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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.

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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TV & Film

Love Island is looking for single people from Manchester to star in new series

A former Love Island contestant has given some advice on how to get onto the show…

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ITV

Calling all Mancunian singletons: Love Island is on the hunt for people willing to appear on TV in their swimwear all in the name of love.

The ITV reality show is casting for its upcoming 2022 season and applications are open right now. But don’t think you’ll just sail into the villa, because there are a number of requirements and rules you need to be aware of first.

Firstly, candidates must be at least eighteen years old at the date of their application, and those applying can’t be employed by ITV or another company connected to the programme.

People wishing to sun it up in the villa all summer must also be exclusively available for a minimum of ten consecutive weeks… Obviously.

ITV

And if you’re still feeling a bit lost with the application process, fear not! Because former Love Island contestant Liberty Poole has recently given some advice to those thinking of applying for the 2022 series.

After getting messages from her Instagram followers, Liberty decided to answer some questions about applying, with her main bit of advice being for people to ‘be themselves’ and to not take the process ‘too seriously’.

In a video on Instagram, she said: “I think just be yourself. I’m an absolute nutter and they liked it.

“I was like ‘glamour queen by night, marketing student by day’ – and I switched outfits. I was just myself. I think the key thing is to be yourself and just have fun with it.”

ITV

She also gave an insight into the interview process, revealing that in her first fifteen-minute audition she was asked if she had a party trick, to which she responded by enlarging her nostrils – Liberty believes this is what got her a second interview.

She wrote on her video: “The fact that my nostrils are like black holes in space helped my cause.”

So, if you think your nostrils are bigger than Liberty’s, or you just fancy soaking up some sun and finding love this summer, you can apply to appear on the show here.

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TV & Film

Fans praise Stephen Graham for ‘incredible’ performance in new one-take film Boiling Point

The whole film was shot in just one continuous take

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Vertigo Releasing

Stephen Graham has been applauded for his ‘incredible’ performance as head chef in new film Boiling Point.

The ninety-six minute long film, which was shot in one continuous take, sees theThis Is England star take on the role as head chef Andy Jones, who is struggling to cope with the pressure during a shift on the last Friday before Christmas, hospitality’s busiest night of the year.

The character is already battling mounting debts, addiction and a crumbling personal life when health and safety services show up for a surprise inspection, ultimately tipping him over the edge.

An official synopsis reads: “On the busiest night of the year at one of the hottest restaurants in London, charismatic and commanding head chef Andy Jones balances along a knife’s edge as multiple personal and professional crises threaten to destroy everything he’s worked for.

“A surprise visit from a health and safety inspector sets the staff on edge as the overbooked hot spot fills with guests. Jones tries his best to diffuse tensions between management and crew while catering to the ridiculous demands of customers.”

The film, written and directed by Phillip Barantini and James Cummings, was shot just days before the first national lockdown in 2020, with Graham’s co-star Ray Panthaki explaining that filming it in just one take added an extra level of pressure to the overall film.

He said: “Stephen takes the whole weight of the movie on his shoulders. And he was completely on it the whole way through… He’s got this amazing awareness of everything that was going on.”

And now, just days after Boiling Point was released across all UK cinemas, fans have been taking to social media to praise Graham’s performance, with many hailing him as ‘incredible’. 

One person wrote: “Went to see Stephen Graham’s new film “Boiling Point” last night. An extraordinary piece of film and one of the best British Films I’ve seen in years. Some actor.”

Another commented: “Boiling Point is an incredible piece of cinema and Stephen Graham has just reaffirmed why he’s the best actor in the country.”

Boiling Point is available to watch now in cinemas and on digital platforms such as Amazon Prime, Apple TV and Sky Cinema.

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