Love Actually: What time is the sequel on TV and who else is appearing for Red Nose Day?

Hugh Grant and Martine McCutcheon in Love Actually
Hugh Grant and Martine McCutcheon in Love Actually

Love Actually is back! Well, sort of. The BBC are broadcasting a bite-size "sequel" to Richard Curtis's schmaltzy 2003 film, reuniting almost all the characters from the Christmas romcom.  But what have they been up to in the intervening years? Has Bill Nighy's aging pop star finally quit the music biz? Is Hugh Grant's "Cool Brittania" Prime Minister still in love with his sweary assistant (Martine McCutcheon)? Here's everything we know about it so far.

When is it on TV?

The 10-minute skit will be broadcast on BBC One on Friday March 24 - Red Nose Day. The time of day has not yet been announced. In America, it will be shown on NBC on Thursday May 25.

Love Actually sequel - trailer Love Actually sequel - trailer
00:22

Who’s in it?

Most of the vast ensemble cast are back: Hugh Grant, Keira Knightley, Colin Firth, Lúcia Moniz, Liam Neeson, Bill Nighy, Martine McCutcheon, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Olivia Olson, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Marcus Brigstocke and Rowan Atkinson will all be making an appearance. 

But a few major names from the film – including Kris Marshall, Martin Freeman and Emma Thompson – will not return for the new sketch.

Why isn't Emma Thompson in it?

Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman in Love Actually

Emma Thompson had one of the most affecting story-lines in the 2003 film, as a woman who slowly realises that her husband (Alan Rickman) has been cheating on her. But after Rickman's death last year, both Thompson and Curtis felt it would be inappropriate to return to her character. 

Thompson said it would be "too sad" and "too soon", adding: "It's supposed to be for Comic Relief but there isn't much comic relief in the loss of our dear friend really only just over a year ago."

Why isn't Kris Marshall in it?

Kris Marshall in Love Actually, with January Jones

According to the actor, Richard Curtis simply wasn't able to fit Marshall's character Colin in to the 10-minute-long sketch.

"I did get a very, very sweet email from Richard," Marshall told The Mirror. “Richard said, ‘Look, we’re making a charity, where-are-they-now movie of Love Actually, but I didn’t have the time or the budget to go and see where your character went’.”

Curtis himself, however, has indicated that he has had a few thoughts about the fate of the amorous Brit, who travelled across the pond in the 2003 comedy to see if his accent would help him win over American women (bizarrely, it did).

“I’m assuming that he’s in prison now,” Curtis told the Radio Times. “But I hope I’m wrong." 

Hugh Grant had a dark idea for the dancing PM's future

Grant's charismatic Prime Minister may be remembered fondly (just this month, he earned comparisons with Canada's Justin Trudeau), but Grant takes a dim view of his fictional counterpart.

“I always assumed that my character was embroiled in a horrible sex scandal," he told the Guardian. "And after a few years in prison he hit the bottle pretty hard. Yes – Martine [McCutcheon] abandoned him. She turned out to be very shallow.”

Richard Curtis had other plans. When we meet David in the new short, he's still Prime Minister, and any fans who enjoyed the scene in which he boogies through Downing Street to the sound of Girls Aloud will be pleased to hear that there's another dance sequence in the Comic Relief skit.

Is it going to be worth watching?

That depends who you ask. Our film critic Tim Robey recently admitted to feeling a surge of "horror" at the idea of a sequel. On the other hand, despite its poor reviews the original film was a hit at the box office and still has legions of loyal fans, many of whom will be keen to find out how all its key romances played out.

Furthermore, as previously mentioned the skit is only going to be 10 minutes long. How bad can it really be?

Andrew Lincoln in Love Actually Credit: Allstar/WORKING TITLE

What will happen?

Plot details, alas, are being kept under wraps...although some of the on set images revealed so far suggest that the transatlantic "relationship" between young Joanna (Olivia Olson) and lovestruck Sam (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) may have survived: the pair were pictured last month filming what looked like a reunion scene.

Likewise, it looks as if Juliet (Keira Knightley) and Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who celebrated their wedding in the first film, are still together. Bad luck, Mark.

 

Please review our commenting policy