News: Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads returns to TV

Along with the rest of theatreland, I’m already over-excited and impatient for all of these.

Filming begins today on new productions of Alan Bennett’s critically acclaimed and multi-award-winning Talking Heads monologues, which first aired on BBC Television in 1988 and 1998. Ten of the original pieces will be re-made with the addition of two new ones written by Bennett last year. They are produced by Nicholas Hytner’s London Theatre Company and Kevin Loader.

The monologues which will air on BBC One in the coming months are as follows:

[Listed in alphabetical order

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

The Talking Heads monologues were first broadcast on the BBC in 1988 and 1998, breaking new ground for television and widely celebrated as Alan Bennett’s masterpieces. They had a stellar cast including Patricia Routledge, Maggie Smith, Stephanie Cole, Julie Walters, Thora Hird, Eileen Atkins, David Haig and Penelope Wilton, alongside Bennett himself. The monologues won two BAFTAs, an RTS award and have also since been included on the A-level and GCSE English Literature syllabus.

Filming for the new productions is taking place at BBC Elstree Studios using existing sets. The Talking Heads production team are following the latest government guidelines on Covid-19 to ensure that the series is made safely and responsibly.

 

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