Including three more years of Gordon, Gino & Fred: Road Trip, a revival of The Darling Buds of May starring Bradley Walsh and Joanna Scanlan, a new six-part drama written by Lenny Henry, a new Olympics-inspired challenge show and a four-part series of DNA Journey.
Gordon, Gino & Fred: Road Trip
Following a successful second series, which averaged 6.6m viewers in April, Gordon, Gino & Fred will be returning not just this Christmas, but in 2021 with a six-part series and again in 2022 and 2023 with new eight-part series. And the good news doesn't stop there as we're getting Christmas specials every year until 2023.
Speaking about the prospect of spending another three years with Gino D'Acampo and Fred Sirieix, Gordon Ramsay said "Another three years with Gino and Fred, are you kidding me?
Just joking. Who knew, when we headed out to Italy in the summer of 2018, I would find friends for life in Gino and Fred?"
"We have already shared some incredible adventures, amazing food and plenty of hilarious disasters and pranks as we’ve road-tripped across Europe, America and this winter in Lapland, and I seriously cannot wait to do it all over again and again and again!"
To which Gino said "I am absolutely delighted that I will be making more fantastic shows together with my friends, as this programme starts to go seriously global." and Fred added "I can’t wait to get back on the road with my two amigos. The party will never end!"
The news comes ahead of this year's 75-minute Christmas special which airs on 16th December and sees the mischievous trio go husky sledding, snow mobile racing and ice swimming in Lapland, before tracking down Father Christmas and his elves in their workshop.
It's coming up to 28 years since The Darling Buds of May was last on our screens, but now ITV are bringing those loveable characters back in a new adaptation of H.E. Bates’ novel The Darling Buds of May, written by acclaimed screenwriter Simon Nye.
The book and its sequels were last adapted 30 years ago as The Darling Buds of May and became one of ITV’s all time highest rated television comedy dramas winning critical acclaim and audience approval.
ITV have described the series as a comedy drama and said the series aims to capture the warmth, optimism and escapism of The Larkin family for a modern generation and will see Bradley Walsh and Joanna Scanlan star as the iconic fictional characters, Pop Larkin and his wife Ma.
Set in the late 1950’s, The Larkins is the story of a working-class family led by the golden-hearted wheeler dealer Pop Larkin and his wife Ma, together with their six children, including the beautiful Mariette. Fiercely loyal to each other and their community, each Larkin family member has a strong work ethic, alongside a disinterest in authority.
In the idyllic and beautiful Kent countryside, known as the Garden of England, The Larkins have achieved a small patch of paradise where nothing is wasted and they enjoy life to the full.
There’s an overwhelming sense of plenty in their lives and a lot of joy and raucous laughter, as Ma Larkin provides a seemingly endless supply of delicious, hearty meals. And no matter what time of day, The Larkins and their guests aren’t averse to enjoying the odd cocktail or two!
The Larkins are fundamentally good-hearted people who are always happy to share what they have with others, despite the fact that what they have is sometimes obtained by unusual means! In a rather mean-spirited way their good heartedness is not always shared by certain members of the local community.
From government officials and snobbish second homeowners to aggressive urban developers, the Larkins often deal with threats to their idyllic way of life – but they never take things lying down.
Alongside their weekly battles with authority and snobbish villagers, The Larkins will follow the love story between Mariette and village newcomer Cedric ‘Charley’ Charlton. Charley arrives in the village as an unworldly and officious accountant from the city, there to investigate the Larkins’ tax affairs.
He is soon distracted by the beautiful Mariette, with whom he falls head over heels in love. However, he quickly discovers that he has a romantic rival in the form of the handsome and mysterious Tom Fisher. Mariette, on the other hand, may have plans of her own, which don’t involve men.
Speaking about taking on the iconic role of Pop Larkin, Bradley Walsh said "I’m thrilled to be asked to be part of this much loved and iconic series of stories. The warmth and affection that H. E Bates has generated through his books is so uplifting and I cannot wait to be part of the Larkin family. It’ll be a hoot!"
And Joanna Scanlan has spoken about taking on the role of Ma and said "What better comfort could there be from all we have endured this year than the rolling laughter and outsize hugs of Ma and Pop? It’s going to be an honour to help bring The Larkins to the nation’s devices!"
To which writer Simon Nye added "The novels are short, hilarious and magical. We will be expanding the Larkins’ world a little and can’t wait to immerse ourselves in this glorious countryside idyll."
The Real Games
Holly Willoughby and Freddie Flintoff will host The Real Games which across a week will see 12 celebrities go head-to-head in a range of sporting challenges. Pulled out of their comfort zones, they'll be coached and trained before competing against each other in the hope of coming top of the medals table and being crowned winner of the competition.
The six male and six female competitors will battle it out in the athletics arena, the swimming pool and gymnasium. Each will put their sporting prowess to the test in events, from the 100-meter sprint to doubles diving, racking up points on the medals table.
As well as live coverage of the events, each episode will feature the celebrities' preparation, their gruelling training programme leading up to the competition as they aim to reach their peak physical condition.
As the medals table takes shape with each episode, the series will culminate in an exhilarating final show in which the overall winner will be crowned.
Joining Holly and Freddie will be former professional footballer and television presenter Alex Scott as trackside reporter and former professional football player and presenter Chris Kamara as commentator.
Speaking about hosting this new show, Holly Willoughby said "I'm really excited to be presenting The Real Games with Freddie and the rest of the team. I can't wait to watch our celebrity competitors go head-to-head."
To which Freddie Flintoff added "This is going to be a brilliant week of TV. Our celeb competitors will need to be at the top of their game to be in with a chance of topping the medals table."
Three Little Birds
Written by Sir Lenny Henry, this six-part life affirming drama has been inspired by his mother’s stories about leaving Jamaica in the 1950’s for Great Britain, which became her lifelong home and where she raised her family.
Three Little Birds narrates the adventures of gregarious sisters Leah and Chantrelle, who hail from St Anne’s district in Jamaica, and their virtuous, bible-loving acquaintance, Hosanna as they board a cruise ship heading for a new life in Great Britain.
They are an effervescent mix of forceful personalities, and have very different reasons for leaving their family and friends behind in Jamaica. Unquestionably, they are embarking on a voyage of discovery, as the ladies leave the Caribbean island in search of new horizons and beginnings.
At the instigation of their older brother Aston, who asks if they’ll visit him in Britain and bring him a potential wife from back home, Leah and Chantrelle put his unusual proposition to Hosanna who is prepared to give up her job as a trainee nurse and embark upon the journey ‘to the mother country.’
On arriving in London’s Notting Hill they quickly realise the capital is not the home for them and flee to the Midlands. The road ahead is not a smooth one for our trio, and although we learn some shocking truths about the lives they left behind in Jamaica, we will also cheer them on to succeed, as they overcome the obstacles of racism and integration and build a life in Britain.
Sir Lenny has written each of the six fictional episodes and has been working in consultation with scriptwriter, Russell T Davies, who will be an executive producer on the drama alongside Sir Lenny, Angela Ferreira from Douglas Road Productions and Tiger Aspect’s Head of Drama, Lucy Bedford.
Speaking about Three Little Birds, Sir Lenny Henry said "My mother spoke often about how difficult life was back in the day when she first arrived in Britain to begin her new life. The stories she told and indeed the narratives my brothers and sisters beguiled me with over the dinner table made me think about writing a fictional account of three Caribbean women; all with differing yet complementary attributes - a serious tenacious one, a quick witted flibbertigibbet and a Christian prude."
"They all get to the UK with one thing on their minds - a new life. Although these are fictional accounts, my mother’s narrative will run throughout these stories and hopefully, the stories of other post Windrush arrivals will trigger memories, smiles and tears too."
"It is my privilege to work with Russell T. Davies and Tiger Aspect on these stories. For me, a life-long dream has come true. This series will be a tribute to the giants who came before us and walked cold streets to create new lives for themselves."
Details of casting and key production roles will be announced closer to filming commencing.
Following the huge success of Ant & Dec's DNA Journey in 2019, ITV have committed to a new four-part series which will see eight celebrities embark on a life changing journey to explore their family history.
They'll each delve into their past and present using their individual DNA as they set off on the ultimate road trip alongside their best mate.
Taking part will be comedians Rob Beckett and Romesh Ranganathan, sporting legends Freddie Flintoff and Jamie Redknapp, TV personalities Amanda Holden and Alan Carr and father and son duo Martin and Roman Kemp.
Following their maternal and paternal bloodlines, the pairings will unlock hidden secrets from the past whilst also discovering living relatives they never knew existed.
As Ant and Dec before them, the celebrity pairings will bring with them friendly rivalry and humour as well as the proverbial shoulder to cry on for the emotionally charged revelations and dramatic twists, in what promises to be an experience they’ll never forget.
Whose family emigrated to Canada after just missing out on a place on the doomed Titanic? Which famous face discovered that their ancestor was involved in the biggest robbery of 1840? Whose ancestor received a prestigious award from a King and who is related to a former British Strong Man?
They are guided along the way by expert genealogists and historians who, using cutting edge DNA technology and hidden genealogy, unlock the mysteries of their family history, helping them discover the shocking secrets that will change their lives forever.
Ant & Dec, Directors of Mitre Television said "DNA Journey was such an incredible experience for us. It’s such an emotional rollercoaster of a show and this new series doesn’t disappoint".