Brief Encounters: Interviews

A CPL production for ITV.Pictured: This image is the copyright of ITV and must only be used in relation to Brief Encounters.

“IT was extraordinary.

“All the men in the crew went very quiet.”

Penelope Wilton talking to me about glorious new ITV drama Brief Encounters.

Starting in 1982, the six-part series begins at 9pm next Monday (July 4) and is just the tonic we need after the turmoil of recent times.

Sophie Rundle (Steph), Angela Griffin (Nita), Sharon Rooney (Dawn) and Penelope (Pauline) give compelling performances in this Sheffield filmed and set production.

Four women linked by the emergence of Ann Summers’ party planning, providing hope, confidence, ambition and a chance of independence.

As well as its fair share of laughter and tears along the way at a time when attitudes to women and sex were very different to today. Continue reading

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Marcella: Interviews

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“AUDIENCES don’t like to be treated as if they’re stupid.

“Sometimes I think we dumb things down and underestimate the intelligence of an audience.

“We’re not stupid. We don’t need it hammered into our head.

“We want to work a little bit.

“And I think this asks that of the audience.”

Anna Friel talking to me on location in Paddington about Marcella (ITV, 9pm, Monday April 4).

A truly outstanding eight-part drama filmed and set in London written by The Bridge’s Hans Rosenfeldt.

With one of the most gripping scripts I’ve ever read. Continue reading

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Home Fires 2: Interviews

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“IT’S a great advert for community and helping each other.

“That sense of community and looking out for one another that we’ve very much lost nowadays.

“I do think there is a huge longing for that.”

Samantha Bond talking to me about the return of Home Fires to ITV at 9pm this Sunday (April 3).

The first series attracted an average audience of 6.2 million and wove its way into the hearts of viewers.

Having interviewed the cast for ITV ahead of that first series it was my pleasure to do the same again for series two.

As good as the opening series was, these six new episodes – set in the summer of 1940 – have really raised the bar.

With some terrific storytelling involving both the Great Paxford characters we know and a few new faces.

All beautifully acted and filmed for a real Sunday night treat.

Again including the award-winning music by composer Samuel Sim. Continue reading

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The Durrells: Interviews

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“THIS is really up there with the best of what I’ve done.”

Keeley Hawes talking to me on location in Corfu during filming for new six-part drama series The Durrells (ITV, 8pm Sunday April 3).

One of the most joyous productions I’ve ever had the privilege to write about.

I read Simon Nye’s sharp, warm and wonderful scripts before flying to the Greek island last September.

Having been a member of the Durrell Wildlife Preservation Trust for over 25 years and a regular visitor to their HQ in Jersey, this project already had a special place in my heart.

Also being present at Gerald Durrell’s Memorial Celebration at London’s Natural History Museum in 1995.

As the sun rose on our first full day of interviews on location, all the signs were that The Durrells was going to be truly magical.

Watching filming and then talking to Keeley and the rest of the cast simply reinforced that belief.

As did a trip to the house by the sea used as the exterior location for the family’s home on Corfu.

Along with a meeting with one of the two pelicans who play another star of the show. Continue reading

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Maigret: Interviews

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“I hope people find the stories engaging. I think they will.

“I’m quite good at not doing very much on screen.”

Rowan Atkinson talking to me in Budapest last November while working on two major new TV films.

Maigret (ITV, 9pm Easter Monday) marks his debut in the role of the original television detective who set the benchmark for all who followed.

Adapted from the books by legendary author Georges Simenon.

The casting of the Blackadder and Mr Bean star as Chief Inspector Jules Maigret made headlines around the world when it was first announced last year.

It was fascinating to watch his transformation into the French detective during filming in the Hungarian capital.

Doubling for Paris in the 1950s because it looks far more like that city at that time than modern Paris does today.

Darkness had fallen on location at a former Budapest brewery when shooting wrapped for the day.

The moment for me to interview Rowan in his trailer for the ITV press pack / production notes.

He did not disappoint. Continue reading

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Houdini & Doyle: Interviews

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“IT was one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done in my life.”

House star Michael Weston talking about filming Harry Houdini’s Chinese Water Torture stage routine for a new TV drama.

Houdini & Doyle co-stars Stephen Mangan as Arthur Conan Doyle.

An intriguing 10-part crime drama with a supernatural twist which begins in the UK on both ITV and ITV Encore at 10:15pm tomorrow (Sunday March 13).

Subsequent episodes screening exclusively on ITV Encore at 9pm on Thursdays, starting from March 17.

A UK / Canada co-production broadcast on Global in Canada and Fox in America from May 2.

Brought to the screen by the creators of House. Continue reading

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Doctor Thorne: Interviews

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“I knew at once I wanted to do it.”

Doctor Thorne is Julian Fellowes’ first screen project since Downton Abbey said its UK farewell last Christmas Day.

A deliciously comedic world adapted from the Anthony Trollope novel.

Starring Tom Hollander in the title role with a superb cast including Rebecca Front, Ian McShane, Phoebe Nicholls, Richard McCabe and Alison Brie.

With newcomers Stefanie Martini (Mary) and Harry Richardson (Frank) making a big impression at the start of what are set to be notable acting careers.

Starting on ITV at 9pm this Sunday (March 6) Doctor Thorne is a glorious three part treat.

Filmed in some of the most striking locations England has to offer. Continue reading

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