each other off camera, and a redneck family who are rather too closely related.

These characters feature alongside Morgana’s skewed impressions, including: Fearne Cotton the daredevil, Cheryl Cole the kid sister, and Boris Johnson as a bumbling 12-year-old public schoolboy.

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher – the best-selling book by Kate Summerscale about an infamous murder in a Victorian country house – has been adapted for ITV by Hat Trick Productions.  

The two hour drama will star Paddy Considine (Red Riding Trilogy, Dead Man’s Shoes, The Bourne Ultimatum, 24 Hour Party People, Hot Fuzz) in the lead role of Inspector Jonathan Whicher and will be adapted by Neil McKay (Mo, See No Evil: The Moors Murders).

Set in 1860, this gripping true story of murder, psychological suspense and courtroom drama begins when three-year-old Saville Kent is found brutally murdered and hidden down a servants’ privy in the grounds of the elegant Rode Hill House on the edge of a sleepy village on the Wiltshire / Somerset border.

As the local police struggle to solve the crime, the case becomes a national scandal: “The security of families, and the sacredness of English households demand that this matter should never be allowed to rest till the last shadow in it dark mystery shall have been chased away,” declares The Morning Post.

On the orders of the Home Secretary, Inspector Jonathan “Jack” Whicher, the so-called “Prince of Sleuths” from the newly formed Scotland Yard detective department, is despatched to the countryside to restore justice.  Whicher was the inspiration for the first fictional detectives created by Wilkie Collins and Dickens, but the case was to prove the most difficult of his career.

Behind the seemingly respectable middle-class façade of the Kent family, he discovers adultery, insanity and jealousy in a world populated by gossiping servants, a wicked stepmother and rebellious children.  With the local police actively working against him, it’s a struggle for Whicher to find the evidence and nail the culprit.

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher will film on location around London in October.  It will be directed by James Hawes (DCI Banks: Aftermath, Enid).  The Executive Producer for Hat Trick Productions is Mark Redhead (Mutual Friends, God On Trial, Bodies, Bloody Sunday).

Mark says: “This a very modern story.  It gripped the country in the way that the case of Madeleine McCann has done in our day.  It became an obsession for the press and was even debated in the House of Commons.   Perhaps for the first time, the Rode Hill House murder exposed the darkness that lay behind the solid front door of the respectable English home.  As a story it is riveting but also deeply touching.”

The drama has been commissioned by ITV’s Director of Drama Commissioning Laura Mackie and Controller of Drama Commissioning Sally Haynes who comments:  “The Suspicions of Mr Whicher has been a huge literary success and Neil McKay has done a superb job adapting Kate Summerscale’s fascinating book.  Paddy Considine is the perfect actor to bring Whicher to the screen”.

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher won the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction.

Further casting details will be announced in due course.

25 year old Hollie Burns impressed the X Factor judges when she auditioned for the show in Glasgow earlier in the year.  

After it was televised this week, her rendition of Radiohead’s Creep has received a lot of buzz leading to the original appearing back in the iTunes chart.  Even after changing her song due to Simon Cowell not liking her original choice, Hollie stood out from the crowd.

Louis Walsh initiated: “I like your energy, I like your song choice, I like your vibe, I think you’re special”

Geri Halliwell said: “You’re the first person I’ve looked at today and thought “yay popstar!”

Cheryl Cole commented: “That was my favourite audition of the day”

Cowell added: “I loved this song, I’ve never heard a girl sing that song before. I’m impressed by you, I like you” … “Hollie, you’re representing Scotland you’re through to the next round!”

Later in the show all four judges agreed she had been the best audition of the day.

Having worked with the Freak Music Entertainment Agency over the last few years Hollie has amazed audiences from corporate events to weddings and it was only a matter of time before she was discovered by a much wider audience.

Freak Music’s Jay Feeney boasts “it has been a real pleasure working with Hollie and all of our clients have been blown away with her performances – it’s always great when a true talent is recognised and we wish her all the best with her x-factor campaign and we’re sure she’ll go all the way.”

Since Hollie’s audition was shown on ITV2’s Xtra Factor, many fans have complained about it not appearing on the main show and Scotland rallies behind her to represent the nation.

Later … With Jools Holland chalks up an incredible 250 programmes when it returns to BBC Two for its 37th series on Tuesday 14 September at 10pm.

The series is becoming one of the longest-running, as well as the most-respected, live music shows in TV history with the live 30-minute show on Tuesdays followed by the longer version on Fridays (starting Friday 17 September) on BBC Two and BBC HD.

To celebrate the milestone there will be a special compilation show on BBC Two on Saturday 11 September, entitled 249 Not Out – Later … With Jools’s Golden Moments, where artists and fans select their choice moments from the show’s history.

Jools Holland, says: “I am tremendously honoured and proud that we can celebrate our show being on air for 250 years! It is my hope that we can continue to serve the public with the same wonderful mixture of artists – young, old, legends and newies, all serving the one great master that is music – for the next 250 years!”

Mark Cooper, executive producer, adds: “We’re hugely excited about the new series, the brilliant artists coming up and the 250th milestone we’re passing along the way. 

“What with soundchecks, camera rehearsals, etc, we’ve probably already spent over a year of our lives in the Later studio – what a great way to live!

“So many brilliant artists have come through the programme – some have become huge stars since first appearing on the show, some have passed, most are thriving and that’s what we’re trying to do!”

Later… With Jools Holland began in October 1992 as a spin-off from The Late Show and was devised by presenter and associate producer Jools Holland, director Janet Fraser-Crook, sound supervisor Mike Felton and now executive producer Mark Cooper – all of whom continue to work on the show.

Since then, Later has showcased some of the greatest acts from the world of music, as well as giving a whole host of hot new artists their TV debuts.

Later … has seen legends such as Eartha Kitt, Willie Nelson, Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash, Al Green and Joe Strummer as well as being the first place on TV to feature Arctic Monkeys, Amy Winehouse, Duffy, Adele, Villagers, Mumford & Sons, Klaxons, Joanna Newsom, Plan B, Paulo Nutini, Alicia Keys, Kings Of Leon and Ray Lamontagne.

There have also been extraordinary “what was that?” performances from acts such as Battles, At The Drive-in, Gorillaz, Jerry Dammers’ Spatial AKA Orchestra, Flaming Lips and Antony & The Johnsons.

Later … With Jools Holland is back on Tuesday 14 September on BBC Two at 10pm and on Fridays with the extended programme on BBC Two at 11.45pm.

249 Not Out – Later … with Jools’s Golden Moments is on Saturday 11 September on BBC Two at 10.45pm (tbc).

Quotes from some of the stars who have performed on Later …

“I thought I was insanely lucky when I was asked last year to go on Later … with Jools Holland – it’s an institution. I never expected to be where I am now, let alone go on shows like that.” (Ellie Goulding).

“It’s got a special place in my heart, has Later, because, since I was four, my mum always allowed me to stay up and watch it on Friday nights.” (Adele).

“Bands sound rawer with the fear of God in them, with every move broadcast to a million! You need that do-or-die feeling.” (Jaime Hince, The Kills).

“That competitive sizing-up thing is what no other show has. It’s the difference between it and The Tube.” (Thom Yorke).

Four new dancers have joined to complete the new Strictly Come Dancing professional dance troupe, which will perform spectacular dance routines throughout series eight.

They are: Tanya Perera, who was a featured dancer in the West End production of Dirty Dancing; Shem Jacobs and Aneta Piotrowska, who have both performed in the Polish Dancing With The Stars; and Crystal Main, who has performed on Strictly Come Dancing in South Africa.

Crystal, Tanya, Aneta and Shem will join Darren Bennett and Ian Waite to make up the six-person group and together they will make their group debut performance in this year’s Strictly launch show, due to transmit on BBC One on 11 September.

Darren Bennett will dance with Crystal Main, Ian Waite will dance with Aneta Piotrowska and Shem Jacobs will dance with Tanya Perera.

As well as the troupe debut, the launch show will feature a red carpet event at BBC Television Centre, a revamped set, pairings of celebrities and their professional dancing partners in front of the studio audience, plus a group dance featuring all this year’s competitors.

Billy Joel is the latest musician to join the Glee club!

The singer has revealed that he has given his permission for his music to be used in a future episode of Glee.

Adding that he is unsure whether the music will appear in the next season or sometime after that, he also ruled out a guest appearance, “All I know is I said, ‘Yeah! Go ahead. Use my stuff.’  I’m just not a big TV actor type of guy, I’m a piano player.”

Joel joins a list of musical talent including Britney Spears, Paul McCartney and Coldplay who have given permission for the hit show to use their songs.

Joel’s songs and the Gleek formula looks set to be a winner with the show already having tested the water last season.  Joel’s Piano Man was performed by guest star Neil Patrick Harris who won an Emmy over the weekend for the role (Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series).

Simon Bird locked in for Inbetweeners film

Simon Bird (Will) has reportedly signed on to appear in the upcoming Inbetweeners film after allegedly holding out for a better deal. The film has begun shooting in Crete with all of the original cast involved.

ITV confirms Paul O’Grady’s show premiere

ITV has confirmed that Paul O’Grady’s new show will begin on September 10 on ITV1. The hour-long Paul O’Grady Live! will screen at 9pm on Friday September 10 with Sir Tom Jones among O’Grady’s first guests.

Billy Joel music for Glee

More Billy Joel music will pop up in the second season of Glee after the singer agreed to its use. Joel’s Piano Man featured in the first season in a duet sung by guest Neil Patrick Harris and Matthew Morrison.

4m watch Josie win Big Brother

The Big Brother finale on Tuesday night, in which Josie was crowned the winner, pulled an audience of 4 million viewers on Channel 4. The show pulled a 17.7% audience share between 8pm and 10.50pm.

BBC Four to air Anna Nicole Smith opera

BBC Four has announced it will broadcast an opera based on the life of Anna Nicole Smith, who passed away in 2007. Smith will be played by Dutch soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek and is expected to air in early next year.

Comedian Billy Connolly, fiddler Aly Bain and award-winning novelist Andrew Greig were caught in a blizzard while filming a tribute to their friend, the great Scottish poet Norman MacCaig (1910-96).

To mark the centenary of MacCaig’s birth, the trio undertook a journey to find the elusive trout of MacCaig’s favourite fishing spot – the Loch of the Green Corrie, 1,600ft up a mountainside in Assynt in the North West Highlands, where he spent every summer for 40 years “filling my camel’s hump” for the rest of the year in Edinburgh.

Their quest, which was filmed for a programme to be screened on BBC Scotland and BBC Four over the autumn winter period, was hit, however, by a massive overnight snowstorm at the end of May.

Despite terrible conditions, the trio were determined to resume their fishing bid the following morning but, as Billy said: “Could Norman no’like Jamaica or something?”

Nevertheless, he later admitted: “I’m glad I came here. I think it was a terrific idea. The night made it an ordeal but, until then, it was absolutely terrific. I nearly set fire to my sleeping bag – it was that cold!”

And he gave the thumbs up to the Loch of the Green Corrie: “It’s a strange place. I do like it. It’s got a haunted sort of feel to it.”

Aly Bain was similarly upbeat: “I remember Norman talking about up the Loch of the Green Corrie, but I never went fishing with him so this was payback time for me – to go fishing where he went.”

Andrew Greig, whose book about MacCaig, At The Loch Of The Green Corrie, has been high on the Scottish best-seller lists, added: “Being here in Assynt for anybody who knows Norman’s poetry is like living inside his skull!”

As well as the fishing expedition, the hour-long programme, which is being made by Glasgow-based Pelicula Films, features tributes, anecdotes and readings of favourite MacCaig poems by friends and fellow poets including Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney, Liz Lochhead, Alasdair Gray and Douglas Dunn.

The programme is one of two co-commissions between BBC Scotland and BBC Four, which feature in the latter’s autumn winter season (announced today, 25 August).

The other programme on Peter Howson will transmit on BBC Scotland under the ArtWorks banner.

Filmed over two years, this portrait of Peter Howson, by Hand Pict, follows the painter as he tackles a major commission for Glasgow’s Catholic cathedral and tells the story of his turbulent life from Eighties stardom to his religious-themed work today.

Richard Klein, Controller of BBC Four, today unveils the channel’s autumn 2010/winter 2011 line-up, packed full of insightful, opinionated and bold new programmes for the discerning viewer.

New announcements include a brand new literary adaptation of Douglas Adams’s masterpiece Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and an opera about the life of Anna Nicole Smith, a season on sculpture and an entire village that has dug up their back gardens to unearth a fascinating history.


Culture and knowledge

Unashamedly expert, undiluted and in-depth, the season consists of an extensive range of intelligent programmes focusing on the arts, music, culture and knowledge in all its forms.

2010 has seen the channel enjoy its best ever performance, with both share (1.1 per cent) and reach (15.4 per cent) up considerably on the same period last year and an average of 8.4 million viewers coming to the channel each week. With the new line-up, BBC Four continues its mission to be the most culturally enriching channel within the UK’s digital broadcasting world.

Richard Klein says: “BBC Four is the channel that seeks to offer television to those parts of the brain that other television channels don’t reach. We always aim to provide context and complexity, and all with a strong flavour of wit and opinion. So I am delighted to be able to offer a host of deliciously inventive, thought-provoking and entertaining programmes over the next six months. From arts to performance, drama and comedy to social culture, history and science, there is programming here to satisfy the most curious and interested of minds, as well as one or two surprises for the fun of it.”


Visual arts

In line with BBC Four’s goal always to add context and champion opinion, this season features the channel’s strongest ever line-up of visual arts, reflecting and commenting on the cultural DNA of the UK and the wider world. There’s a major season embracing one of Britain’s greatest contributions to the art world – sculpture, with the channel’s widest range of in-depth programmes celebrating everything from the world’s most fascinating tombs, gargoyles and royal statues to the meaning of the fig leaf in 2,000 years of Western art and ethics. As part of the season, journalist Alastair Sooke delves deeply into the three golden ages in The Story Of British Sculpture and actor David Thewlis becomes part of art itself by having his head recreated by three different sculptors in How To Get A Head In Sculpture.

As part of one of television’s most ambitious arts projects ever to assess and document the Western tradition of painting, BBC Four turns its undivided attention to a fourth country in Art Of Germany, having already scrutinised the art of Italy, Russia and Spain. The programme features unprecedented access inside Cologne Cathedral and rare footage of Franz Marc’s sketches from the First World War trenches – his last before he was killed. The season also includes an examination of some of the most influential and impressive avant garde artists of the 20th century who dwelled upon our own shores in Art Of Cornwall.


In-depth knowledge

Always proud to provoke lively discussion and debate, BBC Four continues to seek out new points of view from the finest experts in their field. This autumn, critic and author Laura Cumming brings her in-depth knowledge of self portrait to the channel in Portrait Of The Artist and acclaimed writer, actor and Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss turns his hand to presenting and indulges his passion for horror films in A History Of Horror With Mark Gatiss, part of a blood curdling new season on the genre.

The season also sees Patrick Stewart play Macbeth in a spectacularly dark, contemporary and stylish film version of Rupert Goold’s highly acclaimed production, set in an undefined and ominous central European world. And, following the BBC’s recent focus on opera, BBC Four reinforces its commitment to representing the arts in all its forms, as one of popular culture’s enigmas – glamour model Anna Nicole Smith – is immortalised in an opera about her life by the Royal Opera House and Olivier Award-winning composer Mark Anthony Turnage in Anna Nicole – The Opera, to be screened on the channel early next year.

In other areas of performance, BBC Four goes behind the scenes of one of the country’s most respected arts institutions in a documentary celebrating 60 years of the English National Ballet, and examines the impact of traditional dance on our cultural heritage as Charles Hazlewood stages the UK’s biggest clog dancing event in Get Your Clogs On.


The best in drama writing and performance

BBC Four is committed to championing the very best screen-writing, dramatic performance and hosting drama of significance. Two of Britain’s best-loved actresses take centre stage in two original screenplays. In a remarkable display of acting, Jessie Wallace stars as Pat Phoenix playing the role of Elsie Tanner in Coronation Street – A Star is Born. The drama examines how one writer defied convention and Granada TV’s management when he wrote the first Coronation Street script 50 years ago this year, bringing northern working class kitchen sink drama into people’s homes for the first time.

In Hattie, Ruth Jones is magnificent as one of Britain’s most adored comediennes, Carry On queen Hattie Jacques. Far from the matronly woman she so often portrayed, the drama reveals the secret romance between Hattie and a younger man.

In Dirk Gently, we see the celebrated character’s first ever on-screen appearance. The hapless detective stumbles upon more than he bargained for when he sets out to solve the disappearance of a cat from an old lady’s house.



Inspiring knowledge

Also this season, BBC Four combines its reputation for inspiring knowledge and providing an alternative view on a subject in Michael Wood’s Story Of England. Utilising a completely new approach, Michael embarks on his most ambitious television project to date as he convinces an entire village to dig up their back gardens, resulting in the discovery of 2,000 years’ worth of fascinating artifacts and real-life stories. By taking a seemingly ordinary village and turning it, literally, upside down, he creates an incredible living, fluid picture of how Britain has changed, complete with Tudor teachers, highwaymen, Suffragettes and First World War soldiers, along with discovering an entirely unique way of bringing history to life on the channel.


Reassessing great arts and artists

BBC Four is also committed to re-calibrating and reassessing some of our greatest arts and artists. And early next year, as part of that commitment, the channel will bring together DH Lawrence’s two great works of early modern erotic fiction, Women In Love and The Rainbow. Originally written as a single novel, Billy Ivory’s script is an ambitious reinterpretation, reuniting the two stories to form one stunning drama for the first time. Starring Rosamund Pike, Women In Love is part of a season exploring love and sexuality in 20th-century literature, which also includes Amanda Coe’s adaptation of John Braine’s celebrated rite-of-passage novel Room At The Top.


Classical and contemporary music

In all of its music offerings, BBC Four strives to provide not only the widest range of content spanning classical and contemporary artists, but unique insight about the musician behind the melody. This season it goes even further as Tony Palmer returns to BBC Television after 40 years with the first feature-length biography of Gustav Holst, including unseen footage in which his daughter explains how Holst wrote The Planets during weekends and school holidays.

The BBC will screen the recent Doctor Who Prom on BBC Three in September.

The Prom will be cut down to an hour-long special set to screen at 8.30pm on September 6.

Along with the Prom, BBC Three will also show the documentary special Doctor Who’s Greatest Moments and also a repeat of this year’s series finale as a build-up.

The Matt Smith and Karen Gillan-hosted Prom took place on July 24 this year and was broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

Source: Digital Spy

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