BBC Two's blog

Just when she’s settling back in, dad Roy decides to spruce up Gaynor’s room “now she’s having boys over”. Meanwhile, Becky finds out about an age-old insult from Mel which blows the group apart. Gaynor must choose: Becky or Mel.

After a furious row with mum Brenda, Gaynor storms out of the house and is stranded up town. The girls come to the rescue, diagnose depression and cheer her up with a romantic mission – to find Paul Walsh, the One That Got Away.

Gaynor’s friends insist that, now she’s back, she needs a boyfriend and a job. While they figure out which lad from school might still be available, Gaynor must prepare for a power dinner with the head honchos of cladding firm CovConClad.

Gaynor Jacks – who ran away from Coventry 12 years ago – has come back home and is hiding in her teenage bedroom. But mum Brenda makes sure she gets out and faces up to the friends she left behind: manipulative Mel, club-weary Kelly and angry Becky.

Following the huge success of the Victorian Farm series, BBC Two is presenting the same intrepid team with a brand new set of challenges as they are forced to get to grips with the trials and tribulations of life on an Edwardian Farm.

Janice Hadlow, Controller, BBC Two, says: “Victorian Farm was an innovative format that really seemed to resonate with the way people feel towards their community and relate to each other in the current economic climate.

“Faced with tough challenges, it showed just what can be achieved by a team of people when they work together towards a common goal and the popularity of the series showed us that there is a real thirst amongst the viewing public for good-hearted, intelligent programming that hits a familiar note.

“Edwardian Farm will bring with it a different set of challenges which I am sure will prove every bit as stimulating and inspiring as Victorian Farm.”

Victorian Farm was extremely popular on the channel this year, drawing an average audience of 3.6 million (14% share), with the final episode attracting over four million viewers – almost twice the timeslot average.

Archaeologists Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn and domestic historian Ruth Goodman will return to front Edwardian Farm, spending a full year delving into Britain’s rural heritage.

They will make their home in a stunning new location, exploring the challenges posed by the British countryside at a time of great change and tumult; a time when farming was becoming increasingly mechanised at home, and abroad the world was moving gradually towards war.

As in the first series, the action will be based primarily on the farm, but the new setting will also allow the team to explore wider aspects of the working countryside, including rivers and coasts, boat-building, mining, fishing and market gardening.

The 12 x 60-minute series will be produced by Lion Television.

David Upshal, Executive Producer at Lion Television, says: “We’re really excited to have this chance to further explore the lost world of Britain’s rural heritage; a world that has struck a chord with so many people.

“The new series will be bigger and even more ambitious, whilst maintaining the warmth and engaging charm of Victorian Farm.”

The series was commissioned by Martin Davidson and Emma Willis at the BBC.

www.bbc.co.uk/tv/comingup/edwardianfarm/

BBC Switch has commissioned digital production company Conker Media, part of Lime Pictures (whose credits include Hollyoaks), to create and produce an interactive, digital drama thriller for its teen audience.

The Well will air in the autumn in the Switch zone on BBC Two (Saturdays 12noon-2.00pm) and extends online at bbc.co.uk/switch where the audience can immerse themselves further in the story, exploring a spookily atmospheric recreation of the main drama location in a multi-level game.

By engaging with The Well online through completing a series of tasks and challenges the audience can unlock hidden drama content which reveals the backstory to the TV drama.

The entire experience has been created by the “Godfather of young adult fiction”, Melvin Burgess, winner of the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. The Well represents his first foray into digital media and television.

It stars a cast of fresh new talent including Karen Gillan, who has recently been announced as Doctor Who’s new companion.

Geoffrey Goodwin, Head of BBC Switch, says: “It’s fantastic to have a writer of Melvin’s calibre involved in this project. The Well is a great example of Switch’s strategy to produce a broad range of high quality and exciting content for British teens, combining both established and new talent with distinctive interactive ideas.”

Lee Hardman, Head of Conker Media, adds: “The Well bridges the gap between traditional TV and digital media by showing the creative potential of multi-layered drama in terms of storytelling. This approach deepens the audience’s engagement with the story and enables them to get one step ahead of the TV drama – something that works particularly well with the Switch audience.”

The action in The Well centres on a derelict building, which contains a long-forgotten well, the resting place of a dormant malevolent force. When the house changes owners and renovations begin, four teenage friends uncover the well and unwittingly unleash an old and restless spirit.

The Well forms an integral part of Switch’s new season of drama airing on BBC Two this autumn, which also includes The Cut, a brand new multi-platform soap which will air in five-minute episodes on bbc.co.uk/switch and a weekly TV omnibus, and Fresh, a seven-part comedy series about university freshers.

To mark the 20th anniversary of the world wide web, BBC Two is teaming up with the web’s inventor in an ambitious new project that will explore the profound impact of his seminal invention on almost every facet of our lives.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee will today help to launch Digital Revolution (working title), a landmark series for BBC Two with a ground-breaking open source approach to its production process.

The Digital Revolution team will give web users early access to programme content by making their rushes available online and sharing some of their key arguments, inviting comment, input and story leads from the web community.

George Entwistle, Controller, BBC Knowledge Commissioning, says: “After 20 years of tumultuous innovation, now feels like the right time for us to take stock of the profound change our society has undergone since the birth of the web.

“I’m delighted the BBC audience will have the opportunity to play a pivotal role in the creation of this project, and I’m really looking forward to seeing it unfold online in the months leading up to TV transmission.”

Journalist and academic Aleks Krotoski will kick the project off with a series of manifesto blog posts at bbc.co.uk/digitalrevolution.

She will ask the web community to join in an open debate, sharing opinions and suggesting stories.

The team will also marshal web users in a series of online experiments, developed in consultation with the Web Science Research Initiative – a joint endeavour between the University of Southampton and MIT – which Sir Tim Berners-Lee co-directs.

This online debate will shape the production of the BBC Two documentary series, informing Aleks’ arguments as she assesses the claims made over many years by the web’s key innovators and testing them against the hard realities of the emerging web today.

She will uncover some of the extraordinary human stories that illustrate how the web is being used and abused today, and look for clues to evaluate its – and our – uncertain future.

Dominic Crossley-Holland, Executive Producer for the BBC Two series, says: “This is a hugely important and timely series and it’s very exciting that the father of the web himself, Tim Berners-Lee, is involved.

“The production team is committed to being as open as possible in a way that may have far-reaching consequences for the way that TV is produced in the future.”

The four-part documentary series will be aired next year on BBC Two.

Digital Revolution is a co-production with the Open University. The commissioner for the BBC is Martin Davidson; the commissioner for the OU is Emma De’Ath.

There was a special treat for fans of The League Of Gentlemen when Mark Gatiss joined Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton for episode four of the BBC Two comedy-thriller Psychoville.

The three ‘Gents’ hadn’t performed on the small screen together for seven years – not since the last episode of The League Of Gentlemen which they created alongside writer Jeremy Dyson.

In Psychoville Mark plays Jason Griffiths who encounters mother and son, Maureen (Reece Shearsmith) and serial killer obsessive David (Steve Pemberton) Sowerbutts, as they continue their killing spree.

The episode was doubly special as it was filmed in only two takes in a homage to Hitchcock’s classic thriller Rope – three people, one room and one body in a box.

The appearance was kept under wraps to make it as surprising as possible for unsuspecting fans and viewers of the League who have long-awaited any reunion of the cult comedy performers.

Steve Pemberton says: “It was great working with Mark again, just like old times. We had problems keeping a straight face as first one line and then another would send us into fits of laughter.

“I do think it’s a very special piece of television and one we can all – cast and crew alike – be justly proud of.

“Having Mark in the ‘third man’ role got us off to a great start and made us all realise that you can’t buy that kind of chemistry.

“Now I can’t wait until the three of us get to work together again – hopefully under less stressful conditions!”

Reece Shearsmith adds: “It kind of happened quite naturally that we thought of Mark. He was perfect, and it was also a treat to have a kind of ‘reunion’ of the ‘Gents’ in the middle of this series.

“Mark was only available for a day-and-a-half to rehearse – so it was all quite hair-raising on the day. But thankfully, having worked with each other for over ten years, there was almost a supernatural shorthand and it all worked out.

“It’s probably one of the best episodes in the series. And, indeed, even if I do say so myself, an extraordinary achievement and gripping half hour of telly!”

Mark Gatiss said: “Originally, because it’s Steve and Reece’s baby and not the League, it would have seemed wrong to take a cameo of some sort (if offered!) but this episode is so special it was impossible to say no.

“I think Psychoville is a fantastic show and, as I know so little about the rest of it, I’m loving finding out what happens each week.

“I think episode four is quite extraordinary and I’m thrilled to have been part of it and to (almost) reunite the League for one week at least.”

To find out how this was achieved and to see behind the scenes on Psychoville go to bbc.co.uk/psychoville.

Following the success of its online debut on BBC Switch last year, Fresh (working title), a comedy series set in the world of university freshers, has been commissioned for a seven-part series which will air on BBC Switch (Saturdays, BBC Two) and BBC Three in September 2009.

Multi-platform production company Greenroom Entertainment have produced the 30-minute episodes, which were commissioned by Head of Switch, Geoffrey Goodwin, and Controller of BBC Three, Danny Cohen.

Set on a fictional UK university campus, Fresh explores the lives of a mis-matched group of fresh-faced students as they embark on university life and their first taste of independence, with all the mishaps and misadventures that entails.

Fresh is the first UK comedy series to make the transition from online to a BBC TV channel.

The show originally launched in September 2008 on bbc.co.uk/switch in five-minute episodes and will now enjoy a multi-channel broadcast in a full half-hour format.

The TV series will continue where the online show left off, with the original five-minute webisodes being reformatted to create the first TV episode, followed by six completely new half-hour episodes.

The show features a cast of both new and established actors, including Jonathan Bailey as Danny, Danny Morgan (Tonightly) as Shane, Joanna Cassidy as Scarlet and James Buckley (The Inbetweeners) as Fred.

They are joined by an ensemble of supporting roles that includes Felicity Montagu (Nighty Night, Bridget Jones’s Diary) and rising comedy stars Georgia King and Jonny Sweet.

Geoffrey Goodwin says: “Fresh is an aspirational comedy which combines superb storylines with a young British cast.

“Moving a show from online to TV is a great creative process which allows us to really develop the show and nurture the talent while building up a dedicated following online so that the show has a lot of thrust and energy behind it when it hits TV.”

Nick Hamm, Executive Producer for Greenroom Entertainment, adds: “The evolution of Fresh from online to a multi-platform broadcast reflects a wider trend in our industry, where programme makers are responding to the audience need to receive content across numerous platforms.

“Fresh is a comedy with wide appeal for young audiences which makes it perfectly suited to the multi-platform approach.”

Simon Maxwell, Producer at Greenroom Entertainment, says: “Fresh represents a new flexibility in the ways that shows are commissioned, produced, and brought to audiences.

“Our aim was to create a show that appeals to those who are gearing up to go to university, those who are there, and those who want to reminisce about their time as a fresher.”

The series will form part of a season of brand new drama and comedy for teens on Switch in the autumn.

This also includes The Cut, a brand new multi-platform soap which will air in five-minute episodes on bbc.co.uk/switch with a weekly TV omnibus in the Switch zone on BBC Two.

Fresh will also broadcast on BBC Three.

Fresh is produced by Nick Hamm and Simon Maxwell from Greenroom Entertainment and was commissioned by Geoffrey Goodwin and Danny Cohen.

It is written by Dean Craig (Death At A Funeral).

www.bbc.co.uk/tv/comingup/fresh

New six-part comedy series Home Time comes to BBC Two next month.

Home Time is co-written by and starring comedy actress Emma Fryer (Ideal) and features a nearly all-female ensemble cast: Hayley Jayne Standing (My Dad’s The Prime Minister), Kerry Godliman (Extras), Rebekah Staton (Pulling), Marian McLoughlin (The Omid Djalili Show), plus Philip Jackson (Poirot) and James Daffern (Emmerdale, Love Letters).

The series comprises six 30-minute episodes, is co-written by Neil Edmond (Man Stroke Woman) and has been filmed on location in Coventry.

Emma Fryer plays the lead role of Gaynor Jacks who returns to her hometown, Coventry, home to her Mum and Dad’s house, and home to her three best friends, Mel, Becky and Kelly.

At the age of 17 she ran off to find her place in the big wide world but now, aged 29, she’s back with her tail between her legs.

Gaynor can’t hide forever in her bedroom, she must crawl back into her old life, suffer the gleeful sympathy of her friends and ill-judged parental intrusions… all played out in front of old flames and adversaries Gaynor never thought she’d see again and underscored by the smirking cries of “see you’re back then”.

The series was commissioned by Lucy Lumsden, former BBC Controller, Comedy Commissioning, and produced by Baby Cow Productions, the makers of the award-winning Gavin And Stacey and The Mighty Boosh.

The Executive Producers are Rebecca Papworth and Cheryl Taylor for the BBC and Henry Normal and Lindsay Hughes for Baby Cow Productions.

Home Time is directed by Christine Gernon (Gavin And Stacey, One Foot In The Grave) and produced by Ted Dowd (Gavin And Stacey, Nighty Night).

www.bbc.co.uk/tv/comingup/hometime/

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