Good afternoon Insiders and a happy holiday to you all, Max Goldbart here seeing out the year. We’re inching slowly towards the holiday and have just got a quick summary of the week’s headlines and some Essentials for you this week. We’ll be taking a well-earned (we hope!) break next week but back all systems go on Friday January 6. Until then, our heartfelt thanks go out to all you Insider readers. We are nothing without you. Merry Xmas, Happy Chanukah and a Happy New Year.
BBC China woes: Don’t you dare tuck into your turkey without checking out this must-read exclusive investigation from Jake on how a little-known commercial BBC outfit has been producing ads for China’s propaganda machine. Jake’s in-depth exposé found BBC StoryWorks has partnered with at least 18 Chinese clients including Huawei since 2015. Within a day, lawmaker Lord David Alton, who is banned from China having previously criticized Xi Jinping’s regime, had written to Director General Tim Davie urging a rethink.
Clarkson’s harm: Never far from the spotlight, Clarkson’s Farm host Jeremy Clarkson has been generating mass headlines since Friday for a Sun column in which he called for Meghan Markle to be “made to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while the crowds chant, ‘Shame!” and throw lumps of excrement at her.” The column, which has now been retracted, is the most complained about British newspaper article of all time to regulator IPSO, Clarkson has since apologized (ish) and ITV Content boss Kevin Lygo branded the piece “awful” while saying he won’t be stood down from his Who Wants to be a Millionaire? hosting duties. More seemingly to come on this one.
Joy for ‘Joyland’: The highly-anticipated shortlist for Best International Feature Oscar is out, with few surprises. Saim Sadiq’s Joyland becomes the first Pakistani movie of all time to make the list and is joined by the likes of Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Bardo and Alice Diop’s Saint Omer. Nancy’s in-depth analysis can be found here.
Sacré bleu: A thrilling World Cup Final win for Argentina broke viewing records in the U.S. and France as the South American giants ran out penalty winners after a barely believable Messi vs Mbappe match-up.
Boris to Berlinale: Alex Gibney’s untitled Boris Becker doc for Apple TV+ and John Malkovich starrer Seneca – On the Creation of Earthquakes will premier at the Berlin International Film Festival next year, which unveiled lineup.
Wild Wild Bunch: French saleshouse Wild Bunch and Studiocanal UK are entangled in a UK legal battle over rights to Studio Ghibli films, with the latter claiming Wild Bunch has broken an accord to exploit 15 Ghibli titles over here following the landmark 2019 deal with Netflix. Meanwhile, Mel had the scoop on Wild Bunch’s 2023 French slate featuring Jean Dujardin Narrated Whale Nation & Marseille Gangland Fantasy Salem.
Asghar joins the chorus: Two-time Oscar winning Iranian auteur Asghar Farhadi was amongst those calling for the release of actress Taraneh Alidoosti, after Alidoosti became the latest entertainment star to be detained in the nation since the death of Mahsa Amini. SAG-AFTRA and multiple European bodies joined the chorus.
🌶️ Hot One: Murakami adaptation Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman has a U.S. deal, per Andreas’ scoop.
🌶️ Another: Sex Education producer Eleven is adapting Oliver Taylor and Dillon Mapletoft’s stage show Fix my Brain for TV.
🌶️ More heat: Netflix has expanded its Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons series with Inside the World’s Toughest Forces.
🖼️ Casting: The Russo Brothers found their Citadel lead in Indian star Varun Dhawan.
🚪 Exiting: Thomas Drachkovitch, Amazon exec responsible for the UK version of Call My Agent! and Left Bank drama Three Pines.
🤝 Done deal: South Korean streamer Waave bought KOCOWA, the K-content streamer that operates in the Americas.
⛺ Festivals: Our Asia expert Liz Shackleton’s latest analysis looks to the future of Indian festivals.
🏆 Awards latest: Festival fave Aftersun and Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin lead the London Film Critics Circle nominations. Zac with details.
🤬 Mind your language: Sky was censured by UK regulator Ofcom for showing a repeat of Game of Thrones in the daytime that contained 39 offensive swearwords sans password protection.
🤖 Robotic: Channel 4’s annual Alternative Christmas Message will be delivered by an AI machine developed in Cornwall.
🎥 Trailer: For Nostalgia, Italy’s Oscar submission.