That Day We Sang: Q&A

Enid and Tubby (Imelda Staunton and Michael Ball)

Enid and Tubby (Imelda Staunton and Michael Ball)

“IT’S letting your dreams literally come true. Which is rather beautiful.

“Ordinary people being extraordinary.”

Imelda Staunton talking about the truly glorious That Day We Sang, written and directed by Victoria Wood.

A TV musical drama destined to become an instant classic.

Screened on BBC2 at 9pm on Boxing Day – Friday Dec 26.

It stars Imelda as “PA not secretary” Enid and Michael Ball as insurance salesman Tubby, two lonely middle-aged people who grab a second chance of life via the power of music.

These fictional characters meet in 1969 at a reunion of the Manchester Children’s Choir which made the iconic million selling recording of Nymphs and Shepherds with the Halle Orchestra 40 years before.

The film moving between events in the late 1960s and the story of a young Tubby, whose real name is Jimmy Baker, and his difficult home life in 1929.

With Harvey Chaisty as the young Jimmy and the always engaging Daniel Rigby as Mr Kirkby, the war veteran who helps him through.

Victoria Wood is also responsible for writing all of the music – Purcell’s Nymphs and Shepherds aside – in the 90-minute film. Continue reading

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Esio Trot: Q&A

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“WHAT’S the point of getting older if you can’t break the rules?”

I have been lucky enough to experience many magical moments in my career.

Discussing Tootsie over a Soho lunch with Dustin Hoffman in 1982 is one of thousands.

Another was just a few streets and 32 years away from there earlier this month.

The press premiere screening of a 90-minute adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot.

A heartwarming and joyous film to be screened on BBC1 on New Year’s Day – 6:30pm Thursday Jan 1.

Starring Dustin Hoffman as Mr Hoppy, Judi Dench as Mrs Silver and James Corden as the (in-vision) narrator.

With a screenplay by Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer, reunited for the first time since The Vicar of Dibley.

Resulting in a classic film to charm both adults and children. Continue reading

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Moving On 6

Graeme Hawley as Ken and Lisa Riley as Moira.

Graeme Hawley as Ken and Lisa Riley as Moira.

“WE always hear, ‘Golden age of British drama.’

“It’s not. It’s a golden age of British acting talent.

“We have never been so blessed in this country. It is incredible.”

Jimmy McGovern speaking at the London BAFTA launch of Moving On series six last month.

Five new stand alone dramas by up and coming writers starting on BBC1 at 2:15pm tomorrow (Monday Nov 10). Continue reading

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Downton Abbey: 5.5

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THE naked truth about the changing world around Downton Abbey is revealed in tonight’s episode. (Sunday October 19)
  
There are racy headlines in the library as Lady Rose (Lily James) reads out a magazine article about the opening of a “nudist colony” in Essex.
  
With writer Julian Fellowes making reference to the real life Moonella Group in Wickford, which in 1924 became the first naturist club in Britain with an established home. Continue reading

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The Fall 2: Q&A

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“DON’T wake mummy…”

The chilling, disturbing and fascinating series two of The Fall is due to begin on BBC2 next month (November).

As many fans of the drama will know, the premiere screening – hosted by BAFTA – was held at London’s Mayfair Hotel on September 23.

Below is the story I wrote for a national newspaper a few hours after that launch which was used the day after in the hard copy edition and online – the latter behind a paywall.

So for those who were unable to access at the time, here’s that report.

Followed by my transcript of the post-screening Q&A that night involving Jamie Dornan, Gillian Anderson and Allan Cubitt. Continue reading

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The Great Fire: Interviews

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“IT is an incredible undertaking to take on something as epic as this.”

The Great Fire executive producer Douglas Rae talking to me on location in Greenwich.

Filming scenes that day in the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College – one of the finest rooms in the world.

The next time we meet is somewhere in the countryside near Henley.

Where 1666 London and the River Thames have been re-created for the screen, along with the flames that will destroy a huge part of the city.

Epic indeed. Continue reading

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Grantchester: Interviews

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“IT’S very important that Sidney has seen death. That he knows death.

“I remember my father said to me once:

‘I don’t suppose you’ve buried many of your friends?’

“Which is a very shocking sentence.”

Author James Runcie, son of the late Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie, talking about his creation Sidney Chambers.

Grantchester is a new six-part series starting on ITV at 9pm on Monday (October 6).

Starring James Norton as Sidney.

Totally transformed from his no doubt future award-winning role as psychopath Tommy Lee Royce in BBC1’s Happy Valley. Continue reading

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