Channel 4 lines up big names for more My Grandparents’ War

Channel 4 lines up big names for more My Grandparents’

Channel 4 has commissioned more episodes of the celebrity social history format My Grandparents’ War.

This second series from Wonderhood Studios will feature films fronted by Keira Knightley, Kit Harington, Toby Jones and Emeli Sandé, each exploring their grandparents’ extraordinary stories from conflicts that shaped the 20th Century.

Filmed in historic locations from the killing fields of Kenya to the mountains of Monte Cassino in Italy, each star re-traces their grandparents’ footsteps and is deeply moved as they uncover the life and death decisions their family faced.

My Grandparents’ War delivers a fascinating new biographical insight into some of Britain’s biggest stars and explores how their grandparents’ experiences of war shaped their own lives and the world we live in today. The first series featured films by Helena Bonham Carter, Mark Rylance, Kristin Scott Thomas and Carey Mulligan.

Piecing together their families’ history with a treasure trove of untapped archive, historical records and family trees, testimony from the last surviving veterans and people whose own lives are inextricably linked to the stars, each film unearths untold chapters of social history and reveals the sacrifices all our grandparents made.

Commissioning Editor Madonna Benjamin says: “I’m delighted at the range of stories and calibre of talent involved in this series. As well as exploring fascinating moments in seminal historical periods, what this programme does like no other is to show audiences a side of these A list stars that we rarely see, sharing with us family stories and intimate histories that are both relatable and moving.”

The Directors are Francis Hanly, Tom McCarthy and Erica Gornall and Rebecca Fairbank was a senior producer across the series. The Executive Producers for Wonderhood Studios are Tom Anstiss and Samantha Anstiss.

Tom Anstiss says: “It’s such an honour to collaborate with Kit, Kiera, Emeli and Toby. They bring real emotional depth, compassion and deliver a fresh new insight into seismic events in social history. Our series is packed with jaw-dropping revelations and headline-grabbing stories. From the most controversial spying operation of the 20th Century to the fight for independence in Africa, the stars’ authored films throw the audience into riveting untold stories of our recent history”.

Samantha Anstiss said: “The team have produced a beautifully composed series with celebrities who engage with a compelling curiosity and real emotional candour as they uncover the incredible stories behind the pivotal roles their grandparents played in seminal moments of history and reveal their deep reflections on the human cost of war and its impact on generations.

This second series of My Grandparents’ War is produced in association with MyHeritage, a family history company that enables anyone to discover their family history.

Aaron Godfrey, VP Marketing of MyHeritage said: “MyHeritage is delighted to have partnered with My Grandparents’ War which will bring the meaningful experience of discovering one’s family history into millions of homes. MyHeritage’s sophisticated tools and rich historical data repository enabled the celebrities to take their own emotional journey to uncover the remarkable deeds of their ancestors and connect with their heritage.”

My Grandparents’ War is distributed by All3Media International and has already secured pre-sales with PBS in USA, SBS in Australia and CBC in Canada.


New appointments confirmed for BBC Executive Committee

New appointments confirmed for BBC Executive Committee

The BBC has today confirmed two new appointments to the Executive Committee.

Alan Dickson has been appointed Chief Financial Officer. Alan joined the BBC in 1995 and has most recently been the Chief Financial and Operations Officer for BBC News. He will take up his new role later this year.

Alan Dickson says: “Starting off in BBC Scotland more than 25 years ago, I know just how much positive impact this organisation can have and I’ve been fortunate to have enjoyed some wonderful opportunities at the BBC. Now I’m delighted to be joining the Director-General’s team to meet the challenges of the digital-age and deliver value to all.”

Also, Alice Macandrew has been appointed as the new Corporate Affairs Director. Alice will join from Primark, where she has been the Corporate Affairs Director since January 2021.

Alice Macandrew says: “I am delighted to be joining the BBC. It is a hugely important institution for the country, with a reach that extends far beyond the UK. As it approaches its centenary, I look forward to helping it navigate the opportunities and challenges ahead.”

She will report to the Director General with responsibility for all corporate affairs. Her role will cover stakeholder relations, both in the UK and internationally, partnerships, the BBC’s relationship with Ofcom and other regulatory bodies; and, overseeing the BBC’s communications activities. Alice will join the BBC in early 2023.

BBC Director-General Tim Davie says: “I am very pleased to confirm these appointments as we build a BBC focused on delivering great value for all licence fee payers. Alan and Alice bring a wealth of expertise and experience to our senior team and I’m looking forward to working with them.”

The BBC will also shortly be announcing a new Chief People Officer, leading on HR matters, who will also sit on the Executive Committee.

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BBC One and PBS celebrate Dame Merry Berry’s ultimate Christmas

BBC One and PBS celebrate Dame Merry Berry’s ultimate Christmas

In this seasonal special, Mary provides the only guide you’ll ever need for a fool-proof Christmas dinner. Packed with her classic recipes for a delicious three-course feast, she and her friends will also be helping you prep, shop and plan before the big day itself for a stress-free day.

With tips for how to get the most out of your ingredients and your budget, Mary and friends will head out to meet grocers and growers to help you select the best for your table this year.

Mary Berry says: “It goes without saying that Christmas is a very special time of year but over the last couple of years it has gotten challenging for us all, whether it’s the emotional hardship of lost loved ones, the economic hardship of cooking for large families or a combination of both. In this special I am going to bring together everything you need with tips to make it a festive day to remember fondly.”

Catherine Catton, Head of Commissioning, Factual Entertainment and Events, says: “We’re delighted that Mary has – for the first time ever – decided to share her definitive guide to Christmas. For many of us, Christmas is a precious opportunity to spend time with family and friends, so I can’t wait for Mary to share her ultimate recipes, tips and tricks for what will be a truly memorable festive feast.”

Emily Hudd, Managing Director of Rumpus Media, says: “Who better to have on hand to get you through this Christmas than Mary, with her delicious, classic recipes and tips for how to make the best of the big day. Mary and her special guest chefs will help everyone elevate their Christmas dinner to a feast to remember.”

Zara Frankel, Director of Programming and Development, General Audience Programming at PBS, says: “We are thrilled to welcome Mary Berry back to PBS platforms for a truly unforgettable holiday special. From the shopping, to the prep, from the turkey to the pie, this holiday season Mary is serving up traditional dishes with her signature fuss-free style – exuding warmth, friendship and fun – and everyone’s invited.”

Christmas With Mary Berry And Friends (W/T), a 1 x 60 for BBC One and BBC iPlayer and PBS, is made by Rumpus Media. It was commissioned by Catherine Catton, Head of Commissioning, Factual Entertainment and Events. Emily Hudd and Kelly Sparks are Executive Producers for Rumpus Media and the Commissioning Editor is Ricky Cooper. The Director is Katy Fryer. Zara Frankel is the Executive in Charge for PBS.

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ITV Studios announce the fourth recipient of The Tony Warren Drama Bursary

ITV to show inaugural Arnold Clark Cup featuring England Women

ITV has revealed the fourth and newest recipient of the Tony Warren Drama Student Bursary as Johnathan Georgiou.

Originally from Liverpool, Johnathan began training on the BA (Hons) in Professional Acting at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama (RWCMD) this September and is already proving his talent and skills to the teams there.

On receiving the bursary, Johnathan said: “‘I’m over the moon. I can’t explain, seeing the email not long after coming off stage back home in Liverpool was such a surreal moment. I’m completely honoured to have so much financial support put into me and my craft. It’s taken so much weight off my shoulders.

What the Tony Warren bursary has done for me along with the Royal Welsh College won’t go forgotten, and each day I’m going to strive to get everything I can out of my training, pushing myself to be the professional I aspire to be. Financial worry has been removed and I can’t thank everyone enough for that.’

ITV Casting Director, Gennie Radcliffe, who was part of the audition process for the bursary said: “Jonathan’s Liverpudlian twinkle shone out the minute he walked into his audition. He has such a captivating naturalness and intimacy to his acting, making you feel as though you are the only one in the room and the only one he is talking to, he genuinely has you on the edge of your seat.

The idea that he has three years of world-class training ahead of him at RWCMD to develop these skills even further is incredibly thrilling. Tony was so passionate about wanting to help young actors in financial need and would have absolutely loved Jonathan. We’re very proud to be carrying on his legacy through such exciting talent.”

RWCMD’s Director of Drama Performance Jonathan Munby said, ‘It’s an astonishing achievement and a great way for Johnathan to begin his training with us at the Royal Welsh College. His win underlines the incredible standard of students we have at RWCMD. We can’t wait to have Johnathan with us and we’re very excited to see where his journey will take him.

We’re truly grateful to everyone at ITV for their support. It’s incredibly important that individuals and initiatives such as this continue to support students who are in financial need.

It’s vital for the profession that we continue to train artists from all backgrounds and open up the possibility of a life in the arts in as inclusive a way as possible.’

Launched in 2018 the ITV Tony Warren Bursary chooses a student from the NW each year and supports them throughout their drama training.

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