Press Office

Thursday 27 Nov 2014

Press Release

Janice Hadlow announces new drama and factual commissions for BBC Two

An ambitious new drama series about the interwoven lives, loves and betrayals of seven characters whose relationships are forged in the white heat of the Sixties through to present day, has been commissioned for BBC Two, Channel Controller Janice Hadlow announced today at the Edinburgh International TV Festival.

Commissioned as part of the channel's increased investment for drama, White Heat is a six-part series written by award-winning writer Paula Milne (Endgame, Small Island, The Virgin Queen, The Fragile Heart, The Politician's Wife) and produced by ITV Studios for BBC Two.

Passionate, dangerous and compelling, the characters' love stories and friendships are set against a backdrop that takes us from Wilson to Thatcher, feminism to the Falklands, hedonism to HIV - exploring the personal and political journeys which shaped their destinies to make them the people they are today.

Janice Hadlow said: "White Heat is a picture of Britain through the experiences of a group of young people, as they look back at the way the world made them. When you put this alongside The Hour and The Shadow Line, you can really start to see the green shoots of the new drama strategy for BBC Two."

A spine-chilling new single drama has also been commissioned for Christmas on BBC Two, Janice Hadlow revealed.

Whistle And I'll Come To You, written by Neil Cross, is the thoroughly modern re-working of the evocative Edwardian ghost story "Oh, Whistle and I'll come to You, My Lad" by M.R. James made by BBC Drama Production.

After the first series of his "gritty-gothic" police thriller Luther, Cross's adaptation delves into themes of ageing, hubris and the supernatural, adding a terrifying psychological twist in the tale to this family hearthside favourite.

Directed by Andy de Emmony (fresh back from forthcoming feature film West Is West), it will be a cinematic, moody, poignant and unsettlingly spooky addition to the Christmas schedules, taking its lead from L'Orfanto, The Shining and Japanese horror movies.

The story focuses on one man's encounter with an apparition on a desolate British beach - and how this haunting begins to hound him.

Both dramas have been commissioned for the channel by the BBC's Controller of Drama Commissioning, Ben Stephenson.

Continuing the channel's renewed focus on history, Dan Snow is to bring the filthy histories of the world's greatest cities to BBC Two.

Janice Hadlow announced that next year BBC Two viewers will be able to join Dan Snow on a visceral journey into the past in Filthy Cities, an immersive new series that will bring to life the stinking histories of London, New York and Paris. Dan will show how these modern capitals were forged in the dirt of the past, emerging from filthy cities to become the iconic modern metropolises we know today.

Taking the travelogue in a new direction, Dan will excavate the murky past in gruesome detail during defining periods in history. Using state-of-the-art CGI, he will go back in time to medieval London, revolutionary Paris and 19th-century New York, revealing that the story of our epic battle against filth through the ages is also the story of the birth of the modern metropolis.

Dan will step into the shoes of professionals such as the medieval muck-raker responsible for clearing tonnes of excrement from London streets; the pig handler helping to clear the New York streets of waste; and the Parisian undertaker, battling to cope with the human cost of a bloody revolution.

He will meet experts, asking them the questions that never make it into the history books, and put the past to the test by mounting a series of imaginative experiments and thought-provoking stunts to demonstrate the key moments in the fight against filth.

Marrying historical accounts with modern science, and combining ambitious reconstructions with CGI, Dan will build up a picture in deliciously dirty detail of the making of three great capital cities during a pivotal period of the past, and reveal the hidden history behind the modern metropolis.

Filthy Cities will be made by BBC Productions. It will be executive produced by Eamon Hardy. Series Producer will be Sam Starbuck.

Finally, following the success of Oz Clarke and Hugh Dennis' Christmas special, Janice Hadlow announced that the duo will team up again for a new series, Oz And Hugh Raise The Bar.

Wine expert Oz Clarke and comedian Hugh Dennis (Outnumbered, Mock The Week) are to set up the UK's most patriotic drinking establishment; a place that serves exclusively local produce, drunk according to tradition and customs.

Hugh is less of a drinker and more of a thinker, but now the lush and the lightweight are going on a journey together, where they'll meet that special breed of person with the passion to produce some of the best British drinks known to man or beast. From the traditional to the modern, the small professional to the not so small amateur the boys will see it all and Oz will teach Hugh everything he knows.

By travelling across the UK and Ireland, they will try and buy a range of drinks as potential stock for their cellars. But like a good cocktail, this series will have a twist; there are two bars in the drinking den, and they are in competition with each other. Alongside the traditional pub fare of beer and wine, they will be looking at snacks, soft drinks, and more unusual offerings such as pub games and British spirits.

The Commissioning Editor for Oz And Hugh Raise The Bar is Alison Kirkham. The Executive Producers are Nick Shearman for the BBC and Chris Stuart and Mark Hill for Presentable.


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