Season 2 of the BBC’s acclaimed drama Happy Valley begins shooting this week with some new names among the cast. Among those joining Sarah Lancashire, James Norton and other returning actors are Downton Abbey’s Kevin Doyle, Harry Potter‘s Matthew Lewis, Mr Selfridge‘s Katherine Kelly, Coronation Street‘s Julie Hesmondhalgh, Filth‘s Shirley Henderson and Scott & Bailey‘s Amelia Bullmore. The BBC One drama is created by Sally Wainwright and won the Best Drama Series BAFTA Award last year, among many other prizes. Netflix has U.S. rights. Doyle, who’s been with Downton since the beginning, will reunite in Happy Valley with erstwhile ladies maid O’Brien (Siobahn Finneran), who plays Clare Cartwright on Happy Valley. Also returning are George Costigan, Karl Davies and Charlie Murphy. The six-part drama also is adding Con O’Neill (Cucumber) and Vincent Franklin (The Thick Of It). As S2 opens, Lancashire’s Catherine is back heading her team of dedicated police officers in the Calder Valley in West Yorkshire. With Tommy Lee Royce (Norton) firmly behind bars, Catherine suspects there might be another serial killer on the loose and makes a gruesome discovery that will have shocking repercussions for her and her family. Meanwhile, a new detective, DS John Wadsworth (Doyle), arrives on the block with his own set of problems. Happy Valley hails from RED Production Company for BBC One.
Andrew O’Connor and ITV Studios’ Cats on the Roof Media have entered an exclusive first-look agreement with comedy writer and producer Lee Hupfield. The deal will see Hupfield, showrunner of Betty White’s Off Their Rockers, write, direct and produce in the UK exclusively through the group’s comedy label, Second Act Productions. Hupfield is the creator of such stunt formats as Balls Of Steel (Channel 4) and Meet The Parents (E4) along with sitcom Star Stories (Channel 4). He also is co-creator of entertainment format The Friday Night Project (Channel 4) and exec produced Channel 4’s Russell Brand & Friends. Peep Show co-creator O’Connor and ITV Studios teamed up earlier this year to establish Cats on the Roof.
Veteran DP Chris Menges is to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 23rd edition of the International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography, Camerimage. An Oscar winner for 1984’s The Killing Fields and 1986’s The Mission, Menges’ other esteemed credits include Local Hero, The Boxer, Michael Collins, The Three Burials Of Melquiades Estrada and The Reader. The Cameraimage festival is held from November 14-21 in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
Shares in Northern Ireland’s UTV Media were up 3% at the close of trading today after the company confirmed it is in discussions regarding a potential sale of its television assets. UTV, which first broadcast as Ulster Television in 1959, is one of the two remaining independent regional broadcasters in the ITV Network. It is believed to be discussing a sale to ITV. It airs ITV programming and makes such local shows as UTV Live and Lesser Spotted Ulster. It will retain its radio division, the Belfast Telegraph reported. UPC, a subsidiary of ITV shareholder Liberty Global last month acquired Ireland’s TV3 and the main rival to UTV Ireland.
UK-based exhibition chain Vue International has acquired JT Bioscopen, the second-largest cinema chain in the Netherlands, for €85M ($98M). JT has 21 cinemas and 111 screens and brings Vue’s total number of sites to more than 200. The box office in Holland has shown growth with admissions up by over a third in the past 10 years. Hollywood movies have seen the Netherlands as an important market for its own films, while local productions account for over 20% of ticket sales. Vue’s most recent previous acquisition was Italy’s largest cinema chain, Space Entertainment, in November.
A+E Networks UK has appointed Adrian Pilkington as SVP Distribution and Strategy, effective September 1. In the newly created role, Pilkington will oversee the strategic planning and execution of branded channel and digital distribution across the UK, Nordic, Benelux and CEEMEA. He will also be responsible for developing A+E Networks UK’s high-growth corporate strategy with COO Nicolas Eglau. A joint venture between A+E Networks and Sky, the UK company currently operates 18 channels across the UK, Nordics, Benelux, Central Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Pilkington joins from Sky, where he was Director of Partner Channels for the past five years.