ITV commissions crime thriller, Payback, starring Morven Christie, Peter Mullan and Prasanna Puwanarajah

ITV and Tall Story Pictures announce filming has commenced on

ITV’s Head of Drama, Polly Hill has commissioned six-part crime thriller Payback, produced by Jed Mercurio’s HTM Television, starring Morven Christie, Peter Mullan and Prasanna Puwanarajah, and written by acclaimed screenwriter Debbie O’Malley.

A compelling character-led series, Payback follows Lexie Noble, played by Morven Christie (The Bay, The A Word, Ordeal by Innocence), as she becomes entangled in a perilous police operation to topple a notorious crime lord, Cal Morris, played by Peter Mullan (The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, The Underground Railroad, Ozark).

Commented Morven Christie; “I fell in love with Lexie from the first page, and I’m absolutely delighted to be working with Peter and this wonderful team in my hometown.”

With an idyllic family lifestyle in the suburbs of Edinburgh, Lexie is unaware her husband, Jared, has been laundering Cal Morris’ illegal earnings on a vast scale. Jared’s every move is being monitored by financial investigators DC Jibran Khan (Prasanna Puwanarajah) and DCI Adam Guthrie (Derek Riddell), who are determined to use the Noble family to bring Cal Morris to justice.

A partner in Jared’s business, Lexie is forced into working for Cal, at the same time as the police net inexorably tightens. Soon Lexie finds herself walking a treacherous tightrope between Cal and the police in which her safety, and even her life, are in grave danger.

Commented Polly; “Payback is a brilliant thriller which questions how well you know your partner and as the secrets come out, asks who you can trust. Debbie has written compelling scripts that will keep the audience hooked and surprised. I’m delighted to be working with Morven Christie again, and of course Jed Mercurio and Madonna Baptiste at HTM Television.”

HTM Television’s Creative Director, Jed Mercurio (Line of Duty, Bodyguard, DI Ray) is working alongside Polly Hill, Madonna Baptiste (DI Ray, Stephen, Black Mirror) and Diederick Santer on behalf of BritBox International.

Jed will executive produce the series, alongside Madonna Baptiste, Debbie O’Malley and Diederick Santer on behalf of BritBox International.

Payback will be directed by Jennie Darnell (Trigger Point, Line of Duty, Holby City) and Andrew Cumming (Clique, The Origin, Cold Feet) and produced by Eric Coulter (The Control Room, Shetland, Bodyguard).

Commented Madonna Baptiste and Jed Mercurio on behalf of HTM Television; “Working with Debbie has been a joy, and everyone at HTM is proud to bring her thrillingly propulsive crime series to screen. We are very excited to announce a stellar line up of acting talent and pleased to be working with immensely talented directors and production team.”

The series has been created by Debbie O’Malley who is known for her work on Call the Midwife, Humans and Harlots. Debbie’s three- part series, The Guilty, also aired on ITV in 2013.

Commented Debbie O’Malley; “I’m delighted to be working with such a high-calibre team at HTM Television and a truly superb cast to bring Lexie Noble’s story to life.Following our ordinary wife and mother through the loopholes and increasingly grey areas of fiscal malpractice, into the murky world of organised crime, Payback poses the disconcerting question: just how far might any of us go, if we thought we could get away with it?”

The drama will be filmed in Glasgow, Edinburgh and surrounding areas.

BritBox International will co-produce the series and be the exclusive home to the series in the US, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway. The BritBox deal was negotiated by Hat Trick International, which also represents the show globally.


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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