Tag: bbc four

Christopher Eccleston Channels John Lennon

Along with the news about Brian Blessed being cast as Henry VIII in modern day comes word that former ninth Doctor and Destro actor Christopher Eccleston will be portraying John Lennon during a rapidly changing four years in the musician’s life, 1967-1971. Former Torchwood star Naoko Mori will be playing Yoko Ono. The BBC released quite a bit of information about this production and we have it all for you below. We will definitely be following this production and will bring you more details as they become available.

Christopher Eccleston is to star in Lennon Naked, a major one-off drama from Blast! Films for BBC Four.

Lennon Naked charts his transition from “Beatle John” to enduring and enigmatic icon. It covers a period of wildly fluctuating fortunes from 1967-71; a time of worldwide adulation at one extreme, a combination of frustration and despair at the other.

Writer Robert Jones articulates the burden of genius, as well as issues of fatherhood and fame in this 90-minute film.

Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning says: “Securing Christopher Eccleston to play John Lennon is further testament to the calibre of drama on BBC Four. The Women We Loved season currently on air is attracting record audiences and the channel is steadily building a reputation for portraying some of this country’s best loved icons.”

Richard Klein, Controller, BBC Four, says: “BBC Four is the place where dramas look to explore that space between artists’ public works and private lives, shedding light on the artistic process while offering intelligent entertainment.”

When The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein died unexpectedly in 1967, it was a turning point in John Lennon’s life. The film focuses on the turbulent and intense period of change that followed, and how John was haunted by his troubled childhood.

The film reveals the impact of re-establishing contact with his long lost father Freddie and the events that led John to shed everything both personally and creatively – from divorcing his long-suffering wife Cynthia, to changing his name and ultimately calling time on The Beatles.

Meeting Yoko Ono was the catalyst for this new era and the film explores the development of their extraordinary relationship. Together they experimented with both the musical and artistic avant garde but in doing so become outsiders.

It looks at their growing disillusionment with Britain and what caused John to abandon the UK to start a new life in America. A process that included John harnessing the power of radical Primal Scream psychotherapy to lay the ghosts of his past and go on to record arguably the most powerful solo work of his career.

Key cast also include Christopher Fairbank as Freddie Lennon, Naoko Mori as Yoko Ono, Claudie Blakley as Cynthia Lennon, Rory Kinnear as Brian Epstein, Allan Corduner at Art Janov, Michael Colgan as Derek Taylor and Andrew Scott as Paul McCartney.

Lennon Naked is currently filming in London; the 90-minute drama is written by Robert Jones (The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Party Animals) and will air in 2010. The director and co-producer is Edmund Coulthard (Tales From Pleasure Beach, Soundproof); co- producer is Katherine Lannon (The Secret Life Of Mrs Beeton, The History Of Mr Polly) for Blast! Films, and BBC executive producer is Kate Evans.

Commissioned by Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning and Richard Klein, Controller, BBC Four.

Brian Blessed To Star As Henry VIII

When the rumors started earlier this year that Brian Blessed was up for the role of Odin in the new Thor film I actually hoped it wasn’t true. Don’t get me wrong, Blessed is one of my favorite actors of all time, but Odin is a more subdued role and in no way is the All-Father bombastic so it would have been a criminal misuse of the actor. I have no doubt that he has the skills to pull off such a role, but why restrain him? Now comes word of a part he is undeniably perfect for, that of Henry VIII, but with a twist.

Blessed is to star as Henry VIII in a series of sketches called Henry 8.0, from Monkey, for BBC Comedy’s on-line platform Comedy Extra. Set in the present day, Henry is alive and well and living in a suburban semi with his long-suffering wife, Catherine Parr. Shot from the perspective of his webcam, the sketches show Henry addicted to the Internet and have him do battle with on-line shopping, downloading music as well as Internet dating.

Blessed said: “When I got the scripts I just wanted to do it immediately. It’s completely magical and original.”

Written by Mark Davison and Glen Long, Henry 8.0 starts on-line on Thursday 26 November. The show was commissioned by BBC executives Simon Lupton and Martin Trickey and David Granger was executive producer for Monkey.

Simon Lupton said: “We thought this was a terrific idea which was very sharply written and well observed. There really was only one person who could play Henry and, fortunately, he shared our enthusiasm and agreed to do it. Monkey have done a great job and we are thrilled to have Brian and these pieces on Comedy Extra.”