“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“EVERYONE has their time.”
Churchill’s Secret (ITV, 8pm this Sunday) is a classic.
One of those films you will remember for a very long time to come.
With some of the finest performances you could wish to see.
In an astonishing story about, perhaps, our greatest Briton.
It was my pleasure to write the cast and production interviews for ITV.
Visiting the set last year during filming.
For some fascinating conversations with Michael Gambon, Lindsay Duncan, Romola Garai, Bill Paterson, Matthew Macfadyen and executive producer David Aukin.
“I’M really glad we are shining a light on it.
“It’s such a rich and different life we’ve not seen in costume drama before.”
Jessica Raine talking about Jericho, a new eight-part series which begins on ITV at 9pm this Thursday (Jan 7).
Set in Yorkshire during the 1870s, it tells the story of a navvy town community gathered to build a huge railway viaduct.
Former Call The Midwife star Jessica plays Annie Quaintain, evicted from her home after the death of her schoolmaster husband.
Together with her two children – Martha, played by ex-Corrie actress Amy James-Kelly, and George (Sam Bottomley) – she heads for an uncertain future in the remote settlement of Jericho.
“SOME say heroes are born. Others…they’re made.”
Beowulf: Return To The Shieldlands begins on ITV at 7pm next Sunday (Jan 3).
Kieran Bew leading a huge cast as the title character in this epic 12-part series.
I was lucky enough to spend a few days on location earlier this year with Kieran and co in County Durham / Weardale.
Interviewing both the cast and those behind the camera for ITV’s Production Notes.
With other interviews completed later in the year including William Hurt, who plays Hrothgar.
And honoured to host the on stage Q&A after the first episode, directed by Jon East, was screened at BAFTA in London in December.