Jodie Comer, Martin Freeman and more to star in BBC remake of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads

With a number of projects currently halted due to the coronavirus, some of Britain’s biggest stars have signed up to star in a series of new productions based on the works of one of our greatest playwrights.

Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads monologues, which were originally shown on the BBC between 1988 and 1998, will include remakes of ten of the original films, alongside two new ones that Bennett wrote last year.

In what has been a meteoritic rise to stardom for her, BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning actress Jodie Comer (Thirteen, Killing Eve) is amongst the twelve stars getting a chance to shine with her monologue being Her Big Chance. Coincidentally, Jodie’s role was previously played by Julie Walters who happens to be the Liverpudlian’s favourite actress!

The other British actors involved in the project include BAFTA-winning quartet Monica Dolan (Appropriate Adult, A Very English Scandal), Martin Freeman (The Office, Sherlock), Sarah Lancashire (Last Tango in Halifax, Happy Valley) and Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake, Pride).

Also starring are Tamsin Greig (Episodes, Friday Night Dinner), Lesley Manville (Another Year, Mum), Lucian Msamati (Game of Thrones, Kiri), Maxine Peake (Hancock & Joan, Silk), Rochenda Sandall (Broken, Line of Duty), Kristin Scott Thomas (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Darkest Hour) and Harriet Walter (At0nement, Killing Eve).

On the project, 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.”

Filming is already taking place at Elstree studios, with the production team “following the latest government guidelines on Covid-19 to ensure that the series is made safely and responsibly”.

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

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