BAZ BAMIGBOYE: It’s the best of British for Alan Bennett’s black comedy 

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National Treasures Dame Judi Dench and Sir Derek Jacobi will star in a new film based on the play by another legend, Alan Bennett.

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The playwright’s last work, the hospital drama Allelujah!, has been adapted by Heidi Thomas, producer of the BBC’s award-winning period drama Call the Midwife.

Thomas, the brains behind the BBC1 series set in an East London convent, unravels Bennett’s sharp, politically subversive piece (almost a black comedy) set in the geriatric ward of Yorkshire Hospital, Bethlehem, which has been threatened with closure .

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It was staged at the Bridge Theater three years earlier, with Nicholas Heitner directing a company that included Deborah Findlay, Julia Foster, Simon Williams and Nicola Hughes.

Sir Derek Jacobic
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National Treasures Dame Judi Dench and Sir Derek Jacobi will star in a new film based on another legend, Alan Bennett’s play

Jennifer Saunders and Julia McKenzie will also star in the film, which is in pre-production.

Dame Judy will play a former librarian who is now a patient in the hospital’s Dusty Springfield ward.

Dench, by the way, is a member of the ensemble cast of Kenneth Branagh’s new film Belfast, set in his hometown in 1969.

It’s heading to the London Film Festival next month and has already been touted as one of the year’s best pictures (and rightly so!).

The playwright's last work, the hospital drama Allelujah!, has been adapted by Heidi Thomas, producer of the BBC's award-winning period drama Call the Midwife.

The playwright’s last work, the hospital drama Allelujah!, has been adapted by Heidi Thomas, producer of the BBC’s award-winning period drama Call the Midwife.

Jacobi will play another patient – a former headmaster.

While Saunders, now appearing at the Harold Pinter Theater as Madame Arkaty in Noel Coward’s Blythe Spirit, is in talks to play a Ward sister who suffers from the bladder control (or lack thereof) of her accusers. Is.

Mackenzie, who plays Miss Marple on TV and is an award-winning stage performer, will play the one-time child soprano who once glorified as ‘The Pudsey Nightingale’.

Jennifer Saunders (left) and Julia McKenzie will also star in the film, which is in pre-production

Julia Mackenzie

Jennifer Saunders (left) and Julia McKenzie will also star in the film, which is in pre-production

He has been admitted to the crumbling institution due to an ankle injury. It seems fitting for Mackenzie to play a singer; Some of his best-known roles have been in musicals, such as Follies and Sweeney Todd.

Call the Midwife Thomas knows her way into the world of medicine, leading the BBC’s ratings winner through ten seasons – its 11th Christmas special begins next year.

I am told that he has added a coda to his script which acknowledges the coronavirus pandemic. Casting is on for other important roles.

watch out for…

  • Boy George and Luke Evans, who are expected to join the original and later companies of the musical Taboo by Mark Davis Markham, for a special fundraising concert to celebrate the show’s 20th anniversary.

Producer Adam Kenwright, who put on the original, has begun assembling a cast that could include Diane Pilkington, Declan Bennett, and Julianne Cleary.

It will be directed by Christopher Renshaw with assistance from the Terrence Higgins Trust and Shelter (lwtheatres.co.uk) at the London Palladium on 30 January.

Boy George and Luke Evans, who are expected to join the original and later companies of the musical Taboo by Mark Davis Markham, for a special fundraising concert to celebrate the show's 20th anniversary

Boy George and Luke Evans, who are expected to join the original and later companies of the musical Taboo by Mark Davis Markham, for a special fundraising concert to celebrate the show’s 20th anniversary

  • American pop-jazz singer Ann Hampton Callaway, who will be treating Londoners to two of her shows.

Tonight and tomorrow she’ll be at The Pheasantry in Chelsea with The Judy Garland Songbook. On Sundays and Mondays, she will sing the movie theme at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in Soho. Find ticket information at pizzaexpresslive.com.

Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carell and Billy Crudup take a knee in the muddy waters of Breakfast TV in the entertaining second season of The Morning Show, streaming on AppleTV+ starting today.

I watched seven episodes out of ten and was compelled to watch Aniston’s anchor Alex Levy—though she’s not, thankfully, the half-diva Piers Morgan has become.

.

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