News

A world where the Beatles never existed inspires new Danny Boyle film

Plot of director’s movie has been compared to 90s BBC sitcom Goodnight Sweetheart

Imagine a world without the music of John Lennon or Paul McCartney. Imagine, in other words, a world without Imagine, not to mention She Loves You and Yesterday. Danny Boyle’s new film has just such a premise – and if the idea sounds familiar, it is not surprising. Back in the 90s the television sitcom Goodnight Sweetheart, starring Nicholas Lyndhurst, used a similar plot device.

“I have noticed the similarity, of course,” said Maurice Gran, who wrote the much-loved show with Laurence Marks. “I am being terribly generous about it of course, but Laurence is already contacting hitmen.”
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

A world where the Beatles never existed inspires new Danny Boyle film

Plot of director’s movie has been compared to 90s BBC sitcom Goodnight Sweetheart

Imagine a world without the music of John Lennon or Paul McCartney. Imagine, in other words, a world without Imagine, not to mention She Loves You and Yesterday. Danny Boyle’s new film has just such a premise – and if the idea sounds familiar, it is not surprising. Back in the 90s the television sitcom Goodnight Sweetheart, starring Nicholas Lyndhurst, used a similar plot device.

“I have noticed the similarity, of course,” said Maurice Gran, who wrote the much-loved show with Laurence Marks. “I am being terribly generous about it of course, but Laurence is already contacting hitmen.”
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

‘New Statesman’ Creators Crafting ‘The B’Stard Legacy’; Venice Fest Sets Vr Competition – Global Briefs

Longtime writing partners Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran (Birds Of A Feather) are developing a new version of classic British comedy The New Statesman. The original starred the late Rik Mayall as pompous politician Alan B'Stard, and ran on ITV from 1987-1992. A satire of the Conservative government, the show won the Best Comedy Series BAFTA in 1991. Marks and Gran's LocomoTV is working with Richard Johns and Rupert Jermyn's Corona TV to develop The B'Stard Legacy which…
See full article at Deadline TV »

‘New Statesman’ Creators Crafting ‘The B’Stard Legacy’; Venice Fest Sets Vr Competition – Global Briefs

Longtime writing partners Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran (Birds Of A Feather) are developing a new version of classic British comedy The New Statesman. The original starred the late Rik Mayall as pompous politician Alan B'Stard, and ran on ITV from 1987-1992. A satire of the Conservative government, the show won the Best Comedy Series BAFTA in 1991. Marks and Gran's LocomoTV is working with Richard Johns and Rupert Jermyn's Corona TV to develop The B'Stard Legacy which…
See full article at Deadline Movie News »

Nicholas Lyndhurst returning for Goodnight Sweetheart revival

The BBC has announced that Nicholas Lyndhurst is set to reprise the role of time travelling, two-timing romeo Gary Sparrow for a Goodnight Sweetheart one-off special which is being produced as part of the BBC’s landmark sitcom season.

Radio Times is reporting that original creators Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran have penned a brand new script, which will see Gary travelling where he’s never been before as the show is catapulted into the 21st century.

“Gary has been trying for the last 17 years to find a way back to the present,” said Marks and Gran. “Now he’s found one, and he’s asked us to turn it into a TV show, featuring much-loved old Goodnight Sweetheart friends and one or two new ones.”

“The whole sitcom season is geared towards giving comedy royalty their due recognition and in Goodnight Sweetheart we have heavy-weight writing and performing talents
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

10 largely forgotten UK sci-fi sitcoms

Remember Kinvig, Clone, Not With A Bang? These are the UK sci-fi sitcoms you’re unlikely to see on comedy best-of lists…

With E4 sci-fi comedy commissions, Tripped and Aliens, and in-development Channel 4 projects, Space Ark and Graham Linehan/Adam Buxton collaboration The Cloud, in the works, a new crop of sci-fi sitcom could be making its way to UK TV.

Making funny sci-fi on a small-screen budget is tough enough without the additional pressure of having to attract viewers more traditionally down-to-earth in their sitcom tastes. Sci-fi sets and effects can be seen as prohibitively expensive by comedy commissioners (which is perhaps why the best UK sci-fi sitcoms of recent years has been on BBC Radio), and the genre’s niche status doesn’t scream mainstream hit. Over the years, one or two stand-outs have managed to straddle the sci-fi and comedy TV worlds, but plenty more have stumbled in the attempt.
See full article at Den of Geek »

Birds of a Feather renewed for 12th series by ITV

Birds of a Feather has been renewed for a new series by ITV.

The long-running sitcom will begin shooting its 12th run later this year, after its most recent series concluded last month.

Pauline Quirke, Linda Robson and Lesley Joseph will all return as Sharon Theodopolopodous, Tracey Stubbs and Dorien Green, respectively.

ITV's Comedy Commissioner Saskia Schuster said: "Birds of a Feather has a large and loyal audience and we're really pleased to be bringing it back, a new series starts shooting later this year."

Original writers Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran said: "We're thrilled that a nation is still in love with Sharon, Tracey and Dorien and delighted that ITV loves them too and have asked us to write what will be the 12th series of Birds of a Feather. We can promise more feisty fun with the Essex girls."

ITV has yet to confirm when the series will return.
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

Birds of a Feather: See first picture of Dorien's long lost daughter

The first picture of Birds of a Feather's Dorien Green with her long lost daughter has been revealed.

Actress Frances Ruffelle will be unveiled as Naomi, Dorien's (Lesley Joseph) estranged daughter, on tonight's (January 8) episode at 8.30pm on ITV.

Birds of a Feather recently returned for a new series on Boxing Day.

The latest episodes of the show mark the comedy's second run for ITV and the 11th overall, after it was recommissioned for a second series last March.

The channel previously revived the former BBC sitcom following a 15-year break, and it became ITV's most successful comedy launch in over a decade.

The eight-part run comes from original writers Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran with Gary Lawson and John Phelp.

McBusted star Matt Willis recently exited his role as Garth Stubbs, and has been replaced by Samuel James.
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

Birds of a Feather series 2 trailer teases Christmas holiday mishaps

ITV has offered a first look at the new series of Birds of a Feather in a trailer for the upcoming Christmas special.

Pauline Quirke, Lesley Joseph and Linda Robson all return for what will be the comedy's second run for ITV - and the 11th overall.

Returning on Boxing Day, the eight-part run will kick off with Dorien treating Sharon and Tracey to a Christmas trip to the Canaries. However, as teased by the trailer, things don't go quite to plan for the trio.

The series, which was revived following a 15-year break and became ITV's most successful comedy launch in over a decade, has been penned by original writers Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, with Gary Lawson and John Phelp.

Speaking about the upcoming episodes, Gran said: "We're delighted Birds of a Feather was such a success on ITV, and really pleased to be asked to write another series.
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

Birds of a Feather returning for second series on Boxing Day

ITV has confirmed that Birds of a Feather will return on Boxing Day at 9pm.

The new series - starring Pauline Quirke, Lesley Joseph and Linda Robson - will be the comedy's second run for ITV and the 11th overall.

Confirmed: Birds of a Feather (series 2) starts Friday 26 December at 9pm on ITV. pic.twitter.com/1ece5oOT5o

— ITV Press Centre (@itvpresscentre) December 2, 2014

ITV recommissioned Birds of a Feather for a second series in March.

The channel previously revived the former BBC sitcom following a 15-year break, and it became ITV's most successful comedy launch in over a decade.

The eight-part run will once again be penned by original writers Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran with Gary Lawson and John Phelp.

Gran said: "We're delighted Birds of a Feather was such a success on ITV and really pleased to be asked to write another series. We hope the further adventures of Sharon,
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

Rik Mayall's 5 best roles: From Young One Rick to Drop Dead Fred

I feel sorry for you, you zeros, you nobodies. What's going to live on after you die? Nothing, that's what!

This house will become a shrine! And punks and skins and Rastas will all gather round and all hold their hands in sorrow for their fallen leader! And all the grown-ups will say, 'But why are the kids crying?' And the kids will say, 'Haven't you heard? Rick is dead! The People's Poet is dead!'

And then one particularly sensitive and articulate teenager will say, 'Why kids, do you understand nothing? How can Rick be dead when we still have his poems?'.

Rik Mayall as Rick in The Young Ones

Rik Mayall has died at the age of 56.

As tributes pour in from the world of entertainment, Digital Spy pays homage to Rik in a way we hope that a man with an autobiography called Bigger than
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

Birds of a Feather recommissioned for second ITV series

ITV has recommissioned Birds of a Feather for a further series.

The channel revived the former BBC sitcom earlier this year following a 15-year break, and it has become ITV's most successful comedy launch in over a decade.

The new series - starring Pauline Quirke, Lesley Joseph and Linda Robson - will be the comedy's second run for ITV and the eleventh overall.

The eight-part run will once again be penned by original writers Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran with Gary Lawson and John Phelps, and will begin filming later this year.

Gran said: "We're delighted Birds of a Feather was such a success on ITV and really pleased to be asked to write another series. We hope the further adventures of Sharon, Tracey and Dorien will continue to thrill audiences young and old."

ITV's Director of Comedy and Entertainment Elaine Bedell added: "We're very pleased that the brilliant chemistry
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

TV highlights 16/01/2014

  • The Guardian - TV News
European Tour Golf: Abu Dhabi Championship | The Rise Of The E-Cigarette: Tonight | Hidden Kingdoms | Birds Of A Feather | Silent Witness | The Undateables | Brooklyn Nine-Nine | Dracula

European Tour Golf: Abu Dhabi Championship

6am, Sky Sports 4

They'll be going some to match the drama of last year's tournament, when Welshman Jamie Donaldson won despite almost goofing it with a bogey on the last hole. This year, the championship will feature Henrik Stenson, looking for a "Gulf slam" following previous wins in Dubai and Qatar, Sergio "El Nino" Garcia, Phil Mickelson and Martin Kaymer, who has already won this tournament three times but wouldn't say no to a fourth. David Stubbs

The Rise Of The E-Cigarette: Tonight

7.30pm, ITV

Coming up to seven years since smoking was banned inside British pubs, restaurants and other places frequented by people who didn't want their clothes and hair to reek afterwards, it seems amazing that it was ever permitted at all.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

How Birds of a Feather came to fly high on ITV

The creators of the Essex-based sitcom took their pitch for a new series to the BBC but were offered only a Christmas special

There was a distinctly familiar look to ITV's most popular sitcom since an episode of the Gwen Taylor comedy Barbara - remember that? - at the turn of the century.

Birds of a Feather, which the BBC put to bed in 1998 after a 10-year run on BBC1, returned in some style on Thursday night.

With an average of 7.8 million viewers, the Essex-based comedy outshone ITV's big sitcom hope of last year, the Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi vehicle Vicious, and its long-running comedy Benidorm, now into its sixth series and drawing around 6 million viewers.

ITV's gain was the BBC's loss. The creators of Birds of a Feather, Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, had originally taken the idea of a revival to BBC1 after a successful stage adaptation
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Birds of a Feather in flying start on ITV

16 years since its last episode on BBC1, Essex-based sitcom proves its enduring appeal by pulling nearly 8 million viewers

It has been 16 years since Birds of a Feather was on BBC1, but the Essex-based sitcom proved its enduring appeal when it returned in its new home on ITV with nearly 8 million viewers on Thursday night.

The comedy, created by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran and starring Pauline Quirke, Linda Robson and Lesley Joseph, had an average of 7.8 million viewers, a 31.9% share, between 8.30pm and 9pm on Thursday.

It is understood to be ITV's best-performing sitcom since Gwen Taylor comedy Barbara was watched by more 8 million viewers in 2000.

Its audience matched the 7.8 million who watched the EastEnders special on Christmas Day, and it was only a shade below the 8.3 million who saw Matt Smith regenerate into Peter Capaldi in the Christmas Doctor Who.

Despite returning to a world very different from the
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Allan McKeown obituary

Television and stage producer known for Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and Birds of a Feather

The television producer Allan McKeown, who has died aged 67 of prostate cancer, created the groundbreaking Witzend Productions with the sitcom writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais and had hits on both sides of the Atlantic. It was one of the earliest independent production companies outside the British broadcasting establishment to find success within it.

A prime example of Witzend's attempts to push the boundaries of the medium – and McKeown's credit as executive producer – was Auf Wiedersehen, Pet (1983-86). The series, about a group of itinerant British builders in Germany – developed by Clement and La Frenais from an idea by Franc Roddam – went beyond the sitcom format to become one of the first in the comedy-drama genre.

ITV at first had no plans to make a second series but backtracked when up to 13 million viewers tuned in.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Allan McKeown obituary

Television and stage producer known for Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and Birds of a Feather

The television producer Allan McKeown, who has died aged 67 of prostate cancer, created the groundbreaking Witzend Productions with the sitcom writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais and had hits on both sides of the Atlantic. It was one of the earliest independent production companies outside the British broadcasting establishment to find success within it.

A prime example of Witzend's attempts to push the boundaries of the medium – and McKeown's credit as executive producer – was Auf Wiedersehen, Pet (1983-86). The series, about a group of itinerant British builders in Germany – developed by Clement and La Frenais from an idea by Franc Roddam – went beyond the sitcom format to become one of the first in the comedy-drama genre.

ITV at first had no plans to make a second series but backtracked when up to 13 million viewers tuned in.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Television and theatre producer Allan McKeown dies at home in Los Angeles

Husband of comedian Tracey Ullman, who was behind shows including Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, had prostate cancer

The television and theatre producer Allan McKeown, responsible for shows including Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and Birds of a Feather, has died at his home in Los Angeles, it has been announced. The 67-year-old husband of comedian Tracey Ullman had been suffering from prostate cancer.

His daughter Mabel McKeown said: "My brilliant, funny, extraordinary father Allan McKeown passed away on Christmas Eve. Thank you all for the love."

McKeown had a varied career that encompassed hairdressing, advertising and the media business. He was involved in television shows including Lovejoy and Shine on Harvey Moon and plays such as Jerry Springer: The Opera and the musical Lennon.

He worked on several shows with Tracey Ullman and the couple moved to the Us in 1996. In 1997, the couple won eight Emmy awards for Tracey Takes On... and State of the Union.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Cilla Black and Paul O'Grady to star in BBC sitcom

Led Astray, written by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, goes into production this month

Cilla Black is to film a BBC sitcom alongside her friend Paul O'Grady, who will play her jailbird half-brother.

The pair will record the half-hour programme Led Astray later this month. It has been written by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, creators of Birds Of A Feather which is being revived by ITV next year.

The programme is being made as a pilot show and if commissioned for a series would be screened by BBC1.

Chat host and comic O'Grady has recently been seen displaying his acting skills in BBC1 drama Holby City, playing a dying cancer patient.

Former Blind Date host Black, 70, has been celebrating 50 years in showbusiness. Since Blind Date was axed by ITV in 2003 she has appeared as a presenter on Loose Women and as a guest on Your Face Sounds Familiar and Through The Keyhole.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Paul O'Grady, Cilla Black for BBC sitcom

Cilla Black and Paul O'Grady are to star in a sitcom together.

The pair will feature in Led Astray, which begins production this month.

The show has been written by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, who created Birds of a Feather.

O'Grady will play Black's half-brother in the sitcom, with a half-hour pilot beginning production this month. If successful, the show will be aired on BBC One.

O'Grady was most recently seen playing a dying cancer patient in Holby City. He said of his role: "It was emotional filming Holby. And I did actually come home feeling sick as I would lie in bed all day with tubes on me, and then I would go into Holby the next day, and they would put even more tubes on me.

"They make you look ill, so after 14 hours of that every day, I came home and I really had to tell
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »
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