BBC’s recent revival of a late 80s masterpiece, Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads monologue series complete with a line-up of stars that reads like a who’s who of the British acting world, was not only a ‘masterpiece’ but it’s getting ready to ‘be a masterpiece’, as in PBS’s Masterpiece in 2021.
The reboot of the masterful series of to-camera monologues will feature Martin Freeman (The Office, Sherlock, Fargo) and Kristin Scott Thomas (Fleabag). In Talking Heads: The Hand of God, Kristin Scott Thomas stars as an antiques shop owner who finds herself on the evening news when she makes a big sale and in Talking Heads: A Chip in the Sugar, Martin Freeman is a bachelor navigating his widowed mother’s interest in one of her old flames.
As the UK production community begins to return to some resemblance of normalcy, the monologues were filmed during the lockdown following government guidelines over the course of the last couple of months. The original monologues, which were broadcast in 1988 and 1998 and starred the likes of Maggie Smith and Julie Walters, along with some very familiar names and faces to public television viewers such as Patricia Routledge, Stephanie Cole, Eileen Atkins, David Haig and Penelope Wilton.
Alan Bennett, considered by many as one of the very greatest writers in TV, film and theatre history, was beside himself when discussing the revival. “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 twenty and thirty years ago,” Bennett said.
Long considered a masterclass, the original Talking Heads monologues have been included on the A-level and GCSE English Literature syllabus to go along with numerous BAFTA nominations.
Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads monologues will premiere in 2021 on PBS as part of Masterpiece‘s 50th!