MEET THE CAST OF BBC ONE’S THE CHILD IN TIME 227

Adapted by Stephen Butchard from Ian McEwan’s Whitbread Prize winning novel, The Child In Time is a lyrical and heartbreaking exploration of love, loss and the power of things unseen.

Stephen Lewis, a successful writer of children’s books, is confronted with the unthinkable: he loses his only child, four year-old Kate, in a supermarket.

In one horrifying moment that replays itself over the years that follow, Stephen realises that his daughter is gone. With tenderness and insight, the drama explores a marriage devastated by the loss of a child. Kate’s absence sets Stephen and his wife, Julie, on diverging paths as both struggle with an all-consuming grief. With the passage of time, a balance of sorts returns, until hope surfaces and triumphs unexpectedly.

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen, Kelly Macdonald as Julie, Stephen Campbell Moore as Charles and Saskia Reeves as Thelma.
___________________________________________________________BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH INTERVIEW

Describe your character Stephen
By profession he writes children’s books. He’s a very happy and loving father – their child Kate is born into a very loving marriage. He is an everyman and has a small but close circle of friends – he’s at his best and most charismatic when he’s with them.

He presents quite an indifferent face to the rest of the world, he’s more a spectator than a participant. But that all changes when he suffers the unimaginable trauma of losing his daughter in a supermarket and becomes the centre of the drama.

The Child In Time is about how he is destroyed by that incident and how it affects his relationships and everything that has given him purpose before that point. But then also how he somehow manages to find some kind of salvation and acceptance of what happened, his responsibility, the effect on other people and the enduring love he has for his missing daughter, Kate.

The theme is every parent’s worst nightmare. What is it like to play a character in that position?
When you’re dealing with something like the loss of a child it’s pretty distressing, I won’t lie. It was a very unpleasant place to go to. By circumstance it happened that my second boy had been born weeks before, but it’s not a prerequisite to doing this role to be a father; if you were a childless actor trying to imagine it you’d have to be made of stone not to feel the enormity of what that must be like.

Playing with your own experience can be incredibly dangerous anyway as you need to be able to separate things very easily, otherwise they can get out of control and be very damaging.

So I tried as much as possible for that not to creep in. How you make sense of a life with an absence that is ever-present is a horrible thing to contemplate. Despite that though, the drama isn’t depressing. The important thing to take from the story is the extraordinary ability and resilience that humans have to continue living, for that person and their memory. It’s a brave thing to say that that is possible.

Tell us about Stephen’s relationship with his estranged wife Julie
The relationship between Stephen and Julie is critical to the story, because the loss of their daughter drives them apart. Their love is manifested in their child, and when she goes missing it becomes very hard for them. They are both lost in their own worlds of grief and it fractures their relationship and reaches a breaking point, but the root of their love is still there.

Ian draws that out spectacularly in the book and I hope we’ve achieved that with Stephen [Butchard]’s adaptation. Kelly Macdonald, who plays Julie, is a phenomenal actress, she has an ease about her and is very fluid with the camera. She’s incredibly perceptive and intelligent about character and motivation and also great fun. We had a really lovely rapport from the get go and I was thrilled when she was interested in taking on the role. Working with her was a great joy of the job.

You’re also an executive producer on The Child In Time, what was that like?
I’m very proud to say I am! In a year my production company SunnyMarch has produced and made this drama and we’re delighted to be giving the world the first ever Ian McEwan television adaptation.

I worked with Ian before, on Atonement, and so it’s a huge honour for me and the company. As a producer in pre-production you’re involved in the nuts and bolts of bringing things together, from forming the crew and team who are going to make it and steer it to script notes, which is a very exciting creative process to be a part of. Then you have to completely switch that off when you’re on the floor acting!

I really enjoyed the experience and most importantly I think the crew did as well.


KELLY MACDONALD INTERVIEW

What attracted you to the role?
When I read the script I could see myself playing Julie. I loved all her scenes. Quite often when you’re sent something there might be one scene that you think is a good one to get your teeth into, but all the scenes in this were so well constructed and interesting. I remember saying how that really excited me to the director Julian Farino when we sat down to talk about me taking on the role.

Tell us about her as a character.
Julie is a mother and she’s a bit of an enigma really. A very traumatic, awful and unimaginable event has taken place and before that happened she was in a happy, loving and stable relationship with her husband and their child. After the event they can’t cope with what’s happened together as they are dealing with their grief in very different ways.

She feels that she can’t even be in a room with him, so she takes herself away to heal in the way that she needs to heal. Then after some time she steps in to try and steer Stephen in to a better place, as there is still so much love there, and that’s what I really loved about it.

The theme is every parent’s worst nightmare, what’s it like to play a character in that position?
I tend to work in a way that when a director calls ‘cut’ that’s the end of that, I don’t take things home with me. It was actually totally jovial and lovely on set, considering. But although this horrendous thing has happened, the drama is really about love. It’s an emotional drama but it’s not depressing. You see the human spirit in it, they are real and human and they still have humour and hope.

You’ve done both film and television, as has Benedict, do you think actors doing both is becoming more common now?
I really do. There used to be an almost ‘upstairs/downstairs’ level of condescension when it came to television, and if you were a film actor doing television it was seen as a step down.

That’s absolutely not the case now, TV is so sophisticated. It seems that the films that are able to get financed these days are often the big blockbusters, which has allowed television to catch up. All these interesting stories have had to go to TV to find an outlet.

What can viewers expect from The Child In Time?
There are so many films about missing children which can be quite depressing and this isn’t one of those. It’s an interesting story about real characters and love. It is emotional but it’s uplifting!


STEPHEN BUTCHARD INTERVIEW

How did you become involved in The Child In Time?
I got a call from Helen Gregory [Executive Producer for Pinewood Television] asking if I’d be interested and I more or less immediately answered yes. I read it 25 years ago and it’s a book that stays with you. I knew it would be a challenge but at the same time I knew I wanted to do it. So it was as simple and easy as that, I was asked and said yes!

Is it hard to write a screenplay of such a popular book?
The unique tone and atmosphere is so important so I had to make sure I captured and preserved that. The best way I found to do that was to focus on the characters and make sure they stood up as real and truthful people, especially Stephen and Julie. I was really looking forward to capturing the ‘sense of other’ that’s in the book. I knew it would be a challenge to do but it was so important in the book.

As was Charles’s story. I was least looking forward to the actual disappearance of Kate because it’s something that has been done a few times before and it doesn’t define the drama. Benedict is brilliant in that scene and Julian did a great job directing it, it feels so real and I believed it.

How does it differ from other dramas about children going missing?
It’s about the strength of the people the child has left behind. It’s not about a quest to find the missing child it’s about a quest to survive when that happens to you. It’s about how wonderful people can be at dealing with something so traumatic.

Yes grief is there and you can’t ignore it – it has to be present – but I wanted it to be a story of love, strength and courage. How people go through something awful and still continue. The grief is ongoing but there’s also hope and the scenes where that is reflected were really important to me.

How important was getting the right cast for it?
In the first instance it was so important to get Benedict in it, not just because he will bring people to watch it but also because, most importantly, of his quality. He brings out all the nuances and makes you feel exactly what Stephen is feeling.

Kelly Macdonald is the same, she’s absolutely brilliant and they work very well as a couple. You can sense the love they feel for each other and that they need to both look after themselves and each other.

Charles was always going to be difficult to cast and when we saw Stephen Campbell Moore’s audition we knew he was perfect. And I don’t know how Saskia can show such love and pain in just one facial expression as she does when she’s playing Thelma.

What can viewers expect from The Child In Time?
It’s the story of the love, courage and strength of an ordinary man and woman who manage to take one step forward each day after a tragic event. It’s not harrowing, yes the event is harrowing,but it will hopefully be ultimately uplifting for people who watch.

The Child In Time will air on BBC One at 9pm on Sunday 24 September

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JAMES CORDEN TO BRING LATE LATE SHOW TO LONDON NEXT MONTH 38

The Emmy® award-winning The Late Late Show with James Corden will return to London to broadcast four special episodes from the historic Central Hall Westminster, from Tuesday 19 June to Friday 22 June 2018, to air exclusively on Sky One and TV streaming service NOW TV in the UK.

Corden will host a star-studded lineup for the show’s second UK adventure, including Cher, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Niall Horan and Foo Fighters, with additional guests to be announced.

The episodes, produced by CBS Productions and Fulwell 73, will air in the US on the CBS Television Network and share highlights of James’s time in the UK. The Late Late Show’s signature musical and comedy segments, such as Crosswalk: The Musical and Take a Break, will be given a British twist.

Ben Winston, executive producer of The Late Late Show with James Corden, said: “Broadcasting The Late Late Show from James’s hometown of London last year was such a thrill. Thanks to CBS and our partners at Sky One, we are back for a second year. We are looking forward to a fun week in London, putting a UK spin on our nightly show.”

Philip Edgar-Jones, head of entertainment at Sky, said: “James Corden is one of Sky One’s brightest stars and we are delighted to welcome him home for his London recordings of The Late Late Show. And with such a stellar lineup of guests, it’s going to make British summer time even hotter.”

Sky One will broadcast the homegrown episodes from 19-22 June at 10.00pm, and they will also be available on TV streaming service NOW TV.

James has been a firm favourite on Sky One and NOW TV for a number of years, presenting A League of Their Own and appearing in two successful series of A League of Their Own: US Road Trip.

The Late Late Show with James Cordon is available daily via Sky’s on demand service and NOW TV. The show regularly features a mix of celebrity guests, musical acts, games and sketches. The show holds the YouTube record for the most-watched late-night clip with Adele Carpool Karaoke, which has more than 180 million views. The Late Late Show with James Corden airs weeknights on CBS. Ben Winston and Rob Crabbe are the executive producers.

ITV TO AIR WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE 20TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIALS NEXT WEEK 58

To mark the 20th anniversary of the global hit game show, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, the iconic programme will return to ITV for a week of celebratory episodes, starting this Saturday. Airing as a stripped event across the week, the 7×60 minute episodes will play out every night and will be hosted by brand new presenter, Jeremy Clarkson.

The show will offer members of the public the chance to win £1,000,000. Each contestant will have the opportunity to answer 15 questions on their way to hopefully winning this life changing prize.

The contestants will be helped along the way by familiar lifelines of ‘Ask The Audience’, ‘Phone a Friend’ and ’50:50’, plus a brand new fourth lifeline; ‘Ask The Host’.

This brand new, additional lifeline allows the contestant to ‘Ask The Host’ if he [Jeremy Clarkson] knows the answer or if he has an opinion on what it might be. Jeremy never sees the questions ahead of the contestants so there is no guarantee he will know the answer. Will Jeremy be able to help someone along the way to winning one million pounds or will it cost them everything?

In another twist, contestants will be able to set their own second safety net amount. There is a fixed safety net at £1,000, meaning once a contestant has successfully answered Question 5 and won £1,000, that’s the minimum they will take home.

Traditionally, the second safety net was automatically set at £32,000. However, in these seven celebratory episodes, this new twist will allow the second safety net to be set by each contestant. Once they have banked £1,000, they will be given the opportunity to set their safety net ahead of the next question being asked. They can set their safety net only once and anywhere from £2,000 to £500,000. Will contestants be brave enough to risk losing big money in the hope to go all the way?

Jeremy Clarkson said “If the contestant chooses that lifeline [Ask The Host], they get to ask me if I know the answer. God help them. Anyone who doesn’t win £1,000,000 is bound, at some point, to ask me if I know the answer. And if it’s 1970’s prog rock music, I probably will. If it’s anything other than that, I probably won’t.”

On talking about the safety net changes, Jeremy Clarkson added “They can choose where it goes. So they choose how much they are going to lose at any given moment, which is a very clever idea. That requires balls of steel. To go beyond, say £32,000, when you’re going to drop back to £1,000 if you get it wrong. To say, ‘no I’ll set it at £64,000 and risk losing £63,000 if I get it wrong’, balls of steel.”

The series will be produced by Stellify Media with filming taking place in Manchester. Commissioned for ITV by Siobhan Greene, Head of Entertainment, with Ben Kelly Commissioning Editor, it will be executive produced by Fiona Clark and Stellify’s joint managing directors Kieran Doherty and Matthew Worthy, with Julia Knowles as Director. Who Wants To Be A Millionaire is a Sony Pictures Television format.

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? starts Saturday 5th May at 9.15pm on ITV and continues nightly thorough-out the week at 9pm

More Details on All The Format of The Show:
In each episode, six different contestants will play ‘fastest finger first’ for the chance to win a place in the coveted chair and play the game. If a game concludes with one contestant, the remaining contestants will play ‘fastest finger first’ again for another opportunity to play for one million pounds.

Each contestant can see the question, answers, use their lifelines and still choose not to play the question and walk away with any money they have banked. The host is never shown the answer in advance of the contestant deciding to play the question and locking in their answer by saying ‘Final Answer’. The host does not have an earpiece or have any way to find out the answer.

Fastest finger first
The host will read out a question and four answers. Contestants will need to put the answers in the correct order. Fastest finger first questions are timed and the contestant who answers correctly in the fastest time, wins a place in the chair to play for one million pounds.

The contestants will face 15 questions for the chance to win one million pounds. Money will increase in the following increments:

Question 1 – £100
Question 2 – £200
Question 3 – £300
Question 4 – £500
Question 5 – £1,000
Question 6 – £2,000
Question 7 – £4,000
Question 8 – £8,000
Question 9 – £16,000
Question 10 – £32,000
Question 11 – £64,000
Question 12 – £125,000
Question 13 – £250,000
Question 14 – £500,000
Question 15 – £1,000,000

Safety Nets
There is a fixed safety net at £1,000. This means that once a contestant has answered the £1,000 question correctly, this is the minimum they will take home. Traditionally, the second safety net was automatically set at £32,000.

However, in these seven celebratory episodes, a new twist will allow the second safety net to be set by each contestant in play. Once they have successfully answered Question 5 and won £1,000, they will be given the opportunity to set their safety net ahead of the next question being asked. They can set their safety net anywhere from £2,000 to £500,000. The can only set this once during their game and until they set their second safety net, they will be asked ahead of seeing the next question. If they choose to set their safety net at the next question, they must correctly answer that question for it to be set and be in play. For example; A contestant has successfully answered Question 10 and won £32,000, they could then be asked if they want to set their safety net at £64,000. If they say yes, they will then see the question, four possible answers and can decide if they want to play. If they play and correctly answer the question, the minimum they will go home with is £64,000. They can continue the game and their safety net will remain at £64,000. This cannot be moved or reset. If they answer the question incorrectly, they will lose £31,000 and leave with £1,000.

Four lifelines are available to all contestants to use once at any point in their game, one more than was traditionally available.

The four lifelines available to each contestant in the chair are:

50/50
Contestants can choose to use this lifeline to remove two random wrong answers, leaving one correct answer and one random wrong answer. Even after they have used this lifeline, the contestant can still choose to not answer the question and take the money that they have currently banked.

Ask The Audience
If a contestant decides to use this lifeline, the host will read the question and all possible answers. The host will ask the audience to vote for the answer they think is correct via an electronic keypad within an allotted time. The audience will not have access to any device where they could find out the answer from a third party or Internet. The contestant does not need to take the advice given nor continue playing the game. The contestant can still choose to take the money they have currently banked.

Phone A Friend
If the contestant wants to contact a friend, the host will lead the call and explain to the chosen friend that the contestant needs assistance on a question. Once the host hands the call over, the contestant will have 30 seconds to read the question, possible answers and have any discussions. The ‘friend’ will not see the countdown clock. The contestant does not need to take the advice given nor continue playing the game. They can still choose to take the money they have currently banked.

Prior to arriving to set, each contestant will be asked to select two ‘phone a friends’ and give their details. On the day that each contestant is set to play the game (six contestants per episode), Production will send an independent security team to all phone a friend residents in that episode. Once a contestant plays fastest finger first and wins a place in the chair, the security team will enter both of the ‘phone a friends’ residents. This is to ensure that if and when phoned, the friend does not source outside help to answer the question. Once the contestant has finished their game or used their lifeline, security will leave.

Ask The Host
This is a brand new, additional lifeline available once to all contestants. This lifeline allows the contestant to ‘Ask The Host’ if he [Jeremy Clarkson] knows the answer or if he has an opinion on what it might be. The host can give his opinion, answer or share his thoughts but there is no guarantee he will know the answer. Once he has shared his thoughts / given as much as he can, he will say ‘That’s my final answer’ which signifies the end of his assistance and the contestant can not ask the host any more questions. The host is never shown the answers in advance of the contestant saying this is my ‘Final Answer’. The contestant does not need to take the advice given nor continue playing the game and can still choose to take any money they have currently banked. If the contestant does decide to play, the contestant will select the answer and say ‘final answer’. Once the answer is locked in, the contestant and host will have the answer revealed at the same time.