Romesh and Shanthi Ranganathan
Comedian Romesh Ranganathan very reluctantly agreed when his mum asked him to explore his Sri Lankan roots for new BBC Three show Asian Provocateur. So, much to Romesh's regret, we gave him and mum Shanthi a call to see what makes their relationship so special…
When is the last time you went on holiday together?
Romesh: Last time I went on holiday with my mum was when we went to Canada to see some family.
Shanthi: When we arrived at the airport, my relations came to pick us up, and the first thing they said was: ‘Romesh looks exactly like his father’, which brought me to tears. But just spending time with Romesh in Canada was such a wonderful experience. And the way he looked after me when I was there was fantastic.
Romesh: I’m a really good son.
Shanthi: He’s a really good boy. He has got so much love in him, but he doesn’t know how to express it. But when I went to Canada and when we went to Sri Lanka, I was thinking what a lovely boy he is.
So it’s been a whirlwind, but also one of the most exciting weeks of my life. My first-ever presenting gig went live last night on BBC iPlayer and this morning I have to pinch myself because I can’t quite believe it’s happened. Presenting was amazing, an experience I will never forget, but it was blooming hard work! So today I thought I would share with you what the experience taught me.
1. Presenting is harder than it looks
Remembering your lines, remembering what camera to look in, plus looking like you’re not about to fall asleep is actually a pretty huge task. Walking around for hours on end and shooting the same thing seven times to make sure you’ve got what’s needed is mentally and physically draining. Two days of filming felt like a year’s worth of work, haha.
2. Backstage is exactly how you think it’s going to be
Hair and make-up mayhem, people running about everywhere, someone shouting and clothes being steamed on rails. Everything I...
Patagonia is one of those places that has a mysterious draw. The sheer scale and drama of the landscape is breath-taking.
The lords of this uncompromising wilderness are the pumas, and for me it was the shoot of a lifetime. In most locations, a glimpse of a puma is all you can hope for, but in Torres del Paine National Park there is a real chance of capturing detailed wild behaviour.
The BBC had filmed there before, so I gained all the tips and advice on offer and got in touch with a respected puma tracker: Rodrigo Moraga. His view was that to film pumas hunting guanaco was ambitious, but possible. It needed time in the mountains and a lot of luck, since pumas hunt mostly at night. We would be on foot with Patagonia's top predators, which do very rarely attack humans. Tricky!
We believe the only successful filming of a wild puma hunt in Patagonia is by a park ranger – Heriberto Yaeger Hernandez on his handi-cam. Heriberto has the huge advantage that he...
BBC TV blog
Every new romance takes some getting used to. You're getting to know a new person, with new quirks and views, as well as taking on their family and friends - however bonkers. But what happens when that new relationship also features an age gap, and a transgender woman?
New BBC Two comedy Boy Meets Girl stars transgender actress Rebecca Root as romantic lead Judy, who falls in love with Leo (Harry Hepple). So what does Rebecca's role mean to the trans community, including friend and transgender rights activist Paris Lees?
Frankie Wilson, Alice Sykes & Laurie Kynaston
It’s just plain weird to watch actors playing out your own life, says Danny Baker of new comedy Cradle To Grave, BBC Two’s adaptation of his autobiography. And at the same time “frankly, quite tremendous”.
Danny’s teenage years in Bermondsey, south London – picture council flats and corner shops, factories and bomb sites – were full of what he describes as thunderingly entertaining incidents. Plus he’s got Peter Kay playing his dad. So expectations are high for Laurie Kynaston, who plays the man (or teenager) himself, and his co-stars Frankie Wilson and Alice Sykes who play his siblings...
Presenter and conservationist
As a child, Saba Douglas-Hamilton grew up around wild elephants in Tanzania and Kenya, thanks to her father, Iain Douglas-Hamilton's conservation work. Now a mother herself to three young daughters, Saba is raising her family in a similar environment and is the subject of BBC Two documentary This Wild Life.
The more you watch elephants, the more you slip into their mind-scape and begin to see the world through their eyes. Most of what I know about them I learnt by osmosis - growing up amongst them while my parents did their research in the 70s and 80s. Later on, I was able to match my...
Cein McGillicuddy & Andy Kinnear
Top Coppers co-creators
C: For pretty much all of the regular Top Coppers cast, it’s their first kind of big outing - except John Hollingworth, who actually has quite a good role in Poldark and has a significant amount of fans already!
One of the big surprising introductions is Donovan Blackwood as Chief. Donovan has been with us since we created a mini-series of Top Coppers in 2010. We put out an advert online, then he just came and auditioned. He’s a session soul singer and he’d not done much TV acting, except for a part in Casualty where he fell off a ladder and got covered in blue paint about 10 years ago....
My Fried character, Amara, finds herself being forced to work at Seriously Fried Chicken to be honest. Her dad wants her to learn the value of money. She hates her job, and she’s not very good at it either!
Amara’s a nice girl deep down, she’s just a bit, well, she likes her material stuff. She’s all about nails, big fancy cars, a big house… all of that jazz.
But I think throughout the series you do see her grow. Maturity-wise. Probably more human skills if anything you know.
Amara doesn't think colleague Joe is her type
There’s something about pop art that tends to get up people’s noses. That was certainly the case in the earliest days of the movement, at the start of the 60s, when paintings by the likes of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein began to be seen in New York. And, to an extent, pop art still polarises opinion today: with its emphasis upon celebrities, consumer products and cartoons, it can come across as superficial. How could a painting of, say, Superman count as a serious work of art?
But pop’s sassy energy and engagement with the real world we all encounter every day is exactly what I love...
BBC TV blog
Those piercing blue eyes have been known to strike fear into many a new baker on the The Great British Bake Off. But a look back over past GBBO series proves judge Paul Hollywood’s tongue can be pretty sharp too...
Here are some of our favourite Paul put-downs:
1: “It looks like a rough plasterer's job.”
Said to contestant Mark Onley (a kitchen fitter and carpenter) about his first bake in series four, Paul showed his hatred of poor presentation.
Mark's first signature bake starts with an oven disaster