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BBC examines the work of T.S. Eliot at the centenary of The Waste Land

BBC examines the work of T.S. Eliot at the centenary

Programmes across TV and radio examine the life and work of one of Britain’s most influential writers.

This year the BBC marks the centenary of T.S. Eliot’s groundbreaking work The Waste Land with a range of programming across the BBC looking at his life and work.

Beginning on 10 July on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Sounds, He Do The Wasteland In Different Voices will see the poem performed for the first time as if an audio drama, the text unchanged from the original, but with a focus on the collection of voices within it. Permission was granted from the Eliot estate to mark the centenary with this new adaptation.

Recorded word for word, the performance features an ensemble cast including the likes of Paul Ready (The Terror; Motherland), Maggie Steed (Ten Percent); Adrian Edmondson (The Young Ones) and David Haig (My Boy Jack; Killing Eve) as they bring the characters from the poem to life. They include the mysterious Madame Sosostris who, in a seedy room, turns the cards; a poet and his wife, both miserable in their marriage, waiting for something to happen, and a street prophet with visions of the future finding his faith tested.

Capturing the slipperiness and unease of the post-war period, the performance will also feature the work of award-winning sound designer David Thomas. Carefully created to evoke a sense of fractured time, with haunting whispers of catastrophes to come, the sound remains faithful to the themes of anxiety, loss and anger found within the text as well as the uncertainty of the modern age we currently live in.

The programme will be preceded by a feature about the poem, with leading Eliot scholars Dr Lyndall Gordon, Professor Mark Ford, Professor Seamus Perry, Professor Stephen Connor and Nancy Fulford, archivist for the T S Eliot Estate. Taking listeners into the Eliot archive, the feature will contextualise the text and provide insight into Eliot’s own inspirations as well as the story behind the Waste Land.

Later this year on BBC Two and iPlayer is T.S. Eliot: Into ‘The Waste Land’, a new documentary uncovering the hidden personal story behind Eliot’s creation of his celebrated poem, directed by Susanna White.

For decades, Eliot actively discouraged biographical interpretations of his work, developing an ‘impersonal theory’ of poetry in which the private life of a poet was deemed irrelevant. But in 2020 there were dramatic new revelations which uncovered that, behind Eliot’s mask, there was a much more personal story to be found within The Waste Land.

In January 2020, more than 1000 of Eliot’s private letters were unsealed at Princeton University Library, 60 years after they were first deposited there. These letters to his confidante and muse Emily Hale have finally unveiled Eliot’s hidden heart, and the personal breakdown behind the creation of his most famous work. Eliot’s letters illuminate what appears to have been a complex yet unspoken emotional triangle within the poet’s life in which he was pulled between his troubled relationship with his first wife Vivien, and his enduring feelings for his first love, Emily Hale.

Both women appear to have played key roles in the genesis of the poem.

Moving through all five sections of the poem, the documentary explores many different facets of The Waste Land, from Eliot’s state of mind during each phase, to the different places where it was composed. Featuring contributions from actor and director Fiona Shaw and composer Max Richter; poets Hannah Sullivan and Daljit Nagra; Eliot’s biographer Lyndall Gordon, Vivien’s biographer Ann Pasternak Slater and Faber Poetry Editor Matthew Hollis. Simon Russell Beale performs specially recorded readings of the poem, in conjunction with Eliot’s own hypnotic reading of his work.

In October on BBC Four and BBC iPlayer, Ralph Fiennes’ exquisite performance of T.S. Eliot’s poetic masterpiece Four Quartets is translated from stage to screen by director Sophie Fiennes. Early in the Covid pandemic, Fiennes set himself the challenge of committing Four Quartets to memory. Written by Eliot in the shadow of the Second World War, the poem is a searching examination of who – and what – we are. Four Quartets offers four interwoven meditations on the nature of time, faith and the quest for spiritual enlightenment in one of the poet’s final great works and the questions, imagery and emotions it produces still bear powerful relevance today.

On Radio 4 and BBC Sounds in November is Hold On Tight: The Women Of The Waste Land, arts writer and broadcaster Jude Rogers immerses herself in the worlds and the voices of the women inside and outside T.S. Eliot’s extraordinary poem. Blending historical and literary insight with radiophonic and aural magic and imagination, Jude’s explorations are arrestingly sound designed by producer Steven Rajam.

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Who Cares Wins returns to Channel 4

Who Cares Wins returns to Channel 4

The Sun’s Who Cares Wins awards, which honour everyday heroes who really make a difference, will return to Channel 4 in a 1 x 90’ entertainment show produced by Thames (a Fremantle label).

Davina McCall will again host the awards and the star-studded, red-carpet ceremony will take place in London later this year.

Channel 4 is partnering with The Sun and NHS Charities Together to televise the awards ceremony for the second year running.

The Sun’s Who Cares Wins awards were set up in 2017 to celebrate and thank the NHS and healthcare heroes, key workers and ordinary people who care for us.

Who Cares Wins was commissioned for Channel 4 by Phil Harris, head of entertainment and Tom Beck, head of live events and commissioning editor, Entertainment. The executive producers for Thames are Charlie Irwin and Lee Smithurst.

Davina McCall said: “I’m enormously proud to host these awards, which recognise some of the most amazing people on the planet. It’s a privilege to meet these everyday heroes and celebrate their truly inspirational stories.”

Tom Beck, commissioning editor for Channel 4, said: “We’re thrilled to be broadcasting The Sun’s Who Cares Win awards for the second year, bringing the amazing and inspiring stories of the nominees and winners to Channel 4 viewers.”

Charlie Irwin, director of programmes, Thames, said: “Last year’s event was incredibly moving and the team at Thames were honoured to be a part of it. We are looking forward to partnering with The Sun and Channel 4 again to celebrate the UK’s healthcare heroes and bring their remarkable stories of courage and dedication to TV screens.”

Victoria Newton, Sun Editor-in-Chief says “The Sun’s Who Cares Wins health awards are one of the most important nights in our calendar. Every year I am moved by the stories we hear from our brilliant NHS, healthcare workers and unsung heroes. Last year saw us bring these inspirational stories to a whole new audience through our partnerships with Channel 4, Thames and NHS Charities Together and I’m very much looking forward to celebrating them once again.”

The categories being awarded are:

Best Doctor
Best Midwife
Best Team
Best Nurse
Best Health Charity
Unsung Hero
Young Hero
The Caroline Flack Mental Health Hero
999 Hero
Christina Newbury Memorial Award
The National Lottery Local Health Hero Award

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Filming starts on series 4 of BBC Three Comedy Bad Education

Filming starts on series 4 of BBC Three Comedy Bad

It’s lights, camera, action on the eagerly awaited fourth series of popular BBC Three comedy Bad Education as filming begins shooting on location in London. Released today is a first-look image from the forthcoming new series, showing the new leads – former Class K students, fabulous diva Stephen (Layton Williams), and lovable geezer Mitchell (Charlie Wernham) – return as Drama and PE teachers, to ‘educate’ a new gaggle of rebellious misfits.

Bad Education’s fourth season, due to air in early 2023, is set to return to BBC Three and BBC iPlayer and is made by award-winning Tiger Aspect Productions (part of Banijay UK) and Jackpot Productions.

The new series will be directed by Freddy Syborn and executive produced by Jack Whitehall, with a new team of breakthrough writers led by Nathan Bryon, and including Laura Smyth, Leila Navabi, Priya Hall, Ciaran Bartlett, Rhys Taylor and Layton Williams.

Series 4 will see Stephen and Mitchell get to grips with their new career and wayward students, all whilst new headteacher and control freak Ms Hoburn (Vicki Pepperdine) looms large. Meanwhile, recently departed head Mr Fraser (Mathew Horne) and his questionable ‘bants’ continues to hang around the school kitchen, as HR struggle to fire him. We welcome new classmates to the school; glamorous gossip Usma (Asha Hassan), wannabe roadman Inchez (Anthony J Abraham), himbo Harrison (Bobby Johnson), clueless slacktivist Jinx (Laura Marcus), eccentric Warren (Ali Hadji-Heshmati) and energetic hustler, Blessing (Francesca Amewudah-Rivers).

In addition to the new series, a one-off Christmas special will air this year, which sees the familiar faces of Abbey Grove return for a careers day, led by hopeless teacher Alfie Wickers (Jack Whitehall). This will mark the end of Alfie’s teaching career at Abbey Grove as audiences bid farewell to him.

Layton Williams says: “Stephen’s quest for stardom didn’t quite go as planned, and he’s back at Abbey Grove ‘teaching’ drama! I’m so excited for audiences to experience the madness of Mr Carmichael, the new Class K! We’re having so much fun on set, I think you’re all in for a treat!”

Charlie Wernham says: “It feels amazing to be back on set and having so many talented new individuals alongside to work with. A lot has changed for Mitchell since we last checked in on him. He’s grown up, found a missus and has a kid on the way, but in some ways he’s still a loveable big kid himself. The script this series is laugh-out-loud funny, and I can’t wait for audiences to return to Abbey Grove to laugh along with us.”

Freddy Syborn, Executive Producer, says: “It’s been such a joy to work with Charlie and Layton again, as well as our room of new writers. Jack and I really hope that everyone will fall in love with our brilliant Class K 2.0, and we’re excited for a whole new generation to discover the show for the first time.”

Bad Education series (6×30) is a co-production between Tiger Aspect (part of Banijay UK) and Jackpot Productions for the BBC, commissioned by Jon Petrie, Director of Comedy Commissioning at the BBC. The Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Tanya Qureshi.

Bad Education special (1×45) is co-written and co-executive produced by Freddy Syborn and Jack Whitehall and was commissioned by Jon Petrie, Director of Comedy Commissioning at the BBC. Freddy Syborn will direct both commissions, The Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Tanya Qureshi. Banijay Rights will distribute the series internationally.

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Jamie Oliver to cook up a double helping of new series on Channel 4

Jamie Oliver to cook up a double helping of new

Jamie Oliver Productions has been commissioned to make two new series for Channel 4, to air across 2022 and 2023.

In Jamie’s One-Pan Wonders (8×30’), Jamie Oliver cooks one-pan recipes that offer the perfect solutions for busy lives, it is the ultimate solutions-based guide to brilliantly easy and delicious meals all cooked in just one pan, pot or dish. From brunches to lunches, dinners to desserts, the easy-to-follow recipes are solutions for Jamie’s own family that we can use for ours.

Featuring recipes from Jamie’s new book ONE: Simple One-Pan Wonders, available in September 2022, this new series presents an innovative array of never-seen-before techniques, tricks and hacks to create simple and delicious meals, and cut down on the washing up – even the pasta dishes don’t require a second pan to boil water in.

Jamie’s One-Pan Wonders is packed full of dishes that deliver big on flavour with minimum fuss. From speedy 15-minute meals to low and slow dishes that let the oven do all the hard work, there are brilliant ideas for batch cooking and clever shortcuts to family favourites we all love to eat but don’t always have the time to make. Jamie’s One-Pan Wonders is the solution for anyone who loves delicious food but hates washing up.

For 2023, Jamie’s Seasons (w/t) is an epic, extended series split into four parts to take us through the year, through the year – Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter – as each season Jamie goes on a delicious journey through the kitchen calendar to showcase the British produce available at the time. Beginning with Spring, Jamie will celebrate the joy of the time of year, as he creates inspiring recipes using ingredients that are in season and can be grown at home. This series is all about eating British seasonal fruit and veg and celebrating the best our country has to offer so we can eat well for ourselves and the planet.

Tim Hancock, commissioning editor for Channel 4, said: “These are two series giving viewers what Jamie does best: no-nonsense, brilliantly conceived recipes. After a run of successful and helpful recipe shows over lockdown and beyond, we’re thrilled to continue our relationship with Jamie and his very talented production team.”

Samantha Beddoes, Executive Producer at Jamie Oliver Productions, comments: “We are delighted to be bringing two very distinctive new series to Channel 4 this year and next. Whilst they offer very different concepts, both series will bring Jamie’s energy, joy and innovative approach to cooking to viewers, offering inspiring solutions to everyday problems. Jamie’s One-Pan Wonders is Jamie at his best, turning traditional dishes on their head by offering the simplest yet most delicious ways to streamline cooking, while Jamie’s Seasons will take us through the year, offering delicious recipes that are good for us, for our pockets and for the planet by celebrating the possibilities that each season brings.”

Jamie’s One-Pan Wonders is an 8×30’ series and Jamie’s Seasons (w/t) will be split into four parts: Spring (4×30’), Summer (4×30’), Autumn (4×30’) and Winter (2×60’). All were commissioned for Channel 4 by Tim Hancock, Commissioning Editor, Factual Entertainment. The series will be made by Jamie Oliver Productions, with Samantha Beddoes as Executive Producer and Katie Millard as Series Producer.

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