TV & Film
New film about Pendle Witch Trials being made by Greater Manchester woman
‘She was forced into this horrible situation.’
A woman from Greater Manchester is making a short film about the infamous Pendle Witch Trials with filming now underway.
Emma Swinton, 37, from Barrowford in Bolton will make the film, based on the true event which took place in 1612. Eleven people went to trial — nine women and two men — and ten were found guilty of witchcraft and executed by hanging – one was found not guilty.
Emma’s short film will take a closer look at the life of nine-year-old Jennet Device, who was a key witness in the trials and many historians argue her testimony led to the death of her family members and neighbours.
Emma’s film, which is currently untitled, will offer the audience a more sympathetic look at Jennet’s life.
Speaking to The Bolton News about her film, Emma said: “The film will be centered around the story of the Pendle witch trials but not as everyone knows it. The story of Jennet Device really interested me. I feel like she was misunderstood.
“She was a child, didn’t have any legal help, and was taken away from her family. I can’t believe any child would stand up in court and make claims that would get their family members killed.
“She was forced into this horrible situation.”
The film will be told through the eyes of a fictional staff member and Emma hopes it will portray the ‘sense of the injustice and coercion’ that could have been happening in English courts at the time.
She continued: “Through the film I want to explore the fear women may have felt at that time, wondering if they would be next to be accused. I want to give people a different perspective on the story. We have the facts but where is the human side of this historical story?”
Emma added: “Ever since I was a teenager and dreamed of being a film maker, this is the film I wanted to make. It’s been a long time in the making and I’ve done years of research.
“I am more excited than stressed. I feel really organised. It’s a lot of work but I am feeling really together. Everyone is so lovely and enthusiastic and understands the reason why we are making the film.”
It is not yet known when the movie will air but camera crews are set to descend on various filming locations, including Pendle itself and across the border in Yorkshire, starting this week.
On August 20th 1612, the 10 condemned prisoners, including all of Jennet’s family and some of her neighbours, were taken to the moors above the town —still known as Gallows Hill — and hanged.
Alizon Device, Elizabeth Device, James Device, Anne Whittle, Anne Redfearn, Jane Bulcock, John Bulcock, Alice Nutter and Katherine Hewitt were all killed that day, after being found guilty of murder by witchcraft.
TV & Film
Davina McCall announced as host of ‘middle-aged Love Island’
Davina McCall has been announced as the host of new ITV reality dating show The Romance Retreat, which will see a group of single parents brought together in a villa in what is being dubbed the ‘middle-aged Love Island’.
The former Big Brother presenter and The Masked Singer judge, 55, confirmed the news in a post on her Instagram with a video of her showing her sheer excitement for the new show.
In the clip, posted today (Thursday March 16th), she said: “I manifested and I made it happen. I willed there to be an amazing new dating programme for grown-ups, people who have lived a life, who have been through experiences, bad, moving, they’ve had tough lives.
“They’ve got luggage but they deserve love and it’s happening. It’s coming to ITV soon.”
The Instagram caption read: “Omg.. I manifested and it came true!! I’ll be hosting a brand NEW grown up dating series for ITV1 !!
“This is a show for single parents who have lived a life, have stories to tell about their dating pasts and deserve another chance at love and I’m gonna help you. It will all take place in the most romantic countryside location!”
Fans of the familiar media personality congratulated Davina on the new role with one saying: “Oh my god, you really are a power house. I was listening to you talking to Steven Bartlett about this thinking what a good idea. You’re such an inspiration. Go get ’em Davina !!”
Another put: “YESSSSSS! You told me about this and it is SUCH a great idea forwarding to amazing, beautiful single friends now xxxx.”
And many more also wished her a huge congratulations. Davina encouraged anyone who wants to find love, and who has a child over the age of 18, to apply before adding: “It’s going to be amazing.”
TV & Film
The Luther feature film is being released on Netflix this week
After four long years, DCI Luther will be returning to TV screens with a Netflix feature film.
When we last saw the troubled detective DCI Luther, he was arrested and sent to prison after five seasons of skirting the law. Diehard fans will be more than pleased to hear their favourite anti-hero is back after a four-year hiatus — he’s not done yet!
Luther is returning with one big massive serving in the form of a feature length film rather than a series — co-produced by Netflix and the BBC. Though idea of a movie had been circulating since about 2013, it was shelved until the last series finished up in 2019 and was later corroborated by Netflix in 2021.
Only a handful of actors have been confirmed to star in the new Luther: The Fallen Sun and of course, Idris Elba will be back in his tweed overcoat to play the role of DCI Luther. Alongside him will be Dermot Crowley as DSU Schenk as well as two more confirmed actors. Cynthia Erivo from Bad Times at the El Royale and Andy Serkis.
Unfortunately, there’s been no giveaway as to whether Ruth Wilson will return as criminal psychopath Alice — we can only hope and watch to find out later this week! The new movie, directed by Jamie Payne and written by Neil Cross, builds on and reimagines the award winning series, throwing Luther and his colleagues into an even bigger, bolder game of cat and mouse.
In 2021, speaking to musician MistaJam, Elba —who’s also a DJ — said: “I’m super excited and I hope the fans are sort of excited for that. It’s been a long time coming for a movie, so I’m excited about that. We’ve been making the show for 10 years, so we’re making a film.”
The plot kicks off with Luther behind bars after crossing a line in his pursuit of justice. Elba said: “He’s done so much to bend the law in order to catch the bad guys that he’s ended up in jail. That’s where we start the story.
“This old case that didn’t really ever get solved creeps up back into his life. And John can’t help but find a way to get involved. This bad guy is out there and he has to go out and get him.”
Payne, who also directed the series’ fifth season, added that the movie introduces a new take on the beloved character, dropping him into a situation he’s never been in before. “Luther’s an unstoppable force,” he said.
“But up to this point, he’s had to tread around the law of the police, because that was his job.
“Now, he’s a fugitive. This is Luther untethered. This man is so forward in his thinking and is in action. He’s like a wrecking ball, but the smartest wrecking ball you’ve ever met in your life.”
Luther: The Fallen Sun will be released on Netflix on Friday March 10th, after appearing in cinemas from February 24th.
TV & Film
Sir David Attenborough returning to TV screens this weekend with brand new series
Sir David Attenborough will be back on our screens this week with his new series Wild Isles, likely to be his last on location.
In his new five-part series, the 96-year-old — who usually travels around the globe to capture nature at its most spectacular — will explore the natural history in Britain and Ireland for the first time in his long career. For the first time he will focus on the natural history closer to home as he says the British Isles can be just as ‘dramatic and spectacular’ as anything elsewhere.
The TV legend says there’s never been a more important time to invest in nature in our own backyard as his new show will shine a light on the disappearing species and the challenges facing local wildlife.
Nearly half of British wildlife species have declined since 1970. While filming on location at a puffin colony on Skomer Island off the west coast of Wales, he says: “Though rich in places Britain as a whole is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world.
“Never has there been a more important time to invest in our own wildlife – to try and set an example for the rest of the world and restore our once wild isles for future generations.”
The nature enthusiast said one of his regrets is spending so much time overseas working on natural history programmes, rather than looking at nature right on his own doorstep.
The show’s producers said Sir Attenborough had agreed to narrate the new series from the start but later agreed to presenting it after he was approached to do so because he can share his rare perspective on the changes to the British countryside after almost a century of life.
Wild Isles producer Alistair Fothergill, who has worked with David Attenborough for 35 years, wanted to call attention to internationally important wildlife and habitats on our own islands, from seabirds to chalk streams. Speaking to the BBC he said: “We are globally important for nature – and I don’t think many people in Britain appreciate that. It was very important to us to say, this is really precious, but at the same time it’s fragile.”
Crews went out to capture wildlife around Britain and Ireland using modern technology including drones and slow-motion cameras. After visiting 145 locations over three years to produce the footage, crews managed to capture moments of high drama including Orcas hunting seals off the coast of Scotland and a white-tailed eagle pulling a goose from the sky — in never before seen behaviour in the British Isles.
Scientific advisor on the series, Dr Philip Wheeler of the Open University, said he hoped the programmes would generate public awareness of nature loss close to home. Wild Isles is released shortly after nearly 200 countries pledged to protect 30% of lands and seas for nature by 2030 at the UN nature summit in Montreal.
Speaking to BBC News Dr Wheeler said: “I think it can make a lot of difference in terms of shifting the conversation and the narrative. It’s not just the nature nerds and the conservation community talking — this conversation spills out into the wider public and into the political arena as well.”
The series was co-produced and co-funded by two conservation charities, WWF and RSPB, and the Open University. Wild Isles will air on BBC One on Sunday March 12th.