“THIS is Vanity Fair.
“A world where everyone is striving for what is not worth having.”
(William Makepeace Thackeray)
August 2017. Bloomsbury Centre Baptist Church, London WC2.
Gathered in the church’s ‘Friendship Centre’ were the cast, production team, executives and the rest of the team involved in ITV’s new adaptation of Thackeray’s Vanity Fair.
With screenwriter Gwyneth Hughes announcing herself as “assistant to the author”.
I had already read all seven of her sparkling scripts.
But it was here in this room that they were first brought alive during an almost day long script read-through.
“INNOCENT shows you the views from both sides and leaves it open for the viewer.
“It’s obviously a nightmare situation for anyone to be in if they have, indeed, been convicted and imprisoned for a murder they did not commit.”
Lee Ingleby talking to me about new four part ITV drama Innocent which begins at 9pm on Monday (May 14) and screens over four consecutive nights.
Written by Chris Lang and Matt Arlidge, directed by Richard Clark and produced by Jeremy Gwilt.
Lee plays David Collins who has served seven years in prison for the murder of his wife Tara and lost everything, including his two children.
Having always protested his innocence, David is suddenly released on a technicality after a long campaign led by his brother Phil (Daniel Ryan).
“THE Durrells is not mushy in any way, ever.
“The cute stuff is always cut with very sharp humour and observation, so it’s never twee.
“That’s what I love about it. It is so clever.
“It’s such an easy and funny read. That sort of writing is some of the most difficult to do because it’s actually a little bit sharper than you imagine.”
Keeley Hawes talking to me about the glorious return of The Durrells for a third series, filmed in Corfu and Ealing Studios.
Starting on ITV at 8pm this Sunday (March 18).
“ONE of the great themes of the story is family, love and loyalty.
“It asks the question, ‘How far would you go to protect the ones you love?’
“People watching will ask themselves, ‘What would I do in that situation? What decisions would you make?’”
Archie Panjabi talking to me about her role as Mona in new drama Next Of Kin.
A six part thriller which begins on ITV at 9pm on Monday (January 8).
One of the must watch television dramas of 2018.
“WHAT I’ve had once or twice is people saying:
‘Oh, hello. I know you…what’s your name again?’
“I say, ‘Rowan Atkinson.’
“And they say, ‘No, no, no.’
“A most peculiar idea where you tell people your name and they don’t believe you.
“Or they assume you’re joking. That you’ve made something up.
“For your identity to be denied to your face is potentially quite disturbing.”
Rowan Atkinson talking to me about his experiences on public transport.
“I can understand that rollercoaster people go on when they’ve lied.
“They start to cover up that lie and it just becomes a huge web of deceit they can’t get out of.
“I’ve seen people do that and seen it spiral out of control.”
Sarah Parish talking to me about new four-part ITV thriller Bancroft.
It begins at 9pm on Monday (Dec 11) and will be screened over four consecutive nights.
“I’D always resisted bringing Cold Feet back.
“I didn’t want to revisit something and go along that well-trodden path where things are resurrected and then don’t have the strength, innovation or the voice they had originally.
“But when I read the scripts I thought they were very good. We slotted back into it really well but there was no complacency.
“We did feel under pressure and so it was lovely that people took to it.”
James Nesbitt talking to me about last year’s return of Cold Feet.
Ahead of series seven which begins on ITV this Friday (Sept 8) at 9pm.
“I still pinch myself sometimes because what I get to do for my life, for my job, is such a privilege.
“And there are moments when you rise above yourself and look down and go, ‘I can’t believe I get to do this.’”
Stephen Moyer talking to me about his role as Tom Brook in Safe House.
A four-part second series of the ITV drama with a new cast, story and location.
“TRUMP has politicised a generation.
“People are very aware of that now.
“That actually they don’t trust necessarily the establishment to solve things for them or look to the establishment as heroes, as Brexit and as Trump has proved.
“So this idea of people that are quite ordinary and normal fighting for other ordinary and normal people on those lost causes, in some cases people who have been abandoned in prison for 10, 15, 20 years, I felt Patrick really had his finger on the pulse there.”
Helen McCrory talking to me about Fearless (ITV, 9pm Mon June 12), a topical new six-part drama created and written by Homeland and 24 writer Patrick Harbinson.
She plays solicitor Emma Banville in a compelling story about the abuse of justice and power.
With a strong supporting cast – including Sir Michael Gambon – in a series that takes us from Britain to America and back.