Jodie Comer, Martin Freeman Line up for Alan Bennett’s ‘Speaking Heads’ – Variety


Jodie Comer, Martin Freeman, Tamsin Greig, Kristin Scott Thomas and Imelda Staunton are among the many stars lined up for new BBC One diversifications of playwright Alan Bennett’s acclaimed “Speaking Heads” monologues, which begin filming Tuesday.

Ten of the unique items are being remade, having first aired on BBC Tv in 1988 and 1998, successful two BAFTA awards. Two new monologues, written by Bennett final 12 months, are additionally being filmed.

The contained nature of Bennett’s monologues means they’re one of many only a few dramas that may be produced whereas following tips on protected working practices throughout COVID-19. Filming is going down at BBC Elstree Studios utilizing present units.

They’re produced by former Nationwide Theatre inventive director Nicholas Hytner’s London Theatre Firm and ‘The Private Historical past of David Copperfield’ producer Kevin Loader.

Lead director Hytner, whose movie credit embody “The Insanity of King George” and “The Historical past Boys,” mentioned: “Everybody concerned has been working in an unprecedented method, rigorously observing social distancing, totally rethinking methods of filmmaking that till a number of weeks in the past appeared routine.”

Piers Wenger, controller of BBC Drama, added: “COVID-19 has laid waste to drama manufacturing within the U.Ok., but it surely has additionally posed a problem: how will we adhere to restrictions whereas nonetheless providing British viewers the prospect to lose themselves in nice tales right now of nationwide want? Stuffed with perception, wit, daring and compassion, these are tales of particular person lives — however of nice resonance.”

The total line up of stars participating within the new diversifications are: Jodie Comer, Monica Dolan, Martin Freeman, Tamsin Greig, Sarah Lancashire, Lesley Manville, Lucian Msamati, Maxine Peake, Rochenda Sandall, Kristin Scott Thomas, Imelda Staunton and Harriet Walter (L-R, above).

Bennett mentioned: “In such troublesome circumstances, that the BBC ought to select to remount each collection of “Speaking Heads,” and produce two totally new ones, is a consolation and an enormous praise. I hope a brand new technology of actors will get and provides as a lot pleasure as we did 20 and 30 years in the past.”

The monologues, which is able to air on BBC One within the coming months, are as follows: Jodie Comer in “Her Massive Likelihood” (1988), directed by Josie Rourke; Monica Dolan in “The Shrine” (2019), directed by Nicholas Hytner; Martin Freeman in “A Chip In The Sugar” (1988), directed by Jeremy Herrin; Tamsin Greig in “Nights In The Backyard of Spain” (1998), directed by Marianne Elliott; Sarah Lancashire in “An Unusual Lady” (2019), directed by Nicholas Hytner; Lesley Manville in “Mattress Amongst The Lentils” (1988), directed by Nicholas Hytner; Lucian Msamati in “Taking part in Sandwiches” (1998), directed by Jeremy Herrin; Maxine Peake in “Miss Fozzard Finds Her Toes” (1988), directed by Sarah Frankcom; Rochenda Sandall in “The Exterior Canine” (1998), directed by Nadia Fall; Kristin Scott Thomas in “The Hand Of God” (1998), directed by Jonathan Kent; Imelda Staunton in “A Woman Of Letters” (1988), directed by Jonathan Kent; and Harriet Walter in “Soldiering On” (1988), directed by Marianne Elliott.

“Speaking Heads” will likely be produced by London Theatre Firm for BBC One, with BBC Studios offering the studios services. The collection is co-produced by Steve Clark Corridor.

Government producers are Nick Starr and Anthony Jones for LTC, and Piers Wenger for the BBC. The collection has been commissioned by Piers Wenger, controller of BBC Drama, and Charlotte Moore, director of BBC Content material.

The unique “Speaking Heads” monologues had a stellar solid together with Patricia Routledge, Maggie Smith, Stephanie Cole, Julie Walters, Thora Hird, Eileen Atkins, David Haig and Penelope Wilton, alongside Bennett himself.


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