In today’s Global Bulletin, ITV’s first post-COVID production starts to shoot, Channel 4 gives diversity a boost with a new program, Cara Delevingne lands on “Planet Sex,” Swiss festivals come together at Zurich, and Sony’s new science and magic channel.
Production has commenced at locations in Manchester, England on drama series “Viewpoint,” based on an idea by Emmy-winning “Fleabag” director Harry Bradbeer, with a cast headlined by “Bulletproof” star Noel Clarke.
Co-created and written by Ed Whitmore (“Manhunt”), the five-part drama follows a police surveillance investigation into a tight knit Manchester community.
Tiger Aspect Productions (“Peaky Blinders”) produces for ITV, in association with Unstoppable Film and Television (“The Drowning”). This is the first ITV drama to begin filming since all U.K. production went into lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The cast also includes Alexandra Roach (“Black Mirror”), Amy Wren (“Tutankhamun”), Fehinti Balogun (“Informer”) and Catherine Tyldesley (“Scarborough”).
Head of Drama at Tiger Aspect, Lucy Bedford, said: “Harry and Ed have crafted a compelling, tense, claustrophobic thriller that turns the spotlight on the observer rather than the observed.”
Bedford is executive producing for Tiger Aspect, with Ashley Way (“White Lines”) directing, and Clare Shepherd (“The A Word”) producing.
“Viewpoint” is represented internationally by Banijay Rights.
Presenter and historian David Olusoga‘s Uplands Television is one of 10 Black, Asian and minority ethnic-led independent production outfits selected for U.K. broadcaster Channel 4‘s Indie Accelerator program.
During the two-year initiative, staged in partnership with The TV Collective, selected companies will be paired with commissioning heads of department to help them win commissions for the channel.
The other selected companies are Afro-Mic Productions, Cardiff Productions, Nuwave, Tough Crowd, Milk First, Meridian Line Films, ClockWork, Ranga Bee Productions and Douglas Road.
On Monday, Olusoga delivered the James MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh TV Festival during which he said that along with broadcasters, independent producers also need to be held accountable for inclusivity in the U.K. television industry.
Babita Bahal, head of Creative Diversity at Channel 4, said: “Having a broader range of voices working with our commissioning team will inspire new ideas and drive meaningful and sustainable change.”
Meanwhile, Channel 4 has commissioned Rumpus Media and Momo G for one-hour U.K. Black comedy circuit documentary “Black, British and Funny,” fronted by Mo Gilligan (“The Big Narstie Show”), and directed by Vanessa Van-Yeboah (“The Last Pirates”) that will air as part of a series of special commissions for Black History Month in October. Channel 4 has also commissioned All3Media-backed Story Films for 1990s-set sexual politics drama “My Name is Lizzie,” written by Emilia di Girolamo (“The Tunnel”), starring BAFTA Breakthrough Brit Niamh Algar (“The Virtues”), and directed by BAFTA-winner Niall MacCormick (“Complicit”); and Blink Films to investigate “Are Women the Fitter Sex?,” presented by emergency doctor Ronx Ikharia.
Cara Delevingne will front “Planet Sex,” a documentary series exploring sexuality, produced by Fremantle company Naked for Hulu and BBC Three.
The six-part series will see actress, activist, model, author and LGBTQ+ advocate Delevingne explore questions around sexual orientation, gender, relationships and porn. Delevingne will open herself up to experiments and demonstrations in the world’s leading sex research labs and visit communities who experience gender and sexuality differently.
Delevingne said: “As someone who struggled for years to understand my sexual identity, I am so excited to be partnering with Hulu, Naked, BBC Three and Fremantle to be making a series that could change the views of so many people through honest and personal conversations. I can only imagine what having a series like this would have meant to the 14-year-old me who struggled to understand feelings that were seen as non-conventional or different. If our series helps one young person have an easier conversation with their parents, we will have achieved one of our many goals in making this series.”
The Zurich Film Festival (Sept. 24-Oct.4) has offered five Swiss festivals unable or only part able to implement their physical editions the opportunity to present a film in Zurich, as part of the festival’s “Solidarité Festivals” initiative.
Visions du Réel – International Film Festival Nyon will present Daniel Hoesl and Julia Niemann‘s “Davos”; Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival presents Michael Venus‘ “Sleep”; Bildrausch – Filmfest Basel presents Oliver Hermanus‘ “Moffie”; and Internationales Filmfestival Freiburg delivers Eylem Kaftan‘s “Kovan.” The Locarno Film Festival has chosen to screen Paolo Taviani and Taviani‘s 1982 Cannes winner “The Night of the Shooting Stars.”
“The idea for this initiative came spontaneously on the day that Locarno was forced to cancel its physical edition with screenings on the Piazza Grande,” said Zurich artistic director Christian Jungen. “Every one of our programmers love these festivals so we want to offer this carte blanche as a sign of friendship and solidarity.”
“Yes, we were rivals. No, we’re not anymore. We have taken separate paths over the past few years, Locarno being somewhat more cinéphile and focused on independent production, while Zurich is putting a focus on interesting personalities from the international film world,” said Marco Solari, president of the Locarno Film Festival. “There is enough room in Switzerland for several festivals, as long as we respect each other’s identity and offer each other our mutual support.”
Sony Pictures Television has announced Impossible Science, a new YouTube channel featuring world champion magician and science educator Jason Latimer. In the first original video strand to launch on the channel, “Impossible Science: At Home,” Latimer uses Zoom and everyday household items to teach science through magic to kids, celebrities and special guests.
Latimer said: “By uniting magic and science we are showcasing the power of science and how the right question changes everything.”
Sarah Edwards, SVP international creative development, Sony Pictures Television, said: “Jason’s unique illusions can still teach us a thing or two about the magic of the world around us. We are launching this channel as a first element of what we anticipate to be an ongoing and magical partnership.”
The series and channel programming is being produced through WonderFirst, LLC. by Jason Latimer and Dustin Gould in association with Sony Pictures Television. Stacey Crawford is series producer.
More from Variety
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- David Olusoga Calls for Structural Change in U.K. TV Industry in Powerful MacTaggart Lecture
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