Archive for August, 2015

Danny and the Human Zoo – Mon 31st Aug 2015

In the week before the screen debut of Lenny Henry’s semi-biographical story of a young comedian growing up in and finding fame in Dudley, Roz Laws in the Birmingham Evening Mail has been running a few stories about the making of the show and what to expect when it goes out on Monday 31st August.

Lenny Henry on the things he wished his father had said

Arthur Darvill’s on creating a 1970’s sleazeball

Behind the scenes on the set of Danny and the Human Zoo

In the articles Roz reveals some of the locations used by the production team when making the show, they include;

  • Banqueting Palace on Birchfield Road, Aston
  • Margaret Street, Birmingham
  • Moseley Village, Birmingham
  • Claughton Community Centre, Dudley
  • Dudley Market
  • Fountain Arcade, Dudley
  • Dudley Zoo and Castle
  • Koh-i-Noor Restaurant on Bristol Street, Birmingham
  • Albany Theatre, Coventry
  • Buffery Park, Dudley
  • Netherton canal tunnel
  • Thomas Dudley Foundry, Dudley
  • Blackpool North Pier Theatre – The only non-Midlands location used

Look out for these and other familiar locations during the 90 minute drama at 9pm on Bank Holiday Monday.

If you missed the show you can catch it on iPlayer until 28th September and if you are still unsure if you should watch then check out these twitter comments that were posted during or shortly after it aired.  It was a huge hit.

Advertisements

, , , , ,

Leave a comment

Doctors Celebrating 3,000 Episodes – Ian Midlane Interview

Back in May 2015 the cast and crew of Doctors went out on location in Birmingham city centre to record scenes for a special hour long episode to celebrate the milestone of reaching 3,000 episodes of the popular BBC daytime soap.  With the special hour long episode due on screen on 10th September it won’t be long now before we all get to see what happened

The official press release is cloaked in secret but does give a hint of what to expect in what promises to be an exciting climax to an ongoing story of police corruption in Letherbridge.

A shooting in a city centre, A dance with a whiff of romance, A damaged child saved…and corruption exposed.

Ian MIdlane on set

Ian Midlane plays Doctor Al Haskey in the BBC daytime drama.

I was fortunate enough to catch up with a few of the cast in between scenes. My third cast interview of the day was with Ian Midlane, who plays Doctor Al Haskey and this time I teamed up with Roz Laws from the Birmingham Mail to put some questions to Ian.

Roz opened the interview by asking Ian about his costume for the episode.

Al Haskey's Kidney Costume

The Kidney costume worn by Al in the health drive campaign.

Ian explained, “The story is that there is this blood and organ donation drive going on and Howard and Mrs Tembe have convinced Al to take part and he didn’t quite know that there was going to be a very silly costume involved. So I’m dressed as the kidney, and we have the heart, liver, kidney and lungs.”

Roz asked how it was being dressed as a kidney all day, to which Ian responded, “On this job I’ve had a few funny costumes to wear over the years. I played ‘gonorrhea’ in an episode and that was a massive thing, I looked like one of the Monster Munch people. It was a university thing where we were trying to raise awareness of sexually transmitted diseases. I also played a Mummy in a Halloween episode with bandages all over me, in the height of summer, which seems to coincide with silly costume season.”

As we were on the subject of costumes I asked Ian if he was disappointed that the character of Al was not involved in the period costume elements of the Austenland episodes, especially given Ian’s love of a good time travel story.

“It massively disappointed me. I was kind of in the real world, setting up the fantasy stuff and ever since I’ve been asking what’s next as I want to wear some costumes. I worked in the theatre before I came here, at the RSC, so I’m used to wearing a wig or a fake beard.”

I followed up by asking what ‘time period’ Ian would take Doctors to if he could dictate the story line.

Clock Tower

Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower at Birmingham University.

Ian confessed, “Well, I’m a big Back to the Future fan, so I’d go a little bit into the past, say like the 50s and 60s. It would be interesting to see how The Mill would be at the start of the NHS, so kind of late 40s into the 50s would be interesting…and then you’ve to go to the future haven’t you. There is a big clock tower in Birmingham University and I often say to the boss, ‘Let’s do a Back to the Future pastiche because we’ve got a clock tower there, I reckon we could get away with that”

I asked Al how thrilled he was for Jessica Regan (Niamh Donoghue) after she won the Best Newcomer prize at the 2015 British Soap Awards.

“Oh, it’s fantastic. I wasn’t there because I’ve been on holiday. I was driving Route 66 and I’d just got into California, when I got all these texts from Owen [Brenman] and Dido [Miles]… I’m sure she thanked me at length.  I’ve only been [to the awards] once as I was on holiday last year as well, but it’s quite an event, It’s great that we’ve finally broke our losing streak as it’s been a few years, and I’m delighted for her. We were up for screen couple as well, but Eastenders had such a huge year.

Ian continued to explain why he finds working on the show so enjoyable, “Doctor’s is a bit special, five episodes a week for forty odd weeks a year and there are only 12 or 13 recurring characters, so we really carry our weight, the amount of dialogue that one gets to do on this job is amazing. One of the best things about the job is every other week you get to meet a new guest actor and kind of  share a story with them and then they drift off and some actors come back again and again.”

While we were on the subject of ‘guest’ actors, I asked Ian who he would like to work with if he could choose anyone to guest in a Doctors role.

A thoughtful Ian said, “That’s such a good question. I’ve got lots of friends so I’d try to get them a job, but I’m a big fan of Holly Hunter, and bearing in mind time travel, I’m going to go Holly Hunter, from 1987, and my favourite film, Broadcast News…then you go, Daniel Day Lewis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, they would be amazing.”

Ian continued, “One of the things that I think would be amazing for us to do, it may never happen, would be a musical episode. You know there are lots of singers and musicians on the show, Laura Rollins, who plays Nurse Ayesha, went to the Royal Ballet School, so she can dance a bit too. I think we could do, you know, sing live, piano backing, I mean it would take a bit of doing. Sometimes our audience are a little wary of us being too crazy and out there, but we can get away with a little bit of silliness. One of my first big episodes, I’d been here about six or seven months, was an episode kind of based on  conspiracy movies, like China Town. I was very lucky and I won the RTS award for it, but some of the audience reaction to that was ‘that’s the worse piece of  television I’ve ever seen’, but that’s what’s so nice about this job, because you get to do things in different genres. I think we’ve earned our position in that we can be quirky and a bit peculiar but also we can bring it back to social realism and the afternoon play, and I think Cathy Come Home, you know, that’s our heritage.”

At the time of the interview an episode had just aired where Al had just been in a hostage situation with a shopkeeper played by Derek Griffiths.

Ian discussed filming these scenes with us, “I’ve kind of known his work from The Royal Exchange in Manchester and they used to tour to Bedford, and he had just the best stories. We spent a lot of time just sat on the floor of that supermarket, with our hands tied behind our back, him telling the funniest stories of corpsing on stage.  That’s just another example of three other actors coming in and you spend three days really getting to know each other, so I really enjoyed that. I’ve not watched it yet as I’ve been away on holiday so I’m looking forward to seeing it.”

Recalling a conversation with actress Jessica Regan, who claimed she was getting a lot of flack from viewers after Niamh had split up with Al, Roz asked Ian about the his characters handling of a love interest,

Ian was very clearly on the side of ‘Team Al’, saying “What can you say, the course of true love never did run smoothly. Relationships are messy aren’t they. Obviously, it’s very difficult, as I’m on Al’s side, but I think it’s too late for them. I think he grieved, he got over it while she was still angry with him and I think she catches up and maybe still has feelings for him, but he’s regressed into kind of childishness.  However, there ‘might’ be a new love, coming on the way for Al, but whether he’s mature enough to move on and go into another relationship is another thing.”

I asked Ian about his first role in Doctors, when he played a character called Brian Flannery, a role he remembered well.

Ian recalled, “In 2004 I was in an episode called ‘Coming to Terms’, I played a strange chap who was a carpenter who was living with the widow of his best friend, and he hadn’t quite come to terms with their relationship and the fact that he’d died. I remember at the time thinking ‘This is a great job, they film so quickly’ and, you know, ten years later I’m aware of how quickly we can go.”

Roz had already asked Ian about his background, where he explained he grew up in Bedford, but had family living in the Birmingham area, who he now sees on a regular basis, and to finish with Ian offered this view of living and working in Birmingham.

Ian told us, “If I walk, and I do walk everyday, it takes me ten minutes to walk into work. If it’s a really early start or if I’m being really lazy it takes me about 90 seconds to drive to work.”

Ian ended by explaining how he has now made Birmingham his home,  “I’m a Brummie I suppose, I love the city the people are so friendly, it’s beautiful, it’s cosmopolitan. You know, Broad Street, I love the cinema and the theatre and really nice restaurants, it’s a great city and I feel at home. I think as an actor you long to put down roots and I think finally it’s happening for me, which is a delight, I’m really lucky and I love playing Al.”

You can see and hear more of what Ian Midlane had to say during the filming in a video on the What’s On TV website.

My final interview and further photos from the day will be published later this week in the lead up to the special celebration episode on 10th September and the Doctors filming location now features in the Birmingham TV & Film locations walking tour that operates in conjunction with Film Birmingham.

, , , , , , , ,

1 Comment

Sparkhill Community Leader Gets Fit…Kind Of

Adil Ray makes a quick dash across Church Street, Birmingham during filming for series 4 of Citizen Khan Copyright: BBC Images

Adil Ray makes a quick dash across Church Street, Birmingham during filming for series 4 of Citizen Khan
Copyright: BBC Images

Amjad (Abdullah Afzal) gives Mr Khan (Adil Ray) a helping hand with his new fitness plan. Copyright: BBC Images

The city centre saw some rare filming of a Birmingham based comedy last week when an unlikely fitness guru pounded the pavement as Adil Ray filmed scenes for BBC1 sitcom Citizen Khan around the Colmore Business District.

The series is set in Birmingham, but is primarily filmed at Manchester’s Media City Studios, but the cast and crew spent a day filming some Birmingham location scenes for an episode featuring the Sparkhill Community Leader’s comical mission to get fit. Mr Khan was spotted ‘jogging’ around the Council House, Cathedral Park and Selly Oak Park.

Speaking of the upcoming series, Adil Ray, who plays Sparkhill’s self-appointed community leader said: “Mr Khan starts a fitness regime and finds himself training with son-in-law Amjad (Abdullah Afzal) around Birmingham. I wanted to film around the Council House, which is a beautiful part of Birmingham, and in one of the city’s parks. Most people would jog but Mr Khan just waddles and takes as many short cuts as possible in his bid to get fit.”

Adil was caught on camera by Birmingham’s public as many stopped to watch the filming and some grabbed selfies with their much loved community leader Mr Khan.

You can find out how Citizen Khan gets on with his fitness regime in the fourth series of Citizen Khan on BBC1 this Autumn.

The steps in Victoria Square do not quite match those in Philadelphia, but they seem to have done for Mr Khan in his latest scheme Copyright: BBC Images

The steps in Victoria Square do not quite match those in Philadelphia, but they seem to have done for Mr Khan in his latest scheme
Copyright: BBC Images

 

 

Additional Tweets

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments

Doctors Celebrating 3,000 Episodes – Ian Kelsey Interview

Back in May 2015 the cast and crew of Doctors went out on location in Birmingham city centre to record scenes for a special hour long episode to celebrate the milestone of reaching 3,000 episodes of the popular BBC daytime soap.  With the special hour long episode due on screen on 10th September it won’t be long now before we all get to see what happened

The official press release is cloaked in secret but does give a hint of what to expect in what promises to be an exciting climax to an ongoing story of police corruption in Letherbridge.

A shooting in a city centre, A dance with a whiff of romance, A damaged child saved…and corruption exposed.

Ian Kelsey plays Howard Bellamy

Ian Kelsey waits on set during the filming of Doctors 3000th episode in Birmingham.

I was fortunate enough to catch up with a few of the cast in between scenes. My second cast interview of the day was with the soon to be departing, Ian Kelsey, who plays The Mill’s Practice Manager, Howard Bellamy.

Ian is no stranger to TV soap drama, having played Dave Glover in Emmerdale for 6 years in the 1990s, so I started by asking Ian how the filming schedule on Doctors compared to other serial dramas he’s worked on.

Ian was very clear on the pressures of working on the BBC daytime show, “The speed, I’ve never worked on anything as fast as this, never. It takes you a while to get used to it, well actually you never get used to it. Even after three years there are still scenes that slip by that you could have done a lot better but because of the speed your quality content just drops, you have to drop your level of acceptance of what has just been filmed because you can’t say can I have another take, it just doesn’t work on a show like this.”

“On other jobs you do have time to get it right, I’m not saying we get it wrong but there are sometimes when it’s a situation that if all the right words are in the right order and the boom [microphone] didn’t show then we’re moving on.  It’s tough because you are against the clock, but it’s also the content you have to learn. Once you’ve finished a big day you’ve got to go home and put another fifteen scenes in your head.”

The five times a week show films on a triple banking shooting schedule with three different crews filming different stories across multiple episodes at the same time, so I asked Ian how much this contributed to the busy workloads the cast often find themselves under.

Ian explained, “There are three of four of us that get hit every year, when the extra director steps up, carrying three episodes himself, so at any point during a triple strand you’ve got nine episodes in your head and you are crisscrossing all day long onto different blocks. You’ve really got to be on your game and know, have I had an argument with that person, have I kissed her yet, have we fallen out yet and even has she had her baby yet, it’s ridiculous and it’s tough. It’s mainly me and the receptionists, when it’s that time of year, we get hammered, because it’s just like working in the Queen Vic, you’ve got your fingers in everybody’s pies as our position in the show means we know about everybody’s goings on.”

Playing Practice Manager, Howard, means that Ian has to work with most of the other cast on a regular basis, so I asked him how he prepared for all the different relationships he needs to maintain throughout the show.

Ian gave huge credit to the writers in his response, “Sometimes you have to make it up yourself and eventually the writers pick up on, very quickly on this show I may add, if I put a character trait in, and keep my eye on how often I can do that, then the writers will grab hold of that and you’ll find within weeks or months, what you’ve developed somebody will have put in for you. It’s like when I read a script the other day, I’d got a scene with Ian Midlane who plays Al, and that writer has absolutely nailed his rhythm, everybody has different rhythms, and when I was reading it I could just absolutely hear him talking and that writer has obviously paid attention and nailed Ian Midlane’s delivery.”

With Ian completing over 400 episodes as Howard, I asked if there was any particular one that stood out as a personal favourite of his and after a bit of thought he said, “Well, the one I wrote myself, that was [a] brilliant [experience]. It was such an interesting learning curve having to write to the perimeters of a budget. Only having three people, other than cast members, to tell your story, and you can’t have a fourth, and you realise just how difficult it is to tell a story with just three people. You are always needing them to talk to someone else, so you are having to engineer phone calls or conversations away from camera and they have to come back and say ‘have you heard what they have just said’. Of course getting Caroline Quentin in to play my sister was a laugh, as she’s good fun.”

With a stream of guest actors coming and going in Doctors I took the opportunity to ask if there was anyone in particular that Ian would like to bring in to work alongside. After a short pause he went for, “Sandra Bullock, that would be good, she could come in and be my girlfriend I suppose.”

With news of Howard’s departure still fresh, and his final scenes to be filmed on the 10th July, I asked Ian what was next,

“I don’t know, that’s the exciting thing. I’m writing a ten or twelve part kids with Justin Fletcher (Mr Tumbles), we went to drama school together, and we are developing this kids series at the moment. He’s just finished working for the BBC recently, so hopefully we’ll get some time together to get that off the ground. Let’s see what happens, that’s the exciting thing about taking my leave. I’ve had a lot of fun [on Doctors] but when it’s time, it’s time.”

Ian Kelsey Interview

Ian Kelsey being interviewed by What’s on TV

Since the interview it’s been announced that Ian will be touring the UK in the lead role of banker Andy Dufresne in the stage play of The Shawshank Redemption alongside his former Casualty co-star, Patrick Robinson.  The show opened in Windsor on 18th August and can be seen at theatres around the country until November, when it finishes in Cardiff.

You can see and hear more of what Ian Kelsey had to say during the filming in a video on the What’s On TV website.

I’ll publish more of the interviews and photos from the day in the lead up to the special hour long episode on 10th September and the Doctors filming location now features in the Birmingham TV & Film locations walking tour that operates in conjunction with Film Birmingham.

, , , , , , ,

1 Comment

Lenny comes home – bringing Danny and the Human Zoo

I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend the Dudley Premiere of Lenny Henry’s Danny and the Human Zoo on 20th August 2015 and now I have watched the 90 minute drama, I can confidently say you are in for a Bank Holiday treat.  The wonderfully entertaining 90 minute premiere was followed by a Q&A, hosted by Radio WM’s Adrian Goldberg, with questions put to director Destiny Ekaragha, writer Lenny Henry and lead actor Kascion Franklin.

Danny and the Human Zoo is loosely based on Lenny’s own early life in Dudley and his rise to fame through the ATV Talent Show, New Faces, which was recorded at the recently demolished ATV Studios on Broad Street, Birmingham.

Danny and the Human Zoo Review

Following an opening text that claims the ‘events are real…honest’, a needle drops onto a vinyl record and we are treated to a brief burst of Mille’s My Boy Lollipop and introduced to a dancing Danny, way back in 1964.  The next decade soon arrives and so do the hits of the era, which cement the action firmly in the seventies, and bring a recollective smile to the faces of many of the lucky few that have obtained tickets. The music throughout is wonderful, it even has a theme tune, Pharrell William’s Freedom, that is so catchy you will be humming it for days to come.

As well as the music the 70s fashions, cars and even the TV shows of the era are all perfectly represented with clips from Bruce Forsyth’s Generation Game, Mike Yarwood and Some Mother’s Do ‘Ave ‘Em featuring on the family TV. Director Destiny Ekaragha made an amusing reference to the Dudley Zoo chair lift in the Q&A, stating she was scared to ride it as she thought it was a very authentic 1970s attraction, to be corrected by Lenny Henry who informed it it WAS the original 1970s Dudley Zoo attraction she had ridden.

The title role of Danny is played by Wednesbury actor  Kascion Franklin, in his first major role, and if this is the standard of his performance then he has a long and successful career ahead of him. He absolutely shines as Danny, playing comedy and tragedy with seemingly effortless and equal measure and creates an extremely likable character that you warm to immediately.  Danny struggles with racist bullying both in and out of school and there are a few phrases that were difficult to hear in our modern era, but that only helps to recreate the social environment of a 1970s era Dudley.

Throughout his story Danny is supported by his Black Country mates, who have some great lines all delivered in a wonderful local dialect by the young cast, however, they are knocked firmly into second place in the accent stakes by Danny’s Jamaican family, in particular Cecilia Noble, who puts in an award winning performance as Danny’s mother Myrtle.  Lenny Henry’s role, as Danny’s dad Samson, is also perfectly played and while his screen time is quite limited, he puts in a perfectly measured performance while letting the other characters and his heartwarming and honest script take centre stage.

Other familiar faces to look out for include, Arthur Darvill (Dr Who) as Danny’s manager Jonesy, Mark Benton (Waterloo Road) as a not so pleasant compare, Syd Bolton, at a Working Man’s Club, Cherrelle Skeete (Ordinary Lies) as Danny’s policewoman sister Dee Dee and Evanna Lynch (Harry Potter) as Danny Irish barmaid girlfriend, Bridget.  There is even a brief appearance by Richard Wilson as promoter James Broughton, who thinks absolutely nothing of adding the young black impressionist to the line-up of his Black and White Minstrel show as well as appearances from James and Oliver Phelps (Harry Potter) who play the twin managers of the Queen Mary’s Ballroom at Dudley Zoo.

There are plenty of location spotting opportunities throughout with scenes filmed at Dudley Zoo, Netherton Canal and a factory in Tipton as well as some scenes that were filmed in Moseley and Birmingham, including the Banqueting Palace at Perry Barr.

The show is witty and funny with some laugh out loud moments but it also has some darker moments with family tragedy, manipulative agents and those brief racist moments that will no doubt leave those viewers too young to remember the seventies open mouthed in shock.  What comes across really clearly is that Lenny loves Dudley and as he said in the Q&A he could not have made this film anywhere else and he seemed genuinely proud to bring his story back home.

Even though I’ve seen it already, I can’t wait to watch it all over again on Bank Holiday Monday.

Further Coverage

Birmingham Mail

Express and Star

Radio Times

BBC Midlands Today

 

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Doctors Celebrating 3,000 Episodes – Chris Walker Interview

Back in May 2015 the cast and crew of Doctors went out on location in Birmingham city centre to record scenes for a special hour long episode to celebrate the milestone of reaching 3,000 episodes of the popular BBC daytime soap.  With the special hour long episode due on screen on 10th September it won’t be long now before we all get to see what happened

The official press release is cloaked in secret but does give a hint of what to expect in what promises to be an exciting climax to an ongoing story of police corruption in Letherbridge.

A shooting in a city centre, A dance with a whiff of romance, A damaged child saved…and corruption exposed.

I was fortunate enough to catch up with a few of the cast in between scenes. First I spoke to Chris Walker, who plays police Sgt Rob Hollins.

Chris Walker as Rob Hollins

Rob Hollins crouches in the farmers market but what has he seen that has caused him to do so. See Doctors 3,000th episode on 10th September to find out.

Chris has played a number of police roles, The Bill (1985-87), Stay Lucky (1991), Our Friends in the North (1996) and Mersey Beat (2002), in a TV career spanning 30 years, so I started by asking him what it was about him as an actor that he felt made such a good police character.

Chris was at a loss at to why that might be, but suggested that he “must look a bit like an every man…”, before stating that “playing a police man is great fun.” He explained further by saying “The reason why police shows are so popular, and medical shows are so popular, it’s the revolving door and the nature of what they do, where different characters come through the door on a daily basis, which makes it easier to write shows around that.”

I suggested that the story lines could also be so varied for a police role, dealing with a minor crime to something of a far more serious nature. Chris agreed, “absolutely that, you can play every emotion, with that profession. In this show, I’ve almost got my own little cop show, and it’s an outlet from the surgery to go off and do, possibly, stories that they would find difficult to do.  What also happens is you get Rob, not police man for the day, and when our screen kids were on the show we had our own little sit-com almost, with plenty of comedy also in the show.”

With so many hours in police uniform, I asked Chris if there were any occasions when he’d been mistaken for a real police officer during his career. Chris explained, “You sort of have to be be really careful of that and you need a cover coat, else you can get into trouble. When I first joined The Bill a very long time ago, 30 years ago to be exact. I was in East London filming and I was waiting, hundreds of yards away, for a visual cue to do something. So I was stood there and this old lady came up to me and asked me for directions, and I kept shushing her and she got more and more angry and said ‘What kind of police man are you, you are absolutely terrible, I’m going to report you’, and that’s why you have to cover up as quick as possible.”

With the results of this year’s TV Soap Awards fresh in the mind I took Chris back to the 2010 awards where he jointly won the Best On-Screen Partnership with his screen partner Jan Pearson (Karen Hollins) and I asked him what he thought made that partnership so special.

Chis offered, “I think we are equally at home with comedy as well as a tragedy, we both like to play comedy, and we are both generous to each other as actors and you have to be, to get a good partnership, everyhing’s give and take, a bit like a proper marriage really. We gelled straight away, for me, day one. Almost the very first scene we did we were in bed together, so that cracks the ice, and almost from that moment it’s worked. I respect Jan so much, I think she’s a brilliant actress and that helps, working with someone who’s brilliant.”

Chris has appeared in over 600 episodes in the six years he’s been on the show, so I asked if there was any one episode that stood out as a personal favourite.

Chris recalled, “My favourite one that we did, where we got more letters of complaints from our audience, was the spoof we did on Bond.. James Bond and that was so funny. With this show, more than any other show, we change genres and we’ll go off and do it in Black and White or we’ll go back in time. In the Bond episode I played the evil villain and we had such a ball, that’s my favourite one. Our very loyal audience like to see us doing what we normally do, they don’t like change, but as actors we like change and it was like a wonderful pantomime, it really was.”

Picking up on the subject of change, I asked Chris if he’d enjoyed being out in the city centre filming instead of back at the drama village in Selly Oak.

Chris said, “It is very nice to be in the centre today, we don’t very often come into the centre because of costs, we don’t have the money to spend on clearing streets, we are not in that league, so it’s nice to be here today.”

I finished the interview with a reference to Chris’s appearance on Celebrity Masterchef back in 2010 and asked if he was still doing a bit of cooking.

An enthusiastic Chris answered, “Yes, I do. Cooking is my passion, or one of them. Funnily enough I’m doing a gourmet night at a friend’s restaurant next month (June). I used to do gourmet night’s at my friend’s hotel, you know nine courses of tasting food, every cuisine there is, so I can do it, I really can do it and I’m doing one soon.”

As Chris poured himself a ‘non-gourmet’ catering cup of coffee, I wished him good luck with his forthcoming gourmet night and with his big story line in the 3,000th episode. Tune in on Thursday 10th September to see if Sgt Hollins has to deal with comedy or tragedy in this special episode celebrating 3,000 shows for the soap.

You can see and hear more of what Chris Walker had to say during the filming in a video on the What’s On TV website.

I’ll publish more of the interviews from the day in the lead up to the special hour long episode in September and the Doctors filming location now features in the Birmingham TV & Film locations walking tour that operates in conjunction with Film Birmingham.

, , , , , , ,

1 Comment

Danny and the Human Zoo – Trailer

Due on BBC One Bank Holiday Monday, 31st August (9pm), here is the trailer for Danny and The Human Zoo.

A one off drama inspired by the life of Lenny Henry and filmed in the West Midlands earlier this year, it tells the story of young Danny Fearon (Kascion Franklin) as he makes his way through his early years in show business.

, , , , ,

Leave a comment

Free Preview Screening – Danny and the Human Zoo

Not long to wait now until we get to see, the Sir Lenny Henry written drama, Danny and the Human Zoo as it’s scheduled to air late August 2015.  If you can’t wait until then you may want to apply for some FREE tickets for a special preview screening in Lenny’s hometown of Dudley on Thursday 20th August as the BBC is giving local audiences an opportunity to be part of the event.

Lenny and co-star Kascion Franklin, together with director, Destiny Ekaragha will be in the town that night for a red carpet screening at the Showcase Cinema in Castlegate, Dudley.

Details of how to register for tickets for this very special evening are now live via the BBC Shows and Tours website, but be quick as the registration period closes at midday on Thursday 13th August 2015.

Written by and starring Lenny Henry, Danny and the Human Zoo is the fictionalised account of his life as a talented teenager in 1970s Dudley. It follows the rise to fame of the character Danny (played by Kascion Franklin) growing up in a first-generation Jamaican family, as he tries to make it as a stand-up comedian.

As some of the drama was filmed in and around Dudley, the BBC are distributing tickets via a random draw with 50% of tickets going to Dudley postcodes, giving locals the opportunity to see their town being featured in the drama.

Joe Godwin, Director, BBC Birmingham says: “We’re really pleased to be holding the screening of Danny & The Human Zoo in Dudley, providing us the opportunity to give our local audiences a real treat. It’s fantastic to have a major BBC One peak time drama focusing on the West Midlands. We look forward to welcoming Lenny back to his hometown and for the audience to enjoy what promises to be a memorable evening.”

On Monday 10th August a preview screening was held at the Charlotte Street Hotel, London and here are a few audience comments about the show on social media site Instragram;


outtheboxuk said: “We attended the screening of #DannyandTheHumanZoo tonight! Loved every minute of it! Such a real depiction of what it was like to grow up as a black kid in 1970s Dudley! Everything was on point. Can’t wait for you all to see it! Well done @kascion for a great lead role. And to Lenny Henry for a great story and Destiny Ekaragha for directing such a great piece!


inherweinspire said: “Yesterday I got the chance to see the screening of DannyandTheHumanZoo. The dialogue/writing beautifully and humorously crafted by Lenny Henry. Fantastic acting from lead @kascion. @d_ekaragha17 captured the heart of the script. It was a rollercoaster of emotions full of laughter, intensity and rage. The acting was incredible and the story and characters bought back some childhood memories… It’s a MUST watch once this is released!!!


nupeoplemaguk said: “Caught Lenny Henry’s ‘Danny And The Human Zoo’ Last night at the press screening. Hilarious and hard hitting at the same time. Will be airing on BBC One soon. Directed by @d_ekaragha17


oggiemusic said: “My sis @d_ekaragha17 and the #LEGEND @LennyHenry @ the screening of there new film #DannyAndTheHumanZoo a semi-biopic of #lennyhenry ‘s life written by Lenny and directed by my sis #destinyekaragha . I can’t begin to tell you guys what a fantastic film this as well as being hysterical, it is extremely emotional in parts, it’s brilliantly written and directed with an incredible cast, and will air on #BBC1 at the end of the month, don’t miss it!


and it got rave reviews on Twitter too;

Danny and The Human Zoo was written by Lenny Henry and directed by Destiny Ekaragha. It was produced for the BBC by RED Production Company and is to be broadcast on BBC ONE this autumn.

Follow @BBCBhamPR and #dannyandthehumanzoo for information and updates.

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment