“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.
TWO sons. Two mothers.
“I thought they were going for a pizza…”
If you have plans for Sunday night, cancel them now.
Common (BBC1, 9pm Sunday) is yet another classic drama by writer Jimmy McGovern.
Matched by the talents of a cast including Nico Mirallegro, Susan Lynch, Daniel Mays and Jodhi May, plus director David Blair.
The 90-minute film tells the story of Johnjo O’Shea, played by Nico, who gives his cousin and two mates a lift to get a pizza.
But Johnjo is unaware his three passengers are going to “have a word” with a local loudmouth.
As he sits outside waiting in the car for his pizza, one of the trio takes offence to a young innocent bystander and stabs him.
The second of my ITV Drama Press Pack interviews:
“If there was ever a story that typified that crime doesn’t pay, this would be it,” says Daniel Mays.
“It’s a controversial story. Ronnie Biggs divides opinion, even to this day. To some he represents a folk hero. But others said, ‘Lock him up and throw away the key.’
“My biggest challenge is to test people’s pre-conceived ideas of who he is. It’s such an incredible story and it merits being told.”
I’ve been lucky enough this summer to write the interviews for four ITV Drama press packs – otherwise known as production notes.
One of the projects was Mrs Biggs, a superb five-part series which begins on ITV1 at 9pm on Wednesday September 5 with a 90 minute opening episode.
Back in February I interviewed the real Mrs Biggs – Charmian – who acted as a consultant on the drama.
And followed that with later interviews involving Sheridan Smith, who plays her on screen, Daniel Mays (Ronnie Biggs) plus writer and executive producer Jeff Pope.
Charmian and Sheridan
CHARMIAN Brent is a remarkable woman with quite a story to tell.
She’s known to the world as Charmian Biggs, the wife of Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs.
The couple divorced in 1976 and she has continued to live in Australia.
But to many their lives remain entwined.
Now ITV are to tell the story in detail from Charmian’s perspective for the first time.
Today it was officially confirmed that Sheridan Smith will play the title role in five-part drama Mrs Biggs.
Daniel Mays as Cass
ALL may not be as it seems when you watch the first episode of new BBC1 sci-fi drama Outcasts.
There are secrets and lies to be uncovered, along with things the human race has never encountered before.
Just who are the outcasts? What lies beyond the boundaries of frontier town Forthaven? And what exactly happened back on Earth after the Shanghai Uprising?
Jack Holt (Ashley Walters) and Stella Isen (Hermione Norris)
“WHAT we’re facing goes beyond everything we know.”
The first media screening of Outcasts in London last night.
We saw episode one of BBC1’s new eight-part series – due on screen next month – plus a long press showreel of what follows.
Outcasts stars Liam Cunningham, Hermione Norris, Daniel Mays, Jamie Bamber, Amy Manson, Ashley Walters, Michael Legge and Eric Mabius.
A group of pioneering humans has created a new home in the settlement of Forthaven on the planet Carpathia.
DIXON Of Dock Green provided the black and white postscript to the last ever episode of Ashes To Ashes.
“So it was all sorted out in the end. And no bones broken, luckily,” said a reassuring PC George Dixon.
It was, after all, only a TV show. But a very special one.
Time for supper and then up those stairs to bed.
A fitting farewell for a drama many obsessed over, with online fan forum
The Railway Arms going into meltdown after each episode was screened.
The final emotional hour revealed almost all about DCI Gene Hunt and his world but left just enough ambiguity to keep those web servers humming for some time to come.
If you’ve yet to see the Ashes’ farewell, which finished a few minutes ago, do NOT read any further.
I spoke at length to Ashes co-creator Matthew Graham earlier this week – the first interview he had given where he was able to speak freely about the secrets of Gene’s world and those who found themselves drawn into it.
Keeping a promise he made to me just over three years ago when we conducted
a similar interview for use after the final episode of Life On Mars.
“THOSE two should either get a room or kill each other.”
It’s the morning after the night before. Alex is confused and Gene is angry.
The last ever episode of Ashes To Ashes is a real knockout from the opening minute.
Moving on to, among other things, Farringfield Green, a scarecrow, those video tapes and Wham!
Before we reach The End.
Gene Hunt promised “one hell of a last chapter” and he is a man of his word.
Written by co-creator Matthew Graham, it’s an epic farewell that packs a strong emotional punch.
Alex and Gene in a photo from earlier in this final series
HERE are the BBC photos released ahead of the final episode of Ashes To Ashes.
Not including the image above, which is from earlier in the series.
The pics don’t give away any major clues to the “bigger picture” revealed in episode eight – to be broadcast on BBC1 a week on Friday.
But if you’re avoiding spoilers of any kind ahead of eps 7 & 8, please do NOT click to open this blog or scroll down any further if you’re arrived straight on to the full page.
My blog on the last ever episode of Ashes will be published next week.