8 items from 2015
Channel 4’s new election comedy Ballot Monkeys has an awful lot going for it. Its cast is rammed with talent. It’s written by Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin, settling back into their political roots after the cosy time-out of Outnumbered. Its subject matter could barely be any more timely. Plus it’s set entirely on four buses, so it’s probably quite cheap to make.
And yet there was only one real reason why I watched Ballot Monkeys last night. I wanted to see the join. Portions of each episode are written on the day of transmission for topicality, and then scattered throughout the existing material. And, as unkind as it sounds, I wanted to see how badly these bits stood out.
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- Stuart Heritage
Drop the Dead Donkey writer returns with satirical show Ballot Monkeys incorporating events and bungles on the campaign trail
Channel 4 is to air a “real-time” political comedy in the runup to the general election starring comedians Ben Miller and Hugh Dennis and created by the writers of cult hit Drop the Dead Donkey and sitcom Outnumbered.
The topical five-part series, Ballot Monkeys, will follow in the footsteps of successful political satires such as The Thick of It, focusing on the frenetic scheming and machinations of a group of managers, press officers, strategists and spin doctors on the campaign trail in the runup to polling day.
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- Mark Sweney and Tara Conlan
Channel 4 has commissioned a new political sitcom.
The satirical Ballot Monkeys will focus on politicians campaigning for the four main parties in the run-up to the General Election.
Sky News unveils 2015 General Election coverage details
The pair said: "We're very excited about this. We don't think anyone's done anything like this before, although we may find out why."
Fiona McDermott, Channel 4's commissioning editor for comedy, added: "We haven't yet decided whether we're brave or bonkers but a real-time satirical sitcom like Ballot Monkeys could only be handled by the remarkable Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin.
"We are thrilled to have them »
Sky1 has confirmed the launch date for new series Critical.
The medical drama will premiere on the channel on Tuesday, February 24.
The 13-part series is told in real-time like 24 and focuses on a hospital's trauma unit.
The Critical cast is completed by Neve McIntosh, Prasanna Puwanarajah, John MacMillan, Ellen Thomas, Mali Harries, Paul Bazely, Danny Kirrane, Peter Sullivan, Emma Fryer, Orion Lee and Juliet Oldfield.
★★★★☆ The debut feature from BBC veterans Andy Hamilton and Guy Jerkin, What We Did on Our Holiday is one of 2014's most big-hearted, surprising and thoroughly likable films. While in many ways essentially the big screen version of an acclaimed, subtly developed sitcom - In this case, Outnumbered - it skips around the traps that befell the likes of The Inbetweeners (2011) or The Simpsons Movie (2007). Those films most resembled out of control episodes of their parent television shows, where jokes were allowed to repeat, fester and wear thin on even thinner story arcs. This feature uses allows the themes of the show to crystallise; the writers pushing the boundaries of the classic British family film.
- CineVue UK
Running Time: 95 minutes
Following the phenomenal success of their BBC series Outnumbered, Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin bring their comedy prowess to the big screen with What We Did On Our Holiday, a lighthearted comedy with a deeper meaning.
Doug (Tennant), his wife Abi (Pike) and their children visit the Scottish Highlands to celebrate Doug’s father Gordie’s (Connolly) 75th birthday. The couple intend to keep their impending divorce a secret from the unwell Gordie during their trip, but soon discover that with three quick-witted children in tow honesty might have to be the best policy.
- Jazmine Sky Bradley
The Making of Harry Potter tour is to feature a host of creatures from the films, including the characters Hedwig and Crookshanks.
The Warner Bros Studio Tour in London is to include the original animals that played Harry's beloved owl and Hermione's cat over February half-term.
Animal trainer Julie Tottman will present over 250 live creatures that featured in the film series to the public between February 13 and February 25.
The snowy owl and Red Persian cat will be joined by Argus Filch's Maine Coone cat Mrs Norris and Neville Longbottom's pet toad Trevor, among other magical and non-magical creatures.
The author recently completed work on the script for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and the Harry Potter spinoff will begin shooting later this year.
It’s 10 p.m. in London, and Rosamund Pike has just roasted a chicken, finished the washing up, folded the laundry and tended to a wee sick one. Now she sits for a moment in her kitchen, spent but happy, her four-day-old baby son snoozing in his basket beside her.
The setting may be calm and pastoral, in keeping with Pike’s new life, but it’s sharply at odds with the actor we now know her to be. This year she delivered a career-making performance as Amy Dunne, the stunningly beautiful, dangerously secretive and cynically vicious wife in David Fincher’s “Gone Girl, »
- Sharon Waxman
8 items from 2015