Talking Heads remake to air on BBC

Alan Bennett Talking HeadsA new series of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads monologues will be premiering on BBC this June 23.

A report on WhatsOnStage revealed the release date and the promotional images for the remake. The series was originally shown on the BBC in 1988 and 1998 and featured ten monologues. This year’s series will be produced by Nicholas Hytner and Kevin Loader. It will also be including two brand new monologues that Bennett wrote only last year. All twelve will be performed by some of the biggest names in British acting.

Bennett discussed the project in The Guardian, saying:

“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.”

BBC drama controller, Piers Wenger, also shared this in a statement:

“Covid-19 has laid waste to drama production in the UK…but it has also posed a challenge: how do we adhere to restrictions while still offering British viewers the chance to lose themselves in great stories at this time of national need?

“Full of insight, wit, daring and compassion, these are stories of individual lives – but of great resonance. I am so grateful to Alan, Nicholas Hytner, Kevin Loader and the whole team for the caution, ingenuity and wisdom which they have shown in bringing these stories to the screen.”

Hytner likewise expressed his excitement about the series:

“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.

“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. And 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.”

Here is the full line-up of performers, titles, and directors:

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 Hytner
Lesley Manville in Bed Among the Lentils (1988), directed by Hytner
Lucian Msamati in Playing Sandwiches (1998), directed by 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 Kent
Harriet Walter in Soldiering On (1988), directed by Elliott

Talking Heads premieres on BBC One on June 23. All episodes will also be available on BBC iPlayer from that date.

Check out the gallery below: