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TRAILER

Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins can be heard narrating “The Smeds and the Smoos,” the upcoming BBC adaptation of the book of the same name by beloved children’s writer Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler, in a new trailer released today.

A loose re-telling of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” the charming adaptation, from Magic Light Pictures, “The Smeds and the Smoos” also features the voices of “Bridgerton’s” Adjoa Andoh and comedian Bill Bailey (“Black Books”) as well as Meera Syal (“Roar”), Rob Brydon (“Gavin and Stacey”), Ashna Rabheru (“Sex Education”) and Daniel Ezra (“All American”).

It will air in the U.K. on Christmas Day.

Check out the trailer below:

COMMISSION

A biopic of one of the U.K.’s most famous soccer siblings, Justin and John Fashanu, has been set at U.K. broadcaster ITV. Justin, who became Britain’s first Black soccer star to command £1 million, tragically died by suicide after he came out as gay in 1990, following a career decline and family estrangement. He was soon eclipsed by his brother John, who signed to the same soccer club and soon became one of the industry’s biggest stars.

John Fashanu is advising on the drama series, which will be written by Kwame Kwei-Armah (“Breaking”) and produced by ITV Studios shingle Happy Prince. It will air in the U.K. on ITV1 and streamer ITVX.

“I grew up watching the Fashanu brothers. I was fascinated by them. Inspired by them,” said Kwei-Armah. “As an adult, my heart breaks for them. In ‘Fash,’ I wanted to dive into that past, particularly one that has so many resonances with today.”

EXECUTIVE RESHUFFLE

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which oversees the Eurovision Song Contest among other endeavors, has set its new exec board. All the board members are senior members of European public service media companies. The majority of the new board are returning members, although some have joined EBU president Delphine Ernotte-Cunci (France Télévisions CEO) and VP Petr Dvořák (Czech TV director general) for the first time.

The new board, which will serve for a two-year period, is comprised of: Ernotte-Cunci, Dvořák, Tim Davie (director general at the BBC), Cilla Benkö (director general at Sweden’s SR), Mykola Chernotytskyi (head of the managing board at Ukraine’s UA:PBC), Monika Garbačiauskaitė-Budrienė (director general at Lithuania’s LRT), Giacomo Ghisani (acting director general at Vatican State’s RV), Gilles Marchand (director general at Switzerland’s SRG SSR), Nicolau Santos (board chair at Portugal’s RTP), Marinella Soldi (president of Italy’s Rai) and Katja Wildermuth (director general at Germany’s BR).

FACULTY APPOINTMENTS

Anne Mensah, Netflix VP for original series, has been appointed Vice President of The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Joining her as VP are actor Zoë Wanamaker, scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, poet Ben Okri and disability-rights activist Jenny Sealey.

Last week the institution unveiled Sonia Friedman as its new president. “Following the recent appointment of Sonia Friedman, one of the world’s most dynamic practitioners and a Central graduate, as president of Central we are now delighted to share that she will be joining us with five vice presidents who we believe espouse artistic excellence and represent what Central strives to stand for,” said the school’s principal, Josette Bushell-Mingo. “We look forward to seeing them at Central and to how they will impact staff and students in exciting future developments. It heralds a new time for Central.”

Moley

ANIMATION

Kids’ show “Moley,” which features an all-star cast including Warwick Davis, Stanley Tucci, Gemma Arterton, Jessica Henwick, Richard E. Grant and Julie Walters, is coming to Freeview for the first time from Jan. 2023.

Created by James Reatchlous, the show will hit the platform with a bang as the series releases a new set of 13 episodes this month. As well as Freeview it will be available on Boomerang from Dec. 5 while a Christmas special is set to air on the POP Channel.

“The stories are such wonderful creations and I love the idea that MoleTown exists beneath the planet, a place where moles from different countries and backgrounds come together,” said Davis, who plays protagonist Moley. “I think that’s a terrific idea in today’s world.”