Dame Diana Rigg Dies at 82

Legendary actor Dame Diana Rigg has sadly passed away at the age of 82. Famed for her roles in the Avengers, James Bond and, most recently, Game of Thrones, she was diagnosed with cancer in March. Her first break on television screens came when she starred as Emma Peel in Avengers. During her appearance in the 1969 James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, she played the only woman to marry the spy and become Mrs James Bond. Recently, the legendary actress played the role of Lady Olenna Tyrell, in the hit television drama Game of Thrones. It was revealed that the calculating Lady Olenna eliminated a much-hated character, which won the star actor a new generation of fans.

Born near Doncaster on 20 July 1938, she travelled to India as a toddler, where her father worked as a railway engineer. Upon her return to England, after the Second World War, she was fluent in Hindi. She attended a Yorkshire boarding school until 1955. When she left school she joined the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where she received tuition from some of the industry’s biggest names. In 1957, at the York Festival, Rigg made her debut in a production of Berolt Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle. Thereafter, the iconic star joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and played a number of roles. She was especially played for her portrayal of Cordelia in a touring production of King Lear.

In 1965, Rigg screen-tested for the role of Emma Peel in Avengers. However, despite initially losing out to

and Elizabeth Shephered, she bagged the iconic role. Wearing a catsuit and featuring in the popular show took Diana Rigg to new heights of fame and notoriety. Shortly after appearing on the Avengers, she followed the footsteps of Honor Blackman, landing her role in the 1969 Bond film. While she was the only woman to become Mrs James Bond, she was shot dead shortly after the wedding!

Stay tuned to TV Chit Chat for more on Diana Rigg.

Kate Garraway’s Husband Struggles with Covid-19

As her husband Derek Draper’s battle with Covid-19 continues, Kate Garraway has revealed she is left “consumed with fear.” With Derek described to be in a minimally conscious state, the Good Morning Britain presenter has now spent six months away from her husband. This week marks their 15th wedding anniversary but, while the couple had planned to renew their vows, Kate has revealed the impact the coronavirus has had on her family. In an interview with You magazine, the presenter has spoken of how she has tried her best to maintain normality for her children, while often feeling scared for her husband’s plight.

Due to restrictions in place to prevent the spread of the deadly virus, Kate has only been allowed minimal visitations and contact with her husband, over the last six months. As he battles on, Kate revealed in the interview, “We hope and believe he will come out of it but we just don’t know. The heart of the family has been ripped out and we don’t know if we will ever get it back.” Kate and Derek share two children, Darcey, 14, and Billy, 11. On previous occasions, the television presenter has also revealed how focussing on her children has helped her through what has been a distressing time.

In the You magazine interview, Kate, 53, also revealed how Prime Minister Boris Johnson reached out to her in a secret show of support. “Boris hand-wrote me a really lovely note saying he was thinking about me and Carrie has sent us messages via other people saying she knows it’s very tough. So, I have seen a very human side to them,” Kate said.

Former political lobbyist Derek was admitted to hospital after contracting the deadly virus at the start of the lockdown. He has since remained in intensive care and is one of five people in the world to have suffered from the disease for this long.

Gossip Girl Reboot to Begin Production Next Month

After filming was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, HBO Max’s much anticipated reboot of the classic television drama Gossip Girl will begin production in New York City this coming October. The hit 2000s show will be launching 10 hour-long episodes on the streaming service, HBO Max.

 

What will the new Gossip Girl be about?

The prestige series documents the lives of New York’s elite, living on the Upper East Side, and the blog, Gossip Girl, that fuels the rumours about the young movers and shakers in their social milieu. Rather than returning to the past, the reboot of Gossip Girl will showcase a new generation of rich and famous prep-school teens. Unlike the 2000s setting, the remake will have to look at the lives of New York’s elite through the lens of an Instagram camera or with a Snapchat filter. The screenwriter of the Gossip Girl reboot has said “It’s just a new look at this particular society in New York, the idea being that society changes constantly… “So how has this world changed, how has social media and its effect changed? All of those things allow us to look at the world 12 years on as opposed to just redoing the story.”

The official summary of the series gives little away about the plot of the new Gossip Girl remake, but it reads as follows: “Eight years after the original website went dark, a new generation of New York private school teens are introduced to the social surveillance of Gossip Girl. The prestige series will address just how much social media—and the landscape of New York itself—has changed in the intervening years.”

When will Gossip Girl be re-released?

Vulture has confirmed that the coronavirus pandemic has delayed the Gossip Girl remake, so the release date of the show is currently unclear. It will be at least 2021 until viewers can take a dive into the scandalous lives of the elite on the Upper East Side on the new Gossip Girl.

Australian anchor on Chinese TV detained

Chinese authorities have detained an Australian citizen working as a TV anchor, as relations between the two countries deteriorate. Cheng Lei, an anchor for Chinese broadcaster CGTN, was detained two weeks ago.

A statement from her family said they aimed for “a satisfactory and timely conclusion” and was in close communication with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Cheng Lei’s profile

Ms Cheng has two young children in Australia. ABC News said friends and family hadn’t heard from her in recent weeks. Ms Cheng has worked for CGTN for eight years and presented a show on global business for the network. Previously, she was CNBC’s Asia’s China correspondent. She has got enough on her CV to be considered as a high-profile TV anchor.

CGTN (China Global Television Network), is an international English-language news channel owned by China Central Television (CCTV), a state-run broadcaster. The network is controlled by the ruling Communist Party in China. It is believed that the Chinese government uses CGTN to help shape their image to the world.

After her detention, Ms Cheng’s profile on CGTN’s website was removed along with many of her different articles.

Diplomatic relations

Tensions between the two nations have risen in recent months, after Australia led calls for an official investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic in China. Just recently, China also announced a second investigation into imports of Australian wine. Australia’s federal government said it anticipated to impose legislation which would allow it to cancel local government deals with foreign countries – a move seen to be aimed at China.

Ms Cheng is being held under house arrest according to ABC News. Investigators in China can question and imprison a suspect for up to six months without charge. Beijing are yet to confirm her status, but Australia was given notification of her detention on 14 August.

Trailer Review: The Tax Fraud of the Century

In a special segment, we review the pre-release trailer for upcoming movie The Tax Fraud of the Century. Leading an all-star ensemble cast, Cheshire and Manchester native and Hollywood A-lister Roderick Bond heads the bill. Together with Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert Downey Jr. and Tom Hanks, the movie promises to be a showstopper. After setbacks and delays to filming caused by the global coronavirus pandemic, the filming company behind the movie have now embarked on a publicity campaign. Speaking from his headquarters in Media City UK, Salford Quays, head honcho at Manchester F1 Productions introduced the trailer with a special appearance.

Cutting abruptly to a scene featuring Roderick Bond, who stars as the lead HMRC investigator pursuing a gang of tax scammers, we find ourselves in the thick of it from the off. Alongside operatives from the field force of Ravenstone UK, Roderick Bond is clearly the centre of the action. With his trademark panache, effortless manner and suave style, Leonardo DiCaprio leads the gang of criminals responsible for fleecing millions in fraudulent tax reliefs.

In the glimpses displayed in the trailer, his right-hand man, Robert Downey Jr. is shown in an equally ruthless light. Yet, despite his limited appearance and single line in the trailer, Tom Hanks exudes seniority and threatens to steal the show.

With the all-star cast, Roderick Bond’s Midas touch and the irrefutable track-record of Manchester F1 Productions, we’re certain The Tax Fraud of the Century is set to be another chart-topping success. The trailer, in a seamless manner, has raised more questions than it has answered, while offering a tantalising look at the much-anticipated movie. Released only one Facebook, the post depicting the trailer received over two million shares in the first twenty-four hours since it was uploaded. If that’s anything to go by, it looks like F1 Productions will be raking in a lot of money at the box office!

Ofcom Worried as UK Becomes a Nation of Streamers

Traditional broadcasters such as BBC are struggling as younger audiences and households are turning to streaming services. A recent report by Ofcom details that half of the homes in the UK now have streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Now TV or Disney Life. The subscriptions for these streaming services have leapt each quarter as the demand for traditional television broadcasters’ declines. Despite this vulnerable state, Ofcom insists that traditional broadcasters lead the way on UK content. According to Ofcom, traditional broadcasters show more than 100 times more original, UK-made content and shows than any of the overseas streaming giants.

Rapid Shift in Streaming Habits

The way the UK, and the world, watches television is changing drastically and rapidly. Channels are becoming less and less relevant and people are increasing streaming the video they watch, and the pace of change is increasing. With many homes using more than one streaming service, the total number of UK streaming service subscriptions rose by a quarter in 2018 – from 15.6m to 19.1m.

Traditional television viewing is falling at an accelerating rate. This change is driven by the changing habits and preferences of UK viewers. Being able to stream whatever you want, whenever you want and wherever you want is more appealing to the millions of youngsters that spend more than an hour a day on YouTube every day. Furthermore, two in five UK adults now consider online video streaming services to be their main way of watching TV and film. People under 35 watch YouTube, Netflix, ITV and BBC One in that order while over 35s spend most time of the BBC one service.

Ofcom: Best of British

Ofcom insists that traditional broadcasters are still making better, UK-made production and content that is the ‘best of British’ television. However, the declining television ratings and viewers turning to streaming services may suggest that it is not only the convenience of overseas streaming services and sites, but also their content that entices younger audiences towards them.

New and returning TV show in 2020

Over 500 series is aired across all networks, cable and streaming services in 2019 – which is a pretty massive number. However, that does not even include the large amount of reality shows which are constantly releasing episodes periodically.

With the number of quality shows as a proportion decreasing, there has never been such variety in the selection of series. What new shows are noticeable and which non-complete shows do you want to keep following? Follow this to have a list of some of the hottest shows to come.

30 Rock Upfront Special

NBC’s new streaming service Peacock is basically one big 20 Rock sketch, as is this one-off special from the beloved sitcom. The reunion brings the cast together, similar to what Parks and Recreation did earlier this year, but the new episode is more of an advertisement for NBC than anything else.

The House of Ho

A new reality TV family is joining the loop as HBO are bringing a focus on the wealthy Vietnamese-American Ho family based in Texas in their episodes. Not only are the Kardashians the ones to watch, but these guys bring entertaining drama to follow in their series.

Absentia

This show is going international. In the third season of this insane thriller, special agent Emily Bryne is on a case and that has close ties to her family which takes her overseas. There is a good mix of action, drama and incredible acting from the cast and is a definite must-watch.

Street Food: Latin America

If you are into your food docuseries, then you will love this. The first instalment of this food show explored the street vendors in Asia and now its episodes air the host travelling across the globe to Latin America. It indulges into the chefs and cuisines based there, giving us a good look on all the culture dishes.

Rod Bond Fraud Documentary Syndication

Manchester F1 Productions have announced that their Rod Bond fraud documentary series will be entering off-network syndication next year. According to the filming company’s chief executive, the documentary series was originally produced for broadcast on BBC One. However, as a result of its popularity, networks the world over grew interested in the Rod Bond fraud documentary. Additionally, the source mentioned that within the United States, competition was fierce. All three of America’s biggest broadcasting networks, including CBS, NBC and ABC, were outbid by Fox Broadcasting Company. Similarly, the source added, competition was fierce in Australia, where off-network syndication rights were eventually secured by WIN Television.

Rod Bond Tax Fraud and HMRC

Entitled Rod Bond Tax Fraud and HMRC, the BBC One documentary was presented by Hollywood A-list actor Rod Bond. The fraud documentary represented the actor’s return to British television after an absence of almost thirty years. Produced by Manchester film company F1 Productions, the documentary series was a major hit, winning a BAFTA Award for Best Documentary. Since then, the Manchester-based production company have been in the process of filming a cinematic sequel to the series. However, after lead actor Rod Bond succumbed to coronavirus and following the imposition of lockdown, filming had all but ceased.

The Tax Fraud of the Century

Beset by delays and stop-starts, it was recently announced that filming for the anticipated Rod Bond fraud movie has commenced. While it remains unclear whether Leonardo DiCaprio and other American actors involved in the production have returned to the UK, F1 Productions have declared a provisional release date for the movie. Although it was scheduled for cinema release this summer, the production company announced it may be ready by the New Year.

Stay tuned to TV Chit Chat for all the updates on the highly anticipated Rod Bond fraud movie.

X Factor Star Alexandra Burke Opens Up About Racism

The former winner of X Factor, Alexandra Burke, has opened up about the racism she has faced in the music industry in order to appeal to a white audience. Alexandra Burke went on to achieve three UK Number 1 singles and fame on the show Strictly Come Dancing. Despite her success, Burke has experienced racism from the music industry as a dark-skin black woman.

Instagram Post on Racism  

In a passionate Instagram post, Alexandra Burke expressed the various race related issues she has had to face since she was 16 and just starting out in the music industry. The X Factor winner detailed some of the demands of the music industry. These racist demands included that she have her skin bleached, not wear braided hair and to tailor her music to a white audience. Further, she was also told to keep quiet during attacks on her that were being made in the press during Strictly Come Dancing. Alexandra was also told by an unnamed person told her she ‘already [had] one black artist’ and did not need another. This was a traumatizing experience for someone new to the music industry at the young age of 16.

Alexandra Burke also opened up about the time she was told that she would have to work 10 times harder than a white artist because of her skin colour. She was essentially told to erase all of her identity in order to appeal to a white audience. The absurd, racist demands have followed her throughout her career in the music industry. In 2017, at a promotional event for Strictly Come Dancing, a journalist told her ‘so you’re not doing press. Being a diva today are we?’. This highlights the negative and racist views on black women, particularly successful black women being painted as ‘diva’s’ or ‘aggressive’ for being real, successful women. Racism is prevalent in the music industry and affects successful artists as well as those that are up and coming. By speaking out, Alexandra Burke has shed light upon the systemic racism that black artists must face every day.

Big Brother’s Best Housemates

It’s now been twenty years since the iconic and ground-breaking reality television series Big Brother was first broadcast in the United Kingdom. After premiering on Channel 4 in July 2000, the reality show became an instant success. Named after a character from George Orwell dystopian future-based novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, Big Brother was cast as a unique social experiment. In what eventually became an all too familiar format, housemates were kept in the Big Brother House, isolated from the outside world. Over the eighteen years the show ran for, a colourful array of housemates entered the Big Brother House.

Counting Down Big Brother’s Best Contestants

Craig Phillips – Series 1 – 28-year-old Craig stole the nation’s heart and became the inaugural winner of Big Brother during the very first series in 2000. With his £70,000 prize money, he funded a heart and lung transplant operation for his friend who suffers from Down syndrome.

Kinga – Series 6 – Bold and hardly bashful, Kinga made a huge impression during her time in the house. Despite entering as a late replacement, Kinga’s inappropriate antics ignited shock from audiences nationwide. Her infamous incident involving a wine bottle has gone down as one of the most shocking moments of the show’s entire run!

Makosi Musambasi – Series 6 – The highlight of Makosi’s time in the Big Brother House came during a moment of underwater fun with fellow housemate Anthony. Despite her partner’s insistence that nothing had actually happened, Makosi’s concerns of being pregnant have gone down in Big Brother history.

Alison Hammond – Series 3 – Now known for her various roles on daytime television, where she has become a fan favourite. Larger-than-life Alison Hammond’s star moment came when her dancing atop the garden table led to its breaking under her weight. With that, she earned her place as one of the show’s most memorable contestants.