The Now Show
The Now Show is a British radio comedy broadcast on BBC Radio 4, which satirises the week's news. The show is a mixture of stand-up, sketches and songs hosted by Hugh Dennis; the show used to feature regular appearances by Jon Holmes, Laura Shavin, a monologue by Marcus Brigstocke, music by Mitch Benn, Pippa Evans or Adam Kay, but now features a much wider range of contributors. Most episodes will feature a special guest. Past guests include Robin Ince, Rory Bremner, Dave Gorman, Simon Munnery, Al Murray, Andy Zaltzman, Paul Sinha, Richard Stilgoe, Dr Phil Hammond, Barry Cryer, John Finnemore, Andy Parsons, Shappi Khorsandi, Nathan Caton, Grace Petrie, Sarah Kendall and Francesca Martinez. Jon Culshaw has featured on the 2004 and 2005 Christmas editions and starred in the 2008 Christmas edition. Guests have stood in for absent cast members; the series is a successor to the early 1990s topical comedy show The Mary Whitehouse Experience, in which Punt and Dennis were a key part, although its origins lie with the short-lived Live on Arrival from 1988.
The programme first aired on 26 September 1998. Repeats of The Now Show can be heard on BBC Radio 4 Extra. In October 2016, long-running cast member Jon Holmes reported that he had been fired because'the BBC want to recast with more women and diversity.' The programme is recorded in front of a studio audience on the Thursday evening before the Friday broadcast. On Friday 22 July 2005, The Now Show was broadcast without a studio audience due to the attempted 21 July 2005 London Bombings; the show's regular venue, The Drill Hall was close to the site of one of the failed bomb attacks and had been cordoned off by police. Hugh Dennis opened the show with the words "with us are Laura Shavin, Jon Holmes, Marcus Brigstocke and Mitch Benn... and no audience". The 18th series, running from April to May 2006, was the first Radio 4 comedy series to be made available on podcast, as part of a trial, or to be downloaded directly from the BBC Radio 4 web page, both for seven days after broadcast; the podcast had some of the music cut because of restrictions due to artist royalties, although the complete show could still be heard for seven days after the broadcast on the BBC's listen again feature.
This podcast was the fourth most popular podcast in August 2006, according to Schott's Almanac. However, due to the end of the trial, the 22nd series, running from June to August 2007, was not available for download; the podcast has returned, as part of the "Friday Night Comedy" podcast, alternating with The News Quiz. A version of the show entitled The Vote Now Show has been broadcast in the run-up to the 2010, 2015 UK general elections and 2017 UK general elections; the format is broadly the same, incorporating many of the show's regular performers and an additional political guest interviewed by Punt and Dennis. The episodes are more frequent than usual and the programme is transmitted at 11pm on the day of recording, so it can incorporate that day's campaign news to make it more topical; the first series had three programmes a week on Mondays and Wednesdays, in 2015 it was twice weekly. Clips of politicians are more to feature, as the broadcasting restrictions for House of Commons footage do not apply to election events.
During the London 2012 Olympics a similar run of six live programmes based on the ongoing events entitled The Now Show 2012 Live was broadcast. The Now Show was voted as the "Best British Radio Panel Show/Satire" for 2008 in The Comedy.co.uk Awards. In March 2009, Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis were criticised for comparing the planned comeback of 1980s pop star Michael Jackson with that of the IRA. Punt and Dennis, together with Holmes and other cast members, published two books, The Now Show Book and The Now Show Book of World Records. A collection of four episodes of the series from 2002 were released on CD and audio cassette on 29 July 2002. A further collection of highlights from the 2004–2005 series was released for download through Audible.com and iTunes. Official site The Now Show at epguides.com The Now Show at British Comedy Guide
Starter for 10 (film)
Starter for 10 is a 2006 British comedy-drama film directed by Tom Vaughan from a screenplay by David Nicholls, adapted from his own novel Starter for Ten. The film stars James McAvoy as a university student who wins a place on a University Challenge quiz team, it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2006, was released in the UK and Ireland on 10 November 2006, in Canada and the US on 23 February 2007. In 1985, Brian Jackson is a first-year university information sponge. Since his working-class childhood in Southend-on-Sea, Brian has loved the TV quiz show University Challenge, whose famous catchphrase—"Your starter for 10"—gives the film its title. Soon after arriving at Bristol University, Brian attends a party where he meets the left-wing politically conscious Rebecca, with whom he seems to have an instant connection. Brian attempts to join their University Challenge team but narrowly fails to secure a spot when he helps another potential candidate, cheat on the qualifying test.
Brian falls for the glamorous Alice and tries to date her, despite her multiple signals that she only sees him as a platonic friend. As the term starts, Brian is invited to join the University Challenge team after one of the other members falls ill; the captain of the team, Patrick Watts, is a stuck-up post-grad who has managed to remain team captain despite never having achieved success on University Challenge. Brian impresses the rest of the team with his wealth of trivia knowledge and uses his time with the team to get closer to Alice getting invited to her house for the Christmas holiday. Brian embarrasses himself in front of her family by getting stoned while trying to impress Alice, he meets Rebecca again. They once more hit it off, but as they are hooking up, he inadvertently calls her "Alice", offending her and ruining the moment. Following his romantic failures, he talks with Spencer, his friend from Southend, who tells him that he is in legal trouble on account of his criminal activities.
Brian invites him to a party. During the party, Patrick insults Spencer's upbringing and belittles him in front of the rest of the partygoers. In retaliation, Spencer disrupts the event. In the aftermath, Brian tries to apologise for his behaviour. However, Rebecca still feels that Brian is in love with Alice and encourages him to follow his heart and tell her how he feels, he takes her advice and arrives at Alice's flat to declare his love, but discovers Spencer there. Excited by his violent behaviour at the party, she had invited him back to her place. Brian feels betrayed by both Alice and Spencer since he had told his friend how he had felt about her. Brian falls into a depression and struggles with not only concentrating during University Challenge practices, but with his studies, threatening his university place. Patrick becomes frustrated with Brian, just as they arrive for their University Challenge match, berates him for his lack of focus. Brian headbutts Patrick in response, but only ends up knocking himself unconscious.
He is revived backstage by Rebecca who has come to watch the show and gives him encouragement before he is escorted to the set. However, as he is being brought back to his team, Brian is left with an open envelope containing the quiz questions, he reads one of the cards before putting it back in the envelope, inspired by the relative ease of the question, rejoins his team. The match starts off poorly, with nerves getting to Patrick as he fails to answer several questions and puts the team in a hole. Brian but digs them out of it, getting into his swing as he answers question after question; as the match is heating up and Brian's team has the momentum, Brian inadvertently gives the answer to the card that he had seen before quizmaster Bamber Gascoigne has begun to read the question. Realising that Brian has seen the cards, Gascoigne suspends the match and Brian's team is disqualified. Brian returns home and falls back into another depression, sleeping all day and ignoring incoming calls, his mother tries to get him out of the house, but the only person, able to reach him is Spencer.
He tells Brian that Gascoigne had gone easy on him, that he is sorry for his behaviour and proud of Brian for chasing his dreams at University. Inspired by his friend, Brian returns to his studies and meets with his tutor, promising him that he is back for good, he stands Alice up to visit Rebecca at a demonstration against nuclear weapons. He asks her if she could forgive him for all the mistakes he has made, if they can start again, she replies that he knows the answer, they kiss as the film ends. Despite being set at Bristol University, the main quad and Gustave Tuck lecture theatre of University College London were used as sets; the University of Bristol Students Union building is in fact the university's School of Chemistry. The Granada TV studios are at the back of BBC Television Centre: the corridor was transformed for a day for the filming in 2005 with the addition of a Granada logo and pictures of past stars; the buildings at the end where a demonstration was held in which Brian tells Rebecca how much he likes her is the Queen Mary Court and King William Court at the University of Greenwich.
Brian's home is shown as a quaint seaside cottage located in Westcliff-on-Sea. These scenes were filmed in the small village of Jaywick, near Clacton-on-Sea, with the real Westcliff bearing little re
My Hero (UK TV series)
My Hero is a British television sitcom and created by Paul Mendelson, that broadcast for six series on the BBC between 2000 and 2006. The series follows the everyday adventures of a dim-witted Ultronian superhero known as "Thermoman", portrayed by Ardal O'Hanlon, his human wife, played by Emily Joyce. "Thermoman" is a multi-powered superhero. In an attempt to do his best to fit in with life on earth, he creates the human alias of George Sunday. However, due to his unfamiliarity with human life, his antics lead to many misunderstandings. Although Thermoman is intrinsically intelligent, his problem understanding earthly customs makes him look like an idiot to people who don't know who he is. In 2006, O'Hanlon announced. Following this decision, James Dreyfus was cast as an alter-ego of "Thermoman" for the sixth and final series. Although the series gathered consistent viewing figures, figures declined following the appointment of Dreyfus, whose casting was deemed as "Doctor Who-esque" by Broadcast Magazine, the series was subsequently axed.
Across six series, fifty-one episodes were broadcast. The series was written by a team of writers, a trait, typical of most American sitcoms; the main team of writers for each series included writer and creator Paul Mendelson, Paul Mayhew-Archer, Paul Alexander, James Cary, Simon Braithwaite, Gary Lawson, John Phelps, Ian Brown and James Hendrie. All fifty-one episodes were directed by John Stroud and filmed in front of a live audience at Teddington Studios in London. Location footage was filmed in Pinner, London; each series featured a varying number of episodes, with the first and second series containing six episodes, series three through five containing ten episodes each and series six containing eight episodes. The first series included an additional Christmas Special; some of the episode titles are a play on the titles of famous movies. The series is repeated on Gold in the United Kingdom. In the United States, the series was shown on PBS and BBC America. In Australia, UKTV offered re-runs of the first three series, while BBC Entertainment provided repeats for Scandinavia.
Three of the six series have been released on DVD. Fans have since petitioned the BBC to release the complete series on DVD. Ardal O'Hanlon as George Sunday AKA "Thermoman" James Dreyfus as George Monday AKA "Thermoman" Emily Joyce as Janet Dawkins, he inherited his title from his father Seamus Sunday, the original Thermoman, retired. George owns a health food store, but tries to avoid attracting customers in order to avoid attention. Only his closest friends know his true identity, he appears to be an idiot because of his unfamiliarity with Earth culture, has a tendency to take things such as allowing himself to get hit by a bus to cash in a life insurance policy without realising that he had to die. In the sixth series, he loses his body in a poker game, forcing him to assume a new alter ego, "George Monday". George's late mother was Ulrich Sunday. Thermoman has numerous abilities, he is able to both heat and freeze things with "Thermobreath", smash things with super strength. The latter is a weakness, being uncontrollable when he is tired.
Other powers include flight, superspeed, X-ray vision, resurrection of the dead, time travel and an ability to smell natural disasters and crimes taking place anywhere in the world. "Invulnerability" allows Thermoman to cut off parts of his own body, such as his own head, replace it. However, this invincibility is only effective. In one episode, he begins to doubt his ability and thus temporarily loses this power, gaining unwanted and uncontrollable invisibility instead. Invisibility occurs when he is afraid, the amount of parts of his body that turn invisible depend on how frightened he is. Thermoman can control minds and erase memories by putting his finger to their foreheads, by giving them a "thermoblast". "Total erasure" is achieved by staring at a person, with the side effect of causing them to lose their hair. "Thermowelding" is the ability to weld a person's mouth shut. As well as all of these powers, Thermoman on multiple occasions, orders additional trial powers from the magazine Superhero Monthly.
Other psychic powers include picking lottery numbers before seeing them on television via a series of quick mental calculations he can carry out automatically - although he is forbidden by Ultronian law to use this information. He can
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the world's largest arts festival, which in 2018 spanned 25 days and featured more than 55,000 performances of 3,548 different shows in 317 venues. Established in 1947 as an alternative to the Edinburgh International Festival, it takes place annually in Edinburgh, Scotland, in the month of August, it is an open access performing arts festival, meaning there is no selection committee, anyone may participate, with any type of performance. The official Fringe Programme categorises shows into sections for theatre, dance, physical theatre, cabaret, children's shows, opera, spoken word and events. Comedy is the largest section, making up over one-third of the programme and the one that in modern times has the highest public profile, due in part to the Edinburgh Comedy Awards; the Festival is supported by the Festival Fringe Society, which publishes the programme, sells tickets to all events from a central physical box office and website, offers year-round advice and support to performers.
The Society's permanent location is at the Fringe Shop on the Royal Mile, in August they manage Fringe Central, a separate collection of spaces in Appleton Tower and other University of Edinburgh buildings, dedicated to providing support for Fringe participants during their time at the festival. The Fringe board of directors is drawn from members of the Festival Fringe Society, who are Fringe participants themselves – performers or administrators. Elections are held once a year, in August, Board members serve a term of four years; the Board appoints the Fringe Chief Executive Shona McCarthy who assumed the role in March 2016. The Chief Executive operates under the chair Professor Sir Timothy O'Shea; the Fringe started life when eight theatre companies turned up uninvited to the inaugural Edinburgh International Festival in 1947. With the International Festival using the city's major venues, these companies took over smaller, alternative venues for their productions. Seven performed in Edinburgh, one undertook a version of the medieval morality play "Everyman" in Dunfermline Abbey, about 20 miles north, across the River Forth in Fife.
These groups aimed to take advantage of the large assembled theatre crowds to showcase their own alternative theatre. Although at the time it was not recognised as such, this was the first Edinburgh Festival Fringe; this meant that two defining features of the future Fringe were established at the beginning – the lack of official invitations to perform and the use of unconventional venues. These groups referred to themselves as the "Festival Adjuncts" and were referred to as the "semi-official" festival, it was not until the following year, 1948, that Robert Kemp, a Scottish playwright and journalist, is credited with coining the title "Fringe" when he wrote during the second Edinburgh International Festival: Round the fringe of official Festival drama, there seems to be more private enterprise than before... I am afraid some of us are not going to be at home during the evenings! The word "fringe" had in fact been used in a review of Everyman in 1947, when a critic remarked it was a shame the show was so far out "on the fringe of the Festival".
In 1950, it was still being referred to in similar terms, with a small'f': On the fringe of the official Festival there are many praiseworthy "extras," including presentations by the Scottish Community Drama Association and Edinburgh University Dramatic Society – Dundee Courier, 24 August 1950 The Fringe did not benefit from any official organisation until 1951, when students of the University of Edinburgh set up a drop-in centre in the YMCA, where cheap food and a bed for the night were made available to participating groups. Late night revues, which would become a feature of Fringes, began to appear in the early 50s; the first one was the New Drama Group's After The Show, a series of sketches taking place after Donald Pleasence's Ebb Tide, in 1952. Among the talent to appear in early Fringe revues were Ned Sherrin in 1955, Ken Loach and Dudley Moore with the Oxford Theatre Group in 1958. Due to many reviewers only being able to attend Fringe events late night after the official festival was finished, the Fringe came to be seen as being about revues.
It was a few years. John Menzies compiled a list of shows under the title "Other Events" in their omnibus festival brochure, but it was printer C. J. Cousland, the first to publish a listings guide, in 1954; this was funded by participating companies and was entitled "Additional Entertainments", since the name "Fringe" was still not yet in regular usage. By that year, the Fringe was attracting around a dozen companies, a meeting was held to discuss creating "a small organisation to act as a brain for the Fringe", or what The Scotsman called an "official unofficial festival". A first attempt was made to provide a central booking service in 1955 by students from the university, although it lost money, blamed on those who had not taken part. Formal organisation progressed with the formation of the Festival Fringe Society; the push for such an organisation was led by director of Oxford Theatre Group. A constitution was drawn up, in which the policy of not vetting or censoring shows was set out, the Society produced the first guide to Fringe shows.
Nineteen companies participated in the Fringe in that year. By that time it provided a "complete... counter-festival programme". Not long after came the first complaints that the Fringe had become too big. Director Gerard Slevin claimed in 1961 that "it would be much better if only ten
Edinburgh Comedy Awards
The Edinburgh Comedy Awards or Eddies are presented to the comedy shows deemed to have been the best at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. Established in 1981, they are the most prestigious comedy prize in the United Kingdom; the awards have been directed and produced by Nica Burns since 1984. The main prize, for many years the only prize, is now known as the Best Comedy Show, is awarded "for the funniest, most outstanding, up-and-coming comic / comedy show / act" at the Fringe; the winner receives a cash prize of £10,000 and an invitation to perform at the Montreal and Chicago Just for Laughs Comedy Festivals. The Best Newcomer Award category was introduced in 1992, is given to the best "performer or act, performing their first full-length show"; the prize is £5,000. Newcomers are eligible for the Best Comedy Show Award, but no act is allowed to appear on both shortlists in the same year. A further prize, the Panel Prize, was inaugurated in 2006. All shows are eligible, the award may not be awarded at all, if the panel so choose.
This happened in 2017. In 2008, it had been awarded to "every comedian on the Fringe". Like Best Newcomer, the Panel Prize winner receives a cash prize of £5,000; the original award was created by Perrier in 1981 as a way of supporting young talent. Prior to this, there had been no award recognition for comedy shows on the Fringe; the Scotsman had introduced Fringe Firsts in 1973 for theatre. However, revues the dominant type of comedy at the Fringe, were excluded; the first Perrier in fact advertised itself as for the "most outstanding revue", thus overlooking stand-up, beginning to emerge as a force due to the influence of the alternative comedy scene. The inaugural award and £1,000 prize was presented to the Cambridge Footlights, a cast that included Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie and Tony Slattery, their show, entitled The Cellar Tapes played at St Mary Street Hall and was promoted in the programme with the line, "one of the strongest casts for several years, has toured in southern England with great success."
The award was presented by Rowan Atkinson, who had performed with the Oxford Revue in 1976. The success of these initial winners would boost the profile of the awards. However, former Oxbridge revue members had always been able to find success in light entertainment, so the effect of the award on their careers may be exaggerated. Nonetheless, the 1981 Award retains symbolic power for new comedians wanting to find fame at the Fringe. Many other award winners and nominees have gone on to forge successful careers in comedy and the media industry including Lee Evans, Milton Jones, Garth Marenghi's Darkplace creators Richard Ayoade and Matt Holness, double act Alexander Armstrong and Ben Miller, QI panellist Alan Davies and Mock the Week panellist Chris Addison. Australian Comedian Brendon Burns has said that he is "arguably the least successful winner" of the award. A stand-up first won the award in 1987. A Best Newcomer Award was added in 1992, in 2006, the inaugural Panel Prize was given out; the panel prize was awarded to'all performers' in 2008, the £4,000 prize money was put behind their bar at the end of August party.
2013 was the first year that all three awards went to shows in Independent venues outside the so-called'big four. John Kearns won Best Newcomer, Bridget Christie won Best Show and Adrienne Truscott won the panel prize. In 2014, John Kearns became the first comedian to win Best Newcomer and Best Comedy Show in consecutive years. In 2017, for the first time, two awards were given for Best Show. No panel prize was awarded in 2017. From their inception in 1981 until 2005 the awards were sponsored by mineral water brand Perrier, during which time they were known as the Perrier Comedy Awards. Sponsorship passed to the Scottish-based bank Intelligent Finance and for 2006, the first year of their involvement, the awards were known as the if.comeddies, changing to the if.comedy awards for 2007 and 2008. In March 2009 Intelligent Finance announced; the 2009 awards were known as the Edinburgh Comedy Award, sponsored by AbsoluteRadio.co.uk. From 2010 until 2015 the awards were sponsored by Foster's Lager. Since 2016 the awards have been sponsored by lastminute.com.
In order to avoid confusion due to the frequency of name changes, past winners are now said to have won "the Eddie", a popular colloquial term for the award, rather than referring to a specific year's sponsor. In 1995, Perrier was bought by Nestlé, the subject of a long-running boycott based on alleged violations of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, leading to calls to boycott or to eliminate the awards taken up by some Fringe venues and performers, including former winners Emma Thompson, Steve Coogan, Stewart Lee and Rob Newman, led a campaign of protest against the award, beginning in 2001, called Baby Milk Action; the Nestlé boycott led to the alternative Tap Water Awards which ran from 2001 to 2006, aimed to promote access to safe supplies of drinking water and sanitation in developing countries. Multiple winners were chosen each year, including established comedians like Stewart Lee and Robert Newman, and, in the award's final year, promoter Peter Buckley Hill for his Free Fringe initiative.
The 2002 awards were criticised because no female acts were shortlisted, the second consecutive year in which, the case. In 2009, they were again criticised for all the n
Lead Balloon is a British television series produced by Open Mike Productions for BBC Four. The series is co-written by comedian Jack Dee and Pete Sinclair, it stars Dee as Rick Spleen, a cynical and misanthropic comedian whose life is plagued by petty annoyances and embarrassments. Raquel Cassidy, Sean Power and Tony Gardner star; the first series of six episodes was broadcast on BBC Four in 2006, with the first episode achieving the highest ratings for a comedy on the channel. Repeats of the series were run on BBC HD, bringing it to a larger audience; the second series of eight episodes aired on BBC Two from November 2007. Comparisons were made by critics to the successful American comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm, positive comments were made about Lead Balloon's characters Anna Crilly's Magda, the Eastern European housekeeper; the first series was released on DVD in November 2007. The show's theme tune is a cover version of "One Way Road", written by Noel Gallagher and performed by Paul Weller; the genesis of the series came towards the end of recording the 2005 series of Jack Dee Live at the Apollo, when Dee speculated as to whether his experiences of "witless" interviews could be turned into a television programme.
Following a meeting with his agent, in which he turned down the lead role in a series, Dee began writing the character that would become Rick Spleen. He focused the writing on Spleen's domestic life, rather than his professional, but did highlight the clash between the two. A pilot, commissioned by BBC Four and recorded in December 2005, received positive feedback and led to a full series of six 30-minute episodes being ordered in January 2006 for broadcast in the year. Dee's frequent collaborator Pete Sinclair joined him to write the pilot script; the two worked for two weeks developing the characters and forming storylines from them, which prepared them for writing the series proper when it was commissioned. The two were influenced in their writing by the "paradigm shift" of The Office that made "natural conversation" funny without a studio audience being present. Dee cites the early films of Woody Allen and Curb Your Enthusiasm as other "cultural influences" that helped set the tone of the series.
Controller of BBC Four Janice Hadlow stated the series was in the "same ballpark" as Curb, though it is not quite as autobiographical. The name Lead Balloon comes from the expression "To go down like a lead balloon", meaning to be received badly by an audience; the never-broadcast pilot features a scene with Omid Djalili as a dry cleaner, reused in the fifth episode, "Pistachio". Location filming for the first two series Rick and Mel's house, was done in Willesden. Michael's cafe used Gracelands Cafe in Kensal Green for the first two series, Hugo's restaurant in Lonsdale Road, Queen's Park, London for the third. Most moped shots in the third series were filmed in Ladbroke Grove. Scenes are separated by the insertion of a person writing ideas for comedy material on a writing pad. Dee's character Rick Spleen is a stand-up comedian living in London who struggles to get decent gigs and makes ends meet by hosting corporate events such as the Frozen Goods Awards Evening. Dee and Sinclair based the character on the "comedians who hated being comedians" who performed alongside Dee in his early years of stand-up.
Rick is a habitual and incompetent liar who attempts practical tasks himself in an attempt to avoid paying professionals. His partner Mel is a talent agent whose clientele of everyday people getting their 15 minutes of fame serves to highlight Rick's failing career, her calm and considerate personality contrasts with Rick's. Rick's American co-writer, writes the majority of Rick's material working with him at Rick's home or Michael's café. Though he tries to moderate Rick's desperate behaviour, he is frustrated with him, conspires against Rick's interests. Michael owns and runs the café that Rick and Marty visit to escape the chaos of Rick's home, he is awkward to the extent of having a mental disorder, although he was a high-flying city banker who suffered from burn-out. His father turns out to be gay in series, to which Michael reacts negatively. Rick's daughter Sam attends sixth form college and extracts money from her father by expressing sympathy at his misfortunes; this money is always around forty pounds, is being used for the purchase of recreational drugs.
Sam's slacker boyfriend Ben goes through numerous jobs and interests in the first series, such as taking a circus skills course, a short-lived shelf-stacking job, however these apparent jobs require a recurring amount of forty pounds, which may in fact be used to purchase recreational drugs, meaning the jobs and interests may not exist at all. Magda is the Spleens' morose Eastern European housekeeper, puzzled by British attitudes, language and, in her view, softness, she is a willing worker and suffers Rick's selfish eccentricities in sullen silence. Neighbour Clive had a part in a single scene in the first series, but had a larger part in an episode of the second series. Following the commission of the series, reviewers compared it to
Bill (2015 film)
Bill is a 2015 British family adventure comedy film from the principal performers behind children's TV series Horrible Histories and Yonderland. It was produced by Punk Cinema, Cowboy Films and BBC Films and was released in the UK on 18 September 2015 by Vertigo Films; the film is a fictional take on the young William Shakespeare's search for fame and fortune, as written by Laurence Rickard and Ben Willbond and directed by Richard Bracewell who co-produced with Tony Bracewell, Alasdair Flind and Charles Steel. It features the six lead performers playing several different roles each including Mathew Baynton, Martha Howe-Douglas, Ben Willbond, Simon Farnaby, Jim Howick and Laurence Rickard. Bill has received positive reviews from critics and grossed $968,534 worldwide; the film received nominations for the Evening Standard British Film Award for Award for Comedy and the Into Film Award for Family Film of the Year. Bill is set during Shakespeare's "lost years"—the crucial period, long a mystery to scholars, covering his rise from obscurity in Stratford-upon-Avon to fame as a playwright in London.
According to the official synopsis, the film will tell the "real story" of what happens when "hopeless lute player Bill Shakespeare leaves his family and home to follow his dream. It’s a tale of murderous kings, lost loves, a plot to blow up Queen Elizabeth I." Writer Rickard further explained that this "very different" version of the future Bard has tried "everything from contemporary dance to playing lute in a band. He's never found his calling." The six members of the starring troupe have been announced as playing 40 total roles, in the manner of the Monty Python films. Confirmed named roles are listed below: Mathew Baynton as William Shakespeare Martha Howe-Douglas as Anne Hathaway Ben Willbond as King Philip II of Spain Simon Farnaby as Juan, Earl of Croydon Jim Howick as Gabriel, Christopher Marlowe Laurence Rickard as Lope, Sir Francis WalsinghamIt was subsequently confirmed at the 2014 Cannes film festival that Homeland star Damian Lewis would be joining the cast as Sir Richard Hawkins.
Other supporting actors include: BBC Films announced Bill on 13 May 2013, as a co-production with fellow UK production companies Punk Cinema and Cowboy Films. Head of BBC Films Christine Langan said that "we’re thrilled making the first film starring this team of talented and popular British comedy writers and performers." In November of the same year ScreenDaily.com reported that the BFI Film Fund had invested £1 million in the production, with further undisclosed amounts coming from BBC Films, LipSync and Screen Yorkshire, through its Yorkshire Content Fund. Principal filming began on 10 February 2014 at locations around Yorkshire, including York Minster, Skipton Castle, Marske-by-the-Sea, Bolton Castle and Selby Abbey. Other filming locations included Stowe School, Caroline Gardens Chapel in Peckham and Weald and Downland Open Air Museum in West Sussex; the closing scenes were filmed at Shakespeare's Globe, a modern recreation of the theatre where many of Shakespeare's plays were first performed.
Former Horrible Histories co-stars Rickard and Willbond are credited with the Bill screenplay, are the top-billed performers along with the four other members of the HH starring cast. Despite this connection, sharing a similar subject matter, the film has no official affiliation with the earlier TV series, it is the second project created by the sextet as a means to continue working together as a troupe after Horrible Histories ceased production in 2012, while maintaining the familiar character-and-costume driven comedy style. Making the move to film was "a bit scary," Willbond said, "but we cooked up a nice plot." Rickard described the overall tone of the new project as "a hundred different brands of idiocy, really... We staunchly defend the idiocy."In contrast to the conscientious grounding in accuracy, the trademark of Horrible Histories, Bill is by design a purely imaginary tale. In the initial press release for the film, the co-writers noted that "We're playing with history, just as Shakespeare did, for the entertainment of the audience."
Commenting on the choice of subject, Rickard added that in fact "the joy of the "lost years" is we can tell a fun story without trampling on the facts—it gives us licence to take William Shakespeare on a ridiculous caper, yet end with him becoming the man the world knows."The first full-length trailer for the film was released in December 2014, at which point the film's theatrical release date – scheduled for late February 2015 – was confirmed to have been delayed until 27 March the same year. This was subsequently revised again – with no official explanation – to 21 August. Vertigo Films announced on 12 August 2015 that it would be releasing Bill in the UK after previous distributor Koch Media had closed its UK film distribution business. Vertigo Films co-owner Rupert Preston told Screen International that “The film is good fun and plays well with both adults and kids. It’s clever and great British entertainment.” The film's score was composed by Andrew Hewitt. The soundtrack was released on 18 September 2015 by Varèse Sarabande.
Track listing1593 – A Time Of War And Plague Sir Richard Hawkins Is Captured Bill Shakespeare And His Family King Philip II Of Spain – Deuce Or Juice? The First Fanfare The Court Music Of Queen Elizabeth I The Specialists And Walsingham The Spy Bill Travels To That London More Court Music King Phil Sails To England King Phil Lands In England The Second Fanfare Phil’s Catholic Lair The Earl Of Croydon Even More Court Music Anne And Bill Bill Pursued By Walsingham Duelin’ Banjos Phil Closes In On Christopher Marlowe Marlowe’s Death Marlowe’s Ghos