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BBC to broadcast extensive coverage of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations

BBC to broadcast extensive coverage of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth

This year Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II became the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years of service.

To celebrate this momentous occasion, BBC World News, BBC World Service and BBC.com will be offering their global audience comprehensive coverage of the build up to Jubilee weekend, the official celebrations in London and how communities across the UK and the Commonwealth are marking the Platinum Jubilee over four days – with all the pomp, pageantry, and parties.

Former BBC World News America anchor Katty Kay will return to front the coverage on BBC World News. Katty said, “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the world to come together and celebrate seven remarkable decades of Queen Elizabeth II’s service to the UK and Commonwealth and I’m excited that I’ll be at the heart of the action, bringing on-the-ground coverage to our audiences across the world.”

The coverage includes:

BBC World NewsThursday 2 JunePlatinum Jubilee: Trooping the Colour

We will be live outside Buckingham Palace where we will look ahead to the weekend’s events. The first of the festivities will be Trooping the Colour (The Queen’s Birthday Parade), consisting of 1,400 parading soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians who will be joined by Royal Family members on horseback and in carriages. The Royal Family will also gather on the balcony at Buckingham Palace. TX times: 10:00-13:15 BST

The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee: BBC News Special

An hour long special by presenter Katty Kay. Not only will we be looking back at the day and forward to the rest of the weekend, but we will also include interviews with royal watchers, people partaking in the events, and members of the public – plus, we will share feature material about the Queen’s reign. TX times: 20:00-21:00 BST

Platinum Beacons: Lighting up the Jubilee

The United Kingdom has a long-standing tradition of lighting beacons to celebrate Royal Weddings, Coronations and Jubilees. The channel will be broadcasting the lighting of the Platinum Jubilee Beacons where thousands of candles will be lit by charities and community groups across the UK. A total of 54 Commonwealth beacons will be lit (one in each Commonwealth capital city), and the principal beacon will also be lit – an illumination of a “tree of trees” sculpture at Buckingham Palace. TX times: 21:00-22:00 BST

BBC World News America: Special Edition

Katty Kay will present a special on-location edition of BBC World News America. TX times: 22:00-22:25 BST

Friday 3 June

Platinum Jubilee: A Service of Thanksgiving

A service of Thanksgiving will be held at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. We will be broadcasting outside of Saint Paul’s in the morning, moving back to Buckingham Palace in the afternoon. (Please note the channel will not be broadcasting live footage of the service due to rights restrictions). TX times: 10:00-12:30 BST

BBC World News America: Special Edition

Katty Kay will present a special on-location edition of BBC World News America. TX times: 22:00-22:25 BST

Saturday 4 June

The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee: BBC News Special

An hour long special presented by Katty Kay, looking back at all of the day’s highlights. TX times: 17:00-18:00 BST

Sunday 5 June

The Big Jubilee Lunch

The focus of the final day of celebrations is on The Big Jubilee Lunch. Over ten million people in the UK are expected to join the celebrations, with events including world record attempts for the longest street party. The occasion will be marked internationally too, with over 600 lunches planned throughout the Commonwealth and beyond – from South Africa to Canada. As part of the events, BBC World News will be coming to you live from street parties around the UK. This special coverage will be presented by Annita McVeigh and Martine Croxall. TX times: TBC

The Platinum Pageant

BBC World News will be broadcasting from the street as The Platinum Pageant brings together artistic performers, dancers, musicians, military personnel, key workers and volunteers who will unite to tell the story of The Queen’s 70 year reign in an awe-inspiring festival of creativity. The Pageant will draw on talent from every part of the United Kingdom and across the Commonwealth.

BBC World Service

BBC World Service will broadcast A Service of Thanksgiving for the Queen’s Reign (3rd June) live from St Paul’s Cathedral in London as part of the celebrations across the extended UK Bank Holiday weekend to mark the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen. Commentator Eleanor Oldroyd describes the scene as senior members of the Royal Family and representatives from across the UK and Commonwealth gather in the Cathedral to celebrate and give thanks for The Queen becoming the longest-reigning British Monarch after 70 years of service.

BBC World Service will also be marking the Jubilee with two 1-hour documentaries. The Royal Diplomat (28th May) sees the BBC’s Emma Barnett speak to friends and insiders who have worked with the Queen on global issues and seen her in operation, including David Cameron and former Commonwealth Secretary General Chief Emeka Anyaoku. The second documentary, The Day I Met the Queen (4th June) is a special programme in which Winifred Robinson hears stories from people who have met the Queen at various moments during her long life, and recall their encounters.

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall will appear on The Cultural Frontline (4th June) on the BBC World Service about The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition, which is the world’s oldest international writing competition for schools. In an interview with Tina Daheley, the Duchess speaks about the Platinum Jubilee and says that she hopes this year writers will pick up on Jubilee content because it’s so important to celebrate this Jubilee, as it is “an amazing amount of years for The Queen to have been on the throne.”

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Strawberry Blond TV wins double commission for Channel 4 and More4

Strawberry Blond TV wins double commission for Channel 4 and

Strawberry Blond TV has been commissioned to make two new series for Channel 4 and More4.

Huge Homes with Hugh Dennis sees the actor and comedian unlock the doors to some of the largest domestic dwellings across the UK. In a celebration of everything massive, Hugh explores a variety of gigantic homes from the colossal Broughton Hall with its own private railway to a jaw-dropping island fort off the coast of West Wales.

Over four episodes, Hugh will see astonishing conversions and meet eccentric owners as he journeys through a gargantuan domestic wonderland. Along the way, he’ll tell the stories of each immense property and he’ll also be getting his hands dirty with some of the tasks needed to keep the huge homes in full working order – including cleaning chandeliers and a marathon six hours of hoovering.

Strangers on a Plane is a new stripped daytime format that sees five strangers compete to prove they can holiday better than anyone else. At the start of the week, five holiday-hungry Brits jet off to the same popular holiday destination for a five-day getaway, with each traveller taking control of the group’s activities for 24 hours.

As each holidaymaker takes their turn to plan their perfect day, they must make the key decisions: what accommodation everyone stays in, where they all eat, what activities the group does and what the evening entertainment is. The sky’s the limit on imagination but the budget is set and if they overspend, they could soon end up with a holiday nightmare.

At the end of each week, the group votes on who planned the best day, with the winner enjoying another week in the sun with a friend or family member. Everyone has a different idea of what makes a good holiday and these strangers on a plane will need to please more than just themselves if they’re to emerge a holiday hero.

Gill Brown, commissioning executive for Channel 4, said: “I’m thrilled to have commissioned two hugely entertaining series from the team at Strawberry Blond. Hugh Dennis is the perfect tour guide around an eclectic mix of fantastic, not to mention gigantic, homes that I’m sure our More 4 audience will find fascinating, while Strangers on a Plane is set to be a wild and raucous daytime delight on Channel 4. I can’t wait to see what our holidaymakers get up to.”

Steve Wynne, CEO, Strawberry Blond TV, said: “We’re now only pitching shows that involve going on sunny holidays or looking around massive houses – luckily Channel 4 loved both ideas. It’s a dream to be making two original series for More4 and Channel 4 – they both have the humour and warmth that runs through Strawberry Blond.”

Huge Homes with Hugh Dennis is a 4×60’ peak series for More4 and Strangers on Plane is a 20×30’ daytime series for Channel 4. Both series were commissioned by Jo Street, Head of Daytime and Features and Gill Brown, commissioning executive for Daytime and Features at Channel 4. The series are made by Strawberry Blond TV’s Scotland base. Steve Wynne is executive producer of Strangers on a Plane and Audrey Neil is executive producer of Huge Homes with Hugh Dennis.

Huge Homes with Hugh Dennis will air on More 4 later this year and casting for Strangers on a Plane is underway now. To apply to take part, visit: strangersonaplane.co.uk.

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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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Channel 4 appoints Charlie Perkins as Head Of Comedy

Channel 4 appoints Charlie Perkins as Head Of Comedy

Channel 4 has appointed Charlie Perkins as Head of Comedy. Charlie will report directly into Chief Content Officer Ian Katz and will manage a team comprising newly promoted Commissioning Editor Laura Riseam and Commissioning Executive Joe Hullait. Charlie will also oversee the appointment of a new Senior Commissioning Editor.

Ian Katz, Chief Content Officer, Channel 4 said: “Channel 4 comedy has always been about betting on brilliant and iconoclastic new talent and Charlie is squarely in that tradition. She has an unerring ear for funny, has nurtured and collaborated with some of Britain’s most exciting and distinctive comedy talent and had an ambitious and original vision for the future of Channel 4 comedy. With a succession of wonderful shows from Derry Girls to We are Lady Parts and Big Boys, Fiona McDermott has delivered a purple patch for Channel 4 comedy and, along with Laura and Joe, I’m convinced that Charlie will continue that success.”

Charlie joins the multi-award-winning Channel 4 Comedy department from Blink Industries where she was Head of Comedy, having begun her career working on shows such as Little Britain, French & Saunders, Benidorm and Mock the Week, moving on to become a Producer at the infamous alternative comedy venue The Invisible Dot, BBC Radio Comedy and Cave Bear Productions. In 2009, Charlie founded the Bristol Revunions whose alumni during her time included Jamie Demetriou, Charlotte Ritchie, Ellie White and Joe Hampson. In 2013, Charlie founded The Paddock comedy collective, an experimental, new material platform for performers and filmmakers. She is also one of the Co-Founders of the Live Comedy Association and Founder of the Free-Free Movement.

At Blink Industries, Charlie Produced cult comedy series Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared which will air on Channel 4 later this year and during her time there the company has been behind the hit Netflix 2D animated series Dead End: Paranormal Park as well as E4 short-form animated format Blind Love on a First Date Island; and C4 Blap Sam Campbell: Get Real Dude.

Charlie Perkins said: “Creating platforms and opportunities for people to develop and thrive in their work has been the primary focus of my career to date – prioritising creative freedom, originality, tenacity and passion. I’m unbelievably honoured to now get to do this at scale at Channel 4; the place where all of our favourite comedy shows come from, a place which has vitality, risk-taking and art at its very core. Comedy is tattooed on my soul and I cannot wait to get started.”

Charlie joins later this year. Recruitment is underway for the new Senior Commissioning Editor role.

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