The BBC has announced the return of ex-Eastender Michelle Ryan to home screens, after a brief spell as the Bionic Woman, later returning to Merlin and Doctor Who, amongst others, with filming well underway for the third series of BBC One and Red Planet Pictures’ hit drama Death in Paradise. Helen Baxendale and Peter Davison will be joining Kris Marshall, as well as the regular team of popular cast members, filming their scenes on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe this summer. Commenting on her role in the series, Michelle Ryan says: “It’s very exciting to be a part of this excellent series. I play an actress who is quite a handful with a dark past. The action element is always appealing for me and getting to film on the gorgeous Island of Guadeloupe was incredible. We had so much fun!”
Cameras also start rolling in London this week for an 18 week run filming BAFTA-winner Hugo Blick’s fast-paced, labyrinthine thriller The Honourable Woman, a new drama for BBC 2. A stellar international cast join Academy Award nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal, playing the titular role, Nessa Stein, in the seven-part BBC Two series. Joining Maggie is Stephen Rea, a stalwart of British film and Academy Award nominee, as Hugh Hayden-Hoyle – a top MI6 spy on the verge of retirement, digging deep into Nessa Stein’s family. His bitter ex-wife Anjelica is played by Lindsay Duncan.
ITV announced a two-part drama, Lucan, based on the life of flamboyant aristocrat, Lord Lucan, and written by award-winning writer Jeff Pope. Rory Kinnear will play Lucan whilst Christopher Eccleston takes the role of John Aspinall, Eccleston being a former Doctor Who of course and Kinnear rumoured to be in the running for the role in the future. Acclaimed actor Michael Gambon will also appear in the drama telling the story of Lucan’s exploits as a member of the infamous Clermont set and will focus on his marriage collapse to Veronica, the Countess of Lucan.
With his marriage disintegrating, Lucan became obsessed with regaining custody of his children. Ultimately the drama will reveal what happened on that fateful night in November 1974 when his children’s nanny, Sandra Rivett, was cruelly bludgeoned to death in the basement of the family’s home in London’s Lower Belgrave Street as she made her way to the kitchen to make a cup of tea.
French dialogued drama The Returned, or Les Revenants, to give it its real title, will ‘return’ to Channel 4 for a second series, after the channel acquired the UK premiere broadcast rights to the second series, currently in development, with another 8 episodes being made, to be filmed in early 2014 for an anticipated broadcast later in the year. The Returned has so far weaved a seductive and chilling tale which came to a dramatic climax last Sunday. The show was the first subtitled drama on Channel 4 for over 20 years, and attracted an average of 1.8million viewers each week, with a 7.1% share of the audience at 9pm on Sundays.
Channel 5 have announced that they are going ‘On the Buses’, a new 8 part series featuring the staff of East Yorkshire Motor Services (EYMS) as they go about their work during through the busy summer of 2013. No doubt similar to what we have seen in London recently, the series will feature the general operations of the company from top to bottom; with crews filming behind the scenes in the board room and the control room, the canteens, the bus terminals and out on the buses. Probably not surprising they also say the show will feature “a characterful cast” of drivers and their passengers.
Finally, just to throw another gem into the mix, acclaimed singer Alfie Boe will be making a special appearance in the new series of Mr Selfridge, which is due to transmit on ITV next year. Filming of the second series is well underway and Alfie Boe will be joining the regular cast, including Jeremy Piven, Katherine Kelly, Frances O’Connor and Amanda Abbington, for one episode, midway through the series. Series two of Mr Selfridge picks up the action in 1914 as the store is celebrating its 5th anniversary of trading. As the series progresses war breaks out and Mrs Selfridge (Frances O’Connor) and Mr Crabb (Ron Cook) arrange a charity event at the store to raise money for soldiers on the front line. Alfie Boe plays Richard Chapman, a tenor who used to be top of the bill at the Gaiety and is an old friend of Lady Mae Loxley (Katherine Kelly). Lady Mae asks Richard to sing at Selfridge’s charity concert and he’s happy to oblige.
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