BBC Talking Heads

Actors including Martin Freeman and Tamsin Greig to star in new series of Talking Heads

Updated: 9th June 2020

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

A new series of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads will be filmed and broadcast on the BBC, it was announced earlier this week. Ten of the original monologues will be remade, with two new monologues written by Bennett in 2019.

Talking Heads will air on BBC One on Tuesday 23rd June at 9pm, with all twelve monologues available to watch on BBC iPlayer on the same date.

irst airing in 1988, Bennett's groundbreaking, dramatic monologues won numerous awards, with Thora Hird winning the best actress at two BAFTA ceremonies, as well as Maggie Smith winning a Royal Television society award. 

Speaking about the new series, Alan Bennett said: "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 20 and 30 years ago."

The twelve television and stage actors set to star in Talking Heads include Martin Freeman, whose theatre credits include Richard III and Labour of Love opposite Tamsin Greig, with Greig also appearing in the series. Set to play the titular character in Hello, Dolly! at the Adelphi Theatre, Imelda Staunton will also star in an episode, with notable performing credits in Gypsy, Follies and Sweeney Todd.

The line-up is completed by Jodie Comer, Monica Dolan, Sarah Lancashire, Lesley Manville, Lucian Msamati, Maxine Peake, Rochenda Sandall, Kristin Scott Thomas and Harriet Walter.

The new series is produced by Nicholas Hytner's London Theatre Company, and will air in the coming months on BBC One. Monologues will be directed by acclaimed directors, including Josie Rourke, Marianne Elliott and Jeremy Herrin.

Listed below are the monologues to be aired in the new series, in alphabetical order of actors by surname:

- Jodie Comer in Her Big Chance (1988), directed by Josie Rourke.

- Monica Dolan in The Shrine (2019), directed by Nicholas Hytner.

- Martin Freeman in A Chip In The Sugar (1988), directed by Jeremy Herrin.

- Tamsin Greig in Nights In The Garden of Spain (1998), directed by Marianne Elliott.

- Sarah Lancashire in An Ordinary Woman (2019), directed by Nicholas Hytner.

- Lesley Manville in Bed Among The Lentils (1988), directed by Nicholas Hytner.

- Lucian Msamati in Playing Sandwiches (1998), directed by Jeremy Herrin.

- Maxine Peake in Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet (1988), directed by Sarah Frankcom.

- Rochenda Sandall in The Outside Dog (1998), directed by Nadia Fall.

- Kristin Scott Thomas in The Hand Of God (1998), directed by Jonathan Kent.

- Imelda Staunton in A Lady Of Letters (1988), directed by Jonathan Kent.

- Harriet Walter in Soldiering On (1988), directed by Marianne Elliott.

Originally published on

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