Wolf Hall

First look images of Timothy Spall, Damian Lewis and Kate Phillips in BBC’s Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall follows Hilary Mantel’s series of historical novels of the same name, focusing on the rise of Thomas Cromwell through the court of Henry VIII (Damian Lewis, Homeland). The close of series one saw Cromwell rise to a place of political power, followed by the execution of Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy, The Crown), which means series two, Wolf Hall: The Mirror and The Light, will see Kate Phillips’ (Peaky Blinders) Jane Seymour take her place as the third queen

Second series of Wolf Hall to begin filming

Mark Rylance playing Thomas Cromwell in Tudor dress stands in front of ornate wooden panels

The first series adapted the Hilary Mantel novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, which semi-fictionalised the rise to power of Thomas Cromwell. Coming from nothing, Cromwell rapidly found a political foothold in the court of King Henry VIII, as well as a score of enemies.

Wolf Hall: The Mirror and the Light is named after the third novel in Mantel’s trilogy, covering the last four years of Cromwell’s life. With Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy) executed, Henry finds happiness in his third marriage, this time tying the knot with Jane Seymour (Kate Phillips).

Kim Shillinglaw: It’s bloody hard to make great television

Kim Shillinglaw

When Kim Shillinglaw became Controller of BBC Two last year, one of her predecessors took her for a drink. Roly Keating had launched BBC Four, moved on to BBC Two and filled in as temporary boss of BBC One. In a meeting room in New Broadcasting House, Shillinglaw recalls with terrible clarity what he told her.

“He said, ‘You will find BBC Two is the toughest. Let me tell you that now. BBC Four has a lot of individual commissions but not very much money, so there’s a limit to how many things it can commission.

Hill sweeps to the top

Polly Hill

In a smooth transition, the personable Polly Hill has become the BBC’s new Controller of Drama Commissioning. She takes over without so much as dropping a script from LA-bound Ben Stephenson.

Her new job is one of the most coveted and powerful positions in UK television. Hill is responsible for the wide range of drama across BBC One and BBC Two, an estimated budget of £200m annually, spiced with the challenge of devising a new online policy, principally for BBC Three. She also has oversight of EastEnders, Casualty and Holby City.

Tony Hall: On a Rescue Mission

Tony Hall

For an insight into the day job of the BBC Director-General two years into his role, I pop into Tony Hall's plate-glass eyrie at New Broadcasting House. I arrive in the aftermath of one of the regular encyclicals that DGs dispense.

He's sung the praises of the BBC's place in a "thriving, free and competitive market", an alternative to what a colleague terms the "Joni Mitchell" school of heartstring-tugging about the Beeb's innate brilliance.