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TV & Film

First Dates next series will be filmed at a Manchester restaurant

Some exciting news for our city!

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Channel 4

Popular Channel 4 show First Dates has revealed it will be filming its next series up here at a restaurant in Manchester.

The dating show is usually shot at the Paternoster Chop House in London, but will be moving Up North for its next outing.

That means maître d’ Fred Sirieix and his much-loved team will be in our city for series 16 – it’s not the first time Fred has filmed in Manchester, as he shot the last two series of BBC Two show My Million Pound Menu up here.

Channel 4

The Paternoster Chop House is owned by restaurant group D&D, and while they also own 20 Stories in Spinningfields and considered it as a location for the series, apparently there’s not enough room in the back for the show’s production team.

According to the MEN, producers are thought to have checked out potential sites in St Peter’s Square and the Corn Exchange too.

Leanne Klein, managing director of the production company Twenty Twenty, said: “We are very excited to be taking our flagship dating series to the regions. With the move of the First Dates restaurant we will have the chance to expose our daters to a brand new experience with a few exciting new tweaks to the much loved format.”

Channel 4

While First Dates is returning to our screens in the next few months with some episodes filmed in London, filming will soon begin on the new Mancunian series.

There will be thirty of the newly-commissioned episodes, and they’ll all be filmed at the new Manchester location.

Know anyone looking for love who’d want to get involved in this, then?

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TV & Film

Squid Game season two is officially happening, Netflix confirms

The South Korean series is the most-watched in Netflix’s history

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Netflix

It’s been given the ‘green light’: Squid Game will officially be returning for a second season.

Netflix’s co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos confirmed the news during Netflix’s fourth quarter 2021 earnings interview, where he said there ‘absolutely’ will be a second season of the violent South Korean survival drama.

Sarandos said, as per Variety: “Absolutely… The Squid Game universe has just begun.”

Squid Game’s creator and director Hwang Dong-hyu has also hinted at the possibility of continuing the series, with him telling the Associated Press last year that the huge success of the first season had left him ‘no choice’ but to continue.

Dong-hyu explained: “There’s been so much pressure, so much demand, and so much love for a second season. So I almost feel like you leave us no choice.

“But, I will say there will indeed be a second season. It’s in my head right now. I’m in the planning process currently. But I do think it’s too early to say when and how that’s going to happen.”

The series, which focuses on a sinister ‘game’ played by people riddled with debt, is now the most watched in Netflix’s history, with the streaming service confirming in October that over 142 million accounts all over the world had tuned in to watch. 

Manchester was one of the many cities to descend into Squid Game mayhem following its release, with a cafe in the Corn Exchange even baking its own dalgona cookies for people to try their hand at one of the deadly games featured in the third episode of the series. 

Netflix

In the episode, contestants were tasked with cutting shapes out of dalgona candy, a South Korean biscuit made from honeycomb.

If they failed to cut out their shape – either a star, a circle, a triangle or an umbrella – within the nail-biting time limit, however, they got ‘eliminated’… Or shot dead by the prowling, red suit-clad guards, for those who still haven’t got round to watching the series.

The Trafford Centre even welcomed the giant animatronic doll from the ‘Red Light Green Light’ game in the first episode, enabling shoppers to take selfies and receive Squid Game memorabilia from the red suit-clad guards. 

People flocked to see the doll throughout the day, though many were quick to criticise its presence, pointing out that a killer doll isn’t exactly ‘family friendly’.  

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TV & Film

Filming for Happy Valley season three has begun with Sarah Lancashire spotted on set

Sergant Cawood is back!

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@wwwSMARTFotos / Twitter

Sarah Lancashire has reprised her role of Sergeant Catherine Cawood as filming for the third and final season of Happy Valley begins.

It was announced back in October that the smash hit crime drama, created by Sally Wainwright, would be returning for its final season in 2022 following its explosive season two finale in 2016.

The BBC confirmed that Sarah Lancashire would be returning for her lead role of no-nonsense Sergeant Cawood, as will Siobhan Finneran in the role of Catherine’s sister Clare and James Norton as the murderer and sex offender responsible for Catherine’s daughter’s suicide, Tommy Lee Royce.

And this week, three months on from the announcement, Boothtown in Halifax has been taken over by crews as filming for the third season officially gets under way.

Images shared on social media at the start of the week show the film crews gathering around the familiar police vans, with many of the cast members dressed in the iconic florescent yellow police jackets. 

And, despite the dark undertone of the series, Sarah Lancashire was seen to be in great spirits as she was photographed laughing and sipping on coffee with her colleagues while donning Sergant Cawood’s uniform.

According to the BBC, the final season will follow Catherine as she investigates a gangland murder that leads her right back to Tommy Lee Royce, and her struggle to end the constant drug supply in the valley.

An official synopsis for the third season of Happy Valley reads: “When Catherine discovers the remains of a gangland murder victim in a drained reservoir it sparks a chain of events that unwittingly leads her straight back to Tommy Lee Royce.

“Her grandson Ryan is now sixteen and still living with Catherine, but he has ideas of his own about what kind of relationship he wants to have with the man Catherine refuses to acknowledge as his father.

“Still battling the seemingly never-ending problem of drugs in the valley and those who supply them, Catherine is on the cusp of retirement.”

A release date for the third and final season of Happy Valley is yet to be announced. Seasons 1 and 2 are available to watch on both Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

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TV & Film

Happy Mondays’ Bez made Dancing on Ice debut wearing melon helmet and fans were loving it

The maraca shaker gave it his all on the ice

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ITV

Happy Mondays star Bez blew viewers away last night with his melon crash helmet-clad debut performance on ITV’s Dancing on Ice.

It was the first time in the show’s history that a contestant has been forced to take to the ice wearing a crash helmet, following a nasty fall during rehearsals.

But regardless of the helmet, the fifty-seven-year-old ‘freaky dancer’ put his all into the performance, which began with him being lowered down onto the ice aloft a giant pair of maracas in ode to his Happy Mondays days.

Bez and his professional partner Angela Egan – who was seen practically holding him up through some parts of the performance – were then surrounded by giant watermelons as they skated along to the band’s ‘Step On’, all of which contrasted perfectly with his melon pattered crash helmet.

And, much to the delight of viewers at home, bandmate Shaun Ryder was spotted cheering his  friend on in the audience like a proud dad, while also singing along to his own song. 

Despite the support from the audience and TV viewers, however, Bez received a below-average score of 12.5 out of 40 from the four judges – Jayne Torvill, Christopher Dean, Oti Mabuse and Ashley Banjo. 

But this didn’t deter the maraca-shaker’s spirits, who admitted to hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield in his post-performance interview that he thought it would be ‘much lower than that’. 

He explained: “I’ve been doing some spectacular falls, crashing into the ice. But I wear a helmet so nothing too serious… I’ve actually got a little bit better this week. I only fell over once yesterday, so I am improving.”

And while his skating skills were nothing to write home about, viewers at home were quick to take to social media to applaud his performance, noting it as ‘TV gold’. 

One Twitter user wrote, “Bez is a legend! That was brilliant entertainment. What Dancing on Ice is all about!” while another noted, “Give Bez the trophy now, best thing I’ve ever seen on Dancing on ice! Didn’t stop laughing.”

A third wrote simply, “Oh my god, Bez you absolute LEGEND.”

Dancing On Ice will be airing weekly every Sunday evening for ten weeks at 6.30pm on ITV.

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