BBC Three

Archives for April 2011

Two Pints: Meet new character Billy

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Collette Collins Collette Collins | 11:20 UK time, Thursday, 28 April 2011

Hello I'm Collette. You may not recognise my name but chances are you've heard my voice; I'm the female one you hear announcing programmes on the telly.

Here at BBC Three we're pretty excited that Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps is back, especially as there are two new characters propping up the bar at The Archers pub. There's Tim's volatile sister Cassie, played by Georgia Henshaw, and Gaz' metrosexual carer Billy, played by Freddie Hogan.

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I was eager to talk to Freddie, not only to find out what it's like to join a show in its ninth series, but because (and I'll be honest with you here) I have a thing for the scouse accent. I think it stems from a teenage crush I had on Liverpool footballer - don't ask who! Anyway, I decided not to tell Freddie my weird secret as I thought it might freak him out, instead I began by asking him where he was when he found out he had got the part of Billy...

I got the call from my agent when I was with my girlfriend in Germany, just before Christmas. It was really great news, my first proper TV role, amazing really.

What do you make of Billy?
Ah! Billy's nice and charming, some people would say he's dopey and silly and a few sandwiches short of a picnic - but he's genuinely just a lovely guy - he's got a big heart on him.

What about his relationship with Gaz?
Billy's younger than Gaz so he looks up to him. He wants to be mates with him, part of his inner circle.

What was your first day on set like?
We were up in Runcorn doing the outside scenes. My first shot was on the canal on a tug boat! It was exciting, as you can imagine, it was just loads of fun. My first real experience of television and the crew were great. There's a great sense of togetherness on set. They were really exciting times.

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Did Two Pints legends Natalie Cassey and Will Mellor offer any advice?
They were just reassuring, but no actual advice. Just believe in your own ability and enjoy it - that's why you're here! That's the main thing - just enjoy it.

Any gossip or embarrassing stories from on-set?
You want me to spill the beans!? The outtakes are full of us forgetting lines, or getting words wrong. Although I think I was the first person to get a line wrong, I called Will by his real name instead of Gaz - Natalie started clapping, and I was like 'oh no I've messed up', but it was fine. The thing is I'm used to theatre, you do it once and once only, you've got to get it right first time. So it's nice in TV that you don't have that pressure, you can do it again.

Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps (Freddie Hogan as Billie)

Freddie Hogan as Billie

After downing two pints of lager and a packet of crisps, are you most likely to
  1. order another round
  2. move on to a club for a cocktail
  3. or fall asleep?
(Not that I'm suggesting you're a lightweight)

After two pints the party moves on...on to another club or pub...

You can watch Freddie star as Billy in Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps at 10.30pm Tuesdays.

And you can hear Collette announcing programmes on BBC Three. Except when it's a bloke, then that's Gavin.

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Get advice from the Meet The Multiples mums

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Joanna Witt - BBC Producer | 14:00 UK time, Thursday, 21 April 2011

Looking after one child is hard enough, let alone three or four!

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We asked two mums from Meet the Multiples why they got involved in the series, and how they found the time to take part.

Emily is mum to quads Kaylee, Jessie, Leo and Carrie. She was drawn to the series because she was keen to show the positive side of looking after quads. "I enjoy taking part in new adventures. And I also wanted people to see that having quads is fun and not all hard work". However, filming while looking after four babies did have its moments. "I got distracted at times and missed certain aspects to do with the tot's care that made the scenarios feel more stressful."

Meet The Multiples (Emily and Simon with their children)

Meet The Multiples: Emily and Simon with their children

But Emily's not one to rest on her laurels. Now filming is over, there's no time to relax. This year the family are looking forward to moving house and their first holiday together. So what advice would Emily give to other mums expecting multiple babies? "The first year will be hard work. It's physically and emotionally draining but it does get easier as your children get more independent... and fun. It really is special, so enjoy!"

Megan is mum to triplets Isaac, Fergus and William. She saw the programme as a great way of remembering the early days. "We thought the series would be a snapshot of our lives to look back on and a source of great embarrassment for the children when they grow up!" Like Emily, she found filming could be problematic. "Apart from the babies constantly trying to destroy BBC equipment, they all seemed overly cheerful whenever the camera was on. The second the crew went home it was miserable faces all round. Everyone watching will think this triplet lark is a doddle!"

Things have moved on since with Fergus and Isaac now on the move. "I feel like I'm constantly breaking up tussles over toys," says Megan. "I've also had my first day back at work and I'm rediscovering the joy of a dedicated lunch break! Oh, and holding a conversation without simultaneously having to wipe a bottom."

Meet The Multiples (Megan and Mark with their children)

Meet The Multiples: Megan and Mark with their children

Megan urges mums-to-be to get organised. "Firstly, don't panic! Actually that's a lie, you're entitled to a panicky period while you adjust to the idea that you're growing a litter. Then get as organised as you can to make life a tiny bit easier when the babies arrive," she says. "Learn to accept help; I used to accost friendly looking people to help me feed the babies when I was out and about. People were delighted to help (I think!)" She also recommends finding other twin or triplet mums to compare notes with.

"And lastly, feel really proud of yourself. Making one baby is special enough but growing more than one is a miracle of human engineering."

You can watch Emily and Megan in Meet the Multiples at 9pm Tuesday 26 April.

Meet The Multiples is part of the Bringing Up Britain season.

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Jono Lancaster: So What if My Baby is Born Like Me?

So What if My Baby is Born Like Me? (Jono Lancaster and his girlfriend Laura)

Jono Lancaster and his girlfriend Laura

Wow - where do I start? This is all still a bit crazy. A year ago I was a man with the dream to raise awareness for my condition, Treacher Collins Syndrome. Now we're onto the second documentary So What if My Baby is Born Like Me? and the first one, Love Me Love My Face has been shown literally all over the world: France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Japan. I would love to see the Japanese dubbed version. Wow! As I write this I have a huge smile on my face.

I was so nervous about the first documentary coming out. It was such an emotional time in my life but the BBC and the guys from the production company did a brilliant job with it, and the reaction from the world has been overwhelming. People have shared their stories with me, told me secrets and wanted to say hello. It's been brilliant and I can't thank you all enough.

Yeah, there has been some negative stuff - unfortunately that's life. There's been people pretending to be family, making jokes about me on websites, even people messaging me on Facebook saying nasty stuff, even questioning why Laura is with me - but this just makes me more determined to continue what I'm doing.

A quick catch up: me and Laura are still going strong, she's getting better around the house, ha ha!
So What if My Baby is Born Like Me? (Jono Lancaster with model baby)

Little Ellie (who featured in Love Me Love My Face) has started school. Her first year's been a tough one and she's got her first operations in June, so I've decided to try and raise money for a trip to Disneyland for her. I'll be going through a week of pain for her - ha ha! Bring on those fears; I'm thinking of starting with a triathlon, back, crack and sack wax, bungee jump, sky dive, getting my nipples pierced, eating a meal of grubs and nasties. Then maybe lying in a bath of spiders...

Oh and I am getting a little better at those school talks - I haven't dropped my hearing aid since the first one. I've loved doing these - talking to the kids about my experiences of life, letting them ask questions. I love it and I've even done a few colleges too.

BBC Three asked if I was interested in doing So What if My Baby is Born Like Me? as it was something close to my heart. Something I was about to face and try and get my head around. And with the relationship I had with the guys at the production company, I jumped at the chance.

Again it's been emotional, but a journey that's been so very rewarding I've learnt lots. I'll never forget it and it's helped me loads. I think the most useful thing I've learnt is that what's right for one may not right for another. I feel so honoured to have met so many cool people - and the fact that they've shared bits of their lives with me means so much to me.

So What if My Baby is Born Like Me (Jono Lancaster with Ashley)

Jono Lancaster with Ashley, aged 10, who also has Treacher Collins syndrome, which affects the way their facial bones developed

Hmm - how do I end this? I hope this isn't the end but the start of an amazing period in my life....

Please add your comment to this blog if you want to share or ask me anything.

You can watch Jono in So What If My Baby is Born Like Me? tomorrow night at 9pm.

So What if My Baby is Born Like Me? is part of the Bringing Up Britain season.

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Is Breast Best? Live Q&A with Cherry Healey and Dr Trisha MacNair

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Dana Stevens | 15:33 UK time, Tuesday, 12 April 2011

The Bringing up Britain season launched with the brilliant documentary Is Breast Best: Cherry Healey Investigates.

Thank you for all your questions, comments and views about breastfeeding for Cherry Healey and Dr Trisha MacNair.

All comments are pre-moderated which may delay publication. Not all comments will be published when the volume of comments is very high, or if they contain material that may offend other users.

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White Van Man's Will Mellor answers your questions

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Dana Stevens | 10:09 UK time, Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Thank you for all your questions for the lovely Will Mellor, who stars as Ollie in our new comedy White Van Man.

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We picked a selection that you sent via our Facebook page, @bbc3tv Twitter and added to this blog. Here are Will's answers:

From Aaron2132 on the blog: What made you want to be in White Van Man? (By the way, you're amazing playing Ollie)

Well it's such a great show and it's the show I've been waiting for for a long time. It's a comedy drama - it's got a warm side so it's not just jokes, jokes, jokes. When I read the first seven or eight pages I knew I wanted to do it. I didn't know at the time that it was written with me in mind but I found that out later on. I just think it's a brilliant script and a great show and I'm really pleased to be playing Ollie.

From Scott Julyan on Facebook: Who is your favourite character and why?

The lad who plays Darren, Joel, is just fantastic. I think he's such a brilliant part and Joel is such a great actor and he's just so funny. There's so many scenes where we were just cracking up all the time, we were just howling and laughing the whole time. It makes it really difficult to get through a scene!

From Terry Haley on Facebook: When watching the show I can see that it must be fun to make an episode, especially working with Joel. How hard is it on a scale of one to ten is it to keep a straight face and complete a scene?

Yeah, as I said, Joel just always makes me laugh and there are a couple of episodes where we just found it almost impossible to stop laughing and we had to do so many takes because I couldn't keep it together. So definitely I'd say it's an eight or nine out of ten.

@sarahjhaycock on Twitter: What's been your best episode of White Van Man?

I think the last two episodes are fantastic and they are probably my favourites as the series as a whole snowballs into chaos. Towards the end of the series it really does get going and I think the last two episodes are fantastic because everything comes to a head. The love triangle thing comes to a head and things happen with Ollie where he just tells everyone how he feels about them. And I remember filming that episode and it was a great episode. And I'm just over the moon with the series and I'm just dying to make series two.

White Van Man (Will Mellor as Ollie and Joel Fry as Darren)

Will Mellor as Ollie and Joel Fry as Darren in White Van Man

From Hannah Ciaran Collins on Facebook: Love the new show. Why does Ollie take everyone's abuse and Darren's ineptitude so lightly?

He's just in a really difficult situation, what else can you do? He's just trying his best. When people don't pay you it's just really difficult. But there's not much you can do other than getting violent - which is never a good idea - because you end up getting in more trouble than you were in the first place. So I think you've just got to take it as experience and never get into that situation again. It's happened to me and I've just swallowed a lot of money that someone ripped me off for, but I've learnt, I'll never do it again.

Lisa Wittner on Facebook: Fab show, when is series two of White Van Man on?

We don't know. We're waiting to hear but we know that the viewing figures are very big at the moment so it's doing very well. And it's getting bigger every week which is fantastic - it's a hit! So fingers crossed we're hoping for another series. But we'll let you know if we hear anything, obviously.

White Van Man (Will Mellor)

Will Mellor in White Van Man

@PeaceColeman on Twitter: Who would you rather have as your best mate, Ollie Curry or Gaz Wilkinson (from Two Pints)?

It's got to be Gaz Wilkinson - I think Ollie takes things a bit too seriously where as Gaz is up for more a laugh. Ollie's a little bit uptight at the moment because he's been put into this job situation, Gaz has got more of a free-spirit. So Gaz would probably be better on a night out.

Jackie on the blog: Have you picked up any handyman skills? Loving the programme.

No, I'm rubbish. I try to do some things: I put up a TV in my house on the wall and the kids aren't allowed to go near it just in case it falls on them! That's how much confidence I have in my own work. I try some bits, I have a go, but I think if in doubt pay someone who knows what they're doing.

And can I just say thanks very much to everyone for all your support and I'm really glad you're enjoying the show.

Yes you can Will!. You can watch Will as Ollie in White Van Man at 10.30pm tonight.

Is Breast Best? Chat LIVE with Cherry Healey

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Dana Stevens | 13:30 UK time, Thursday, 7 April 2011

*UPDATE: If you missed the live chat you can watch what happened here.*

Following on from her documentary Cherry Has a Baby, Cherry Healey is back on BBC Three and this time she's exploring the emotional and complicated issue of breastfeeding in Is Breast Best? Cherry Healey Investigates.

Is Breast Best? Cherry Healey Investigates (Cherry Healey)

Is Breast Best? Cherry Healey Investigates (Cherry Healey)

Although many assume it will be easy for new mums, lots of women find breastfeeding a struggle, don't know enough about it or are worried about how people will react if they do it.

So if you want some advice, need reassurance or have a question about breastfeeding, we're giving you the chance to chat live with Cherry and breastfeeding expert Dr Trisha McNair here on the BBC Three blog during and after the programme, which will be on BBC Three at 9pm on Tuesday 12th April.

Is Breast Best? Cherry Healey Investigates


  • Visit us here on the BBC Three blog between 9.30pm - 10.30pm on Tuesday 12th April
  • Simply add your comment, query or question for Cherry or Doctor Trisha
  • You can also take part on the night via Twitter by using #isbreastbest
  • Or add your question for Cherry or the Doctor in advance by adding it now to the blog

Is Breast Best? Cherry Healey Investigates is part of the Bringing up Britain season. As part of the season, we're also giving you the opportunity to hear what young parenthood is really like for young mums and dads in a series of online videos. The young parents will be offering help and advice based on their personal experiences on everything from how to wean your baby or stop it crying to why time together as a couple is so important.

To find out more about other programmes in the season visit the Bringing Up Britain website.

Is Breast Best? Cherry Healey Investigates is at 9pm on Tuesday 12th April.

Read Cherry's tips for surviving parenthood.

Read about Cherry's personal reasons for making the film on the TV blog.

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Ask Will Mellor a question about White Van Man

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Dana Stevens | 17:12 UK time, Tuesday, 5 April 2011

I don't know about you, but I'm loving the new comedy White Van Man and I think Will Mellor is brilliant as struggling handyman Ollie. So we thought we'd give you a chance to ask him a question about starring in the show.

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Maybe you want to know if he's really any good with a power drill? Or you want to find out what the cast got up to behind-the-scenes during filming? Or whether he thinks Ollie should go out with Emma or Liz.


  1. Add your question here on the blog
  2. Leave it on our Facebook page
  3. Tweet us @bbc3tv or using #bbc3askwill.

Make sure you get your question to us by 10am on Thursday 7th April, we'll pick a selection of the best ones and then we'll post Will's answers here before next week's episode of White Van Man.

You can watch White Van Man tonight at 10.30pm.

My Brother The Islamist: Dealing with the shock and hurt

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Robb Leech Robb Leech | 10:21 UK time, Monday, 4 April 2011

I first found out that Richard, my step brother, had become an Islamist in a newspaper article. My initial reaction was one of disbelief - it had to be someone else, or a mistake...but it wasn't. Rich was the newest recruit of a man dubbed by the media the most dangerous man in Britain, Anjem Choudary.

My Brother The Islamist (Robb Leech and his brother Rich/Salahuddin)

Robb Leech and his brother Rich, now known as Salahuddin in My Brother The Islamist

In some respects the decision to make a film, My Brother The Islamist, was an easy one; I was an aspiring filmmaker and before my eyes was an incredibly topical, fascinating and unique story that I felt a responsibility to tell. But on a personal level, it was much more difficult. It was one thing telling a story, but to be deeply involved with the very emotional core of that story... I knew it would be a fine balance between the role of filmmaker and the reality of being part of a family so profoundly affected.

Luckily, the family were supportive. None of us knew anything about these sinister jihadists who Rich now regarded as brothers, or what they believed in, or even what Rich was like, now he had changed his name to Salahuddin and was calling for Sharia law across the UK. I wanted to get to the bottom of things and although the situation was extremely sensitive and upsetting for the family, I think they understood that making a film was my way of doing this, and if what I discovered on my journey could go some way to lift the ominous dark clouds of the unknown, they would stand behind me.

My Brother The Islamist (Robb Leech and his brother Rich/Salahuddin)

Twelve months later and I feel that the film, despite the emotions it has brought to surface, has gone a long way to lift those dark clouds. We can now see Rich in broad daylight, well almost. He may still hold the same views and dream of the total destruction of the west, but at least we have an insight and feel we can now engage with this distant world in which he and his brothers inhabit.

There were moments of real shock and hurt, such as when Rich told me he wouldn't shake my hand because I was a dirty kafir or when I watched as he and the brothers publicly burned the American flag on the anniversary of 9/11. But since the documentary, there have been moments of real hope too. I recently met with Rich after he had been given the rare opportunity of a preview. His feelings were mixed, but after we had finished talking and I had got back into my car, I noticed he was walking back towards me. I switched off the engine and got out. He shook my hand "...sorry about the handshaking thing" he said "I didn't mean to cause offence..." I drove away with a smile on my face; it was comforting to know that things can change, even if only with a fleeting handshake.

Robb Leech directs My Brother The Islamist. You can watch the documentary at 9pm tonight on BBC Three.

For more information about the programme and links to discover more about Islam, visit the My Brother The Islamist website.

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