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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

First look at new Channel 4 prison drama written by Killing Eve creator

The series will be based upon Williams’ real-life experience from working in prisons

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Channel 4

Channel 4 has given viewers the first glimpse at their upcoming new prison drama Screw, written by BAFTA nominated writer Rob Williams, one of the masterminds behind Killing Eve.

The new series will throw viewers into grisly mens prison Long Marsh, a place tinged with humour, emotional high stakes and an overwhelming danger for prisoners and officers alike.

Nina Sosanya will take on the role of Leigh, the head of the group of Long Marshes prison officers, who having devoted most of her adult life to the prison appears to have her fair share of dark secrets.

Derry Girls star Jamie-Lee O’Donnell will also play an integral part in the show as street-wise copper Rose.

Making up the team of ‘screws’, there will also be Line of Duty’s Faraz Ayub as Ali, I May Destroy You’s Stephen Wright as Gary, Game of Thrones’ Ron Donachie as Don and King Gary’s Laura Checkley as Jackie.

The series, which is said to have been inspired by writer Rob Williams’ real-life experience from working in prisons, will offer an insight into incarceration rarely seen before on British TV, according to producers.

The series is also said to tackle contemporary stories ‘head-on with through a vibrant and multi layered cast of characters’.

Williams said on his new project: “Screw is a real passion for me; I’ve wanted to write about prisons ever since teaching in that environment in a former life.

“I’ve maintained close links since then and the idea has grown.  After the experience of working with Sarah Brown and her team at STV Studios on The Victim, I wouldn’t want to pursue a project that means so much to me with anybody else.

“I feel very lucky to be working with Channel 4 on the show and I can’t wait to introduce the world of Screw to as wide an audience as possible.”

Screw will air on Channel 4 and E4 in early 2022.

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TV & Film

Corrie teams up with Eastenders and Emmerdale for first ever soap crossover

For the first time ever, characters from Corrie, Emmerdale and Eastenders will be on the same screen…

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ITV & BBC

British soaps will be teaming up in a series of crossover episodes for the first time ever, it has been announced today.

Coronation Street, Emmerdale, EastEnders, Doctors, Holby City and Casualty will all be joining forces in a new week-long storyline that aims to tackle climate change.

The news, that is bound to ruffle the feathers of many die-hard soap fans, was revealed today by TV journalist Sharon Marshall, who appeared on ITV’s This Morning to discuss what the new episodes may look like.

ITV

Talking to hosts Phil and Holly, Sharon explained that the soaps will be coming together to all tell the same story at the same time about climate change. Each soap will film a scene with a climate change reference and then nod to the other, and characters will start to pop up from one soap in another on screen.

For example; a social media video featuring two of Emmerdale’s residents will be shown to Coronation Street characters.Casualty will also be discussed in The Woolpack, and a social media clip from Weatherfield will be chatted about Eastender’s The Queen Vic.

Jane Hudson on behalf of Emmerdale and ITV Studios, said: “Never before have all five soaps and both continuing dramas come together and united in telling one story. And we certainly haven’t seen characters pop up in other shows before.

“This is a real treat for our audience, whilst also allowing us to get across a very important message.”

BBC

Similarly, the head of continuing drama at BBC Studios Kate Oates added: “I’m thrilled that our soaps and serial dramas have all come together to help highlight the issue of climate change amongst our millions of viewers.

“We’re grateful to the teams that made this happen, and hugely look forward to seeing the talent from our own shows popping up in other iconic programmes.”

The new crossover storyline will begin on Monday November 1st.

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TV & Film

Peaky Blinders creator confirms season 6 will be released early next year

The sixth and final season will be returning to our screens very soon…

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Netflix

The creators of Netflix smash hit Peaky Blinders has revealed when we can expect to see the sixth and final season back on our screens.

During a panel at the BFI London Film Festival, Steven Knight said he is hoping for a Spring-time release, which will be sometime between March and May next year.

Knight also teased some further information about the highly-anticipated Peaky Blinders film, saying as per Variety: “And then I am going to write the feature which will be set in and shot in Birmingham… And that will probably be the sort of the end of the road for Peaky Blinders as we know it.”

Netflix

Knight explained that the upcoming film and TV studio and academy in Birmingham he is backing will feature an initiative called ‘Second Unit’ which enables students to get practical and paid experience on productions.

He said: “For too long productions have taken very enthusiastic, very talented young people, and paid them nothing and had them making coffee and running around and doing nothing. It’s a real shame.”

The writer also said that there could be ‘shows related’ to the Peaky Blinders universe, preferring not to use the term spin-offs, something he ‘is not fond of’.

Knight added that production for the movie adaptation of the series is expected to begin in 2023, meaning we can expect a release date the following year.

Netflix

A couple of months ago, the series’ director Anthony Byrne announced that the sixth season was a wrap, sharing a picture from the set on Instagram stating that the cast and crew are ‘Done & Done & Done.’

Throughout the production of the final season, film crews were seen transforming Manchester’s Castlefield into a post-World War One era Birmingham, with several members of the cast – Cillian Murphy included – been seen around the city.

Several wooden scaffolds, market-style props, trader signs, sacks, barrels and more were seen dotted around the area, with the Shelby’s famous ‘The Garrison’ pub being the most notable sight to viewers.

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