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house of cards

Kevin Spacey in House of Cards

Thanks to the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival this past week, we’ve got a whole slew of exciting announcements…

– Kevin Spacey’s (House of Cards) James MacTaggert Memorial Lecture is well worth a watch for anyone interested in the current state of television. In it, he bemoans the US pilot season and asks that creatives be allowed to work free from network notes. More than that, it’s an insightful and inspiring talk, and with his comments on Netflix and the increase of internet television, he’s right on the pulse of the industry.



– Channel commissioners also used the festival to announce lots of new programmes and there’s a whole range of projects on the way:

– The BBC are going to produce an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved children’s classic, Esio Trot, to be written by Richard Curtis (Love, Actually) and Paul Mayhew-Archer (The Vicar of Dibley) and starring Dustin Hoffman and Dame Judi Dench.

– Ordinary Lies, a six part drama series from Danny Brocklehurst (Shameless), has also been commissioned. Set in a car showroom, it will examine the lies that people tell and how they can have far-reaching and unexpected consequences.

– Ian McDiarmid (Star Wars) and Tim Pigott-Smith (V for Vendetta) will helm a new factual drama for BBC Two titled 37 Days, which will tell the story of the final days leading up to the outbreak of the First World War.

– ITV have announced a new crime series set to star John Simm (Life on Mars). The Fugitive-style thriller, titled Prey, will follow DC Marcus Farrow (Simm) who must race to clear his name after he is arrested under suspicion of committing a vicious murder.

– Channel 4 were getting in on the game as well, and have commissioned a ten part period-drama from Paul Rutman (Vera) – Indian Summer, about the last years of British rule in India.

– And Channel 5 have ordered a new ten-part crime series titled Evidence which will be shot in a pseudo-documentary style. The series will follow three main detectives and each episode will feature a different case – from the crime itself right through to the investigation and then the final ruling.

– In acquisitions news, Channel 4 caused a bit of a storm by announcing that they had secured the UK rights to air ABC’s and Joss Whedon’s highly anticipated Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Jay Hunt, Chief Creative Officer at Channel 4, said “Featuring the production values you’d expect from Marvel and ABC Studios, this is family entertainment at its most exciting”. The series will be shown this autumn, shortly after its US premiere.

– Channel 4 has also bagged the rights to the upcoming series The Tomorrow People and The 100 from The CW network, along with CBS’ Hostages. Based on a British series, The Tomorrow People is a drama about people around the world who begin to develop strange new powers whilst The 100 tells the story of a hundred juvenile delinquents who are sent back to a post-Apocalyptic Earth in order to discover if the planet is suitable to re-colonise. Hostages meanwhile, is a thriller about a surgeon whose family is kidnapped after she is selected to operate on the President of the United States.

– And finally comes the news that Sylvester Stallone is apparently considering a TV series based on his most iconic role – Rambo. Stallone has spoken previously of his eagerness to reprise the role despite his age (he’s now 67), and would be keen to be involved at a ‘creative level’. Should he choose to appear as well, it would likely only be a cameo.

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