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TV & Film

First look at new BBC thriller starring Stephen Graham, Colin Farrell and Jack O’Connell

The North Water will air this Friday on BBC Two

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BBC

The BBC has released images of its new thriller series The North Water ahead of its release later this week.

The five-part series, based off the acclaimed novel by Ian McGuire, is set between 1850s Hull and the Arctic Circle and tells the tale of a whaling expedition and the rivalries between the crew that takes them on a dangerous mission.

The story is centred around disgraced ex-army surgeon Patrick Sumner, portrayed by Jack O’Connell, who signs up as a ship’s doctor on a whaling expedition to the Arctic. However, Sumner soon discovers that there is more to worry about than just the harsh elements of the icy journey. 

BBC / See-Saw Films

BBC / See-Saw Films

He is accompanied by a notoriously violent crew, including the brutal Drax, played by Colin Farrell, a harpooner who also happens to be a murderous psychopath.

Also onboard the ship is Captain Brownlee, played by Stephen Graham, a whaling man who knows how to captain a ship through the perilous Arctic waters.

Speaking of his latest character, Liverpool-born Graham said: “He’s a man of integrity. He’s a whaler by trade, it’s in his blood. The character we created was that his dad was a whaler so he was always going to be a whaler. He always wanted to captain a ship and he did, and his first ship set sail and sank, so after not doing it for a while he comes back to captain ‘The Voyager’.”

Graham admitted that he was drawn to the role after reading the ‘fantastic’ script, noting that his character is ‘great.’

BBC / See-Saw Films

BBC / See-Saw Films

He added: “I’d watched Andrew’s [Director Andrew Haigh] work and thought he was a wonderful director. Colin’s fantastic, he’s a wonderful actor. I’ve always admired and looked up to him.

“And Jack O’Connell, who I’ve known from when he first started on This is England. I’ve watched his career flourish, he’s a marvellous actor, so those two alone, and obviously Sam, who is a brilliant actor.”

Graham also revealed that the series was filmed on board a real ship in the Arctic, around twenty miles away from the North Pole, and that he and some crew members took part in a ‘polar plunge’, which involved them jumping into the icy cold waters. 

He said: “It is the most exhilarating thing I have ever done in my life…  A few wimped out but most of us did it, and believe it or not, there was a massive jacuzzi on the boat and it was boiling hot, so we ended up with almost third-degree burns after jumping in there and then going into a big hot jacuzzi, but it was great, a really lovely experience.”

The North Water airs this Friday, September 10th, at 9:30pm on BBC Two.

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TV & Film

Steve Coogan to play Jimmy Savile in new BBC drama

Coogan said the decision to portray Savile was not one he took lightly

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BBC

Actor and comedian Steve Coogan will be taking on the role of disgraced paedophile Jimmy Saville in a new BBC drama.

The Reckoning, which was announced in October last year, will recount the early years of Savile’s career as a DJ in the North of England and his rise to fame as a television host for the BBC, right up to his twilight years and his tactics to use fame and money to cover up his heinous crimes. 

It will also take a focus on the impact Saville had upon his victims, most of whom were just children at the time of the abuse.

TraumaAndDissociation / Flickr

Middleton-born Coogan, who is best known for his role as the comedic Alan Partridge, has since spoken out about the controversial casting, noting that he ‘didn’t take the decision lightly’.

He told BBC News: “To play Jimmy Savile was not a decision I took lightly. Neil McKay has written an intelligent script tackling sensitively an horrific story which – however harrowing – needs to be told.

The Reckoning is a unique opportunity to give Savile’s survivors, the people who inspired this project, a voice. I feel sure that Steve Coogan’s powerful performance as Savile will create a debate around how the cult of celebrity cloaked him from scrutiny.”

Executive producer Jeff Pope also stressed that the role is being approached with the ‘greatest care and integrity’, saying: The purpose of this drama is to explore how Savile’s offending went unchecked for so long, and in shining a light on this, to ensure such crimes never happen again. Steve Coogan has a unique ability to inhabit complex characters and will approach this role with the greatest care and integrity.”

Yet despite these claims of authenticity, the drama has still been met with a wave of criticism, with many branding the decision to make a drama on Savile as ‘disgusting’.

One Twitter user wrote: “Could go my whole life without seeing a drama series on this. Given the Savile victims were vulnerable children & I have no doubt this still affects them now also probably many who didn’t speak out, who needs to see this misery.”

Others have also accused the BBC of hypocrisy for commissioning the programme: Jim’ll Fix It was aired on the channel and a 2016 report into his abuse found that several senior members of staff at the BBC missed numerous opportunities to stop him.

A release date for The Reckoning has yet to be announced.

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TV & Film

Tiger King sequel confirmed by Netflix

Tiger King is back for more murder, mayhem and madness…

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Netflix

It’s official: Tiger King, the Netflix docuseries that captivated millions of viewers during the early days of the pandemic, is getting a sequel. 

The streaming service confirmed the exciting news today, revealing that Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin, the duo who directed the original Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, will be returning for the second instalment.

A synopsis for Tiger King 2 reads: “The global hit Tiger King, which attracted 64 million households in the first four weeks after its March 2020 premiere, will return to Netflix for more madness and mayhem.”

Further details surrounding the new docuseries, including the involvement of certain Tiger King favourites such as ‘that b***h Carole Baskin’ have remained tightly under wraps – though a single shot of protagonist Joe Exotic on the phone in prison was flashed in the trailer, leading many to believe Netflix may have secured never-before-seen footage of the eccentric former zoo owner.

And Tiger King 2 isn’t the only thing on Netflix’s extensive bill: in their announcement, they also unveiled a number of exciting projects set for release, including The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman – a three-part series launching in January 2022, telling the ‘jaw-dropping story of one of the world’s most audacious conmen who was convicted in 2005 for stealing fortunes and destroying multiple lives’.

Film The Tinder Swindler will be premiering in February 2022, while documentary film Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King and series Bad Vegan will also be released at some point next year.

Netflix

A release date hasn’t yet been announced for Tiger King 2, though it can be expected to premier at some point next year.

Joe Exotic, real name Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, shot to viral fame following the release of the original Tiger King in 2020, which followed his exploits and antics as the owner of Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma.

However, shortly after the documentary series aired, he was sentenced to serve twenty-two years in prison on charges of murder for hire and animal abuse. 

Exotic has continued to maintain his innocence and appealed to a higher court, even imploring to former President Donald Trump for a pardon.

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TV & Film

Waterloo Road is returning as a long-running series, BBC confirms

Waterloo Road is back!

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BBC

The hit noughties drama Waterloo Road is officially coming back as a long-running drama series, the BBC has confirmed today.

The series, which made its debut on BBC One in 2006, became a staple week night watch for millions of people across the UK, but sadly came to an end in 2015 when producers announced it had ‘reached the end of its lifecycle’.

But evidently, they’ve had a change of heart because it has been announced today that the show will be making its long awaited comeback. 

The official Waterloo Road Twitter page shared a cryptic post this morning, writing: “Psst. We’ve heard a rumour going around school” alongside a snap of a piece of paper with the words “Brand new Waterloo Road coming soon!”.

Piers Wenger, Director of BBC Drama, then confirmed the news, saying: “Waterloo Road is the perfect lens through which to explore post-Covid Britain, from the perspective of those who have arguably been affected most: young people in education.

“We are thrilled to be returning to this brilliant format – its thrills and spills, unmissable characters and high drama – at a time when audiences across Britain need it most – and to be collaborating with the brilliant Cameron Roach and Wall To Wall on its return.”

The BBC say that the revival of the series will be filmed here in Greater Manchester, and will boost drama production skills in the North of England and help to reshape the BBC’s drama slate to better reflect, represent and serve all parts of the country.

Further information about the series including casting and release dates are yet to be revealed.

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