The BBC has announced a new TV series it’s filming during lockdown, and the cast is bloody amazing.
There’s never been such a high demand for great television as there is right now. TV has been everybody’s best friend during lockdown, and it’s hard to know what we’d do without it. Although there are plenty of new shows being released, and old ones available to revisit, it’s interesting to think about how the production of new series will continue from here.
But fear not, as the TV gods seem to have cracked it. Last week, ITV announced it is producing a four-part drama about life in lockdown. The first episode of Isolation Stories, which airs on Monday 4 May at 9pm, will star Sheridan Smith as a heavily pregnant mum in lockdown.
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Alan Bennett’s critically acclaimed and multi-award-winning Talking Heads monologues, which first aired on BBC Television in 1988 and 1998, are being re-recorded with 12 new actors.
Maxine Peake, Kriston Scott Thomas, Martin Freeman and Sarah Lancashire will also record their own episodes. They will each be taking on 10 of the original pieces, along with two new ones written by Bennett last year.
Filming is taking place at BBC Elstree Studios using existing sets and the team is following the latest government guidelines on Covid-19 to ensure that the series is made safely and responsibly.
Explaining why the series is so relevant to audiences right now, Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, says: “Covid-19 has laid waste to drama production in the UK, but it has also posed a challenge: how do we adhere to restrictions while still offering British viewers the chance to lose themselves in great stories at this time of national need?
“Full of insight, wit, daring and compassion, these are stories of individual lives - but of great resonance. I am so grateful to Alan, Nicholas Hytner, Kevin Loader and the whole team for the caution, ingenuity and wisdom which they have shown in bringing these stories to the screen.”
Filming has already started, but we’ll have to sit tight for the release dates. In the meantime, here is a full list of the actors and their monologues:
Jodie Comer in Her Big Chance (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 Garden of Spain (1998), directed by Marianne Elliott
Sarah Lancashire in An Ordinary Woman (2019), directed by Nicholas Hytner
Lesley Manville in Bed Among the Lentils (1988), directed by Nicholas Hytner
Lucian Msamati in Playing Sandwiches (1998), directed by Jeremy Herrin
Maxine Peake in Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet (1988), directed by Sarah Frankcom
Rochenda Sandall in The Outside Dog (1998), directed by Nadia Fall
Kristin Scott Thomas in The Hand of God (1998), directed by Jonathan Kent
Imelda Staunton in A Lady of Letters (1988), directed by Jonathan Kent
Harriet Walter in Soldiering On (1988), directed by Marianne Elliott
Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…