Renowned singer Shirley Bassey is set to open this year’s BAFTA film awards with a James Bond tribute. Bassey has long been associated with 007, holding the record for an artist who has sung the most Bond theme songs with “Goldfinger” in 1964, “Diamonds Are Forever” in 1971 and “Moonraker” in 1979. The singer will perform “an iconic Bond theme” although which one will only be revealed on the night. This year’s BAFTA Awards will celebrate a number of iconic British film franchises, including Bond and Harry Potter. “CODA” lead Emilia Jones is also set to perform during the ceremony with a rendition of “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell.
The BAFTA Awards will take place in London on March 13.
Independent production outfit Big Deal Films (“Little Badman”) is teaming with Hoek, Line & Thinker for Big Thinkers, a new initiative to find the next big animated hit authored by diverse U.K. creators, told from a perspective that gives a voice and the screen to underrepresented sections of the audience. Projects should be aimed at pre-schoolers, children in the 6-11 age group or a prime time audience.
Submissions will be accepted here from now through Apr 10. Ten finalists will pitch their projects a jury including Elliott Palmer (CBBC, Nickelodeon, King Bert), Shamik Majumdar (Disney EMEA), Kristina Yee (Goat Girl), Ed Barnieh (Netflix) and Lindsey Adams (Daily Madness). The three winning creators will develop their ideas into full pitch bibles at Big Deal Films.
Dhanny Joshi, co-founder and MD of Big Deal Films, said: “Now more than ever, the world of animation needs stories, characters and superheroes that truly reflect the world we live in. Further increasing our presence in animation feels like a very natural next step for Big Deal Films and we are excited to partner with Tom [van Waveren] and the Hoek, Line and Thinker team to make this a reality.”
Independent production company Two Rivers Media has acquired film and TV rights to “The Goldenacre,” a literary thriller by Philip Miller, prior to its publication in June by Polygon, an imprint of Birlinn Limited. Set in Edinburgh, the novel traces the journey of The Goldenacre – a masterpiece canvas by the painter and architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, which has been given to the people of Scotland. Thomas Tallis, an art expert with a troubled past, is trying to uncover the truth about the painting’s complex history, while tenacious newspaper reporter Shona Sandison is investigating a series of shocking murders in Edinburgh.
Discovery U.K. has commissioned three new series: The 10-part Raw Cut-produced series “This Cop Life,” to air on Discovery Plus and Really, follows the next generation of Kent Police officers as they discover life on the beat is tougher than they could ever imagine. Also premiering on Really and Discovery Plus is Red Sky-produced 15-part series “The Saved & Remade Workshop,” which sees host Amanda Lamb work with a team of experts as they transform disused or neglected items giving them a new lease of life and new meaning to their owners. Avalon-produced 10-part series “Scrapyard Millions” (working title), due on Discovery Plus and Quest, follows one of the most successful scrapyards in Britain and its owner, Terry Walker, as the business aims to go global.
Abigail Lawrie (“Tin Star”) and Rhianne Barreto (“The Outlaws”) are set to star in a new Paramount Plus original series from the U.K., “The Blue.” Jay Ryan (“It Chapter Two”), Sean Keenan (“The Power of the Dog”) and Jake Macapagal (“Metro Manila”) have also boarded the show.
The 7-part series, which tells the story of two female friends on the run from the British police, is adapted from Lucy Clarke’s novel “No Escape” by lead writer Kris Mrksa (“White House Farm”). Hans Herbots (“The Serpent”) is the lead director.
All3Media’s New Pictures will produce the U.K. original drama. VIS, Paramoint’s international studio division, will co-produce. Mrksa, Elaine Pyke and Willow Grylls executive produce. Sebastian Cardwell, Paramount’s deputy chief content officer U.K., commissioned the series.
Paramount Plus is set to launch in the U.K. in summer 2022.
Meanwhile, comedian, actor and author Rosie Jones is to star in three commissions for U.K. broadcaster Channel 4. Entertainment travelogue format “Trip Hazard,” created by Studio 71 and produced by CPL Productions returns for a second season, where Jones is joined by celebrity friends to explore the unlikeliest of destinations around the U.K. In a one-off, as-yet-untitled, documentary made by Twofour, Jones explores society’s attitudes towards disabled people and she is also hosting “Dine Hard,” a comedy, chat and cooking five-part series produced by Rockerdale Studios.
Channel 4 has also renewed “Extraordinary Extensions” for a second, six-part, season, which will see musician Tinie, a design enthusiast and property developer himself, once again travel around the U.K. to meet the homeowners realising their dreams by expanding their residences with extensions. The four-part first season followed transformations including a 17th century Cotswold cottage, an £11 million ($14.5 million) mega-basement in the heart of Kensington and a former timber yard turned energy-efficient passive house.
Starzplay, the international premium streaming service from Starz, is being launched as a direct-to-consumer app on LG Smart TVs in the U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Brazil and Mexico. The company also has plans to launch it in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden within the month. Sets need to run webOS 3.0 and above in the new European and Latin American markets. The app will allow international viewers to access original series the same day they launch in the U.S. Such titles include “Outlander” on Starzplay U.K. and the series premiere of the dark comedy “Shining Vale” starring Courteney Cox which is now available globally. – Patrick Frater
Fox Star Studios, Friday Filmworks and Bootroom Sports Production’s official biopic on Indian cricketer Pravin Tambe titled ‘”Kaun Pravin Tambe?” will stream from Apr. 1 on Disney Plus Hotstar. It is directed by Jayprad Desai with Shreyas Talpade as Tambe. The film follows the leg spinner who started playing for the Rajasthan Royals Indian Premier League cricket team at the age of 41. The cast also features Ashish Vidyarthi, Parambrata Chaterjee and Anjali Patil.
Elsewhere, “Evil by Design: Surviving Nygård,” Blue Ant Studios‘ three-part documentary series commissioned by Canada’s public broadcaster CBC, will premiere March 17 on CBC TV, the free CBC Gem streaming service. Based on investigative reporting from CBC News and the landmark audio series from CBC Podcasts, Evil by Design, series examines the culture that kept allegations of fashion executive Peter Nygård’s predatory behavior hidden, while spotlighting the whistle-blowers who seek to bring him to justice. While Nygård built a fashion empire, he is also alleged to have preyed on numerous women. In Dec. 2020, Nygård was arrested and charged with numerous counts of sexual assault and sex trafficking in the State of New York. Charges in Canada followed in Oct. 2021. To date, Nygård has denied all allegations and is currently in custody in Toronto. He has agreed to extradition to the U.S.