BBC announces major new series of LGBTQ programming, Gay Britannia

Gay Britannia will feature bold stories that celebrate the LGBTQ community and highlight what it means to be gay in Britain today, whilst challenging existing preconceptions and prejudices.

The season of programming will mark 50 years since The Sexual Offences Act 1967, which partially decriminalised homosexual acts that took place in private between two men over the age of 21.

Sacha Dhawan to star in Sathnam Sanghera’s The Boy With The Topknot

Mick Ford will adapt The Boy With The Topknot, the humorous and touching memoirs of Sathnam Sanghera's childhood, growing up as a second-generation Indian in 1980’s Wolverhampton.

His book is an account of his childhood and facing up to a bunch of painful family secrets and truths in his twenties – not least that his father and sister had suffered from schizophrenia – and that he was going to defy expectations of an arranged marriage.

Meet the people behind BBC Two's nail-biting Hospital

Describing it as having, “nail-biting twists and powerful emotional pull”, the Daily Telegraph said BBC Two’s recent timely medical documentary series Hospital “could pass as a top-drawer medical drama”.

The fledgling production company Label1 that made the stylish, six-part series has its own twist. Unusually, the firm was set up in 2015 as a “quasi-­indie” within ITV Studios. The two people behind the venture were experienced programme-makers Simon Dickson and Lorraine Charker-Phillips.

Victoria Derbyshire: the reluctant interviewee

That was fewer than five months after her show, BBC Two’s Victoria Derbyshire first took to the air.

Throughout her illness Derbyshire made the decision to document her treatment on camera. “I didn’t know what chemo[therapy] was. I didn’t know what radiotherapy was. I didn’t know what a mastectomy was. It seemed like a good opportunity to document it in a sensible, moderate way.”

The response has been exceptional. “Thousands of people got in touch to tell me that it affected them in really good ways. They said it gave them courage.”

Daniel Mays to appear in BBC Two's Against The Law

Daniel Mays will take the role of journalist Peter Wildeblood, in the dramatisation of the real-life story. Wildeblood's partner Eddie McNally (Richard Gadd) comes under pressure from the authorities to turn on him, in one of the most explosive court cases of the 1950s; the Montagu Trial.

With his career in disarray and private life exposed, Wildeblood began his jail sentence as a broken man, but emerged a year later determined to change the way the laws against homosexuality impacted on the lives of men just like him.

Christmas University Challenge confirms the alumni line-up

The line-up for the 2016 Christmas University Challenge series has now been confirmed, with over 50 prominent alumni taking part.

Teams from 14 universities and university colleges, including Oxford, Bristol and Sussex, will compete for the Series Champion crown that will end the year's competition.

The series will include a host of famous faces such as Paul Ross, Rachael Stirling, Dom Joly and Dermot Murnaghan.

New migrant crisis doc from award-winning Exodus team

(Credit: BBC)

Exodus, broadcast in the summer of 2016, offered a rare glimpse into the daily realities of crossing Europe, by giving cameras to a few of the million people attempting the journey.

The new three-part series, as yet untitled, will explore what has happened to migrants since they arrived - from how well they are adapting to new cultural climates, to how their arrival is affecting the political mood in their communities.

The BBC needs to broaden its range, says Sir David Attenborough

(Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)

It’s a rare that two thoroughgoing BBC men are seen smiling, let alone laughing, inside the precincts of the House of Commons. When senior BBC people visit Parliament, they are invariably greeted by sceptical MPs, keen to give them a rough time. 

The atmosphere could not have been more different when, last month, the RTS invited Andrew Marr and Sir David Attenborough to hold a conversation at the Commons.  

Dara Ó Briain returns to Robot Wars for series two

Ó Briain will be joined once again by co-host Angela Scanlon at the robot battle arena in Glasgow. Original House Robots Matilda, Sir Killalot, Dead Metal, and Shunt are also poised for a comeback to the fighting ring. 

This year's Robot Wars champions, Team Apollo, will defend their winner's title against an onslaught of new amateur robot engineers over another six week tournament.

Applications are open to all, and are being received by Mentorn now.