BBC One controller Danny Cohen has been appointed director of BBC Television, rounding out the senior management team of new director general Tony Hall. Cohen will sit on the BBC’s executive and management boards and will oversee the BBC’s four main channels as well as the BBC iPlayer and online content for BBC Television. He also now oversees BBC Films as well as the broadcaster’s drama, entertainment, knowledge and comedy genres and BBC Productions, Europe’s largest TV production group.
Cohen was named controller in October 2010 and is responsible for such series commissions as Call The Midwife, Last Tango In Halifax, The Voice UK and Ripper Street. Upcoming series include the adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, Starz/BBC drama The White Queen, fantasy project Atlantis and BBC America co-production Strange And Norrell. Cohen starts his new job on May 7 at a salary of £327,800. Hall recently appointed the former editor of Rupert Murdoch’s The Times newspaper, James Harding, as head of news.
Calendar Girls producer Nick Barton is gearing up for a summer shoot on family film Swallows And Amazons. Downton Abbey alum Dan Stevens is in talks for the key role of James Turner, aka Captain Flint. Swallows And Amazons is the first book in the children’s series by Arthur Ransome. Set in England’s Lake District in the summer of 1929, the books center on the Walker kids and the Blackett kids whose respective sailboats are dubbed Swallow and Amazon. When the adventurous and imaginative children meet, they join forces against their common enemy – the Blacketts’ uncle James whom they call Captain Flint.
Casting is underway for the children who are aged from six to 13. The Guard brothers Charles and Thomas, who directed the DreamWorks/Paramount suspense pic The Uninvited in 2009, are helming. Andrea Gibb is scripting the co-production from Barton’s Harbour Pictures and BBC Films. The books were previously adapted for the screen in 1974. Read More »
Saoirse Ronan is returning to her period roots with the David Heyman-produced Testament Of Youth. The Atonement actress, who’s lately made a detour into action, has become attached to the adaptation of Vera Brittain’s World War I memoir. … Read More »
Creative England, the British Film Institute, BBC Films and Skillset are partnering on the second go-round of iFeatures, a low-budget film initiative for indie filmmakers in the UK. The program provides development and production support for three features budgeted at £350,000 that will be shot in England. The last iFeatures round included just-completed romantic comedy 8 Minutes Idle, starring Ophelia Lovibond, Tom Hughes and Antonia Thomas; and the Helen McCrory-starrer Flying Blind, which is currently in post. ContentFilm is handling sales on both while the BBC will pre-buy free-TV rights to the next three films to go through the scheme. Submissions are open for iFeatures² through May 3. Here’s the release: Read More »
Here’s a first look at Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham, the witchy central character in Great Expectations, Mike Newell’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’ novel. Miss Havisham is an iconic character over here in Britain: an embittered spinster … Read More »
It’s no surprise. Wright has been putting out feelers for new jobs outside the Beeb’s filmmaking arm for months. She’s known to have become increasingly constricted at BBC Films, where she’s been for the past 15 years. Wright … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Slingshot Productions and BBC Films are co-developing a teen thriller partly inspired by Strangers On a Train. The working title is Teens On a Train. Slingshot’s hoping to shoot in 2011. Joshua St Johnston, creator of BBC fashion drama Material Girl, is the writer. St Johnston co-founded Ray Winstone’s … Read More »
UPDATE: UK culture minister Jeremy Hunt and arts minister Ed Vaizey have rowed back transferring the £15 million ($19 million) lottery film cash to the British Film Institute. Nor are they going to ask BBC Films and Film4 to split … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The UK government is considering handing over the £15 million of lottery film production cash, which the UK Film Council currently handles, to public broadcasters the BBC and Channel 4. Ed Vaizey, the government arts minister, has talked about … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The international sales arm of the London-based financier is handling worldwide rights apart from US, which it’s sharing with executive producer Anant Singh. The First Grader has been tipped for Venice, and has already been accepted for the London Film … Read More »