Press Office

Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Programme Information

New this week

The Magicians

New series
Saturday 1 January
7.30-8.30pm BBC ONE (Schedule addition 8 December)

The New Year sees magic back on prime-time BBC One for the first time in nearly two decades with the arrival of The Magicians, a new entertainment spectacular.

Against the stunning backdrop of a specially created set at Pinewood Studios, four of the magic world's most successful practitioners do battle every week for five weeks, in the first magic-based competition on UK screens.

Host, actor and comedian Lenny Henry, is joined by four internationally renowned magic practitioners: US sleight of hand artist Chris Korn, master illusionist Luis de Matos, and talented UK magicians Barry and Stuart, whose brand of dark and exciting vaudeville will keep audiences enthralled.

This week sees three celebrities paired with the magicians to commence battle in front of a live studio audience. The pairs perform three different rounds of magic, from classic tricks with contemporary twists to "nowhere to hide" street magic and dramatic grand illusions.

Every week the celebrity/magician duos are placed in first, second and third place by the studio audience. There are no prizes, just the pride of the win – and for the team who comes last an uncomfortable and dangerous forfeit that no one will want to tackle.

Each week three new celebrities face more challenges and stunts to stun and amaze the audience.


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Not Going Out Ep 1/6

New series
Thursday 6 January
9.30-10.00pm BBC ONE (Schedule addition 8 December)

This New Year, Lee Mack's multi-award-winning sitcom Not Going Out returns to BBC One for its much-anticipated fourth series. Back with a six-part prime-time run, the Rose D'Or and Royal Television Award winning show, written by and starring the Bafta-winning stand-up, is packed full of the jokes, jibes and general misunderstandings of Lee and his friends.

Happy-go-lucky – but entirely hapless – Lee is still desperate to win the affections of his flatmate, Lucy. But despite last year's Christmas kiss, it's still not plain sailing; and it's not just Lee's complete lack of drive that gets in the way. Trouble seems to find Lee at every turn. Not only are friends Tim and Daisy – Tim's ditzy girlfriend – on hand to cause problems, but also this year Lee has to cope with stolen drugs, missing OAPs, long-lost daughters and a coma.

In the first episode of the series, Tim arrives home after a night out clubbing to discover he has picked up the wrong coat, which has a pocket full of drugs. Further investigation reveals that the coat belongs to Larry "the butcher" Stubbs. Now Lee and Tim must return the coat without getting killed...

Lee Mack stars as Lee with Sally Bretton as Lucy, Tim Vine as Tim and Katy Wix as Daisy.


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Zen – Vendetta

Sunday 2 January
9.00-10.30pm BBC ONE (Schedule addition 3 December)
Caterina Murino and Rufus Sewell star as Tania Moretti and Aurelio Zen
Caterina Murino and Rufus Sewell star as Tania Moretti and Aurelio Zen

Rufus Sewell (Middlemarch, The Pillars Of The Earth, The Eleventh Hour) stars as the fictional Italian detective Aurelio Zen in three new films for BBC One. Italian actress Caterina Murino stars as Zen's love interest, Tania Moretti, alongside an international cast including Ben Miles, Stanley Townsend, Catherine Spaak and Francesco Quinn.

Set in and around Rome, and based on the best-selling novels by the late Michael Dibdin, the series features many of the combined attractions of Italy and the Dibdin novels – thrilling investigations, fun, warmth and beautiful people.

In Vendetta, Zen is called upon by the Ministry to re-investigate a multiple murder. Flamboyant millionaire and Government construction magnate Oscar Faso and his guests have been shot dead at his lavish villa. Prime suspect and friend of Faso, Renato Favelloni, has "found God" in prison and is retracting his confession, a move which stands to send shockwaves through Government – so Zen must intervene. All the evidence points towards Favelloni's guilt but Zen is convinced he is innocent. Zen heads into the mountains to investigate, reluctant to leave the promise of romance with Tania Moretti, the Chief's new assistant.

As he leaves, news breaks of another murder: Judge Bertolini, an anonymous figure in the Italian judicial system, is shot dead in his car. What Zen doesn't realise is that this unconnected murder is part of a vendetta carried out by a man wrongly imprisoned by Bertolini years earlier. More importantly, Zen's involvement in the case means he is next on the hit-list.

As he struggles between doing the right thing and saving his career, Zen must contend with hostile locals, an attempted kidnapping and a chase through a maze of underground tunnels while the killers draw ever closer to him.


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Hustle Ep 1/6

New series
Friday 7 January
9.00-10.00pm BBC ONE

The hustlers return with some new, ingenious and totally brilliant plans to teach the filthy rich a lesson and relieve them of some of their ill-gotten wealth.

Albert has three new marks lined up for the five tricksters – arrogant aristocrat Viscount Manley, corrupt MP Jeremy Garret and shady judge Stanley Mead. The group of hustlers can't decide which mark is most deserving of their special treatment, but when Eddie's niece is caught up in a modelling scam, the choice is made for them...

Wendy Stanton, CEO of Model Devotion, is a failed model, scamming £100,000 each year from naive young girls hoping to make it in the modelling business. Ruthless, hard-nosed and ambitious, Wendy wants to hit the big time and hates parting with money; cue the Hustle gang.

Mickey poses as emerging fashion guru Hilary King, who is launching a new line of women's clothing at Milan Fashion Week. He approaches Wendy looking for a face for the line, deliberately selecting Eddie's niece from the list of potentials. As the con unfolds, Mickey tries to persuade Wendy to invest a substantial amount of cash into the fashion line with the help of Ash and Sean, who are posing as his business associates.

When Wendy's reluctance to part with money becomes problematic, Emma steps in to play a premium psychic life coach exploiting Wendy's superstitions. She attempts to convince Wendy that investing in the fashion line is her one big opportunity with a few clever tricks. But will the hustlers succeed and teach Wendy a lesson on behalf of Eddie's niece?

Albert is played by Robert Vaughn, Eddie by Rob Jarvis, Wendy Stanton by Anna Chancellor, Mickey by Adrian Lester, Ash by Robert Glenister, Sean by Matt Di Angelo and Emma by Kelly Adams.


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Silent Witness – A Guilty Mind: Part 1 Ep 1/5

New series
Monday 3 January
9.00-10.00pm BBC ONE
Emilia Fox plays Dr Nikki Alexander in Silent Witness
Emilia Fox plays Dr Nikki Alexander in Silent Witness

Silent Witness returns for a 14th series, delving into the world of forensic crime and the personal lives of the team.

In A Guilty Mind: Part 1, three patients die unexpectedly on the same ward at a London hospital, and Leo and Harry are called to the scene to investigate, where they meet DC Julia Catina and DI Frank Skipper.

Suspicion falls on Professor Nigel Silverlake, but when he is found dead in an apparent "suicide by cop" incident, Nikki is pressured by his daughter, Naomi, to find a physical cause for his breakdown.

Nikki is also embroiled in an investigation into James Bodle, suspected of killing and raping a young girl. She is finding it a very difficult case personally, and cannot seem to stop imagining the girl's final, gruesome moments.

Bodle's life was saved by Silverlake, and Nikki speculates that guilt at saving the murderer's life may have driven Silverlake to breaking point. Worried that Nikki is becoming obsessed with the case, Harry urges her to move on from it. Later that night in her flat, she continues to be plagued by vivid images of the girl's death.

The following day, Nikki is visited by Naomi who is desperate for Nikki to find a mitigating reason for her father's breakdown. When Nikki is informed that Bodle has been judged mentally unfit to stand trial, she is more determined than ever to discover a physiological reason for Silverlake's suicide.

A Guilty Mind was written by Timothy Prager and the cast features William Gaminara as Professor Leo Dalton, Tom Ward as Dr Harry Cunningham, Emilia Fox as Dr Nikki Alexander, Arsher Ali ass Zak Khan, Mark Lewis Jones as DI Frank Skipper, Kelly Harrison as DC Julia Catina, Sinead Keenan as Naomi Silverlake, Roy Marsden as Professor Nigel Silverlake, Michael Shaeffer as Jason Bodle and Sorcha Cusack as Miranda Silverlake.


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Silent Witness – A Guilty Mind: Part 2 Ep 1/5

Tuesday 4 January
9.00-10.00pm BBC ONE

Suicide victim Silverlake's daughter Naomi has confided in Nikki and she is now convinced that the professor was self-medicating with an antidepressant she believes is linked to violent outbursts. When Nikki visits Silverlake's wife, Miranda, she is furious to learn that Naomi passed on her husband's private medical information.

As Nikki leaves work she is confronted by an icy Naomi who is angry that she visited her mother. Back at her flat, Nikki is overwhelmed by paranoid thoughts and falls to the ground in despair.

Leo and Harry become increasingly concerned for Nikki's mental health and, when it looks like she may have been caught shoplifting and fails to turn up for work, Harry insists she see a psychiatrist.

Meanwhile DI Frank Skipper and DS Julia Cantina make a discovery which makes Harry realise he has left Nikki in mortal danger; and the team scramble to save her.

Emilia Fox plays Dr Nikki Alexander, Sinead Keenan plays Naomi Silverlake, Sorcha Cusack plays Miranda Silverlake, William Gaminara plays Professor Leo Dalton, Tom Ward plays Dr Harry Cunningham, Mark Lewis Jones plays DI Frank Skipper and Kelly Harrison plays DC Julia Catina.


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Come Fly With Me Ep 2/6

High Definition programme
Saturday 1 January
9.00-9.30pm BBC ONE and BBC ONE HD

There's more high-flying comedy as the new mock documentary series written by and starring Matt Lucas and David Walliams continues.

Life in the country's busiest air terminal continues to be documented by the team responsible for Little Britain. For months, the BBC's cameras have followed people at check-in, in departures, on the runway, and to the toilet. This is what they found.

This week, a "sudden wing" malfunction delays FlyLo passengers on their way to Malaga; passenger liaison executive Moses Beacon speaks Chinese; and Melody and Taaj get tough with FlyLo's new baggage allowance regulations. Viewers also meet Tommy, Happy Burger's newest employee and pilot-to-be, and discover what went so badly wrong for Peter and Judith on their FlyLo cruise.

Lindsay Duncan is the narrator.

The BBC Comedy web team have also written exclusive content for Come Fly With Me to offer viewers a further online comedy experience at Over the course of the series, viewers can check in online with the help of FlyLo's Melody and Keeley, plus specially created pages for FlyLo owner Omar, Taaj – one of the airline's roving ground crew – and Our Lady Air's proudest steward, Fearghal.

Come Fly With Me is simulcast in HD on BBC One HD on Freesat channel 108, Freeview channel 50, Sky channel 143 and Virgin Media channel 108.


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BBC TWO New this week

Arctic With Bruce Parry – Siberia:
Horsemen Of The Mountains Ep 1/5

New series
Sunday 2 January
9.00-10.00pm BBC TWO (Copy amended 7 December)

Bruce Parry embarks on an epic Arctic journey
Bruce Parry embarks on an epic Arctic journey

Bruce Parry (Tribe, Amazon) returns with a new five-part documentary series set in the spectacular wilderness of the Arctic. Immersing himself in the remote communities of this wild world, Bruce experiences first-hand how the people of the Arctic live now and how these ancient ways of life may be about to change for ever.

Bruce begins his epic arctic journey in Siberia. This vast, untamed wilderness of the Russian north stretches far into the Arctic; it's a place of extremes and home to some of the most resilient indigenous people on the planet.

Bruce arrives in the village of Balyktakh in the Sakha republic at the high point of the Sakha festival season. Bruce has an important personal reason for this journey. He's spent years living with tribal people and has been fascinated by their shamans. This wild region of Russia is where the word shaman actually comes from. Bruce meets Kulan, one of the new wave of spiritual leaders to emerge in recent years.

Bruce then travels to Sakkyryr and spends time with a new generation horse breeder. With only a few days before the annual horse race festival, Bruce's riding skills are put to the test on a rather unruly Yakut horse. Bruce then joins the entire town as they gather together for race day.

Bruce heads north to meet the Eveny people and one of the most iconic of all the Arctic animals. For the Eveny, the Verkhoyansk mountain range is the summer grazing ground for their herds of reindeer and Bruce sees how amazingly in tune they are with their herd. Bruce learns how to lasso an animal by its antlers and is shown how to ride the reindeer, a mode of transportation used high up in the mountains during summer.

For thousands of years only the hardiest hunters and herders lived in this inhospitable land, but the arctic is warming faster than anywhere else on Earth and as it thaws new riches are being revealed. Throughout the series, Bruce also discovers how much the modern world has encroached on Arctic communities and asks whether, as globalisation and consumerism takes hold, such people will continue to survive.


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Eric And Ernie

High Definition programme
Saturday 1 January
9.00-10.30pm BBC TWO and BBC HD
Victoria Wood, Daniel Rigby and Bryan Dick star in a drama about Morecambe and Wise's formative years
Victoria Wood, Daniel Rigby and Bryan Dick star in a drama about Morecambe and Wise's formative years

Bafta-winning writer Peter Bowker's (Desperate Romantics, Occupation) touching and funny single drama tells the story of Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise's formative years, from children's variety stars to national treasures. Victoria Wood stars as Eric's mother alongside Daniel Rigby as Eric Morecambe and Bryan Dick as Ernie Wise.

A chance meeting between precocious child-star Ernie Wiseman (Wise) and reluctant performer Eric Bartholomew (Morecambe) on the children's variety circuit saw the start of an unlikely friendship.

Encouraged by his well-meaning but determined mother Sadie, because, "You aren't good at anything else," Eric became the funny man to Ernie's "feed". After a successful stint in children's variety, they worked their way up the ladder of live performance, but, after a disastrous television debut in the series Running Wild, Morecambe and Wise learned to trust their own instincts and just make people laugh – and laugh they did.

Jim Moir (aka Vic Reeves) plays George Bartholomew; with Bryan Dick as Ernie Wise; Daniel Rigby as Eric Morecambe; Reece Shearsmith as Harry Wiseman, Ernie's dad; Emer Kenny as Joan, Eric's wife; and Hannah Steele as Doreen, Ernie's wife.

Victoria Wood also presents a documentary for BBC Two which follows the drama and charts the duo's early years and the hurdles they faced, considering why Eric and Ernie still remain Britain's best-loved double act. Featuring treasured archive footage, celebrity interviews and returning to important landmarks in their journey, the documentary uncovers the hard work and secrets of their phenomenal success as a comedy act which still endures today. Victoria hears from the people who knew Eric and Ernie best; their family, peers, greatest fans and fellow comics of stage and screen. Key contributors include: Cilla Black, Michael Grade, Eddie Braben, Joan and Gary Morecambe, Doreen Wise, Miranda Hart, Steve Punt, Penelope Keith and Andrew Marr.

Eric And Ernie is simulcast on the award-winning BBC HD channel – the BBC's High Definition channel, available through Freesat channel 109, Freeview channel 54, Sky channel 169 and Virgin Media channel 187.


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Stargazing Live Ep 1/3

New seriesLive event/outside broadcast
Monday 3 January
8.00-9.00pm BBC TWO
Professor Brian Cox brings the wonders of the stars into living rooms
Professor Brian Cox brings the wonders of the stars into living rooms

In a live, three-day stripped event Professor Brian Cox and Dara O Briain look to the skies to bring the wonders of the stars into viewers' living rooms.

Though he trained as a physicist Dara is secretly a frustrated astronomer – he's been living with an unopened telescope in his attic for as long as he can remember. So Brian takes Dara on a crash course of the skies, showing him how to spot and take pictures of celestial marvels. Plus, Brian finds time to talk to three astronauts currently floating around the International Space Station.

Special guest Jonathan Ross finds out that anyone can be an astronomer, as he's taught Astronomy 101 by The One Show's resident stargazer, Mark Thompson. Over three days, gadget-obsessed Jonathan has to prove that he can navigate the night skies with just a pencil, paper and a humble pair of binoculars.

From their base at the world-famous Lovell Telescope at the University of Manchester (one of the world's largest telescopes), Dara and Brian take viewers on a whistle-stop tour across the galaxy as they identify three of January's unusual astronomical events – a partial solar eclipse, the Quadrantids Meteor Shower and Jupiter aligning with Uranus.

As well as coaching Jonathan through the basics of astronomy, Mark is on hand to offer viewers at home tips on how to navigate their own way across the skies. And Liz Bonnin looks up at the clear skies of Hawaii to explain how the stars affect people even during the daytime.

Online, amateur astronomers are being asked to get snapping and sharing; Brian is asking astronomers of all levels to share their best photographs of the night skies online, to be showcased during the live shows in January. Whether the pictures are of the moon or the planets, galaxies or nebulae, comets or meteors, the Stargazing team would love to see them. Images can be sent to; visit for more information.

Free Stargazing Live events will take place across the country to coincide with the broadcast in January. From star parties to sidewalk astronomy sessions, viewers can find an event near them by searching the online map. Free resources – including star charts and audio guides – will also be available online closer to transmission.


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The Sinking Of The Laconia Ep 1/2

New series
Thursday 6 January
9.00-10.30pm BBC TWO

The Sinking Of The Laconia, a new two-part drama for BBC Two, tells the true story of the amazing heroism shown by ordinary people in the face of extraordinary adversity during the Second World War.

Andrew Buchan (Party Animals), Franka Potente (Bourne Supremacy) and rising German star Ken Duken (Inglorious Basterds) are joined by Brian Cox (The Bourne Supremacy) and Lindsay Duncan (Longford, Rome) in the drama which is from acclaimed writer Alan Bleasdale (Boys From The Blackstuff, GBH and Jake’s Progress).

Brian Cox plays Captain Sharp, whose armed British vessel, the RMS Laconia, was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat 156 on 12 September 1942. Also on board was Third officer Thomas Mortimer (Buchan), who heroically risked his life to help the passengers reach the lifeboats.

Six hundred miles from the coast of Africa, the mixture of English civilians, Allied soldiers and Italian prisoners of war faced certain death until U-boat Commander Werner Hartenstein (Duken) made a decision that went against the orders of Nazi High Command. The U-boat surfaced and Hartenstein instructed his men to save as many of the shipwrecked survivors as they could.

Over the next few days the U-156 saved 400 people, with 200 crammed on board the surface-level submarine and another 200 in lifeboats. Hartenstein gave orders for messages to be sent out to the Allies to organise a rescue of the survivors but, in an unbelievable twist, they were spotted by an American B-24 bomber who moved in to attack.

The Sinking Of The Laconia examines the human side of the remarkable events that took place: the friendships that developed, the small acts of heroism and the triumph of the human spirit in the most incredible of situations.


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