Press Office

Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

BBC Worldwide Press Releases

New programming line-up for BBC Entertainment

BBC Worldwide Channels has today announced a raft of new programming for the pan-regional BBC Entertainment channel.

The channel (formerly BBC Prime) launched in November 2009 and is available across Europe and the Middle East. As part of BBC Worldwide Channels’ ongoing commitment to provide audiences with channels of the highest quality, BBC Entertainment will premiere a number of compelling dramas, much-loved comedies, and light entertainment programming from the BBC.

Commenting on the new programming line-up, Jon Farrar, VP Programming EMEA, BBC Worldwide Channels said: "I'm delighted to present such a strong programming line-up for viewers of our pan-regional BBC Entertainment channel. We have chosen the programmes in direct response to the feedback and preferences of our viewers so they can look forward to more premiere high-quality drama and light entertainment series, in addition to more of their much-loved favourites on the channel."

September kicks off with weekend schedules dedicated to family favourites. Robin Hood returns for a second series of action-packed adventure as Robin (Jonas Armstrong) continues to outwit and fight the evil Sheriff of Nottingham (Keith Allen) with outrageous scams, disguises, tricks and ingenuity, breathtaking archery and swordplay.

Robin’s epic crusades are followed by an all-out battle on the dance floor with Strictly Come Dancing (S5). Follow 14 new celebrities including Stephanie Beacham (Dynasty), ex-Liverpool F.C. legend John Barnes, singer Alesha Dixon and EastEnders stars Letitia Dean and Matt Di Angelo as they put on the glamour and the glitz and struggle with the tears and the twirls in order to be crowned Strictly Come Dancing Champions.

BBC Entertainment will also be home to a number of high-quality contemporary dramas in the coming months.

The BAFTA award-winning series Spooks returns for another run of razor-sharp, slick and topical stories. Series five opens dramatically when Britain is left reeling after a series of terrorist attacks. Our team believes the attacks cloak a conspiracy to destroy democracy and turn Britain into a 'police state'. Can the team protect the democratic way of life?

From award-winning filmmaker Dominic Savage, Freefall examines the events that caused so many lives to spiral into financial turmoil during the last year. Gus (Aidan Gillen, The Wire) is the high-flying city executive who packages and sells bundles of mortgages for extortionate profit. Dave (Dominic Cooper, Mamma Mia!) is the mortgage broker who can make anything happen. When he bumps into hard-working family man Jim, his old school friend, he offers him a way out of the council flat he has been stuck in for years. But when the market collapses, each character is confronted by a shocking, revelatory truth that shines a burning light on the new realities we face.

Heart and Soul is a heart-warming drama about family, love, prejudice and acceptance. Community choirmaster Michael is perfectly happy leading his ramshackle local chorus with his wife, Esther (Sarah Lancashire) as lead soprano. But when the arrival of beautiful and talented soprano Layla unexpectedly leads Michael astray, Esther is forced to face life without her husband and her hobby. She's not alone; other members of the choir who no longer 'fit in' are brutally ejected to make way for Michael's new, improved ideas. Along with Esther's teenage son, they form an alternative, surprise entry to the Glossop Musicfest. As Esther sets herself up in opposition to her husband and his wily new girlfriend, will Michael see the error of his ways?

Starring Marc Warren, Keeley Hawes and Alexander Armstrong, Mutual Friends is a new comedy drama series following the trials and tribulations of the increasingly entangled lives of a group of old friends. After the suicide of his best friend, Carl, solicitor Martin's world falls apart when his wife, Jen tells him at the funeral that she slept with his now dead friend. As the once happy couple struggle to hold their marriage together, Martin's pathologically immature but endlessly charming friend, Patrick re-enters their lives and decides to help Martin through his troubles in his own inimitably hedonistic way. Meanwhile, Jen receives support and advice from her best friend, Liz – who also happens to be Patrick's former fiancée. Exploring issues of death, adultery, marriage, divorce and parenthood with friends like these, who needs enemies?

A number of captivating dramas set against the backdrop of key periods in history will also broadcast on BBC Entertainment.
Adapted from Andrea Levy's best-selling award-winning novel, Small Island is an epic love story about the pursuit of dreams in the face of seemingly insurmountable barriers. From the heat and hustle of life in Forties Jamaica through to the devastation of London in the Blitz, Small Island follows the interlocking lives of Londoner Queenie, the young Jamaican couple who become her lodgers, Gilbert and Hortense, Queenie's husband Bernard and the mysterious and handsome Michael (Ashley Walters). Small Island deftly touches on the weighty themes of empire, prejudice and war, with a gentle touch and a warm, uplifting generosity of spirit.

Set in and among the alleys, galleries and flesh-houses of 19th-century industrial London, Desperate Romantics follows the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of revolutionary artists as well-known for their intertwining love lives as for their ground-breaking paintings. The scandalous love triangles with their models became the subject of much gossip among their contemporaries, particularly as these relationships often crossed the class barriers of polite Victorian society.

As millions of exhausted soldiers returned home from the Great War in November 1918, Spanish Flu: The Forgotten Fallen tells the little-known story of Dr James Niven, Manchester's medical officer of health for 30 years, and his heroic efforts to combat a second wave of fatal influenza as it spread across the city of Manchester and the UK. Inspired by Dr Niven's own accounts and documented facts, the film pays a rare tribute to the estimated 70 million forgotten fallen who died from Spanish influenza across the world.

BBC Entertainment takes viewers on an absorbing journey of intrigue, deceit, danger and betrayal with a range of crime dramas airing over the autumn.

Suranne Jones (Coronation Street) stars in Unforgiven. Released after 15 years behind bars for the murder of two policemen as a teenager, Ruth cannot escape or forget her past. When she returns to where she was forced to leave behind her sister, Ruth must learn to withstand the animosity from her peers, the hatred from her victims and the lack of trust from strangers in her attempts to get her life back on track. Will she ever get what is rightfully hers?

Moses Jones is a vibrant, atmospheric thriller set in the heart of West London. A mysterious wave of terror runs through the Ugandan community of Shepherds Bush when the body of a man is pulled out of the Thames with his arms and legs sewn back onto his torso. Assigned to the case are DI Dan Twentyman (Matt Smith, Doctor Who) and a disgruntled DI Moses Jones (Shaun Parkes). Confronted with a wall of silence Jones and Twentyman are at a loss as to whether to put the mysterious death down to ritualistic murder, terrorism, organised crime or the work of a lunatic. Forced to ask himself tough questions about his cultural identity, Moses Jones embarks on a frightening quest to track down his man and redeem himself before the community implodes… or takes revenge itself.

Written by Barbara Machin, creator of Waking the Dead, Kiss of Death, is an absorbing story told at various times from the point of view of every character involved – those investigating, the victims and even the killer. When a dismembered body is discovered on a beach at dawn followed by a kidnapping, the specialist team investigating is challenged to work out why. Suddenly everyone’s past and version of events comes under scrutiny. No one is above suspicion.

BBC Entertainment also presents a season of dramas where ordinary people find themselves in extraordinary circumstances.

Julie Graham (William and Mary) and Max Beesley (Hotel Babylon) star in Survivors, an action-packed thriller based on the acclaimed novel by Terry Nation. Set in the aftermath of a devastating virus that has wiped out most of the world’s population, the surviving few struggle to make sense of a world without family, friends or lovers. It is an opportunity for new beginnings, but with no society, no police and no law and order, they now face terrible dangers.

Following on from the phenomenal success of the first two series that have taken British television by storm, the third installment of Doctor Who is full of new thrills, new laughs, new heartbreak and some terrifying new monsters. From the moment the Doctor (David Tennant) walks into the life of medical student Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) he changes it forever. Together they find themselves travelling through time and space encountering extraordinary events, amazing worlds and faces both old and new. They come face to face with the ruthless Judoon, a vicious plasmavore and the Doctor's sworn enemies, the Daleks, who have been hiding in 1930s New York with a terrifying plan for humanity.

James Nesbitt stars as Jekyll, in a conspiracy thriller that gives the classic tale of scientific misadventure, a dark and modern twist. It is 2007. There is a new Dr Jekyll but an old problem; Mr Hyde. They have a deal – a body share – and an impossible life is somehow lived. However, what Hyde does not know is that Jekyll is married, and there is a wife and two children he will do anything to protect from his sinister alter ego. With all the resources of modern technology, and the best surveillance hardware, he is determined to keep his dark side in line…

To celebrate the festive season, BBC Entertainment has a fantastic line up comedy crackers with special episodes of comedy favourites including The Green, Green Grass, Little Britain and Jam and Jerusalem.

A new face is joining the CBeebies block on BBC Entertainment this autumn. Created by award-winning producer Michael Bourchier, Penelope K, By the Way seamlessly combines charming live action with hand puppetry and shadows as the dreamy Penelope K enlists the help of a unique bunch of friends to find the answers to all manner of questions. Penelope K runs the Information Station, the place where a child can go to find the answer to any question. She has bags of enthusiasm but can't be completely relied on as answers have a way of floating out of her mind at crucial moments. Faced with a mass of facts and information, all the confused Penelope K needs now is a child to help her unearth the answer.

Louise Loffel

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