Adrian Lester and John Simm to star in new three-part psychological thriller on ITV

ITV and Tall Story Pictures today announced casting for Trauma, an original drama written by multi award-winning playwright and dramatist, Mike Bartlett (Doctor Foster, The Town) and directed by Marc Evans (Hinterland. Safe House 1 & 2, Aberfan Young Wives’ Club). Adrian Lester (Hustle, Undercover, London Spy) will star as family man Jon Allerton, a well-educated, confident and high achieving trauma surgeon. John Simm (State of Play, Exile, Prey) stars as Dan Bowker, a factory manager struggling to cope as his life unravels around him.

John Simm and Adrian Lester will lead the cast of new drama entitled Trauma on ITV

The three-part psychological thriller centres on the lives of two fathers, Dan and Jon, whose lives collide when Dan’s 15 year-old son Alex is stabbed and tragically dies in the trauma department attended by high-achieving consultant Allerton.

Devastated, heartbroken and pushed to the edge, Dan believes Jon is responsible for Alex’s death. As he strives for justice, Dan begins to unpick the very fabric of Jon’s life as his own unravels in the wake of Alex’s killing.

Trauma is an intricate, fast-paced thriller that questions what makes a man good and explores what happens when the very institutions established to protect us and those who represent them, let us down.

Producer, Catherine Oldfield, who developed the show with Mike Bartlett, said, “We are delighted to have such a fantastic cast, led by John and Adrian, to bring this gripping modern British story to the screen for ITV. ”

Mike Bartlett added, “I wrote Trauma knowing we needed, and hoping we’d get, hugely talented actors for the roles. But this cast has exceeded expectations. I’m a huge fan of all of them individually and can’t wait to see them on screen together.”

The series begins filming in June 2017 in and around London.

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London Cast recording of The Wind in the Willows set for release

Producer Jamie Hendry and Sony Masterworks Broadway are pleased to announce the release of the original cast recording of new musical The Wind in the Willows with book by Julian Fellowes, music by George Stiles and lyrics by Anthony Drewe. The cast of the new West End musical, which begins previews on 16 June prior to an official opening on 29 June at the London Palladium, headed to the studio earlier this month to record the 20-track album.

The album is available for pre-order today here and will be released by Sony Masterworks Broadway mid-June (catalogue number: 88985447482).

With music and lyrics by Olivier Award-winners George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, the album features the original West End cast of The Wind in the Willows, accompanied by a fourteen-piece band. The album is produced by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe and co-produced by Simon Lee. Tris Penna is the executive producer.

The original London cast is led by actor, comedian and presenter Rufus Hound as the amazing ‘Mr Toad’ with West End stars Simon Lipkin as ‘Rat’ and Craig Mather as ‘Mole’; EastEnders actor Neil McDermott as ‘Chief Weasel’; Coronation Street and Boy Meets Girl star Denise Welch as ‘Mrs Otter’ and West End legend Gary Wilmot as ‘Badger.  Also included are Chris Aukett, Joel Baylis, Jenna Boyd, Abigail Brodie, Abigail Climer, Jorell Coiffic-Kamall, Nicole Deon, Emilie du Leslay, Joshua Gannon,James Gant, Evan James, Michael Larcombe, Bethany Linsdell, Ryan Pidgen, Adam Vaughan, Georgie Westall and Natalie Woods. The cast album also features Dylan Mason, Patrick Sullivan and Karli Vale who recently appeared in the show’s pre-London tour.

Based on Kenneth Grahame’s treasured novel which has captivated generations of readers for over a century, The Wind in the Willows has been adapted for the stage with a book by Academy Award-winning screenwriter and Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes.

Tickets are on-sale from £15, with reduced price preview performances. Kids go free on Monday to Friday performances – terms and conditions apply. No additional booking fees or charges are applied to tickets booked via www.WillowsMusical.com.

This riotous comedy follows the impulsive Mr Toad whose insatiable need for speed lands him in serious trouble. With his beloved home under threat from the notorious Chief Weasel and his gang of sinister Wild Wooders, Toad must attempt a daring escape leading to a series of misadventures and a heroic battle to recapture Toad Hall. Featuring eye-poppingly beautiful design, exuberant choreography and a gloriously British score, The Wind in the Willows brings an explosion of anarchy, humour and heart to the world-famous London Palladium.

Zoë Wanamaker, Miranda Richardson and Phyllis Logan lead all-star cast in Kay Mellor’s brand new ITV Drama ‘Girlfriends’

Brand new ITV drama Girlfriends – from the pen of BAFTA award-winning screenwriter Kay Mellor and starring Zoë Wanamaker (Mr Selfridge, Agatha Christie’s Poirot, My Family, Gormenghast, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone), Miranda Richardson (Mapp & Lucia, And Then There Were None, Churchill, iBoy) and Phyllis Logan (The Good Karma Hospital, Downton Abbey) – starts filming next month produced by Rollem Productions.
Girlfriends is a contemporary story of Linda, Sue and Gail as they struggle with the responsibilities that come with being a modern woman of a certain age.

After the dramatic and sudden death of Linda’s husband Micky, childhood friends Linda (Phyllis Logan), Sue (Miranda Richardson) and Gail (Zoë Wanamaker) find themselves back together again. Each has their own problems to face; from a looming divorce from the husband she still loves and the loss of a high-powered job through age discrimination, to juggling the endless responsibilities of their grandchildren and aging mothers.

As widowed Linda tries to come to terms with being on her own after over 30 years of marriage, she and her girlfriends are horrified to find that this could be the least of her worries. As questions over the circumstances of Micky’s death start to be asked, accusations reveal secrets, deception and doubts that tear at our Girlfriends’ friendship. Will it endure or will it be severely put to the test?

Girlfriends is a contemporary story about friends, family, responsibilities and the inevitable changes that age brings… But true friendship remains the same no matter how many years have passed.

Phyllis Logan says: “I’m thrilled to be part of Girlfriends, written by the wonderful Kay Mellor and to be working not only with her but the stellar cast that has been assembled. It’s a hugely exciting project and I feel enormously fortunate to be involved in it. I can’t wait to get started.”

Miranda Richardson comments: “A whole summer spent working on a women-driven script, written and directed by a woman who has proved herself many times over as a force of nature in TV drama alongside some of our most gifted female actors – what’s not to like?”

Zoë Wanamaker adds: “I’m looking forward to working on this exciting new series with such a stellar cast.  I have long been a fan of Kay’s work and am relishing the opportunity to work alongside Miranda and Phyllis.”

Kay Mellor says: “Girlfriends is my passion project, it’s a story that I’ve been longing to tell.  It’s wonderful to be returning to ITV and working with Polly Hill again – she’s an inspiration to me.

I’m so looking forward to working with such a talented cast.  It’s fantastic that we’ve got such high-calibre actors to play the three very different leading characters.

I’m aware that there are a lot of women of a certain age who feel like they are invisible and unheard, so I’m proud to have the chance to shine a light on their lives and give them a voice.  The series is not just a platform for their voices though – there is a big, bold, dark story at its heart, which is shot through with humour.  I’m hoping both men and women will love it as much as I’ve loved writing it.”

Polly Hill, Head of Drama for ITV adds: “This is a fabulous cast and testament to Kay’s wonderful scripts.  Kay celebrates women of a certain age and female friendship through this wonderful and compelling story. I am proud to have this on ITV and delighted to see Kay return to the channel in such a brilliant way.  I can’t wait to see Zoë, Miranda and Phyllis bring her characters to life, and look forward to sharing Girlfriends with our audience next year.”

Girlfriends is a 6 x 60 drama series and has been commissioned by Polly Hill, Head of Drama for ITV. The series will be directed by Kay Mellor (The Syndicate, In The Club) and produced by Josh Dynevor (Fat Friends Series 3, The New Worst Witch).  The executive producers are Kay Mellor for Rollem Productions and Polly Hill for ITV.  It is a Rollem production for ITV and the series will be distributed by All3media International.

David Swetman, VP Acquisitions at All3media says: “It is a real pleasure to be working with Kay Mellor and her talented team at Rollem – we’ve admired Kay’s work for many years and it has been a pleasure working with her on upcoming production, Love, Lies & Records.  We are delighted to announce that we have secured Acorn Media Enterprises again as the North American partner for this Rollem show (Acorn Media Enterprises is the UK-based development division for the Acorn brand of RLJ Entertainment, Inc.).”

KING KONG set to terrorise London this summer!

The Vaults beneath Waterloo station will be overrun this summer by an enormous ape when the South London venue hosts the World premiere of a monstrous new comedy based on King Kong. Daniel Clarkson, who is the Olivier Award-nominated co-creator of the global smash hit, Potted Potter, has adapted the classic ape story.

5 actors and no high-tech wizardry – but lots of laughs!

Ever since Fay Wray first charmed the great gorilla in the original 1933 film, King Kong has been a byword for epic cinema, challenging successive filmmakers to outdo the last with bigger and better special effects to impress and terrify audiences in equal measure.

Now a new comic theatrical staging of the story takes a very different approach, as you’d expect from writer Daniel Clarkson (co-creator of worldwide hit Potted Potter) and director Owen Lewis, who between them have three Olivier Award nominations.

With just 5 actors and no high-tech wizardry, Kong will come to new life for theatre audiences in the atmospheric surroundings of The Vaults tunnels underneath London’s Waterloo Station.

Follow our intrepid cast as they journey to uncharted waters in search of the Eighth Wonder of the World – a gorilla so enormous he instils fear in all who set eyes on him. As hunter becomes the hunted, our story takes us to the iconic skyline of New York City and one burning question must be answered: just how many bananas should we order in?

King Kong will terrorise The Vaults this summer from Thursday 22 June – Sunday 27 August.

Press are invited to attend any show from Friday 30 June with reviews embargoed to 10pm on Tuesday 4 July – Independence Day!

Cast to be announced.

Writer Daniel Clarkson said: “As a self​-​confessed cinephile I’m a huge fan of the original 1933 classic King Kong, and have wanted for some time to ​
reimagine it in all its glory as a spoof comedy for the stage. ​This has proved to be a fantastic challenge, perhaps even trickier than when I crammed all 7
Harry Potter books into 70 minutes for Potted Potter! That show has travelled the world including West End and New York runs, and I hope that we can have a similarly exciting future for this production after its humble beginnings this summer at The Vaults. We recently workshopped the script with the incredibly talented director Owen Lewis, and our brilliant cast​ – based on what we saw there,​I think that audiences are in for something really special when we unleash this beast in June!”

Brush shoulders with rock ‘n’ roll royalty at launch of new TV show: ‘Red Stripe presents: This Feeling TV’

Live music with new and established bands, exclusive interviews, tour bus gossip and rock ‘n’ roll antics are all lined up for a brand new online TV show: ‘Red Stripe presents: This Feeling TV’and there are 50 free tickets up for grabs for you to join a live audience for the filming of the first show, where you’ll get to brush shoulders with rock ‘n’ roll royalty as well as some new indie kids on the block.

 

The brand new music show for the digital age aims to give new bands a much-needed platform to perform and get the exposure they need to break into the industry. While in their heyday, music TV shows provided an important platform for new bands, more recently we’ve witnessed the likes of Top of the Pops, The Chart Show and T4, among many more, all disappear from our screens despite a huge need and want for them from bands and music fans alike. But this is all set to change.

Indie music purveyors This Feeling and Red Stripe have set about reversing this trend in 2017 by partnering to launch a new show for a new age.

‘Red Stripe presents: This Feeling TV’ will be hosted by Radio X presenter and music lover Gordon Smart, and will feature a number of celebrity guests on the sofa. The show has also already received backing from the likes of Gallagher and 2016 standout breakthrough act, Blossoms.

 

The first show will take place at famed music venue Nambucca on Thursday 27 th April. 50 tickets to be part of the audience are available on a first come first serve basis here:http://www.seetickets.com/event/red-stripe-presents-this-feeling-tv-live/nambucca/1098474

 

Bananarama join line-up for Tonight at The London Palladium

Bananarama join Tonight At The London Palladium in their first TV music performance in nearly 30 years

Iconic girlband Bananarama take to the stage to perform in their original line up for the first time in nearly 30 years on Tonight At The London Palladum, which will air on 10 th May on ITV. Founding members Keren Woodward, Sara Dallin and Siobhan Fahey will be performing their classic hit ‘Venus’ in front of a live audience at this legendary venue.

This episode of Tonight At The London Palladium, hosted by entertainer, actor and presenter Bradley Walsh will include music from one of the world’s biggest stars, Barry Manilow , who will be performing his classic hit ‘Copacabana’ as well as his brand new track ‘This Is My Town’, the mind-blowing skills of The Chinese State Circus, and comedy from Pippa Evans.

The 2,200 strong audience inside the Palladium will also be featured and there will be huge surprises, special moments and prizes to be won.

Arlene Phillips brings live confessional chat show to the Duchess Theatre

Legendary choreographer Arlene Phillips is inviting audiences to a special evening of intrigue as she tours the country with a brand new confessional chat show.

ARLENE! The Glitz. The Glamour. The Gossip opens this week in Edinburgh and will arrive in London in November.

Freddie Mercury. Whitney Houston. Elton John. Starlight Express. We Will Rock You. Annie. Hot Gossip… The list goes on… and on… and on…

Arlene Phillips has been an inimitable choreographer and director for over four decades. Since creating the provocative dance group Hot Gossip in the 1970’s, Arlene has been a household name.

Whether you know Arlene from Hot Gossip or as the toughest judge on Strictly Come Dancing, prepare to be surprised and entertained by the stories behind the multi-award winning musicals, the music videos, the TV shows, the films and many more dance extravaganzas.

Arlene Phillips is a showbiz legend honoured as a CBE for her services to dance; she has worked with stars from film and TV, to theatre and arenas, as well as becoming one of Britain’s favourite television judges.

Arlene gossips with Jacquie Storey about a lifetime in dance and reveals the truth behind the Glitz, the Glamour and the Gossip.

Jacquie Storey, started dancing in her home town of Brighton before training at the Arts Educational School in London with Dame Ninette de Valois, Arlene Phillips, Ivor Megido and many others, who influenced her greatly.

ARLENE! The Glitz. The Glamour. The Gossip will be at the Duchess Theatre on 20 November 

Jodie Prenger takes our Sugar Rush Quiz

Jodie Prenger became the British public’s sweetheart after winning the role of Nancy in the West End revival of Oliver!, a role which would earn her the 2010 WhatsOnStage award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical.

After wowing audiences in the production and earning critical acclaim, Jodie went on to become one of the biggest names in musical theatre, playing some truly iconic leading roles including the title character in Calamity Jane, The Lady of the Lake in Spamalot and more recently achieved huge success in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tell Me on a Sunday.

But it’s not just in the theatre where the talented performer plies her trade and Jodie is a regular on our screens, taking roles in shows like Waterloo Road, Hustle, Candy Cabs and Wizards vs Aliens, as well as many notable television and radio presenting slots.

Jodie is currently appearing in Shirley Valentine, a comedy play by Willy Russell, which involves the actress taking the stage alone and engaging the audience for the entire performance with nothing but her well honed charm and charisma.

1. What are you currently working on?

Shirley Valentine is taking a few detours from Greece. I have the joy of playing the role in the current 30th anniversary tour around the UK. http://www.shirley-valentine.com/

2. What is the one thing that has helped you to become successful?

Honest….a radio. Yep, I said radio. Because on that radio they advertised the auditions for the BBC Nancy show. And with that came the leap of faith. I had genuinely given up trying to get into the west end. So it goes to show, to all out there. Never stop trying and always take that leap of faith…you just never know.

3. What is your favourite Book?

Nicolas Sparks wrote a book called the Notebook. Which launched into the public eye after the release of the film. I have everything crossed that one day it will be turned into a musical. Whilst I’m still waiting, I strongly suggest you grab a copy and have a read. It’s the simple message that strikes a chord your heart.

4. What are you currently watching on TV?

Touring life can be rather relentless. So sadly I don’t get chance to watch hardly any TV. What I did manage to catch up on was Jamie Johnson on CBBC. I just finished filming with these talented kids. We had such a laugh. A talented bunch indeed. Apart from that, the trapped inner Disney Princess inside of me rushed to watch Beauty and the Beast…loved it.

5. Would you choose the cinema, theatre or a restaurant for a night out?

” the only thing I cannot resist is temptation” said a glorious fella named Oscar Wilde. And I agree.. I wouldn’t mind having a go of fitting in all three. But, if I had to choose, a night at the theatre coupled with a delicious dinner would be my idea of a enjoyable evening.

6. What’s your favourite sweet?

Put down your jelly babies, put down your strawberry shoe strings… I’m a chocolate fiend. Good quality dark chocolate. You can’t beat it.

7. What did you want to be when you were a child?

I had hopes pinned on being a vet. Then I realised part of the job entailed you having to put animals down. Couldn’t do that. Then along came my love of the arts.

8. What was the naughtiest thing you did when you were a child?

There is a list… a long list. Being the joker of the class will always come with consequences.

9. What is your proudest achievement to date?

Never did I think that eight years ago I’d be stepping out onto a west end stage to play the role of Nancy. And today, never did I think I’d take to the stage to star in the role of Shirley Valentine in Willy Russell’s one woman play. Every show is an achievement. Not only to those who perform on the stage. But to everyone who works so hard to make it happen.

10. What’s next?

Fat Friends the Musical https://leedsgrandtheatre.com/Online/FatFriends

It’s a new glorious musical, based on Kay Mellor’s hit series. Both Kay and Nick Webber have teamed. And what a pairing! It’s a feel good and funny musical. So it will be exciting being part of this new musical. It’s going to premier at the Leeds Grand Theatre where Kay is from. Then to tour the UK.

I have a quick break at Christmas which I’ll be nipping to Liverpool to play Fairy Godmother in the Qdos http://www.pantomime.com/venues/liverpool

Then I’ll be rejoining the tour of Fat Friends.

And running currently is the second series of Jamie Johnson CBBC.

Freddie Flintoff to host ITV’s brand new gameshow Cannonball

Legendary cricketer and broadcaster, Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff is to host ITV’s brand new adrenaline fuelled gameshow Cannonball.

Produced by Potato, the international hit format from Talpa is a high-octane series, in which contestants face a host of incredible inflatable obstacles and water-based challenges.

Joining Freddie as the pool side commentators are singer Frankie Bridge, presenters Radzi Chinyanganya and Maya Jama and comedian Ryan Hand who will be reporting on all the action as the contestants fly, fall or flop into the water.

On each show, contestants of all ages will face supersized games in a custom-built water park that will test how high, how far and how fast they can fly through the air before they crash, splash, bang and wallop into the water on this adrenalin-fuelled fun-packed gameshow. The final will see contestants on a giant swing, launching themselves ‘cannonball-style’ at a huge moving target covering the surface of a gigantic deep-water tank as they attempt to become the winner of the coveted Cannonball Cup.

Each week 24 contestants will be split into groups of seven and attempt all four water based challenges that will test their speed, accuracy, height and distance. The challengers will rotate around each obstacle as they battle to be the top of their group. The four fastest from each group, will then go head to head in the final.

Filming for the series will take place in Valetta, Malta, and is due to commence in late April.

Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff said: “What’s not to love about this show: Gallons of water and giant great inflatable slides are the perfect recipe for some spectacular comedy moments but also throw into the mix some truly incredible feats from the contestants. I can’t wait to get started!”

Michael Kelpie, Managing Director of Potato, said: “Everybody loves a great waterpark when they’re on holiday and Cannonball is the gameshow version of the best waterpark in the world. At Potato, we love to make shows that we want to watch on telly. With Cannonball, we all want to have a go as well!”

Maarten Meijs, Managing Director of Talpa, said: “We’re thrilled that our exciting water battle has found a home at ITV together with Potato. The fun, summer vibe of the show has already made the format a great success in Australia and The Netherlands, and we’re looking forward to announcing more territories where Cannonball will make a splash soon.”

Cannonball, which will air on ITV later this year, was commissioned by ITV’s Head of Comedy Entertainment Peter Davey & Commissioning Editor Asif Zubairy. Executive Producers for Potato are Martin Scott and Michael Kelpie, while Eve Winstanley is Series Editor. The 10-episode series includes a Christmas special and a ‘Splash Hits’ highlights show.

Harry Hill’s Alien Fun Capsule to return for second series

Harry Hill’s Alien Fun Capsule has been recommissioned by ITV for a second series to air on the channel next year.

The current series finishes tonight and has been generating weekly average audiences of over 4 million viewers*.

The comedy panel show has seen Harry Hill preside over two teams tasked with saving planet earth from alien invasion!

Guests in the first series have included Kathy Burke, Joe Lycett, Lorraine Kelly, Josh Widdicombe, Nish Kumar, Des O’Connor and Rayleigh Ritchie. Highlights have been Des O’Connor playing ‘chipolata or sausage’, local news round up, the Coventry Market sing-a-long and of course the occasional appearance of Alan the Alien.

Harry Hill’s Alien Fun Capsule was commissioned by Comedy Commissioning Editor Saskia Schuster and Head of Comedy Entertainment Peter Davey. Produced by Nit Television, the joint venture between Harry Hill and CPL Productions, with Mob Dar, Murray Boland, Danielle Lux and Harry Hill, executive producing.

Harry Hill said “I’m thrilled to hear it’s coming back! It was a lot of fun to make and judging by the fact that no aliens have invaded this year, it’s clearly working.”

Saskia Schuster, ITV’s Comedy Commissioner added “We’re really looking forward to finding out what Harry has in store in the next series to save earth from an alien invasion.  It can only get sillier.”

Mob Dar, Executive Producer said “Harry and the team are over the moon ITV want more Alien Fun Capsule. We’ve checked his availability, and crucially, it’s a thumbs up from Alan the Alien, too!”.