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ITV1 opts for Carnival's 'Riviera'

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ITV1 has commissioned a new comedy drama from Carnival Films set in an English seaside resort during the festive season.

Christmas at the Riviera is a two-hour film which is currently being filmed on location in Eastbourne and Buckinghamshire. The cast includes Warren Clarke, Pam Ferris, Alexander Armstrong, Reece Shearsmith, Sam Kelly, Darren Boyd, Anna Chancellor and Barbara Flynn.

Clarke plays the cantankerous Maurice, whose life is turned around during his stay at the Riviera Hotel in Eastbourne, with Flynn playing his long suffering wife Rita. Ferris stars as Avril, the ageing, man-eating divorcee desperate to find love and League of Gentleman's Reece Shearsmith appears as the hotel's hapless assistant manager.

Gareth Neame, managing director of Carnival Films, said: "This comedy drama film for Christmas, with its prestigious cast and creative team, further underlines Carnival’s commitment to build an exciting and diverse range of drama production."

The drama is written, produced and directed by Mark Bussell and Justin Sbresni, the team behind BBC One's The Worst week of My Life.

The pair call the drama "an enchanting and exuberant comedy drama...Like mulled wine, it’s sweet, it’s piquant and sometimes very hot; a story of love, betrayal and stuffing."

ITV director of drama, Laura Mackie said: "Justin Sbresni and Mark Bussell's lively and captivating script combines their talent for high comedy with poignant drama and captures all the highs and lows of the festive season."

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