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Alan Bennett's Talking Heads returns to BBC: Cast and start date confirmed

Alan Bennett's Talking Heads 2020 cast and start date

Talking Heads bbc new

Alan Bennett's Talking Heads is being remade by the BBC with an all star cast.

The new series will star Jodie Comer, Monica Dolan, Martin Freeman, Tamsin Greig, Sarah Lancashire, Lesley Manville, Lucian Msamati, Maxine Peake, Rochenda Sandall, Kristin Scott Thomas, Imelda Staunton and Harriet Walter (L-R, above).

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The series will start on BBC One at 9pm on Tuesday 23 June with a double-bill

All twelve films will be available to stream on BBC iPlayer from the same date.

Alan Bennett’s critically acclaimed and multi-award-winning Talking Heads monologues first aired on BBC Television in 1988 and 1998. Ten of the original pieces will be remade, with the addition of two new ones written by Bennett last year.

Alan Bennett said: "In such difficult circumstances, that the BBC should choose to remount both series of Talking Heads, and produce two entirely new ones, is a comfort and a huge compliment.

"I hope a new generation of actors will get and give as much pleasure as we did 20 and 30 years ago."

Nicholas Hytner, Bennett's long-term collaborator and Lead Director and Producer, added: "Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads are among the masterworks of one of the very greatest writers in TV, film and theatre history.

"It has been a profound and fascinating experience to work out a way of making them again, this time with a company of phenomenal actors who are the equal of those who first made them; with a group of leading theatre directors, colleagues and friends of long standing; and with a team behind the camera that represents the best of the British TV and film industries.

"It is a wonderful bonus that two of the 2020 Talking Heads are totally new, written only a short time before the current crisis began. Everyone involved has been working in an unprecedented way, rigorously observing social distancing, entirely rethinking ways of filmmaking that until a few weeks ago seemed routine. The shoot will never bring any of us within touching distance of each other, but I hope that in every other way it will reach out and touch millions of viewers. We are all of us beyond grateful to the BBC for setting us this challenge."

Talking Heads monologues

The full list of monologues to appear in the new series are:

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

Filming is currently taking place at BBC Elstree Studios using existing sets adhering to the latest government guidelines to ensure that the series is made safely and responsibly.

They will air over the coming months on BBC One.

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