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Great news today is that hit sitcom Absolutely Fabulous is to return to our screens later this year for at least three new episodes!

Joanna Lumley, who plays drunkard Patsy on the show, confirmed that she’s set to film three episodes of the show in August.

Speaking to Hello magazine, Joanna said, “In late August I start filming on three episodes of Absolutely Fabulous, which we are all ecstatic about.”

However, Joanna added that she has no idea what plotlines will feature on the new episodes.

She said, “Miss [Jennifer] Saunders has been so busy writing Uptown Downstairs Abbey for Comic Relief and also Spice Girls: The Musical, I don’t think she’s started [the script]!”

And a BBC spokesperson told The Guardian newspaper, “We’re putting the finishing touches to the deal to bring it back…

“And as soon as we’re in a position to confirm it we will.”

My money’s on a Christmas special or three!

Are you excited it’s coming back?

   ITV has commissioned a new two-part drama, Case Sensitive, based on the highly acclaimed and chilling psychological suspense novel Point of Rescue from Sophie Hannah.

Episode one airs on Monday 2nd May at 9pm, with part two airing on Tuesday 3 May, also at 9pm.

In part one, when Geraldine Bretherick and her 5-year-old daughter Lucy are found dead in the bath of their luxury home, the case divides new DS Charlie Zailer and her DC Simon Waterhouse.

Is it murder, suicide or something even more sinister, and how watertight is the alibi of the husband Mark?

Meanwhile, when Sally Thorne, a working mother with a husband and two young children, hears of the deaths, she is shocked and appalled. Months before she’d met Mark Bretherick at a hotel and had a brief but passionate affair with him.

Now she feels the need to get in touch with him again to offer her sympathy. Her friend Esther does not think this is very wise…

Case Sensitive was filmed on location in Buckinghamshire and was directed by Charles Martin (Skins, Being Human, Married Single Other).

The Executive Producer for Hat Trick Productions is Mark Redhead (Mutual Friends, God On Trial, Bodies, Bloody Sunday). The producer is Christopher Hall (The Lost World, Archangel, Burn Up).

Of the new drama, ITV’s Director of Drama Commissioning, Laura Mackie, said, “Case Sensitive is adapted from an engrossing novel which not only tackles the dark side of motherhood but also mistaken identity and murder.

“It’s a superb adaptation of Sophie Hannah’s highly contemporary crime novel and I’m delighted that Olivia Williams is on board to play DS Charlie Zailer.”

I cannot wait to see this one!

The highly anticipated four-part drama ‘Vera’ debuts on Sunday 1st May on ITV1 at 8pm, with a bumper two hour opening episode.

The central character is Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope – played by Brenda Blethyn OBE – who is obsessive about her work and driven by her own demons. If she’s lonely she doesn’t show it and faces the world with caustic wit, guile and courage.

Her trusted and long suffering colleague is Sergeant Joe Ashworth (David Leon); her right hand man and surrogate son. Together they approach every new case with unparalleled gusto and professionalism.

Julie Armstrong (Gina McKee) arrives home from a rare night out in Newcastle with boyfriend Gary Wright (Neil Armstrong) to find her son murdered…

Luke (Sam Fender) has been strangled, laid out in a bath of water and covered with wild flowers while his sister, Laura (Gabrielle Ross), is asleep.

This stylised murder scene has Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope (Brenda Blethyn) and Sergeant Joe Ashworth (David Leon) intrigued…

A second body, that of beautiful young teacher Lily Marsh (Samantha Neale), is discovered laid out in a rock pool, the water strewn with flowers.

Vera must work quickly to find a killer who is making art out of death, but clues are slow to emerge from those who had known Luke and Lily. However, Vera soon finds herself drawn towards a curious group of friends who discovered Lily’s body.

As local residents are forced to share their private lives and those of their loved ones, sinister secrets are slowly unearthed.

And all the while the killer remains in their midst, waiting for an opportunity to prepare another beautiful, watery grave…


The British Academy of Film and Television Arts announced today that Channel 4’s hit reality TV show, ‘Big Fat Gypsy Weddings’ has been nominated for the YouTube Audience Award, given to the most popular programme of the last year at the upcoming Philips British Academy Television Awards.

Also nominated in this category are Downton Abbey, The Killing, Miranda, Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, The Only Way is Essex and Sherlock. Past winners include The Inbetweeners(2010), Skins (2009) and Gavin & Stacey (2008).

The YouTube Audience Award is the only Award voted for by the public. It rewards the programmes that have captured audiences’ imaginations and were the most watched, loved and talked about. A panel of entertainment journalists collated the shortlist, which features a variety of genres, including drama, entertainment and comedy.

From Tuesday 19 April until 5pm on Friday 20 May, members of the public will have the opportunity to vote for the YouTube Audience Award at www.youtube.com/baftaonline

Tina Flintoff, Commissioning Editor for Factual Entertainment at Channel 4 said: “We are absolutely delighted that so many people came to the series and enjoyed it.

“To be nominatedfor this award is the icing on the cake and we hope that fans of the show will vote for us to win. “

Amanda Berry OBE, Chief Executive of BAFTA, added: “It is fantastic to see such an eclectic list of programmes nominated for this year’s YouTube Audience Award.

“These programmes have captured the British viewers’ attention and have earned their place on this year’s shortlist.”

Hosted by Graham Norton, the Awards will be held at Grosvenor House, London, on 22 May 2011.

Big Fat Gypsy Weddings – Channel 4/Firecracker Films Big Fat Gypsy Weddings is a visually arresting portrait of the lives of gypsies and travelers in Britain today…

Picking up where the hugely successful Cutting Edge film of the same title left off, the new series follows the extraordinary rite-of-passage events – including weddings, communions and christenings – to offer a window into the world of the gypsy and traveller community.

Each stand-alone episode gives insights into the community’s attitudes toward gender roles, education and outsiders. The series also explores the remarkable rituals, traditions and beliefs held by this minority group.

Warm, intelligent, engrossing and funny, Big Fat Gypsy Weddings tells intimate stories on an epic scale, laying bare an exotic unseen Britain that exists right on our doorstep.

Will you be voting for BFGW? I will be; I love the show!

Courtesy of © Channel 4 Television

Airing on Thursday 5 May at 10pm on Channel 4, comedian David Walliams guides us through cinema’s most shoddy moments including atrocious monsters, terrible sex, baffling foreign accents and truly contemptible acting which are all so brilliantly bad that they do in fact make an awfully good movie.

The Appalling Accents category features Dick Van Dyke and Audrey Hepburn launching a brutal assault on the English language whist Nicolas Cage commits crimes against the Italian language in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.

Imitating Demi Moore at a pottery wheel, David introduces Rules for Romance Movies taking examples of how not to do it from Twilight, Hope Floats and Jennifer Lopez luring a lover in Gigli – It’s turkey time. Gobble, gobble. ‘Apparently once you’re a really successful actor you don’t have to bother anymore’ explains David…

Enter the Atrocious Acting field including John Travolta’s alien performance from planet unconvinceon in Battlefield Earth and Jude Law’s somewhat overacting in Sleuth.

Hollywood’s biggest budget balls-ups often originate in the special effects department and there is many an example in the Naff FX category, Kurt Russell ‘surfing’ in Escape from LA to name one. From between the sheets David narrates the most Ghastly Sex scenes to ever grace our screens.

Elizabeth Berkley’s energetic performance in Showgirls is almost as disturbing as Chucky getting it on with his new bride.

Dressed as the stereotypical villain complete with blond wig and European accent David reveals his Top 5 Most Unconvincing Villains including X-Men’s Toad and Arnold Swartzenegger’s Freeze in Batman and Robin.

He also shares his Top 5 Arnie Puns, Top 11 Worst Movie Lines (‘You complete me’ Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire), Top 5 Most Baffling Movie Monsters, Top 5 Annoying Movie Characters (including Jim Carey in The Cable Guy and Adam Sandler as the son of Satan in Little Nicky), Top 5 Hilarious Indian Action, Bad Bond moments, Mortifying Deaths and Gary Oldman acting on his knees in Tiptoes, a film about dwarves as just one example of what was once acceptable now being wholly unacceptable.

Finally it all comes down to one and David divulges his Most Awfully Good Movie. Don’t miss it!

Courtesy of © Channel 4 Television

Plus new reality drama ‘Made in Chelsea’ heading your way!

It’s a ruddy big night on E4 on Mon 9th May as Glee goes Gaga with a monster 90 minute episode just because, you know, it’s like HUGE.

And if that wasn’t enough, London’s socially elite young party crowd will be making their debut on E4 and showing just how super exciting life can be if you’re Made In Chelsea.

Glee season 2, episode 18

New Directions once again, pay homage to Mother Monster herself, Lady Gaga, when they perform her latest smash hit, ‘Born This Way’ Mr Schu teaches the glee club a valuable lesson about self-acceptance and embracing what makes you unique through the music of Lady Gaga.

Made in Chelsea season 1, episode 1

This new reality drama follows the lives and loves of hot young things on the Chelsea social scene. They’re immaculately dressed, fiercely ambitious and party hard but it’s not all champagne cocktails.

See the real-life rivalries and relationships that set tongues wagging and phones beeping across London’s most prestigious postcodes.

To make room for all this great big amazingness, Glee’s one off, extended episode will move to a slightly earlier time slot with the Made In Chelsea crowd taking up residence on E4 directly afterwards.

Pom poms and pouts at the ready darlings.

Don’t miss Derren Brown: Miracles For Sale, Monday 25th April 2011, 9pm, Channel 4

Derren Brown is a man on a mission. His latest project, Derren Brown: Miracles for Sale, sees him take on the world of faith healing, where rich men prey on the vulnerabilities of the sick and needy to fill their already-bulging wallets.

Brown’s disgust for this world has stirred him to action, and the result is a film that is by turns shocking, disturbing, hilarious and inspirational. Here, he reveals a little more about the project, and explains to Channel 4 why it was his most stressful shoot yet.

Your new programme is Derren Brown: Miracles for Sale. What’s the concept?

It’s an attempt to lift the lid on the world of Faith Healing and the way we’re doing it is by trying to launch an ordinary guy off the street here, as a Faith Healer in Texas. Creating a fake Faith Healer and seeing what we can get away with, the point of it being to expose what is, at least what I consider to be, a foul scam at the expense of the desperate, sick and needy.

Why take someone off the street, when this is something that you could do so expertly with your skills?

I think it just wouldn’t have the same impact if it was me. My point is that anybody can do it. These things that are apparently miracles, like the blind being able to see and all the rest of it, they’re not, they’re just sort of tricks and anyone can learn tricks.

I could have done it myself but I think it wouldn’t have been such a clear cut contrast between special skills and no special skills. Here’s a guy who actually hasn’t even been on stage before and yet can do exactly the same thing.

How did you go about recruiting your fake Faith Healer?

We hold auditions, the idea was that people wouldn’t know if was a Derren Brown show, they wouldn’t know what it was about. They’re auditioning. We just told them ‘Be the star of your own show’ and they knew that the content of the show was being withheld.

We boiled them down to four and then had to choose one of the four who I thought would have the right skills for it.

Why this whole area, why Faith Healing?

One of the things of about this area is, it’s offensive. The scam is offensive. You don’t’ have to be a believer or not, it genuinely offends people. It’s nothing ultimately to do with the church.

I say in the show it’s nothing to do with God or faith. It is a scam and I think it’s….it’s coming over here, more and more often which makes it worthwhile as a subject to deal with. It’s such an ugly thing. I’ve been to events in London that some of the big names have come over and done and it’s just awful. You’ve got a couple of thousand people – its small events compared to what these guys do in the States.

It’s just the worst crowd manipulation. And it would be fine if people go away just feeling a bit better, of course that would be fine. But it’s not that, it’s just a wake of despair that’s left.

What tends to happen at a Faith Healing event?

You have three or four hours of the audience being whipped up into a state through up-tempo songs, quiet meditative songs and then up and down, up and down. Giving money every now and then and then the healer comes out and creates further hype and massive expectation which has been brewing since the beginning.

He then starts saying this healing is happening in the room and invites people forward and it’s all done with a huge amount of urgency. There are people who filter out those that are going to be safely brought up on stage – who have bad backs and things that have responded to the adrenalin.

So they’re brought up. Anybody with an arm missing or Down’s Syndrome or anything that’s visible is kept safely away. If you look behind the camera at these sorts of events and you’ve got drips and hospital beds.

People who have been dragged around the country in the States…people are just carried, kids being carried by their parents just from one event after another. The parents are just spending every last penny they’ve got on this.

So they’re going away constantly wondering why it is that God doesn’t love them. And even those people who have come up on stage and bounced around for the sake of the show, the next day they’re going to wake up and probably feeling a lot worse as they’ve been doing stuff they probably shouldn’t have done. And again it’s just this wake of despair.

And the Faith Healers are getting rich on that despair?

These guys are just raking it in. The big names earn way more than any Hollywood A-lister because it’s tied in with this thing called the Prosperity Gospels. It takes this idea of ‘sow and you shall reap’ and turns it into a financial incentive.

So the logic is; you give me $1000, and Jesus bestows his blessings financially. It says in the bible ‘you sow and you reap a 100 fold’. So you give $10 and you get $1000 back. You have to give more than you can afford otherwise you’re not giving in faith. You have to give in faith.

And when nothing happens, it’s your own fault because you didn’t have enough faith or maybe you didn’t give enough, maybe you have some secret sin in your life. We had a story of a girl who had MS and she’d heard a testimony on the GOD channel ‘I had MS and I paid $1000 to this Pastor and it took my MS away’.

It was just an actress talking. But this girl who was 13 believed it and she started putting money away and sending it to this guy on TV, month after month.

She was doing it secretly, she didn’t want to tell her parents and eventually it was $1000 and she didn’t get cured so she rang up the number on the Channel and said ‘Well, what happened?’ and was told ‘You’ve probably got secret sin in your life.’

So she doused herself with petrol and set fire to herself and killed herself. She was 14.

Some people over here have the idea that it’s faintly ridiculous and almost comical. But what’s actually happening in a lot of cases is their actually threatening people’s lives, aren’t they?

People are being told to throw away their medication, which is obviously dangerous. Literally hearing the guy saying ‘when you stand up that cancer will be gone’. And you have to maintain the faith, because if you lose the faith then of course this isn’t going to work.

So the way you demonstrate that is by not taking your medication, not seeing your doctor.

Obviously this is all taking place in America; you mentioned this is sort of coming over here…

There are English versions of it which are quite apologetic and suburban in a typically British way compared to what goes on in the States.

But the American model, we’re getting more and more of it over there because we’re all in awe of American’s regardless of whether you’re sat in a congregation or sat in theatre or whatever. That sort of glitz, we still like it.

So there are plenty of healers already, there are plenty of healing movements that go on in this country.

So why did you decide to go to America and do this?

Because it’s the heart of it. The charlatanism is muchclearer out there because it’s a huge business and also that it’s the heart of it.

It’s just more difficult, it’s more of a challenge, they are worthy targets out there. And here, I don’t know….the big names out there they put themselves about and you can find out what’s going on. Here, I have no idea.

It’s probably all quite well meant here, I would imagine, and perhaps it becomes a slightly different thing. I just think you need to get at the heart of it to make the show meaningful.

What sort of skills did you have to teach your fake healer, and what was the timeframe?

It was about six months and had to be prepared for everything out there. The main things were, performance skills which I was working on him with and working on his sort of act.

Being prepared for any healing stuff he could do. At the same time he had to be educated in scripture and how to twist the scripture by Christians who had been through that world – they obviously knew more about scripture than I did.

So they were dealing with the biblical side of it and I was dealing with the performance side of it. We also had an acting coach. He had to learn some basic Swahili because he was supposed to have been out in Uganda for a while. He was brilliant. It was a really tough call.

I think you get from the show it’s stressful.

There were volatile elements to the relationship weren’t there?

Oh completely. He’s somebody who internalises things a lot so is very; very sincere, which is great because that was important, that was really important with this show.

We needed somebody that would, no matter how difficult it was, would continue to believe in it being an important aim.

It all looked incredibly stressful at times…

The whole thing was shrouded with this ‘are we even going to be able to make this show?’.

There was this general air of concern that none of it was ever really going to come together. It was tough; it was by far the toughest thing I’ve ever done. As a challenge it just got more and more difficult. You can kind off tell from the show, it starts off a slightly kind of slicker sort of feel.

It felt like it was going to be ‘that’ sort to show and by the end of it it was like no, no we’re kind of making a documentary that’s just as much about us trying to make the show as it is about proving and showing what we want to show.

Was it fun?

Yes, yeah it was. It was probably less fun for our fake healer. It was hugely exciting and seeing him get up and do the show at the end was fantastic. It was a proper rollercoaster.

It seems astonishing that Faith Healing can go unchecked. Shouldn’t there be legislation?

Yes, that would be good. People have tried to bring it before the police, but because it’s a religious area, everyone’s a bit nervous to touch it. The big, big thing is it’s untaxed.

If you say it’s a church that you’re getting your money from then you don’t pay any tax on it. I suspect that’s why Spiritualists and Scientologists and other people are most insistent that it’s a church, that’s it a religion, because that brings with it a massive, massive financial difference.

So getting those things reformed, that sort of legislation would help enormously. If the incentive wasn’t there from that point of view that would surely help.

Not to give too much away, I take it you’re pleased with the end result?

Yes. As we were making the show I really wasn’t sure what sort of film it would end up being. It felt amazing being out there but is this going to really translate into a show that people will watch and actually?

I think it’s a bit different from previous things and I think that’s a good thing. It’s kind of become a bit of a sort of road movie almost, a bit of an ongoing documentary. It’s very open, very honest – yes I do like it.

What’s happened to your fake healer now? Now that you’ve trained him up as a faith healer has he gone to America and started up a lucrative trade?

[Laughs] No he’s not. He’s gone back to his world of lifeguarding and being a diving instructor. I think he’s getting back into that.

No, he didn’t show any signs of wanting to carry it on but I don’t know, it’s there in the back of his head isn’t it? By the end of it I was itching to get up and do it.

I could see how this would become quite addictive after a while. How you could really just start to get off on it with 80, 0000 people at some of those big rallies.

So essentially, if the career all goes to pot then it’s going to be Pastor Derren in America raking it in?

[Laughs] No, is the short answer. But what I was thinking was is there a way that I can take all that, can I do it in a way that’s doing it and debunking it?

Part of me just thought I’d love to get up there and do it, but I can’t think of any context now. There’s no way of doing it and it’s kind of frustrating.

It’s like I really wanted to play the piano but there’s not a single piece of music that you could bring yourself to play. From a performance point of view, I can just see how it would start to appeal.

The power-trip of it and the sheer bravado of it would just fuel you to go madder and madder.


© and courtesy of Channel 4 Television

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