A BBC review set up to establish the facts around the decision to appoint Martin Bashir as religious affairs correspondent in September 2016 has found that the tainted journalist was not re-hired to cover up the controversy around his infamous Princess Diana interview on the “Panorama” program.
The review was conducted by former BBC nations and regions director Ken MacQuarrie.
More from Variety
“Although there were some shortcomings in the process by which he was re-employed, I am satisfied that that he was ultimately appointed because his knowledge and experience were considered to be the best match to the requirements for the role at that time,” MacQuarrie said. “I have found no evidence that Martin Bashir was re-hired to contain and/or cover up the events surrounding the 1995 ‘Panorama’ program. In my view, that theory is entirely unfounded.”
In May, an independent investigation into the interview found that the public broadcaster “fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark,” which led to questions being raised about the process of Bashir’s rehiring.
Leading podcast publisher Wondery is expanding its international slate with three German-voiced shows. “WeCrashed: The Rise and Fall of WeWork” reveals the story behind the company valued at $47 billion that was on the brink of making history only for it to suddenly disappear. The TV adaptation of “WeCrashed,” starring Anne Hathaway and Jared Leto, is currently in production in New York.
“Innovations: VR” traces the story of VR back to the 1960s, where a group of scientists and engineers had a vision that one day people could put on a pair of goggles and enter a whole new world, while “Innovations: Video Games” takes a closer look at the billion-dollar industry that is gaming, exploring how video games broke out of university computer labs and took over popular culture and gaming.
“Business Wars: Marvel vs. DC” delves into the battle between two of the most iconic names in entertainment from the 1960s to the present day.
The three podcasts are narrated by German business commentator Alexander Langer.
Meanwhile, Sony Pictures Networks India has launched the Go-Beyond Podcast, which celebrates individuals who have been exemplary in dealing with the cards that life dealt them. Guests include chef Amrita Raichand, actor and comedian Ash Chandler, former Australian Cricketer Jason Gillespie, environmentalist Bittu Sahgal, author Samit Basu, and historian Vikram Sampath.
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” producers World of Wonder have hired Johnni Javier to run the company’s U.K. production arm. Javier was previously director of production and operations at Blast! Films. The executive began his career in television at World of Wonder U.K. where, after producing and directing, he became head of production in 2006. Javier joined Blast! Films in 2014 and has overseen content for both the U.K. and U.S., including Channel 4’s “Jade: The Reality Star Who Changed Britain.”
The appointment comes as World of Wonder commits to expanding its international footprint. The company this year launched two new adaptations of the Drag Race franchise: the first Australian-New Zealand version and “Drag Race España.” – Manori Ravindran
Meanwhile, Isabella de Rosario has joined Emmy Award-winning production company Me+You Productions (“I Am”) as development executive. De Rosario joins from Slim Film + Television, where she served as a development executive and script editor for their adaptation of “Around the World in 80 Days,” starring David Tennant, for BBC One and The Alliance. She was previously with Channel 4.
Me+You Productions is founded by producers Richard Yee and Krishnendu Majumdar, who also serves as BAFTA chair.
New U.K.-based online film magazine Animus, created and edited by London-based film critic Elena Lazic, has launched. Each issue features six essays tackling a broad range of films and topics turned towards the cinema of the future. The essays are all published at once, so as to encourage a deeper engagement with film criticism and film itself.
The magazine also has a Patreon page, which will feature shorter articles responding to news in the film world and other events. Patrons pay £3 ($4.23) per month to access a range of writing.
U.K. independent film production company Blenheim Films is producing live-action adaption feature “Merrylegs the Movie” based on the Thelwell Ponies cartoons created in the 1950s by late cartoonist Norman Thelwell. Candida Brady (“Trashed”) will direct.
The film will be the first instalment in a planned franchise that will establish the characters and Willowbrook Riding Stables, set in the remote mountains of Snowdonia, Wales. The film follows Penny and Merrylegs, a timid pony who must overcome his greatest fears to find his own place in the world.
Casting is now underway to discover a young budding actor in the role of Penny, a character inspired by Thelwell’s daughter. The search is also on to find the perfect pony for the leading role of Merrylegs.
The film is intended for a 2023 release to mark and celebrate Norman Thelwell’s centenary, one of the 20th century’s most beloved British children’s authors, whose collection of 34 books continue to sell millions of copies worldwide.
Best of Variety