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
“WHAT’S the point of getting old 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
“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
“IT’S the most full on thing I’ve ever done.”
Keeley Hawes speaking tonight about being “waterboarded” in the second series of Line Of Duty.
Not quite the infamous torture technique.
But struggling to breathe after having her hair grabbed and being violently flushed face down several times into a police HQ toilet.
“You just do it and then have a big glass of wine,” she smiled. Continue reading
The 2013 Christmas Special.
I could not let 2013 pass without a special mention for my comedy of the year – Hebburn.
Shamefully ignored in last week’s British Comedy Awards, the first BBC2 series was screened in October and November 2012.
Just about as impressive a TV sitcom debut as I can remember.
And I was there in September 1998 for the very first press screening of a new BBC2 sitcom called The Royle Family.
Hebburn is a worthy successor to Geordie comedy classics like Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads? and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. Continue reading
“THEY don’t know him. But he knows them.”
The Fall is one of the most compelling drama series I’ve seen in recent years.
A top class script matched by superb cast performances, direction by Jakob Verbruggen, editing, soundtrack and anything else you’d care to pick from the end credits. Continue reading
David Tennant as Aiden Hoynes.
AN invite to the premiere press screening of The Politician’s Husband last Friday night.
Followed by a Q&A with acclaimed writer Paula Milne, whose many credits include White Heat, The Night Watch and The Politician’s Wife.
We were shown the first two episodes, of three in total.
Including terrific performances from David Tennant and Emily Watson.
The series begins on BBC2 at 9pm tonight (Thursday April 25) and comes recommended.
Below is the story I wrote the next morning, which subsequently appeared here this week.
Followed by my transcript of that Q&A with Paula, hosted by BBC Drama boss Ben Stephenson. Continue reading