Funny guys Charlie Brooker and Romesh Ranganathan are set to appear at the BBC’s first-ever comedy festival this May. The festival will take place from May 11–13 in Newcastle upon Tyne, which has been designated the first BBC City of Comedy, with a variety of panels, screenings, stand-up and talent talks as well as the premiere of “The Outlaws” season 2.

Joining Brooker and Ranganathan are Greg Davies, Jamie Demetriou, Megan Ganz, Gbemisola Ikumelo Stephen Merchant, Tim Renkow, Kat Sadler, Adjani Salmon, and Holly Walsh as well as the casts of “Ghosts” and “The Outlaws.” The festival is also open to anyone looking to advance their career or break into TV and comedy, with BBC and U.S. execs in attendance to look out for upcoming talent.


Malaysian content and entertainment company Astro has acquired the rights to adapt BAFTA nominated “Liar,” a thriller series created by BAFTA and Golden Globe-nominated screenwriters Harry and Jack Williams, via its film production arm, Astro Shaw, in association with All3Media International. Double Vision (“The Bridge”) played a key role in securing the rights to adapt “Liar” and will handle the production of the series. Produced by Two Brothers Pictures for ITV and Sundance TV in 2017, “Liar” explores themes of sexual assault, consent, modern-day gender politics, family life and deceit.


ITV and Amazon Prime Video have joined the BBC, Channel 4, Netflix and Sky by signing up to the ScreenSkills Unscripted TV Skills Fund, meaning they will donate a percentage of their unscripted commission budgets towards the fund. A+E Networks U.K., Discovery U.K. and Channel 5 are also members. Backed by producers body Pact, the fund aims to redress the national unscripted TV skills shortage by offering training and development opportunities. At least 50% of the fund is earmarked for use outside of London, in the nations and regions.


The Banff World Media Festival has revealed the nominees for the 2022 Rockie Awards International Program Competition, recognizing excellence in television and digital media from around the globe. Nominees include “Friends: The Reunion,” “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy,” “The Great British Bake Off,” “Top Gear” and “Introducing, Selma Blair.”

This year’s Grand Jury includes: Vanessa Brookman, head of kids EMEA, WarnerMedia; Trish Williams, executive director, scripted content, CBC; James Blue, head, Smithsonian channel and senior VP, MTV News and Docs, ViacomCBS Entertainment and Youth Brands; Young-kyu Kim, Co-CEO, Studio Dragon; Caroline Hollick, head of Drama, Channel 4; Candice Wilson Cherry, head of development and production, LOL and Monika Ille, director, APTN.

“This year’s Rockie Awards are more international than ever before,” said Jenn Kuzmyk, executive director of the Banff World Media Festival. “The creative spirit and exceptional work across the nominees truly exemplifies the very best of global content. We can’t wait to share this year’s show and celebrate in-person with nominees and winners once again in Canada’s beautiful Rockie Mountains.”

The $25,000 Rogers Prize for Excellence in Canadian Content, awarded to the top Canadian production and The Francophone Prize for the top French language production will also be awarded in addition to other special awards. In total, 29 awards will be bestowed in the category streams of documentary & factual, arts & entertainment, children & youth, scripted, and podcast, in addition to the presentation of several Rockies Gala Awards to be announced soon.

Leading nominations by company are BBC with 23 nominations, followed by National Geographic and Disney Branded Television with 9 nominations each, HBO with 7 and Sky with six.

Hosted by actor and comedian Rakhee Morzaria (“Run the Burbs”), the Rockies Program Competition ceremony will be held in-person as well as live-streamed on YouTube during this year’s festival on June 13.

Full list of nominations here.

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“Friends: The Reunion” Courtesy of HBO Max