The BAFTA Rocliffe Comedy Writing Competition has found its winners who will showcase their work for U.S. TV experts in New York in October. A UK-wide competition to find the nation’s most promising comedy writers, it’s headed to the New York Television Festival for the 5th time under the banner BAFTA Rocliffe New Comedy Showcase. Samuel Jefferson, Tom Moran, and writing pair Henry Dalton & Paul Cope will see an extract from their scripts performed live and will receive feedback from a high profile creative. Previous chairs of the event have included Veep and Eastbound And Down exec producer Stephanie Laing; Greg Daniels, writer/producer/director of The Office and Parks And Recreation; and Jenni Konner, writer/producer of Girls. Jefferson’s work is Flatlined (Episode One: First Aid), a dry-humored window onto the lives of staff at a central London hospital emergency room. Moran’s is Printheads (The Pilot) about a tabloid editor who retreats to a small rural town to take over her father’s weekly paper in the wake of a phone-hacking scandal. Dalton & Cope have Winners, about three hopeful losers seeking success, love and happiness “in a world of egg-obsessed matriarchs, six-foot grumpy spiders and bionic-handed Transylvanian theater owners.”
Dean Devlin’s Electric Entertainment will hold an advance European premiere for the first episode of the new Civil War-based drama Mercy Street at Mipcom on October 5. The six-part series will air on PBS – and is the first American drama to do so in more than a decade. It begins on January 17. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Josh Radnor, Gary Cole, Peter Gerety, Norbert Leo Butz, AnnaSophia Robb, Hanna James and Cherry Jones form the cast. Mercy Street is a production of Scott Free Productions and Sawbone Films. Executive producers include Ridley Scott, David W. Zucker and co-creator Lisa Q. Wolfinger; and co-creator and writer David Zabel.
BBC One has ordered a car-themed competition show that will incorporate Top Gear’s The Stig. The commission comes as the network is faced with rebooting Top Gear with host Chris Evans and following the controversial departure of Jeremy Clarkson who’s now prepping a motoring program for Amazon. The Saturday night primetime series The Getaway Car will be hosted by Dermot O’Leary and pit couples in a series of driving challenges that will “test the limits of their relationships behind the wheel of a car.” Not to be confused with Keshet format Trade Up, which also has a car/family theme, but is set in a studio, this one will put contestants out on the road in a series of driving challenges. BBC Worldwide is selling the 12-episode series which will air in 2016. Top Gear‘s anonymous Stig is responsible for setting lap times for cars tested on the show, as well as instructing celebrity guests. A running joke on that show has been that nobody knows who, or indeed what, is inside his racing suit.
ITV has acquired a minority equity stake in Channel Mum, the UK’s first YouTube network for mothers. Launched in January by Siobhan Freegard, the channel shares real-life experiences of every aspect of motherhood with 10 popular mom vloggers producing video content. A venture with sponsorship and branded content opportunities, it already has a deal with Pampers. The news follows ITV’s recent strategic investments in U.S. video content companies Believe Entertainment, Indigenous Media and Zealot Networks.
David Lean’s Doctor Zhivago is getting a re-release in the UK courtesy of the BFI. Beginning November 27, and in celebration of the classic’s 50th anniversary, a new 4K digital restoration will screen in theaters around Britain. The re-release also follows the recent death of star Omar Sharif. Julie Christie also starred in the adaptation of Boris Pasternak’s love story for the ages. Doctor Zhivago, which won five Oscars, will be one of the cornerstone BFI theatrical releases for LOVE, its major blockbuster project from October to December that aims to rekindle the UK’s passion for film and television’s most enduring love stories. The release is in partnership with Warner Bros.