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Two new drama acquisitions for BBC

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The BBC has today announced The Secrets She Keeps and The Last Wave, two new scripted acquisitions for the BBC.

The Secrets She Keeps is a 6×60′ Lingo Pictures series adaptation of author Michael Robotham’s best-selling novel of the same name acquired from DCD Rights written by Sarah Walker and Jonathan Gavin. The contemporary dramatic noir stars Laura Carmichael (Downton Abbey, Marcella, The Spanish Princess) as Agatha Fyfle, Jessica de Gouw (The Crown, Vienna Blood, The Hunting) as Meghan Shaughnessy and Michael Dorman (For All Mankind, Patriot, Wonderland) as Jack Shaughnessy.

Everyone has an idea of what their ‘perfect’ life is. For Agatha, it’s Meghan Shaughnessy’s. These two women from two vastly different walks of life hold one thing in common – explosive secrets that could destroy everything they hold dear. Both will risk everything to
conceal the truth, but their worlds are about to collide in one shocking act that cannot be
undone.

The Last Wave is a 6×60′ supernatural French drama created by Raphaëlle Roudaut (Un fils, Match Day) and Alexis Le Sec and acquired from Fremantle’s acclaimed scripted producers, Kwai.

It’s set during a surfing competition in Biarritz when a huge ominous cloud takes over the sky. As the cloud and sea meet, a jaw-dropping 3km wave appears, engulfing all the participants. As the days pass, the mystery deepens when the surfers begin to return home dazed and confused, with no memory of where they have been or what happened to them.

Sue Deeks, Head of BBC Programme Acquisition, says: “The Secrets She Keeps is an emotionally-charged psychological thriller, full of surprise twists and turns, and The Last Wave is a supernatural eco-thriller where an idyllic setting is the backdrop for mysterious events. The two series are clearly very different, but both are utterly compelling and guaranteed to keep the audience gripped until the very end.”

The Secrets She Keeps

In an affluent Sydney suburb, two women have a chance encounter in a supermarket. They are the same age, both pregnant and due to give birth at the same time. Agatha works in the supermarket as a shelf-stacker whilst Meghan is a ‘mummy blogger’ on the rise.

Although they live in roughly the same part of the city, they come from different worlds – their lives on radically different trajectories. Agatha subsists just above the poverty line in a grubby flat with few real friends. She immigrated to Katoomba (on the outskirts of Sydney) from the UK with her family when she was 14 but has no real connection to her Jehovah’s Witness mother who still lives there. The father of her baby, Hayden, whom Agatha had a brief relationship is a sailor serving on HMAS Sutherland. He is oblivious that he has a child on the way.

Meghan is comfortably upper middle class. Her husband, Jack, an ambitious TV sports reporter, is often recognised at the pub. We meet Agatha first, and we see Meghan initially through her eyes. There is something off balance about Agatha. She’s not exactly dishonest, but she watches Meghan with the gaze of a voyeur who has a disturbing, covetous streak.

After engineering a situation intended to get closer to Meghan which involves her toddler son Agatha succeeds in ingratiating herself to Meghan and the pair begin to begin an unlikely friendship.

Agatha is both impressed and irritated by the beautiful Meghan with her glamorous partner, her blog and her two kids. Why can’t she have that life? Agatha’s envious obsession with Meghan escalates into full-blown stalking. She hides in Meghan’s backyard, spying on her perfect life, gathering information on her new friend in attempts to get closer to her. She lies to Meghan about
her past and it starts to emerge that perhaps Agatha has done all of this before…

Drip-fed throughout the story, we find that Agatha has a secret, dark past when it comes to new born babies. And with history threatening to repeat itself, not all is as it seems regarding Agatha’s own pregnancy.

But Meghan too is hiding secrets and when Agatha begins to enact her awful plan, Meghan is faced with admitting her transgression. Both women’s lives are set to implode.

Inspired by a real-life hospital kidnap incident from the 1990s, The Secrets She Keeps is an adroit look at the media feeding frenzy that surrounds such cases. It is a taut thriller as well as a sociological portrait of a society where cupidity, stupidity and fame often coalesce to make a toxic brew.

The Secrets She Keeps is a 6×60′ Lingo Pictures series acquired from DCD Rights written by Sarah Walker and Jonathan Gavin. It was acquired by Sue Deeks, Head of BBC Programme Acquisition, it is Produced by Lingo Pictures’ Helen Bowden and the Executive Producer is Jason Stephens. Lingo Pictures is a leading Australian independent production company, whose recent projects include the comedy drama Upright, starring Tim Minchin, which was broadcast in the UK to acclaim late last year, and Lambs of God, which won a record number of AACTA (Australian Academy) Awards in 2019.

The Last Wave

The Last Wave is set during a surfing competition in Biarritz when a huge ominous cloud takes over the sky. As the cloud and sea meet, a jaw-dropping 3km wave appears, engulfing all the participants. As the days pass, the mystery deepens when the surfers begin to return home dazed and confused, with no memory of where they have been or what happened to them.

One by one, the returning surfers discover that they have been changed by the event and each possess exceptional and inexplicable powers. With the town united in fear, waiting for another wave to strike, scientist Ben Lebon makes an amazing discovery concerning the mysterious cloud hovering over the ocean: a discovery that has far-reaching consequence for all of Brizan’s residents.

The Last Wave is a 6×60′ Kwai series acquired from Fremantle written by Raphaëlle Rondaut, Alexis Le Sec, Sophie Hiet. It was acquired by Sue Deeks, Head of BBC Programme Acquisition. It is directed by Rodolphe Tissot, it is Produced by Stéphanie Carrère and Thomas Bourguignon.

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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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