Have I Got News for You, series 50
The BBC’s long-running satirical panel show starts its fiftieth series next month. Jeremy Clarkson is already booked to make his first post-fracas BBC appearance – an incident that will probably take all of thirty seconds to come up. Rumour has it that the production team had planned to present him with a steak dinner at the start of the last series, but he withdrew from the show as the muck hit the fan, so this will be their first chance for revenge.
Although the programme has lost some of its edge as it has aged in recent years, it is still one part of a tiny group where genuine political arguments can mix successfully with humour. Watching team captain Ian Hislop launch into one of his rants about a guest he dislikes or a news story that annoyed him is still just as entertaining as it was in its heyday. Paul Merton also seems more invigorated in recent years, with his wildly surreal comments often lightening any overly serious political moments.
ITV have a great line up of upcoming new dramas. One of the highlights is Chris Lang’s new crime series Unforgotten. The show focuses on a 40-year-old murder case that begins when the body of a young man is discovered underneath a demolished house. The principle of a cold case TV drama is hardly new (Waking the Dead, Silent Witness, New Tricks), but Unforgotten differs from these by being a six-part series dedicated to a single story. Lang’s script offers a more realistic and psychological interpretation of the detective drama format, which allows the characters to develop over the six episodes.
Perhaps the main selling point of Unforgotten is the incredible cast. Nicola Walker (Last Tango in Halifax, Spooks), Tom Courtenay (45 Years, Quartet) and Trevor Eve (Kidnap and Ransom, Death Comes to Pemberley) are some of the best actors in the country, so it’s very exciting to see them all embarking in the same project together.
The Walking Dead, Series 6
After the shocking conclusion to the previous series and the return of a familiar face, things are set to be shaken up in Alexandria. As we have already seen, unlike Rick and his group, the Alexandrians have been protected since the very start of the outbreak and have not learnt to survive. In series six, there will still be a division between those who want to learn from Rick and those who see his group as a threat to their way of life. With an increasing number of walkers appearing outside Alexandria’s walls and a threatening group of survivors setting their sights on our heroes, will they learn to co-exist before it’s too late?
Robert Kirkman, the creator of The Walking Dead promises that “a few of the things coming [in the next series] deal with very cool, very beloved parts of the comic series and expand them in ways that die-hard fans are going to love.” If he keeps his word, series six promises to be as action-packed and utterly thrilling as ever.
Fox UK, October
In what is probably the most anticipated film of the year, Spectre continues the James Bond storyline that began in Skyfall. Naomie Harris and Ralph Fiennes return as Moneypenny and M respectively, following their scene-stealing introductions in the previous film. Sam Mendes is back behind the camera as director and has promised an exciting tale that sees MI6 under threat, with a dangerous trail across the world that leads to the mysterious organisation SPECTRE.
Admittedly, that does all sound like a standard Bond movie and the highly critical Sony emails that were leaked last year haven’t helped to sell this new addition incredibly well. However, the global success of its predecessor and the exciting official trailer should give us all some confidence that the latest film will be a worthy addition to the franchise. At least it can’t be as bad as Die Another Day.
Released: 26 October
This British drama film centres on the immensely brave members of the British women’s suffrage movement and their extraordinary struggle to secure their right to vote. It is inspired by the true lives of the Suffragettes, who risked all that they had in their fight for equality. These women were ordinary working people rising up against a brutally misogynistic state in an effort to reclaim some control over their own lives.
The star-studded cast includes: Carey Mulligan as Maud Watts, Helena Bonham Carter as Edith Ellyn, Natalie Press as Emily Davison (the Suffragette who famously stepped in front of King George V’s horse at the Epsom Derby) and Meryl Streep taking up the role of Emmeline Pankhurst, the leader of the Suffragette movement. If anybody is going to portray these very important historical events with the right amount of drama and sophistication, it will be these brilliant performers.
Released: 30 October
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
The epic conclusion to The Hunger Games film adaptations is set to hit cinema screens this season. We return to Katniss, Peeta, Gale and Finnick as they prepare for one final conflict with President Snow, hoping to end his brutal rule over the lives of the people of Panem.
Snow has rigged the Capitol with the very traps, beasts and challenges one would find in his cruel and twisted Hunger Games. As Finnick says to Katniss, but more importantly to the audience, “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 76th Hunger Games.” The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 promises to combine the very same life-or-death situations as the actual Games themselves with the revolutionary flavour that was introduced in Mockingjay – Part 1. It is always sad to see the end of such a fantastic franchise, but it looks like they aren’t going to let it go out without a bang. May the odds be ever in their favour!
Released: 20 November