Jeff Pope, who shared the Venice Film Festival best screenplay prize with his Philomena co-writer Steve Coogan, is prepping a biopic about legendary comedy duo Laurel and Hardy. The 90-minute TV movie Stan And Ollie will reteam Pope with Philomena distributor The Weinstein Co. It’s also a reteam for TWC with the BBC and UK production outfit Lookout Point (Ripper Street). The trio are collaborating on Stan And Ollie, and are already partnered on a six-part adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s War And Peace which signaled TWC’s serious push into the European TV arena when it was announced in October.
Stan And Ollie will center on Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy’s 1953 UK tour. At the time, the superstars, who had made 106 films together, were facing declining popularity and a series of personal issues. The UK tour was a redeeming success until Hardy was sidelined by a heart attack. When Laurel was offered the chance to go it alone, he refused and Hardy eventually roused himself for a few last, triumphant performances. He died shortly thereafter. Shane Allen, controller of BBC Comedy commissioning, calls Pope’s take a “love letter to two pioneers and enduring giants of screen comedy.” Cast and timetable are yet to come on the BBC In-House Comedy/BBC Worldwide/Lookout Point co-production for BBC One. The BBC’s Saurabh Kakkar, Lookout’s Simon Vaughan and TWC’s Harvey Weinstein are exec producers.
Listen to (and share) episode 16 of Deadline’s audio podcast Global Showbiz Watch, With Nancy Tartaglione. Deadline’s international editor talks from London with host David Bloom about a series of UK-based stories the past several days, including the very big audiences that turned out for Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary celebration on the BBC, BBC America and in dozens of other countries; what the BBC has planned at Christmas time for the newest doctor in Doctor Who, and the much-awaited third season of Sherlock; Oscar winner Emma Thompson’s long look back with BAFTA at her career so far, even as her latest film, Saving Mr. Banks, builds its own awards buzz; and Pinewood Shepperton, busy counting its cash after a strong quarter, presses for approval of a major expansion of its London facilities amid a serious studio capacity crunch that’s turning away work in the city.
Global Showbiz Watch, Episode 16 (.MP3 version)
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The BBC has outlined its holiday programming with yet more clues about Matt Smith’s last outing as Doctor Who. The series’ Christmas episode has been titled The Time Of The Doctor, following the Season 7 finale, The Name Of The Doctor, and last weekend’s The Day Of The Doctor (along with online mini-ep, The Night Of The Doctor). The episode will air December 25th and mark Smith’s departure as it introduces Peter Capaldi as the 12th Time Lord. It will also feature Fringe‘s Orla Brady in a new role. The BBC synopsis goes like this: “Orbiting a quiet backwater planet, the massed forces of the universe’s deadliest species gather, drawn to a mysterious message that echoes out to the stars… Rescuing Clara from a family Christmas dinner, the Time Lord and his best friend must learn what this enigmatic signal means for his own fate and that of the universe.” The Day Of The Doctor smashed records on Saturday for BBC America which traditionally airs the Christmas special in step with the UK.
Showrunner Steven Moffat’s other series, Sherlock, also returns to the BBC over the holidays. (It starts on PBS on January 19th). The first episode of the new three-part series, titled “The Empty Hearse”, will pick up two years after the titular high-functioning sociopath jumped from a building in “The Reichenbach Fall”. With London under the threat of a huge terrorist attack, Holmes will make his return from the dead.
Related: Hot TV Teaser: ‘Sherlock’ Season 3 Read More »
Martin Sheen will star in The Whale, a two-hour film from BBC Factual Productions and Animal Planet that’s set to premiere in December on BBC 1 and in summer 2014 on Animal Planet. Based on … Read More »
BBC‘s Sherlock returns for its 3rd season on January 19 on PBS in the U.S., picking up after Season 2′s “Reichenbach Fall” finale. Here’s Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the 30-second teaser for Sherlock‘s return that was unveiled during today’s 50th Anniversary Doctor Who special:
But wait, there’s more! BBC also dropped a new teaser for its Doctor Who 2013 Christmas Special: Read More »
As part of the 50th anniversary Doctor Who celebrations, BBC America will premiere the new biopic, An Adventure In Space And Time, on November 22nd (it airs the day before on BBC Two in the UK). The film documents the genesis of the character and hails from Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss. David Bradley stars as William Hartnell, who played the first Doctor in 1963. Brian Cox, Jessica Raine and Sacha Dhawan also feature. Meanwhile, BBC America has unveiled a spoiler-y seven-minute Night Of The Doctor mini-episode, a prequel to The Day Of The Doctor 50th anniversary special that will be globally simulcast on November 23rd. It’s after the jump, but once again, beware of spoilers. The BBC further announced today that there will be a live Afterparty on the 23rd following the Day Of The Doctor airing. Outgoing Time Lord Matt Smith will appear as will other previous Doctors and companions. Boy band One Direction will appear on the show live from LA. No word yet on BBC America’s plans for the live London event. Here’s the Adventure In Space And Time teaser and the mini-episode follows on the next page:
SPOILER ALERT… SPOILER ALERT… SPOILER ALERT: Read More »
Listen to (and share) episode 14 of Deadline’s audio podcast Global Showbiz Watch With Nancy Tartaglione. Deadline’s international editor talks with host David Bloom about awards season in Europe, with nominations out from both the British Independent Film Awards and the European Film Awards; Doctor Who’s big day becomes a big week at the BBC; and Sweden’s new ratings system to measure sexism on film. Nancy and David also talk about the European perspective on a new study looking at portrayals of violence becoming more common in PG-13 films than in R-rated ones.
Global Showbiz Watch, Episode 14 (MP3 format)
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ABC has made another early comedy pickup, greenlighting An American Education, a single-camera project based on the BBC Three series Bad Education. Film and TV writers Peter Huyck and Alex Gregory wrote the script from … Read More »
When Sherlock was filming its third series earlier this year, producer Sue Vertue pleaded with fans not to post about the show’s daily locations. She made the move after pictures of stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman started popping up on the … Read More »
Earlier this month, I wrote about gymnastics as a possible new frontier for celebrity competition shows, and about buzz that the BBC was readying such a project. The broadcaster has now made it official, commissioning Let’s Get Ready To Tumble. The show will air live in Saturday primetime and feature British celebs teamed with international gymnasts to tackle what are being described as “never-before-seen, new-to-TV disciplines.” The announcement could mean there will soon be two celebrity gymnastics formats in the international arena. I recently reported that CORE Media is developing Celebrity Champions in the U.S., an original format that sees former Olympians coach celebrities and has Mary Lou Retton attached as anchor judge. CORE is currently talking to U.S. networks. Read More »
With its Day of the Doctor celebration just around the corner, BBC has released a 50th anniversary trailer for its upcoming Doctor Who special. The program will be simulcast in the U.S. and UK and 75 countries on November 23. Glimpse the previous incarnations … Read More »
‘We Are The Best!’ Headed To Screens In Six More Territories
Lukas Moodysson’s latest feature We Are The Best! has sealed a number of new distribution deals. TrustNordisk has added France (MK2), Russia (Caravella), Greece (One from the Heart), Mexico (Cannibal Networks), Hungary (Vertigo), Estonia (Estin Film) and Hong Kong (Edko) to the list of territories where the film will be released. The tale of three young outsiders in 1980s Stockholm who form a punk band debuted in Venice. Magnolia Pictures acquired it for the U.S. after it played in Toronto.
Latest Stop For Keshet’s ‘Rising Star’ Is Italy
Keshet International has locked another deal for Rising Star, its hit interactive talent show. Sony Pictures Television Group production company Toro will adapt the format for Italy. This follows recent deals in France, Russia, Germany and the Nordics. Rising Star was one of the hottest properties at the recent Mipcom TV market and incorporates real-time voting by viewers via a free app that is fully integrated into the show. Read More »
The BBC has commissioned more than 2,500 hours of programming that will span four years to mark the centenary of World War I. As part of the ambitious undertaking Rupert Murdoch will be interviewed about his father’s role as the whistle-blower who told the world the truth about the botched Gallipoli campaign in Turkey. The season kicks off in early 2014 and will run through 2018 on BBC TV, Radio and Online and across international, national and local services. At MipTV in April, BBC controller Ben Stephenson foreshadowed some of the plans when he announced five-part half-hour series The Great War from Life On Mars’ Tony Jordan. The series is now titled The Passing-Bells and will be stripped over one week. Other highlights include drama The Ark from Sarah Phelps (Great Expectations) and starring Oona Chaplin, Hermione Norris and Kerry Fox as a dedicated team of medics; factual drama 37 Days about the lead up to war with Ian McDiarmid and Tim Pigott-Smith; four-part documentary Britain’s Great War; and My Great War, a film based on the unseen archive of hundreds of hours of interviews with veterans that the BBC shot in 1964. Read More »
It’s The Old Consult-On-A-Movie-About-Maritime-Piracy Trick
If this real-life tale were pitched as a movie, it might go something like this: “Imagine Argo meets Captain Phillips, with a little In Bruges thrown in.” Mohamed Abdi Hassan, an alleged pirate mastermind, was arrested during the weekend after arriving in Belgium from Nairobi. He was led there by the belief that he was signing a deal to act as an expert adviser on a documentary about the Somali piracy business. Instead, he was met by authorities, who arrested him. Hassan, aka Afweyne or “Big Mouth”, was charged with hijacking the Belgian ship Pompei in 2009 and kidnapping its crew, per the Associated Press. Some of the pirates involved in that attack were caught and convicted, but Hassan remained at large. When he evaded capture in Malaysia in 2012, Belgian authorities took the undercover route and approached an alleged accomplice, Mohamed Aden, saying they wanted Hassan to “collaborate as adviser and expert in the matter on a film about maritime piracy,” federal prosecutor Johan Delmulle told The New York Times. After months of back-and-forth, Hassan and Aden agreed to travel to Belgium. When they arrived on Saturday, they were arrested and sent to Bruges for a court hearing. Today, the hearing was pushed to October 30.
‘Now You See Me’ Opens Atop Chinese Box Office With $9.1M
Heist pic Now You See Me was No. 1 at the Chinese box office over the weekend. The film about a group of magicians who pull off a complex caper made $9.1M in its first four days of release over the local holiday, FilmBizAsia reports. Local pic Love Will Tear Us Apart opened with $5.21M in its first two days and in its third weekend, Tsui Hark’s Young Detective Dee: Rise Of The Sea Dragon took a further $6.93M for a cume of $88.7M, outperforming Hark’s last pic, 2011’s Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The BBC and Colin Callender‘s Playground Entertainment are developing Howards End, a miniseries project based on E.M. Forster’s classic novel. Deadline has learned that Kenneth Lonergan, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Gangs … Read More »
Discovery issued an email this morning letting the media know it has ended its programming partnership with BBC – a relationship that’s produced some of Discovery’s most acclaimed Oprah Winfrey-narrated natural history telecasts. “Discovery and the BBC … Read More »
Emily Watson, David Thewlis Join ‘The Theory Of Everything’
Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Charlie Cox, Simon McBurney, Maxine Peake and Harry Lloyd have joined the cast of Working Title’s The Theory Of Everything, which has begun shooting in the UK. The film follows the story of physicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) and Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones), the arts student he fell in love with while studying at Cambridge in the 1960s and later became his wife. James Marsh is directing the Anthony McCarten-scripted film, which is produced by Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner and Lisa Bruce and Anthony McCarten.
BBC Expected To Announce Discovery Of Lost ‘Doctor Who’ Episodes
The BBC is expected to end months of speculation by announcing this week that several early episodes of Doctor Who that were thought to be lost have been returned to the pubcaster. More than 100 early episodes featuring stars William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton are missing, and the BBC destroyed the original transmission tapes. But prints made for foreign broadcasters sometimes turn up, including all four installments of the Troughton adventure The Tomb of the Cybermen, which were found in Hong Kong in 1991. The latest discovery as Doctor Who is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Related: Doctor Who’ 50th Anni Special Set For Global Simulcast
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The Weinstein Co today announced itself as a player in the European TV arena with news it would act as production partner on the BBC’s War And Peace event series. The project is the latest to join the trend of large-scale co-productions with European elements and established U.S. pedigrees that arguably kicked off with Tom Fontana’s Borgia. TWC’s move is an even clearer signal that lines are blurring in the scripted TV world. To name just a few of the big-scale projects in the current bent is a laundry list of who’s who on the landscape: Crossing Lines from Ed Bernero and Studiocanal-owned Tandem Communications; Tandem and Lionsgate TV’s Sex, Lies And Handwriting; Daniel Cerone’s Canadian crime import Motive; HBO Asia’s Serangoon Road; Gaumont International TV’s King David from Wolfgang Petersen, Monsieur De Paris from Tony Gilroy and Barbarella with Nicolas Winding Refn; and Fox International Channels’ adaptation of Keshet’s Shkufim with Peter Landesman writing. Meanwhile, Core Media also has a scripted production venture with veteran Canadian producer Noreen Halpern’s Halfire Entertainment banner and a 3-for-1 agreement with NBC which banks on co-productions. Some of the above already had a presence at April’s MipTV market and some are more recent. But for sure, all are being talked about here at Mipcom. Read More »
The BBC is going all out for Doctor Who‘s 50th birthday, unveiling a list of programs to mark the occasion and revealing the poster that goes with November 23rd BBC One special, The Day Of The Doctor. The 75-minute movie will star exiting Time Lord Matt Smith, as well as Doctor Who No. 10 David Tennant, along with John Hurt, Jenna Coleman and Billie Piper. It’s also airing in the U.S. on BBC America that same night. The special is written by Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat. Mark Gatiss, his collaborator on Who — and Sherlock — has penned a separate film, An Adventure In Space And Time, which stars David Bradley as William Hartnell, who played the first Doctor in 1963. Brian Cox, Jessica Raine and Sacha Dhawan also feature. That special will air on BBC Two which is also playing host to a one-hour look at the science behind the show, as well as an examination of the Time Lord’s cultural significance in Me, You And Doctor Who. BBC Three is running a countdown to the top Doctor Who monster of all time and, for folks less familiar with the show, will air Doctor Who: The Ultimate Guide. Over on BBC Four, the first four episodes of the original series will be shown in a restored format. Read More »