Great Canal Journeys

Timothy West and Prunella Scales are in heaven on their latest water-based jaunt as they venture up the Rio Douro in Portugal. The pair are fond of a tipple and are following the route from Porto taken by the port barges up the river, stopping at the odd estate to sample some of the fortified wine that is much loved by the British. However, it’s not all about getting tipsy, so the couple also visit a site of historical important and negotiate the deepest lock in Europe. “It’s so beautiful here, one hardly needs alcohol,” West says. “But it helps,” Scales replies.

Joe Clay, The Times

The 18-30 Stone Holiday

Eight Brits, some tipping the scales at more than 190kg (30st), head for the Bahamas and the plus-size-friendly environs of the Resort, a hotel with reinforced toilets and beds. Here, each spends time getting to grips with the kind of body issues encapsulated by call-centre worker Steven’s heart-breaking assessment of himself as “the beast of Fife”. It all culminates in a visit to a public beach, a tough assignment for those too often fat-shamed.

Jonathan Wright, The Guardian

Spun Gold wins its first BAFTA!

Our ITV1 production of Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations, hosted by Ant & Dec, was awarded a BAFTA for Best Live Event at last night’s ceremony.

The co-production between ITV Entertainment, HPower and ourselves was a highlight of our year last year and we’re thrilled to be honoured in this way.  Congratulations to everyone involved and in particular Her Majesty.




Twenty years ago, the Full Monty sent the nation into a frenzy with the story of a group of unemployed miners stripping off to beat the dole queue.

Now to mark the film’s anniversary six famous men will get their kit off to replicate the film’s iconic climax – and in doing so raise awareness about men’s cancers – for a brand new ITV show.

Produced by Spun Gold Television, The Real Full Monty will see presenters Alexander Armstrong and Ashley Banjo embark on a mission to round up famous male flesh and teach them how to expose it to full effect.

The group will learn how to strip tease over the coming weeks for this special, one-off documentary. Then, once their act is fully polished, they will boldly do the Fully Monty, performing in front of a 2,000 strong live theatre audience, which will feature in an episode of Tonight At the London Palladium.

Alexander Armstrong said: “We are using this film to raise awareness of men’s cancer prostate and testicular, encouraging guys to check themselves and look out for their friends and act on symptoms if they have them. 96 per cent of prostate cancer is curable if caught early, but many men leave it too late and the story is not a good one.

“I hope that by showing I’ve got the balls to strip off in front of thousands of people, it might encourage otherwise reluctant men to overcome their embarrassment and get themselves checked.”

Ashley Banjo said: “We’re going to have a ball making this show. I’ll make sure viewers are in for a treat by knocking a group of famous novices into shape and preparing them for the performance of their lives! Hopefully, by flashing their flesh, our fine men can strip away some of the inhibitions that prevent some men from making sure their health is properly monitored in their vital areas.”

The Real Full Monty is commissioned for ITV by Kate Teckman, Factual Commissioner and Sue Murphy, Head of Factual Entertainment.

Kate said: “Hats off to the men who are willing to lay themselves bare to the nation to show us everything they have for what promises to be a hugely entertaining programme and performance boldly led by Alexander and Ashley. We hope their efforts will give this important issue the exposure it needs.”

Source ITV

ITV Royal documentary eyes young viewers

Prince Charles Prince Of Wales 60th Birthday Portrait

Prince Charles is aiming to reach out to a younger audience by teaming up with Ant & Dec to go behind the scenes of the Prince’s Trust charity for ITV.

Clarence House and Prince’s Trust chief executive Martina Milburn specifically requested that ITV’s presenting duo front the 90-minute documentary, which will be produced by Spun Gold.

Spun Gold managing director Nick Bullen said the two organisations wanted to target young viewers with the yet-to-be-titled film, which will explore the work the charity has done for young people in its 40th anniversary next year.

“The documentary will inject some of Ant & Dec’s trademark humour, but they will be exploring strong subjects head on, while celebrating the success of the Trust,” said Bullen.

He was surprised that the pair, best known for fronting entertainment shows I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, Saturday Night Takeaway and Britain’s Got Talent, were available, but added that they “jumped at the chance” of getting into factual programming.

Spun Gold will benefit from a “huge amount of access” after building a relationship with Prince Charles’ personal aide, Kristina Kyriacou.

It is the latest in a long line of royal documentaries the indie has made for ITV, including Prince William’s Passion: New Father, New Hope; All The Queen’s Men; and Alan Meets Prince Charles.

As well as exploring the work the Prince’s Trust is doing now, the Alan Meets Prince Charles: Alan Titchmarsh hosted previous Spun Gold doc documentary will look back at 1976, when the body was set up, and how Britain has changed over the past four decades.

It will touch on several key issues, such as mental health, drug addiction and homelessness “then and now”.

Ant & Dec will travel the country to discover how the Trust is improving the lives of disadvantaged people, stopping off in their home town of Newcastle to reminisce about their humble beginnings.

Filming will begin next month and the doc is being directed and produced by Our Queen director Michael Waldman.

It was commissioned by ITV director of factual Richard Klein and factual commissioning editor Andrew O’Connell, and is due to TX in early 2016.

“Cutting all the footage into a 90-minute film will be the biggest challenge,” said Bullen. “As well as exploring Ant & Dec’s journey, it will also investigate what happens to the Trust if and when the Prince becomes King.”

Ant & Dec move into factual with Prince Charles documentary


Ant and Dec are to make their first documentary – meeting the Prince of Wales to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Prince’s Trust for ITV.

The 90-minute untitled film, produced by Inside The Royal Wedding indie Spun Gold, will follow the duo as they accompany the Prince on key engagements and explore the charity that improves the lives of young people.

The duo, better known for hosting entertainment juggernauts I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!, Britain’s Got Talent and Saturday Night Takeaway, will also visit Prince’s Trust Centers and meet with 13-30 year-olds battling homelessness, mental health and unemployment.

ITV director of factual Richard Klein and factual commissioning editor Andrew O’Connell ordered the documentary.

Director Michael Waldman will start filming shortly on behalf of Spun Gold which is also responsible for  royal docs including Prince Phillip at 90, All the Queen’s Men, Alan Meets Prince Charles and Prince William’s Passion.

The film will air in early 2016 to coincide with the birth of the Trust in 1976.

O’Connell said the film would be a “major event” for ITV.

Spun Gold creative director Daniela Neumann added: “With Ant and Dec’s warmth and down to earth approach it is going to be such a moving and illuminating film.”

Channel 4 to celebrate the genius of master gardener Capability Brown


Channel 4 Features has commissioned Capability Found from Spun Gold, a 3 x 60 celebrating the life and work of Lancelot “Capability” Brown, Britain’s master gardener of the late 1700s.

Presented by renowned gardener, horticultural expert and Capability Brown enthusiast Alan Titchmarsh, the series will reveal Capability’s 18th century landscape plans for Belvoir Castle. Plans which were never executed as Brown sadly died before they could be started. But now, nearly three centuries later are to be brought to life.

With unprecedented access to Belvoir Castle, ancestral home of the Duke and Duchess of Rutland, Titchmarsh will peel away the landscaped layers of the last 300 years. Aided by the recent discovery of the 18th century pre-survey plan he will see the grounds of the Estate as Capability first did and historian, John Phibbs will explain why he believes the reworked landscape would have been a masterpiece.

Alan will assist the Duchess as she attempts to recreate Capability’s 18th century vision for the Estate, by sharing his extensive knowledge of England’s master gardener, taking inspiration from Capability’s other great landscaped gardens around the country. The challenge will be immense as the 300 year old plans from this genius designer must now also sit comfortably alongside the working practices of the 21st century Estate.

This fascinating series will detail Capability’s astonishing life including his humble origins; the joys and sorrows as a family man and his ambitious networking which led him to the very heart of 18th century English society. Many historians would suggest that his extraordinary talent was able to bring enchantment into the British landscape which in turn made him one of the most influential people of his time.

Lizi Wootton, Commissioning Editor, Features said; “The series is set to add to the tri-centenary celebrations of Lancelot “Capability” Brown’s birth. The re-discovery of his plans for Belvoir Castle is really exciting and hugely significant. I’m delighted that nearly 300 years on Alan Titchmarsh is able to help recreate the vision of one of Britain’s most important landscape designers.”

Gill Tierney, Executive Producer for Spun Gold adds; “Most people have heard of Capability Brown but this is a chance to get to know the man behind the myth; to celebrate his legacy not only at Belvoir Castle, but in some of the greatest gardens of England.”

Daniela Neumann, Creative Director for Spun Gold also notes; “We are delighted to be extending our longstanding relationship with Alan. Who better to tell this fascinating story than the nation’s favourite gardener? This series forms a number of new projects we are working on with him to take him into the next wave of his career.”

Commissioning Editor, Features: Lizi Wootton, Channel 4
Executive Producer: Gill Tierney, Spun Gold
Produced & Directed by: Duncan Barnes, Spun Gold

Spun Gold Examines Poverty Through a childs eyes for Channel 5


Spun Gold has been commissioned by Channel 5 to produce Poverty: Through A Child’s Eyes, a gripping 1×60’ documentary, which investigates the social issue of poverty affecting millions of British families.

Told in first person and solely from the perspective of three children aged between eight and eleven, the documentary looks at how their families cope with day to day life under challenging circumstances and financial hardship.The children provide viewers with an intimate account of how their difficult circumstances place enormous pressure on their home and school life, friendships and life ambitions.

Using video diaries, the young narrators record their emotions and experiences with heart breaking honesty, detailing what it’s like to go without dinner, to go through rubbish bins in back alleys to decorate their bedroom and live in a damp house with no working boiler. The result of their revelations is an emotionally charged programme that offers unique insight into one of the most pressing social issues facing modern day Britain.

Poverty: Through A Child’s Eyes airs on Channel 5 at 10pm on Wednesday 26th November 2014 and follows Spun Gold’s powerful 12 Years Old and Caring for Mum: Through a Child’s Eyes, which aired earlier this year on Channel 5.

Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose secures second run on Channel 4


Channel 4 has confirmed a substantial 14 episode recommission of Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose – the first time an advertiser funded programme in the live cookery genre has been renewed by the broadcaster. This recommission will see the show build on the success of its initial 12 week run on Channel 4, and will confirm the series’ place at the heart of the broadcaster’s Saturday morning schedule.

Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose, a 60 minute Saturday morning lifestyle and cookery programme produced by Spun Gold, on Channel 4, has maintained a strong weekly audience since its first programme in April and attracted an increased share of ABC1 viewers to the channel in its time slot.

The innovative branded content format, developed by Waitrose and Spun Gold for Channel 4, will return later this year. It will continue to focus on food, and entertainment, while expanding on its lifestyle content. As well as featuring celebrity guests and world-class chefs which have already featured, such as Michel Roux Jnr, Jason Atherton and Theo Randall, the series will profile young artisan food producers, celebrities’ family recipes, gardening, homeware tips and features to coincide with seasonal events such as Halloween and Christmas.

Lisa Snowdon and Steve Jones will remain as the show’s hosts with TV and radio personality and Angelica Bell continuing her role as a reporter. This new run of the hour-long show builds on the programme’s initial run from April to July 2014.