A sketch performed by Rowan Atkinson during British charity telethon Comic Relief prompted more than 2,200 complaints to the BBC and will be investigated by regulator Ofcom. The sketch in question saw Atkinson play a fictional version of the Archbishop of Canterbury who compared boy band One Direction to Jesus’s disciples and said praying “doesn’t work.” After the skit raised an uproar, the BBC removed it from its iPlayer and apologized saying it was “intended to amuse and entertain” but feedback had shown it was “problematic for a number of different reasons.” Ofcom is said to be investigating on the grounds of offensive language and generally accepted standards, The Guardian reported.
Film Education, a charity supported by the British film industry, has had its funding pulled and will close on April 26 with all staff to be let go. As a result, the UK’s National Schools Film Week will cease. The event was a free, annual program that brought kids to cinemas throughout the country – last year’s program included We Need To Talk About Kevin, The Awakening and Wild Bill. Founded in 1985, Film Education has been active in curriculum-based teaching resources, teacher training and cinema-based events across the UK. Its closure, the charity said, is a result of the decision by its primary funder, Cinema First, to end its financial support. Cinema First, a cross-industry body made up of exhibitors and distributors, recently supported a bid led by publicly financed orgs Filmclub and First Light to secure responsibility for the British Film Institute’s new 5-19 film education scheme 2013-2017.
Arrow Media has been commissioned by BBC Two for The Hairy Bikers: Rebuilding Industrial Britain. The three-part series follows Si King and Dave Myers, known to British TV audiences as The Hairy Bikers, as they journey across the UK on their vintage motorcycles to discover and help fix a number of lost treasures of the industrial age. King and Myers have hosted several shows in Britain including The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook, The Hairy Bikers Ride Again and The Hairy Bikers’ Food Tour Of Britain. Executive Producers for the series are Tom Brisley for Arrow and Tom McDonald for the BBC.
Salon Pictures, the London production shingle hung by former Gunslinger execs Paul Van Carter and Nick Taussig, has commissioned three original feature screenplays which they plan to have ready to package and sell in Cannes. The first, Decompression, is an LA-set thiller about a group of men locked in a decompression recovery chamber after contracting the bends while diving. The script is based on a true story and is being written by playwright Christopher Bell. Commercials director Ian Bonhôte is attached to direct. Meet Me In Ten Years from Fran Poletti follows a New Yorker who wins a government lottery to spend thirty minutes with a version of herself – ten years in the future. Finally, Salon’s biopic of Winston Churchill will examine the dark side of the late prime minister. British historian Alex Von Tunzelmann, whose book Indian Summer was adapted by Working Title, is scripting.