Josh Widdicombe and Tom Craine, Writers and comedians
If you thought the room-mates in BBC Three's Josh were a handful, would you move in with Men Behaving Badly or board with Bottom?
Sophie Darlington and Mandi Stark
Camerawoman and assistant producer
Being thrust together with a colleague for weeks in wild, faraway landscapes while your family are a whole continent away: it could go either way, right? So it was a good job that crew members Sophie and Mandi bonded for life through shooting The Hunt, camping together in the isolated mountains and coasts of Ethiopia and Patagonia.
It all comes down to boosting each other's mood in the low moments and sharing socks when it gets too cold. Meeting these two left us smiling at their stories of coping strategies – from a phone ban to a chocolate stash.
On filming what they’d always wanted to
Sophie: Mandi and I have wanted to film Ethiopian wolves since the beginning of the mention of The Hunt. And so we couldn’t quite believe our luck I think.
Mandi: They’re extraordinary animals, and quite rare - there are fewer than 500 of them in the wild. I love wolves anyway: I am really interested in animals that have such sociability. I love the pack structure and their bonds and the hierarchy. And also I really wanted to go to the Bale Mountains where they live: it’s epically beautiful.
Sophie: It’s like this mad, alien landscape isn’t it? You’re up high and it’s incredibly green but quite...
Editor, TV blog
As Strictly Come Dancing travels to Blackpool for one of the series' biggest weekends, take a look back at the snappy remarks that have caused a stir so far...
1. "I don’t know what that was on the floor down there but I don’t want to see it again if I can help it."
Poor Iwan Thomas. Straight talk from Len Goodman on his Cha Cha - and the Olympic medallist went out in that same week.
Week three was Movies Week and featured four of our best quips from the judges.
2. "It was a mix between Summer Nights and Last of the Summer Wine."
That was Len on Daniel O'Donnell’s Grease-themed Cha Cha.
3. "You flew across the floor like a rampant crab."
Len again, with a pretty accurate description of Gleb Savchenko’s remarkable move in his Ghost-themed American Smooth with Anita Rani.
4. "Wow. Kellie. You should not be that good in week three."
Darcey Bussell was very taken with Kellie Bright's Star Wars-themed Charleston. But our favourite turn on the show to that date was when Jay...
Saga Norén is not your usual TV cop. As Scandinavian detective drama The Bridge returns to BBC Four, actress Sofia Helin talks about the challenge of playing an intense, exhausting and surprisingly emotional role. How will she cope with a new partner, a new case and some old demons..?
I adore Saga so much. She means a lot to me. She’s been the most exhausting character to play. I have to be so intense and so concentrated.
When I first had to play her, it was difficult, because I realised I had to do something completely different from what had been done before. And also I had to dare not to give anything back to my colleagues. That was hard.
And when people are new, or if I meet someone new on set, they just start to laugh because I’m just staring at them like Saga. I think they are uncomfortable.
Sofia demonstrates her character's trademark stare in scenes from series three
We have a convention in television about how to play a police officer, since we’re doing so many crime dramas. We have a way of being kind of a bit...
Josh Widdicombe and Tom Craine
Writers and comedians
Hi. Tom Craine here. Stand-up comedian and Songs of Praise Christmas special soloist 1992. After spending 23 years dining off a pitch-perfect rendition of Once in Royal David’s City, I co-wrote the new BBC Three sitcom Josh with fellow comedian Josh Widdicombe.
It revolves around three flat-mates and their daily stresses. Flat-sharing is something most people experience at some point. In fact Josh and I lived together a few years ago, and I think it’s safe to say he’d suggest I was an incredible housemate: kind, wise, and with a body in peak condition. Not too muscly. Not too slight. Just...
BBC TV Blog
For this year’s BBC Children in Need, four Call the Midwife stars are throwing their stethoscopes and habits aside to take part in a Strictly Come Dancing special.
Stephen McGann, Jenny Agutter, Laura Main and Jack Ashton took us backstage as they prepare to go head-to-head to win the Pudsey glitterball trophy. Even Sir Bruce Forsyth is back for the occasion!
Stephen McGann (Dr Turner)
Dancing the waltz to Moon River with Joanne Clifton.
Ian McKellen on Ronald Harwood's The Dresser, Anthony Hopkins and bringing the magic of theatre to TV
Your character, Norman in Ronald Harwood's The Dresser, seems to hold everybody together. What role do you usually play on a set – are you the entertainer, the organiser?
Usually I am the employee. I am there to do what I am told basically, to follow the script and the director’s suggestions. Well… the entertainer I think, I don’t trust myself to do the organising but I do like a jolly atmosphere. It was very easy with Anthony because he likes a laugh too and so did everybody else involved; Sarah [Lancashire] and Emily [Watson] were always laughing.
Taylor Swift tweeted that you and...
It’s not all bad news. The comedian and news-lover picks his best moments and memories from (nearly) 10 series of daft and heartwarming reporting in Russell Howard's Good News.
Russell, what’s the biggest piece of good news you’ve personally received this year?
Jürgen Klopp becoming the Liverpool FC manager.
What’s the weirdest news story you’ve encountered during the...
What first attracted me to River was the poetry - the warmth and love of human beings that runs through the script. Even though there’s a lot of sadness, that humanity makes it bearable.
But on another level, what really interested me was the way the male characters are written. Male characters that are created by women can be badly written. And female characters are usually very badly written by men. Because when you write about the other sex, you usually go back to some sexual fantasy about them, not who they really are.
But Abi Morgan’s writing is about a human being, it doesn’t matter...
The DIY SOS project in Manchester is comfortably the largest build we've ever undertaken.
It all came about after a chat I had with Ed Parker, founder of charity Walking with the Wounded, who told me he needed housing and retraining for veterans.
We'd always wanted to do something with derelict housing stock in inner cities. It seems ridiculous we have people without suitable housing and empty homes. So we combined the two ideas, asked councils to offer houses, found a viable option in Manchester and off we went.
BBC TV blog
We showed River’s series creator, Abi Morgan and lead director, Richard Laxton, this clip from their new BBC One drama to see how they reacted watching it back. Read on to find out what they had to say…