Bill Bailey to host Bring The Drama on BBC Two

Bill Bailey, Natalie Cassidy, Kelly Valentine Hendry.
Bill Bailey, Natalie Cassidy, Kelly Valentine Hendry. Credit: BBC/Wall To Wall/Dave King

Bill Bailey will host new BBC Two series Bring the Drama, offering a unique opportunity for eight individuals who have dreamt of pursuing acting but lacked the chance to do so.


Actor and comedian Bill Bailey helms the series which features Kelly Valentine Hendry, a celebrated casting director known for her work on hit shows like Bridgerton and Broadchurch. Over six weeks, Kelly mentors the aspiring actors, introducing them to the demanding world of screen drama.

Each episode takes the participants to actual sets of iconic UK dramas, including ‘Peaky Blinders’, ‘EastEnders’, and ‘Silent Witness’. Here, they recreate famous scenes, experiencing the realities of professional acting – working with real scripts, cameras, and facing the same pressures as seasoned actors.

The series is not just about acting; it’s an immersive educational journey. The participants receive valuable advice from established actors like Natalie Cassidy, Genesis Lynea, and Rochenda Sandall. They also collaborate with industry experts, from the ‘Peaky Blinders’ fight coordinator to the intimacy coordinator from ‘Sex Education’.

After the intense training, Kelly Valentine Hendry selects three actors demonstrating industry-ready potential. These chosen few get to present their showreels at a major industry showcase, eyeing representation from leading agents.

The eight actors, selected from nearly 2,000 applicants, have never attended drama school. They represent raw talent from across the UK, held back previously by various factors and access issues. Beyond the series, they gain a professionally shot showreel and follow-up sessions with industry experts.

Bill Bailey said: “It has been a delight to work on Bring The Drama and witness first-hand how the actors have grown in confidence and skills over the weeks. What I particularly liked was the way it shows the whole process of making TV – being on an actual set, with a real crew to help you learn what it’s really like.

“It was great fun but also a brilliant insight into how casting works and a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of some of our most popular tv shows.”

Kelly Valentine-Hendry, casting director, added: “Historically it has been much easier to break into the industry if you come from a privileged background and the more we can do to change that, the better. This series is a brilliant way to emphasise and celebrate that great talent can come from anywhere.


“And above all, it’s a real insight into all the hard work that goes into bringing great drama to screen. It’s not easy – in fact, I think people will be surprised by how challenging it is!”

Broadcast details for the series are to be announced.

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