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Sally Rooney’s Conversations With Friends for BBC Three

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BBC Drama has announced the adaptation of Sally Rooney’s critically-acclaimed novel Conversations With Friends, continuing the BBC’s relationship between Sally Rooney and award-winning producers, Element Pictures.

The lead director will be Oscar-nominated Irish film director Lenny Abrahamson and the show will be produced for BBC Three.

Conversations With Friends is Sally’s 2017 stunning debut novel. It is a sharply intelligent story set in Dublin about two college students Frances and Bobbi, and the strange, unexpected connection they forge with a married couple, Melissa and Nick.

This adaptation follows the BBC’s prior adaptation of Sally’s award-winning 2018 novel Normal People, which will premiere in the UK this Spring on BBC Three and BBC One. Following her work on Normal People, Alice Birch will be returning to write a number of episodes of Conversations With Friends, with further writers to be announced. Normal People was also directed by Lenny Abrahamson, along with Hettie McDonald, and produced by Element Pictures. It was made in partnership with Hulu.

“I love Conversations With Friends, its depth, humour and freshness, and it’s an honour to be involved in bringing it to the screen – Lenny Abrahamson.

Sally Rooney says: “I am so pleased to be working with the team at Element, Lenny Abrahamson and the BBC to produce an adaptation of Conversations With Friends. I’m confident we’re going to find fresh and interesting ways of dramatising the novel’s dynamics, and I’m excited to watch the process take shape‎.”

Lenny Abrahamson says: “I love Conversations With Friends, its depth, humour and freshness, and it’s an honour to be involved in bringing it to the screen. I’m particularly happy that my connection to Sally and her work is set to continue. Making Normal People has been a singular pleasure and I’m excited to be working with the same brilliant team again on Conversations With Friends.”

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, says: “We are all addicted to Sally Rooney’s writing and will plunder her literary canon as long as she is writing. And so, on the back of the taut and tangled Normal People we are delighted that Sally has entrusted us, and the wonderfully talented people at Element Pictures, with her debut novel Conversations With Friends. To top it all Lenny Abrahamson has agreed to continue his association with Sally to direct.”

Ed Guiney, Element Pictures, says: “The team at Element have nurtured a burning ambition to bring Conversations With Friends to the screen ever since we first read it. We could not be more excited to be working once again with Sally, Lenny, Alice and our friends at the BBC on the adaptation of this utterly exceptional and enthralling novel.”

Conversations With Friends (12×30’) has been commissioned by Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama and Fiona Campbell, Controller of BBC Three. It will be produced by Element Pictures (Normal People, Dublin Murders, The Favourite, Room) and executive produced by Ed Guiney, Andrew Lowe, Emma Norton, Lenny Abrahamson and Sally Rooney; plus Rose Garnett and Tommy Bulfin for the BBC.

Filming dates and casting will be announced in due course.

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The world’s biggest cooking contest, Next Level Chef, comes to ITV and ITVX

The world’s biggest cooking contest, Next Level Chef, comes to

The ultimate TV cooking competition is coming to ITV and ITVX, as Gordon Ramsay’s internationally acclaimed Next Level Chef makes its debut on UK TV screens.

Produced by Studio Ramsay Global, Next Level Chef is a one-of-a-kind culinary gauntlet challenge, billed as the toughest and most epic cooking contest on TV.

The eight-part series, broadcasting in 2023, is set in an iconic and trailblazing TV studio like no other, with three unique kitchen spaces set across three storeys and almost 50ft high.

Each floor will test the contestants’ culinary creativity, agility, flare, and expertise, as they vie to progress to the Next Level. From the top-level state of the art kitchen utopia to the gloomy basement level ‘scraps only’ surroundings, Next Level Chef will task its chefs to prove they can thrive in any environment.

In a quest to unearth the culinary world’s next sensation, Gordon Ramsay will be joined by two of the most elite names in food, as the three judges preside over and mentor a group of talented chefs who will compete against each other to prove they can handle the heat in any kitchen space that is thrown at them.

The contestants will be under the watchful eyes of the panel across all three floors as they battle it out to produce the most mouth-watering dishes and avoid elimination. Ultimately, only one can be named Next Level Chef, and the winner will receive a life changing cash prize of £100k and a one-year mentorship under all three mentors.

Casting is currently underway in a bid to find the UK’s very best in cookery, from home chefs to social media stars, with budding chefs urged to apply via www.nextlevelchef.co.uk

A true test of skill and aptitude, the high octane, high adrenaline competition challenges the chefs to determine not only how they fare in the best of circumstances, but what kind of cookery magic they can create in the worst.

Next Level Chef was commissioned for ITV by Head of Entertainment Commissioning Katie Rawcliffe and Commissioning Editors Lily Wilson and Paula Thomas Gallie.

For Studio Ramsay Global, Executive Producers are Gordon Ramsay, Lisa Edwards, and Iain Peckham. Series Editor Lyndon Tovey and Production Executives Sarah Needham and Ben Flower.

Katie Rawcliffe said; “Next Level Chef is a dynamic, edge of your seat cooking competition in a league of its own. We’re so excited to welcome Gordon back to the UK and get started on perhaps the most ambitious TV studio the world has to offer!”

Gordon Ramsay said; “Next Level Chef is off the chart Next Level everything! A culinary competition that is epic on every level. From the size of the enormous structure to every challenge, every moment of jeopardy is huge. I want to see our chefs, social media stars, home cooks whatever their level, whatever their experience, show me what they can do. Whether they’re at the top cooking in the dream kitchen with every gadget and the finest ingredients or in the middle kitchen, good equipment, good ingredients but nothing fancy or, and this is where it gets really interesting, down in the basement kitchen. Super basic, minimal ingredients and left-over scraps then show me what you’re really made of! Talent and tenacity will absolutely shine through, and someone will walk away with an equally Next Level prize, I can’t wait to get started!”

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Channel 4 embeds legacy of The Black To Front Project with more new commissions and targets

Channel 4 embeds legacy of The Black To Front Project

Channel 4 has added Unapologetic and Crazy Rich… to its list of commissions which have come about as a direct result of its award-winning The Black to Front Project.

The ground-breaking day last September saw Channel 4’s entire programming schedule fronted by Black talent and contributors across all genres and advertisements, with the aim of amplifying Black voices in TV to reflect the diverse and vibrant culture of the UK.

Zeze Millz and Yinka Bokinni, pictured above left to right, will front a further six episodes of late night topical talk show Unapologetic (produced by SBTV and Cardiff Productions). It was previously recommissioned following its successful outing during The Black To Front Project.

In Crazy Rich… (w/t produced by Rumpus Media) Eddie Kadi (featured in Celebrity Gogglebox during The Black To Front Project) will act as a tour guide to show a famous comedian mate a side of Ghana that is seldom seen, and it’s a world of wealth, extravagance and exclusivity.

The broadcaster announced last month that The Big Breakfast (produced by Lifted Entertainment, part of ITV Studios) will get a summer run, reviving the award-winning partnership of hosts AJ Odudu and Mo Gilligan which was first seen as part The Black to Front Project special episode. In addition, The Defenders (w/t Spring Films) and Billionaires’ Paradise (Spun Gold) were also commissioned as part of The Black To Front Project.

Other on screen talent who were part of The Black to Front Project and who now have new Channel 4 commissions include Scarlette and Stuart Douglas (Worst House On The Street and George Clarke’s Flipping Fast) and Jean Johansson (Dream Life for Same Price pilot and Keys to a Fortune).Tayo Ogutonade continues to present BAFTA award-winning show The Great House Giveaway. Other shows and projects with Judi Love, AJ Odudu, Zeze Millz, Yinka Bokinni and Munya Chawawa are soon to be announced.

The Black To Front Project won the Broadcasting Press Guild Award for Innovation in Broadcasting.

New Commissioning Guidelines and new Manifesto 4 Change

To ensure that The Black To Front Project continues to drive meaningful change in the TV sector, Channel 4 has worked closely with the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity. The Centre have published a series of recommendations today which have contributed to Channel 4’s brand new Commissioning Guidelines, see here. As an extra statement of intent, Channel 4 has also published a Manifesto 4 Change.

The core principles of the new guidelines include a requirement for ethnically diverse senior leadership on all Channel 4 production teams as well as detailed targets for regional representation and production spend for ethnically diverse off screen talent to help ensure real impact across the spectrum of roles in production teams.

Channel 4 is already committed to ensuring that 20% of its commissioning department is ethnically diverse. That commitment has been further strengthened to state that at least 20% of Channel 4’s editorial decision-makers – Commissioning Editors and Commissioning Executives – as well as the most senior team members are from ethnically diverse backgrounds.

Ian Katz, Chief Content Officer, Channel 4 said: “The Black to Front Project was always about trying to create sustained change in the industry rather than just one day of striking content. We’ve already recommissioned several shows pitched as part of the project, made ambitious commitments to increased spend with ethnic minority-led companies and made genre by genre commitments to commissioning ethnic minority-fronted programming. Today we are doubling down on our pledge to drive change behind the camera with a new set of off-screen diversity targets for all our productions, and a commitment to do all we can to help our indie partners broaden their talent networks and open up our industry to all.

“We are very grateful to the Lenny Henry Centre for their recommendations on how we can achieve this, and will be announcing further plans for more production sector support in coming weeks.“

Ringfenced money for ethnically diverse-led indies

These measures follow the Channel’s recent pledges around commissioning and funding, to champion greater ethnic diversity both on and off screen.

Channel 4 was the first broadcaster to ringfence spend for ethnically diverse-led indies, pledging to triple content spend to £22 million by the end of 2023. The Channel has listened to industry feedback and will work with producers to ensure these targets are closely monitored to make sure they stay on track.

In March this year the broadcaster launched a multi-million-pound Diverse Indies Commissioning Fund with Motion Content Group. Blue Therapy 2 (w/t Project Gorilla/Luti Media) announced this month, is one of the first projects to come from this.

As a way of baking in commitment, Channel 4 has mandated every one of its genre teams to have at least one new show with ethnically diverse talent and/or stories at its heart every year, and every commissioning editor must also have at least one ethnically diverse-led indie on their development slates.

Grassroots support is another important route for Channel 4 to help create change, and the broadcaster is working with We Are Parable to support and mentor sixty up and coming Black filmmakers drawn from across the country.

More granular support for indies to help increase diversity will be announced by the broadcaster in coming weeks.

Marcus Ryder, Head of External Consultancies at the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity and Visiting Professor at Birmingham City University, said, “We are encouraged by the fact that Channel 4’s Black to Front project has proved to be bigger than just one day as the broadcaster has clearly taken the lessons that it learnt from the process and are implementing policies that should make it a more diverse and inclusive broadcaster, and hopefully improve diversity throughout the industry.”

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New behind-the-scenes series following Charlotte Crosby in Sunderland to air on BBC Three

New behind-the-scenes series following Charlotte Crosby in Sunderland to air

Charlotte In Sunderland is a brand new BBC Three reality entertainment show with access all areas into the unpredictable dynamic world of entrepreneur and TV personality, Charlotte Crosby showing her as she has never been seen before.

The show follows Charlotte as she pursues her personal and professional dreams in her beloved hometown of Sunderland whilst juggling the stresses of running her businesses and preparing for motherhood with boyfriend Jake. Viewers can expect to see the everyday goings-on in Charlotte’s successful empire as a resourceful and self made businesswoman who has amassed a large and loyal young fanbase throughout her years growing up in the limelight. With Charlotte based in her hometown, Charlotte in Sunderland shines a spotlight on the North East and all of the things that make it such a special place for Charlotte and her family.

Charlotte Crosby says: “I am beyond excited to be bringing my crazy life, my business ventures, much loved family, future hubby and my precious bump to the BBC! I hope everyone’s ready for the ride ahead!”

Nav Raman, Executive Producer for Chatterbox Media says: “This fast paced entertaining series offers an honest and surprising lens on the multi faceted world of Charlotte Crosby. We can’t wait to open up Charlotte’s world for audiences to join her on this exciting chapter of her journey.”

Issues such as family, love, friendships, money, health and growing up in the public eye are just a few of the challenges Charlotte faces, alongside balancing the incredible task of running a business whilst maintaining relationships with her friends and family and her boyfriend moving in. Charlotte in Sunderland will offer audiences an intimate view into Charlotte Crosby’s world and how she tackles the issues many young women face and can identify with in everyday life.

Charlotte In Sunderland will be coming soon to BBC Three and BBC iPlayer.

Charlotte In Sunderland (10×30) is being made by Chatterbox Media for BBC Three and BBC iPlayer. Executive Producers for Chatterbox are Nav Raman and Ali Quirk. It was commissioned by Nasfim Haque, BBC Three Channel Editor and the BBC Commissioning Editor is Rachel Ashdown.

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