Unbroken – Release Christmas Day

Angelina Jolie directs this true life tale

An epic drama that follows the incredible life of Olympian and war hero Louis “Louie” Zamperini (Jack O’Connell) who, along with two other crewmen, survived in a raft for 47 days after a near-fatal plane crash in WWII—only to be caught by the Japanese Navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp.


The Mill’ Series 2 trailer

The Mill Year 2

Channel 4 has released a trailer for the second series of historical drama The Mill.The new six-part series covers the period between 1838-1842, focusing on the lives of the mill workers against a backdrop of turbulent social, political and industrial change.Series 2 begins at 8pm on Sunday 20 July on Channel 4. UK

This is a time of the great Chartist rallies and the birth of modern democracy with the movement for the right for working class men to vote sweeping the country. The drama is driven by a spirited young cast who depict a moment in history when the working classes were beginning to demand a say in their own lives. Just four years have passed since the end of first series but now the effects of the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, which made a distinction between ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ poor, are starting to take hold and desperate economic migrants from the South of England are beginning to arrive at the mill in search of work.

The Last Kingdom

BBC Two to adapt ‘Sharpe’ writer’s ‘The Last Kingdom’

Sharpe Sean Bean

BBC Two has announced a new adaptation of Sharpe creator Bernard Cornwell’s best-selling series of books, The Saxon Stories.

Adapted by Stephen Butchard (Good Cop, House Of Saddam), the eight-part historical drama series is described by the BBC as “a show full of heroic deeds and epic battles but with a thematic depth that embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love, loyalty and our universal search for identity”.

The Last Kingdom is a co-production with BBC America and Downton Abbey makers Carnival Films.

The official synopsis reads: “Set in the year 872, when many of the separate kingdoms of what we now know as England have fallen to the invading Vikings, the great kingdom of Wessex has been left standing alone and defiant under the command of King Alfred the Great.

“Against this turbulent backdrop lives our hero, Uhtred. Born the son of a Saxon nobleman, he is orphaned by the Vikings and then kidnapped and raised as one of their own. Forced to choose between the country of his birth and the people of his upbringing, his loyalties are ever tested. What is he – Saxon or Viking? On a quest to claim his birthright, Uhtred must tread a dangerous path between both sides if he is to play his part in the birth of a new nation and, ultimately, seek to recapture his ancestral lands.”

The Last Kingdom begins filming this autumn.

Executive producer Gareth Neame commented: “Cornwell’s Saxon novels combine historical figures and events with fiction in an utterly compelling way.”

He added: “In the hands of Stephen Butchard we believe it will make original and engrossing television drama. In part the epic quest of our hero Uhtred, it is also a fascinating re-telling of the tale of King Alfred the Great and how he united the many separate kingdoms on this island into what would become England.”

Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, said: “I hope The Last Kingdom will expand BBC Two’s distinctive portfolio of drama. It’s an epic narrative with an extraordinary creative team. It will feel like nothing else on television, with all of the scale and intrigue of the best fantasy stories but the reality of fact.”

The Independent announcement

Deadline Hollywood

Ian McKellen as Sherlock Holmes

The actor has tweeted a picture of himself in costume as an aged version of the sleuth in a film adaptation of Mitch Cullen’s novel A Slight Trick of the Mind

Holmes … Ian McKellen as Sherlock

Ian McKellen has tweeted the first photograph of himself starring as a nonagenarian Sherlock Holmes in the Bill Condon mystery Mr Holmes.

The new film, which will hit cinemas next year, centres on an aged Holmes who becomes obsessed with one final case. It is based not on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original 19th century stories about the famous English sleuth, but the 2005 novel A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin.

Tweeted McKellen, 75: “Over 70 actors have previously played Sherlock Holmes. Now he’s 93 years old and it’s my turn.”

A Slight Trick of the Mind features Holmes as an elderly man unable to walk without a cane and with a failing memory. He lives with a housekeeper and her son, and makes an effort to talk with the son about his life before he forgets it entirely. Laura Linney will co-star in the film version, for which principal photography began last week on location in the United Kingdom.

Condon is the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Gods and Monsters, which he also directed, and the Golden Globe-winning director of period musical Dreamgirls. He also wrote the screenplay for the Oscar-winning musical Chicago and directed sex drama Kinsey. Condon’s most recent film is last year’s Julian Assange biopic The Fifth Estate.