Emma Thompson is set to play Queen Elizabeth I in BBC Two’s Upstart Crow. The Brit actress will play the famous royal in the comedy’s Christmas special, which is now filming and set to air later this year. The Mighty Boosh’s Noel Fielding will also join the cast to play Thomas Morley in one of the episodes. The program, which started as a highlight of the BBC’s Shakespeare festival last year, follows the quest of William Shakespeare, played by David Mitchell, and his attempts to make it as a playwright in London, whilst juggling his family life and loved ones in Stratford-upon-Avon. It’s written by Ben Elton and directed by Richard Boden. Gareth Edwards produces and Chris Sussman exec produces. Program was commissioned by Shane Allen, Controller, Comedy Commissioning.
Hamilton has announced initial casting for its London West End production. The stage show, which won 11 Tony Awards last year and continues its run on Broadway, has added Christine Allado (In The Heights), Rachelle Ann Go (Miss Saigon), Tarinn Callender, Rachel John (The Bodyguard), Jason Pennycooke (Kiss Me, Kate), Cleve September (Avenue Q) and Obioma Ugoala (Mowtown The Musical). Story follows America’s founding father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington’s right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and helped shape the very foundations of the America we know today. It’s produced in London by Jeffrey Seller, Sander Jacobs, Jill Furman, The Public Theater and Cameron Mackintosh. The show will open at the UK capital’s Victoria Palace with previews beginning in November 2017.
Ashok Amritraj, chairman and CEO of Hyde Park Entertainment Group, has been appointed the United Nations in India Goodwill Ambassador for the Sustainable Development Goals. He’ll be the first Ambassador for the UN in India. Amritraj has made more than 100 films during his 30-year career in the global film business and has been a pioneering force in bridging India and Hollywood through film and media. A passionate believer in the power of media to effect social change, Amritraj produced and hosted the series Chance Of A Lifetime in partnership with the UNHQ, in which young filmmakers in Asia competed to create original, short stories highlighting issues related to water, HIV/AIDS, gender equality, migration and education. Said Amritraj: “I look forward to working with the United Nations in India to amplify awareness about the SDGs. It is a tremendous opportunity that brings together my personal desire to serve the country of my birth and my passion to leverage the power of media for the creation of diverse, socially-relevant content.”